A Good Day to Stroll The Strand


Any day’s a good day to stroll The Strand in Galveston. While you’re there, join me and other Texas Authors this Saturday, 3/24, at the Galveston Island Book Festival from 9 am to 2 pm. #texasauthors #yalit @galvestonIBF @TexasAuthors http://ow.ly/Qqbz30j14jr http://ow.ly/4QvY30j1526

“Identity. Belonging. Significance.”

img_3207-1“Identity. Belonging. Significance. Lowly gives us a deep glance into the world of adolescence and bullying with grit and grace.” -Dr. JJ Jones
“Lowly” is on sale at Amazon! #effectsofbullying #yalit #yafiction #youngadult #bullying #teenfic http://ow.ly/5ZH230iR94L

Christmas Eve in Texas

ChristmasPost17Christmas Eve in Texas means blustery wind blowing hair into my eyes, impromptu trips to Target (We’re that brave.), Sonic drink stops, and last minute package decorating sessions. It’s pausing to chat only to learn that we’re all enamored with The Crown. Quelle surprise! It’s walking past a decorated table a thousand times; then at one thousand and one, noticing the care my mother has taken to craft a perfect vignette—tiny houses, tiny trees, tiny people with tiny coats. I needed to notice. It’s lovely. Almost perfect. Then in the next moment feeling grateful that to God, we’re not tiny people with tiny coats. For a while, He came to live among us. He became our size and shape. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us.


That’s Christmas Eve to me, and I wish you a merry one full of meaning.

(Ridiculous) Terms of Endearment: Snapshots of a Twenty-Eight Year Marriage

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun

Just press play:

Snapshot 1:

It’s our wedding day, and Craig shows up at the church to check on me before the ceremony.  We stand at the back of the sanctuary and hug and talk and act normal.  I need him, and he’s there.

And all that superstition about not seeing each other on the wedding day, it’s a load of nothing (I would say “hooey”, but I don’t know how to spell it.).


Snapshot 2:

We’re newly married. Craig thinks it would be funny to come home from work every Friday and, in the middle of changing from his work clothes, pretend he’s completely ready to exit the house for a night out or whatever. Like the Emperor’s New Clothes, I guess.  I can’t help but laugh and be exasperated at the same time.  Finally, I’m done, and while he is clothed only in his skivvies, proceed to get a death grip on his hand and try with all my might to pull him out the back door where we park our car and, in general, exit the house.

We don’t make it out the door, but he never does it again.

Snapshot 3:

We’re driving around north Dallas and must be delirious because we make up the most ridiculous terms of endearment we can possibly imagine and continue to call each other by them for the next several months.

Snapshot 4:

Upon finding out I was pregnant with a girl, Craig asks, “What are we going to do with a girl?”

Upon finding out I was pregnant with a boy, Craig asks, “What are we going to do with a boy?”

I think he more likely means to say, “After seven plus years of marriage, what are we going to do with a baby?”

I’m a little unsure about it myself, so I laugh a weak laugh and don’t answer.

Snapshot 5:

While in labor with Super Girl and about to receive my epidural (Whew!), Craig explains to me why they’re asking me to bend my back like a mad cat.

I thought they were saying mad cap.  I have no idea what they’re talking about but after thirty plus hours of labor….

Snapshot 6:

We pack up everything and move north.

Snow, snow, snow.

Snapshot 7:

We’re trudging up a hill at Murray Hill Park in Westmount dragging a bright blue, plastic penguin sled and our three-year-old daughter.

Soon even three-year olds are forced to get out when you’re pulling them up a steep hill in snow.

Snapshot 8:

He babysits Super Girl while I take not-so-successful French classes at night.

I learn how to say ‘parapluie’ with the right accent and without spitting on anyone.

Snapshot 9:

We’re in the waiting room of the vet’s office.  He understands I need to be with our dog, Murphy, when she’s put to sleep even though I can’t get my sobbing under control as we wait in the lobby, strangers staring.

He holds my hand and never quiets me.

Snapshot 10:

The aforementioned boy comes along, but they don’t allow Craig in the operating room while I’m getting my epidural.

This makes me a little sad, but soon they grant him entrance and he’s by my side, right where he belongs, when our Canadian makes an entrance.

Snapshot 11:

Craig tries to draw a lightning bolt on my forehead because I’m such a big Harry Potter fan, and the next movie has come out.

We’re going to see it, but I don’t love Harry enough to sport a Sharpie zigzag on my face.

Snapshot 12:

We move back.

Sun, heat, sun.

Snapshot 13:

He buys me my first iPod.  I think it’s lovely.

Snapshot 14:

I’m not sure about living in Houston.  Life is less urban but very convenient.  I have to make new friends.


On second thought, I’m okay.  I have Craig.

Snapshot 15:

I’m going to see my friend, Lori, in Montreal.

Craig and I decide not to discuss my desire to have some piercing done while I’m vacationing.

Lori and I have a lot of fun.

Snapshot 16:

Did our son just correct the docent in the chemistry hall at the Houston Museum of Natural Science?


Anagroni Family

Photo courtesy Melanie Swan Photography

Snapshot 17:

I love having teenagers.

Snapshot 18:

Super Girl has forgotten all her French. I, on the other hand, seem to subconsciously slip into it whenever I can’t understand the Spanish speaker with whom I’m trying to communicate. Good grief.

Snapshot 19:

The four of us sit on the floor in a circle and hold hands. I’ll soon start the process of sending my manuscript to publishers, so my family prays for me.

Snapshot 20:

I may love having teenagers, but it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced. Questions tumble through my head. What do I do now? Will they listen? Am I a bad parent or a good parent? Why?

Then I remember I’m not alone, and this time, only Craig and I sit down to pray.

Snapshot 21:

Friends come and go, but Craig stays.

Snapshot 22:

It’s surreal. Of all the many floods we’ve weathered in Houston, the water never rose above our sidewalk.

“Water is creeping up the lawn,” I inform him in a monotone belying the panic creeping up on me. “I think it will be at the door before morning.”

“Well…let’s start taking a few things upstairs. Things that we don’t want to lose if water gets in the house. Then we should try to sleep. This is beyond our control,” he responds.

So we sleep, and the water recedes in the night. For others, it doesn’t.

Snapshot 23:

“You’ve got to get out of the street,” he repeats again and again. He told me I would fall when I was learning to use clips on the bike.

I lay there winded wondering why he’s not offering a hand. No words, literally and figuratively.

Snapshot 24:

Not long ago, we’re sitting in church, and, as the pastor talks to us about things which make us feel alive, Craig leans over to me and whispers, “It’s writing…for you…isn’t it?” He smiles.

I’m touched but joke back.

“It’s taxes…for you…right?”

We have to suppress our snickers.


Happy 28th anniversary, Craig.

You’re so dear to me.

Love, your Snoogie Snogum.

P.S.  Please never call me that again (even in jest).

Hurricane Harvey Relief

Some of you have wondered how you can help with the damage caused by #hurricaneharvey. Your first and best way to help might be to ask any friends or family affected by the storm if you can send them money or a gift card. To be frank, monetary donations are most likely best at this point. However, if you would like to give to those in our congregation whose homes have flooded, text ben at 281-849-9019. Text gen to the same number to help offset the chapel refurbishment cost (The chapel is where our Spanish congregation met and church offices resided.). There’s a minimum $10 donation. It’s easy. Once you’re redirected to put in your payment information, you have the option to use the camera to input your card number. It worked like a charm for me but please feel free to pm me if you’re having difficulties. You may also give through our website (I’ve attached a link) or by mailing a check to Cypress Bible Church, 11711 Cypress N. Houston Rd., Cypress, TX 77429. http://ow.ly/HNQK30f240D