Daddy, Do You Love Me?

A new report came out today stating that 1 in every 3 children grow up in a fatherless home in America.

Most of my life I have had people tell me that kids are resilient, they can handle things easier than adults. I have never agreed with that statement. I was one of those kids that grew up without a dad. My parents divorced when I was 12. I had two younger brothers, 9 and 2 years of age. My father was an alcoholic and he wasn’t home much before the divorce took place. I still remember the day he left for that final time. I was in my room watching out the window as he told my mother goodbye. He was carrying a blue suitcase. He never came and told me goodbye. As I watched him get in his truck and drive down the road I cried for a very long time as I sat in my room by myself. The next thing I remember is the four of us moving into a tiny rent house and I was busy taking care of the house and my brothers. My mom worked three jobs to keep the rent paid and food on the table. My dad didn’t pay child support, so it was twice as hard on all of us.

I loved my father and had a few good memories about him. I remember us swimming when I was very little and he put me on a floating raft that you could see through. He swam underwater and all I remember is laughing and thinking he was so funny. Another good memory is making peanut butter cookies with him and him telling me how much he loved me. He was very handsome too, I always thought he looked like Dean Martin.
My teen years, I didn’t see him much, the longer I went without seeing him made it hard to be around him when he did come in town. Many nights I would cry myself to sleep as I prayed for him. I worried about him. I desperately wanted a daddy that looked after me. We were three children at risk. I never understood why he didn’t check on me to make sure I was doing alright in school and if I had everything I needed. Each school year, my mom would take us shopping for school clothes and we would put them on layaway and it would take forever to get them. Gym clothes and shoes were a luxury item along with the special school supplies that teachers always wanted us to have. In Jr. High, someone stole my gym shoes and I went for a very long time going barefoot in P.E. because we couldn’t afford new shoes.

The day I graduated from high school, I never knew if he was there or not to see me graduate. The day I got married, he was no where to be found. My brother gave me away during the ceremony.

I could go on and on about all those little things in life that a young girl and even as a grown woman would desire in a daddy. It affects almost every area of her life.

The ironic thing about all of this is, several years ago out of the blue, I received a phone call from a hospital in Colorado. Somehow the doctors found me and called me to get permission to take him off of life support because he was brain dead. It seems he had suffered a heart attack and machines were all that was keeping him alive. They had to have my permission to take him off the machines. The doctor assured me that it was the best thing to do. I gave him the permission. The doctor called me back in about an hour and confirmed that he had passed away. As I hung up the phone, I sat on my floor and cried.

Click here to read part 2 of, Where’s Daddy?

Simplify Your Holidays with Marcia Ramsland

I have been a fan of Marcia Ramsland for a long time and she now has a new Christmas Organizing Notebook and Audio CD. I love anything that has to do with organizing especially when it comes to making the Holiday’s more organized. I encourage you to go to her site and order her products. Marcia has lot’s of good information on her site too.

Enjoy the interview!

Simplify Your Holidays Blog Tour
By Marcia Ramsland, The Organizing Pro
National Speaker, Media Guest, and Author of Simplify Your Holidays,
A Classic Christmas Planner to Use Year after Year (Thomas Nelson 2008)

Are you looking for a way to simplify the most stressful time of the year? Feeling like it’s impossible to keep up with all the demands of the coming holiday season? Marcia Ramsland, The Organizing Pro and author of Simplify Your Holidays, has found a way to change seasonal stress into intentional success! She believes everyone can find that calm and peace they are looking for.

1. Every year the holidays come around and we face them with mixed emotions. You have a great book title of Simplify Your Holidays, but how do you simplify the holidays?
I love the dictionary definition of “simplify” – “To make something less complicated and therefore easier to do.” I can’t think of a more complicated time in the year than the holidays. Why? Because we are already busy 24/7 and then we add another layer of complexity to our lives – the holiday season.
In my view as a Professional Organizer, simplifying your holidays is all about having a meaningful Christmas without feeling overcommitted or under prepared. And my motto is: If you do anything more than once in life, organize it and simplify it. That’s especially true for the holidays that come year after year like clockwork.
I can’t think of a more complicated time or emotionally challenged season, but I also know you don’t have to stress to get through it.

2. Were you always ready and organized for the holidays?
No way! Before I became “The Organizing Pro” I struggled with holiday pressures big time. I was stuck in the mall shopping for gifts at the last minute, standing in the rain looking for a “real” Christmas tree late in December, and staying up Christmas Eve wrapping presents. That was a stressful life I decided to change, and did years ago.
One day I sat down at the kitchen table determined to get control of the season. Looking at my calendar, it suddenly dawned on me — there was an easy way to manage it all! It all hinged on one date and no, it wasn’t Thanksgiving.
Many people, myself included, have used Thanksgiving to trigger serious action steps for Christmas. It just didn’t seem right to commercialize Christmas by purchasing gifts before Thanksgiving. But that’s the problem. Waiting until after Thanksgiving does commercialize the holidays and puts us smack dab in the middle of a mall with throngs of shoppers.

3. So how did you change from frazzled to peaceful… and you now have a beautiful new three ring notebook, Simplify Your Holidays? And Sam’s Club just bought 15,000 of them! Good for you.
My first personal turning point came when I discovered one particular holiday occurs exactly eight weeks before Christmas — and it’s NOT Thanksgiving. It is Halloween. That event is important to note because the next day you can kick off your holiday plan on November 1 every year.
Noting that November 1 is your springboard to begin the holiday season means you have eight weeks until December 25. Now you have a structure to easily organize and prepare — with a good plan. You’re back in control whatever day it is.
Once I figured that out, I found you can organize your holidays no matter how many weeks you have left before Christmas. In my book I have an 8-week, 4-week, 2-week calendar plans you can choose to guide you whatever day you start. The Plans are like a “holiday compass” that people use year after year to stay focused and take the stress out of the holidays.

4. What else can you tell us to ease the calendar stress for the holidays? My second discovery came when I noticed that almost all holiday events landed the three weeks of December right before Christmas. Children’s school parties, the neighborhood cookie exchange, church events, civic symphony concerts, friends’ Open Houses, and an office potluck luncheon the last day before vacation. ALL fell into the last three weeks before Christmas.
No wonder we are stressed trying to buy gifts and partake in the busiest social season of the year. All these things are good, but it’s plain stressful to be listening to the Hallelujah chorus thinking about how many things you have to pick up on the way home and still get on-line to purchase gifts with “expedite shipping” costs involved.

5. Ok, but the thing I dread is going to the attic and basement dealing with all those holiday decorations that take up so much room. What can I do?
I agree. My third discovery came when I tried to simplify my holiday decorations after the holidays. It just seemed too much to put it all up so I thought I’d simplify it.
But alas, I found even charities would not accept holiday decorations after December 25. They had nowhere to store them until next year. That was the next discovery – if I store holiday decorations for 11 months of the year, then why do we hesitate about getting them up?
A recent poll showed most people take down their holiday decorations the weekend after New Year’s Day. If that’s the case, what date do we need to put them up to enjoy them for 4-6 weeks? Especially when they are taking up valuable space for 11 months of the year.
The answer? Pick a date (or weekend) to put up your decorations early every year so they can be enjoyed. Typically it’s either the first weekend in December, or even Thanksgiving weekend to be ready to turn the lights on December 1. I found I’m happier the sooner I start and get full enjoyment of them for the season… and give some away each year.

6. Before you give us “A Dozen Gift Theme Ideas,” tell us what’s in your notebook and why is it considered a classic Christmas planner to pull off your shelf and use year after year?
Once I got organized I thought of every woman struggling to pull together meaningful holidays in an already busy life. So I created a hand made notebook years ago which my publisher picked up and is available right now on my website or wherever books are sold. This is a holiday planner you can pull off your bookshelf any time day or night and start the season.
The six tabs inside the three-ring notebook include: The Plan, Gifts, Cards & Decorations, Events, December 1-25 Inspiration, and Recipes. There are almost 200 pages of charts, table talk topics for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, room for photos, and even journal pages of “The Best Things that Happened This Christmas.”
Within those six tabs I’ve sprinkled “10 Tips from 10 Experts” covering things like 10 Money Saving Tips for Holiday Gifts, 10 Super Simple Holiday Décor Tips, 10 Holiday Tips for the Working Woman, 10 Tips to Serve Fabulous Food and Impress Your Guests, 10 Tips for a Successful Event, and 10 Tips to Celebrate and Not Gain Weight!

7. Give us your plan to “Simplify with a Gift Theme” for this year, especially for the busy woman starting to think about the holidays.

Simplify with a Gift Theme
(Excerpt from Simplify Your Holidays, Marcia Ramsland (Thomas Nelson 2008)

Simplify shopping by visiting only certain types of stores for everyone on your list. Choose a giving “theme” for the year. Get a different gift in that theme for each person so it is personalized. For example, all the women get jewelry, spa baskets, certificates or robes. Men get sporting event tickets, restaurant certificates, or tools. Sweaters, CDs, DVDs or books all make a great theme for the year, too.

A Dozen Gift Theme Ideas
1. Sweaters for everyone
2. Favorite Restaurant or movie gift cards
3. Gloves and mittens
4. DVD’s
5. CD’s or books
6. Tickets to a play, musical, or retreat
7. Photo Book or digital camera
8. A trip or the latest technology
9. Favorite magazine plus a year’s subscription
10. Chocolate, nuts, or gourmet food basket
11. Spa, massage, or bath items
12. Jewelry, purse, or accessories

Keep track of where you get your gifts each year and head there first. They will have new merchandise that will probably work well for you again.
Remember a gift shows you had the person in your thoughts and a note on your card tells them why you thought they’d like it. Gift giving is a skill to learn. Keep working to hit the mark of delight and surprise with the receiver. With all your lists in one notebook, you’ll be able to do just that as you see what worked well before.

Question 8: Any last words of encouragement for the woman who wants to pull together a meaningful (and peaceful!) holiday season?
This is your year! The Simplify Your Holidays notebook will help you create that organized Thanksgiving and Christmas you’ve dreamed of with all your notes in one place! You’ll love its beautiful red cover, sturdy tabs, and attractive green charts.
To simplify your holidays, manage your time with our holiday plan and keep your notes all in this notebook. You will graduate from seasonal stress to intentional success!

Thanks for having me today. I truly believe you can simplify the coming holiday season and have a more meaningful season than ever!

Marcia Ramsland, The Organizing Pro
Speaker * Author * Media Guest Expert

P.S. Can you simplify your holidays this year? I truly believe so and am eager to know how you do it with my new book, Simplify Your Holidays. Start today by getting your notebook and downloading your FR*EE Master Gift List at

She’s Here!

Little Zoe was born around 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday. What a blessing. She is so sweet! April and Oliver are so excited. Mommy did wonderful. She amazes me how she can go through all day labor and deliver a baby and still look so good. Daddy is doing great. What a treat it is to watch him with his family. Such a sweet young man!

Jim and I took care of April and Oliver and we had a blast! My favorite time was when April and I were talking about how good the Lord is and how thankful we are for such a blessing like Zoe and all the wonderful ways He takes care of us. April started singing a song and it made me cry. She sang in her most serious voice, “Lord, you are, more precious than diamonds,nothing I desire compares to you….”

It just can’t get any better than this.

He’s Safe!

Our son Nathan has been talking about sky diving for some time now. He flew to Houston to visit his cousin last weekend who is engaged to a young man that is a sky diver and photographer. I knew the jump was planned for 2 p.m. on Friday. I was praying for him all day and especially at 2. 🙂 The good news is, he made it and is safe. The other news is……he loved it and plans to do more of it. :0 Really, Nate, I’m happy that you got to experience it and loved every minute of it. You are blessed to be able to do something that you’ve dreamed about. Go Nate!