Christianity Family Ties

Good News Bible Kids

Need a great present idea for your child? My friend Jana recommends these dolls highly…the Good News Bible Kids come in both male and female doll versions. They have Bible names and they teach 15 Bible verses in song, the New Testament book song, and The Lord’s Prayer.

Jana’s girls were given one this past Christmas, and her then two year old son quickly picked up on the Bible verses…

I think it’s a great idea. Never underestimate the ability of your toddlers to memorize scripture!

Health Writing

Researching Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

I received the first of four research books I’d ordered on PTSD, a subject I find fascinating fortunately, because the heroine in my book seems to be suffering from it. It’s been interesting to see the statistics on who is more susceptible to react drastically toWaterlilies: Morning with Weeping Willows, Detail of the Left Section, 1915-26 trauma…women more than men, younger people rather than older, people with no social support, people with past substance abuse issues.

Many people suffer from the debilitating flashbacks, their hearts race, they sweat, they relive the trauma, they can’t distinguish between the actual event and their episodes of panic. Doesn’t your heart just break for them? Whether they’re Vietnam Vets, rape victims, abuse victims, disaster victims such as the survivors of 9-11…

Aside from book research, I have to wonder why God puts these things on my heart? Am I someday going to be glad for the frame of reference these psychological books are giving me? I’m still at the point in my writing, where any potential for it to have outreach seems surreal. I’m on the verge of thinking of it as more than a hobby, so I do still wonder if writing is the vehicle God knows will land me at a certain place at the right time? Know what I mean? What if I’m not ever going to be published, but will someday be in a White and Purple Water Lilies, 1918position to need counseling, or to be a counselor?

At the writing conference I recently attended, Deborah Raney half-joked about how in the beginning stages of plotting out a novel, you’ll be smacked right down in the middle of real-life research. Heaven help you if you’re writing about a plane crash! I haven’t had anything earth-shattering happen, but perfect snippets drop in my path like inspiration from God. Suddenly every article, every conversation, every sermon–comes alive and pertains to key parts of my story.

So I have to wonder about this interest in post-traumatic-stress-disorder. I really fell into it when revising my first draft of this novel. I’d alluded to the things my heroine was suffering, without knowing anything about PTSD.

At any rate, I know educating oneself is never a waste…so I’ll just enjoy the ride and see where God takes me, and possibly the book, along the way.


BTW, one of the PTSD books I wanted was $60 plus at and I got it for .99 cents at! Isn’t that amazing?

Book Recommendations Christianity Writing

Post, Movie, Book Recommendations

Today is my day for posting at Writer…Interrupted. My post is titled, Writers and Parents. It’s mostly a parenting post, with connections writers will identify with.

On the home front, dh and I have been working every evening on our deck. We finally got the undergirding finished and have been laying the floor–16′ 2×6 boards. We go till dark then put all the tools away…the rain last night interrupted the process, so we and the girls watched Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution III instead. Awesome series, available at Wal-Mart!

I’ve added Amy Wallace’s blog to my blogroll. She’s the homeschooling mom of three girls that writes FBI fiction. Her first book, Ransomed Dreams, Defenders of Hope Series #1 was just released. I’ve ordered it, and hope you do too. If you order it through my link here, my Christian Book Distributor Affiliation gives me a percentage of the sale.

In fact, anytime you want to order from CBD, if you use their nifty drop down search menu (on my sidebar under the survey) to get to their site, your total order gives my account a bit of credit. And it doesn’t cost you a thing extra.

Have a great day!

Cooking and Food

Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs

My cowboy’s breakfast, lunch, or supper of choice. And from the women friends I’ve discussed it with, this is a pretty universal favorite among men. The point is, I’ve learned two valuable things about homemade chicken fried steak and farm eggs that I want to pass along today…

When using farm eggs, always crack them into a separate bowl one at a time before adding to anything. This is because they could have half-formed chicks in them or other such not so lovely things. While this doesn’t happen often, one time is more than enough to keep you cautious!

We love homemade chicken fried steak. My trick, is when breading it, add a fourth as much cornmeal to the breading as flour. If you use one cup flour, add a fourth of a cup of cornmeal. It doesn’t have to be precise. This will give your steaks that golden color and crispyness that makes your man’s mouth water.

I use minute steaks, or cubed steaks. If you get round steak you’ll have to beat tenderize it with a mallet which is messy unless you sandwich the meat between pieces of wax paper. Still messy but at least you won’t get blood spatters everywhere. (Isn’t cooking fun? My kids think so.) Then I get my flour/cornmeal mixture ready–you can add some seasonings to it if you prefer, and crack about 4 eggs into a separate bowl and start the breading process. I flour the meat first, then dip it in the egg, then flour it again before putting it into the hot oil covering the bottom of my largest skillet. Keep an eye on your steaks, they cook quickly, and you don’t want to lose that golden brown beauty to dark brown/black.

The other thing I’ve learned over the years about cooking for a cowboy, is that supper is never at a set time. So as the steaks get done, I drain them on paper towels and put them in a 9×13 pan to keep warm in the oven. They don’t stay nice and crispy like they would have if we could have eaten them immediately, but as dh could eat them like cookies, he really doesn’t care…


God Knows the Way

If you’re human, then you’ve felt discouragement, disillusionment. You’ve sometimes felt far away from God. You’ve wondered what the master plan was and when someone was going to clue you in. Especially in times of suffering.

But it’s not the Christian’s job to question. Our job is to trust. Trust is faith in action.

As you read this passage from Job, can’t you see how his feelings and perceptions are waging war against his faith? And his faith wins.

Job 23:8-10,

Behold, I go forward but He is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; when He acts on the left, I cannot behold Him; He turns on the right, I cannot see Him. But He knows the way I take; when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

God knows the way I take…


Go to Blue Letter Bible and do a search on “But God”…there are some goodies such as:

Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” NASB

Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, in order to bring about this present result…” NASB

Home Writing

Beautiful Writing Studio

Someday…that’s what I think when I see writing offices such as this one of Deborah Raney’s. Magazine pretty. It helps to know she started out hand-writing her novels, progressed to using a Mac at her kitchen table (yes, even putting it away each night so supper could fill the table instead)…that’s commitment, and I’m so happy that this a gem of a lady now has such well-suited surroundings.

You really need to go take a look. My favorite part? That four-sided rolling cabinet with chalkboard, storage, and a bulletin board…wonder where she found that?

What I really want to know: is her storyboard for the characters in her upcoming release of Leaving November?

I’m currently typing away in a corner of my LR, sandwiched between the piano and a bookcase of homeschooling textbooks. I have one shelf devoted to books on writing but due to lack of space most of my “stuff” is kept filed in my computer. My hubby has drawn up grand plans for a desk with many cubbyholes and shelves, one that will perfectly fit this only available corner of our home! Someday…he’ll have time to build it!

Where does your computer reside, and what is it that you wish for in a future office?

Home Schooling Writing

From Frustration to Joy

School DaysMy daughter learned the rewards of perseverance today…and I did too.

She had a book report to write, and even though it referenced a book she loved, she just really balked at getting it done. Messy handwriting, complaining about every step in the process. It didn’t help that today’s sunshine spilled onto the kitchen table whispering of all she missed while cooped up in the house. In fact, to make matters worse, her sisters were out enjoying the latent spring weather without her.

I almost caved, but decided she needed to apply herself and finish a job started. After all, if I give in to every complaint I’m just asking for trouble, right? And now I’m so glad I didn’t.

Here’s what she wrote, and my praise/disbelief that she’d written it had her beaming on her way out the door. Don’t you think she’s got a bright future in the writing biz?

What I Liked About Champ

by 9 year old aspiring writer

Champ by Marcia Thornton Jones was so interesting that I could not put it down, but I’ll warn you there are some bad words in it.

It is about a boy named Riley and a dog named Champ. Champ lost his front right leg in an accident. The accident was caused by Riley. Riley feels really bad and cannot forget, so he goes to the vets to see how the dog feels. But when he gets there, the owner of Champ is about to put him down! Riley says he will take Champ! What about medical bills? What will his mom and dad say? Will the dog get along with him? You will have to read the book to find out. The moral of this story is never give up! You will really want to read this good story about a boy and his best friend Champ.

The reason I share this, is not only to brag–hey, I know your children are perhaps even more brilliant–but it’s to encourage you to persevere through the challenges we face whether it be in homeschooling or parenting.

Before my daughter headed outside we shared many smiles and hugs, laughing about how the experience had started and ended. I mean, we’d gone from spitting at each other (basically), both frustrated at each other…to laughing and hugging each other in excitement over her achievement and her future.

One of the many hidden joys of homeschooling…

~fyi: the bad words she referred to were just slang words for anatomy that we don’t use in this house! They really bothered her! Anyway, the line was too funny to edit out…

Marriage Parenting

Toddlers in the Master Bedroom, Q&A

In response to a letter from a friend questioning my comment here once that we still shared our room with our toddler: Breakfast in Bed

Do they ever sleep with you?

We’ve never let our babies/toddlers sleep with us in our bed, only on certain occasions when they were really sick and I was getting up and down and up and down, etc, with them anyway. Dh was always concerned even those few times would mean they’d forever expect to be in our bed, but my toddler would ask a couple times, “Sleep in your bed, Mommy?” and I’d say “no, it’s the middle of the night, go back to sleep” (this always happened one or two nights after she was sufficiently well to sleep on her own again!) and she’d grump just a bit but drift back off to sleep. In her OWN bed! Lol.

Was it hard transitioning them to their own room after they’d shared a room with you?

I think my answer to the first question is why it wasn’t a big deal with any of ours to move them out of our room. For my oldest, she really didn’t care at one year old that we weren’t around anymore. We’d always gone to bed after her, and gotten up before her, so she didn’t miss our “presence”. My second (middle) child was closer to 15 months when we moved her into oldest’s room on a mattress on the floor. Oldest didn’t want to give up her youth bed yet, and we hadn’t yet built the bunk beds. For my middle child the transition was exciting–to be in big sister’s room! They never shared a bed either. To get them to go to sleep, I did resort to letting them listen to one tape/CD of Christian music or stories. They take turns, one night one of them gets to choose, the next the other one gets her pick. (Oldest always picks Ray Boltz, youngest Rebecca St. James)

On transitioning from a crib to bed:

I had a friend (older wiser mom) tell me when I first transitioned my oldest out of a crib to a toddler bed, to not allow ANY getting out of bed unless she called me and asked permission. This sounds harsh, but it’s amazing! It worked great for both my older girls. I just had a serious talk with them about how they weren’t to get out of bed AT ALL unless they called me in and asked first, and it had to be for a good reason. This kept them in bed at naptime (I also had a monitor in their room till toddler was born and I needed it in the other bedroom!) and at bedtime. Plus, they learned to tell time at a VERY young age. I told my oldest when the clock hands had gone around two times (for a long time they took 2 hr naps, w/o complaint–again listening to books on tape from library, or music) she could get up. Before I knew it, she was saying, “Okay, I can get up when it’s 2 o’clock? Or 3:30?” (at 3 years old that’s pretty cool. I can’t imagine my toddler now being able to do the same thing!)

Of course, my second child needed a couple spankings to get it into her head that she had to stay in bed during naptime (mom meant business) unless of course she had to use the bathroom. They’d always call “Mommmy, I need you…” anyway…that’s how it worked for us.

Lastly, what about romance?

There’s no lack of it at our house. For one thing, romance doesn’t always have to take place in the bedroom…

Any other questions?

Cooking and Food Health

Homemade Yogurt Recipe–It’s So Good For You

Holly at Seeking Faithfulness has shared a simple-sounding homemade yogurt recipe! This is very good news…we love vanilla yogurt fruit parfaits…topped with granola if I have it. Yum.

Besides being a great source of protein, calcium, riboflavMother Helps Her Daughter Stir the Puddingin and vitamin B12, yogurt helps boost the immune system by multiplying the good bacteria in your stomach.

In addition, I found this article about the probiotic benefits found in yogurt that said:

“Pediatric studies found that probiotics aids in a significantly decreasing the rate of acute diarrhea and rotavirus shedding. Parents also reported a 25% decrease in diaper rash among babies drinking formula containing probiotics.”

Go yogurt!

Have you ever used yogurt in the following ways?

  • as a fruit dip
  • by substituting plain yogurt for sour cream in recipes
  • using yogurt instead of ice cream to create smoothies instead of shakes

What say you?

Christianity Family Ties Writing

My 7 Minute Devotion

Was that pixy-like voice completing sentences across the phone really my toddler’s? Being her primary caregiver (read full-time mommy) 24/7 I hadn’t realized how I’d taken her for granted till I called home this past weekend from the hotel to send her good night hugs and kisses. I’d never heard her via the phone lines, and what a shock, to realize all at once how grown up she sounded and how much I’m losing in everyday translation.

It made me wonder at God’s joy when He hears from a long-lost believer~one who’s been busily doing what he felt was the Lord’s business but hadn’t made time to daily connect with God on an intimate level. What’s that saying about horizontal relationships keeping us too busy for that most important vertical relationship? What joy we miss when we seek for fulfillment in the wrong places.

Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

At the writer’s conference I attended this past weekend, we were challenged to write a 7 minute devotion having to do with either family, laundry, a man’s tool box, computers, scripture, shopping or a song title as our theme. The above~ my attempt. As you can see, I was missing my baby!