Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Chuckles

Hope ya'll had a very merry Christmas. I enjoyed having some time off from the old wind-n-grind and getting to spend time with my family. My very numerous family. One of the best things about this is the laughter that we share and since "a merry heart doeth good like a medicine" (Proverbs 17:22a), I vote we share the laughter and joy of this season.

One short humorous moment came upon first entering my grandmother's house. You see Christmas Eve in my neck of the woods was quite wet and (for Texas) quite chilly. Which means - no standing outside chewing the fat, no sending the munchkins ranging from knee to shoulder height outdoors to run off that extra energy. No it means you're stuck within four sound-bouncing walls for the duration of the evening.

Thus, the humor of my grandmother's comment when I entered the food-loaded kitchen to the sounds of a couple handfuls of chattering children. "Who ordered the rain?"

Not me. :)

So when did you find time to laugh this weekend?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Christmas Story - Digitalized

Howdy ya'll! We had our church Christmas banquet this month, and they shared a hysterically funny video that I will share with you now.

Merry Christmas and remember to share the true reason of Christmas with those around you (in whatever way you can :) )

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


With Christmas approaching and Thanksgiving past, it seems we are going and going and going and ... you get the picture. :) I know I'm not the Energizer Bunny, so there's got to be others out there who are as tired as me. When you get this way, here's a few tidbits to help.

T - Take time for you and God (Isaiah 40:31)
I  - In everything give thanks (I Thessalonians 5:18)
R - Remember, this too shall pass (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
E - Enjoy each day and (Psalm 118: 24)
D - Don't borrow trouble from tomorrow. (Matthew 6:34)

Do you have any other advice for others this Christmas season?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What's on Your List?

Okay, today I am succumbing to curiosity. I've really been pondering what ranks at the top of your favorite Christmas song list. I know, for me, it's very hard to narrow down the plethora of choices, but I'd say mine would have to be ...
  • Mary, Did You Know? by Mark Lowry
  • O Holy Night
  • Strange Way to Save the World by 4Him
What about you?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Head Nut Speaking

"Hello, Head Nut speakin'?" 

Crazy greeting, huh? Believe it or not, but it does get used in my family. And often I'm referred to as one of the acorns that don't fall far from the tree or as another one in the bunch that's all cracked up. :) I guess we all get a little nutty at times. But this little acorn heard something interesting about her family tree this past week. Back in the 1820s at age 16 I had a relative receive a land grant in Texas. (And they couldn't get rid of us ;) ) He fought in both the Civil War and the Mexican War.

Learning this information kind of makes the past seem more real. What about you? What heritage makes you proud or makes history come alive for you?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

For These Blessings

Happy Thanksgiving Week Everyone!
Like some of you, I've already had one Thanksgiving meal and have another one to look forward to on Thursday. This is a great time of year to count your blessings. So here's my top three...
  1. Jesus - Because of Him, I have a constant Friend who will never leave and an assured home in Glory.
  2. Family & Friends - I know I'm combining the two into one, but I'm very thankful for my immediate, extended and loving church family. 
  3. Health & Provision - I do not take the health and provision God has supplied me day in and day out for granted. It is an abundant blessing.
I know the list could go on and on and on because God is so good to each and every one of us, but I'll stop here for now. So what are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jesus Take the Wheel - My Momma's Miracle

Tuesday afternoon my mom was driving back from Houston. On and off the rain drenched I-45 and the parched Texas landscape. About 20 minutes from home, the unexpected happened.

The car hydroplaned.

Fish-tailing across the slick asphalt, she struggled to gain control.  The vehicle went from swerving to spinning. The world outside the glass whirred to an indistinguishable white. When the wheels hit grass, she gave up. Crossing her arms across her chest, she ducked her head and screamed to the top of her lungs, "JESUS HELP ME!"

The car slammed into the cables strung across the median. Seconds later, it stopped.

Opening her eyes, my mom found herself sitting on the shoulder of the road facing the oncoming traffic. Unhurt, she climbed out to assess the damage. The passenger side showed the indentations of the two cables, and the back tire was flat. Once she'd replaced the flat with the spare, she was able to drive home. (I'm shocked because no one stopped to help her. Not one person stopped to see if she was all right.)

He is true to His Word: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble  (Psalm 46:1).

Thank You, Jesus, just doesn't say enough.

How about you? What miracles have you experienced lately?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Good Read

Howdy everyone!

I had a good weekend by reading a good book. I was able to catch Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington for free on my Kindle for PC last week. I've now read (I believe) three of the Love Finds You books, and I've enjoyed every one.

This one is set in the WWII time slot. Goyer and Fleiss do a wonderful job of weaving romance, patriotism, and Christian values into a remarkable story. I hope you take time to read it yourself.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Creepy-Crawlies

This past week I've had multiple opportunities for my skin to crawl.
  • I was doing more research. This time on resetting broken arms. I watched a video online and before they could even pull on the dude's arm I was cringing. Ouch!
  • I went shopping one day. All was well and good (unless you count my feet hurting ;) ) when I got home that night. I load up my arms, grab the keys, and unlock the door. Did I tell you it was dark? Well, this "thing" drops down from above. I flicked on a light, and lo and behold there was a two-inch centipede wiggling on my floor. Not the innocent looking kind (if there is one). No, this was one of those spiky, could-have-landed-in-my-hair kinds. Yikes! You'd be proud of me - I didn't squeal or go searching for a paint can. :) I actually had shoes on this time. And now... let's just say he's creepy but no longer crawly. (I had to find a picture that resembled my bug. This pic is where I prefer seeing a centipede.)

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Did You Know?

    Did you know that not every three-year-old sleeps through the night?
          I learned that this past weekend. Can you say 'sleep deprived'? :)

    Did you know Texas is finally experiencing some cooler temperatures?
          Praise God! It actually rained recently as well. Yee-haw!

    Did you know you can't tell how old a rattlesnake is by the size of his rattle? 
          It's like a fingernail. It chips off at times.

    Did you know a ten word telegram in 1870 was a $1.00?
          It's true. I found this doing more research for my book.
          By 1890, it was $0.40 for ten words. Here's where I found a chart on this.Very helpful.

    Last but not least...Did you know God loves you?
          John 3:16. I don't know about you but that makes me smile. :)

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    He's a Snake in the Grass

    No, really. Look at the picture. That is a snake in the grass. I've been hunting online to verify some facts for my book content. One thing I learned: we, Texans, are lucky. It stays so warm in some areas snakes never even hibernate the whole winter. Anytime it's above 60 degrees you could see a snake. Comforting, isn't it? I discovered this when I was researching rattlesnakes. Even better, right? :)

    FYI: For those of you who've never heard the saying "snake in the grass" it means "a sneaky and despised person." Here's a link to an idiom dictionary if you don't believe me.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    One More Stop

    One last bit before I finish with the posts about my trip. :) I just realized that rhymed. Hee hee.

    For so many years, I've heard about Branson, Missouri. Oh it's so great. Oh, you really should go there. Oh, you've gotta go see this... One thing they forgot to mention - the prices. Ouch!

    But we did actually find great prices on a room at a resort - a water-front resort, no less. And the drive from there into town - breathtaking (and a little nauseous-making. ;) ) Let me show you what I mean with a couple pics.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    200 Years and Still Standing

    How many people can say they've walked around a 200 year old house? Well, after my trip to St. Louis, I can now say that I have. I got to wander around the house Daniel Boone lived in for over a decade before he died. It was actually his youngest son's home. Beautiful place - unfortunately, I could only take pictures of it from the outside.

    The first story was actually built into a hill and housed the kitchen and dining room. Window sills  inside this place were a good 2 to 3 ft deep because that was the thickness of the stone walls. They believe Boone helped design the house, and I, for one, can surely believe that. The place even had holes between the windows to shoot out of at one time.

    Boone's house wasn't the only attraction there. They also had a village tour of old buildings that were brought in from various locations. I think my favorite would be the church. Can we say gorgeous?! And get this - the preacher's study was a windowed gazebo-like structure outside the church. No getting married in secret back then. ;)

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    The Beauty Beneath

    So often we miss what's below the surface by judging things by their cover. A good example of this is a cavern. That big, ominous hole in the ground hides a beauty like no other.

    During my conference trip, I had the pleasure of exploring one such majestic maze. This one was used by Jessie James and his gang in the 1870s as a hide out. The river that runs within the Meramec Caverns also operated as an escape route for the outlaws and echoed throughout the tunnels with an awe-inspiring force. I imagine that rushing tumult would be terrifying in the pitch dark.

    Here's a couple pics to tickle your fancy. One's inside the cavern. One's outside.

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    Why Fly When You Can Drive

    I think flying is really overrated. I mean, how can you see the best of the scenery towering above you or rolling in waves of green beside and below you if you're in a plane. Okay, I get the fact that you can see the patchwork below you (if its not blocked by the clouds), but you miss the chance to say you've been to places like Aruba, Eureka, Lebanon ... and without having to cross an ocean.

     By the way, what would you say is in that tower there? It looks questionable to me. ;)

    Friday, September 30, 2011

    What You've Been Waiting For

    So I know all of you are waiting to hear how the conference went. Well...it was wonderful! I got to meet so many different people, received free books, listened to great speakers, and had some blessed meetings with agents and editors alike. I can't wait until next year!

    Also, thanks to a very special couple my mom and I got to go to the St. Louis Cardinals game for free. God's blessings are rich and abundant.

    Can you spot Ronald McDonald in the picture to the left?
    I was also reminded again why I enjoy road trips so much, but I'll share more about that later. ;)

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    The Horseless Carriage Experience

    We got to take our horseless carriage down a couple cobble stone streets in downtown St. Louis. Ain't that the coolest!? I blame it on the GPS, but as before, I really didn't mind. :) I'm loving the scenery.

    One more day 'til the ACFW Conference!

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Not Again!

    I've graduated. Not from school. (Okay yes, I did but that was years ago.) No, I've graduated up from the paint can. Yep. That's right. I used a shoe, believe it or not. :) But really, I'd be nuts to swing a paint can at a scorpion on my wall. Well, at least when he's half way up a wall of Sheetrock. (If you missed the paint can story - here's the link.)

    Am I the only one having these troubles? Or am I the only one crazy enough to admit I have the strangest exterminator habits in Southeast Texas? :)

    P.S. Just FOUR DAYS until I make tracks for Missouri! I can hardly wait! I shall try to post pictures and keep up with my blog while I'm gone - but I make no promises. :)

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Can You Find It?

    I've added another feature to my web page/blog. Can you find it? Here's a hint - work from the top down.
    If and when you do, post a comment with your answer, so those who've never dropped by won't be in the dark. :)

    P.S. Just Six more days til I leave for the ACFW conference. Oh and Thursday expect another post called "Not Again!" I made myself laugh just writing it (but I'm weird like that :) ). I hope it'll do the same for you.

    Thursday, September 8, 2011


    I've found much to be thankful for this past week. On Sunday night, this is what I came home to:

    Now, I have a few trees that are dead that wouldn't surprise me if they fell. However, this tree was GREEN! It wasn't suppose to fall!

    Nevertheless, I was very thankful for three things:
         1. The lumberjack wind didn't send the towering timber onto any of my outbuildings. :)
         2. My driveway wasn't blocked. (That wouldn't have been fun at all)
         3. It's an oak tree that can be burned in a wood burning stove or fireplace (A pine would only be useful years down the road when it turns into rich pine.)

    As you can see, you can always find the good if you look for it. If you're game, leave a comment about some of the good you've looked for and found this week. I'd love to hear it.

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Another Step

    There are many steps to go from writer to published author. I'm learning more about this fact everyday. My newest lesson: critiques. God is stretching me and pushing me to allow my work to be critiqued by others and be willing to do the same for them. Do you have any idea how terrifying it is to open yourself up to criticism?

    The strangest thing happened though when I received back my first critique and started reading - I smiled. :) I enjoyed it. My writing, my story, my offering to God and others will be better for the advice I receive from my "critiquers". Therefore, I am thankful for the stretching and pushing and pulling because it's making me grow as a writer and as a person.

    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    Four, Three, Two, Won

    Four Scorpions ... Three Dead.
    Two Copperheads ... I Won!

    My-O-My have I had a busy week, although not in the way I expected. Seriously, those are the stats for the past 7 days. If I keep this up I'll have to note Kritter Killin' as a side business. (Yikes!) I'm praying for rain so these varmints will find somewhere else to search for the liquid gold. Until then...I better sharpen my shovel. :)

    P.S. Next week I'll share a little more on the newest step in my writer's journey.

    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    Scorpion vs. Behr (Part 2)

    So now that I probably have a few people who despise me. I'll finish my story. We'll see if you guessed right.

    Let's see...where was I? Oh yes. I was trapped. Caught between a two-inch scorpion and ... a bathroom. I have two options. Well, three - if you count sleeping in the tub.
           Option 1: I can jump over the bug and pray he doesn't follow me to my room
                          (or worse - I misjudge and land on him).
           Option 2: I can try to find a weapon and kill him.

    What do you think? Come on remember the snake story... Yeah. I went for option 2, but remember I don't have a shoe. All I have to pick for weapons is what I can find in the bathroom or washroom. (Yes, and I will admit I'm too much of a girl to want to get too close to the thing.) I want something thick enough, big enough, and definitely heavy enough that I'll only have to hit the bugger once.

    Seeing as I've done some scorpion smashing in this hallway before, I go for my previous weapon of choice - the paint can. (And you thought the Behr had nothing to do with this story. :) ) One problem though. The can is past the scorpion. Closer than the shoes. But still past the scorpion. What do I do? The only probable thing (in my mind at least). I take one large step and crawl my happy, little tail on top of the washer and to the opposite end of the dryer. No way am I gonna get any closer to the stinging end of that critter than I have to. :) Sprawled across the appliances, I keep one eye on the bug and another on the paint can until the weapon is hovering by the handle over the target like a giant wrecking ball (or scorpion swatter :) ).

    I smush (that's a combination of mush and smash to those of you who aren't familiar with the Texas slang) the unwelcome, little critter with a spontaneous, girlish squeal. (Believe it or not I rarely squeal - unless it's around poisonous things.) I almost miss with the first shot. Barely got his tail in fact. Leaving the scorpion to possibly escape and come find me during the night is not an option. I don't want trapped. No, I want dead as a door nail.

    I have to try again. Of course this means picking up the can. What if it gets away? Just the thought makes my skin crawl. But I digress: even though I don't want to, I bravely lift the can. With my toes. To try again. (I think I can hear the laughter from here :) - I'm pathetic I know.)

    What does the scorpion do? Nothing. He sits there. Doesn't run away or anything. Dumb bug. I drop the hanging cylinder again and this time - he ain't goin' nowhere!

    Yeah! I win!

    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    Scorpion vs. Behr

    I know what you're thinking...she's a writer and she's already misspelled the title. Not! I did that on purpose. Allow me to explain...I'll start with the scorpion. First off, I have a great dislike for these snappy, stinging, eight-legged crawlers. This is probably because I got stung twice by them growing up (both times while in bed - not fun!) My mother has come to call them "my pets." But believe you me - I don't want one around unless its dead and even then he better not stay long.

    Now that I've chased that rabbit - let me tell you about the other night. I'm winding down to go to bed, and what do I see? Yep, you guessed it. I spot one of "my pets" crawling behind the TV in my living room. My senses are now on high alert as I ready to turn in for the night. I'm flicking on lights before I enter a room, hitting a switch before walking down a dark hallway, carefully watching the carpet or tile for anything that moves. (Think it took me a little longer than normal?  :) )

    In spite of all this, I manage to find my PJs and make one last trip to the bathroom - which of course means more light switching because I have to pass thru the deeply shadowed utility room. Nothing's crawling so I skitter on past through the doorway. Just before I hit the lights to go back to my bedroom, I look down. Gotta check the floor one more time. And there it is. A 1 1/2 to 2 inch, light beige, tail-swinging scorpion.

    I'm trapped. I have no shoes. No other exit. What's a girl suppose to do? Let me rephrase that - What's a country girl suppose to do? As you can guess, I ...

    Oh were you expecting to hear more. :) You are going to have to guess, aren't you? Well at least until Tuesday of next week. Grrr, right? Until then, I'd love some comments of what you think this freckle-faced country girl did.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Curiosity Killed the Cat...

    I know it's been said "Curiosity killed the cat, but Satisfaction brought him back." This post will hopefully bring some of you "back." :) I've had questions about my book, and one of the things I'm even learning is about that leap from writer to published author. (Did you even know there was one?) Well, a wonderful interview is at this link that helps answer some questions and give insight into the world I'm delving into. So for those curious cats out there, I hope you enjoy learning. :)

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Things Change

    Don't ya love it when things change! Especially when they change unannounced. Well...I got a wild hair (or is it hare? - anyway...) today and opted to do a little conditioning to my blog/web page. So please take a moment or two (or ten even) to peek at the other pages I've made: Who Am I and Drop Me A Line. Oh yeah - what do you think of the other changes?

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Double Take - What do ya think?

    In gearing up for the conference I will be attending, I had to create a one page sheet to catch a reader's, editor's, or agent's attention. One of the pieces to include on this pitch sheet is a picture that will describe my book. After hours of work this past Saturday, this is what I came up with. (P.S. That is a picture of a real Confederate Army Bowie knife.) So.... What do you think? Does it make you wanna stop and take a second look?

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    GPS Funnies - God Answers Prayer

    For those of you coming back for more...Don't always trust the GPS, especially when it needs upgrading. How do I know this? The hard way. :)

    During our research trip, God answered my prayer. Our small group loaded into my car and before I pulled out I prayed, "Lord keep us safe and let us have fun. Amen." We had no idea He would answer so abundantly and use a GPS to boot. Anyway, we head out for Colorado Bend State Park. A place that is advertised as being an untouched portion of the Texas Hill Country. (P.S. They weren't lying.) Possible dirt roads expected, right? You have no idea.

    Picture Courtesy of Williamson Photos
    Using Chip (my beloved name for our GPS), we head out on a paved highway going up hills, around curves, until we're instructed to turn onto - you'll never guess - a dirt road. We go by this guy in a pick-em-up truck who stares at my car like he's never seen another vehicle before. By the way, this is, I believe, at a cattle guard crossing (you know, those metal bars you drive over that make your eye-teeth want to jar out of your head). Is Chip steering us wrong?

    Miles of dirt road traveled at 30 mph or less, empty fields spreading from both sides of the road, and we come to another cattle guard crossing. Chip is suspiciously silent at the moment, but my riders are not. By now, my mother has questioned my cousin about her beloved cell phone. The kind with internet access...A MAP...something to help us know we're going the right direction because, of course, the paper maps we normally bring with us have conveniently missed catching the ride out of town. I begin laughing even though my cousin seems to only consider the lack of the inanimate object as an annoyance. But it's either laugh or cry especially when we see ... cow patties ... in the middle of the road.
    Picture Courtesy of Williamson Photos
    I laugh harder! The whole car joins in my merriment. We soon jar our way across the third cattle guard of the morning and lo and behold... the depositors of the smelly piles dotting the road. Yes, Black Angus bulls and heifers blocking our path and standing by fences looking at us from big ebony eyes full of question - You want me to move?

    I can barely breath! Laughter has me in a death grip. Bad for the person driving, right? I look at the GPS moments later and it shows us no longer on a road. No, it has us in the middle of a field! Well, he finally got that right! We reach a dead end at a large gate to someone's property and have to turn around. Yay! We get to go through three rattling cattle guards, the miles of bumpy dirt road, and patches of curious cows all over again - in reverse! I'm nearly crying and my cheeks hurt from the joy of it all. Surely my sides are aching at this point. But when we return to fetch the real map (we fired Chip), we realized God answered my prayer.

    We definitely had fun!

    To top it all off, when we finally get on the right road and make it to the state park, we have to travel down 10 miles of dirt road which traveled across someone's property! (No kidding, there was a sign saying: Private Property - Don't stop or exit your vehicle.) And guess what? There were more cattle guards and cows too. Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor! :)

    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    Research at its Best!

    Most people think research is boring, but that really isn't so. It all boils down to what you're researching. Our family research/rest trip to Central Texas was definitely one of those enjoyable research moments. For instance, I learned that from far away you can tell the difference between a mesquite tree and a live oak by the shade of green they're sporting. (Mesquite is lighter by the way - just in case you're wondering.) I took the snapshot of that massive tree to the right within Colorado Bend State Park. A live oak whose base would require at least 4 people with arms outstretched to encircle it. Huge!

    Pictures are priceless, fun memorable, and laughter contagious. Most of the time the best memories are the ones you never planned and never expected to happen - a gift from God to say the least. We had one such experience, but alas I must keep you wondering and coming back for more so you won't be seeing that story until next week. :) Grrr, right?

    I promised pics that would stir your imagination for book number 2, The Husband Escape. Since I'm a seat-of-the-pants kind of writer, I tentatively say you'll see me use this idea somewhere near the beginning, middle, or end of the book. ;)

    Picture courtesy of Williamson Photos
    This picture is of a dried up river bed (unfortunately most of Texas is in an exceptional drought). I'm sure at times this would have water, but that's beside the point. Can't you see a rush of muddy water hurrying in a torrent your direction fed by rains further up stream? Could you imagine the sheer terror and amazement you'd feel to see that wall of water heading your way? What would you do? How would you react?
    Another tidbit from research: Central Texas is known for flash floods. Are you getting the idea yet? :) I hope so. I'm not sure I could spell it out much better than I already have.

    We also hiked to a waterfall during the trip (which was little more than a trickle in this heat wave). A refreshing bit of green in an other wise sun dried landscape. The water flowing out over the rocks at the bottom was blessedly, ice cold. Did I tell you we hiked up there during the heat of the day? Smart, huh?

    I have to admit I've played with the idea of using a waterfall in book 2, but as of yet haven't decided. If I do, these falls probably won't reflect the idea floating around in my brain. I've seen others in that area in the past and find them more suitable to my reflections should I go that direction.

    Anyway, I hope all this has wet your taste buds for The Husband Escape. I know it has mine.

    Crystal L Barnes

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    Biscuits, Snake, Shovel, & Squeals!

    ShastaI know I promised pics from my research trip (I still need to sort - check for them later this week), but I had such an eventful morning I couldn't wait to share what happened. I slid in a batch of homemade biscuits in the oven and was interrupted on my way to cook bacon when I heard my dog, Shasta, begin to bark. (That's her on the right - Blue/Red Heeler mix.)

    This wasn't the there's-someone-here bark. No, this was the I-found-something bark. She's done this recently, and I knew it was most likely a snake. I figured "No big deal!". Right? I've had to kill baby copperheads in the past when she's done this. So I fetched the shovel and headed down the fence line to the barking tree.

    oak tree
    In case you haven't seen a copperhead, I'll tell you their camouflage is great! They look just like a limb from an oak tree. Needless to say, I was looking for a head on one of the many sticks at the base of the tree. :) I was a little skittish to say the least. When I finally moved some leaves and something that didn't look like a stick moved, I squealed - loudly! I'm sure my neighbors were wondering what was goin' on in my neck of the woods.

    I found a snake! Colors - red, yellow, & black! I immediately began quoting the old adage "Red and yellow - kill a fellow. Red and black - friend of Jack." Actually, I didn't get any farther than "red and yellow"! Those two colors were touching! And I was moving! There was a corral snake hiding in the brown leaves! A poisonous, red, black, and yellow corral snake that was about 2 to 3 feet long!

    By now my adrenaline has sky-rocketed and my heart is pounding a mile-a-minute. Not to mention the squealing and barking (from the dog, that is. Not me. I growl more than I bark :) ).

    After multiple stabs at the slithering menace, I connected and sent it scurrying toward my dog. Shasta steps in with something more than a bark and before I can react the snake is three feet up in the air flopping back toward the grass. I'm shouting at my dog, hoping to save her from an unnecessary, painful bite. The snake slithers back my direction as my poor confused puppy tries to figure out why I'm yelling at her for doing her job. I quickly became singularly concerned about the predator moving my way.

    A couple more unsuccessful attempts and another successful jab later, the colorful serpent begins slithering across my rocky driveway as I back pedal further toward my house. I was glad to see the last half of the snake wasn't moving in harmony with the rest of his body. For you snake lovers out there, I hope I don't offend, but I could only pray the little bugger was scootin' away to go and die in the woods. All I can say is "Good riddance!"

    Now you may ask: Did the biscuits burn? Actually no! I still had to brown them a little more while I cooked the bacon. :) Just another day in the country!

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    ACFW 2011 Conference - Here we come!

    I'm going to the conference!!!! I'm so excited! I can't wait to sit in on all the workshops and classes, all the new people I'll meet, and connections I'll make. (Not to mention the chance to travel to St. Louis!) September seems like a long way away, but I'm sure the time will fly!

    For all you fellow ACFW'ers, I'll see you there!

    P.S. Next on the agenda is a research/restful trip to Central Texas. :) Book 2 in the works! I promise to post pictures that will stir your imagination for what's to come. ;)

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    The Husband Exchange - What's it about?

    Hi Ya'll! Thought I'd wet your taste buds a little for The Husband Exchange. Here's a little blurb to catch your interest...

    Sarah Asher had accepted her life. After ten years of marriage and no children, she opted to work alongside her husband than stay alone indoors. Sarah even went so far as to “man” the chuck wagon for their yearly trip up the Chisholm Trail. Unfortunately during this run, she must face unexpected tragedy as well as the long, dusty miles. Two weeks out from the rail-heads in Kansas, Sarah finds herself kneeling across from Joe Matthews as they listen to her husband’s dying request. Marriage between the two of them – now!

    Best friend and partner to Allen Asher, Joe Matthews enjoyed his life as a single man. Helping run the LW Ranch and providing for his widowed mother, he never planned to take a wife. But with a dying wish, the plans changed. Married to Allen's widow, he never knew his life would be so different. Nor did he ever realize one woman could bring so much havoc into his well structured world.

    Amid various trials and perilous encounters, will Sarah and Joe find what they need in God and each other to endure the changes brought on by The Husband Exchange?

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    Howdy Ya'll! Let's begin...

    TX hill country pic
    I have to say blogging is a first for me, but I hope it is a blessing in disguise. I'm a new author. I've just started a series called the Cater Springs Chronicles. All four books are based in the Texas Hill Country in a little town called... you get two guesses and the first one doesn't count ;) ... wrong! it's Cater Springs. I'm loving the characters of this town and the exciting, life changing encounters they experience in the late 1870s.

    Book #1 is The Husband Exchange and Lord willing is in the works for publication soon. :) I'm hoping to hear a favorable word from the editor.

    I will begin work on book 2 very soon - brain storms have been surging for weeks. The title has already been chosen and it is ... drum roll please... The Husband Escape. I'm looking forward to this story. I'm currently coming off the high of finishing book 1 and am soaking in the pleasure of accomplishment. God is good to me.

    Anyways, I hope to this blog will add laughter, love, and faith to your life as we travel this sod together.

    Crystal L Barnes