Well, that was unexpected!

In keeping with the apparent theme of 2020, “Well, that was unexpected!” I have been on a new adventure these last few months. But, unlike a pandemic or murder hornets, this seems to be a good thing!!

I’m making Children’s Activity Books!

Yes, the quarantine led many of us to try new things. My husband marinated and grilled chicken for tacos, my daughters redecorated their bedroom, my son has spent hours tweaking his golf swing, and I started an entire new line of books!

With the help of a nudge from a friend, I took the time I would have spent preparing for and working at speaking engagements (that were all canceled due to COVID) and I started to “dabble” in making children’s activity books. Then, the dabbling became an all-out obsession… and I’ve been having a BLAST!

My biggest line of children’s books are called Love Your Neighbor Company. They come in a variety of themes (I’ll be adding more!) and in ten different interior options. My hope is that the message of these books will encourage kindness, love, and friendship. They display a variety of skin tones, abilities, interests, etc. and carry the phrases, “Love Your Neighbor” and “Everyone Is My Neighbor” throughout! You can check them out here!!

http://loveyourneighborco.com

I’ve also made golf coloring books,



At the Lake” coloring books,

Water Sports coloring books and journals

And more!

Yes, I’ll still be writing and speaking in my “usual” way as well, but what a fun new adventure this has been!

What new thing did you try in 2020?

19 Things I Learned During the Christmas Season of 2019.

It’s that time again. The occasion when I gather my wits about me, along the candy wrappers from my stocking loot I’m still consuming, and open my mind and laptop. I sift through my sugar haze and recall what I’ve learned over Christmas break.

Mind you, none of these lessons are necessarily life altering, but I believe moments and lessons don’t have to be ultra important in order to be noteworthy. Sometimes I simply like to record and remember what life was like during a specific stage and season. I’ve done this for several years.

And so now I present to you…

19 Things I Learned Over Christmas Break 2019

  1. The more cups of coffee I consume while decorating my house for Christmas, the more strands of lights I hang inside.

 

  1. If you have a Costco membership, your husband may put 40 pens in your stocking.

 

  1. Birds of a feather flock together. This is also true for The Andy Griffith Show fans. Sometimes New Year’s Eve “partying” looks like a ruckus game of Mayberry Trivia. This was on purpose.

 

  1. Giving your children gift certificates for Christmas entitling them to one 24-hour period over Christmas break when they could watch unlimited tv, play unlimited video games, and have no bedtime is a big hit. It also leads to weakened brain cells and immune systems.

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  1. Strep throat is content to spend time with my children and stays longer than one 24-hour period.

 

  1. When the family is sick, it might just be a good time to try the 7-day free trial of Disney+. What was that we said about unlimited tv? Yes, Mom and Dad can use your gift certificate too.

 

  1. Disney movies you enjoyed as a child will not necessarily translate and hold up to your children today.

 

  1. Home Alone will.

 

  1. No one is actually good at bowling. This does not stop anyone.

 

  1. Sometimes you take a risk and give a gift you’re not sure will be well-received.

 

  1. Sometimes the gifts you aren’t sure will be well-received turn out to be some favorites.

 

  1. If your child has a megaphone, she’s probably going to use it wake you and your husband up on Christmas morning.

 

  1. If you’re so far into break you don’t know what day it is or what time it is you’re doing it correctly.

 

  1. Finding out it’s the time you usually go to bed, and you just finished a Coke-in-a-bottle, you find that caffeine does indeed keep you awake.

 

  1. Nothing brings out inner Divas like a pink karaoke machine. My daughters enjoy it too.

 

  1. You can teach a new dog old tricks: a 9-year-old can be thrilled with the gift of a used, broken, rotary phone.

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  1. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, even if you give them the lyrics and a microphone. (See #5).

 

  1. My son is a member of the “I need longer pants each month” club. I’m thinking about joining the “I need wider pants each month club.”

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  1. Sometimes clichés are just that. Cliché. But “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” holds up better than Home Alone.

Assault with a deadly pair of socks.

 

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I’m not sure if it’s a blessing, or a curse. Maybe it’s both.

I’ll just come straight out and say it. I have an unusually good sense of smell.

I hate to brag. But, yes. I’ve got a good sniffer.

Case in point, I have called the city gas company on several occasions alerting them of a specific address or intersection where I smell a potential gas leak. Do you know how many of those times I have later seen a crew repairing said gas leaks in the exact spot that I’ve reported? Every single time. I’m not saying the city should hire me as a “gas sniffing unit” just yet, but they might want to keep the idea in the back of their minds.

Anyway, this sense of smell can come in handy, but it can also lead to suffering. Suffering in the form of extreme awareness of foul odors.

And let me tell you, I have I met some foul odors in my day. But just this past weekend, I experienced a new level of one particularly rancid odor.

And it wasn’t it a gas leak.

It was my son’s socks.

Granted, the poor kid has been hearing complaints from me for years about his socks. They’ve never smelled like roses. In fact, roses are probably now offended that I even dared make the comparison. Please forgive me.

Anyway, one time, in a hotel room, our family decided to put Karson’s socks and shoes in the hallway overnight because none of us could stand the odor with them in the room. We figured if anyone dare steal them, then bless their hearts. And noses. We’d buy new ones. But, his socks and shoes were there in the hallway the next morning, and my son’s pride remained in tact. Karson owns up to it. He’s just thirteen, but he’s a true man when it comes to owning his stinky feet. He’s not ashamed.

So, this past weekend, my husband and I “divided and conquered” with the kids. I took two of the kids to Michigan for my son’s basketball team to play in a tournament, and my husband stayed home to coach our third child’s game. We all had fun. It was a wonderful weekend of friends and basketball, and my son’s team got to play in seven basketball games over the course of two days. And bonus, they won them all! What great memories!

But here’s the problem. Minutes after getting into our van to drive the two hours home Sunday evening, I smelled trouble. I did not even have to turn around to verify my suspicion. Karson had taken his shoes off.

And I was about to pass out.

And then I find out why it’s this bad. This whole new level of awful. This “my eyes are burning” odor that is now assaulting me from the back seat.

He wore the same socks for all seven basketball games.

Yeah. You heard me. All seven basketball games. Same pair of socks. No washing machine. No spray deodorizer. No “airing them out outside.”

No comprendo. 

So… the conversation went like this.

“Karson. Something has to happen right now with your socks. I can not make it the rest of the way home in this condition. This situation is not going to work.”

Deep breath. Hold it. 

Exhale.

I continue. “I don’t care if you like those socks or that they’re Under Armor socks. Do we need to pull over and throw them away?”

“Hmm.” Karson thinks. Karson shrugs. Karson barely notices the odor and doesn’t understand why wearing socks seven games in a row without washing them is bad.

I exhale and reload. 

“Okay,” I add. “I have an idea. Why don’t we find a bag and you can put your socks in it and wrap them up SUPER tight to try and stifle the odor.”

Karson thinks. Karson shrugs. Karson slowly wraps the socks of death in a trash bag that we miraculously found in the van.

And we made it home.

Who knows, we may have passed several gas leaks on our way and I was not able to sniff them out and call them in because of the sock situation.  I guess I may never know.

But this I do know.

Seventh grade boys aren’t always going to smell great. Or even acceptable.

And they don’t care.

But, if you can hold your breath for awhile, and remember how much you love them, stink and all, you’re in for a great ride!

 

 

17 Things I Learned During the Christmas Season of 2017

Each year for the past several, I have taken the time to sit down and write out my thoughts and ponderings at the end of the Christmas season. Granted, by the end of Christmas break (yes, it’s January 6th, but my kids haven’t been back to school yet) my “thoughts and ponderings” have been boiled down to bullet points. No deep philosophical quotes are being conjured up here. Even that last sentence took longer to write than I’d like to admit. But regardless, I like to summarize what I’ve observed during the month of December.

And so, I give you:

17 Things I Learned During the Christmas Season of 2017

  1. If you’re losing to your son in a game of Checkers while on a date with him at Cracker Barrel, you can get out of the loss by claiming probable victory when your food arrives before he takes your last piece.

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  1. Just because the candy/icing/sprinkles say they are edible doesn’t necessarily mean they should be eaten.

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  1. You are never without holiday entertainment when you have two daughters ages seven and nine. Show times and themes vary.

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  1. If you invite a group of fifth graders over to your house for a Christmas party, you might as well take the mistletoe down before they arrive. The shrieking, pointing, and giggles will be quite disruptive until you do.
  1. Handmade cards with misspellings are my favorite. (Unless they’re from my husband. He should be able to spell correctly by now.)

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  1. If, due to sickness in the family, you all binge watch an entire season of a Hallmark show in a matter of two days, the sappiness in the acting and script may in fact lead to more feelings of illness.
  1. Sometimes your husband gives you three flashlights in your stocking with no explanation. Go with it.

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  1. Children love to shop at the school “Holiday Shop” and surprise their parents with “real gifts” on Christmas morning. They also like to hide said gifts in their shirts.

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  1. Pretzel rods dipped in chocolate > pretzel rods. This should really go without saying.

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  1. Eaves dropping on two sisters playing a strategy game at the table is well worth your time.

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  1. Store bought cut-out cookies don’t taste as good as homemade sugar cookies. However, the fact you don’t have to make them from scratch brings their taste level up to “rather delicious.”

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  1. You’re never too big to sit on Santa’s lap.

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  1. There’s something hopeful and fresh about the blank page of a calendar.

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  1. Candlelight services are beautiful and meaningful. Hot wax that drips from said candle onto your youngest child’s hand causing weeping during Silent Night seems to steal a bit of sanctity from the moment.
  1. When you are used to calling your son’s basketball compression shorts his “special undies,” and you need to take some back to the store and exchange them for another size, don’t ask the male sales clerk if he has “special undies.” Instead, stare at him for an uncomfortably long amount of time while trying to think of the words “compression shorts.”
  1. There’s nothing that will put a spring in your step quite like when you’re in what is literally the world’s largest high school fieldhouse and you’re sitting three rows from the bottom and have at least 50 steps to climb to get to the restroom, and your youngest child looks you in the eye and says, “I think I’m going to throw up.”
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  1. Sharing with groups of women during the Christmas season about the “Light of the World,” Jesus, and why you have chosen to live in His light instead of darkness is quite possibly as special as it gets.

 

Cheers.

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My turn signal pinged its rhythmic song. I heard it, but wasn’t really listening. I watched the oncoming traffic, and waited for my chance to make a right turn.

My thoughts were ringing in my head, playing the harmony to the accompanying noise around me. I was trying to give my thoughts my full attention in hopes I could corral them into orderly conduct.

“You, over there. Yes, I know I have laundry in the washer that’s been sitting there wet for three days. I’ll run that load again when we get home. And yes, I’ll add detergent again. I know it stinks.”

“Excuse me, what? I have to write two checks to the school when I get home? One for a lunch account and then I have to order that sports gear. Oh, and the photograph form. Got it. I’ll try to get that done before picking up Karson from practice. Wait, is his jersey in the washer? What time is his game Sunday afternoon?”

“What’s that, Mr. Stomach? I haven’t made dinner plans yet for this evening? Give me a break. I’ve barely even been home this afternoon. You’ll just have to wait.”

My own mental conversation was not the only one echoing in my ears. In the backseat of the van, my daughters, ages seven and nine, were having one of their own.

I could hear them, but I wasn’t really listening.

“Let’s make up our own cheers, Kenzie.” My oldest daughter was saying.

“Okay. Let’s use letters and then think of words that they stand for,” Kenzie replied.

I tuned them out again.

Where did I put the checkbook?

“I know. For the letter ‘O’ we can make it stand for ‘Honesty!’ ‘O’ says ‘Ahh’ so honesty is a good word! I like honesty!”

“Yeah! ‘O’ for ‘Honesty’. Good idea Kenzie!” Karly responded to her little sister.

“Honesty actually starts with an ‘H,’” I chimed in. “How about ‘Octopus,’ instead?”

“No way, Mom!” Kenzie said. “I like ‘honesty’ better.”

I looked back at the road. I never was a cheerleader. What do I know?

“Okay, now for the letter ‘C.’ Kenzie continued, “Let’s use the word “Kind!” I looked in the rearview mirror. She was smiling and enthusiastic.

Once again I broke in to the conversation.

“Kind actually starts with a ‘K’ not a ‘C.’” I informed.

“No, it doesn’t.”

“Yes, it does.”

“No, it’ doesn’t”

“Yes, it does.”

The turn signal kept the beat.

“Well, we don’t really care. We like honesty and kindness so we’re going to use them.” Kenzie said.

I thought about it.

Whose team mascot is an Octopus, anyway?

“You know what?” I said in my best Mom Authority voice. “I like honesty and kindness too. Go for it!”

And they did. They completed their homemade cheer and happily chatted the rest of the drive home.

They may not be winning the spelling bee anytime soon. But, I’ll tell you what, I don’t really care.

Honesty and kindness trump winning in my book, anyway.

Hip. Hip. Hooray! You go girls! Let honesty and kindness be traits you always cheer about.

And who knows. Maybe I could have been a cheerleader, after all.

Math is easier without numbers.

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I don’t have a beautiful mind like the guy in the movie by that title who is a brilliant mathematician. In fact, when it comes to math, my mind is anything but beautiful. Equations go into my mind to scoff and mock.

“Larry, get a load of this mind! She’ll never get us. We’re safe here!” (Yes, math equations are sometimes named Larry.)

I’d say instead of a beautiful mind, I have a busy mind. It sometimes serves me well. Minds need to be busy, right? We have places to go, people to see, things to do.

But there are times my busy mind is not a good addition to life, but a subtraction. (Wait, did I almost make a math problem? Larry, is that you?)

When my mind is busy with the wrong things, things like worry, irrational thoughts, fears, imaginary scenarios, I suffer.

But I have a little equation that helps me pull out of it. (Okay, maybe I really CAN do math- just not with actual numbers.)

Truth + Trust = Peace

When I find my busy mind is focused on questions like,

“What did my friend mean by that comment? Does she hate me now? What did I do to offend her?”

“What if my daughter doesn’t know how to navigate this difficult situation at school today? What if I’ve completely failed as her mom?”

“Is this health symptom weird? Am I dying of some rare disease?”

When those questions haunt me, I go back to my equation.

Truth + Trust = Peace

Truth. What do I KNOW to be true.

Trust. Who do I KNOW to be in control, no matter the circumstance (spoiler alert: it’s God).

Peace. Ahhh. There is it. The wonderful resulting exhale of relief and hope filled inhale of comfort.

When I go back this equation, this simple formula without numbers, my busy mind becomes more beautiful after all.

That’s right, Larry. Deal with it.

 

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This post is part of the Five Minute Friday community where bloggers are challenged to write for 5 minutes based on a one-word prompt. This week’s word: TRUTH

Conversation Cafe Podcast

I will doing some traveling and speaking in the coming months (starting tomorrow!) and will be sharing about the messages in my new book, Brownie Crumbs and Other Life Morsels.

But, before the “live” speaking started, I was able to record three podcast interviews- two of which have already been posted.

I really enjoyed this one which was just posted yesterday. I loved getting to know the host, Bekah Shaffer. I have a new friend now, and it seems we’re a lot alike!

So, if you have about 30 minutes while you’re in the car, folding laundry (one of my least favorite jobs!), or on the treadmill, maybe you can have  listen.

Here’s the link:

https://soundcloud.com/spill-the-beans-404985658/the-conversation-cafe-episode-12-christy-cabe

Thanks!

Christy

It’s My Book’s Birthday!

Today, after three years of labor, my book has been born! (Phew!)

I’m so excited to announce that my first book, Brownie Crumbs and Other Life Morsels, is now available on Amazon in paperback, and for the Kindle.

You can find it here:

 

Also, I had a book trailer made to give everyone a short glimpse of what the book is about – much like you’d discover from reading the back cover. If you’d like to see it, it is here:

 

 

And finally, if you’d like to follow my writing page on Facebook, you can find it here:

https://www.facebook.com/christycabewriter/

Thanks for your support, reader!

Happy Birthday, Book!

Christy

My Top 5 Blog Posts from 2016

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I’ve spent a little time with Numbers today. We are not close, but we are on friendly terms. We just don’t click the way that Words and I do. But, Numbers proved to be loyal and hardworking once again. He also brought his buddy Statistics to the meeting. He was a little boring for my taste, but I’m told he doesn’t lie.

Our collaboration and research brought forth the stats for 2016. With the data we discovered my top five blog posts for the year.

Drumroll, please (don’t).

From the fifth most-read post, to the one with the most readers:

5. 5 Outsider Observations about the 2016 ACFW Conference 

A recap about a writing conference that I attended in Nashville, Tennessee. I called myself an outsider because it was a fiction writers conference and I write non-fiction (gasp!)

4. Temporarily Derailed. 

The story about a sight that stopped me dead in my tracks.

This post was part of the Five Minute Friday community where a group bloggers write about a topic for about 5 minutes based on a one-word prompt. I enjoy this challenge and participated 14 times in 2016. Thanks for hosting, Kate Motaung!

3. Island Issues. 

Apparently, a few of you can relate to the humiliation of public uncoordination.

(This was also a Five Minute Friday post)

2. Our Reality (TV). 

Our brief stint on television. I cried in front of a bunch of people.

And the top post for 2016 was…

1. Our Marriage Needs A Prefix.  

Chalk one up for love!

 

Thank you for taking time to stop over to christycabe.com this year. Your friendship and comments mean the world to me!

I like you a lot more than Numbers. But let’s keep that between us.