Monthly Archives: August 2015

Click on the title of the blog post to view the entire entry.

20 years!

20 years of marriage! 20 years with this man who adores me and who I adore right back. There have been good years and not so good years, but we’ve stuck together and trusted God through it all, and I’m excited to see what the next 20 bring for us.

If you follow my instagram, you already saw several pictures I shared from the anniversary party my mom threw us this past weekend. I’ll be sharing more from that soon, but I printed out a bunch of pictures of us through the years (all converted to b&w), and made them into collages and centerpieces for the tables. These are just a few of the photos I used. :)

Happy Anniversary, Jacob!

all about the next book

I’ve been anticipating this moment for quite a while now. I finished the first draft of the new book back in June, then took time off to enjoy summer and just take a break and let it simmer. But I’m ready to get back into it and start editing and filling it in more.

When I first wrote Goodbye, Magnolia, I didn’t plan to make it a series, but I kept thinking about Maggie’s roommate, Michelle, and came up with a story for her that I really loved and wanted to tell. I’m calling this Book #2 and have named the series “Cornerstone” since that is the place that links the characters together. The book follows Michelle (and Maggie + Simon) from her college years on to her early thirties. We get to learn her story, where she came from, and see some of the events of Goodbye, Magnolia from her perspective, which was so fun to write.

So, without further ado. My next book …

And here is the blurb from the back of the book:

Growing up with a distant mother and absentee father, Michelle’s childhood has been far from idyllic. Her only attention comes from her partying friends and the guys who are more than happy to give her the affection she longs for. But when one party goes wrong, Michelle’s family hatches a plan to get her out of Chicago and away from her so-called friends.

College plans are low on Michelle’s priority list, especially with no money to pay for it, until her grandparents offer to foot the bill for her entire tuition. There’s just one catch. Michelle must choose between three schools – all hours away from Chicago and … all Christian colleges.

Michelle’s reluctant choice leads her to an unfamiliar place and an uncertain future. A place that could change her life and her heart forever.

I’m really excited about this one, about Michelle’s story, and I hope you all will enjoy it, too. There’s no official release date yet. I’m just saying early 2016 at this point. If you want to be the first to get announcements about the new book and news/sales on my other books, sign up for my newsletter HERE.

If you still haven’t read Goodbye, Magnolia, it’s on sale this week for just 99¢ in all ebook formats:


Happy reading!

hello, monday

Summer is flying by and I thought since I haven’t really posted much lately, I would share some photos from the past month as a summary of what’s been going on. I’ll start with the weekend just before the kids left for camp. We went to the drive-in theater and watched Minions and Jurassic World. I love watching movies out under the stars. Always a fun experience. Loved Jurassic World, by the way. Jurassic Park is the movie Jake and I were watching when he first realized that he liked me as more than a friend, so it’s fun and fitting that Jurassic World came out this year to remind us of that and help us celebrate twenty years of marriage. :)

We celebrated my birthday that Sunday at my parents’ farm with burgers and chicken on the grill and a couple games of Sequence. Then on Monday, Jake and I took the kids to church to head out on their first church camp adventure. Chloe immediately loved it, but it took Zach a few days to really warm up to the experience. He’s very much a homebody, but in the end, he had a good time. The most important thing is that the kids were learning about God and spending time praying and singing to Him. One thing I am VERY grateful for is those who gave of their time and talents to photograph the kids week at camp. They weren’t allowed to bring cell phones/ipods/etc., which are the only cameras my kids have. So I’m so glad they had photographers there and that they shared all of the wonderful pictures with us parents. So many wonderful memories captured. What I wouldn’t give to have hundreds of pictures of my own years at church camp. :)

Chloe made some very special new friends in her cabin at camp. She became very close with one in particular, one who happens to live in Florida for the majority of the year with her mom and the summer months with her dad here in Michigan. The girls got to spend a fun couple days together before she flew back to Florida. Chloe was very sad to see her go, but is already looking forward to her visit in December around the holidays. It’s so sweet to see such a bond form based on their common belief in God.

As I mentioned before, while the kids were gone at camp, Jake and I had a little “reno-cation”. We replaced the old nasty bathtub and surround. This isn’t a great picture. Need to get my big camera out and snap a few, but this is after the caulk had dried and the fixtures were put back in and the pretty curtain and rug were put in place. I LOVE IT! There is still painting to do, but it’s done for the most part. Hard work, but so worth it.

The Saturday after camp, Chloe woke with a high fever. She was achy and could barely move. We gave her medicine and lots of fluids. We hoped it was a 24 hour thing, but it was not. So she had to miss a family get-together in Ohio on Sunday with my mom’s side of the family. :( Jake stayed home with her so I could go. Zach and I rode down with my Mom and we enjoyed a nice afternoon with my aunts and uncle and cousins and friends. I love the top left photo below of my mom and aunts laughing. Such fun we all have together. :)

Chloe ended up being sick for several days, so I finally took her to the doctor to check for strep throat, which she did not have. It was just a nasty virus that held on for a week. Thankfully, by the weekend she was feeling much better and seemed back to her normal self. I always feel so helpless when the kids are sick.

Shortly after we woke on Saturday, our power suddenly went out. There had been storms the night before, but all that was long gone, so we weren’t sure what was happening. Turns out some nearby power lines were down so they had to cut power to work on them. We went out to the farm to help Mom with some things she needed done around the house and to stay cool on the very hot and muggy day. Zach got to run the weed whacker for the first time, only it ended up breaking shortly after he started. Oops! We enjoyed corn on the cob (my first this summer!) that the Amish kids from across the road brought over. It was SO good. I wanted to keep eating it all day. ;)

Jake’s sister, who lives a few blocks from us, texted to let us know the power was back on and we were home in the air conditioning by dinner time.

On Sunday afternoon, Chloe and I went to Holland State Park to the beach for the day. It was another very hot and muggy day, and the lake felt so cool and refreshing. It was actually our first time at the big lake this summer, which is sad really. But we spontaneously decided this would be the day. It was a nice few hours together, although Chloe can’t stand to sit still on the blanket for more than ten minutes. She was in the water most of the time. I spent ten or fifteen minutes laying in the sun at a time, but it was just too hot and I was in the water most of the time, too. The beach and water were packed with people enjoying Lake Michigan.

It’s been a good month so far (except for Chloe’s sickness). Looking forward to a couple fun things coming up, including an upcoming sale on Goodbye, Magnolia, which I will be sure to let you all know about, as well as a very special book announcement. :)

hello, monday

When we dropped our kids off at church last Monday morning for camp, I had a flashback to leaving them at school on their first day of kindergarten. I wasn’t expecting that. It was their first time away from home for a full week somewhere other than with grandparents or cousins. And I experienced those familiar momma feelings you get when your kids are out in the world for the first time and you just have to trust God to hold onto them.

The goal for our kid-free week was to renovate our bathroom. The bathtub and shower surround have been in horrible shape for a long time, and we knew we needed to gut that area and install a brand new one. So as soon as we dropped the kids off, we pretty much hit the ground running. Monday was spent purchasing the things we needed for the reno. Tuesday morning, we picked up a few more necessary items and spent the afternoon on demo. The rest of the week was installation.

We underestimated the amount of time it would take us to finish this project. We thought we’d have it all done by Friday and would go to dinner at Olive Garden to celebrate. Nope! A few hiccups along the way slowed our progress. Jake kept having to run out to Ace to get little things (tools, screws, caulk, etc.) that we needed or ran out of. And we didn’t take into account just how exhausting it would be for two forty year olds who are not very physically fit to complete this renovation. Our stairs were climbed dozens of times in the span of three days, and by Friday, we were big blobs of aching muscles. And that lovely celebration dinner at Olive Garden never happened. We did order Applebee’s take out, but it wasn’t the same.

The project still isn’t complete. The big stuff is done. We are just finishing up little things like installing the light switch plate, putting another coat of paint on the trim, waiting for caulk to cure, etc. I will share some photos once it’s finished.

Jake took the entire week off of work so we could do this and have a “vacation” week together. It was not what I would call a relaxing vacation, but one thing I realized throughout the week is that we worked well together (for the most part) and accomplished a lot when we put our minds to it. We don’t have the best history when it comes to working on projects together. I tend to micromanage, which drives him insane. But this time around, things went pretty smoothly. Maybe it’s the fact that the kids were away and I didn’t have to worry about coming up with meals or dividing my attention between them and the bathroom project. Whatever the case, I’m proud of what we accomplished together. It looks a thousand times better than before.

This week also reminded me of the pre-kid days when it was just the two of us and made me think ahead to the days when the kids will be grown and it will be just us again. I’m not in a hurry for that, but I know that when it happens, we will be OK. We still like each other after twenty years of marriage. We still want to spend time together. We still plan and hope and dream together. I’d say that’s a very good thing. :)

And as far as the kids, they had a great time at camp and came home with many wonderful stories and tender hearts full of love for God and all their new friends. It was a successful week for all.

AJAXed with AWP