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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!

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Confession (And a Contest!)

Okay, confession time first.  I don't think of myself a "Christian Author."  Don't get me wrong, I know myself to be a Christian, a lifelong believer, and I'm not in the least reluctant to discuss my faith with anyone.  But when I decided to publish, I wanted to open my books to everyone, not label them or direct them to specific audience.
I know there's a huge readership for "Christian Fiction."  But frankly I hoped to steer away from that label. I myself choose to read all genres, constantly searching for a book that entertains, enlightens or even stretches my imagination in a new direction.  I like to be inspired by a story, but I don't really care to have that inspiration "preached" on every page.  I sincerely hope I haven't been guilty of that with the Valley Rise books.
I will admit that I felt Spirit-led much of the time while writing. It seemed natural to utilize passages of scripture when they fit into the story, and I spent a great deal of time browsing my husband's various Books of Worship and hymnals for guidance.  As with every story, it at times dictated its own direction and I followed, amazed at the twists and turns it took.  I think it tells a story of love and life enriched and sustained by faith, but life lived in the real world.

Now for the contest part! There is a passage of scripture referred to numerous times throughout the series.  It serves as a reminder whenever Stani gives in to his natural proclivity for a certain behavior. It was even painted on a wall by Emily's mother.  If you've read  Hearts Unfold, you should recall it instantly.  The first person to post it in a comment here will receive a signed paperback copy of Hearts Unfold.  And if more than one of you post it, I might even give away more copies, just because I'm so thrilled to see your response!

Contest ends September 1st.  GO!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Nothing stays the same . . .

One sure thing about life, it keeps changing.  Not that I mind.  While there are some things I'd like to hold on to, loved ones and good health, to name two at the top of that list, I look forward to change.  At the very least, change means I'm still living, still growing, and may yet reach a time when I feel I've truly "arrived" and can honestly say I've done what I was meant to do.

That sense of accomplishment, crossing something dreamed for off my list of aspirations, makes embracing change easier.  I may never do this particular thing again--as in hang wallpaper on ten-foot-high walls--or then again I may--as in write a novel--but for that wondrous moment once the deed is done, I can revel in the sheer bliss of having done it!

I don't grieve for the things I can't do anymore.  Oddly, things I loved doing at the time, sewing wedding dresses and making endless floral arrangements, are now just fond memories.  I know with complete certainty I will never do those things again.  My eyes and hands wouldn't let me, even if I wanted to.  But I don't want to, really.  Those were opportunities which had their time and place in my life and I gave them the best I had to offer.  I did some good work, met some wonderful people, and at the end of their time, I could walk away happily checking them off my list as things accomplished.

I've lived enough to know that around any corner, there can be something new and challenging.  Tomorrow, an idea may walk into my head, or an inspiration may take root in my heart, and it won't take long, given my history of stepping out on little more than faith, for me to follow, curious and eager to see if it's really something I can do. I'm willing to fail, but before I admit to failure, I'll give it my best shot, or two or three, if I feel that strongly about it.

"Nothing stays the same and everything changes" a friend of mine was heard to say frequently.  She had lived a vagabond life, moving from place to place as her husband changed jobs, and she had learned to adapt to rapidly altered lifestyles and new locales with humor and grace.  As a child growing up in the place my family had inhabited for generations, I fully expected I would stay there too, raise my family in the traditional way, secure in the familiar.  Life had something else in mind, and after a moment or two of shaking in my shoes, I marched out, determined to show no fear.  Change brought new friendships, new tests of my creativity, and new depths to my faith in a God who never sends us forth alone. Change meant opportunities for growth in new soil, freedom to attempt the untested, and permission to try and even to fail.  Nothing stays the same, thank Heaven!