Here's where I toss out my words - like words in the wind. Sometimes putting stuff out on the internet can feel like that. Hope you can catch the breeze once in awhile.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A moving experienceq

I've moved my blog to a new space on the web - my home page. I spend more time on my web page than I do on this blog, so if you want to read my meandering musings, check out my website, find out what's new with my writing - Plus you can enter to win a cool canuck canoe complete with cleansers.

Click here to go to website

Friday, June 29, 2007

All the Tea in China

Ni hao. I am writing this post from a hotel in Beijing with a newly acquired and deep admiration for Jack Bauer. I don't know how he does it. I was up for 23 hours, travelling, and for most of that time the biggest decision I had to make was chicken or pork when the steward on the plane asked me my meal preference. And in spite of that very low key mind power, by the time I hit 22 hours, I was fading and fading fast. However our hosts recommended that we try, as quickly as posible, to jump into local time so I dogged my way through conversation, got a few third and fourth spurts of energy and then drifted down again. I fell into bed thinking I would sleep for hours - 6 hours later - wide awake. So today will be another long day, but today we go to the Great Wall of China and a few other sights. I'm counting on the stimulation of being in this new and exciting place to keep me going, but most of all I'm figuring the shopping. Jack has his 'save civilization scenarios to keep him on his game, I'm going to count on bargaining to keep me up and going. For further bulletins, check out my own blog A Few Words in the Wind

Friday, June 01, 2007

All The Tea in China

Jane Orcutt, a fellow author, passed away this winter. Jane's dry wit and keen grasp of ideas made for interesting discussions on the writer's loop we were both a part of. This same writer's loop would meet at a retreat before the Christian Book Sellers Convention, now known as ICRS, International Christian Retail Show. There were a number of years that Jane, myself and a number of others were unable to attend the retreat, so Jane had the idea of creating our own cyber-retreat. Things ended up getting a little crazy at the cyber-retreat, often pirate themed. Jane spear-headed the craziness and many of us went along for the ride. Now, Jane Orcutt has a book out called All the Tea in China. Marlo Shalesky, author, has this to say about the book, "With its rich detail and saucy characters, All the Tea in China is fun romp around Cape Horn and into China. I loved the spunk of Isabella, the mystery of Phineas, and the allure of a country so distant from our own. Hats off to Jane Orcutt for such an enjoyable read!"

I have the book on order myself and will blog further about it when I've read it. But knowing Jane and knowing how she never failed to make me laugh and/or think, I'm looking forward to the book. You can purchase it by following this link:


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I'n sooo sick

Flu season is upon us and against our will, my husband and I are participating. He started it. He usually does. And he shared it with me. Coughiung, sputtering, sneezing, nose blowing - the usual detritus of illness beside my bed. Cough drops, water bottle, kleenex old and new. Yeah. Until one morning I woke up, after five days of hacking and sniffing and thought, "This is much, much worse." I couldn't think, couldn't put on my glasses, my head ached and when I blew my nose . . . .we shall draw a curtain of charity on this scene. Suffice it to say, I was in bad shape. I got dressed in a haze, drove to the hospital in a haze, hoping that I wouldn't have to explain and justify why I needed medicine. My previous doctor didn't always listen to my self-diagnosing and would often balk at prescribing me something unless I could explain the symptoms in gory detail. No deviation. So I was suspecting I might have the same difficulty this time around, with my new doctor. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I sat on the bed in the outpatients department as my doctor listened to my chest, explaining that I had to lift my shirt so he could. He asked me a couple of questions, he scribbled something on the magic pad and I had my entree into the wonderful world of antibiotics. When I was relating my "I was a patient" story to my husband and how easy it all went, he looked at me and frowned.
"Did you wear that shirt to the hospital?" he asked.
I knew it was clean. I grew up with a mother who always told us to put on clean underwear anytime we left the house. Just in case.
"Yes. It's not dirty is it?"
He laughed. "No it's perfectly clean, but no wonder you got the prescription so fast. That doctor took one look at you and said, this is one siiiick woman. Your put your shirt on inside out."

Monday, April 30, 2007

nature naturally

My friend was teasing me about being a lazy blogger. So here's me. Blogging again. My husband and I went on a little trip a few days ago and went through the Rocky Mountains on our way to British Columbia. I took this picture of one of my favorite mountains. It's informally called, the politically incorrect, Indian Head. Can you see it? Let me know if you can.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Valley of Betrayal

Valley of Betrayal
Today is my day to host Tricia Goyer's blog tour on her newest book, Valley of Betrayal.

The Story Behind the Novel: by Tricia Goyer herself

A few years ago when I was researching for my fourth World War II novel, Arms of Deliverance, I came across a unique autobiography. One B-17 crewmember I read about claimed to make it out of German-occupied Belgium after a plane crash due, in part, to his skills he picked up as a veteran of The Spanish Civil War. Reading that bit of information, I had to scratch my head. First of all, I had never heard of the war. And second, what was an American doing fighting in Spain in the late 1930s? Before I knew it, I uncovered a fascinating time in history—one that I soon discovered many people know little about. This is what I learned:
Nazi tanks rolled across the hillsides and German bombers roared overhead, dropping bombs on helpless citizens. Italian troops fought alongside the Germans, and their opponents attempted to stand strong—Americans, British, Irishmen, and others—in unison with other volunteers from many countries. And their battleground? The beautiful Spanish countryside.
From July 17, 1936-April 1, 1939, well before America was involved in World War II, another battle was fought on the hillsides of Spain. On one side were the Spanish Republicans, joined by the Soviet Union and The International Brigade—men and women from all over the world who have volunteered to fight Fascism. Opposing them, Franco and his Fascist military leaders, supported with troops, machinery, and weapons from Hitler and Mussolini. The Spanish Civil War, considered the “training ground” for the war to come, boasted of thousands of American volunteers who joined to fight on the Republican side, half of which never returned home.
Unlike World War II, there is no clear line between white and black, good and evil. Both sides committed atrocities. Both sides had deep convictions they felt worth fighting and dying for.
Loyalists—also know as the Republicans were aided by the Soviet Union, the Communist movement, and the International Brigades. If not for the weapons and volunteers from these sources their fight would have ended in weeks rather than years. While many men fought side by side, their political views included that of liberal democracy, communism and socialism. The Catholic Basque Country also sided with the Republic, mainly because it sought independence from the central government and was promised this by Republican leaders in Madrid.
Nationalists—or Francoists were aided mainly by Germany and Italy. The Nationalist opposed an independent Basque state. Their main supporters were those who believed in a monarchist state and fascist interests. The Nationalist wished for Spain to continue on as it had for years, with rich landowners, the military, and the church running the country. Most of the Roman Catholic clergy supported the Nationalists, except those in the Basque region.
During the Spanish Civil war, terror tactics against civilians were common. And while history books discuss the estimated one million people who lost their lives during the conflict, we must not forget that each of those who fought, who died, had their own tales. From visitors to Spain who found themselves caught in the conflict, to the communist supporters, Basque priests, and Nazi airmen . . . each saw this war in a different light. These are the stories behind A Valley of Betrayal.
Tricia Goyer, October 2006

Back in the Saddle

Disciplined living is something I struggle with. Take this blog for instance. I had so many good intentions to post every day - and then life gets in the way and I fail. I realize I haven't posted her for over a month! I can rattle off a list of excuses and it doesn't matter. You don't need to know. But I feel at times as if I'm being pulled in ten directions and I need to priortize. So, from time to time, this blog will be one of the first things to fall away. But today, though I'm not inspired - (this posting is the equivalent of a kid writing an essay about how hard it is to write an essay) - I thought I would at least make an attempt to get started again. So here I am, back in the saddle, tossing out words in the wind.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

OH Deer

Every now and then, after spending too much time in front of my computer I look up, blink a couple of times and realize there's a world out there. The other day I went with my husband out to the bush (he's a logging contractor) just to see what is happening in his life. He's been telling me about all these deer in the logging blocks and i wanted to see them for myself. Thought I would share some pictures with any of you who stop by here as well.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The aftermath

I went to town yesterday, anxious to test my new-found self-discipline. I had a bunch of cash in my purse from odds and ends cheques that had come my way over the past few months and that I had cashed. I had to go to a bunch of places in town and once again, managed to come home with only what was on my list. Could this be? Had I conquered the spending beast within?

Then last night, as I was tossing and turning at about 2:00 in the morning (I am sure this is the devils favorite time - when the night seems empty and everyone else is asleep) I got up and sat down at my computer. Checked some sites I had bookmarked - and - oh no - found a site I had visited from time to time, tempted to purchase some of the instructional writing DVD's they had listed. I had resisted purchasing these for almost a year - until last night. Despondent. Alone. Wondering about my writing career.

I needed help, right? Purchasing the DVD's was cheaper than a conference, right? I could mark this as a tax deduction, right? I had been pretty self disciplined and I deserved to do some spending, right?

The right answer most of the above should have been - wrong. But it was 2:00. I was alone. So I bought them. Paid for them with the phantom money afforded to me by my credit card.

Regrets? A few. But this means that now I can look forward to getting a parcel in the mail. Taking it home. Ripping the box open. Holding my purchases in my hands. Imagining my writing career taking new and dramatic turns as a result of what I was about to learn. That's one thing that buying over the internet has over buying at a store. The prolonged anticipation of the purchase. Of course, this now means I have blown my spending budget for the month - and it's only the 3rd! Guess I'm going to have another no-buy month. Thankfully February has less days.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Day 28

I walked right past the book aisle, the DVD aisle and the clothes. My feet didn't falter when I came to the kitchen applicances or the furniture. I stayed away from the bakery. For the first time in a long time I walked out of Costco with only the items on my list. Nothing more. Of course it helped to have my husband along on this trip to the city - though he said he wasn't watching me, I knew he was watching me - waiting for me to slip up. Pride is a great motivator. Plus, knowing that I'm on the countdown. Why mess up so close to the end! This is Day 28 of No-Buy month and this is Carolyne, hoping she doesn't splurge February 1st!

Friday, January 26, 2007


Today I go to the city with my husband. He's in a spending mood. And after 26 days of watching my money ( a very boring prospect let me tell you) I'm getting antsy. He wants to go look for a horse trailer. Fine with me. No temptation there. And Welsh's Saddlery. Ditto on the spending there. And Costco. Yikes. My nemesis. You see, I live out in the country and Costco is a once every few weeks, maybe even once every six weeks, event. I've seen good deals there - thought I should buy said item, but maybe not now and the next time I'm there - gasp - it's gone! And they don't re-order unless it's their usual stuff. So. Today, after not walking the crowded aisles of one of my favorite places for six weeks, I have to go in with my list of necessities and go out with ONLY what is on my list. This will be the true test of No-Buy month! I will see if self-control holds out over the desire to have - and at a good price. This is Day 26 of No-Buy Month and this is Carolyne, clutching her wallet.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

No Buy Day 18

Over the years we've had various discussions with our children over money. The main gist of what we've said to them can be summed up in the following - It's not what you make, it's what you spend. I would edit that and say What you make is probably less important than what you spend. Making money is the hard part of the equation and one you often have the least control over. If you are on a salary you are tied to a certain wage with only cost of living increases, the occasional bonus to provide you with extras. What you can control is the other side of the equation. What you spend. This is where you have some control and some say and this is where the self-control becomes the primary factor in how much you will have at the endof the month. I know that this month has been interesting for me. I have a credit on my credit card! How often does that happen! My bank account hasn't dipped as low as quickly and for the most part, I haven't missed much of what I haven't bought. Of course, the real test will be next month when the spending fast is over. Will I binge? I hope not. Anyhow, this is Day 18 of No-Buy month and this is Carolyne, counting her cash.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Dollars and Sense

A financial advisor once told us that people have two major attitudes toward money - greed and fear. I know I often struggle with either atttude. I worry about the future - and think I need more than what I have in order to maintain my current lifestyle (or even better it!). I fear losing what we have and therefore having to start all over again. Then a good friend told me something that I've tried to apply to life. Money is a tool, simply that. It isn't something to worship or run after, it is something to use. As Christians, it is also only one of the tools we use to serve our Lord. So I try to apply this attitude to my life, even though I know easily slip into one of the two negatives. This is an ongoing struggle. This month of not spending helps shift my attitude toward money. Helps me to see other things beyond what I can buy and what the money in my savings account can represent. Today was easy. Today was Sunday. We went to church, visited friends, had a nap and read our books. Spending wasn't even a blip on the radar. This is Day 14 of No Buy Month and this is Carolyne not daring to get smug (we're going to the city at the end of this week!)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Snow day

Sometimes it's easy to save money, sometimes it's hard. It's easy when I can't go anywhere. My husband plowed the two feet of snow we had dumped on us yesterday during a white-out blizzard and he said he wasn't going plow out my Subaru which was fine. I hadn't planned on going anywhere - besides with temps like these, why would I want to? If I really wanted, I know I could power through that snow. It is a Subaru after all. But I don't mind the excuse to stay put.This is Day 10 of No-Buy month and this is Carolyne, saving her money by staying at home.

Monday, January 08, 2007

No Buy Day 8

I am a machine!! I went to our local Co-op and bought only what was on my list. Bananas, coffee for my husband, granola, cottage cheese, butter and raisin buns. NOTHING more. (pat self on back) No towels that were on sale, no scrapbooking supplies, no knick-knacks and no snacks. And then I came home and while I ate lunch, surfed the net and didn't buy this necklace for $13,000.00 or the brooch below for a mere $16,000.00. And here I thought I had no self-restraint. So I'm feeling better after my slip on Saturday. This is day 8 of No-Buy month and this is Carolyne, back in the saddle again.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Does it count? Day 7

My husband called me from town, a twenty -five minute drive away. It was Saturday and I tend to slip into Saturday mind-set. Things go a little slower, I take my time doing my chores and if I work, I usually don't work much or very hard, seeing every page of writing I do on Saturday as an extra. Anyway I didn't feel like cooking, which isn't just a Saturday thing I must confess. Did I want him to buy some pizza? Sure I said. I mean if he spent the money it didn't count did it? And though there is a spirit to no-buy month, and though I don't want to fall into my usual Calvinistic rules and subsequent guilt, I realized I had stumbled and fallen. So this week, it's try again. This is Day 7 of No-Buy month and this is Caroyne determined to try again.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

aye, aye Tunes

As with every good fall, this one started with pride. My huband and I were listening to the radio, I was fooling around on my laptop, my husband was bugging me about why I even bother going on the internet when it is such a waste of time - a song came on the radio - he said he really liked it but didn't know what it was. I gave him my superior smile, said nothing, surfed That Useless Internet, did a Google search of one of the phrases in the song, found not only the title of the song but the lyrics as well. Then I figured I would really amaze him so without telling him what I was doing, I zipped over to iTunes, found the song, downloaded it to play for him later and then, while I was there, I thought I may as well get that Enya c.d. my daughter was talking about, oh ya and there's a really cool song by Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt I wanted to get - hit Buy Now without even a flicker of awareness. Play the song for my husband that lead me down this purchasing path, watch his eyebrows go up in amazement. Hah. So cool am I!

Then, this morning, as I was humming that elusive song, my husband asked me "Isn't this No-Buy month". "Yes," I said. "Then what about that song you bought?" Blank look and then realization came in a sickening rush. And the worst of it was, I would have gone on blissfully unaware I had even done it. That's how easy it is to spend money!!! That's how easy it is to fall. This is Day Six of No-Buy month and this Carolyne Aarsen trying to regain her no-buy balance.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

No Buy Day 5

Yesterday of no buy month was easy. I didn't go anywhere and I was so busy rescuing our main power pole from falling over that once I got back to work, I didn't feel like surfing the 'net and I had a quota of work to fill so I was safe. What I have found interesting, though, is the whole concept of waiting to buy something. Often, if I ignore the impulse, the desperate 'need' to have whatever it was I HAD to have, does go away. Part of my problem with spending is my need to have the whole bundle. I'm the kind of person that isn't satisfied with just Barbie. I have to have all her friends and all their 'stuff'. F'rinstance - I like scrapbooking. I got a Creative Memories catalogue. I read said catalogue and enjoyed looking at the pretty pictures and soon I was thinking "I have to have that". Not only 'that' per se, but all the accessories. All of them. The fancy cutters, the punches, the templates, the paper, the stickers, the idea books, the pens, the things to hold all the things and on it goes. Companies like those are made for people like me. Not even going to talk about the Fisher Price Loving Family dollhouse . . . with accessories. Anyhow, this is Day 5 of No-Buy month and this is Carolyne saving her money.

No Buy Day 4

Welcome to No Buy month Day 4. Checking in to give you a progress report. On Day 2 I went to town and didn't buy a People magazine, chocolate bar, doughnut at the bakery or some paper that was on sale. Brought all my pop cans and bottles away and came back with $45.00 in cash which I didn't spend. For a change. So far so good. On Day 3 I surfed the net and didn't buy some DVD's. So far so good. The real test will come in a week when my husband and I have to go to the city. Usually the thought sends a little thrill up my spine because that means malls and stores and all kinds of places to spend money. Having my husband along definitely subdues the little chill. I don't know how he does it but he can drive right by IKEA, West Edmonton Mall, Staples, Linen's 'n Things and his foot won't even leave the accelerator. Nerves of steel that man.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Mo Money

This month I'm embarking on a money experiment. I've declared January No-Buy-Month. This month I'm not buying books, c.d.'s, books, clothes, chocolate, books . . . Did I mention I'm not buying books? Are you sensing this might be the hardest part of no buy month as I'm surfing the web with my new (ahem) high speed internet, hopping from book site to book site hoping for the thrill of going to the post office and finding a little white card in my mail box telling me that Amazon has shipped me yet another package of books . . .Thank goodness I'm not going it alone, like I did last year. I made a trip to Grand Rapids Michigan and a friend and I went shopping and we hit all kinds of lovely sales and . . I . . did . . not. . . buy . . . but it was haaaard. Especially when we came to a Franklin Covey store and they had a sale on their handbags. 50% off the first one, 75% off the second one. My friend was trying to convince me to buy the second one and we would split the total cost . . . such a deal!!! But I clutched my wallet, shook my head and walked away from temptation. This month, I have two women in my corner. And I was thinking of them when I went to one of my favorite websites, Creative Memories and discovered, OH NO, they are discontinuing some of my favorite products. Must . . . buy . . . can't . . . miss . . . out. This is a necessity, isn't it? I mean what if they don't have this stuff next month? It's just a few stickers . . . I didn't buy them. I'm sticking to my guns and if you're interested in the journey, come back from time to time and I'll keep you posted on my progress. This is Day Two of No-Buy month and this is Carolyne saving her money.