Thursday, April 30, 2009

Isle of Aaran

We are back in East Kilbride, but we had a wonderful time on Arran. It was breathtaking or as they say here, "lovely." I don't think I have seen anything as beautiful in the US. The mist on Goatfell made it even better.

The coastal town of Brodick is beautiful and friendly. We ate at Wooley's and had pies which were meat pies. The cheese and onion pie melt in your mouth. We had a meal for 2.5 pounds which included a meat pie, masked potatoes, baked beans (without pork) coffee, and cake. Arlene and I chose the caramel pie for dessert. It was wonderful and all four of us ate for 10 pounds which is cheap.

Brodick Castle was more than I expected with beautiful gardens and woodlands. The flowering trees were amazing. Jerry took over 200 pictures and I can't possibly put them all on the blog. We walked through all these flowering trees and bushes to the Bavarian Summerhouse. It was so nice and quiet and the inside was covered in pine cones. Very different. You could see the ocean from the windows of the summerhouse.

The standing stones in the picture are around a burial ground. They are 4,000 to 3,200 years old. They have found bodies there. That amazed me to see something that old. 

I'll send the rest of the pictures later today if I have time and tell you more about the island. I fell in love with the island. It is so quiet and peaceful. The scenery was breathtaking. You would round a curve and there would be a little village. The mist and clouds on the hills made it more beautiful. The grass is so green and sheep dot the countryside everyplace. Old castles ruins are there\. Everything is just beautiful. We even saw a Druid standing stone. I am impressed with Scotland.

We are resting some today. Arlene's family are coming in tonight for supper. We are having coffee with a lady who visited us in America about three years ago. Can't wait to see her again. Those of you who live close by us will get bored with me talking about it, I'm sure. I will try to not talk to much, but you know me. Have a wonderful day.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Busy Day

I'm writing this tonight because we will be leaving early in the morning for Aaron. Aaron is a small island on the west side of Scotland and below Glasgow. We have to take a ferry ride to the island. We have rooms in a Bed & Breakfast there and I am looking forward to seeing the island. 

I first read about the island in a book by Liz Curtis Higgs called Grace in Thine Own Eyes. The way she described the island was breathtaking and I wanted to see it. Jon and Arlene had never been there so it is an adventure for all of us. There is a mountain called Goatfell, but we are not going to walk it. We will stay on lower land and with all our bones connected correctly.

This has been a rainy day but a nice one. We went into Glasgow and saw the oldest house in Glasgow and the Cathedral. They were all very nice. St. Mungo is buried in the cathredal. The building was started in the 1400's and we saw a grave marker of a person died in the 1300's. This is what excites me so much. We have nothing that old in the US.

This is such a peaceful place to be. I have relaxed in a way that I never thought I would. It is wonderful to spend time with Jon, Arlene and Scott. I can't believe Scott is so grown up. I think we have a wonderful family.

I probably won't write tomorrow, but I will try to get back writing when we get home Wednesday.

Pictures of Scotland

Good Morning! It is raining again here in East Kilbride. Yesterday there was only a little mist that fell and it was a nice windy day.

Saturday we visited Robert Burns Birthplace in Alloway. For me, it was wonderful because I was almost in the time period I write in. The fireplace was interesting and I gained some knowledge of how things were done in the mid to late 18th century. I have enclosed a picture of the house.

We also saw a film of his poem Tam O' Shanter, which I enjoyed very much. I have enclosed a picture of the Old Kirk where Tam saw the devil and the witches dancing. Then there is the Brig O' Doon (Bridge over the River Doon) where Tam ran from the witch Meg and all she got was "the horses beard." 

Tomorrow we are going to the island Aaron and spend the night. There is a lighthouse, standing stones, a castle and much more. We are supposed to have nice weather. Today we will do indoor things. 

The rolling hills are beautiful with sheep spotting the countryside. The fences have hedges in them, which I found different and beautiful.

Yesterday we worshiped with East Kilbride Church of Christ. It is so wonderful to worship with fellow members. We all walked to church, which I had not done since I was a little girl. It was refreshing. Jon preached Sunday morning and we had the honor of hearing him. 

Today we are going to a museum in Glasgow. Everyone have a wonderful day.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Greetings from Scotland

The Scottish Mist is falling this morning, as it did yesterday. The clouds are supposed to be gone by this afternoon. I am looking forward to the sun. It's not as cold as I thought it would be. It was cool and dreary before we left home, so maybe I am prepared for this weather.

I have found things a little different. East Kilbride, where we are staying, is built on a circle. Instead of stop lights, there are circles that you go around. We have one in Kingsport and I was familiar with it, but I don't know where I am going here. It is a little different. They call the circles "round abouts."

The houses are smaller than ours and the rooms are wee small. The area is neat and clean. There are windmills here to generate electricity. I saw them early Wednesday morning. I had seen windmills in California, but these have larger blades and they turn most of the time. 

So far we have not taken many pictures. I slept most of the day yesterday. I did speak at the church's Ladies Bible Class and fell in love with all the women. They are so nice. I think I was hugged and kissed by most of them. I thought of Romans 16:16 where Paul wrote to salute with a holy kiss. That must have been what we did. I think we are to love all of our brethren.

Jon and Arlene will be off next week and we will travel. There are several places we want to see and we will do that then. Right now we are just resting and enjoying the quiet. It is very quiet here. Everyone is gone but Scott today and he will leave for the University before long. Jon and Arlene will be back this afternoon. We will decide tomorrow where we are going and I will keep you informed then. Have a wonderful day.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Finally Luggage

Yesterday, I was very brief about our trip. I may not have time to write much this morning, but I will try.

When we arrived at Nashville airport, they re-routed us to Charlotte then to Gatwick in London and then on to Glasgow. The ticket agent did not tell us when the planes landed, so we took what she said in good faith.

The flight to Charlotte was fine. We landed at Gatwick and it became a mess. Everyone told us a different way to go. One man told us to walk to the North Terminal, which is impossible. We would still be walking. Instead we became intelligent travelers and took the shuttle. We were searching for the gate when we heard our names on the intercom. Not good, the plane was ready to leave without us. We caught it by the hair of our chinny chin chin. Flew to Glasgow and our luggage stayed in Gatwick

Finally we found my nephew. While we slept, they delivered our luggage. 

We were exhausted but after a good night sleep, we are up and about today.

I must run, I speak at the Ladies Class today. Have a good day and I will write more later.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We Are Here

Jerryand I have made it to Glasgow, but our luggage is somewhere between here and Nashville. At the last minute our schedules were changed and it was a mess. We are tired and ready to go to bed. I'll write more tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Today Is the Day

In just a few hours, Jerry and I will be flying out of Nashville. He didn't sleep last night, but I slept like a log. Usually it's the other way around. 

We will land in Glasgow about eight tomorrow morning our time. I dread the long flight because of my knees. I know it will take a while for me to be able to stand Wednesday morning. The trip will be worth it.
Yesterday Kaye Dacus and I met for lunch. I really enjoyed our visit and I learned a lot about the business and conference. We talked for over two hours. It was very beneficial for me. Kaye is part of a writing group in Nashville. I hope I will be able to attend after we return from our vacation.

I should be able to write as soon as we get to my nephew's house. Have a great day

Monday, April 20, 2009

One Day to Go

Tomorrow we fly out at 4:46 CDT. We are in Nashville and resting today. Kaye Dacus and I are meeting for lunch and I am really looking forward to it. I think I spelled her name right.

My nephew wrote me yesterday to tell me his wife had volunteered me to speak at their Ladies Class on Thursday. I have been working on our Ladies Day in May, but it is not near ready. I have the Power Point for last years, so I will go over it and use it. I'm not like a preacher. I don't carry a sermon in my hip pocket all the time. I will do fine. I talk so slow that the Scots will get tired of waiting for my next word. They talk very fast. It will be interesting with a hillbilly accent. I am looking forward to it. I guess that is something else I can put on my platform. I am an international speaker.

My husband and I both dread the long flight across the ocean and we will have sleeping pills to take so we can rest. I worry a little about my legs, but I plan to walk the aisles as much as I can. 

Ideas are running through my head for books. When I get home, I should have many more. My notepad is in my suitcase. I hope all of you have a wonderful day. It's rainy here in Nashville.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Little Rest Today

This is not going to be a rushed day. I am having lunch with a dear friend, one I need to have more contact with. Her husband passed away in September and we go shopping together occasionally, but not enough. We decided to eat Chinese today and I am looking forward to a time to talk and enjoy each other.

This week I have only worked on my Ladies Day presentation. It is coming around nicely. Our preacher's wife is speaking also and she called yesterday to tell me about her part of it. It is funny but we are talking on the same subject, but going at it differently. I have based mine on Psalm 119. David had so much love for God and wanted so to do what was right. I look at that chapter and see how much faith he had. I keep five verses taped above my computer. It is easy to read them each day. They are verses that encourage me. 

My proposal has been gone three weeks and I have not heard anything yet. I am told that is not unusual. It is hard to sit and wait. That is one reason why I am pleased this all coordinated like it did. I will not be worrying about it for two weeks.

The To Do List is getting longer each day. I think of something else I need to add to it. If I don't write it down, I will forget it. Let me give you a hint about packing for a long trip. Get the bags that you squeeze the air out of when filled with clothes. I am getting so much more packed in two suitcases. They are not big suitcases either. I have one more bag to fill and I will be through, but I still have more room on top of the bags. This is great!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What to Read?

We will be in the air for seven hours Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. I hope I will sleep, but I suspect I will be too excited. I am taking several things to read.

First is the Bible. We are reading through the Bible in one year at church, so I will be reading it. I also have a book to critique. Then there are two books in my pile to read. One is No Place for a Lady by Maggie Brendan and the other is Gingham Mountain by Mary Connealy

I have never read any of Maggie's books, but I have read several of Mary's. My daughter had read Gingham Mountain when we were there last. She handed it to me and asked me if I had read it. I had to tell her no, but I had it in my stack of books to read. Maybe I can read them either coming or going.

Right now I am reading Shadows of Lancaster County by Mindy Starns Clark. I've read other of her books and enjoyed them. This is a different Amish book and a mystery. So far I have enjoyed it, but I have not had time to read much.

I still have packing to do. I hope I picked up everything we will need in town today. I've been to the bank, paid the gas bill, and had the mail stopped, so that about gets it. I've even talked to the young man who is house sitting for us. We are all together so far. Did I say today I was excited? It seems like nothing happens in my life much, so this has really been a big boost. Yes, I will probably research for a book. Don't know what, but it will hit me I am sure.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Moving Rapidly

Everything is moving swiftly now.We'll go to my daughter's on Sunday after church. We plan to rest on Monday and fly out on Tuesday. Seems like there are still so many things to get done. Part of my packing is finished, but I am still waiting for my husband to get his clothes together. I am pretty well packed except things that are in the washier or waiting to be washed. I should have everything completed by Saturday.

So many people have advised me to take a hiatus from my book and just enjoy the two weeks in Scotland. I do have some critique work to do for one of my critique partners, but I plan to do most of it on the plane. Other than that, I plan to add to the blog with pictures as often as I can.

Lately I have been thinking of my next book. It is beginning to take shape in my mind. I have an outline, but I think I will change the beginning a little. I was talking to another writer yesterday and she said she still had ideas going in her mind. She had been writing under her own name and received some threats on herself and her family. I didn't know people would get that vicious. That made me glad I had selected to write under a pen name.

I have about four more pages to complete on my book before I send it to Tiffany Colter to edit for me. I need to get that completed today. On my To Do list! That's just one of many on my To Do list. Enjoy this beautiful spring. Our tulips are beautiful and if you could see the view from my kitchen window you would be amazed at the beauty. I have tried to enjoy each minute of it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

One Week to Go

Think about it, in one week we will be boarding the plane for Scotland! I'm packing now. I hope I don't have to take some things out, but if I have to I will. 

I bought those bags you suck the air out. I have two flat bags now and I may have to buy some more. The smaller amount you put in them, the flatter they go. 

Yesterday I didn't get to do much, but cook and clean house. Today I am going to polish my book, or at least start. I need to send the last chapters to the editor and then start polishing what she has sent to me. This is very exciting.

My emotions are the worse things I deal with in writing. I think I have conquered most of the ghosts, like -ing words and using that so much. I tend to keep my personal emotions close to my heart. I guess I am afraid of being hurt. Also, in the time I was raised, we were not to let emotions show. This is hard for me, but I will conquer it.

Have a good day. The dogwoods are starting to get white. The view from my kitchen window in beautiful.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Busy Week

This is going to be a busy week for us. Next Tuesday we leave for Scotland, but we will leave here on Sunday afternoon. My daughter doesn't know that we will be at her house on Sunday night, but if by chance she reads this, I guess she will know it now.

All of my camera equipment is ready to go. My plans are to put pictures on this blog each day that I can. That way those of you who have asked to see pictures will get a teaser to see the rest. So many people have asked to see pictures that this is going to be the best way to do it.

Tiff Colter is editing my book before I send it out more. We are half way through. That is encouraging and it takes time for me to make the changes. This is very exciting to me. I know I won't get to work on it today because I have too many other things to do, but I hope to get started on it tomorrow.

I must be off. I have a lot to do today and a short time to do it. I will try to write each day this week, but if I miss a day, I am very busy.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Morning From the Hills

The Sound of Music comes to my mind this morning. The hills are really alive with the sound of music and beautiful flowers. My tulips are the best they have ever been. The dogwoods behind the house are beginning to bud and the red buds are full of color. It is a beautiful time of year. I have not been able to enjoy it as much as I want to. I've been stuck at the computer most of the time. 

I have been reading in my spare time. I finished A Claim of Her Own by Stephanie Grace Whitson and enjoyed reading about the Old West. That is one part of history that I know little about. I learned a lot of historical facts.

The story is very interesting. The writing is good and keeps to the subject. No wild rabbit chasing. I liked the way the historical facts seemed to be so real. Stephanie has a way of telling a story that puts you there up front and personal. I do recommend reading this book, especially if you enjoy the Wild West. 

Mattie goes to Deadwood to see her brother, but finds out he is dead. She works his claim and finds gold. It has two love stories, which I enjoyed. I felt like I was in Deadwood in that time period. I enjoyed watching Mattie's faith turn and watching her become her own self. I recommend it highly. 

Last night, after midnight, I finished reading Christine Lynxwiler/s The Reluctant Cowgirl. I knew I had to finish it last night. As always, Chris did a wonderful job telling the story. This was refreshing after working on a historical all day. Chris weaves the story of an actress from Arkansas who comes home for a visit and ends up, well, I won't tell you.

Everyone who knows me well, knows I am a big fan of Chris'. She is an excellent writer and a good friend. This was an excellent book. 

I have so much to do today. I have to go to town and see if I can find the young man who is house sitting for us while we are in Scotland. I lost his cell phone number. It's getting close to the time to go and I need to talk to him. I pray everyone has a great week-end. Don't eat too many chocolate eggs.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Motto to Live By

This is on a plaque in my doctor's office. I laugh each time I read it. It's a good way to start the day.

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, latte in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screeming, "WOO HOO, what a ride!"

How do we live our life? I'm speaking at our Ladies Day in May and this has been on my mind a lot. So many people in this world think only about themselves. Really God should be the center of our life. 

When I found this little saying yesterday, I thought this would be good to use in the lesson I will be presenting. Each life should be lived to it's fullest with God as the center. It is so much fun to be a Christian. Our life is to glorify God and keep His commandments.

I try to do this in my writing, to show the glory of God. With all that goes on in the world, it is hard sometimes to be a good example. Life is not about me, it's about God.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Looking Back On Yesterday

Yesterday was a pretty profitable day for me. 

My goals were to work more on my manuscript and I have almost completed correcting and taking away. I will be at 72,000 words by tomorrow. Then I start more correcting to polish it for an acquisition agent, I hope. This is something I have hoped and prayed for. 

I also cleaned my bathroom well. Mopped, scrubbed, all the good stuff. I feel success when I do that. This afternoon I will tackle my bedroom. When my husband sleeps tomorrow, I will have that room finished.

We had snow last night, not much, just a little. It is cold and not supposed to warm up too much. This is April in East Tennessee. I am looking forward to warmer days. I also check each day to see what the weather is like in Glasgow, Scotland. It is 48 degrees today and rain. It feels like 42 degrees. I'm taking winter clothes.

We are going to eat breakfast at I-Hop this morning. I love to eat there. The stuffed French Toast is the best. Of all days for my sugar to be up. I had hoped it would be down enough for me to eat the good stuff. We will see when I get there. Have a beautiful day!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Home Again

I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. "There's no place like home." Don't get me wrong, I do love seeing my children and grandchildren, but it is good to be back in my own house with my own bed and my own stove, etc. 

Mostly, I am thankful that I had a safe trip. The Grand Day at Goodpasture was wonderful. The speaker was a friend of ours, so I got to visit a minute with him. The program was very nice  and well attended. One thing that impressed me was the fact that even the children whose grandparents did not come, attended chapel with us. It was a good day.

After the program, my daughter, granddaughter and myself went to Kentucky to see the other grandchildren and pick up my clothes. When we left the last time, I left clothes that I will need to take to Scotland. Now, I can get ready to go.

The re-writing continues. I am almost finished and trying to cut words. I think I will be able to cut them out of the last chapter. I also feel it will not take me so long to write the next book. I have learned so much during this process.

There is much to do today. Laundry, how does it build up so fast? Then I am also starting to clean my house really good. It is starting to rain and is supposed to snow. Don't know what winter this is, but I think it is the Easter Cold Spell. That's what my granny called it.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Another Busy Day

It is another busy day. Yesterday I drove to Nashville. This morning I will be going to Grand Parents Day at the Christian school my oldest granddaughter attends. Then we will drive to Kentucky to pick up my clothes that I left the last time I was there.

I did find time between storms yesterday to polish my book more. I lack about 90 pages to finish. That is to finish the polishing. It is a long and boring polish, but when I accomplish it and get back to correcting, it wil be a relief. I love to write, but I hate the polishing. That is part of the job of being a writer.

I have a little more research to do for the third book. I am ready to start putting down my thoughts for the next book. Both of the following books are outlined and ready to start wrting and I am getting excited about that prospect.

I hope snd pray that everyone weathered the storms yesterday. There was a tonado watch and warning for the Nashville area most of the evening. My daughter lives close to the airport and the towner evacuated during the first one. They saw a funnel cloud and planes were held for a while. We did not hearof any tornadoes touching down anyplace else. The interstate is close on one side to clean up debris. I hope it will be opened tomorrow when I start home.

Better run and head to school. It's been a while since I went back to school. Have a good day and a good week-end.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rainy Day

I love rainy days. It is so quiet and peaceful and I always want to wrap up in a quilt and read. So much for dreams. My sister may remember sitting on the swing on Granny's porch when it rained. Was there a tin roof on the porch? I can't remember, but anyway it is dreamy to think of those peaceful days.

Too bad I have a lot to do today. I have service the car before I leave tomorrow for Nashville. There are also 100 more pages to read and change. I'm still considering changing Solomon's run away scene. I like the original better. I'm also trying to cut out more words. Instead of cutting, I am adding. I will have a lot to cut out at the end of the book, so I may wait and see. 

I'm not going to give the story away, but Solomon, the oldest boy in the family, does run away from home. We were talking to our financial adviser and he told us about riding his motorcycle in the Smokies after dark and wrecking it. He fell over the bank and landed in a dry creek bed, breaking his shoulder. That can happen anytime or anywhere, minus the motorcycle. That was a wonderful idea. So I stole it. He won't mind.

This is short today and I need to run. I have a lot to do before tomorrow and Wednesdays are always short days getting ready for church. I also have to cook enough for my hubby while I am gone.

I meant to put this in yesterday, but forgot. This is a recipe I received from and 8 year old girl at church. That's correct 8 years old. It's Peanut butter Cookies.
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
Mix together, turn oven to 350 degrees. Roll in tiny balls, place on cookie sheet (I use parchment paper) and bake for 7-10 minutes, depending on your oven. Mine had to bake for 10. Take out and DO NOT touch for 5 minutes. These melt in your mouth. I have not tried them with Splenda yet, but I am sure I will.