Thursday, December 13, 2007

Welcome to the Family!

Please indulge my auntly pride as I introduce you to the newest member of my family. The handsome fellow relaxing in the baby barcalounger is my niece's #2 child and #1 son. His name is Dane (NOT named after Dane Cook), born Thursday, November 15 at 10:49 pm, weighing in at 8 pounds, 10 ounces, and 20 inches long. Standing at the top of his bouncy seat is big sister Jovi (NOT named after Jon Bon Jovi...are you seeing a pattern here?), who is 2-1/2 years old and very excited to be a big sister, as you can see. Jovi looks EXACTLY like my niece did at that age. Adorable, huh?

My mom now has 18 grandchildren and two--count 'em, TWO--great grandchildren! We are so very blessed.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Amazing Home Remedies

Oh, the weather outside is frightful. Well, not here anyway. It is currently 69 degrees and drizzly outside. Yesterday the high was 64; today is expected to get up in the 80s! But wait--we have a cold front expected in, so the temperatures tomorrow are expected to take a dive down to the upper 40s. BRRRR!!!! (she said with tongue firmly ensconced in cheek) Welcome to Texas weather. If you don't like it, give it a few'll change. Meanwhile, Cash is on a business trip in Kansas City. Have you seen the weather reports for KC? Ice storm warnings abound! The poor guy hates to fly anyway. Add lousy weather to the mix and pass a bottle of Scotch and he might make it back with his sanity in tact.

Have you Elfed yourself? If not, head on over to by Office Max--and have a go of it. You can elf or Scrooge yourself and add a voice too! My husband has had WAAAAAAAAAY too much fun with it. I had trouble accessing it today, so it might be a little busy. Here's the link to ours:

Finally, my very helpful brother Matt (yes, the one who's life is on the line for tickling me mercilessly as a child) sent this fabulous list of home remedies to me. Thought you might be able to use them as well.

Happy Tuesday!!

1. If you are choking on an ice cube, simply pour a cup of boiling water down your throat. Presto! The blockage will instantly remove itself.

2. Avoid cutting yourself slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold while you chop.

3. Avoid arguments with the Mrs. about lifting the toilet seat by using the sink.

4. For high blood pressure sufferers: simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure in your veins. Remember to use a timer.

5. A mouse trap, placed on top of your alarm clock, will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.

6. If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives, then you will be afraid to cough.

7. You only need two tools in life - WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD-40. If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape.

8. Remember: Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

Daily Thought: Some people are like Slinkies. They're not really good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A HOF-er Thanksgiving

So I'm a little late. I have never been accused of being timely.

If you check out Cash's blog, you'll find his post about our Thanksgiving trip to Tulsa. He gave the "Cliff Notes" version; I'm filling you in on the details and providing photographic proof that we actually went!

He mentioned that we stayed at the Radisson Hotel with Sleep Number beds. What he didn’t tell you about was the indoor waterpark. It was mostly for small children—the water was three feet at its deepest—but Little Bit had a great time, even though she’s not such the small child anymore. There were a couple of slides, a fake palm tree with water flowing out the top, water cannons and fountains of water squirting up everywhere. I never did have access to the camera while at the pool, so here are a couple of pictures from Radisson’s website:

It was pretty nifty, but those fountains made it really loud. Not pictured is the hot tub, which TOTALLY rocked! I took Little Bit down to play every evening till close. Needless to say, she slept very well.

I must say I was not impressed with the Sleep Number beds. I like to sleep on a soft mattress, so my sleep number was around 30. Basically, I just deflated my side of the bed, which kept Cash rolling onto my side of the bed throughout the night. And since I am one of those people who needs plenty of space while sleeping, it was not good. It was nice, however, to be able to try it without having to extract that large number of dollars from my wallet.

Wednesday was the Hall of Fame banquet, and it was wonderful. Cash was MC for the event and put together a great slide presentation for the three new inductees. The first inductee was someone who made an impact in BMX through industry (that could be bikes, magazines, technology, etc.), and that was Elaine Holt-Osmond. (No relation!)

I didn't get to spend much time with Elaine, but let me tell you what I already know about her: she has to be one of the SWEETEST humans to EVER grace this earth. I wish she didn’t live all the way over in sunny California so I could get to know her better in person (although it does give me an excuse to travel!!!). Elaine coined the term BMX and started a magazine called “Bicycle Motocross News”. She was involved for only four years, but her impact on the sport is still being felt today. She didn’t even know she had been nominated and wouldn’t have found out if Cash hadn’t tracked her down! Wouldn’t THAT be a cool phone call to get?

The second inductee to the BMX Hall of Fame was Dennis Dain.

From the ABA BMX website:

"Best known as the “Red Baron”, this Western Sports-A-Rama local was pilot of the world’s greatest side-hack team. During the hack era of the 70’s, Dain & Ruiz were on top, practically undefeated between the years 1975 to 1979. He was one of the original bike testers for Elaine Holt’s Bicycle Motocross News (the sport’s first newspaper). Dain was one of the first racers to be sponsored by GT, and
even had his own Dain replica frame. He also rode for Redline and was a longtime racer for ABA BMX Hall of Famer “Big Daddy” Ralph throughout most of his career. Dain was a founding member of PRO. Dennis still lives in California and works for UPS."

I got to meet Dennis and his wife Sauni, and they were kind enough to let us hang out with them for much of the weekend. They were so genuine and fun, and I really enjoyed getting to know them. Little Bit was more impressed that they live five minutes from and have season passes to Disneyland than she was about anything else. She also thought it was cool that Dennis is a fan of both Hannah Montana and Kim Possible! Instant street cred in the eyes of an eight-year-old!

The third and final inductee was Nebraska’s own Greg Grubbs.

Once again, from the ABA BMX website, because they can explain it better than I can:

"Greg was the first racer from Nebraska to make a name for his self on the national circuit. Not only was he fast, he was the hero to many racers that wore glasses and he was well known for his sense of humor. Greg started racing in 1976, turned Pro at age 15 in 1980, then won the ABA Cornhusker National in the 16 expert class, back when you could race Pro and expert in the same day. In 1981, he won 12 ABA single A races, while riding for SE Racing in the summer. He won the Jag World Championships in A Pro and Pro Open in 1981. In 1982, he was picked up by Redline and won his first race for his new sponsor in Orlando , Florida as AA Pro. He was featured on the December ‘82 BMX ACTION cover. He finished the ‘82 season as the #3 Pro behind the Patterson Bros. In 1983, Greg was dropped from Redline and began wearing a jersey that stated “FREE AGENT”. In the summer of ‘83, he was the first instructor/counselor at the Woodward Training Center along with Mike Miranda, Mike Poulson and Joe Baumert. He briefly rode for JAG BMX. He rode for Hyper BMX from mid-1984 to end of 1985, until owner Billy Farrell was killed in an auto accident. He retired in 1986. From ‘86 to ’90, he attended the University of Nebraska , where he received his B.A. in Anthropology. He made a comeback in 1990 by winning first race back as A Pro at the Mid-West Nationals. In 1991, he blew out his knee at the Mile High Nationals and retired permanently. He was the on-camera talent for the ABA BMX TV Show “Pump”. Greg currently lives in Los Angeles where he works on commercial production and works for the TV show Motocross Files."

Having worn glasses myself since the third grade, I can understand why he was such a hero to the bespectacled set! In addition to commercial production, he apparently has been working hard on his golf game. I've been told he is a single-digit handicap golfer. In case you don't know much about golf, that's REALLY REALLY good!!!

Here’s a picture after the banquet was over. Elaine, unfortunately, had to leave early, so I didn’t get a picture of her with the other HOF-ers. Good job, Cash!!! You were awesome!!!

Here’s Little Bit--isn't she just so sweet??--at the coliseum on Thanksgiving Day during practice for the races that started Friday. Dang, she has great hair. Little Bit and I sat in the stands playing with her pink Nintendo while Cash and the guys checked things out around the Grands.

Cash took this picture that same day, also at the coliseum during practice. The guy on the far left is our friend Alex from Arkansas, but his nickname is Elvis. Elvis is one of the funniest humans I’ve ever met, and he has an amazing story. Earlier this year he had a heart attack and died—yes, DIED—at work. He was revived at his desk and twice more on the way to the hospital. He now has a pacemaker to keep his heart going, and guess what he did that weekend: HE RACED! Elvis, you rock. Between Dennis & Greg is Joe Baumert, Greg’s best friend. They raced together in Nebraska when they were kids and were always ranked #1 and #2 in the state.

We had a great time in Tulsa. I loved meeting all of this year's inductees and spending the weekend with them, as well as some of our BMX teammates! Congratulations to this year's inductees and here's to next year!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Guys, This One's For You

I hate my laptop. For now, anyway. I have spent several HOURS over several DAYS trying to figure out what's wrong with it. (Hey, Katy, did you know there are people who do that for a living???? You should call one!!!) So that's at least partly why I haven't posted since last week. To quote Charlie Brown: Argh. I'm stuck using the desktop upstairs while Little Bit is at school. Not nearly as accessible as my laptop in the kitchen, which I love having so handy. Oh well. Since I don't have much to say post-wise, here is a funny for your Monday morning. Guys, I highly recommend keeping this handy. It could prove useful when your beloved just isn't herself!

Happy Monday!!!





What's for dinner?

Can I help you with dinner?

Where would you like to go for dinner?

Here, have some wine.

Are you wearing that?

Wow, you sure look good in brown!

WOW! Look at you!

Here, have some wine

What are you so worked up about?

Could we be overreacting?

Here's my paycheck.

Here, have some wine.

Should you be eating that?

You know, there are a lot of apples left.

Can I get you a piece of chocolate with that?

Here, have some wine.

What did you DO all day?

I hope you didn't over-do it today.

I've always loved you in that robe!

Here, have some wine .

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Another Video???

Please, indulge me just one more!!!! I am still getting back into the swing of things after our week in Oklahoma, and I'm still working on my post about our Thanksgiving travels. My sister sent this one to me, and I think you'll get a kick out of it. For whatever reason when I click on the video to play it, I keep getting a pop-up window about navigating away from this page. If you get the same pop-up, click "cancel" and the video will play without a hitch.

Have a good laugh and a good Tuesday!

Monday, November 26, 2007

I'm Having a Meltdown!!!!

Hey all! We are back from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where we spent most of last week celebrating Thanksgiving with friends and fellow BMXers. I have some pictures from the Hall of Fame banquet that I'll post this week. But for now, since Becky asked, here is Steve Taylor's "Meltdown (at Madame Tussaud's). See if you can guess who plays the part of the news reporter. If you miss her during her first shot, don't worry...there's a close-up later on in the video.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

More Video

My blogger buddy Jenster posted a Barlow Girl video on her blog today. Barlow Girl is one of my favorite bands, and these girls really know how to rock! Go check out the video for their song "Grey" from their CD "Another Journal Entry". If you get a chance to listen to--BUY--the CD, it's well worth it. Not a bad song in the mix!

In continuing with favorite music videos, I am posting one from a favorite singer from the 80s-90s. Maybe you have heard of Steve Taylor...maybe not. He wasn't someone that was played regularly on Christian radio stations, but certainly not because he wasn't any good. His music pretty much defies classification. But regardless of his style, he always made his point. To get his point, you had to be a little clued in on current events. I always felt like my IQ shot up about 150 points whenever I listened to one of his albums (and believe me, my IQ needed the boost!). This song is called "Lifeboat", and there's a brief synopsis of the song and how it came to be.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, for your listening and viewing pleasure, I give you Steve Taylor.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

TAG! I'M IT!!!

Hey everyone out there in Blogworld! I have been MIA this week because of a couple of things. First, I've been reading a REEEEEALY great book and haven't wanted to put it down! And second, my Little Bit has had an awful cough due to allergies, and we've all been through the ringer as a result. She's starting to improve--I think--and just in time for Thanksgiving vacation. Our school gives us the entire week off next week, so we're heading up to Tulsa, Oklahoma for the BMX Hall of Fame Induction for 2007 and the Grand Nationals. I'm taking my laptop with me, so I'll not be quite so absentee.

Becky over at Stuck in Frump (don't you love that title?!) has tagged me! I'm so excited--my first game of online tag! WOO HOO! I am to tell you 7 random things about me. Before we proceed, let me warn you: This may be more information about me than you ever wanted to know. Ready? Alrighty then.

1. I can't sleep on my hair.

I have tried and tried and tried to not be so persnickety about this, but if I lie down on my back with my hair underneath my neck and back, I will be up all night. I can stand it only about 5 minutes max, then I have to lift it up and out of the way. It drives me nuts. I know...freak of nature.

2. I don't like to tell people what kind of car I drive.

And yet, some--even most--of you know! The reason is because of people's reactions to this kind of car. Reactions range from "wow, that's an awesome car!" to "who did you have to sleep with to get THAT?" I actually had a former Bunko buddy suddenly turn cold toward me when she found out what kind of car I have. Yes, I know that how other people react is not my's theirs. But I would just rather not have to deal with that kind of thing, so if I can avoid saying anything about it, I do.


Sorry for that outburst. Back to my randomness.

3. I like the AC vents in my car aimed at my neck.

I may be a freak of nature, but this one is pretty logical...for me, anyway. If it's blowing above my neck, it's blowing in my face and dries out my contacts, thus making driving a dangerous prospect. If it's blowing below my neck, it doesn't cool me off. The AC blowing at my neck is perfect.

And when I add the seat heaters...aaaahhhh!!! Nirvana...

4. I've always wished I could sing.

Those of you who attended high school with me may be thinking about now, "Uh, so you were in choir for three years...why?" Oh I can sing...I can carry a tune without the help of a bucket. I can even harmonize at times. But I can't SING. Jana, my friend from high school, can SING. My friend Pam has two incredibly beautiful and talented daughters who can SING. I can sing, but no one is beating down my door demanding I sing the National Anthem at the next Dallas Cowboys game. This bothered me for many years until I realized that, if God had blessed me with that talent, I would be required to use it in front of a lot of people, and that just isn't my thing. I took piano lessons for eight years, where I discovered that performing for others--even an audience of one in a competition--is horrifying for me. As I sat down at the piano, my hands would start to shake, my stomach would churn, and none of it would quit till long after I was done with my piece and back home for quite some time. I never got used to it. So even though I wish I was a better singer,
God clearly knew what He was doing, and I'm at peace with the fact that I'm not.

The people who sit around me at church, however, may not be quite so at peace with this as I am.

5. I am severely athletically challenged.

I may be the world's most fabulous fan, but when it comes to athletic performance, I am not your guy. I tried basketball in junior high and played probably two, maybe three times the entire season. The coach put me in purely out of pity. I was on the JV volleyball team in ninth grade, and I was okay. My teammates may have something else to say about that, but I could get the ball over the net. Isn't that the objective of the game? I would've played softball if we had had a team. It is the next best thing to baseball, after all. Perhaps that's why I love sports...because the athletes can do something I never could.

I can, however, whistle so loud your ears bleed.

6. I hate being tickled.

Did I say hate? I meant DESPISE!!!! Getting tickled is something I just cannot, WILL NOT, tolerate. Just the thought of it gives me the yippies. I was the youngest (and most adorable) of seven kids, and my brothers were merciless ticklers. They would sit on me and pin my arms down to my sides so that I was helpless, then poke me in the chest till I was beyond miserable. I would be screaming at the top of my lungs, begging them to stop, pleading for mercy, and neither of my parents ever did a thing about it. Not even so much as a "Please stop whatever it is you're doing to her just so she'll shut up!" (Hang that I think about it, Matt was the only one who did that. Matt, if you're reading this, run for your life while you can!) These days any time someone even attempts to tickle me, he/she gets threatened within an inch of his/her life. Fair warning is given, so anything I do in self-defense is permissible, well-deserved, and I will NOT feel guilty about any bodily injury. Needless to say that attempt is not made often because I will follow through on my threat.

7. I hate to cook but love to bake.

You would think that someone who majored in Home Economics in college might actually enjoy cooking, but not me! I hate it. I hate the planning, I hate the prep, I hate the mess, I hate the clean-up, I really hate it all. One of my favorite cookbooks is Peg Braken's "The Compleat I Hate To Cook Book". It's probably out of print by now (it was one of my mom's favorites too) but if you can find a copy, it's worth having if only because the author is such a riot. If you hate to cook, you will feel like you've found your soulmate with her. All her recipes involve just a few ingredients and minimal effort. I love her. And I do have a few recipes that I love and make me appear to be a genius in the kitchen, but they are few and far between. Baking, however...THAT'S another story. Baking involves "Happy Food"--cakes, cookies, pies, cupcakes--that makes people happy. While cooking involves survival, baking is celebrations. Cooking is fuel to get through the day; baking is the grand finale that leaves a smile on your face (there's a reason it's called "Better Than Sex Cake"). I mean really...who could POSSIBLY say no to Coca Cola Cake, Chewy Chocolate Cookies with Reese's Peanut Butter Chips, Peanut Butter Cookies with Hershey Kisses in the middle, Nestle's Tollhouse Cookies, Lemon Meringue Pie, Pecan Pie, French Silk Pie, Peach Cobbler...I could go on forever! Wouldn't you rather have one of those delicious delectables instead of eggplant? Brussel sprouts? Turnips? Notice I'm only mentioning veggies? A good filet mignon could supplant dessert, but it would have to be reeeeeealy good! Notice also that I'm a member of NutriSystem...enough said.

So those are my seven random things! Thanks again, Becky, for including me in the game! I am now tagging:

1. Misty
2. Cash
3. Shawn (this could be your first post!)
4. Dan (if you ever get one going!)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The HOFFER is a Blogger!!!

One more thing: my husband Cash--affectionately known around here as THE HOFFER because of his Hall of Fame status--decided I was having way too much fun blogging and decided to take the plunge into the Blogosphere! Check out Cash Flows when you have a few minutes. He already has a couple of posts!

Need Some Inspiration?

If you are in need of a lift today, go to to see a great video of a special little kid. It takes about 10 minutes or so to watch, and it's worth every minute. What a fabulous story, and what an amazing kid. Warning: you can't watch this video without Kleenex!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Birthday Food!!!

I know you all have been DYYYYYYING to hear how I spent the rest of my birthday. It's okay, you can admit it. But first I need to mention that I have been TAGGED! Becky from Stuck in Frump has nabbed me for a game of online tag. I am putting my finishing touches on my seven random things and will be posting my randomness for all to see soon. Thanks for including me, Becky!

And now , my birthday saga continues…

After the trip to the Witte Museum, my daughter and I came home and rested up a bit. Okay, she rested up a bit…I took a two-hour nap! After our very early start to the day and spending much of that time on my feet, I was ready for some quiet and sleep. Besides, I had to be well-rested for my birthday dinner. And to my way of thinking, there isn’t much that’s better than a birthday meal.

If I haven’t made this clear yet, I love to eat. I especially love Saturdays because it’s my “free” day to eat whatever I want without guilt. Birthdays are the same as a Saturday: guilt-free eating. I don’t need a party, I don’t need a lot of presents, I don’t even need a lot of friends around…I just want a really good meal and a really good dessert. Past years have included Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (pretty much the ONLY place I’ll eat without considering dessert first) and Roy’s Restaurant, but this year we did something a little different.

So have you been to The Melting Pot? I hadn’t…till my birthday. Oh man, was it gooooooooooooooood!!!! The Melting Pot is a fondue restaurant. I thought fondue was either cheese or chocolate, but there was much more.

It was just my husband and me—there was no way my picky eight-year-old was going to eat there—so we head to the restaurant and walk in to some of the most delectable smells you could ever imagine. What it was I didn't know, but I was certain it was divine. The restaurant looked pretty much like most restaurants, but was almost exclusively booths instead of tables. The hostess seated us at a booth then shut the door. IT WAS SO COOL: A ROOM TO OURSELVES!!! On the table were two things: a vase full of striped roses from my husband—they look like peppermints!—and a cooktop burner with a double-boiler sitting on it. My husband ordered a beer for him and a glass of wine for me.

Now, if you’ve read my posts before (and if you haven't, click here) or know me very well at all, you already know that alcohol really isn’t my thing. I prefer dessert to a hangover. However, a good merlot is about the only possible exception to this rule. The one he ordered for me was called a “Ménage a trois”. No, I am not kidding, and yes, it was good for me. We did have our own room, after all.

The rest of the meal was great, even if I did have to cook it myself. The appetizer course was a cheese mixture with garlic, beer and a mixture of different cheeses. The waiter put everything into a double-boiler of sorts and heated it up on the cooktop till it melted. We were given bread chunks, some veggies and granny smith apples to dip. Surprisingly, the apples were my favorite. After the cheese came the salads. As with alcohol, salads just aren’t my “thing”. The lettuce used in most salads is iceberg, which I hate. It's basically crunchy water and a waste of stomach space I could be saving for dessert. If I’m going to eat a salad, it’s going to be a hearty one…it has to have about three pounds each of meat and cheese added to it, or it’s not worth eating. I had the Athenian salad: iceberg lettuce, red bell pepper slices soaked in olive oil, Kalamata olives, parmesan cheese and some kind of amazing dressing. It was without question the BEST salad I’ve EVER eaten. I could’ve stopped right there and died with a smile on my face, but there was more! We were given a plate of meat—paradise on a platter!—to cook in a broth with various herbs, spices and other things. Oh, yeah, we had a few veggies, but I skipped those. Dessert was chocolate and caramel flamed with pecans added. We dipped rice krispy treats, marshmallows covered with Oreo or graham cracker crumbs, a small slice of cheesecake, bananas, strawberries…need I say more? Decadent was the word for the night.

As if that weren’t enough, so that my daughter could celebrate with me as well, we went to Bennigan’s for lunch on Saturday (birthdays usually last a week at my house). I had a Monte Cristo sandwich, and if you’ve been paying attention, you already know what I had for dessert. That’s right, Death by Chocolate. What a way to go.

I’m absolutely certain I have gained 10 pounds just talking about all the food I’ve eaten, so this seems like a good place to end. And no, there wasn't more food that I could talk about anyway. I considered making myself a Coca Cola Cake (a family favorite around here), but decided I had better not. I'm waiting for another weekend to do that!!! :-) So that puts the wraps on my fun birthday!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Halloween Happenings

Some people really like Halloween. They celebrate the entire month of October and go all out with decorations, costumes, and goodies. I am not one of those people. We did the trick-or-treat thing till I was in 6th grade when Halloween suddenly became evil and all I got to do instead was go to church and listen to a sermon. Hmmm...dress up in costume with my friends and get lots of candy, or sit quietly in a church listening to a, I am so conflicted (she said, dripping with sarcasm). Needless to say I wasn't too happy about it. But there weren't a lot of other options for kids back in "those days", so I was pretty excited when I became a parent and my daughter had other options. These days, I don't have a problem with anyone else doing the Halloween thing, but I don't like all the scary stuff. Fortunately for us, there's plenty to do.

I don't know about the Sonic Drive-Ins where you live, but the ones here in Austin serve all-you-can-eat corn dogs and ice cream for 50 cents each. You can still get other menu items, but for me it's all about the the 50-cent foods. I had 3 corn dogs. YUM. Afterwards we still head over to church, but this time it's for the Fall Festival, where the kids can play games, win prizes, join in a cake walk, ride a barrel name it. It's a huge deal and seems to get bigger each year. So I am now going to attempt posting some pictures from our October 31st.

This is how I would love for my daughter to be seen all the time. Precious, beautiful, she truly is my princess and the sweetest girl on earth. She's dressed as Princess Aurora, or Sleeping Beauty.

Ah, but looks can be deceiving! These are how she really is. Isn't she goofy???? She cracks me up. With every pretty picture I get, I also get about five silly ones. Allow me to introduce you to Opera Girl, Princess Terror and Princess Thinks-She's-In-Charge-Alot.

And these are her "glass slippers" (and yes, I know I'm mixing fairy tales.). If you only knew how FILTHY these things are. It's best that you don't, but I do. Ewww.

These are some action photos of the festival. First, backwards beanbag toss. She got in two out of three! Impressive!

Then the original version of Frogger. The "frog" is supposed to land on a small platform. It did not.

Here she is trying to hit ping pong balls into little buckets. Her aim is not good.

This is her favorite...the Fishers of Men station. The blue thing I CLEARLY neglected getting into the picture is a screen with fish painted all over it. Behind the screen are volunteers putting candy onto the "hooks" (they're really binder clips).

And finally, the Princess and the Queen. The headband I'm wearing is a bunch of candles spelling out "Happy Birthday". Yes, I was a birthday cake. I'm SO all about the food.

Princess Aurora declared this year to be "The Best Halloween EVER!!!" I know I had a good time.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

October Baseball

Once again, the Boston Red Sox have risen to the top of the baseball world and were crowned CHAMPIONS on Sunday night. The Colorado Rockies, in spite of how well they played, were swept under the rug in only four games. I was actually pulling for the Rockies in Game 4, simply because I wanted the Series to go on for a few more days, as well as see Josh Beckett pitch ONE MORE TIME this season. It would also have been nice for the Sox to win it at home instead of on the road. It was a reasonable hope, given the Rockies had 45 come-from-behind victories this year, a pretty incredible feat in and of itself. But alas, it was not to be. So congrats to both teams for winning their respective league pennants, and to the Red Sox for winning it all!

Baseball is my favorite sport, but things didn't start out that way. I grew up in a family of football fans. As I mentioned in a previous post, I watched the Dallas Cowboys during their heyday when Tom Landry was coach, Roger Staubach was QB, and they were considered not only America's Team but God's Team. Ah, those were the days...except they never did beat the Steelers in the Super Bowl. Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann, Franco Harris...I hated them. In spite of how good those guys were, I despised them. I was and still am a Cowboys fan through and through. The hard part for me about being a Dallas fan in those days? Riding to school with Steeler fans. The morning after the last time Pittsburgh beat Dallas in the Super Bowl was the worst. The Steelers at that time were 4-0 when playing in the Super Bowl, and the kids I carpooled with were not mere Steeler fans...their dad was a former Steeler player. They didn't have to say a word about the game, they just rode to school, quietly staring out the window. still stings. (Yes, Charlie and Beverly, if you're reading this, I'm talking about you!)

In the midst of all this great football, I started going to Texas Rangers baseball games. It was my payment for babysitting for my sister. She really got a bargain, but I learned to love baseball. Texas rarely won, but Texas had some fabulous players that were heroes: Buddy Bell, Steve Buschell, Jim Sundberg...the list goes on.

To this day I still love baseball. In my opinion, it is THE all-American sport. There is something beautiful and poetic about a 6-4-3 double play that mere words cannot describe. And while summertime baseball is beautiful, October baseball is amazing. October baseball is an all-together different level of play, and it is awe-inspiring.

I say awe-inspiring, and yet I have never personally experienced post-season play with the Rangers. To see fans at a baseball game wrapped up in coats, gloves, hats, etc., is a foreign concept, something strange and wonderful never experienced in Texas, a truly miraculous event that I get down on my knees and beg God to give to the Rangers. This team is in a league of its own, and I don't mean that in a good way. Let me explain: first you have the farm teams--A Ball, AA Ball, AAA Ball; then there's the Rangers, then there's the rest of major league baseball. The Rangers are the final stepping stone before making it to baseball greatness. Lest you should think me completely out of my mind, do the names Slammin' Sammy Sosa, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, or Alex "A-Rod" Rodriguez ring a bell? All three of these guys played for Texas before going on to bigger and better teams. Sammy Sosa ran head-to-head with Mark McGwire in 1998 to see who would break Roger Maris's home run record. Pudge Rodriguez, a huge fan favorite, was about to be traded when a "SAVE PUDGE" campaign throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex kept him on the team. He was traded a few years later and has won two World Series since leaving the Rangers (Florida Marlins and Detroit Tigers). Alex Rodriguez--if you pay ANY attention to baseball, you know what's going on with him. The salary he commands boggles the mind. And yet, my poor hapless Rangers remain in the cellar, barely seeing daylight. It's the curse of a Rangers fan.

Thankfully my secondary team--the Red Sox--has what it takes to make it to the championship game. And while some fans see the Sox as the second coming of the Evil Empire (sorry folks, that honor has been reserved for the Yankees), vacationing with friends up on Cape Cod has made me a bit of a Red Sox devotee. The Rangers are still "my" team (perhaps at this point out of pure pity), but I am excited that Red Sox won the Series this year. After all, as Rangers fans eternally cry out, there's always next year.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Of God and Field Trips

I started my birthday off very early by showering and getting ready for the 3rd grade field trip to the Witte (pronounced “witty”) Museum in San Antonio. Most school mornings I just throw on almost anything that isn't pajamas to take my daughter to school, then come home and get ready for my day. But God had been busy and once again made sure I was available to go on this field trip, so I had to get up early and be sure I was relatively presentable so as to not scare away the rest of the civilized world. He has done this every year since she started school, and I haven’t missed a long-distance field trip with my daughter since 1st grade. Usually I’m not even signed up to go, but inevitably someone is unable to go, and I have always been available. The first time this happened was for a trip to the San Antonio Zoo. A few days before the trip I had an overwhelming sense that my daughter was going to have some kind of crisis while on this field trip and would need me. Nothing really major, mind you, but I just knew she was going to need me there. So as I started trying to figure out a way to go on this field trip, someone emailed me saying she was unable to go and could I could fill in. Of course I jumped at the chance, and the zoo was a great trip. And yes, my daughter did encounter a minor crisis and I was able to be there for her. God sure knows what He's doing. Okay, time for a slight pause.

Let me add here, in case I’ve never mentioned it, that we live in Austin, which is about an hour or so north of San Antonio. Both cities are full of history related to the Texas battle for independence, and San Antonio is a great place for all-day-away-from-school field trips. As for Austin, it's not only the state capitol, it’s a lovely place to live and a lot of fun. When I was at my reunion and my friends asked where I was living these days, I would tell them “Austin” and the reaction was exactly the same from person to person: a wistful look, a slight sigh, followed by “Oh man, don’t you just love it there?” Suffice to say that Austin is a pretty cool place to live, even if it is a bit weird. But that’s another post. Okay, back to our regularly scheduled program.

In 2nd grade, the kids at my daughter's school study Texas history, and there were two field trips I was dying to take: the Alamo and the trip to Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park, which is where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed. When signing up for class volunteer activities, I saw that these two trips were filled up. I planned on driving my car on both trips, simply because I just wanted to go. But once again, I ended up filling in for someone who had to drop out last minute on each trip and rode on the bus with my daughter for both trips. For the trip to the Witte Museum, a classmate’s mother mentioned to me how her son seems to think I make it to every single field trip. I think I can understand why!

So the Witte Museum turned out to be a great way to spend my birthday. It’s a good mix of interesting DNT exhibits (“DNT” means “do not touch”) as well as one whole building full of hands-on stuff. The kids enjoyed the HEB Science Treehouse the most, as they had just completed a study on simple machines. There was a sky cycle that many of the kids rode—strapped in by harnesses, over a net, riding on a very heavy wire. My daughter loved playing with the pulleys. I think the biggest hit was getting to be “on TV”. There was an exhibit that showed how meteorologists report the weather on TV. The kids would stand in front of a green screen but could see themselves across the room on TV with the weather information behind them. There was also some green fabric that answered my question as to how Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak was filmed. We saw a dinosaur exhibit--and what kid doesn't like dinosaurs?--and a real mummy. Ancient cultures are the history topics for 3rd grade, and I thought it neat when the classes mummified a chicken. The boys thought it was cool; the girls were grossed out. At any rate, this field trip was very applicable for the kids and covered things they had just studied so that these things became very real to them. It was really cool. One added bonus for me: I got to chat with one of the other parents during the trip and found out we grew up right across town from each other, even graduated the same year! We had much to talk about, and it was great fun.

Right before we left, my daughter wanted to get something from the museum gift shop. When she went after the Webkinz, I had to put my foot down. No way was she going to get yet another Webkinz at gift shop prices, even if it WAS her own money! So she bought some polished rocks, a key chain and a plastic ring. She was, for the most part, pretty happy about her purchases.

I would love to tell you more about my birthday, but this is longer than I thought it would be. So more next time on the rest of my birthday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Happy Birthday to me (on Thursday),
Happy Birthday to me (on Thursday),
Happy Birthday, dear meeeeeeeeeeeeeee (on Thursday),
Happy Birthday to me (on Thursday)!!!

And what am I doing on my birthday? Taking a field trip with a bunch of 3rd graders. Uh, what is wrong with this picture?


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Reunion Wrap-up, Part Deux

I've received lots of responses, most via email, to my last post, and amazingly enough, all of it was positive. So thanks everyone for chiming in. And I did hear from Sandy, so we are once again connected. WOO HOO!!! As at our 20-year reunion, I was once again impressed with how many of you guys married up and how lovely and wonderful your wives are. Frankly, I'm a bit befuddled by it all. You guys have sales skills I never knew about.

My mind is still reeling from ALL the events of the weekend--not just my grand-scale humiliation--and I have some thoughts to share with specific people. Forgive me if I don't include everyone...

Louisa--you are my second greatest regret. I so wish you had been able to come. I plan to check in with you around Thanksgiving as we are definitely coming to Oklahoma. Cash has the opportunity to see his secret crush at a shin-dig in Tulsa and he refuses to miss out. Imagine that! See you in November, friend.

Jamie--thank you for being you. Love the ponytail. Your wife is awesome. So I've inspired you to blog, have I? That could mean one of two things: either you liked what I wrote and want to "go and do likewise", or you thought what I wrote sucked and you think you can do better. I'm going to assume the former and be happy with that. The nice thing about blogging is that Pam Pack and Kate Turabian have absolutely no input.

Bob--you are a riot. I am so glad you and Heidi came Saturday night. It wouldn't have been nearly as fun without you. I also couldn't have gotten through The Revelation without your "help". I owe you. Congrats again on #4.

Dan--Dude, you rock! I have all your albums!!! I have had so much fun reconnecting with you and getting to know your fantastic family. Cheryl is wonderful, and your girls are a joy. I look forward to many more years of professional sporting events, Steve Taylor listening parties, and rubber-band shooting. I NEED MORE COWBELL!

Sandy--YEA!!!! I am so excited to hear from you!!! I promise to do better at staying in touch.

Doug--I talked to Cash about the bike stuff. He said if you pedal really fast and steer around them you won't end up in the trees. And just to ease your conscience, I have completely forgiven you for forgetting we went to the Junior-Senior banquet together. Teresa is wonderful...tell her to call me when she's in town and can do lunch.

Craig--no need to worry about me showing up unannounced at your front door. I've come to terms with things and the torch I've carried all these years is more like a Bic lighter these days. Thanks for being such a good sport and taking it so well. Oh, yeah, Happy Birthday!

Hunter--you have a daughter named Katy and she's really really really smart. It just can't get any better than that! Your wife is precious...she's coming to stay with me for some time. I'll call you when I decide to give her back.

Dana--I am so glad you came! I have missed your sweet smile over the years.

Jana--I'm so bummed you didn't/couldn't make it!!!! Yes, I still live in Austin, but we have moved since you last stopped in to see us. Lucky for you, we’re closer to town. Come see us when you're here in April.


Julia--thanks for the offer (all of them) of your guest room. I just might take you up on that some day. It was good to see you. Thanks for the giggles.

Libby—have I ever told you that you make me think of Jackie O? Please take that as the compliment it was intended to be. I still laugh about you giving me grief about kissing Matt. You are so cool. Glad you’re back in Texas.

Mike--I'm stunned...I had no idea you had a crush on me, but apparently I was the ONLY ONE who DIDN'T know (I'm feeling Craig’s pain here.) I guess, however, the one date we had didn't live up to the hype of the crush. Sorry to disappoint you. ;-)

And last but certainly not least:


Now for those of you who gave me all that grief for drinking WATER while the rest of you were consuming tasty adult beverages, please allow me to elaborate.

For me, liquid consumption is a matter of practicality rather than entertainment. I drink because I am thirsty. Most tasty adult beverages require too much effort to enjoy. Beer tastes like what it looks like, and tequila always requires a tongue-shaving the morning after. And believe me, those nicks and cuts just aren't worth the effort. Alcoholic beverages I do enjoy are the ones with the little umbrellas in them, and the cost is just stupid. I can pay $8 for a Bailey's on the rocks, or I can have the whole bottle for $15. (Do I sound like Ford here?) If I have the option of picking either a dip cone or a daiquiri, without hesitation I will take the dip cone every time. Without question I would choose flan over a top shelf margarita. I would rather have Carino's chocolate cake (the one that's heated up with the little toffee flakes in it...mmmmm) a la mode over a Coors Light, Coca Cola Cake over Bud light, peach cobbler instead of Michelob, and a batch of chocolate-Reese's peanut butter chip cookies over anything. Give me liberty, or give me Bennigan's Death by Chocolate. I can't think of a better way to go.

One more thing: Craig has requested that witty banter be volleyed back and forth via email. It gives him something to do while wiling away the hours at work. Dan, Ford, Bob, can one of you be in charge of this?

TCA class of '82, you are awesome! My life would be so different without you all in it. Thanks to everyone for the impact you have made in my life. See you in five years if not sooner!!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ramble, Ramble till we're blue, We're the Class of '82!

Sorry to be delayed in posting the events from this past weekend. I know you all have been waiting anxiously to hear about it...all two of you. ;-) So here goes.

This weekend was my 25-year high school reunion. I attended a small private school (it was small back then, anyway) in the Dallas area, and our graduating class was a whopping 42 people. The title of my post was our class motto. Don't ask me what "rambling"'s been too many years. All I know is that you know it when you're doing it. However, it would be much better explained by some of my guy friends. Any volunteers?

From all outward indicators, it was a fabulous weekend. There were a lot of people that I hadn't seen in several years, and it was good to see them all. My biggest regret: I missed seeing my friend Sandy. She was one of my best friends in high school, and I wish I had been better about keeping in touch with her. She came to the first night of the reunion only, and she left before I got there. Sandy, if you're out there reading this, I MISS YOU! And no, I didn't just fall off the edge of the earth again. Your email server considers me to be spam. (Go ahead, Python fans, sing out!) Too many emails with the same subject line, I think. You would think I would learn to pick up the phone and call. If you fix the email thing, I would love to hear from you.

From my perspective, there were two huge questions that dominated the weekend: 1) Where's Phillip? and 2) Who was your secret crush? We still don't know the answer to the first question, but I left him a message on his answering machine letting him know just how unhappy I am, as well as an email in his Inbox. We'll see what kind of excuse he has for missing out. As for the second question, well, that was a question I would have preferred unanswered. It's a funny story, in spite of my great humiliation. Some of the names are being changed to protect the innocent or those who just shouldn't be identified.

Friday night, I went out with three friends after the Homecoming football game (which my team won decisively...was it 62-0?) to continue catching up. Someone posed The Question, and my girlfriend Lisa (a.k.a, The Great Keeper of Secrets) spilled the beans as to who my big crush was (thank you very little). After the class had dinner together Saturday night, there were six of us who decided to continue the party at a burger place across the street from where we had dinner. One of those people was Bob, who had been at the table with me the night before when my big secret had been revealed. Also sitting at the table was a classmate who, after consuming large quantities of liquid courage, decided to bare his soul and inform another classmate that he had been carrying a torch for her for 29 years. The Torchbearer's good friend--we'll call him Craig because, well, that's his name--was ecstatic that this was done, because he had been hearing about it for lo these past 29 years and had grown just a little bit weary of it. The Torchbearer's good friend was also my secret crush that I had had since he walked in the classroom door in 7th grade.

After the discussion about the Torchbearer and the Object of his Affection had run its course, the conversation then took a turn in my direction when Craig--a.k.a., my secret crush--wants to know just who my secret crush is. Surprisingly enough, I had actually given consideration as to whether or not I would ever tell him. It had become a topic of conversation with my 8-year-old daughter last year when she asked me if I had ever had a crush on anyone. I told her yes, but I didn't want to tell her who. She is another Not-So-Great Keeper of Secrets, so that little tidbit of information would be out at the most embarrassing moment possible (which is not too far off from what actually occurred Saturday night). I had decided there was no real good reason to ever speak of my secret crush, so when Craig put me on the spot, I panicked just a bit. Here's how the conversation ensued:

Craig: So Katy, who was your secret crush?

Me (panicking and trying to stall while still appearing calm): You really want to know who my crush was?

Craig: Yes.

Me (closes eyes and shakes head no):

Craig (starts guessing): Was it Joe?

Me: NO, he was too mean.

Craig: Was it Fred?

Me: NO! I mean, nothing against Fred, but no.

Craig: Well, he sure had a crush on you.

Me (brightening): He did??? Really?

Craig: Oh, yeah.

Me: Wow...who knew.

At this point, Bob decides to jump in and give Craig a little help.

Bob: Craig, I'm going to help you out here. (gesturing with fork in Craig's direction) Think lower football number...think shorter...think...the person I'm pointing my fork at right NOW.

Me (cringing and hoping beyond all hope that last clue wasn't a dead giveaway) Ouch.

Craig: Me?

Don't ask me what kind of expression Craig had on his face...I couldn't look. He was thoroughly surprised, however.

Craig: You're kidding. I had no idea. Why didn't you ever say something?

Me: Well, it's not exactly the kind of thing you just walk up & say, "By the way, just thought you should know..." Besides, I figured out that I'm way too old for you. (Craig's wife is five years younger.)

Bob: Wow, Craig, I can't remember the last time I've seen you blush like that.

So there you have great humiliation. Fortunately, Craig didn't run out of the restaurant screaming...well, not very loud, anyway. It was pretty funny to watch it all unfold, even if it was at my expense. I have more thoughts to share, but they will come another day.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

God's Perfect Timing

I've been a little quiet for the past few days...partly because I'm still relishing in the fact that two--COUNT 'EM, TWO!!!--of my favorite authors stopped by and commented on my blog. But I've also had a lot going on and have a lot coming up. But I have a cool story to share about how great God is and what He did this week.

I am the Queen of Good Intentions. You would not believe what a nice person I am, at least in my head. I have plans to bless others out the wazoo, but so much of it never comes to fruition. My follow-through stinks. Not only that, but I am also the Princess of Procrastinators, especially when it's something I dread doing. Recently I had promised my newish neighbor that I would bring a meal over after her daughter's eye surgery. Guess what...I FORGOT! I felt awful about it, and I knew I had to make things right. I kept putting it off, however, because I don't know my neighbor very well and wasn't sure how she would react. I finally sucked it up yesterday and MADE myself go take a casserole and some cookies over as a peace offering. I prayed and prayed that God would give me the words to say, that I hadn't done irreparable damage (I don't know what her spiritual status is), and that He would be glorified. I'm standing at her door, wanting to get this over with yet kind of hoping she won't be home. Not only was she home, she had company. It can't get any worse.

She lets me in and I start babbling my apology. She is very sweet, tells me not to worry about it, and that the baby is doing well. I show her my peace offering, and she is very excited. She says (and this is the way cool part), "Wow, I was just wondering what I was going to do for dinner. The kitchen is pretty torn up because of the work we're having done, so this is perfect." Isn't that cool? God's timing is perfect even when I procrastinate! GOD, YOU ROCK!!!

I am off till probably Sunday or Monday. I will be leaving tomorrow afternoon for Dallas for my 25-year high school reunion. I am very excited. No, really, I am! I'll tell you all about it when I get back. I might even try to post some pictures!

Have a great weekend, all!

Monday, October 8, 2007

A Frustrated Reader No More!--The Sequel

When I saw Deb's post last Friday over at The Daily B about it being all my fault, I was very flattered. (Thanks for mentioning me, Deb, and how are you enjoying The Guy I'm Not Dating?) She said I got her thinking about--or rather, rethinking--her favorite books and authors. I couldn't tell her mine, however, because it would mess up my post for today.

I had originally made this one post, but it got too long (translation: I talk too much), so I split it up so as not to overwhelm. So here is my list of my favorite authors, in no particular order (click on each name to go to their website):

  1. Francine Rivers: "This announcement was brought to you by the U.S. Department of Redundancy Department." This one IS just a given, isn’t it? This is no slight to anyone else, but she is THE standard bearer in Christian fiction. There’s Francine Rivers, then everyone else. She is flat out amazing. She can also be very intense, some of her books more so than others. In addition to Redeeming Love (which is in development to be made into a movie, in case you hadn't heard), I have also read The Scarlet Thread, And The Shofar Blew (cried the entire last third of the book), and her Mark of the Lion series. If you haven’t read this series, talk to me first. There are a few things you should know before you start reading it. Many thanks to my friend Jenster over at Jenster's Musings who helped me get through it! Having said all that, Francine Rivers is one author I have NEVER regretted reading.
  2. Deeanne Gist: You know, even if Dee weren’t such a good author, she is such a blast to hang out with in cyberspace! I LOVE Dee, AND her books are wonderful! She has three so far, all historical romances, and I have loved all three: A Bride Most Begrudging, The Measure of a Lady, and Courting Trouble. All of her books are fun and will make you laugh. (Her hero in Lady made me think of Tom Selleck.) Her characters have depth and are very realistic and relatable. If you have never been to Dee’s website, you are missing out. Her blog is very active, as is her new discussion board…you can tell she loves getting to know her readers. It was the highlight of my month when I won an autographed copy of her latest book! WOO HOO!!!!
  3. Robin Lee Hatcher: Robin’s books are just lovely. Her stories have a very deep emotional feel to them, and God’s grace is a common theme in all of them. The stories start softly or at a low point and crescendo like a magnificent piece of music. I always end up heaving a HEAVY SIGH when I read her books. She’s an established author and has written many books, of which I have read Catching Katie (my favorite), Speak to Me of Love (a very close 2nd place!), Loving Libby, Trouble in Paradise and Return to Me. In Return to Me she did a brilliant job retelling the story of the prodigal son (daughter, in this case) in a modern-day setting. All her books have been wonderful. She also has a great blog that is very thought-provoking and well worth visiting.
  4. Trish Perry: Trish is another new author—just two books—that has an incredible sense of humor! There were parts in her first book—The Guy I’m Not Dating—that made me laugh so hard I called my mother and read them to her so we could laugh together! Her second book, Too Good To Be True, is a bit more serious but a fun read nonetheless. I feel like an absolute moron that I didn’t pick up on the pun in the title. No, I am not telling…go read it for yourself! You won’t be sorry! You'll get more out of #2 if you read #1 first, but they could easily be stand-alone stories. I love her covers too! Very fun, just like her stories.
  5. Tamera Alexander: OH, MY. Tamera has written three of the most glorious historical romances you will find anywhere! She is another new author and wrote a series of books called the Fountain Creek Chronicles: Rekindled, Revealed and Remembered. The stories are wonderful, all set in the Colorado Territory in the 1860s. Her characters are deep, and you really get to know them intimately. When characters from book one show up in the other books, it’s like having old friends pop in for a visit. Be sure to have all three books handy so that when you finish one you can start the next. You won’t want to wait! Check out her website and read about how she got started writing…it’s a great story!
  6. Sharlene MacLaren: Shar is another author that I have chatted with many times via cyberspace, and I would love her even if I didn’t like her books. But like them I do, which just makes her that much more fun! Her book Through Every Storm is a tough read about a difficult subject…in fact, I hesitated reading it. But I am so glad I did! The story is very realistic and true-to-life, and Shar handled it very well without making things depressing. You should also know that it was also nominated for an ACFW Book of the Year award this year. I’ve also read Loving Liza Jane and Sarah, My Beloved from her Little Hickman Creek series. Both were great reads, and I’m anxiously awaiting the final book in the series, which is due out in March 2008 (mark your calendars!). Shar tells a great story and can always be counted on for a happily ever after ending!
So there you have it! I have other authors that I like, but these are my current favorites. Who are your favorite authors? Another time I'll talk about favorite books!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Frustrated Reader No More!!!

I have long been a frustrated reader. I always had mixed emotions about finishing a good book. While I couldn’t wait to get to the end of a story to find out what happened, I also hated finishing because I didn’t know what to read next. I’ve always loved going to the library and book stores, but I never knew where to start or what to pick. Over the years I’ve read “Gone With The Wind” at least three times, maybe four. My mother-in-law’s favorite author was Rosemund Pilcher. She gave "Coming Home" to me for Christmas one year, but I kept putting off reading it. The longer I put it off, the more often my mother-in-law asked if I had read it. Just so I could tell her “yes, I’ve read it now please quit asking!”, I finally read it. I’ve been eating a healthy dose of crow ever since. It was a fabulous book, and I immediately started kicking myself for not reading it sooner. I have read two other Rosemund Pilcher books since—“The Shellseekers” & “Gemini”—but “Coming Home” was by far my favorite. Once I had read those, however, I was back in my old dilemma and didn’t know what to read next. Needless to say, I was a bit lost.

In the spring of 2006, my dearest friend came to me, shoved a book in my hands and said, “You MUST read this book!!!” Since my sweet friend doesn’t make recommendations lightly, I took her advice and read the book. It was the most amazing story I had ever read, unbelievably written with incredible depth and detail. It was absolutely breathtaking and left me speechless! The characters were so deep and true-to-life. I had never read anything like it! The book? Francine Rivers’ “Redeeming Love”. I very reluctantly returned the book to my friend and set out not just to buy my own copy, but to see if there were others like it. What I discovered was that not only had Francine Rivers written several other books, but there were a lot of other Christian fiction authors out there, telling deliciously romantic stories with God at the center. I thought I had died and gone to heaven…or at least the library.

Since that time, I have become a romance junkie. I have found author websites and blogs that I devour on a daily basis. (I found out that many authors put the first chapter of their books on their websites so you can “sample their wares”.) I have an ever-expanding library of paperbacks that I have read, re-read, and re-read again, as well as shared with friends. I was doing a pretty good job keeping track of who has what book in my head, but finally had so many of my books loaned out I had to put all my books on an Excel spreadsheet so I didn’t lose track! (Call me obsessive…I'm flattered!) In addition to finding established authors like Francine Rivers, I’ve also discovered some wonderful new authors, too. Next time I will tell you about some of my favorite authors.