Tag Archives: Family

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to the woman who taught me visits with Grandma were the best vacations, Young and the Restless is timeless, kissing on a bridge was not “making love,” there’s an art to walking in high heels, knowing if you’re a winter or a summer matters, the birds and the bees talk using the dust on the dashboard could be traumatic and hilarious, dance parties make everything better when you’re a little kid, shorts can be too short, sunscreen matters, koolaid and popsicles make hot summer days amazing, the best stories are the ones you make yourself, Writer’s Digest is a thing, Silhouette Romances are the best, kissing the man you love on the couch in front of your kids is a good thing, Mary Kay makeovers are the best, roses roses smells delicious but it’s brutal on those with allergies, matching Mother’s Day dresses can be a blessing and a curse, there’s a way to hold your mouth just so to get that perfect curling iron curl, the feathered hair haircut is perfectly achieved by putting hair in a ponytail and snip, great legs are genetic (wah!), great nails are too (yay!!!), chocolate fixes everything (wah!), fresh tomatoes-onion-cucumber does too (yay!), power through when you mess up singing, practice so the mess ups aren’t constant, it’s worth it to wake up early to see a royal wedding, reading is fundamental, recipes matter, “don’t make me stop this car” strikes fear in the heart of all kids even when they’re not in a car, and a whole bunch of other stuff. ❤️ Love you Mom.  MB

DGD Makes An Appearance

It happened. Actually it happened quite a while back now. I’m a grandma, and I finally understand all the talk about how amazing and wonderful that miraculous journey is.

People have always told me nothing beats being a grandma. Now I know it’s true. For future reference on the blog this will be DGD (Darling grand daughter). You can see from the photos that we’re kind of in love with this sweetie.

Blink and They’re 24, Living in Ohio

katie 1stWay, way back when I first started writing, about the time this photo was taken of DD, I developed a writing schedule. Back then I never wrote before 9 p.m. when DD went to bed and I’d write until whenever.

When I was student teaching, my amazing cooperating teacher Jan Adams gave me some great advice. She said NEVER take your work home with you and to remember that teaching is a job not your life.

I don’t think it’s possible to truly leave your work at school if you’re a teacher. There’s just too much to do. But it is absolutely essential to remember teaching is a job, and teachers need lives outside of the classroom. If we don’t protect our time with our families and our time for ourselves, we’ll burn out. Burned out teachers are NOT good in the classroom. They can’t be. (This is all EASY, PEASY in the summertime!)

I have to believe my writing has helped keep me from burning out. I have friends who are artists, and I see the same thing there. When they practice their art, they are better teachers. When they cook or redecorate houses or play games or travel, they are better teachers.

I feel confident this is not just a teacher issue. Any job that consumes life is bad news. Writing kept my job from consuming my life. And it helped me remember family first.

Back in those days when DD was little, scheduling time to write was easy.

katie nowNow that she’s 24 and DH and I are empty nesters and DD lives 1300 miles away….

It’s a good thing I ingrained the writing schedule into my brain. Today, I still write more from 9 p.m. until whenever than I do the rest of the day.

I write more unless I’m intentionally taking time off. Time off like last week when DD came to visit. 🙂

*****

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Angel Eyes, The Guardian Book 3 releases July 20!

Dead Girl Walking, The Guardian Book 1 releases in audio this month. More info soon! (I love, love, love the book in audio!!!! I can’t wait to share.)

 

 

 

The World Turns…

When I started this blog, I didn’t have Facebook or twitter or Pinterest. My daughter was in junior high. I’d lost a lot of weight on WW (and then gained and lost and gained and lost…). It was super bowl time and I talked about strawberries a lot. I wrote a lot. I read a lot. I posted crazy photos. I dreamed about traveling. I was a cat mom and never thought about owning a dog. I ate carbs all the time (thus the weight gain and loss, gain and loss). My grandparents were alive and I went to stay with them every once in a while, usually with my daughter. My grandma sang all the time. She and her best friend my Aunt Helen let me take their photo at family reunion, I belonged to a yahoo group called catarom and spent a god-awful amount of time reading emails. I hadn’t ever heard of education reform or the WFISD Leadership Cohort.

It’s crazy how much has changed.

Those changes are why I love this blog. It’s so amazing to walk back through life and see how I’ve grown. It’s also awesome to connect with readers and writers and just say hey.

Today I wrote 7k words. I still write a lot.

I’m up to chapter 7 in a Karen Templeton book. I still read a lot.

I deleted twenty emails and kept about 50 I need to read. I might get to 10 of them. I rarely read email now.

I checked in on facebook and twitter for what was supposed to be a second but that turned into an hour. Facebook and twitter consume time if I let them.

I was grumpy about some things and then a friend posted asking for prayers for a family member and it was like God smacked me with some perspective. I still learn a lot.

Happy reading and writing.

Hopefully I finish a book draft tomorrow before lesson plans.

 

The Best Kind of Phone Call

Dead Girl Walking

One of my Georgia nieces called last night. She made her yearbook staff, so I thought that’s why she was calling. Nope. She called to tell me she LOVED Dead Girl Walking. That it was worth the 23 hours she spent reading it. 🙂

She thought Sharlene was scary at first because she was dead and all, and she thought it was funny that Sharlene was such a bad guardian angel when she started. She LOVED Addison. She was super excited to hear that Addison will be back in book 4. And I sent her a sneak preview of book 2 that releases Aug. 25.

 

I better get busy on book 3’s edits. She’s ready to read it now!

Coolest phone call ever. 🙂

 

 

 

It’s Not You, It’s Me

I did’t plan on breaking up with Facebook. I knew I was going to limit my time on the site because I was spending WAY too much of it there. But then I started reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brenè Brown (OMG, soooooooo good! Go watch her TED Talks!), and I read her words about–paraphrasing here–spending time in fulfilling activity and how vegging in front of the computer for hours after work often leaves people feeling empty. I realized that’s exactly what I was doing. Vegging. For hours. Worse, I was “connected” with people from school, but because of that “connection” I’d quit actually seeking them out. Facebook was an addiction. And it was taking away from who I am instead of making me a stronger, wiser, happier person.

I don’t think that’s the same for everyone. But for me, Facebook without boundaries is worse than Pinterest.

So, I’m on a Facebook hiatus. When (if) I get back on, I’m setting a strict time limit.

Family, I love you! Text me. Email me. Tweet me. Or better yet, come see me! 

Friends, the same thing applies.

Facebook friends: We’ll meet again. I just need to Facebook detox. I’ll be back after Easter.

A Look Back

This is supposed to be my resolution post. My beginning of the year ode to “doing better.” I’m going to break with tradition. Today is prompted by my trip to Walmart yesterday.

As I approached the checkout lane I spied this little treasure:

ImageBack in the olden days, the January Cosmo was a must have. Judge all you want. My friends from the time can attest to the fact. We ALL bought it.

Today I’m far more likely to buy:

Imageor People or maybe a Weight Watchers magazine.

Times sure have changed. I’m thankful for the past and the memories of days gone by and the advice of the Cosmo Astrologer and the millions of laughs and fun times I shared with those friends from high school and college.

It’s a new year and I can’t wait to see what it brings!

A look back on 2012:

I lost 60 pounds! Loving the low carb life.

ON moved in and we survived! (No more empty nest)

We started building our house!!!!!!!! ❤

My blog went viral and continues to garner huge numbers when I post about education and/or writing.

I self-published several books successfully including Letting Go, which spent a day as the #1 christian romance on Amazon Kindle.

I became a doggy mom to a rescue.

I saw my 9th (and best!) RUSH concert with DH.

Overall, I’d say 2012 was an amazing year.  I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings.

(HOPEFULLY hockey! Definitely more books.)

Sometimes a Hug is the Best Answer

1st Watermelon

I thought I’d spend this week sharing stories about my new inspirational romance, Letting Go. I thought maybe I’d talk about forgiveness and how it’s not for the other person, it’s for you. I thought I’d talk about people who’d been involved in abusive relationships or who’d been abandoned or who had never learned about love, but all that changed this week when I had to take a deep breath and be Mom.
When your kid’s 5, you can give them a hug and make most things better. When they’re 10, that pretty much stays the same. Maybe you add a movie to it. When they’re teenagers you can tell them what you think they should do, and often, they follow your advice. Well, not often, but sometimes. Every once in a while.
When they’re 20+ it takes everything in you NOT to tell them what to do.
ON (oldest niece) actually gave me some great advice this week. She said “Auntie, you just shake your head and don’t say anything. Let her talk. Listen. That’s how you handle this.”
Funny. It took a 17 yr old to help me help DD.
I want to go Hallmark and say our troubles make us stronger and God won’t give you more than you can handle. Or all superior and say “look chickadoodle. I’ve walked this road, and let me tell you how to do it.” Or all manipulative and say “look, you do this and I’ll do this and…”
But none of those are the right answers. The right answer is what I’ve tried to do. Listen and love and let her know I trust you to learn from this. And even though it’s Hallmark, you can’t go over, under or around. You’ve got to go through it. And always: No matter what, God’s got you in His arms. When we’re too tired, He’s there. When we’re too hurt, He’s there. When we’re too confused. He’s there. When we’re too unsure, He’s there.
And I’m there too. With unlimited hugs and unconditional love. Just like when she was five and things were easy. ###

1000 degrees outside!

Plans for Spring Break

Almost every time I visit DD at Starbucks these perfect supermodel impersonator German or Italian mothers with several small children who look like they jumped off the pages of an Osh Kosh b’Gosh ad are in line with friends. For some reason I think that image stuck in my brain when I said my niece and nephew could spend the night one day this week.

MAN, kids are hard work! I have no idea how the above mentioned women look like a million bucks while raising children.
By the time Ella and Alan left, I was worn out. It’s going to take 48 hours to recover from a 24-hour visit.
But you know what? We had a blast. And all those Spring Break plans that didn’t happen because I chose Auntie Time instead? I’m cool with that.

And Now for the Rest of the Story…

50% off coupon for Honor and Lies and the link to buy the book at the bottom of this blog.

I suppose I should start this at the beginning, so I will.
I’m the product of a southern home. Not the Mississippi twang, Georgia Peach or Darlington tobacco farmer south, but the rowdy Oklahoma and outlaw Texas south.

In 1982, when I walked into a relative’s house with a friend chatting away about the wonders of sixth grade,  the relative stopped us and told my friend to step away from me because he didn’t want her talking to a “nigger lover” like me. (author aside: His words, not mine. I know they’re full of hate. I don’t write the word lightly, but it’s the truth of what was said, and it’s important to the rest of the story.)

The source of his agitation was the gold and yellow ribbon and feather barrette I had hanging in my hair.

That was my first introduction to bigotry, and it made an indelible print on who I am today. And with that mark came the first whispers of soul for the characters in Honor and Lies.

Those first whispers became shouts in 1987, although I didn’t know it, when a great uncle of mine who wanted to be a part of the Sons of the Confederacy started his genealogical research, bound and determined to show an ancestor had voiced a rebel yell during the Civil War.

His search brought fantastic results. Ancestors had not only fought, they had a plantation in South Carolina, and it was still standing.

Immediately, he went in search of this missing family, more than ready to tell them about their long lost relatives in God’s country.

He searched a long while before finally finding a small church on the outskirts of this town, and there he learned that not only was there a plantation, there was also a road named after the family.

And so his quest began in earnest. He drove the “family” road up to the ancient house that  stood a bit off the ground, with a great, sprawling porch around the entire structure and an equally ancient, old granny sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch with a shot gun across her lap.

When he got out of his car and approached the house, the old granny spit tobacco juice off to the side and asked him in direct terms what he wanted.

My uncle told the woman he was looking for the family place. He was a distant relative who had been tracing his ancestors and wanted to meet them.

My uncle says the old lady laughed. I imagine it was more of a cackle. Then she put the gun to the side, stood up and opened her arms up wide, saying, “Come and hug your granny, son.”

Or at least that’s the way the story goes.

Now my great uncle told this story to a house full of family in Oklahoma, and I could see the anticipation for the story’s end, a slide show made highlighting my uncle’s travel.

The lights went out and the slide projector came on, and there, on the screen before us, was the oldest, blackest person I’d ever seen.

She was Granny. The house was hers, and she was raising a whole new set of great grandchildren in it.

I wish I could have taped some of the reactions in the room. I bet a few of those people wished they weren’t in my grandma’s house because they sure did want to cuss.

With the Granny story, my characters slowly started on a road to fruition.

But the writer in me was afraid of them. So I waited.

I started my MA in 1997 with the full intention of doing my thesis over a comparison of 19th century northern women’s literature to 19th century southern women’s literature. I’d spent a great amount of time researching the topic and the century, and the whole women’s sphere idea interested me.

But then, Doctor Hoffman gave us a choice for our final paper. We could write the beginning research for our thesis, an in-depth study of the works we’d covered in class, or a novel written like or about the 19th century.

Granny whispered in my ear, and Honor and Lies was born. I hope you enjoy!

Honor and Lies coupon:  50% off for one month: coupon code is LH94Z

You can find the book here!