Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas is Coming to Town

Did you know Christmas is 14 days away. Yup, I checked here and it says it is so it must be true.

But, did you know Spring is only 100 days away? Whaaattt?! I know. Minding.blowing. Now that is something I can get excited about!

Okay, back to Christmas. How are you doing? Presents, decorations, Christmas cards/letters to mail, menu planning, baking....stress levels?

Just a word (or three) of advice/encouragement: It's okay not to do all the "traditions" that everyone else does. It's okay not to feel 100% joyful during this time of jolly when you feel as though breathing and taking the next step is all you can do. Yet, if you want to light every corner of your house and yard...go for it. Don't worry about what others are "doing" or not "doing".

What if we gave more than we received. What if we knew a family struggling to take that next step and we stepped in to help make Christmas special for their children and them. What if we just smiled at a person and said hello instead of numbly and hurriedly walking past.

Remember the whole reason we celebrate Christmas. Jesus was born. God's Son. God's gift to us. God loves you so much. Breathe that in. Think about His unending love and grace. Let that be your Christmas. Let that be your 365 days of the year.

And, then remember....only 100 days until spring!!! ☺

Monday, December 8, 2014

When it doesn't seem fair

I'm sorry. I'm sorry your team didn't get in the final tournament. I'm sorry if you are a player for a team that didn't do well. It's very disappointing. It's okay to feel that way....for a time. What ifs won't help. Look ahead, not behind. Easier said than done? You bet.

I'm not belittling your feelings. I'm not. Really. Everyone has disappointments. Everyone has failures. Most of us want to cry when things are hard. It's okay. It's hard for you, right now. Give yourself some time.

When I'm going through 'stuff', I find it helpful to look outside of myself and my circumstance:

  • I'm loved by the King, the Creator of the universe and me. Will I have trials? You bet. It's a fallen world.
  • Others have it far worse:
    • Homelessness
    • Being sold into slavery - here and in other countries
    • Illnesses that are not curable or seem to drag on forever
    • Racism and reverse racism
    • All sexual sins
    • Wondering where and when the next meal will come from
    • Loss of a job and can't find work
    • Not being able to provide gifts for your children
    • Pain that will not go away no matter the medication
    • Loss of loved ones through death, kidnapping, estranged relationship
    • and the list could go on and on....
  • This trial will make me stronger, braver, help me understand others better and will change me even if I can't see the joy in the situation at the moment. 
  • Perhaps God will use this time in my life to help someone who is or will be going through the same thing I am.
A little dose of perspective always helps me. 

What are some things you do or think about when going through a rough patch?

Monday, November 24, 2014

A World Full of Words

I like to think of myself as an encourager. The person behind someone whispering 'You can do it. Don't let doubt take over." Words can be beautiful. Words can be what a person needs. Words can also be was a person doesn't need.

Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, my tongue becomes very sharp and hurtful. It's like I'm having an out of body experience; I'm watching those words fly out of my mouth and I can't reign in the hurt. Am I the only one?

That sticks and stones rhyme? Yeah, big fat lie. I heard one speaker say, when talking about hurtful words and marriage, "Words are atomic bombs." Words can mushroom and get out of control hurting those in the path. 

But, that person deserved to be "told off". Or, I held it in so long I just sort of exploded. Poor excuses, I have don't I. I'm learning to be silent but oh how hard that is at times. Do I fail? You bet your boots! Oh, how I need Him. I'm so glad He doesn't give up on me like I deserve!

I was listening to Oh How I Need You by All Sons & Daughters. They are sort of indie/country. Yes, those who know me know I'm not fond of country music. There are some instruments that, frankly, get on my nerves in country songs. So, having said that I really love this song. Listen to the video and see if you agree. 

Let my life be for Your Glory
Woven in Your threads of grace...

Catchy little thing isn't it?! ;)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Beacons of Hope - Love Unexpected Review

All I ever wanted was a home. That's it. A home of my very own. A home to decorate. A home to invite others in and make them feel special. I just didn't know the emotionally exhausting wave I had to ride to get it.

I'm Emma. My story is a long one but full of hope, faith and forgiveness. However, it took me a long time to get to the point of having hope. You see, I'm not very sure of myself and I wondered how God could let so many things happen to me and my family. I gave up hope and faith for a very long time. But then, something happened and changed everything.

Patrick and his son, Josiah, entered my life in most unusual turn of events. My mind still reels as I think back on all that happened leading up to me becoming a wife and mother. Did you ever have a moment in your life when you made a life changing decision and five minutes later you wonder what did I just get myself into?! Yes, it was just like that.

When we, well Patrick, rowed the boat around the bend and I saw our lighthouse and house, I knew in my heart I would make the house my own and love the son who just became mine. We had many ups and downs as all married couple do. Except, we really only knew one another a few minutes before Holy Bill pronounced us husband and wife. I still get dizzy when I remember how our lives rolled through some huge waves in the beginning. 

I've changed since the turbulent beginning. Come join my story. Author, Jody Hedlund penned a book recording Patrick and my adventures. It's written beautifully, honestly and shows how hope, love, faith and forgiveness can turn many lives around. 

His humble servant,

Love Unexpected: Beacons of Hope Book 1

Also enjoy Jody's FREE ebook novella, Out of the Storm, to whet your appetite for this series. Plus it has the first five chapters of Love Unexpected neatly tucked away in the end of the novella. Win-win. What more could you want?! 

I really enjoyed both the novella and Love Unexpected. I would highly recommend any book written by the historic Christian fiction master, Jody Hedlund. Find a list of all of her books here. You won't be sorry....well, your shirk your responsibilities once you read the first page because you can't put it down but responsibilities are overrated anyway! 

While reading Love Unexpected, this song popped into my head. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Being Still in the Wake of Madness

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Deep silence and calm. Is that what you imagine or feel when you read that verse? A sense of peace enveloping your soul?

We live in a world full of sin. Eve tasted the forbidden fruit. Adam was right there going along with it. They sinned and ever since then the world has been in upheaval. Sexual sin, wars, gossip, slander, a whole host of sins related to greed, and disease.

Right now, panic seems to arise at the mention of Ebola. In my own little corner of the world it seems as though it would never effect me or the ones I love. Whether that bubble of denial pops either sooner or later, people around the world are suffering--those who have it and those who love them.

Today, at work, I was talking with someone many states away. He commented on all the diseases "foreigners" are bringing across the borders. I didn't say much as it is not my job to agree or disagree with customers.

But it got me thinking. If deadly diseases were in my back yard, would I be at peace and be still or would fear take over at the thought of losing someone I love?

And, the persecuted Christians around the world? Oh my. That one hits close to home when someone has a missionary in their family. In my corner of this big scary world, I cannot begin to imagine being told I can't gather with others to praise God. Or the fear of dying because I won't renounce God.

There are so many diseases in this world; disease of illness and the disease of sin. No matter how many vaccines smart people come out with, no one will ever be immune to sin. "For we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." 

There is a glorious hope. Jesus. Our Savior and Comforter. He went to that cross even when he was praying to his Father to "take this cup". He died for us. Let that soak in. All that pain, suffering and anguish, each slice of that whip was for each of our sins. Thank you, Jesus!

Psalm 91:1-2, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I want....A Buzz Saw Louie. Waaaahh.

Our children grew up watching Veggie Tales. Lots of Veggie Tales. And, sometimes in my mom-mind, I speak Veggie Tales. Hence the title.

In one particular video (didn't have DVDs back then), a veggie-child whines, "Jimmy has a Buzz Saw Louie. I want a Buzz Saw Louie!" and proceeds to cry/whine "Waaahhh" while bouncing outside. Surprise, surprise. That one little veggie-child produces discord when all the kids in the neighborhood  start whining for a Buzz Saw Louie.

Comparison, jealousy, envy, selfishness and discontentment can have us all bouncing around crying, "It's not fair. I want what she has. Why can't my life be as easy as hers. Waaaaah!" In fact, while we are having our pity party, those who have to hear us more than likely want to cover their ears and cry "Waaaahhhh!" as well.

Yes, I am a believer in venting. It makes me feel better, I'll admit it. But, think about it with me. Look how easy our discontent rubs off on those around us. The sun isn't shining. Waaahh. I'm having a bad hair day and feel the need to tell everyone around me. Waaaahh. I'm offended by what so-n-so said to me...can you believe it?! Waaaahhh. She is doing what I want to do but am too lazy to do it so you shouldn't like her either. Waaaaaahhhhhh!

I want to be happy for people. I really do. And 99.9% of the time I am truly happy when good happens for someone else. But, it is the little, itty, bitty percent that can turn my 'happy for you' into 'why doesn't anything like that happen to me'. Then I become and two year old and have a poor pitiful me party.

You know what? That isn't love. That isn't the kind of love Jesus showed us. He showed us love. Unconditional love.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

Just remember:  Truth without love is harsh, love without truth is compromise. Jesus walked in truth AND love. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ode to September

Oh, September. Sweet, sweet September. School in full swing. Hot days and nights turning into nice cool days and very crisp nights. Bugs going crazy. People doing the crazy spiderweb dance (you know the one!). Ahhh.....

Dancer Daughter flew the coop; well, technically it was the last day of August but it seemed like September. It was a sad day for me but such an exciting day for her. A friend of mine had told me about her mission-daughter's departure. All of a sudden it hit my friend and the floor gates poured out in the middle of the airport. Now I understand my friend. The Thursday before our daughter left was a difficult [read weepy] day for me. So naturally I figured I'd be a rock at the airport. Oh, what  fool I was. Let me set the stage for you.

Upstage (inside the airport): Dancer Daughter is waiting in line to check her bags. In walk 50 or more very tall, very muscular men in casual sport team clothing forming a very long line behind her. (we found out they were a college football team from Baltimore)

Downstage: The rest of our family patiently waiting for her so we can give her one last hug goodbye. ONE.LAST.HUG. (do you see where this is going?) All the while trying to see past the very tall men to make sure she didn't have issues when she checked her bags.

Hubs: Where does she go when she is done here?
Me (since I flew from the airport before): She'll exit over there. (pointing) Then, she'll need to go through security next but we'll be able to say goodbye to her first because we can't go past security. SAY.GOODBYE. (insert panic and holding back the tears!)

Moral of this play? You're gonna cry.

She made it safely to her destination and has been extremely busy with staff training. Very.busy. (yes, today is the day for periods after each word. You.are.welcome.) I did have the pleasure of Skyping recently (what did people ever do without this useful tool?!). May I just say she is in her element? When she was in missions a few years ago, and now...she is just ebullient. It's like she is a different person. So confident. So happy. Okay, I'm not saying she wasn't confident and happy before. It's just different. In a of way.

September 1st (day.after.her.leaving.) was deemed 'mental health day' by me. I napped. I read. I watched TV. I napped.

In other news: Firefighter boy had his wisdom teeth ripped yanked removed yesterday. Fun times. He did great. I did not, however. Do you know how much those four puppies cost?! They should have given me some laughing gas, too! Just kidding...not really.

After the surgery, we drove down the road to pick up his prescriptions. I was warned by the nurse that if the pharmacy tells me they do not have any meds for him to say, 'the nurse called in the scripts and had to leave a check the voice mail.' Yup. That happened. I knew it would. It' So instead of the simple 'go through the drive thru at the pharmacy and get home', it was more like, 'go through the drive thru and go park and wait 15-20 minutes'. In.the.rain. One for the scrapbook right there. Did I mention 'in.the.rain.' The kind of hard-driven pelting rain that makes a person, like me, need to use the "facilities"?! Welcome to my life, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Next week we start college visits with him. COLLEGE.VISITS.WITH.MY.BABY. Where did the time go? WHERE.DID.THE.TIME.GO. (hold on a minute...I need to go get a paper bag to breathe in to because I think I'm hyperventilating!)

Firefighter boy wants to be....are you sitting down for this? A.Firefighter/EMT/Paramedic. I know. I was just as surprised as I know you are to learn this. (insert lots of sarcasm) There is a school about four hours away that has a two to two and a half year program. Problem is...after I scheduled the visit I did a dumb thing. I looked online at reviews. The reviews are all over the board. Some scream to run away from this school as quick as you can. Others have nothing but high praise. So, I'm going to be taking along a blood-hound and my discerning magnifying glass on this tour! He is my baby, after all. I'm sure the blood sniffing dog will be a welcomed visitor, don't you?!

I am going to a one-day Beth Moore seminar with a friend this month. Don't shoot me or send me a nasty email but I just think she is ok. I've participated Bible Study classes using her books. I'm just saying I'm not all "ooo I'm going to swoon" over her. I'm going with an open mind. I'm sure I will learn many, many things. I'm just saying if it were not for my friend asking me and me getting to spend the day with this dear friend, I wouldn't have gone. But, I am saying that I will learn something. I promise.

Writer Daughter and I attended a lovely wedding last weekend. (sorry, I'm jumping around... welcome to the depths of my mind) The decorations were minimal but just enough. The bride's dress was beautiful, with a vintage look. Bouquets were modest and charming. It was laid-back yet classy. It really felt like you were participating in the wedding. And, best of was 20-25 minutes top! The pastor delivered a simple yet meaningful message. It was realistic, to the point and personal to the bride and groom. He didn't drone on as some are prone to do. It wasn't a flashy wedding. It was simple and beautiful.

And, finally, we took our cheap, blue swimming pool down. FOREVER.down. Yep. Yet another sign of me getting old. Our children grow up, get jobs and the pool gets neglected. She lived a happy life with us for a time. Sure, hubs and I got into yelling matches when we tried to fix something on her but other than that....we had fun. Many happy memories. Lots of pictures of the kids enjoying her warm, but mostly cold, water. The pool is going to a good family. Maybe that family won't have yelling matches when the pool isn't "feeling well". Their neighbors can only hope.

If you have made it to the end of this droning post, congratulations. You need a reward. Have a cookie, cupcake or a cup of your favorite tea/coffee and high-five yourself. If you hear of someone needing help falling asleep, be sure to send them a link to this post!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Good-bye, See ya, Later...Alligator

Saying good-byes are hard. Especially for those of us who hate to cry yet it is something we can't control. And, if you are an ugly crier like me...well, I feel for ya. I really do.

Tomorrow morning we'll say "see ya" to Dancer Daughter. Yes, she has flown the coop before but this time it is farther away and longer time spans between hugs. As I've been telling friends when they ask, "I'm sad for me but happy for her." I really am excited for her. Really. Not just mere words.

This Dancer of mine is in step with God. Their dances are beautiful. He leads in His magnificent ways as she follows Him step by step. Has it been easy to discern His steps for her in life? No. Not at all. There are questions but faith is never lost. As a My Utmost For His Highest devotion said,
To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. should be an expression of breathless expectation... As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in - but you can be certain that he will come. 
When our children are babies we just can't imagine a day when they'll be independent and on their own...away from us. The day does come, sooner than our disbelief. But, God prepares us...He doesn't take the emotion away from it (which is a good thing).

He has prepared her. She is so ready for tomorrow to start a new chapter in her life. A chapter He is writing for her. I can't wait to read it!

Love you, my Dancer-girl. I will miss you...terribly. But, I am so proud of you and happy for you. Now, be careful. Watch out for idiots and don't be one (my famous line when they are walking out the door and getting in a car). Text me! Call me! Skype me! And, have fun. Encourage the young people you'll encounter in their walk. And, be you...the you God made you. Let others "in" to see the beautiful, funny you. God puts people in your path for short times, for longer periods of times, and sometimes forever. Be in the moment and enjoy every moment with those who God puts in front of you. And, "no matter where you are I will keep you in my heart..." (video below)

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Bride In Store

Eliza Cantrell is not the most patient person on the planet earth. Raise your hand if you can relate. She's a feisty thing. So much so, it gets her in trouble. Raise your hand if you've ever done anything foolish. You had no idea there would be group participation when you innocently began to read this post, did you?! ;) She knows what she wants and will jump in without checking to see if the water is clear. Sound familiar anyone? Eliza is laser focused on her dreams...and a little too much on herself.

Eliza arrives in a western town as a mail-order bride. Except her groom is missing. In steps William (Will) Stanton - only to help, of course.

Will. Oh, the good wanna-be-doctor-but-have-no-funds-for-college-Will. He is a good man. But, Eliza seems to think others take advantage of him. Wave your hand wildly if you've ever had to remember to set boundaries. Will is so kindhearted and seems to have a knack at putting others above himself even if it leads to his unhappiness.

Troubles come along. Doesn't that sound familiar in our own lives. One thing after another after another. Their faith, at times, is shaky at best. Will their faith stand these testing times? Relying fully on God looks good on paper but when lives are full of turmoil, will they rely on Him?

Author Melissa Jagears is a terrific author. A Bride in Store is her third book. Her writing will make you feel as if you're there in the dusty Kansas town in the 1880s. I recommend her books to anyone who wants to read Christian Fiction. She has a way of pointing the readers to Christ without hammering the reader over the head.

I received this book from the author. In no way was I forced or asked to write a review. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Dear Beautiful Bride

Dear Beautiful Bride,

Today is the day. Can you believe it? I would imagine from a little girl through adulthood you've dreamt of a wedding day with your “Prince Charming”.

Memories of this day will always come rushing at you like a flood with the slightest mention of a wedding…any wedding. You’ll remember not knowing your cheeks could hurt so much after smiling for thousands of pictures. You’ll remember the little flubs of the day and laugh. You’ll remember the first time you saw him see you on this day. You’ll remember the holy moments of the marriage service. And, you’ll remember the awkwardness of standing in front of the hotel desk checking in as a married couple, making sure to flash the wedding rings so the person knows you’re a “good girl”. J

Marriage is hard. It’s work. There will be some days when you look at your “Prince” and wonder if he ever was a “Prince”. He is just a man, after all. A man with faults and annoyances along with those loving characteristics you always saw in him. He will change over time and so will you. You and he will not be the same person you are on this day. Life happens. Hardships, joys, children, and work will happen. Situations in your lives will change both of you.

This is when those memories of this day will come in handy. Just as “Mary pondered all these things in her heart” so should you. When he brings flowers just because, treasure it. When he does something extra cute (because, right now, all things are cute), treasure it. When you’re sick in bed and he is caring for you, treasure it. When he makes you laugh, treasure it. If you are blessed with children, treasure the way he loves and makes the children laugh. I would even go as far as encourage you to make yourself a “treasure box” where you can write down the treasures and store them for future use. Because, some days will be hard.

I am so happy for you. Be a woman of great wisdom and character. Your wisdom of the scriptures will serve you well as you and he unite as a family. Root yourself deeply and firmly in Christ. Storms will come your way but if your roots run deep you'll stand strong long after the storm has calmed. I have no doubt you will, one day, teach the importance of that foundation to the next generation.

Live in love. Practice grace. Show mercy. Act in kindness. Walk very humbly. Cling to God then each other and you and your husband will do wondrous things.


Sunday, July 20, 2014


Have you ever taken a personality test? I know this controversial since many say taking a test like Briggs Myers is not necessary an accurate test especially when used for employment purposes. However, I found it to be interesting and pretty accurate, although not 100%.

A certain family member, who shall remain nameless, thought it would be good for our family to take the test individually. Everyone's test result seem pretty spot on, although a few thing didn't line up. Like most of these types of tests, I found myself saying, "Well it depends on the situation" for a few questions.

Which leads me to this question that I've asked a few friends over the years. Is your personality something you were born with or are there factors (experiences in life) that make you...well, you? Or is it a little of both? I'm not a psychologist, I just play one on TV...joke....but I just really wonder if I would have taken the test when I was a teen would I test the same today. Just pondering....unless you're a psychologist then I'd really love an answer.

I did find with our family  taking the test that it does explain some things in our family dynamic. Which I believe understanding is important when living under one roof. Again, I'm not saying it is 100% accurate if you take the test. I'm saying it is interesting and quite startling how accurate it seems to be. ☺

Have you taken a personality test? Was it pretty accurate for you? What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Captured By Love Review

To Whomever finds this missive, 

Excuse me if I am a little queasy and have trouble with my words. I've been rocking in a canoe for a few days. You see, I've been sold to the highest bidder as a bride by my step-father, Ebenezer. And, gulp, the highest bidder is an Indian-man. I'm not sure where we are going but I'm scared. 

All I can think about is the last few months and how everything has gone terribly wrong. Is God here? Does he care? What have I done wrong to deserve God leaving me? What has happened to the man I truly love?

As long as I did what my step-father, Ebenezer. wanted everything was okay. He's a tough one to please but I tried. Boy, did I ever try. His new wife was jealous and caused me a great deal of problems. I tried to get along and not make waves. She and Ebenezer always found ways to get me in trouble and punish me. I'm not perfect but I didn't deserve his harsh treatment.

I loved helping others. And, that included someone who is like a mother to me. Miriam is almost blind now and both of her sons are away. I sneaked food to her and helped as much as I could. Food has been in very short supply ever since the British took over the island. And, if my step-father found out about sneaking food away from him, he would lock me in the attic. It's a chance I had to take.

When my mother died, Miriam took me under her wing and loved me. Treated me like family. And, her sons? Well, they were like brothers and, I, their little, following-them-everywhere-sister. So much so I became a tom-boy. I loved to fish and swim. Still do. Not a very lady-like thing to do in the Michigan Territory of Michilimackinac Island in 1814. (you may know the island as Mackinac Island)

One day, one of Miriam's sons, Pierre, came home. I loved him. Still do. But, he still treated me like the little girl he left me behind. I'm angry with him for leaving us....I mean, Miriam. After he came back we discovered our hidden love but so many things made it difficult. Like me being engage to his brother. It's a long, long story. One in which you should read. My friend, Jody, wrote it all down so I wouldn't forget.

Well, I need to keep breathing deeply to quench my stomach's desire to empty itself from the constant rocking of this little canoe. If I only knew where this Indian-man was taking me. Is there really a caring God who will take care of me even in this depressing situation? What will happen to me?

Your servant,


Filled with action, suspense, danger and clean romance, you'll find yourself neglecting your chores and maybe even thinking about calling in to work with an illness so you can find out what happens next. Author Jody Hedlund is a master story-teller in all her books.

Captured By Love is the 3rd in a series but all 3 are stand-alone novels. I highly suggest you read all of her books! I love that her books are based on a moment in history or a historical person. Her writing puts you in the time period and makes history way more fun & exciting than my history teacher in high school!

Amazon or your favorite bookstore is waiting for you to run and purchase it! If your favorite bookstore doesn't sell it, tell them to order it in for you. 

Go to Jody's website to see how to connect with her socially.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Got Parents?

When we are young, we think our parents are older than dirt. Then, we begin to age. Things begin to take on a new look. Forty isn't so old after all. And, 70? Why, a person is still in his/her prime.

No matter how hard it is to face, we all age. As the calendar rapidly turns from one month to another, the body starts to rebel. No matter how hard one tries to defy the aging process it will happen to all of us.

And so it is the same with our parents. One day we'll all need to deal with our parents declining health. This is the stage of life I am in...along with still raising a child under the age of eighteen. I've been dealing with this stage for roughly five-seven years...and at that time I had three children under eighteen. Sandwich "generation"? Yes.

This isn't a pity-party post. I hope it is a post that will help someone as I find not many talk about caring for a parent. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe I'm not in the right "group"? Maybe people just don't want to talk about it? I'm not sure. Whatever you, dear reader, are going through with a parent, I empathize with you. It's hard. It's frustrating. It's sad. It's stressful. You often feel torn between care for your parent and other responsibilities. I know...I know. Did I mention it's stressful?

There are books out there in bookland that can help you deal with aging parent(s). The following are just two I've found. I haven't read the entire book as I am reading a sample of it on our Kindle but it's called How to Care for Aging Parents (3rd edition) by Virginia Morris. The next is a book I have not read even a sample but what I've read of reviews, it sounds helpful. It is called Necessary Conversations: Between adult children and their aging parents.

In How to Care for Aging Parents, I found my head nodding yes! and feeling a weight lifted off my shoulders because someone finally put into words what I couldn't and what I didn't/don't think others understand. The author has a chapter in the book about getting others to help and to take care of yourself. Well, as a woman/mom/wife, that doesn't come naturally to me. Whether right or wrong, I take care of myself last. The author must be the same way as she admits she didn't take her own advice. She had a doctor friend over one evening for a meal and the subject of caring for yourself came up:
"...a doctor friend complained he had to be on call the next night. Although he didn't usually get called to the hospital, he explained that he couldn't relax, knowing that he might be
That was it. That was the part of this job I hadn't expected, hadn't recognized, and couldn't really explain. Even when you're not juggling medications, or cleaning up vomit, or finding an aide to fill in, you are on call. You know that all is not right in the world, that disaster could strike at any moment, and that when it does, you will have to deal with it. And, whatever happens, you will feel responsible for it."
(in the Kindle ebook sample this quote is found on Loc 174) 

She goes on to say that she had been on call for as long as she could remember and it was this more than the daily care that had worn her out. I finally felt like someone understood. Just reading what she wrote finally made ME understand. 

Now, don't get me wrong, my dad is still well enough that I don't need to go over every single day. He is in charge of his own medication and still lives on his own. However, like the last few days, I am wondering when the phone is going to ring in the middle of the night (it's happened many times), or when I'm going to need to decide if this is just a touch of the flu or if he has something else going on. I feel responsible. He asks me "what do you think I should do?" It's exhausting. When my dad feels good he is great! When he has an issue then it's usually bad. I can't even begin to imagine what it is like for a full-time caregiver. I just want to hug someone who is going through that process. 

Another helpful hint involves medications and medical information. When dad's medication list got very long and so did the list of conditions and specialists, I sat down at the computer and compiled a list.

  • At the top of the document is my dad's name and birth date. Emergency contact information is next with my name and contact info and then my brother's information (since I'm the closest in proximity). 
  • Current medications with an "as of" date is next. In listing the medication, I listed the dosage and when he is to take it, what it is for in layman terms and on a few I wrote which pharmacy has the prescription since his main pharmacy didn't stock a particular med. 
  • Next are all his conditions with the date it happened on most, then his doctors/specialist and finally his church home, pastors and that contact information. 
It is a very handy list. It does take time to compile then update as needed but it is worth the time when you're in the ER with your parent. Also, note, apparently Medicare requires a "retirement date" now. So, when your parent(s) retire, make a special note of that as well.

However, what I didn't think about until reading the book sample is making this list available, in clear sight, and clearly marked in the event we would need to call emergency personnel to his home. After reading that tip, I contacted a friend who is a Paramedic. He said they will look on the refrigerator, bathroom or kitchen counter, or go through purses and wallets for information if they have time. He said something clearly marked by his medications is the best place to have the information they need to care for the patient. I am now working on getting the already made list into a list they would need and making copies of some other paperwork. Here is a charity devoted just to this Vial of Life Project with tons of information.

I won't overwhelm you any more but I just felt it was information that needed to get out among those in the trenches and perhaps prepare others. Take baby steps and it won't seem so overwhelming.

What other tips/ideas do you have when it comes for caring for an aging parent?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Of Trees, Sidewalks and Passion

Once upon a time, in a land of beautiful trees, fields and sunsets, there was a little town. She was a happy little town. A town filled with loving people. A school filled with caring teachers. A community who rallied around its own. A community rich in history and love of God.

Still, she wasn't a perfect little town. She had problems. She had times of happiness and sadness. She was dealt life punches but came out unscathed because of the support this little town had from those who loved her.

Parents allowed their children freedom to explore the town never fearing safety for their own. Children peddled their bikes as fast as they could down sidewalks, roads and through the ball fields. Soon the sidewalks began to buckle as the beautiful trees grew straight and tall down the main street. Children would pop wheelies over the bigger drops in the sidewalk. But, some children also took some falls over those uneven spaces. Roots from the trees liked to shake up the sidewalk over the many years.

"Time for change," was the cry. "New sidewalks for everyone!"

Cheers were heard across the land as residents of this little town jumped aboard the sidewalk train. County commissioners planned and held meetings. And, soon a plan was formed and grants secured.

"Woohoo! New sidewalks will make this old little town sparkle and shine!"

The little town was happy she was getting a face lift in the form of new sidewalks. She danced with the hundred-year-old trees who lined the main street. The trees were happy for now they had new sidewalks to shake up.

Then, came the day the happy, little town was told her trees, the trees who caused most of the sidewalk decay, would need to be cut down. Oh, the residence of this happy, little town cried, "Not fair! Not the trees. We love the look the trees give this town. We are unique! We won't give up without a fight."

A meeting was held. "It's too late to stop this," was heard. "No! There has to be another way. We must save the trees." Yet, others said, "We need new sidewalks. Think of the safety. Someone will get hurt if they trip over an uneven edge."

Petition drives were commenced. "Help us save the trees. The animals make the trees their homes. The fall won't be the same if the trees are cut down."

This story, above, is true. And, the "fight" is still going on. I'm not going to say which side I'm on since I'm not a resident of this little town. Will I miss seeing the trees with the tops kissing as I drive into town? You bet. Do I think safety is an issue walking down those sidewalks? You bet!

However, what I'm most concerned about is do we, as humans, have this kind of drive and determination for things other than sidewalks and trees? Look around. People. People are hurting in this world. People are lonely and just waiting for someone to notice them. People are crying out all around us and, at the moment, most of the talk, in my very small corner of the world, is new, improved sidewalks vs saving trees. (don't get me wrong-debate and democracy is a great thing)

Children are being stolen and sold into human trafficking. Families become indentured slaves to put food on the table. Wives are being beaten by husbands (and vise versa) and are too afraid to tell anyone. A child fears for his/her own life in what is to be a safe place, home. A new mother in a non-friendly Christian country is sentence to be executed because she refused to renounce her Christian faith. Girls in India are being killed when they are born or soon after just because they are girls. Girls will cost the family money as the family will have to pay the grooms family when she is married. Drinking water is dirty, therefore, making children and adult sick.

A basketball game has more cheers than we, church going people, give someone who has just accepted Christ. A baseball player who just hit a home run has more congratulations and encouragement than someone who feels called into the mission field to proclaim Jesus to others.

Yes, the little town has helped and shown an outpouring of love for down-on-hard-times people and those with medical needs/expenses. But, let's not make the "battle" over sidewalks and trees the only claim to fame for this little town. I love seeing the passion and determination on both sides of this fence. It is a mighty good, little town with even finer people.

But,  let's, also, use the fire, determination, boldness and passion for others who are outside our little town. Think about how we, as a community, could make a difference one person at a time.

Praying the passion the residence feel will bubble over outside the community so others can see how great this little town really is....

Just something that has been on my mind. All opinions are mine and only mine.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Things that make you go....hmmmm

Knowing I had posted something on my facebook page so I could find it again, I went 'a-scrolling' down my page. Have you ever done that? It is an interesting trip down memory say the least! However, I began finding little nuggets of wisdom (not me!) I had posted from others. 

Here are just a few that stood out (first one is by yours truly because sometimes Mother's Day is hard):

Happy Mom's Day to all the moms. Just a reminder to be sensitive to those who want to be moms but are unable, those who are single, those who have kiddos in heaven, and those whose moms are no longer with is a tough day sometimes/some years. If you know someone who is "like a mom", let her know how special she is to you and/or your kids.

 “For the rest of your life, there are going to be windows, Ellie. Some are going to lead to places you shouldn't be, and some are going to lead to a more beautiful view. I can’t open them for you and I can’t tell you which ones you are supposed to open. But He can, and He will. Your job is to know Him well enough to hear Him, and to be constant in obeying Him.” ~author Angie Smith talking to her 10 yo daughter who had just climbed out a window and onto a roof to retrieve a necklace.

 "Mister Rogers was an ordained minister, but he never talked about God on his program. He didn't need to."~~Tom Brokaw

"We can’t solve problems for others. We can introduce them to the Lord." ~~Corrie Ten Boom

"What someone says can only hurt you if you start thinking it yourself." ~~Cj Darlington Ties That Bind

"Always keep eternity before them. Think of eternity — and live backwards from that.
Don’t waste a minute of your life on anything less than eternity — and that’s. what. love is. Eternal, without end. Let love happen to you. Don’t fight the hurt. It’s making you real." ~~Ann VosKamp

"So what about being a leader and setting the example? Isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t that what parents and youth leaders tell students all the time?
 The more I think about it, the more I believe this well-meaning statement is not only a manipulative way to try to control our daughters’ behavior, but can also be dangerous to their spiritual health. When we tell her to be an example, we may as well just hand her a mask right there – Here. Hide behind this. Don’t let them see you struggle." ~~ Emily P Freeman

What do you think? Which quote stood out the most or spoke in deafening volume to you? 

Saturday, May 3, 2014


It's May, People. May. Where in the world has the time gone? Seriously. Where?!

And, since time is flying faster than a jet-fighter plane  on a mission, I haven't posted in a very long time. I know you've been just holding your breath and checking my blog every single day--even multiple times a day just to make sure I was alive. **wakes up and realizes other people have lives**

What have I been doing, you ask. Thanks for asking. April brought on a lot of birthday ice cream cakes...hubs, my dad and then our son's just to name a few. I may or may not have packed away a few pounds from all that "celebrating". April filled up with me driving my dad to doctor appointments because when you're eighty-seven everybody (docs) want to see you.

And, our Dancer Daughter found out she was accepting into a missionary program as staff (voluntary). You'll notice a "donate" button on the right side of the page if you are inclined to donating. No pressure. Really.

She'll be gone for two years. We don't have her schedule, yet, but the only time I believe she'll be coming home is for Christmas and two or three weeks in the summer. Will I miss her, oh my word, you have no idea. But, can't fight God. Click over to her blog to read her story on how this all came about. Prayers are always welcome!

Recently, we watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. There was a quote that was shown quite often. But the last part of the quote really struck me:

...draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of Life.  
We so often think life is about us. It's not. It's about God. Serving God. And in serving God, we'll automatically serve others.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Blank Page

Staring at the blank page my fingers took off like they had a mind of their own. What to write. What to say. What to express. Questions. Questions that deserve answers.

The five minutes I gave myself to freely express thoughts popping in my head now seem like a very bad idea. Does anyone really want to read my thoughts? Does anyone care? Then, I remembered the book I've been slowly reading. And, that six part sermon series I soaked up online.

Crash the Chatterbox. [Hearing God's Voice Above All Others]

How easy it seems to shut off all of the negative self-talk. But, it's not. Yesterday as I was getting ready for church my hair was...hhhmmmm...being more stubborn than I am and that is saying something. It was, to put it nicely, behaving badly. Nothing I did would soothe it's wildness. a major coating of hairspray later, I left the mirror muttering all the way.

One more look in the mirror right before leaving for church didn't help my grumbling. My self-talk began to tell me how square my face looked with the shirt I was wearing and I was convinced the bad-hair-day-hair wasn't helping the situation. I grumbled loudly this time and one of our daughters heard and scolded me. She basically disagreed with me and told me to stop talking to myself. To, "crash the chatterbox". I hate when she is the mother and I'm the child. [ok, my five minutes are up but I'm going to keep going because it gets really good...]

We have a Kindle that my husband likes to take to church to use for his Bible. I've come into the habit of reading a little bit of the Crash the Chatterbox book as he drives. Church is only 8 minutes from our house but I can get a page or two in before we pull in the parking lot. Well, guess what I read Sunday morning?

"I wonder how much of its forty-eight-thousand-word quota your chatterbox has already filled today? 
Did you hear it in the closet while you were getting dressed, telling you that it doesn't matter what you put on, that nothing will look good on you because you're too flabby, too bony, too pale, too old, or, in a single word, defective? ..."

The garbage of our minds. I've been spewing garbage in my mind for so long I didn't even realize it was happening. When I keep putting myself down, I'm really saying I'm not good enough. And, when I say I'm not good enough, I'm putting God down as well. If I'm talking to myself in such a negative way am I truly leaving room to hear from God? Those voices in my head get pretty loud (and annoying) at times. What would happen if I silenced them? Would God's voice come through loud and clear?

Shouldn't a person just get to a certain age and have everything all worked out and no problems whatsoever?

Yeah, I didn't think so either. [sigh]

So, here's to crashing that mean-old-Mrs Chatterbox! It's not going to be easy but who said anything good comes easily.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Broken Kind of Beautiful - Review

The girl with the haunted eyes reentered his life on the other side of a lowering casket, humidity and the shrill song of cicadas tangling together in the South Carolina heat.
                                 ~~A Broken Kind of Beautiful~~
Dear Ivy,

When I first met your twenty four year-old model-self I was intimidated. Your incredible beauty, your tall stature and air of confidence. Men falling all over you; using your beauty to get what you want. You were something I'm not.

Do you remember the first time we met, Ivy? It was in South Carolina at the graveside as the casket of your estranged father was lowered into the ground. I couldn't take my eyes off of you. Your eyes so haunted and full of secret hurts. You glanced my way but then found Davis Knight surrounding his Aunt Marilyn with arms of protection. Ivy, you built a wall of protection around yourself so quickly it made me gasp and take a step back. Even though the bars weren't visible, I could see you were a prisoner* in the thick wall you built. You ran as quickly and unnoticed as you could away from us.

So, it came as shock when you came back to town shortly after the funeral. A town you seemed to want to forget. The town of your father but not your mother. A town who seemed to judge your innocent self because of the affair your dad and mom shared.

To my dismay, you began hanging out with Davis and living with your dead father's wife. I know you share common ground with Davis since he was a former fashion photographer in NY and you're a model. I can see Davis has issues from his past that he keeps hidden; maybe you relate with him on that level. However, something didn't add up when you agreed to live with Marilyn, your step-mother.

Don't get me wrong. Marilyn loves well. She's a mamma figure to most in this town. But, Ivy, I saw her watching you. Love - the unconditional God-kind-of-love - poured out of her soul. Yet, you rejected her over and over again. It hurt me to watch your rejection. Ivy, you are well worth loving even if your dad couldn't even see you through his guilt. It was his guilt, Ivy, not you. Please, let others love you.

I wish I could be here with you as you read this letter. I would take your face ever so gently in my hands and look right into your haunted eyes and say, "You are worthy. You are worthy of our Father God's love. You are worthy of man's love. You are worthy. Feel these words in your heart. Hear them in your mind. Soak in these words deep in your soul. Please don't waste anymore of your life looking for love when it's right here waiting for you to accept it."

Ivy, you will always be beautiful. But, don't let that beauty cloud what God has laid before you. He wants you. You are worthy of His love. Your past mistakes are just waiting to be forgiven. Just ask, Ivy. Just ask.

May you find love - the true Love who knit you together in your mother's womb. He's waiting for you, Ivy, with open, loving arms. Please trust me.

*loosely quoted from novel

**I received an advanced reading copy of A Broken Kind of Beautiful from the publisher, WaterBrook Press. I was asked to give an honest review. Since I had read author Katie Ganshert's other two novels I had high expectations. This book exceeded my expectations. The author's writing is beautiful and the message behind those words are even lovelier. It's a novel in which you'll mull over days after reading the last word on the last page. See the official back cover synopsis and more here!

I highly recommend A Broken Kind of Beautiful to women, young and not-so-young-anymore.

A Broken Kind of Beautiful releases April 15th. Pre-order today! Seriously, click on the link. I'm not kidding!! Do it. Do it now.**

Side note and freebie! ;) This song reminds me of Ivy....may you find enjoyment and a sweet message within Bloom by Moriah Peters.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

When the World Becomes a Bit Smaller

When your child travels to a third world county (or two), you are nervous for her safety. Thrilled when you stalk her facebook page to see someone tagged pictures of her in said country(s). Ecstatic when you receive an email or phone call.

When your child returns from the country(s), slowly stories start to pour out. Stories that make your heart break for the people, or more specifically, woman and children of the countries. Conditions and nightmares I could not imagine living through each and every day. When your child tells you there are some things she may never tell you, you wonder if that is a good thing or bad.

Even though you have not set foot on that land, your heart breaks and falls in love at the same time for the people. You begin to pray for a revival across the nations. Praying for the people, the conditions, and the many factors involved.

Sure, you've seen pictures of the people of the countries your child visits. But, seeing pictures your child took of smiling children, clinging children who just want to be loved, the world becomes smaller. I'm tearing up just thinking of the faces. Happy faces of children who are getting attention from a beautiful stranger. Pictures of little feet in sandals when it is winter. Pictures of moms beautifully smiling when handed blankets to keep their families warm during the coldest winter in years. The world becomes smaller.

Our daughter received devastating news this week. I can't go into details but it involves children she knows in one of those countries. These children, who stole her heart and wrecked her in a good way, were removed from a loving situation and moved into a situation that is heartbreaking. Without giving out too much information, Christian persecution is in full swing. 

Please pray as God leads.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Just Walking Home

While I was watching a video about creating art, the above quote flashed before my eyes. It caught me so off guard I found I was saying "We're all just walking each other home" over and over. I stopped the video and went back to where it first flashed on the screen.

In my search to find out more about this Ram Dass guy, I found much about new-age practices. I do not agree with those practices. However, God definitely had a message for me in those seven words.

I have troubles. You have troubles. I have joys. You have joys. We praise God in the good and, as difficult as it is, the bad times. But, God also gives us others to help us walk through those times. So, in a sense, we're all just walking each other home (Heaven) as we walk with others in their journeys. Face to face, phone calls, texts, emails, you name it. God places people in our lives, whether a short time period or long, to help us walk through life's junk and joys.

I have many friends walking a journey of pain and trials. I won't minimize their pain, physical and/or emotional. It's real. It's raw. But, when they reach out to another person it lightens the load for an amount of time.

To give you real example, a friend and I were talking. Her life isn't what she expected or wanted. But, that's life. What started out as a gripe, read venting, session for both of us over the phone ended with us talking about our faith and the prayer of St. Francis. (the prayer is below the video)

Before we hung up I told her, "I love it when we start the conversation complaining and end talking about the prayer of St Francis." Isn't that how life should be? A person to walk beside you in good and bad. And, encourage your faith in Christ when all is said and done? I believe God was pleased.

The journey may be long or short. The outcome may not be what we want or had planned. But, we are all richer for being there for one another.

Here is the video that started my thought...

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Spirit Lead Me

Not to scare you off or anything, but while I was soaking in the bath tub (go on...try to get that imagine out of your're so welcome) I was listening to music. Water and music go together for me so just play along.

I've listened to Oceans by Hillsong United many times. However, this time the lyrics really got me thinking. That is your cue to run if you don't want to read my thoughts. It is a scary place, my mind, so be warned if you decide you're brave enough to tread further into the recesses of my mind...

The song Oceans is the Biblical truth of Peter walking on the water. Jesus called him "out upon the waters. "The great unknown where feet may fail". Full lyrics in the video at the bottom of this post.

I don't like failing. Do you? It's embarrassing. People laugh at you...not with you as they'd like you to believe. I fail people. I fail with words. I fail with love. I fail with grace. I fail when I am more concerned with my hurt feelings or what others think of me. 

Aren't I to be more concerned with what God thinks of me? When I push aside what others think, I find myself only caring about what God wants. "My faith will stand". 

As the Biblical truth of Peter goes on, he takes his eyes off of Jesus. The minute he does I can just hear him thinking, This is impossible. And, he sinks. What once was possible became impossible and he no longer was a man walking on top of the water. Now, he was shark bait. How many, many, many (you get the point) times have I failed because the inner-voices screamed impossible! you're not good enough! you'll fail...again!

"And I will call upon Your name" as he cried out for Jesus to save him. Although Jesus was disappointed, He still helped him and Peter "rest[ed] in His embrace". In my humanness I try to do everything myself. I can do it by myself like a toddler cries. God wants us to do all things with him. Let God take the lead and we follow. Yeah, that is the part of Peter I can relate to. He thought he was walking on water under his own power until doubt entered his mind.

Peter realized his mistake after the fact. Boy, doesn't that sound familiar. "[Jesus] grace abounds in the deepest waters [and His] sovereign hand [is] my guide. [I] fail and fear surrounds me. [But He] never failed and [He] won't start now." Such peace and reassurance in those words. His grace abounds. Let that soak into your mind and soul.

May this be our prayer:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

NOTE: while I was working on this post over the last two weeks, an author wrote about her experience with this song recently. I'd like to say "great minds work alike" and all that but she is much more eloquent on this subject so head over to her post. You won't regret it. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Christ's love for us is amazing. And, with that example we are to love others with the same unconditional love God has for us. Grace, mercy, forgiveness abound in His unfathomable love for us.

This morning I came across this blog post. The author is in Uganda and what she learned and is teaching us in the process is simply.beautiful.

This video has been appearing on my news feed on a social media site for quite some time. I've been ignoring it...until today. God's love in serious action. Simply.beautiful.

Friday, January 24, 2014

It's all a lie ~~ the end

Part I    Part II 

Standing on the bridge Emma felt like her life had come full circle.

"Come out, come out wherever you are." Emma sing-songed and shook her head realizing she had finally gone off the deep end.

Strangely Emma felt peaceful. Thank you, Lord. The moment the words formed in her mind she wondered why she hadn't thought to pray in the midst of the day's drama. Would she ever learn to trust?

A rustle among the trees and footsteps padding across the bridge alerted her.

"Mark." Emma flatly stated without turning around.

"Yes, Emma. You look well."

That voice! She whipped around to face him and whispered. "Matt." Her first kiss, the bridge where her and Matt kissed. Everything started falling in place until he spoke again.

"No. No, I'm not Matt."

Confusion and alarm covered her. "Well you are either Matt or his evil twin brother."

Mark laughed but the laughter never reached his eyes. "I can guarantee I'm not evil. But, I am his twin brother."

Silence became the enemy as Emma waited for more of an explanation. The longer the silence the more drawn her scowl became.

Mark, if that was his real name, had the nerve to laugh. Laugh.

"Enough! Out with it. You better start talking. Now!"

"Aren't you afraid I'm a knife-wielding murderer?"

"Now you're just mocking me."

"How'd you like to take a ride? I'll explain everything when we get to our destination." Mark asked as the sound of the air being cut by a knife quickly ended their so-called conversation.

Emma was stunned as a ladder attached to the helicopter dangled in front of her. "Are you crazy?" she shouted at Mark who had the nerve to smile.

"Come on, trust me!" Mark grabbed the ladder like a knight in shining armor and yelled, "After you."

Emma decided right then and there she was about to do the craziest thing in her life.....

Her face was wet and something rough was sliding down her chin. Emma jumped out of bed so quickly she landed on the source of the wetness. Matt, their eighty-pound yellow lab, yelped and jumped away from Emma.

Heart pounding a zillion miles an hour, Emma sneaked a peek to the bed to find her husband of three years, Mark, grinning from ear to ear trying, without success, not to laugh.

"Bad dream?"

"You don't even want to know." Emma huffed feeling her blood pressure creeping into the danger zone. "That dog will be the death of me!"

"You know, Emma, you look beautiful when you're angry."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's all a lie ~~ part II

"... I've been sent to help you. If you can honestly tell me you know what I say to be untrue, tell me now and you'll never hear from me again. But, you know deep inside what I say is true. Think about. I'll be waiting...but I won't wait forever."

With a keen eye, Emma turned slowly looking for anyone who might be hiding in the shadows. The street was eerily quiet. Why hadn't she noticed before? People, cars, buses and even the ever-present alley cat were nowhere to be found. She was strangely alone. Emotions collided  - completely creeped out, beyond scared and full-boil angry. 

Yet, she understood his message. Deep down inside she felt Mark was telling her the truth. Emma never felt like she fit it - always the odd man out. Life never felt...right. 

No baby pictures of Emma. At all. It was like she just magically appeared at the age of three. Whenever she'd ask her parents they'd say the same thing, "Oh, honey, when we moved, your pictures never showed up at the new house. The movers and the moving company never found them." 

There were always subtle glances between her parents when she'd ask about her younger years. It was almost like they were scrambling to come up with a good story.

Emma made her choice. Good or bad choice remained to be seen. The now familiar drums in her ears kept in time with her feet as she high-tailed to the place of her first kiss. Well, if this is the end of my life, I've lived it well, taken chances and made mistakes. Many mistakes and this could be one of them.

"What do I have to lose?" Emma whispered as her heels clicked at a pace likely to break the sound barrier. She had already lost everyone she loved. Her father when she was a junior in high school. Three years ago, the day Emma turned twenty-one, her mother to an accident. Emma's parents were only children and were the last living relatives. She was alone. No one would miss her if Mark did indeed prove to be a knife-wielding murderer.

Emma's heart collided with her chest as she thought again of the mysterious email. Could her entire life be a lie?

The place of your first kiss...taunted her. She knew the exact place since she had relived the moment too many times. Do you ever get over your first kiss? Your first love? Or was it Emma never felt closure since Matt disappeared the next day. The police claimed he ran-away. Matt's parents wouldn't speak to or face Emma ever again.

The park came into view and brought Emma back to reality. The secluded bridge was just beyond the mountainous trees down a short trail. Music of birds filled the air. A familiar squeak of the swings with a child's throaty laughter did nothing to calm Emma's nerves. The biting wind whipped her long tresses made her wish for a sweater. But, her focus remained on getting to the bridge.

Emma stopped short at the mouth of the trail, took a deep breath, squared her shoulders and forged ahead.

To be continued...again. ;)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

It's all a lie

"Everything you know is a lie" read the subject line of a mysterious email from an unrecognized sender.

With her finger on the portable mouse and chin in hand, Emma almost hit the big X to delete the message. Almost. Looking around the coffee house to gauge if anyone was watching her, she found the patrons in their own little worlds. 

What could it hurt? Containment of her curiosity not her strongest trait, Emma opened the email. What she found written in those lines was not at all what her vivid imagination expected. 

"Act calm as to not alert anyone, but everyone around you is not who they say they are. You need to quietly get out of there and meet me at the spot where you had your first kiss. You know the place. My name is Mark."

Goosebumps covered her entire body as she read and re-read the lines. Glancing around to see if anyone was really watching her, Emma couldn't decide if this was real or a joke. Her breathing began to quicken as she suddenly felt as if someone might be watching her from a hidden location. 

Calm down, calm down, breathe... became Emma's mantra. 

Feeling anything but calm, Emma casually closed her laptop and gathered her bag, sliding the laptop inside. Pushing away from the table had never felt like such a chore before but she finally managed to stand on her shaking legs. 

Who can I trust? Am I to really believe this "Mark" person isn't really a rapist, stalker, kidnapper or human trafficker? Come on, Emma, be smart about this.

With tunnel vision, Emma sauntered to the exit and pushed her way into fresh air. Breathe, breathe, breathe... It took her only a moment to determine which direction to head - in the totally opposite direction of her mystery man's wishes.

The tiny hairs on the back of her neck refused to lie back down. But, with a determined look and hitch of her chin she placed one foot in front of the other until...the unmistakable chime of a text message.

Hands shaking, Emma reached into her bag and withdrew her phone. Heart pounding in her ears and one eye closed, Emma unlocked her phone and gasped. She nearly dropped the phone when she saw the word "Mark". A text from him. Her feet betrayed her and immediately felt cemented to the sidewalk. Her mind told her to run but her legs wouldn't obey.

How did he get her number? Who is this guy?! Now Emma was just downright angry. How dare he?!

Punching the screen to select "read now", Emma blew out a frustrated breath while waiting for the words to appear.

"Emma. You know you are going the wrong way. Trust me. I'm not any of those things you're imagining in your mind. Trust me. You remember the place. I'll be waiting for you. Mark."

Taking a chance, Emma furiously tapped out a hasty reply.

"You say I need to trust you. Then trust me. Who are you...really?!"

Less than the time it took for her phone to lock and place it safely in her bag, the familiar text alert chimed.

"You're beautiful when you're angry. I've been sent to help you. If you can honestly tell me you know what I say to be untrue, tell me now and you'll never hear from me again. But, you know deep inside what I say is true. Think about. I'll be waiting...but I won't wait forever."

To be continued...

**My imagination took off when I read a writing prompt on Writer's Digest website. The first email message was the prompt. The rest of the story is my imagination gone wild. ;)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

It was a cold, snowy night...

Meteorologist were all in a tizzy leading up to the big snow storm. At first, Old Man Winter made it difficult to track the storm which made the meteorologists squirm. Old Man Winter is like that. All sly and unpredictable. 

He hit with us with the power of a woman with bad PMS. Seriously grumpy and mean. I personally think he needs to make an appointment with a pulmonologist to deal with all his heavy breathing. He is breathing so hard one of our vehicles is almost buried...okay, it's only up to the windows but all of our vehicles are surrounded by drifts; it's like the wild-wild west out there. 

And, boy oh boy, is Old Man Winter bitter. Bitter cold weather, blowing and drifting snow make it a miserable mess out there. So thankful for electricity and heat and Mr Sun who has been shinning for two days straight!!

Being stuck in the house and not wanting to waste my time cleaning has turned me into a web surfer. 
Now, I'm going to say this in the nicest way possible and try not to insult anyone. Does anyone remember life before social media? I saw so many posts, pictures and videos of people doing the same things we did with our children years before the invasion of social media and the need to share every aspect of your life. Yet so many people comment wondering how they came up with the idea and how creative they are. What the what?! 

People. There was life before social media. There was creativity before social media and creativity will be there after everyone gets tired of their lives being open for judgement 24/7. And this rant was brought to you by......

In other news, despite all the ranting and giving Old Man Winter a hard time (which he totally deserves!), I am enjoying the extended family time. We are home bodies and this forced time of isolation is enjoyable. The house is a mess but I don't care. Clean up can resume another day. 

For today, I'll enjoy doing the laundry...okay, that was a lie but I will pretend to enjoy it. I'll look out the window and watch the snow blow around making the fields and yards look like frozen waves. I might even applaud when a snow plow goes by. And when summer comes with it's humid, hot days....well......that will be another story for another day.