Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I happen to believe, that no matter what may be going on, you can always find a "gift". Sometimes, the gift is obvious, sometimes it's found depending on the condition of your heart. Here are a few gifts I've been given over the past month.

There's the multitude of flowers my children love to pick for me. This one came from our front yard. Sometimes, it's not always right for them to pick the flowers such as the "look don't touch" garden at the zoo, but I love the gift none-the-less.

Oh, the picture doesn't show it very well so you'll have to use your imagination. Our kids thought it was a good idea to mark the front of Squeaker's bedroom door with red crayon. There is a very purposeful red X placed across the center of the door. When they showed it to me, I must admit that my initial reaction wasn't to be grateful. But, before I could scold, a still small voice said, "It sure does look like they anointed the door with the blood of the lamb, doesn't it?"
That made me laugh, which is a good thing because it checked my attitude for the next thing the kids showed me.
This is the picture they drew on the inside of Squeaker's door. Can somebody give it up for artstic ability and if you just gave that a holler, then bring me a can of paint!

This is one of my favorite hidden gifts. I fed our cat some wet food on this paper plate. She ate it and left me a smiley face. Ahhhhhhhh.

Last and certainly not least, this is a gift I found sitting on my sink in our bathroom one random Monday morning. It's a dress from Anthropologie and a present from my dear husband who just decided, for no reason, to buy it for me. LOVE IT!
How about you? What are some gifts you have found in some obvious and not so obvious places?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Alarm Works!

One thing I have learned about being the mother of preschoolers is to expect the unexpected.

Why have I learned that? Well, I shall share an example. Last week, after returning from Squeaker’s tumbling class, my 78-year old Grandmother stopped by to pick up her empty jelly jars and a current family photo of our family. (By the way, my Grandma makes the BEST grape jelly!)

After a short visit, I walked my Grandma to her car. While standing on the lawn saying goodbye, two police patrol cars rolled up to my house.

That’s strange you say? It would be, if our house didn’t have two very curious children living in it.

My Grandma smiled at me, jumped in her car and left. I can’t imagine why she wanted to leave so quickly, but she did.

I walked back to the door and yelled to my husband, “Hey, the police are here.” Not something you expect to say, but none the less. My husband came to the door and we greeted the two rather large, burly men with menacing guns on their belts.

“Are you guys okay?” They ask. “Someone at this address pressed the silent panic button on your alarm.”

And, it all becomes clear.

Let me digress. After tumbling class, we returned home and waited for Grandma to come over. In the meantime, I started dinner while my husband was working at his desk upstairs. During this time, random buttons were squawking over the alarm speaker, but it never said it was armed. (Yes, our alarm talks to us – also strange). Needless to say, I thought my husband was doing something to the alarm and he thought I was. After investigation, I found Squeaker, standing on a stool, making music on the alarm key pad. It didn’t look like she had “done” anything so I scolded her and let it go………

And, back to the story. We profusely apologized to the officers and explained what had happened. They stayed slightly stern and proceeded to write us a warning for answering a false alarm.

The really funny part….while these men were standing there, I decided to use it as a teaching moment. So, I called Squeaker over.

“Squeaker,” I said, “This is Officer Kelly and Officer Sanders. You called them and now they are here. “

Squeaker, in her pale pink tumbling tutu and Shirley Temple curly hair, looked at the men and apologized and before my eyes, these menacing giants turned to puddles pooling around the ankles of our three year old.

In the end, four police officers (there were two patrol cars mind you) stood in the street and waved to our little princess as if she had just performed the lead role in the Nutcracker.

Moral of the story? I’m not sure. Perhaps it should be to teach the kids that the alarm key pad is not a piano.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Prologue Part B

How good it is to be back in the world of blog. Life seemed to slip away for a couple of weeks. But, we're back on track now. And, I've a few funny stories to share too. But, that is another day.

As for now.....Welcome to The Kingdom, a blog novel. If you missed Prologue part A, all you have to do is page down as it is the previous post. :-) Here is part B. I hope you enjoy!

The Kingdom - Prologue Part B

“Destroy the orb” the old woman said. “For now, it is your only chance.”

“Then we will no longer phase.” King Maddox sat on the corner of his desk, his hands clasped in his lap. For the moment he was safe within his inner chamber, his only company the woman in front of him; the last of the tribe to have witnessed the birth of the palace.

“This is how it must be,” the woman, bent over her cane, turned to leave, “fret not my King, for this time has been known of from the beginning.” With that she disappeared through a side panel in the northern wall of the King’s room.

King Maddox stared through the window, watching the emerging sun. A child’s nursery rhyme tickled his mind. Its syncopation was one that could be remembered through the ages and was sung by mothers to their children in hopes of instilling a hidden truth within their heart. He had never given place to the song’s meaning until now.

“The orb shines bright behind closed doors
Hidden in the heart of a King

Shattered, it falls, and grows very dark – lost in obscurity

But, the love of one will finally come and heal the heart of the King
And in return, the King shall save all eternity.”

As the melody danced on the wings of his thoughts, shadows filled his room and his heart. Change was now inevitable. And, the journey of finding the one would begin.

Cavernous echoes from pounding feet in the marbled halls outside the King’s room disclosed the need for his departure. Grabbing his sword, King Maddox fled through the same hidden panel as the woman. He headed towards the orb’s chamber.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Kingdom

Welcome to the Kingdom. This is the first installment of my new fantasy fiction blog-novel. Hope you enjoy.

Prologue Part 1

The palace emerged from the setting sun amidst the black void of space. The ebbing fire from the yellow star immersed the palace in an orange aura, and lit the darkness as it moved from that star’s universe and phased into a parallel one.

Space, as it spanned in front of the castle, was split by the light of a star centered in a universe in which the palace would rephase. This new destination was home to a world whose inhabitants resembled those that lived inside the palace. For this, Artimus had been waiting.

… … …

“This is the key?” Artimus held the object towards the ceiling, allowing the light from the chandelier to pass through it. The glass the key was made from glowed and the interior of it moved as if filled with molten lava.

“It is my Lord.” Rosea bowed his head in sworn duty to his Prince. “I am sure of it.”

“Then we wait no more.” Artimus placed the key in the interior pocket of his vest. Plucking his sword from the wall, he plunged it into the sheath tied around his waist. “Find him and bring him to me.”

Rosea turned on his heels and left the library.

Staring through the window, Artimus watched as the soft glow of the new world peaked above the horizon. Soon, the palace would emerge.

“At last” the Prince said, “my time has come.”

Friday, March 6, 2009

Love Letters to the King

Welcome to my parable devotional series, Love Letters to the King. If you are new to the Love Letters, click here to find out more.

Again, this is an older letter that has been revised and expanded. I was going to post a new one but this letter hit close to home today, so I decided to post it. I'd love to hear what you think. And, don't forget to come back Monday as I'll be starting a new fictional series, The Kingdom.

Hope you enjoy.

Love Letter to the King:

They were waiting for me, my Lord.

Never have I been so aware of your absence until I was in their presence.

A hidden predator in our garden, they set a trap to ensnare me. I had come to the garden to meet with you, but instead I found your enemies. Or rather, they found me.

There, beneath the Willow tree, I was waiting. Staring at the lake, I was unaware of the rope beneath my feet. Slapping my ankles, the rope was cinched tight and the force of it knocked me to the ground. I was surrounded. Towering above me, I counted four of them. Their taunts brought fear and confusion. Their feet kicking my body brought pain.

Their leader grabbed my hair and pulled me to my feet. Squeezing my face, he demanded I tell them where you were. I could not betray you, and so I did not answer.

Their rage grew. I tried to be brave in the midst of the torment, but I could not stop the tears from splashing down my face. They laughed. I cried harder.

Becoming impatient, they decided to leave the garden and take me with them. One of them bent down to remove the ropes from my legs while another tied my wrists together. Seizing the moment, I bit the arm of the one in front of me and kicked the one at my feet. With rope dangling in an uncompleted knot from my arms, I ran away from my captors at Dalzure Lake and headed towards the gate.

The screams escaping my throat matched the intensity of the panicked beating of my heart. My captors were not stalled for long. The thumping of their feet on the broken bedrock grew louder and I could feel the heat of their pursuit on the back of my neck. I looked over my shoulder to gauge the distance between me and my enemy, but in doing so I missed seeing you step onto the path from behind the oak trees.

You’d heard my screams. You’d come to my rescue.

At full speed I ran into your chest, but my momentum was absorbed by your sure-footed stance, and your body never budged from the brunt of it. Your arm encircled my waist, lifted me and tossed me to safety behind you. I lay on the ground and watched.

My assailants, still running towards us, drew their swords. So did you. The proportion of your weapon to theirs was monumental. It was a King’s sword, and it held against the force of all four of theirs. The metal clanged with such intensity I had to cover my ears. You pushed your sword against theirs, and your enemies fell to the ground. Jumping to their feet, they regained composure and attacked again.

I cowered in your shadow and watched as the battle ensued. Your sword was swift, your strength unyielding and your fierceness unstoppable. One by one, my enemy thudded to the ground in lumps of unmoving flesh. The stench of sweat and blood filled the air. The battle was over and my King was victorious.

I watched as you returned your sword to its sheath. For a moment, you surveyed the garden making sure there was no other lurking with ill-will as their intent. Once satisfied that the garden was safe, you walked back towards me.

As you knelt beside me, I leapt into your arms and buried my head in your chest. I felt one of your arms wrap around my back while the other slipped beneath my knees. You scooped me up and carried me to the pavilion at the center of the courtyard surrounded by roses.

Placing me on the bench, you walked to the well and drew water. Ripping the hem of your shirt, you wet the rag and returned to me. You washed the dirt from my face and cleansed my wounds.

The compassion in your eyes sequestered my fear, and the healing in your touch defeated my pain. I rested in your embrace, and absorbed your strength for my own.

Kissing my forehead you said, “To this I vow…I will forever watch over you and protect you, Princess.”

I know my Lord. As I will forever take refuge in your shadow, for you are my protector, and forever my King.



“A King’s rage is like the roar of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass.” (Prov 19:12 NIV)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Don't Hurt the Socks Feelings!

When I was a child, I often assigned emotions to inanimate objects. For instance, my stuffed animals (and there were a lot) carried a multitude of emotions that led to imagined stories of plush toy kingdoms and teddy bear adventures. I cried with them when they were sad, and nurtured them when they were hurt. I cuddled them when they were scared, laughed when they were happy, and threw fantasy parties on imagined birthdays, which in teddy bear land arrived more than once a year.

But, the emotional attachment to inanimate objects went much farther than that. Example….passing through double doors at stores was a terrible conundrum for me. You see, it’s very difficult to walk through both doors. You have to pick one, but if you pick just one than the other one is left out. If I could pull it off without my parents invading my secret word, I would walk through one door, and then walk back through the other door, and then rewalk through the other door. That way, every door was used and therefore appreciated. More often, however, my parents did not indulge me, and I secretly whispered apologies to the unused door while being dragged away.

This avenue of my imagination came to a dead end during the preteen years, and was all but forgotten until I caught our son doing something……well, very imaginative.
Our son is a Thomas the Tank Engine fanatic. One could even say he is train obsessed as he (at 5) could guide you through any train museum and explain every engine top-to-bottom in the yard.

This past Christmas, I was thrilled to find Thomas the Tank Engine socks. The small treasure came in a set of two socks.

One pair of Thomas socks and one pair of Percy socks.

For some reason, I kept finding these socks mismatched in the dirty clothes. They were paired as follows:

After a few washings, I started thinking that maybe Bug is doing this on purpose, so I asked him.
“Mom” he said, “Thomas and Percy are friends. They will be sad if I separate them.”

Enter a flood of memories from my own childhood. Ahh, the apple does not fall far from the tree.

Now, I mismatch the socks on purpose. I mean, we wouldn’t want Thomas and Percy to be lonely inside the sock drawer. It gets so dark in there……..

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Beginnings

Happy Monday!

Usually, Mondays (on my blog) are reserved for installments of Mary's Journal. To find out what MJ is, click here. However, I have an announcement....

Mary's Journal has moved!

Ithirst ezine has agreed to publish the series. The first installment "God's Favor" is in their March issue.

My parable devotional can be found at http://www.ithirstnw.com/ . The magazine's homepage lists the table of contents on the left hand side. Mary's Journal:God's Favor is located under the heading 'short story'.

As for Monday's.....

If all goes well, next Monday will lauch the start of "The Kingdom".

In my mind, I had so much more to say today, but Bug seemed to be feeling better, so my family did too much of this

And this

over the weekend, and therefore my Monday blogging is a little lack. Unfortunately, we have suffered a relapse and are now sequestered to the house once again. Oh well. When is the flu season over?
Have a great day and be sure and stop back by for Whimsical Wednesdays.