Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Life in Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson & Tricia Goyer: A Book Review

Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice.


When I heard about the opportunity to review Kristen Jane Anderson's book, I was thrilled. When I received the book in the mail, I was thrilled. When I read the book, I was in awe. This story is one you will never forget. And one EVERY teen girl MUST read!

"Why does my life have to be so painful?

What's wrong with me?

It's not going to get better.

It could all be over soon, and then I won't hurt anymore."

Kristen's young life was typical of most and downs, nothing major...until a two-year time frame threw her into a chasm of depression she knew she couldn't climb out of on her own. In those two years, her grandmother and three friends died and she was raped by a close (and trusted, or so she thought) friend. Kristen did the unthinkable...

"Fear coursed through me. I squeezed my eyes tighter.

It's going to be over now. The pain is going to end. I'll be in heaven soon.

As the train whistle blew, the vibration of my body stilled.

The sound stopped. The wind stopped. The train stopped.

Am I dead yet?"

One cold winter night she made the decision to end it all. She laid down on the cold railroad tracks in front of a speeding train. Thirty-three train cars travelled at 55 MPH over her body and severed both legs. Kristen's worst nightmare wasn't over...she lived.

Kristen's book chronicles her struggles to come to terms with a life with no legs and her anger toward God for letting her live.

This story is captivating as Kristen discovers to real purpose for living. As you see her travel from despair to victory your heart will be touched by her letters to her young readers. Kristen speaks the words she wishes she had heard that may have kept her off the tracks that night.

Surprisingly, Kristen feels amazingly blessed by her situation and can now look back and see the GIFT FROM GOD in her tragedy. This is the gift you should be buying for every teenage girl you know! I just told her story to our 5th & 6th grade youth group tonight as we discussed God's plan and living by faith!

Follow Kristen on her BLOG TOUR with litFuse!

Upon finishing the book I found Kristen on facebook and have enjoyed seeing her words of wisdom, hope and faith. She is one amazing woman...and completely a gift from God! Thanks for your story Kristen, you are saving lives!

Monday, May 10, 2010

500th Post GIVE-A-WAY with PrintArtKids!

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review the wonderful work of PrintArtKids! And just in time for my 500th POST! WOO HOO!

If you are a mom, you know that NO REFRIGERATOR is big enough for all the artwork your kids bring home. And, I don't know about you, but I hear the heavens part and someone yells at me everytime I throw their artwork away. That could have something to do with being a former art teacher...there's a whole class on how NOT to EVER destroy a child's creations.

But, I think I have found the loop hole! PrintArtKids! This company will make beautiful cards, note pads,return address labels, gift tags, notebooks and stationery with your child's artwork (or your favorite photograph) as the central focus!

They have GREAT products available for Father's Day, Birthdays, Teacher Gifts, etc!

I was curious about the clarity of the images, so when Abbe contacted me to see if I would like to check them out, I took advantage of the opportunity. I was thrilled when my order came! Quick shipping and BEAUTIFULLY crisp and clear photos of my artwork were on notecards and notpads!

As an author, I will FOR SURE be turning to Abbe at PrintArtKids for my pormotional materials to hand out at events I attend at schools and conferences! This is a GREAT company with careful attention to detail.

Stay in touch with PrintArtKids with the links below for ideas for your kids' artwork - never put another thought into WHAT to give for a gift to your favorite teacher, bus driver or family member! This is one of a kind work with a one of a kind business!

Now, the GIVE-A-WAY information!
Leave a comment below or email me with your school's address (by Friday the 14th, 5pm EST) so Abbe can add YOUR school to her mailing list...many art teachers use companies like this to promote their students' artwork! Your art teachers will THANK YOU!

I will use to choose a winner.
If there are 10 or more entries, TWO winners will be chosen!

Thanks Abbe!


Friday, May 7, 2010

Fed Up Friday!

Welcome to my 2nd installment of FED UP FRIDAY where I tell you the one thing (like there is only one) that is on my nerves this week!

I love being a writer. Blogging is an awesome release for a freelance writer. No one to tell you HOW LONG, HOW SHORT, WHAT STYLE or WHAT can write whatever you dang well please!

But, one thing that DOES get to me is the opinions of other people. I don't mind when they keep their thoughts to themselves - heck you can think whatever you want about my BUT DON'T TELL ME! LOL!

As a long time popular blogger, I have tried to grow a thicker skin. When I posted a lot about my support for Kate Gosselin I endured the salivation of KATE HATE BLOGS who would have whole posts about ME! The readers there would actually do searches and find everything about me and then flame everything I thought, did, said, felt, etc. I even had one person mention that I was such a Kate-stalker that I painted my kitchen the same color as, honestly, I had no idea until that comment what the hell color Kate's kitchen was! And, let's talk stalker....HOW THE SNOT DID THAT PERSON KNOW THE COLOR OF MY KITCHEN??! Shheesh!

So, I have dealt with really mean stuff in my comments and even the comments about me on other blogs..whatever...some people have way too much time on their hands and way too much hate in their hearts. Kinda sad.

I started writing for a little over a year ago and I LOVE IT! I share the blogging stage with Amy Brenneman, Karyn Bryant, Teresa Strasser...and so many more AMAZING writers. 

I throw out ideas of things I think moms would like to know about or would find humorous or interesting and sometimes my MomLogic editor will ask me to write things that are big news items. She knows my kids are in school for most of the day and I can usually turn an article around for her before the end of the day - it helps that she is in California because that, technically, gives me three more hours because of the time difference! Julie ROCKS, we really think on the same lines and I love writing for her.

Of course, when you write for any online magazine or newspaper, there is usually a comments section...well, here come the Grumpies! Those people who search out things they don't agree with, read them and then insist that the writer was trying to change their mind about something they are passionate about. I am SO OK with someone not agreeing with my parenting style, my opinions on adoption, my humorous spins on motherhood but some of these people are just downright hateful. It really makes you wonder WHO ever told them it was socially acceptable to be mean? Hmmmm, and we wonder where bullies come from?

Now, I will preface the following with...these people did not hurt my feelings, their comments did not phase me personally...the thing that is a thorn in my side is their audacity to make assumptions about my life based on a 250 word article I was asked to write and then flame me AND MY READERS who leave positive comments (WHICH ARE THEIR OPINION!).

Come's kinda finny...

I wrote an article about how strange kids programming can be...
...and I got this...

"If you don’t want your kids watching these show don’t demand better shows.

There is a simple solution to this.

TURN OFF THE TV, and play with your kids, teach them abstract imaginative thinking, broaden their cognitive skills, enhance their learning, and they will get exercise.

P.S. These shows seem so repetitive to you because they are meant for KIDS NOT for adults! Shows that you engage in, such as ‘Ellen’ are just as brain numbing - full of advertisements to get you to consume products in order to be “happy” by poking at your insecurities."

So, basically this woman got her panties in a wad and assumed my kids don't get anything creative in their lives because I plunk them down in front of the TV and then scoot them out when Ellen comes on. WTH? First of all, those of you who read my blog KNOW that my kids live with AN ART TEACHER...they get plenty of CREATIVE activity!! And, I love Ellen, but never get to watch her because I am OUTSIDE playing with my preschooler who is waiting for his big brother and sister's bus to get here. Guess she missed the part where I said, "I WAS HOME WITH A SICK KID ON THE COUCH ALL DAY..."

I wrote an article about my struggles as a mom of a special needs child with behavioral issues...

...and I got this...
"shut that kid up!!!!"

Wow! Do you know what this persons name was? "Anonymous" How convenient, if you are going to be intolerant you need to have the guts to leave a name. I felt so bad for all the commenters who were in the same boat I am and were using the comments to support each other.

I wrote an article about my experience having "The Talk" with my son...

...and I got this...

"Wow. I feel very sorry for your son, but also slightly hopeful that the poor kid is now so traumatized by the idea of sex that your screwed up ideas are not passed on to yet another generation. Unfortunately, nature and hormones will have their way, so when this boy hits puberty and becomes REALLY interested in sex he’s probably going to look back on this conversation and decide he’d much rather ask his friends any questions he has rather than risk another embarrassing conversation with his mother trying to gross him out.

If that turns out to be the case, in 4 or 5 years when you title an article “Damn Those Unplanned Teenage Pregnancies!”"
This person thinks the problem here is ME? Wow! My article was written in fun - hence the term "humor essay" - I can't even begin to list the untruths in this comment and I know I don't need to because...well, it's just not worth entertaining that kind of silliness.

And finally...
I was asked to write an article about our adoption and what I saw as the "pros" to adopting domestically (this was to play off all the positive press that Sandra Bullock was getting for her New Orleans adoption)...

...and I (and another reader who commented) got this...

"Unless you have visited a foreign orphanage and have seen the inhumane conditions under which these children are forced to live, you have no idea what you are talking about!

But, I guess we should not be so surprised at your ignorant comments , given the very ignorant and insensitive article they follow! Looks like Ms. Brownlow was too busy patting herself on the back to follow any solid journalistic practices! Has she ever adopted internationally? Did she interview any parents of internationally adopted children, in order to achieve a more objective article? Of course not!"

First off, I am sorry the other commenter had to deal with this woman's grumpies. Secondly, she made the assumption that only children in orphanages live in inhumane conditions? I will spare you the details but what I could tell you children endure before being put in foster care would haunt you for life. I am in no way COMPARING the two...children living in horrific situations need families to come to their rescue regardless of WHERE they are or to what extreme of horror they are living.

"Ignorant and insensitive..."
Wow! No comment.

Alright, my faithful readers! I hope you all know that I appreciate a good conversation, I enjoy hearing other views...must be that I just have the most mature readers in the blogosphere...we can agree to disagree.

Have an amazing weekend and say something NICE to someone today - it will counteract the comments of those who TRY to hurt people's feelings.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Envelope, please...

Thank you (applause), Thank you (applause)...
It has taken me way too long to get back to the contest from last week!
I apologize for my brain fart!

But, there are TWO winners!!
I had to throw out the last question, "Which of these have I not done?!"

When I originally ran this quiz...yes, it was on old could have gone back a year or so and peeked! :) ...I had not  yet gotten my tattoo so THAT was the thing I hadn't done.

But last summer, on my 39th birthday, my BFFs took me for my tattoo!


So, if I throw out the last question, HALLY and JULIEinPA win! Both of you! :) Please email me at with your mailing address so I can send you your ORIGINAL, SIGNED MKB ILLUSTRATION! YAY!