Sunday, October 7, 2007

Extreme Makeover Home Edition, The Woodhouse Family

Today, my husband and I were privileged to be able to take part in an episode of Extreme Makeover Home Edition. The Woodhouse family from Colorado Springs, Colorado were surprised last Sunday when they were chosen for a makeover. They knew they were one of at least five families in the running. I know Kim Woodhouse personally. She's the vice-president of the Colorado Springs chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers--Worship! Write! Witness!

So, hubby and I, along with about 10,000 other people, went to the reveal. We got there just after 1:00 PM and the parking area looked like a day at the circus. We found other ACFWers and stood with them, and then we stood, and stood, and stood, and stood. I'm not sure what delayed the 2:00 reveal, but it didn't happen until about 3:30. It didn't matter. We were all enjoying watching the crew, the marching band, and the crowd--some who know the Woodhouse family personally, and some who were locals wanting in on the excitement. I was surprised at how many blue Extreme Makeover Home Edition t-shirts were in the crowd. These were people who had volunteered in some capacity during the week of building. Many of these people didn't know the family, but wanted to help in any way they could.

The weather cooperated Kayla-style. Ten-year-old Kayla suffers from Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Disorder, which limits her ability to feel pain and keeps her from sweating so she needs to be in cool temperatures at all times. The temperature hovered around 55 all day, with a very small shower that came through around 2:30. I know that God sent the front through to lower our near 90 degrees from the week prior to a safe temperature for the reveal. He sent the rain because I was complaining to those around me that I didn't want to get wet. Gotta love His sense of humor!

But we dried off sufficiently and waited some more. I think we collectively yelled for the bus driver to "Move that bus" several times before he actually did it. There were a lot of practices, including a "fake family" who arrived in the limo so the production crew could block the shot. We learned that the Woodhouse family were near the sight, in either a tent or a trailer, just waiting to hop in the limo. It was bandied about that they were hooded when they got out of the car so they couldn't see their house.

Finally, the real limo drove up. The crowd erupted in whoops and whistles. Ty Pennington stood talking to them, as he does on every show, and then we got to chant for real: "Bus driver, move that bus!" I wish I could tell you how the family reacted, but I was in the middle of some really tall people, some with children on their shoulders. I did manage to get some pics by holding my camera high and snapping away, but their backs were to me.

Some more talking to the family. Then they moved about 20 feet. More talking and filming. They moved 20 more feet. More talking and filming. They moved 20 more feet until they were finally in front of the house. More talking and filming. Finally, they got to go inside.

Ty and two men from the crew stood outside the house on the porch. Ty looked like he was studying his lines. Someone from the spectator area let out a wolf whistle. This got the three men laughing. Ty pointed to the one in shorts and we could see that he mouthed, "That was for you." The two crew members proceeded to dance and act silly just for the crowd.

With the family deep inside the home, their brand new car was brought around and parked in the driveway. We decided to wait for them to come out to see it. There were rumors flying that they could be in there for three hours since they were filming in every room, but they came out about an hour later. With pure joy on all of their faces and the kids running to their new car, Kim stood there with her mouth open. Yes, I've got pictures of that, too. This car is a beautiful blue with a white top and get this--it's a 2009 Ford Flex, a new concept. We heard Ty tell them that no one has ever sat in one of those, and no one will for another year. How cool is that?

While they were filming at the car, they asked us all to be quiet. Cameras rolled and then we heard "I'm a red-neck woman . . ." from someone's cell phone. The crew ran to her to get her to turn it off. Then someone else's phone rang. One of the crew asked to see it, then pretended to throw it. Then, we heard another phone ring. It belonged to the security guy! It was just too funny.

The house is a 4200 square foot stucco home with a bowling alley in the basement. The show is set to air in January.

Please continue to lift the Woodhouse family in your prayers. Also, please consider making a donation. I don't know if there were any announcements of checks given to the family as I've seen on other EMHE shows.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I'm so happy to have had a small part in it.

The following are just four of the seventy-five pictures I took. Hopefully, they give a small idea of this exciting day.

This is of the house and car, although the car didn't show up until after the family entered the house. I'm putting it out of order so you can see the entire scene.

Here they're being filmed in front of the house. It took several shots to get them to this point, and then a couple more before they were allowed inside the house. It must have taken all their restraint not to run past the camera crew and into their new home.

After the family toured the house, they saw their new car for the first time. They went on to "see it for the first time" two more times as they shot more takes. I had no idea they were such good actors! Each time, they whooped and celebrated.

Kim with her mouth open. She truly was blown away by this generous gift. This is a 2009 Ford something-or-other. Sorry, I didn't catch what it was. Nobody else has this car, and won't for another year.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

ACFW Conference - Where God Sent a River

I've been back from conference for a couple of weeks now, but I've stalled on reporting about it because I wasn't sure if I should share the deep personal events of that time. I've decided that this conference was more about healing than it was about networking and learning the craft, and feel that someone may need to read about my experience--someone who is in a dry, desert place right now.

A few weeks before the conference, the Denver ACFW board met at the president's cabin in the mountains. A charming rustic structure that has been in her family for decades. After the year I've had dealing with a family crisis, I needed prayer, as did all of us. We each took turns being prayed for, and when my turn came, one of the women had a vision for me. She saw God sending me a river, and that I was to lay down in it, immerse myself, and rest.

Weeks went by and I waited for that river. I was still burdened by my circumstances, still in pain, and yes, still angry over certain things that were beyond my control. Even though I knew God had everything well in hand, I still wallowed in my misery.

Back to the conference. The MC and prolific author, Brandilyn Collins, has a prayer ministry at this yearly conference. Ever since she was healed of Lyme Disease a couple of years ago, God has blessed her with the gift of intercessory prayer. Please read about her miraculous healing. I knew I would probably spend some time in the prayer room at this conference, and hoped Brandilyn would be there to pray for me.

The first morning, Friday, I followed my roomie, Paula, to a front table to sit with our other buddy, Megan, as she was giving the devotional and we wanted to support her. I wasn't paying any attention to whose table it was. (FYI: the tables always had name placards on them of the editors, agents, and faculty.) There was an empty seat beside me, and I soon heard someone come up behind me saying "Here's my table! I didn't know I got one this morning." This was Brandilyn.

During the worship time, we sang "Blessed Be Your Name". This song was one I sang on the praise team nearly every week through our pastor's several month study on Job a few years ago. It was also during this period that we were laid off for the second time and our car was totaled. The lyrics can be found at but the message is that I'll praise him when the streams of abundance flow, and I'll praise him when in the desert place. This song, plus the messages from Job, sustained me through that rocky time.

Okay, fast forward. I stood next to Brandilyn and I lost it. At this point, I am so deep in the desert place, I feel like I'm part of the sand, dry and unable to be molded. After worship, she turned to me and said "You're crying a lot at this conference, what's going on?" She must have seen me at the Thurs worship, too. I'm so glad Paula was there because I couldn't get any words out. She filled her in and when Brandilyn hugged me, I trembled in her arms. We made an appointment for later that morning in the prayer room. I had an agent appointment before that, so I showed up puffy faced, but explained that worship did me in that morning. I was actually coherent, which had to have been a God thing.

After the appointment, I went straight to the prayer room to wait for 45 minutes for my appointment with Brandilyn. I sat there in tears trying to still my mind and heart, but there was so much turmoil inside my body, I could barely breathe. Finally, Brandilyn came in, and she, along with Paula, and my other buddy, Heather, hedged me in. I felt so safe with two friends on either side and Brandilyn in front. She touched my knees and immediately drew back, like she was shocked. She said there was a lot going on inside me. This much I knew.

Then she placed her fingers between my breasts, asking permission before doing so, and the minute she touched me, I felt the Holy Spirit begin to dredge out all of the grief, all the disappointments, all the anger, that I've held onto for probably the last three years. A mourning sound came out of my mouth that I've never heard before, and Brandilyn kept assuring me that it was God and to let it happen. Paula also continued to tell me to just let it come, but it was so painful, I felt like my heart was tearing to shreds.

It only took a minute or two, but when it was done, it was done. I guess I had to get that festering boil lanced to move on. She then prayed for my family, one by one. Afterwards, she had to excuse herself to pray for someone else, and that was fine. I felt the peace of God. When we hugged, she made note that I wasn't trembling anymore.

That wasn't the only cool thing that happened in the prayer room that day. Read on to see where the river came in!

Paula, Heather, and I were going to leave when we saw that Brandilyn was praying for another friend of ours. Remember that up until the conference, I still felt dry, like the desert place. Heather and Paula were still sitting on either side of me, and we prayed for our friend across the room. Suddenly, I felt my head go light, and spiritually, I felt it open up and that river came like a flash flood! It poured, not only over me, but through me. Now, the interesting thing about a river is that it's not a lake. It goes somewhere, it moves. Well, it moved through me and straight across the room to my friend. She suddenly had the breakthrough she needed when that living water hit her. The demonic influence that had a strangle hold on her washed away, and no doubt drowned a painful death.

Another woman came in to pray for Paula at that time, and my now giddy self started to pray, "Tributary," as I directed my prayer toward Paula.

For the rest of the conference, I felt at peace. I could even sing the song that had devastated me several more times, and the tears I felt were worship tears. They flowed freely, but they weren't hot. (A phenomenon that I felt as early as the prayer room, after Brandilyn had prayed and moved on to my friend.) Apparently my whole countenance changed and as I continued my day, people started noticing my sparkly shirt. Call me crazy, but no one commented on it before the prayer breakthrough. The dry dust falling from my spirit probably dulled it somewhat!

On a professional level, the two agents I met with want to see a proposal of my mystery, the one that four editors from the Colorado Christian Writers Conference wanted to see. But, between spending time in the prayer room--not only for myself, but for others--and volunteering in the bookstore, I didn't get to go to as many classes as I would have liked. However, my brief hour in Colleen Coble's "The Suspense Thickens" continuing session and Linda Windsor's "Query and Synopsis" workshop, were both informative for me.

Another highlight is the booksigning that I was able to participate in for the first time. Since Mary Davis and I are in the novella anthology, Love Letters, we signed together. I also had Merely Players available.

The highlight of the day was when a sweet lady named Nadine Smith, came to the public signing and was asking all of the Heartsong Presents authors to sign a sticky note so she could put them in her scrapbook. She's read every Heartsong for years, and had her daughter drive her to Dallas for the booksigning just to meet her favorite authors. She crochets and brought gifts for all of us. For a picture of Nadine with Barbour editor, Rebecca Germany, along with other conference highlights, go to the Edit Cafe.

And finally, good buddy, Paula Moldenhauer, was my roommate again. Love ya, Girl!

I pray for blessings to pour through you as it did through me!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I'm in love with an alpaca

Actually, I'm love with a bunch (herd?) of them. I'm writing a story about an alpaca ranch, and a couple of months ago I Googled alpacas since I know nothing about them. (Still not sure what a bunch of them is called. Hmm.) In my search, Stargazer Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, run by Cynthia Fronk and John Heise, came up. Since it's so close to where I live, I contacted them to ask if I could visit. I was told they would be out doing shows, but they were having an open barn at the end of June.

So, last weekend, I went with my trusty cameraman (my hubby) and had a blast. The open barn was held on a Saturday and Sunday, and we went the latter. What a blessing! The day before they had about 25 people visit. When we showed up there was only one other couple who John was helping. As a result, we had Cindy's undivided attention for 2 hours. She was great. Very professional, but loads of fun. This lady knows her stuff!

The first beauties we met were Sonrisa, a very pregnant female, and Saffron, a new mommy to baby (cria) Peanut.

Most of the males (herdsires) were in a pen of their own away from the ladies. However, the young fella below was priviledged to be placed in a pen near some some fetching females. The purpose? To wake up those hormones. Here, he's trying to talk to the young ladies, probably something like, "Hey, chicky-baby. Wanna hang out at my paddock?"

We had a great time, learned about husbandry, behavior, and where green spit comes from. We also learned about communal poop. Hey, we're talkin' animals here, so we must mention poop! The animals all go in one place. (Note the dark spots in the pic above.) Females aren't as neat as males who like to go on each other's poop to cover up the scent and replace their own. Sounds like a guy, huh? And speaking of scent, I was pleasantly surprised that the ranch in general smelled. . .well. . .pleasant. With 50 animals on this ranch, one would think it would reek, but it actually smelled like hay, the whole place, inside and out.

This story isn't contracted yet, but I have high hopes. How does this teaser sound?

A man and a woman, both with abandonment issues, learn to forgive with the help of a melodious alpaca.

I'll announce it on my Website as soon as there is something concrete to report. Please pray!

Thank you, Cindy and John at Stargazer Ranch. You guys are the best!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Spring Newsletter

My spring newsletter is now on my Website. Here's a preview:

What's New
~Love Letters~
~Speaking Engagements~

Feature Article
~I Smell New Life~
Writing Tip
~Stop That!~
Parting Words

Please come on over and check it out!
* Read how in this spring, I'm coming out of a spiritual winter.
* Learn how to search and destroy unneeded words in your manuscript.
* Discover the answer to this burning question: What kind of story does the Easter Bunny like to hear?

While you're there, I invite you to subscribe.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Love Letters is in Family Christian!

Yep! Hubby and I were walking the Colorado Mills mall a couple of days ago, and I dipped into Family Christian. There was Love Letters, on the next to the bottom shelf in the Christian fiction section. My darling took a picture with my camera phone. This is waaaay exciting, folks! Even though I did a Chicken Soup book awhile back, nothin' beats knowing that one of my stories is sitting on a bona fide shelf, for, like, everybody to buy! Wahooeee!

The other three authors in this novella collection are Mary Davis, Sally Laity, and Jeri Odell. My story is about a traditional fortune cookie maker who meets a thoroughly modern women in 1955 and woos her with scripture in his cookies.

If you can't make it to Family Christian, you can always order on line at the Barbour Website.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Reviews Are In!

People are reading Merely Players and guess what? They like it! I guess my angst over having my name on a product was unfounded.

Michelle Hutchinson writes in part, "Reading this Heartsong novel was like delving into a delectable dessert. Delicious. The romantic element was fabulous...every reader's fantasy. Who wouldn't want a hot Hollywood movie star to be in love with them? I enjoyed every minute of this savory romance." Read the full review at Edgy Inspirational Author.

Paula Moldenhauer said: "Kathy does some beautiful things with symbolism and fun stuff with humor, besides writing a moving story with some real meat behind the romance." Read the full review at Grace Reign and see a pic of our critique group, JOY Writers.

And I'm getting fan mail!

SS writes: "Dear Kathleen, Congrats on your first Heartsong Presents novel. I enjoyed the setting and the behind the scenes look at a movie being made. Bethany and Ricky were a great couple and I liked watching them work their way back to each other."

CVP writes: "I live in the "nice" town of Niceville, Fl. I subscribe to Heartsong Presents bookclub. I was so delighted to read your new book since everything was so familiar to me. My husband is retired Air Force and we spent two tours at Eglin AFB. We retired in Niceville. I have visited the Gulfarium many times. It was a pleasure to read your book and I intend to share it with my friends.
Thanks for a delightful book. I look forward to reading more books written by you."

And from Mary Connealy, my fellow "contract receiver", (we both received our first contracts at the 2005 American Christian Fiction Writers Conference) "I loved your book! I got it in the mail yesterday and read it before I staggered off to bed at 1 a.m. Kathy it's so good. I think it's fresh and different for HP and I love the whole feel of it and the great faith conclusion, just handled brilliantly."

There are a couple more people who offered to review the book, but it's waiting in their queues. I'll post those reviews when they do.

My next move is to enter Merely Players into a couple of contests. There will either be much celebrating in a few months, or a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth. Stay tuned!

Here's a heads up. . .my novella "Cookie Schemes" is coming out in March in the Barbour 4-in-1 Love Letters. This book is already available for reservations at the Barbour Website.