If you follow me on Facebook, you know I went to the greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference the last weekend of July. Good writers attend these conferences to learn, grow and develop their craft. This conference is one of my absolute favorites! Joe is welcome in the general sessions, and the worship and speakers are inspiring. When I sent a thank you to the director, Marlene Bagnull, I said it was more than a place to study and network, it was a time of spiritual renewal for me.
As a Christian writer, I constantly seek God for my stories. This morning I asked him once again if I was in his will, telling my little stories, because our pastor challenged us to be gathering in the harvest because the hour may be short before the Jesus returns. Have you ever had those times when you felt God smile? In my mind, I heard the Master say, “I told little stories to teach spiritual truth.” May I follow in his footsteps and make his ways come alive in my books!
At the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, I took a workshop on blogging, and I resolved to write a post every Monday. Be dependable. That’s me. I even put it down on my work calendar beside my writing computer in the Salt Mines.* Done. Accomplished.
But . . . I got an email from the young man who has asked me to help him write his story about recovering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when he was a kid. I wanted to take his son out to lunch before school started. School starts Wednesday. Plans abandoned, I scooted off to fetch him, and we had a lovely few hours together.
Ian O’Malley, leading figure in the “Singing Over Me” series, says you can’t be led by the Holy Spirit, if you aren’t flexible. That’s me. Flexible. Sometimes I look like a pretzel!
A classmate’s husband gave Joe a copy of “The Ragamuffin Gospel” when we went to his class reunion several months ago. The book assures us God will hang with us because Jesus hung out with ragamuffins– sinners, prostitutes, despised tax collectors, lepers, the unclean–us! He reminds us of something Paul Tillich said: God accepts us as we are, not as we should be, and that’s a good thing, because we will never be what we should be. Reminds me of my dad, right? What a good God we serve.
So, if you want to hang out with one of God’s ragamuffins, I’m your gal!
* My beloved built me a room in our basement, he tiled the floor, bought a desk and computer designated solely for writing, and a comfy desk chair. What a great guy! Because I want my writing to be salt and light, I refer to going downstairs to work as heading to the salt mines. Continue reading
Though the vision tarry, wait for it. I have two more books in print–you can go to my charlottesreaders page on Facebook to see the covers. Invisible Wounds follows up His Brother’s Wife, published in 2012. Angie Carter’s friend and OB from Walter Reed, Lisa Newcomb, moves near the farm and rehab center to be close. She is greeted by a stranger, retired Marine chaplain, widower William Robinson, who has just joined the Center staff, and the sparks fly! Young Max, now almost five, is precocious and much like his late father, David. Jon and Angie’s twin girls are as different as David and Jonathan. Bill Robinson doesn’t let Lisa’s invisible wounds,a woman betrayed by her father and her husband, stop him from loving her.
The first of the Singing Over Me series was also published in July, 2014. Recovered and Free, Song of a Prodigal Father, traces musician Ian O’Malley’s recovery from alcoholism and his restoration to the family he abandoned: his beloved wife, Alice, his son, Jimmy, and the daughter of his heart, the musical Missy. As the musician confronts the pain he caused, he finds healing in the arms of his family, and they carry on his musical talent.
Stories of redemption, healing, and new life to inspire and touch the hearts of this generation. The most economical way to order is through my publisher. Go to Oaktara.com or Oaktara on Facebook and order through their bookstore. You may also order on Amazon. Let me know what you think!
Joe and I last took a month-long vacation in 1968, with our firstborn, after he returned from Viet Nam. Finally our bucket list cried loudly, so we signed up: A train trip across Canada on VIA, motor coaches from Jasper to Lake Louise to Banff, then on the tourist train, The Rocky Mountaineer, through the Canadian Rockies. Boarding a cruise ship in Vancouver, BC, we rode up Alaska’s Inland Passage: Ketchikan, Skagway, and Seward. From there another train to Anchorage, and then an inland trip to Denali. We walked on the Columbia Ice Field, and viewed spectacular waterfalls and glaciers. Eagle watching. Whale watching. Joe must have 10,000 pictures!
I could only fall on my knees and worship the Creator, Who gave us this beautiful place to live. May we be responsible stewards of this home of soaring eagles, magnificent grizzlies, elk, caribou, and moose. Wow!
Oh, and books. I have two books out next week: Invisible Wounds, the story following His Brother’s Wife, and the first of the four-book Singing over Me series, Recovered and Free. To obtain a copy at the best price, your best bet is to go to Oak Tara on Facebook and order from their bookstore.
PS We look forward to a new grandbaby in August. God is so good!
After I posted on waiting, I received an excellent blog post on the trap of “This, too, shall pass.” The writer said it was the worst possible advice for writers, and encouraged us to be constantly creative. Amen.
While Abraham waited, he moved his family to a new country and built his wealth–thus he was able to rescue Lot. While Moses waited, he tended sheep, leaning how to shepherd God’s flock out of Egypt. While David waited to be king he learned how to lead and inspire. Even Jesus learned to be an obedient son.
I told my publisher once I’m glad I didn’t publish when I was young, because I believed a lot of dumb-dumb things back then, and I’m glad they aren’t in print over my name. Gestation is a period of rapid, explosive growth, although for the most part it’s invisible (love those sonograms!). Waiting is a time of preparation and instruction–for me, learning the craft of writing. Waiting is a time of meditation–moving those spiritual lessons from the head to the heart.
As my hero in the Singing over me series, Ian O’Malley says, God doesn’t waste time, He uses it to make us ready for His plan and purpose in our lives. When we wait in faith, doing what it is our hand finds to do in that time, He is ever shaping us. Be a wife, be a mom, work at your job, find purpose in every season, and you’ll be ready for the next one!
Have you ever “known that you know” something, but it doesn’t come to pass? Decades ago I shared with my niece I was sure God had a call on her life–she was never happier than when leading retreats, and used her vacation time to do so. She was never fully satisfied with her various professional endeavors, although she was accomplished and successful. I had done my thing, told her my impression, which I thought was from God, and stepped aside.
At age 50, she sold her house and began seminary. This weekend we will attend her graduation from Sewanee Episcopal seminary. God bless her as she brings His life to many in Texas! The vision has begun to be fulfilled–Glory to God, and His blessings to my beautiful, radiant, and Spirit-filled niece!
Now I await the publication of five books–Invisible Wounds, the sequel to my first published book (in 2012), should come out this month, and the 4-book series Singing over Me, about the Irish-American musical family. Now I have more in the chute, and an assignment for 5-6 book series called Hope House Girls about each one of the friends Missy O’Malley made at the maternity home. My vision for publishing novels came my sixtieth decade–and I know I was called to this, and it will come to pass.
Sometimes I believe the End of the Age is upon us and the days are being shortened for the elect’s sake because time flies by. Or maybe it’s my age–a day, a month, they are an insignificant fraction of a long life. At any rate, it’s been too long since I’ve had a visit.
After the long winter, good news:
I have the covers for “Invisible Wounds” (sequel to “His Brother’s Wife”) and “Recovered and Free” (the first of four in the Singing Over Me series)–two books are in publication! Soon you’ll be able to order them from Oak Tara or Amazon.
I will be speaking in Charleston. WV, Saturday, May 3, at Valley Assembly, I look forward to this return visit with Pastor Phil Dunn’s marvelous congregation. I have two grandchildren on the way, one natural, one adopted.
I have completed two manuscripts in the upcoming series: The Hope House Girls, and I’m about 2/3 of the way through a third.
Joe and I have been traveling–he taught freshmen medical students at Duke in February, and we went to the Orthopedic Academy Convention in March. He doesn’t need me on thee jaunts, but he wants me along. That, too is good news, after all these years, he still wants me to travel with him.
I’ll be blowing trumpets in Zion when the books are in print. Keep tuned in.