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It's amazing when my 5-year-old comes home talking about the history behind MLK day. When I was in Kindergarten, we learned our color...

Saturday, March 19, 2016

For Those Who Have Asked ...

Lately, I've been asked about the order of which my books should be read, so I thought I'd do a quick post here on my blog.

Although I do have four books in a series, it was an accidental series.  When writing Finding Kylie, I honestly had no intentions of continuing the journey for the other characters in the book.  I thought I'd release Finding Kylie and see what else came my way as far as storylines.

You see - Finding Kylie was my 'what if' in life.  It's been said - 'write what you know' - so I did, only I fictionalized my "what if'. After concluding Finding Kylie with a somewhat open but definite ending, I couldn't fathom putting myself in a position to write a story I wasn't  emotionally or spiritually prepared for.  To continue Chastity's story with her father meant stepping into some shoes I wasn't prepared.

That was until I continued to receive emails from readers who were wondering 'what was in John's letter' and 'if Chastity and Timothy lived happily ever after.'  I knew then that I owed it to my readers to write more about these endearing characters with Facing Redemption - even if it meant doing some soul searching of my own to have the capacity to write about John Mikale, one of the main characters in the second book.

By the end of Facing Redemption, I was hooked, and unable to say goodbye to a fun lovable support character, named Anne, who, I felt, deserved her story in a separate book, Coming Home.  I originally wrote her and her sister's story as one novel.  However, by the time I finished, it was way too long.  So, I decided to give each sister their own book.  Hence, the birth of Coming Home & Saving Grace.

So while the first four books are considered part of a series, they could be read independently of each other as well.  For the best reading experience, I would suggest reading them in order.  There is some overlap in Coming Home and Saving Grace (for a couple chapters), however these scenes or chapters are told from each of the sister's own perspectives.

The order in which they should be read is this:

Book #1: Finding Kylie 
Book #2: Facing Redemption 
Book #3: Coming Home 
Book #4: Saving Grace

My fifth book, Second Chances (which released in Jan 2016), brings a whole new set of characters to life.  Paige and her journey concluded in one book, so no others to follow with these characters in mind.

Currently, I'm writing Endless Possibilities, which brings a new realm to my writing.  Think afterlife meets the living with a bit of matchmaking from beyond.

If you'd like to read any of the synopsis for my books, you can visit my official author page or my Amazon page.

I'd love to hear from you!  If you've read any of my books, please leave me a comment or better yet a review on Amazon or Goodreads.  Thank you in advance!!!

Friday, March 11, 2016

13 and counting

As a mom, we never know who our kids are going to grow into. We know who we hope they grow into - responsible, caring human beings who contribute well to the world around them.

Most moms I know (myself included) pray they're parenting well enough to teach their kids to make wise choices... to change things for the better so that they leave the world a better place than how they found it.

Since there is not manual for motherhood that gives us step by step instructions for each stage - we do the best we can.  Thankfully, there are a lot of resources out there that give us some insight.

My own mother, for example, has been key in how I parent.  I find myself quoting her phrases without even knowing where they came from.  These gems of wisdom have been stored in the back of my mind for future use without my knowledge until they pop from my mouth, and I lovingly shake my head - thankful for my mother's influence.  Her gentle spirit was paired with knowledge, discipline, and unconditional love.  She is who I look to for what to be when it comes to mothering.

Asking for wisdom and guidance through prayer is another tool that has given me much direction.  There have been times that God has granted me exactly what I need at the right time through gentle suggestion.  Like when my temper threatens to flare up and get the best of me during one of my pre-teen's mood swings. Or, when I've been tempted to do my own thing (needing a mental break from a busy day) and my son asks me to watch him play a video game that I could care less about.  Well, guess what??? He cares about it!

So, when I'm tempted to be selfish, God often taps me on the heart to remind me that time with him is short and to make the most of the moments I have with him.

Bottom line is - as parents, we just hope we're doing it right.  Offering a mixture of tough love and a nurturing heart has been my gift to him.  Without coddling him, I am gentle yet when needed in moments of typical teenaged moments - I teach about respect with a stern but loving nature.  My child knows how much he's loved and in return loves the world with that same spirit.  My husband is also the most gentle yet firm father, who spends time and energy investing in his child.

Today is lil' T's thirteenth birthday.  And as I was looking for posts about his younger years, I found this one.  There are so many things I reflect on, like this story, that show me that he has always been who he was meant to be at his core.  God blessed him with an incredible spirit, intellect, and heart - and I'm just the person that gets to show him about life and direct his passions and dreams.  I get to teach him about consequences (yeah, he cleaned his toilet with a toothbrush last night - that's a story for another time).   I get the honor of watching him take my and his father's direction and apply it to the world around him.  

SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY Lil' Man.  You're gonna grow up and change the world.  I can't wait to see how.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Instead of the Bird

It happens to us all.

We sit in traffic, unable to move because other cars are keeping us from edging in any direction to break free from being blocked in.

If you're like most of us, you're frustrated.  You're most likely running late.  And to top it off, you've got a monumental jerk behind you, who is a huge fan of his horn and proves it by laying on it nice and long for your benefit.  Because he is sure - you're at fault that he's not going anywhere anyway!

Now, it doesn't matter than you can feel his pain.  He is just mad and is going to show you how much by showing you the international sign for 'STEP OFF!' or whatever else comes to mind.  Let's just say he's a fan of birds - the kind that likes to shoot up in greeting.

So what is your reaction?  Most would respond in kind, and to be honest, no one could blame you.  It's like a chain reaction, right?  Dominoes knock other dominoes down, just like anger begets anger.

So, I offer you a challenge.  When in this situation, I've found a simple gesture in return is an excellent alternative.  Just look at the photo below to see what else you can offer.

It does two things.  It gives you much more peace than offering an angry gesture in return, and it most likely would make someone else look twice.  How they look is up to them.  It could be that it irritates them even more - which might be fine for some of you.  Or it might be that it makes them snap out of their foul mood and consider slowing their roll.  I'm hoping for the latter.