Just a note to let everyone know that each page now has it's own comment box. The "comment as" drop down is a pain, but you can select anonymous, then leave your post, just be sure to include your email so I can contact you if you should win the drawing.  Hopefully this will be so much easier. I tried to do this several weeks ago but the site was having problems. It's fixed, YEA!!!

Remember a comment on any blog element registers you to win the prize.

Meet Pam

***Before we get to the story, I wanted to thank you for stopping by and encourage you to use the "join the blog" button to the right. Just so you'll know, Pam posted a new recipe on her page tonight and the Interview with Loree Lough is still on Terri's Page. I'm giving a copy of her book away at the end of the week. You can register to win by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post. Feel free to comment about anything you find here or at the end of tonight's post there is a question geared towards generating some dialogue.  Enjoy!!***

Let's meet Pam Jones:

“Rufus, stop! Jeremy, get in here, now!” Pam sank to her knees on the carpeted floor, hands outstretched, watching helplessly as her spreadsheet disappeared an inch at a time. She made a conscious effort to gentle her voice. “Rufus, come here boy.” The goat took a single step towards her.
“What?” Jeremy hustled into the room and skidded to a stop next to Pam. Startled, the goat bounded through yesterday’s hole in the patio screen. The last hour of Pam’s work went with him. She dropped her head into her hands.
“Jeremy, that goat is one breath away from being a gyro sandwich.”
Her son looked at the hole in the screen. “I already gave Dad my allowance to replace the screen--”
“I’m not worried about the screen. Well, I am, but,” She motioned to the coffee table and the paperwork spread across it. “He ate my spreadsheet.”
Jeremy snickered. “It’s a good thing Dad’s your boss. No one else would buy that excuse. Sounds sort of like ‘the dog ate my homework’.”
Pam got to her feet and stared down her fourteen-year-old son. “You think this is funny?”
“Well…” Jeremy studied his mother’s face and apparently thought better about any flip comment he’d been about to make. “No Ma’am.”
She returned to her desk. “The goat has got to go.”
“No buts. I’ll put an add on Craig’s list. We’ll find him a good home.”
“It’ll cost me my grade for the whole year.”
Pam shook her head. What had possessed her and Harrison to allow this child to bring a barnyard animal into their lives? Sure, he’d been cute at twelve inches tall, all soft and dependant with those big eyes and spindly legs, drinking from a bottle, and sleeping in a box of hey on the back porch. The box was their first mistake. The stupid goat thought he was a dog. The whole family had doted on Rufus for the first few weeks. Then he grew horns and an appetite. Never had she seen a more stubborn animal. Stubborn animal. She thought of her first husband. “Does your father have a fenced back yard?”
“Mom.” Jeremy rolled his eyes. “I can’t have an FFA project a hundred miles away.”
Worth a shot. Pam turned back to the computer to begin the work of recreating the spreadsheet that Rufus had enjoyed for lunch. “We’ll talk about it when Harrison gets home from the hardware store. In the meantime put Rufus in the garage. I don’t think there’s anything in there he can eat or break through.”
“I can take him up to my room—“
“Jeremy Alan Archer. Has that goat been up stairs?”
Her son tucked his hands in his pockets and ducked his head. “Just a time or two…”
“Out.” Pam ordered her son. “No wonder he busted through the screen when you came in yesterday. You’ve corrupted that poor animal.”
To be continued...
***Rufus is based on a real animal in my life. My stepson lives across the street and has a goat names Steve. Steve's been in my house and the little building my ome business is based out of. Steve has eaten my paperwork on at least one occasion. Steve thinks he's a dog.  We'd love to hear about the interesting anilmal in your life.***

Karla part 2

     Karla unwrapped her hamburger. “Yep. That yard is her pride and joy. She said the kid that gave her lawn its final fall trim, a couple of weeks ago, missed some spots. I don’t know why she didn’t just call Mitch.”
     “Bless her heart. She’s used to doing for herself. This has to be very difficult for her.”
     “I know, Callie, but she’s ninety-three years old.” Karla took a bite of her burger, obviously taking some time to regroup. “She’s been blessed with such good health.  It’s only been the last couple of years that she’s been forced to slow down. We had this conversation with her the last time she tried to use the weed eater. She dropped it, and then lost her balance when she stooped to pick it up. She had to crawl to a tree to help herself up off the ground.” Karla rested her chin on her fisted hand. “I swear the Blacks have an extra marker in their DNA for stubbornness. Thank God, Ida had her panic button around her neck when she stepped into that hole.
     “Mitch is really beating himself up over the whole thing, especially this nursing home decision. He’d like to move her in with us, but with all the bedrooms on the second floor, it’s just too dangerous. All we need is for her to take a header down the stairs. I can just see DHS stepping in and taking all the decisions out of our hands. I’m just glad we found a home that could take her on such short notice.”
     “Is it nice?”
     “Callie, it’s perfect. God really worked it out for us, and her. She’ll have a private room in the assisted living wing. We’ll be moving her own bedroom furniture over there. The room has a sliding patio door that goes out to a fenced courtyard. She can sit outside as often as she likes, and once her leg has healed, she can still have the plants she loves so much.”
     “Well, at least she’s settled for now.”
     “I wish.  All she talks about is coming back home just as soon as the cast is off her ankle.  Mitch has tried to tell her that she won’t be moving back in here.  She won’t even discuss it with him. As heavy as she is, she’s looking at months of therapy before she can walk again.  There’s just no way she can live by herself anymore.”
     Callie sipped her milkshake, the remnants of the treat rattled in her straw.  “Don’t make yourself sick over it, Karla.  She’s Mitch’s mother.  He’s going to have to do the convincing.”
     “I know. All things considered, cleaning up this place and sorting through fifty years of Ida’s life is probably the easier job.  Thanks, by the way.”
     “Not a problem. I don’t mind helping.”
     Karla grinned.  “You say that now, but I don’t think you get it.  Ida has lived in this house for fifty years. I don’t think she’s thrown a single thing away in all those years.”
     Callie crumpled up her trash and stuffed it in the bag. “Better get to it, then.”
     Karla followed suit and tossed the balled up sack towards the trash can. She missed. “Leave it.” She stood, wiped her hands, and picked up a stray fry from the table. “Maybe this will entice the little beast out from under the bed.” Armed for the battle she headed back down the hall.
     Laughter urged Callie to follow. She found her friend sitting on the bed, tears of mirth rolling down her face.
     Karla pointed to the carrier. Reddy lay in the corner, curled into a tight ball of fur, sound asleep.She wiped her streaming eyes. “Maybe there’s hope for this whole situation after all.

***Sharon here*** I hope you enjoyed getting to know Karla. Next week we'll start a Pam story.  In the meantime check out Terri's page to the right, there's a new review and interview posted. This week we welcome LOREE LOUGH and talk about her book "From Ashes to Honor". We have a copy to give away at the end of next week, so leave a comment about anything you see here and you'll be entered to win the book. I've also update my page with s what I've been up to since conference. Thanks for visiting with us!

15 Oct 2011

     Callie raised her hand to knock on the door of the sprawling white house.  The sound of breaking glass and stifled grunts propelled her through the door ahead of the intended courtesy. “Karla?”
     Karla’s muffled voice answered from somewhere deep inside the house.  “Back here.”
     She hurried through the small living area and down a long hallway. Her eyes skimmed over the total disarray of the rooms as she passed, but the continued odd grunts and whispers filtering down the hall kept her focus on finding Karla. After a short search, she found her friend in the smallest of the houses three bedrooms. Relieved that her friend wasn’t lying , broken and bleeding on the floor, Callie leaned on the door frame and tried to make sense of what she saw.
      Karla Black was on her hands and knees, head half under the bed, denim clad fanny sticking up in the air, breath coming in short gasps as she swept the space under the bed with the broom handle. Pieces of a broken lamp were scattered across the floor.
     “Come out from under there you little beast.” The broom made another wide swipe. “Mitch is so going to pay for this.
     “What on earth are you doing?”
      Karla sat back on her heels with a deep sigh.  Dust bunnies, from her foray under the bed, dotted her silver hair. “Ida’s stupid cat, Reddy,” she answered, brown eyes dark with frustration.  “He must have a sixth sense about today and knows he’s on borrowed time.  He’s got himself backed up under there, all the way to the farthest corner, and won’t come out.  Every time I reach for him he hisses and bats at me.” She inspected her hands. “Thank God Ida had him de-clawed when he was a kitten or I’d be a bloody mess by now.”
     Callie hefted the bag she carried.  “Leave him be for now.  I brought lunch. Maybe the smell of burgers will draw him out.”
     Karla pushed herself to her feet, using the bed for leverage. Her fifty-nine-year old knees popped in protest.  “Bless you.  My blood sugar bottomed out thirty minutes ago.” She motioned to the open pet carrier in the corner of the room. “I wanted to get him caged and out of the way so we wouldn’t have to clean around him. There’s enough cat hair in this place to build two more just like him.”
     “Did you found a home for him?”
     “Meagan wants him.”
      “Pam’s Meagan?”
      “Yeah, apparently she’s been angling for a pet ever since Jeremy got his goat. More power to her. I like cats but this furry little demon and I have never gotten along.” She dusted her hands together. “Looks like he won this round.”
     Callie followed Karla to the small kitchen and looked for a clean spot to set out their lunch.
     “Hang on a minute,” Karla went to the sink and wet a handful of paper towels.  “Let me clean off the table.” She bent to the task, stacking dirty dishes and unopened mail on the cabinet behind her.  “I know what you’re thinking, but there’s just so much you can do when they’re determined to live by themselves.”  Her wave took in the whole house. “Ida dismissed every housekeeper we sent over here and refused to allow me to clean for her. She insisted she could manage just fine on her own.” Karla dried the table off and pulled out a chair, motioning for Callie to do the same. “Breaking her leg last week was the last straw.”  
     Callie shook her head.  “This was like, what…her third trip to the ER in as many months? I only hope I have half her stamina when I’m her age. Was she really trying to weed eat the back yard?”
***To be continued***

***This week's dialog question***Do any of you have a feisty senior in your life?
Don't forget to look at the page tabs to the right. There's something new there as well.  Leave a comment before you go. There are still two days left to qualify for our first book give away.

Happy Birthday Pam

Pam is celebrating a birthday on Oct. 12th. In recognition of her special day I'll be giving away a copy of Cynthia Ruchti's They Almost Always Come Home. Terri reviewed this book for everyone last month.

How do you qualify to win?  Visit the blog and leave a comment on either the story or about something on one of the ladies pages between today and the 16th.

And since we are all learning together. If you want to commemt, look at the bottom of this post where it lists the number of comments. The word "comments" is the link, click on that and it will open a dialog box for you.
If you like what you read, please sign up to follow us, or take advantage of the box at the lower right hand side of the page and sign up your e-mail address to receive the weekly posts.

Here's a couple of questions to get a dialog started.

In our first story Callie was frustrated with Benton for over-riding her vacation plans. Has your spouse ever made plans you initially didn't want to participate in, but you enjoyed once you did?

Terri bought a wedding dress and she dosen't even have a steady guy. Some would call her foolish, but she's following her dream. Whats the most foolish thing you've ever done to follow your own dream?

I'll announce a winner next week. Good luck!!

Terri, Part 2

Terri continued her shopping, eventually scoring a new pair of shoes. Shoes didn’t fall into the see now, buy later category. Shoes were “trophy fish”, netted and added to her collection. The final store in the last leg of the sprawling complex was a Bridal shop. Terri stopped, her breath trapped in her throat. The sidewalk to roof display window held a collection of wedding dresses on headless mannequins. As Terri walked she could see herself and the dresses reflected in the windows, almost like she wore them. A glance at the sign over the door brought a smile to her face. Princess for a Day Bridal.
She leaned her purse and the shopping bag against the window and studied the selection of dresses, moving from one to the other, arranging her pose to match the displayed gowns. “That one,” Terri murmured. Don’t be goofy. Terri scolded herself. What would you do with a wedding dress? Invisible hands pulled Terri into the store.
A clerk appeared from behind a rack of dresses. “Welcome to Princess for a Day. Can I help you find something?”
Terri shook her head and felt her cheeks flush with warmth. What made me come in here? “No, I’m just…looking.”
The clerk put on a perky smile and rocked on her toes. “Oh, we like lookers. Have you set a date? We have the racks arranged in seasonal selections. If you can tell me when you’re getting married, I can show you a selection of suitable gowns.”
“We haven’t decided yet,” Terri mumbled. She turned to leave and felt her feet freeze to the floor. That’s it. The dress drew Terri’s attention like a magnet. Off the shoulder, beaded bodice, layers of tissue thin white and silver lace cascading down the full skirt. A separate train attached to the back with a bow. Her hand trembled as she brushed her fingers across the lace.
“Would you like to try it on?”
“I really shouldn’t.”
“Sure you should. It’ll look beautiful on you.”
Terri lifted it from the rack and held it in front of her. Tears stung her eyes when she turned to the mirror. The reflection staring back at her was the one she’d envisioned her whole life. She looked at the price tag and bit her lip. I couldn’t afford this if I was getting married.
The clerk must have seen her hesitation. “Everything in the store is thirty percent off during the grand opening.”
Terri swallowed, unable to find her voice. She turned to look at the mirror again. She needed a groom, at least a steady boy friend first. Didn’t she? “I’ll take it.”
Thirty minutes later Terri found herself back in front of the fountain on her way out of the mall. The garment bag was heavy over her arm, and she still couldn’t believe what she’d done. She closed her eyes and saw the dress again. A girl was allowed to dream, wasn’t she? Her hand slipped into the pocket of her jeans and drew out a fist full of change. Eyes closed, she tossed the coins into the water. You and me Lizzie, you and me.
***While you're here check out Callie's new page to the right.***

Terri's story, part 1

Is that the look he was hoping for? Terri shook her head and chuckled to herself as a pale young man with a purple mohawk and pants three sizes too big passed her bench. She blew her dark bangs out of her face. Young people of every generation had their own fads and trends. Her parents had worn bell bottomed jeans and maxi dresses. She’d owned her share of stirrup pants, slouchy socks, and leg warmers. Turning slightly, she watched him walk away, one hand gripped tightly in the waistband of his pants. At least her clothes had fit.
She popped the last bite of cheesy pretzel in her mouth and chased it down with a final slurp of soda. This new mall was huge, partly enclosed, partly open to the air. The food court had the standard table and chairs, but there were also benches arranged around an artificial waterfall, flowing into a landscaped fountain. A lovely place to indulge in a snack while taking a break from a strenuous morning of shopping. Shopping? Well, trolling, in her case. After three hours Terri still traveled light, waiting for that one perfect item.
For Terri, shopping was more pleasure than necessity. She referred to it as retail therapy and considered it her favorite hobby. Combining a set of skills learned from her mother’s bargain hunting and her father’s bass fishing, she could troll the mall all afternoon on a lazy Saturday, walking from store to store with no real goal in mind, nothing specific on her want list, just looking, waiting for that one special buy to speak to her. It might be the item she saw in the first store she entered, but she never bought anything till she’d looked at everything. And here, she diverged from her father. There was no catch and release in her world. Where was the fun in spending the day engaged in your favorite thing only to come home empty handed? She collected her trash, refreshed by her snack and ready to tackle the remaining half of the mall.
“Throw them in, Lizzie.”
Terri looked towards the voice. A young woman stood in front of the fountain, a baby cradled in her arms, a little girl at her side.
The youngster, dressed in pastel striped overalls, outfit completed with ruffled socks and matching shirt, watched the waterfall, eyes wide, mouth drawn into a pink bow. “Oh…pretty, Mama.”
“Very pretty, Lizzie. Toss them in so we can go.”
The little girl opened her fist. Terri saw several new pennies clutched in the child’s hand. The lights from the fountain glinted off the shiny copper, almost the same color as the toddler’s curls.
“My money, Mama.
The young mother’s laughter brought a small ache to Terri’s heart. She looked up and reminded God. I want one just like her. She shook off the sadness. Someday God would send Mr. Right her way. Till then, she’d continue to love the kids that came to Tiny Tikes every day. She was blessed. Her Day Care business was the most sought after in Garfield. The children she cared for hers by default.
“Lizzie, I’ll give you some more money.” The young mother’s tone remained patient. “Those are special pennies, for wishing not for spending.” She stooped down and kissed her little girl’s fist. “Hurry now. Make your wish and throw them in the water.”
Terri looked on as Lizzie closed her eyes and scrunched up her face.  Her lips moved as her wish was made, then the pennies were hurled into the water.
“Like that?”
“Exactly like that, sweetheart.” Mom held out her free hand. “Let’s go.”
Terri watched them head for the exit sign. She stood with a sigh, looking back up to the ceiling, adding a post script to her earlier comment to God. Maybe twins.
***Sharon here*** While you're here, please take a look at the page tabs to the right. Pam posted a new recipe a few days ago and Terri just add a book review and author interview featuring Janice Hanna Thompson.  Good stuff!!