Age is in the mind of the beholder

My grandma cracks me up. A Swedish cutie in her mid-80s, Nanie has a very positive perspective on aging – her own aging, that is.

While we chatted this past week by phone (she lives 650 miles away), she told me about a friend of hers who is being stubborn. “But you know how old people are,” said Nanie. “They are just set in their ways sometimes.”

She then later mentioned how she volunteers for her church at a place that “serves old people.” Nanie said that it seems these days that everyone she knows is getting older, but not her. “Sure,” she admitted, “I have some wrinkles that have increased with time, but nowhere else am I getting older.”

Wow! I wish I could say the same! 🙂

This isn’t the first time Nanie has talked with me about “the old people.” Each time she does, I can’t help but laugh.

And appreciate her positive attitude when it comes to aging.

A spry and feisty lady if there ever was one, I hope that when I’m in my mid-80s, I have the same mindset!

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you might be an historical romance author if…

you might be an historical romance author if…

The other day, I was writing a scene for a new historical romance novel. My fingers flew across the keyboard as I ventured back to the another century…

Glancing from side to side looking for a place to hide, she willed her feet to move. Would this be how it would all end for her – a moment’s decision sealing her destiny?…

Of all the genres I enjoy writing, historical romance is my favorite. However, there are some days when it’s clear to me that I’ve spent a bit too much time in the days before modern technology.

If you write historical fiction, you know exactly what I mean. So, just for fun, I’ve listed six surefire ways to know that you’re a writer of historical fiction…

1. You’re getting ready for a family outing and you ask your husband to please hitch up the wagon instead of start the car.

2. Speaking of husbands, although your husband’s name is Lon, you find yourself calling him Zach, Jonah, Nate, Gabe, Matthias, or Thad because you’ve spent so much time with your male protagonists.

3. You say “I reckon” far too often.

4. Your kids are beginning to call you “Ma.”

5. You reach for a bonnet instead of a baseball cap to cover a bad hair day.

6. Your family doesn’t let you visit museums anymore because they know that when you visit, you become so engrossed in the historical photos that you never want to leave. Or you quip that if you were born in the 1800s, you would for certain shop at the millinery.

 

They clearly don’t understand that gazing for a mere few hours at antiques and old photographs gives you 10-years-worth of inspiration!

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You are thereby grounded until further notice from any and all museums.

There you have it! Six ways to know you might a historical romance (or historical fiction of any genre!) writer.

Now back to the past I go!

Why I’m proud to be an American

In the early 1900s, my great-grandparents arrived at Ellis Island from Sweden as children. What must they have thought as they neared the shores of their new homeland? Their entire lives were ahead of them.

Lives of freedom.

As we embark on yet another Independence Day (where does the time go? July already?!) It made me stop and think of why I am grateful and truly proud to be an American.

  1. Freedom. Freedom to worship my wonderful Savior, freedom to attend church without fear of persecution, freedom to go where I wish, wear what I want, and eat my favorite foods (even if they are not always the healthy variety!) all without giving it a second thought. So many in other countries will never know these freedoms. praying
  2. Foundation. Our Founding Fathers shaping and forming our great country with a   Judeo-Christian foundation.
  3. Gratitude. My grandfather, father-in-law, and a cousin are all veterans, who fought to keep our freedoms. My other cousin and an uncle are/were in the military stateside. So many others give sacrificially of their lives so we may enjoy the freedoms we embrace today. veteran
  4. Beauty. Whether it be the tallest mountains covered in pines, the sagebrush-covered deserts, the farmlands, or the prairies, America has scenery for just about everyone and every taste. farmland
  5. Individuality. I don’t have to be like everyone else. And no one else has to be like me. In America, we are individuals, each with our own ideas, opinions, likes and dislikes. At the end of the day, what bonds is us our patriotic love for our country.
  6. Voting. What a wonderful freedom to be able to vote for who I want to represent my country – from the city council members, to the county commissioners, state representatives, governor, and the President of the United States. I’ve taken my daughters with me every year from an early age so they can see the importance of voting. As they have heard me say, “you can’t complain about who represents us if you didn’t vote.”abrahan lincoln
  7. Dream. In the United States of America, I am free to dream. Free to dream of my future, my children’s future, and my grandchildren’s futures.
  8. Water. And not just any type of water, but clean water. May I never take for granted the ability to grab a glass of water from the tap or to take a shower.  water

Happy 4th of July! May we always show gratitude for the many blessings we have in our country, and may we remember those who have fought and continue to fight for America’s freedoms.

flag

16 must-haves for your next camping adventure

It’s that time of year again! Time for packing up the camper, loading the tent, or heading to the family cabin for a camping adventure. Our family loves outdoor activities, and camping is one of our all-time favorites.

scenery

So…before you head to the mountains with your family, here are 6 must-haves our family has discovered to be helpful on camping trips:

Make Life Easier.

1.We love the $1 plastic tablecloths found at the Dollar Store. The rectangle ones fit perfectly on the campground tables and when we’re finished, we toss them. I stock up each year at the beginning of summer, and the kids love picking out a variety of colors, and we always inevitably include the “Happy Birthday” tablecloth just for fun.

2. Another great idea is what our family calls “the umbrellas.” These plate-size mesh net contraptions pop up to surround a plate of food and protect it from flies, wasps, mosquitoes, and other bugs. These food covers can be found at Walmart, grocery stores, and at sporting goods stores and can be folded down when not in use.

3. A pop-up trash can is one of the best investments for camping we’ve made. We are sure to cover it properly each evening (to prevent bears from visiting our campground). We like the Stansport Collapsible Campsite Carry-All Trash Can.

4. Remember to pack a thin rope or strong string and some good old-fashioned wood clothespins for times when you need to dry out towels from a swim in the lake or wet clothes from being caught in an unexpected rainstorm.

Remember the Treats.

5. Camping just isn’t camping without Smores. Marshmallows also double for those cool crisp mornings when a cup of hot chocolate is on the menu.

smores

6. We also pack carrot and celery sticks, watermelon, hot dogs (to roast over the fire), and our family favorite, homemade gluten free no-bake cookies. The recipe for these cookies (which can also be modified for those without gluten and dairy allergies) can be found in my post Gluten Free Delicious No Bake Cookies.

Have some fun.

7. Our family loves games and what better place to play a few board or card games than around the campfire? Some of our favorites include Phase 10, Clue, Uno, Old Maid, Farkle, K-9 capers, and In a Pickle.

Do some exploring.

8. Our family always takes to exploring when we camp. Birds and flowers are among the two things we enjoy learning about the most. Purchase (or borrow from your local library) a guidebook. Some examples include Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest by Phyllis Gustafson and Mark Turner; Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb and Gordon Morrison; and Peterson Field Guide to Birds in North America by Roger Tory Peterson and Lee Allan Peterson.

wildflowers

Remember Safety.

9. Don’t forget the sunscreen. If you have sensitive skin, a great sunscreen to try is Vanicream for Sensitive Skin.

10. Remember the bug spray. Not only are mosquitoes lurking about in the mountains, but so also are ticks. The CDC has some helpful suggestions for avoiding ticks on their website as well as what to do if you find a tick on your body. Coghlan’s Tick Remover is an effective tool for removing ticks on both people and pets.

We recently discovered Permethrin Clothing & Gear spray for our pants, shoes, and backpacks. It’s good through six washings and repels and kills ticks, chiggers, and mosquitoes.

11. Keep a first aid kit nearby. Adhesive bandages, peroxide, Neosporin, and Benadryl (for allergic reactions) are some of the items you should include. The American Red Cross has a comprehensive list on their website. 

first aid

An important thing to note is that since latex allergies have become more prevalent (as many as “perhaps one in every 1,000 people” according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation)  it’s a wise idea to include some latex-free adhesive bandages in your first aid kit. We use Curad ® Sensitive Skin LatexFree bandages.

12. Purchase a snakebite kit and bear spray. It’s always a good idea to be prepared!

13. Also, don’t forget to bring along a bucket for water to put out your campfire.

And lastly, a few important items…

Add to your list include a camera (for capturing those memories);

14. A rainproof plastic poncho, individually-wrapped hand wipes (for when there’s no water);

15. Roasting sticks for the aforementioned hot dogs and marshmallows. We love the telescoping extendable roasting sticks; and,

16. A portable lantern – not only good for seeing at night, but also a good item to have for emergencies.

What are some of your must-have ideas for your camping adventures?

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You might be a people pleaser if…

I am a recovering people pleaser. Notice the emphasis on the word “recovering.” I haven’t mastered the concept yet, but with the Lord’s help, I’ve come a long way.

A quote the other day made me think about whom we are aiming to please. God? People? A convicting question. So how do we know if we are pleasing people instead of God?

You might be a people pleaser if…

  1. You care too much about what people think.
  2. You spend too much time wondering if people like you. You are constantly wondering if this person truly sees you as a friend, if they truly like you, or if you are important to them.
  3. Confrontation frightens you. Your knees quiver at the thought of another’s wrath directed upon you. So you do everything you can to avoid confrontation, even if it means agreeing with something your gut instinct warns you against.
  4. You worry about hurting the feelings of others. Then worry again. Over and over. It keeps you awake at night. What if something you said caused someone pain? What if they can’t sleep because of your unintentional comment?
  5. You have a difficult time saying “no.”
  6. You are an overthinker.

So, how do we people pleasers combat these symptoms?

  1. Realize it is God you should aim to please and not man. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. ~ Galatians 1:10
  2. Do everything for God and not for man. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. Colossians 3:23
  3. Learn from the wisest man and perhaps the one with the most experience in this matter. If anyone understood the problem of pleasing others, it was Solomon. Look at how he tried to please his multitude of wives and concubines…and where it got him. He states it well in Proverbs: The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. ~ Proverbs 29:25
  4. Don’t fear man’s opinion. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?~ Romans 8:31
  5. In the end, it’s not man’s opinion that’s going to matter. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. ~ 1Thessalonians 2:4b
  6. Trust in man is faulty. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. ~ Psalm 118:8

Working to please God does not carry the drama, heartache, and rejection that attempting to please people does. He never lets us down. His love is unconditional, whereas people’s love is conditional. God never loves us less when we fail. People will be sure to let you know what they think of you when you fail them.

Easier said than done, right? I am learning how important to place our focus on Him, rather than ourselves and those we aim to please. It has taken me going through trials to learn that people-pleasing is not the answer and not what I should strive for.

Hopefully someday by God’s grace, I will be able to confidently say, I am a recovered people pleaser.

Lecrae

He is Risen!

Today we celebrate Easter…the day that Jesus Christ rose from the grave and gave us hope. Hope for eternal life spent with our Lord forever.

After Jesus was crucified, thankfully, He did not stay dead. He rose again and is alive!

This world is but a pitstop, a blink of an eye, really, as we journey through on our way to an eternity spent with Him.

As I contemplate what He did for me – the sacrifice He made, my sins He took upon Himself, I am beyond humbled. Thank You, Jesus, for what You did for me. While I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me (Romans 5:8). May I humbly remember Your sacrifice every day of the year, not just the one day marked on the calendar.

Do you know Jesus and the hope His death and resurrection brings?

Happy Resurrection Sunday to you and yours!

Nothing is Hidden

My husband, bless his heart, loves “daylight” light bulbs. (Some might say it is an obsession). Recently, he replaced all the regular light bulbs in our house with “daylight” light bulbs, including the ones in the bathrooms.

“You can see a whole lot better now,” he said.

lightbulb (2)

A whole lot better is right!

My husband does have a good point. It is easier to read, write, cook, and homeschool with better lighting.

But really, ignorance was bliss when it came to the lighting in the bathroom. Sure, I now can put my makeup on correctly without missing a spot. And I can for sure see a lot easier if something is in my eye, but…

Every wrinkle, every zit, every gray hair is now more visible than ever before. Did I mention those under eye circles from staying up too late working on my current novel?

Before the replacement of the regular bulbs with the”daylight” light bulbs, I couldn’t see any of those aforementioned things very well.

Now nothing is hidden.

Such a thought reminds me of the verse that says “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” ~ Hebrews 4:13

There is nothing that we do or say that is hidden from God. More profound is the fact that nothing we think and no emotion is hidden from our Lord. As the verse says, it is all laid bare before Him.

He knows every thought and every action – even those things done in secret. Nothing escapes His attention.

So now I am adjusting – albeit grudgingly – to the “daylight” light bulbs in the bathrooms. I am seeing the “new” me a bit clearer these days.

And as the “new” me, it brings to mind that I am a new creation in Christ, and my thoughts, actions, and words ought to reflect that.