Kentucky Shakespeare's Bard-a-Thon 2017

This past weekend, for the second year in a row, I enjoyed part of the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival's annual Bard-a-Thon (see here for my post on last year's event).

See The Bard and the Bible blog for a full report and review (here).

Many, many thanks to Kentucky Shakespeare for a delightful performance. See you next year!


Prayer Retreat 2017

The monks of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky (south of Bardstown) once again opened their arms to me (and my friend Bill) for my annual prayer retreat this past weekend.
What a blessing it is to enter this special place of silence and sweet communion with God. It is always a balm to my soul. Though my room was in the south wing (or "monastery wing"), which is not air-conditioned, and the weekend temperatures exceeded ninety degrees, a pair of fans (one of which I brought with me) prevented any heat stroke. I spent most of my waking time in the air-conditioned guest house and chapel anyway.
I read and rested. I wrote a little and prayed a lot. I didn't take the long walks I usually enjoy in the gardens or woods but still had a blessed time. As did the hummingbirds who provided some moments of fascination and wonder.

Great American Ball Park 2017, Cincinnati OH

I love my Cincinnati Reds. I love the beautiful game. I love Great American Ball Park. I love my family. And I got to enjoy all of the above last evening as part of my Father's Day 2017 gift.
It was a special night. My three local (for now) grandkids were angelic (even if two-year-old Avery ate much of my Lemon Freeze, and even though the guy next to me--a Cubs Fan--was obnoxious...but I repeat myself). It was a beautiful, temperate evening, it didn't rain as was forecasted, the Reds won 5-0, pitchers Feldman, Lorenzen, and Peralta combined for a three-hitter, Duvall homered, and the home team even executed my favorite play in baseball: the squeeze bunt.
Oh, and of course, we stayed to enjoy a fantasmexplodic fireworks display after the game. Thank you, family, and Reds, and Great American Ball Park!

UNITE 2017, Cincinnati OH

For several days this past week, I was honored and excited to participate in various events related to UNITE 2017, the international convention of CBA (the Association for Christian Retailing) at Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati. This annual event is where the Christian products industry gathers to address relevant topics, share knowledge, and generate business opportunities to provide resources for Christian-type people around the world.
My first stop was actually across the river in Kentucky, where the ICVM (International Christian Visual Media) conference was being held. I was thrilled to hand-deliver my book, The Bard and the Bible, to veteran TV and movie casting director Mark Fincannon (Macgyver, Nashville, The Blindside, and more). Mark is also president of Luminarium Pictures.
I also joined fellow Cincinnati-based authors Diane Stortz and Ginny McCabe (above) as well as Michelle Lazurek (below) at a combination panel discussion and book signing.

The exhibit hall this year was not difficult to navigate at all. Though I heard a number of people were disappointed because they didn't run into celebrities like me as often as they would have liked.
But I found a few celebrities, such as Cynthia Ruchti (above) and Audra Jennings (below). They were (predictably enough) honored and excited to see me.
I saw a few other dear friends and met with some fine agents, editors, and authors. But really, most of the time I just tried to make myself accessible to the public. That's why I'm here.



Montgomery Inn Boathouse, Cincinnati OH

After all these years I've lived in the Cincinnati area (1958-1971, 1973-1977, 1983-1987, 1992-now), I've never made it to Montgomery Inn Boathouse...until last evening. Like many Cincinnatians, I'm a huge fan of Montgomery Inn's ribs, which I've always enjoyed at their original location, in Montgomery (thus the name).
So I was excited to take my friends, Donnalyn Davis, Michelle Cox, and Kaley Rhea, to the boathouse for their first encounter with Montgomery Inn ribs.
We all ordered the half-slab and soon commenced oohing, aahing, and mmming. The above photo, tinted red by the awning under which we ate, like the group photo of us all, doesn't do justice to the uniquely tasty entree.
The Belle of Cincinnati (above) passed by as we shared food and uproarious conversation. I wish I could relate the "compression stockings" story, among others. You had to be there, though.
Like the other Montgomery Inn locations, the boathouse is stocked with sports memorabilia, including the above seat from Crosley Field, home of the Cincinnati Reds from 1912-1970. And you betcha I sat in it. I may have sat in it back in the day, perhaps even at the last Crosley Field game. That's right, I was there.
Montgomery Inn Boathouse is located at 925 Riverside Drive, just east of downtown Cincinnati. You should go. And take me.

High Street Cafe, Hamilton OH

I got to try a new lunch spot today in downtown Hamilton, Ohio: the High Street Cafe at 250 High Street (thus the name, am I right?) between Hamilton's Second Street and Third Street.
What a fun place with an extensive menu: breakfast, lunch, eat-in or carry-out, sandwiches, wraps, salads, bakery--even a well-displayed "hidden menu." Yes, that's right. A hidden menu. On the wall. Right there.

I had the "Texas chili." Delicious. Forgot to take a photo. Sorry about that. But I recommend it.

Gracepointe Nazarene Church, Trenton OH

The lovely Robin and I visited a new church yesterday on the way to a Sunday afternoon visit with family: Gracepointe Nazarene in nearby Trenton, Ohio.

We entered a good fifteen or more minutes before the start of the service--because, contrary to the starting time listed on the website (10:30), the morning worship service was slated to begin at 10:45. We thought it was interesting that there were pews on the flanks of the auditorium and chairs in the middle section--though strangely, the middle section was mostly empty, leading us to wonder if there were some special purpose for them. But no, it just seemed that most people preferred the side seating.
The service began with a hymn--"The Old Rugged Cross." You can't much hymnier than that. It seemed strange as an opening. After several verses, everyone was encouraged to shake hands all around. The worship band then led four songs, passionately and effectively. We were blessed by the worship leader's openness and passion, and were excited that there was a young violin player in the band, though we never heard the violin. Pity.
After the worship set, the children (who had joined the service during worship) were led out, and at some point someone opened the curtains along with walls to let the sunlight stream in; nice. The pastor, Jon Young, preached on Deuteronomy 10 and 11, concluding a series. He clearly knew his flock, and we were blessed by his sensitive and passionate delivery. 

We dashed out as soon as the service concluded, needing to get to our family thing, but were happy to have visited this dear family church. 

Gracepointe Nazarene is located at 220 North Miami Street in Trenton, Ohio.