ALASKA, A PUPPY, THE CLASH, AND A SALE

Bon Voyage!!

 My daughter and I will be boarding the Grand Princess cruise liner on Sunday to begin our seven day adventure in Alaska. This is a trip we have planned and anticipated for almost two years and I can't wait to see another part of God's beautiful planet. I'll be taking lots of pictures on the trip to share with you guys when we get back.

PUPPY UPDATE
video
A few week ago I shared the sad news that our nine-year-old lab, Sara had died. Since that time we have been searching for the perfect puppy to fill the void. On Wednesday night we found her. Meet Jazmin. Jazmin has only one small problem...in less than hours my husband has spoiled her so completely that  she has become nearly impossible to live with. He wanted to keep her close for a few days while she adjusted to her new surroundings. He even took her to work with him yesterday.  Today he's gone and I'm home pulling the last minute details of my life together so I can go on the a fore mentioned vacation and all I've heard for five hours is puppy whining. She has 3 acres to explore and two other dogs to play with but she wants in the house like a human. She's laying under my feet as I type this. The human ear wasn't designed to take this sort of relentless abuse!

THE CLASH OF THE TITLES
 THE WOMEN OF VALLEY VIEW:PAM is a choice for this month's CLASH OF THE TITLES. Competition is stiff, but she can take the title with your help! You don't have to join or sign up for anything to vote, just follow this link and click. It takes 3 seconds, I counted!
http://www.clashofthetitles.com/

THE WOMEN OF VALLEY VIEW: TERRI is featured as a
1.99 download MONDAY ONLY at Christian books.com in your choice of e-reader applications.
One reviewer said:
"What sets this book apart from most is the perspective. I might even go so far as to call it "the view." Like a movie running across the window of your mind, it gives you a front row seat to not only observe how Terri works out her problems, but how we can possibly apply those same methods to work on ours. Because that part of the story is real. Something you can take home with you."

LETTING GO IS NEVER EASY

I've mentioned, here and there, that my oldest daughter, Amber and her husband, Todd had decided to host a foreign exchange student this year. Well, not just one, but two. A girl from Italy and a boy from Germany. 

I really wondered how this would work out for everyone. Amber and Todd have nine kids between them. Some of those kids have spouses, some of those kids have kids. It's a large and rowdy group when they all try to get together in one spot. A stranger could get lost in that house.

I also know my daughter's heart. When it comes to her children she is like a toddler with a toy. If she touched it, held it, hugged it, It's her's...forever!

This is a picture from back in July when the kids first arrived. Left to right they are: Martina, Amber, Todd, and Kevin. (They grow them big in Germany!!)

This was taken this week in all of their graduation finery. Side note, did you know that the year they spent here doesn't count toward their diploma in their home country. Kevin will return to Germany with two years of school left, Martina will complete one more year in Italy.

I didn't get to know them as well as I would have liked. I had visits at Thanksgiving and Christmas, maybe 7-8 days all total, but the heart always finds a way to expand and wrap around someone new. When they go home, I hope they will take a bit of me with them. They graduate tonight and Kevin will leave Sunday morning to return to the custody of his parents. Martina will follow in about two weeks.

My daughter is a basket case even as she has planned graduation parties and made room for guests, knowing that time is short, that the loan of these two wonderful kids is almost up, knowing that goodbyes are coming. I wonder how their parents felt, putting them on a plane last year, sending them to live so far away with strangers, knowing that they wouldn't see their babies for almost a year. As much as Amber is dreading their departure, there are parents across the world anticipating their arrival home with just as much emotion.

Martina and Kevin, we love you, we're going to miss you. You have been a blessing to our family this year. You'll return home with an extra set of loving parents, twelve brothers and sisters, ( I added in the spouses) and a half dozen grandparents. We'll hold you in our hearts, pray for you, and love you from a distance. 
Auf Wiedersehen and Arriverderci

THE AMAZING MOTHERS IN MY LIFE

In celebration of Mother's Day I wanted to share the amazing mothers in my life.

This is my grandmother, Evelyn Carr. By my guesstimation she was in her early forties here, this picture was taken on my mother's wedding day. What you see here is the way I always remember her. Solemn, plain dark dress, hair in a net.  She doesn't look happy, but most of the pictures from that era look the same. Not a lot of toothy grins and selfies in the early fifties.

But maybe it was just life that painted that expression on her face. By the time this picture was taken, she'd buried a baby boy and a husband. She'd spent the better part of her life cleaning house for others and taking in sewing to support her remaining two children. So solemn fits. I think heroic fits too.

Meet my mother, Norma Jean Anderson. She was a beautiful woman, inside and out. Here's a news flash for you. We did not always get along. GASP!!! But she always made me feel loved. I knew I was never alone as long as I could fall into her arms. She was the glue that held our family together, and that family has not been the same since she went to Heaven seventeen years ago. I miss her beyond words.

Last but not least I give you Tammi Richardson (gray shirt)  and Amber Emmons (Pink shirt), my daughters. Here they are hamming it up in the Caribbean  with "Elvis". These two women amaze me every day. Between them they have thirteen kids through blood and marriage, two fosters, and two foreign exchange students. Amber has three and a third grandchildren, and Tammi is within sniffing distance of her teaching degree. I don't know how they do it. I know I'm glad it's them and not me. What word could I use except amazing?

Happy Mother's Day Ladies, I love you!


SAYING GOODBYE TO A FURRY FRIEND

I'm not a dog person. I'm not really a cat person either, but I've always thought if I was going to be either, I'd lean toward cats.

Please understand, I'd never be intentionally cruel to any animal, and I love puppies and kittens. Who doesn't? The soft, helpless bodies, the milk smell of baby breath. If they would just stay so small and sweet.





But they don't. They grow up to be demanding and smelly. Sort of like Kids and husbands! (SMILE)






Don't get me wrong, I was not a deprived child. I had pets when I was growing up, but they came and went, I don't remember ever really bonding with any of them. My daughters had dogs and cats as well, but the majority of them were outside pets and between day jobs, caring for the house and family, and taking every opportunity to sit in a quiet place with a good book, I wasn't much of an outdoor person, so again, I never bonded with any of these animals.

That all changed nine years ago when Sara came into our lives. My husband is a dog person, the proverbial little boy with his puppy. I've known him for almost twenty three years, He's never been with out dogs. Nothing makes him happier than to be met at his truck everyday by an adoring, wiggling, ball of fur. He coos, and pats, and scratches, and talks baby talk. I've tried meeting him at the door, panting, tail wagging, hands begging under my chin, I even barked. It got a laugh, I did not get baby talk!!

Nine years ago this month, we found ourselves completely petless. The man moped for five or six weeks like he'd lost his best friend. I guess in a way, he had. With enough being enough, I went on line and found Sara. She was Larry's dog, but she was the first dog I can say that I ever bonded with. 

Look at that smile. How could you not fall for that? Sara gave me a lot of great memories. We buried her in the backyard last Thursday night. She was nine years old.

She was a good dog and she has changed my whole viewpoint on the whole do dogs go to heaven question. If good dogs really do go to heaven, we'll see her again. For now, she's keeping company with our little grandson. I hope he throws the ball once for me.

MEET MY REAL LIFE WOMEN

***I'll apologize if you saw this post last week. Blogger is experiencing some technical difficulties. I Think they have resolved and since I had 2 options, delete last week's post or post it again, I chose to post it again for those who didn't see it.***

Callie, Terri, Pam, Karla, Samantha, and Kate.

The Women of Valley View.

Standing with, and for, each other through thick and thin. Praying, supporting, encouraging.

Friends like that are a blessing. I'm glad my women have each other. I'm glad that I have my own special circle of friends who support me in this writing journey. I'd like to introduce you to them. Any resemblance between my circle and the Valley View circle is completely coincidental!!

 Behind every good writer is a great critique partner, and I have the best.

When God placed Robin Patchen in my life, He did me the biggest favor ever. The women wouldn't be the women without Robin's steady insight and her bright red pen. Robin is an author in her own right with 2 Christmas novellas that can be enjoyed anytime of the year. You can find information about Robin's books HERE





Next we have Kaye and Emily Whiteman. Kaye is probably the only other human in the world who knows as much about THE WOMEN OF VALLEY VIEW as Robin and I do. That's because she reads every version of every scene. She's a glutton for punishment and I don't know what Valley View would do without her continued support and prayers. Kaye is never more than an E-mail away and is never too busy to rejoice with me when the news is good, or comfort me when the news is not so good. Emily is Kaye's granddaughter and my go to person for all things teen.


Sandy Patten has been the recipient of more than one phone call in the middle of the day when things got tough. She never fails to have a word of encouragement. She calls me her "famous" friend. She makes me laugh!!







Teresa Talbott
Wanda Peters 
Anne Lee








Lynn Beck




Friends and readers. Prayer partners. New friends, old friends, practically lifetime friends. Unafraid to tell me the truth when something doesn't work, quick to offer praise when it all comes together. Always...always there with a word of encouragement. Valley View wouldn't be Valley View without these beautiful women. I want them to know how grateful, and blessed I am.


Last but not least we have little miss Callie. Not named after my character, but Mom read the book and liked the name. The rest is History.  (SMILE) Miss Callie had a death grip on the book, I think I can make a reader out of her!