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p4010108Today, my baby is one year old. Yeah! And it seems, according to my publisher that this, my third child, will be the most susccessful. Double Yeah! So to celebrate, I bought my baby a little chocolate cake and – because she is my girl – a Diet Coke, and we invited a few friends from different denominations to come and celebrate.

And it has been a year! It started with a starred review in Publishers Weekly and continued with articles in several papers, including the Grand Rapids Press, the Toledo Blade, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Jackson Citizen Patriot. More recently, Beliefnet.com has featured prayer bead galleries compiled by me and will mount a “how-to” gallery this month on making an Anglican rosary. I’ve been on radio and even a podcast! I’ve had a blast.

But the best thing of all has been hearing from people who find this blog. I never thought when I started this that I would make friends – I think real friends – with people I’ve never seen and never even heard their voices. We live all across the country but we are joined not just by out use of prayer beads, but by what I believe is a real caring for each other. You know who you are, you readers who I hear from all the time. Thank you, my friends. You have made all the hard work that went into this book and this blog so worth it.

So here is my prayer for the day – the first of my own composition that I offer here:

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the gifts you have given me that have helped me reach other people and find so many friends. In the coming year, please help me to find the inspiration, the purpose and the joy to do whatever may be “next” for me. I ask that you continue to keep all of us close to you and help usto see the clear path ahead. Amen.

(See why I don’t write my own prayers?)

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I cannot imagine why anyone would want to hear me talk for an hour, but Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood sure did. This firecracker interviewed me about a month ago, I think, on the subject of Bead One, Pray Too and crafting with a spiritual bent. We had a ball – talked for two-and-a-half hours, she from her home in Michigan, where she had just put the kids to sleep, and me in Pinole, just after dinner. I do not know how she does it – she’s a mom, a crafty crafter, a wife and has a job, too! AND SHE DOES TRIATHALONS! Really, we must draw the line somewhere! Overachiever.

This week, Jennifer posted a podcast of our interview today on her fabulous website, craftsanity.com. It is a great site, where she blogs, offers project instructions and tips, conducts interviews with other crafters and generally kicks up a darn good time. While you are on her site, be sure and check out the great pictures she has of the craft projects she does with her kids. This one – of her daughter, Abby’s, “first official stitches” – is one of my favorites. And look at the rubber band Easter eggs! Anyone who takes the time to put rubber bands on eggs gets my vote for craft hero of the year!

I am going to admit that I have not listened to the podcast – yet. I can’t imagine listening to myself for an hour or more without wanting to stick knitting needles in my eyes. But I will – I promise. Someone else listen first and email me so maybe I’ll know I don’t sound like a total idjit. Maybe I’ll download it on my iPod, mix myself a strong margarita, and head for the backyard where, hopefully, no one will hear me scream. Yikes. But I am very, very grateful to Jennifer for her interest in my work. I hope you all visit her site and subscribe – she is a terrific crafter and a great writer, too!

I have some other fun news to share. Earlier this week I received the following email from Kathleen Davis Niendorff, a literary agent I met in San Diego late last year. We were both there for the American Academy of Religion’s annual conference. We met at my publisher’s party, and when my editor, Nancy Fitzgerald, mentioned that I had just finished a book about prayer beads (I was doing the final edits at the same time I was attending the meeting!), Kathleen’s face just broke into a big smile. She said she used prayer beads – an Anglican rosary – daily and talked about how much the practice had mean to her. Well, as you can imagine, that got me going and pretty soon I just felt moved to give her as a gift an Anglican rosary I had made and had in my purse at the time. Here’s the email, which I cherish, and share with you with Kathleen’s permission:

Dear Kimberly,

When you pulled out the rosary from your purse and gave it to me in San Diego, you could not possibly have known the extent to which I would use it! Every day. And every night it is under my pillow because I generally pray myself to sleep—how sweet is that? Thank you so very much for the way in which your gift has enriched my life.

And Nancy tells me your book is doing so well—congratulations!

God’s peace, Kathleen

Anyone else got a nice thank you to share from someone they gave a set of prayer beads to?

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