Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Serious Wednesdays: Life and Death

Why is it that sometimes there's someone who passes through our lives--just for a moment, a week, a month, maybe longer, who affect us profoundly? Who touches our lives in such a way that we don't--can't--forget it or them?

That's what Amanda's mother for me. Don't get me wrong; I didn't know the woman; hadn't met her yet. That's right I didn't know her, yet I did. In the last few days, I heard more about her than possibly I would have learned had we had a chance to talk. Maybe.

How did she affect me? I've thought about this and realize it's not been something I've necessarily wanted, yet the details of her life, her death, her influence on so many in the community, it's all impressed me whether I desired this touch on my life or not.

  • She's made me want to be a better person. Less complaining, more generous, more loving . . .
  • In spite of her physical problems, she put others first. I don't want to ever live selfishly.
  • She made me aware--again--or my own mortality. And of those around me.
  • She's made me want to be friendlier. She loved everyone. She never met a stranger. She remembered those she met, even if just for a moment. I want to be like that. Or at least strive for it.
  • Her death reminded me what I've missed; what I'll never get a chance to experience.
  • She's helped me more than ever to appreciate each day that God gives me.
There's more. Much more. But that's enough.
Thanks, dear woman I never knew, wonderful person, who in our eyes (those who knew her and those of us who didn't) should have lived much longer, but who in God's eyes was wanted in heaven. We'll miss you.


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Sunday Sunshine: The More You Give!:

Give Lavishly!

The more you give,
the more you get.
The more you laugh,
the less you fret
The more you do
The more you live
The more of everything
you share,
The more you'll always
have to spare.
The more you love,
the more you'll find
That life is good
and friends are kind.
For only what
we give away
Enriches us
from day to day.

--Helen Steiner Rice


Friday, November 08, 2019

Rambling Friday: Thanksgiving Decor Loves

I love Thanksgiving. 
As I've grown older, I've learned the value of appreciation for who we have in our lives, for what I've accomplished, for where we've been privileged to visit, for small blessings and huge ones too. So...November is the perfect month to share gratitude and blessings.

old stone jar freePick your jar:
  • Personalize it. Love country? Mod podge some artificial leaves to the outside, tie a country-themed ribbon or some raffia around it.  Like more traditional? Why not spray paint your jar a favorite color? Add some sprinkles or fancy lettering to the outside. If you want a bow, pick some classy ribbon. Or leave it plain...

  • Fill those mantles and shelves.  Containers you seldom or never use, your candle stock, animal figurines (porcupines, owls, birds, turkeys, etc), pictures that might express what you want to convey or that fit with your scheme, certain toys, glasses or dishes, candle holders topped with gourds, small pumpkins, acorns, baskets, seeds, grains, sacks (paper and burlap), unusual sticks, autumn flowers, Indian corn, etc. 

  • Collages.  Why not take old picture frames or window frames and make a "thankful for" collage? Notes, pictures, special items or collectibles: anything that brings back memories of things or people for whom/which you're thankful. 

  • Make a List.  Prepare a list of questions for you to answer every day of the month. Ask yourself questions, that the answers will give you a great memory, fill you with happiness, encourage gratitude, and give you satisfaction. It's a great activity for the month of November. Suggestions:
  1. A list of all the things you're grateful for this month.
  2. Make a list of your close family members (or friends) and write one thing you appreciate about them.
  3. Prepare a list of good things that's happened this past year.
  4. Write down all the ways you feel you've improved this year.
  5. Make a list of all your favorite things.
  6. Write down some ways you can share this season.
  7. Make a list of some ways you can spread cheer this season.
  8. Prepare a list of ways you can give back to your community or church.
  9. Think of things you're grateful for concerning your minister and share with a card to him and his family.
  10. Last, but not least, begin a journal of writing down all your feelings, whether good or bad, and prepare to increase the happy ones or learn from the sad/bad ones.
However, whatever list you choose to use, do so with an open heart, share or don't, but use it for good. To you or others. Use a journal book, or a jar to keep your thoughts in, but try it. You'll be amazed how fulfilling you'll feel.

Happy Thanksgiving month!

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Sunday Morning Sunshine: Moodiness of November

Ah, November. The gray month. Windy. Rainy. Cold. 
But the poets have a plethora of material for writing poems on November. 

Take your time to read these few excerpts of poems from various writers:

The naked, silent trees have taught me this,—
The loss of beauty is not always loss!
– Elizabeth Stoddard

With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees
And fall.

 by Adelaide Crapsey

Our twilight month November is,
The evening of the year.
The brilliant summer noontide left
A pallor soft and clear.

--by Ruby Archer

Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun!
One mellow smile through the soft vapoury air,
Ere, o'er the frozen earth, the loud winds ran,
Or snows are sifted o'er the meadows bare.
One smile on the brown hills and naked trees,
And the dark rocks whose summer wreaths are cast,
And the blue Gentian flower, that, in the breeze,
Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last.
Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee
Shall murmur by the hedge that skim the way,
The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,
And man delight to linger in thy ray.
Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear
The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.

--by William Cullen Bryant

Enough said?

Friday, November 01, 2019

Rambling Friday: Rain Does Have Its Positive Side, Right?

Here are some RAIN QUOTES that I love! 

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. 
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
Langston Hughes
Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.
Bob Marley
True, the sun and the wind inspire. But rain has an edge. Who, after all, dreams of dancing in dust? Or kissing in the bright sun?
Cynthia Barnett
Rain is not only drops of water. Its the love of sky for earth. They never meet each other but sends love this way.
I always like walking in the rain, so no one can see me crying.
Charlie Chaplin

God is good for everybody. The sun shines on good people and bad people, and it rains on both, too. God doesn't choose rain only for bad people.
Mariano Rivera
Warm Snuggles for a rainy day.
Hot chocolate to soothe your throat
A clear, clean window to watch the rivulets
A big, strong umbrella if you're brave enough to walk in the rain.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Serious Wednesday: Jennifer Allen Shares About Becoming a NEW Author!

A warm welcome to Jennifer Allen,
one of the authors of the 
Christian Fiction off the Beaten Path anthology.

What does it mean to be a newly published author?

Most people would say the only difference between a writer and an author is the money. An author is
paid for his or her writing. But since I’ve become an author in the last fourteen months, I’ve discovered being an author of Christian fiction means more than just a paycheck.

I’ve always thought of myself as a novelist. I wrote a YA Christian crime novel and spent years improving it because it was the kind of story I like to read. But I got nowhere seeking an agent for it. I had many agents ask to see sample chapters and my business plan only to have them to turn it down for various reasons, usually because the YA Christian fiction market is so tough to publish in.

Then I had the opportunity to write a short story for Mt. Zion Ridge Press. The only constraint was that it had to be set in Ohio. Although I am a huge fan of mystery short stories and have read hundreds of them, I’d never thought about writing one. My first crime short story, “Debt to Pay”, appeared in the anthology From the Lake to the River, last September. So I was now officially an author. But I didn’t grow into that role until three months later.

Last December, Mt. Zion Ridge Press was accepting submissions for Christmas short stories. I had two weeks to come up with a 5,000-word story that actually made sense. As slowly as I write, 5,000 words seemed as unconquerable as climbing a 5,000-foot peak in my bare feet. But I decided to go for it.

As I worked on my YA mystery, “A Rose from the Ashes”, I became more concerned with writing the story the way God wanted me to rather than taking it over and writing it to please myself. I didn’t think of it as my story. For some reason, God wanted to filter this story through me. I was very aware that it was finely balanced, and I didn’t want to wreck it.

And something funny happened. As I wrote and revised and sweated, the story became exactly the kind of story I’ve always wanted to write. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and some of my favorite mysteries are set at Christmas. Here I had the chance to write one. I’m a country girl at heart, and the story is set in a rural county in Ohio. The mystery hinges on mercy and forgiveness, two qualities I focus on as I grow as a Christian.

So being a newly published author does mean getting paid for my art. Having the owners of Mr. Zion Ridge Press accept my stories was a wonderful validation of my hard work. But the true payment for being an author means collaborating with my heavenly Father as a junior partner. I can’t wait to see what other projects He has in mind.

Jennifer's holding a book giveaway on her site! 

JPC Allen started her writing career in second grade with an homage to Scooby Doo. She’s been tracking down mysteries ever since. A former children’s librarian, she is a member of ACFW and has written mystery short stories for Mt. Zion Ridge Press. Online, she offers writing tips and prompts to beginning writers. She also leads writing workshops for tweens, teens, and adults, encouraging them to discover the adventure of writing. A lifelong Buckeye, she has deep roots in the Mountain State. Join the adventure on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, or Goodreads.

Book Blurb
Christmas fiction off the beaten path

Not your Granny’s Christmas stories …

Step off the beaten path and enjoy six stories that look beyond the expected, the traditional, the tried-and-true.

Inspired by the song, “Mary Did You Know?” – a mother’s memories of events leading up to and following that one holy night. MARY DID YOU KNOW? by Patricia Meredith

A young woman seeking her own identity searches for the man who tried to kill her and her mother on Christmas Eve twenty years before. A ROSE FROM THE ASHES by JPC Allen

Princess, tower, sorceress, dragon, brave knight, clever peasant – combine these ingredients into a Christmas-time story that isn’t quite what you’d expect. RETURN TO CALLIDORA by Laurie Lucking

Anticipating tough financial times, the decision not to buy or exchanged presents leads to some painful and surprising revelations for a hardworking man and his family. NOT THIS YEAR by Sandra Merville Hart

Years ago, a gunman and a store full of hostages learned some important lessons about faith and pain and what really matters in life – and the echoes from that day continued to the present. THOSE WHO STAYED by Ronnell Kay Gibson

A community of refugees, a brutal winter, a doorway to another world – a touch of magic creating holiday joy for others leads to a Christmas wish fulfilled. CRYSTAL CHRISTMAS by Michelle L. Levigne


Sunday, October 27, 2019

Sunday Sunshine: Sing Me A Song

A Vagabond Song

THERE is something in the autumn
that is native to my blood
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
 And my heart is like a rhyme,
 With the yellow and the purple
 and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples
can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke
upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.
 Bliss Carman. 1861

Serious Wednesdays: Life and Death

Why is it that sometimes there's someone who passes through our lives--just for a moment, a week, a month, maybe longer, who affect us p...