With Thanksgiving officially approaching it’s time to think about the details of the holiday.

At our house, we’re in a season of life where we need to be flexible for the changes we’re going through.

Over the years we’ve had a traditional Thanksgiving celebration with all the staples we’re familiar with in this country.

What’s Thanksgiving without turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie?

I don’t know but we’re about to find out.

One of the benefits of this healthier version of the Thanksgiving Day feast may help us stay awake for the family talk, football games, parades and other fun activities.

Part of our family visits will include a trip to my parents about an hour and a half away. Over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house we’ll go. Remember that old song?

If not, look it up on the net, it’s a predecessor to “Grandma got run over by a reindeer

Anyway, I digress. My mom is scheduled for a procedure this holiday season and won’t be up to travel. So, I decided to make a roasted leg of lamb with the trimmings.

That way, I can make the meal (and the mess) at our house and bring the cooked meal down to Philly. There we’ll slice into the roast and veggies and have a nice visit without the trouble of all the preparations and clean up.

If you’re looking for something different to cook up for your family and friends this year, here is a recipe to help you on your way.

Roasted Leg of Lamb and Potatoes (Six Servings)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Prepare a 4- 5 lb leg of lamb (I buy organic or free range, it can be expensive but I managed to find one for half price at the local grocery store.)

Place the leg of lamb  flat side down on a shallow roasting pan and prepare the meat with salt, pepper and about a tablespoon of olive oil or other basting oil of your choice. You can spruce it up a bit with minced onions and your fresh herbs ~ oregano or rosemary are two options.

Clean and cut 6 pared potatoes into halves then quarters, slice into one inch pieces.  Then place the potatoes into a plastic bag with two Tbs of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Shake the potatoes until evenly coated and spread them around the lamb. I use 3 russet potatoes and 3 yams and or sweet potatoes to mix it up a bit. 

I add cleaned and pared organic carrots cubed into two inch pieces and one cleaned small cut up cooking onion.

Place the roasting pan in the preheated oven and cook for 15 minutes.

Turn down the temperature to 375 on your oven and roast for 30 minutes per pound. 

When the lamb is done it will have an internal temperature of 140 degrees for medium rare. 

If you don’t like your vegetables carmelized or well done, then remove when fork tender and keep warm until the meat is cooked through. 

Remove from the oven, gather the clan around your table and enjoy!

 Enjoy! Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy! Have a happy Thanksgiving!


How can a heart thumping mountain climb on a rock strewn trail be restful? When you reach the summit of course.

Just like life, anything good is worth working for and a brisk paced ascent on the closest public peak will merit that kind of goodness. 

In Southeastern Pa it’s a couple hour ride in either direction and our seasons are built for the beach on the warmest summer days, and as close as a one hour drive for a trek on the Blue Mountain range that surrounds our valley.

The park system in the Lehigh Valley is wide and varied. On any given day there are choices of

a well kept city park or a dirt packed winding path next to a trout sourced creek, or mountain trail. Either way, it’s easy to spend time every day outside.

Our Golden/Rottie mix dog is a natural runner, and on days when I can run, I will. Which got me thinking of the health benefits of outdoor fitness. 

Did you know one hour of trekking can burn off over 500 calories?  

According to, exploring in nature elevates mood, improves sleep, promotes bone growth, helps strengthen the immune system and lowers blood pressure.

 In addition to the physical benefits, research shows that a few hours walking, hiking or running can be healing for the emotions. A study of breast cancer survivors showed that those who spent time doing these activities were more likely to heal faster from the trauma of the disease. 

It’s cheaper than a personal trainer, easier on the joints than exercise classes and equipment, and more fun. 

Some studies have shown that this type of outdoor activity works to help promote health and immunity towards preventing skin cancer. As a cancer conqueror that is great news for me!

So take your favorite people and furbabies and load up a backpack with treats this weekend to head for the closest nature trail. 

Do me a favor when you reach the top of the mountain or end of the trail take a breath and enjoy the view. Sometimes all you need is a new perspective. 


LET'S DISH ON FALL RECIPES ~ chicken fingers a family fave!

Who doesn’t love comfort food in the fall? Soups, stews, and fresh bread top the list with a pumpkin spice latte to follow. Over the years,  I can’t wait to begin making slow cooker meals, my favorite minestrone soup and chili. But, the family fave has always been chicken fingers.

I started making chicken fingers before the Colonel. After tweaking the recipe for the last 35 years I’m thinking they’d rival any fast food restaurant’s including the one that closes on Sundays.  And, they are healthier. 

The kids will have fun helping with this recipe as well. There’s nothing homier than the family gathered in the kitchen preparing dinner.

So when Sunday rolls around and you need a new recipe -try these and let me know how they turn out!


Ingredients serve 4

1 lb. organic chicken 

If you can afford it use the chicken tenders. If not, use a mallet to pound out chicken breasts and slice into tenders with a good sharp knife.  I found that the smaller, thinner the chicken the less oil you need to cook it through. 

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup of Panko coarse white bread crumbs

1 or 2 large brown eggs

 1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil of choice (enough to make a thick coat the bottom of the pan you use to sauté chicken at least )


Rinse and pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Dispose of the paper towels right away as you don’t want to cross contaminate while cooking. 

On three separate plates place flour on one, beat eggs and place on the other and panko bread crumbs on the third. 

Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour both sides, into the egg mixture, and finally cover well with panko. 

Once you have the chicken ready, put the oil in a large frying pan ~ cast iron or cephalon both work well. 
Heat oil on high until water drops pop off the surface.

Before you place the chicken in the oil season tenders well with salt and pepper. This is important as it helps seal in the moisture and flavor while cooking.

Carefully place each piece away from you into the oil so it doesn’t splatter. Chicken should cook through about 3 mins per side. If not completely done after turning brown put them in an oven for a few minutes preheated to 350 degrees. 

For the adults, or any children who prefer fish, I let the chicken rest while I pan fry or bake the fish which cooks quickly.

Serve with mashed potatoes, pierogies, rice or pan fried potatoes, and veggies. Or, for watching the football game, just serve them up with finger foods and dipping sauce on the side.


My husband and I walked the trails at Jacobsburg Park last Sunday. As we hiked through the beautiful wooded paths, my mind went to the years of bringing our little ones there.

The tree lined route wound closely by the sparkling Bushkill creek swollen from the recent rains. We brought our Golden Retriever Rottweiler mix, Layla, with us and enjoyed a break from the typical August heat.

As usual, I had my iPhone out taking pictures as I soaked in the loveliness of the place while my hubby patiently watched nearby. He's a patient guy.

One particular shot ~ a man-made pile of stones sitting in the middle of the creek sparked my interest. And, I haven't been able to get rid of the image from my mind since.

I tried to "spin" this blog post with a title like "3 WAYS TO SPOT THE HIDDEN TREASURES IN YOUR LIFE" or something like that. But, I could not ignore the niggling thought of how we have seen God's loving faithfulness through 36 years. And, how very blessed we are as a result. 

Isn't that why we are here after all?

Just as the rocks and the trees and blue sky can't help to attest to God's faithfulness neither can I. 

Reminds me of one of my favorite songs which I'm listening to at this moment. Interesting, huh?

It's called 'So Will I (100 Billion X)' by Hillsong. If you get a chance to listen I highly recommend it. 

"If everything exists to lift you high, so will I. If the rocks cry out in silence so will I. I will sing again 100 Billion times....God of salvation chase down my heart through all of my failures and pride... And as you speak a hundred billion failures disappear. For you left your life so I could find it here. If you left the grave behind you, so will I."

The pile of stones, a memorial to his goodness. A place to stop and remember all he has done for me. To praise him for his mercy and his faithfulness to me. I can't let this be left unsaid. Unwritten. Unspoken. 

I have to share the testimonies of why I am here. And, that is why I write. Whether you agree with me or not. That is why I am here. And, why I write. 

If you have a God story to share and have never published it, I'd love to hear it. Post it in the comments below, I know it will encourage another person who needs to read it. Or if you want to share an encouragement, I'd love that too. 

Be blessed!



What do you get when you fill a football field- sized room with comfy loveseats, overstuffed armchairs and tables set up for your laptop? Add a great group of women, Brandilyn Collins, and wonderful food?

You get a perfect formula for one amazing weekend in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. 

The Fantastic Fiction Retreat held in Brandilyn's home is a cozy place to learn with other writers the art of creative writing while enjoying a stunning view of the area. And though the retreat I attended had only women, men are welcome too!

Brandilyn's workshops and time spent with other writers made this storyteller's dream come true. 

My family lives in Coeur d’Alene so my husband and I also were given the treat of seeing the area through my sister and brother-in-law’s eyes. 

One of our sightseeing tours included a boat ride around beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene. The sunny 80 degree day  was perfect for an interior look of the hidden jewel that is this place.

Riding bikes on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes is an amazing experience. The trail is a 72-mile paved path that spans the Idaho panhandle between Mullan and Plummer. It is known as one of the most spectacular and popular trails in the western United States. Other than the macadam path, the area remains visibly untouched by man~ an outdoor adventurer's delight. 

 While sis and I hiked on Tubbs Hill  also known as one of the best 10 places to hike in the area, we caught up on life and had more fun than we have in years. Nothing like rounding the bend of the foothill to face a monstrous dog that resembled a black bear to keep a sister on her toes. 

Honestly, the best part of our vacation/retreat was spending precious time with my sister, brother-in-law and our nieces. All and all an unforgettable trip!

So next time you're planning  a vacation think retreat. 



Isn’t it a panicky time when you are transitioning into a new phase of life?

Due to a shift of responsibilities I've been driving more now than I have in the last thirty years. As a result, we've been car shopping for a vehicle to replace the automobile I've used for the last ten years. 

I don’t care if it’s that scary woman teacher in kindergarten who had a mustache and made you sit down with your head on the table. Or, the training you need to undertake on the new job, or that first apartment you rent when you leave your parents house. It's hard to take a leap of faith. 

Life is a compartmented hamster wheel that once you climb to the top there is an inevitable fall to the bottom and then back to the climb.

Our college age daughter just returned from a successful freshman year full of the anxieties of contemporary environments. Learning advanced life skills with interpersonal relationships, untapped subjects in biblical study, technology in her field and her first article being published.

It’s all so exciting!

On occasion the endless circle does come to a screeching halt. When you think you’ve reached the place where you can attain the goal at the pinnacle instead you’re sliding down the back side of the wheel and somehow end up on the sawdust littered floor. We all experience it. 

I’m not sure why my metaphor is so base. Except sometimes that downward fall can knock the stuffing out of you or the wind out of your sails. Cliche upon cliche piles up on the hard work you thought would yield a successful outcome. Where is the pay off?

There is so much more to learn. No more apparent then when you think you’ve seen it all, lived through it all…the unexpected morphs into a different challenge you never saw coming.

The “place” of finally -I’ve- arrived becomes broken dreams. The breather just ahead becomes push harder and longer than you ever expected. The normal response is to wonder if you ever got it right before? 

Awkward self doubt is revisited from early on as puberty but one look in the mirror reminds you that those days are long gone.

What do you do?

You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start over. 

Because surprisingly, life is full of wonders and delights you can’t see while you wait on the hard bottom. Eventually, the air fills your lungs again, strength returns, maybe not like it used to, but something like the first breath when you cross the bay bridge down the shore. Salty, brine tinged cool air helps you recollect  warm sand between your toes, long lazy playtimes in the waves. Or, cool starlit nights reminiscing of other crystal skies in the mountains after a day of skiing, hot cocoa and friends laughter. Times that draw you closer to the mysterious person who set all of this in place for you. 

Souvenirs to relay that this is still a wonderful world. Life is beautiful and God is good. It will get better. I promise. 

So enjoy the ride!


I don’t know about you but I start packing WAY before the day of my flight out to unknown places. It's one part OCD, one part excitement and the rest is ‘I don’t want to miss any fun’. Heaven forbid.

Here are tips to make the chore of packing for business trips, vacations or even playcations easier for you. 

1. Use two basic colors to build your wardrobe on whether you work or play. On an upcoming trip, I will be attending a writer’s retreat while hubby enjoys some time on the links. We'll be visiting family as well so that adds to the excitement. 

 It’s a late spring/early summer trip to the Pacific Northwest. My sister lives there and so I already know that dress is casual there.

Navy blue or grey are good choices for business casual or play (denim) wear while visiting a new area.

 I’m a redhead so I have plenty of peach in my closet already as well. 

 Look in your closet to see what colors you tend to use. After you choose the two basic colors you use the most ( i.e. grey/black, tan/brown, blue/orange) you can start to fill in with other coordinating pieces.

2. Pick out some mix and match pieces that travel well and don’t wrinkle easily. Some materials to look for are denim, heavy cottons or chinos, permanent press blends, and throw in lightweight seer sucker for spring!  Classic doesn’t have to be old and stuffy. If you throw in a few trendy pieces you will be modern and professional for whatever weather you might experience.

3. Comfortable foot wear is a must. Yes, but it doesn’t have to be the crocs you use to garden either. Don’t laugh, I've seen people wear their muddy gardening shoes in public. And, I’m guilty of it too.  

As hot weather approaches there’s a temptation to expose your toes in flip flops or sandals. But,  airports are no place to wear flimsy or fancy foot wear. 

I bought a good pair of slip ons to use for easy removal at the check in areas with plenty of room to be comfortable for long flights. 

4. Find a good suitcase that fits your needs! After over thirty years of travel I suggest a wheeled garment bag for the well rounded traveller. 

Hubby and I went shopping and recently found a London Fog Navy and white checked bag for myself at Macy’s for half price. If you noticed that I chose navy to coordinate with my clothes you get extra points. 

5. There are many ways to pack a bag efficiently. I’ve found the roll and tuck method to save the most space.  Imagine your space inside the suitcase cut into squares of equal size. Take each bottom with a matching top and roll together tightly into a 'square'. Repeat until each outfit is neatly packed together.  Once again, packing with a color coordinated pants, tops, jackets and shoes saves you space and time. 

When you are packing for a business trip, you’ll need work related clothing (dresses, suits, and skirts) to lay on top of your exercise or play clothes. The garment bag is excellent to use for this purpose. 

6. TSA approved pre-packaged toiletries are available at drug stores and even some supermarkets. I tend to wait until my skin care company offers free or more reasonably priced travel sized products to restock items so that I have them when I need them. 

7. Don’t forget your swimsuit even in the winter. Most hotels offer inside pools/jacuzzis for after work hours. 

Finally, enjoy your trip~ take some time to explore the sights in your new city or town. 

What are some ways you've learned to make packing for a trip easier? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below. 


 photo credits Pexels. com 

photo credits Pexels. com 



Weathering through the bone chilling cold this winter had my skin cracking from the constant blasts of dry heat of our furnace. 

While I treated myself to a replenishing facial at the local day spa, I began thinking about ways to take care of myself during the long months of December, January, February and March.

After brainstorming I did some research for new ideas on a quick refresher. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and these short breathers have long term effects for your health. I wanted to share  them with you~ now all I have to do is use them myself!

  1. Read a good book during your lunch break.
  2. Sit in your heated car at a park or near a creek and watch the water or the wildlife nearby.
  3. Do a digital detox. I keep going back to this but with so many handheld devices grabbing our attention, it only adds to the stress of our already full weekday.  Turn off that phone for a few hours. Get away from social media, the news, the fitbit and do something you’ve wanted to do but have not had the opportunity. 
  4. Call a relative or a friend to watch the kids for a few hours.
  5. Take some moments for a DIY facial, manicure and/or pedicure.
  6. Take a day off from work and relax. 
  7. Take up stretching exercises. I have found relief from years of sitting at a computer by incorporating stretches. You can find a good book or tutorial on youtube on the subject. 

Finally, Here is a bonus recipe for you to use for a basic body scrub made from ingredients you can find in your kitchen. 

Sugar Scrub Ingredients

        1/4 cup sugar (Large granulated brown sugar works best!)

        1/4 cup oil (olive oil or coconut oil work great)

        Optional: essential oils of your preference. (I love lavender or similar floral scents)

Let me know what you think! What are some ways you treat yourself?


Even the strongest among us slip up once in awhile.

We assume life will go on as usual in an unconscious attempt to control the universe around us.

Then the unthinkable happens and our crown slips. Just a little. The bills are paid, somehow. Our child gets over the flu, hopefully. Work issues are resolved, eventually. And then, we move on to the next best thing.

Everything is 'doable' at some point. We face the shadows of the valley of death and lose our loved ones. Prayerfully, we hope to see them again on the other side of the veil. 

Our faith can weaken after hits from life's trials. Or, as love would have it, our faith grows strong. 

That is the ultimate in the purpose of our time on this earth. 

We can cover up painful feelings of abandonment, loneliness, or feeling out of control. But, our father is always there. 

Whatever you are dealing with right now~ maybe you are even thinking ... "where are you God?" "Have you forgotten me?" "What possible good could come out of the fiery trial I'm in?"

I guarantee these questions are inevitable. They are also valuable and even necessary to face. 

And, it's not a symptom of weakness to bring your deepest doubts and heaviest sorrows to him. He is rather waiting for you to bring them to him. 

How do I know? Because he tells me so. "Come to me..." "Cast your cares..." "I love you." 

So when all you do is like spinning the wheels on a hamster wheel and your hopes are running dry. Know that this is the time to pour out your soul to the soul keeper. YOUR soul keeper. He will listen, he will answer, he will attend to your wounds. And wash away your weariness. Rest your head on his shoulder for he knows your deepest desires. 

Then straighten your crown, pull back your shoulders and keep going. You've got this! 



It’s January. All the Christmas decorations have been taken down. 

The once bright snow lies dingy on the side of the road and cabin fever is setting in.

The geese are only now beginning to fly south for the winter and spring time seems light years away.

So what’s a person to do?

One thing that makes my winter days brighter is to start the morning with a glass of fresh squeezed juice.

 Especially from the citrus family.

Orange juice, grapefruit juice, mandarin and tangerines. My taste buds are popping at the thought. 

I have a friend who believes that typically healthy people get sick more in the winter not because of germs but, because of eating habits.

Think about it~ halloween arrives in October with it’s sugary treats. Quickly followed by Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. That’s three months of treats and overeating rich foods that we don’t normally enjoy. 

Along with the added stresses of shorter days, less sunshine and heavier work/school loads we have a cocktail of pressures to suppress our immune system.

Our bodies have now been subjected to an overload of excess sugar, adrenalin and mental burn out. 

I agree with Andrew Weil who says, 


                               “You can’t afford to get sick, and you can’t depend on the

                                  present health care system to keep you well. It’s up to

                                  you to protect and maintain your body’s innate capacity

                                  for health and healing by making the right choices in how

                                   you live.” 


If you have a blender, and most folks do, why not whip up some sunshine with a quick and easy smoothie?  Also, an investment in a good juicer will go a long way to help you stay healthy and happy through the rest of the winter. 

To help you get started or if you are already juicing, here are a few of our favorite recipes. 


1. Hubby’s favorite Smoothie


2 bananas

 12 ounces Strawberry kefir

1/2 cup of cut up strawberries

Add sliced fruit to the kefir in a blender and enjoy! 


2. Hello Sunshine

6 organic oranges~ peeled 

3 tangerines (or other sweeter orange)

1/4 cup of organic raspberries

This one is my absolute favorite! If you have a juicer 

throw the ingredients in, mix the juice well and enjoy!

If you don’t have a juicer remove the seeds before putting 

the fruit in your blender. 


3. For Your Sweet Tooth

6 unpeeled large organic carrots (scrubbed well)

1 organic honey crisp or other firm apple that has a bite to it will do

We use the juicer for this delicious vegetable juice when we want

to give our digestion a break from the holiday goodies.


So now that you know some of our healthy drink favs, feel free to use the comment section to share yours!



A meteor shower is scheduled for tonight 12 days before Christmas.

Are you ready? 

35 years of hosting Christmas Eve festivities have taught me a few things to make life easier in this hectic home.

In fact it has become a tradition we look forward to all year.

Let me tell you a secret— Christmas does not have to equal chaos.

Unless you like that of course. If you're like me, a clean house, delicious food and good company help make wonderful memories for years to come. 

Here are some quick ideas to help you keep your focus on the important things of the season.

    1    Delegate the work- every year hubby contributes by building the artificial tree.

    2    Our creative designer youngest daughter helps decorate the house.

    3    Over the years family has shared preparing a great meal for the night. With our different busy schedules the best format seems to be an open house. Come when you can leave when you must.

    4    It’s okay to buy a yummy pie or appetizers so you have more time to spend with your guests.

    5    Use crock pots to create dishes that will stay warm.

    6    Cook meals that are easy to prepare with ingredients that are fresh and in season.

    7    Some of the best dishes can be made ahead of time.

    8    Save your time for last minute cleaning in the living area/kitchen for right before guests arrive. That way you won't be going over the same areas again and again.

    9    Ask someone to bring fun games/activities to play.

    10    Have separate areas to serve appetizers, main dishes, coffee and dessert.

    11    Set up a coffee/drink bar on a table for self service.

    12    This year I will be serving breakfast for dinner. This makes preparations ahead a pretty smooth affair.

Keep your holidays simple superstar~ your family will love you for it!


“When can we eeeaaatt?” “What’s for dinner?” “I’m so hungry!” “I don’t like that food…”

When my kids were little, they didn’t always care for the dinner I chose to prepare. Five different individuals with five unique tastes can be an interesting challenge to overcome.

After what seemed to be endless complaining, my solution to the problem came by deciding to teach them that whining would not produce the change they desired.

“Mommy can’t hear whining.” I would tell them. 

Young children often need a repeat of the lesson you try to teach them. 

“We’re not whining!” 

“Oh, but, you are.” I would say as I worked on dinner. “One or two times is a request, repeated times turn it into a whine.”

My point is that complainers never win. Whether it be about dinner, a new toy or their bedtime. Or anything else in life. 

We often set goals and work hard towards them until we reach a setback or obstacle in our plan. 

Circumstances change. Life often doesn’t go as planned. We can either allow the setbacks to be motivators in our lives to continue towards our life goals, seek counsel on making necessary changes or stop us in our tracks.

One surefire way of stopping progress is by getting caught up in the negative and allowing it to control our minds and our mouths. This in turn bleeds into our actions. 

Sometimes just choosing to focus on the positive or positive thinking is not enough. Sometimes we need to take a long look at our routine to see what we’ve allowed to creep into our life to bring on the downward spiral of complaining.

Are we hanging around with negative people? That includes the news, social media and even co-workers. Research has shown that negativity from complaining can actually change the healthy function of our brains.

Are we looking at the current administration and blaming the shape of the current economy, world events, and hate mongering on the political system of the day?

It’s tempting to look at the shape of the world and cast stones at the other person, system, or organization to rationalize our setbacks. But, in reality the only person who can choose the outcome of our lives is ourselves.

Some effective measures to end the destructive cycle of complaining~

  1. Go to God with your heart issues, worries, complaints. If anyone can help you it’s the King of the universe.
  2. Ask him to show you scripture which deals with the problems you are facing. Then look for verses in the bible that deal with that topic.
  3. When your problems become overwhelming go back to these verses and read them, think about them, speak them out loud. 
  4. Make a list of the things you are grateful for and focus on these things. 
  5. Do what is in your power to do. Continue to grow and learn new ways to use your gifts and talents. Then trust God to perform the rest. 
  6. Praise and worship God for being good even when life is not. 
  7. Sing and laugh. A lot! 

When we apply these steps liberally our mark can be remarkable.  





Our youngest daughter and I love Kari Jobe. Her recent release is called "The Garden" and it got me thinking about the vegetable garden my dad has grown all my life. Recently, she and I have gone down to help my mom and dad as they are in their 80's.  We have helped with the weeding, cutting back the overgrowth and of course helped them harvesting their produce. 

Growing up, Dad used our garbage~ egg shells, old coffee grounds, with dead leaves layered on top to build a pile of rich loam in the corner of the backyard of my childhood home.

He called it his compost pile. 

In the fall it was layered and turned every few months and by springtime it had decomposed and he was ready to use it as fertilizer for his garden.

With a gardener’s soul, no food was ever wasted. Just like our heavenly father who can use our deepest messes to produce goodness in our lives. 

There was no fast food at our house. We ate what was put in front of us and were told to sit there until the last drop of succotash was eaten. Or, in our West Oak Lane home, thrown behind the old time vintage cast iron radiator.

In the early 70’s we moved to the suburbs outside of Philadelphia with a bona fide backyard filled with trees. Instead of the paved driveway of the back alleys behind our tree lined city twin home. We now had a place to run and climb trees and be kids. 

Dad went to work building a small garden plot by the side of the house to grow his own tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, eggplant, string beans and mint. Always with the mint because he enjoyed it in his sweet tea for the summer. Or, at least I did.

Sometimes, life throws us garbage in the form of loss, false friends, disappointments, dashed dreams, health and financial problems. But, I’m convinced that God has a plan and that he wastes nothing.

Just like my growing up years where winter soon turned into spring, the summer growth and fall harvest somehow produced good vegetables from Dad’s labor.

It’s a little harder to see on an electronic screen or in the eyes of our neighbors as we scurry around as life passes us by.

In this micro wave world, we can still see the eternal truth of the rewards of care by the light in our neighbor’s eyes when we drop off some food while they are going through a difficult time.

Or, take time to answer questions for a teenager who needs wisdom for future direction in his or her life.  Or it is captured in the smile of a young married as she shares about the adventures of being a newlywed and expecting her first child

While there are days where we see no rewards for our labor, it's then we need to take a closer look at the smaller yet real growth in our lives. 

It’s the family foundation that bring me back to a simpler time. And for this, I’m grateful to have learned about the truths of life from my dad's garden.  




To my darling daughter,

It’s not about the grades, the books, the knowledge…the JOB. So much. 

My love ~ in one way or another you have heard about getting a job and making money to support yourself all your life. Our culture thrives on it.

Rather it is about finding that dream, that passion, that ‘JOY’ and staying committed to it no matter what.

So take that leap and try all that you can during the next four years. Take that step and try the course that makes your heart beat faster and your spirit come alive. Explore, climb the mountains, view the vistas of each experience you will be exposed to. 

Be bold.

Rest in your upbringing. Trust your self. Know you are surrounded by people who want to see you succeed. Ignore the taunts to believe in the lies. You know which ones I mean.

Each new attempt you make will bring you one step closer to your destiny.

You cannot fail. 

You are deeply gifted, rooted, grounded in truth. And, you know the path to go. 

Everything you have gone through the last 18 years has prepared you for this new place. 

So when you reach a point where you want to give up remind yourself of how far you have come. Remember the obstacles you have already faced and had victory over. 

You are ready for this time at this new place and wired to succeed. That you will do great things I have no doubt. 

You survived the trenches of middle school, the trauma of the rigors of high school and you are ready to face your next adventure in college. You, my daughter,  have learned your lessons well.

As you acquire new knowledge, skills and friends throughout the next four years keep your vision. Sometimes, no, usually, God will take us on the “scenic” route to our allotted place. But, that’s part of the fun. So whatever you do enjoy the ride. And, oh, the places you will go!

I have no doubt your dream job will come.


Better health is trending. Boomers are getting older and anti-aging products abound. 

Ever since I watched “What Women Want” I’ve been somewhat fascinated. Do you remember the Nike scene where Mel Gibson is sharing what he got after ‘hearing’ the thoughts inHelen Hunt’s mind?  “You don’t stand in front of a mirror before a run wondering what the road will think of your outfit.” 

Love the line~ but, run myself? No thank you.

Some years later, I read that running is a great way to stimulate the creativity in the brain. Especially for writers. 

Well, ppppsshhh. Maybe for other writers not me.

Then, a close friend began running. We’d meet for coffee and she’d chat about her running. I’d chat about my writing. There’s the running and writing thing again.

More time passed as my writing life took on a whole new level of “serious” level. I had some articles, blogs, and a short memoir published. I finished a novel. I revised said novel. Then in 2015, I managed to attain representation from a major Christian literary agent. 

My striving for perfection in life caught up with me manifesting through an aching jaw from clenched teeth. I needed to do something to relieve the stress of every day living.

The final straw was when my dentist prescribed muscle relaxers for TMJ. I don’t like taking medicine so my dentist’s assistant said, “you should start running.”

It felt like a conspiracy. Ever had the moment when it feels like the whole world is against you?

So, I caved. And, I started to run.

Best decision I have ever made. Since then, I’ve lost 25 pounds and gained more energy. My jaw is fine and I’ve never slept better. My time on the trail is where I talk to God and listen… well, mostly listen. Funny how the one thing I fought against for so long has brought me so much life. I am so grateful to be sixteen years cancer -free and feeling better now then I did when I was in my 20’s. 

Here are some things I’ve learned on my running journey.

  • Buy a good pair of running sneakers.
  • Find a running path where fellow dog lovers and runners/bikers frequent.
  • Run with a partner. My running buddy is always up for a run. Her name is Layla and she is a rottweiler/golden retriever mix. 
  • Pace yourself. My first run ended up in a face plant in front of a gentleman who kindly gave me a hand up. And, the advice to “take it slow.”
  • Buy running shorts/capris with a good waist band. There is nothing worse than having to stop every two seconds to hike them up.
  • Ladies find excellent top support, you will need it.  And Gentleman, just do it. 

Is there anything you’ve learned to do that has made your life richer/healthier/better? Please share in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.



It occurred to me after leaving Philadelphia for the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference that a well planned trip provides a more productive experience. It can be intimidating and over the years I’ve learned some ways to simplify my time. 

1. Key to enjoying your trip is a well thought out workshop schedule. Think of your greatest need as a writer and focus on the workshops covering those topics. There are so many choices made available, it benefits you to tailor your schedule to your greatest need. 

For example, I have a completed manuscript and will be publishing therefore a strong                interest of mine for now is learning how to market and promote a book. 

2. Good walking shoes. You may think that attending a conference in the summer warrants summer clothes. Makes sense right?

Once inside most venues offer air conditioning which requires longer sleeves and covered feet. I passed more women who were cold in long sleeve shirts and sandals. While the temperature may be tropical outside, inside it feels more like a cool fall day. 

Bring comfortable business dress shoes for men and women and layers of clothing. Especially for the women. I wore flat business casual shoes and heard the woman in front of me in my first workshop say how cold her feet were in sandals.

3. Stay at a relatives or a friends house to cut down on costs. Or, share a room with a friend. I don’t suggest rooming with a stranger unless you are very flexible with your schedule. I have roomed with strangers and friends and it is much easier to room with someone you know. If you choose a stranger find out his or her preferences for bedtime, showers and what to expect before the conference time arrives. 

This last conference I stayed with my mom and dad in the Philadelphia suburbs and had a fun time visiting them in between my workshops.

Oh, and bring paper and pens. Lots and lots of them. Unless you prefer your laptop or notepad of course. 



Hostile Resting Face Syndrome is a thing... or is it?

It started with my youngest daughter. 

The beginning of the answer to the mystery of why so many people ask me “are you mad?” And I’m not.

We sat across from each other during lunch the other day. “Mom, are you okay?” 

Her question stopped the trajectory of my spoon towards my gaping mouth. “Yes.” Well, I was thinking about things other than what we’d been discussing. But, that was besides the point. “I’m fine… why?”

“You looked mad at the nail salon that’s all.” First, who could get mad while they are getting a treat? Second, I was thinking about missing said daughter when she leaves for college this fall. 

The topic came up again while I was scrolling through the internet looking for a pair of sunglasses.  An article captured my attention.

I’d looked for the best styles for a diamond shaped face. The writer made the point that sometimes an unsmiling diamond shaped face can be read as “catty.”  I have a diamond shaped face.

After reading the post, memories of people calling me snobby, catty and arrogant ran through my mind.

The struggle is real folks. I can sit by my lonesome with no thoughts of being superior to anyone, or just enjoying my soup and I am looking somehow arrogant. Or, snobby, or intimidating.

This is a complete mind blow to me. Because for the most part, I am a people person. In fact, I’ve gone so far as embarrassing my poor family by talking with “gasp” strangers. All. the. time.

So the next time you think someone is intimidating or arrogant, remember, they might be suffering from Hostile Resting Face Syndrome. I can't say it without smiling. Who knew they'd name a syndrome after my face? 

How about you? Have you ever been accused of something that is the polar opposite to who you are?  If so, what do you do to change the misperception?

The Suspense Is Killing Me...

Is it really Midsummer already?

You may be wondering what I've been doing this last year in between edits on my novel and returning to health after gall bladder surgery.

Helping our youngest choose the right college has been a time consuming yet gratifying endeavor as I’ve enjoyed each moment of watching her blossom into young womanhood.

We were all delighted when she was voted prom queen for her senior prom. We capped off the prom and graduation season with a large celebration in our home with family and her close friends.

Meanwhile, as my time of editing over the winter wound to a close, my agent sent book proposals to several publishers.

This, my friend, is the part where I’m learning how to “wait.” 

After 30 years of motherhood, I’m waiting to birth my first “book” baby. It’s been a process much like the proverbial butterfly turning to mush in it’s own cocoon. Oh, monarch butterfly how I’ve learned to appreciate your beauty all the more!

While we wait to hear about a book contract, my husband and I flew to Hawaii for our 35th wedding anniversary. After years of family vacations, the trip to the big island was paradise for us. Ten days on the beautiful island sped by and we headed back to Pennsylvania back to our busy lives.

One project we are involved in as our youngest leaves the nest is to renovate the master bathroom. My husband is treating me to yet another dream come true with a cast iron claw foot tub. 

As I sit here typing this post, the renovations on the bathroom are almost done.  

Hmmm... I think a good book and a bubble bath may be in order. 

What do you do while you wait?

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, our youngest daughter received a partial scholarship to a liberal arts college 6 hours away. I can practically hear adventure calling her.