Friday, December 28, 2012

What I Learned from the Hobbit : part 1

At the beginning of The Hobbit, the reader learns that Bilbo Baggins lives in a hobbit-hole; “not a nasty, dirty wet hole…nor a dry, bare sandy hole…it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” Mr. Baggins loved his home, his garden, his books, and his armchair. In other words, he’s quite content to stay home in his comfortable environment. But, one evening as he sat down to feast on fish and vegetables, his life changed. A knock on the door and an invitation to adventure, turned his quiet, simple life upside down.

J.R.R. Tolkien created an amazing world in Middle-earth. While much of what he wrote was considered fantasy, he taught many lessons for the human world. As I think about Bilbo Baggins and the challenges he faced, I am reminded of my own life. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been content to be at home. I surround myself with treasures that I enjoy, most are gifts and art made by family and friends. Puttering never bores me, and I could read or write all day.

But, like the Hobbit, I received an invitation to live life outside of my comfort zone. When I made a commitment to follow Jesus, I accepted a lifetime of adventure. He called me to write, so I wrote. Devotions, essays, poetry, those are easy for me. Then he challenged me to write fiction, not so simple and every step a challenge. At work, my faith is tested every day. Even in the seat at church, I’m confronted by God’s truth compared to my sin. Yes, when I told Jesus I’d follow him, I accepted a life filled with lessons, challenges, and adventure. Like Bilbo Baggins, I stepped out and answered the charge. The best part, God walks with me and places others in my path and by my side.

My comfort zone remains a wonderful place for rest and reflection. But If I spend too much time in my secure, quiet space, I’ll miss out on the exciting life God has planned for me.

Has God asked you to step out of your comfort zone? 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Perfect Love

Friday evening, my granddaughter, Dylan, and I attended the Nutcracker ballet at the college where I work. As we sat on the front row and watched the ballerinas dip and twirl, I let myself drift into a relaxing mix of peace and joy. My granddaughter and I enjoyed the program and went home talking about the beautiful costumes and the talented dancers. Even as we shared the excitement of the evening, I couldn’t stop thinking about the tragedy that occurred earlier that day in Connecticut.

That night she stayed over and as she fell asleep I thanked God for the opportunity to spend time with her. As I watched her face fall into a restful sleep, my heart went out to the parents and grandparents who lost children at Sandy Hook.

The next morning, we planned to take Dylan to the mall. I have to admit, fear reverberated through me. As we walked with the bustling crowd, I found myself thinking how I’d protect my granddaughter if I needed to. Later, I read a post from a friend, who felt a bolt of fear because she knew she’d need to send her children back to school on Monday. Reality tells me that I can’t control what happens any more than my friend can. But I can rely on God and love my family daily. Perfect love casts out all fear and perfect love comes from God. I have to trust and pray.

As I watch my grandchildren perform in their Christmas play this evening, I will continue to pray for those who are hurting. I’ll also embrace the time with the little ones I hold so dear. 

A Year of Biblical Womanhood

A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband "Master"

by Rachel Held Evans

I thoroughly enjoyed Rachel's writing. With humor, sincerity, and determination, she parted the waters of what it means to be a woman and a believer. I did not agree with every interpretation, but I appreciated the wisdom she gleaned from her studies and attempts at living out the scriptural laws of the Old Testament. Supported by her husband, Rachel delved into Proverbs 31, the life of a woman in biblical times, women's lives that echoed the respect that Jesus gave them and the great responsibility they held for their families and the church. A good book for a women's book club.

Angels at the Table

Angels at the Table: A Shirley Goodness and Mercy Christmas Story
by Debbie Macomber

This latest Shirley, Goodness and Mercy installment is a delightful tale of angel mischief that includes the newest cherub, Will. As he trains under the three seasoned Prayer Ambassadors, he learns that direct interference never works for angels. Lucie and Aren are destined to meet, but Will gets a bit ahead of himself and unravels God's timing for the young couple. This leads to angel havoc as the heavenly quartet works to undo Will's mistake and create a happily ever after ending. This is a fun Christmas read that adds a sense of God's all knowing to this thing called love.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


A few months ago, when I was visiting my mom, I asked her about my great-great grandfather Abbott who made his way to the US from Scotland. Before the conversation ended, my mom pulled out a box of mementos that belonged to my Grammy, Grandpa Abbott’s granddaughter. Among the ephemera we discovered a few Christmas cards.  They dated from the 1920s and were just beautiful. I am a crafter, and I studied digital design so I appreciate the graphics and fonts on the old-fashioned cards. I also enjoyed seeing my great-grandmother’s signature and greeting.

Happy Christmas!
The old cards made me wonder when the tradition of greeting cards started. Henry Cole commissioned J.C. Horsley to paint the first printed Christmas card in 1843 in England. Then in the 1860s when color printing made the greetings more affordable, the Victorians shared cards with family and friends. In the United States, Louis Prang began printing cards in 1874 using eight to twenty colors. The heart-warming tradition caught on and now almost two and a half billion Christmas cards are printed in America. (Jock Elliot, Inventing Christmas, How our Holiday Came to Be)

Personally, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Christmas cards. I love to receive them, but I haven’t always enjoyed sending them. In lean years, they were an added expense. Some years the time just got away from me. But in recent years, I’ve made an effort to not only send, but to create the image on the front. By designing my own card, with the help of my talented daughter, I feel that I’m sending a small gift-from-the-heart to every recipient, and now I enjoy the whole process of sending cards. I’ve also gotten onto the habit of praying for the person or family who receives my greeting. What was once a chore has become a joy.

What is your take on Christmas cards?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Sparkle of Fun

Santa Claus was introduced to America in 1823 when Clement Moore put a fresh image of giving on the face of Christmas. In A Visit from St. Nicholas also known as, The Night before Christmas, Moore created a story for his children based on a man named Nicholas, born around A.D. 280 in the small town of Patara (Turkey). As a believer in the Bible, Nicholas showed great compassion for others. He gave so much to so many that legends spread about him. Eventually, Saint Nicholas became an icon of generosity.

Growing up, my family celebrated the birth of Jesus by reading the Christmas story and attending church services. The stereo played Perry Como’s rendition of the holiday hymns. Mom positioned a crèche on the mantel and one year we even had a live nativity on our porch. So I knew that Christmas honored Jesus birth. On the other hand, I remember my delight when I found packages that appeared on Christmas morning from “Santa”. The magic and wonder that surrounded the mystery gift giver added a sparkle of fun to the day.

When my children were old enough to understand the traditions of Christmas, I puzzled over whether to introduce Santa Claus into the gift giving. I wanted them to know that Christmas centered on the birth of Jesus, but I also wanted them to be acquainted with the kind, caring legend of Saint Nicholas.

So much of the modern version of this December holiday centers on retail sales. Rather than focus on receiving gifts from Santa, I taught my daughters about his giving spirit.  We read the story of how he gave gold to the daughters of a widower in the middle of the night and how he cared more about others than himself. We also shared the story of Jesus’ nativity and talked about why we set aside Christmas to observe his birth.

I wanted my daughters to recognize that giving was more important than receiving. St. Nick’s story offers hope in mankind, Jesus story offers hope for mankind. Joy fills my heart as I hear my children teaching their children about the spirit of giving and the wonder of the season.  What a blessing to share the joy of Jesus and the legend of Santa.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Icicled Porches and Shining Stars

My husband and I made our first annual trek to look at twinkling displays set up in the local neighborhood. We’ll go out several times and view the icicled porches, decorated yards and shining stars that luminate the season.

According to Tabya Gulevich in Christmas from A to Z, Thomas Edison strung the first outdoor lights. In 1880 he hung them outside of his Menlo Park Laboratory. But, pre-strung electric lights didn’t catch on until after World War II when the average American had electricity and could afford the lights.

I can imagine that first holiday when neighborhoods joined together to create shining light shows. The pure joy of colorful vibrant lights must have brought a happy buoyancy to the night.

Before the holidays end, I hope to take a ride with my grandchildren and enjoy the sparkling holiday lights near their homes. We’ll ohhh and ahhh over our favorite displays. Take an evening and pile the family in the car. Drive around, view the lights and spend time sharing this joy of the season.

One of my favorite memories of Christmas lights was the year that my brother climbed our 15+ foot pine tree and strung it with bulbs. That tree lighted the night sky like a lighthouse at sea. 

What’s your favorite light display memory?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day has been officially celebrated as an annual tradition since 1863. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens".

America went through extreme turmoil during the Civil War. I can’t imagine the despair and death that filled our country. Yet at the end of all the devastation, Abraham Lincoln still praised God. Because, God remains the same. No matter what we do on this earth, God does not change. He continues to bless us and love us. He gives the gift of salvation to a world lost to sin. On this day, I’m thankful for the love of family and friends and the grace and joy that God brings to my heart.

Praying that we all enjoy a peaceful Thanksgiving, filled with blessings.

The traditional American Thanksgiving usually includes turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie. What do you eat on the day of thanks?  Turkey or ham? Maybe pasta?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Merrymaker's Christmas Shop

Ah… Christmas. In Turtle Creek, Mrs. Ivy Merrymaker keeps us all in the holiday spirit. She opens her shop in March and works to keep joy and hope in the air through December 31. The tourists love Christmas in July. And October through December keeps her on her toes.

Look around the store. Make sure you walk through the Christmas tree forest. She sets up twenty trees, all sizes and shapes and decorates them with handmade ornaments, lights and garland. She orders ornaments from all over the world. Her purchases support the fair trade industry for women in developing countries.
Merry Christmas Stars

See the little sheep on the Scottish tree? Folks from a cottage industry create them. I especially like the local tree. Some of Turtle Creek’s artists bring in their wares to sell. Did you see the authentic aluminum tree? My aunt had one. I’d lie on the floor and watch the color wheel reflect on the branches. Great memories!

Enjoy shopping and thanks for dropping by. Hope you come back soon.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Welcome to the Fresh Catch

If you’re visiting Turtle Creek for the fishing and canoeing, you’ll want to stop by the Fresh Catch. Finn’s stocked the shelves with pretty much anything you’d need for outdoor adventure. He took over the store when his mom and dad retired and made their little bait shop into quite a business.

Let’s go inside. Looks like Finn’s helping the Laymon twins pick out a tent. Maybe he’ll talk them into a camp stove and a couple of lanterns. Even if you don’t like to camp, he stocks comfy jeans and trendy hats. Pop this owl hat on and look in the mirror. Adorable.

Do you smell the chocolate and licorice? Candy lines the back wall. Remember Necco wafers and Charm squares? How about Gumdrops and Mary Janes by the pound? You can buy all the old fashioned treats that you can eat.  See the girl filling the barrel with taffy? She’s Finn’s daughter, Michelle. He’s raising her by himself. She’s a sweet kid.

No matter what the season, walking into Fresh Catch reminds you of summer. If you hang around awhile Finn will offer you a grape Nehi in a glass bottle. Go ahead, look around. I know you’ll find something you like.

When you finish we’ll head to the year round Christmas shop. Take your time. No hurry.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Welcome to O'Dell's Drug Store

Welcome back. I hope you enjoyed the café and the Book Nook. Let’s walk down the street to the drug store.

Stepping in to O’Dell’s brings back memories of days gone by. When I was a little girl I remember shopping at the drug store. My mom sifted through cards until she’d find the perfect one to send to Aunt Mildred in Omaha. While she searched for cards, I parked myself in the corner with the comic books. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman. What fun. Did you know that Catwoman was a librarian?

That’s not all. When mom finished shopping, she treated me to a pink cow. Vanilla ice cream drowning in red cream soda. Mmmm… that was the best.

Here we are. After you. The hardwood floors still creak in the same places. O’Dell’s son, Jackson, runs the Pharmacy now. They’ve updated the aisle shelving but he kept much of the store the same, including the ice cream counter. Pull up a stool.

There’s Sharla, Jackson’s wife. She works here dipping ice cream and ringing folks out. She’s one of the sweetest young ladies I’ve met in a while. The chalkboard’s her canvas. Every day she draws a picture of a frozen concoction. Someone told me she has an art degree and teaches at the college in the evenings.

How about a treat? It’s on me. Two pink cows, please.

What do think? Yummy isn’t it? If I remember right this was one of Willow’s favorite drinks.

When we finish, I thought you might like to visit the Fresh Catch. If you’re interested in camping or fishing you’ll love Finn’s shop.

Until then… 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Merry Little Christmas by Anita Higman

Before I continue on my tour of Turtle Creek, I’d like to share a book review on a delightful story of hope.

A Merry Little Christmas by Anita Higman

The nineteen sixties brought turmoil and change. In Oklahoma, small towns battled over segregation, and gossip flowed through the streets. Franny, a country girl, who works the family farm but has dreams of the city, longs to spin records for a living. Charlie, the city boy, who wants more than anything to work independently of his wealthy family, seeks peace through a simple country life. Their mutual love of music draws them together and takes them on an unexpected journey. The characters bring a breath of fresh air to a story filled with hurt, love and healing. A Merry Little Christmas is the perfect holiday read. I highly recommend this Summerside, Songs of the Season Romance.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Book Nook, a place to relax and read

 I’m so happy to see you’re still visiting Turtle Creek. Wasn’t the café just adorable? Bess serves the most delicious treats in town. You probably noticed that the repurposed old church not only houses the café, but also has a book store. Let’s take a peek inside the Book Nook. I just love the jingle of the bell above the door, don’t you.

The window display looks inviting. I bet Rachel, the student who works on break and in the summer, arranged the pumpkins and mums with the books. Hmm... I wonder if the community garden folks have seen the book about harvesting organic foods.

I see Reed’s helping a student find their textbook. He’s so good about keeping the college section stocked. Did you notice the variety in the local reading section, books by Ohio authors as well as tomes local sites around the state.  Such a friendly soul, Reed seems to love owning and running the book shop. I just can't figure out why some young lady hasn't snatched him up. 

If you want, we can buy a coffee and browse the book offerings or sit in the quiet reading area. I love the overstuffed chairs. A few times Reed’s caught me napping.

Next time you stop by, I’d like to drop by Odell’s and then see what Finn has in stock. If Willow ever does come home, she’s going to be surprised by the changes in Turtle Creek. I just hope she wants to stay.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Turtle Creek Cafe

Welcome to Turtle Creek, the town my imagination calls home. I’m the creator of this lovely town and all the residents who live here. If you have time, I’d like you to meet some of the folks and visit the businesses.

Join me at Turtle Creek Café. Have a seat by the window of this old repurposed church. Looks like the special today is a roasted marshmallow latte and Maggie Mae’s walnut, blueberry scones. I smell the sweet vanilla and coffee. Heavenly, don’t you think?

The young woman behind the counter, she’s Bess. She and her husband, Micah, own the shop. On Saturdays, their pre-teen daughter Bailey Joy washes dishes and wipes tables.

There’s Mr. Collins, a café regular and editor of the local newspaper. Bess loves the customers and wants to serve the best treats in the county. But more than anything, Bess wants her sister Willow to come home. She moved away more than ten years ago, and Bess misses her. But, that’s a story for another day.

I’d like to show you the rest of the town, so I hope you’ll come back in a few days.

Until then…

Monday, September 10, 2012

Writing a Proposal

In college, I wrote several research papers. None of them excited me or scared me more than penning a proposal. When an author writes a fiction book and plans to send the manuscript to an agent or publisher, a proposal needs to be put together that best represents the work. My first question on this mission was "Where do I begin?" I'd just finished typing a 54,000 word manuscript. Wasn't that enough? Apparently not.

I did what every good writer would do. I searched for information that would guide me through the process, and I prayed. God had called me to this and I knew that he had no intention of sending me out into the wilderness to wander alone.

Since I chose to go the agent route first, I matched up agent sites that marketed the genre I’d written. Then I dug in and found what they expected in a proposal. Along the way, I paid attention to who they represented currently and in the past. I’d read several of the authors of the agent I chose to target.

I printed their information, and then I wrote a list of the elements that they wanted from me. As I worked on each one, I checked it off my list.  In the end, I completed fifteen different points of sale.
Here they are:
1.      Cover Letter
2.      Synopsis
3.      Sample Chapters
4.      Chapters Summary
5.      Author Bio
6.      Back Cover Copy
7.      Promotion Sentence
8.      Sales Handle
9.      Purpose of Writing the Novel
10.  Protagonist’s Quest
11.  What’s at Stake?
12.  Take Away Value
13.  Comparison to Published Books
14.  Target Market
15.  Potential Marketing Channels/Platform
By the time I finished, I knew my story well. With each description and every point made, I felt more confident about my story and the impact and value that might be taken away by the reader. If it were possible to write the proposal before writing the manuscript, I’d have a better handle on the story. Instead, the proposal reminds me of the ribbon that completes the package. It ties everything together and reminds me of the gift that God has given me.

What do you enjoy or not enjoy about writing a proposal?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Keep Typing

I read an encouraging post today by Tamela Hancock Murray ( In it she explains why writing a good book proposal is important to the agent and the author. This week I've been working on the proposal for Peace, Love and Mashed Potatoes. Putting together all the required parts seems overwhelming. But, I think I finally got a handle on it. Having a table of contents to guide my path helps.

Hopefully with one more look through, the proposal will go out sometime in the next week. Then I wait. If (and that is a big if) the agent is interested they'll contact me and let me know that they'd like to read my book. If they're not interested, then back to square one I go. But, this time I will have an arsenal of information so that proposal number two might not be so daunting.

If you are a writer and you are working on the proposal. Hang in there. Pray and keep typing.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My First Novel

What’s it like to write your first novel?

I’m asking myself this question. Over two years ago, with a nudge from God, I put pen to paper and interviewed the characters who danced in my mind. I found out where they lived, why they lived there, the books they like to read, and what they looked like. As I dug deeper, they told me their story. Just like real people, they each have a story to tell. My fictional characters shared heartache and joy. They told me secrets and made me guess at a few. One personality learned to forgive, another finds her family. A man loves and a mother shares.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve learned great lessons from them and from writing a novel. In carving out the story, I’ve learned to let go of the phrases I thought were so perfect. The journey’s taught me to listen to others who provide feedback and not take personally the critiquing the words need. I’m working on the proposal that I plan to send to an agent. That takes as much care as the novel itself.

Until next time—

What part of novel writing do you enjoy the most? If you are not a writer, what part do you enjoy reading the most?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

All New

Thanks to some great ladies at ACFW I have a new look to my blog. I just had to ask for advise and they shared some great information. I hope you continue to stop by as the blog is updated. With most of the work done on this site, I am turning my concentration to the proposal for my novel. I ask for prayer as I pursue my dream.

I'd like to hear from you. What do you enjoy reading?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Process

As I prepare to write a proposal for my novel, I find that I need a web presence. I am transforming my blog, After 50, into Penny Frost McGinnis, Writing to Encourage and Entertain. Thanks to my daughter, photographer, Maggie Wickline for the beautiful photo of pure encouragement.

My plan is to continue this work in progress as I prepare my proposal. With some prayer and hope, the two will work together.

Now-I have a question for you:
What do you like to read?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Am I There Yet?

Almost there. I've finished edits on my novel and now I just need to get them into the computer, wait for my critic partners thoughts, edit a bit more, write up the proposal, send that to agents and then...wait.

For over two years, God and I have worked to create a story that hopefully touches the lives of the readers. I never imagined how overwhelming writing a book might be. One thing I've learned is to let go. I could edit forever. Tweak, tweak, tweak could be my motto. But instead, I have to turn the chapters over to God and ask what he wants and stop when he says, that's it.

As I attempt to finish the writing, I pray that God continues to walk beside me as I work on the proposal.
Now-I better get back to the story. Can't wait to write THE END!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Happy Birthday!

I can now officially eat off of the 55+ menus at Frisches and Bob Evans. I am closer to 60 than 50. I am closer to retirement than than I was :) I am wiser (I hope), more confident (I think) and closer to heaven (I'm sure). Getting older just means I've wracked up more experiences to draw from, met more interesting people and lived more life.

I've set a goal as I turned 55. To finish the novel I'm writing and get it published before I hit 60. So here I go-on to the next great wave.

Happy Birthday!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mayberry's Andy

Rarely does a character crawl into the imagination and linger for a lifetime.

Last week, we lost a television icon. One who enriched my life with wisdom and humor. Andy Griffith lived a long life that he shared with the world. As Opie's dad he taught us how to parent, as Barney's friend, he showed us to be accepting and tolerant, as Mayberry's town sheriff he taught fairness and compassion. The one thing I loved most about Andy and his friends was that I could invite them into my living room and enjoy the camaraderie no matter how my day unfolded. They added a bright spot and made me laugh. I'll not long forget the funny stories and even the little white lies Andy told to make everything work out.

So I say thanks to the writers who inspired the show and the warmth that still exudes from every episode. Thanks to Andy for giving us a character enveloped in goodness. While his loved ones will miss him, he lives on in the hearts of his fans and the reruns that will hopefully continue to roll on in to a new generation.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


I've often said, that I love technology as long as it works. At my job, I spend most of my time in some sort of software program. I use the software for the catalog. I make purchases on Amazon, and search academic databases as well as Google. 

Then I get home and practically live in Microsoft Word when I'm writing a devotion or story. Word has these wonderful tools that help me write with more accuracy and less mistakes. That is, as long as I use the tools properly.  I can use "find and replace" to search for a word or phrase and replace it with another word or phrase. That sounds nice and easy, until I accidentally ask it to replace every occurrence of the main characters name, Willow,  with the word "She". Yes, I did that. I replaced Willow's name with "She" throughout the entire 200+ page novel. And I hit save instead of reverse. 

You guessed it. I had to go through the entire document and find every place that should say Willow instead of "She". I think the funniest one I found was her niece calling to her "Aunt She, Aunt She!". 

Instead of getting grumpy and  frustrated, I took my mistake in stride and saw it as one more way to reread and revise my book. I'll know soon enough if I found them all. I just finished editing chapter seven for hopefully the last time. Just 19 or 20 more chapters to go. 

That seems like an eternal job, but for someone over fifty who's lived to tell about it, it's just a drop in the bucket.

What crazy computer mistakes have you made?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Joy of Camaraderie

This week I met some lovely ladies who also write. I attended my first cluster meeting of the ACFW in Ohio. We ate lunch-food is always a plus, and Patty fed us drum sticks-good chocolate ones. Once our appetites were satisfied, the group moved the discussion to our stories. All of us write some genre of fiction. The ladies represented women's fiction, suspense, fantasy, apocalyptic, and children's fiction. Quite a variety with one purpose in mind. We all write for God. He's led us to our stories, and he works through our words.

What a joy to meet with other writers who strive to do their best and give their all. I appreciated the encouragement and the camaraderie. Best of all, I got to put faces with names. I'd had the privilege of meeting some of these fine ladies online. Now I can picture them typing their words and telling their stories. I have been blessed with one more connection to the writing world.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Joy of Writing

Revise, revise, revise. I am rewriting my fiction manuscript. One of ACFW's offerings is their wonderful critique group. And I say wonderful with some trepidation. I love the group and I enjoy reading and making suggestions on other people's work. I especially appreciate the comments and suggestions that they give me. But my goodness, revising works my brain and fingers into a tired puddle by the end of the day. 

That said, with any writing that I do, even a short devotion, I reword it at least four or five times. One of the joys of writing involves playing with the words and images until I find the perfect combination. I aim to paint a picture for the reader and help them discover what I see. So I continue to write, rewrite and revise. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Freshness of Spring

As I walked around the lake at Look Up Lodge yesterday, I watched a blue heron sail across the lake. A snake raised its head to the sun, and the fern fronds prepared to unfold. The azaleas bloomed shades of blushing pink. What a beautiful place to talk to God and sing his praises. I'm spending a week with my daughter, Hannah, at the camp where she works.

I am at home in the woods and at camp. I spent at least one week every summer at church camp, and I loved every minute of it.

Yesterday we visited Carl Sandburg's home in Flat Rock, NC. After Mr. Sandburg passed away, his wife and family made sure the estate got into the hands of the National Park Services. The home looked like the family had just gone out for a walk. All of their possessions lay right where they left them. He owned more than 117,000 books. The shelves filled with tomes lined every room. I loved it!!!

Mrs. Sandburg raised goats. In the field behind the house, we visited her farm. Two babies, less than twenty-four months old hobbled on their little legs. What a delight to see them and to watch their mama. She protected them from the other goats, but she let us pet them. So sweet!

Today more adventure-off to Asheville to see Jason, Missy and Scout.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


This week I joined the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) organization at the recommendation of two authors that I respect. With that comes responsibility and action. God blessed me with this story he's given me and now he is leading me into a group of folks who also write for him. I pray that I can keep up with the task he set before me and that I continue to have a heart for the story.

I've already met some interesting people online and hope to get connected with a critique group. I want to help another author along this journey as they in turn help me. God has great things in store-I just know it!

Pray for my journey. I'll keep you posted.

Currently revising,

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Edit, Edit, Edit!

Wow, I am so thankful for the people God provided me who have been willing to read my book. You all know who you are. Thank you sooooooo... much! Edit, edit edit. That's where the story met the cursor, and the tweaks, deletes and corrections rolled from page to page. I enjoyed this whole process. Although  I experienced trepidation with each step, my desire to dive in and move forward won.

I have often heard writers say that they write because they cannot not write. I understand what they mean. Ink flows in my blood, and I have to put it on paper.

Now to write the query letter, synopsis and bio. Yikes!
I'd appreciate your prayers as I continue this journey with God.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Printed Word

Today, I printed 215 pages of double spaced, Times Roman pt. 12 font. That's right, I printed my first novel. Granted it is not finished until all edits are complete and I know in my heart that I cannot add or subtract anything without changing the story. But it is at this moment all in one place with a new title, Peace, Love and Mashed Potatoes.

As I've worked side-by-side with God to complete this work of fiction, I've understood the meaning of submission on a much different level. I've been obedient and accepting of God's input and appreciative that he chose me to write this book. He has fed me ideas and guidance as I've typed along. I continue to be amazed at how God has placed the people I need into my life at just the right moment. This week one of my friends at work, an English Professor, offered to read and edit my story. I also have family members and another dear friend who are readers. I am blessed.

I pray that He uses Willow's story for whatever purpose he intends and that those who read it will be blessed.  And I pray that he continues to give me insight as I prepare this written work for market. Please pray with me that God's will is done in where this book ends up.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Wow, I have not been on here for several months. Life gets so busy and I've been spending my writing time working on a novel. Yes, a novel. I have officially written more than 50,000 words and am working toward the end of the story. 

I never dreamed that God would call me to write fiction. I've written many poems and hundreds of devotions. I've even penned ideas for a nonfiction book. But, now I am working on a story about a young woman who chooses to return home to help her mother and in the process she learns to forgive her deceased father. But that's not all, she meets Reed and Claire and a mystery unfolds that surprises them all. 

My working title Unexpected Joy came to me at about 40,000 words. I plan to finish the writing in January and then the real work begins, editing and creating a sales pitch. I'm praying God leads me in every step.

I may share my woes and joy here as I travel this writing journey.

Happy New Year!