Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Intense Joy

I'm pretty sure that if you searched far and wide, it would be pretty hard to find someone as excited about Thanksgiving as I am right now.
Right now, life feels completely blissful.
I do not get to say that very often, but right now, in this moment, the joy was so overwhelming that I had to stop, think, and write about how I feel.
I'm gazing out my dining room windows, just amazed by the beauty of the falling snow.  I know that I do not have to exit my house for days if I do not want to, and that produces a great sense of security and comfort.  I love how the view reminds me of a snow globe I remember seeing when I was a little girl.  It was oval, with a plastic dome.  Inside were several children building snowmen under frosty pine trees.  I can't remember exactly where I saw the snow globe, but I think it may have been my Aunt Winnie's house.  She had so many fun trinkets that I loved to play with.
And I love the thought about filling our house up with family member tomorrow.  Maybe one of my nieces or nephews will look back and have fond memories of my house like I do when I think about Aunt Winnie.  Maybe they will reminisce  about Thanksgiving Bingo played at Aunt Sarah's and it will make them smile as they fondly remember time spent with family.  I hope so.
I'm filled with gratitude for the little family that lives underneath our roof, and I'm thankful for the extended family that will be filing in tomorrow.
I'm just really happy---so joyful that I can physically feel the joy in my body.  That's a pretty amazing feeling.  I hope that at some point this Thanksgiving celebration you will feel the same exact way.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Beyond Thankful

Oh yeah!
The countdown is on baby!  IT. IS. ON.
Only three more days to my most favorite day of the year!
The turkey is brining.  The menu is set.  The guest have been invited, even though I only have a rough idea of who is coming.  The groceries have been purchased.  
I love the whole hustle and bustle.  I love chopping,mixing, baking, stirring and roasting.
I love the praying, the hugging, the sharing and caring, and of course the praising of God the Father for the great things He has done.
Once the twenty some guests at our Thanksgiving table have finished their turkey and mashed potatoes, we will make Skype connections to David's brother and his beautiful family in Georgia, and then to our wonderful Maria in Spain.  
After that, pies, cookies, and BINGO!

So, while all this fun and craziness is going on, I also need to make sure that I'm prepping my home AND finishing a novel, plus making sure to squeeze some extra exercise in this week.  It's quite exciting.  And I'm beyond thankful for each and every thing that is going on right now!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Girl and Her Story

Today, I'm going to tell you a story.
It's about a girl, a grown up girl, but inside, she still feels like a little girl.  This little girl loves to watch people.  She loves sitting in the car, watching other people drive by.  She likes to pretend she knows them.  She likes to think she knows what music they are singing to, or why they look so grumpy.  She likes to pretend they all are her friends.  She even prays for them, making up pretend names for her new friends.
The girl creates scenarios in her mind about alternate realities.  She likes to pretend about a world where people love Jesus and strive to live for him.  She likes making up futures that are tied neatly up with the ribbons that read happily ever after or with labels where the lesson is clearly marked.  The weaving of the stories of the people she sees or dreams up with lessons and happy endings are what complete her.
So, one day, the girl gets brave enough to share a story, her characters, her alternate reality with some special friends.  Brave seems like a silly way to describe the girl, but when she started reading her words off the page to her friends, it was truly one of the bravest, scariest, terrifying things of her life.
Her pretend-reality was no longer just in her mind.  It was out-loud.  And realizing how real her story felt when spoken out-loud shook her to the core.  The girl did not realize how much of her true life was wrapped up in her alternate reality.  It spooked her.  She read, carefully, all 3,439 words of her first chapter to her comrades.  Instead of growing more confident while she was reading, each word was harder to choke out.
Her palms began to shake as the chapter felt like it would never end.  Then, the girl's heart began to race.  Each paragraph added a new pattern to the rhythm of her scared little heart.  When the last word was spoken, instead of relief, a new terror overcame her.  Tears began to well into her eyes.  Her head hung low, and then little sobs, followed by bigger ones came.  Her story was out.  Her made up world was now real to more people.  She had just taken a big leap off the deep end of the pool, and she's really not a good swimmer.
And now, that girl is scared.  Scared of continuing the story.
The girl reminds herself that stories are in people's hearts for a reason.
And that maybe someone, somewhere needs to hear this story.
So, the girl sits at her pretty pink computer, praying that God will help her run from fear, and be brave and face the scary side of weaving reality with make-believe.  And, she prays that someway, God will use her weaknesses to draw others to Him.  Even if it is through a silly little story that consumes more of her soul than she could ever imagine.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Rebellion

So, my brain hurts.
And not just because I've written 53,000 words in the last 19 days.  I've been attacked by my sinuses.

As a general rule, I can pretty much count on my sinuses being absolutely rude to me from October to April.  Despite a variety of allergy medications, a steady diet of Tylenol, and the tedious task of Neti-potting twice a day (What's Neti-potting you may ask?  Here's a's gross...but essential to my survival)my upper respiratory system has decided to rebel against my existence.

Despite all my best defenses against sinusitis, it has attacked me full force.  The worst symptom of all has to be the headache that will not go away.  Actually, I lied.  While the headache is bad, the worst symptom is a direct result of the headache.  

My creativity done and left me. That's right.  My source of thought and energy for my writing abandoned me right in the middle of National Novel Writing Month.  The nerve.

So, I'm struggling, to say the least.

The great news is that even though the creativity left, I have a strong willed nature and perseverance still standing strong.  Nothing can make them go away.  Not a drippy nose.  Not a low grade never ending fever.  Not even a headache that would make a boxer cry. No, despite my body's defiant rebellion, I'm sticking it out.  I may be slower.  I may be weaker.  I may be grumpy and I may lack inspiration, but I'm finishing this book in November. 

And that is all I have to say about that.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Today, Tomorrow and Eternity

I'm very thankful that optimism comes easy to me, in most situations anyways.  To be quite honest, my mind baffles me.  How can I be such an optimist but still struggle with fear and anxiety the way I do?  While I do not have an exact answer for that, I believe that it has something to do with my sin nature pushing worry against my new mind in Christ who wants to hope in his Word and the truth that is there.  It's complicated.  I'm complicated.  But, God still loves me and that gives me hope and optimism!

This morning, on the radio, I caught two minutes of an interview with a man who was working with foreign people groups.  I did not hear where he was at, or what work he was doing.  But, I heard something that I will keep tucked away whenever ministry needs arise.  He said, "People just need hope.  Hope for today.  Hope for tomorrow.  And hope for eternity."

Since it is really cold out, and my house is nice and warm, I abandoned my car radio and headed inside without listening to whatever else the wise man had to say.  But, I've been rolling that sentence over in my head and in my heart for the last hour.

I never realized there was a distinct difference.  Oh, but there is!  Hope for today is that someone hears you, someone is with you, and someone cares about how you are today.  Right now.
Hope for tomorrow...I think about that when I ponder about how hard we are working to pay off our debt.  Will we ever not struggle the way we do?  We want to know that financial freedom can be attained.  We want to know that tomorrow we will have enough to eat.  It would be hard to get past today if you are worried about your needs being met tomorrow.  Trust me.  I've been there so many times in my life.
And hope for eternity.  It never really hit me until this morning that people who do not have hope for today or tomorrow really can not even think about eternity.  How can you think about God and Heaven if you don't know where your next meal is coming from?  No wonder the Erie City Mission has such a great influence on people spiritually   They meet the first two needs so that the third need of hope can be realized.  

As I continued to think about it, it made me think about my friend Erin.  (Here's her blog!)  Erin and her husband are adopting two children from Eastern Europe.  They are providing hope for today and hope for tomorrow in hopes to provide hope for eternity for these two little angels.  
I think about my friends Will and Erin who volunteer overnight at a homeless shelter, sharing life with people who have no where else to go.  They are providing hope for today and hope for tomorrow in hopes to provide hope for eternity for countless men and women during the cold winter months.
How about us?  Not everyone can adopt a baby.  Here at the Humes' household, we are working out that whole "Hope for tomorrow thing" with our finances first.  And not everyone lives in the same town as a homeless shelter, or can leave their families overnight.
But, there are very specific things we can do.
Look around you.  There are families struggling everywhere.  What is one skill or talent you can offer them?  Or maybe you can even offer financial assistance.  Can you bake your neighbors some cookies and visit with them?  Maybe they haven't had someone listen to them in a very long time.
Perhaps you can help shovel snow?  Give an elderly person or a mom at home with a small baby some hope that just for today they don't have to figure out how to shovel all that snow.
Maybe you can offer someone a ride and carpool to help them save money on their gas budget?  Or pick a family you know is struggling and purchase a grocery gift card for them?
Or even offering a smile to stranger.  There's encouragement, edification and promise in smiles friends.  Let's not forget that.
There are so many ways to offer hope.  
As the Christmas season draws near, what should be a season of hope and amazement often ends up being a bleak reminder of how hopeless one can feel.  Reach out.  Offer hope.  For today.  For tomorrow.  For eternity.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Ah, Wednesday!  My Wednesday Attitude of Gratitude.
While sometimes I forget to post a blog on Wednesday, I always love how Wednesday make me smile as they are a natural reminder to be grateful.
What do you use a reminder to give thanks to God?
Do you remember when you sit down to thank the Lord for your food?  Or maybe you remember on church on Sunday as you pray for others around you who are hurting?  Perhaps you send a letters to your friends thanking them for being who they are.
Or, maybe, you forget to thank God and others at all.  If that's you, never fear.  Today's a great day to start giving thanks where it's due!
Today, while I write a few praises down here to share with you, I encourage you to get a marker, a pen, a piece of chalk, or a keyboard in your hands and write some things you are thankful for!  Today is November 13th, so I will list 13 things today.
1.  I'm thankful for the calling God has placed on my life to write this book.
2.  I'm thankful that I have at least one person praying for me each day of the month of November while I embark on my writing journey.
3.  I love my Bible study that I go to on Wednesdays.  It was hard paring down my three Bible studies to one, but I know God has me at this one for a specific reason.
4.  I love every time the phone rings and my parents on are the line.  I adore my parents and they are such a blessing to me.
5.  I enjoy listening to instrumental worship music while I write, so I'm thankful that God gifted people with that talent.
6.  As I was driving to Bible study this morning, I passed through all kinds of "snow tunnels."  I love it when the trees are all covered with thick snow and you can pretend you are entering Narnia as you go underneath the trees.
7.  Lately, my kids have been cuddling with me more.  I love every second of it.
8.  I'm thankful for a husband who is growing in the Lord and I'm so proud of his commitment to overcoming sin and temptation and how he leads our family by example.
9.  I'm grateful for God's word and how it has carried me through seasons that no person could ever carry me.
10.  I'm thankful for many long time friends I've had.The relationships mold into different looking friendships over the years but they are special to me.  All my friendships are special, but the oldest ones are a special, treasured gift.
11.  I'm so thankful to hear that the weather will be perfect for hanging Christmas lights this Saturday.
12.  I love my writing group and how it inspires me to push towards what God created me for.
13.  I love serving God with my MOPS positions.  The two MOPS groups I belong to are very different from each other, but the vision is the same (Better Moms make a Better World), and the women are all near and dear to my heart.

So, I hope you enjoyed reading what I'm grateful for today!  And I hope you enjoy making a list of your own!

Monday, November 11, 2013

50 lbs!!!

I started this blog almost two years ago.  My very first blog post was about hitting 25 pounds.  I've been chasing after 50 pounds since then.  And today, about 19 months later, I finally did it.  Weight loss has been very up and down, back and forth for me.  It has not been easy.  There have been challenges that have just about sidelined me along the way.  My dad's stroke, changes in employment, working third shift, medical issues, marital issues, and just motivation issues.
Yesterday I had someone say something to me about me starting things and not finishing them.  While that may be occasionally true of me (and anyone else) I think that is not exactly a true representation of who I am.  When I set my mind to something that I really feel God has put as a passion (or an obstacle) in my life to teach me, I stick with it and I fight for victory, even if it takes me 2 years to lose 25 measly pounds.  
I would love nothing more than to shed the last 9.4 pounds to get below 300 pounds before Christmas.  What a great Christmas present that would be.  Judging by the time it has taken me to get to 50, it maybe even be my birthday in May before that happens.  But, the thing is, I'm still setting goals.  I'm still checking in.  And I'm still dreaming about hitting those milestones.
I am even more excited that I hit 50 pounds while writing my book.  I actually have been putting just little bits of exercise in my days since I had become a little more sedentary with the colder weather and my writing.  I will write 1000 words, then play Just Dance Kids with my kiddos.  I will finish a paragraph and then do some stretches.  I sometimes hop on my bike and ride before I even go downstairs.   I'm glad that I had the prompting to do those little exercises throughout my day, because I think they are the key to my success at my Monday morning weigh in this morning. 
I'm tough.  I'm persistent.  I don't give up.  I need to remember that even though this battle makes me feel incredibly weak sometimes, that I'm actually incredibly strong.  I'm accomplishing this.  With the help of family, friends, several accountability partners, my blog readers and all those who offer me random words of encouragement.  How exciting this all is!  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The God Bracelet

"I CAN'T WEAR THIS COAT.  IT'S BLACK.  All the kids will laugh at me.  It's not pink or purple.  I only wear girl colors.  I'm calling my mom and I'm never coming back to school again."

I was horrified to hear about Lydia's preschool tyrade when I picked her up from preschool the other day.  She had stuffed her coat from the morning in her cubby and had forgotten where she had put it.  So, when recess time came, her teacher had to pull an extra coat from the closet.  Obviously, Lydia had not been pleased.  And she carried on for quite some time.  As you can see from that scene alone, when it comes to getting to wear what she wants, or having her own way about anything, Lydia can be quite verbally manipulative.  (Don't worry, she was faced with consequences both at school and home and knows that it's unacceptable for something like that to ever happen again.)

It's my job, as Lydia's mom, to figure out what her motives are in moments like this, and help her redirect them properly.  This morning, as I was frantically trying to get out the door, she demanded to wear her "God bracelet."  Lydia and I have matching "God bracelets."  They are homemade gifts from my dear friend Marty. Each charm on the bracelet stands for something relating to Jesus and how he loved us, came to earth for us, died for us, and rose again.  I wear mine almost every single day.  Because Lydia is four and loses thing (not to mention eats things), and this is quite literally a priceless gift, I only let Lydia wear hers when she is supervised by David and I.

She was absolutely adamant about wearing that bracelet this morning.  And I was frustrated by her stubborness.  "Lydia, why today?  Why do you need to wear it so bad today?"  It was a heat of the moment kind of response that I'm not particularly proud of, especially when I consider the annoyance that resonated in my voice.  But, she gave me the most sincere answer I've ever heard from her.

"Momma, I just need sumfing to rememba me about God.  Sometimes I have trouble remembewing about him."

Wow.  She just need a tangible reminder about God and His love for us.
Now, to be honest, I still didn't let her wear the bracelet.  I'm serious when I say I worry about her eating the beads.  But, I did go and open her hair barrette tin and I picked out a pretty barette that had a bright pink flower and feathers on it.  I knelt down and said, "Lydia who made flowers?"
"God did Momma."
"That's right.  So, Momma's gonna put this in your hair to remind you that God made the flowers and you.  He loves you Lydia and so do I."
She touched her barrette, satisfied with the tangible proof of God that was now mounted on her noggin.

I learned a big lesson from my little girl today.  Sometimes, the people around us just need to see evidence of God in their lives, and He can use us to show it to them.

CONTEST ALERT:  Make sure to take time to comment below.  On Saturday morning a drawing will take place from everyone who commented and what I think is a super cool prize will be given away!  :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Where Is My Hairbrush?

I keep forgetting to brush my hair.
It's only four days into National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or Nano) and I have to keep actively reminding myself to do normal daily things things like eat and sleep and do my family's laundry, and, yes, brushing my hair.
I was not anticipating enjoying this challenge so much.  
I also was not anticipating being so humbled.

God is using the message of this book (based on Romans 12) to change my heart.  And God is also using the people who committed to pray for me each day to keep me moving along at a speed faster than I had anticipated.  It's so humbling to know that I could not accomplish what I'm doing without God leading me step by step.

Sometimes I let myself dream about what it may be like to actually have a publisher want to publish my book.  To have a book that I could sign for people at bookstores.  I think it would be awesome to be interviewed on Chris Fabry or Janet Parshall.  But, mostly I think about how amazing it would be to have something that started in my heart, flowed through my finger tips, and out on a blank screen possibly change someone's life someday.

I know those are big dreams.  But, I serve a big God.  And right now I feel like I'm right in the middle of something big.  Even if it's happening in my own little world.

Now, for some lighthearted fun Nano-facts:
  • Thanks to Nano, I now have wear glasses again.  The first day I wrote over 6,000 words.  I have a lazy eye and it could no longer focus, so I dug deep into our one closet and got my old pair of glasses on.  David also signed up for vision insurance that day.  I think we will need it!

  • Since Nano began, just a mere four days ago, I've accumulated about five backed up loads of laundry.  I did three this morning.  The rest will have to wait.

  • Writing makes me crave candy.  This must end.

  • I love chatting with all the other Pennsylvania writers that are doing Nano.  What a fun group of people, who have great ideas, and awesome tips to share.

  • My favorite way to write is in a sprint.  My average for a 10 minute sprint is about 400 words.  My personal record is 584. 

Now, to end with a challenge.  Get your timers out and open your word processor.  Type for 10 minutes about something that makes you happy!  Add some smiles to your Monday morning!    And, don't forget to share it with me, if you want to!  I love hearing what others are writing too!

Saturday, November 2, 2013


I love November 2.

Well, I really love November, the whole month.  I mean, Halloween and all its creepiness and extra calories are in the past now, and Thanksgiving, which is my favorite holiday, is on the horizon!  But, November 2 is awesome because one of my favorite people was born on November 2.  And, I'm not talking about David Schwimmer, either.

No, November 2 is the day that my dear friend Lareina was born.
Making punch for Amanda's baby shower! :)

As time and distance and motherhood have pulled us both in different directions, we have still been able to maintain a wonderful friendship.  Sometimes on a rare Saturday, we can both find the same half an hour to catch up on the phone.  Sure, one of us is baking and the other is cleaning, or we are both trying to control our children, but it's always nice to talk, no matter how distracted we are.

Lareina has been one of my best encouragers, both in weight loss and in writing.  It's ironic because while I'm the biggest person I know, Lareina is one of the thinnest.  However, we are bonded by the knowledge of what it is like to have people criticize us or treat us different because of our size.  And, without Lareina's influence in my life, I would have missed out on some really great books, books that have given me the courage to write my own stories!  Oh, and because of her, I'm a better cook than I could have ever hoped to be!  The girl knows her way around a kitchen, that's for sure!

She appreciates my strengths, while having knowledge to my many weaknesses.  Yet, she never would call my weakness a weakness, but puts a fun spin on it by claiming it an uniqueness or a quirk!  What an encourager she is.
Ah, yes.  One of my "quirks."  I think a fly scared me here...I can't really remember.   But, oh, how I remember all of us laughing so hard when we realized how hilarious I looked in this picture! hahaha!!!!

I love this picture of Lareina and Eleanor

I love reading about her adventures with her little one.  I smile because little Eleanor is so blessed to have such a great mommy.  She get's it all...a mom who is loving, but firm.  A well educated mommy, whose is very well read, and sharing that love of books with Nell at an early age.  She's  teaching Eleanor what it is to be a loving wife, a great cook, and an adventurous risk taker (Swallow Falls comes to mind!).  I am so proud of Lareina, and I know that Eleanor will be proud of her mom when she's old enough to understand how amazing her Mama is!

I love how when I'm with Lareina, I try new things that I've never tried hiking near waterfalls!!!!  On the right is our Maria, from Spain.  Lareina and her hit it off so well!

So, I hope you will all join me in wishing Lareina a Happy Birthday!!!  

Friday, November 1, 2013


Well, I did it.

Last night at 10:00pm, I logged into a chat room.  For two hours, about 40 other Nanowrimo writers and myself chattered on and on about ridiculous nonsense, while worrying about the remaining time left until midnight, when November 1st and National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo) would officially begin.  "Oh no! There's only 46.72 minutes left until the clock turns to midnight!"  We updated each other way too often about the time, and had a large amount of fun giving ideas for character names, learning where we were from (all of them in this chat room were from the odd parts of PA that do no belong to Philly or Pittsburgh, called "Elsewhere, PA), and sharing our first lines from our novels.  I gained many bits and pieces of valuable insight from the chat room experience...not that I can remember any of them this morning though!  I had planned on going to bed at 12:01, but then they started doing these things called "Writing Sprints."  OH MY GRACIOUS! They are so fun and addictive.  You have 5 or 10 or 15 minutes to write as many words as you can.  I wrote 500 words in one ten minute period!  That was pretty awesome!  Exhilarating!  So, to make a long story short, I stayed up really late and woke up really tired, but I had accomplished a fair amount on my book by 2:00am!

I feel like I'm adapting well to the role of being a writer, at least a stereotypical NaNoWriMo writer.  I'm currently unshowered, dressed in a tank top and shorts, despite it being windy and cold outside, and my housework is currently being neglected.  I'm also trying to remember that while my novel is a priority this month, that my health needs to be a priority too.  Eating sour skittles and cheese puffs (which may or may not have happened around 1:00am this morning!) is not appropriate for every day living, not to mention that exercise still needs to be a priority.

I've set some great exercise goals, just to keep me moving forward.  I will be pedaling for at least 30 miles a week, not to mention doing my strength training circuit four times a week.  It will be great to be doing two awesome goals at one time, although I will admit, with my schedule in front of me, it's a pretty daunting task.

But, daunting or not, this month is going to be a life changer!  I've got an awesome team of prayer support, an idea in my heart for a book that I feel is important enough to write, and a determination I haven't felt before!  Time to go, write, and see what happens!