Thursday, December 31, 2009

A decade in review, part I

My poor baby Andrew! At three-years-old, while in preschool, Andrew fell during outside playtime and broke his nose. I remember this day five years ago as if it happened yesterday. I had JUST left his class where I had celebrated with my oldest son a Mother's Day tea. My mom had kept Nicholas, who was only one, so I could give Andrew my complete attention (this is the same year Katie was in the hospital with pneumonia, I might add). I had barely made it to my mother's house to pick Nicholas up, when I got a call on my cell phone that Andrew had fallen on the playground (on a rickety bridge) and his nose might be broken. I rushed back to the school, my "high" from our special tea brought down like an elevator within seconds. When I saw my sweet son, blood and tears coming down his face, with an ice pack pressed precariously to his nose, I had a hard time keeping my composure (and the contents of my stomach down). But I stayed strong and enough adrenaline came through to keep me going. The director had already called our doctor so we went straight to his office. The most horrible part of this whole story, which may come as no surprise, is when we got home. Nicholas saw Andrew's nose, went up and poked it and the bleeding started all over again. Sigh...'tis the way it goes with children.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come.
~Unknown author

...Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have...
1 Peter 3:15

My awesome Christmas present

Guess what I got for Christmas? A scanner! Now I can scan old pictures and share them with you. I have always been a big picture-taker, so I have a lot of great pictures (except the ones I destroyed of old boyfriends, but then you wouldn't want to see those). I was always voted the "scrapbook person" because of all the pictures everyone knew I'd be taking anyway. Looking back, I can now see that by taking pictures all the time I could move around a lot and not get stuck with just one group of people. I have always been a free bird, and never, ever have I been cliquey, so that suited me just fine.
Okay, back to the scanner. The picture above is the first one I tried out on my new idol. It was taken during my (now deceased) maternal grandparent's 50th anniversary celebration. The picture shows my grandparents and me with my sister and our first cousins. It was 1983 and I was in high school. Hurricane Alicia had hit our town only days before and left a tree in our house, but we left everything as is to get to San Antonio for this very special event. The gala is one of my fondest memories of my grandparents before their health started failing.
So before I sign off for now, I want to leave you with a question. Please leave your answer in the comment section. Which one is me in this picture? I know- kind of easy but, hey, it's a start!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year’s Resolutions to Stick To...
by Laurie Kolp

A new year, a new decade
the chance to improve
The biggest goal is
to keep my new year
most of which involve
partaking in healthier
exercising again, but
this time listening to my
Achilles tendons,
eating a more well-rounded
finishing that book
before it becomes
and sending off my
piled-up set of
Of course, what
goes without saying-
do everything in
and good will
to all;
most importantly
and number one-
my family.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

One last look at my Christmas cardinals

These beautiful cardinal cards were sent from some very dear friends; people who have struggled through some of the same difficulties I have. We share a very special bond, and it makes me feel very honored that they thought of me when sending Christmas cards this year. Thank you, my friends- you know who you are.

Here is one last "collage" of all my Christmas cardinals. As you can see, a calendar was among my gifts. It is a bird calendar, and the very first picture is this one of the male cardinal. The last picture of 2010 is a beautiful female cardinal. Ahhh...I can tell it's going to be a great year.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Who Needs Viagra?

Dear Whoever-Keeps-Trying-to-Leave-Viagra-Comments,
I wish you would have the gumption to say your name instead of remaining anonymous. Your harassment is getting annoying, so leave my wife alone. We don't need any Viagra in this house. Go pester someone else.
~Mr. K.

Christmas magic

Merry Christmas! I am sitting in my new plush computer chair, drinking fresh ground coffee from Starbucks, and listening to the kids play happily with their new "stuff."
We are going over to my sister's house shortly for Christmas dinner, so I thought I'd share with you another beautiful cardinal card I received from a VERY SPECIAL friend, Jeni. The message on the front says:

"I heard a bird sing in the dark of December- A magical thing and sweet to remember."~Oliver Hereford

Isn't that so sweet? I absolutely love this card and will cherish it forever! More cardinal cards to come...and Happy Birthday, Jesus!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.~Isaiah 9:6

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve
by Laurie Kolp

Is it really Christmas Eve?
Sometimes it's hard to tell.
People flit and rush all day
acting like they're from hell.

Just try to make it to the mall
or to the grocery store,
and you will find rude people
perusing the streets galore.

No patience or kindness have I seen
in the last minute rush,
everyone seems real panicky
their manners are like slush.

Yes, it's really Christmas Eve
and nobody can spoil my joy
because I try to keep in mind
the birth of our savior boy.

...Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today...a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.
~ Luke 2:10-11

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A cardinal painted just for me

I am so truly blessed to be part of an online poetry group. We met a few years ago on Robert Brewer's Poetic Asides blog and then went on to form a more exclusive, personal group where we share poetry daily and even offer each other support during life's difficulties. One of the members of our group, Michelle Hed, is not only a writer and poet, but also an artist. When she sent me this beautiful (handmade just for me) Christmas card, I asked her if I could post a picture of it on my blog. She said okay so I proceeded to ask her a few questions. Read on to find out about this magnificent lady and friend.

1. Tell us about yourself.

I am a forty-one years old and I have been married for 19 years today (Dec. 23). I have two beautiful daughters (ages 12 and 9) and two dogs. Painting, reading and writing are my three major passions, with a sprinkling of photography, knitting and sewing to keep things interesting. I’m a stay at home Mom, but I volunteer at my daughters’ schools three times a week.

2. What came first- writing or artwork?

I would have to say artwork. I’ve been drawing since I could pick up a crayon. Although while reflecting on this question I remembered that in elementary school I wrote a story on what Christmas would be like in the future ~ which I recall we would all have metallic Christmas trees ~ and this story was printed in our local newspaper. So I guess the spark for writing started pretty young as well. I didn’t start writing poetry until I was in High School. I would have to say art is very similar to writing – in that you don’t immediately paint a masterpiece, just as you don’t immediately write that best seller in a first draft. One of the animals I wanted to paint for my Christmas cards this year was the Sea Otter. No matter how I tried I couldn’t get it to look right ~ looked more like a misshapen gnome. I decided now was not the time for the Sea Otter but I will revisit him when the time is right.

3. What inspires you?

Friends and family inspire me the most. For instance when deciding which four animals to draw/paint for my annual Christmas cards, I’m always thinking of my friends and family and which animals they like or which animals mean something to them. My four animals this year are the wolf (my daughter’s favorite animal), the cardinal (special bird for you), the common house cat (my parents and so many friends have cats) and the bear (my Dad and my nephew – my dad because they get bears frequently as their house and my nephew because he is afraid of them). Also, I have found nature to be very inspiring for art, writing and photography. I just really love nature. There is so much beauty in nature to enjoy and appreciate if we just took the time to enjoy it.

4. What are your hopes and plans for the future?

I hope to one day have my poetry published. I am currently working on two different books, both of which are collaborations. I would also love to have my art recognized but I am still deciding how to approach this one. I sometimes think I should like to try illustrating, or perhaps start working craft shows starting small with cards, but haven’t as of yet decided what route I would like to go. I think I have plenty of time to decide as I continue to grow up!

5. Do you have a website, blog, or some other way to be reached?

No blogs or websites, I’m actually an extremely private person, an introvert. I took a huge leap of faith two years ago, when I joined Robert Brewer’s Poetic Asides poetry challenge. I haven’t looked back since taking that leap. I’m now on Facebook, although my privacy settings are very strict and I also have a very close group of writing friends, whom I actually have never met in person.
Thanks for interviewing me for you blog Laurie. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you! Merry Christmas everyone! – Michelle Hed

Merry Christmas to you, too, Michelle (and everyone reading this). Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to answer my questions. I will be featuring more special cardinal cards I have received in the coming days.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A sweet story

'Friends are God's way of taking care of us.'

This was written by a Metro Denver Hospice Physician:

I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5, stuck in traffic on Colorado Blvd., and the car started to choke and splutter and die - I barely managed to coast into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck. It wouldn't even turn over. Before I could make the call, I saw a woman walking out of the quickie mart building, and it looked like she slipped on some ice and fell into a gas pump, so I got out to see if she was okay.

When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen; she was a young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up, and I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel.

At that moment, everything came into focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with 3 kids in the back (1 in a car seat) , and the gas pump reading $4.95.

I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying 'I don't want my kids to see me crying! So we stood on the other side of the pump from her car. She said she was driving to California and that things were very hard for her right now. I asked, 'And you were praying?' That made her back away from me a little, but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, 'He heard you, and He sent me.'

I took out my card and swiped it through the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely, and while it was fueling walked to the next door McDonald's and bought 2 big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee. She gave the food to the kids in the car who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little.

She told me her name, and that she lived in Kansas City. Her boyfriend left two months ago, and she had not been able to make ends meet. She knew she wouldn't have the money to pay rent Jan. 1, and finally, in desperation had called her parents, with whom she had not spoken in about five years. They lived in California and said she could come live with them and try to get on her feet there.

So she packed up everything she owned in the car. She told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, but not that they were going to live there.

I gave her my gloves, a little hug and said a quick prayer with her for safety on the road. As I was walking over to my car, she said,

'So, are you like an angel or something?'

This definitely made me cry. I said, 'Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really busy, so sometimes God uses regular people.'

It was so incredible to be a part of someone else's miracle. And of course, you guessed it, when I got in my car it started right away and got me home with no problem. I'll put it in the shop tomorrow to have it checked, but I suspect the mechanic won't find anything wrong.
Sometimes the angels fly close enough to you that you can hear the flutter of their wings...

Psalms 55:22 'Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.'

Monday, December 21, 2009

by Laurie Kolp

Can you see my cardinal
singing so sweetly to me?
This is just one of the many
whom the other day I did see.
They cheer me up with their chirp,
I watch in humble revere;
as my cardinals enlighten my day
and I watch them with such glee
until they fly away.
Thank you, God, for setting me free.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snowie's trick

The other day we were all staying in because of coughs and colds hoping to get well before Christmas. I was playing around with my camera (remember I am pretty much an electronic dummy) and discovered how to tape movies. So I tried it out on the dogs first. Keep watching and you will see Snowie perform her acrobatic trick for you- hilarious. Then when I got over to the boys, you can see they were quite enthralled in their computer. Let's hope Christmas vacation gets a wee bit better (and that my taping skills improve, too).

P.S. Please ignore the shoe mess. I don't know where it came from.

Friday, December 18, 2009

God carries us

My sweet cardinal sang to me
just the other day
and as I sat listening
I remembered to pray;
for every time I hear my friend,
I know just what to do:
stop, sit still, and listen
so God can carry me through.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Don't forget to hop on over for the Christmas event of the year. Click here for more details. Hope to "see" you there!
Don't forget to hop on over to the Christmas party of the year. Click here for details. Hope to "see" you there.
The best thing to give to:
Your enemy is forgiveness;
An opponent, tolerance;
A friend, your heart;
Your child, a good example;
Yourself, respect;
All men charity.

~F.M. Balfour

A fitful night

Story of my life:

Exhausted, I scramble into bed earlier than usual hoping for peace, rest and bliss. Instead, visions of sugar plums dance in my head, as I recall the Christmas mess.
I toss and turn for an hour and a half, wondering why Pete's staying up so late.
At last he joins me and I say "I CAN'T SLEEP," but he's already in another state.
The minute Pete's head hits the pillow, he's mush; but when I try to sleep during the holidays, my mind is slush.
by Laurie Kolp

I put apple juice in your cereal
as the dogs chewed up the carpet,
why do you always turn the other cheek-
ignorance is bliss,
or is it some form of laissez faire?

I put your shirt on inside-out
but my feelings were on the sleeve;
why, oh why do you act that way
with your holier-than-thou attitude,
or is it insecurity?

I drove my car off the road,
the day is too cold,
I wish I had mittens-
or is it I just want
some kind of recognition?

Why don't you live up to
your good intentions-
butter on the bread,
or is it bread on the butter?
I think Dr. Seuss knew what he was doing.

So do I (maybe)...why don't you?

Monday, December 14, 2009

A bevy of friends

Today I have been inundated with cardinals. It started out this morning when I heard them chirping in the backyard. I went out to sneak a peek and there they were- several red beauties singing to me. Then just a few minutes ago I went to my front window and a bright crimson male alit on my bird feeder just in time for me to see him. I then caught a movement out of the corner of my eye and spotted another male on my porch under our chair picking up left over pumpkin seeds. I sat praying and watching for a good ten minutes as the cardinals took turns going back for more and standing guard. I had to thank God for His reinforcement as I have been dealing with some very emotional issues lately. I really needed to know He was still here for me and God did just that by bringing hope and joy to me through my cardinal friends... and thus forcing me to pray (since that is what I always do when I see a cardinal). God is the ONLY ONE who will never let me down and I find comfort in knowing that.

Praying is no easy matter. It demands a relationship in which you allow someone other that yourself to enter into the very center of your being, and to see there what you would rather leave in darkness, to touch there what you would rather leave untouched. ~Henri J.M. Nouwen

Friday, December 11, 2009

by Laurie Kolp

Children singing on the go
Happy faces all aglow
Red cardinals in the snow
Images of mistletoe
Santa making presents grow
Tree’s aroma tickling so
Many miracles to bestow
Angels dancing in the know
Smile’s never-ending show

Oh, how I love Christmas!

Tell those you love how special they are

Can you believe this picture from CCD (Catholic education) says that Nick's guardian angel is Annabelle? That was Ms. Angelle's first name. The CCD teacher has no idea about our life and Ms. Angelle. Somehow, she chose this name for Nicholas. I do not think that is a coincidence at all. I think Annabelle is looking down on all of us from up above, and I am especially grateful she is Nick's "guardian angel." You see, ever since he had that horrible nightmare, Nicholas has been scared to be alone. He thinks Ms. Angelle's skeleton is hiding under his bed at night and that she follows him around to haunt him. Poor thing. I told Nicholas that Ms. Angelle is looking over him to tell him he doesn't have to be afraid anymore. Let's hope that works.

This picture was taken at Sam's last year.

I really miss Ms. Angelle. I miss visiting her and bringing her sweets. I miss listening to her stories, going to Sam's and out to eat at the Golden Corral with her. I miss hearing her laugh at silly things and speak her mind at things important to her. But I am comforted in knowing she is still with me in memory and spirit- just like Mary. One day I will see both of them again.

It has been exceptionally cold lately and we had to get out our big coats. Ms. Angelle bought coats for the boys last year, so we all thought about her when we got them out. She always wanted to buy clothes for Andrew (her godson) and when she bought his coat, Ms. Angelle bought one for Nicholas, too. She and I were planning on going shopping again this year, but God had different plans.

I am grateful to have known spunky Ms. Angelle. She brightened my life during a time I really needed it. My biggest wish is that she knew how much she meant to me. So, if you have someone dear to your heart, tell him/her they are special to you. You never know when God will call them home.

"I am standing on the seashore. A ship spreads her sails to the breeze and starts for the ocean. I stand watching her until she fades on the horizon, and someone at my side says: 'She is gone.'
Gone where? The loss of sight is in me, not in her. And just at that moment when someone says: 'She is gone,' there are others who are watching her coming. Their voices take up the glad shout: 'Here she comes!' ...And that is dying."
~Author unknown

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ford Park

Ford Park
Click here to view a picture taken before the Kelly Clarkson concert of Katie, her friend, our neighbor Monica, and me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Four things to learn in life:
To think clearly without hurry or confusion;
To love everybody sincerely;
To act in everything with highest motives;
To trust God unhesitatingly.

~Helen Keller

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
~Matthew 6:33

You're Invited

You’re Invited to the Online Holiday Party of the Year!

The authors of CHRISTMAS MIRACLES, Marley Gibson and Cecil Murphey, along with the book's 50 contributors, will be the featured guests at The Knight Agency’s annual online holiday party! This is a wonderful opportunity to talk with writers who’ve truly been inspired by the Christmas spirit! Also, TKA Santa has more than a dozen prizes to hand out, including copies of CHRISTMAS MIRACLES, titles from other Knight Agency authors and a first chapter manuscript critique with a ONE WEEK turnaround!* Make sure you mark your calendars for this event!!

What: Online Chat with the Authors and Contributors of CHRISTMAS MIRACLES
Where: TKA Chat Room
When: Thursday, December 17th @ 9pm ET
How To Chat: (1) Click on this link: (2) Enter a username and password (any combination) (3) Click Login

*The winner of the first chapter critique will not be able to submit their work for the one week turnaround until after our holiday break (agents need a holiday too!). So, anytime after January 4th, 2010 this prize can be redeemed. If you have questions about this contest or chat, please email info(AT)

You're Invited

You’re Invited to the Online Holiday Party of the Year!

The authors of CHRISTMAS MIRACLES, Marley Gibson and Cecil Murphey, along with the book's 50 contributors, will be the featured guests at The Knight Agency’s annual online holiday party! This is a wonderful opportunity to talk with writers who’ve truly been inspired by the Christmas spirit! Also, TKA Santa has more than a dozen prizes to hand out, including copies of CHRISTMAS MIRACLES, titles from other Knight Agency authors and a first chapter manuscript critique with a ONE WEEK turnaround!* Make sure you mark your calendars for this event!!

What: Online Chat with the Authors and Contributors of CHRISTMAS MIRACLES
Where: TKA Chat Room
When: Thursday, December 17th @ 9pm ET
How To Chat: (1) Click on this link: (2) Enter a username and password (any combination) (3) Click Login

*The winner of the first chapter critique will not be able to submit their work for the one week turnaround until after our holiday break (agents need a holiday too!). So, anytime after January 4th, 2010 this prize can be redeemed. If you have questions about this contest or chat, please email info(AT)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

by Laurie Kolp

I am powerless over the choices you make
but I have control of the reactions I take

I am powerless over the body God gave me
but I can exercise and try to eat healthy

I am powerless over sunshine, storms or rain
but I don’t have to let weather cause me pain

I am powerless over how others react
but I can separate emotions from fact

I am powerless over where life will take me
but I can follow my God faithfully

Friday, December 4, 2009

pedestal (n.)- A base or support for an upright structure or part, as a column or statue.

Never put someone on a pedestal, for they will always let you down. God made humans imperfect so that we would turn to Him; for the truth is- He is the only one who is perfect, and He will never let us down. God allows us to make mistakes so that we can grow closer to Him and learn from them. When someone lets us down or does something to hurt us (emotionally or physically), we must strive for forgiveness. In the end don't we want to be forgiven? God forgives us, so why shouldn't we forgive those who have harmed us? If we stop putting people on pedestals or believing they are perfect, we will never be disappointed or disillusioned again.

The forgiving state of mind is a magnetic power for attracting good. No good thing can ne withheld from the forgiving state of mind.
~Catherine Ponder

Okay, I'm stepping down from my soapbox now.

A snow day brings back memories

Can you believe it snowed today? This makes the second year in a row it has snowed here in Southeast Texas and that has never happened before. I am so grateful the children are able to experience and have fun in the snow. Even though it only lasts a little while, the snow sticks long enough so the kids can play.

Katie, Andrew and Nicholas had fun making snowballs and having fights. Since Pete was not home, we could not build a snowman like last year, but there was not enough snow anyway.

For some reason the snow has me thinking about when I taught in The Woodlands. It snowed there once and many of my second grade children had never experienced snow. I had just come back from a funeral that morning for a former student who died from a rare form of cancer at the age of six. I had taught his brother and then I taught him while he was homebound during his treatment and final days. It was a very sad time for me, but God always gives us hope. The snow that day gave me hope, and I let the kids play in the snow for a very long time. We are only young once, plus we have only one life to live. So live life to the fullest, love life always, and put your trust in God. He will never let us down. Thank you God.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

by Laurie Kolp

broken promises
broken lives
shattered beneath
a web of lies,
the grass
is always greener
on the other side
and regrets
become reality
with no place
to hide,
comes from within
a gift from God
not to be found
in doubtless sin,
broken promises
broken lives
shattered beneath
a web of lies

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nicholas lost his first tooth

I find it quite amusing how Nicholas always feels sick on Sundays and Wednesdays (church and CCD days). Today after school he had to go to the dentist about a tooth that was bothering him. Thankfully everything is fine, and with Nicholas who knows if his tooth was reaaly bothering him? I mean, according to him, his teacher just got back from Hawaii. Anyway, Nicholas and Pete got back from the dentist just in time for CCD and this is what he tried to pull with me (Pete had gone back to work):

"Mo-uh-mm, the doctor said I shouldn't go anywhere that is short...uh, that is not school."

"You mean like CCD?" I said.

"YES! How'd you know?"

"Moms know things like that. Now put your coat on."

"But he said anywhere that has Goldfish I should stay away from, cuz that might hurt my tooth."

Katie, Andrew and I just started laughing while Nicholas vehemently stomped off. SIGH. I am so used to this, it doesn't even phase me any more.

Ironically, Nicholas lost his very first tooth tonight. I sure do hope that tooth fairy remembers, as she has had some close calls through the years. Nicholas is growing up, but I am glad he'll always be my baby no matter how old he is.
A New Day
by Laurie Kolp

Morning’s peaceful reflection
rays of sunshine peeking through,
and freshly brewed coffee
arousing, inviting, promising,
replaces my turbulent dreams
as I climb out of bed
to start anew.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

by Laurie Kolp

Everything I touch
seems to break lately.
First my car stereo
ate my CD blatantly.
Then I dropped my camera
and now it won’t open.
I managed to salvage the
photo stick to my chagrin.
I took it by Walgreen’s
to make Christmas cards,
stuck the stick erroneously,
they had to take it apart;
the Kodak picture maker
had eaten the last thing I had
but the clerk got to work,
I no longer felt so bad.
(Perhaps I was a little
with the writing
and daily poetry
November espied).
Now that December has sprung upon us
maybe my life won’t be such an onus!(NOT)

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!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

by Laurie Kolp

she stepped in a fire
ant bed and began to
scream as the ants
bit her feet and
ankles thirty times

but she learned
a valuable lesson-
wear tennis shoes
when you go

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Fun

Every year we go to the Pumpkin patch put on by a local church as a fundraiser. The pumpkins might cost a little bit more than at the grocery store, but there is a huge selection and the money goes to a good cause. This year we found lots of cool spots to take pictures. These photos were taken a few weeks ago. Now it is too cold to wear shorts (such is the life in southeast Texas- next week we will probably be in shorts again).

This year there was a bounce house/moonwalk at the pumpkin patch. The kids had fun jumping in that. Below you can see Mr. K is having to correct Nicholas, who was bouncing a little too excitedly and knocking some of the wee ones down.Nicholas proudly shows his pumpkin off. Our youngest is all boy, that's for sure!

The kids are posing in their costumes. Andrew is Harry Potter. He also has a tie and glasses, but did not feel like messing with them for a picture. Katie, as you can tell, is a bumblebee. Nicholas is a GI Joe ninja here, but our neighbor also got him a "vampire pirate" costume. We will have to decide which one Nick will dress up in tomorrow. I will let you know. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Do You See What I See?

These pictures were taken Saturday when we picked Ms. Angelle's ashes up from the funeral home and brought them to Anna's house. In the top picture, the children are posing on the stairs. Andrew is Ms. Angelle's godson and in the bottom picture, you can see him in the mirror's reflection, along with our family picture beside the blue bag that contains Anna's ashes. She wanted the ashes placed in the big urn and set beside the smaller one, which contains her husband's remains.
I would LOVE feedback on these photos... especially since I want to know if you see what I see and if we think the same thing. Talk to me!
In Remembrance of You
by Laurie Kolp

I made banana bread today and
my thoughts were consumed with
you and the joy on your face
I saw each time I brought over
the fresh and warm, right-out-of-
the-oven-bread. Tears filled
my eyes as I contemplated our
time together and accepted the
truth that you were gone forever,
(but the memories will live on
forever). So I sat with a cup
of coffee and ate a slice of
your favorite banana bread
for you,
because of you,
in remembrance of you,
and I smiled.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I Don't Do Mourning Well

I don't do "mourning" well. I guess I am too much of a sentimental sap. With that being said, you can probably surmise that I am missing Ms. Angelle. I feel like I am walking around with a lump in my throat, a load on my shoulders. You see, I am being selfish. Instead of remembering how miserable Ms. Angelle was and all the pain she was in, I am thinking about how I did not get a chance to say goodbye and how I will be crying in the banana bread the next time I make it (I always took some of the bread to her- she loved it).

I find myself thinking about all the things I will miss doing with Ms. Angelle, like going shopping, or out to eat, or visiting over coffee and laughing about shoes. I think about all the doctor's visits and waiting patiently when she was impatient. I will never forget the stories she told me, like how she poured her coffee in a plant when her neighbor came over one day because she didn't want her friend to think she had started coffee without her. And the time she took the razor out at Walgreen's and started shaving her face to see if the razor worked was priceless.

I will miss all of this and more because I don't do mourning well. At least I saw Mary the day before she died. I hadn't seen Ms. Angelle in a week and a half. Oh how I wish I could turn back the clock.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

by Laurie Kolp

The boy pulls and pulls
watching the circle grow,
wonderment filling his eyes
as he tries to push the limit
until suddenly
there is a loud POP,
and the startled boy
smarts to this surprise.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Grandma On the Go

Carol Weishampel is not only a writing colleague of mine, but a good friend too. We met at a writer's group meeting a couple of years ago and then proceeded to take two continuing education writing classes together. We will be conducting a joint book signing at Barnes & Noble in Beaumont on November 7, 2009. I am very lucky to know such a wonderful woman. Please read this informative interview I did with Carol:

Tell us about yourself and the books you have written.
I'm a retired teacher who was a trainer for the New Jersey Writing Project in Texas which got me motivated. By then all but one of my 12 kids were grown and flown. After retiring as a Christian school administrator, I drove the Alaskan Highway to celebrate my 60th birthday, taking notes with a tape recorder and in a journal. On my return I actively turned those notes into my first book, "Grandma's on the Go", published in 2004.
This was followed in 2005 by "Adopting Darrell" about my son who is blind and profoundly retarded due to child abuse. 2006 "Grandma's Ultimate Road Trip, Texas to Alaska" chronicles my first two trips to volunteer in Alaska. My brother and I transcribed our great grandfather's journal that was kept during the Civil War. "Journal; John F. Weishampel" was published in 2007.

Which book has been the most challenging for you to write? Why?
The above are all non-fiction. The most challenging was "A Venture in Faith, a Road Trip to Recovery" published in 2009. This Women's Christian fiction is based on personal experiences, but the challenge was to create a believable story line that took my heroine from Texas to Alaska.

What or who is your inspiration for writing?
The New Jersey Writing Project teacher training course gave me the skills and incentive to "get it on paper!"
Presently my writing critique groups and other writers I meet along the way inspire me to keep on.

What is your favorite thing about book signings?
I enjoy meeting people with similar interests. At a recent summer signing I talked with a woman about "Adopting Darrell". She was bi-polar and shared with me the discrimination she experienced from family and society. RVers love to share their adventures. Civil War buffs engage me with historical tidbits.
I often have a "writer wanna-be" ask loaded questions.

Do you have any books you are working on now?
I have a completed Christian fiction manuscript, and am working on a sequel to "A Venture in Faith" tentatively titled "Have Grand-kids Will Travel, Texas to Alaska." I'm also working on an illustrated children's book, "Loon's Necklace".

Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring authors?
Follow your passions, find a support or critique group, and get it on paper!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Please read my article in the I am now the Early Childhood Education Examiner and will be writing articles on early childhood and education. Click here to read. Thanks- I appreciate you.

My New Endeavor

I have great news! I am now officially the "Houston Early Childhood Education Examiner." This means I have a writing job and I get to write about what I love- teaching. I get paid according to how many hits I get, so please put on your favorites. You can read my article by clicking here. Tell all your friends about it, too. I appreciate you!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

RIP Ms. Angelle

I am saddened to inform you that Ms. Anna Belle Angelle passed away yesterday, October 20, 2009. Pete tried to reach Ms. Angelle several times yesterday after work and got no answer, so he went to check on her last night and found her sitting in her favorite chair dead. He immediately called 911 and began CPR. Pete rode over to the hospital with her, where they did everything they could, but it was her time to go. Anna is now with her husband and out of pain. I hope she knows how much we loved her and will miss her. I loved going to Golden Corral with her and loading her plate up with eight ears of corn to take home. I loved taking her to Sams and pushing a wheelchair cart and regular cart precariously at the same time. I love how she called her car a "zoom zoom" and her diuretic a "pissing pill." I adored sitting and listening to her tell stories, or going through her shoes and laughing about the feathery, black high-heeled ones from Fredrick's of Hollywood (which she said Pete would enjoy, with a chuckle). I loved how she would just take off her shirt if she got hot. I enjoyed taking her to the doctors and listening to her chew them out for something she did not like. She's ninety-four, so she had a right to do all that.

Pete and the charge nurse called Ms. Angelle's daughter (who lives 90 miles from here, need I remind you) and this is what she said:

"Can you handle this? I won't be able to get there until this weekend."

I don't know about you, but if my mom had just died, I would drop everything I was doing and haul ass, no matter how far away I lived. GRR. I guess this is why Ms. Angelle called her only child a "fat bitch."
I have regrets like not going by her house this past week and our last conversation (which was the day before she died) not going well because Ms. Angelle thought I was a nurse from a doctor's office calling and the conversation was not nice. Hopefully she now knows how much she was loved.
So remember to enjoy your loved ones each day. You never know when God is going to call them home.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Meet Heather

Heather Buckley is a very talented lady. I met her through a poetry group we both belong to. Not only does Heather write beautiful poetry, but she also creates magnificent art. You can view and order some of Heather's blessing rocks, jewlery and wine glasses on her diverse website, Heather's Art Shop.
I had an opportunity to interview Heather recently. Below you will find that Heather's words radiate with the energy that comes from someone who loves what they do. Heather really never does run out of ideas. I know she will do well in her new business venture. Please support her by checking out her website.
ME: Tell us about yourself.

HEATHER: I was born in Houston , Texas . I’ve always been “artsy” and never totally focused in one direction. I try to stay fluid and go with the flow of creativity. I work in many different mediums, tile mosaic, glass-on-glass, canvas, blessing rocks, home design, and more . . . I haven’t reached my “medium-limit” yet so perhaps that tells you what you need to know about me. I’m learning, living, loving, creating, and exploring with the intent to create works that make this world a better place through positive energy.

ME: What inspires you?

HEATHER: I am inspired by so many things . . . trees, birds, music, lights, sound, people, texture, food . . . I never know what will send me into my next phase of creativity. The one thing I try to do is stay “open” to ideas and possibilities and let it go from there. The inspirations are endless.

ME: How long have you been writing poetry and designing art?

HEATHER: I created my first cartoon strip at the age of three and have never looked back.

ME: What is the biggest challenge you face creating art?

HEATHER: My biggest challenge isn’t with creating . . . I’d have to say that my challenge is with marketing. I LIVE to create. My mind is constantly coming up with new ideas and I’m inspired by so many things, elements, and people. I create because my soul tells me that I must. Putting a price on creativity is my “challenge.”

ME: What are you working on now?

HEATHER: I’m working on establishing myself as an E-Commerce business on the Web. Creating my own website has been challenging but rewarding in the same respect. I’d much rather focus on the “art” of the matter than the business side of things.
I wish Heather the best of luck in everything she does. She is a true inspiration. Let her work inspire you, too!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Body Ain’t Twenty No More
by Laurie Kolp

Left…left…left, right, left
My feet hurt
Shoes too tight
Can barely walk
From the left to the right

A “pump bump”
Can’t beat the fight
Of Achilles’ wrath
From the left to the right

Ice pack
One, two
Heating pad
Three, four
Arthritis rub
One, two, three, four- OH, NO

(Back to the chair)

Introducing Chef Katie

Ever since she was a little girl, Katie has loved to cook. I remember how at the young age of three, sweet Katie would watch me cook with a deep look of wonderment and fascination in her eyes. I would let her help me make various things by allowing her to pour the sugar into the bowl, help stir or shower sprinkles on a cake. By the time Katie was four, she was helping me bake pumpkin pie and doing more and more. That Christmas she got an Easy-Bake oven. We experimented with that thing and tried out all the not-so-yummy treats. But Katie learned a lot about measuring and hot ovens. As the years have flown, Katie has begun cooking more and more; even attempting dinner a few times successfully.
The other day, Nicholas brought home this cute book from school, "Cook-A-Doodle-Do. We read it one night before bed and he begged for me to make the strawberry shortcake, using the recipe in the back. Guess who helped him make it? You guessed it- Katie! Together, they made this wonderful dessert. Katie patiently showed him how to measure and stir; all the things she had learned at a young age. I really enjoyed watching Katie and Nicholas in the kitchen...and we all enjoyed eating this scrumptious delight.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Wonderful Review

I just wanted to share this wonderful review of "Christmas Miracles" on Amazon. If you are interested in buying one, please make sure you get the book with Cecile Murphy and Marley Gibson as there is another book titled Christmas Miracles out there.

Pam Cabrera (Plymouth, MA USA) - I LOVE this book. The author, Marley Gibson is a friend, which is how I first became aware of the book. When she told me of the concept I got excited and have been eagerly waiting for it to come out. When I received it, I dove right in and it was even more moving than I expected it to be. What makes this book so special? This is a collection of true stories, of 'miracles' that happened to ordinary people around the holidays, which brought them closer to God, and made them truly appreciate the meaning of Christmas. I laughed and cried more than once as I made my way through the stories here. This book offers hope during a time that is darker than usual for many people. The stories are inspirational and each one offers a unique perspective and affirms that there is something else out there, something wonderful and beautiful and good. This book offers comfort and warmth and good cheer and I plan to purchase multiple copies to give as Christmas gifts to people I care about and who can benefit from the uplifting stories in this book.