"Life is lived forward, but understood backward. It is not until we are down the road and we stand on the mountain looking back through the valley that we can appreciate the terrain God has allowed us to scale.” Jill Savage

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

A quarterly Chatty report and a Christmas give-a-way.

Things are status quo around Chatty Land - now don't think that is a bad thing - it is a good thing.  For me that means slow and steady and I really like and need that.  Kids are back home and settled in.  House is off the market and we have made it home again.  Grandson is in his new school and may I say this school is one of the biggest blessings we have received.  It is truly a God and Jesus filled school - they don't beat it down your throat - what they do is love you to death and expect the very best of their students and they get it.  Amazing concept.  No punitive punishments and religion shoved down their throats - but a loving teaching style and and loving expectations.  Living out life the way Christ did - a living example.  And you know what most of the kids live up to their expectations.

This is my grandson who is getting his clothes for Homecoming - I can't believe he is that old now, but he is!


Ten years later....
9th Grade



Technology!    (YUCK To too much!) 


A friend and fellow blogger sent me her e-book as a gift and I have to tell you the truth - it was nothing but awesome!!!!

It is called The 12 Days of Christmas Adventure - by Marianne B. Ball.   It takes you through the  12 Days of Christmas and gives you so many awesome and easy ideas to share and give to others and your own family too - to celebrate the  Christmas Season!   It is a way to give to others and let the whole family be involved in the giving as well.

We talked and she has decided she will give one away here on my blog.  I am so excited.

An early Christmas Gift.  I love Christmas. 

Leave a comment and let me know if you are interested.  I will have a drawing on October 23, and I'll get in touch with the winner!   I'll write all the names and have my grandson pick one.

How will she get a copy of the book to the winner?  She can offer a mobi format for a kindle, or a pdf. file, or a format for a Nook.  You can let me know what form of it you would like.

Now who is Marianne B. Ball?

A bit about Marianne B. Ball.

When did you first start writing?

In high school, I had English teachers who encouraged me to write. I graduated Writer's Digest School in 1984 and then continued to develop my writing throughout my college years. In 1994, I wrote a high school character-education curriculum that was implemented nearly county-wide for twelve years. In 2010, I established my blog, Adventures in the Ballpark, where I write about life's adventures.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite book?

For fiction, John Grisham and J.K. Rowling are both are captivating storytellers. Jen Hatmaker and Lysa TerKeurst write insightfully about women's spiritual growth. My favorite book is Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud. It’s the best book I've ever read about healthy relationships.

Tell readers about your e-book, The 12 Days of Christmas Adventure.

On Dec. 13th, 1993, we were anonymously gifted with a Bijou pear and a handmade note welcoming us to “the 12 Days of Christmas.” For the next eleven days, small gifts arrived on our doorstep from the same anonymous giver. Our family loved the mystery, the surprise, everything about this creative gift. When it ended on Christmas Eve, I decided I wanted to gift someone, in the same way, the following year because we had so loved the experience. It’s an adventure we have been perpetuating ever since. Giving gifts anonymously is not a new idea; however, our family spun the tradition by giving gifts (many homemade) that actually played on the lyrics of the carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Doves, dancing ladies, leaping lords, drummers. This is when our adventure really began.

Does the book offer gift ideas that match the lyrics of the song?

Yes! That is the bulk of the book - gifts that match, or creatively deviate, from the words.
Each chapter of the book covers one day of the song, and there are at least 12 gift ideas for each day. For example: on the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree – it’s not realistic to give someone a tree and a live bird. But, one gift idea for this day is to create a partridge in a prayer tree – a simple hand drawn (or computer generated) tree with a bird in it and construction paper pears attached. On the pears, write scripture verses for your giftee. Attach a ribbon for hanging. This gift can be displayed every year.

What if you love this idea, but you’re not crafty?

You don’t have to be crafty to enjoy this adventure. Gifts can be purchased – or baked – as well. For each day, there are many gift suggestions in the book. One of my favorite purchased gifts for Day 9 (nine ladies dancing) is a package of snowmen marshmallow PEEPS. Most people don’t pay attention to this, but there are 9 PEEPS in the package, and the snowmen have top hats and canes – they’re dancing!  “9 snowmen dancing” is a perfect example of an inexpensive, purchased gift that is ideal for Day 9.

How did you come up with so many ideas?

Well, we’ve have been doing this project for over 20 years. So, we’ve discovered lots of things that coincide with these Christmas lyrics. Secondly, I keep a look out all year long for gifts with The Twelve Days of Christmas items on them: birds, pears, turtles, things that are French, rings, etc. It’s amazing what you can find.

How do you decide who to give this gift to every year?

That’s always the easiest part. We all know people who are struggling for one reason or another. We usually know who we will be surprising with this gift by September. We have given this gift to families dealing with cancer, divorce, accidents, and people who have lost a loved one during the year. (In the book, some of these recipients share what this gift meant to them.) We’ve also given this gift to people who are celebrating as well – a new baby, or a new home.

How did receiving this gift so long ago impact you and your family?

It really moved me that a friend was thinking about us for 12 days during the busiest time of the year. The gifts we received were small and inexpensive – they really weren’t the point. We simply loved being treated to 12 days of surprises. The greater impact, however, was annually executing this project with our own three kids. It gave us all a focus outside ourselves during the holiday season. I loved seeing our kids become excited about who we were going to surprise every year. Giving became more important than getting. This, to me, is the real value of this 12 days adventure.

Who is your target audience with this ebook?

Honestly, everyone – singles, couples, families, youth groups, grandparents. Every age group can learn how to surprise a friend using this colorful, easy-to-read book. It has over 100 gift ideas, recipes, and tutorials. Individuals can also work together to surprise a third party. A local Christian school in our area has adopted the project – the entire faculty works together to present The 12 Days to a needy family.

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?

Mostly, helping my parents, who are in their 90's. They have various disabilities, but are relatively healthy.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

The fact that God has a plan for my life. I trust that and cling to Him daily. Even when my folks are both in the hospital and I don't have any chocolate in the house.

Where can readers get your ebook?

E-book DistributorMARIANNE BAKER BALL AT SMASHWORDS (Kindle format, pdf, epub, rtf, lrt, pdb, txt, and online reader formats)
Share with us your social media sites, so readers can find you.


Sandee said...

Great to see a post by you. I've missed you, but I'm glad all is well in your world.

I'm in for the drawing. I love this idea. A pay it forward to celebrate Christmas.

Love the interview.

Have a fabulous day honey. Big hugs. ♥♥♥

Terri D said...

So good to see a blog from you!! I was really excited to see you in my Feedly this morning!! Certainly put my name in for the drawing. What fun! I can't believe how grown up Andy looks now. Good golly!! Hugs to you, my friend!

Susan said...

Ohhhh,that sounds like a super book, Sandie. So nice of your friend to offer one on your blog for a giveaway. Please sign me up. Thanks. Susan

Ann said...

What a treat to see a post from you today. It's been so long. I remember seeing that picture of your grandson going off to kindergarten. He's grown in to such a handsome young man.

betty said...

Wow, Grandson really is getting older :) So handsome!! Sounds like a wonderful school he is at!


NanaDiana said...

So nice to see a post from you, Sandie! Your grandson is one handsome kid. Can't believe how grown up he is! It happens way too fast, doesn't it?
Glad your life has calmed down and your house is off the market. That is a good thing!
I will order the ebook as I know that helps the author....so someone else can have my chance.
Hope to see you post a bit more. xo Diana

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

How nice to see you back on Blogger. Every now and then I see a comment of yours on someone's post.so I know you are OK.

What a lovely book and idea of giving during the holidays. I always adopt a family to help during the season but I really like the idea of one gift a day and the promise of looking forward to tomorrow. it is through giving that we receive so much.

I hope the coming months will be good to you. Take care, Sandi.

barbara woods said...

Hi dear

Denise said...

hey sweet friend, enjoyed this post

jack69 said...

Hi sweetie, everyone misses the chatty one, that is for sure. You ahve a following that smiles when we see an alert.
YEP the kid is GROWING, that is for sure. WOW, and you? youare the GRANDMA! Uh oh,;-).
I always enjoy seeing and reading your posts. Miss ya!

ellie balangue said...

time flies so fast huh! great post

keep in touch!

Granny Annie said...

Yay! Put me in the drawing. Your grandson is such a handsome young man and it has been a joy watching him grow through your blog.

Cheri said...

That is such a fun idea...it gets me excited as to who I could do this to.

Grandson looks so handsome...hope he had a good time.


Eva Marie O'Brien said...

Hi Sandie, making a visit to blog land and enjoy what I am reading. Status Quo is a good thing indeed, I love those moments too. At the moment it's a bit hectic, but have good things coming my way with the new job and everything else.

Your GS is growing so fast, I have been following his progress for a few years now and really happy he has started a new and better school.

I would love to be in the drawing :)

Have a great day!


Betsy Adams said...

SO SO SO wonderful to see a blog post from YOU.... I always enjoyed your posts and miss them.. BUT--I'm one who understands about the length of time blogging takes. SO---I'm like you. I just don't blog as much as I used to. I still enjoy it and try to do it at least once every week or so.... BUT--I just don't have the time these days to devote to blogging like I used to....

Glad things at home are CALM... The new school for your grandson (what a handsome young man) sounds PERFECT. I remember when I worked for the church getting young married couples from other denominations coming to our church simply to get them and their kids AWAY from the 'hellfire and brimstone' type of churches --who made them feel guilty instead of showing love and compassion.... Congrats on the new school...

Great book/giveaway.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Glad you are all settled in. OMG he is all grown up and so handsome!!!!
Love the joke in heaven with them looking at their thumbs...too funny!

Linda O'Connell said...

That little boy has grown into a handsome man. The school sounds,ideal. The book awesome. Please toss my name in the hat.

Linda O'Connell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tweedles -- that's me said...

Your world sounds great!
Your right-- the grandson is almost a man now

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sandy - glad life has settled down .. and isn't your grandson the most handsome chap around .. what a delight to you all. Life sounds easier ... take care and enjoy the Fall - cheers Hilary

Lynn said...

Now that is a good looking boy! And loving children to death is always a good thing in my book. Glad you are doing well.

Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines said...

Wow- he has really grown up! What a handsome young man. I'm glad everything is falling into place and it is so good to see a blog post again! Have a super weekend!

Retired English Teacher said...

I've missed you. I'm glad to hear you all are doing well. Check in. It is always great to hear from you.

Aunt Betsy said...

I have missed you so much and it is wonderful to hear from you! RE: your give-away! Sounds like my favorite Christmas ever! Here is my blog post about my family's experience...well, I don't know how to put a link in a comment but here is where I wrote about it....
Don't enter me in the contest because I want someone else to get it, but just know I have missed you and think of you often, even though we have never met... we are just kindred spirits. Please pass my post along to your friend so she knows how special a Christmas this made for our family (and we still don't know who did it... but that is the magic, part of the magic, of Christmas).... Happy Fall! Stay in touch! C

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sandie -

Thanks for the update. Somehow I think we'll forget all about technology when we get to heaven. I sure won't miss my Internet and computer woes!

We'll have to talk soon.


Say What? said...

Oh, Wow, Sandie. That sounds like an amazing book. Would love my name in the drawing. Can you believe there are only 10 weekends until Christmas? I'm ready! Yet, not ready! ;)

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

Wow! How great to catch up with you here, you know I miss your posts-but you sure seem like a happy gal! I am thankful that the cancer is all behind you, you are healthy, settled in to your own home now and life is beautiful. Oh your grandson is so handsome, and I hear the Grandma's pride and love in your words.
God is good and I am so thankful for His Blessings~

SweetMarie said...

your grandson is so handsome! I remember my son's 9th grade homecoming. :) time flies by way too fast. your grandson's school sounds like a blessing! so happy for you all and so glad that your house is home again. :)
miss you!

Cranberry Morning said...

Sandie, what a blessing from God that your grandson is in that wonderful school! Those are rare. Marianne's book sounds great! I'd read it on my Kindle. How exciting!! I'm so glad you stopped in today.

Haddock said...

Like those words written by Leo Buscaglia.

Sharon said...

I really miss you, friend. Blog Land just isn't the same without you, and your way of always making me smile. I cannot believe how mature-looking GS has become. Why, he's a young man now! So handsome, and you must be so proud. Wonderful news about his new school. That age is so tough, it's a blessing to be nurtured in a positive and loving environment.

And yes, sometimes status quo is very nice.


Munir said...

Wow your grandson has grown up so much. Where did time go.
I hope that every thing is smooth now.
Thanks for the review and the introduction of the author.
Take care of your self.

Dogmom Diva said...

Hi Sandie! I really should try to start blogging again..I just don't feel I have much to chat about, when in reality, there probably is..
Id love a chance tocwin this awesome book! Hugs!

Jean Campbell said...

Looking for Georgia bloggers, I found your fun site, just today.

Am I under the wire for the drawing? No matter, I look forward to whatever's next.

Stella said...

Although I am not blogging I still think of you often and check in to see how you are doing.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Crazy to see how much he has grown! I am so happy to hear school is going well!