Wednesday, December 19, 2012

One Voice, Then Two, Then Ten, Then...

I don't want to use my blog as a soapbox.  And normally I won't.  But today, I couldn't help myself.  This is my soapbox.  If you don't like soapboxes, I suggest you stop reading here.  You've been warned.

I'm still in a mass of hurt and anger when I think of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings.  I grieve for young lives not yet lived, for hurting families missing a huge portion of their daily lives.  I grieve for innocence lost as witnesses will never erase that horror from their minds, nor will they ever feel completely safe again.

But a small part of me sits back in confusion.  Yes, the nation and the world are outraged that such an atrocity happened, especially to small children.  And yet... we sit complacently by as hundreds of thousands more innocent children are murdered every single day.  And most of us don't think twice about it.

The abortion debate has raged for as long as abortion has been around, and it still continues in the U.S.A. today.  Advances in science have progressed so much that we can actually know that the baby inside is a living human being.  

I saw my baby's heartbeat on a monitor at eight weeks past conception.  The little bean, the little life.  I was amazed.

Then why is it still legal to kill a human?  An innocent, defenseless human?  Because it's convenient.

Think of how very inconvenient it would be for lawmakers to realize that they have legalized infanticide for decades.  How awful it would be to admit that they had a hand in allowing a genocide to continue in a country that is supposed to stand for freedom from oppression and tyranny.  That's supposed to be a place where the underdog and the underprivileged can come out on top. 

In conversation with a friend a couple of weeks ago, he said, "Abortion will never be outlawed in the U.S. again.  There's no point in voting for government representatives who are against it because it just won't happen."

My heart cringed at those words.  If we give up the fight, even if the odds seem overwhelming, are we not conceding defeat?  

A quote from one of my favorite movies, Newsies, says this: "Sometimes all it takes is a voice, one voice that becomes a hundred, then a thousand, unless it's silenced."  

I will be a voice.  I will be a voice for those that have no voice, whose voices are silenced before they're even born.

The school shooting at Sandy Hook, I think, had little to do with gun control and accessibility to guns.  I didn't know Adam Lanza or his family.  But one thing I do know is that our culture today has little respect for life.  We've slowly become jaded to abortion, violent crime, etc.  Adam Lanza is dead and will not be physically hurting anyone else.  But the source of the problem still remains.  Until our culture can recognize that life, all life, is precious, this problem will continue.

Let's work to become a culture that values life at its very beginning or even its very end (don't get me started on euthanasia - this soapbox can only handle so much).  Let's value life, no matter who's it is, whether it's a white baby or a black baby, a boy baby or a girl baby, a pastor's baby or a rapist's baby.  

Food for thought.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

What Do You Say When The Children Die?

I know the pat answers.  I know them so well, I could say them in my sleep. 

God knows what He's doing.  He has a plan.  He allows humans free will and choice - otherwise we'd be robots.  He loves us so much that he allows us to choose not to follow Him.

Sometimes though, I want to throw the pat answers in front of the bus.  Friday, yesterday, I wanted to scream, throw things, rebel.  "God!" I yelled.  "The kids!  Why couldn't you have stopped the gunman before he shot the kids?"

I know full well that God was able to.  He could have reached His hand into that school, plucked the gun from Adam Lanza's hands, thrown it out the window, and while He was at it, knocked a bit of sense into the guy's head. 

In the terror and anxiety and turmoil of those moments and over the next eternity of hours, I didn't want to hear the pat answers.  I watched my five year old daughter and felt every pang of each parent as they waited for news of their own little one.  I read the tributes written about the kids, how one girl in particular loved to color.  I watched my own daughter at her little worktable doing what she loves best, coloring a picture of an armadillo in bright rainbow colors.  The sight blurred behind a curtain of tears.

The words are gone.  As a writer, that's some shaky, scary ground.  I don't know what to say, and the pat answers sound hollow in my own ears.

All I know is that even when the worst doubts flood me, when in rebellion, I scream my questions to the sky and wait for heaven to strike me down, God is still there and He still loves me through it.  No matter how many tantrums I throw, even whispered denials of my deeply-rooted faith, the facts don't change.  God... is... God.

And when the tantrums are over, my emotions completely exhausted, the tears spent, the peace flows.  I know that I know that I know that God is working, even when I can't see it and even when it makes no sense to me. 

The thing about all those children that day - they were innocent.  Trusting.  Untainted by the world and its cynicism.  Gathered into their Father's hands for an eternity of peace. 

I can lay my agenda aside and seek the innocence of the very young.  And in that innocence, place my hand in God's and trust Him to take me where He wants me to go.

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
"It is well, it is well with my soul."
                                     -Horatio Spafford

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

So THIS is Christmas...

"Here."  She handed the bundle to me, the red, wrinkled, squalling face in the middle of a bloodstained white cloth.  "I need to sleep."

She sank back into the prickly straw, grateful, I'm sure, to be off the mule.  Grateful to be rid of the constant jarring journey of the last few days.  Grateful to have the baby on the outside instead of on the inside.

The baby.  I moved my arms so the tiny head was supported by my elbow.  The shrill cries filled the stable, drowning out the low wicker of the horse, the chomp chomp of the cow chewing her cud.  I shifted the bundle until the baby's head nestled into the crook of my neck, brushing my beard with his tiny forehead.

What I felt, I couldn't identify.  This baby didn't belong to me.  My seed didn't help to create this little miracle.  In obedience, I had married the girl lying in the straw.  But so far, we'd never gotten intimate.  Out of impossibility, this very loud, flesh-and-blood infant became possible.  

The angel had said that the child was from God.  What if I had dreamed it?  What if it was all in my imagination?  What if she really had been unfaithful?  And then lied about it?  But no - the angel was real.  I'm sure of it.

Then why me?  And why Mary?  Why had God chosen to allow us to parent His Son?  Out of all the more deserving people in this wide world, why choose a carpenter?  I looked down at my calloused fingers rubbing the baby's back.  So big.  Rough.  Clumsy even.  I bounced the bundle gently.  "Hush now," I whispered.  "You'll wake your mama."

The baby's cries gradually stilled into silence.  I leaned my head back.  His dark eyes slowly disappeared beneath heavy lids.  His tri-cornered mouth opened, shallow breaths drawing in and out.  Sleep, sweet peaceful slumber.

Maybe this wasn't my baby by all the rights of physical DNA.  But I knew my son as he lay on my chest.  I loved my son as he slept deeply.  And I worshiped my Son as I realized his divinity.

"Sleep well, my son," I whispered.  "God's got big plans for you."

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Know, Know, Know

I bent over the open fridge door, straining to see the top shelf.  It was Sunday, my husband was home, and I needed to come up with something for lunch.  The kids like peanut butter and honey sandwiches.  I don't mind them.  Tim usually doesn't care for them much.  He prefers leftovers.  

I grabbed the bread bag off the top shelf and untwisted the tie.  Tim brushed by me on his way through the kitchen.  

"No," he said. 

My hands stilled.  "What?"

"That question you were gonna ask.  Just no."

What the -? "What question was I gonna ask?"

"You'll see."  He grinned and headed back to the bedroom to change clothes.

What in the world is he talking about?  I'm not going to ask him a question.  I grabbed the peanut butter and put my husband's ridiculousness out of my mind.  Honey next.  How many slices of bread do I need for the kids?  Oh, maybe Tim wants one.  "Tim, did you want... a... sandwich... Oh."  My voice trailed off mid-sentence as I realized I just asked the question he had already given me an answer to.

We both burst into laughter, but underneath the hilarity, it felt good.  It felt right that my husband knows me so well that he'll know what I'm gonna say sometimes before I even say it.  

That intimate knowledge covers a lot of stuff.  Not just the good, but the bad and the ugly too.  I don't hide from him.  He knows all of me.

Kinda like that Creator God, you know?  The one that "created my inmost being; [He] knit me together in my mother’s womb." (Psalm 139:13).  It feels good to be known.  To be known like that.  I'm never going to surprise God.  He'll never be shocked at what I come up with next.  I'm glad I can be exactly who He made me to be, quirks, hangups, dorky-ness, stubborness, fetish for mayonnaise, the whole sha-bang. 

Thanks, God.  I really like that about You. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Something Stinks... I Think It's Your Attitude

This morning, my oldest daughter got up on the wrong side of bed.  Well, not literally, 'cause then she would have been climbing a wall.  But she copped a constant attitude from the time I carried her out of her room (she was sharing a room with a still sleeping baby sister) all through the rest of the morning as she got ready for school. 

No, she didn't want to wear jeans.  She hates jeans.

Why did she have to wear a blue shirt?  She wanted a pink shirt.

DON'T put on her socks!  She's going to put them on AFTER breakfast!

She doesn't want to eat breakfast.

I will admit, I wasn't the perfect angel either.  With each ear-grating whine and each nerve-pinching complaint, the tenseness factor of the morning reached a boiling point.  

"You're going to eat breakfast, young lady."  I poured her a bowl of Cheerios.  "So get over here right now, straighten up your attitude and eat!"  I banged the bowl down at her place.  

She dragged herself over to the table and slunk into her chair.

"Go ahead and pray," I urged.  At this point, the last thing either of us wanted to do was drop our stinky attitudes and ask our loving Creator God to bless our food and our day.

"You pray."  My daughter tried to weasel out of it.

"No," I snapped.  "I think you need to ask Jesus to help you have a better attitude today, so you're going to pray."

My daughter finally gave in.  "Dear God," she whispered, still with a tinge of defiance, "please help me... and Mommy... to have a better attitude."


From the mouth of babes...

So those words have stuck with me through the rest of the morning.  When my son couldn't figure out a puzzle and threw the whole thing on the floor in frustration, I remembered my daughter's prayer for me.

When my toddler got hold of her leftover oatmeal bowl that she hadn't finished and contented herself with spreading it across my cushioned recliner before she was caught, I remembered my daughter's prayer for me.

When my son and daughter got into a knock-down drag-out fight over a silly toy that ended with screaming and tears, I remembered my daughter's prayer for me.

When I stared at the pile of dirty dishes on the sink that just never seems to get done and felt like throwing my own temper tantrum in protest, I remembered my daughter's prayer for me.

Today, I will not take charge of my own attitude.  I will give my attitude to God and let Him manage it.  I think He'd probably do a better job with it anyway. 

Monday, November 26, 2012


I admit it.  I'm a self-professed addict.  That's the first step, right?  Admitting it?  For the fun of it, I've written a (rare, for me) rhyming poem.  Maybe I can pull you in to my addiction... take you down with me, right? ;)

The blanketed voices of dusty friends,
The reams of pages that rarely end
Without a good guy or a bad girl or a butler's sin;
Just two more pages before I turn in - 
Or ten or twenty or two hundred and four.
The world of fiction is never a bore.
One a.m., two a.m., rub sleep from my eyes.
It's three a.m., I can't say my good-byes.
The professor's about to go over a cliff,
If he'd listened to her, I'd be asking "What if?"
What if he'd gone down the opposite road
And taken his turn to riddle the code?
What if he'd seen the main girl get shot
And dragged down the ditch where last they'd fought?
And turned full around
And dug underground
To find a tunnel
Where they buried a funnel
That led to the land
Of red flowers and sand.
Oh if only I'd known how the story would be,
I'd not have read to the hour of three.
More like four, five or six or seven or eight.
While my kids are all waiting for food on their plates,
I'd be propping my lids and wishing I had
Snoozed a just a bit.  'Cause now I'll be mad
As a hose-soaked cat who got teased by the kids,
All because I refused to shut my lids.
All for the sake of a really good book.
And all because I just had to look.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

To Cry or Not To Cry...

I apologize, World, if you happened to be in the vicinity of myself or my children today.  You have my sincerest regrets. 

5:30 a.m.: I open my bleary eyes to the insistent beeping of my husband's alarm clock.  He drags himself out of bed, gets a shower, returns to the bedroom and rouses me again for a quick kiss good-bye.  He's traveling to D.C. today for a business training session.

I'm alone with three kids.  Should be a typical day, but it's not, 'cause Jordyn's got a Thanksgiving party and I'm supposed to help.  

6:00 a.m.: I drag myself out of bed.  I sleepily shake my cereal in the bowl, grab the orange juice and start to pour it on the cereal, realize what I'm doing, return the orange juice to the fridge.  I grab the milk.  I mechanically spoon it down, shower, get dressed, brush my teeth.  Now it's time to wake the kids.

7:00 a.m.: I shake my son awake.  He pops up like he hasn't slept all night and cheerfully trots out to the kitchen.  "I want toast with PLAIN butter, Mommy," he chirps, like one of those annoying crickets.  Obviously, I'm not a morning person.

My oldest daughter is next.  She's a bit more like me.  I shake her, tickle her, pat her, wash her face with a cold washcloth.  Eventually (after the washcloth), she pulls herself awake.  In the shuffle, my 15-month-old wakes up, crying, needing to be changed.  

Suddenly everything speeds up to hyper-speed.  I feed my son his toast, at the same time change my youngest daughter's diaper, march my oldest daughter to the bathroom, squirm three wriggling bodies into a semblance of clothes, glance at the clock - need to leave at 8:00.  Brush teeth, brush hair, find tangles in hair, yank on them with hairbrush, tangles don't come out, get out scissors and cut hair.  Screaming, crying, "I don't WANT to go to school.  I WANT to stay here.  I WANT to go back to sleep!"

Drag all three kids out to the car, buckle, buckle, you buckle yourself back there, jump in the driver's seat and head down the driveway.  Oh, the party.  Back up the driveway, jump back out, run into the house, grab the 6 dozen cookies resting in several different trays to take for the party.  Load them in the van, run back in and grab the juice boxes, run those out.  Back in the van, buckle, down the driveway, to the school.  

Get to the school, the bell will ring in five minutes.  "Jordyn, can you help me carry some of these cookies in?"  I eye the huge stack of containers.  I really don't want to have to make three trips with three kids while carrying the 15-month-old.  


"Why not?"

"I don't want to."  Pout, pout.

"Jordyn, straighten up right now.  I need your help, please."  I stick a tray in her hands.  I reach in the van to get the next tray.  Crash.  The tray Jordyn was holding dumps all over the pavement.  Cookie crumbs everywhere.  

It's fine.  The kids will just have to eat cookie crumbs.  I suspect the crash was deliberate, but since my back was turned, I can't prove it.  I let it go.

I pick up the tray, salvage what I can, give the tray to my middle child, who is surprisingly in his cheerful cricket mode.  He holds it carefully.

I pick up the second tray, scold Jordyn for dropping the first tray and tell her to hold this one more securely.  Shuffling the baby to one hip, I wrangle the juice boxes and two 9x13's and my diaper bag in the other arm.  We head into the school.  Just inside the door, the second tray slips out of Jordyn's hands.  Crash.  Cookie crumbs all over the carpet.  My hands are full.  I'm helpless.  The principal (bless him) hurries over and helps scrape up what cookies haven't touched the floor.  They go back on the tray, the rest go in the trash.

I deliver said cookies, brownies, juice boxes and oldest daughter to the classroom.  My daughter is crying as I leave.  

I stifle my desire to yell at... something.  The other two kids and I head to Chick-Fil-A to kill time and let the boy run out his energy and cricket-ness on the playground.  We pull into the parking lot.

"Mommy," my son suddenly sobs.  "I don't want to pway on the pwayground.  The slide has bumps and there's other kids."

"You're going to play on the playground," I say through my teeth.  You're going to have fun, now, I mean it!  Or else!

He plays.  But his heart's not in it.  

I load the kids up again and we head to the library.  We unbuckle and head inside, where my son proceeds to empty a shelf of books while I'm trying to keep the baby on my hip and dig my library card out of my purse.  The librarian waves it off and I get the book I have on hold.  We're just finishing up, when I notice my son... standing behind the librarian, behind the counter.  "Joel," I snap.  "Get out of there."  He grins at me and comes out from behind the counter.  I am not amused.

We march back to the van, buckle up, head back to the school where I'm supposed to cheerfully help all the preschool kids with their Thanksgiving party.   At this point, cheerful is about polar opposite of how I feel.  

The party begins, I start to help the kids fill their plates.  Joel busies himself in a corner, Elena chomps down some grapes.  Jordyn's doing well sitting quietly at a table with the rest of the preschoolers.  I begin to relax.  

"Mommy."  Joel tugs at my sleeve.  He's no longer a cheerful cricket.  Now he's crying.  "I have a sore throat."

I glance nervously at a few of the other parents nearby.  My son is contaminating your kids.  Sorry.  "Shh."  I certainly don't want him broadcasting his sore throat.  I do my best to quiet him.  Elena calmly dumps the grapes all over the carpet.

It's show and tell time.  Joel is excited.  He wants to "play" too.  When he realizes that Jordyn got to "show and tell" something and he didn't get to, he wails this high-pitched, keening cry that drives a needle straight up the spine into the brain and vibrates there.  None of the 15 preschool students, or their parents, or the teacher, or me or anybody can hear themselves think.  I take Joel out into the hallway.  Elena begins to cry because she can't see me.

The teacher decides it's high time to take the kids outside to play on the playground.  This starts out well, but ends in disaster as Joel decides he wants to go to an out-of-bounds place where the preschoolers are not allowed to go.  When I pull him away, he does that horrible cry again... and doesn't stop.  I can feel the flush starting in my chest and moving up my neck and onto my cheeks.  My ears get hot and I'm sure the entire school is staring out the windows at my son... and his mother.

It's time to go in anyway.  I wrangle my son and my two daughters back inside with the rest of the kids.  Joel is still crying.  Jordyn realizes it's time to leave, so she starts crying.  Elena's naptime is coming up, so she starts crying.  All three of the kids are shriek-screaming as we head for the door.  Oops, forgot the leftover cookies.  

I grab those, make a run for the door, pile them in the van, then run back into the classroom to retrieve my screaming trio.  I apologize profusely to the poor teacher, who looks a little weary.

We get in the van, buckle and are ready to go.  I breathe a sigh of relief as we pull out of the parking lot.  

"Mommy!"  Jordyn starts to cry again.  "I forgot my teddy bear!"  

Of course, she forgot her teddy bear.  Why would anything go well today?

I stop the van, back up to the door, lock the van and grab the keys.  No way am I unbuckling everyone to head back in to search for the lost teddy.  I run into the school, back to the preschool room.  The teacher looks... overjoyed (#sarcasm)... to see me.  I explain the situation, and both of us do a quick hunt.  Nothing.

Dreading the scene that will happen in the van as I explain the missing teddy, I return slowly to the vehicle.  I open the door and do one last-ditch effort to find said teddy.  I unzip Jordyn's bag... and there it is.  "Jordyn!" I snap.  "It's right there in the bag."

She looks at me calmly.

"I know."


I get in the driver's seat and drive home.  It's a quiet ride.  I don't feel much like talking.


Friday, November 16, 2012

What Did You Say?

"Use your words," I tell my 15-month old daughter.  Because telling her to use her words when she only knows "Mamama" and "Dadadada" is so helpful.

Today, she went to stand at the refrigerator door.  "Uuuhhn."  Obviously, that means, "Mommy, could you please pour me a sippy cup of milk?  I'm very thirsty."

So I reached up in our cupboard, rifled around for a sippy cup, and pulled one out.  I filled it up with milk and handed it to her.

"Uuuhn."  She stood with the sippy cup in her hand and pointed up at the cupboard the cup came from.  The door stood open.  More sippy cups were stacked in various piles.

"You have your milk, honey."  I pointed to the sippy cup in her hand.

"UUUHNN!"  Obviously, I wasn't getting it.  

I glanced at my husband.  "Am I missing something?"  

He walked over and hefted Elena onto his hip.  "What's up, pumpkin?"

She pointed at the cupboard again.  He carried her over.  "Can you point?"

She edged her fingers around the open door of the cupboard and swung it shut with a bang.  "Uuhgn."  Obviously, that meant, "There."

Communication.  It's something we all do.  Some of us are good at it, and others... well... stink at it.  In a fight with my husband (yes, we do fight now and then *gasp*), our communication falls apart.  We're reduced to the equivalent of "uuuhn"-ing at each other.  Words just don't cut it sometimes.  Sometimes, we have to show our feelings to each other to make sure we understand. 

I think if we put half as much effort into understanding each other as we do to figuring out what each "uuunhh" of our daughter's is, we'd probably solve all our problems.  Or at least most of them. :)

When Tim comes home from work, I'm going to tell him "Uuunh."  See how long it takes him to figure out what I just said.  (Plus, he'll be really confused, and that'll make me laugh.)

Monday, November 12, 2012

The 22-Step Program of a Clothes-Shopping-Hater

22 reasons you have to drag me, kicking and screaming, to go clothes-shopping:

1. I enter the door at Kohl's.  
2. I turn right.  Because the women's clothing section is located to my left, I circle the entire store before I actually find the women's clothing section.
3. I see a beautiful outfit worn so nicely by a gorgeous plastic body.
4. I pick out said outfit to try on.  I could sure use a new look.
5. I think the plastic model has lost weight since I entered the dressing room.  Either that, or they're using one of those circus mirrors that adds pounds in all the wrong places.
6. I hang outfit on hook and leave the dressing room.
7. I feel guilty.  My mom's voice taunts in my ear: "If-all-the-world-were-just-like-me-what-kind-of-world-would-this-world-be?"  
8. I return to the dressing room.  I grab the outfit and take it to the "clothes-to-be-returned" rack.
9. I find a bigger size this time.
10. I return to the dressing room.  This time, it looks great.  
11. I glance at the pricetag. !!!!!
12. I return item to rack.
13. I find clearance rack.  Good, stuff under $10.  I grab a few things and return to the dressing room.
14. I try one on.  My horrified face in the mirror clashes with the XXXL neon green and electric orange paisley.  Oops.  Not so groovy nowadays.  And just a teensy bit roomy.
15. I return it to the rack.
16. I decide Kohl's stinks.
17. I go to Goodwill.  
18. I pick an outfit.  
19. I head to the cashier.  As she reaches her hands for my selection, I realize my choice is the same outfit I had donated to Goodwill last month.
20. I return item to rack.
21. I go home and pull out my oldest, raggediest pajamas and put them on. 
22. I vow never to return to a clothing store again in this lifetime.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Don't Worry, I'm Crying WITH You...

When I was five or six, I saw the movie, Old Yeller, for the first time.  I was an animal lover, and I had begged and begged and begged my parents to let me get a dog.  The closest they came to granting my wish was letting me watch doggie-movies.  Old Yeller, Lassie Come Home, etc.  

I'm guessing 99.9% of you have either seen Old Yeller or have heard of it, so I won't be ruining anything when I say it has a horrendously awful, terribly sad, absolutely NO GOOD ending.  

I cried for days afterward.  'Cause that's what I do, apparently (I cried for two weeks straight after seeing Episode III of Star Wars - the one where Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader - yeah, that one.  I was 26 years old at the time).

At any rate, I vowed that I would never, ever, ever, NEVER, ever (does this remind you of Taylor Swift's recent really awful song?) torture myself through that story again.

Fast-forward 27 or 28 years.  My daughter was flipping through an illustrated book of old Disney stories.  She brought the book in to me and asked me to read a story.  

"Which one, honey?"

"This one!"  She pointed to a suspiciously familiar picture of a yellow dog fighting a bear.  

"No," I said.

"Mommy, please?"

Apparently, vows that you make to yourself when you're five or six do not hold anymore when you have earnest, huge blue eyes blinking up at you... with cinnamon sprinkle freckles scattered across a button nose...

"Okay, darlin', but I want you to understand that it's kind of a sad story.  You might get a little teary-eyed at the end.  You still want to read it?"

"Yeah!"  She settled herself into my side to listen.

So I read that story.  

And then I thought, life isn't all sunshine and flowers.  And my daughter will most certainly discover this at some point, probably sooner than later.  I'd rather that she figures this out at my side than stumbling around blindly trying to figure it out somewhere else.  

Sure, I love reading Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and happily-ever-after-warm-fuzzy stories.  But sometimes, mommies need to cry with their daughters too.  

Sometimes, a mommy's tears are more comforting than any words she could possibly say.  My mommy and I have cried a lot together.  I hope my daughter and I can do the same.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Number Genius

My husband thinks I'm a little strange.  Apparently, I have no talent for anything number-wise, so math, geometry, algebra, all those... make absolutely no sense to me.  So, to compensate, I try to make "handles" for numbers so I can remember them better.

For example, a friend's address number (one of those crazy long ones): 10743.  If you start out with ten (because 10 just makes sense - everything goes to 10), then you subtract 3, you get 7.  If you subtract 3 more, you get 4, then subtract one more, you get 3.

So easy. 

(Tim groans as he reads this over my shoulder).

Recently, I was supposed to remember the number 4890 to remind Tim in case he forgot it.  (Small chance of that - my husband's a whiz at numbers).  Tim told me the number.  I thought for a minute, then said, "Okay, I've got it."  

"I'm afraid to ask.  But how are you remembering it?"

So I explained.  "90 is double 45.  45 is half of 90.  Add 3 to 45 because I have 3 kids, which gives you 48.  So 4890."

Tim asked, "How do you remember 90 in the first place?"

"Because 90 minutes is the length of most normal-paced movies."


And he thinks numbers aren't my strong point.  *Pfff* :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Broken Crowns Teaser

Do you like mystery/suspense books?  I do.  Here's the cover of my ebook (coming in before the holidays this year).  It'd make a nice stocking-stuffer, I think. :)

Jill Lyons' life turns upside down the day she walks into her office to find her boss sprawled across his desk with a bullet hole between his eyes. 

Jeff Siegle's past catches up to him the moment he discovers his children are kidnapped.

A seemingly harmless nursery rhyme turns deadly as riddles and a shadow from the past pull them relentlessly towards death's door. Jill and Jeff struggle to find answers... before it's too late.

Happy reading! :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wuv... TWOO wuv...

My children are a constant source of delight to me.

Last night, I put my son to bed without his pillow!  To understand the drama of this occasion, you must imagine an attachment on the level of Romeo/Juliet, Lancelot/Guinevere, Jane/Mr. Rochester, Elizabeth/Mr. Darcy... Bella/Edward *cough*.  The separation anxiety is usually severe.

On this occasion, some fluke happened in the cosmos, and my son did not notice his missing pillow.  As soon as he was asleep, Tim and I sought the missing object, frantically whispering new hiding place ideas to each other as we searched.  Our house is not that big.  Surprisingly, there are a lot of places to hide.  We didn't find it and I dreaded the next morning, when we would have to break the news of the missing pillow.

Sometime during the night, our son crawled in bed with us.  I wondered if he had woken up and realized his security was missing.

He didn't mention it this morning.  I shot up a few prayers asking God to please let us find his pillow before he noticed it.  I didn't dare ask my son if he remembered where he'd left it.  Pictures of the resulting disaster filled my mind.

I began to clean up the archeological dig that is my living room.  On my hands and knees, I began sorting toys into piles where they needed to go.  A quick look under the couch, and THERE IT WAS!  In the words of Carroll, Oh Frabjous Day, Callooh, Callay!  He Chortled In His Joy! 

My son heard my gasp of excitement and ran into the room.  "My PIWOW!  I WUV my PIWOW!"  He hugged the thing - the limp, dirty, overly-hugged, overly-loved, frayed, falling-apart pillow. 

For some reason, and I couldn't begin to explain myself, my tear glands started working.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ready... Or Not?

I'm a bit of a cynic when it comes to weather warnings.  I grew up in a county that closed school before any snowflakes actually arrived.  And most of the time, those snowflakes never came.  If you jaunted to the store, the sections where milk and bread had once resided were swept clear.  Snow shovels and sledding gear all sold out in two hours of the first snow-storm warning.  

I admit I'm a bit resentful.  Mostly, all my sledding happened on green grass in our back yard.  It thawed my enthusiasm (pun fully intended).

Now we've got all sorts of warnings about Hurricane Sandy heading our way.  Given my background, I'm still a little skeptical about any major winds and damage.  I snort derisively when the newscasters blather on and on about death/doom/destruction/billion-dollar-damage.

This is the perfect storm.  Augh!  Run and hide!

Actually, they might have a point.  Well, not much of one, but I can concede them a little ground.  Even if the storm doesn't cause much damage, wouldn't it be better to be prepared?  

I played this question over in my mind as my husband pulled out the flashlights and checked the batteries, set out the candles, filled the bathtub and put aside drinking water.  As tempted as I was to laugh it off, I realized he's a pretty wise guy to prepare for the worst while still hoping for the best.

In the long run, I guess it's better, as Jesus said, to be like the wise man who built his house on a rock.  When the storms came, they blew and beat on that that house and it stood firm.  Or, like in the song I sing with my kids, the foolish man built his house upon the sand and the rain came tumbling down.  The floods came up, and the house on the sand fell flat. *Smack! with our hands - which, admittedly, is my favorite part of the song.*

So easy to apply this to the big scary storm supposedly heading in our direction.  Throw a little extra water around, toss a few extra candles on the table.  A lot less easy to apply to other issues.  Shallow friendships?  Do we spend time investing in people?  Or just pass them with a nod and a smile?  Financially unsettled?  Have we spent lavishly without thought for tomorrow?  Marital difficulties?  Have we missed out on communicating with each other until there is no foundation left to continue with?  

Isaiah 28:16 says:  

So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
    a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who relies on it
    will never be stricken with panic.

Good words of advice.  Hurricane Sandy, or any other storm heading my way, try what you like.  I've got a pretty good foundation.


Thursday, October 25, 2012


I find prose to be much scarier than poetry.  In poetry, I can hide behind adjectives.  And if the adjectives don't make much sense, I can fall behind the poet's stereotype of the "tortured inner soul" to explain my choice of words.

"The bleeding wells 
Drip, dripped 
Onto crisp whiteness,
Blankness seeping through
My windows
To fill the darkness until
Only white remained."

What the - ??!


To write prose - or "to write like a normal person" as my husband so delicately puts it - is to unlock those doors I like to keep shut tight.  The ones that hide rooms chock full of my vulnerable ideas.

I could leave it at that.  Just leave those ideas in their rooms and keep on using the adjectives - and sometimes I might turn out a pretty decent piece of poetry.  

Or, I could take a risk, suffer a few knocks on the sensitive parts, and maybe, someday, come up with something truly great. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


So often I stare at a blank page,
Waiting for the words to paint the pictures,
To voice the myriad of thoughts
Swimming in my head.

The muse retreats and hides,
The page stays white,
The thoughts refuse to order themselves,
They brawl in their own barroom fight.

(The middle child whacks the youngest on the head.  She screams.  The oldest asks a question, asks it again.  And again.  The baby still screams.  The middle child thinks screaming is fun, so he joins in.  The oldest hates not being heard, so she screams too.  The house and my eardrums ring with screaming vibrations.)

The white page winks wickedly at me,
I sigh and promise
Tomorrow, we'll add the words.