Saturday, September 26, 2009

Jumping Fit AKA Dancing with Strangers

Just got notice that we are delayed! Not good. Got a tight connection in Atlanta. Oh, well, it has given me time to offer y'all proof that I am a woman of my word. I give you a jumping fit with additonal footage of Dancing With Strangers.

Please pray I make connections!

Hugs
Shellie

Sent from my BlackBerry Smartphone provided by Alltel

video

Friday, September 25, 2009

Enter to Win Ginormous Prize from All Things Southern!

Hey folks! With just a little more than $400 left to go on our Water from the Porch Project, My Madness Czar and I stormed our brains, (it was way scary) for an idea to kick the momentum up a notch. Here's what we decided: Everyone who donates ten bucks or more will be eligible to win a ginormous prize-packed All Things Southern gift box!


Yes, siree. Every person who donates to this worthwhile cause will be entered into the drawing -- which will be held the day after our goal of $4,800 is met. Those of you who have already donated, not to worry! Your name is already in the hat!


The All Things Southern gift box includes:

An ATS cap and ATS t-shirt an authentic Suck Your Stomach In Apron designed and handmade by your fellow porcher, Chris Williamson, and autographed copies of each of my 4 books, Lessons Learned on Bull Run Road (in audio and print), Twas the Night Before the Very First Christmas, Southern Comfort, and Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On. You can donate one of two ways: 1) Log onto www.allthingssouthern.com and use the Paypal button on the left hand side of the homepage, or 2) Write a check to All Things Southern and mail it to 610 Schneider Lane, Lake Providence, LA 71254. Come on Friends ~ Let's dig that well! What? You say you're behind? In the dark about the Water from the Porch Drive? Details here.


Hugs,

Shellie

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day Unto Day

I've been listening to this fellow in the early morning hours for a long time now. I have tried my best to get his pic. I've zoomed in on him at a distance, I've crept up under his favorite perch, I've strained to find him in the predawn light, all without success. The best I had was a blurred image high in a tree top that only I could identify. And then, yesterday, I was headed down to the dock with my camera around my neck and my hands totally full when I looked up and met him face to face. We both startled, and then paused. I swannee, y'all, I honestly think the bird was laughing at me. "Do it," he seemed to say. "Take a picture of me before I can fly away, but be careful, one false move and I'm gone."

Always up to a challenge-- especially a double dog dare from a bird-- I clinched my Bible between my knees (the ground was soaking wet from yet another storm). Holding my coffee in my left hand and the lens cap in my mouth, and using my chin to help twist my zoom out, I steadied myself for the single opportunity I knew he was giving me-- and praying Dixie Belle wouldn't come roaring up out of the semi-darkness, I pointed and clicked. True to his word, he flew away. But I, for once, was left with this.

Does he not look like he is saying, "You would think she'd never seen an owl before."



The ducks are far more sociable, not to mention plentiful. I have duck pics to spare.



The squirrels like to bomb Dixie and me on the dock with chewed up cypress balls and taunt my poor canine by sliding down the tree for a sip of water.















"If I ever get my paws on that squirrel, well, you know..."




This closing shot would run a close second with my owl if the resolution was better but I had to enlarge it too much for y'all to see and it lost something in the process--

"YIKES!!!!! Put the brakes on, we're running out of dock!"






















Psalm 19:1, "The heavens declare thy glory Lord and the earth reveals your handiwork. Day unto day utters speech and night unto night reveals knowledge."

Hugs,
Shellie

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Memories that Move You

***** As of 1:32 PM, CST, 9-25-09, running total is $2,805 *****

Hello folks, let's chat...I was typing the words "Water from the Porch" as a title for my guest blog on an author's site just now when I had a little epiphany. It occurred to me that I can't say those words without thinking about my grandmother's porch in Natchez, MS, the one framed by the big beautiful hydrangeas, the one where I joined with my sister and our favorite cousin to take refuge from sudden storms and hold endless talent contests and beauty pageants-- acting as both contestants and judges. (My sister Rhonda always won the beauty pageant, and though Lisa and I secretly decried the results you really must give us our props for the honesty with which we continued to cast our votes.)

To be sure, the porch really belonged to the small country church next door were my grandfather preached his heart out, as did that house and every other house they ever lived in as a young married couple, and later as a growing family with four kids.

At first glance, I almost passed by that bit of porch information, considering it irrelevant to what I wanted to share with them, but as I took a closer look it began to dawn on me just how integral it is.

You see, it was from that porch that I watched my grandmother offer water over and again to men who came down Pine Ridge Road, down on their luck and in sore need of a friend. Food was offered, too, and whatever spare money could be raked together. My grandparents always gave what they could. Only now do I realize that not once did they give out of an abundance of anything other than love. This is my heritage. Forgive me for being so nostalgic with y'all, dear friends and complete strangers, but my eyes have begun to water at the memory and the realization that such a heritage is a treasure without price. Water from the Porch. It's funny that I didn't see that connection until now, but I had to run back over here to my place and share the memory with y'all as soon as I tied things up at "A Good Blog is Hard to Find."

Of course, you who listen to me blather day in and day out would know that's where I took off in a dead run telling them about our Water from the Porch Drive. Maybe they'll join us, who knows?

Thanks for listening! If you're intending to join the cause and you haven't done so just yet, I respectfully ask you to act on that intention. Y'all are the best readers in the world and I want you to receive the blessing that will be yours on the authority of His word.

"For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name... I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward." Mark 9:41

Hugs,
Shellie

P.S. Remember, if you wouldn't mind posting this on your blogs, facebook profiles, website, twitter pages, etc., I sure would be obliged to you!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why This, Why Now?

***** As of 3:43 PM, CST, 9-20-09, running total is $1,836 *****

9-16-09

Your recurring question is why, why does this project mean so much to me? It's a hard question but a fair one. Let me fumble around and see if I can explain.

Inertia. I hate it. I hate to allow feelings of powerless over the size of a problem paralyze me from taking action at all. And yet, I do it all the time. All. The. Time. I do it when I change the channel from a commercial that breaks my heart. Reminding myself of the different ministries I support helps-- for about... two seconds, and then I realize that I could do more. I could always do more.

I pushed this cause away when it first fell in my heart, knowing full well I would be just ONE MORE VOICE asking you for action, suspecting that I would possibly drive off readers who were as weary as I am about bad news and had thought they were coming to the All Things Southern porch for something else entirely. The idea pushed back, again and again. Every time I saw Life Today's Water for Life program-- every time I thought, "How cool would it be to drill a well, not to offer a thirsty soul a drink of water once, but to be a part of giving an entire community fresh water for a lifetime!"

I continued to war with myself. Why this program, why when there are just as many other wonderful people doing wonderful work, (like my own dear sister-in-law and husband who faithfully operate a feeding ministry and orphanage in Kipsongo, Africa). The only answer I have is that not only did the idea refuse to go away, it grew! It beat within me like the tell tale heart from Edgar Allan Poe. (Sorry for the obscure reference.)

And while I rationalized, a mother looked from a contaminated water source to her dying thirsty child and rationalized in her own way. Would she give her baby water that may kill him eventually or let him die of thirst before her eyes?

So there, that's why Water from the Porch means so much to me. I'm so sorry if that's a downer. You asked.

Hugs,
Shellie

9-14-09

Well, I just received some news that took my breath away-- and not in a good way. As you know, I recently asked y'all, my dearly loved readers, to join with me to drill a well of life-giving water in cooperation with Life Today's Water for Life outreach program. A single well sustains a village of 1000 people for an entire lifetime. Surely, this is a worthy goal by anyone's measure.

Our stated goal was to raise $2400 in September '09, ten dollars from two hundred and forty people, so that children just like yours, grandchildren just like ours, wouldn't have to drink contaminated water because it is all they have.

This dream was first laid on my heart several months ago when I heard about the one time matching grant of $400,000 Life Today had just received from an anonymous donor, meaning that whatever well monies taken in for a certain amount of time would be automatically doubled. It is why we could drill our well for $2400 instead of the actual cost of $4800.

I could make all kinds of excuses for how busy I've been to explain why I never got around to making this challenge earlier, even though the idea was burning in my heart! But that's exactly what it would be, excuses. The truth is I dropped the ball. I've just been on the phone with Life Today and discovered that the matching funds have been allocated. The cost of one well is once again $4800. Sigh.

If the money were rolling in, I suppose it wouldn't have been such a kick in the gut, but it isn't. (We're somewhere around $500.) Yes, I've heard all the excuses. I know people are hurting right here in America. I didn't choose this cause, it chose me. And yes, I know pocketbooks are tight and the economy is sickly. I live in the real world with you. (As I type this the rain is coming down and my husband and I are praying that it will stop so we can harvest.)

I also know that I didn't dream this up. The Lord gave it to me, so I will see it through. It may take longer than I had hoped and I may have to do more to see it happen. I'll be contacting radio affiliates as time allows to see if they'll allow me to come on and discuss my goal on air. You may tire of seeing it in the postscript of the weekly newsletter, but we will press on. My heart still yearns to know that our community could actually put a well down that would serve a village for life-- for life!

If you are enjoying the humor and inspiration of All Things Southern, please consider making your yearly donation for this good cause. You can use the paypal button at my website to donate, or you may send your donation to:

All Things Southern
Water from the Porch
610 Schneider Lane
Lake Providence, LA 71254

Please join me to share a drink of water in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Hugs,
Shellie

"For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name... I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward." Mark 9:41

More details at Life Today!

P.S. We've had contributions so far from Louisiana, Texas, Utah, Oklahoma, and Tennessee-- with Louisiana leading the tote board!

I'd like to ask those of you with facebook pages, twitter profiles, and or blogs to help spread the word by posting this blog or this link to your friends and family. Remember, we're not giving food that will feed a hungry belly just once-- we're drilling a well that will give life-giving water to many needy men, women, and children for years to come. Speaking of children, Rozel from Louisiana donated in honor of her grandchildren and challenged everyone else with grandchildren to give in their honor. I think that's a fine idea.

One more note: For whatever reason, the paypay button here on the blog keeps timing out, but the donate button on the left hand banner of the website works every time. :)


Hugs,
Shellie

Monday, September 14, 2009

Update from the Porch

***** As of 11:30 CST, 9-15-09, running total is $1,400 *****


9-14-09

Well, I just received some news that took my breath away-- and not in a good way. As you know, I recently asked y'all, my dearly loved readers, to join with me to drill a well of life-giving water in cooperation with Life Today's Water for Life outreach program. A single well sustains a village of 1000 people for an entire lifetime. Surely, this is a worthy goal by anyone's measure.

Our stated goal was to raise $2400 in September '09, ten dollars from two hundred and forty people, so that children just like yours, grandchildren just like ours, wouldn't have to drink contaminated water because it is all they have.

This dream was first laid on my heart several months ago when I heard about the one time matching grant of $400,000 Life Today had just received from an anonymous donor, meaning that whatever well monies taken in for a certain amount of time would be automatically doubled. It is why we could drill our well for $2400 instead of the actual cost of $4800.

I could make all kinds of excuses for how busy I've been to explain why I never got around to making this challenge earlier, even though the idea was burning in my heart! But that's exactly what it would be, excuses. The truth is I dropped the ball. I've just been on the phone with Life Today and discovered that the matching funds have been allocated. The cost of one well is once again $4800. Sigh.

If the money were rolling in, I suppose it wouldn't have been such a kick in the gut, but it isn't. (We're somewhere around $500.) Yes, I've heard all the excuses. I know people are hurting right here in America. I didn't choose this cause, it chose me. And yes, I know pocketbooks are tight and the economy is sickly. I live in the real world with you. (As I type this the rain is coming down and my husband and I are praying that it will stop so we can harvest.)

I also know that I didn't dream this up. The Lord gave it to me, so I will see it through. It may take longer than I had hoped and I may have to do more to see it happen. I'll be contacting radio affiliates as time allows to see if they'll allow me to come on and discuss my goal on air. You may tire of seeing it in the postscript of the weekly newsletter, but we will press on. My heart still yearns to know that our community could actually put a well down that would serve a village for life-- for life!

If you are enjoying the humor and inspiration of All Things Southern, please consider making your yearly donation for this good cause. You can use the paypal button at my website to donate, or you may send your donation to:

All Things Southern
Water from the Porch
610 Schneider Lane
Lake Providence, LA 71254

Please join me to share a drink of water in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Hugs,
Shellie

"For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name... I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward." Mark 9:41

More details at Life Today!

P.S. We've had contributions so far from Louisiana, Texas, Utah, Oklahoma, and Tennessee-- with Louisiana leading the tote board!

I'd like to ask those of you with facebook pages, twitter profiles, and or blogs to help spread the word by posting this blog or this link to your friends and family. Remember, we're not giving food that will feed a hungry belly just once-- we're drilling a well that will give life-giving water to many needy men, women, and children for years to come. Speaking of children, Rozel from Louisiana donated in honor of her grandchildren and challenged everyone else with grandchildren to give in their honor. I think that's a fine idea.

One more note: For whatever reason, the paypay button here on the blog keeps timing out, but the donate button on the left hand banner of the website works every time. :)


Hugs,
Shellie

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Details from Decatur

Dear ones,

In response to your request for more details from Decatur, I offer this unedited and probably error filled note I just penned to a sweet reader named Lisa who wanted to come out and meet me, but alas, she had a hissy fit with her girls that morning (more details there will not be forthcoming) and they all stayed home. While that does pique my interest, I told her I understand. Hissy fits are sometimes unavoidable and can even be appropriate, (thinking of Jesus clearing the temple here.)

But we were talking details. Let's see...Friday morning after hosting ATS LIVE I drove to Jackson, MS and hopped on a plane that connected in Charlotte headed to Atlanta. :) Remember, I live in a rural area. It's hard to get anywhere from here on a straight shot! After traveling all day I hit the hotel ready to crash, which I did, until the first fire alarm sounded around three-thirty or four, who really knows, a quick little "HONKKK" and then... nothing.

Hmmm...was this there cute way of saying there had been a fire-- an itty bitty one-- but all was well? :) I stepped out into the hall and met another curious author, which I'm thinking may have been Susan Rebecca White, but neither of us were looking our absolute best so I'm not sure, and I forgot to confirm that later when I could see clearly. We discussed the "baby alarm" and decided to go back to bed with the promise that if either of us heard or smelled anything, we would knock on the other's door.

About the time I got back to sleep the fire alarm started blaring again-- this time loudly and consistently with serious PA voice, "A fire has been reported in the building. Please exit immediately. Do not use elevators. Again, please exit immediately." After a fun pajama party in the courtyard with new friends, unable to see beyond my nose as I was sans contacts or glasses, we were informed it was a false alarm and given permission to return to our rooms. Muchas gracious.

Saturday morning River Jordan, friend and fellow author of Saints in Limbo, called my cell at 9:45, lost as a goose, hitting town in an all out run to her panel. She was on at 10:00. I was able to find someone to hand my cell to in order for them to direct River to her venue, where I stood waiting outside. She tossed me the keys to park her brand new ride and slid in under the wire. I may have texted her a funny message while she was waiting to be introduced like, "River, I parked the car. That little dingy on the left fender, I know nutin about it." If I did such a horrible thing, which has yet to be proven, I'm sure I have since repented, but I was probably just trying to loosen her up.

After lunch, I shared a wonderful panel with Robin Hemly, "Do Overs", and Ad Hudler, "Man of the House". The men were fall down funny and I had a big time! Oh-- and in between that heard a panel with leading vampire authors, Charlaine Harris and Chelsea Yarbro. Okay, so I don't even "get" the vampire fascination, (why am I always in the minority), but I totally enjoyed sitting there with a big smile and doing my own little cultural anthropologist study on the audience. These people were F-A-N-S!!!!!! I found them most interesting. :)

That should be more details than anyone wants to know. Later gators and gatorettes.

Hugs,
Shellie


Saturday, September 5, 2009

A way above the chimney tops...

...That's where you'll find me.

Its so peaceful up here, so serene. It would probably be a good idea to close my eyes a bit, but my brain is too full and besides, I love flying at night. Time enough to sleep later.

Kudos Decatur Book Festival-- your Bookzilla was truly a monster literary happening. I thank you for allowing me to play. It truly feels like recess to me.

A HUGE happy heartfelt "Thank You" to every written word loving soul who listened to what I had to say, laughed at my nonsense, or bought my book with your hard earned money. You humble me.

Sometimes I wonder when one of the super cool author type folks I get to hang with at these things is gonna say, "Halt--who goes there? Hey you, Country Girl--Yes, you-- the one impersonating one of us, we're gonna need to see some credentials."

I, of course, will not be able to locate said credentials anywhere-- not in my suitcase, my purse, not even in trust bberry here that I can't believe I'm typing so long on! I suppose the gig will be up at that point, but until then its game on, huh porchers?

I did rest a bit just now, to think. Closed my eyes and laid my head just so against the seat and imagined I was resting on Father God's chest. I wanted to run some things by Him. I wondered what He thought about some of the things I saw and heard this weekend.

Wanted to tell Him how much I liked that woman from L.A., the one with the blue, silver, and black hair. I thought it was so pretty. I don't want to wear the style so much, but it really suited her. I asked Him to bless her, to order circumstances to bring her to Him if she didn't know Him and to deepen her understanding and intimacy if she did.

I asked Him to explain some things to me about other stuff I heard, too, things I probably shouldn't blog (and you thought I didn't have a filter *grin*). Told Him I wanted His perspective on those ponderings, not mine.

Landing now. I put some pics on facebook from the festival. Don't think I'll attach 'em here. Not much time left. Instead, I think I'll post a night sky pic w/this before I hit send on the ground in MS. Did you know the Bible says God calls the stars by name? He knows yours too, and He loves you. He has a future and a hope for You. I pray you find it.

Thanks for being a part of my life. I don't take it lightly. I pray I never will.

Hugs,
Shellie

Sent from my BlackBerry Smartphone provided by Alltel

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Water from the Porch

Dear porchers,

I'd like to share a dream with y'all. If you've been with me any length of time you know that several years ago I decided to ask for a yearly donation to help defray expenses here at All Things Southern. You may also know that I quickly decided this once-a-year drive should instead benefit others knowing that, in turn, the Lord would sustain our cyber community.


This year, in lieu of a donation to All Things Southern, I'd like to ask y'all to join forces with me to drill a well of life-giving water in cooperation with Life Today's Water for Life outreach program.

Our goal will be to raise $2400 in September '09 to give clean water to a community where children just like yours, grandchildren just like ours, drink contaminated water because it is all they have.

Please know this isn't a whim. It's a deep desire coming out of the latest bible study I'm writing on stewardship. I'm asking y'all, the ATS community, the folks who have become so dear to me, to share with me in the joy of supplying clean drinking water, and in doing so, to give life because it is in the power of our hands to do so. Ten dollars from two hundred and forty people. Can we do it? Why, not?

If you are enjoying the humor and inspiration of All Things Southern, please consider making your yearly donation for this good cause. You can use the paypal button at my website to donate, or you may send your donation to:

All Things Southern
Water from the Porch
610 Schneider Lane
Lake Providence, LA 71254

Please join me to share a drink of water in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Hugs,
Shellie

"For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name... I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward." Mark 9:41

More details at Life Today!


Update: One week into our goal and we've collected a little over $200 friends. We got a slow start last year, too, so never fear. I do need everyone who is considering contributing to go ahead and take a minute to follow through while it's on your mind. We've had contributions so far from Louisiana, Texas, Utah, Oklahoma and Tennessee-- with Louisiana leading the tote board!

I'd like to ask those of you with facebook pages, twitter profiles, and or blogs to help spread the word by posting this blog or this link to your friends and family. Remember, we're not giving food that will feed a hungry belly just once-- we're drilling a well that will give life-giving water to many needy men, women, and children for years to come. Speaking of children, Rozel from Louisiana donated in honor of her grandchildren and challenged everyone else with grandchildren to give in their honor. I think that's a fine idea.

One more note: For whatever reason, the paypay button here on the blog keeps timing out, but the donate button on the left hand banner of the website works every time. :)


Hugs,
Shellie