Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cancer Day

It is world cancer day. I won’t post one of those candle memes because there are plenty of those today.

What I WILL post is this:

Since walking through a cancer diagnosis, surgery, and radiation with my precious  husband a year and a half ago, I know this: cancer changes people.

It changes lives.

It is a quiet evil that screams threats and fear and destruction.

It is a monolith of a word that takes your world and turns it upside down and the only things bigger than cancer when you’re walking with cancer…

are faith, hope and love.

And the greatest of these is love.

Yes, we can greet them with a smile.

Definitely greet them with a smile.

And a hug. And flowers. A meal or two. A letter now and then.

We can pray without ceasing

And we can give them a hand to hold.

Their faith may be bigger than cancer, but even with faith there are scary moments with cancer…

but the greatest of these is love…

and believe me, when love creeps into those middle-of-the-night moments and someone with cancer feels arms wrapped around him tight…

and she feels valued as a person and loved for who she is…

and seen for his beautiful strength and not for his disease…

there ain’t NO disease that can destroy that.

Cancer changed our lives and because it did, I carry a list of treasured names in my heart. Warriors every one. Some are gone but some fight on.

Will you add my list to yours and show them faith today?

Will you share your hope?

Will you pray without ceasing? For them, for their loved ones?

But most of all, will you give them love?

Until we find a cure…


Photo credit: Peninsula Radiation Oncology Center


If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

 1 Corinthians 13:1-8

A Little Light

Oh! This came across my newsfeed today and it makes my heart smile.




We ADORE Kate! We positvely cherished The Tale of Despereaux. Our tattered copy rests lovingly on our shelf of favorites.


A friend of mine, Merci, well, she went and drove hours through the mountains this past spring to meet our literary hero, and she took a copy of Annie Spruce with her . MY book, my wee little book, it went straight from my friend’s delivering hands into those of one of our favorite authors in all the world…I still get warm chills all over to think of it…and one of the sweetest things tacked to my bulletin board is a thank-you note postcard handwritten to our family from Ms. Kate herself.

She is so right! Stories ARE light. That is exactly why I wrote and published Annie Spruce. I wanted our little story of God’s goodness and light to be out and shining it’s sweet little light in this world that can be so very dark at times.


“Stories are light.”


Make sure to share yours, friend! This world needs your shine!


Have a great week!

A Few Hours with Them

Maybe it was the Christmas decorations that were strewn about…organized disassembly…boxes of deco stacked…a reminder that yet another year has passed…

Maybe it was the talk I had with my kids on the drive over about how life is messy and love is messy and health doesn’t always work like it should, and bodies and minds aren’t always strong…

Maybe it was the sight of a law enforcement co-worker from not so long ago being wheeled around the corner, his strong chest that once carried Kevlar, weaker but still carrying courage …

Maybe it was the beautiful and stoic face of the matriarch figure, walking her strong and determined legs down the hall toward her car to drive home in dark alone, but not before hugging me while I cried with her and listened to her tell me of her beloved, a stroke bringing in the new year and adding to his daily struggle to remember…

Maybe it was the fresh news of a beloved sister losing her daddy just that afternoon…

Maybe it was the old faces I carry daily in my heart of all the elderly in the State of Michigan that smiled proudly and humbly into my 19-year old eyes as I hauled their government box of food to their tidy and inexpensive sedans, shaking their hands during my first job in a line of many that taught me love and compassion for society’s overlooked…

Maybe it was just that I so wish my girls would know my GrannyCakes who left us all too early…

Maybe it was that the elderly man sitting quietly in the green chair at the end of the hall tonight was the spitting image of my Grandaddy the last time I saw him when he was in a place just like this and his smile and his gaunt figure still laid fresh my spirit when we all celebrated his life over pizza while choking back sobs because we knew that his final home there among our country’s heroes would be our family’s final meeting place and that when, 24 hours after flying back home at the end of our years-ago trip, I wasn’t surprised to get a phone call that he’d passed peacefully in his sleep, the smells of his loved ones still on the flannel shirt he’d worn  at that last family reunion.


Maybe it was the trauma of a hundred little stresses of this past month pressing down and flowing out the corners of my heart.

Maybe it was the knowing that through all the anxiety and all the loss and all the heartbreak and all the tears…

… that faith in the One who holds it all…

…really will hold it all.

Or maybe it was just them.

The sweet, sweet and precious souls that filled the tables of the meeting place where the kids -my own kids and my 4-H kids- all met together and learned how to make cute little packages of art and scent and love.

Maybe it was just them that filled my heart and left me still…

…and left me wanting to watch it all and hug them all and love them all…

all in the two short hours we had with them.

Maybe it was just them that filled the place of grandparents and great-grandparents and homesteads and communities and those-that-have-gone-before.

Maybe it was just them.

This bridging of decades and disabilities and genes and generations.

These kids.

These seniors.

These ones who are new.

These ones who have gone before.

These ones our world could just forget.

These ones who bring knowing and wisdom and innocence and love…

and in bringing all that they bring weakness and they bring strength and they bring what life really is.


Seventeen club members and at least fifteen residents sat side-by-side, and they put their hands together and made beauty and because they did…

bridges were built over decades and friendships were unfolded over minutes.

And when my precious girl who has such a heart for young and those who are weaker and especially those who are aged…

…when she sat down next to that fragile white-haired beauty who once farmed and who still has work in her hands, my throat made the ugly-cry and I had to choke it off lest I just start sobbing and not stop for the ones who were fighting the fact…

…that ugly fact that it’s all just ending too soon.

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When my children, these four I drive home, when they talk for hours about the joy and they bubble over to their daddy at home the delight the night brought them and how they can’t wait to go be part of the lives of the new friends they’ve made, I want to sob still because while there are new friendships forming, there are endings that come too soon, and this beautiful nest of a place reminds me of that and it leaves me still, and it leaves me remembering.

The endings can be so beautiful.

But the endings…

the endings,

they always come too soon.

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For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:5

The Names We Use Round Here

APRIL 2015 044We name things round here. Our trucks have names, our critters all have names (yes, even the ones we’re gonna eat), the stuffed animals have names, heck, even our cameras have names.

I have a friend who named her pillow. I don’t think we’ve ever named our pillows, but we DO have:

-A Ford Expedition named Ethel
-A Ford pickup named a) Brown Betty on the good days, b) Derrick the Deathtrap on the other days
-One Nikon camera named Dexter, another named Donna (because we’re cute that way too)
-A computer named Betty (we named her when the pickup was having a Derrick day)
-Various electronics with names such as Bobby Jones, Robert Puddler, and Sally Sue.
-An Inuit leather doll named Mary
-A pink stuffed pig named Ashley who’s worked her way through three siblings.
-A row boat named Steve (unless you ask my fishermen, they’ll tell you it’s the Blue Star)
-A four-wheeler we call The Green Machine

-Various stuffed animals, dolls, and animal toys named Steve. My youngest went through a Steve phase and named everything he owned Steve for about a two-year period. This includes the red kitty that is really a bear, his two plastic Fisher Price toys, one hippo and one rhino he named Steve and Steve, and his baby bunny that came from a surprise litter born to his big brother’s doe. His baby bunny is a female but, you guessed it, her name is Steve too.

My husband isn’t hip on naming things. He’s pretty plain that way. “You don’t have to have a NAME for EVERYTHING” he tells us.

I whip out my Holy Spirit Junior and tell him if God brought ALL the animals to Adam and gave him the joyful task of naming every single one, AND if Jesus has enough names there are books written about all of them, names MUST be important.

He hasn’t responded to that one yet. Unless you count an eye roll as a response. 😀

We’ll continue to name things round here. Names make things part of the family, part of our daily life.

I was thinking this morning about all the animals we’ve named over the years. And that got me to wondering about everybody else and the names they choose for their critters.

What is YOUR favorite pet’s name?


Admiral Annie the Baby Hedgehog

We took Annie over to the chunk of land our family is purchasing. We’ve been over several times as we wait for signing day and yesterday after a hard day’s work, I ran the kids over to enjoy a cold rootbeer in the open space we hope to build a new house on next year. All Annie needed to hear was “Truck?” and she was OFF for a ride with her favorite people.

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She sniffed..she ran…she explored…she pooped…

…I think she liked it.

And my littlest boy watched her play and he said “Mama? I think Annie’s happy here. She looks just as happy as a newborn hedgehog.”

That’s our girl. Wild Alaskan, tough survivor, farm dog extraordinaire…Admiral Annie…

…and just as cute as a baby hedgehog. DSC_0032 (2)


What fun adventures have you taken your pup on lately?

Go Time!

I love writing. I love everything about it.

But it’s HARD!

It’s hard to find time. It’s hard to MAKE time. It’s hard to steal time.

But it’s even harder when I don’t write.

If you write too, you know exactly what I mean.

I learned some valuable lessons when I published Annie Spruce.


I learned that while writing is hard, publishing is even harder.

Editing (getting the baby ready to go home) was a sweaty, bloody, tearful process, and marketing (trying to show your baby to the whole world and then get them to vote for her in the cutest baby contest) is a nightmare.


But my biological clock is ticking and it’s time to do it again.

I fashioned this stand-up work station. ((one thing I didn’t know is that when you write a book, your rear end will take on the size and shape of your office chair if you don’t STAND UP now and then)).

And then I did something that required me to steel myself and muster up all the guts and fortitude I have within me:

I did online research on the techno pages and I learned the terms and I learned the specs and I found myself the perfect laptop.

It is not within my cellular structure to visit such pages. My husband is the purchaser/researcher of all things techno in our house, but just like it wasn’t in me to move the chest freezer full of food across the laundry room floor when I was nine months pregnant just because it needed done, I muscled it like a boss and decided what I wanted and I brought my new friend home.

I love her already.

I tap out these words on her keys so pretty and dainty and it’s like my fingers were meant to live on them.

Cheesy right?

I’ll tell you a secret.

I’ve decided I’m not even going to give my children the password. Only my husband and I will know the hidden code that opens up all of Betty’s (that’s what I named her) digital beauty. I searched her out to help walk me through writing the next book, and I’m afraid if I let the kids use her too, she’ll meld with the electronics of the household and before I know it, she’ll be loaded up with Solitaire and history games and YouTube clips of farm animal showmanship.

Betty’s not going to be like the prized fur coat thrown into the winter tote of mud boots and stained-up Columbias and 4-H hoodies.

I sought her out and brought her home and now it’s time for her and I to get to work.

She’s serving me…

and my hind end…

very well.


What are YOU working on these days? What special tools help you create? Would LOVE to hear about it, care to share?