Saturday, August 26, 2006

Do you Believe in Matchmaking?

@Cynthia H. Green

Match Made in Heaven

“Hello Cindy. This is your Aunt Dell. How are you?”
“I'm fine. It's good to hear from you; how have you been?”
“Oh I'm doing o.k. Listen, I've got someone I want you to meet.”
My heart jumped into my throat. It felt suspiciously like she was setting me up on a blind date. Been there, done that, the T-shirt didn't fit. What was I going to say? She was describing how and where she knew him. And all the while my mind was racing ahead, trying to figure out how to tell her no, to let her down gently.
“What if he doesn't like me,” I whined.
Without acknowledging my fears, she went on to explain how she knew him.
“We know Bro. Green from sectional meetings, and he also showed us some homes when he worked at Clayton Homes,” she said. “Just want to let you know that he's a big guy--very attractive, but big.”
“That's ok,” I heard myself say, “I 'm not a skinny girl either.”
My mind was racing. She is setting me up. What has possessed my Aunt Dell? I rarely even got to see Aunt Dell and Uncle E.T. Mostly we met at church homecomings or by chance when visiting my grandmother. Uncle E.T. was my grandfather's brother, as well as a preacher. Whose idea was this anyway?
“Why don't you have him send me his picture, and I will send him mine, and we could go from there,” I suggested. That way, if he did not like what I looked like, he would never have to call, I reasoned.
“That sounds like a good idea. I'll have E.T. give him a call tonight.”
Only two days later, she called back with the news that the picture had arrived, could I come get it? There were still remnants of ice and snow on the ground from a recent storm, and Mom claimed she was suffering from cabin fever, so I took her along. Although I know she was secretly suffering from curiosity more, just as I.
I had just turned 30 and was extremely depressed over it. My father had died just a year or so before, and I had resigned myself to living with Mom and keeping her company. Worse yet, it was the beginning of a new year, 1996—the time for new resolutions and new goals, and I had lost any hope of keeping any resolutions or reaching any goals. My only dream was to become a wife and mother. And it just was not meant to be. I lamented the fact to her that all the good men my age were already taken. I made excuses for not getting out. Socializing at church was pointless. It was a family church , and we all were related, and besides, I was deeply insecure over my weight. No one would ever want me, I reasoned. I had been seeing someone, but he had stood me up both Christmas and New Years. It was obvious that was headed nowhere. I had resigned myself to being an old maid.
“Here's what Bro. Green sent. I had him send it here, seeing as I didn't have your address,” my uncle began as he gently handed me the envelope.
“I don't know what to make of Mom's matchmaking. But you take it for what it's worth, and pray about it. And go from there.” He had this twinkle in his eye as he chuckled to himself. He is amused with her matchmaking game, I thought.
I opened the envelope slowly, not knowing what to expect at all. I saw a very pleasant, handsome man in a grey suit smiling back at me.
“He's very attractive,” I said.
“Oh yes,” interjected Mama. “What does the note say?”
I hadn't even noticed the note inside the envelope I was so engrossed in the pictures. I took it out. It was short:
“Dear Cindy,
Here is my number if you would like call me.
In His Service,
Charles Green, Jr.”
I refolded the note, sighed, and said, “Ok. Send him my picture.”
Uncle E.T. Went to his bedroom and returned with a piece of paper, an envelope, and a pen. He penned a short note and slid my picture inside.
“This will go out first thing in the morning,” he replied.
I went home that night and gathered the courage to call. I knew "Bro. Green" did not have my picture yet. But I could not resist finding out more about him.
“Is Charles Green in?”
“Which Charles Green do you want?” a lady's voice answered, “Charles, Sr. or Jr.?”
“Oh. Um. Charles, Jr. please.” It was then I realized I was speaking to the mother as I heard her call out:
“Bubbbbbbbbbbbbbbbba, telephone.”
Bubba, I was calling Bubba, not Bro. Green. He was just like me, living at home with his parents. Suddenly I was no longer intimidated. We had found a common chord, and I smiled to myself as he answered.
“This is Charles”
His voice was deep and resonate, and for a split second it seemed as if I had heard him before. It was comforting, and so familiar. We spoke as if we were old friends. Thirty minutes later we had set a time and date for our first meeting—Friday night. I hung up the phone and actually smiled. Still, the thought nagged at me that he had not seen my picture yet.
By Wednesday I was just a ball of nerves. I had put his picture on my desk, and every day I would look at it and think, “Is he the one? Lord, please let him be the one.”
A knock at the office door broke the spell, as a candy striper entered with a half of a dozen red roses.
“Someone's getting flowers. Who's birthday is it?” my supervisor asked.
“Not mine,” my friend Cindy Miller replied.
“Not mine,” I replied.
“These are for Cindy Robinson,” the candy striper responded.
My eyes widened in shock. I had never received flowers from a suitor. There must be some mistake. But as I opened the card and read, a chill went up my spine, and I whooped like a schoolgirl.
“They're from him!” I exclaimed.
“Who?” Cindy asked.
“This guy my aunt and uncle are fixing me up with. We are supposed to go out Friday. They are from him. The card says: 'Looking forward to meeting you, Charles.'”
“Girl, you better snap him up quick,” she laughed.
“I think you're right,” I laughed back.
Six o'clock Friday night came and no Charles. I paced. I looked out the window. He's stood me up, I thought. I knew it. He got my picture and backed out. All sorts of things were going through my mind. But finally at 6:15 his car pulled into the drive. Late, that can't be good, I thought as I opened the door to meet him.
“I got lost. Took the first road and went a couple of miles before I realized it.”
I laughed and told him that everyone did that. He shook hands with my mom, met my sister, and then introduced himself to me. He walked me to the car, opened the door, and there was a present in the seat. I picked it up and got in. After we got out of the drive. I sat holding the present, wondering what I should say, or if I should just hold it.
“If I had a present waiting for me, I would have already opened it,” Charles teased.
“Oh you shouldn't have,” I said. And began to nervously undo the ribbons.
Inside the box was a copper piano music box. I turned the key and was greeted with strains of “The Sound of Music.” It was obvious someone had told him that I was the pianist at our church. I was being given the royal treatment, and I liked it. We had dinner, strolled the mall, went to a local bookstore, and on the way home stopped out my home church. I wanted to hear him sing. He wanted to hear me play. It was as if we had known each other a lifetime.
We sat in the empty sanctuary playing tunes and singing, talking in between about ourselves, our hobbies, our common interests. It was the longest shortest date of my life.
It ended with an awkward hug. I followed him back to the car, told him how much I enjoyed the evening, and pecked him on the cheek. I told him to call me. And already I had no doubts that he would.
Five weeks later Charles asked me to marry him. It was at one of our wedding showers that we heard Aunt Dell relating how it all came about. It turned out that Aunt Dell had been awakened one morning from a dream about Charles and me. She had awakened Uncle E.T. saying she had had this dream and that God told her to introduce me to Bro. Green. You would think that being awakened with this news would shock him, but he said he just laughed and said, “We'll see.”
On June 29, 1996 we married in the same chapel where we went on our first date.
Uncle E.T. presided over the ceremony; Aunt Dell sat in a place of honor with my mother—all thee of whom have gone on to receive their rewards, and are probably smiling down from heaven at the family we have become. We took them out for a steak dinner on our first anniversary, and finally found out what Uncle E.T. had found so amusing. Aunt Dell had a direct line with God...We were not the first couple to have gotten married as a result of her matchmaking. We were the third!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Be sure and check Violet Voices for some great posts on parenting, work-at-home moms, writing, and more. Today's post from me over there is a reprint from this blog entitled, "Let Them Be Little." If you've read it already, there are plenty of other wonderful posts. Writer...Interrupted is also getting a list of fabulous writers that you won't want to miss. Hop on over there, and tell them I sent you so you'll be entered in the drawing.

I got my synopsis done for FPH, and a query letter as well. Now all I need is that extra bit of courage to send it off in the mail. I'm not sure what's holding me back. Is it fear? Is it being so busy with work and school starting back? Is it just not the right timing? I don't know. I just don't feel that release yet. Maybe it needs more polish. I can't quite put my finger on it. One living soul has read it in its entirety besides me, and that was a family member who gave me rave reviews. But isn't that what family's for? Well, anyway, my target date for it being totally done and in the mail was November 1. I don't think it will be that long. I'm still amazed that I've written a novel. I grin whenever my family tells someone, "She's written a novel." And at the same time, I think, "What are they thinking about me?" Do they think I'm living in this fantasy world? Do they wonder if I have what it takes? Will it really happen one of these days?" These questions and more plague me. But I'm determined not to let them get me down. At least not until I have a few thousand rejections under my belt. By that time, I'll be so addicted to writing that it won't matter anyway.
Good night--er morning my friends, enemies, and fellow writers. Midnight and all is well.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Plea for Help

Been told by more than one person that on Firefox, my blog has a blue background and text that make it impossible to read. I don't have this problem in IE, so I don't know what's causing it or how to fix it. I also am unable to read my blog on the blackberry for possibly the same reasons. It looks all blacked out. Anyone have any experience with this? I'm thinking of changing the whole thing to a new template, but that's such a headache. And I can't be sure that this will fix my problem. Sigh. HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLP!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Listening for the Father

One summer night we were riding our horses back from a local horse show. It was about three miles home, and the only light was from the stars and just a sliver of moonlight. As long as I could see my Dad's horse ahead I was fine. But occasionally I would lose sight of him in the poor visiblity and get frightened. I knew my sisters were behind me, so I would call over my shoulder to them and reassure myself. I would pull the leather reins to my chest and slow to a walk -- listening for the sound of my daddy's Saddlehorse on the pavement. Then I would call out to him, "Dadddddy...wait." A second would pass and I would hear, "Come on, y'all. Keep up." Just knowing that he was going before me wasn't enough. I had to hear his voice.

As Christians, we know that, as the song says, God walks the dark hills to guide our footsteps. But just knowing that is not enough to keep us on the right track. We need to hear His voice daily. If we have to slow down to hear it, then so be it. But once we've done that and have gotten our bearings, He expects us to forge ahead full speed on course. God has a plan for us, and He wants us to get with the program and keep up. Sometimes He may lead us down a dark path --where the visibility is poor. Sometimes it might frighten us to follow. But He knows the way. He will never lead us away from our heavenly goal. We have to have childlike trust. We have to hear His voice and follow it. And always know that someone is following you...watching see how you will respond to the challenges you've been given.

'Til tomorrow friends-- Happy Trails.
Listening for the Father
Riding Lesson

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Why I Do It

Lately I've read several blogs from people who seem disgruntled with their blogging experience, and in fact, are vowing to take a break and give it up. And I don't know if it's school starting back or this disenchantment with blogging, but readership has fallen in the last few weeks. I'll be the first to say it makes me happy to notice new comments and new readers. But that is not the be all and end all of my blogging experience. If it were, I'd be in bad shape. I'm here because (And this sounds very vain) I need to be. I need this outlet in my life.

I blog for the same reasons I write. Because there's a part of me that needs to get the words out. A part of me that needs to express myself. And part of it being published on the internet is to prove to myself that I can. I can express myself. I don't have to hide my thoughts and feelings inside a box in the closet anymore. Yes, I'm writing novels. And yes, I find it wonderful that I can converse with so many different people. Yes, I find it extremely gratifying that I can put my story out here and maybe, just maybe it . I might touch someone else, might help someone else. Might encourage someone to make it one more day. Do I want to be published as a novelist? You bet. But my reasons for publication are personal. Do I want my name and books to be on the lips of every American? I shudder at the thought. If you knew the me I know, you would know that being here is not natural for me. It goes against the grain. I get the urge to run every time I open up the screen to type. Because people are looking. But it's something I HAVE TO GET OVER. And so, I write publicly. I write from the heart. Just as there is no fame locked away in nightstand drawers and on the back of overdue bills (see profile), there is no glory to the Creator in keeping a talent hid. There's no logic in hiding when it's my calling. It's what I give back to Him.

There's no shame in wanting to share. There's no shame in wanting more traffic, more hits, more friends, more readers. What is a shame is that sometimes the blogging community becomes a big competition for said readers, hits, and sadly, friends. Sometimes the blogging community can get ugly and catty and painfully spiritually shallow. No, your blog doesn't have to be a revival tent meeting whereby you preach from the podium and compel them to come in from the hedges and highways. Nor does it have to be a place where you feel you have to fit the mold, follow the leader, return comments out of politeness, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

When I write, I don't worry about who I'm impressing. I don't worry about entertaining. If you enjoy what I write, great. If not, then please feel free to surf elsewhere. This "soul bleeding" here is exactly that. It's where I pour it all out. Well, obviously not all of it. Otherwise we'd be here 'til Jesus comes. I'm not doing this JUST to be published. I'm doing it because I HAVE to.
And even as I sit here today and post this, I'm wondering why it is that I feel the need to defend myself or justify my reasons --or say anything for that matter.

Well, because you're here. And it's important for me to say that you're not here because you're being used. If I've made you feel that way, then I truly apologize. You're here because you want to be for whatever reason. And that, my friend, makes me smile.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Under the Blood

I've heard it said many times growing up, "You need to get that under the blood." Most often it was a pastor or a parent or a teacher giving the sage advice. It was usually in reference to a bitter feeling, a sinful action, or a jealous thought. Something that would hinder me in my Christian walk. Something that was detrimental to my spiritual health. Getting it "under the blood" meant giving it to Christ and allowing his blood to cover my sin, something akin to "Getting the victory over it." I was reminded of those sayings today as I struggled with something that I just can't seem to root out of my life. Yet, even the saintliest of saints had thorns in the flesh. Only Christ is perfect.

What was it Paul said, "For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" Romans 7:19-24

Paul was so transparent in his writings. He struggled. He had faults. He suffered. When I think I have suffered, I am reminded of this: "I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea. I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches." I Corinthians 11:22-28

That sorta puts things in perspective, doesn't it. I've got no room to whine or complain. I've got no reason to harbor bitterness or anger. I can't justify any of my actions with the excuse that I am under stress. Paul says he faced the pressure daily. And yet his concern was for the churches -- for his fellow brothers and sisters. He had every reason to be selfish. He had every reason to be bitter or angry. He could have totally given up and given in to that part of him that was flesh and wanted revenge or justice. But he chose to die daily to that part of his life. It was a conscious decision. And in the end, he got the victory over those things. As long as we are alive on this earth, we will have struggles with sin. But thank God, there is a remedy, and it's under the Blood. Without it, there is no hope.

Victorious Living

Monday, August 14, 2006


Don't forget to check for my new posts at Violet Voices. I've got one entitled "Moms Making a Difference" coming out in the morning. Looks like everyone's been busy with school starting back and everything. I understand, but I miss you when you're not here.

Lost in the 60's

I'm doing quite a bit of research this morning for From the Dust of Rose Hill. It seems I've bitten off quite a chunk with this project, as it spans thirty-five years beginning in 1969. I was four years old in 1969--old enough to have a few memories, but none from a world view. This morning's research has been on Viet Nam and the women there and their roles in society. Most of the websites I have searched talk of American women serving in Viet Nam, but I have begun to narrow it down quite a bit. I'm interested in the cultures and customs basically. If any of you can point me to a great source, that would be appreciated.

Also, since I am spanning such a large time period, I am breaking my research down into decades. The 70's and 80's should be fun, and I'm sure there will be no problem researching the 2000's and the Gulf Wars. The thing about research is that you come across so much that is interesting to a reader like myself. You can spend hours and follow countless links getting more and more engrossed in what you're finding until you lose sight of what you started out looking for. Focus. I need focus.

Oh, and that brings me to a big pet peeve: search engines. You have to be very specific in your terms when you search, and still you sometimes you get a hodge podge of unrelated links. I use quotes around my search terms frequently to get the exact phrases I'm looking for. I also try to pick words that would distinguish my search from any other search linked to that subject. It's a tricky endeavor. Sometimes the payoff is big; other times it is just a frustrating mess.
Google yourself or someone else, and you will find out what I'm talking about. When you google "Cindy Green," here's what you get:

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Cindy Green was named Director of Marketing and Promotions for Western Illinois Athletics during the summer of 2004. Green, who graduated from Blackburn - 7k - Cached - Similar pages
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None of these are me. Square dance caller? Filmography awards? Marketing Director? Laugh, snort, choke on my Coca-cola. I even found a ballet teacher. Well, at least it ain't porn links. I wouldn't mind being on Amazon though. Finally entering "Cynthia H. Green" brings up my blog and also another Cynthia H. Green who is an optometrist. See what I mean about being specific.

But with a little determination and time you can usually find what you're looking for. The question that you have before you then is: Is the information reliable, factual, and usable? But I'll save that discussion for another day. Writers, I'd like to know your research methods. Do you prefer libraries, internet, interviews, first-hand experience, second-hand knowledge, or in order to do the best job, does it require all of the above?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Drawing for Autographed Goyer Book

If you want to be in the drawing for a new autographed book by Tricia Goyer, Arms of Deliverance, all you have to do is join the Writer...Interrupted webring, comment on a post, put who referred you in parentheses (C.H.Green, of course), and that's it. We'll both be entered! Then you start telling everyone about this great blogging opportunity and passing the word.

I need this to be my header/banner--

Help! Somoeone tell me how to stretch this out the length of the blog and add it to my template where it will be the header. I don't know how to get the code or where to put it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

You're IT!

I've been tagged again. This time over at Violet Voices. The meme is: A Novel Idea:
If you could write a novel about any subject, what would it be? (Just the subject–don’t give away your plot idea!)
Or, if just the thought of having to write anything gives you hives, what would you like to read about in a novel that you’ve never seen done before?
Or if you hate reading fiction (you can get counseling for that, you know), what subject might make you change your mind or try it anyway?

First you answer on your own blog, and then tag five other women. Sorry this is women only in keeping with the theme of Violet Voices, extraordinary women.

Of course I have explored some of the themes I wanted in my first novel, and I'm exploring some I don't want to explore in my second. (Will have to explain that later.) But I have a list of things I'd like to write about, and one of them is forensic science. I'm overly intrigued with CSI and Body of Evidence. I think I would have made a great detective if not for the gore factor. I love solving puzzles. I know Brandilyn Collins is the Queen of seatbelt suspense, but I suspect there's room for more in that genre. Everyone loves a thriller.

I tag Diane at Prayersforourprodigals, Mugwumpum Mom, Delia, Tammy, and Holy Mama!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Has it really been five years ago today? C.H. Green ©2005

Dear Sis, Lately the yearning for home has been overwhelming. The smell of newly mown grass, the feel of it beneath my bare feet, the fresh country breezes wrapping me in yesterday--all beckon me from the back porch like Mama at suppertime. And I wonder if you feel it too. Home was honeysuckle and pine, earth and blackberries entertwined, and well water cold and clear from the garden hose. It was the hot sun glinting off my horse's neck, the smell of sweaty leather and sweet feed, fresh hay in the loft, all prickly and itchy and fun to unravel. Home was the smell of a wet dog and the sound of your laughter as he vigorously shook off in your face and turned to chase a cat up the nearest tree. It was finding litters of puppies and kittens beneath the shed or under the house or at the bar, and leaving little bowls of milk and bread under the carport to tempt them closer, then the final heartbreak of parting with them when weaned. What once was home is now a woman's childhood, wrapped up in fallen trees, rotting lumber, rusting tin--old stones piled one upon another, upturned, uprooted, removed. Why is it that when all is left but the memories, that we reach to pluck some material thing from the past. To cling to it and keep it real? To prove it indeed existed? To validate who we are, where we came from, and how we became who we are? Why do we grasp at small straws, clutching the past as if it can save us from the future? We cling to them as if letting go is a betrayel. When in reality, time and nature are merely moving in their natural courses. There will never be another home exactly like that one. All that made it good is gone. All that was bad is gone. However hard we try to picture it whole once more, we cannot breathe the breath of life back into it. A part of us has died. It was not a palace, nor an estate. It held no special magic other than its ability to draw us back time and time again. Yet we grieve. How the, can we satisfy the craving of our soul to return? How can we reconcile death and life? Only by giving birth to new dreams. Yes, we should remember. We should remember not to make the same mistakes. We should also remember and be humbled and feel so blessed. And not bemoan the loss, but build upon the foundation that is left. We could build that magic in our own lives, on our own private piece of heaven. We should build our own happiness, our own future. So, whenever you long to lie in the grass and let the sun warm your face as you listen to the sounds of the country--whenever you long to swing back and forth letting the breeze whisper in your ears as you gaze into the wide blue spaces--whenever you long to hear the hum of a nearby tractor or the buz of a lone cropduster overhead, stop and remember, and give thanks. Carry your mementos with you. Peer deeply into the velvet-lined box that is your heart and cradle the fragile moments like faberge' eggs or crackled glass. Then softly, tenderly, turn them over and over in your mind--until finally sated, you are able to press them to your breast, kiss them sweetly, and put them safely back inside, safely tucked away for as long as life and memory allows. Ultimately allow the strength and comfort your memories bring to renew your faith in God, family, and your fellowman. Let this heritage be the blueprint for raising your children. For yes, I weep with you in your loss--our loss. No one identifies with you more. I stand with you here among the ashes to say goodbye and mourn. For grief is a given, my sister. But we are strong women. And we have a mission. We have a heritage to live up to. And we cannot remove the ancient landmarks. They must stand as a testimony for all time. For our sons' sakes, for our futures' sakes, we cannot afford to linger long at the grave while there's building yet to be done! Love Always, Cindy

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Latest

Hope everyone's having a great weekend so far. I've joined Meredith Efken over at her blog Violet Voices. Check out today's post written by Yours Truly. Meredith started this blog to be "stories of extraordinary everyday women, stay-at-home moms, (SAHMs) and adoptive parents. I am proud to be their newest contributor. I hope you wander on over there and take a peek and then link to it in your own blogs.

I've also been invited to become a team blogger over at Gina's blog, Writer...Interrupted. She's calling for input on her new blog and contributors. I have sent an entry and am eagerly awaiting its posting as we speak. Watch for my post, Broken Vessels to come out soon.

Still in the cutting phase of the rewrite of From Pharaoh's Hand, but it's coming along quite nicely. I have a proposal outline that I'm in the process of fleshing out as well. So things have been quite busy since I got back from vacation. Most of the publishers I'm interested do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. I will either have to get an agent or get a recommendation from a fellow author. Another option is what was previously known as First Edition. It's now known as a place where you pay a "small" fee and get your proposal published for six months. Many of the top publishing houses peruse this site regularly. It's an option. Another option, as Deeanne Gist, author of Christy award-winning A Bride Most Begrudging, has graciously advised me is to get your work or proposal in front of an editor at a conference. I would love to attend a conference, despite my shy nature. I think I could learn so much from attending. Maybe I'll work on that angle as well.

By the way, I've toured about 75 of the homes on BooMama's Tour of Homes, and I have to say I haven't seen an ugly one yet. Hats off to all you brave ladies with cameras. It was a lot of fun, and maybe I'll get back to touring the rest one of these rainy afternoons. Thanks BooMama for the great time.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Back to School Blues

I just noticed my little weather pixie has a bikini on. I wouldn't even wear a bikini if I was a size 0. But she looks cute in one, and the weather is perfect for one. Hot!

Went to a back-to-school bash last night. My son did not want to go. I went and met his teacher. Seems my Tom Sawyer vacation has backfired on me. What I meant to be an educational journey has turned out to be complete inspiration for my six-year-old. He says he is not going back to school. He is going to spend his days on the river like Huck and Tom. I made the mistake of letting him buy a toy corncob pipe as a souvenier too. Now he's fascinated with putting something in it to burn -- not necessarily smoke mind you. Sigh. After watching the school master spank Tom with a large switch, he promptly went to the yard and found one. But it's for his aunt to use on his 2-year-old cousin. LOL. He gave it to her the other night. And she says it is working. (This is not meant to get into a corporal punishment debate today, but suffice it to say, it's not a lost art. And if done correctly is not abuse.) Yet I know there will be comments, so let 'em fly. I'd like to hear what methods work best for you -- Behavioral Modification? Redirection? Taking something away? Positive reinforcement? Grounding?

My biggest worry is that my son will do as a child from our church did one time, leave school and attempt to walk the three miles home. My son knows the route home. And does not seem the least intimidated by the Principal or any consequences of playing hooky. Let's just hope he loves First Grade as much as he loved Kindergarten, and we won't have to face that problem. He goes for half a day tomorrow, and his first full day is Monday. Can't believe it's time already. But I can't say I'm sad.