Wednesday, April 1, 2009

J-4, Arbor U, Penitant Heart

Currently Reading: Still on Last Glass of Wine and The Tenth Circle.

Woo Hoo!
As you know, I've been following the CBS Morning Family Sing-Off, and the Peay Family and J-4 have been battling for the prize of a recording contract. I honestly didn't know who to vote for; last week the Peay (Pee-Ay) Family had the better singing voice, but the energy of J-4 I've loved this entire time. So ultimately I cast my vote for the younger kids.

After a wonderful collaborated performance of 'Dancing in the Streets', in which both families exchanged instruments, vocals, and even got the anchors in on the act, it was revealed that J-4, the kids from Tennessee (who's dad is a minister) won the recording contest! Go to and see the performances for yourself, if it's up.

Arbor U
For anyone who listened to the interview on blog talk radio, and is confused by my unscripted ramblings about my series, I thought I would re-post the overall blurb of the series:

Romance is blossoming in the quiet university town of Arbordale, Indiana. Arbor University, a fictional college located in the southwest region of the state, plays host to a multitude of young people, all hoping to achieve a strong sense of identity and to assert their independence while away at school. It is also a time when young adults of various personalities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and social upbringing are thrown together in diverse living conditions and are expected to adapt accordingly.

Set in the 1980’s, several young women encounter separate social problems and struggle to deal with the conflicts which erupt not only among each other, but within themselves. The Arbor University Tales chronicles the college lives of these friends as they fight for the men they love, hold onto their friendships, and keep their eyes on the future.

Books 1-6 take place around the dormitory of Emery Hall, an all-girls dorm. Amy Callahan and Caitlyn McCarthy share a single room, the traditional Resident Assistant's room. Down the hallway, Gretchen McLaren, Elicia Keller, Keri Patterson, and Stephanie Ridgeman have a suite. All of the rooms have private bathroom.

The men they fall in love with occupy various residences. Eric Timmons lives in Berkely Hall; Kyle Sampson and Lance Edwards live off-campus; Bryan Johnson attends the University of Illinois; and Matt Slagal is in the Air Force, stationed at George Air Force Base in southern California. However, he grew up across the river from Arbordale, in a tiny town called Brookview, Illinois.

In book #7, a new dormitory is added, Fayette-Giles. The campus is expanding, and as old friends graduate, new faces emerge to continue the saga.

This series shows how even good kids can make bad choices, and how those choices can affect relationships, shape characters, and even change their lives.

Elicia's and Amy's stories have been published; I'm still waiting to hear from another e-publisher concerning Keri's story. If it is rejected, then I'll keep submitting it until someone decides it's worth publishing. And then it will be Gretchen's, Caitlyn's, Stephanie's and Susan's turns...Who's Susan? You'll meet her in book #4, along with Lynne. I'm still working on #8.

So welcome to Arbordale; take a trip back in time to the mid-1980's. By the time the series is finished, who knows what year it will be? Book #13 takes place in 1993...#14 in 2003. I may fill in some blanks here and there! Visit my website and click on the 'About Us' page for more information. And if you see something you like, or think of a social problem I've not touched on, let me know!

Where was Jiminy Cricket when I Needed Him?
Nothing like a kick to the conscience to start the day...

My QT this morning touched on vengeance and WWJD. My Guidepost devotion spoke about how sometimes a bad attitude can get the better of even the most mild-mannered person, and how his conscience quietly reminded him that even though in the short run, he felt better, maybe he just continued the chain of vengeance. Basically, it was raining as he pulled into the grocery store for one item; he followed a red sports car into the parking lot and noticed two spaces. The guy in the sports car parked diagonally, taking up both. Fuming, the author circled around and found another spot, not quite so close.

He began pushing some stray carts toward the cart corral....and then realized the perfect spot to put them beside the sports car!

But later, he began to wonder if Sports Car was also in a hurry, and then took out his anger on another unsuspecting soul. See what I mean about a chain?

I don't consider myself vengeful either, but back in 2002, when I was rudely ousted from my concession duties (the incoming President and I did NOT see eye-to eye; let's leave it at that), anger took over and suddenly I was plotting how to bring down the new manager's success. And I took small satisfaction when other moms stood behind me and started bringing their own coolers to the games, so they didn't have to buy from the stand. I also took satisfaction when disgruntled coaches, visitors from other leagues, and the kids themselves complained about the changes she'd made.

But about halfway through the first tournament, it became abundantly clear that she did not have a clue about everything I had done behind the scenes to set up workers, properly clean the machine, and all the effort I put in to seeing the stand was well stocked. I'm proud to say we never had to close during the two tournaments we hosted under my watch; plenty of parents volunteered their time; a farmer even generously donated 100 ears of corn for 'roasting ears'.

I was urged by friends to let her take the fall. I had coaches pleading with me to work 'one more night; she didn't line up any workers. I wrestled with my own conscience of letting the kids down. So I agreed to help.

And the following week, all hell broke loose.

She called me, complaining of the amount of work that went into the stand, and how the coaches, league representatives weren't helping to round up volunteers, and how she was getting tired of being at the ball field every day. I quietly reminded her of the phone conversations she and I had had, asking her which days/shifts she'd mind working, and mentioned the hours I'd spent on the phone, lining up the volunteers. And also reminded her it was HER job to line up workers, not the coaches. She quickly ended the conversation.

I heard from angry coaches, saying she had closed up early and the kids were thirsty at the end of the games. I heard from disgruntled umpires, who missed my uncanny knack of knowing when to go around with the free water or whatever soft drinks they preferred while standing in the hot sun. They never had to send someone for a refill under my watch:)

And finally, the Boy's Rep and the President had a heated phone conversation over my being in the stand three nights in a row. The Boy's Rep won the argument.

But, the league lost their tournaments the following year over mis-management on ALL fronts.

I stifled the urge to say, 'I told you so'. But the following year, the President stepped down; the League Board and parents voted in new officers. My name was suggested, but since my kids had opted not to play that year, I declined the invitation to return.

And no, my kids opted not to play for reasons other than the league's treatment of me. K had discovered his Major League coach was more focused on winning, rather than having fun. And S decided, after finally getting hit with a line drive during her final game catcher duties, she didn't want to be involved with Kid-Pitch Minor League.

So next time vengeance takes ahold of you, stop and think: WWJD? Don't respond in anger; take a step back and look at the BIG PICTURE. You might be surprised what happens next.

1 comment:

Molly Daniels said...

(Sounds of crickets chirping...)