Friday, December 17, 2010


The second cataract surgery was successful! I'm so blessed to be able to SEE with out contacs.
Especially in the middle of the night!

Another BLESSING was the birth of my first great grandchild. Christopher Nickolas Weishampel was born on Dec. 5th, weighing 8 1/2 pounds, 21 inches long. His poor mom is only 4'11". Mom, baby, and Daddy Chris are doing well.

A greater BLESSING is the Birthday of our Lord. This is why I celebrate Christmas.

JESUS is Better than Santa Claus

Santa lives at the North Pole.
JESUS lives everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh.
JESUS rides the wind and walks on water.

Santa comes once a year.
JESUS is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies.
JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited.
JESUS stands at your door and knocks, and then enters your heart when invited.

You have to wait in line to see SAnta.
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap.
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is
"Hi little or boy or girl, what's your name?"

JESUS knew our name before we were born
Not only does He know our name, He knows our address, too.
He knows our history, and future, and even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like bowl full of jelly.
JESUS has a heart full of love.

All Santa can offer is HO, Ho, Ho.
JESUS offers health, help and hope.

Santa says "You better not cry"
JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."

Santa's little helpers make toys.
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but
JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree
JESUS became our gift and died on a tree. The cross.

Santa is pretend. JESUS is real

We need to put Christ back in CHRISTmas, JESUS is still the reason for the season.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Have a Blessed Season.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


What do you FEAR?
All my life I've been most defensive of anything near my eyes. Facing Cataract surgery, I had to face my fear of something poking me in my eye.
I've worn glasses since I was seven and probably needed them before that time.
I can't see the big "E" without contac lens. My vision is less than 20/400.
I began wearing hard contacs at age 16, promptly losing one in the swimming pool. The pain of adjusting to contacs was worth being able to see the gravel in the pavement and doing away with "cokebottle" glasses.
An infected tear duct triggered my fear as I watched the doctor come at my eye with huge scalpels.
Years later I suffered (and I do mean suffered!) a corneal abrasion that required wearing a pirate patch for a couple of weeks.
Facing the idea of cataract surgery, I explained all this to the understanding doctor who assured me I'd be sedated for a few minutes while they injected (ouch) around my eye. Then I'd be awake (Horrors) while he removed the old lens and replaced it with a new one.
Here is my concept of FEAR.
Have Faith
Encouragement from others
Admit fears
Relax and Rejoyce when it's over.
My right eye is clear, vision is bright, colors are beautiful, no longer cloudy. My left eye (vision 20/400) is patched so my poor brain can function. I need glasses for reading, but now I can't wait for the surgery on the left eye!
FEAR? What's that? Face Everything And Recover.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Anthology has Arrived

Fall 2008, inspired by stories we shared after Hurricane Ike several of the writers with the Golden Triangle Writers Guild discussed putting together an anthology of storm stories. Nudged, prodded and encouraged by Debra Johnson we began to submit stories to her for consideration in this venture.

Fifteen of us had our stories sellected for publication.

It's in the Gulf is a collection of fiction and true-stories, heartwarming and frightening, from beginning authors to experienced.

Thank you Debra for years of dedicated work compiling and editing, and to the Guild for publication.

Look for the book in you favorite book store or order from Amazon.

Inspired by last week's conference, I've spent most of the past week on my computer working on a new novel.

Here is another book, not yet written:

Under the Bleachers by Seymore Butts

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bayou Writers Conference

Even without contacs, last Saturday's writer's conference was an eye opener.

I sat with two writer friends, Peggy and Sylvia from Golden Triangle Writers Guild. We discussed the hurricane antholgy, It's in the Gulf, that was finally printed. Several authors contrubuted to the book right after Hurricane Ike in the fall of '08. Thank you Debra for your long frustrating task in getting this edited and put together.

My friend, author Curt Iles, was on the panel for discussion of self-publishing. He has seven books out and is now an independent publisher. His books set in Southwest La. are selling like mudbugs.

I had a one-on-one conference with Gary Goldstein editor with Kensington Press. He liked my proposal for "Soul Sisters", a manuscript I've been working on for some time. He encouraged me to send it to him. That's done!!!

Several other speakers talked about the children's book market, contemporary inspriational writing and ofcourse different aspects of publishing.

An added benefit of the conference was that I was able to showcase my books and sold a few.

The well organized and informational conferencedrive was well worth the drive to Lake Charles All writers and writer wanna-bees should attend a local conference.

. Have you heard of this book yet to be written?
"Annoying Kids" by Ira Tate
or this one:
"It's Not My Fault" by Indy Nile

Have fun and keep on writing.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Prayer Requests

I've been home for a couple of hectic weeks now. Busy with the house and getting things in order.

I have several prayer requests.
I have worn contac lens since 1958 and am now in the prep stage for cataract ssurgery. I'm out of the contacs and wearing extremely thick tri-focal glasses. Writing, the computer and reading are difficult, therefore my blog will be short. Please pray for me and that the surgery will go well. I'm very defensive of anything close to my eyes and the idea of "seeing" what's happening frightens me.

Please pray for my daughter Cora. She is pregnant and having a very rough time. Nothing stays down. she spent a week in the hospital and is now on bed rest. She is due in May.

Also my daughter-in-law, Maggie, is also pregnant. The baby is extremely large (Daddy Chris is 6'7") and she is having early contractions. She is due in Dec.

Grandson, Devin, is now stationed at the Air Force base in San Angelo for tech school.

I plan to catch up on writing about writing as soon as I can SEE.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Heading home- the long way.

While waitin for the brakes on my RV to be serviced, the Martins and I explored the town of Centralia, Washinton. we discovered a 1940's frame house on a corner lot enclosed by a primitive art fence. The owner invited us to explore the crammed artistic contents of his yard. He'd devoted 20 + years of collecting "junk" and creating fanciful sculptures. These styrofoam, milk crate figures with sunglasses were my favorities.

With brakes repaired, I left my friends and traveled to the southwestern coast of Washington.
Here I made my way to the Pacific Ocean at the spot where William Clark and others first discovered the ocean on Nov. 19, 1805.
This bronze sculpture represents the discovery of a huge fish (sturgen?) by one of Clark's party.
The Pacific was cold although the strong breeze was quite warm.

Traveling down the Oregon coast I made many stops to photograph the cliffs and surf. The weather was overcast, so contrast was difficult to achieve.

At this overlook, I overlooked an artist's shoulder. He was painting the rocks and surf beyound.
What a "story starter" this could be.

This section of coast was called the Devil's churn.
The surf pounded into the canyon below with fury and force.

I'm glad I wasn't using film because I took so many pictures trying to capture the pounding surf.

Early one morning I was able to photograph a peacful Pacific as the sunrise reflected from the surface.

Note the full moon.
Leaving Oregon for California, I traveled the Redwood Highway through the Redwood National Forest. To my disappointment, there were few places where I could pull out with the RV and take photos.
Camping was very expensive. The trees are so emense that they did not photograph well.

On to California where I visited with my cousin Diane and her son Toby. Then on to Fresno to visit Chris and Maggie and their expected son (My great-grand son).

Maggie is due in Dec. but is already huge.

We attended Bella's soccor practice. Bella is Maggie's daughter.
The sunset remeinded me that the cool temps I'd been enjoying were over.
My first day in Cal. it was 103 degrees.

This is Bella before her game.

On Chris's day off we went to the Fresno zoo.
I couldn't resist taking a picture in front of a lifesized painting of the gorilla.

Gorilla, look out when Chris is around!

Diane and Toby joined me in Fresno to caravan to Texas.

Our plan to visit the Grand Canyon was almost twarted by rain, but we camped anyway.

We donned rain gear and took the shuttle from the campground to the village. Fog and heavy clouds obscured the canyon.
Another shuttle to Hermit's rest gave us an opportunity to check out the view from several overlooks.
At last the clouds began to lift and we could see the fantastic layers of rock into the depths of the canyon.

I was glad to see that this sign had been repaired or replaced at Hermit's Rest. Several years ago when I first saw it, the sign was hard to read. I don't know who was responsible for it, perhaps the architect, Mary Colter, who designed and oversaw construction of the many stone building that date from the late 1800s.

At last the sun began to break up the clouds.

We could see some of the colors.

Looks like I have an almost duplicate picture.

That night it rained. The morning was a chilly 45 degrees.
We took the park road along the south rim to the East or Desert View entrance. As we traveled, I began to see white stuff on the ground. On coming traffic was sparce, There were no tracks.
Was it snow?

Hail began to pound the roof. I pulled into the parking area at the visitors center at the Watchtower. Diane and Toby parked and ran to the RV for consultation. By now the sleet was about four inches thick with pock marks from the hail. We sat it out. I got out my Alaska jackets for all to share. When the wind subsided we made a dash for the visitor's center.

Park rangers told us that we were under a severe weather advisory for the next several hours. Not daunted we rushed to visit the Watchtower, getting pelted by hail and wind driven sleet.
The watchtower is made of hand picked stone and was sweating from the storm. Notice how white the sky is. That's blowing sleet.

This is one of many Native paintings that line the interior of the four storied watch tower. We were able to climb to the top floor but the observation deck was closed for obvious reasons.

The frame door to the watchtower blew open.

Sleet was now about 6 inches deep. Those footprints are from other brave souls (soles?) who visited in the storm.

We faught the wind and hail to return to the visitor's center where we were told that the desert highway to Flagstaff was under flash flood warnings and that we should go back to the village and proceed south to Williams on I-40, then East to Flagstaff. Stripping cold wet clothes to chanage into dry outfits, we
returned the way we had come.
We praised the Lord for this delay for as we approached Flagstaff on the interstate, we came on the remains of two tornados that had overturned two 18 wheelers and wrecked a Camping World's
dealership. Later we learned that it had taken several bull dozers to get the wreckage off the highway.

Within a day, we were visiting the Pertified Forest and the Painted Desert. What a contrast!
And now I'm back picking up the peices and trying to settle back in.
I will be starting a series of blogs on Writing/travel/taxes.
Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Additions to last post.

The blog posted before I was started with the the text. So please excuse the interruption.
The first picture is of the Forth Star Baptist church in Anderson. The pastor is an old friend, Hugh Long, and his wife Marilyn from Florida. Although in their late 70's they love ministering in Alaska.
The second picture is of my rig parked in front of the Martin's in front of Salcha Baptist Church. The pastor is Mark Christiansen who is also the program director for the camp. He and his wife have 5 delightful children.
The remaining photos will have to be self explainatory. From the camp we drove in brilliant sun with frosty mornings. (28 degrees) from Delta to Tok and then through the border crossing into the Yukon. Dale took the photo of the magnificent moon rise on our last night in Alaska.
Note the highway frost ridges. This only lasts for a few miles but is repeated, and repeated and repeated as we head south. I have never seen such brilliant golds on the fall trees as I've seen on the aspens, cottonwoods, and birch. the contrast with dark blue/green spruce is awsome.
We encountered the swans with cignets, elk, moose and a bear on the Alcan. After a visit and dinner at Whitehorse, we traveled to Watson Lake to the signpost forest, then down the Cassiar to Jade City. We camped at Meziadin Provencial Park. After Sunday services and a chili lunch we drove the Kia 25 miles north up a narrow single lane gravel road into Canada along side and above the Salmon glacier.
The three of us are posed in front of the Salmon Glacier, near Hyder, Alaska, only a bordercrossing away from Stewart, British Columbia. This glacier is the fifth largest in Canada and is far below us. We saw the grizzliy and her two cubs on the gravel road, and the black bear and her cub fishing for salmon.
Continuing on down the Cassiar and then the Cariboo highways we stopped along the Frazier River canyon for the night. (our 7th since leaving Delta). A bear track warned of samon fishing by the blackies. After watching trains creeping along rail ridges on both sides of the canyon walls we cooked out, including mixed berry cobbler, and enjoyed a sun set.
The following day we crossed the Canadian/US border into Washington. Traffic!!! I didn't miss the traffic one bit. After getting my brakes checked, I'll be on my way to California, then to Texas.

Leaving Alaska, Yuykon, Canada and more

It's time to catch up. I followed Lynne and Dale from Wasilla up the Parks highway toward Danali N.P.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Other side of Writing - Selling at the State Fair

Last week was one of change. Warmer sunny days followed 32 days of rain. Then hail. and more hail. followed by this magnificent ranbow.
I held a book signing at Costco on Friday and sold out.
The following ten days of the Palmer State Fair I shared a book with
Don Porter a murder mystery writer and DeAnn and David Gleason, non-fiction as well as fiction writers.

Although confined to the booth in an enclosed building, I did have an occasional opportunity to visit the fair.
Alaskan's love flowers as evidenced by the plantings scattered around the grounds.
The weather shifted from warm (60) to cold, blowing rain. It didn't affect fair attendance, but seemed to dampen sales for everyone except food venders.

Entertainment ranged from dance groups to country western singers, camedians, reptile and bird handlers, horses and dogs.
Walking during a break a came across these guys drumming on waterjugs and tin pans. They put on quite a show shifting positions without missing a beat.

Always looking for characters to write about, I asked this girl to let me photgraph her wild hair do.
Her mother said that she had been shocked when the girl, usually shy, asked for it.
Wonder what story this could inspire.

On the coldest, wettest day of the fair, Alaskan's were still eating ice cream (along with turkey legs, blueberry cream puffs, giant Texas tacos with salmon, etc).
This bundled up little girl is licking an ice cream cone .
Alaskans consume the largest per capata volume of ice cream of any state. Now that could be a story.

Here is a character just waiting for a story. The man on the phone has two girls in the stroller, one on a leash (she's leaning on the counter) and a 7 week old daughter in the baby sling across his chest.
He said he and his wife are both security guards at the fair and alternate work and baby sitting.

Artist abound and attract me. The carver is working on a Hiada design from southeast Alaska. He has studied native design and painted the form and is now carving between the painted lines. He waid that the width of the lines have meaning to the artist.

At last proof that I'm not senile.
When I was in college (a hunderd years ago) I studied spinning and weaving and came across reference to the use of the under coat of the Samoyed dog by the Tshimshan tribe of the southeast coast. I had two dogs and spun their fun andwove with it. I've not been able to find reference to this since.
Here at the fair was a man who raised the dogs, spun the hair and crocheted the wool.
Now I'm tempted to save Sassie's fur.

Lynne created this beautiful t-shirt quilt with shirts from her son-in-law. Although she did not win a ribbon, it was on display and was a surprise for him when they visited the fair.
Good job Lynne.

There were way too many beautiful quilts on display to photograph each and every one.
Lots of inspiration and stories.
One small quilt was made by a 7 year old boy with the help of his grandmother. I'll bet he'll never say "bored" again.

Of course there are the giant vegetables. This long bean set a new state record. It is 73 3/4 inches long!
I don't know what a long bean is used for but it would feed a crowd.

This year's crowd pleaser is a pumpkin that set a new state record of 1,101 pounds!
How much crust would it take to make a pie?

Aongd with trying to convince fair goers to buy my books, I took notes for a future novel. The characters had already plotted to visit the fair. Now I have much material to make it real.
Thanks to DiAnne Mills, I'm incorporating "fact to fiction".
It's the selling I find the hardest part of writing.
Oh well, back to Costco signing this weekend.