Change Can Be a Good Thing

There are numerous platitudes meant to help people push through rough times. Or to help you find the positive in what could be considered a negative situation.

Sayings like:

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Challenging times strengthen you.
Some of the best things in life are mistakes.
When God closes a door, He opens a window.
When one door closes, another opens.

Some are words of wisdom from famous people. And they become daily mantras to strengthen our character and drive.

“Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.” Jim Valvano
“Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Lou Gehrig
“Failure will never stand in the way of success if you learn from it.” Hank Aaron
“Just tell yourself, Duckie, you’re really quite lucky.” Dr. Seuss
“I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” Carl Jung

Sometimes, when a good thing comes to an end, we struggle with accepting the situation. Wanting to hold onto that something, even if the wise decision might be to release it.

So, it’s with a heavy heart that the PBOK moms have decided it’s time to close the blog. We all have different reasons, but there’s one major reason we have in common—lack of time in a busy world.

I’ll admit my first reaction to rally the troops. I’d set a 2015 goal to take a more professional attitude with my writing, making sure I dedicate a specific amount of time to writing every day. Without fail!

The blog has been an amazing way for me to combine my writing life with my mom/family life. What a blessing!

So why would I want that to end?

Well, because in 2015, my writing time needs to focus on doing whatever I can to make a strong push toward publication. I’m not getting any younger. For years I’ve let my writing time slip by the wayside in the wake of other responsibilities. And let’s be honest here, other “fun” activities.

I’ll miss stopping by the PBOK blog to see what my fellow moms have posted. I’ll miss sharing my thoughts with all of you. And I’ll definitely miss the camaraderie and friendship between us.

But my wish for all of us is that we finish 2015 able to look back over the year and find accomplishments we’re proud of, despite the changes or sacrifices we faced.

We’re all strong, wise passionate women. Change can be good. If we face it with the right mindset.

I’ll be back in two weeks for my final PBOK blog. For now, I’ll close with a question I hope you’ll feel inclined to answer:

What do you plan to accomplish in 2015? Personally or professionally?

And just in case you could use a mantra for the day, the week, the month or the year, here’s a little something one of my daughters shared with me:

14 Things I Wish I’d Known at 21

Last week we were at the beach, and as I was slathering on the sunscreen and shielding myself under this wonderful big umbrella, I couldn’t help but notice all these young women (and quite a few who weren’t so young), applying oil rather than sunscreen, then stretching themselves out to broil under the full blaze of the sun. I remember those days. The oil. The sun. The fabulous tan. (And the blistering sunburns!) Last week, however, I found myself watching those young women and thinking…someday you’re probably going to regret that. That got me thinking about the gift of hindsight, and all those other things I wish I’d figured out way before my fourth or fifth decade of life.

That said, without further ado…my list of things I wish I’d known at 21.

  1. Sunscreen and lotion are your FRIENDS. Truly, totally. Your skin is your skin, and while it’s beautiful and taut and glowing at 21, that will change as you age. It will. Lines appear. Blotches. Shadows. Moles. Freckles. And the texture…it won’t always be taut. Gravity does what gravity does, and someday everything will start drooping down. It just will. And the better care you take care of it while you’re young, the better care IT will take of you as you age. Don’t want a leathery hide? Start that sunscreen and lotion routine early.
  2. The importance of a good filing system. This is a BIG one. Huge. I hate clutter. LOATHE it. I like to have things put up…but for a long time I didn’t have any system other than stashing paperwork and photos and cards, receipts, documents into the closest drawer or box or cabinet. I’ve long said that when my kids venture out on their own, their primary housewarming gift is going to be setting them up with a functional filing system, a nice sturdy filing cabinet with pre-labeled files included.
  3. Saving for a rainy day is actually something you need to do. It sounds so clichéd doesn’t it? One of those things everyone talks about, but when those paychecks start rolling in, it’s so much fun to actually SPEND them. But life can turn on a dime, and it’s vital that you have an emergency fund put aside. Worst case, you don’t ever need it and can jaunt off to Paris someday. Best case, you never find yourself without the ability to buy groceries.
  4. Those pictures you take, that you think you’ll never forget who’s in them or what you were doing? Wrong. Label them. Organize them. Photo books are awesome, but even a (virtual) shoebox works. Your future self will thank you.
  5. Not everything is about you. Shocking, I know. But that big beautiful world we’re in? It doesn’t revolve around you, and so many times, the way people treat you has absolutely nothing to do with you. Realize that. Take a deep breath and keep an eye on the bigger picture.
  6. Read. If you stopped, start again. If you never stopped, keep going. Find something you like, something that interests you. Read fiction. Read non-fiction. Read poetry. Read physical books. Read on your device. Just READ.
  7. A closed mind is a closed door. You think you’ve got it all figured out? Well, guess what? You don’t. There’s a whole big world out there full of fascinating people and customs and ideas. Keep your mind open. You don’t have to agree with everyone, but if you don’t listen, explore…you’ll never know for sure.
  8. Learn self defense. This is another biggie. Learn how to protect yourself, take care of yourself, both physically and emotionally. You can’t count on a knight in shining armor, but you can learn to count on yourself.
  9. As John Green says in The Fault in Our Stars, the world is not a wish-granting factory. I’m sorry. It’s not.Yeah, I wish it was, too. Sometimes. But the only fairy godmother you’ll ever have is yourself, and if you want your wishes to come true, you’ve got to go out and make it happen.
  10. I love you and I’m sorry might just be the five most important words you’ll ever learn. Sometimes they’re hard to say. I know that. Say them anyway. You’ll be better off for it.
  11. What’s on the outside changes; what’s on the inside rarely does. This one has really fascinated me as I’ve gotten older. Sure, I knew the outside would change, but somehow, it can still come as a shock. But the bigger shock is the inside. You are who you are. Your friends are who they are. Your parents, your siblings, they are who they are. And this doesn’t change as you get older. In fact, in many ways you simply become MORE of who you are. Awesome people stay awesome. Jerks stay jerks.
  12. Storms come, and storms go, but they always pass, and the sun always rises. Sometimes it’s so hard to realize this while you’re in one of those storms and your whole world seems to be crashing down around you. It’s so dark and scary and you just want to curl up in a ball and, and, and…I don’t know. But you feel tiny and cold and hopeless. But I’ve learned that tomorrow comes, and tomorrow after that, and no matter how devastating the storm, the sun will rise again, and with it a new day will begin.
  13. No one gets to write your life, except you. Bad chapters always end, and new ones always begin. This one is powerful, the realization that YOU are in charge of your life, and no one else. Don’t like something? Change it. LOVE something…protect it. There is no puppet master, no one forcing you to be miserable. You get to make those decisions. You get to write those chapters. You. No one else…unless you let them.
  14. There’s no substitute for kindness. Truly and honestly. Money, good looks, great clothes, an awesome car, the dream job….they don’t trump kindness. Surround yourself with kindness, kind friends, kind lovers, and practice it yourself. Be kind. Always.


Be Awesome!

Kid President Be Awesome

So it’s the second Tuesday of the month– a date I personally chose so I’d remember when I’m blogging and any followers would know when to find me here.

Enter LIFE– yes, at this moment it deserves all caps. I’ve been working on several huge projects for my day job, struggling through revisions for my agent, juggling RWA chapter president duties, enjoying a little part-time gig I love despite the added time crunch, dealing with family obligations and personal ups & downs…. boy, just re-reading my list made me have to stop and take a breath.

{{{{deep breath}}}}

Okay, so maybe I have an excuse for forgetting about my blog day. But I don’t have a good reason!

Yes, there’s a difference. I’ve said something like that to my girls in the past, so I should look in the mirror and say the same thing to myself.

I could beat myself up for forgetting. Let that old Catholic guilt I’m so good at flare up and leaving me feeling bad.

Or, I realized I could hop on the PBOK blog, wave hello to everyone and post one of my favorite YouTube videos to watch when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

Have you seen the Kid President? Have you heard his “words of wisdom and advice” on how to live a good life? On how to be AWESOME? Let this little guy inspire you!!

I hope you’re having an AWESOME Tuesday!

If life is bogging you down, push the pause button on your day, spend a few minutes with the Kid President and the PBOK moms and know we’re rooting for you!!

The Parenting Season Rocking My World

When our oldest daughter turned three, we welcomed twins into our family. When the twins turned three, our last baby was born. For about six years, our family life revolved around colic, thousands of dirty diapers, playing Thomas the Train on the living room floor, and gallons of coffee.


Moms, you remember these early years, right? If it’s blurry, the disgusting smell of spit-up, the whirling of the breast pump, and the sweetness of those first baby grins might jog your memory. These infant/toddler years are so hectic, yet the hours of rocking crying babies creep by so slowly.

While in survival mode, I got some advice from moms in a different season. We live in a neighborhood where most of the kids are a few years older than ours. When I was sitting on the bathroom floor during those early years, trying to coax twins to use the potty, my neighbors were outside with their elementary-aged kids. When we would see each other at the park, they would mourn the busy-ness of their lives. “I remember those baby days!” they would tell me. “Believe it or not, your life will get even busier.”

Really? Impossible. Their kids were not only old enough to potty unassisted, they were old enough to bathe themselves. Fifth graders could read their own bedtime stories. First-graders could watch an entire movie without getting distracted. Or freaked out by the bad guys. Or freaked out by the squeaky noise their closet door made. These moms could reason with their bigger kids. Their parenting season had to be easier.

But they only said, “Bigger kids, bigger problems.”

Fast forward to this year, the year that has rocked my parenting world.

Our kids are turning 10, 7,7, and 4. All of the sudden, they’re big-kid busy.

Overnight, they’ve developed these huge personalities, they have all these ideas, and they are always going, going, going. They want to try it all: after-school clubs, activities at church, private lessons, and sleepovers with friends. This means I’ve been promoted from chief bottle-washer to swim team taxi, pool party lifeguard, and math-fact & sight-word tutor. Our lives have suddenly become one of those movies stuck in fast-forward.

You know what the difference is? Why this season feels so much more hectic than the early years did? Because the kids now have their own opinions. Organizing their schedules is like arranging the schedules of four unique adults.

The older moms were also right about “bigger kids, bigger problems.” My kids are struggling with learning disabilities, bullying, hurtful friend drama, and real-life disappointments.

Yes, they may be able to tuck themselves in at night, but it’s important for me to be there. This is when they ask the really important questions. I may not be rocking them to sleep, but I’m still in that same rocking chair, now talking about how we know God loves us and why He lets bad things happen.

While I am able to shower with a little more regularity, this season is rocking my world. It’s definitely the busiest of our lives.

I’m sure the puberty years will be easier…

Right, Moms of teens?




Christina Hergenrader blogs at and writes Christian books for women. She lives in Katy, Texas with her husband, four kids, elderly Cocker Spaniel, and surprisingly-slow Greyhound.




When Our Kids are Sick

sick child

Being a mom is tough. I think many of our blog posts have established that point fairly well. ☺

Being a mom with a sick child can be a little tougher than normal. Even when that kid is a big kid, home from college for a few weeks in the summer.

Case in point, I’ve got a college-aged baby who’s about to have her tonsils removed tomorrow. Yes, it’s a relatively routine outpatient surgery, but it still makes me nervous. I still worry about what could go wrong—all while I’m slapping a peppy smile on my face and spouting every positive mantra I can think of so I don’t make my kid nervous, too.

I’m googling “tonsillectomy” and “post-tonsillectomy recovery tips” in the hopes that I’ll be prepared for whatever comes. Doing my best to make her recovery as painless and comfortable as possible. Although, the doc has already warned us that “this is the most painful procedure you’ll ever have.” Naturally, I wanted to ask how it compared to childbirth, but why scare my child even more? ☺

So, today my question for all you readers out there is: have you or your child had a tonsillectomy? If so, any suggestions on recovery? Any tips for a mom who’s a worrywart?

Finding Some Balance in Life

life balance

Somedays I feel like I’m doing pretty well. I’ve got my priorities straight, things under control, kids all headed in the right direction… It’s all good.

And then there are other days- like today- when I can hear Life laughing at me and what it thinks as my feeble attempts to make any progress.

I’ve got a job that keeps me running during the day, sometimes into the evening, and a volunteer list that fills up quite a bit of my dance card fairly often. But my girls are out of the house, leaving me with just a pooch that’s needy for attention. So, why is it that I still can’t seem to get a good work, writing, volunteering, exercising, sleeping, fun-time schedule figured out?

I homeschooled my girls for multiple years and kept a pretty rigid schedule during the day. We had to in order to meet the goals I’d set out for them as students. While I was in my both of my master’s programs I had a detailed schedule for reading, homework, research and writing. And I’m proud to say I was a great student. 🙂

So again, why is it that with others or when others are involved I’m better at trying to ensure everything is good to go. But when it comes to just plain me– exercise to feel better, write more often because I love it and plan to sell someday, sleep more because my body needs it– I keep falling off the wagon?

I’m wondering if it’s my need to help others or focus on others rather than focus on myself. Sometimes that’s a good thing– others before self. Sometimes, it’s a bad thing– help others to the detriment of self.

It’s about balance. That’s what I talk to my girls about. So, I’m thinking it’s time for me to practice what I preach.

Recognize that if I want to sell a book or feel healthier about my body, then I need to do something about it. Make it a priority just like I make thinking about others a priority.

So, I ask you, is there something you’ve been wanting to do or thinking about doing that you keep putting aside? Is now a good time to work on that or try that? Maybe, maybe not. Only you can decide.

But I’d love to hear how you’re coping with finding balance in your daily life. It can be a struggle. Hearing how others handle it, make it work, or maybe flounder sometimes, too, helps me realize that I’m not alone in this. And maybe something that helps one of you might be a great tip for me or our readers to try.

Thanks for sharing!!

Misadventures in potty training


the girls being silly

So my oldest daughter, Busybee, who is now 5 totally spoiled me with her potty training. We had like 2 frustrating days and them, bam! she was trained and has only had like 3 accidents since and that’s in 2.5 years! I even recognized it at the time, that she was training fairly easy so I didn’t even bother to get cocky, especially since Babybee, who is now 3.5 has not been easy with really anything. Giving up the pacifier was a challenge. Giving up the bottle was a trial. Everything with her has been, well, not easy.

Sometimes this past summer at her 3-yr well check, the pediatrician told us not to stress over the potty training. She’ll do it when she’s ready, she told us. Right. I’ve heard lots of people say that. But here we are several months later and frankly we really haven’t made much progress. I suppose the frustrating thing is that Babybee is wicked smart and knows HOW to do it. She can even change her own pull-up. She simply doesn’t want to. And I’ve tried everything, bribery, letting her wear panties (she peed on the floor, intentionally), trying to negotiate, not changing her immediately so she can feel the discomfort…nothing has worked.


what happened to my little baby?

This past week, so announced to me that she would be potty trained in 5 weeks. That day, she told her teachers at Mother’s Day out the very same thing and proceeded to use the potty at school all day long. I thought we’d made a huge break-through. I figured, she finally decided she was ready. The next day though she was back to her own tricks. I’d tell her, it’s time to go sit on the potty. And she’d run away.

I’m not really asking for advice, though if you have a fail-proof solution, I’m all ears, I just really wanted to vent my frustrations. She’s so clean, loves to wash her hands, I just can’t imagine why she’s okay with walking around in a wet pull-up. She’s fiercely independent and stubborn so I know there’s no making her do it, she’ll do it when she’s ready. But mommy is ready right now. I long for the day when I no longer have the monthly expense of pull-ups.

Okay, vent over. So did you have a particularly difficult child? Share some challenges soI know I’m not alone. 

I’m Robyn DeHart, AKA Basket-Case Mama, but not because I’m crazy (though really, what mom isn’t?) but because I have a slight obsession with baskets, well containers really. I’m a bit of an organization nut and I love to containerize stuff. And yes, I’m authorized to use words like that because I am also a writer. But back to the kids, so I’m mom to two ridiculously beautiful little girls and I can say that without bragging because I didn’t actually make them. The Professor and I adopted said little lovelies from the foster-care system here in Texas and now we’re a big happy forever family. Busybee is five and so full of joy it just oozes from her. Babybee is a three and is too smart for her own good.

How to Be a Mom and a Writer: Part II

Last time I blogged, I chatted about time management and said the first step is to set goals. You need both long-term and short-term goals.

The next step is managing your time to ensure you meet your goals. First of all, you have to make sure your project is a priority. I’m not saying you ignore your child if he or she is sick or tell your husband you won’t cook for a month, I’m saying that the time you set aside to work is to be used only for that purpose. A lot of writer moms, me included, fall into the trap of spending too much time on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest during our writing time. That’s fine if you don’t have children who will need you later and your writing time isn’t limited. It’s not fine if that internet time is your only time to write.

2013-02-09 10.58.33

So during your work time, do not go online, do not answer the phone (unless it’s your child’s school), do not answer the door, do not do laundry, vacuum, empty the dishwasher, or any of that. Just work. If you’ve been trying to get your project or book done for a while and you’re having trouble finishing it, I am willing to bet money that it’s because you’re not working during the time you set aside.

Okay, moms, how do you find time to work with kids and husbands and all the rest? Take advantage of Mother’s Day Out programs or local day schools. My daughter goes to a school at church 5 days a week for half a day. That’s my time to write. Before she was old enough to go 5 days or to go at all, I had a college student come in two days a week for 4 hours so I could write. I wrote when she napped. I wrote after she went to bed and before she woke up in the morning. I still do! You can find 30 minutes or an hour a day. Whatever it takes to meet my page goal, that’s what I do.

2013-02-22 17.08.05

Now here’s what I’m not saying. I don’t watch TV (Winter Olympics? Haven’t seen them). I don’t have as much time to read as I’d like. I don’t go out with friends very often. I don’t sleep in. I don’t take weekends off (I may not write new pages, but I always have something I have to get done—like a blog, for example!). It’s not very fun to manage your time like this, but it produces results.

Still want to be a writer? Great. How are you managing your time?

<strong>Shana Galen, Multitasker Mama</strong>
I’m Shana G<strong><a href=”; target=”_blank”><img title=”Shana Galen” alt=”” src=”; width=”150″ height=”152″ /></a></strong>alen, AKA Multitasker Mama (and aren’t we all?). I’m a wife, mom to a four-year-old daughter I call Baby Galen. My parenting motto is, “Keep moving. Don’t pass out. Don’t throw up.” Or maybe that’s my fitness motto?