Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Labels...Post to come!

A preview at tomorrow's topic...be sure to stop by! In the meantime, connect with me on social media===>

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mama Drama Monday

I have thrown many fits over this Mama Drama experience. I don't like to sleep...but kids make me tired!

(BTW....Check out my post at The Writer's Alley today...it's inspired by my mama journey AND my writing one!)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

Faith-Filled Friday

Prayer warriors leave their mark at my seat before each Wednesday night.

Ever been mentioned to the Creator of the Universe without asking? 

Have a faith-filled Friday...and weekend!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Can I edit my son, please?

Yesterday, I was inspired while editing my book. I wanted to capture my inspiration and came up with this:

Editing joy (is when) your inward excitement roars at the strength of your story even if its hidden by a mess of unnecessary words. 
(you can see the graphic here)

Today though, as I come off of a rough couple of weeks with my almost thirteen-year-old son, I am wondering if what I learn in EDITING applies to PARENTING my pre-teen? Let's try this...

A mama must find joy in the heart of her child even amidst the mess of his "unacceptable" behavior and/or words. 

Insert "--feeling frustrated" on my status update please.

I really did not expect parenting a pre-teen to be so exhausting...and so...crippling. Maybe it is because I am a strong believer in "out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks," and what comes out of my son's mouth sometimes is not so lovely.

When writing a story, I can flood the pages with unnecessary words...and as long as I go back through and edit, no harm is done. If only parenting was that straightforward, right (and I am not underestimating the job it is to edit a book...it can be very tricky...um...I have edited six of them).

But I cannot go back and edit my son. HA! And apparently he is having a hard time editing the overflow of his mouth.

Something different must happen, though. And I have decided it is a matter of a character "edit". Yet, as his mother, I can't do his edits, no matter how much I want to. I can only give him the tools and instructions he needs. Just like when I get a great critique from my writing partner. She can only suggest things to point me in the right direction, but she can't make the corrections for me. As the story's writer, that's my job.

No matter how hard I try, I can't change my son's attitude, actions, or words. BUT, I can guide his HEART. In doing so, I pray he cuts away the unnecessary mess, and polishes the strong character that I know is in there!

Any ideas on how to accomplish guiding a teen? I am open to suggestions!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mama Drama Monday

Ever done this? When you're parked, of course!

Be sure to stop by The Writer's Alley today...I have a post up about Facebook partying!

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Faith-Filled Friday

He felt the same as I did, I think.
It is loving someone so much, and hurting right along with them.

And all you can do is weep.

Glad Jesus can do a [little] more than just that.

Ever felt this way?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Youth Sports Season(s)

It is hard to beat the feeling a parent gets when their son (or daughter) succeeds.

I mean, from the time my oldest was two years old, I couldn't help but secretly think he was the smartest, most creative little guy around. Of course, on days when my mama-ego was tame, I'd notice the other kid with the better vocabulary and neater picture of a head with stick legs and arms and no body. And I would politely give kudos to that kid's mom, and then I'd think, "What am I doing wrong?"

Four kids later, I am NOT that bad. I am first to say, "Oh, he doesn't have the knack for that," or... "I am not going to push him if he's not showing interest..." or, "He doesn't need to be the best, just try his best." With the many talents, strengths, and abilities out there, I know my kids can't be the best at everything ;).

The other day though, I re-evaluated myself on this very topic, because I had a niggling of doubt that my old flaring mama-ego had really cooled over these years.

It was when I talked to parents with more experience in the arena of youth sports and school ball, that I began to have an all out gonna-fight-for-my-kid-cuz he-deserves-it fit.

This kid--he lives, breathes, LOVES baseball. And he's gotten pretty good at it. He can definitely pitch a mean curve ball, a smooth fast ball, and rarely gives up any runs (see this...I am bragging a bit...ugh). So, it's natural, as an All-American kinda mentality, to believe that, by-golly, the kid's gonna play in high school. There is only one more year til he's there. I mean, he would be devastated if he doesn't.

But being in the school district he is in, and the competition all around, there is a very really chance that he's not going to be the all-star pitcher for his humungo school...and he's not going to necessarily get a scholarship to play ball at a Big Ten school...Wha??? Really???

What would he do with himself? Where would he get his self-esteem? It's his passion...dare I say, calling?

And that is where the rational side of me kicked in: YOU ARE INSANE-O!

I drank the koolaid! And now I am spitting it out all over my kicking and screaming mama ego. There are a couple things I tell myself, and I am sure to tell my son during these next few years left at home:

1. Your abilities are just God-given tools to love others.

Youth sports are amazing at building character: We have seen the fruits of this in each of our kids--self-esteem, teamwork, determination, and healthy sportsmanship. But, it can also build identity in a heavy-handed way, and that in itself can take a toll on character because it makes your ability more important than your true purpose.

Character and compassion for humanity are what point you to your purpose (to glorify God by His LOVE)--even on a ball field, or in the stands, (or for me, in my stories). Let's not confuse ability with purpose.

2. Enjoy the MOMENT now...you aren't guaranteed anything later.

Life happens in seasons. Baseball might be a sport that carries over life's seasons of club ball to school ball to college...(heck, it carries through all four seasons of our year right now), but academics will carry over a lifetime--and regardless of the culture, that's what high school is about!

Oh dear. I just shake my head when I think about how this youth-sports-obsessed culture really sunk it's claws into my already-primed mama-ego. It is hard not to let it. There is nothing better than cheering your kid on and watching him earn that "well-deserved" trophy at the end. Makes a mama proud, and turns an eighth grade kid into a baseball champ--for a season, anyway.

What is your take on youth sports?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mama Drama Monday

Trying out an idea. I just love playing with clipart...so I decided to make my own called, "Mama Drama". Feel free to share!

Does this ever happen to you?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Lil Miss Know It All

After being slammed in the collar bone by my four year old's noggin'...

Me: "You have a hard head!"
L: "Because all the squishy stuff is INside." 
Me: "What squishy stuff?"
L (With an eye roll): "My brain!"

Not sure how she knows it's squishy, but she is fascinated by "what's on the inside" in a very literal sense of the cliche!

I hope she always has a curiosity and growing knowledge of things seen and unseen. :) 

Happy Weekend!

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." 
Psalm 139:13-14

Friday, June 12, 2015

Faith-filled Friday

My Life Verse for the past 18 years...thinking it might change. A good thing since my faith has changed and my life has taken me to places I never expected. Have a faith-filled Friday!

What is your life verse?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Giveaway Winners and the Grand Prize Winner of my Blog Kick Off

She can't read...promise!
I had so much fun hosting a Blog Kick Off party yesterday! The participation was great, and we had a bunch of entries for the drawings AND a couple friends in the run for the Grand Prize! First, I would like to giveaway the uplifting bookmark to one of our commenters...her favorite book of all time: Anne of Green Gables!

Congrats, Lisa Colpo! 

For our second giveaway, a perfect summer pamper session for two friends...Jamberry Pedipacks! 

Congrats, Amy Simpson! Invite a friend to pamper during nap time!

And, one of my favorite new novels...from one of my favorite friends of all time, 

Pepper Basham's debut novel, The Thornbearer, goes to....

Joanne Ripple..our 80's chica! Congrats! 

Now, for the gal who gathered up the most points throughout the whole party...She'll get a Starbucks gift card and lots more goodies! 

I am always so impressed with this lady's participation in FB party realm!

Big Congrats to....

Deane Pfannenstiel

Thanks for hanging out with me, Ladies! See you on Facebook...and back here each Wednesday! ;)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I HEART Summer

So far, this is what summer has been around here:

  • Slipping away to edit when I can find a sitter or a playdate. It might just be an hour...or an afternoon...but it makes me a better mom to get that time of creativity and working with the hope of something great on the horizon.
  • Waking up too late, and going to bed too late, and playing musical beds with my four year old who decided she has given up sleeping through the night--AGAIN.
  • Taking the kids for their one too many ice cream rounds, way too close to dinner time to have the chance to prepare it, let alone want to eat it. So cereal has been the Summer Special on the Dicken Menu.
  • Hanging out on the couch. Yep. I have allowed laziness to take residence with us this summer. And it feels good...even when I see newsfeeds of lots and lots of "to-do's" getting checked off, I still welcome it. Sometimes, in the laziness I find the special moments of just "being".
  • My crazy, over-the-top, over-emotional, highly energetic, highly expressive, LOUD children slinking around the house tattling, singing, whining, shouting, and laughing. Yep. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly are all right at home with us!
  • And then, there are a few things I am mulling over as we enter new seasons in life, motherhood, and even in writing. I hope to share these with you every Wednesday.
So, far, that's been summer...and right now, we are partying over on FB to kick off this blog and summer fun! Head over to my Author page if you'd like to join in and I'll add you to the invite list, or comment below if you already are partying with us...because summer around HERE means friends, fun, and prizes! 

I HEART Summer!

Happy Blog Kick Off Day!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tomorrow's Kick Off Party!

Tomorrow is my Blog Kick Off Facebook Party! If you would like to join and have a chance to spend time with other moms, writers, and new friends, please let me know in the comments and I will get you on the invite list! The more the merrier (and lots of opportunities to win prizes)!

Monday, June 8, 2015

You're Invited...

Going to kick off my blog redesign, talk summer and stories with fun and giveaways! Be sure to join the party!

Hope to see you there! 

Friday, June 5, 2015

When Your Pre-Teen Trumps Writing Time

Did you hear me sigh? 

That was a mighty one. It has been quite a night. While I thought I'd have some time to write and get ready for my big blog kick off next week (see the note at the end of this post), the moments ticked on, now it's almost midnight, and three out of four kids are still unsettled. So, this is my quick writing time--as I sit here next to my anxiety-ridden youngest son who is squeezing his eyes to try and sleep away the fear of trying something new-- swim team.

I should be the one who's freaking out, though. I stepped into new territory tonight, also. 

While bath time was in full swing for my daughter, my pre-teen came up to me with a look of expectancy in his face and whispered, 

"Mom, a girl wants to FaceTime with me at ten. Is that okay?"

And now imagine my internal groan while I send a breezy look his way.

Well...Kudos to him for asking first, right?
And, she was someone he knew from school...so at least it wasn't a random internet stalker, right?
And he was very compliant to my rule of keeping the door open and allowing me to check on him.


He's my baby. And there is soooo much out there that wasn't there when I was his age...social media, FaceTime, girls making the moves first (well, at least I was too scared to)!
on freedigitalphotos.net by sixninepixels

I shared some advice with him after his pretty mild and age-appropriate chat with the girl. I hope to God that he remembers it, and hides it in his heart for the more-than-a-friendly-chat instances in his life (and let's just say, I am not ready to think of this as flinging the door open to dating by any means...just a turn of the knob and observing what might be on the other side):

Advice Bit 1:  Be a gentleman--always. Be kind and appropriate. Be respectful. Really, this is something I wish he would grasp in all friendships, family relationships...etc!

Advice Bit 2:  Don't let go of yourself. Just because a girl is interested, doesn't mean that the relationship is up to her to define...or that there even needs to be anything besides a friendship!! Don't let her "redefine you" because you are flattered that she likes you. Be you without compromise! (This is a hard one to grasp, and I am so thankful for my mom-friends who have teenagers and shared their experiences before mine have come along!)

Advice Bit 3. Communicate with me (and Dad)! This is new for us, too... times have changed...and we have never raised a kid past your exact age before! Give us grace...and let us lead.

Praise God, he actually seemed pretty receptive to all of it! 

Life is coming at us from all angles, it seems. And I am so thankful for this phase, and those before, and those ahead. It's just another opportunity to sharpen ourselves and live life to the full (pardon the cliche...did I mention it was late here??) 

When my son went to bed tonight, he was super sweet. "I love you, Mom!" It wasn't in response to me, but it was on his own initiative. 

Lord, please keep his heart soft...to You and to his parents. Give him growing wisdom and discernment in all situations. And for goodness sakes, please slow this season down! --Amen

**Be sure to drop by on June 10th to get info on giveaways, prizes, and celebrating the official kick-off of my blog re-design! Follow this blog now, and start getting your points now! Comment below if you do.**

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Kicking Off My Blog Over Coffee

Late sunsets, ice cream, campfires, hikes, bikes, water fun....and my favorite--slipping away amidst the lazy days to create stories of old with a little twist and love here and there! 

I am an author and a mama, and both roles give me loads of opportunities for creativity and inspiration!

I have re-designed this blog and will announce some Summer Kick Off Fun! In the meantime, please go through the tabs to discover a little more about my writing and life. And most importantly, FOLLOW ME! I would LOVE to build up a coffee-shop-(or two)-full of friends!

Soon, we'll pull up a chair over our favorite frappe or tea, share family fun, writing discoveries, and just good ol' fashioned chit chat!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next Wednesday!