Wednesday, November 21, 2018


Since it is Thanksgiving, I will produce the obligatory list of things I'm thankful for, but with a twist.
THIS Thanksgiving, an acrostic poem of words I like and why I like them. (Not sure why an acrostic is called a poem, but whatever.) Sure, it seems boring and maybe it will be. (I hope not)

And to clear myself of any guilt for not mentioning the obvious things I'm thankful for: Here they are...
My family and friends, my Savior and my country.

On with the "poem"...

T - Tribe. The idea of tribe was a bit lost on me for most of my life. I equated "tribe" with large groups of cliquey women excluding all others. Not so. Regarding friendships, I related to the saying, "I'd rather have four quarters than a hundred pennies." Like most people, I've been burned. It happens when you "collect pennies". So I am guilty of being guarded when sharing my life with people. Even so, my little growing tribe of sisters is precious. As my hair has grayed (amazingly fast once I stopped dying it - go figure), the wisdom of those white strands seeped into my noggin. I'm better at finding kindred spirits and avoiding danger.

H - Harmony. Alone in my car, when I'm singing and worshiping God, I sing harmony. Horribly. (I literally apologize God when it's really bad.) I was thinking about harmony the other day. It adds beautiful depth to music...and when we live in harmony, work in harmony, we are much more productive. Harmony is a choice though. You have to work at it. I hope my harmonizing continues to improve. It will, with practice. Harmony brings all things.

A - Aqua. I love that color. It represents water, purity, happiness. It is fresh. It is eye-catching.

N - Nest. I'm a mother...of grown children, but still. You never stop being a mother. My nest may be empty but my heart is full. My home is different now - emptier - but it brings me great joy. I host my writing group every week and it buzzes with life. (I love that.) It is nearly ready for the eventual return of my kids. They'll all be home for Christmas and I can hardly wait!

K - Kitchen. Odd, I know, but I love to bake and at the moment there's a hole in our kitchen ceiling (a tiny leak in the master shower - Yay, new tile in the master bath..gulp). Since we've got to patch the hole and paint, the kitchen is on my mind. We'll eventually paint the cabinets - or maybe not - and what color should I paint the walls? I love these conundrums (another favorite word) and perusing Pinterest to solve them!

S - Strength. It was a challenging year. I never imagined losing a parent. (Why would I want to imagine that?) I made a wonderful discovery, though. I am strong. I have strength. And when my strength wanes, God offers His. I leaned in and soaked up His strength when mine was nowhere to be found. And here's the best part. God's strength is there for the asking. He doles it out as we need it, not before - not when we anticipate the need - when we actually need it. I like to prepare. I like to have extra on hand. This year, I learned to accept grief as an offer of strength from God and it built my faith to know I could trust Him to give it right when I needed it.

G - Grace. I could go on and on about grace. It is the gift of God...two more fabulous G words! But grace...undeserved My church has Grace in it (The Graceworks) and my writing group is called The Grace Writers (as well as my novel). It's no coincidence. Grace is something the world needs. It's something I hope to pass write about.

I - Inspiration. It's all around me. I find inspiration in the beautiful world we live in. Nature is a treasure trove, but even more, people. I love people. I love watching them and studying them. (Confession: I love reality TV because I can watch people I wouldn't normally see in my world.) In reality, though, (see what I did there?) we inspire each other. Do I inspire others? That's my hope. I am so inspired by so many people in my life and for that I am thankful!

V - Vivacious. There is a person I notice wherever I go. The old woman living vivaciously. She has pink, sparkly hair and colorful clothing - preferably mismatched but happy - and glasses, large and bold. These women are rare and interesting and fun. There is a woman who prances around Yelm Highway in heels, a hat and a suit straight out of the eighties. She has perfect posture and is perfectly out of place. I don't know her but I love her. I hope I am vivacious as an old person. (Old-er person - gray hair notwithstanding.)

I - Inclusion. It's a wonderful thing to be included. We've all experienced being invisible, overlooked or intentionally DIScluded. That's no fun. In fact, it's dismaying. But to feel inclusion - to know you belong. That's precious. Over the past year or two I've found many inclusive people. People who welcome strangers and celebrate change. I try to be that way too. I know I fail, but the more I practice it, the easier it becomes.

N - Niche. Everyone wants to find their niche. I wish Thanksgiving had a C in it. Because I equate finding one's niche to contentment. I've found my niche a few times in my life. The niche changes, grows and morphs. It's all a process. I hope you find your niche too...and consider...maybe your niche is right where you are. Perhaps embracing the season you're in IS your niche. By being content where we are, we free our mind to settle into God's plan.

G - Grateful. It's what Thanksgiving is all about - being grateful. And I am so very grateful for all of the blessings in my life. If you're reading this right now, you're one of them!

What words are you thankful for?

May your Thanksgiving weekend be filled with family, friendship and the blessings of the season!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Two Golden Rings during The Great Depression...

When I decided to write Two Golden Rings for the anthology, Christmas in Time, I did some research on the era.
What an interesting time.
Struggle and heartache permeated those years following the stock market crash of 1929.
In my research, I read a book, The Secret Gift by Ted Gup.
It told the true story of Mr. Gup's grandfather, Sam Stone, who had weathered the crash and had some extra money to give away in 1933 when Canton, Ohio was overwhelmed with struggle. That Christmas, Mr. Stone put an ad in the newspaper offering $10 to 75 families, no questions asked. Just write to "Mr. B. Virdot", describing your desperate need. When the letters poured in, he decided to answer 150 of them with a $5 gift.
Mr. Gup was not aware of Sam Stone's kindness until he discovered a suitcase filled with letters after his death. His grandfather kept the letters telling of utter desperation. They were proud people who didn't want to ask for money, but since it would be discreetly given, and since they were so desperate for the basic needs of life, they wrote. There were other letters in the suitcase as well. Thank you notes describing how the modest gift had been spent and what it meant to them.
Mr. Gup set out to find the families of the letter-writers, and discovered that the $5 gift had made a world of difference to some of them, filling them with hope and changing the trajectory of the family. For others it made for a nice Christmas but not much more. Some families struggled for generations. The book chronicles those stories and weaves in the account of Sam Stone's life as well. It's a fascinating read.

I tried to capture some of that tension in my story.
The desperation of need and the desire to be self-sufficient.
The pain of loss and the desire to be whole again.
The hope of provision and the devastation of disappointment.
Ultimately, I wanted to tell a story of the faithfulness of God - because He is - so very faithful!

You can buy a copy of Christmas in Time here.

I hope my story blesses you this holiday season!


I've been thinking a lot about creativity lately. About inspiration, style, perfection and the beauty of imperfection. I began a journey...