Tuesday, July 25, 2006


My hubby is officially OVER THE HILL!

The BIG 40!!!!

Happy Birthday to you, you live in a zoo...
(That's for sure!)

You look like a monkey...
(Well, maybe a bit like Peter...that would be Monkee though. Now wouldn't it?)

Aaaaand you smell like one too!
(Er...sometimes. LOL)

AND it is also a certain wonderful friend's birthday...step on up here, Bonnie ! Talk about 'Over the Hill'...or should I say, "Over the Hills"? Ah, she knows I'm just joshin' her. She acts like she is 15, looks like she is 30, but get ready for this! She is really...


Congratulations to two of the dearest people I know!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Color Quiz

I visited a new friend, Keely, and took the Color Quiz from there. It was most peculiar. As an artist, I agree that color choice reflects your mood but I am still shocked at how well this pegged me.

You see, I've been going through a lot of turmoil with my parents these past two months. If you remember back in March, they bought a new house and wanted my family and me to move in with them. It was a great idea. The house is divided well enough to give us all a lot of privacy. Well, I'm not sure what went wrong. My parents have not been able to sell their other house on the lake (they still live there and were planning to move when it sold)...so, they are pressured monetarily . We pay the same amount of rent to them as we did when we rented a home of our own.

But they are scared.

We didn't have a fight or anything but last month they emailed Dave and me to tell us that they have decided to sell the house we are in as well. They have decided that they want to move back to California after the houses sell. They told us that it was all a mistake and that we are not compatible. They also judged our spiritual walk (we go to a Baptist church, whereas they go to an Assembly of God church) and feel that we are lacking. They say they sense a bad spirit when they come into the house and they cannot live like that. They also told us that we have a different kind of lifestyle from them.

I'm not positive as to all they refer to. They do not know me nor my husband as well as they think they do. It is so sad.

Anyway, I have had some major battles with stress from all this. I know that I shouldn't worry. I do feel assured that God will provide. He will not forsake us...there must be something better in store for us. But the bad feelings I have for them are overwhelming me. I wrote a little about it on this Bible study post.

Okay, so now that you know a bit of what I've been going through, let me post what this color test said about me. I am truly amazed:

Your Existing Situation

Imaginative and sensitive; seeking an outlet for these qualities--especially in the company of someone equally sensitive. Interest and enthusiasm are readily aroused by the unusual or the adventurous.

Your Stress Sources

Wants freedom to follow her own convictions and principles, to achieve respect as an individual in her own right. Desires to avail herself of every possible opportunity without having to submit to limitations or restrictions.

Your Restrained Characteristics

Willing to become emotionally involved. Trying to calm down and unwind after a period of over-agitation which has left her listless and devoid of energy. In need of peace and quiet; becomes irritable if this is denied her.

Your Desired Objective

Needs a peaceful environment. Wants release from stress, and freedom from conflicts or disagreement. Takes pains to control the situation and its problems by proceeding cautiously. Has sensitivity of feeling and a fine eye for detail.

Your Actual Problem

Does not wish to be involved in differences of opinion, contention or argument, preferring to be left in peace. Your Actual Problem #2 Wants to be valued and respected, and seeks this from a close and peaceful association of mutual esteem.

Thank you for using Color Quiz.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Getting in the Groove for Philly

As August approaches, I've been rewriting like mad. My book never seems to be finished with changes...all for the good though. I'm so excited about going to the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer's Conference.

I think the best thing about it is that I'll be seeing Bonnie there. We met about a year and a half (?) ago by way of Faithwriters.com. We exchanged manuscripts and critiqued each other's work. We've been best of friends ever since. And I have never spoken to her face to face...we have had some awesome email chats and a few phone calls. But it will be such a blessing to hang out together! Wahoo!

I do need prayer though. Money is really tight. I also would love for you to pray that I speak to the right people concerning my book.

Anyway, that is what I've been doing more of, instead of blogging.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Celebrating the 4th of July

How do you celebrate the 4th? Obviously I'm asking Americans here...no offense to my wonderful foreign blogger friends!

This picture was taken in Alaska at one in the morning when it finally got dark enough to see the colors!

I've had many ways of celebrating, so I thought I'd post a few. Maybe these images will look familiar...maybe not!

As a kid, we would go to Marriot's Great America, a local theme park. By the time the fireworks would go off, we were sunburned, tired, and just wanted to go home. But we still smiled for the photos, of course. We'd ride the Tidal Wave, watch Bugs Bunny dance and buy those stupid fluorescent green glow in the dark necklaces that you had to keep in the freezer or the glow would fade. One time I found a five year old necklace lurking behind some old ice cream tubs. Funny, it didn't glow when I thawed it out. Humph! I should have tried to get my money back.

In 1998, I had just gotten back to Kansas from 9 months in Hungary for the Bosnia Crisis. It sure was good to celebrate the 4th with my family in the 'Good ole U. S. of A.'! Keegan was only 2 years old.

We've also traveled to other cities/states on the 4th...here we are watching a parade in Alaska.

At the time, Keegan was 5 years old and I was 3 mo. pregnant with Evan. I'm pictured below. The streets were so crowded and it was quite cold (Very unlike North Carolina!!!) so we went up to a balcony and watched the parade from a building. It was much better this way. We could see everything and I didn't get the hebee geebees that I usually get with too many people smashing into me. (I hate crowds, don't you?)

Bet you never did this on the 4th of July...look carefully at the photo. In the background is a real moose! They can be spotted all over Alaska. This one was just off the road in Anchorage!

Then of course we have the years where we celebrate at home. Go to local functions. This may be a familiar site. Watching a parade...well, sorta. Evan loved that flag. Fell asleep with a firm grip on it!

He did wake up to eat the ever popular (can't-be-the-4th-without it) WATERMELON!

With sparklers immediately following clean-up.

And other years you light your own fireworks (OR SIT AND WAIT WHILE OTHERS LIGHT THEM!)

You may even try a little 'Sparkler Photo Painting' ala Pablo Picasso. Okay, so it looks more like Jackson Pollock...but you get my drift.

Hope you all have a happy and safe 4th of July!!! Make good memories!


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Jade by Marilynn Griffith

It is July 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and their latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:
Marilynn Griffith.

Marilynn Griffith is a freelance writer and conference speaker whose online columns reach over 20,000 women each month. Her recent writing credits include Pink(Shades of Style #1), Made of Honor, Chicken Soup for the Christian Woman's Soul, Proverbs for the People, and For Better or for Worse. She is also a blogger! Visit her Rhythms of Grace blog and learn ever so much! Marilynn lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with her husband and children.

Her latest book, Jade (Shades of Style #2), just came out and she has agreed to be our July feature author for the FIRST Day Blog tour.

Having the perfect life isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Designer Lily Chau doesn't know if she's finally got it together or if life is starting to unravel. With a successful boyfriend and a great job at up-and-coming fashion house Garments of Praise, it seems she has the perfect pattern for success. But her mother's health is failing, her boyfriend just won't pop the question, and being a pattern maker is a far cry from having a clothing line of her own. Lily is sure her hands are just too full to draw her deepest dreams.

Raya and Chenille, Lily's pals at Garments of Praise offer plenty of advice and sympathy. Jean, Lily's co-worker and second Mom even goes behind Lily's back to boost her chances of success. When she's chosen for the reality show The Next Design Diva, it seems like the chance of a lifetime for Lily. But the mysterious designer chosen to mentor her sends her spinning. He's fresh, fine—and way off limits. Suddenly Lily's life goes from carefully patterned to nothing but a tangle of threads.

Praise for the Shades of Style series:

"Griffith's ...Shades of Style series features four women in the fashion industry: Raya, Chenille, Lily, and Jean. The women fight to save their struggling business and learn some important lessons about people, life, and faith."— Library Journal

“The …Shades of Style series combines multicultural characters with heartache, drama, humor, and romance.”—Charisma Magazine

Read the FIRST chapter!


The envelope held Lily Chau’s future. She held a letter opener, stabbing under her nails for the remnants of her past. Skimming under the nail of her ring finger, she snagged what she’d been going for, a hunk of prunes caught under her nail last week during the chop and puree fest once known as her mother’s breakfast. A breakfast that her mother had returned as quickly as Lily had spooned it all in, leaving Lily standing in a puddle in her best shoes.

“Jump in the shower. Grab the black pants. Your wrap blouse is clean. I saw it the other day,” her neighbor Pinkie had said, arms going in every direction. “You don’t know how to feed her, Lily. You should have waited for me.”

Lily had tried to wait, but her mother wasn’t in a waiting mood today. The guilt over leaving her mother hungry with their neighbor had sent her into a chopping blending frenzy that ended as such things usually did, seeping into her shoes and staining her best skirt. But that was okay. She’d put a barrette in her mother’s hair and fed her breakfast. Where God chose to store that breakfast was up to Him.

Though Lily was known around the office for her eclectic and exciting personal style, the pants she wore now were turning into her work uniform. But her mother was still alive, her boyfriend was still dropping hints about their inevitable wedding and she grew closer to God each day. Things were good, with hopes of getting better. Becoming stable.

So why was she holding the letter opener in both hands? Lily poked the point of it into the envelope, tracing the letters in the return address: The Next Design Diva Show, Nia Network. Lily slipped the blade into the envelope’s back flap then slid her finger against the instrument’s edge. She pulled upward slightly, ripping the corner and . . .

“Are you sleeping in here?” A husky voice laced with laughter echoed in the hall before its speaker reached Lily’s office. Jean believed in giving people warnings of her impending arrival, even her friends. For everyone but Lily, the announcement was usually warranted since people tended to find Jean a little intimidating. Lily saw through Jean’s fast moves and loud talk . . . to her heart. She hoped her friend wouldn’t see her through her just as quickly today.

“Can’t you ever stay in your office during the creative hour? We’ve got thirty more minutes. Take a nap why don’t you? Or color in a coloring book like that guy over in production.” Though Lily chided her loving workaholic friend for coming to visit when they were all supposed to be spending time alone to refuel their creativity, the interruption was a gift. For a moment she’d let herself consider something impossible. Something still forked on her letter opener.

Jean whisked into the office just as Lily swept the letter into her desk drawer, where it would accompany her secret copy of Modern Bride and a cigarette she’d found after quitting and hadn’t thrown away.

Lily squirmed under her friend’s withering glance as Jean pushed Lily’s huge fossil doorstep into place. Jean shook her head. “Oh my. Now she’s cramming things into that drawer again. Don’t tell me. You’re peeking at those silly ten dollar wedding books? Or were you dreaming of that picket fence on Long Island with your doctor friend?”

Warmth rushed to Lily’s face. “Neither. You need to stay out of my desk, you nosy thing.”

Jean approached Lily like a lioness in a good suit. A hearty laugh bubbled up from her throat. “Listen, honey, nobody needs to be nosy to know anything around here, especially when you stuff that drawer so full it can’t shut. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to come in here and pick all that mess off the floor since you ran the custodian away from here.”

“Here you go with that again. I told you. I did not run the custodian away. He can still clean in here . . . when I’m around.”

“Uh huh,” Jean shook her head in pity.

“He was stealing my rocks!” Lily banged the letter opener on her desk, wanting to shove it into the drawer too, but now to afraid at what might come flying out if she did.

“Listen to what you just said. Stealing rocks. Now I admit you’ve got some of the best pebble and bauble collections I’ve ever seen, but you’ve got to let it go.” She reached around Lily and yanked out the drawer. The magazine unfurled as if she’d pulled the string on a parachute. Fabric swatches, neon note squares and office supplies spilled over the sides and onto the floor.

Jean stuck her hand toward the back and came out with a pitiful excuse for a Virginia Slim. “You’ve got to let this go too. You haven’t smoked in almost two years. What are you doing, planning a slow suicide some time in the future?”
“I-I-just give me that, okay?” Lily reached for the cigarette and peeled back its skin, emptied the tobacco guts into the trash while trying not get too much of the smell on her fingers. As she considered what she’d really saved up for later, disobeying the voice of God, Lily became much less concerned with Jean and more concerned with her own heart. Sometimes it seemed like she’d come so far, but there still those little secrets she tried to keep, parts of her life she tried to stuff in a drawer. And God kept having to come and pick up the pieces when it spilled over the side.

She grabbed a wet wipe from her purse and scrubbed her hands, only to realize what dangled from Jean’s fingers.

The envelope.

The rumpled magazine had covered it, but as usual Jean had left no stone, or mangled bridal book unturned. She looked as though she’d caught a tiger by the tail.

“So they did pick you! I knew they would. They had to. I told Raya I was going to call her father myself if they didn’t.”

Lily froze. She’d carried the envelope around in her purse for two days wondering why the show had written her. She considered submitting sketches several times, but each time something happened with her mother’s health to make her forget it. There was also the quiet that had come over her every time she’d prayed about it. She felt as though she was suppose to wait and see the salvation of the Lord, that what God had would come to her through another way. Now it seemed that her other way might be from the office down the hall. “What did you do?”

Beads from Jean’s bracelets jangled as she shook her wrists. “Nothing much. I took a few sketches from your book and scanned them. Sent that robe you designed for that stupid boyfriend of yours—”

Lily clenched her fists. “The kimono? That was Ken’s Christmas present. I’ve been looking everywhere for it. How could you?”

Her friend smiled. “Easy. Now hush and open the letter. At least I don’t try and match you up with men. Not that you couldn’t use some help there too . . . Don’t look at me like that. I care about you.”

If this was caring, Lily didn’t want to think of what not caring might feel like. She pried the letter from Jean’s fingers and placed it into the drawer, now empty except for a star-shaped paper clip in neon pink and a pencil with no eraser. Lily’s sketching pencil. She stared up at the ceiling. “Why couldn’t I have regular friends who don’t care about me so much. Goodness, Jean, how could you? I mean sure I’d love to have my own line, my own show, but I can’t—”

“Here we go again. You really should have been a Catholic you, know. You’re a natural at the guilty martyr thing.” Jean dropped into the chair a few inches away. “We’ve been over this a gazillion times. You can do this. None of your excuses hold water, especially your first one, that you’re not good enough. You’re good enough and you have the sense to still question your talent. Good enough for me. As for your mother, she can go wherever you go.”

It was Lily’s turn to laugh this time, though there was little humor in it. “Like the way your grandkids could go wherever you go, Jean?”

Her stoic friend grabbed the desk with a white-knuckled grip. “Okay, you got me. I still think you should open it. Just to know.”

“No thanks,” Lily said, taking the letter from the drawer and ripping it to shreds. “Some things are best left unknown. The things that count though, that people care about you and want the best for you, those are the prizes of life.”

Jean’s jaw tightened as she swept the torn bits of paper into the trash with her cupped hand. “Oh, please. Friendship is great and everything, but this is it! Your shot. And you ripped it up. How could you?”

Lily covered her friend’s hand with her own. “I don’t know, but I did. If it’s mine, God will bring it back . . . at a time when my hands are free enough to hold it.”

From JADE, by Marilynn Griffith, Revell Books
0800730410, June 2006, Copyright © 2006. All rights