The Gift that Keeps on Giving


Jesus promised:  “In the world, you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, because I have overcome the world. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

And the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father sends in My name, will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 

Peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Abide in My love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”                                                                                                      

                                                                                                               ~ John 14-15

Organ Stop Pizza

cdadd47aa8277b8905c7ca98cbdb4370 Found a marvelous place in Mesa, AZ! ORGAN STOP PIZZA. The food was wonderful–salad bar, pizza, spaghetti, lasagna, hot fudge sundaes, etc. (and reasonable prices).

The crowning jewel of the place is the Mighty Wurlitzer. It was built in 1927, has 6000 pipes, and an awe-inspiring sound. It hearkens back to the early 1900’s when movie theaters provided background music for silent films. The musician was so talented, playing Star Wars, Phantom of the Opera, Disney themes, etc.

Now I’m off to order a CD of the organ music at It’s amazing the wonderful things I keep finding in the Valley of the Sun.


mount-everest.jpg  UPDATE:  In 2008, I last posted about the 1996 tragedy on Mt. Everest. Tonight Jaime and I went to the movie Everest  that showed the event. Awesome movie. I’m so glad they made it and did a good job. It wasn’t “glammed up” Hollywood style–it was completely true to Krakauer’s book. Highly recommended. So heroic, so tragic, so sad, so fascinating. Here was my original post:

Lately, I’ve been fascinated by Mount Everest, specifically the people who climb it, and the tragedy of 1996 when twelve people died trying. I’ve read Mountain Madness about Scott Fischer, Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, and The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev. You could be the best mountain climber and have reached the summit many times before, but if a storm blows in, or a mistake is made, or you get altitude sickness — nothing can save you. You can’t be rescued because the air is so thin, a helicopter can’t fly. Friends can’t even carry the dead bodies of their friends down from the mountain, because it’s all they can do to save themselves. Climbers simply step around frozen dead bodies and keep pressing upward.

Why do they do it? It’s sheer mental and physical torture to climb the tallest mountain in the world. Krakauer says that mountain climbers are, by their very nature, obsessed and beyond reason. I think part of it is the way it forces them to be in the moment. Every second counts, every step can mean sudden death, and there’s no room for the petty worries of the workaday world. It is a clear, pure experience. That kind of willpower and focus fascinate me.

I know I could never climb mountains. Occasionally when visiting Colorado, I’ll look up at the peaks and think, “I wonder what it would feel like to climb that mountain and be up there?” But Krakauer says after he came down alive from Mount Everest, the simple act of walking barefoot to a warm bathroom made him ecstatic. Yep, I’m content to read about it, not do it.




My To-Be-Reads

99931c2095a59c8ddb1aa8534e78dc89   Oh, come on, autumn! Hurry up! I’m eagerly anticipating new book releases by four of my favorite authors:

On the writing front, Larry Brooks is adding to his excellent how-to’s with STORY FIX: TRANSFORMING YOUR NOVEL FROM BROKEN TO BRILLIANT. I live by his advice from previous books, Story Engineering and Story Physics. He is so helpful and so right.

The newest thriller by Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child is coming out on November 10th– CRIMSON SHORE. It’s the newest novel featuring FBI Special Agent, Aloysius Pendergast, along with his friends, loves, cohorts, and diabolical enemies. Pendy!

Inspirational pastor, Joel Osteen, has a new book, complete with Study Guide: THE POWER OF I AM. His writings lift me up.

And, last but not least, we’ll have a new offering from the Murder, She Wrote series by Donald Bain/Jessica Fletcher. These come out every April and October like clockwork, and I have them all. This one is a Halloween book, THE GHOST AND MRS. FLETCHER.  Is an old house in Cabot Cove haunted? Delightful fun.

Oh, hurry autumn! Come quickly! I just can’t wait!

Best Bookstore Pickup Lines

imagesFY5T0OVV  “Excuse me, could you point me toward the Self-Help section? I need some advice on how to approach a gorgeous girl in a bookstore without seeming creepy.”

“I don’t know about you, but I found Dave Eggers’ latest effort to be really derivative. Just kidding. I don’t even know what ‘derivative’ means. God, your eyes are pretty.”

“I’ve got a great reading light by my bed.”

“Have you seen a copy of tax tips for billionaires?”

“You’re pretty nicely stacked, too.”

(These were rounded up from the internet for your enjoyment by my friend Melanie Tighe (author Anna Questerly). She owns the Dog-Eared Pages bookstore in Phoenix.)

Don’t Break the Chain

imagesEN139F1FHere’s a present for you:

It’s a motivational tool developed by Jerry Seinfeld. When he was first starting out, he realized the only way he would make it would be to write new jokes every day and just keep doing it. So he created a calendar called “Don’t Break the Chain” and marked off every day that he wrote. After a while, he just couldn’t bear to break the chain!



Here’s to a happy and productive writing year!