Thursday, August 29, 2013

One Sheet for Sally Bradley

Wow, this story is a big WINNER! Such a fun one sheet to design...I loved the way it turned out! Can't wait to read Sally Bradley in print soon!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

One Sheet Design for Casey Herringshaw

I just love this story by Casey Herringshaw! Can't wait to see what this brings for her!

One Sheet Design For Loraine Kemp

Wow! This lady is super talented. She drew the graphics for her one sheet. Made my job pretty easy!
Can't wait to meet her at ACFW!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Life's Not Fair

So I am all about teaching my kids that life isn't fair. That, sometimes, those who aren't any more deserving than them will get ahead, find the favor, make the team. And as we get deeper into the whole adolescent sporting programs, the lesson is easily available to teach.

Something I thought wouldn't happen until the teen years--hopefully late teen years--might just happen from here on out: My child's heart will get broken.

Because at this age (11 years old), a child doesn't always care about who they are going to date or marry, but they care about the teams they are on, the friendships, the gifts God has given them that make them feel special.

My son tried his heart out last week for a spot on the team he'd played on for a year. He did his best, kept up with his other teammates, but the rest of the competition was tough. When my husband came home and said he found out that my son got cut but all of his teammates with the same skill level remained on the team, I lost it. Not because of the fairness game. Not because there obviously was some seniority at play since my son was the newbie.
No, I lost it because I know how much my son loves, not only the sport, but that team. And I just don't want his heart broken.

So maybe I am not accepting the whole, "life isn't fair" bit, even though it's true. My husband and I have been bitter and angry to think about how un-fair this decision was. And we are dragging our feet to tell our son because in the back of our minds we're hoping a coach decides to come to the reality of fairness and deservedness in this case! Wishful thinking? Probably.

Middle school has taken off with a soaring start for my guy. He has no complaints. A year ago, we were dealing with major confidence issues. Baseball seemed to wipe those away. He's good at it, and just kept getting better. I don't want this news to rock his confidence and steal away the luster of his new experience of Middle school.

Baseball tryouts the first week of school? Wow, that needs to be reconsidered!

 Two of my friends talked about God opening doors and closing them, when I mentioned this to them. And we are already seeing the truth in this. Just two weeks ago, he was invited to play on a fall team around here, in our own community. Through that, there might be prospects for next year's season. Who knows, God might have closed that door for a we could be more connected to the community around us instead of driving across town like we have been.

I just hope my son is ready to entertain such divine workings! When you have a child as loyal as he is, it's hard to explain that other kids, other coaches, aren't always loyal back.

Life just isn't fair.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

First Day of School, Rain or Shine.

With the smell of sharpened pencils, and the kerplunk of markers in a lift-top desk, our summer was officially considered over when we walked through the halls of school, met the teachers, hit the showers, said bedtime prayers, and tucked in night owls a couple hours earlier than "normal".

It's exciting. A little nerve-wracking. And swollen with anticipation that could burst into a downpour of confetti or a wild storm of growing pains--or maybe both.

Our brave kids walk into a sea of children--some familiar, some not. They trust their well-being to adults they have never seen--because Mama (and the principal) says so. And they wonder what lies ahead--with a little more maturity and understanding of all that could go right...and all that could go wrong. Partly from experience, and partly from imaginations much too large for their tiny hearts.

Oh, how I want to squeeze them tight and promise things I just can't promise.

When my son cries deeply because of the fear of losing his best friend to kids in another class, I want to scoop him up and agree to his plea, "will you homeschool me?" Well, maybe I don't want to, but some weak, fleeting thought may have considered it just for him.

When my other son worries about his new haircut, and begins to consider all the awful things that his friends might have thought when they saw him today, I want to squeeze him by the shoulders and say, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" But, I know he's not. Because He. IS. my. child. And this is more proof than a blood test.

And with the jittery excitement of a jumping bean, my sixth grader has surprised me with his attitude. I am so, so, so proud of this kid, who weeks ago, swore that he would only go to middle school kicking and screaming.
And it was all because of fear that he would be made fun of because of something he can't change-- his name.
At just the right moment, God led us to a study about Jabez that seemed written for my son. And I forced him to read it. Yes, sometimes mamas are easier to be around if you just do what they say.
Who knows if that changed his heart about this giant step. Maybe it gave him peace.

But he is human, and today, his confidence did wobble a bit when I asked what his goal was for this year: To not be made fun of.

My heart breaks a little, and I begin to rattle off comebacks in my head to the imaginary bully. Mainly, though, I think "please don't ruin this time for him."

Potential. So much potential.

I sit here and think how out of control I feel, and not just because there are papers strewn across the floor and unorganized school files waiting to purge old assignments and make room for new ones. And not because I forgot to buy Kleenex for one classroom, and I don't know where the water bottles are, and I haven't caught up on laundry.

I just feel out of control as a guardian for my kids. But in a way that I know I must, because it is during these times where my children get the chance to grow their wings. Through the pangs, through the heartache, through the desperate need of prayer. And I am just thankful that all three boys know the importance of at least the latter.

First day of school tomorrow. Arriving so quickly. Summer might be over, and there might be clouds ahead, but, I pray, the adventure ahead has enough sunshine to grow my children after the rain.

Monday, August 12, 2013

One Sheet Design for Sue Mason

Sue Mason is my kind of writer...Historical Romance! And here's my latest one sheet design to showcase her fabulous story! Hope to read it in print one day!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Different Kinda Journey

Mamas can talk, and talk, and not think when they talk and hurt others with words they think are helpful or justified (Life's connected, yes, this seems like the post I wrote on Saturday...but it's not :)).

It's tough to not give into defensiveness when someone criticizes a choice you've made. Especially when your kids are involved. And usually, when you get a group of moms together, the varied opinions often have to do with mothering or parenting or children...and no one is hardly ever the same on these issues.

I've had a few zingers thrown my way lately. And they shouldn't bother me because they attack a decision I have grown full confidence in. But they still sting. It's almost as if God was trying to teach me a lesson thru all of it, though. Because, just recently, I have been guilty of throwing zingers of my own. Toward those completely unaware of it.

Why do we feel the need to criticize and condemn another believer's journey?

In my own experience, I find that I do it most when:
  1. I feel like my own journey is under attack
  2. I feel the need to reveal the truth to the "clueless" (and trust me, this is truly a flawed motive!!)
  3. The ugly green monster of jealousy begins to sprout a new head
So, who knows if the women who hurt my feelings recently did it out of these reasons or if they did it because they think they were being helpful. But I know that while I felt judged and criticized, I was judging and criticizing another person in a different area of my life, because of the first two reasons above.

I knew it was ugly and I prayed about it in church--because when you're caught in sin, the Spirit moves your heart to a place of burden, and I surely have sinned as I sit and point fingers. The only thing the judged was clueless about was my own criticism.  [Now, I am talking about Godly people here...Godly people doing things that aren't ungodly, just different.]

Having just felt the attack of others on me, God showed me something about my own guilty zingers:

He'll lead others in their journey, even if it's different than my own.

GASP! You mean my journey isn't the only way? You mean there are other ways to live this short life? Obviously, if others can find flaws in my journey, than perhaps it's not the only way...but there anything on this earth that is perfect? Besides You Know Who...

Just because I don't agree with someone's journey, and I feel like it's an antithesis to my own, doesn't mean that God isn't there and that they are led astray...and goodness, they DON'T need ME to enlighten them!

Isn't it wonderful that the journeys God has placed us all on, are unique, and He will reveal Himself and His ways in completely DIFFERENT facets of life and decisions?

Seriously--my shoulders are lighter today. When we take on the burden as Judge, our broken human bodies aren't ready for the load. Thank God for the yoke-bearer in Jesus!

As for those who've criticized my journey--why do I even care? I am confident, at peace, and actually excited about its direction. They are probably clueless that it hurt me, and that's where I need to give them Grace. Grace is a precious ointment, isn't it?
I gotta remember that Jesus slathered it on my own heart, and will give me extra large doses  to give
it away.
Grace. It's the best part of this journey...and it's the SAME for everyone!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Little Too Much Talk

It's nearing the end of summer, and I feel like my daily word count...spoken, that is... has increased dramatically. What with school starting soon, ministries changing up, friendships renewing after vacay, and just life going through a growth spurt, I've decided that I am racking up the words like a three book-on-cd series. While this daytime extrovert thrives on the social time, this nighttime introvert processes it all and feels like I've spewed a jumbo ball of spaghetti. A recount of the words crisscrosses into the pros and cons, the opinions, and the inching mole hills becoming mountains. My processing becomes worrying, then my worrying becomes an anxious emotional implode. ACK!

Do you ever feel like you've just talked too much? Not in one conversation, but just in general? My mouth hurts thinking about it. And so does my heart. Because a lot of what I say isn't God honoring  like it should be. A lot of what I say is the opposite of the fruits God has given us: patience, self-control, kindness, GENTLENESS, longsuffering, PEACE...etc....

A silent retreat sounds mighty nice right now. But what I realize as I am typing this, is that all this talking has brought me to something kinda ironic:  My frustration with all my jabber might stem from God whispering, "Hey, I am jealous for YOU"...yes...He wants me to close my mouth for a bit...I know that, but He doesn't want me to stop talking...He wants me to talk TO Him. Because only there, is my talking really worth something. If only I can remind myself of that more often.

A little too much talk is never too much if it's directed to the right Someone.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Let's Talk About it....

Sex sells. Most of us Christian mamas try to butt up against this, and do our best to not let our children fall for this value in our society...we hide our kids from magazine covers, dvr "wholesome" shows and skip commercials, try our best to instill modesty and purity.

Actually, it is something I have battled for my boys for a while. Not hiding what it is, but rebuking what society has crafted it to become. It's crucial for my young soon-to-be men to learn how to set up a discretionary guard in their minds against false perversions that will cause them to stumble later on.

While sex sells, sex is also powerful when used for the right reasons AND the wrong. Song of Solomon in the Bible is a great illustration of God's beautiful plan for sex in marriage. It's not dirty, but a gift for a man and a wife. It's pleasure in its purest form. And it's a big dose of power for the marriage relationship. But, somewhere along the path of humanity...and I am talking about way, way, way toward the beginning (think of Abraham, David...) the gift became a weapon.

I always thought discarding the weapon facade as a game of peek-a-boo, keeping my children's eyes covered to preserve their innocence of society's corrupt view. And in a way, it still is. But now that I have a daughter, I realize that it's not just preserving innocence, but it's a matter of shaping my children's self-image, too.

So, I will confess, I think the movie Pitch Perfect is pretty fun! Yeah, at first I was a little stunned by the raunchiness at parts, but really, the music and the idea of singing competition is right up my alley. LOVE to watch the performances! My boys love that kind of stuff too, so I scene-selected the guys' performance at the end. It is catchy, well-done, and pretty much rated, "PG". When my boys asked to see the girls' performance, I hesitated. I thought back on the performance...which really is my favorite part...and realized there is NO WAY I could let them watch it. These are boys who've already noticed women dressed inappropriately, who've already begun to form opinions of women as creatures of beauty and worthNOT objects and inferiors. I turned off the DVD player and walked away with a whole new perspective, though.

Sex sells...for women. In a culture screaming women's lib, is the power behind today's woman, sex? Seriously, the guys' clean performance was GREAT, but the women's performance was the winner...and it dripped with suggestiveness. I have been processing all this in my mind, and realize that not only do we have to protect our children from the images, but our children will find the messages will contort their very self-worth.

Our boys will think of women as objects if women think what they do with their bodies is power.
And our girls, oh our girls, they will buy into "sex sells", and think they must flaunt it, give it away, and use it to gain control. When really, they are losing control of what matters most...their true worth.

It's not just men who are treating women as sex objects, but women have bought into it as well, and have subjected themselves to embracing the weapon as their own.

The only way I know how to reject this notion creeping into the hearts of my children, is to continue to pour in the Truth, continue to teach them how to treat others and themselves, and to remind them that power is only found in One place, through One Perfect Son who cares nothing for the world's show, but only about their hearts' performance.