Monday, June 6, 2011

Pay it Back

Hello Everyone, Sandra here and no I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I have been spinning in wild circles-smile- but I'm still here. I've missed all of you so it feels good to be back.

Most of you know the circumstances. My dad is doing great right now. We just hung his art in Skirm Auditorium located at the village where he resides. It was so fun to hear all the oohs and aahs. He doesn't paint large paintings anymore, but he still paints small plaques of birds on pieces of driftwood. Amazing for a ninety year old.

My friend who had the stroke is still in a rehab skill center but is making great and miraculous progress. I've learned more than I ever wanted to know about being a trustee, but am thankful I am available. This is still an ongoing process with new events turning up every day. sigh.

But the Lord has been merciful and there every step of the way.

One thing I've known all along, but have had reinforced through all of this is that acts of kindness and obedience are rewarded. We as Christians know that trials and tribulations will occur, but we also know that we have supernatural help in every circumstance. And when we obey and help others we are immensely blessed.

When I retired from teaching eleven years ago (has it really been that long????) I planned to start a new career and follow my dream of being an author. I had so many plans and worked hard to follow my dream.

But God evidently had a different career in mind. And looking back, He's always had a different career in mind. But He has been gracious in allowing me to have touches of my dream.

When I was teaching, I took a leave of absence due to stress. During that time in the eighties, I became published. But that was a hint of the dream. I was "told" to finish my teaching career and did, with the idea (mine, not His) I would write when retired.

I was allowed surprising aspects of my dream. The books I did publish touched many lives, especially LOVE'S MIRACLES which I discovered healed many Vietnam War vets. The teen-age self help books published by Rosen Publishing Group are still out there and helping teens. I taught writing to junior high students. Every year students of mine would place/win district and state writing awards.

When I retired, I became immeshed in a new "career" of elder care which has been as rewarding (and stressful) as teaching. But I get touches of my dream throughout this "career" also.

During these years I have completed many manuscripts. But intense elder care occupied most of my time. But whenever there was a lull or break, God gave me a touch of my dream. The week my mother-in-law passed away, I received my first children's book contract for GOD'S SPIRIT WITHIN ME. Then the week my mother passed away that book came out in hardback print. When my step-mom passed, I received my first romance novel contract from Avalon for THE PRICE OF VICTORY (due to come out this month)

This latest eldercare adventure has been the most stressful, probably because it involves new aspects and more than one person at a time. I haven't been able to write or follow my dream at this point, but I have been rewarded with touches of my dream throughout this challenge also. Two picture books I wrote ten years ago have been published. I received the copies last week. I was hoping to have covers to post, but don't have them yet. I do have them. They just arrived this afternoon. They really are fun. And already have been a hit with local tourist spots since they feature Southwest desert animals.

PERCIVAL THE NAUGHTY PRAIRIE DOG is a version of the boy who cried wolf. Prairie dogs have a different and distinct bark for each predator. Percival is bored and barks the different predator calls making his family run for cover which Percival thinks is hilarious. Until the family ignores him when he sees a real live coyote.

HECTOR WANTS TO PLAY is about Hector the Gila Monster who comes from his burrow underground (gila monsters can sleep underground for up to two years) and wants to play with all the desert animals. They refuse, calling him a monster. However, Hector uses his scary features and rescues the desert animals. They change their minds and invite him to play.

Winners today will receive copies of these books. The publisher also printed uncolored copies of the same book so that we have coloring books also. The illustrator, Jeff White is terrific. You'll love the art. Hopefully Ill have it for my next posting.

These writing related blessings and touches of my dream have not been the only rewards for obedience and service. I can't tell you of all the blessings that have rained down on me and mine. It would take a book. Hmmmm that's an idea. smile

But I love to hear about all the ways God blesses us. I am told that listing them builds our faith and encourages others.

So please share with our Seeker friends how you have been blessed through a trial or tribulation. These stories will build hope and encourage all of us who do face setbacks and roadblocks to our dreams.

And these stories will require lots of comfort food.

On one table I have all the salty/crunchy treats like baskets of chili cheddar Fritos, Carolina tangy chips, tortilla chips and pretzels. To go with these we have bean dip from Serranos, salsa, pico de gallo and old fashioned onion dip. There's clam dip, spinach and cream cheese dip, and artichoke and parmesan cheese dip. Bowls of assorted nuts abound.

On table two, we have assorted chocolates from Ghiradelli, Sees and Godiva. There's bowls of M&M's, Reese cups and chocolate covered donuts. I made a batch of homemade fudge with walnuts. There's a chocolate cake with pudding filling and chocolate ice cream to go on top. The Sugar Bowl (located in Scottsdale, AZ) offered to make sundaes with their homemade hot fudge and will be at the table all day. (Yep, even for breakfast)

So dig in.

And please share your stories.


  1. Here's the coffee to go with all your goodies. I made two pots since you have two tables of goodies.

    My mother passed away 2.5 years ago. During the 4.5 years she was in the nursing home I had power of attorney and dealt with all her paperwork and issues. Now I look after my younger sister, who relied on Mom for everything, including raising her 2 girls.

    I don't know if it's good or bad, but a number of personal experiences find their way into my manuscripts. It's kind of a catharsis I think.


  2. Hey Sandra,

    (((hugs))) from Tennessee. Thank you for answering His call for your life. Sounds like you're just where you need to be.

    Your books sound so wonderful. YAY kidlit!!! But honestly, you write across so many genres, what a blessing.

    Oh my - I could write a book! Oh wait! This isn't the place to say that and not mean it, is it?! Ha!

    Let's see, among other things, my Mom had a mid-cerebral sub-arachnoid hemorrhage 13 years ago this coming Tuesday. Coma 10 days, had to jump start her twice. The doctors said if she lived, she'd be a vegetable...

    It's at these times life becomes quite simple and you truly focus on what is important. We were uplifted in prayer from friends and family and even from the hospital workers. What a blessing to have strong Christians right there in SNICU, helping us through this testing time. We were able to minister to others, me, my husband and Dad, because our faith is very strong.

    Mom not only survived, but she continues to improve, even now. (She has a complete right field cut in both eyes, and severe aphasia.)

    So for those who say there is no hope, listen! You don't know the God of the Universe like we do. It's His plan and His will to do as He pleases, all to His glory.

    Mom came to visit us when we lived in Venezuela and traipsed through the jungles with us. She's been on a cruise to the Med. All sorts of things. And wow does she minister to others.

    My Dad has been right there with her along the way.

    She adores my husband and worked for four years to say his name again. THAT is persistence. She is one courageous lady and I'm honored to be her daughter.

    She is still my biggest cheerleader, though my husband and Dad run close behind.

    Thanks for the goodies. It's about time for a midnight snack! ;D

    Good to see you too Helen. I'm sorry about your Mom. You are wonderful to help with your younger sister too. :)

  3. Sandra, thank you for sharing your story. I actually did a blog post today (well, yesterday now) about almost losing my dad this week. And how Ruthy's book "Small Town Hearts" really blessed me through it.
    The biggest trial I ever faced, and still walk... is believing God for restoration of my marriage. Two years, two months, and counting.
    But in this season, my love of writing was renewed and has brought me immeasurable community and confidence and that has been such a blessing.
    If it's one thing I have learned, and is played out in my hero's journey, it's that even when we don't feel or see God, he's there. With a love that pursues us even through the refining fires. That's the grace that keeps me going in the hard times.
    Now... for some of those Tangy Carolina Barbeque chips with a side of chocolate cake =)

  4. Sandra,

    I can't honestly say I understand or have peace about my father's suffering before he died of cancer more than three years ago.

    Your words give me something to ponder today.

    Your books sound wonderful so put me in the drawing, please.


  5. Sandra I know what its like to care for an elderly person in my case my mum. she was almost 45 when I was born and I was a carer basically from 30. just over 2 and a half years ago she broke her leg and has been in a nursing home ever since. even having a brother 1 hr away I have been the one it all falls to and it is hard. Mum wants to die she lies in bed and doesn't get out except a weekly bath, doesn't read, or listen to music and really has a miserable life which is her choosing. She will be 92 on Wednesday.
    I have never had a full time job but I am seeing my life starting now. When mum went into care the landlord became even more irrational in many ways. he wanted me out and had me so stressed. This house I am in was Gods plan the people who own it I clean for they needed someone who would let them store stuff in one room and let them keep some of there furinture in other rooms and the second bedroom also was full of stuff for along time. I was ok with that. It helped us both. this house is stone and so cool in summer (almost to cool) and solid and just right. I started Tafe studying business and now am looking for work. in the past week I got a scholarship to cover expenses and believe that was also Gods doing. I am sure I will get a job.

    Now if I can just work out how to proofread my reports and get the grammar right I will be happy.

  6. Sandra, I've seen 'looking back' how amazing God's timing is in so many parts of our lives and how he frees up someone's time to serve others.

    I fought for awhile, hanging on to my 'own time' to write, until I put it aside to just be companion to my mother. God gave me back that time and doubled my blessings. The bigger struggle was that I was holding onto WORRY as well, when all along He had the perfect solution!

    Thank you for sharing this again, and I must say I do think of you in this situation and it's sweet to hear God's provision throughout.

  7. I am on the other end of this, with kids now at school age. When they were little, I still wrote, but the kids won out over writing pretty much every day (I often wrote in the middle of the night), and teaching English won out the rest of the time.

    Now, though, we've moved, and because of my husband's job, teaching is not an option. And the kids are both in school. So I'm writing, and writing, and writing. Now it's my job to use the opportunity I have to work as hard as I can.

    Your two books sound darling, and even with my kids getting a little older, I still collect all the kidlit I can.

    Oh, and thanks for the snacks! You are wonderful!

  8. Wow Sandra! You've had so much going on. You're very inspiring!!! I haven't had to deal with any loved ones passing away yet and don't look forward to it. :-(
    But if it happens, I hope I can be graceful about it all.

    Congrats on all those contracts!

  9. Sandra, good to see you! In a virtual way, of course!!!

    And very telling post, something so many of us have been dealing with. This sandwich generation stuff ain't easy.

    But it carries its own benefits and rewards, right?

    Chocolate table.

    Oh my. I've been good MOSTLY. Although I did buy a funnel cake on Saturday at Canal Days. With two grandkids (a-stinkin'-dorable)...

    In a thunderstorm.

    Of such things exaggerated memories are made, LOL! I'm grabbing Helen's coffee. Loving her! And Helen, I think it's good for bits and pieces of our lives to find their way into manuscripts. It makes them more real, don't you think?

    And when I hit publish, it might be the kennel account because I can't remember what I'm signed in as this morning.


  10. Bless you, Sandra! It's hard being a caregiver, watching someone you love slip away a little at a time and wondering if anything you're doing is helping. But you're doing it with a grace and humbleness that will earn you 'Well done, my good and faithful servant!'

    Helping my mother take care of my grandparents is what propelled me into writing. Mom was so wound up after a day of doctor appointments and struggling over the bank accounts with her siblings that I suggested she start reading to relax. She'd never been much of a reader but she took to it like a duck does to water this time, so much so, she ran out of things to read. So I started writing little stories to keep her occupied until the next set of books came out.

    I've got some fresh strawberries(if my daughter hasn't raided the frig) and low fat whipped cream for anyone watching their waistline.


  11. Sandra, you're an inspiration! A model of a servant with God's own heart. Your books are as wonderful as you are! I can't wait to see the latest two!!

    In the trials of my life, I've seen the love of others. A huge blessing. I try to give as I've received with prayers and calls and acts of service.

    I agree, Helen. Nothing we experience is wasted. And often ends up in our writing.

    Wow, the snack tables are amazing! Thanks Sandra!


  12. Oh, SANDRA, your post touches a MUCH needed chord in so many people's lives, including mine -- THANK YOU!!

    I am caretaker for my precious Aunt Julie, who is 93 years old, and the "age" thing has finally caught up with this sweet, little woman who has been healthy as a horse her entire life. Broken hip, ministrokes and umpteen hospital/rehab visits have put her through SO much that it breaks my heart. And, true to life, much of this trauma seems/seemed to go on during some of the biggest deadlines of my year, which proved stressful, but more than doable through the grace of God.

    But one of the greatest lessons I have learned through all of this is to cut myself some slack. One time, I was SO overwhelmed with a deadline, and I got the call that AJ had fallen again (a pretty frequent occurance, although this one ended up being relatively innocent, thank God), which meant another 12-14-hour emergency stint for AJ followed by a hospital stay, something neither of us wanted. I remember feeling so bad for AJ and then for myself because of my deadline, which heaped guilt galore on me for even worrying about the deadline because AJ came first. But as a human being, I was feeling sorry for myself and SO guilty, when all of a sudden the story of the two sons came to mind. Their father asked them to do something and one said, "yes, I will," but didn't do it while the other said, "no, I won't," but did do it. God showed me that day that it is our obedience that counts with Him, not our feelings. Let me tell you -- THAT set me free BIG TIME!!!

    My prayers are with you, my friend. And Hector and Percival sound ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE!!!


  13. Helen, thanks for the coffee and a pot for each table. Great thinking.

    Yes, the writing is cathartic. My family always teases me and says you write because your characters are the only ones who do what you tell them.

    Well I don't tell them the truth. My characters are just as trying as they are sometimes LOL

  14. Helen, I forgot to mention my condolences for your mom.

    Its tough when they leave us. So often I want to pick up the phone.

    What a blessing you are to your sister.

    And you just know those deep felt feelings get into your writing.

  15. I have so much admiration for people who take on the care of an elderly relative! It's not easy and often very time consuming. Many of my friends who had looked forward to a retirement they could enjoy after raising kids, suddenly found themselves tied down to parents in need of their care.

    My own parents and my husband's parents passed away at relatively young ages, so we never dealt with elder care. But I remember how many visits my mother and I paid to her aunts in nursing homes 100 miles away. Her example instilled in me a strong sense of responsibility for the helpless and the elderly.

    Great post!

  16. KC, Yeah kidlit. You'll love these books. I can hardly wait for my publisher to send the cover art to post.

    I love, love, love all the miracles and testimonies that happened around your mom. What a gift to all she comes in contact with.

    How special that she worked so hard to say your hubby's name. That makes me want to cry.

    And God is awesome. We were told my friend would be a vegetable too and he is improving every day. Walking, sitting up, eating by himself, talking, teaching Bible study in the nursing home. I love it.

  17. Nancy, A girl after my own heart. Tangy Carolina chips and chocolate cake. Too funny.

    Thank you for sharing your testimony regarding your dad. Is he doing better now? My prayers are with you.

    And a marriage healed. How romantic is that? God is faithful even when we don't see Him.

    A Bible study I took last fall suggested that our trials are tests to see if we will rely and trust God. If that is true, I'm going to praise like crazy because I want to pass that test so I don't have to do it over again. smile

  18. Dearest Cathy, I know the pain of watching a loved one suffer cancer pain. Oh my. I am soooo sorry.

    My mother who suffered had more faith than I, bless her. So the bottom line is do we trust even when there is no logical explanation?

    Tough question.

    I hope you're reading some of these testimonies because they are what help us build that trust.

  19. I think I'm sitting by Cathy - I'm not seeing a blessing from my mom's death nor from watching my dad suffer and worrying about what to do for him. I suppose it's there somewhere and I'll keep looking...

    ooh a chocolate table - scoot over ya'll!

    and for my challenge of making my way through the seeker authors I haven't already read - I just finished Missy's A family for Faith. good story though she should've smacked Gabe a bit earlier IMO!


  20. Hi Ausjenny, Wow, sounds like God is indeed working for you. And you have been working for yourself also.

    He will put in our hearts what to do, but we need to go out and do it. I'm proud of you.

    Hang in there with your Mum. Its tough in your nineties because your mind wants to go but the body often won't let you. That's what my dad says anyway.

    What a blessing you are to be there for her and your brother. I'm so glad you are focusing on the blessings and not the trials. Tough to do but important for your well being.

  21. Thanks Debra,

    I'm always amazed and grateful when I hear how many others suffer the same challenges. It is encouraging to hear how they handle the situation with such grace.

    And hindsight is a wonderful blessing isn't it? That is when we truly see the hand of God in our lives.

  22. Hi Shakespeare,

    There is no limit or end to the ways we can be challenged. Children are a blessing, but an exhausting one.

    How wonderful that you were faithful to their needs. Your reward of time now is encouraging. We can all look forward to that time.

    One thing about the challenges, they do give us grist and emotion to draw upon for our characters.

    Have fun with all that writing.

  23. Hi Jessica,

    Don't worry about the future. God will prepare you. Enjoy the times with your parents now while you can.

    One thing I can say about my parents and friend. I don't have regrets because my relationship with them was wonderful. And that was due to their faith and love. They were easy to love and a blessing to many.

  24. Sandra, you have been on my prayer list! I had same responsibilities with both parents (am an only), and only God gets us through it. Your post and comments today are a blessing and inspiration. Take care!

  25. Hey Ruthy girl,

    Good to see you too. I did peak back at past posts to read about your trip to NY with the Teenster. sounds like you had a great time.

    You're the expert on getting those challenges and emotions into your stories. They encourage all of us.

    Help yourself to the chocolate. There's plenty. I know I need to provide plenty with you around. LOL

  26. Hi Patty, Thanks for the words of encouragement. Yes, it is tough watching them slip away, but I keep going back to Revelations and read about all the partying going on. smile

    I love that you wrote stories for your mom. I hope you're publishing them as they would help all of us.

    I hope you're giving her Seeker and Seeker friends books to read. That ought to keep her busy. smile

  27. Hi Janet, Yes, the love of others is a huge blessing. Those people who walk through these trials with love are the ones who draw us to the Lord. They do me anyway.

    I know that your experiences reach into your writing because of the depth of your characters.

    One thing we as writers can and do is use these emotions we experience to bring life and depth to our characters.

  28. Oh Julie, What a great testimony and one I so needed to hear.

    I love that you learned this even through a deadline trial. You are right, your auntie does come first and then God will reward your obedience.

    He does it differently with each of us according to what we need to learn and work on. That is what is truly amazing. God does super individualized instruction.

    Julie your testimony is soooooo encouraging. Thanks

  29. Hi Cara, You may not be taking care of elderly, but you are there for your grandson. That is almost more time consuming than an elderly person. LOL.

    So I know you are a faithful servant also. Take care and look for the blessings. They do rain down.

  30. I have to agree with what Sandra says: For me the blessing in my personal tragedy was the support and friendship of those near and dear to me.

  31. Oh Susanna, You are so right. There is never any joy is watching someone suffer. You feel helpless, angry, frustrated and exhausted.

    Often I get so full of those emotions I just fall to the floor and scream and then repeat Jesus name over and over until a peace falls on me.

    Then I'm learning (slowly but surely) to listen and I hear what to do next. One baby step at a time. That's when I see God is there. Not during the trial so much as after. Hindsight. That is the blessing. And who knows why we have to suffer so much. It isn't for us to question I guess. But to trust and still hang on to our faith. Tough to do. But what is expected of us.

  32. Hi Sherry, What a blessing to have that support isn't it?
    I'm so glad you are able to see it and be thankful for it.

    That is what I love about Seekerville and all our friends. We do support each other. We party and celebrate together, but we also pray for and encourage one another.

    Thanks to all of you.

  33. Hi Jackie, Thanks for your prayers. I can so tell people are praying for me because of all the blessings I do see.

    I also see many paths cleared before me when I'm out taking care of the many tasks at hand.

    What is astonishing and something we all need to pray about is how many people take advantage of the elderly.

    I can't tell you how many times I've had to check charges for things (and these are responsible companies), I have to check for pricing as so many over-charge or take advantage of the stress and immediacy of the situation.

    If any of you are looking for work, think of ways to serve the elderly in a manner which maintains their dignity and trust. I could give you a list.

    Companion, home health care
    Preparing food
    etc. etc.

  34. Hi Sandra:

    I think we are where you are. My wife is a retired school teacher providing full time elder care to her disabled 90 year old parents.

    God gives us many gifts. The ones we like we call blessings. His other gifts are what make a life. I have to believe in those other gifts.

    Your books are an inspiration. I look forward to reading them. I see them as sunshine between covers.


    vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

  35. Trials and blessings? Like everyone else, I could write a book...:)

    The biggest trial we faced recently was my husband's job loss, unemployment, re-employment, separation as we waited for our house to sell, then finally a major move that took us 700 miles away from our older children, and even farther away from our elderly parents.


    The blessings pour down by the bucketfuls! (or is that buckets full?)

    From the beginning of this particular set of trials, we chose to believe that everything happens for our good and God's glory (Romans 8:28), and He has been more than faithful.

    The other ongoing trials - my mother's Alzheimer's is the biggest one right now - are similar. I can't change what God has ordained, so I live each day in faith that everything is part of His plan, and therefore good.

    I know He has a plan for my life, and right now that plan includes writing - a dream I've had since I was a young squirt. And the blessings just continue to pour.

    I'd love to win the books! Someday I may have grandchildren to share them with :)


  36. Hi Vince, Yes, those other gifts are life and what adventures we all have. Great reading don't you think?

    And yes, the picture books are a touch of sunshine. They make me smile and that is another gift. The illustrator did a terrific job.

  37. Hello,I've never read this blog before but I really like it.
    I'm 13 years old and ffound this site off of "go teen writerz" blog.
    I was wondering if yall could have a writing contest. And have judges and you have to write about this certain category Example:Romance, children, real life, Christian fiction (my personal fave),or history. I'm really all of the sudden into writing and I want to show off m skills and I would like to know if I'm any good. I was just wondering. God bless.

  38. Sorry about the comment I posted there was tons of mistakes.

  39. Jan, What a testimony that you remained faithful and relied on Romans 8 during a tough time. Many are facing the same trials of unemployment and undesired moves. The fact you were able to maintain your positive outlook and faith will help others.

    Alzheimers is so ugly. But the doctor told us one word of comfort. These patients, once well into it don't suffer like the patients with cancer, stroke, and other debilitating diseases. Each moment is a new moment and they have no pain. My mother in law had the most beautiful wrinkle free skin. She was always happy. She was Catholic so when I visited we'd recite the liturgy and prayers she knew by heart. She would laugh and sing. So maybe that will comfort you also.

  40. Anonymous, Ask and ye shall receive. There are places that have these contests. The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators has many events for teen writers. Also the American Christian Fiction Writers have events for teen writers also. Click on these blue links for more information.

    There are conferences that feature events for teens. Perhaps you and your parents could attend. You would find it rewarding, especially when you meet other teen writers.

    Best wishes on your writing.

  41. Since my hubby was asked to resign as youth-pastor, we've been learning to literally pray and trust God for our daily bread.

    God and I have more than a few spirit-to-spirit chats.

    Do I truly believe that God works all things together for good? Oh, that's easy to say I do, but if I truly truly truly believed it then I could look at whatever circumstance, trial, tribulation I'm in and have peace . . . and joy . . . and hope.


    Because this life we are living is temporal. And God desires us to start seeing that the real us lives in the eternal realm where death has no victory.

  42. Well said Gina, but then again, far easier said than done. Because we still have family to feed and house.

    But true faith and trust doesn't allow room for worry or frustration, but anticipation to see how He is going to fix this one.

    And yes, I often feel like life here is a virtual game we play and I'm out to win. I want the eternal promises.

    But whew. Its tough sometimes. Thanks for reminding us of what's important.

  43. When I read your post, I stopped to think about different trials I've had. To be honest, I can see the Lord's tremendous blessing on my life. It's only been in recent years that I've experienced the deaths of loved ones, and I was thankful that God allowed me to be a part of their lives for so long. I think one of my biggest trials, outside of learning how to be a better wife and mother, was the birth of our first child. I was induced and she wouldn't deliver for two days. The second day her heart rate dropped, I was drugged so I didn't remember what was happening, and she was born blue. I didn't even see her until the day after she was born. I was in the hospital for a week and she was in the NICU for a week. Through that experience, though, I saw God's protection! It was truly miraculous that we were even at a hospital that could take care of her (an hour away from our town) and a place that could take care of me. There are so many details that are evidence of God's special care in that situation. Now she is a thriving 4 year old!

    Your books sound great!
    Blessings, Stacey

  44. Stacey, what a touching story. I love hearing about how you could see the blessings looking back.

    And its touching and special to know He is with us at all times, birth, death and inbetween years. smile.

    Thanks for sharing. I bet your four year old is precious and full of energy.

  45. God bless you, Sandra. I will be praying for you. Right now I am caring for a 2-yr-old, probably for at least six more weeks. I wasn't looking for a 2-yr-old to take care of. The toddler years, when my two girls were toddlers, were some of the hardest of my life. There were times when I felt too tired to move and at the same time, like my brain was melting. But when God says do something, you just do it! And God has blessed me in ways I can't really explain. I've learned a lot from our unexpected 2-yr-old.

  46. Hey folks I'm driving back to Tempe. It will take about three hours so I'll be back for you evening folk.

    Blessings and tell me those stories. I can hardly wait to read more.

  47. Melanie, What a blessing you are. Yes, you are so right. The blessings are often subtle growths within ourselves so we can't really explain them.

    When you're around a two year old don't you wish you had half their energy? I will be praying for you. smile.

  48. There is a message in Julie Lessman's September Release A Heart Revealed, about beauty in suffering. I know that's not it exactly. Beauty in sacrifice maybe. I can't remember the exact words but I remember the message that God can use what we're living through, even if it's hard.

  49. I took care of my parents for a little over a year until my sister was able to have them move in with her. Now, my husband is chronically ill and not only am I taking care of him, but also I'm finding that the household issues that he normally handled are falling to me.

    One thing that I've realized is I must take care of myself - or I will not be able to take care of anyone else.

  50. Anonymous, that goteenwriterz site rocks.

    A writer's contest....

    Run by Seekers....


    Food for thought, chickie! And I'm glad you stopped by. I've been over to "Go Teen" and I love working with teenage writers. Awesome ideas.

  51. We are Steel Magnolias.

    And I don't mean just us women, but people who do whatever it takes.

    Edwina, I can't imagine you any way BUT strong. You just seem that way but ESPECIALLY the coordinated jewelry.

    I'm so stinkin' jealous. You look...

    awesome. ;)

    In all honesty, though, I think that we're not as expectant of rough times or physical care because first, people live longer... So it's farther times in between.

    Babies rarely suffer. (Thank God.)

    We rarely lose children nowadays.

    Most people do not die young.

    So there's a long gap where we feel like we're in control and then zap. Elder care. Cancer. Menopause. More Elder care. And think about how many fragmented families there are, so you're throwing in extra parents and grandparents into the mix.

    That ten year extension on life makes a timely difference.

    Tricky stuff, but I'm so glad we've got each other to bounce things off of. What a boon (a little Celt coming out in me...) to all of us.

  52. Oooh! We're going to have to get those great prairie dog books! How funny!
    And I will only admit this under cover of darkness, but chili cheese Fritos ROCK.
    God has blessed my writing by having my kids interrupt every step of the way. Honestly. I think if it ahd been easy to find the hours, I wouldn't have worked so long or so hard, determined to do SOMETHING other than dishes and diapers. I didn't always get it. When I first started writing I woudl really, really frsutrated by the 3AM writing schedule. But God knows me pretty well. I'm not really interested if I think it might be 'easy'. (I didn't learn Spanish until I met my husband, but spent 7 years learning Russian and Polish... Because it was hard! Ha!)
    I'm glad your dad is doing so well and great post!

  53. P.S. Julie, the two sons comment you made is so very, very true! Thanks for reminding me...

  54. Hi, Sandra! Welcome back and so sorry for all your hardships. Not sorry for the molding God has been doing in you, just sorry for the pain it takes to get there.

    So far, the touches of my dreams have been my boys. They are nearly my everything in this life. I've had some touches in regards to published articles. I'm still working on the fiction dream.

    One unexpected dream has been my writer's network. I moved away from my home, family, friends, doctors/specialist, church in hopes of fulfilling my husband's dream of living where he would be happier. In all that I gave up, God is using me to start a network of Christian writer's here in Columbia, SC. One of my dreams is to help others however God has gifted and ordained for me to do so. I've been blessed with a tremendous response. Writers seem to be coming out of the woodwork. If I never become famously published, I will be happy to encourage others to be the best writers they can be.

    In one way, my health has hindered every dream I've ever had. But, he's using my poor health to give me time to write. It's strange the way God works. I'm just glad He IS in control!

    I have a 5 year old, so would love to be in the drawing for your books. :D

  55. Thanks for sharing your inspirational story with us! Sometimes life is so hard but always remember that there are people praying for you and God is always there.

  56. Mary its so true that God uses our experiences of suffering, especially to help others.

    I can't tell you how many writers I've helped who have gone on to get published. Its so encouraging and lets me know that God is using the gift He gave me even though I think it should be in other ways--like my books being published. We are so funny--us human beings. chuckle.

    And yes, you also show in your writing how God uses the trials your characters have.

    Seeing the connection is what helps us get through our own trials. We can say "well so and so did it. I guess I can" And there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

    so thanks all of you for sharing.

  57. Edwina, true words of wisdom. Yes, yes, take care of yourself because you are needed. I'm betting you were prepared for your husband by the experience with your parents.

    I've noticed how each circumstance gives me the experience I'm going to need for the next. That is why my friend who had the stroke always used to advise me. "Praise God for your circumstances and thank Him because you don't know what the next set will be."

    Isn't it funny how we think our spouse doesn't do enough until we end up doing their share and realize how much they truly do.

    Its always easier to look at the negative but we need to remind each other to look at all the positive that surrounds us daily. That's God and His angels. smile

  58. Hi my Celtic friend and mentor. Yes, my mother used to always say "Our generation doesn't know how to be old because no one in my family has lived this long." Her parents passed in their fifties.

    So we all learned together.

    And the thing about this aging generation, we will find solutions for these things that baffle us now. I am looking forward to the young minds that come up with the discoveries.

    I just heard they have a new medicine that slows melanoma. See. God does give us the wisdom when we know what we need to seek.

  59. Virginia. I love you. Yes, Chili Cheese Fritos are THE BEST. When I'm at my most desperate, I go find some. I have to buy the small packages though because I can't stop. smile

    I love 3 am writing schedules. The best time of the day. Ruthy can attest to that also. smile

    But I'm finding the older I get..........

    Aren't we invincible when we're young????? I love it.

  60. Linnette, What a blessing you are to your new community. Wow. God IS using you and with the gifts you love. Writing. How special is that?

    I too have helped so many. And who am I to argue with God about how He uses the gifts He gives me? And no matter how He uses us, the end result is ALWAYS rewarding.

    And how special that you are seeing your health issue as a slow down way for you to have time to write. That's what I'm talking about. I'm so glad you understand. We just need to open our eyes and SEE all the ways God steps in and helps us to serve Him.

    Blessings. And I can hardly wait to read some of your writing. You have a gift. I can tell from your posts. smile

  61. Faye, I count on the prayers. Thank you so much.

    All of the Seekers and our friends are in my prayers too.

    And from the sound of it, God is honoring those prayers.

  62. Oooooh Oooooh Ooooooh

    My publisher just sent me the covers. Tina assures me I can add them into the post so I am going to try.

    I hope I don't screw this up. sigh. But you'll love the covers when you see them.

  63. Sandra, I'm so glad you got your covers today!! Thanks for sharing. :)


  64. Thanks, Sandra! Your words are so encouraging!

    Love the book covers! :D


  65. Those ARE wonderful covers, Sandra!

    I keep remembering what Jesus said, "Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me." I looked into my 2-yr-old's big brown eyes this evening and thought, "I'm doing this for you and Jesus." It was a special moment.

  66. Hi Missy, Aren't the books adorable? I love the animals.

    Good to hear from you.

  67. Melanie, What a special treat you had today.

    Thanks for sharing. It blesses us too. smile

  68. Well folks, I'm off to bed.

    Thanks for all your sharing. Your testimonies will surely encourage all of us who face trials and tribulations.

    Have a blessed week.

    And look for winners on the weekend edition

  69. SANDRA ... I am SO glad I could encourage you, because you encourage and inspire me, my friend, MORE than I can ever say.


  70. Hey, MARE, thanks for remembering that lesson in A Heart Revealed -- that there’s a great gift in pain, and nobody drives that point home more than the heroine, Emma Malloy, a woman so inflicted with pain in her life, that only God's grace could transform her through it, and transform her He does!! Just like He can do for each and every one of us during the traumas of our lives, praise God!!


  71. Thanks, VIRGINIA -- glad it could impact you like it did me when God relieved me of my guilt. :)


  72. What adorable books you have!! Who was the publisher? If you need an honest review of them from a mama of 6 I would be honored. Enter me to win, and I will pass on the info to the library as well.
    Blessings to you

  73. This post is good timing for me. This past weekend I had to tell my mom I could not stay with her more than 1 night/week from now on. Talk about stress! My 2 sisters & I have been staying with Mom nightly since her coming home in August after having a stroke. I work at a middle school and write newspaper stories, including a weekly column. I’m exhausted and need a LONG break from the responsibilities. But at this point there’s no end in sight unless Mom decides to go to a nursing home. The cost is ridiculous so that’s more stress. All of these posts are consoling- knowing other people are in the same situation and are making it through. Thanks for being honest.

  74. Cool! The books sound awesome.
    I have had many of my close relatives die recently and just a few weeks ago a 18 month old baby girl passed away. I got to know her pretty well and I was devastated when I heard that she had died. I have overcome with lots of support from my family and prayers to God.

  75. Hi Sandra, Hope your Dad is doing better and sorry for the lost of your Mom and other family members.
    I survived colon cancer in 1999 but my beloved baby brother did not survive his Leiomeosarcoma. Sarcoma's are lethal cancers with no cure. Drs cut out the tumor and as much surrounding tissue as possible but it keeps coming back.
    2 different drs were treating him for pulled groin muscle but it was a 17 cm tumor of the soft tissue on his right side. He found the tumor himself. Drs gave him 3 mos but he lived 16 mos. He was so sick during the yr he was treated with chemo and he finally told him enough and stopped the last 4 mos. He was almost back to himself and working around his new home when he had heart attack and died within a few seconds. That was in 2003 and I miss him so much. He was such a good person. I still don't understand why Ronnie died and I lived. He had a wonderful wife, 2 daughters, a son and 2 grandchildren. Now there are 6 grandchildren. What is God's plan for me that keeps me alive?? That is what I wonder.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  76. Sandra~

    I love your post. My in laws are in the midst of the elder care phase of life also. The live with her mother, who is 88. Grandma doesn't always appreciate all they've done for her, but they never utter a complaint. Their patience amazes me.

    You are as inspiring to me as they are.

    I love the covers, and I know my little girl would enjoy the books.

    I'm too late for the drawing, so I'll just have to find them when their available to buy.

  77. I mean "when they are available"