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MY NEW TOY

Well, I did it. I finally joined the twenty-first century and gave in to the e-book revolution. I fought it as long as I could. But when I kept seeing e-books I wanted to buy on Amazon for $.99—or better yet free—I cracked.

I’d already been introduced to the ease of downloading books when I learned a few months ago that Amazon had an app to read Kindle books on my PC. It felt like a step forward, but portability was a problem. If I wanted to take an e-book with me to read while I waited for the dental hygienist to clean my kids’ teeth, it was too much trouble. So I ended up thumbing through old issues of Highlights and Golf Digest instead.

Then one day at Office Max, when we’d stopped in to by my son a new spiral notebook to doodle in, the Kindle display caught my eye. My daughter turned it on, pushed a few buttons and suddenly text filled the screen. It reminded me of the old days when having my own portable black and white TV seemed like a dream. The compact size would fit easily in my purse or a tote bag. And this one device could hold more books than I had in my entire house. Amazing!

A few days later I saw a refurbished Kindle Touch for sale for $74.00 on Amazon, a $25.00 savings. It came with the same warranty as if I’d paid full price. I read through a list of its features. When I learned I could transfer my personal documents to the Kindle to read on the go, I was hooked. I counted the bills in my mad-money envelope. As if by providence the two matched up. I pushed the “Buy now with 1-click” button before I could change my mind. And I’m glad I did.

I love my Kindle. I downloaded the ESV Bible for free and only paid $1.99 for the KJV Bible. I picked up a newly-released book by a favorite author for only $3.99. It even has Sudoku! And I’m just getting started.

There is one little problem, though. My daughter likes my Kindle, too. She’s already finished one book on it, and she’s half-way through another. I can already see the need to buy her a Kindle of her own. Or maybe I’ll just give her mine and I’ll get a new one. Have you seen the Kindle Fire? It has color!

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IT’S IN THE BAG

I think I’m turning into a bag lady. 

It started when I went to a writer’s conference. Each attendee was given a tote bag with the American Christian Fiction Writers logo on it. It turned out to be pretty handy to carry around the hotel. I loaded it with pens, a notepad, the workshop schedule, free books and bookmarks I picked up, business cards, my book proposal, coin purse, lipstick and other personal items. When I got home I kept all my writing-relating stuff in it for when I wanted to, say, go to Panera and spend a couple of hours writing away from dusty bookshelves and the crumbs on the kitchen floor. 

Then when we went on vacation it became my fun-stuff-to-do-in-the-car bag. I tossed in a couple of novels, a book of Sudoku puzzles, magazines, 3×5 cards for jotting down interesting recipes, Pez and a bag of wintergreen Life Savers (my secret indulgences), and a couple of audio books I rented from the library in case the two monkeys in the back seat got restless or starting bickering. In a gift shop I found another cute bag with a brightly colored geometric design to carry all our souvenirs. 

When we came home from our trip the washing machine broke down before I finished the first load of laundry. I loaded three baskets of sweaty t-shirts, muddy jeans, dirty socks and underwear into the car and headed for the nearest laundromat. I packed my new tote bag to take along. Instead of watching sudsy clothes go round-and-round, I started a new novel, worked three Sudoku puzzles and finished the bag of mints. 

Eventually, I got tired of using the same two bags each time I wanted to take a bag somewhere. I started buying cute bags whenever I saw one. Soon I had five or six. I hit every thrift store and garage sale in a twenty mile radius. My collection grew to eight or ten. My family threatened to intervene. 

This time of year, I can hardly walk through Target without feeling the pull. Who can’t use a cute new candy-striped or polka-dot bag to take to the pool? On every family outing I’m expected to take along a box of granola bars and a couple of bottles of water. What am I supposed to carry them in? I’m not about to use a crumpled brown paper bag when I can sling the snacks over my shoulder in style, encased in an insulated lime green bag with little white starfish. Am I right? 

If you ever hear a rumor that I’ve been captured and carted off to rehab it won’t be because of drugs or alcohol. Oh, no. It’ll be the bags.