Sunday, February 24, 2013

Why I'm a Wet Blanket

"You want to play a card game?" my husband asks after all the kids are in bed and I've finished my workout and am snuggled in my comfy armchair with a good book.

"No," I say, without ceremony or excuse.

This is not because I do not enjoy spending quality time with my husband, have any aversion to card games, or want, in general, to destroy the harmony of our little home. 

It's because I tend to be a wet blanket.  And by wet, I mean, an honest-to-goodness-H20-wet blanket.  

In the course of a random day, the baby's drool soaks the shoulder of my shirt after she's spent a long night teething.  I splash dish water on the front of my shirt when I drop the slippery bowl in the soapy water.  My sick son takes the optimum moment to puke on my pants before we can get him to a toilet.  The baby falls off the sit-and-spin and bangs her lip on the rocking horse, resulting in a fat lip and blood everywhere.  My oldest daughter goes to take a drink at supper, hits the cup wrong, and sends the contents of the cup flying across the table into my plate of food and my lap.  And eternal potty training brings all sorts of liquid surprises.  I put the kids to bed, stick in a workout video and soak my shirt in sweat before I'm done.

So, I think I have earned the right to sit in my comfy arm chair in my nice dry jammies, turn my toes up, and read a book.  

I know what you're thinking.  Yes, all of those things have happened to me.  Granted, it has never happened in one day's time.  But - it could.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Monsters in the Closet

My youngest daughter talks all. the. time.  

But she doesn't use words.  She's eighteen months old and is most likely the best communicator in the family.  My husband and three year old son are men of few words.  My oldest daughter and I talk a lot but usually say very little.  

My youngest daughter can tell me that she wants milk, that she likes candy, and that scary monsters creep out of her closet at night and have dances on the ceiling in the glow of the nightlight when I've left the room and closed the door and she doesn't really like it, but she knows that it's okay because her mommy or daddy will come fight them off if they get too close, so she can go ahead and go to sleep and save the worry for another day.  


It took a lot of grunts, squeals and finger-pointing to get the monster-in-the-closet story across, but she didn't give up until we understood.

I wonder if I never gave up communicating with my husband, my family, my friends until they understood... how different of a person would I be?  

I'd be less snarky for one thing.  "Didn't I tell you about that last week?  Didn't I?  I hate to say I told you so, but honestly..."

Less sarcastic, less abrasive, less sporadic.

I might even come across as more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind... wait.  There's a list with those terms in it somewhere.  What was it?  Oh yes.  Galatians.  The fruits of the Spirit.

So next time the monsters come waltzing out of any closets in my house, I'm going to remember this little pep talk.  And I'll go make some quality communication time with my family.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Wait Loss

Losing weight is like making caramel.

You heard me.

Every Christmas, I go through my traditional endeavors to make hundreds of cookies, candies and sweetbreads.  Wreath cookies, molasses crinkles, gingerbread men, peanut blossoms, lemon drops, peppermint patties, buckeyes, peanut butter fudge, mints, poppy seed bread, and turtles.

I usually save the turtles for last because they. take. forever.

If you've had any experience with candy-making, you know that if the recommended temperature for your candy isn't spot on, you're going to either have soup or a brick.  Bricks are great for peanut brittle, not so much for turtles.  In case anyone is wondering, bricks chip teeth.  Just fyi.

So, in an effort to avoid masonry, I stand in front of the stove with my candy thermometer bent at an odd angle so as to sit at the perfect depth in the liquid - not touching the bottom, but not pulling in the "cooler" air from the surface.  And I stir.

And stir.

And stir.

And stir.

I look at my watch.

And stir some more.

The temperature actually rises pretty rapidly for the first bit, and then when it's about five degrees short of the mark, it stops.  My kids grow up, move away, and finish college, and then the temperature inches up to ONE DEGREE short of perfection.  I crank out fourteen more books, publish them, retire and enter the geriatric ward by the time that caramel






Granted, if I hadn't eaten a lot of those turtles this past Christmas, I probably wouldn't be in this stage of eight-pounds-to-go-before-I-hit-my-target-weight.  That's beside the point.

The real question is:

Why in the world would I choose to retire after only fifteen books?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Don't Miss the Free Promo of Broken Crowns!!

Free Promotion - February 8-9!!  Get Broken Crowns by Tamara Shoemaker on Kindle (download a Kindle Reader for any device) FREE for 2 days.


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 finds out his children are kidnapped. A riddle and a shadow from the past pull them relentlessly towards death's door as they struggle to find answers... before it's too late.

Book Excerpt:

“Come on, Jeff.” He squared his shoulders. “You’ve learned magic. You’ve come a long way. Now use what you’ve got and get yourself out of this.” His anger burned against the man who had brought his family back to his mind. With a whispered hex, he put his anger to rest and waited expectantly for his justification to come. 

Instead of the expected result, pain hit is windpipe. What the - ? He clutched at his throat. The air he attempted to draw in was slow in coming. He gagged and choked. The air-flow stopped completely. He fell to his knees, his eyes dimly taking in the staring people around him. Blackness closed in …. 

4.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Debut novel is a winner! January 25, 2013 -- by Brenda Risner.

“Clues left at seemingly unrelated crime scenes bring Jill and Jeff together as they try to solve the complex riddles they find. As their respective pasts haunt them, they begin to find peace in the midst of the dangerous game they've unwittingly joined.

Tamara Shoemaker's debut novel will have readers begging for more. This thriller has it all. Mystery, history, suspense, murder, mayhem, romance, witchcraft, and faith. Fast-paced and cleverly written, Broken Crowns is a real page-turner. Shoemaker is definitely an author to watch. Fantastic first novel! I can't wait for her second!”

Additional Links:

Visit the publisher’s website at
Visit the author’s Facebook Page.
Read the Author’s blog: A Pair of Shoes
Read an interview with the villain of Broken Crowns.
Find Broken Crowns on

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Teachable Moments

Today I carried my son into a deserted Sunday School classroom at our church to change his diaper.  I laid him on the floor and hunched over my bag to find the necessary supplies.  He started playing with the border of a bulletin board just above him. 

It was a pretty border, rainbows and flowers and animals and Noah's ark patterned along its length.  In between each picture, in different fonts and colors, were the words "God is Love." 

My son is getting to the stage where he can recognize letters, though he's still far from reading.  He pointed to one of the phrases.  "What's that say, Mommy?"

"God is love."

He kicked and squirmed some more.  Then he pointed to another phrase further along the border.  "What's that one say?"

"That one also says God is Love."  I wondered how many more times I would have to answer the same question before I could finish getting him wiped and his pants back on.

He wiggled around some more (my son never ever stops moving unless he's in a sound sleep, or sick).  Then he pointed to one of the flowers.  "What's that say, Mommy?"

I glanced at the flower and gave the easy answer.  It was, after all, time to return to the service.  "It doesn't say anything."

As I dropped off my son in Sunday School and returned to the church service, I felt a little guilty.  Would it have been so very hard for me to seize a teachable moment?  To explain that flowers say a lot of things about their Creator?  That each petal and pistil and stamen and stem sing a gorgeous song of praise to the greatest Artist?  That all of life, even plant and animal life, was carefully constructed and planned to the Nth detail by the greatest Master of Design... ever?

Granted, my son probably was simply looking for the easy answer I gave him.  But I could have given a bit more... and it might have made a drop of difference in the long run.  I have lots of plans for 'teachable moments' with him in the future.  But this one is one that will never come around again.  I guess I'm a little sorry about how I used it.