Monday, November 18, 2013

"D" Disaster Relief

This blog will deviate from writing and crafts, however many of the stories that I heard and my experiences should be recorded. I deployed with Texas Baptist Men, Disaster Relief to Manchaca, Texas, south of Austin, to assist in clean up and recovery after flash flooding destroyed or damaged over 2,000 homes.
I served as part of the feeding team. I've never experienced disaster relief cooking in a commercial style church kitchen. What a pleasure to be inside and not under a tent from 4:30 .A.M. until 7:30 P.M with short breaks. During the three weeks that TBM were deployed we served 1,740 meals to the volunteers who cleaned homes.

This is one of the many homes where the family took refuge in the attic and had to be cut out. Water flowed over the window sills. Many family left the area and had not yet returned to clear damaged furniture from their homes. Our clean out crews cut out sheet rock, pulled insulation, removed furnishings and sprayed for mold. One hundred twelve projects were completed.
Another Baptist group at a different location completed 37 clean up jobs and served 39,000 meals to the volunteers and to the public.
We work together for the Lord.

Miles of roadsides were piled with evidence of flash flooding. Onion Creek had risen 41 feet in a matter of hours. I talked to a homeless man who lived with his wife and son in a tent that was washed away. They survived by tying themselves 30 feet up in a tree. Another told of cars being washed down the street in rising water and when they banked against a home the cars were swept over the roof.  Many homes have been condemned for demolition.

We were blessed by this sign and by the gratitude and thanks given by home owners. Each family was given a Bible and were included in prayer for recovery.

I returned home on Saturday. Yesterday I learned of the tornadoes that devastated the Midwest. I'm preparing for another call out to do what ever I can to help others.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Upps, another "C"

Christmas and Conventions.
Last week I was able to hold a book signing at a local Christmas bazar. Over 30 venders of crafts, antiques, and collectibles were able to show and sell their wear.

 The bazar was held in the ware house of a large local import store in conjunction with a traditional First Thursday antiques street fair.
Writers and crafters. Now is the time to put on your salesperson's hat and get those products out there.
I set up my booth with not only my books but with my daughter's six titles. We venders would have liked to have seen more traffic, but most of us sold well. This was the first time this particular store has hosted a crafts fair. I enjoyed meeting other interested crafters and writers.
My only complaint was that the live band was too close and too loud!

Yesterday I attended the Bayou Writer's Guild writer's conference in Lake Charles, La. This panel of our seven excellent speakers concluded the day with a question and answer session. We were given much advice and encouragement from all. Third from the right is DiAnn Mills a Christian writer of over 60 published books. She and the others shared their expertise.
I was fortunate to be able to pitch a manuscript to two agents and an editor. All three were encouraging. One invited me to send the completed manuscript for further evaluation.
Pray that they will accept it for publication!
Writers brought their books to sell in the book room. These three writer friends are taking their turn manning the store. My books are to the right.
I know I've digressed from the original intent of blogging "Dare to Dabble", but that's life. Tomorrow I deploy with Disaster Relief to assist in clean up and recovery in some of the 200 homes that were flooded south of Austin. I'm sure the next blog - when ever I can get to it - will be about Disaster Relief.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

"D" Dangers of Dabbling

One of the dangers of Dabbling is not being able to keep up with the schedule you set for yourself. I'm guilty. Last Saturday I was in Dallas at a Texas Baptist Men's Open House that included Disaster Relief information. I returned late and the following week I couldn't squeeze in Blog time.
 Yesterday, I joined three other authors with Bayou Writers from Lake Charles, LA at the Louisiana Book Festal to sign and sell our books. To reach Baton Rouge, LA. I had to get up at 4:00 AM and hit the road. What we don't do for our passions.

 We met many authors and visited booksellers form LA and beyond. One of the authors is also a professor at an LA college. She assigned her students a field trip to the fair and instructed them to visit her at our booth and sign up as proof that they were there.  What an excellent way to get young people to experience culture.
Crafters were displaying their wares with gusto and such a variety that I spent much time away from our booth to explore and look for ideas. Oh, no, I'm in danger of trying something new!

I wasn't tempted to adopt a dog, but the young man seems quite taken with this lovable black and white fellow. Notice the dog's "Adopt Me" vest. There were also kittens looking for forever homes. I see story ideas.......

Now, what's this? A camel in front of the state capitol? What a story could be developed here.
Challenge: Why don't you dare to dabble by visiting a large farmer's market, trade days, or common market to look for story ideas or to investigate what crafts are trend setters or fads.