Playing Footsy

“Things may happen and often do to people as brainy and footsy as you”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Yes, friends! Writers may be brainy, but as Dr. Seuss so aptly put it, we’re also footsy! Talk about mishaps! Our fun guest today, Lee Carver, is very open about her own mishaps–literally writing the book on it! Read on, and laugh out loud as we did!

Who Wrote the Book on Mishaps??
by Lee Carver

Thank you, dear blondes, for inviting me to share my biggest goof-ups with your audience. Who wouldn’t want to do that? If we can’t laugh at ourselves, life becomes much more excellent-adventure-cover-smalltedious.

I don’t mean to be a story-topper—the person in the conversation who peals out “You ain’t heard nothin’ yet”—but I wrote the book on mishaps. Literally. I collected stories during our years living in six foreign countries and tons of travel and recorded them in The Most Excellent Adventure, which is still available as print and e-book on Amazon. http://bitly.com/1vBOagn It’s so much easier to have a sensational goof-up while settling into a foreign social structure and language.

Here’s the first story in that book, re-edited for Modern Day Mishaps:

Life was very predictable in the small town where I grew up. A birth certificate from Atmore, Alabama, defined expectations of what was socially acceptable. Excitement came hard. I wanted to leave home and See The World. I wanted to marry someone I hadn’t gone to kindergarten with; someone who wasn’t in my elementary school class the day I wet my pants laughing at the story about the runaway monkey.

Whatever the reason, I hungered to see Paris before I forgot my college French. (I did, and discovered I didn’t know half as much French as I thought.)

When my husband’s job with Citibank transferred our family to Saudi Arabia in 1976, we accepted with high spirits. We studied the religion, language, and culture, and flew—from sand-dunes-691431_640my perspective—to the back side of the world.

That sense of adventure and a healthy dose of humor were essential for this kind of life. After arriving, we learned that a family had just cut and run, having fulfilled only a few months of the agreed two years. When asked the reasons, they wrote six. The list ended, “The wall-to-wall carpet has wrinkles.” They were definitely in the wrong country.

Our family arrived in Riyadh informed that a new house awaited us. That house wasn’t finished for over a year. After a week, the company located one apartment in a not-quite-finished building in a block under construction. As the only residents in the whole area, we had no telephone and almost no electrical power until nighttime. Not even enough to run a television, and certainly not enough to power the window air conditioners. It was June, 115º F and getting hotter every day.

My husband, Darrel, had bought a one-year-old Volvo from the dealership owner. He assumed it would be well maintained. Wrong! A wealthy Bedouin, the dealer owned a huge house but sometimes preferred to live in a desert tent. A goat ate half of my armrest, and the well water in the radiator turned to chewing gum in the engine. The dealer sold his car because it needed to be sold.

So Darrel went to his air conditioned office every day in his choking vehicle. For a while, I had the two little children, no driver, no telephone or television, no air conditioning, and no outside play area. The school term had just ended as we arrived, so most of the company’s wives and children flew away for two or three months. The sense of adventure wore thin.

On one of these days, Darrel dashed in after work and asked if I had supper plans. I quickly offered to put away the ground beef surprise over chopped corn cobs if he had a better idea. He did. One of the families had invited all of us to their home for dinner. Yes!

I shook something out of the suitcase and threw it over my head while he put clean tee-shirts on both kids. We looked like homemade sin but got ready in five minutes. Air conditioning! Civilization!

I slipped on some nice wedge sandals, noticing the dry, cracked skin of my feet. They looked like I had been walking the desert behind a camel caravan. Removing the shoes, I quickly brushed polish on the two toenails that showed of each foot. After putting the badpedicure-smallshoes back on, I grabbed the kids and left…

…and Darrel drove us to the home of the Yamamoto family, where the guests removed their shoes at the door before entering. Horribly embarrassed, feeling that the whole world

snickered at my toes, I zoned in on the sofa with a thick, shaggy flokati carpet in front. I kept my toes dug into the sheep hair all evening.

The Yamamotos became our good friends, and we later lived in the same compound and shared a driver, as was company policy. They never mentioned my unusual pedicure the night we met.

The book winds on from there, picking up stories about that shared driver, an Eritrian named Abdul. The important thing is that we learned to laugh early in our international life, which made those thirty years so much more bearable.

***

Lee Carver is once again failing at retirement, a hybrid author in every sense: fiction and nonfiction, traditionally and independently published. She also does freelance editing, formatting, and print book and e-book uploads as well as being a Stephen Minister, alto in the choir, crocheting with Prayer Shawl Ministry, and volunteer pianist, among other activities. Married forty-eight years to a very supportive man, they have two children and five grandchildren.

Connect with Lee on her website, blog, Facebook, and Pinterest.

 

Smiling Piles of Ooopsss!



My last post. About blonde moments was really something random. Or so I thought. But apparently this is a thing. A. Real. Thing.

 
Case in point: My co-blogger Jennifer had to help me post the article. I pasted it in, had it ready to go but can not figure out how to load a new picture. I have failed with two posts now. Failed. But Jennifer prevailed. She sent me a message. “I was almost ready to post but somehow messed up the paragraph order.” (This feels like a feat, but I think Jennifer, if you’ve read any of her posts, is up for it.) She got it posted and linked it on Facebook. I made a comment, she made a comment then said. “I wanted to put an emoticon, but I couldn’t.” I LOL’d and said, “Emoticon fails, that should be my next article.” She said. “Glad I could be fodder.”
 
The next day was my birthday. Idonwannatalkaboutittheyarenotfunsomuchanymore and my co-worker, one of the blondes, remember, there are four of us, brought me a gift.
 
How could she have known that this would tie into the next article about her?
 
The gift? A ceramic mug that was the poop emoji. Seriously. I laughed extra hard due to my insider future article knowledge and began writing my post in my head. Then she said. “So look at the bag already. You are going to make fun of me so we might as well get that out of the way.”
 
Her bedroom was darkish. She grabbed a gift bag where she could make out the word Happy and wrapped the mug.
 
“Happy Easter” it said.
 
Happy Easter indeed! And if I could figure out how to post them there’d be the smiling Poop Emoji and Crying Laugh Face as punctuation!
 

Burned Dinners, Cinnamon-flavored Beef, and Vomit-inducing Meals

An actual picture of my pantry. Don't judge.

An actual picture of my pantry. Don’t judge.

Visit a writer’s pantry and you’re sure to find a few things: peanut butter, likely purchased in bulk. Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. Chocolate. And, um, not much else. Either that, or, after a moment of inspiration while at the grocery store, it will be crammed full of ingredients that will never be used.

Or will be thrown away, after a frequent and inevitable culinary fail.

We were in a hurry, and I’d volunteered to cook a meal for our daughter’s youth group–starving high schoolers and all, you know. I don’t remember what all was going on, but my brain was probably in about ten different places: plotting a story, thinking of edits for another, popping on and off Facebook, listening to Pandora. Glancing at the clock, realizing that “quick message” I sent that led me to my news feed that led me to YouTube stole more time than I’d anticipated.

So there I was, trying to hurry things along, browning taco meat while chopping tomatoes and grabbing spices. Suddenly, a distinctly sweet scent wafts toward me.

I groan and glance at the brown spice on my counter. Yep. Cinnamon. Sprinkled liberally over about four pounds of ground beef. Which I absolutely refused to waste. And yet, I also refused to embarrass our daughter more than my cooking deficiencies already would (don’t ask).

That meant–you guessed it–I got to enjoy cinnamon, garlic, over-cooked ground beef for the next week. All four pounds of it.

Then there was the night our (former) foster son invited a friend for lunch …

I made pickle chicken that day. Again, don’t ask. Just … envision a breast soaked in lip-puckering pickle juice, then overcooked to a rather rubbery consistency (when I forgot about it on the grill).

That afternoon, most likely due to past lunch experiences (also known as past culinary trauma), most everyone opted for sandwiches. I think our guest, however, wanted to be polite. Either that or he was hoping for some nice home cooking.

An actual picture of the chicken. Again, don't judge.

An actual picture of the chicken. Again, don’t judge.

He dished up his plate then sat at the table. Stared at his food, and said, “I don’t know why, but I feel sick. Like if I take a bite, I’ll throw up.”

This seemed odd, considering he’d been so enthusiastic about the meal prior, so I watch him. Sort of analyzed his behavior–the look of pure revulsion on his face. It’s then I realized–it was the chicken that was making him ill. Like want to vomit on his shoes ill.

I’d like to say I offered him a sandwich then and there, but I was too busy laughing.  But don’t worry, the boy did eat–a nice, thick sandwich made with safe, processed meat and cheese.

Some will say home cooking is healthier. To that, I’d say, those who claim that have never enjoyed a hot, author-cooked meal. Or at least, not one I’ve cooked.

I think I’ll stick with writing. And peanut butter.

What about you? Can you relate to my cooking challenges? Do you have any culinary horror stories to share? How many of your cooking blunders came from being distracted or focusing on too many things at once? Do you have Pizza Hut on speed dial?

Bumps, Booms…and Trust

 

The Road to Deception
by Amy Deardon

I just want my car back.

So there we were, our family driving through a pretty small town on a warm fall day, about car-crashthree hours from home, when out of the blue we felt a tremendous thump from the rear. In the front seat my arm was suddenly wet as the spray from our daughter’s open water bottle anointed the front dashboard.

“Whoa,” our son said.

My husband quickly steered to the shoulder. “Anyone hurt?” he asked. He always takes care of us.

Once we all knew that we were OK my husband turned off the ignition. He had a grim look on his face. “Hold on,” he said as he opened the door and stalked to the car behind us to assess the damage.

The car behind us looked bad. It was a silver Honda Civic in what looked to have been in pristine condition before it rammed into us. The black front bumper and varied pieces of plastic were scattered on the ground; I heard tire wheels crunching as other cars slowly drove past. There was a third car behind the Civic.

Our car looked pitiful with its shattered rear bumper gaping just above the exhaust. There was also a noticeable gap between the hatch door and the back frame. Yikes.

The gentleman driving the Civic angrily threw his car’s bumper into the side door. He policelooked to be in his sixties, and complained of chest pain. Double yikes.

When the policeman drove up a few minutes later he questioned everyone, took id’s, and spent some time writing up the report. The driver behind us was cited for reckless driving; apparently he’d been trying to pass us on the shoulder of a single lane road, too late figuring out we were following traffic and there was nowhere for him to go. The car behind him was also damaged when the guy fishtailed into it after hitting us.

Thankfully our car was drivable, and twenty-ish minutes after the Civic was towed and the policeman left we pulled into the hotel parking lot. The next day we made it safely home and started looking for a body shop. I was horrified to learn that our car had been torqued in the collision, with two little neat indentations near the top of the roof towards the back. Yup. While not dangerous in the short term, it clearly indicated some structural buckling that needs to be straightened out.

Now our car is in the shop, and we’re without a loaner car since the insurance companies mechanicare dueling it out. Fortunately I work from home so we can limp along for a few weeks, but even so being grounded during the day is challenging. We’re hoping for a happy ending soon when the car is ready.

What strikes me with this experience is the struggling our family has had to engage in to move the process along with the car. We are the innocent party—the police report even says so—and yet resolution is distant. We must trust that others will do their jobs, even though that trust may or may not be rewarded.

We have to trust the other drivers on the road not to take chances with our lives and property.

We have to trust the person causing an accident to honestly give information and testimony.

We have to trust the police to give honest evaluation and reasonable citation.trust

We have to trust the insurance inspectors to give true data.

We have to trust the insurance agents to give fair compensation.

We have to trust the body shop mechanics to honestly evaluate the car’s problems and do what they say they’re going to do.

And on a broader level, for all of us, this issue of truth permeates our life. We need to trust each other. This trust is the basis of civilization, isn’t it? And yet truth sometimes seems scarce.

I remember last year at Walmart picking up a jumbo pack of paper towels. “The same as 20 rolls!” the package proudly proclaimed.

Really? I’m counting twelve rolls.

Or the news media that tells you with a straight face that “no one” is voting for Trump, even though thousands and tens of thousands show up at his rallies.

Or the fact that many people receive their health education from advertisements for this or that prescription drug. I can’t help thinking this is so people will self-diagnose and then harass their doctor to prescribe this wonder stuff.

As much as I’d like to think people tell unvarnished truth, sadly it seems like emotional words and enthusiasm may occasionally substitute for solid ideas. Sometimes the drive to persuade is blatant, sometimes subtle, but often in our society people seem to be using sow-only-goodeach other rather than respecting each other.

Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians to “be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7). I wonder if we as a nation have sown for material gain or power to reap the harvest of half-truths and mistrust in our society.

Don’t be a party to this. Evaluate statements for yourself rather than just “trusting” the other person isn’t trying to persuade you and is giving straight advice. Maybe he is. But maybe he isn’t. Think it through. And for yourself, sow only good things.

If you do this, then I will consider the travails of my poor car worthwhile.

***

amyAmy Deardon is an award-winning author, publisher, and budding online entrepreneur. She is eager to help writers take their words to the next level through story or nonfiction coaching/editing and guiding them through the self-publishing minefield.

Find Amy on ebooklistingservices.com, her website, amydeardon.com, and her Amazon Author Page.

 

Blame the Chemo Brain

joyversejpgJoy is such a contagious, healing, glorious thing! Truly one of the best gifts available to us through Christ Jesus. And laughter, well, laughter makes everything better–even your biggest blunder, and your greatest struggle. There are so many mishaps to be had if you just look for them. Even in the truly hard times in life. Read on to learn about Linda’s found mishaps during her cancer.

Senior Moments and Chemo Brain
by Linda Rondeau

October is breast cancer awareness month.

Sometimes the hard places we endure can make us laugh the most.

I know that mishaps and laughter got me through surgery, chemo and recovery.

Even while waiting for my lumpectomy, I played cards with my hubby, brother, and sister-ideck-of-cardsn-law. When four seniors play pitch, it’s a wish-you-could-be-a-fly-on-the wall kind of moment. And no hand is complete without the routine questions:

“What’s trump?”

“Whose deal is it?”

“What’s the score?”

“Is it my turn?”

And so it goes.

We don’t care. It makes for a lot of laughs. And never a dull card game.

I had to be hospitalized after my first round of chemo due to infection. I’d been told this might happen, and so I wasn’t alarmed. “Go home,” I told my husband. “I’m in good hands here.”

Or so I thought.

It had been years since my last hospitalization, and I couldn’t believe how techno my hospital bed was. A nurse did introduce me to the various pieces of equipment hither and yon in the room, but how is a woman who can’t remember whose deal it is expected to recall how to operate a half dozen devices?

I finally figured out how to use the television. What else should I know? Then the nurse said, “Just hit the call button when you need to use the restroom.”

I nodded and fell asleep.

I woke up with an urgent need for a bedpan. I hit the “call button” and waited….waited…and waited…until I couldn’t wait anymore and determined I’d better get to the rest room on my own steam.

Oops.

As I cleaned myself up, the nurse happened in.

“Mrs. Rondeau, you should have called me.”

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

“I did.”

Come to find out, the pictured icon labeled “call nurse” wasn’t operative and there was another control device on the bed stand out of my reach. Go figure.

For the next couple of days I amused myself with how gadget oriented our medical profession had become. Rather than get upset, I laughed with the nurses. When misfired bleeps and hisses brought them scrambling unnecessarily, they apologized. “No worries,” I said. “I’m a writer. Whatever doesn’t kill me, I use for material.”

When my hair came out in clumps, I yanked the wig I had bought earlier out of storage. “Okay…taxi driver,” I said to hubby. “To the hairdresser! It’s shaving time!”

Hubby took pictures and we, the hairdressers and I, laughed silly. “Hey, bald is beautiful,” I said. With my wig trimmed and fitted I went home and tried on the new hats the grands had sent me. I gave my husband a flirty wink. “Just think. You can cheat on me with me!”

When life throws you bald, go for the advantage points. I’d always wanted an extreme makeover.

One of the side effects of chemo is short-term memory loss. Hey, I finally had an excuse for being forgetful besides being a senior and a blonde. A retired caseworker for Social Services, I told my husband, “My excuses come in triplicate. Just like a good government employee.”

Then there was the night I tried to make snickerdoodles. Christmas was approaching. While hubby took over the kitchen for safety’s sake, I just couldn’t see the holiday without GE DIGITAL CAMERAsnickerdoodles. Unfortunately, I forgot how to read a recipe. “It’s okay, Lord. It’s still Christmas without snickerdoodles.” I threw the cookies down the garbage disposal and called my brother for a game of cards. Out of disaster came a sense of victory. The girls won!

A couple days later, a package arrived from a dear friend…three dozen snickerdoodles. Being bald and forgetful, techno deprived and dependent didn’t matter. God had surrounded me with so many blessings. His many smiles warmed my heart.

How about you?

Has your ability to find humor in the hard stuff helped you through a difficult time in your life?

***

To learn more about cancer and how you can help your loved one, or find support for your diagnosis, visit the American Cancer Society.

***

cover-fiddlers-flingWhen Jolene Murdock receives a call from an old boyfriend, her carefully crafted world crumbles. Told of her estranged father’s terminal illness, she returns to a town she’d left three years ago, the scene of her secret sin. She thought her pending marriage to rising political star Robert Ashworth the penance God required of her … to forget her talents, her music, and her love for Brookside. Dwight Etting is now the junior partner in Murdock & Etting. But Big Mike Murdock has run the business into the ground. In hopes of saving the company, Dwight convinces Big Mike’s daughter to return to Brookside to help her terminally ill father. Why does she cling to her resentment over a stupid argument on prom night? What happened to that spirited girl, whose fiddle playing won the hearts of all Essex County?

Find Fiddler’s Fling on Amazon.

***

img_3790Award-winning author LINDA WOOD RONDEAU writes blended contemporary fiction that demonstrates, once surrendered to God, our worst past often becomes our best future. Retired from her long career in human services, she enjoys being able to play golf year around. Readers may visit her web site and blog (Snark and Sensibiity) at www.lindarondeau.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus and Goodreads.

Blondes Do Have More Fun…

By Kelly Klepfer
The title might be misleading. And if you are truly a blonde or extremely anti-girl-1585079_1920blonde joke then prepare to be offended. I’ll wait if you need to leave.

Okay. If all the real blondes have figured out how to get out of here we are all alone and can giggle a little.

Now. I have to tell you that all the women involved are as brunette as milk chocolate. Some have blonde highlights. I am highlighted with massive amounts img_20160927_053921of silver glitter. But none of us are blonde. Not even close. But we did have an epic multi-blonde syndrome sweep through the office taking us as victims. One at a time.

First. One of the nurses came to chat with my section buddy. They discussed shoes. Nurses wear comfortable shoes especially when they hit their 40s and fashion and comfort just don’t play well together any more. Nurse one said. “Oh, those are cute. They comfortable?”

Nurse two went on to say they were and told her how she got them and then said. “Yeah, I learned something. BOGO is not a brand. My niece corrected me with eye rolls when I said we should look at the BOGO shoes because they were on sale.”  Ha. Ha. Ha!!!!

A couple hours later my next door neighbor nurse’s phone kept ringing. I said, “You are real popular today.”

She said. “Huh?”

I said. “Your phone keeps ringing.”

Okay. I must preface this with the fact that she is newish to the clinic. Only been there six weeks.

She said, “What do you mean?”

I said, “When you have a green light and the ringing sound, that is actually someone calling your line directly, wanting to talk to you.” I tilted my head and looked at her. “Did you not know that? Where did you think all those messages came from?”

She laughed and put her hand over her mouth. “Oh my goodness. I just always get my messages, I didn’t know my phone actually rang and I could pick it up and talk to someone.”

That’s when things really got funny. A third gal had come in for her afternoon shift at that point. We couldn’t wait to tell her. We started laughing and because it was so funny there were two in a row blonde incidents. We started with the BOGO confusion.

Then her smile got a little more crooked and she tilted her head. “Ugh. Guys. I didn’t know that either. I thought BOGO was a brand, too. Buy One Get One? Really.”

At this point all of our eyes were watering. Seriously, like raccoon alley.

Things calmed down a bit. My next-door neighbor nurse put a patient in the doctor’s exam room and went to the other section of the office. The doctor came out and looked around. “Where did she go? To check the weather?”

“Oh, no. She’s in the lab.”

He nodded and left. And I furrowed my brows. Checking the weather. What in the world did that mean? Were we going to get storms? I googled the weather real quick. Storms maybe later, long after we’d left work.

And then it dawned on me. She’s a smoker. He was being clever. She came back to her desk and I had to admit my blonde moment too. Oh mercy.

Really. We are competent. Your health is safe. I promise. However, We may never  pick up the phone when you call or buy new shoes because we can’t find our favorite brand, but chances are good at least one of us will know what’s going on in the sky.

The … Um … Glamours Life

woman-918784_1920Remember when you went to your first formal? Finding the perfect dress–the one with lots of sparkles and a waistband that nearly cut you in two. Then there was the zipper–so long as you exhaled (to diminish your lung size) while sucking in your gut, it fit perfectly. And besides, it was on sale.

But try sitting down in the thing.

And the shoes. For me, it was the first time I wore heels, and it showed. Walking across the parking lot, with all it’s potholes, woman-1534619_1280bumps, and depressions was interesting to say the least. Of course, it didn’t help that the shoes were half a size too small, or two wide, or whatever, and either strangled all circulation from your toes or fell off your feet every time you took a step.

Then you get older, wiser, and invest in a comfy yet stylish pair of flats. At least, that’s been my MO. Except sometime this summer, I threw away my favorite black pair, fully intending to replace. But then August hit, and with it conferences I needed to prepare for, and I forgot all about my shopping plans.

Some of you understand this completely. Others of you, the shoppers among us, consider me insane. For the latter of you, you’ll be shaking your head momentarily, thinking, “I told you so. Well, I would’ve told you so had you asked.”

Mid-August rolls around, and I begin packing for what I knew airport-1515434_1920would be a whirlwind trip–a conference where I’d be speaking and teaching three classes, followed by a book signing, with a day and a half home before heading to an author event followed by another conference.

Whew! I’m tired just remembering it!

So there I was, planning what to wear and … no black flats, and no time for shopping. Luckily (ha!) our daughter owns a really cute pair of pumps, so I tossed them in my suitcase, closed it up, shoes-1460033_1920and was good to go.

Eh …

Saturday rolled around, the last day of the conference and the day of my book signing. By this point, I was also down to one outfit–the one needing those black pumps. So on they went.

And I quickly remembered how long it’d been since I’d worn heels. And that my daughter’s feet are wider then mine. So here I am, trying to look all professional while wobbling around, about ready to topple over, in my daughter’s much too high heels. To make things worse, every third step one of my shoes actually slipped off, nearly sending me flat on my face.

All while I was trying to act all bookishly professional–and everyone I encounter, including the bookstore owner hosting me, is doing there best not to laugh out loud.

Grown woman, acting like a teenager in her first pair of heels. Oy.

I wish I could say wardrobe malfunctions during book signings are rare events, but …

I was on another trip, this time in Des Moines. Once again, it was a whirlwind weekend with back-to-back speaking engagements followed by a signing. By my last event, I was down to my last outfit–the one I was wearing. The others were not so neatly packed in my suitcase in the trunk. Add to this the fact that it was freezing out–not sure capris and strappy sandals were a great idea.

With goosebumps exploding across my arms and my lips turning a deep shade of blue despite my heavily applied lipgloss, I decided to buy some coffee.

Did I mention I was wearing white capris? You know where this is going, don’t you? I experienced a momentary rush of warmth, followed by a rush of panic.

A writer’s life. Isn’t it glamorous?

Do you have any wardrobe fails to share? It would make me feel better. Seriously. 😉

How to Derail the Conference Keynote

 

2016-09-20-07-50-59This is a glimpse of my brain.

2016-09-20-07-52-24Yeah … I probably shouldn’t have shown you those.

The first photo is my office, and yes, I need every one of those slips of paper, notebooks, and folders — at my fingertips (or feet) at this moment.

The second is my bedroom end table, and absolutely, I need each book, along with all the sticky notes, pens, and … whatever else has gotten lost beneath them, at my side. Every night.

I’d show you my purse, or computer bag, or inside the hidden compartment of our coffee table, but I’d like to leave this post with a smidgeon of respectability left.

Like I’d hoped to leave Atlanta with …

They say you only get one chance to make a first impression. Well, I made a first explosion-147931_1280impression, all right, and quite nearly derailed an entire conference. And that, my friends, is how one comes in with a bang.

I’m lucky Cynthia Simmons, the conference director, didn’t lock me in my hotel room. (Well, she might have, had I been able to get into it.) I’m also lucky Athena Dean Holtz didn’t strangle me first chance she got. (Again, she might have, had she known I was the woman that completely sideswiped her speaking engagement. Well, almost. But God.)

You may remember my grand entrance into Atlanta. (If you don’t, read it HERE.)

Now for the other side, Athena’s side, of the story.

14203037_10205342081466642_1155688376_o-1Athena was the woman arriving as my new angel friend went in search of my purse. It’d been a long day for her, traveling from Seattle. She was tired, frazzled, and heading toward her speaking engagement as the opening keynote at the Atlanta Christian Writers Conference.

In her own words:

Oh. My. Goodness.

If I could put a name on today it would have to be a

TEST

[When] I finally arrive in Atlanta, … my phone is down to 2%, and I forgot to keep my cord in my purse, so couldn’t do anything until I got my bags.

So the person who picked me up at the airport texted to say she would be a bit since she had to go back into the other concourse to pick up a purse that was left there by one of the other speakers.  Finally she texts me and says she still hasn’t gotten the purse, but she’s coming to get me.

Down to 1%.

I get my bags in her car, and she says “Wait here, I need to run into this building and try to get that purse.” I look around. No cops. Hmmmmm. This could look bad …bodyworn-794112_1920

About 10 minutes later, this cop is standing outside the passenger window. Sheepishly, I roll it down. “Ha! I bet you’re wondering what in the world I’m doing here, huh?” He laughed …

“Yep, let’s hear it, lady!”

Athena tried to explain, but it became clear, the policeman wasn’t buying it, so she was forced to circle the airport.

Photo by Khongkitwiriyachan taken from freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by Khongkitwiriyachan taken from freedigitalphotos.net

Fast forward thirty minutes. They’ve got my purse, and they’re headed … straight into Atlanta traffic, and the conference center is forty five minutes away … on a good day.

They arrived at 6:08, and she hurried to check in, hoping to catch a quick shower or at least freshen up. (In Atlanta’s 98 degree, 100% humidity, one’s makeup tends to melt.) She felt grimy, irritated, and was “hitting the wall.” All she wanted to do was get to her room, take a quick cold shower, and change her clothes.

But then she hit yet another snag, then another, except these weren’t caused by me, so …

Or maybe they were, assuming the dominoes effect. (You can read her full story HERE.)

Eventually, after bouncing from one–already occupied!–room to the next, she made it. With 30 minutes to spare–just enough time to relax. Or panic. Or maybe surrender. Seems she did the latter, and you know what? It turned out great, because that’s what God does. He turns our messes, blunders, mishaps (even those caused by others) into something glorious.

As if to remind us, He’s got this. He’s got us. And His plans will prevail.

And this is where we can all release a collective sigh. Praise God for His sovereignty, amen?

Do you have any mishaps turned awesome stories to share? Times when you felt for sure you weren’t going to make it to an ultra important meeting, or when it seemed as if everything was coming at you, but God came through at the last minute?

Why does He often wait until the very. Last. Minute anyway?

Shocking Broca to the tune of $200

jim-rubart-brmcwc16Award-winning author and friend, Jim Rubart, has a special phrase he uses in his writing/marketing classes. He says you want to try and ‘shock Broca’ so that your words, image, message (etc) will stand out and leave an impression on those around you.

Broca is the part of the brain that processes language and information. Images, words, and experiences find their ‘control center’ in this part of the brain so that then the information can be processed and sent to memory. If it’s an impressive set of words, pictures, and experiences, it’s more likely to be remembered or recalled. If not, then we’re more likely to forget it.

As a speech-language pathologist, I see the value of having this particular part of your brain in good-working order – so when Jim talked about it in one of his classes it totally made sense to me.

Be memorable!

However, I don’t think Jim meant it the way my life usually shocks Broca. Unintentionally.

One very distinctive example of this was last week at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference that took place in Nashville, TN. It was a wonderful gathering of authors, agents, editors, marketing people, readers….oh just a bunch of book-loving junkies J

On the final day of the conference, I went to retrieve my van from the parking garage so I could load up my luggage and say my goodbyes. Mind you, it was a time when lots of people were leaving…which allowed for a fantastic audience for my ‘shocking Broca’ moment.

I tried to start my van and….dead battery. Yep. In the middle of the parking garage.

So I went back to the hotel, called for the parking garage assistant, grabbed my friend Amy, and we headed back to my car. After the rather grumpy assistant charged the battery, my van REALLY started. Not only did it crank, but the alarm went off, complete with flashing lights and extremely loud siren.

Now here was the tricky part.

After about 3 minutes of blaring, the siren would go off (but the lights would keep flashing)…UNLESS I changed gears in the car OR opened a door. If either of those things happened, the alarm would start blaring again.

(I’ve attached a video below for your viewing pleasure)
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I called the nearest mechanic and (with Amy laughing) I drove to the entrance of the parking garage, paid my parking fee as the attendants’ covered their ears, and then drove out into downtown Nashville with enough bling and noise to fit right in. (NOT)

I was shocking Broca all the way in front of the hotel and down the street for 3 minutes until the alarm went off. Of course, five minutes later when I pulled into the garage and put the van into park….the alarm went off again.

Sigh.

So five hours and $200 later, my van was ready for the five hour drive home. Thankfully, the only Broca shocking I might have caused the remainder of my trip was from passing drivers as I sang my favorite songs with the animation of a drama queen.

I did get a few looks over that.

I’m not quite sure this is what Jim had in mind for shocking Broca, but it was certainly memorable.

How about you? Done anything to shock Broca? Has anyone shocked your Broca lately? 🙂

Terrifying Authors

“My DNA just mingled with Kristi Ann Hunter’s!”

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THE Kristi Ann Hunter and I.

Yeah. That quote right there, that was me. Never in my life had I met this woman before. I was a fan on her Facebook page, but she has enough fans that seriously, she would never have known my name. And I walked right up to her, put my hand on her shoulder, and spoke those eight, fateful words.

You guys. She accepted my friend request on Facebook. That just goes to prove how weird authors are!

Almost two weeks ago now, the American Christian Fiction Writers had their annual conference in Nashville. The day before the conference started, three incredible women set up the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat (where said fateful statement was made). Throughout the five days I was in Nashville for those two events, I met a ton of people. And stalked them. A lot.

Confession: I stalked most of them even before Nashville. Long before Nashville.

But that’s the thing about authors. We all seem to stalk one another. And it isn’t just for

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Was Krista really scared? I’ll never tell.

excitement’s sake. These authors, from Tamara Leigh to Jen Turano, were all the kindest, most genuinely encouraging people. They’re not just great authors (though they are that!), but they’re wonderful people. Even better when they (not naming any names, Jim) stop you in the hallway outside some conference rooms because you’re wearing a Seattle Seahawks jersey and they’re fans. Then they stand there encouraging you for five minutes when they’ve never in their life met you before. It’s no wonder that “nameless” person won Mentor of the Year. But I digress. We all stalk one another because we really do love each other and want to see everyone succeed. So we share sales and posts on Facebook, tag everyone on Instagram, link sites to our posts, and do what we can to support one another.

So, who else did I scare with my extreme excitement? Numerous people. But my faaaaavorites are actually right here on this blog! Pepper, Jen, and Krista—I haven’t yet met Shellie, Kelly, or Michelle, but I will!—are super fun, sweet, generous, and funny women. But I’m still sure I may have scared Krista a little more than I should have. And continue to do so since leaving Nashville. Because it’s fun. And when she comes up with a fun book idea and you take it to the extreme, well…I may have given her nightmares.

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This is really just mozzarella stuffed meatballs, I promise. (Photo courtesy of my friend, Art Pigate.)

Seriously. They looked like hearts in a crockpot! But I promise, I write romantic comedy, not horror.

Anywho, I should probably quit while I’m ahead. Before I go, though, let me leave you with something to remember as you go about your day: “A joyful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22a, ESV). So go laugh today! Better yet, go make someone else laugh. It may change the rest of their day for the better!