Today I am Thankful

Today I am Thankful

Last week when I was at Disney I got to meet a couple of y’all and that was wonderful!  I love meeting you all in person and getting to chat with you.  Each of the ladies I met asked me the same question that many of you ask me, “How are things going with your daughter?”.

I have stayed away from this subject on the blog for several reasons.

  1. There really isn’t anything to tell.  We don’t hear from her and know very little about her life.
  2. It is painful.  I like to be positive and encouraging here, but I want to be honest.  This is a very hard subject for me and frankly I just don’t like to talk about it.
  3. The haters.  It is a sad, sad world out there and people sure do enjoy tearing others apart.  Every time I mention anything about my hurt over this situation people come out of the woodwork to throw stones at me and it’s just so dumb and mean.  I simply don’t want to dredge up the crazy.
  4. The very, very limited accessibility we have with her is a precious treasure to me and I don’t want to lose that by saying anything that would hurt her in any way.  Sometimes you just need to keep quiet and pray, so that’s what we’re doing.

But I know that many of you care about us and wonder how I am.  I get asked about it several times a day, and your tenderness has been a blessing!!!

Here’s the answer: I am really, really sad, but I am OK.  In fact, I am finding places of joy and peace that I never knew existed before because I never needed it so much.  I am learning humility and hope and trust in the God who knows exactly what we need.

I am still working on some other lessons I need to learn, like forgiveness and confidence in who I am in Christ without being affected by what other people think.  Those 2 things, yeah, not easy.  I read once that if we won’t forgive someone else then we don’t fully understand the depths of our own depravity.  That really helps me remember that I am no more deserving of forgiveness than anyone else, no matter what they’ve done.  The Bible is clear on that.  But honestly, there are a few people that my flesh would rather never see or hear from again.  Just being real, not saying it’s right.

God is even using that battle to grow me into a stronger, wiser, more valuable member of the Kingdom.  I do want that, even though it hurts like H-E-double-hockeysticks.

This week, as we move into the holidays I am fighting the grief again.  My heart breaks daily and God beautifully mends it every single time.  He often uses you all to be His messenger of love.  Those of you who have sent me cards and messages, you have held me together.  Every note of encouragement is a healing balm to me.  Isn’t it amazing how you find out who your true friends are through these kinds of trials?  I have been shocked (and saddened) at who has been hateful and even more surprised at many who came out in force to stand firm by my side.  Those people are my earth angels (great, now I’m picturing Marty McFly from Back to the Future and that song “Earth Angel”).

God uses our suffering for our good, and knowing who you can really trust is a very good thing!  I have been so, so grateful for that.  And He has shown me where I am strong, thickened my skin, held me up in times of trial and proved to me that I can survive what I would have thought would kill me.

OK, I am reading back through this and it sounds like a real downer.  I don’t want to leave you with anything but the tremendous hope and gratitude that I have in what God can do and how great He is to use my hardships to help me and the people I love.  Nothing but good will come of this trial, that I am sure of.

Here are a few things that I am so, so thankful for…

  1. He has lovingly removed some toxic people from my life.
  2. He is teaching me to forgive, which is my biggest challenge.
  3. He is showing me where my value lies, which is in Him!
  4. He is making me more loving and understanding.
  5. He is giving me new friends who are trustworthy.
  6. He is strengthening my relationship with my other kids (this part has been SUCH a blessing!)
  7. He is teaching me blind trust and giving me that kind of joy that only comes from the Holy Spirit and has nothing to do with circumstance.
  8. He has strengthened my marriage through this, when it could have easily gone the other way.
  9. He has blessed my business, how amazing!!!
  10. He has give me the opportunity through this to encourage thousands of you who are going through a similar trial, which is an incredible gift to me.

Yippee!!  Look at what a great list that is! I hope that encourages you to be thankful this week and for whatever God is doing in your life.  It can get really hard, but oh so rich with blessings along the way!  Make your own list and see what great things God is doing.

Happy Thanksgiving!  May the joy of the Lord be your strength!


My Fear is Going to Get Expensive

My Fear is Going to Get Expensive

Last week after spending several days hiding away in deep thought and writing, I was glad to be home to my simple, sweet life and beautiful family.  What I was NOT glad to get home to was the…er…situation that had occurred while I was gone.  You wouldn’t think anything this big could happen in less than a week, but apparently it can.

We have an official M-word situation.

I found out about it after I was doing some laundry.  I was peacefully moving clothes from the washer to the dryer when James came in and said in a tone that was out of character for him, “Lisa, you need to go out of here for a minute.”  It was the way he said it, so gentle and sweet, that sent me into immediate panic.  Like when someone says to you, “Sit down honey, I have something to tell you,” in their most remain-calm voice.  Fear goes up your spine.

And since we were doing things that were out of the ordinary, I just left the room.  I put the wet laundry down and walked away.  James must have been kind of surprised at my lack of arguing because he called after me, “Well look at you being all submissive!”. I could tell he was smiling even though I never turned around to see.  But I wasn’t really being submissive.  I was really pretty sure I could read between the lines and knew there was a you-know-what somewhere in the utility room and he was trying to keep me from seeing it.

Later on after my heart stopped pounding I decided to take the risk and ask him if this was a one time problem or if it had been ongoing.  He laid his hand on my shoulder and in the style of a great politician he answered me squarely, “We have it completely under control.”

Um….. yeah.  That doesn’t comfort me at all.  You may was well tell me that the atomic bomb is not going to land DIRECTLY on top of my house.  Oh well that’s just great.

I didn’t ask more questions.  I really didn’t want to know, but a couple of the boys while overhearing this brief conversation blurted out some disturbing information about things that had happened while I was gone.  I have never seen my husband move so fast as he leapt to put his hand over their blabby little mouths.  “SHHHH!!!!” he said then turned a guilty grin in my direction, “Really honey, we are handling it.”

So of course, last night I didn’t sleep a wink.  I just knew there must be dozens (or more) of those nasty creatures scurrying around in the dark doing who knows what in my house and what if one was in my bedroom?!?!?  I decided that the next day I would have to go to a hotel. Obviously.

And of course, I won’t be able to cook or do laundry since the kitchen and utility room seem to be their favorite hangouts.  We will be eating out from now until either an exterminator ends this invasion or the house burns down.  I am hoping for #1.

I informed James this morning of all of these plans and he laughed like I was being ridiculous.  Um, dude, if you thought I was hard to live with BEFORE this infestation, you ain’t seen nothing’.  In the nearly 30 years that we have been married I have held back the kind of crazy that is about to come loose if we don’t get rid of these things immediately.

I may need to send him a Hallmark card to apologize in advance.

When you are terrified of mice....

Do you think Hallmark makes those?  I mean, I have seen crazier cards.  Once I saw a card that said, “I am sorry you lost your job, but let’s be honest, you weren’t very good at it.”.

Now, I know that some of you are reading this and thinking that I am having an overreaction to a normal life happening and that I live on a farm and should not be bothered by this. Well just because I have horses and chickens and way too many cats does not mean I am comfortable with rodents inside my house!  In fact, what is the problem with my cats anyway?!  Shouldn’t they be helping here?!?!

I know that my fear is doesn’t make sense, but I think we are each allowed to have one irrational fear in our lives.  I am not afraid of flying or heights or germs….OK I am a little afraid of germs.  But this M-word thing is literally an I-think-I-am-gonna-throw-up kind of problem.  My instant reaction is complete hysteria followed by crying in the corner.  I can’t help it.  It goes all the way back to my childhood and watching my mother and grandmother standing on the kitchen table while my 5 year old brother chased a mouse through the kitchen with a broom.

Not that I blame them one bit.  I completely understand their fear and have no doubt that I have passed it on to my children.  There are worse things to be afraid of I guess.  I mean, this doesn’t come up very often in life.  Unless they become missionaries in a place where this is a regular issue, in which case I guess they will have the blessing of learning to overcome a fear.

But I plan to just avoid it at all costs, literally.

And now, to prepare my weekly menu, avoiding any actual time in the kitchen and not doing laundry.  It’ll be a challenge friends, but believe me, I am motivated!  And if you pass my house and see me in my front porch rockers, it isn’t because I have gone all Mayberry.  It’s because I am scared to go into my house.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook!


The Christian Walk…or Is It a Climb?

The Christian Walk…or Is It a Climb?

I went to see the movie “Everest” yesterday.  I normally don’t go for those blockbuster, adventure thriller kind of movies because, frankly, they scare me.  I get so nervous watching them that I have to run to the ladies’ room at least twice during the movie since my bladder can’t take the tension.

But I felt like I was supposed to go see it, I can’t explain why.

The film is about the 1996 Mount Everest disaster.  There were times in the movie when I stayed tightly curled up in my seat with my eyes closed.  As the climbers made their way up to the summit I was so moved by the effects of the blizzard that I kept wishing for a furry coat to wrap around me.  I could have sworn I was freezing in that theater.  I am easily influenced.

What kept striking me as the story played out was how the mountain seemed to call these people.  I mean, WHY would you risk your life for something like that?  One character explained it best when he said that he only felt real peace on the mountain despite the agonizing physical difficulty.

And right there in the middle of than torturous story it hit me.  This is the Christian experience.  God calls us and we must follow Him.  Despite having to lose everything in the answer to the call, we discover that the only real peace is on that harrowing climb.  It is filled with trials and tribulation, yet we stay the course.

The Christian walk can be more like a climb to a mountain summit.

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Christianity is not easy, friends.  But the peace that accompanies it is unexplainable to those who simply can’t see it.

Sometimes I get it in my head that I am doing things wrong if I am feeling pain or discomfort.  When people call me crazy, it hurts and I don’t want to be disliked.  When I lose possessions or people that I value, it makes me want to quit.  But there is no peace in going back down the mountain and trying to rejoin the world.

Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

Being a Christ follower does not mean a pain-free life, nor does it mean we won’t have troubles.  Trouble happens to all of us no matter who we are!  Being a Christian means that the trials draw us to become more like Christ and in our suffering He is glorified.  I know…. it sounds kinda crazy!  But I have experienced that kind of unexplainable peace and I tell you that the joy found there is no less than reaching the summit of Everest.  It is a-mazing!

1 Peter 4:12-13 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange wee happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.”

When I am injured, I still bleed.  When people hate me, my heart breaks.  And when I am rejected for my faith, it stings like the dickens because I love those who reject me and want them to have the peace that I experience.  God doesn’t promise to save me from the pain.  He does promise to increase my character and my hope.

Romans 5:3-5 “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts though the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Oh boy do I need some of that hope more and more each day!

I won’t be making a trip to the summit of Mt Everest, or any mountain for that matter.  I’ll just stay right here at my low altitude thankyouverymuch.  Just watching the movie was enough for me to know that I wouldn’t have even made it to the first camp.  I have my own, more personal mountain too climb.  Motherhood, marriage, work, friends, so many areas that I have to learn hard lessons from.

But amidst the loss and pain and suffering that I have experienced as I climb this mountain that calls me, the sense of peace and joy are with me, carrying me to the end.

Go see the movie for yourself and be amazed.  Oh, and take a heavy coat.

Continue the conversation on Facebook.

It’s Fall Y’all!

It’s Fall Y’all!

I am pretty sure in heaven it will be fall weather all of the time.

We are rounding the corner to pumpkins and 75° and warm drinks and wearing layers and it all adds a spring to my step!


The past few days have been filled with family and relaxing and church and all things lovely.  On Friday I had my first full day at home in weeks.  I celebrated by not getting dressed or brushing my hair for the entire day.  I’m thinking of making it a weekly event.  I may even put it on the family calendar so everyone can be prepared for the less-than-stellar look.

After a whole day of playing games with the kids, homeschool assignments and folding laundry, I prepaid to go to bed around 9:30.  After lying in bed for about half an hour I got an idea, what if I went ahead and colored my own hair?!  Because that is the next best thing to sleeping.

I had ordered some do-it-yourself hair color in July and it’s been sitting in my bathroom staring me down ever since it arrived, daring me to use it.  I’ve been too nervous since the first time I colored my own hair I ended up looking like something out of an old horror movie.  I cried for 24 hours afterward until my stylist could get me in to fix it.  But having it done is so expensive that I decided to try it again and apparently Friday was the night to do it.

Frankly, my gray roots were scaring people.  Mostly me.

The color was from eSalon and was pretty easy to do and only took about 45 minutes.  The color looks nice, not as pefect as when I pay the big bucks, but I didn’t cry all day Saturday so that’s one check in the positive column.  I will definitely do it again.

On Saturday morning my kids dressed like pirates so they could go to the city for free donuts and some fun shopping.  My 3 youngest boys couldn’t go pirating (it was just for big kids this time) which I felt really bad about because they had gotten up early and dressed for it.  It nearly broke my heart to tell them they couldn’t go so I told them, “You guys think of something fun you’d like to do and I will take you tonight.”  They chose to go out for Mexican food with ice cream after, which is something we very rarely do.  They sure know how to make the most of the mom-guilt.

Also this weekend I had my first Honeycrisp apple of the season and I picked up some pumpkins for the porch.  Someone should really write a song to the Honeycrisp apple, so enormous and delicious and the perfect amount of crunch.  It’s just another way to celebrate fall.


Sunday we went to church followed by lunch out with an older couple we have grown to love since we have been going there.  Yep, eating out twice in a weekend and I am feeling pretty spoiled.  Let’s just call it fall celebration number three.

After lunch I took the sweetest nap and then went for a walk with the kids.  Really…. the simple goodness just never stopped.

I may have to make this an annual event…. after school starts and the weather cools down I spend a day in my pajamas eating Honeycrisp apples and having Mexican food with friends.  You have my permission to adopt this tradition for yourself.


Sadly, according to the family calendar I will have to actually get dressed each day this week.  There are activities happening every day, but it’s all pretty close to home and we will be together.  That’s all a girl can really ask for.

I hope you’re having a nice September and a wonderful week!

Be sure to continue the conversation over on Facebook!


Are You a Meddler?

Are You a Meddler?

A few weeks ago in church our pastor was preaching from 1 Peter.  He was just reading along and sharing his message and he got to 1 Peter 5:15. “But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.”

It stopped me cold.  Whoa!  Being a meddler is right up there with a murderer and a thief?!  That’s pretty tough.

So I decided to do some digging about meddlers (also known as busybodies) and see what else the Bible has to say about it.  I definitely wanted to know if I was doing any of that meddling stuff myself and I sure don’t want to suffer like a murderer!

In the sermon, he said that a troublesome meddler is “one that is too involved in the affairs of others.” He also said that while it is not a crime to be a meddler, it is a sin.  Ouch!

One thing I want to really make clear is that I am looking at myself here, not anyone else.  It is SO easy when I read these verses to look at others who have meddled in my life and think, “Ooooh…..she’s in TROUBLE!”, then just go about my day as if I don’t have any sin hiding in the corners of my heart.  But that really doesn’t help anyone.  So I am choosing to look at my own life and leave other people to the Holy Spirit.  I am sure there’s enough mess in me to deal with; I don’t need anyone else’s problems.  Plus, that would be pretty ironic to be calling people out for meddling when it’s really not my business.  It’s like those haters who scream at me online, “You are SO judgmental.”  Um…. do you hear the irony?

So for this discussion let’s just stop to look inside ourselves and see what planks we have in our own eyes and leave other meddlers to their suffering, shall we?

6 tips to help you know if you ae being a meddler #christian #culture #friendorfoe

How do we know if we are a meddler? 

To make it easy, let’s call our target Susie.  Poor Susie is obviously making some bad choices and she is SO impossible to deal with and frankly we just don’t like her.  Maybe she’s a relative, maybe she is a troublesome neighbor, or maybe she is simply a person we thought was a friend and then changed our mind after we found out that she is so horrible.  How can we know if we are meddling or really being helpful?  I mean, Susie has simply got to change, right?

1. If I gossip.  Yep, gossip is the number one way of meddling.  If I find myself talking to our friend Mary about how crazy Susie is when don’t talk to Susie about it….I am gossiping and ultimately meddling.  Either I am trying to be a part of helping Susie directly or I am a busybody.  There is not much in between.

Mt 12:36 “I tell you, on this day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

2. If I don’t pray for her.  Like it or not, we are called to want the best for Susie.  If we spend more time thinking about how annoying Susie is than praying for her we are possibly meddlers.

Mt 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your father who is in heaven.”

3. If I am dipping my nose into her affairs.  There are some very clear areas of authority in Scripture and we will be wise to heed them.  Each man has authority over his own home.  It is easy to criticize others in their parenting, marriage, home-keeping skills, etc.  We all will fail in many areas, but unless there is actual illegal activity going on (and even then the are appropriate channels for helping, none of which involve social media or gossip) we need to stay out of other people’s business.  If we stuck our noses into every other family that does things differently than we do, we will leave nothing but a slew of broken lives behind us.

2 Cor 10:13 “But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God has assigned to us, to reach even you.”

If you really, really think you need to get involved in helping someone through their sin (and it needs to be sin and not just “I don’t agree with you”), PRAY a lot before you jump in!  Then check with your spouse and see if they agree, then ask your pastor and see if he agrees.  Then, if that wise counsel (not all of your friends but just those 2 advisors) actually agrees that you should get involved, as hard as it will be, you are called to talk TO Susie instead of going around her.  Not talking directly to her is cowardly and never, ever actually helps anyone.  Not even you.

4. If I think I’m better than her.  If I think I am above anyone else, then I am in danger of all kinds of sin.  God loves me, God loves you, He doesn’t place any of us over any other.  If I think I am better than Susie, I am actually losing sight of how special she is to God and I can quickly slip into foolish and harmful behavior.  It is vital to keep the perspective that no matter what anyone does or what we do, it does not raise or lower us in God’s eyes.

Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”

5. If I can’t be corrected. Oh man, it is tough when someone corrects you.  It can really sting.  We like to be admired and thought of as flawless.  But we all need a word of correction sometimes….ALL OF US!  If you reject correction then you are likely to be a person who over-criticizes others.  It’s simple psychology: I have to lower others in order to stay on my imagined pedestal.

Be willing to be corrected.  It keeps us from getting a big head and thinking we’re all that and a bag of chips.  If we don’t get defensive when someone corrects us then we are in a better position to know if we are being a meddler.  I am so glad I have people in my life who tell me the truth or I would probably be the worst offender in all of history!

Hebrews 12:11 “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

6. Know God’s Word.  It is easy to say, “Susie is so WRONG!” but did we look in the Bible to actually see if it says what she is doing is wrong?  Child raising philosophies, school choices, birth choices, money, careers, so many areas where we like to think our way is the best.  And maybe you do have great ideas and maybe you can do have ideas that Susie could benefit from.  But is she WRONG?  Does the Bible actually SAY that if she doesn’t breastfeed then she is doing it wrong?  NO!  Let’s let each other live peacefully and just try to be understanding unless it is a real, honest to goodness sin.  If that is the case then it may be time to go to Susie in love and try to help her.

Your involvement should ALWAYS be for the purpose of helping Susie heal and draw closer to God.  Otherwise I need to just mind my own beeswax and be thankful to have friends who put up with my junk and I should be willing to put up with theirs.

Lastly, I am asking myself these questions to keep myself in check when it comes to meddling:

10 ways to know if you're meddling.  Great post about not being a meddler and loving others!

  • Am I really helping or just feeding my own ego?
  • Did this friend ask for my help?
  • Have I become part of the problem?
  • Do I think I know better than my friend about her life?
  • How much time have I spent praying for this situation?
  • Am I seeing my own messes and trying to fix them, or do I only “fix” others?
  • Am I being manipulative or dishonest in any way?
  • Am I honoring God in this relationship?
  • Do I ever sense the Holy Spirit telling me to stop?
  • Would I be of more service if I stepped out of the situation and minded my own business?
I watch Christians eat each other alive as they accuse and destroy and bully and attack both online and in person.  But it is absolutely, positively meddling if we are doing that.  To tear someone up, accuse them behind their back, talk about them as if we know all of the details of their situation and never do anything to actually HELP them is meddling and God says that we do not want to suffer what a meddler will suffer.  At the very least we should stop for our own sake!

I am asking God to show me any areas where I may be meddling and I will be praying for each of you who reads this.  Let’s make a change in ourselves and allow God to use us to bless others, even Susie.

Come on over to Facebook and continue the conversation!

Do You Need a Do-Over?

Do You Need a Do-Over?

This is a great book for moms who need a boost of encouragement to find their joy again!

Well this is the week….my book, Mama Needs a Do-Over, comes out in stores and I am more than a little nervous.

Isn’t it funny how when our vision becomes reality we tend to see only the possible things that can go wrong or be negative?  Or is that just me?  Maybe when you have a dream come true you just think about how wonderful your life is.  I lean the other way….to the dark side.

Darth Vader has nothing on me when it comes to seeing the negative and being kind of a downer to the people around him.  I know why God didn’t give me a light saber.  Or a black helmet.

OK, I see that I have gotten a little off path with this post which is supposed to be a joy-filled sharing of the book release.

This book has been a year and a half of work and through the process my life did some pretty big flips and flops.  Mostly flops.  I know for a fact that God isn’t going to let me get too comfy and He keeps me on the edge of my seat most of the time.  I have never been a person with a big cushion to lean on.  We don’t have a savings account or family we can depend on or even an air-conditioner that works faithfully (you would think that those first two would be what I panic over the most, but really you don’t even want to know what kind of evil overtakes me if I get over-heated).  Every day is a walk of faith, trusting Him to see us through as we learn more and more about His character.

And this book has been no exception.  It was as if He whispered to me, “You’re not going to write this book, I am,” and He proceeded to remove every confidence and thing I really trusted.  Bit by bit He tore my life down to one thing, Him.

And so I wrote.  And I poured out my heart and cried then laughed (before we get too deep…the book is actually funny ‘cuz I can’t write any other way) then pounded my fists against the keyboard and prayed.  He kept coming through for me.  One chapter at a time.

And now it’s out of my hands and into His again.

Recently I was watching the movie Facing the Giants and in the very end a small kicker (if you haven’t seen it, it’s a faith-filled football movie) says to the coach, “I can’t do it….I can’t kick that far!” in the final seconds of the game.  And the coach tells him, “Son, it’s your job to do your best and kick as hard as you can and then let God do the rest.”

And that’s how I feel today.  I am kicking my book out there and letting God do the rest.  May it bless you!  May it speak His words to your heart.  May you buy 3 extras to give to your friends as gifts.  😉


Be sure to follow me on Instagram!

76 Trombones and a Universal Weekend

76 Trombones and a Universal Weekend

Yesterday I somehow got the song, “76 Trombones” stuck in my head and now I am going to have to find myself a support group for people who are tortured by Broadway.  Add to it the fact that I only know the first 2 lines and after that I go into a mumbling sort of hum that makes my brain try to reach back into 4th grade when I may or may not have actually known the words.

And that, my friends, pretty much sums up the way my brain works.  All day everyday.  A song pops into my head for no particular reason, I can’t stop humming it until I am singing it at the top of my lungs around the house except with the wrong words.

This will be SO.MUCH.FUN for the 65 new friends plus their families that get to spend the weekend with me over Labor Day.  Some of my kids and I are heading to Orlando next week where we get to build memories and enjoy meeting some super-cool people.

We’ll be attending the Family Forward Universal Orlando Adventure and it will be a blast!  I know we will have a great time not because of the inevitable rain leftover from Hurricane Erika or the plethora of other Broadway melodies swimming around in my head, but because it is sponsored by some companies that will bring the beauty out of any moment!

This brilliant event is intended to bring bloggers together WITH their families and focuses on not only fun, but working as a team and doing community service.  I can’t wait to see all we will learn together about the Children’s Miracle Network and how to really make the most of our families’ service to others.

Second, we will be staying at…..wait for it….the gorgeous Loews Royal Pacific Resort where I will not only be enjoying the beautiful views, but I may just make the visit complete for other fellow exercisers in the fitness center as I uncontrollably hum songs from The Music Man while on the treadmill.  You’re welcome Loews guests.

My kids will be so proud.

And ashamed.

Which is possibly going to be my favorite part of the whole trip.

We are excited about visiting Universal Studios and seeing what they’ve got going on.  I have been doing my research (aka Pinterest) and learning about Beer Butter and the need for ponchos and how to manage the ride lines.  Of course I have already planned what essential oils to have onhand and how to keep my big thighs from causing a heap o’trouble (which let’s face it, happens when you’re a big girl doing a lot of walking in a humid environment).

And with 4 of the kids going along, we have planned the whole budget for the trip and each of us knows the entire agenda from the moment we leave for the airport until we pull back in the driveway 6 days later.  Sometimes I like to surprise the kids with things when we travel, but this time I thought they would enjoy it more if they got to make most of their own decisions and have control over their spending.  For the few meals that are not provided with the event, I gave them each a budget.  They can spend it any way they want.  And they worked last weekend rebuilding our back deck to earn money for any extras or souvenirs.

My goal for this time we are spending together is to let them make their own decisions, learn, meet new people and oh yes… a few promotions for my book, Mama Needs a Do-Over: Simple Steps to Turning a Hard Day Around, which is being released the day before we go!  Be sure to order your copy!

And if you have any great Universal Studios tips head over to my Facebook page and continue the conversation.

Lastly, please accept my apology for sticking “76 Trombones” in your brain.  Hopefully the adorable Ronnie Howard image from the movie below makes up for the annoying wordless song.

Ain't he cute?!

What’s Your Irrational Fear?

What’s Your Irrational Fear?

James goes out of town each August and it seems like every time something happens.  Last year the A/C went out, the year before that we sprung a leak under the sink.  This year, however, takes the cake.


It happened yesterday morning.  Every day I get out of bed at 6:30, usually groggy and half asleep, and I shuffle into the bathroom, go potty, put on my oils and change clothes for my morning workout.  Well yesterday for some reason I don’t remember, I got undressed first THEN went to the potty.  That is important to the story….you’ll see in a sec.

I was sitting there paying no attention to anything, I don’t even think my eyes were open, when I heard a shuffle and opened my eyes to see a…..I can’t say the word…..starts with M and rhymes with house…..come running out of my shower, rustling the shower curtain, and into the sink area of the bathroom.  Yes.  It was about 8″ from my bare feet.

Scream is not a big enough word for what I did.

Let’s see, how can I describe it?  It was more like a shriek-screech-panic-freakout (“s-s-p-f” for short)

I jumped up from the potty and took off, through the bedroom and down the hallway yelling for a kid to come help me and flipping on lights as I ran.  Just as one of the kids called out from their bed to ask what was going on I realized that I was stark naked.  As a jaybird.

I kind of figured that having your mom screaming through the house when you’re sound asleep is damaging enough without having to see her naked body.  I mean, is it actually possible to scrub your eyeballs?

So while continuing the “s-s-p-f,” I grabbed a blanket to wrap around myself.  The kids started sleepily wandering out of their rooms to see what was happening.  My daughter, who isn’t the least bit scared of the you-know-what, offered to check my bathroom.  She looked all around with a flashlight then declared the room clear.  So using my daughter as a shield, I went back in my bathroom and quickly got dressed.  Then I doused myself in essential oils so I could calm down enough to tie my shoes.

“I’m going for my walk,” I told her in what was mostly a whiny, crying voice, “Do you think you and your brother could try to catch it while I’m gone?”

She agreed to try and actually (and this is where, if she hadn’t been born at home I might have wondered if she had been switched at birth) seemed kind of excited by the challenge.

I got in a good run, adrenaline will do that to you, I couldn’t have walked slowly if I’d wanted to.  Then when I got home I sat down on the front porch and texted inside the house.

“Well?  Is it safe to come in?  I’m scared.”

She let me know that it was completely safe and the you-know-what had been caught and disposed of.

Turns out she had seen it run into another bedroom and let one of our barn cats in there.  Voila!  Problem solved.  One of my girlfriends suggested offering the cat a can of salmon as a reward, but I felt like an hour in the air-conditioning and a you-know-what to play with was reward enough.

The rest of the day I was so jumpy I actually got spooked when a feather blew in front of my leg while I was standing in the backyard.  Every time our new puppy came into the room where I was I’d do a mini “s-s-p-f” again.  My nerves are shot.

I’m not sure how I will make it through the rest of the weekend knowing sometimes these things have friends and family and maybe this was just the frontman of the operation.  I did put every diffuser I own to work, including setting one on the floor of the hallway.  I read that you-know-whats hate peppermint and ravintsara, so I have them diffusing in every room.  I’d douse myself in them if I could.


I mentioned my extreme fear on Facebook and asked what other people’s irrational fears were and many of them said the same as mine, but there were also a lot of folks terrified of spiders, snakes and roaches.  Yep, these are my people.

Now that I have slept for an entire night after the trauma, I think I may actually survive.  But I will confess to standing on my potty this morning tossing empty vitamin bottles into the shower to spook any other little friends out.  After about 5 minutes of nothing happening except for my discovering that I keep way too many empty bottles, I went about my morning normally.  Still shaken, but normal.

And I am planning on an uneventful weekend.

Unless….of course…..a feather drifts past me again.


Feeling SpOILed

Feeling SpOILed

This past weekend was a heap o’housecleaning and packing.

It began on Saturday morning after my walk.  When I got home we all sat around in the living room going over plans and schedules and who needed to be where and when for the week.  We talked about budgets and how to juggle the cars and when to do the grocery shopping, etc.  You’d think after all these years it would be simple, but it never is.

My husband James and our oldest son were planning a trip together for the week, leaving at 4:30 on Sunday morning.  So we all needed to plan for their exit needs.  In addition to that, the rest of us had gotten a little tired of the house staying messy, so we decided to make Saturday a deep cleaning day.

OK, maybe that’s a little exaggeration.  *I* was tired of the mess.  I think they were too, they just didn’t know it.

We divided up the household chores and each person had an area they were responsible for.  I had the dining room and my own bathroom (which was a little sneaky on my part since I cleaned my bathroom a couple of days before.  Shhhh….).  Levi was going to be my “cleaning assistant” which basically meant more work for me than if I had just done it by myself.  He likes to talk a lot and forgets that we are supposed to be working.  But that’s OK….I like hanging out with him so it all evens out.

In the morning I poked around doing a few other jobs like 8 loads of laundry and giving the puppy a bath and then I told Levi, “I’m ready.  Let’s clean the dining room now.”  He acted excited at first, under the false assumption that it was gonna be a picnic.  Like we would just erase the random drawings on our white board, sweep and we’d be done.


Mom clean is different than kid clean

When Mom cleans it is a serious thing.  We pulled books off of shelves and dusted, we moved furniture and scrubbed under it.  We cleaned out baskets of junk and polished all of the furniture.  At one point he disappeared under the guise that he had to go to the bathroom, but this isn’t my first rodeo, mister.  I am onto that trick.

After a few hours we were mostly finished and it was time for me to move onto to helping James pack for his trip, so I told Levi we could finish the rest tomorrow.  “Tomorrow?! How much could there be left to do?!?!” he exclaimed as he slapped his palm to his forehead.  I hated to tell him that I could work on just that room for 2 more days.

To make it up to him I let the boys watch a movie, even though we don’t usually watch movies on Saturday.  That soothed his tired little self.

Poor James had been feeling queasy all day, so I offered to pack for him while he told me what to do.  It was also a great way to spend time together before they left.  He sat in our bedroom recliner and pointed while I located what he needed and put it in the suitcase.  By the time we were finished he was looking a little green so he went straight to bed with the plan to get up at 4:15 the next morning in order to be at the airport by 5:30  (in case you don’t like math, that’s an hour drive to the airport from our house).

But the next morning when my backup alarm went off I checked on him and it was pretty obvious that he wasn’t going to be able to go on the trip.  He was just too sick.  Jacob and I made the quick decision that I would drive Jacob to the airport and hopefully James could catch up with him the next day after 24 hours of rest.  I literally flew out the door without even drawing my eyebrows on.  By 4:45 we were on the road.

Even though I was unprepared for the early morning drive, I did enjoy spending that time with Jacob.  We were talking and then about 15 minutes before we got to the airport he realized that all of his supplements and oils were in James’ suitcase.  They had planned to check one bag and filled it with the liquids and that bag was still at home.  Uh oh.

When you get used to having oils in you life it’s hard to live without them.

I said, “Let’s just see what’s in my purse.  Maybe I have at least some peppermint (Jacob’s favorite oil and one I always travel with!).  I set my purse next to me and started digging around in the bottom of it as I drove, going by feel alone.  If you’re wondering why he didn’t just look in the purse for me, it’s an unspoken law of nature….men don’t look in ladies’ purses.

As I blindly rummaged for the familiar shape of the bottles, I pulled them out one at a time.  “Here’s some Thieves!” He grabbed it from my hand, “Oh cool, I’ll take that!” as he shoved it into his bag.  I dug again, “Oh,” I held out a bottle, “I found peppermint!”  “Hey thanks!” he liked that.   “Here, I have a bottle of Abundance…”  He took it saying he had always wanted to try that one.  On and on it went until he had about 8 oils, 2 packets of NingXia Red and several NingXia Nitros to take with him.  And there were several more he didn’t want to take (in case you’re wondering, he opted out of lime, Slique, Valor II and Northern Lights Black Spruce.  My purse was like a clown car of Young Living products.

I don’t think I realized how many oils I carry with me since I just toss them in there and use them individually.  I saw for how spoiled I am and had a moment of gratitude for these gifts.

The only bottle I may shed a few tears over is the Abundance.  I use it every day and I have a feeling I’m not getting it back.  It’s one of those oils that every time I recommend it to someone they message me a month later and say they never want to be without it ever again.  And being the mom in this situation….well we all know the rules.  The kids don’t feel they have to return moms’ things.

I’ll be ordering myself a new bottle this week.

Once I got home it was time to dress the boys and head off to church.  The sermon was wonderful, which kept me awake.  Well, that plus I drank a NingXia Zing mixed with lemon, frankincense, Light the Fire and an ounce of NingXia Red on the way to church.  Nothing was holding me down after that.

After church I helped James a little and then settled the kids in for some down time.  One of my girls and I decided to watch “The Karate Kid” because she had never seen it.  It was a flashback of the 80s complete with big shoulder pads and music by Survivor.  By the time it was over I was thinking about popping open a can of Tab and playing with my Rubik’s Cube.


This morning James was feeling well enough to go so he headed to the airport to catch up with Jacob.  Those of us staying home will be doing our normal weekly activities of swimming, sweeping and trying to keep up with laundry.

And I’ll be refilling my purse with oils, of course.

Have a great week!

Sharing a Moment

Sharing a Moment

Well friends, this past Tuesday I had one of those once in a lifetime moments.  The kind that you will always remember because it is the culmination of a lifelong dream.

I went to lunch with my daughter (we had a sweet time!) and when we arrived back home there were 4 big boxes waiting for me.  I knew immediately what was inside of them….MY BOOK.  For the first time I was going to get to hold the real deal in my little hands.

I almost cried the ugly cry.

The only thing that held me back from excessive tears was that my entire family (aka: whoever happened to be home at the time ‘cuz I wasn’t going to wait) was standing around me as I pulled the tape off of the first box labeled David C Cook.  My publisher.  Everyone gave me room to just experience the moment as I lifted one out of the box.


What looked like a simple moment on the outside was really years and years of dreams and work and watching God do miraculous things in my life and the life of my family.

Since I was a little girl I wanted to write a book, or two or ten.  It was something I was supposed to do, but how on earth does a plain old girl from Texas get a book deal?  I knew God put the dream in me, but I had NO idea HOW He would pull it off.

So I kept honing my craft and continued stepping down each section of path that God lit up for me along the way.  But I could never see the end of that path, or even two steps ahead, it was one step at a time.   It was a lot of waiting and wondering and “this may never happen” moments.

But it did happen.  God moved in amazing ways and one by one the pieces fell into place.  I’d meet someone, who led me to the next step, which gave me another idea and so on.  Each piece of the story is such a God-thing.  How I met my incredible agent is a great story I need to tell you someday.  The other author friends He gave me….unbelievable.  How He provided a beautiful place for me to really dig in and write….I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t lived it.

All leading to this…..


The proof of how excited I was shows in the fact that I didn’t even stop to brush my hair or put on lipstick.  Please just look at the book and don’t focus on how sweaty I was.  It was 107° and I had been outside all morning.  Let’s just be glad that my eyebrows are still there.

And this is an even better picture….


Ham alert on the left

These people have my heart.  They have stuck with me through more failures and mix ups and messes than I care to think about.  This is my cheering section.  And I am theirs.

In fact, several of the kids took a book to their room and started reading it.  That actually never occurred to me….that they would read a book written for moms.  Even Levi got in on the action.  I walked into the living room and found this…


I held back a laugh as I asked him, “Well, how do you like it so far?”  He gave me a serious look and replied, “Well, I’m only on chapter 2, but I’ve learned a lot about being who God made you to be and a little about why you’re so tired.”

I’m calling it.  Best book review I’ll ever get.

The book will be released on September 1, but you can pre-order it now.  In fact, it would be awesomeness if you would go ahead and pre-order because that gives Amazon (or wherever you like to buy) the illusion that I am someone worth paying attention to and they will give it a higher rank-something-or-other that I don’t really understand.

Check out my book page for more details and a link to my 7-day reading plan.

I want to thank you all for your incredible support also!  It’s been a long road and you’ve been a source of strength for me.  I just adore ya!


Be sure to follow me on Facebook where lots of great conversations happen!