17 July 2015

beach living

Remeber how I said our hearts were ripe for the picking, God was in the move, and everything just snowballed?

It was all so true.

We've been living in Virginia Beach (I told the kids we moved to Vacation--they agreed) for a month and a few days now. There are still boxes that I keep avoiding, and adjustment takes time. We have had plenty of bumps in the road--both in practical issues and emotional But every one of us is happy here. We have new friends who are sweet and true. Our hearts are full. When we came the week before our actual move to house hunt and worship with the believers we had spoken to, my heart was at home. That, my friends, is huge. So very huge. When four kids are glad they moved to a new place--and you hear at them thanking God we got to move here...wow. All in a matter of weeks.

So yes, we drop everything and hit the ocean from time to time. I've learned the secret to getting sand off your skin (you have to comment if you want to know--must be a local-to-the-beach thing...). We're becoming multi-swim suit family with a stash of beach prep always at the ready for the next spontaneous ocean outing. My boys cannot wait to learn to really surf and I will be on the shore praying for the sharks to swim the other away.

There is such a relaxed atmosphere here. Perhaps it's the constant vacation mode of the residents, I'm not sure. But the traffic is at most "busy"--there are only a few hot spots that back up (like underwater tunnels at certain hours--oh, how my kids love those tunnels, and no you can't see through them); the transient, military town is warm and friendly; everywhere I go feels simpler than it used to. Well, except the grocery store with kids in tow. That's as challenging as ever. People here even grasp the severity of food allergies immediately. It matters to them, no playing naive or acting like I've made something more difficult--they just roll with it.

And my writing has begun to find a groove again (that always keeps my heart in a happy place). I've found local ACFW peeps, and most exciting of all is one of my crit partners live a few hours away. We've already got plans for a one day writer's conference a little north of us--perfect excuse for a night in a hotel laughing.

We love it. Can you tell?

p.s.  My husband's "commute" is an 8 minute drive...from parking lot to driveway!

27 May 2015

hints

Sometimes when life takes unexpected turns, you can look back and see that God had been dropping itty bitty hints to prepare your heart ahead of time. Of course during the hint-dropping, it never would have occurred to you; but later...it all makes sense. Kinda like when you read a book.

Apparently we had some hints in the past six months that shifted our hearts in tiny, subtle ways and ultimately prepared us for a huge change.

In February, our family went to Clearwater, FL to visit the famous dolphin, Winter, and her friend, Hope. Our four kids had the best vacation ever. Sweet, simple, and full of something that mattered to them. As we drove away from four days at the beach, surrounded by the amazingness of God's creation, we made light jokes about how fun it would be to live at the beach. I confess, I only began to enjoy the ocean about five years ago (I'm a mountain girl a heart). But a twinge pinged my heart as we headed home. Just a longing for more vacation, I thought.

A month or so later, a doctor we've relied on for several years told us she was moving. I took it in stride, and was heard to say to another person, "I get it. When God says move, you just move." I was referring to general experiences. That's all. Or so I thought.

Around the same time, my son had a friend who thought her family would be moving to Virginia this summer. Rumors of it rippled through their small homeschool academy then died down. That opportunity didn't pan out and they'd be staying.

So when, three weeks ago today, my husband told me a friend of his had been considered for a job in Virginia Beach but really didn't want to move, it was like an ocean breeze wafted through me. That's all it was. For then.

Two days later, I asked him if that job was something he was qualified for. I was hardly aware of my words, and yet they were right and from that moment on everything just fell into place. There was an amazing rush of peace for both of us. He checked with a couple people and everything snowballed. Or may avalanched is a better choice.

It turns out, our hearts were ripe for the picking, and moving to a beach town was exactly what we wanted to do. God was in it.


(I love how God writes our story. I could learn from this and be a better human writer...subtly hint-dropping along the way.)

27 February 2015

mama's migraine mix

I've been digging deep into essential oils lately. And the more I dig, the deeper I want to go. I love them...like I really LOVE LOVE them. So, you're going to find me talking about this more and more. Please ask me questions--I love to talk oils.

First of all, my migraines are much easier to manage--I can't manage the weather or hormaones that trigger them, or the funky lights that make them worse (I miss real, incandenscent lightbulbs...*sniff sniff*), but I can manage the pain better than every before in my life.

Here's a fun "recipe card" for my own blend of migraine oils. I have created this blend myself with trial and error. It's been amazing. Rather than chugging a Dr. Pepper and half dozen Motrin (yes, a half dozen) every time a migraines slammed me, I now roll this bit of magic over my pain. It takes repeat rolling, true, but every time it eases up. Sometimes I still need three Motrin, I won't lie. But not even half my migraines require it. My stomach thanks me. (And my doctors are relieved. So is my ER nurse brother who panicked when I told him what I normally had to take!)

One of my worst migraines recently had me shutting of lights begging for silence (Ha! I have four kids, remember??) and wishing the nausea didn't make it so much worse. I oiled and oiled and oiled. Then I turned a heating pad on low and snuggled up into my bed.

And kept wishing for silence.

It took a little while, I won't lie. But I got up and made dinner without issue.
And the migraine did NOT make an encore performance.
Nor did the Motrin come to visit.





(There is a premade Tension Blend to help with headaches as well.)

Do you suffer from migraines? I'd love to chat and tell you more.

I'll be back soo to talk oils some more!
Have a lovely weekend.

06 November 2014

of fact and fiction

Once upon a time, somewhere along the third or fourth grade, there were signs of my overactive imagination that should have warned me I’d one day be a writer. And today, many (many) years later, it almost bit me in the butt. Well, if it had teeth, it could have….

It started when I heard a story from who-knows-where about a snake in a toilet (and yes, as much as I tell myself it's impossible, I know I'm lying, and I loathe lying). See, my father has a severe phobia of snakes, and fear is contagious. The sheer terror that there was even a remote chance a snake could be in my toilet, and have the freedom to bite me...well, my mind warped all of that into a twisted, fictional possibility: think warlock rather than a snake. I did know fiction from fact. I’m positive. But the imagination is a powerful tool.

I found myself in a flush and rush—when leaving the bathroom, I would wash, then I had to flush and slam the lid and rush out of the bathroom before a warlock could rise up from its depths. 

You can take a moment to reread that.
Let it soak in.
Laugh into your hankie, spew out your coffee…

Okay, ready to move on?

So, that lasted months, probably the better part of a school year. (Go ahead, you can snicker a little more.) Let's face it, a warlock coudln't rush the use of the potty as a snake scare would have...just prevent lingering in the room afterward. My fiction was logical, friends.

I eventually managed to talk myself out of it, remind myself that fiction and fantasy were not reality. Warlocks really would not come out of the commode if I slowed my pace a little. 

This morning, however, my toilet had a visitor. 
May I introduce *Slimy, otherwise known as a warlock-in-hiding?


And so fact and fiction have begun to blur once more...

*the frog was named Slimy by my animal loving child who very bravely and kindly removed the war-- uh, frog from the toilet while I stood out of hop's reach

PS --do not look closely at the state of the toilet...and if you already have, I blame the warlock.

16 July 2014

of hiding

This past week I found myself feeling betrayed. Angry. Hurt. Stressed. Anxious.

My stomach ached with tension, my body wanted to flee the house and pound the earth with a high speed walk (my knees don't like it when I run, so I walk super fast instead). But you may recall I've been in a cast. And now a walking boot. I've only begun consistently walking without crutches in the past few days--and at the end of a long day, I still use one for support. Driving is still forbidden. Going anywhere, even down the street, was out of the question.

At least the house was quiet, the kids finally asleep (see, I couldn't even catch a ride someplace--though riding with five other people wouldn't have helped me any right then). So I tucked my bleeding heart into the dark dining room. Injured leg on a chair.

And I talked to my God. I'd done that already as the day wore on, but then life was too busy to lick my wounds in private. I told Him how much I wanted to be alone for a while. To run and hide.

So He invited me to hide in His arms.
It was so much better than hiding alone.
I found comfort and healing. I found peace.

To be fair, I still wanted to escape the confines of my house for a while. Outings are far from solo these days. But He met me where I was, and filled me up.

It was enough. Because He is enough.

04 July 2014

independence day


Happy 4th of July!!

Celebrating the birth of our country,
the wonders of our freedom,
those who have sacrificed for it,
and
the God who graciously put us here.
I pray I never take it for granted.

May he keep us in the palm of his hand whatever the future holds.

02 July 2014

who i am

Last week I watched a seminar by Michael Hauge on DVD. One of the (many) great things he said was that when writing we must force our characters to fill in the blank to this statement:

"I will do whatever it takes to accomplish my goal, just don't ask me to ___________, because that's just not me."

It kinda tugged at me in a personal way, but I was bent on what I could learn to improve my craft and glossed over that part. Then, at the very end of his talk, he said something that tattooed the challenge to my forehead. Everything he'd been talking about also applies to real life. And to succeed in what we want to do, we must fill in that above blank for ourselves. It only took me a moment or two to know what my answer would be.

Until now, I've believed that I'll do anything for my writing.
And yet...there is actually something I have not been willing to do.

See, I'm adamant about being real. I tell life like it is. I don't know how to keep a facade going, or how to play mind games, or be coy (my husband says he's always liked that about me, at least!).

On the other hand, I've created a persona to write under. No regrets there; I love my pen name, and have every intention of keeping it. I decided to use a pen name twenty years ago when I was still scribbling poetry and just dreaming of prose. But it was to keep my writing life private. A secret. Because, well, I just...had to. I wasn't ready to share. And what if I don't succeed? Then what? For one, I'd have to explain that it wasn't amounting to anything. And if someone didn't like what I wrote...well, how awful. Right? (Wrong. Not everyone can be my audience and that is okay.)

I dislike being the center of attention. A LOT. But I've watched myself grow bolder by the month as I open up about to strangers and friends alike. I found recently I was no longer attaching the "...but it's a secret...be sure you don't tell anyone..." disclaimer to my confession of being a writer.

It helps that I've found so much support. Friends, family, general population. Excited, interested peers. I have so many amazing cheerleaders on the side lines. A fabulous writing group and critique partners that believe in me.

It's time to stop hiding. And I'm okay with that. It's personal growth, which is rewarding.

"I will do whatever it takes to accomplish my goal. Whether I publish someday or just keep writing for the sheer love of it, I can and will tell others what I do. Because it's who I am. A writer."