Monday, March 31, 2008

Just Because

Okay, they say when brilliance stalls, to sit your butt in a chair and WRITE! So, I may not be brilliant, far from it actually, but I'm taking the advice of experts. Since I can't seem to come up with a blog post that's remotely interesting, I figure I'll sit and write, even if I bore you all to sleep at your computers. At least you'll get a good nap. But don't drool on the keyboard.

Ummmm, yeah, got nothing. Let's see.....I need to wash my socks. Seriously. I'm so behind in laundry I've worn the same socks for three days. Ewwww. Yeah. Or maybe I should just buy more pairs. You know what I really hate about buying socks? I can never find any that fit. Honest. I finally broke down and went shopping in the little girls' section of the clothing store - for socks only 'cause I couldn't fit anything else in there even if I gave up chocolate for life. You know what I found out? Even though the socks fit me in length, little girl feet are much skinnier. So now I have socks with the width of pantyhose and none of the stretch-ability. I never thought I'd have to wiggle into a pair of socks, but it's true. However, I've yet to ask Chad, "do my feet look fat in these?"

Chad thinks I should blog about hockey, but I know nothing about that so....nope. Okay, I do know that Sam Gagner, who plays for the Oilers, is doing quite well. I also know that the Oilers have almost no chance of making it into the play-offs. And I also discovered that this is not a subject to poke fun at because it's very serious and you shouldn't say mean things, even in jest, about your husband's favorite team.

My son, Kolten, is two. He actually turned two in February, but just this last week he REALLY turned two. He's opening doors, getting into the piano and computer, throwing regular temper tantrums and bursting into tears a moment's notice. Ah, yes, the two's. The fits, the fights for independence. Could someone please remind him he's TWO and not able to do everything his six year old brother does? But he's adorable. Absolutely adorable. I do so love this age, even with its challenges.

Hmmm, let's see, what else can I bore you with....oh, I slipped and fell on the ice a few days ago. I have some massive, colorful bruises in some very private places and more sore muscles than I knew existed. I laid in bed for the entire afternoon, on my side 'cause I couldn't lay on my back due to the bruising, and watched five glorious hours of Wives and Daughters. I followed that with an even more wonderful four hours of North and South. *sigh* The perfect prescription.

Okay, I'm done. I hate to say it, but I've exhausted even the boring in my life. So there. Now, WAKE UP!! Wipe the drool off your chin, and get back to work. I hope you had a good nap with sweet dreams.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

And the Winner Is ...

So this morning (yes, I'm a little late), I wrote all the names on paper, threw them into a hat and asked Benen to pull out "just one piece of paper." He reached his hand into the hat...

"Mom, I don't have time for this." He hands me the paper. "Why do you need me to do this?"

"You're helping me pick a winner."

"So, I won?"


And now, the winner of Cheryl Wyatt's A Soldier's Family, is.......

Barefoot Sarah

Congratulations!!! I'll e-mail you for your mailing address.

Thanks everyone for playing!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


My head is aching and my eyes aren't focusing together, so I'm just gonna post a list of the music we are doing this Sunday. Maybe I'll have something to post about after I've caught up on the fourteen days of lost sleep.

Opening Song:
Hallelujah (Your Love Is Amazing)

Worship Set:
I Could Sing of Your Love Forever
Above All
In Christ Alone
How Deep the Father's Love For Us

Closing Song:
Mighty To Save

Our pastor is speaking on God's love this week, hence the focus of the worship. Although not a very upbeat set, the songs are very dynamic musically and lyrically. (I wasn't sure if "lyrically" was a word, but I just spell checked and it didn't pop up as a misspelled word.)

I'm excited about the music....well, as excited as I can get with a headache, blurry eyes and mushy brain. Also, Chad is supposed to be playing acoustic guitar this week, but he sliced open the tip of his pointer finger on his left hand. Those of you who play guitar, know someone who plays guitar, or have seen someone play guitar, you know this is a pretty important finger. I guess the cut is deep and, since my only other option is to have our lead player play rhythm, I am really hoping and praying for healing. Well, and because I love the guy and don't want him hurting. Naturally.

Okay, that's it. I'm gonna go indulge in a good cry. Or a good book. Probably the book 'cause I don't wanna have red eyes and streaky makeup for practice tonight.


UPDATE: It appears I was wrong. It wasn't his left hand, but rather his right, that had the injured finger. Since open wounds turn my stomach, I didn't take a good look. However, he managed to grip his guitar pick with some discomfort and we made it through Sunday alright.

Also, I decided to go for the book instead of the cry and chose a good suspense/mystery. Nothing like murder, mayhem and deception mixed with a few good fights and a dash of romance to shake the melancholy away.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Author Cheryl Wyatt & A Soldier's Family

On A Crash Course With Love

She was the woman of pararescue jumper Manny Péna's dreams. But he'd stuck his foot in his mouth the last time he met Celia Munez. Now, grounded after a parachuting accident, he was desperate to make amends with the beautiful widow.

But Celia wasn't having it. The last thing she needed was another man with a dangerous job—even if he had given his life to God. Yet Manny's growing commitment to her and her troubled son began to convince her that perhaps she should take her own leap of faith.

ISBN: 037387474X
Publisher: Steeple Hill
Ordering Link: Order now!

Cheryl Wyatt's closest friends would never dream the mayhem she plots during announcements at church. An RN-turned-SAHM, joyful chaos rules her home, and she delights in the stealth moments God gives her to write. She's convinced that having been born on a Naval base on Valentine's Day destined her to write military romance. She stays active in her church and in her laundry room. Both of her debut novels (Books 1 and 2 in her Wings of Refuge Series from Steeple Hill) have received Romantic Times Top Picks.

Visit Cheryl Wyatt on the Web
Or her blog

A Soldier's Family is book two in Cheryl's Wings of Refuge series. It is one fabulous read! I had the privilege of reviewing this book here.

Like last time, I am doing a FREE BOOK giveaway. I'm also going to plead with Cheryl to autograph it personally to the winner. To enter the contest, just leave a comment in the comments section saying you want to enter. PLEASE remember to leave a working e-mail address where I can contact you should you win. I'm going to leave the contest open for one week. Next Monday I will write all the names on pieces of paper, throw them in a hat and let my son, Connor, pick a name. (He had a blast doing this last time!) I'll contact the winner personally for their mailing address.

So, if you're a lurker, now is the perfect time to come out of hiding!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


We're in church. It's quiet, the music has stopped and the pastor has stepped up to the communion table. He looks out over the congregation. "We've been doing a series on trust and as I look at this table with the bread and cup, I can't help thinking how much Jesus had to trust God."

He pauses to reflect. Benen is quietly coloring on his paper, looking for all appearances to be completely absorbed in his work. "How much to do think Jesus had to trust in God?"

A pause.

And then the voice beside me. "Ummm, A LOT!"


"Mom, when you were a little boy, did you do this?"

"Well, Benen, first of all, I was never a little boy."


Me - "Benen, why are you so funny?"

Benen - "'s comp-ili-cated."


"Benen, why are you so handsome?"

"Ummmmmm....because I'm really loved."


Me - "Boys, close your eyes. We're gonna pray."

Chad - "Dear God, bless this food, our family and our evening together. Amen."

Benen - "Mom, I'm really sorry, but I opened my eyes two times."


"Mom, sometimes does God make us sick?"

"No, Benen. Sometimes we just get sick."

"Mom, does God sometimes get sick?"


"Oh." A pause. "Mom, I wanna be God."

Monday, March 10, 2008

Author Marianne Arkins & One Love For Liv

Liv is out to prove her high society fiancé is cheating on her. Can she do it without breaking a nail—or falling in love with Mike the mechanic?

Olivia “Liv” Leigh, wealthy socialite and spa owner, suspects her fiancé of cheating on her. Drastic steps are required to discover whether appearances are deceiving. And if those steps require a bit of stalking, a change of appearance, a hippo-sized dog named Spike, and sacrificing her manicure to clean house for a sexy-but-sloppy man whose neighbor is determined to break several of the strangest Guinness world records, why should that be a problem?

Mike, a happily single auto mechanic, is more than content sharing his bachelor pad with piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and a sneaky ferret. But when a half-crazed woman in a bad wig shows up on his doorstep, what’s a nice guy to do?

Why, invite her in, unknowingly help her in her search for the truth and, in the process, fall head over heels for a woman who’s never been less his type.

To purchase click here.

I am thrilled to be able to celebrate with Marianne on the release of her newest story. She has graciously agreed to answer this nosy reader's questions.

As a reader, there’s nothing I like better than a good romance. Can you tell us a little about your own true life romance? How and where you met? How he swept you off your feet?

LOL… don’t get me wrong, I love my husband but he’s the least romantic person EVER. For my birthday (after we’d been dating about two months) he bought me seat covers for my truck. And his proposal? We went ring shopping and he handed me a ring and said, “Here.” OTOH, he was more than ready to fix my car, and catsit for me, and help me learn a new city. Even now, his best way to say “I love you” is to make sure my truck has tires with tread and that the lawn is mowed. And he works at a job he hates so that I can stay home with our daughter. I’ll take that over romance any day.

However… if you’re curious, our “cute meet” is told in a short story I wrote here (with a few slight changes):

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? When did you begin writing seriously?

I think I always wanted to write, with a short detour in junior high when I wanted to be a veterinarian. I’ve always written. The first time I pursued publication was at seventeen (unless you count a poem I had published in my junior high school newsletter) when I entered a novel writing competition. I didn’t win, but it made me realize how much I enjoyed writing.

This last time, though? I joined a place called Writers Village University ( five or six years ago…I don’t remember exactly when, and really started learning the craft of writing. I had no idea how bad I really was!! I had good ideas, but my writing ability? Awful. I owe any success I have, however large or small, to those ladies (and a gent or two) who patiently put up with my stumbling about blindly. You know who you are.

What was the first story you ever wrote, published or unpublished?

“A Horse Called Mystery” when I was in fourth grade. It was a novel of eighteen chapters—and for a while I thought everything I wrote had to have eighteen chapters, like it was mystical number or something. Of course, all my heroines were nineteen, because that was such a grown up age, too. What did I know? LOL…

Do you have a favorite place you like to write? Do you like silence when you’re writing or do you listen to music? What type of music?

I can write just about anywhere if it’s quiet. I don’t like noise or music or distractions. I’m very easily distracted. The worst thing that happened to me was getting my laptop and working in the dining room instead of the basement. There’s too much around me that I look at and think, “I should be doing that thing over there instead of writing.” I find it terrifically difficult to focus. Someday, I’ll have a new desk in my new office upstairs, and that won’t be such an issue.

What does “A Day in the Life of Marianne Arkins” typically look like?

Up around 4 a.m. Lately, the dog wakes up at about 1 or 2 a.m. and needs to go out, and if I put her back in her crate, she cries and cries, so we go downstairs and sleep on the couch for a couple hours. For the first time in as long as I can recall, I have to set an alarm (I actually use my cell phone). I think the middle of the night interruption really messes up my internal clock and I don’t wake up on my own. It’s frustrating.

The moment I get up (after pouring coffee with chocolate soy milk…yum), I upload all the website pages for The Long and the Short of It, as well as the reviews posted that day. I also clear out the messages in the inbox that belong to me (as opposed to my business partner) and make sure things are running as smoothly as possible. This takes an hour or more.

Then, I do my personal blog post and clear out my personal inbox… this takes quite a while as well, as I typically have many irons in the fire and thus have many emails. I also have four personal email addresses I use for different purposes.

Then, if I still have time (I wake the house at 6:30 a.m.) I work on my writing. Oh, and I squeeze in breakfast now and then.

Bored yet?

The rest of the day? School with my daughter (I homeschool her) for about 2 hours and then we run any errands we need to run or do chores. After lunch, she goes upstairs to her desk to do her seatwork, and I work on the LASR site and also, try to squeeze in some more writing. I do that until it’s time to make dinner. My DH works LATE, so DD and I eat and hang out. Then showers and bed for her… and bed for me. I do try to stay up until DH gets home, but I can’t always manage. Then at 1 a.m., the puppy wakes me up and I start all over.

With few exceptions (like waking DH up and no school on the weekends) this is my schedule seven days a week.

Tell us a bit about this story. Where did the inspiration come from? How did you come up with the characters’ names? Is there a message behind the story you want readers to understand?

“One Love For Liv” was my 2005 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) story. I’d been working on another novel previously and had originally intended for Liv to show up as my hero’s ex-fiancée. After a great deal of thought, I decided she didn’t work in that story, but despite the fact that she was a snob and terribly unkind, I really loved (LOVED) the character, so had to use her.

Names? I wanted a clever title and spent a good couple of hours during storytime at the library while my DD was busy trying to think of one. I did: “Isn’t She Liv Leigh” (which was the working title of the story, but my publisher didn’t like it… so it was changed). I also wanted her fiancé to call her something silly that sounded like a bad sorority name (like Fifi or Bambi) so her full name is Olivia Leslie Leigh and Geoff calls her Lee Lee, thereby making it Lee Lee Leigh.


For the hero, I wanted something as simple as hers was complex. Short. Quick. Basic. Mike Peck fit the bill exactly. He’s not Michael, ever. His given name is Mike (I got this idea from my oldest brother, Rick, whose name is NOT Richard).

A message? Not so much. Maybe “find yourself”? That sounds silly and simplistic, but the fact is that Liv never knew who she was at all. She always let others make decisions, from what to wear to what to eat and even who to marry. I liked watching her learn who she was.

Thank you, Marianne, for the interview. If y'all are looking for a nice, funny, romantic read, then click on the link above to purchase One Love For Liv, or check out Marianne's website to find out how to get her other stories.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Have you ever had a moment that so overwhelmed you, you were shocked to silence and brought to tears? I had a moment like that the other day.

My husband and I had just returned to town after spending the weekend at his parents. We drove by his work so I could drop him off to pick up his truck. He went to renew his driver's license and pick up groceries while I brought the boys home.

As I opened the screen door I found a parcel tucked between the doors. I glanced at the writing on the side and saw that it was from I was expecting a shipment from Amazon and Steeple Hill, but had never ordered anything from ChristianBooks before.

That was when I realized my dear friend Katybug must have sent the books she said I could borrow from her. I was expecting the shipment to take three or four weeks and it had only been days since we last emailed. I was feeling rather impressed with the efficiency of the courier system.

I hauled the package up the stairs and promptly slit open the tape. I pulled back the flaps.

And stared.

And looked at the box.

And stared some more.

And burst into tears.

Inside the box were three brand new books packaged all nicely. Included on the mailing slip was this note:


I stood in my kitchen, absolutely speechless, feeling completely overwhelmed, while my snowy shoes puddled water and dirt all over the floor. Thank you, Katy. You have no idea how God used you to bless me that day.

Some of you have expressed an interest in my weekly music selection. I thought I would post it here to make it easier for you to find. Completed at 3:30 this afternoon, here is the lineup:

-Lord Reign In Me (Opening Song)

-Better Is One Day
-Just A Glimpse
-In Your Presence

-Somewhere In The Middle (Special Music)

-Lifesong (Closing Song)

So, providing practice goes well tonight, those will be our songs. Let me know if you've heard these songs before and what you'll be singing this Sunday.

Monday, March 3, 2008


What happened? How did this happen? Why did this happen? Was it something I did? Something I didn't do? Did I do enough? Not enough?

Was there something I should have said? Could I have said anything? Did I say enough, or not enough? Did I speak when I should have been silent? Did I allow fear to keep me silent when I should have spoken? Was there something more I could have said? Something I forgot that would have made a difference? Would you have even heard me? Did you try to hear me?

Did I stand bold enough? Strong enough? Tall enough? Was I too weak to stand? Could you see the line in the sand? Did you know which side I stood on? Did I reach far enough? Hold on hard enough? Could I have grasped your hand if I had dared to stretch outside myself?

Would you have seen my hand? Would you have known I was reaching for you? Would you have grabbed hold if only I had tried harder? Could I have tried harder? Would it have made a difference? Does it make a difference now? Is it even up to me?

Do you see how much I care? Do you know I'll stand beside you? Do you know I'll fight for you?

This is just the beginning. You're not alone. I'll be here.