Yesterday morning I had the wonderful experience of being on the radio here in Newberry.  The really neat part for me, besides the fact that I was able to share about my book with so many people, was the fact that my sisters, one in Nemo, SD and the other in Thailand… yes, I said Thailand… also were listening by internet connection.  WOW!  That’s really cool.

As those of you who were listening knows, and anyone who really knows me can imagine, all it took was for Andy Hawkins, the interviewer to ask me what events in my life brought me to the place of writing this book and I was off!

I won’t give you a blow by blow account here;  you can go to my website to listen to most of the interview for that.  However,  I couldn’t help but notice the irony of talking about my Grandpa’s covered wagon experiences on the radio with people all over the world listening. 

Thirty years ago when my Grandpa wrote the books about his life  and worked at selling them he did it all personally, talking to everyone he met everywhere he went.  I am doing it that way also, however, I’m also appearing on TV, talking on the radio, sending out press releases, blogging, updating a website (my husband does that part), and addressing hundreds of postcards and that’s just a start!

Our world has changed and keeps changing, faster and more than we want sometimes.  Let’s not forget those who have walked before us.  Let’s not forget the lessons they learned the hard way.  Maybe we can even pass those lessons on to the next generation!

I am enjoying the first of a stretch of 6 out of 7 days off from my day job, nursing.  It is one of the best perks of being a nurse, flexibility in scheduling.   As I eased into the day with my wonderful Kona coffee I dreamed that this stretch of days off would return my life to normalcy following the three week “book tour” and the subsequent getting back into work mode.  Maybe, just maybe, I thought to myself I can get normal back.  Then I laughed to myself.  My life hasn’t been normal for a long time.  Followed by the thought… has it EVER been normal?  What is normal?  Do I want normal?  So… I posted “normalcy is overrated” in my facebook status, apparently touching a spot in several friends hearts, judging from the “likes” that appeared.

After puttering around a bit online and off I determined that my brain fog may be relieved by a short nap.  As often happens, the brain doesn’t stop and  I woke up mulling over the normalcy dilemna again…  and as with all dilemna’s I revert to the pattern I was taught at home as a child.  “What does God say in the Bible about it,”  my Daddy’s voice says in my head.

The Bible principle for “normalcy”.  What is it?  Normal…  no, I don’t pull any childhood memorizations to the front…(I even looked in the Concordance… no “normal” in the Bible.)  How about synonyms.  “Routine”… no, “average”… no,  “just like everyone else”… definitely not!  Synonyms weren’t working… how about trying antonyms! 

“Abnormal”… no.  “Above average”… hummmm… “Excellent”…. BINGO.

I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.  Philippians 4:8

I will praise thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14a

Whatsoever things are true…, honest… just… pure… lovely… of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  Philippians 4:8

Even as I type this more and more verses are popping into my head.  None of them speak of normalcy.

We are not called to be “normal”.  At least not by the world’s standards.  We are called to be all God made us to be!  God created each of us with unique fingerprints, unique personalities, unique abilities, and even unique disabilities.  ALL OF US are created by the Creator for a purpose.

The question isn’t are we normal… the question is are we being who GOD wants us to be.  Maybe instead of maintaining normalcy, I should be striving for faithfulness.  Now there’s a word that’s in the Bible!

I don’t know what it is about the place where my husband grew up,  it’s always felt like home to me.  Maybe it was the contrast between the hectic-too-many-people-in-one-place environment of South Florida and the peace and quiet of this little subdivision just outside of Hendersonville, NC.  The spring after we were married we starting making the 13 hour trek up here to work on cleaning out and “rescuing” the house and property.  We all know what happens when a house sits empty.  Anyway, the peace that would descend on my soul when we arrived was unexplainable.  I enjoyed going to sleep to the sound of neighbors dogs even though I had worked so hard my muscles were all screaming.  I enjoyed waking up to the sound of birds, even though I knew we had no hot water unless we heated it.  I enjoyed NOT hearing any traffic.  When it would come time to leave I would feel like crying. Sometimes I did. 

Even today, now that we have hot water, electricity,  phone, internet, and live closer (only two hours away) and in a much quieter place I find a peace still comes over me when we arrive and I never want to leave.   Curious, really since all of our visits involve work…

Since we had a porch added to the front of the house I have found an incredible place to sit and observe, listen, and visit with God.  In the mornings I watch the world wake up and say hello to the birds flitting from tree to tree.  In the evening I watch fireflies and dream of the day I can wake up here every morning. 

If you are my friend, or even acquaintance you have probably heard me go on and on about my porch… so here it is , the first blog from my porch.  And yes… I am drinking coffee.

I have been home and back to work a week now.  Is it just a week???  The trip went as planned, we had no trouble except for the one flat tire in Olive Branch, Mississippi and our trailer and pickup made it home intact!  Yay!  I’m afraid though, that my brain has lagged.  It still seems to think it is on vacation!

The big news for the book is that I’ve started getting reviews and they are good.  There are the reviews from “official reviewers” on their blogs.  These are people I have never met, probably never will, but yet they read the book and liked it!  Amazing! 🙂  Then there are the friends of people I know that have read it and think it is awesome!  Great!  Then… there are the friends, even my husbands 91 year old adopted Jewish Grandma who said it was “wonderful, you really need to get this made into a movie!”  Wahoo!

The ones I like the best though are the ones from children.  When a child says, “I can’t put this book down,” my heart just flips it is so excited!  So, I guess I’ve had a little bit of an exciting week! 

The other news about the book is that there are updates on the website including a link to this blog!  Check it out.  All of this is compliments of my webmaster and husband, Bruce. 

Well, that’s all for now.  I have to go to work for a few hours at my “day job”.  Then I need to find time…. SOON…. to work on finishing the next book in the series!  Keep your fingers crossed that we can get it done and published sooner rather than later.

Bye for now!

Have you ever had the chance to go back, maybe visit some place from your childhood?  I get to come here to Broken Bow at least every year and especially every other year for the reunion, so it’s not just being in Broken Bow that touched my heart this week.  This week we spent three days at the Custer County Fair.  True, most of my time was under the grandstand but there really wasn’t a better place to “remember”… 

In the early 70’s there were several years that my siblings and I went to Grandpa and Grandma Jones’ ranch for a week or two.  We also stayed there for 3-4 months right before we moved to California in 1975.  When we would visit in the summer our cousins from Kansas would come while we were there… or maybe we went while they were there.  At any rate there would be 6 or 7 of us there at a time.  At least one summer and maybe more Grandpa and Grandma took us to the Custer County Fair for the day.  We explored, watched our other cousins show their calves, nabbed anything free we could get our hands on from the booths under the grandstand and went home exhausted at the end of the day.

Fast forward about 35 years… I am sitting at one of those booths selling the book written about that those experiences.  I am visiting with dozens, can I say hundreds(????) of children as they guess the number of skittles in my plastic cowboy boot mug (369).  Anyone who know me knows how those kids lit up my world. 🙂  Every few minutes a train would come howling by the fairground reminding me of the plot of the story.  I wanted to get up several times to see if I could spot… OH, you haven’t all read the book… can’t give THAT AWAY! 🙂

My siblings were unable to come, but several of the Kansas cousins were there and a new generation of the local cousins were showing their sheep and calves.  My uncle was at the Farm Bureau booth next to me and the nurses from the Nursing Home that Grandma lives in came by to say hi and to see the old pictures we had displayed.  Some of Grandpa and Grandma’s former neighbors recognized them from pictures and told us stories about times they visited back and forth. 

We sold 33 books at the fair which I felt was excellent considering most of the booths were informational.  I also handed out many many business cards, flyers, and talked up the website.  Thanks to one cousin and her daughter there are flyers all over town.  Her sister sat at the booth almost the entire time helping to promote the book.  Between all of that and being in the parade on Saturday the buzz about the book has really taken off in Broken Bow…  somehow it is so right.  A full-circle moment, compliments of God. 🙂

My best intentions were to keep up with this blog EVERY day!  However… what a week!  It was great but so jam packed with visiting family, friends, and working on promoting my book that I dropped into bed every night thinking… tomorrow I’ll blog.  Right now two of my cousins, (yes, they are two that were with us at the ranch when we were kids) are sitting in our camper chatting while I type this!  Fortunately they can carry the conversation without me! 

As far as the book promotion part of the trip to Rapid City, the most memorable part was being on TV!  WOW!  One of my friends, Chris Orr is the morning newsman for the NBC station in Rapid City.  It was an awesome opportunity to get the word out about my book.    We should get pictures from this event up on the website in the next day or so.  Another stellar moment was going to the Black Hills Writers Group meeting last Tuesday night.  That group of people were very instrumental in helping me get my book done.  What a moment, to be able to share the book with them. 

My nieces and nephews were so proud to get their copies.  I was able to read the last three chapters to my sister’s children.  They were properly enthusiastic and I didn’t even have to bribe them with chocolate. 🙂  I made the circles of businesses and visited the hospital, my former place of employment.  All in all, it was an awesome week.  I really wasn’t ready to leave though because I wanted to spend more time with my family.  Isn’t there a saying about leaving while you still want to stay???

Finally, there is a possibility that I’ll have a book signing scheduled in Rapid City for the end of September!  The best part… I’ll get to go home again and see my family! 🙂