Since last Tuesday (June 17):

My daughter's car has been inspected, had the oil changed, and received two new tires.

My SUV has had new brakes--twice, the first parts proving defective--been inspected, had the tires rotated, and received a new battery.

My husband's car has been involved in an accident (while I was driving--not my fault) and is awaiting repairs to the front fender, bumper, and door. Of course this is after I spent time with the other guy's insurance adjuster and recounted the accident to two different insurance representatives.

The only expected things in this list were the state inspections. Everything else was a surprise. I'm so ready for all my cars to just need gas. As painful as it is to fill up, it's much better than being on a first name basis with the guys at the garage!


Anniversary Surprise

I heard my husband’s footsteps yesterday afternoon. At least they sounded like his. But it was only 2 pm. Why was he home? I’d just spoken with him on the phone 15 minutes earlier and he seemed busy, not inclined to just take the afternoon off.
“Honey? Is that you?” I left my study and headed toward the living room. There he stood, hands behind his back.
“Happy Anniversary!” he said. (Our 21st anniversary is Friday.)  He pulled a thin, rectangular box with an Apple logo on it from behind his back. A Macbook!!! I couldn’t believe it! It was especially timely since this weekend, on top of all its other problems, my laptop decided it didn’t want to stay powered on more than 5 or 10 minutes at a time.
So I’ve been happily switching all my files and learning how to navigate this new system. The best thing is I can take it on vacation next week and actually use plane and train travel time to get some work done!!
So Happy Anniversary to me. Isn’t my Honey great?


Minneapolis, Here I Come!

I just finished all my registration for the ACFW Conference in September in Minneapolis! Woo-hoo! It will be my 5th major conference to attend since I started seriously writing seven years ago. And it will be a very different experience from the previous four.

Why? Because I’m going it alone. That’s right, neither of my critique partners and dear friends will be there. On the one hand, I’m sad. We’ve had so much fun rooming together, talking through our encounters and classes each day while we are lying in bed. We’ve laughed and cried and encouraged each other. I will miss them terribly! But on the other hand, it’s a good thing. Suddenly I will have no one to hide behind, no one to shadow in a room full of hundreds of people. I will have to step out and make friends. Oh, there will be people there I know. Just not ones I know as well as I know Mary and Leslie!

I would still really like to find a roommate for the conference, but I’m leaving that in the hands of the Lord. I’m excited to see who He will bring along to share the room I’ve reserved. And I’m excited to see the fruit of my growing confidence over the past few years. It will be hard to go it alone. And yet I know I won’t be alone. I will have the strength and encouragement of my God, the prayers of my friends and family, and a whole new passel of friends yet to be met.


You're Gonna Miss This

It’s been a crazy few days getting my daughter ready for her Ghana trip and my son back to the campground where he is working day camps for refugee children. I’ve wanted to pull my hair out, been frustrated at my to-do list that gets longer instead of shorter. But all this morning as we readied to leave for the airport, the chorus of the new Trace Atkins song kept running through my mind.

Have you heard this song? It follows a girl from her teenaged years through being a new bride and a young mother. At the end of each chorus, an older person gives her some advice (the chorus.) Now, I’m not overly sentimental about my kids growing up and leaving home. I’ve always looked forward to an empty nest. And yet I find myself singing these words and tearing up:

You’re gonna miss this.
You’re gonna want this back.
You’re gonna wish these days, hadn’t gone by so fast.
These are some good times. So take a good look around,
You may not know it now—but you’re gonna miss this.

And for anyone interested, my daughter’s mission team has a blog they will be updating throughout their trip. You can read it here.



I have never—I repeat, NEVER—watched golf on TV. Until yesterday. Yesterday I was captivated by the playoff between Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate, captured by the intense drama of a 45-year-old man ranked 158th in the world playing 18 holes with arguably the best golfer ever and hanging in there, until the final stroke of the sudden death hole.

But you know what else I noticed as I watched? The caddies. These guys are dedicated to golf. They follow around the guys who play the game (and make the big bucks) with the bag of clubs slung over their back day after day after day. They help the golfer chose the right club for the right shot. Tiger’s caddy even stopped him just before a shot and asked him to reconsider his approach. “That was a brave thing to do,” said one of the TV commentators. And yet, it just seemed right. After all, the caddy wanted his guy to play well. Thus, his last minute questioning of the shot.

As I watched the support and the camaraderie between the caddies and the golfers, it occurred to me that some of us are called to a “caddying” role in our lives. The caddy has his golfer’s success as his goal. He understands the game in minute detail and advises and encourages the one actually doing the golfing. His is not the place in the spotlight. It’s behind the golfer, mostly out of the view of the cameras. It’s a sweaty, back-breaking job. And yet, for those called to do it, it appears to be immensely rewarding.

Are you “caddying” for someone in your life right now? Perhaps someone is “caddying” for you. Either way, remember that the person doing the thankless job of carrying the clubs and giving advice and support is often more valuable than the winning purse at the end.


Summer Whine

I can’t think of anything to write.

My daughter leaves for Ghana in 3 days—and works every day until then.

Two of our cars need to go to the shop for inspections and repairs.

My novel is sooooo close to being finished, but chunks of writing time elude me.

I need to call insurance companies with questions about my coverage/policies.

Most of my closets and cabinets are begging to be cleaned out and reorganized.

And I’m fighting either a cold or allergies.

The bank. The grocery store. Laundry.

Summer is supposed to be fun and relaxing. I’m supposed to have time to write, too. And that begins when?


Two Quirky Stories

So I was in Wal-mart the other day and I saw the most unusual (read: creepy) tattoo. I passed behind a woman wearing a spaghetti-strap top. On her back, between her shoulder blades, were two eyes. Women’s eyes, with eyebrows and just the top of the nose. I’ve heard of wanting eyes in the back of your head, but this went a bit too far!


My husband’s father often sends us tidbits from their small-town’s newspaper. One from this week announced found property: a bag of marijuana. It said the owner, with proof of ownership, could pick it up at the police station. The thing is, someone will probably try to claim it!


Short on Shorts

Ah, summertime.

Ok, so the first week of summer has been way too busy, but still. It’s here. And one of the necessities of summertime is . . . shorts.

My boys (15 and 13) informed me they had 1 pair of shorts each. I made them accompany me to the local department store to buy 2 more pair each. They groaned. Some things never change.

Now these are two lanky creatures, so we’re still shopping in the boys department in order that their shorts don’t fall down around their ankles. Still, I thought we’d have upped the sizes from the past couple of years. After all, their pants sizes have changed as their legs have stretched longer.

Not so with the shorts. Still well below moving up into young mens’ sizes. But the most frustrating thing about this rite of summer was leaving the store with four pairs of shorts ALL THE SAME SIZE! My boys are 19 months apart in age, but I might as well be buying for twins! The good news: they have plenty of shorts to choose from now. The bad news: there will be no “passing down” of outgrown sizes.