Friday, June 27, 2014

I’m a Glutton for Punishment!

Why do I sit and watch Jeopardy? I don’t know any of the answers. I marvel at people who can spout out the most extreme trivia before I can read the clue. By the time the show is over, I feel like an uneducated bloke.

And then there are crossword puzzles. I absolutely love them! I streak through and fill in a whopping four words. Sometimes I’m on a roll and I know six answers. If it weren’t for my cell phone and Google, I’d be up a creek. Don’t shake your head at me - it’s not cheating, it’s making good use of my resources.

I’m not much better at jigsaw puzzles but I always have one in the patio room, in some state of chaos. I can usually get the flat-sided pieces arranged into the border but it’s slow going after that. I roam in occasionally and stare at the mess, fitting in a piece at the blistering rate of one per hour. My favorite was a gift from my beloved daughter: a field of bluebonnets. Every piece was some mix of blue and green. I was just about bald before I finished that one.

Do I love being frustrated? Am I excited to discover how little I know?

Not really – but I do love being challenged. I enjoy stretching my brain to shove in one more bit of information. It’s fun navigating through a maze of links to find the five-letter word for an ancient Babylonian coin.

My friends claim I don’t have a patient molecule in my body but I don’t agree. It takes tons of patience to stare at a pile of scattered, seemingly random pieces, to search for that elusive match, and remain. convinced there’s a small victory hidden in there somewhere. I delight in the finished picture I create from the jumble.

Let me tell you about determination! It doesn’t matter how few words I’ve filled in a crossword puzzle or how long I’ve stared at a puzzle without playing a single piece, I don’t give up. I’m sure it’s an issue of pride but that’s a whole ‘nother topic.

Challenge, patience, determination. Skills I use every day in my work, my relationships, and my marriage.

So…when I’m sitting at the table where my jigsaw pieces are, crossword puzzle in hand, watching Jeopardy, I’m the most challenged, patient, determined insane person you'll ever meet!

Sherry Carter's first bible study "Storms of Life" won the Award of Excellence in Christian Literature at the 2007 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.
For several years, she worked as an engineer in NASA’s Shuttle Program, where she designed on-orbit experiments to be performed by the crew. After a series of agonizing crises, culminating in a layoff, God brought about an abrupt career change: Sherry, the engineer, became a Christian author.
She currently lives in west Texas where she and her husband are in service to their adopted retired-racing greyhound. She has two daughters and two perfect grandchildren, all who have the audacity to live in the Northeast.
Photo credit Crossword puzzle InterNACHI
Photo credit Jigsaw piece

Friday, June 20, 2014

Life Explained!

I take no credit for what you are about to read. It was sent to me and as is common with so many things passed from one person to another on the Internet, the author remains anonymous. This gave me a chuckle so I thought I’d share it with all of you.

On the first day, God created the dog and said, sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this I will give you a life span of twenty years.

The dog said, "That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?"
And God said that it was good.

On the second day, God created the monkey and said, "Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span."

The monkey said, "Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the dog did?"

And God again said that it was good.

On the third day, God created the cow and said, "You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years."

The cow said, "That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?"

And God agreed it was good.

On the fourth day, God created humans and said, "Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years."

But the human said, "Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?"

"Okay," said God, "You asked for it."

So that is why for our first twenty years, we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years, we slave in the sun to support our family. For the next ten years, we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the last ten years, we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

Life has now been explained to you.

I hope you all have a great weekend! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Collecting Mania

What do music boxes, quotes, angels and mugs have in common?

They’re all collected by a person who loves to enjoy them. It’s a mania. Of sorts.

Not that I’m a hoarder, but I’ve always loved to collect things, and I do have collections that have given me pleasure through the years and as a side note, have been lots of fun.

Take the quotes, for an example. They are short, pithy, and pack a wallop of information. They’re well suited to add to the end (or beginning) of a devotional, a guest post, or really, any type of post you want to share. They can be uplifting. They can deliver a punch. They can be hilariously funny yet get your point across. They can be serious giving the hearer/reader some valued thoughts for days to come.

The mugs and music boxes I kind of fell into, in a manner of speaking. We’ve traveled so much through the years, and thinking I needed to buy something for a memorable keepsake, I began gathering mugs from various places, states and countries. Fun for a time.

The music box collection began slowly. Then sometime in my twenties it exploded into a maddening gathering of any and all. Friends and family added to the collection. I didn’t have to particularly “love” the thing; it was just another one to add to the growing number.

After gathering over a hundred, I realized I no longer desired that feverish activity. Slowly I dissolved into a collector who was (is) wiser and choosier. Only those boxes that truly attract my attention, are old, or interesting in some way, are worthy of my cabinets now.

Am I over my mania? Of course not. A true collector maniac never heals from the “disease.” Will I ever begin seriously collecting another item? Doubtful. I'm at the stage where simple/fewer/easier is at the top of
my lists.

But I am doing one thing beneficial :): I’m passing that mania down to my grandsons. Grandson #1 is already showing the signs of “antiquing mania.”

Getting that trait honestly, I’d say!

Question: What do YOU collect?

Carole Brown lives in Southeast Ohio and is always on the lookout for catchy titles and suspenseful plots. The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, her debut inspirational novel, is a Selah Award Finalist and a ACFW Genesis semi-finalist. The first book, Hog Insane, in her cozy mystery book  series, has recently been released. A companion book for her debut novel (West Virginia Scrapbook: From the Life of Caralynne Hayman), filled with quotes, tidbits of information, recipes and discussion questions, is also available.  She has written five children’s books, Racy, the Rabbit, dealing with character traits, and won two awards for her poems.

Carole has written her whole life as newspaper reporter, editor of journals and newsletters, and research manuscripts. When not penning her own novels, she enjoys mentoring beginning writers and founded a writer’s group called Circle of Pens where she can mentor to her heart’s content. Her passion for serving continues in her secretarial work and coordinator for the state of Ohio with ACFW. 

She and her husband have traveled extensively throughout the United States ministering and counseling. They have particularly enjoyed the western states where they’ve labored with the Native Americans and many other specific places where she gathers folder for her writings. They continue to enjoy traveling, their grandsons, the country life and city lights, gardens, and good food.

Connect with her here:

I also am part of several other blogs: 
And of course on Boomer Bits and Bytes.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Tippy and the Green Grocer’s Truck

In those long ago days just after World War II when I was growing up in rural Vermont, the local folks did not drive to the supermarket whenever they needed something to eat or cook. The Great Depression was still present in everyone’s mind and the suffering and lack that all endured was not forgotten. Driving to town was a treat. So everyone welcomed the green grocer with his weekly visits to rural homes and farms. We all depended upon what fruits and vegetables he found to buy on his visits to Albany’s warehouses.

The green grocer was a nice fellow, always happy to help farmers and their wives climb into the back of his truck to view his weekly selections and buy whatever they needed and their budget afforded. What he didn't expect was our cat Tippy, and her way of inspecting anything new. That’s just what the green grocer’s truck was to her as she was generally out mousing in nearby fields when his truck rambled up our driveway each week.

From where she was sitting sleepily on the old well outside our front door, Tippy saw a little field mouse scamper across the floor of the green grocer’s truck. And that woke Miss Tippy out of her cat dreams. She ran to the truck and jumped up into its rear section where all the week's fruits and vegetables were arranged in careful rows in bins attached to the truck’s side. No way was that little field mouse going to escape our Tippy's grasp.

She chased it around the bins and into a far corner and then she heard the truck’s engine start up as the green grocer backed out of our driveway. There was no time to jump off the back of the truck! Tippy was going for a ride.

She hid in a far corner as the Draffins and then the Rudds boarded the truck and made their selections. Then the green grocer pulled into the Hulett's back yard and Aunt Nellie Hulett came out to greet the green grocer. She had her wicker shopping basket over her arm. Aunt Nellie was prepared to buy broccoli and lemons and as she held a lemon up for a closer look, she spotted Tippy hiding beneath a nearby bin. “Isn’t that Don Norris’ Tippy?” she asked the green grocer.

He smiled as Aunt Nellie bought a bag filled with broccoli and lemons after reaching out for Tippy, whom she scooped up and placed in her wicker shopping basket. Aunt Nellie smiled and Tippy smiled wider. After a call to my father, Don Norris, Tippy was on her way back home to our house, settled in the wicker shopping basket that would be her bed for the remainder of her long life as our cat. Funny, but from that time on, whenever the green grocer’s truck came rambling down our driveway, Tippy stayed in her basket on our back porch. She never ventured near that truck again.

Alice DiNizo was raised in Vermont in those golden years just after World War II ended. She grew up in ArlingtonVermontwhere Norman Rockwell lived at that time with his family. She swam with her friends in the Battenkill River which flowed under the covered bridge that faced his home. Moving to New Jersey over forty years ago was an interesting experience for Alice, who writes under her cat’s name, J.B. But tough old girl that she is, she’s learned to love her adopted state and enjoys writing stories about it. She also reaches into her memory and writes stories about her family and childhood experiences. She lives at the New Jersey shore with her husband, dog and cats and contributes on a regular basis to