Thursday, May 22, 2008

Not So Hot Today...

I'm having a not-so-hot day.

It's one of those days when I'm feeling the weight of my responsibilities and, I guess, allowing the enemy's arrows into my heart.

It's one of those days when I try to reach out to a few people, and get shot down... When the best "advice" I get is that I knew what I was getting into when I adopted these kids; basically, it's the same "advice" my mom got from my Grandmother decades ago when she was having trouble in her marriage: you made your bed, now you have to lie in it. That was when dad was having multiple affairs, and my mom wanted to leave him and come home to Grandma.

Wow. Incredible empathy and tender-heartedness. Can't we allow the people we say we love to have bad days, and let them hurt? Can't we be a place where it's okay to be hurting?

Charlie Peacock wrote a song based on Job called Now is The Time For Tears. It said, in part, "Stay with me, don't try to fix me, friend. That's how you'll comfort me."

Today, I need some comfort. The kind that comes from a person and has two ears, two arms, and a big heart.

See what I mean? I'm letting the enemy beat me up. The fact that I'm alone in this gig -- both the parenting thing and the world in general -- is a super-tough place for me. Sometimes it's much harder than others. I've been doing it for over eighteen years and sometimes it wears me down.

My family members are few and scattered. I've got a brother somewhere in California, and my mother is in Colorado. That's about it.

I had some really fun news yesterday, but found myself with no one to call. No one to share the fun with. Well, that's not true. I tried to share it with a few people, but no one really cared. No one grasped how special it was to me, personally.

That's what started this little spiral down.

Today, I'd like a drink.

And a man.

And a trip to Mexico or something.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ahh... To Have An Active Imagination...

My seven-year-old, Kobi, gets... shall I say, fascinated? Obsessed may be closer to the truth, but fascinated sounds kinder.

He will latch on to something -- a book, a movie, an idea -- and will spend days or weeks or months involved with this new object of his attention.

The object has changed a few times. The first time I noticed it, he was freaking out over the movie version of

Kobi's seen that movie maybe thirty times. Possibly more. When he was allowed his time on the family computer, he would Google the songs, and watch the YouTube videos over and over and over and over. He knows all the songs and all the dance moves. He says the lines along with every part.


Thankfully, he has a good voice, and can dance. So it's pretty entertaining, in a super-annoying kind of way.

Then, it was learning to French braid hair. He found a YouTube video on that. It took him a few days, and the grudging cooperation of his older sister, and Kobi taught himself how to French braid. He actually does a very good job.

This is my seven year old.

Recently, he watched the Johnny Depp version of Charlie and the Chocolate factory. He is-- even as I write this--rolling around on the floor wrapped in his blue Nemo comforter. His tummy is stuffed with some pillows.

He is a Blueberry.

Boy, if I had just a smidgen of his imagination...

As it is, he kind of makes me tired.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My son is off to Colorado...

It was a busy weekend, but lots of fun. In keeping with the amazing weather in the Northwest, my little family and I went to the ocean Saturday for a whirlwind day of kite flying on the beach, picnicking, and shell collecting.

Sunday was church, then a late lunch out and Prince Caspian. Lots of fun, but not much resting up for the week ahead, and not much writing!

I did have some good time revising my thumbnail outline, and got some great input from my police expert, so as soon as I can carve out a few more hours, the second, and possibly third chapters will be done.

My babies are sick, though. Kameron has ongoing issues with his brain; he's scheduled to go back into the hospital the first week of June for more embolization; and now, Kobi has a persistent, hacking cough. Since he's had serious lung issues in the past, I probably need to take him into the doctor tomorrow.

Meanwhile, my oldest son, Kris, is going back to Colorado Springs for a week-long visit. This is super for him, but the timing is never great for me! =)

I know that I need to lean more on God and less on my two oldest children, though. They both go back to college at the end of the summer, and it will be on me to provide the care for the three munchkins left behind. Hey, He won't take us where He can't keep us--right?

I'm off to bed. Busy day ahead!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sunshine in Seattle!

It's the rare sunny and hot day here!

In Seattle, when the weather gets warm - say above 50 - we all slip into our summer shorts and venture out into the world.

People call in sick. Parents keep children home from school. Picnic lunches are packed, and we all head outside.

See, up here in the Great Northwet, I mean west, we appreciate our sunshine. Folks in California and Florida and places like that don't understand.

They think 50 degrees is chilly. They bust out a sweatshirt when the temp dips below 65.

Well, you all can keep it; and your skin cancer and leathery skin. I'll keep my pale skin and dewy soft complexion. And the big fat earthworms, and slugs, and mildew, and rust...

Ah, but today, the sun is shining!

Monday, May 12, 2008

What a Tremendous Mother's Day

Hey, I have to tell you all what a super-duper Mother's Day weekend I had. It started Friday night in downtown Seattle celebrating my friend's twenty year anniversary. Tom and Stephanie came to Christ later in life, and "found" each other. They have a yours, mine, and ours family, with grandchildren now.

Tom and Steph were one of the first couples I met as a new believer. They welcomed me and my wacko family with open arms, and haven't been able to get rid of us, yet!

The party was at the New Orleans in Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle. Terrific music and authentic food. We sat up in the balcony where we had an excellent view of the couples dancing on the cozy floor to some awesome blues. That was a great start to three days of celebrating... me!

Well, I'm not the only one who got to celebrate, I guess.

Saturday, we had our annual Women's Brunch at church. Our Pastor pretty much single-handedly planned the meal, shopped, prepped, cooked, and served fifty-six women. He did have three of our older teens and two of the men to help serve and clean up. But really, Pastor David did almost all of it.

And it was delicious! I invited a friend from the foster care system, and took my three daughters with me. Everyone felt pampered and ministered to. Following that, five of us went out and cruised the garage sales. I found a great rice-cooker for $4. Super!

Sunday was, of course, the Day. My eighteen year old bought, cooked, and served me breakfast in bed. I've never had breakfast in bed (well, on a few hospital trips...but that certainly doesn't count!). She took care of getting all the kids ready for church, and did it all with a smile. Wow.

Then, coffee with the Pastor's wife, church, and finally a trip downtown with my oldest son, Kris. He took me to a sweet indoor mall, Pacific Place for dinner at Todai (a Japanese buffet). Then he took me to a movie (Iron Man, and I do recommend it!), and THEN we went to the Cheesecake factory and Starbucks for (duh) cheesecake to go, and coffee. Make mine a triple short breve latte, please!

Wow. I tell you, that is enough celebrating to keep me happy for at least a few years. Or until October. That's when my birthday is!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Feeling a Little More Authentic

Well, I have my initial outlining for Finding Joy done. That's a HUGE Woo Hoo. I'm realizing that while I really hate outlining, my brain just can't progress neatly along a logical path without some sort of bare bones plan. For me, what seems to be working is using Google Notebook (which I LOVE), to keep all my scattered thoughts in one easily accessible, internet-stashed, place. Then, I'm doing a simple flow chart of scenes.

I have my first chapter and prologue done, and the initial feedback is encouraging. Equally important, I like it!

Anyway...back to it.

TTFN and have a terrific weekend!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Random Thoughts

I finished my first chapter late Sunday night. The prologue has a dark feel to it, but I want to be real. Jesus was as real as they come. His life and death (and resurrection!) were all depicted in the Bible honestly, and if you want something racy to read, check out Song of Solomon. I think we as Christians have a hard time discussing the world around us. We are in it, not of it. To not talk about it openly is denial, and how do you help people, or be transparent before them if you try to tidy everything up.

I'm not saying let's be intentionally titlating, but I don't think we should hold back the story line for the sake of looking pure. Now, I write mysteries. And the characters in them probably want to swear. That's problematic, because I seriously doubt any CBA agent or publisher will accept bad language. So, I have to craft my story to show the character's capablilities without actually having them swear. Or, I can let some language come in, and see if I can market it to the ABA as a "missionary" kind of book.

I don't know about how to address this. I personally feel like I need to tell the story as it really is. The underlying theme of all my work is Redemption. Redemption by it's very nature requires that the person being redeemed needs it. Right? My stories are set in the city. Cities don't tend to have sweet, innocent individuals that just need Jesus. There are people who appear way beyond redemption - Rahab comes to mind, or the woman at the well, Peter, Saul, and more - they aren't pretty people, and as a writer, do I try to clean them up so as not to offend?

Sticky thoughts for a Tuesday as I get ready to tackle chapter two.

By the way, I find that I really like revising my work. I could re-write chapter one forever. So, I will leave it as is, and move on. Immediately.

HEY - a big shout out to Shelly Beach, author of Hallie's Heart! I met her at my retreat a few weeks back in Stanwood, Washington, and I see that her book is nominated for a Christy!!

Way to go Shelly!

Friday, May 02, 2008

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Just a Quickie!

A few random thoughts for today:

I was arguing with myself at the kid's bus stop this afternoon. It went something like this:

"I really want to buy that flash. I NEED it."
"You NEED to budget for it and have some self discipline."
"Well, what if I die tomorrow without that flash?" (seriously, I said that to myself)
"Then you won't need a flash, will you?"

I also had an ongoing internal discussion all day about my attitude (which fluctuated between lousy and horrendous). That discussion wasn't entirely G rated, so I will spare you, but I got pretty mad at myself and apologized to God (and to my son, in writing), and thankfully, HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR ME, and His sacrifice for my sins paid it all! So, I can say with confidence, that I am forgiven for my bad behavior and will move on- all Fresh and Shiney.

Last thought - I've been a Christian for a lot of years, nineteen, I think. Somewhere along the way my walk began to get complicated. You might even say I've been pretty legalistic with myself and (UGH) others (especially my family). Big old news flash: "Faith like a child, Kat. Faith like a child." And huge heaping buckets full of grace. That's all we need, faith and grace.

Amen and amen.

Scripture for the day:

May the LORD answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May He send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
May He remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings. Selah
May He give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
We will shout for joy when you are victorious
and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the LORD grant all your requests.
Now I know that the LORD saves His Annointed;
He answers him from His holy heaven
with the saving power of His right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the Name of the LORD our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
O LORD save the king!
Answer us when we call!

Psalm 20 (thanks, Beverly!)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Have a Confession...

Yeah, well I have to say something here. It's a deep dark secret right up there with the fact that I read People Magazine.

I watch-no I really like-America's Next Top Model.

I am ashamed to admit it. The show is so shallow and monumentally unimportant in the grand scheme of life. Really. How darned vital is this stuff?

Not especially.

But, boy they sure make it feel that way. It's life or death baby. They've waited their entire eighteen or twenty years for this, and they are ready to rip the heart out of anyone in their way.

I have to say, though. I love the photo shoots, I love the sets, and somewhere deep in my heart is a little girl's desire to be a Beauty - to be the center of attention, in the spotlight - like Stasi and John Eldridge talk about in the book, Captivating.

It's a little concerning how they treat Tyra like she's a bigger deal than... oh, maybe the President or the Pope ('course I'm not sure that they would recognize those two if they saw them), and Tyra takes herself SO seriously. That wears thin.

But all in all, it's an escape. ANTM is a break from the seriousness that a day can have.

Even if I get annoyed from time to time over the insane way these people seem to believe they are doing such vital, necessary work. Like Mother Theresa or something.

Wonder if they know who she is?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tulips in the Mud (Originally posted 4/08)

One of my favorite things to do in Washington is the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. It's held each year in April, and usually happens around the same time as our church retreat.

There are miles of blooming tulips planted in groups by color. Each section is about 1/4 mile wide and maybe 1/2 mile long. All of these fields are down in the Skagit Valley, which lies between the Cascade Mountains on the east - still snow capped - and the Puget Sound on the west. There are red barns here and there, and old farm houses that have been restored (or kept in really great shape). And the Skagit River wanders through the whole valley.

I don't have words to do it justice.

The Festival was scheduled to start April 1st and run through the 30th. Our retreat was scheduled for the weekend of the 25th, and it was pretty likely that the tulips would be past their prime by then.

But God arranged the weather this year to so that it was unseasonably cold. In fact, we had snow a week ago. Hey, it doesn't snow up here near sea level very often! Especially in April. So I held out hope that the tulips might be late in blooming.

We headed up to retreat, and honestly, no one but me cared about the tulips. This is my thing. I talk it up big time, but people kind of glaze over when I bring it up. I think they take that beauty for granted. I lived in the high desert for twelve years. Tulips don't grow out there. Tumbleweed does - I kid you not.

Okay, so up to Stanwood we go, the retreat is awesome, God's Spirit is speaking, lives are changing, I am praising Him... and wondering how the tulips are.

My friend didn't really want to go. But I can be pretty persuasive. She relented and on our way home Sunday we drove the 15 extra miles to see them.

It was so worth it.

Even Steph agreed once we got there. We didn't stay long, just drove up to one spot and pulled over to take some pictures and bask in God's glory.

As we headed back to the car parked in the mud by the side of the road, I saw something I would call a sacred delight. Two red tulips far far from their brothers and sisters were poking through the mud. Seriously, these two were about twenty feet from the fields, and the mud they were in was where thousands of cars had parked over the past four weeks of the festival.

It made me think of Hind's Feet on High Places. There's a flower in there that Much Afraid meets that is growing up through the rocks where nothing else is growing, and its name is Acceptance With Joy. I want to be that flower, that little red tulip growing in the mud of life. Blooming where I'm planted, even if it's far from the field where everyone else is, and isn't a very pretty place.

The ugliness of the mud makes the beauty of the tulip stand out that much more.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Warm Beach Camp

We had our annual Women's Retreat this past weekend. It is usually held at Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood, Washington. Since I moved to Colorado Springs for the twelve years between 1994 and 2006, my attendance has been spotty! God did enable me to fly home for two of them. I think it was 1995 and 2000... maybe.

Being back at Warm Beach stirred up my emotional and spiritual pot. Memories of my time there as a baby Christian, the amazing ways God spoke to me, and some not-so-amazing memories of conflicts within our group of women, all threatened to draw me away from what was happening there now, in 2008.

I'm not great at processing (I hate that word) my life experiences. I tend to careen forward, racing down the path, yelling to God over my shoulder to "catch up!" This may be why He has to, from time to time, sit me down for a "come to Jesus" meeting. The kind where He gently plants your fanny on a tall stool, puts both His huge hands on either side, leans down and looks you in the eye.

Does this ever happen to anyone else, or is it just me?

This weekend was a little bit of that. He gave me some gentle reminders from my years of walking with Him. Reminders that every answer I will EVER need in life is found in His word; that He loves me and is infinitely patient with me; and maybe most importantly, that this isn't all there is for me. He has a plan - a wonderful and precious and perfect plan - for the future of all who love Him,who are His... (Jeremiah 29:11)

I think one reason He's called me to write so that I will have to process through the stuff of life. I mean, in order to write intelligently about anything, in any format, you need to reflect on what you are trying to say so that other people will, hopefully, understand. Basically, I have to slow down long enough to hear what He's said to me, long enough to think about how that might impact another, and THEN to actually try to put it into words that matter and make sense.

That sounds kind of scary. No wonder I try to race on ahead!

It's a good thing I took notes.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Writing Update...

Well, I joined ACFW (that's the American Christian Fiction Writers Association); this led to joining the local Puget Sound Chapter; this led to joining an online critique group!  Yay for all of this!

It's great because not only am I now networking with other writers (published and un), which is terrific and very educational, but I am also now accountable to put forth a chapter a week in order to participate in the critique group.  You know, you have to HAVE something to critique to participate in critiquing... funny how that works out.

So, I'm working like a fiend on my book-plotting away and creating story folk right and left, researching my settings and firming up suspects so that I can get that first chapter to my group.

I'm very close.  I'm not sure if all the children will survive the writing of my first complete mystery, but what is it they say?  "Acceptable losses"?  

Just kidding, of course.  I'd never do anything to jeopardize the well-being of my loving, lovely children.  Humm.  I sense a new plot hatching.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Kelsey Goes to College!

Woo Hoo!! My oldest daughter, Kelsey (she of the pictures below), received notice today that she is going to Northwest University here in Washington!

This is great on several fronts, not the least of which is that the school is only twenty minutes away (traffic allowing).

Her plan is to study Environmental Science. The super cool thing is that Northwest University is an Assemblies of God school, so she will be studying Environmental Science from a Biblical perspective. Some of the classes discuss the Theory of Evolution versus Creationism. Cool.

I can't wait to learn from her. Oh, and she's pretty happy, too!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Not much to talk about!  It's been a pretty quiet, calm few days.  That's a welcome change.  The kids are in school, I'm working part time, holding down the fort at home, and working on the book.

I've decided I'm not really a lover of research - but that's okay.  It's a necessary part of the writing process, and so that makes it good.  I do appreciate all the writers out there in the cyber world who are so willing to share their processes.  There are so many awesome articles and blog posts that discuss various methods for outlining, plotting, character development, etc.  In fact, the temptation for me is to keep reading about how everyone else writes their books, and not work on mine!

There are several suggestions that I've taken to heart and am using.  I appreciate it so much.  Hopefully, one day I'll be in a position to "carry it forward.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spring Break

Well, my children are back in school today!  This must count as Spring Break for me, right?  I love my kiddos, but having five of them home, all at the same time... it does get a little tense.

It seems like they kind of expect me to be the entertainment committee.  As far as I know, that's not in my job description.  I provide the materials, they provide the imagination, right?

Oh well.  Today they went back - homework and early to bed tonight!

Over the break, I shot my daughter's Senior pictures.  She managed to do two locations, and two changes of clothes, then she was done.  So, I still have a few more I'd like to do.  We'll see if I can recapture her attention before school gets out.   Here are a few of my favorites:

That's my "baby" girl.  Your momma isn't kidding when she says it goes by fast.  I distinctly remember wrapping her up in blankies and changing her diapers.  Somewhere in between that and these pics, she was a scrawny gymnast (with fabulous shoulders!), and then a taller-than-most cheerleader (with a J-Lo bootie).

I'm not so good with this empty nest thing.  These not-quite-kids, and not-quite-adults have shared the last eighteen to twenty one years with me.  They have good brains and terrific values.  They will be fine.   I'm not so sure about me!   

Spring break next year will definitely be different.  Both will be in college; where is still undecided.  My prayer, of course, is that it will be nearby.  But God's gotten us all this far and I know without a shadow of doubt that He will see us all safely Home.  Maybe for vacations? 

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thoughts on Trees...

I LOVE trees.  I never realized how much until I moved to Colorado for twelve years, where trees (believe it or not) are hard to come by.  Now, granted, up in the High Country, where the ski areas are, and where the Hot Springs flow, there are a lot of evergreens and aspen.  But down on the Front Range - Colorado Springs - where we were, trees aren't very plentiful, and they take a very long time to grow.

Colorado Springs is actually high desert.  The place where we lived for most of the twelve years was at 7,300 feet but the actual topography is flat with a few dips.  And because of the high altitude, and the short growing season (there are maybe three months with no snow - maybe), trees are rare and coveted.  In fact, the property I owned had many Ponderosa Pines on it, and I sold off some of them one year to pay the property taxes.  They were about twelve feet tall, and I remember getting around $3,000 for six of them...  later we visited them along the highway by a new shopping center.  Ten years later when we moved, the trees were maybe a foot taller. Maybe.

Now, bear in mind that I grew up  on the West Coast, with most of my formative years in Seattle.  No such tree trouble in Seattle.  In fact, they grow so fast and so tall, that they get to be kind of a pain.  They interfere with views, their branches crack off and take out roofs and cars and stuff in bad storms, the leaves clog up sewers and creeks and rivers. If you take too many of them out when developing property, you can cause soil erosion, and big slidey messes when the rain falls.  Their roots get into people's sewer pipes and crack sidewalks.  They are something we have to control, not nurture and coax to grow.

It's a completely different point of view.

Isn't life like that?  Some years you're out in the desert, looking for the shade of a nice tree. Maybe it's a stable job, or a caring church family, or the comfort of good friends.  You pray over those trees you try to plant, you water them, stake them up, read everything you can find on how to make them grow.  Then, just when you think they might have taken root, a strong wind knocks them all down.

So, you move back to where the trees are.  God answers, "Yes" to all your prayers, and the job, church, and friends all come.  But these trees can be messy.  Remember those leaves and roots? Properly caring for these abundant, growing relationships can take as much effort as trying to make them grow did back in the desert.

But, down here where the trees grow free, you get to enjoy the beautiful flowering fruit trees in the Spring, shade in the Summer and the and the leaves are really pretty when they turn in the Fall. Yep, as messy as they can be, I think I'll take the trees any day.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Today I was listening to a Podcast by a man I really respect, John Eldredge.  His topic was from a new book he has out called Walking With God.  It's a great idea - a one-year slice from his personal journal.  Well, I'm sure he spruced it up a bit-no one's journal on its own would be that fascinating I suspect.

At any rate, the Podcast is short clips of him reading from the new book.  This broadcast was on Listening to God.  He opened with a story of how he, his wife, and two sons have a tradition of tromping out through the woods after Thanksgiving to cut down their Christmas tree.  What that had to do with Listening to God, I missed.  My mind got stuck out in those woods.

You see, my family was anything but "normal" and happy.  My parents divorced when I was eleven.  And this was WAY back when divorce was rare, so we looked like freaks.  To make matters worse, we lived in a small town and dad married his secretary.  I'm pretty sure the story ran in the shopping news.

Needless to say, mom and I didn't do a lot of hunting for Christmas trees.  Unless you count hunting for a lot somewhere.   She was so busy working three jobs, doing housework, and trying not to totally freak out, I'm amazed we even had a tree.

As a divorced single parent myself, we found our early trees at a local place called Chubby and Tubby, where every tree cost $5.98.  They were already cut for us.  We did get to tromp around, though.  Around the parking lot.  Of course, the trunks were about 1 1/2" round, so if we'd  had the opportunity to search them out in the wood, I could have chopped them down with a pocket knife.  Or just knock them over.
That mental picture: of a happy, "normal" family  skipping off through the Colorado woods - probably in the snow - just set me back a bit today.  I mean, wouldn't that be a super experience?   

But, really?  The temptation to resent the Eldredge's their awesome-sounding, picture-book traditions could seriously rob me from appreciating the quirky and fun traditions my family's instituted.  Off the top of my head, I can't name them.  But I'm sure we have them!     I'll try to research this and get back to you all.  =)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Financial Peace

Just got back from my FPU class at church.  That's Financial Peace University.  It's a class that Dave Ramsey designed I don't know how many years ago that helps out-of-control people like myself learn how to get our financial lives in order.  Thus, "Peace".

It's a thirteen week program, and we are in week ten.  So far, I've put together a real monthly budget (every penny -almost-spent at the beginning of the month, on paper, on purpose!), gotten all my debts gathered together and started paying them all off, closed my one credit card, and have saved a little over $1,000 as a baby emergency fund.

I feel really good about these steps.  Up to this point, I've mainly spent every cent I make monthly (and then some), rarely had a balanced checking account, and had NO money in savings.

So all of these activities would seem to be helping me get my financial act together.  Now, tonight's lesson.  The theme was funding our retirement.  We learned that, if we are thirty years old and put $500 per month into a mutual fund (this is after we've paid off all existing debt, incurred NO MORE debt, and are living below our means so we can save), we would have a little under six million dollars at age seventy.  A couple of thoughts here.  One, if I were saving like that, I'd probably feel okay about retiring before seventy.  Six million seems like more than enough to be comfy in my senior years.

Now, the glaring fact:  I am not thirty.  Actually, I am not forty.  I am just a hair under fifty.

So, when I crunch those numbers, I find out that in order to retire at my current monthly income in twenty years, I will need to invest $1,200 per month into a retirement fund.  Couple of problemos here.  Well, actually one.  I don't have the $1,200 "extra" to do this yet.  But,  hopefully using Dave's strategies to get the heck out of debt and live within/below my income, I can at least start doing something towards this as soon as I get my other baby steps done.

It will take a little work, and it won't be easy, but I don't see much of an alternative.  Besides, I have God on my side, and I'm pretty certain that He trumps even Dave for retirement planning.

No excuses, though.  Dave's way sure the heck is better than what I've been doing with my money the past umpteen years.  I'd really suggest checking it out.  His site is

And I'd suggest that all people get their financial stuff in order NOW.  'Cause this later stuff - quite frankly - stinks.  

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sunday Afternoon....

Lovely day. I love Sundays. The initial getting everyone out the door thing is a bit hairy, but once we are all there, and lined up in our two pews, worshiping together and listening to our Pastor bring the Word, I always feel a tender contentment creep up over my soul.

Kobi, Klaryssia, Kelsey and Kameron sit in front of my pew and Kami (Kris' s girlfriend), Kris, and I sit behind them. Over the years, I've learned that sitting this way makes the occasional behavior modification activity easier. In other words, if I need to yell at someone, it's easier to get to the offending party if I'm seated behind them. Plus, then I can whisper firmly rather than actually yell.

Now we're all home. Typically, I make tuna melt sandwiches with sharp cheddar cheese, which we have with chips and fruit, or, like today, hard boiled eggs.

It's so nice to have a day of rest - a Sabbath Day - to focus on God and on each other. We don't necessarily have a day filled with the singing of praise songs (although the kids have a song from children's church stuck in their heads), or a day set aside to memorize scriptures. What we do is slow down, remember Him, and remember - in a quiet and unfussy way - that we have each other.

At least, that's what I do. I'm not sure if the kids get it yet, but maybe when they are old, they'll remember these Sunday afternoons and smile.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Settling in For the Long Haul

Isn't this a cool yet creepy pic? I just love it!

I'm back at work on my book. No "scheduled" time to write yet, but I'm working on fitting in the time (boy, doesn't that sound like a cop-out). Actually, I do have a strange life and schedule. Between the kids, fostering on-call, working part time for my church, and doing all that pesky maintenance-stuff like grocery shopping, laundry, etc, I don't have a nicely organized calendar.

But that's no excuse for not writing. So, my current baby step goal for my writing life is to find/make/set time up for working on The Book.

It's in the roughing it out stage. I have my main characters and my setting, and I'm pretty sure I have my crime and plot line firm. But this book writing can be a slippery business. Just when you think you have all of the above figured out, some stray thought comes along like a banana peel, and you step right on it and fall on your hiney. If you're not careful, you've re-written the whole thing without having anything written to re-write!

SO, my initial baby step should probably be staying the course with my original idea. At least through the first rough draft - right? Be like Nike: JUST DO IT!

I'll let you know how it goes...

Friday, April 04, 2008

A Bit About Kobi...

My youngest child is named Kobi. He's seven, and if I may say, a Drama King.

What I mean by that is that when I have to correct some behavior (say, walking into the house and across my freshly cleaned hardwood floors with his muddy shoes on), he can almost always be counted on to overreact. For example, I might say, "Kobi, you need to take your shoes off."
He might respond, "You want me to move? You don't want me to be your son anymore? You love Kameron better?"

To which I might answer, "No, I just want you to take your shoes off."

And so it goes. Kobi joined our family when he was a year old. His story is, of course, tragic as most of the histories of foster children are. His mom gave birth to him a month early, in a Motel Six in Denver. Honest to goodness, his birth certificate reads Motel Six, Denver Colorado as his place of birth. Too bad they wouldn't change that along with the mother's name when I adopted him. 'Course, we could put a fun spin on it...I bet no one else at his elementary school can say they were born in a discount motel. Wonder if I can wrangle it into free stays for life.

Anyway, his mom had several other children (something like six or seven), and abandoned each of them. Kobi, she left at the hospital. Literally, she just dropped him off there and left. I am grateful though. At least she took him to the hospital and didn't just leave him at the motel or something.

A few days later, an aunt showed up, and when he was discharged after a month long stay, she got custody. For two months. Until a social worker saw him and immediately removed him. He was almost dead - malnourished and catatonic in the crib. Back in the hospital he went. He was diagnosed Failure to Thrive.

Praise God, he was discharged into a terrific foster home, and I found out about him through his worker. She was visiting another one of my kids, and had pictures of little Kobi. I fell INSTANTLY in love. When she said she couldn't find an adoptive home for him, I practically begged her to consider us. Really, it was just God that we got him. He should have gone to a two-parent, ethnically appropriate family, but thanks be to God, I got him. A crazy oldish white lady with an odd assortment of children.

He adds such a sweet flavor to our family. As an old friend used to say, he's the pickle in our soup. And he's brilliant. And someday, when he wins his first Oscar , I will be able to retire comfortably in the style to which I'd like to become accustomed.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Putting Off the Old...

I've been working on this Thin Within program ( since January. It's a faith-based approach to weight loss. At least that's how it's billed. Truly, it's an intense, grace-filled approach to addressing the silent starvation inside our souls that leads to our ravenous consumption of ANYTHING we can find to fill ourselves up - spiritually speaking of course.

Most adults are aware (at least we have niggling suspicions) that we use stuff - food, alcohol, sex, maybe drugs, definitely spending - to feel better about life. We spend countless hours trying to avoid facing the emptiness in our souls; the pain that gnaws away at our inner lives. Well, at least I have. Maybe I'm the only one?

But Thin Within takes on those needs and hungers head on. The workbook takes you on a journey inside, to see if you will let God, your Father and Creator, gently, gently expose and heal those scary wounds that lurk within. The wounds that have been there for years - decades maybe - that are festering and stinking up our insides. These old wounds may seem trivial and insignificant, but our psyche thinks they are horrific enough to need protection from; and most of us try very hard to protect ourselves - thus the eating and spending and drinking.

I just had to share that there is a way out of these destructive cycles that doesn't involve slapping more bandages on the stinky sores. A way to deal grace-fully with the real issues rather than try yet another self-disciplining program (that, let's face it, most of us fail miserably at). A way to grow closer to our Father who loves us passionately and completely. He will help you heal ALL the inner wounds, and give you some solid ground to stand on. Up where the air is clear and free.
And they say it's just a weight-loss program!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A Beautiful Day in Seattle

Wow, what a lovely day we had in Seattle today! It was coldish, maybe high 40's low 50's, but the sun was out most of the day. The mountains surrounding the city were out, the water was blue...paradise!

I've been exploring other writer's blogs. It's such a great way to get to know people, even though it's virtual. Along the way, somehow I stumbled across a place called You can meet real people in your area who have similar interests.

One group is the Urban Walkers. They - go figure - meet monthly for walks around the city. Tres cool. What I'd really like to do is find a kayaking group. I have this crazy notion that it would be fun. There are Sea Kayakers and White Water Kayakers. One group is having a class in a pool this week to work on their rolling technique. Like, rolling upside down and presumably upside up again? Hummm. Haven't found a Shallow Water Fraidy-Cat Kayaking group yet. Or maybe a way to do this on dry land. I'll keep searching.

Originally, I was looking for a Christian Writers Group in the area. Never did find that, but I think I'm going to a dinner theater next week.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Good to Be Back

It's really great to be back on this blog. I didn't realize how much I missed writing just for writing's sake. Life can get so crammed full of "important" stuff that the enjoyable, reflective part can be squished out...sometimes for a long while.

Things like taking a walk or having a date night with one of the kids can become, if we're not careful, items on our PDAs - special things that we have to make time for and sadly, that we easily delete.

Whatever happened to spontaneous living? I remember when I was younger and life seemed to stretch out before me like the Yellow Brick Road. Every day was an adventure, and every white cloud etched against the bright blue sky screamed of the Lord's living presence in our world.

Now I feel lucky if I notice it's a sunny day. Worry over dirty socks piling up, who needs a doctor's appointment, or when I need to be sure to schedule a trip to the grocery store occupy my thoughts. Of course, families are noisy distractions, and often when I finally have a minute to pause and reflect, along comes the 2:20 bus with the first kiddo back from school. Quiet Time with God is even something I have to be sure to schedule...

Telephones aren't my special friends anymore, either. Remember when you loved getting phone calls? Now I hate to hear it ring. Sure, cell phones are good for emergencies. But, really, is it necessary for everyone to have access to each other 24/7? Where's the romance? The mystery? The anticipation? We expect to get hold of people right away, and almost demand instant answers.

I think that my best responses are the ones I think about for awhile. The first things out of my mouth are rarely the wisest.

Maybe that's why God has our hearing start to go as we age. We get so darned distracted and worn out by all the voices clamoring for our attention that He has to turn down the volume so we can hear what He's whispering inside our hearts. Well, and so we don't go nuts.

Personally, I don't mind the quiet a bit.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Hi Again!

Super long time of silence. The kids and I have been through many, many changes in the past year. We've moved AGAIN, this time into an even smaller house, 1800 square feet, but it's on a really quiet cul-de-sac with lots of neighbor kids and ultimately, it's been positive all around.

We started out three years ago in a house that was a little over 4000 square feet on 11 acres. So it's been a "challenge" (as we stressed out people like to call these earth-shattering events in our lives).

One of the benefits of continual downsizing is that you get to sort through every little thing you own to make sure you have room for the essentials. For instance, the children. I mean, really, shouldn't they have a place inside the house? Aren't they a valuable part of the family?

Thankfully, we have two storage areas, so the boxes have some personal space, too. I estimate we have about twenty that aren't unpacked yet, but its only been seven months since we moved. Hey, I no longer need to search for things in those boxes, so I could probably have a "mystery box" sale on Craigslist. I could sell a box for $5.00 on the condition that the purchaser buy it sight unseen - who knows what's in them! Doesn't that sound fun!!

Apparently, I'd never miss the stuff.

Another benefit of downsizing is that we are getting even closer as a family. For example, we have 1 1/2 baths for seven people. Enough said.

Ah...but God is good! I'll expand on that theme in the days to come. Good to be back!