Monday, November 12, 2018

Mailbox Monday - Nov 12

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Welcome back to Monday, everyone. Hope you all had a nice weekend. Mine involved cleaning. Reclaimed the kitchen and a closet and started emptying out the basement. My goal is to be done before Thanksgiving. The weekend was also about family: final soccer game of the season, church, and lunch with my father-in-law on Sunday to thank him for his service in Korea.

The mailbox was a bit skinny this week, but what is probably the most important book I've received this year arrived on Saturday.

I've never been much of a planner person, but when social media marketing, blogging, and then real estate came into my world, I realized the only way I could keep things straight was to start time blocking. I'm still not great at it, but I am getting there. 

I didn't know this until today-- is a veteran-owned business. So glad I am supporting them.

After the instructions page, the next two pages are a vision board and bucket list for 2019, the next 5 years, and lifetime. The photo below shows the "My Healthy Habit Goals" pages. The Eucharist is divided into four sections: Daily/Often, 1-2 Times a Week, 1-2 Time a Month, and 1-3 Time a Year. The Chalice is where you write down your 2019 goals. 

There is full month calendar page with a memory verse, and a section at the bottom with reflection questions and an action item, followed by a weekly devotional page where you can list sermon notes and Bible study notes (this page has a lot of white space and you are encouraged to sketch). This page also has reflection questions and action items.

Then your monthly calendar is broken down by week where you can list your weekly goals at the bottom of the left page and the bottom of the right page can be used to track your daily healthy habits. 

This looks like a great way to plan all aspects of my life. Do you use a planner? What do you like about it? On another note, what was in your mailbox last week?

Monday, November 5, 2018

Mailbox Monday - Nov 5

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Wow! Where did October go? It has been such a hectic one around here. My beautiful niece got married.

Looking at this peaceful face you would have no idea her outside wedding was rearranged last minute thanks to a Nor'easter and lack of power until the middle of the reception.

Lots of sports, planning the WriteAngles Conference that takes place on November 17, and tons of real estate transactions keeping me busy. Today is the Lil' Princess' birthday. How is she already 15?

In my book world, the mailbox had been full for one reason or another. Here are my most recent mailbox finds:

What have you found in your mailbox lately? Anything fun and geared toward the holidays?

On a side note, the girls have been bugging me since November 1 to put up the Christmas tree. Have any of you started decorating yet? 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Wild Kratts: Creepy Creatures Premiers and Live Streams Today!

Was so excited to hear about this new WILD KRATTS special. All my kids love the Kratt brothers.

On October 22, PBS KIDS will premiere the all-new, one-hour movie, WILD KRATTS: CREEPY CREATURES on PBS stations and the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and live stream. It will also be available for free on and the PBS KIDS Video App. In this special movie event, the Kratt Brothers decide to celebrate Halloween by searching for "creepy cool" creatures, but will Zach and the other villains get in their way and ruin Halloween? Additionally, PBS KIDS will premiere new Halloween-themed episodes from READY JET GO! and PINKALICIOUS & PETERRIFIC®. Families will be treated to special Halloween-filled Family Night programming and specials the last two weekends of the month on the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and live stream.

The spooky fun continues on digital platforms, where PBS KIDS will offer a variety of Halloween-themed games on the free PBS KIDS Games App and, including a new game from WILD KRATTS. This will debut in addition to favorites such as Arthur’s Tricks and Treats, Curious George Pumpkin Boo, Daniel Tiger Dress Up, The Cat in the Hat Corn Maze Craze and Peg + Cat Parade. A new Spooky Street and Halloween design contest will launch on PBS KIDS’ popular virtual world, Kart Kingdom, and the Nature Cat Art Box and Cyberchase Watts of Trouble games will have Halloween themed updates. Hands-on activities, including pumpkin-carving templates with favorite PBS KIDS characters and spooktacular treat recipes, are available on PBS KIDS for Parents.

“Halloween is a great time for families and teachers to encourage children’s imagination and creativity,” said Linda Simensky, Vice President, Children’s Programming, PBS. “With new specials and episodes from WILD KRATTS, READY JET GO! and PINKALICIOUS & PETERRIFIC®, as well at returning favorites, PBS KIDS will offer themed content and educational resources to help do just that.”

PBS LearningMedia will offer PreK-12 teachers an easy way to integrate Halloween themes into their instruction with a range of curriculum-aligned videos, lesson plans, and games. Teachers can use these resources to kick-start classroom discussions and enhance homework assignments. These free resources cover a range of subjects and are available to teachers nationwide on Featured resources include Shadows Can Be Scary Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, All About the Holidays: Halloween, Frankenstein, M.D. and The Zombie Autopsies. Find these resources and more in the Halloween collection.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Mailbox Monday - Oct 15

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

We are back to Monday. I hope you all had a great weekend. I held an open house that brought in an offer and also had another offer accepted for a buyer. The family attended the annual Taste of Greece at St. Luke's. We also got our first taste of cold weather--actually had to put the frost cover up on the vegetables this weekend. I'm not sure I'm ready for that.

It was a great book week too. I'm reviewing this first one for Chronicle Books. Isn't it cute?

The next book in The Daughters of the Mayflower series arrived.

I ordered this one for myself when it was recommended by someone in my writing group.

The founder of our writing group came back to the area this past weekend for a book reading and signing, so I visited the local Barnes and Noble to see her. This isn't her favorite cover, but I love it. 

While there, I visited one of the bargain tables and picked up this great book for less than $2 after my rewards. You can never have too many reference books. 

I decided to stay away from the Kindle freebies this week, so that was my entire mailbox. What did you find in your mailbox? Hope it's something you really wanted.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

2018 WriteAngles Conference Registration Now Open

Registration for this year's WriteAngles Conference has opened. The conference will take place on Saturday, November 17 at the Willits-Hallowell Center at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA.

Morning Speaker - Andrea Hairston

Afternoon Speaker - Edie Meidav

8:15 to 9:00 am – Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00 to 9:30 am – Morning Keynote Speaker: Andrea Hairston (Morrison Room)

NOTE: Individual agent meetings will run concurrently with the morning panels, 9:45 to 12:30, by pre-arranged appointment.

PANEL SESSION I – 9:45 to 11:00 am (Choose one)

The Elemental Journey of Purposeful Memoir: Writing the Journey of Your Life (Morrison Room)
Workshop leader: Jennifer Browdy

Writing Sex (Andreola Room)
Panelists: Sacchi Green, Emily Nagoski, Jupiter’s Slut (moderator), Cecilia Tan

She Did What? Weaving the Elements of Fiction into a Story (Executive Board Room)
Panelists: Liz Bedell, Jennifer Jacobson, Ellen Meeropol (moderator), Lisa C. Taylor

PANEL SESSION II – 11:15 am to 12:30 pm (Choose one)

Writing the Short Story (Executive Board Room)
Panelists: Jennifer Acker, Linda Rowland-Buckley (moderator), Linda McCullough Moore, Kate Senecal

Just the Facts: The Ins and Outs of Writing Historical and Research-Based Fiction & Nonfiction (Andreola Room)
Panelists: Joy Baglio, Maxine Schmidt, Jacqueline Sheehan, Marya Zilberberg (moderator)

Open Mic (Morrison Room)
Moderator: Ilya Parker

12:30 to 1:30 pm – Buffet Luncheon

1:30 to 1:45 pm – Celebration of WriteAngles Community Grant (Morrison Room)

Legal Clinic 1:30 to 4:00 pm (concurrent with afternoon keynote speech and panels)

1:45 to 2:45 pm – Afternoon Keynote Speaker: Edie Meidav (Morrison Room)

PANEL SESSION III – 3:00 to 4:15 pm (Choose one)

Agents Panel: Successful Loglines (Morrison Room)
Panelists: Serene Hakim, Christine J. Lee, Julie Stevenson, moderator TBA

Publishing Your Poems (Executive Board Room)
Panel moderator: Gail Thomas

4:15 to 4:30 pm – Wrap-up (Morrison Room)
Names will be drawn for attendance prizes. You must be present to win

Visit the WriteAngles website for more information

Monday, October 8, 2018

Mailbox Monday - October 8

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Happy Monday! I was going to skip today because it got so late, but I'm in a groove and I don't want to mess with it.  As always, there is a lot going on here. Imagine how bored I would be otherwise. :) 

Sold one of my listings, took new buyers out this past week, held an open house and went on a listing appointment. I've been hearing from a lot of past clients lately too. On the homestead, I've gotten part of the house cleaned, pulled out the fall and winter clothes, tidied up the garage a bit, and weeded the garden.

Nothing in my physical mailbox--well, not books anyway--but picked up this book for my Kindle.

That's it for me this week. What was in your mailbox?

Book Spotlight: Going for Broke by Shannon Medisky

Hardship hurts and suffering sucks.

But there's very important work—and rewards—we need to be occupied with in the middle of it all.

Suffering has a way of stretching us beyond ourselves. It prompts us to stretch outside of our current comfort zones. But no matter how we feel, we don’t have to be buried by our challenges and circumstances. Instead, we can recognize that God has planted us right where we are for a reason: It’s time to get growing.

Here’s how.



Einstein once said, "God doesn't play dice." He also made it very clear that he didn't believe in a personal God, but rather he trusted that there were underlying laws of nature that made perfect sense of some of the science (mainly quantum mechanics) that even he couldn't wrap his brilliant mind around.

Einstein was an incredible man of science, but he also appreciated that he couldn't make sense of everything. Yet, even in the midst of this, Einstein professed that there still had to be a rhyme and reason to it all. Even if he or current science couldn't make sense of it, Einstein held the belief that there was still a structure, an order behind it all.
I believe the same is true for suffering. I believe this because I've seen evidence of it firsthand.
To put it bluntly, I watch my son die a slow, painful death daily. He suffers terribly, and my heart suffers, too. My heart breaks each time he cries out to me for comfort and relief, and there's nothing I can do.
My head is weary of keeping tabs of his daily intake of protein. Too little and he becomes catabolic, metabolizing his own muscle tissue. Too much, and ammonia levels rise in his blood stream causing debilitating headaches and irreversible cognitive loss. There's no cure, and that's just the tip of the medical and genetic iceberg.
There's also the GRIN2B genetic mutation that causes my son debilitating joint pain, short and long-term memory loss and yet more metabolic issues. His specific mutation causes his body to convert the amino acid called arginine to histidine. This poor kid can't seem to eat enough food to ever really feel full because he can't eat more than about 15 grams of protein per day.
Think about that for a moment.
Imagine being underweight with low muscle tone, experiencing constant headaches and joint pain and then never feeling fully satiated…and that's when he actually feels up to eating at all.
It's hard enough to watch Mark suffer, to walk through all of this with him. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to be him.
Mark’s physical suffering alone is staggering to imagine. Prior to joining our family through adoption, Mark was subject to severe abuse and neglect. Deprived of basic nutrition, physical touch and comfort as an infant, it's not surprising that he suffered cognitively, developmentally and behaviorally as a result.
I share all of this because I've heard it said that one should write about what one knows. The last ten years have taught me quite a bit about suffering: how it feels, the toll it takes, and just how unsettling it is when looking ahead holds no promise of relief or respite. I know how it feels to not be able to quite catch your breath, to feel completely and utterly helpless, to vacillate between wondering if you're (really) strong enough to keep going or when exactly you're going to fall apart.
It's from this place that I write about suffering, an open, raw place of complete transparency, because frankly I don't think there's enough out there about it. Everyone experiences hardship at some point. Christ even told us to expect it (John 16:33). Yet most every blog post, podcast and article I’ve come across covers how to get out of it, how to avoid it or—even worse—does a tremendous disservice by quickly trying to sugarcoat it. Suffering is rarely if ever a choice. It’s a natural part of the human experience. So, why isn’t there more help out there on how to do it well?
I believe in the power of prayer. I know God can—and still does—move mountains. I also know that God allows suffering, too. Suffering is a part of His plan. If it weren't, Noah would've never been stuck on that big boat after watching everything he’d ever known be engulfed in water. Joseph never would've been thrown into a pit, sold into slavery and imprisoned. Jesus Himself would never have been ridiculed, tortured and crucified.
During my prayers for Mark's relief and the easing of my own emotional burden, none of this escapes me.
We don't have to relish suffering. We don't have to run after it. It's completely natural to want to avoid it. Even Christ prayed to the Father and asked that suffering be taken from Him if it was within God's will (Mark 14:36). But sometimes suffering is a part of the plan, a piece of the story that God is weaving together in our lives. If we know this is true, that sometimes suffering is a part of the Lord’s greater plan, then doesn't it make sense to prepare for it as best we can?
It has been said that misery loves company, so I took the hint. I dove into Scripture and surrounded myself with what felt like old friends, but I visited with them in different ways. While their stories were nothing new, I connected with what their emotional experiences must have been in brand new and very personal ways. I noted what they did and how God responded to their thoughts, words and actions. I found patterns and parallels. In my searching, I discovered evidence time and time again that God truly does meet us in our mess.
Jesus said, "What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops" (Matthew 10:27 ESV).
Jesus will tell us things in the dark when we're unsure and insecure. It is in this darkness where He whispers to us, sharing things that are only accessible when we're willing, able and waiting to hear.
Suffering is often the place of this darkness.
During suffering we're broken enough to stop listening to ourselves, and instead tune in more carefully to His whispers. Ironically enough, it's usually in the middle of hardship where our relationship with Jesus can truly grow the most. Whether we like it or not, hardship often pushes us out of our comfort zones. Suffering enables us to grow through what we go through.
From this perspective, what a tremendous opportunity suffering can be!
Yes, hardship hurts.
Yes, suffering sucks.
But there's very important work—and rewards—we need to be occupied with in the middle of it all. That's exactly how this book is different. In the pages that follow, you won't discover how to pray your way out of challenges and pain. Quite the opposite, actually. You'll be encouraged to go for broke, to face suffering head on in anticipation of meeting God personally in brand new ways. Suffering has a way of stretching us beyond ourselves. It prompts us to reach outside of our current comfort zones.
This book has been designed to help you take full advantage of this, to essentially help you not waste your pain. If God allows us to suffer, then we can rest assured that it isn't and won't be for not (Romans 8:28).
Suffering isn't just an experience or state we're in. It's a skill, too.
We can squander our experiences and energy trying to spin our wheels to get out of suffering as soon as we can (and sometimes futilely so) or we can choose to suffer well. We can be intentional about how we respond to suffering. We can work on ourselves, actively seeking to grow into all that God wants us to be. We can work on our listening skills, discovering how to quiet ourselves and the chaos around us. We can practice and grow in patience as we wait on God, His will, and His timing. In short, we can recognize with our choices and our actions that, yes, suffering is in God's plan for us, too.
If you're suffering now, I hope this book serves as a tool to help you feel less helpless. I hope that it helps you discover new opportunities to grow closer to and experience God in ways you've never known before. I hope that it helps you realize that you are not buried by your current circumstance or hardship even if that's exactly how you feel, but rather God has planted you right where you are for a reason: It's just time to get growing.


Amazon / B&N

Shannon Medisky is a leading expert in struggling with stress, screwing up and seeking God in the midst of it all. Sometimes funny but always real, Shannon’s writing is infused with practical ideas designed to help others create positive, real change in their daily lives. In short, Shannon writes about how to intentional move from simply "going on" to growing on—by God's grace.

Shannon's articles, insights and ideas have been featured in Exceptional Parents, Adoptive Families, Hybrid Mom, Mothering and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family. For the past nine years, Shannon's also worked as contributing writer and curriculum designer for OneHope, a global nonprofit ministry devoted to sharing the life-changing message of the Gospel with youth and children worldwide. To learn more, visit