The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Monday, May 31, 2010

American Hero

A cap, a flag, a medal, too,
And an empty place at home.
He gave his life for me and you,
Defending his native loam.

In time of peace and time of war
He pledged us his very best.
Our nation's colors he proudly bore
On his shoulder or his chest.

Though tired, forlorn, and oft alone,
He steadily stood his watch.
With courage high, he did not moan;
His mission he would not botch.

The threat of pain or even death
Could never his set course sway.
And at the end with dying breath
"It was my duty," he'd say.

"He chose his doom - an unmarked tomb,"
The ungrateful ones still scoff
While in his house is an empty room
And a hat he can not doff.

Instead, he sleeps, his duty done.
He defended home and land.
He fought until his course he'd run.
In his honor now we stand.

~Revka Stearns

the Arizona Memorial in Hawaii

American cemetery at Normandy, France

Memorial Day flags at veteran's cemetery


Friday, May 28, 2010

Blog Tour: Life in Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson as told to Tricia Goyer

DISCLOSURE: I received a free copy of this book for review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, and my review was not influenced by my receiving the book for free.

As someone who has struggled with the urge to commit suicide, I was very pleased to have been given the opportunity to review Life, In Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson as she told it to Tricia Goyer.

Let me give you the official spiel, and then I'll tell you what I thought of the book.


After her fatal choice... extraordinary hope.

Why does my life have to be so painful?
What's wrong with me?
It's not going to get better.
It could all be over soon, and then I won't hurt anymore.
Kristen Anderson thought she had the picture perfect life until strokes of gray dimmed her outlook on life. Once a happy child, Kristen's world darkened after three friends and her grandmother died within two years. Still reeling from these losses, she was raped by a friend she thought she could trust. She soon spiraled into a depression that didn't seem to have a bottom.

One January night, the seventeen-year-old made a decision: She no longer wanted to deal with the emotional pain that smothered her. She lay down on a set of cold railroad tracks and waited-for a freight train to send her to heaven...and peace.
Fear coursed through me. I squeezed my eyes tighter.
It's going to be over now. The pain is going to end. I'll be in heaven soon.
As the train whistle blew, the vibration of my body stilled.
The sound stopped. The wind stopped. The train stopped.
Am I dead yet?
Amazingly, Kristen survived her suicide attempt... but the 33 freight cars that ran over her severed her legs. Now she not only had to deal with depression; she also had to face the physical pain and life without legs.

But Kristen's story didn't end there. After her darkest days Kristen discovered a real purpose for living. Now, in her compelling book Life, In Spite of Me, Kristen shares her journey from despair to hope.

Includes letters from Kristen that share messages she wishes someone would have told her-when she was depressed and struggling with loss, shame from sexual abuse, and suicidal thoughts.

My Review:

I'll be very open and tell you that Life, In Spite of Me came at a good time for me. I was more than a little overwhelmed, was exhausted, and was feeling very unappreciated. It's at times like those when my thoughts tend to turn dark.

As soon as I received my package, I tore it open (I'm always excited to get new books) and started reading. I couldn't put the book down. It simply overwhelmed me because I could identify with so much of Kristen's story. The loneliness and sense of isolation, the feelings of futility and inevitable defeat, the crushing weight of overwhelm - I've experienced them all.

As I read, I felt hope once again as Kristen's story, although it started out sadly, was ultimately joyously triumphant. Several of the letters Kristen wrote spoke directly to me. One particular one broke my reserve enough for my eyes to tear up, even though others were present in the room with me. If I'd been alone, I would have been sobbing.

I think that every parent should read this book. Kristen's family had no idea of some of the things she had been through. She was very good at masking her inner life and the despair she felt.

I think that anyone contemplating suicide should read this book. You are not alone. There is still hope.

I think that anyone who knows someone who is contemplating suicide should read this book. You may find new ways to help your friend.

I think that anyone who works with teens should read this book. You may find it helpful in dealing with your teens.

Life, In Spite of Me is available at and other places where books are sold. A Google search will help you find a place to purchase it.

Want to Read What Others Thought?

Visit the Life, In Spite of Me blog tour at LitFuse.


Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-four books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough.

She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005.

In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions.

She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. For more info, please visit

Enter to Win Your Choice of Any 5 Books by Tricia Goyer:

Tweet this: Don’t miss Life, In Spite of Me by @TriciaGoyer! The amazing story of #KristenAnderson journey back from #suicide!
(must use both hashtags #kristenanderson and #suicide)


Leave a comment here for a chance to win 1 of 5 copies of Life, In Spite of Me.


Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

After having 4 little ones of my own, I understand my mother much better.

  • I understand why she sent us outside to play when we were having (very noisy) fun inside.
  • I understand why she lost her temper and yelled at us when we had done for the millionth time what she had repeatedly instructed us not to do.
  • I understand why she got frustrated when she was the one picking up our (HUGE) messes - yet again.
  • I understand why she always gave us the best of whatever we had and took the leftovers for herself.
  • I understand why she pawned special items from her mom and grandmother when we were more than a little short on money. (Mom, I still remember that china bride doll, antique pitcher, and very old copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin with regret and will never forget the expression on your face as you got in the car to see how much you could get for them.)
  • I understand her love for each one of us has endured despite disappointments and hurts.
  • I understand that I will always be her child - a part of her.
To all of you other mothers: Happy Mother's Day and God bless you.

To Mom: Thanks. I love you.


Saturday, May 08, 2010

I'm Exhausted, but I Accomplished a Lot

These past two weeks have been very stressful as I have worked long hours to finish as many client projects as possible before taking a week long break from my business.

This past week was absolutely insane. From Monday through Friday, I did the following:

  • 4 Blueberry Delight custom blog design packages from start to finish
  • 1 custom HTML page, including all the coding and graphics
  • 1 navigation bar and contact form
  • 1 ecommerce website - final content and product insertion
  • 1 database transfer
  • 3 hours of transferring Word docs to pdf format and then inserting them into a website
  • 2 hours of maintenance
  • 4 hours of training clients how to use their sites
Of course, my house was a complete disaster since working 10 - 12 hour days leaves no time for anything else. So today, I concentrated on housework:
  • 8 large loads of laundry were wash, dried, folded/hung up, and put away (There are still around 5 large loads of dirty towels, bedding, and work uniforms.)
  • the girls' room was finally completely cleaned
  • 2 loads of dishes were washed, dried, and put away
  • vacuuming was done
  • and I can't remember what else...
I'm ready to drop. But I still need to finish the dishes and the laundry, clean the bathrooms, vacuum/sweep/mop that floors that need it, and dust. I think I'll do that on Monday.

After that, I'm taking a break and enjoying my family.

How about you?