My Mouth Dropped

                      – My Mouth Dropped – 

wow.jpg We all know that saying ‘My mouth dropped!’  Has your mouth dropped after seeing something unexpectedly pop up? I bet you have.

I like to think that God had fun planning this one particular way of surprising me.

A few weeks ago, I got email from a book writers competition organization called American Book Fest stating my book was chosen to be one of the Award Finalists. Did I read right? My book was chosen? I felt like I had – time for that quote – died and gone to Heaven. But before I went there, I had to see how my book showed on the list. Those two words ‘Click here’ whispered to me to click.

“This should be interesting,” I thought.  – CLICK

The website showed up. As I scrolled down, the ‘Award Winners’ showed up first. Of course I would have loved to have seen my book next to that title, but I was still floating high having been chosen as an Award Finalist. One by one I scrolled down, with the pictures of each ‘Award Winner’ showing along with its information.

When will the Award Finalist list begin? How many are there? When will mine show?   

After checking that first Award Winner, I scrolled down.

Second one down… Award Winnerscroll to the next.

Third one down… Award Winner keep going. 

Forth one down… Award Winneroh, come on. Stop this list of winners.

Fifth one down… Award Finalist.

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The look on my face began to change.

 

 

 

Ten thousand questions began floating around in my head at eighty miles a second as I just stared at my screen. My eyes began crawling to the left of ‘Award Finalist’.

Where will mine show? How far down the list is my book? If it’s far down, then no one will really see it. Watch it be after oodles of others. Oh, please don’t be too far down.

All I was hoping to see in some near future was the picture of my book, along with its title, God and Your Pillow. 

If you want to know why I almost fainted in the middle of my next thought, check out this photo.

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I’m sure God couldn’t wait to see what my face would look like when I saw my book was at the very top of that Award Finalist list.  You read that right: TOP ! There’s one thing He still hears me say to this day: Thank you Lord.

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You have my full permission to share this posting with whom ever you please, and let others know God is full of surprises.

 

 

 

 – Click here to see the full website I ever-so happily found my book.  

 

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more on her blog, marimemoirs.com.

Unplanned Pregnancies – Then vs. Now

 – Unplanned Pregnancies Then vs. Now –

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What was a typical day like for your average nineteen-year-old thirty years ago? When you woke up, you were glad there was nothing electronic close at hand to open up the world to you. You, alone, away from it all . . . perfect. Once awake, you’d turn on your favorite radio station or you’d rewind your cassette to hear your favorite Billy Joel, Whitney Houston, or Lionel Richie song again.

You were thrilled your parents got that extra-long phone cord so you could finally leave the kitchen and walk into the bathroom to talk to your friends.

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“Well, then call me as soon as you get back home. I have to tell you something,” or “If no one answers, I’ll call later. Just make sure you are by a phone when home,” were statements often said.

“I’ll text you later” was nowhere to be found.

It was hard to decide which one of those six stations to watch on that big, boxy TV.

You loved grabbing the daily delivered newspaper your parents had on the kitchen counter to check movie times.

Later on, it was time to put eighty-nine-cents-per-gallon gas in your stick shift before picking up a few friends, grabbing ninety-nine-cent double cheeseburgers at McD’s before watching the movie called Star Trek lV, or The Voyage Home, that cost a whopping $2.75 to see. That’s what life was like for me when I was nineteen.

Until, that is, I found out I was pregnant. (1*) Life was so different back then, and I felt so alone. I’m certain many women feel like that even today, but because of the way we now have such easy access to helpful information, I think it’s safe to say that not quite so many feel as alone as I did.

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There was no cell phone back in 1986 so, when sitting in my car, away from the world, I couldn’t secretly look up information on where to get a pregnancy test. No laptops, I-pads, or cell phones to tweet #unplannedpregnancies. No opening up your laptop to type in NoWayCanIBePregnant.com, either. No putting in ‘first trimester’ to get a long list of websites covering the subject.

I would have loved to have found a Facebook group for Christians going through an unplanned pregnancy, or Twitter to find encouraging verses and quotes. But no. I felt like I was in my own little world, not able to connect with any Christians who had been, or were, going through what I was experiencing. I now know that if I did not have my church family during that time, I would have gone bonkers. But still, there was no one to Skype with who could look at me, face-to-face, and say, “Believe me, I know what it’s like and how you’re feeling.”

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Unplanned pregnancies can be dealt with quite a bit differently now than thirty years ago. Now, you can get info on anything from anywhere. Heck, you can even get your best help or support from total strangers all around the world!

I’m sure I would have been getting information and insight from my I-phone, I-pad, or I-mac. (Yes, you can call me an I-fan!) There are also many organizations that have opened their doors for needed tests, information, and support.

For years, I put off writing my story being as so much had changed since I was pregnant. Then it hit me. Unplanned pregnancies are still that: un . . . planned . . . pregnancies. They were the same back then as they are now: an unexpected shock to women, followed by overwhelming emotions and stress for all involved. Once realizing this, I then decided—with encouragement from others—to write my book, showing what I went through. Yes, the means of getting helpful information about this type of pregnancy is now different. Also, the number of people you can connect with going through the same thing can sure help one feel less alone. But overall, we’re still the same. Our feelings and thoughts were stored in the same place back then as they are now: in our hearts and souls.

And God’s the same, as well! That’s the best fact. He has not changed how He carries those who follow Him. He sure carried me then and He sure carries His children now.

Hebrews 13:8: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Sure, He might now use that perfect website to guide you in what help or information to get.  I just know I’d never change what He used to guide me to what was best for me.

The good old yellow pages. (2*)

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1* Click here to find out how about a certain phone call. Yep. God had plans.

2* Click here to find out how the yellow pages fit into my story

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more on her blog, marimemoirs.com.

 

 

My Pregnancy Story Continues

      – My Pregnancy Story Continues –

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One of my past posts showed a small portion of an extra special journal writing I did  thirty-three years ago. Click here to read because what’s below is what directly came next on that page. My book, God and Your Pillow, is available now that covers my entire story behind me and that journal.  

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Journal Time. Yep, it’s time to share more of my journal and what was going from my heart to the paper at this time in my pregnancy. I wish I hadn’t allowed there to be a huge gap between writings. You need to know that . . . oh, my journal will tell you. See if you can notice a few things I leave out.

                                                                                                January 2, 1987

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Okay, let’s see. A lot has gone on since I last wrote over a year ago. April of ‘86 I drove down to Santa Maria, CA and lived with Debbie for three months, worked at the Hilton Hotel in room service. On my return home I was faced with my niece’s tumor and seeing her die. She died in September. So sad.

In the mean time God showed me the direction my life was to take. He gave me a baby. As of this writing, I am seven-and-a-half months along in my pregnancy. Things are fine as long as Jesus is close by. If it wasn’t for His will for my life, I’d go crazy! I’m making it through use fine. Praise God.

I’m sort of surprised I didn’t write for almost two years. What? Quick update: I started my journal when I was twelve. Every day for a while, then every other day, then every other week, then every other month, then maybe half a year and, at this point, a few years’ break. You mean I didn’t write at all during this entire time?  . . . Oh, and the space shuttle blew up since I last wrote. It’s been a very tough year.

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I’m still surprised I didn’t write in my journal once during that entire ordeal. One reason must be because all the pens in my room, heck, in the entire house for that matter, would not have had enough ink to put my overflowing thoughts down on paper.

But finally, as more peace was growing inside my heart, along with this baby growing inside my tummy, the more I was sensing that strong arm of God carrying us both. I could have been storing up all the negative this-and-thats that were here-and-there, but I didn’t. God helped keep the thoughts flowing to do what I felt was right as I kept prayer wrapped around it all as best I could. I knew whatever circumstances I faced didn’t have the power to dictate my attitude unless I let them. Now sure, towards the beginning I did allow negative thoughts to dictate my attitude. I’m ever-so thankful to this day that God saw fit to use my family, friends, my church, my bible, and yes, even my doctor (1*) to allow positive thoughts to dictate my attitude.

When life gets hard, it’s difficult to avoid letting a bad attitude rule our life and take over our mind. It’s true, life can sure stink sometimes when people hurt us, the past haunts us, those we work with mistreat us, family or friends don’t love us, spouses don’t honor us, children don’t appreciate or respect us, finances don’t support us, and our health doesn’t sustain us.

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Yep, enduring problems never really seen to be absent.  They make pure joy in our hearts difficult. But trying to hold at least a little smile not only helps us become stronger believers, it opens the door for an attitude transformation. Those of you reading, just keep in mind that when our heart, soul, and mind focus on the good that seems to be hiding, our attitudes will get better. The good is then easier to find, our attitudes improve even more, causing good things to seem to be showing up all over the place.

Just keep in mind that the only thing we have to lose, by choosing a positive attitude, is a negative one. And one of the many good things you just might gain by choosing a positive attitude is . . .

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. . . realizing you just might feel like sharing what’s been going on in your life in your journal.

 

 

 

1* – Click here to read how God spoiled me with my doctor. 

 

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more on her blog, marimemoirs.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Pregnancy Facts During That Eighth Month

           – 5 Pregnancy Facts During That Eighth Month –

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My due date was getting close. My new life as a single mom was right around the corner, and before I knew it I would be holding my very own daughter in my very own arms. I can’t help but share a list of a few pros and cons surrounding me that last month.

1- Sleep – Sleeping at night was getting ridiculously uncomfortable. I flat-out did not look forward to going to bed. I’m sure my pillow could sense the un-comfort I was feeling, and if it could talk, would probably holler  ‘STOP MOVING!’

2- Clothes – Not wearing maternity clothes in some near future was my little dream. By no means was I going to miss wearing them. I couldn’t wait till they all went back to the thrift store that I most likely got then from.

3- Weight – Being a bit over weight before I was pregnant, I really did not like my size at eight months. Any mirror close by that last month was not my best friend.

4- Information – Learning all I could about labor, delivery and nursing was a must. I’m sure if websites were available back in 1987, Childbirth.com would have been my best friend.

Time now for the last yet most important fact

5- Church family – Let a few paragraphs from my book explain.

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       I was so thankful that my church was a true family of believers. Great messages, great fellowship. As my tummy was slowly but surely getting bigger, my love for all I was learning was growing as well. My church family helped me hang on with my family situation at home. Friction that had been going on for years between my parents was growing. Thankfully, I knew my soap-opera life wasn’t making it worse. I actually think it might have been helping, as it got them thinking of other things instead of what was wrong between them.
       My siblings’ lives, too, were all going in different directions. It seemed most were all hoping they could find greener grass elsewhere. Christ wasn’t included on their road in life. It was good that I could escape not only on Sundays, but at the Wednesday evening prayer meetings too. Sort of a mid-week refreshment. It’s scary to think how less peaceful I would have felt during that time if I didn’t have a great source for spiritual support and friends.

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Picture1-1Of course the first and far most reason for church is the gathering of believers to worship our Lord.  But the group I was honoring God with was also a must for me during my pregnancy.

Let me encourage those who do not attend church on a routine basis to do that. One of the many reasons is that when trials come, a support system that’s crucial could be right there. When in need, you will want your brothers and sisters in Christ to uphold you in prayer and assist with practical needs as well.

 

Galatians 6:2 encourages us to do just what my church family did for me.

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Click here if you are curious how this entire story began.  

 

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more on her blog, marimemoirs.com.

Two Adults Who Molded My Thoughts

                     – Two Adults Who Molded My Thoughts – 

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This post, similar to my last, shares another important lesson I learned during my unplanned pregnancy. (1*) But this one is a bit different. I take that back. It’s a lot different. My previous story was about one young boy I was around for a couple months who taught me a few things about me becoming a mother soon. This one is about two adults in my family I’d been around all my life that applied to me becoming a wife someday. Those two people? My parents.

Notice I said “applied to” being married, not an example to being married.

When I was a younger teen, my parents’ relationship wasn’t that positive. Yes, they showed love to me and my siblings, but displaying their love to one another was not so apparent. Having one or more of us kids around helped them find more to talk about than just the weather, what’s for breakfast, or where’s the mail. But, as year after year went by, joy, peace, and love between them was hard to witness.

“I’m sure not going to bring up little pet-peeve issues with the man I someday marry,” I began thinking in my young teen years. “Whoever he will be, him and I will not do any useless complaining or whispering a negative comment just loud enough for the other to hear. No huge arguments or even simple useless bickering back and forth. Nope. I refuse.” 

These thoughts formed before I became a Christian, so after my heart did a 180-degree turn at age eighteen, that thought grew even more each time I felt tension between them. Feeling sorry for them grew as well, knowing my parents did not understand what true peace in a Christ-centered marriage was about. They were a couple who kept God on that back burner, turned off.

Being pregnant, knowing I’d become a parent in just a few months, had me thanking God even more that He kept me from marrying Mr. Wrong, (2*) and having me see the importance of marrying a God-fearing Mr. Right.

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My thoughts about the importance of love between parents and their children, love between a husband and wife, and love between God and the family, were growing. I’m not saying I had everything figured out with my plans ahead as a mom and wife. Far from it. But my thoughts were slowly and surely molding in that direction. He had me start putting a puzzle together of my future by having me witness what was not going well outside and inside my home.

The point of sharing all this, along with last week’s story, is to have us see that we learn some important truths from ordinary day-to-day situations. None of us can foresee what He uses to teach us. He doesn’t reveal the entire path as we step into the unknown, but He slowly strengthens our faith through our experiences. Walking in God’s will is asking Him to show us what He wants us to learn and what He wants for our lives. Our responsibility is simply to obey and seek Him today, knowing that He holds tomorrow.

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Matthew 6:33:  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (like a bit more of a peace-filled family) shall be added to you. 

 

 

1* – click here to read my last post

2* – click here to read a bit how the father is not included in my story. 

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more on her blog, marimemoirs.com.

A Little Child Who Molded My Thoughts

                  – A Little Child Who Molded My Thoughts –

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How many of you have had a simple thing happen that stood out. Not a huge, mind-boggling experience, just something you witnessed day after day that glued to your heart, soul, and mind. Perhaps the reason it stuck to you was because something else you were dealing with connected some how to what you were witnessing. To see how this happened to me, read this short piece from God and Your Pillow, a book I wrote which opens up my life during my unplanned pregnancy.

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      A part-time job I got at the YMCA was enjoyable and filled up some of my empty hours. Looking after little kindergarten-aged children did a few things for me. It helped me pass the time; helped me make a little money; and helped me realize I’m going to have a child this age really soon.

       Kind of weird thinking the third one, that’s for sure. But I didn’t mind, for I was learning important things. Being the youngest of seven, I had never really been around younger kids on a daily basis. Sure, I did have a little time with Kelly’s two boys around, two years and four years old. But that didn’t count. I knew they were cute, crazy little boys, and I had fun being an aunt once every few weeks for a few hours. But seeing different kids at this daycare every day was profitable for me, realizing how parents play a big role in their child’s life.

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       I sensed something in one little boy, that his home life wasn’t that positive, and I can, to this day, still picture how his face was either sad or mad, with words to match his look. He caused me to think how I wanted my own baby to grow up instead, with sweet smiles to pass around.

 


 

I sure did my best to make that boy smile. I will be honest. It wasn’t easy being he was a bit tough to deal with. I kept to heart it was most likely because of what life was like in his home, cherishing every time I saw a smile on his little face. As those few months went by, day after day spending time with that boy, I made a vow to myself to make sure my baby would have love, joy, and peace while growing up.

And of course a few verses on this subject began standing out a bit more. Here’s a few.
Psalm 127:3-4  Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth.

Mark 9:36-37 – Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”

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“Oh, my goodness, ” I began thinking when eight months pregnant. “I’m already starting to think like a mom.”

 

 

Is there something that you witnessed that shaped you in who you are now? It’s often things we witness outside of our home that molds how we think and who we are. My next story will show something else that stuck to my heart while pregnant. However, It’s a bit different being it’s something I learned from inside my home.

To be continued.

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more on her blog, marimemoirs.com.

Worry Turned into Peace

         – Worry Turned into Peace –

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At some point in life, we all need to learn that trials are going to occur somehow, some way, at some time. That is sure what I, when nineteen years old, began learning as more months of my pregnancy went by. As my last post stated, (1*) I shared how God was carrying me, but woe-is-me and what-if thoughts were tagging right along. As the baby inside was obviously getting bigger, worry had become my new middle name because of the uncertainty of my life ahead.

Not one person truly knew how I felt . . . that is, except God. And how did I know that? Because as worrisome thoughts began to take over, God sparked little pieces of hope my way with things that took place. (2* and 3* are a few examples)

Slowly but surely, I began feeling more peace as I was seeing more of my need for Him.

My time spent reading my Bible and praying increased, and my worries of being a mom decreased. The book of Psalms became a daily must, as many verses talk about having faith and building trust in God. As months went by, I began to see how this trial was peeling off my woes of losing what I wanted to be, but for the better by replacing them with what God wanted me to be: a mom.

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I know that’s what got me back into writing in my journal. (4*)

 

 

 

Before all this took place, I often wondered how in the world people could say they had peace inside during an extra-tough time. During my pregnancy, I learned how, because I felt much more peace as the due date got closer.

So what is the main point of telling the inside, heartfelt part of my story? 

To show others that trials have a way of digging up the soil of your heart and pulling out those weeds. Trials provide opportunities for us to find one of the secrets to a full and blessed life: getting closer to Christ.

Another reason is to show that worrying does absolutely no good. Be concerned, yes, but worrying to the point where it secretly gets you down in the dumps, forget it. Now I’m not saying all my worries were one-hundred percent gone. Heck no. But my pillow sure noticed more peace was growing inside of me, just as that precious baby was growing too.

Philippians 4:6-7   

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

There was another thing my mind starting thinking about that caused many more smiles to form. Sorry. You’ll have to wait.

 

1* – Last post

2* and 3*  – two of many poofs God carried me.

4* –  When I got back into my journal

 

Marianne Petersen’s book God and Your Pillow is now available. (Amazon) – You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more on her blog, marimemoirs.com.