Thursday, January 28, 2010

Getting back in the swing of things

Why is it so difficult to get back into the swing of things after you return from vacation? I have no energy or desire to do anything!

I have been perusing my "usual" blogs and other favorite internet stops, but my kitchen counter and sink are screaming for attention. I hate a messy house, but mine seems to fall into that category more often than not... ugh!

So, today I will do the mundane and hope for the best. I am feeling a bit depressed, although it is not only from coming back to Ohio and leaving WARM, BEAUTIFUL, SUNNY, FLORIDA.

I will be 50 years old on Monday and it is like being slapped in the face with a dead stinky fish! How could I possibly be that old? Wasn't I just 29 yesterday? Oh bother! I certainly hope that I will make the most out of this new decade that I am facing. What positive things can I do? I know there are things that I want to do, but will I actually see them to completion? I am a quitter. I hate that about me, but still, I do it. Or rather don't do it. Maybe this should be my goal? Not a resolution, a goal.

So far, I have not followed through with my weight loss goal...another 25 pounds. I have lost a couple more, but no where near my goal.

My next goal to lose this weight is before May. I have another college graduation in May. Jordan, our second son, is graduating from Indianan Wesleyan University. Wow, what an accomplishment. Wow, I. feel. OLD. Christopher, our third son, will be entering into his final year of college as soon as Jordan graduates. Then only one more year of FAFSA (thank God for that miracle) I hate those things.

Well, the longer I sit and add to this blog, the longer I put off the inevitable....

Have a good Thursday!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fun in the sun

We arrived home from our wonderful Florida vacation and were greeted about fifteen minutes later by snow...Blech!

I had to share some of our pictures with you, just so you can remember what warm weather looks like, and have hope that one day it will again be sunny and warm!

Yes, we can know that somewhere in this worl
d in this cold snowy country, there is indeed sunshine. We had a wonderful time and I am so blessed to have been able to get away for five days. We went to Naples Florida, probably my favorite place here on this earth. We spent hours and hours on the beach. Ahhhhh so relaxing.

I enjoyed myself so much that I did not want to come home. Jeff had to pry my fingers away from this palm tree and push me into the car, so we could make our plane to Charlotte where we had a two hour lay-over, and add to that an additional hour and fifteen minutes for a delay due to something wrong with the plane. They put us on a different plane (thank you US Airways)

We are home... whether we like it or not.

Monday, January 18, 2010

And the winner is...

Drum roll please.........................

Sally Conkle!

NO THIS WAS NOT RIGGED! I put all the names in separate sheets, put them in a pile, closed my eyes and drew!

Congratulations Sally! You will be receiving your books via my very own hands! Since I know where you live.

Keep posted as I will be doing this again in the near future.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Give Away!!!

Happy Friday friends~

I am going to be giving away two books as stated in the previous post, make sure to send me your name and I will add it to the pot. Spread the word...FREE BOOKS!!!

I will draw the names on Monday, January 18. Be sure to add your name soon so I can include you. Both books are great and if you scroll down you can read all about them!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

In case you are wondering

Hello friends!

In case you are wondering what is going on with my blog, let me explain. I have partnered with other fellow authors in a blog tour! Letters to Darcy by Tracy Ramos is the second featured tour.When I Accepted Me: 52 Affirmations to Boost Your Self-Esteem! by Sonja Samuel is the first. Posted on January1.

For all of you that may be interested, I have copies of both books featured in my blog, and I would like to do a GIVE AWAY.

If you would be interested, please send me a message in my blog, and I will add your name to the "pot" from which I will draw names!

I hope that you will read through the blog, and the entire explanation about each book featured.

Happy reading and let me hear from you!

Letters To Darcy Blog Tour

About the Book

Letters to Darcy by Tracy Ramos (Tyndale House Publishers)

Letters to Darcy originated as a blog, written by a young woman from Texas named Tracy Ramos. The blog was comprised of a series of diary entries that Tracy wrote to her unborn daughter, Darcy, over the course of approximately nine months. Early in her pregnancy, Tracy learned Darcy had a rare, terminal genetic condition known as Trisomy 18. Of people diagnosed with this disorder, about 95% die in utero, and for surviving infants who live to term, less than 10% survive their first year of life. Tracy’s response to her unborn daughter Darcy is an incredible testament to the sanctity of human life. You will walk with Tracy and Darcy through each entry and see how lovingly mom Tracy cares for her unborn child. Through her simple, honest, and intensely personal entries, Tracy beautifully and convincingly answers the question: When does life begin?

About the Author

Tracy Ramos is a stay-at-home mother and home educator. Tracy lives in Magnolia, Texas, along with Jason, her husband of twenty years, and their six beautiful children. She will soon give birth to her tenth child, Brooklyn, in mid-November 2009. Darcy, her ninth child, has joined two other siblings in the presence of our Lord.

Tracy’s life and passion are her family. She loves spending time with them and enjoys playing games and sports, watching movies, working out, and riding her Kawasaki Ninja with her husband. She gets a rush from finding great shopping deals—even when she chooses not to buy. Tracy spends her free time reading, clipping coupons, and going on Facebook.

“I absolutely love my life. Thank you, Lord.”

Discussion Questions

Letters to Darcy by Tracy Ramos

1. When you received Darcy’s diagnosis, did you ever feel as if you were being punished for something you had done?

The question of whether I had done something that would cause God to punish me in this way did cross my mind. Jason and I both wondered this. But I know, as evidenced by how God used this special child, that he was not using her to punish me. Of course, the Bible says that God does discipline, or train, His children to put them back on the right course, but that’s not the same as punishment. If the blessings that came with Darcy are punishment, I don’t know what punishment is.

2. Were you ever angry with God?

I’ve been asked that question a lot. In fact, many have advised me that it’s all right for me to be angry, even at God.

I’ve always considered myself a weak person. Before Darcy, I was confident that God would never give me more than I could handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). I rested on that verse and just “knew” that losing a child was something that would never happen to me. But it did happen to me, and here I am walking in the aftermath. But, no, I never became angry at God. I was angry at a lot of people, but not at God. It wasn’t because I was some super Christian with nothing but pure intentions. It was simply that I’ve never embraced that concept. God was and is the source of all the good things in my life. He has given me a wonderful husband and beautiful children. We have never been in need of anything. How could I be angry at Him because something didn‘t go my way, despite how grave it was? Get mad at him? God forbid! Are we not supposed to love God in the valleys as well as on the mountaintops? Doesn’t He bring rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous?

His ways are not our ways. So many beautiful things have come from Darcy’s life and death. Even though Darcy never said a word, her story helped stop abortions. Her life has caused many parents to love their children a little more, to worship God a little more, and in some cases, even to come back to Him. Darcy had more impact on people in her fifteen days with us than I have ever had in my lifetime. Her legacy will live on.

Was I ever angry at God? No. Who am I to question my Creator?

3. How did you hold on to your faith in God through the trials?

I don’t know how I got through. It would be easy to say that I wish I had slept through the entire thing and then woke up when it was over. But that’s not how I feel. My time with Darcy was the single most difficult series of days in my life. But I would not have gotten to know my little angel were it not for those days. I once heard that it is a beautiful experience that I would wish on no one. Been there, done that, and it’s so true.

I know one thing for sure: The Lord is the author and finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12:2). I had faith not because I had it in me to have faith. I had faith because He gave me just enough faith to go through this.

4. What more did you learn about your faith through your journey with Darcy?

I believe that the things I learned about my faith are only some of the blessings I mentioned above. The biggest lesson is that God will never leave us in our time of need. Another is that it relates to the second half of 1 Corinthians 10:13: that God will make a way for me to endure the testings, or trials, in my life. We should never underestimate the power of God or second-guess Him. He loves us and wants only the best for us. And even though we don’t understand how trials can be good for us, we must trust in God’s sovereignty. We need to have faith through the trials, and when we reach the other end, we can look back and see that He has been carrying us through them all.

A famous poem by Mary Stevenson, called “Footprints in the Sand,” expresses my sentiments more beautifully than I can.

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.

Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene, I noticed footprints in the sand.

Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,

Other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life,

when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow, or defeat,

I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,

“You promised me, Lord, that if I followed you,

You would walk with me always.

But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life

there have been only one set of footprints in the sand.

Why when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?"

The Lord replied,

“The times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand,

Is when I carried you.”

5. How did you find the daily strength to go on, knowing that your baby would probably not survive long after her birth?

In the beginning, my focus was on finding a cure or anything that could save her. Eventually, my focus turned to wanting to make the most of the time God would allow me to have with her. He gave me the strength and inspiration I needed to focus, not on Darcy’s dying, but on her living.

I wanted to make sure I had no regrets after she was gone, so I made a list that was based on advice I solicited from many people who had already walked this road before me. I made sure that we did as many of the items on the list as God would allow, so that Darcy’s life—however long it might be—would have meaning for me and for everyone else who knew her. We had to make a lifetime of memories in a very short time. We didn’t know how long Darcy would live, but we went through that list as if she were going to die before the next minute came. I believe that gave me the energy and drive that helped me bear what could otherwise have been a horrific two weeks. Jason made it his goal to see to it that every item on the list was accomplished. I believe it was his shining moment.

6. What did you and Jason need to do—in your relationship—in order to persevere through the pregnancy and then after Darcy was born?

Studies have revealed that there is a high rate of divorce for parents of deceased children. We were aware of that and vowed not be a statistic. Our relationship has been tested more through the pregnancy and Darcy’s life than at any other time in our twenty years of marriage. We still struggle, but we are persevering. I believe that our relationship will eventually become unbreakable because we have a righteous multitude who continue to pray for us and provide love and support. We used to think of ourselves as independent people who do not need to rely on others for help. We were determined to meet this challenge head-on. But during that time, God revealed the pride that was the source of our independent attitude, even toward each other. He showed us in practical ways by gathering His people around us in our time of need. I guess this is where the phrases “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health” from our wedding vows come in.

7. In what ways has your experience with Darcy changed the person you are now?

God has made me much more compassionate toward those who experience similar trials, especially those who have kids with any kind of trisomy condition. Also, because I survived this heart-wrenching ordeal, I know that I can survive anything and can help others do the same. Last, I have a renewed commitment to help spread a new kind of “pro-choice” message: that we must choose to help those who cannot help themselves, especially our own unborn children.

And, of course, the negative thing about the experience is that there will always be a Darcy-shaped hole in my heart, a hole that will never be filled in this life.

8. How has your experience changed your family and your life together?

It has brought us closer, and we value one another more. We now truly believe that life is a vapor and that any one of us can suddenly be taken up to heaven. Although the kids occasionally forget this and fight, the fights don’t last as long as they used to.

This is part of the silver lining in such a hard experience. Grief has a strange but powerful way of forcing us to confront the sins in our lives. And even though we have to go through more rough roads while we’re grieving, we also know that it’s the best way to deal with those sins in a lasting way.

9. What advice would you give to families going through this kind of experience—whether or not they know God?

Of course, I am not a psychologist. But because I have gone through it, I feel I have something to say about the matter. But I would give advice only if I were asked for it. The hurt of losing a child is so deep that the last thing people want is unsolicited advice. The reality is, I would much rather have my child here with me, alive and well. However, if someone asked, these are things I might tell them.

First, I would tell them that they will need to prepare for a long, hard road ahead. During the delivery, a nurse told Jason that we were about the face the deepest sorrow in our lives. She was right. In a way, this helped us brace ourselves and expect the worst. Knowing it was coming helped us deal with it better than we would have if we have not known what to expect. And, the proof is in the pudding. God does see you through, and joy does come in the morning.

Second, I would urge them to rely on one another and never forsake one another, just as God has never forsaken us. The death of a child can do irreparable damage to a marriage. Satan uses situations such as this one to split families. Husband and wives must work extra hard to keep it together both during and long after the death of their child. Do not lay guilt on the other person or blame him or her for the disease. Instead, be understanding with one another. Each person has a different way of dealing with the grief and stress. Realize that everyone in the family—not just the mother—is grieving. The grieving period will pass, but you need give family members as much time as they need.

Following that, I would encourage them to trust that the Creator has their little one in His care and that their precious child will soon be in His arms. If they want to see their child again someday, they must believe in God’s Son, Jesus. My advice would not change just because someone else doesn’t believe the way I do. I know that God’s Word always bears fruit, so I would rely on the Holy Spirit to direct what I say and to reveal His message to the hearts of those I speak with.

During Darcy’s time with us, we realized that her story is more than a message about life on earth. It is, in a more important way, a story of eternal life with our Creator. Jason called Darcy our “little evangelist.” I think we’ll see the truth of that statement once the book is released. The story of Darcy is a story of God’s grace, mercy, and loving-kindness. It was when we were in the deepest despair that we really got to know God. Our hope is that when people share our sorrow as they read about Darcy, they will come face-to-face with the Savior.

Having said all that, I would like to offer two pieces of unsolicited advice to those who desire to comfort grieving families: First, it is better to offer nonverbal support, such as giving hugs or simply sitting quietly and listening. A sweet lady at our church did that for me. Whenever she saw me, she just leaned over and gave me a long hug without saying a word. I will never forget those hugs. Second, and this is in line with the first statement, do not feel compelled to say something and end up being insensitive (for example, “at least you have other children”).

10. What were some of the supportive things that friends and family did or said that were most helpful in dealing with the pregnancy and adjusting to life after Darcy was born?

Our Family

We came together and supported one another. There was no bickering or whining. The focal point was Darcy. It was the one thing we shared. We assured one another that her condition was not a result of anything we did. We said, “I love you” a lot.


Where do I begin? Every day for several weeks, we enjoyed meals that church friends had lovingly created. Our deacon family coordinated activities during Darcy’s birth. During the delivery, several women were there to coach me. Those who had medical backgrounds were available to us 24–7. Those who knew photography took literally hundreds of pictures of Darcy and the family. Church families spent the night to help us care for Darcy. Our pastors and deacon constantly checked on us and made sure we were in need of nothing. They brought a church service to our home (one of the items on Darcy’s List was to go to church.) The list is endless, but the experience would not have been the same without the support of our church family. Our little church became a picture of how the body of Christ should act.


Friends (neighbors, doctors and nurses, and other acquaintances) were very understanding. Knowing that hundreds of these people were available to us at a drop of a hat was so reassuring.

Total Strangers

The comments posted on Darcy’s Web site from people all over the world were a source of inspiration to us. Finding out about lives saved, families reunited, and people finding their way back to God gave us a clear sense that Darcy’s life had purpose. We took comfort and strength in those numbers: Approximately four thousand people a day followed Darcy’s story!


Prayer kept us connected to God. That connection stayed strong, due in large part to the thousands of petitions people brought to the only One who could help.


It may be difficult to open the Bible in times of such intense pain, but there is so much comfort to be had in knowing what the Lord has to say about times like these. The verses I have stated above have been my inspiration.


I played several specific songs constantly during our time with Darcy. Now when I hear those songs every now and then, my thoughts return to the sweet moments I had with my little girl in my arms, her smell, her softness, her purity.

You may find out more about this book at

Friday, January 1, 2010

Blog Tour

When I Accepted Me: 52 Affirmations to Boost Your Self-Esteem! by Sonja Samuel (Hewell Publishing)

How we feel about ourselves, how we see ourselves influences how we live our lives. It is a direct result to the level of our self-esteem. For most people self-esteem is about how much we feel valued, loved, accepted and thought well of by others; but it is really about how much we love, value and except ourselves. It is in accepting ourselves that allows us to do well in the things that matter most. It is what leads us to fulfill our destiny and make a divine difference.

However, since we all experience problems with our self-esteem, self worth and self-acceptance at various times in our lives, When I Accepted Me is a collection of personal affirmations to help build, boost and maintain good self-esteem.

Sonja Samuel

About the Author

You may have seen here on the sidelines cheering for one of the most winningst football teams in the NFL or on a commerical or a magazine. A former print model, TV spokesperson, internet radio and talk show host, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader and NFL Players Cheerleader. SONJA SAMUEL currently travels the world as an international speaker, leadership consultant, and life empowerment strategist to Fortune 500 companies and their workforce; as well as traveling the globe as a performing arts director and short-term missionary.

Her inspiring and empowering influence as been experienced throughout North America, South and Central America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

With her work in High Schools across the country, and with youth and young adult women around the world through her performing arts company, Sonja noticed a trend that most of the young women are more focused on finding a man instead of fulfilling their mission in life. Therefore, to assist them in their quest, Sonja will soon release a new book on "How to Know He is NOT the One."

Sonja has received numerous honors including being named as an Outstanding Women of America and Personalities of the South. Her mission in life is to "EmPower people to impact their world, fulfill their destiny, and make a divine difference.

Blog Tour Questions &cts our overall evaluation or appraisal of our self worth. It encompasses our beliefs, emotions and behavior. However, many people operate from the perspective of what others think of them and it fuels a cycle of dissatisfaction and discontentment. Instead of finding peace within themselves and being the unique and distinct person God created them to be, they live a life based on who they think others want them to be. As a result then of achieving high self esteem they find their self esteem constantly under attack.

It has been said that 2 out of 3 people at any given time suffers from low self esteem, and low self esteem can negatively affect every part of our lives. If the negativity goes unaddressed, it can completely ruin our lives. If at the core of it all is low self esteem, we must address this issue if we want to live joyous, productive, and purposeful lives as God intended. From my experience it all starts with changing the way we think. The way we think is essential to winning over negativity and boosting self esteem.

2. Why is self-esteem important to you?

Self esteem is important to me because after dealing with a difficult separation and divorce, I found myself struggling to rebuild my self esteem. That whole experience had taken me down a road of despair and depression like I had never experienced before. High self esteem had never been a problem for me so when life became difficult and it challenged me to question myself, I was completely thrown for a loop. It caused me to question my self- worth and value, and in the end I really struggled with accepting myself. I started thinking something must be wrong with me.

Now, based on the Word of God I knew this wasn’t true but I still struggled. Once I was able to regain my confidence and repair the damage to my self esteem, I begin to see that I had gotten lost in my emotions when it really was about what was going on in my head. High self esteem starts with what we think! Of course, sometimes we suffer from ‘thinking stinking’ and that can present a different set of issues; overall, I learned that to develop high self esteem we must examine what we think because that is what shapes our perspective and allows us to accept ourselves along with the challenges of life from a more positive perspective than negative one. That’s why I focused my book on positive affirmations for accepting me.

3. What can a person do to build high self-esteem?

I would recommend starting with what I call my ACCEPT Principles:

A – Learn to accept your strengths and weaknesses. As humans we are a work in progress. Everyone has an up side to who they are and a down side. It is our down side that continues to remind us of our humanity and keeps us seeking to be better and do better. Often our weaknesses are just unguarded strengths that we must continue to manage them if it is something we can’t change but our weaknesses DO NOT make us a bad person.

C – Concentrate on the positives. It is real easy to focus on the negative and our world is full of them. However, to focus on the positives it starts with making a choice to do so. From there you make a commitment to release any and all negativity; negative thoughts, negative emotions and negative relations. The Bible says ‘think on these things ...whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, and whatever is of good report.’

C - Connect to your passion and you’ll connect to your purpose. Find the things in life that you are really passionate about and involve yourself in them. That will do more to help you have the confidence that you need to succeed and win over any adversity life presents. Also you will notice how much happier your life will be because of it.

P – Persevere. It has been said when the going gets tough the tough gets going. In this life we will have trouble, as the Bible tells us so we must hold fast to the faithfulness of God and His promises to never leave us alone. When tough times now come my way, I often affirm and encourage myself with the scripture that says ‘this too shall pass.’

T – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your understanding. We may not see the hand of God at work but we must trust that He is at work on our behalf. That is called the providence of God.

4. If the ACCEPT Principles helps us build high self-esteem, what helps us maintain it?

Here are seven simple steps that we all can do every day. Building or rebuilding self esteem is the most difficult. Maintaining high self esteem is a lot easier if we implement these steps.

1. Smile often to yourself and to others. Greet others when you see them and ask how they are and how their day is going. This helps build positive relationships with others.

2. Eliminate the negative. When a negative thought enters your mind, stop and immediately counter it with a positive thought about the same subject.

3. Be nice to others and be nice to yourself. Conversely, don't degrade others and don't degrade yourself.

4. Face your fears and forget your failures (after learning from them). Focus on your achievements and successes. Reward yourself when you succeed.

5. Quit thinking about trying to be perfect. No one is, so just accept that as it is. Don't be too competitive and don't compare yourself with others.

6. Don't worry about what others think of you. Just be the best you that you can be.

7. Hang out with positive and optimistic people who also have high self esteem and self confidence. But when you are around negative people, try to direct your positive and optimistic thoughts in their direction. Don't let them pull down your level of self confidence or self esteem.

5. Can you be a good person, a successful person, and still struggle with

maintaining good self esteem?

Absolutely! Life happens to us all. Having high self esteem or good self esteem doesn’t exempt us from the trails and challenges of life. It does, however, puts us in a better situation to deal with them when they come.

Maintaining our esteem is easy but it is work. Sometimes our struggle comes because we are not putting in the work of being true to ourselves and what brings us satisfaction, joy and contentment. Remember, self esteem is not about our successes or failures but how we feel, see and accept ourselves. Living in a such a competitive and negative world that is constantly trying to get us to be something other than want we are can present be exhausting.

6. Does the focus on building and maintaining high esteem cause people to develop a

false sense of security based on feelings that may not match reality?

I don’t think so. Self-esteem is a very powerful thing to have. When you have healthy self-esteem you are a more confident person, you are better at dealing with life disappointments, you build friendship with others more easily, you perform better in school and overall experience a more fulfilling life. It is an individual’s perspective on how they see themselves. No one can take that away or define that for the individual.

I guess any one of us could have a warped sense of ourselves but that would be an indication of low self esteem.

7. Tell us about the creative process of writing this book?

Initially, I started writing a book on leadership but as I started the process, I kept coming back to this issue of self esteem. How can we lead others if we are struggling to lead ourselves? The more I reflected on that I started to reflect on my own personal experiences not only in the area of leadership but self esteem in general. That lead me to start writing down what had helped me get to the path I’m on today. What things did I have to do to overcome my fears, deal with the challenges life had presented to me and manage my emotions. These are all essential elements of being a good leader as well as having good self esteem.

In the end, I ended up writing over hundred affirmations that has been broken down into two volumes under the title of “When I Accepted Me.” We’ve just release volume 1 and volume 2 will be released in 2010. I divided them up into two volumes because I wanted to give people an opportunity to really reflect and internalize each affirmation to boost their self esteem. I’ve suggested to people to just take one a week (that’s why there are 52 of them) and internalize that one. Pray on it, see how it reflects in your life; maybe use it as a guide to write your own for that week.

I’ve encouraged some people to take on the 52 day challenge of reading one every day for 52 days straight and see if their perspective isn’t changed for the good at the end of it. Again, it is all about what is going on in our heads and when we receive positive information inwardly, we respond with positive behavior outwardly that leads to success in life …however, you may define success.

8. How can people get the book and what is some of the feedback you’ve received so


My book can be ordered from my website at It would be a great way to start the year and to recharge for the coming year. We are extending it at our special introduction offer of $14.95 because we want to get the book out into as many hands as possible. For me it is a tool for empowering others which is my personal mission in life.

It makes a great gift book for your friends, family and coworkers. I just gave them out as stocking stuffers and will be sendin out for Valentine’s Day as a way of saying you.

I have really enjoyed the feedback from people on how it has been such a pick me up for them when their emotions started to get the best of them and send them into a downward spiral.

One lady said she carries it around in her purse and when her day starts going south and she is ready to stick it to someone, she whips out her book, reads a few affirmation and it gets her back on track.

A lady told me about her husband that lost his mother this year and has been struggling emotionally. She said about once omother.