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Monday, March 29, 2010

February - March books

Starting in April: Leave a comment on my blog anytime between now and the end of the April for the opportunity to win one of my books. See sidebar for more details.

In the wake of my mother's final illness and death, I've read a number of forgettable mysteries (my default genre of choice). But I do have a few books I want to bring to your attention:

  • Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon by Miralee Ferrell. This entry in the Love Finds You series is excellent. The Bridal Veil falls play an integral role in this mysterious romance of a woman who has to let go of the past so she can enjoy the future God has for her.
  • The Captain's Lady by Louise Gouge. Follow the exploits of Captain Jamie Templeton, spy, as he seeks information to aid the American cause--if he can keep from falling in love with an English Lady. Since I also wrote a historical romance set during the Revolutionary War (Prodigal Patriot, due out in July from Heartsong Presents), I've enjoyed reading Louise's stories of the same time period in Florida.
  • The Knight by Steven James. Fans of Patricia Cornwell and Criminal Minds will really enjoy the Pat Bowers series from Steven James. He's the best Christian thriller around, in my opinion, bar none.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Where I'm From

Inspired by Carla Gade's writing prompt at

I am from Ellis Island and mystery, high school sweethearts and faith hope and charity. I am from strong women, three mothers and loneliness. I am from poodles and chocolate glazed mayonnaise cake. I’m from red velvet dresses and braided rugs.

I am from rocks and rills, crashing waves and fog horns. I am from “ayuh” and Hahvahd Yahd. I’m from biting black flies and chirping chickadees. I’m from lilac bushes in spring and bouquets of wildflowers in summer. I’m from riding bicycles around the block and long walks along the coast line. I’m from Yaz and the Big Cat, marching band and Number 7. I’m from three-room schools and Chizzle Wizzle.

I am from “Do not ask what your country can do for you” and “I have a dream” and “Old Enough to Fight, Old Enough to Vote.” I am from My Boy Bill and Bach and the Beatles. I’m from Dr. Seuss and Nancy Drew, Charles Dickens and Dick Francis. I’m from “those were the days” and Walton’s mountain.

I’m from the Other Son of Man and “if it was Greek, I’d understand it.” I’m from Vacation Bible School and “In the beginning.” I’m from Sunday night hymn sings and “Wonderful Grace of Jesus.” I’m from “Why?” Doesn’t Matter Anymore. I’m from neither height nor depth and from the deep, deep love of Jesus.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Plain Spoken

God must know I need answers spelled out clearly with the muddle my heart and mind are in at present.

On Friday I asked God for a "sandwich" to replace Mom above and Jolene below. In my Saturday quiet time I reread a familiar verse: You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.

Say "sandwich" with me.

Saturday night, I was questioning whether I was wrong in believing I am a gifted speaker/teacher (when I make the mistake of seeing others getting opportunities I have asked for). That very night, I receive an email requesting permission to reproduce my handout on "Empowering Your Writing Through Your Spiritual Gifts." The requestor said, "I would like to be able to give it to them because I think it succinctly explains gifts and how to include that in our characters, plot, setting, and theme, even though that isn't necessarily the focus of my talk."


The ladies' Bible study at church is working through the "Stepping Up" study by Beth Moore. One of the sidebars reads "God never more closely surrounds us than when He lifts us to His breast and carries us home." I broke out in tears.

The same study directed me to Psalm 30: "You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever."


Friday, March 12, 2010

Dancing with Grief Plus Two Years

In a little under two years, I have lost both daughter and mother. Tomorrow marks two years since Jolene ended her life.

How is this different than the first anniversary?

Two major things slam home. One is: In my thoughts, Jolene is now a part of my past, not my present. How wonderful that she continues to live in God's eternal now, in the presence of the great I am. But I no longer picture her walking back onto my stage and reentering my life.

The second is: Mom's death echoes Jolene's, increasing the grief. A friend said "Grief is one thing that doesn't get easier with practice." No, instead I think it increases exponentially. In today's prayer journal, I asked God to replace my sandwich covering (Mom above and Jolene below) with Christian friends who would stand by either side. And He is.

A year ago I wrote that I wanted to wallow in grief over the anniversary. This year, I feel a deep sadness, and yes, depression, but overwhelming grief? No.

God also reminded me to put the past behind me and press forward. Both in terms of the people I have lost, but also the place. Instead of comparing everything in Oklahoma City (often unfavorably) to Denver, to instead plant my heart as well as my feet in Oklahoma City.

Being here does make the grieving easier. In Denver, every event, place, meal, reminded me of things I had done with Mom and Jolene. It's easier to forge new memories here in Oklahoma without that baggage. Instead of Mom and Jolene, I picture the group from church that oftens goes out for dinner at Sunday church; or the many wonderful memories with my son's family.

Mom and Jolene enjoy God's eternal now. Some day I will join them.

Until then, I will seek to live life to the full.