Monday, November 30, 2009

Readers Share Cardinal Stories

I would like to share some inspirational cardinal stories from some of my blogs' readers. Of course, Jeni, has a lot more on cardinals on her blog, too.

Gail, from the Christmas Miracles blog, stopped by the other day and made a comment on one of my cardinal posts. I'd like to share it with you:

"Laurie, I just had to comment on your note. Just yesterday I was thinking I should really blog about my "thing" with cardinals. Many years ago a dear friend and SS teacher shared with us the loneliness she had felt when she first moved from sunny CA to frozen IL. As she was praying, pouring out her sadness to God, a beautiful cardinal appeared right outside her window. As she looked at him and he sat watching her, she knew he was a messenger of God's love to her, assuring her that God was with her, loved her and would help her through this trying time.
I heard her story more than 25 years ago and still today whenever I see a cardinal, my heart hears God saying to me, 'Gail, I love you,' to which I respond, 'I love you, too.' and my heart is warmed and reassured of God's loving mercy toward me."

Isn't that a beautiful story? God is so amazing and there is no coincidence that others have felt comforted through cardinals.

Another friend and fellow poet, Walt, also made a comment about cardinals. Here is what he had to say:

"Laurie, Mom died on Christmas Eve in '86. On that day a cardinal came and took up residence in our apple tree and stayed until Feb. 5. Every year, the cardinal returned on Christmas Eve and stayed until early February. For twenty years a cardinal came and sat in that tree. Four days short of the 20th anniversary of her passing, Dad died. When Christmas Eve came that year, a second cardinal joined the first. When they left in February, that was the last we saw of them. They never returned. BTW, February 5th was Mom's birthday. I believe like you that God had sent both of those glorious birds as a sign. They brought a fractured family back together. Thanks for that piece to remind me what a wonder He is."

A while back, another reader, Kristie, e-mailed me with her experience with cardinals. Please read on:

"Hi Laurie, Over the past month or so I am surrounded by cardinals everywhere I go. It has become entertaining but calming. They used to just fly by real quick but now they never leave my side and follow me even in the back yard. I hear their singing so much that when I lay down at night to sleep it rings in my ear. Every morning I go outside first thing and say "Good Morning Mr. Cardinal" and he flies right over my head or sits on the fence and watches me. He follows the kids out back too. One followed us the entire 3 hour horse back ride in the nature preserve by our home.

I took my little boy to a state park to ride his 4 wheeler (12 y/o) and from the moment we got there a cardinal sang louder then I have ever heard. My little boy and I laughed so hard because it was relentless. As he rode over dirt hills the singing got so loud now to the left front of me I walked to find it in the woods. My friend Julie who just lost her husband Bill 6 months before to brain cancer called my cell. She said she was thinking of me and wanted me to know she got a message from Bill from a spiritual advisor. The woman told her Bill would communicate to her through cardinals if she was making the right decision and on the right track. He would show her a big circle with a line through if the answer was no or bad decision. I said Julie listen in the back ground. She said "Oh my God... Is that a cardinal?" I said "yes" and explained all afternoon. Suddenly the largest cardinal I have ever seen (the size of a crow!) came around the tree and was chasing a blue jay. I wont elaborate on all the examples I have but guess what happened in the next five minutes? My little boy wrecked his 4-wheeler, it rolled on top of him and he broke his wrist. As we pulled out of the campground the giant cardinal flew so close in front of our truck we gasped.

Another story I will make brief... is that I was praying on the phone with my friend Judy about ways to bring someone in my life to God and asked for a sign or knowledge and instantly a flock of 8 or 9 cardinals flew over head! My heart didn't start pounding out of my chest for 2 hours!

I went on your blog and read your story about the bird who was trying to tell you something. So I went outside and two blue jays flew overhead and I didnt see the cardinal. But I heard him. So I said, "Okay, I am going to listen. Oddly the cardinal was singing in the back yard so I went to the back. When I got to about where it was singing it was gone. So I waited and listened. Now it was coming from my back pasture (I have 10 acres) so I walked. As I got closer I notice their were four cardinals! 2 females and 2 males. And they were on the fence in between the two horse water troughs. When I got there I saw what they were trying to tell me. Each trough had one dead squirrel. It would have poisoned my horses or caused them to ot drink and dehydrate! What a miracle. Ten more cardinal little neat quirks to tell during the next 20 min of clean up to finding your email but my God I can't type forever! LOL We'll just say the cardinal made sure I saw your email right away."

The gorgeous crimson cardinals are such a beautiful addition to Christmas decorating, too. I hope your holidays are filled with God's love and miracles. May you also be blessed with many cardinals!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thoughts on worry

Worry is a futile thing,
It's somewhat like a rocking chair.
Although it keeps you occupied,
It doesn't get you anywhere.
~Author unknown

I would like you to be free from concern.
~I Corinthians 7:32a

More pictures

Here are some more pictures from the zoo:

Katie, Andrew and Nicholas' cousin, Ricky, joined in on the fun. I wish I could have gotten more pictures, but my camera's battery went dead in the middle of the day and since it is a rechargeable, there was nothing I could do. Yesterday, my sweet camera (a Sony Cybershot) met its bitter end after being dropped, so I am grateful for these last photos. This seems to be the story of my life lately, as my car CD player is jammed and won't work anymore. Sigh. At least I know what I'm probably getting for Christmas this year. What's on your list?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Black Friday at the Zoo

Yesterday while everyone was out shopping, we took the kids to the Houston Zoo. We met Pete's brother(Chris) and our sister-in-law (Chelsea) and Chris' son (Ricky) there for the day. Everyone else seemed to have the same idea, as the place was packed. We had a lot of fun walking and chatting amongst the bears, monkeys, birds and giraffes.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gifts from God
by Laurie Kolp

soft whispers in the night
tender hands that hold on tight
love enough to fill a room
smiles to wipe away the gloom
all God’s creatures big and small
cascading water that does fall
encouraging words full of hope
prayers to God that help you cope
embracing arms to hold and hug
hot warm coffee in my mug
morning’s first promise of light
chirping birds so sweet and right
all these things and many more
are gifts from God I’m thankful for

Monday, November 23, 2009

Keep Crossing Those Fingers

I guess my blog server thingy has gone wacko because when I used to post photos for the blogs, the picture would show up for me to see. This morning I really wanted to post pictures of Nick's red cheek and the cute little balloon he likes to make out of surgical gloves, but when I tried to post it, something weird happened. A bunch of letters, numbers and gobbly-goo showed up instead of the picture, so I deleted them thinking something was wrong with Blogger.

Well, now I am going to try to post with the "secret code" showing and see what happens. If it works, you'll get to see the pictures. Keep crossing those fingers.

Not One, But Two

Going to the doctor on Monday morning before a holiday; not a good idea. This morning Nicholas and I were at the pediatrician's office for not one, but two hours. Can you believe it? Right now my nerves are almost all but shot, and I need Calgon to take me away. But that's not possible, so I decided to blog.

Saturday morning Nicholas woke up and the right side of his cheek was bright red. It looked like someone had kicked him. Then he came down with a fever yesterday, and since he's been nursing a cold and cough for a while, I decided to take my youngest to the doctor. We got there bright and early because our doctor has a walk-in clinic first thing in the morning for the kids who wake up sick. Was I surprised when not long after we arrived, not one, but two, kids from Nicholas' class showed up. And they all sit at the same table in the classroom! Sigh. I knew something was up. We found out later, after a llloooonngg wait in the room, that Nick has strep throat. Lo and behold this is not the first, but the second bout with strep throat in our family this year (Andrew had it several weeks ago). Keep your fingers crossed- we don't want three.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Family Reunion
by Laurie Kolp

They gathered together, young and old;
new babies in tow with their mothers.

Sharing in joy, family stories were told
of quickly-growing sisters and brothers.

Rain did not stop them, nor did the cold
from carousing and playing with others.

This family reunion of cardinals so bold,
after weeks among loving smothers.

A Family Reunion

For the longest time, I had been hearing the chirp, chirp, chirping of cardinals outside of my kitchen window, but hadn't seen them. I began to wonder where my cardinals had gone, and if I was doing something wrong that could be preventing me from espying these majestic beauties.

This morning changed my perspective on the cardinals below my window. When I woke up and looked outside as I poured my first cup of coffee, I was showered with a bevy of these blessings. It's as if the cardinals were having a family reunion. I counted at least seven fledglings and two or more bright red males splashing around in the rain.

As is my usual response to this bright red delight, I stopped what I was doing and revelled in the whole magical scene. I must have stood in front of the window for ten minutes, praising and thanking God for His affirmation to me that everything is going to be alright. And the cardinals continued in their Saturday morning family play as I welcomed, with joy, this brand new day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Special Joy
by Laurie Kolp

A newborn baby swaddled while asleep
Butterfly kisses on my nose or cheek
The hands of my children reaching for me
Praying to God even when I’m not weak.

Thoughtfulness from my husband so dear-
Flowers, dinner or chores done for me.
A card from a friend when I’m feeling down
Helping someone who’s struggling to be free.

Candles, cardinals, and puppy dog kisses,
Apples, white chocolate and broccoli,
Peach tea when it’s hot, coffee when cold;
I find special joy in each of these.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Moons and Meteors
by Laurie Kolp

They say strange behavior
emerges with the full moon;
teachers and parents alike
look with scorn upon the
children, acting like vampires
in search of blood; hunters
awaiting prey, ready to
pounce at the first inkling
of a deer. These
bounce on each other;
feral beasts
in search of an outlet for
their pent-up energy
that knows no bounds.
Only the moon is not full,
and these children of mine
seem to have lost their mind.
Wasn’t there a meteor
shower last night?

From the Kolp Elves to YOU

Monday, November 16, 2009

Please Don't Spread the Germs

What I don't get is why, in this scary time of H1N1 flu, parents must bring their little ones to school parties and allow them to cough and sneeze all over the food? This really happened Friday when I was helping with a taco party Andrew's class had as a reward for learning their multiplication facts. And guess what? Andrew is home sick again because he had a fever of 101 last night. Thanks whoever you are, for sharing the germs. Oh, and will you please be more considerate this holiday season and stay home during the Thanksgiving and Christmas parties if you or your toddler is sick? Thanks!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Heaven Sent
by Laurie Kolp

The first time I ever knew
A cardinal was appearing to me
As a symbol of God’s hope and love
Came after the suicide of my friend Mary.
I had a conversation with her sister, Jeni
Who revealed to me the miracle of
The red bird showing up at times of grief
In their family- giving love.
Not long after, I was having a difficult day
While at my church in a meeting,
The very same place I had met Mary.
I prayed and cried to God, so loving
In hopes of a sign or clue;
A message from Mary, who I missed so.
The pain was deep and strong,
Preventing me from letting go.
After I said my prayer to God,
Great peace and comfort did I feel.
I left the meeting in better spirits
Feeling maybe I was on the heal.
As I left the parking lot, a red cardinal I did see;
Skipping along in front of my car,
Beckoning and calling to me.
I could not believe my very eyes
And a warm feeling I got right then.
For I knew at that very moment
The gorgeous bird was Mary; Heaven sent.
So now when I am feeling low or sad
From the loss of my dear friend,
I pray to God to help me through
And a red cardinal He does send.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

Did you have a good day? It is Friday the 13th and you know what that means- bad luck. I'm not privy to all that superstitious stuff, so today was like an ordinary for me today. I even found a penny heads up. Wow.

Unfortunately Pete came home from work and said he had the worse day he could ever remember having at work. I think his day got off to a rocky start, though. He had taken the kids to school like he usually does, and I was at the computer writing when the phone rang. The name on the caller ID was a foreign male. When I answered, nobody said anything so I hung up. They called right back and did the same thing- just sat there. I said into the phone, "Would you please quit bothering me?" Then I hung up and dialed Pete's number to tell him some weirdo was harassing me and give him the phone number so Pete could tell him a thing or two (we've done that before when a fax machine kept calling- my wonderful husband had to send a fax from work and tell them they had the wrong number). But I got Pete's voicemail. I left a message and hung up. Then guess what? The same person called again. I decided I wouldn't be quite as nice this time and vehemently answered "Hello?" and heard my sweet husband's voice! He had locked his keys in his jeep when he was getting gas. So I drove over and let him into his car and it was downhill for him after that. Sigh. At least the day is almost over, the weekend is here and everyone's safe and healthy. That, to me, is very lucky.

P.S. Nicholas was born on a Friday the 13th and he is a blessing!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Out of the Woodworks

They say the holidays bring people out of the woodworks, usually to the churches. But all kinds of things (can't think of a better word) come out from everywhere during this season. Especially thieves.

A dear friend of mine went to Wal-Mart yesterday at 2:00 in the afternoon, mind you, and was accosted by a handsome white man at her car. He knocked on her window and started asking for money, then proceeded to make an attempt to open her car door. He told her he meant no harm and didn't have a gun, but that he was from out of town and his aunt's child was in the hospital here. He claims they did not have money to pay. My friend was able to get away unscathed (except emotionally distraught). She then followed the man in her car and watched him try the same thing on several other ladies.

When the store manager was brought in, they were not very eager to be of help, which was very aggravating to my friend. They said their security was only out after dark until 3:00 a.m., but if I seem to recall many robbery and mugging attempts have occurred in the daytime.

So as you begin your holiday shopping, prepare yourself. Buy a can of mace, or go with another person. Never talk to anyone and try to park close to the front, or a light after dark.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Adulation & Cooperation
by Laurie Kolp

Okay, so it's not on the New York Times best-seller list,
but Christmas Miracles is like that to me, if you get the jist.

Therefore, before you head out to do your Christmas shopping,
remember this book full of stories to keep you hopping.

And before you're so quick to judge my first publication
realize how hard it is to make a break in this profession.

For those who support me, my thanks goes out to you,
may you have many miracles in life that ring true!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Moral Support

For a writer, getting published for the first time is like Christmas for young children. It's as good as ice cream is with cake, or milk with cookies. Becoming a published author is as joyous as graduating from college, or having any dream come true.

People who support and encourage writers are necessary to not only keep the writer writing, but to boost their morale since writing is a "lonely" profession. There is no boss to give you kudos (unless you are lucky enough to land an agent) so words or encouragement are welcomed by authors (at least this one).

This past weekend was filled with book signings. I had the great opportunity to share these events with Carol Weishampel. We had a good time visiting and sharing ideas, and even though the turn-out was low, we were there to support each other. Thank you to my family and Carol.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fear of Swine Flu
by Laurie Kolp

We swarm like
bees to a hive;
a mad dash
to get in line,
beat the rush, the wait
knowing Monday morning
at the doctor's office
we can't be late.

Chaos ensues, as crazy as
a New York subway,
as we try to
comfort our sick
children nestled in our laps-
has it been hours now?
Coughs and sneezes
shower the air with
germs. Fear
abounds as we
wonder if anyone
is there with
the Swine flu, in
hopes we will
escape that onus

Wonderful Christmas presents...

I have been very busy the past couple of days promoting my story in Christmas Miracles. Yesterday I was on a local morning news program. Then last night I went with a fellow author, Carol Weishampel (who was on the news with me also), to a nearby town's "First Friday" event. Today, we are having a book signing at Barnes&Noble from 1:00-3:00. I will post pictures later about these exciting times.

If you are interested in buying a signed copy of Christmas Miracles from me, please leave a comment with your contact information or you can e-mail me at Thank you for your support. Happy Christmas shopping (start early- stores only have a limited number of items in stock due to the economy).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Not so sweet dreams

As I was happily dreaming about going to summer camp with the kids, Nicholas was having a nightmare. He came to me in the middle of the night horrified at what he had just dreamt. I asked him if he wanted to tell me about the dream and he did.

This is what Nicholas said:

"I was hiding under my bed because Ms. Angelle was on the floor and I was scared. She was just bones (because she's dead, you know). All of the sudden she reached out her hand to pull me out and told me to get out from under the bed. I said, 'You're dead!' and then she screamed, 'AAARRR' and then she was still."

Dreams can be really strange. Have you had any strange dreams lately? Please share.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

by Laurie Kolp

red, orange, yellow leaves
pictures of fall in big piles
raking workout stinks

Letter to pepper spray carrier

Dear Whoever-sprayed-Mace-in-my-dog's-eyes,

Please don't spray my dogs with Mace anymore. My dogs do not bite. Snowie's eyes are nearly swollen shut. A trip to the vet yesterday confirmed it came from some kind of pepper spray.

If you are the mailman, please disregard the dog's barking when you walk by. Jake and Snowie look out their peephole at you, but they are only trying to protect the property. I can put up with the wet mail we get from your body sweat (which sometimes ruins our mail), but spraying my dogs' eyes is unacceptable.

If you are a meter reader, please ring the doorbell and I will put the dogs up. I am home most of the time and it will only take a second to go to the door first.

Have some compassion for innocent animals. They are God's lil' creatures that love unconditionally. Maybe you should try to practice some of that love. Ditch the pepper spray first, though.

ME, an angry dog owner

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween fun and a cute story

As you can see Andrew, a.k.a. Harry Potter, is pointing to his pumpkin, who accidentally had too much candy.
Harry Potter, Miz Bumble Bee and G.I. Joe Ninja are ready for the big night. The kids had a lot of fun going trick-or-treating in their Nini and Papa's neighborhood (which is much more inviting than ours). They even got to go through a haunted house, which was a homemade treat right down the street. I had to stay at the house and help pass out candy since my Achilles tendinitis is still not healed. That was fun, too.
My dad shared a funny story that happened about ten years ago on Halloween. A group of kids came trick-or-treating and one boy was suspiciously bent down when Dad answered the door. After he closed the door, my dad turned around to find a little kitten in their living room.
So the next time the doorbell rang, he chose a cute little girl and said, "Have I got a special treat for you."
The princess excitedly answered, "Really?"
My father handed over the kitten. "Here you go," he said.
The child was so excited. I bet that was a Halloween she will never forget...and neither will her parents!