Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Hallmark of this Home

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The above gif comes from my favorite scene from Parenthood. The cancer storyline on that show took me back in time. It walked me through losing Natalie all over again. By the end of the season, I sobbed and didn't know what I wanted to happen. If Christina died, it would be so unfair. I didn't want her to die. But if she lived... it would make me angry. Angry because if my friend didn't get to live, why should this fake person on TV?

I don't claim to be logical where death is involved.

So, when Christina lost her friend to cancer and gave this amazing speech, I was right there with her. I got it. And I cried with her. 

Tomorrow, Corey and I will board a flight to Honduras, and I will help build a house in Natalie's memory. So many of you helped make this whole thing possible. Thank you for helping me honor my  friend. 

It will never make sense to me... the random selection of death. Why did Natalie have to die and I am still alive? I don't know. But I do know I can do something with his life of mine, however long I am going to have it.

And I am going to sign off now before I get overly sappy. 

Prayers over our trip are appreciated. Specifically, please pray for the family that will have a home with Natalie's name on the wall. Pray the hope and gratitude that marked my friend's life will become a hallmark of this home as well.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Currently: June Trembled Like a Butterfly

Current Books: I am halfway through Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher. It is a comforting read. I am listening to the audio for My True Love Gave To Me. It is a collection of holiday short stories by some wonderful YA authors. I just finished listening to An Uncommon Reader... a fun little romp about the Queen of England becoming addicted to books.

Current Playlist: Audio books while I pack and clean and pack and clean and pack and clean... and sometimes while I pack... and clean.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: I'm still in my PJs.

Current Color: Bright blue

Current Food: Haydn made me crave a hot dog last night, so I went to Sonic.

Current Drink: Since I was at Sonic... cherry limeade.

Current Favorite Favorite: The creative team I was a part of at FUMC gave me a check as a thank you, and that means I got new books. I love book shopping.

Current Wishlist: To visit my family in Kentucky

Current Needs: Peace

Current Triumph: I raised enough money (thanks to all of you) to build a house in Natalie's memory while we are in Honduras this coming week.

Current Bane-of-my-Existence: Adjusting to bifocals and living in limbo

Current Indulgence: Eating our because my kitchen is packed

Current Mood: Mostly good, but also homesick and tired

Current Outfit: plaid Hershey Kisses pants and a long-sleeved TUPELO t-shirt

Current #1 Blessing: People. So many people who love us...

Current Quote: “Life is so extraordinary. Wonderful surprises are just around the most unexpected corners.” ― Rosamunde Pilcher, Winter Solstice

Current Photo:

Title taken from: “Green was the silence, wet was the light, the month of June trembled like a butterfly.” ― Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Two Nattie-Day Announcements!

Hi there my lovelies. Today is Nattie Day, as many of you know. Today marks 8 years since Nattie died, and each year her friends do a variety of things to honor her memory on this day. I give away books, and my friend Pattie specifically gives away a copy of Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons. If you haven't read it, you should. Some of us paint our nails and/or toenails purple. Drinking a Diet Coke is a great way to toast Natalie. When in the hospital, Nattie wore a t-shirt that said, "Kiss my Tiara," and I now have one I wear in her memory. Usually, I also don an actual tiara (that I won as a toddler in a tiara), but I must have packed it already because it is missing.

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This year, I also did a new thing. My husband has done two mission trips to Honduras and he absolutely fell in love. One of the things our current church does is to raise money to build houses there. It cost $1500 to build a home for a family in Honduras, and I decided I needed to build one in Natalie's memory. I did not have $1500 and if I'd told my kids I was canning their Disney trip they might have murdered me. So I needed a plan. My plan was to ask you for help.

And boy did you all come through.

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Between money I earned selling Jamberry nails the last few months and all sorts of donations from Natalie's family, friends, and my family and friends... churches and individuals... we have raised MORE THAN ENOUGH to build a house in Natalie's memory. MORE THAN ENOUGH! The extra will, I believe, go to school supplies for kids in Honduras next school year.

When the last checks came in, I cried and I cannot tell you how happy it made me. The verse I chose for the plaque that will hang in the Nattie house is from Job. I asked for it to be written in Spanish: Vivirás tranquilo, porque hay esperanza; estarás protegido y dormirás confiado.

In English, it is...

You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.

Hope was a big deal for Natalie, and I never saw her lose it. Her Aunt Anne had a beautiful print made for a group of us, a print showcasing something Natalie wrote:

So I picked a verse that drew on the hope Natalie clung to and the safety of a roof over one's head. Also, it came from Job, and we teased Nattie some about being Job the year she got sick. That sweet girl... so much piled on her at one time, and she bore up under it with grace and beauty. When something is hard for me, I close my eyes and remember Nattie's last few years of life and I say, "Girl, if you could do THAT I can do THIS."

But, there is more. I said this post would have two announcements. One is that we raised the money for the house. Two is..


I didn't plan to go on the trip. It cost $1500 and I chose to raise the money for the house instead of the money for a ticket. Corey promised me lots of photos of the house being built and the family that will live there, and I made peace with not getting to go myself.

Last week, one of the people going on the trip found out he cannot go. His wife called Corey and offered us his ticket. And I already have a passport because of our Israel trip in 2014.

I will get to go and help build this house and meet the family that will sleep under this roof. And so I woke this morning, on Natalie's 8th heaven-birthday, and I grinned. Because she isn't gone at all. Natalie is still here with all of us, and she is still praising Jesus and helping others and pointing out joy in the little things.

And now she's going with me to build a house in Honduras. And I may cry today too, but mostly I will dance and I will sing and I will do what Natalie did best...

I will be grateful for my life and for each of you that God has put in it.

Happy Nattie Day, y'all!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Library Jumpers by Brenda Drake

I am late on revealing the cover, because this move has me scattered and I missed the info. But I couldn't skip out on posting about Brenda's book, Library Jumpers. Why? A. Brenda is awesome-sauce and this book sounds amazing. B. Brenda is my agent-sister, meaning we are both represented by Peter Knapp of Park Literary. Double cool!

Check it out... (see what I did there?)

Library Jumpers
Release Date: January 2016
Entangled Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound.
Jumping into some of the world's most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik's world and her own, before both are destroyed.

Pre-Order Links:

About the Author
Brenda Drake, the youngest of three children, grew up an Air Force brat and the continual new kid at schooluntil her family settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Brenda’s fondest memories growing up is of hereccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. So it was onlyfitting that she would choose to write young adult and middle grade novels with a bend toward thefantastical. When Brenda’s not writing or doing the social media thing, she’s haunting libraries, bookstores,and coffee shops or reading someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

Author Links:
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Cover Reveal Organized by:

Disqus for Madame Rubies