Free Book Offer – Act Now!!

In the spirit of Christmas, I have decided to make my book “Baby Steps of Faith – Marie’s Story” free for a limited time.  So please spread the word and help me get the word out.  I won’t get any royalties from the free book offer, but I will hopefully get my book read.  That is my main goal…to get Marie’s Story out.

This is a perfect time for those of you that have read my blog while I was originally writing the story to get a complete version of Marie’s Story.  You should still be able to get my book, even if you are not in the United States.  So check it out.  Merry Christmas to you all.

 

Free book offer runs from Dec. 26th to Dec. 30th on Amazon.com

 

Free Book Offer

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Angels Among Us?!?!

I wrote this post two years ago and decided to read it again when I noticed one of my followers recently read it. I felt that it might need to be read by some of my new followers, so I am reblogging it tonight. I hope it will touch those that read it.

Tell me again...why did we have four kids???

It’s the Holiday season again and the television stations have decided to run Christmas movies BEFORE Thanksgiving this year.  Now, I am not complaining, in fact, I say KUDOS to them…because I love Christmas movies.  Probably because they are full of hope, faith, triumph and love.  Something you don’t see much of the rest of the year on the bube tube.

My daughter Marie loves Christmas movies too.  She also loves 7th Heaven and Touched by an Angel.  Two TV shows that my husband and I have enjoyed longer than she was alive.  🙂  No matter how troubled my life seemed at the time, when I heard Monica say, “God Loves You” to someone on the show, as a glow rose from behind her, it would melt away all the troubles and bring me to tears.  Which is normally where I needed to be, so that I could remind myself…

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One for the Record Books

It has become a family tradition to help decorate and ride on the school Christmas float in the Williams’ household.  We have done it for at least four years now.  There is normally a handful of students that ride on it, along with some parents and the nuns that teach at our school.  It’s always a lot of fun and I’m glad we do it.  However, this year’s Christmas Parade has to go down in the record books as the most memorable to date.

We have had some unusually warm weather lately for our area.  Normally it’s pretty chilly after the sun goes down.  But last night we were riding in the Christmas Parade and it was in the high 60’s, with a chance of rain.  In fact, there was a few times while we waited for the parade to start, that it started to sprinkle on us.  Thankfully, we had some umbrellas and ponchos, just in case.

As the Christmas parade began, things seemed like every other year.  The kids and I were sitting on the float, waving and yelling Merry Christmas to the spectators.  The only difference was, that this year, Frank was riding on the float too.  We had a live nativity scene on our float, so we were all decked out in costumes.

We made it up to the spot where the local broadcasters were filming the parade.  They announced our float and we all waved and spread our Christmas cheer to the people viewing at home.  Things went well, until we got a little bit further down the parade route.  Then things got a little intense.

First, it started to sprinkle.  Then it started to rain.  Okay, we had umbrellas, so we continued to do our best to wave at the spectators that were being pelted by the rain.  Then came the real downpour.  What do you do when you are riding on a float in a downpour?  You continue to wave and wish people Merry Christmas, as you laugh in disbelief at your circumstances.

What came next was definitely not expected.  The wind picked up, which made the rain start hitting us at an angle.  But hey, we had umbrellas.  That is, until the wind caused our umbrellas to flip-up in the wrong direction.  So picture this, we are riding on a float, waving at spectators, as rain is hitting us at an angle and our umbrellas look like bowls on top of poles.  Couldn’t get much worse, right?  Wrong!

As we round a corner, the wind catches two of the small Christmas trees we had sitting in the corner of the float and starts bringing them down beside me.  I didn’t know what to do.  Do I catch the trees or do I continue to hold the umbrella that my two little kids were hovering under?  I decided to continue to hold the umbrella and let the trees go down.

By now Ann, my youngest daughter, is crying and I’m trying to calm her down.  It didn’t help the situation when the ambulance that was following us in the parade decided to turn on their sirens.  Yes, there was one moment during this whole event that I was thinking this was really becoming a true nightmare.  A float ride from Hell, if you may.  Then it happened, the must unexpected and memorable moment of the parade.

Right around the time the two Christmas trees fell over, I glance up at the nuns that were sitting across from me.  What I saw was awesome.  Two of the nuns, who are probably in their early 30’s, were huddled next to each other.  They were holding an umbrella that had flipped up into a bowl and they were laughing their heads off like they were teenage girls.  It was great, seeing them laughing at the unexpected situation.

It was at that moment that I realized that this float ride was a good example of life.  There will be times in your life where you think things will go smoothly.  Then, out of the blue, the rain will come along.  A little rain doesn’t seem so bad, but when the rain gets harder and you’re not as comfortable as you started out, then you have a choice to make.  You can either crumble under the pressure of life or you can throw your head back and laugh.  Your reactions will not make the circumstances change.  The rain will most likely continue to fall, whether you laugh or cry.  However, how you react to the situation will make a difference in how you feel about your circumstances.  What difference does that make?  A big difference.  Your attitude or reactions to the difficult situations life brings you makes a difference of how happy you can be in your life.

I am happy to report that the rain and wind died down before the parade was over.  By the time we were rounding the last corner of the parade route, we were thanking the rain drenched spectators for sticking it out with us.  I have a feeling that Ann will never want to ride on a Christmas float again.  Her memories will most likely be full of fear and misery.  However, the only thing I will remember about this year’s Christmas parade will be the beautiful sight of those two nuns, having a ball in the middle of a rain storm.  So will I be riding on next year’s Christmas float?  Heck yeah, even if there is a chance of rain.

New Facebook Page…Please Like

Since I have been having trouble with the whole name search thing on Facebook, I have created a new Facebook Page for my followers to LIKE.  Hopefully this will be much easier for everyone to find.  Try going  to the Facebook search box at the top of your Facebook page and type the following:

Baby Steps of Faith – Marie’s Story

It should get you to a page that looks like this:

Facebook Page

 

This is where you can find any new and exciting news about my book.  If you are a Facebooker (Not sure if that’s even a word??) and you like my blog, please, please, please like my page and invite your friends to like it too.

Thanks!

P.S.  I’m still walking on air from the whole published book thing.  I like this feeling so much, I’m trying to figure out what my next book should be about.

My Dream Has Came True!!!

My dream of publishing Marie’s Story has finally came true.  I just got notification that my book has been published on Kindle Direct Publishing!!!  I have created my first e-book.  I am so excited that I feel like doing a jig.  🙂

Many of you have read Marie’s Story from its infancy, here on my blog.  Your interest and comments is what kept me writing.  So I would like to thank all of you for giving me the confidence to publish my book.

Anyone who is interested in reading the final product can buy a copy at the Kindle Store on Amazon, by clicking on the following link:

Baby Steps of Faith – Marie’s Story

Some things have been added or modified from the first draft and I am very proud of how it turned out.  To those of you who have recently started following my blog, I hope you find this book as interesting as my current posts.

There is one favor I need to ask my followers.  I have created a Facebook account to help promote my new book, but I don’t have any Friends yet.  😦  I was hoping to get my followers to friend me on Facebook and then share my posts to their friends, in hopes to get the word out about my book.  So for anyone that is willing to send me as friend request on Facebook, please search for the following Facebook account:

 

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If you find my blog inspiring and feel that others would benefit from Marie’s Story, please pass this info on to your friends.

One other way you could help me out, is by writing a review on Amazon to help promote my story.  Thank you again, for helping my dream come true!

Craig’s List Rookie (Life After Layoff – Chapter 32)

My husband and I are both new to the Craig’s List experience.  My sister and other people who I know have sold things on Craig’s List, so I thought I would give it a try.  I had a girl’s toddler bed that Ann no longer needed.  It was too big to try to sell it on Ebay (I didn’t want to deal with the shipping), so I thought I would try listing it on Craig’s List.

The toddler bed and mattress was in good shape, so I decided to try to get some money for it.  I am a big donator to Catholic Charities and have been known to give everything from clothes to furniture in the past.  However, I have recently discovered that I am about to deplete my unemployment benefits, so every little bit earned is welcomed in our household.

Yes, I have worked as a substitute teacher a lot lately, but I won’t see a paycheck for a week or so from now.  Plus, I haven’t been able to work this week, because my kids are out of school for Fall break.  So like I said, every little bit of money is appreciated.

Believe it or not, I was about to adjust the amount I was asking for the toddler bed down a bit, because I had not had anyone contact me on it.  Until last night, that is.  I arranged for a person to meet me at a local library parking lot to make the sale.  I didn’t want to have the person come to my house, just in case they were some psycho.  So I picked a public place a few blocks from our house.

The person that contacted me couldn’t meet me until after 7:00pm.  That was fine, because that meant that Frank could go with me on this adventure.  However, I didn’t want the kids to come with us.  For one reason, I had the toddler bed still assembled and there was no room for the kids to sit in the back of the van.  The other reason, I really hated to have all of our family get wiped out by some psychopath Craig’s List killer.  (Yes, that sounds morbid, but you never know these days.)

So I asked our neighbors and their teenage kids next door to watch our kids for a few minutes.  Yes, we have teenagers that live next door and they are a true God-send.  But that is another story for another day.  So without the kids in tow, Frank and I load up the toddler bed and mattress and head to the library.

Here Frank and I are sitting in the library parking lot, correction, CLOSED library parking lot in the dark.  We are parked in the parking lot, waiting for our ‘contact’ to arrive.  LOL  It felt a little like a drug deal or something.  LOL

A car pulls in and parks and Frank comments that this must be our buyer.  A woman gets out of the car, so I step out of my van.  The woman walks towards the library with some books in her hands, so I get back into my van.  LOL  I felt a little embarrassed at that moment.  I laughed out loud and said to Frank, “Well, that obviously is not our buyer.  And here I was about to ask her if she was the one interested in a toddler bed.”

The woman dropped off her library books and leaves.  I sit in the van and laugh hysterically as I ask Frank, in a creepy voice, “Hey little girl, would you like a toddler bed.”  LOL  Yes, at that moment in time, I realized that this was the weirdest thing Frank and I have done.  Sitting in a library parking lot, in the dark, with a toddler bed in the back, waiting for an unknown buyer.  Right about then another car pulls up.  Yep, a car…NOT a van.  I have a toddler bed in the back of my van and I’m thinking, “Crap, this is not going to be good.”

The passenger in the car opens their car door, so I opened mine.  The young lady asked if I was the one from Craig’s List and I said yes.  Then I break the news to her…that the bed is not disassembled.  The driver asked if I was joking and I had to tell her no.  But I’m always willing to figure something out.  So I tell the young lady that I might have a screwdriver in my emergency kit.  Yep, I had two screwdrivers, but they were both flat-head screwdrivers.  Guess what, I needed a Phillips screwdriver.  Wouldn’t you know it.

What now?  Well, I knew that had a Phillips screwdriver at home.   So I offered to run to the house and get a screwdriver to take the bed apart, if she would be willing to wait for me.  She was, so Frank and I ran home and got a Phillips screwdriver and returned back to the library parking lot.  In a short period of time, I was able to get the headboard removed from the bed frame and we managed to get the bed frame placed in the back seat of their car.

So what did I learn from this experience?  A. Ask the buyer if they want it disassembled before we meet for the transaction.  B. The library parking lot might not be the best drop off spot.  (At least I shouldn’t be willing to asking the first person that comes along if they want a toddler bed.  Since some people might actually be there to drop off books.)  LOL  C. Always bring extra tools, just in case.

The adventure worked out well.  I got more money in my pocket.  There was two less items taking up space in the kid’s closet.  And a little girl would be able to enjoy a toddler bed that Ann used to enjoy.  It was a win-win-win situation.

Welcome To High School (Life After Layoff – Chapter 31)

I have crossed over to the other side…substitute teaching at a high school. Mind you, this is not your ordinary high school.  Before I tell you my experiences there, let me tell you that any references or examples I use to describe the school is done in kindness.  I say this because when I was telling my husband about it yesterday, he accused me of making fun of the students.  That is not my intention, it’s just that there were some kids that stood out to me more because of some previous experience or recollection.  (Yes Frank, I just told my blog followers that you were being mean to me.  :p  So you better behave.)

I know I am going to be showing my age in some of my references, but that is okay.  To those younger readers that never experienced the 70’s or 80’s, I’m sorry, but they were some great times.  And to those of you that are my age or older, I hope this post will give you a walk down memory lane.

Like I said, it was not your ordinary high school.  It is a public school, I believe they call it a magnet school, that specializes in Arts and Sciences.  Imagine the school on the show ‘Fame’, but take out all the dancing.  There might have been dancing, but it wasn’t in my area.  I was the substitute teacher for Jazz Band, which meant I sat in class and listened to a lot of loud music.

When I say loud, I don’t mean ‘bad’ music, I mean that the speakers were turned up so high and the room was so small that you could feel the music vibrating on the desk.  Also, this was not your basic music, it was J.B. Rides Again and other jazzy tunes.  Some of it was just the kids jamming together, making it up as they went along.

I was totally honest with the kids and told them that I was not a music teacher and had no way of helping them with their instruments.  But I could listen to them play and appreciate the good music they were making.  Since they were happy to be there and much more mature than my normal students, things went smoothly.  But I won’t lie, I had a few moments of doubt that day.

I am ashamed to say that while I was there, I had to break down some stereotypes that I had created in my mind.  I was expecting to meet a lot of thugs that day, but instead, I met a lot of mature teenage students that were not trying to play a fast one on an old woman like me.  There was always one student, normally a boy, who took on the role as leader in the class.  They sort of filled in for the teacher as far as directing went.

However, there were a few things that stood out from the previous schools I have taught at.  It was a public school, not a catholic school.  So no uniforms, lots of colored hair, extra body piercings and a good number of boys with long hair that was not in a ponytail.  It was definitely a whole new world.

The classes I had did not consist of all one school grade.  I had a variety of 9th – 12th grade students in every class.  Some of the students made an impact and in my mind I have dubbed them as certain celebrities that I have seen on TV. For instance, there was a boy in one of my classes that reminded me of Josh from the TV show ‘Drake and Josh’.  He was a sweet and happy boy who just happened to be in Speech and Debate club, so he was trying to sell me some popcorn for a fundraiser.  When I told him that I might not be back to get the popcorn, he promised me in a very good salesmanship manner that he could have the popcorn mailed to my address.  Or he would even deliver it personally to my house.  LOL

I would have loved to help him out, but I didn’t have any money to buy popcorn.  Besides, in the middle of his sales pitch, his classmate (a beautiful Asian girl who chose to wear black lipstick that matched her long hair) decided to get in on the action.  So she grabbed the flyer out of his hands and was up in my face (in a comical way) asking me to buy from her instead.  I declined them both, but told the boy that he must have really been paying attention in his Speech and Debate classes, because he was a smooth talker.  I then had to explain to the girl in a comical way that she was sort of scaring me and that she was tipping more toward the stalker side and less on the salesperson side.

Then there was the boy that could have walked right into a Flock of Seagulls concert and been lost with all the other fans.  If you are like me, you probably don’t know who the Flock of Seagulls are.  But you probably saw the “Friends” episode when they flash back to Ross and Chandler’s college days.  There was an episode where they came home for Thanksgiving to Ross’ parent’s house and Chandler’s hair was swooped over and really flat on top.  (Now that I think about it, Donald Trump has a similar hairdo.  lol)  Anyway, the boy in my class reminded me of Chandler instantly.

Then I had a boy that came up to me at the beginning of class.  He introduced himself and as I was telling him my name, he shook my hand.  Very odd in an environment like that.  But that wasn’t the only thing that got my attention.  No, the boy’s hair was my main focus.  This boy, which was just a bit shorter than me, had the biggest bush of brown curly hair on his head.  I think that if he got his hair buzzed, he would probably be a half a foot shorter.  If he dyed his hair red, he could pass for the comedian Carrot Top.  No lie!!!

Then there were a number of boys with the long, long hair and some of them also sporting a mustache and beard.  (Or a boy’s version of one)  Which sort of makes sense, since they were musicians.  Think about all the rock bands where the guys sport long hair.  Of course, none of them had the good-looking hair that Harry Styles has.  🙂  There were more boys than there were girls in my classes and the girls all seemed to be your typical looking high school girls.  However, I did see a girl walking down the hall at the end of the day that had long purple hair.  If the girl was dressed in a black outfit, she could have passed for Mal off of the new Disney movie Descendants.

I really enjoyed my teaching experience that day.  Yes, it’s true that I was afraid to use the Girls Restroom for several reasons.  First, I didn’t want to see or hear something that I wasn’t meant to.  Second, I didn’t want them to think I was checking up on them.  Third, I have seen too many movies and I was afraid I might get knifed or something.  So I sought out the Teacher’s Lounge and found a restroom in there to use.  So, would I go back if they ask me to?  Sure, I’m willing to take the challenge again.  Am I ready to venture into a more standard city high school as a substitute teacher?  Not yet.  But eventually I might be.  I have decided that if I can handle this sort of high school environment, I might be able to handle a Catholic high school.  So that might be my next step.

When The Shoe Is On The Other Foot (It Takes A Village – Chapter 4)

Lately, my two oldest kids have walked home from school.  That is not a problem, since we just live down the block.  I go to pick them all up and as I drive the two smaller ones home, the two bigger ones walk home together.  I figure it’s good that they are getting exercise and I am hoping they are bonding a bit on the walk home.

This week the two oldest kids have also gotten dressed and ready to go to school without a fight.  Marie has always been easy to get up, for the most part, but for Patrick it’s like pulling teeth out of a lion’s mouth.  Very painful and very loud.  So when Patrick started getting up on his own and being ready to leave on time, I was shocked and impressed.

When that happens, I have been willing to drive the older two to school early if the other two won’t get out of bed.  It’s a reward for the two that got up without a fight and a motivational tool to get the other two sleepy heads out of bed faster.  However, I would really like to have all of them up and ready to go at the same time.  But beggars can’t be choosers.  You know what I mean?

So the other day, I decided to give the two oldest kids some extra independence.  They had 15 minutes before school started and instead of driving them there, I gave them the option to walk to school if they wanted to.  Personally, I would have ridden to school, considering the fact that it’s an uphill walk.  I told them I would drive them, but if they wanted to walk, they could.  So they chose to walk to school together.

Having the two older ones walk to school for the first time was a bit scary, but I knew I would be right behind them as soon as I had the other two up and dressed.  Plus, I used this opportunity as a way to get the two little ones up faster.  I told them that we needed to get moving, so we could beat their siblings to school.  They liked the idea of waving at their siblings as they were walking up a hill.  LOL  Yes, there is much love in our household.  LOL

So I got the kids dressed and out the door in record time.  There was about 7 minutes left before they were going to be late.  We got in the van and headed up the hill.  I was a little worried at first when I didn’t see the two older kids walking.  But as we got to the top of the hill, we saw them stepping onto the outskirts of the church property.

As we drove by, I slowed down some and rolled down the window.  I asked them if they wanted a ride, but they refused.  Patrick was several feet ahead of Marie and Marie was whining for him to wait for her.  They were carrying their backpacks, which I had offered to bring to school for them, but they declined the offer.  So we pulled into the school parking lot and waited for the two older kids to catch up.

As we walked into school together, with 4 minutes to spare, I realized that their tennis shoes were soaked from the morning dew.  You see, they didn’t cross the street to walk on the sidewalk, because the morning traffic on that street was busier than normal.  So they walked on the side closest to our house and the school…in the wet grass.  Yep, Mom messed up on that one.  But it was something that could be solved.  As I said goodbye to all of them, I promised to return in a minute with some dry shoes and socks to change into.

It wasn’t until I was driving home, that I realized that this was the opportunity I was looking for.  My sister had given me this idea, to show my kids what I go through every time they make me late for work.  This was the perfect time to give my two oldest kids a little life lesson.  So I grabbed their shoes and socks and headed back to school on a mission.

When I got there, I found the kids and helped them get their shoes changed.  While I was helping them, each individually, we had the following conversation:

“Hey, remember how you felt walking to school this morning?”,  I asked.

They replied, “Yeah.”

Then I said, “How you were sort of stressed and worried about being late for school?  And then when you got there, you were really tired and out of breath from the walk?”

Each one of them answered, “Yes, I remember.  I was warned out.”

I replied back, “Well, that is the way I feel every time I am late for work, because you won’t get out of bed to get to school on time.  So the next time I tell you that I need you to work with me, because I am going to be late for work, I want you to remember this feeling.  Then maybe you will be a little more willing to help me out in the morning.”

They nodded their head in agreement.

Then I returned them to their class and walked out of the door, feeling pretty damn pleased with myself.  Now, they might not remember this later when I need them to.  But for one brief second, they witnessed the type of stress I deal with every time I try to get everyone to their proper places in the morning.  It’s like trying to move a mountain sometimes and it really makes me tired.  And I wonder why I’m so tired all the time.  Maybe from some unnecessary stress???

I would like to give my sister a shout out for the idea.  I don’t know what I would do without you, Sis!  You really have filled Mom’s shoes well and I’m very thankful for having you in my life.

Good Mornings??? (It Takes A Village – Chapter 3)

I’m sure that I have ranted at least once or twice about how my kids don’t care about getting to school on time.  It’s a daily struggle to get them up in the morning and get them out the door on time.  Even though life has changed some since I have become unemployed, that fact is still true.  Mornings in our house are very stressful.

Even more so, when I have a substitute teaching job that I need to get to on time.  I’ve had a few times that I was in a rush to get to work on time, because my kids did not want to get up for school.  As I was zooming to work, with my hands gripping the steering wheel so hard my knuckles were white, I had flashbacks of my old working life.

I thought to myself, “Oh yeah, I remember this hyperventilating feeling.  This is the way I felt every morning, Monday-Friday, when I had a full-time job.  Boy, I don’t miss that.”  No wonder why I was always so stressed out and why I would get to work feeling exhausted.  My adrenaline levels were always at the highest point in the mornings and when I would finally sit down at my desk at work, I would collapse into a pile of unproductive jello.  Then I would spend the entire day, pumping myself with caffeine and sugar, in hopes to get some energy to make it through the day.  God, I do NOT miss those days.

However, those days are about to start-up again, since I am getting more and more substitute teaching jobs.  Which makes me a little scared and pissed off, to tell you the truth.  I have an opportunity to substitute teach at a school in October for 3 weeks.  This is big, because it will be for the same 5th grade class, so I will actually be able to see if I enjoy teaching on a daily basis.  However, the job will require me to be there by 7:30am every morning.  Which means my kids will need to get their rears out of bed in the morning and get to school by 7:00am.  Considering the fact that they are normally slipping through the school door at 7:59am every morning does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling about this.

However, I have a choice to make.  I can either turn down this sub job, because it will be too inconvenient for my kids or I can take the job and make my kids grow up and take more responsibility.  I had to think it over a bit, but I decided it’s time for my kids to grow up a bit.  So how do you do that?  Well, my big sister gave me a great idea and I put it into play the other day.  Wait until you see what I did.

Before One Direction (Confessions of a Middle-Age Mom – Chapter 17)

As I was looking at a website about One Direction kicking off their concerts at O2 Arena this week, I found a link that caught my eye.  As I mentioned in the past, as a child, I was a big Bay City Rollers fan.  Well guess what…After 40 years of being apart, The Bay City Rollers are reuniting at Glasgow’s Barrowland on December 20th.  The link below has a comical quote by Woody Stuart, who said that The Bay City Rollers “were bigger than One Direction”.

Bay City Rollers Comeback (<– Click link to read the article)

As soon as I read about the comeback, I had to tell my big sister.  If it wasn’t for her hard work, we wouldn’t have ever had a chance to go to their concert all those years ago.  My sister said she thinks we should give ourselves a special Christmas present and fly to Glasgow to see them perform again.  LOL  Although I was thinking the same thing, I know that isn’t going to happen.   However, there has been so much interest in their comeback concert that now a world tour is being discussed.  Hmmm, do you think they will be performing anywhere near us, Sis?

As my sister and I were chatting back and forth online about The Bay City Rollers, she brought up a good question.  She wonders how many moms that are One Direction fans use to be Bay City Rollers fans as teenagers.  That is a good question, so I am going to see if I can get some feedback from my blog followers about this question.  So if you are an adult fan of One Direction, please answer my poll question.  I want to see if I have other amigos in the blog world that share the same love for The Bay City Rollers songs like Bye Bye Baby and Shang-a-Lang.