Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Saratoga Springs

Back from Disney!

We had the absolute best vacation. And, although there were many wonderful moments, the best surprise was the room.

We were under the impression that our reservation was for a 1 bedroom studio at Saratoga Springs resort in Orlando. However, when we inserted the key and opened the door, we were stunned to find a 1 bedroom suite. Either we misunderstood the reservation or we were suprisingly upgraded. Either was awesome. Check out the pics!

This is the Congress Park building in which we stayed.

When you opened the door to our suite, you entered a foryer. Here, is the door and foryer.

This is the furniture in the foryer. Okay, I don't even have furniture in our foryer in our house!
Here's a long shot of the living room, full kitchen and dining room.
Dining room:

This is the view from our balcony. Although the camera makes it look far away, we could see Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney and it only took five minutes to walk there via a wooded path behind our building.

The balcony:

The bathroom which I still can't get over. It had three rooms. I won't post the pics cause it's hard to tell in the photos. But, this room had a jacuzzi tub. By the way, never put bubble bath in a jacuzzi tub. Enough said.

Full kitchen. I still can't get over how nice it was to have a kitchen. Especially with kids!!

And, last but definitely not least. The washer/dryer. Have you ever stayed in a hotel room with a washer/dryer? I haven't. I didn't even know you could. Needless to say, this was grand living for me and I thouroughly enjoyed it. Oh, that's my goofy husband who gremlined into my shot.

What an awesome resort and what an awesome room. We are spoiled for life I think. :-)

Monday, April 27, 2009


I have always loved baseball.

My husband has always loved the game as well.

Secretly, I have been in great anticipation of Bug growing old enough to play the game. Last year, he was too young for T-ball so we registered him for Soccer. He hated it!

In fact, during one game, it was his turn to kick the ball into play and instead of kicking it, he sat down on it and took a break.

But, he maintained that he wanted to play baseball and so my hopes stayed high.

This year, he was old enough to register in the instructional league. The first night of practice, we suited him up, bagged his equipment and headed for the dugout.

Our boy ran onto the field a five year old, he came home……well – older.

He drank in the game. Everything the coach did, Bug did right down to mimicking the coach’s stance during the pep talks.

Upon returning home, Bug announced that he was now a big boy and no longer wanted to eat off Disney character plates or drink out of sippy cups. He needs to use grown-up everything.

I never would have thought the game would have had such an impact. It was neat to watch. And, he shows promise for the game as he’s a pretty good hitter. All we have to do now is teach him how to run to the right base.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Potty Training

A while back, I wrote a post concerning my fear of potty training. Click here to read the story of why I fear potty training.

Well, you can only avoid the inevitable for so long. And so, we began potty training Squeaker two weeks ago.

The good news is, she did remarkably well and what I thought would be a nightmare turned out to be not so bad. But, as I’ve always heard regarding beginning potty trainers, you have good days and bad days.

This past Sunday was our first BAD day.

After church, a group of us went to Mojo’s BBQ restaurant for lunch. The place was packed. Squeaker has decided that 80% of the fun of being potty trained is the treks to the bathroom. We hadn’t been at the restaurant very long when the journeys began.

The problem….she wouldn’t “go”. We took her three times and she wouldn’t “go”.

Squeaker would get into position and then start playing a game with the toilet paper dispenser and the door. She would introduce the two inanimate objects as if they were sitting down to tea and then carry on conversations with them. Meanwhile, my BBQ is getting cold!

I finally get Squeaker back to our table. She climbs in her chair. I am about to sit down when the loudest scream I have ever heard in my life penetrates the atmosphere of the restaurant. Turning, I see Squeaker standing in her chair with pee free flowing down her legs, pooling in her chair and waterfalling into the floor.

Her screams were so loud that taking her to the bathroom across the entire length of restaurant was not an option. Instead, I scooped her up and headed out the door five feet away.

Standing outside, sobbing incessantly, Squeaker looks at me and says, “You didn’t listen to me.”

Didn’t listen to you?

She repeats, “You didn’t listen to me, I said I had to go potty.”

“I listened to you three times, why didn’t you go then?” Is the response that rushed out of my mouth.

But, my daughter mortified, I consoled her and took her to the car to change into fresh clothes. At least I had thought far enough ahead to bring those.

So, hopefully that will be the worst of our potty training days. However, as this is posted we will be at Disney world mapping out every bathroom in the park. Oh, the adventure…..

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Love Letters to the King - NEW

Welcome to Love Letters to the King. If you are new to the letters, click here to find out what they are all about.

I am titleing today's letter - My Security - as it is something we need to feel in these days and times.

I hope you enjoy.

My Lord,
The spirit of your heart runs through my veins and haunts me. Oh, how I need you.

I can do nothing without you. I hear your song in my dreams and I feel your presence when you aren’t there. You have imprinted yourself upon my memories so that every recall of my brain hints of you.

And, this is good.

For today, I’m in need. Today, the god of this world…of my village...calls to me. His seductive melody caresses my soul. My heart knows to run, and to run fast, but my mind has been shrouded in the veil that covers most all our villagers.

But, I did stand against them.

The rumbling of my bowels is the evidence of the heartache their treachery creates insides of me. I cower at their invitation, and I weep at their inability to recognize your grace.

Today was especially hard. Villagers in the shop vexed me with their tongues. The disapproving crease of my brow encouraged them all the more. Cornered, they enticed me with their speech. They offered to exchange my singleness for their company, my beauty for their physical love, and my empty evenings for their entertainment. I declined. They persisted.

How do I explain something they cannot see? How do I describe a fullness they have not felt?

My “no’s” are eventually heeded and the villagers leave, but I know they will be waiting. I know they encamp around me, and will make a point to cross my path upon my exiting of my master’s store. And so, my heart cries out to you.

Come to the garden.

Your voice is undeniable and I know that you are watching. Oh my Lord, please rescue me. As if by enchantment, the back door creaks as it opens showing me a cleared path out of the village. A glance towards my master offers another mystical encounter as he waves for me to leave. Without delay, I headed towards the door, down the steps, along the back road and out of the village. I ran without looking back until I was halfway to the garden’s gate.

My security manifested around me, I slowed my pace. The wind was warm and alive as if you were breathing into me. The gate in view, I exhaled in relief. Somehow, this evening, the garden was personified. The grass shined like emeralds, and the setting sun exploded in the sky like a smoldering fire. Dalzure Lake erupted in a performance of dancing diamonds, and your Willow tree swayed as if entranced in the aura of romance.

You, however, stood straight and tall as an ancient Oak who had witnessed this before and no longer fell prey to the physical jubilee of the occasion, but rather relished it in the interior of the heart. Entranced, you did not hear me approach, so I seized the moment.

I ran towards you as a gazelle in an open field. Throwing my arms wide, I did not slow until the root of your stance stopped me. Burying my head into your back, I threw my arms around you and squeezed until there was no strength left in me. Never once did you falter. Never once did you gasp for breath. The only evidence of my love was the smile spread upon your lips and your arms resting on top mine.

Unwilling to move, I stayed steadfast in my position for what was in my mind an eternity. The sun finished setting, and the moon made its debut. The stars winked down upon us, and the majority of the diamond dancers left the Lake, leaving only those endeavoring for attention. The Willow’s branches draped around us, and your steady breathing ticked the time away.

I could have stayed there. It wouldn’t have taken much effort on my part to resign my life to that position, but you determined to move me and the moment was gone. Taking my hands, you pulled them from your body and brought me beside you. Keeping my hand buried inside of yours, you lowered yourself to the ground and rested against the trunk of the Willow. A gentle pulling of my arm encouraged me to do the same.

Sitting beneath the Willow, you spoke. “Do you believe that I’m always with you?”

“Yes my Lord.”

“Even today?”

“Yes. I could feel you with me”

“But, you were afraid.”

I chewed my lip under the conviction of your words. “I do not understand how I know you and they do not.”

“They do not because they choose not too, dear one.”

“And yet they mock me?”

“Because they fear that which they choose not to believe. It is for that reason that the ones who decline my invitation will always be against you.” Your arm moved around my shoulder and pulled me closer towards you. “But fear not Princess, for I have seen your heart and know your faith, and in that I will always be with you.”

Blessed be the strength that is not my own but is fed from the river that flows from my King. I will rest in you, my Lord, for I know that my security is held dear to your heart.


“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty, I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” Psalms 91:1-2 (NIV)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mighty Hunter

Oh how I love my cat. She is so funny.

I blogged previously on how we fixed up our back porch and now it’s our favorite spot.

Well, it seems to be Ella’s as well. Especially since she is able to use her back porch time as a way of living out the feral cat fantasy that boils within her.

The other day, while on the porch, Ella proclaimed dominion over the area and declared doom to all lizards who dare enter her lair. Although I felt sorry for the innocent prey, watching the attacks was somewhat comical.......

She tried to deliver them as gifts to us. Yuck!

Beware Lizards, for the great and mighty hunter Ella dwells here.

And, as Ella likes to say (with her food) have a happy day.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Best Friends

In 2004, I had a miscarriage.

I would want for no one to endure such an event for it brings about an incredibly deep sorrow to which only God can heal. And, in that, I thank Him for His grace.

Beyond that sorrow, I held one regret from the miscarriage. You see, our son was one at the time of this event. I had held high hopes that because of the closeness in age of him and the new baby, they would be destined to be good friends instead of just siblings. In that respect, the new baby had somewhat been planned. However, the miscarriage doused the flames of that dream.

About six months later, we found ourselves expecting again. This baby was not planned. In fact, it was quite a surprise. I must admit that I hoped for a boy so that perhaps, even though the two children would be farther away in age, they could still be close friends. Obviously, that did not happen as we had a girl. And, as awesome as that it (and it really is awesome), I wasn’t sure what kind of friendship they would have beyond being a loving brother and sister.

That is, until last week.

This brings me to the above picture. It was taken one afternoon when Squeaker climbed into the chair her brother was sitting in. She threw her arm around him and he did the same to her. They laughed and shrieked and talked in code.

And then……Nathan announces to us, “Sister is my best friend.”

I couldn’t help the tear that welled in the corner of my eye. We asked them to hold the pose so we could immortalize the moment. And, they did.

My plan didn’t work the way I thought it would, but God’s plan did and our children will reap the benefit of that for the rest of their lives.

Thank you Lord.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Love Letters to the King

Welcome to Love Letters to the King. Wow, it's been awhile since I posted one of these. If you are new to the letters, please click here to find out what they are all about. If not, I hope you will enjoy.

Love Letters to the King

The Dance

I am tired, my Lord.

Burdened by my insignificance, I’m drained of all ability to believe myself capable of rising above my stature. Aching, my muscles are a reminder to my servitude, as is the bruise on my arm to my invisibility.

Today, as I was sweeping the steps to my master’s store, I was engulfed in a dust cloud rising from the road. And, not taking time to negotiate the dirty haze, villagers ran into me. Their dispassion forbidding them to extend any common courtesy, I was left discouraged, defeated and bruised. The rest of the day’s chores were much the same leaving me want for escape.

I wanted to run into the presence of the one who breathes life to my body and soul. I tried to imagine myself in the garden standing by your side beneath your Willow tree, but the vision eluded me. My fatigue was erasing you from my mind. And, my pain made mockery of your image as a hallucination of a lonely heart.

I fought against the weariness, but energy lost in the battle made room for despair to tighten her grip around my body making it difficult to push back. In the end, I gave in to sorrow. Tears washed my face.

At day’s end, I left the village. Following the faint impression still burned into the secret chamber of my heart, I headed towards your garden. My shoes were filled with gravel from the dry, horse-trodden road, and with every step the stones bit the soles of my feet. My dress soaked with sweat clung to my body. Wiping my brow, the thought of my own bed in the village brought more solace than the journey to your garden, but I pressed on.

By the time I arrived, the sun was dipping below the horizon. The last of day’s light shone through the trees, cloaking the garden in shadow.

Tranquility spilled forth as an intangible cloud that engulfed my body and nurtured my soul. The celestial twilight penetrated my spirit, renewing me from the inside. You were there. I could feel you.

Although the evening’s air began to cool, my skin was feverish. Nearing the gate, I let go of my shawl allowing it to slip from my shoulders, down my back and onto the ground. Two steps before entering I pulled the slip knot from my hair, shaking the dust from my locks and letting them cascade down my back. I stepped out of my shoes and left them at the foot of the gate before entering your garden.

Leaving the path, I stepped barefooted onto the grass whose chill sent shivers up my legs. With each step, the coarse blades scrubbed the dirt from the soles of my feet. The night air dried my dress until it lay loose like gossamer gauze around me.

The cicadas serenaded the evening sky and every living thing in the landscape swayed in the wind to the rhythm of nature’s symphony. I could not help but to join in. As a ballerina who twirls while affixed to the interior of a delicate music box, I lifted my arms in arc formation above my head and twirled. Lifting my leg as far above the earth as I could reach, I raised my eyes the sky before pulling my body into the earth and bowing in the dance. I leapt, I ran, I twirled, and I swayed until my chest beat so hard I could not catch my breath.

My hair flowed across my shoulders and down my back with some tendrils stuck to the sides of my face. I ran a finger across my hairline and down my cheek, scooping the loose strands behind my ear, and in doing so, I caught an image in the far corner of the garden.

I could barely make out your silhouette. There, in the courtyard leaning against an oak, the only aspect of your darkened figure evident was the smile upon your face.

How long had you been watching me?

Inspired by the night music and invigorated by the chill of evening’s breeze, I returned your smile and twirled again, spinning as if I were a dandelion puff caught in the wind. My dress billowed about me making me feel as though I could take flight.

With arms held high above my head, I stopped facing your direction. A smile upon my lips, I lowered my eyes to the ground and curtsied towards you. For you, my Lord, are the true joy that invades my heart and sets my foot to dance.



“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever. Psalms 30:11-12 (NIV)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Kingdom - Prologue part 3

Welcome to the Kingdom, a blog novel. Click Part 1 or Part 2 to read the previous posts for the beginning of this novel.

I hope you enjoy.

The Kingdom - Prologue Part 3

King Maddox stood in the bowels of the palace. With eyes closed, he caressed the surface of the orb. The sphere of fire pulsed in rhythm with the beat of his heart and the energy of it flowed through his hand and electrified his skin.

“Forgive me Father.” The King whispered. “I have failed you.”

“Failed?” Artimus entered the room and stood behind Maddox. “Dear brother, you have not failed. Only paved the way for my destiny.”

The King, unmoved, replied, “How did you get in here?”

“You should take better care of your secrets.” Artimus moved to the side of the King and rolled the glass object around in his hand. “I have your key.”

Maddox allowed a quaint smirk to appear across his lips. “It doesn’t matter brother. You’re too late.”

The King placed both hands on the orb and leaned into it. The fiery glow inside the sphere churned and crackled under the will of the King. Maddox’s sword handle matched the intensity of its glow and the temperature of the room rose ten degrees.

“What's this magic?”

“Not all secrets are known brother.” Maddox, with reflexes that defied human sight, grabbed his sword, pulled it above his head and thrust the handle into the orb. It shattered and fell filling the air with the sound of a thousand crystal chimes hit by a violent wind.

The palace lurched at the loss of the orb. Instead of hovering in the clouds, it thudded into the terrain with such force that the two tectonic plates below the surface of the earth collided causing the upper plate to jettison rock into the western landscape creating a mountain that shielded the palace from view. The void left on the eastern side by the moving of the earth was filled in with a rush of water creating Dalzure Lake. For now, the palace was secluded.

Artimus picked himself up from the floor of the orb’s chamber. “I did not think you had it in you, brother.”

Maddox leaned against the far wall. A curtain of sorrow spilled across his face. The door to the room flung open as Rosea and his men filled the room, weapons held against the King.

“Wait” said Artimus. “His capture is no longer necessary.”

The Prince’s guard stood down. Artimus crossed the room until he was six inches in front of the King. “My dear brother….you know the rules.”

Maddox lowered his eyes to the ground and exhaled slowly. “I do.”

Artimus turned towards his men, “Hear this. The King has broken the orb. He is therefore forbidden to leave the grounds outside the palace. If he does, you have the permission of the ancient ones to kill him where he stands.” Walking towards the door, he spoke to his brother without turning his head. “I, however, may now do whatever I want.”

Artimus, Rosea and the rest of the Prince’s guard left the orb’s chamber. Laughter muffled their footsteps as they disappeared down the corridor.

Left in the now darkened room, the King opened his fist revealing two shards from the broken orb. They pulsed as if containing fire and emeralds. Opening the leather pouch on his belt, he placed the two shards inside. “I have done as you have asked.”

The old woman stepped out from the shadows. “You did what had to be done.”

“But, will it be worth the price?”

The old woman paused, but was unmoved in her demeanor. “Pray she comes quickly, my King.” With that, she disappeared back into the shadows.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Hummingbirds are Back

One of my favorite things to do is sit on my back porch and watch the hummingbirds as they peruse our flower bed and eat from their very own feeder perched just outside our screen.
They leave every year around September and fly back in the next Spring.

As of late, I've been watching for them to come back.

Now, I digress.

Last weekend, I woke up to a beautiful Saturday. The kind of day that seduces you into coming outside and enjoying God's creative genius. As I jumped out of bed, my friend Jesus whispered to me. "Fix up the back porch today."

We built our house four years ago. Last summer, we have our back porch screened and additional patio poured beyond the screen. We had great intentions for the area but instead it turned into a cement mudroom where the kids dumped what ever they felt like dumping.

I loved my friend's idea. I went downstairs and told my husband, "I think we should fix up the back porch today."

He said, "it's supposed to rain around lunch."

I went back to Jesus. "Lord, how can we fix the back porch, it's going to rain."

"Sweetheart, it won't rain until you finish."

That's all I needed as I learned a long time ago to 1) discern the voice of Holy Spirit and 2) to obey.

I told my husband we'd be okay and agreed to go for it.

First step, clean...clean...clean.

Second step, go to Lowe's and purchase outside carpet.

Third step, lay carpet and final step.....replace everything (after throwing most of it away!)

The wild thing? According to it should have rained at 1. We finished the porch around 4 and it started raining at 5. Coincidence you think? I don't.

That was Saturday. On Sunday, I made a cup of hot tea and sat on my porch. I took the time to thank my friend Jesus for this gift when I looked up and saw a Hummingbird visit our feeder.

I never want to know life without Jesus as my friend. I hope and pray your walk with Him is as intimate.

Have a great weekend.

The Kingdom will return next week. I skipped this week as most of Florida is on Spring Break. Also, Mary's Journal part two has been published at under short story. I hope you will check it out.