About Shanda

wife, mom of seven, friend, child of God

or old

All my body fibers (all except the ones who requested coffee from under the covers) were weak and half asleep when my husband left for work but he kindly set a mug of of it down on the table by my bed as he said goodbye. it was 6:45.

It took fifteen minutes for me to come to enough state of wakefulness to get into a sitting position and *shakily reach for the coffee. It wasn’t that hot anymore. I was so tired.

And then in the silence my bedroom door slowly opened.

“I’m so sorry Mom”

“Caleb didn’t wake us up.”

“He said he told me last night to set my alarm.”

“And doesn’t he even know it doesn’t work? I tried it the other day but it just started bleeding……”


“No mom. BEEPING.”

Us? We? Is Seth here too? and Caleb?

(Starts to weep)

The queen was disturbed.

I sent for Caleb. He approached and brought me paper and a red marker (seemed fitting). After they dressed and ate, I sent them far far away with my royal horseman. (Their brother David).

*adverb. /ˈʃeɪkɪli/ /ˈʃeɪkɪli/ while shaking and feeling weak, often because you are ill, emotional or old.

how can I keep from…….

(in no particular order)

…..singing—even when I am confronted by evil I cannot stay sad, in every day of my life something has happened to lift my heart to praise God. And so I sing. Music is the food of love.

…..writing—the written word, to me, is easier to use than speaking.

……speaking—but when I have something to say I will say it.

….resting—I will never allow myself to feel guilty for not being able to keep up with others. I move at my own pace.

…..Loving—-lovers must love. I was made to love and I know this beyond doubt. love is the power that softens willing and able hearts. Without love I am nothing.

….mothering—so much of what I do is performed as “mother”; cleaning, tending, touching, mending, preaching, saying no, saying yes.

…..Reading—my escape, my mind opener

……exploring nature—because there is always something to be discovered.

…..Grieving—-because there is no pain like betrayal.

…..Looking up—because that is where God is.

…..adopting cats—-needs no explanation

…..taking photos—I want to remember. I want to share.

…learning, moving, laughing, being brave, questioning, thanking, creating. Living.


I had to go outside just in case there were talking animals in the woods (deer, moose, mouse?), or an elf or goblin, friendly ghost, a message written on a branch, or an entryway into another land. An icy world is out there, I’m actually writing this in the woods, the sound of glassy rain falling. I ate some ice off the ground but I still feel like regular me. (It might have been of medicinal or magical value.). The air is bitter on my cheeks and nose but I am warm enough everywhere else. It’s quiet but not quiet enough, I can hear dirty traffic moving too fast on the roads in the distance. But maybe that has some magic, too.

I just got done reading a book in which the character “God Emperor” continues to have his favorite soldier re-created over and over. If the man makes a mistake of some sort, he is eliminated and remade, yet he always has the awareness of his previous selves and lives. In time he becomes frustrated and angry at the God. And he’s angry because at this point life no longer has magic for him. Constantly coming back to life over and over removed the magic of living a once in a lifetime life.

I think about the concept. If I knew I had endless more days on earth, would this day hold any specific value? When you’re exhausted from living the same day over and over, or bored, what is the attraction of immortality? We know our days on earth will come to end. We know we are dust, and to dust we will return. This knowledge is bitter sweet. But longing and sadness and grief also add beauty to life. The only thing to fear is fear itself.

I thought last night, “what if….” One of my children was out and what if they didn’t come back? I recognized it for what it was, I was letting this thought create a fear in my soul. I know the truth, I have a God, a real God (not from that paperback fantasy novel I just finished), a God, a trinity Father, Son, Holy Spirit, that I learn about from a real Book, a sharp as knives set of Holy Words, that tells me not to fear. If that fearful thing happened He would be there with me and guide me through it. Like a trusting infant, I lay cradled in the arms of God. Knowing He holds me with everlasting love. Knowing that when this life is over, a new and more glorious one begins.

I can cast aside fear and go searching for magic. Thus I find myself in the woods in an ice storm thinking thinking and looking looking.

Two, three years ago I was in a dark place, and yet in my anguish I found myself writing on almost every page of my journals, “I trust God completely.” The only thing I could count on were the promises of God. Everything else was mixed up.

As one of the dear old hymns says “those who trust him wholly, find Him wholly true”. Now when I look back at my journals I remember that pain and marvel at how God worked to heal me. I’ve been able to learn so much. I’ve found an entirely new outlook on life and satisfaction with my family and husband. I found a new church family, and it’s a Methodist congregation. I grew up Baptist so yesterday was my very first Ash Wednesday. Oh how beautiful it was. When the Pastor put the ashes on my forehead he said, “Repent and believe in the gospel.” Those simple words are so beautiful they make me cry. I find myself not caring so much about the sin, but finding comfort, actual comfort in the fact that I am a sinner. We all are. In other words, I’m only human. I repent and it feels so wholesome. I’m not judged, I am understood by an all-loving and merciful Savior who very kindly saved me. I believe in the gospel because my heart burns within me telling me that this is real. I believe in the promises of God.

I’ve always enjoyed reading stories.

But I am living in the greatest story every told.

Brighton jewelry

Rich had two dozen pink long stemmed roses delivered to me along with a bunch of balloons for my birthday. Their beauty drew my attention for over a week but by today their heads were hanging so I took some sharp scissors, and snipped them off to dry in a box lid. Once they dry I will thread them and have a garland of memory-roses.

He knows my happy color is pink. It’s the little things that mean so much. Like the color pink, and roses, and surprise snow, and the sound of my children in the house for Presidents’ Day long weekend.

I’ve been getting pieces of jewelry from Brighton for a long time now, but in the last couple years I have noticed they were not staying silvery like they used to. It’s been a puzzle to me, and three different times I asked the ladies in the shop for help. First, they sold me their jewelry cleaner. Although it was in a pink container and smelled good, it didn’t do the trick. Then, I took a piece to the store and had them try. They were just as puzzled as I, and the darkness remained. Lastly, I had a little passive aggressive conversation with the lady a week ago when I went in to use my birthday coupon. She seemed to blame my skin, or my clothes, and again said that no one knows (not even corporate) why “some people” end up with discolored pieces. “Did you try silver cleaner?” She continued with an accusatory tone. I couldn’t leave fast enough with my new earrings.

But I remembered what she said and today I bought silver cleaner and it worked. How dumb it was for me to have to spend several years puzzling this out. Why didn’t I know that their jewelry was real silver, but with a “protective coating”?

It was pretty satisfying to rub the tarnish off. There is something satisfying about taking care of one’s things.

My mom noticed that instead of putting the forks, spoons, and knives into their separate places in the silverware tray, I was just throwing them in. “Housework is art”, she reminded me. Like my jewelry box, my silverware drawer, my life…..all is art.

I was thinking about Genesis the other day, and the first words of the Bible “In the beginning, God created……..”

That soul-nourishing creativity and making all of life my art is important, because it’s of God. It’s a divine purpose. And just like creation, we look and know that what we did in those moments was good.

Seth’s 14 now

I got up super duper early today at 6 just so I could see and hug and give gifts to my birthday boy Seth William. He’s just the most wonderful Seth in the entire universe. He’s fun and smart and dependable and very energetic and handsome. Since he was born I have laughed at least once a day just because of him. He has a few faults but we don’t talk about them in birthdays, do we.

Seth, this morning on his birthday

What does Seth request on this special day? I shall be picking him up early from school to go to the mall to try to find the shoes he wants. This has been the only request which I have listened to daily for days. Don’t I feel special, too, that he is glad to be with his mom today. I shall enjoy every moment.

I’m making him a red velvet cake mix cake, but with homemade frosting. (a combination that works for me as it’s easy with a mix and the little extra effort of homemade cream cheese icing offsets the mix-taste of the cake). He has wrestling practice at 3:15 which will be a little challenge because I am picking up my very first FB marketplace purchase off of someone’s porch at three. Stay tuned for what it is. I bet you can guess. What with the busy day and wrestling practice we won’t be able to sing Happy Birthday until around 8pm but that’s okay. It will be a birthday from start to finish.

Here is the video of his latest match. He has only had one loss this season, & has won three first place medals. Sports are a huge part of Seth’s life, with his energy levels he has a great time and we are very thankful to his coaches and teams for making it fun and rewarding.

Happy Birthday baby boy! See you soon.

Mama loves you.

PS. It’s also 14 degrees outside. Probably in honor of Seth.

pink or poo

Do you have a favorite color that represents for your soul all that is beautiful, cheerful, and bright? (Pink)

You know those days when all because of your own dang poor decisions you end up feeling like crap? (poo)

Do you have a calendar, a brown writing utensil, and a pink writing utensil?

If so, I have something to say to you!

January was a challenge for me, but I got through it. And it took the entire month, but I eventually came up with a basic yet beautiful idea to gently motivate me in my #1 life-style improvement goal to 1. Not do the thing(s) that make me feel like poo, and 2. To absolutely do the thing(s) that nourish and heal my soul…….

When a day is complete and I am all ready to slip between the sheets and pick up a delightful book …. I will first think back over the day, and I will take an assessment, and I will color in the square day on my calendar accordingly.

I was so excited to get up and turn the calendar page to February (my favorite month) this morning. A fresh clean month of expectation.

Indeed, it’s only 6:52 a.m. and I just know that in about fourteen hours I will probably be picking up that pink marker, God willing.

February was made to be as pink as possible!!

“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.” Hebrews 12:1

update on a snowy afternoon

(Last week)

I heard from a Faithful Reader yesterday and this is why I took the time to not only find my laptop (the children use it more than I do), but also wipe it down with disinfectant, sign into WordPress, approve a couple comments, put my feet up, tell Sarah where to find popcorn, put a cozy sweater on, stare out the window at the tiny yet multitudinous snowflakes coming down, think, and then…………….. begin to type.


How are you, my friends? How was your Christmas and New Year? Welcome to 2023 and all it’s many blessings which are in store for us. You know, the other day I was driving to the Post office and I got to the end of our road and stopped and thought, “Remember to expect good things from God today,” I turned left with that intention in my heart, and just a few miles down the road the first good thing happened. A black crow flew over the road, right in front of my car perfectly centered over the wind shied, high enough to not get into my way, yet low enough so I could see its tucked up feet. It was magical! I do love crows, I imagine taking one from a nest someday to raise as my own pet. Or maybe finding a nest of them and just observing their growth and behavior. They are such bright birds, and I am sure they would motivate me greatly.

The second thing that happened on that same trip to town was a friend of mine giving me an index card on which she had written the name of her favorite TV Bible Study teacher, along with the times he came on tv; Four Thirty in the morning (!?) and also Eight Thirty in the morning (much more doable). Now, this particular friend of mine is NINETY years old. And I am simply charmed by her pretty eyes and her friendly conversation and down to earth wisdom.

(In case you are curious, the man’s name was Les Feldick and his program is called “Through the Bible” and I did finally watch an episode this morning on YouTube. What I heard was good. Now, I am very careful about Bible teachers, and I don’t know this one well yet, so I recommend….. with caution.)

(I got the love stamps today!)

Thirdly, I found a bag of dollhouse furniture for my mom at the thrift store- for free. I had already given her the dollhouse, but sadly she had already given her small collection of furniture to me and Sarah, so this was a fun surprise to find replacements and more, for free. Did I mention free?

(I now also collect little shoes)

These were some small examples of what I saw clearly when I set my mind to look for God’s little gifts over the course of an ordinary morning. Quite simple, really, but life always brings that deep down joy of the heart when I determine to recognize the beauty of living around me which will continue until the day I die. And for you, too!

(From a lunch date last week)

Sarah never did find popcorn so she and her friend decided to crumble up a package of dry ramen noodles into a bowl to munch on. The children had an early dismissal from school and Sarah asked if she could have a friend over to which I replied, “no”. But then, after she asked fifty more times, I remembered that Bible story of the woman who asked the unjust judge for something over and over and by sheer repetition and persistence she eventually received her specific request. Thusly, I took the principle and changed my no to a yes— but only if the friend was dropped off and picked up by her own mother so I wouldn’t have to go out.

Our house during a sunset.

I’m trying to instill good manners into the children so when Seth came into the room, I told him to “Say hello to June.” and just as I guessed, he stood there silently. But it wasn’t for lack of manners on his part, “Her name’s not June, Mom”. “July?” “No.” (oh yes! I remember!). “Jill?” “Yes” THEN he said hello.

Christmas Day

I did go out this morning to mail two ebay boxes, but this was before the snow started. Rich had informed me that the children were being released early which was nice because it gave me time to go to the store and get some food (which always boosts the morale of the entire family). Seth fried a hamburger, Caleb had cheese and crackers…..so on and so forth…..nice and happy family.

Christmas Day again

Ebay is going well, however I do have a situation that I hope resolves itself, it’s an item I mailed out the moment I got paid for it and here it is several weeks later and the item was not delivered (to an apartment unit) ….yet. I have tracking and it says it attempted to deliver but was sent back to the post office to be picked up. The buyer said she’s been to the post office and so far they can’t find it. I hate this sort of thing because it takes time and the solving of riddles and mysteries to resolve and almost always costs me money and a loss of the item. It happened one other time but it was for a low-priced item and this one is more of a mid-range value item and I would rather not just have it vanish along with a refunded payment.

I am no longer dying my hair.

Other than slight issues now and then, it’s been overall profitable; not just financially but also in the mental well being of having something to do that I enjoy…….buying stuff that I like from second hand shops and reselling it. I am finding it super fun.

Currently reading (2nd book in a series)

Rich and the children are all doing well. Ethan is engaged to lovely Sierra and the wedding is coming up soon (April). With Jacob married to Brittnee, and Grace married to Brogan, as you may have guessed, there are a lot of us to keep track of and visit and support and so on……we have a family group chat on our phones that is active almost daily. Most of us have started doing Wordle and we enjoy seeing who gets the word each day. Jacob is currently on a business trip so Sarah was with Brittnee all weekend which was wonderful for her. Ethan is coaching HS wrestling with his dad and also has moved out into his own apartment. Grace called me today and we had a fun little chat. David works at FedEx and has his own car (a mini cooper). Caleb is busy with wrestling and doing well, he is a senior this year which bothers me because wasn’t he just my baby boy a moment ago? Seth is also wrestling in his last year of the Youth division and so far has won the two tournaments he was in (he had one yesterday). Seth is amazing, a joy, and so very wonderful. They all are. Sarah just recently tried out for the school play and got a good part (Sharpay in HS Musical). Seth is 13 now and Sarah is 12. Our two youngest ones are more than half grown up.

Brittnee and Sarah

It leaves me with some extra time and space in my days and my life to concentrate on myself. I have been working hard on improving and finished a year of intense therapy which really benefitted my life in many ways. I love listening to podcasts, reading books, talking with friends, and educating myself using social media accounts and other online resources, too. I still art-journal and read a lot. I have been feeling pretty tired for the past couple weeks so I’m paying attention to nourishing myself with good foods, rest, slow-living, quiet, and staying hydrated. I stay away from excitement the best I can (although yesterday I was in a crazy loud gym all day watching Seth be awesome). I pay attention to what I give my energy to so that I don’t waste it. And I recharge the best I can. Other than that I just yawn and say “I’m so tired”. What more can I do? It’s that time of year. A long holiday season and dark days……perfect for being tired, maybe I should say “relaxed” instead of “tired”. I’m thankful I don’t have the anxiety to go along with it like in previous times, honestly. I cannot complain!

Self love is another area I am working on. I was listening to a podcast this morning that made me realize that self love can be a way to protect myself from harm, by taking the time to really make sure that what I do, see, surround myself with, and my inner dialogue, are things that benefit ME. We are all so very different, and what works for one person will not work for another. We all need to know ourselves and be true to the person that we are.

Seth and his friend Alex

Is there anything you would like to know, or want my thoughts on, or and update on? I would be happy to take any suggestions! In the meantime, please know that your thoughts and love mean the world to me.

You are loved!

Christmas dress

I had to send my little daughter a Christmas dress. I thought about it later and realized that since she was born in November of 1999 I’ve been dressing her up for Christmas. It’s been a source of great delight for me. I’m sure I’ve missed a year or two, but this year I felt compelled to send her a package containing a new dress and a lace shirt to wear underneath it (from Anthropologie).

Grace has made Christmas beautiful for us for quite a while now……

She sent me this photo from her third grade class today. Teacher Grace, dressed in finery and lace.

Merry Chistmasing!

my daughter

Sarah heard me decline the offer to purchase a children’s book for hospitalized children at the register this morning at Barnes and Noble.

She thought it was so sad.

She had a check up this morning and had been saving her pennies (in todays world it’s dollars though) so she could shop for Christmas gifts to give to her friends and family.

When I was done with my transaction she paid for her item and was absolutely compelled to buy a book for a child. She had to.

The lady showed her the choices. “Oh I love Harry and the Purple Crayon, do you think that’s good, mom?”

“Yes Sarah it’s perfect.”

“I think you are a very special young woman,” said the lady, ringing up the book.

“Some little kid is going to be able to have that new book that I bought for them! Mom my heart is so full, my eyes are starting to tear up!”

She remembers when she had to go to the hospital a few times as a little one, and how scary it was, and so she has a heart for this sort of thing and can imagine a little bit of joy (in the midst of anxiety) for a child, in receiving a new book in the hospital at Christmas. I prayed several times already that the one who gets it feels that love and care.

The magic already happened in Sarah’s heart; she is figuring out her world, and learning that old and beautiful rule; it is more precious to give than to receive.”

Christmas love

We went to Starbucks yesterday evening and had coffee and wrote in our notebooks. Then we went shopping; the outdoor plaza was decorated for Christmas with lights, busy with shoppers, and it was snowing so magically.

I feel overwhelmed and there’s so much more to do before Christmas Day.

But I am so thankful for my husband’s love.