Beginnings (1)Sitting in a Writing Workshop at Cal State San Marcos, my teacher gives us a word of the day to write on for 6 minutes. We wait eagerly with pens in hands.

“Beginnings,” she says.

Normally I like beginnings–it reminds me fresh starts–clean sheets, swept floors, fresh air, new home, new babies with little pink noses and corn kernel toes, 1st day of school, excitement and goals, new year’s resolutions. They remind me of fresh green plants. Cool blue water.

But not today.

Today the first thing I think of is that this week my husband begins chemotherapy. This beginning is one I’d rather fast-forward to the end.

This is not clean or blue or fresh. This beginning is vile.

It will fill my husband’s throat with bile and stain our bed sheets with sweat that smells like poison so strong,

I will throw them out when we are done in 5 months.

This marks the beginning of foggy thinking

and of needles in the arm that are inserted by cold, rubbery gloved hands

meant to protect the nurses from the toxic liquid

they will drip into my husband’s veins for one hour, two hours, four hours, eight.

This is the beginning of a summer with neither beaches or swim parties, nor hikes in the hills on sunny days

…can’t have his skin burn.

This is the beginning of hair loss, and no sex for 24-48 hours after chemo

because the chemicals will leach out of everything

as it, “kills everything, everything” his oncologist repeated in his office last week, hands waving through the air to emphasize his point.

Everything except Owen. My love, Owen.

Who wants that?

I hate this post.

I don’t want to publish this post.

I’m supposed to be optimistic: a positive role model. A vision of courage. A cheerleader. I’m supposed to inspire people with my faith, and avoid awkward moments where my audience doesn’t know what to say so they respond with canned comments that only make me want to scream like–“It’s all for the best” or “Just think about the good this will do in the end, right?”

And they are right. But it doesn’t make it easy. And I do have faith. I am a cheerleader. I am courageous.

I am.

Just not today.

Can I get one day? Just one day to be depressed and voice it on a public page and share with everyone that I’m NOT looking forward to this beginning?

Vacation (1)The only thing I look forward to is the end.

That bright, clean, blue end where we can plan our new years resolutions for 2016.
Where we can throw away the prescriptions and the Peptobismol and the SPF 100.

Where we can go on vigorous hikes on hot days, finding rest in the shade to sip the cool water in our canteens and talk nothing more about the pain or the nausea or fatigue, but instead about that sunny summer cruise along the Pacific ocean beaches we just took. 

Where we can move from sickness and on to health in our marriage.

Where we can submerge ourselves in its new waters and wash this year all away and reemerge revived and reborn.

Where we can both grow our hair out long and wild…and stay up until late together eating pizza and laughing about nothing…and make love anytime we want on clean smelling sheets.

I want to skip this beginning and get to the end. The end of cancer and the beginning of our resurected life where nothing more will be taken for granted. 



Chocolate eyesLast night I saw my 2-year-old son draw a circle on his magnetized drawing board.

“Mommy, wanna see me dwah a circle?” he asked eagerly.

“Yes!” I exclaimed, “I would LOVE to see you draw a circle.”

And I meant it. In my current world of cancer and bills, errands and cleaning, there would have been nothing else in the world I would want to see more in that very moment than watch my son draw a circle.

And he did. Oblong but connected and certainly circular, he drew one—chubby fingers clenching his plastic magnet pen, attached to the string of the board.

Then he said he’d turn it into Daddy. He drew two more circles for eyes and a third circle for a mouth.

“Where’s his hair?” I asked.

And he quickly scribbled a patch of hair on the top of his circle Daddy head.

It was his first drawing of something that took a real shape. No longer the scribbles where I’d have to ask what it was. Oh how I wanted to keep that drawing forever–to tuck that precious circle away in my scrapbook box until the day I could frame it in construction paper and etch it with lace on a background covered in photographs of his dark brown, orb-shaped eyes that look like chocolate when he cries or smiles or laughs.

But I couldn’t–he erased it before I could even take out my phone and snap an Instagram worthy shot.

So instead I frame his picture on a page in my notebook, etched with words too minuscule and insufficient to capture its impression on my heart and my mind.

Coming to Terms with Cancer

In this together!!

In this together!!

Today Owen came home from the hospital. He had a strumectomy done to remove the 12 cm sized tumor growing in his chest–a malignant thymoma. When the CT scan was performed a month ago, the oncologist said it looked like it was in stage 2 and it was the size of like a tangerine. But this one was the size of a grapefruit, the largest the thoracic surgeon had ever seen in his career (and he has been a surgeon for like 40 years!) and it had grown into stage 3 cancer–invading his heart.

So they couldn’t remove all of it. Had to leave the part of the tumor on the heart alone. It has left an exclamation mark scar on his chest. I knew that meant either radiation or chemo or both. Deep down, I was holding out for just radiation. But sure enough, on Wednesday, the oncologist came in and explained to us the treatment plan in his thick Hebrew accent. We held hands hearing about all the chemical combinations and the side effects–  hair loss, fatigue, nausea, weight gain. He used words like “aggressive” and “kill everything” to explain the process but encouraged us with words like “you are strong, you will be able to handle it.” Supposedly the research suggests that with the chemo combination  often called PAC, performed every 21 days for 4-6 sessions and included with it a month of daily radiation at UCSD, Owen will have a 80-90% chance of being cured.

I don’t like those numbers. I want 100%. I can’t even imagine a world if that 10-20% chance comes crashing through our lives. That would mean more chemo. More radiation. More suffering.  And what if, it is never cured? Then what? I don’t even want to imagine. So I cling to what Owen says.

“You know the strongest man you’ve ever met going through Chemo, doctor?” He said, matter-of-factly.

“Yes,” the doctor replied, questioningly.

“That will be me, doctor.” I loved that.

Given we were already mentally preparing for this talk, however, it didn’t come nearly as emotionally shocking as it did when we were in the hospital a month ago, and the first doctor from upstairs came down and suggested the word Cancer with her concerned eyes. We were not expecting that. That was the moment that slowed down, where like in the movies, the sound quiets and all you see are the characters’ expressions as they hear the grim news. The doctor pulls out the documents and solemnly words the news. The wife stares blankly at the doctor and puts her hand on her husband’s knee. He leans down and rests his head in his hands. And you know. You as the audience know they just heard they’ve got cancer. But when you are the one in that scene, it feels like a dream. At least it did for me. Is this real? This wasn’t part of my life plan.

But still, I was emotionally jarred by the official news that chemo was next. It made everything all the more real. Even more real than the surgery. This is what I think of when I hear of cancer. I think of the chemo–the monster that kills cancer patients faster than the cancer can kill them–but somehow, doesn’t kill them, just leaving them bald, frail, weak, and in bed. So after the doctor left the room, I went into the bathroom and cried. Cried for my husband. Cried for me and for the kids. I don’t want to go down this road. I don’t want to have to see my husband in that state. There are many more tears ahead and I don’t want to cry anymore.

Today I had time to process it a bit more. In the quiet of the day as my husband recovered on the couch and I paid the medical bills we had already accumulated with the blessing of donations in our GoFundMe Campaign, an intense chest pain came over me–anxiety. Almost an attack. But I prayed and asked for prayer. I decided–no cleaning, no added stress. Instead, I spent an hour designing a banner for a buy, sell, trade group I’m co-administering on Facebook with a couple of close friends. It was medicinal. I need a creative outlet. In the end, I think today’s anxiety came today of all days and not earlier because my body is finally having time to just feel. I’ve been in survival mode for a while. I just hope my milk supply goes back up. The baby is now drinking mainly formula, because 2 weeks ago, once Owen started getting another flare up (chest pains, nausea, night sweats, fatigue, weakness, poor appetite) my supply plummeted. In my mind, I felt like I was so strong. But the body knows. Survival mode kicked in. And that means less milk for my baby.

wedding handsOwen went through it too–negative emotions I mean. Some friends of ours, the Pallottos, came over tonight and took care of the kids for a couple of hours, asking us to go out for a while and just be together. We did. It was good for us. We went to Red Lobster and picked at our crab legs between holding hands, talking, and sharing silence. We laughed. We even cried. My husband’s lips were ash and he didn’t have much of an appetite. He broke down a couple of times unexpectedly. We held hands and for the first time in our marriage, remembered that in the big scheme of this life–it is the two of us in our family who are one. Our kids will grow up one day and leave and they will not be with us. It will be us two. I will be with him through this cancer. And he, God willing, will be with me when I experience my big issue in the future, whatever that may be. It became so much more real tonight. So this is marriage. This is sickness and health. And strangely, it brought me comfort and an overflowing surge of love. I love him. I love this man. And he is mine and I am his till death do us part.

I drove us back home afterward, and felt a poem forming in my mind about my mixed emotions– sadness, anger, and yet love and joy still.

I told Owen–“I have a poem forming in my mind. It’s called the Paradox of Pain. You know–I want to laugh, I want to cry.”

Then Owen replied quickly, “…I want to stab you in the eye.”

“Yes!” I cried, “You know!”

psalm 56 3I write this blog because I believe in being translucent. I don’t think we can truly know each other and love each other unless we allow ourselves to see one another as we truly are. Listen, I know the truth. I know God loves us. I know he has a plan for us. I know he will use this for good. I know he will be there with us through it all. I know this. And knowing that certainly gives us a hope and a strength, I could no way have on my own. But it doesn’t mean that I want it. I don’t want it. I want a life of bliss and no suffering.

Ironically, I say that knowing that it’s silly and knowing that it is through our suffering that we become strong and better people, which I want too. I want to grow closer to Christ. I want to be stronger. I want to be more compassionate toward others. I want to grow closer to my husband. I want to appreciate life more and take less for granted. I want all of that too. But you can’t get all that growth, without some pruning. Pruning cuts and it pinches and it hurts. It hurts! But I do know that the Master Gardner has a beautiful plan for his garden. And we get to be a part of that plan. I do trust in that. And while today was a tough day and not the last of those tough days, I know that because of what I know, there will be many great days too.

Thanks for reading. If you have gone through cancer, how did you deal? How did you come to terms and move forward? Would love to know more of your stories.

My Proof Copy is Here!

book proof 2I have been going back and forth with the book designer I hired to make sure the layout looked good in print when using Amazon’s self-publishing contractor called Create Space. But I finally got my proof and I am very happy with it. The skin shade of my darker-skinned characters is a bit darker than it looked on the digital pdf, so their facial features are a bit harder to see, but otherwise, my characters look mostly close to what I had intended. The picture of me at the back is slightly warmer in its color than the original but still looks like me so that is good. 🙂

But here is the most exciting part: The book is effective. 

How do I know?

I tested it out last night on my son, Kanan, for whom I originally wrote this book!

  • We sat down and read the book, making sure after each section to go over the questions and talk about it. He thoughtfully reflected on each one–thinking about how he could demonstrate patience, politeness, kindness, etc.
  • At the end of the book, I prompt the child to think about which areas of love they struggle on most. Kanan was able to go back and flip to 4 different areas where he struggles: jealousy, counting wrongs of others, delighting in wrongdoing, and losing hope in others.
  • Then I prompted him to pray to Jesus to help him in those areas, just like my book advises. We prayed together. It was so awesome watching my son become convicted by the Word of God.

No, my book is not the bible, but it takes a verse from the bible, and breaks it down word-by-word to help them understand. A child cannot be convicted by the Word of God if the child does not understand it. And if we only tell them what love is, but don’t show them, and give them time to think about their own actions, they won’t think about it long enough to become convicted and grow.

I love God’s word. His word convicts us of our sin, but thankfully, it reminds us as well that we have a savior who paid the price for us and with his spirit, can give us the power to change. And if we mess up and stumble, he is there to help us up to try again, washing every stumble away. We can then do well in our actions, not to save us, but because we are saved. It is a beautiful, harmonious, dichotomy. 

I’ll approve the proof tonight and keep you posted on it’s release.

UPDATE: The Book is now available for purchase! Check it out here or click on the link on the side bar to the right.

Four is a Charm

sleepy in our hospital bed as I recover from surgery.

sleepy in our hospital bed as I recover from surgery.

Scotland had her 2 week checkup today and passed with flying colors. She weighs 8 lbs, 5 oz now which means she not only met her birth weight, but exceeds it by a full pound and a couple of ounces. Even though she has a tongue tie like her brothers, she is nursing so well. When I was sitting there in the pediatrician’s office, hearing all of this good news I couldn’t help but think about all the other ways God has blessed this 4th pregnancy, the birth, and the baby.

Owen and I decided last year to get a Vasectomy because after 3 c-sections, each progressively harder on my body, we thought it would be the wise thing to do to protect my body from further damage. My recovery from the C-section after Benjamin’s birth was hard. And my wound wouldn’t heal. It kept opening up in the center so my doctor had to have me keep coming back for silver applications.

Then I learned about all of the risks that go significantly up for 4th c-sections. Scary stuff that can happen and much more likely on the 4th than any first three. Blood transfusions, uterine ruptures, bladder ruptures, intestinal damage, etc.

So I accepted that I would be a mother of three boys. And that would be it.

Crying well. Signs of a healthy newborn.

Crying well. Signs of a healthy newborn.

There was added relief as well I admit when we got the vasectomy. As much as I wanted a daughter one day, it was nice to know I wouldn’t have to suffer through the hemorrhoids from pregnancy weight and acid reflux that kept me up all night. I wouldn’t have to suffer through the weird effect of the spinal block I get when it spreads to my lungs and I feel like I can’t breathe on the operating table, squirming until the anesthesiologist puts an oxygen mask on my face to pull me out of the anxiety attack. Then of course our terrible luck with having NICU babies. Kanan was in NICU for 4 days. He had water in his lungs, a blood infection due to my water being broken for more than 24 hours, and a super high heart rate (side effect of the infection and my fever as well). Jameson never went to NICU, but because he was so big, they took him from me an extra hour to make sure he passed a glucose test. Then his high palate, severe tongue tie, and underbite made his latch so poor, even though he was in my room the entire time at the hospital, he had a real hard time nursing and lost too much weight so I had nurses pestering me and worrying me about his “thriving.” Then Benjamin didn’t cry when he was born. And he too was big so he had to take the glucose test, only to fail. So between those two things, they took him to the NICU as well. He was there for 2 days. Then with all three boys, I suffered from major postpartum anxiety. I had anxiety attacks with each one within the first couple of weeks after they were born and had a few more during the first year after they were born.

So I was thankful I wouldn’t have to experience any of that again.

First family photo of the six of us.  Benjamin, Kanan, me, Scotland, Owen, and Jameson.

First family photo of the six of us.
Benjamin, Kanan, me, Scotland, Owen, and Jameson.

And then I got pregnant. It was a 1 in 10,000 chance I heard. Owen’s sperm count 6 months post-vasectomy was actually higher than when he initially got the vasectomy. Most likely cause– the tubes actually regrew back together. The Doctor said this was very very rare.

I think this was God’s way of saying “vasectomy shmamectomy. You can’t stop my will.”

Fears of all of the above would build up in my mind after I learned of my pregnancy. But I couldn’t help but be reminded that if God could bypass a vasectomy to bring me my fourth child, he could surely get me through a 4th c-section.

Pretty little Scotland Amalia-Leme. Our gift from God.

Pretty little Scotland Amalia-Leme. Our gift from God.

And he did. He went over and beyond.

  1. First off, we learned we were having a girl at the ultrasound. Finally. Our daughter.
  2. My pregnancy was easier. No hemorrhoids. No acid reflux. Minimal weight gain (24 lbs).
  3. The surgery went smoothly. Even the anesthesia didn’t affect my breathing. I was calm the entire time. No difficulty breathing. I did lose enough blood to give me some platelet issues afterward and some anemia, but it was manageable.
  4. The baby was healthy. She is my smallest baby. A healthy 7 lbs, 2 oz. And it paid off. She didn’t need a glucose test. She passed her Apgar test. And they even brought her to me in the recovery room to nurse, something I never experienced with my boys because they were all taken from me.
  5. She stayed with me the entire time in my room. She nursed well. And while she was diagnosed with COOMS (a weird condition when the baby has a blood type that doesn’t like the mothers’ blood type, which makes them at a higher risk for Jaundice) she never developed jaundice.
  6. Finally, It has been 2 1/2 weeks since she has been born and only felt some anxiety one time while I was driving a couple of days ago. I had a fearful thought which lead my body to start going into anxiety attack mode, but I felt it developing, prayed, did some deep breathing, changed my thoughts and within a few minutes it was gone. That was it. By now with the boys, I would have had a few full fledged attacks.

God is so good. He laughed at our human attempt to stop him from blessing us with a girl. He blessed us anyway. And he protected me from all the fears that lead us to deciding on the vasectomy the first time.

Our last fear is how we will afford this 4th child. But something tells me, God will take care of that too.

Like birth stories? Check out the details of Kanan’s Birth Story, Jameson’s Birth Story, and Benjamin’s Birth Story too.

Owen and Theresa: a testimony

My husband Owen and I are celebrating our 5th Anniversary Today. We’ve come a long way. Most people who knew us when we first married didn’t think we’d last longer than 6 months because we got married very very quickly. And we may not have if wasn’t for God. This is our story.


Kanan and I the winter after I first met Owen.

Kanan and I the winter after I first met Owen.

We met on Christian Dating Site called Christian Mingle and had a few conversations through their messaging system, and a couple of phone conversations. Even our intial emails to each other were like a foreshadow to how our relationship would be at first. I had found his profile first. He was gorgeous. His profile was funny. He worked at a The Fish, a Christian Radio Station in Orange County, and his favorite bible verse was something other than John 3:16. I thought he seemed like a catch. I messaged him letting him know I liked his profile, told him a few things about myself and sent it. I didn’t hear back. Then like a month or two later, I get this email from him. He said he recently saw my profile, liked it, and asked me a few questions that I had already told him about in my email I sent him. So I knew he never read my first message. Gorgeous man as he is, I assumed he got so many, he just skipped mine to his other options and then just now was actually discovering me. So I sent him a sassy email back. Something to the effect of—I sent you a message a month ago introducing myself. Why don’t you go back through your old messages and actually read what I wrote you and you will get the answers to your question.

But he liked that. Said he liked “strong women.”


Owen's profile picture on Christian Mingle

Owen’s profile picture on Christian Mingle

We finally went on a date. Met in San Clemente, a half way spot between Irvine and Oceanside. Certainly a physical attraction there, but I found him to be a bit arrogant and he found me to be a bit uptight. Furthermore, it became clear on the date, that he wasn’t actually Christian, but a Jack Mormon who cruised different Christian churches without ever joining one so he could keep a godly feel to his life without being held accountable to his Mormon faith, which he still subscribed to but didn’t live out. He insisted works were important to getting into heaven and that it couldn’t be faith alone. I called him out on it on the first date and shared some pretty strong reasons why he should question his religious beliefs and he told me that I should spend my time evangelizing atheists, not Mormons.  Yeah….spicy first date. Our last email after our date was rather snippy to one another. He shared with me what a simple guy he was and how dating me was more complicated than “reading an owner’s manual” to his iphone. I told him he was mean. And that was it.

Needless to say, we didn’t go out for a second date.

This was in October of 2008. Continue reading

Tonight’s Bedtime Story–Footprints on the Moon

The Hemsath Alteregos Watermelon Belly (me), Banana Face (Kanan), Strawberry Head (James), Cherry Buns (Ben), and Apple Brain (Owen). Peach Cheeks will be coming soon. :)

The Hemsath Alteregos
Watermelon Belly (me), Banana Face (Kanan), Strawberry Head (James), Cherry Buns (Ben), and Apple Brain (Owen). Peach Cheeks will be coming soon. 🙂

Tonight, my son Jameson took me by the hand and walked me to his bedroom, and asked me to tell him a story before bed. How could I resist? We have a running series of stories that we like to tell which are essentially about us, but use alter egos in order to make it fun and add a bit of magic to the story.

This was the story I told tonight:

Once upon a time there were three little boys named Banana Face, Strawberry Head, and Cherry Buns and they lived with their dad, Apple Brain, and mom, Watermelon Belly.

One of the things the boys loved to do was in the evening time–when Mom and Dad would make dinner, they’d go outside and jump on their trampoline. And they would jump so high, they’d fly high into the sky and visit the stars and the moon. Then right before dinner was ready, they’d fly back down, land on the trampoline, and come inside to eat a warm meal with their mom and dad, keeping their adventures a secret.

One day, when the boys were out flying in the sky and visiting the moon, Apple Brain and Watermelon Belly went outside to watch the boys jump.But when they went out there, they didn’t see them. They were gone.

They looked around all outside, calling “Strawberry Head, Banana Face, Cherry Buns, where are you?”

They looked all around inside, calling their names again.

But they could not find them.

Apple Brain and Watermelon were very sad. They started to cry.

Just then, Strawberry Head, Banana Face, and Cherry Buns landed on their trampoline and came inside to eat dinner.

“Here we are Mommy and Daddy!” They called.

“Where were you boys?” their parents asked, “We couldn’t find you and we were very scared.”

“We went and visited the moon!” They exclaimed! “Sorry we didn’t tell you.”

“Boys, you have to tell us when you want to visit the moon, so we know where you are and so we can make sure you are safe. You can’t just leave without telling us. It’s just not safe.”

“Ok, Mommy and Daddy.” They said with heads down.

So the next day when Watermelon Belly and Apple Brain were about to make dinner, Banana Face, Strawberry Head, and Cherry Buns asked if they could go visit the moon.

“Sure,” they said, “but that sounds like so much fun, we’d like to go with you too.”

“You want to go with us?” They asked, jumping with glee.

So the whole family went out, climbed into the trampoline and started jumping.

They jumped higher and higher and higher until all 5 of them, Apple Brain, Watermelon Belly, Banana Face, Strawberry Head, and Cherry Buns were flying in the sky, on their way to the moon.

And when they landed, they all put their feet on the dirt floor of the moon and left their foot prints. And you can still see their footprints to this day.

crecent moon through treesI then asked Jameson if he wanted to go look at the moon and see if we could find our footprints. He eagerly nodded his head. So we held hands and walked outside. I picked him up and held him high enough to peer through the branches of the big tree in our backyard where the moon hung. It was a crescent moon tonight. And the man in the moon stood on the glowing right side. I asked him if he could see our footprints their in the dark patch. He smiled broadly and nodded yes.

Then we went back inside. He kissed his dad goodnight and went to his room, ready for prayers and snuggles, and sweet dreams.

It was a great end to a great day.

Thought I’d share.

Maybe one day, I’ll write some children’s books about all of our adventures. More will surely come, especially when Watermelon Belly has the fourth baby, Peach Cheeks.

Back To Work= Messy House

These are the most important people in my life. I don't want to miss out time with them because I'm cleaning.

These are the most important people in my life. I don’t want to miss out time with them because I’m cleaning.

I have two choices when I get home. I can spend time with my kids. Or I can clean up the house.

I want to do both. But there is no time for both. I pick up the boys at 415 after a 45 minute commute, we make it home and they play while I cook dinner. Dinner is around 5. Then afterward they run around and play while I try to do everything but never have the time to do it all. And that is on an easy day. A day without doctor’s appointments, grocery runs, karate practice, or bible studies.

Still….my hate for mess, finds me often telling my kids to “wait a minute while I finish [fill in the blank here].”

They want to spend time with me. They want me to push them on the swing or watch them do back flips on the trampoline. They want me to play legos or to look at the spider they found. And I absolutely HATE washing dishes.

Then why? Why do I continually push that time away from them to wash the dreaded dishes? Because in the end, after the dishes are done and dinner is eaten, its time for baths and pajamas and teeth brushing. And bed. And then I am sitting there, missing my kids and wondering how I lost the time.

The dishes can wait, right?

I don’t want my children’s memory of me to always be the one who was around but never really there. When I’m not working, I have time to take them to the park, or read stories to them, or cuddle on the couch watching morning cartoons. It is those days I can say, “wait a minute.” But Monday-Friday, I need to just stop.

I want to wash dishes after they go to bed. And I want to complete one simple, quick chore a day that I can do to keep the house up and get back to being with my kids.

I also need to get my 7-year-old to do a daily chore and get my toddlers participating a bit more. One idea I also came up with after I wrote this is—don’t give them unmonitored free play time while I’m cooking. That is often when they make their biggest messes (especially the toddlers). Instead, I think I will set them up at the kitchen table for some table activities while I cook and Kanan does his homework. Then after dinner we spend 10 minutes cleaning up the room together or with some of my direction as I do my quick chore. 

I read this great book last year also called The Get Organized Project by Kathy Lipp. She had great ideas, a lot of which I have applied. But one that I have stopped doing was putting a paper towel roll and a spray bottle of cleaning spray in each bathroom. And that way I can clean it up when the kids are bathing and not have to leave the restroom to get anything (which is often the deal breaker when the thought of cleaning it comes to mind). I can do the same after I use my restroom…just a quick spray and wipe of a counter or toilet after leaving without needing to go out and find all the supplies can make a big difference. By Saturday, I might just have a floor to sweep and that’s it. 

Okay so here is a rough plan.


Monday-– Me– wipe down bathroom counters and wash a load of laundry.

Tuesday– Me– fold the load of laundry.

Wednesday— Kanan, h.w and karate. Me– sweep kitchen floor, gym

Thursday–Kanan–h.w, trash and clean bedroom. Me–clear up clutter from living room.

Friday--Kanan–dust. Me–wash a load of laundry.

Saturday-– kanan and me–fold a load of laundry and me–clean a bathroom (we have two). 

Sunday-– 20 minutes per room (hubby and wife turbo house clean up).

So what do you other moms, working or non-working, do to keep your house in order with toddlers and the hectic schedules that come with all our many tasks? 


How Do You Teach a 6-Year-Old to Love in Action?

how to love like jesus cover picture (1)About a year ago, my oldest son was 6-years-old and struggling with the typical issues 6-year-olds struggle with: selfishness, boasting, being rude…just a me-first attitude, really. I remember telling him that what he was doing was not showing love. He immediately defended himself–” I love you all, Mom!”

That when I realized, I hadn’t really showed him what loving in action looked like. I just said he needed to love.

That’s when I went to the only source I trust for truth and teaching– the bible. I found that famous scripture in 1 Corinthians.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable, and does not count up wrongdoing. It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (ESV 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7)

So I read it to him.

“What is patient, Mom?”

” Patient means we wait for what we want without whining, crying, or screaming. Jesus is patient with us when we make mistakes. He waits for us to do the right thing without acting unloving.”

“What is counting up wrongdoing mean?”

I realized then, that I needed to come up with a way to explain it to him. So I went on Amazon to look for books on the topic. Nothing but silly stories out there with rhymes and such that never really explained it.

That was when I knew I just needed to write the book myself. So I did. I started writing it that summer. Even started the illustrations. And I used those to help teach my son how to love like Jesus. So I wrote the book. Its called How to Love Like Jesus: A Guide for Children and Their Parents.

It has been a year, and I’m finally back in that book. I’ve revised it. I’ve finished the illustrations (pretty much) in Photoshop, and I”m almost ready to venture into the self-publication stage. But the added beauty to it is–I’ve written 2 more and co-written another 2 more with my friend Kelly. So there is much more to come. And I’ve got a few ideas for even more when I’m ready for the second and third wave of writing. This summer has been a turbo-charged writing session, but I’m excited about where it might go. For my kids. And for others.

I will definitely be thanking my son Kanan for being the inspiration for my first book. And my hope and prayer is that there are other children and parents out there who could use this book too.

What do you find your kids need help in understanding? What books do you use? What books are not out there and need to be written?

Exciting Times!

25 weeks along here carrying #4

25 weeks along here carrying #4

Alas, I blog again, having wished I have been better at blogging since I used to be and loved it. Will this be it? Will I finally get back into it? I sure am hoping so. A lot is happening and I want to share so much.

1. I am pregnant with our 4th child. Its a girl. A vasectomy baby. God is good though—he will have his way and he knows how to give good gifts to his children. This will be our only daughter and a sweet little refreshment in our testosterone-filled house. We are naming her Scotland Amalia-Leme. I’m 26 weeks as of tomorrow. She is due November 1st.

2. We bought our first house!!!! Built in 1965. Great starter home. Lots of property. Lots of fun project opportunities. 🙂 The kids love it. 🙂 Thank you Lord!

3. I started a resume writing business last year right around Thanksgiving and it has taken off. It is helping provide us a little extra cash to help pay for Owen’s teeth (lost two of them in a crazy golfing accident), a bigger car for our growing family, and house needs.

4. I was recently hired by Sound of Your Voice Memoirs to be an interviewer and writer. I have my first client and am really loving the process. Sure hoping this job can grow and eventually open the doors to allow me to work from home full-time.

5. I have taken the plunge and am writing the first drafts of a few christian children’s books! 3 I am doing on my own. 2 I am co-writing with a friend of mine. And I’ve already come up with another book I want to write, but will put that one on the backburner for the next set of books. In the mean time, I’ve got the first drafts complete, and the illustrations starting. Once those are finished, I’ll venture into learning how to use InDesign and designing the layouts. Then market market market! Marketing is half the job. Writing is the easy part. So we have a long way to go. But I am very excited about this. I’ve been praying that God really use me in these books to speak to kids about real ways they can apply Jesus to their lives. I’ll share more in a different blog.

With all this, I’d like to write more about all the transitions and emotions and thoughts as I go a long this exciting journey. I will be changing the name of this blog and planning to write in it more and work at actually building a following. So for those of you who are reading this, please follow this blog. I’m pretty sure there is an icon at the top right area where you can sign up. I promise, I can be funny, insightful, and honest. And if you have a blog, please comment with a link so I can check yours out too. I love mommy blogs and of course, love blogs that inspire! 🙂

Going to be attempting to find a blog address similar to We shall see!