Wednesday, July 28, 2010

PART 2 - "Did I REALLY do that?"

The saga continues! I told you I cut off (with the sweat of my brow and a measly hand saw) a thick branch from our huge magnolia tree while standing on our 12' ladder, but that I did it while Cecil was away on business. I find it best to do these things in his absence, you see. Otherwise there is too much of this sort of talk: "I'll do it, honey, just not now. Later, okay? Just be patient." But sometimes later means, um, NEXT YEAR! So, once in awhile when I really want something accomplished I have to take matters into my own hands, which sometimes works out and sometimes doesn't.

In this instance it did work out. Quite well, in fact.

Would you believe I did not break the news about my chopping off the big branch until this afternoon--exactly 48 hours after the fact? That is because I wasn't sure how he'd react. I thought he'd be a trifle irritated that I'd risked my precious life on a ladder. haha. Not. Seriously, I was more sure he'd be put out that now he had this long limb to contend with that lay between our house and that of our nice neighbor.

Surprisingly, he took it all in stride. Granted, he shook his head at me and muttered something like, "Leaving you home by yourself is dangerous." The good news is he went out to the magnolia tree and butchered it some more after I pointed out more sagging branches. And then he chopped them all up. Yea! He's now on the phone lining up someone to come haul away our stuff--which does include last year's Christmas tree, so I'm not entirely to blame for all the debris.

Man, I wish I would have taken a BEFORE picture so you could have seen what amazing work I did, but, alas, all I have is the AFTER pictures. You can see how big our tree is. See? I wasn't lying, was I! (See the afternoon sunlight my hanging plant is now enjoying? Before it always hung in pitch blackness!)

All I can say is, "I AM WOMAN!"

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I am usually lazy about physical activity, scared of heights, and hate to sweat. So, that pretty much rules out washing high window, climbing ladders or trees, lifting heavy objects, or doing jumping jacks. (With me so far?)

Okay, so the other day I was staring from the road at our humongous, old magnolia tree that is only good for one thing - producing pretty blossoms in May that last all of 2 days then fall like a bunch of mushy banana peels that need to be raked or mowed up pronto before they wreck the grass. This time of year the leaves multiply like ants at a picnic, weighing down the branches till they nearly touch the ground. One of said branches had fallen lazily over the porch and succeeded in blocking ALL sunlight from my hanging baskets and pots. So, I very sweetly said to Cecil, "That branch needs to be cut off. My porch plants aren't getting any sun and they're dying. Could you do that?"

He studied it for all of 15 seconds and said, "Yeah, I see what you mean. Hmm, well, we'll see, maybe next weekend." Which really means, "Maybe next year" 0R... "Maybe never." Aaargh! "Besides," he said, "When I do cut it down I'll have to chop it in a ton of pieces so we can have it hauled away. That's a huge branch." More silent groans. I followed him into the house.

Well, Cecil went on a brief business trip Monday and Tuesday (he's home now), and so yesterday, without so much as a second's thought, I jumped up from the sofa, went in search of our heavy 12' metal ladder, set it up under that magnolia tree, and then went to the garage for a suitable saw, having NO IDEA what I was looking for. I thought saws looked like those triangle thingies with the sharp metal blade and the wooden grip like my dad used to have. I couldn't find one of those, but I did find two other metal saws with handles, shorter, but saws anyway. So off I went, armed with these two bladed weapons.

I forgot about my fear of heights, but I did hang on as I started climbing up those steps, one, two, three, four, and five. I think I stopped on the fifth rung, or maybe the sixth. With saw in hand I started in on that 8" thick branch. It was actually the circumference of a small tree! And I sawed--and I sawed--and I sawed. Then I switched saws because I thought the other blade would be sharper. Didn't make any difference. And I sawed some more--and my arm started burning from lack of muscle! But since I'd sawed through half the branch I couldn't stop.

Well, I figured the branch would fall AFTER I cut all the way through it. Ha! About 3/4 of the way through I should have hollered "TIMBER!!!" to my dog, but, hmm, that little word didn't come to mind as the huge thing started cracking, splitting, groaning, and tearing away from the cut line. That's when I closed my eyes and prayed, "Oh, dear God, save us!!!" And the branch fell across the ladder AND ME! When I figured out I was still alive I scampered down. Peyton, my dog, was huddled up in a ball against the house. I have ruined his tender psyche for life!

Now, all I had to do was figure out how to get the 100 lb. branch off the ladder and move it to the side of the house. Would you believe SHEER DETERMINATION, GRIT, and PRIDE were my strong forces? I moved the ladder first, after which the branch thudded to the ground. Then I stood there and stared at the 20'+ long piece of tree for a couple of minutes while catching my breath. I'M SWEATING BULLETS, TOO, WHICH I TOLD YOU I HATE TO DO!

Well, I bent down and started tugging for all I was worth. Tug, breathe, stop, tug, breathe, stop, get the idea. I went a few inches at a time, but I managed to haul that thing about 60-70 feet to the other side of the house, where it still sits. I had NO STRENGTH left within me to saw the thing up into shorter branches, and I have yet to tell Cecil that it is on the other side of the house. He came home from his business trip tonight and said, "Hi honey!", kissed me, then went to his chair and fell asleep. Now, he's in bed. Well, there's always tomorrow. I'll keep you posted as to his reaction, which I think will be, um, slight irritation.

But, hey, beautiful sunlight now drenches my porch plants. Now, if I can just remember to water them!

Gertie Pridmore is the town's librarian in Sandy Shores, Michigan. Yep, Gertie's a fictional character in my Daughters of Jacob Kane series, and you can meet her in the book titled Abbie Ann, BUT...she's also a REAL person who lives in Lakeland, Florida.

I first "met" Gertie online more than a year ago before I started writing Abbie Ann. Her friend and fellow church librarian, Judy Locke first wrote to me to tell me she'd been reading and enjoying my books and putting them in the Scott Lake Baptist Church library. She mentioned that Gertie Pridmore had snatched them up as quick as they came in, though, making Judy wait in line to read them. When I first read Gertie's name in Judy's email I thought to myself, 'What a PERFECT name for one of my book's characters.' I loved its old-fashioned sound. My daughter said, "Mom, that name sounds perfect for a librarian!" Thus, I dubbed Gertie Pridmore my librarian!

The real Gertie and I have been keeping tabs on each other ever since, and she's pretty excited to have her name featured in my book. A couple of weeks ago a lady from her church, Jimme Sherfey, designed a beautiful bulletin board in their church just outside their library, so Gertie thought I'd get a kick out of seeing it. I was honored, as I don't think I've ever had a bulletin board designed in MY honor.

Thought I'd show you a photo of the bulletin board and then also a pic of Gertie standing next to it. (Isn't that a pretty bulletin board, and, Gertie, oh, she's so sweet and special!)

Other ladies who volunteer their time in the church library are Marilyn Sullivan, LeWanna Lewis, and Mary Hobson! I LOVE church libraries and am so honored to think my books grace the shelves of so many, especially the one at Scott Lake Baptist Church in Lakeland, Florida!

Friday, July 16, 2010


There was an old lady, who every morning stepped onto her front porch, raised her arms to the sky, and shouted, "PRAISE THE LORD!"

One day an atheist moved into the house next door. He became irritated at the little old lady. Every morning he'd step onto his front porch after her and yell, "THERE IS NO LORD!"

Time passed with the two of them carrying on like this day after day. "Praise the Lord!" - "There is no Lord!" - "Praise the Lord!" - "There is no Lord!"

One morning, in the middle of winter, the little old lady stepped onto her front porch and shouted, "PRAISE THE LORD! Please Lord, I have no food and I am starving; provide for me this very day, oh Lord!" 

That evening she stepped out onto her porch and there were two huge bags of groceries waiting for her on the top step.  

The atheist neighbor jumped out of the hedges and shouted, "HA-HA! THERE IS NO LORD. I'M THE ONE WHO BOUGHT AND DELIVERED THOSE GROCERIES!!'

The little old lady threw her arms into the air and shouted, "PRAISE THE LORD!  GOD HAS PROVIDED GROCERIES FOR ME AND MADE THE DEVIL PAY FOR THEM!"

Friday, July 09, 2010

T R U S T...

Today is vague, tomorrow is completely unclear. What an incredible idea to trust in the all-knowing Savior, Jesus.

This thought literally woke me up this morning. No kidding. As I started to come awake, there it was, surfacing in my brain. I don't always have these kinds of thoughts upon first rousing. Usually it's ... aargh, morning already?

But today was different. It comforted me, but also made me wonder if I'm supposed to prepare myself for something. God knows our futures, dear friends, and we can TRUST Him implicitly. Yep, these are difficult, unsettling times economically, socially, morally, and ethically. Once in awhile it even feels like NO ONE is in charge. But God is ultimately in control and it's important to keep that little truth at the forefront of our minds.

Are you discouraged, downhearted, tempted to give up? Then LOOK UP! The Lord tells us in His Word that He will never fail, forsake, leave us, or stop loving us. Now, there's something worth clinging to, don't you think?

Isaiah 41:13 says, "I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, 'Do not be afraid, I will help you.'" Does it get any better than that?

Please let me know if you're going through something that requires extra prayer. I promise to bring you to the Lord.

I love you all!