Summer Road Trip Part 1

August 30, 2013

Want to go on a road trip? Like, a really totally LONG road trip?

Okay, let’s get started…

Minnesota to somewhere in Nebraska…stayed in a hotel that looked awful on the outside, but was actually quite shocking inside. Great place. Ramada, I think. There was an indoor tiki hut courtyard. I know, it can’t be explained. But what really caught my eye was the sign in front of the (truly) fabulous pool.


Sometimes you just have to spell things out, I guess.

It was bliss when we found this train out in the middle of nowhere…in Wyoming. There was also the nicest log cabin Subway I have ever seen. If that and the Walmart hadn’t been there, I would have expected Tonto to come out at any moment.


It was beautiful in Wyoming and Nevada, but crossing into California…it really is something special. And we were so happy to FINALLY be in CALIFORNIA!!! (Insert wild dancing here!)


We made it to our dear friend Staci’s house after two days on the road. She promptly fed us and took us over to her mom’s house to swim. The kids needed it! There also happened to be a scooter that Indigo became instantly attached to…


Went to San Francisco…I’ve wanted to take the kids there for such a long time. I have so many great memories there with my family and friends…Nate and I have so many great memories there too. So I had a perma-grin that whole day. We rode the BART.
Indie took this shot…

We rode the cable car…Stace took this one. Wish she was in the picture instead of Poser Dude.


It seems we adopted a new family member for the picture. ^

Found some minions.

Dreams were fulfilled.


Serious dreams.


I found my place.


Died over this…


Enjoyed the beauty. Healed my insides to see the beauty.




To be continued…

Happy Summer!

June 12, 2013

Even though the rain just keeps pouring down, the feeling of summer is in the air. Promising something…good.

I’m ready for that, how about you?

Let’s start off with the troubling things first. My parents’ health has been a huge and growing concern. My dad hasn’t been improving as much as we’d like. At all. And my mom has breast cancer. She had surgery the day after Mother’s Day and it went well. She starts radiation in a week or so and finds out later this week if she’ll have to do chemo too. We’re hoping and praying she won’t have to do chemo.

Through it all, my mother has made it hard to be overly worriedβ€”I still am, but her peace about whatever happens next has been instrumental in calming my heart and mind about it. I still have bad days when I’m just a mess about it, but most of the time, I’m feeling so hopeful that everything is going to be all right.

All of it has made me try to stop and be grateful for the moments I have…to be mindful that life is fleeting and each moment counts. I don’t want to waste it being held back or fearful. I want to live each moment loving…whether it’s my children, my husband, my parents, family, friends, strangers, fill in the blank. NOT food. haha Trying to not love food QUITE so much as I have been. A healthy love, you know? πŸ˜‰

Work is good and plentiful and overwhelming and fun and has made my life topsy turvy, but in the best ways. Traveling more than I ever have and while I love it as much as I ever did, I am learning what it really means to be homesick for my husband and kids. Before, it was so rare that I was away from them that it felt like a healing time to go away and recharge. Now it feels like I don’t need that so much, but am THRILLED when I get to come home to them.

I think my last post I shared the books I’d worked on from Jan-April. Will try to give you the latest, in case there are any book lovers still reading my spotty blog and looking for a beach read. πŸ™‚ The Last Hour by Charles Sheehan-Miles, Happenstance by MJ Abraham, There is No Light in Darkness by Claire Contreras, Darkness Before Dawn by Claire Contreras, and Picturing Perfect by Melissa Brown. There are several coming out soon, too, that I’m excited about. Two, in particular. I’ll try to share those links when they’re available.

Speaking of beach…I’m seeing that in my future. Oh, I need to see that beautiful water. Who’s going to the beach this summer? If I don’t end up getting there, enjoy it for me, please. xoxo

April 1st!

April 1, 2013

Well, I always wondered why people dropped off the face of the earth with their blogs and now I know why. Without going into all the boring and not-so-boring reasons why I’ve disappeared, I’d like to just say hello and that I’ve missed all you here at Girly Muse.

Facebook seems to cover a lot of my visiting needs now and I’m writing so much in other venues that I haven’t felt the overwhelming need to get it out somewhere. But still, this will always be one of my favorite places.

A few updates…

My boy turned 8. Cue the tears and gnashing of teeth. My baby is growing up SO FAST.

My girl has bypassed me by and inch and a half…an probably even more by now. I am happy for this. I don’t wish my height on anyone. πŸ™‚

Editing up a storm. Books completed and released (or almost) since January are: Champagne Toast by Melissa Brown, Reckless Abandon by Andrea Randall, In the Air by Crystal Serowka, Breaking the Wrong by Calia Read, Binds by Rebecca Espinoza, and In the Stillness by Andrea Randall. If you need a book to read, just look one (or all) of these up on Amazon…

I’ve almost survived another Minnesota winter. This is definitely newsworthy.

I’m having a birthday this week that I had forgotten about until my friends brought it to my attention. Thanks a lot. πŸ˜‰

Life is good. I’m in a wonderful season. Busier than I’ve ever been, but feeling really good. How are all of you? Update me, please. xoxo

Fist pump! We survived the influenza! Woohoo!

Getting healthier around here and happy to be…

We had a little early morning trauma today. Around 5:45, Indigo came in sounding scared and pitiful. He thought there was a mouse under his pillow and was close to tears.

He lost a tooth last night so we knew what was under his pillow. We reassured him there was no mouse and sent him back in there to check under his pillow again, which he very nervously did. He came back giving me The Evil Eye.

“The TOOTH FAIRY took my TOOTH but didn’t leave anything else,” he said pointedly to ME.

The Tooth Fairy has sorta gained a bad rap over the years. Do a search for Tooth Fairy on this blog and you’ll see a handful of posts regarding her flaws.

I knew that the other tooth fairy in the house had done their job, so I confidently sent him back in to check.

Turns out, in his half-sleep stupor, he reached under his pillow, ran into his stuffed elephant in the process and sent the tooth fairy box flying.

He came back and cuddled with me and said, “Meep,” which he later informed me meant he was sorry. That Tooth Fairy has an awfully hard life.

First Week

January 7, 2013

How has the first week of 2013 been for you?

Highlights for me:

I’ve had some sickies over here, one little guy this morning had a really sick night. And one big guy is just getting better. I’m chugging Emergen-C like it’s water. This isn’t as much a highlight, as just what is really happening. Blech.

A dear friend of ours was married last night. We’ve known him since he was a shy, little 14 year-old, coming over to play bass at church. Watched the transition that one summer when he came back from a trip and was so much taller and thinner. Next thing you know, you blink and 17 years have gone by. He’s since become a full-fledged man and professional bass player. We’re so proud of him. He’s one of our favorite people in the world. Aaron.

I’ve been working like a crazy woman. Got a job, y’all. It’s taking over β€” I’m still in shock about how it’s all transpired, but I’m loving it. Editing Indie books. I’ve been quiet about it, but have to start getting the word out about why I’m not able to do as much with friends and family, etc. πŸ™‚ My flexible musician life is still going on, but I’ve just taken on a huge addition. This is the fourth year of Girly Muse, and if you’ve been with me all this time, you know I breathe books, so this is my best possible job.

Maybe I’ll tell you about some of the books soon, if you want to, you know … read them. πŸ™‚

I must cut this short. Taking my little guy to the doctor. He’s not well at all. Send up prayers, please. xo

Dear 2013

January 1, 2013

Dear 2013,

Please be kind to us.

Give us warmth and love and water and sustenance and life and peace and hope.

Thank you.

Girly Muse

Or maybe we can just go with my son’s plan:


Happy New Year! We’re overdue a long chat. Come back, I’ll be here.

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2012

Little Trip

December 4, 2012

I’ve been missing on here for a long while. It’s been chaotic. Lots of good stuff happening.

There’s also been some really difficult things going on~my dad is still not doing well at all. He has been in the hospital 7 times since his bypass surgery. A little over 3 weeks ago, he passed out and broke his leg…and, since he can’t seem to do anything halfway, he REALLY broke it bad in 3 places…had to have surgery. It just complicated what was already complicated.

Last week he was told he has a defect in his central nervous system. It’s just never-ending. Please pray for him.

Anyway. I’ve been worried sick. Dying to get there. And also trying not to go WHILE he’s in the hospital because when I rush there when he’s IN the hospital, he rushes to get OUT of the hospital before he really should so he can be with me. πŸ™‚

This past Saturday was his birthday and Greyley and I surprised him with a visit. He had NO idea we were coming.

I’d like to say right off the bat that my dear daughter is such a fine traveling companion. She was a happy spark of joy every single moment. It was such a treat to have this time with her.

She is also a very fine moving walkway model. I think she could go big-time with this, don’t you agree?

My dad can’t put ANY pressure on his foot at all. And he’s on oxygen full-time. So this is a rare moment with him unattached to any machines or walkers. I like it. I want to keep it like this…not just for a picture. For REAL.

He is the sweetest daddy. He really is.

I didn’t leave the house while I was there, but when it looks like this, why go anywhere?

I missed my boy so bad it hurt. He’s my heart and I like to hear his running soundtrack that has become my own. So I took a picture of his picture. How pitiful is this mama.

Picture by Jennifer Bong

At least I could eat away my sorrows.

The homemade pies were delicious, but wouldn’t you know it, I didn’t get a picture of them.

SO good. Raisin Cream Pie and Sour Cream Pie. Yum.

But these S’mores were also wonderful. Look at the cute little arms!

The chocolate melted to perfection. I didn’t get a picture of that either. Had to eat that goodness.

My mama is hanging in there. She’s weary. But she’s not showing it. She’s so concerned for my dad and doting on him, taking care of his every need. I don’t know what he would do without her. I’m just hoping she will keep her strength, get rest in all the spaces and sleep the sleep of the angels when she goes to bed at night. And thatΒ  joy will be in her every step, even in these hardest times. That’s my wish for her. She needs a humongous crown with lots of jewels in heaven. But that’s MY wish for her, not her wish. heehee

It was so hard to leave. I’m not a crier, but I cried. And cried. And cried some more. I hate seeing my dad suffer and I hate being so far from him, period, much less while he’s going through this.

But this cat kept trying to lighten the mood.

And it worked.


November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

I’m grateful for…

*Unusually warm weather for the next couple of days

*A miraculous healing with my neck on Sunday…I am not a sane person on painkillers, but it is a bit entertaining.

*A little boy who still likes to squeeze my arm fat and nestle in my neck, while making me laugh with all his never-ending thoughts on every topic…

*A teenager who still reaches to hold my hand…in public

*A husband who tells me I’m beautiful every day, even when I see the dark circles and wacky morning hair

*Plenty of food, always…

*Twizzlers. They are saving my life lately.

*Vietnamese coffee~strong coffee with sweetened condensed milk.

*Jobs that are coming right and left~something I did not see happening a year ago

*Safety for my girl and all her friends on the school bus Friday. She got off and within less than a half hour, the bus and a car had a head-on collision. Both caught on fire and all three passengers in the car were killed. Normally, two people would still have been on the bus, but they went home with friends that day. I’m so grateful the kids didn’t go through the trauma of the accident and that they were all safely home. And it’s heartbreaking for the family who lost their grandmother and two children. My heart is heavy for them. It’s difficult to even process the relief with the horror for those who didn’t have such a happy ending as we did.

*New puppy love~he’s not mine, but we bonded anyway…at Bible Study. Indigo says this puppy could get anything with those eyes and I’d have to agree.

*The friends who have come in my life that are real and true and kindred spirits and all that I wish for in friends…so grateful.

*Pictures my daughter draws~they make me smile.

*Laughing and making people laugh. I get a thrill from both.

*An English muffin with peanut butter and honey…Mmm.

*Writing. And books. And the opportunity to have both in my life in abundance. And music. I’m full.

The Three Buckaroos

November 12, 2012

My friends, Stephanie and Vanessa, came to visit recently and it was as if no time had ever passed between us. I love friends like that.

Stephanie and Vanessa saved my life one summer. I was heartbroken from a breakup, didn’t have many friends at home that I wanted to go into great detail with about it, and, in general, I was just feeling pretty desolate. I went to see my mom’s best friend and my dear friend, too~Sis B~to get some time away. That’s when I met Stephanie and Vanessa.

I’ve loved them ever since.

Now, so many years have passed, we’re all married with kids and getting…older. But, nothing has changed between us. We’re the same silly girls we always were.

Tosha, Stephanie & Vanessa

It was fun seeing my family get attached to them too. I’m pretty sure my kids will never forget some of the crazy conversations we all had together.

Did a little shopping and came across some valuable items…these wonderful adhesives, for example.

We ran into Honey Boo Boo along the way.

Stephanie had one agenda (besides visiting, that is): GO TO WHITE CASTLE. Yes, you read that right.

Being the supportive friends we are, we obliged. With minimal lip.

Okay, she also had one more agenda: Cracker Barrel.

The kids were THRILLED with that turn of events.

Nate and Stephanie bonded over documentaries.

Vanessa and I were asked if we’re sisters. No, we’re not. She IS, however, my ex-sister-in-law’s brother’s wife.

Before that, though, she was my friend. And I’d totally claim her as a sister.

A preview of us in 40 years.

We took a little scenic drive by Minnehaha and Hiawatha.

Sadly, all the beautiful leaves are gone. It happened about 3 weeks ago. But there’s a stark beauty about this…

The last day…sniff.

I’m so grateful for true friends. There’s nothing in the world like them.