Sweet Dreams and No Bloody Noses

As a Christian and as a parent it is my duty to teach my boys how to pray to God. In that simple act I am teaching them that our God is approachable, and that He cares, and that He desires to hear from us.

Every night, I tuck my boys in and then we pray.  I start off with asking, “What are we thankful for?” then we pray for our family.  The night isn’t over until I wrap up our prayers with, “Sweet dreams and no bloody noses.”

It became a routine after Carsen was having bad dreams so, we would read about a certain curious monkey. One particular night the story was about George visiting a Candy Factory.  Ever since that night,  we prayed for sweet dreams, like George in the candy shop.  Tucker would often get bloody noses near bed time so the second tag line was added for good measure.

Often we hear how people think God is some genie in a bottle waiting to grant our wishes. I thought I was doing a good job teaching my boys to be thankful for what God has given us. We prayed for the healing of friends and family, safe travels for those who were, and thankful for the house, right down to the dog.

I believe God still speaks to his people.  When He does speak to me it’s been few words that pack a punch, like opening a Pandora’s box of truth that spills out and opens doors of revelation.  Sometimes it’s a thought that I know did not originate in my head, and that’s what recently happened to me.

I was in the kitchen doing something and this thought breezed past me that I almost didn’t catch it.  It was like walking past someone you vaguely think you know, but aren’t quite sure; once they are halfway down the street it hits you.

“You are not teaching them to ask of Me.”

I stopped in my tracks.  Nothing I was doing or thinking would have led me to this notion.

I am teaching my boys to be thankful to God but there is so much more to prayer than that.  I wasn’t teaching my boys to ask God; to come to Him with prayers of petitions.  He is the Giver of every good gift and I was missing showing my boys the generosity of our Father.

Luke 9:11 – “…I tell you, ASK, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”


John 15:6-7  “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ASK whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

God reminded me of a deep-seated root in my own prayer life.  I have no problem with asking God to help others, but rarely would I seek His help for me.   What if help didn’t come?  Then I would be disappointed in God and I didn’t want that to ruin our relationship.  I shouldn’t be disappointed with God.  I wanted things to be good between us, so, I wouldn’t ask unless I was desperate.

This attitude stems from my parents’ divorce.  I know this. I’ve said this.  I wouldn’t ask my Dad for things because of the what ifs.  I didn’t want to be disappointed or mad at my Dad.

God still isn’t a genie.  He isn’t waiting for us to ask for a million dollars.  In 2 Chronicles God says to Solomon,  “Ask for whatever you want me to give to you.”   Solomon could have asked for riches or any earthly desire, but you know what he asked for?  Wisdom.  Wisdom to rule his people.

Do you know how God responded?  He gave him wisdom AND riches.  He was the richest King ever!  Ask, and ye shall receive.

I will leave with this story. Several years ago, when my boys were into Beyblades (a modern version of the spinning top), Tucker had lost one outside.  We saw where it went but when we looked for it we could not find it for the life of us!  For three days we looked in that same darn bush to no avail.

We prayed one night to find the toy.  The next day, determined to find it, I urged Tucker to look once more in the bush and around it. It was a small bush to top it off.  Triumphantly, Tucker squealed.  “He found it!  God found it!”, as he hoisted the toy in the air as if to show God, himself. That look of pure joy on his face, with eyes squinting in the Spring sunshine towards heaven, was truly a gift to me.

See, God cares about the little things too.  Tucker knew, without a doubt, that God heard him.  God answers prayers.  And I will say, that joy God saw on Tucker’s face was the truest picture of His love for giving His children every good and perfect gift.

ASK Him.

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Our Thanksgiving Tradition

The Saturday before Thanksgiving Day my side of the family gathers at our house to celebrate the holiday. We’ve been doing this for about thirteen years, so you could say it’s been a tradition for a while now.

As newlyweds often do, they find themselves in a predicament around the holidays. Most of them end up splitting the holiday celebrations between in-laws. “This year we’re going to his parents’ for Thanksgiving… My parents get Christmas…” This was SO hard on me. I hated missing out spending time with all of my family.

Holidays were such a HUGE event for me when I was growing up. You wouldn’t know by looking at me but I come from (and was raised in) a Hispanic family. My mom has five siblings, two brothers and three other sisters. In all I have 21 cousins. We now have our own families so the number skyrockets from there.

We used to gather at Aunt Dolores’ house, and it wasn’t a big house, for the holidays. I remember wall to wall family members and tons of cousins running in and out of the house. I remember the joy of all the noise and the crowd and all the fun and food we had. Thinking about it now it’s like a spring has uncoiled itself in my chest and I have a smile I cannot erase from my face.

Now, not every holiday has been that way since we’ve grown, but I was missing this gathering when I got married. I didn’t want to compromise. I didn’t have to, did I?

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My God

“Now, Death where is your sting?  The Resurrected King has rendered you defeated…”

I can’t begin to tell you what the words of worship do to the spirit that lives within me.  I stand in my kitchen with hands lifted high as if my spirit is about to soar or like a child that begs to be picked up. My spirit is so eager to be with my God, eager to leave this world behind so I can stand in His presence to tell Him, face to face, how great, how powerful and how good He is.

I worship a living God. He is alive.

The grave is empty.  There are no bones to visit.  He died on the cross but on the third day He was resurrected, brought back to life.  He has conquered death.

Death is not the end.

Just when I think this world cannot get any more darker it surprises me and it quickens my spirit to ask the Lord, when?  When will you come back?  How much longer?  Who hasn’t heard of you?


My Savior lives.  He is the God of hope. You are never alone.  You don’t have to change.  Let His love change you.

God, I love you.  You are awesome. You are a good Father. You are the Father to the fatherless.  You know our deepest sin and yet You STILL love us.  I wish I could hug you  right now.



The “M” Word

SO!  You’re probably wondering what the “M” word is, right?  Maybe you’re not. Maybe you’re thinking it’s “Marriage” or “Money” but it’s not.


CD 80

Now, some hard core, wanna get pregnant OR don’t wanna get pregnant women will know what that means.  And, by the way, I am NOT pregnant.  CD80 = Cycle Day 80.

It has been 80 glorious days I have NOT had my (I apologize guys) period.

Perhaps this is where men tune out.

I get the distinct impression women just don’t talk about menopause at least not someone other than their doctors.  Is Menopause the “elephant in the room” women only talk about in hushed, embarrassed tones?  Should I be embarrassed to be writing about the fact that I AM GOING THROUGH IT?

Okay, so maybe it’s not full fledge menopause. I might be labeled as “peri-menopausal,” like a ten year old wants to be called a “pre-teen” but they still pout like a toddler demanding, as they shake their fist, to be recognized as an almost teenager.  Hmm … chasing rabbits there.

Any way, I am “premature” for menopause but I say I’m an over achiever. Let’s get this party started!!!

Pffft -peri menopausal, please!  It’s that stage in a woman’s life when you skip your period and think God is playing a cruel joke on you.  It’s a joke because the “baby” of your family is 8 years old and you told everyone (including the husband) you were done.

I swear, when PM first reared her head I was quick to bargain with God, pleading NOT to be pregnant.  Then I resorted to threatening Him that I would need to be institutionalized if He did this to me. You just don’t want to go there, Lord.

I had gone 52 terrifying days without a period.  I told myself it was PM but then doubt creeped in and I started to worry. No! No, I wasn’t going to take a test. It was ridiculous to think I would or could be pregnant this late in life.

I called my OB/GYN and the nurse asked if I took a test. I was flabbergasted.  “No. Something else is wrong.” Besides I would need to be in the presence of a professional should I be wrong. No, I’d rather wait for the horrible news. Yes, I said horrible. I. was. done. Need I remind you? DONE. Continue reading

Mother’s Day … Off

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day

I think this holiday needs to be revamped to Mother’s Day Off.

This is the day when a mother gets to act like her kids and significant other. I envision throwing my clothes on the floor and leaving them for my boys to pick up, including my underwear. I would string up my bra somewhere embarrassing so that one of them would have to fish it down and stuff it in the hamper which, by the way, would be two steps away.

I would wait for them to do laundry then wipe my nose on my shirt sleeve and throw it in the hamper — scratch that – on the floor and grab another shirt only to wear it for the last hour of the day and throw THAT on the floor at bedtime.

I would demand breakfast and whine if my coffee was too cold. I would leave half empty cans of coke sitting in a puddle and bread bags opened on counters. I would wait for them to clean that mess up then go and get a glass of water making sure to leave a trail of droplets all the way to the living room.  There I would sit and watch tv and eat yet another snack being EXTRA careful to leave crumbs.  Then I would walk away.

Could you imagine if I asked my boys where everything was? Or if I could do something crazy like spend our grocery money on getting my hair done, movie tickets and books then roll my eyes and stomp away because they thought that was frivolous?

I would be absolutely giddy if they had to constantly tell me to clean my room. THEY would storm in and begrudgingly make my bed and clean up my clutter because it would embarrass their company if they happened to see it! Hoooo *wipes tears from eyes* THAT would be royal.

How about leave them home to go shopping with friends and ignore their calls and don’t check in? Oh, this could be fun. (Sigh)

I think we’d REALLY be appreciated then.

Having said that, I am pretty blessed by my two boys. Tucker can make coffee and make a good bean and cheese taco seasoned to perfection. Carsen can make eggs and pancakes… They’re good boys, messy, but good.

Enjoy your day off. Kiss your kids and count your blessings.

Out with the Old…

My goodness this has been our theme this new year.  You should see my house… better yet I’m glad you can’t!! My husband has flipped our living room furniture all on a whim last night.  Okay, to me it was a whim he, evidently, had been mulling over this change for a while.  Ten o’clock at night he’s asking me what I think of the new arrangement and I have shut down in sensory overload, quietly yet desperately, trying to talk myself out of a tantrum of stubbornness.  God help the man, he felt the chill as the door shut on my brain and patiently asked me to “think about it.”

I, stiff-necked and gritted teeth, shouted at (in my mind, of course)  “stubborn lady” to c-o-n-s-i-d-e-r it before I start shrieking and throwing pillows.  No, I wouldn’t have done it but by golly I did in my mind.  I think I managed to sound convincing when I said I would consider it and that it will probably grow on me.  I then gathered my companions of comfort and made my way to the shower with my computer, a book and a journal and pen and locked the door to decompress.

My living room was rearranged and furniture displaced AND my dinning room table and hutch were covered with homeless pots and pans.  So, yeah, it was a bit overwhelming AND change unnerves me … just a teeny bit. Continue reading

Elements of a Good Party – Part 1 (In no particular order)

“When throwing a party for introverts invite an extravert for entertainment…”

Set the stage. Your house should invite your guests in. Mood lighting is important people. Blinding light really isn’t setting your friends at ease it’s putting them on the spot. Light some candles and dim some lights and your guest will relax. (Candles make any room cozy just remember to blow them out when the party is over!!) Another way to create a mood with candles is scented candles. Acc-scent your evening. Choose companionable scents. I like woodsy smells in the winter and light floral (not too sweet) in the Spring and such.

Now that you’ve taken care of the lights turn on some music even if you’re only having friends over for dinner. Suddenly there is a lull in the conversation and DEAFENING SILENCE has created a awkward moment. Someone coughs to fill the silence, another is suddenly thirsty and you’re desperately flipping through your mental rolodex for the latest news bit or joke you’ve just heard.

Sitting down to an Italian meal? Pandora has great stations for that. Some of my favorite Pandora stations are: French Bistro Station, Celtic, Rat Pack… right now we’re enjoying Swinging Christmas. Anyway, music can play a vital roll in entertaining just don’t play it loud. It’s meant to be in the background not center stage.

Got questions? What do you do to make your guests comfortable? Think about it, ask it while I whip up Part 2 – in no particular order, of course.

My Boys… my boys

I’m watching them grow

from the laundry I fold

I peer into their room and see drums and a lizard

Bigger shoes and books with barely any pictures


When did I blink?

When did I stop buying coconut shampoo

and trade it for manly shower gels?


If I look closely

On their beds or under

I see Curious George with a bandaged head

A pony here and a blue dog up there

a book about Fred and Ted that was half read


There’s a sleeping blond haired boy

On the bunk below

With blue eyes so fair

and cheeks so soft

Perfect to sink kisses in

Just above this one

is the older son who will soon be ten

with adventure filled eyes

and feet ready to run.
The years pass by so quickly

It’s not something they just say.

You’d be wise to listen

and don’t blink.


This one

Blond hair and freckles

Tall and skinny

with the kindest of hearts


That one

Blond hair with expressive brows

Solid and gentle

Creative and visionary
How did I get them?

I’m the luckiest Mom ever

He Hasn’t Forgotten

My son Carsen has not forgotten he wants to be baptized. He hasn’t forgotten that we told him to wait. He hasn’t forgotten that we questioned him and his decision because, well, at first he wanted to follow in his brother’s footsteps.

It’s been almost a whole year and he hasn’t forgotten.

This Sunday morning, because Todd and Tucker were serving in the coffee House, it was just Carsen and I in the sanctuary (do we call it that at Journey?) and he wanted to switch seats and sit on the couch, the couch that is in the VERY front row… How could I say no to a seven year old grinning and mouthing “pleeeease” as he batted his eyes up at me?

It was a good excuse to move away because someone sat behind us, I don’t know who they were, and that time to meet and greet those around you was coming up and I wasn’t feeling social so I bailed in the name of “it’s for my child” excuse. I am ashamed but I did it.

ANYWAY Carsen and I sang and it was a great moment to look down and see and hear my youngest sing songs he actually knew. Que the little hearts popping like bubbles around my head as I discretely watched him. (sigh)

We were a few feet away from the big baptismal tank thingy and my little bug tells me, “I still remember you said I could get baptized.”

My heart sinks a little. I had been putting it off ONLY because I needed to check with the family to see when everyone could make it and I hadn’t. Shame. On. Me. (I know!).

“I remember Tucker said yes to all the questions they asked him…”

Carsen has been worried that he will be asked a question he doesn’t know how to answer and that maybe he won’t be baptized because of that. My heart is drowning, gurgling on shame by now.

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“Captured by Love,” by Jody Hedlund – Amazing Christian Fiction

I have been on a reading binge lately, putting down #5 book as I wait for “Where’d You go Bernadette,” for my July book club read to come in. I recently finished reading Christian author, Jody Hedlund’s, “Captured by Love,” which is to be release July 1st, 2014. I was fortunate to receive a copy from Bethany House Publishing to review it and couldn’t be more pleased!


"Captured by Love"

“Captured by Love”

First, I must say Jody is an inspiration. She writes Christian fiction of the historical romance variety, which is my favorite genre. I don’t know why I cringe to say “romance” BUT … but what can I say? I need a little romance to hook me sometimes. Besides writing my favorite genre, Jody Hedlund homeschools her five children. Yes, I said FIVE.

As a mom, as a writer AND a homeschooler can I say… WOW.

Yes! It can be done and done quite well. Though Jody makes it looks so easy. Jody has a gift of developing characters that are easily engaging both likable and not so likable. I’m amused at her ability to create scenes that envelop me with rich details that don’t drag on (you know the kind where you get so wrapped up in the details you forget what the story is about).

“Captured by Love,” is set in Michigan 1814. Pierre Durant is an American fur trader who loves the freedom and adventure his profession offers. Guilt from abandoning his mother and brother drives him back home five years later only to find the family farm in shambles and his mother destitute and alone save for the childhood friend, Angelique LaBelle, who helps with her care. Pierre is torn by his desire to return to the wild or stay and take care of his mother and his growing affection for Angelique.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book because I am fairly familiar with the fur trading life and the call on a man’s soul to return. My father is a fur trader. He is never more at home than on his trap line or paddling down a river in his canoe.

*Side note – My father has often shared that when I was three years old he took me and my sister on his trap line. The stories I could tell!

ANYWAY – Jody Hedlund never fails to build suspense or seize you with the urge to shake the characters by their shoulders in hopes to knock some sense in them. I love it! Of course, the romantic tension in “Captured by Love,” is sweetly there begging to be fulfilled. Come on Pierre! Stay. KISS her will ya! I especially love that some things are wonderfully left to your imagination and when you need a nudge Jody indulges.

As a Christian reader I respect her for the discretion. As a Christian writer I am inspired that I can write about romance and the tension that goes with it without having to cross moral lines. I encourage you to try out this talented author.

I first stumbled upon her from a tweet offering “The Preacher’s Bride,” as a free download. I have been hooked on Jody’s books ever since.