Archive for August, 2008

My Life in a Holding Pattern

August 17, 2008

Sometimes I think I need to go back and read my own book. You would think that, since I wrote it, I would have a good handle on “loving the life I have.” And yet, I still fall into the thought of wanting things to be different.

For years I ran, and later owned, a small hotel. It was a beautiful building and a good life. But I remembered and longed for the house of my dreams that I had left behind in Houston. I was satisfied…. but I still thought I would be happier with that house and that lifestyle.

Then one day I remember coming down the stairs and looking out at the hotel as if seeing it for the first time. Suddenly I realized all that it had given me; A beautiful place to live (I had a great loft on the top floor) and an easier lifestyle that allowed time for friends and reflection. Guests came and went. There had been great conversations. And… for the first time I realized that I loved the life I’d been given, even though I would have never chosen it in a million years.

I sold the hotel 2 years ago. By default, I moved into the only other property I owned. It’s a huge 100 year old Victorian home. I had purchased it as an investment property with the intent of flipping it and finding a house more in keeping wtih my personal style. I’ve had it on the market for over 2 years  while I’ve lived in a holding pattern…. waiting to land where I really belong. Certainly it is not here, I’ve been thinking.

This morning I woke up with the sun shining in my windows, a cool breeze lifting up the curtains. I jumped in the shower, got dressed and came down stairs as if for the first time. Walking thru the rooms, I felt at home for the first time since I’ve lived here. I felt at home! Happy, blessed and thrilled that I live here!

If you know me, when I am really trying to get something done and it doesn’t happen, I eventually start to consider the possiblity that God wants me there in that place, in that circumstance, for some reason. That definitely does not mean that I’m happy about it, but I do consider it.

But today the gift arrived!!!!! I walked downstairs and, for the first time, fell madly and deeply in love with my home. It’s been hours now and I still feel close to tears over the whole experience.  I know this feeling will remain beacause I’ve felt it before. ……a few times; In my business when I finally realized I was there to love the people who worked for me… In the hotel and now here, in this old Victorian home so unlike ‘the modern-art me.’  Once again, something I would have never thought could make me happy has given me a joy I would never have imagined.  Happy Sunday! Happy House! Happy ME!

Norman Rockwell and the America We Remember

August 10, 2008

If you are feeling like America isn’t what it used to be, you may need a change of scenery. I’m in a small Kansas town of around 3,000 people. It’s a far cry from the other places I’ve lived in my life. Having grown up in Wichita, the largest city in Kansas, and then spending years in San Francisco and Houston, I’d consider myself to be a city girl. But small town America is special because it is still the America of our grandparents and… the America of our youth when we felt safe in our communities.


There are no fancy restaurants, but there is good country cookin’ at the local diners. If you want to dance, the VFW is the major nightspot. Local talent performs at the county fair, the highlight of the summer. 4-H is big and everyone’s kids enter livestock, photography and baked goods. Norman Rockwell could still find things worth painting in small town America. Update the fashions and the automobile styles and you can still find that kind of friendliness in heartland communities.


What brought about this bit of nostalgia? Well, I just drove down to the local Sonic Drive-In for lunch. It’s Sunday, so a little drive around town was in order before coming back home. Kids were all over town on their bicycles, waving and smiling as I yielded the right of way to them. There wasn’t an adult was in sight. Not because they don’t care about their kids, but because their kids are safe here. The cost of a season ticket for the city pool is affordable to almost everyone, and the bike rack out front is full most of the time. Children are still able to walk to school in small towns with the other kids in the neighborhood. In cities now, parents drive them to school and deliver them personally to their classroom.


When I moved here many years ago, I couldn’t figure out why anyone would ever want to live in a small town, and now I wonder why more people don’t move out of the cities and back to America, the real America…. where brotherly love and neighbor helping neighbor is still the order of the day.


And about those kids riding, unwatched, all over town? They are free and safe and having the time of their lives.

Branson Books A Million brings in Dina Dove. Forbes takes notice.

August 7, 2008

A few minutes ago a friend called. She was so excited she could hardly talk. When she sent me the link, I was able to go on and see for myself. In all my years in the business world, I don’t think I was ever mentioned in Forbes, but today was my day. In conjunction with the Branson Books A Million Grand Opening, I was in the first story on the bisunesswire page of  Pretty exciting for a new first time author.


Anyway… for all my friends and readers in the Ozarks, I sure would love to see you there this Saturday at 2 pm for the book signing. If you are dreaming of writing a book of your own some day, there will be a lot of good information at the workshop I’m giving  at 7pm.


Here’s the Forbes piece. (I underlined the Baglady part) If you want to go and see it on Forbes, the link is at the bottom of the page. I love you guys. Thank you so much for your support.


Books-A-Million, Inc. (NASDAQ:BAMM) will open the doors to its 15,500-square-foot store at 985 Branson Hills Parkway. A grand opening celebration, to include community and children’s activities, is planned for August 9 and 10 at the store, which is Books-A-Million’s fourth in Missouri.The Branson store will employ more than 40 people and will feature books, magazines, cards, gifts and collectibles. Specialty sections will include:

— Faithpoint – featuring an immense selection of Bibles, Christian Living and Christian Fiction books.

— Kids-A-Million – featuring children’s books, learning resources, toys and games that appeal to children, parents, teachers and librarians.

— Joe Muggs Cafe – a coffee and espresso bar complete with comfortable cafe seating and decadent snacks.

The grand opening celebration will begin Saturday, August 9, with a ribbon cutting 10 a.m. with the Branson Lakes Chamber of Commerce. Children’s activities, including face painting, story times and much more, start at 10 a.m. and last until 4 p.m. Romance suspense author Cait London will sign A Stranger’s Touch starting at 12 p.m.


Personal growth author Dina Dove will sign Bag Lady’s Guide to Elegant Living at 2 p.m. and host a writer’s workshop at 7 p.m.

The celebration continues Sunday, August 10, at 10 a.m. with story times and face painting.Branson residents who are new Books-A-Million patrons are encouraged to sign up for the Millionaire’s Club, where members save 40 percent off bestsellers, 20 percent off hundreds of items throughout the store and 10 percent off everything, everyday. The bookseller also offers discount programs for teachers and community organizations.

Books-A-Million is one of the nation’s leading book retailers and sells on the Internet at The Company presently operates more than 200 stores in 20 states and the District of Columbia. The Company operates two distinct store formats, including large superstores operating under the names Books-A-Million and Books & Co., and traditional bookstores operating under the name Bookland. The Company’s wholesale operations include American Wholesale Book Company and Book$mart, both based in Florence, Alabama. For more information, visit the company’s website at






 See the Forbes Magazine article CLICK HERE!