Monday, March 30, 2009

a purr-fect post

One of the best things about being a writer is meeting like-minded people who love books and view writing as a ministry. Lately I've had the privilege of becoming acquainted with some folks I just can't keep to myself and want to share. Niki Anderson is one of them! I met Niki through my literary agency, Books & Such. Niki happens to live on the sunny side of Washington State with her husband and two fascinating felines. She was gracious enough to allow me to spotlight her, though I doubt she needs the extra exposure. Her books of meditations for cat lovers have sold over 340,000 copies in the U.S. and abroad!

Niki is a lady of many talents - wife, mother, speaker and Bible teacher, and past short-term missionary to Africa. I visited her website and blog, and met her red tabby, Myles, via his handsome portrait with Niki. Without the slightest exaggeration, I think Myles is the most stunning cat I've ever seen. Hop on over to and you'll probably start purring with agreement. Niki is also as lovely and gracious as she looks.

Recently Niki attended the Cat Fanciers Association international show in Atlanta where 800 pedigreed cats and their owners gathered. On her website is a picture of Niki signing her books at this event. She's also posted some wonderful photos of cats, breeds which I've never heard of before, like the Ragdoll. Pretty nice cat, but I'll take Myles!

Niki's forthcoming book is titled Whiskers, Wit, and Wisdom; it can be pre-ordered on Amazon. She's also written What I Learned from God While Gardening, Inspirational Stories for Cat Lovers, and What My Cat Has Taught Me About Life. If you order her other books through her website she will sign and mail them. I plan on ordering some for birthdays and Christmas to give cat-loving cousins and friends.

Thank you, Niki, for sharing your ministry with folks on my blog. I know they'll be blessed!

The smallest feline is a masterpiece. -Leonardo da Vinci

If we treated everyone we meet with the same affection we bestow upon our favorite cat, they, too, would purr. -Martin Buxbaum

A meow massages the heart. -Stuart McMillan

Friday, March 27, 2009

the eternal edit

Once upon a time there was a Kentucky girl very green to the publishing world who wanted to cry at her very first edit...

I think I could write a book about editing a book at this stage of the game and even smile while doing it:) I've learned a few things and can now face an edit without flinching. But that very first edit - whew! I felt sick and then some. And I was ashamed of being so addled over tossing a few chapters, rearranging paragraphs, and deleting sentences. Not anymore! I can ax words like loggers fall trees out here. That's growth!

So I'm now working on my last edit of The Frontiersman's Daughter. I've probably said this before. But Lael keeps coming back to me, like it or not. And I really do like it now. She's better for all those edits and so am I. I hope you'll agree. But I am always amazed that I could just keep on editing, even after a book goes to print. I am never satisfied with the finished product. And no, I don't think I'll be reading The Frontiersman's Daughter when it hits bookstores for this very reason. I will still find things to edit even then - only I won't be able to! It must be the writer in me.

Things I'm learning at this stage of the journey:

1. We are like manuscripts - always a work in progress from first word to last, first breath to last.
2. The Author is always editing us, revising us, deleting those besetting sins that show up like stubborn typos, patiently using plenty of white-out or simply hitting the delete button. It hurts so much but is so necessary. You, like the book, are much better for it in the end.
3. A Christ-centered book, like a person, always has a happy finish.
4. But you are of far more value to God than a good book. He doesn't ever stop the editing process or put you down. When your pages wear thin and your cover is smudged you are even more beautiful to Him. He loves you so much He takes you with Him when you end. He has an awesome library full of finished works just like you. And He gets all the credit.

A silly post, perhaps. Happy Friday.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

snow blowing sideways

Are your teeth chattering yet? It's still very cold here in northwest Washington and those buttercups in our garden are frostbitten. One local resident said it's "colder than a brass toilet seat on the shady side of an iceberg." I chuckled as I'd not heard that descriptive phrase before. He was lamenting the fact that he's always hung his hummingbird feeders by March 15th and now all that nectar is frozen goo - and not a hummingbird in sight!

It's a good time to curl up by the fire and watch a good movie. This is a rare event for us but the boys were having Awana at church last night so the house was quiet. And we actually found a great movie - Fireproof. Randy enjoyed it as much as I did. I urge you to rent or buy a copy - it has a wonderful Christ-centered message. Clean and very moving. I think it just came out on DVD.

Meanwhile, in sunny Spain... My brother and his wife have found a house in the city of Granada! Two-stories with gardens in both front and back and a terrace that overlooks the mountains. Sigh. Sounds very unmissionary-like, I know. If you'd seen some of the dark and dangerous places they've lived in the past 20 years you'd be smiling like me. The owner lowered the price in exchange for English lessons. They'll be setting up a language school soon so this was an answer to prayer. And Chris and Nicia love company so get those passports ready:) I was last in Madrid at age 17 so am anxious to go back. But best wait till these three books are on shelves first.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

the last of the mohicans

The Christian Book Expo was this past weekend in Dallas and I wish I could have gone south for some sunshine and good books. I chuckled at one of the workshop titles, "Why It Takes So Long For A Book To Be Published." Baker Books was there with lots of great titles and a good many authors. But I heard attendance was down which is a big disappointment. Perhaps a sign of the times. Apparantly there are lots of changes occurring within the publishing world but being so new at this I don't know much about them. I do think people will always buy books, no matter the state of the economy. I'm living proof!

Interestingly, while everything else seems to be going south, ticket sales to movies have increased almost 20% this year. I think people must want an escape so they go to the movies or buy books. Personally I'm not a movie fan and can't remember the last time I went to the theater. But once upon a time, in the hot, dusty rodeo-type town of Yakima, Washington, I saw the movie, The Last of the Mohicans 9 times! Nine nights in a row, I think! Suffice it to say, this was not one of the happiest times in my life and I needed an escape. I still love the movie and listen to the soundtrack when I walk. It is frontier fare at its finest - handsome hero, strong, beautiful heroine, treacherous Indians, intrepid woodsmen, and a cliffside scene that is so hauntingly beautiful you just might have to see it nine times!

I hope to stop by the Christian bookstore in Sequim tomorrow and buy Susan Meissner's award-winning, The Shape of Mercy. Add it to your list! I hear it's a great escape:) If you have a good book you think I need to read, or a movie to see, please share it here. I'd love to add it to my list!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

lazy sundays

When I was younger I didn't like Sundays. Only I can't remember why. Now Sundays are probably the best day of the week for me. I've been trying to make a good memory for my boys with a big Sunday dinner where I haul out the tablecloth, best dishes, and candles like my mom did for us but I'm not meeting this weekly deadline well! I can still smell that pork roast and all the other Sunday fare from long ago. We always had a special dessert too. Like banana pudding. I made it for my boys and they both made faces so maybe it's a southern thing. They do like garlic cheese grits, however, so they've redeemed themselves. And they love my granny's cornbread. See recipe below:)

So this Sunday afternoon I've been working on Red River Daughter, watching Randy and the boys plant raspberries and prune roses, and wondering how my brother is faring in Spain. He did email from a smoke-filled cafe a couple of days ago. Spain is 8 hours ahead of us here in Washington state. So that's only a 5 hour difference for my Kentucky kin. They are staying with an older Christian couple while looking for housing. And if you're missing Chris's wonderful pics with these posts of mine, he doesn't have an internet connection yet. I'm sure he's really missing his Mac at this point!

About that recipe. My granny spent her early years in Virginia (Marion, to be exact) before coming to Berea, Ky. When she was just a child she was hired out to work in the kitchen of a well-to-do Virginian who had a very fine black cook. This cornbread recipe is very old and when I make it I use my great-granny's black rectangular pan that has dimensions unheard of now. Here 'tis:

Granny's Cornbread

1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup self-rising cornmeal
pinch baking soda if buttermilk is real sour
2 Tablespoons melted bacon grease

Beat egg and add buttermilk. Mix well. Add cornmeal and pinch of soda if needed. Then add 2 tablespoons of melted bacon grease. Mix well and pour into greased pan (like a loaf pan). Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes or till golden brown. Slather with butter. Forget counting calories. Goes great with soup beans, ham, coleslaw, kale, sweet onions, and chowchow.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 20, 2009


It's Friday morning here and everything is a damp grey but I see buds on the lilacs and the forsythia bush outside my kitchen windows. Spring is coming. Yesterday the boys spent some time fashioning a cross to top our old dog's grave. Marty died in the fall at age 14 - he was a chocolate lab and German shorthair mix. Very handsome and smart. A dog's life is very brief! Wyatt wrote on the cross, "Here Lies Marty." Paul added lots of XOXOXO's. We still have Digger, the big, not so smart golden retriever/lab and Callie, our little calico cat, and another grey cat we call Big Fat just because he is. They all live outside in various stages of disharmony.

Today stretches out before us with nothing to do but homeschool and practice violin. And write. I returned the page proofs to Baker Books last week and TFD will soon be on the way to the printer. Back to Red River Daughter. I've made it to page 250 before running into revisions. Till now the writing is about as tight as I can make it. It's kind of fun figuring out what to cut and what to keep at this stage. Be careful if you pray for an editor's eye! It's wonderful for critiquing your own work but it robs you of the joy of reading someone else's. I'd like a shut-off switch when I read books to get out of the editor mode and just return to being a reader.

When the acquisitions editor at Revell first read TFD, she said I had a knack for using just the right word at the right time. This is one of the things that got me through the publishing door. But I remember being so surprised and thinking, "But I struggle so for those words! When I write I often feel I am up against a dark wall and the right word is on the other side and I can't reach it."

So this quote I just found by Harper Lee means a great deal to me and maybe you, too:

There's no substitute for the love of language, for the beauty of an English sentence. There's no substitute for struggling, if a struggle is needed, to make an English sentence as beautiful as it should be.

Happy Friday.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

a lush spring

We've been hearing the frogs chirping down by our creek which is a sure sign of spring. Never mind that the creek is edged in ice and snow is still falling! Those beautiful buttercups and tulips for sale at Wal-Mart and other places remind me that winter is truly waning. I can't wait to put some flowers on the deck. My mom, bless her, bought us one of those hanging tomato planters which grows upside down or something! This is not tomato-country so we get desperate for those good Kentucky tomatoes the size of grapefruits. I remember the ones from my granny's big garden - I loved the yellow kind. We'd just eat them like apples with a little salt sprinkled on.

Today we put on our running shoes and go to town for Paul's violin lesson, run some errands, and get groceries. Not a stellar writing day. But I do have a little writing news. Last night I came across a mention of my book in the March 15th issue of Library Journal and it made me smile:) Their book editor, Barbara Hoffert, wrote: "Thousands of novels are published each year, some of them debuts that promise to be fresh, fun, and maybe even the work of our next John Grisham or Marcel Proust. That's why Library Journal lists a wide-ranging selection of forthcoming novels each season."

And there, at the bottom of the page, along with some other Christian fiction titles, was this little line: Laura Frantz. The Frontiersman's Daughter. Revell. August. (Washington). It's interesting that they include the author's state at the end. Only Washington isn't my state! Kentucky would be much better. But here I am. It's always a little startling to see your name or book in print. I'm so thankful but still a bit disbelieving. I keep waiting for the wonder to fade but it never does. And He really does get all the credit:)

I cannot live without books. -Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1815

I write for the same reason I breathe ... because if I didn't, I would die. -Isaac Asimov

Monday, March 16, 2009

prayer request

Today was one of those delicious days I'd like to do all over again. It snowed this morning, then turned sunny. The boys finished all their schoolwork. Mom finally finished all the laundry. Then I took a walk and worked on book 2 for several hours. Found a scene that would make an editor's eyes roll and fixed it. Paul finally nailed Cripple Creek/Amazing Grace/Allegretto/Flop-eared Mule on the violin/fiddle. We're having leftovers for dinner:) We are all well again! I could keep going. Not every day is so nice but today has felt spacious and unrushed and heaven-sent. I could do with a few more.

I'd be so thankful if you'd pray for my brother and his family. They left Kentucky today for Washington D.C. where they'll settle the kids with relatives before Chris and his wife, Nicia, fly to Spain on Wednesday. Their 4 children will follow in April. This is a big transition and we will really miss them. I promise to give little updates about Spain and what it's like to be a fair-haired, tattoo-sporting missionary over there. It's a good guess he'll be the only one in the country! I can't wait to hear about Spanish sunshine and food and all the rest.

Thanks, Chris, for the great pics with these posts! I'm hoping more are on the way once they're settled. Love that vintage Hardy Boys cover from the weekend! I sure appreciate any prayers and so do they.

May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other. Genesis 31:49

Saturday, March 14, 2009

the disciplined life

It's Saturday night and our house smells like hot, buttered popcorn, compliments of Paul. A perfect pairing with that old western on t.v. Wyatt is reading a Hardy Boys book - Mystery of the Flying Express, #20. Reminds me of my old Nancy Drew days:) And me - here I sit blogging! I'm coming up on the one year anniversary of this blog. Thank you readers for staying with me on this meandering journey! After 200 plus posts I'm not sure if I should go to a newsletter or just keep blogging. I think the most interesting days are right around the corner with the book's release so may keep going till then.

Paul and I spent part of today at the dress rehearsal for the symphony. His teacher is the first violin and she likes for us to come . The menu (or is that venue?) today was Hyden and Brahms with some modern stuff thrown in. There was an amazing guest cellist who is only 17 and conducted his first symphony at age 12! His father is the conductor of the Seattle Symphony so maybe that's a perk. Julian Schwartz is going to give YoYoMa a run for his money!

Anyway, I asked Mary, Paul's teacher, what she does prior to a performance (like throw-up!). She said she takes a long nap and fasts. She finds when she eats prior to playing she is mentally sluggish. She's much sharper when she's had only juice. Amen, I thought. I didn't share my revelation earlier this week. After all my fun and feasting the month of February I've had a hard time getting back on track this month. Personally, I like being undisciplined and eating and doing whatever I please but it always comes back to bite me at some point.

As I sat pondering my lack of discipline lately a little light bulb seemed to shine. My sloppy eating and exercise habits of late have begun to show up in my writing schedule, or the lack of it. So I've started walking again and eating light and the productivity doubled. Strange, huh? Being undisciplined in one area doesn't stay in one area but overlaps. Hmmm. It's a lesson I need to remember. So I guess I'll write it down here lest I forget:) It's all about leading a disciplined life.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in sch a way as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Thursday, March 12, 2009

the small boat

I just came across this little prayer and thought it very fine:

Dear God, be good to me,
the sea is so wide
and my boat is so small.
-Prayer of Breton fishermen

I like the humbleness of the words and the inherent belief that God is in charge of both the sea and the boat. My boat and your boat! As I try to make room in my life for writing and being a wife and mom and homeschooling and fiddling and church, I have to remember who's in charge.

As I learn to navigate in the writing world, my prayer has been, "Dear God, be good to me, the publishing world is so wide and my book is so small." Things can become a little overwhelming sometimes. It seems lately that I've been handed a new challenge every day. Sometimes I weather these little storms well and sometimes I feel motion sick and want to get out of the boat!

Marketing a book is a hard concept for me. Once I had a job as a telemarketer and it lasted one day! I would be the first one fired on a sales team, I'm pretty sure. Yet selling a book is part of a writer's job description. So I guess I'll be carrying bookmarks and postcards around in my purse for the next few months/years:) If I can remember that it's not me I'm promoting, but His message, then I think I can do this. If I do it for Him, then I can do anything He asks of me. Even if it rocks my boat!

For You have been a ... refuge from the storm.
Isaiah 25:4

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

hats off to hennepin!

I LOVE libraries and this week I'm saluting the Hennepin County Library in Minnesota as they've ordered 4 copies of The Frontiersman's Daughter and already have 1 request pending to read it. Lest this go to my head, they also seem to have ordered 4 copies of every book available in the nation for the next 6 months. Anyway, this library system looks huge and they like books, plus they are next door to my publisher. Thank you, Hennepin!

My own library shelf is bursting with books. There's no such thing as just stopping buying books. I simply need more shelves. Is it a terrible thing to have designs on your son's room when he is only 12? I'm already building bookcases in my mind and repainting his room and he won't leave home for another 6 years, if then. Poor Wyatt. I have visions of a library in my little house but don't know if it will ever be.

The contents of someone's bookcase are part of his history, like an ancestral portrait. -Anatole Brayard

The good book is always a book of travel; it is about a life's journey. -HM Tomlinson

I know not how to abstain from reading. -Samuel Pepys

Sunday, March 8, 2009

bookmarks and book clubs

Do any of you readers belong to a book club? Would you be interested in reading The Frontiersman's Daughter as a group? If so, I would love to join your club via conference call and talk books! I was thinking today how much I'd love to be a part of a book club which has for many years been something of a dream of mine. And now I might, Lord willing, be able to do some book club hopping at last!

I've been working on a reader's guide for book clubs interested in Lael's story. Developing the questions is really a great deal of fun but requires a lot of thought to be thought-provoking to the reader. My publisher will be posting these discussion questions on their site in future so I'm busy thinking of engaging material.

I think I've said in an earlier post how much I like bookmarks. I collect them and enjoy giving them as gifts. My publisher has just confirmed that they'll be sending me a BIG BOX of bookmarks and postcards prior to The Frontiersman's Daughter's release. Only 145 more days! That may sound like a long time but I began this blog last April and that was a long time from release date! Now it seems right around the corner close and I'm thankful.

So if you love books, are a member of a book club, or simply want to receive a bookmark and postcard from me prior to The Frontiersman's Daughter's release, I would love to get that to you. Just email me at and leave your name and mailing address. Your info will be confidential, of course. This will also enter you in the drawing for a free copy of the book come August and some unique Kentucky gifts (not grits!).

Come to think of it, I might start a book club myself. How does Joyce Bible Church Book Club sound? If you belong to a book club I'd love to hear ideas of how they're established and kept going. Also, would love to hear what books you readers are reading!

Bless you!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

bald boys

Early this morning Randy and I took the boys east toward civilization (Silverdale) to the Awana Olympics for a day of games with hundreds of other kids. Paul and Wyatt begged me to shave their heads for the occasion, thinking a lack of hair would somehow make them more fleet of foot, so I obliged and they are two very bald boys:) Wyatt won the tug of war with his team and Paul did well in a relay and now they are very tired tonight.

It was a joy to see so many families and kids come together. I was reminded of the verse of how we are to love God with all our hearts and soul and strength - these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:6-7. It was good to see families trying to live that out through Awana which is worldwide now.

We had to do the eating thing while there - Red Lobster:) I think Silverdale must have one of the biggest Barnes & Nobles on the planet and I'm both sad and relieved I didn't succumb to the temptation to walk through their doors. I was busy being derailed by deck furniture at Home Depot. When we headed back to the woods, we ran into snow! So much for deck furniture! But it was beautiful nonetheless.

Right now it's May in book 3 and Roxie's garden is burgeoning beneath all that Kentucke sunshine. No, that's not a typo. Kentucky used to be spelled Kentucke and I've been true to that in my books. I must let go of Roxie and the Falls of the Ohio now and get back to book 2 and the Red River since I'm almost finished with the page proofs for The Frontiersman's Daughter. I think I mentioned that I'm having flashes of book 4. That's how it always starts for me - just brief glimpses of characters and situations that flash like lightning and disappear quick as a summer storm. I write them down as they come to me and find that they eventually meld together and become a book. And no, I don't understand it either!

I've been in love three hundred times in my life, and all but five were with books.
-Leo Glickstein

Friday, March 6, 2009

friday night tacos

When I have a deadline, and even when I don't, this is one of our family's favorite meals. Don't be fooled by the recipe's simplicity. My 9 year old nephew who was visiting ate seven in one sitting! They're that good!

1 lb. ground beef
1-15 oz. can refried beans
thin yellow corn tortillas
vegetable oil
shredded lettuce, grated cheddar cheese, sweet chopped onion, diced tomato, etc.

Brown ground beef in large skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Add one can refried beans and mix well; simmer. Meanwhile, in small nonstick pan, add 1/2 inch vegetable oil and heat on medium-high till it sizzles when corn tortilla is added. Using tongs, fry corn tortillas one at a time in oil, a few seconds on each side. Drain on paper towels. I make a stack of tortillas to keep them warm. Tortillas should still be soft, not stiff.

To serve, place small amount of taco filing in each shell and top with toppings. Enjoy!

I have a very small, old book printed in 1911 entitled Grace Before Meals that has a prayer for each day of the year. Today's prayer for March 6 reads:

O dear Heavenly Father, who lookest down upon us in mercy and pitying love, we do thank Thee for our daily repast from Thine earthly store, for our burden is light with Thy grace. Amen.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

march winds doth blow

I love March but admit we're kind of worn down this time of year. My little fiddler has been sick though he did make it to his lesson yesterday and tried hard not to cough on his teacher. In the good old days on the Kentucky frontier and in the colonies, March was perhaps the least favorite month, per my research. After the long, lean months of mostly meat and bread and being cooped up indoors, March was known for illness. I used to wish I'd been born in the 18th-century but I doubt I would have lived beyond childhood. Through my books, I still get to go back but don't have to eat possum stew and spin flax and bathe once a year:)

Outside my windows the sun is shining and that March wind is making music with the chimes under the eaves. Time to haul all the homeschool stuff out (we took our spring break when company came) and get busy again. Paul is playing Old Joe Clark this week and learning a new bowing technique called the shuffle, perfect for square dancing. He played a Mozart duet with his teacher yesterday and it sounded heavenly to me. I wish I wasn't so musically challenged! He has his eye on the banjo next. I told him he has to get good enough fiddling to play a certain piece at my funeral (Neil Gow's Scottish Lament) and then he can take up banjo after I'm dead!

I finished reading through the pages of TFD last night and am going to start again in a few minutes. I've caught very few errors at this stage. And I stand amazed at the work involved in producing a book on the publisher's end! I don't need a Stephen King quote today. I have one of my own.

Those who criticize books have never written one. -Laura Frantz

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

read across america week

We're now into Read Across America Week and I'm so glad to be a bibliophile! I've been saving a treasure of a book by James Alexander Thom, an autographed copy of Sign-Talker. It's a fictionalized account of the adventures of George Drouillard on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which I can't seem to get enough of. Now's the time! Sometimes I dream of getting lost in Indiana and finding Thom's cabin in the hills. I think I came close last August when I got lost trying to find Locust Grove in Louisville, remember? It was the best being lost experience I've ever had!

I shouldn't be reading Thom and perusing these pages of TFD with a deadline looming but I'm learning to juggle all these books. I didn't say I liked it but I'm learning! I prefer to stay with one book at a time, but now I'm working on all three at once again. It's a little bewildering at times but The Frontiersman's Daughter is at the very end of production, Red River Daughter is being edited heavily by me before the August deadline, and I'm only 221 pages into The Scrivener's Daughter which is first draft material thus far. Stranger still, I keep having these flashes of book 4 which I welcome, but please, maybe not this soon!

Right now I am chuckling at Stephen King who said, "By the time a book is actually in print, I've been over it a dozen times or more, can quote whole passages, and only wish the #@&!? old smelly thing would go away."

See, I told you he had a sense of humor! And I'm pleased to say that I came close to that when I was a galleys slave last Christmas but this present read-through is pretty fine, thanks to the hard work in December. I'm not complaining, mind you, just reminiscing. This is all still over the rainbow stuff to me:) And He gets all the credit.

Monday, March 2, 2009

greetings from baker publishing group!

I love to get anything from my publisher as they always begin with the above greeting which seems like some sort of Biblical exhortation, at least to me! The FedEx truck arrived this morning with the actual pages of The Frontiersman's Daughter so I have a new, delightful deadline:) The end stages of production are so much fun. It is a joy to hold the book in my hands, albeit without its cover and binding, etc. I am bubbling over with thankfulness if you couldn't tell. This is all such a gift! I get to read through the novel one final time, then it is off to the printer to become a bonafide book.

Meanwhile, my poor Kentucky momma is snowed in in North Carolina with those normally snow-deprived southerners who own itty-bitty snow shovels if they own one at all. Mom left Seattle last night on a night flight and arrived in Charlotte this morning to an overflowing airport and planes parked on the tarmac. I don't know when she'll get home to Kentucky. My brother is headed to sunnier climes and leaves for Spain March 18th. Bye, Chris!

And now I'm at home with a sick son, a missing cat, and my pages. Better get busy.

This world belongs to the enthusiastic. -Emerson

To have joy one must share it. -Lord Byron

Find ecstasy in life - the mere sense of living is joy enough. - Emily Dickinson

If you want to be happy, BE. -Tolstoy

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10