About Me

My photo

I love being a mom and a wife. I've married to a man I would do anything for, and we have three beautiful children. I see so much of myself in both of them that it sometimes brings me to tears (happy ones).

I also love writing. Romance to be specific. I love the happily ever after that I believe everyone deserves. My stories aren't 'stop and smell the roses' type romances. While I believe everyone deserves happiness and true love, I know that sometimes you have to walk a hard road to find it. Those are the types of stories I like to write. The happily ever after that wasn't found, but earned. I work to earn mine on a daily basis and so do my characters. 

I am also working on a children's picture book series. Inspired (of course) by my kiddos. :)

On the non-writing front, I play acoustic guitar, sing, read like I get paid for it, ride horses, hike, paint rocks, and support a rather obsessive addiction to Pinterest.

I love to cook, which combined with my pinning addiction, leads to many experiments foisted on my unsuspecting husband and kids, mostly with good results. But sometimes, the dogs gets what the family refuses to eat. And they never complain. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

What I'm REALLY Thankful For This Year - Thursdays with the Author

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here in the states! 

This week, instead of doing a Q&A with my readers, my post will be focusing on the holiday we are celebrating today. The spirit of Thanksgiving is all about the name, giving thanks.There's been a lot of social network buzz about thanksgiving with a November status drive called 30 days of thanks. Every day in November, users are encouraged to list something they are thankful for.

I chose not to participate as I feel we should be thankful EVERY day for what we have.I think the world we live in has grown pretty selfish. Materialism, money, fame, it's all gotten way out of hand. Especially here in the US. We tend to worry about what we DON'T have instead of counting the blessings of what we DO have.

Don't get me wrong, I've been guilty of this myself. All the time. But the last few weeks have been somewhat of a wake-up call for me in this department.

You see, less than two weeks ago, on Sunday, November 17, I was going to church with my daughter in a city 30 minutes from home. My son was staying home with my husband to help him work on his truck. It was an odd weather weekend for Illinois in November. Usually we have temperatures in the 30's and snow flurries. This particular weekend, the temps were in the high 60's and severe weather had been predicted for the afternoon. 

 Half way through 2nd service Sunday School, the alert on my phone went off. A tornado warning had been issued for home. I frantically text  my husband, asking if he was aware of the weather situation. He text back quickly, somewhat unusual for him, saying that the sirens were going off and he and my son were in the basement with some of our pets. He told me he was trying to get our son calmed down before going back upstairs to gather our other animals. This was also unusual behavior for him. Normally when there's severe weather (mostly in the Spring and Summer), we gather in the basement when the weather turns nasty and my husband never takes it seriously. He'll say he wants to stay upstairs and watch and will come down if it looks serious. Thankfully today he took the warnings seriously and got to safety.

Moments after getting a hold of him, someone came rushing in the room from the service, saying the church was being evacuated to the basement right as my phone alert went off again saying the area we were in was also under a tornado warning. I quickly found my daughter (the children's Sunday school classes were the first to be evacuated) and desperately tried calling my husband again. The cell service in our church's basement left a lot to be desired and my calls kept failing. Then it would ring and I would get no answer. 

I'm sure most parents and spouses can understand that at this point, I was freaking out. I called my mother (who happens to live between our church and home) for an update since my radar wasn't working. She informed me that there was a large cell with rotation over the church and a cell over our hometown area that had confirmed tornadoes. She assured me she would try calling my husband and reminded me to stay in the basement until the weather cleared. Minutes later, a member of the church came down to the basement with a chunk of hail as big as his palm. He reported there was damage and flooding outside but it looked like we had missed anything major.

The next phone call was from my sister telling me that Washington, IL had been hit, part of it being completely wiped out. My town is only ten miles from Washington. Normal weather patterns usually affect my house and Washington. I was sure at this point, that something had happened to my family. Until my husband called. I almost cried when I read his name on the screen. He assured me that they were fine, he'd managed to get all the animals to the basement and the weather had cleared. As far as he could tell there had been no damage to our property though he swore he heard what he described as 'a freight train passing over the house after the sirens had gone off a second time'. 

When our senior pastor gave the all clear I hurried home as fast as I could. Other than straight-line wind damage near our church, I was relieved to see no other damage on the 30 minute drive home. When I got home, I hugged my husband and son and tried to let go of the fear I had been feeling for the last two hours. My son excitedly told me how Daddy had brought his lizard down to the basement, dragged the reluctant dog down the stairs and searched the house for our cat before getting him a kennel and bringing him down while he objected indignantly. My family was safe and I was beyond thankful.

Then I turned on the TV. All the local stations, even CNN and the major networks were showing pictures and videos from the city next to our small town. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. A town that I had shopped and dined in, driven through countless times lay destroyed. An EF4 tornado, as we found out in the coming days, had touched down in the heart of town. In the coming days we found out that over 1000 homes had been destroyed, over 75 people had been injured and 1 man had died. My family could have been among the injured. My house could have been destroyed. My life could have been forever changed by a freak, fast-moving storm only ten miles from home. 

The things I worried about suddenly seemed so small. My family was safe. This thanksgiving I have a lot to be thankful for. I'm thankful that I'm not planning a funeral for a loved one. I'm thankful that I'm not spending this holiday sifting through the rubble of what's left of my home. I'm thankful that my family was spared from having our lives turned upside down. I'm thankful that the surrounding communities here have come together to support the towns affected by the November 17 storms. I'm thankful that people who couldn't afford to give, gave anyway. I'm thankful that a house is just a house and things can be replaced. And I'm thankful that I know what always has and always will matter most. The people I love.