Summer is here! Time for books that make you laugh, cry ( just a little bit), and cheer when the good guys win and lovers get their happily ever after.
Check out The Pride of Galveston Series
Summer is here! Time for books that make you laugh, cry ( just a little bit), and cheer when the good guys win and lovers get their happily ever after.
Check out The Pride of Galveston Series
Today was an ordinary day. I made Tony breakfast and once he headed off to work I went to my balcony. On my balcony I watch the activity of my little block. I love watching the different flowers bloom across the street, the neighbors walking with their toddler, the mourning dove moving from tree to tree. I also love writing in my prayer journal, reading my Bible and praying over my island, I love Galveston. And I love this morning routine that grounds me and sets my intentions for the day. Yoga is a new addition and the benefits have been so great that it is a permanent addition.
On days with a relaxed agenda, I get to read on my balcony.
I, then, sit down to my desk. What comes next is anybody’s guest. Sometimes I get straight to work answering emails and sending docs wherever they need to go. Other days, I create social media content or write. Some days a very vibrant three year-old greets me and climbs up into my lap. This morning she didn’t. She fell back asleep in her bed after being up since 5:30 am.
As I watch Cheyenne and Savannah in this season of motherhood, that season where you don’t really ever feel rested and you answer the same question 452 times, I am amazed. I am amazed at the patience and grace they operate with and extend to their children. They are far more relaxed than I was with them. I was convinced that if I didn’t jump on every little hint of rebellion or misbehavior, they would grow into lewd women who dealt drugs and ran around with strange men- or something of the like. It seems so ridiculous now, but when you are raised with religion as your master and grace is unheard of, these are the things you think. Now, I know that there is no need to fear.
I did learn to relax as the years went by and I spoke of it often. I am so utterly grateful that they listened and God’s grace was and/is abundant. I have watched my girls mother with excellence, not perfection but who even wants perfection? They find joy in their children. I am so stinking proud of them I can’t hardly stand it.
Because of the job they are doing, I can simply enjoy my grandchildren. Tony and I can pick them up and take them anywhere. They are funny and happy and spunky. We laugh at their antics even if it wears us out. I mean, I had forgotten just how much energy it takes to raise children! I can rest knowing that we did a good job and now my children are doing a good job.
God’s grace covers the weak spots and He promised me He would show me his salvation. He also promised me that my children would be taught by the Lord and great would be their peace. I have walked through enough to know that He is faithful, if he made me a promise, He will keep it. I can laugh at the days to come because my God is with me and them.
And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.Isaiah 54:13
He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.Psalm 91: 15-16
I love my ordinary days. They are filled with life- which could be boring or monotonous but I choose to see the beauty and blessing that surrounds me everyday. I pray prayers of gratitude daily, how could I not? I am fully aware of just how blessed I am.
So many things and, at the same time, not so much. Compliments to the Chef goes live on Friday and once I completed the editing and formatting there isn’t much to do. Except marketing- which is super important because if no one knows the book is out there, how can they buy it? But still, compared to the huge amount of work that went into writing 66 thousand words, it doesn’t feel like much.
Once Friday comes, I will stalk the reports page at Amazon for about a week by then I will be engrossed in the next WIP (work in progress) and I will only be checking the reports page about once per month.
Of course, the process for me is different because I am self-publishing and I am very NEW to the whole process. I know there are other platforms so research is on my list of things to do and I am working on learning how to go with the paperback. Honestly, but the time Hard Thunder, the second book in the Hard Company Security Series, is out- my process will be completely different.
The learning curve is actually part of the fun for me, I like challenges and I like learning new things. So, improving my process and my marketing are pieces of this business I actually like.
What I do NOT like is editing! As I mentioned, this book is 66,000 words- I have read these words at least twenty-five times. I think I have just about memorized the whole freaking book. I have an editor in my daughter and she is so great. She has read the book that many times, as well. It’s not even her favorite genre. As the business grows, I will hire a professional who does this for a living and Savannah will be very grateful.
You know what I learned through editing this book? I never spell the word caramel correctly- LIKE NEVER. Spell check catches it every time. It just did when I typed it out in the previous sentence. So, its always a learning process and that is a good thing.
In a nutshell, here is how it goes:
It’s very simple, and yet it is not.
I have heard some say that writers hide behind the pen. This is such a lie. Writing reveals who the writer is, what they dream of, what they love, how their mind works- a writer is very exposed when they publish their work. That is what makes it hard to hit the publish button or the submit button if you are submitting it to an agent or publishing house.
I love this process. I love writing. I enjoy writing my books as much as I enjoy reading books- this surprised me. I will keep writing my happy books with happy endings and I hope you enjoy reading them!
When you do read them, please leave a review on my website, Amazon, or Goodreads- even better, leave a review at all three. Even if it is just once sentence.
I write the characters I love meeting in real life. They are never boring.
just don’t be an idiot. if her love was tough to win, i assure you her forgiveness is harderJmStorm
Chance had to learn this the hard way. Love wins, but the fireworks along the way are spectacular!
Who’s your biggest fan?
Do you know who mine is? My husband.
He is my biggest fan and relentless supporter and I am his.
For me, being his biggest fan is easy. Tony is Mr. Steady, he rarely finds himself in a bad mood and his continual optimism is inspiring.
Me? I am a hot mess most of the time. And yet, he focusses on my strengths and praises me. He is convinced there is not a better writer, mother, wife on the planet.
This means the WORLD to me. I struggled this past weekend. I had a writing deadline (which I met) and this had me in a funk. Not because I was behind and there was too much pressure. I thrive under pressure, I was struggling because of the onslaught of self-doubt that comes every time I meet a goal and whenever my work is about to be published. I get sideways and have a hard time picking up a pen or typing a sentence. This sort of behavior in its various forms has been present my whole adult life.
But, does my husband roll his eyes or tell me to get over it?
No, he tells me how brilliant I am. He focuses on my strengths and loves me through it. He accepts me the way I am and pushes me to believe in myself and to keep pursuing my goals and dreams.
I pray to God, that I am the same for him.
This world is nasty and mean, we have an enemy whose ONLY purpose and goal is to steal, kill, and destroy. Our home should be the safe harbor in the storm. Everyone in your home should feel safe, loved, and encouraged.
So, be your spouse’s biggest fan and relentless supporter.
If you are sitting there thinking that there is nothing to praise or support- you aren’t looking hard enough.
If you both go at each other like you are each other’s worst enemy- go get help. You are destroying your marriage and your kids. Grow up, stop seeking the drama and get help with breaking the dysfunctional cycle.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.Ephesians 4:29
20 From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied. 21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.Proverbs 18:20-21
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.Proverbs 12:18-19
We have the power to build a happy marriage, well-adjusted kids, and a happily ever after and that power is in the words we use.
We have the power to wreck our marriage, destroy our kids, and trash our happily ever after and that power is in the words we use.
Watch your mouth!
We all want someone who loves us this way.
What is a home?
What makes a house a home? That question may be slightly different for each family, but it is the family that is essential to the home. The structure could burn down, but the home would survive in the family that took it with them to the new location.
Home is much more than bricks, wood, or mortgage payments. It is atmosphere, memories, unspoken or unwritten rules, it is essential. Think about what you remember about your home growing up- you may have concrete memories of activities but those memories are wrapped in emotions. That is the crucial key- emotions, atmosphere, the spirit of the place. Was it a loving home, a home filled with fear, a home filled with laughter? If your home was not a happy one, the good news it that you get a second chance. You did not get to choose the home your were born in to, but you do get to choose the home you have now. Now, you get to make your house a home and choose what you want to fill it with- laughter, happiness, good food, warm aromas and certainly the Spirit and peace of God.
To help women understand and to encourage them to make their house a home has been a long time passion for me. Not that I have all the answers or make no mistakes, but I was fortunate to have a full time mother in my home growing up and she taught me many invaluable lessons. I took those and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, improved upon them and set out to create a home in which my children could hear God speak, could be safe and free to be themselves, and would make many happy memories to look back on when they left home. Not every home has children in it. Children are not what makes a house a home; however, if they are in the home they become a huge focus for as long as they are in your care. The most essential element in the making of a home is the marriage. If the marriage is not healthy, the home will not be, either.
Beginning with the end in mind is probably my mantra. If you want a marriage that stood the test of time, you must begin that journey with the mind set necessary to last the journey. If you want your children to leave home with a certain skill set or mind set or both, you have to begin parenting them when they are toddlers with those attributes that you desire in mind. So that is what I did, I sought God and what he had in mind for my children and that is where I began. Now, my four kids are 21, 19, 13, & 11. I am seeing the fruit of all of our hard work- my husband is most certainly very involved- and it is good. So, I desire to share what worked for me, what did not, & the lessons I learned as we have been on this journey.
Today, I am updating this post as I turn it from a page to a post. I love what I wrote 6 years ago. Those four kids are now 27, 25, 21, & 19. Two are fantastic mothers and business owners, one is about to graduate and go on to law school and one is currently beginning boot camp to become a United States Marine. What I have written is standing the test of time.
I pray that you will find the information in the pages and articles helpful, informative, and inspiring and I also hope you will laugh at the funny parts! Without a sense of humor- life, marriage, & parenting will eat you up and spit you out!
Words are swirling around us and have been for months. Most of these words are predictions of death, despair, desolation. There is a reason for this- a fearful person is easy to manipulate.
All this talk may make you think that there is nothing good left in this world, nothing good left to look forward, and nothing good to celebrate.
This is not the truth.
Here is the truth:
Whoever seeks good finds favor,
but evil comes to one who searches for it.Proverbs 11:27
Yes, there is evil in the world, and death, and destruction but there ALWAYS has been. There are NO good old days, evil walked the earth in 1950, 1850, 850 and even 210 B.C. Evil has been lurking on the earth since God hurled Satan out of heaven and he landed here.
BUT, and it is a BIG BUT- Jesus also came to the earth, righted the wrongs of the first man, Adam, and restored us to right fellowship with God. The Holy Spirit walks with us, fills us, and speaks to us.
There is good, plenty of it, all around us but we have to look for it. When you find the good, SHARE it. Fill your social media feed with the good in the world, your city, your life. Fill your mouth with good reports of what is happening in your life. Find the good and spread it around like sprinkles on a doughnut.
Regardless of what is going on in D.C. or Austin, Texas, my life is bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ and EVERY promise made in the Bible is MINE because of Jesus. There is nothing a man or woman can do to change that fact.
So, take heart to day. You are not hopeless you have the power to live a good life, you just have to look for it and put your HOPE in Jesus Christ.
Since Jonathan swore an oath and joined the United Sates Marines the day before Thanksgiving, I have been living intentionally. The intention was to make the most memories, accomplish what really mattered to each of us, and to feel like we had properly closed this chapter in our lives.
We had the best time! I cooked the things he requested, planned the parties, the baptism and whatever else any of us wanted to do “one more time” before he shipped out and the schedule was not our own.
We hung out on the couch and watched our favorite movies or shows. This might be considered by some to be a waste of time. Not for us, this is how we bond. We pile up on one couch and laugh together then later we communicate in movie quotes. Movie quotes for us is like a secret language. This was an intentional waste of time and it was the best use of that time. I got to feel him resting his head on me one more time just like he did when he was little.
The last two weeks were especially perfect. It all happened because we were intentional about how we spent our time and what we did.
I came away from this time with a renewed desire to live intentionally. This is not new for me or us, but life got really intense for a couple of years and the intention of the day was to survive. That, my friend, is not living.
All of our married life we have asked ourselves what we wanted to have in 20 years or 50 years. What did we want our kids to look back and remember about home? What kind of marriage did we want? Then, every action or decision we made was based on those answers. Dose what we are doing move us toward that end goal? We haven’t been as intentional as I would like us to be.
So, Tony and I are having conversations about how we want to schedule our time and what memories we want to create. We are now living with intentionality again. You do have to schedule the important things or at least schedule time that gives enough space that the important things can happen.
Time goes by quickly. I want to look back as see a full life with the best memories.
Some of the things we are intentionally scheduling:
Dead Poets Society- I love this movie. I find it inspiring and heartbreaking in equal parts. John Keating (played by Robin Williams) is attempting to open the eyes of his students to the idea that life can be more than what they have been told or what they have seen. Now, this causes problems but no one is left the same. Anytime someone challenges the status quo, there will be opposition.
Obviously, what some desired for their extraordinary lives others thought was wrong. So what makes for an extraordinary life?
Money? Huge House? Travel? Power?
I would wager that ,while those things above are out of the ordinary, these will not truely be extraordinary.
What I see people hungry for are those things that are not tangible. I feel I have an extraordinary life. What defines that for me is the relationships in my life mainly along with where I live and what I do for work and career.
Can I say that to have a relationship that is healthy and vibrant takes intentional work? These things do not happen by accident. Compatability is key, but compatablility is based largely on your perspective and reactions.
For example, Tony (my husband) is cautious and likes a book’s worth of information and time to think before he makes a decision. I lean towards risk and need only about a page of information and thirty seconds to make a decision. Tony does not love routine and scheduling or budgets. I adore routine and schedules and budgets make me feel secure. As you can see, our approach to just about everything is different. I looked at this as a positive, we balanced each other- and we do.
One evening while headed home from a Pampered Chef Party (about 20 years ago I was a Pampered Chef Lady) I turned on the radio and heard a program on marriage from Focus on the Family. Listening to the guests talk, I thought, “Wow, they sound just like me and Tony.” Because I jumped in the middle, I had not heard the title. Imagine my surprise when the title was announced, “How To Build a Marriage When You Are Not Compatible.”
What a shock, all this time I thought we were balanced. Actually, I did then and still think that is what we are- balanced. This is where perspective and reactions come in. I didn’t react to Tony’s need for more information as if he was wrong. He wasn’t wrong, he was just different. He doesn’t consider my tendency to jump before I look as a weakness. We balance. Our marriage is extraordinary.
I live in Galveston, Texas. I can walk to the beach daily, I watch the waves when I commute to work. Some may not really care about that, the beach doesn’t do anything for them. I find this VERY odd but you know- each to his own. Where I live is something and somewhere I consider extraordinary. Now, I could change my perspective. I could focus on the crazy traffic rules, the tourist that come here and act the fool, or the constant humidity of about 143%. But, I do not. I love this island and all its quirks.
Experiences- from buying ice cream from the ice cream truck on the BEACH (yes, that is a thing) with my grandbabies to snorkeling in Key West with my younger two kids and handsome husband is what makes life extraordinary. God has blessed me and I KNOW it!
What makes a life extraordinary? That is for you to answer. I hope you will pursue those things with all your heart.
Leave what makes your life extraordinary in the comments below- I want to know what it is for you!
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This past weekend, we traveled back to Canton, TX and celebrated Jonathan as he embarks on his new life.
He has chosen to serve and departs for boot camp in less than a week. It was time to say, “See You Later.” Watching him interact with his friends and family was such a gift. Knowing that there wouldn’t be another moment like this was sobering. All of his friends will be very different when Jonathan sees them again. As it stands, we won’t see him again before August. One set of newly married friends will have welcomed their first child, his sister will be in law school and who knows what that much time will bring to the rest of their lives.
So, we soaked it all up. Laughter was in abundance as were smiles. He won’t look the same when he gets back. He will not be the same when he gets back. But, that is a thing to be celebrated, not grieved. Nothing stays the same, he is choosing to become more.
See you later, Big Boy! We could not possibly be more proud of you!