Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Resolute in Resolutions?

The new year will be upon us shortly. 2012... can you believe it? New years
come with the hope of new beginnings. Already this week, I've noticed what 
seems like more runners out hitting the pavement in what I'd imagine is a 
head start on their resolutions. One somewhat older gentleman I observed 
looked like he should've had a paramedic following him down the road... just
in case. 

The end of one year and the start of another causes me to ponder what I'd 
like to change in my life. If I could narrow it down, I want to be more disciplined 
when it comes to my quiet time with the Lord, be sure to actually open my Bible 
daily and in my housework. It's been difficult having two kids four and under 
and being pregnant to keep up with the house and laundry. It's much easier to 
sit and type than to hall around the vacuum or heaping baskets of clothes that 
never end. And as far as my Bible reading and prayer time, well I don't have 
any excuses for that. 

I'd also love to acquire a literary agent this next year. I'm trusting the Lord will
continue to guide me in this search, and all will come to pass in His good 
timing. In the mean time, I continue to refine what I've written and have started
on a new project. 

I love the idea of new beginnings. Intentions are great, but I can't help but
think about follow through, that discipline deal. How can I be sure to not
let the new changes slip away as the months go by? 

  1. Take a lesson from Nike and "Just do it!" Stop making excuses.
  2. Ask the Lord for help when I just don't feel like it. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). 
  3. Remember that when I work, whether at my job or doing laundry at home, I do it for the Lord. Colossians 3:23, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men."

I take these points to heart as the new year approaches. Do you plan to make
any New Year's resolutions? Do you have a plan or strategy on how to keep them?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tis the Season...

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I know, it sound cliche, but true
nonetheless. I love Christmas music, trimming the tree, and the wonder
on my children's faces as they rediscover all the ornaments on the 
tree. Of course, I have to stay vigilant with my two year old. He seems
to think the ornaments are there for him to remove. This is also the 
time of year I tend to make Toll House cookies, our family's favorite.

More than ever, this year, my heart has been impressed with the 
truth that it is more blessed to give than receive. The last couple
years have been particularly difficult for many people I know, and
I'm sure that you know as well. Personally, we are "tighter" financially
this year than I can ever remember. It's natural to want to take 
care of your own family first. Although we do have a responsibility
as parents to make sure our children's needs are met, we don't 
need as much as society tells us. Do we need to have an HD TV? 
Despite the male perspective that it is a bare necessity, it really isn't. 
Our children don't have to have the latest and coolest toy if it doesn't 
fit into the budget. 

I've been trying to instill an attitude of thankfulness in my children 
this year. They may not get everything they want, but we need to
be mindful of those less fortunate and thankful for what we do have.
Above all, the Lord is our Provider. He knows what we need before
we even ask and delights in us as His children. Matthew 7:9-11
speaks to this and says that if we who are human and sin give
good gifts to our children, how much more will our Father in 

When I was in college, I traveled to West Africa with my school on
a medical mission trip. We were there for 2 months. I'll never forget
the hospitality of the sweet people there, and how they gave to us
the more fortunate, even though they seemed to have nothing. God 
desires us to have a giving heart. The people I met in West Africa 
exemplified that perfectly. How much more can we give? Not only
material possessions to those less fortunate, but give of our time,
ourselves. Someone I know recently told me of a relative of hers
who has found herself and her child in an extremely unfortunate 
situation. I was able to give out of what I already have toward that 
situation. Let's be mindful of those around us this Christmas season.
Let's give of ourselves, our time, or our resources if possible. In 
doing so when shine the Light of Christ to those around us. 

I pray you and yours have a wonderful, fun filled Christmas season,
with sweet family gatherings, special memories, and giving hearts. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Ultimate Adventure

Around my house, you have to stay on your toes. You never know when
a child may charge you for a tackle, I mean hug, or repeatedly kiss you
with slobbery, tiny lips until you laugh so hard tears stream down your 
cheeks. Other things to watch out for are unsupervised impromptu painting 
sessions at 6:30 in the morning, partially eaten cheese sticks left randomly 
through the house, or a mostly consumed diaper (thanks to the dog). It's not 
uncommon to hear children competing for who can roar the loudest, hopefully 
as they're pretending to be dinosaurs. My four year old also enjoys throwing 
a plastic baseball (overhand) down the hall for my two year old to retrieve 
for her. "Go get it little boy!" is shrieked repeatedly amidst rolls of laughter 
from both. Watch out for when the ninety pound boxer mix wants to join in. 
Someone could get taken out. 

Just this morning, after reading a lengthy book to my tank of a two year old,
I decided to catch up on email, facebook, twitter... . Without warning he jumped
and dove across my arms and laptop to the couch cushion next to me. How
hilarious! I laughed, tweeted about it, then closed the laptop and suggested
a snack to him. Obviously he wanted my attention. I call him a tank not because
he is stocky or bulky, but because he'll bulldoze through almost any obstacle.
He'd be a great tackle if he ever wants to play football, but his dad plans to
steer him as much as possible into baseball, which I can't disagree with. 
Baseball season is a favorite in my family. He is the most determined child
I have ever met. A quality I first noticed in him at six months old. On all fours,
he'd stare at a point ahead of him, and with a surety in his eyes, I could 
almost hear his thoughts, I'm gonna get there... . And that was just learning
to crawl. 

Another funny, but yet not so funny story from this morning is when he and 
I were about ready to pick up his big sister from preschool. I bundled him 
up and then realized I wouldn't make it back home again without needing
to use the restroom. I raced to the bathroom. From inside I heard nothing 
from my little tank. Not a good sign. I yelled, "What are you doing?!" His reply
was muffled. Not good. He had something in his mouth. I finished with 
lightning speed and rushed to where he stood on the hearth holding his
sister's candy pale from Halloween (yes we haven't finished it yet). I
ordered the adventurer to open his mouth where I observed a chewed up
extra large tootsie roll, paper wrapper and all, smooshed to the top of his
mouth. I grabbed a paper towel and swiped the whole wad from his 
mouth. He seemed grateful to be free the chewy mess. 

Lesson learned, again. Stay on my toes, expect everything, be surprised
at nothing, take bathroom breaks with lightning speed or use restraints if
speediness is not possible (a.k.a. strapped into a booster chair in front of
the tube). Motherhood, without a doubt, is an adventure not intended for 
the faint hearted, weak willed, or weak minded, at least not at my house.
To all my fellow adventurers, may you have a safe week, full of fun, rolls
of laughter and tackling hugs. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thankful for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving this year was great. Thursday we went to my sister-in-law's house
and enjoyed good family, good food, and sugared-up kids and cousins (thanks 
to her super tasty desserts). Unfortunately the fun was cut short for me since it 
was my scheduled holiday to work. 2:00 came too quickly, and off I went to the 

The next day was to be my side of the family's day to gather for a day of 
feasting and fellowship. I had volunteered to bake the turkey, dressing/stuffing 
(depending on your family), mashed potatoes and gravy. Just a bit much?
MaybeI had thought, but I'd give it my best try. Not only was I to make the 
majority of the menu, but I wanted to do it all from scratch. Crazy? Pretty much. 
I had researched recipes for a week. I ended up taking advice from Paula Deen 
on baking the turkey and used her recipes for apple cranberry stuffing and giblet 
gravy. I even planned on toasting the bread for stuffing myself. On top of all 
this, I had never baked a turkey or made stuffing and gravy. I'm usually in 
charge of the mashed potatoes, which I will add is an art form. Making sure they 
are creamy but not wimpy is a fine line.

I had shopped on Wed. for all the required ingredients, which in and of itself 
could be a post. I spent about an hour and a half tracking down my list within 
my local recently reorganized grocery store. My two children were securely 
strapped in a cart with a double space up top for child confinement, and it didn't 
take long for them to start with the hair pulling and play hitting. I must have 
spent a half hour in the baking/seasoning section.

I had a good first four hours of my shift and was thrilled to be cancelled at 7, not
that I didn't want to stay and take care of my patients (who were all super sweet),
but I needed to get to bed a decent hour to prepare for the next day. I also 
needed to clean my kitchen, which I did. 

My phone alarm chimed it's wake up song at 6:15, and I was up (this was a 
miracle since I'm not a morning person). I stumbled into my sparkling kitchen
and started chopping apples, onions, and celery to stuff in the bird. Next was 
only part I dreaded. I kinda have an issue with raw poultry. I'm a little OCD 
when it comes to cleanliness and prevention of food-borne illness. I blame 
the microbiology class I was required to take as an undergrad for this. I made
sure everything was ready. I cut the lifeless bird free from its packaging, 
pulled out the neck, but couldn't find the giblets. Where were they?! I couldn't
make giblet gravy without giblets. After a thorough search, I gave up and 
decided to boil the neck and tail to make the gravy.

Next I rinsed my unfortunate friend, placed it in the pan, patted it dry with a 
disposable paper towel, and seasoned it inside with pre-measured sea salt, 
pepper and thyme. I attempted to slather the outside with softened butter, but 
butter doesn't spread on a cold turkey. Live and learn. Paula Deen knows 
what she's talking about. Melted butter it was. Then I sprinkled sea salt and 
pepper all over. Last I stuffed the celery, apples and onion inside (that was 
my idea). Finally, the main course was ready for the oven and only 9 minutes 
behind schedule. I followed directions and baked the 10 pound turkey for 2 
and a half hours at 325, covered with foil. Once the time was complete I 
noticed there weren't tons of "drippings" like I had expected. I added turkey
stock to the pan and turned up the heat (according to the directions) to 
425 for 45 minutes. After just 15 minutes, the bird was plenty brown, so 
I covered it with foil, basting every so often. 

The result was mouth watering goodness. The turkey was wonderfully moist
and delightfully tasty. My husband was quite impressed and bragged on me
for days. The side dishes were yummy as well and by some miracle were 
all done the same time as the turkey. Everything was transported safely 
to my younger sister's house (thanks a bunch for hosting lil' sis). My mom 
made her traditional green bean casserole and my little sister made her
famous butternut squash. Everything was wonderful. As usual, we took
turns saying what each of us was thankful for, although we all missed 
my older sister and her family. They were all down in sunny Florida for
an overdue visit with my brother-in-law's family. 

I love Thanksgiving. It's a wonderful opportunity to reflect on what we too
often take for granted everyday. I'm so thankful for a wonderful husband,
adorable children, great family, a home, a rewarding job, food on the
table, and a Savior who loves provides for and loves us. I hope you had
a wonderful Thanksgiving, but even if you didn't, think about all the good
things in your life. It's too easy to focus on the negative, when it's the
positive in our lives that is so precious. Oh, did I mention that my husband 
found the bag of giblets when he carved the turkey? I could only laugh.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Perplexing Putridity

WARNING: This post is not for the weak stomached. Most likely, if you 
don't have children, you probably haven't been desensitized to cope
with the daily disgusting happenings that can occur, sometimes on a 
daily basis. So continue at your own discretion. 

It's been a rough week. The kids haven't felt well (dealing with a croupy
cough), and I've still been enduring my morning/all-the-time sickness.
Yesterday was a busy day. We left the house at 8 a.m. and didn't 
arrive home again 2:30. I left the van littered with sippy cups, backpacks,
and papers to quickly lay the kids down for their afternoon naps. 

After dinner, I realized I'd left the children's cough medicines in the van as
well. My sweet spouse offered to bring in all the chaos I'd left outside. 
As soon as he returned inside, I detected an overwhelming odor. The only
way I can describe it is like someone had vomited putrid milk. Being 
pregnant and having a heightened sense of smell, I immediately retreated
from the kitchen to the family room. 

"How long have these sippy cups been out there?" Jason asked, half

"They're from today!" I reassured. 

He had also brought in a coffee mug from his car that did have mold 
inside. We thought that was it. Since it was plastic, it was tossed and
the garbage taken outside. 

I noticed the horrible smell was infiltrating the family room as well. What
could it be? Jason was unable to find the source, and since I was on 
the verge of puking, I recommended lighting a bunch of candles. Jason
found the matches and furiously lit as many candles as he could.
I suggested we get the kids to bed and look for the source later. Upstairs
Jason noted the smell was worse than it had been downstairs. This
was a mystery. What was going on? I picked up James and laid him 
down to change his diaper. I pulled back the diaper tab. Similar to the 
force of a mac truck hitting a brick wall, it hit me. 

"Jason!" I screamed (in such a way that he thought I was mortally wounded).
"Here! It's his diaper! I'm gonna puke! HELP!" 

Like a knight in shining armor, he rushed in. "Quick, get out of here!" he 
ordered. I scurried out, gagging and choking. 

Once I regained my composure, I retrieved a grocery bag from the kitchen
and asked Avalon (4) to take it to her daddy. A minute later, Jason rushed 
down the stairs with the offending diaper in the bag but still insisted for 
me to hold my breath as he passed. The diaper went outside, and I finished
getting the kids ready for bed. 

The next thing I saw was Jason lighting matches in every room to consume
the remnants of the most disgusting thing either of us have ever encountered,
which is saying a lot since I'm a nurse. 

It occurred to me that Jason started lighting those matches so quickly that he
probably hadn't washed his hands first. Upon inquiring, my fears were 
confirmed. "Great, now I'll have to wash my hands after touching that match
box every time I light a candle," I complained. He didn't seem to care and
was much more concerned with the task at hand. 

Once everything calmed down and the kids were in bed, I called both
our moms, recounted the story and laughed at the absurdity of not having
realized earlier that a diaper was the source of the awful smell. But to our
defense, it didn't smell like dirty diaper. I was asked what the darling boy 
had been eating. "Nothing out of the ordinary," I answered. Even now, I 
can't think of what could've caused such a thing. Adventures in parenting... . 
If someone who has yet to experience the true joys of having children has 
been brave enough to read this post until the end, I must reassure you that 
moments like these are far outweighed by sweet memories and lovable cuddles, heartbreaking hugs, and slobbery kisses.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

Honoring Veterans

Having been unsure what to write about this week, today I've been furiously
brainstorming fun topics. I thought about the curious date today, 11/11/11. 
I love dates like today's, and for the same mysterious reason I'm excited 
when my car's mileage turns to a single recurring number such as 55,555.
The corners of my mouth upturn, and I revel in the momentary numerical
perfection. But how could I write about numbers without lulling my readers
into a delightful afternoon nap?

Then it hit me like a lightning bolt from above. It's Veteran's Day... . Having
served in the U.S. Air Force for four years active duty, it's only natural
I should write about what it means to be a veteran. Why had it taken me 
so long to come to this conclusion? I blame it on being pregnant, and what
little brain cells I have left are being starved of energy, which is being
diverted to the tiny inch and a half long human growing in my belly. How
can something so small require so much? That's another discussion for
another time. 

I originally joined the Air Force to pay for the last year of my Bachelor's
degree and because I believed it was the best venue for practicing 
the best nursing care. "Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence
in All We Do," are the core values of the Air Force, all of which resounded
with my own beliefs. It was somewhere you could expect your coworkers
to give %110 every day. 

The challenges I faced shaped me into the person I am today and gave 
me a backbone to stand up for myself where I hadn't in the past. Although
there were difficulties, mostly interpersonal in nature, I'd do it again in 
a heartbeat. There's a special sense of patriotism that comes with 
having served in our nation's military, one that I'm not sure someone
could know without that experience. I know there are a great many
people who have not served who are deeply patriotic, but it's different
when you've volunteered service to protect our great country. 

Having been non-line or medical was also different from those who 
served more directly. I was never deployed overseas, but I took care
of many who were. I was also fortunate to care for those who had 
served during Vietnam and World War II. There are a few I know I'll
never forget. One was a seemingly tiny shriveled old man who was
admitted to our unit at least twice a month. He always stayed in the
same room, one close to the nurse's station that was also video 
monitored. Need I say more? He routinely cursed us for not letting
him have a glass of water to "wet his mouth," and barked orders
as I'm sure he was used to in days of old. Now, we weren't 
vindictive, cold hearted nurses. This particular precious patient
was continually admitted with aspiration pneumonia, which 
meant when he took a drink of anything, it went straight to his lungs. 
We couldn't trust him to "just wet his mouth." 

Because of this condition, he had a G/J tube which directly accessed
his stomach and small intestine. It was through this crude tube that
he received liquid feedings attached to a pump. Poor man couldn't 
eat or drink anything. I can't say I fully blame him for having been 
non compliant. Imagine not being able to eat your favorite foods, 
let alone holiday meals. Life without pumpkin pie? That's just
wrong. So was the latter portion of this weary soul's existence, 
temptation to taste, and his favorite was coffee. 

One year, within a week of Christmas, we received the sad news
he had passed. We read his obituary aloud at the nurse's station.
The list of accomplishments was long and commendable, but what
humbled us the most was that this man had been a green beret 
paratrooper, I think during World War II, but that's testing my 
memory a bit. All the years we had taken turns taking care of him,
we never knew his story. 

Our country's freedom has been bought with a precious price over
the years, right back to the birth of our nation. May we never take 
for granted the privilege it is to be an American and the freedoms
we enjoy. Let's appreciate, honor, and value those who have 
given so much for us and take the time to listen to their stories.

Friday, November 4, 2011

God's Grace is Sufficient

With my kids temporarily entranced by Word World, I must literally hurry up 
and write my post for this week, which has been one of the most difficult
since I've been pregnant. My all-the-time sickness has been intense. 
Yesterday, I was sure I'd puke all over the grocery store floor. By the 
grace of God, that didn't happen. The rest of the day, I was couch-bound,
unable to move. As difficult as this week has been, I remember that 
my new little one is well worth it, and I'm relieved to be within a month
of my second trimester, when I'll hopefully feel much better. 

Why is it when I'm not feeling well my dear, sweet, adorable children 
sense my weakness and run through the house like they're competing
in the 100 yard dash? High-pitched screams drown out any other 
competing noises, children collide into each other, the house is 
a disaster zone, dishes are piled up in the sink, laundry is lurking
in the basement, revisions are impatiently waiting on my laptop,
my Bible is longing to be opened, and all I can think is "God help

I remember, "My grace is sufficient for you," and that God will not give
me more than I can bear. God is good. I've been relying on Galatians 
5 and Psalm 23. In Galatians, we read about the Fruits of the Spirit, one
of which is peace. Peace is a Fruit of the Spirit. If I abide in the Lord, I 
have peace. In Psalm 23, we are told the "Lord is our Shepherd (to
feed, guide and shield), I shall not lack," in the Amplified. That 
encompasses all of our needs. No matter what we're going through, 
God is our Strength and our Hope. He is our Rock. He knows what we 
need before we ask. God meets us where we are, and He loves us
where we are. 

I know what I'm going through is temporary, and God will give me 
the strength to endure, to be a good mom, and to accomplish what
I need to do. I'd appreciate your prayers over the next few weeks as
I come to the end of my first trimester. I'm also determined to work 
on some revisions today during the munchkins' nap time. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why Twitter?

As a writer, it seems as though one has to constantly juggle time for
family, writing, social networking, house work, and the list goes on. 
Time management is vital to the successful management of all of 
the above. I've heard so many writers say that they don't have time for 
twitter. "It's just one more thing to do and keep track of." 

I admit I was hesitant to join twitter at first. Who cares what kind of 
breakfast I'm eating. I thought.  Isn't twitter a bit egotistical? Despite
my reservations, due to the advice of an industry professional, I 
joined anyway. There was a larger time requirement in the beginning,
but once I had 150 followers, it became much easier. Now I'm up
to 400 followers, and although the number is by no means colossal,
I'm still happy with reaching that milestone. Having followers is a 
nice sense of accomplishment, but it means nothing if you don't 
engage your followers, if your just another boring icon on their 
following list. 

Twitter can be used for multiple purposes, the one I prefer is a 
means for those interested in what you have to say as a person
and author to get to you. It's a glimpse into your personality
and your passions, a way for others to see what's in your 
heart and imagination. I mentioned before that I had thought,
who wants to know what I had for breakfast? If your passionate
about what you had for breakfast, it's totally different. "Coffee...
eggs... to work..." is okay to tweet, but a bit boring. "Perfectly 
toasted, blueberry bagel bursting with blueberry goodness...
a perfect way to start the day," is much more enjoyable to read.
These types of tweets are fun from time to time, but I'd stay 
away from doing them too often. Tidbits are fun to know, but 
there is such a thing as information overload. I'm not interested
in a running commentary of some one's day, no matter how 
famous they are. 

Of course, we as writers do not twitter just to share fun tidbits,
but mainly to market ourselves, and if we are fortunate enough
to be published, our books. This too can be overdone. When
I choose whether or not to follow someone, the choice is more
difficult if when I look through their recent tweets it is all self
promotion. Having those personal tidbits intermingled with
the promotion tweets lends to the idea that he/she is a real
person and not just a marketing machine. 

There are some practical ways to manage your time on twitter.

  • Utilize lists. You can break down your followers into as many lists as you'd like. Currently I have two lists - Bloggers and Writers. It makes it so much easier to keep in touch with a certain demographic instead of searching through dozens of random tweets.
  • Have a time limit. I'm sure we've all been sucked into the time warp that is the Internet. Where did that two hours go? Have I done anything productive? Ah! My budgeted writing time is gone! I try to do 20 minutes a day. If you really need help disconnecting, set an alarm. 
  • Tweet at least once a day and I recommend no more that 10 - 15 times a day. Moderation is the key. If someone has 50 tweets for the last day, I'd rather not click the follow button. 

Why twitter? It's a great way to get yourself out there and contributes to the
much needed "platform" all writers must establish. If you're a writer and you 
haven't yet taken the plunge into the world that is twitter, I encourage you
to do so. Pace yourself, be fun, use common sense, and enjoy the ride! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Big News!

As I type, my eyes are heavy, my tummy tumbling, and my brain clouded 
with an afternoon fog. Any guesses at what could be causing all these 
symptoms at once? If you guessed Baby Cunningham # 3 is on his/her
way, you're right! Jason and I were happily surprised 5 weeks ago when
we discovered we had another one on the way, and I tested positive so 
early and was sick so quickly that I was convinced it had to be twins. Being
that my Grandma Rose was a twin, I have a good chance at that possibility. 
I've even been having dreams about having twins. At my initial OB 
appointment today I had an ultrasound and the technician only found
one precious baby. Although having twins would've being super cool, I 
think God must know what I can handle, especially since my first two 
are so adventurous. 

Still a month to go before I come to the end of my first trimester, and I'm 
already reeling from a multitude of crazy symptoms. There's the usual 
nausea and fatigue, but add to that, evening dizziness and lightheaded-
ness, hot flashes, and heartburn. In my opinion, it's way too early for
heartburn. Although this week I've been feeling a bit better, the last 
few weeks have been very difficult. Many times it the evenings, I have
been unable to even get up from the couch, and my sweet other half
has had to take care of me after he's been at work all day. Hopefully in
a month or so, this will all be behind me. 

God has been so good to help me through this difficult first trimester. 
And though there have been times when the last thing I've wanted to
do was to write, I've still been working on revisions and going to my
writing groups, which have proven invaluable. I'm so excited and 
encouraged for my future. I know God has such good things for me
personally and professionally. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Unexpected Sugar

This morning I enjoyed one on one time with my almost two year old, James.
We visited a local park with fabulous walking trails. Due to his nature to 
wander and full out sprint away from me without warning, I was a bit nervous
about not having my trusty umbrella stroller as a back up, but you have 
to let go sometime, right? So I bravely led him passed the safe familiarity of 
the playground and ventured onto the walking trails, slightly uneasy, but
excited about our first real "nature walk" together. 

James loved it! Everyone was out walking their dogs, and he pointed to each
one and shouted, "Doddie!" His annunciation isn't the best, but it's pretty
cute. And with a mop of wild curls on the top of his head, he was mistaken 
for a girl twice. Shhh, don't tell his grandpas. They're both already 
threatening the shears. Although I'm constantly told how awesome his 
hair is, he will be getting it cut this weekend, so that he can at least 

I pointed out falling leaves, ants crossing the path, squirrels rummaging 
out in the woods, and acorns scattered here and there. He reveled in 
his time alone with Mommy doing something special, and amazingly,
he held my hand the entire way. The trail ended by a small pasture 
and stable, which housed a few horses, one of his favorite animals, 
second only to anything that roars. We pointed to the beloved creatures 
and repeated the word "horse," over and over again.

Then it was time for the swings, his favorite thing to do at the park. I 
think we occupied one for at least 20 minutes. I hadn't realized before
what a great upper-body workout it is to push a swinging child. 
My arms are actually a bit sore. It was a lovely morning, the air was 
crisp and fresh, the leaves crunched beneath our feet, and soft breezes
caused falling leaves to dance their way to the ground. In our home,
when something is super sweet, we compare it to sugar. This morning
was an unexpected delight, as sweet as sugar. 

Initially, I had been hesitant to go out this morning after dropping my oldest
off at preschool, there were so many things waiting at home for me to do. 
But housework and writing could wait. I'm so glad I listened to that still 
small voice, encouraging me to take the morning and enjoy my son. 
It's unfortunately all too easy to pass up moments like these with how
busy our lives can be. Take some time this week to do something fun 
with the ones you love and find some sugar of your own. I'm so glad I did. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Soon to be Published in Super Cool Kid's Magazine

Last winter, I wrote a story for a Christian children's magazine, The Kid's Ark
and this last weekend, I was notified that it has been selected to be included
in their March, 2012, issue. To say that I'm excited is an understatement. 
Listening to a voicemail informing me of the good news last Sunday night
as I left work, I literally did a "happy dance" in the front seat of my car. 
Thankfully is was dark out so no one saw me, and no, I hadn't started my
car yet. 

According to their website, The Kid's Ark magazine is, "geared to kids ages
6 - 12, 36 page, full color, interactive magazine" and, "contains the Ten 
Commandments and Salvation Prayer in every issue." The founders of this
magazine are Jim and Violette Burger of Victoria, Texas. Their passion to
see children reached with the Gospel and Biblical principles is apparent 
when you visit their website or read one of their issues. 

The story I wrote is about a young girl who goes with her father to the 
zoo, and through a conversation with him receives Jesus as her 
Savior. I titled it "Finding Jesus at the Zoo," but the editors of the
magazine may change the title before the issue comes out in March of
next year. 

Along with stories, this magazine also has contests, puzzles, and
testimonials. It's a great witnessing tool as well as a lot of fun. If you have 
or know any kids in the 6 - 12 age group, you may want to consider a 
subscription for them. :) 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Grandma Rose

As I flipped through old family photos this morning, I came across
a few that included my dear Grandma Rose. She passed away a 
few years ago, and losing her was incredibly tough. She had been
my last living grandparent for a while, but she was also my favorite.
She had a petite stature, wore a size 5 shoe, had a sparkle in her 
bright blue eyes, a constant upward turn to the corners of her mouth, 
an unconditional love for her family, and was the most selfless 
person I have ever met. 

At times, I still can't believe she's gone. I find myself wondering how
she made her scrumptious home-made mac'n cheese, and I pick
up my phone to ask her about it. Then it hits me like a two by four,
she's not there. I can't bring myself to delete her contact information
from my cell. 

The fond memories I have of Grandma Rose are really too many to
count. From amazing egg hunts at Easter, swinging on her porch
swing while watching birds accustomed to left over toast crumbles, 
listening to her many wind chimes on a breezy afternoon, raiding 
her closet for dress-up apparel, eating still warm cook and serve 
chocolate pudding, to even the obligatory dish washing duty after 
delectably delicious family dinners, each one is a treasure I will 
carry with me always. 

I didn't even mention the holiday Thanksgiving and Christmas
celebrations, and since my grandma had five children, twelve 
grandchildren, and sixteen great-grandchildren by the time she left
us to be with our Savior, you can imagine the organized chaos of it
all. There was a "kid" table and a "grown up" table set up in the 
partially finished basement of her 800 or so square foot home. The
adult table was really a ping pong table with a huge or multiple 
table clothes over it. The kid table was set up near the washer and
dryer and sat us younger grandkids quite nicely. I think I was in 
college before I made it to the adult table, and then it was only 
because we had extended family members who had moved out of 
state and didn't make it home every year. 

I love my family. I love the legacy of kindness and graciousness my
grandma passed on to the rest of us. I love the person my grandma
was and the values she never let go of. I loved her unwavering devotion 
to our Lord, Jesus Christ, and her generosity towards all those around
her. I want to carry on that legacy of love of our Lord and of our neighbors,
as she did so well. 

Although the reality of her absence is painful, the knowledge that she
lived life as she was called to and that she is enjoying her reward
in Heaven is a great comfort. I am thankful for the impact she had on 
my life and the opportunity that I now have to make an impact for 
good on those around me as well.