The Road Leads

Life spins, sometimes slowly and sometimes fast, or so it seems. I dragged a lot this summer, longing for summer fun. I haven’t visited a beach, yet. I don’t believe I got to Presque Isle in Erie, Pennsylvania last year either. I hate to blame everything on a job, but nursing home world and the afternoon shift and working many weekends began to take its toll. I change jobs the Tuesday after Labor Day. I’m returning to the road of home health.
I started journaling again in April and suddenly the need to write in a blog lessened. I spend too much time on Facebook, as it tends to lull me in a trance, maybe. I love to see what is happening all over the world. I suppose that is the excitement of Facebook. I always thrilled at live TV, too, like the Kentucky Derby, Times Square on New Year’s Eve, the parades and the Academy Awards. I feel like I’m part of the action, but on my comfortable seat.
A topic I wanted to write about as I read this summer concerned scenes or words I wish I could use. John Steinbeck wrote of June in The Winter of Our Discontent. The words exactly described the sensation of June I want to convey in Last Free Exit. I giggled that I could just say- read these paragraphs and see how June feels.
I’m still reading Pasadena by David Ebershoff. A scene with a horse could be modified for Main Street, if I told it from the oldest boy, Tommy’s point of view. The time setting is the same as Main Street and Country. In fact, Linda, in Pasadena is born the same year as Christina in Country. I love the detail in Pasadena, the long explanations, the history lessons. I read the reviews and some didn’t like the “rambling,” felt it lacked a good editor, was one hundred pages too long. I sensed the long hours of research and crave to have that background in my writing. When I wrote Main Street, just knowing the details, even if I didn’t include them in the writing, enabled me to tell the story. I need the background in my head.
I decided to go to the West Virginia Book Festival to hear Homer Hickam speak. One of his interviews, I heard this past winter, lifted me from a slump in my publishing dream. He had a story to tell and then some. He also had to find the seventeen year old boy’s voice to tell Rocket Boys. Because writing is more than words, it shows a picture with a voice.
As I purused the web site for the festival, I noted the other speakers. Neil Gaimen has a spot on Friday evening. We have a few of his books, as my oldest daughter liked his writing. In preparation for this event in October, I grabbed his anthology, fragile things, from downstairs. I read all the introduction on Sunday and in the back of the paperback, my favorite, the interview. I love to hear about the writing process. My favorite quote makes me want to write short stories, “The joy of the short story for me is you can have an idea and it can fall into place enough that you’re excited about beginning it. You can settle down and a few hours later, or a weekend later, or a week later, you’re done.”
Now, I think, I need to write short stories. I laugh at how I am influenced by voice. I read the beginning of a few stories in this book and two poems, as I dried after swimming yesterday- oh, remember doing that for hours? Now, just too busy, it seems. As I left the pool, words fell at me, but I recognized them as Neil’s. The long wait at Sheetz for all the oil guys to get their food chased those words away, as I stood there in damp outline of my swimsuit on my clothes and flat wet hair, glasses and no makeup. At ninety degree weather, I guess I didn’t care. Still I made no eye contact with the head teacher from my daughters’ high school as he cooly strove in with his preppy shorts and shirt, in pastel colors.
Yes, I should write short stories, too. But not in anyone’s voice, but my own. I remain with the novels, as well. Outside of Time sits under the editor’s gaze. I never heard back from the photographer of the picture I would love to use, so I elect another avenue for the cover. To go with my philosophy of using local businesses, I will contact my photographer friend for some pictures for the cover and use another young college grad with a film degree working home repair for my cover design.
Dreams take work and they fail without enterprize. I admire some authors or learn from the ones I don’t like. Out of all the influences, my voice rises. Sometimes I feel inadequate and other times, superior. But I’m traveling on this road, telling my stories. I only hope you come along wherever the road leads. Continue reading


Team Teddy Tuesday

My purpose is to raise awareness of child abuse. I pray we will diffuse abuse when we can. I pray for open eyes and ears, with boldness to report. I believe laws need to be in place to protect our children. At the bottom of it all, though, our nation needs a heart change. We can pass a million laws, but unless a heart is changed, abuse will happen in the dark, as do all unlawful things.

Let’s make it harder for the abusers to have access to children in the dark. Teddy was pulled out of two school districts because the abuse was coming to light. Officials didn’t dig deep enough to uncover the darkness in his home.

I’m for home schooling, if you are able to do so. It is a fine line sometimes between parent rights and safety of children. I don’t want the government too involved. That is why I ask the readers of this blog and followers of Team Teddy to be alert. And as I have experienced myself, too often it is right under my nose.

I saw this link

It sickens me. I’m at a loss for words, as my gut churns and a heaviness fills my chest. Unfortunately, these kind of cases turn up more and more. Solomon wrote there is nothing new under the sun, but now they come to light more.

Pray for those in authority, tracking the predators.  Pray our eyes are open to this kind of activity to put a stop to it. Pray for these last days of summer, as moms panic about babysitting, summer programs done and camps over. Mostly pray for the safety of our children. Watch and pray.

I Do Like What I Write

I’m almost finished with my first read through of Outside of Time. I had about fifteen pages left before time for work tore me away from it. I exclaimed, “Oh, this moves me.” When David realized I was reading my own work, in his fashion, drily remarked, “Well, that’s an unbiased opinion.”

I agreed, “Sure it isn’t.”

Then I thought some of those early rules of writing. Write what you want to read. I also read once by a famous author, I can’t remember who now, “no tears from the writer, no tears from the reader.” So, yes, I like what I write. Am I always satisfied? No, improvement waits on the horizon. I can always improve.

What comes out of my gut I like most of the time. I see the ‘movie’ in my head, desiring to accurately place it on the page. Yet, I leave some detail out so the reader can make his own movie details.

After the first read through, I’ll really tweak the piece. I desire themes to mesh and sound strong, but not over powering. I feel the place more in the second, third and fourth readings. The place, characters, and weather visit me in my dreams and waking hours

A new look at courage

A new look at courage


I walked today to clear my mind. Harrison needs to move, too, and is a much better dog after a walk. That helps the concentration as well. I strolled by my picture of courage. I snapped more. I need a dose of courage as I endeavor to publish another book. I fear editing, formatting, cover for the book. Will my vision float on the page? Will I format correctly? How much would an editor cost and how much will he change my story? I know it would be for the better, but I’m putting my soul out there. And will anyone like what I write? Will anyone buy what I write?

I gaze at that lion of courage. I draw strength from what it symbolizes. I review and write on. I have so many stories scratching to get set to page. I need courage more than ever. And I believe in my ability, and I have to like what I write. I hope you do, too.

Team Teddy Tuesday

Again, I am touched too close to home. A young girl hired is accused of child abuse we found out yesterday. My impression at first was she was flighty, then I watched her settle down and work hard. She seemed drawn to me. Her age is between my daughters.

She told me her daughter died at five weeks old back in February. She hardly looked more than a child, herself. On a national television show yesterday the story came out. She had chosen to be on the show.

I’m sick. Tears swam in my eyes as I watched her on the program. I’m in unbelief. And again, I’m reminded how close child abuse can be.

The proof is inconclusive and not gone to trial. She lost custody of her first child, a three year old girl on the death of the baby. When the aid talked of her daughter, I again thought, immaturity. But it happens all the time. She never showed a mean streak.

I don’t want to talk any more about this case, except to say what I have been saying. We don’t know sometimes what is going on so close to us. I pray for discerning eyes. I didn’t know this girl in February. She moved here in the spring. I listened to her. I wanted her to succeed. She had dreams to be a nurse.

I could go on so many levels here, from birth control to teaching young girls to not have sex. We need a heart change in this country. I love the life in this young lady and I am saddened to see it ruined. So many victims living in our society. I pray for her today.

Hide It Under a Bushel- NO!

Our community was rocked these last few days by the death of a local pastor. A church grieves. The pastor of a church I attended this morning, informed the congregation, he and a few members attended the five thirty service of the grieving church last evening to pray for them. As Paul said, when a part of the body hurts, we all hurt. He changed his sermon to offer hope and inform his flock how to tend to those they know are stunned.

I’m using what I gleaned from this service this morning. I hope, as always, it helps someone going through a difficult time. Many of my friends have noticed lately, the valley times for Christians seem so much deeper than we ever remember. I often times, half joke, I want to go back to when life was hard, because it seems immensely harder now than those “hard” times.

First, the prayer of confession plucked at my heart:

“Heavenly Father, you have redeemed us by your Son so that we may participate in your mission. We believe O God that it is your will to send out your people into a lost world to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. You do this so that many may come to know you. Forgive us when we are silent about your Son. Forgive when we keep our faith to ourselves. Forgive us when we do not live intentionally for the gospel. Remind us of the joy that we have in you so that we will desire to see that joy in others. May we be silent no longer. We pray this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.”

He’s excited about missions and what is happening in Sierra Leon. They changed to Evangelical Presbyterian with a strong mission focus. Two leaders believed in Jesus and now they are also telling their people about Jesus. This denomination plants churches in America, too, with a new one in Youngstown, Ohio.

Then this minister changed his message for today for his congregation to help those who mourn. He listens to the Holy Spirit.  Jesus has the final Word for depression, “It is finished.” He has the last word on all things.

A theme in my life lately is to fix my eyes on Jesus. I hear it over and over, through songs, the Bible and in my head. He brought up Psalm 122:1 and 2, one of my favorite Psalms. Mom would quote it as we drove through the mountains of Pennsylvania. “I look to the hills, from whence comes my help. My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”

His sermon was Four Hopes, we can communicate with Love. Based on John 11: 1-37

1) Hope, Jesus knows us intimately.  Jesus counted Lazarus, Martha and Mary as close friends. He enters our world and sits with us.

2) Hope in Jesus’ Sovereign plan. He knows what is happening. Nothing catches Him by surprise.

3) Hope in Jesus righteous anger. I had written about this years ago in my journal, when my cat of fifteen years died. When her life breath left her body, even though she looked dead before, she was not the lovely cat, anymore. Death left her ugly. Jesus was emotionally stirred at the death of His friend.

a) Anger with sin, sickness and death that takes over this world. He couldn’t wait to fulfill His plan to put an end to this. I thought of how often, the Gospels record: Jesus set His face like flint towards Jerusalem, (and the cross.)

b) Anger with unbelief.

So when Jesus wept, the Greek word is different from the Jews weeping in that chapter. Jesus shuddered.

As I worked on this thought many years ago when Princess died, I also noted Psalm 116:15,  The Lord’s loved ones are precious to Him; it grieves Him when they die. Death was never what God intended for His creation. It was never in the plan.

4) Hope in Jesus’ Glorious Victory. Jesus sings over us. Though Heaven and Earth will pass away, His Word stands. (Makes me want to shout!) The minister then pointed to Revelation 20: 10, 14 and Revelation 21:3-4. The devil loses. As Carmen sang many years ago, when the devil brings up your past, you just remind him of his future. The devil and death are thrown into the lake of fire for all eternity. Also 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, the dead in Christ rise first, then we will join them in the air.

With all this hope to remind our grieving friends, we can walk joyfully.

Why do we want to hide this truth? Why would we not want to share this joy? I think of the song of children- This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

There is tragedy in this world, over and over. We can shake our fists or we can think of the four hopes and walk with joy. I chose joy, for these trials are only light and temporary. Take heart in Jesus’ words on the cross, “It is finished.”

Two Anniversaries

Today my dad, if here on earth, would be celebrating his ninety fourth birthday. Main Street, A Gables and Gingerbread Story, has been “live” for one year. I was getting ready for work, when James from Westbow Press called to inform me the book went live on Dad’s birthday. I walked on air.

Main Street introduces a character, JT and his family, who are based on my father and his family in my imagination. My dad has been gone for twenty five years. He still influences my life every day.

In honor of these two events, I think constantly of my dad. New Wilmington Mission Conference is in session all this week. I’ve listened to the speakers on line. Difficult to get down there due to working and some minor health issues. I’d love to go to Pymatuning, also, but time limitations today.

For Main Street, I signed up to give two copies away on Amazon. Be the mystery buyer and you may be the one to win. They started this program last week and I waited till today to participate. Next month, I plan to offer Summer Triangle on its birthday August 24. I also hope to have Outside of Time ready to publish by then.

Exciting times. The weather is perfect. The living is easy in Summer Time.