Monday, August 26, 2013

Hakuna matata--it's the Seekerville Safari!

Jambo, Seekervillagers! Myra here, recently returned from an 18-day African adventure! We spent a week with our daughter and her family, missionaries currently based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, then connected with a group from our church for a photo safari through Kenya.

As you’d expect, I came home with wonderful memories AND over 1200 photos!! As I’ve been browsing through my photos and reliving this amazing experience of a lifetime, I realized many of the animals we saw have the potential to teach us a lot about ourselves, both in our everyday life and as writers.

So grab your binoculars, hop on the safari tram with me, and let’s explore!

First leg of the journey is a back highway through Ethiopia. It seems every roadway must be shared with cattle, donkeys, horses, and goats, so you have to drive both defensively and offensively (something my daughter and son-in-law are getting a lot of practice with!). The problem with goats is their unpredictability. Just when you think they’re moving purposefully across the road, they suddenly do a 180 and you have to swerve or slam on the brakes (or else the owner is having barbecue tonight).

Do you often find yourself randomly changing course with no clear direction in mind? Maybe it’s time to review your goals and refocus.

Our first stop is Lake Awasa, Ethiopia, where we come upon the vervet monkey. Considered pests when in close proximity to civilization, these monkeys are always looking for a handout. This guy’s sorting through a trashcan at the retreat center where we spent three nights.

Are you ever guilty of subsisting on handouts and hoping someone will throw you a juicy tidbit? A sure sign is if you keep rehashing the same manuscript instead of moving forward. Stop living on leftovers and go for something fresh!

High in the treetops on the shores of Lake Awasa, we spot the majestic fish eagle. This bird is described as “opportunistic” and is not above stealing food from other birds. It also preys on mammals, fish, reptiles, and smaller birds.

“Opportunistic” can be a good trait or a negative trait. Which is it for you?

Now we’re heading south and crossing the border into Kenya. Our first destination is the Samburu National Reserve. Here we spot the graceful gerenuk, also called the giraffe gazelle. See how she stretches up to nibble the top leaves of the thorny acacia bush?

Are you content to “nibble” on what’s within easy reach, or are you ready to stretch yourself and strive for something better? Do you need to grow your writing skills? Try a new publisher? Maybe even change genres?

Another graceful animal is the reticulated giraffe. You might assume these fellows are being affectionate with each other, when actually they’re vying for dominance (and to impress a potential mate). It’s kind of a passive-aggressive dance, and whoever has the strongest neck wins!

Remember, being stiff-necked is not always a good thing! When faced with conflict, are you the passive-aggressive type, or are you self-assured enough to stand on your own merits?

Next, we come upon the red-billed hornbill. You may recognize him as Zazu from The Lion King. The mother bird seals herself inside the nest with the eggs, and the male brings her food through a small opening.

Do you tend to shut yourself away while “incubating” a story idea? Who or what sustains you during “gestation”?

This lioness has her eye on the prey, and not even 30-40 avid photographers snapping away can distract her from the hunt.

Do you have a singleminded vision for your life and work? How do you shut out the distractions?

Time to continue our journey southward. We’ll stop at Serena Mountain Lodge on the slopes of Mount Kenya. Many different animals visit the watering hole behind the lodge, but one of the most impressive is the African cape buffalo. You can tell the males because their horns form a solid mass across their foreheads and are impenetrable even by a rifle bullet.

Hardheadedness can sometimes be an asset, but it can also close us off from new ideas. How receptive are you? Are you sometimes too stubborn for your own good?

Also approaching the watering hole are elephants, warthogs, hyenas, and bush bucks, but for now, it’s time to continue our journey. Next, we arrive at The Ark Lodge in Aberdare National Park, where we step out onto the overlook to view another watering hole in lush, green surroundings.

One of our visitors is the hyena, who doesn’t seem fazed by a herd of cape buffalo. Though rumored to be scavengers, hyenas are actually skillful hunters. They are territorial, and are usually most active at night.

Do you protect your writing territory with the courage of a hyena? When is your most successful “hunting” time--morning, afternoon, late at night?

That’s all we have time for at this stop. We travel now through the Great Rift Valley, where we’ll stop for a boat ride on Lake Naivasha to view hippos in their natural environment. Did you know hippos can be quite aggressive and can easily outrun a human?

Introverted writers often hide much about themselves below the surface. Sometimes we need to be brave, come out of hiding, and allow others to get to know our true selves.

Next, let’s continue to the Masai Mara, where we’ll stay in luxury tents at the Sarova Mara Game Camp. Lots of animals to see here, so let’s get started!

We’ll see birds aplenty, so let’s start with the lilac-breasted roller, a flamboyantly beautiful bird who perches out in the open where it can more easily spot insects, lizards, and other prey. Both male and female aggressively defend their nests.

This bird’s motto might easily be, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” For writers, though, we must often walk a fine line between aggressive self-promotion and godly humility. How hard is it for you to keep the two sides in balance?

Another bird spotted on safari is the ostrich. When threatened, the ostrich will either flatten itself against the ground or run away. However, if the bird is cornered, those powerful legs can become lethal weapons!

Think about how you respond to negative critiques or book reviews. Is your first impulse to hide, run away, or lash out? How could you respond more constructively?

Uh-oh, look up in that tree--vultures! The lappet-faced vulture is among the largest of the species. It feeds on carrion, typically waiting until the usual scavengers are finished and then coming in to feast on what other carrion birds won’t eat.

Sounds like the ultimate cleanup crew, doesn’t it? Let someone else do all the dirty work, then step in to finish things off. If you’ve ever shipped off a not-so-polished manuscript to your critique partner or editor expecting them to fix it, you may have a few vulture tendencies.

Across the savanna we spy a herd of zebras. Zebras are social animals with excellent vision and hearing, plus an acute sense of smell and taste.

Sensory awareness is definitely a trait every writer needs to develop in order to make our scenes and characters more fully alive.

There, hiding in the tall grass--a male lion! He looks content and well-fed, wouldn’t you say? Not surprising, since it’s usually the females who do the hard work of hunting. The male typically stays home and babysits the cubs.

Lions are a great example of cooperation and compromise. Life is so much easier when our immediate families or circle of friends are there to pick up the slack when the pressure is on.

The last big cat on our African adventure is the cheetah. Of all the big cats, the cheetah is the least adaptable to new environments. It hunts by vision rather than scent. While the cheetah is fast, because it is a sprinter, if it doesn’t catch its prey quickly, it gives up. The cheetah’s real advantage is maneuverability. It can change direction much more rapidly than any other animal.

Do you sometimes want to give up when the “chase” seems too long and arduous? Maybe you need to develop your flexibility and be willing to change direction as the situation requires.

This is the season of the Great Migration, so the wildebeests are on the move. Wildebeests are considered to have “swarm intelligence,” meaning they move as one entity to overcome obstacles and danger. Their primary defense is herding, the older animals protecting the younger ones.

While we don’t want to lose our individuality as part of a “herd,” a mutual support group can be advantageous. Do you have a group where you feel safe and protected?

Is that a herd of elephants in the distance? African elephants are highly intelligent. Adult males usually live alone, while the females, led by a matriarch, form a protective clan and share in the care of their young.

Like the elephants, we can benefit from being surrounded by a strong, supportive “clan,” which is exactly what we strive for in Seekerville. We hope all our visitors feel welcome and cared for here. Thanks for being part of our family!

Well, the sun is setting and it’s time to head back to camp. I hope you enjoyed the Seekerville Safari and perhaps learned a thing or two from the animals we saw. Did you find any favorites?

Share your thoughts and mention “Kenya coffee” in your comment if you’d like a chance to win a bag of roasted coffee beans from Kenya.

Photos by Myra Johnson

Coming in September: When the Clouds Roll By, book 1 in the “Till We Meet Again” series from Abingdon Press. Annemarie Kendall is overjoyed when the armistice is signed and the Great War comes to an end. Her fiancĂ©, Lieutenant Gilbert Ballard, is coming home, and though he is wounded, she is excited to start their life together. But when he arrives, her dreams are dashed when she learns Gilbert is suffering from headaches, depression, and an addiction to pain killers. This is not the man she had planned to marry.

After serving in the trenches, Army Chaplain Samuel Vickary is barely holding onto his faith. Putting up a brave front as he ministers to the injured soldiers at the hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas, he befriends Gilbert and eventually falls for Annemarie. While Annemarie tries to sort out her confused feelings about the two men in her life, she witnesses firsthand the bitterness and hurt they both hold within. Whom will she choose? Will she have the courage to follow her heart and become the woman God intended her to be? As the world emerges from the shadow of war, Annemarie clings to her faith as she wonders if her future holds the hope, happiness, and love for which she so desperately longs.


  1. I am first???? Holy Moly, Batman, Coffee's ON!!!!!

    And it's delicious, by the way!

    Myra, I loved analogizing our tendencies to your new Safari Friends! What a great idea and a way to USE YOUR PICTURES!!!! Most of my pictures gather virtual mold and dust on various hard-drives. So this was a treat.

    Good to have you back, and I love living vicariously through your world travels! My role is cheaper and less exciting, but I want to hear more about "Luxury Tents" because that's an oxymoron in Ruthy-world!!!

    And tell us, did you get any story ideas 'vegging' in your brain while on safari or with your daughter????

  2. P.S. I want one of those little birds!!!! Who'd cage a canary if you could have one of THOSE??????

    Myra, please say you brought one home.

    I won't tell. No one need know.


  3. What a great trip! Thanks for sharing your trip, and writer's tips, with us today.

    Your pictures are amazing!

  4. What great pictures, Myra! I loved them all, especially the violet-breasted roller. Now that's a gorgeous bird.
    Glad you had such a wonderful trip and returned home safely.

  5. Myra, that was an exciting trip! Loved the photo 'safari'.

    I'm with Ruthy, I want to hear more about the Luxury tents...hmm.
    What a wonderful opportunity to take a trip such as that, AND get to visit with your daughter too!

    Thanks for sharing. :-)

  6. Myra, loved the great photos of the animals you saw on safari and your savvy comparisons to our writing life. Great job!

    My favorite animal is the elephant. Giraffes are a close second. They're all fascinating. How fun to see them in their native habitat! The wildebeests looked half starved. Is that due to the migration?

    Love the sunset photo! You're an excellent photographer.


  7. Myra,

    GREAT pictures to accompany a terrific post!

  8. Oh Kenya Coffee!!!!!

    Just wanted to get that mention out of the way so I have a chance to win some coffee. :-)

    Those pictures are beautiful, Myra. So glad you had the chance to go to Ethiopia and Kenya. What and experience! And I had no idea your daughter and family were missionaries over there. What a noble calling.

  9. It's Monday. I need some Kenya Coffee...and can't wait for your book.

    Man O recently went to South Africa for work. He fell in love with the giraffes but his pictures of zebras cemented my love for them.

    What a trip. What a thoughtful post!

    Peace, Julie

  10. Welcome back, MYRA! And thank you so much for sharing your safari pics and tidbits of wisdom for writers! Such amazing variety in the creatures of God's creation!

  11. Myra, thanks for mentioning your new book is being released in September. I'm really, really looking forward to it. World War 1 is one of my favorite time periods to read about. Downton Abbey stirred my interest.


    What a clever, fun and highly informative blog, my friend ... I feel like I've been on a mini-safari without the queasy stomach, lost luggage and plane delays!! :)

    But really, 1200 pictures???!!! Are you going to catalog all those, I hope?

    And "jambo" means "hello," I presume? And goodbye??

    If so ...

    Jambo hugs,

  13. Myra, what an amazing adventure you've just been on! Africa is one continent I haven't set feet on yet. I love how you found so many great characteristics for writers to develop or hone. I imagine you'll have some great story fodder from your trip! :)

    And I'm with Ruthy, those birds are A-MA-ZING! :) And the gerenuk. :)

  14. Morning MYRA, LOVED the photos and the way you related them to our writing journey. Yikes some of those animals hit home. smile

    Thanks for sharing your photos. I'm with Janet, the sunset photo was gorgeous. And so glad to have you back.

  15. Animal photos. Application to writing. Kenya coffee.

    They claim good things come in threes.

  16. Jambo, Seekerville! Asante sana for joining me on safari today! (Yep, picked up a couple of Swahili words while traveling through Kenya.)

    RUTHY, those "luxury tents" were amazing! We had a real king-size bed under a mosquito net and all the usual hotel amenities, just under a single-unit permanent canvas tent. The attached private bathroom was actually a solid structure with lovely fixtures, hot and cold running water, everything you'd expect from a classy hotel.

    The weird part was we couldn't lock our doors, just zip them up (or down). We felt very safe, though.

  17. Oh, and no, I wasn't able to catch one of those cute little birds. Aren't they adorable?

  18. JACKIE, thanks--I have so many photos it was hard to choose which ones to share! Back in the "olden days" of getting film developed, I might snap 200-300 shots on a vacation like this, and then pay an arm and a leg for processing!

    Digital has really, really changed photography, hasn't it? Now all these 1200+ picture are just taking up space on my hard drive and in iCloud. One of these days I hope to select the best and have them printed in a photo memory book.

  19. CARA, don't you just love that lilac-breasted roller? I was in awe the first time we spotted one!

    MARY HICKS, we were so thrilled to be able to visit our daughter and family and see firsthand what their life is like in Ethiopia. It was an eye-opener, and I admire her more than ever!

  20. JANET, yes, the wildebeests did look thin, but I'm not sure they ever really fill out. They graze a lot as they move through the savanna.

    We also saw many, many carcasses where they'd been taken down by lions or cheetahs and then picked clean by the carrion birds.

  21. ROSE, glad you enjoyed the pictures! Hard to believe the trip of a lifetime is already behind us. If not for the photos, it would seem even more like a dream than it already does.

  22. NAOMI, your in for the Kenya coffee--it's delicious! Our daughter has had the call on her heart for missions work ever since she went on a six-week service trip to Kenya with several college students from her Wesley Foundation group at Texas Tech. She now has a master's in world missions, and her husband has a master of divinity, both from Gordon-Conwell. He's teaching Bible classes at an Ethiopian seminary.

  23. JULIE H. S., I think the giraffes and zebras are so beautiful! Our tour organizer has been doing safaris for years and said South Africa is his favorite part of the continent.

  24. GLYNNA, I can't even express how amazing it was to see all those wild animals up close and in their natural habitat. The themes from Hatari! and The Lion King kept playing through my head.

  25. I like to think I stretch myself. And it can be no coincidence that I'm often mistaken for a gazelle standing on it's hind legs.

  26. I lovw this, Myra. I am also glad you're home without a single lion toothmark on your person.

  27. CARA, I'm getting excited about my book release, too! Learning about that era was so interesting. And I especially enjoyed using Hot Springs, Arkansas, a longtime family vacation spot, for my setting. It was fascinating delving into local history!

  28. JULIE--clever??? fun??? How about brain-dead from jet lag and the Kenyan cold I brought home?

    Glad you enjoyed the post and photos, though. Yes, "jambo" is the usual Swahili greeting.

  29. STUNNING photos, Myra!! Thanks so much for sharing!

    You know, I had to laugh though. You mentioned how intelligent elephants are, but then said that the men live alone and women live together. LOL So are you saying we should just hang out with our friends if we're smart??? ;)

    I'm with Julie. Can't wait for your new book!

  30. JEANNE T, I thought the gerenuk was so graceful. My husband and I had always dreamed of doing an African photo safari and never thought it would happen until our pastor announced he was organizing a tour group at church (they do a major trip every year or two). When we realized Kenya and Ethiopia (where our daughter is) are right next to each other, it was a dual opportunity we couldn't pass up! (Of course, the bills are still coming in!!!)

  31. What a great post, Myra. Good heaven's woman. You've just been to Africa. I'd have been okay with you just posting pictures. Taking the time to find a writerly point was beyond the call of duty.

    Great post.

    I think I may be a hippo. But maybe if I have a few cups of coffee my spirits will rise to the hyena or perhaps vulture level.

  32. SANDRA, it's good to be back--thanks! I missed Seekerville while we were away, but the hotel wifi wasn't always very reliable. Sometimes it took forever just to download a few emails!

  33. LOLOLOLOL, Mary!!!! Oh my gosh. I just snorted my own saliva laughing so hard!!!

    Mary the gazelle. I'm loving it!! :)

  34. ELLEN, thanks for visiting! Glad you enjoyed the three-way combination! ;-)

  35. MARY, you are always as graceful as a gazelle! And as adorable, too! And nobody stretches herself to meet new goals and challenges better than you! You're my hero!

    And, um, yes, I did avoid lion attacks. Although a couple of them came pretty close to our van. Glad the windows were closed!

    What was amazing, though, is that they didn't even seem to care about all those people watching them! They'd walk right past us as they stalked their prey.

  36. MISSY--LOL!!! Not sure what message it sends when the females drive out the males and leave them to fend for themselves!

  37. LOL, MARY--I thought about just posting photos, but then I would have felt guilty and totally self-absorbed. I'm already planning total self-absorption next month when my new book comes out.

    This morning I'm feeling kind of like a lazy old lion and would rather just nap in the tall grass while someone else brings home the bacon (or wildebeest, as the case may be).

  38. Vultures get a bad rap. Just think what this world would be without them and other carrion eating birds! We'd be drowning in rotting carcasses.


  39. Drowning in rotting carcasses. Now, that's an image I didn't need in my head! Thanks, JANET!!!

  40. Myra! Windows? I had you pictured in an open jeep like John Wayne in Hatari.
    I'm relieved.

    I can sleep at night now.

  41. As the Clouds Roll By is an unbelievably beautiful cover, Myra.

  42. We saw some open jeeps, MARY, but our guide said they're not really safe. We could open and close our windows, depending on the situation, but for viewing we usually stood up and looked out from beneath the roof. The vans have a roof that lifts up, so it's open-air but you're well above the ground.

    I love my cover, too! Can't wait to see it in real life!

  43. I love the title for your book--and the sunlight streaming through the clouds! I'm one of those very bad people who judge a book by its cover. Ha! But not solely by the cover, of course.

    1200 photos? Oh my. That's awesome!
    (No coffee for me. I love the smell but not the taste.)

  44. Myra, I've read this post twice now. Once last night and again this morning. I love the pictures and the gentle nudge to check our motives/actions/etc. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us in such a cool way, and may God bless your family for their service and sacrifice for him!

    And I'm with Mary. That book cover is Awesome!

  45. Beautiful photos, inspiring thoughts, and questions to ponder ... a wonderful post, Myra! Delighted you were able to seize the opportunity for this trip.

    A bit off topic :-) When the Clouds Roll By is on my pre-order for my iPad. Looking forward to reading about Hot Springs in that time period. Did you use any particular places or buildings for inspiration?

    Nancy C

  46. COURTNEY, I love the way the Abingdon art department brought out the essence of my story with the sunlight parting the clouds.

    And yes, I really did snap some 1200 photos! There were others on the trip with even fancier cameras and lenses, and I heard one guy used up a 32-gigabyte SD card in a single day!

  47. Thanks, CLARI! I couldn't be prouder of my daughter and her family. Let me also add that her sister and family are serving with FamilyLife Ministries. I am really blessed with daughters (and their husbands) who have true hearts for serving the Lord.

  48. NANCY C, in my new book I mention several real historic sites in Hot Springs--the previous Arlington Hotel, Army and Navy Hospital, Eastman Hotel, Fordyce Bathhouse. I got tons of help from the Garland County Historical Society!

  49. Beautiful post, Myra! Now I don't have to travel to Africa. Whew. Glad that trip's over!

    I love the giraffes, the elephants and of course the lionesses!

    What an amazing experience. Your book looks so good. Can't wait to get it!


  50. Terrific pics. Looks like they should be in a National Geographic.

    I may have to put Africa down on places I'd like to visit some day.

  51. SUE, I promise, Africa is so much more amazing in real life! The giraffes were favorites of mine, too. I also liked the zebras and elephants. It really was the experience of a lifetime!

  52. FYI -- Tina's new e-book The Rosetti Curse is now available on Amazon. I just bought it! She's writing as Tina Russo. Can't wait to read it.

  53. CONNIE, I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. It was unbelievable being able to snap many of them at such close range. For the rest, I had a super-duper zoom! Yes, if you ever get the chance to visit Africa, do it!

  54. Thanks for the reminder about Tina's book, CARA! I just popped over and downloaded it, too!

  55. Myra, love the photos. You have a second career all ready for you. WOW. you are good.

  56. Thanks, TINA! I'll be happy if I can only do justice to my first career! I had serious camera envy when I saw what several of the other members of our tour group were using! They needed separate luggage just for their photography gear!

  57. Gorgeous photos with a lovely article! Thank you for sharing your tips :)

  58. Myra, such a spectacular post. Lots of wisdom tucked in between your great photos and tour log. You must have taken notes throughout your trip. Knowing how organized you are, would love to hear how you compiled all the information!

    Refilling my mug! Love the Kenya coffee!

    Do we need a morning snack? I've brought freshly baked biscotti. Enjoy.

  59. Hi Myra:

    Wow…you have all the makings of a wonderful children’s book. We can learn about ourselves as we learn about the animals. It’s already very interesting to adults. Sandra has the southwest, maybe you can have Africa.

    I have not had Kenyan coffee since my wife brought some back with her from her Africa and Holy Land trip with her sister. It is excellent coffee. Please put me in the pot for a chance to win some.

    I’m the cheetah. I like fast deadline short projects. Then on to the next one. Good for advertising not good for novel writing.

    I thought elephants were supposed to be very smart but as you said, “Not sure what message it sends when the females drive out the males and leave them to fend for themselves!” It says that’s why the Lion is the king of the animal world. They have six wives and they send them out to do all the work.

    I’m looking forward to your WWI story. However the theme is problematic for me. I never know which hero to vicariously identify with and sometimes I identify with the loser. That puts a real damper on my HEA experience. For the first time I might be tempted to read the last few pages first.

    Great post. The way I figure it there are still 1181 photos left to show. Bring them on. : )


  60. SHERRI, thanks for visiting with us today!

    DEBBY, you give me too much credit. I started keeping a travel journal but kept getting sidetracked. Our safari guides gave us a lot of information about the animals--some of it I remembered and some not so much. So while selecting photos for today's blog, I just Googled the various animals to fill in the blanks.

    BTW, thanks for the biscotti! It tastes so good with a steaming mug of coffee!

  61. Hi, VINCE, you cheetah, you! Yep, novelists have to be in it for the long haul. Which is why sometimes it's nice to have a shorter project to work on now and then.

    Hey, don't worry too much about the "loser" in When the Clouds Roll By. He gets to be the hero in the next book, Whisper Goodbye.

  62. what an adventure Myra, love the pics you shared, my fav is the colorful little bird...hubby loves discovery channel and would enjoy all your pics.
    I cannot begin to imagine what a trip there would be like, this is way beyond me. glad you were able to go.
    Paula O

  63. Hi Myra:

    You wrote:

    Hey, don't worry too much about the "loser" in When the Clouds Roll By. He gets to be the hero in the next book, Whisper Goodbye.

    I’m not worried about him. I’m worried about me and how I’m going to feel if I lose again. I like it when the hero has two heroines to choose from. I don’t think they have been writing those books since the 1950’s when romances were sometimes about ‘how to get the guy’ from the other women.

    Do any of the women readers like romances where the hero can’t make up his mind between two women? Can a heroine really feel good about winning a guy 51% to 49%?

    BTW: This is a premier feature Seeker post. I think it needs a few FB broadsides.


  64. PAULA, I certainly never dreamed we'd have the chance for a trip like this! Still feels like a dream . . .

    VINCE, I never thought of it like that. Actually, at the moment I can't remember any "guy chooses between two girls" romances. Except maybe on "The Bachelor," a show I despise!!!

  65. Jambo, everyone! Just letting you know I need to step away from the computer for a bit. Hubby and I have a doctor's appointment. Seems we brought home more than just photos and memories. Somewhere near the end of the trip, we picked up a Kenyan respiratory bug, and it isn't clearing up on its own. Time to break out the big guns!

  66. Myra's book cover invites the reader in, doesn't it???? It calls to you...

    "Come. Read me. Sit back, relax and let me fill you with tales of times gone by... of love and hope and promises."


    A guy with two girls?????

    AS IF.

    Pshaw, my friend, we'd be bootin' him out the door, although Ashley had his choice between Scarlett and Melanie and that came out okay in the end, right????


    But you're right, most women like to think they're the only one....

    Understandably so!

  67. Oh, I forgot to mention, Myra, my kids absolutely LOVED your photos. I shared a few of your facts with my animal lovers too. :) LOVED it.

  68. Myra, I hope you guys get some meds to help you over that nasty bug! Bah! How rude to come home feeling sick!!!

    Love your pictures -- you are a talented photographer. And adore how you tied in so many life lessons with them. Would you mind if I stole them for a woman's retreat I'm helping to plan. We didn't have a theme yet, but I'm thinking Gospel Safari sounds kind of fun. And, as you said, all your points deal with life not just writing. I'd give you credit of course.

    No Kenyan coffee beans for me -- I'm a hot cocoa lover -- so if you'd said Kenyan fair trade chocolate I'd be jumping up and down...but coffee, not so much!

  69. Vince,

    Seems I saw a movie--I never remember titles--when the gal didn't get the guy. Was she the wedding planner perhaps? Was Julia Roberts the lead?

    Can anyone help me out?

    I didn't like the way the movie ended and wanted her to get the guy.

    So I understand your concern about Myra's books, although I'm sure she'll steer you toward the real hero so it shouldn't be a problem. You can trust Myra to provide a satisfying HEA!

  70. Kav, tell us more about your women's retreat. Where? When? May we join you? :)

  71. Vince, you're reading Tina's Woman's World story today! Love your screen icon!

    I'm sure Tina is smiling.

  72. WOW, Myra!! I LOVED your post and did learn some interesting animal facts. I especially enjoyed seeing the gorgeous Lilac-breasted roller and the male lion (talk about a BIG cat, LOL).

    How cleverly you compared these animals to writer habits--you are AMAZING! I'm so happy that you were able to go to Africa and experience seeing those awesome sights (and then share with us--thank you).

    Congrats on your upcoming book--it sounds great and that cover is lovely.

    Thank you again for sharing with us, and now I'd love to pour myself a big cup of KENYA COFFEE!!
    But I guess today I'll settle for Folgers, LOL.

    Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo :)

  73. Debby, are you thinking My Best Friend's Wedding? I hated the ending to that movie.

  74. Myra,what a wonderful treat sharing your trip with everyone here was! I so enjoyed all of the pictures, but have to admit that lavendar chested bird is my favorite. And this from a cat lady too LOL. Teaching us a bit about those safari animals in comparison to our writer tendencies was very insightful. Your next book looks wonderful. Thanks for a great post!

  75. Aw, thanks, RUTHY! I hope everyone enjoys what's inside the book as much as they do the cover!

    JEANNE, how fun that you shared the pix & facts with your kids! Have you ever tried the Project Noah app? It's great fun as well as educational!

  76. Thanks, KAV. Nope, not fun to come home sick. Makes getting over jet lag that much harder. Home from the doc with antibiotics, so hopefully we'll be on the mend quickly.

    Feel free to use my safari idea for your women's retreat. I'm honored!

  77. Thanks for stopping in, PATRICIA!

    PATTI JO, isn't that the cutest bird ever? Except he doesn't sound like a gentle little parakeet, does he? We may be a little higher up the food chain, but it's amazing what we can learn from the animals about ourselves.

  78. CHRISTINA, glad you enjoyed the post & pix today! I wonder what your kitty would do with that bird. Bet the bird would put up quite a fight!

  79. What an adventure, Myra! You brought a real, honest-to-goodness safari into my office!! The photos are spectacular and I love your comparisons.

    How in the world did you get close enough to shoot such gorgeous pictures? What strength zoom lens to you have??

    Thanks for the trip to Africa, my friend. That sunset is stunning!!!

  80. Thanks, AUDRA! I used a Canon Power Shot SX500. It has a super-duper zoom lens. However, quite often the animals were just a few feet away from the van--including the lions, zebras, and wildebeests!

  81. That's the movie! Thanks, Courtney. Glad I'm not the only one who didn't like it. :)

  82. Hi Myra,

    What a summer vacation. And I just went to the beach. I love nature shows but don't want to get up close to any of those animals...well maybe the colorful bird.

    I'm definitely going to give your book a read. Sounds like my type of story.

  83. Thanks, ELAINE! You know, a few days at the beach sounds pretty nice right now. I need a vacation to rest up from my vacation!!!

  84. Myra,

    Great pictures. Great analogies. Thanks for sharing your trip.

    On another note:
    I followed Jan Drexler's advice. Went to our little Wal Mart and checked the magazine rack. No WW there, but when I went to the check out lanes? There it was. Right there! With Tina's story. I snatched it!

  85. Myra, I'm sorry you're still sick! I hope you're quick to mend with some meds.

  86. Thanks for naming the Canon Power Shot SX500! I was going to ask. My daughter wants a nice camera for her b-day.

  87. Wow, Myra, what a perfectly synchronized post! Those photos, and then comparing each animal to some aspect of the writer's life.

    Thank you! I read every word.

    My favorite?

    The lilac-breasted roller.


  88. I my I loved the pictures and the comparisons you offered us this morning Myra.

    Oh, and I would love to win Kenya coffee! We have a local Christian Coffee House that on occasion has Kenyan coffee and it is so YUMMY! Thank you for the chance to win some.

    Also, the cover of your new book is beautiful!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  89. HELEN, I still need to find Tina's story. Must get back to the store again.

    MISSY, it's a great little camera. We got a nice deal at Costco.

    PAM, apparently that little birdy is a favorite with lots of people! Nevwr specter to encounter anything so bright and colorful out there on th savanna.

    CINDY W, I agree--Kenyan coffee is great! Glad you enjoyed the post & pix!

  90. Good grief-- typing on my iPad. Never expected!!! Not nevwr specter!!!!

  91. thanks for sharing your trip pix with the wit and wisdom thrown in. i, too, like the colorful bird best. i think it's the color compared to all the other animals that are more camouflaged.

    that Kenyan coffee sounds dee-lish... and your book cover is really, really cool. my first thought when I saw it was WOW!!!

    hope you and yours recover quickly from your extra "souvenir" from Kenya.

  92. Im late was so tired yesterday. Love the Cheetah and love that colourful bird too.

    I took a similar amount on my trip to the States the good thing about digital cameras.

  93. ps love the name of your hero Gilbert. Its my favourite name.

  94. DEB H, that is one popular bird! Guess it has no need of camouflage. Really interesting! Yes, we are hoping the antibiotics we got today will clear this bug out of here!

    On that note, I think we are going to call it a day and get some sleep. Will catch up with any late arrivals tomorrow.

    Hakuna matata, Seekerville!!

  95. Oh, just saw your comments as I was signing off, JENNY! Cheetahs are really beautiful, aren't they? Glad you brought lots of pix back from your trip to the States. It's so nice to have those visual reminders of a great trip.

  96. Dear Seekerville

    I just learned that my dear cp, Piper Huguley's mother passed away this morning.

    Asking for prayers of comfort.

  97. Thanks Elaine, Will be remembering Piper its a year Thursday since mum passed away and know how hard it is to loss a mother.

  98. Yes, ELAINE, I learned about Piper's mother earlier yesterday. So very, very sorry for her loss. Praying.

  99. Hey I just love coffee and I would love to try this coffee, enter me!
    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
    Sarah Richmond