Wednesday, August 20, 2014

More Adorable Baby Blessing Winners!

Abby's Baby Blessings
Kathy's Baby Blessing
Elisa's Baby Blessing
Woohoo! Here are the last five winners of the Too Blessed to be Stressed Baby Blessings drawing.

If you didn't win, no worries! Another contest with awesome prizes (like a Kindle, free books, and Deb's fave chocolate)  is right around the corner to celebrate Too Loved to be Lost when it releases this fall. 

So if you don't already receive Deb's free quarterly e-newsletter, be sure to sign up at www.DeboraCoty.com so you won't miss a thing!

Kim's Baby Blessing
Kay's Baby Blessing

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Winning Photos

If these Baby Blessings don't light your fire, hey, your wood's wet!

Missie's Baby Blessings
Gloria's Baby Blessing
Jen's Baby Blessing


Heather's Baby Blessings

Congrats once again to the winners of my Baby Blessings contest! Here are the first five drawing winners - I hope they bless your heart as much as they have mine!

Jan's Baby Blessings



Sunday, August 10, 2014

Baby Blessings Contest Winners!

One of your 6 choices
A big THANK YOU to all who entered the Baby Blessings contest - I loved ooohing and aaahing over your baby blessings. Most were sweet little humans but we had our share of adorable 4-legged furry blessings and even a few terrific wheeled blessings.

Congrats to the ten winners in the drawing for your choice of my own Baby Blessings!

If your name's on the list below, just choose your prize - here they are: http://deboracoty.com/deboras-books/too-blessed-to-be-stressed-babies/ (if for some reason this doesn't show up as a clickable link, just go to my website www.DeboraCoty.com and click on books and then "Too Blessed to be Stressed Baby Blessings") and let me know at my private e-dress gracenotes@deboracoty.com where you'd like your prize sent.

Also, if you don't mind me posting your Baby Blessing photo and name, in that same message, please give me your written permission and it will appear on a blog post later this week.

If you didn't win this time, stay tuned for another contest coming up soon with the release of Too Loved to be Lost this fall. And hey, the prizes will blow your mind!

 So without further ado, in order they were drawn, here are the Baby Blessings winners:

Kay Colson Waters                                     Abby Letourneau
Heather Miller                                             Gloria Foster
Kim Lockhart                                              Elisa Westlund      
Jennifer Deg                                                Kathy James
Missie Sadler-Wiggins                                 Jan McRae

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Skip This Spinning Class

Wish I knew what causes my ding dang vertigo. Drives me batty.  Heard of it? The Tilt-a-Whirl from Hades. The hangover that isn't. The devil’s last laugh.

Yep, vertigo is wicked all right. The world spins topsy-turvy out of control with every movement of the head. Or even eyes. It’s like you just rolled off a merry-go-round after being shoved round and round by a 250-pound linebacker. 

Only it doesn't stop after you get off and stagger around the playground.

This bout hit me the day we returned home from our beach week. I'd forgotten but Spouse reminded me that I got vertigo last year during our annual Daytona  week too. Go figure. I wonder if it has something to do with sand. Or glare. Or shrimp. Those are the things I do in Daytona that I don't do at home.

Hmm. I suspect it’s the cosmos’ way of telling me not to wear bathing suits.

Maybe it’s hereditary. My father suffers with it too, more frequently than me. We both take Antivert, which helps but doesn't cure it. At least with the medicine you can pseudo-function without throwing up every time you rise from a chair. But walls still have a way of jumping out and whacking you in the shoulder when you try to traverse hallways and the sidewalk still swerves away from you when you walk the dog and you end up in somebody’s shrubbery pretending that you’re looking for Rover’s lost ball.  

I recently found in my possession 1940-era British medical literature regarding vertigo that warned, among other clever things like “make sure your spectacle prescription is up to date,” that it is a very bad idea to walk along unlit stony paths late at night during a dizzy spell ... you might end up in the ditch. In which case you may well invoke a disgruntled bobby to escort you to the loo or worse, the slammer, under the erroneous impression that you’ve visited one too many pubs.

Dear me. Guess I'll just have to curb my late night unlit stony path hikes.

The brochure also said activities that require rapid side-to-side righting movements of the body and head are good therapy ... example: tennis. The risks, however, include falling flat on your face when you look up to hit your serve. Or impaling yourself on the back fence when you run after a lob.

Harrumph. Mere hiccups to true tennis addicts like me.

I’ve actually played tennis – more than once – in the throes of a vertigo episode (you can probably only understand this if you’re another full fledged tennis junkie). It’s kind of an out-of-body experience. Gives new meaning to the term “dizzy blonde.”

Why, you wonder, would anyone subject themselves to abject humiliation and certain defeat playing a competitive game with her head screwed on sideways? Um, I dunno. I suppose addiction is the operative word here.

It wasn't really that bad. Aside from only winning two games in two sets, the worst part was following the ball. Back and forth. Back and forth. Whack. Whack. Whack. By the time my already spinning eyes (a Vertigo symptom called nystagmus) could hone in on that little yellow sphere suddenly appearing just beyond the tip of my nose, the rest of me was flopping all over itself trying to remember how to be coordinated enough to connect my racquet with the ball.

You feel like a marionette being operated by a giant invisible hand hovering over the court. And the hand’s got a nasty twitch.

So you go home and take another pill.

Unfortunately, a side effect of Antivert is an anvil in your skull. It’s what I call the dead meat syndrome - meaning you can't think clearly and only want to lie on the couch all day trying not to draw flies.  

There's no good way to sleep. I usually end up propping myself upright in bed in a sitting position and sandbagging my head on all sides so it can’t move. This doesn't lend itself to rolling over once you've finally lost consciousness, which tends to pitch you right out of bed with arms flailing as you either blacken Spouse’s eye or send the bedside lamp flying.

Oh, you can be proactive if you choose. The vertigo exercises (mostly weird head/body positioning movements to dislodge stuck inner ear crystals) do help Daddy although they merely make me vomit. Even thinking about them now sends a wave of nausea through my gut. Rather like hanging upside down from the mast of a ship when you already have raging seasickness.

It’s enough to make me never, ever eat shrimp again. Just in case.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

One Word Says It All

One of my fave places to praise Jesus
A short time ago I visited a multi-ethnic Christian women's event where several languages (besides English) were spoken.

Because multiple interpreters were often speaking at once, it was occasionally chaotic, sometimes cacophonous, always interesting, and never more fun.

Forbearance was abundant. Everyone there wore their patience and kindness like a beautiful faith necklace ("Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder" Proverbs 3:3, NLT).

And one thing stood out to me as we expressed our own Jesus-joy in worship. We were all praising Papa God in different languages, sometimes singing words we didn't understand, or listening to the Bible read in a foreign tongue.

Yet we had one thing in common. It was a word that we all began to say in unison while smiling from ear-to-ear when it became apparent that regardless of our nationality, each of us shared this one common bond of worship: Hallelujah.

Go figure. Hallelujah is the same in every language.

By definition, hallelujah is the term used to express praise, joy, and gratitude. And by dingies, we expressed all those things, all wrapped tightly up in one says-it-all word. Hallelujah.

Until that day, I believe I've always taken hallelujah for granted. It was just another faith-speak term like "Thank Heavens" or "Praise the Lord" or "Have Mercy!"  But no longer. That word is special to me now, because I know that whenever I say it, thousands of my soul sisters and brothers across the globe are saying it too, and our hearts are bound together in one timeless, bottomless, boundary-less expression of praise to our Papa.

Hallelujah!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fabulous New Contest!

Summer 2014: Baby Blessings Shower

The Babies Are Arriving!

As you may have heard, my book Too Blessed to be Stressed has been busy birthing offspring; I call them my Baby Blessings. So far, the bouncing bundles of joy include:

Too Blessed to be Stressed 2014 Planner
TooBlessedPlanner

Too Blessed to be Stressed Perpetual Calendar Too Blessed to Be Stressed Perpetual Calendar

Muy Bendecida Para Estar Estresada (Spanish translation) Too Blessed to be Stressed (Spanish)
The Bible Promise Book: Too Blessed to be Stressed Edition
Too Blessed to Be Stressed - Promise Book

Due next in July is the Too Blessed to be Stressed 2015 Planner and in September, the Too Blessed to be Stressed Journal, which is a hard cover version of the original paperback with additional space for Too Blessed to be Stressed 2015 Planneranswering “Let’s Decom-Stress” reflection questions and journaling. I’m planning cool contests to give away copies of each one to celebrate their birthdays, so be sure to subscribe to my blog to find out about all the freebies as the news breaks!
In the meantime, I’m throwing a baby shower in reverse! That means I give YOU gifts to celebrate! Keep reading …

A Baby Shower Like No Other

In celebration of my Baby Blessings, I want to see yours! Just shoot me an e-photo of your cherished baby (human, 4-legged or even 4-wheeled) on my CONTACT page by August 8th and you’ll be entered in the drawing to win the Baby Blessing (listed above) of your choice. Winning photos will be posted on my blog in mid-August.

So start snapping those baby photos and send a few my way! Can't wait to see 'em! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Hero is a Snail

A monstrous handful of snail
I was hiking a mountain trail last week when something stopped me in my tracks. It was a sight I truly didn't expect to see.

There, at more than 4,000 feet above sea level, a snail was painstakingly making its way across the gravel road (thankfully it was only a fraction the size of the whopper in the picture).

What in the world was a sea creature doing way up here?

Fascinated, I stopped to watch the little guy's tedious journey as he encountered obstacle after obstacle. (It was, after all, a gravel road.) His little neck stretched out as far as possible, his two antlers (or maybe they're called feelers) probed the gravel rocks - the side of a boulder from his perspective - blocking his way.

After careful analysis, he decided on his best route and gradually, by the teensy-tiniest increments, detoured to the left or to the right around the roadblock. He'd stick his long neck out, then constrict it, which effectively dragged his gigantic safe house after him.

If something spooked him (like a giant named Deb poking around), he immediately retreated into his safe house. At least he thought it was. Safe. I cringed when I thought of what a passing car would do to his place of refuge. Pulverize is putting it mildly. Probably a good thing he didn't know about cars; he might never venture from the bushes.

And then I thought about myself and how so many things scare me enough that I don't want to venture from the bushes either. I'd rather curl up in my (perceived) safe place surrounded by my comfortable shell.

But Papa God didn't create us to cower. We were made to journey. To cross dangerous roads. To stick our necks out, probe with our feelers, and reroute around the boulder blocking our path. Stretching ... probing ... adjusting ... moving forward. And to sometimes do it in places w-a-y out of our comfort zone; places we feel like we don't belong, places 4,000 feet above our natural habitat.

That's pretty much how my writing journey feels most days. Like I'm w-a-y out of my habitat. My feelers get a real workout trying to figure out a route around obstacles I've never encountered before, some I never knew existed.

And my safe house doesn't drag as well as it used to. Or maybe my neck's getting tired.

With all these thoughts swirling in my head, I drew inspiration from my little snail friend. He just kept on. Stretching ... probing ... adjusting ... moving forward.

Two hours later when I backtracked to check his progress, he was still doing it. Only now he was almost across the road. And that's where I want to be too.

So what's your goal? What motivates you to keep stretching ... probing ... adjusting ... moving forward?

 

     


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Worthless Versus Priceless

I mop the sweat from my forehead with the already soggy sweatband on my wrist. Summer tennis has it's downs.

But it has its ups too - like fresh air, sunshine, much needed exercise, and that dear little buttercup over there by the net post one court over. Yep, growing in the middle of a sea of pavement on these hard courts, that little sweetie has overcome the odds to sprout in a crack the size of a thimble to bring cheer to my day.

Every time I switch sides of the court, I make it a point to pass by the happy yellow plant and draw inspiration from its tenacity.

Finally, during the third set, I comment on the buttercup's uplifting presence to the three guys sharing my court. I don't know them, really. We just met on the court this morning and recognized that we were similar skill levels and decided to play together. Their ages range from thirtysomething to near sixty.

Their responses completely flabbergast me.

Man #1: "How did that thing get there? I'll pull it up next time we switch sides."
Man #2: "I have some weed killer in my trunk."
Man #3: "Now why did you have to point that out? It's going to drive me crazy until we rip it out."

What??? Are you kidding me? Every single one of them see that beacon of beauty and courage as an aberration to be uprooted and discarded.

Of course I understand that their experience colors their view - these are all men who have been trained for years by society and their wives to seek and destroy any extraneous entities defacing their immaculate lawns. And I realize that buttercups are, by most standards, considered weeds.

But of that I do NOT agree. My childhood memories are rich with buttercups dotting the field by my house, abundantly present in their magnificent amber glory on dewy summer mornings for me to tenderly caress, hold under my sister's chin to confirm her affinity for butter, and gather in a lovely bouquet to express my everlasting love to my momma.

If that's not the definition of a "real" flower, I don't know what is.

So when these guys can't see anything but nuisance in this clearly delightful creation right from Papa God's own hand, I see that it's my mission to enlighten them.

But alas, they will not be swayed. Especially because there's three of them and one of me.

So we must agree to disagree. It's all a matter of perspective: vexation versus inspiration. Pesky weed versus purveyor of pleasure. Worthless versus priceless. Something that should be eliminated or valued. 

Like so many other times in life, our perspective makes all the difference.

What about you, my friend? How do you see a buttercup?    

   

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Walking in the Rain

Walking in the rain. Running in the rain. Crying in the rain.

Sounds romantic, right?

Ha.

I'm sitting here dripping all over my computer chair in the aftermath of doing those very things and I can tell you it wasn't fun at all.

Yeah, I saw the clouds when I started out on my morning prayer walk, but here in central Florida you can never tell when they're gonna just lie around all day threatening but never produce. Sometimes I feel like I live in a bubble and it rains everywhere but my neighborhood. You continuously alter your plans for rain that never comes. You want to yell at the overcast skies Poop or get off the pot!

Oops. If you have delicate sensibilities, please overlook that last statement. Sometimes crude says it best.

Anyhow, I was about 30 minutes away from home when the first fat drops came. Within seconds they crescendoed into a deluge. I looked hopefully down the road for Spouse's rescue vehicle; he's usually on the ball scouting rain-outs on my regular walks or bike outings and like my own personal Daniel Boone, sends out the cavalry immediately.

Then I remembered. He was sick in bed and wouldn't even know if a typhoon hit.

So I trudged down the road like a drowned rat. I had to stick my cell phone in my underwear to try to keep it dry. A drowned rat with a rectangular rump.

No human life was visible anywhere, although the ducks at the pond appeared to be having quite a frolic in the downpour. A dog ran across the road and took shelter beneath a house. I briefly considered joining him.

Then I turned a corner and came upon a silver car, engine running, sitting at the curb in front of a house. Hooray! The driver was in there! Double hooray! It was a woman! (I wouldn't have considered getting in a car with a strange man, but this scenario certainly held promise.)

I began to think the chances of my getting offered a ride home were looking pretty good when I saw her eyeing me as I approached. But then the worst thing happened. She turned away. She began looking everywhere but at me. Like I didn't even exist.

Body language was clear: Go away. You'll find no help here.

Even when I walked within one foot of her car window and paused, pulling the dripping hair from my face and staring imploringly in at her, she kept looking straight ahead at the rain pounding on her windshield and refused to acknowledge my presence or my plight.

Hope drained away like water in a bathtub.

And then I thought about the homeless woman that I drove past yesterday. Her sign said, "Need food for family. Anything will help."

Did I stop? No. Did I help? I didn't.

She's walking through the rain in her life every day. Drowning in the downpour. Yet I keep sitting in my nice dry car staring straight ahead, my body language clear: Go away. You'll find no help here.

But I can change that. I can. Papa's message to me through the raindrops hit home. I can acknowledge the presence and plight of her and others like her. I can. And I will. Because I know all too well how awful it feels to be soaked to the bone and without hope - even temporarily.

How about you? Have you walked in any rain lately that opened your eyes - and maybe even your heart - to others splashing through the puddles beside you?









Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Radical Makeover

My new book covers! 
So what do you think? 
Woo Hoo!

Soooo exciting!

These are the new covers for my two historical novels, The Distant Shore and Billowing Sails. 

My publisher felt it was time for an update and I think they give Emma-Lee, the main character of both books, a fresh new look.

I actually resisted at first - accepting change has never been my forte. But I'm glad I relented now that I've seen what a very talented cover artist can do ... not really altering my perception of who Emma-Lee is, but enhancing the possibilities and engaging the imagination in all that she could be.

It was my desire to keep the distant storm clouds and dark edges on the horizon of The Distant Shore to symbolize the tragedy and mystery that Emma-Lee was thrust into on the island through no fault of her own. Not unlike many of the problems we face every day - problems not of our own making, but problems we must wade through nonetheless.

And the cover artist (whom I've never met or even spoken to) came up with the beautiful brightness and glorious sunbeams (if you read my books, you know how much I absolutely ADORE those symbolic fingers of our Creator reaching down to us in the form of sunbeams!) portraying Emma-Lee's emerging faith and hope in Papa God for Billowing Sails

The use of sunbeams is just another marvelously cool coincidence that isn't.

It's a grace note. An amazing grace note that proves to me yet again that Papa God is involved in every single detail of our lives. Even book cover radical makeovers!

P.S. If you've never read these delightful novels inspired by a true story, good news! They're on sale for $1.99 each for a limited time in e-reader version for both Kindle and Nook. And of course they're also available in print from www.Amazon.com and www.BarnesandNoble.com as well as anywhere books are sold.