Monday, June 24, 2019

Book Review: Breaking Vases by Dima Ghawi




A stunning and inspiring biography


Have you ever read a biography and felt the author became a friend you’d like to meet in person? Dima Ghawi is the author I’d like to meet. 

In Breaking Vases, Dima writes about her life growing up in the Middle East in an upper middle-class home under continuous oppression as a female in her country. Reading about her life was an eye-opening experience, transporting me to a place I have only seen in movies. The vivid details she weaves throughout her book are captivating, painting a clear picture of the culture she lived. 

Her writing is both poetic and honest, including her worst experiences and her happiest memories. Dima does not attack her family and culture. She suffered, and doesn’t hide what she felt, but she also remembers and shares what she did love. She persevered and overcame horrendous challenges while remaining kind and optimistic. She inspires the reader to hope and follow dreams for a better life. 

Dima Ghawi was the winner of the 2018 Writer’s Digest Self Published Book Contest and fully deserves the prize. Not only would I like to meet this amazing, accomplished woman, I would love to read her future works.

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Visit my website at: francesjudge.com

Saturday, June 8, 2019

And the Night Goes On





Andrew, our second oldest, at age three, 
when he wore overalls and slept in his racecar bed


Let me tell you, this was a dark and stormy night, of another kind. 

Sitting across from my three-year-old son at the dinner table, I tilted my head, like our Yorkie when she is trying to understand what we’re saying. “Does Andrew look a little green?” I asked my husband.  

He glanced up from his pasta. “He looks fine. If he was sick, he wouldn’t have eaten his dinner.”  

The plate still had a mound of squiggly noodles, his favorite. He ate about half. 

His five-year-old brother, Stephen, continued his car noises in between mouthfuls. He looked fine. Sounded fine. 

“Andrew, do you feel ok?” 

“My tummy hurts.” He scrunched his little nose and pushed the plate away as if it were his enemy or a serving of his most hated vegetable, broccoli. 

Pale skin with a green hue isn’t cute, especially on a three-year-old. By now I knew what was coming. You know what’s coming. Ooh, the dread…wondering if there is any way to prevent the inevitable. 

“Let’s get you ready for bed.” No argument, or begging to read “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” for the billionth time. This was not good. 

“Do you think you might throw up now?” 

“No.” His eyes looked glossy, filling up with tears. And filling my eyes with tears too. 

“Okay. You’ll be fine. Just need to sleep and you’ll wake up and feel like Superman.” Was I lying to my little boy? I slid his blond bangs to the side and kissed his forehead. 

I turned off the lights and went to bed, not to sleep much, only listen. Counting cricket chirps eventually forced my eyes closed until three in the morning. Then the song of groans began with an exploding "Gaahh!" intermingled with coughing and a splashing sound. Was I dreaming? 

“Please, let this not be as bad as it sounds.” 

It was worse. 

Backtrack to when Stephen was two and we got him the cool Little Tikes car shaped bed. He loved it, and Andrew loved getting it when his brother moved up to a regular bed. But this day, I regretted that purchase. 

I ran to Andrew’s room when I realized this was not a dream. Too late. He was hunched over, gagging in between exploding vomit everywhere. Ev-er-y-where! Stepping over the peach-colored pond, I scooped him up to bring to the bathroom for a wash down. The worst part is that he couldn’t go back to bed until I cleaned the mess. Not something to put off until tomorrow. 

Aside from the pond, which was hard enough to mop, chunks of thrown-up noodles and glop filled every crevice of the adorable car bed. And I couldn’t complain that this is the worst thing moms have to do while Andrew was crying in the bathroom. 

It took about an hour to get it scrubbed and ready with fresh sheets. Finally, we were all back to sleep at five in the morning…until I heard the groaning song coming from Stephen’s room.  

It was a long night, but the storm of sickness ended in twenty-four hours. 

I’m thankful God doesn’t give us more than we can handle each day. He didn’t tell me: “This is nothing—just wait until a hurricane destroys your home and you are staying in a small space of two rooms and have five sick kids throwing up in their pastel colored Easter bowls.” 

Some things I’d rather not know ahead of time. Thank you, Lord.



P.S.



God doesn’t say the words “won’t give us more than we can handle,” but He does offer us the help we need to get through any situation—even sick days. One of my favorite Bible verses is found in the book of Matthew.  

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-30 

God will give us the rest we need. I find comfort in those words. Aah…rest. 

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This story received first place in the Faithwriter's Weekly Contest for the topic "sick."

You can visit Francy at her author website: Francesjudge.com

Or check out her book on Amazon: Randi's Steps

Thursday, March 7, 2019

A Note to Nurses







I am not a nurse. I wasn’t born with the genes for nursing, but I work alongside nurses each day. They’re busy from the second they clock in at the nursing home until they leave, often working overtime to finish their patient notes or working a double shift. Some residents are demanding and unappreciative, yet the nurses still devote their time to providing the best care. They have bus-size more patience than me.

Last week, I had the surprise of observing from the flip side—from a hospital bed, a humbling position. From the moment the admitting nurse handed me a white cotton gown with the blue diamond print, snaps on shoulders, and open back, I was humbled. The ties, dangling at the side, are completely useless and do nothing to improve the silhouette. One size fits all.

Lying on that hospital bed, I was quickly transformed into a patient, dependent on nursing care. It’s hard to do much when your arm is attached to an IV pole. Of course, I wanted to get better, so I let the nurses invade my personal space and check vitals every hour. I appreciated their compassion, their thorough care and friendly smiles even at 4:00 AM.

I was thankful for each act of kindness. After a few days there, when I was desperate to get clean, one nurse wrapped my IV in plastic and tape so it wouldn’t get wet, and I could shower. Another nurse stopped to talk to me about the books she enjoys and ask what I’ve written—took my mind off where I was for the moment. In the morning, a nursing assistant sang “Jesus is the Answer,” a church song I loved from years ago, while she made my bed. Nurses were often in my room helping the patient next to me. She was suffering with excruciating pain and called for help day and night. The nurses answered every time. And the call bells kept ringing.

I’m home now, but I’ll remember the faces of the nurses—the light in a depressing place. I thank God for all those blessed with the nursing gene. They are an example of “The Good Samaritan,” what God desires us all to be.

  •            The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40 

  •          “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”                Galatians 6:2 

  •          “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9



 Visit my author website at: francesjudge.com
  

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Writer's Digest 87th Annual Competition






Time to celebrate! I received my copies of this year’s Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition Collection. I have entered this contest for years and have only won two honorable mentions. I never thought I would win first place. There were over 5300 entries this year for the nine categories. I always pray before writing, so I have to thank God for this blessing.

I encourage you to persevere in your writing endeavors. Keep writing. Keep submitting. Consider rejections as steps to improve. You can’t succeed without trying.  

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7

You can buy your copy of the 2018 winning stories (only $10) at this link:

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