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The latest tinkering with words:

The Seedling

Did you ever hear your parent say something along the lines, “The world is going down in a handbasket.”

If you are a parent in the last two years, you may be worrying a little more about the future of your children’s lives.

New kinds of vaccines, school closures, masks, inflation…the last two years have been a handbasket.

I wrote The Seedling for parents like you.

Follow the dandelion seed on its life journey. Why a dandelion? Because they bloom no matter where they land. The seed feels lost, in the dark, and is at the whims of the wind through much of its short life.

Then it settles into some dirt to bloom, never knowing its true purpose is to be a token of love to a grandparent.

I’m sorry it took so long for me to let you know about this book. It was my first experience being published. I have been navigating writing, working, pandemic schooling…much like the rest of you.

Luckily this story is timeless. Just as God’s love is.

Please visit my publishers site to purchase the book for your little seedling:

Digging Deeper #6: Redemption

I’m kind-of a word nerd. Redemption is a favorite of mine. The word itself exudes power to me and when I say it out-loud it HAS GOT to be said with significant pronunciation. Another favorite word of mine is fickle, you know because it sounds like its definition…but words that sound like their definition that is another post 🙂

Redemption: the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil. Synonyms are vindication, absolution


Why do we need our daughters to be aware of their redemption? Because goodness knows, they are going to make mistakes! They are going to have regrets. Life is messy, growing is difficult.

There are plenty of sayings we use in society that support this thought process.

A part commonly left out is how we forgive ourselves in order to move forward into the growth.

With the belief in our Savior, they will be able to hold onto the knowledge that they are not beyond redemption. It is already promised them. The stress and heavy weight they may bear for mistakes can be lifted with forgiveness and redemption.

When I learned about redemption, a heavy weight was lifted from my shoulders. I learned it at a pinnacle part of my life, that all the events, mistakes and hurts…they truly made me, ME. That I could choose to keep living in the victim mentality (which I was definitely in) OR I could accept my past so that I could confidently move into the future and raising two little girls.

My husband suggested the name, Maya, for our first daughter. After reading, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, I knew that it was a perfect name for her.

Let us teach our daughters about their redemption, promised.

A movie about redemption! Free to watch 🙂 <— Photos by Theresa

Please remember that I am an amazon partner and may make a little money from you purchasing items on my blog. If so, thank you 🙂

Till the next dig.


Let’s grow together

Would you be interested in digging deeper into Dear Daughter? Please consider following for further conversations about the book.

I will write blog posts further explaining the inspiration behind parts of the book. Each post will also have a scripture for reflection. Let it become a part of your daily devotions.

Along the road, being in the community, you will be the first to know about the second project both Kat (Art by Kat) and I are working on!

It would be great if you would share this post with one friend you think would enjoy being a part of the community!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11

Thank you for being some of our first friends.

Digging Deeper #5: Letting Go

If you are following the string of blog posts, we are onto page 5 of Dear Daughter.

Letting Go.

Just as a child wants to hug the softest puppy so very tight, one must learn that truly loving something means sometimes you have to let go.

When I was in college, my relationship with my foster family was strained…stained is putting it lightly, really. They didn’t like my decisions and I never really understood why. I was putting myself through school, working many odd jobs and successfully #adulting.

By the time I was ready to graduate, I didn’t even invite them to the graduation…I figured they were not interested in my accomplishment.

I received a letter in the mail sometime later from my foster Mom. She spoke kindly of how she had attended the graduation, unbeknownst to me, and wrote about how proud she was of me.

Part of me gasped because I was surprised they even knew, another part of me was unmoved. I had gotten to the point where her words were empty. I suppose I had gotten to the point where I knew I needed to let go.

I still love them to this day.

But at that time, I had gone through 4 years of school, applying for grants, scholarships and loans…alone. Finding a place to lay my head and money to fill my belly, alone. I had learned as much as I could as a student of photojournalism and made a network of fellow students for support, on my own.

There was no way I could return to the role they wanted me to play.

So I let them go because I loved the new me more than the old me.

I sometimes wish they had wanted to get to know the new me but they weren’t ready and that is okay. There are still many more chapters in my book, they may show up along the way. My book is always open.

Family Meals

I am so sorry that I am a little behind on the weekly digging deeper into Dear Daughter post!

I promise I will get back into a routine soon…I am currently transitioning from one job to another.

So, for consolation, I would like to share a keto-friendly meal I made up this week!

Ingredients: sausage, Greek vinaigrette, eggs, mixed shredded cheese, cabbage.

First brown up the sausage in sauce pan, preparing into crumbled pieces.

Place sausage in bottom of casserole.

Tear leaves of cabbage off and place in steamer. (I simply set in collander over boiling water) Steam slightly but still firm.

Cover sausage with vinaigrette. Start scrambling 5-6 eggs, or more if you have a bigger family.

Place layer of shredded cheese (your choice on mix, I chose Italian blend)into casserole dish. Place warm scrambled eggs on top.

Place oven on low broil. Take steamed cabbage from collander and place layered on top of egg layer.

Place another layer of vinaigrette and cheese on top. Place casserole under broiler until cheese is melted and slightly brown.

There you have it friends! Keto-friendly family meal!

THANKS for reading, hope your family loves it as much as mine did!

Digging deeper #4

Read carefully, the pages of forgiveness…

I noted here that the comma is misplaced in the book, I hope you can forgive the error and read deeper into the meaning of the words with me.

Your book will have pages of forgiveness. Forgiveness you will give others, forgiveness you will ask for yourself.

Some people think forgiveness is something they could never do. I could go on about what forgiveness is meant for, what it really is and showcase scriptures that support this.

But let’s get personal.

My biological mom had 7 children. I was the last. There’s a long story that involves child protection services. I was angry. So angry at her. After my first child, my anger was even greater because, now, I knew what it felt like to be a Mom. I knew I would NEVER, NEVER let someone take my children without a fight. Anger.

Have you ever felt angry toward someone whom who you felt did you wrong? It is a strong emotion, one that can be used in many ways. And it is powerful, it can motivate you and it can also shut you down.

You anger will blind you to, make you feel righteous in your actions, and hurt you more than it hurts the person your anger is caused by.

One day, while feeling this anger toward my biological mother, I watched my new baby girl wriggling against me as I fed her. I knew I could not start this new phase of my life with this anger. How would I feel if this little girl grew up and for one reason or another became angry at me? That the hurt I caused her was so great, she stopped talking to me and never forgave me?

I wanted to stay mad that my biological Mom wasn’t the one who taught me how to tie my shoes, amongst other things. Or, I realized, I could be grateful that God put someone in my life to teach me how.

It was this year, my first as a Mom, that I decided I did need to send my biological mother a card on Mother’s Day. Of course, none of the store-provided cards would say what I needed it to. So, I picked a pretty blank card. Inside I wrote,

“Thank you for being my birth Mom. For being brave enough to carry me and let me come into this world.”

You see my anger kept me from forgiving her AND blinded me from recognizing the many blessings I had been given along the way. Forgiving her meant accepting the childhood I was given and choosing to move forward with the blessings I now held with my new baby girl.

I would love to hear your experiences with forgiveness, whether it lead to a better relationship or to letting go! Comment below! And keep writing your book until next time!

Here are a few of my favorite handmade items from—Please remember I get a portion of the proceeds from the following products–thank you for your support and supporting other small business owners!

Digging Deeper #3

Remember that all great stories come with drama, disappointments, and sadness.

Art by Kat Hudson

None of us will come out of this life untouched, unscared, or pain-free.

Can you remember a story you read or a movie you watched where the main character experienced none of these? I bet it was a pretty boring story.

You are the main character in your book.

Your choices and, sometimes unfortunately, the choices of others will affect the story line. Will cause you sadness, anger and a lot of confusion.

In most crimes, we glue ourselves to the story because we want to know, why? What motivated someone to do this or to say that. Sometimes we get the answer but other times we are left to ponder the why.

Kat Hudson’s illustration for this line truly moved me. The daughter is seeking refuge in her story, in her life. Feeling safe.

Sometimes that is all we need after experiencing hurt. A place to take refuge.

Find your refuge. During times of disappointment and loss, go there. Be safe in your healing. Your refuge may not be the Good Book. You may feel closer to God outside or at a church or even with a special person.

I believe God meets us where we are.

No matter how hard we may try, we have no ability to reach God. We cannot climb a ladder of our spirituality to touch him. We can’t even get our act together enough to be worthy of him. Instead, Jesus enters where we dream on stone pillows, running from one crisis and toward another. He meets us there. Not because we deserve it but because his covenant love can’t help it.

Michele Cushatt –

Until next time! Keep writing your book!


A few items I love from the homemade section on Amazon about refuge and hope!

The Comfort Bowl

Refuge Keychain

Or order a print of one of your favorite Dear Daughter illustrations from Kat!

Digging Deeper #2

Dear Daughter verse 2

Fill those pages with love, adventure, and accomplishments

Art by Kat Hudson

Well, who wouldn’t want their book filled with these things?

It is good to know, rest in that, the love Jesus gives us is unconditional, unfaltering and promised.

Today I was introduced to Micah 6:8 by Torchbearers, which I haven’t read before. But the words:

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,[a]
    and to walk humbly with your God?

Struck me.

As I wrote the verse to my daughters, I did not realize that this verse really promises them love, adventure and accomplishments if they were to simply and humbly walk with God.

Fill those pages with the love God promises us, adventure that comes from doing justice and loving kindness and lastly accomplishments that are for God and not self.

So easy to get caught up in the worldly reasons to pursue adventure, worldly ideals of what love is and the worldly response that comes to accomplishing great things. But my darlings, the worldly pursuit of these things will not fulfill you. You will keep looking, keep trying to find what it is you are missing.

Simply walk with God, humbly. You will feel whole in all that you do.

Please note that I have become an Amazon Affiliate and will make a small commission if you choose to purchase above items from my blog! If you sell something on Amazon, please let me know!

Until Next week, keep filling your pages!


Digging deeper #1

You are so much more than your cover…

Page 1 of Dear Daughter

We all have heard the tidbit of advice, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”


We all do. Consciously and subconsciously our society has trained us to equate certain things with characteristics.

For example: Say aloud the first word that comes to mind after you read the following words:


Cat lover.

Country music lover.


Did an image come to mind that you know you saw because it was a generality society has taught you?

You are so much more than your cover…

I wrote this verse with a hope that it would be delivered with confidence, love and and urgency to empower. The way we look has become so important. It is said to be an expression of our individuality. This phrase in the poem is meant to assure one that they are individual. You are individual and unique because of who you are. Not how you look.

Using your body as a canvas, so to say, is great! But the goal is to do so with confidence. Not to do so.. in hopes of being accepted by said group or said companion.

Because you are already so much more than how you look.

Scripture assures us of this:

“Romans 12:6-8 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” –

We are all given talents that come naturally for us. Pay attention to what comes naturally, note how doing that makes you feel and do it often!

Here are a few of my favorite things that remind me to do just that!

Please note that I have become an Amazon Affiliate and will make a small commission if you choose to purchase above items from my blog! If you sell something on Amazon, please let me know!

Until Next week, keep filling your pages!


My first Nationals

“You’re the one who was wearing the strong mom shirt?” I was asked. “Yes, I smiled, that’s my hashtag.”

I competed in my first Strongman contest when my second child was just shy of her one year birthday in 2012.  I took me three years and a few injuries later to finally tell myself, I can do Nationals.

I downloaded the Lose It! app in July and started trying to eat every three hours.  After doing a small contest hosted by a friend in WV in late July, I realized I actually qualified for nationals. I competed against two heavy weight competitors but what really got my confidence up, was my farmers run of 165/hand.  Nationals would require a 160/hand…

So after asking if I qualified in an open class can I compete as a lightweight, I buckled down on the diet.  Most people assumed diet means eating less.  As a Mom, this simply meant eating more and more often for me.  Because I let my days get by me, then grab a cookie for lunch or whatever else is nearby…that’s how I put on weight.  So to diet, I started eating every three hours and watching my macros.  My goal was usually to consume 50-60% protein, 20-30% fat and 20-30% carbs.

During the day I was weighing between 155-157.  I was looking at 10-15 lbs. to drop. By August 10, I was down to 150.  Cut out bread, cookies…all things flour.  Occasionally I would still have angel hair pasta.

By September 20 I was still weighing in 145 in the morning and about 147 daytime.  Weigh-ins for the Nationals would be at 5 p.m. I was already eating only 1400-1500 calories.  I asked a local gym owner what he thought.  He said I had plenty of room to drop those calories.  Being a Mom, I was unwilling to become truly hungry, knowing that I would take that out on the ones closest to me…hangry!  So I opted to up my HIIT training.  Before this time I was doing volume training with main lifts for three times a week. Now I would include HIIT training twice a week and an extra event day.

I also started researching water drops.  By September 30, I weighed 142 in the morning and 145 daytime.  So I knew I would need to drop at least 5 lbs of water.

Got help from competitor, Jessica Rush, on the how-to.  Started on the Sunday before Nationals and drank two gallons of distilled water.  That was no problem for me. Next day, one gallon…okay not bad.  Third day, half a gallon…still not too difficult. I weighed in at 142 daytime by this point. Fourth day I only got 32 ounces of water and cheated, by having my cup of coffee in the morning…see I’m a coffee addict.  So Thursday we pulled out the sauna suit.  We were driving the 8 hours to Davenport, Iowa.  Should be plenty of time to sweat out  a pound. I shared with other StrongMoms on my facebook group that I weighed in at 141.7 and hoped to sweat out a pound on the drive.

We arrived early.  I weighed 141 even and was thirsty and hungry.  Luckily our hotel had a small gym right next to it that had a sauna.  I sat in there ten minutes and hit 140.5.  Matt wanted to be sure so he took the girls to play at the pool and ordered me up to the room to take a hot bath.  No mom is gonna say no to alone time!  So I sat in the bath, relaxed and mentally prepared myself.  I thought about my drive and dip.  I saw myself doing it over and over again with the log and the dumbbell.

After my bath, I weighed a good 139.4.  Baths definitely work better than saunas. By the time we went to weigh-in I was was getting a little shaky from lack of food.  I stepped on their scale and it said 137.4.  I felt a little cheated.  It read lighter than mine and I could’ve napped instead of bathed. I moved on to my first meal of the day, rehydrating and prepared to rest for tomorrows events.

When I awoke at 5 a.m….what happened after hydrating is TMI, of which I was not forewarned about.  I survived.

The first event was log.  I had never hit the weight in training, I didn’t have high hopes but I didn’t come this far not to try.  I cleaned it, popped, no lockout…at least three times.  I counted it as a good core warm-up for the yoke.

The yoke.  Everyone complained about it being a Zercher hold. It actually wasn’t that hard for me so I was feeling pretty confident.  Yah! I got it all the way without dropping it and I got it faster than I ever had in training.  Then I watched each lady after me get it faster.  I called them all out on their ‘sandbagging’ and congratulated them on their runs!

Next was Farmers Walk, which really should’ve been called Farmers Run.  Again, I was pretty confident because this was a generally easy event for me and I had already proven to myself that I do it at my qualifying contest.  I was proud of myself for finishing faster than in my training and holding my balance even with the weights slid atop each other in front of me. My pride in my accomplishment did not dimish as I watched the rest of my competitors finish it, faster.

I had survived my pulsating nerves and completed my first day at Nationals.  There were still two events to go on the second day.  My hip was holding up well and the girls were having a good time.  We headed to the pool after dinner to reward them.

I thought that the second day, I would have less nerves. But no!! Same amount of overwhelming nerves and I was tired!  I had only got the 70 lb. dumbbell and handful of times in training but I had high hopes that if I just caught it in the right spot I’d at least get one rep.  It was a no go, but its not like I didn’t try.

Now I know why they call it dumb bell.

Now I know why they call it dumb bell.

I cleaned that beast six times and popped but my nemesis was dipping under it, which was a new technique I was trying to master.  I failed to dip five times and by my sixth attempt, I was too tired to lock the dumbbell.  I came off the floor trying to tell myself it was ok.  But by the time I reached my husband, I could no longer deny my disappointment and I cried into his shoulder.  When my four-year-old daughters’ tiny arms wrapped around my waist, I was brought back to reality.  I told myself to suck it up.  Its my first Nationals and when I go home, win or lose, I’m still Mom…they will still see me as the same person. Did I want them to see me win? Yes. But did I want them to see me lose with grace, absolutely.

The last event was sandbag carry, which had been a major part of my HIIT training.  Only we only had a 100 lb. bag for training.  This event had been changed last minute from four bags at 100,100,120,120 to three bags at 100,120,140.  Plus in training I’d been attempting to run, fast.  See in all things, I’m generally steady and slow.  Explosion and speed are a different language to my body.  So I was a little nervous about the 140 bag.  So in warm ups, I picked it and made sure I could carry it the distance.

I was the first of the lightweights to finish this event but there were 24 others after my heat to go…and go they did!  A good 10-15 seconds faster than me. Who knew seconds could be so heavy.

I'm running!

I’m running!

Heading in to my first Nationals, my goal was not to zero on events.  I failed.

But I did successfully lose 12 lbs before the contest.  I did complete three events and with faster times than I had expected.

And at the banquet when they were handing out awards and my oldest asked, ‘Mom how come they aren’t calling your name?’ I realized to the most important people in my life, I had won.  I know its mushy but its the truth because they were there on this journey.  They saw my dedication to losing weight when Matt made cinnamon rolls for church.  They saw me to go to the gym, sometimes being the only one in there…

I am excited to get back to training other lifts and we will see what next year brings! Thanks for joining me on this journey! If you’re a  strongMom join our group of Facebook!

Thank you Stacy Marie for the photos!