Unique Creations by Shari Denise

From Writing to Chickens with lots in-between, Creativity Abounds!

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Fall, Football, Fiction & Goats

Fotor_140512329282858This weekend has been such a splendid autumn weekend here in the Smokey Mountains. Leaves are turning and falling. Temperatures are crisp during the day and chilly at night. All summer I’ve had the “wood pile” fenced around so my two pygmy goats could enjoy jumping on the hugh un-split logs while keeping the weeds and grass down chewed down. To make their pen even larger, I butted their PVC Corral up to the fenced in woodpile, giving them more room.

20141019_112250_Fotor_Collage_FotorWith the coming of chilly nights the need for the wood pile becomes vital and I’m proud to say, the goats kept the weeds and grass knocked down pretty good (Great Job Girls!) So, this weekend it was time to move their pen. I’ve learned that rotating pasture (and in our case, rotating pen area) helps keep the goats healthier and with winter coming on, keeping the goats closer to their Bedroom in the Cackleberry Inn is handier.

I enjoy books. I enjoy reading books, and I enjoy listening to books. I especially enjoy listening to a good book on a weekend filled with my hands busy with a task or project. It’s been a while since I’ve had a few hours to enjoy such. This weekend, as my hands took down and moved fence panels, then re-errected them in their new temporary location, my head was filled with an amazing story via my ear buds. I eagerly encourage each of you to read (or listen to) this incredible book.

alifeintercepted_hi__medium__medium-largeA Life Intercepted by Charles Martin was more than I anticipated it to be. If you like football, and you like a good fictional novel, then this is a MUST READ! As he acquaints football to a physical game of chess, Charles Martin brings more than the average to the storyline.

Football legend Matthew Rising had it all—married to his high school sweetheart and one of the winningest quarterbacks of all time, the number one pick of the NFL draft lost it all in an instant. In A Life Intercepted, New York Times bestselling novelist and former college football player Charles Martin beautifully tells the redemptive story of how one man had to lose it all to find it all.

Falsely accused of a heinous crime with irrefutable evidence, Matthew lost his reputation, his career, his freedom, and the love of his life to a 12-year prison sentence. Having served his time and never played a down of professional football in his life, Matthew returns to his hometown of Gardi, Georgia with one mission: to find his wife.

Convinced of his guilt, his wife Audrey sought refuge from the media in a convent where she grew close to an orphaned boy who possessed more talent and promise on the football field than Matthew had in his pinky finger, but lacked proper coaching. In an effort to regain her love and trust, Matthew agrees to coach the boy, violating the terms of his parole and risking his freedom for the chance to redeem himself to the woman he loves.

Having faced similar feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness once an injury terminated his own football career, Martin acknowledges: “I’d made an idol out of football and bought into the lie that I mattered to the extent that I was good at or somehow tied to the glory train that was football. When that crumbled, I found myself in a prison of my own building…

A Life Intercepted was born out of this messy emotional implosion: the exposure and failure of my own idol, the unexpected but much-needed healing of forgiveness offered, and then a soul-deep realization that Charles Martin was not born to simply live out his days as a football player.”

In a tribute to his best friend and an encouragement to root one’s identity in something deeper than football, Martin combines intriguing, emotive narrative with relatable characters worth rooting for, resulting in a classic story of love, loss, forgiveness and redemption in A Life Intercepted.      * From charlesmartinbooks.com 

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And the Goats Still Graze

andthegoatsstilgrazeIt had been an exhausting day at the office. Workload was akin to an avalanche. Every few years new programs with new regulations hit with way too much to absorb, comprehend, and administer to those who walk through the door. It boggles the minds of those well seasoned to this system and blows the minds of the newly hired.

In amongst the chaos of phone calls, customers, emails, reports, notices, amendments, computer challenges and policy interpretations I look up and see my supervisor walking through the office. His face taunt. With cell phone to his ear he exits the building. I watch as he paces the sidewalk in front of the office, deep in his phone conversation. I immediately tense. It’s been about 18 months since the news broke of his wife’s cancer. Inoperable, rare, debilitating. On top of that, his dad passed away last year and he, being the oldest son now has more responsibilities concerning his mother and the family farm operation. I could go on with his concerns for his two grown sons as well as his college enrolled daughter.

I turn from the window to see one of my best friends (and coworker) sitting at her desk staring at her computer with a tear trickling down her cheek. My heart ached. A loved one had just received some bad news. I’ve been there; trying to work and push on to make deadlines with a mind swirling with emotional thoughts. I look away for we’ve already discussed this and I know the best thing I can do is give her some space so she can regain her composure and accomplish the tasks she has upon her keyboard.

As I return to my own responsibilities, I hear the voice of another coworker and true friend. I slowly close my eyes and take a deep breath and send up a prayer. Next week it will be 20 years since her daughter passed away. Rare incident took the life of the barely teen girl. I worry about my friend. I don’t think there is any deeper pain than that of a mother who has buried her child. It haunts her to this day. As I’m sitting there thinking of all this, she comes out and breaks the news that a family member “back home” of which she is extremely close to has been hospitalized.

I take a breath. Phone rings and I’m back in the business world of addressing policy and upcoming programs to someone who these programs were created for. As the day continues, all three of my coworkers forge on, pushing aside best they can the things that attempt to capsize their world. And in the midst of it all we find things to laugh about to ease the tension. We know we will get through this, we know we can rely on each other for support as we muddle through each work day.

Pulling out of the office parking lot at the end of the work day I pick up my cell phone and call my mom. She and dad are now in their elder years and each day is a challenge for them. Growing old is not for the weak. It’s hard each and every day as physical limitations increase. Thankfully, my son has taken up the challenge to assist them full time. Some 350 miles away, I listen as Mom shares how she enjoys him pampering her and daddy, cooking their meals, keeping up the homestead, inside and out, and tending to their physical needs like keeping dad’s blood sugar within his diabetic limits.

Mom tells me of her latest outing. She and my sister, (who takes our parents to most of their Doctor appointments) had just returned from a consultation about mom’s upcoming surgery. Details and considering all things for a successful recovery season must be considered.

20140727_163530_FotorWith my mind unwinding from the office day and my phone call with my mom, I pull my car into the garage. Shutting my car door and reaching for the garage door I already hear them. My two pygmy goats know I’m home. I smile. With all five of my “Coffee Cats” joining my walk to the house I laugh at my little welcoming committee. Loving Latte‘ rubs against my leg and then runs ahead a few steps and drops to the walk, sprawled out in front of me wanting belly rubs immediately. Java is just one of the crowd, joining all the rest as we make our way to the back door. Espresso (named appropriately) pounces upon the concrete picnic table as we pass for a better position to get my attention. Momma Kitty, Folgers is always leading the band and waiting for me at the back door. My sweet shy Maxwell takes every step with me, rubbing up against my leg but never allowing me to love on him. Much can be learned from Maxwell I think. Giving love, but not interested in getting love. Hmmm… now there’s a thought.

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A quick change of clothes and shoes and I’m back out the door to my favorite time of the day. Critter Time!  My phone chirps with a text but I delay reading it for I’m scooping up chicken feed and pouring it into the feeders. I giggle at the crowd below. My chickens. Oh, they’re just a mixture of a few different breeds. Not to bore you with details, I’ll settle to describe them as a Heniz 57 flock. HitchCock is the large black rooster that is large and in charge. We have serious control battles from time to time but there’s just something about him that keeps him in my flock. One of which is he was one of the first little chicks that first spring I went to Tractor Supply and bought myself 8 little chicks because I wanted me some chickens.

A half dozen red hens (awesome brown egg layers they are!), some white hens with speckles of black (thanks HitchCock) here and there in their feathers deemed names like Oreo and Blizz. A couple of black hens, Chickory and Hanna. Then there’s my feather-legged puff of feathers, Emily. On to some of the wee ones. In my childhood we called them Banny chickens. No bigger than a dove. Tiny little chickens that bring such variety to my flock in the Cackleberry Inn. Biscuit, named for the color of her feathers, likes to lay eggs AND crow. Little White Cloud is so independent and a true adventurer. Although I can’t name each of my little flock here, I cannot leave out my banny roosters. Colorful Chick Sparrow, ChickaSaw, Daniel and the newest boy on the block, Shorty July.

20140727_165514_FotorShorty July has been having transition issues. Being the only baby chick since his birth (hatching) on July 1st. I’ve had to keep the tiny little chick in a bird cage for his safety. There’s a strong “pecking order” within each flock and to incorporate any new birds, one must upset that pecking order. So, to begin the process, I introduced Shorty July to two other banny hens so they could get to know each other. That went fairly well. Then I guess I moved too fast and opened up the suite and invited them to join the rest of the flock. This did not go well. As most of the flock filled their bellies from the freshly filled feeders, I cast my eyes across the flock taking note of this chicken and that… Looking for Shorty July, I couldn’t find him. Then I saw the poor little thing. He had flown up and out of the patio outdoor room and escaped through the small area just under the rafters. He was on the outside!!

I ran outside and attempted to go catch Shorty July but he was too scared to be “caught”. So, I just sat down on the grass and called to him like I’ve done so many times as I held him in my hands while walking the goats. Shorty July walked right into my outstretched hands. I cannot express the feeling of having such a tiny little being trust you so much. My Shorty July has stolen my heart. As I held him in the safety of my hands, stroking his soft feathery body, I thought how this is how God reaches out to us. We race away from Him in our fear, but when we trust Him totally, he scoops us up in His safe hands and comforts us and calms our troubled and frightened souls.

Taking Shorty July back into the Cackleberry Inn, I began the transition once again. Placing him in a wire coop with fresh water and feed. He scooped up beak full after beak full. Then I gathered up Little Miss Gray Dove and placed her in the coop with Shorty July. Transition is hard, but important.

With Shorty July settled in with Little Miss Gray Dove (feathers soft gray splattered with white dots) I was finally ready to let the impatient goats out. Having their own suite at the back of the Cackleberry Inn, they are safe during the day and are always ready to venture out for our evening stroll and graze. This is my down time. The time of the day that I unwind and let the days worries fall away. Wherever I walk, Roxi & Ivy walk with me. If they venture too far, just a slight rattle of their pellet feed in the coffee can I hold, brings them bouncing back. It’s been a while since I used their leashes. They don’t like to be far from me or each other.

IMG_20140810_184829As I walk down Cackleberry Lane with my little girls sniffing and snipping this blade of grass or that weed, I find a calmness to the world’s chaos. God’s creations doing what they’ve been doing since the beginning of time. Most days it seems like life changes way faster than I can keep up. From technology inventions to changes that come as we, and our loved ones mature and grow from one season of life to another… some days it nearly overwhelms me. But as I stand there watching those little goats nibble and graze, I see it’s all part of God’s ultimate plan. God’s timing is so totally different than ours. We want everything NOW, yet God has no problem with waiting. We have trouble comprehending the constant chaos of so much activity, yet God takes it in stride. I see this as the goats graze and the chickens scratch and peck.

LemonBalm.08.02.2014Walking back up to the lane toward the grain bins, I can see my little flock of chickens that I let out earlier to free range for a little while. They stick near their Cackleberry Inn home, scratching and pecking in the fresh, green, lush grass. So busy, yet so content. I smile. I remember the text chirp from earlier. A loved one having to deal with a very turbulent issue right now. My heart aches. I’m frustrated as to why my loved one is having to deal with this. So many things are forced upon us that we have no control over. It might be health issues, or someone who makes selfish decisions that affect us. Either way, it’s a battle for the fittest. I reply to the text and receive another almost immediately. Is there a solution? No option available is acceptable. Frustration rises…

20140817_173936And the goats still graze…

Calmness overcomes me and I know God is here and He is with my loved one. In the scheme of things, this in merely a moment. In the scheme of things, God shows us how we must take the little things and the big things in stride. Just like those little goats standing there leisurely nibbling as we wander around on the farm. Just like those chickens scratching and pecking, just like this band of cats lovingly wrapping themselves around my legs.

Phone rings just as the grazing girls and I round the grain bins and start up the driveway towards the woodpile they love to jump up on. Another loved one needs to talk. Another survival of the fittest in the waves of life’s storms. As I become the sounding board for my dear one, pouring out a heart of despair and attempting to makes sense of it all so a solution can be found, I turn…

20140822_171955and the goats still graze….

 

 

 

 

 

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Broken Friendships

I lost a friend this week. Lost, as in mourning the passing of a much valued friendship.

Fragile FriendshipIt happens to all of us from time to time. Some broken friendships hurt more than others. Depends on how deep that friendship rooted itself into one’s heart. This one… well, let’s just say I’ve shed more tears over this friendship over the years than any other that I can recall.

What happened? Miscommunication mostly.

And previous baggage.

Everyone has scars from the storms we’ve been subjected to. She had deep wounds from battles she did not ask for that happened before I even knew her. I had deep wounds from battles of my own. Sometimes it doesn’t take much for those wounds to be ripped back open and the pain pours out. Add a few misconnections, a few miscommunications and everyone runs for cover to protect oneself from being hurt again. Is it her fault? Is it my fault? It’s actually both and neither.

Here we have two people who have so much in common; in another life, we could have been extremely close. But in this life, where scars don’t always heal, and miscommunication and misunderstandings run rampant, Successful friendship repair has little chance.

Puddle JumperI’m told I tried too hard to make this friendship work. I can see how that is probably true. I bent over backwards to shower my friend with things I knew she liked, wanted or needed. It gave me such joy to pamper her and put a smile on her face. In doing so, I opened up myself to become vulnerable to being hurt when the expressions of friendship were rarely returned. Why did I put myself in this position? Because the friendship was that valuable to me.  As I’ve learned, value of a friendship is not always the same for each of those in the relationship.  And, as the quote here suggests, I need to stop crossing oceans for someone who rarely jumped a puddle for me. This actually goes against my grain because I’m a true believer in giving without strings attached. It’s not a gift (be it an item, or one’s time) if it is given with expectations of receiving something in return. That said, I do realize it is causing me great stress to continue and so backing up from this friendship is my only option. This breaks my heart.

work in progressWhy am I sharing this?  I seriously doubt she ever reads this blog so no, this is not to her. I am sharing this because I know I am not the only one that is struggling with a crushed relationship right now. I’m not the only one that has tried and tried and went beyond the call of duty to attempt making a friendship work. I’m not the only one that has a tangled up friendship that seems destined gasp it’s last breath.

So, what am I going to do? What I always do when life gets all tangled up in a big, hugh mess; I spend time praying about it. Actually, the word Pray is so overly used I prefer to say, I am having some intense discussions with my best friend, Jesus about this. It is amazing how He can take any bad situation and make good come from it. Truth! He’s amazed me time and time again of taking each of the things I mess up and turning it into a blessing of some sort. Does this mean the friendship will be recovered? I don’t know. I have no idea. I’ve long said the greatest blessings I’ve ever received were born out of things I did NOT want to happen. I did NOT want this friendship to break.

I look forward to seeing God’s hand in helping me heal and I will continue to pray for my friend from afar. She’s a good person and is just hurting like me.

 

 

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Broken Spokes

Want to give a shout out for a friend. Facing a surgery soon, author Arlene R. O’Neil sure could use our help. Order her book and it’s a win/win. You get an incredible, inspirational treat when you read her book and the proceeds will help her pay her medical bills. See? Win/win! Come on friends! Let’s show this gal a little Warm Hug Love! (Thanks!)

Broken Spokes is an inspirational and moving story of a courageous child who, in spite of physical and emotional suffering, grew into a compassionate, loving and valiant woman. Crippled at age six, the author begins an odyssey which will consume her entire life. Through her sufferings, she finds a way to heal others, and in doing so, saves herself.

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Take My Breath Away!

Seems lately we have been so blessed with God showing His incredibly awesome designs that He casts across the canvas of the sky. Below is a YouTube video I made a while back. Below that is an exert from my book, Warm Hugs for Dark Nights. Look out there my friends, He is all around us!

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Take my Breath away!

It stopped me in mid-sentence and caught my breath. Immediately I knew He had gone and done it again. The sight was breath taking. “I gotta let you go, I’ll call you right back.” I ended the call with my Mom and hit the button for my phone camera.

~~~

It’s been happening for about a decade now and each time it hits me so unexpectedly and takes my breath away. So many times I’ve just wanted to give up the fight or when I am very down and at the end of my rope, there it is in front of me. It’s one of the most beautiful sights that only God can control; an awesome sunrise, an unbelievable sunset, or just an incredible display in the clouds. The timing is what gets me. It is always when my spirits are dropping, and there it is. It’s something I can’t argue with. God has spoken and I wilt and say ok. No, it’s not with every beautiful sunrise that I cast my eyes upon; it’s the ones that are strategically placed before my eyes at the most needed moment. Those are the ones that rock my rafters.

Years ago my brother and I began this thing, each time either of us would go on a trip we’d say to the other, “bring me back a sunrise.” Guess we both admire an awesome sky. And sure enough, when the film was developed from the trip it would include a photo of either a sunrise or a sunset. After I moved to East TN my brother sent me a photo he took of a sunset on my property back in West TN. To this day it is still one of my favorite. An old scraggly tree accents the sunset with such innovation. Even with this fascination with beautiful scenes in the sky, this private communication between God and me always catches me off guard and takes my breath away.                                                     ~~~

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

~~~

I have a habit of pacing the floor when I’m talking on the phone. It’s a good thing phones with cords attached is not as common as they once were and cell phone is my selected choice of communication. I found myself walking throughout the house as my daughter spilled the details of her unexpected layoff. With the economy getting into the critical stage we hear of such tragedies every day but this one hit way too close to home. Two weeks before Christmas is not the best of times to find one’s self jobless, especially with a family to provide for. Even though her husband was still employed, this layoff was going to stress their finances tremendously. My mind reeled with all the fears and worries as I paced subconsciously, still listening to Tabi. My stomach churned and I fought nausea.

I about dropped the phone. In my spontaneous pacing I found myself in front of the Kitchen window. Through it was a most unbelievable sunset. Not only was it breathtaking, but even though the window is facing west, it is uncommon to see much of a sunset due to obstructions. But there it was, as vivid as I’d ever seen. Shades ranging from orange to pink as the overcast sky tried to overtake the ball of fire. My heart about leaped out of my chest. God had done it again. He’d spoken to me in a most profound manner without uttering a word. Things were going to be ok. Although I didn’t mention the sunset to Tabi, I was able to talk to her in a most confident tone that I truly believed this was just a move God needed to make in her life to get her where he needed her to be. As it turned out that is exactly what happened. Before her severance pay ran out she was hired in a position that allowed her to spend more time with her young children while pursuing her Masters and her long-term goal of teaching.

~~~

“My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11

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It had been a most difficult day at the office. As I climbed into my car I wondered what on earth prompted me to transfer to this new position. I was exhausted, mad, aggravated, with no desire to continue this battle. I just wanted to give up, say whatever, put in my hours, take home my pay and not worry about it. I didn’t want to “care” anymore. My mind was full of such thoughts as I took the ramp and joined the traffic on 640, the by-pass around Knoxville. My tired mind jumped to attention when spread before me was one of the most magnificent skies I’d ever laid eyes on. The setting sun was masked by a wide dark cloud yet, there in the middle was a fissure that allowed the sunbeams to burst through. All around the outer lining of the cloud the sun beams were gleaming, twinkling in all directions. As I drove west I was so amazed at the sight and I watched the fracture in the wicked cloud continue to rupture allowing more of the luminous rays to burst through. As I took the off ramp onto 275 south it was as if I was driving right up into the brilliance but the curve in the overpass quickly took me back to reality and I smiled thanking God for his encouragement in the sky. I then thought, “God, you need to be careful with these shows, especially when traffic is all around me.” It came to my immediate attention that if God was awesome enough to create such a sight for me to see, he would also keep me safe while I was viewing it.

~~~

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

 

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deut. 31:6

~~~

My hip ached and so did my back. Sitting in the car for hours on I-40 takes a toll on this “well seasoned” woman. It’s not always easy looking at 5 ½ -6 hours of interstate. By the time I reach Nashville (my halfway point) I’m aching. I can’t complain though, my choice, couldn’t breathe if I had to sit at home by myself. Besides, there’s something worth driving toward (and from). Still, the miles get long and I get weary. Today, I’m very weary. How much longer shall I continue this 350 mile commute across the state? Am I just a fool with nothing else to do? Does God have a plan as I have begged for him to lead me to? Sometimes, being on the road so much, the fear of a crash overwhelms me. I top over the hill and there is my answer. Yep, he did it again. Each time, it’s amazing how they come so unexpected. I never sit there saying, “Ok God, time for another sky-show”. Well, actually I do say that from time to time but they never appear at those times. It’s when God decides to speak to me on a moment’s notice. This one is particularly inconceivable. The Brilliance of the different hues is astounding. One glance and it’s a fact; God is the most magnificent painter of all. The sky is his canvas and he swipes his paint brush through his palette with ease; deep periwinkle blue for the backdrop, tangerine orange, raspberry sorbet violet, delicate whisper pink, turquoise and powder blue wisp across the sky. God is good.

~~~

“God will not let your foot slip- he who watches over you will not slumber… The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forever more.” Psalm 121:3,5-8

~~~

I rose to the noisy alarm clock as usual and began my day. Ruth Ann danced around the edges of my thoughts. I made a mental note to ask Mom about her on our daily phone call while I drove to work. Ruth Ann had been such a dear friend and neighbor my entire life. She was always bubbly with an easy laugh. Her years as school bus driver and school band supporter/bus driver made her a favorite to many a youth in my hometown. Sadly Ruth Ann had battled cancer for the last few years. Even the cancer could not stifle her cheerful spirit. A couple of years ago when Daddy was in the hospital in Memphis (3 hours from our neighborhood), Ruth Ann was taking treatments there. She and Harry Ben made the long trip each and every day. Even with this battle with her own health, they stopped by daily to check on Dad, offering to be family shuttle bus or do anything they could since they were making the trip anyway; always thinking of someone else. That was Ruth Ann and Harry Ben. Recently Ruth Ann had taken a turn for the worse. Mom hadn’t mentioned her in a day or two and with my waking up with her on my mind, I was eager to ask Mom for an update. I hit my speed dial. We said our morning hellos while I began maneuvering my way through the traffic. I had just yielded onto Pellissippi heading south when Mom said “Harry Ben just called, Ruth Ann passed away this morning.” As her words spilled out along with her tears, before me was an awesome sight. The entire sky was grey with gloomy clouds; except for one puncture. With glistening sunbeams it was as if the heavens were pouring through the hole down upon the mountains. Such a Beautiful sight! It stopped me in mid-sentence and caught my breath. Immediately I knew He had gone and done it again. The sight was breath taking. “I gotta let you go Mom, I’ll call you right back.” I ended the call and hit the button for my phone camera.My camera phone could not grasp the enormity of what I saw that morning. It shows only about 10% of the magnificent panorama my eyes soaked up that morning. I wanted to preserve the moment, the beauty, and the awesome warmness in my chest. I was so disappointed the photo did not portray such exquisiteness. I can only remember in my mind and in my heart; and remember who placed it on display and why. God is so kind and so loving. In amongst all the sad dark clouds that consumed the entire sky, His love broke through and reached down to us below. I think that is how he took Ruth Ann that morning. Reached down and scooped her right up! …and took her home.

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

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It’s not what you look at

That matters,

It’s what you see.

******”

Excerpt From: Warm Hugs for Dark Nights

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Blogging Gifts

Screenshot_2014-07-11-04-52-15Giving a heads up to my blog on blogger where I’ve picked back up listing my gifts (blessings) that I’m thankful for. Taking back up the challenge of Ann Voskamp to list a 1,000 gifts. You can find my blog of gifts at http://sharidenise1000.blogspot.com

 

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Listen To This!

IMG_4708I love Books. I love reading books, I love writing books, I love listening to books. One of my favorite pastimes is listening to audio books while doing other things like working on a project, tending to my critters, exercising, or even driving.

Yes, driving. Over the years of commuting back and forth from East TN (where I live) to West TN (where family and home roots are) I learned a very valuable lesson. As the miles click off through my 5 1/2 hour, music would become so rhythmic, that it would nearly lull me to sleep. Not good when it is so vital to remain alert. While driving through Nashville I found some pretty cool talk radio station programs and that kept me entertained for a while. Then one day I tossed in an audio book CD. I was hooked. The storyline, the animation of the reader’s voice. It was like a movie in my ear as I traveled down the dreary, boring highway. Before I knew it my 5 1/2 hour trip was done. I realized I was more alert and handled the traffic much better than just puttering along to a rhythmic thump, thump, thump that put my brain in neutral. Now, I will admit, I only use one earbud while driving so I remain alert to surrounding sounds for safety.

Working on one of my Uniquely Creative projects is another time frame that I like to put my hands to work and my brain in a good storyline. One problem; I couldn’t haul my CD player around with me all over the house, yard, and farm. Then I found Audible.com. Audio books on the go. Anywhere I take my cell phone, I take my Audio books. A subscription, downloading an app to my iPhone and I was in heaven. I’ve listened to countless books and am always fascinated by the animation and talent of the reader. They really bring the story to life.

The photo shown here is my current setup. iPhone and earbuds. The perfect setup is a bluetooth synced to your cellphone. Frankly I despise to talk on, or to anyone using a bluetooth. Even with the best devises reception and clarity ranks right up there with fingernails on a chalkboard. However, using a bluetooth earpiece devise for listening to Audio books is the best ever. One ear for surrounding sounds and one ear for audio book and NO CORDS!

Listening to audio books is indeed a delight for me. That’s why I’ve taken the time to share this with you. If you find you don’t have time to read all those incredibly irresistible books out there, might I suggest my system to you. Audible.com makes it easy.

~ Denise

 

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Happy Birthday Son!

20234_1328963512595_5941675_n35 years ago today I became a mom. Oh, my! What a journey I was in for! Not what I expected. More. oh, so much more. I had no idea what God had in store for us.

And on this day, 35 years later, I share this poem.

It Happened On This Day

 

 

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Pug Luv, Zuzu and Clarence’s story, Knox’s Legacy

IMG_3565This post begins with a sad, tragic event. My daughter and her family lost their five year old Malti-pug, “Knox” just after Thanksgiving. Little Knox became fascinated with a chip bag he stole from the trash. As he followed his nose into the bag, it turned into a vacuum, thus, suffocating the curious little dog. My daughter, my son-in-law and both my grandchildren were devastated. The house became empty, echoing with silence. Their ears screamed for the activity of their beloved four-legged family member.

Although Knox can never be replaced, Santa decided to liven up the household by bringing two Pug puppies to Ryleigh and Brycen for Christmas. *Note, Uncle Kris and his 10 year old yellow lab, Raddler joined us on Christmas morning.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is this family’s favorite Christmas movie of all time. Santa took the time to pen a letter to this little family and left it with the puppies. Below is a copy of Santa’s letter.

Ho, Ho, HO!!!

Hello to the Herrin Household!!

Santa here,

I don’t write too many letters on Christmas Eve night, Usually I’m just a little bit busy (*wink, *wink),
But I just had to sit down here and pen you a little note.

First I’ve got to tell you how saddened I was to receive the news about little Knox. That was a truly sweet doggy. Knox was known at the North Pole for being the best helper when it came to Christmas Eve assistance. I don’t know if you know this or not but a couple of years ago, I had trouble getting up the stairs with all your christmas loot! I dropped a few gifts along the way. When I turned around, there was Knox, dragging the box with his strong teeth. Ryleigh, you may have noticed one of your gifts had a little torn wrapping paper. Well, that wrapping paper is the only thing Knox could get his teeth into. He was a real help to me that year! I was behind schedule and would not have made it to all the little boys and girls had it not been for Knox!

I know we are all sad about Knox, but we know he’s in heaven and I bet he’s busy helping Jesus celebrate His birthday this year! Brycen, I know you really wanted me to bring Knox back to you for Christmas but little buddy that was just not God’s plan. Knox was needed in Heaven.

Now, as you have already noticed by now, I brought two sweet little puppies to you this year. These are no ordinary puppies. These are Wonderful Life puppies! What does that mean? Well, as I recall, you enjoy the Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  These puppies needed a good home and because of Knox, they now do.

Clarence, the little boy pug puppy has had a difficult week. He’s the one I originally wanted to bring you. Oh, I’ve taken great Ho, Ho, HO JOY planning to bring you this little guy! Clarence (named after the angel in the movie) was born with no place to go. No place to call his own happy home. I told my elves immediately to save Clarence for Ryleigh and Brycen Herrin. Few things have made my belly shake like jelly this year, but Clarence has done that easily. He’s a true silly and fun pup.
But then last week, Clarence got sick. He was rushed to the Vet and they got busy on him. He was a very sick little puppy. I’m told while Clarence was very sick he saw Knox. After that Clarence seemed to take on a fighting spirit and he started getting better. HO, HO, HO!!! I thought he was going to lick my beard plum off my face on the ride over here!!!

Zuzu, the little girl pug puppy, came from a sad little home. Oh, it was filled with lots of people and lots of animals, but it seemed she always got scooted to one side or the other. My elves came to me concerned about Zuzu and asked me what I thought about finding her a good home. One that was filled with lots of love and fun. I knew instantly where she needed to be. She needed to go live with Ryleigh and Brycen!

I know I am leaving these two little pups in great hands. Keep them fed and watered and teach them to go outside to potty. Remember they are special because they are “Wonderful Life” Puppies. They are especially special because through them, Knox got his wings. 🙂

Ho Ho HO!!!!
Merry Christmas!!!

Love,
Santa Claus

So, Clarence and Zuzu are now enjoying lots of Puggle Snuggles and Knox has his “wings”.  Clarence and Zuzu now share their Pug Luv on their own personal Facebook page.

I am especially fond of these two little fur balls since I had to opportunity to grandpuppy-sit while the Herrins went on a surprise family vacation.

Here are a few photos of Clarence and Zuzu:

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