Saturday, October 28, 2006

Friday Facts
There are some days that defy description. Have you ever noticed that? There are moments so weird you have to wonder if you aren't still dreaming. Some days where it feels as if you are running in place without being able to get past a set point. Friday was like that.

It began on a calm note--me, drinking my tea while the boys got ready for school. Reality came with one quick peek in my purse. No money for gas or lunches. That meant a fast trip to town to the ATM. No hassle, at that point I still had plenty of time.

Got to the ATM. Temporarily out of service. Okay, time is moving onward, but I still had time to drive to the OTHER side of town and find another ATM. Yikes, the second bank has taken OUT their ATM. I notice a "foreign" ATM on the edge of the parking lot. Will it take my card? It does. I'm asked if I'll pay a dollar fifty for the privledge of using their machine. Okay, okay. After all that it DENIES my request! Dirty darn.

Race home. Time is definitely heading toward late. Count quarters for gas. Toss some cheese on crackers and advise the boys to fill up before we leave. I'll bring them a snack from the dollar store after school.

We manage to get to school with two minutes to spare. Frazzled, I decide to go to Sister #3's house to make a pot of coffee and relax. Jenny is home from school but she's usually pretty quiet. Surprise, surprise. There's a full house coming and going! To be sociable I have coffee with my sister and she urges me to get out my laptop. I do, but then Jenny sits down with a waffle (covered in chocolate syrup) and has an actual conversation with me. Spend time with her then when she decides to watch tv---I work a bit, fill my thermos and head on out.

Have just enough time to run in the library and check email.

For some reason I have yet to fathom, I didn't sit in my usual place. The library has a bank of computers along the back wall of the children's room. I usually sit on one edge near the paperbacks nobody checks out. Friday I happened to sit in the last PC right next to the one with children's games on it. I'd been typing about ten minutes when a little boy popped up at tmy elbow and told me to "Turn on Thomas." Thankfully, his mother came along and did it for him. Then she sat down on my other side to check her email. Now the sensible thing to do would have been to switch with her. But I was right in the middle of emails, not intending to stay long and didn't feel like logging in again.

Mistake. I was sandwiched between the Mom and the little boy who could not read to follow the instructions. I didn't stay long.

Got snacks for the boys, bought a Goo Goo Cluster for myself and a tuna kit--drove back to the school and had my lunch. The rain poured down so nobody stopped at the car for a chat. I got to eat, drink my thermos of coffee and finish a mystery for 45 WHOLE ENTIRE minutes. Sure hope it doesn't spoil me for the rest of the week.

The picture on top is of Trouble. While any stuffed animal will do in a pinch, her real love is a tiny green alligator the boys named, "Croc." Due to her love and saliva based affections, Croc has to be hidden.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Aunt Maggie and the boys Since I don't know how to put two pictures in one entry, here is the photo we took of Aunt Maggie with Miah and Kris. There isn't a lot we can take her, so we usually make sure to give her edible goodies. Although I believe Kris made it back to the car with those chocolate chip cookies clenched in his hand.

Aunt Maggie is the last of my Grandma's family still alive. There were three sisters: Marie, my grandma, Myrtle and Maggie Sue. Aunt Myrtle was a bit of a scamp. The two other sisters were forever remembering a saying she use to tease them with, "There were three sisters, one was too fat, one was too skinny and one (being herself), was just right." The girls had two older brothers, Kenneth and Denneth.

Memories captured While trying to compact the past weekend into a few sentences, I realized that I couldn't look at each day as a whole. Instead, I found there were moments that stood out. Emma eating a fudgesicle---her first, all by herself. The sunshine--warm, golden and daring winter to come. (It did. Sunday was freezing and Monday I saw snow flurries.) Jenny and Jarrod tossing a football in the field. Then later the two having an animated discussion on the difference between pirates and pirateers. Although I know they are both smart, it's times like these when you get an "Ah HA!" moment and realize they actually KNOW things. And I can't take credit for teaching either of them about pirates. Jenny's history class had just had a unit on them and Jarrod learned in "Building History." (It sounds like such a neat class, I almost wish I could go!)

Sunday we all went to the nursing home to visit Aunt Maggie. She celebrated her 87th birthday on the 15th. Jarrod and Jenny baked a chocolate cake the night before and we all trooped in bearing gifts. This picture of her with Miah and Kris might someday be a treasure. Kris has only seen her twice in his four years and doesn't remember her. He might remember the toy cars she unearthed in a basket and gave him. The floors are highly polished and make excellent track for the teeny wheels.

Monday I got an unexpected bonus of time. We were all set to begin school for the day when Sister #2 came for the boys. She had business downtown and would take the boys onto their Monday afternoon club. HOORAY! So did I scrapbook, read, watch "The Thin Man" movies I'd rented at the library? Nope. I cleaned my room and went to the laundromat. Kind of dumb, but I really needed to get the room done. Then I took all my quilts and blankets and sheets and washed them. Went to sleep on sweet, fresh smelling quilts so it was worth it. Plus, I got to read for a whole hour by myself!

Had to rush then to get home, eat and get back to the library for a "Cookies and Milk" meeting and the first session of "Let's Write II."

It was a weekend that reminds me of one of my favorite sayings, "We do not remember days, we remember moments."

Friday, October 20, 2006

MEANWHILE. . . . back at the ranch. . . .

My short burst of pride in my organizational skills has ended. Turns out picture day was NOT Wednesday. Turns out we did not know WHEN picture day was because someone lost the paper with the dates. This someone was NOT me because I brough it in and gave it to the parties responsible.

What this meant to me was that I had to be prepared for picture day happening anytime within the next few weeks. I was sure that the paper said October. Thankfully, today was picture day and we got that over with!

Today turned out well in the writing layer. I managed to do a first draft of a cover letter, outline and bibliography for an article. Also did anohter draft of a short story I want to enter into a contest. Transcribed some notes into Word Imperfect and read some manuscripts for two friends. Also mailed a snail mail letter that only took me a month to write.

After having lost my stride the past few weeks, I feel like I'm getting back into the flow with my work. The revisions on the book are done. (I hope.) Will post the last chapter of my second book with my online critique group. The Nov. "Cookies and Milk" column is put to bed. (That's newspaper talk!) Guess now I can turn my attention to all those small projects and then think about another book project.
There are three ideas calling for atteniton so I'm not sure which I'll choose. Maybe more than one.

The boys went to LOL today so I had plenty of time to write and visit JoAnn's for their sale. Bought scrapbook paper, ribbon, puppets for the boys to make and a pen.
I'm anticipating doing some scrapbooking this weekend. There is something that satisfying about gluing, cutting and arranging pages.

Last night, one of my friends said she had given her son a copy of "Legend of the Lost Miner" to read. When she showed him my name and asked if he knew who it was, he said no. How fleeting is fame! Although I rarely remember an author's name either. When she pointed out who I was, Miss Donna, he replied with "Duuuuuuuuude." I've been told the translation equals something like, "How cool is that?"

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Organization or not. . . . This morning I walked into my closet and actually opened a drawer to take out my clean clothes. While this might sound like a 'so what' or 'ho hum' moment, for me it was a second of victory. (Blast of triumphant trumpet music, please.) On Saturday, there was no hope of even finding the closet door. Honest. Reaching the door meant stepping over, in this order, a box of pictures left over from the Fair in September, six bags of stuffed animals, a wooden shelf I thought I might use, the Hoover, a broom, a cascading bed spread I planned to give my niece, and the top of one of the Christmas bins.

The Christmas bin is a story in itself. Mama cat likes to find the oddest, darkest corners of the room to sleep in. For reasons known only to her feline mind, she decided that the top of the storage bins in my closet were the perfect location. During her residency there, she managed to open and shove away the top of the bin. This explains also the bits and pieces of Mrs. Santa (a three part candle holder), ornaments, bows, and assorted tree lights I also had to step over to reach the closet. When I finally got everything out to reorganize, I found I had a pile of laundry to do. A cat making a bed in a mound of Christmas stockings (red velvet), embroidered pillows and napkins is not a mess free zone.

It took about two hours to get everything back and to free up the floor so I could actually open my dresser drawers. My Christmas bins are on top of the storage containers--in October! My usual record for releasing the Christmas bins are the weekend before we get the tree. The bedspread for my niece is now in a wicker chair waiting for her to come. The only thing I'm still tripping over are the wooden shelf and an impish, round, silver ornament. Everytime I reach for it, it rolls out of sight.

Of course, organization in one area seldom means it spreads to any other layer of my life. Take the morning rush to LEAVE THE HOUSE ON TIME FOR SCHOOL. This year I was determined to keep the boys ahead of their school work for LOL and to make sure we arrived on time each day. We might have to work on the homework the day before. (All day--like yesterday we did fractions, decimals and percents. I think I actually learned something.) We did have a bit of a hassle finding Miah's assignment book. It finally came to light under the pile of library books, games and a very dirty pair of socks on top of the piano.

Miah is studying snakes and how they hear. We managed to decipher his assignment and print out the notes he needed for class. BEFORE dark---I mean, that is some kind of record.
We even had time for an evening that did not involve homework.

Which probably goes to prove that an organized evening does not make for a morning to match. Had to rush out of bed, rush up to the ATM, stop at the grocery for lunch and the Cheerios Jarrod needed to measure out for his fraction class. Stopped for gas---waited and waited and waited in line. Home where I had left the boys getting ready. Miah couldn't find his shoes. Jarrod couldn't find the measuring spoons to take to school to measure the Cheerios. We got a late start out of the driveway and horrors, we were five minutes late for school. Thankfully, a lot of other unorganized people were pulling in as we did, including two of the teachers, so the boys scrambled inside with a crowd. Without brushing their hair---on picture day! At least this year we remembered to make sure Miah brushed his teeth so he could smile.

Organization. It's a great concept but a lot of work.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Historic Moment. . . . in my life anyway. Just finished putting page numbers and running the spell check on my book mansuscript, The Search for the Madonna. And---drum roll please--I just sent it on to the publisher. Hope she likes the revisions I've made.

One thing I'm finding with selling a book is that it's more a group effort than the result of one person writing. Almost three years ago, I had the idea for a children's mystery. I'd always wanted to set a book in one of my favorite periods of history, the Great Depression of the 1930's.
I wanted a book where the main character, Maggie, could collect and scrapbook articles and pictures of the Dionne Quintuplets. (One of my hobbies use to be collecting Quint memoribila and I still love anything to do with multiples from twins on up.) I also wanted a book that would use some tidbits of family history--my German Brandenburg connection and that would feature twins.

Didn't take me long to make a choice about what kind of book I'd write. For someone who still owns every Nancy Drew book she ever read, it was an obvious decision. MYSTERY. There had to be a treasure, a long undiscovered mystery from the past and a farm. I started writing the book in a hotel room in Dearborn, Michigan and finished on a borrowed laptop on my sister's kitchen table. Then the real work began. . . .I had to rewrite it. Again and again and again.

Two friends, Erica and Kathi, went over it with their red, cyber pencils. They corrected, suggeted and gave me ideas to make it a better book. My editor also had ideas. Back to the laptop. More rewrites. More corrections. I burned disks and passed it around. More ideas. More input. Is it finished? Time will tell.

Right this moment, it just feels good to have sent it. Now, back to the mundane ----we are still searching for "A Pup Named Scooby Doo," although we did find the missing duck. Which is another story for another day.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Learning untaught lessons and goofs. . . .mine.

Columbus Day. One of my favorite things about home schooling are the freebies. We live near enough several parks that have teaching programs. Today, we went to Pattison Park for a lesson in condensation and evaporation, some of us more willing than others. My standard attitude is, "I know you’ll have a great time when we get there." I’m usually right. (No brag, just fact. One has to take one’s gold stars where one finds them.)

As we stepped out of the car, several boys playing touch football called out for Jarrod to join them. It turned out they were boys he knew from Leaves of Learning. Don’t you love it when the unexpected turns out to be pleasantly surprising? The park ranger, Keith, had some good experiments to demonstrate the scientific principles. He made it so clear even I began to understand how hot air rises and what makes it rain. (Rain happens when the big jar filled with water tries to pour into the little jar of water and overflows - SPLASH! Although we were to imagine the jars were clouds. I think.) The boys made barometers and learned how to use them.
The ranger also gave ‘homework’ with some worksheets on predicting weather.

One experiment involved baby powder and a light. The idea was to show how heat rises. Miah loved that. We never use baby powder here, so he was quite taken with the fact you could squeeze the can and powder shot out It wasn’t until the next morning I found out he’d decided to do some experimenting on his own. A gritty white powder covered the dining room table, the PC, the printer, and the piano. It had sifted inside my purse, into the keyboard (imagine trying to type with cornmeal crunching with every key), and over all the books. I’ll be wiping the stuff up for days. I can only hope there is no damage inside my PC. Can you imagine telling the repair tech--yes, it does have a lovely orange scent. Yes, there is Carpet Fresh sprinkled into my computer and printer.

At first I wasn’t sure what it could be. . . . then reality dawned in the form of the crushed box of Carpet Fresh. Tropical Orange. Miah admitted he’d squeezed the box to see if it shot out like the baby powder. Somewhere he’d missed the corresponding lesson that some of the baby powder sifted down like powdered sugar. Instead, he was quite pleased with another idea. "Hey, that’s how the clouds make snow!"

Sometimes it’s hard to see the humor in an event until after the fact. Like yesterday. We "did" school. This week we started a unit on the respiratory system in science. For reasons known until to themselves, the boys decided to read the work in a sing song rhythm. Hey, whatever works! The laughed themselves silly over the word ‘trachea’ which Jarrod kept saying was tarantula. Ever literal, Miah kept reminding him there was no L in trachea.
There were no clean clothes for ‘school’ today, so we knew a trip to the laundromat would be the afternoon’s business. Jarrod also wanted to make his winning recipe, "Upside Down Taco" for supper. (He won first prize in the casserole contest at the fair this year.) We did our errands. Got home and Jarrod decided he didn’t want to cook. Would I?

The casserole is pretty simple so I put on the ground beef to brown and decided to check email. Chatted with a friend. Left to mix in the other ingredients and put the casserole in the oven. I’d layered the refried beans and was spooning out the ground beef when I realized I’d left out a step. Before you layer in the ground beef, you mix in water and taco seasoning and let it cook a few minutes. Oops! Have you ever tried to unlayer a casserole? It is not a pretty sight or an easy task. Finally had the corrected casseroles in the oven—one meat, one vegetarian. Went back to my next task, putting a new cartridge in the printer.

I had no trouble putting in the cartridge. The problem came when I tried to print the alignment page. Every time I pressed the "Install new cartridge" button, an error message came up. Printer is not communicating with the computer. I tried once, twice, three times, four. I jiggled plugs. Turned it off and on. Pressed the help link which is very UNHELPFUL because I’d already tried all the steps. I was about to get a hammer and work on some communicating of my own when a thought jiggled in my mind. Was this the right printer?

Not long ago, I bought a Lexmark 1100 printer. Because I am not the only one who uses the printer and pc in this house, this brought a lot of grumbles and gripes. With the 1100 model, you had to turn on the PC to copy. Everyone missed the last printer where you didn’t need a PC to copy but could just push a button. When a 2300 model went on sale at Wal-Mart, I was the first in line. I was tired of the grumbling and complaining.

Because I am not one of those ultra organized people, I never uninstalled the 1100 printer. I know, I know. So there I was trying to install a cartridge in a printer that was upstairs in my closet. When I went to the 2300 icon, it worked in about two seconds. And did I spend the evening uninstalling the 1100 printer? Ha, and waste time better spent scrapbooking!
I'll spread my wings and learn how to fly. . . .

My friend, Erica, says I have an unscripted life. It’s probably a good thing. If my life were a Hollywood script, no one would believe it. Take, for instance, the past few days. . . .
I love Saturdays. In theory, it’s one of my writing days. It’s also one of the days I’m free of being responsible for anyone but me. If my life were the layers of a parfait, Saturdays would be the whipped cream on top. Yeah - right - and if you believe that, I’ve got some choice real estate over a waterway to sell.

This past weekend turned into one of those glorious, autumn days. You know the kind. The leaves glow, the air is cool enough to feel cozy in a sweater and the time stretches in front of you without a demanding list of to do’s to be done. You can sit on the porch and enjoy the sunshine without feeling guilty. Which is how I began my day with a hot cup of coffee and interruptions.
There is something about my sitting down that brings out the sense of urgency in everyone else in the house. "Can you program the VCR at 10:30?" "Come inside and see this drawing!" "The phone is ringing." "Did you see?" "Do you know where. . . .?"

Then there always seems to be someone stopping by. My niece, Justi, came by to bring the
fund raising things I’d had to buy from her son, Austin’s school. He’s five, in school ONE week and he brings home the inevitable catalog with the fever of SELL, SELL, SELL in his blue eyes.
My standard practice is to buy the cheapest thing I can get away with. Most of the time it’s not anything I want. This time I managed to get a nice package of spring bulbs for under five dollars.

Miah came out to inspect the bulbs and managed to drop bulb dust in my hot coffee. One cup down. . . . Not to be deterred, I went for another cup, sat down again in the porch swing and waited for the next interruption. That’s the nice thing about interruptions, you never have to wait long. This one was of the did I see variety.

Obviously I’m missing something here so if anyone reading this can make sense of it, please let me know. My brother in law needed the title to his truck which was totaled about a month ago. For some obscure reason, it was on the dashboard of my car. My bil does not drive my car, is rarely IN my car and rides in it once every six months. There was no reason for him to have decided the best place to keep his title was in my car - yet, he did. And sure, I saw it. Or I saw an official looking envelope. Thinking it was my insurance and title (which should have been in the glove box ), I left it until I could do something with it. My theory being I could see it, it wasn’t lost, so who cared if it was there? The trouble was, when bil went to get his title out, it was gone.For some round about reason it was my fault. Two hours later, it was his keys which he’d left on the microwave. And sure, I saw them. . . .but once again they’d vanished.
Okay - another cup of coffee down - the dog got into it while I was in the house searching for the missing keys. Time to move along to something else. . . .

Some days the layers of my life overlap with annoying frustration. I want parfait perfection, each layer in a neat stripe in the glass, not cheese oozing through the meat and potato layers. Today was one of the oozing ones. I needed to finish a book review for the November issue of "Cookies and Milk." Patty, our intrepid formatter, had to go away for a week and I wanted her to leave with November off her mind. To find the books I needed, ones that could be easily checked out of the local library, I had to be online. The problem was, I only have one phone line and needed to keep it open until Jenny called. (Yes, there really is a Jenny - -my niece, who is nothing like the created one of my stories.) Most Saturdays she calls for someone to pick her up so she can spend the night out here.

I’d race online. Look up a few book titles and authors. Sign off. Check the answering machine. Back online. In the midst of this, my niece, Emma, arrived. She had too many "sitters" for awhile, then everything happened at once. Jenny called. Lori and the boys went to pick her up. Mom and Dad went to see about a car. So there I was with a sixteen month old, column work to be done and no help.

Bowing to the inevitable, we went out in the golden day. Emma loves the outdoors. Today she kept throwing her hands back as if she planned to fly away. I chased after her with the camera, hoping to get the perfect shot. Just as she’d get her hands in ‘fly away’ mode, I’d lose the picture. The one at the top is the only one that came out halfway right. When she got tired, we went inside and slow danced to "My Hero’s have always been cowboys." Sweet baby, sweet song, sweet moment.

Baby asleep. Everyone gone. I finished the column without interruption and sent if off to Patty. Some rare moments, everything goes right, even if they are unscripted.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Girls Night Out

Last night I had a great time meeting with Maribeth and Patty, the other two members of
“Cookies and Milk.” We got together at Bob Evans for dinner, a planning session, and an
early thanksgiving for the awesome week we’ve had.

On Monday, we had the second meeting of our newly formed, Southwestern Ohio Children’s Writer’s Guild. We welcomed a guest speaker and four interested newcomers. Then on Tuesday, after a month of rapid timing on God’s part, we became newspaper columnists. Or is one a columnist when one gets a whole page? Is there such a thing as a newspaper pagist? Our “Cookies and Milk” page debuted in The Times Gazette.

Isn’t life funny sometimes? Something you never anticipated happens? Like worrying about your tire going flat and instead of that, you lose your keys. (Don’t ask.) Finding myself in the newspaper is like that–a who me moment I never expected.

As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. When I graduated from high school, the options for going to college to BE a writer were somewhat slim. If you wanted to be a journalist, fine. There were schools for that. Fiction, huh? Better get a day job and forget it. These days you can specialize in esoteric topics like gum paste or medieval weapons and no one bats an eye. You can probably go to Gum Paste U, make candied violets for cakes your entire life, and become an ‘authority.’ Not so my senior year. If you wanted to be a writer, there was only one acceptable course—journalism. That would have been fine except for one thing. I thought writing for newspapers had to be one of the dullest job on the planet. It was too rigid. Too formalistic. Too boring. It wasn’t a dream I entertained at all. I’m not a bit ashamed to have my former thoughts proven wrong.

“Cookies and Milk” is turning out to a wonderful learning experience. That the three of us have been able to come together, that we work well as a team and are producing a great page is nothing short of God inspired. Last night we couldn’t help but reflect back on the short time we’ve actually known one another. This truly has all come about as perfect timing. I anticipate working with these two wonderful ladies for a long time

I’m also glad to find there is nothing boring about writing for the newspaper. The opposite is true instead. Tuesday saw the debut of my Jenny character in PRINT. My “baby” went out into the big, wide world. Having people read Jenny is a dream come true. Fiction in a newspaper, what a twist

When I was a little girl, I put myself to sleep with Jenny stories. Jenny came from our family’s love of westerns. If it had horses or cowboys in it, Dad watched it. If we wanted to watch, and what kid didn’t, we watched westerns. My favorite was “The Big Valley.” Oh, I loved that debonair Jarrod Barkley....and it was easy to imagine him having a neat daughter named Jenny. Jenny was my alter ego—the daring cowgirl with her own pony, a houseful of doting family and a whole ranch to have adventures on. A far cry from my own suburban existence as a shy, bookish kid who was afraid of any animal bigger than a kitten.

As I got older, I put Jenny away for a bit with my tattered dolls and Nancy Drew books. There were times when I pulled her out of my imagination at night, using her for comfort as I escaped into the snug world I’d created for her. I didn’t try to write Jenny until I discovered the world of fan fiction. Sometimes people ask me if I’m embarrassed to admit I write fan fiction–Big Valley to be precise. Nope, not a bit. At a time in my life when I thought I’d never be able to write again, I stumbled into the “Valley” and reconnected to a character I loved. Jenny came to life in a way I’d never thought possible. People actually LIKED her.

For the newspaper column, and the Jenny books I’m working on, she had to go mainstream. She’s no longer Jarrod Barkley’s little girl, but she’s still the mischievous character of my imagination. Seeing her in print is a dream come true. It’s been a truly awesome week. Dirty darn, as Jenny would say, life is good

Now if I could just find those lost car keys. . . .

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Johnny Appleseed, a dead mouse and a writer’s meeting–oh, and a missing DVD.

If I were to elaborate on my theme of "layers of life," today would be like the casserole dropped on the way to the church supper. Everything is in there, but it sure doesn’t look like the glossy magazine recipe you followed. Nothing went as it was suppose to, but somehow it all melded together and didn’t turn out half bad.

Monday begins another week of homeschooling. We’d skipped his birthday last week (Sept. 26), so I thought the boys might enjoy a unit on Johnny Appleseed today. Even if they didn’t, it’s September and I LOVE the story of the man who went around spreading apple seeds during the early days of America.

We started off in record time (always be wary of starting anything early.) Miah and I had just printed out the word search to begin the day when we heard company. It turned out to be my nephew, Bret, in between classes at the community college. He joined us for the word search (we’re all word search fanatics and enjoy a challenging race to start the day.) We managed to keep him through our spelling review and quiz. With the added bonus of "showing off," the boys raced through their work with plenty of time to spend the afternoon outside. I love it when a "plan" comes together.

It turned out to be one of those glorious autumn days someone copied from a picture postcard. Warm, sunny, the colors of the leaves and sky POPPING like a Gauguin painting. I took advantage of having Bret entertain the boys to look for a missing DVD.

Ever since we remodeled the kitchen and added digital cable, we’ve been renewing and searching for "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo." It vanished between the layers of pots, pans, boxes, video tapes, toys, clothes and everything else that got displaced. I’d been through all the book shelves, all the games, all the DVD holders of other movies when I decided to move the couch and love seat. I found a month’s worth of dust balls, a pacifier I searched all over for the week before with a baby screaming on my hip, toys and under the couch a very dead, very flat....mouse.
I swept him up and tossed him over the porch in the marigolds before the boys noticed. I didn’t find the DVD.

About that time, Miah came up to search for the binoculars. He’d seen a bug, "with a mustache and chain saw claws" and wanted a closer look. I went along, just in case. We went to the bug’s last known address but he’d vanished. I wasn’t sure if I should be happy at Miah’s vivid imagination, terrified if such an insect did exist or worried it might be watching me from behind some leaf. We tried to find the insect’s identity in a bug book, but none of them said anything about "chain saw claws." I was too intimidated to search for a bug with a mustache.

Tonight was the second meeting of the Southwest Ohio Children’s Writing Guild. We had a guest speaker, a wonderful teacher named Becky Storer, from Southern State Community College. She gave an informative presentation on children’s books. A few new members showed up----HOORAY!–so it looks as if we are growing. Who ever thought so much could happen in such a few short months?

I have to take time to mention my newest writing friends, Maribeth and Patty. The three of us met at Carol Cartaino’s "Let’s Write" series at our local library. We discovered we enjoyed writing for children and decided to form the SOCWG. Our main goal for the last two months has been to start a column for children in our local paper. We owe a debt of gratitude to another super lady, Gwen Clark, who writes the Clark Bar Devotions in the paper. She went to bat for us, interested the editor in our idea, and before we could catch our breath, we were columnists!
"Cookies and Milk" made it’s debut today in the October issue.

The three of us consider our meeting, the column, and the encouragement we’ve been able to give one another as gifts from God. In the scheme of writing possibilities, things rarely happen this fast or this wonderful. Guess it’s given new meaning to the verse, "With God ALL things are possible."