Back to school for our kids equals back to ? for parents

Caregivers

For the past 8 years I’ve had the privilege of editing a newsletter for foster, adoptive, and kinship families in north central Alberta. Often I write short pieces for the newsletter as well. (If you’d like to see current or past issues, go to the north central CFSA website. This is what I wrote for the September 2014 issue:

BACK TO . . .

September. For many of us this means back to school, back to a busier schedule, back to music lessons and sports. I’ve been reminded lately that caregivers usually think of themselves last. While you are helping your children prepare for all the activities that September brings, make sure you reserve some time to think about ways to “recharge” personally or with your significant other. Here are some ideas I’m implementing or going back to:

Older Man Holding Bible

  • Starting the day with something relaxing. For me this means getting up early for some quiet time to read my Bible, pray, and do some writing.

Three young girl friends playing soccer

  • Choosing healthy habits. I’m continuing on with my health and fitness journey. During the summer, some of my habits slipped. Going back to a regular schedule makes it easier for me to be more consistent in sleeping, physical activity and healthy eating.

Woman Holding Road Traffic Sign

  • Setting boundaries. I’ve been thinking about what is truly important to me and have started to say “No” to some things.

Businessman in office with computer and fan cooling off

  • Taking a break from technology. I’m choosing not to use any technology after supper.

Family walking through countryside

  • Nourishing your creativity. I’m being more intentional about taking walks, making up stories, reading about new things, and trying new things.

What are you going back to?

 


On my writing “To do” list

 

Ford Quote

As my children head back to school, I’m taking stock of my own “To do” lists. Here’s what I have on my list so far:

  1. Get my children successfully started in school.
  2. Start my Music for Young Children classes. I’m still putting my schedule together for the fall, so if you want to register your child, contact me as soon as possible. I’ll be offering some classes through the Bonnyville and St. Paul Parent Link Centres as well as teaching at home.
  3. Writing

On my writing “To do” list:

  1. Write consistently for my blog. I’m still aiming for 3 times a week: Monday – writing related posts, Wednesday – what I’m learning in my walk with God, Friday – healthy eating/fitness posts.
  2. Submit monthly to 3 sites: Helping Hands Press (published on the 11th), A Beautiful Life (my first post will be published on Wednesday, August 27th), InScribe Writers Online (published on the 29th)
  3. Organize my thoughts and notes for a workshop on blogging I’m presenting at the InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship Fall Conference on Friday, September 26th.
  4. Finish Olga’s story – I’m over 40,000 words into my novel, but need to get it finished, edited, and off to the publisher.
  5. Put together 10 devotionals for a new Uplifting Devotionals series. I’m excited to be working with four other Canadians on this project. Once the contracts are signed I’ll give you some details. This is scheduled to be released by the end of October.
  6. Write my story for the San Francisco Wedding Planner Series (Number 3). You can purchase any of the stories in series 1 or 2 from Amazon. Series 3 stories will be released bi-weekly, starting on September 4th. My story will be released on November 20th, and the complete series 3 bundle will be released on November 27th.
  7. Write a Christmas story for a Christmas bundle. Again, I’ll be collaborating with four other Canadians.
  8. Twitter manual for writers – This project is in the middle of being revised and edited. I’m planning to have it published early in the new year.

What’s on your “To do” list? Let’s cheer each other on!


It’s Here! The San Francisco Wedding Planner Series 2 Complete

Life Lessons Cover SFWP2

Life couldn’t be better. Heather dreamed of being a nurse for years, a goal that motivated her through years of study. Now she’s a dedicated obstetrics nurse, dating the most eligible bachelor at Northwest. Heather is enjoying making new friends, learning new skills, and building her career. She’s also enjoying spending time with Jonathan. Her relationship with her mother is better than it’s been for years, although Christmas is a bit awkward. Heather’s dream world suddenly turns into a nightmare when she’s instructed to do something that goes against everything she believes. Will she remain true to her morals? Or will she sacrifice everything she thinks she believes to keep her dreams intact?

The San Francisco Wedding Planner Complete Series II CoverThe author team of “The San Francisco Wedding Planner”, Jen Cudmore, Ruth L. Snyder, Patti J. Smith, Sheila Seiler Lagrand, and Mishael Austin Witty, thought it would be fun to highlight the main characters from the series and tell a little piece of their backstory.
Each story in Series II focuses on a different character: Bryan Tate, MD, Gloria, Indigo, Skye, and Heather.
The time frames of each story vary from the day, the week, the month before we meet the characters in “Volume 1- The Initial Consultation”.
Sit back, relax, have some fun, and get to know the cast and crew of “The San Francisco Wedding Planner” series a little bit better.
If you want to know more about the authors in the series please visit them at: bit.ly/1qt7aXz

Available from Amazon.ca or Amazon.com


Having fun with words

Robin Williams quote

Words are essential to writers, who need to find the exact nuance to help readers picture what we’re describing with our words. According to the Global Language Monitor, there are about 1 million English words.  Most dictionaries only have 200-600,000 words in them. The average high school graduate has a vocabulary of  approximately 45-60,000 words.

Although I’ve been able to get some writing done this summer, I have spent most of my time relaxing with my kids, enjoying time with relatives, and trying out some fun quizzes.

Today I thought I share some of my fun with you. Try this quiz and see how many “words of the day” from Dictionary.com you know. These kinds of quizzes are a great way to expand our vocabulary. If grammar is more your thing, try out this quiz on subject-verb agreement or the syntaxis quiz.

There are even quizzes to help you figure out what type of writer you should be.

Yehuda Berg quote

I hope you’ve enjoyed this departure from my usual blogs. If you try out a quiz, let me know how you did and what surprised you. Feel free to share links to other quizzes you’ve tried and enjoyed 🙂

 

 


Sharing stories with our children

Story quote 1

This week in our Proverbs 31 online Bible study, I especially appreciated Lysa Terkeurst’s questions and suggestions at the end of Chapter 24: Do They See Jesus in Me? Here’s a summary for your benefit:

  • Think back over your life and pinpoint some specific moments that made your heart leap for joy. Write them down, so that you can review them when you’re facing difficulties.
  • Share your happy memories with your children and husband
  • Review your childhood and write down at least one memory where God’s hand was evident
  • Write down a time Jesus was very real to you recently
  • Pray, thanking God for the special moments in your life
  • Write a prayer celebrating parenting and confessing your shortcomings to God. Ask Him for strength to make any changes you need to make.

I hope you’ll take time to do some of these exercises.

Moments that made my heart leap for joy:

  • Visiting my Grandparents in Three Hills (Grandma Beam’s desserts were legendary!)
  • Visiting my Grandparents in Gibbon (It took no time at all for 50 or more relatives to gather!)
  • Using wax paper to make the circular slide beside Grandpa & Grandma Beam’s more slippery
  • When my dad made a special trip to visit me on my birthday while I was attending Bible College
  • Surprising my parents when I was one of the speakers for my Bible College graduation
  • Finding a place to order an out of print book when I worked in customer service at Prairie Bookroom
  • Working at Whitney Lake Bible Camp
  • Getting rid of all the piles of files on the credenza after I started working as a legal secretary
  • My first date with Kendall
  • Our wedding day
  • The day we brought Grace, our oldest daughter, home
  • When we received an adoption order in the mail
  • When Kendall was able to compete in the Yamaha competition in Toronto
  • The day we met Luke and Levi
  • The day Jayson arrived home
  • When Luke and Levi said “Mom and Dad” after 4 years of signing
  • Winning the Northern Lights School Division school board bi-election
  • Bringing Dorothy home
  • Winning first place in the God Uses Ink contest
  • Taking a walk and capturing beauty with my camera

As I thought about these moments that made my heart leap for joy, I realized that every one has a story behind it. I also thought about how I should be more intentional about sharing these stories with my children. There are some things we have put into place to help share the memories:

  • I have made a wedding album as well as a photo album for each child. We often pull out these albums and talk about things that happened and how God has blessed us.
  • We have adoption parties for our children. On the anniversary of the date a child’s adoption order was signed, we have a party. The child gets to pick who comes to the party, his or her favourite food, and where the party takes place.

What about you? What makes your heart leap for joy? How do you share stories with your children?

 


You must be rich: Common misconceptions about authors

Shadows and Sunshine Newsclip

Last week at a family reunion, someone asked, “Are you rich now that you’re a famous author?” I laughed and answered his questions. Since then I’ve been thinking more about the question and how I would answer if asked again.

Yes, I’m rich:

Am I making hundreds or thousands of dollars from book sales? NO

Here are some facts about authors that may surprise you:

  • Many authors lose money or barely recover what it costs them to get a book published and distributed
  • Most authors have a “day job” because they don’t make enough from their writing to live on
  • Writing a book is the “easy” part. It’s a challenge to get books published, marketed, and sold

Authors wouldn’t bother to write if money was their only objective. There are many other ways to make money that are easier, faster, and more predictable. Authors write because:

  • It’s something they have to do, almost a compulsion
  • They enjoy the process of writing – it’s therapeutic for them
  • Writing enriches the author and those who read
  • Writing is art
  • Many writers see what they do as a ministry

I’m thankful I have the opportunity to be an author, but not for the reasons many people may think. Are you suprised?


When you need encouragement

 

Phil 4,8

Sometimes we just need to step back from our every day life and take a deep breath. Some days we need encouragement, a fresh perspective. If that’s where you are today, this post is for you.

1. Take time to read God’s Word and let it nourish you. Here are some of my favourite passages:

  • Psalm 37
  • Isaiah 40
  • Matthew 5
  • Romans 8
  • Philippians 4

2. Take a walk outside and enjoy the beauty of creation. Here is some of the beauty I found on a recent walk around our property.

 

Bean sprout
Miracle of new life displayed in a bean sprout

 

Bluebells
Fragile beauty of bluebells

 

favourite pathway
A favourite pathway of mine

 

3. Read encouraging words. Here are some blogs I find encouraging:

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

Do you have other things you do when you need encouragement? Share them with us 🙂