Channeling Ginerva Delacourt

I dreamed last night of awkward times when I would attend a dance or other function and feel out of place.  My hair didn't turn out the way I had wanted, or my dress was a compromise of the one I had hoped for.  The whispering of girls in all corners of the room, and the posturing of young men as they moved in packs.

I had gone to sleep after reading the delightful Miss Delacourt Has Her Day, a Regency romance written by my friend Heidi Ashworth.  In this book I felt both transported to another world of dukes and a dowager duchess, and to my own world of fitting in and finding myself.  And to me, this is how Ms. Ashworth draws in her audience.  There is something familiar about Ginerva Delacourt's journey in this book, as she attempts to find her place in her new society.  She is constantly trying to find that balance of being her genuine passionate self, and of being the poised gentlewoman she is expected to be.  Is it just me, or do most women spend more than enough time trying to do the same?

Anthony Crenshaw is allowed to be our hero without too much arrogance, which would be off-putting to the reader.  He is chivalrous and handsome, but also insecure and ready to accept help from his valet when needed.  Ok, the dark curly hair doesn't hurt his image either.

I think the genius in writing is giving the supporting characters just enough air time.  They must be able to make an impact and move the plot forward, without creating too much distraction.  Another strength in Heidi's writing.  I both looked forward to the appearance of Lord and Lady Avery, and I dreaded it at the same time, as I wanted to throttle the woman.  They were purposeful in reminding of us events in the first book titled Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind, and they served as great foils to the protagonists.  Very well-done.  Other supporting characters introduced in this book were fleshed out well and added to the momentum of the story.

This romance genre, which I do not generally seek out as a reader, is surrounded with so many fun characters and adventures that I found myself devouring this book in a matter of a few hours, not wanting to put it down.

Ginny would be my friend if we were to meet.  I think she and Heidi and I would have a delightful time sitting on the lawn outside Kensington Palace, eating cucumber sandwiches and stretching out the hems of our dresses as we wrapped them around our feet and told stories.

Well done, friend.  Well done.

valley of the sun

In this home live some important people to me, my husband, and my children. I came down to Phoenix to get a break from my daily grind, and while here, was able to reconnect with these friends who introduced me to the gospel almost 30 years ago. They are gems. 

Each morning I have gone out for a run through these immaculate neighborhoods with cactus and palm trees and the scrumptious smell of orange blossoms. The sun was warm on my skin and in my soul as I listened to The Alan Parsons Project sing "Blue Blue Sky". It was good good medicine. 

Today we put on "mud shoes" and spent an hour picking oranges on a five-acre farm down the street. There had been a day with rain earlier in the week, and this ground had just not absorbed it. We must have hauled 50-60 lbs of oranges out of that grove. As we were picking we talked about things of consequence, like how Benny and Willa both grew up working hard on ranches. This 70-year old woman could still take me in a fight. 

And this 74-year old retired Air Force colonel is all papa bear on the outside and all teddy bear on the inside, tearing up when he talked about the struggles some of his children were dealing with. I love them both dearly. 

When we got back to the house we kicked off our shoes and cranked up the juicer. I drank and drank until my belly was sloshy and my heart was full.

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on our way out

Geo and I are in Phoenix for a few days, staying with some people who are pretty darn important to me.  It has been a while since we got away together, and to say I was looking forward to a different venue for a few days would be an understatement.

On the way to the airport we stopped for some ribs and sweet potato fries (oh, how I love sweet taters).

We held hands and talked and Geo got a bit messy from the ribs.  

Sometimes you (I) can get a little robotic in life.  
Get it done.  Check it off.  Move to the next thing.  
I need hiccups to keep me in check.  

This guy is a great partner to me.  He keeps me grounded.  Gently steps on the brakes when needed.  And often sits back and observes so that when I ask for advice he is ready to give it to me.  

visions of foam at my feet

Ten of my nineteen kiddos are now properly placed for next year in classrooms where they can be successful and looked after.  Two more months with me and then my influence is done.  The end of the school year is such a strange time, as I start the countdown (40 school days left).  I feel both excited about my own time off with my family, and a little reluctant to let go.  My inner control freak, I guess.

I have visions of the high plains of Wyoming, the not-yet-mature corn fields of Indiana and Iowa, and the thick greenery of Virginia, all dancing in my head.  We will drive across the country to see my family and spend time at the beach in NC.  I will grab a beach chair and a book and drag them across the road where I will find the perfect spot to relax and dip my toes in the Atlantic.  I will watch my husband and sons body surf.  I will visit with my mother, sister, and sisters-in-law.  And I will watch my sweet daughter-in-law, who, though she has traveled multiple times to Europe and Africa and Asia, has never spent time at an American beach.  It will be renewing and regenerating.

perspective moments

Yesterday I stood in line for three hours to purchase a brand new iPad (totally digging it) because my dad-in-law bought the one I got for Christmas off of me. But I will admit I felt some survivors' guilt, thinking of Japan.

Then this morning I pulled over to the curb while Geo and #4 ran into the bagel shop for some cinnamon, sesame, and blueberry bagels, and I saw this:

While I snapped the photo I was listening to Michelle Tumes singing, " lay aside all cares.". Poignant.

Musical Monday: listen to your heart

A softer version of a favorite 80s song.  I wrapped a few tracks together in order to overlap in certain areas.  It was fun, but it took a little bit of extra time.

In the middle of all my mayhem, singing gives me a respite.  A chance to think about something else.  Creativity as a salve.  I like it.

Click on the song title, then sing along.

Listen To Your Heart

Kazzy's voice has been silenced by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act(see the details here). Sorry you can't listen to her sing directly. But send her a message and she'll try to work something out.


"I'm the helper tomorrow, Miss Karen!  I'm the helper tomorrow."

Not tomorrow, bud.  Thursday.  You are the helper on Thursday, ok?

Then he goes to get his coat and backpack.  Afterward he runs up to the front bulletin board to look at his photo.

"I'm the helper tomorrow, Miss Karen!"

OK, friend.  You are the helper. 

The enthusiasm to help and to be part of something.  I love this kid.