Amanda and That Boy

Do you ever buy a book and then take some time to get to it? Like I did with Lisa Bevere’s book, Lionness Arising? But when the timing was right, suddenly I read it and passed it quickly to my youngest daughter.

The second book, a novel by Barbara Sutryn entitled Amanda and That Boy, copyrighted in 2019 and published by Outskirts Press, Parker, CO, graced a shelf for months. Then, I felt an urgency to read it a couple of weeks ago, just before the race riots. I consumed that tome and ignored chores, social media, and most everything in my life to find out what happened next.

Amanda and That Boy

(photo from web address: https://outskirtspress.com/bookstore/?search=Amanda+and+That+Boy#)

When I closed the back cover, a quiet thought came to me. Give it to your youngest daughter.

She looked into foster care, but the way did not open. She works with teens so parents can have a respite from their care.

This book, Amanda and That Boy is about a youngster from the projects. An inexperienced woman steps in to care for a grown child. My daughter became an instant mother when she married a man with children.

I asked her how she liked the book. She really liked it, but she got frustrated with the main character. I may not react like Amanda in this book and my daughter certainly wouldn’t respond as this believable character did, but the story got us thinking.

I asked God what He wanted me to do with the stories I’ve been seeing and hearing about that touch my heart. It’s too much, I can’t do everything. He might have said, “Write.”

And so, I do.

May God bless you.

Grandchildren Went Home

photo from: http://www.best-childrens-books.com/oh-say-can-you-say.html

 

 

Well, the house is quieter and the neighborhood bereft of indignant squeals between siblings. We went to two libraries for books and videos and a bagful of puppets. Tonight I read, Oh Say Can You Say? by Dr. Seuss. It’s a BEGINNER BOOKS, A Division of Random House, Inc. and was copyrighted in 1979.

I wish we would have read it together. It made me laugh a tiny bit on my own as I stumbled over the phrases. Together we would have shouted with joy, I’m sure.

I hope it’s okay if I type a couple of pages. Minus the pictures it won’t have the same impact, but if you want to read these aloud, you’ll get an idea of the juxtaposition of words and the easy chance to mispronounce them.

“Pete Pats Pigs”

“Pete Briggs pats pigs.

Briggs pats pink pigs.

(Don’t ask me why. It doesn’t matter.)

Pete Briggs is a pink pig, big pig patter.

 

“Pete Briggs pats his big pink pigs all day.

(Don’t ask me why. I cannot say.)

Then Pete puts his patted pigs away

In his Pete Briggs’ Pink Pigs Big Pigs Pigpen.”

 

Isn’t that a hoot? Aren’t words fun? I give the typists at Random House Beginner Books a lot of credit. It wasn’t easy typing those words, let alone reading them. And the layout of pictures and the bright colors. It makes me want to buy the book for my grandchildren to grab ahold of, and maybe I will.

Grandchildren are just grand, fun to have around, makes me sad to see them go, and yet I sleep like a baby after they’re on their way. Not my problem to discipline them, just my job to love them and give their parents advice if they ask.

They receive my prayers, whether they know it or not. I receive their prayers and sometimes I get to hear them, which warms my innermost being.

I hope you are having a great day. May God bless you and yours.

Marriage for Life

Portrait of a husband and wife with small baby child - stock photo         photo from shutterstock

My husband and I went to a meeting for area pastors today and statistics about marriages failing came up. 50% of marriages break up, the man said.

An older man gasped, but I’d done research for a marriage book a few years ago. I wasn’t surprised. I put the book aside, and now I’m seeking God about my writing because I set aside a finished novel because it lacked intrigue.

As I sought God today I thought He directed me to blog on marriage.

The main speaker for our function ate lunch with us. He asked how long my husband and I have been married. “Forty-one years.”

I also felt as if God led me to Proverbs 21 before the idea came to blog. There’s a lot of advice in that Proverb and verse 9 in the New King James Version says it is “Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.”

Verse 23 says, “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles.”

So although the verses are not coupled together, I’m well aware that it’s harder for me to be contentious when I’m keeping quiet.

Proverbs 17:1 says, “Better is a dry morsel with quietness, Than a house full of feasting with strife.”

I’ve learned the hard way that words can steal the joy and drain ambition out of my husband with a well-phrased question or a reminder of a particular failed attempt. How I wished for a time machine to go back and re-live the moment with a positive response or a neutral comment.

Now, if you were to ask my husband, he would say I’ve supported him more often than discouraged him because he’s told me so. I’m just aware that there are times when I’ve been sorry my words slid by my self-control and then we both suffered the consequences.

Proverbs 14:1 (ESV): The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

So this discourse can be summed up by listing some strong helps for marriage:

  • Following God because He loves you both and He gives great advice.
  • Communicate in healthy ways when you’re not exhausted and after emotions have cooled down.
  • Respect each other. If there’s not a lot of room for respect, ask God to show you how He sees your mate.

No one is perfect – no one. If my husband were abusive, I would love him from a distance with my children safe from harm and removed from a negative influence that they may imitate when they get older.

May God bless you!

Thoughts Derived After Reading The River Between Us

The River Between Us

I read Richard Peck’s award winning novel, The River Between Us last week. It got copyrighted in 2003, published as a Puffin book by The Penguin Group, New York, NY.

His books tend to be humorous, and this one may have had a few places that brought out a smile, but the subject matter lent to a serious tone.

He said in an afterword that to research the Civil War could take years. So, he limited the aspects of the war to a small slice of it.

This book was my least favorite of his, maybe because the families grieved over their dying sons. I’ve been grieving over a lady that passed away. Slavery and racism came up for consideration. So, even though the topics in the story need to have light shed on them, the timing could have been better for me.

The Christians in the novel didn’t represent the love Jesus wants us to share with others. The Apostle John being inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote in 1 John 4:7-11:

1John 4:7, (ESV)  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and  whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

1Jn 4:8  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1Jn 4:9  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

1Jn 4:10  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1Jn 4:11  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

 

Sometimes Christians fall short. Sometimes people say they’re Christian, but they don’t read the Bible or try to live in a manner that pleases God.

That’s unfortunate.

To change the subject, I got a book of Davis Bunn’s from the library last week entitled The Imposter.  It sounds intriguing.

God bless!

Open to God?

I moved around the house today in my usual way – straightening up the kitchen, putting in a load of laundry, taking down the dry clothes from the drying rack, etc.

 

Around noon I realized, once again, all the puttering kept me from sitting down with an open Bible and an open heart.

 

So, even though books and a tablet and a bowl and a cup nestled by the front door reminding me I was on my way to write at the library and buy tea and return a borrowed bowl, I resisted their beckoning.

 

I sat on a wing chair in the living room and read Matthew, chapters 20-21. I wanted to keep reading! After that I felt as though God whispered, “Feed My sheep.”

 

I feel as though I hear that periodically, but it’s been a while. I’m trying to finish the library book, One great Way to Write Short Stories: A Step-By-Step Approach by Ben Nyberg, copyrighted in 1988, published by Writers’ Digest Books, Cincinnati, OH.

 

The author had us think of an incident in our lives we’d like to fictionalize, so I started with that. We’ve continued with more padding, essential padding as if we’re heading for a cold winter and our words are clothing layers. We did this by adding four renditions at this point. I’m getting to the dénouement or wrapping things up at the end of the short story, but there’s more to learn from Mr. Nyberg.

 

I am being instructed to go back to my piece and look for things written organically, hopefully. If they’re not there, seamless interweaving is the next step.

 

There’s not a mention of God in my story at this point but there is a moral crisis.

 

So, I will pray that the readers sense God in their lives as they follow the characters.

 

I’m anticipating starting a bigger work today. God bless!

 

 

Savoring the Magic

Today started like any day might, but it turned into a day of joyful encounters with unexpected friends at a family reunion picnic. My sister invited a good friend and her daughter to the event but didn’t let me know. What a delight!

Then within a half hour or so, my daughter and her four children arrived. She drove her brother, my second son, to the picnic as well. More joy. Seeing extended family and family-like friends, plus my sister, Barb, made my day.

My husband and I drove on a newly paved highway through the valleys of upstate New York. My youngest daughter and her boyfriend accompanied us and we discussed the hilly terrain. Are they small mountains or high hills? I tried to find out on the internet, but it was inconclusive, in my opinion. So, I’ll do more research. That’s what writers do. We care about details that others may find boring or a waste of time. Then we ponder the wonder of it all. Give it our perspective and possibly turn it into a poem or a children’s story or consider it for a setting in a novel. Sometimes I have to remember to live in the moment because my mind starts fashioning new worlds and pretend people and I realize I missed what someone was saying, or I didn’t glance at the stars when I went from the car to the house.

If I live in a fantasy land, the important can be neglected. I remembered saying I was going to read the book I bought at Montrose Christian Writers’ Conference, entitled, “The ABC’s of Who God Says I Am,” by Kolleen Lucariello. So, I read chapter one this week. I thought of the vulnerability she displayed as she described an incident in her high school years. Marlene Bagnull taught at a writers’ conference in Rochester, NY, possibly in 1991. My first writers’ conference. She told us that vulnerability in an author is a key component in good writing.

I look forward to reading more of Kolleen Lucariello’s book. It made me think. I left its pages feeling encouraged.

If you get a chance to spend time with family and friends, savoring their smiles and the sunshine on a creek, hoisting little ones to view the seaweed and the black and jade-colored dragonflies, do it. Live in the present, and if you’re a writer, capture the magic of life.

When the reality of life gets hard, a story can catapult me into another time and place. I return with renewed vigor and hopefully some nugget of truth I never appreciated or understood before. Life needs balance.

Tomorrow morning, I plan to go to church and sing songs that remind me of the goodness of God. I expect it’ll be as most of the Sundays that have come and gone, but one never knows what God may orchestrate. 🙂