What the ….

Its funny how life seems to change.

Today, Son2 got a job offer in Michigan. We live no where near Michigan. While he is mulling this over, Son4 makes it known that he would like to go with Son2, and starts looking for job prospects there.  Then Son3 tells me that little does anyone know, but he would like to make the change as well.

I get home and Daughter in law tells me that her and Oldest are hoping to move out when he makes a couple of sales at work.

How is a mom supposed to respond to that?

In a matter of minutes my house went from overflowing to being relatively empty once everyone’s plans take place. It would be Stud, Myself, My dad, and youngest here. That’s it. My home hasn’t been that empty since Son2 was born almost 24 years ago.

Youngest won’t know how to deal with being the only one here. He has never known life with just him and no other brother to take the attention. He won’t have anyone to bicker with or to conspire with. Or anyone to take the heat when he gets in trouble.

I know that eventually they all have to move on and get their own lives going away from our sheltered home, but do they really have to do it all at once?  Can’t they just ease me in to it?  I seriously pictured them leaving one by one when they married. Not in droves at the drop of a hat.

I feel a mid life crisis breakdown coming on.

Girl in the Song

I went to the post office earlier and there was the package I had been waiting for. It was a book, Girl in the Song by Chrissy Cymbala Toledo. That was about 1pm yesterday. Now, it’s 3am and I just finished it. That is how amazing this book is.

Chrissy Cymbala Toledo, not only touched me, she reached in grabbed my heart and gave it a good tug, over and over and over again. I bawled my eyes out for most of the book. Her story is inspired. It is heart breaking. It is me.

From the time I read the email about being on the launch team for Girl in the the Song, I knew I had to read this book. I went to Amazon to see if I could order it, but had to put it off until next paycheck. Then I saw on FB the launch team was doing a giveaway for Starbucks. You know me, I love me some Starbucks. I entered. I won. Someone from the launch staff contacted me and I didn’t really think anymore about it. Until the same staff member sent me a message that they wanted to send me a copy of the book, could I give them my address. I smiled. Again, I knew this book was one that somehow had been written for me.

I know that Girl in the Song was written for more than just me, but it feels as if it was specifically done with me in mind. That’s how much I connected with the book. I was Chrissy in her younger years. I made a lot of the same bad decisions she did. I heard the same voices telling me I wasn’t good enough. I still hear those voices.

After reading Girl in the Song by Chrissy Cymbala Toledo, I know I am not alone in my thoughts of never being good enough. The ones that tell me I am too fat, I’m not aging gracefully, that I will never be a good enough wife or mother. The thoughts and voices that plague me and take away my joy. I realized tonight, I am not alone. Other women share my thoughts, they hear the same voices, with the same words. But like them, I am Chosen by the most Perfect One.

Girl in the Song will most definitely stay on my desk, not even on the book shelf, but near, where I can reread parts that lifted me out of the despair I was feeling when I sat down tonight to read.

Doing my best.

Youngest and I had a conversation a couple of days ago, that was honestly, quite painful.

He is in strong like with a girl. She is a sweet girl, vibrant, full of life and sass and cute as a button. Son4 has crushed on her off and on, as they all work together. She’s been to our home, has a good heart and champions her beliefs.

The problem is, I don’t think she is a Christian. In fact I think she is either Agnostic or Atheist. For a Christian mother, that is a problem.

I explained to youngest how one of the top things he looks for in a girl, is that she share a belief in God. She doesn’t have to share the same ‘religion’ but she should have a belief in God. That she should at least be willing to go to church with him. Whether she goes or not, her willingness would show that she is open to his beliefs, and not completely closed off to religion and God.

His reply, rather shocked me.  “I’m not going to not date her because she won’t go to church.”

From my own experience, I know that when we as Christians attach ourselves, whether as friends, romantically or however, to unbelievers, then we tend to compromise our beliefs.

We take a step back, censor ourselves, to keep from offending our loved one. I wonder why we do that?

In some ways I think it comes down to us valuing our loved one’s affection, love and opinion more than we value God’s.  We don’t want to do anything that would separate or divide us from that love and affection, so we compromise. We stop talking about God. We don’t offer to pray for them. We don’t pray in front of them. We don’t ask them to go to church. We just stop showing all of the Christian parts of our lives in front of them.

I shared with my son a story that haunts me even in my middle age years.

I was around 17-18 years old, and dad was preaching in revival services at a nearby church. Our choir was singing and I went to the service one night to sing in the choir. there were several kids I went to school with there, and after service one of them came up to me and asked what I was doing there.  I replied my dad was the visiting minister, and she audibly gasped.

“No way” she says, “I had no idea you were a Christian much less went to church!”

Right then and there, I wanted to crawl in a hole and die.

That one conversation was the beginning of many things that brought me back to God. It took a couple of years, and other events to do it, but God brought me back.

I grew up in church, I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was 5 years old. I remember it, I still feel it, I know it.  I was  good kid, reading, studying, and loved Sunday School where I could learn more and more. Then as a teenager, life got hard.

Nothing major happened to cause me to drift away from God. It was little things, that slowly pushed me in the wrong direction.

I was hanging around with kids that went to church, but I was still the square, the outcast, so I started to change because all you ever really want in life is to belong. Then my sophomore year in high school, we moved, and I had to start a new school district my junior year. That stinks. 2 years left in school and I was starting over in a new school where I didn’t know a soul.

I found some church girls to hang out with, but they had known each other their entire lives, so once again, I was the outsider. Then a couple of older girls at the new church dad was pastoring called and invited me to go out with them one night. Their mom’s had forced them, they told me that as soon as I got in the car. It wasn’t their choice to invite me. They were not happy I was there. I was an intruder.

These girls would be my best friends for the next few years. They were typical teenagers who did it all. To fit in, I started in their footsteps, I wanted them to like me, so I started emulating them. I became their clone.

Now, they didn’t force me, they didn’t say out loud that I had to be like them for them to like me. It was implied. I knew that I could either compromise and do as they did, and have friends or I could stand by my beliefs and spend Friday nights home alone. Neither option seemed optimal to me, so I chose the one I thought would make me happy.

Thankfully, God is a patient God and he waited for me to come to my senses. He doesn’t always do that. It was always in the back of my mind that I was God’s child and he would do whatever it took to bring me back in to his arms, even if it meant taking my life. I was terrified, but still kept drifting away.

That girl that night, struck a nerve. I was a Christian, had always been proud of it. But here she was, someone I went to school with and she could not tell by my actions, my language, that I was her sister in Christ. What kind of witness was I?  And if my sister in Christ couldn’t recognize God in me, how were the ones who didn’t know God going to see Him?

That is a regret I have to this day. That I spent those years trying to conform to my friends, to be like them to have them accept me. Instead of showing them my God, and leading them to Him. I can’t go back. I can’t have a do-over.

But I can do my best now.

It pains me to see my children walking the same road I did. It is a painful road. Now I understand what my own mom and dad went through watching me make bad decisions. I understand the hurt they felt when I chose to go against what they had taught me. I know what it is like to cry myself to sleep praying that my boys will see that while that choice might seem like the good one now, it is fleeting and it will pass. While God, never flees, He never passes, and His love is unconditional. Even when we make poor choices, He still loves us. He will be there when no one else is. No matter what.

I hope I got through to youngest. I’m not sure. But I know I have been praying on all of my boys behalf ever since.

The hard sell

Earlier this week, youngest had a dr’s appt in the city, so I decided to take a few minutes and pop in to my favorite clothing store. It is a national chain, and since I live over an hour away from any of its stores, I usually shop online. That day I wanted to pop in and see a couple of things in person before I decided to purchase or not. The city we lived in before had one of these stores and I loved it. The sales people were wonderful, and knew just the right amount of pressure to use when I walked in. They would come over, let me know they were there, and then back off. I like that. I miss that.

So I walk in to this new store, and am not even 10 steps in the store before I hear a voice midway through the store (where the registers are located)  “Hi, is there something I can help you with today?” all sing-songy and happy.  I reply No thank you I am fine. and go over to the nearest rack of clothing to get lost in my window shopping experience.

I am a toucher when it comes to shopping. I have to touch. I have to feel the fabric, very tactile. So I am touching a skirt I had seen online, inspecting its length and all to see if it will be making an appearance in my closet at some point, when I look up to a totally different sales person than the first one, in my face.

Literally, she is in my face. I could smell her breath, and actually feel it. She was that close. “Is there anything I can help you with today?” (again with the sing-songy).

I look here right in the eyes and simple state NO. And go back to looking at the skirt.

“Well I am just right here if there is anything you need assistance with!” And she doesn’t budge.

“No thank you, I am fine.”  And I turn and walk away, leaving my inspection of the skirt and deciding it isn’t worth the trouble of her standing over me while I look at it.

“You’ll be happy to know our denim is buy one get one 50% off!” She says following me.

Now, one, there are signs on what seems like every rack stating that fact, so I’m guessing she must think i am illiterate because I would have to be blind to NOT know their denim is on sale buy one get one 50% off. And two, at no point in my short time in the store have I even glanced at denim. I am not in the store for denim, I am there to look at skirts and lingerie.  So, I give her my lightest glare and decide to move to the lingerie. Luckily she didn’t follow me.

So I am perusing the clearance rack in lingerie, seeing what bra’s I might be interested in, when the first sales person starts.

“Have you been fitted for a bra within the past 6 months” (you guessed it, she’s sing-songy again)


“By us?” (The sing-songy dropped a bit here, sounding more like accusatory)

“Yes, well the other branch.”

“Oh.” (deflated her bubble I presume)  “Well, you have got to try this bra, it is amazing, it feels sooo wonderful, it is fantastic! Have you tried this one on yet, you just have to!” (sing-songy is back)

Now while she is rapidly reeling that off, I am in return letting her know that I have in fact seen that bra, I have felt it and do not wish to try it on. (Personally I don’t like the style, love the fabric but the style is too confining for me)

Also, while she is saying that, she is rushing over to the rack, and grabbing the first one of this new bra she can reach and she is, and I’m not exaggerating, running it over to me, shoving it in my face, like I feel the breeze of the bra waving in my face it was that close. Just in time to finally hear me say I do not want to feel it, try it on or anything else.

Ah the deflated one is back.

She finally gets the hint and goes back to folding shirts at the register.

I decide to purchase one of the clearance bras, because in store it is $40 cheaper than online. I take it to the register, and tell the her that if they had the underwear in my style and size I would have bought them as well.

“Oh I’ll just order them for you” and she starts to order them.

“No, I don’t want to order them.”

“But, I can ship it to your home address free of charge!”


But if you order them with us, its free of charge and it helps us.” All while she is processing the order.

“No, if i decide I want them I will order them myself, from home”

“Are you sure because its all ready and I can just add it to this order”


“I guess I’ll just take them off this transaction then.”

Now, if that wasn’t such a sizable discount on that bra, we would have never got this far. I would have walked out of the store a long time ago. Probably when she started quizzing me on being fitted recently. But I already had the bra in my hand, it was my size and it was one I had been watching for a long time to go on sale. And, it was 80% off.

That is the only reason I made a purchase in that store.

But I can tell you, they lost a customer.

I won’t go back.

There are three other locations within the same 1-1.5 time frame, and I will just go to one of those.

I have worked retail, I know that you get bonus’ for certain items you sell, I know they probably make commission. But the way those two went about it, is not the way to get that commission.

There were two other customers in that store, neither of which got the hard sell. Well, one came in for 5 pairs of full brief underwear in beige and they kept trying to sell her “Such amazing colors”, and she kept saying BEIGE over and over again. But otherwise. Nope, no hard sell.

I’m not sure why I was their target, other than I was carrying my Coach purse. Somehow that purse seems to invite sales folks to me.  Little do they know the purse was a gift and there is no way I could ever afford to buy it myself.

So, lesson here?

Don’t just a book (or person) by its cover (or purse.)

Among the Fair Magnolias


About the book:
Among the Fair Magnolias
(Thomas Nelson, July 2015)

In the most turbulent decade of our nation’s history, four Southern women—destinies forged by birth, hearts steeled by war—face near impossible choices on their journeys in life . . . and in love.

To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander
Savannah Darby would do almost anything to revisit her family home. So when new owner, Aidan Bedford, a Boston attorney and former Union soldier, seeks to redecorate the house for his fiancée, Savannah jumps at the opportunity. But the clock is ticking. Can she find the box her father supposedly hid there during the war before her assignment is completed? And before she sees yet another battle lost on the home front. This time, one of the heart.

An Outlaw’s Heart by Shelley Gray
When Russell Stark returns to Fort Worth, he’s determined to begin a new life. But when he arrives at his mother’s homestead, he discovers she’s very ill, and the woman he loved is still as beautiful and sweet as he remembered. With time running out, Russell must come to terms with both his future and his past.

A Heart So True by Dorothy Love
Abigail knows all too well what is expected of her: to marry her distant cousin Charles and take her place in society. But her heart belongs to another. A terrible incident forces Abby to choose between love and duty.

Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser
Emily has a secret: She’s in love with one of the freedmen on her family’s plantation. Meanwhile, another man declares his love for her. Emily realizes some things are not as they seem and secrets must be kept in order to keep those she loves safe.

Purchase a copy: 
About the authors:

Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of numerous books including A Lasting Impression and The Inheritance. Tamera is a two-time Christy Award winner, two-time RITA winner, and a recipient of the prestigious Library Journal Award. A native of west Tennessee. website, Twitter, Facebook
Dorothy Love makes her home in the Texas hill country with her husband and their golden retriever. An award-winning author of numerous young adult novels, Dorothy made her adult debut with the Hickory Ridge novels. website, Twitter, Facebook

Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), The Protector, recently made the New York Times best seller list. website, Twitter, Facebook

Elizabeth Musser, a native of Atlanta, Georgia now living in France, is a novelist who writes what she calls ‘entertainment with a soul.’ For over 25 years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in mission work with International Teams. website, Twitter, Facebook

I have the urge

Lately I’ve had the urge to write. An unmistakable urge. Like its pressing me to write.

I just have no idea what to write about.

My brain seems to be empty.

There are no ideas floating around, no thoughts pressing to get out, other than this urge to put pen to paper, or typeset to screen I should say.

I know I am dealing with a lot of change. Maybe that’s why I feel the urge.

I am trying to figure out what’s next for me.

This is my last year homeschooling.

My youngest son is turning 18 in a few months.

Where does that leave me?

I don’t know, but I do know,

I have the urge to write.