Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Saying goodbye to my 'Cat on the Lap'

Many of you know, my blog is called "Cat on the Lap" for a reason. That reason passed away on Monday.
 
He was my constant companion (literally morning, noon, and night) for eleven years (we rescued him from a shelter when he was two).
 
As the family says goodbye to our beloved Donut Kitty, we want to offer some comfort to those who have lost pets.
 
While the Bible does not directly address whether our fur babies go to Heaven, it does promise that God knows what we need to be happy.
 
"What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived - the things God has prepared for those who love Him." 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)
God is preparing Heaven for each and every one of us. He knows what we need to be joyous. So, it stands to reason, not only our loved ones would be waiting for us.
Another verse that talks of the promises of our Lord is in Romans.
 
"He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?" Romans 8:32 (NIV)
God knew what He was doing when he brought that fur baby into your life. He not only hears your cries as you mourn their passing, but He feels the pain those missing paw prints have left in your heart.
So, to anyone who has lost that beloved pet, do not be discouraged. Let your heart be blessed knowing that God brought them into your life, and there are greater things we cannot even imagine, waiting for us when we arrive in Heaven.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Bed Wife Chronicles is on Audible!

Over five years ago, The Bed Wife came to me in a dream. Three days later, the first book was written.

A lot has happened in those five years. I've published a total of nine books; lost both my in-laws, an aunt, and my mother; gone through bankruptcy; dyed my hair multiple colors; and somehow managed to raise three children and stay happily married. I can only imagine with excitement (and some anxiousness) what the next five years will bring.

The Bed Wife Chronicles has always been my baby. It was my first story I had written, but I loved it because for the first time I felt like I was making a difference to others. I never imagined how many people would respond so positively to it, and dare I say, would become "Suzanna Lynn Fans!"

So, in celebration of this five year anniversary, I teamed up with the absolutely amazing David Maxwell. Thanks to his amazing voice acting abilities, we have brought "The Bed Wife Chronicles" to life on Audible!  That's right, you can now listen to the story that started it all! No, this is not simply a guy reading a story to you. He is bringing the story to life through his awe-inspiring voice!

So, be sure to head over to Audible or Amazon, and grab your copies today!

Also, in celebration of the release, we are doing a giveaway! You could win one of MANY prizes available by entering in the Rafflecopter giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Some much needed joy

It's only Thursday but it feels like this week has drawn on for months. We were all feeling a bit down, after saying goodbye to momma. So, my sister and I hatched a plan to spread a bit of happiness to the kiddos.

We made a surprise trip to Wild Animal Safari, which is a local drive through petting zoo!

They have all kinds of animals (that drooled and spit all over my Jeep nicely), including Zebra, Wildebeest, Ostriches, Camels, Deer, Donkeys, Zonkeys (zebra/donkey mix), and more! They also have a walkabout area, where they house their big cats like Tigers, Lions, and even Ligers!

They let you feed most of the animals (obviously not the big cats) by hand, which was so fun. We screamed several times when the animals thought it would be a good idea of try to get into the car to get more food.

The temptation to grab up a white baby donkey, a couple baby goats, and a monkey were pretty hard! But we decided they would probably be taken care of better at the facility, so we let them keep them for now.

God gave us a little blessing as well. We noticed a goat was acting very distressed. It turned out she was giving birth! We stuck around to watch and another one was on the way! Twins!

We have spent so much time mourning lately, we have been lacking in the joy department. This brought us out of the gloom and into to the light. A day full of joy and laughter.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Goodbye Momma - a eulogy

It has been a very long month. Stubborn until the end, mom held on longer than anyone thought possible.

My sister and I worked tirelessly to make all the funeral arrangements. We even decided we would hold the funeral ourselves, instead of getting a pastor that didn't know her to hold it.

The day was supposed to be covered in thunderstorms, but God gave us a miracle and the clouds parted for our little graveside service.

The next blessing came in the form of guests. Mom was extremely shy, so making friends in her older years was very difficult. However, friends from her childhood and early married years showed up to pay their respects. It truly blessed me to see so many people having to stand because there weren't enough chairs.

The big event of the day was when I was chosen to give mom's eulogy. I have done plenty of public speaking, but never a eulogy. After a lot of thought, I decided that it needed to be funny. I was always able to make mom laugh, and felt this final act was necessary to give me closure as well as reflect a celebration of her life.

Here is what I had to say:


Family and friends, thank you for coming. It would have warmed mom’s heart to know each of you were here to celebrate the woman she was.
When I decided I wanted to give a speech at her funeral, I did a little research. As an author, there is always a degree of pressure when it comes to writing – but when writing a eulogy, there are certain rules one must stick to.

Rule number one - keep in broad. Too many personal experiences will weigh down your speech.
Two - keep it brief. Studies show, people stop listening after three minutes.
Three - keep it classy. Make it a dignified reflection of the person.

And four – keep it together. Composure and poise is key to your speech.

These are great things to keep in mind when writing a good eulogy. That being said, I will not be keeping to any of these rules today. While this may be a shock to some, it would be no surprise to mom. It took great pleasure in making her laugh, even in some of the more serious situations life threw at us.
So, as a tribute, I am going to tell you what I wanted to write in the obituary – but April had the sense to sensor me.
………………………………………

Mom passed away peacefully in her sleep at Magnolia Square Nursing Home on July 24, 2019. It is believed she lost patience with the nurses and deciding to push the ‘Call Jesus’ button instead.
She left behind a treasure trove of items to my sister and I, and we have absolutely no clue what to do with them. So, if you're looking for an extremely large bookcase that leans, a dusty, chipped, ceramic teapot collection, a slightly used microwave, or even a 1999 Buick with only 189,000 miles and a trunk full of 763 screwdrivers; let us know.

No, this is not an ad for a pawn shop, but a story of a great woman, mother, and grandmother.
Mom was an avid artist, especially when it came to painting and working with ceramics. She could put brush to canvas and create beautiful paintings that seemed effortless. In fact, she had a case full of every color oil paint you could ever want. However, they had to be thrown out due to an artistic family of mice who decided to take up residency in the art case, and snack on the paints. They did leave behind an array of Prismacolor droppings that would likely be considered award-winning art on the modern-day market.

In addition to art, she loved making crafts. Hobby Lobby was probably her favorite store. However, after discovering her hidden closets of craft supplies, we quickly concluded that crafting and purchasing craft supplies were – in fact – two different hobbies of hers. Sadly, these hobbies have been inherited by both April and I; as we too, have hidden craft supply closets.
Mom loved scary movies, especially the B-rated ones like The Blog, Jaws, and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. She was frequently found watching them while holding a blanket near her face (should the need arise to hide her eyes). She also found this a useful punishment for her children, whom she would force to watch said movies should we need a little discipline. To this day, April cannot look at a tomato without laughing, while I still have an unhealthy obsessed with Great White Sharks.

Once I became a teenager and the “Jaws” marathons stopped working as punishment, mom was at a loss as to what to do with me. I remember her saying “I hope you have a child just like you someday!” Obviously, this was not meant to be a compliment. Sadly, mom had not considered that when I had that child, I would still be living with her! Jokes on you mom. However, she retaliated by moving in with me and my family last summer for several months. Well played, mom; well played.
Though all three of us have led busy lives, Mom, April, and I, tried to get together when we could. Case in point, when April and I took her out for sushi one Mother’s Day. While apprehensive, she tried it and actually started to enjoy it. She even tried some of the more exotic ones that included eel! However, we didn’t realize just how adventurous she was until she yelped and said “Wow, that one was a bit spicy.” My sister and I looked around confused, as we never ordered anything spicy. Suddenly, I yelled out, “Where’s the wasabi?” Mom had mistaken the large glob of wasabi as an avocado roll. She took it like a champ though, only drinking a few swallows of water before moving on.

Once she moved to Springfield, she spent a large part of her time volunteering at local charities like Crosslines, Boys and Girls Town, and Convoy of Hope. It meant a lot to her to be able to help those in need. Even after she became unable to volunteer due to her health, she supported various charities with small financial donations through the mail. This became apparent by the stacks of “fan mail” she received from those charities. If she’d had a penny for every “complimentary” return address label she received from St. Jude, she would have retired a rich woman.
If what I’ve said has shown you anything, it is that mom had a wonderful sense of humor. She loved to laugh, and thanks to the antics of her children and grandchildren, she had the opportunity to laugh a lot. This is something we have all thankfully inherited from her.

So, in closing I will leave with the words mom said to me often when I spoke to her about my pain and problems. “This too shall pass. It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.”

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Saying goodbye...

After returning from our trip, I discovered my momma was very ill. A year ago she had a heart attack and bypass surgery. Since then, she has struggled to recover, spending more time in rehab and the hospital than in her apartment.

Mom has developed large tumors in her abdomen. While they are non-cancerous, they are growing and inoperable due to her weak heart. My sister, wanting to spare our vacation, carried this knowledge until we returned.

After much discussion with mom, while she's still lucid and making her own discussions, she has decided to go into hospice. She wants to be kept out of pain as much as possible.

A year ago I held her hand as she endured a risky bypass. Today I hold her hand to say goodbye.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Beach babies and sea gulls

When planning the trip, I knew I wanted to splurge a little to make the trip as unique as possible. When I found the Emerald Beach Hotel in Corpus Christi, I knew I wanted to have a bay facing window. It was worth the additional $30 a nice for the kids to be able to listen to the water lap against the sand as they went to sleep.

Being from Missouri, you can imagine we don't exactly get a lot of beach time. We're smack dab in the middle of the United States after all. I hadn't been to a beach in eighteen years. My children had never been to the beach.

I was concerned their fear of underwater creepy crawlies, and swimming teeth would scare them from enjoying the waves. How wrong I was!

The moment the first wave washed over their little toes, they were hooked. I actually kept having to
get them to come closer into shore because they were making me nervous!

Then, at night, we would order pizza and sit in our room, or out on the balcony, and listen to the ocean.

One funny incident included the regret of feeding the sea gulls from our balcony. They got so comfortable with us, they stole the pizza right out of my son's hands! We had a good laugh, and he grabbed another slice.

Somewhere in Corpus Christi, there is a very fat sea gull who has an uncontrollable craving for pizza sauce!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Bucket List and Beluga Whales!

 As I have said, this was our first vacation in six years, so I was determined to make it a memorable one!

Sea World has options if you're willing to pay. Including a meet and greet with the beluga whales!

I adorable beluga's. They are seriously my favorite whale. So when I found out we could do this, I was ecstatic!

We were allowed to go behind the scenes and talk with the trainers. They explained a lot of things about the whale (like the babies are actually grey and don't turn white until they are about five years old).

This beautiful girl was adorable and would sing and blow 'raspberries' for you.

The water was extremely cold, as these are artic whales. It was rather refreshing given that it was so darn hot and humid in San Antonio!

I cried a little when I finally got to love on her (she blew a raspberry for me!).

It was father's day too, so the hubs got an unforgettable gift (that we just all happened to get to share. To two kiddos were without words (which seriously, never happens) and just sat in awe as they loved on the old girl.

The other whales were a bit jealous that they weren't getting attention, and squeaked like crazy through the whole encounter. But it was music to my ears.

Obviously, we saw much more than just the beluga whales. We were fortunate enough to catch both the Orca show, and the seal/otter show. It was almost more fun watching my kids react to the excitement, as it was watching the shows!

More updates to come as the trip continues!