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When the Write Door Opens -Matthew 7:7

God's lessons to a writer, teacher, wife, and mom

Merry Christmas (in July)!


I'm sure you can hear the rusty squeak as you scroll through the page to read this! It's been way too long since I've blogged, but I decided that today was the day. I wanted to share this fun day we had, thinking some other moms may want to spring for a similar day before July (and the summer 😭) ends.

My three year old loves The Polar Express, so I thought we'd use that theme.


I used a coffee can and some dowel rods for the "Nang, nang," as my three year old calls it (you know, when it goes up and down it goes, "nang, nang, nang…).

Painter's tape for the track and aluminum foil for the ice the Polar Express has to cross over. This is Cole's favorite part. He loves to slide his train all over the "ice."

The track leads to the North Pole.

(Pringles's can, duct tape, and a tennis ball- tooth pick holds the ball to the lid.)

Although the Christmas tree is a little smaller than the one in the movie (😉), it worked. Of course, the boys did get a little present. It is "Christmas," after all.

I also used white poster board and markers to make it look like it snowed. I printed off the picture of the Polar Express, too.


I just used chocolate milk for cocoa.

This was a captain's hat. I printed off a logo and taped it on.

The tickets were free on Pinterest (Keepin' It Kool In Kinderland). I accidentally forgot to change the page layout, so mine were a little smaller than I wanted. The boys didn't care, though. I also left my hole punch at school. I was so sad. Cole loves to punch holes and pretend he's the conductor.

It was a hit!!

We ate our breakfast and watched the movie.

Cole kept returning to the tree. He was mesmerized by it. He'll have fun with the real Christmas tree this year😊.

We ended our party by playing in the "snow" (rice and pouring supplies). This ended up being my older son's favorite thing. We used some STEM skills, and this really turned into a great lesson. After accidentally ricocheting rice EVERYWHERE, he figured out a better angle, height and slant, so that the rice poured into a funnel (not in picture) and slowly onto the green bin lid.

I hope some of this will inspire you to have some fun with your kiddos this hot July!

So, Merry Christmas (in July) to all, and to all a good night day!

Children’s Hospital–The Best Place to Count Your Blessings

Well, we’re here, again. It’s been almost 8 years since Carson’s last cleft surgery, but 8 years is still not long enough. Those memories flood back on you, and you have to fight that punched-in-the-gut feeling.

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After Carson’s first surgery, at 4 months old.


Psalm 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing…” kept running through my heart and mind, as they prepped Carson for today’s bone graft surgery.


He, of course was so excited to be watching a movie and had already exuberantly picked out the cherry flavor for his silly gas he would soon be breathing.

We walked into the room where he was supposed to get his silly gas, hold Mama’s hand and slowly and peacefully slip into his sleepy state, but that’s not exactly how it happened. The anesthesiologist waltzed in, gave Carson a fist bump and said, “Hey!! You like cool Science stuff!? I’ve got some awesome stuff to show you in the Operating Room! Want to see?!”

Carson said, “Yes!”, waved to us, said “bye,” and that was it. The operating door closed behind them and we were left staring at the door with the nurse.

Not quite what I had planned, but I should know by now that nothing goes according to my plans (thank goodness). God always has the better plan.

Be anxious for nothing…Carson had surly grasped that truth.

The faith of a child…I needed to grasp it, now.

We walked toward the cafeteria to grab a bagel, and that’s when my blessings list started to grow. We began to pass children who were swollen from chemo treatments, children in wheelchairs who would probably never walk again, children with tubes and wires and braces and crutches. As we passed them, I could envision my little petty problems dropping to the floor and being crunched by those kid-sized wheelchairs. No, Carson’s surgery was not just a petty problem, but I could praise the Lord that after only 5 hours we were headed home.

Getting ready to head back home.


I couldn’t have said it 8 years ago, but today I can truly say that I’m thankful we are “only” dealing with cleft lip issues.

So, this year on Thanksgiving, everything may not be perfect, but God is good and we are blessed. This year, that’s enough for me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you’d like to read more about having joy while accepting your child’s cleft, or read about some ideas that were successful for us, when taking care of a child with a cleft lip and palate, click on the links below.

The story of Mr. Wiggles–having joy while accepting your child’s cleft

Be Cleft-Strong!

A Book Signing and a Surprise Guest…

Well, it’s official! I had my first library book signing yesterday evening. It was a great experience and encouraging to have, among the group, a couple of teenagers. One of them was a 15 year old girl interested in writing. As I looked at her, it was amazing to think that I was about her age when I began writing A Light in Bailey’s Harbor. Time sure does fly!

I’m thankful for my family who came and supported me, husband who herded the kiddos, and for 2 wonderful surprise guests!

I had just started speaking about my inspiration for writing my novel–how my best friend, Alicia, and her family took our family on a trip to Bailey’s Harbor, WI, where I fell in love with Cana Island Lighthouse. Just at that moment, Alicia and her mom (Mama Debbie) walked in the back door. I immediately teared up and couldn’t talk for a few minutes (and I’m definitely NOT a pretty crier), but after regaining my composure, I was able to introduce the group to the very people who provided the inspiration for me to write A Light in Bailey’s Harbor. 

Alicia

I’d like to end this short blog by giving a few tips on how to make a book signing more successful:

  1. Bring a pen. Seriously, I hadn’t even brought a pen to a book signing. So embarrassing!  (A big thank you [again] to my dear friend, Alicia, who saved me by having a pen.)
  2. Bring money to make change–guess that shows how sure I was about selling my books.
  3. Bring a phone or camera. Neither my husband nor I had brought anything to take pictures. Guess we felt it was a success to just arrive on time with the books and the boys. (Thank you to my mother-in-law and Alicia and Debbie for their pictures.)

Hopefully, there will be more book signings in my future and more books to sign.

One more friendly reminder to please, please review A Light in Bailey’s Harbor on Amazon.com.

1.Just click the “amazon reviews” icon below, and it will take you to Amazon.com.

2. Scroll down to “Write a Customer Review.” Thanks!

Have a wonderful week!

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Book Signing at Lawrenceburg Public Library-North Dearborne Branch

Can’t believe I’m announcing this, but I’m having my first public book signing for my novel, A Light in Bailey’s Harbor, on Monday, August 8th at 6:30-7:30pm!

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If you live in the area, I would love to see some familiar (or brand new) faces! Click the link below to see the location of the North Dearborn Library. After clicking the link, click “Get Directions” to map it from your location (because I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how to get the map to link up right to this page!)

Map quest

One last thing, if you’ve read A Light in Bailey’s Harbor and haven’t reviewed it, please take a minute and review it on Amazon! That would greatly help me out.

Just click below, and it will take you directly to it!

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Have a wonderful weekend!

Bethany

 

 

 

 

What an awesome privilege I had last week to be a part of a FaceTime, book club discussion in DeLand, Florida.

It really does amaze me that a group of 12 ladies would set aside an evening to discuss a book that I’ve written! I still have to pinch myself on that one. The ladies were all calling the characters by name, asking to know what would happen to them in the next book. They spoke of each character like they were a neighbor or a friend from church. I had to keep my mouth from dropping open.

The most amazing part of the night was that after answering questions about why I included various characters, the struggles of their faith, and the way the Lord worked in their lives, I found out that this book club was not an all-Christian group.

It had never occurred to me that my book would reach non-Christian readers. What an exciting moment the Lord provided to encourage these women and to plant seeds. I now have a far greater reason to continue to work on the sequel.

I’m so thankful for this opportunity and pray the Lord will continue to use A Light in Bailey’s Harbor for His glory.

A Light in Bailey’s Harbor is Book Club Bound

imageI was so excited to hear that my novel, A Light in Bailey’s Harbor, is now Book Club “worthy.”

It’s true! One of my blog and FB author page followers asked me if I would mind my book being read in her ladies’ book club. Of course, I had to think long and hard… Of course!

Truthfully, I am honored that someone would want to sit around and discuss my novel! It is what I prayed for while writing the book, that God would use my words to encourage others in their spiritual walk.

Also, I will hold a FaceTime session with this book club on Monday evening so they can ask questions and share comments about A Light in Bailey’s Harbor. It’s exciting to see how God can use an author from Ohio to write a story set in Wisconsin to touch the lives of a group of ladies way  down in Florida.

God is good.

 

First-Time Geocachers

 

imageWe were so excited to begin our adventure in Geocaching!! I had never heard of it (guess we are behind, because others I had talked to had heard about it 😏). Thanks to a friend of mine in Tennessee, who ran across some great resources to get us started, we found our first “swag” or treasures today!

First, some simple background…

  1. Geocaching: A world-wide treasure hunting experience that you can get involved in right where you live! Click here to watch a 1:15 clip on YouTube and get a little glimpse into the basics of geocaching: Basics in Geocaching
  2. Swag: The treasure you receive and leave for the next hunter.

Tools: 

(From the research I’ve done on YouTube, you can really get into this thing, but we are keeping it simple right now.)

  1. A MUST–Smart phone (or GPS) The app we used on my iPhone was awesome! image This App tells you the last time the treasure was found, lets you log in your find, keeps track of the ones you’ve done, etc. And it’s free!
  2. Flashlight, pen/pencil to sign the log book, shoes for light hiking (or heavy, depending on your adventurous spirit) and trinkets or “swag” to exchange.
  • Ideas for swag: Think unique, hand-made, non-expensive, Oriental Trading      Company, even a great opportunity to have your kids clean out their rooms and gather (nicely, slightly used) items that they could trade.
  • Finger puppets, special coins, matchbox cars, glow sticks, rings, etc.
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This isn’t a great picture, but this little guy was made from a tiny fuse (like from a car) and some wire. My son, Carson, loved finding this unique treasure in the first cache we found today!

And here is our return “swag” or treasure that we placed back inside:

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This is a penny we rolled and flattened at Metamora, a historic 1800s canal town in Indiana.

One last “tool” we took with us:

3. A big, strong man (or husband, in my case). Where we went wasn’t scary, but some can be in the middle of nowhere, so make sure you’re careful!

Our second geocache site:

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This is the oldest Baptist Church in Indiana. You can actually go inside it,  although it was a little creepy to me.

 

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It was very hidden. I was standing right by it and didn’t see it. Thank goodness for the App and for Carson’s young eyes.
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This time we didn’t take the swag. We just signed the log and left it for the next person.

So, hopefully you get an idea how fun, easy and super exciting this can be! You can do it anywhere and everywhere. We were actually just going to eat at our favorite pizza place in Brookville, and I decided to get on the App and check and see if there were any locations around us, and Voila!! (“Whala,” for those of you who had no idea it was spelled like this, oops!). It would also be a fun thing to do when you’re on vacation or in another area visiting family. Who doesn’t like a treasure hunt?

The ways you could use Geocaching are seemingly endless! My mind has been reeling about how you could even use this in the classroom. Challenge your kids to see how many geographical areas they could cover over the course of a school year, or if your students are more local and don’t travel beyond the city much, see how many different locations could be mapped just in that city, since there are Geocaching sites in the city as well as in natural settings.

I would love to hear back from anyone who decides to go Geocaching! Post pictures, share experiences, etc. Happy hunting!!

And by the way, when you’re finished running all over finding treasure, you may want to just sit back and relax with your Kindle and a great book! And if you do, I have just the book for you, too! A Light in Bailey’s Harbor, of course, for only $.99 this weekend on ebook! Just click on the picture below.

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Don’t forget you can send a copy to your Mom for Mother’s Day. Just click on the Kindle picture above and then click on the button to the right of the screen where it says “Give as Gift.”

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend!

 

 

Amazon Reviews Needed!!

 

I have sold almost 200 books (which is exciting), but I have only received 16 reviews on Amazon. I’m asking anyone who has read my novel, A Light in Bailey’s Harbor, to please take just about 2 minutes to click the Amazon Review button below, scroll down to “Write a Customer Review” and review it. This greatly helps my book get noticed on Amazon and noticed by bigger publishers.

imagesI also have a special deal coming up over Mother’s Day weekend! The Kindle version of my book will be on sale for $.99!  This will only be a 3 day event, May 6th-9th. You can actually gift a Kindle version of my novel, A Light in Bailey’s Harbor, to someone you love.

Just click the picture below and then click “Give as Gift” button on the right side of the screen.

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Thank you so much for the support you have given me! I do appreciate it. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

 

Our Starry Night

Do you ever have a tiny, flash-of-a-moment where you realize this is why you are a mom? I know, I know. If you are like me, these moments may come very few and far between. Lately, most of my “mom moments” are not ones that should ever be typed out for the world to see. They are more like the hidden camera moments they show on Dateline, where you see them and say, “I would never do that or say that to my children.” Yeah, right you wouldn’t. You already have. I know you. You’re a mom.

Anyway, let me get back to my good mom moment. I’m sharing this, because I’m determined to dwell on the positive. I could fill a zillion blogs with the negative, but I thought you’d rather be lifted up on this beautiful Saturday. And who knows, you may want to go out and have a Starry Night of your own.

So, I have to first go back a few months. I believe it was late summer, when the meteor shower was in full swing. My son and I were planning to start Apologia Science Exploring Creation With Astronomy for his Science “class” for second grade. We were excited about beginning it, and I had been researching different ideas to get a jump start with the Space ideas. I heard about the meteor shower. It wasn’t going to start until late in the evening.

At first, like a reasonable mom would think, I decided that it would just be too late and he needed to get in bed. I reasoned that Cole (his little brother) would be in bed and may wake up and need me, or even that we shouldn’t be outside after dark. It was dangerous, right? I mean my husband was out of town and with the cows mooing, the horses neighing, the wind whispering through the pines and a zillion stars shining in the country darkness overhead…

Ok, ok, of course we had to do it.

I sprung the idea on Carson, as I began gathering blankets and couch cushions. I remember his eyes growing as round as the planets we’d soon be studying. Stay up late? Lay outside on the couch cushions? Under the stars? He was definitely seeing the vision.

I’ll never forget that night. It’s one of those nights where you just think, yep, all is perfectly right with the world tonight.

I still get teary-eyed as I think about laying out there on our deck on those cushions, listening to my 7 year old ooh and ahh over the falling stars. We counted 20 that night. That was our goal, we told ourselves, before we would go in. The most memorable one that night went from the western sky completely across to the east, burning the entire way. It even made the night a little brighter.

I think about that night when I’m struggling with home schooling, because my almost 2 year old is painting himself with baked beans from lunch. I try to remember that time is flying by so fast, and I that I must slow down and enjoy those little flashes of light before they just pass me by.

That starry night was almost a year ago. Amazing that it could be a year.

Almost a year later, and last night we had another starry night. It was only a few minutes, a few billion stars, my son and me, and an iPad (I know. The iPad doesn’t sound very poetic, but we have to go with the times, right?). I had downloaded the app- SkyView Free for my iPad, and my son and I were excited to try it out. (Yes, I am behind. This app has been around for a few years, but we had never thought much about it, until we began our astronomy study.)

So, we went outside together and began to hold it up to the sky. Let me tell you, the background music it plays is enough to bring you to tears. You feel like you’re in a heart wrenching moment in one of the Star Wars movies. It’s just very inspiring, so make sure you have your sound turned up. Carson and I were so amazed! It showed exactly where the planets were and the constellations, and even connected the dots of the constellations, giving the actual illustrations of Orion, Ursa Major, and The Crab. We had been studying these and how to identify them. Carson was even able to find the Little Dipper and the North Star.

But the moment that stood out, was when we saw Jupiter. Yes, it was just a bright speck of light, but Carson turned to me with eyes wide and said, “Mom, I can’t believe it. We just stood here in Pawpaw’s yard and saw the real Jupiter, that God made.” He’d never admit it now, but his eyes were glossed over. He had gotten teary-eyed, coming face to face with God’s amazing creation.

And of course, now I’m teary-eyed, because it hit me. This is why we, as moms, dads, and grandparents, do what we do and teach what we teach. We pour the Bible stories, the scriptures, the Golden Rule, the life-lessons into our children and hope and pray that it all sinks it. We pray that they “get it.” We pray that when they come face to face with the Creator of the universe and all his awesome power and might, they will stand in awe, realizing He is also a God who is personal enough to give them a glimpse of Jupiter and pictures he designed for them in the starry sky.

Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name:  (Amos 5:8)

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When the Write Door Opens -Matthew 7:7

God's lessons to a writer, teacher, wife, and mom

Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss

God's lessons to a writer, teacher, wife, and mom