Author Jo Huddleston

Sweet Southern Romance

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Till Next Time

I'm a bit under the weather this week. Hope to be back with you on Monday the 4th. I'll leave you with this to ponder and maybe smile:

"You grow up the first day you have your first real laugh—at yourself."  – Ethel Barrymore

What have you ever laughed at yourself about?
Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Faraway Places

As far as traveling goes, I had dreams of going to two faraway places. The first of those dreams to come true was a trip to England. No matter that I was in education and took 17 teenagers along. I had my opportunity to visit England. 

Yes, I saw where the Magna Carta was signed, the Thames River, Shakespeare’s birthplace, skeletons of buildings damaged during World War II, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Stonehenge. How did they get those giant rocks there? The nine days I was there the sun never showed itself. You can tell that from the photos.

I knew about England’s reputation for drizzling rain and dampness so I took my raincoat (a London Fog one!). But it was March and pleasant when I left home and I didn’t factor in the temperatures plus the dampness and so took no gloves. That was the first thing I had to purchase; they were green and white wool that matched nothing else I had brought. Most everything in the clothing stores were woolen and it was March for goodness sake!

That trip gave me lasting, good memories, except for the weather and at the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. The military on horseback wore their winter gray attire, not the red ones I had hoped to see.

Where did my second dream trip take me? We'll talk about that another time.
But look at what I saw in my own yard March!

 Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What? Me Worry?

The winner of the signed copy of Bound by Guilt by C.J. Darlington is B.J. Robinson. I’ll email B.J. for her mailing address and get the book to her. Thanks to all of you who left a comment; I love to connect with you.

My anxiety level was over the top. I had a doctor’s appointment—routine, I hoped. I was concerned that they would draw blood or find something wrong and give me a shot. I use the word “concerned,” not “worried” because I diligently try not to worry.

I even thought I would surely get blood drawn, which to me is a fate worse than any injection. But, you know, worrying about things will not change them.

            “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life … Who of you by worrying can add a single hour in his life” –Matthew 6:25, 27, NIV

And you know, after the usual long time in the waiting room, with plenty of time for dread to sprout wings, I met with the doctor. Routine, as I had hoped. No shot, no blood drawn. Whew! But what if I had allowed myself to really worry about all these things I’d dreaded? I could have worked myself into a dither. And for what? None of my concerns came to fruition.

Do you worry about things in your life? A friend of mine says, “Do what you can do and let God do what you cannot do.” What a good outlook to have on our present and future. Let’s all give it a try.

            “Worry gives a small thing a big shadow.” —Swedish Proverb

            Do you worry too much? Please leave a comment; I love to hear from you.

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Has Spring Arrived Where You Are?

Spring has sprung,
The grass has riz.
Wonder where
The flowers is?
--Author Unknown

Spring season brings us the beauty of new things to brush away the monochromatic winter scenery. And the flowers? They’re right around the corner. My favorite azalea bush in my backyard is sporting tiny, tiny buds and a little red bloom or two. You must look really close at the photo to the right, but they're there. Of course dandelions are scattered across the lawn; yellow is a favorite flower color of mine but the lawn mower gets them along with the other weeds.

Spring is one of my favorite seasons—not too cold for comfort and not too hot to have to stay inside. Where does the temperature stay in the 80s year-round? That would be ideal.

What’s your favorite season? Have your flowers shown themselves already?

Let’s look forward to the beauty of spring; to all the beauty around us. Let’s don’t take any good thing for granted but instead appreciate it.

            Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind.”    —Ashley Smith, American author and speaker

            What’s your favorite season? Which little things do you appreciate in life?

Till next time … keep on smiling.

P.S. Remember you have till  noon tomorrow, Tuesday, March 22 to comment on my March 17 blog for a chance to win a signed copy of Bound by Guilt by C.J. Darlington.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Signed copy of C.J. Darlington's New Novel

All who leave a comment on this blog by noon, Tuesday, March 22 will be entered in a drawing for a signed copy of C.J. Darlington's new novel, Bound by Guilt. C.J. Darlington is the winner of the 2008 Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel content for Thicker Than Blood. This is her second novel. You may visit her website at
From the book’s back cover: 
Roxi Gold is a throwaway, shuttled from one foster home to another for most of her life. She longs for a family and will do anything to fit in—even if it's against the law. Soon she's traveling the country stealing rare books from unsuspecting bookstores, until a first edition of The Great Gatsby catches up with her.
Police Officer Abby Dawson has seen the worst of society, and not just at work. The job she once loved has become a chore, the world isn't any safer, and there's no joy in her life. One fateful night a man’s innocent blood changes both Roxi’s and Abby’s lives forever. One searches for justice; the other finds herself on the run. Will the power of forgiveness set them free, or will they both remain bound by guilt?

From Me:
C.J. Darlington gives us strong and believable characters. Her vivid descriptions and settings put us in the moment of each situation. Conflicts keep the pace of this book moving and the reader turning pages.

Remember to leave a comment on this blog by noon, Tuesday, March 22 and be entered into a drawing for a signed copy of Bound by Guilt. Please be sure to leave your email address with your comment so that I can contact you should you be the winner.

Thank you for allowing me to vary from my usual blog format today. I wanted to share this excellent book with you and send it to the winner of those leaving a comment below.

Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Where Would You Go?

If you could spend a week anywhere in the world, where would it be?

But, you might say, I can’t spend a week anywhere—there are the kids,  the house, the significant other, school, job, yard work, etc., etc. But let’s suspend belief for just a little while and pretend nothing stood in your way. Pick an age you’d like to be and decide where you’d like to go.

Would it be a tropical island, a snow-covered peak, a spa, a safari? Where? And what would you do when you got there? Would being alone and resting be enough? Maybe you’d read (oh, yes), enjoy someone else doing the cooking and housekeeping, listen to the music you like, go to bed and get up whatever time you choose.

Would you want to do things you’d never done, never had the nerve to undertake before? Maybe bungee jump (now wouldn’t that be something to behold), climb a rock mountain then rappel down said mountain, take pictures, learn a foreign language.

If I could spend a week anywhere in the world, where would I go? I’d be on a Gulf Coast or lower Atlantic beach. I’d be the age of the girl standing on the beach on the lower left of this blog and probably be doing what she appears to be doing—soaking in all God’s splendor and beauty He placed at the seashore. And, yes, I would read book after book after book while there for my dream week.

            “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” –Helen Keller

All of us aren’t daring. Many won’t ever take small risks. But in real-time life, let’s don’t overlook the adventures we could experience. We could live our days like they were our last chances to spread our wings and do things we’d never done before, to paraphrase an old song. Here’s hoping whatever we choose to accomplish with our lives, we do it with a sense of joy and integrity. Can we allow ourselves to dream? Can we enjoy our lives without a few dreams, whether filled or unfulfilled?

            Have you dared to dream lately?

Till next time ... keep on smiling.

P.S. The subscription box on the left to have notifications of posts come to your email inbox was incorrect but is now working properly. My apologies.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Googling Hope

When I googled the word “hope” I got 809,000,000 sites. That’s millions with an M. I browsed the firsts few pages and on those sites the word hope was associated with peoples’ names, geographical locations, organizations, athletics, celebrities, concerts, academic scholarships, businesses, movies, schools, rehabilitation centers, and on and on. 

Hope must be a pleasing word to be used so widely in all these areas. It is a positive word and maybe most folks are looking for a little less negative in their lives. Do you work some place with hope in its name? Do you know someone named hope? Movies, schools, athletics? 

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without words and never stops at all.”  –Emily Dickinson

Merriam Webster online dictionary gives this definition of hope: 1. Trust, reliance. 2: desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment; also: expectation of fulfillment or success. 

Hope used as a noun has many synonyms ranging from anticipation to wish; in between those two are dream, faith, likelihood, and possibility.

Is it easy for you to expect something good to come your way soon?

 Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Civility in America

Last time we talked about being sweet to others, trying to make their day better. Continuing along those same thoughts, a poll appeared on, March 2011, which asked “Do you think Americans are civil to each other?”

Merriam Webster online Dictionary defines civil as adequate in courtesy and politeness: mannerly. If asked “Do you think Americas are civil to each other?” think about how you would respond.

Here are some results of this poll, which was a survey of 1,006 adults age 18 and older conducted by SSRS January 19-25, 2011. Of those ages 18-49, 69% answered yes and 31% answered no. Those ages 50-plus answered 73% yes and 25% no. So where did your answer fall among these numbers? Combining the no answer percentages of both age groups, 56% think Americans aren't civil to each other. I don’t claim to be a scientific poll analyzer, but how sad is that?

This same poll asked which of these have a positive influence on civility: popular music, politicians, cable TV, schools, cellphones, talk radio, and social media. The most positive nod went to schools and the lowest went to politicians. Politicians—our leaders—garnered the lowest endorsement for having a positive influence on civility. Apparently these people polled think our leaders aren’t giving us the best examples to follow in being courteous and polite to each other.

Many people, even those who don’t go to church that much, know the Bible story of Job and what an awful time he had. Talk about civility—Job’s so-called friends came to him but only to criticize. Job held fast in his hope that God would make it all better eventually, which he did.
  • “He will yet fill your mouth with laughing, and your lips with rejoicing.”(Job 8:21)
We can only hope people’s opinion of civility among us all will improve. That won’t be possible until people begin to treat one another more mannerly—from our houses to the state houses.
  • What do you think--on this list or not--has a positive influence on American civility?
Till next time … keep on smiling.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sugar and Spice...

On a Splenda artificial sweetener packet I read this:

  • “Writing, ‘Be sweet to others’ on your To-Do list means nothing unless you can check it off at the end of the day.”

Of course that’s the same with anything we write on our list of things we plan to get done. But “Be sweet to others”—how do we do that and what connection does that have with hope?

Sometimes we find it difficult to be sweet to the unsweet. Here are some suggestions: We could sincerely compliment that rebellious teenager and shock her socks off. There’s surely something we could say even if it’s just to mention that her new shampoo sure does smell good. We could try commenting on the good hair cut our significant other has. Even with check-out clerks and bag boys, we can find a little something sincere to say to them—we like their lipstick color, their shirt.

Any sincere compliment has the power to boost someone’s self-esteem, which in turn may lift their spirits and give them hope that the rest of the day won’t be so bad. We all enjoy compliments given in the right manner. Makes us feel better, sparks a little more spring to our step and certainly causes us to appreciate the one giving the compliment.
  • What do we live for, if not to make the world less difficult for each other?”  –George Eliot
  • What have you done lately to make someone’s day better?

Till next time … keep on smiling.