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26 03, 2015

Showing Up

By |2015-03-26T06:00:25-05:00March 26th, 2015|Company's Coming|0 Comments

A Guest Blog by Gail Kittleson

Someone decided to take an older relative to Europe to celebrate her retiring from work. When they broke the news, the woman said, “Oh . . . I’ve really been wanting to go to Florida.”

Another friend of a friend was discussing her plans to go to Oktoberfest. My friend asked, “Wonderful—have you been in Germany before?”

“Oh, we’re not going to Germany, we’re going to Oktoberfest at the Epcot Center.”

The two conversations stuck in my mind, since both reactions were unexpected.

These narratives fit my purposes right now because today I had an unexpected, pleasant surprise.

A friend of mine has found numerous ancient pottery shards in her Arizona yard. She’s also unearthed a Native American grinding stone, and when I recently met a man who worked on our house, he said the excavators discovered a large metate (most likely the mate of the grinding stone) on the property back in the eighties.

This was especially intriguing, since one of my historical novels takes place right here. My heroine looks out at the Mogollon Rim every morning, and in her forced isolation on a desolate ranch, that landmark steadies her, gives her hope. She yearns to meet some natives and learn their language.

Research tells me several tribes wandered this land, but the news about the grinding stone found right under our house . . . Wow!

Back to the shards.

I’ve looked and looked, but nary a shard peeped up at me from the rocky red soil, and I resigned myself to being shard challenged. But on this gorgeous March morning, TA DA  . . . drum roll, please,

I found one!shardsed

Yes, and it actually matches a larger piece my friend found last year. How cool is that?!

Yesterday I attended a contemplative prayer workshop facilitated by a well-known instructor. He shared how spiritual experiences come to us when we least expect them, and how our part is simply to show up.

We might be “doing everything right,” disciplined in our practice, and nothing seems to happen. Then one day, maybe we feel wretched and unfaithful and so ridiculously unworthy, we can hardly lift our heads. And that might be the time we experience our clearest connection.

Every other time I went out to search for shards, I hoped to find one. So why, when I’d pretty much given up on success, did I discover one today?

“Ours is not to reason why . . .”

Ours is just to show up with our whole hearts and open ourselves to the moment. Such a positive way to face life – our work, our hobbies, and our spirituality.

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 Meet Gail KittlesonGail-Jpeg

Sometimes we learn what we’ve done only after we do it. I wrote Catching Up With Daylight over a ten-year period, but learned the term “spirituality writing” only after the book was published. This is a life theme for me–figuring things out after the fact, but even though it may make things a little harder, I learn a lot in the process. I live with my very patient husband (35 years) in St. Ansgar, Iowa, teach a small creative writing class, and facilitate workshops on creativity/memoir writing/aging with grace. Vintage Rose Press offered me my first fiction contract in December, 2014, so I’m deep in edits and loving every minute of it.  Well, almost every minute…

Catching-Up-with-Daylight-copy-194x300 Catching Up with Daylight: A Journey to Wholeness is available from

Amazon Paperback or Kindle

              Barnes & Noble Paperback or Nook

Christian Books.com

19 06, 2014

Anyone Can Live a Life of Purpose

By |2014-06-19T06:00:58-05:00June 19th, 2014|Company's Coming, Guest blogger|1 Comment

A Guest Post by Jennifer Slattery

He always arrived late, many times after most of the food had been served. He wore his curly hair and beard long, and though it was clear he did his best to tame it, his hair resisted his efforts. He spent his days at the public library, and though he had a place to stay, he spent a fair amount of time on the streets.

To passersby, he seemed odd, maladjusted, and maybe a little… off.

He was unemployed; and listening to his stories, considered by many to be unemployable.

Outside of the biweekly meals offered at Takin’ it to the Streets, a homeless ministry in the Omaha Metro, I’m not sure how he survived. I suspect he received disability or some sort of state assistance.

Although he had a sister, I’m not sure if he ever saw her, or if he had any other family to speak of. I’m not sure if he even had friends, at least, relationships you or I would deem as friendships.

To most, his situation probably seemed hopeless. I imagine, if I were in his shoes, I’d slip into a pit of despair. Or bitterness.

Likely both.

But I sat beside him, listening to him talk about his Savior, I was awed and humbled by the praise that poured fourth—a praise rooted in purpose.

For you see, this man, this child of God, knew he was here for a reason and that God had a crucial, eternal task assigned specifically to him.

He knew God was in control, even when the world seemed chaotic and hopeless. With his faith and identity so rooted in Christ, he was able to rise above his circumstances, using every moment and every encounter to share God’s goodness and truth.

He told the angry, homeless woman pushing a rusted cart that God loved her.

He shared candy others had given him with those less fortunate, and yes, though he had so very little, he did notice those who were less fortunate than he was. Because that’s what happens when we take our eyes off of ourselves and our problems and place them on our Savior—everything becomes just a little brighter, just a little more hopeful, and a great deal more eternal.

As I listened to him share about these people he had touched, witnessed to, prayed with and for, I realized just how beautiful this thing called grace is.

Because of God’s grace, we each have a purpose—a divinely-ordained and eternal task assigned to us. More than that, we are each lovingly crafted to perform that work which God assigned to us long before He even breathed life into our frail lungs.

But looking around at the hardened faces all around us, a second realization came just as quickly.

We can all lose sight of our purpose. We can become so focused on our problems and the chaos around us, we can be consumed with anger and bitterness.

The choice is ours, and it is ours to make each and every day. Which way of life will you choose?

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headshot2013Jennifer Slattery writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for Christ to the World Ministries, Crosswalk.com, and Internet Café Devotions.

Jennifer blogs at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud and you can PRE order her new release by clicking on the cover:

BeyondIDocoverMarriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more. Ainsley Meadow’s encounter with a woman, her child, and their abuser sparks a passion that threatens her engagement. Will seeing beyond the present unite her and her fiancé or tear them apart?

Raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, Ainsley falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

 

5 06, 2014

Migrant Mother and Her Story

By |2014-06-05T06:00:35-05:00June 5th, 2014|Company's Coming, Guest blogger|2 Comments

By Guest Blogger Jane Carver

If I said the migrant mother in the picture made during the depression, you’d know exactly what photo I’m talking about…

migrant mother photo depression era for 06-05

Though photographer Dorothea Lange couldn’t ask the woman her name, the woman told the photographer anyway. Because she did, that photo will forever immortalize Florence Owens Thompson and her two children.

Like the Mona Lisa, a person looking at the photo can imagine all kinds of thoughts going through the woman’s mind.

Over the years, I’ve imagined her story so many different ways.

Now, more than eighty years after that particular photo was taken perhaps the woman’s story—of sorts—can be told.

Author Marisa Silver has written a story she thinks might have led that woman to be sitting in a migrant camp the day photographer Dorothea Lange came by taking pictures as part of a government project.

Mary Coin by Marisa Silver  for 06-05Ms. Silver named the woman Mary Coin and that’s the title of her latest book published by Blue Rider Press.

It’s a fascinating story of what might have happened that day in 1936.

I believe author Marisa Silver wrote the book just for me, to answer the question I’ve always wondered about.

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 Jane Carver Judythe BlogJane Carver is a former schoolteacher

a new grandmother, a quilter, an artist, an editor, a dual personality author, writing adult fiction and young adult fiction, and a blogger extraordinaire

Learn more at Ms. Carver’s websites: Adult Fiction or Young Adult Fiction.

Or visit one of her many blogs:

http://janiecarver2011.wordpress.com

http://RomancesByJanie.wordpress.com

http://JaneGracePresents.wordpress.com

http://WritingImagination2013.wordpress.com

Her latest release as Jane Grace:

Janie IntenseIntense (Young Adult Fiction) Sensitive subject but more about the compassion and help received afterward that makes up the story. Nova Dean dreams of going to Nationals in Debate but to do that she must beat Adam Parks and his team. Their rival is intense but not as much as the help Adam gives Nova after she’s raped. Only with his help can she take one step at a time back to a life she can endure. Only with his help are the rapists caught.

Her latest adult fiction as Jane Carver:

ReturnWithHonorReturn with Honor

The death of Jud Longtree’s best friend gives the local police chief reason enough to suspect him of murder. With the help of Lottie Amberville, they use both logic and creativity to find someone who may have murdered more than once.

15 05, 2014

The County Fair

By |2014-05-15T06:00:56-05:00May 15th, 2014|Company's Coming|1 Comment

 by Guest Blogger Millie Theis Martin

Rodeo time in Houston and the string of trail riders wreak havoc with the traffic and frustrate other drivers, but, for me, they stir up fond memories.

images8QAPQEQTWhile I never participated in a trail ride, my younger sister and I always rode in the parade marking the opening of the county fair and rodeo. We had a two-wheeled cart pulled by our Shetland pony, Tony, black with a white streak on his shoulder.

Most years, my younger sister and I were decked out in our boots, cowboy hats and pearl-snap shirts, but one year, we were George and Martha Washington for some theme long forgotten. The cart was converted to a surrey with a fringed top. Since I was two years older, I was George. Taller seemed to be the key to my selection.

My long blonde hair was tied in back and dusted with baby power until appropriately white. I wore a black cutaway jacket, vest and knee-length breeches with long socks. The teeth were permanent and my own.

My sister, as Martha, had the feminine outfit, with ruffles everywhere. Her white cap was gathered with a ruffled edge, her long sleeves ended in ruffles, and, yes, more ruffles rippled down the front of her dress.

Where was my fairy godmother when I needed her?

Our small town parade was the spark that ignited the fun. The ensuing days were filled with a rodeo, carnival rides, and contests. The exhibit building displaying quilts and canned goods demanded a quick survey, though women lingered to “ooh” and “aw” over the blue ribbon winners.

The rodeo competition was real, no fluff there. The spectator seats were hard and splintered, and the pungent smell of the rodeo stock’s revenge made my eyes tear. Only first-timers sat on the first row. Those in the know moved at least to the second row to avoid a face full of dirt kicked by an angry bull or bucking bronco.

Barrel racing was the only event for women, but my favorites were steer dogging and the cutting horse contests. For those of you unfamiliar with the rodeo–steer dogging is man against beast. Two riders parallel a steer, and one jumps from a perfectly good horse onto the steer. With his arms around the horns, the cowboy plants his boot heels in the dirt and proceeds to pull the animal to the ground.

rodeoThe cutting horse event is a contest between a well-trained horse and a calf singled out from a small herd. The horse’s job is to keep the calf separated from the other cattle. The horse and rider dance as one. A slight movement of the rein and a nudge of a boot is all the rider might contribute. It’s the horse’s performance.

The ferris wheel was the star of the carnival rides. Since motion sickness has always plagued me, I steered clear of things that moved in horizontal swirling motions. No carnie was complete without throwing a few pennies to win a teddy bear, and the day wasn’t over until hands and faces were sufficiently sticky with cotton candy and the ubiquitous music spun in your head.

In a less politically correct and compassionate era, there was always a show of oddities—both people and animals.

However, the tent that fascinated me the most was in a far, dimly lit corner of the grounds surrounded by a long line of men and marked with a sign reading, “Adult males only allowed.” Seductive music and a belly dancer enticed the crowd. I suppose even if I had donned my George Washington attire, I wouldn’t have been tall enough for admission, but I wish I had tried.

I think it would have been more interesting than the two-headed calf.

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millie web ad

Millie Theis Martin writes for children and young adults from her home in Tomball, Texas. She has worked as a contract writer for Concordia Publishing and is published in children’s magazines, anthologies, and academic journals. She holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology from Texas A&M University and has teaching experience at all levels—preschool to university.

Millie is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and Assistant Regional Advisor for the Houston chapter.

Follow Millie on Twitter

8 05, 2014

Reading to Young Children

By |2014-05-08T06:00:31-05:00May 8th, 2014|Company's Coming|1 Comment

Welcome to the porch today guest blogger, Anna Kathryn Lanier. She’s a writer, a published author, and grandmother who is sharing about the value of reading to your children and grandchildren.

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One of my three grandchildren has lived with my husband and me (along with her parents) for the past three years, starting when she was three years old. I am not sure exactly when I started reading bedtime stories to her, but it has become my duty to read to her nightly before she goes to sleep.

Now six, she is in kindergarten and already reading on a first grade level. The fact we made it a habit to go to the library, check out books, and read them on a regular basis has contributed to her advanced reading skills.

Lacey Reading May 2014

I admit that when she started picking up reading and math skills, I attributed it to her watching television. You know, those educational shows like Team Imuzoomi, Dora The Explorer, Sesame Street, and Bubble Guppies.

Imagine my surprise after doing a bit of research on reading to young children just how important and beneficial this act truly is. For years, research has shown that reading to a child, even those far too young to understand the words, is important for language understanding and brain development.

Reading to a newborn has benefits in that it lays groundwork for language development. According to the C.E. Snow and A. Nino study, “within a matter of seconds, thousands of brains cells…respond. Triggered by this particular experience, some brain cells are ‘turned on’ and many existing connections among brain cells are strengthened. At the same time, new brain cells are formed, adding more definitions to the intricate circuitry that will remain for the rest of those children’s lives.” In addition, a 2009 study by Keller and Just showed increased activity in the language output center of a child’s brain as they tried to store the spoken word in their memory.

If you do an internet search on “The Importance of Reading to Children,” you’ll get hundreds of articles. However, they basically all say the same thing: reading to a preschooler, no matter how young, helps the child acquire language, prepares her for school, instills a love of learning and may help prevent learning problems.

Reading helps a child’s knowledge of the sound system of language and helps her move from oral to written language.

Being read to exposes her to not only the words on the page, but also to the proper speech patterns and the basics of how a book is read. Knowing how to read a book before entering school is crucial to new readers—left to right, top to bottom, turning pages and understanding that letters make up words and that words make up stories. In addition, she is more likely to be able to count to 20, write her name and to read on her own.

Reading Facts:

  • In 1992, 44 million American adults could not read well enough to read a simple children’s story to a child.
  • A 1999 study showed that only 53% of children ages 3 to 5 were read to daily. Children in families below the poverty level were less likely to be read to than those with an income above the poverty level. And research further shows that a poor reader in first grade is more likely to be a poor reader in fourth grade.
  • More than 20% of adults read at or below a fifth grade level—far below the level needed to earn a living wage (2001).

Honestly, I just enjoy reading to my granddaughter. I had no idea I was helping her to excel not only in school, but also in life.

References:

www.pvsschools.net

www.earlymoments.com

www.getcaughtreading.org

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Anna-Kathryn-Lanier-close-300-squareAnna Kathryn Lanier is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America and several of its chapters. She has completed three romance novels to date, all unpublished. After discovering a love for short stories, Anna Kathryn has since published multiple novellas, both contemporary and historical for The Wild Rose Press. She lives in Texas with her husband and has two grown daughters and three grandchildren.

Visit her on her at www.aklanier.com

Connect with her on Twitter  or Facebook.

A Gift Beyond All Measure is available from The Wild Rose Press , Amazon, and other ebook outlets.

Beyond_300Arriving home for Christmas, the last thing Jacob Scott expects in his house is a sexy, shotgun-toting stranger. Worse, his attraction to her bothers him even more than the gun. Still reeling from the deception of his long-time girlfriend, he’s not looking for romance.

Tessa Jones has learned one hard lesson—when everyone in your life has failed you the only one you can trust is yourself. Facing the whispers of the townsfolk and an arson charge, Tessa unexpectedly finds herself trusting Jacob with more than her legal troubles.

Struggling between the promise of the present and the hurts of the past, can these two lost souls overcome their pain long enough to discover a gift beyond all measure?

 

24 04, 2014

How Much of Me?

By |2014-04-24T06:00:54-05:00April 24th, 2014|Company's Coming|9 Comments

Today we have  award winning author Sara Walter Ellwood visiting the front porch. Bestselling author Carolyn Brown’s named Sara’s novel Gambling On A Secret as one her of favorite romances in the Happy Ever After Blog on USA Today.

How Much of Me?

Writers often get the question of how much of themselves do they put into their characters. In fact, I recently answered an interview question that asked if any of my characters are like me.

I think most authors strive to make sure their characters aren’t like them. But every once in a while, a character stares at you from the page and you see a little more of yourself than you may have wanted to share.

Gambling On A Secret by Sara Walter EllwoodThis very thing happened to me when I wrote Tracy Quinn, the heroine in Gambling On A Heart. She isn’t a mirror image of me and she definitely has done things I would not have… Or at least I like to tell myself I wouldn’t have.

Tracy is a woman who has been bullied as a kid. She moved to Colton, Texas when she was twelve years old after living all over the world with her military father. She was cross-eyed and wore the dreaded headgear of someone with major orthodontic problems. To make matters worse, she was bone skinny and abnormally tall—something that garnered her the hated nickname Olive Oyl.

Tracy was tormented and teased her whole tender teenage years. Even as an adult of thirty-two, she has self-confidence issues. She’s still too thin and taller than most of the women in town. She’s even taller than her brother (the hero of Gambling On A Secret).

If you were to look at me, you’d wonder why I think Tracy has anything in common with me. I’ve been over-weight most of my life—the only time I wasn’t was during my early college days when I was anorexic. And at five foot-two, I’m definitely not tall. I’ve never worn braces, nor have I been cross-eyed, but I couldn’t read until I was in fourth grade. I was put into special education and started back in regular classes in seventh grade (I was twelve). I grew up on a farm and often we didn’t have much money. I wore hand-me-downs. All of these things caused me a great deal of distress. I was teased and bullied. My nickname was just as horrid as Tracy’s in elementary and junior high school; trust me on that one. I was even pushed down a flight of stairs in eighth grade and suffered a concussion.

When I got to college, I had no self-confidence and it was slow to come long after I was married. I still have bouts where I don’t feel I’m as good as I should be.

Tracy Quinn was one of the hardest characters for me to write because for her to seem real and for readers to emphasize with her, I had reach into myself and pull out a lot of those long buried feelings. There is a scene where Tracy is wearing a bathing suit and stares at herself in the mirror. That scene always brings me to tears because it touches something very personal in me. I HATE bathing suits. Not because I don’t have any shape, such as Tracy, but because I don’t like all that exposed skin that bulges where it shouldn’t.

Gambling On A Heart by Sara Walter EllwoodAs for my other heroines—Charli in Gambling On A Secret and Abby in Heartstrings—neither of them have had it easy either. Heartsrtings by Sara Walter Ellwood

Charli was a drug addict and prostitute as a teenager, while Abby was bullied due to her ethnicity and for her parents’ sins her whole childhood. Writing them too required me to reach down inside to find those feelings of inadequacy that come from being bullied as a kid, despite that I’ve never been a drug addict, prostitute or discriminated against due to my race. But both of these strong women hold deep down feelings that they aren’t good enough.

So, I suppose as long as I write heroines who have such troubled pasts or who aren’t totally comfortable in their own skins, a part of me will always stare back at me from the page.

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Sara Walter EllwoodAlthough Sara  left the farm for the glamour of the big town long ago, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her stories. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for nearly 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia.

Sara also writes paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name of Cera duBois.

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Find her books at any of these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble iTunes, or Kobo

17 04, 2014

He Lives!

By |2014-04-17T06:00:43-05:00April 17th, 2014|Company's Coming, Guest blogger|0 Comments

Welcome with me today, guest blogger Jerry Hixson, a graduate student of Biblical Studies at Grace School of Theology.

He Lives!

????????????????????In the midst of the Easter Season – 2014, we would all due well to note a few things about Christianity.

First, Christianity is not actually a religion.

When we think of a religion, we normally think of man’s attempt to reach God.

Christianity, on the other hand, is God’s reaching down to humanity in the person of His only Son, Jesus Christ.

Second, Christians are the only group of people who worship someone who is alive. Other religions worship long dead gods.

Third, Christians are the only group of people who look forward to a bodily resurrection. Others share some hope of a hereafter, but all speak of a spiritual hereafter, not a bodily resurrection.

Alfred Ackley’s hymn, He Lives, clearly communicates the meaning of Easter, particularly the first verse and refrain.

In case you’re not familiar with the song written in 1932, here’s a video version.

3 04, 2014

The Creative Mind

By |2014-04-03T06:00:29-05:00April 3rd, 2014|Company's Coming|25 Comments

A guest blog by J.D. Faver

Thank you so much, Judythe, for inviting me to be your guest today.

creative brainLately, I have been thinking a lot about creativity and how different individuals express themselves. I am a writer in a large community of writers, both virtual and real-world. What I noticed first is that all my writer buds are incredibly creative with words. They write novels and non-fiction. They write poetry and specialty blogs. I am in awe of all the many genres represented in this group. The fascinating thing I found is that writing is only one of their talents. In a very non-scientific survey, I learned that these writers also garden, sew, make jewelry, do stained-glass, make pottery, etc.

This took me back to a wonderful class I had as an undergraduate. My original major was Theater, so I was hanging with a bunch of creative types, even then. The man who was Chairman of the Department was Paul Baker, founder of the Dallas Theater Center. I was enrolled in a class with him, in a huge tiered room with lots of windows on one side. The windows looked out on the beautiful, wooded Trinity University campus and often Dr. Baker would be lecturing to us, while gazing out the window. On some level, I figured he had given the lecture so many times, he was playing a tape from memory, but it didn’t matter. The words that dropped from his lips were stirring and inspired us all.

The name of the class was Integration of Abilities. Yeah, think about that for a moment.

Keep in mind this was a class in the Theater Department. Dr. Baker sent us out to gather a nature object that appealed to us. I recall that my object was a twig completely ensnared by lichen and Spanish moss. He had us draw pictures of the object from every angle, focusing on minute and realistic detail. He had us use different media to capture our images, graphite pencil, charcoal, conte, pastels, etc. He next told us to abstract the drawings to capture the essence of the object. Then we abstracted the abstract. So we were pretty much in tune with all the visual aspects of our objects.

Our next task was to write or choose a musical accompaniment that expressed our object. Yes, we did a movement piece where we danced or moved to the music. All this was relatable to the nature object, or in my case, a lichen and moss covered twig.

Next we wrote about it. We wrote odes, poems and haiku to and about our nature objects. These morphed into short stories, sometimes just a single scene. Trust me, by this time, the character of the nature object was getting stronger and stronger. Finally we wrote a scene for the character we had pulled from the nature object. We got up in front of our class and performed this scene.

My character turned out to be a barren woman (dried twig that had all the life juice sucked out by a leech-plant). She was bitter and I got a standing ovation. Amazing for this very talented class.

The upshot of all this reminiscence is that I use this sort of creativity to develop characters for my novels.

My other creative outlets are, I love to dance, love all kinds of music, I draw and paint, garden, make quilts and sew, make stained glass, jewelry, mosaics and pottery and many other arts and crafts. Not all at once, of course. And, it’s hard to have your hands in another project when they are constantly on the keyboard, but I CAN do all those things.

My contention is that exploring different creative outlets will enhance all your abilities. My very creative critique partners have a multitude of interests outside of writing. They do scrapbooking and crochet, drumming and bread-making, singing and sewing. The list goes on.

So, I encourage you to explore your creative process and be bold in trying new things. Take a class or just go draw on the sidewalk with colored chalk. Do something to polish another facet of your fabulous brain.

Me Signing at ComicPalooza 2013J.D. Faver is a Houston-area author of romantic suspense and under her pen name, Calista Anastasia, author of young adult fantasy.

Please like her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JDFaver

and follow her on Twitter @JDFaver_Author.

Be sure to check out all her novels on her Amazon Author Page

27 03, 2014

The Truth about Southern Snakes

By |2014-03-27T07:06:09-05:00March 27th, 2014|Company's Coming|0 Comments

 by Guest Blog Contributor Jody Payne

The truth is: Snakes down here are very dangerous. One nearly drowned my cousin, twice removed. It’s true. I swanee.

cotton mouthThis cousin, twice removed, was out fishing on the bayou one evening when a snake dropped out of a tree and landed in his boat.

When he heard the thump and saw that white cottonmouth gaping open at him, he grabbed his shotgun and shot the filthy thing.

Killed him dead.

He’s a good shot. I’ll give him that.

Unfortunately, the bullet went right through the snake and made a good size hole in this boat. It wasn’t until he felt the water up to his knees that he realized what he’d done.

Don’t tell my aunt I told you this because she’s trying to keep the whole incident quiet, but frankly, no one down here is surprised. We’re inclined to think there was beer involved.

At least, I’m hoping so. His drinking problem can be cured. Stupid is another matter.

Oh come on, you don’t have a cousin like that? ‘Fess up. You don’t have to use his real name here, and you’ll make us all feel better about our own kin.

Your aunt will never know.

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jodyJody Payne is

a writer (fiction and non-fiction),

a horse woman (dressage, no less),

an animal lover (just ask her two rescue dogs Annie and Janie or my two four-legged boys, Toby and Buster),

and most of all she’s southern through and through.

Visit her on FB: https://www.facebook.com/jodypaynesays

Her website: www.jodypayne.net

 

13 03, 2014

Olympians desire to change the world?

By |2014-03-13T06:00:12-05:00March 13th, 2014|Company's Coming|2 Comments

torch twoA guest blog by  Jody Payne

Tonight I crept out of my writer’s cave to hear an interview with an obvious non-athlete at the Olympian Games. He talked of the athlete’s desire to change the world.

Excuse me? Are you kidding?

I have worked with some extraordinary athletes in the horse ring. Don’t get me wrong. I am nowhere near their quality. I just happen to know them.

To my knowledge, the ones I know are not out to change the world.

These dedicated human beings don’t waste a lot of time thinking about the State of the Union, what the Dow is doing, or which way to the nearest photographer.

Do you honestly believe when a skier is standing at the top of an obscenely high mountain looking down and waiting for the signal to descend she is thinking about changing the world?

Get real. She is visualizing the perfect run. They know there has to be luck on any particular day, but they also know they are so incredibly good that today this run can prove they are the absolute best in the world.medals

That’s a horrible, exacting standard to live with. However, somehow, these particular athletes get up every morning and face it.

Let’s don’t strap them with changing the world too.

Here’s the takeaway for this particular tirade: If each of us put the effort into being the best we could possibly be, if every morning we rolled out of bed and did the absolute best we could at what we do, we might just change our own personal world.

Of course, that doesn’t always happen. Rolling out of bed is the most some of us can handle some days. Just showing up is a major victory.

Been there. Done that.

Tomorrow is another day. Do better.

It’s tough, this reaching for perfection. And now we expect our athletes to change the world?

No wonder ballplayers take drugs.

Before you start with the hate mail, I’m not condoning drugs. Far from it. Let’s just make a deal with them.

You do your best, without drugs, and we won’t expect you to change the world.

Does this sound like a fair deal to you?

I’m just saying…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jody Payne isjody

a writer (fiction and non-fiction),

a horse woman (dressage, no less),

an animal lover (just ask her two rescue dogs Annie and Janie or my two four-legged boys, Toby and Buster),

and most of all she’s southern through and through.

You can connect with her on FB: https://www.facebook.com/jodypaynesays

Her website: www.jodypayne.net

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