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Are You Picky About T-Shirts?

It’s March, which means soon I’ll be living in T-shirts again. For a few years I’ve struggled to find comfortable tees that fit me well and are reasonably priced. This means the majority of my tees have been worn out. They’re destined for the trash bin.

 

Are You Picky About T-Shirts?

 

If a T-shirt is too baggy, it swallows me up and gives me no shape. If it’s too form-fitting, I look like a stuffed sausage.  Some are too short–please, let me find some that don’t expose skin at my waist. And I love soft material, but not if it’s see-through! When I add my price limit, finding new shirts feels like mission impossible.

I can’t resist T-shirts with cute sayings or references to cats, bunnies and mini-dachshunds–unless they’re not in my price range. Then I sadly put them back on the rack with a sigh and tell myself they’ll go on sale.

Where do you buy T-shirts? Are you as picky as I am? If you know of a good resource for shapely, not too short tees, please let me know!

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Healthy Living Motivation

Healthy Living Motivation

Wow, January 20, 2107! How many of you are trying to improve your health this year?

Me! 

To be fair, I’m always trying to improve my health. Last fall I started a regular workout regime. There were weeks I skipped a few workouts, but overall, I stuck with it. This year, I’ve made weekday workouts mandatory. I have no excuse–none–not to fit 30 minutes of exercise into my weekdays. But…sometimes I lose my motivation and have to force myself off the couch.

 

Healthy Living Motivation

 

I saw a quote on Pinterest this week, and I thought how true.

“In two weeks, you’ll feel it. In four weeks, you’ll see it. In eight weeks, you’ll hear it.”

It’s been about two weeks since sticking with my weekday workouts, and I do feel it. It’s easy to get discouraged when you don’t see big results though. I’m just reminding myself this isn’t about big results. It’s about daily habits that add up to strength and health.

In four weeks, I’ll see it. My jeans will no longer feel tight when I button them. I believe this.

In eight weeks, I’ll hear it. Eight weeks of consistent exercising is noticeable on anyone. But if I don’t hear it, that’s fine, too. For me, investing in myself three to four hours each week is the reward I seek. Every time I get off the couch and do the workout, I win.

What does a win look like to you in regards to healthy living?

Have a fun weekend!

FREE Christmas Novella: Chapter One

FREE Christmas Novella: Chapter One

I’m so excited!! Today the first chapter of  my Christmas novella, A Cradle for Christmas, released on Harlequin.com! Every Monday from now until December 26, a new chapter will release, and did I mention it’s free??

Here’s the scoop!

 

A Cradle for Christmas chapter one

A Cradle for Christmas

With just days to go until Christmas, Heather Springfield is nine months pregnant and all alone. So she escapes to her family’s old cabin in Michigan. The happiest summers of her life were spent there…all until that last one that ruined everything. But she’ll have to do her best to focus on her baby and avoid Mason Aldridge, the boy next door and the one who got away

Mason’s never forgotten the sweet girl who once held his heart. So when Heather arrives one snowy night, her very pregnant belly triggers a fresh round of regrets. If things had been different, he might have been the man fortunate enough to call her and the baby his. But in the spirit of the season, forgiveness is in the air, and two old friends may just find their way to the best Christmas gift of all—a brand-new family.

READ CHAPTER ONE HERE!!!

I’ll post each Monday with the link to the new chapter. You can find the released links anytime by clicking on Harlequin.com, selecting the Online Reads tab, and scrolling to Love Inspired!

 

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There is still time to enter my November giveaway for Yuletide Redemption (US only, 18+)!

Yuletide Redemption November Giveaway!

Entry form is below!

 

 

Have a marvelous week!!

Friday Round-Up

This week was short but busy. Tuesday was not my favorite. Let’s just say it involved the dentist, my email account being hacked, groceries and food prep and putting all that stuff away, and a missing license plate sticker from the vehicle registration I just ordered. How does the sticker go missing before I even take the registration out of the envelope? I’m scratching my head at that one. But, hey, I survived that day and moved on.

 

 

 

The rest of the week was spent in deep, deep thought as I plotted more than one book and wrote synopses. Yes, that’s plural. I really feel I deserve a large iced coffee from McDonald’s! Actually, I can’t complain because I love plotting and thinking about stories. I accomplished what I wanted to this week, and tomorrow is the weekend with time to relax! Yay!

In between the errands, chores, synopses and what-not, I found a few things I thought you might enjoy.

  1. Becky Wade shares a terrific article over at Dani Pettrey’s blog about using Buffer to streamline social media. You can read the article here, “Writerly Wednesday – My Favorite Social Media Tool.”
  2. The fall colors won’t arrive for a while, but if you want to get into the spirit, here’s a gorgeous slideshow on Midwest Living by Hannah Agren, “25 Ultimate Fall Drives.”
  3. My youngest had a birthday yesterday, and I talked about birthday traditions over at Thoughts on Plot. Stop by and share yours, “Birthday Traditions – Heartwarming Thursday.”

Did you find anything interesting this week? I’d love to hear about it!

Have a great weekend!

How Exercise and Spiritual Growth are Similar

How Exercise And Spiritual Growth Are Similar

Yesterday I took a nice long walk in the morning. The temperatures had slid from the low 90s to low 70s. The humidity? Almost unnoticeable–a nice change from the muggy air we’ve had all summer. In other words, the conditions were just about perfect for a walk.

Exercise and Spiritual Growth

I took this picture last year at the botanical garden. Gorgeous!

 

I felt so much joy as I left our subdivision. I started thinking of all the things I’m grateful for, and as usual, the walk became a prayer walk.

  • I thanked God for the muscles in my legs, moving me forward, keeping me from pain, supporting my bones and joints and the rest of my body.
  • I’ve always been blessed with a strong core. The abdominal and back muscles provide much needed balance to keep me upright.
  • My arms allow me to write, shop, cook and hug my loved ones.
  • My brain–always spinning, always coming up with new ideas, solving problems–thinking, thinking, thinking!

As I walked past corn fields and pretty trees, I thought about my spiritual growth over the past few years. A large part of this growth has been from setting aside time every weekday to study God’s word, to ponder a chapter of a Christian living book, but most of all to be still and be with the Lord. To pray. To journal my prayers.

 

Pre

With every walk, every yoga session, every 7-minute workout down via an app on my phone, my body gets stronger. I get leaner. The fluffy parts are crowded out by the firmer ones. Yes, it takes a commitment, but I love how I feel after a good yoga session, and I always enjoy walking.

With every chapter read of the Bible, with every journal session, every prayer session, my heart gets closer to Jesus. I get leaner, my life becomes less about myself and more about Him. This summer, I woke up to a very deep truth in my life. I didn’t even realize I’d been struggling with this. But here is the truth:

I get my freedom from God.

 

I get my identity from God.

 

I get my security from God.

Too often, I’ve bought into the concept that money, a career, respect from my peers, being a good mom/wife/daughter/friend would give me freedom, identity or security. But none of these things do. Only God does.

Sounds so simple, right?

I know! I’ve paid the concept lip service for years. I’ve always said and thought God alone matters, but the prayers I’d been praying proved me wrong. The prayers I kept repeating convicted me. I realized I’d never really, truly believed God was the only way to my freedom, identity and security.

I do now.

I attended the ACFW conference in Nashville last week. For the first time, I felt so much peace about not holding back. My personality can be a lot to take! But I know God loves my personality, and if He does, I shouldn’t worry about what anyone else thinks. It was so wonderful to just be myself–my out-there, loud, dancing, hugging everyone self. I’m thankful for this peace.

Phillipians 4:4-7 (NIV)

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Peace is promised by Jesus. I hope you’ll make Bible study and prayer a priority if you don’t already. Just like exercising, it’s good for your body, good for your soul.

Have you ever struggled with thinking your freedom, identity or security comes from something outside of God?

I’m firing it up on the group blogs this week!

Check out yesterday’s Craftie Ladies of Love Inspired Romance post, “September Means Autumn!” and today’s Pink Heart Society post, “Friday Fun: Football Season–Love It or Hate It?”

Have a terrific weekend!!

 

What Happens The Day After I Meet a Deadline?

Do you see me smiling? I turned in my fifth Love Inspired this week! YAY!!!

This year has been crazy. I’ve let so many things slide for months. But now that my son has been confirmed, my daughter has graduated from high school and already attended college orientation, and my book is turned in, I can resume normal life! (For a few days, at least!)

 

Happy Planner

 

Yesterday, I woke up and brewed a pot of coffee. Luxuriated in the knowledge I wasn’t on deadline and I had free time on my hands. Of course, I still had taxi duty for my son, bills, appointments, etc… But I followed the rhythm of life on MY terms for the first time in a long time.

So what did I do?

  1. Spent a relaxing hour in our living room, reading my Bible, watching the birds, praying and sipping coffee. The best!!
  2. Cleaned the house. Wait, those words don’t come out of my mouth often, but yes, they are true. I cleaned the house. Because I wanted to, not because we had company coming over!
  3. Chatted with a friend on the phone. So good!
  4. Read a few more chapters of my friend’s debut novel coming out in July. You all are in for a treat with that one!
  5. Dropped my son off at a high school baseball tournament. He wasn’t playing. He was helping take care of the fields between games.
  6. Shopped for my husband’s father’s day present. Hit the Bath & Body Works sale for 75% off lotion, and grabbed a Starbucks while browsing magazines at Barnes & Noble. There really isn’t anything better.
  7. Researched day planners. Mine runs out in two weeks, and I am SUPER PICKY about my planner! For years, I’ve been stuck with a planner plus a slim binder because nothing was customizable enough. But several friends clued me in to different options, and I decided to try a discbound system.
  8. Browsed Michael’s website to get a 50% off coupon.
  9. Made hot dogs and mac & cheese for dinner.
  10.  Drove to Michael’s, drooled over all the Happy Planners, texted a friend for moral support, and bought the planner and accessories necessary to make this planner rock!
  11. Rented a video game for my son who was having a friend over.
  12. Put my Happy Planner together. Got WAY too excited about it!
  13. Read several more chapters of the book I mentioned earlier.
  14. Bedtime!

There you have it! That’s what I did the day after I met my deadline. Not exciting to most people, but to me? The BEST!!

What do you do when you feel free?

Have a terrific weekend!!

Summer Vacation: A Pool and a Pudding Pop

When I was a teen, I couldn’t wait for summer vacation. I would daydream about all the exciting things we would do. In my fantasies, there would be a summer romance, parties, plenty of pool time, shopping and fun! It would never be boring.

 

Twizzlers

So far my summer vacation has consisted of a LOT of Twizzlers!

 

The reality of summer vacation? Well, the summer romance factor was low, like dead, most years. And parties? Few and far between. To be honest, summer vacay never turned out the way I’d fantasized, but looking back, I was blessed with something even better. FREE TIME!! I had hours of free time.

I would walk the mile to our library and come home with a stack of books. I got paid to clean the house for my mom (I know, I was  blessed!!), and the neighbors would have me babysit once a week or so, which took care of shopping/fun money. We had an above ground pool, and I never minded cleaning it. I knew it was a luxury!

We always seemed to have pudding pops in the freezer. Do you remember those? We would get a multi-pack with chocolate, vanilla, and swirl. They were yummy!

My friend would come over and we’d make brownies (and eat half the batter), lay out in the sun, act like goofballs, and talk about how great it was going to be when we grew up.

Now I’m grown up, and you know what? I fantasize about summer vacation. Give me a pool, a book, and a pudding pop. I’ll be the happiest woman in Ohio! Forget the parties, summer romance (although, I’m blessed with that every year with my hubby!) and excitement. I just want free time!

What are your grown-up daydreams regarding summer? 

Have a terrific weekend!!

May Milestones

I’m sitting in my living room, smiling at the beautiful sunshine spilling on green lawns as robins flit from tree to tree. Our neighborhood looks fresh, happy. We had cool weather and showers this week, and I’m hoping it warms up around here this weekend.

 

Cupcake

 

As many of you on Facebook know, our son was confirmed at our church last week. After three years of Bible instruction, he’s moving on to a new phase in his faith. This fall he’ll be in high school, and I can’t help shaking my head at where my little boy went. He towers over me now!

 

And to make matters worse (or better?), our daughter is wrapping up her senior year in high school. She has prom tomorrow, just finished her final season of track, is knee-deep in major school projects, and will be graduating in a few short weeks. My heart just did that weird compression thing it’s been doing since Christmas. I’m so proud of her, but come on, where did her little pigtails, Dragon Tails pajamas and Barbie collection go? Alas, she’s taller than me too.

 

To keep us on our toes, we’ve been tackling a few house projects and juggling my son’s baseball schedule. I’ve been snatching ten minutes here and there to read novels by friends. Those moments of escaping into fictional worlds have been helping me keep my cool. If I didn’t have a distraction, I would obsess over the million and one details still not completed.

 

Yep, May is bringing many, many joys to us this year. And I, for one, will need a full box of Kleenex. Beaming through the tears. I’m thankful our children are maturing into wonderful adults, and I’m reflecting on my role as a mom. They’ll always need me, and I’ll always need them. I’m blessed to have a deep pocket full of memories, and I plan on diving in often. With my tissues handy. 🙂

 

Are you looking forward to anything this May?

 

The American Christian Fiction Writers Foundation (ACFW) raises money every year to provide scholarships to writers attending the ACFW national conference. Their silent auction is taking place this week, and there are tons of great items to bid on! I donated a Fiction Platform Building package with a social media evaluation and tips on how to maximize time and effort. If you’re interested, click HERE for the package details. The link to the silent auction is HERE.

ACFW Foundation Silent Auction

Jill Kemerer’s Silent Auction Fiction Platform Package

 

Have a happy Mother’s Day and a lovely weekend!!

March Madness? Not for me!

Just a quick post here on this fine Friday morning! I’ve been knee-deep in a novel I’m writing, and the end is in sight. I’m hoping to finish today. Whee!! I am more than ready to resume normal living. Writing a first draft is intense for this lady. Like yesterday I opened our pantry and almost started crying because we were out of Cadbury Mini-Eggs. I needed those yummy candy-coated chocolates!

I know many of you are probably either super excited or couldn’t care less about March Madness. What side am I on? I don’t care about college basketball. Sorry (not really!), but watching basketball on television isn’t my thing. However, I do care about University of Michigan sports, so I’ll be rooting for them tonight. I’ll skip the rest of the tournament!

Do you watch college basketball? Who do you root for?

Have an amazing weekend!!

Her Small-Town Romance Gift Package

*Reminder, I have two giveaways going on this month! You can sign up to win a gift package on my HOME page (just scroll down for the easy entry form) or look to the right sidebar here on my blog and enter the Goodreads giveaway!

 

Friday Roundup or What I Didn’t Get Done This Week!

I’m late posting this. Why? Well, I’ve been a little manic this week. Every day brought a new surprise that couldn’t be set aside and involved time-consuming attention. The weather was all over the place too. Early in the week it was warm and sunny, but yesterday brought snow and an accompanying snow day.

Snow Day

 

Instead of checking off my anticipated writing goals, I set them aside to finish new ones. I didn’t mind. I love my job!

Other things I didn’t get done?

  • The stack of magazines on my end table are still sitting there unread.
  • My bathroom still hasn’t been cleaned.
  • The book I ordered from the library hasn’t been opened.
  • The exercise DVDs I was going to do Tuesday and Thursday weren’t touched either!
  • The appointments I needed to schedule? Pushed to next week’s to-do list.
  • My twice-a-month coffee date with myself to brainstorm story ideas and bask in motivation articles? Nope. Didn’t happen.

 

But…my daughter and I worked on some must-do upcoming college tasks, I turned in two work items, my son picked out classes for high school next year and I ordered a pizza for lunch yesterday ‘cuz that’s fun! All-in-all, a good week!

 

Do you ever have weeks where everything turns upside down? How do you deal with it?

Have a fantastic weekend, and don’t forget to sign up to win Belle Calhoune’s latest, Alaskan Reunion!! Easy entry options are below!

 

 

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