Sunday, July 8, 2018

50 Blessings

Our challenge today at church was to list 50 blessings- things to be thankful for in order to look on the positive side of life and remember all the things which God has provided for us.


1. Charlie, my awesome husband, whom God picked for me to have kids with. God had the right idea because Charlie is a wonderful dad. And we definitely have some amazing kids. 

2. Allison, our firstborn daughter. She loves her boyfriend, horror movies, choir singing, hiking, and The Office.

3. Natalie, our middle born daughter. She loves her bff's, soccer, horses, sunbathing, and Nike sportswear.

4. Ben, our son and youngest child. He loves Marvel movies, beef stroganoff, mango juice, and UNO cards.

5. Our home in Hayward where we've lived for over 20 years.

6. Diet iced tea. 

7. My air conditioning unit. 

8. Lake Hayward, with its deep drop off point that makes your feet feel chilly.

9. My friends, who manage to drag me out of my house once in a while.

10. The aspen tree and pine forest behind our backyard.

11. The field of long grass in our backyard; the way it sways in the breeze.

12. Laundry hanging on the line in the summertime.

13. Daisies.

14. 80's music.

15. Our choir cantata that I sing in, and our director Holly.

16. Black cherry diet soda.

17. Refillable plastic water bottles.

18. Coffee.

19. The maple tree in the front of our house, that has grown from a sapling over 15 years.

20. Our dog, Lexie.

21. Facebook and Twitter (when I can use them without addiction)

22. My blue bedsheets, the super-soft ones.

23. Ibuprofen pills.

24. Maxi pads.

25. My laptop, which I use for writing and for wasting too much time.

26. Marvel movies. 

27. The 'oldies' radio show on 101.7 that plays good 70's and 80's music.

28. Disney movies.

29.'s Kindle program and various other websites, (including this one!) which have allowed me to publish my mediocre writing- and improve my writing abilities to where I've published my own novels.

30. Books. Lots! Of! Books!

31. The Sherman and Ruth Weiss Community Library.

32. Miller's Market.

33. Backroads Coffee.

34. Hayward Coffee Company.

35. DiGiorno's Stuffed Crust Frozen Pizza.

36. Snap Fitness. (So I can eat DiGiorno's pizza, drink Backroads' frappes, and eat Miller's subs!)

37. Bath and Body Works' shower gels and hand soaps.

38. Maurice's clearance rack.

39. Walmart's clearance rack.

40. The song of the Red-Winged Blackbird, especially when springtime begins.

41. The song of Eastern Grey tree frogs at night.

42. The full moon, which rises over the eastern skyline from my backyard.

43. The stars on a clear night.

44. Lilacs in June.

45. Fall- the turning colors, pumpkin patches, apple pie baking, and cooler days.

46. Thanksgiving time, when Ben and I have our birthdays, which leads into Christmastime.

47. Christmastime.

48. Kohl's store in Rice Lake.

49. My Dodge Caravan which is still driveable and has a working A/C and heat.

50. Our church, Hayward Wesleyan. And thank you to Chad, for challenging us to make this list! :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Prayer for Natalie, on her Graduation Day

Dear Lord, help. There's a cap and gown hanging in my younger daughter's room.

She's graduating soon, and I can't believe how fast the time has gone. She's ready and excited…and so am I, but it's bittersweet. Because since the day she was born and wrapped her tiny fingers around mine, and I could see that her eyes were brown and not blue like her sister's, I knew she was a unique person of her own. Once again, I understood the concept of unconditional love—including Your love.

Thank you for making me her mom…and trusting my hands to care for this little human's life when I had no clue what I was doing.

This parenting journey has been the hardest, funniest, most terrifying, inspiring, holy mess…and there are a lot of parts I messed up that I wish I could do over. Please forgive me for the times I was exhausted and bitter and wanted to give up. Forgive me for yelling a lot. Forgive me for not paying attention. Forgive me for forgetting things.

Forgive me for all of the mistakes I made as her mom. And please help her forget this stuff—or at least help her forgive me if my failures screwed her up. Hopefully you can turn the consequences into something positive—like the development of grit and resilience. She is a very strong, vibrant, and determined girl, and I thank You for making her that way, even though we have trouble seeing eye to eye. She was always the feisty one, the one I 'butted heads with' the most with her strong will.

Thank you for the sweet moments, too—there were so many of those. The day that Fluffy the rabbit died, and I couldn't stop her tears. When she accidentally tumbled down from Dad's shoulders in the grocery store at three years old, and landed on the floor on the back of her head. We rushed her to the emergency room. She was okay. The triumphs and disappointments during her gymnastics years. The fun of the countless drives to Lake Owen sports camp in scenic Cable, Wisconsin. The meets, the travel, the cheering when she 'stuck' her floor routine. The beautiful performances she blessed us in with her dance recitals. Those few years she played the viola for Northwoods Strings. Hockey. The State Championships in Madison. Soccer, and the good friends she has made. I'm probably the proudest of the fact she is simply a good friend to so many.

I look back at it all, and could not be happier with this gift- 'my Christmas present' I like to call her, since I went to the hospital in labor with her on Christmas Day, and she was born 10 minutes after midnight on Dec. 26. She is my pride and joy, my middle child. Being the middle child was not easy- her brother was born when she was nearly seven, and when she was usurped from her spot as 'the baby' I could sense her loss and jealousy. She needed to worked hard to secure her place in the family- not the oldest like her sister, not the baby like her brother. And did she ever!

I love her so much. Thank you Lord, for giving this wonderful young woman for me to raise.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Blended and Blessed release 2/5/2017

'Blended and Blessed' is now released on paperback and Kindle! This is the story of two widowed parents, their new marriage, a murder, and God's grace.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


I had a 'God thing' happen to me yesterday. While I was editing my manuscript, I was going over a scene where one of my main characters is praying. He wants God to give him a 'word' for direction in his life. He closes his eyes, but can't hear any inner voice but his own. He then opens his eyes and sees the word 'Love.' His deceased first wife had once purchased a wall hanging that said 'Love is patient, love is kind' from 1 Corinthians, and it remained in the room as one of her favorite belongings.

John 15:12 states: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

Well, I worried-- not only is this extremely sentimental and sappy (but hey, that comes with the territory in our genre of inspirational family fiction!) but also that God wouldn't think this is a good portrayal of His communication to us. So on a whim, sitting in my living room, I'm like- "God? Would you do this for me, just like you did for this character in my story? What is my direction for my life? Can you give me a simple word or two in print when I'm glancing around for the next few minutes?"

So, I glance around my living room, and look for the first words I see in print. Well, the first big-print word I saw was 'Cadoo' which is a children's board game on my shelf, but right next to it on another game box was 'FAMILY.'

Then, the next shelf over, on a photo frame of us with my daughter at one of her high school hockey games, there it was again, in pretty cursive script:


I totally kid you not. And of course, there's pictures everywhere of my husband, two daughters, and son. In one of them, my husband is holding a giant moose antler with a big dorky grin on his face.

He wants me to invest in my family as a wife and mom. That means taking time to play board games (like Cadoo, Apples to Apples the Family Version, Uno, and Trouble) with my elementary school age son, have 'girl time' with each of my daughters who are now 19 and 17, and be the comfort at home for my stressed and overworked husband.

Yesterday, my husband was involved in an ice-water rescue dive. He helped recover a drowning victim from a frozen lake- and it isn't even his primary job. I can try my best to be that soft spot to land on when situations like this make him feel discouraged with the sadness of life. He is often 'burning the candle on both ends' and needs a loving wife to be his pillar of comfort.

God doesn't necessarily plan for me to be a great writer, or a perfect friend, or a perfect part-time employee. Or a 'perfect' wife or mom for that matter. But he wants me to be there and love my family, for the rest of my life.

I am 47 years old. One of my children is technically considered an 'adult,' (How'd that happen??) and one more is on her way. I still have several years left to raise my fourth-grader, my 'caboose' boy who loves Nerf Wars, hates the broccoli I try to sneak into his dinner, and tries to compete with me every night with how many cheek kisses we give each other!

In Proverbs 31:25, it says 'She can laugh at the days to come.' I really, really hope and pray I can do that! There is great joy in seeing my kids older now and developing their own unique identities.

I love seeing my college daughter's Instagram page, the way her friends and boyfriend love and value her for the sweet and hard-working young lady she is.

I love seeing my high-school daughter walking out the door, swinging her lanyard of keys and shouldering her book bag, her hair in a ponytail. She's getting into the car and she's driving herself to school!

I love the goofy conversations between my son and I while we are playing cards at the kitchen table, and his appreciation for my Beef Stroganoff hot dish.

I am also happy that God's direction for me is simple. It's simple, but it's not easy. I really love to withdraw into myself, my own thoughts, and solitary activities. I like to surf the Web and hang out on forums and blogs and social media too much. I have my headphones on with Netflix while my offspring is in the other room- doing the same exact thing. We hardly ever eat together as a whole family.

So I need to work on actively loving my family, and investing TIME with them more. It's no coincidence, I believe, that the word 'family' appears twice on the wall of my living room where my gaze so often falls.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Just a little sneak peek! 'Blended and Blessed' the sequel to 'The Cedar Chest' will be released in about one month!  

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year! 2017

Happy New Year! 

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

Friday, December 9, 2016

Gee, I haven't posted in a while!

Here is a pic of our choir performing the Cantata "Hope is Born Emmanuel" last week. I loved these songs and the way the narrators presented the story so much! I'm the blonde with glasses in the top middle, right behind the lady with white hair. I was NOT sick and coughing for once during the performances! Praise God!