Tuesday, January 29, 2013

If I’m Adding to the Noise...by the Prude

You don’t need to understand the technical jargon explaining white noise to use white noise. If you’ve ever set a fan blowing in your baby’s room to cover up sounds that may—heaven forbid—wake the child, you’ve used white noise.
Maybe you’ve kept CSPAN turned on low because its lack of blaring commercials and plethora of pontificating politicians can drown out the barking of the dog up the street or the embarrassing argument between your neighbor and his girlfriend.

White noise at its best blocks irritating sounds, masks distractions and encourages relaxation.
But it is also synonymous with a droning commotion or an annoying hubbub. White noise can clutter up the atmosphere, overload the senses and numb us to noise that is of a potentially distinctive and beneficial ‘color’.

As a writer, I dread being part of the white noise stacked up at garage sales, in the storage area of libraries, at the book store’s ninety-percent off table. It’s the white noise of fiction or fact that no one cares to read. Or maybe the contents of the publication are devoured eagerly and it sits atop the bestseller list. But the words accomplish nothing except to bloat the reader with empty, unhealthy junk. Does gorging ourselves on them distract us from the lives we live and the ones we touch? Can the incessant drone of printed drivel numb us to honest stories and words that are good and true and beautiful?

I want to be a writer. Not a rich one, just one who gets published and read.
The words I agonize over...are they important? Useful? Maybe not. I hope they are entertaining and wholesome. I hope they don’t distract from what is truly important to the reader or result in the aggravation of wasted time.

My white noise won’t change the world. But maybe it can distract its reader, just for a time, from life’s clanging irritations. If I’m adding to the noise, readers, make sure you hold me accountable to create a joyful noise.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Nothing Like a Little Bull Riding to Warm Your Heart!

By Pamela S. Meyers

Overhead Jumbotron
Some of you may think that rodeo and bull riding is only found in the Southwest and West, but that's not true. Lots of rodeoing takes place around the Midwest in summer, but bull riding happens year round within the confines of an arena during the winter months.

On a recent cold January day we spent a Sunday afternoon at the Allstate Arena, which is in Rosemont, IL, next door to O'Hare Field (Chicago). The PBR, which is the big Kahuna of bull riding, was in town and we were ready! Yee Haw!!!

Our seats were great, only four rows up from the dirt covered arena floor, directly in front of the chutes. Close enough to see the bulls' eyes if they looked our way.

Not only were the bull riders from the U.S., but a large number were from Brazil, with some Canadians and Austrailians thrown in for good measure. A lot of riders ate dirt before they could stay on the required 8 seconds, while several scored 90 points or better.

It's amazing to watch these 2000 or so pound animals jump into the air, almost as if they are flying. Thankfully, no one got seriously hurt, although I'm sure some went home with a few more black and blue marks than they had when they arrived!

Flint, the clown, was in good form, and came right up into the stands to give a huge silver buckle to a 92-year-old lady seated two seats over from me, for being the Fan of the Day. This really was her first rodeo -- well, not exactly a rodeo, but her first bull riding event. Her daughter next to me, who wasn't exactly a spring chicken herself was from Louisville and travels to all the PBR events in the Midwest.

We watched Leah Garcia who interviews the cowboys and stock contractors for television interview some of the riders, including the winner.

I got tons of pictures, but neglected to have someone take one of me, so I'm including one taken of me the last time they were in town two years ago at the United Center. This is Cord McCoy one of my fave riders who wasn't here this trip. Even if you don't watch bull riding, you may have caught him and his brother on the Amazing Race the two times they competed on that show. They almost won the first time.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Midwest War with Disorder

Midwest War with Disorder

By Robin Steinweg


Here in the Midwest, in the heart of our great nation, there is war.

 It’s not a loud war with guns and tanks. The only time it might get noisy is when certain closet doors are opened and a crash follows. Or when a certain family member trips over a neat stack of papers on the floor. Otherwise, it’s a war fought in silence, with not even a soundtrack to accompany it.


Here in the heart of Wisconsin in the heart of my small Midwestern town in the heart of my home in the heart that pumps my lifeblood, I fight Disorder.

 Like little foxes that skulk into a walled garden and pilfer its fruit and its peace, clutter has crept into my home and life. If allowed to occupy longer, it will take over and govern my life. It has threatened. I rise to meet and defeat it.

 Here are some of my weapons:

  Good humor & light reading...





Organizing books by people from whom I can learn and who will inspire me...

 Anybody with me in this endeavor?

Sometime in the coming months I’ll be introducing a blog that will cover the battles—the victories (hopefully many) and the defeats (boo, hiss!) more in-depth. I hope you’ll join me.

Until then, let’s make the Midwest a safer, cleaner, even more homey place than it already is!




Saturday, January 26, 2013

12 Inexpensive, Frugal or Nearly Free Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

1.  Are you in love with a history major?  Did you marry a history buff?

From the Abraham Lincoln Museum and Library in Springfield, IL

I Heart History T-shirt

I Heart History T-shirt

You could also take her or him (worth the drive) to Springfield, IL to the world class
Abraham Lincoln Museum and Library

2.  I love this craft from Electrically Vintage - Monogrammed Personalized Water Glasses
I can see us sipping homemade lemonade when spring comes to the Midwest! 

Each family member's glass has their own monogram click here for project
Supplies needed are few and you can buy the glasses at the Dollar Store.
(Less glasses in sink.  Everyone knows which glass is theirs. Less fighting over who gets the Bugs Bunny cup.)
Oh thank you Electrically Vintage

* This one is practically free. 
3.  "You are So Sweet" Sugar Facial Scrub (Midwesterners do love their sugar.)
My girls are so getting this for Valentine's Day

Sugar Facial Scrub
Supplies:  Granulated sugar or brown sugar and a pretty jar with cover.  Find one around the house or buy one from the Dollar Store.
How to make:  Pour sugar into your pretty jar.  Cover.
How to use: 
  1. Wash your face with lukewarm water to refresh and open your pores.
  2. Pour a tsp. of  the sugar from your jar into your palm and add just a drop of water.
  3. Apply on your face and massage the sugar with circular movements. Keep on massaging gently for two minutes daily or up to five minutes once a week.
  4. Splash cool water on your face to clean off sugar and close your pores.
"I just tried this on my face and I look 10 years younger." - This is Cheryl Moeller and I approve this ad.

4.  Turn Your Children's Art Into Tea Towels
I know what Grandma is getting for Valentine's Day!
The child with a fabric pen or tin point Sharpie Permanent Marker can write right on the Tea Towel.
Click here for the how to:  Click here
Basically you wash the tea towel, draw on it, and there it is.  Wrap up real pretty and gift to grandma for V Day. I also love the tea towels where you write out in small print a favorite recipe of grandma's.
They look so vintage-y.

5.  Retro Rit Dye - Up-to-Date Scarf Project
I know what my daughters are getting for Valentine's Day
Dye dip your scarf for an uneven impressionistic look.

For Valentine's Day, I am going to find a scarf with red lines on a scarf and dye red.  Click here for Rit Dye Directions

6.  One Red Rose
You don't have to buy three dozen, but I do love me lots of flowers.  (Did I tell you that five family members gave me a dozen roses each for my November birthday?  That would make five dozen.  No one could see each other at our dinner table for two weeks for all the foliage.) I loved it.
One red rose with perhaps a touch of greenery and Baby's Breath will buy you a whole lot of mileage for a whole lot less. Warning:  On Valentine's Day this single rose can cost you up to $7.99.  Flowers in most states triple in price for Valentine's Week.

7.  Bake Him or Her a Cake in Their Fav Flavor
Last summer at a garage sale in Manton, MI, we (daughter Megan, friend Joni Pearson Campbell, and I) found the treasure of two matching 9" heart-shaped metal cake pans.  A cake or a pizza in a heart shape can win his heart in a moment.  My husband, Bob, likes yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  This year Megan is going to bake him a double layer heart cake.  

8.  Hershey Chocolate Kisses 

This traditional Valentine's Day Candy is always in vogue especially if you pick out a see-through container she or he can keep on their desk or window sill to savor the moment.

Buy an inexpensive see-through jar at the Dollar Store.  Consider adding stickers to the bottom of 1/2 of the candy.  Or, consider printing off a label to put on the jar to share your feelings - "Love" "Kisses from Bob" "Kisses for my Wife" would be some examples.  Now you take the jar and run with it.

To personalize your Kisses
Free printable cute stickers for bottom of kisses Click here

To personalize your Kisses' jar
Free printable to personalize the outside or inside (looking out) of your candy jar.  Click here

9.  A Wall of Memories
Dollar Store frames are $1.  Buy ten frames that kind of match in different sizes. Put in pictures of you, you and him, and the whole family.  A Wall of Memories shows each other just how important those memories are to all of you.  Line the wall on the way upstairs or put over a desk.  Get busy, while this project doesn't take much money, it takes some time to pick the right frames, pictures, and prepare them.

10,  Mr. and Mrs. Love Collection
I want this! 
I love to remind Bob that he is married to me!  
We clearly have what constitutes a relationship after 33 1/2 years of marriage and six children.  These Mr. and Mrs. Mugs will prove it.

11.  Andrea's Natural Soaps and Lip Balms
You will score some points with your Valentine with anything that sounds all natural.

These soaps and lip softeners are about as all natural as you can get. 
You will raise the "bar" by gifting some of these in a basket or have them mailed
to your sweetie.  Click here to my friend Andrea's Momsaware online store   

12.  Written by my husband and I, in the Midwest, released January 2013 and 
Perfect 4 Valentines' Day Gifts - One-Minute Devotions for Couples  by Bob and Cheryl Moeller 

Please leave a comment telling us of your favorite Valentine's Day Gift.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Caves Aren't Always Creepy

While some hole up in a cozy log cabin in front of a roaring fire, I like to sneak off to a cave...The Wabasha Street Caves, that is. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River in St. Paul, Minnesota, there's a whole lot of history to be had and some very fine swing dancing.

Every Thursday night, the caves are open to the public for a night of fun. If you get there early enough, you can go on a guided tour...led by a gangster. The caves were notorious during prohibition, housing some of the biggest names in crimes. Baby Face Nelson (who led our tour). Ma Barker. Al Capone. And if gangster lore is something you're really interested in, there's even a 2 hour bus tour that leaves the site each Saturday.
Our guide...Baby Face Nelson

After the shorter tour, Arthur Murray Dance Studios supply a few instructors to teach some easy swing steps. Yes, seriously easy. My husband, who has been known to fall up the stairs, was able to learn the basics.

But even if dancing is not your cup of tea, it's still fun to watch the other dancers. Some couples are so amazing, it's like a front row seat to Dancing With the Stars.

There's always a live big band that performs. The caves have some amazing acoustics, so the sound is great. In the past, famous performers such as Cab Calloway have wowed previous dancers.

Even if you don't have a partner, this venue is well the worth the trip. Who knows? Maybe even one of the ghosts will tap you on the shoulder and ask you for a twirl about the floor.

Which brings me to my next highlight...ghosts. Apparently there are a few who haunt the place. Not surprising, really, since there have been a few murders that were reported during the gangster days.

Next time you toodle over to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, you should definitely check out this hot spot--even if it is a frigid January night.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Winter Dreams

Five inches of lake effect is pounding us and the wind is howling. It’s the perfect time to dream of summer vacation. A few of my favorite vacation memories:

   From our campsite, Bear Butte, South Dakota looked like a gentle mound and an easy car trip. We never did get to the top.

A shot of our campsite from half-way up the mountain.

At Black Falls, Arizona our puppy, Rue, was the proxy goat in a traditional Navajo wedding.

The engaged couple was dressed in bridal jewelry by the elders and coached through the ceremony with stand-in parents, but reminded this was merely a reenactment..

One December we visited Southern Indiana to see the powerful Clifty Falls again when it wasn’t  hiddenby foliage or when you didn't have to get near the edge to see it. We discovered frozen northern waters slowed the flow to a “Clifty Trickle”. We didn't even take a phot of it. This is a summer shot.

What are your favorite vacation memories?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Only Waunakee In The World

Meet The Only Waunakee in the World 

by Lori Lipsky

For thirteen years, our family has lived in the Village of Waunakee, Wisconsin, population 12,097. It’s “The Only Waunakee in the World.”

From our home in the Southbridge neighborhood, a pleasant five-minute drive takes me along Six-Mile creek, behind the Waunakee Middle School and High School, beyond the all-important athletic fields, and into the heart of town.

Once I’m in town, all my errand hotspots are within a few short blocks of each other. I can fill my tank with gas, pick up groceries, and stop at the post office and the bank without adding two miles to my odometer. One could theoretically walk from place to place, but few do. There’s too much traffic. We save our walking for later, on paths and trails away from the center of town. Over 17,000 cars travel through the main intersection of Waunakee each day.

The names of some of the local businesses in our town make me smile. It’s one of my favorite things about Waunakee.

If someone needs a new bicycle, bike parts or any bike work done, they can stop in at Wana-Bike.

Those in the mood to bowl a lane or two can pull into the Waun-A-Bowl parking lot. Parking is free everywhere in town, by the way. The adjacent Pizza Hut serves hungry village folk.

Need your shirts cleaned or some dry cleaning done? Drop your clothing off at Waun-A-Clean using their handy drive-through lane.

When it’s laundry time or if your washing machine breaks down, you can drive right up to the door to use the machines at Waun-A-Wash. Directly across the street from Wauna-Clean, it’s on the backside of the Waunakee Mall. Bring your quarters.

In 2009, Waunakee ranked 78th on Money Magazine’s list of 100 Best Places to Live. Number 78 is right where we Wauna be. There’s already more than enough traffic.

Find more about Waunakee here
Find Lori Lipsky's poems here on the Poetry Patio

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Birds

Birds of My Wisconsin Yard
~Lisa Lickel

I live in eastern Wisconsin, one foot in the temperateness of Lake Michigan, and one foot outside. We are surrounded by the Kettle Moraine country, but also sprouting homes in what was once the country.

I feed birds. I admit it.

We don't have a lot of cover nearby, with some old trees, some scraggly ones, a nice hedge of lilacs we planted about twenty years ago.

Our birds a sort of boring...but they're ours. We have almost all goldfinches. I like them because I know what they are, and I like how they tell me when the seasons are changing, even when the thermometer is teasing me. the males begin to turn buff-colored in the fall, when the grass should be turning brown and leaves are falling off the tress, leaving only bark. They begin to molt and turn bright neon yellow in the spring when dandelions are ready to bloom. I counted eleven of them puffed out against the cold, huddling in my bare bridal wreath on Friday morning.

Housefinches are the next biggest lot we have visiting. They sport cheery red helmets, some more bright than others; some have color spilling down their necks and bellies.

We've had a few pairs of bluebirds visit during nesting season. They're a bit shy and extremely cautious, so I imagine the increase in number of cats around here has chased them away recently. But I love to watch them. For one solid year a male sat puffed and primed on the catalpa outside the window, singing away at 7:03 every morning, and watching and guarding his woman while she ate breakfast. Very sweet. Did you know that bluebirds really have black feathers? This is so they can fly at night and not be seen. It's only the angle of light on their feathers that makes them their distinctive dark blue.

We also have redheaded woodpeckers as fairly regular guests. The poor above-mentioned catalpa is riddled with woodpecker hidey-holes, and we sort of grimace, wince, and chuckle at the sight the busybodies grabbing sunflower seeds and poking them into the bark of the tree. I won't be surprised come spring to find sunflowers growing from the branches amid the blooms and peapods of the thing.

We've seen various warblers, juncos, and once I was surprised and delighted by the very brief appearance of a pair of indigo buntings. My neighbor put up a martin house, but I never noticed any close enough to identify.

Once in a while we have cardinals. I love them. They are so beautiful, so very graceful, when they visit. They like to have heavy cover to hide in, so I'm not terribly surprised they're not crazy about my yard.

We have chickadees, those little black-capped dearies prance around, hopping about and chirping as if they need ritalin; they're the other species I can usually figure out at a glance. I can hardly count the wrens and sparrows that come, like so many weeds, brown, blending in, nothing unusual about them, although one time my husband was excited to note a rare type of white-cheeked something or other. I can't really tell, so I nodded. Cool.

I saw a pair of orioles a couple of times; they didn't stay around although we planted a mountain ash just to entice them. We've had catbirds, cowbirds, and murders of crows. We've had odd guests like ring-tailed pheasants and my neighbors chickens who came to eat our bugs and uproot my tulip bulbs. We enjoy hummingbirds in the summer who like our hollyhocks, and occasionally dine at the syrup feeder I put out mostly to feed the ants.

And then there is always the first robin. Somehow the first robin is the best one. The rest of them just mess around in the birdbath and scare the others away. I should refuse to mention the mourning rats--but we've had them too. One even had the nerve to nest in the juniper right outside the living room window one year, at eye level. Just ugh.

How about you? What do you see in your backyard?

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Busy Side of Life

Ever wonder how you’ll ever get your to-do list done? Me too. This morning I’m asking God to help me order my day. I’m the conference chair for the Wisconsin chapter of Romance Writers of America and with 4 months left to go until “C-Day,” I’ve got a million details to address. Hollywood scriptwriter, Michael Hauge is our keynote speaker. In case you're interested, here's a link to the WisRWA Conference page: http://wisrwa.org/conference.html

Then there’s that proposal my literary agent is patiently waiting for – it’s a series of three novels with a focus on chapel cars. These cars, like modern day RVs, ventured into rural towns in America’s still un-famed West around the turn of the century and helped spread the Good News and building churches. The Chapel Car Grace is on display at Green Lake Conference Center. I was really inspired when I toured it last fall.

And my newly-released books – well, authors like me have to blog and post on Facebook and Google + and whatever social media they can think of in order to spread the word.

I’ve got errands to run and bills that I've got to sit down and pay. Phone calls to make. The dog needs a walk as much as I do. My shoulders feel tight as I write about all the things I need to get done.

So here’s when I have to stop and take a breath. In and out. Belly breathing, deep and calming. The only one who might die if all these things aren’t completed today is…me!

Life is filled with to-do lists and I have to remind myself what’s really important. Friends. Hugs. Telling those I love that I love them. Spending time with them. Kissing the grandkids. Kissing my husband! 

What's on your to-do list today?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The January Thaw

We have a saying here in Northeast Ohio: "If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes. It'll change."
I've heard that's pretty true for the rest of the state, but don't quote me on that!

This winter, we didn't have much snow in my neck of the woods until practically Christmas. Then we made up for it -- or were punished for it, depending on your point of view. Anywhere from 4 to 6 inches of snow in a day. Sometimes whole days of falling snow. When I shoveled, I waited until twilight threatened before I went out to clear that driveway, because why clear it knowing another 5 inches are coming?

God, have I thanked You lately for the fact I work from home and don't need to navigate snowy streets and traffic in this weather?

Then last week, the temperatures went from mid-20s to mid-30s, and then 40s, and there was water everywhere. The layers of ice coating parking lots and sidewalks eroded from the bottom, and finally turned to slush wherever the sun (yes, for those who forget what it looks like, that brightness in the sky is the sun) happened to rest on it. By Thursday, I could see my driveway. Friday I was scraping the last stubborn layers of ice off the front stairs. The temperatures were in the mid-50s and predicted to cross over the 60 mark on Saturday.

Now the temperatures are sliding back down. Snow is predicted. I don't care how pretty it is in the weather app on my iPad, it is not that pretty in person. Do they airbrush it or something?

For those of us in states where weather is "exciting," and despite the best efforts of the weatherman, unpredictable, the January thaw is God's gift to get us through the winter. The freak weather patterns stay in our memories and provide hope and strength to get through those days when the furnace runs constantly and every time you step outdoors the inside of your nose freezes.

Yeah, people say if you don't like the snow and polar temperatures, then move. Well, who says I don't like it? Variety is the spice of life. You have to endure the shivers that threaten to stay with you for the rest of your life to get to those "oh, wow" mornings where fresh breezes and birdsong and blooming flowers and trees make you glad to be alive.

And just think about it -- where do the hurricanes and typhoons and dust storms and droughts show up? Yep, those states where everybody says you "ought to live" to "escape" the snow and ice.

January thaw reminds you that God is ready to bestow a thaw on the wintertime of your soul, if you're patient, if you're obedient, and when you think you could teach Job a thing or two.

Wait 5 minutes. It'll change.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Faith Building Story you Must Read

I stand in awe as I have been watching a family go through a nightmare to say the least.

This family attends my church and I know them because their daughter Lily was in the Grinch play we had at church a year ago.

If I have my story straight, this is what happened and is now happening.

Sweet Lily who is in the 5th grade developed flu like symptoms. She continued to get worse to the point of her kidneys shutting down. She was transferred from a regular hospital room to the ICU with a new diagnosis of HUS.

Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a condition that results from the abnormal premature destruction of red blood cells. Once this process begins, the damaged red blood cells start to clog the filtering system in the kidneys, which may eventually cause the life-threatening kidney failure associated with hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Most cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome develop in children after several days of diarrhea — often bloody — due to infection with a certain strain of Escherichia coli (E. coli). Adults also may develop hemolytic uremic syndrome after an E. coli infection, but more often the cause is obscure or even unknown.

Though hemolytic uremic syndrome is a serious condition, getting timely and appropriate treatment leads to a full recovery for most people — especially young children

The doctors were concerned for her life. Lily had several blood transfusions and dialysis treatments. She was going from bad to worse.

A decision was made to use a new drug to treat her. Before the drug had a chance to work she was intubated and I think they put her in a coma of sorts.

Meanwhile their 5 year old Liza was brought in with the same condition. Because the doctors new right from the start what they were dealing with, she was treated correctly. The hope was she would not have the intense fight Lily had. Yet, Liza had to have the blood transfusions and the dialysis her sister did.

Through all of this the family has kept everyone updated on face book. The strength and faith in God is amazing. The faith of friends and families for these precious girls and their family has been awesome.

I attended a prayer vigil at the Lily’s elementary school. This public school had close to 100 praying for the healing of the girls and for the family. My goodness. God’s attendance was welcomed that day. To see the community pour out their heart to God when standing side by side with strangers was very emotinal. While we all had a common bond many of us didn’t have a personal connection with each other. It was a holy experience.

Recently, their dad put forth a request that we turn our attention to praising God in hopes the girls would move closer their healings. A great day unfolded that day. The first day without blood transfusions or dialysis.

The journey continues with hills and valleys, but it continues.

This has been a heart wrenching, stay awake at night praying, tear filled, joyful, expectant journey for those of us standing in the circle. I can’t even begin to imagine the words the parents would use to describe.

I encourage you, no I beg you to go to my Farm Wife Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AFarmWife?ref=hl and scroll down and read the posts concerning Lily and Liza. They are copied from their dad and grampa and it will be so worth your time to see the hand of God work. If I could figure out any other way to share their story I would. But hearing it first hand, in the middle of the battle and then to have them so close to victory is amazing.

My account of their story is brief you need to read it in his own words. It is definitely a faith builder.

I hope their journey encourages you and makes you faith legs stronger.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Years Means Bad Movies, a Funny Looking Book, and Good Memories

When I was a little girl, our family would head to my great aunt's house in New Berlin along with the rest of my extended family, where we would have a boring time (to us little kids anyway) while the adults hung out, occasionally yelling down the hall for us to stay off the furniture. Every once in a while my aunt would look at us kids accusingly and say, "I hope you kids keep this tradition going after we're gone."

A boring party where kids weren't allowed on the furniture? We didn't keep that one going. Sorry auntie.

But I do miss my aunties and grandma. I miss hearing their European accents and how they argued about who cleaned their house the best. 

This year I called my cousin on New Years Eve to say hello, and started the conversation with, "I was thinking of our past New Years" and he immediately responded, "Stay off the davenport!" because that's all we heard when we were kids. My auntie had plastic on her couch (davenport) and plastic runners tacked down on the floor, and yet we were still told to stay off of them. How much damage can you really do to a couch covered in plastic?

I smiled at how glamorous my aunties always tried to be. I miss the days when people would go all out making appetizers (with pimientos, because every food in the 60s seemed to have them) and dress up in suits and dresses just to go to someone's house.

Days like this:

Where my grandma and grandpa look like they just came back from a wedding. In reality, they were celebrating Christmas (with a very bewildered looking Cherie). Those "glamorous" days and dishes inspired me to start my Kitschy Cuisine blog. 

In fact, I wrote a special post about pimientos

What was it about them anyways? They were in everything.

But times and traditions change. By the time I had met my husband we had both been through a lot of New Years parties, a lot of celebrating, and on our first New Years together we decided to start a new tradition and do a movie night where we stayed inside. We've had theme movie nights (Bogie movies, Cary Grant), silly movie nights, and nights where we purposely tried to watched the "worst" movies we could find. There is an art to making a truly "bad" movie that is good in all the right ways. You know?

We usually have apps or a light dinner followed by a French Yule log, complete with those crazy mushroom thingy's on it:

It's supposed to be lucky. **shrug**

We also write in our New Years book:

This year, we filled it up. Ten years of reflections going back to before we were actually married. It was wild to read through it, and even more wild to realize how fast time has gone by.

Another tradition? I work on New Year's Eve. I worked pretty much every day, but on New Years I like to wrap up major projects and make goals for the upcoming year. I create a loose "business plan" for my freelancing life right up until the time my hubby pokes his head in the office and says, "Let's have some fun." Thank God he does this or I might work through New Years and miss the fact that we crossed over into a new year.

Ten years ago I spent New Year's Eve prepping my first book, a collection of poetry called The Difference Now. It was a big deal for me because I had tore up all my writing before. So to have a collection of work that I held onto? It was growth. I still think of that night each New Years when I sent that manuscript in and then celebrated all that the New Year might bring. That's why we love the change of a new year so much. Really, it's no different than any other day, but yet, it holds possibility and promise. What will happen next?

One thing I know for sure, I love our new tradition, of snuggling in with the family and just appreciating the blessing we have of each other.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Introducing the Oklahoma-Kansas-Iowa-Michigan-Arkansas-Indiana-Girl


I'm excited to be part of the Barn Door team and look forward to getting to know each and every one of you. This is only my second blog to be a member of. I'm also a blogger over at Hoosier Ink. (I'll list my own blogs below.)

As you can see by my title, I've lived a lot of places in the Midwest and even did a stint in the south.

I'm a pastor's wife.

But I'm happy to report that in my 30 years of marriage and ministry with my husband we've managed to stay put in Indiana for 13.5 years now.

Spring 2013
I love being a Midwestern girl. I have that Midwest twang mixed with a little Kansas drawl. Sometimes people aren't sure where I'm from if they have a keen ear for accents. But I only have to go just a little further south in Indiana to feel right at home with that southern drawl that crops up when I'm around southerners.

I'm super excited about my first novel being released in the spring/summer entitled, The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots. I currently have three "faction" titles on Amazon right now, Sacagawea, Jaques Cartier and O Canada, Her Story. I have a contract with Bramley Books to create an interactive digital faction series for middle grades. So besides novel writing I'm in a steady state of doing historic research which I love.

Other stuff about me. I have five children and five grandchildren, three dogs, and my mother-in-law with Alzheimer's lives with us. I have adults twins with autism who live with us, too. To de-stress I like to ride my own motorcycle or just sit in a room and stare at the walls.

I am a full-time student at the ripe old age of 51 pursuing a degree in Special Education. A few years ago I asked God what to do -- write or go to school. He didn't answer. So I did both.

But enough about me. What do you like to do to de-stress? What do you like to read? What world explorer should I write about next? Have you ever been to Tonkawa, Oklahoma? Arkansas City, Kansas? Wichita? Des Moines? Lapeer? Indianapolis? Just where in the world would you like to go next? I'm all ears!

My "new" main blog:  The Quest

My "old" writing blog: Envision Publishing

My history blog:The History Scroll

 Karla Akins is a pastor's wife, mother of five, grandma to five beautiful little girls. One of her columns on MNN.com was featured on the CNN homepage. When she's not writing she dreams of riding her motorcycle through the Smoky Mountains.


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