Track Season!

I’m pretty awkward, uncoordinated, and generally disinterested in sports, but my family is a track family. My dad ran, my brother ran, and my husband ran. One of my sisters in law ran and one of my brother in laws as well, and they killed it, basically owning nationals every year. My father in law ran, and his dad ran too.

And actually, as a senior in high school I joined the track team with the idea in mind that I could just work out with them while not competing, so I am in the track team photo in the school year book…

Last night my nine year old went to bed almost as excited as if it were Christmas. I didn’t think she’d ever get to sleep. Why’s that, you ask?  Because today is her first ever day of track practice!

I will be there, camera in hand!

My Norah is kind of a mix of her daddy and I. She’s about as coordinated as I am, but she seems to really like sports (the weirdo!), so I think this fourth grade level track will be great fun for her.

Despite our rich family history of running track (or showing up for the team photo) I promise we aren’t the kind of folks to push her into something just because everyone else in the family did it. We are still happy to encourage her in her lifelong dream of being an Elvis Impersonator.

Good Luck Norah!
Norah Elvis 300x300 Track Season!

**
It’s not track team, but Verity Drummer, daughter of the commander of the Tangle Space Station has a fate she can’t escape either…

I got to write this book with my brother (who promises he will publish the parallel novel soon!) which makes it different from my others in setting and theme, but in another way it’s a classic Traci Tyne Hilton tale. One stubborn young woman forced by circumstances to accept what fate has planned for her instead of following her own path.

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Spring Cleaning is Killing Me!

Spring Killing 300x300 Spring Cleaning is Killing Me!

I don’t want to overstate the case…it’s just a kid’s birthday party…

However…

I just get so nervous throwing parties!

I kind of hate it.

It’s also spring cleaning time, which should partner well with a party except for the obvious. The house needs spring cleaning. Which means that’s what I should be doing instead of dreaming about hiring Plain Jane’s Good Clean Houses to do it for me.

Because she’s not real. Which I should know. But I’m more than tempted to google for her anyway, just in case.

I bet she’s be awesome at a Ever After High themed 8 year old’s party.

Well, anyway. No more delay. Time to go tidy up and decorate!

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Happy April Fool’s Day!

cupcake 300x200 Happy April Fools Day!This was a pretty big family holiday around my house.

Not that we kids were excited about it, but my mom was!

She was a gifted woman, regarding April Fool’s tricks. When you consider she did not have Pinterst or Youtube in the 1980′s the sheer variety of her gags is really impressive.

My favorite was the year we went out to the movies with friends and came home for cake afterwards.

The house smelled fabulous, and had for most of the day. This was going to be one gooooood cake.

Mom passed the cake knife to our friend so he could cut it. Now, this was around the time that our friend had really gotten quite a lot cooler than us. So he was willing to hang out with us when his parent’s made him, but he really didn’t have anything to say to us  around other kids. We had known him since preschool, but he outgrew us (and never grew back into us, more’s the pity.)

So he got the knife, and it didn’t matter that my brother and I weren’t invited to cut the cake because…CAKE! We were eating cake! Who cares who got to cut it?

Except it wouldn’t cut.

His parents tried to help him., and all the adults had a chuckle at the kid who couldn’t cut a simple cake.

After a few goes I think he scraped it with the knife, or something like that. I don’t remember. All I know is that it wasn’t a cake. It was frosting covered cake pans.

We were rewarded with cupcakes (Meh. Cake is better) and the relief of knowing Mother’s sense of humor had acupcake 2 300x225 Happy April Fools Day! different victim that year.

It was awesome!

I don’t trick my kids on April Fool’s day, but mostly because  I’m just too lazy. Mom put so much time, effort, and thought into it that the bar is set too high.

My daughter, Norah, wants to carry the April Fool’s torch. So far her great ideas include filling a whoopie cushion with yellow water so it would make people look like they wet their pants. I tried to explain that that would humiliate the person, but that’s just me being an April Fool’s kill joy, I know.

I should try harder to carry on the family legacy, and so in the spirit of humiliating children, I am taking the kids to school in my pajamas today.

Hope mom is just a little bit proud of me!

**

You know what’s no joke? All of these titles are free!

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Sparkles!

London london tipton 14805669 339 362 280x300 Sparkles!

My dad loves buying jewelery for my mom. Every birthday and Christmas he has some shiny bauble for her.

I assume this is why I love jewelry.

Jewelry is pretty, which isn’t an unusual reason to like sparkly things, but also it’s what I grew up seeing as an expression of love from my Dad to my Mom.

All of that is by way of an apology in the classic sense, because I  have the sneaky suspicion that liking jewelry as much as I do isn’t quite the Christian thing.

I’m not the girliest girl, anyway. Not really into hair or makeup. But jewelry? Yes please!

But I’m hard on the stuff. I don’t know what I do wrong, except that like my mom, I just wear it, you know? A ring, a necklace. A pair of earrings. Not dripping in jewels by any means, but everyday I have a little something with my outfit, even if I’m just at my desk all day or driving the Mom-taxi.

About seven years ago I lost my wedding set when we moved. You can see how this would devastate someone who perceives jewelry as a love language.

After a sufficient mourning period passed, Daniel replaced the ring for me. But, like the lady in the parable of the lost coin, I never stopped looking, and eventually, I found my original set at my parents’ house, where we had stayed for two weeks between moving out of our old house and into the new one.
Since I had it, I wore it on my left hand.

And eventually the diamond fell off.

This isn’t that unusual, so I didn’t worry. I just put it aside until it made sense to fix it someday. After all, I had a new wedding ring. This was just for sentiment and sparkle.

But I like sparkle, so I picked up an inexpensive ring to wear in its place, and the little stones promptly fell out of that one too. I returned it.

But my hand felt naked, so one day at a gift shop I picked up a little silver ring with tiny pearls set in it.

They fell out pretty fast.

Long story short, (ha! Yeah right!) I had a fourth ring on that hand for the last 9 months or so. A vintage birth stone ring that I had had my eye on at a antique store.

I saved up for it. It was a reward for hard work, and a memorial to an uncle I lost at the same time. (I lost three uncles and my grandma and grandpa in the last 15 months. So I was feeling very sentimental.)

Last night I noticed that one of the very tiny accent stones had fallen out. These stone were set flush in the metal. The center birth stone stuck out quite far, so there really wasn’t any way that the side sparklies were getting knocked around.

I honestly have no idea what kind of physics it took to knock the stone out.

I feel like I ought to have a story of spiritual significance to go along with this. That God is eternal and the things of this world are not, by any means.

Or that your beauty comes from the inside and not from what sparkles on the surface.

Or that love is about laying down your life for your brother, not about gifts given on certain days.

And while these things are all true and very worth meditating on and writing about…I have a suspicion there is a more practical lesson in this for me.

One I don’t like nearly so well.

Something along the lines of “If you can’t take care of your nice things, you just can’t have them anymore.”

Yeah.

I don’t think I’m quite ready to adopt that one yet, so I’ll go back to the first.

God is eternal and his love is everlasting, and nothing on this Earth will ever compare.

***

Foreclosed is about lost jewels…and it’s free!

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Dreaming Big…

So I had this idea a few years ago, that maybe the writing thing would work, and we could buy a little house in Kansas so that we could have longer visits to my in laws without driving them crazy.

Now, they have NEVER said I drive them crazy, but we all know the saying about fish. And to me, if you want to invite yourself to visit someone for say, a couple of months, it would be nice to not expect them to host you that whole time.

With that in mind, every now and again I go hunting for a little place in my husband’s home town. Something modest and cheap that will keep me motivated to work hard…

Today I found this gem, at just $12,000! I am so tempted to buy it for the dear husband as a present! Fullscreen capture 3262014 21656 PM.bmp 300x195 Dreaming Big...

Cute right?

There’s no way I could possibly regret plopping down all of our earthly savings (plus some, I’m sure) to pick up this adorable gem for less then the price of a used mini-van.

Not with such a welcoming entry…Fullscreen capture 3262014 21644 PM 300x226 Dreaming Big...

Or cozy kitchen…

Fullscreen capture 3262014 21626 PM.bmp 300x225 Dreaming Big...
I guess before I do anything rash, I should ask myself, “What would Mitzy do?”

(Is it wrong that I’m STILL thinking it might be a good idea?!)

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Filed under family life, FREE, Mitzy Neuhaus

Best Seller at Barnes and Noble!

I confess, I neglect Nook readers when I share links to my books. I’m especially disappointed in myself considering how kindly Nook readers are treating me today!

Eminent Domain is on sale for just 99 cents at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I’m not saying Amazon isn’t doing well…Eminent Domain is ranked #71 there as I right this…that’s right…I broke through the top 100!

But over at Barnes and Noble…Wow! I’m #22 as I write this post! I really am surprised/delighted/flabergasted/gobsmacked/thrilled/outofwordstoexplainhowamazedIwas.

(My apologies for the cover of the book in the spot right before Eminent Domain!)

bn best seller Best Seller at Barnes and Noble!

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Christian Reviewers, a Private Facebook Group

facebook banner template 300x114 Christian Reviewers, a Private Facebook GroupI think I have some of the greatest fans in the whole wide world, don’t you? icon smile Christian Reviewers, a Private Facebook Group I’m not just saying that. You guys are so kind and encouraging. I truly appreciate all of your support.

Every now and then I offer a book deal, a freebie (you know I love giving books away!) or a review copy. And you all never fail to help me when I need it!

I realized recently that there isn’t a good centralized spot for Christian authors to connect with readers who want to review new books.

So I started one. icon smile Christian Reviewers, a Private Facebook Group I opened a closed Facebook group for authors to connect their free review copies with readers who like to leave honest reviews. And I want to invite you guys to join in!

If readers and writers hit it off and decide to hang out, that’s totally cool, but for the most part, it’s meant to be the kind of place you would pop in when you want something new to read, scroll through the titles on offer, and let an author know you’d be willing to take a free book in exchange for a review.

If any of you all are interested, please pop over to https://www.facebook.com/groups/Christianfictionreviewers/ and request to join.

I would truly love to have you in on the fun!

And…in other news…This week you can get HALF of the Mitzy Neuhaus Mysteries for just 99 cents!

Foreclosed is always free, and Eminent Domain is just 99 cents!

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Love Dogs?

I popped over to my friend cozy dog park mystery author C. A. Newsome’s blog recently to talk about Dr. Watson, my darling boy. icon smile Love Dogs?

Fur Baby Friday
IMG 1043 300x225 Love Dogs?

And just for kicks, Hearts to God is just 99 cents at Amazon for…a while.

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Fun with Obamacare, Dentist Office Style

dentist 300x225 Fun with Obamacare, Dentist Office StyleYou may remember I’ve been having a little trouble implementing the Affordable Care Act. Let me give you a quick refresher:

October 1: Giddly apply for insurance via our State Exchange. Learn our bill will go from $870 to $430. Am happy. Realize that it will go up to as high as $700 when increases in my writing royalties from 2013 to 2104 are taken into account. Still happy.

October 1: Locked out of the state exchange because, as we have all since learned, it didn’t work well. Repeat this scenario about four times.

Mid October: Realize I input our income wrong and our first bill will be about $700. Cancel debit card so they can’t take the money from me. Begin a conversation about trying to change that information. Am told that it won’t be a problem and I can report the change in January. (First bill due 12/23.)

Later in October: Learn that to qualify for my insurance I have to provide proof of: Income, proof of citizen ship, social security enrollment, and non-incarcerated status for my husband, two elementary aged children and I.

November: My husband gets a new job. He is given insurance and the option to enroll all of us. His boss says, “But don’t do it, it’s way too expensive.” This means we no longer qualify for any tax discounts even though his take home pay is now slightly lower (darned Oregon income tax!)

December. January. February: Continue to attempt to dis-enroll from the government discount insurance since I do not qualify. Am told: “Don’t worry. If you don’t pay it we will automatically dis-enroll you.

December 29th: Enroll children and I in private HSA.

January through February: Monkey around with that private insurance because husband needs gap insurance. Insurance company puts Daniel and one of my kids on gap plan, me and two of my kids on our plan. These shenanigans go on and on.

March: Begin to receive overdue notices for the plan I have been trying to dis-enroll from since November 2013.

PHEW!

Exhausted yet?

Me too.

But it’s not over.

February: Realize that my HSA will cost me $17.600 cash every year before any insurance benefits kick in, and that the HSA savings account only allows me to save $6000 a year to pay this. Cancel HSA. Buy real insurance from better company. Cost for Silver Level Insurance for one year before shared benefits kick in: $7900.

March: Take the kids for a dental cleaning. With our proper insurance these cleanings will be free.

On to the narrative.

I walk up to the desk at the dentist and say, “I have new insurance here is my card. This is different from the insurance I had last time. Please change the insurance you are using for us.” Hand over card.

About a half an hour later the billing specialist comes to me and says, “We couldn’t find your insurance in our system so I ran some numbers of something similar to find out how much you will owe us. Here.” Passes me paper full of dollar signs.

“If you just picked a random insurance plan and ran numbers for us your numbers are wrong. I gave you my new insurance card. Please call that number.” I look down at the paper again and see the insurance company I have been trying to disentangle myself from for the last five months.

“But I called this number and they found you in the system.”

“I am not a member of that insurance company. I have a new insurance company and I gave you the card. Please go and call them.”

“But they have you in the system.”

“That is not my insurance. Please go call the number on my card and give them our identification information. Then you will know how much I owe you. Our insurance is Regence. Not the company you called.”

“But they have you in their system.”

“They are not my insurance company. Please call my insurance company. I gave you my identification card. I have been trying to dis-enroll from that other insurance since November 2103 and every time you call them and look for me you make my job harder. The situation is bad, frustrating and confusing. I’m thinking of taking legal action. I gave you my insurance card. Please call my current insurance and only use that card.”

“But they have you in their system.”

“Grrr.”

The billing specialist decides to mix it up a little, to help me understand why I can’t be right. “I think you are wrong because sometimes Regence hires out other companies to manage their insurance.”

“I know that. And I know that Regence owns the company you spoke with. But they are not my insurer and you have the wrong information and I do not have that insurance. I gave you my insurance card. It has my family group ID number on it. Please call Regence to find out what my coverage is.”

“But this company has you in their system.”

Deep breath. Look for my hand gun. Remember that I am anti-gun and that if I shoot myself I can’t drive the kids home. “Call Regence. You have the card. I gave it to you.”

“Well, fine, but it’s going to be a while.”

Cast a glance at my kids. Dentist is 45 minutes behind schedule and they haven’t been taken in yet though they ought to have already been back at school (or close to.) “I’m not going anywhere.”

Ten minutes later kids go back for their cleaning.

Ten more minutes later billing specialist comes back. “That was so weird. You do have Regence insurance.”

“Great, thank you. How much do I owe?”

“Well, it looks like nothing.”

“Duh.”

(Okay, I only thought duh.)

Hope everyone else is having just as much fun with insurance reform as I am having!

And hey, if you find yourself waiting somewhere while a billing specialist attempts to ruin your life, you can while away your time reading one of my free mysteries!

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Filed under family life, Mitzy Neuhaus, obamacare, Portlandia

Christian Cozy Mystery Just 99 cents!

dirtylittlemurder FIXED Christian Cozy Mystery Just 99 cents! It’s time for a sale, wouldn’t you say? I’d say! So here it is! Dirty Little Murder: A Plain Jane Mystery is just 99 cents at Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

College student and housekeeper Jane Adler dreams of being a missionary but the road there is littered with corpses.

Jane found the most recent body floating in the hot tub at her newest client’s house. The dead guy was a notorious flirt and carouser. Had his romantic shenanigans gotten him killed?

Cleaning up a murder was bad enough, but Jane’s love life was a mess too. Usually absence makes the heart grow fonder, but her boyfriend Isaac’s overseas teaching job seems to be driving them apart.

On top of it all she’s been hand selected by her church as a candidate for one of their few fully funded missionary support positions. But can she solve a murder, keep her boyfriend, and follow her dream all at the same time?

Review

“I really love the Plain Jane Mysteries I have read. This is book two and I enjoyed it just as much as the first one. Jane is totally likable and believable as a person. Unlike some Christian books, she doesn’t come off as perfect and struggles with many of the same things your average person does. The mysteries are fun and light hearted and I can never figure out who did it until the very end. There is no worry of bad language or inappropriate situations in them ever.”

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