What is a Home?

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!

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My Leading Man

Every writer has to have an inspiration, a muse, or archetype from which they draw. Because I am an incurable romantic, I write romance. In real life, I WANT everyone to get that happily ever after.

When it comes to the leading man in a story- regardless of the genre- I am only drawn to an Alpha male. I have absolutely no use for anything less. Power is a tricky thing, but one thing that it always is is attractive. I truly believe that is the appeal of a uniform, it represents power and strength.

Now, here is where we get into arguments. So many assume that an Alpha male is a bully, a brute, or abusive. Many book reviews I have read stated that they did not like the male lead characters because they were Alphas and Alphas were toxic. Here is where they are wrong. A true Alpha is a leader, a protector, a warrior, and a good guy. I wouldn’t follow anything less and I wouldn’t trust my future to anything less. This also means, that I wouldn’t write anything less.

Those men that are bullies, brutes, and abusive are actually weak men who act out loudly. They don’t have what it takes to lead and let others around them succeed so they beat them down either emotionally, physically, mentally or all of these above. This is not strength. A fearful man is just as dangerous. A man who shrinks back in fear cannot be trusted to protect or fight for what is important.

I have had the pleasure of being married to an Alpha male for nearly 30 years. When we met, I had a lot of unhealed wounds. He was the safe place for me to heal. He loved me as I was, took my anger (even when he wasn’t the reason I was angry), let me be myself without criticizing who I was. He even took the physical punches I threw, but not for long because he wouldn’t tolerate abusive behaviors. He never raised a hand to me but he scared me good and I never hit him again. That is what an Alpha looks like.

I have also raised an Alpha male. I have seen how the heart of a warrior develops by watching it emerge early on and seeing what it looks like through each stage. My son has a very different personality from my husband, but their hearts are the same.

There is a misconception that Alpha males don’t feel deeply or get attached. This is so wrong. They do feel deeply. They are loyal. They are driven. They love deeply, so deeply that they would sacrifice their own safety or life in order to protect what is theirs and who they love. I have watched Tony do whatever was necessary to ensure that our children had what they needed and I have never had to wonder if I was loved.

Because of their strength of character, they aren’t afraid to get physical. Both my husband and my son will settle an argument with their fists- if it’s needed. However, it is rarely needed. I feel safe knowing that if anything went down, my husband will take care of me. Honestly, I could be as wrong and wrong could be and Tony would defend me. We might have a serious talk when we got home, but he will have my back no matter what.

So, it is easy to see where I get my inspiration for the leading men I write. In each and every one of them, there is a piece of Tony Ross. The characters have different personalities, but that warrior heart is the same. My characters talk a lot more than my husband, so much of what he says is in what he doesn’t say.

He also isn’t very reactive. This is a good thing because I am VERY reactive. But in a good story, people need to react. So, I write scenes that would cause Tony to react. This means that the love interests gets physically attacked or threatened, and/or quite often shot at- but nobody dies because in my world everyone gets the happily ever after.

Everyman needs a battle to fight and beauty to rescue- these are the men I write. I simply write him again and again and thank God that every night I sleep next to Tony Ross.

Don’t let that easy going smile and quiet personality fool you, mess with me or one of his children and he will rain down hell.

I adore him.

What I Wish I Had Known… Two things that would have saved me so much grief.

When I married my husband at the mature age of 19, I had no idea of what I was getting into. Who does? What I also didn’t know, at the time, was that the unrealistic expectations of perfection and “normal” that I carried were going to steal so much joy and make adjusting to married life so much harder.

Here are two things I wish I had known:

  1. I wish I had known that all of these big, hairy, problems I thought we had were just normal challenges that every young couple faces. It is so clear to me now (I am 48 as I write this) that it takes time to blend two different families of origins, two different communication styles, two different sets of needs, and two different approaches to life. Gracious, when you look at what must be done to become “one” its nothing short of a miracle that any marriage survives the first five years.
  2. I wish I had known that we had plenty of time to work things out- it didn’t have to be all done and fixed and perfect by day 27 after we said “I do”. You think I am joking. I kid you not. That is what I mean by unrealistic expectations. I hold myself and all around me to a ridiculous standard of excellence. If I have learned one thing in these 28 years, it is to let go of my timeline and standards and accept what people are capable of and to know that it will work out if I don’t give up. Not giving up and forcing my agenda are two very different things. I had to learn the difference.

So, there it is. If I had known/understood those two things, our first years of marriage would have been much smoother.

What do you wish you had known?

Heels & Brett Bentley

I love a great pair of heels. So does Brett Bentley. One of the fun parts of writing is that you can make the character anything you want to- strong, stylish, whatever.

As a matter of fact, you can live any life you can imagine as a writer. This is the FUN part. I enjoy the writing process just as much as I enjoy reading.

One day- you will have the chance to read Brett’s story- either via self-publishing or by traditional publishing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Connect with me! Over to the right, follow me on Instagram and Facebook!

My Favorite Love Story- Part One

As you know, I love a love story. I believe that every person does, too.

I am often asked what is my favorite book or love story.

The answer is easy- our love story.

Tony and I met in college. It wasn’t love at first sight. As a matter of fact, we crossed paths for months before we were even aware of each other.

The first time Tony saw me, we were in the cafeteria and his best bud- the guy I was dating- pointed me out. Tony was interested in my roommate. She was more his type, short and fleshy with dark coloring. I was 5’4″ and weighed in at 105 lbs, no curves just long an lean. Dark blonde hair with green eyes. Not what he normally dated.

Before Tony I could count the guys I dated that were shorter than six foot on one finger. His best bud was 6’4″. The first time I really noticed Tony was while on a date with the best bud. A group of us had gone to the West End in downtown Dallas. I wound up walking behind him and thought, “Wow, he has a nice backside.” And he did. As a college athlete planning to return to Turkey and play pro soccer, he worked out about 8 hours a day.

We became more aware of each other. One night the team had come back from an away soccer game and we were all hanging out in the co-ed. A remark was made that someone had taken Tony’s shirt from the locker room. I asked him where it would have gone and he said he had no idea. I have no idea what possessed me, but I hooked my finger in the neck of his jacket and pulled it out. Looking down at his bare chest took my breath away. He had the biggest set of pecs I had ever laid my eyes on. I am certain I blushed. I began to look at Tony in a different way.

If you are wondering about the best bud, we were never serious. He and I had no business together- we were both way too self-involved. He would one day be the best man at our wedding.

A few weeks later, Tony and I went on our first date. Dancing at Billy Bob’s Texas, and it was life changing.

I am not joking and I am not being overly dramatic.

We may not have been love at first sight, but that date? That was it. Being with Tony was like soaking in a hot tub. I was at ease for the first time in my life. Wrapped in his arms, I never wanted to be anywhere else.

Tony says he knew then that he was going to marry me.

But, that is not where the story ends. I broke up with him a few weeks later. But that is a story for another day.

So, I did a Thing…

I wrote a book.

Yep, a whole book.

Now, I am a writer and I have the rejection letters to prove it!

For real, I really have finished a manuscript, it’s a romance. Now before you go rolling your eyes- everybody loves a romance and a happy ending. The posts I make on our anniversary proves it along with the comments I get on social media when I post about the love of my life that I married 28 years ago.

That being said, not everyone is convinced that my book is the next big thing. LOL I am beginning the process of intentionally building a platform for me, as an author, to run my writing career like a business. So, all the support you can give me by liking my posts and sharing them to social media will be GREATLY appreciated!

For those of you that have been with me for years, this blog won’t change a great deal (except that I will be posting regularly- ha!) because the heroes and heroines of my books love food, herbs, gardening and family. So, I will post recipes from the books, continue to share gardening tips and herbal goodness, along with excerpts from the book.This handsome guy with me- you see his picture a lot because he is what inspires me to tell our love story- in a whole lot of ways.

If you are new here, come on in and pull up a chair.

I love writing just as much as I love reading. I want to take you with me, into my head, where all these cool people live. I want you to be able to leave the stress of this world and enjoy time where you KNOW it will all work out in the end. And maybe this will bring you hope that whatever you face will also work out in the end.

My girls, the Pride of Galveston, are fierce and loyal. They love Jesus, but they cuss a little and drink a little. It takes strong men to walk by their sides and love them in all their glory. They are real, not perfect but they know who they are and make no apologies.

I am working to bring Brett and Alex’s story to you. Brett lost her husband and now runs her self-made empire on her own. Alex comes in to protect Brett when a contract is taken out on her live. He thinks he knows what he is getting into but soon learns Brett is a complex puzzle. Fireworks fly and everyone gets their happy ending.

More to come on Brett’s story later.

So here we go!

I have no idea what I am doing, really but that has never stopped me before!