The head bonk


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Mr. Johns didn’t grow up in North America; he grew up in central Africa where Christmas isn’t a big thing. When he married me, he didn’t do it for logical, well-thought-out reasons. He went on heart, a little nervous about what life with this North American would look like, but he loved me too much to pass up the chance.

So on our first Christmas where I was wrapping presents, I finished up a roll of wrapping paper, and then joyfully bonked him on the head with the tube. He looked at me in abject horror. In his mind, his beloved wife had just struck him.

Me: It’s a thing! I swear! When you finish up a roll, you bonk someone on the head with it. Here–do it to me.

Him (horrified) : No!

I still laugh when I remember it, and I’ve had to show him this meme to convince him that other people than me celebrate Christmas with the hallowed tradition of head bonking.

He’s loosened up considerably, now. Ten years with the likes of me will do that to you. ;) He hasn’t yet bonked me on the head with a wrapping paper tube… but I’m holding out hope.

All I want for Christmas is a sincere head bonk.

Big News!


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I’ve been offered two contracts by Harlequin—a two book contract by Love Inspired and a three book contract by American Romance (which will soon be changing its name to Western Romance.)

The Love Inspired books are the beginning of a series called The Lawmen of Larimer County, which is set in Colorado. The American/Western Romances will continue the Hope, Montana series which features cowboys and the women who love them.

That’s five books in total, all spread out over the next calendar year. This writer couldn’t be more thrilled! I love to have books lined up to write, and I’ve been hopping around with joy about this for a week now, just waiting to be able to tell you all about it.

Celebrate with me! Get a latte, go shopping, order pizza—I can be your official excuse. ;)

Photo by Simon James Kent

Photo by Simon James Kent

Laundry, weak tea and Christmas movies


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My little boy has gone down with the stomach flu, and I’ve been up since 4 am cleaning, wiping, doing load after load of laundry. I’m thankful, though, that I have a job that allows me to work from home. There is no panic about Monday.

Yesterday, I wrote Chapter 13 out of 15 for this current novel I’m working on for Love Inspired. I snuck it in while my husband and son played a Playstation game together, and since we won’t be going anywhere today, I might be able to sneak in another chapter today. The end of a book is the most fun to write. The final “get together” for the couple is just as cathartic for me as it is for you. ;)

So with American Thanksgiving coming up, I’m thinking about the things I’m thankful for. Like working from home, and finishing up a book. I’m thankful for First World Problems, and for reasonable electricity bills (have you ever thought about how much it would cost to light up that Home Alone house??)… and for a quiet Sunday filled with laundry, weak tea and Christmas movies.


We are blessed.


A blog about nothing ;)


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I’ve been writing like crazy the last week or so. I’m trying to finish the rough draft of a novel that I’m absolutely loving, and it won’t let go of me.

This also means that by the time I’m finished my office hours for the day, I’m absolutely wiped, and I don’t have too many clever blogging ideas.

So while I feel ridiculous blogging to tell you that I have nothing to blog about, that’s the gist of it, and I refuse to apologize, because I’ll make it up to you in novels. (Details to come…) That’s a promise I can keep!



Child-free shopping


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Today, I got to go grocery shopping child-free. I’m a different person when I shop child-free. I’m calmer. I don’t reprimand anyone for anything. I’m eerily blissful, like a cult-member or something. You could call me Sunflower and I’d roam about barefoot listening to that canned Christmas music they have playing saying, “No, no, after you!” to the older lady whose cart I almost rammed.

Photo by Andrew Dunn

Photo by Andrew Dunn

Child-free shopping is rare for mothers, and when we manage it, it turns into a very Zen experience. When you have time and attention to put into which peanut butter you buy, you never know how it might impact your life.

The woman who rang me up has seen me weekly for the last six years. She said, “You look relaxed today.” I smiled and said, “I am.” Then we both just chuckled, because she’s seen me at my worst when I was all haggard with a toddler in my arms, and then when I would beg my four-year-old to just stand still for one minute. And then with a bored school-aged child with me…

And I have to say, grocery shopping alone is the way to go! There is no judgement. There are no potty breaks. When you walk away with peanut butter, you feel confident in that purchase.

Bliss. ;)

Another cover reveal!


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I’m so excited to introduce you to THE LAWMAN’S SURPRISE FAMILY, coming to a bookstore near you March 2016.

Lawman's Surprise Family cover

For eight years, journalist and single-mother Sofia McCray kept her son a secret from his maverick father. But when she returns to her small Montana home town, her high school sweetheart isn’t the rebellious teen she left behind. Ben Blake is a widowed cop who’s been through heartbreak, and he wants their child in his life. When her next assignment throws Sofia together with the handsome police officer in his squad car, she finds out just how much he cares about his community, their son… and her. Now Sofia must learn to trust her own heart to reunite a family that is meant to be together.

The place-holder boyfriend


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The other day, I was thinking about a rather nice fellow I met when I was about seventeen. He was a really nice guy, very sweet and down-to-earth. We’ll call him Bob. He was blond haired and blue eyed, with this quirky little smile and with manners that made me feel special. He was a country boy, and about as sweet and honorable as they come. I was working at McDonald’s at the time, and he worked there, too. We started talking, and I could tell that he liked me–as in really liked me–but I had a long distance boyfriend.

Now, the long-distance boyfriend (let’s call him Ted) was another very nice guy. But there wasn’t a huge amount of chemistry there, and while we both really respected each other, it wasn’t going anywhere fast. Plus, there was about 4 hours of driving between us, so…

Anyway, I don’t remember how it happened, but Bob ended up coming to my place for supper. I think he might have driven me home from work, or something like that, and he ended up getting along with my family really, really well. My dad had never really taken a shine to Ted, but Bob just sort of… fit in. He liked Star Trek like we did, and he loved my dad’s cooking. Bob was kind and decent, and I could tell he really wanted something with me. We just clicked.

So, the next day at work, I had to tell Bob about Ted, and that I did have a boyfriend, and Bob, being the very decent guy that he was, bowed out. Like completely–no more chit chat, no more rides. He simply went away so efficiently, that I have no idea where he went or what became of him. But I often thought that if I hadn’t been dating Ted at the time, Bob was the sort of guy who would have stuck. I could have dated him for a couple of years, and ended up marrying him.

Which would have been tragic, because then I wouldn’t have been able to marry Mr. Johns nearly ten years later, and in my mind there is a very big difference between a person you could marry and a soulmate. My husband, if you hadn’t guessed, falls into the latter category. He wasn’t a man I could marry, he was a man I’d forever regret not marrying.

So, since we’re all thinking thankful thoughts this month, today, I’m thankful for Ted–the place-holder boyfriend who kept me from getting involved with Bob. It’s funny how things turn out, but I truly believe that God’s hand was there, keeping me available for the man He’d chosen for me… for the man who was praying for me in the heart of Africa.

Ted went on to marry a beautiful woman who loves him like no other could. They¬† have two children together, at last count, and I’m sure he’s equally grateful not to have married me.

As for Bob, I don’t know what became of him, but he was an honest, good guy, and I like to think that he found his soulmate, too–someone worthy of him. He deserved that.

As for Mr. Johns, he immigrated to Canada and we met 9 years after the Bob/Ted situation. It took exactly two weeks for him to propose and a heartbeat for me to accept. We both just knew.

First World problems


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Once a week, I have a phone date with one of my best friends. She and I have been pals since our college days. If I remember properly, she had her nose stuck in a book, and I knew immediately that we’d get along. I was right! It’s been seventeen years, and we still have our weekly chats, and in those chats, we give ourselves the luxury of whining a little.

Just a very little. We aren’t really the whining types, but sometimes we just have to vent about something, and after we have, (with lots of sympathy from the other), we end up saying the same thing:

“Wow, First World problems, am I right?”

Because our problems aren’t that big.

If you think about it, most of the things that irritate us involve frustrating people or an unexpected bill. We might get a cold or flu, but we have doctors and health care professionals available to us if we’re ever seriously ill. We might get irritated with someone in our lives, but we all make enough that we can live independently, so we aren’t living with several different families together unless it’s something we really want. We might have allergies, but we have grocery stores stuffed to the rafters with other alternatives… We have running water, free schools, jobs, heat, cupboards full of food, even if it isn’t always our first choice of what we feel like eating.

Photo by Smerdis

Photo by Smerdis

My husband was born in a third world country, and he always laughs when we argue with our son about eating at mealtime. Because when he was growing up, no one had to force him to the dinner table, and no one had to plead with him to finish his food. There was no such thing as “I’m too full. I couldn’t eat another bite.”

So when we sit down for our nightly pleading (Five more bites. BIG bites. That’s too small. Another one…), he says, “Wow, we’re blessed to have these kinds of problems.”

And we are. Let’s never forget it. We’re so very, very blessed to complain about the things that we do.

This month, I’m thankful for those First World problems.


Memes that drive me nuts


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There are memes that drive me crazy, and this is one of them:


Now, on the surface, I understand the sentiment. Real friends appreciate you for who you are, and they aren’t there because you have money or success, they’re there because they honestly like you. I agree with that part!

But here’s my issue… a real friend shouldn’t be a b—-. I see all sorts of variations on this theme, and the underlying message seems to be that if I behave badly, a real friend will simply accept that as an integral part of my personality and ignore it. Or, to put it another way, you have to accept my bad behavior because you’re my friend.

In the extreme, this sounds like an abusive dynamic. In moderation, it just sounds immature. If there is one thing we learn as we grow up, it’s that we’re responsible for our own behavior. Being a mature adult doesn’t mean that we no longer have to behave properly, it means that we can now be trusted to continue to do so without supervision!

I think part of the confusion comes from people assuming that “this is me, this is the package” means that we stop improving ourselves. Accepting myself and loving who I am doesn’t give me a pass on bad behavior. In fact, I’ve worked hard to become the woman I am today, and that has meant change–the positive kind. Growing, maturing, learning, developing.

What’s in your bank account, what you weigh, the car you drive, your family–no judgement at all! But if you’ve got something crazy in your past that you haven’t learned from, I gotta say–that’s going to factor in! Because I have a life and family that I love enough to defend from craziness. And if you’re just kinda mean (aka a B—-), we’re officially acquaintances. Because friends don’t treat each other badly, and they don’t tolerate it when their friend treats other people badly, either. We aren’t a pack of mean girls, we’re grown women who should have some higher expectations of each other.

We’re all adults now. Let’s act like it.



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