Monday, February 27, 2012

No Bells and Whistles


Mondays Musings on This ‘N That

A nice birthday gift I received is one of those tall insulated carry-around glasses. You know, the ones where a second liquid container in inside the outer container. That way your drink will stay cold/hot for longer. One place I’ll put this gift to good use is watching tennis matches when I don’t want to go to the concession stand and possibly miss a point.


Another place I will use this glass is at the beach. And you know how I love the beach. Just sitting and watching the waves crash onto the sand; sometimes the waves just lap onto the sand.  I won't have to carry a cooler, just my “insulated” glass. It even has my initial “J” prominently on the side.

And, of course I can place it, full of my Sprite, in the car for short or long trips. I’m sure what’s in it will stay cold/hot for a good while. And I can place it on my writing desk and won't have to break my 
concentration by having to go to the kitchen for refreshment.

That’s about it for my use of the birthday gift I received. Doing simple things give me pleasure. I don’t like a lot of bells and whistles on anything around me. (My computer has some, but I only know how to use the basics.) So, tell us about a gift you received and how you put it to use.


Till next time ... keep on smiling.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why Am I Doing This?


Guest blogger today is Tiffany Colter, a writing career coach. Welcome, Tiffany and thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.


Dreams are funny things.

No, really, they are.

Think about it for a moment. You are standing at a kitchen sink with two kids in diapers and a third on the way. Suddenly you think, “I’m going to travel across the country speaking to business groups and writers. I’ll publish a book for other people. I’ll help other people write their own books. People will value my opinion.”

And then a scream from the high chair rips you back to reality.

But somehow that image in your mind won’t let go.

It builds. You find yourself reading books on business. Instead of relaxing after the babies are in bed you’re pouring over books and websites learning all you can about writing craft, business development, and public speaking.

You buy second hand clothes and second hand cars while your friends are going out to eat at the mall after filling their handled bags with trendy outfits and shoes.

And still, somehow, you feel freer than you did when you worked 9-5.

And after almost a decade of 16 hour days you look around your kitchen table and see four kids growing up. You’re talking about interviewing your new employees and the training you’re doing for your sales team.
And then you turn around and look at the sink. The one you stood at when it all started. The car is still old, but the outfits are new. You earn less than anyone on your staff, but that will change soon.

Somehow through it all you birthed something big. An idea in your mind is now reality. You have a speaking schedule and book tables. People you once idolized now ask your professional opinion. You look on with pride as your clients see their dreams come true. Your name doesn’t appear anywhere on their book [at least not usually], but it was birthed from your heart as well as theirs.

And your kids…well, they aren’t only focused on who they’ll work for or what they want to be. They talk about what they want to create. The company they want to build. The industry they want to influence. The story they want to write.
** 
Sometimes we wonder why we're doing what it is we're doing.  We may think that we started out because we felt we could do what our boss is doing better.  So we began this new exciting company and we found out that it was nothing more than long hours, no pay, no prestige and hard decisions.

You may be at the place now where you're wondering why you even started this.  You have no income security.  You have no market.  You have no rest.  You have to work constantly just to keep up.  You don't have a life.

That's what I'm going to talk to you about changing.  Being a small business owner is not just about doing the work.  That's the topic of that company.  If you are a designer, having a small business is not just about design work.  It's about marketing your business and expanding it and working with clients and building new markets and doing all the fun creative things outside of simply designing things and that's what we're going to talk about here.

I know you may be thinking well, wait a minute.  There's nothing fun about that.  I started this company because I wanted to design stuff.  I wanted to be my own boss.  Yes, well that's true.  What this will allow you to do is look at the new ways that you can be creative as a business owner.  Don't try to make your business a cookie cutter of other design businesses or other insurance businesses or other dentist offices or anything.  What is going to distinguish you and set you apart?  That's why you're doing this.  You have something different to offer and you want to offer it.
---------- 
Tiffany Colter, The Writing Career Coach
Don’t miss a single posting! Subscribe here to receive these postings by e-mail. Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Can You Say Pollen?


The winner of last Thursday's drawing for a copy of Summer of Promise by Amanda Cabot is Tammie. I'll email you today to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.






Monday Musing on This ‘N That

Can you say pollen? Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines pollen as a mass of microspores in a seed plant appearing usually as a fine dust. The key words in that definition that mean anything to me are “a mass of fine dust.” And that mass of fine dust in the south is yellow and comes through breezes that pass over plants when they are in the early stages of blooming.

And blooming is expected to begin in spring, not in winter. It’s February! We shouldn’t have pollen in February. But already I’m seeing crocus pushing through the ground and in full bloom. My yellow wisteria is blooming. Even for south Alabama this is not the norm. February is usually our coldest month.

I know winter is not officially over. But all the moderate and downright warm days we’ve had recently have the flowers confused. And therefore, pollen. Just about everyone you talk with mentions they have a sinus infection, which sometimes is just an aggravation or sometimes a full-blown, put-me-in-the-bed, sick.

Our winter has been so mild here in south Alabama and I’ve had two sinus infections that required medical attention and treatment. So, today I have another (my guess) and will be going to see the doctor tomorrow. Last time I got a shot and pills. Hope I get the same tomorrow.

We’ve had ice storms and snows here as late as March and April. We usually get a “cold snap” right before Easter, which is in early April this year. We’ll probably have more cold weather before the weather feels like spring. In the south we need a very cold winter to kill off the bugs. Honestly! I don’t think we’ve killed off very many so far.

I hope you and your families are well and stay well. Here’s to good health for all.


Till next time ... keep on smiling!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Win a Book!


Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, February 12, 2012, you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of the book I review below. You must be eighteen, a U.S. resident, void where prohibited.


Summer of Promise by Amanda Cabot

Amanda Cabot is a popular speaker and the author of numerous novels. She’s an avid traveler who finds inspiration for new stories in her travels and enjoys sharing new parts of the country with her readers. A former Easterner, she now lives in Wyoming.

From the book’s back cover

Though she had planned to spend the summer in Vermont, Abigail Harding cannot dismiss her concerns over her older sister. Charlotte’s letters have been uncharacteristically melancholy, and her claims that nothing is wrong ring false, so Abigail heads west to Fort Laramie, Wyoming. When her stagecoach is attacked, Wyoming promises to be anything but boring. Luckily, the heroics of another passenger, Lieutenant Ethan Bowles, save the day.

Abigail plans to marry when she returns to Vermont, just as soon as she attends to her sister. As the summer passes, she finds herself drawn to this rugged land and to a certain soldier determined to persuade her to stay. When summer ends, will she go back East, or will she find her heart’s true home?

From Jo

Amanda Cabot writes compelling novels. This one is no exception. Her characters are strong, including: Abigail Harding who is traveling from Vermont to Fort Laramie, Wyoming; her sister Charlotte who needs Abigail; soldiers at the Fort; and Leah, a “lady of the night,” whom Abigail befriends. At summer’s end will Abigail return to Vermont as planned, or be convinced to stay? Cabot’s story is fast moving with enough suspense to keep readers turning pages.


Remember to leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, February 19, 2012, and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Where Wildflowers Bloom. U.S. residents only, void where prohibited. Please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address.


Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Morning Person

The winner of last Thursday's drawing for a copy of Where the Wildflowers Bloom by Ann Shorey is Linda. I'll email you today to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.


Monday Musings on This ‘N That


Last Friday I had to get up two and a half hours before my usual getting-up time. I’m not a morning person!! I tried to move as I should to get things done so we could leave on our trip.

While fixing my breakfast I noticed movements outside the kitchen window. I saw several birds flitting from limb to limb to limb. It was barely daybreak and they were frolicking and seemed to be enjoying the new day.

I saw squirrels and chipmunks scampering around on the ground and some little birds pecking at the grass. I wondered if all these creatures were this active at every day’s dawning.

Visiting my grandparents, at early morning hours I had heard roosters crow and hens cluck. I'd heard pigs squeal and mules make that distinctive sound they make—is it called braying or is that donkeys? But seeing all these city-dwellers doing their thing when I would normally still be asleep was an eye-opener. No pun intended.

Once in the car and starting on our trip I noticed one overhead wire covered with birds sitting on it. As I’ve asked before, wonder how the little bird feet hang on when the winds come.

Then yesterday morning I saw movement outside the window near my computer. Adult birds were all over our front lawn. They were all busy pecking at the grass and were easy for me to count. Forty-six birds were in my yard! They had reddish breasts so they must have been red-breasted robins. You think?  And as birds do, they all flew away at the same time. Wonder who gives the signal for a group flight?

I have a new appreciation for God’s creatures, seeing how they start their day. Maybe I can adopt some of their apparent glee in the early morning--could I really come to better enjoy mornings? And then seeing 46 birds visiting my lawn. Could any of this be fodder for a novel?

Are you a morning person?


Till next time … keep on smiling.




Thursday, February 9, 2012

Win A Book!

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, February 12, 2012, you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of the book I review below. You must be eighteen, a U.S. resident, void where prohibited.


Where Wildflowers Bloom by Ann Shorey


Ann Shorey is the author of The Edge of Light, The Promise of Morning, and The Dawn of a Dream. She has also published selections in the Cup of Comfort series and in Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul. Shorey lives with her husband, Richard,in Oregon.






From the book's back cover
The Civil War stole a father and brother from Faith Lindberg--as well as Royal Baxter, the man she wanted to marry. With only her grandfather left, she dreams of leaving Noble Springs, Missouri,and traveling west to Oregon to start a new life, sway from the memories that haunt her. But first she much convince her grandfather to sell the family's mercantile and leave a town their family has called home for generations. When Royal Baxter suddenly returns, Faith allows herself to hope that she and Royal will finally wed. But does he truly love her? Or will another man claim her heart?


From  Jo
Shorey gives us strong and memorable characters. As her plot unfolds she keeps putting obstacles in the way of Faith Lindberg’s dream to go west to Oregon and leave her sad memories of the Civil War behind. This story takes one twist after another and kept me turning pages. Not until the last pages does Faith resolve her dream of Oregon.



Remember to leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, February 12, 2012, and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Where Wildflowers Bloom. U.S. residents only, void where prohibited. Please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Questions for God


Monday Musings on This ‘N That

The winners from last Thursday's blog post for a copy of An Amish Family Reunion are Loree and Cindy. Loree, I'll email you to get your mailing address. Cindy, I'll send Mary Ellis your info from your comment and she will be in touch with you. Congratulations to you both.


I don’t understand some godly things. I’m certain if God wanted me to understand ALL His ways it would be written in His word, The Holy Bible.

Something I try not to wonder about, but I can’t help it, I just do: Why do babies and little children become sick, some even severely sick? But again if He wanted me to know the answer to this He would have made it clear in The Holy Bible.

It sure is difficult to witness a small child lethargic with high fever. Those who can’t tell you where they hurt are the saddest cases. They just don’t understand why they can’t run and play as usual.

Sometimes I say the first thing I want to do when I get to Heaven is ask Jesus this question about babies and children getting sick and probably a few more questions. But will I?

In Heaven, because it is a perfect place we won’t be concerned with earthly things. We’ll be busy praising and glorifying God. What a day that will be!

What do you think? Do you have questions for God? But will you forget those questions once you get to Heaven?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

TWO Mary Ellis books!!

Mary (Ellis) emailed me today and wants to give away TWO copies of An Amish Family Reunion on my blog. I will draw a winner who will receive one copy and draw a second winner who will receive a copy from Mary. What a generous offer, Mary.

Tell your reader-friends about the TWO books. The contest is open until midnight today, Feb 5


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Win A Book!

When you leave a comment on THIS post by midnight Sunday, February 5, 2012, you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of the book I review below. You must be eighteen, a U.S. resident, void where prohibited.


An Amish Family Reunion by Mary Ellis





Mary Ellis, best selling inspirational author of seven Amish novels, grew up close to the eastern Ohio Amish community, Geauga County, where her parents often took her to farmer’s markets and woodworking fairs. She loved their peaceful, agrarian lifestyle, their respect for the land, and their strong sense of Christian community. She, her husband, dog and cat now live close to the largest population of Amish in the country—a four-county area in central Ohio. They often take weekend trips to purchase produce, research for her best-selling books, and enjoy a simpler way of life. Visit her at her website, www.maryellis.net.

From the book's back cover
Julia Miller misses her children.They are grown and have families of their own now, but her mother's heart yearns for a houseful of laughter and joy once again. She plans to gather her chicks together in a summer celebration to remember.
At the farm next door, Julia's niece, Phoebe, meets Eli Riehl, a young man who charms her--and everyone else--with his exceptional storytelling ability on a rumschpringe trip to Niagara Falls. When Phoebe sketches scenes to illustrate one of his tales, Eli encourages her incredible talent, and together they embark on a lofty and unlikely business venture for two young Amish people--writing and illustrating a children's book.
Eli's kindness and appeal extend beyond his knack for words to reach inside Phoebe's shy heart. But he is an only son with five sisters, and when tragedy strikes at home, Eli gives up his writing to assume responsibility for the farm. Though willing to abandon his dream of becoming an author, he won't give up his beloved Phoebe.
Can their love for a good story develop into something that lasts forever, or will memories of the past stand in their way?

From Jo
Mary Ellis is well equipped to write Amish novels with memorable characters and this one is no exception. From reading Amish novels I've learned of their simple, but protective life. Among the Amish, their strict rules must be obeyed and it is usually the father of the family that comes across as rather harsh when enforcing those rules. Phoebe's father is such a man and protests when she asks permission to go on a bus trip to Niagara Falls so she can find new things besides farm animals that she can draw. Phoebe's mother convinces the father to allow Phoebe the trip as it will be all Amish young people. On that trip she meets Eli and her sheltered life will never be the same.

Remember to leave a comment on THIS post by midnight Sunday, February 5, 2012, and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of An Amish Family Reunion.book I review below. U.S. residents only, void where prohibited. Please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address.