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Have you thought, “What is Miriam Jones Bradley up to these days?” Today I want to answer that question with four “whats”. So, let’s get started!.

What’s Up With Miriam?

The past eighteen months have been filled with physical challenges from cancer (clean bill of health there) to three injuries, the last being some broken ribs. I’ve only been able to work 26 weeks of the past year at the hospital so I have been branching out into the freelance writing field.

I’ve written a few articles for a local weekly newspaper, had one of the pieces of my All I Have Needed – A Legacy For Life book published in a woman’s magazine, and written several articles for HealthDay, an online health site. It has been challenging, but exciting to see God provide these opportunities.

What else is Miriam working on?

Besides the freelance writing, I am currently working on three other projects.
1. I have written short devotions (think “Keys for Kids”) that relate to each chapter of the first Double Cousins Mystery. I am working now on editing them. Then we will publish it as a companion book to The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Missing Watch. I plan to write a devotional for each of my mysteries.
2. I am writing a picture book about my Grandpa Jones’ journey from Kansas to Nebraska in a covered wagon when he was eight. This was the first project I dreamed of twenty-five years ago.
3. Initial research for the next Nearly Twins book is complete, and I hope to work on the plot in the next month.

What events does Miriam have coming up in the near future?

On July 27th we plan to leave for points west.
Monday, July 31st we will have a booth at the Custer County Fair in Broken Bow, NE.
Thursday, August 3rd we will be at the Market in the Square in downtown Broken Bow, NE.
Saturday morning, August 12th I will be signing books at Everybody’s Bookstore in Rapid City, SD
Thursday, August 17th, we will be at the Market in the Square in Broken Bow, NE again.
September 28th-29th I will present five sessions at the KCEA (Keystone Christian Educators Association) conference in Pennsylvania.

I have dates available and am seeking opportunities for school visits this fall. If you know of a school that would like me to come, please have them contact me at this email.

  • What Has Miriam Been Reading?

I’ve enjoyed going to the library more often this year and I’ve checked out books in different age groups. Here are some of my favorite reads.

Picture books:
Still Dreaming by Claudia Guadalupe Martínez and Magdalena Mora
Elsie’s Bird by Jane Yolen
Dear Mr. G by Christine Evans
Marie’s Ocean: Marie Tharp Maps the Mountains Under the Sea
by Josie James
Moon TreeThe Story of One Extraordinary Tree
by Carolyn Frasier  and Simona Mulazzani
Middle Grade Fiction:
Sisterhood of Sleuths by Jennifer Chambliss Bertram
A Kind of Paradise by Amy Rebecca Tan
A Sky Full of Song by Susan Meyer
How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior
Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Agatha Christie mysteries (several)
I hope this email answers the majority of questions you might have, as well as give you some ideas for books to check out! I would love to hear from you. If you have any other questions please comment below!


Eighteen years ago last week, I met her. Bruce insisted that we visit Chicago on our honeymoon so I could meet Grandpa Hy and Grandma Babs Mizruchy, his honorary Jewish grandparents. Bruce became “part of the family” when he worked with Grandpa Hy and Grandma Babs’ daughter, Marlene. She invited him home for Thanksgiving and Bruce was welcomed into this very Jewish family. Can you be “very” Jewish? I would like to ask Grandma Babs that.


I instantly fell in love with both of them, but especially Grandma Babs. We were what you call kindred spirits. She seemed to be amazed by me, and I certainly was amazed by her. And, Gpa Hy had a way of asking penetrating, thought-provoking questions that reminded me so much of Grandpa McKnight. I actually remember thinking, this feels very much like being at Grandma and Grandpa McKnight’s house. (They were my “very” Baptist grandparents.) It was love at first sight.


For the first four years of our marriage our trips home always led through Nebraska so we could see Grandma Jones. But, then in October of 2009 both Grandma Jones and Grandpa Hy died. Both the same week.


So, we decided that we would switch our route so that either coming, or going, we would travel through Chicago. We could stay with our friend-like-a-sister Rita, and visit Grandma Babs. I believe we’ve seen her every year since then, at least once. (Except during Covid.)  During the years after Daddy’s stroke, it was sometimes more often.


Now, Grandma Babs wasn’t young. On her last birthday, she was 104. Yes, 104. And with the help of live-in caregivers, she was still in her own home, still answering our phone calls. Last November we stopped by, just for a couple of minutes to give her a hug and some applesauce cake. She always wanted Bruce’s applesauce cake, and it would not do to think of leaving out the raisins or nuts. “I want all of it, all that I can get,” she would say.


Over the years, Grandma Babs shared stories of her ancestors. They came from Russia during some of the pograms. Her parents came as young people. Some of her mother’s family went to Canada, some to Mexico, and some to Chicago. It just depended on which country would let them in. She told of her mother writing letters for people to send home to Russia, because they couldn’t write. She told of her parent’s lives, her life as a child, her life with Grandpa Hy (over 70 years), and her thoughts on the world today.


I learned so much about overcoming the ups and downs of jobs, married life, tragedies, and life in general. I learned how to host a simple snack when company comes. I learned the importance of always showing interest in the lives of others. I learned how to treat those you are paying to care for you. And, I learned how to answer the question, “How are you doing?” Grandma Babs would say, “Accordingly. I am (states her age) after all.” She said she got that from her mother. I have adopted the answer. It fits no matter the situation.


In May we got word that Grandma Babs had passed. We are broken hearted. Grandma Babs was a lady. People would say she was “quite the lady,” but that doesn’t cover it. Grandma Babs was simply wonderful.


I recently picked up a middle-grade novel at the public library. It is titled A Sky Full of Song by Susan Lynn Meyer. The story is about a Jewish family that immigrates to North Dakota from Russia during the pograms to escape the persecution. It is mentioned in the book about those who settled in Chicago. My mind went right back to Grandma Babs’ stories. As I read the book I wished I could tell Grandma Babs about it. But, I can’t so I’m telling you. Read it.


I have been blessed in my life with many, many great examples of humor, human kindness, acceptance, love, grace, courage, and hard work. I am thankful that Grandma Babs was one of them. I will never, ever forget her.



I love May Day. Not because it is the month when you can (mostly) count on spring finally arriving. I mean, if winter lingers through April, at least May is the month when spring must come. And, it isn’t because of the celebrations surrounding May Day, although when I was a kid, I loved making little baskets to take to my neighbor friends. No, my love of May Day is actually rather selfish. As a child, I knew that May Day meant that May 2nd was the very next day and May 2nd is my birthday.

Yesterday, I once again celebrated my birthday. The excitement still lingers even though I am now three-quarters through my life expectancy. Last year I was distracted from the full ramifications of the shock of the big 6-0 by the cancer I faced. And, to be honest, the best birthday present I ever received was the phone call from my doctor telling me my lymph nodes were clean and I didn’t need any more treatment!

But, this year has provided more opportunities to experience what others tell me are normal signs of aging. Muscles, joints, bones, energy, focus, hair that has thinned and won’t do what it used to. . . if you know, you know.

However, with age has come a realization that there are things I wish I had grabbed onto when I was younger. Things like the truth of the power available to me to live the Christian life through God’s power, rather than my attempts. Sigh. Maybe this is some of the wisdom that people talk about getting with age. To be honest, I kind of feel like I’m finally growing up. You know, maybe I’m 40 now?

When my sister-in-law wished me a Happy Birthday, I asked her. . . “How did this happen to us?”

She responded with, “One day at a time, but it still SNUCK UP on us!”

Snuck up, that’s the truth.

So, yesterday, instead of going to the arboretum as we had planned, I made an urgent visit to my optometrist to see about the new floaters and flashes in my right eye. Thankfully, as with last year, I received the best possible news from the doctor. “Your retina is fine.” But, then she had to add that other phrase. “It is just a normal sign of aging.” Yes. I think my eyes might have rolled.

There is a prayer I found a couple of years ago in The Divine Hours, by Phyllis Tickle. It is meant as a morning prayer, but by just changing the word “day” to “year” it can be a prayer for the year. Since I am facing the normal process of aging, I think it might help me remember that available power I spoke about just a moment ago. It is now not only my morning prayer, but also my birthday prayer.

Lord God Almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me safely to this new year. Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin or be overcome by adversity, and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose, through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen


What do National Poetry Day, Arbor Day, and Psalm 148 have in common? Let me tell you!

It’s a beautiful day here in Western North Carolina today. The trees are all fully leafed out and everywhere you look there is glorious green. I sit at my bedroom window looking out on the massive Norway spruce that was once the Bradley family’s Christmas tree, as well as a new volunteer maple which is now big enough to offer  privacy. What a fitting way to celebrate Arbor Day.

This morning I read Psalm 148 whose theme is “Let all creation praise and worship the LORD.” After the command in verse seven to “Praise the LORD from the earth,” there is a list which even mentions the trees in verse nine. “Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars.”

It isn’t hard for me to believe that even the trees praise the LORD. Their beauty, strength, usefulness, and so many other things all shout glory to the Creator.

Besides being Arbor Day today this is also National Poetry Month. So, in celebration of Arbor Day and National Poetry Month, I offer you this poem by Joyce Kilmer, a man who gave his life for our country in World War I.



By Joyce Kilmer


I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.


A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;


A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;


A tree that may in Summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;


Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.


Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

April 16th was the 118th anniversary of the day my grandpa, George Lee Jones was born. It seems impossible that he has been in heaven 25 years already, but it’s true. I can still picture him pouring cream over a piece of pie Grandma baked, sitting on his stool while milking the cow, or bouncing around the pasture in his white Ford pickup, one hand on the wheel. For me, these memories bring inspiration. Memories, they are like gifts that keep on giving.

To celebrate Grandpa’s birthday, I thought I would share a little about one of my current projects. If you have followed my blog over the past several years, you know that my first mystery, The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Missing Watch was set on, and inspired by Grandpa’s ranch, south of Berwyn, Nebraska. In addition the last book in the series is also set on what was Grandpa’s ranch and the cover has a picture of the ranch. 

When we were kids, we spent a week or two several different summers out on the ranch with cousins. It might have been only two summers, but it seemed like a huge part of our childhood. So many great memories.                                     

If you’ve ever attended one of my speaking opportunities or workshops on the writing process, you’ve most likely heard the story about A Boy Named George. That’s because, in order to explain to students why I became an author, this story has to be told. And so I tell it.

Fast forward to the present. After nearly 25 years of writing, editing, publishing, and marketing books I am finally working on the picture book I originally wanted to write. It is the story of George’s Journey, a fictional retelling of the migration Grandpa’s family made from Kansas to Nebraska when he was eight. It involves a covered wagon, cold, dust, and adventures.

The advice I was given all of those years ago about picture books being the hardest ones to write was true. Cramming such a grand story into eight hundred words seems an impossible task. But, it is one I’m determined to accomplish. Stay tuned for more on this topic. Writing a manuscript is just the beginning of the process. After that the real “hard work” starts.

But, like Uncle Jim once said, “Dad (George) didn’t teach us to give up just because it was hard.”

To Celebrate National Siblings Day


My social network feeds are full of photos of families, all dressed up for Easter. Siblings all in a row, delighted or annoyed by their beautiful clothes, depending on the child’s perception of such things. It reminds me of such pictures with my own siblings.

Today is also National Siblings Day, celebrated each year on April 10th. I think this is perfect, as it is the anniversary of the birth of my younger sister, the last sibling to join us.

National Siblings Day was started by Claudia Evart in 1995 in order to “establish a national day of recognition for brothers and sisters. . . an uplifting celebration honoring people who have helped in our development and who have shaped our values, beliefs, and ideals.”


Many studies have been done to see if they can learn ways in which siblings are the same or different. In addition, they have searched for the ways our siblings effect us. Most of the results are not surprising. Here are a few benefits to being part of a sibling group.


Social and Life Skills

Siblings can help navigate the social settings children find themselves encountering. Having an older sister or brother at school can make all the difference to an uncertain child. Siblings watch each other interact and see what works and what doesn’t. Smart siblings don’t make the same mistakes! Siblings can also be helpful in learning life skills. Things like, “you snooze, you lose” can be one learned at the dinner table in a large family. Other nicer examples can be a sibling who shows you how to tie your shoe string, how to make cookies, or even how to approach your parent with a request.


Playmates and Babysitters

Siblings are your first playmates. They can be your best friend or your worst enemy. They can be the source of the greatest ideas for what to do when bored. They can also get you in a lot of trouble with those ideas. Older siblings can act as baby sitters. I’m not sure this should be called a benefit, at least not from the younger sibling’s viewpoint. And to be honest, it can be a difficult job for the older sibling if the younger ones don’t want to listen. But, it is definitely a win for the parents.


Not Just For Childhood

Siblings can be life-long friends. They are usually the family members who will be with you for the longest period of your life. In addition, they can provide you with more siblings (in-laws) and niblings (nieces and nephews). This enlarges your family circle and gives you a built in support group for all of the ups-and-downs of life. Should one of you have an only child, those cousins can come in super handy as substitute siblings.


Help as Parents Age

Dealing with the challenges of aging parents can be a small task, or an overwhelming one. If you have siblings, and you work well together, it can go much smoother. This was crucial for our family when Daddy had his strokes and required in-home extended care. It was a group effort. Some were more hands on, and others used their abilities to provide in other ways. It was a beautiful thing to behold in the midst of trying days, months, and years.


So, if you have siblings make sure they hear from you today and often. Build those relationships. Sometimes it does take effort, lots of grace, and determination to look past our individual personality traits, but in the end it is one of the most important things you can do to provide yourself with an invaluable support system.


Finally, I love you Cheryl Eggers, Clark Jones, and Vonda Jones. I thank God he gave you a sister like me. No wait. That wasn’t right. I thank God He gave ME siblings like YOU. Whew!


At physical therapy yesterday I overheard part of a conversation. Apparently the patient shared that she was from elsewhere, but had lived here about twenty years. “Twenty years,” the therapist said. “You should be a local by now!”

I’m not so sure about that. After all, the Bradleys arrived in western North Carolina  before the Revolutionary War, and the only way I get “local credibility” with my local patients is when I mention that my husband is from here, and in fact was born in the hospital where I now work.

It made me think about home. What is home? Where is home?

When I got married my wise uncle, Jim Jones told me, “home is where you make it.” Great advice for a middle aged woman leaving her entire family and moving from South Dakota to South Florida in July. I took it to heart, but still when I was asked where I was from I always said South Dakota, or the Great Plains states.

When I’m getting ready to go visit my family in South Dakota or Nebraska I tell people I am going home for a visit. I’ve certainly never considered that I would ever think of myself as being “from North Carolina.”

Yet, here I am. I realized a couple of weeks ago that not only have I lived longer in Hendersonville than any other city, but I’ve lived in this house longer than any other house, by a long shot. And to top it off, I’ve worked at Pardee hospital eleven years now, one year longer than any other hospital.

So, is this home?  Maybe, but not completely.  After all, you can take the girl out of the Great Plains, but I don’t think you can ever take the Great Plains out of the girl. That’s where I grew up. It is where my parent and siblings, nieces and nephews mostly reside. It is home.

But there’s one thing that seals the deal. It isn’t the house, the town, or the job. It’s the husband. Home is where my husband is.

Last week my husband asked about a Spanish Rice dish I remembered from my childhood. We’ve discussed this before. His mother’s Spanish Rice did not have meat. Mine had hamburger. But, other than that they seemed quite similar.

So, I confidently went to the box that holds recipes from three generations and looked. I was sure it was there, but it wasn’t. My next step was the Betty Crocker cookbook I inherited from Grandma McKnight. It was identical to my mother’s copy which my sister had (until her dog ate it.)

Anyway, there under the rice section was a recipe for Spanish Rice. But, it wasn’t at all like we remembered. However, across the page was one titled Texas Hash and it looked to be the right recipe, so Bruce made it.

Wow! You know that moment when something takes you right back to your childhood? This was one of those moments. It was delicious.

Old recipe books sometimes are outdated. Sometimes they are pushed aside because of newer ones with glossier pictures. But there are still people in this world who love cookbooks. Old ones or new ones, practical or impractical, it matters not. I am unashamedly one of those people.

I can lose myself for hours in a pile of cookbooks. If it is one of those community cookbooks, I can lose myself for hours in ONE cookbook! I have one with about fifty tiny post-its fluttering from the book where I marked a page because the recipe looked good. I may never do anything with all of them, but they are there for future reference.

It seems the internet is taking the place of cookbooks, and I’m not immune to this. We have a huge three-ring binder filled with recipes discovered on the internet or you-tube and printed off for “Bruce and Miriam’s” cookbook. Often we look through this collection when seeking for inspiration.

But, this week was potluck Sunday at our church and we knew right away what we would take. We made up another batch of the Texas Hash/Spanish Rice and off we went to church. It was well received. The classics always are, aren’t they?


Today is World Poetry Day, so I am sharing a piece I wrote and published in All I Have Needed – A Legacy For Life. I hope you enjoy it. I am thankful for a legacy of simple beauty and simple living.



  Life did not bring me silken gowns,

  Nor jewels for my hair,

  Nor signs of gabled foreign towns

  In distant countries fair,

But I can glimpse, beyond my pane, a green and friendly hill,

And red geraniums aflame upon my window sill.


  The brambled cares of everyday,

  The tiny humdrum things,

  May bind my feet when they would stray,

  But still my heart has wings

While red geraniums are bloomed against my window glass,

And low above my green-sweet hill the gypsy wind-clouds pass.


  And if my dreaming ne’er come true,

  The brightest and the best,

  But leave me lone my journey through,

  I‘ll set my heart at rest,

And thank God for home-sweet things, a green and friendly hill,

And red geraniums aflame upon my window sill.

            Martha Haskell Clark


When I read the title of this poem I immediately thought of Grandma Jones. After all, she loved red geraniums and kept one on her porch in Broken Bow most summers. One of her geraniums ended up in my Dad’s office for several years where it often reminded me of her.

But then I read the poem and I knew that this one “belonged” to my Grandma Jones.

She didn’t have silken gowns, jewels, or great opportunities for travel. She once told me that there was so much that she hadn’t yet seen in the United States she couldn’t imagine why she would need to travel overseas. She did enjoy the few trips she was able to take, but travel wasn’t something she had the opportunity to do very much of.

However, out her window on the ranch she had green rolling hills. In her window sills she kept African Violets. And on her porch in front of her chair were her red geraniums.


The time-change is always an indication that spring is here. Or, at least that it is coming soon!

Spring means Easter. It will be here before we know it. The stores are already full of Easter baskets and chocolate. Like every other holiday, consumerism has affected Easter too.

Our parents chose to focus on the real meaning of Easter—Christ’s resurrection. We didn’t do Easter baskets and I don’t remember ever being in an Easter egg hunt. Our excitement was over the Easter bonnet, the new dress from Aunt Rachel, white gloves, and new shoes.


But many people enjoy giving Easter baskets. So I had a few suggestions for items parents, grandparents, or aunts and uncles could give a child, whether in an Easter basket or not. I know you will be shocked to hear that my recommendations are books.

First, I want to suggest a new book I came across the other day, The Garden, The Curtain, and The Cross by Carl Laferton, illustrated by Catalina Echeverri. It is a retelling of the gospel account from the Garden of Eden to the Resurrection.

Second, a friend wrote a delightful story about a bunny who wants to save the flowers in the fall. Now, I know it isn’t fall, but it’s a bunny, okay? Saving Kate’s Flowers, by Cindy Sommer, won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award – New York and has educational elements to boot. This is a beautiful picture book that all ages can enjoy. It’s illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein.




Third, I would like to remind you of Carolyn Frasier’s new book Moon Tree-The Story of One Extraordinary Tree, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani. This non-fiction book would be a fantastic choice for children of all ages. It too has wonderful educational information.

Next I have ideas for older readers. Susan K Marlow, my first editor, wrote an entire series for ages 6 and up. In these books she follows  Andi Carter and friends from childhood to age eighteen. Take a look at this video and check out her website. It is chock full of books and ideas. She even has accompanying educational materials for homeschoolers and young writers.




Finally, I would love it if you would consider my Double Cousins Mysteries as well as the Nearly Twins book. You can find more about them here on my website, and they are available through online stores. I am always happy to sell signed copies.

All you need to do is email me at and we’ll get you taken care of!                         

So there you have it. My Spring 2023 book suggestions. Do you know of a great book or series for children? Share those titles below.