Studios –is your’s as good as Pixar’s?

Pixar Studio

a2z:The letter “S”


Still in the recovery mode at my house so what’s a person to do when their foot looks like this?

foot in surgical boot

Yes, it hurts.

I spend a lot of time on the couch with my foot elevated while searching for things that make me laugh or inspire me to change things.

I stumbled onto this amazing youtube clip of PIXAR’s studios. I think my office might be to dull, lacking in fun and well–to pretty. I’d love, love, love to sit in the big chair.


What about you? After watching this are you thinking of adding some fun to your writing studio or home office?


This is a blog hop, so hop on over and read some more fun authors.



a2z: The Letter “O”

How many times do you give up when you think the odds are to impossible to succeed?

How do you overcome obstacles blocking your way?

I came across this song by Mandisa. I knew I wasn’t alone. I have Him who goes before me, after me and lives within me. How could I not overcome?


Like everyone, I’ve had to overcome hard things in life. Grief has been able to grasp my ankles and pull me under many times. Some days I wrestle with dark spaces, and I don’t understand why all of my brothers had to go to heaven so soon. I don’t get to experience the annoying, “Hey you’re older than me,” or “What do you think we should get mom for Christmas–since you’re a girl, why don’t you do it?”

God has helped me overcome the sadness through two men at church who have taken the ‘Brother Role’ seriously. They will do something to make me laugh or annoy me,and I remember that I have brothers on earth. We’re related through Christ. I am grateful to Eric. S. and P.V. for providing a bit of family that might  have been.

What have you overcome with God’s help?


Mandisa Overcomer youtube

Pin this!


It’s blog hop day!

What Makes You Gasp

What’s Your Gasp Level?

a2z: The Letter “G”


What does it take to get your attention?

Not just get it, but grab you by the ankles and pull your feet out from under you?

What does it take to shock you so much you GASP? Your lower jaw drops and you intake a huge amount of air?

Image credit: <a href=''>iloveotto / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Yes, like that.

The recent Miley Cyrus act should have made my face resemble the above photo.

It didn’t. It made me sad for her and for the girls who loved her as Hanna Montana. There is a great blog post written by Daphne E. Tarango called the Day After for Miley Cyrus that says everything I felt.

Maybe I can’t be shocked enough to GASP anymore. The world around me has fallen into such deprivation that even my friends aren’t gasping at what’s happening in the news.

Then my cell phone and the house phone rang at the same time that suprised me, two friends calling at the same time.

There was news, bad news so shocking I gasped.

I called another friend and told her, same reaction. Pure shock. Gasps occurred every time I told a friend.

So what caused this?

My hairstylist is quitting. If you’re a woman you probably gasped too. It takes years to find the right person, to train them to do your hair the way you want it done and then one phone call and you have to start over.

It’s refreshing to know if something is  personal my friends and I have the ability to rapidly suck air into our lungsand let out a gasp.

What we need to do is to relearn to be shocked enough to gasp at what is happening in the world. Even though we are not of this world we do live here, we need to be shocked enough to gasp at what is wrong. Not just losing our hairstylist.

Perhaps we (I) need more courage to face the things that should cause me to gasp and call them evil.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13 TNIV




10 ways to Maintain Your Exercise Workout

a2z: E is for Exercise

Do you like to workout? I do! But sometimes it starts getting old so what can you do to keep going?

Here are 10 ways to maintain your exercise workout and not in any order of importance.

  1. Change your workout. It’s good for your brain to refocus on doing an exercise a different way.

  2. Don’t work out sick. You’ll end up hurting yourself. If you’re coughing like a 2-year-old who coughs to get attention then you aren’t sick. You’re bored, see number 1.

  3. Figure out your Workout Social-ablity Needs. Answer these questions to help you decide:

Do you work better alone, in a group or a mix of both?

Do you like your music loud but you live in an apartment?

If you have to drive somewhere to work out will you choose the couch instead?

Would it bother you to run into someone you know while wearing workout clothes?

Now find a class or a spare room and get started!

  1. Get a workout buddy to hold you accountable. *note this doesn’t have to be a buddy that exercises when you do. I have a friend who calls and asks if I worked out. I can’t lie to her so this works for me.

  2. Get a tip jar. Love this one, it came from Kimberly Smith, my boot camp instructor. After a workout I add some money to the jar.

  3. Weigh-in only once a month on that scale! Exercising two days in a row won’t change the number on the scale, if it did, everyone would be at the gym.

  4. Measure your progress by the tightness of your waistband.

  5. Schedule your workouts. It sounds like a simple thing to do, but if you don’t put it on the calendar you’ll find something else to do.

  6. Feeling stuck, not sure you are doing a move right? Hire a trainer for a session.

  7. Don’t take more than a one day break between workouts–unless you like starting over.


  1. Start working out on Monday and as early in the day as you can.

woman doing a hand stand

  1. Another good way to be accountable is to join myfitnesspal or sparkpeople both are free.

  2. Use the DVDs you probably have stuck in a basket or hidden behind closed doors on a shelf. When you’re able to predict the next word out of the instructors mouth change to a different one.

  3. If you don’t want to put money in the tip jar, fill a jar with stones and for every pound you lose remove a stone. Thanks Doreen Warfield, my amazing Zumba instructor, for that one.

  4. DO IT FOR YOURSELF. Don’t start this so you’ll look good at a wedding, reunion or special event. It’s a lot of work to get into shape and if you aren’t going to respect yourself to do it for life– then don’t do it. YOU ARE WORTH the time it takes to walk around the block!

And here’s a bonus, if you want to get those 6-pack abs check out this post 10 Best Core Exercises.

Can you add to my tips? If yes, leave them in the comment section please!



The Trouble With Ralph has arrived!

I’ve been waiting for a long time to find an illustrator to work with. I found Linda Bartosik through a blog challenge and she agreed to give this book life again. I love this little goat, he’s so much fun but a bit of trouble. I’m happy to be able to say it is available again on Amazon.

The trouble with Ralph picture bookHaley doesn’t have a normal pet she has a goat, Ralph. He thinks he’s having fun but he’s causing untold trouble for Haley. Trouble seems to follow Ralph everywhere he goes only he doesn’t know it. Haley’s father says Ralph has to be sold!


Click to buy The Trouble with Ralph for $2.99

Nascar Dreaming

Rusty Wallace Race Day

a2z: the letter “n’ is for Nascar

copywright Diana Lesrie Brandmeyer
Race With Rusty Wallace

Last year I had a great idea for Ed’s Christmas/Birthday gift. He’s a New Year’s Eve child so combineing gifts is not new to him. Groupon sent out a deal that seemed perfect.

What man could resist 12 laps around the track in a Nascar race car? Not mine! So I bought it, along with extra insurance! 

What I didn’t know was that many other wives were buying the same deal, and all of our husbands would be driving the track at the same time. 

I should have read the fine print! If I had I would never have purchased this bucket list item for my beloved. 

I asked if I could return the gift. Ha! No!

copywright Diana Lesire Brandmeyer
Fire Proofed!

So he arrived, took a class and wore this fireproof suit.

Before he climbed in he took a ride around the track with a real driver. It was so fast I couldn’t catch it on my camera. He climbed out of the car beaming like a teenage boy.

Turns out there are no doors in these cars. 
No, I didn’t know that, or that the headlights are really stickers!

copywrite Diana Lesire Brandmeyer
Sliding in the Window

He’s in. He’s ready. 

My stomach is knotted with explantions I will have to make to friends and family if he doesn’t come back alive. 

Hey, I watch some racing! There are always crashes and burning cars!

copywright Diana Lesire Brandmeyer
Ready to Race

Here’s a badly shot video taken by a nerve wracked wife. I caught the take off’ and the wave after that my camera went in my pocket and my hands folded in prayer.

He came back safely!
This year I think I’ll give him socks.
 Have you ever given your spouse a gift you wished you hadn’t? 
Would you give your spouse a dream gift that scares you?

How to Host a Book Club

Owner of the book club network, woman with brown hair
So excited to have Nora StLaurent here to tell us about The Book Club Network! They are turning two this month and lots of prizes are being given away.
Noara,  what lead up to you starting a book club? Had you ever been apart of a book club before? What’s your club name?
I had gone to a couple of book club meetings before I was asked to lead a book club by my boss. When my boss called me into the office and asked me to sit down because he wanted to talk to me about a few changes being made in the office, I didn’t have warm fuzzy feelings inside! He then told me,” We want to start a book club at our store, and we want you to run it!”
This was the second person within six months to ask me to start a book club. Was this a conspiracy? Didn’t these people know I didn’t read unless I had to? Reading wasn’t fun for me; isn’t that a requirement for being a book club leader – having fun reading?
I was terrified at the prospect of getting up in front of people and discussing a book. Just the thought of reading out loud to the group brought up bad memories of when I was in school and got made fun of every time I tried to do this because I never read the words that were on the page correctly. I’m dyslexic and didn’t get diagnosed until I was 26 years old.
I had my heart to heart talk with God. I felt like Moses going before God and telling him he couldn’t do what he asked because he didn’t talk so well. I pleaded with God: “You know I’m dyslexic. You made me this way. Reading and I don’t get along…remember? This is not funny, God.”
I heard Him say to me gently, “Nora, don’t be afraid. Let me ask you this: Can you love the people I put in your life the way I have loved you?”
What did I just hear? Love people He puts in my life the way He’s loved me? Is that what this is all about? It’s not about how many books I can or didn’t read? What a relief!
“Yes, I can do that. If this whole book club thing is about relationships, then I’m all about it whole heartedly.”
I felt a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders. I told my boss what was on my heart and what I experienced. He wanted the book club to be a way of giving back to the community. I started on a book club journey what would later lead to me becoming the ACFW On-Line Book Club Coordinator and creating The Book Club Network with my husband, Fred. I’m not sure what the future holds but I do know who holds my future. All things are possible with Christ who strengthens me!
Nora, that’s amazing. I have a fear of public speaking. What are your book clubs like?2. Hi, I’m interested in being apart of your book club, could you please describe for me what I can expect? What does your typical meeting look like?
I have TWO face to face book clubs. One meets at the church I go to Shadowbrook Church in Suwanee, GA and the other meets inside the book store I work at during business hours.
Both book clubs are filled with passionate readers who love to talk about books. They bring snacks for the meetings and love to talk about the book as much as they love to talk to the author of the month. We call the author and talk to them about their book for about 30 minutes or we have the author “Live” at the meeting. If we have the author “live” I combine the groups so that they all can meet the author and get their books signed.
Please describe how the book selection process works for your club? Do you vote with a secret ballet? Or some other method? Do tell. This will be helpful to book club leaders just starting out!!
We usually have about 40 or so current books on the list. Voting takes place every November. We vote on 12 books that will be read the following calendar year. I want everyone to participate in book club. Giving the reader a whole year start lets them check out the book from the library, get the book on sale, and/or borrow it from a friend. I want everyone the opportunity to read the book and make it to book club.
I gather the books to be put on our voting ballet. I hand them out at our October meeting. They can take them home and think about it for a while. All votes are compiled and counted in November.  
Does your book club socialize outside of your regular meetings? If so, what did you do or have you done as a group that you all enjoyed?
We do socialize a couple of times a year. Once a year we have a cooking night, where we actually read a book and cook the recipes that are included inside of it. We meet at someone’s house.
Once a year we have movie night breakfast brunch. We watch a movie that had been made from a book. We meet at someone’s house.
We have our Christmas party at a Restaurant. Last year we had it at Provino’s Italian Restaurant and had a blast. When a movie that has been made from a book is at the theatre we try to support it as a group and go to it the first week. We’ve also gone on field trips too that coordinated with the book we read. We read The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser and actually went there.
What have you read at a book club recently that really touched everyone’s heart and created good discussion?
We read Lost and Foundby Ginny Yttrup. Last year we read her book Words, it was a book that touched our hearts deeply and one you’ll never forget!! There was so much discussion with each other and with Ginny!! Wow, what a book and amazing meeting.
Have you ever had an author speak at your book club, in person, or on the phone? If so, who? How did the meeting go? Any surprises you learned about the author and/or the book you didn’t know about before the chat?
In March of this year we spoke to Francine Rivers about her book And the Shofar Blew. I wanted our group to read a book by this author that no one had read before. We talked to her on the phone for 30 minutes and it was a blast.
We had a full house and learned some surprising things about this author and this book. First of all after Francine Rivers got saved she stopped writing in the market she had been writing for and switched to writing Christian Fiction. The first book she wrote for the Christian market was Redeeming Love. Wow!!
How do you top that? She said that the Lord gave her the title And the Shofar Blew.
She didn’t even know that meant. When she looked it up and learned more she noticed that the fall of Pastors all around the world was high. The story started to develop from there. This book was powerful and lead to a great discussion on how easy it is to take the wrong steps and get in the middle of a mess and wonder how you got there.
Francine said that because of the title of this book it’s in Jewish book stores. What a blessing. She said that there is a seminary that has made it required reading for their students. The university realized that Pastors are unprepared and don’t fully understand all that is involved in being a Pastor. They are also clueless to the pitfalls and dangers!
Can you tell me some books that you’ve read your members just raved about? What made them love the book so much? This might help other clubs in their book selection process.
Last year we read Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson. Neta and her husband just came back from a working trip in China. It was great fun talking to her on the phone about this trip and her book. We had a cooking night and cooked several recipes from the Yada Yada Prayer group series books. Loved it!
We talked to author James Rubart on the phone about his book Rooms! What a powerful meeting that was. It moved so many of the ladies in very different ways. Wow!
Predator by Terri Blackstock was up the list of memorial meetings.  This book touched us to the core of our being at how easy it was and is to gather information about people through social media. The talk with Terri was eye opening and the ladies stories on how Predators’ have affected their lives was heart wrenching.
Kathi Macias spoke at our group “live” about her book People of the Book. She captured the essence of God’s word being the powerful, living word of God himself. By reading His word things happen and people are changed forever without anyone else’s help. It made us aware that God doesn’t need our help in getting his work done but allows us the opportunity to participate in His work with Him.
Ginny Yttrup spoke at our group about her book Words. Wow, talk about amazing. Her book is right up there with Redeeming Lovein the fact I saw it touch so many peoples lives including my own. Ginny answers the question, “What does it look like when you say God has healed you from the inside out. How do you explain that He has made your pain a scar and healed you so much so you can share what He’s done for you without all the pain attached to that event.” This is Ginny’s personal testimony. Amazing!
What I also loved about this book was the little girl in the story and how she is infatuated with words. How they sound when you say them, what they look like, what they mean and how you can use them in a sentence. Since I’m dyslexic and have found reading to be hard I found this little girls’ excitement about words fascinating.
You’ve created TBCN (The book club network) with your husband how has this site enhanced or helped you with your book club?
Our hope is that book club leaders can learn from one another. I know I was overwhelmed at the thought of starting a book club when I was asked to. What books to I pick? What do you do in a book club meeting? How long is the meeting? Do they go on field trips? Etc. There are about 30 author pages set up right now @TBCN. Book Clubs Share information and learn from each other. Authors  also share the fun they had a book club meetings too!
What have you learned from other clubs at TBCN that have helped you?
I learn all the time. I love reading about what another book club is reading and how it worked for their group. I love reading about other book clubs having authors speak at their groups. I love seeing the pictures and hearing how it went on their book club pages. It helps me to know what books to put on my voting list for my own groups.
I also like hearing about the field trips they went on and if they read a book that had recipes in it and how they food turned out!
What do you like best about TBCN?
Meeting new authors and their books, I also enjoy reading the Author interaction each month during the give away time. The authors come up with the best questions that give a peek into their book. Through the discussion I’ve gotten to know the authors, their passion for writing the book the Lord laid on their heart and how much fun it is to enter act with the author and other readers.
Any comments about TBCN and how it could be used in the future?
My hope is that book club leaders will connect with an author during the book club discussion/giveaway time. That they will also connect with the message in that book and make it their next book club pick. My hope is that they will and/or also want the author to speak at their group via the Book Club Network (they can have the discussion right at their book club page or via telephone or Skype!)
My hope is that more book clubs get brave enough to set up their pages and share what they’ve been doing with the read of the group. SET UP on the EVENT page their book club meetings so that others can join them.
I’d love for people who are looking to join a book club can find one to join in their hometown using TBCN MAP list.
My other hope is that the authors use this to ANNOUNCE their BOOK EVENTS; I’d love for readers and book clubs to go to where the authors are and support them at their functions.
We are turning two years old and will be celebrating the whole month of August!! We will be giving away 10 books a day. 

We hope to see you there!!

Mark your Calendar and join the book fun @ TBCN

THANKS for having me here Diana. I appreciate you letting me share my journey and about our Birthday Party!
Thanks you Nora for such an open discussion on how even the fearful can be used to host book clubs.
So what are you waiting for? Head on over to The Bookclub Network and win some books!
woman standing on railroad tracks with books in her arms

Cabin Life 1880s



Cabin Living 1880s

Would you look at this place?
In the 1880s I can imagine how wonderful it was, can you see the blush of the raw planks?
Smell the fresh cuts?

One room cabin with livestock shelter attached to the sides.

There is still some chinking shrunken with age left between a few boards.

wooden logs with space of chinking, old door, sunlight coming through spaces

How many children slammed that door?
What was for dinner most nights?

The roof has been replaced with tin.
The flooring is almost gone.

Sunlight beams through the spaces where chinking should be. On a cold windy day there is nothing to stop the chilly fingers of winter from entering inside.

dovetailed corners still locked in place

Someone built this house with great care and skill. The corners are fit the notches and that’s what has kept this house standing so many years.

Being able to visit a place like this with out being told “no touching” is a gift. Placing a hand on the wall, half closing my eyes, a story begins to form.

Who do you think might have lived here?

Friday Photo and Winner


I needed something calming to look at this morning.
There is one more night of Babylon (Vacation Bible School) and tonight we
are making flutes. Tiny nails, blocks of wood and had cardboard tubes taped to the table should make for a noisy night. The kids are enjoying the crafts and that makes it fun for me.



Here’s another adult having fun at VBS.
But I’m pretty sure Shadrach didn’t carry a cell phone.

Do you have VBS at your church? 

The winner of Short-Straw Bride was Melissa.

VBS and Sunday ROW80 check-in

It’s been a fun weekend celebrating our wedding anniversary, so not much was accomplished toward my major goal for ROW80. I did get the synopsis written, but not the chapters. That’s for this Wednesday’s check-in. At least one chapter finished by then.

The good thing is after that 15 mile bike ride I felt okay about eating a great lunch complete with a gluten free chocolate chip cookie from Free Range Bakery.

It’s a busy week ahead. VBS (vacation Bible school) starts tomorrow night and I’ll be there. It’s going to be fun working with the children. We have an amazing volunteer staff and they’ve turned the church into biblical Babylon.

This is one of the hedges. I’m pretty sure that hedges in Babylon don’t have names in them, though.

Can you spot the name and the initial?