Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Work in Progress

I'm struggling to string words together today. This year has been a difficult one for my family. I won't bore you with every struggle I've gone through but will mention a couple. My mother's stroke and subsequent admittance to the nursing home has taken center stage in my life and continues to do so. Eleven months ago, my husband and I found her on the floor of her bedroom. Her recovery was rapid, except for her short-term memory. She continues to fight against being confined to the nursing home, after eleven long months. We explain why but the next visit involves the same questions and the same answers. Needless to say, it's stressful and draining.

And my husband, Carl, had back surgery last year and has continued to have problems. Then, a couple of months ago, he was severely burned. 

There's more but that should suffice to explain why my writing has stalled, like a rusted-out car, perhaps has completely died and needs to be hauled off to the nearest junkyard.

I'm cautiously optimistic that I can jumpstart my writing in 2017--if somewhere I find a battery with enough juice to get me going. 

I planned to write a non-fiction book, tentatively entitled The Role of a Woman. Here on my blog and in my newsletter I've written a few articles I'd planned to incorporate into the book. That project will be shelved for now. I realize it will take intensive research, and I can't summon up the energy needed at this time.

I had also planned, in 2016, to write book 2 in what I was calling Southern Pines Mysteries. I feel hopeful I can write this book in 2017. Some changes have been made. I've changed the title of the series to A Tree's Response Mystery. The name comes from this quote: “It is a simple story. There is little to tell and it may sound as if I had invented it; but to me it seems like a poem. This young woman knew that she would die in the next few days. But when I talked to her she was cheerful in spite of this knowledge. ‘I am grateful that fate has hit me so hard,’ she told me. ‘In my former life I was spoiled and did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously.’ Pointing through the window of the hut, she said, ‘This tree here is the only friend I have in my loneliness.’ Through that window she could see just one branch of a chestnut tree, and on the branch were two blossoms. ‘I often talk to this tree,’ she said to me. I was startled and didn’t quite know how to take her words. Was she delirious? Did she have occasional hallucinations? Anxiously I asked her if the tree replied. ‘Yes.’ What did it say to her? She answered, ‘It said to me, I am here — I am here — I am life, eternal life.’~Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning

The first book in the series has been published and the other two have been roughly plotted. The three books form one story. Each book will stand alone but each book is connected to the others.

I've also changed the titles a bit in books 2 and 3 and changed the covers. Here are the new covers:

My Work-in-Progress (WIP), Rootless, continues the story of Ezekiel and Grace. Below is a very rough blurb:

Ezekiel has effectively been banished from the Drake Mansion and is now working for Grace's father. Grace's father forces Ezekiel to live in the servants' house, where he displaces the maid's oldest daughter from her room. However, deflecting the daughter's wrath is the least of his worries. 

Mr. Drake's long-lost sister, her husband, and children show up to claim their inheritance. A murder throws suspicion on the entire family, and Grace and Ezekiel are again called upon to solve the mystery. 

Yeah...blurbs are difficult. I'll keep working on it but perhaps it gives an idea of the story. I classified Frail Branch as a cozy mystery. Perhaps I need to re-think the genre. Cozies of today are different than this series. Most of today's cozies have female protagonists, lots of recipes, usually a cat or some other pet, and are humorous. A fifteen-year-old boy, living in the 1940s, with nary a cat in sight, does not fit today's parameters for a cozy mystery. 

However, I consider it a cozy. The books are clean with minimal violence. I'd like to think they're similar to an Agatha Christie mystery.

For Rootless, I'm planning to keep in Ezekiel's point of view. This book will deal with him almost exclusively. He is estranged from Grace and dealing with loneliness and isolation, attempting to fit into an unfamiliar world. 

This song reminds me of Rootless

Hopefully, I'll be telling you more in the coming weeks! Just praying 2017 is a slightly calmer year, and I'll have the energy to write!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Mary, Did You Know?

Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. ~1 Timothy 2:13-15 

 Later I’ll be exploring 1 Timothy 2:8-15 in more detail in one of my newsletters. Today, though, I’d like to look at verse 15, a verse that has puzzled scholars (and me) for many years. Does this say that a woman will be saved if she has a child??? That can’t be since Philippians 2:12 tells us to … work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 

And what of women who never give birth? If this means women will be saved through having children, the childless would be lost. As I puzzled over this particular verse the last few weeks, a song played in my head, a song that has become very popular at Christmas. 

Let’s listen … in the shade:


Particularly listen to these lyrics:

Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Let’s look again at verse 15 and notice something unusual. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Yes, the pronoun changes on us. Could this verse be saying that through Eve (and those who came after her) salvation was brought into the world through a woman’s childbearing, more specifically Mary’s who gave birth to the Christ? And through the birth of Jesus, made possible by Mary’s obedience to God, THEY (all people) with faith will be saved. Couldn’t the “they” refer back to men and women in the previous verses?

Since we know there is only one way to Heaven, through faith in Jesus, this verse becomes more understandable. 

As Paul later says to Timothy:

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. ~2 Timothy 4:6-8

May we be able to say with Paul “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” so that we too will receive “the crown of righteousness” whether we are mothers or not. Thankfully, Mary's child delivered all Christians from the bonds of sin. Amen. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Laundry ... Yes, This is a Blog Post about Laundry

*Posted on Facebook by Simply Real Moms

Laundry—I’m sure someone out there enjoys doing it, and if it’s you, I have the number of a good psychiatrist. J Joking aside, keeping up with laundry seems an almost impossible task. It’s something that has to be done and on a regular basis. And for those who say all jobs can be done as to God, I agree. We are serving others when we do their laundry. However, menial jobs are best done quickly and efficiently to leave us time to do the weightier things in life (although wet laundry is pretty weighty).

Everyone has to figure out a system that works best for himself or herself or the couple-self. In the case of a couple, perhaps they decide the wife will do the laundry and the husband will take care of cutting grass. The trick is to work out an equitable system for you.

When my children were younger, I did a load of laundry every single day. I’d often throw a load in the washer in the mornings before work and dry them when I got home. *Warning--wet clothes in the washing machine will soon sour. Don't leave them too long. Don't ask how I know.* My sons, and often my husband, helped me fold the clothes and each person put their own clothes away.

In the last year or so I’ve changed my routine. I decided to do the laundry in one day—on either Friday or Saturday.

For fold up clothes—towels, pajamas, t-shirts, etc., I or my husband wash and dry several loads and dump them all on the couch. That night, we watch TV and fold the clothes. This system has its drawbacks. Dumping them all on the couch will cause wrinkles. Any clothes that I don’t want wrinkled, I’ll grab and drape over the top of the couch. This is the fastest, easiest method I’ve found. Clothes like shirts, dress pants, and skirts are washed, dried, and immediately hung up.

If I don’t get them out fast enough to avoid wrinkles, my dryer has a steam cycle that does my ironing. Works for me. 

We recently decided to move our laundry room. There are two rooms side by side. The first room, we were told, was an office. The room on the outer wall was the laundry room. Recently, we decided to switch the functions of the rooms. The office became our laundry room and the laundry room became my office. This is the finished result:
Added a shelf to feed the cats on and a bar to hang up clothes straight from the dryer.
The cabinets were already in place!

New office (once the laundry room)

This has increased the efficiency of doing laundry. And I'm loving the office. The words above the window says it all--God is our light even when we do the laundry!