Book Talk Tuesday

I read a lot of fiction. And a fair amount of non-fiction.

I’m just finishing up The Tipping Point by one of my favorite non-fiction writers. I loved his Outliers (and have blogged about it). Blink was also wonderful.

Malcolm Gladwell has a rare gift. He can take a subject like crime statistics or smoking deterrents or Jewish lawyers practicing in New York and make it come alive.


In The Tipping Point he talks about what causes something like an epidemic to spread, or a fad to catch on. How information, knowledge, and wisdom are passed from one person to another. What makes one message stick and another fall into the abyss of our overloaded input file.

I see the world differently, thanks to Mr. Gladwell.


Today, I’m praying for: Ellen, me, Shawna.

Last read: See above.

Last movie: The Book of Eli – took me a little while to get into it, but definitely thought provoking with a neat little twist at the end.


Fiction Friday: Curve Ball, Chapter 11

Grant’s injury was decided after many conversations with medical and sports medicine friends and physical therapists. I needed something that would be career threatening, but not career ending.


Chapter Eleven

Cami held her breath and stared at the motionless man on the field. “Let him be okay. Let him be okay.” She didn’t realize she’d said the words out loud until Peg gripped her hand and whispered, “Yes, Lord.”

After a long minute, Grant slowly sat up. Then stood as players and coaches jogged out. The crowd cheered while two coaches conferred with him. A trainer joined them and the group headed to the dugout while another player trotted out. The team began to whip the ball around the infield, warming up the new shortstop.

A substitution announcement came over the loudspeaker. Grant disappeared into the nether regions of the stadium.

Peg dug around in her purse and set her cell phone on her knee. “He’ll call when he can. He knows we’ll be concerned.”

The game continued but Cami couldn’t maintain her interest.

During the fourth inning, Mr. Andrews spoke up. “Sounds like it might be a torn rotator cuff.”

“How do you know?” his wife asked.

“The radio. The announcers are talking about it. I guess we better get down to the locker room.”

Cami didn’t know if the “we” included her, but she intended to follow. The three of them gathered their belongings and Mr. Andrews headed to a “No Admittance Beyond This Point” sign.

No one stopped them. Cami surmised the security people probably knew the Andrews family. They stopped in a corridor where a security guard stood behind a portable podium and spoke into his radio. He finished the conversation and turned to the trio.

“Can I help you?”

“We’re with Grant Andrews, we want to see him,” his dad said.

“One moment.” The guard talked into the receiver again, then listened to the reply. “Mr. Andrews is getting dressed. He asked if you would please wait here and he’ll be with you soon.”

Cami and Peg leaned against the wall while Cap paced up and down the hallway. As he passed in front of the women, Peg asked what a rotator cuff injury entailed.

“It’s tough. You can’t throw at all. It may or may not heal. It may or may not require surgery. It’s a long recovery time. A year, maybe more. It could be the end-,” he stopped abruptly when Grant came out, his right arm in a sling.

“I need to go to the hospital for tests. I can’t throw or resist pressure with my arm, so it looks like I tore the rotator cuff in my shoulder. But they have to take X-rays to rule out other stuff.”

“We’ll go with you,” Peg said.

“No, Mom. I’ll be fine. You should stay for the game then go to my place. I’ll catch up with you.”

“But I want to be with you,” she said.

After a few minutes of good-natured bickering and bartering, it was decided his parents would go to his home to wait. Grant was headed to the hospital. He looked at Cami.

“What would you like to do?”

“I want to go with you.” During the discussion, she’d wondered if she’d be able to say that aloud, in front of his parents. Asking her to go with him instead of his parents, took their relationship to a new level, beyond casual dating. But the words slipped out of her mouth in an automatic reply. She did want to be able to comfort and support him.

“I could use a reassuring face,” he admitted. “The trainer and doc are scaring the bejeebers out of me.”

“Can I drive you?”

“No, I have to ride in the ambulance. Insurance rules, can you believe it? I’m going to Anaheim Hills Medical Center. If you go to the emergency room, there should be someone who can tell you where to find me.”

“Are you in pain?”

“Fair to moderate, yeah.”

“That’s Grant-speak for excruciating.” His mother spoke up.

He set his jaw. “Mom, please. I’m not fifteen anymore.”

“I know, but you’re still my little boy.” She winked at Cami.

“Dad.” His voice asked for support.

“Come on, Peg. We’ll see you later, son.”

Mr. and Mrs. Andrews turned toward the exit and were soon out of sight.

“Do you need anything?” Cami asked.

“I’ll be okay. I gotta go.”

He went back through the door. Cami stood still a moment. She’d thought the worry would be over once she talked to Grant and knew he was okay. Only now she fretted about not just his shoulder, but his whole career. She’d never realized how tenuous an athlete’s job was. One moment in the wrong place and it could be over. She prayed as she hurried to her car.

It was after midnight when Cami finally pulled into Grant’s driveway with him in the passenger seat. She had spent hours in a nicely furnished waiting room, frequently asking for information or a room number to find Grant. Hospital personnel refused to tell her anything. She wasn’t a relative, she could have been a groupie fan or a stalker off the street. They were implacable.

She had been about to phone Grant’s home to ask his parents to call the hospital for information when he’d appeared, pale and tired and ready to go. And not interested in conversation. The whole way to Newport, she’d divided her attention between the road and sidelong glances at him.

His parents met them at the door. “Well?” Peg asked.

“The X-rays and other tests are all negative, so it’s pretty sure to be the rotator cuff,” Grant said as he sank into the easy chair. “Hey, did you look at my office?”

“I peeked,” Peg confessed. “It’s beautiful. You do good work, Cami.”

Cami glanced at Grant. Just home from the hospital and he wanted to talk about decorating his office? She shrugged. “Thank you.”

“How do you get the leather look?” Peg asked.

“It’s a process.” She paused, not sure if they would really rather hear about painting fake leather on walls than talk about Grant’s injury. The trio of attentive faces answered her. “I lay the base on. After it dries, I press on crinkled tissue paper. I keep random wrinkles in it, and then I layer on the color. As the paint dries over the tissue, it looks like character lines in leather.”

“Tissue paper?” Peg asked. “For wrapping a gift?”

“I use generic from the dollar store. It’s cheap.”

“I’ve got to see this.” Peg walked down the hallway, disappearing into the office. Light snapped on and spilled into the hallway.

Grant leaned back in the chair, closed his eyes, and sighed.

“Do you want me to go?” Cami asked, after a long minute.

His eyes snapped open. “No.”

Peg rejoined them. “It’s amazing, Cami. It really looks like leather.”

“So, what’s next?” Cap asked. “Surgery?”

Relieved to be talking about the elephant in the room instead of ignoring it, Cami perched on the couch, hands beside her, fingers splayed across the rough textured upholstery and listened for the answer.

“Ice it for now,” Grant said. “Go back tomorrow for an MRI. Decide if we wait and see or if I want to go the surgical route.”

“What are you thinking?” The military man cut to the heart of the issue.

“I want to sleep on it, then talk to the doc. It’s not the kind of injury that will get worse if I delay surgery a day or two. Or even a couple of weeks. Some people live with this their entire lives without a problem.”

“But they don’t throw baseballs for a living,” Peg said.

“The boy’s right to sleep on it before making a decision. We’ll call you in the morning, son.” His dad patted his shoulder awkwardly as Peg gently hugged him good-bye. Grant didn’t rise to see them out, so Cami walked them to the front door.

Peg hugged her, too. “Thank you for staying with him at the hospital.”

“You’re welcome. Do you think he’s all right?”

“No.” Peg shook her head and spoke softly. “Not if he can’t play anymore, he won’t be. But we’ll think good thoughts and pray for him, and round that base when we get to it.”

Cami closed the door behind them and stood still, her hand on the knob. Yes, prayer and good thoughts are important, but hearing such platitudes would only push Grant away. She straightened her shoulders and returned to him in the great room. “Can I get you anything?”


“Ice? Or a pain pill and water? The television remote?” She paused by his chair.

“I said ‘no’!”

She stepped back, his intensity pushing her away. Grant had never spoken anything but kind words to her. “Do you want me to go?” Say no, say no, say no. Please say no. The thoughts ran on a continuous loop.

He shook his head. “I’m sorry.”

“I want to do something. I hate to see you in pain.” She sat again on the couch, at the end angled near his easy chair.

“Thanks. But I really don’t need anything. Except some way to turn back time, so I’d still be on the field with a whole body.”

“But-” she paused, not sure her tongue could form the words of her heart. “But I need to do something. For you.”


She shrugged. “You’ve been wonderful to me the last few weeks and now you need some help.”

“I don’t need anything. Except some peace and quiet.”

She stood. “I guess I’ll go.”

He slumped even lower in the chair. “Please don’t. I’m sorry. Let’s talk about something else.”

“Can I pray for you?” The words popped out before she could think about them. What an idiot. Hadn’t she dismissed Peg’s suggestion of prayers and good thoughts?

“I don’t think it’ll work, but if you want to, I guess it’s okay.”

“Why won’t it work? Prayer is just talking to God, you can’t do it wrong.”

He grimaced.

“What?” she asked. “Do you need a pain pill?”

“No. I can’t get excited about asking God to undo something that’s done.”

“But…” She was stumped. “He can heal you. Even if the doctors can’t. He’s in control.”

“Are you saying God caused that runner to take me out?”

“Not necessarily.” This conversation took an odd turn. “I mean He can draw on the bad things in our lives, and use them for good.”

“I don’t see any good in this.”

“It’s too soon. But later, you might. Maybe-” She paused to gather her thoughts. “Maybe in the future, a young player might be injured in the same way, and because of what you’ve gone through, you’ll be able to encourage and comfort him.”

“I’ll skip the injury myself and go straight to the encouragement gig.”

“Or perhaps during rehab you’ll decide you don’t want to play anymore, and go on to coach or some other work.”

He stared. “Not play? Are you serious?”

“I’m tossing out possibilities. You started this conversation. I believe the truth of Romans 8:28. ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.’” She leaned forward, wanting to look into his eyes but he stared into the black television screen. “If that’s true, there must be some reason this is happening to you, and some way it can be used for good.”

“If you’re going to use the Bible against me, what about the verse that says, ‘Therefore, the Lord has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us,’” Grant shot back. “That means He saved this trouble up and then dumped it on me.”

“No.” How did she get into a theology debate with him? “I don’t think that verse means God saves up problems.”

“You used the Bible to make your point, but I can’t?” She’d never heard that tone of voice from him.

“That’s not what I’m saying.” She closed her mouth. How could she tell him Romans 8:28 wasn’t simply a verse to be memorized and trotted out when bad things happened, but something to cling to? “I have to believe God knows what He’s doing, even when I don’t.”

“How do you reconcile what happened to you with God working good?”

She stilled. “It’s not the same thing at all.”

“Of course it is. What happened to you was devastating. You can say it was no big deal, but it was.” He finally turned and looked at her. “I can tell because you’re scared, Cami. Scared of a life out of your control.”

“How dare you?!” Outrage throbbed in her head and she stood. ­Say something to shut him up and get out of here. “I am not!”

“Then why won’t you let me in?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” The denial came too quickly.

“I feel you pull away when I touch you.”

“I have to go.” She looked around for her purse.

“You think being raped ruined your life,” he said. “But you can still work and have friends and a career.”

She looked down at him in the chair. “I was hurt by an evil person. No one deliberately went after you to ruin your career.” Didn’t he see the difference?

“It feels like someone is aiming right at me and everything I love and ripping it out.”

“God is stripping away what you hold dear and reminding you that it’s all a gift from Him.”

“That’s awfully trite.”

They looked at each other in silence. Cami gazed out the window at the golf course below. She closed her eyes and drew a breath. “What do you need before I go?”

“I’m going to sit here for a while, then head to bed. I appreciate you going to the hospital with me.”

“You’re welcome.” She turned from the view to face him. She spoke slowly, deciding on each word as it reached her tongue. “I don’t think we should have this conversation right now. You’re in pain.” And he needed to work through his anger, though she didn’t voice that thought.

He rose stiffly from the chair and walked her to the door. “We’ll talk tomorrow. But call me when you get home and inside safely, okay?”

“I will.”

In her car, Cami leaned back in the seat and closed her eyes. “God, what is going on?” she said out loud. “How can we remind him that you love him when he’s looking at maybe never playing ball again?” She lingered a moment before opening her eyes and putting her key in the ignition.

Inside, Grant returned to his chair and flipped through the television channels before settling on ESPN. He was in time to see a replay of the runner sliding into second, the tangled legs and his own resulting fall.

The lacquer-haired announcer showed the clip twice. “Coming back to professional sports after an injury of this type is very difficult. Grant Andrews’s days in a Coyote uniform are probably over. Tough break for a tough player. Our thoughts are with you, Grant.”

Anger surged and he clenched his left hand around the remote. He caught himself just as he was about to hurl it into the television. He forced himself to sit still and inhale deeply as he watched the next story about last year’s Series’ winners struggle in their first games of the new season. By the time the announcers were through bantering and segued into the commercial break, he could breathe normally. The news continued but he didn’t hear it. He kept seeing the runner drop into his slide, the ball coming. The fall. Then nothing except the pain.

He jumped when the phone rang, then reached for it. “Hello.”

“I’m home and inside and everything is fine.” Cami.

“Good. See you soon?”

Did he imagine a pause before she answered?

“Sure. Goodnight, Grant.” She hung up.

Grant remained in his chair while the television danced shadows around the room.

After an hour the movie in his brain switched to an audiotape and he kept hearing Cami tell him that God had a plan for good. A plan for good. A plan for good.

He gave up and went to bed to stare at the ceiling.


Woe! It’s Wednesday

It’s ironic that after my rant last week about self-centered people that a comment from a friend really ticked me off. Basically, someone pointed their finger at me and made an erroneous statement.
It couldn't be more wrong.
I lost a little sleep.
I ranted to a few trusted confidantes.
I wrote a scathing rebuttal.
And deleted it.

Something I've been learning lately is when to speak up and when to shut up. I just wish every situation came with directions so I knew what to do.
I'm thinking this is one I need to speak up on. But to the person who made the comment.
I've noticed that when I need to speak up, but don't, I end up eating something I wish I hadn't, or wasting time on a computer game as I replay the scene in my mind. Obviously, I'm not dealing with the issues.
I think if I could shrug it off and go about my business, that would be my guidance. Since I can't seem to get past it, I need to pay heed to the other guidance, too.


Book Talk Tuesday

I’ve been reading a lot and writing reviews for Author’s Choice book reviews.

Some recent reads that I’ve enjoyed. The reviews might not be posted yet.


Long Time Coming




Each of these books is very different, but each captured my interest and I enjoyed it to the end.

Her Abundant Joy is set in Texas, shortly after Texas statehood. Mariel Wolffe is a widowed German immigrant who meets a hurting Texas Ranger.

Long Time Coming is a story of two women from different sides of the tracks. Each one has a precious gift for the other.

Whispers on the Wind is set during World War I in Belgium.

I’m used to say I don’t enjoy historicals, but now I have to change that. I love any book with a great story.

All of these have a strong characters and great stories.


Fiction Friday: Curve Ball, Chapter 10

The childhood memory that Grant’s mom shares with Cami is based on one my friend Abbie told about her cousin when he was about that age. I had to use it. See? Whatever you tell a writer is fair game and you can’t say you weren’t warned.


Chapter Ten

Cami and Grant entered the restaurant and headed for the back corner where the Andrews’ had commandeered a large table. Cami felt Grant’s hand on the small of her back and didn’t pull away. How long had it been since she’d let a man do that? And tonight Grant had done it several times and she hadn’t retreated at all. Odd.

Paige was chatting with Grant’s mom while Jonathan and his dad had an empty chip basket in front of them. They greeted the new arrivals and scooted closer to make room.

“We ordered a family style meal of enchiladas, nachos, and beans and rice,” Jonathan said. “Hope that’s okay with you. How was the team party?”

“Boring. We’re glad to be here,” Grant answered.

Paige looked at Cami and raised her eyebrows. Cami smiled back.

The next hour passed in conversation and eating. Cami dabbed her napkin on her lips after every bite. The wrong way to impress Grant’s parents would be to talk and laugh with a string of melted cheese draped across her chin.

Mrs. Andrews made an effort to ask questions about her work and the friends they had in common at Agua Vida Community Church before turning to help Jonathan with his kids. Cami sank into her chair and sipped her iced tea, conversations flowing around her like water through the tide pools at Corona del Mar.

Jonathan left first after his children fell asleep in their plates. Sierra struggled to keep her eyes open, then lost the fight as her head wobbled and finally sank into the rice and beans in front of her.

As the rest of the group filed out the front door, Cami and Paige lingered at the giant bull in the entryway. Cami sniffed the fresh roses around the ceramic neck and fingered the petals. “I wish I could duplicate this color. It’s pink but there’s some yellow in there.”

“Where’s your car?” Paige asked.

“I’m an idiot!” Cami dropped the flower necklace. “I forgot all about it. I left Grant’s Volvo at the stadium and rode here with him.”

Grant joined them. “The Tahoe’s at my house. You can ride with me to Newport and drive your car back to Agua Vida. The Volvo will be okay at the stadium and I’ll get it tomorrow.”

“Will you be all right?” Paige asked Cami.

“Yes.” She hugged Paige good-bye. “Thanks for going with me to the game. And for the pep talk. I got a little bit of a backbone at the team party. I’ll tell you about it later. I don’t think Delia and Cinda like me very much.”

“I can’t wait!” Paige waved farewell.

Twenty minutes later, Cami and Grant parked in front of his house. Her Tahoe held court in the center of his driveway. They got out of his car and examined her vehicle.

“Beautiful. I can’t tell she ever had anything written on her,” Cami said. “Thank you for taking care of this for me.”

“Would you like to come in?” He leaned against her car and took her hand as she stood in front of him.

“I don’t think I better. I have work in the morning and it’s late.”


“You’re right!” Cami laughed. “I am.”

“Am I so scary?”

“No….” Her voice trailed off. She wasn’t ready for this. “I’m scared of how you make me feel.” She gripped his hand.

“Well, if it’s any comfort, I’m scared, too,” he said.

“You? Mr. Grant Andrews, famous short stop for the Orange County Coyotes? Breaker of hearts all across the Southland?”

Grant grinned. “Yeah, that’s me. I’m scared of what I’m feeling for you. But I’m flat terrified of getting involved with someone like Delia.”

“I don’t blame you. I was scared standing in front of her waiting for popcorn.”

“I don’t want to talk about Delia, I want to talk about you. And me. And where do you see this going?”

“Honestly, Grant, I don’t know. I’ve never known anyone like you. And I’ve never….” Her voice trailed off.

“You’ve never…what?”

She closed her eyes for a brief moment and sent a quick prayer heavenward.

“There’s something I should tell you. It’s not a big deal really, but only a few other people know. I don’t talk about it much, and…. I can’t believe I’m telling you this. I just met you again – what- two weeks ago.”

“But you’ve known me for years. Who saved your Grade Point Average by helping you through Geography?”

She smiled. “That would be you.”

“And who introduced you to the great sport of laser tag?”

“You again.”

“And who …. I can’t think of any more.”

Cami leaned against him and wrapped her arms around his waist to hug him.

“Who has been unfailingly kind and considerate, even when I’ve been moody and weird?”

“Ummm… me?”

“And who took care of my car and invited me to a great baseball game?”

“I forgot how wonderful I am. Thanks for reminding me.”

She pulled away to look into his eyes. “You are very welcome.”

“Anyway, what did you want to tell me?”

She sighed. “Like I said, it wasn’t a big deal, but my last boyfriend got a little rough one night.”

He stepped back and gripped her elbows. “What does that mean? Did he hit you?”

“No. Not really. He - ” She took a deep breath to steady her voice. “I guess you’d call it a sexual assault.”

“He raped you?”

The bare words hit her in the gut. “No!” She lied without a second’s thought, purely a reflex.

“Then what?”

“He forced me to-” She looked past him to the light fixture next to the garage door. A June bug buzzed around, intent on throwing itself on the bulb.

Grant pulled her close. “I had no idea. But I wondered if there was something.”

“You did?” Did she have a scarlet letter?

“You’re always on heightened alert about security.”

“Yeah. Well, it’s been a couple of years now. And I’m fine.”

“I’m so sorry.” They stood in the quiet driveway for several minutes. “Can I arrange a hit on the guy?”

She stifled a laugh. “Even up to a couple of months ago, I might have taken you up on that.”

“What happened? Did you file charges?”

“I’ll tell you some other time. I really do need to get home now.”

“Will you come to tomorrow’s game?”

She hesitated.

“Please. You don’t want to leave me vulnerable to Delia’s attacks, do you? Cinda will have told her by now that I had a date. She’ll take the silencer off and bull’s-eye me right on the infield.”

Cami smiled. “You leave on Friday?”


“I’d like to come to all the games until then. If it’s okay with you.”

“It’s great with me.” He brushed his lips across her forehead and released her. “Call me as soon as you get home.”

“I will.” She climbed into the Tahoe and drove away, watching Grant in her rearview mirror as he stood in his driveway.

The next day, Cami got her ticket and found the section. She stood at the top of the aisle, surveying the field. The grass shimmered green, a celadon with Kelly highlights. Azure sky and gunmetal gray and blue uniforms completed the picture. She inhaled the smells of popping corn and roasting hotdogs before starting down the steps.

Her seat was in the same row as yesterday. But only Grant’s parents sat there this time. Mr. Andrews stood to let her pass as he fiddled with the tuning knob on a transistor radio. He listened intently through earphones.

“Hi, Mrs. Andrews,” Cami said. “Where is everyone?”

“Either work or school,” she answered. “We can’t always come either. This is Grant’s job, but for the rest of us, it’s recreation. And we have other responsibilities. He understands, but he likes us to come when we can. And please, we’re Peg and Cap.”

Cami settled into her place and looked around the section. She found Cinda and Delia above and to her left. They talked animatedly with occasional peeks in her direction. Peg followed her glance and smiled.

“I’m happy you and Grant got reacquainted. I never cared for Delia and the way she was going after him.”

“It seems like we’ve known each other a very long time.”

“I’m thankful you’re a Christian, also. I know Grant has gotten lazy in his spiritual life. I hope you can encourage him to return to his faith.”

“Me too,” Cami said, then paused. Did Peg expect Cami to lead Grant back to the Lord? “But I have to tell you, I don’t believe anyone can pursue a relationship with God and find it fulfilling when they’re doing it only to please someone else.”

“But it could lead to Grant returning to God on his own. That’s all I’m saying.”

“I’d love for that to happen,” Cami said, relieved.

The team ran out on the field then and they both turned their attention to the warm-up exercises.

Grant stood near second base and caught balls fired by the first baseman and the right fielder.

“When did you realize he might be a really good athlete?” Cami asked Peg.

“He was two years old and could throw a ball across the yard. He also had great eye-hand coordination. Cap was busting his buttons.” Peg glanced fondly at her husband, still listening to his radio. “One time, he was about four, I guess. We lived in Alameda and took the boys to an Oakland A’s game. We got there a little late, maybe in the third inning. The next day, Grant mentioned that he didn’t get to see Jose Canseco play.”

“Who?” Cami asked.

“Their star player back then. Anyway, we checked and Canseco had sprained his wrist in the first inning. Four years old and Grant knew who the players were and if they played.”

“That’s amazing. Although at that age, my brother was always playing with his Hot Wheels. And he’s really into cars still.”

“Boys are a different species, that’s for sure.” Peg settled back into her seat.

They continued chatting as the game started. The Coyotes were playing the Mariners. Mr. Andrews kept score and tracked statistics. Grant caught an infield fly to end the top of the first inning. He fouled out in the Coyotes first at bat. The second inning began with the score tied.

The first two Mariners at bat struck out. The next drew a base on balls. The cleanup batter drove the ball into a hole in right field and suddenly there were runners on first and third. The visiting team’s power hitter watched a couple strikes go over the plate before swinging. He connected and the ball bounced to the pitcher who caught it reflexively. He looked at both the first baseman and Grant who covered second. The runner on first charged ahead. The pitcher whipped the ball towards Grant. The runner dropped to slide. His feet connected with Grant’s shins. Grant toppled over, his left arm out to catch the ball, his right extended to break his fall. He fell onto his outstretched arm. He didn’t get up.


Woe! It’s Wednesday

Sometimes it seems like the Christian walk is a constant battle between self and culture.

Scripture says I’m worthless apart from God, deserving only death.

Contemporary society says I deserve nothing but the best, including L’Oreal hair color, a luxury car, and all the pampering my body can take.

Scripture says God is active in my life. He has plans and He works everything out for good.

Society says I have to take matters into my own hands and make my own destiny.

Scripture says He knew me before I was knit together in my mother’s womb, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Society says if I don’t like my cheeks, my nose, my lips, my whatever, I deserve to be sculpted, lifted, and lasered to my liking.

I’m dealing with some people in my life who seem so self-centered I’m surprised they venture out at night, seeing as they believe the moon follows them wherever they go.

I figured that someday, something would happen and they would realize that the world in fact spins on its own axis and not around them.

It doesn’t seem to be happening. Years have gone by and they are still only concerned with what happens in their orb and how it affects them.

A flood in my kitchen? “Oh, did I tell you about the time I had a drippy faucet that kept me awake all night?”

My family member struggling with illness? “Oh, remember the time I had a hangnail and it stung so badly I couldn’t even open the mail?”

Money/retirement issues? “Oh, I know. I had to give up my People magazine subscription because you know, they want $2 an issue now!”

It makes me want to shake them and yell. Loudly.

But then I’m reminded that it’s not all about me. And just maybe there might be something wrong with them (narcissism?) to keep them so insulated and inner-focused.

And I resolve to give them another chance.

So I sigh and say, “No, I don’t remember. Please tell me again.”

God knows, I may need another chance myself some day.


Today, I’m praying for: Bob and Stacey, Evelyn, Laura and John’s baby, and Jaimee’s family.

Last book: Licensed for Trouble by Susan May Warren – Loved it!

Last movie: Inkheart


Book Talk Tuesday

It’s time once again to talk about my friends’ books.


Angel Song by Kathryn Cushman and Sheila Walsh.

Angel Song by Kathryn Cushman and Sheila Walsh

Ann Fletcher has returned to Charleston to celebrate her sister’s Master’s degree. A tragic accident turns the graduation party into a funeral.

Just before Sarah died, she hummed a snatch of a song. That melody haunts Ann until she flees Charleston for New York. But circumstances keep conspiring to pull her back to her childhood home and the new friends she’s made there, including the Down syndrome boy next door, Keith.

Keith talks about the angels he sees, which makes Ann very uncomfortable. That church stuff was okay for her grandmother and her sister, but Ann doesn’t need that crutch any more.

Ann learns she’s not as tough as she thinks and she’s definitely not as in control.

Katie did a wonderful job putting Sheila’s story on paper and making it real with characters you feel might walk into your own kitchen and sit down for a glass of sweet tea.

I loved it!


Fiction Friday, Curve Ball Chapter 9

As you might gather from the name of this blog, I share Cami’s views on chocolate, nuts, and fruit.



Chapter Nine

The game was over and the Coyotes had won, 6-4. Cami entered the Diamond Club, and then stopped abruptly. The few people inside laughed uproariously at something. A vision of being an anxious island in a sea of celebration flashed before her.

Paige had gone with the Andrews family. They were headed to a Mexican restaurant and would wait for Grant and Cami to join them. If she hurried, she might be able to find them before they left. She turned to leave, but a security man with a clipboard called out to her.

“Name, miss?”

“Oh. Camille Henderson. But I don’t think I’m on the list. Grant Andrews just…”

“Here you are.” The man made a notation on his paper and handed her a lanyard with a visitors badge on the end. “Return this when you leave. Drinks are in the other room. Mr. Andrews and the rest of the team should be arriving soon.”

“Thank you.” The decision to stay forced on her, Cami slipped the lanyard over her head and moved into the room. It was a private box with a spectacular view of the stadium and field. Aromas from an adjoining room floated in. Garlic and … maybe basil overpowered the popcorn and beer smell of the stadium. She wandered over to the windows and watched the grounds keepers as they performed their duties so far below.

“Hello. You must be one of the newbies.”

Cami started and turned to the voice. It was Delia’s companion at the snack bar.

“Pardon me?”

“Are you a newbie? A girlfriend or wife of a new player? I’m Cinda. My husband is Bill Ross, pitcher.”

“Ah. No. I’m ….” Cami paused. What was she? “I’m a guest, waiting for my friend.”

“And that would be…?”

Cami opened her mouth to answer, but a sudden perversity stopped her. “Just a friend. Excuse me. I need something to drink. Nice meeting you.”

Cami moved to the next room and helped herself to some bottled water. How’s that for a backbone, Paige? She grinned at the thought.

“I love to see you smile.” Grant joined her. “What’s that one for?”

She laughed out loud. “I’ll tell you later.”


“Absolutely.” It felt natural as Grant put his hand on the small of her back and guided her across the room. He murmured into her ear.

“I want you to meet a few people, then we’ll get out of here.”

“Grant, nice game!” Cinda stood in their path, appraising Cami with an up and down glance.

“Thanks.” He didn’t stop.

Looking at Cami, Cinda said, “I didn’t catch your name.” She did a side step to block their progress through the crowd.

“I’m sorry,” Cami spoke up. “You told me yours, but I was thirsty and didn’t return the favor. I’m Camille, an old friend of Grant’s.” She slipped her hand into his.

“Cinda, we’ve got to go. I’m here long enough to make nice with the powers that be, then we’ve got plans.”

“Don’t let me keep you.” She finally moved out of the way and Grant led Cami through the crowd. She could feel Cinda’s gaze follow them. She chuckled. This was fun, having a backbone.

“What was that about?” Grant glanced at her.

“Tell you later. Yes, I promise.”

Grant gripped her hand tighter and pulled her into his side. He put his arm around her waist and whispered into her ear again.

“You have two promises to make good on later.”

“I know.”

Grant stopped in front of a man with gray hair and a comb-over that started just above his left ear.

“Grant, nice job today.” He nodded his head to acknowledge Cami.

“Thanks. Eli West, this is Camille Henderson. Cami, Eli is the Coyote’s General Manager.”

“Good to meet you.” Eli shook her hand. “Ah, here’s my wife.” He motioned a woman standing nearby to come closer. He introduced Cami to his wife Yvette, a petite woman, about the age of Grant’s parents. With her blonde hair pulled back and in a white pants suit, she looked like an ice berg. Even her hand shake was chilly.

“So nice to meet you. Is this your first game?”

“Yes.” Cami nodded. “I’m a little overwhelmed.”

“You’ll get used to it. Where are you from?”

“Agua Vida, down the coast a little ways.” Cami wondered whether she could get used to anything about the Coyotes. “I went to high school there with Grant. We ran into each other recently and he invited me to the game.” But she could get very used to being around Grant.

“I see. And what do you do in Agua Vida?”

“I paint. Decorative art and faux finishes. And I teach art enrichment classes at the rec center.”

“How wonderful. You must be interested in literacy programs, too. Do you do any tutoring? Or perhaps fund raising?” Yvette sipped her drink and looked into Cami’s eyes.

“Not really.” Cami shrugged. “I’m busy with work. I barely have time to teach my classes. More volunteer work or anything else would be too much.”

“That’s unfortunate.”

“I guess so.” What was this woman getting at?

Grant turned back from his conversation with Eli.

“Yvette, we need to get going. My family is waiting for us.”

“Of course. Camille, it was a pleasure. I hope Grant will bring you to another game soon. I’d love to tell you about a literacy program I’m involved with.”

“Okay.” She felt the pressure of Grant’s hand on her waist as he tried to move her away from Yvette.

They hadn’t gone more than a few steps though, when another player clapped Grant’s back “Great job.”

“Thanks. Joe, I want you to meet Camille Henderson.”

Joe put his arm around the woman standing next to him. “Nice to meet you. This is my wife, Ellen.”

Cami shook both their hands. Ellen smiled at her. “It’s not always like this.”

“Am I that transparent?”

“I remember my first event up here. I had a panic attack in the restroom.”

“That’s allowed?”

They laughed as she felt a gentle pressure on the small of her back. Grant, guiding her to the door.

“We’ve really got to go. Sorry.”

“Call us,” Joe said. “We’ll have you both over.”

“I promise,” Grant said.

As they left the skybox, Cami returned the visitor’s badge and asked Grant about the conversation with the Wests.

“What did Yvette mean about talking to me regarding a literacy program?”

“She was trying to get you involved with her charitable foundation.”

“What foundation?”

“I don’t know if we should be having this conversation yet.” He glanced at her as they continued down the stairs. “You’ve made it clear you want our relationship to move slow.”

“What does that have to do with a charity?”

“The wives and girlfriends of players and management are not expected to work. Wait, I didn’t phrase that right. They are expected to not work, at least not in the conventional sense.”

They had descended from the skybox and were approaching Grant’s car in the private parking lot.

“Is that Buster Reilly’s car?” Cami pointed to a red Pantera with a license plate that read 300 Wins.


“Cool. The kids will be impressed.” She waited as Grant opened the car door for her. “Anyway, what do you mean? About wives and girlfriends not working?”

“The management and owners expect that instead of earning a paycheck, the wives and girlfriends should be involved in charitable work. Volunteering and running foundations and raising money for good causes.”

“Did we time morph back to the 1950’s?”

He laughed. “No pressure. We’ve only started dating.”

“Are you saying that if we continue to see each other, and maybe have a relationship, I would be expected to quit painting and work for that woman’s literacy foundation?”

“She might expect you to. But I won’t. I promise. And speaking of promises, I think you owe me a couple of explanations.”

“They’re both the same. You asked what I was smiling about when you got to the party. And then what made me laugh when we talked to Cinda.”

“I’ve never found Cinda that humorous. I’m curious to know what you thought was funny.”

“It started earlier, during the game. Paige and I eavesdropped on a conversation between Cinda and her sister Delia, then Jonathan told us about Delia trying to get you to date her.”

“He didn’t.”

“Yep. Between Paige and your brother, I don’t think either one of us can keep anything hidden.” She ignored her own secret jumping up and down and clamoring for attention as she continued with her explanation. “Cinda was trying to find out who I was and who I was with from the team. And I played dumb and road blocked her. I laughed because Paige had told me to get a backbone. And it was so fun, being nice to her, but in a perverse kind of way. I’m a terrible person.”

Grant pulled the car into a parking space of Mejia’s Mexican Restaurant. Cami saw Paige’s car parked in the next aisle.

He reached for her hand.

“I’m sorry you had to meet Cinda and hear about Delia that way. They’ve been after me to date Delia for a while now. And I’m absolutely not attracted to her. I like a woman with green eyes, a dimple in her chin, hair that’s a real color, not named for a food.” His eyes caressed her face then he smiled. “Sounds like someone I know.”

“Sounds familiar to me, too.” Could he hear her heart pounding?

“And I want to know everything about you, Camille Henderson.”

“Everything?” She gulped.

“I’ll start with do you like lime or salsa with your tortilla chips?”

Her breath returned. “Oh. Well, salsa. Of course.”

“Of course,” he agreed.

“My turn,” she said. “Do you like to rent new movies or old classics?”

“On a Friday night, it has to be a new action adventure picture. On a rainy winter afternoon, it’s always a classic. Back to me now,” he said. “Chocolate chip cookies: with nuts or without?”

“Without. I don’t believe in mixing my chocolate with either fruit or nuts. Whoever first put chocolate on raspberries has a lot to answer for.”

“Bummer. I love nuts in my cookies.”

“How do you feel about nuts in your life? Specifically, a nut who keeps getting prank calls and has her car vandalized?”

“That’s my favorite kind.” Grant got out of the car and came to her side. He held his hand out to help her, but didn’t let go once she stood. He pulled her close.

“I especially like nuts who can laugh at Cinda and Delia and who have big, wimpy dogs. And if the wimp is named Petey, well, that clinches it.”

He kissed her. She found herself responding with feelings she hadn’t yet acknowledged, even to herself. He pulled away after a moment.

“Enchiladas: shredded or ground beef?” he asked.


“No, I’m not. I plan to finish that later, but right now everyone’s waiting for us inside.”

She laughed. “No, I like my enchiladas with chicken, not beef.”


Woe! It’s Wednesday

When did I get old?

And I’m not talking about years on this earth. I mean when did I start thinking like an old grumpy pessimist?

As a child, I loved scrambling over rocks, especially near rivers, when we went camping or hiking.

Two weeks ago, in Yosemite for the day, I wanted to go sit by the river and read and listen to the water and enjoy the quiet. It took me forever to get there because I went so slowly over the rocks. All I could think about was how easy it would be to slip and fall and snap an ankle. And if that didn’t happen, I could be impaled on a piece of driftwood or a branch sticking out of the rocks.

I often want to cry out warnings to my children or grand-daughter or husband.

“Be careful! The lawn mower could cut off your finger/hand/foot.”

“Watch out! There’s a car coming and he’s flying through the intersection.”

“Wait! Be sure that is turned off/on/paused before you touch it.”

I guess it’s because I’ve now lived long enough to see horrible things happen to people I know. And I’ve read about other catastrophes and know that ‘there but for the grace of God, go I.’


swinging bridge


I’m not a worrier, but I have to say, I am aware of all the evil in the world and I’m very aware that it is only God’s grace that keeps me and my family safe.

I finally made it to the riverside and enjoyed a lovely time of quiet reading and reflection. No snapped ankles or impalements marred the afternoon. Thank God!

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Today I’m praying for: Janet, Amber, Daniel

Last movie: Inkheart – really enjoyed it!

Currently reading: Her Abundant Joy by Lyn Cote. So far, I like it a lot.


Book Talk Tuesday

Childhood Favorites…

I went to see the movie Ramona and Beezus last week. It’s delightful! They did a good job capturing the charm and spunk of the books and the actress who played Ramona is perfect in the part.

We have a rule in our household: You can’t see the movie until you’ve seen the book. There are occasional exceptions, but it’s especially true for children’s and young adult books.

There was a TV series back in the 1980’s or early ‘90s about Ramona. It’s was pretty good, but didn’t quite capture the spirit.

Seeing the movie got me to thinking about my favorite books growing up.

Ramona, of course. Anything by Beverly Cleary, including Henry and Ribsy. I adored her young adult novels and reread them compulsively. Fifteen. The Luckiest Girl. Sister of the Bride.

I also loved the Beany Malone series by Lenora Mattingly Weber.

Betsy, Tacy and Tib series by Maud Hart Lovelace.

Donna Parker books by Marcia Martin. And of course, Trixie Belden.

Edward Eager and his magic books. Half Magic. Magic by the Lake. Seven Day Magic.

Another compulsively read book was Apples Every Day by Grace Richardson. Set in a boarding school in Canada, it had quirky but real teenagers. I still love it.

I devoured Agatha Christie.

I never really got into the Little House books. Or the nurse books with Cherry Ames. Or horse books. I liked family and girl stuff. Still do, I suppose.

Yeah, I was a bookworm geek. But those books took me away from a life that wasn’t fun to live and gave me examples of real kids in families making it work.

What about you? What are the books you loved as a child? Or enjoy revisiting now?

I bought a copy of Beezus and Ramona to read to our granddaughter. I hope she enjoys it, in spite of her video addicted generation.


Fiction Friday, Curve Ball Chapter 8


I haven’t been to a baseball stadium in Orange County so the field Grant plays on is an amalgamation of Dodger Stadium, the Oakland Coliseum and what I could glean online about the Angel’s stadium.


Chapter Eight

Cami keyed in the alarm code and entered her home. Petey waited in the kitchen to greet her. She patted his head and forced herself to check the answering machine for messages before sitting in the cushy chair in a sun-lit corner of the living room. The effort of going through her day as if nothing was wrong left her drained. She snuggled in, closed her eyes and drifted off.

When the phone jerked her awake, the room was in twilight shadows. She groped and found the receiver.


“It’s Grant.”

She took a deep breath and forced herself to sound chipper.

“Hi there. How was your day?”

“Good. I talked to the body shop and your car is ready. They put a rush on it for me. I can run it to you right now and bring the Volvo back. Or you can keep the wagon another day and drive it up here for the game tomorrow.” He sounded hopeful and she had to smile. Grant Andrews, the baseball player, admired by women all over the country, was asking her out. Again.

“It’s a special day for you and your family. I’d be crashing their party.”

“How about if you invite a friend? Then you can sit with my family, but you’d have someone to talk to. I’ll stop by the team party and we can meet up right after.”

She considered the suggestion and liked it. “I’ll see if Paige or Meredith can come. What time?”

Twenty minutes later Cami hung up with a sigh. It felt as if she’d known him all her life. Which she kind of had. She was comfortable with him in a way she’d never been with other men.

She began boiling water for pasta and dumped some salad from a bag into a bowl. After a quick dinner, she’d call Paige or Meredith. Then start painting the sample boards for a possible client who wanted to see her work.

The phone rang just as the linguine was al dente. She answered, tucking the receiver between her shoulder and chin as she poured the boiling water through a colander.

“Hello?” Only silence answered. She wiggled her arm, making sure the phone was close to her ear. “Hello!” Hot water splashed onto her hand.

“Ow!” She dropped the receiver and the pot. She scrambled for the phone and listened again.

Still nothing.

“Who are you? What do you want? Why are you doing this?” With each question, her voice tightened and her panic heightened. Her scalded hand throbbed, but she ignored it. She banged the receiver down and Petey jumped at the noise. With shaking fingers she dialed Meredith’s shop number.

“Classic Automotive. Meredith speaking.”

“Can you come over?”

“Cami? What’s going on?”

“I got another prank call and I’m not handling it very well.” She took a deep breath. “After last night and all.”

“I’ll be right there. Have you had dinner?”

“I fixed some pasta, but I don’t think I can eat.”

“Keep it warm. I’ll bring comfort food for dessert.”

Fifteen minutes later Meredith knocked at Cami’s front door bearing two bags and a pink box. Meredith placed the box in the refrigerator. One bag held a loaf of crusty bread that she popped in the oven to warm. She opened the second bag.

“What is it?” Cami watched, puzzled.

“Caller ID. I’m going to hook it up to your phone. From now on, if you don’t recognize the number or it’s blocked, don’t answer. Be sure and call the phone company first thing in the morning and add it to your account.”

“Why didn’t I think of that?” Cami sighed and dropped into a chair.

“Because someone is terrorizing you. I can’t believe you didn’t mention this before last night.”

“I kept telling myself I was being paranoid and over-sensitive. I have a tendency to be dramatic, you know.”

“Even a paranoid can have enemies.”

Cami laughed, her neck muscles relaxing a bit. “Are you ready to eat?”

“I’m starved.”

They ate and chatted. After the pasta, salad, and bread were gone, Meredith brought the bakery box out of the refrigerator. Layers of dense chocolate cake alternated with mousse and were topped with bittersweet shavings.

They each had a slice. It was decadent and delicious.

Cami closed her eyes to savor the last bite. “Mmmmm. That was wonderful.”

“Feeling better?”

“Much. By the way, what are you doing tomorrow afternoon and evening?”

“I’m taking an all day class on computer diagnostics up in La Mirada. I’ll have to leave here at five in the morning to make it. And it’s supposed to go till six. Why?”

“Grant invited me and a friend to his opener tomorrow.”

“How about Paige?”

“I’ll ask her.”

They moved into the living room and watched an I Love Lucy rerun. After thirty minutes of laughing at Lucy and Ethel stuffing chocolates into their clothing, Cami felt calmer and almost relaxed. She waved good-bye to Meredith with a smile and returned inside, making sure the deadbolt was fastened before picking up the phone.

She called Paige who would be delighted to join her at the game. They agreed to meet in front of Will Call to pick up the tickets Grant said he would leave. In spite of her nap, the stress of the day left Cami exhausted. She double-checked all the locks before heading to bed. The sample boards would have to wait.

“This way.” Paige charged up the stadium steps, Cami following. They had gotten their tickets and were now finding their seats. Cami’s heart raced and she couldn’t catch her breath, but not because of the stairs. She didn’t know if they would be sitting with Grant’s family or alone. New situations made her uncomfortable, especially if she didn’t know what to expect. Dating a baseball player definitely fell into the category of “Bizarre and Strange.”

Paige had no such problems. She forged the path to their section and now waited for Cami to join her at the top of the aisle labeled Section 112.

“Hi, Miss Henderson. How’s Petey?”

Cami looked down. “Hello, Trent. Petey’s fine.” Grant’s nephew stood in front of her. “You must be Jonathan,” she said to the man holding the boy’s hand. “I’m Camille Henderson, I met Trent the other day at the beach. This is my friend, Paige. Grant invited us to the game. We’re looking for our seats.” Babbling again. She closed her mouth to stop the words.

Jonathan smiled and extended his hand.

“That’s why we’re here. Trent said he would recognize you and Grant wanted us to make sure you got to your seats safely and to introduce you to the others.”

“How nice.” Her heart rate slowed from panic to mild dread.

Jonathan and Trent forded the crowd with Cami and Paige following. After they sat, Trent traded his seat so he could be next to Cami. Her head reeled from the quick introductions Jonathan had performed as they squeezed by knees and tried not to step on toes. Grant’s parents were on the aisle.

Mr. Andrews wore civilian clothes but they were obviously not his usual attire. Immaculate khaki’s with razor creases. Binoculars around his neck and a pencil behind his ear. A finger saved his place in the program so he could keep score and track statistics. Grant’s mother held a toddler on her lap. Trent said that was his baby sister, Sierra. Jonathan sat next to his mother and retrieved his daughter. Then came Grant’s youngest brother. Cami thought his name was Lucas. Apparently Jonathan’s wife and the two other brothers couldn’t be there. Trent, Cami and Paige finished the Andrews’ rooting section.

They stood for the National Anthem and first pitch. Conversations went on all around them. They were in the middle of the team’s family section. Hopefully she and Paige weren’t taking seats that should belong to Grant’s brothers or sister-in-law. Jonathan leaned over Lucas and Trent to talk to her.

“Grant said you went to high school with us in Agua Vida. Did I know you there?”

“I don’t think so. I had one class with Grant, but I don’t remember you. Your family did go to the same church. I think your mom ran the Harvest Festival every year.”

“Yep. She still loves organizing that type of thing.” Jonathan sat back in his seat and turned his attention to the game as Grant and the Coyotes took the field.

Paige leaned over to stage whisper. “Sure beats the nose bleed section, doesn’t it?”

Cami had to agree. They were on the third base line, with a clear view of Grant at shortstop.

The first few innings passed rapidly, each team scoring two runs. Grant struck out once and was thrown out at first.

At the bottom of the fifth, Paige wanted snacks so Cami joined her for the opportunity to walk and get some kinks out.

“This is so much fun. I haven’t been to a game in years. Why don’t we do this more often?” Paige bubbled with enthusiasm as they climbed stairs towards the refreshment stands.

“I don’t know. Why don’t we?” The excitement was contagious and Cami had found herself cheering vigorously.

“This will be ‘The Year of Baseball,’” Paige proclaimed. “The next time Kennie is home, we’ll all come. Autumn can bring Claire, and I’ll buy her a plush Coyote and one of those giant foam fingers that say ‘We’re Number One.’ We’ll be real fans.”

Cami laughed as they moved ahead in line. They were both reading the menu board when two women in front of them began to talk.

“I heard Grant needed two extra courtesy tickets. Do you know why?” The speaker was a tall slim woman with blonde hair pulled back into a sleek ponytail. She wore crisp white shorts, a bright pink tank top, and strappy high-heeled sandals. Her friend was dressed similarly, but had dark hair in a modified shag style.

“No. Billy didn’t mention it to me. Do you think he’s seeing someone?”

Paige elbowed Cami in the ribs and they pretended to stare with fascination at the list of refreshments.

“I don’t know. But I’ll find out. I haven’t been baiting him for the past year just for some little groupie to hook him. I’ve been patient with Grant Andrews for a long time now and I don’t intend to let him get away.”

Cami’s eyes widened but she forced her face to remain expressionless.

The other women moved to the counter to place their orders. Paige and Cami waited in silence. After getting popcorn and sodas and returning to their seats, they finally spoke.

“Who was that?” Cami wondered.

“What a little witch!” Paige exclaimed. “She doesn’t intend to let him ‘get away.’ Doesn’t she need a fishing license? Or at least Grant’s permission to keep him on the line?”

Jonathan leaned over.

“Something wrong?”

Cami shook her head as Paige nodded.

“Yes! We had the most surreal experience at the snack bar. These two women in front of us were talking about Grant and one of them said she had spent the last year baiting him or trapping him, something like that. And she didn’t intend to let some groupie get him. She heard he had requested two more tickets, I guess the ones he offered Cami and me.”

“That must have been Delia. Tall blonde, on the rocks?”

“That’s her!” Paige laughed. Cami kept her eyes on the field, but her ears wide open.

“Delia’s been trying to get Grant to ask her out for a long time. Her sister is married to one of the pitchers and they’ve decided that Delia and Grant would make a nice couple.”

“What does Grant think of that?” Paige asked the question but Cami listened intently for the answer.

“Not much. He’s polite, but he hasn’t invited Delia out or taken them up on it when they try to get him on a double date.”

“What was that comment about groupies?” Paige again. She was so good at asking Cami’s own questions.

“It’s like any other business that has celebrities. Pro sports attract groupies, hangers-on, and wannabes. There are some women who want to date an athlete, any athlete. And they throw themselves at the players.”

“I thought that kind of thing ended when Paul McCartney hit fifty.”

Cami laughed. “Even I know about it and I’m just a poor old spinster artist. I’ve heard the teenage girls talking. You wouldn’t believe the way they go on about musicians and actors. And some of them really believe they could have a relationship, if only they could meet Orlando Bloom or John Mayer. It’s sad.”

“She’s right,” Jonathan said to Paige. “Grant has women sending him their phone numbers, e-mail addresses, even risqué pictures.”

“What does he do?”

“He hired a firm to handle his correspondence. They can sort out the personal stuff from the other, and they’ve been trained to flush out the truly whacked from the immature and lovelorn.”

“Well. I’m amazed.” Paige leaned back in her seat and returned her attention to the game. “I never knew the Great American Pastime had a seamy side.”

His children claimed Jonathan’s interest leaving Cami alone with her thoughts. She watched the game but couldn’t say who made any plays.

At the end of the seventh inning, an usher approached Grant’s dad and handed him an envelope. Mr. Andrews glanced at it and passed it down the row. When it reached Cami, she was surprised to see it was addressed to her. She opened it and read the enclosed note.

“After the game, can you come to the Diamond Club? I’ll meet you there and after I shake hands with the owners and manager we’ll leave and go to dinner with everyone else. Paige can come too, or she can follow my folks to the restaurant.”

Indecision flooded her. She nudged Paige who read the note over her shoulder.

“Of course you’re going.”

“I don’t know.” Cami sighed. “After what Jonathan told us and hearing that Delia woman….”

“You’re going.” Paige was firm. “Honestly Cami, get a backbone. Or at least a little self esteem. Grant invited you here, not Delia. He’s had plenty of chances to date her and he doesn’t want to. I’ll go on ahead with the others. Here.” She dug in her purse and handed a pen to Cami. “Tell him you’ll be there, and send the note back.”


Woe! It’s Wednesday…

2 kids and a pony


A word has been coming up fairly frequently in our house lately.


You hear it on the news and read it in the papers.

Merriam-Webster defines it as:

  1. 1. the state of condition of being entitled.
  2. 2. a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group. (Like Social Security)
  3. 3. belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges.

Dictionary.com said the same as 1 & 2.

Most of the definitions say entitlement is bestowed. It is given by a person or group to another person or group.

It’s definition number 3 from Merriam-Webster that has taken over our culture.

We think we’re entitled to

  • happiness
  • a new car
  • a vacation home
  • a designer purse
  • an iPhone
    • a pony
  • an A on a test we didn’t study or prepare for but we deserve the grade because we knew the material but it’s not our fault Mom forgot to …

The list could go on and on and on and…

Anyway, my point (and I do have one) is that I am not entitled to anything. Not a home with air conditioning when it’s 110 degrees outside. Not a car. Not a library card.

Those are gifts, precious and wonderful. But I don’t deserve them. Those kids in the photo at the top look very excited about getting to ride their pony. I wonder (if they owned it) how long it took before they complained about feeding it and cleaning up its poop and brushing its hair.

I need to remember this when I get whiny about having to wait while my printer spits out the next pages of my manuscript. When I wait in line to put gas in my car. And when the dog carries off my new shoe.

I’ll try to remember, but I “make no guarantees.” (That’s another catchphrase around our house. Can you name that movie?")


Today I’m praying for Lisa, Laura M., Joyce, and Toni.

Last movie: Eclipse!!

Last book: Meander Scar by Lisa J. Lickel


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Book Talk Tuesday

I’ve been a voracious reader since I first saw Dick and Jane chase Spot around the yard. When desperate, I’ve been known to read labels and phone books.

Now that my eyesight has made it difficult to see anything on a label except pictures, I’ve had to give up that past time. But I still love to read.

Mostly fiction.

Which makes it odd that I fell in love with an amazing nonfiction book.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote Blink and The Tipping Point. Then he came out with Outliers.


I couldn’t put it down. Then I went back and read Blink.  The Tipping Point is now number two on my stack and I hope to get to it this week.

Outliers is about what makes success possible. We’re often taught that it’s the result of perseverance, determination, talent, etc.

Gladwell doesn’t discount those things, but he says your family history, your environment, and the available resources in your family and community may have more to do with it than you thought.

It’s a fascinating study of success and how it’s achieved. I talked about that book for months.

I can’t wait to get to The Tipping Point and do the same.