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I write novels, eat dark chocolate, raise three children, love my husband, scrub toilets, ignore the laundry, and love a good story, but hardly ever in that order.



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Monday, November 21, 2011

Giving Thanks Anew

Hi, friends.

I've been out of the blogging loop and devoting any extra writing time to my new novel. :) Can't talk about it yet, but I'll keep you posted.

Thanksgiving is Thursday. In honor of a day devoted to gratitude, I thought I'd help you check in with Clara.

Remember Clara?

I just reread that first post and cried again, not any less hard than the day I wrote the words. (For the record, I did not cry during the Paris Hilton part. You should just scroll down.)

It's been nearly a year since I asked you to pray for my dear friend's little girl. Rachel and her husband Brian have soldiered through this year with honesty, grace, faith, and an abiding love for their daughter and for the God who created her.

Rachel wrote a beautiful post on Caring Bridge this week. I'd like to share it with you. Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends. Hug your babies today.

One Year
We are approaching the one year mark from the day our lives changed. It’s strange feeling it was so long ago and also just a moment past. I can still close my eyes and see the elevator doors opening on the 8th floor to a sign that said “oncology.”Clara is doing very well. She has graduated from PT and only has OT once every three weeks. We had her conference with her teacher this fall and heard about how she has fit right into her classroom. Partly due to some amazing tutoring, she is right on par scholastically with other kids her age. Remarkable considering she missed first grade almost completely.Her hair is coming in thick and dark. Her eyelashes are enviously long, her countenance sweet and cheerful. She is showing empathy beyond her years and a tenderness that defies the pain she’s gone through. I’m proud of her and thankful for a God who can make good come from all things.Her next check will be on December 12th. She will have a full PT check to make sure all is still well, an ultrasound, and a little post-treatment party with her doctors and nurses. Please continue to pray that Clara remains cancer free.This month we were afforded the absolutely delightful experience of a weekend away granted by Miracle of Mitch, a foundation here in MN that provides support to pediatric cancer families. They let us stay in a hotel in Bloomington, gave us points for the amusement park in the Mall of America, tickets to the aquarium under the mall, and fun money for restaurants. The kids had a sweet time playing at the hotel pool and just spending time together. Brian and I appreciated a weekend where we could pour into all three of them.We have also been granted a wish by the Make-A-Wish foundation! Clara wanted to see an ocean and a big forest so the team got together and are sending our family to California to see the Pacific and some of the giant sequoias. Clara was also selected to have a poster about her illness and wish displayed at the Mall of America rotunda during Make-A-Wish fundraising (the weekend after Thanksgiving and the first weekend of December). We’re VERY excited and starting to plan a trip this spring.Today is cold here with a high of 32. I was digging out Clara’s winter clothes for her this morning looking for a certain cozy pair of fleece-lined jeans. And I pulled out a shirt that had a clump of hair folded in it.

So I cried for a bit. Still crying, actually. It’s a slow recovery and mourning for me. I still have a cabinet of medicines and a three ring binder filled with medical information and blood test results. Last week I found a journal of Clara’s. She wrote a short story about puppies in October. In February she was writing a song with the chorus “you can’t say no, sometimes you just have to go.”A little crying each day, and hopefully a little healing each day. The one-year anniversary brings back lots of hard memories. Clara was sad this morning because the Christmas outfits I got her last year (that were her absolute favorite and most comfortable) are now too small. I remember having to take back the outfits I bought her last November and exchanging them for a size smaller because she was literally shrinking and a full size smaller by Christmas. Abbie occasionally asks if Clara is really done with chemo. She needs reassurance as much as I need to say ‘yes, she’s really done’ out loud. Stephen gets a quick look of fear when cancer is mentioned and then whispers to himself “she doesn’t have it anymore.” We’re all getting through this murky phase and the surprises it brings. This year Thanksgiving will be a little bit different. A little more thankful for health, for good doctors, for family, for friends, for the love of a Savior that doesn’t ever let go. I learned this past year things that I thought I knew last year. But this year … I have learned them deep in my gut. God is good. He is so good.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

One of These Days

My children are growing like crazy. I realize this is not a scientific discovery to shake our world as we know it but it’s still a big deal to me. For one thing, their legs all seem super long. It’s getting a bit scrunchy in a twin bed to read stories at night, which is nothing but fantastic as this forces them to let me hug them and say stuff to embarrass them like, “Your feet are enormous!” and “I can’t believe you’ve stopped drooling on your pillow! You’re so grown up!”

In addition to long limbs, all three of them are becoming shockingly verbal. This sounds great and often is. I’m sure I’ll be thrilled the day they take their SATs. It can also be problematic (particularly since we’re still working on voice volume in public) and a wee bit irritating in small enclosed spaces.

But as I’m watching all this growth occur before my eyes, I feel this not-so-gentle tapping in my spirit, as if God is reminding me all the time to watch and listen, to soak up this season and feel every bit of the beauty and grace and longing and sadness. Our little familial world seems to change just a degree or two on its axis every day and when I start panicking about things moving too quickly, I feel that spirit-tap again, nudging me to pipe down and listen up. To take a deep breath when my day begins with a plunger and rubber gloves and ends with blotting red paint out of our carpet. (Honestly, I didn’t speak so kindly to the spirit-tap that day. That was a rough day.)

I know these days are fleeting. I can tell just by the super long legs around here. How I love these babes. What gifts they are to me! Oh, God of grace, let me treat time as precious and limited. I’m so grateful for this time, God, even the plunger days. Really, I am. You are so good to let me live this adventure with these people. Thank you for this abundance of good and perfect gifts.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

While I'll Never Make It In The Fashion Biz, Part Deux

True confession: I watch Project Runway. I don’t watch a whole lot of TV, mostly because I’m very tired and irritable at night and I’ve found the best antidote to that condition is reading a good book and then falling asleep with it on my neck. But I do DVR Project Runway and I’m not sure if that makes me trashy or cool.

If there’s one thing Project Runway has taught me it’s that the line is very fine between trashy and cool. Take this outfit, for example:

It won accolades from the judges (with the exception of the pumpkin-inspired hair). Maybe I'm at a loss because I can't find my stilts, but even without the extra height, what is the draw here? Billowy teal top with rhinestones? I swear I wore that with "dress shorts" and a matching headband to my freshman homecoming dance.

And this might like fantastic for the average female:

But I don't think I have the neck for it.

My confusion with all this should surprise none of you. Remember my complete shock and horror with the skinny jean phenomenon? They’re back again this fall, which means the score is Fashion: 45, Kim: -5.

I’m trying to keep up, folks. But I don’t feel it’s going well. I just got used to pointy-toed heels and now they are OUT with a capital O. ROUNDED heels, people. Or maybe that was last season….

Really I need immunity for the next challenge. Immunity would be perfect. Can I at least have immunity for skinny jeans? I promise I’ll change out my pointy toes if I can keep wearing flared pants.

Also, you can have my car.

All in all, I think you’ll agree we both come out ahead.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Should I Be Worried?

Thea prayed with me before bed tonight and then informed me that God was “this big.” She made a big circle with her little arms.

I agreed. “At least that big, yes.”

“And Goliath was this big.” She made the circle incrementally smaller.

“Right. He was much smaller than God. But he made fun of God, didn’t he?”

She nodded gravely. “He was very naughty.” Pause. “God and Jesus wear cween (clean) clothes. But Goliath wore dirty clothes.”

Really? I’m not sure this is supported by Scripture. But, heck, we’re going to stick with the theme: Goliath=naughty. God=awesome.

One more jab before lights out. Thea said with certainty, “And Gowhyiff (Goliath) is dead. Dead, deady-dead.”

Score thus far-- God:1, Gowhyiff: 0.

Next up: Herod.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Today’s post is meant to encourage those of you who are in the depths of despair. Anne of Green Gables used this phrase and rather freely, though I’m not sure any of her despair really warranted such theatrics. Which is exactly why I love Anne of Green Gables and am still hoping my hair will turn red and that I can live in Nova Scotia with my bosom friend, Diana Barry. Raspberry cordial, anyone?

Theatrics from Anne mouth are lovely, but I came across a little quotation that might not resound quite as deeply. I try not to involve myself in celebrity bashing because celebrities are real people with very real problems. I would hate having the life of a famous person and I get a little itchy just thinking about it. I am honestly looking around for calamine lotion right now, and that might not be merely the result of an angry mosquito who found me last night.

So I will not name the famous person who said the following words. Just know she was referring to a “nervous breakdown” she experienced after HER WISDOM TEETH WERE PULLED.

"I was down in the dumps about everything there for a while," she said. "Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom about things and have to get the most stressed-out just to feel better again. I got completely stressed-out and couldn't handle everything, and now I feel really in control."

I don’t have much to add. I hope you have not “hit rock bottom” today and that you feel you can “handle everything,” even teeth. You just remember this woman’s courage in the face of such hardship. May it inspire you to press on through poverty! Famine! Disease! Recessions! These things are nothing compared to wisdom teeth!

I love you people.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Act My Age

Can someone please clarify for me when I became a ma’am?

I am now fully a ma’am. As in, “Ma’am, is this your child we found running naked through the lobby?” Or “Ma’am, none of these clothes have been in fashion for the last decade. We cannot accept anything you own (or are presently wearing) at our consignment shop.”

I feel like there was a limbo period for this. Wasn’t there a time when I wasn’t a college student any more but I also wasn’t a ma’am? Maybe “miss?” Or “hottie?” Wait, no. That never happened. But I’m pretty sure there was a historical era in which I was young but not too young, smart but not wizened, muscular but not veiny.

Is anyone hearing me on this?

Today a fifteen-year-old girl flagged me down at the Dairy Barn as I was leaving. “Ma’am,” she called, and the scary part is I KNEW SHE WAS TALKING TO ME. I turned. “Ma’am, you might want all these slushies you just paid for.” Then she snorted when she laughed and I laughed too, without the snort. Silly ma’am! Paying for things and then leaving the Barn without taking them with her!

And so it begins. One day a ma’am, the next I’ll be asking the consignment shop to reconsider taking on my orthopedic shoes to sell. But they’re so comfortable…

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Remember the Alamo

I have a very noticeable and alarming problem with remembering my life. I’m very serious about this. I cannot remember really important things, like where Marc and I went on our first date or the way my children sounded before they could say their “r’s.” I can’t remember the names of friends with whom I shared a gazillion hours on choir trips in college, even when I see photos in my albums and we’re all flashing smiles that say to the camera, “We will always know each other and would definitely donate internal organs to save each other’s lives!” Don’t remember the organ donors.

I do, however, remember completely unimportant things. I can sing, on demand, the only hit Julian Lennon ever had. I can tell you all the phases of the moon, information that has lingered with me since Mr. Ives’s fifth grade science class. While we’re there, I remember that Mr. Ives was a straight-ticket Republican who named his eldest daughter, Reagan, when NO ONE was naming little girls anything Reagan, unless you meant Nancy.

My friend Kristen is invaluable to me for several reasons but one of them is that she remembers my life. She tells me such great stories about my kids! They are so witty and endearing, my children, but I just can’t remember anything they have said or done. So Kristen reminds me of these things by saying things like, “Remember when Mitch won that award from the Pulitzer committee and gave such a great acceptance speech?” I don’t, of course, remember that, but I chuckle/sigh like I do, ask a few discreet questions and she tells me the whole story!

Everyone needs a friend like Kristen.

I’d love to introduce you to her but I can’t remember your name.

N.B. This is not Mitchell accepting his Pulitzer but isn't it amazing what one can find on the Internet?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back At It

After a summer hiatus, I am revving back into our real lives. For those of you who follow this blog, and by that I mean Mom, thanks for your patience. I love you and will get you a really awesome Christmas present.

Isn’t summer lovely? I did not miss the schedules, the running, the grabbing of almost-nutritious snacks as we rush out the door. And I most certainly did not miss making lunches.

I really do not enjoy making lunches. I feel entirely uncreative by week three. How much can one vary on the turkey sandwich theme? Carrots, hummus if we’re feeling it, chips, fruit, and a cookie if I’ve made them, a few pathetic M & Ms if I have not. Seriously. I’m nearly asleep just thinking about this again.

My daughter will not eat ham, roast beef, or peanut butter and jelly, so that wipes out most of the bagged lunch pyramid. She’s generally an adventurous eater. Her favorite food for years was octopus and I’m not kidding. (Incidentally, it is difficult to find fresh octopus in Iowa, so she’s only had it once. This did not diminish her loyalty.) But octopus eaters tire of sack lunches and so do octopus-eating mothers.

The alternative to sack lunch, as you might recall from yesteryear, is the beloved and questionably edible school lunch. Chicken patty on a bun, anyone? Mystery Mondays? Fishsticks on Friday? I allow for some school lunch here and there. All right, sometimes I beg her to eat it so I don’t have to make one more turkey sandwich. But she is not altogether enthusiastic, and who can blame her? I remember having to read the laminated menu in order to verify what, exactly, was on the lower right square of that tray.

(Um, why is that tray lavender? Adding a little pretty to the miserable? Isn't that kind of depressing? And what's with the white glob? Whipped cream? Mashed potatoes? Ice cream? I need the laminated menu to be sure...)

Inspire me, please. What can I include? Please don’t say rice cakes or I will have to cry. Ditto on anything involving carob. Other than those items, what are you people sending to school these days?

Please write soon. School starts this week and I’m all out of octopus.

Monday, June 6, 2011

And the winner is....


BeachB is the proud owner of a Nook! I used a random number generator (random.org) and have a marital witness to vouch for my process. (This is the man who, as a boy of six, made his mother stop the car so he could confront a nursing home about their frayed American flag. No cheating in this house, not with flag etiquette and not with random number generating.)

Thank you, all who entered and took the time to say a few words about Operation Bonnet. Your recommendations make a HUGE difference in book sales, so thank you! Make sure to e-mail me your mailing address at KimberlyStuartGiveaway@gmail.com and I'll send you a little token of my gratitude.

Happy Nook exploring, BeachB!*

*(I was going to write "Happy Nooking," but my mom said I couldn't because that sounds too much like "nookie," which apparently was a naughty word in the sixties. Really?! Could she be confusing it with the name of a milkshake? Or a poodle?)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Amazon Amazing

Well, we didn't reach two hundred (ahem), but we did get a healthy number of reviews on Amazon. And Operation Bonnet is selling well! Woo hoo and thanks be to God (not in that order)!

I've decided to forgo the garden gnome, though this one is fetching:

Look at that bunny go!

So no racing bunny and competitive gnome, but I AM drawing for a Nook. You know, a Nook?

(Cute pink carrying case and daffodil not included.)

I realize this is a change from the original plan and perhaps some you are mourning the loss of the gnome. So I'll give you an extra day or so to adjust. How about I draw for the Nook at high noon Sunday? So if you haven't yet reviewed Op Bonnet here, you get a bit of extra time. And if you have reviewed but in hopes of garden decor, you have time to recalibrate your dreams.

Thanks for the love, folks! I'll post Sunday. :)

p.s. Don't forget to e-mail a link to your review to kimberlystuartgiveaway@gmail.com, so we can send you a very little something to thank you for your effort.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I met this lovely lady this week.

Photo courtesy of DebbieMacomber.com.

Debbie Macomber came to Des Moines and I had a chance to chat with her. First, you should know that she has published ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY BOOKS. I feel this merits writing out the words for such a huge number. And she's just a great woman. Kind, humble, funny and a girl who loves to tell and hear a great story. She's married to her high school sweetheart, she loves her family, and she loves to eat and cook.

She also mentioned she writes in a turret.

Photo courtesy of oldhouseweb.com

I have asked Marc to build me a turret, but he politely declined. Perhaps I should sic Debbie on him.


Listen, as long as we're talking numbers, PEOPLE. Where are my Amazon peeps? Remember my promise to give away a Kindle or Nook if I have 200 reviews on Amazon by June 1, 2011? We're at 36. THIRTY-SIX. Come on, friends. Help a girl out! If I see a grand surge, I'll happily extend the deadline, but you must meet me half way!

Everyone who sends me a link to their review (e-mail kimberlystuartgiveaway@gmail.com) gets a free little something in the mail from me. So please write a few honest words about Operation Bonnet! I don't like to beg. It's unbecoming, and plus, it didn't work with the turret idea.

If we don't get to 200, I'll still draw for something. I think you thought I was kidding about a garden gnome, but maybe you shouldn't test me.

I can't seem to get that photo any smaller, but that might be serendipitous. Stare at those eyeballs and that bushy eyebrow touched with red paint, and pledge "I will write a review. I will write a review." Or take your chances and end up with Creepy Dwarf. Game on!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kindle Lovin'

Spring is in the air, thanks be to God! Every year, I worry I might not make it. At least without crying on the kitchen floor and asking my children to fend for themselves because I have to get outside, even if there is a blizzard warning.

But then spring arrives, I see daffodils peeking out of our garden, and I realize the worst has passed. And I didn't even have to resort to burning all our furniture to survive!

(I searched for an image of a bonfire and got this. I feel the heat, don't you?)

So in celebration of spring and because I like giving stuff away to make you buy my book (subtle), I hereby inaugurate the Operation Bonnet Kindle Giveaway. Here's the scoop:

1. Review Operation Bonnet on Amazon.com.
2. Send an e-mail to KimberlyStuartGiveaway@gmail.com with a link to your review.
3. Be automatically entered to win a Kindle!

It's that easy! The only catch is that I'm gunning for 200 reviews by June 1. If we're close, I'll still draw for the Kindle. If not, I'll draw for something less exciting, like a gardening trowel. Or a decorative troll.

Include your mailing address in the e-mail and we'll send you a small token of Operation Bonnet love, just for entering.

I see no losers here. And I also see my tulips coming up! Woop woop! We made it, friends!

p.s. How to post a comment on Amazon (you must have purchased something from them in the past):

~Go here to the Operation Bonnet Amazon page.
~Scroll down to the section called "Customer Reviews." Click on the box to the right that says "Create your own review."
~Sign in with your e-mail address and the password you used when buying from Amazon before.
~Review away! And thank you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Quite Right

Is it weird that I've been thinking a lot about British people?

It must be the accent. I mean, seriously. I dare any woman within earshot to deny the power of a British accent. I'm not one to swoon (though I saw Michael Buble in concert a few years back and I came VERY CLOSE to swooning), but what is up with the accent effect?

Take Colin Firth, for example. You know him, right? The original Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice (pause for a moment of respect, please), the affable and sweetly awkward guy in Love Actually, the stuttering king in The King's Speech...I have a friend, Murl, who absolutely goes weak in the knees if I say the words "Colin. Firth." Down she goes, all fluttery and breathless.

Here's a man who is not particularly gorgeous. In fact, if you saw him on the street (and he wasn't wearing an ascot), you might think "Accountant." Or "Botanist." Or "Was that man wearing Rockports?" Certainly not "Oscar-winning actor who makes women faint when he speaks."

But I do get all mushy and nostalgic and sigh-y when I watch Colin and any number of his cohorts. Masterpiece Classic on PBS kills me. I mean it. I just finished watching the whole of Downton Abbey and now I'll probably have to move to England. (Do they have possums there?) It doesn't seem to bother me that I know English people in 2011 no longer hang out all day in Jane Austen-ish clothes and worry about marrying beneath their class if only for the sake of love.

I've been to England, in fact, and I remember a lot of disappointing food and a healthy amount of rainfall. But I still will need to relocate because even fish and chips taste good if Colin Firth is sharing them with you.

Marc is presently rolling his Norwegian eyes. He's awfully lovely too, I must point out. And if he started speaking in a British accent, I'd be more worried than smitten. (Anyone remember when Madonna tried that for awhile? EXACTLY.) Of course, if I started retiring to the parlor and curtseying, he might be a bit concerned as well.

All right, so what's your guilty pleasure? If not people in enormous, drafty houses, wearing petticoats and fretting about balls, what, then? Amish romances? Happy Days reruns? Funyuns? Hit me, people. I'm ready. I shan't judge.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

No sign of Da Poss.

I'm very grateful to the many folks who e-mailed me with lots of helpful solutions, my favorite of which included an undercover offer to "take care of" Da Poss, but only if I kept this person's identity a secret. Betcha didn't know there's a Poss Mafia around here, did you?

Image courtesy of guardian.co.uk

I've been on the look-out, believe me. Nothing. Not a single sighting. I'm trying to temper my riotous hope that Da Poss has met his maker, or at least as moved to a different county. Marc is irritatingly calm about Da Poss and his whereabouts. Of course, this is what happened the last time Marc went to capture the wildlife in our backyard: Marc went after him with a broom (!) and Chuckles went right between the legs and evaded being captured. Just watch:

Sorry about the cackle. I couldn't contain myself.

So when Jamie from Texas posted that Marc should strap on his gun and take care of business, I'm sure you'll understand why both he and I CHORTLED at the thought. I chortled longer than he did.

Even with the possibility that Da Poss has moved on, the kids and I are still a little skittish. Today when I walked outside to the recycling bin, Mitch called after me, "Mom, watch out for Da Poss!" That's my boy. A healthy fear of rodents and vermin.

Thanks for all your support, friends. There's nothing like facing threats to one's wellbeing with a solid group of supporters standing by, ready to shoot. I mean, help.

Thanks, too, for heading to stores and online to buy Operation Bonnet. I've received lots of fantastic photos from folks all over the country, showing the book on shelves in Barnes and Noble, indies, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club. The first two months of a book's life are critical, and the healthier the sales initially, the better. So thank you, thank you, dear readers, for buying and blabbing about it to anyone who will listen.

To that end, I have to apologize if you've encountered either of my parents in the last few weeks. They are dogged in their publicity for this book. It's fantastic and also a bit scary. Today my mom told me she bought all the copies at Wal-Mart. Um, thanks, Mom, but we want people outside the blood relation to find the book, too, okay? She seemed unimpressed with my logic. My dad was in the background, fully irritated that he went to buy more copies of Operation Bonnet and Barnes & Noble didn't have the TEN he needed.

I love them. It is such a sweet gift to have parents who believe their daughter is so much more amazing than she is.

Of course, I haven't told them I'm going to start packing heat for backyard defense. I hope they'll understand.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mutual of Omaha

Remember Chuckles?

Well, he has a cousin.

Don't be impressed with the cute, imploring look. Here's a side view that betrays his RAT origins:

Seriously, people. I am NOT running a wildlife refuge here. A possum! (I believe the correct term is "opossum," but does anyone actually say that? Maybe British people?) It comes and goes at will, during the day, from its cozy home under our deck. First, aren't they supposed to be nocturnal? And second, does anyone have a trap? Or a gun? (Sorry, Aunt Rachel, our family's Defender of Animals.)

Thea watched me prance around, moaning and saying things like, "Eeeewww! Gross!" She now calls our vermin "Da Poss," as in, "Mom, Da Poss is cweepy."

I couldn't agree more.

The Animal Control people (an interesting lot) assured me I would rather have a possum than a raccoon or a woodchuck. Um, is this a multiple choice test? If so, I choose BUNNY. Or KITTY. Or LADYBUG. They also said I could sprinkle fox urine around the perimeter of the deck. Mmmm. That will smell awesome just as spring breaks! Tulips and fox urine! My favorite springtime aromas!

What do I do, dear readers? Do I wait and hope Da Poss heads to greener decks when the weather warms? Do I trap it (eeewwww)? Do we scare it off with loud singing and harmonica playing?

The Animal Control man said these creatures will play dead ("play possum," he said with a weighted pause) for hours. HOURS. But just to remind you, Da Poss is very much alive. Here's an action shot to prove it.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Holy catfish, do we get excited about a new book! When I say "we" in reference to my nuclear family, I mean Marc and I. The kids are completely over the entire publishing business and would prefer that we watch a movie. Mitch said to me today, "Mom, that Operation Bonnet book has been out FOREVER." Well, one week. But close enough.

The grand book launch was so much fun, I'm still sleeping it off. We were hoping for a good crowd, but honestly, I was cautious in my optimism. Iowa winters can weary a person and the high Monday was somewhere near Depressing and Deathly with a Side of Frostbite. Instead of duct taping themselves to space heaters, however, my dear, beloved, loyal readers came out in full force and we filled the room! I heard the final count was 150, which is insane for a literary event. Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming out to support me. I could cry the Cat Cry right now, if I thought about it too much.

One of the sweetest moments for me was when my grandma came through the line for a signed copy. She waited in line to the very last, and she's a sassy 88 years old. She purchased the final copy, which is dear, since blood relation are entitled to complimentary literature.

I have a horrible feeling I'll be nothing but cuss words and age spots when I'm 88, but my grandma radiates joy, love for Jesus, and a readiness to bungy jump. I adore her and am so grateful she made the long trip from Oklahoma to celebrate with us.

I got my very first manicure. Go red or go home.

And then there were the cupcakes.

My friend, Catherine Drummond, is the Cupcake Queen and she brought along amazing desserts for all. I did hear happy, audible sighing from her corner of the room. Many have asked, so here is her contact info: thecakegirl2010@gmail.com. Della Dulce Bakery also has a Facebook page. You'll probably want to contact them and order a dozen cupcakes today. Thanks again, dear Cat and Leah, the Della Dulce team.

Thanks for a great night, everybody. Can I call you again next time?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Release Day

Operation Bonnet releases today.

I'm very excited, pretty tired, but mostly grateful. Who gets to have this job?! I make up pretend people and then write about them and you all read them and say kind things to me.

I am typically a chatty person. Ahem. But today I'm nearly speechless. Not totally speechless, for who, then, would boss around all these people in my house? But from my spot in my favorite chair, I'm watching the snow fall and the wind blow and I feel gratitude. I'm reminded of King David when he was getting ready to build the temple. He blessed God in full view of the entire congregation (curious, since God functions quite fine without our blessing Him, and yet He seems to love His people loving Him back).

This is what David says: "But me---who am I, and who are my peeps (paraphrase), that we should presume to be giving something to you? Everything comes from you; all we're doing is giving back what we've been given from your generous hand."

Exactly. So take my paltry words, God. Do what You want, please, and make my heart malleable in Your hands.

Thanks for giving me such a great job.


p.s. In case I don't stop by here again beforehand, please stop by the Launch Par-Tay at the downtown Des Moines Central Library, Monday evening, February 7, from 6:30 to 8ish. There will be cupcakes and fantabulous coffee from Natural Thirst. We will laugh. This will NOT, I repeat, NOT be a stuffy literary event. I mean, you should probably leave your dog collar and house music at home, but we will still have a good time. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Step Right Up!

We have three winners! Allison O., Jenna V., and Brenda S. have each one a petite copy of Act Two! Congrats, girls. May this small win bring a bit of comfort in this bleak midwinter.

Listen, people, I love this kind of thing. So stay tuned. I'm going to be giving away stuff pretty darn often around here. Get ready!

I hope the sun shines wherever you are today. (Can you believe how long humans can live with gray skies? It's astounding.)

Before I go, I wanted you to see this. It's my brand-spanking-new trailer for Operation Bonnet and it's fantastic. The girl singing is Lauren Hillman, the composer is my dear friend, Paul, and they're both fantastic too.

Just click on the cute movie camera on the bottom of my HOME PAGE.

Enjoy and stay warm!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Free Stuff, Part One

This is how I imagine winter to be at the beginning of the season:

(Photo by ulife.vpul.upenn.edu)

Think hot cider, a walk through woods, a new pair of mittens, Marc remarking on how very luminous I appear against the falling snow.

Turns out, I'm not luminous. I'm pale. And getting a little cranky.

I feel the doldrums of January call for giveaways. So let the merriment begin!

Deal of the moment: E-mail me at kimberly@kimberlystuart.com to be automatically entered to win a petite copy of Act Two. I assure you it contains the whole book; it's merely handbag size so you're set in all airport, doctor, and jury selection waiting areas.

I'll give away three of these little guys, so your chances are pretty awesome. Drawing will close Tuesday, January 25 at high noon.

Also, don't forget to mark your calendar if you're in the Des Moines area:

LAUNCH EVENT FOR OPERATION BONNET~ Monday, February 7, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. Come ready to par-tay (in a literary sort of way).

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Say A Prayer

One thing they don't tell you when you sign up to write books is that you should be ready to get your Paris Hilton on. You know Paris, right?

The Queen of Self Promotion? I don't tote around my own Chihuahua, though I do carry a 20-pound toddler with a runny nose. And I don't own hotels. Not even one. However, I am expected to self promote when it comes to book selling. Operation Bonnet comes out February 1, and I should be mentioning it to you roughly every eighteen seconds. I should be telling you about the launch event (Downtown Central Library in Des Moines, February 7, 6:30 p.m.!) and asking you politely to attend. (I might get less polite as the date approaches.)

And I will. I'll do my best to be a book floozie in the near future.

But not today.

Today I want to tell you about Clara.

Clara is a sweet, inquisitive, friendly six-year-old who fell down on the school playground shortly before Thanksgiving. When her doctor started poking around her bruised belly, one question led to another and Clara and her family discovered she has cancer.

Here's Clara (far right) with her sister and her mom at the Nutcracker days before she fell.

I know Clara's mama and her grandma. I ache to even write these words because I love these women and their babies, too. How do you hold your little girl and tell her everything is different now? How do you brush her hair and not weep as it begins to fall out in clumps? How do you encourage your child to stand firm in the knowledge her God loves her with a boundless, impermeable love when your own knees are wobbly, weak and worn?

Please pray for Clara. For her sweet mama, Rachel, for her daddy, Brian. For her brother, her sister, her Nonie, her grandpa, for all the people who are surrounding her with love and grace to cushion this fall. Pray for her to regain her appetite, for her smile to return, for these next precarious months to be surprisingly calm and sweet as her body wars with itself.

I have every confidence God is writing a great story with Clara's life. But there's nothing quite like the fervent prayers of those praying for a child.

Thanks, dear ones. I'll let Clara know you're walking alongside her.