Saturday, June 15, 2013

Goodbye, Little House



Dear Little House,

Soon, I will lock your door for the last time, and I just wanted to write you a letter to say goodbye.

I still remember the first time we opened your door. You had your quirks—you still do—but we fell in love with them. We overlooked your age and saw your timelessness. We wanted you for our very own. We were so excited when you were officially ours; you were and always will be our first. God provided so much for us and opened so many doors so that we could open yours, and He never stopped providing so that we could continue opening it for almost nine years.

You were always there for us, through thick and thin. When we had bad days at work, we always knew without question that you would be right where you always are, ready to be a haven from the chaotic world outside. You were there for us through the highs and the lows. Your walls witnessed the tears and arguments and laughter and through it all, you stood firm. You sheltered us during storms and kept us warm when it was freezing outside for weeks on end. Never once did you falter in your purpose or design, and for that we thank you.

There are so many memories tied up in your every nook and cranny. Little House, you were the first place we went after leaving the hospital with our newborn son. He learned to walk and talk inside you. Your walls have held his pictures, as well as the pictures of many happy times and bittersweet times with loved ones who are no longer with us. You are the only home he’s ever known. You were here for our friends to come and be safe from the outside world and its problems. Your walls listened to many a crisis that wasn’t ours, and you were always known as a safe place in many lives’ storms. You housed parties and family gatherings. We had many dinners with good friends inside you. Your front steps were the site of two "First Day of School" pictures.

Yes, there were times we complained about you, Little House—that you were too drafty in the winter, too hot in the summer, that you ate too much electricity, that you were old and falling apart, even that you were too little—but never once in eight years did we think of leaving you, only of improving you.

But now we have to say goodbye. We have to leave. No matter how much we want to, we can’t stay. You will still be ours on paper, but you will no longer be our home. Be good, Little House, to our friends who will live in you next and call you their home. Be everything and more to them that you were to us.

Thank you, Little House, for being ours. Thank you for letting us live inside your walls. Thank you for your strong roof that always kept us safe and dry, and your strong walls to keep out the wind, rain, and snow.

We will miss you, Little House. Thank you for being a part of our family.

With the utmost sincerity, 

The Strongs

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book Blast: Wacky Wishes by Susette Williams

TITLE: Book Blast: Wacky Wishes by Susette Williams, Illustrated by Jack Foster - Enter to Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!
Title: Wacky Wishes By Susette Williams Author, Jack Foster Illustrator

About the Book:

Tommy and Suzie find a wishing well and like children do, they begin making wishes. Imagine their surprise when their wishes start to come true! Are spacesuits the new dress code at school? What's Tommy going to do with three heads? You've heard of, 'Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.' When Tommy and Suzie's wishing gets out of hand, will they be able to wish away the mess they've created before their wishes run out?
Buy on Kindle
Susette Williams Author, Jack Foster Illustrator Susette_300_dpiSusette Williams is a Best Selling Author. She loves writing various genres, both for children and adults. She usually can't resist the urge to let her ornery sense of humor shine through in one of her characters and has always believed that laughter helps you deal with the obstacles life puts in your way. Susette and her husband have six wonderful children, all with intriguing and different personalities, like the characters she creates in her novels. Jack Foster has illustrated over 25 children's books. He is a Sunday school teacher, art teacher and the father of five terrific children and eleven wonderful grand kids. He lives just outside of Chicago with his lovely wife, dog and cat. Check out his work at www.jacksillustrations.blogspot.com Follow Susette Williams Website | Facebook | Twitter

Enter to Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter below to enter a $25 amazon gift card, sponsored by author Susette Williams Author, Jack Foster Illustrator! a Rafflecopter giveaway This book blast is hosted by Crossreads. We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Daddy Got a Stupid Job Part 2



The next few blog posts will be centered around a new work in progress, working title: Daddy Got a Stupid Job which will chronicle our upcoming move across state lines from the perspective of our 6-year-old son. I hope to, eventually, publish it and help other kids (and parents) cope with what we are going through right now. But until then, please enjoy the serial installments of Daddy Got a Stupid Job.
One Friday, when David got out of school, Daddy was there to pick him up! David ran to Daddy and jumped in his arms and hugged him and hugged him. David was so happy that Daddy was coming back home to stay! They had fun playing, but at the end of the weekend, Daddy had to go back to his job in the other city. That made David sad.

David was sad Daddy had left. He was mad at Daddy for getting a job so far away and being gone so much. He got to talk to Daddy every night on the computer, but it wasn’t the same as having Daddy at home. He wanted Daddy to be with him and Mommy again.

David started grumbling and complaining about “Daddy’s stupid job.” He was mad at Daddy’s job and he didn’t care that it was a good job or that he was also able to earn his own money like Daddy did. David just wanted Daddy back.

One morning in school, one of the boys at his table got in David’s way on accident. David wasn’t thinking about Daddy, but all of a sudden, all of the anger and sadness came up and before David could stop it, he hit his friend and pushed him down. His friend told the teacher and Mrs. Wilbur sent him to the principal’s office.

Mommy had told Mr. Foley about David’s daddy leaving and how David was sad. When David talked with Mr. Foley, he said he understood that David was having a hard time, but it was still not okay for David to hit. So David got sent home from school for the rest of the day. Mommy took him home and he had to spend the rest of the day in his room. That night, when they were talking on the computer with Daddy, Mommy and Daddy told David that he couldn’t play video games for a whole week.

David went to bed that night very sad. This was all Daddy’s stupid job’s fault. If Daddy had been at home with David, where he belonged, then none of this would have happened. He hated Daddy’s stupid job.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Daddy Got a Stupid Job Part 1

The next few blog posts will be centered around a new work in progress, working title: Daddy Got a Stupid Job which will chronicle our upcoming move across state lines from the perspective of our 6-year-old son. I hope to, eventually, publish it and help other kids (and parents) cope with what we are going through right now. But until then, please enjoy the serial installments of Daddy Got a Stupid Job.




Daddy and David

Daddy had been home for a long time and everything was great. For a couple of months, Daddy had been able to stay home and play with David. Sure, Daddy had “computer work” to do every day to look for a job, but after that work was done, they would play legos or play video games or read together. Sometimes, they even went to the park. David was happy.

But one day, everything changed. Daddy went away to another town for the weekend. For what seemed like forever Daddy was gone and it was just David and Mommy. That was okay, but David was very, very happy when Daddy came back. When Daddy came back, he was very excited. He had gotten a job while he was away!

His new job, he told David, would help Mommy and Daddy pay for things that they couldn't pay for now. They would be able to have money to save up and pay for vacations to go see places that they read about in their books. Best of all, David would be able to start getting commissions for doing chores so he could buy things he wanted.

The job, though, was in that faraway town.  So, a couple of weeks later, when David had a break from school, Mommy, Daddy, and David packed up the car with a lot of things and drove a very long way so that Daddy could start his new job.

That’s when everything changed. David and Mommy couldn’t stay with Daddy  because David was still in school, so they had to leave Daddy in the new town and go back home. David really missed Daddy, a lot. Soon, he began to wish that Mommy had gotten the job and Daddy had stayed home.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I hate change. Wait, I don't.

Change is everywhere in our culture today: Climate change, change in our tax rates, facebook is always changing its format.
               
Some changes are expected and prepared for—the birth of a new child, a change in seasons, a new grade in school. The ones that make humans fear Change, however, are the unexpected changes—a sudden loss of a friend or family member, a newly-diagnosed illness, the loss of a job.
               
As a Christian, I believe that God uses everything to aid in molding me into the person He wants me to be. If that is the case, then change—no matter how uncomfortable or unexpected—is never a bad thing, even if and when it comes through horrific circumstances. But, even knowing this, I fear and fight change rather than embracing it… why?
               
It is not change we humans are afraid of. We fear the uncertainty that comes with change. Because, really, what is more constant in our lives than change? Changes in seasons, changes in weather, blink and your kindergartener is asking for the car keys. Even our unchanging God changes the way He deals with us as we mature—both in years and spiritually.
               
A hurricane of change is in a holding pattern over the Strong Household right now—some of it expected and some not-so expected. A new “member” of the family has been “birthed.” On April 1, my newest novel, Flash, will be released, joining the other two books of mine now in print. A lot of hard work and preparation went into the newest “baby” and its arrival is something we spent a lot of time and effort preparing for.
               
Other changes were not so anticipated. After losing his job right after Thanksgiving, my husband found his dream job… 400 miles away. So we are in the process of getting the house ready to sell. This is one of those bad changes—we can’t see the end and don’t know what even next week looks like. Even though we are in the midst of change, we can see that this will be a good change—even if we may not see that good for a while. So, we rest in the knowledge that the One who planned the futures of entire civilizations has our future planned out as well.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Best Slippers Ever



A good pair of slippers takes time to get broken in. For a great pair of slippers, it’s worth the wait.

I was *ahem* blessed with wide feet. While those of us with larger feet have a wider stance and  usually have better balance, we find it difficult to find comfortable footwear. We like to joke that it would be more comfortable to wear the boxes than the shoes that come in them. When I got the slippers in the mail—slippers that I hadn’t tried on before getting them—I was a bit skeptical. The very first time I put them on, I was even more skeptical that they would fit like the website and the reviews had all said.

Almost a year later, I am using them every day. These are the best slippers I have ever found. They did take a while to break in and for the memory foam to remember my feet. Because of the nature of open-toe footwear, Nature’s Sleep recommends ordering a size smaller than you would normally get (size chart on the website). I would have normally ordered an XL—a little large for me—to ensure that they would be wide enough for my feet. I ended up ordering a medium and am so glad that I did. The plush terry poly-cotton blend eventually stretched out and I can slip my feet in and out with ease. The only time I can’t now slip things on with ease is when my feet are wet, right out of the shower, or when I have my thick wool socks on.

The plush cloth is soft and warm. Here in Idaho, we actually had one of the coldest Januaries on record—as opposed to the rest of the country who, until recently, enjoyed a spring-like winter.  Despite the cold, I still had to take the dog out to do his business and also tend to the chickens. So, I slipped on my trusty Nature’s Sleep slippers and, open toes and all, braved the ice and snow and my feet stayed toasty warm.  The short tread on the slippers was able to grip the ice with minimal slipping—walking carefully, I actually slipped more in my normal shoes than I did in the slippers. On the really cold, bitter mornings I was able to wear a pair of thin socks with the slippers when I went outside. The shallow tread is also good for another very important thing: squishing spiders hanging out on the wall. The slippers are excellent spider-killers.

When the slippers got dirty (which happened quite a bit when I started wearing them outside), I just threw them into the washing machine. They needed to stretch out just a bit again after being cleaned, but the memory foam remembered my feet very well.

The slippers, while wonderful in winter, are a little too warm for my taste in the summer, but summer is barefoot season anyway, so it’s not that much of an inconvenience.

All in all, I love these slippers. I wear them every day. They are currently my go-to outdoor shoes and are, at this moment, sitting right by the kitchen door waiting for me to go back outside. They’re easy to drive in (yes, I might be one of those moms who wears pajamas to drive their kid to school) and if I could get away with wearing them everywhere, I probably would. Now, if I could only convince Nature's Sleep to make tennis shoes…



The Nature’s Sleep Open Toed Slippers with Memory Foam are available exclusively through Nature’s Sleep in Lavender (my favorite and pictured above), pale blue, and mocha. They are also available in Closed-Toed and in pink, pale blue and sand.  (Click on the link above to be taken to the website.) Use the code BEARS50 to receive 50% off of anything on the Nature’s Sleep website.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

FLASH FICTION: A Word From S.C.H.O.O.L.S.


What is Flash Fiction? It is a quick, short, piece of fiction meant to be written and read quickly. Sometimes, Flash Fiction is based upon a photo or image, other times, just a collection of words. Now, for your reading enjoyment, "Unforgettable Loan Sharks."
 


                We will return to Insomniacs’ Theatre after a few words from our sponsor…
                Do you want to make more money? Sure! We all do! But, unless you are a Mafioso or part of the Yakuza, you may find it difficult to make massive amounts of money with minimal effort while simultaneously preying on the fears and failures of others. Have you thought about being a loan shark, but your clients simply forget about their debts? Well, look no further! Here at SCHOOLS, the Stupendous Collegiate Home Of Outstanding Loan Sharks, we have boiled down the proven methods used by loan sharks throughout the ages and put them in our 42-DVD correspondence course to complete at your leisure.
                Once you complete the course, take an online exam, and print out your SCHOOLS diploma, none of your clients will be able to forget you. Follow all of our 15,080 easy steps and you, too, will be able to swim in a pool full of money like Scrooge McDuck.
                With our 42-DVD SCHOOLS program, you learn valuable lessons like:
·         Finding Clients and Gaining Their Trust
·         Bribery
·         Correct Brass Knuckles Procedure
·         Hiring the Right Lawyers
·         Proper Baseball Bat Techniques
·         Intimidation
·         Interest Rates: When Are They Too Low?
·         Networking With Local Bookies and J.P. Morgan Chase Loan Officers
·         Repossessing On Title Loans
·         Investing Your Earnings Back in the Community
·         Hiring Thugs vs. The Hands-On Approach
·         Paying off the Police
·         Payday Lending
·         Buying Juries
·         And Many More!
                Just listen to what our satisfied clients have to say!
                Having a judge in my back pocket was quick and easy, and I would not have been able to do it without the SCHOOLS program. Thank you, SCHOOLS, you have saved me years in prison.
                Before SCHOOLS, I only lent money out to friends and family, and at little or no interest. Now, I own a string of very profitable Pay Day Loan stores and am about to break ground on my Money Silo. Thank you, SCHOOLS!
                My city league softball team really seems to appreciate my new bat-swinging techniques. We ended the season undefeated! Thanks, SCHOOLS!
                Easy payment plans are available! No credit needed, just a very low 75% per month interest rate. Operators are standing by for your call.
                Be unforgettable. Be rich. Be a loan shark. And now, back to Insomniacs’ Theatre.