Breakfast in Bed – Miller Farm Friday

We have regular routines on Miller Farm.

I get up, swim, let the dogs out, and let the chickens out. Then I feed the dogs and the humans. In the afternoon, I repeat that last part – feed the dogs and feed the humans.

Recently, Bella started barking about 5:30 p.m. and continued until I feed her supper. This was not a welcome addition to my routine so I began to pay close attention to see if I could figure out why she had started this.

I discovered that some mornings, Bella goes directly to the couch without eating her breakfast.

This was hard to discover as Bella usually takes bites of her food on the couch to eat. I had to watch carefully to see that she was simply lying on the couch and not eating.

Since her bowl was still full when the other dogs finished their portions, they ate her food also. This meant Bella was missing breakfast – the most important meal of the day.

This would explain why she was hungry and insistent on eating every afternoon.

The solution:

bella's breakfast

Bella now gets breakfast in “bed.”

I’m willing to spoil her a little if it keeps her quiet in the afternoon.

The whole scenario reminded me of when the kids were little. They always seemed to be underfoot while I was fixing dinner.  I tried to have some activity ready for this strategic moment as feeding them breakfast in bed did not solve the problem with them like it did with Bella.

He Lives!

Welcome with me today, guest blogger Jerry Hixson, a graduate student of Biblical Studies at Grace School of Theology.

He Lives!

????????????????????In the midst of the Easter Season – 2014, we would all due well to note a few things about Christianity.

First, Christianity is not actually a religion.

When we think of a religion, we normally think of man’s attempt to reach God.

Christianity, on the other hand, is God’s reaching down to humanity in the person of His only Son, Jesus Christ.

Second, Christians are the only group of people who worship someone who is alive. Other religions worship long dead gods.

Third, Christians are the only group of people who look forward to a bodily resurrection. Others share some hope of a hereafter, but all speak of a spiritual hereafter, not a bodily resurrection.

Alfred Ackley’s hymn, He Lives, clearly communicates the meaning of Easter, particularly the first verse and refrain.

In case you’re not familiar with the song written in 1932, here’s a video version.

SPEAKING (and Writing) ENGLISH

If you’ve ever heard me speak, you know I mispronounce many words.

Especially AUTHOR, which comes out like Arthur. It’s very sad because I am an author.

Not on purpose, of course.

When I speak at events like book clubs or conferences, I always explain. Pronunciation is my speech impediment, among other learning disabilities.

You see, I was born in Texas, moved to Alabama, and started school in Mississippi. There are no short vowels in my vocabulary!

I never learned phonetics.

Working with a speech therapist hasn’t improved my speech. I do try, but those funny little pronunciations creep in.

All this only complicates my world when I write. If you can’t pronounce a word, spelling it becomes a nightmare.

Sometimes, even my spell checker gives up. The options choices Dictionary.com offers are hilarious most times.

Thanks to Steve Laube Agency’s Fun Friday blog for making me feel better about with this fun video.

Conferences and Book Signings

I recently attended a writer’s conference in Tempe, Arizona.

???????????????????????????????Toby stayed close to the suitcase as I packed. Just in case, he was getting to tag along.

Once I arrived, I learned Tempe Desert Palms is a pet friendly hotel. My four-legged boys and hubby could have come along. Tempe was bright with sunshine and warm temperatures. They would have enjoyed a break from the still cool days in Colorado. Next time.

Truthfully, I’m not sure I would have seen much of them even if they’d come with me.

This was my first conference in a while. I spent my time visiting with friends, fellow Romance Writers of America authors, and making new friends. And, I had a ball.

The conference workshops were informative. Two sessions by Mary Buckham were outstanding! If you ever have a chance to hear Mary speak, run don’t walk to sign up. She’s an awesome teacher.

My friend Christy Craig was keynote. Her story from high school dropout to New York Times best selling author is awe-inspiring. The food was great – brisket for the conference luncheon, not chicken. What a treat!

my book signing table

However, the very best part of the Desert Dreams 2014 Conference was the book signing on Saturday night.

I was pleasantly surprised that setting up my book table wasn’t near as much trouble as setting up sales booths at antiques shows. My husband would have liked that part too.set up for antiques show

 

For an hour and a half, readers stopped to chat and shared fascinating stories about their military ties or precious insights into their personal love stories.

That was my favorite part of the book signing…hearing stories of loved ones who served or were serving in the military. Talking to folks was always my favorite part of antiques shows too.

Before the evening ended, I switched to my reader’s hat and visited with some of my favorite authors at their displays. Yes, I brought home more books.

How about you? Have you attended a book signing?

 

Whew! Weekend Chaos on Miller Farm is OVER

A Guest Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

As expected, keeping up with six dogs, two cats and many chickens for the weekend was chaotic. I survived, but I’m so ready to return to plain old “Chicken Wrangler Sara.”

It was quite a weekend filled with adventures and misadventures!

I thought feeding the cats would be the easiest chore. The food had been left at our house and the bowls were left by the neighbor’s truck. Only problem was when I went to feed the neighbor’s cats, I couldn’t find the bowls so I used some of ours and put them by the truck in the neighbor’s driveway.

Upon reviewing the text message, I realized that the bowls were supposed to be at the back door. Not sure how I mixed that up.

By this time, it was dark outside so I couldn’t find the bowls by the door either. I moved our bowls by the truck to the back yard. Both cats seemed excited to have the food.

When I checked on them Thursday, however, only one cat was around. Now it’s been a while since I had cats, but I remember them being pretty independent so I didn’t worry too much. Today I confirmed both cats are still at the house or nearby.

Whew – I didn’t lose a cat.

Jengo offered more of a challenge. He is still a puppy who likes to chew.  I came home Friday after chapel to discover white feathers all over the kitchen.  My first thought was “Oh no, he got a chicken!” Then I remembered the chickens are outside. The feathers were part of Brian’s fly-tying materials.

Whew – I didn’t lose a chicken.

On Thursday, while I was teaching piano, I heard noise coming from the kitchen.  I assumed it was Brian and so didn’t think much about it.  When I finished teaching, however, I discovered a bag of potatoes strewn all over the kitchen.  Jengo must have been hungry.  It only took him three potatoes to realize he didn’t like them.

I moved the unsampled potatoes out of reach.

Jengo is also unstoppable. The gate at the kitchen door was not a deterrent. At all. Too many times over the weekend I turned around to find him right behind me. It was like having a toddler again. I only wished he went down for a nap.

jengo and chickensThe chicken wire over the gate to the chicken yard was also ineffective at stopping Jengo. He regularly followed me as I checked on the chickens.  Fortunately, Jengo lacks Bella’s killer instinct and simply sniffed the chickens.Jengo and waterer

He wasn’t too sure about the chicken feeder especially when it started swinging.

jengo and beesHe was also very curious about the bees.  Since he is a puppy, I was able to distract him before the bees got too irritated.

Whew – I avoided treating a bee sting on a dog.

The cats are now back in the care of their owners and Miller and Jengo are once again in their own homes.

Whew it’s quiet around here. Well, as quiet as the Miller Farm ever gets.

I met in the 99 cent store today who said she needed to get rid of a miniature long-haired dachshund……… I didn’t even hesitate to say NO.

I’ll stick with four daschunds and thirty-something chickens. Thank you very much.

Dress – One Word Wednesday

By dress, I mean what we wear generically. Not the specific ladies’ apparel.

Spring always reminds me of shopping for a special new church dress for Easter Sunday. I loved dressing up and wearing an Easter bonnet.

We don’t dress up for church so much in today’s culture. In my day, we dressed when we went out to church or anywhere.

I had two types of dresses in my wardrobe — a Sunday dress and a school dress, which were both removed as soon as I got home and hung in the closet before I got them dirty. I hated taking off the pretty dresses back then.

Last weekend I attended a writer’s conference and had to dress up. Okay it was business casual, but it still felt like Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes.

All grown up now, at the end of the day, I couldn’t wait to crash in my hotel room and get out of those fancy clothes.

You see, I don’t need to dress for my work. My daily wardrobe looks like this:

medium_Stylish_Blogger

SOURCE for comic: Debbie Ridpath Ohi

YOUR TURN:  How do you dress for work?

 

 

Reader Book Reviews – An Author’s Conundrum

writerI’m a writer.

I’m a reader.

Frankly, I’m not sure you can be one without the other.

When I finish reading a book, I write a review. Why do I take the time and go to all the trouble?

The popularity of eReaders combined with the ease of independent epublishing has generated a flooded marketplace of book choices.

That ocean of available works is so huge knowing which book to select is difficult and book-buying budgets are often limited.

Personally, I check reviews before I purchase a book. Consequently when I read a good one, I want to share the news.

As an author I also recognize that reviews posted on eRetailers like Amazon or Barnes & Noble or iBooks are critical for sales whether you’re a new or established author.

Yes, I know there are authors who defraud the on-line review systems and reviewers who use their power to target and destroy. Thank goodness, those types are in the minority.

I’m not saying don’t post a bad review if you don’t like a selection. Most authors welcome an honest evaluation of their work if it’s in the form of constructive criticism, not trashing.

Finding reviewers to post reviews presents a major conundrum for authors.

The validity of a review by family and friends can be questioned. Think about it are you going to tell the world Uncle Joe wrote a terrible book?

That’s why on-line retailers build checks and balances into their systems.

Within the publishing industry, there are review writing services — professional reviewers who are paid to write book or movie reviews. Those services can be very expensive.

Small publishing houses and indie authors can’t afford to use those services instead they rely on readers spreading the news.

I’m not exactly sure why coaxing a reader to write a review is so hard.  Maybe it brings back painful memories of those dreaded book reports we had to do when we were in school.

Whatever the reason readers don’t write reviews, I wish more understood reviews help an author and the process to post a review is easy. Reviews don’t have to be lengthy or formal.

Next time you finish a book, can I suggest you post a review.

review

Should you want to give writing reviews a try, contact me  I’ll be delighted to send an ARC (pre-publication) copy of my next release or a book from my bookshelf list

as long as

you promise to post an honest review and include a statement that I provided a complimentary copy of the book for you to review.