Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Miscellany

Heading to bed on Sunday night with a to-do list a mile long for a busy week ahead. But I have not felt well since about 5:00 Saturday afternoon, and it seems to be a repeat of what happened earlier last week. Not really a stomach bug. But enough to slow me way down. But I'll spare you the listing of symptoms!

And I just found out that my girl's viola teacher, who has also become a friend as they've enjoyed some movies together (she's a sweet single Christian gal in her early 30's), is on a ventilator in ICU in a local hospital as the flu turned into pneumonia and then into ARDS (Actue Respiratory Distress Syndrome). She's stable and they expect her to be okay, but it's going to take awhile. If you'd lift her up in prayer, I'd be grateful.

On the bright side, my kids had a wonderful time at our church's D-Now weekend. My girl said it was the best ever. And GG, our exchange student, absolutely loved it. For me, it was a bit bittersweet as I realized it was the last one for my boy and the other guys in his group who have been together and had the same leader for these past four years!

And my man and I enjoyed a lunch date Saturday after we picked up my new minivan! I love it, although it's got lots of bells and whistles for me to learn! God's hand of provision and grace has been very evident throughout this whole process.

This has been making the rounds on FB, so I'm sure you've seen it, but since I am such a word geek and spelling fanatic, I couldn't resist posting it here!



Have a great Monday!

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mentor? Who, Me?


Becoming a Woman of Influence:
Making a Lasting Impact on Others

Carol Kent
(NavPress)
ISBN: 978-1576839331
February, 2006/224 pages/$14.99


Jesus’ twelve disciples changed the world forever. Wouldn’t you like to have a similar impact on others? But how do we accomplish this as human, imperfect people? How can we mentor others in a life-changing and even world-changing way? With Carol Kent’s help, discover the power you have in Christ to influence others like Jesus did. Learn seven simple, life-changing principles Jesus used to disciple His followers-such as asking questions, extending unconditional love, and telling stories. Through practical examples, see how your struggles and triumphs can inspire others. Whether you’re an “ordinary” Christian or a trained leader, prepare to live intentionally and become a valued mentor who leaves an eternal mark. Includes Impact Questions for personal reflection or discussion.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carol Kent is hilariously funny, biblically sound, and heartbreakingly transparent in person and in print. Founder and president of Speak Up for Hope (a prison ministry) and Speak Up Speaker Services (a speakers' bureau), Carol is the best-selling author of many books, including When I Lay My Isaac Down, A New Kind of Normal, Becoming a Woman of Influence, Speak Up with Confidence, Secret Longings of the Heart, and Tame Your Fears. She is an expert on public speaking, writing, and evangelism. Carol travels the world, speaking to tens of thousands each year at events such as Extraordinary Women, Vision New England, Women of Faith, THRIVE, and Women of Grace. Carol and her husband, Gene, make their home in Florida. Visit Carol's website and read her blog.

MY THOUGHTS:
While most Christian women fully agree with the concept of "Titus women", the practice of women mentoring women, many of us wonder where, when, and how to even begin -- especially when we still feel like we need to be mentored ourselves! Carol Kent has written an encouraging and highly practical book which will show women of all ages how they can have an impact on those around them. For in reality, everyone can influence someone! It's not just the sweet grandmotherly type who should be reaching out. For example, a young wife and mom in her twenties will have a tremendous influence on a teenage girl. Carol captures the essence of mentoring in nine basic principles which form the chapters of this book. The book also includes a nine-week Bible Study in the back with up to a dozen questions, verses to dig deeper, and other application activities corresponding to each chapter which can be completed alone, shared in a group, or to immediately put the book into practice, with an accountabilty/mentoring partner. This is a much-needed book which should be in every church library and women's ministry resource room.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Saturday, February 26, 2011

TSMSS - Mercy Said No!


These past couple of weeks have been a bit of a challenge spiritually as God as used some circumstances in my life to reveal to me some areas in hidden corners of my heart that need to be cleansed of sinful attitudes and refined. Though the process has been difficult, at the same time I have been completely overwhelmed by a renewed awareness of God's mercy and grace.

This song is not new, but I haven't heard it in quite a few years and it really spoke to my heart when I rediscovered it last night. CeCe Winans sings it so beautifully.



Thanks to Amy for hosting this wonderful meme each week.


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Friday, February 25, 2011

A Flashback Friday To Sink Your Teeth Into



What are your dental memories of childhood? Who pulled your baby teeth and how was it done - with a tissue, string, or other method? Was it a traumatic experience or no big deal? Did you have to have any teeth pulled by the dentist? Did the tooth fairy visit your house? If so, how much did you get for each tooth and how long did that last? How old were you at your first dental visit? Did you go regularly? Did you have any/many cavities as a child? Was dental hygiene taught in school? Was flossing a big deal when you were growing up? Did you have braces and, if so, for how long? Did you have to wear rubber bands, head/neck gear or other additional "accessories"? Did you need braces but your parents couldn't afford them? Have you had braces as an adult? Do you have any fond/funny//traumatic memories of old relatives or friends and their false teeth?

Oh, where do I even start?! When I first thought of this topic, I had no idea it would take so many rabbit trailsdirections! Who knew that teeth would spark such an onslaught of memories?

Pulling Teeth & the Tooth Fairy
I tried to avoid having any teeth pulled by my dad. He always wanted to pull them way too soon, and he used this heavy-duty black thread. I never saw him or my mom use that spool for anything else. Fortunately, he wasn't the type to tie it on the doorknob and slam the door (which I think is just downright cruel!) but he did loop it around the tooth and give it a good yank! It always hurt! So usually I would just keep quiet about it if I could and work it back and forth with my tongue or my fingers until it was barely hanging and then get my mom to pull it with a tissue. One time I made the mistake of bringing her toilet paper to use, and we quickly discovered that disintegrated into a mess the minute it hit my wet mouth! I couldn't stand to pull my own teeth, and I never pulled my own kids' teeth ever. I don't know why but it just gives me the heebie-jeebies. My kids pulled all their own teeth. I also don't remember ever losing a tooth at school. No Tooth Fairy ever came to our house when I was growing up.

Dental Hygiene & the Dentist
I remember that I rarely brushed my teeth when I was really little. It just wasn't as emphasized as it is today. And dental floss didn't come out until I was in my teens. I do remember that in elementary school the school nurse would come around with the toothbrush and set of teeth and show us how to brush our teeth. Then she gave us all packets with toothbrushes and we brushed our teeth, and then chewed tablets that turned all the places red that we missed!

I think I was around eight years old when I went to the dentist for the first time. My permanent teeth had come in, and I was a buck-toothed child. I was headed for braces. I never minded going to the dentist until the doctor discovered on my pre-college physical that I have a heart murmur and I had to take antibiotics before every dental visit, even cleanings. The antibiotics made me so nauseous and sick that it was a major ordeal. I think my dentist was as happy as I was when the AHA revised the protocol a few years ago and no longer recommended antibiotics for cleaning and minor procedures!

Braces
I was in sixth grade when I got braces. I remember being really excited about getting them because I hated my buck teeth. I could hardly close my mouth because my front teeth were so big and protruded so much. I wish I had thought to find one of my school pictures from fifth or sixth grade. I also had a horrible bite and couldn't chew well at all. I had to chew and chew and chew and finally spit out most meat other than hamburger into my napkin. Before I could get braces, I had to have four teeth pulled, two on each side to make room for my teeth to move. Two were permanent teeth and two were baby teeth that didn't have any permanent teeth behind them. They did two at a time so I could at least chew on one side as I recovered. Then a few days before the braces, I had to push these brown rubber separators between my teeth to make room for the braces. Back then braces were wide metal bands that went all the way around each tooth. As excited as I was about braces, that quickly wore off when the soreness kicked in! I could eat nothing but soup for days! Then there was the neck gear, which I wore for months. That not only hurt my mouth but my neck as well! Oh, and the rubber bands and the agony when one would pop in my mouth and sting my tongue! Every month I would see the orthodontist and get my archwires changed and tightened and I would be sore for another few days. And if they didn't get the end snipped close enough, I had to cover it with a little ball of wax until I could go back to have it cut. I wore them for just over two years, and then when they had to yank them off, I thought they were going to pull my teeth out! The next challenge was learning to talk with the big ol' retainer piece on the roof of my mouth. I was amazed at how much easier the process was for my boy. But it was worth every minute, and I'm so grateful my parents, as frugal as they were, prioritized braces and fixed my teeth.

One quick story that is the saddest braces story I've ever heard: The pastor of our church when I was little had horrible teeth; they were so pitifully crooked. He told us once that he had worn braces for seven years. SEVEN. The day after he got them off he was in a bad car wreck and his teeth got all messed up.

Cavities & Dentures
My parents gave us some good teeth genes. My daddy died three weeks before turning 75 and he still had all of his teeth and not a single cavity. My mom didn't have any cavities until she was in her forties. My brother and one sister never had braces and have no cavities. My missionary sister and I never had any cavities until after we had braces. That's a pretty good track record!

Because dental care is so much better now, my kids have never had the fun of having a grandparent with false teeth. They've never watched their grandmother take her teeth out to brush them or leave them soaking in a glass overnight. And they've never giggled when she talked to them with her teeth out! Or watched her while she played dominoes and as she contemplated a move, shifted her teeth around and slid them halfway out of her mouth with her tongue. They just don't know what they're missing!


Now it's your turn. Don't give us the brush-off! Share your memories and link your blog here.




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A Billion Reasons Why

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

A Billion Reasons Why

Thomas Nelson; Original edition (February 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kristin Billerbeck was born in California to an Italian father and a strong Norwegian/German mother. Her mother tried to teach her to do things right, how to cook, clean, sew, and budget accordingly—all the things a proper girl should know in order to be a contributing member of society. Yet Billerbeck said she “failed miserably,” although her grandmother must still hold some hope since she gave her a cookie gun for her 40th birthday.

Billerbeck has authored more than 30 novels, including the Ashley Stockingdale series and the Spa Girls series. She is a leader in the Chick Lit movement, a Christy Award finalist, and a two-time winner of the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award. She has appeared on The Today Show and has been featured in the New York Times. She lives with her family in northern California.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

There are a billion reasons Kate should marry her current boyfriend.

Will she trade them all to be madly in love?

Katie McKenna leads a perfect life. Or so she thinks. She has a fulfilling job, a cute apartment, and a wedding to plan with her soon-to-be fiance, Dexter.

She can think of a billion reasons why she should marry Dexter…but nowhere on that list is love.

And then in walks Luc DeForges, her bold, breathtaking ex-boyfriend. Only now he's a millionaire. And he wants her to go home to New Orleans to sing for her childhood friend's wedding. As his date.

But Katie made up her mind about Luc eight years ago, when she fled their hometown after a very public breakup. Yet there's a magnetism between them she can't deny.

Katie thought her predictable relationship with Dexter would be the bedrock of a lasting, Christian marriage. But what if there's more? What if God's desire for her is a heart full of life? And what if that's what Luc has offered all along?


Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Original edition (February 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595547916
ISBN-13: 978-1595547910

MY THOUGHTS:

Kristin Billerbeck is a master at writing chick-lit! This is a charming book that, while lighthearted and fun to read, still manages to pack a powerful lesson about faith and love. I'm thinking there are at least A Billion Reasons Why you should take this book with you for a spring break get-away read!

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


A Fine Romance


Katie McKenna had dreamed of this moment at least a thousand times. Luc would walk back into her life filled with remorse. He’d be wearing jeans, a worn T-shirt, and humility. He’d be dripping with humility.


That should have been her first clue that such a scenario had no bearing on reality.


“Katie,” a voice said.


The sound sent a surge of adrenaline through her frame. She’d forgotten the power and the warmth of his baritone. A quick glance around her classroom assured her that she must be imagining things. Everything was in order: the posters of colorful curriculum, the daily schedule of activities printed on the whiteboard, and, of course, the children. All six of them were mentally disabled, most of them on the severe side of the autism spectrum, but three had added handicaps that required sturdy, head-stabilizing wheelchairs. The bulk of the chairs overwhelmed the room and blocked much of the happy yellow walls and part of the large rainbow mural the kids had helped to paint. The room, with its cluttered order, comforted her and reminded her of all she’d accomplished. There was no need to think about the past. That was a waste of time and energy.


Her eyes stopped on her aides, Carrie and Selena. The two women, so boisterous in personality, were usually animated. But at the moment they stood huddled in the corner behind Austin’s wheelchair.


Carrie, the heavyset one in the Ed Hardy T-shirt, motioned at her.


“What?” Katie pulled at her white shirt with the delicate pink flowers embroidered along the hem and surveyed the stains. “I know, I’m a mess. But did you see how wonderfully the kids did on their art projects? It was worth it. Never thought of the oil on the dough staining. Next time I’ll wear an apron.”


Selena and Carrie looked as though there was something more they wanted.


“Maddie, you’re a born artist.” Katie smiled at the little girl sitting behind a mound of colorful clay. Then to the aides: “What is the matter with you two?”



Selena, a slight Latina woman, shook her head and pointed toward the door.


Katie rotated toward the front of the classroom and caught her breath. Luc, so tall and gorgeous, completely out of place in his fine European suit and a wristwatch probably worth more than her annual salary, stood in the doorway. He wore a fedora, his trademark since college, but hardly one he needed to stand out in a crowd.


As she stared across the space between them, suddenly the classroom she took such pride in appeared shabby and soiled. When she inhaled, it reeked of sour milk and baby food. Her muddled brain searched for words.


“Luc?” She blinked several times, as if his film-star good looks might evaporate into the annals of her mind. “What are you doing here?”


“Didn’t you get my brother’s wedding invitation?” he asked coolly, as if they’d only seen each other yesterday.


“I did. I sent my regrets.”


“That’s what I’m doing here. You can’t miss Ryan’s wedding. I thought the problem might be money.”


She watched as his blue eyes came to rest on her stained shirt. Instinctively she crossed her arms in front of her.


“I came to invite you to go back with me next week, on my plane.”


“Ah.” She nodded and waited for something intelligible to come out of her mouth. “It’s not money.”


“Come home with me, Katie.” He reached out his arms, and she moved to the countertop and shuffled some papers together.


If he touches me, I don’t stand a chance. She knew Luc well enough to know if he’d made the trip to her classroom, he didn’t intend to leave without what he came for. “I’m afraid that’s not possible.” She stacked the same papers again.


“Give me one reason.”


She faced him. “I could give you a billion reasons.”


Luc’s chiseled features didn’t wear humility well. The cross-shaped scar beneath his cheekbone added to his severity. If he weren’t so dreaded handsome, he’d make a good spy in a Bond movie. His looks belied his soft Uptown New Orleans upbringing, the kind filled with celebrations and warm family events with backyard tennis and long days in the swimming pool.


He pushed through the swiveled half door that separated them and strode toward her.


“That gate is there for a reason. The classroom is for teachers and students only.”


Luc opened his hand and beckoned to her, and despite herself, she took it. Her heart pounded in her throat, and its roar was so thunderous it blocked her thoughts. He pulled her into a clutch, then pushed her away with all the grace of Astaire. “Will you dance with me?” he asked.


He began to hum a Cole Porter tune clumsily in her ear, and instinctively she followed his lead until everything around them disappeared and they were alone in their personal ballroom. For a moment she dropped her head back and giggled from her stomach; a laugh so genuine and pure, it seemed completely foreign—as if it came from a place within that was no longer a part of her. Then the dance halted suddenly, and his cheek was against hers. She took in the roughness of his face, and the thought flitted through her mind that she could die a happy woman in those arms.


The sound of applause woke her from her reverie.


“You two are amazing!” Carrie said.


The children all murmured their approval, some with screams of delight and others with loud banging.

Luc’s hand clutched her own in the small space between them, and she laughed again.


“Not me,” Luc said. “I have the grace of a bull. It’s Katie. She’s like Ginger Rogers. She makes anybody she dances with look good.” He appealed to the two aides. “Which is why I’m here. She must go to my brother’s wedding with me.”


“I didn’t even know you danced, Katie,” Selena said. “Why don’t you ever come dancing with us on Friday nights?”


“What? Katie dances like a dream. She and my brother were partners onstage in college. They were like a mist, the way they moved together. It’s like her feet don’t touch the ground.”


“That was a long time ago.” She pulled away from him and showed him her shirt. “I’m a mess. I hope I didn’t ruin your suit.”


“It would be worth it,” Luc growled.


“Katie, where’d you learn to dance like that?” Carrie asked.


“Too many old movies, I suppose.” She shrugged.


“You could be on Dancing with the Stars with moves like that.”


“Except I’m not a star or a dancer, but other than that, I guess—” She giggled again. It kept bubbling out of her, and for one blissful moment she remembered what it felt like to be the old Katie McKenna. Not the current version, staid schoolmarm and church soloist in Northern California, but the Katie people in New Orleans knew, the one who danced and sang.


Luc interrupted her thoughts. “She’s being modest. She learned those moves from Ginger and Fred themselves, just by watching them over and over again. This was before YouTube, so she was dedicated.”


Katie shrugged. “I was a weird kid. Only child, you know?” But inside she swelled with pride that Luc remembered her devotion to a craft so woefully out-of-date and useless. “Anyway, I don’t have much use for swing dancing or forties torch songs now. Luc, meet Carrie and Selena. Carrie and Selena, Luc.”


“I don’t have any ‘use’ for salsa dancing,” Selena said. “I do it because it’s part of who I am.”


“Tell her she has to come with me, ladies. My brother is having a 1940s-themed wedding in New Orleans. He’d be crushed if Katie didn’t come, and I’ll look like a hopeless clod without her to dance with.”


Katie watched the two aides. She saw the way Luc’s powerful presence intoxicated them. Were they really naive enough to believe that Luc DeForges could ever appear like a clod, in any circumstance or setting? Luc, with his skilled charm and roguish good looks, made one believe whatever he wanted one to believe. The two women were putty in his hands.


“Katie, you have to go to this wedding!” Selena stepped toward her. “I can’t believe you can dance like that and never told us. You’d let this opportunity slip by? For what?” She looked around the room and frowned. “This place?”


The cacophony of pounding and low groans rose audibly, as if in agreement.


“This may be just a classroom to you, but to me, it’s the hope and future of these kids. I used to dance. I used to sing. It paid my way through college. Now I’m a teacher.”


“You can’t be a teacher and a dancer?” Selena pressed. “It’s like walking and chewing gum. You can do both. The question is, why don’t you?”


“Maybe I should bring more music and dancing into the classroom. Look how the kids are joining in the noise of our voices, not bothered by it. I have to think about ways we could make the most of this.”


But she hadn’t succeeded in changing the subject; everyone’s attention stayed focused on her.


“You should dance for the kids, Katie. You possess all the grace of an artist’s muse. Who knows how you might encourage them?”


Katie laughed. “That’s laying it on a bit thick, Luc, even for you. I do believe if there was a snake in that basket over there, it would be rising to the charmer’s voice at this very minute.”


Luc’s very presence brought her into another time. Maybe it was the fedora or the classic cut of his suit, but it ran deeper than how he looked. He possessed a sense of virility and take-no-prisoners attitude that couldn’t be further from his blue-blood upbringing. He made her, in a word, feel safe . . . but there was nothing safe about Luc and there never had been. She straightened and walked over to her open folder to check her schedule for the day.


Tapping a pencil on the binder, she focused on getting the day back on track. The students were involved in free playtime at the moment. While they were all situated in a circle, they played individually, their own favorite tasks in front of them.


“Carrie, would you get Austin and Maddie ready for lunch?”


“I’ll do it,” Selena said. “And, Katie . . . you really should go to the wedding.”


“I can’t go to the wedding because it’s right in the middle of summer school.”


“You could get a substitute,” Carrie said. “What would you be gone for, a week at most? Jenna could probably fill in. She took the summer off this year.”


“Thanks for the suggestions, ladies,” Katie said through clenched teeth. “But I’ve already told the groom I can’t attend the wedding for professional reasons.”


The women laughed. “I’m sorry, what reasons?” Carrie asked, raising a bedpan to imply that anyone could do Katie’s job.


It was no use. The two women were thoroughly under Luc’s spell, and who could blame them?


“Maybe we should talk privately,” Luc said. He clasped her wrist and led her to the glass doors at the front of the classroom. “It’s beautiful out here. The way you’re nestled in the hills, you’d never know there’s a city nearby.”


She nodded. “That’s Crystal Springs Reservoir on the other side of the freeway. It’s protected property, the drinking water for this entire area, so it’s stayed pristine.”


“I’m not going back to New Orleans without you,” he said.


Apparently the small talk had ended.


“My mother would have a fit if I brought one of the women I’d take to a Hollywood event to a family wedding.”


Katie felt a twinge of jealousy, then a stab of anger for her own weakness. Of course he dated beautiful women. He was a billionaire. A billionaire who looked like Luc DeForges! Granted, he was actually a multimillionaire, but it had been a long-standing joke between the two of them. Did it matter, once you made your first ten million, how much came after that? He may as well be called a gazillionaire. His finances were too foreign for her to contemplate.


“And who you date is my problem, how?”


“If my date tries to swing dance and kicks one of my mother’s friends in the teeth, I’ll be disinherited.”


“So what, would that make you the fifth richest man in the United States, instead of the fourth?”


“Katie, how many times do I have to explain to you I’m nowhere near those kinds of numbers?” He grinned. “Yet.” He touched his finger to her nose lightly. “My fate is much worse than losing status if you don’t come. My mother might set me up to ensure I have a proper date. A chorus line of Southern belles. And I guarantee you at least one will have the proverbial glass slipper and think her idea is so utterly unique, I’ll succumb to the fantasy.”


“Wow! What a terrible life you must lead.” She pulled a Keds slide from her foot and emptied sand out of her shoe. A few grains landed on Luc’s shiny black loafer. “To think, with courtship skills like that, that any woman wouldn’t be swept off her feet—it’s unfathomable.” She patted his arm. “I wish you luck, Luc. I’m sure your mother will have some very nice choices for you, so go enjoy yourself. Perk up, there’re billions

more to be made when you get back.”


“Sarcasm doesn’t suit you, Katie.”


e was right, but she didn’t trust herself around him. She’d taken leave of her senses too many times in that weakened state. Since moving to California, she’d made it her goal to live life logically and for the Lord. She hadn’t fallen victim to her emotions since leaving New Orleans, and she’d invested too much to give into them now.


“I’m sorry,” she said. “I only meant that I’m sure there are other nice girls willing to go home and pretend for your mother. I’ve already done that, only you forgot to tell me we were pretending. Remember?”


He flinched. “Below the belt.”


A pencil fell from behind her ear, and she stooped to pick it up, careful not to meet his glance as she rose. “I’m sorry, but I’m busy here. Maybe we could catch up another time? I’d like that and won’t be so sidetracked.” She looked across the room toward Austin, an angelic but severely autistic child in a wheelchair. He pounded against his tray. “The kids are getting hungry. It’s lunchtime.” She pointed to the schedule.


Luc scooped a hand under her chin and forced her to look at him. “Where else am I going to find a gorgeous redhead who knows who Glenn Miller is?”


“Don’t, Luc. Don’t charm me. It’s beneath you. Buy one of your bubble-headed blondes a box of dye and send her to iTunes to do research. Problem solved.”


He didn’t let go. “Ryan wants you to sing at the wedding, Katie. He sent me personally to make sure you’d be there and sing ‘Someone to Watch Over Me.’ I’m not a man who quits because something’s difficult.”


“Anyone worth her salt on Bourbon Street can sing that. Excuse me—”


“Katie-bug.”


“Luc, I asked you kindly. Don’t. I’m not one of your sophisticated girls who knows how to play games. I’m not going to the wedding. That part of my life is over.”


“That part of your life? What about that part of you? Where is she?”


She ignored his question. “I cannot be the only woman you know capable of being your date. You’re not familiar with anyone else who isn’t an actress-slash-waitress?” She cupped his hand in her own and allowed herself to experience the surge of energy. “I have to go.” She dropped his hands and pushed back through the half door. “I’m sure you have a meeting to get to. Am I right?”


“It’s true,” he admitted. “I had business in San Francisco today, a merger. We bought a small chain of health food stores to expand the brand. But I was planning the trip to see you anyway and ask you personally.”


“Uh-huh.”


“We’ll be doing specialty outlets in smaller locations where real estate prices are too high for a full grocery outlet. Having the natural concept already in these locations makes my job that much easier.”



“To take over the free world with organics, you mean?”


That made him smile, and she warmed at the sparkle in his eye. When Luc was in his element, there was nothing like it. His excitement was contagious and spread like a classroom virus, infecting those around him with a false sense of security. She inhaled deeply and reminded herself that the man sold inspiration by the pound. His power over her was universal. It did not make her special.


“Name your price,” he said. “I’m here to end this rift between us, whatever it is, and I’ll do the time. Tell me what it is you want.”


“There is no price, Luc. I don’t want anything from you. I’m not going to Ryan’s wedding. My life is here.”


“Day and night . . . night and day,” he crooned and then his voice was beside her ear. “One last swing dance at my brother’s wedding. One last song and I’ll leave you alone. I promise.”


She crossed the room to the sink against the far wall, but she felt him follow. She hated how he could make every nerve in her body come to life, while he seemingly felt nothing in return. She closed her eyes and searched for inner strength. He didn’t want me. Not in a way that mattered. He wanted her when it suited him to have her at his side.


“Even if I were able to get the time off work, Luc, it wouldn’t be right to go to your brother’s wedding as your date. I’m about to get engaged.”


“Engaged?” He stepped away.


She squeezed hand sanitizer onto her hands and rubbed thoroughly.


“I’ll give a call to your fiancĂ© and let him know the benefits.” He pulled a small leather pad of paper from his coat pocket. “I’ll arrange everything. You get a free trip home, I get a Christian date my mother is proud to know, and then your life goes back to normal. Everyone’s happy.” He took off his fedora as though to plead his case in true gentlemanly fashion. “My mother is still very proud to have led you from

your . . .” He choked back a word. “From your previous life and to Jesus.”


The announcement of her engagement seemed to have had little effect on Luc, and Katie felt as if her heart shattered all over again. “My previous life was you. She was proud to lead me away from her son’s life.” She leaned on the countertop, trying to remember why she’d come to the kitchen area.


“You know what I meant.”


“I wasn’t exactly a streetwalker, Luc. I was a late-night bar singer in the Central District, and the only one who ever led my reputation into question was you. So I’m failing to see the mutual benefit here. Your mother. Your date. And I get a free trip to a place I worked my tail off to get out of.”


She struggled with a giant jar of applesauce, which Luc took from her and opened easily. He passed the jar back to her and let his fingers brush hers.


“My mother would be out of her head to see you. And the entire town could see what they lost when they let their prettiest belle go. Come help me remind them. Don’t you want to show them that you’re thriving? That you didn’t curl up and die after that awful night?”


“I really don’t need to prove anything, Luc.” She pulled her apron, with its child-size handprints in primary colors, over her head. “I’m not your fallback, and I really don’t care if people continue to see me that way. They don’t know me.”


“Which you? The one who lives a colorless existence and calls it holy? Or the one who danced on air and inspired an entire theater troupe to rediscover swing and raise money for a new stage?” Luc bent down, took her out at the knees, and hoisted her up over his shoulder.


“What are you doing? Do you think you’re Tarzan? Put me down.” She pounded on his back, and she could hear the chaos he’d created in the classroom. “These kids need structure. What do you think you’re doing? I demand you put me down!”



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Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Flashback Friday Prompt with Teeth

What is the best time of day to go to the dentist?
2:30
(Tooth hurty!)


* * * * *

Q: What do you call a dentist who rides a motorcycle
and wears a black leather jacket?
A: Leader of the Plaque

* * * * *

Did you hear about the dentist who married the manicurist?
They fought tooth and nail

Hmmm, I wonder what we're flashing back to this week?!



What are your dental memories of childhood? Who pulled your baby teeth and how was it done - with a tissue, string, or other method? Was it a traumatic experience or no big deal? Did you have to have any teeth pulled by the dentist? Did the tooth fairy visit your house? If so, how much did you get for each tooth and how long did that last? How old were you at your first dental visit? Did you go regularly? Did you have any/many cavities as a child? Was dental hygiene taught in school? Was flossing a big deal when you were growing up? Did you have braces and, if so, for how long? Did you have to wear rubber bands, head/neck gear or other additional "accessories"? Did you need braces but your parents couldn't afford them? Have you had braces as an adult? Do you have any fond/funny//traumatic memories of old relatives or friends and their false teeth?

When I first thought of this for a prompt, I thought this might be a pretty weak topic, but the ideas just kept coming, and now I hope you may think you have to bite off more than you can chew!

Post your memories on your blog tomorrow and come back to link up!


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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge



Joyce From This Side of the Pond has once again provided us with a variety of questions, also known as the WEdnesday Hodgepodge.

1. Did you know there is a National Day of pretty much everything in the universe? February 23 happens to be National Inconvenience Yourself Day...when was the last time you were inconvenienced?

An Inconvenience Day?! Let's call it an Inconvenience Fortnight since my car was totaled!

2. When a room in your house needs painting who does the job?

It depends. If it's purely cosmetic painting, I usually do. We've been doing some pretty major remodeling involving some sheetrock work and the guy we hired has done that painting.

3. Are you friends with your cousins?

I am not in frequent contact with any of them. I'm closest to an older cousin on my dad's side; we don't see each other or visit much but when we do we "pick right back up where we left off."

4. Do you use an alarm clock? If yes-is it an actual alarm, music, or something else?

Yes, it is an alarm clock with a tone. When I travel I use my phone with a song.

5. What do you put ketchup on?

As little as possible. I don't hate it, but I'm not much of a fan.

6. What smells make you nostalgic?

Libraries andl library books.

7. Have you heard about the high school English teacher recently suspended as a result of some things she wrote in her personal blog? You can read the story here but in a nutshell she vented a lot of frustration onto her blog. She didn't mention individual students by name but she did make some harsh comments about kids in general and their parents.

What are your thoughts-If you're a parent is your child's teacher online and are you 'friend' or 'follower' there? If you're a teacher are you on facebook and do you accept or friend students on fb? How about their parents? If you're a student are you friends with your current or former teachers online? Do any of them have blogs you read? If you're a teacher or a parent do you ever use your blog as a place to vent your frustrations with our educational system? So much to discuss...


Our district's policy is that teachers are not supposed to be FB friends with students. I have friended one of my girl's teachers and I have noticed he is friends with a number of the kids within the class. I think it is a good policy to have, both for the child's protection as well as the teacher's.

I am friends with a couple my kids' former teachers from elementary school with whom I developed a closer friendship with.

Regarding the situation at the beginning of this question, I haven't read the story Joyce is referring to, but I will say this much. I do think companies have become far too intrusive on folks' personal lives. While I don't think it was particularly wise of her to vent online, if she didn't mention names and if she just indicates she is a teacher and doesn't even identify the school at which she teaches, I don't think they should be able to suspend her. If she was not identifying herself as a representative of the school, and if her actions were not illegal, then her personal activities are off-limits and she is not accountable to them.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'd rather be sick a week with a cold than a day with a stomach bug.


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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Shallow and Profound

Stumbled across this yesterday, even though it is "supposed" to be read in November. This is excellent.

Beware of allowing yourself to think that the shallow aspects of life are not ordained by God; they are ordained by Him equally as much as the profound. We sometimes refuse to be shallow, not out of our deep devotion to God but because we wish to impress other people with the fact that we are not shallow. This is a sure sign of spiritual pride. We must be careful, for this is how contempt for others is produced in our lives. And it causes us to be a walking rebuke to other people because they are more shallow than we are. Beware of posing as a profound person— God became a baby.

To be shallow is not a sign of being sinful, nor is shallowness an indication that there is no depth to your life at all— the ocean has a shore. Even the shallow things of life, such as eating and drinking, walking and talking, are ordained by God. These are all things our Lord did. [. . .]

Never show the depth of your life to anyone but God. We are so nauseatingly serious, so desperately interested in our own character and reputation, we refuse to behave like Christians in the shallow concerns of life.

Make a determination to take no one seriously except God. You may find that the first person you must be the most critical with, as being the greatest fraud you have ever known, is yourself.

Oswald Chambers
My Utmost for His Highest, November 22

I immediately knew who I needed to email it to, but God reminded me that I had a few beams in my own eye.

He's been doing that a lot lately.


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Monday, February 21, 2011

Angel Sister


Angel Sister
Ann H. Gabhart
(Revell)
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3381-0
February, 2011/416 pages/$14.99

It is 1936 and Kate Merritt is trying hard to keep her family together. Her father has slipped into alcoholism, her mother tries to come to grips with their dire financial situation, and her sisters seem to remain blissfully oblivious to all of it. Kate could never have imagined that a dirty, abandoned little girl named Lorena Birdsong would be just what her family needs.

In this richly textured novel, award-winning author Ann H. Gabhart reveals the power of true love, the freedom of forgiveness, and the strength to persevere through troubled times, all against the backdrop of a sultry Kentucky summer.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Living just thirty miles from a restored Shaker village in Kentucky, Ann H. Gabhart has walked the same paths that her characters might have walked in generations past. Her thorough research provides a convincing and colorful backdrop for her Shaker novels. Gabhart is the author of several bestselling novels, including The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, and Angel Sister.



MY THOUGHTS:
I could tell by the cover that I was going to love this book, and I was right. This is one of those Southern novels that you not only read but experience. You will hear the cicadas chirp, smell the bacon sizzling, see the intense look on Kate's preacher-grandfather's face as he delivers his fiery sermons (not all of which are behind the pulpit), and feel Kate's determination to save her family from disintegrating and to keep her promise to Lorena, who is convinced that Kate is the Angel Sister her mama promised would look after her. Tender prose, a touching story, and a beautiful reminder of forgiveness and new beginnings weave together in this novel that will warm your heart.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Saturday, February 19, 2011

TSMSS - A Classic from my Teens


When I was a teenager, contemporary Christian music was in its infancy. As I've shared before Evie Tornquist (now Evie Karlsson) was one of the very first singers that I remember hearing on the Christian radion station and enjoying. I have been searching for this song for well over a year and have finally discovered someone who posted it relatively recently. This might possibly be my favorite of her many songs. It has such a great message.



My weekend's not complete without Amy's Then Sings My Soul Saturday! Won't you join me?


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Friday, February 18, 2011

Flashback Friday - A Total Wreck



Thinking primarily of your growing-up years and your early years of driving, have you ever been in an auto accident? Were you a passenger or the driver? Were you injured? How badly was the car damaged? Whose fault was it? What was the attitude of your parents toward "fender benders" and tickets? Were minor dings and scrapes a big deal? Have you ever received a traffic ticket? If more than one, 'fess up: how many? Any warnings? Has a family member or close friend been seriously injured or killed in an accident? Have you ever witnessed a bad accident and stopped to render aid or give a statement? What role, if any, did seat belts and car seats have in your early years?

As long as I can remember, my mom worried about family members--or anyone else, for that matter--getting in an auto accident. I think this stemmed from two incidents. One happened when she was in college. Although her parents lived in town, they owned a fairly large piece of property and had several horses. One day my mom was walking while my aunt and grandmother were riding horses. A man came speeding down the road and hit my grandmother's horse. He was later heard to say at a gas station that he had always wondered what it would feel like to hit a horse. I guess he must have done it on purpose. My grandmother was in the hospital for a year and had seven surgeries; she never regained complete use of her her right hand and arm.

The second incident happened not too many years later when a couple that my parents were friends with were killed in a car wreck in a town about halfway between Houston and Austin. Although it happened years before I was born, I remember that we always called Smithville "the dangerous town" and breathed a sigh of relief when we safely made it through. It's funny now that I think of that; it was no more prone to fatal wrecks than any other town, but because it had significance to our family, it seemed more likely.

I had my first minor fender bender when I was in college; I think I was home for the summer. I was coming out of a parking lot and two lanes of traffic which were stopped for a light left room for me to come out; as I crept out trying to get into the left lane to turn at the intersection a gal came zipping up and clipped me. Of course, since I was the one entering the road, it was my fault, but I don't think we even called the police. I called my dad (from a pay phone; those were the days long before cells!) and he came. He wasn't too happy with me. I realize now that much of the time his gruffness was a cover for his worry and relief, but I would have preferred to have seen a little of that worry and a little less gruffness.

I think that was the only wreck I had, other than when the deer hit my van a few days after my mom died, until last week.

When I was in my late twenties, a friend from church was killed by a drunk driver at 9:00 on a Sunday morning as she was on her way to get doughnuts for our Sunday School class. Her husband was hunting and her 3-year-old son was with her; he was not hurt. My man and I passed the wreck on the way to church and I could tell at least one person had died and felt really burdened to pray for those involved when we got to church; I had no idea who was in the wreck, but a lot of our church members went through that intersection on Sunday mornings. That really impacted our Young Adult department and was the first time we were called upon to support one of our own as he became a widower.

I had never gotten any sort of ticket until I was in my thirties. I was the supervisor of Home Health, and one of my nurses had called in sick. Her first patient of the day was diabetic, had to be seen before breakfast, and lived a ways out in the country, and I was hurrying to get to his house -- late because I was not expecting to go until I received her call. Sometimes police officers have been known to just give warnings to nurses in uniform (which had happened to me once before), but since home health nurses wear street clothes, I think he thought it was just an excuse, even though my stethoscope was lying on the seat next to me. I've gotten one for a red light and one in a construction zone and that's it. Which is three too many!

Of course, there were no such things as car seats when I was growing up. When I was a baby, I think my folks had a car bed for me which allowed them to lay me in the back seat without me rolling off onto the floor. And of course seat belts were just lap belts. Shoulder belts didn't come in until sometime in the seventies. And seat belts in the backseat were added later too.

Since there were four kids in our family, when we went on trips, the three older kids sat in the back and I sat in the front between my parents. I usually sat on a little "train case" so I could see out the window. There was no middle seat belt. If I got tired, I would lie down with my head in my dad's lap (between his stomach and the steering wheel!) and my feet in my mom's lap. Of course, now it horrifies me to imagine allowing a child to do that, but that was just the way life was, and no one thought anything about it.


What about you? Share your memories and link up here!





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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Flashback Friday Prompt



Anyone who's read my blog during the last week probably won't be terribly surprised at this week's topic!

Thinking primarily of your growing-up years and your early years of driving, have you ever been in an auto accident? Were you a passenger or the driver? Were you injured? How badly was the car damaged? Whose fault was it? What was the attitude of your parents toward "fender benders" and tickets? Were minor dings and scrapes a big deal? Have you ever received a traffic ticket? If more than one, 'fess up: how many? Any warnings? Has a family member or close friend been seriously injured or killed in an accident? Have you ever witnessed a bad accident and stopped to render aid or give a statement? What role, if any, did seat belts and car seats have in your early years?

Don't be wreckless about sharing your memories tomorrow and linking up here!


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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge



It's Wednesday and time to party over at Joyce's From This Side of the Pond. She always has such delightful questions. I hate that I haven't been able to visit and read too many blogs lately and hope that will change soon!

1. Your favorite chocolate treat?

Any really good dark chocolate, especially with almonds in it.

2. What more than anything else makes you feel loved?

Finding this on my breakfast table yesterday morning:


You don't recognize it? Why, it's a Valentine's Day Flour Arrangement!

My man knows I love puns, he knew this was not the year to spend money on flowers (see #8), and he knew I needed something to laugh about!

3. Cherries or blueberries?

Cherries, I guess, especially if they are in a cobbler or pie.

4. What is the one trait you most want the leader of your country to possess?

Wisdom. Seems like that covers a lot of things. Wisdom should result in proper leadership, integrity, honoring God, etc., etc.

5. Are you a saver or a spender?

A little of both. I don't just spend indiscriminately but I'm not miserly.

6. If you gave a party for all of your friends would they already know each other?

No. I have friends from too many "hats" that I've worn.

7. Are you interested in antiques?

Not particularly. They are somewhat interesting to see, but I get enough of them relatively soon and I have no interest in collecting them.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

The aftermath of last week's car accident has been an interesting journey. The physical aches and soreness have subsided for the most part. The emotional impact, however, has caught me off guard and been harder to deal with. You name it, I've felt it: gratitude, grief, anger, frustration, judgment, discouragement, sadness, peace, fear, anxiety, pain,. . . etc., etc. God is using this to refine some areas of my heart that I would have preferred to keep hidden in their dark corners! And to top it all, shopping for a vehicle is a pain. We both hate the whole negotiating/deal-making "game"!



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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lady in the Mist


Lady in the Mist
Laurie Alice Eakes
(Revell)
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3452-7
February, 2011/415 pages/$14.99

By virtue of her profession as a midwife, Tabitha Eckles is the keeper of many secrets. Dominick Cherrett is a man with his own secret to keep: namely, why he, a British aristocrat, is on American soil working as an indentured servant.

In a time when relations between America and England rest on the edge of a knife, Tabitha and Dominick cross paths, leading them on a journey of intrigue, threats, public disgrace, and . . . love. But can Tabitha trust Dominick? Finding true love seems impossible in a world set against them.

With stirring writing that draws you directly into the story, Lady in the Mist takes you on the thrilling ride of love's discovery.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
The role of midwives in history began to fascinate Laurie Alice Eakes in graduate school and she knew that someday she wanted to write novels with midwife heroines. Ten years later, after several published novels and a National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency, the midwives idea returned, and Lady in the Mist was born. Laurie Alice has a masters degree in creative writing and now writes full time from her home in Texas, where she lives with her husband and sundry dogs and cats.

MY THOUGHTS:
This is a charming book. The historical details, both of the time period and of the culture surrounding town life and the expectations of Tabitha as she serves as midwife, are fascinating. Intrigue, danger, and espionage counter faith, friendship and love, making this book hard to put down before the last page is turned. I look forward to more in The Midwives series.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day


If I speak in the tongues
of men or of angels,
But do not have love,
I am only a resounding gong
or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy
and can fathom all mysteries
and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith
that can move mountains,
but do not have love,
I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor
and give over my body to hardship
that I may boast,
but do not have love,
I gain nothing.

Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud. 
It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs. 
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects,
always trusts,
always hopes,
always perseveres.
Love never fails. . . .

And now these three remain:
faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

I Corinthians 13: 1-8a, 13


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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Love is in the Air


Valentine's Day celebrates love, and what better love to celebrate than the love of God?! All other love pales in comparison, and we love because He first loved us!



Visit Amy's for more songs for your Saturday but first, take a peek at this wonderful gift book designed to strengthen marriages!


Love and Respect for a Lifetime
Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
(Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 978-1404189409
October, 2010/160 pages/Hardover/$15.99


Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs announces a simplified version of his landmark book called Love and Respect for a Lifetime. The condensed gift book makes his complex message easy for spouses to share and implement in their daily lives.

Based on three decades of counseling and scientific and biblical research, Dr. Eggerichs helps couples see how they unintentionally yet oftentimes break their spouse’s spirit. Husbands and wives will find keys to better communication, solutions to initiate change and simple methods to show love and respect that have been proven again and again. Presented in a light and practical way, Love and Respect for a Lifetime is an easy read towards a better marriage – on Valentine’s Day and everyday.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and his wife Sarah travel the country conducting Love and Respect marriage conferences. Before launching Love and Respect Ministries, Dr. Eggerichs was senior pastor of Trinity Church in East Lansing, Michigan for nearly 20 years. He received his B.A. in Biblical Studies and his M.A. in Communications from Wheaton College and Graduate School. He was later awarded a Master of Divinity degree from Dubuque Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Child and Family Ecology from Michigan State University. Married since 1973, he and Sarah have three adult children. Dr. Eggerichs is the president of Love and Respect Ministries. Visit the website loveandrespect.com.

MY THOUGHTS:
Many, many books on marriage have been written, both secular and sacred, each one claiming to have "the answer" to building a successful marriage. While there are certainly valid suggestions offered in a variety of resources, Dr. Eggerichs reminds us that it all comes down to two words: love, a woman's absolute need, and respect, which is man's greatest need. The basis for this is found in Ephesians 5:33 - To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.

This is a beautiful book written for both the husband and wife. Scriptures, examples, and encouragement are beautifully woven together on the glossy pages of this small book perfect to tuck into a gift for a newly married couple or to mentor a husband and wife needing a fresh perspective on their relationship. It is also a great book for you and your spouse to share no matter what stage your marriage is currently experiencing.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson and PR by the Book as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Friday, February 11, 2011

Flashback Friday - Hearts & Flowers

I almost forgot to write my own Flashback Friday post! Thursday was just a little distracting. Here's why:


That is the front of my minivan which is now sitting in some tow truck's yard waiting, I'm sure, to be totaled by our insurance company. I had dropped the kids off at school Thursday morning and was on my way to the church for a meeting when a sixteen-year-old girl late to her school decided to zip across a five-lane road, the road that I was in the fifth (far right) lane. As soon as I saw her, I knew a bad wreck was unavoidable and did my best to brake and turn to the right to avoid hitting her broadside, praying all the while. God was very gracious, and we both walked away from the accident. I am sore and taking Motrin faithfully but it could have been so much worse. The accident was even right by a fire station and a firefighter was standing outside my door in less than 30 seconds.

One of the firefighters or paramedics asked me if I minded telling him how old I am. I said, "Absolutely not! I'm happy to be this age and to see another day tomorrow!" How quickly a day can change in an instant. Hug your family a little tighter today.



What was Valentine's Day like when you were growing up? Did you have parties at school? Did you make or buy the valentines for your classmates? Was it a trend to attach candy to each valentine? Did your family acknowledge the day in any particular way? What about as you got older, in your teens? Was the day eagerly anticipated or dreaded? Did your school sell/allow carnations or other items? Do any Valentine's Days from the past in particular stand out in your memory? What about now - is it a special time or just another day on the calendar? And of course, the all-important question: candy conversation hearts - yes or no?!

Valentine's Day has always been a fun occasion for me. I remember having such fun making my valentine box each year at school; it seems like it was about the size of a kid's shoe box that we wrapped in white paper and then decorated with hearts and doilies. We cut a slit in the lid for the valentines to be put into. Oh, and I just remembered another kind that was really fun--once it was covered really well! The boxes of sanitary napkins (remember Modess? Kotex?) seemed to open from the top but the sides of the opening slanted down and a couple of inches of the front came up with the top. (Does that make any sense?!) So it was like a little mailbox. We would cover and decorate those, too.

We always bought a package of valentines at the store. They usually came with 32 valentines plus one for the teacher. Adding candy or any other treats was rarely done back then. We were so deprived! I was amazed when my kids brought home their valentine collections from school to see the plethora of stuff that kids gave!

First grade, however, was a complete disappointment. I had the chicken pox and didn't even get to go to school! I think I cried. My best friend brought my valentine box to the door and gave it to my mom. My mom's best friend brought me a heart-shaped box of chocolates to cheer me up.

Speaking of candy, regarding the conversation hearts? Blech. I put them in the same category as the Marshmallow Peeps at Easter. I see a kabillion at the store and wonder who is buying them all! And it's funny that they've been modernized now and say "text me," "email me," "friend me," etc.!

In high school, Valentine's Day was always a little bit traumatic. Some group, maybe the Honor Society or Journalism, sold carnations. They weren't just for romance - friends sent them to each other - but it was always a little nerve-wracking. Because of course the cheerleaders and drill team "popular types" always had armloads and the rest of us would have two or three.

I've gotten over it. Really.

Now instead of carnations it's comments on Facebook.

But I'm a big girl now. And have no issues whatsoever.

My mom always made Valentine's Day fun at home. She'd have little treats for us and homemade valentines. One year I remember getting a kite, and she had made a treasure hunt with little poems she had written and glued on hearts for clues. I thought that was a lot of fun.

(And it never occurred to me to ask for or expect another one the next year. I did a treasure hunt for my kids one year for Easter, and all of a sudden they decided it was the annual tradition and I've had to do it every year. How did that happen?!)

With my kids I try to get them something fun - a little candy, a book, or something like that. But more special than February 14, for my man and me, is February 13, for that is when we got engaged in 1988. (Valentine's Day was on a Sunday so we went out on Saturday night instead, and that's when he proposed.)

Now it's your turn! Tell us all your Valentine's Day memories and link up here!




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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Flashback Friday Prompt - Hearts and Flowers

Since Monday is February 14, it seemed obvious what this week's Flashback Friday topic should be!



What was Valentine's Day like when you were growing up? Did you have parties at school? Did you make or buy the valentines for your classmates? Was it a trend to attach candy to each valentine? Did your family acknowledge the day in any particular way? What about as you got older, in your teens? Was the day eagerly anticipated or dreaded? Did your school sell/allow carnations or other items? Do any Valentine's Days from the past in particular stand out in your memory? What about now - is it a special time or just another day on the calendar? And of course, the all-important question: candy conversation hearts - yes or no?!

Share your Valentine's Day memories tomorrow and link up here so we can all enjoy reading them!

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge



It's Wednesday and once again Joyce From This Side of the Pond has provided us with a hodgepodge of questions to answer. And with Valentine's Day just a few days away, this week's questions have just a touch of lovely to them!

1. What is more important-doing what you love or loving what you do?

Loving what you do. Because that shows an adaptable spirit and a willing heart. And the ability to change.

2. Do you like bleu cheese?

Ewww, no. Although I've had it in small amounts on a salad and lived to tell the tale. But one time I bought some for a cheese ball recipe and thought I would be sick from the smell, which smelled like someone had already been sick. Haven't made a cheese ball since.

3. What is the most difficult emotion for you to handle?

Hurt feelings/anger.

4. Fresh flowers or a box of chocolate?

Actually, at this time in my life, I would say flowers. They really raise my spirits without raising my weight.

5. What's a song you love that has the word 'love' in its title? It doesn't have to be a 'love song'.

I've yet to find one with better words, or sung better, than this:



6. Are you the person you wanted to be when you grew up?

I am. I worked as a registered nurse, and now I'm a wife and mom.

7. Any special Valentine's Day plans?

I'll get some little goodies for the kids and fix a nice dinner for the family.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (I John 3:1)

See you at Joyce's for some more Wednesday Hodgepodge!

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