Monday, April 28, 2008



Do you yearn for a Christian based fiction book geared for younger elementary children?

If so, then check out the Meghan Rose series. This new series from Standard Publishing introduces Meghan Rose, the bounciest first-grader in the world! Young readers will get to share Meghan’s adventures, laugh, and learn important life lessons. Each title also includes a bonus section with discussion starters and fun activity ideas.

I am excited to welcome author Lori Z. Scott, joining us today to talk about the newest releases in her Meghan Rose series—Meghan Rose All Dressed Up and Meghan Rose Has a Secret.

Since 2000, Lori has published over fifty short stories, devotions, puzzles, poems, and articles for children, teens, and adults. She has been published in Focus on Your Child, MOMSense Magazine, Spirit Led Writer, Pockets, and Devozine. She is the author of Busy Moms’ Devotions to Go and four Meghan Rose titles. In addition, Lori has contributed to over a dozen books including Real Moms, Cup of Comfort Book of Prayers, and 2007 Eppie Award winner Infinite Space, Infinite God.

A graduate of Wheaton College, Lori has worked with children for over twenty years, both as a teacher in the classroom and as a volunteer for local churches, museums, and schools. When she’s not busy driving her two children to various church, sporting, and artistic activities, she moonlights as a speaker for women’s groups and schools.

Lori, welcome. Thanks for taking time to be with us today.
My pleasure.

You often introduce yourself as first a mother, then a teacher, and finally a writer. Why is that?

I feel like being a mother is my highest calling in life. And that means I’m a caregiver, nurse, tutor, cheerleader, counselor, transportation expert, and nutritionist. Doing all those mommy things is a bit like filling a jar jam-packed with marbles. I pursue my own interests in the empty spaces around those marbles because being a mommy trumps all.

I call myself a teacher second because working with kids has been such a huge part of my life. Just as God gifts different people for different tasks, I feel like God has given me a special ability to understand and work with children. Or maybe I’m just not ready to give up playing and comics yet.

I call myself a writer last because I often feel like writing too much fun—and pays too little—to be a real job. But then again, writing is another interest in my life I have felt called to pursue. God blessed me there too. When I decided to start writing, my first submission won second place in a science fiction writing contest. My second submission won MOPS International story writing contest.

I guess what I want moms to realize is, it’s okay to put the mommy part of our lives first and to trust that God will still bless, fulfill, and lead us in other areas as well.

Why would parents like your series?

A good question—one that I have to answer from my own experience. When my daughter was in first grade, her teacher started reading the Junie B. Jones books in class. Since Meghan liked them, I picked up a few copies.

Well, I enjoyed the humor in those books, but had to edit out some of the grammar slips, name calling and attitudes. I thought there had to be an alternative choice—a book that was just as funny, but also had a good take-away value. I scoured the Christian bookstores. I couldn’t find any fiction for that age group, only devotional books and Bible stories.

When I asked about it, bookstore owners often commented that they wished they could offer such a book. In fact, they’d had numerous parents come to the store, all asking the same thing: Do you have a fiction book my young child will enjoy reading? And, like them, I walked away empty handed.

So I wrote the book I couldn’t find—a book for my daughter AND for all those other mothers just like me. I put in everything she wanted—an interesting story filled with giggles and characters worth rooting for—and everything I wanted—good moral values (but with nothing preachy about the story at all). And because I don’t believe I’m alone in those desires, I’m convinced other parents (AND THEIR KIDS!!!) will like the series too.

Why did you include discussion questions and activities at the end of each book?

That’s the teacher part of me flaring up big time! LOL. But seriously, how many times have you as a mother read a book and thought, “There’s a good lesson in here” but didn’t know how to draw your child into a discussion about it? I remember reading Where the Red Fern Grows with my daughter and wanting to talk about the tender topic of death that book touches on. Since I didn’t know where to start, I couldn’t fully take advantage of that teachable moment. (Instead we both just cried all the way through the last few chapters.)

That’s why I included questions for parents or teachers to use after they read the story, so they can capitalize on the book’s underlying message. (Although I hope people laugh through the last few chapters of Meghan Rose instead of cry!)
And the activities are all for the kids. They love extending the story experience by creating their own volcanoes or whatever. I also put a ton of other ideas for parents and kids on my website under the BLAM (Brilliant Little Activities to Make) link (

So each book has an underlying message? Tell us about that.

As I mentioned, I wanted the stories to do more than entertain. I wanted them to have takeaway value. Each book’s message is very subtle but still evident throughout the book. While Meghan Rose on Stage! talks about discovering your talents, it’s ultimately about friendship. Meghan Rose Has Ants in Her Pants explores the idea of patience—a difficult area for most kids to deal with. The newest two books—Meghan Rose All Dressed Up and Meghan Rose Has a Secret—address inner beauty and kind words. But again, none of it is preachy. It’s heavy on the humor and very, VERY light on the lesson…yet neither quality is lost on the child.

Are the books just for girls?

Not at all! One mother of two boys emailed me about how much her sons enjoyed reading them with her. She said they could hardly read for laughing so hard—they were all HOWLING!! The youngest one loved it so much he started sleeping with the first book under his pillow at night.

In fact, the comment I hear most from people who read the books is, “I laughed out loud.” The second comment I hear most often is about how much kids (and parents) like the discussion questions and activities. How can all that just be for girls?
Where do you get the inspiration for the humorous parts of the books?
Most of that comes from my upbringing. My dad was always coming up with puns and jokes. He made them up on the spot, and they were hilarious! I can’t tell you how many hours we spent laughing around the dinner table. I think dad influenced all my sisters. In fact, one of my sisters was part of an improvisational comedy team. (She’s also a pastor’s wife—it’s a fun combination.)

I also grew up on a steady diet of comic books. Peanuts and Garfield were my favorites, and later Calvin and Hobbes. And we’d also watch comedy on television, especially The Carol Brunette Show.

That said, some of my inspiration just comes from everyday life. My kids crack me up. They both have a great sense of humor.

The main character in the Meghan Rose series shares your daughter’s name. Why is that?

She was the foundational basis for the character. When I started the series, I needed someone likable, outrageous, clever, spunky, and sensitive all rolled into one. Well, that’s my Meghan. And since I originally wrote the books just for her, I simply used her name. You’ll also see the names of other people I’ve met, although the character they’re named for is totally fiction. Mrs. Arnold, for example, was the name of Meghan’s real first grade teacher. But she’s not like the Mrs. Arnold in the book.

Are any of the characters like you?

I think maybe there’s a little bit of me in all of them. Certainly a lot of me is reflected in the teacher, Mrs. Arnold. Then Ryan shows the jokester side of me, Kayla has the goofy side, Lynette has the rule-following, show-off side, and Meghan’s Mom has the practical side. The Meghan character herself is about 80 percent of the “real” Meghan, 10 percent of me and my creative musings, and 10 percent total fiction.

Do you ever visit schools to talk about the books?

Yes! I’ve visited several schools and talked about the steps a writer goes through to get from idea to published book. I’ve also shared ways to boost everyday creativity and develop writing ideas. All three presentations seem to fire up everyone, even the reluctant writers. Kids tell me that what they enjoy most about the time we spend together is learning my two-handed drawing trick and discovering how to write their own jokes.

As a teacher, I value school visits. I think it’s important to inspire and encourage all children…to help them see opportunities and possibilities. As a mom, I can’t help seeing my own children reflected in the faces I meet. That gives me extra incentive to make kids want to reach their dreams, whatever they might be.

Can you share one idea for mothers to help their children be more creative?

Sure. Hmmm. Hard to pick one. I guess one great idea is to encourage your children to be involved with artistic endeavors. That can include a whole variety of options, like drawing, painting, or making things out of shoe boxes. Children can listen to or dance to music. Or make their own music. They can dress up and put on a show for family or friends, or memorize a silly poem. And it should be fun, not work.

Where can readers learn more about you and the Meghan Rose books?

They can visit my website at My award-winning illustrator, Stacy Curtis, designed it. It offers jokes, puzzles, and activities for kids and great ideas for teacher and parents (on Mrs. Arnold’s BLAM page). It also introduces the books and characters, provides links to book reviews, and gives ordering information. I posted a retold fairy tale reader’s theater that gives visitors a good feel for the style of humor found in the books at .

You can also purchase a copy Meghan Rose on Stage!, Meghan Rose Has Ants in Her Pants, Meghan Rose All Dressed Up, andMeghan Rose Has a Secret by clicking on the titles here.

That sounds great. Well, thank you for your time!
Thank you for letting me visit with you.

Please leave a comment to be entered into the drawing for the Meghan Rose Series book, "Meghan Rose On Stage"

Saturday, April 26, 2008

What a week!

I had every intention to sit down and write a post last Saturday but the weeks festivities got in the way. As much as I love blogging, I love my family way more! :)

We arrived home late last Friday night from New Mexico. My husband and I attended the Christian Law Enforcement Summit at Glorieta, New Mexico. It was beautiful and a great time of refreshment. Nothing like sitting around the fire at night with a bunch of law enforcement types to put your life in perspective. When you pass a patrol car or see an officer please remember them in prayer. There are jobs are so filled with stress and they see the horrible side of life every single day.

A few things for you to think about:
The life expectancy of a law enforcement officer is 57 years.
The life expectancy of a criminal is 64 years.

The average divorce rate in America is 50%.
The average divorce rate among law enforcement is nearly 77%

A police officer is more apt to die by his own hand than take the life of another. The suicide rate for law enforcement is one of the highest in the world.

I could go on and on. I met some of the MOST awesome Godly men and women who put their lives on the line each and every day. It was incredible to see two marriages healed while we were there as well. If you want to read an awesome testimony on how these conference help police officers read here.

I digress....once we got home we stayed up until nearly 2 a.m. talking with two of our teenagers. The very next morning we only had three teenagers in the house because our oldest turned 20!! We celebrated into the evening and got ready to celebrate our daughters birthday the very next day!

It was awesome to attend church together on a Sunday. My husband works the day shift all weekend. He was still off and it was a wonderful day until our daughter got sick. Her birthday celebrating came to an abrupt halt after church when we discovered she was running a temp and felt horrible. She went to the doctor on Monday and was diagnosed with strep.

The week was very busy getting back into a routine. I dealt with my own illness as well this week and had not felt like writing at all.

Today the men of the house are at a men's retreat with our church. They will be home later this evening. They camped out last night at the retreat and are having a blast. Tonight we will celebrate my husband's birthday! April is a huge month in our family!

Prayerfully the next week I will get back to all my usual posts. I know that I found some great jewels at a garage sale last weekend! I can't wait to share pictures with you!

Have a blessed weekend!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Back Home from New Mexico

We just got home from a wonderful week in New Mexico at the Christian Law Enforcement Summit. I am very tired and will finally be updating my blog tomorrow. The conference was fantastic and I never checked my email once all week nor watched any television. It was a wonderful respite.
More later!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

WFMW 4-9-08

I have a hard time getting to the gym. I admit it! I hate going plus if I went with my husband each morning I would be getting up at 4 a.m.! I just don't have the fortitude that he does to do that! However, I have found something that seems to work for me right now. I get up a little earlier and go outside on our back patio where I have some workout equipment. I try to work out for at least fifteen minutes. Now to some that seems like nothing but I am trying to get in the habit of working out and for me.....this is working.

The next thing I have been doing is I park further from my office at work. I use this time to walk briskly into my office building each morning. I get four brisk walks in each day this way: arrival, leaving for lunch, coming back from lunch, and leaving work at the end of the day. I also get up from my desk a couple of times and walk the halls for a few minutes. Once I get home for the evening I usually hit the workout equipment for another fifteen minutes. I need activity and I have been trying to find an alternative to getting up so early and hitting the gym. I know that I am going to need to have a more advanced work out but currently I just want to learn to enjoy it and schedule time for it.

With today's gas prices I just can't see taking separate cars to the gym each morning. If I rode with my husband I would be finished with my workout and waiting for him at least 40 more minutes. I have my morning things to do and can't take this much time out of my day.

This works for me right now. I hope that in the near future we can move our membership to a gym that is closer to our home but for now this works great. Do I love to get up and I love how I fell afterwards......YES......Works for me!

For more Works for Me Wednesday posts go to Rocks in My Dryer.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Seven Years Ago My Life Changed

Seven years ago today it was very blustery in Oklahoma. We had a cool front push through and it was bitterly cold and windy. Seven years ago was also the day that I married my husband and become the Mom to four children instead of just one.

The ceremony was very tender and sweet. My long-time singles pastor married us in a beautiful chapel that is on the campus where we first met. It was very small and intimate. Only our very closest friends and family were invited.

I had been part of a singles ministry for nearly ten years. I had seen couples come and go. So many were eager to move on past their hurts and ended up marrying too soon and in the end became a statistic with broken dreams, hearts, and their precious children were reeling again from a tragic divorce.

I had heard at a seminar one day about how important the covenant between a man and woman is during a marriage ceremony. I also had learned that equally important are those that are witness to that ceremony. We are to hold those accountable and pray for them in their marriage...we are party to a covenant.

We discussed and prayed about who to invite to our marriage ceremony. We were not looking for a wedding but a marriage....a covenant vow between two hearts that would never allow the talk of divorce or separation. We KNEW the Lord had brought the six of us together and we wanted this ceremony to be a reflection of what Christ had done....not a showy display. We opted to not invite numerous people that we called friends but only invited those we knew would stand by us through thick and thin...those dear souls that would drop to their knees in prayer for our family.

My sweet singles pastor Jon could barely make it through the ceremony. His tears were those of joy because he had witnessed our meeting and courtship. He and his wife both knew how much I had prayed for the 'right' man not any man to marry. Just one year prior at the reception of two of my friends from the singles, Jon and I were seated together at the reception. As we were watching our two friends cut the cake, I spoke outloud words that were going on in my head and heart.....for me only but as I do sometimes they just blurted out, "I hope you are able to officiate my wedding one day." I realized I had blurted this out when Jon said, "Me too sweet too."

So at 7:00 p.m. on April 6th, two hearts were standing before our precious pastor, our collective children, dear family members, and a handful of friends. At the end of our vows we had a ceremony with our children and gave them each a symbolic gift. Mike gave Matthew his gift and I gave Seth, Zach, and Hannah their gifts. Jon spoke to them from Ephesians 5 and express how they are to honor their mother and father. He spoke eloquently and beautiful to these four precious children. Jon then told the audience that we were signing a marriage covenant and if the Lord so led others in the small, intimate chapel to join us in signing this covenant of marriage that they could come up front to the altar to do so. What a joy filled our hearts when we saw our friends and family come up front and sign this covenant.

The wind was howling loudly and the beautiful stained glass windows seemed to almost move in and out as the wind blew. It was very cold outside but inside it was filled with warmth and love.
There were no elaborate decorations or expensive floral bouquets only hurricane lanterns with white pillar candles lined the chapel and illuminated the stained glass windows. A simple bouquet of flowers sat on the altar with our marriage covenant. I could not have asked for a more perfect day. As we pledged our vows to one another I could not help but remember all the times that the Lord had been faithful to me in this journey. I looked out across the room and saw the sweet faces of those that we both loved and knew that this was the beginning of something really special.

Sweetheart, thank you for seven wonderful years! Looking at our children I cannot believe how much they have grown in that time. They are young adults. Our family has been blended together so beautifully. I am so thankful the Lord led you to Oklahoma and ultimately to me!
Happy Anniversary!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Super Savings Saturday 4-5-08

This week I have tried to stay out of the stores and such. I have not been to CVS in a couple of weeks mainly because there is not anything that we really need, however, I do have a bang of ECBs to use before the middle of April.

I have mentioned before that my teenagers think my couponing is a little weird and they tease me about it quite frequently. The old adage that my parents always shared with me, "more is caught than taught!" is coming true! I have been saving the coupons that come in the mail at times for Long John Silvers, KFC, Arby's, etc., in hopes that it might inspire my oldest, who works three days a week when he is not in class, to start using them for his lunches out. I have kept them in plain sight and even one night this week when everyone else was out of the house I purchased dinner out and brougth it home....using one of our coupons. I saved a total of six dollars. It impressed him. This morning I noticed that some of the coupons had been clipped and my daughter (the all knowing little sister) said that Matthew had put some in his wallet! Glory be! That is what I was hoping for....that they would see value in saving money!

I guess my super saving saturday this week would really be that my teens are starting to come around and look for ways to save long as they can 'save face' while doing so it is even more attractive to them.

I will post an update if I get some great bargains tomorrow. I am getting pretty low on some pantry goods and will be heading out tomorrow to try and find some ever becoming extinct deals at the local grocery store.

I would like to leave you with this link to a story I read today on CNNMoney about frugality. The way that some of us choose to live our lives is becoming quite popular out of necessity for todays families. I am just forever grateful that we no longer are slaves to credit cards or consumer debt. We have had the last seven years to hone our skills and while it has not always been easy or popular, right now we feel a sense of freedom that can only come from not having to deal with the burden of debt that is suffocating so many in America today.

Happy Savings!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

WFMW 4-2-08 Greatest Hits Edition

Shannon is hosting over at Rocks in My Dryer a Greatest Hits edition of Works for Me Wednesday. Below is one of my most popular posts from the past four months:

When I was growing up my Mom did everything for us. I dusted on Saturdays and attempted to keep my room neat and clean, but overall the most I ever remember doing was making chocolate chip cookies a few times, folding laundry, filling the dishwasher, and cleaning my room. I never even cooked or helped cook a meal until I was engaged to be married!

I admit that I am not very proud of this fact, however, I think it was also easier for my Mom to just do it herself. I was very busy with church and school activities, babysitting, and later in high school an after school job. I still have the little note that my Mom sent to me the first week of college that explained how to use the washing machine in the basement of my dorm! I mean I did not know how to even wash a load of clothes!

This brings me to my Works for Me Wednesday post. When I married my husband seven years ago and went from a single again parent of one child to a Mom of four, I knew I would need a plan for chores, responsibilities, rules...all the things that children normally have growing up in a family. However, three of my precious ones had lost their Mom three years prior and while my husband is absolutely the best, men were not created to be mothers just as mothers were not created to be fathers. I learned all I could about their Mom and what her teaching style had been for her three sweet ones and went about trying to come up with a plan.

It was one sweet act by a seven year old brunette with brilliant blue eyes that helped me see that there could be another way. In the long run, I would be teaching my children how to take care of themselves and not feel so lost as I had felt.

I came to this decision after our youngest, Hannah, had watched me intently each time I loaded the washer and dryer. She would pull a step stool up to watch and would ask questions. She was like a little sponge...taking it all in. Her Mommy had died when she was only three and a half. After living in a household full of boys for three years she was very excited to have a Mom to follow around.

One day I came home and she very proudly showed me the freshly washed towels all folded neatly and ready to be put away. I sat down and cried. Here a sweet seven year old had learned something that I did not until I was 18! She was so excited and felt so proud. It was after this sweet display of love I decided that maybe I could start with the oldest and see if this would work. I would teach them how to sort, wash, dry, fold, and put away their laundry. My husband and I discussed this and after a little research we decided sixth grade was a great jumping off point to begin this endeavor.

So my quest began. I would like to say it has worked like a charm and that there have been no problems, but I can't....I have four teenagers...three of whom are boys....however, each child has their own wash day with the washer and dryer solely devoted to them. They mainly do their jeans, uniforms, underwear, etc. Mom still does the shirts/blouses that need special care and towels. Many times I surprise them and scoop it up and do it for them. I realize that these four young adults are much further ahead in life than I was back in 1979. They each know their way around the kitchen (that is another post), can keep a home neat, and can operate a washer and dryer.

I hesitated to even post this, but I have seen the pride they each take in this ability. It has been a rite of passage in our home when each one entered the sixth grade. The boys come in after a hard practice or game and the first thing they do is stick their dirty uniforms in the washer. It has taught them responsibility in a very tangible way. It has worked for our family and brought about many positive attributes.

For more Works for Me Wednesday post, head on over to Shannon's at Rocks in My Dryer.