Sunday, January 26, 2014

Guest Post with Kimberley Payne!

Welcome to my blog, Kimberley! I'm so glad to have you as a guest. Tell us about yourself.

Kimberely: I am an award-winning author and a member of The Word Guild, Inscribe Christian Writer’s Fellowship, and John 3:16 Marketing Network.

I combine my teaching experience and love of writing to create educational materials for mothers and children about family, fitness, science and faith.

Tell us about the book.

Kimberely: My latest project is Adam’s Animals, a children’s activity book that features over 40 animals mentioned in the Bible and little-known facts about each. It is the second book in the Science and Faith Matters series. The first book, Trees of the Book – Learning from God’s Creation, is a colourful introduction to trees, leaves and their corresponding Bible stories.

The illustrator is Janis Cox and the publisher is Diane Roblin-Lee.

Who is this book written for?

Kimberely: Adam’s Animals is ideal for 6 to 9 year olds, for home or school use and classroom sharing in grades 1-3 to supplement the Life Sciences Curriculum on Animal Life.

What was your inspiration for this book?

Kimberely: Years ago, my daughter wrote a little book called, Did you know...fascinating and fun facts about animals around the world as a fundraiser to go to camp. I helped her with it and loved discovering new things about God’s creation.

Do you have a favorite animal and why that one?

Kimberely: I loved learning about the leopard. This big cat can climb trees, run fast, and swim. He’s powerful and smart. My kind of creature!

Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?

Kimberely: There was a ton of research. Not only did I have to dig through the Bible to discover the animals mentioned, but then I had to research each individually to uncover five unusual facts.

What do you hope this book accomplishes?

Kimberely: I hope that Adam’s Animals will fuel the desire for children to read the Bible and to also learn more about the animals that God created.

Where can we find you?



Facebook page:


Where can we find the book?

Kimberely: This is the exciting part! The book is still in manuscript form. I am hoping to bring the project to life with the direct support of friends, colleagues and family.

As the book creator, I have set a funding goal of $3500, with a deadline of February 28th, 2014. If you like my book idea, you can pledge any amount of money to make it happen.

As the book backer, you choose from a number of rewards based on the amount of financial support you pledge. For example, backers who pledge a minimum of $5, will receive a choice of one of two of my e-books: 1) Fit for Faith - 7 weeks to improved spiritual and physical health, OR 2) Women of Strength - a devotional to improve spiritual and physical health. Backers who pledge a minium of $15 will receive an autographed copy of Adam’s Animals. Backers who pledge a minimum of $175 will be listed on the “Dedication” page at the back of the book PLUS will receive an autographed copy of Adam’s Animals.

Backing Adam’s Animals is more than just giving money. Writers need encouragement and you would be supporting my dream of creating a valuable resource for children and parents.

To support the creation of Adam’s Animals please visit this link which will take you to the Kickstarter page.

Sample excerpt


Proverbs 6:6 “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!”

See also: Proverbs 30:25

The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, wrote the Book of Proverbs – a book of wise sayings to help us live godly lives. In this verse, Solomon points out that it is foolish to be idle and lazy. He says that we should learn from the example of the ant who doesn’t laze around and wait to be told what to do, but is willing to work hard and do what needs to be done.

Did you know?
• Ants are from the insect family
• Ants can lift 20 times their body weight
• Ants have two stomachs – one to hold the food for itself and one to hold food to be shared with other ants
• There are 3 kinds of ants in a colony: the queen, the female workers, and males
• Ants communicate by using chemicals called pheromones
• Ants don’t have ears but they “hear” by feeling vibrations in the ground

Thanks for being here, Kimberley!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

When a mama walks her memory of tears . . .

Yesterday marked the beginning of the end. 17 years ago, Daniel went into a coma. His last words to me were, "Mommy, I just wanna go home."

Words can't describe the agony of what life was like for us at that time. And who would have thought that 17 years later, the disbelief of what he went through and what we went through would still cause me an intense pain. I feel I have been punched right in my heart.

The word shouts at me: Why?

Why didn't I cuddle him then? How could I have been so naive? The doctor and nurses couldn't find a pulse. I should have picked him off that bed in the cancer clinic that day and spent time hugging him and telling him how much I loved him and how I would miss him.

But I was naive. I didn't know.

I walked with them as they wheeled him into the ER. At six months pregnant, I tried to keep up. I was confident that they would be able to help him as they had over the eight months since his diagnosis.

How foolish I was.

I feel the sadness of that day and the days that followed. My veins are like ice. I can barely type. The enormity of that journey paralyzes me. I want to push those days aside, but I know that with each revisiting of them at this time of year that leads up to his February 2nd death, I learn something new.

His death continues to teach me.

So I take my own advice and write him a letter. The words come slowly, but they do appear on the computer screen.

Dear Daniel,

I was clueless.

I didn't know that you would ever leave me. It was not an option, so I didn't dwell on death. I believed you'd live. I believed you'd spring back up and be okay. Any boy who can climb up a bunk bed at age three, fall off and be undaunted should be able to defy anything.

I could kick myself for my trust that God would heal you.

That last sentence sounds sacrilegious.

But I won't delete it because it's true.

Yet, if I had let death be part of my thinking, would I have been any better off?

What would it have been like to live with the fear of death ever since your diagnosis?

I lived with hope and belief.

Should I kick myself for that?

Can I look at who I was then with the seasoned knowledge that I have now? Is that fair to that woman of 36?

Guilt. Regret. Remorse. If only . . .

I hope you know that if my love could have saved you, it would have.

But it was not enough.

You are home with Jesus now. Some place I hear is magnificent but my earthly mind is too little to comprehend Heaven.

On earth, you will always live in my heart.

Every year I go on a pilgrimage as I remember the days leading up to your death. It is my path of tears. Sometimes, I push aside the remorse, and just let myself bask in the person you were----energetic, beautiful, tender, lively, humorous, generous, and you and I both know it----downright exasperating at times.

Remember the time you poured baby lotion and glitter glue over a piece of paper and then opened a small box of Cheerios and stuck them to the paper? What a work of art! I should have kept it for the hospital wall of patient masterpieces.

We were all so weary living your cancer with you. But we were always hopeful.

Even when you breathed your last in my arms, I believed you would rise up.

We didn't call you Wild Boy for nothing.

I vision you, if you could, coming over to me to wrap arms around me and tell me, "Mommy, I love you. No regrets."

And perhaps that is what I will focus on today.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Does your pet let you pose him for the camera?

One thing that pet owners can agree on---we love our pets.

"There is nothing like a kiss from a dog."

"There is nothing like the happiness that shows she is glad to see me."

"My dog loves me unconditionally."

Dogs tolerate us in all our strangeness.

Some even go along with costumes at Halloween.

I am often trying to get some photo ops with our boxer, Levi. I think he and my books go so well together and try to place one of my novels against him for the camera. It's always a battle; he apparently doesn't like books pushed against him and me trying to get him to pose like he's enjoying it.

Now that we are making more and more pet plaques, I feel the urge to photograph Levi with one of the plaques. After all, this one has his name on it. And a carving from a photo taken of him when he was just a wee puppy. He should be happy, proud even. Well . . . Right!

Here's how it went today . . .

What's this? What is this piece of wood she's put against me?

I guess I can cuddle up to it if it will make her happy.

Okay, enough!

She put me through all that posing, I think I'll take her favorite pink cap.

And this is how the world goes round.

We love our pets, in all their silliness, and they love us.

Maybe you need a plaque with your dog's or cat's name and face. All you need to do is send a photo of your pet's face and we'll create a carved portrait.

See what else we offer at our Etsy Shop---Carved By Heart

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Why Happy New Year is Tough on Broken Hearts

When the ball at Times Square drops, champagne corks pop. Ample hugs and kisses are dispensed all around.

A new year, new hope, new ventures, new possibilities. Wow, it’s all so exciting!

However, for the parent who has lost a child in the previous year, the dawning of a new calendar year can be rough. In fact, most of the time, it is.

Daniel died at age four in February 1997 and entering 1998 was hard. My mind was filled with questions like: What am I doing entering a new year without him? How can this be? Why do I get to live and he died?

I was overcome with the feeling that I was leaving him behind. Because there it was, a fresh untouched year and I knew that none of the 365 days in it would contain a hug from him. There would be no new memories, no sixth birthday to watch him blow out the candles. 1998 was the year he was to start first grade and be in school with his big sister. At least in 1997, he had been with me. 1997 was the year he died, true, but he had also lived 33 days of it.

1998 knew nothing of a blond-haired boy who became bald from cancer treatments and had a love for being read to and a generosity for giving out stickers.

How could I be excited about a new year?

Change isn’t easy for many of us. While most want to get rid of an old used year, and enter something new and hopeful, for the bereaved mother or father, that is not always the case. Many can say, “Good riddance to 2013; it was a lousy year.” But for others, that was the year their son or daughter died, and moving from it, means a parent is moving further from the last time he or she saw her/his child.

Bereaved parents have fragile hearts. They might look okay, wear matching socks, use the correct salad fork, and even smile, but deep down in the fibers of their heart, they are struggling. Life seems so normal for everybody else-----but them. They can think life is easy for others---but them. Getting out of bed can be a major accomplishment. Celebrating holidays can be consumed with sadness instead of happiness.

If you have a bereaved friend, help her/him by letting this year be a year where she/he can freely share stories about a deceased son or daughter. Let those in your lives with broken hearts speak of the memories etched in their minds. Let your friends know that you will not forget their children for however short or long these children lived.

So, it’s a new year. May we all strive to make it an empathetic 2014 where we learn richly from one another.