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

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

The Line No One Else is Singing {#InfluenceConf Recap}

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When I was a pre-teen, my music minister dad opened the hymn book and sang out the second, third and fourth lines of notes to me. Ever since then, I’ve been listening for the harmony. Usually, I like to find the line no one else is singing to bring out the fullness of the chord…or maybe just to be original.

As I sat at the back of the Influence Conference meeting room last week during worship time, I kept humming out a harmony only to find it was already taken. When I tried to get in between that line and the melody, I heard voices from other parts of the room singing the same notes.

I couldn’t find a harmony all my own. Continue reading

Homecoming

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Over the trees, the sound of trumpets came to me. Drums bellowed back at mallets punching. Summer days, the marching band played like always. I could hear it from my backyard. Some days it was the sound of war, other days of celebration. I knew something was coming one way or the other.

I hadn’t known if we’d get to keep this house, this town and its music, these neighbors and our walks to school. I hadn’t known if we’d have the money to send my four year-old to preschool, the dream she’s been talking about for two years straight. I hadn’t known whether to plant my garden. But I planted it anyway, there in the backyard to the sound of distant music. Continue reading