New Books Read

This year I’ve re-read a lot of books.
New books this year include:
Merline Lovelace’s 3 book Samantha Spade Series
Lily Harper Hart’s
–The Hexorcist
–Maddie Graves 15-book series
–Harper Harlow 15-book series
–Ivy Morgan 15-book series
–Rowan Gray 9-book series
Victoria Pade’s Baby Be Mine
Ilona Andrews’ Sweep with Me
Mackey Chandler’s All in Good Time

That’s 60 books so far this year. But they are all nonfiction.
That doesn’t include the picture books I am reading for work.

Christianity across Generations

From Barna:
“few Christian Millennials today are willing to share their faith with others (and in fact think it’s wrong to do so)”

“a big drop among Millennials, with just shy of two-thirds claiming Christianity (64%)”

“self-identified Christians who attend church every month and say their faith is very important in their lives). Almost four in 10 Elders (37%) practice their faith in this way, again trending down from Boomers (30%) to Gen X (26%) and Millennials (22%).”

“Christians of all ages report high participation in prayer (perhaps not a surprise given that the “spiritual but not religious” are a fast growing group in America today and prayer is an accessible, less institutionally mediated faith practice).”

“Practicing Christians are almost twice as likely as self-identified Christians to have read the Bible in the last 7 days, with Millennials and Boomers reporting the top percentages (71% each).”

“About four in 10 of all Christians and two-thirds of practicing Christians profess the Bible’s credibility.”

Moved Websites

DH moved a lot of websites for me. Some posts I moved myself because I wanted them. I haven’t finished those, so more may yet show up here.

I’m very grateful for the support of an amazing husband.

2012 Poetry Contest Winners

We had quite a few submissions to the Sigma Tau Delta Poetry Contest.

First place, with a $50 check to come, was awarded to “The Modern Condition” by Kaleigh Wyrick.
Second place, with a $30 check to come, was awarded to “Remembering Ohio” by Erik Ringle.
Third place, with a $20 check to come, was awarded to “Doing Good on a Saturday” by Rebecca Voran.

Congratulations to our winners!

Note: Several other poems were also nominated for awards. These were the poems most consistently nominated. While the winners are Sigma Tau Delta members, that had no impact on the judging (since the judges did not have a list of members).

Fall 2012 Induction

Sigma Tau Delta: Tau Epsilon has four new members this fall! We have never had a fall induction before, but having a fall induction allows folks graduating in December to still become part of Sigma Tau Delta. Two of our new members are graduating in December.

These are pictures from the induction:

Ashley Alexander, 2012-13 Vice President, and Elisa Wyrick, one of our newest members. This photograph was taken in the rotunda during refreshments after the induction.


A photograph of Ashley Dillin, new member, being introduced to the society and given her journals and brass bookmark. Ashley will be graduating in December.


Natalie Navejas accompanied her grandmother and the speaker for the induction, Dr. Nancy Shankle.

Thank you, Dr. Shankle, for your pertinent and intriguing speech for the induction ceremony.


Sigma Tau Delta’s 2012-13 president, Chris Fields, introduced Elisa Wyrick during the induction ceremony. This is in the rotunda while everyone was enjoying cupcakes and punch.


Elisa Wyrick, Dr. Joe Stephenson, and Dr. Nancy Shankle, in the rotunda after the induction ceremony.

Dr. Stephenson came to the induction solely to support our amazing majors like Elisa Wyrick. Thank you, Dr. Stephenson.

Ashley Dillin and Philip Miranda in the rotunda for refreshments, chatting with Chris Fields (not in photograph).

Induction Experience

At the induction, Dr. Suanna H. Davis, one of the co-sponsors for Sigma Tau Delta, introduced the society and the day’s proceedings.

Dr. Nancy Shankle then presented an excellent talk on the importance of education in the world, particularly noting the importance of English degrees and Christians serving through our majors and careers.

Following that, the president and vice president of Sigma Tau Delta read the biographies of the new members who attended the induction and welcomed them to the society. Each new member received a copy of Sigma Tau Delta’s Critical Writing journal, Sigma Tau Delta’s Creative Writing journal, and a brass bookmark.

When the official induction was completed, we adjourned to the rotunda and had miniature cupcakes and punch.

Induction Spring 2014

Thirteen members of Sigma Tau Delta, along with their families and friends, were in attendance at this year’s induction on March 29th in Chapel on the Hill.

Sigma Tau Delta-0075Erica Stallings, from the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, spoke on English after college and the importance of reading, writing, and grammar in the everyday work world. She encouraged the members of Sigma Tau Delta in their plans to enter education, publishing, and marketing, but said that the ability to read and write well is an essential component of many jobs. “Your writing is being judged all the time,” she told the group.

Two senior members, Ashley Alexander and Javan Furlow, officers for 2012-2013, received their certificates and cords at the induction.
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After being corded, they assisted Dr. Suanna Davis, sponsor of Sigma Tau Delta, in the induction ceremony for the new members. (This year’s officers were out of town presenting at the Alpha Chi Conference.)
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Eleven of the twenty new members of Sigma Tau Delta were inducted into the Honor Society and received a journal and a memorial bookmark, handed to them by either Javan or Ashley.

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More than fifty people participated in the ceremony and enjoyed the refreshments afterwards.

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New Sigma Tau Delta members at the induction:
Ben Clardy V
Nicholas Fields
Angela Fogle
Abilgail Fransen
Chandler Gum
Emily Moses
Lauren Noack
Kalyn Prince
Amanda Rigby
Tyler Sirman
Alikay Wood

New Sigma Tau Delta members who were unable to attend the induction:
Julia Curtis
Regan Dismukes
Rory Harris
Maggie Marshall
Whitney Pittard
Brandy Rains
Lauren Shrader
Victoria Stowe
Kelsey Weems

2014 Poetry Winners

Based on the judgements of five judges, all published poets from the community who are unrelated to ACU, this year’s Sigma Tau Delta’s Poetry Contest Winners are:

Trophy Clipart1st Place:
Adrian Patenaude, “I Wonder”

2nd Place:
Brett Butler, “Paths”

3rd Place:
Nicole Nelson, “Regrets”

4th Place:

Ariene Peveto, “Graphic”

Although originally Sigma Tau Delta intended to have only three winners, the judges were overwhelmingly impressed by the work submitted and asked to be able to nominate additional works.

Even when the “top 3” was expanded to “top 5,” they added other works as Honorable Mentions.

Due to the financial exigencies of the contest, Sigma Tau Delta could not award cash prizes for all the students whose poems were nominated, though a fourth prize was added.

The following are students whose poems were identified by the judges as excellent:
Nathan Ashlock
Sarah Banowsky
Elizabeth Bernhardt
Ammie Brooks
Zach Carstens
Emily Eastman
Rebecca Fowler
Greg Jeffers
Andrew Koenig
Jacqueline Peveto
Stephanie Whitlow

Fall 2014 Short Fiction Contest Winners

Sigma Tau Delta, Tau Epsilon’s Fall 2014 Short Fiction Contest winners were chosen by four long-time members of the Abilene Writer’s Guild. Thank you to these wonderful folks for reading all the submissions, ranking them, and providing critiques of the works.

Flash Fiction
1st place: Lindsay Snyder for “239 Beech Street”
2nd place: Alikay Wood for “So It Was in the Beginning”
3rd place: Daniel Merritt for “The Return”

Short Story
1st place: Ariane Peveto for “Apostrophe”
2nd place: Alikay Wood for “Academy”
3rd place: Stephanie Whitlow for “Waiting for Nothing”

Winners received:
1st place: $100
2nd place: $50
3rd place: $25

2015 Poetry Contest Winners

Trophy ClipartFor the Fall 2015 poetry contest, we have the following winners:

1st Jake Buller for “A cool, still night”
2nd Haley Remenar “Life (fabric)” and Stephanie Martin “Nomad”
3rd Adam Nettina “John Bannister Tabb”

Honorary Mention
Rochelle Dunbar for “For Papa, and My Indulgent Mangoes”
Joshua Alexander for “Letters”

2017 Poetry Awards

The Sigma Tau Delta Poetry Awards were held in the Brown Library Atrium on October 12 at 7:30 pm.

Print outs were made of the poems submitted to the contest between September 11 and October 2. These were laid out on three large tables so that everyone could read them. In addition, pens and post-it notes were on the tables so that people could write comments about the different poems. Many poems received comments.

Refreshments were provided and included cheese, hummus, salsa, chips, and cupcakes. Drinks were limeade, lemonade, watermelon juice, and water.

Multiple people read their poems, both submitted and unsubmitted, to the assembly.

President Steven Yang and Secretary Tori Ford presented the awards.

The third place winner was David Elliott.

The second place winner was Samantha Colmenero.

First place winner was Brady Manning. Brady was not in attendance.

Audience pictures:

Gruene: Black and White

The Digital Academy, through the Adams Center and the Learning Studio, took faculty and staff to Gruene, Texas and spent the weekend helping them get the most out of their digital cameras.

Since I had only used the SLR three times, and my husband’s camera only to take photos of him that he had set up, I was a novice, a rube, a veritable beginner.

I am pleased with the pictures that I took at Gruene. These are pictures of the others who were at the Digital Academy photography workshop.

These first few are in Gruene Hall.




Posted in Art

Gruene: Best of the Clay Festival

Images I took in 2011 at the Fall retreat. I am moving them from a different blog.

While you might expect that these pictures will be of the pottery at the Clay Festival, they are not so much. These are primarily the people I saw at the pottery show.

I only actually looked at the pottery in two booths. I couldn’t afford either set and I decided to stay away from the other booths because of that disappointment. I have since found out that I missed some amazing photo shoots because of that.

Perhaps next year I can go to the Clay Festival for its own sake (with my camera, nevertheless).

These first two pictures were of shoppers in the very first shop as I entered the festival grounds. I was amazed that I got shots good enough to actually see in the camera and, if their composition was not the best, at least it was a matter of simple cropping to bring them in line with the rule of thirds.

Gruene Clay Festival pots and lady in blue:

Gruene Clay Festival white capped shopper:

These next two are among my favorites, not because of their great composition, but because I love the colors. I think it was both relevant and potentially enlightening that the folks in the brightest colored outfits (me included) all had a tendency to drift towards the colorful pottery.

Gruene Clay Festival colorful ladies:

I love this composition because of the clarity of their accessories and the fact that their bright colors complement/coordinate with the bright pottery plates behind them on the wall.

Gruene Clay Festival colorful ladies with colorful pots:

Though this was actually among the last of the photos I shot at the festival, the coherency of the photo essay format requires that the pictures be grouped in a rational, visually understandable way. That means the two colorful ladies prints went together.

Here is a closer view of what both the colorful ladies and the older couple who are featured immediately afterwards were looking at so carefully.

Gruene Clay Festival frogs:

I loved these frogs. I didn’t even look at the price, though, because I hadn’t been able to afford the plainer, more simple autumnal plates that I admired. I also thought of my mother when I saw them.

I used to collect frogs, you see, and when we had a little bit of money, Mother would purchase a frog or two for me. They were always terribly kitschey and I dumped them at a Goodwill somewhere years ago–all except for the tiny pewter frog with the small crown on his head. I carried that into my married life with me and, though I don’t know where it is anymore, I still treasure it in memories.

I don’t have anywhere for these frogs to look beautiful, but I wished I did. I would have enjoyed owning one of these guys and, perhaps, just having him perch on the edge of the fireplace in the living room–even if that isn’t a typical froggy home.

Gruene Clay Festival couple shopping:

The fact that they are in Christmas-related colors, complementary rather than analogous, was evocative to me, as was the patience the older gentleman portrayed throughout the buying process at the frog-potter’s stand.

Gruene Clay Festival bargain hunting:

Really what tickles my fancy about this essay is that the older gentleman is waiting quite patiently for his lady, while a rather large hound dog hunts with his nose in the background.

Gruene Clay Festival waiting for wives:

Aside from the alliteration of the title, which appeals to my Old English-honed sensibilities, I like:
1. That the older gentleman’s wife is right in front of him, concentrating on her pottery purchase.
2. That the waiting of the older gentleman in the forefront of the picture is mirrored by the man in the background, with a similar cowboy hat, but a less patient arm fold.

Posted in Art

Gruene: Dora the Photographer

Images from a soon-to-be-defunct website. From Fall Break 2011.
Dora has since retired.

Dora G– W– is the Learning Studio librarian and an old friend, from when her husband and I were in graduate school together. She is incredibly photogenic and I had fun shooting her (photographically only) this last weekend. She was a good sport and allowed the annoyance.

Unfortunately I was not able to upload the best black and white of Dora. Apparently I did something odd to it and made it too large. I will try to reconfigure it and put it up later.

Posted in Art

Gruene: Made Art

Images from the fall of 2011 and posts I made on a different website back then…

One thing I did while I was playing with iPhoto and learning to use it was that I “fixed” pictures which were just too uninteresting or weird by making them look more like a piece of graphic design (which of course most of them were, since they were human-made) or art.

So, just for fun, here are some crazy pictures of things around Gruene.

Then, of course, once I had started that, I had to go in and take some pictures I liked but that didn’t work for one reason or another and play with them, too.

I had a lot of fun with this and hope that you enjoyed, or at least didn’t hate, the Made Art pieces here.

Posted in Art

Gruene: Corrugated Metal

From a soon-to-be-defunct blog. Images taken Fall Break 2011.
One of the things I like to do, have thought about doing, think is cool (or some such), is to do a series of shots that are all about the texture. I like the idea, but I have so far found that my ability to produce what I am looking for is lacking.

If you want to see a wonderful motorcycle picture, see Dora’s from the Digital Academy weekend. (The biker picture is excellent as well.)  If you want to see a wonderful brick walkway picture, see Cynthia’s from the Digital Academy weekend. Unfortunately neither of mine worked out.

However, I do like what I did with the corrugated metal that was on a building on the main street, just around the corner from Hunter Rd.

Here is the series:

Corrugated Metal Series- 1

Corrugated Metal Series- 3

Corrugated Metal Series- 5

What I wrote and did:
Of the whole series, I think 1 and 3 are the best, followed by 5. However, I am not sure about what other people would think. I have gotten positive comments on 1 and 5, but not so much on 3. So why did I put up all five and not just the three best? Because I took them to be a long swathe, getting smaller and smaller. If I just did three it might be better, but it might not.

Why I thought better of it:
I realized that really, with pictured art as well as words, a person showing each step is not necessarily the best choice. Sometimes the point is to show a progression in a larger movement. So I am going to edit this and leave only 1, 3, and 5. I think the series is actually stronger without 2 and 4.

What this means:
It means that even after the Digital Academy weekend is (mostly) over–because we are having lunch tomorrow–I am still learning.

Posted in Art

Gruene: Antique Store as Photo Op

I am moving things from a soon-to-be-defunct blog. These images were from Fall 2011.

I love to look at antiques. And the antique store in Gruene, on the corner of Gruene and Hunter, has some amazing collections. They don’t have any blue glass I don’t already own, which is good, but they do have some other wonderful things.

Almost all of these pictures had to be lightened because I took them Saturday morning when I still didn’t understand light and the camera and what controlled what. However, I think they are good and I like looking at them.

Though I had intended to post them in no particular order, I ended up putting them in the order I found them in the store. I wish I had known then that I could figure out how to lighten the photos in iPhoto, because there were many other things I would have taken pictures of. Nevertheless, I did get some I liked and I will share them with you.

Spurs that jingle jangle jingle:

Yes, I learned that song in first or second grade. If you don’t know the song, you may wonder why I mention that. It’s because it is a folk song about a single guy who would rather roam than commit–but enjoys his multiple girlfriends in various towns.

“Oh Bessie Lou, Oh Bessie Lou,
Though we’ve done a heap of dreaming this is why it can’t come true…
Oh Sally Jane, Oh Sally Jane,
Though I’d love to stay forever this is why I can’t remain…”

And the chorus says:
“I’ve got spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle,
as I go riding merrily along.
And they sing, ‘Oh ain’t you glad you’re single?’
And that song ain’t so very far from wrong.”

I’ve thought up other lines over the years, because it is that kind of song.

“Oh ‘Manda Jo, Oh ‘Manda Jo,
Though I know I said I love you, this is why it isn’t so…
Oh Sarah Kate, Oh Sarah Kate,
While I said that we would marry, this is why you shouldn’t wait..
Oh Lisa Lyn, Oh Lisa Lyn,
You may see me, but I really don’t know when…”

Early modern kitchenware:

I liked the fact that the owners or sellers put this stack of light blue plates in/on two white and red kitchen tables.

99 plates of blue willow:

There were so many… I don’t know if they are really blue willow, but they are white and blue and the idea of 99 bottles of beer on the wall came up as I looked at the stacks of plates. I’m not sure why, except that there seemed to be so many.

Chichenitza bag and serapes:

I liked the fact that they placed an unzipped travel bag of leather, tooled with pictures of Chichenitza, on one or more colorful serapes, typical of the “cultural” fare sold around Corpus Christi as Mexican forty years ago when I was a young girl living there.

Brown leather purse:

I will say that this was the first of four attempts to get this purse captured in the camera and surprisingly it was the best of the bunch. I was sure I would have gotten better with each snap of the button, but such was not the case.

Gruene antique store toys:

I think of this picture as “airplane with bunny” but that seems a little odd, so I gave it the more prosaic title. I don’t know why, since I went with 99 plates and jingling spurs; I suppose I thought there was enough frivolity for this post already extant.

Posted in Art

Blessings July 13-27

Friday July 13
checked and answered email
*This is a big deal because I have been avoiding email like the plague. DH says it is because of the trauma that came by email.
Slept well.
Walked dog.
Got invited to a make-up class with friends.

Saturday July 14
went to 2 new antique shops in town–said I was going to try to go Thursday, but did today. ]
*Only one was open. The other is only open the first weekend of the month. It’s in the place where my dad bought Lij’s furniture.
Bought an absolutely gorgeous vintage freshwater pearl necklace. It is beautiful. Also purchased drop faux pearl earrings. (Think they might be gold, but might be faux that, too.)
Texted Jo about it. She came over to see the necklace. Said it looked great with the green-blue dress I was wearing.
I didn’t think Ron would like the necklace but I modeled it and he did!
Jo offered to make earrings that match the necklace. Will have to order spacers. Need to giver her $$.
Jo brought the puppy dog tennis balls. He is good at catching.

Sunday July 15
Went to Beltway for church
tried to go to CowboyBBQ and Abihaus for lunch, but closed or slow. We had chicken for lunch.
Got about 20 of the weekend field research projects done for PokeGo.
made country club muffins (not great, better after freezing and reheating)

Monday July 16
got the oil changed on my car
ordered the purple Edwardian skirt to show DH that Amazon was working for me, even on Prime Day
took the give away stuff to Salvation Army
met MrsWeemDog and talked about kids, anniversaries, trips
did laundry

Tuesday July 17
watered the lawn
walked the dog

Wednesday July 18
walked the dog
walked at HSU
had a good TM meeting, even though started 2 minutes late (ended on time, though!)

Thursday July 19
survived the SHHS trustee meeting
got some of the things done
finished the agenda in only 1.5 hours

Friday July 20
drove to Dallas for the weekend
got some new pokestops

Saturday July 21
walked 9 miles
went to Chase on foot to get $$
went to Luke’s Locker and got 2 pairs of shoes
talked to South African clerk with a wonderful accent
went to Dragon Statue Park
saw an exceptionally good show at Vivas

Sunday July 22
walked for 1 hour
got Alolan Raichu in a raid
ate breakfast at Mockingbird Diner

Monday July 23
weight lifting with Penny
walked early with dog at home
watered lawn
finished Haven Point series by R Thayne

Tuesday July 24
found mid-century drapes for DH. They pull in the wall and carpet colors. They look good.
did 2 raids with DH
got to talk Pokemon with a teen, a 10yo, and their dad

Wednesday July 25
Diana did an amazing table topics with pom poms and a panel of three folks.
I gave my speech on mentoring.
took Ron’s phone and fixed his pokemon names
did a raid with Ron’s phone
we had lunch together at Pizza by Design
ate those left overs for supper
went by PetSmart for puppy training information
got rods for Ron’s drapes
bought mat for guest bathroom to replace the one that got peed on a month or so ago

Thursday July 26
walked dog for an hour
finished edits on Jo’s chapter 3
watered 1/2 lawn
checked and answered email
wrote the notes up into a Tall Tale for tonight’s open mike at AWG
did Table Topics at AAS TM
went to AWG and read my Uncle Guy tall tale

Friday July 27
walked dog
watered lawn
got the pickup filled up
Ron killed about 20 of the wasps on the truck
finished this list
got stuff ready for trip to Austin to see the elders off to Malaysia
ate a great spinach salad at Natural Food Center with hubby