Sunday, January 30, 2011

Free at last...

Quick update - I'll be MIA for a few days.

My mother in law, nineteen months after having her traumatic horseback riding accident in June 2009, passed away Friday night the 28th at 9:00 p.m.

The next few days are going to be a blur of visitation services, funeral services, flowers, food, family receptions, and the such. Thanks for the prayers and support as we go through this time. So difficult even though we knew it was coming! But most importantly, we know now that she is whole, healthy and happy, worshipping at her Savior's feet in Heaven. 1 John 5:13. I'm so happy for her yet still so sad at the same time. Its been a long 2 years. But now she's free at last...praise the Lord.

Here's the obit I wrote that ran in Sunday's paper. Please take a moment and honor her memory with me by reading it!

Here are some pics of her over the last several years... (and if you're thinking "good grief she's young", you're right. She barely made it to her mid-40's)
My husband's birthday party a few years back

When Little Miss was "new" :)

Her last conscious mother's day with her son (my hubby) - Mother's Day May 2009.

PS - if you have a copy of my April 2010 Love Inspired novel RODEO SWEETHEART, you can read the Dear Reader Letter and dedication in that story that is about my mother in law and what happened. I was writing that book the summer of the accident (about horses, no less) and wow, that was a rough one to finish. Yet God blessed the sales of that book more than any other so far. His ways are mysterious.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Divine Appointments...

Divine Appointments by Charlene Ann Baumbich is a unique story from a well established author that is wonderful for a rainy night "escape" read.

This heartfelt story combines romance, real life, and a dash of the supernatural via a snowglobe. Join Josie's tale of life, love, work, menopause, and everything in between as she struggles to find who she is, what she wants, and what she needs - and the difference between the three.

While slow at times, this story is very relatable and the characters solid - a quirky ;)

Purchase this story here!

I received this book free to review from Waterbrook Multnomah.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Visit me today at....

Visit me today at Scribblechicks for a more indepth look at outlining and plotting as you go!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What's your favorite....

What's your favorite...

Nicholas Sparks book?

Yes, I know he head hops in his writing. Yes, I know being a fan of Sparks is somewhat of a cliche these days. Yes, I know his books are such tear jerks sometimes you close them wondering why on earth you just subjected yourself to the emotion, but you know what? I'm a fan. :)

I'm actually writing this post now while staring at my living room bookshelf that boasts almost every one of his novels, old or new, in hardback.

I think my favorite is the Notebook, and not just because the movie was also fantastic. It was just so, so good. My next favorite is probably The Last Song, because of it's young adult vibe and I'm very much in a young adult mode right now while working on my January 2012 release with Barbour.

I wasn't fond of The Choice. I thought True Believer wasn't his best, and I really enjoyed Three Weeks with My Brother which was a true account of sorts. I also liked and was very surprised by The Wedding, which is sort of like a sequel to The Notebook in that it's Allie and Noah's kids and grandkids as the main characters.

And of course, A Walk to Remember and Nights in Rodanthe are just big sob fests. Whew!

The Lucky One was also good, and Dear John incredibly moving, but for those, if you currently have a loved one deployed in the military, please don't read them until they are home safe, for your own mental health! Ha!

So spill it. I know I'm not the only Sparks fan. Who's with me? :)

(And Nicholas, if you get Google Alerts for your name and happen to have enough free time to visit this humble blog and read this post, how about you do a booksigning in Shreveport? Young working/writing mommies have a hard time getting to Dallas and the Carolina's so frequently. Thanks.) =P

Monday, January 24, 2011

Heavy Monday

This is a heavy post, because I'm just heavy hearted. Seems like lately there is so much death and sadness and health scares everywhere I look. Not sure if this is more common in general or if I'm just more aware of issues now that I'm older and an adult and know to watch for them. Not only my leg and the treatment I had done last week, but also from watching my mother in law in the sate she's in, and them expecting a funeral this week or next, and also watching the broken hearts of the family of a girl I knew from church my entire life pass away last Thursday night from a second battle with cancer. Now I've found a mole/freckle/birthmark spot on Little Miss's head, under her hair above her ear, that I believe has been there her whole life but now my paranoia over my own skin cancer issue has kicked in full force and I'm consumed by this little spot.

I know God is still in control. I know the world will has its troubles and I know our focus is supposed to be on Heaven. I know these things, and trust these things, and believe the promises God gave us in His word about never leaving us nor forsaking us. But wow, some days its harder than others, isn't it? Some days the fear gets control and we get paranoid, we get hypochondriac tendencies, we get consumed with the possibilities and the what ifs and the grief of what is or was.

I don't know why God has allowed this with my mother in law. I don't know why God took a 31 year old new mother after she'd already beaten cancer once. But at the same time, I don't know why He chose to have my skin cancer be such a mild, non-issue when all was said and done. Why NOT me, you know? It's all so hard to understand. I'm grateful for His mercies and His blessings, heartbroken for the ones whom it seems haven't had much of that lately.

It just all goes back to God is God, and I am not, and while that's at times frustrating, its more so just a big relief that I don't HAVE to have it all figured out. I just can rest in His hands. I hope that's what Vanessa's family is doing today. That's what my family, gathered around my mother in law, is trying to do. Vanessa is praising Jesus to His face right now, no longer imagining His glory but viewing it firsthand. Soon my mother in law will be in the same crowd of saints beside her. And while we're left to mourn, we're praising too because we have the hope that one day we'll all be together again.

How do non-Christians do it without that hope?? Boggles my mind. If you're not convinced of where you'll go when you die, if you don't have the hope of heaven for eternity, please email me privately or message me here or find me on FB. Something. Don't wonder anymore. Time is too, too short.

Prayers appreciated for my mother in law and our family during this time, and for my own fearful self that I'll stop letting Satan get a foothold on my insecurities and fears and let God's grace, light, and peace fill those bothersome holes instead. Thank you friends.

If you have prayer requests for this heavy Monday yourself, please share. We need to support each other.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sunshine Days

The sun is out! The sun is out! If my leg wasn't still stitched and sore, I'd jump up and down. It's been cloudy and cold and rainy and drizzly for well over a week non stop. When I woke up and saw the sun, I immediately wrapped Little Miss up and we went outside to blow bubbles and throw rocks in puddles and ride in her wagon. It's still plenty cold, but we were able to enjoy the sun. It's done wonders for my mood. Sometimes, we just need some rays to thaw our problems and give us a fresh mindset.

I hope the sun, literal or figurative, is out in your part of the world today. And always remember even if the sun isn't out, the Son is always with us :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Ever had a day where you're just too out of it to post? That's me today. Just too much going on! Will try to be back tomorrow...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dum dummm dummmmmmm

Prayers appreciated today!
I'm having my in-office skin procedure done on my leg that I wrote about last week regarding skin cancer. Not going to be much fun.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Honest Confessions...

Let's shake up January a little with some honest confessions, shall we? Should be fun. Let's liven up the bleak winter months with some scandal!!!!!

Don't worry, I'll start.

I confess that:

1. I'm secretly ecstatic when a child (regardless of age, but especially in the 18 month - 4 year old range) acts up in public, because the whole time I'm listening to their tantrum, I'm deliriously grateful it's not my child doing it at that moment. (you know you feel this way too, Moms!) ;)

2. I'm a diet coke junkie. (used to have two vices, diet coke and tanning beds, but now we're down to one. I refuse to give it up for awhile. A girl's gotta have something...)

3. I can eat a box of Nerds (not the mini boxes, but a real full size "movie theater" box) in about 2 days without really even trying.

4. If a book doesn't get my interest by the third or fourth chapter, I give up. I sadly just don't have the time anymore to read a book just for the sole reason of finishing it.

5. I miss kickboxing regularly!

6. I can't cook. Yep, even Little Miss tells me, and she's 2 1/2. I'm accepting my fate.

Okay, your turn... ;)

Friday, January 14, 2011

No more tanning beds...

I used to tan in a bed seasonally - as in, go for 2-3 months before summer or before a beach vacation to get a nice tan. One, for vanity reasons, and two, so I wouldn't burn my naturally fair skin on the beach. It provided me a nice backup in addition to my sunscreen and made me feel prettier.

Those days are over. I've officially sworn off tanning beds, and the results I got from the dermotologist this morning have only confirmed my decision.

Early stage, superficial, surface-level melanoma.

Yep, that's cancer.

I had a mole (a very small one that I honestly thought was just a freckle that had stretched when my skin expanded during pregnancy 2 1/2 years ago) removed from my thigh earlier this week. I never suspected it was cancerous, just wanted to be safe than sorry and now that we have good health insurance again, it wasn't a big deal to do. The doctor numbed my leg and scraped it off and besides a sore spot by the healing wounds, no big deal.

Until he got the biopsy results.

But thankfully, the doctor assured me we caught it very early, and it was all surface level and hadn't spread deeper or anything dangerous. He thinks we probably already got the whole thing with the initial removal but that to be 100% sure, I have to go back next week and let him cut a bigger section that will actually require stitches.

I'm so freaked out and relieved I don't even care about that part!

So, fellow ladies (and men!) who enjoy a good fake tan - please stop. This worked out well for me but it could have easily been incredibly bad if I'd wanted a few years and not had this spot looked at it. Please get checked if you have ANY suspicions. It's worth the co pay or visit pay and mild discomfort to be sure.

Just say to tanning beds! My new motto in life.

Bring on the Jergen's Glow lotion...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Afraid to ask...

This is a more serious post today, so bear with me.

Do you ever question God's timing?

As Christians, I think sometimes we feel we shouldn't. That we should be "above" doubts and questions. That it's not okay to ask. Secretly we do inside, anyway, because guess what - Christian or not, we're still human.

There's been some moments lately where I've really wanted to ask why, especially concerning my mother in law and her tragic horseback riding accident. Not only the "why" of the accident in the first place, but more recently the why of why God was allowing her to stay in the complete vegetative state she's in. Why was He not showing her and her family mercy by taking her home, or by healing her? One or the other seemed so much better than lingering in her current condition. For the life of me I can't figure out why this has happened the way it has and REALLY can't figure out why continues to drag on the way it has.

But you know what? As a Christian, I understand that I don't GET to understand. Make sense?

Living our faith isn't never asking why. Its not biting our tongue and holding back the questions or tears pouring from our hearts. I believe living our faith is about accepting and embracing God's love and timing and will DESPITE those questions.

We can still ask. We might or might not get answers, and deep down, we know that's okay.

What do you need to ask God why about today? Are you holding back for fear it will make you a bad Christian?

Pour your heart out to the Lord and just ask why. Go ahead! Cry. Rant. Yell! Because you know what? He knows how you feel anyway ;) Might as well confess it out loud and clear the air. Don't hold back your feelings from the One who created you in the first place. Get it alllllll out - all the questions, all the doubts, all the fears, all the why's - then let Him assure you in the way only God can.

You probably won't get a specific answer to your specific problem in that moment. You probably won't hear a booming voice from the sky. (if you do, let me know! ::wink::) But you'll get peace. Philippians 4:7. "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Let's ask together today.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

You, too, can be in a fairy tale...

Okay, so...I couldn't resist taking this quiz!!


My results:

You Are the Castle

You are a bit of a homebody and even somewhat of a loner. You function best when you're all by yourself. Other people see you as mysterious and even a little scary. They don't understand how deep and complicated you are. You have many layers to your personality, and there is always a surprise waiting around the corner with you.You aren't as scary as you seem, but you are intense. You require people to confront things about themselves that they rather not know.

Uh oh!! I'm scary???? LOL. Whoops. This was not supposed to happen.

Uh, what'd you get?

Monday, January 10, 2011

How to never argue with your husband again...

I've found the age-old secret women everywhere are dying to know. I should bottle this information and sell it on the black market for millions, but instead, I'm choosing to share it with you. FOR FREE ;)

Ready? Are you ready to learn how to NEVER argue with your husband again? EVER?

Here's the answer.



Yep. That's the answer, ladies! :)

My husband and I, as a Christmas gift to each other and as a "yay, he has a full time fire department job again" trip and as a "yay, we survived the drama of 2010" trip, took a mini two-night vacation to Hot Springs, Arkansas this past weekend. We desperately needed the getaway and time of escape and focus on just each other. The stress of the last year had gotten us arguing and nitpicking at each other something fierce the last few weeks, and it was past time for us to reconnect and bond as a couple instead of as Mommy and Daddy.

The bed and breakfast had a private hot tub on the back deck of our private cabin, and despite the fact it was 30 something degreees, we stayed in that thing for hours each nightunder the stars, talking, joking, relaxing, dreaming, making plans for the future. Absolute bliss!

We haven't fought again since ;)

So there you have it, ladies. Buy your man a hot tub, build a back porch, and voila. An arguement free future....

How was your weekend? I'm feeling great after 2 1/2 days of road trip candy and tunes, hot tubs, massages, movies, bowling, shopping, eating, and sleeping in late!!! =)

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen

I'm still reading this one, but boy am I loving it so far! I didn't want to stop reading last night to go to bed - or come to work! :)
My thoughts so far: This lovely novel about a young female author in the 1880's, during a time when women authors were downright scandalous, offers a borderline gothic getaway of romance, duty, and passion that will sweep you away. I can't wait to see what happens next!


Julie says: My background is in advertising and marketing, but I am blessed with a dream job—working as an editor of Christian fiction. I have been writing since childhood, but Lady of Milkweed Manor was my first novel. It was a finalist for a Christy Award and won second place in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards. My second novel, The Apothecary's Daughter, was a finalist in the ACFW Book of the Year awards. I am currently writing one novel a year.

I graduated from the University of Illinois and enjoy travel, research, BBC period dramas, long hikes, short naps, and coffee with friends. My husband and I have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota.


Miss Mariah Aubrey, banished after a scandal, hides herself away in a long-abandoned gatehouse on the far edge of a distant relative's estate. There, she supports herself and her loyal servant the only way she knows how--by writing novels in secret.

Captain Matthew Bryant, returning to England successful and wealthy after the Napoleonic wars, leases an impressive estate from a cash-poor nobleman, determined to show the society beauty who once rejected him what a colossal mistake she made.

When he discovers an old gatehouse on the property, he is immediately intrigued by its striking young inhabitant and sets out to uncover her identity, and her past. But the more he learns about her, the more he realizes he must distance himself. Falling in love with an outcast would ruin his well-laid plans. The old gatehouse holds secrets of its own. Can Mariah and Captain Bryant uncover them before the cunning heir to the estate buries them forever?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Girl in the Gatehouse, go HERE !
Purchase your own copy of this novel HERE!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Cool Writing Op

So...I got the opportunity to judge a Young Adult writing contest for a friend over at her blog! Check it out. If you're 25 or under, you can enter to win a writing package and of course bragging rights ;)

I'm really excited about judging this one, especially since my first young adult novel comes out January 2012. Eek! A whole year away. Hopefully time will fly...I'm so excited!! =)

Monday, January 03, 2011

Happy New Year!

Here's a quickie glimpse of our fun holiday week! Christmas and New Years both passed in such a blur. My baby girl is growing up fast! =)
Here's me and Hubby Christmas morning.

Trying out the new trike Christmas morning!

Playing superhero with her new cape from her Aunt Sissy (she refuses to wear it like a cape on her back!! lol)

Me and my sister on Christmas Eve at my grandparent's house!

Christmas morning test ride at my parent's.

New Years Eve fun with friends!

Visiting Daddy at the fire station!

First sparkler!

Christmas Eve at my grandparent's house. Being a 2 year old =P

Christmas excitement!!!

New cupcake hat =)

Trying out her new camera!! :)