I'm most recently a writer. In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot. As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades. An unwilling transplant from the South, twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US. Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect. When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do. Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
By the first of December, our bank account was tipping toward the negative, we were fiercely nurturing our holiday spirits, and faith was only thing keeping us going. I was once again wondering if things would ever change, or if we could somehow find some other means of meeting the challenges.
And then the Blessing$ began to flow in. I've said many times that without the generosity of family, friends, and even strangers, the past four years would have brought us to a very different place. But what amazes me is that after so much time, the generosity has not diminished. It seems our situation, not unlike so many others, has somehow inspired ever greater willingness to help. I can't explain it, but every gift feels guided by goodness, marked with love. We accept them with prayerful thanks, knowing just how blessed we are, and try to faithfully use them wisely.
December's gifts quickly brought us relief from the immediate strain. I could pay the bills on time, the pantry shelves were replenished, and a whole deer took up residence in our freezer! We even bought new shoes, replacing the ones John and I had worn most days for the past four years. Most amazing of all those gifts was the new mattress John's brother gave us! Two people with bad backs on a marshmallow/trampoline, we had despaired of ever having a comfortable night's sleep again. I wake up every morning thankful for that particular gift!
We have a rule here. Beyond the essential monthly bills--if it cannot be eaten, isn't necessary for our basic health, or won't go in the gas tank of the car, we don't NEED it. The one exception, what we call our one vice, is seed for our bird feeders. John is convinced our feathered friends will not survive without our help, and he takes such pleasure in watching out for them, I'm willing to keep those feeders filled.
At the end of the year, we were breathing much easier. With strict stewardship, stretching every penny, we might be able to stay ahead of the due dates for a good while. But then something completely unforeseen happened. The gift$ kept coming. For the first time in years, there was--for us--a substantial balance in the bank plus a tidy sum of cash tucked away. For the first time in years, we started to look around for things we've needed, but never thought we would be able to afford
I hear a lot from my friends about self-care. Being a caregiver is endless work and leaves little time for attention to the caregiver's needs. I know it's true, that if I don't take care of myself, I won't be here to take care of John. But the days go by, and I do what I do no matter how I feel, until I realize I'm near the end of my endurance. When my Primary Care Provider told me in January--sternly but with a hug--that I was close to collapse, it hit me hard that she was right. It was time to do something for myself, regularly, or the needs would outlast me. But what?
On the way home from choir last week, we were talking about things worthy of our gift$. At John's insistence, I had already gotten new lenses for my glasses. (I think he'd been quietly terrified during those KC trips, knowing I couldn't read the road signs.) We know he'll need a new wheelchair soon, but it looks like Medicare will take care of most of that. Of course, we could just squirrel away the money for unexpected expenses ahead, but was that what the givers intended? We walked into the house still debating, and I was struck by the pathetic condition of John's recliner. He'd mentioned often, with a laugh, that someday he'd like one that didn't lean sideways.
"You need a new chair! That's what we should buy!" And then a wild idea blew in. I needed a chair, too. One I could sit in for more than a few minutes without my back complaining. One I could get out of without groaning. One comfortable enough to read in, or even watch TV with John sometime. Two chairs? That's crazy, right?
Judge me if you will, but I've decided I did the right thing. There's still a very comfortable balance in the bank, and I did something everyone was telling me to do. Something for myself. I may not have a lot of time to sit in that chair, but when I do, it feels good, almost like something I deserve. I refuse to regret it, no matter what my conscience says. But the greatest benefit of all is that I spend more time with John, just sitting side by side. That's the best therapy of all, I'm pretty sure. I think it's even worthy of the shower of blessings sent our way.
Monday, October 29, 2018
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Friday, April 27, 2018
For that reason, I've slashed the price of all my paperbacks to make it easy to purchase a thoughtful gift for under $10. Mother's Day? Graduation? Birthday? Or just a gift to say "You're special."
I would have lowered the price even more, but the on demand printer won't print them for any less. My royalties will amount to a few pennies, but that's okay. The thought of someone receiving one of my books as a gift from one of you who's read it and consider it worthy of your special someone is reward in itself!
Click on over to Amazon (hover in the blank space below the photo for the link) and check out the titles available. And thank you for warming my writer's heart by sharing my words with your family and friends.
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
FREE March 15-19 only on Amazon.com
The last thing he expected to find in Ireland that summer was the inspiration to go on with his life, and certainly not in the form of a feisty, fascinating, adolescent heiress.
"A most touching love story, poignant and riveting in the telling. A poignant, sensuous and compelling story, unique in its story line, I will long remember." --BOOKTALK WITH EILEEN--
New York socialite Peg Shannon has everything--wealth, position, beauty and limitless prospects for happiness. Or so the world believes.
Aspiring London violinist Kendall Gregg is talented, handsome and charming. While hardly well-to-do, he has connections and ambition which should take him far. Or so it appears.
Thrown together briefly by a twist of fate, Kendall quickly becomes young Peg's hero, while Peg proves to be Kendall's unlikely salvation. Through the decades, their deepening passion and shared secrets forge an enduring bond, destining them for a love affair that comes but once in a lifetime.
Set in the mid-twentieth century, Shannon's Daughter chronicles the complex relationship between two people constrained by family loyalty and a tragic secret, while delving into the history of one of the most intriguing characters in the Miracle at Valley Rise series.
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Unexpectedly, last year during a particularly hot Indian Summer day, we discovered another family of tenants sharing our old house. A cyclone cloud of bees suddenly appeared over our patio and then bearded on the eaves of one corner of the original portion of the house. Within an hour they had all but disappeared, leaving a few busy lookouts zooming about outside. Apparently, our old house is also a hive, and has been for some time.
I called around for several days, seeking a reason for this bizarre event, until I was directed to a member of the local Bee Keepers Club. As all bee lovers, including myself, he was very concerned about this hive's unusual behavior. They don't normally swarm until spring. The fact that they returned to the hive seemed to mean the heat got to them, and they just came out for a breath of cooler air. I was assured someone would come and lure them out in the spring, when they are more inclined to relocate, and until then, there was no harm in letting them be. (Sorry, no pun intended!) The bee keeper speculated that we have enough honey in our soffits to keep our toast covered for quite some time.
I occasionally hear a sort of seismic humming in the wall next to my desk. On sunny days, a bee will find its way into the house through the window sash and allow me to show him the door. I have visions of a busy hive just on the other side of the plaster. While I'm severely allergic to bee stings, I'm not at all disturbed by our tenants. Unlike spiders, I encourage bees in my garden and enjoy watching them feed on my zinnias. Also unlike the spiders, they don't attempt to scare the #@$! out of me by zooming from the ceiling just as I'm crossing a dark room. The bees are our friends. I have yet to find anything as nice to say about the spiders.
Lately, I've come to think of the spiders as a metaphor for our life. If you've been here before, you know that we've had our share of life-changing events in the past three years. At present, we're grappling with some, new and gnarly health issues. It seems no sooner one is resolved than another pops up. And, as is too often true in such cases, our financial security has been diminished to the state of a teeter-totter by the loss of income and addition of expense. Like spiders on the ceiling, it feels as though there's always some potential threat lurking overhead. I'm here in the dark, waiting for the fall, armed with hope and little more. But what have we if not hope? Unlikely as it seems some days, most of the things I fear either never happen or are resolved in a way I never saw coming. The truth is, I've never been bitten by a spider.
So, if the spiders represent my anxiety, what about the bees? Those brave, honest little workers laboring to produce something sweet and nourishing? Like the friends and strangers who've offered us help, when otherwise we might have lost this old house and many of the things we enjoy, they came seemingly out of nowhere and made their home here with us. There's comfort in that idea, or at least I'll chose to see it as such.
Whenever nature offers me a bit of itself, like the birds who chose to feast at my feeder, or the volunteer seeds that spring up in my garden, it makes me feel special somehow. Honored, even loved. While I doubt I'll ever really feel the love from those spiders on the ceiling, I can honestly say the bees in the wall, like the friends who hold out their hands and open their hearts, make the scary moments of this time in life immeasurably easier to face.