Sweet Shalom Tea Room is OPEN in Toledo!

Pink floral china patterns adorn with gold trim, frilly tablecloths, doilies, pocket pies, shortbreads, & truffles, a light hum of classical music, gorgeous ladies draped in beautiful flowing sundresses relaxing, sans smartphones. That is the fantasy image that often comes to mind when one thinks of a tea party & Sweet Shalom Tea Room makes that a reality.

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Whether you are looking for a way to spend the afternoon with your Valentine (perfect mother/daughter or son date), are in dire need of a Mom’s Day Out with friends, or are looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift for Mom (May’s Menu is Up), Sweet Shalom Tea Room is where  ladies can linger a bit longer while enjoying the relaxing atmosphere, being waited on, and the comfort of warm tea and uplifting conversations.   

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Where to Grab Coffee in Toledo


Cars are fueled by gasoline and motherhood is fueled by coffee! It’s our BFF when the baby kept us up all night, it’s our companion as we “mom Uber” the entire clan to afterschool activities, it’s our excuse to meet up with other moms, and it’s the slap in the face we need to stay awake on that much needed date night, yep…coffee might just be motherhood’s soul mate! Thankfully there are fueling stations located all over Toledo and the surrounding areas….. Read more

My Sheroes do more than Eat Pray & Love

You gotta love Hollywood, add an emotional soundtrack that will tug at audience’s heartstring to any image and/or picture and suddenly watching someone have the equivalent of a bowel movement is not only acceptable, but creative and inspiring. To add insult to injury why not blast Facebook with beautiful images of bad advice, hashtag vague phrases, and ultimately misinterpret ones purpose for life entirely. Once you allow your mind to be fed this alluring lifestyle that breeds self-love, self-assurance, self-analysis, self-examination, self, self, SELF, one could easily become glutton and drunk on the magnetism.

There is a group of women who are quite popular, mostly due in part because of their all-encompassing self-everything books, lifestyles, and who have grown quite a huge presence on social media, via popular picture/quotes, hashtags, YouTube videos, etc. and they have been known to identify each other as Sheroes=She +Hero. Upon learning that yet another one of these Sheroes had decided to leave her husband I literally wept. For I knew that her decision was monumental, she did not just end a marriage, break a vow, a promise, a commitment, but she also broke a family. And once something is broken, shattered into a hundred pieces, no matter how much time, love-wins Band-Aids are placed on it, or glue is used it will never be the same ever again. My heart really breaks for the children; they will never again have a, one, single home, but rather, mom’s house and dad’s house. We can justify anything, there are probably a million and one reasons why this broken family is for the best, but if one goes deep, really deep, beyond the mind, past the heart, to the soul, that is where truth sleeps.

After sinking into a mild depression upon reviewing the Sheroes of our time, these mentors of moms, these role models, leaders with such huge followings on social media, I came to the realization that I was listening to the emotional soundtrack, it was tugging at my heartstrings, & I was watching the equivalent of someone having a bowel movement. I was duped. I started contemplating all the other women in my life that might be feeling this same sense of being deceived and suddenly I had a revelation, a deep insight, my Sheroes weren’t those women with the all-encompassing self-everything books, movies, YouTube videos, etc. My Sheroes are the amazing women God has placed in my life, their stories are profound, and they are the true Heroes.

My Sheroes are…..

The wife who found out her husband was cheating on her and she stayed, worked things out, kept her family together despite all the horrible advice she received to leave. It was far harder for her to wake up every morning and see him and relive all the hurt than it would have been to leave but her love for her children, family, God, her commitment to marriage and her family was more important than her emotional state at that time.

The mother who has a nonverbal autistic child, who does everything she can for that child, along with her family, who you know must live with some heartache but maintains a positive outlook.

The wife and mother who had tumors removed from her brain and who now has to live with side-effects from the surgeries.

The woman whose husband cheated on her, refused to work on their marriage, left her, got remarried, had children, his second wife died, and this amazing women opened her heart and home to her ex-husband’s children because the children were innocent in all his life decisions.

The mother who not only had to give birth to her stillborn baby but also had to go through the heartache of explaining to the other children why their sibling wouldn’t be coming home.

The mother whose dream finally came true and she gave birth to her second, much prayed for child, only to find out the baby needed open heart surgery immediately.

The young wife whose husband had testicular cancer twice early on in their marriage and her commitment, her sacred vows of Holy Matrimony meant far more than any biological family.

My Sheroes do more than Eat Pray and Love, they stay! When the going gets tough, no matter how many times, they persevere, they stay….these bad-ass women honor their commitments!

These amazing women are held to high esteem in my mind, are very close to my heart and each of their stories have touched my soul deeply.

Are there any Sheroes in your life? Perhaps you are a Shero? Please feel free to share your story.



Clean underwear NEED not apply!

As I stand here in my kitchen I find myself becoming overwhelmed with emotion; gratitude, appreciation, and love.  Yesterday everything broke, our garbage disposal, dryer, and food processor (mid-preparations for Father’s Day!), it was frustrating, inconvenient, and financially stressful. Today is our son’s b-day, 8 years old!! We really didn’t plan anything big( not even a cake, which I feel really bad about, especially considering we have ALWAYS done something in the past, DARN MOMMY GUILT!!) and with having to replace a few big ticket items getting his b-day gift and Father’s Day gifts put us over our budget. Thus, our plans today consisted of attending our son’s field day for baseball and participating in Relay for Life. Rather uneventful. Then I started blending!

As I mentioned, our food processor broke mid-Father’s Day preparations. So I asked my neighbor if his late wife, who died from lung cancer a few years after we moved in (roughly 8 years ago), had a food processor. I even slipped when I asked. I said, “Does Emmy have a food processor?” Then I quickly corrected myself and declared, “Did, Emmy have a food processor?” I have to be honest a part of me knew he did have one, I don’t know how or why, but I knew to ask him. And sure enough, he did have one! And with our busy day I am just now getting around to blending ingredients at 8pm. So as I stand here blending nuts and dates for Father’s Day treats I find my mind wondering. The same thing happens when I iron so I gave it up. Haha! I found myself overjoyed with gratitude and appreciation.

My son’s coaches were amazing this year (and last year). I am so grateful that they volunteered their time, shared their skill, talent, and were so patient with the boys.  And, get this, they even remember that today, their last game, was Max’s b-day and they had a balloon and candy for him. Tell me that wasn’t the sweetest!! So after his game he received a trophy, ribbon, balloon with treats, AND, the cherry on his birthday sundae, Muddy & Mudonna (Our Toledo Mud Hens Mascots) showed up just in time & right next to the field he was playing on to sign his baseball cap and get a pic! PRICELESS!! I couldn’t have planned that any more perfect if I tried!!


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Fast forward a few hours and my daughter and I attended Rely for Life for the American Cancer Society.  Mind you there was a lot of planning that went into the event.

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Our team organizer and team mates did a fabulous job organizing everything, making our t-shirts, putting together raffle items, schedules, signs, etc. 

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My daughter and I enjoyed going around the track and seeing what everyone had in their tents, seeing all the fun things people were dressed up in, getting a pic with the University of Toledo’s Mascot….

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and most importantly, simply enjoying each other’s company (which is a true gift).   I couldn’t help become a little sad when I saw pic of ALL those loved ones who have died from cancer….the littlest really tugged at my heart strings. So, what have I learned from today? Why all the emotion? Why all the gratitude and appreciation?

Simple- I. AM. ALIVE!! My Children are ALIVE!! My son celebrated his 8th birthday today!! And I am so thankful for that! There are so many who have lost the battle to cancer. We never know what tomorrow holds. So maybe I DID wear DIRTY underwear today because my dryer is broken and maybe I didn’t bake my son that cake, but guess what, he was here & I was here! I am so thankful for today. I am so grateful for ALL the amazing people (coaches, teachers, friends, family) in my life, my community, my neighborhood!! I am so thankful for all the souls that I have had the pleasure of meeting before they left this earth. I am thankful for Emmy and her food processor. Back when her son turned 8 years old and she purchased her food processor I know she had no idea that in her 50s she would lose a battle with lung cancer. So, what is my message? LIVE!! Live BIG! Don’t masks your emotions with drugs and alcohol, live it all, good and bad!! Feel the pain. Feel the joy. FEEL it ALL!! Tomorrow is not promised. We never know when our lifetime is up. Don’t not show up because you have to wear dirty underwear! Thank those who should be thanked. Forgive those who need forgiveness, including yourself (including not baking your child a birthday cake…perhaps being together is celebration enough?). Don’t live with regret. Don’t live with grudges. Say yes to adventure!! Simply LIVE!! We owe it to all those who have been lost FAR before we would have liked to live our lives to our fullest. May we all be so blessed to live life in a state of gratitude, appreciation, and love!  (Note, this doesn’t mean perfection….and clean underwear need not always apply. Lol!)


40 Days for Life

At first the baby didn’t seem aware of the cannula (a straw-shaped instrument attached to the end of the suction tube)…It gently probed the baby’s side…the next movement was the sudden jerk of a tiny foot as the baby started kicking, as if trying to move away from the probing invader. As the cannula pressed in the baby began struggling to turn and twist away. The tiny body violently twisting…being wrung like a dish cloth, twirled and squeezed…then the little body began disappearing…the last thing visible was the tiny, perfectly formed backbone…and then it was gone.

These words are taken from the book, unPLANNED that tells the dramatic true story of a former Planned Parenthood leader’s eye-opening journey across the life line. You might be asking yourself why I have decided to address this topic today. It is because today marks the first of 40 Days for Life.

With abortion being the leading cause of death in the US there is a desperate need for transformation…which is where forty days comes into play. For forty days you are asked to…call upon the community to unite in prayer and fasting to end abortion. To conduct peaceful forty-day-long prayer vigils outside abortion clinics and to be a witness to the harm being done there, and offering hope and compassion to all who enter. (Taken from the book, unPLANNED)


Why this is such a passionate topic for me….

Okay, I guess it is time to get personal. During my freshmen year of college I was asked to write two papers, one from the perspective of a pro-life woman and the other from the perspective of a pro-choice woman. This was one of the most difficult assignments I had, and probably ever will, receive in my lifetime. That assignment, in particular the latter paper, though terribly difficult to write since I was raised pro-life and firmly believe in pro-life actually opened my eyes to the fear that can cloud ones judgment. I had to put myself in the place of a woman who was dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and suddenly I realized that fear and shame played such strong roles in their outlook. The fear of not being able to have a child alone, the fear of going through with an abortion, the fear of what other people will think, the fear of not accomplishing your dreams and goals, the fear of what life holds with a child by your side…the shame that you have brought this upon yourself, that you have had an abortion, etc. I also realized that this woman, no matter what her decision was going to be judged by some people; I say some because there are people out there who are kind and compassionate and realize that God shall pass judgment one day, not us.

Fast-forward to the present and I find myself labeling those women who have found themselves pregnant at a young age, who have to make difficult decisions, and who have chose life, I call those women BRAVE! It is no easy task to bring a child into this world out-of-wedlock, underage, etc. and I commend those women and I praise them for if it were not for them I would not have some of the most precious individuals in my life today. So I extend my gratitude to those brave women and I wish I could give each of you a warm embrace as the tears are beginning to stream down face. I am including a very touching song by Casting Crowns, Just Another Birthday that focuses on this topic….

I also have a practice I would like all to share with me for those women who have undergone an abortion, COMPASSION. I have spoken with a few women who have experienced an abortion and not once has one been glad she followed through with it. Even though they were young and they had so much potential for a bright future, career, etc. it wasn’t worth a life. In fact they regret what they have done…they always wonder what if…what if they had their baby…would it be a boy…a girl…maybe that child would have grown into the individual who would one day cure cancer. The heartache, burden, and pain those women carry for the rest of their lives are something no one should have to endure. 

So please join me in 40 Days for Life and pray and fast for all the innocent victims and victims of abortion. In honor of 40 Days for Life I am altering the background of this blog to a blue to represent the hope, peace, compassion, and fortitude for life.

The following link has printable devotions for each of the 40 days. http://40daysforlife.com/getinvolved.cfm


Also, if you or someone you know is facing an unplanned pregnancy in the Toledo area please direct them to Heartbeat of Toledo . If you are not in this area please seek help from a local church or other community affiliate center but not a Planned Parenthood who needs to meet abortion quotas.

If you have had an abortion here are a few sites that might help provide solace, http://hopeafterabortion.com/, http://www.afterabortion.com/, and http://www.experienceproject.com/groups/Had-An-Abortion/366.


40 Days for Life is not about being right, wrong, or indifferent, it is about Life…will you join me?