Pigs, Pinterest, and Focus Groups

Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | 2 comments

One of the things I learned at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference was the power of social networking. I am going to be doing my best to be more active in more ways so more people can find out about my books. It seems that it is not just a “good” thing to do, but necessary. One benefit, of course, is that I can do it from my front porch. It’s a beautiful day out here! One of the suggestions was to make posters that can be pinned on Pinterest. Since I didn’t have a Pinterest account and had never been on Pinterest, I wasn’t very familiar with it, but my mind caught the vision anyway. In my mind instead of Pinterest I saw Facebook! We all get them and pass them on, those funny, cute, thought-provoking, tear-jerking, or irritating posters that people create to make a point. My mind also quickly realized that my new book, All I Have Needed-A Legacy for Life which is centered around quotes and sayings from my parents and grandparents lends itself perfectly to this marketing technique. I don’t even have to search for the quotes. They are already pulled out and displayed right there in front of God and everyone! Awesome! So, I came home and told my secret weapon, AKA my husband, about this new idea. He agreed it’s awesome. Now, I need to tell you something about this writing business. I write the books but he does all of the computer stuff. He makes the website. He creates anything that is creative on the computer. I just type it in. So, I knew that this was going to be another task for him. He has a lot on his plate already and I am realizing that I need to be braver and learn some of this “stuff” myself. I’m bright. I can learn. Yes, I can. Ugh. So, he created a couple of posters for me and I decided to try one myself. I thought it looked great. Then I asked his opinion. Now, if you really want to know what an analytical chemist thinks, ask him. However, if you are just looking for affirmation you need to tell him that ahead of time. Let’s just say that he gave me his opinion. So, we had a difference of opinion. He believes more explanation is needed than just the quote and the photo. I felt that it might be more likely to go viral if there is less tying it directly to my book. We decided to put them both on Facebook and see what my “friends” thought. So, up they went and that’s when we realized we had our very own focus group. What did the focus group decide? There’s another thing you need to know about analytical scientists. They are almost always right. He was. The...

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Broken Beads

Posted by on May 18, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | 2 comments

I love wearing beads. I don’t wear them all of the time, but I do like wearing them when I dress up. I guess it comes from the fact that my mother wore beads. I actually have some of hers. One set has red, white, and blue beads and they look like gumballs. I know they look like gumballs because I was informed of that at church one Sunday by a boy who was really, really, really impressed with them. Turns out, he LOVES gum. He couldn’t take his eyes off my necklace. However, bead necklaces can be a problem. They can break. The “patriotic gumball necklace” is an example. It broke once and I had it restrung. Problem solved. In March, while at a conference one of my favorite bead necklaces from Thailand broke as I was walking down a hall. Fortunately a friend came to my rescue and helped pull the beads from around my neck while catching those that were falling. I stuffed them all in my canvas bag and I’ll have to take them in to be restrung. The problem is it probably won’t look exactly the same. It’s a much more complicated pattern than red, white, and blue gum balls. I couldn’t help but think that it is like our lives sometimes. We have things happen which cause broken places in our life. We can be put back together, but we may not look the same. Oh, sometimes we may have all the pieces and we can have an exact fix. Other times it doesn’t work that way. We may be missing something important to the complete “necklace.” We may have an awkward pattern. Or, if we let God work it out our new normal could be much more beautiful than we can...

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The Settings of our Lives

Posted by on May 9, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized |

Yesterday and today I have been sorting and cropping photos. I am working on a project for my niece’s graduations. Honestly, today I wished I could travel back in time about 16 years. Those pictures made me homesick for the little versions of my three “adult” nieces. Oh, don’t get me wrong. They are lovely women and I love spending time with them. But oh my, it seems just a year or so ago that they were eight. Anyway, I began to notice something as I sorted photos into categories. There was a prop in a huge number of photos. A huge number. It was my parent’s recliner rockers. The rockers were purchased over twenty years ago. Big, overstuffed rocking recliners picked out specifically for their comfort and durability. We had no idea how durable they would need to be! At the time of their purchase, there were no grandchildren. But, once the grandchildren started coming they just kept coming. I have photos of Grandma and Grandpa reading books to each of the twelve grandchildren. I have photos where we threw a blanket over the chair and used it as a photo op. Sometimes the chair is in the background. Sometimes it has children climbing all over it. Other children are taking a nap in the big comfy chair. I even have photos of aunts, uncles, or parents sitting in the chair holding a child. So, over the past eighteen years these two chairs—just by being there—have become an important part of our family experience. I’m guessing that every time my nieces and nephews ever see a chair like those, they will think of their grandparents. I think that is cool. I know I won’t ever look at those chairs the same...

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Posted by on May 7, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized |

I am a list maker. I like to have a list and I especially like crossing things off of my list. Sometimes, I put things on the list after they are done just to cross them off! I find lists help me stay focused. When I am especially busy they help me make sure everything gets accomplished. Right now we are up to our ears in projects. Between the Legacy book coming out, Bruce finishing up his school year, preparing for a trip to SD, a conference for me this month, and housing decisions we are busy with a capital B! So, it really feels good to have finished a couple of big projects this week. For one, the Legacy book is done and on it’s way to press. Secondly, today I sent out the spring issue of the Double Cousins Gazette, my newsletter. I am attaching it here so you can read it. If you want to be placed on the newsletter list, send me an email at Enjoy! I need to get on to the next item on the list!    2013a Spring...

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All I Have Needed–a Legacy for Life

Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized |

One of the things I learned from my parents and grandparents was this love of books. Even though books weren’t always easy to come by in the Sandhills, my ranch grandparents loved reading.  Grandma Jones was such a voracious reader that after her eyes failed her we arranged for her to get books on tape from the library. Yesterday, in interviewing my aunt for our family newsletter I discovered that my great-grandmother also loved to read. She always kept her magazines, Capper’s Weekly and GRIT by her chair. I get GRIT. I love the connection. Today, as I often do, I find myself wishing I could share something with my grandparents but I can’t. They are all in heaven. So, instead I am going to share it with you, and indeed all over the internet! I am pleased to announce the cover of my newest book, All I Have Needed, a Legacy for Life. This book is a collection of pieces written about the common sense life lessons gleaned from my parents and grandparents. I learn best through hearing and seeing, so the fact that I was surrounded by people who were gifted at creating word pictures for me was an incredible blessing. Not a day passes where something I see, hear, smell, taste, or touch doesn’t bring up a memory of something I learned from one of them. I am blessed. So rejoice with me that we have a cover. Keep your eyes open for updates on a definite release date. As of now, it appears that our release date is May 30th. As we get closer to that date I’ll let you know more details, but with the title name and my name you should be able to start watching Amazon and such places for pre-orders. You can also notify your local bookstore to be on the lookout for...

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Grandma and the Lion Hunt

Posted by on Apr 23, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | 5 comments

This morning, sitting on my porch I am reveling in the fact that spring has sprung. The trees are budding out in their lovely spring green coat. No more grey-brown tree trunks. It is a riot of color everywhere I look. My husband mowed the lawn the other day but with all of the rain it appears you can see the grass growing.  And the dandelions. Whenever I see dandelions I think of Grandma McKnight and her lion hunts. A visit from Grandma and Grandpa McKnight was always a very special event. The excitement built over the weeks before the visit and the time they were there always flew by. It was the first time I remember recognizing that time seemed to pass quicker when you are having fun. I remember one visit when Grandma came alone. She was going to stay four nights. It felt like she was only there one. Grandma was full of ideas for keeping us busy. She would give us projects which would get us to work without realizing it was work. One of those projects was her “lion hunts.” “Let’s go on a lion hunt,” she would say. Then she would lead the way out the door into the yard. She would point to a dandelion and explain our purpose. “If you pick it when it is yellow, you prevent it spreading. If you let it turn white the seeds will go everywhere and then you will have more and more until they take over your yard.” So, the task at hand was to pick as many of the yellow ones as we could. I’m sure when we were little the idea of a “lion hunt” probably was inspiration enough. I don’t remember the first time we did this but I do remember that she would pay us. Yep, the bounty for a lion head was a penny. So, with candy costing ten to twenty-five cents this chocolate-loving little girl was motivated. I was going to seek out and destroy every yellow lion head I could find. I was thinking today about how pretty the dandelions look in the spring. Sometimes small children pick them and bring them to their Mommy as a “flower.” Only when they grow older do they realize that these pretty flowers are really weeds and should be pulled, preferably before they go to seed. I couldn’t help but think that sin in our lives is like that. It looks pretty at first, but if left unbothered it will go to seed and spread. We need recognize the sin-weeds in our hearts and pull them while they still look attractive. If we do that consistently, like the weeds the sin will decrease in frequency. I don’t know about you, but I’m all for decreasing sin in my life. I guess I’d better take a good hard look this spring not only at the dandelions in the yard, but into my heart as well. After all, I want the lawn...

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Changing world, Unchanging God

Posted by on Apr 18, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized |

Sunday night at church we had a singspiration. We sang our favorites and it evolved into a trip down memory lane. Several of the seniors shared memories from camp, their parent’s favorites, funerals, and favorite songs from their childhood. We spoke of George Beverly Shea and his ministry which still continued at the age of 104.   It was one of the most wonderful church services I’ve been to recently. You can chalk it up to my sentimental personality bent, the fact that I’m working on getting my Legacy book out, or even the fact that I’m deep into middle age and realizing that the generation ahead of me is aging.   Whatever it is I’ve been keenly aware of the fact that things are changing, people I love and respect are approaching end of life issues and I’m going to have to grow up. Just in the past year Andy Griffith and Margaret Thatcher died. All of my grandparents are gone now. My parents, aunts, and uncles are sprouting more and more health issues. I’m beginning to age. My oldest nieces are graduating from high school. Ugh.   Yesterday morning I was driving home after an appointment and I had the radio tuned to BBN. I love listening to their music. It is calming. It is the soundtrack of my childhood. It is worshipful.   The announcer started talking about George Beverly Shea. He was talking in the past tense and my heart sank. He went on to announce that Mr. Shea went home to heaven on Tuesday, April 16th. Grandpa Jones’ birthday. I was sad. Mr. Shea is part of my childhood soundtrack. In fact, the song that the radio announcer played is one that is on a record at my parent’s house.   So, I’m sitting here writing on my porch and I am listening to George Beverly Shea! I am thankful for his ministry. I am thankful to know he is singing in heaven, maybe with my Grandpa McKnight and my mommy. Who knows?   This morning I woke up with the song “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” running through my head. This is one of my favorite hymns. The truth that God is faithful and never changes is one I’ve focused on many times in my life. I have a feeling as the years go by it will become even more important in my life.   It doesn’t matter which famous Christian musician, staunch world leader, awesome entertainer, or personal friend or family member dies God won’t . He remains the same and He will provide everything I need every day of my life. “All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!” Thomas O...

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My Sunday Morning Surprise

Posted by on Apr 14, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized |

I didn’t even know my daddy could cook until my mother died. Then we found out he was quite capable. True, we ate a lot of pot pies and macaroni and cheese (from scratch back then) during that time between mothers because it was what Cheryl and I knew how to make, but sometimes he would help us cook something different. Once Mom came though, he gladly gave the kitchen up to the females in the house. 🙂 So, it was a bit weird for me when I got married and my husband liked to cook as much as I do. But, I have to say–it’s right nice when I wake up on Sunday morning and he not only has cooked my breakfast, but has made up a brand new recipe too! Here it is. . . ENJOY!   Cheese, Egg, and Biscuit Muffins       Ingredients 1 can buttermilk biscuits, any brand 1 c shredded cheddar 6 eggs salt & pepper to taste Directions Cut biscuits into six pieces each and place 5 pieces in each muffin cup (works out exactly for 12 muffins). Beat eggs; add cheese and salt and pepper. Using a ¼ cup measure, ladle egg and cheese mixture over biscuits, filling the muffin cups almost full. Bake in 12-cup muffin tin at 425 for 20-25 min.  As a precaution against spills, place a sheet pan under the muffin tin. Variations Add scrambled sausage or diced ham or crumbled bacon or sautéed onion/peppers, etc., to the egg and cheese...

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What This Day In History Taught Me

Posted by on Apr 10, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Each of us has events in our lives that change everything. Some are good, some are bad, and some—well, and they are terrific.   One of my life-changing events occurred on this date in history. I won’t say what year. You’re welcome, Vonda. Yes, today is my baby sister’s birthday and her birth was one of the most influential events in my life. Definitely, one of the terrific ones.   Let me explain why.   I was nearly fourteen when Vonda was born. At the time our family consisted of Daddy, our new mom, my older sister and a little brother.  I had seen babies. I had even held them. But none had ever affected me personally other than the displacement from my mother’s lap which my little brother caused. No, I’m not bitter. . . just stating the facts. 😉   Then Vonda was born. Here was this tiny bundle of cuteness, but face it—newborns don’t do much do they. She was a good baby. She didn’t cry a lot. Pretty much she slept, ate, and did all of the other things newborns do. Anyway, she wasn’t really a lot of fun at first but she was still that precious bundle that connected the dots of family ties between our new mom and the three of us kids.   I was in love.   As she grew into a toddler the fun grew by leaps and bound. She was hilarious. I came alive when I was with her. I wanted to make her laugh. I wanted to see her be silly. I wanted to be the one to teach her how to be silly.  Imagine you are a toddler and you have five people looking at you and laughing at every funny thing you do. Yep, she was a ham.   I loved her attitude, her simple focus, and her pure happiness at being with me. She looked up to me and acted like everything I did was really cool.  She tried to imitate me. If I cleared my throat, she cleared hers. She liked to dress up in Cheryl‘s and my McDonald’s uniforms.   Somewhere along the way I realized that this was a big deal. If she watched everything I did and tried to mimic it. . . YIKES! I didn’t want to lead her in the wrong direction. Not wanting to lead her in a wrong direction molded my actions, believe me.   Through the years our relationship changed. She grew up. I taught her Jr. High Sunday School class. Then I went off to college. My last year at Northland, she was a freshman so we went to college together for a year. (No kidding, and yes, it was cool.)   During that time something shifted. She went from being just my baby sister, to being one of my best friends. We have been travel buddies, diet buddies, single-friend buddies, and accountability partners. We’ve traveled all over the world together and even to see...

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“Seryl and Meerum”

Posted by on Apr 7, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | 2 comments

  I was looking for something in my writing files on my computer the other day and I came across this piece which I wrote some fourteen years and five nieces and nephews ago. I am thankful for the gift of my siblings. SERYL and MEERUM  The other morning, after working all night at the hospital, I came home to find my drains backing up.  It was, for this single homeowner, an overwhelming end to a very stressful night; the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.  My sister, Cheryl, found me walking dejectedly towards home after a brief tour through my neighborhood taken in an attempt to walk off some of the stress.  Sensing that I was unready to go home to bed, she offered to take me through the drive-through at Hardees, get a pop, and allow me time to unwind.  As we drove around, her four small children chattered in the back while we attempted a conversation in the front.  (All conversations are like this with small children around.  I know this because I am the proud aunt of 7 children five and under.) As I vented and we talked the sweet lilting voice of my two-year old niece, Mandy pierced the general hubbub to reach my ears.  “Seryl an Meerum, Seryl an Meerum” she sang in a simple melody of her own creation.  Her cheerful voice made me laugh and then as I looked at my sister, Cheryl, a lump rose in my throat.  “Cheryl and Miriam”, I repeated to her with a weak grin.  “That’s the way it has always been isn’t it?  As long as we can remember, it has been ‘Cheryl & Miriam'”.  She answered with an equally wobbly smile and a nod. Indeed, my sister Cheryl claims that her first memory occurred when she was eighteen months old and our parents brought me home from the hospital.  “I remember,” I have heard her say numerous times, “sitting on the floor under the kitchen table watching the legs of our aunts, grandparents, and parents while listening to them make a big deal about this new child”.  It is not a particularly fond memory for her.  I have no first memory of Cheryl, she is an integral part of all memories, for there aren’t many memories from my childhood which don’t include her. We were very different as children, at least to us it seemed that way.  She was thin, pale, and loved playing with dolls.  Admittedly, this is my perspective.  I was more of a tomboy and preferred playing cowboys and indians , hide-and-seek, or best of all, tackle football.  Oh, and I have never been called thin. My sister was a mover and a shaker, the self-appointed madam president of all of our neighborhood clubs.  She had marvelous ideas which she “allowed us” to help her carry out.  For instance, we spent many, many hours tapping on walls in an attempt to find the hidden passageway she was sure we had in our house. ...

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Grandma Jones and the Antiques Roadshow

Posted by on Apr 1, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Today is Monday which means if we have time we’ll catch a little Antiques Roadshow on TV. We don’t watch it every Monday but every time we do I think about my Grandma Jones.   Grandma Jones had little patience for or interest in all of the hullaballoo around antiques. She just could not see what the big deal was all about.   I remember one particular conversation I had with her. I told her about the show and that a particular piece was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. She looked at me with a straight face and said matter-of-factly, “It’s not worth that much. That’s just what someone is willing to pay for it. That’s just a bunch of stuff from when I was young.”   She had a point.   Grandma didn’t care about things. She cared about people. Oh, she wasn’t opposed to things; she especially liked the things that made her life easier later in life. Those things could even be pretty. But, spending exorbitant amounts of money on things that just looked like old furniture to her. . . not so much.   Because she cared more about people than things, her interest in old focused on people. She valued her elders and helped care for her own mother as long as she could. I have vivid mental pictures of my Great-Grandma Trunnell sitting in her rocking chair at Grandpa and Grandma Jones’ house.  She was a quiet, sweet lady. Those who knew her best said she was an angel. She kept peppermint candies by her chair and would let us each have one.   Grandma not only loved and cared for the elderly, she loved and cared for the young. Nothing lit up Grandma’s world more than seeing a new grand-baby, great-grandbaby, or even a great-great grandbaby! Right up to the time of her death she was always most interested in seeing the new people. The rest of us were just extra, but the new ones—they were essential. She taught Sunday School to children. She infused all of the children in her life with practical lessons on character just by being who God made her to be.   I’m thankful for the lessons on antiques that Grandma taught me. People are more important than things, even very expensive, very valuable old things. They are just things after all and you can’t take them with you when you go. But people, ah there’s the real truth to the lesson. If you invest your time and resources to share Jesus with people. . . you can take THEM with...

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How to Help a Grieving Family

Posted by on Mar 27, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Every time I hear of another family who has suffered the loss of a young parent my heart constricts with painful memories. Losing a parent as a young child is a life-altering event. Even though I’ve been through this very situation I find myself feeling hopeless to help. I know to pray. That, after all is the best thing I can do. But there has to be more. Here are a few things I believe can be helpful to families going through such loss. Support the remaining parent in any way you can. The truth of the matter is, if the parent is ok, the children will be ok. I know that my greatest fear was that something would happen to my Daddy. Beyond the physical needs of the parent, the emotional stability and coping ability is crucial. The children will gain confidence again as they see their parent coping. Now I don’t mean that they should never fall apart. Seeing your parent fall apart at the appropriate time can be a valuable learning experience in itself. But, if the parent has the right support to handle those moments life can right itself. Try and keep things as normal as possible. Of course it can never be the same again, but the children will find comfort in tradition and routine. Family rituals become all important. If you know that the missing parent used to do something special, ask if you can help carry on the tradition—not to take their place, but to celebrate a tradition they started. Keep any letters or emails you have from the deceased—especially those that mention the children in any fun or positive way. My aunt kept all of the letters my mother typed out and sent her family and after several years she gave us each a copy of all of them. This is a treasure beyond description. I think a photo album of photos from the parent’s childhood and photos of the parent with the children would be great too. Don’t be afraid to talk about the deceased. Tell stories. Relate personality traits about the parent that the child might not be aware of, if appropriate. My step-mom was actually really astute at getting my Dad to tell us things about our mother. Children who lose a parent are afraid they will forget how the parent sounds and what they looked like. Help in practical ways. If it is a mother that dies and she has preteen daughters, take them shopping for personal items. Let the dad know you are available for any conversations he might need help with. I would imagine this could be a problem for a family of boys when Dad dies. If your child is a close friend to one of the children invite them over as before, but give more hugs. Hugs from one of your Mommy’s friends helps more than words can say. Offer help with cleaning, cooking, shopping or just giving the parent an evening off....

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What to Expect. . . or Coming Soon!

Posted by on Mar 23, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized |

Last week I was talking to an agent at a conference. I told him about my Legacy book which will be coming out this Spring. “I’ve been extremely blessed in the parent and grandparent department,” I explained.   I went on to tell him about my grandparents. I told him how my grandparents and parents made my childhood “perfect for me” even when tragedy struck. I told him about their wisdom and humor which came out in practical little sayings—things like, “If it won’t matter in fifty years it isn’t worth worrying about.” (Grandma Jones)   After sharing several of these quotes with him he shook his head a bit sadly. “The problem is there aren’t very many grandparents like that left anymore.”   He’s right. That, folks is why I wrote this book.   Our culture is crying out for wisdom. It’s desperate for common sense. It is absolutely starving for examples of holy living. I had all of those wrapped up in my parents and grandparents.   How selfish would I be to keep it all to myself? Besides, I love telling these stories, because—like my grandparents—I am a storyteller. That’s what I do.   So, stay tuned! In the next few months, I will be sharing new stories here on my blog as they pop into my head. I will be reminding you of the upcoming release of the Legacy book. And, I will be keeping you informed of the exact date of its release. Our hope is that it will be done in time for Mother’s Day.   Now, I just wish I could call Grandma Jones and tell her all about...

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Not Good Enough Anymore

Posted by on Feb 18, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized |

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8   I’ve begun to seriously review my entertainment choices the past few months. Is it really beneficial in my life? Does it help me think of true, honest, and just things? Or—is it as I suspect—muddling my mind with lesser things. I’m realizing that the things with which we surround ourselves and those which we approve for the younger generation do have a lasting impact on their choices. “But it’s the best thing out there,” just might not be good enough anymore.   You see, I have a real-life story to tell you. When I was a child, my Daddy watched what we saw on TV pretty closely. Oh, he wasn’t super strict. But, he paid attention. When we were watching shows as a family he used it as a teachable moment and was always pointing out when something wasn’t correct on the TV show. He would comment when the show made spiritual people look silly. He would point out when people weren’t behaving appropriately.   When I was in 8th grade we moved to California. The TV had been in his room for quite awhile. I guess that was the best way he could think of to control our television consumption but even that wasn’t fool-proof. I’m just saying. So, when moving day came he thought of a new one. He left it behind. Citing the lack of space in the U-Haul truck he had my Grandpa Jones take it and put it in the upstairs of his garage shed.   I suspect he got tired of the fact that he couldn’t watch a show without having to rebut multiple ideas. Imagine . . .that was in the 70’s and those shows are now the safe choice for the most discerning of parents.   Is it any wonder our society is in trouble? What we need isn’t just new leadership in Washington. What we need is for Christians (me) to fall on our faces before God and ask Him to forgive us personally, as a church, and as a nation for allowing things that are not “true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, or praise worthy” to consume our minds and our lives. Then maybe he will change our world.   If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. II Chronicles...

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A Suggestion and a Request

Posted by on Feb 12, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Recently a friend asked me if I’ve thought of putting out a prayer newsletter for my friends who are prayer warriors. To be honest, the idea had never occurred to me. I still find it amazing that people are as excited about my books as I am and the fact that they want to PRAY for me is just beyond awesome.   My mind immediately flew to my grandparents. I remember wondering when my Grandpa and Grandma McKnight died who would be praying for me and all of those other people that they prayed for. After all, we had plenty of evidence that Grandma McKnight prayed for each of us specifically. There were the lists.   When I visited their house once I found a bunch of pieces of scrap paper on the table. Each had a list of names. Some lists were longer than others. When I asked Grandma about the lists she told me they were her prayer lists.   “When I can’t sleep in the night because of the pain I get up and sit at the table and pray,” she said. “But the pain medicine makes me doze off. Then when I wake up I can’t remember where I was and I have to start over. So, I make lists. Before I pray for you I write your name down. Then if I fall asleep I know where to start up again.”   We laughed a little about the need for the lists, but when she died I felt the hole. I’ve wondered through the years who is praying for me. I know my parents do. I know I have some friends that do. But this—the suggestion that there might be a whole group of people wanting to pray for me and my books—it floored me. It also humbled me.   I am so blessed to be given this opportunity by God. I don’t really think people realize just how much joy and pleasure it gives to me to write these stories and then talk to children about the writing process. Really I like to talk to anyone. Oh wait, you knew that!   Anyway, prayers are needed and they are needed now. My publisher recently agreed to publish two books for me this year. The first one will be a collection of pieces—some from this blog—about the lessons I have learned from my grandparents and parents. Our working title is “A Legacy For Life” and I have a deadline of March 1st. Yes, I said March 1st.   The second book will be the third in the Double Cousins Mystery. It will be set in Rapid City. I have a rough draft but in looking at it more closely I believe it is really only about half of the book. The deadline for that one is September 1st.   So, I would appreciate your prayers. Pray for wisdom that these books would be just how GOD wants them. Pray that I would be diligent....

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Halfway to Heaven

Posted by on Jan 12, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized |

It’s a weird thing, the passage of time. I remember when summers seemed to stretch out forever. I also remember my Grandma saying that time just went faster and faster the longer you lived. She was 95 when she said this so I’d guess you could say she was an authority on the subject. It seemed strange to me that it would be so for her at that time of life. After all, she was in the nursing home with very little to pass the time. Strange.   Today I didn’t have any trouble deciding which mug to use for my coffee. Unlike other days I haven’t switched mugs either as I’ve fixed several cups of tea. I’ve kept the same one. It’s my “Mommy mug”, one that belonged to a set my mother had. It’s not anything special. Cream background with alternating cream and brown boxes. In the cream boxes are brown flowers and in the brown boxes are cream flowers.   I used it because today is January 11th, 2013. This day marks forty years since my Mommy went to heaven. Forty years! Wow!   In some ways it seems like just a few years ago. The memories from that day are the most vivid of any day of my life. The large details. The little itsy bitsy moments. All of them.   But, on the other hand it seems half-a-lifetime ago and I guess that’s as it should be, because forty years is half a lifetime.   My cousin sent me a message today telling me he was thinking about me. I was surprised that he even remembered. He is only 9 months older than me. But then, maybe that’s why he remembers. He was the “Max” to my “Carly”. (If you don’t know what that means get a hold of the Double Cousins Mysteries and you’ll figure it out—Although he also is a big part of Brandon but that’s a whole different topic.)   His sweet words were a balm to my spirit. He reminded me of the hope we have knowing we will see Mommy again. I laughed because just this morning I was thinking about that. One of those distinct memories I have from that time was my response to the assurances that people made that I would see my mother again. I don’t remember verbalizing my response but knowing myself as I do it wouldn’t surprise me if I had. I’m just saying. .  .(think Ramona from Beezus and Ramona!)   Here’s what was going through my mind—if not out my mouth. “Yeah, that’s great. I’ll see her again. But that won’t be for years and years and years. I’m only ten. I don’t WANT to wait another 80 years to see my Mommy!”   But here I am, forty years later. It doesn’t seem like it could have been that long. I’m beginning to realize just how fast our time on earth goes by—even if we get the full number of years....

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