Friday, November 30, 2012

He said, She said. Has this ever happened to you?


Ten thirty PM Tuesday night and a bake sale in the morning. She tapped her fingers on the counter top. What to make…what to make? One of these days, she was going to let her forgetful son sink or swim on his own. Why not tonight? The thought replayed in her head. Why not? Pam chewed her lip while she rattled glassware around in the cupboard. It would need to be an easy recipe, and she had just the thing. She yanked down the bowls she needed and slammed the cabinet door.
Jeremy straightened from the door frame. “Mom, I’m sorry you don’t remember, but I gave you the flyer Wednesday after school.”
Pam motioned for silence. “Wash your hands.”
“What?”
“Wash your hands.” She pulled items from the pantry. “I still have an hour’s worth of computer work to do before I can even think about going to bed. You want to pull a bake sale out of your hat at the last minute, you can take care of it yourself.”
“But—”
“Nope.” She lined boxes, cans, and bags up on the counter and ran through her mental recipe to make sure everything was laid out in order. Almond bark, rice cheks, cheerios, A medium can of salted mixed nuts, a large bag of M&Ms, and a bag of dried cranberries. Thank goodness she’d stocked up on everything during the Thanksgiving grocery sales last week. No late night run to the store necessary. Pam pointed to the smaller bowl. “Put half the package of almond bark in here, nuke it for sixty seconds, stir it, nuke it for another minute, and stir it again. Repeat that until it’s melted.”
She motioned to the other ingredients lined up on the counter. “Put four cups of each of the cereals in the big bowl. Dump in the nuts, M&Ms, and the cranberries. Once your coating is melted, dump it on the cereal, stir it all up, and spread it out on some waxed paper.” Pam placed the roll of wax paper on the counter as well. “Cover it with a second sheet, and I’ll help you bag it up in the morning.”
“But I promised them cookies or brownies…not this stupid cereal stuff.”
“Jeremy Archer, you are dangerously close to going to school empty handed in the morning. Your choice.”
“Whatever,” her son mumbled.
“Excuse me?”
“Nothing.” He washed his hands and looked at the line of ingredients. “How hard can it be?”
“Not hard at all, just time consuming and I have no time to spare tonight. I’ll be in the study.”
Pam returned to the silence of her study, and the calm of the legal research she loved so well. This case was a killer, but if she could dig out the details Harrison needed to put on a good showing in court the fee would be so worth it. Now where did I leave that notebook? Pam spied the binder she needed on the shelf next to the printer. A folded piece of light blue paper fluttered to the floor when she lifted it off the shelf. She bent to pick it up and her heart dropped.
FRESHMAN BAKE SALE WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 28TH.
“Oh, Jeremy.” Her sigh filled the study. She retraced her steps to the kitchen and stopped short in the doorway. “What are you doing?”
Her son looked up from the bowl with a guilty expression and a full mouth. “This is really good. Way better than brownies. Thanks for showing me how to make it. Sorry I gripped.”
Pam crossed the room and helped herself to a bite of the snack. She bumped him hip to hip and laid the blue paper on the counter. “I found your flyer. Sorry I didn’t remember.”
They grinned at each other over the bowl and helped themselves to another handful of the sweet and salty mix.

***Don’t read and run. Please take a few minutes to visit the page tabs to your right. Terri has an interview with Staci Stallings, featuring her book COWBOY. Staci has a real treat for us. The book is free this week on Amazon on Dec 4th and 5th. Karla welcomes Amanda Cabot to her page for a sneak peak at Amanda's upcoming release Waiting for Spring. Callie has a special devotion prepared for us by Naty Matos. Pam just posted a terrific recipe for gluten free cookies. I can testify to the fact that there is NOTHING missing from these except the gluten. Don't forget to check out our new COTT (Clash of the titles) page. And just so you know. The recipe in the post is a real one and it's just that simple and really good.***

Monday, November 26, 2012

THANKSGIVING MEMORIES 2012


Sharon here, wrestling control of the blog this week away from the women, to share some special memories of my Thanksgiving trip to Missouri.

I started to change the names to protect the innocent, but decided, what the heck, it's all fun, and some things are funnier than fiction.



This is my grandson Derrick and his bride of 5 months, Kyia. They kept me company on the drive Tuesday evening.  Our weekend tale starts bright and early Wednesday morning with a trip to deliver these two precious people to her mother's place of employment to pick up "mom's" car so that they would have wheels for the weekend.

Kyia motioned Derrick over to a parked car and went in to let her mother know they were there. Derrick stows their luggage in the back seat and gets in the car. Kyia comes out and climbs into the driver's seat and the hunt for the keys (her mom told her they were under the seat) ensues. 

I'm watching this from my car since I didn't want to leave them until I am sure they are good to go.

The kids check under the seats, in the glove box, in the console, behind the visor, no keys. Suddenly my grandson puts his head in his hands and shakes his head. They have loaded into the WRONG car. Out they come, and Kyia, being the diligent soul that she is, flips the locks as she closes the door--heaven forbid someone else should climb into this unlocked car--locking in their luggage.

Search for the owner progresses, netting at least one wrong owner before the correct one was found. Glad she had a sense of humor. What makes this a real head scratcher is the fact that that the "wrong" car was purple and Kyia's mom drives a red car.

On to Thanksgiving day:

This is "Bubbie". Bubbie is 6 months old. Bubbie now has chest hair courtesy of Derrick and Cody. They thought Bubbie needed some help picking up girls during the feast. I'd say Bubbie looks pretty proud of the addition.

Friday night is "Game night" for my clan. A tradition started a few years ago when the grandchildren grew into a tribe (for the Missouri gathering we are talking 9 grandchildren with spouses and/or friends) I couldn't afford to feed at a nice restaurant. We  play games and pig out on Pizza and other snacks to till the wee hours. This year, the expected attendance for game night was about 30 people so we moved it to the church gym. A great idea except that it allowed the creative minds of my grandson's free reign. 

Have you ever played a card game called spoon? A little like musical chairs. Players sit in a circle and in the middle there are spoons, 1 less than the number of players. Cards are passed around the circle until someone gets 4 of a kind. He grabs a spoon, the others follow and the person without a spoon is eliminated from play. It's a lot of fun, and pretty safe...until you're in a gym and someone decides to put the spoons at the other end of the playing field. 
This is Chase. The shiner is a direct result of a head to head collision with Derrick in the first rush for a spoon. Derrick came out completely unscathed, validation of the hard head we've always accused him of having. Brotherly advice was to tell everyone he received the black eye while defending his girlfriend's honor...

This is my eldest daughter, Amber. The mother of Derrick, Cody, and Chase. (Yes, she actually claims them on most days.) I'm posting this picture because I wanted you to see the face that goes with the voice. I got to hear Amber's Christmas special at church yesterday. I can't carry a tune in a sealed tupperware bowl, but Amber is blessed with a beautiful voice that she uses for the Lord. What a lovely song and wonderful way to end the weekend.

video

WAIT, there's more. I took Derrick and Kyia back to Tulsa on my way home. Dropped them of, asked the both, more than once if they were sure they had everything. I received hugs and assurances that they did have all of their belongings. I got home, an additional 100 miles, unloaded the car and found Derrick's ONLY winter coat....

Head banging on the computer.

What's your most treasured Thanksgiving 2012 memory?

***Don’t read and run. Please take a few minutes to visit the page tabs to your right. Terri has an interview with Sherri Wilson Johnson, featuring her latest book Song of the Meadowlark. Leave a comment on any page of the blog to be registered to win a copy of your very own. Karla welcomes Lillian Duncan to her page for a sneak peak at Lillian's Christmas story The Christmas Stalking. Callie has a special devotion prepared for us by Patty Wysong. Pam just posted a terrific recipe for gluten free cookies. I can testify to the fact that there is NOTHING missing from these except the gluten. Don't forget to check out our new COTT (Clash of the titles) page.***

Friday, November 16, 2012

THE COLORS OF FALL




Samantha Evans shaded her eyes against the strobe light of the lowering sun as it flashed between the trees along the road home. She squinted through the windshield. When had the colors gone from twenty shades of green to the jeweled tones of fall?  Orange faded to yellow. Burgundy bled into deep purples. Here and there the stubborn green held it's ground. She shrugged. It was just one of those things that happened so gradually, you didn’t notice ‘til it was done.
She slipped on her sunglasses and considered. Her life was a lot like those trees. So many little changes over the last few months, tiny shifts, small ripples, all coming together to make huge changes in her life and the future of the people she loved.
Being “found” by God when she’d never realized she was lost. Being accepted  into a circle of women as friend  instead of child. Learning to trust, learning to forgive. Moving from high school to college. Reclaiming the privilege of being  a big sister to Iris and, finally,  a mother to Bobbie. She bit her lip. Having her father back in her life. A smile twitched at her lips. She might give her dad a hard time on occasion, but, for the most part, she didn’t mind having him around. 


Yep, she was a lot like those trees. The green of summer had been pleasant, but the beauty of fall, in all its multicolored glory was where she was thankful to be right now.


 ***Don’t read and run. Please take a few minutes to visit the page tabs to your right. Terri has an interview with Linda Goodnight, featuring her Christmas E-book Candlelight Christmas. Leave a comment on any page of the blog to be registered to win a copy of your very own. Karla welcomes Margaret Daley to her page for a sneak peak at Margaret's Christmas story Christmas Stalking. Callie has a special devotion prepared for us by Cheri Swalwell. Pam just posted a terrific Thanksgiving recipe for Cranberry salad parfaits. Don't forget to check out our new COTT (Clash of the titles) page.***

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Women of Vallye View: Callie--Character inverviews and contest

Meet the Main Characters

The five main Character's from Callie's story have agreed to introduce themselves, share some facts about their lives, and answer a couple of questions each.
Callie Susanne Stillman is 54 years old. She was born in Torrance California on Feb. 18th.
She married.Benton Wayne Stillman on Aug. 23rd. They are about to celebrate their 35th year together. They have one living child, a daughter, Sophie Marie, and three grandchildren, Randy, April,and Trent
Callie is employed as the office manager in the OB/GYN office of Dr. Norman Rayburn.
Callie's hobbies include cooking and reading. She teaches the sixth grade Sunday school class at Valley View Church where she has been a member since her parents moved to Garfield Oklahoma in her freshman year of high school.

Callie, you don't look much like the cover of your book. Can you explain that for my readers?

It was necessary to protect my privacy. I had an important story to share, but I  never wanted to be in the lime light.

About that "important story". Why did you chose a novice to tell it?

God opened that door. When Sharon made the decision to explore her calling, I just got lucky enough to shove through first and be the loudest, I guess. There are a lot of stories waiting to be told in our little community. I'm afraid I drove her pretty hard to make mine the first one.


Benton Wayne Stillman, age 60. Benton was born in Oklahoma City on March 30th. He operates a successful remodeling business. A long time attendee of Valley View church, he gave his heart to the Lord three years ago. Benton's hobbies are fishing, perfecting his secret chili recipe, and watching obscure shows on the History channel.

Benton, you bio tells us that you enjoy watching obscure shows on the history Channel. What's the most interesting thing you've learned from those shows?

No, no, no. Callie dictated that to Sharon and she got it all wrong. My favorite is reality TV. I especially love shows about Big foot, aliens, junk dealers, and fishing. 

What can you tell us about your secret chili recipe?

The secret is in the meat. It's a blend of beef and venison. That's about all I can say about it with out having to kill you later.

Steve Dillon Evans, age 39. Steve was born and raised in Illinois. He has a degree in Journalism form the Springfield University. While in Springfield, he met and Married Lee Anne Tucker. Despite his history of drug addiction, he is now a successful writer looking for the family he deserted ten years ago.

Steve, tell us about the stories you write.

I write about redemption. God has done a marvelous work in my life and, other than finding my daughters, my goal in life is sharing the hope God gave me with others lost in the darkness bred by addictions.

Other than your books, how do you share your ministry?


 I speak at homeless missions and shelters when I travel. It's difficult, sometimes, to never see the fruit of your labor, but God tells us that if we plant a seed, He'll send someone along to water it.

Samantha Renee Evans, age 17. Samantha (Sam) was born in Springfield IL. At the tender age of 16 she took on the job of raising her young sister on her own. She is independent and determined to do what she has to do to keep her family together.

Sam, tell us a little about a normal day for you.
Gee, where to start. I go to school, I come home for a few precious hours with my sweet baby girl while I do homework and clean the apartment, then I go to work. I get home around midnight and fall into bed so I can get up the next day and do it all over again. It's tough, but I'm hoping things will be a little easier once I graduate.

How do you handle that sort of schedule? 
Like I said, it's tough. I couldn't do it without Iris. She's the best little sister in the whole wide world.

Iris Lee Anne Evans, age 11. Born in Springfield IL. Iris is eleven-years-old going on thirty. She is a sixth grader longing to live the life of the other tweens around her. The burden of the secrets she keeps weighs heavy on her heart.

Iris, give us a look at how you spend a normal day.

I get up and go to school, then I come home and either cook dinner for Sam and me, or, if Sam cooked, I do laundry and homework. Sam has to leave for work by 5, then I have to take care of Bobbie. I like to read, and since there's a library between school and home, I run in there a lot of afternoon to bring home fresh books. I'm lucky. Library books don't cost anything. 

What's your favorite thing to read?

I like mysteries, but lately I've been reading a Bible. Ms. Callie makes the stories sound so interesting.

I hope you enjoyed a look into the character's of Callie's story. I'm giving 5 books away on Nov 16th. Leave me a comment, along with your e-mail address for your chance to win. Be sure to mention If you follow the blog, I'll enter you twice. Limited to US addresses.


***Don’t read and run. Please take a few minutes to visit the page tabs to your right. Terri has an interview with Dianne Neal Matthews, featuring her new book of devotions, Designed for Devotion. Leave a comment on the page to be registered to win a copy of your very own. Karla welcomes JoAnn Durgin to her page for a sneak peak at Joann's Christmas story Meet Me Under the Mistletoe. Callie has a special devotion prepared for us by Anne Campbell. Pam just posted the most awesome brownie recipe you will EVER put in your mouth. Fudgy Pretzel Brownies.And don't forget to check out our new COTT (Clash of the titles) page.***