Keep Me Accountable: NANOWRIMO!!!

Today is November 1st and the first day of Nanowrimo. I will officially begin my push to write 50,000 words this month in just a couple of hours. If you are participating in this challenge, make me your writing buddy – I’m listed as christylashea.

I think I’m ready for this challenge. I’ve got a skeleton of scenes written to guide me through. If you’ve done Nano before and have any suggestions, please share!  We’re all about helping each other reach our goals around here!

Now, I couldn’t help share a couple of pictures from the last couple of weeks. Here, my daughter(6years) and son(22 months) share a nice treat during our recent trip to Jaemor Farms in Alto, Georgia. It’s just beautiful up there.

Here, I’m trying to get a picture of their beautiful gardens and these apple trees. I bought a half a peck of the Red Delicious. They were huge and very sweet!

TTIN Challenge: Deadlines & Remembrance

As many of you know, my grandmother passed away last Wednesday. Though she’d broken her hip, and was in a rehab facility, her health began to decline. I don’t think death is ever expected, even when the illness has been drawn out… I think there is still some shock there when someone passes, even though you’ve watched them be ill for a while. This was not the case with my grandmother. When she declined, she did so fast and went on to be with her maker very suddenly. I’ve gone through denial and I’ve been numb.

On Sunday, I decided to write. When I speak about writing, I’m not journaling, although I think that can be very helpful. No, when I write, I want to escape. My character’s problems are much worse than my own and I know that I can put them through hell, but know that in the end, all will be happy.

The ACFW Genesis Contest has been looming since January. Although the deadline is March 4th, up until this very moment, I thought the deadline was today. Anywho… this is what I finalized on Sunday. I submitted my entry. It was a big accomplishment because despite everything else that has been going on, the Lord gave me some free time on Sunday and I chose to use it wisely. Normally, when life is awry, so is my writing. I hope this small accomplishment shows I’m growing up and beginning to use my writing as therapy and work through the hard times.

If you’d like to read more about my grandmother, Sue Russell White, here is a link to her obituary. The obit was written by my cousin who truly captured Sue’s essence. I like to think I may have inherited some of Sue’s ambition. She didn’t let life get her down. She clung to life and raced toward the finish.

TTIN Challenge: Days 24 & 25

I’m becoming confused on the days of my challenge which is pretty bad since it’s my challenge!

My grandmother was put in the hospital on Friday as she fell and broke her hip. She’s had surgery and will be moved to a rehab facility for the next few weeks while she heals. I’m sharing this, because while I visited her on Sunday in the hospital, she was coming in and out of consciousness as she had not been out of the recovery room for very long. One of her friends was visiting and Granny began talking about her mother in law, Mrs. White. Granny said that Mrs. White was afraid of storms and many times my grandmother had to go and stay with her mother in law. Later, I asked Granny why Mrs. White was afraid of storms… my writer mind was going at that point, because I knew my great-grandmother would have been alive during the time of the tornado that hit my home town.  Granny agreed that Mrs. White had been in the storm and she thought that was why she was afraid of storms.

Now, my grandmother may have been in a drug-induced state, but I believe her account about my great-grandma… It makes me wonder if researching genealogy has some purpose. For those of you who are writing historical, have you gained anything for your stories by researching your own genealogy?

By the way, my word count is still the same… actually less. I edited a few words out. Other than that, this weekend has been a blur of hospitals and housecleaning.  I hope you all doing this challenge have had better days than this…

I Believe in Spaghetti by Kari Smith Murphy

Today, my Author Spotlight is my dear sister in-law, Kari Smith Murphy. Kari is a full time college student pursuing a degree in Forensic Psychology. She enjoys spending her free time out of the classroom with her husband Blake and their 4-year old son, (my adorable nephew 😉 Landon.

Kari won my Author Spotlight today because of her essay I’m about to share with you. Although she is not pursuing publication she’s taking English and the instructor allows her creativity to flow. I think Kari may be on to something here. She has a unique voice and the subject matter is very special to Kari, and to me, too. I was thrilled to read her most recent essay. I wanted to share this with all of you…


I Believe in Spaghetti
by Kari Smith Murphy

I can’t cook. It’s true. When I do the whole house smells like someone lit the stove on fire then tried to put it out with burnt rags. One may think I am exaggerating, but unfortunately for us, it’s true. I do however have one go-to-meal that seems to come out right each time and it is spaghetti. Spaghetti is the first thing I made after I was married and the only thing my new husband could stomach. It was a basic recipe and it was good. Not Daddy good, but it was good.

My dad’s spaghetti was amazing. The man was a sheer genius when it came to the dish. I would think of how much I wanted some for dinner then to my surprise that evening when he came home he’d make it, like we had ESP. I have played around with the recipe for years trying to figure out why his spaghetti was so delicious, but never could. I would walk down the aisles of the grocery store looking at labels trying to spark some memory of what he would put in the sauce to no avail. Then with the next batch, I would try again and fail. Although, the sauce got better each time, it was still missing something and I was determined to find that key ingredient. So back to the grocery store and back to the kitchen I went.

It was a particularly grueling day for me that chilly spring evening when I decided that I would make spaghetti for dinner. While gathering all the ingredients I opened the refrigerator and something I hadn’t tried fell out onto my foot. It was so generic and so simple, there was no way this could be the missing piece, but could it? I threw this mystery item in my sauce towards the end just for fun and there it was. This was it. Emotions flooded over me; I fell to the floor weeping, dumbfounded not even sure, if I was happy or sad. Still sobbing I set the table for dinner; silently I sat and watched my husband and son as they ate, then ask for seconds, then thirds. Before I knew it, the entire batch was gone.

It was a chilly night in September when my father was killed; his life cut short by an angry man’s bullet. His spaghetti was so much more to me than just dinner, it was comfort, and it was safe. So whenever I am feeling particularly blue I’ll whip up a batch and remember the good times, remember my father.

Although I can’t recall much from our conversation that day, I do recall asking for spaghetti when he returned home from his hunting trip. It only took nine years for me to have that spaghetti, Daddy’s spaghetti.

A child’s perspective

My four-year old is always up to something. She’s either running wild through the house or saying something I find really intelligent for her age. Here are a few things she’s started saying or doing within the last few weeks…

1) She’s learned to tie her shoes.

Now, she likes to tie her shoes, my shoes and her daddy’s shoes!

2) She’s learning more about Jesus.

She’ll see a cross I have hanging up at home or in a picture… she’ll look at me and say: Mommy, Jesus died on the cross.

That’s right baby, He did. For us.

Dollface Starts Pre-K

Last night and this morning have been a struggle.

After one last hoo-rah at church last night – where the Varsity catered their yummy burgers and fries and the church gym was full of games, giant blow up obstacle courses – it was time to start organizing for Monday: my daughter’s first day of Pre-K.


Of course I got in a tizzy, as is my personality. I was flitting around the house, getting ill because time had crept up on me and I’d known this day was coming for several months now. Still, the day was upon me and I wasn’t ready. I snapped at my poor girl more than I should have only because I was so nervous myself about her starting this new season of her life.

Finally, I got focused. Put aside the ironing that didn’t have to be done right then sat down with baby girl and we decided on the perfect outfit to wear. I knew I had bought more clothes for this school year but realized I was still quite behind on my washing… same story, different day. Luckily, we had a brand new outfit and new puppy dog bows she wanted to wear.

We took care of baths last night and finally got in the bed an hour later than I intended. Of course I couldn’t sleep, stayed up until midnight, knowing I was going to hate myself for it the next day.

Groggy & reluctant, I woke up this morning and pulled myself out of bed, knowing I couldn’t be late. Tardiness is frowned upon in the school system and I was going to have to shake off my procrastination for good.

Bless her, baby girl woke up in a good mood. She was ready to start school. She had her orange juice and granola bar (a routine we’ve been on for a while now) and then was ready to get dressed. She was excited about wearing the new clothes we’d bought her last weekend, and topped the outfit off with her puppy dog bows. She let me fix her hair and even brushed her teeth! (Folks, this is PROOF God was really around this morning as that was a pure miracle!)

Baby Girl slung her backpack over her shoulders and out the door we went. We rode quietly in the car and I made sure to tell her how proud I was of how she got dressed this morning and what an awesome day she was going to have.

I walked her into her class room, unbelieving how quickly this time had come. I forgot my camera but after the teacher got her seated at her table, I snapped one picture of Baby Girl about to start her day. I captured her sweet little dollface as she looked at something beside me… the uncertainty in her eyes nearly broke my heart, but I knew, I reminded myself, she was going to do spectacular!

I wanted to stay, but knew it was nearing eight, the time class starts. I should have lingered outside the window a little longer, to wave at her… yet my heart was so heavy, I knew I was about to break. I couldn’t let her see me as anything except confident. If she saw my weakness, she’d start to worry. I waved and followed another set of parents out of the room. The mom ahead of me smiled and I knew she was probably feeling the same way I did.

I made it to the car before the first tear fell. I blame it on horomones, but really, pregnant or not, I would’ve cried.

An hour and a half has passed since I dropped her off. I’m dying to go back to the school and peak in on her. I’m thinking they’ve already been outside to play by this time, already had their breakfast snack. I worry she won’t eat enough and will be hungry…

But I’ve prayed that God will be with her and I know He is. I can rest with that knowledge and look forward to seeing her afterwards when I know she’ll be full of stories about her first day of Pre-K.

Be strong and of good courage for He is with you….

Slice of Life ~ The size of an avocado

I love getting these weekly reminders from

As you can see below, they give details of what’s going on with my baby. A snippet of my status comes to my email box weekly. Here, I’ve posted straight from the site where I am in my pregnancy. If you don’t know about this site, I highly recommend you visit. The link is above.

Your pregnancy: 16 weeks

How your baby’s growing:
Get ready for a growth spurt. In the next few weeks, your baby will double his weight and add inches to his length. Right now, he’s about the size of an avocado: 4 1/2 inches long (head to rump) and 3 1/2 ounces. His legs are much more developed, his head is more erect than it has been, and his eyes have moved closer to the front of his head. His ears are close to their final position, too. The patterning of his scalp has begun, though his locks aren’t recognizable yet. He’s even started growing toenails. And there’s a lot happening inside as well. For example, his heart is now pumping about 25 quarts of blood each day, and this amount will continue to increase as your baby continues to develop.

See what your baby looks like this week. (Or see what fraternal twins look like in the womb this week.)

Note: Every baby develops a little differently — even in the womb. Our information is designed to give you a general idea of your baby’s development.

How your life’s changing:
The top of your uterus is about halfway between your pubic bone and your navel, and the round ligaments that support it are thickening and stretching as it grows. You’re probably feeling a whole lot better as you settle into pregnancy, too. Less nausea, fewer mood swings, and “glowing” skin contribute to an overall sense of well-being.

Soon you’ll experience one of the most wonderful moments of pregnancy — feeling your baby move. While some women notice “quickening” as early as 16 weeks, many don’t feel their baby move until about 18 weeks or more. (And if this is your first baby, don’t be too impatient — you may not be aware of your baby’s movements until 20 weeks or so.) The earliest movements may feel like little flutters, gas bubbles, or even like popcorn popping. Over the following weeks they’ll grow stronger and you’ll be able to feel them much more frequently.

Slice of Life: 4 year old cuties

Sometimes my daughter does things that are adorable and unforgettable.


Here’s the unforgettable ~ She wanted to paint her fingernails with bright pink nail polish, but somehow the nail polish ended up on her nails + the palms of her hands. BOTH hands!

Here’s the adorable ~ She’s really excited about being a big sister. She likes to come up to me and wrap her arms around my waist, then kiss my stomach. Normally, she says “Hey, Baby Sissy!” I’ve been reminding her every chance I have to point out the sister she thinks I’m having could be a brother. At first she wasn’t too receptive to this. In her 4-year old mind she thinks girls come from Mommies and boys come from Daddies. I explained we could have a boy or girl, only God knows.

So, the next time she came running up to me, grabbing my waist, she said, “Hey, Baby Sissy! Hey, Baby Brother!”

Atlanta Falcon’s, Veterans, and Fishing on Lake Lanier

How do all of these things fit together? Easy! The Falcon’s hosted the Vets from Fort Gordon in Augusta at Lake Lanier for a day of Fishing with the Falcons. My husband, Billy, was asked to participate. We looked forward to this day for weeks.

The event took place Tuesday May, 19th at Van Pugh Park. Here’s Billy’s rig in our driveway. It was a very windy day and he was ready with his boat, fishing equipment and his POW and US Flags.

Next stop was for bait at the famous Dam Store on Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Here, Billy hooks up with fellow Captain Corey Payne. They’re in front of Corey’s Carolina Skiff.

Ready to set sail on a very windy afternoon. Waiting for the Veterans and the Falcons.

Here’s a view of all the other boats that participated.

On the water, finally, we’ve got our honored Vets- One wearing the Michigan T-shirt and the other in the red UGA hat – Go DAWGS! One Falcon is in the front, this is Justin. The other player is Tyson in the middle.

When I think of Veterans I think of men with graying hair talking about the Gulf War, Vietnam, the Korean War and all those other battles of the past. The thing is, its so easy to take for granted the boys fighting for freedom every day. These two Vets on Billy’s boat were in their 20s! One young man was injured by a suicide bomber and the other was an IED. I saw another young woman in a wheelchair. Remember these young adults and all the soldiers that have gone before them and the many more that will continue to fight and protect our nation.

Read more about the Falcon’s Fishing Day on

After a half day of fishing, we ate some great food provided by Outback Steakhouse.

Of course, I had to get my photo with two of the players. Todd is on my right and Tyson on my left.

Here’s the Coach! Mike Smith was so gracious to our daughter Downey. She was a little shy in this picture and really clung to her daddy.

Billy & Todd

Billy and Tyson

And, Billy with the lovely cheerleaders. Not one of these girls made a bad picture.

They autographed a picture for Downey and were really sweet to her. I wish I looked that great in pictures! Downey loved meeting the cheerleaders.