Big News: A Dream in the Making


Six years. Six long years in the making. And soon it will be a reality.

Six years ago, my friends Claudia Mitchell, Annette Stonger, and I decided to make our own curriculum for the moms who attended our Friday morning group. We called it “Take Off the Stinky Mom Shirt.” We had over 50 women in attendance and the content was well received. In fact, we had people ask us to teach it again.

Claudia commented afterwards, “We should make this into a book!”

I laughed and said, “I have two small boys. There’s no way I can do that.”ideainside

Once they both entered school, an idea started to nag in the back of my brain. The more I worked with women, the more I wanted to encourage them. I heard over and over how inadequate they felt as moms. My heart broke a little more each time. I decided the time had come.

There is a children’s book called What Do You Do With an Idea by Kobe Yamada about a boy who gets an idea and isn’t sure what to do with it. He fears sharing it with anyone, but eventually he feeds it and it grows. My favorite part is the end where it says:

“Then one day something amazing happened. My idea changed right before my eyes. It spread its wings, took flight, and burst into the sky….And then, I realized what you do with an idea…You change the world.”


And that is exactly what is happening. Together with Claudia, and quite a bit of help from Annette, a book began to take shape. Originally, for 18 months in fact (with the help of an agent), Claudia and I tried to find a publisher. Our book transformed into One Mom Can Change the World, a spin-off of Claudia Mitchell’s and Kim Goad’s One Girl Can Change the World. We got rejection after rejection. All of the feedback was positive, but no one had a place for our book. We could have kept trying, but we decided to take it back into our own hands, not knowing what we wanted to do exactly.

Then, through what I feel is a divine set of circumstances, everything fell into place. Claudia met the director of Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM) and learned of the needs there. They run a sliding scale daycare/preschool and a food pantry, among other services.We learned of someone who was looking for a project to invest in, and this person had ties with MCUM. This individual agreed to cover the initial costs of printing our book so that 100% of the sale of the first printing will go to MCUM to support their efforts to create lasting solutions to economic, educational, and social injustice in our community. The initial investment will return to MCUM nearly tripled!

This is not what I envisioned in the beginning. I had visions of book signings, radio appearances, and my book sitting on the shelf at Barnes and Noble. While that would have been awesome, I feel like doing it this way will make far more of a lasting impact. Our words on a page will quite literally have the opportunity of changing the world, at least in our own little community. What a blessing to live out the message of the book through the sales it generates! Waiting on God to show up in a big way is one of the best things that could have happened.

A friend and former student donated her talent to create graphics for the book. My husband’s co-worker donated her time to edit the book…a huge savings! My husband is going to put the final touches on the design of the book, including the cover and fancy fonts. It took a village, but within the next month or so, it will all be done!

What could be better than a book that feeds the soul, while at the same time helps feed hungry bellies?

This book will be easy for me to sell, because I don’t get a dime. I will unashamedly ask for you to buy a copy, and buy one for your friends, too!

An Overview:

In 2009, Claudia Mitchell and Kim Goad published One Girl Can Change the World, which sold over 25,000 copies and started a movement among young women across the country. One Girl is a marvelous leadership book for tweens and teens to read, but what if these girls could be influenced even earlier? What if during the formative years girls could be raised to make a positive impact on the world due to the example and encouragement of their moms? What if moms felt empowered themselves, and in turn impacted their children?

One Mom Can Change the World encourages moms to lose the label too many women give themselves these days: inadequate. Using wisdom from the Bible and real life examples of ordinary mom world changers, the book provides illustrations to help moms see their unique role as individuals, and includes strategies they can use to become someone worth following. Women are motivated to see that changing the world is accomplished through small, deliberate steps.

With the prevalence of social media, many moms look online at polished up images, enthusiastic status updates, and long lists of items a “good mom” should do, and begin to feel as if they are failing miserably in comparison to other moms. Women who read this book can learn to identify their strengths and discover tips for positive thinking.

The book takes the reader through a mini spiritual makeover. Too often women wear their inadequacies like a shirt that has gone out of style. Using a wardrobe theme throughout the book the authors present practical strategies for obtaining a brand new wardrobe indicative of the powerful women all moms truly are: world changers.

Friends, we will need your help in the coming days to spread the word. Will you partner with Claudia and me to help get this book into as many hands as possible so children in our community can reap the benefits? Please be watching for opportunities to become a part of this endeavor. Together let’s change the world!




Community Carries Our Pain

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“Often it seems that two-thirds of God’s song is the sound track to tragedy and ruin. And because the math doesn’t make sense to us, we either close up our hearts entirely or refuse to live in reality, hanging our theology on spiritual clichés. Or we write
God off as a liar, a cheat, or even nonexistent, the biggest scam of all time. But if we learn to live with the tension of God’s major and minor melody, we will find his beautiful refrain ringing out in our lives, which is his purpose for us—a song bigger than ours that identifies God alone.” Matt Bays: Finding God in the Ruins

During the difficulties of life, it is good to have others to spur us on and give advice. We can learn so much from one another.

I’ve talked about the value of mentoring and being mentored before. One of my life’s greatest blessings in this area is a sweet lady, Joanne. She was my mentor during high school. A few of us would meet her at a restaurant downtown and she would pour into us. Honestly, I can’t remember one specific thing we talked about off the top of my head, but I do remember wanting to model her character, her faith, and her depth of insight. She is one of those people that in her presence everything just feels like it’s going to be okay.

Our paths don’t cross often anymore, but when they do, I always know she will intently listen to me. During a recent interaction she recommended a book to me, but she didn’t stop there. She went out and bought me the book and gave it to me with a lovely card. Joanne has not been untouched by life’s struggles. What a gift it is when someone you admire is willing to say that life is hard, doubt is real, but God is ultimately good. I look forward to reading all of Finding God in the Ruins.

Today I spoke with Joshua’s teacher. I had previously asked her to keep an eye on him as our family goes through this clinical trial and we experience ups and downs. (Important note: if there is any kind of upheaval in your home, let your kids’ teachers know. They can often act out in school in unusual ways during this time and it’s good to give a teacher a heads-up. As a teacher, I found out too often after the fact about a divorce, illness, death, etc.). She recommended a book to me called Ida B, about a girl whose mother gets cancer and she becomes angry with many of the changes that happen in the family as a result. I think we’ll be reading that together to help process some feelings.

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I’ve read many blogs about what not to say to someone going through a difficult time. Individuals have complained about well-intentioned suggestions for treatment for illnesses and unsolicited advice. In my experience, it is the community that surrounds me and their advice, thoughts, and prayers that help me to see God’s goodness to me. I would rather err on the side of saying the wrong thing, I guess, than saying nothing at all. I realize others might not agree.

Author Mary DeMuth wrote a memoir called Thin Places. In her words, “A thin place is a place where you experience the presence of God, where the veil between heaven and earth is thin.” I feel like it is his people who help me peel back the layers and see God’s faithfulness to me in a way I wouldn’t otherwise.

Life will present many reasons to doubt God and his goodness. I like this quote I read recently on Facebook by Brené Brown: “What’s spectacular about my life today, at forty-seven, is finally realizing that the prime of our lives is not about answers – it starts when we finally allow ourselves to soften into the mysteries and live in the questions.” What a joy to have people come alongside us in the midst of the mysteries of this life.

If there is someone in your life having a hard time right now, take a moment to send a card, a gift, or just let them know you are praying for them. Small acts of kindness can make all the difference!



Killing Cancer: Part Two



Because some have asked, I’ll share a little update on Jason and his clinical trial.

We returned to OSU in March. Jason had a bone biopsy, CT scan, and they took about 30 vials of blood! We went back the following week for results. I have pages of documentation that I can’t explain…information about T cells, B cells, lymphocytes, and a host of other things. The bottom line is he qualified for the trial and began taking his medication March 17. That’s three pills a day for the next two years (at least) that would cost round about $10,000 a month without participating in the trial and without insurance. Sheesh!

Here is something Jason posted on his Facebook page:

“Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes. Some of you have asked, so a quick update…No significant side effects for me so far. First couple of days are going very well. If you’re curious/bored, you can read about the drug (Ibrutinib) I am taking here:

It is a HUGE step forward when compared to chemotherapy. A simple explanation is that chemo is poison…it poisons cancer cells to kill them (good), but also poisons other healthy tissues like taste buds and stem cells that create blood cells (bad). This medicine isn’t chemo. It’s oral, so I can take it at home every morning instead of going for infusion. Its mechanism is to look for a specific site on cancer cells (in my case, white blood cells called B-cells). Think of the drug as a square peg that will only fit a square hole on B-cells. The cool thing is that this square hole is what the cell needs to replicate. When it is blocked, it keeps the cancer from growing and the cells that are blocked eventually die, reducing the presence of cancer. Some have had complete remission with the drug (CR), but more often than not, it is medically managed indefinitely. It is already FDA-approved for my type of cancer, but the trial I am in is combining it with a widely-used vaccines (TDAP, pneumonia) to see if it can help patients better fight infection. Infections are one of the more common issues for patients with CLL. Best of all, the side effects are very low for most (and for me, so far!).”

We decided to do the trial because we knew we were getting closer to Jason needing chemo, which is the current standard of treatment. The CT scan did show that a few lymph nodes had already become swollen, which is one of the indicators that leads to needing treatment.

As for side effects, he’s had headaches, he bleeds and bruises more easily, and unfortunately it seems to be making him very tired (which of course was already a problem just from the CLL). I am hoping, for his sake, this last part is temporary as his body adjusts to the meds. Initially, the cancer cells are drawn out of the bone marrow and there is a spike in white cells as the body begins to fight them. He has to have weekly blood tests and OSU called to say that his hemoglobin is off. This may require them to take blood in order to balance it back out. We go back next week and will know more then, as I don’t understand how all of this works.

My deepest gratitude for calls, texts, Facebook messages, etc. We have to pick and choose what we are involved in right now, and I am grateful to be home full time so he has time to rest without feeling guilty. Keep those prayers coming. I truly feel them!