Why I Blog

January 3, 2016

2015 was not a great blogging year for me. At the end of December I got a really cool report from WordPress showing my blog stats. It was really cool until I looked at it realized I posted a total of two times. Two times in 365 days – wow! That’s nothing to brag about. (On the bright side, I only posted one time in 2014 so technically I posted twice as much in 2015)

My goal for 2016 is to blog more. However, I want to be more specific in this goal so I am challenging myself to post at least once a week. I’d love to post three or four times a week, but considering I didn’t even post three or four times in an entire year I thought I’d try to be realistic.

I’m starting with asking myself the question of why I blog. Why did I start blogging in the first place? I thought back to when I started my blog. I had been posting things on Facebook about my kids. I’d post funny things they said or did or share my struggles (and humor) of motherhood. I liked sharing with others and I enjoyed hearing how the stories often helped other parents or made people laugh.  It also was very therapeutic to write about motherhood when I was stressed and up to my eyeballs in laundry and dishes. My mom encouraged me to start a blog to share these stories.  I checked into blogging and was excited because I could post more detailed stories (no word count limit) and add photos and other cool widgets.

So I think I have determined that my original purpose for blogging was to relieve stress in my own life as well as to give my readers some humor and joy in their stressful day.  Is that still the purpose of my blog? I think so, but it’s different now that my kids are older.

When I started blogging Drew was 13, Caleb was 9 and Emma and Ethan (the twins) were 7.  In fact my “Meet the Pastor’s Family” page on my blog still reads:

My husband Dwight and I were high school sweethearts and we have been happily married for 17 years.  We have a 9 year old son, Caleb, who has Autism and is non-verbal (he also has a fascination with flushing toys and other un-flushable objects down the toilet … we now have the plumber on speed dial). Then there are the twins, Emma & Ethan, who are 7 years old. They act like a little old married couple and so we affectionately refer to them as “Fred & Ethel” from I Love Lucy.  Our oldest son, Drew, just turned 13.   Wow, I am a mother of a teenager  ~ That makes me feel old !  I sometimes feel like I’m running in circles trying to balance a full time job, motherhood, and all the church activities and responsibilities that come with being a pastor’s wife.  Well, now you know a little about my family and my life … I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of our not-so-perfect pastor’s family.

So I guess one of my first tasks of 2016 is to update this page since the twins are about to be teenagers and Drew will be graduating from High School in June!

New Year’s Resolution #1 : Blogging once a week in 2016

What is your New Year’s Resolution? Feel free to share in the comments below.

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ImageToday I will be interviewed about my new book Running Through the Raindrops…Finding Joy in the Chaos of Raising Kids on Blog Talk Radio.

I am not an expert in computers and the Internet, but from what I can gather this interview can be listened to live at 3:00 pm EDT or any time after that as a podcast.

Simply click on the link below if you‘d like to listen in and join us! I will be reading an excerpt from my book so tune in to hear about the adventures of the pastor’s kids!

Click HERE to listen (after 3:00 pm EDT)

“What are we doing on Saturday?” Ethan asked me earlier this week

“Well, I have my book signing on Saturday afternoon and I am getting the oil changed on the van in the morning.” I replied as I finished setting the table for dinner

“Are we all going to your book signing?” he asked

“I don’t know. Do you want to come?” I hadn’t really thought about making it a family event because I really didn’t know if the kids would enjoy it.

“Yes, I think it sounds like fun!” Ethan replied. “Plus, all of us kids should be there because people will probably want to meet the stars of the book.”

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Emma & Ethan playing with the umbrellas

So, Saturday afternoon the “stars” of Running Through the Raindrops were all in attendance at my book signing and they had a great time playing with the props (umbrellas), sampling all the cookies and talking with those who stopped by to purchase the book. It was a successful book signing and I was so glad the kids all came along.

Now by “successful” I don’t mean I sold hundreds of copies of my book or that there was a long line of people waiting to meet the author.  It was successful because we had the opportunity to meet other parents and talk with them about the struggles and the joys of raising kids. We had some especially meaningful conversations with parents who also had kids with autism and had been through many of the same struggles we had. My husband, Dwight, and I really enjoyed meeting these wonderful families and, after all, that is the whole reason I started writing in the first place. I wanted to connect with other parents and share our joys, our fears and our frustrations.

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Caleb, Drew, Emma & Ethan

One of the most amazing moments was when a friend of ours brought her granddaughter, Hannah, into the book signing. Hannah is in school with Caleb and she also has autism and is non-verbal. When Caleb and Hannah saw one another they both smiled and started jabbering away. We couldn’t understand what they were saying, but Caleb was making his “happy sound” and jumping up and down so I think that they were excited to see one another. It was blessing to see a friendship that goes against what so many have defined autism to be.  Friendship is one thing that kids with autism are said to not be capable of understanding or obtaining but it was clear to us that assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth!

So here is to my “stars”: Drew, Caleb, Ethan and Emma – I love you and I had an awesome time celebrating with you on Saturday!

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If you haven’t read my book and want to learn more about it you can click HERE for an interview I recently did with Michelle Lynn Brown. You can purchase Running Through the Raindrops on Amazon as a paperbook or Kindle. Also available as a NookBook and on Kobo.  If you have read the book it be great if you’d leave a review on Amazon – thanks so much!

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cover“What are you working on?” Emma asked, looking over my shoulder.

“I’m working on my book. It’s almost finished!” I replied. “Isn’t that exciting?”

“Wait, you mean it’s going to be a real, live book?  Like one that people can buy?”

I laughed, “Well, I hope that people will buy it!”

“Hey, Ethan!” Emma shouted (even though he was on the couch about three feet away) “Mom is writing a book!  It’s a REAL LIVE book, like one that people can buy.”

“What is your book about?” Ethan asked

“Actually, it’s about you … and you and Drew and Caleb too.” I explained as I looked at both of them, amazed at how big they were getting. “There are stories about all four of you. Some from when you were little and some from as recent as just this year.”

“So we are like the stars of the book?” Ethan asked

“Yes, you are the stars and the stories are all about the fun times we have as a family and the funny and cute things you guys say.”

“Well, I say the funny things and Emma says the cute things.” Ethan teased Emma

“I say funny things too!” Emma objected, stomping her foot in protest.

“You both say funny things and you both say cute things. I’m sure people who read the book will find you both equally entertaining.”  I said, trying to keep the peace and prevent a fight from breaking out in our living room.

So, for those of you who enjoy reading my blog, FB posts and tweets … You will soon be able to read them in a REAL LIVE book!

Keep an eye out on Amazon for the soon-to-be-released, “Running Through The Raindrops … Finding Joy In The Chaos of Raising Kids”.  It will be available as an e-book later this week and hopefully the print book will be available to purchase the following week  … Just in time for Mother’s Day (for any men out there who still need gift ideas!)

Juggling Life

November 30, 2012

Emma & Ethan“I’m losing my mind!!” I shouted in frustration as I rummaged through the house trying to recall the “safe place” where I had put several important forms that needed to be signed and returned to school the next day.

“You’re not losing your mind” Ethan said sweetly, “You just got lots of stuff to remember!”

Yes, mommies have lots of things to remember from where Barbie’s clothes were seen last, to what kid needs to be where at what time, homework and projects for school and, of course, where important papers are and making sure they make it back to school on time.  Lately things have been so crazy and busy I’ve been having trouble keeping up with everyone’s schedules and trying to find time for other important things like taking a shower and finding time to sleep!

Let’s see … the last time I posted a blog was on the first day of school.  It is now the last day of November and before we know it Christmas will be here!  I was thinking last night about how much I missed writing and wishing I had the time and energy to post on my blogs more frequently.  I guess it’s kind of like exercise or studying or anything else – you just have to MAKE time. If you don’t’ block out a time in your day to write the days and weeks (and months) fly by and it never gets done.  I’ve found that every year of your life time goes faster and faster. When I was a kid the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed like it drug on FOREVER! As an adult, I start having anxiety attacks the day after Thanksgiving as I look at the December calendar and realize I need to be careful not to blink or it will be Christmas Eve!

About a year ago I decided to go back to school to get my MBA.  I had always said that I would NEVER go back to school, but here I am at 40+ years old taking classes and learning new things. I have to admit I have enjoyed the classes, but keeping up with reading, studying, and writing papers while working full time, raising four kids, and being a pastor’s wife has really been a test of my juggling skills.  Juggling the responsibilities of a mom is kind of like real juggling in that you will drop a ball here or there, but you just have to pick it back up and try again. So here I go … picking back up the dropped ball of blogging and trying again.  I hope to post a few times before Christmas with stories of from the past few months.

There really have been a lot of funny stories and fun times and I need to write them down before the get lost in all the other clutter floating around in my mind.  It’s amazing how I can’t ever remember that “safe place” where I put things, but I can still remember all the words to The Brady Bunch Theme song and the Big Mac advertising jingle from back when I was a kid.  You know the one I’m talking about …. “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun!”

I guess if I think about it that’s really why I started blogging in the first place. I wanted to write down all the cute storiesbugaloos and fun memories of raising our kids so I wouldn’t forget and so our children could share these stories with their children.  When I think back to my childhood I know that I may not remember very much about when I was in preschool or elementary school,  but I have lots of memories of the stories my parents told about my childhood. I have shared those stories with my kids and they love hearing about the time my brother, sister and I thought we could fly like the “Bugaloos” on TV and started jumping off of dressers trying to test our flying abilities.  Or how we used to fight over who had to sit in the middle seat with the hump … remember when cars had “the hump seat” in the middle which had absolutely no leg room?   

I hope that my kids have lots of stories and happy memories to share with their children someday. I also hope that they don’t’ remember a mom who was losing her mind, but a mom that loved them more than anything in the world!

This year our Vacation Bible School theme was “Pandamania” and so the kids spent a week learning a lot about God and quite a bit about Panda’s too.  I was in charge of crafts and so we made Panda Masks, Panda Sand Art, Floating Panda’s on a raft and Panda Prayer Boxes.  VBS was the week right before our family vacation which was awesome because after it was all over I was REALLY ready for a vacation.  

We were sitting around talking with our four kids about things they learned at VBS when Ethan asked, “What does ‘Pandamania’ mean?”  I explained to Ethan that they were using a play on words and instead of “Pandemonium” they named the VBS “Pandamania”.  “Oh, I get it”, Emma said with a smile. “It’s ‘cuz of all the Panda’s, right?”  Ethan thought for a second and then asked, “Well, then what does ‘Pandemonium’ mean?” 

Since I am not a walking dictionary I did what most mothers do when their kids ask a question we don’t know the answer to : I Goggled it.

According to Google, “pandemonium” is defined as “a wild uproar or unrestrained disorder; tumult or chaos”.  Hmmm ….. that pretty much sums up our summer.  

Those of you who were loyal followers of my blog hopefully have noticed that I haven’t posted for almost 3 months now.  Well, that’s because this summer has been so hectic and crazy and through all the chaos and “pandemonium” of summer camps, vacations, softball, baseball, swimming, etc.  I have hardly had time to shower, let alone write.  (those of you who aren’t mothers find that gross … those of you who are mothers know exactly what I am talking about!)

So I basically wanted to check in and let everyone know that “yes” the Parsonage is still standing and “yes” there is still playdough (and kids) in it.  We’ve had a lot of fun this summer, but now it is back to the real world. School started today most of the kids were happy to go back to school.

As you can tell from the picture, the degree of happiness is inversely related to the age of the child.  Notice that our oldest son, Drew, looks less-than-thrilled to be up before 10 am and is definitely not happy that he has to go and sit through an entire day of school with no video games, TV or iPod. On the other hand, our youngest child, Emma, was up, dressed and had her shoes, socks and backpack on at 6:30 this morning … a full hour before the bus arrived!

One Amazing Kid

March 10, 2011

As many of you know I have a son, Caleb, who has Autism and is non-verbal.  Caleb is 9 (almost 10) and has made wonderful progress over the past year.  He has been transitioned from the special ed class to a general ed 3rd grade classroom where he is mainstreamed with other students his age and has an aide to assist him when needed.   Caleb has learned so much this year through the help of a wonderful team of teachers, therapists and aides.  He is still considered non-verbal, but Dwight and I have noticed how much his speech has improved this past year. He seems so close to verbal speech and we want to continue to provide ways for Caleb to find his voice and find ways to communicate.

I have started a new blog called “Caleb’s Voice” that will focus on the struggles, frustrations, joys and celebrations of raising a child with Autism.  I hope that this blog will be a great way to look back and easily see the progress Caleb is making and the wonderful ways God is working in Caleb’s life.  We would love for you to join us in praying for Caleb as he is learning to communicate and engage more with the world around him.

You can check out this new blog at calebsvoice.wordpress.com