To Celebrate Halloween or Not To

Halloween is an interesting holiday. 

Some refuse to participate in it for religious reasons–the origin involves evil; you can read about it here. Scary costumes do not honor God or holiness. Some refuse to participate because they simply feel it isn’t safe. You teach your kids not to take candy from strangers and then designate a day to turn the tables and spend the evening doing just that.

Others join in but refuse to wear scary costumes. They visit only the  homes of friends and family.

And then some attend alternative events like Fall Festivals and Trunk or Treats in a way to let their children have fun along with all the other kids.

I think it boils down to your convictions. I don’t think one is wrong for doing it while the other is right. Or vice versa. 

For the record, we trick or treat with a group of friends and have since our kids were little. After eating hot dogs and chili by the fire, we head out through the neighborhood and hope for the good stuff–by good stuff I mean candy not PCP on bubble gum wrappers. 

But this year me and my friend Melanie are over our church’s first ever Trunk or Treat, so we’ll be doing that instead. We have face painting, a huge outdoor movie screen that will play, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown along with popcorn. Sixty vehicles have committed to decorating non-scary trunks. Moon bounces will be set and ready to go and if that’s not enough, we’re also offering hayrides. The event is free to the public. I’m pretty excited about it. 

What do you think? Do you Trick or Treat? Why or why not? 

*photo credit: freedigitalphotos

How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Latte (and not feel guilty over calories)

Well, it’s that time of year when I clean out my fridge to make room for…flavored coffee creamers–holiday style. I read on a website about a sugar free pumpkin latte creamer that was out. So I threw on my raincoat and rain boots, since it was raining buckets that day. I trudged into the store only to be disappointed. 


How dare someone set me up like that? 

So I decided over the weekend to see if I could make my own. Without all the calories, and maybe without all the flavor. 

Well I did it. It was delish!

And hey, if you’ve already figured this trick out, keep your comments to yourself as I’m feeling very Betty Crockerish at the moment and I don’t need any funsuckers taking it away.

1 cup of coffee (at a time)
A splash or two of heavy whipping cream (I realize this is probably a little heavier on calories than non-fat milk, but you’re bypassing tons of whip cream so it won’t kill you.)
Splenda to taste (I like it sweet)
A dash or 2 of pumpkin pie spice

If you’re feeling good about your eating habits and calories, you could squirt some canned whip cream on top and a sprinkle of cinnamon. 

So there  yah have it folks. DIY! 

*photo credit: Tina Phillips/freedigitalphotos

What’s your favorite holiday-ish drink? Have you ever created a drink? Care to share it (if it didn’t suck)?

Easter Holiday Hangover

Myles dying eggs. Bailey said
she was too old this year. Waaah!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter holiday! My mom came to visit and dragged me all over town to shop. I’m not a shopper. In fact, I’d buy everything online if I could. But the kids did need spring clothes. They insist on growing. It’s annoying.

We dyed eggs, took Myles to a Easter egg hunt at church, we made coconut cupcakes, and bought $30 worth of bread from an Italian bakery. 

I almost took a blogging break just to spend extra time running it all off on the treadmill, but…I’d miss you! So, I’m not. I mean, I am going to be running, but not taking a break! I will be a little scarce though, because I have some heavy duty editing to work on this week. 

So tell me the highlight of your weekend. Of course, celebrating our risen Savior was the BIGGEST. I woke up, came into the living room where my husband sat drinking coffee and reading his Bible, raised my hands in the air and shook them as I said, “Heeee’s aliiiivve!” in my Frankenstein voice.

TP shook his head, but smirked and I said, “What? Jesus thinks it’s funny. I already said it to Him. ‘You’re Aliiiivve!’ Now where’s my Easter basket?”

It was on my desk–on my laptop. Cadbury eggs, iTunes card, and a gift card to a Home store. 

So I repeat: What was the highlight of your weekend? 

No Sleep for the Saints

Photo Credit: graur razvan ionut 

It makes me sad to say I finished Donna Pyles’ Your Strong Suit Bible study this past week. It was truly a wonderful study. If you haven’t done it, I encourage you to!
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— ” Ephesians 6:14-18
We’re down to the last part of the passage.
When I think about “praying always…being watchful…with all perseverance and supplication…” I think about a man who spent the night in a beautiful garden with his Master.
Exhaustion from traveling, rising early, going to bed late, fishing, not to mention emotional exhaustion pulled at his eyelids, his limbs. I bet he couldn’t even think straight, yet his Master begged him to stay awake.
Something was about to happen, about to change the world in a epic way and the turmoil raging inside the Master was overwhelming. He needed this man, not as a student but as His friend. He needed Peter.
“My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”  Matthew 26:38
I think Peter tried. He’d finished telling Jesus earlier that he’d go to the grave for Him, surely staying awake would be easier.
But he couldn’t.
What was going to happen in several hours overwhelmed Peter’s Master.
“He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39
Photo Credit: Danilo Rizzuti /

When He raised up, He found them–His friends–asleep for the second time. “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26: 40 (emphasis, mine)

Peter didn’t understand. What temptation? An hour? An hour seemed like days this late. And he fell asleep again.
Jesus asked His Father to take the cup that was about to be poured on Him away, but then He asked for the Father’s will to be done. Again, He came back. Yet, He said nothing. In that moment what do you think Jesus thought? After going back to pray, He awoke them a third time.
The hour had come.
We know after that, Jesus was arrested. Peter denied Christ as many times as he had fallen asleep. Three. I wonder, had he stayed awake, watched, and prayed what would have happened.
Peter swore he’d die with Christ. His spirit was willing. But he failed to gear up through prayer, and his flesh was weak.
We scoff at Peter, shake our heads and think, “How could he spend three years with Jesus and leave Him at the worst hour of His life?”
But I’ve known Jesus more than three years, and I’ve turned my back on Him as well. I can relate to Peter.
When you feel tired, lazy, indifferent that’s when you’re at your most vulnerable. When you don’t pray,  you open wide the door to attacks.
Pray in the Spirit. Let the Spirit who lives inside you, guide and direct your prayers. Let Him take over dreams that hold glory for yourself and shape them into dreams that glorify the One Who prayed alone in the garden, to gear up for becoming your sin, and mine. The One Who stayed awake. Not only in the garden, but on the cross. When He refused the gall. When He chose to feel the pain, the sin–to keep a clear mind.
I need to work on staying awake.
 How about you? 
photo credit: bela_kiefer /

This is Holy Week. A time to remember what our Savior did for us. To remember how beautiful the Passion was–is. Still, Jesus intercedes for us. He knows the mind of the Spirit (His spirit) that lives within us and prays God’s will for our lives. Just like He did for Peter. He has confidence in us. Shocking isn’t it? 

 “And the Lord said,“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke: 22:30-32

Just like He had confidence in Peter, knowing the mistakes he would make before returning. That’s a God I wan to worship. That’s a God that inspires and motivates me to pray.
So what about you? Could you stand to stay awake more? Ever found when you didn’t pray over something the outcome was a failure?

**What’s the Point of Passover? I talk about it, HERE

I’m over at Living By Grace! Come by.

Celebrating a Crapper

I dare not lie when I say today is the official holiday to celebrate Thomas Crapper. And yes, this is where we get the term, “CRAP.” A word I say often.

So I’m delighted, to be able to celebrate this day and share this crap with you! 

Thomas Crapper is mostly known for inventing the modern flush toilet. 

But he didn’t.

I don’t know much more than that, but what I do know is this:

There’s a legend that says U.S. soldiers stationed in England during WWI saw toilets that said “CRAPPER” on them and came home using that word interchangeably with “bathroom.”

But that’s just a legend. Not fact. 

So Happy Crapper Day, everyone! I think in honor of this man we should all flush our toilets simultaneously at 5:00 p.m. CST! Who’s with me?

And be honest, you know you feel dumber having read this! 

It’s all I got. Except I heard it’s also National Chocolate Day today too. I thought that was every day. Who knew?!

Have a great weekend!
*All information came from Snopes (dot) com

If you could make up 
one national holiday, 
what would it be and why? And what is your favorite chocolate candy?

My Top 4 New Year Plans As a Writer

I missed you! Hope you a wonderful Christmas and NYE! 

Today is a repost from last year (but I had maybe 10 followers so you probably haven’t read it), anywho, since I haven’t accomplished any of them,  I’m giving it a go again! On Wednesday, I’ll be posting a more serious plan–as in ONE WORD for the year and tying it into a devotional so don’t miss it! Today? Enjoy!

Well, a year has come and is about to be gone. Profound, I know. I’ve been hearing lots of New Year’s resolutions. The same ones I hear every year. Lose weight. Eat healthier. Spend more time with family. Those seem to be the top three.
I don’t make resolutions. I make plans. Maybe they are resolutions. I just call them personal plans for the new year.

This year, I’m going to work on a few that involve the debilitation of being a writer. You writers may get to shout a few amens in agreement, and those of you who are not…this may explain my eccentric and sometimes morbid behavior.

Here are a few areas I need to work on.


I have a hard time NOT daydreaming up new plots and storylines, like when I’m at church. Pastor is preaching and delivering the word and I watch the sweet elderly lady who passes out handfuls of candy–throwing it really–and all I see are members of the congregation, dropping like flies because the candy has been poisoned. The old woman is shocked when she finds out, declaring she didn’t do it as they drag her poor soul off in cuffs. I look around and find a single mom sitting two rows back and use her to refuse to believe old lady “nameless” has poisoned the church. What motive does she have? She enlists, I look around and find a young widowed man, ah him, yes!… and together they investigate. (and fall in love duh!) At this point I’m jerked back into reality as our Pastor says, “Answer me when I ask you a question.” I don’t know if I should holler yes, no, or amen. Have I just missed a word for me? What was that reference again? My husband scowls at me…knowing. My best friend leans over and asks, “Who did it? The Royal Ranger teacher or the Youth Pastor?”

This may be the hardest goal for me. I can find a story in anything! Just two days ago, my friend shared with me about her nephew and some of his nefarious behavior. Immediately I explained to her why he was a narcissist sociopath, on his way to becoming a homicidal maniac, and then instead of offering to pray for him…I asked if she could get me about thirty minutes alone with him to pick his demented juvenile mind and test my theory. Yep. I really did. I was seeing backstory all over the place!

I’m constantly eavesdropping in restaurants, movie lines, grocery stores, doctors’ offices, anywhere I can find crowds of people. I zone out of the conversation at hand–the one I’m supposed to be involved in, and find out that some stranger’s sister stole her boyfriend and she found out from the Hispanic gardener by slip of the tongue. She’s now dating the Hispanic gardener.

 My husband and I took a trip to Rhode Island last year, he was marrying his cousin! I love saying that!  (He’s an ordained minister.) It was beautiful and it happened to be the setting in a book I was about to write. We sat on the bench at a pier overlooking the water, and he talked and talked. Then he said, “Isn’t this place just beautiful, Jess?”
“Yes, I can see why Scarlet loves it. No wonder Noah can’t leave.” Sigh.

My husband cleared his throat, “Jess,I’ve gotten used to you living in a fictional world, but please tell me you’re at least holding my hand!”
“Hmmm…oh, of course. Definitely.”


“Mom, I have pretend people in my head too, but I don’t sit in front of the computer all day and play with them!” My son Myles expressed that after he’d asked for a glass of milk about two hundred times. At least that’s what he said…I never heard him. I’m a master of tuning out what’s going on at home. I stick my skull candy in and I’m off. When I look up, my house looks like a tornado hit it. I’m going to pay attention more and find better balance between writing and spending time with my family.

4. GET OUT MORE (other than to research) 
Before long, my friends are going to stop asking me to do anything!
“You want to come to my jewelry party?”
“You wanna get lunch?”
“Hey, let’s go shopping!”
Right now, they may be plotting an intervention. Every free opportunity I don’t HAVE to be somewhere, I’m at home. In my chair. On my laptop. Writing. Yeah, I need to rekindle my social life.

So there you have it, ladies and gents! My top 4 things to change that pertain to writing. What’s on your list?

Here’s What’s Going on in My Neck of the Woods

Well, we’re inching up on Christmas. It went fast after Thanksgiving, didn’t it? 

I’m done shopping. I’ve wrapped pretty much everyone…well, their gifts, not them. I don’t have that much wrapping paper and what’s the point of wrapping people you know? Or people you don’t, though I’m not sure you could convince them to let you, or even hold them down long enough. 

I’ve made cookies, cinnamon spiced pecans which are crack delightful and addictive because they’re crack delightful and yummy. 

I spent the weekend in IL with my family. We opened an insane amount of gifts, ate to the point I need to make a trip to the altar to confess I am a glutton, but dang if I’m not too lazy to trudge up there. I think laziness might be wrong too. I’ll have to look into that.

I’m kind of diggin the Enya Christmas station on Pandora. What? Don’t laugh. 

Last Tuesday, I sent off my second ms (a first in an FBI series) to my agent so I’m taking the next few weeks off to spend time holiday-ing it with friends and family. I’ll pick back up after Christmas with polishing another ms (a first in a saga ) while praying she likes my second ms as much as she did the first. 

And if my crazy jacked trapezes muscles don’t get their act together and quit giving me fits, I’m stuck doing physical therapy at the first of the year. Sometimes anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxers don’t work. Sigh. Any other writers have this problem? 
And I think that may be all that’s going on around here, which is not much I guess. In fact, you may have stopped reading at Enya  Christmas. I can understand. Only I can’t, because it’s pretty cool. 

I’m taking a blogging break until January 2nd, (this is where everyone begs encourages me not to and I consider it) but I’ll still be posting a devotional at Living By Grace this Wednesday, so “like” the devotional community at the right side panel (scroll down some) and don’t miss out each day as a godly woman shares the Word! Great stuff!

What’s going on in 
your neck of the woods?
Have a Merry Christmas!

What’s On Your Christmas List?

My husband is the worst person to buy for when it comes to the holiday. Like seriously. The worst. I want to poke his eyes out. And it’s because he never needs anything.

But Christmas isn’t really about what we need is it? It’s about wish lists and wants. Although, we all have the grandma that buys us the plain white Hanes panties and socks, because they’re practical. Why do they do this? 

Why after hounding asking us for a list, do they chunk it, only to buy us plastic tablecloths with florescent yellow flowers on it. Why do they insist on buying us those super thick potholders that feel like astronaut gloves and won’t pick a dern thing up? 

Granny, I love you. But for the love of all that is good and holy, stick to the list! A cranberry candle isn’t hard to find! Really. It isn’t!

I digress.

Okay Christmas is really about Jesus, but I’m talking about presents today. And I want to know:

What do you want for Christmas? No, you don’t need it. No, you may not even get it. But you want it! It’s possible. So dish!