Thursday, May 31, 2007

Random Thoughts

I keep meaning to write, but life happens and I don't take time to jot it down. So, here are just a few random thoughts that I keep intending to post here on the blog.

• While at the writers conference, I was assigned a table for lunch and dinner. Since I was faculty, I was expected to sit at this table, and then people who want to bend my ear can choose to sit at the table (the students get to pick where they sit for meals, the faculty are assigned tables). Since so many folks misunderstand what we do at GRPR, it was funny, yet uncomfortable, to watch writers walk up to my table, read my sign, and then tell me they didn't need me and moved on to other tables. What they don't know is that the really DO need us! We start with the manuscripts and offer content edits and line edits, then write book proposals, help connect them with agents, do their publicity (television, radio, magazines, newspapers, internet, blog tours), and we even have a speakers bureau for novelists. So we have a lot of everything to offer, but others just don't know it. So, I would sit at my table, very lonely, feeling like the last girl to get picked for dodge ball teams or something. Usually, I would eat my entire meal before the last of the conferees came to sit at my table as the last open spots. Okay-it wasn't ALWAYS that bad-sometimes folks from my workshops or my one-on-one appointments would recognize me and come sit with me. But sometimes, it felt very much like getting picked LAST. I just need to network more during the general sessions and encourage people to come look me up at meal time.

• It's seems like a blast from the past to move here to Fulton, KY. People don't lock their cars here (some even leave their keys in the car). House doors aren't locked during daytime, but some do at night. We went to the local grocery story, and it was like going to the J & M market in my hometown of Louisiana, MO. It is owned by a family who actually works there. The store is set up like a grocery, not a supermarket. We kept waiting to be offered little tickets or stickers to save up to earn dishes or something. It is really like living 30 years behind the times here, in many ways.

• Speaking of memories, we were staying with Vickie and Casey, and with our biscuits they served Sugar Cane Syrup. It tasted sort of like Sorghum, but not as strong. Just very good flavor. Now I want to find some! Anyway, the taste reminded me of some tastes we had in my childhood. Mom-did we ever have Sugar Cane Syrup? This is really really good!

• We still have boxes surrounding us, but it is getting better. Russ and I are both working long hours, so the boxes have to come last on our priorities. We do just a few a day. Russ did a lot of work while I was away-scrubbing down the moldy basement walls with bleach water, and painting the basement floor. He also painted the office walls (changed from aqua with a tropical fish border, to a neutral cream). This isn't the home we were going to buy, but at least we are in a place of our own. And we will keep an eye out for a place to buy while we are renting. No hurry!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday Sightings

Today I just want to share a few observations from a very different "day in the life."

They will be totally unrelated ponderings and postulations...

(For those picking up in the middle, I'm writing this entry from Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in North Carolina)

Here goes:

• My 9-hour bus ride yesterday was eye-opening. I'm not even sure how to describe the education I received from the trip. I overheard descriptions that would have been censored from the sex ed for prisoners 101 manual. I saw some hardworking folks just trying to make an honest living, some young mothers traveling home to be with family or friends, some folks who weren't feeling well who should have left their viruses at home, and some young adults who had more ambition than gas money to travel cross country. It was an amazing journey. If a writer can't find "fodder" on a bus trip halfway across the country, then she should just hang up her writer's cap.

• After several incidents occurring these past few weeks, I understand much better the saying regarding "faithful are the wounds of a friend" and the whole need for "iron sharpening iron." When friends hold me accountable, it might sting, but because I know they love me, I can swallow the medicine. I know they have no other motivation than my good and God's glory when they suggest a change of attitude or actions. On the other hand, when someone who does NOT hold my heart in their hands tries to sling harsh words at me or about me, I need to learn how to not let it get under my skin as well as not weigh on my tender heart. I do realize that there are often seeds of truth in even the most wicked criticism, and I pray for awareness of that knowledge. But I also know that when those who have ought against me say stinging words, their only motivation may not be for my good, but to put me in a place where they can step on me. I pray God will show me the difference-the times I need to learn a lesson, and the times I need to just "let it go."

• Today I attended a worship service with the other faculty arriving early to the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Alton Gansky was the speaker. He made the book of 3rd John come to life for me. No coincidence in the timing of the lesson. Here are the basics from the Bible study today:

What words do you want associated with your name when others remember you?

John calls 3 people by name-and describes them to us.

1. Gaius-beloved elder. John loved him in truth. He prayed the prayer that we should pray for all our loved ones-a prayer for health and prosperity. In fact, he was a man of truth inside and out of church:
truth possessor (internal)
truth walker (actions)
truth supporter (giver of others who walked in truth)

2. Diotrephes-a church leader who blocked what John wrote so the others couldn't read it, and opposed him. Diotrephes desired the prominent recognition and position, and did not accept what the apostles had to say. John promised to call attention to it the next time he came to visit. Diotrephes unjustly accused these men of God, using wicked words. He also forbid others to agree with John's team, and if they did so, he put them out of his church. John warns us NOT to imitate Diotrephes.

3. Demetrius-received a good testimony from everyone, from the Truth itself, and from John and his team. His testimony was TRUE.

God gives us the gift of choice. We get to choose our life direction, and how we are remembered. We will be remembered for our actions, our responses, and our words. Who do we choose to be like? One of these three men? Keeping in mind that our great purpose is to bring glory to our Creator and God, what choice will I make?

This great lesson came to me for such a time as this! I need to know that not everyone will have my good at heart, and might even say cruel things about me and encourage others not to fellowship with me. But my choice is in how I will respond. Will it please my Heavenly Father?

Rather than spending time responding, today I choose to look ahead and see what God has for me on this NEW DAY. How can I encourage the writers gathering as I write this blog entry here at this beautiful Ridgecrest campus? Let me see their needs, and put my own needs on the back burner. The blessing is knowing how God works-when I see others as Christ sees them, that He will also burden someone else to see my needs, and will equip them with ways to meet my needs. I'm not ministering to others BECAUSE of it being reciprocal, but I can rest in Him, knowing that I am being taken care of. I pray my motives are pure and my intent is full surrender.

• At dinner tonight I got to meet an acquaintance from an online writers' group. The really cool thing is we hit it off right away, and she said she is interested in talking to me about being a part of her team in an upcoming project that could become as national as Women of Faith. I would freelance some work for her. She sounded pretty serious, in that she gave me her card and requested mine, so already God is putting people in my path. I know that a reputable organization is already footing the bill for her first conference, so this is not a pipe dream, but a project of great worth. I'm excited for her, and excited for the possibility to be a part of it!

• Tonight's keynote speaker was a friend of mine-Jim Watkins. He did a great job on the topic of "I Am A Giant Killer." He revised the biblical accounting of David and Goliath to fit writers slaying the scary editors (in getting our work published rather than rejected by them). It was a great message-both humorous and thought provoking. And the thing he ended with is what I'm pondering tonight. What are the giants in my life right now? I'm praying for God to equip me to slay these giants. If I'm being transparent (and that's just how I am), I'd have to say my giants are:
1. me fluctuating between battling pride and low self-esteem. Either I wonder if someone will notice me for "such and such" or I tell myself I'm not good enough to measure up. This is a continual struggle for me, and I think it is a universal struggle. My ONLY identify should be in Christ-and in that identify I'm uniquely designed to be exactly what God wants me to be. And when I give myself that sort of affirmation, I can take the focus off of self, and then I won't battle pride and I won't battle low self-esteem.
2. having so many dreams and aspirations, and so little time and energy. I pray the Lord continues to refine me and show me His purpose in me so I only commit to those projects He would have me to do.
3. wanting to live up to the expectations of others. No matter how hard I try...I just can't do it. And you know what? It's wrong of me to place that sort of pressure on myself.
4. having the wrong expectations for others. The shoe is on the other foot here. I need to want less when it comes to others. It's not about what they can do for me, but what can I do for them.
5. time wasters. I still need to identify those things that waste my time and cause me to feel "up against the clock" when it comes to self-imposed deadlines.

• After the evening meeting, one of the agents made a beeline for me. He said he had been wanting to meet me for quite some time, and was glad to put a face with a name. We know each other from having some of the same clients, and also from being in the same writers' online group. He picked my brain for a bit, dished about work, and then there was a line forming of other people wanting to talk to him. It meant a lot for him to take time out of his busy night to have face time with me, because I knew he will only be at the conference for another day and must leave early. So he had many folks to meet in just a short period of time. But probably what made my day the MOST was that he sought ME out. WHY? Because back in 2003 I was a budding author with bigger dreams than training, and I sent him a very "green" book proposal, asking him to consider being my agent. He took the proposal to the committee and they turned me down. He let me down easy, but he had to decline being my agent because they did not get a unanimous consent to do so. So for him to WANT to meet me now, just meant so much to me!

• The blessings of this day, were just as if God was gifting me with the sort of refreshment I needed:
-challenging messages to edify me to grow, not just as a writer, but as a Christian
-words of affirmation to build me back up after a time of being torn down in other situations
-new friends and business acquaintances and new potential business dealings

It's as if God was filling me up today, so that tomorrow when the "press of the crowds" come-the ones who want time with me so I can show them how to grow as a writer-my cup will not go dry from being poured out to others. It's as if God made sure I was so full of good stuff today that it overflowed to the saucer for lack of space inside. Now I can be used by Him and not be drained, but energized!

Greetings from Ridgecrest, North Carolina

Perhaps you're confused. I just greeted you from North Carolina, but you are pretty certain I just moved to Southwestern Kentucky.'d be right!

We moved into a cute 1940s 2 bedroom 1 bath rental on Friday. We were up raring to go first thing, and met the Realtor to get the key. Then we went to the house first, to appraise the situation and develop a plan of attack. What we saw caused our hearts to plummet to the basement. It was NOT in move-in condition. We found the bathroom had caked-on dirt, the kitchen was nasty-with grimy ovens, and food-stained refrigerator. The cabinets needed washed down. Dust half-an-inch thick on all the beautiful woodwork in all the rooms, carpets that reeked, etc. And when we went down to the basement, where we planned to store our spare bed and be my craft room-they hadn't even removed a stinky king-size bed, piled high with dirty clothes, and they had left their washer and dyer too. The odor everywhere was enough to knock you over, so we opened every window in the house.

Then we went back down to the Realtor to explain our situation, who contacted the owner and let him know this was NOT acceptable, and negotiated a deal. She said for the many hours of labor (or hiring a cleaner) that we should get the rest of this month free rent. He was agreeable to that and very sorry for our inconvenience. From there we went to Dollar General and bought $60 worth of cleaning supplies. He came over later that morning to get the rest of his stuff, and also consented to letting us paint. The 2nd bedroom, to be the office, is in aqua with a big tropical fish chair rail wallpaper border, the kitchen had 1 coat of red that didn't quite make it to the ceiling, although touches of it landed on the ceiling, and the 1 coat was too thin to cover, the dining room and living room of the house has a medium powder blue with matching carpet. Our bedroom was most tasteful in a pink wall with burgundy floral border, but still didn't match a thing we had. Bedrooms have hardwood floors-wish we could rip the carpet up from the two living areas to get rid of odor, and look better too! They did use a carpet shampooer, but it just brought the odor to the surface.

We really LIKE the rental, and it has tons of closet space. But it will be too small for our permanent residence, and they are asking too much for that area for an older home of that size. We are just grateful to have it!

So, after doing desk-work for months, I was doing manual labor all day. Oh my aching bones! haha! It felt good to scrub away the grime and see instant results-also rewarding and refreshing to put my mind in neutral and just clean!

Then on Saturday it was up and attum to travel 1 hour to the greyhound bus station to hop a bus for Asheville, NC. I was on a bus or in a terminal for almost 10 hours! Everything that was sore, at that point became stiff. And my oh my did I see, hear, and smell every sort of person on God's green earth!

I do recall sleeping off and on during the trip and reading a good book to occupy my time. I even saw a black bear on my way up the mountains to Asheville. Some volunteers from the center came to pick me up, and helped me check in here at Lifeway's Ridgecrest Retreat Center. I slept SOUNDLY for over 8 hours-a first in several months! I'm serving on faculty here, and will meet some other early-bird arrivals for worship in a little bit. Then we'll have a picnic lunch, spend the afternoon getting acquainted with the facility, have orientation, and at dinnertime the fun begins with the arrival of the writers.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Why Do They Do That?

Just this weekend I've been doing some soul searching regarding why some people can be "friends" for a while, and then turn on you and become cruel, mocking your prayer requests and attacking your reputation (some call it character assassination). I've just heard of at least 3 others who have recently gone through very similar problems. This isn't just a church problem, it is a universal problem.

With many of these situations, I decided God did not want me to get defensive. That truth would prevail. I know God doesn't want me to run away from conflict, but yet I also know He doesn't expect me to continue to expose myself to abuse. I do not need to "take it" when it comes to the doses of toxic "Christianity." It is similar to small doses of arsenic, which, when accumulated, can poison the recipient.

Why would others treat me this way? Maybe it is one of these reasons:

• they don't understand
• they're jealous
• they are hiding their own faults
• they aren't praying for me
• they assume the wrong things
• they are afraid the same trial I'm going through will happen to them
• they are unempathetic/unsympathetic
• they are hardened
• they are not in the Word
• they lack the fruit of the Spirit
• they are hurting, and we know that hurt people hurt people

Thinking through all of this helps me know how to better pray for the ones who have caused this hurt. And praying for them helps my pain diminish, as I continue to forgive them for their continued attacks.

I try to be transparent, but it leaves me feeling "naked" and vulnerable. Then I'm open for the pot shots. But I don't know how to wear a mask--they are too suffocating, I only know how to be me.

I'm working tons of hours, have wonderful Christian fellowship with some faithful friends, and can fill my time with other things that God has for me. So for me, I choose to move on. How did I get to this place? By evaluating why others would be this way, and how God would have me to act in return.

Bullies only bully those they can pick on. Once they see they can't rattle you, they move on too.

All of this heart-searching has caused me to be more conscientious of how my own words, actions, and attitudes might hurt others. E-mails can be particularly stinging because there is no body language or voice inflection to help read between the lines. I would rather remain silent than say something that could be misinterpreted. I know I've not been perfect when it comes to my part in relationships, but I hope because of my own experiences I will be more cautious not to hurt others.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This

Remember the song "Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This"? I saw a book by the same title last night. I can't really remember what the song was about, and I didn't pick up the book to know what it is about, but that title GRABS me! So, here's my 2007 list of things my mama taught me about living on those "days like this." Of course, sometimes there are days, and sometimes there are months!

Mama said-
• Some people are just ugly, even when they are beautiful on the outside, and usually kids and dogs can tell which ones have that beautiful spirit from the ones who don't.
• Don't trust anyone but yourself, and God. It will keep you from getting burned.
• Sometimes what you don't say says more about you than what you do say.
• Life isn't fair, especially when it comes to work and friendships.
• If you don't stand on your own two feet, who do you expect to stand on your feet for you?

But Mama also said-
• Hard work is reward enough in itself.
• Being nice to everyone really won't hurt you, even when it feels like it might.
• Remember your roots and be kind to those who have less than you do.
• Working outside is the best antidepressant there is.
• Mentoring someone else by investing your time and talent is one of the best way to make effective change, one person at a time.

Okay, my mama didn't say all these statements, but her life showed me these things over the past 44 years. She equipped me for "days like this."

Thanks, Mom! Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Learning Curve

We didn't get the house. And we've had so many kind words from friends and loved ones regarding this disappointing news. I'm not really feeling emotion. No anger. No sadness. Maybe I'm numb. I don't know. My boss, Rebeca, said she would have lost it so many times by now. I am just literally living a day at a time. Maybe that's where God wants me right now. Trusting Him for the daily bread, and daily shelter too.

At age 44, I guess I never thought I'd have to depend on someone else for my housing. Through this, I've seen how easy it is to become homeless in the richest country of the world. So sad. I will have more compassion for those who have come upon hard times because of this. It blows my mind that I can make more than the median income for Fulton, KY and run into this many problems just to find a place to live.

We are looking at a little house to rent, or an upstairs apartment of an old quad-plex. We'll know more tomorrow about where we will land.

Thanks for continuing to pray. I know I'm so blessed compared to the majority of the world. This whole experience has humbled me and shown me a lot about myself.

Russ and I both realize that since 2002 we have been thrown into a huge "Life Learning Curve." It's turned our world upside down, made us throw away several thought-processes that were just plain WRONG, and opened our mind to what God would have for us.

Thanks for going the long haul with me on this journey!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Birth of The Staff Guy!

Today was the birth of The Staff Guy. Check out the new Web Site at:

A New Day!

Today was the first day of my husband's new ministry. Russ filled in as "music man" at First Baptist Church of Clinton, KY today. He went Wednesday for some preliminary stuff, but today was his first full day. We went early enough to make sure everything was ready to go, and then attended Sunday School. It was quite enjoyable. And then came church. Even though it was our first Sunday morning there, it seemed like we fit in just like family. Russ did a great job leading music (I had no doubt!), and we enjoyed the interim pastor's sermon. After morning worship we met with the choir, and others interested in music. They haven't had a choir since Christmas, so even though many choirs take a break for summer, this one desires to get started and move forward. Some are still mourning the passing of their previous music director, who did their music off and on for about 30 years. My heart goes out to them, because this transition period must be difficult for them. I pray we minister to them in their time of need.

After the meeting we went out to eat with a couple of the deacon's and some of their family. I felt like we had known them forever. Just so easy to visit. I truly believe because the same Spirit Who lives in me lives in them, we are connected by an invisible force that paves the way for a sort of kinship.

Also, I can't not mention the food at the restaurant! It was a simple buffet but the food was like the cooking I had growing up. Fried Chicken, Meatloaf, Pork Loin, Black Eyed Peas, White Creamed Corn from scratch, mashed potatoes, fried okra, greens, green beans, rolls, salad and fruit bar, and chocolate cake for dessert. YUM.

We go back tonight to continue our time at First Baptist and will find out soon what the details are regarding our ministry time with this church. It's a privilege to serve!

(Oh...and for those of you wanting to know about our house situation: we still have not closed on the house. More mess-ups and more phone calls up the ladder at the bank. I think we must have gotten through to them because they have offered us an in-house loan if we can't get this loan they offered to us, which means a same day issuance so we could get the paperwork to the seller's attorney to draw up the HUD and finally close this thing. One way or the other, as long as the seller is agreeable to extend our contract, we will close by this Friday. This Missourian will believe it when she sees it at this point, saying, "SHOW ME!")

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Saga Continues

We didn't close today, and found out that it could actually take as much as a WEEK more. Since Wednesday we've been told there was just ONE document left (a correction from the appraiser), but actually after that, it still has to have the letter of "cleared to close" from the mortgage company, and up until that time they can always find something else to request from somewhere. From there the seller's attorney still has to draw up the HUD papers, and then that all gets overnighted to the closing attorney, and THEN we close.

Russ did talk with someone higher up the ladder at the bank, and they are appalled at the service we've gotten. He had our loan officer in with him, on speaker phone, and several things came to light that the boss didn't know the loan officer had done (or not done that should have been done). So, now we are at least offered a plan B. If the loan officer cannot get the paperwork we need by noon on Monday to send to the seller's attorney-to get a closing later in the week, then the boss will take over and do an IN-HOUSE loan, at 90% instead of 100% of the loan, and we will have more cost up front, but we can get in the house. We offered to do a 90% loan when we first applied, and they said there was no such thing at their bank. WRONG. We offered again when they switched loan officers on us to try for a 90% loan, and they still said there was no such thing. Well, there IS such a loan at their bank!

The level of their incompetency amazes me. Anyway, we have a Plan B in place, but that's only IF the seller agrees to extend the contract deadline-which currently is May 8th, but now we are requesting as late as May 11th. We'll know more Monday, one way or the other...

Thanks for everyone's prayers!

If God is writing a book of our lives, He has included all the page-turner drama and conflict necessary to be a good read. What sort of genre would it be? It would read like a horror story at times! At least our marriage provides the romantic element of the book. So maybe it is more like a "cozy mystery."

I know God is ultimately in control, but that sometimes the free will of man can mess up what God wants best for us. But He can still use all the "mess ups" and make something good out of it. He already knows the end result, and I can rest in that truth.

Through all of this I've learned just how much of my life is NOT in my hands. I have to trust God even when I cannot trust others. I'm not the one in control. I'm not the boss of me, and I'm for SURE not the boss of anyone else. The universe does not revolve around ME. And what matters so much to me is not important at all to most other people. Knowing that, I move on. I face reality and I make the best decisions I can with the choices given to me, based on the direction God gives me through wise counselors, through His peace, and from His Word.

The rest, is OUT OF MY HANDS.

Here We "Grow" Again

We were all set to close today on our house, with a conditional approval from the bank. Utilities are arranged to be turned on today. But, we do not have confirmation that the appraiser turned in the documents the underwriter requested of him. The sad thing is, they requested it Wednesday morning, and all they needed were some comps (comparisons of other houses that sold in the area) that would back up the appraisal he gave our home. I guess the ones he turned in didn't measure up. But our Realtor had several that worked, so she sent everything the appraiser needed to do his job, TO him, and all he needs to do is transfer the information to his own letterhead. He said he would get it done by Wednesday night, but as of Thursday night we do not have confirmation that he did what he promised he would do. And since it needs to be overnighted, it is quite possible we will not make it to closing today. UNLESS he did send it and just will not return everyone's calls for whatever reason. We'll find out today when the businesses open. What is frustrating is that the comps he sent in did at least back up the loan value of our home, it's just that he said our home was valued at $20,000 more than the loan amount, and for some reason they want the comps to back THAT number up even though his comps DO back up the loan amount. UGH!

So, it may mean we lose the opportunity of having this weekend to work on the house while we are both off and also while our "muscle power" is off.

We need one more round of prayers, that all the documents are in so we can close on the house. We for sure have it, we just need all the paperwork to be there before we can get in.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Kentucky Christian Writers Conference

I'm going to be at a writers conference coming up, and I'd like to get the word out about this one because it would be great to meet some of you there. It is the Kentucky Christian Writers' Conference, to be held on Friday and Saturday, June 22 - 23, 2007, at Grace Heartland Church in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

Go to for more info on this. Now, for my part of the news:

I'm going to be co-teaching a Fiction Workshop with Virginia Smith. Here is the workshop overview:

Workshop Overview:
A Novel Approach to Fiction will teach writers the necessary elements for writing compelling fiction. Our “tag-team teachers” will discuss every part of the process, from character development to storyboarding the plot, to polishing your prose. If you want to write fiction, or if you already have several fiction works under your belt, this class will have something for you. Come and share in this interesting format. The extended time slot will allow our co-teachers to cover more ground and will provide you with an opportunity to ask questions. The welcome mat will be out and the light will be on, so feel free to come and go as needed if you have appointments with editors during part of this workshop. You’ll be able to follow along with the provided materials.


Virginia Smith left her job as a corporate director to become a full time writer and speaker in the summer of 2005. Since then she has received contracts for six novels and published numerous articles and short stories. She writes contemporary humorous novels for the Christian market, including her debut, Just As I Am (Kregel Publications, March 2006) and the upcoming Murder by Mushroom (Steeple Hill, August 2007). Her short fiction has been anthologized, and her articles have been published in a variety of Christian magazines, including Today’s Christian, Women Alive!, Evangel, Standard, and Cross & Quill. Smith is the critique group moderator for the Christian Writers Fellowship International, and serves on the board of directors of the Christian Authors Network. An energetic speaker, she loves to compare real-life situations to well-known works of fiction, such as her popular talk, “Biblical Truths in Star Trek.”

Kathy Carlton Willis has always enjoyed fiddling with words. She is an inspirational and motivational speaker, literary publicist for Glass Road Public Relations, copy editor and content writer. GRPR helps novelists with line edits, content edits, book proposals, finding the right agent, creating media campaigns for book PR, blog tours, as well as a speakers bureau. A variety of her columns and book reviews appear online and in print publications. She is somewhat of a grammar guru, with columns for writers appearing in three publications, including ByLine Magazine. She served for some time as a copyeditor and writer for The Sunday Challenger. Kathy’s favorite ministry is mentoring other writers. She has owned 10 online critique groups and currently serves as a writer’s coach for an online mentoring clinic to help writers achieve their dreams. Her volunteer time with the Fellowship of Christian Writers and The Writers View allows her to pay back to the writing community for all they’ve done for her.

I'll also be offering a Manuscript Critiques service for the conference. Contact me for more details.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Things Are Looking Up!

This morning my cell phone rang about 9:30 a.m. or so, and I said, "I bet this is about the house!" Sure enough, it was the bank saying we had received conditional approval on the mortgage from underwriting. They just needed some paperwork from various sources that were all pretty quick fixes.

Then, 10 minutes later, the phone rang again. This time, it was a SBC church in the area requesting Russ's services to be an interim music director. He went tonight to lead music and then after church they were going to meet with him for an interview. If he gets this, then his new career as "The Staff Guy" has begun! How exciting!

At lunchtime we stopped by our Realtor to tell her the good news about the loan. Of course, she was on top of things and already knew about it. In fact, she was responsible for helping get some of the paperwork to the appropriate places today to move things along. While we were in the office, she called to find out just how close we are to closing. Well...we are close enough to having all the paperwork together that the bank said we could set a closing time for Friday!

Thinking of everything, our Realtor set up two times on Friday. We will either close on the house at 10:00 a.m. or, if some documents are delayed due to waiting on overnight mail, we will close at 2:00 p.m. Either way, it's looking like we are closing on Friday. YAY!

Now we have to get to work arranging for all of our utilities to be hooked up and turned on-hopefully before the weekend so we can move in.

We are going to be sooooo excited once this thing really happens. I'm still too numb to believe it's really happening!

Also today we arranged for a P.O. Box for Russ's business, and his cell phone, so that he is ready to go with his new ministry. It's all falling into place.

More news as it breaks!