Back In The Saddle???

HORSE & SADDLE -- James DeMers -- PX

James DeMers @ pixabay.com

Well, my three-week hiatus from writing for any websites — and focusing on my art instead — has done me some good. I’ll try to get back in the saddle now and focus on some things that have to be written out in words. But even if I’m back in the saddle, I think I’ll move forward at a trot, rather than racing speed. I’ll work my way back to writing publicly in as relaxed a manner as possible — beginning with this light-hearted poem:

Writing
Can be a joy,
Except when it’s a drag.
Words must be disciplined,
And that’s the gag.

Therefore,
I took a break
From writing anything.
And gave myself to art,
And had a fling.

So now,
I’m in the mood
To write a thing or two.
Thoughts that have been backlogged
Are now in queue.



 

‘QUENTON’S HONOR’ – Now Available on Amazon

QUENTON FRONT COVER -- NICE AND SHARP FROM CD FOR KINDLE - croppedWhat happens when twenty-first century technology comes face to face with the most powerful force the human race has ever known? Find out in this story of intrigue, romance, courage, and faith:  QUENTON’S HONOR.

A man’s love for his country; a man’s love for a woman.

Securing a nation; capturing a heart.

It’s a story of patriotism.  It’s a love story.  It’s a story of one man’s journey to God.

American industrial magnate Quenton Sutherland’s efforts at humanitarian aid carry him on a fact-finding tour into the Middle-Eastern hotbed of war-torn Pakistan. While there, he uncovers a terrorist plot involving three cells already poised for attack back in the U.S. Before he can foil their plan, he is taken hostage to prevent his exposing their plot.

In the days that follow, Quenton comes face-to-face with his need for the God he abandoned decades before — while he, along with investigative journalist Honor Fairfield, and the Department of Homeland Security, begin an ever-twisting adventure and discover life-changing connections that none of them could have foreseen.

I wrote this book years ago, and it was first published in 2004. But this is the first time its been offered in paperback through Amazon. I still love the story. Even though I’m the author, the story still makes me cry in all the right places, makes my heart beat faster with each embrace of the lovers, and thrills my soul when the characters encounter a God whose love is focused on blessing them every step of the way on this journey.

The story has been called a cross between ‘You’ve God Mail’ and ‘Song of Solomon.’ I don’t know about that, but I do know amazing things — even spiritual things — can happen through the wonders of computer technology and in the world of cyberspace. You’ll just have to see for yourself.

Get your copy in paperback or digital here.
The E-book is on sale for $1.99 through June.

You can read a short sample at this link, but bear in mind that Amazon’s samples on the product page are sometimes a little screwed up. Hopefully, you’ll at least get enough of the text to make a decision on whether the story’s for you or not.



 

What Happened to ‘The End’?

BOOKS W. END

Over the past decade, the publishing world has experienced an interesting, but, in my opinion, sad phenomenon. Almost all fiction authors and/or publishing houses have started leaving out the words “The End” on the last page of novels. It’s now become passe, and I guess in some minds, even unsophisticated to write those two iconic little words below the last paragraph of a story.

It’s sad. I’ve been an avid reader all my life. My earliest happy memories involve reading stories and having them read to me, and I started writing my own in elementary school. In fact, I wrote my first full-length play in the 6th grade. I get totally immersed in the books I read. I can pass hours and even go without food — even chocolate and coffee — once I get entrenched in a story. I live the experiences with the characters — laughing with them, crying with them, loving with them, fighting with them — and rejoicing in the final resolution of the climax in their favor. ( I do not read stories where the main character ends up defeated.)

But when I come to the end of those stories, I’m generally so much involved that I need closure in order to let them go and move on. Those two little words — “The End” — have always given me that. Now, many have been the times when I hated to see them come. I didn’t want the story to end, and I would have pushed those words forward for another twenty pages or so at least. But eventually, all good stories have to reach their resolution, and when they do, I’ve always found a quiet acceptance and even a serene pleasure in reading those words. I can’t begin to count the times I’ve leaned back after reading “The End,” closed my eyes, and taken a slow deep breath and relished the fact that all was resolved and every loose end securely tucked away.

Those two little words close a story and let me know that it’s all right to let those characters go and move on to the next story — the next adventure — the next romance — the next journey. Yes, I know that any reader of average intelligence is able to figure out that if there is no more text between the covers, then the story has come to an end. But that doesn’t satisfy me at all. Somehow, those two words typed onto the page just make the reading experience complete, and finishing a story without them is not the same. Perhaps I’m the only one who feels that way. I don’t know. It’s not a subject I discuss with other writers — or readers. But it’s something that touches me powerfully enough that I continue to type “The End” at the completion of every novel I write.

And I will continue to do so from now on. The publisher that I have worked with for years is in agreement with me, and, of course, any books that I publish through Amazon don’t require my considering anyone else’s opinion. So I’m free in both situations to do as I please. And what pleases me is to be able to say to my readers  — in effect — “Well, now, we have come the distance together in this story; thank you for sharing it with me; I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have; we’ve solved the problems for the hero and heroine, and they are satisfied and secure;  I’ve taken great care to leave you in a good place; All is well = The End.”



 

Weekend Coffee Share 5/16/20

COFFEE & COMPUTER -- Engin Akyurt -- PX

photo courtesy of Engin Akyurt @ pixabay.com

Hello again, everyone. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had an opportunity to participate in the coffee share, and I’m feeling happy this morning that I have time to just sit here and talk to you as I’m enjoying my coffee. To be honest, there are several things I need to be doing, but they are not pressing me very hard, so I’m ignoring them and choosing to visit with you for a few minutes instead.

I can’t say that I’ve had any important experiences this past week, but I am looking forward to what I have planned for this weekend. It’s related to a victory in my life that took place a few months ago, and I’ll share a little of that with you so you can rejoice with me.

Some of you are aware that about 2 1/2 years ago, I lost my very best friend in an accident. I’ve shared a little about that experience from time to time, but not anything recently. Not only was he my best friend, but he was also my best editor and had such a vibrant, creative mind that he had been enormous help to me in my writing. He was at times my toughest critic, but at all time my greatest champion.

And he was the kind of person I could call on the phone and say, “Hey, I have this character who needs to end up so-and-so, but I’m having a hard time figuring out how I can set him up for this experience.” In no time at all, my friend would come up with at least one and maybe three or four possible scenes that fit right into where I needed to go in my story. And he was available to offer feedback at any time of the day or night.

So, as you can see, when I lost him, I lost someone very personal and emotionally supportive, but also a great catalyst and creative inspiration at the same time. As a result of that loss, I came to a place where I was unable to write any novels at all. I had been working on three when he died — and one of them had already benefited from input from him. Every time I tried to go back to any of those novels, I ran into a brick wall. It wasn’t what some writers refer to as “writer’s block.” It was a deep sense of emptiness that I couldn’t seem to get out of enough to bring words and scenes to life again. I struggled against that barrier repeatedly, but to no avail.

I’m very grateful that the Lord allowed me to write more poetry during that time. It was interesting to me that, while I could not write any stories, I could still write non-fiction work that is part of my Christian ministry, and I could write poetry. In fact, writing poetry was the most healing experience I had during that time, and I even created a brand new poetry website where I could share it. That creativity was powerful blessing.

But, thanks to the Lord’s healing work in my soul, I finally came to a place a little earlier this year where I was able to pick up one of the novels I had been working on and finish it completely. In fact, it was just birthed into the marketplace in April. What a great victory that was. As the author of 20 books before that time, I can’t even put into words how it felt to sit for two whole years and not be able to write one complete story. But victory is mine, and now, I believe I’m ready to take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and finish some of the other novels that have been waiting a very long time.

Now, back to this weekend. My plan is to take this weekend to finish one of those books. Sadie Rose Donovan: Coed Detective is actually a little different from most of my other novels. This book is more of a young adult novel, but I’m hoping and believing that mature adults will enjoy it as well. If I can’t finish it completely this weekend, I’m thinking about posting it one chapter a day on my website and promising to post every day until it’s done. That procedure has helped me push myself to finish novels in the past. We’ll have to see how things go today and tomorrow. But, for sure, the book is coming to its rightful conclusion this week!

Personally, I love the story. It was inspired almost exclusively by a photo of a young friend of mine who snapped a selfie while standing in a hallway in one of the main classroom buildings on a local college campus. She was posed as if involved in some clandestine activity, and the moment I saw it, the story sprang to life in my head. I’ve told her that I consider her my inspiration, and I’ll be dedicating the book to her — Hannah Herron.

The main character is named after a sweet young lady who waited on the table at a restaurant I visited a couple years ago. My cousin and I were eating supper there, and Sadie Rose stopped to visit a while. The conversation led to how she had come by her first and middle name. I instantly fell in love with that name and told her I knew it would be perfect for a story I’d be writing. I told her I’d let her know when it came out, but I don’t think she works at that restaurant any longer. See the sad pitfalls of taking so long to finish a story???  Anyway, I hope I can locate her and let her know when her namesake is finally on the bookshelves.

So, that’s my weekend coffee share for today. And that’s my weekend plans: I’m going to get out of my robe and start pounding the keys to finish Sadie Rose’s story. And I feel sure there will be plenty of pots of coffee involved as the work progresses.


To participate in “Weekend Coffee Share,” visit our host’s website: Eclectic Ali.

~~~

11 Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2020

2020 LOADING -- Elisa Riva - PX - purple letters

I do not make New Year’s resolutions.  But each year, I do look to the Lord and seek His face and His heart to learn what His plans are for my upcoming year, and what He wants from me during that time.  And, of course, there are things that I want for myself as well. This year, I decided to just make a list of all the things I’m wanting to accomplish in 2020. Some of them are on God’s list as well as mine, and some of them — well — they’re probably on my list only —  but God will tolerate them out of His merciful love for me.  🙂

Here’s my list — so far:

1.  Eating lots of chocolate  No surprise there, right?)

2 . Drinking gallons of great coffee  You didn’t think I’d forget coffee, did you?

3 . Finishing the three novels that got shelved after my best friend/best editor died. I’ve recovered from the grief of losing my best friend, who was also my most trusted and efficient editor — and my reservoir for all kinds of creative ideas. But even though I don’t deal with the intense pain of the loss as much, I’ve still found it impossible to let my creativity flow back into those projects that he was working on with me. I know I’ll be able to do so eventually, and I’m trusting the Lord that this year will see a breakthrough.

4.  Writing scores of Cinquain. I do love Cinquain — as most of my readers know. And I can’t wait to dive into all kinds of subject matter that can be disciplined into this wonderful poetic form this year.

5.  Writing scores of Tso’i.  This new poetic form that I created last year is still a challenge. Of course, it had to be somewhat intricate in order to be a genuinely “new” form. If I had followed the disciplines that are comfortable, I’d have been staying in the same groove of all the forms I’ve written in all my life. So, I accept the challenge to write loads more Tso’i  in 2020.

6.  Writing a new series of Christmas stories  I haven’t written anything holiday-themed in a couple years, and that’s surprising, considering how much I love Christmas. I did put out my Holiday Planning Journal last year, and that was loads of fun. But this year, I want to do some more short stories that relate the special excitement, warmth, and love that belong to the Christmas season.

7.  Painting more than I did last year and arranging for a showing of some of my work.  During this past year, some people have been encouraging me to do a showing of my artwork at a couple local places, but I haven’t had the confidence in my work that they seem to have. However, I think it’s time I considered it seriously.  This venture is more a “maybe” than a sure thing, but I’m definitely going to consider it.

8.  Making connections with more Christian artists. I’ve taken the first steps in getting this goal accomplished by creating a brand new Facebook group called “Art From God’s Word.” It looks like there are quite a few other Christian artists out there who want to participate. Twice a month, I’ll post a scripture prompt on that FB page, and all the members will meditate on that scripture and then create artwork that the verse inspires. They are free to use any medium and form of art that they choose, as long as it relates to the scripture passage. It’s a way to focus on God’s Word and fellowship with others who are like-spirited and want their gifts to glorify the Lord.

9.  Teaching more”Writing Poetry” classes.  It’s been hard to get people to sign up for the “Writing Poetry” classes. They come to other creative writing classes, but the poetry always lags behind in enrollment. It’s such a fun class, and if people realized that, they’d want to come. So, I need to work more diligently this year at making them understand how much fun it really is.

10.  Taping a number of live videos, where I teach in front of the camera.  Except for a very few, my Bible teaching videos are mainly audio teaching — with the help of a few pictures or graphics for people to look at as they listen. I’ve never been photogenic, and have a complex about being on camera — video or stationary cameras either one — so I’ve held off on this venture. But I do believe the Lord says its time — maybe past time — that I got this part of the ministry off the back burner. As long as I don’t go back and look at the old live videos that I do have of myself, I think I’ll be able to accomplish this goal in 2020.

11.  Increasing my focus on the Lord and becoming more conscious of His presence within me.  This desire is last on my list in this post, but it is certainly not least. In fact, it is the most important thing I will do this year. And, in truth,  unless I do manage to accomplish this one, most of the others will probably fall by the wayside unfinished. But I have faith that this year will be a year of new growth — even great growth — for me spiritually. So, with the Lord’s help, I’m expecting to get this last item on the list accomplished, as well as the other nine.

If you’d like to share your goals, desires, or plans for this new year, please do. Use the “Comment” windows below to tell us about them — or put a link there to a post on your own blog where you share in more detail.

HAPPY 2020!!!


Graphics courtesy of Elisa Riva @ pixabay.com (edited for this post)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

‘Stories That Leave You Thinking …’

GIRAFFE COVER W. SHADOW

Well, I’ved dithered, and dallied, and delayed for a year. I had all kinds of excuses and reasons — some good, some not so good. But all that’s behind me now, and I FINALLY have the enlarged second edition of my short short story anthology ready for public consumption. 🙂

Yep, it’s out there: STORIES THAT LEAVE YOU THINKING … (A Collection of Diverse and Slightly Unconventional Short Short Stories)

Some of you helped me choose which stories needed to be included. Many of you have read several of them over the past few years, and your response played a part in decideding which stories to include and which to leave for another project. The book contains 20 stories in all. Three of them are also featured in my Christmas anthology, but the other 17 have not been published previously in book form.

Even though the book is actually a totally new entity and will replace the old, smaller version completely, I still wanted to use the same cover. My great friend, professional photographer Bob Mielke, generously gave me permission to use his amazing work. This cover photo inspired one of the first stories to go into the book, and, as far as I was concerned, it just HAD to be the front cover. Thank again, Bob. You’re one of the “good guys.”

Here’s the blurb to tell you a little more about what you can expect if you pick up a copy of STORIES THAT LEAVE YOU THINKING … .  And I hope you do — one for you and one for a friend. It’s currently available in paperback only.

“Have you ever come to the words “The End” when reading and just couldn’t seem to turn off your own imagination? Did your mind keep working on the plot and planning out possible ways in which the story could continue? Did you enjoy the process? Then you’ve come to the right book. The stories included here, on a wide variety of subjects and themes, offer the reader the opportunity to keep thinking past “The End.” Each story comes to a stop, to be sure, but most of them will tempt the reader to let his own imagination get involved and do some thinking about what would happen next – if the story continued. A refreshing approach to short story telling.”

Purchase your own copy for $6.00  from Amazon.




 

~~~

Weekend Coffee Share — 11/2/19

COFFEE, TABLE, RESTAURANT -- Zaccaria

To participate in this week’s “Coffee Share” click on this link and visit Eclectic Ali for the details.

If we were having coffee together this weekend, I’d probably tell you about my book signing gig today. It was the kind of book signing that every author hopes he never experiences even once in his whole career. Not only did no one ask me to sign a book, but no one even wanted to buy a book. In fact, only two people even went so far as to pick up any books to look at them closer.

Yep, as sad as I am about it – and as embarrassed as I am to admit it – that’s the truth. My last book signing was pretty successful. I had a good time with people taking real interest in the books and asking intelligent questions – and most importantly – buying books and asking me to inscribe and sign them.

So why was this event such a failure? Well, as all authors know, we have good times and not-so-good times when it comes to book sales, but there are some specific circumstances that can lead more to one result or another. I was talking with my sister after the sad experience today, and she reminded me that the event took place in a county of our state that is known for its illiteracy, poor educational system, poverty, heavy drug use, heavy crime, witchcraft, and financial and political corruption. What does that fact mean in terms of selling books? Well, to begin with, the majority of people in that county are not interested in reading books much, period. But even when they do want to read, they are not looking for books with Christian-based themes and the propagation of the Gospel. Those two facts gave me an automatic two strikes against me before I even set up my table.

“So,” you ask, “why did you even participate in that event?” Well, my answer is two-fold. One: I’m an author who believes I’ve written books that will help people and make their lives better in a few different ways, and I naturally want to sell those books. So any possible market is worth at least considering. Two: I believe everybody, no matter what their culture or past experiences, should be given opportunities to choose to step out of what is negative and into something positive. I just believe that, given the opportunity, many people who live in a negative culture want to change that experience and will take advantage of such possibilities as reading good books in order to do so. I’ve been proven right about that theory in the past, and even though no one stepped up to make any of those choices today, I still believe there are people out there who do and will in the future.

So am I sorry I took part in the event – that I paid money for my place in the vendor’s fair that hosted us – that I spent hours getting all my materials together, traveling to the event, setting up everything, and then taking it all down and hauling it back home? No, I’m not. It was an experience that will have its own rewards for me it its own ways. However, when the coordinator of the event asked if I would come back to do another similar event before Christmas, I said no. I have to be a good steward of my time, my energy, and my finances, and when the evidence is staring me in the face as it did today, I’m smart enough to recognize that one of the lessons learned today is that this particular venue is not good stewardship.

Now, on the other hand, while we were sharing over coffee, I would also tell you about how I received shipment today of my first big order of the HOLLY JOLLY HOLIDAY PLANNING JOURNALS. I love these journals, and I’m so glad I decided to create them this year.

HOLLY JOLLY RESIZED
Moreover, half of this first batch is already spoken for, and that’s a pretty happy situation for an author and book creator to be in. With only half of this batch left in stock, I have to order more for the next book event that I’m participating in – in a totally different county, by the way, with a much more educated and literature-conscious culture. It takes place in a couple weeks, and by then I will have licked all my emotional and financial wounds from today, and I’ll have a great time interacting with potential readers at that event.

So — you win some, you lose some. As authors, we know that’s how life goes. It’s like the old song says — with a little paraphrasing from me:
You’ve got to give a little, take a little …
You’ve got to laugh a little, cry a little …
You’ve got to win a little, lose a little …
That’s the story of – that’s the glory of – being an author.

 


Lyrics taken from “The Glory of Love,” written by Billy Hill


 

~~~~~

The Music of Words

Exif JPEG

I’m a musician. I play keyboard instruments mainly. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of using my talents to entertain audiences, to minister as organist and choir director for two different churches, to help facilitate weddings and funerals for scores of families, to compose and orchestrate numerous songs, and to teach others to use their gifts and talents to bless the world with music from their own keyboards.

These days I rarely sit down to a musical keyboard. Instead, I’m nearly glued to the kind of keyboard that is attached to a desktop or laptop computer. For,  you see, I’m also a writer. Now, some people feel that I have left music behind as I’ve devoted so much of myself to the writing. But you know what?  I’ve discovered a truth that, ten years ago, I may not have even thought about:

I’ve discovered that music — true music — doesn’t come from a keyboard on a piano, an organ, or an accordion. Nor does it come from a horn, a guitar, a violin, or any other instrument. On the contrary, music comes from the soul. It’s the melody, the harmony, and the rhythm of life that courses through our beings and finds its release through any number of avenues. Frequently, it is released through instruments constructed for that specific purpose, but the music of the soul is also released through words.

I find that I’m releasing the music of my soul constantly as my fingers whisk over the letter keys of my laptop. I’m letting all those melodies, harmonies, and rhythms of life course through me to touch every reader. And when those readers are touched, my words create emotions, thoughts, actions, and reactions as surely as the strains of sound vibrating from a piano or a horn. I’m calling to and capturing the soul of the reader as surely as the chords from a guitar call and capture the soul of the listener.

It is not the instrument that creates the music. In truth, the music is created from the deepest part of our being and simply seeks an avenue — any avenue — of expression. So, personally, I believe I am offering music to the world through the words that flow from my soul onto the page as surely as I have offered it in the past from the keyboard that sent forth vibrations of sound.

So, my fellow writers — let your music flow.


 

~~~~~




 

BRAND NEW!!! Holiday Planning Journal

HOLLY JOLLY RESIZED

YAY! My HOLLY JOLLY HOLIDAY PLANNING JOURNAL IS READY FOR YOU!

Holiday planning and organizing has never been SO EASY.
This planner includes sections for Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, and the coming New Year.

Complete with Scriptures and Journaling Pages for recording Personal Thoughts and Prayers, this planner also includes plenty of room to plan out Decorations, Activities, Guest Lists, Travel Arrangements, Recipes, Gifts Lists, Online Orders, Storage Plans, and New Year’s Expectations.

Handy 6 x 9 size, soft cover: $6.00

Available from Amazon at this link.

OR

From me if you live in the Southern Illinois area.

Weekly Smile 9/23/19

SMILEY -- NO CIRCLE - BLACK & WHYay!  I’m making time to do the “Weekly Smile” this week. If you’d like to join in and share what made you smile this past week, hop over to the link and get the simple directions for taking part.

I actually had a number of things to smile about this past week. One special event was getting this term’s Biblical Pathways to Health & Wholeness class underway at the college where I teach. I always enjoy teaching that class so much because it helps people understand what God’s Word says about healing and how much the Lord wants His people well. And it helps them learn how to appropriate that healing for their own lives.

Then I also got my new HOLIDAY PLANNER/JOURNAL started this week. I’ve been collecting my thoughts, so to speak, about this newest project for some time now. And, to be honest, I’ve sort of put off actually sitting down to my computer and laying out the design on the screen. It’s rather daunting when I think of all that I want to include in it.

I’ve done other themed journals, but they didn’t have to incorporate planner pages and special sections for different kinds of plans and activities. And, of course, most of my books over the past several years have simply required ordinary text and a front and back cover. That’s so much easier to do than all this graphic designing. But once I made up my mind that it was time to do this thing, I committed myself to it whole-heartedly. So — onward and upward. And this week, I actually got through a large portion of the layout and hit “Save.”  Yay!

On top of that event, I also received a gift of two huge family-size packages of chocolate cookies!!!  Now, if you’re a regular visitor to my website, you’ll know that I love, love, love chocolate.  And I love, love, love cookies. Now, add coffee to the mix (which I love, love, love as well), and you have something to smile about — really big. These cookies are perfect for dunking, by the way, and that sets me up for smiling a whole lot for the next week as well.  I think I’ll share a few with my sister — and maybe even a cousin — and that will add to the enjoyment for me.

I could go on, but I hear my coffee and cookies calling me, so I think I’ll bring this post to a close and go do some dunking and some more smiling.

Hope you’ve had  lot to smile about this week as well. I look forward to learning about your smiles, so hop over to Trent’s blog and add your post.

 




 

Excited About My Newest Journal

My newest journal project is complete and available for purchase from Amazon. I’ll have a supply soon as well, if you live in my area and want to get them from me.

WORD-INSPIRED COVER - frontWORD-INSPIRED JOURNAL SAMPLE PG 2MY WORD-INSPIRED JOURNAL offers 108 lined pages for personal journaling, interspersed with 12 great pictures and scripture passages to inspire meditation and devotional thought.  This journal is perfect to use for personal devotion times or as a prayer journal — or to just record whatever is on your heart every day.

I’ve included a picture of the front cover and one sample of the inside pages as well.

$6.00

Find MY WORD-INSPIRED JOURNAL at this LINK:

It’s Coming! It’s Coming!

What’s coming?????

OWL JOURNAL COVER W. BRANCH - FRONT ONLY

My CHOCOLATE OWL JOURNAL.


I’ve just finished the prototype for my next journal, and I can’t wait to get it out there for writers who are always looking for more pages to fill.

This little gem is called the CHOCOLATE OWL JOURNAL and, instead of photos throughout like the coffee lovers journal, it will offer great little nuggets of chocolate wisdom from CHOCOLATE OWL himself.

Now, authors and book creators don’t generally dedicate something like a journal to people who are special to them, so this journal won’t include a dedication page either. But I just want to say that if I were dedicating it, I’d have to dedicate it to my friend Lee over at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures Plus. She appreciates owls — and all kinds of God’s precious winged creatures  — more than anyone else I know.

Well, I just wanted to let you see the front cover and whet your appetite for this newest project. It should be available for purchase by the end of the week at the latest. Price should be around $6.00. I’ll post again when it’s ready and give you all the final details.

~~~~~

 


 

Weekly Smile 7/29/19

I love taking part in Trent’s Weekly Smile, but for the past couple weeks I’ve been bogged down finishing up this term’s writing class and preparing for a ministry meeting at a local Civic Center. But this week, I’m starting to wind down from those two event — both of which made me smile — so I have a little extra time.

COFFEE JOURNAL COVER FRONT ONLYHowever, my post is not about those two things. It’s about another smile maker. My brand new DAILY GRIND COFFEE LOVERS JOURNAL. It’s just out and, I’m grinning from ear to ear about it — partly because it’s now available for purchase — and partly because I just can’t keep from smiling when I look at all those delicious coffee photos and think about how those captions popped into my mind for each one — and partly because I’m enjoying doing my own journaling in my personal copy of the book.

Now, I know this sounds like an advertisement, but truly it is the thing that caused my biggest smile this week — and last week.  I’m having a great time running around delivering copies of the journal to other coffee lovers who want one for themselves or to give as a gift. And to be perfectly honest, I’ll probably be smiling pretty big over this event for the next week or two as well.

Not only that, but I’m working on the next journal, which has a writing theme and should be out next month. That project is putting a smile on my face as well. Of course, it’s also causing me some hours of serious thought and a tiny bit of aggravation, but after all — as we all know — that’s part of the program when you’re creating a book.

Hope you all have a lot to smile about this coming week as well.

~~~

~~~

COFFEE LOVERS JOURNAL

My newest project: DAILY GRIND COFFEE LOVERS JOURNAL

COFFEE JOURNAL COVER FRONT ONLY
It’s finally online and for sale — from Amazon. (Copies will also be available from me personally if you’re in the Southern Illinois area). I love this journal. I enjoyed creating it, and I’ll enjoy using it personally. I’m including a few pictures of the outside and inside — since the sample Amazon gives is too short to see what the journaling section actually looks like.

COFFEE JOURNAL COVER BACK ONLYJOURNAL SAMPLE 1JOURNAL SAMPLE 2

There are 31 delicious coffee pictures — each with its own appropriate caption and 3 lightly lined journaling pages. There are 93 lined journaling pages total. I hope coffee lovers all over the world will get one and enjoy it or give it as a gift to someone they love — who loves coffee.

The journal is $18.00 on Amazon. I’m selling them personally at a discount, but, of course, you’d have to live close enough for me to deliver one to you.

Anyway, check it out more thoroughly or purchase one HERE.

 

~~~

 


 

Weekly Smile: 6/4/19

I’m finally getting back to participating in “Weekly Smile” this week. I really like this subject, but some weeks there are just too many irons in the fire already to be able to do another post for it. However, this week, I’m determined. And I’m SO determined that I’m going to do one better than Trent. He had two things to smile about this week, but I have three. 🙂

Exif JPEGMy first smile is my recent purchase of a couple African Marigold plants. Let me say up front that I am not a gardener. The pretty flowers in my yard at present are the ones that came to me with the house, and I’ve had to struggle to keep them moderately cared for. I’ve not had any marigolds in a garden for at least 20 years or more, but they have a special place in my heart. My mother used to absolutely love gardening, and she created such beautiful garden spots in almost every house we ever lived in. In two of our homes, she created a huge rock garden — with rocks and shells from around the country — and some of the most gorgeous flowers anywhere around.

But one summer, her mother became quite ill and had to move in and live with my parents. My mother had pretty much the full care of Granny, but I helped when and where I could. It was actually spring when Granny first moved in, and it was the time of year my mom would have started her loving labors on her yard and her gardens. But that kind of work took hours and hours of attention and consumed so much time and energy that she didn’t feel she could care for her mother properly if she gave her garden proper attention.

One day as she sat looking out the window, she talked about how much she wished she could plant something. She didn’t begrudge caring for her mom at all, but there was a real sadness in not being able to plant something new and see it grow.

Suddenly, she said, “I think if you’ll drive me to the nursery, I can at least pick up some marigolds. It won’t take long to purchase them if I know exactly what I want, and it will be easy and quick to set them in. They’re hardy and won’t take a lot of care, and I can at least watch them grow this summer and feel like I’ve got something with new life in the yard.”

So I drove her to the nursery, she picked up several trays of marigolds, and she was almost like a kid with a bag full of candy when she went out to plant them in the back yard while I watched Granny. I have never forgotten how important those marigolds were to her that year.  I had never been particularly impressed with them before that time, but since then they’ve held a special place in my heart because of that little event that we shared.

Exif JPEG
This year, I unexpectedly came across these beautiful African Marigolds, and as soon as I saw them, I thought of my mom. I still miss her terribly, even though she’s been gone over 30 years, and those marigold plants — and the memories they evoked — were a balm to my heart. So I bought two of them to put on my front porch in honor of her. They each had 5 very large blooms and multiple others just waiting to come forth. So that’s one of my big smiles this week.


 

WATERMELON CARD FRONT W. FRAMESmile number two is a new set of greeting cards that I created this week with one of my original watercolor paintings on the front. It’s super simple: just slices of watermelon and a summery slogan. But I love it, and I do love the little cards. Sets of them will make great gifts to some friends who like to send cards. I’ve included a picture of the front of the card with the watercolor.

`

 

 


 

BIBLICAL PATHWAYS LOGO

And smile number three is the fact that it’s time for the summer term to begin at the college where I teach. This term I’m teaching “Biblical Pathways to Health & Wholeness” and “Writing Memoir and Personal Narrative.”  I’m really looking forward to starting these classes this coming week. I hope we have a full house for each one.

 


If you’d like to participate in Trent’s Weekly Smile, click on the link and get the details.

Until next week — I hope you all keep smiling.

 

 

~~~