I’ve wrestled control away from the women this week and using the blog for my own purposes. I want to give Thanks for the chance to follow a dream.
I’m waiting on news that could change my life. I wanted to say, from this place of limbo, before I get my news, good or bad, that I’m thankful to have had the last three years.
Writers amaze me, they always have. We have brilliant doctors and lawyers in this word, financial wizards that understand things I’ll never grasp, they went to school for those things and they learned them well, they have my admiration, but writers…
To string letters into words and words into scenes and scenes into stories with the ability to transport you to another place or time, to allow you to see and smell something never physically experienced. You can hone that talent in the class room, but the writing, that’s a gift. Before I can call myself a writer I wanted to give thanks to the many writers in my life who have managed to take me places, allowed me to dream, and offered an escape in times of stress.
All the way from the authors of my childhood, Beloved, often read books like Tom Sawyer, Harriet the Spy, The Velvet Room, Tomas Takes Charge, to the Trixie Beldon-Nancy Drew series books, followed by people like Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart to today’s John Grisham, Nora Roberts, Irene Hannon, and so many more.
Thank you. Thank you for using the gift God gave you to bring me happiness in an often unhappy world.
Besides writing and learning the craft, there are two other benefits to this journey that I want to give thanks for today.
I have found a whole new level of friendship over the last few years. Ladies I’ve known for decades have become my readers and my strongest supporters. If it was in their power to publish my stories I would have been published long before now, long before I was ready. They prayed for me, they believed in me, they held my hand when I didn’t deserve to have it held. I won’t publish their names, they know who they are and I hope this makes them smile.
Then I’ve been privileged to meet writers. Real, honest to God, published writers. My heros! The first meeting I attended of our local American Christian Fiction Writers group, I was in awe. These people were living my dream and they had time to talk to me… a wanna be? I recognized a couple of the names in the room that day and could barely look them in the eye. I was unworthy. I laugh at that now, they would too if they knew, cause now I know they’re just people like me. I hope, soon, I can be a writer like them.
Happy Thanksgiving.

A Valley View Thanksgiving, part 2

Callie watched Benton from the doorway of the kitchen.  He opened the crock-pot, and pulled out a piece of simmering ham with his fingers. He fumbled it when Callie cleared her throat behind him. “Benton, this is the last time I’m going to tell you to get your fingers out of the food and your body out of my kitchen.”
“I’m hungry.”
Callie looked behind her at the snack foods spread out in messy array on the dining room table.
 Benton clarified his meaning. “I’m hungry for real food.”
Callie jerked a thumb across her shoulder. “Out. Paul and Randy need your help.  They were trying to explain football rules to Trent.  I’m sure you can do a much better job than they can, you’re closer to his mental age.”
“He’s a baby…”
 Callie smirked at her husband. “My point…”
Benton mumbled under his breath.
“What was that?”
“I said, that I was going to be glad when you decided I’d suffered enough for the vacation debacle.”
Callie narrowed her eyes at his reminder.  “You’re a long way from absolution on that one, my love.  You’re lucky I’m feeding you at all today.”
 Benton snagged a last bite before settling the lid back in place.
He edged out of the kitchen, his wife’s eyes boring into his back. He stepped aside to allow Sophie and April to pass.
 Sophie laughed at the look that passed between her mother and father. “UH OH, someone’s in trouble.”
Eleven-year-old April agreed. “Even I don’t get that look anymore.”
 Benton muttered. “Women…”
Callie’s daughter Sophie and her granddaughter April washed their hands at the sink.  “What can we do to help?” Sophie asked.
Callie looked around the kitchen, mentally organizing the things that still needed to be done. “I was about to make the filling for the coconut cream pie.” She motioned Sophie to the refrigerator. “If you’ll cut up the veggies for the salad, I’ll let April help me with the pie.”
“I can do that.” Sophie took down a cutting board and arranged vegetables on the counter top.
 April looked into the pan that Callie was stirring. “What did you want me to do?”
“We need to bake the pie shell, but it needs some holes poked in it to make sure it doesn’t get any air bubbles underneath it.  Think you can handle that?”
When the oven timer went off ten minutes later Callie transferred the browned pie shell to a cooling rack and looked at the small half moon shaped holes in the crust. The crust was fine, but the irregular markings puzzled her. She called her granddaughter back into the kitchen. “April, what did you use on this crust?”
April looked from the crust, to her fingernails, to her grandmother.
Callie leaned back against the counter. “You used your fingernails?”
April nodded. “I washed my hands.  You said to poke holes in it, I poked holes.”
“That’s generally done with a fork.”
April huffed out a breath. “Now you tell me.” April fled the kitchen when her grandmother gave her the same look her grandfather had received earlier.
***What’s your favorite childhood memory of helping in the kitchen, or a memory of a child helping you in the kitchen?  While you’re here take a moment to look at Karla’s page, she has some pictures to share with everyone. There is also new news on my personal page. If you like what you read, please consider joining the page.***

A Valley View Thanksgiving, part one

 Muffled giggles had Karla’s eyes popping open bright and early Thanksgiving morning. The bedroom door creaked and she heard a soft “Shhh”. The noise gave her just enough time to roll over in the king sized bed and make some room before eight-year-old Kathy and her five-year-old sister Heather abandoned all attempts at stealth and bounced into the bed between her and Mitch. The mattress trembled with the aftershock of their landing.  
Mitch rolled over with a mock groan. “We’ve been invaded.”
“What’s ‘vaded?” Heather asked.
Mitch rolled over on top of her, pinned her to the sheet, and rubbed his overnight stubble against her soft cheek. Shrieks of little girl laughter filled the room as he turned his attention to the older girl. “Attacked, overrun, plagued, pestered.” He rolled back over and settled the younger of the two children in the crook of his arm. “Morning puddin’ two.”
“Morning, Grandpa.”
He looked at Kathy. “Morning puddin’ one.”
“You’re the silliest grandpa,” Kathy told him as she snuggled in next to Karla. She handed her grandma a book “We’re ready for our story, Nana.”
“Just the two of you?” Karla asked.  “Don’t we need to wait for Matt?” 
Kathy shook her head.  “He says he’s too old for Dr. Suess.”
“He’s a dufus,” Heather added with five-year-old sincerity.
Karla felt her heart crack a little at the inevitable changes of time.  No doubt Matt’s decision to miss their Thanksgiving morning tradition was only one of the changes occurring since their last visit six months ago.  They were growing up faster than the four or five yearly visits could keep up with. 
Their daughter Cheryl, her husband Austin, and the three children had arrived from Kansas City late last night.  
Lucas, his wife Michelle and their two children, twelve-year-old Mark and six-year-old Holly, lived outside of Tulsa and would be there by mid-morning.  Their youngest son Jonathan, his wife Amber, along with their two kids, ten-year-old Aiden and seven-year-old Renee, lived in the opposite direction, just across the Texas line in Gainesville. They would be here by noon. The eldest of their four children, Nicholas, would spend the holidays deployed. Karla sighed. With almost twenty years in the Air Force Nick and had spent his share of holidays overseas.  She’d never gotten used to his empty place at the table.
Thanksgiving dinner was scheduled for two o’clock.  The men and boys would turn the living room into a rowdy man cave, cheering their favorite football teams to victory, swilling sodas, and ruining their appetites with snacks. The women would seek the quieter sanctuary of the kitchen to catch up on each other’s lives while they prepared a meal that would be properly appreciated only in memory.
She glanced at Mitch. Almost forty years together and their family was healthy and whole, and growing. They had much to be grateful for.
Kathy patted Karla’s face, pulling her back to the present.  “Nana, we’re ready.”
Mitch scooted a little closer, just as eager as Karla to share in these quiet moments with their grandchildren. “Yeah Nana, what are we reading this morning? I’m not too old to enjoy it.”
Karla laughed at the three of them and looked at the book in her hands. “Yertle the Turtle. One of my favorites.” She opened the book and began to read.
“On the far away island of Sala-ma-sond, Yertle the Turtle was king of the pond.”
***I have grandchildren two states away. I travel to them for Thanksgiving. When they were young they were usually in bed by the time I arrived late Wednesday night. I use to wake up bright and early on Thanksgiving day with three little boys piled in the bed on top of me. It broke my heart the year they decided they were "too old" to climb into bed with grandma. What's your favorite Thanksgiving memory? While you're here take a moment to visit the rest of the pages. Terri has a contest running on her page and Callie has a new post.  If you like what you read, please consider joining the page.***

Pam, Part two

***This week's post is a bit different. After you've read it please take a few minutes to answer the question at the end of the entry. Your opinions will be a great help as I write Pam's story.***

Pam leaned against the wall while her husband worked to replace the screening in the patio door. “Rufus has to go.”
“Hon, you know that’ll ruin Jeremy’s grade.”
“So he says, but I’m more concerned with what the goat is doing to our home.” She stopped to hand him the screwdriver that had rolled just beyond his reach.
Harrison used the blade of the tool to press the mesh into the groove of the screen’s frame. “Rufus is just a baby—”
“That’s my point. If he’s this much trouble at six-months-old, what are we going to do with him when he’s full grown?” Harrison continued to work and Pam knew by his silence that the battle was lost long before he replied.
He stood and, using force and his weight, wedged the repaired frame back into the slots that held it. He slid the screen back forth a few times. “There you go, good as new.” When Pam simply stared at him he continued. “I’ll talk to Jeremy after dinner. We’ll fence off a portion of the yard and confine your nemesis to his own space. Will that work for you?
“We should have done that from the start.” Pam took a few steps forward, put her arms around Harrison’s waist, and tucked her hands into the back pockets of his jeans. How did I get so lucky? “We don’t deserve you, you know?”
Harrison placed a kiss on the top of her head, and slipped his hands into Pam’s back pockets. “How do you figure that?”
“You’re so good to us. My own personal hero and a champion to the kids—”
 “Awww…go on.” He chuckled when she didn’t continue. “No, really. Go on.”
Pam pinched his butt through the fabric of his jeans. “I think that’s enough ego stroking for one day.”
Harrison spread his fingers and pulled her closer.  “I double dog dare you to do that again.”
Pam snuggled against him and grinned at the lines that formed between his eyes as her husband’s expression changed from teasing to something more serious. She tilted her head back and wet her lips. “Kiss me.”
He bent to accommodate her request. His hands moved up her back and around to frame her face. His lips were insistent against hers. He pulled back just enough to whisper against her mouth. “Come upstairs with me.”
Pam stood on her tip toes and drew him into a second kiss.  The fingers still buried in his pockets flexed to deliver two sharp pinches. She danced away with a mischievous laugh and sprinted for the stairs. “Sissy.” His first grabbed missed her by centimeters as she gained two steps on him. He caught up with her just as she stepped through the door of their bedroom. They faced each other across the expanse of polished wood floor, both breathless from the race up the stairs. Pam’s heart quickened at the look of intent on Harrison’s face as he nudged the door closed, turned the lock, and reached for the top button on his shirt. His voice was husky when he spoke. “You lose.”
Hers was just as husky when she replied. “Oh really? Feels like winning to me.”

***Here's my question. Did this scene go too far for you? Pam and Harrison have a healthy, married relationship. Is this an acceptable scene under those circumstances? If your answer is no, why not?  Please use the comment button below and leave your thoughts. (The word "comment" right under this post is the button.) Also, don't forget to stop by Terri's page while you're here. There's a new interview with Gina Holmes and a chance to win her book "Dry as Rain". It's a great book. Leave a comment, get registered!***