Woe! It’s Wednesday: Being Brave

I finally figured out my word for 2015. Or more likely I guess, I already have my word for 2016.

I had decided on “Let it Go” for 2015. But as much as I liked it, it didn’t really resonate with me. I did work on letting things, not worrying and/or obsessing over what I can’t change. I think I’m better about that.

CatFantasizesatMirrorSo maybe Let it Go was not ambitious enough.

You know how things/phrases/people sometimes converge and you know you need to pay attention?

I’ve had that happen lately about being brave.

I read an amazing book recently. I’ll review it soon, I promise.

Then I heard a podcast sermon about Matthew 18. Closely followed by a podcast interview which cited the same passage. What I took away from both was that when someone has hurt you, the burden to set it right is on the person who was wronged. I think I had to hear two separate messages about this because the first one I pretty much ignored.

I saw a quote from Louis C.K. recently. He said, “When a person tell you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.”

I love this! For several reasons, but first of all because several years ago, I was hurt by someone. I told them I was hurt and was told I was in the wrong for being hurt. That festered for a long time. I did the right thing. I took it to that person in private and was completely shot down and ignored. That’s not a great way to heal a damaged relationship. Reading this quote was incredibly freeing. It validated everything I felt back then as well as the lingering vestiges of hurt that still try to derail me.

Then, as if I needed one last indication, an opportunity fell into my lap last week to say something to someone that needed to be said. Normally, I’d just pass it by and tell myself not to rock the boat, “let it go.” ;-)

But instead, I decided to be brave and speak up.

Guess what happened? The person heard me, apologized, and we moved on. It’s over.

All because I was brave.

So that’s why I’ve adopting it as my 2016 word. It’s kind of like the calendars that go on sale at this time of year. You know. They’re advertised as being 16-month calendars, to encourage you to buy now and use it for the rest of this year and all of next year. Except the extra four months from this year are all listed on one page. No pretty picture as a header. No space to write appointments. Basically, a bait and switch, in my not so humble opinion.

But I’m getting an early start on being brave and I plan to carry it from this year and throughout the next.

Have you started thinking about your word/phrase for next year yet? Or am I the only one?

Book Talk Tuesday: Marry Me at Christmas

If it’s fall, it must be time for a Fool’s Gold Christmas story from Susan Mallery.

I love these stories, for so many reasons.

They’re romances, hello!?!?!

Marry Me at Christmas
Marry Me at Christmas

They’re set in Fool’s Gold, the best fictional town in California.

They’re set at Christmas time, when we love to snuggle with a warm afghan, a cup of tea, and a good book.

The steamy love scenes of the other Fool’s Gold books don’t appear. I like my love scenes to be behind closed doors, and the Christmas books meet my criteria.

In MARRY ME AT CHRISTMAS, we finally get to meet action movie star Jonny Blaze who’s been mentioned in the other 2015 Fool’s Gold books. Madeline Krug, part owner of the local wedding dress shop, is asked to plan Jonny’s sister’s wedding planned for the day after Christmas. Jonny has been her movie star crush and she’s intimidated by the thought of even meeting him, much less working with him.

Madeline manages to be professional and she and Jonny plan the wedding and attend some of Fool’s Gold’s local holiday festivities.

I love stories about two worlds colliding and I especially love stories about when a public life and a private life collide. Because at heart, we’re all just people swimming along in our lives, trying to work, love, and laugh and feel like we have a purpose. Whether our purpose is touching people’s lives through the arts or pouring coffee, we’re all happiest doing what we’re meant to do.

So all that combines to make MARRY ME AT CHRISTMAS a great book, for winter, for Christmas, for anytime. I love it!


I received a free copy in return for an honest review.

Media Monday: Project Runway, Part 2

So, after my post about Project Runway a couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by JustFab, the accessoreis sponsor for the show this season. They asked if I’d like to receive a couple of products for review and to giveaway to readers.

Um …Yes!

And would I like to host a viewing of the episode airing October 1 and JustFab would supply some fun giveaways.

Again … Yes!

Which is how I came to invite 94 of my closest friends and family to my 1200 square foot house this coming Thursday.

Basically, I invited everyone I have an email address for within a fifty mile radius.

Stud Muffin was a little freaked out at first. “You … do you know … where are you going to put everyone?”

Silly man.

Women watching fashion television don’t care about something as silly as having a seat.

I hope.

My party plan:

Invite a bunch of people.   ✔

Tell JustFab how many I expect. ✔

Order a couple of products from JustFab. ✔

Pick up the food JustFab is ordering for us.

Vacuum and dust.

Set out name tags. and a sign asking that gals in their 20s and 30s please sit on the floor. 40s and 50s get the dining room chairs and plastic patio chairs. 60s and 70s get the couch, love seat, and recliner.

Set out napkins, paper plates, plastic cups.

Watch a fun television show and party with all my friends.

There are a few things I love about this opportunity. And it’s not just the prospect of free stuff.

First, there’s going to be a great cross-section of my friends. Church friends, writer friends, family are all coming. Many have never met because my two worlds seldom intersect.

Also, I love that this is about accessories. I love that Ashley is doing such a great job with her designs. She’s proving that women of all sizes can enjoy fashion and looking good.

And of course, friends, food, fashion, all in one place, under one (fairly small) roof.

Book Talk Tuesday: A Noble Masquerade

I told a friend that this was a great book. I’m not known to exaggerate, so she picked it up for herself. I’m waiting to hear what she thinks, because I loved it, but I could be a tiny bit biased.

A NOBLE MASQUERADE by Kristi Ann Hunter is a excellent book. I’m busy enough between writing and reading for pleasure and for reviews that I don’t often read series books anymore. I just don’t have the time. But I will look for the next in Kristi Ann’s Hawthorne House series.

A Noble Masquerade
A Noble Masquerade

Lady Miranda is puzzled by the … interest she is experiencing in her brother’s new valet, Marlowe. She’s about to embark on her fourth season in society, and is likely to remain a spinster since she refuses to marry a man who is interested only in the advancement his connection to Miranda’s brother, the Duke, can bring.

Marlowe is irritated that his attraction to Lady Miranda is distracting him from his purpose in her brother’s home: finding the spy who is selling England’s secrets to France. He’s been absent from British society for a reason and he’s not quite ready to resume his place, until this final job is done and done right.

Both Miranda and Marlowe are intriguing and compelling characters. I loved them both separately and together.

The spying subplot was a bit disappointing. I expected the culprit to be one of the main characters. That would have upped the emotional stakes for Miranda, Marlowe, and for the reader. I won’t give away the guilty party, though, so you can judge for yourself. I could be wrong.

Overall, I loved the book and the romance and will definitely buy the next one in the series. I’m looking forward to reading Miranda’s brothers’ and sister’s stories.


Kristi Ann is a writer acquaintance and a 2014 Golden Heart® Dreamweaver sister. I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House for review purposes. I’ve been honest in my review.

Media Monday: A Home Movie

We have a grand-daughter who loves animals and bugs. Except for ants and bees. She is vehemently opposed to both creatures being anywhere in a half-mile vicinity of her person.

June and Patty
June and Patty

She is fascinated with all other forms of animal life. A few months ago she carried around a dead gopher for the better part of the day. Stud Muffin took a video of her showing off its teeth, its ears, its eyes, etc. He wanted me to post it on Facebook and I refused. I didn’t let her touch anything else while she was playing with the gopher (picked up when my back was turned) and I put her in a hot bath immediately after I made her give the gopher to Grampy to dispose of. But still, I wasn’t about to post that video for the public.

Well … never say never.

We had a party Saturday and Stud Muffin wanted to roast a whole pig in his La Caja China. (Pronounced La Ca’ha Chee’na for you non-Spanglish speakers.)

The fun began Friday night when Darling Daughter arrived with her two girls and Grampy took them to see the whole pig being brined in the ice chest.

The ten-year-old: I’m not eating that.

The four-year-old: I’m definitely eating that.

Then the pig was given a name. Patty.

The next day, the four-year-old was fascinated with the whole process. Putting the pig on the rack. Preparing the Caja China. Putting the apple in Patty’s mouth. I took video as she showed me the various parts of the pig’s head. Grampy put the apple in the pig’s mouth (for about the third time) and told her to leave it in there. He turned his back and she had that apple out. I told her Grampy said to leave it in. “But I want to show you the tongue,” she said, as she pulled the tongue out and showed me the piece of ice she’d put in there earlier. “Okay, put the apple back now,” I said.

She replied, “I can’t. Grampy told me not to touch the apple.”

I promise, that’s how that conversation went. I know no one will believe me. That’s why I’m even considering putting it on Facebook.

I can’t believe it myself.

Woe! It’s Wednesday: We’re Not Getting Old, We Are Old

Tomorrow is our 38th anniversary. Friday Stud Muffin turns 60.

Where do the years go?

60th-birthday-clip-art-564852 It seems like last year we celebrated ten years; last week our first grand-daughter was born; and yesterday he retired.

We’re having a big party for him this weekend. I’m very excited to share this milestone with forty of our closest friends and family. These are the people who have walked with us through the challenges of life, who haven’t given up on us when we’ve been less than lovable, who’ve prayed for us, laughed with us, supported us through tough times, and celebrated with us the sweet times.

Stud Muffin is going to roast a whole pig in his La Caja China. We’ve got salads coming, decorations purchased, and the yard is almost ready.

When Stud Muffin turned 30, he was depressed and complained that his life was half over. I asked him if he was only planning on living till 60. I’m glad to report, he was not middle aged at 30. He may not have half of his life left, but he’s still pretty darn vibrant and active and alive. That’s the main thing.

Book Talk Tuesday: The Shababa Manifesto

I’m currently on a new book fast. I have over 100 books on my physical To Be Read shelves and a few more than that in my Kindle’s To Be Read file.

I’ve forced myself to stop looking at the daily deals and freebies until I whittle these two down.

ShababaBut something caught my attention and I downloaded The Shababa Manifesto: A Handbook for Skill-Challenged Golfers by Hubba Costello.

It’s a quick read and very fun but full of good advice as well.

Mr. Costello posits that most of who golf are “Shababa’s.” That is … we stink at golf. I know I resemble that description. But we Shababas love the game.

The book’s chapters are numbered and labeled from warming up, to the first hole through the 19th hole.

Mr. Costello includes advice for all golfers who stink. His first assessment may seem discouraging (you stink at golf) but it actually ended up being quite encouraging (so do the vast majority of golfers. All the playing in the world, all the coaching, all the practice will only succeed in making us stink a bit less.

I took up golfing … about ten years ago, give or take. I stink just as much today as I did the day I started. But if anything, I love the game even more. I’ve had lessons. I’ve played many hours. My putting improved marginally after a coaching session. I relate to all the chapters in Mr. Costello’s manifesto.

He reminds us that golf is first of all–a game. Even during your worst round ever, you’ve enjoyed some beautiful scenery, gotten a bit of exercise, spent time with friends (or made new ones), and maybe even made a good shot or two.

The best insight Mr. Costello shared, in my opinion, is that the Shababa must keep in mind that it’s not the distance you can hit that wins rounds, it’s the fewest strokes. I know I’m guilty of trying to blast the ball over the water hazard. Instead, I see the wisdom now of hitting just in front of the water, then it’s an easy shot over. Of course, I always seem to buy balls with H2O magnets embedded, so that may not work for me. But I’m willing to give it a shot on my next round. That presupposes our California drought hasn’t dried up all the water hazards. Hey … maybe this is the time I should be out there! Less water to attract my balls.

In fact, I think I’ll go put some of Mr. Costello’s advice to work for me.

See you on the links.


i received a free copy of The Shababa Manifesto in return for an honest review.

Media Monday: Project Runway and What Not to Wear

Labor Day is a holiday with a strange tradition in our family.

In 19 … 89? 90? we lived in Southern California and all of the Southland was gripped by a horrible heat wave. One similar to what they’ve experienced the last few weeks. Stud Muffin worked most holidays but for some reason he was off that day. We tried to do some sort of “family” activity. We went to a local park we hadn’t visited before. But it was so hot and miserable, we couldn’t have fun. The slide was too hot for the girls to use. All the equipment sizzled every time we touched it. We returned home and all of us got into the inflatable plastic pool for some relief. We had a water fight and cooled off and ended up in the living room under the air conditioning watching a movie.

NYC_Parsons_SchoolFast forward a decade or two. We were all living in different cities but somehow we were again gathered at our home on Labor Day during a heat wave. A Project Runway marathon was on. I’d never watched the show before, but somehow after hours of seeing designers agonize over unconventional fabrics, crazy design parameters, and short deadlines, I was hooked.

I’d seen America’s Next Top Model a time or two and didn’t love it (sorry, Will!), so I expected more of the same from Project Runway.

I was wrong. Project Runway is about the clothes. Not who’s wearing the outfit.

In my humble opinion, Project Runway and What Not to Wear are a perfect pair of fashion shows.

Project Runway spotlights high fashion, the avant garde, the crazy. What Not to Wear is for us people in the real world. WNTW isn’t filming new episodes, but for those us who were faithful viewers, we now know how to dress ourselves. We know to avoid pants with front pleats, and skin-tight stuff, and to emphasize the narrowest part of our bodies.

In 2011, we visited NYC as tourists. We stayed on the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel in New Jersey and rode a shuttle bus into the city. The first morning, the bus let us out near Times Square. We looked around and the very first landmark I saw was the Parsons New School for Design, the home of the NY seasons. The next day, we walked by Bryant Park, home of many of what-not-to-wear-stacy-clintonthe NY Fashion Week runway shows.

A friend who visited NYC a few years earlier happened to see Stacy and Clinton from WNTW on the street filming an episode.

Another friend recently moved to NY and she’s constantly posting pictures of the style icons she spots.

Which means you can’t visit New York without seeing someone/something from the fashion world. It’s a given.

But until I make it back to there, I’ll make do with the current season of Project Runway (I’m on Team Ashley and Team Edmund) and reruns of What Not to Wear.

Spotlight Thursday: New from James Scott Bell

One of my favorite writers, teachers, mentors, friends, and all-around great guy is James Scott Bell.

James Scott Bell
James Scott Bell

Jim is such a teaser. He’s released Chapter One of an upcoming thriller. I clicked through and read it and was hooked.

He’s doling out the info like a hoarder letting go of his packets of soy sauce and ketchup.

So far, there’s just the chapter. No title. No cover. Just the chapter.

Good thing it’s dynamite (almost literally).

Here’s the link to check it out for yourself.

Jim was a pioneer, hacking a way through the forest of indie publishing. He’s still a prolific writer who’s figured out how to succeed in today’s changing climate.

Jim also wrote the very first zombie fiction that I ever read, Pay Me In Flesh. Yep, believe it or not, I’ve read zombie fiction. A couple of them. Of course, I only trust Jim to write zombies that I enjoy.

That’s why I’m so sure this new series is going to be fantabulous!