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I’ve Caught the Bug!

April 25, 2017

I have a number of hobbies, and need a new one like a hole in the head. I’ve nixed my raging desire to try my hand at soap making, and also candle making, for this reason.

I did indulge in my love of aromatherapy by committing to certification courses in the discipline. But, I don’t consider that as much a hobby as I do a necessary life skill. I say that because, as someone who has lived life-long with depression, I’ve found aromatherapy to be an amazing way to ease some of the symptoms I suffer from. Sleep support, anxiety relief, and other issues are being aided by my study of aromatherapy.

However, lately, I’ve caught the Bible journaling bug. Now, unlike most who journal, I don’t have a specialized Bible for journaling. I’m far to attached to my iDevices and YouVersion app. But, as I began working with the church Instagram account, and seeing all the gorgeous Scripture pictures out there, I began drifting into the wonderful world of Bible journaling. So, instead, I have a notebook I use for my journaling, and use my iPhone or iPad during services to follow along on YouVersion. I will write down a Scripture or two that draws my special attention during worship, then later, plan it out in a sketch.

I’ve gone a little crazy with supplies, because my daughter is artsy and we’ve had some great “Girl Time,” shopping for supplies (she actually does have a journaling Bible).

I’ve improved a wee bit since this very first effort:


I’m hooked for now, though! I look forward to seeing how these efforts progress. I will never be a Michelangelo, but I am definitely enjoying a new way to study the Word!


Kudos For Courageous Living

November 13, 2014

I’ve nominated Nikkobetes for an Edublogs Award (#Eddie14) because my son has lived courageously and out loud with Type 1 diabetes for almost 14 years. During the first few years, as a mere toddler, when he was on insulin shots, people looked at us as though we were shooting our kid up in public. There were many long, sleepless nights, trying either to get his blood sugar back up, or get it back down.

Then the pump came into our lives. This tiny little device the size of a pager. And everything changed. No more trying to get a toddler to eat. Yeah, right . . .good luck with that. Our son could sleep on his own schedule; no more schedule dictated by needing to eat at a specific time because a certain long acting insulin was about to peak and cause a crash. We could manage his condition a little more discreetly in public (no more “shooting up” in public . . . sheesh, people!).

All along, our son took it like a trooper. I’ll never forget the day of his diagnosis. The day our lives forever changed, my two year old was skipping through the parking lot of the hospital toward the emergency room — with a blood sugar reading of 711 (as we found out later)! Those first toddler years, he thought of Type 1 diabetes as his “super power;” the thing that made him special and different. I remember telling him about Heaven and how one day Mommy wouldn’t have asthma anymore and he wouldn’t have diabetes, and he actually cried because he “would miss it.” We created Bravery Days to celebrate him for toughing out site changes and constant finger pokes. When we had interdisciplinary team meetings at endocrinology appointments, the mental health clinicians all said he was just the most well-adjusted kid they had ever seen. He mentored several friends and acquaintances through their own diagnoses.

He began taking ownership of his own condition as soon as he was able. At four, shortly after he started on the pump, his father and I let him start checking his own blood sugar (obviously under our close supervision). As he grew older, he began doing more of the talking at his endocrinology appointments. He changed the settings on his pump as his needs changed. And, and he participated in several clinical trials and studies that helped lead to many innovations and improvements in the technology we have now and other ancillary support devices.

Then, one year for our homeschooling, I asked him to begin blogging about his condition. He blogged and podcasted tips, tricks and just about being a kid living with the condition. He’s interviewed people in the field and athletes (but not Nick Jonas, yet, alas . . .). So, this year, his Junior year in high school, amidst all the many things he’s doing and the craziness of this time in his life, he transitioned from a regular insulin pump, to a Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGMS), and blogged about it. He offered tips and hints along the way, as well as his honest feedback about how it was. After many years of rarely complaining about his condition, this was a really rough transition. It interfered with sleep, and caused many disruptions. But he was committed to seeing it through and blogging about it, good or bad.

So for his honesty, for his courage in living out loud with this condition day in and day out, and for trying to help others who deal with this condition, I have nominated his blog for an Eddie through Edublogs for Best Educational Use of a Social Network and I hope you will, too! Kudos to you, Nikko!

Spiritual Zombies

October 23, 2014

zombiesignI have a close friend, whose name, for the purposes of this post, I’ll keep confidential, but whose fear of zombies is legendary amongst our circle of friends. No matter how often you tell him, “Dude, zombies are not real,” he will tell you he knows . . . and, it doesn’t matter, the fear persists.

It’s chuckle-worthy in the cold light of day, but I woke up in the middle of the night last night, face to face with a zombie of my own. And, unlike the ones I tease my friend about, this one was very real.

By now you’re thinking, “Okay, Marie, you’ve lost it, now, Girl!” But, think about it, and I’d gather you’ve come across one, too. Stay with me here:

I am a Christian. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (NASB)

To become a Christian, I was buried in the watery grave of baptism and died to my old self and my old sinful way of life: “having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” (‭Colossians‬ ‭2‬:‭12‬ NASB)


“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (‭Romans‬ ‭6‬:‭4‬ NASB)

The old me, the one with the sins is dead and gone: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (‭Galatians‬ ‭2‬:‭20‬ NASB)

But what in the world does that have to do with zombies, though? Is that what you’re thinking?
As a Christian, how often do you revisit the “Old You?” Live through the guilt and hold yourself accountable all over again? Didn’t we just read the verses together showing that Christ paid the debt in full for your sins? That you are redeemed? You are free from the bondage of sin? But there you are at the gravesite of the “Old You” allowing that spiritual zombie to come back to life and haunt you with past sins that have been forgiven!

Whenever you are tempted to dwell on the past, remember that you are re-animating that spiritual zombie. It’s easy to beat yourself up about your sins and mistakes. But God thought enough of you that He died for you in the form of His Son, Christ Jesus. Keep that thought uppermost in your mind, and let it slay the spiritual zombies in your life.

Negotiating A Peace Treaty

June 2, 2014

Sibling rivalry is never fun: the tattling, the arguing, and yes, sometimes crossing the line into hitting. This is true under normal circumstances. When you have children who have additional challenges beyond just regular sibling stuff, as we do in our blended adoptive home, along with other medical issues, it can get downright Ugly. Today, after percolating, festering, brewing, and escalating, it moved into Beyond Ugly.

This morning was the straw that broke Mama Camel’s back. I was doing some pre-taping for our African-American Conservatives radio show. The Three (15, 12.5, and 11) were supposed to be getting breakfast and getting dressed. Something so simple turned into a huge mess, with funky attitudes and misconceptions all around. It permeated our whole morning and part of our afternoon, even after we deconstructed it, and I helped them each see where their individual part derailed the speeding train before finally wrecking it.

Finally — because this has been such an issue for so long, and just isn’t getting any better — I did what I often do (and get collective groans from The Three for it!), I turn it into A Teachable Moment. Since we had missed so much of homeschool this morning, I decided to make them each Head of State for three individual, but warring nations. I have decreed that there will be no TV, Wii, electronics — no fun! — until they negotiate a peace treaty. They will make offers, concessions, provisions, etc. and sign (no, not in blood). King Dad and I will review the ratified document, which cannot violate Scripture or our rules for the house. We will set out consequences for violations, with input from the Heads of State. Then, it becomes codified and must be obeyed.

My youngest asked a lot of clarifying questions, but in the end, came up with something profound, as is often the case with him. He said, “So, it’s like a Covenant?” I agreed that was a wonderful analogy. He went on to say, “Then that means we can’t break it.” That’s the spirit, kid, that’s the spirit!

After the treaty is negotiated, they can come up with country maps, a language, flags, etc. but the treaty is paramount.

This could be sheer brilliance or utter madness! Let’s pray for the former, and prepare for the latter.


In Which I Am Quoted on CNN . . .

July 18, 2013

I was quoted on CNN Live today, regarding parenting in the aftermath of the Zimmerman trial verdict.

This represents a very small snippet of the many things I had to say on the topic, and maybe sometime I will blog the rest. Right now, my heart hurts after the many conversations, I’ve had and I’ve witnessed in the aftermath. Sadly, few of them have been cordial. I do think we have a very long way to go, and hope our nation can heal.

Until then, I hope this will suffice: while I was still wound up around the verdict, I delivered one of the rants I’ve become known for on our African-American Conservatives radio show. You can hear my rant after the segment with our guest, Representative Trey Gowdy.

Social Media Platforms: When Working to Guard Privacy Trumps Fun

February 21, 2013

Okay, so a very large social networking site rolled out yet another set of “fine print” for the unwashed masses to blissfully assimilate or pound sand . . . and I think that may have just been the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back — at least for this Mama!

When working to guard your privacy becomes a full time job, and sharing tidbits of your life with people you want to connect with becomes secondary, I think that’s a classic textbook case of the word “disconnect.”

I have a lot of reasons for guarding my privacy (so do you). I won’t go into all of them here, but if you are like me, you sign up for these platforms because it is a convenient way to stay in touch with the grandparents, or connect with friends from years ago, etc. When you sign on, yeah, there are certain rules, rights, responsibilities you understand are inherent in this new “relationship.” In the real world, what would that look like when one person, every few months, adds/changes/renegotiates things that directly effect you . . . and you have no say in the matter? You weren’t consulted and now you have a choice: stay in the relationship or leave.

If you stay, there is a subtle (or not so subtle!) shift in “power” because you’ve “lumped it” to stay in this relationship. And the other party knows it, so it can lead to a slippery slope where this becomes standard protocol.

If you leave, all the time, work, etc. you’ve invested goes down the drain for the most part. And you have to divvy things up: what belongs to you, what belongs to them? And you have to start over. Who’s to say the same thing won’t happen time and time and time again?

I don’t know if I am going to stay with this social network much longer. Even if I leave, I don’t have a lot of faith that my information isn’t still floating around . . . begging the question: so what’s the point? Is it just inevitable? Hound your friends to do all the hard work so your stuff stays private? Do you invest more hours “purging” before you leave?

Given that my day job is in Social Media, I understand how beneficial it is. But when I have to work to stay ahead of the curve (and I know this industry . . . can you imagine for the lay person??), then it seems to me that profiting from me is a larger goal than providing me with a way to connect conveniently, and I have to decide to what lengths I will go to protect it . . . and in essence attach a value to my own brand.


Mama Reviews Poison and Rapunzel Untangled

January 24, 2013

Faithful readers of my blog know I am a voracious reader. I love tween/teen fiction best. And, as a homeschooling mom, I’m very particular about what my kids read, thus, I generally read most titles before they do, unless I am very familiar with the series or author, and they have already made the cut.

Additionally, I just love the genre enough that I often read tween/teen/YA fiction “just because,” and because I am a Christian mom, I just don’t like a lot of the garbage out there in the fiction category for grown-ups (not to say that doesn’t happen with YA literature, too…). Thus, I am blogging about many of my reads, to help Christian parents find good, current literature, and discussing my finds from a Christian worldview to pinpoint any areas that may be of concern.

With that in mind, let’s get to today’s offerings:

I have always loved fairy and folk tales and re-tellings/re-imaginings. In college, as a Child Development major, I was fascinated by Bruno Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment, discussing the psychology and need behind these tales to help us resolve conflict in the “real world.”

This was all many years ago. I’ve since become a Christian, and, yes, one of “those” Christians who just doesn’t play around with witchcraft-y things. That said, both of the stories I’m reviewing today have very mild instances, rather more like a backdrop or subplot.

First up:

Title: Poison
Author: Bridget Zinn
Format(s): Hardcover and Kindle
Pages: 288
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Price: Retails for 16.99
Publishing Date: Expected March 12, 2013

Talk about your empowered female! Wow! Kyra (or “Kitty” :::gigglesnort::: *) is one tough cookie! That’s the beauty of this story and what I liked best. This girl is accused of trying to murder a princess (who happens to be her best friend)…um…and it’s sorta true. But….and that “but” is the whole story, so I can’t give it away.

Kyra is resourceful, uses ingenuity, is pretty funny, and really doesn’t “need” some guy rescuing her (though, having one, as Kyra soon finds, isn’t such a bad proposition).

The story is an intriguing one, and well told. The characters are believable, as is the dialog. However, the dialog is one of two negatives I have regarding this book: it contains some mild potty language. Nothing you wouldn’t find on TV during a show for older teens/adults, but certainly enough that a Christian family would probably take a pass on this title. Mild spoiler alert: The other issue that might give a parent pause is the one scene where Kyra is under-dressed for the occasion. Nothing titillating or any fault of either party, but without giving away too much, there is a definite “awareness.”

Title: Rapunzel Untangled
Author: Cindy Bennett
Format: Hardcover (so far)
Pages: 304
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Price: Retails for 16.99
Publishing Date: Expected February 12, 2013

Rapunzel Untangled is pretty dark, but then again, most fairy tales are!

Imagine Rapunzel as a teen with an illness that forces her away from the “real world,” where her only outside communication comes in the form of Facebook messaging. What a premise! Seems far-fetched maybe, but so are most of the fairy tale set ups! This one actually makes a bit more sense, when you think of it.

This story has a more prominent witchcraft backdrop, and some of those scenes are so unbelievably “fantastic” that I really skimmed over them, and focused on the fore-plot.

The hardest part about this book (mild spoiler alert) would be the depiction of mental illness. It’s heartbreaking to read, and so infused in the storyline. It’s brilliant, but it’s very dark and uber-tragic.

The story itself is clean. Yes, there is romance, but it’s all very tame, and actually very sweet, considering how naive our heroine is given her lack of outside contact. It’s a re-imagining of a fairy tale, so we aren’t really looking for believability, though I think the author does paint Rapunzel and Fab Fane Flannigan (not crazy about the name!) fairly realistically (despite the names!).

Unlike Poison, Rapunzel Untangled has a heroine that isn’t brassy and independent, and the plot really depends on a “rescuer.” That said, Rapunzel has an inner courage, and frankly, given mental illness issue, one that is so stunning in the face of such abuse, you have to applaud her.

Both books are written for those much older than my own kids, and both slant to the female teen market (though guys might appreciate how cool Poison‘s Fred is!).



* How she comes by this name is the “gigglesnort” 😉