Meeting old friends for the first time

This past week was a milestone event for me in several respects. It marked my 25th wedding anniversary with my wonderful husband, Michael, but it also brought some wonderful new experiences as well. For the first time in over two years I finally got to meet friends in person for the first time whom I have only known through Facebook and emails.

One of them was Henry Newell for whom I wrote the first "wish fulfillment" story called "A Gift for Henry". Henry and I became friends (along with his wonderful wife, Vicki) after she reviewed my first book, The Victor, on her blog. We have spoken on the phone several times and through social media but for the past two plus years he steadfastly refused to send me a picture of himself. When Michael and I learned about his latest and potentially very serious physical challenges we decided to change our anniversary plans from our local Napa, CA and head to Florida. I had promised Henry that should anything ever happen to him that I would come and read his story at his memorial service but I didn't want that to be the first time I met him so we changed our plans. We spent a wonderful Thanksgiving with Henry, Vicki and their family at their home and in turn, they came to support me at my book signing in Lakeland, Florida the next day. Henry had many of the patrons in tears as he related his story of how he became a quadriplegic at the age of 14 and how he was touched by the story I wrote for him.

In addition to Henry; I also got to meet several other very good friends for whom I have written "wish fulfillment" stories for who also came to the book signing. Sandra Stiles, a fellow author and school teacher in Sarasota (who wrote Steps to Courage) whose wish story is called "Two Peas in a Pod", her husband, Brad; Darlene Fisher ("Three Wishes" and the only story that consistently makes ME cry), and Kathy Frazier, a fellow Messianic Jew who lives in Tampa. Kathy has a blog and has successfully homeschooled five children; she is superwoman!

I've included Darlene's story below but if you want to read the rest of them, you can find them all in my book "Make a Wish"; available on this blog (personally autographed) or through Amazon.

Me, Henry and Vicki

Me, Henry and Darlene

Kathy Frazier and Me 

Sandra Stiles and Me

      I met Darlene through a comment she left on my web page about "A Gift for Henry". Henry and Darlene knew each other in high school but had lost contact for decades.  Coincidentally enough, they found each other again shortly after I came into the picture through Facebook.  What was even more amazing was that they only lived 4 miles away from each other! 
      Darlene had lost her beloved husband, Stevie, due to congestive heart failure a few years ago.  He had died in her arms. Heart problems ran in his family and Stevie knew that would not live a normal life span on this earth. Henry asked me to write her a story just like the one I had done for him. I knew how painful the holidays were going to be for her so I wanted to do something to let her know that God saw her hurt and pain and that He cares. Three Wishes is God's special Christmas gift to Darlene and is one of my favorite “wish fulfillment” stories.

“Three Wishes”

      Darlene regarded the Christmas decorations in her local grocery store glumly. She hated this time of year. Absolutely hated it! All it did was accentuate the sadness that she always carried in her heart like a heavy lead balloon. As a kid she had enjoyed the holidays as much as anyone else but all that had changed three years ago when her husband, Steve, had died in her arms of heart failure. She sighed, fighting back the tears that welled up in her eyes and threatened to spill down her cheeks. She wasn’t going to cry in the check-out line! Not in front of all these strangers!
      The box boy stuffed the last of her groceries into the bag and Darlene hurried out, her head down, her shoulders beginning to shake. She got into her car, her hands trembling with the grief she tried to suppress and yet couldn’t. She let her head drop onto the steering wheel and allowed the tears to come. She missed him. She couldn’t help it. Even after a few years, there was still a big hole in her heart that just wouldn’t heal.
      Oh, Stevie…she thought to herself, not for the last time. If only we had had more time together…if only your heart hadn’t been sick…if only…
      Darlene violently brushed the tears from her cheeks and started the car. She didn’t want to go down that road again. She had to get home, unload the groceries alone without help and get some dinner for herself. The very idea depressed her beyond belief.
      She turned the key in the ignition and maneuvered out of the parking lot. She made to turn right, but the car suddenly had other ideas. It turned left. It shocked her so much she just gaped. Then the gas pedal depressed itself and the car began speeding up and driving itself. Darlene sat back and watched in shock as the car continued to steer, turning down streets she was unfamiliar with, stopping and starting without assistance from her, and wondering where on earth her car was taking her and why. For some reason she felt no panic but a few times she caught the shocked glances of people in other cars as she half-heartedly smiled and waved at them as her car turned a corner without her assistance. Once or twice she gripped the steering wheel and tried to steer the way she wanted to or to brake but the car was completely unresponsive. Why fight it? She thought to herself and sat back to watch what would happen. A half hour passed, then 45 minutes; soon the car was on the main highway heading north. Before she knew it, she had nodded off to sleep.

      She awoke when the car came to a stop, not remembering what had happened and wondering if she was asleep, dreaming she was awake. She looked around and found herself and her car in a tiny driveway in front of a little cottage, brightly lit with cheerful Christmas lights and a wreath on the door. There was nothing else in site. She got out of the car feeling stiff from her unexpected nap. She went up to the door of the cottage which was bright red, and knocked. Hopefully whoever lived there would let her use the phone or give her directions on how to get back home before the milk spoiled. She knocked twice.
      “Come in, Darlene!” said a voice that made her heart skip a beat. A voice she had not heard in years but a voice that was dearly beloved and familiar all the same.
      Heart pounding, she walked into the little cottage. There was a fireplace with a cheery fire crackling away, a Christmas tree with ornaments that looked strangely familiar and her favorite Christmas music playing on the stereo that she hadn’t played in years because it had hurt too much to listen to it.
      “Welcome, home, sweetheart!” said the voice again and Darlene felt arms wrapping around her like a warm cocoon.
      “Stevie?” she sobbed, turning around to face what must surely be a dream or a ghost. “Is it really you?”
      “Yes, dear,” he responded with an apologetic smile. “I’m sorry we had to bring you here the way we did and that it took so long but I hope the memory we make will all be worth it to you.”
      “We? Memory?” Darlene repeated, completely bewildered. She stepped back out of Steve’s arms for a moment and rubbed her eyes, unable to believe she was seeing what she was seeing. Steve stepped forward again and gently took her hands into his.
      “I’m sorry I ruined the holidays for you,” he said, he eyes truly sorrowful. “I didn’t want to leave you at all, you know, but my heart wasn’t made to last as long as everyone else’s. Can you forgive me?”
      “It’s just that I miss you so much.” Darlene said, the tears spilling down again. “I have wished so often that I could just have you with me just one more time, just a little bit longer…”
      Steve took her face gently into his hands and smiled at her. “Wish granted,” he whispered and embraced her again. This time Darlene did not pull away. She melted into his embrace and allowed herself the luxury of breathing in the scent of his hair and his clothes without all the medicinal smells that he had used to carry later in life when his heart began to fail. After a few moments, Steve parted and led her back to the rear of her car with a smile, reaching for one of the grocery bags.
      “Here, let me help you with that.” He said, hefting it up easily.
      “No! I’ll get it!” Darlene protested, falling back into the routine of doing most of the lifting herself because of his weak heart.
      “Not necessary!” Steve said, grabbing both effortlessly. “No more bad heart!” He led her into the tiny but charming kitchen and took the groceries out one at a time. Instead of the dull, boring regular items she always got, she stared in amazement as Steve pulled out the favorite beverages, foods, and treats they used to share one at a time. It was a gourmet feast and it was already prepared and hot.
      Together they sat down at the table where candlelight glowed and ate and talked for hours. Then they cuddled up onto the couch together in front of the fire and the tree, listening to soft Christmas music together.
      “I don’t want this moment to end.” Darlene said at last, somehow knowing the moment for her departure was soon approaching. Steve laid a gentle kiss on her forehead and held her close.
      “Do you remember our last moments together?” he whispered. Darlene choked on her sobs, the raw wound opening up again.
      “Of course I do! How could I ever forget a moment like that?” she said, her heart aching. Steve held her closer and looked deeply into her eyes, his face serious.
      “Darlene, I always knew I would not live very long and have a normal life span. I also knew it would be unfair to whoever I married and my kids because of it but I was selfish and asked God to grant me three wishes: 1) That I would be able to marry the woman I love, 2) that I could be a father (no matter how they turned out), and 3)…” Steve paused, his own eyes filling with tears.
      “Three?” repeated Darlene, wondering what it could be. Steve sighed deeply and held her closer.
      “…that when it was finally my time to leave this earth and go to heaven, I would die in the arms of the person who loved me best in this life…you.
      “God gave me all three of my wishes and now He has granted this one for you. He has given you one more wonderful memory…a little more time…just a taste of the joy of our being reunited in heaven so you can still go on with your life in this world and grieve a little bit less, knowing how well I loved you and how I still love you and that I’m waiting for you. The time is growing short when we will be together again forever but until that day comes, I want you to live each day knowing that I’m still loving you and caring about you. Try to find joy again in the little things again and I’ll be right there, sharing it with you. Can you do that for me?”
      “I’ll try.” Darlene smiled weakly, wishing she could stay in that little cottage with him forever.
      “Now lay your head on my shoulder and go to sleep,” said Steve, holding her close. “And when you wake you’ll be back to your regular life but remember that you always carry my love and my heart inside your own.”
      “Okay,” whispered Darlene, clutching him tightly. “I’ll remember. I promise.”
       “That’s my girl,” Steve smiled, caressing her head until she fell asleep.

      Darlene awoke with a start and looked around her. The cottage was gone and so were the tree, fireplace and Steve. She was back in her little home but there on the table was the most beautiful arrangement of snow-white and deep red flowers she had ever seen. She picked up the tiny envelope and withdrew the little card that had Steve’s handwriting on it and instead of crying…she smiled.

P.S. – Yes – Darlene got this bouquet shortly after I sent her the story.

Send Me Your Favorite Thanksgiving Day Recipe and I'll post it on my blog!

It's that time of year when our attention turns to FOOD.  Copious amounts of food! So for all of you who follow this blog I have a special invitation!  Send me your favorite Thanksgiving Day Recipe and I will post it here for everyone to see and share. Feel free to add any comments to your recipe (such as, this was my great grandmother's recipe who came over from Eastern Europe, etc.) or any kind of background about it or how your family likes it. 

I'm especially interested in recipes that are traditional but also with something a little different. I'll group them by category. The most unusual recipe will win a free copy of one of my books (your pick), personally autographed.

Looking forward to seeing what you all send it! Email your recipes to:




Sometime our family has included with not only Thanksgiving but Christmas dinners for the several years now is this version of sweet potoato or yams called "Sweet Potatoes to Die For."

3 cups of cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

In separate bowl, mix the following together:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup butter

In a glass cooking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray, pour the potato mixture, smooth out. Pour the topping mixture over the potatoes, spreading as well as you can. The topping mixture will have a tendency to clump together and you may add small amounts of butter, stirring well, until you can get it to the texture that will spread. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes.


The Gospel in the Stars - Part 1

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. - Psalm 19:1-2 (KJV)
The Eye of God Nebula
In a previous post I wrote how the Gospel was hidden "in plain sight" in the first geneology given in the book of Genesis. The passage from Psalm 19 above then begs the question: has God also told the Gospel in the stars?  The information presented below did not come from any research done by me but I thought you would enjoy my sharing it.  Since it is too long for a single blog post, I will be posting a small portion every few days. 
According to the very first book of the Bible, YHWH Elohhiym (the LORD God) set the luminaries of the stars, sun, moon, and planets in the heavens as perpetual signs declaring the awesome glory of His plan of eternal redemption and His victory over the adversary, hasaataan (Satan).

Like all natural things that have succumbed to pagan influences, the constellations are part of God’s creation. He set the stars in the sky, and they were put there for a purpose . We are told what that purpose is in the very first chapter of the Bible. We read in Gen. 1:14-16 that Elohhiym said:

“Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16   God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.

So we see that the luminaries of the sun, moon, stars, and to some extent the planets as well, each play a greater or lesser role in explaining and prophetically illustrating YHWH’s plan of redemption leading to the ultimate establishment of His Kingdom. He accomplishes this specifically through the institution of signs and seasons.

The “Signs” mentioned in Genesis 1:14 refer to prophetic signs in the stars in general, but more specifically to the 12 Signs of the Zodiac. These signs are star constellations, groupings of adjacent stars that collectively depict a variety of images, such as a lion, a woman, a scorpion, and a ram. Anciently there were a total of 48 such constellations, with each of the 12 signs having three corresponding constellations that were associated with it.

A list of the twelve signs and their associated constellations follows:
  • Virgo: Bo├Âtes the herdsman, Coma the woman and child, Centaurus the centaur
  • Libra: Corona Borealis the northern crown, Lupus the wolf, Crux the southern cross
  • Scorpius: Ophiuchus the serpent-bearer, Serpens the serpent, Hercules the hero
  • Sagittarius: Draco the dragon, Ara the altar, Lyra the lyre
  • Capricornus: Aquila the eagle, Sagitta the arrow, Delphinus the dolphin
  • Aquarius: Piscis Austrinus the southern fish, Pegasus the horse, Cygnus the swan
  • Pisces: Bands joining the fish, Andromeda the chained lady, Cepheus the king
  • Aries: Cassiopeia the queen, Cetus the sea beast, Perseus the warrior
  • Taurus: Auriga the shepherd/charioteer, Orion the hunter/giant, Eridanus the river
  • Gemini: Canis Major the big dog, Canis Minor the small dog, Lepus the hare/serpent
  • Cancer: Ursa Major the big bear, Ursa Minor the small bear, Argo Navis the ship
  • Leo: Hydra the water snake, Crater the cup, Corvus the raven
The constellations mentioned above are arranged in the sky in such a way that they produce multiple depictions of prophetic scenarios found in the Bible. The twelve groupings of four constellations each, called “houses”, can have meanings within themselves, but the prophetic interactions also overlap these “boundaries”. It is quite common for a decan constellation from one house, say Virgo, to directly interact with a decan from a neighboring house, such as Libra. Perhaps the most persistent prophetic picture found in the stars, spread many times across the night sky regardless of the time of year, is the so-called “Protoevangelium” (which means “first good message”), in which God states to the serpent in the Garden of Eden:

Genesis 3:  15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. (Ge 3:15).


The Inspiration Behind The Victor/Meeting Amy Grant

"Two princes wage the battle for eternity but The Victor has been known from the start…"

The verses above from Amy Grant’s “Fairytale” song (Father’s Eyes) was the "light bulb" over my head for my first book: “The Victor” back in 1981.  It was  originally titled “The Victor and His Bride”, but when the book went into publication I figured no self-respecting male would ever touch a book that had a title like that so I shortened it.  I began writing The Victor 30 years ago on an IBM Selectric typewriter.  For those of you close to my age; you know what a pain in the neck  editing/correcting documents that way were!  In the early 1980s I finally got it onto computer and must have rewritten it over a hundred times, improving and honing my skills; putting in new sections and throwing out others.  The very first draft was a rather silly story with a talking horse but as I got older, the story-line became more serious and I can quite honestly say that the book "grew up" with me. 

I submitted it to numerous publishers in the late 80s and early 90s and after beating my head against the proverbial wall with no results; finally gave up and shelved my dream for a good 20 years and quite literally forgot all about it. Real life got in the way. Starting in my early 20s I was too busy contending with a serious illness that resulted in major surgery, followed by years of infertility, then the adoption of my daughter at age 3 and all the while working full time as an administrative assistant.  Seeing as how I couldn't even pay people to read my "story" I simply gave up until 2007 when God orchestrated the events which led up to it finally being published by Tate.

When I knew that "my baby" would finally be in print after almost 30 years, I contacted an old boss of mine (John Styll) who I worked for when he was editor of Contemporary Christian Music Magazine and had since become President of the Gospel Music Association. I went to the GMA website, and sent an email through the general mail asking them to forward it to John and providing information about my employment with him so they (and he) would know I was the "real deal". To my delight and amazement, John emailed me back within the week and congratulated me.  We wrote back and forth and I told him about my book, how it had been inspired by an Amy Grant song and asked if he could put me in touch with her management agency.  His response was "sure!" and "feel free to use my name when you contact them", which I did.

Amy's agency said to go ahead and address my letter to them and they would forward it on.  With trembling hands I wrote a letter to Amy Grant telling her about how I can to faith in Jesus as a non believing Jew at age 17, how her song "Fairytale" had given me the idea for The Victor, and sent two copies of the finished book to her. One for her to autograph and send back to me and one for her to keep.

After several weeks I got my book back with her autograph which read: "Marlayne; congratulations on finishing this great project - Amy Grant".  After that I joined her "Friends of Amy" fan club in the hopes of getting to meet her face-to-face after one of her concerts at a meet and greet.  She performed in Malibu about a year later and I went with high hopes and great excitement only to learn that there would be no "meet and greet" that night.  I was SO BUMMED.  Then six months later another opportunity arose for me to be one of several new Christian authors at the Life & Faith Concert Tour in Richmond, VA where Amy was one of the headliners.  The concert promoter and I had become good friends in the months leading up to the event and she was bound and determined to give me real face time with Amy Grant since I had basically flown 3,000 miles to the East Coast specifically for that privilege. 

Well, as you may have guessed, my hopes were finally realized. I just wish I had not been sweating for 10 hours straight in 90+ degree humidity before I did. I looked like a wreck and Amy looked…well, she looked gorgeous. I think she is one of the most naturally beautiful women I have ever seen. I got to spend just a couple of minutes with her before she went onstage to perform at the end of a very long, hot day. Just enough time to show her the book her song inspired, let her know about our mutual acquaintance, John Styll and the fact that we both had a daughter with the same name. Mine spelled Karina; hers spelled Corrina.

To my dismay, however, when I showed her the book that her song had inspired, she admitted that my words "jogged" her memory but it was obvious she had never read it. I left right after getting the photo you will see below. It was 7:30 by that time and all I wanted was to get into a hot shower, clean off and get some dinner before the restaurants all closed.  I found out later that night from my friend that had I or any of the other authors stayed until after her concert we would have gotten the opportunity to go aboard her bus for 45 minutes and really get to talk with her and have her sign things for us but it was a last moment decision on her part and most of us had already left having been there all day.

So my life had come full circle at last. I finally got to meet Amy Grant; below is the picture we took together (she’s the tall gorgeous one on the left).

Amy Grant and me

Suffering with a Chronic Disease

I remember the day well it all started in October of 1984.  It was the day after I had gone to Knott’s Berry Farm with my then boyfriend (now husband) Michael. I got what I thought was an ordinary case of "the runs" and took the typical over the counter remedies but nothing seemed to work. This ailment continued for the next two weeks and when I began noticing blood, I decided it was time to see a doctor. I went and saw a regular MD who had me undergo a lower GI barium x-ray which showed nothing. For a few days after that I had relief then it started up again with a vengeance; making me feel weak and exhausted. I then sought the services of an internist who performed no tests but put me on a more restricted diet and took my money for a year, only to have my symptoms become worse. I began to feel punished anytime I ate and started dropping weight. Finally my mother who had been worried sick about me, insisted I see a specialist. By this time I was so miserable, I agreed. His name was Dr. Cohen. He took my history, did a sigmoidoscopy on me and then informed me he was not going to mess around with my health like the other doctors. He was going to have to do a colonoscopy to find out exactly what was wrong.

After the procedure I was informed I officially had a "disease". It was ulcerative colitis and while there was no medicinal cure, there were things that could help. I was only 24 and was depressed to learn I actually had a disease. He started me on prednisone which many doctors call a miracle drug because it temporarily will remove many symptoms of an immune system gone haywire. What they don't tell you is how bad this drug is for you physically in the long run and how awful it makes you behave in the short term. It's like having perpetual "road rage" and raging PMS at the same time but it did stop my symptoms immediately. After almost 2 years of almost nonstop diarrhea, bleeding and abdominal pain, I had almost instant relief. During this time, I had gotten engaged and was planning to marry. The only thing I could say that I liked about the disease was losing the weight but it was a heck of a way to do it. To save money, I moved back home to Torrance and commuted to Orange County every day. I wouldn't eat or drink a thing until after I had gotten to work so as to avoid "waking my bowels" up. To say that I knew where every public bathroom was on my 60 mile commute was an understatement. Sometimes I barely made it to a bathroom in time despite not eating.

As the days and weeks progressed after our wedding, it took higher and higher doses of Prednisone to keep the ulcerative colitis in check. The increase in dosage also increased my heart rate, my rage and impatience and started bloating my face and body up to the point where I looked like an organ transplant patient who was fighting rejection of the new organ. My new marriage was taking an awful beating. I was practically chained to the bathroom, could hardly eat and was making life hell for my poor new husband who began secretly considering divorce before we had kids as I was no longer the person he had married.

By now I was up to 45 grams of Prednisone a day, I was having bathroom accidents frequently (which were totally humiliating) and if I continued putting up with ulcerative colitis for several more years, it would lead to colon cancer. My life had become so miserable that I really had no options left but to schedule surgery. At this time a Christian friend at work invited me to come to her church to hear a man preach who had a miraculous healing ministry. By this time I had scheduled the surgery to remove my colon and I was frightened of the subsequent pain and changes to my body. Even though by this time I had become quite jaded towards ministers claiming to have special healing ministries, I was desperate enough to try and attend; pleading with the Lord to heal me miraculously rather than through the expensive, painful surgery I was facing. I made myself a promise that I would not tell the preacher what was wrong; that if he was the real deal; God would have to give him a specific "word of knowledge" about my condition and approach me for healing, not the other way around. My husband was incredulous but agreed to go with me. I stood and wept silently throughout the entire service with tears streaming down my face, pleading with God to heal me so I wouldn't have to face surgery. The preacher either didn't notice me or was afraid to approach me. Whatever the reason, he made no reference to me and I left without having a miracle but still trusting the Lord.

I entered the hospital on October 8th, about a week before my 28th birthday. Next to me sat a young girl in the hospital admissions office that was facing open heart surgery. I decided I was glad that I was not having what she was but I was still apprehensive. My husband signed me in and they began prepping me for surgery the next day. The night before I had taken a colon cleanser (which resulted in another accident early the next morning before going to the hospital). That night there was no food, just a lot of antibiotic pills. So much so in fact that I ended up throwing them all up. Early the next morning I was wheeled down to surgery with my poor husband at my bedside. They had given me a shot of Demurral to calm my nerves and I was cracking jokes to the nurses. They wheeled me in, transferred me to the operating table and swabbed my entire abdomen with orange antiseptic. I remember counting backwards and only getting to 90. When I awoke from the anesthesia it was with a shock of pain. I couldn't talk and could hardly take a breath, nor could I ask the nurses for more Morphine for the horrific pain while they discussed the latest videos they had rented.

They wheeled me up to my post-surgical room. My nurse was Stella and I'll never forget how she hovered over me like a mother bird, putting pillows all around me, feeding me ice-chips and hooking up hoses and tubes to every opening in my body. Although I was weak I was very conscious of her exceptional care and was able to thank her months later face to face and tell her how much it had meant to me. I had a long vertical scar stretching from the bottom of my chest all the way down to almost my pubic area like a big zipper. I had a NG tube snaked down through my nose/throat into my stomach. I had a suction hose attached to where my rectum used to be and a large IV that was in my neck to feed me and hydrate me. And last but not least, I had an illesotomy bag and was catheterized to save me numerous trips to pass water in the bathroom.

I was only supposed to be in the hospital for 10 days maximum. I couldn't eat anything at all for a few days then only clear liquids to start. Food and restaurant commercials on the TV were absolute torture. Slowly they began introducing bland food into my diet and on my birthday my surgeon had sent a birthday cake to me in my room but for some reason it tasted like dirt. I was warned that I would have a lot of gas so when I started experiencing a lot of pain and belching, I attributed it to gas. The night before I was supposed to be released, I was watching the world series with my husband in my hospital room. My husband was eating fast food as was his custom. The commute from his work and our home to the hospital every night was a good 30 miles each way. Suddenly I snatched away the empty Carl's Jr. bag and threw up into it. That night my nurse spent the evening walking me around the corridor as I belched and belched, getting Demurral shots for the pain every 2 hours. The next day I was supposed to be released but instead of going home, I was given an emergency upper G.I. It's bad enough when the stuff was cold but even more disgusting when the Barium is room temperature! I was writhing in agony at this point and not knowing what was going on. Hours later, the assistant surgeon told me what it was. Since my entire large intestine had been removed, during healing the small intestine had twisted itself into knots (referred to as a blockage) and could burst unless a second surgery was performed.

"Fine!" I said. "Do whatever you have to do; just fix it!" I remember just before being put under for the second time telling the Lord that I was committing my soul into His care should I not come out alive. I had the second surgery but this time instead of staples, they had to sew me shut the old fashioned way. Inhaling was even worse this time when I awoke. I felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck. Everything that could have gone wrong with me, went wrong. My NG tube fell out while I was getting my hair washed and it had to be put back in while I was awake (horrible procedure)! This time however, while I healed my bowels stayed in place.

My poor mother and father were at my hospital bed every single day (a long commute from Torrance) for what ended up totaling 30 days. They are not believers and couldn't wrap their heads around the notion that we hadn't paid the people who had come from our church to pray for the entire first 7-hour surgery and the second 5-hour surgery.

Through it all, though I was in a lot of pain, I entrusted myself and my soul to the care of my creator just like a little child; knowing that whatever did or did not happen, that I was in the center of His will. It has been over 20 years since I had that surgery and I have never regretted it. As a result, I have been able to alleviate the fears of one of my mother's friends who was facing the same surgery and was scared to death. I changed my medical dressing right in front on him; showing him that it was really no big deal. Here I was a 30ish female, exposing my stomach with my cuffed small intestine sticking out through my skin and not acting like it was a big deal. It gave him a much needed lift and encouragement and he had the surgery. He never forgot this act of kindness and has since referred to me as his "angel". I always told him to thank God, not me, because I did it for the Lord. Recently he was able to pay the same kindness forward as he did the same thing for a woman friend of his who also had to have the same surgery and he was so glad that he finally got his chance to do someone else the same favor.

A year or so ago I ran into one of the nurses who had taken care of me.  I was attending a Messianic Jewish club event when I overheard this person telling someone that she had a really unusual name and that her mom had given all her daughter’s candy names. I walked up to her and asked if her name was Taffy and she replied “yes”.  I gave her a hug and told her that she had been one of my favorite nurses. She had actually been the one to walk me around the corridors at 2:00 the night I had the horrible obstruction, giving me Demerol shots. She looked me in the eye and said “We were seriously worried about you. I’m so glad you’re doing so well.” The way she said it led me to believe that my life back in October of 1988 might very well have been in more jeopardy than I realized at the time.  It is not uncommon for people to die as a result of a serious bowel obstruction.

Now I lead a very normal life; eat whatever I want, and going to the bathroom takes minutes, not hours.  Best of all I can't have any more colonoscopies (because I no longer have one) and I'm off those horrible drugs which caused my older sister to have hip, shoulder and cataract surgery even though took a lot less than me and for a shorter period of time. God brought me through the storm instead of flying me over it and while I would never want to have to repeat it, I don't regret any of it. It made me realize how utterly demoralizing, debilitating, and life altering having a chronic disease can be and how those who suffer with such things need our understanding and compassion.

Christmas presents for friends & loved ones

If you are looking for a one-of-kind gift for any of the women in your life, my friend Tracey makes BEE-U-TI-FUL jewelry, purses, wallets and checkbook covers. I myself own two purses and a checkbook cover. Below are photos of her work. If you want to purchase any of the items you se please contact me via email at:

Clutch purse $12.00



Wallets $6.00

Checkbook covers $9.00

I'm Five "Oprah" shows rolled into one - First segment - HAIR LOSS

When I was a young girl I had long, thick, wavy brunette hair. It was so thick my mom used to ask hairdressers to "thin it out". Then at age 21 people began to point out a little thin spot in the center of my head near the front which grew progressively worse and worse. Of all the things I could have inheirited from my dad, male pattern baldness would not have been my first choice.

Ten years before Rogaine was ever approved by the FDA for the treatment of hair loss I was already well on my way to looking like a cancer survivor. Those who have a normal head of hair can not relate to the absolute low self-esteem, humilation and sense of personal ugliness a woman feels in losing her "crowning glory". For over 20 years I sought the help of doctors with very limited and short-lived results; spending money in a desperate attempt to save my hair or grow it back to a level that wouldn't be so embarassing. Nothing worked and this past year it had gotten to the point where I have actually felt ashamed to be seen in public. In the past 20 years I have stared longlingly at the hair of other women who didn't suffer with my problem; wishing with all my heart I could just have a "normal" head of hair. I've also noticed a lot more women walking around with my problem and I feel for their heartbreak.  Having no hair may not seem as "tragic" in the vast scene of things when compared to perhaps suffering with a long-term chronic illness (which I have done) but it definitely takes a long-term toll on your sense of self-esteem. It's a horrible feeling to hate looking at yourself in the mirror because you feel so ugly.

God has blessed me in many abundant ways; not least of which has been a good-looking husband who loved me despite my lack of hair; weight gain, and a disease which necessitated the re-routing of my internal plumbing.  To say that I felt like "damaged goods" would have been an understatement.

This past month God did something wonderful and He used two different, unrelated people to bring me the help I needed. The first was my family counselor who told me about a beautician in Newport Beach who had suffered the loss of all her hair from alopecia and created a hair system for women like me. I nodded my head then did nothing about it for weeks. Seeing that I wasn't getting the hint, He then used another friend who told me about this same woman a few weeks later and this time I paid attention.  Two different sources about the same woman...I figured it had to be a God thing.

So I called and made the appointment and I'm so glad I did. Nazy Curtis has made a new woman out of me. I no longer feel like the ugly duckling because of my "chemo patient" thinning hair. Best of all; my insurance even covers the expense! She gave me a head of hair that makes me feel attractive again and feminine.  Had my hair not ever gone thin in the first place; I would like to think this is what it would have looked like.

My husband is still having a hard time getting used to the new look. He feels like he's "cheating" on his wife but I'm sure as time goes by the hair will "grow" on him.

So below are my childhood pics, then some before and after; as you can see the difference in striking. Thank you, Lord, for telling me about Nazy Curtis! Thank you for giving me this much needed boost.

In the next week she will be using me as a "model" in a video where I will get my hair and make-up done up as a bride. It just so happens that my husband and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this year so once I get a copy of the video, I'll post it on my blog and facebook.

If you would like to watch an interview about my experience that will appear on KCAL9 "America's Best", just click on the video below.


Age 13:

Age 19:

Age 23:

Age 51 (the day before I got my hair):

The new me with a GLORIOUS head of hair! What a difference!

If any of you llive in Southern California and have experienced the devastation of hair loss, please see Nazy! Her salon is in Newport Beach across from Fashion Island. Her website is:

You can "like" her on Facebook here:

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes - Miracles Do Come True!

This is the true story of how I met my husband, Michael. It was truly miraculous!

                It was 1978, I was 18 and had never gone out on a date nor had a boyfriend. I wasn’t weird looking but it seemed as though God had put a large “kiss off” sign on my forehead to keep members of the opposite sex away. I was commuting to Los Angeles daily on the public bus to attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (“FIDM”) where the chances of meeting a normal, nice Christian male interested in the opposite sex were extremely dismal. I had just become a Christian the year before and was spending my hour long commute nagging the Lord daily about wanting to go out on a date. I was feeling quite desperate!
                On one particular day I think the good Lord had had enough of my “kvetching” and while ‘lucky dipping’ through my Bible, the following scripture jumped off the page at me. I could almost actually hear the Holy Spirit yelling the verse at me: “DELIGHT YOURSELF IN THE LORD AND HE WILL GIVE YOU THE DESIRES OF YOUR HEART!!!” At the same time, a still small voice in my head told me to write a story that would portray my wishes being fulfilled.
                I went home that day, uncovered my Smith Corona typewriter and began typing away. The title of the book was: “Jesus Wave-walker, Jesus Joy-giver”, a pretty lame title now that I look back on it but it turned out to be a pretty prophetic tale. I put myself in the story and described how the Lord called me up on the phone to take me out on a date and during that date He “introduced” me to the man He had chosen for me. At this point, I must digress and tell you that the name for my future husband, whoever he was, was always “Michael”. I prayed for Michael by name and even made a list of all the attributes I desired in my future mate: a good Christian, funny, handsome (to me anyway), had a large family, nice friends, a good work ethic, responsible, trustworthy, kind, handy, played guitar….and oh yes…had kept himself pure from women. Whenever I would tell my friends this last one they would shake their heads at me and whisper “Good luck!” under their breath. I finished my short story naming the character of the man he chosen for me as Michael. I then illustrated my book (drawing myself the way I wished I looked) as well as my “dream man”, Michael.
                Fast forward four years. I was at my 8th or 9th College and Career Church Retreat in the hopes of meeting a nice Christian boy. In the past 4 years I had left FIDM, gotten a job and moved to Orange County, met my first love, Barry, (who had died 4 months previous from a brain aneurism) and was still grieving even though my feelings for him had been unrequited. I was friends with a house full of Christian men but was still being treated like one of “the guys”. I was quickly becoming resigned to the fact that I was going to die an old maid when I looked across the crowded room of the retreat’s dining room and saw a face that caught my eye (just like that verse in the song “Some Enchanted Evening in South Pacific). He was pretty handsome and I remember thinking that he was probably stuck up because he was so handsome! The next thing I knew, he was sitting next to me.
                We exchanged smiles and introduced ourselves.
                “Hi,” I said. “My name is Marlayne.”
                “I’m Michael,” was his reply.
                My ears perked up but I said nothing about his name for fear of scaring him away. Interesting, I thought. We talked politely for a few minutes then said our goodbye’s when breakfast was done. From that moment on I was his shadow. We ended up talking for hours about cartoons, my first love then his first love; the fact that I was a Messianic Jew and on and on until the stars came out and it was time to go to our respective cabins. It had snowed that weekend (despite being April) and we threw snowballs at each other the next day. I didn’t even mind when he put his arm around me and kissed my forehead (which normally would have scared me off). The last day of the retreat I was starting to fret because Michael still had not asked for my phone number. After Sunday morning’s Bible study we would all be going our separate ways and if he didn’t ask for my phone number I would probably never see him again. With that in mind, I asked to see his Bible. He handed it over to me and I wrote my name and phone number inside the front cover and handed it back reasoning that I rather come off as forward than die a spinster.

                The following day, back at home I told my roommate about meeting Michael and how we had hit it off. As I left our apartment to visit Barry’s parents, I gave her some very specific instructions: “Now, Theresa, if a guy by the name of Michael calls… don’t say anything to him but call me at the Henriot’s house and let me know.” She agreed and to my delight while I was having dinner with Ruth and Al, she called and sang out: “Michael caaaalled!!”
                I was ready at that moment to call him right back (impatient person that I am) but I distinctly felt the Lord instructing me to wait an entire day. If you know me at all you would know what absolute torture this was but I obeyed and waited.
                The next day I called Michael back and in a very nonchalant voice said: “Hi! I heard you called yesterday.” (Little did he know that I was jumping up and down for glee at that moment.) Michael then asked me out on a date for the following weekend with his sister, her husband and another couple to go to Westwood to see the rerelease of Fantasia. I went right out and bought myself a whole new outfit for the occasion and when I opened the door of my apartment the following Saturday and saw Michael standing there I couldn’t help but think “Oh my… is he ever handsome!”
                After the movie we went to Hamburger Hamlet for dinner as a six-some. Little did I know until several years later that something very unusual took place during that date while I was in the ladies room. His sister’s friend, Tina, who had never laid eyes on me until that night, had turned to Michael’s sister, Debbie and asked her: “Well, what do you think of Marlayne?”
                “She seems nice,” had been Debbie’s polite response.
                “Well that’s Michael’s future wife.” Tina informed everyone. Michael was instantly incensed. He couldn’t stand this girl and how opinionated she was, so the fact that she had just said this to him instilled the exact opposite reaction. NO WAY NOW! Were his thoughts at the time but God had other plans.
                We dated for the next four years but 9 months into our relationship I finally got up the courage to show him my story with his name and face in it. It was a good thing I had waited until he was really “hooked” because if I had shown it to him early in our relationship he would have high tailed it for the hills! Almost five years after we met we were married. I put my prophetic story on display at our reception so everyone could see how God had brought us together – and haven’t seen it since. It simply disappeared.
                 My list? Oh yes, Michael fulfilled everything I had put on my list, including the last item!! That was almost 23 years ago and we are still happily married. Michael and I were recently discussing that story and my history of other men avoiding me like they had seen a giant “kiss off” sign plastered on my forehead when Michael said one of the sweetest things to me I have ever heard:
          “Well, honey, I didn’t see the words: ‘kiss off’ on your forehead…” he reassured me, planting a tender kiss on said spot. “I saw the words: KISS HERE.”


Marlayne Giron has been married to her husband, Michael since 1986 and is the author of the medieval fantasy/fiction romance, The Victor (A story of betrayal, love and sacrifice); Make a Wish (Stories Written for Real People Where They are the Star) and In Plain Sight.

The Gospel Hidden in The Old Testament - Amazing Stuff!

Every word, "jot and tittle" found in the Bible has been divinely placed there by God.  God has left both obvious and not-so-obvious messages in the Bible which confirms its' divine origin.  The information below can be found in "Cosmic Codes" by Dr. Chuck Missler (my favorite Bible-study teacher).  Here is just one of the little "jewel's" that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end the first time I ever read it! I just LOVE to share this with people.

A Hidden Message in the Genesis Geneaology
In Genesis Chapter 5 is the genealogy of Adam through Noah.  In our Bible, we read the Hebrew names but what do these names mean in English? The Bible gives the translation:

1) ADAM: Adam's name means man

2) SETH: Adam's son was named Seth, which means appointed. Eve said, "For God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew."

3) ENOSH: Seth's son was called Enosh, which means mortal, frail, or miserable. It is from the root anash, to be incurable, used of a wound, grief, woe, sickness, or wickedness.
It was in the days of Enosh that men began to defile the name of the Living God.

4) KENAN: Enosh's son was named Kenan, which can mean sorrow, dirge, or elegy.

5) MAHALALEL: Kenan's son was Mahalalel, from Mahalal which means blessed or praise; and El, the name for God. Thus, Mahalalel means the Blessed God. Often Hebrew names include El, the name of God, as Dan-i-el, "God is my Judge", etc.

6) JARED: Mahalalel's son was named Jared, from the verb yaradh, meaning shall come down.

7) ENOCH: Jared's son was named Enoch, which means teaching, or commencement

8) METHUSELAH: Enoch was the father of Methuselah, who we have already mentioned. Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah. Apparently, Enoch received the prophecy of the Great Flood, and was told that as long as his son was alive, the judgment of the flood would be withheld. The year that Methuselah died, the flood came. The meaning of his name is His death shall bring

9) LAMECH: Methuselah's son was named Lamech, a root still evident today in our own English word, lament or lamentation. Lamech suggests despairing.

10) NOAH: Lamech, of course, is the father of Noah, which is derived from nacham, to bring relief or comfort, as Lamech himself explains in Genesis 5:29.

The Composite List - Now let's put it all together:
MahalalelThe Blessed God
JaredShall come down
MethuselahHis death shall bring
LamechThe Despairing
NoahRest, or comfort.

That's rather remarkable: "Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest."

I highly recommend buying his book "Cosmic Codes".  It is a short but absolutely fascinating read!


The Jewish High Holy Days and Bible Prophecy

Disclaimer:  I am not a Bible Prophecy expert or a Bible scholar in any sense of the word.

Growing up in a reformed (liberal) Jewish home, there was always one holiday in the fall that I came to dread as a child: Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement).  To a child who wasn't particularly religious it was absolute torture. It meant sitting all day in temple with nothing to do while listening to the services in a mixture of English and Hebrew (which I did not understand).  It also meant not eating or drinking all day.  Add to this the uncertainty of not knowing whether I had racked up enough "brownie points" with God to be forgiven (my good deeds outweighing my bad deeds) and you've got one bored, starving and dehydrated paranoid girl!

In 1977 that all changed when my eyes were miraculously opened to discover that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah my people had been waiting for.  That I could know that I was forgiven and the biggest shocker of all...He was coming back...perhaps in my lifetime!!  I became an instant Bible Prophecy nut and devoured everything I could read on the subject.  Imagine my utter amazement when I discovered that the Jewish Feasts and High Holy Days represented significant events in Jesus' first and second comings! 

Everything Jesus did in His earthly ministry was timed perfectly down to the day and hour.  A wonderful example of this is the prophecy in the ninth chapter of Daniel given by the Angel about the number of days it would be until the Messiah arrived. Without going into all the detail here (see my resource links below), Daniel was basically told that it would be exactly 173,880 days from an event yet future until the Messiah arrived.  Exactly that many days later, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday in which he allowed the crowds for the first time to hail him as their Messiah and King! The rabbis had no excuse for not recognizing him.

Jesus' first coming fulfilled the ordained Jewish feasts of Passover (his death), First Fruits (His resurrection) and Shavuot (Pentecost).  The Fall Feasts have yet to experience their fulfillment in His Second Coming so every year when September rolls around I found myself anticipating, expecting and hoping that this year will be the year of their fulfillment. 

Because of all that is currently going on in the world; and the judgments I see coming from God upon the world in the form of economic turmoil, mass bird, mammal and fish die-offs; hurricanes, tsunami's, major earthquakes, floods, pestilence, drought and current events in the Middle East I am especially excited about this fall.

Could this be the year that Jesus calls the church home and the 70th week of Daniel begins? Rosh Hashanah (The Feast of Trumpets) falls on September 29th this year (the date on which many Bible scholars believe that Jesus was actually born). There are some other fascinating things going on in the Universe at the same time (see link to the comet Elenin).

Now is the time to take stock of ourselves spiritually. Are we living for God or ourselves? Are we prepared to meet Him should this be the year? Are we walking in the light and sharing as best we can with a frightened world?  Even those who are not particularly religious seem to sense that world events are spinning out of control and coming to some dramatic conclusion.  The only thing we can truly put our trust in is The Lord and to be the salt and light He has called us to be.

If you don't know the Lord and would like to, feel free to email me personally and we can chat but I'm not here to convince you intellectually with persuasive arguments; it's a decision of the will and the heart. 

Absolutely Fascinating Resource links:
Daniel's prophecy:
Dr. Chuck Missler and The Feasts of Israel:
The Comet Elenin and it's timing:

Insomnia Anyone?

It seems the older my husband gets the more difficulty he has getting a good night's sleep. He either lays awake for hours staring at the ceiling or falls asleep immediately then something wakes him up and he can't get back to sleep for hours. He's been drinking small amounts of red wine or warm milk but it doesn't always help.

He can't take the over-the-counter sleep aids because they give him such a horrible hangover the next day so I went online today and looked up home remedies for insomnia and this is what I found (see below). 

If any of you have discovered anything else that works well, please let me know!

Insomnia Tea:
1 tsp. chamomile flowers.
1 tsp. hops.
1 tsp. valerian root.
1 cup of boiling water.

Steep for 45 minutes, strain and drink 1 hour before bedtime.

Fall Festival of Authors

For all you writers and aspiring authors out there who live in Southern California, please check out the Fall Festival of Authors at this link:


Coming up in the next week or so I will be posting an interview with Sicily Yoder, a former Old Order Amish Woman and now practicing Mennonite who has authored fiction, cookbooks and is quite the entrepreneur!

If you have any friends who just love the Amish, please send them to this blog.  In addition to Sicily I am hoping to feature interviews with more Amish and Mennonite people.

So, if any of you Amish fans out there have any questions you would personally like to ask Sicily, please email them to me at and I'll post her answers in the interview.


I will be giving away personally signed copies of all three of my books (The Victor, Make a Wish, and In Plain Sight) to whoever refers the most followers to this blog.


The person you refer (and you) have to follow the blog and sign up for the newsletter.
They have to email me personally and let me know who referred them and provide your email address.
The contest ends September 30th 2011.

I will keep track of all entries and notify the winner via email as well as post it on the blog and newsletter.


I Waited Patiently for the Lord...

Depression. We all go through it; myself included. I'm struggling with it right now.  I've met so many people in the past few years through social networks who are undergoing physical, financial, emotional and spiritual distress that I find myself often wondering...where is God? It seems that things are getting worse for all of us out there and my heart hurts for those who are too far away for me to even hug and lend a shoulder to cry on.

I carry burdens for these people. Like my friend Bobbie in Ohio who feels completely isolated and with no one to turn to. I wish I could do so much more than pray. Telling her "I'll be praying for you" sounds so trite when what I really want is a magic wand so I could change her life for the better! 

I want to see the Lord answer my prayers! I want an angel to appear in her room and let her know that God see's; God cares...God loves her! That all the trials and suffering we endure in this life will ultimately conform us into the image of His Son who did, in fact, promise us tribulation in this world.

When all is bleak and dark; with no hope or an end in sight; do we turn our faces away from God or do we fall to our knees, bow our heads and say "not my will but thine be done"?  Is it not our triumphs, achievements, trophies and material gain that pleases God.  God spelled out clearly in His word the only thing that truly pleases Him: faith. Faith that believes like a trusting child. Faith that clings to the Father's hand when the storms of life rage all around us. Faith that matter what. Not in having a better life, not in accumulating things...but believing that God is GOOD; that He loves us and that no matter what we go through or how little we "feel" Him; that He really is there.

When all else fails...I choose to blindly trust; the only other choice is to despair entirely.  As Peter said in John 6:68: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life."

We all know how the story is simply our job to trust Him and endure to the end.

Going to a potluck soon?

Noodle Kuegel
Noodle Kuegel

This recipe comes from my mother and basically has all the food groups in one, yummy satisfying helping (protein, dairy, fruit, carbs)! If I had only one choice of food to eat for the rest of my life this would be it.
I often bring this dish to potlucks and even those who have never even heard of a kugel before love it! It can be eaten, hot, room temp or even cold but hot is best!  If you are bringing this dish to a potluck with a lot of people, I suggest doubling the ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In 9"x9" glass baking dish pour 1 stick of melted butter into pan.
Put 8oz package of UNCOOKED medium egg noodles on top of butter.
In mixing bowl, combine the following: 3 eggs, 2 cups milk, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 8oz carton of small curd cottage cheese, and 1 12oz can of crushed pineapple with the juice. Blend well until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.  Pour over uncooked egg noodles. Top with cornflake crumbs and bake for 1 hour or until golden and bubbly.

One "hit" wonder?

Quite frankly I'm not even sure I could use the term "hit" since my first book, The Victor, has not yet (notice I use the term "yet") become a nationwide bestseller; but I'm working on reader at a time!

I always loved to write as a kid and being lonely; it provided a great way for me to self-entertain.  I honed my craft by reading copious amounts of books which my mom, a part-time librarian, would bring home on a weekly basis; collecting words as phrases as others would collect stamps or fine china.

At age 12 I met my friend, Lisa. We would take turns sleeping over each other’s homes every weekend in the early 1970s. I fondly remember the feeling of happy anticipation as I watched The Mary Tyler Moore show on Saturday nights while waiting for her to come over.  Then one Saturday she surprised me with something that would greatly impact my life as an adult.  She showed me a short story she had written.  We got down on our stomachs and began to read and to my amazement, WE were in the story as characters! She had put us in our favorite television show at the time, “The Six Million Dollar Man”!
We read aloud to each other and I screamed and cried with laughter.  It was so MUCH FUN! There's nothing quite like seeing your name and yourself in a story.  From that moment on I was hooked!  I wrote the next one, then she wrote another and pretty soon, we had each written a couple hundred of these short stories (and one full "feauture length") in which we starred as the main characters.

Pretty soon, however, I began to notice a disturbing trend...Lisa (who aspired to be a teacher) began to ‘redline” my stories. I was outraged! I got so peeved I found myself determined to write stories she couldn’t find fault with which greatly improved my writing skills. 

It was also at Lisa’s suggestion that I checked into online publishing that led me to Tate Publishing and ultimately to realizing my life-long dream to see my book, The Victor, in print almost 30 years after I first began to write it.

Writing short stories has come full circle again only now I write them for others where I grant wishes in the hopes of not only blessing those for whom they are written but others who don't even know them as well. I have compiled a compiled 35 of these short stories into a book called Make a Wish and have since written another 15 for a new book.  I'm always on the look-out for new "wishes" so if you are so inclined, feel free to write to me and tell me what yours is!