The dailiness of everything, ways to create and cope, help and heal, learn and live!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Things being what they are....

We are all a little insecure. I see it every day. I struggle with it every day. I see it in friends who walk up on others and hear them discussing them - or not discussing them but they think they are. I have been there, had that happen. That uncomfortable silence as everyone is trying to adjust the conversation to seem less like they were not talking about you. Or maybe they weren't.

Perspective. That is the key. I have done that to other people. So do I have a right to be upset when someone does it to me? Not really - but feelings are still feelings - and they hurt when we feel betrayed. But the fact is - we are not always lovable. I am not always lovable. I can be bitchy, and sarcastic, and a know it all...and others know it. It behooves me to be self aware.

I have become pragmatic in my old age.

The other day I was in a foul mood. And I said some things about others I shouldn't have. I heard them over and over again in my head that night. My comforter and conscience (Holy Spirit) was nudging me. I had to go in to work and apologize to people for saying things that were not accurate. They wanted to excuse it - by telling me what they heard. I told them I appreciated it - but it was nothing other than discontent and sin on my part and I was sorry - to please forgive me. I hated every minute of it. I was embarrassed and felt that it was just one more reason to dislike myself. BUT - when it was done there was an amazingly clean and free feeling that took over those dark thoughts.

I have a friend who shuts down my curiosity EVERY. TIME. I am always a little miffed at that. But she is right.  Her response to me is "That is not my story to tell". And quite frankly the first few times she did it I was like, "Huh. Really. Aren't you something?". That was internally by the way - and it was with a snarky attitude. Blech. I am so ugly sometimes. BUT - she is not wrong. But me being me - I will probably fight that battle the rest of my life. I keep thinking I will grow out of this puppy stage....

BUT - things being what they are...I am glad I am aware of my failures. I pray God moves me from this place to be better. I want to be real, to be loving, to be kind. Talking about others is not any of those things. Well - it is real - but there I go with that darn circular thinking. When I say real - I mean - vulnerable - open to being corrected - letting others see my faults but also see that I want God to work those icks out. Not settling by using a "keeping it real" attitude as an excuse for not trying harder to be more. I do not want to be self-righteous or plastic. The whole setting myself up on a pedestal is not acceptable. I fall way too much to do that kind of thing.

I guess my whole thought process here is - when it comes right down to it, talking about people is wrong. But when you do  - say your sorry. Try to not do it. And don't use excuses to keep from having to apologize or to keep wedging your big ol' nose in there to find out the scoop.

Totally talking to myself. If you see you in there too - well - you do you. (wink. heart. smile)

God bless and keep us all!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018


Sunday morning I woke up and dragged myself and my boys to Kingdom Community at my church (Sunday School). I got there late and was too embarrassed to go in and interrupt the teacher so I hung outside. I saw our children's minister and began talking to him. Our oldest children just graduated from high school. We started talking about their future plans and how God is leading them. I started tearing up as I told him my fears for my babies. I did not do a good enough job. I failed them in so many areas. I have not prayed for them as I should. I did not make them do things I probably should have made them do, and now, in a few short weeks they will be away from me. And my heart cries.

In my discussion with him, I realized I am scared to death. I did not do right by my children and now they were going to fail at college because of me.

So Monday. I am slogging through this fear. I cannot see beyond it. I am totally captivated and en-mired in it. I accomplish nothing. I do not go to God. As a matter of fact, I start dredging up and making excuses for all of my failures. And I mention that God failed me in my mutterings. He has left me alone to dangle in my miserable little world (of MY creation). A friend texted me and sent me encouraging words from scripture and I ignored them. Instead of paying heed, I buried myself in reading and watching Netflix. I put off thinking at all by filling my mind with something that would keep me from both fear and accomplishing what I needed to. I envisioned things that were unholy and self serving. I did it until the wee hours of the morning. I did not want to lay my head down. I was mentally and physically fatigued to the point of wishing when I closed my eyes, I would not wake up again.

Now - I am not normally a melodramatic person. I truly hate drama. And yet - I reveled in it yesterday. I drummed it up and danced around it. Ridiculous.

I slept. Finally.

This morning my heavenly father - whose mercies are new every morning met me where I was - in the mess I had made in an unfettered mind run amuck. My mind was still and I went downstairs to a pot of coffee that had been made and left for me by my husband. And I sat with it and reached for my devotional book written for moms, and it led me to this scripture:

Romans 5 NIV

I am undone. The Gospel - so simple and so rewarding -  can be so offensive to an independent mind like my own. I think it is all up to me. The Gospel says it is not. I think that if I mess up, that my life and those touched by it will not prosper. The Gospel says that is not true.

My hope lies with a God who sacrificed his Son so that I might live an imperfect yet significant life. This life of struggle is a beautiful thing - when my mind is set correctly. The law which I am so set to follow and do on my own, only points me to Christ in my failure to be able to accomplish it. My "I got this" attitude is a smelly mess and serves no one well. Because honestly, I do not have this. I WANT to have this. I WANT to accomplish and prosper by my own hand. I WANT to be a person who is admired and loved by those accomplishments. But that is not possible. I end up failing and berating myself and utterly miserable.

The Gospel says that I have HOPE in the midst of my sin - my inabilities, my failures, my stubborn refusal to trust.

And the gem that truly makes my heart relax, my mind rest is this:

Romans 5:20b, 21 But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Grace. (the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.)  In spite of my failures, God holds out grace to me and to my children. Does God expect my perfection? My abilities? Even my consistency? No. He knows me. He knows my lack of ability, my inconsistency and my imperfection (vast ) - He sees it and loves me anyway. I cannot comprehend it. It is where I fail to trust him every time.

This morning I am praising God. He has raised me up in the midst of my misery to a new hope and fervor to be faithful to show him and his mercies to my family and to those who are much like me. They will be fine. He will show himself faithful to them, just as he has been to me. I pray they are better at listening and believing than I am. I pray they do not beat their heads against a wall in their attempt to do it all by themselves. But I am afraid they are much like me and will have the same struggles. But God is faithful. They will be fine.

I hope this finds someone and encourages them as it has me. God is gracious in his love toward us. On that we can rely.

God bless and keep you!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Hush Hush Saga - Books 1 - 4

I just finished reading The Hush Hush Saga by Becca Fitzpatrick. Young adult and teen readers will enjoy it.

The books are about a young girl named Nora who recently lost her father. Her mother works leaving her by herself very often. She is 16, a good student and has one very good friend. And a nemesis that plagues her named Marcie. She is in class with a dangerous, dark, very attractive boy that she is wary of. But when he gets placed as her partner for an assignment, she becomes intrigued by him. Of course this eventually leads to a romance that eventually reveals that she has nephilim blood. Nephilim being half angel, half human.

The whole angel thing is a separate and confused from what we traditionally think of angels as being. The archangels are selfish and manipulative. There are also fallen angels that live on Earth and - basically seem to be criminals. Patch - the dark, dangerous boy Nora falls for is a fallen angel. There is enmity between the archangels, fallen angels and the nephilim. Nephilim are considered a mistake and it appears the archangels and the fallen angels in the midst of their own quarreling, agree the nephilim are good for only one thing and that is during the month of Cheshvan they can be possessed by the fallen angels. The reason the fallen angels want to possess the nephilim is because they cannot feel. They sense emotion - but sensation from physical touch is withheld from them. Which means during that month they force the nephilim to swear fealty to them and possess their bodies to obtain sensation. Of course, this causes resentment and anger from the nephilim. There is unrest and the story is about this unrest and how Nora becomes an integral part of solving the problem, or of perpetuating it - you decide.

There is very little value to this book other than entertainment. Nora is a petty, immature - almost bratty at times, only child. She is shallow and really any fortitude she shows comes from - well - really - I don't know where it comes from. She is flat and I found no connection with her at all.

What she needs is what every other insecure teenager - or person in general - needs. Acceptance and love.

"Patch's hands fell on my hips, pulling me close. "Yeah. Need a demonstration?" He kissed me once. Then again, drawing it out with a few inventive maneuvers of his tongue. "I love you". "...He brushed the curls back off my face. "I never picture my life so complete. I never thought I'd have everything I want. You're everything to me Angel [Norah]."

"His words filled my heart to the brim. I loved him in a way I'd never be able to express in words. He was part of me. And I was part of him. Tethered together for the rest of eternity. I leaned in and kissed him. "I just might take you up on your offer...."

There is nothing wrong with needing love, or longing to be loved. I have a problem with it when our kiddos think it is the answer to everything - or that finding someone that loves you and you love back will make life perfect. But of course - everyone loves a happy ending and the girl gets the boy seems to be the one most prefer. (smile) Really the books I love are the ones that show the girl finds her worth in something other than the boy and he appreciates her for what she is...not just for being his.

It is a good story. I wanted to see what happened which led me easily and very quickly from book 1 - book 4. This could have easily been fit into one book though. Which seems to be the bent of the day. Charge $10 a piece for 4 books you would really only be willing to pay $15 for. Easy summer reading...that is my summation of the book. Get it from the library if you can.

Happy Reading Folks!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Review: Divergent Series - Veronica Roth

Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Divergent is about a world that has long since had its World War III and is trying to piece itself back together. A group of people living within walls of a broken down Chicago, where Lake Michigan is all but gone. Five factions - a way of dividing society so it prospers - manage day to day lives. Abnegation is the government. They are selfless and are trusted to make and uphold laws because of their natural ability to deny themselves what they want most. Candor manages law. The Candors are honest to a fault - annoyingly so. So it stands to reason that they handle the law the same way. Amity are the food producers. They are kind and value peace above all things. They are silly and loving and will do whatever they need to in order to avoid conflict. Erudite are smart. They handle technology and science. This faction is where the doctors and the computer techs reside. And then there is Dauntless. They are the ones who guard the city and its people. They are the ones who keep the town safe and look to help those who cannot help themselves when it comes to violence. They are reckless and brave.

When the children of the city turn 16. They are tested for their traits and have to decide which faction suits them. They then go to live in that faction. They can choose to stay in their own, even if they test differently. But if they choose to go to a different faction, they are asked to cleave to their faction. They believe strongly in "faction before family".

Beatrice Prior is a small, colorless girl. She is seemingly timid. She tries to adhere to her Abnegation teachings, but feels she is not worthy of the selfless behavior her faction exhibits. The books are about about her choice and how she deals with it.

There are so many wonderful aspects to this story. Tris Prior is a small heroine that becomes larger than life as her story unfolds. Her small, paleness is outweighed by her ability to take several of her traits and use them. She becomes striking and brave and is strong beyond some of her larger more beautiful cohorts. She is not afraid to be who she is. She grows throughout the books. She is not perfect; She is flawed. Her journey is not easy. She fights her own frailties and flounders a bit. I love this about her.

Four is her trainer and her strong support. He is an amazing character in that he has very few fears. He guards those fears but allows himself to be vulnerable with Tris. His own story unfolds and makes someone seemingly invincible become wonderfully human.

Each faction has merit, but it also has its equal failings. Veronica Roth builds an amazing story around human traits that allows us to see that each person has potential to be their very best or very worst self. Our choices are what propel us to be more than we ever thought: Or end us.

I loved these books. Hated the movies. What's new?

The stories have language and premarital sex. It is not rampant. The kids are little adults. Seem to be much older than they actually are. Tris and Four's relationship is fairly balanced. It is very mature. Parents are present - but are background characters. They are also a mixed bag of good and bad. Some better than others. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Review - Lux Novels - Jennifer L. Armentrout

Lux Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal

The Lux series is about a group of aliens that travelled to earth to live. They have assimilated seamlessly - or have seemed to until some unexpected things occur. A Floridian named Katy that moves to West Virginia is our heroine. Her dad died of cancer and her devoted work-a-holic mom is wanting to start over in a new place. Ketterman, West Virginia is a very small town full of strange people. And there is an obvious tension from the very beginning. Her next door neighbors are siblings. Beautiful siblings. Her first encounter is with an annoying but beautiful boy named Damon. She then gets to meet his equally beautiful sister who is charming and very likable. They are destined to become great friends - in spite of huge differences. Those differences are what this book is based on. That - and overcoming those differences. And of course an undeniable sexual attraction. A girl - who doesn't really know she is beautiful and a boy - who definitely does know he is beautiful - fall in love. Each additional book opens to new characters and perpetuates the saga of Katy and Daemon as well as Daemon's family and those connected with  a secret government operation that uses people to further their plans. No one can be trusted (but the person you love and that loves you back) and everyone has a dark side.

These books are easy reading, light, fun and exciting. Jennifer Armentrout is good at hooking you into reading more. Young adults and teens will eat it up.

I like that she takes different groups of characters and shows there are good ones and bad ones. There is no black and white - lots of gray, all good all bad. Each person has strengths and frailties - they can be good - but they can be bad. It takes into account that bad decisions can't be undone. They can be absolved by sincerity of intention - as long as that person is willing to look past what is seemingly too big of an obstacle to overcome. There is also a sense of working off your bad decisions - making it right.

Titillation (I really don't like this word - but it is accurate) is all throughout the book. It will hold a teen or young adult captive for sure. There is pre-marital sex and absentee parents abound. These kids are raising themselves. With limited help from supportive and loving parents. A teenager's dream. If only all teenagers were as mature as these kiddos. Another thing that realistically speaking our young people need to realize, is that it takes more than just loving one person and them loving you back to keep you happy. There are parts of the book that make Katy and Daemon's complete and utter happiness in their love seem like the pinnacle of all things. Which, of course, is not true.

And the kids have potty mouths. Words like douchebag, dickhead, slut shaming, and there are others - such as fuck -  but you get the picture. Really not so different than what I hear in the hallways at school. If you have a teenager - they have more than likely heard these words. It is a maturity thing. Most kids grow out of it. But you need to know it is there.

Jennifer Armentrout has young adult fiction and she labels it well. It really is all about the relationship. Katy is sassy and she doesn't cave to the male lead. She fights him and herself to be who she is. Does she care about others in relation to Daemon? Yes - she does. The couple is a happy accident though. Typical pushing away because of the inability to believe he could be attracted to her but the attraction cannot be stopped and therefore they end up in a big mess that has to be overcome because of their - da da da dum....forbidden love. But it is an enjoyable big mess.

She also does adult fiction which - if your teen tumbles into looking for more of her books - is soft porn. And it is racy stuff. You should be aware of that. And it is available from your online library - so they can have it on their device and you might never know unless you are pretty good at keeping up with what they download.

My job in this review is not to recommend one way or the other. It is strictly to give parents an idea of what their child is reading. And if you find they are reading it, the information above should give you a good basis to ask questions that will allow them to think realistically.

God bless and keep you.
Happy Reading

Reviews and Tools For Parents and Teachers

I am going to start reviewing books. I read a lot of books. I read a lot of Young Adult fiction. You know why? Because I have worked with high school kids for 30 years and I know how easily influenced they can be by the written word. Especially romance and the ideas that come with those mush laden stories. My girls - and boys - need me to know what they are reading. They need YOU  to know what they are reading. There are tools we can give them that will help them enjoy and be balanced in their reading. It's hard work. Especially if you don't love to read. But I am here to help you. (smile)

When Twilight was the thing I remember seeing some of my girls reading it and telling them, "It's a fun read - but please...PLEASE understand, a guy climbing through your window and watching you sleep is not sexy. In reality - it is seriously CREEPY. And you would freak the heck out -that's a normal response. Hear me - normal response is to freak the heck out - do NOT think that is something you want." I laughingly deliver this - but I am so serious. They know it.

Not kidding. Our kids need to be told this. OK - Some of our kids. I would have been one of those kids. The fairy tale was what I wanted to be reality and it got me into a bit of trouble at times.

Another thing that comes with the dose of good common sense while reading these books is the ability to tell myself that I will not feed into the rampant PATHOS. Yes. I said PATHOS. I cry - I can feel so sorry for the heroine - and in turn - I feel sorry for myself. This 51 year old woman has put herself in the place of the 18 - 23 year old in the book and am totally bawling over the unfairness of life. Thankfully - when I finish I can talk to myself and say it's pitiful. Feeling sorry for myself does me no good. Yes, I understand hard things happen - but I can shake it off and move forward. I don't always think our sweet girls or boys do this. They kind of hunker down in the hormones and waller. Please understand - the comforting blanket of mutual understanding these books bring to our kids, can be a dangerous place. We do not need to let them escape permanently into the realm of books and get lost. It can happen. And generally what happens is they try to live it out in their day to day life. This needs to be constructively nipped. Teach them how to talk to themselves about these books. Teach them how to disassociate themselves from the heroines or heroes in a realistic way. This will actually help them take away the good stuff the book offers and leave the weird stuff, or even the unhealthy stuff behind. Momentary loss of self in books is an amazing thing. But we do need to escape to reality. Our kids can be taught this. It is important.

As a parent or teacher, we also need to understand what context we are wanting to deliver information to our child or student. That would be our morals, our guide to living well, our religious or social beliefs. Heck yeah we are to set up a network of our teaching that will help our kiddos make it through the middle and high school years and on through college. Know what you believe, construct a scaffold of truths to live by and teach it to your kids. Teaching the love of reading with a good framework in place will lead to balance and healthy self-image. Of course as a teacher in a school, your religious and social beliefs should be yours and kept that way, parents can give their kids that information and of course the kids will make their own choices as they get older. But a good foundation of thinking of others, being aware of their surroundings, being grounded in reality and being kind, is a great point of view to start reading a book.

I hope this helps with knowing what works for your student to read. I think that knowing your child and their personality will help as well. Your best tool is to know the book to be able to discuss it with them - in a casual manner. Asking questions to get them to form an opinion about how that book relates to them is also a great thing.

Happy Reading folks!
My first review will be the series of Lux novels by Jennifer L. Armentrout. So be looking for it!

Saturday, February 17, 2018


Grace is the unmerited favor of God.

Grace is the foundation of the Christian faith. Without it, we are lost.

In my 51 years, I have found it is also a necessity in living a happy life, a fulfilled life. Unfortunately, it is not until recently that I realized how very important it is in moving away from the past. And that I was not applying it rightly.

There were things that happened in my young adult years that embittered me toward Christians and toward precious friends. I withheld my love and my forgiveness as a protection against a hurt that I could not seem to overcome. I have many times sought to exorcise these nasty hurts by writing about them, but what I ended up doing is perpetuating a hurt and thus extricating myself from these people I loved so dearly. I turned my back on a congregation and a denomination considering it baggage left well behind. But it follows me still. The blessing is that God has given me a better understanding of grace and how it plays a role in my life beyond God's underlying gift that allows me to have fellowship with Him. It is also His way of allowing me to have fellowship with other believers. And though I am sure I knew this in some manner- I did not realize I was not practicing it in my own faith. I never once applied it to the series of events that left me so wounded.

The fact is, I have always held myself as a victim of the selfishness and lack of love of these friends. Did they know they hurt me? The answer to that is yes and no. I think I made it clear I felt abandoned and unloved by their behavior toward me, but I do not think I let them know how broken I was, because of my own pride. This led to a hardening of myself toward them that caused a callous to form and resentment to build and a painful, unhealed wound underneath that managed to fester and return time and again. I would bandage it up with a false sense of piety that I was right and they were wrong, when all along, I was just as wrong. But I considered all those that so easily moved on past my own misery as disposable. What's more, this sense of being wronged has followed me into my middle age (I hate using "middle aged" - but for lack of better right now - I use it) friendships.

The fact is - I am immature. Still. But I have matured enough to understand that I was very much a part of their behavior toward me. There were things I did that led to their actions and instead of recognizing that and admitting it at the time, in my sinful pride, I heaped the blame on them and benefitted not one bit, but wallered (that's wallowed y'all) in my own misery. For YEARS.

So sad. Such a waste of energy and time. And I pushed away new friends in fear of the same thing happening. Not realizing that it was something I actually did have control of. Go figure. And me such a control freak.

So - this week I reached out to a beloved friend and found the same kindred spirit there. And she was in need. I had the privilege of praying for her and it has filled my heart and spilled over. Miraculously I have love and the desire to place myself (proverbally - please don't make me do it literally Lord) at the feet of these old friends.

If grace - unmerited favor -  is truly a gift, one we have received from God, then it is one we can and should extend - for our own fulfillment.