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Nov 14, 2017

The Best Laid Plans…

John Steinbeck’s classic novel Of Mice and Men got its name from a Robert Burns poem about destroying a mouse’s nest with his plow. In the poem the line reads: The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry.

We had a similar experience this fall when we fired up the grill for one last cookout. Unknown to us, a momma mouse had made her nest in it. When the fire started, she tried her best to save her babies, rushing one out and leaving it on the deck before going back in for the others. My husband quickly doused the

Imageflames but we weren’t fast enough. Momma and three babies died. The fourth baby lay helpless and crying on the deck.

What was I to do? Momma had given her life for this tiny little creature, barely a week old.

I did some research on mouse rearing and started feeding Baby Mouse a milk formula through an eyedropper every two hours. He thrived for five days and snuggled down in my hands to sleep when his tummy was full. Just when I thought he was going to make it, he took a turn. I held his tiny body in the palm of my hand while he took his last breath.

 The best laid plans of mice and men…

How often do our plans go awry? When Mouse died, I questioned myself. What did I do wrong? I went over the various scenarios of what I could have done differently…or better. Used a heating pad? A different formula? He was only a mouse, yes, but he was a mouse I had poured a lot of time and love into. It broke my heart when he died.

When our plans don’t work out, whom do we blame? Others? Ourselves? God?

In my new book, Mrs. Chartwell and the Cat Burglar, Abigail blames all of the above. While she struggles with the death of her husband, God is opening up a new door for her, but she is afraid to walk through. After all, she messed up really badly. Why does she deserve joy now?

But redemption is possible and sometimes the person we need to forgive the most is our self.

May you receive the abundant forgiveness and unconditional love of our Savior this Thanksgiving season.

 

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. Ephesians 1:7-8a.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wrote this for all of the parents out there who are facing high-school graduation with their child. Whether it’s this year, or in 12 years, it will be here sooner than you think.

The Long Ride

June 21, 2017

Every day I spend about three hours driving my kids around.

When it was time for school enrollment, it looked like our school was closing, so for that and other reasons, we chose not to send our kids to the local school in their neighborhood. Instead, we do school-of-choice, which is in the next town over. There is no school bus or even a city bus to take, which means I have become the mom-taxi.

Every morning we pack into the car and I drive to the high school, where I drop off my older son, then circle back to the middle school, where I drop off my youngest. In the afternoon, I do the same route, only to pick them up. Then later in the evening, I am usually heading back to pick up or drop off for sports practice, music lessons, church youth group, or any number of activities near their schools.

I have made this trip for 12 years.

On a good day, when I miss all the stoplights and the traffic isn’t heavy, and the carpool lines move fast at the schools, I can make it home in just over an hour.  But most days it takes longer. Lately, with the construction closing roads and nearly doubling the rush-hour traffic, it can seem like I’m on the Incredible Journey before I find my way back home.

Sometimes I complain, because it seems like what I’m supposed to do. It takes time away from my work day (three hours!), costs a crazy amount in gasoline, and I won’t even tell you how much mileage I clock on the mini-van every year. But usually I love this drive, because you see, I have my kids all to myself

I allow some electronic device time in the morning because honestly, I’m too tired to talk. But when we hit the halfway mark, all devices have to be put away and for the rest of the day, we visit. Or sometimes we don’t. But we’re together.

I learn about their school day, their friends, and what they got on their tests. We have discussions on what bothers them and why, and they tell me funny stories. I hear what music they like, what teachers they don’t, and if they’re nervous about that evening’s baseball game. Sometimes they hear their mom swear at other drivers (and apologize) and then discuss why swearing is bad but how God loves us anyway. Sometimes they see me cry, if we hit a bunny or drive by a memorial. We argue abut temperature, radio volume and who sits shotgun. We snack, drink, and sleep (not me!) in the car. It’s like our mini-world. And it bonds us.

“I can’t believe you drive that much every day,” other moms say to me on a regular basis. “What a burden!”

But it’s not. I consider it a privilege. What other way would I get huge, unscheduled blocks of times to talk with my kids? I’m one of the lucky ones.

Some day soon – just a year from now – my oldest one will graduate from high school and go on to college. Then a few short years later, so will my youngest. And I will look over in my car and find myself alone and wish for all the world that they were with me, and that for one more day I could drive those three long hours with them beside me.

 

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. — Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

 

Are We Good Enough?

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January 31, 2017

My new book discusses this question as my heroine Amy is faced with some difficult life choices while recovering from her recent job loss and an ended relationship. Here’s what she says:

            “You are enough. You do enough. You have enough. That’s going to be my mission statement.

             “I want to give women a sense of self and to remind them that they are unique beings, created for a purpose, and are gifted in many different ways to make their place in the world. Whether we are writers, mothers, corporate mangers, cooks, or any number of other possibilities, what matters most is that we bring integrity, honesty and respect to those around us.”

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With magazine covers, social media, and self-help books telling us how to look better, feel better and stress less, it can be hard to realize that you may, indeed, be doing your best.

In God’s eyes, we are dearly beloved daughters created in God’s image. Through Jesus Christ, we are already good enough to secure ourselves a home in Heaven. Nothing can dim the love He has for us.

Next time you are feeling like you’re not quite on top of things, realize that maybe you don’t have to be. You are already good enough the way you are.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review

Dec. 5, 2016

Every now and then I run across a thrilling can't-put-it-down read that speaks to me spiritually. This books fits both categories. Take a look:

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Lady Doc Takes on Revenge, Betrayal, and Murder in Telluride, CO Mystery!

Dying for Revenge stands heads above most murder mysteries. While I love a good “who-done-it”, this book pleasantly surprised me in that it was so much more than simply following clues and finding the bad guy.

Barbra Golder, the author, is intelligent, witty, well-educated and very in-tune to the human heart. She uses all of these qualities well in penning her novel, the first in a series featuring Jane Wallace.

Wallace is a medical examiner in the quirky and ritzy tourist town of Telluride, Colorado. She has fled there to try to forget the vengeful murder of her husband a few years earlier. A mother of six grown children, Wallace buries herself in her work, which has been mostly uneventful until the day that the famous actor Mitch Houston, is shot in their quiet little town. The obvious culprit is his girlfriend, but when another murder turns up, Wallace isn’t so sure.

Fighting her own demons, our heroine Wallace uses quick-wit and an impenetrable personality to fence out most relationships.

“You sure do have a knack for annoying people,” Patterson said. “Didn’t they teach you to make nice?”

“Where? In law school, where they teach verbal kung fu from day one? Or in pathology training, where I spend my day with dead folks?”

 

That is, until handsomely rugged true-crime writer Eoin Connor shows up in town and maneuvers his way, uninvited, into her life.

Golder’s plot gives us a page-turning medical thriller, but it’s so much more than that. She goes beyond solving the murders, to examining the hearts of those in the town, who the murders touch. And most of all, she tells a tale of revenge, and the bitter tide that it brings with it. Not relying on casual sex or gory violence, this book draws you in with its keen sense of timing and plot, as well as very likeable characters in a town that comes alive itself.

There’s also a deeply spiritual sense to the book as well, but not at all preachy. Wallace believes in God and faithfully attends the Catholic church, because her husband would want her to. But she can’t bring herself to take communion or attend confession, because she isn’t ready to forgive. However, she has a friend in Father Matt, whose faith is firm and who wants to see Jane finally free of the emotions that tie her down.

Golder herself has degrees in law and medicine and is a former medical examiner, so the details in her book are taken from her own career. What she also gives us is a likeable character who the reader is so drawn to, that at the end of the book we are left wanting more. I’m really glad that Jane Wallace and her little town of Telluride will appear again soon. This is a book that I highly recommend to any reader who wants a good story.

 

 

 

God Doesn’t Hate You 

Sept. 2016

I took a year off, which is why you haven’t heard from me in awhile.  I was toiling away at a novel, which started out as general fiction and turned into Christian fiction because my characters just couldn’t get through all the tough stuff without asking the question: Why is God letting this happen to me?”

Ever ask that question?

I have. I do. Heck, I asked it yesterday. And maybe even this morning. 

I’m not talking about the daily stuff, like when our garage door fell right off the track and broke in two, or the pipe came off the kitchen sink and all the water landed into the garbage and oozed out onto the kitchen floor.  (This month’s crisis.) I’m talking about the big stuff. The really big stuff, like a scary medical diagnosis and serious car accidents and the death of a loved one. What if it all happens at once, like it did to us last year?

God….I can’t take any more. Really.

But then I heard Michele Cushatt speak about the trials God allowed in her life, and how she walked through fear to praise. She’s still in the midst of her trials, but her focus is now on how they can reveal God’s glory instead of her strengths.

Paul says in Romans 5:3-4 “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Rejoice in suffering? Yikes.

How about you? Are you at a place where you can take a trial and know that God can use it to bring about something wonderful?

God doesn’t hate you. He loves you.  He only has the best for you in mind. I truly believe that, and yet the fear still comes from time to time. But when it does, I try to remember Who can see the future, and then I place it in His hands.  Therein, is the hope.

And about that novel I wrote: it’s some pretty intense fiction, but hopefully it’ll be out next year. In the meantime, look forward to a fun summer chik-lit read I have coming soon!

 

****If you go past this area, you'll see some of my very old blog posts! ***

 

 

November 15, 2011

The new book is coming out soon!  "I'm a Kid At Heart:  Becoming a Child of Our Heavenly Father" will be released mid-December, 2011.

 

 January 2011

I have started a new blog for my third book "Livin' Like A Princess - Claiming My Heritage As Heir to the King".  Please hop over to that, give it a read and let me know what you think!  Here is the link:

 http://www.pamelagossiaux.blogspot.com/

 

October 8, 2009

I had a horrible day on Tuesday.  And I had a big night planned - an author event where I was expected to speak and hopefully maintain some semblance of alert-ness.

After being up most of the night with a coughing child, the morning didn't go well.  One hundred and one things went wrong and that was all before noon.  I didn't even get my shower or my teeth brushed until about then.  My kids were behaving badly, I lost my temper and yelled (sometimes it's the only way they hear!) and I couldn't find my business cards for a meeting I had to attend.  When the grandparents finally picked the kids up to take them off to violin, one was crying and I was standing out in the rain, getting my newly dried and curled hair soaked, trying to console him.  When I finally went inside I said "Lord!  How on earth can I do a ministry for you in the shape I am in?  I'm look a mess, my book is about staying sweet, which I have failed to do today, and I don't even have a speech prepared!"  But I pulled myself together and went.

And you know what? God met me there.  The Holy Spirit intervened and gave me the strength that I didn't have on my own.  The event was a success.  I had a great time.  And I remembered something important:  it's not about me at all.  My strength, my ministry comes from and is for God.  And where He wants me, He will help me to be.

Praise the Lord! 

  

September 16, 2009

We found a dragonfly caught in a spider's web today.  We cleaned it's wings off, and as soon as the sticky stuff was gone, it flew away.   It was a special "feel-good" moment for me and the kids.  (Probably not so much for the spider!)

 

August 18, 2009

I haven't been very good at keepig up with the blog or sending out columns.  It has been a very busy year!  I would love to hear from you!  I love to get yor e-mails!

I went to a estate sale on Suday.  I don't know the name of the person who passed away, but I found out he was in his 70s.  He spoke 25 different languages and his home was filled with books, music, and instruments.  I think he must have been a musician.  I would love to have met him.  What I didn't see was a single trace of religion - no cross, nothing Jewish or Muslim.  I wonder if he had a spiritual side to him?  He was so well-rounded and so obviously gifted, I just wonder if he took the time to get to know his creator.   It saddens me a little bit that this man lived in my same home town and I never had the opportunity to meet him.

 

 

February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!! 

  

September 28, 2008

After my 8 year old son talked to his friend on the phone, my three year old thought he should do the same. "Mommy, I've got to call my friend Lucy," he said to me in a serious, "don't mess with me" voice. Lucy is his two-year old friend. So after trying unsuccessfully to dissuade him, I dialed my friend's cell phone number. She was camping and in the middle of a walk in the woods. "Lucy, do you remember Logan.." she started, and Lucy gave her a look that said "of course I remember Logan. Now give me the phone."

The two littles ones had a cute conversation for a few minutes, which involved asking each other what they were doing, then Logan hung up. He was satisfied and went back to playing. It was just such a "grown up" moment for them! 

 

 

May 27, 2008

Yesterday I celebrated my 18 year wedding anniversary with Duane. We had a romantic date on Saturday, when we could get a sitter, so we kissed each other good morning yesterday and then set about doing yard work. Now, I mentioned that my life is somewhat stressful. Yesterday, for example, I left the boys in the yard working while I came in to fix some lunch. Soon I heard the buzzing of a chain saw, a loud CRASH, followed by a loud AUGGGHHH!!! then the sound of my son crying. Thinking the worst, I ran outside. Apparently, without consulting me, Duane decided to cut down a tree. Not only a tree, but the boys' FAVORITE tree and the only one in our yard that they could climb.  As the tree fell, Duane fell with it. He was unhurt (more or less) but Zachary was hysterical. After all, his tree was gone. After much crying, he ran to the garage, got nails and hammer, and decided to "fix" his tree.  Duane, sore and limping, helped him nail the branches back to the stump. It was a tender  moment, and probably why I married the man 18 years ago, but one has to wonder if he hadn't cut the tree down in the FIRST place...... 

 

May 22, 2008

My doctor says I'm stressed. And there's good reason. Let me tell  you about my day. I woke up this morning and left the house by 7:30 a.m. to lead a meeting, taking my son's violin along. After the meeting I tried to tune said violin, because my son was supposed to play it in front of the class. The G-string peg stuck and wouldn't tune. Not a good thing. After the performance (which was a little flat  on a few notes, but otherwise perfectly wonderful!) I rushed home to brush my teeth and take off to a new dentist. After an hour long wait (they were running behind) the hygenist took my medical history and  put bright red stickers on my chart noting my life-threatening Latex allergy. Five minutes into the cleaning, she said "Oh My Gosh! I'm using Latex gloves!" While I didn't feel any reaction (God was apparently looking out for me) she kept asking me questions like "Do you have your Epi Pen with you?" I was running out fo time and needed to leave  to pick my son up from school. Quickly they finished, told me I had two filling that needed to be replaced and that my  insurance wouldn't cover much of them. I rushed to the school, was the last car in car-pool line (kids hate that) and got home to clean the house before the appraiser came. Appraiser showed up early, I ran Lin Lin to work and got home in five minutes while he was stll doing the outside of the home, finished with him, then went upstairs to do some work deadlines.  In the middle of a phone  call, my two sons came upstairs to cause trouble (or love on their mom). While still on the phone, I walked downstairs  to see where their dad was and why he wasn't watching them. I found him holding the side of his head, saying "I'm so dizzy" and slurring his words. Apparently they were rough-housing and he took a knee to the temple.  I got him  ice, made him count fingers, and asked him his name. He seems to be okay now.

 

And that was before the day was nearly over.

 

Just a typical day in the life of Pam! 

I need a vacation.....

 

- Pam

 

 

March 25, 2008

Somewhere, under all the snow, I have flowers blooming! My snowdrops, the earliest bulbs I have, peeked their little heads through the ground and bloosomed forth into an array of white ground cover last week. The  purple and yellow crocus did the same. As the snow was melting yesterday, they were still there, thriving.  Thank God for small wonders!

 

 March 5, 2008

Today was a sad day for our family. The mother of one of my son's classmates died suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday morning.  She has two little girls, grades 2 and 3, and a husband who is now a single parent. It's a small school, with only 160 kids in grades K-8, so we are a close community. There were a lot of tears, but also a lot of support. Our school principal gathered the kids together this morning - the 2nd and 3rd grade classes and their parents - and spent a half hour talking to them about it, answering questions, and praying.. He told a story about water bugs and dragonflies to help the kids understand death. The waterbugs eventually leave the water, climb up a stalk of grass and disappear. They cannot return to the water, but they go on to a wonderful and different life. The water bugs still in the pond miss those who have gone on, and wonder. But eventually, all of the water bugs become dragonfies. He ended the story by giving each child a dragonfly charm to carry around with them today. I thought it was a fitting memorial, and one that the kids were really able to grasp. Before I left, I hugged my son.  Life is short. I hope he goes forward into his day, filled with joy. But I also hope that he realizes how precious a gift life is, and that we need to truly enjoy each moment that we''re given. 

 

Dec. 23

We made family memories today. I made up a batch of cookie dough and we cut out sugar cookies and decorated them. Lin Lin had no idea what rolling dough was all about. Logan pressed his cookie cutter into the dough like I showed him, than while he waited for me to meticiously lift the cookie out of the dough and onto the cookie sheet, he grabbed handfuls of dough and plopped them on the sheet himself. HIS cookies, like Zachary was doing. Zach, of course had perfected the cookie cutter method and moved on to creating shapes of his own, namely fish.
    Then we wrapped presents. Well, Duane wrapped, Lin Lin dozed on the couch, I finished up a craft project, and Zachary and Logan….they helped. All of us.
    After dinner (with candlelight for Advent) we got our pajamas on,  grabbed our favorite stuffed animals (Zachary grabbed Dino and his new Webkinz, Logan grabbed a froggie and Meow Meow, Lin Lin her bear) and we climbed into the car to go look at lights. Duane popped popcorn for us all, and we were all snug and well fed as we drove into Plymouth and Northville and admired the Christmas decorations at some of the larger subdivisions. Logan kept asking what we were doing - "Are we going to Whole Foods?  Are we going home? Why not?" We drove past Aunt Barb's subidvision "Auntie Barbs? Can I play the pig game?" and stopped to buy crickets at a pet store that was unfortunately closed. "But why?  What will we feed froggie? Why can't we get in the door? Are we going to go back?"  Soon, Logan finished up his popcorn and drifted off to sleep to the lullaby of soft Christmas music playing on the car radio. Zachary was old enough to stay awake and loved the lights. Lin Lin was quiet, snuggled down and very happy in the back seat. Duane and I were content.
    It was a fun day - a memoriable  day. A Christmas memory made.
 

 

Nov. 30, 2007

Okay, I realize I haven't been good at updating my blog lately, but life has been BUSY!! It has been exciting, too. My book came out and I'm working on publicity with my publisher,  and there's school with the kids and all of their holiday activities. That alone, would be enough, but I went and broke my hand and hurt my foot, so suffice it to say my left side is a bit handicapped right now. I'm enjoying life with the kids, though and Thanksgiving was especially fun.  We spent it at my parents house, with family and friends present. We painted ornaments and played a wild and competetive (and LONG) game of monopoly. Wow. I didn't know my family could be so feisty! I hope all of you had a blessed and peaceful time with family and friends. I will try to be better at keeping up the blog. I love to hear from you! Thank you to those who send comments and conversation my way!  And as a side note - my computer no longer does spell-check, so if you see lots of typos….well, I'm trying to spell-check on my own! - Pam

 

Oct. 5, 2007

Last night I was listening to my son say his prayers before bedtime. He comes up with quite a list of people to pray for, and also quite a list of things that he thanks God for. Lately, he has been ending his prayers with this:

 "Thank you, God, for taking care of the world and everything in it because I am too little to do that and you are just the right size."

Then he lays his head down on his pillow and goes to sleep. Wow. If only we could all so easily put things into God's hands for the night!

 

Sept. 27, 2007

We've acquired a pet toad. I always told myself that I would never, ever have a pet that I had to feed live creatures too. But we got this baby toad and the kids love him. They named him Spots. So I went out and bought crickets. "Put them in a container, and give them a little bit of water and a slice of potato" said the pet store sales clerk. "They have to eat too." The first day we made the mistake of setting their container in our kitchen window. The crickets happily jumped on their potato and started munching. "Hey Mom, we have two typs of pets now!" said my older son. "One toad and crickets!" We watched them eat and hop for a few hours before I moved them into the garage, where we couldn't see them. There, they will stay, before we start naming them. I have to say, I've toughened up. We routinely feed the little critters to our toad. But the other night we had one cricket who sang and sang all night at the top of his little cricket lungs. Maybe he was terrified, but he sounded happy to me. "Anybody that happy doesn’t deserve to die," I said the next morning. The cricket was let go in our flowerbed. Okay….so I've got a ways to go….Maybe our next pet should be a vegetarian.

 

Sept. 18, 2007

I saw a journal prompt this morning that said "What can you find at home that you can find no where else?" and I thought what a wonderful thought to ponder every day! I'm no saint but when I find myself getting dragged down by dirty dishes, laundry, bills and just…life…I've made it a habit to start praying for what I am thankful for in my life. I start by thanking God that I am able to stand at the sink and wash the dishes with my own two hands (or whatever I'm doing at the moment) and then I just go down the list of whatever comes to mind. My house. My sons. My husband. My dishwasher. After a few minutes, I feel better.  Or at least, thankful! J   I painted the saying "carpe diem!" across the top of my front door, so that I see it every day before I leave. The words are latin for "seize the day!" and that is what I try to do. Who knows if tomorrow will ever come?

 

"This is the day the Lord hath made. Let us be glad and rejoice in it!" 

 

 

Sept. 9, 2007

A few days ago my favorite author passed away. Madeleine L'Engle died at the age of 88, after publishing 60 books and winning numerous awards. I always wanted to meet her and tried to go to several of her writing seminars, but they filled up so quickly I could never get in. I did write her a letter once, which she responded to personally, but didn't sign. She wrote her books from the heart, sharing personal insights into her life, her marriage, her children.  Her writing was so real that I felt like I knew her personally. So her death seems like a personal loss. I will miss her, but more, I will miss the anticipation each year of watching for her latest book to come out. Farewell Madeleine.

 

August 28, 2007

 
This is the last week before school starst and I find myself missing my son already. He'll be a big second-grader this year! I know a group of mothers who gets together for a celebratory breakfast on the first day of school. I know someone else who is counting down the days until school starts and she can get "something done"!
 
Yes, there is lots of noise, messes, constant demands on my attention and very little time to write, but am I the only mother who actually dreads the end of summer and the day when she has to send her little one off for an entire day, five days a week, for someone else to play with? I don't think so.
 
We've had so much fun this summer and his baby-hood is getting farther behind me. It seems like only yesterday that he was so small and soft and cuddly. At seven, his hands are nearly as big as mine now, and he doesn't need me to hold them as often. Good Night Moon has been replaced by chapter books that he reads on his own. He can make his own lunch and barely misses me when I drop him off at a friend's house to play.
 
This is all good. It is my goal. But last night he sat on my lap and together we read a book and I could smell his clean soft hair right under my chin, and feel his little hand grasping mine. These times may become fewer, but I will certainly cherish each and every moment because as we all know, time marches on.