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Monday, March 31, 2014


For her sake, I'm sorry that Linda is back, for skilled nursing this time.

But, oh, what a smile to my face.  Linda was my first and best roommate.  A good friend. We would gladly have shared a room together but of course, I am with someone else.

That brings me to my next point. My present roommate. Brenda is about my age. Her mother recently died. Her body ravaged by polio, her speech difficult to understand, when I first moved in, all she did was to cry. She didn't like sharing a room and she missed her mom.

Something changed. Now we giggle - giggile! - about any little thing. The Cadbury bunny commercial. Her nickname of "Princess Brenda the Splendid" to go with mine, Queen Darlene.

We passed a barrier of tolerating each other to enjoying each other.

The gift of laughter is precious indeed.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Reading and Writing March 20-26, 2014

Ah, spring. What a lovely time.

Let's see. I've written two poems, edited three devotionals and sent them in. I worked on a couple of tough ones--about the 10 wise and foolish virgins, Samson's wife and Sapphira. Now I have to choose from an abundance of material about Sarah for three more.

As far as Runaway Love, I am officially over half-way. Telling myself that 200 words is better than none.

I finished reading Angels Watching Over Me by Michael Phillips. It is beautifully written, makes me want to find out what happens next, unlike most series openers. (I know they give the first book for free to encourage readers to buy book #2 and so on).

I also read a short story by one of our local OKC writers, For Mercie's Sake by Sharon Srock. Check it out--see for yourself of how ordinary can make a difference, becoming God's instruments of mercy.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

POETRY ZONE March 19-25

Inspiration for Love Is came from a list of lines to include one or more in our poem. I started with "Love lies buried."  Can you guess at some of the others  included?

LOVE IS. . .

Love lies buried ‘neath the deepest sea

Furrows spuming tendrils to the light

Rhythms swell and spread, a crescendo

Tide wipes sand of doubt away for now


Love alone is tender, good for warmth

Evening is a shroud that love unveils

Laser beam lights one step, and N more

Blessed, not burnt, at sun’s inner core.  


Over time and distance love endures

Weathering both boulders and pebbles

Rarified air while hiking Zion’s Mount

Where we always laugh and dream


Misery may engulf but not drown it

Passion’s zeal may scorch but not burn it

Not even Paradise will complete it for


 Form: Nonette, 9 lines, as the word suggests. I have always found the translation of Galatians 5:1 in the New American Standard Bible fascinating: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."



Liberty’s birthright bound, locked and chained

Freedom’s fortress breached, choice by choice

Once surrendered for sin’s debt

No barter can buy back

Freedom is not free

Death the price paid

Inside and out


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Reading and Writing March 13-19, 2014

This week I determined to fill the empty spaces with writing. I've done better. . .but not as well as I would like. A work in progress. I still wonder how I've managed to write thirty books. :)

This week I have better excuses than usual: I am learning a new computer. The schedule at the nursing home has been more erratic than usual. I had a chance to enter a proposal for a book, which took the better part of a day. Therapy actually worked with me several times. And so on.

What did I do?

I'm about halfway through the devotionals. The ones who are well-known--such as Rebekah and Ruth--have so much material that I hunt for the verses, the ideas, that speak to me and hopefully to my readers. There are other characters--such as the ten virgins waiting for the bridegrooms--who befuddle me.

Still ahead lie women I've never heard of.  Taphath, anyone? Maybe Tahpenes?

Still, I have passed the half-way point on Runaway Love and the devotional book. I also have been promised a contract for another novella, but I can't give any details yet.

As for what I'm reading, I finished Killing Faith by Eric Myers. As expected, the hero was someone of extraordinary physical stamina and courage, a highly trained black ops kind of spy. The heroine was his equal, only more of a by-the-books traditional CIA agent. Her name was Faith, and she worked undercover as a Russian Orthodox nun. The experience changed her, while not converting her.   Well-written enough. I would read this author again but probably wouldn't seek him out.

I just began Angels Watching Over Me by Michael Phillips. It captured my heart with the first page and I want to devour it. So I bet I'll have read it all by next Sunday and I can tell you all about it.

I'm also reading a novel about Fire Island, which has inspired an idea for a romance about wreckers in the Florida Keys. Who knows, I might to write that some day. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

POETRY March 12-18, 2014

I wrote only one poem this week.

The prompt was "take nothing for granted," to write about something others would overlook. What jumped to mind was the tattered teddy bear I take to bed every night. He is one of the last things Jolene gave to me. I named him Michael, her favorite boy's name. 

Of Jolene


Where is Michael?

Velveteen bear rescued from the rubbish

Matted, lumpy, dirty and broken

No velvet nor bow of satin

Only a memory of the way things were


Where was Michael born?

Brown head, red bow and beady black eyes

Popped out of paper of green, red and blue

Gift-giver sings of the manger

Infant slumbers calm the fears


Where is Michael?

Joins his brothers on the shelf, forgotten

Phone rings, Michael clutched to breast

Talisman of happy times

Michael is found, but his mother is lost


Where is Jolene? With Michael, next to my heart

Monday, March 17, 2014


Six years ago today, I spent the day calling every hospital and social worker I knew, trying to locate Jolene. At first, my mind hadn't gone further than hospital or even jail. With each passing negative answer, my mind swayed toward the inevitable conclusion: she's dead. When the coroner called at midnight, I knew before he said a word.

This year, the dates the story played out fall on the same days of the week as six years ago. It's been particularly poignant.

Will the time come that I don't think of this week of March as "the" week, the one I have to endure, when the lives of my children started and one ended?  Perhaps not.

Will the time come that I don't feel the need to invite my friends to grieve with me, when I keep the memorial silently? I hope so.

Will the time come that I will rejoice in the birthdays of my granddaughter (on the  6th) and of my son (14th) and not let Jolene's death overtake the celebration of their lives? I try. They deserve it, especially Jaran, who must feel Jolene's needs took precedence over his when he was little. Let's say it's like love is a verb, not a feeling. I sing while I work and write and send cards and make phone calls--and I can focus on them.

Will the day come when that happens without so much effort? Not yet.

Yesterday, Jolene would have turned thirty. I can't imagine her as a thirty-year-old. She is and always will be almost 24 years old. I don't know what twists and turns her life might have taken. I don't know if she would be happy. Her borderline personality disorder messed with her emotions all the time.

On the other hand, Jaran is 34. Their eldest, Savannah, turned 18 (his step. No, he wasn't 16 when she was born) and will graduate from high school in the spring. He has a good job and he provides a good income for the family. He loves the Lord and loves His word. Every now and then I see someone on television who reminds me of Jaran--dark hair, glasses, full beard--and I take a second look. When he brings my "babies," I'm thrilled to death. He says that Isaiah (now 3) clamors to come see me, and that makes me feel wonderful. And Jordan--well, she runs, hugs me, and we giggle together.

This year, all in all, has been easier. Writing poetry has helped me focus my feelings and let them go.

Thanks to all of you who continue to reach out over the years.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Reading and Writing March 6-12, 2014

I am debating whether or not to enter the "Poem a Day" challenge sponsored by Writers Digest in April. I am enjoying my poetry writing, but I am highly busy . . .

Writing wise, I have made decent progress on my devotional writing assignment for Women of the Bible. Ooh, next I have the woman at the well. I wonder what God will show me this week . . .

I've made a very small amount of progress on my next Heartsong book.

Most of my time has gone toward teaching my online class on Fearless Research for ACFW. More people than I expected have jumped into the class, and it's a joy.

Reading-wise, I am reading an international thriller,  Killing Faith by Eric Myer. I'm also reading a lot of about women of the Bible. Confession: I don't read these books except when I'm doing research. I want to be sure my insight doesn't go against a more studied approach of the women.

Oh, yes, I made my deadline on edits to Saving Felicity. I also mailed my signed contracts for Women of the Bible. I am still waiting on word about the two pending proposals.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

POETRY March 5-11, 2014

This week, I determined to write poetry about subjects that bring me joy. I wrote about man (women too) made in God's image, and my oldest granddaughter's and my son's birthdays.  

Poem #1: Prompt starting "Every life needs a. . ."


Let Us make a self-portrait
Humanity alone will reflect Our nature
Humanity, but not a man nor a woman
Every person born is a fleck of paint
Drawn by Us in unique detail
We’ll embody ourselves in nature so they will hear
Our voice echoed in its rhythm and song
We’ll imitate Our dimensions so they will see Us
From hummingbird to Everest
Families and sex epitomize Our love
Like a funny house, they distort Our image
We were the Word before we gave them minds to learn
The words we use to represent us
Every vision is seen through a dark mirror, broken
Until Our light replaces the sun and we meet face to face
Every knee bowed, Our portrait complete

For his 34th Birthday

Eager, ignorant, me a greenhorn
No harm, all good, to adorn
Gabriel, blow your horn
My first-born

I say Lennon, he says Cobain—growth’s thorn
Zenith passes childhood’s morn
Gabriel, blow your horn
My first-born

New-found love explodes, no longer lorn
Apron strings returned, though torn
Gabriel, blow your horn
My first-born

Form: Triquint


Dancing on the street
Daring water jets for fun
I knew I loved you

Child of love not blood
Passion, beauty, wits, bold strikes
Unlimited hope

Form: Haiku

Monday, March 10, 2014

Goodbyes and Hellos

A new company took over the nursing home where I leave. They have changed staff policy to some extent. They are juggling work schedules on a daily basis. Several aides have already left, but now the local bridge has been declared unsafe. Instead of a five minute drive across the bridge, now some staff members have to drive an extra forty minutes to reach the next bridge. Aides are leaving in floods, and it is hard to see them go.

At the same time, I know that people enter the medical field because they care about people. Most of the new hires will be pleasant and may become good friends. It's just, sigh, the change, and the time investment.

Today I learned that the (new) Director of Nursing has written a new Restorative Therapy Plan. Now I know what they want us to work on, as well as how often. Seeing it in black-and-white feels great.

More stories on my table mates, whom are becoming friends:

  • Miss V tends to repeat the same stories in her irritating sing-song voice. And many of her stories are very said. Her story-telling has dipped down a little. And even, she said, "I'm the luckiest woman alive. I had the best mother in the world, and when she died, I had the best mother-in-law in the world." I stopped her right there, and told her how happy she had made me.
  • Miss W says very little. One day I could swear she winked at me. I asked her if she liked chili, the menu. Both eyes popped opened, light shining through, and she spoke with great enthusiasm. "Yes!" Then she looked at the menu board and read the remaining menu items--fried okra and cornbread. It was the most conversation I have had with her. 
Over time, we have become patient with each other's memory lapses. More able to smooth over arguments. Miss V and I can have some in-depth conversation, but we also discuss things in the here-and-now: Do you like today's menu? I like your shirt. Betty Boop is dressed like Mrs. Santa Claus.

I like to think I'm helping them while at the same time making it more pleasant for myself. As an aide said, I need to be needed.

Less than a year has passed since my roommate lost her mother. The loss of long-term staff added to her grief for her mother is oh, so difficult for her. Please keep her in your prayers.

Oh, my oldest granddaughter turned eighteen on Thursday!  

This is "the" week--the anniversary of Jolene's death, and both Jaran and Jolene's birthdays. Your prayers for me in particular this week are appreciated. I will write my annual review next Monday.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

READING AND WRITING February 7-March 5

Several items of news:

In addition to my two works-in-progress, I have two other projects due soon:

  • Edits to my next book, Saving Felicity (Turned in today)
  • Month-long class on Fearless Research, taught online with ACFW

I have kept up with devotions and made fair progress on Runaway Love. A very busy month!

As far as reading, I finished A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman. An amazing book! A much-read for fans of Christian historical romance.  Would have been worth every penny if I had bought it full price.

I also read a short story about A Jar of Pickles. Put it this way: even as a freebie, a waste of time.

This week, I am the guest at Martha Rogers' blog,  Stop by and  leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Homefront Dreams.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I found this week's assignments (the inspiration from personification and the form of a "found" poem, based on another published piece) particularly difficult.  I finally found a solution to my original inspiration (how music keys feel like colors to me):


Doe a deer, not ABC
More Maria Von Trappe than Mary Poppins
Sound rounding mountain and valley
Circle is music.

C jumps to G and G hops to D
Chords climb higher, snappier
‘Til they explode with seven sharps
Circle is play

D-flat drowns in cave darkness
A-flat flips on flashlight
E-flat, a forty-watt bulb illumines
Circle is light

A, undone and shrill, runs on adrenaline
B-flat offers succor in sorrow
C is both comfort and comfortable

Circle is life.

NEW POETRY March 6-April 5, 2014

Prompt: Explore the connection between color and emotion. The old song "My World is Blue" came to mind.


In winter-time, earth and sky lend ice
Not enough hours to entice
Blue when weather’s vice
Gives white prize

Equinox pours blue to each day’s slice
Teasing us with spring’s advice
Sky and field, so nice
So precise

Heaven is gold with rainbow’s allspice
Azures, sapphires, beyond price
Only sacrifice

Form: Second Chances: first 3 lines of a previous poem


Sentenced to life without Jolene

Jailed by grief

Key drowned in my sea of tears

Waves subside but black walls encompass me

Alone in the dark, my fingers fumble for light

God drills a pinpoint in my prison

Illuminating life around me

Within me

Do I dare?

Snatch the key, crack the door

On probation

Sunday, March 2, 2014


 The title sounds glorious. I refuse to give in to the melancholy that stalks me today. The calendar turned from February to March and with it, a cold stone came to life in my stomach, reminding me of the reason why I dread March.

I have dreamed of my daughter this past week. From what little I remember, a very young Jolene had a baby.

Then I woke up and . . . realized the falsity of the dream.

I thought this year might be different. I breezed through February.

In any case. . .your prayers are appreciated, as always.

But the magnificence of March shows in other ways.

My oldest granddaughter (by marriage) turns eighteen this week.

Jaran will be thirty-four in less than two weeks.

We arrive at St. Patrick's Day. I've always believed my great-grandmother arrived in America from Ireland, but my recent research on suggests otherwise. I may not be Irish at all.  But as long as I have a bit of the blarney, that is all that matters, is it not?

This month I get to teach an online course to members of a national writing organization. The timing is perfect, to keep me too busy to worry overmuch about the anniversaries.

This week I hope to hear back on two writing projects I submitted. I may be on the cusp of getting even busier.

Oh, yes, Jaran will deliver my new computer as soon as the weather cooperates on a weekend.

I have several reasons to rejoice this month.

Including Jolene, up in heaven, who might tending to a heavenly nursery even as I write.