Friday, December 31, 2010

Aspiring Author- Michael Anthony Hines

Today my guest is an aspiring author who just completed his first work. Welcome my guest-
Michael Anthony Hines from Mrs. Roberts first grade class.

Welcome Mikey. Can I call you Mikey?

Yes, Auntie Jaye-Jaye. Thank you for having me as your guest.

So, Mikey, what inspired to write your work My First Stories?

My teacher, Mrs. Roberts, told me that this was a Christmas present for my family. I wanted my family to always have a gift from my heart. I wanted for my Mom and Dad to cherish my written words forever.

That's sweet. Have you always liked to write?

YES! I always love to read and love to illustrate. Some of favorites books include A Fish Out of Water, Afternoon on the Amazon, and Ready Freddy. My favorite series are Dr. Seuss and Magic Tree House Books.

I have noticed you have done a great job with your illustrations. You must like to draw.

I do. I like to draw and paint. I love to do crafts and create things with my hands.

You have done such a great job with your book, Mikey. Who do you credit with your success?

My mom was a teacher before she stayed home with me and my brothers. She takes care of me, feeds me and gets me up to school. My dad makes a lot of money so we can have a home. My teacher teaches me lots of things so that I can read.

So, Mikey, what do you do besides write and draw?

I ice skate, color, soccer, and Wii and DSI. I play with my brothers, Eddie, whose older and in third grade, and Little Billy who is in preschool. I play with my friends at school, Corrin, Ryan, Molly, Shay, and Will.

Thank you so much Mikey for joining me today. How about a little sample of your work?

My First Stories

I dedicate this book to my Uncle Bobby because he always makes me laugh.

A Gift

If I had a lot of money I would buy many gifts. I would buy Mom a tropical island with her own fairy boat. She would get coconut milk and she would have a log cabin. I would buy Dad a stadium with the Patriots. He would be on TV. I would buy Eddie and Billy a private train that had a bathroom and food so they could have a good trip. I would buy my grandparents a new cellar because their old one had a flood so it's ugly and gross. I would buy my friend a dog house for her puppy because she needs one. I would buy my teacher a painting of Molly so she can look at it. I like to give gifts.

My Wish

There are many things I wish for this holiday. I wish there were no dams so water can go freely. I wish the Devil didn't exist so there wouldn't be crooks. I wish everyone would go to church so there would be more kindness in the world. I wish roads would go around the woods so animals' houses won't get destroyed. I wish no guns were made so people wouldn't die. I wish you a Merry Christmas.

Sometimes its nice to sit back and remember the simpler times and why we write. How important it is to put down how we feel and why. So at the end of this year I do like to thank Mikey for letting me see through the eyes of child.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Power of Facebook

     The power of facebook! You know we have all heard it. One story after another. Well, let me add to the tale! Combining my two facebook pages and Novel Works, I have well over 6000 connections. And I want to add I love Facebook, being able to reach out and connect to people with similar interest. But...
     I saw this blog that wanted another author, a Rose so to speak. I have always loved flowers and thought Hey, this would be great. Not that I would stop this blog, but it would add to my connections. I really like their lay out and did I mention you get to be a rose! Always wanted to be thought of as a rose. Now being the mature person that I am, I do realize this is not life or death. I won't turn into a pumpkin if I don't become the next rose. I know this, but when the voting started it was like I was back on the basketball court and my competitive juices started flowing. I should be competitive in the voting. Right? I do have my Facebook friends, my fans on Novel Works. Not only that, but my friends in my chat groups. Right? So what if everyone is on vacation this week. I should manage to pull out a VICTORY!
      Not so fast. Today's the last day of voting. And I'm losing. Not that its a big deal, but the count- I'm losing 28 to 24. 28 to 24! (And most of those votes have come from me begging my family to vote!)
     Humbling no doubt! Out of over 6000 connections, I have managed a staggering 24 votes. Obviously I won't be running for political office anytime soon. Here I was thinking how easy it is to vote by clicking on the connection...
      Ah, but... it is also irritating. All the other time I'm offering something like a funny video, a funny antedote, a status of what I'm doing...on Novel Works I'm offering books for every one to consider reading. The bottom line I'm giving, entertaining so to speak. So how will I finish- a straight burst of energy or stagger across the finish line?
       I'm leaving the link below if anyone feels the need to vote. If not don't worry! I do have my own blog and I have control of it! Right! If I really want to be a rose, all I have to do is...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Reflection in Tears

I have always loved Christmas. I love the lights, the decorations, the Christmas trees, the music... I miss when my children were small and the way their eyes lit up coming down the stairs in the wee hours of the morning to see what Santa brought. I love being with family, talking with family. This year though I haven’t found the Christmas spirit I usually have. I have to admit that this last year has been stressful. But over the last few days I have read a few articles and have a few thoughts I wanted to share.

I find it enduring to read of others during this time. This year my reflection on Christmas began when I watched a clip on the Today Show of a young girl who wanted a Christmas wish. Her father had died in Afghanistan. She wanted to decorate her house in red, white, and blue. In the midst of the telecast while the mother was talking with Meredith, the girl’s younger brother saw his reflection in the camera and began dancing, watching himself. Despite the solemn subject matter, one had to smile at the young boy. Watching the scene, I thought to myself that isn’t this what his father would have wanted to be remembered, yet seeing his children happy and normal, dancing in their reflection. Then I cried.

I’m the type of person that can cry at the drop of a hat. I cry when I’m happy, sad, even when I get mad. This time I cried for the loss of another. Feeling empathy for other people is important I believe. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives focusing on what we don’t have and not what we have. Watching this video, I felt for the mother who lost her husband and having to raise two children on her own. I felt for the daughter who even at her young age was trying desperately to hold on to her father’s remembrance. I felt for the little boy who never got to know his father. His father would never be there for his first tee ball game, ride his bike or see what a great dancer he has become.

Every time I turned around I saw or read another touching story. I cried reading a story of a football player, sixteen years old, Dylan Rebeor from Columbia Central High, who died of cancer. The story followed the connection between Dylan, his school, and football team. The article recounted the touching story of support both from his classmates and school officials to Dylan himself and his belief in his team from ‘Livestrong’ bracelets, benefit dances to Dylan’s Number 25 decals. How his team adopted a motto- ‘Fight Like Dylan’ and won their first state championship the day Dylan died. In his brief period on earth Dylan showed more courage and strength than most men ever could no matter how long they lived.

Another young football player from Texas, Jared Williams, suffered a paralyzing injury playing football. Raised by a single mother, the home they lived in wasn’t suitable for the wheelchair bound boy. The community gave back to him by building him a handicap house. Actions say so much than words. Pinkston High and Dallas ISD raised even money to pay for the entire house. When an accident happens everyone seems to respond immediately. Then in our daily lives we tend to forget and go about with our busy lives. But that didn’t happen here. It took over a year to raise the funds. Not only that but the story continued with Jared and his mother giving back supporting another young football player who sustained a similar injury.

I think back to the stories my grandmother on my father's side told me of her father and I marvel at his faith he held to all his life. His name was James Womack. A simple man, a widower left with six small children to raise when his beloved wife died. My grandmother never knew the reason why her mother died. She was only a baby. It was thought she died of another pregnancy complication. She had five siblings, two brothers, Troy and Freddy, her older sisters, Sybil and Willard and her fraternal twin, Ruth. The norm back in those days would have been to marry again. It would have been unheard of trying to raise six children by himself, but he did. And he never remarried, but life wasn't easy. Shortly after losing his wife, he was in the middle of harvesting his cotton crop. Little Freddy disappeared from his Grandmother watching him late one afternoon. It was thought he had gone looking for his father. They searched every where for little Freddy. The whole neighborhood searched. The search ended when little Freddy's body was found in the midst of the cotton waiting to be packed. He had fallen within the soft picked cotton and suffocated. He was only three, another devastating loss. Growing up my grandmother didn’t come from one of the wealthiest of families in the community, but she did come from one of the most respected. Her father had all his children at church on Sunday morning, at school on time, always clean and well groomed, manners were a must, and above all they all were giving and caring. In this time my grandmother was growing up, she noted the close bond between her father and her oldest brother, Troy. In her youth she idolized her brother. Tall, handsome, athletic in her eyes, he could do no wrong. She told me a story of the time when a tornado swept through her home in Marietta wiping out most of the small town. Her sisters and she were at school at the time it struck. She was separated from the others scared to death until Troy found her and he took her to safety. He was her hero. But this hero would fall young. In any community there is always a bully who seeks to make himself feel bigger by threatening others. Here in this tale I will call him Taylor. When Troy began courting a young woman named Shelia, Taylor decided to make it his mission to bring Troy down. Taylor wanted Shelia himself, but she wanted nothing to do with him. Taylor told Troy to back off, but Troy was seventeen and in love. Troy refused, angering Taylor to no end. Troy turned and walked away from him. Then in front of numerous witnesses, Taylor grabbed a baseball bat and smashed it in the back of Troy's head. Troy never knew what hit him. He is buried next to his little brother. This murderer was convicted and sent to prison, but as in all cases such as this the act can never give back what had been taken. Yet, my great-grandfather did not cry for justice when Taylor was released years later. And my great- grandfather did nothing to his brother who swindled him out of his life savings. No, he maintained his faith, not his anger. He lived out his life in the house he raised his four beautiful girls. I have heard many tales that there was never a better man.

Then on my Grandfather’s side his grandmother, Anne Bolton, grew up in the middle of the Civil War. Her father was killed in the battle of Shiloh. Her mother died a few years later leaving Anne, desolate and poor, to care for her siblings. Her beau had left to start over in the foothills of Mississippi. He set up a small farm and came back for her. How easy it would have been for her to have left with him, but she couldn’t leave her siblings and he couldn’t wait and wouldn’t take her siblings. He left her and married some one else. She stayed until her youngest was settled and over time paid back all the debts her family incurred over that span of time. A little over seven years later, her beau’s wife died in childbirth leaving him with five small sons. He came back and married Anne. She not only took care of her stepchildren, her own children, she took in by her own account around 16 children over the years that needed a home. She left a small autobiography of her days for us to cherish. And in her writing were only words of faith and love, never anger or despair.

I wish I was that kind of person, giving without thought of gain or caring while enduring your own pain. I’m not. I’m afraid I’m far from that person. I’m selfish. I don’t want to endure the pain of life at times, the losses, the disappointments, the stress…

When I was a child, I believed in God without question. There was no doubt, no uncertainty that he existed. Within my heart I knew and found comfort with the thought of his existence. As I have grown older, questions arose, so many questions. Even taking from the stories above, if God really does exist why does he allow such misery? How could he allow the death of a young boy who fought so hard to survive? How could he allow a young soldier to leave his family behind? How could God allow...? The questions are endless, but maybe within the questions lay the answer. Maybe the proof of his existence doesn't lie always in the miracles before us, but also in our pain. For in that pain we survive with hope. Hope that God has given us- the hope that there is another world beyond our own where there will be no tears.

I was watching a segment on Elizabeth Edwards after she died. In the video she said "I had to reconcile the God I thought I had to the facts I knew. If I was going to have a God anymore, it couldn't be an intervening God...instead the God I came to accept is a God who offers salvation and enlightenment. It's the God I live with now, not entirely the God I want, but is the God I believe I have..."

The year behind me wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst it could have been either.

And it is with that thought I am holding to this Christmas. To celebrate Christ's birth with the remembrance of the hope that his birth brought. And with that promise I place my faith.

A couple of saying I’ll leave you with that I have taken from some of my Facebook friends-

The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have.

Winston Churchill- Never, never, never, never give up.

Links to a few of the articles I mentioned above

The article on Dylan Rebeor can be found on Rivals High. The article was written by Tom Bergeron
Rivals High Senior Editor.

Friday, December 17, 2010


        All my daughter wanted for Christmas was a dog. So I went on line and found her one, an adorable Austrian Shepard mix puppy. She's from a shelter in Tennessee (not that far really from where I'm from). The poor little thing was found in a bag around two weeks old with her litter mates. She was bottle feed from that time on by her great foster mom who sent me up the most adorable videos of Colbie (Dallas). I loved it. Colbie was in a barn with other dogs, even at one time sitting on a hay bale. CPR, Companion Pet Rescue and Transport, was the organization that we got Colbie from. Well, her name was originally Dallas, but Becca had already had a name picked out. Really, Becca had in mind exactly what she wanted. She had decided on an Austrian Shepard for some reason. We have never had one before. We have had labs and Boston Terriers. She wanted a girl. She wanted it for Christmas.
       I have always heard never give an animal for Christmas, but I made an execption. I went online and researched. Could have brought a full breed dog. I like full breed because usually they kept to their characteristics, but I my search pulled up Dallas on Petfinder. From the moment I saw her she looked perfect to me, but it was Becca who had in mind what she wanted. One look and Becca fell in love with her. Who wouldn't? She is absolutely adorable.
      I have to commend CPR. What a great organization! We picked out Colbie (Dallas) and we got her last Wednesday. Of course we had to go through an application process, but they have to make sure the doggie is finding a good home. Colbie is under my feet at the moment. Both her and Dexter. Max just sits back and watches the two go at it. It's non -stop and then they collapse. I think Dexter thinks we got him a Christmas present.
     Boy, they are so different. Colbie makes Dexter look like an awkward teenager. Colbie is athletic and agile. They romp around the house. (I'm hoping since I finally got the Christmas tree up they don't knock it down.)
     My other daughter said while Bailey(the little dog we lost last summer) was like a princess, Colbie is like a diva. You know, I think she's right. You should see Colbie prance (not walk) around the house. And if she isn't like Becca! Oh, my. Becca has always liked to get her way. In the short time I've been around Colbie, think she's the same. The two just seem to go together well. Colbie bonded with Becca immediately like she knew she was meant for Becca.
     So I know everyone will think I'm crazy having three dogs in the house. I probably am, but you know, I love it!
      Just a little side note. If anyone is interested in getting a dog I would highly recommend CPR. I'm leaving the link below.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Whatever Am I to do for a Christmas Tree and Dexter?

      Help! Usually by this time I have my Christmas tree up and decorated along with the house. What have I done so far this year? I have only a couple of boxes down. I'm afraid- very afraid- of what could occur when the tree goes up. Why you might ask? His name is Dexter- my son's adorable 32 pound puppy, absolutely the most adorable, cutest little terror you could ever set your eyes on. But...he can find the darnest things to get hold of. Yes, he's going to obedience school. It's not like he's bad. He's beginning to mind fairly well for his age. It's just he get into the biggest messes. It's like they call to him.
      We have the house set now for him, obviously, but if you leave anything within his reach and when I say his reach I mean anywhere he can get to it whether he has to climb or leap, he has it- even things you would never think he would want to play with. The other day I was watering my plants in my bay window. Dexter helps me you know especially anything that has to do with water. This morning I met my husband after work and dropped off one of our cars to get some work done to it, probably gone no more than twenty minutes from the house. Now adays, Dexter doesn't go into his crate when we leave for a short time now, but when I walked in- somehow the little darling had gotten hold of one of my plants. He had it strewn all over the family room. My husband couldn't even tell what he had gotten into because it was like someone had raked out loom for a yard readied to seed there was so much dirt lining my floor, rug and all! I knew immediately.
       So my question is how in the world am I going to have a Christmas tree! Do I put up a tree with out ornaments? I know well when the lights go on it will be as a beacon calling him. He will respond. I have dreams he is going to lunge at the tree. Everything is a play toy to him. One of my friends suggested treat him as a small child and put the ornaments high out of his reach.
       Well- the problem with that is his reach. He jumps and leaps. Although I've never seen him do this, he had to have to have gotten my plant down out of the window. Tying it up is a must without question. I suggested to my kids to put the tree in the living room. Didn't go over well. It's not where it usually is. And then the Christmas decorations I put up all over the house! I could get a headache!
       But I won't. Like most things, I'll deal with it. Dexter is a challenge. You have to out think him. He keeps me on my toes. I'll figure it out. If I don't, well it will make an interesting blog.