When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Lemon Bars

whenlifehandsyoulemonsThis holiday season, we were singing the “Twelve Days of Sickness” instead of the “Twelve Days of Christmas.”  What started in mid-December with puke buckets and snot rags continued all season long and made us wonder if Christmas would happen for us at all. I hardly had a moment to ponder the sacredness of the season, or the sickness, as I had in times past. The attack happened in waves, two or three different viruses descending on our home and knocking the kids down like dominoes. Every night one or another or all of them would wake with a hacking cough or vomit-covered sheets. Our bathtubs and washing machine seemed to exist for the sole purpose of clearing away bio-hazard.

A writing deadline hung over my head, but when I sat down to the computer, the sinus pressure was worse than the pressure to churn out the words. So, I’d take a three-hour nap instead…and still feel like mush. Probably the thing that pained me most was that I wanted to be there for other people who were in pain and I just couldn’t make it happen. Continue reading

To Build a Castle: A Cinderella Pumpkin Patch Party and the Good Idea that Should Have Stayed an Idea

cinderellapumpkinpatchbirthdayBefore you go thinking I’m the neighbor with the pumpkins still sitting on her porch come December, let me assure you that in the end this autumn story relates to the season at hand.

My October baby turned five this fall just before the leaves started to get their color. And so, we scooted ourselves over to the pumpkin patch, hiked through a mini forest of evergreen and found a thing of fairy tales, a pumpkin carriage. Continue reading

Burn Out vs. Everlasting Light

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I’m burned out again on man-made things, the light of screens that trigger something in my brain or my self-esteem and keep me up at night thinking, thinking, thinking, spinning in mental circles, striving in thought, my imagination making up new ways I’m lacking or overlooked.

For all the good in my social media (picture social justice insights, ways to simplify my life, happy news about a friend’s cancer going into remission, and video footage of my brother rocking out to a radio fanny pack), time spent there often clouds my life with problems in the world that I can’t fix, arguments I can’t win, prolific peers I wish I could keep up with, circles where I’m not invited, and, yes, time-consuming cat pictures.

Man-made screens. Man-made light. Man-made overload. Man-made problems.

I remember years ago dragging my feet toward the car in my university parking lot in downtown Indianapolis, frustrated both about the foreign language class I’d just finished and about a failing romantic relationship. Just then, in interruption to my pity party, I heard a crackling sound over my head. Continue reading

A Playdate with Poe

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Gray low-hanging clouds block the blue and sunshine. The air is warm, but the violent wind hisses this won’t last long. It rips leaves from high branches and sends them flying.

Down a hill and off the path, we swish our feet in fire-colored leaves already on the ground, ankle deep.

In fall, things morph–
shadows lengthen,
night kidnaps morning,
wind groans,
owls spook from skeleton branches.

A walk in the woods makes you feel like you’re living a page in a mystery story. Continue reading

A Year of Amazing Grace {with Guest Author, Allison K. Flexer}

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Today, I’m honored to be hosting newly published author, Allison K. Flexer, who also happens to be a member of my online writing group, the Story Circle. While Allison’s book is a gift to the single woman in particular, her message will resonate with anyone who has had a hope deferred or a dream just out of reach. Just as I’ve shared about the crazy times in my family’s life over the past year, below Allison echoes that we can trust God to save the day, even if it isn’t according to our outline and our schedule. Enjoy!

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by Allison K. Flexer

I started writing a book for single women when I was 33 and single. For the next three to four years, I wrote and re-wrote my manuscript. I pitched it to many Christian publishing houses, receiving good feedback but no publishing offers. On the single woman front, I dated a lot of guys. Things never really clicked, but I refused to settle. I felt like time was running out on my dreams, the one about getting married and the one about publishing a book for single women. Continue reading