OH BABY!!




Late. Never had that word held a positive meaning for Terri, until today. She studied the test and the instructions that came with it. She wasn’t good at tests. She wasn’t good at patience. The combination of the two would probably kill her. Her eyes  focused on the instructions. At least it was, sort of, an open book test. Whispered words filled the room as she read. “For best results administer test first thing in the morning.” She dropped everything and took a step back. Maybe I should just call Callie.
She raked her short black hair away from her face and studied the image in the mirror. Excitement and hesitation stared back at her.
Do it! The reflection urged.  
She argued instead. “What if it’s false?”
 Will you be any worse off than you are now?
“Or worse, what if I get a false positive and I tell everyone…?” Her brow furrowed in indecision.  
Wimp.
Terri shrugged at the accusation, accepting the self assessment.
 Her internal voice demanded action. Call Callie and get an appointment with Dr. Rayburn or take the test, but do something.
A deep breath filled the room as she screwed up her courage and ripped open the package. Her heart fluttered in anticipation as she completed the steps involved in the test. This would be the longest two minutes of her life. She paced and tried to ignore the creeping second hand of her watch.
Thirty seconds? 
“Dear lord!” It was half prayer, half frustration.
 Terri fled to the bedroom. A basket of unfolded towels rested on the bed. She folded exactly two before she found herself back at the sink, staring at the test.  For just a second, she couldn’t breathe. She closed her eyes, cracked one open, and looked at the results again. Her hands shook as she pressed them to her belly. 
“Oh, baby!”




***While you're here, Please take a few minutes to visit the tabs at the top of the page. Terri welcomes Marianne Evans to her library.  Marianne is here to talk about her book BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Marianne will be giving away a copy of her book at the end of the week. Karla welcomes Louise M. Gouge and Shannon Vannatter to her page for a sneak peak at theri upcoming releases. Callie has a devotion prepared for us by Penny McGinnisPam has a brand new recipe for Jalapeño Popper Dip.***  

ONE OF THOSE DAYS



Pam took a sip of her morning coffee, blinked sleep from her eyes, and tried to focus on the list of Monday errands attached to the fridge. Her brow wrinkled as she struggled to read the combination of her own hand writing mixed with that of her children.
Pick Harrison’s business cards up from the print shop
Get Megan’s formal from the dry cleaners
Nail appointment at 1:00
Drop off books at the library
Return movies
Stop by pet supply store for live crickets for Spot
Shop for bake sale
Take tax form to accountant’s office
Fill up the car
Her shoulders slumped as she removed the paper from its perch. The list would keep her on the road all day. Sunshine, filtered through the slats of the kitchen blinds and made bright stripes on her kitchen floor. She crossed the room, threw open the back door, and took a step out onto the back deck. Birdsong filled the air, butterflies danced around her flowers, and the very slightest of breezes lifted the hair on her neck. Pam took a deep breath, drawing in the scent of honeysuckle and the neighbor’s fresh cut grass. A perfect spring day.
Pam stared at the list. Would the world really grind to a halt, if none of these things got done today? She chewed her lip and reconsidered.
Pick Harrison’s business cards up from the print shop—Wife task. Harrison could get these on his way home. Had, in fact offered to do so. She’d let him.
Get Megan’s formal from the dry cleaners—The Junior High prom was still two weeks away. They wouldn’t trash the dress if she waited to pick it up. Megan would whine. Megan could learn to deal.
Nail appointment at 1:00—She looked at the nail she’d broken on Saturday. A little time with a file would get her by for a day or two. She’d call and reschedule for a lunch time appointment later in the week
Drop off books at the library—A phone call would get the due date extended
Return movies—Three movies, six dollars in late fees. Not enough to derail her day.
Stop by pet supply store for live crickets for Spot—Not just YUCK, but NO. If Jeremy wanted live crickets for his pet lizard’s dinner, he could get the creepy crawlers himself.
Shop for bake sale—She knew for a fact that there were brownie mixes in the pantry. Not the home baked treat she’d planned, but no promises of home baked had been made.
Take tax form to accountant’s office—Bet they have a fax machine.
Fill up the car—If I stay home, I won’t need gas.
Ten minutes, three phone calls, and a fax later her once busy day stretched before her, free and transformed by pleasant possibilities. Should she play in her flower garden, read a book, go back to bed…? Pam put the brakes on her runaway train of thought. What good did it do to exchange one list for another? She might very well do all of those things, but first she’d just sit here on the deck, sip a fresh cup of coffee, listen to the birds, and smell the honeysuckle.
WHAT DID YOU DO WITH YOUR LAST UNEXPECTED DAY OFF??


 PAM
***While you're here, Please take a few minutes to visit the tabs at the top of the page. Terri welcomes Winnie Griggs to her library.  Winnie is here to talk about her book THE BRIDE NEXT DOOR. Winnie will be giving away a copy of her book at the end of the week. Karla welcomes Patricia Johns to her page for a sneak peak at her upcoming releases. Callie has a devotion prepared for us by Cheri SwalwellPam has a brand new recipe for Jalapeño Popper Dip.***   

COTT's Laurel Award

Attention Authors!

Submissions are now open for Clash of the Titles' annual Laurel Award contest!

What makes us different? In our contest, entries are read and scored not by industry gatekeepers but by READERS.


Open to any genre of Christian fiction published in 2012, the Laurel has limited slots available and a submission window ending July 19th.

Great prizes and a low entry fee of $10 make entering the Laurel a snap. Don't miss out on this opportunity!



Submissions:
June 03, 2013-July 19, 2013 


For more details, please visit our site: http://www.clashofthetitles.com/p/the-laurel.html

Stay tuned for updates by 



Karla's Father's Day Salute




Karla sat on the bench and allowed her eyes to roam the landscaping. The neatly trimmed grass was a brilliant summer green, stretching acres in any direction she chose to look. Towering trees provided shade as well as homes for the birds that filled the air with song and motion. Beyond the birdsong, if she listened, Karla could hear the bubbling of the fountain in the Serenity Garden. 

Color abounded. Bright reds, greens, and blues,  stark against the whites and grays they adorned. Newly placed decorations from the Memorial day holiday less than two weeks ago.


She shifted her attention to the monument at her feet.

Gerald Ramsey Monk

April 26 1933—July 14 2009

Beloved Husband and Father


Her lips turned up in a smile. This could be a sad place, but she refused to give into that. Dad’s suffering was over and He’d been resting in his heavenly father’s arms for several years. As much as she might miss him, he wouldn’t come back even if he could. Karla was good with that.


Voices reached her ears. Other people out paying tribute to fathers and husbands, gone, but not forgotten.


“I miss you, Dad. I brought a treat for us to share.”


She reached for the small white bag resting on the bench at her side and pulled out a warm custard filled pastry, iced in chocolate.


“Do you remember the first one of these we shared? I do. I was in the first grade and it was my first day to ride the school bus. I was already scared and that deserted corner didn’t help. I don’t remember if we were early or the bus was late, but I remember that you didn’t leave me there to wait alone. You took me into the little doughnut shop that sat on the same corner and told me I could have anything I wanted as long as I didn’t tell Mom.”


Karla took a bite of the gooey treat and wiped custard from her mouth. “You waited with me and even shared a sip of your coffee. I knew I was your best girl that day. You turned my fear into something special.”


She tore the rest of the doughnut in half, ate her portion, and slipped the other half behind the fading Memorial Day flowers. “I would have brought fresh flowers, but I figured you would enjoy this more.”


She stood and brushed crumbs from her fingers. “I miss you,” she repeated. “Hug Mom for me but don’t tell her I had a doughnut for breakfast. Happy Father’s Day.

***While you're here, Please take a few minutes to visit the tabs at the top of the page. Terri welcomes Becky Harling to her libraryBecky is here to talk about her book THE 30 DAY PRAISE CHALLENGE. Becky will be giving away a copy of her book at the end of the week. Karla welcomes Stephanie McCall and Vickie McDonough to her page for a sneak peak at their upcoming releases. Callie has a devotion prepared for us by Penny McGinnessPam has a recipe for Strawberry cheese cake cobbler.***  

AN UNEXPECTED GIFT Part 2

 ***If you're reading this post and you didn't read part one of my story, last week, you might be a little lost. Please go back and take a look at last week's post.***

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Psalm 37:4

The desires of my heart? To enjoy God's creation. To share that enjoyment with someone I loved. To make memories that would last a lifetime.

God allowed me to do that and so much more. Let's take a look at the last five years of my journey. 

The spring of 2009 found me on another cruise with my grandson Chase. We went to Haiti, Jamaica, The Grand Caymans, and Cozumel. Some of my best memories of these trips are just the personality traits you discover once you separate one child from the sibling bickering. What did I discover about Chase? A protective streak a mile wide. He made sure to hold my hand as we made our way up the falls in Jamaica. "Here grandma, let me help you. Put your foot right there. Careful here, it's deeper than it looks. Hold my hand and I'll pull you up." Such a sweetheart! Here's a fun fact. This is the spring I started writing. I took my computer on the ship and had great plans for working on Callie's story. I don't think I ever opened the file.

 In 2010 I had to take a year off to allow the next batch of grandkids to reach the vacation age of 12. I'd been to the Island of Cozumel 4 times, but never for more than a few hours at a whack. That year a girlfriend and I took a week and spent some quality time in Cozumel. Yep, took a note book with Terri's story in it, never wrote a word. I gave up on writing vacations after that and dedicated myself to having fun. We loved the island so much that...

We returned for another week in the spring of 2011. I brought my grandson, Brian and Wendy brought her son Patrick.That week formed a bond between these two boys that still continues strong two years later. Wendy and I are planning more trips together in the future.

Our trip for 2012 was my dream. ORLANDO!! I'd wanted to visit Disney World since my girls were small and the plans just never came together. They came together in 2012. Hailey and I had a wonderful time. We did Disney, Epcot, and Sea World. We rode rides, fed dolphins, raced through the rain, walked our feet off, got spun, twisted, turned upside down and inside out. At the end of the week, three words summed it up. WHAT A RIDE!!

Two weeks ago my youngest granddaughter Abigail and I boarded the Carnival Sensation, bound for the Bahamas, for the last leg of my nine year journey. Four days on the ship followed with two days at Disney. Abby gave the cruise nine out of ten points. She gave The Magic kingdom a ten. As we climbed of the final roller coaster on Saturday night and limped to the exit gate of the Disney's Hollywood Park, she looked at me with a smile. "That was a 20, Grandma."  A 20? What more can a grandma ask for?

***While you're here, Please take a few minutes to visit the tabs at the top of the page. Terri has an interview with Delia Latham.  Delia is here to talk about LEXI"S HEART.  Be sure to answer the question at the end of the interview. Delia will be giving away a copy of her book at the end of the week. Karla welcomes Cynthia Hickey and Linda Goodnight to her page for a sneak peak at their upcoming releases. Callie has a devotion prepared for us by Cheri SwallwellPam has a recipe for Strawberry cheese cake cobbler.***  



AN UNEXPECTED GIFT part 1



I want to start this week's blog with a question.

Did you ever have a stinging disappointment that God turned into an invaluable gift?
Think about that while I tell you a story.

My husband and I used to take a nice vacation every fall. We went up into the Smoky mountains, attended a NASCAR race and spent a week panning for gold. We went to the same place every year, but I looked forward to that week away all year long.

Ten years ago, as I started planning our yearly trip, he informed me that he didn't want to go. In fact, he told me that he was done with traveling all together. I can't tell you how much this broke my heart. There is still so much of God's creation I want to see and, at that time, I couldn't imagine seeing it with anyone else. I put away the planner and went to bed that evening more than a little hurt.

When morning rolled around I bounced out of bed with a God given idea in my heart. Something that would take nearly a decade to complete. A journey that would change my life before it was over.

My husband might be tired of traveling but I had eight grandchildren who would make perfect vacation buddies. Would they go?

I approached my eldest daughter and asked her how she would feel if I took my oldest grandson on a trip. She was good with it and when I mentioned my idea to Derrick, he was ecstatic. Well, as ecstatic as a fifteen-year-old boy will admit to being.

The planner came back out, and I began to plan the biggest vacation of my life. Derrick and I were spending a week in Hawaii!!

This is one of my favorite pictures form the Hawaii trip in the spring of 2005. Derrick in a Moo Moo. This picture so expresses Derrick's personality and the memories are even more precious today since Derrick is a married man now, and just venturing out into the ministry.

With that trip under my belt I was feeling a lot better about my plan. I spoke to both my daughters and told them that as long as God provided financially, I would plan individual trips for all eight of the kids. It was a huge undertaking, an incredible financial investment, and a gigantic leap of faith.


2006 was my first cruise. Cody and I drove to Galveston and boarded the ship for 5 days in the Caribbean. It was just the first of many cruises I was destined to enjoy. I have to tell you about Cody. We were on a ship, but with the exception of dinner time and our two shore excursions, I didn't see him for the whole week. I think he had a good time!

2007 was cruise number two. My first vacation with a granddaughter. Kayle was almost 12 when when went and she stuck pretty close to me. We swam with Dolphins and the pretty ray pictured above. The seven days I spent with Kayle turned out to be true gift from God since I haven't seen her in almost three years now. I hold the memories close until I can hold her again.



In the spring of 2008 I took Blake to the Grand Canyon and Vegas. We slept in an old railroad car, took a drive to Winslow, and road the mules down into the canyon. In Vegas we enjoyed the bright lights, great food and the jousting show at the Hotel Excalibur. I have to tell you that when people say "stubborn as a mule", they speak the truth.

In the fall of 2008, God allowed me a dream within the dream. I was able to take my two daughters on a cruise. Five days of girl time. We had a blast and came home with a closeness that we'd lost along the path of raising individual families and living in different towns. I'm pretty sure the whole ship knew the names of both my girls before that week was over.

I have five more trips to share with you next week as I bring you the conclusion of my journey and the fulfillment of God's gift of love to me. In the meantime I'd love it if you took the time to share your answer to my beginning question.

Did you ever have a stinging disappointment that God turned into an invaluable gift?


***While you're here, Please take a few minutes to visit the tabs at the top of the page. Terri has an interview with E. A. West.  Elizabeth is here to talk about BATTLEFIELD OF THE HEART Be sure to answer the question at the end of the interview. Elizabeth will be giving away a copy of her book at the end of the week. Karla welcomes JODI DAY to her page for a sneak peak at their upcoming releases. Callie has a devotion prepared for us by PENNY McGINNISPam has a recipe for Breakfast cupcakes.***