Thursday, May 17, 2012

Where Is Everyone?

Whew! Now that the blog hop is over the barnyard is rather quiet. Poor Miss Molly is so tired from being up and at attention all day, every day for a week that she has been sleeping and gave herself a severe case of "bed head!" She refuses to be seen until she gets her wool under control!

Sassy Pants took off over the hill. I think she is routing for acorns down in the far corner of the pig pen--where hardly anyone goes. She needs her quiet. I laughed right out loud when I found Gerald and Goosie Goose. She saw me and promptly put her head under water! Bless her heart, she talked to so many people even Goosie is out of words! I never thought I would see the day! So I just waved and kept on going. (smile) Saw Old Clyde out in the clover patch by the walnut trees.

Grey Tommie is out hunting somewhere and Kitty and the kittens are under the corn crib. I didn't even hear any chickens. Oh, I know they are out and about, but usually they are singing away all happy like or someone is letting the world know that they laid an egg. Not today. The pig herd is spread out over the entire pen; the cows and sheep are also scattered about their pastures. The barnyard is quiet, even the Listening Post is still.

Well, kids, it is time for a good book. How about I make us a snack, you find a book (if your mom says it is okay, have her order it here) and we will meet down by the pond for a lazy afternoon read! Let me know what book you chose!

AND if you are in the Grand Rapids area, come see me this Saturday at the Java Gym, 2211 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525. I will be there signing books!

Happy Reading!
Mrs. Brown--otherwise known as Mrs. B.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sassy Pants

Welcome Blog-hop readers! Today's Listening Post Interviews is Sassy Pants
Reported by Sis White

From the Editor: The barnyard is in quite a stir is as the second book in the Sassy Pants series is now in bookstores and online outlets everywhere good books are sold! You can find it on AmazonSassy Pants Makes Amends was just released on April 17th! That means it is now available in all the major bookstores and online sites.

We at The Listening Post thought it would be an opportune time to interview some of the main characters in the ongoing saga! Agila, one of our barnyard reporters, was first suggested to do the interviews, but she declined, preferring to remain the eyes and ears of the barnyard. She said when it came to talking she was nothing to squawk about! What a sense of humor! She suggested Farmer White’s daughter would be the perfect reporter since she seemed to know and get along with everyone, even grumpy old Billy Goat! You have already read some of her reports.

Some background on Sis: We’re calling her Sis since everyone in her family does, the only exception is that Farmer White sometimes calls her “George—his right hand man!” In the line-up of all those boys, she comes right after the biggest boy, Denny.

Sis: Hey, Sassy Pants! I’m wondering if it would be okay to just get some candid reactions to your story that’s out for the whole world to see. Are you excited? One of our own—in a book! How cool is that?!
SP: Well, I wouldn’t exactly say I am excited—a bit more like embarrassed!

Sis: Embarrassed? Why would you be embarrassed? You have really turned out well!
SP: Uhhh, ya, you said, “turned out” and that is important. That lets everyone know that I was not always the responsible barnyard resident that I am now. That time of being the barnyard bully is a time I would rather forget! So, ya, it’s embarrassing to have my past right out there in the story in black and white for the whole world to see! The only reason I consented to having my story written up was, if at all possible, I want to warn all kids to not follow my early example! That’s the only reason!

Sis: But Sassy Pants, you have such a message for the kids these days! I am really proud of you! Tell us in your own words, what would you like the kids to get out of reading your story?
SP: Two things from these two stories: The first is that choices have consequences—any choice you make will have a consequence. That’s the way it is. Some consequences you will like and some you won’t. So, kids, make wise choices. Think about the possible consequences. Really think about it—are those consequences something you can live with? Will you like it/them? If not, seriously think about a different choice!

The second thing: If you mess up like I did, ask for forgiveness. I did not like the consequences of my behavior. Apologizing and asking forgiveness is hard, no doubt about it. Making amends is even harder, but the results are worth all the hard work! It was quite a process to get to the place I am today.

Sis: So tell us Sassy Pants, just what is amends?
SP: I think Old Clyde said it best. “Amends is a way to fix a friendship when you are the one who broke it.” He was right on. Amends is just studying the friend whose friendship you broke until you find something that is really important to him or her. Then you make that become important to you too. You try to do something that will give your friend reason to trust you again. And you keep trying until trust is there!

Sis: Well that sounds simple enough!
SP: Simple, yes. Easy? No. Worth it? Yes! And, now you must excuse me, I hear the grain scoop calling! Farmer White is serving his famous Pig Soup and I don’t want to miss it!

Miss Molly's Note: When Sassy Pants was a bully she turned her sensitivity off, or tried to. She made her heart grow cold and it started turning to stone because of what she believed about what happened to her. Sassy Pants thought she had to get what she thought was hers whether or not it was! She didn’t notice or care how what she did affected others—until she was shocked out of the notion! That shock was a hard way to learn, but she learned! When we don’t understand the things that happen to us and around us we can believe things that aren’t true. We can come to a wrong conclusion. Now she is well loved and valued by everyone in the barnyard. Hers is a story of a misbehaving pig who worked hard to reform! It's a story of second chances, that should encourage us all!

You can share your story of having a second chance in the comment box below! I hope you do.
Also, be sure to hop over to the other site, click here, to leave your name and email address to enter the Giveaway drawing for a set of the Sassy Pants books or a set of the burden bearing books. The drawing will take place on the 15th after the blog-hop! We will contact the lucky winner to find out which set they want and ship them off. Then we will announce the winner! Some lucky duck will have something to squawk about!

Blessings, Miss you at the gate!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Goosie Goose

Welcome Blog-hop readers! Today's Listening Post Interviews is Goosie Goose
Reported by Sis White

Sis: Goosie Goose, thank you for agreeing to speak with us at the Listening Post about the your role in Sassy Pants' story! Our readers appreciate hearing from eye witnesses! Would you tell us what happened when Sassy Pants approached you and Gerald with this idea of making amends?
Goosie: Well, when the two of them found us our first reaction was to fluff and hiss! But then I thought better of it. That little pig was not worth ruffling my feathers over, so I put them down and Gerald followed suit. And then . . .

Editors Note: Goosie's response to the question was so extensive it would make another book! We encourage readers to get a copy of Sassy Pants Makes Amends and read the first hand account of what took place.

Sis: Tell us Goosie, do you think making amends is a good idea?
Goosie: Good idea? Oh, I think it is a wonderful way to repair broken relationships! Wonderful. It has more then repaired Sassy Pants friendship with Gerald. It has made it possible for Gerald to be the leader I always knew he could be, but I did not know how to help him over that rough spot! Sassy Pants amends has made it possible for Gerald to be a goose of destiny! One day Old Gander will be gone and Gerald will now be able to take his place as leader of the flock--thanks to Sassy Pants making amends!

Sis: Sounds to me like you have had a real change of heart toward Sassy Pants!
Goosie: Yes, I have. When Sassy Pants and Little Molly came that day, all I could think was: Why in the world was a sweet little lamb like her hanging around with that rebellious, rambunkous, ne'er-do- well, trouble making pig?! No good would come of it! But when I saw the results and realized how Gerald benefitted, I could just kiss that little pig, but geese don't seem to have lips so I guess that'll never happen. : )

Sis: Do you think Sassy Pants will be able to hold up? I mean, she hurt a lot of animals, do you think she will be able to continue making amends to everyone she offended?
Goosie: I think Sassy Pants is one spunky little pig. I think she made up her mind that this is the right thing to do and regardless of how hard it might be, I think she will do it. I'm cheering for her, that's for sure. She is a sterling pig as far as I am concerned!

Sis: So would you recommend others try to apologize, ask forgiveness and make amends?
Goosie: Yes, that is my recommendation. And my opinion is that it's the only way for lasting repair! The only way. It goes beyond "I'm sorry" and builds trust again. It's the best way!

Listening Post Editor: Our thanks to Goosie, and Sis White for this candid from the barnyard!

If readers have a question you would like to ask Goosie, Sis, Sassy Pants or Molly or any other story character, just put your question in the comment box and we will ask your question! Hop on over to my other blog, click here, to leave your name and email address to enter the Giveaway drawing for a set of the Sassy Pants books or a set of the burden bearing books. Someone is going to be a happy camper!

See you down by the gate....
Miss Molly

Friday, May 11, 2012

Old Bitty

Welcome Blog-hop readers! Today's Character Sketch is of Old Bitty, the one old hen who was a hold out as everyone else in the barnyard was willing to forgive Sassy Pants and give her a second chance. She is an example for us that sometimes people also choose to not forgive. They hold on to what they think about you and will not change their mind, no matter what. Let's see what Old Bitty has to say!

Sis:  Good morning Old Bitty; a fine day wouldn't you say?
Old Bitty: No, I wouldn't say. It's just another day of scratching for a living. That's all I'd say.

Sis: But Old Bitty! It is such a lovely spring day! It's perfect for follicking and fun! How can you be so serious?
OB:  Life is serious business, that's how. A hen has to scratch for a living you know regardless of the weather--and drop an egg a day or "The Mrs." will wonder about you. Next thing you know, she will think you are broody and get a box and expect you to sit in it all day. Like that silly Maude. She's one nervous nelly, that broody hen. Sets there all day. Gets off that nest to get a drink and a little bite and back she goes! I have more to do than set on eggs all day.

Sis: Would you explain what it is that you do in the barnyard? What exactly is your job?
OB: My job? Well, this is a job that I designed myself. There really wasn't anything that fit my personality in the barnyard so I designed it and wrote my own job description.

Sis: That's wonderful that you could do that--that way the job really fits!
OB: Wonderful? I don't think in those terms. I don't do "wonderful."
Sis: Then tell us what you do, Old Bitty.
OB: Well, I guess you could say that I am the humor police-hen. In that capacity I patrol the barnyard and put out excessive humor sort of like a fireman. I dump cold water on silliness.

Sis: Um, I see that you are very fit, very athletic. Do you get lots of exercise with this job?
OB: I should say! It's a good thing I have long legs. Whenever I hear cackeling going on outside the hen house I have to investigate immediately. I run from one end of the barnyard to the other several times a day. These young hens do not know protecal. They get to laughing and it sounds like cackeling. They have to stop the laughing. Life is serious and the only proper place for cackeling is in the hen house when you have laid an egg--it's only proper! I'm constantly putting out outbursts of laughter. You bet I am fit! And here dear readers, Old Bitty strutted her stuff! (smile)

Sis: Old Bitty, I understand that you have a definite opinion about Sassy Pants. Could you share with our readers?
OB: Humph, pigs is pigs! I do not like them. I do not talk to them. I have nothing to do with them.
Sis: But I understand that Sassy Pants has made a real change, that she is a considerate, responsible pig--and that she is a lot of fun!
OB:  Humph! Pigs is pigs. That's all I have to say!

And dear readers, she put her beak in the air and fluffed up her feathers and walked off in a huff! I wish you could have seen it. Sis stood there with her mouth open and her eyes as big as saucers! What would you call it when someone refuses to change their mind? Have any of you met someone who did not want to laugh, be friendly and nice? How did you react? Or, do you know someone who has an opinion that they will not change not matter what--just like Old Bitty? You can leave your story in the comment box. 

Don't forget to hop on over to my other blog, click here, and leave your name and email address to enter the Giveaway drawing on May 15. Some happy camper will win a set of the Sassy Pants books or a set of the burden bearing books--you choose! Until next time when I...

Meet you by the gate...
Miss Molly

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Letter to Parents

Welcome all blog hop readers! Today we have a letter from the author of the Sassy Pants Series!

Dear Parents,

(But it is okay if you kids read too!) Now that you have met some of the characters in the Sassy Pants Series I would like to give you some of the background on the writing of these books--why I wrote them. I was hit with MS in 1995 and my husband's way of coping with my disability and fragil health was to go into denial and workaholism to kill the pain of "loosing" me. He worked himself into burnout by 2002 and we needed a place to hide where he could recover. At the same time my elderly mother, a widow, started to have a series of strokes and needed someone to stay with her in her home. It was a win/win situation. However, one of the effects of strokes is memory loss--as I am sure many of you know! For a period of time Mom's exercise consisted of trips up and down memory lane and the repeated telling of "pig stories"and then forgetting that she had just told that one! I came to the place where if I heard another pig story I was going to tear out my hair--instead I whipped out my pen and began to fashion all these pig stories into one fantastic tale. And that is how Sassy Pants was born! Evidently there were enough facts in it that when one of my brothers heard it he looked at me quizically and asked, "Now that didn't all happen, did it?" On the title page the subtitle reads, "An almost true story based very loosely on some facts!" A few facts and all the rest is a sheer flight of fancy! I thought it would be a fun way to share my childhood with my grandchildren and save my sanity in the process. Amazingly when the book arrived, the pig stories stopped! They were safe now, all written down. Mom no longer compulsively told the same story over and over.

The next thing that happened was that my husband began to lobby for a sequel. He said I had to give Sassy Pants an opportunity to redeem herself after being so naughty. I leaned forward and in a conspiritorial voice said, "But this is it. That's the story. There. is. no. more!" He would not have it and then his colleagues joined the chorus. One day we were in the car and my husband was listening to some guy on a CD. I zoned out and turned to God and asked, "What should I tell them?" A few seconds went by and then "boom," exploding in my mind were the titles and story lines for three more stories. Sassy Pants Makes Amends is the second book in the series of four. The third is Sassy Pants and The Strange Creature--about getting along with and appreciating those who are different from yourself. The fourth is Sassy Pants and Borus Hog--about finding her place in her father's heart and the herd. About destiny, really.

I said, "Okay, God. I will write them, but these are Your stories so you gotta help me, all right?" I would sit down to write, not really knowing where the story was going and watch it flow out on the computer screen. When I would come to a scene where I didn't know how to describe the action He would give me the idea of who to talk to for that information. It was an amazing experience--and lots of fun!

It is my hope and prayer that this blog site can become a safe place for kids. I hope to keep developing it as time goes on. It is also my prayer that these stories will open conversations between parents and children about the issues the stories raise and you will have the opportunity to share your values with your children. And since each book comes with a download code in the back, you can download an audio recording of me reading the stories and doing all the voices. The audio can be used for reading practice if a child is having trouble reading aloud. It can also be a great help on trips to entertain. The books can be purchased at Amazon, in most major bookstores or from my website. I have also written a parent/teacher manual with home schoolers in mind--it is also a free download from my website. 

If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them. If I don't know the answer I will say so instead of trying to look like I know everything! Or, if you would share your child's reaction to the book, I would love to hear!  Looking forward to "meeting" you!

Be sure to hop on over to my other blog, click here, and leave your name and email address in the Giveaway box to enter the drawing for a set of the Sassy Pants books or a set of the burden bearin books.

Blessings, Carol Brown

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Old Clyde

Welcome blog-hop readers! Today's character sketch is with Old Clyde.
Reported by, Sis White

Sis: Morning Clyde. What's on your to-do list today?
Old Clyde: Just talking with you Sis, swatting flies and nippin off some clover.
Sis: Ah, up and over by the walnut trees, eh?
OC: That's it. My favorite spot!

Sis: Tell us a bit about yourself Old Clyde. You know, how long have you been on the farm and where did you live before you came here?
OC: Well, I have been here longer than you have, Sis. As for where before that? I was born and raised on a farm over in Goat Hollow. My owner was a good man--had a face that looked like his mamma weaned him on a dill pickle! He looked pretty tough but he had a heart of gold as far as us animals were concerned. I heard him growl at some neighbor kids, but it was because they were playing in a pasture where his ornery old bull was. He didn't want the kids to be hurt. Sort of scared everyone and he got a reputation for being an old grouch. (chuckle) He didn't try to fix the misunderstanding either--figured it would be just as well, then the kids would not play there! He was a good man, but his heart couldn't keep up with all the hard work and he had to stop farming for his health. That was when Farmer White brought me over here to help him.

Sis: You sure seem to have fond memories of your former employer.
OC: He was a good man. Treated us well; he talked with us all the time--well, at least he talked with me all the time.

Sis: I thought farmers were men of few words.
OC: Well, they tend to be. But when my man had something to say, I generally heard it first!

Sis: In what ways have you helped Farmer White?
OC: Basically if there is pulling and hauling involved, so am I.
Sis: For example? I helped him plow fields until he got a tractor. That silly machine can work circles around me! Pulling logs out of the forest--whew that will work up a sweat real quick!

Sis: Tell our readers how that is done will you Clyde. We don't want someone to think you pushed over trees like an elephant!
OC: (insert a horse laugh here!) No, nothing like that! Farmer White cut trees down and then he cut them into logs about 12' long. Then he hooked a log chain on one and fastened the other end of the chain to my harness, said "heyah" and flicked the reins and I knew to pull like crazy. I would drag that log out of the trees to where he had a pile ready to take to the saw mill to become boards. It was hard work--they call it "log skidding", but, I'm sort of built for that kind of work!

Sis: You said it was hard work. Do you not do that anymore?
OC: No, these days I'm nearly retired. I help when it is time to put up the hay in the barn, pulling wagons hither and yon, maybe for a ride through the orchard in the fall, and a hay ride in the winter. Then there are always rides for the children.

Sis: A child rides on you Clyde? Your back is way to wide for a kid!
OC: Yes, I am not a riding horse as such, but children love to put a ladder up on me and five or six of them climb on! I really don't mind and it is a very short ride and the little guys are thrilled. It doesn't hurt that they give me an apple either!

Sis: Clyde can you tell us about Sassy Pants. How did you come to be such an important part of her story?
OC: When Sassy Pants was being such a pain and bullying all the little animals it really concerned me. Many times I tried to just be out in the open where I could see and walk into the middle of her meanness. I'm so big she would stop or at least move away and that would give whoever she was picking on the opportunity to run away. But when I dicovered her crying, I knew that it was time for Sassy Pants to find out what she was made of and who she could become. That's when I shared with her how to make amends.

Sis: What is amends?
OC: It is the way to fix a friendship when you are the one who broke it.
Sis: That sounds like something we all should know. How do you do that?
OC: You study the friend you hurt. You find something that is important to them and make that be important to you too. And you keep doing it until your friend can trust you again.

Sis: That sounds simple enough.
OC: Oh, it is--very simple. But easy? No. When you read Sassy Pants Makes Amends you will see what I mean! I do hope all you children will take it right from the horse's mouth, it is much easier to learn how to say kind things and be a loving, thoughtful friend than to have earn trust after you broke it!

Sis: Well, thank you Old Clyde for sharing your thoughts with us. Hope you find a good patch of clover with a nice breeze blowing so the flies don't come! You know readers, I don't believe I have ever heard Old Clyde say one unkind word. He can say it like it is, but he is never unkind. What a wonderful thing to be able to say about someone. And with that, we bid you adieu until another day.

Miss Molly here, kids. I would have to agree with Sis, it is a wonderful thing to say that you have never heard an unkind word from someone. And Old Clyde has a wonderful heart. He does not have a mean bone in his body! Which cannot be said about our next interviewee!

What are some kind words you readers have to say about someone? Put your kind words in the comment box and share with us. We love to read kind words. And, before you go, hop on over to my other blog, click here, and put your name and email address in the Giveaway box for the drawing May 15. We will contact the winner to see is they want a set of the Sassy Pants books, a prize worth $20 or a set of the burden bearing books, a prize worth 30.00.

Blessings, Miss Molly

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Miss Molly

Welcome Blog-hop Readers! Today's Listening Post Interview is Miss Molly
Reported by: Sis White

Sis: Hi Miss Molly. Would you be willing to talk with us about the new Sassy Pants book that's just been released?

MM: Certainly!
Sis: I was wondering if you could give us a little snapshot of you and Sassy Pants and how you became a team.

MM: (Laughing) Old Clyde would be responsible for the two of us getting together. We were the most unlikely of all the animals on the farm to be friends! Pigs and sheep do not have anything in common. Not only that, but she and I are complete opposites--she is loud and active; I am quiet and contemplative. She loves dirt and mud; I avoid them both! Why Old Clyde chose me over anyone else is a mystery. I did not want to give Sassy Pants a second thought, much less a second chance, but amazingly, it worked. Oh, you should have seen the arched eyebrows and the strange looks when the two of us walked by!

Sis: Any ideas as to why it did work?

MM: I believe Old Clyde saw something in both of us that we didn't know was there. What I see in Sassy Pants is first, she is one who never gives up. Secondly, when she is convinced that something is right, she will hang in there . . . I admire her for that. When she finally understood what amends and forgiveness accomplish, she kept at it. That insensitive, disruptive, rude . . . oh, I run out of adjectives to describe her before! But she persevered and made things right with everyone she offended. Now, I am happy to say that she is one of my best friends! I trust her.

Now for Sassy Pants, I think Old Clyde saw the sensitive heart beneath the tough exterior. The electric fence was a real shocker to Sassy Pants, but as difficult as that was, I think it was the best thing that could have happened. If no one had stopped her, I do believe her heart would have turned to stone and she would have no feeling for anyone. Amazingly, it changed her and unlocked the goodness in her heart and allowed her to become one of the most thoughtful, protective, sensitive pigs I have ever encountered. She cares. I am proud to call her "friend." Down right amazing!

Sis: What do you think Old Clyde saw in you?
MM: Me? Well . . . I was still quite young and did not know myself nearly so well as I do now. I would say that he saw that I was one who can give second chances, and third and fourth! If you are honestly trying . . . I am with you! That's why I became the barnyard instructor. I love helping anyone who is truly trying and willing to learn. And I think he saw Sassy Pants sensitivity, that even she did not know was there. Most think of someone who is sensitive as being shy and quiet. Sassy Pants is not quiet or shy! But when it is time for her to recharge her batteries, you will find her out in the woodsy part of the pig pen or taking a quiet mud bath when no one is around. Interesting that we both recharge in the quiet, don't you think?

Sis: That is interesting indeed. Miss Molly, tell me. Do you think Sassy Pants will keep at this "Amends" thing? Or will she fizzle out and quit. What she did for Gerald Gosling Goose III was impressive, but do you really think she can keep doing amends until she has repaired all her broken friendships?
MM: There is one thing you must know about Sassy Pants--she is determined! Once she makes up her mind on something, she doesn't change it! You watch. She will not quit; she will keep making amends until every last broken friendship is repaired. That's my friend!

Sis: And it sounds like a friend worth keeping!

To enter a drawing for a set of the Sassy Pants books, a prize worth $20.00, or a set of the burden bearing books, a prize worth $30.00. Hop on over to my other blog and be sure to leave your name and email address in the Giveaway box.

Also readers, if you have a story about a friend worth keeping, we would love to have you tell us about your friend and why you want to keep him/her!

Meet you down at the gate...
Miss Molly

Monday, May 7, 2012

Introducing the Sassy Pants Series

Welcome Blog-hoppers! Meet Sassy Pants, the reformed pig! She was just let out of the Tate Publishing warehouse today. You will see her in bookstores and online outlets like Amazon from today on! Just go over to the right side of the blog and click on the chicken (her name is Maude) and that will take you to a short video of this book! This is what the cover looks like when you go to the book store.

A bit about the book:
Sassy Pants’s bad behavior pushed everyone away in the first story. A close encounter with an electric fence broke off the stone that had been forming around her heart; it helped her begin to notice and care, but too late. No one trusted her.
How do you fix a friendship when you are the one who broke it? Old Clyde knew a way. He asked little Molly lamb to “be friendly” even though she didn’t trust Sassy Pants. The two of them put their heads together—but not too close—and came up with a plan to make amends,—to think of something that was important to Gerald, Maude, and Kitty Cat and make it become important to Sassy Pants too...something that would go way beyond sorry and give the offended friend reason to trust her again. Find out how Sassy Pants was able to repair the friendships she broke!

Learn with her how to fix a friendship when you are the one who broke it. Find out how Sassy Pants learned to apologize, ask forgiveness and make amends with the help of two special friends. Making amends is not easy, but having friends is worth all the hard work!

Talking Points For Sassy Pants Makes Amends
  • Words can hurt
  • Actions can hurt
  • What an apology is and what it does
  • Why we forgive and make amends
  • How we make amends
  • The rewards of amends
  • How to honor one another

Let me know how you enjoyed the story...or post a review on Amazon! Last one to Amazon is a rotten egg! And before you go today, click here to sign up for the Giveaway for this blog! To the right of the blog you will see the Giveaway box. Leave your name and email in the box to enter a drawing for a set of the Sassy Pants books, a prize worth $20.00, or a set of the burden bearing books, a prize worth $30.00!

May 15 we will have a drawing and contact the winner to see which set they want. Someone is going to be a happy camper!

Ha, ha! Happy reading!
Miss Molly