Showing posts from 2010

Breaking News

I just received a late Christmas devotion on self-esteem has been accepted for publication by Upper Room Magazine! Though I don't yet know when the publish date is, it will be sometime in 2011. Here's to a great and prosperous New Year!


After spending a fun Christmas holiday with my family, I spent the last two days reminiscing on Christmases Past.

Every December, my mother would assemble the Nativity set to display in a corner of the living room. When I was very small, I would sit on the floor and watch her carefully remove each porcelain piece from the box and place it in the wooden stable. As I grew, I was the one placing the pieces in the stable (with Mom's help). Finally, it became my task to set up the Nativity scene all by myself. I felt honored to be so trusted. It was significant.

My family attended a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service every year at my church. This was my favorite holiday tradition. Yes, I loved getting presents, eating great food and se…

Christmas Roundup

I just got home from a Christmas Concert. I've been saying that a lot lately, because it's been happening a lot lately. I've been to the high school jazz band concert, the middle school band concert, the Cowley College Vespers Concert, the middle school choir concert and the high school choir concert. That's a lot of singing!

There were three versions of "Silent Night," two types of "Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas" and even a Caribbean Christmas carol. I heard several of my favorites: "Carol of the Bells," "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "I Wonder As I Wander." It just doesn't seem like Christmas until I hear one of those.


The Hubster and I attended the Kansas Writers Association Christmas Party on Saturday afternoon. It was potluck, with a book gift exchange, "Dirty Santa" style. I enjoyed introducing my husband to all my writer friends. They're all so cool! In the photo above, I'm discussing…

What is Eternally True About You?

I have been searching the Scripture the past couple of weeks, working on a project of a purely personal nature. But, of course, I have to share it with you. You know me, I can't keep anything to myself!

Looking up Bible verses can be a rather involved process. First, you pick out a key word, look it up and it leads you to 20-30 other key words and phrases. Before you know it...whoosh! You've spent a couple of hours wading waist-deep in the mighty surf that is the Word of God.

The subject I was researching was God's promises to His people, namely me. Sometimes I forget how God made me exactly the way He wanted me to be. Yes, goofiness and all. He gave me a tender heart and a big vocabulary and a strong back and a smart brain. He wants me to be the fullest and greatest me I can be, if that makes any sense at all. A whole, strong woman, fully committed to my life and Him.

Zephaniah 3:17 (KJV)
The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over the…

Read All About It!

My name is Carol, and I am a bookaholic. I guess if you have to be addicted to something, books aren't so bad. I blame my mother. Don't we all blame our mothers for every little thing? My mom made me love books. Thanks, Mom!

When I was really young, Mom read to me. Then I took over, and took off! I just couldn't stop. It felt powerful to me, to be able to read anything and everything I wanted. The more I read, the more I wanted to read.

So I did. By the time I was 8 or 9 years old, I was reading Dickens, Twain, Hawthorne, Steinbeck and Michener. No, I didn't understand every word, but I kept on reading until I did. I got to know the school and city librarians personally, and they didn't mind answering the endless questions of a silly little girl obsessed with books.

When the William Allen White awards list came out every year, I was the first to line up and read them all. Same thing for the Newbery Awards. I kept a box in my closet with the ribbons and certificates I…

Worry is a Waste of Time

I admit it. I am a worrier. But I'm reformed. Ask The Hubster. I used to drive him crazy with all my "what ifs," constantly wondering about the next bill, the next holiday, the next appliance to break down. Sadder than anything was, I thought all women were like that. At least all the women I knew.

Growing up, I worried about getting homework done on time, if a cute boy would ask me out, where I would go to college and what I would major in. Although I did pray about the big stuff, I didn't want to "bother" God with the mundane details of my life. So I worried them myself.

After I married and had kids, I had lots more things to worry about. Some of these things I could take care of, but most were above my pay-grade. So I would pray about an issue and then instead of turning it over to God completely, I would take it back to worry over it some more. Kind of like carrying around a backpack full of boulders.

Intellectually, I knew that worrying was getting me n…

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is upon us! What am I thankful for this year? I am grateful to God for my chaotic life (that I love!), for my health, my family, the best Hubster in the world, a fun job and most of all...for the vision that God has given me to pursue writing as a ministry and not just a fun pastime. Most of all, I want to remember to always be grateful for the abundant blessings I have to enjoy.


At the monthly Kansas Writers Association meeting on Saturday, the guest speaker was renowned travel writer (and native Kansan) Rolf Potts. Author of two books, "Vagabonding" and "Marco Polo Didn't Go There," Rolf travels the world and contributes to such publications as National Geographic Traveler, New York Times Magazine, National Public Radio and the Travel Channel. He has walked across Israel, driven a Land Rover from California to Argentina and recently returned from a trip that encompassed 20 countries, six weeks and no luggage! Look up his next adventure at: www.…

Kicking it Old School

The University of Missouri College of Engineering Scholarship Banquet was held last Thursday night. Around southern Kansas, that's not a very exciting event, but to me, it's definitely not-to-be-missed. You see, after my father passed away, my sister, Laura, suggested that our family honor him by starting a scholarship at his alma mater. My dad attended MU-Columbia in the 1950's after returning from serving in the Air Force during the Korean Conflict.

Every fall, members of my family travel to Columbia to meet our latest scholarship recipient and honor my father's memory. This year, my sister, Laura, myself and my mother traveled to be there. We got a couple of rooms at a hotel on campus and made a "girls night out" out of it. We had a lot of fun talking and looking around the campus together.

Our latest student, Jacob Miller, Liberty, MO, was so cool! He's a freshman mechanical engineering student, with two sisters already in college, so you know he and hi…

Talking About Women

Well, folks, I am bushed! Last weekend, I attended the Women of Faith Conference in Kansas City with my mom. We boarded a bus on Thursday evening, joined by a bunch of church ladies from the Wichita area. Let me tell you, we were a rowdy crowd. Anybody who says Christians don't know how to have fun is misinformed.

Conference speakers included Luci Swindoll, Sheila Walsh, Lisa Harper, Karen James and Kim Cash Tate. A very special guest speaker (not a woman!) was Marcus Buckingham, the world's leading authority on finding your strengths. The theme this year was "Imagine." Encouraging the eight thousand attendees to dream big, this team spoke on finding your strengths and gifts, trusting God to lead and paying attention to God's Word and will for your life. We heard compelling life stories, too, and lots of great music. Natalie Grant, Mary Mary and the Women of Faith Worship Team provided lots of fun songs to sing along.

As if two days of women, worship and fun were…

Inside, Outside, Upside Down

As I sat outside on the back steps this morning, my first thought was, "Dang, it's cold!" I had just finished getting fresh water for the outside cats. The Hubster and I call the stray cats that hang around our neighborhood "outside" cats. There are five mostly feral felines feeding at our home twice daily. Not an easy say or do.

Two of these cats, Simon and Lady Cat, are friendly and will sit with me and let me pet them. The other three, Scotchie, Dino and Missy, not so much. They run away when I open the kitchen door. After dark, when the temperatures fall, these kitties sit on the steps and look into the door at my warm home and "inside" cats.

They accept the kindness of the full food and water dishes every day, and they have come to expect this to be a daily occurrence. They return day after day, year after year. We have never shown any aggression or violence toward them, but they still don't trust us. And they don't want to come i…

It's the Story of my Life

His name was Adam, and he changed my life. I met him the summer before my junior year in high school. I was 15 years old in June 1978, and I was pretty satisfied with my life. I had a comfortable home and parents who loved me. My biggest problems were which jeans to wear to school and what movie to see on the weekend.

Before you jump to a bunch of crazy conclusions, let me enlighten you. I was selected to go on a Mission Education Tour through my church, Madison Avenue United Methodist Church in Derby, KS. Each church nominates a teen girl every year to tour several missions of the UMC. Thirty silly teenage girls from Kansas hopped on a bus and rode around the country, eating potluck meals, sleeping in church gymnasiums and fighting for mirror space the whole way through.

The tour included a Goodwill warehouse in Oklahoma City, which employed a number of intellectually challenged adults, an inner-city soup kitchen in Memphis and Red Bird Mission, high in the Smoky Mountains of Beverly,…

Frozen in Time

I read a story in The Telegraph, an online British newspaper, last week that captured my imagination. Captured is too mild. I was mesmerized. For 70 years, a Parisian apartment had been closed, rent paid up, but untouched since World War II. Wouldn't it be amazing to spend an afternoon poking around in the corners of a true time capsule?

The owner of the 9th arrondissement apartment died earlier this year. Turns out she was the granddaughter of Marthe de Florian, an actress who was also the muse of Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931), an Italian portrait painter who was known as The Master of Swish. When officials finally opened the apartment door and hacked their way through the cobwebs, they found a treasure trove of priceless antique furniture, ardent love letters and one very valuable Boldini painting of the apartment owner's beautiful grandmother. "Woman in a pink muslin evening dress" sold at auction for 2.1 million Euros. I think art collectors are romantics at heart.

Falling for Autumn

On our way home from Dallas last weekend, The Hubster and I stopped at Turner Falls, OK. It's one of those places you always mean to stop and never get around to it. After all the hub bub of the weekend and fighting the Sooner traffic, we decided we needed a quiet interlude. I think a trip should calm you down, not just get you out of town.

Just a couple miles off I-35 highway in southern Oklahoma, the rustic Turner Falls recreation area is nestled in the Arbuckle Mountains. Featuring limestone cliffs and a playfully shallow Honey Creek, this would make a perfect picnic spot. Families were enjoying the day together, creek wading, grilling and hiking some of the prettiest hills in Oklahoma. Winter admission is cheap, just four bucks per person. There are cabins and camping spots for rent, but we just strolled the grounds, took photos and soaked up the positive ions emanating from the falls.


Momala's Video Pick of the Week: The Hubster and I had a Netflix double feature on Fri…

La Dolce Vita in the Big D

Our daughter, Rachel, and son-in-law, Drew moved to Dallas, TX in August. The Hubster and I are close to our kids and try to see them as often as we can. Or, as often as they can stomach it. Anyway, we jumped at the chance to make a trip down south to see their new digs.

Their apartment complex is a big, new, "green" build with all the best amenities: multi-level pool, gorgeous welcome center, sophisticated and modern style, interior parking garage, recycling program, pet friendly and charming courtyards with loads of flowers, seating and grills for outdoor meals. As a mom, I appreciated all the safety measures. We were pleased to stay in a guest suite on the property and use all the facilities. It's like a resort!

The neighborhood Rachel and Drew live in is super-cool. Addison is full of upscale restaurants, retail stores, beautiful homes and apartments, new schools, pretty churches and synagogues and tons of parks with trees. Everywhere you looked was green and lush. We …

Kill Cancer!

My life has been touched by cancer. That's not so unusual. Everyone has a cancer story. Maybe your aunt or grandpa or second cousin twice removed had it. Everyone hates cancer...but who's going to do something about it?

I am a cancer survivor. My mother and sister conquered breast cancer. My father died of lung cancer. The Hubster has a chronic cancer condition. Loads of my other relatives have been touched by the disease. I don't want to lose any more loved ones. I don't want to see anyone else suffer. Let's take back control. Researchers are working hard to find a cure. Why can't we do our part?

What's my part, you ask? Take better care of the body that God has given you. Eat right (yes, vegetables!), exercise more days than not, drink water, not soda, and see a doctor regularly. Most importantly, stop smoking! And if you don't smoke, don't you dare start!

I don't want to ever witness another person I love suffer the agony that is cancer. Life i…

Traveling in Style

I took quite a little road trip on Saturday. First, I was up at 6 a.m. and on the road by 7:15. That is completely out of character for me, because I am NOT a morning person. I had motivation, however. The Fall meeting of the Kansas Authors Club District #3 was in Coffeyville on Saturday, and I wanted to be there.

Being a member of one of the oldest and most prestigious writers groups in America is a privilege I don't take lightly. This district only meets twice per year, so I make an extra effort to attend. Besides, our group is hosting the State Convention in Fall 2011, so we need to get organized. We discussed fund-raising efforts, the convention and writing projects, then enjoyed a tasty potluck lunch.

That was only half of my day, though. I arrived home around 2 p.m., and by 3:30 The Hubster and I were back on the road to Wichita. After a quick stop in Derby to pick up my mom, we were ready for The Hubster's birthday party at Kanai Restaurant in west Wichita. Our daughter…

When God Doesn't Make Sense

Two things have happened recently that really claw at the fabric of my faith. Not that I am questioning God. My human brain just can't comprehend that there is such suffering and grief in this world. When it reaches out and slaps you in the face, it makes you stop and take a look at why you believe, what you believe.

A five-year-old boy I know fell ill several days ago and had to be hospitalized. He soon fell into a deep coma. Last weekend, he was declared brain-dead and his family had to make the impossible decision to take him off life support. He passed away on Sunday. My heart goes out to this suffering family.

A dear friend is recovering from a life-threatening illness and hospitalization. His wife had x-rays last week, and was found to have two large tumors on her brain. They are good and generous people with a vital ministry to this community. I am praying daily that God will restore the health of these two precious souls.

What do you say when God doesn't make sense? That…

You Haven't Aged a Bit!

The Derby High School Class of 1980 reunion was held last weekend. The Hubster and I attended the Saturday night event, a get-together at a Wichita sports bar. It's a funny thing, how you can walk through an ordinary-looking doorway and enter into a parallel dimension. I walked into an Old Town drinking establishment and entered the hallways of my high school, circa 1980.

It was great to talk to several people that I hadn't seen since I graduated. Most were friends from choir (I was a vocal music nerd). The mixed ensemble I was in my senior year was called Madrigals. We performed all over the region for all kinds of groups and occasions. The guys wore snappy suits and us gals were decked out in what we referred to as "glorified bathrobes." See Facebook profile picture to the right of this entry for a glimpse. We were good, despite the gowns.

The Hubster and I had to leave the reunion early, due to his back pain, but it was interesting to see all the folks I left behind…

Even So

For well over a year, I have been faithfully reading a daily blog by Holley Gerth, a writer for Dayspring Cards. "Heart to Heart with Holley" is a devotional diary, but so much more. She just "gets" me. It's like she's crawling around inside my head. Oh, my, that's a scary thought!

Today's blog entry from Holley was delving into the subject of overcoming obstacles. She says, "...the biggest challenge has been the voice inside my head. It's the one that says, 'You can never do this, This is in the way. That won't ever change.'" As she was praying one night, Holley asked God, "What do I say instead?" (to silence the negative voices in her head). The author says the answer was clear. Even so.

That set me thinking. I have battled negative voices in my mind since I was young. They began outside from another, but I picked up the mantra and continued to batter myself with insults. My favorites were "you're not goo…

Small(er) Victory

As I write, I am wearing a pair of St. John's Bay misses size 16 jeans, with the zipper and button done! They said it couldn't be done...but I did it. I guess all those weeks of aerobic workouts are paying off. In the last few months, I have lost five more pounds. Not a moment too soon, either, my high school class reunion is coming up!


I did something kind of gutsy on Saturday, or maybe just dumb. I attended the Kansas Writers Association's monthly meeting in Wichita, and read the first two pages of my novel-in-progress to a critique group. The experience was humbling (some people's work was more polished, mature, better), scary (it was the first time anyone besides The Hubster heard it), but ultimately helpful.

People in my group gave me some great ideas for the opening, so I set about to implement some of these on Sunday afternoon, after church. However, I had a nasty migraine, so my brain was pretty much cornmeal mush. I did get some thoughts on the page, and hop…


Some things are given. When you get married, you get a ring. If you take care of it, it lasts a lifetime. (And so, hopefully, will the marriage!) Well, The Hubster and I are going strong at 29 years and counting, but the ring...not so much.

About a month ago, my wedding ring broke. Two days later, it broke again. I took it in to my favorite jeweler, Luke Schmidt, and he related the sad news. It was terminal. He could maybe mend the ring, but it would never be as strong as it was before, and it would cost much more to repair than the ring was worth. Hmmm.

The Hubster and I put our heads together and thought and prayed on it. We decided that perhaps now was a good time to "upgrade." Walking in to Schmidt Jewelers and sitting in the "engaged" seats was pretty surreal. Luke and Blanche were lovely, as usual. No pressure at all, just good customer service. These folks are not just our jewelers, they are friends. They know our personalities and preferences.

Luke knew I w…

Three Years Old

This week marks the third anniversary of my blog. My original goals were to exercise more, lose some weight and continue the work I had begun on Project Carol. Through the history of this blog, you can see the progress I have made. I stopped biting my fingernails, joined writer's groups, attended conferences, gave speeches and lost more weight. It seems as if while this blog was aging, I was doing some growing up, too.

When I began Female in Motion, I was a size 16W. Now I wear a 14W or 16 misses. That's not a lot of weight, but I have kept it off for three years, and that is much better than I have ever done before. I was always a yo yo dieter in the past.

My endurance and energy levels have increased, as well. I think regular exercise is the key for me. I feel better, sleep better, even eat better when I have worked out. My diet has improved, too. I drink lots of water and know my "trigger" foods, like potato chips, donuts and most desserts. Out of my house, off of …

Moving Forward

Rachel and Drew are moving to Dallas! Yes, my youngest daughter and her husband are starting a new chapter in the book of their life. Some might say: They're too young! They're not wealthy! It's too far away! I say: I was younger. I was poorer. It's not the moon, people! When is the best time to start your life over? Today. Or tomorrow, at the very latest.

The kids have an opportunity to live in Dallas, where Drew will attend college. He is planning on becoming a physician in the Navy. I am impressed with his ambition and drive. It will take a lot of hard work and time, but he's young and energetic, and smart, to boot. I appreciate their enthusiasm to make this dream come true. That's what it takes.

To that end, I spent this afternoon in Rachel's bedroom, sorting through piles of clothes. My daughter is a bit of a clothes horse; she gets that from me. She has great taste, a keen eye for a bargain, and sews a lot of her own stuff. We made mountains. One mount…

The Legend of O.F. Ballew

Families come in all shapes, sizes, colors and ilks. Trust me, I know. I'm a member of a large, noisy, colorful and zany family. It's a good thing...I blend right in. The traditions each family observes are revered and treasured by each member. Even the really goofy ones!

The following tome was written by my mother and read at the recent Ballew family reunion held in Branson, MO.

"Orange Fuzzy grew up in the beautiful home of our Aunt Kathleen Ballew-Lubben in Independence, MO. Aunt Kathleen kept a beautifully decorated home. That is, with the exception of one room. The primary color of her bathroom was a lovely rose pink. One day a dear friend gave Aunt Kathleen a little orange fuzzy creature that she had made. Aunt Kathleen pondered where to display this gift and finally decided on the bathroom. Orange Fuzzy was strategically situated on the wall facing the occupant of the 'throne.' This proved to be a distraction to some occupants and a comfort to others.

After Au…

Creativity Night

Last Friday night, the Cowley County Writers Guild hosted an arts showcase, called "Creativity Night." It was co-hosted by Ark City Public Library and sponsored by Cherokee Strip Museum, Country Mart and Ark City Senior Citizens Center. This event was planned to celebrate the CCWG's first anniversary. That's right, I started this group in July 2009. Wow, a whole year has gone by, and my, how my life has changed!

Many members of the Guild and lots of other folks pitched in to help pull this wingding off. Some baked cookies, others set up tables and chairs, and still others cheered the performers. The event was held in the theater of the museum. What a great group of people there. Special thanks has to go to Lianne Flax, librarian, who handled publicity and printing of posters and programs.

There's just something about a small-town party. We had twenty guests, and though this doesn't seem like many, they were a supportive, enthusiastic bunch. This was a chance f…

We Are Family

It only occurs once every two years. It is the gathering of an eccentric and elusive species that is most rare. These beings flock from the darkest plains of Kansas, the wildest prairies of Iowa, the deeply forested hills of Missouri. One tribe even ventured all the way from the jungles of New York! It family reunion!

My mother's family meets every two years in a different location to renew our commitment to each other as a family. We eat, talk, laugh, play games and enjoy each other's company. This year's destination was Branson, MO. Or, as my soon-to-be son-in-law calls it: Hillbilly Disneyland!

Really, we had a great time. The Hubster and I were so glad that both our daughters and their wonderful fellas were able to take the time to come with us. We rented a three-bedroom condo at Thousand Hills Golf Resort. When we weren't hanging out with the whole group, we cooked together, shopped, went to an IMAX film and watched old movies. There's no lack of things …

What Does Carol Do All Day?

Some of you may wonder, what do I do all day, besides write this blog? Good question. Actually, blogging is not my full-time job, it's just a hobby. The Hubster started a data processing business 11 1/2 years ago, and I am the office manager. I spend my day answering phone calls, doing data entry, exchanging emails with clients and generally putting out "fires." Yes, I'm part firefighter, part Sherlock Holmes, with a little Sigmund Freud tossed in.

Our business, Remote Data Services, processes electronic Medicaid claims. When you run your own business, it takes up a lot of time. Just because the clock says five p.m., doesn't mean we get to go home. It's a two-edged sword. I love giving my customers the best service in the world, but I know that I need to take time for myself, as well.

Is this what I thought I would be doing at this point in my life? Not really. When I was a kid, I was convinced I would be Evel Kneivel, or at the very least a glamorous flight a…

Calling All Artists, Musicians and Writers

Who says there's never anything to do in our town? Arkansas City Public Library and Cowley County Writers Guild will be hosting "Creativity Night: An Arts Showcase" at 7 p.m. Friday, July 16, 2010. This local arts event will be held at the Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum, and feature works of photographers, painters, woodcarvers, authors, poets, singer/songwriters and musicians from Cowley County. Bring the family out and nosh on refreshments while enjoying the art. A little culture never hurt anyone!

Lianne Flax, Ark City librarian, the members of the CCWG and little old me are putting this event together. We are still looking for visual artists and musicians of all kinds, so be on the look out. Call/email/yell at me if you know someone. There's no age limit and they don't have to be professional. We're simply looking for talented locals. There are already a bunch of cool people signed up, so don't miss it!


My family enjoyed a cookout at Sarah and Derek…

Happy Orbits, Major Astro

The following blog entry was originally posted on September 21, 2009. For anyone who grew up in Kansas in the 60s and 70s, Major Astro was an after-school staple. Tom Leahy, Jr. played the galactic explorer for a generation of cartoon-crazed youngsters. Mr. Leahy, 87, passed away on Friday from complications of open-heart surgery. Godspeed, Major!


Somehow, The Hubster and I got on the subject of afternoon cartoons like Felix the Cat. As far as I am concerned, the consummate authority on afternoon cartoons was, is and will always be...Major Astro. Every day, after school, my brother and I raced home to catch Major Astro on KARD Channel 3. We loved Johnny Quest, Snagglepuss, Yogi and BooBoo, and all the rest, but Major Astro was our aeronautical icon. And I shook his hand!

It happened on one of the many visits our junior high choir made to Wichita television stations. The Derby vocal music department trotted us around to all the daytime local shows whenever we were preparing for a conc…

Woman Gives Birth to "Bump"

I finished writing an inspirational story last weekend. "Just a Little Bump" is a semi-autobiographical tale of a young wife and mom that is diagnosed with malignant melanoma while she is in the hospital giving birth to her second daughter. I first told you about the story in this very blog on March 15. It took me long enough, but I finally got it done.

I tucked it into an envelope and now it is off to be judged in the Kansas Authors Club annual literary contest. "Bump" was more emotional for me to write than I thought it would be, so it took me quite a while to write. The end product is compelling, I hope. I will keep you apprised on the contest results in October.


A lot of friends are taking summer vacations this month. It reminds me of trips my family of six took in our 1962 Ford Falcon station wagon in the 1960s. Dad, Mom, Laurie, Donna, Carol and David would pile in the car and head off to Yellowstone National Park, Colorado, Texas, or parts unknown. Someti…

Bathing Beauty

I bought a swimsuit last week. Let me clarify that. After not putting one on for over seven years...I bought a SWIMSUIT last week. The picture above was taken in Pensacola Beach, FL in July, 2003. The Hubster and I were celebrating our 22nd wedding anniversary. I was so relaxed and happy on that trip that he took a photo and I didn't even tackle him!

If you're a woman, you know what I'm talking about. It doesn't matter whether you weigh 82 pounds or 482 pounds. It doesn't matter if you bring your best friend, your mom or your husband of nearly 29 years. It doesn't matter if you are 21 or 81. Trying on swimsuits, under those lights, in one of those little cubicles, is hell on earth. Not that I'm overly dramatic...


Momala's Movie Pick: The Hubster and I went to see the new "Shrek" movie on Saturday night at the Cowley 8. That's not an unusual thing for a couple to do, except it had been over a year since we had seen a movie in a theater. Th…

Memorial Day 2010

(Pictured at top is Dot and T.J. on their last day at our house. Bottom photo is Dee Page, B.D. Tharp and Marilyn Monson at the Derby Public Library.)

My mom, our dear friend, Dee Page, and I attended the Book Talk for author B.D. Tharp on Thursday night at the Derby Public Library. If you haven't been to the new Derby Library yet, you must. It's gorgeous! Mom had never been to a book talk with an author before. We all enjoyed the lively discussion about women "of a certain age" and the unique challenges that presents. B.D. Tharp is a fun speaker, too.


The four-month odyssey is at a close. Socks, the pregnant cat who abruptly came into our lives one cold February day, and her four furry and fun kittens went to their forever home this afternoon. The whole family will be living on a beautiful farm outside Ark City, complete with barn and pond. Although we will miss them sorely, we're so happy that they will have a whole new world to explore. Best of all, they will…

Need Some Inspiration?

While watching "American Idol" a few weeks ago, the contestants chose inspirational tunes to sing. Most pieces were Whitney Houston tunes or the R. Kelly sap-fest, "I Believe I Can Fly." It got me to thinking, what songs do I consider to be inspirational? After pondering this question for a time, I came up with some surprising, albeit satisfying selections. What do these tunes have in common? None of them are sung by professional singers!

#3: "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. This piece, recorded in 1970, stands the test of time. Most famous for his trumpeting skills, Armstrong delivers a heartfelt and sensitive touch to this classic song. Listen to it here:

#2: "It's Not Easy Being Green" by Kermit the Frog. This self-acceptance anthem by the cute and cuddly amphibian from The Muppets is warm, wistful and completely wonderful. Listen to it here:…