Release Day! Take 2!

My second book is published and ready to be ordered and read as of December 1, 2016. I had hoped to have it done months ago, but I’ve done the very best I could as a #momofmany. It has NOT been easy. But it has also been a beautiful experience and if I do say so myself, it is a story with merit. 


Tessie and Hank’s story continues in Unplanned Twists and as they face new challenges they once again rely on faith and family to make it through. It is my hope that this book will give you hope. During uncertain times, we need a place where we can withstand the storms of life. That place is hope. 

Hope proclaims that tomorrow is another day and our future is not written in stone and that when we are afraid, we are never alone. Hope says we don’t have to be afraid of the deep things of God. We can dive in because hope floats. 


One of the most terrifying moments of the book is when the family faces a tornado, hence ‘Unplanned Twists’. But, that isn’t the only twist. Tessie also has to confront her fear of answering a calling into a new area of ministry. She is reminded that there are many hurting souls and much opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those we encounter. 


My daughter and I were talking one day about the new book and the cover design. She’s only 15 but also an aspiring writer and a budding talent with her sketches. She drew this for me of what she thought Tessie looked like. I used it as is on the cover of Unplanned Twists. 

She is so proud of her beautiful drawing and I am so proud of my beautiful daughter. The first six years of her life were filled with darkness. She has chosen to embrace the light of love and hope through her own faith. The little sassy Emily in the story is inspired by her. 

This book was dedicated to my beautiful mother and grandmother whom I credit for loving me so extravagantly that it could not help but to flow over into the lives around me. I must also give my editor, Audrey Braxton Pitt; she went far above what would be expected with her insights and skills. She was such an encouragement and particularly enjoys working with #indieauthors .


If by any chance you are local, please consider yourself invited to an Author Expo that I’m helping to organize on December 10, 2016. Not only will this be my official book signing for the new book, I’ll be joined by more than a dozen other Alabama authors who will also be signing and selling their books. 

Chelsea General Store is hosting us in combination with their Christmas Open-house. It’s going to be a great day of music, fun, food and shopping. 


If you aren’t able to join us, you can still get your copy of either of my books at http://www.Amazon.com by typing my name in the search window. 


And please, pretty please, after you’ve read the books, task a moment and post a review on Amazon. That truly makes a difference. It not only encourages me, it influences others who may be considering trying this new author. As I said earlier, I know I’m just a small minnow in the vast ocean of published books, but hey, at least I’m in the pond. 

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Every Child, Even Those

I’m thankful for a lot today and every day. But, when I really think about it, it’s the children in my life that I’m most thankful for and here’s why. They have given so much to me. I am a better person because of the children in my life.  

I am thankful for every child I have ever held in my arms, led in prayer, bandaged their boo-boos, tended their broken hearts, told a story to, opened my home to, braided or clipped their hair, read the Bible to, cried a tear over, said hello to and yes, even those I had to say goodbye to. 

I am thankful for every child that needed me for a season, that needed me forever, that needed me to bathe them, nurture them, listen to them, dress them and yes, even for the ones who need me to change their dirty diapers or clean up their messes in the kitchen or in life. 


I am thankful for every child that has blessed me by allowing me to love them, raise them, advise them, write about them, pray for them and yes, even those who don’t remember who I am because they were so young when they knew me. 

I am thankful for every child who has made me laugh at silly antics and corny jokes, who made me proud, who gave me courage and yes, even those who stretched me beyond myself so that I leaned heavily upon the Lord and therefore, in the end strengthened me. 


I am thankful for every foster child, my adopted children, my nieces and nephews, my my Sunday School students, youth in crisis and yes even the ones I claim as my own because I choose to. 

I believe that children are our greatest gift, our most precious resource and our best opportunity to impact the world and leave it a better place. So, today, I am thankful for all the children who will face tomorrows that I can only imagine, achieve things that will astound and surpass, and be better than necessary because they know how to love generously and live large.


Children are not all that matter of course, but to me they should be one of the most important matters. Whether they are an infant, an adolescent, a teen or yes, even a young adult, they are worth our time, our energies, our efforts. They are worth it when they disappoint us, stumble along the way or go a different direction than we expected. They are worth loving, opening your heart to, listening to, and encouraging.  Thank you Lord for the children that have been in my life! 

Everywhere

My dear friend who is serving on the Mercy Ship has shared her heart and wisdom. Enjoy!

Brenda Braxton

I was about four years old. My parents were divorced and my father, brother, and I lived with my grandparents. On a Saturday morning, I was given a choice: go shopping with my grandmother, or go with my daddy to the home of a woman he was dating to swim with her little boy. I agonized over that decision. I loved shopping with my grandmother, and I knew she would buy me something. But I didn’t get to go places with Daddy often, and swimming sounded fun, and I was curious about the little boy. Finally, I announced my decision: I wanted to do both.
“You can’t do both,” Nannie said. “We’re going at the same time.”
“I want to do both at the same time.” Seemed simple enough to me.
“You can’t be two places at once.” Nannie sounded exaspterated, as if she thought I should already know this…

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The Adoption Option

Seven years ago this very day, September 13, 2009,  we stood before a judge and adopted a sibling group of three, our two daughters and our youngest son. It was a Friday the 13th that would alter our lives forever as a judge declared what our hearts had already decided. We were a family! 

This wasn’t our first adoption day, this would be our fourth. It was an unusual experience for us because our county was celebrating national adoption month and we were one of several families to adopt that day. The atmosphere was festive!



Having previously adopted our first four sons, we became a family of nine. Love surely can take you places you never imagined you would go. Love surely can stretch you beyond yourself. Love surely can forge a family together with the spirit of adoption. 


Adoption is a legal commitment and it is binding and it changes the status of those adopting and those being adopted. They are united together by the authority of the law. 

Adoption is an emotional commitment and it is binding and it changes the status of those adopting and those being adopted. They are united together by the authority of love. 

Adoption is a spiritual commitment and it is binding and it changes the status of those adopting and those being adopted. They are united together by the authority of the Spirit of God. 


Adoption is not possible for everyone, but adoption is full of beautiful possibilities. Could this be an option for your family?


Take time to explore the possibilities. Don’t assume you aren’t qualified. Ask some questions, get some facts and explore the option of adoption. Did you know that foster-adoption is close to cost free? Did you know that over 100,000 children have their parental rights terminated and are available for adoption in the United States? Did you know that you don’t have to adopt an infant to gain a child, a real child, an older child who also chooses you? 

Four of our seven children were considered older child adoptions and I can give personal testimony that it can work! It has a special beauty because they are a part of the decision process. You choose each other. 

It is NOT easy, often not simple, and sometimes frustrating. But, just like pregnancy and parenting a child you birthed, adoption is worth all of the struggle, all of the effort and even heartache. Adoption is an option. 

The Day After

Tomorrow is a very important day for our country. The atmosphere of this election has been so ugly, so disheartening and so divisive. It’s a shame; it is a travesty. 
Oh, I’m not talking about the candidates and the campaigns. Those are certainly distressing in their own right. I’m talking about the people, you and me, family members, friends or perhaps now, former friends. And not only American people but people from all over the world have joined the throng of ranting and raving. 
At one point I began to say I would just be so glad when this election was over. The thought was that then then hateful posts, accusatory comments, dreadful debates and disturbing news reports would end. Now however I’m not so sure. Here’s why. 
Whatever you nurture grows. There’s been a lot of nurturing going on. Unfortunately what has been nurtured is fear, anger, labeling and distortion. I have seen it from both sides of the proverbial fence and it has been a sad sight to behold. These strangling weeds may not easily wither and go away once the election is done. The roots may have taken hold. The aftermath may be even worse. 
Here are a few things to consider as you prepare to vote. 


If you are a parent, consider the future of your children. Many are saying this vote won’t determine the next four years, but instead the next forty years. This is a huge issue for me. Children at every stage, in the womb, in the foster care system, children everywhere matter a great deal to me. 
If you are a Christian, consider Biblical standards and pray sincerely for direction. Christians are not to vote according to their personal likes or dislikes, they are to use the Word of God to guide their lives. 


If you are a thinking person, and I hope you are, consider the consequences of your vote and determine to make your vote and voice heard. Don’t shrug your shoulders and say it doesn’t matter. It does matter. You matter. Even when you see things completely opposite of me, you matter. 
And then, consider the possibility that who you choose may not win the election. Consider the possibility that the person you vote for does win but you regret doing so. Where have you put your hope?


The day after the vote is not likely to suddenly let everything return to what we considered normal before this grievous process. Half of the voters are going to be sorely disappointed. That means there will be more opportunity for nurturing hate, fear and anger. There will be new opportunity for labeling, gloating and arrogance. 
Unfortunately there are relationships and friendships that will never quite recover. Not because they disagreed with each other but because they demeaned, harangued and belittled each other. That’s what worries me, not the results of the election but the results of broken and estranged relationships. 
So, I’m not going to tell you about what I think will or should happen on Election Day. What I’d like to tell you is how I plan to act the day after. Whoever is elected, I will begin to pray for them like I’ve never prayed for an elected official before. I’m going to refuse to argue, debate or participate in the nurturing of the dangerous weeds of hate and despair. 
I’m going to focus on doing what I can do instead of incessantly raving about what I can’t do. I’m going to live my life with intention and purpose and integrity. I’m going to look around me and see what needs doing and get busy doing it. I’m going to raise my children, bless my grands, embrace those whom I call family and friends. I’m going to continue to do my best to be the hands and feet of Jesus. What will you do the day after Election Day? What will you nurture? What will you encourage to grow? What will you do?

Challenge Accepted

November has arrived and being a 30 day month makes it a perfect time for a 30-day challenge. #challengeaccepted


I’ve made myself a list for my 30-day challenges. It’s a list of a wide variety of things that I mean to do every day but sometimes get distracted from doing so.

What about you? What could you challenge yourself to do for 30 days? What simple, perhaps even ordinary thing could you commit to, that would make life sweeter?


Here’s my list! I hope you’ll make your own and join me in my determination to make these next 30 days the opportunity I’ve been waiting for. After all, 30 days of challenges equals 30 days of opportunities. Opportunities to love, to live, to laugh, to grow, to make a difference. 

November 30-day Challenge

1- Social Media – Thankful Tweets & FB Posts daily! #thankfulheart 💛

2- Marriage challenge – Goodbye Kisses every time we part company. 💋

3- Family Challenge – Text parents daily even if it is just to say ‘I love you’. ❤️

4- Writing challenge – Write a prayer daily and create a compilation. 📝

5- Physical challenge – Treadmill Walk daily even if it is only 1/2 of a mile. 👣

6- Spiritual challenge – Listen to more music. 🎶 

7- Mental challenge – Scripture memory benefits the brain and the soul. 💭 

8- Reading challenge – Daily Fiction 📖 

9- Prayer challenge – A former foster child each day, although there were more than 30. 🙏🏽

10- Parenting Challenge – Bedtime hugs and prayers without exception.  😴 

11- Emotional Challenge – Forgive myself and start fresh every morning. 🌅

12- Home challenge – Gather a bag a day to donate or throw away. 🏡