Tag Archives: love

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.

New Characters

I sat down and read the first 2k of the new manuscript and knew I had a problem. My main character was all over the place. SHE didn’t know who she was. She was just there on the paper tagging along because her book was next.

Enter spotify.

Yesterday I worked on her a lot, trying to mold her into the person she needed to be with goals and motivations. Hopefully with the right attitude to lead to great conflict with the hero.

Thanks to Miranda Lambert, Pistol Annies, Cassadee Pope, Kacey Musgraves and the Dixie Chicks, she’s quite the spitfire.

Thanks to Susan Gable’s Character Motto, I found her tone of voice: Mama said “Catch more bees with honey.” I figured squish the damn bee with my shoe. If I miss and it stings me, at least I down fighting.

Thanks to Scrivener, I’ve got the main character sketches done and an opening.

Tonight I love this book. Tomorrow…well, if you’re a writer, you know how that goes. 🙂

 

FYI: The next Sharlene Gallagher Guardian book is out with beta readers. Not long until Angel Eyes hits the market!

 

 

THANKFUL #mywana

The British Museum always makes me think of Harrison Ford. Another thing to be thankful for.

The British Museum always makes me think of Harrison Ford. Another thing to be thankful for.

Things I’m excited about September edition: Survivor, cooler temperatures, the Colonial Marriage Ministry Sacred Marriage class, teaching InDesign to kids after school, watching the freshmen become Raiders, first amendment memorization, watching new editors learn to make lists, revising Sharlene book 3, more dominoes with Mom and Dad, kisses, decorating the living room of the new house, watching DD transform from a kid into a woman ready to take on the world, seeing Pam B on Wednesdays if only for a minute, remembering the freedom of an empty nest during deadlines but also remembering the newsroom is not life, orange, learning new low carb recipes that rock, CS6, gearing up for NaNo, high school football, hockey, halftime shows. Funny, when I started this, I thought the list would be small enough for a Facebook status update. Goal this year: start every day thankful.

The Ring of Kerry: I Left My Heart in Ireland

God’s Country. Ancient. Amazing.

1 First pic of Ocean and RocksThose were my thoughts as we reached the water on the Ring of Kerry drive in Ireland. I loved Ireland before. Now, it surpassed Paris.

The scenery here took my breath away and gave me chills. I could not believe how gorgeous it was. We were on bus full of people, half of whom were teenagers, and silence reigned for a moment when we turned the corner and saw this.

After quite awhile of breathtaking scenery, we stopped for the sheepdog 2 sheepdog demonstrationdemonstration. Our tour guide, Paul, told us he’d never seen it before, but he’d been told it was amazing. We learned to trust Paul.  The sheep and dog owner started the demonstration by telling the teenagers to think before they got a dog. He told them dogs need people, so don’t get one if you’re not going to be home. AND he told then to be aware of their space before they get a dog because Collies like his need lots of space and they’re super smart, so they need to be doing something all the time. Small space=small dog. Busy and gone all the time = no dog. Finally, he told them to never let someone else train your dog. He said YOU can go to training with someone else with your dog, but never to give the dog to someone else to train without you. I loved the demonstration, but I think his dog advice was worth the 5E admission.

Next we headed to lunch at the Scarriff Inn with Ocean views. 3 gorgeous 4 me and ON Paul made our reservations here instead of the place EF suggested because he said the ocean view was the best on the drive. I believe him!

5 Ocean 6 At the beachAfter that we made our way to the sea.

Thankfully, it was sunny. Cold still, but way better than the icy rain we’d experienced regularly up until now.

7 River at Sneem

After lunch we made a few stops, but my favorite was Sneem, Ireland. We were prepared for this quaint Irish village with a great Woolen Mill and other shops. What we got was the O’Sullivan Clan meeting. Wow! The place was packed. Security waved us into town and waved others out. Little O’Sullivans walked around in WANTED shirts with their pictures on them. Food carts were everywhere and the pubs were full. The river in Sneem reminded me of the river in Duluth, so I took a picture.

Finally we headed back to Killarney, this time through the Killarney National 8 Torc Waterfall at Killarney National ParkPark so we could hike up to Torc Waterfall. And by hike, I mean ouch. There are more steep hills in Ireland than anywhere I’ve ever been. Still, the view was totally worth it! One of the dads nearly died here, but as he started to fall off the side of the bank with a 12 ft. drop, he did some super human upper body jump that propelled his whole body forward. He lived. 🙂

The walk down to the bus from the waterfall was way easier than the walk up, so I was able to look around an enjoy the scenery instead of thinking DEAR GOD WHAT AM I DOING while trying to play off the whole out of shape, breathless thing I had going on.

9 Fae home 10 Fae in hidingI’m glad I could look around because this is where I got the magic. After this, I totally understood fae, leprechauns, fairy godmothers. One of these trees is hiding wood fold. I’m sure of it. The other is a fae home. Look at the ground around the trunk.

When we got home, we walked around Killarney window shopping. Tis was our last night in Killarney. Dublin was next. I was excited for Dublin, but I knew I’d be leaving my heart in Killarney. I think it’s still there! #

If you like my blog, check out my books. I write Christian Fiction as Mary Beth Lee (Grace is Enough, Letting Go) and Young Adult as Elizabeth Lee (Dead Girl Walking, Honor and Lies). New book trailer coming soon!

 

Fat Girl Hell and Getting Over It

IMG_2768My name is Mary Beth Lee, and I was born fat.

I’ve talked about my struggle with weight and food in the past. In fact, this blog started with several posts about my weight and weight loss and Weight Watchers back in 2005. Since then I’ve lost and gained hundreds of the same pounds. A little over a year ago I discovered low carb living, and life has changed a lot. My struggle with food addiction isn’t gone, but it’s not so ever present. I’m not skinny, and I never will be, but I’m healthy and I’m happy.

I love that I can shop in regular sizes…but I don’t have to. If I want the extra length, I can grab a loose 1X.

What I mourn now is how much I HATED, LOATHED and DESPISED my body for years. I remember going on the cabbage diet in high school because I’d crossed the line to a size 14. I lost weight and gained it right back plus 10 pounds. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “you’d be so gorgeous if you lost a little weight.”

My stretch marks showed up about the same time my cycle started. I was far more mortified by those pink marks on my legs and breasts than I ever was at my period. I remember trying to eat one meal a day because my thighs were fat.

I started down the road to Fat Girl Hell early on, and it led me to a lot of self destruction, physically and emotionally.

I used my fat to hide. I used it for comfort. It was my identity even though I hated, despised and loathed it.

Today two things happened that brought this all back. One of my former students posted about a shirt  carried only in “fat girl” sizes and how much a person said they hated fat girls and fat girl only sizes and Huff Po carried a great story on plus sized models.

The fat girl comment hurt my former student’s feelings. I totally understand.

I can’t tell you how many “moos” or “can’t she just exercise?” or “with a little effort, you could do it” I heard over the years. If you’ve never struggled with weight, you have no clue how far from true all that is. There’s a reason the weight loss industry is booming, and it’s not because those of us who struggle need to exercise a little more.

The model story gave me hope that people are starting to see beauty in something more than weight.

Today I realized I don’t hate my body any more. I don’t despise it or loathe it. (Okay, I’m still really unhappy with my fat arms! If one more person tells me I inherited them from my Grandma Hagberg, I’m going to scream!) I’m not in the best shape ever, and I definitely need to get back into Zumba but NOT to lose weight. I need to get some cardio going for my health. Hearts need cardio. But I don’t have to be a 14 or 12 or 10 or 5.

I’m not going swimsuit shopping with a camera any time soon, but I’m cool with my curves. And all those people who told me I’d be beautiful if…well, I know they meant well. They weren’t being jerks on purpose. But they were being jerks, and they were feeding my self-loathing.

I’m going to end this with my words on Facebook today: Girls, love your bodies. It’s about health not inches. But I’m going to add one more thing: If you hate your bodies, it’s deeper than that. Don’t go there. Embrace who you are right now. In this moment. Regardless of the scale. Look in the mirror and say I am beautiful. And don’t let anyone tell you differently. Be cool with your curves.

*****

Current Liz Lee (steamy romance with heart) book Close to Home available on kindle!

Even the Acknowledgments Made Me Laugh

by Peggy Browning

by Peggy Browning

I’m a follower of Peggy Browning’s Fifty Odd blog, so buying the book was an easy decision. I knew I’d laugh. I knew Browning would make me think and make me thankful for what I have. I had no idea I’d experience the full spectrum of emotions as I read. I took my time with the book, savoring each chapter like a weekly treat. It’s a collection of columns much like Sharon Randall writes, so Fifty Odd lends itself to leisurely reading; however, the deeper I got into the book, the more I found myself wanting to know more. Those weekly treats weren’t enough. I ended up reading the last half of the book in two days. Browning shares so many truths in this story. From love to loss to body image to motherhood to grandmotherhood to bucket lists, Browning delivers vignettes that touch the heart. It’s definitely a collection I’ll return to again and again. When you get to the end of the book, don’t forget to read the acknowledgments. Don’t read them first! Get through the book so you understand. When you close the book you’ll smile to yourself and you’ll cheer for Browning who chose the road less traveled.

I highly recommend this book, especially for women. In fact, I think I’ll buy another few copies for gifts.

Fifty Odd: Viewing Life After 50 Through Rose-Colored Bifocals by Peggy Browning available on Amazon.

Happy Anniversary!

Me and DH. 18 years and going strong. Happily Ever After.

Me and DH. 18 years and going strong. Happily Ever After.

Dear Darling Husband,

I love you. I don’t know if you remember, but way back when we first started going out (for real, not that time we met in speech class), I was thinking maybe I’d just sell Mary Kay and go to school later. School was hard. I worked all the time. DD was a baby. Mary Kay made me happy. You became my you-can-do-it cheerleader.

When I started teaching, that was tough, too. And once again, you cheered me on.

Last year when I let negativity overwhelm me, you helped me reclaim my positive viewpoint. When I wanted to let ON come live with us, you didn’t even blink.

When I went on yet another diet, you went along with it no problem.

I can’t list all the times you’ve proven to be the best husband ever. It would take too long. Just know, I love you. You make me a better person. You make me laugh. You make me feel secure. Your hugs are the best ever, and you’re kisses…well, you know.

I love you.

18. That’s an awesome number.

Happy anniversary.

Love,

Me.

Peace: Love Wins

Today one of my Facebook friends commented on a post and it reminded me of a story a former student told. Her friend had passed away the year after they graduated. Before the funeral, the friend’s grandmother sat down with all the girls mourning and passed around her granddaughter’s picture, then said “You’ll always remember her like this. She’ll never hurt, never be sick, never know heartbreak. She’ll always be the laughing girl you see here. As you age and go through the pain life brings, she’ll stay exactly the same.”

My student said the words comforted her like nothing else could. Tonight, I’m going to hold on to that. And I’m going to remember that love wins.  At small group week before last someone said darkness isn’t the opposite of light, it’s the absence of light. We must be the light. Hate and anger destroy light. I refuse to hate. I give my anger to God.

#

Photo Used under creative commons license. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamingray/421730278/sizes/m/in/photostream/

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!