Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Open for Business!

Happy Wednesday, my beach lovin' friends! Take a peek at the menu bar above this post, and you'll notice the addition of a new page on my website. See it?

For years, I've wanted to open a shop filled with beachy items much like the ones I've collected for my own home. Things I believe kindred spirits would love. So I'm excited to announce that today~9/30 and my youngest child's birthday~my beach shop on the web is now open!

On my cybershelves, you'll find everything from beach books, to sea shell frames, to beach signs, to seaside Christmas ornaments for your favorite beach lover!

We're a bitty store with great hopes for expansion, and I'll add new items regularly, so be sure to stop by often. (Heard a stat recently that the unemployment rate for teenagers is up to 18%. With two teens looking for a job, I'm hoping to bring that number down ;D )

A special shout out to Kelli Standish and Sandy Goyer of PulsePoint Design for creating my store. You gals ROCK!

You can visit the site directly at or click that button up top. Window shoppers welcome!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lots to celebrate

It's birthday week in the Carobini household. Pre-teen girl's birthday is tomorrow, but she's away at outdoor education camp. Who scheduled that??? To soften the blow, I sent her a box of fun stuff to open, you know--items of distinction. Like a Zac Efron toothbrush, a tiara, spa socks, things like that. For some reason I have a knack for embarrassing her, so we'll see how much trouble I get into...

Then on Thursday, Teen Son turns 18. Did you hear me? Eight-een!!! He just registered to vote (holy cow). He'll be around in the morning, but then it's off to an overnight college campus visit for him. Should I warn him about parties in the dorms???

Friday is my hunky hubby's birthday. I always look forward to his b'day because we're officially 11 years apart on that day (haha--love you, honey). We'll be celebrating by...picking up Pre-teen girl in the evening from the camp bus ;)

You may remember that we recently celebrated my mother's birthday by taking a trip trip north. Nothing quite that elaborate this time around, but let me just say, having three b'days in a row--even though our schedule's wacky--is pretty elaborate in itself. Know what I mean?

Party on, my friends (I know we'll be ;). And have a beachy day--wherever you are!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chuggin' along

Is it Wednesday already? Seriously? Sorry for the silence. I've been recovering from our whirlwind trip and editing like mad! Anyway, we enjoyed every minute of our train trip to....San Luis Obispo, CA. Twelve members of the Navarro/Carobini clan took over business class, eating and yakking and taking turns walking my 21-month old nephew up and down the aisles (a belated sorry to the other travelers stuck with us ;).

I have pictures--somewhere. Teen Daughter has them in her camera, but she won't release them until she's had a chance to photoshop a few. Lol... So anyway, the trip took about 3.5 hours each way (longer for my brothers and their fams who boarded in the LA area). Once there we relied on a hotel shuttle (PT Cruiser-haha), taxis, and our feet to get us around the college town. A shout out to Mary Hampton, a frequent blog visitor and writer friend, who once lived in the area: Thought of you, Mary!

After taking over the hotel two hours before check-in, we shopped SLO (if you read Sweet Waters, you might recall that Mel, Cami and Holly took off for SLO several times from Otter Bay), and pretty much ate our way through the town. We then had a private room at the Apple Farm Inn for dinner, hit the pool, then watched a movie before calling it a night (er, morning, as it was after midnight by then).

The ride home the next afternoon was SPECTACULAR. If you ever have the chance to take Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner or Coast Starlight north of LA, do it! The water views are to die-for and~we saw dolphins leaping! Nice staff, good snacks, an on-time train, and our fam all together~a super fun way to celebrate our mom's birthday! Ahhh....

Today I'm heading north again, this time to have lunch with author pal, Kathyrn (Katie) Cushman. Love her~and her work. Soon I'll be giving away a copy of her soon-to-be released novel, Leaving Yesteday, so check back for that in the next few days. In the meantime, have a beachy day, my friends~wherever you are!

Friday, September 18, 2009


It's Fri-day! Yesterday was my mama's birthday (a milestone--am I allowed to say which one???) So anyway, we're taking her on a little train excursion. If mouths have stayed closed (have they, kids?), then she doesn't know where we're going--just that she needs to pack an overnight bag. She doesn't like surprise parties, so I had to keep her in the dark about something. Ha!

So since I'm not telling her, guess I can't tell you either (since she reads this blog and all ;) But I'm excited because it's going to be a beautiful weekend in California, and I'm getting on a train--which I love too (Mom's love of train travel has rubbed off on me).

A couple of years ago, author Katie Cushman and I took a choo-choo--the Pacific Surfliner--to Anaheim to meet up with our pub's sales director and authors Lauraine Snelling & Cathy Hake. We were embarking on a SoCal book tour, so Katie and I decided to shake off the nerves and make a pit stop at Downtown Disney. So. Much. Fun! My friend at the Grand Californian stored our luggage and then we were off to eat, stroll, play with stuffed Disney toys in the gift shops...a great way to prep for a book tour, Lol...

Anyway, I've been through a few states, but would love to take more train excursions someday. How about you? Ever seen the world via the train? I'd love to hear about it...! In the meantime, have a beachy weekend my friends--wherever you are!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I heart coffee

Popping in for a quick hello this morning--okay, so it's late morning already. We awoke to find the power in our house was super low--not completely out as we had dim lights--but the outlets didn't work. So we couldn't make coffee. Did you read that? No. Coffee. In a blessed twist my teen daughter's flat iron must run on super low energy because she could use it in an outlet that was dead to any other appliance. Can you imagine if she could not have?

But I digress.

So an hour or so later my unshowered self was sitting on the couch, Bible study in lap (prepping for middle school group tonite), and grousing to God about my lack of caffeine when my good friend & neighbor texts me. Are you home? I need a big favor!

I text her back, that sure, whatever she needs (and hoping it wouldn't involve being seen in public). So anyway, she needed me to run over to her mansion across the street and check on something for her (long story), which I did, much to her barking schnauzers' chagrin.

And there, sitting on her kitchen counter, I saw it. Did my eyes deceive me? A still warm pot of coffee. The angels sang a halleluia chorus (or maybe that was delirium onset from my lack of morning caffeine...) No matter. I poured myself a full mug and headed home.

God is good!

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Think Ahea"

I started this blog several times this morning, but I'm just too ADD today to stick with anything. Not all that unusual--staying 'on task' is super tough for me for some reason. I'm the type that often has several tabs open on my computer as well as several to-do piles half 'done'. Don't even mention all the tasks I've started around the house. Sometimes I play a game with myself. I set the oven timer for, say, 20 minutes, and dash around to see what I can get done in that time. Not 'started' or 'shuffled' but in 'surfaces so clean I can see my perplexed face in the reflection.'

I think that's why writing, which takes high-voltage concentration, literally exhausts me. Seriously, I can run a couple of miles and feel all energized, but sit on my tush and write for five hours? Just bring me a blankie and don't bother calling--that kind of mind activity knocks. me. out.

But really, it works for me. Makes life kinda interesting. Plus I understand my kids better as a couple seem to have adopted my frenetic ways. Anyone else out there care to admit that you can relate? So how do you trick yourself into getting it all done?

p.s. I spotted the title of this post on a sign in one of my kids' classrooms years ago. It 'spoke' to me, LOL

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Technical difficulties

So my big announcement...will have to wait a few more days. Yesterday being 9/9/09, I had planned to tell y'all about my latest venture, but some technical difficulties have delayed those plans a bit (thanks a lot, microsoft).

Reminds me of the wheelchair races at youth group last night. Laughed so hard I nearly...woops, almost went all TMI on you. Needless to say, watching 25 or so middle schoolers racing wheelchairs around the church patio is enough to lift even the dourest heart (not that mine was dour, mind you, but still).

The kids were racing one of our leaders who truly does use a wheelchair to get around, which turned out quite comical considering his is a souped-up version with aerodinamically set wheels. Compare that to the lumbering versions our church has on hand for those who need them, including one with a wheel so wobbly I kept having flashbacks on a recent grocery cart experience.

Which brings me back to microsoft. For all the love you've given me, you've equalled that with trouble, my friend. So I'm saving my pennies (make that quarters) for a mac. Ah, I'm picturing those shiny new wheels now...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

California Dreamin'

The sun continues to shine along the central coast and we who were stuck in the fog all summer have been taking advantage of it. In between working and the daily stuff, we've walked to the beach and biked along the park path and gone for afternoon coffee runs...ahhh--it still feels like summer. Love it.

That said, I've got edits to do soon and another book to write, not to mention another book signing for Sweet Waters next month. I received several kind emails and/or facebook postings in the past few days, and I'm GRATEFUL for those! They keep me going--they really do. One said that she loved my new book, and another said that she loves how positive my stories are, and still another thanked me for writing it.

But to them I say, no, thank YOU for taking the time to read my books! I'm in a great place these days, but life hasn't always been easy. I wrote a small post about dreams and how I struggled to do just that some years back. Jennifer AlLee will post that on her blog sometime later today, so feel free to stop by and check that out. We'll also be giving away a copy of Sweet Waters, so if you've not had a chance to pick it up, you can enter to win! Or if you can't wait (kids are back in school so, quick!, now's your chance, haha), the best price I've found is on (see below)

448730: #1: Sweet Waters: An Otter Bay Novel#1: Sweet Waters: An Otter Bay Novel

updated: Just found it on Amazon at slightly lower, and if you use a Kindle, it's even less. Hey, in this economy, every penny helps ;)

Have a beachy day, my friends~wherever you are!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Winner of the Adirondack chair giveaway!

Dear B&H,

The perfect place for these chairs would be under this tree in our backyard. I can imagine using them this fall, wrapped in a light blanket, watching the girls play on the tire swing as the changing leaves swirl around us!

Thank you for your consideration,
Angie, Kentucky


B&H received more than 120 entries for this contest, and narrowing the field was so very tough! Thanks to all for entering. We loved your pictures, comments and stories--except for the fact that it made the job of choosing just one winner super hard ;) Special thanks also to the team at B&H and my panel of judges who fretted and considered and voted their hearts.

Congrats Angie!!!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Take Your Best Shot

I'd like to introduce you to a book that will raise goosebumps on your heart! Take Your Best Shot is the true story of an extraordinary work God is doing for kids in Africa through a young boy from the US.

After watching a World Vision DVD about orphaned 9 year old Maggie, Austin Gutwein, also 9 at the time, said a 'sort of connection was made between my heart and my brain." He gained a passion for helping her and other children in Africa after having what he now calls, "A Maggie Moment."

I learned about this book and the Hoops of Hope ministry from my friend, author Colleen Coble. Here's Colleen's connection with this book and its author, in her own words:

It was my birthday, January 19, 1979 and we'd just been at a birthday party at my inlaws for me and our son whose birthday was the day before. Freezing rain had come down while we were inside but we thought we could make it home. They lived in the country about ten miles out of town. When we turned onto the highway, the roads were still like glass. Dave was driving slowly and being careful. I was holding my 3 year old daughter back in the days before carseats and we were both dozing. I heard Dave shout, "Look out!" I looked up to see a car heading at us and knew in that moment we were all about to die. And I wasn't ready. None of us were. I remember screaming, "Oh God," and it was prayer in that moment because I knew He was the only one who could save us. The next thing I knew icy rain was pouring in the broken T top, the horn was blaring in a nightmarish fashion and we were sideways in the road with more traffic coming. All of us were only half conscious and our five year old son was crying. I had part of the dashboard in my leg. Dave's mouth was bleeding from teeth that had been knocked out and blood was coming from our daughter's nose and mouth. I could tell she was terribly hurt.

Dave stumbled outside to try to flag down traffic before we were hit again. One of the boys in the other car was already dead. The first car to stop was a family that went to a local church. One of the family members rode with our daughter (broken jaw) to the hospital while we waited for the 2nd ambulance. We all had various injuries that kept us in the hospital about 10 days. When we got home, the pastor of the church where the family went that had stopped to help us, Don Gutwein, arranged for food to be brought in. He led us to the Lord within six months. So everything that has happened in my Christian life started there. Would we be Christians without that accident? I don't think so. God in His kindness did what was necessary for our eternal future.

Fast forward thirty years. We'dlost touch with the Gutweins over the years. I follow Mike Hyatt on Twitter and he mentioned a young man named Austin Gutwein who started a Hoops for Hope ministry to raise money to help orphans in Africa. Nelson is bringing out a book about his story and Mike just heard him present at the sales conference. Hmm, Austin Gutwein, I think. Gutwein is a very uncommon name. I shot off a tweet to Mike and asked him to ask Austin if his grandpa would happen to be Don Gutwein. Amazingly it is!

And the line of ministry through the Gutwein family continues... If you'd like to read more, please pick up your own copy of Take Your Best Shot. It's a fast-paced, absorbing read...and it'll give you plenty of goosebumps.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tuesday interview & more

Yahoo~it's Tuesday, which means that a three-day beach weekend is that much closer :)

We had so much fog around these central coast parts this past summer that I tended to stay covered up when strolling the beach. But that big yellow ball in the sky has been making a comeback lately, as have my shorts (ha ha). Unfortunately, my white legs (think: 'sticks of chalk') are an embarrassment to my kids, especially pre-teen girl. So anyway, "we" all can't wait for me to get out there again after this week is done (with proper sunscreen coverage, of course.)

Back to today! This morning I'll be chatting with Jill Hart, host of CWAHM blog talk radio, Live at 8:30 am pacific time. You can find us at this link.

After that, I'll be taking a peek at all those photos you sent for the B&H Adironack chair giveaway to celebrate Sweet Waters. The judges will be choosing a winner to announce soon, so stay tuned! (I'm sooo excited!)