Childhood Toys

My mother-in-law told my husband and his siblings while they were growing  up that everyone needs to have wanted something that they never received. For my husband it was the Tonka crane. To this day he still covets that Tonka crane.

My parents never subscribed to that view but there was something I wanted so badly and never got. The Fisher-Price A-frame house. My cousin had it and I was JEALOUS! I played with it every time I went to her house and couldn’t understand why she wasn’t as enthralled with it like I was.

So what about you? Is there something from your childhood you’ve always wanted but never got? Something in your adulthood you want but don’t have? Please share!


End of Watch

“When a police officer is killed, it’s not an agency that loses an officer, it’s an entire nation.” -Chris Cosgriff, ODMP Founder


Walk with him tonight
Dear Lord
Along each darkened sreet
Walk with him tonight
Dear lord
Along his lonely beat
Keep him happy through the night
And please make sure he’s warm
And guide him to a sheltering door
In case there comes a time a storm
And let him know
Though he’s not here
My prayers are free from fright
Because, Dear Lord ,
I, know so well
You’re on his beat tonight

author unknown

Florida Department of Corrections, Florida

Sergeant Ruben Howard Thomas, III
Florida Department of Corrections, FL
EOW: Sunday, March 18, 2012
Cause of Death: Stabbed

Texas Department of Public Safety - Texas Highway Patrol, Texas

Trooper Javier Arana, Jr.
Texas Department of Public Safety – Texas Highway Patrol, TX
EOW: Saturday, March 24, 2012
Cause of Death: Automobile accident

Charles City County Sheriff's Office, Virginia

Deputy Sheriff Michael C. Walizer
Charles City County Sheriff’s Office, VA
EOW: Saturday, March 31, 2012
Cause of Death: Automobile accident

Austin Police Department, Texas

Senior Police Officer Jaime Padron
Austin Police Department, TX
EOW: Friday, April 6, 2012
Cause of Death: Gunfire

Norfolk County Sheriff's Office, Massachusetts

Deputy Sheriff Ryan Tvelia
Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office, MA
EOW: Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Cause of Death: Motorcycle accident

North Carolina Department of Public Safety - Division of Adult Correction, North Carolina

Correctional Officer William Wright
North Carolina Department of Public Safety – Division of Adult Correction, NC
EOW: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Cause of Death: Fall

Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, California

Deputy Sheriff Robert Paris
Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, CA
EOW: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Cause of Death: Gunfire

Greenland Police Department, New Hampshire

Police Chief Michael P. Maloney
Greenland Police Department, NH
EOW: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Cause of Death: Gunfire

Read more:

Police Memorial Week

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15th as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15th falls, as National Police Week.

On average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 53 hours. Since the first known in 1791, more than 19,000 U.S. law enforcement officers have made the ultimate sacrifice. If you get a minute this week…Thank a cop. And say a little prayer for those who have fallen and their families left behind to carry on.

Below are just three of the latest casualties.

Investigator Mike Walter was shot and killed as he and other detectives attempted to serve warrants on a man in an apartment complex on Colony Park Drive at approximately 11:15 am.

The man was wanted for sexual battery of a minor and possession of child pornography. After entering the apartment the detectives located the man hiding in a bathtub. As the man resisted arrest the officers attempted to use a taser on him. He opened fire on the officers, striking Investigator Walter in the face and wounding two other officers. One of the wounded officers was able to return fire and killed the subject.

All three officers were transported to University of Mississippi Medical Center, where Investigator Walter succumbed to his wound approximately 40 minutes later.

Investigator Walter was a former professional baseball player and had served with the Pearl Police Department for three years. He is survived by his wife, daughter, and parents.

End of Watch May 1, 1012
Deputy Sheriff Brian Hayden was killed when his patrol truck collided with another patrol car on US Highway 70 as the two responded to a shots fired call involving a third officer.

He and an officer from the Choctaw National Tribal Police were responding to the call at approximately 9:30 pm. As the two vehicles neared an intersection, Deputy Hayden began to turn left when his truck was struck by the patrol car, which was traveling behind him. Deputy Hayden’s suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene. The tribal police officer suffered severe injuries and was flown to a hospital in Texas.

Deputy Hayden was a U.S. Air Force veteran. He is survived by his wife and four children.

End of Watch April 19, 2012
Sergeant Max Dorley was killed when his patrol car struck a utility pole on Admiral Street, near Huxley Avenue, as he responded to a disturbance call at approximately 9:20 am.

Two vehicles in front of him pulled to the side, however a third vehicle attempted to make a left turn in front of him, causing him to swerve. His vehicle left the roadway and struck the pole head-on, causing the pole to break in half and fall on the patrol car. He was extricated from the vehicle and transported to Rhode Island Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Sergeant Dorley had served with the Providence Police Department for 16 years and was posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant. He is survived by his wife and two children.

End of Watch April 19, 2012

Happy Mother’s Day!

Wishing all you mothers out there a very happy Mothers Day. I’m excited because I got to sleep in today for the first time in weeks!

Before I was a Mom
Before I was a Mom
I slept as late as I wanted and never worried about how late I got into bed. I brushed my hair and my teeth everyday.
Before I was a Mom
I cleaned my house each day. I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby. I didn’t worry whether or not my plants were poisonous. I never thought about immunizations.
Before I was a Mom
I had never been puked on – Pooped on – Spit on – Chewed on, or Peed on. I had complete control of my mind and My thoughts. I slept all night.
Before I was a Mom
I never held down a screaming child so that doctors could do tests…or give shots. I never looked into teary eyes and cried. I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin. I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.
Before I was a Mom
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn’t want to put it down. I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn’t stop the hurt. I never knew that something so small could affect my life
so much. I never knew that I could love someone so much. I never knew I would love being a Mom.
Before I was a Mom
I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart outside my body. I didn’t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby. I didn’t know that bond between a mother and her child. I didn’t know that something so small could make me feel so important.
Before I was a Mom
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay. I had never known The warmth, The joy, The love, The heartache, The wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom. I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mom.

Borrowed from the website Mother’s Day Celebration

Life Is A Marathon

John and I the summer of 2010

I can’t tell you how many times over the past year that doctors and nurses told my husband and I that we were running a marathon. Hundreds maybe. Enough that if I were paid a nickel for each time I’d be a rich woman. They were right, of course.

One year ago today life in the Cullen household came to a screeching stop and made a huge right turn.

Even a year later we still don’t know the details of the accident. My husband went on a bicycle ride and took our black Labrador retriever with him. It was something they’ve done before, though not very often.

John fell off his bike and fractured his skull in two places. No, he wasn’t wearing a bicycle helmet.

By the time my daughter and I arrived at the hospital, the helicopter was on its way to transport him to the closest trauma hospital.

It wasn’t until months later that I would learn how close we came to losing him. By some quirk of fate John was out with friends a few months ago and ran into one of the hospital staff who was in the ER of the trauma hospital he’d been taken to. She told him that his arrival in her ER was a life changing moment for her. She’d been grumbling that she didn’t want to be there because it was her birthday when John was brought in. His condition quickly deteriorated and the doctors were yelling at him to not give up.

He was rushed into emergency surgery to have part of his skull removed to allow the brain to swell. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and was in a coma for nine days and in neuro ICU for fourteen days.

John is a police officer and his fellow officers were there for him, looking like they were going to take on the world and anyone else for John. I will never, ever forget the feeling of seeing them standing behind the doctor as he reported John’s condition. For the next few months they took care of my family. They drove my kids when needed, they did my grocery shopping, they cut our grass and they never left me alone in the evenings at the hospital. There was always someone there to walk me to my car. Every night.

But that marathon? That was something John and I had to run ourselves. No one could do it for us. And it wasn’t just one marathon. It was one after the other, after the other.

John spent twenty-five days total in the hospital, eventually transferring to a rehabilitation facility where he had to relearn how to walk. For five months he was in speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. The road was long and we’re still not finished walking it, although the pace has slowed. As John says, “You don’t go through something like this without some side effects.” John bears the external and the internal scars and I sport a few of my own internal scars.

But, like a pebble thrown into a pond, the ripples get farther from the epicenter and life slowly settles into a new normal. There will never be the old normal. That’s long gone. But we have a new version of it. A better version in some ways. We’re both changed people and for the most part the change has been for the good.

Recently John asked if I’d known what was to happen all those years ago when we got married, would I still marry him. Without hesitation I said yes. No doubt. No thought. Absolutely yes.

I’d like to think that we’ve reached the finish line of this particular marathon, but we don’t know that for sure. Truth is, like everyone else in this world, we don’t know what the future has in store for us. We just have to keep running and enjoy the scenery while we do.

John finishing his first 5k. Five months after he learned how to walk again

What Do You Like to See in an Author’s Website?

I need a more professional website so I’ve contacted several website designers to get an estimate. Let me tell you, professionally done websites are not cheap. I had a little bit of sticker shock when the estimates started rolling in. But, has my husband says, “You have to spend money to make money.” And, really, I do want to present the most professional face I possibly can to entice people to read my books.

So I’m putting it out there to all you authors and readers: What do you like to see in an author’s website? What makes you keep coming back? What makes you click away from the site and never return?

Judging a Book by its Cover

Yes, I will admit it, I judge a book by its cover.

With the ever changing publishing industry and the fact that I now mainly “shop” for books on the web, be it Amazon or my library’s website, I’m finding that I rely more and more on the book’s cover design than I ever have before.

I love discovering new authors and in this age of self-publishing its easier and easier to do so. However, you’re always taking a chance on a new author and in this economy I have to spend my mad book money wisely. So if I see a cover that doesn’t look professionally done, I automatically think the editing and writing won’t be polished and professional either.

Let’s face it, there are more authors and more books out there than there has ever been before (this is just my observation and based on no solid proof), which means we have to be more discerning than we’ve ever been before. Which means its doubly important for books to stand out to catch a reader’s eye. Professionally done cover art will attract my attention 100% of the time. In fact, if the cover doesn’t look professionally done, I won’t even bother reading the blurb.

Is that wrong? Maybe. But I have a finite amount of time and a million other things pulling my attention away from the webpage. No longer do I have time to roam the book aisles, picking up a book here and there, reading back covers, flipping through the pages to decide if the writing is good and the plot attractive enough for me to spend hours on. More often than not I’m on my smartphone waiting for my daughter’s soccer practice to end while perusing Amazon’s site. Or I’m on a fifteen minute break at work, or waiting for the spaghetti to finish boiling.

Nowadays an author has to make an instant impression, quickly. Professional cover art will do that.

How about you? Do you judge a book by its cover?