Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm Dreaming....

Some of my earliest childhood memories were of visiting my great-grandparents variety store in Burney, California.  Papaw Willie would always let us choose something from the candy rack and no one could laugh and love on you quite like Grandma Nonie.  During the holidays, you could always expect to hear Bing's "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas..." echoing through aisles.  I've been told, although I don't exactly remember, that Bing Crosby himself actually visited the store on a regular basis during the time that he owned the Rising River Ranch (later owned by Clint Eastwood) just outside of Burney.  He was even the Grand Marshal for several Burney Basin Day Parades.

Every time I hear any song from that album...  whether it be, "Mele Kalikimaka", "Christmas in Killarney" or "I'll Be Home for Christmas"... it immediately invokes memories of Burney; snow banks rising above my head; the variety store with the nativity scene resting on the platform above the front door;  Papaw Willie behind the counter of the sporting goods section; Grandma Nonie's roast dinners; playing in the snow or making ornaments at Papaw Jack and Mamaw's green house out in Johnson Park... I could go on and on... (How's that for a "run-on sentence")  It's amazing how a little tune will jog your memory and bring floods of emotions that you have kept deep in the corners of your heart.

Maybe for others this time of year means something different... but for me it's a time of nostalgia, tradition, making memories, family celebrations and for thanking God for the wonderful heritage that I've been given.  (dreamily humming... hmmmm... I'm dreaming of a white... hmmmm)

This is picture of me with Papaw Willie and Grandma Nonie in front of Renison's Variety Store in Burney.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


T for time to be together, turkey, talk, and tangy weather.
H for harvest stored away, home, and hearth, and holiday.
A for autumn's frosty art, and abundance in the heart.
N for neighbors, and November, nice things, new things to remember.
K for kitchen, kettles' croon, kith and kin expected soon.
S for sizzles, sights, and sounds, and something special that abounds. 

That spells ~~~THANKS---for joy in living and a good Thanksgiving.
By Aileen Fisher

Friday, November 20, 2009

Oh The Places You Can Go

I've traveled the world twice over,
Met the famous; saints and sinners,
Poets and artists, kings and queens,
Old stars and hopeful beginners,
I've been where no-one's been before,
Learned secrets from writers and cooks
All with one library ticket
To the wonderful world of books.
~ Unknown ~

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Story Craft by John R. Erickson

My family and I have loved reading and listening to the "Hank the Cowdog" Series over the years; laughing with the lovable characters and at the corny humor.  We loved the author's vocal renditions on the audiobooks ....(my husband always said the Drover sounded like Bill Clinton).  Sometime ago I had heard that the author had written a new book about writing called "Story Craft".  After several failed attempts to order it from the library (my modus operandi), I decided to just order online.  I received it a couple days ago (along with a stack of Watchman Nee and Glenn Clark books) and am thoroughly enjoying the read.  Inspiring!  -- not only to write but to re-listen to all those Hank the Cowdog audio books!  Itunes here I come!
Below I have included the promotional text and link for Story Craft for those that may be interested.
In his new book, Story Craft: Reflections On Faith, Culture, and Writing By the Author of Hank the Cowdog, John R. Erickson says that one of the biggest challenges he faced as a young author was figuring out, "What is a story, and what is it supposed to do?"

Those were simple questions, he says, but they didn't have simple answers. We could say that he found his answers when he wrote and self-published the first Hank the Cowdog book in 1983. The series now stands at 54 books and they've sold over 7.5 million copies. For twenty-six years, Erickson was content to leave it there.

But after receiving hundreds of letters from teachers and parents, he began to realize that his actual business was not books, but "spiritual nourishment." Good stories nourish the human spirit, and it doesn't happen by accident.

Part One of the book describes Erickson's experiences as an apprentice writer and publisher. In Part Two, he attempts to defiine what a story should be, and how it relates to culture and religious faith. And in Part Three, he gives helpful, practical advice to aspiring writers.

The book includes an introduction by Dr. Gene Edward Veith, noted writer and provost of Patrick Henry College, and a foreword by theologian Nancy Pearcey, author of Total Truth.   Book Link: Story Craft
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