Where is Thy Sting?

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Corinthians 15:55

Visiting Granny (23)I’ve been thinking about these words as I help my girls prepare for their end-of-summer exodus. I know that, in many ways, the first days after my baby has left for college will be as solemn and quiet as those first dark days after a death. We will mourn the loss of our girls, long to hear their laughter, feel the sting of loneliness at mealtimes and evening family time. There will be no giggles interrupting my sleep in the late hours of the night, no fighting sleep as I wait up until curfew to make sure everyone is safely tucked in bed. I will miss the companionship of my now-adult children. I don’t look forward to solitary meals when Ken is away.

On the other hand… Read more

Just Thinking About Tomorrow

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When I was a little girl, I attended my first major Broadway musical and spent the following few weeks memorizing every word to every song.  I’ve never stopped singing those songs and enjoyed watching Rebecca and then Katie play roles in school and community productions of the same play.  As a child, I’m not sure I realized how many lessons I was learning cast-001from the little orphan girl who took in a stray dog and softened the heart of a grouchy, old millionaire, but I have always remembered and adhered to her words “the sun will come out tomorrow.”

As I watched the morning news on Saturday, I saw updates on the terror attacks in Mali, new terror threats to Brussels, and sparring politicians across this great nation.  But here is the thing that struck me the most – the people of Paris gathered in the streets this past weekend for a public street party to show the world that they will not stay home, that life goes on.  Almost fifteen years after 9/11, we can all attest to that.  Things change, people are lost, the world is shaken, but the sun still rises, and human beings continue living, striving for the best, reaching for the stars, and living the good life as best they can.

For every eight people who leave this world, there are nineteen babies born.

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There are approximately 13,000 terror attacks somewhere in the world each year, but 2.3 million weddings per year take place in the US alone.

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Somewhere in the world today, a child is having a birthday party,

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a school is welcoming grandparents,

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multi-generational families are giving thanks,

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a group of friends are worshiping together,

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a family is taking home a new pet,

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a farmer is tending to his field,DSC02490-001

and a concert is being attended.

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People are still climbing to new heights,

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steering toward the goals,

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breaking new strides,

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and celebrating their achievements.

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And every single night, we go to bed with the knowledge that no matter what happens in the world, the sun will come up tomorrow.

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Be Not Afraid

My SSPP GirlsYesterday, some friends and I were talking about how hard it is raising children in today’s world.  As mothers, we all worry about our children.  Will they make the right decisions, meet the right people, find the right job, make it to school or work and back safely, be safe at school or work, survive to be an adult, a parent, a grandparent.  It’s a constant state of worry.  Worry like that can be crippling, immobilizing, even life-threatening.  So what’s a mother to do?

We all came to the same conclusion.  It’s not a perfect one, but it’s all we can do.  We have to hope for the best, put our trust in God, and love our children fiercely every day.  We can’t lock our children in a tower (that never works in Fairy Tales), and we can’t live our lives in constant fear, nor do we want to teach our children to live their lives in constant fear.  We want them and ourselves actually LIVING!  So we have no other choice but to teach them right and wrong, instill in them a solid set of values and morals, and pray for them every day.

Looking back, every single bad decision I’ve ever made in my life, whether as a child, a teen, or an adult, was made out of fear.  What if they don’t like me?  What if he won’t love me?  What if I don’t do that, say that, try that?  The question was always based in fear, and the decision was always disastrous, if not then, than later down the road.  However, every decision I ever made with confidence that it was the right thing to do, was made with complete trust – trust in friends, my loved ones, my husband, God.  And those decisions have never come back to haunt me.

Years ago, Ken and I were at a crossroads in our lives.  Our children were attending a school that they hated.  I had to forcibly put Katie on the bus every day and jump off as the bus driver closed the door while Katie cried and pounded on the windows.  She was eight years old, not a young child, and the knowledge that she was so unhappy was heart-breaking.  It was my first year staying at home and attempting to become a published author when Ken decided to leave his job.  The position had created so much stress for him that I feared for his health, but what would we do?  After a few months, our small savings was almost gone and we had three children to feed.  While we were talking over the situation one night, my husband had the craziest idea, and I mean crazy.  He said to me, “You’ve always wanted them in Catholic school, so maybe it’s time.”  I looked at him like he had lost his mind.  “We have no money, no jobs, and no way of knowing what our future holds, but you want to put all three girls into a private school thirty minutes from our home?”  He said yes.  But how?

We went to the school the very next day and talked over our situation with the principal.  She had known us for years from church and was thrilled that we wanted the girls there.  She was willing to take our applications and hold spots for them until we figured out what we were going to do.  It was March, so we had several months before school started, but we needed a plan, or even a sign.  When and how would we know what was the right decision?  We talked some more and decided that the best route to take was the one shown to us by God.  Ken had several interviews set up, so we said to God, “It’s all in your hands.”  If Ken was offered a job with a salary the same or lower than what he was making at his previous job, the girls would stay put, and we would somehow find a way to manage the situation.  If, however, Ken was making anything at all above his last salary, we would take that proverbial leap of faith.

I will never forget the day the call came.  It was May, school was almost out, our applications were on hold, and the girls were wondering where they would be that fall.  I was hanging clothes on the line in the backyard.  Drying inside the house was expensive and hot, so the air conditioning stayed off, and the clothes hung outside.  I had thrown our portable phone in the basket and had to dig through the wet clothes to find it when it started ringing.  “Call the school,” Ken announced with joy.  I was stunned.  He was in Boston, on his way to the airport after a job interview, and I had been waiting to hear how it went.  “They offered me my dream job.  We can stay in Maryland, and I can work at home.”  “And?” I asked.  “And the pay is what I was making plus to the penny, to the penny,” he emphasized, “exactly what we need to pay the tuition.”  I was overjoyed.  I couldn’t wait to tell the girls the good news.

We’ve been at Saints Peter and Paul for almost ten years now.  Rebecca graduated with honors and went on to a wonderful college.  Katie and Morgan have many friends and are receiving an outstanding education.  But even more important is that they are all happy.  Correction, we are all happy.  Who knows what would have happened if we had not taken that leap of faith and trusted in God.  “Be not afraid,” appears more times than any other phrase in the Bible.  The message is simple.  Whether or not we hear it can make all the difference in the world.

Amy Schisler is the author of two mystery / suspense novels. Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks. Amy’s newest mystery, Picture Me, was released in August of 2015 and is available in stores and online.  Her children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad, may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Letter to My Daughters’ Future Husbands

DSC04396When our youngest daughter was born, the first thing my husband said when he saw her was “she looks just like my sister.” The second thing he said was, “Oh God, we have to pay for three weddings.”  While I do agree that we will need to pay for their weddings, I’m not concerned. My mother and I have coordinated several beautiful and even lavish weddings for family and friends, both efficiently and economically. My concern is not at all the wedding but the marriage. With that in mind, here’s what I have to say.

Dear Future Husband,

I don’t know that we have met yet.  Perhaps we have, perhaps not.  You may be someone my daughter has known for years or someone she has yet to meet.  Regardless, you don’t know her like I do, nor have you walked in my shoes, so allow me to give you some advice.  She is not a princess, though she may think she is, and as far as you’re concerned, that’s how it should be.  Treat her as such, as someone who is to be honored, respected and revered.  In return, she will treat you the same way.

Tend to your marriage like it s a garden.  Weed out mistrust, judgement, defensiveness, and fear.  Prune back any hurt that grows there (because it will), and water the good seeds you plant – your hopes, your dreams, and eventually your children.  Let the sun shine on it every day through your love by complimenting, helping, and most important, talking; and don’t be afraid of the rain and storms.  Welcome them, too, as ways to strengthen your marriage.  Clean up the fallen branches after the storm clears, or they will clutter your lives.  Because there will be storms, and there will be things to clear away, but by working together, you can weather anything life hurls at you.

Most of all, trust that God has brought you together and that He will guide you.  Go to Church together, pray together – at meals, at bedtime, in good times and bad.  Make your faith the foundation upon which you build all things, and know that with God, all things are possible.

Whether you are in your twenties or just barely into your teens, remember that any girl you meet could be the one, my daughter, but that there will only be that one.  Don’t fall prey to the norms of society.  Every girl you date will be someone’s wife, but perhaps not your own.  Keep that in mind in everything you do.  Would you do “that” with someone else’s wife?  Would you want someone else doing that with yours?

In the end, all I want is your happiness, all of you, my three daughters and their husbands.  Shower each other with love, strive for your dreams, encourage each other to reach for the stars, and always be there for each other no matter what.  Know that their father and I are here for you.  Even now, I love you all.

Love, Mom

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels. Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks. Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com

My Legacy

030This morning I attended the Baccalaureate Mass for our school’s Class of 2015.  Our Pastor asked each student to think ahead 60 years and imagine looking back on their lives.  “What will your legacy be?” he asked them.  He implored them to do more with their lives than just make money.  He told them that their legacy is important and that they should make it matter.  Each one of us will leave behind a legacy, something that we pass down to future generations, whether we are the President of the United States, a businessman, a teacher, a doctor, or a parent.  Each one of us will do or say something that will not be forgotten, good or bad.

If we are lucky, we will be remembered for more than one thing.  I hope to be remembered by the whole world as a writer, but I want to remembered by those who knew me best as a faithful wife, mother, friend, and Christian.  It doesn’t matter to me if I ever become rich, but I hope that the words I write will someday inspire a generation.  I don’t care if I’m ever recognized for the volunteer work I do, but I hope I’ve made a difference in somebody’s life.  It won’t mean a thing if I don’t have countless friends, but I hope that the ones I do have know they can always depend on me.  I don’t worry about how far I will climb, but I pray that my children will always look up to me.

A few years ago my oldest daughter told me that she believed I had wasted my education (I have a Masters of Library and Information Science) by deciding to stay home and spend more time with my children.  Now, of course, I’m a published author with another book on the way, and she sees how hard I worked to get here in spite of concentrating on my family and not my career.  Yesterday she told me that she never appreciated me enough and thanked me for being the mother I am.  I’d say that’s a pretty good legacy to leave behind even if I never do anything else for the next 60 years.

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com