Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Little details give dreams wings to fly

I am sitting here finally having a day to work on details.  Actually tiny details-- like deciding what image I want at chapter titles.  Sounds small, but I am told those small formatting decisions make a huge difference, so I am searching for the perfect key.  I'm not sure I'm going to find it, so I may have Rebecca draw it for me.  This is being said after spending the last five hours looking through about ten thousand different vintage/old keys!  The internet is an amazing thing!  I say this in defense of my exhaustive search.  I did find about five to ten possibilities, believe it or not.  Next detail is chapter titles.  Fun!  But it's slowly getting ready to be published.  Rebecca finished the picture for the cover, and so Thursday we begin the process of building a cover!  I am so stoked!  So maybe this weekend I'll be able to download the cover onto my website and here on my blog for everyone to see.  How exciting!  You, my readers, have been with me for this journey so you should be the first to see the first fruits!
This seems like alot of things we do in life.  At first we can't see how things are going to look, but then we begin with little steps.  As we make those little steps our dream begins to take form.  I think of relationships.  When we first meet that right person we have no clue (for the most part) and then we get to know the person, and as we do we hope, but we still don't quite see it yet.  Then we continue, not really knowing exactly what we are doing, and finally there comes that day when we know.  Even then we are still a little sheepish about what we should do.  Do we tell the person how we feel?   Do we play it cool?  We finally after great deliberation (for some) make the leap, and if everything is going right the person we are involved with is in the same place.  It proceeds, sometimes rough, sometimes peaceful, but it continues until there's another day that the couple decides they don't ever want to be apart.  Finally they decide to tie the knot--   Huge amounts of planning go in, and finally what could have been is real, a new family is formed.  But at first that doesn't seem possible.  It happens in little steps.
It's the same with finding a job.  First you canvas a vast number of possible employers with resumes and applications.  Then you spend time talking to them on the phone and/or in person trying to get an interview.  After that it's the interview process--  And that is a process these days!  Then finally the day comes when you get the job.  Did you know you would have that particular job when you started?  Probably not.  But you knew there would be something.  As it went along you started to see what would be.
That's kinda like The Key to Her Heart.  I knew someday I would publish.  I even knew I wanted to go with at format that allowed for e-books.  I like the concept of publishing via the internet.  What I had no clue of was how everything had changed since I first heard of internet publishing twelve or so years ago.  I also had no clue that I would do this in a completely independent way.  I didn't have a clue what my cover would look like, or that I would have a target date of November 5, 2013 for release of The Key to Her Heart.   So I am watching this all happen little piece by tiny piece.  And it is exciting because my dream is taking flight!  This gives me so much joy.  I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful this journey is for me.  I hope for the same kind joy for everyone around me. My prayer for all of you is for your dreams to get wings to fly because it is exhilarating! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

My sister and Ana

I've got to clear things up from a previous post.  I want to apologize to my readers.  In the last post when I talked about my friend I was talking about myself, and my sister is the person I was talking about with a seven year old daughter.
So let's start fresh.  My sister has been on drugs three times.  The first time from fourteen to twenty-three, then she got clean and lived with me for two years until she got married the first time.  She was married for eighteen months, and then separated and she came to live with me again  Then after five years of living life clean she went back to drugs and moved back to California after starting on drugs again.
On July 12, 2005 she stopped drugs and was drug and alcohol free until about a year ago when she began drinking. A month ago she began drugs again.
In November of 2005 she became pregnant and in July of 2006 she had a beautiful little girl named Ana.  Her pregnancy was hard, and she passed out from various reasons.  Ana was as keyed up as her mother when she was a baby, and she was hard for my sister to raise.  She woke up and fussed alot.
My sister had come back to live with us soon after she got off drugs, but she was very different.  I and my daughters very much grieved for the person we use to know.  She came back telling the truth, but the vibrant person that she once was now was gone.  There was so much she didn't understand, and in so many ways she was much more like a child.  My son he had trouble getting along with her because he was use to how his sisters dealt with life, and that was not the way my sister lived.
My sister was nice but volatile, and anxious even when things were going well.  She didn't understand basic things, and she didn't always get what people were telling her.  She was very impulsive, and at times would 'shoot herself in the foot' when things were going pretty good.  For the first several months I would have to go to her doctors' appointments with her because she needed me to explain what the doctor had said and what was going to happen.  She had trouble with basic things.
There were people that advised me to have her place her child for adoption.  I couldn't.  You see my sister had had two tubal pregnancies, and a miscarriage.  The doctors had told her she couldn't have children.  Six months before she got clean her father had died.  Most of her life she hadn't known him, but then he became a part of her life, then suddenly he was gone.
When she found she was pregnant with Ana it was a miracle, and I promised God and my sister that no matter what I would uphold her motherhood because I knew it was the only wish she had ever had for herself.  She wanted a child more than anything and had been devastated with each pregnancy she lost.  She was so frightened she would lose Ana too, but together she and I prayed through and she was blessed with a beautiful daughter.
There was no way I could take her motherhood away from her.  So instead since I was the one that didn't even talk to her about adoption, even though I knew for Ana it would be a much better option, I vowed I would do everything in my power to help Ana and my sister, and I would help her to learn to be a good mother.  So, I did everything in my power to make life better, and when my sister became anxious I would calm her down, when Ana wouldn't go to sleep easily I would help my sister settle her down.  When Ana woke up in the middle of the night screaming, and my sister unawake woke up angrier than a mama bear, one of my daughter's would be there to grab Ana and settle her down as her mother calmed down from the sudden sound.
When Ana was eleven months old my sister got upset and left, and we didn't see her for three days.  She got an apartment, though she didn't have money, and then she had to get a job.  So once more we had Ana.  We helped her find an apartment closer to us so that it would be easier for her to bring her to our home while she worked.  Around this time, my sister began working as a flagger for road construction.  This would take her out of town for five to six days twenty four hours a day, and she would be home one to two days.  We basically were raising Ana.  Sometimes she would become very sick when she got home and so she was hospitalized for three-five days a few times.
Once she came home with pneumonia and the other two times the doctors talked about heart trouble.  In November of  2008 the doctors told her 'no more flagging'.
She had an enlarged heart and was going into heart failure.  She had found a boyfriend while away and he moved here to be with her.  She couldn't work while the doctors were trying to figure out what was going on, and so he took over.  They got a little house, but he didn't like us, so he would throw a fit if she allowed Ana be around us or even if she came over here.  I got so fed up that I didn't speak to them for four months because I was afraid of what I would say in front of Ana.  Finally she landed in the hospital, and asked her friend to call me.
She's my sister.  I was there in a heartbeat.  We were going on a short vacation that day, and she asked me to take Ana with us.  This began a tense new beginning.  Ana was a different child.  She was withdrawn, frightened, and painfully thin.  While we were gone my sister attempted suicide and ended up in the hospital for a mandatory four day stay, and so we were asked to keep Ana until she was stabilized.  Her boyfriend wasn't allowed to be alone with Ana, and she had a case worker visiting with them every other day.
In November of 2009, on my birthday, my sister and Ana moved back in with us, and even when it was rocky she stayed with us until January a year and a half ago when she punched my son in the chest.
She didn't know I heard it happen, and then I knew I couldn't let this go on.  So for the last nineteen months she has lived on her own, or with a boyfriend, or at Ana's father's house.  For a couple weeks over Christmas she stayed with us again, but that was almost to much.  Now for the last three months she's had a little house, and I was hoping was finally becoming stable.  That was until Saturday when I received a frantic call from my sister.  She was canceling my niece's birthday party and hour before it was suppose to happen.  This was the first indication that something was desperately wrong.
I in my only style, took over. I offered to get a cake and make it happen.  It could be a couple hours late, but at least it wouldn't just be cancelled.  After doing alot of talking we made this happen.  My sister was jumpy and not really relating to what was going on.  She would grab the presents out of Ana's hands before she could really even see them.  It was strange, and it was while watching her I knew the truth.  Sunday we received a call, my sister was hysterical.  That was the day that all my worst fears were confirmed.
That's the day I found she was back on drugs, and had been hurt, beaten, and forced to do things no one should ever do.  No one knows how much Ana saw, and very honest I am still sick inside thinking about it. My daughter stayed with her that night, and Monday we tried to help my sister get help, but she refused. The next day Megan and I forced the issue.
We went to the court, and signed papers to have her committed to a substance abuse program.  That evening we talked with Ana's father--  The guy I had been led to believe was such an aweful person.  He wasn't.  He didn't want to take Ana from her mother.  He just wanted to protect her like we did, and so talking to him we came up with a game plan without getting Child Protective Services involved.
My sister detoxed in the hospital the rest of Tuesday, all of Wednesday, and was moved to rehab on Thursday afternoon.  The hearing to decide if she had to stay was today, and the judge decided on inpatient. We don't know how long she will be in there.  It could be a week and it probably won't be four weeks, but somewhere in between I would guess.
To go to the court was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.  I am so against intervening, but I know my sister's heart condition, and I know how weak she is.  Every time she ended in the hospital (and that has been on average at least every other month for the last five years.) I've been there with her.  Her heart doctor is at Mayo, because locally they don't know what to do for her.  I know everything about her condition, and I know that taking Meth will kill her.  When my sister wouldn't take action, I didn't know what else to do. Until today my sister wouldn't even talk to me.  That was after yelling at me and telling me how much she hates me and telling me I was a liar and that she would make me pay.  You know what?  It hurt.  More than words can even say, it hurt.
Still, I love my sister, and I am willing to risk losing her love if it saves her life and saves her ability to be Mom to Ana.  At the hearing she looked away from me, and I could see the tears in her eyes.  I wanted to hold her and comfort her, but I also could see she was still very angry.  It hurt.
Then tonight she called, and in tears ask me to forgive her.  I know there is so much more healing, but at least it has begun and my sister has the help she needs.  And through this there has been healing for all of us. God works through our hands, and sometimes when we see it as so dark there is light we can't see until afterwards.  This is one of those times.  Thankfully...

Monday, July 22, 2013

For the love of broken children

Something happened to a person close to me today, and without naming them, I just need a place to talk about it.  I hope you do not mind.  My friend got a call from her sister.  It was a frantic call, her sister was hysterical and barely understandable.  You have to understand my friend's sister has had alot of trouble since she was young with drugs.  Until the last month she had been off drugs for over seven years, and she has a little girl.  My friend has in every way tried to be the best sister she could be.  For the first five years of her niece's life she not only helped raise her, but her niece lived with her.  The last couple years though the sister pretty much cut my friend out of her life, but that helped my friend to focus on her own family even though she has been hurt for the lack of time she has had with her niece.  Today without warning everything exploded with that hysterical call.  She and another friend went over to her sister's house to find she was being threatened by a boyfriend who was terrorizing  both her and her daughter.  My friend got both of them out of there and took them to her home while the other person she brought with her talked the boyfriend down and forced him to leave.  Once things were under control, the little girl's father came to take her to his house overnight and the sister went to sleep things off.  Sounds like a perfect ending-- considering.
It wasn't.  It isn't.  The little girl's father hasn't been a part of her life until the last year and a half.  He has three children, and each he gained custody of so he wouldn't have to pay child support.  As long as my friend's sister didn't pursue child support, he had nothing to do with his daughter.  He's manipulative, even trying to manipulate my friend, and he's very controlling.  Honestly from what I've seen from an outsider's point of view he's pretty abusive emotionally making both the sister and her little girl feel like dirt.  He has threatened the sister many times over stupid things, and this he would squash her like a bug if he found out.  Though he is not on drugs, and he makes a decent living he is no better for the little girl than her mother, and in some of his calloused ways much worse.
My friend isn't sure how to feel.  She says she's numb at this point, and yet overwhelmed.  I know she's talked about feeling like she let the little girl down.  And though she loves her sister, I think it's very hard to forgive the damage she's causing both her daughter and my friend's family.  I keep reminding her of the hard lesson I've had to learn.  Love even the unlovable and forgive even the unforgivable.  She says she knows, but sometimes that is so hard to do.
The little girl is amazing.  My friend said she screamed back at the boyfriend when he threatened her mom, and stood up to him.  If you saw her she is a tiny little kid with a big smile and she's not afraid of anyone.  Because of the problems her mother has had, she does have some learning issues, but she is smart and she knows people.  Consequently, she didn't like this boyfriend even before this incident happened and she also does not get along with her father.  My friend is worried what's going to happen to her niece if her sister doesn't straighten up her life or if the father finds out about the sister's stupidity.  I wonder if the little girl is left with either of her parents how will she fare?  I think she should be protected and loved unconditionally, and that she has a right to stability.  Really I think the best place for her to be is with my friend, and for her parents to have visitations--  maybe even supervised visitations.
I hate how children are not treasured in our society.  I hate how good parents seemed to be punished, and children like the little girl I am talking about are left in horrible situations because they are not bad enough for someone to intervene, and if someone like my friend would try they would quickly find their hands tied and them unable to do anything to protect children like the little girl.  It really gets me ticked.  And yet I am only one person...  Yet I have a voice--  It come out in writing.
So I appeal to all listening, let's change the system.  Let's do all we can for the children--  Not more government.  Because we all know when the government gets involved it just makes it worse.  Let's get involved in the lives around us.  Let's help parents that are struggling.  Let's be our brother's (and sister's) keepers.  Let's pour out our love on those around us. Let's become foster parents.  Let's adopt children that haven't had the easiest road-- whether legal adoption or by being mentors, or by taking over when the parent needs help.  Let's help stop drugs by giving a weak person some hope and joy and love.  Please!  I appeal to you!  Give of yourself for the ones around you.  Because they need you.    

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Aunt Dee

There is a sweet lady in California, where I was raised, who is stuck in a bed and is slowly dying.  She is a good Christian woman that has loved so many people.  She is a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and Godmother to my mother along with being her aunt.
When I was a hurt, angry, and confused teenager she showed me Jesus, and she is a person I am so glad I've known.  After my grandmother's death, she was the person that helped pull me through.  I don't think that was what she was trying to do.  She was just loving me as she does and did everyone.  She has six children who live in different parts of the country, and more grandchildren and great grandchildren than I can easily count.  Right now they are all wanting to visit her, and even as these are her last days and weeks she joyfully welcomes everyone, my mother tells me when I call and ask how things are going.
Though she is in pain, and knows these are her last times, she is at peace because she knows who she is and the promises of her savior.  She trusts those promises.  She always has.  Even though she did not have the perfect life, and often had hardships that she did not deserve, she has remained peaceful, kind, and loving for as long as I have had the priviledge to know her.
Now it is our chance, the ones she has loved, to give back a little of the kindness she poured upon us.  For those nearby to her, it is a chance to spend time helping her be as comfortable as she can be, and being there with her. For those like me that are two thousand plus miles away, and don't have the ability to be near, it means praying for Jesus to take her in his arms and give his love to her as she has always done for others. She is in our thoughts and prayers constantly, not just in the evening or morning, but all day.  I tend to thank God again and again for the years she gave me sight to see a better path than I was on, and how I learned to love those around me, whether they were doing wonderful or terrible.  Maybe it was even her example that convinced me we must love even the unlovable, and we must forgive even the unforgivable.  I don't know, because I was to busy soaking up all she gave.  My prayer now is just to live up to her legacy, and continued comfort for her.
I do not want to think of not seeing her again this side of heaven, but that is reality.  I know when the time comes Jesus will personally come and walk her home, and when that happens I will be in tears because I will miss her deeply, but I will also have the assurance that she is where she has always longed to be.  She evidenced that by the way she lived, and the way she is not afraid to die.
 For my readers that do not know me personally, I thought you should know a little about my Aunt Dee.  For those who know my family, you all know what I write about Aunt Dee does not do her enough justice.   There are not words enough for that.  And to Aunt Dee--  You will always be treasured.  I love you.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Maxine's Story-- Martin Westings true nature-- Scene 3

Here is the next scene.  It is the most violent scene in the story.  In this scene Maxine's step father violently abuses both Emily and Maxine.  I can't say enjoy this reading, but it is part of the story.

April, 1913

     The rain poured outside her window.  Lightening frightened her soul.  There were bad things that happened during the storms. Someone stood at the door of the room her sister and she shared. He stood straight and stiff like some kind of beast.  She closed her eyes tightly and called out to her sister.  “Emm, I’m frightened.”
“It is only a rain storm, Maxine.  You must be brave.”  She opened one eye and glanced over to the doorway.  The tall beast still stood there.  Quickly she closed her eyes.
“Allow me to sooth you, little Maxine.”  The sound of the voice was that of their new father, but as she stole another glance the figure was that of the retched beast that sometimes came to their room looking as if it was bent on destruction tonight.
“She is all right…”  Her sister called as if she would be able to protect her.  She gritted her jaw and closed her eyes tight as she prayed silently the beast would just go away this time.
“I didn’t ask for you to speak Missy!”  The beast spoke again as it sat on her bed its voice was close to sounding just like its form.
“I am al-alright.”  She spoke up bravely.  “You-you don’t have to sooth me, Pa-pa-pa.”  Why did it insist on being called Papa when it came to their room?  The beast did not listen.  It sat there on her bed, and pushed her legs apart, as its claw forcefully invaded her.
“Now isn’t that better?”  She swallowed the tears and nausea.  “Tell me that’s better, little Maxine.  You know you are my very own little Maxine.”  She could not speak.  The words it wanted her to say would not come this time.  It pushed its claw inside her worse.  “Is that better?”
She tried to pull away from it.  “No, you are hurting me.”
“No…  I am helping you.  Your Papa loves you.”  It took its claw away, and she thought it was over before it grabbed her, pinning her shoulders down.  “Let us try this…”
“Stop Papa!”  Emily yelled from across the room.  “Please stop this!”
The beast got up from her bed, and she thanked God for her sister silently. It stalked her sister, slapping her, and then Maxine watched as it pushed Emily down against the bed and jumped on top of her.  She screamed in pain.  “No more! Papa no more! No more!”
“Maxine run, leave! Hurry!”  Her sister yelled out, but Maxine froze in her bed.  How bad would it hurt her sister if she ran away?  Was the beast trying to kill her sister because she protected her?  Instead she curled up into a little ball, and pretended she was dead.
“No man will ever want you when I’m through with you.”  It seethed in hellish fury.  That’s what the beast was!  It had to be a demon, Maxine decided.
“I don’t care!  You cannot do this to her!  She’s only eight years old!”  Maxine watched as it pushed itself on her violently with an evil leer in its eye.  Her sister screamed and began crying.  It did it again and again as her sister’s body shook.  She couldn’t let it abuse her sister further, but she did not have the strength to end the unspeakable horror.  There was only one way she knew to make it stop.
“No, Papa…!”  Maxine called in a panicked and frightened voice.  “Emm won’t say anything anymore!  You can help me!  I-it does make me better.”  She squeezed her eyes shut with the lie.  Her Sunday school teacher told them they should never utter falsehoods and insincerities, but she had to protect her sister somehow.  It would be better for it just to hurt her than to hurt both of them.  She watched as he pushed himself up from Emily’s bed.  Emily did not move at first.  She was afraid the beast had killed her.  Then it came to her bed again, and flipped her body over.  She made herself go limp as tears welled.  This must be a new torture the beast invented.  It had not done this before.  He plunged her face into the pillows as somewhere she heard a scream and the tears started to flow freely from her eyes. Her stomach clenched up.  Pain gripped her little body as she swallowed the screams that wanted to escape.  She knew if she screamed he would hurt her worse.  She prayed Emily got away.  She prayed she was alive.  Who would take care of her if something happened to Emily?  The pain made her breath stick inside of her and she felt as if she could not breathe.  Her body became numb as the searing cuts became unbearable.   Then everything went to nothingness and she felt no more.
Sometime later it stopped and left her, and she became aware once more.  Quiet as could be, she got up from the bed and struggled to take the sheet and blanket off.  Then she cleaned her vomit where it had landed on the floor.  The room held a stench that made her want to throw up again.  She could not think about sleeping there anymore tonight.  Tears soaked her little cheeks, but silence over came her voice.  If she made a noise it may come harm her again.  Pain racked her body.  Her back hurt so bad, and her legs barely felt like they could move.  Still she hurried away with her bed clothing.  She snuck down the steps and went outside into the rain.  She hung the sheets on the laundry lines. Maybe the rain would make her clean. She at least had a measure of safety out there.  She stayed out until she was shivering, then she tip toed through the kitchen door.  Quietly, she pumped water into the pail and filled the large steel tub they used sometimes in the summer for baths.  The water was cold and made her feel icy inside and out, but at the very least it cleaned away the blood the beast left on her legs and stomach. If her mother knew what would she do?  Would she stop it?  She knew she would, but how hard would it be for her mother?   Would it harm her mother too?  Could it hurt women as well as girls?  She swallowed and decided it would be better to stay quiet.  It was bad enough the beast attacked her sister.  It would be horrible if it hurt her mother!  The rain was coming down so hard.  Would her mother be back from the Sheldon’s home soon?  Why did they have to have another baby born tonight?   Why did she have to be gone on a rainy night?  At least when her mother was here the beast didn’t hurt her quite as bad.  It never drew blood before tonight.  “God, protect Emily.  Don’t let the beast hurt her again.  Protect Mama, too.  Please stop the beast from coming on rainy nights.  Please keep it from our home.”
“Shhh.”  Emily came in the backdoor and helped her clean away the blood.  “Here, take this…”  She handed her a blanket to wrap around herself.  “Go upstairs, I will clean up.”  Maxine nodded and did as her sister bid her.  She fell asleep in the chair near their beds, but in the morning she was in a clean bed, covered with a warm blanket.  Quietly she opened her eyes.  Emily’s bed was already made, and she was not in the room.  It almost seemed like a horrible nightmare.  But if it was she had woken up to find everything alright.
     Quietly she dressed herself then went downstairs into the dining room.  Her mother was back home and sitting down at the table.  Emily was helping their housekeeper with the breakfast entrees.  Martin Westing sat at the head of the table watching carefully.
“Emily it is time for you to sit down.”  Martin’s voice boomed and Maxine barely kept herself from shivering.  Her sister quickly did as she was told.  Emily’s hair was in a looser bun than it normally was, and more of the curls had escaped.  Maxine watched her.  Was last night just a horrible nightmare?  Then she noticed the purplish markings on her sister’s neck and wrists.  She took a small breath to force away her tears.  She had hoped it was just a dream, but her sister’s bruises let her know it wasn’t.  If only she and Emily could escape.  Maxine pressed her lips together and made a quiet vow to herself.  If there was ever a chance she would escape and go back to her grandmother no matter what her mother would think.  For now, though, she would do her best to help her sister, and she would not allow herself to be afraid of the rain.  Perhaps if she was not frightened the beast would not come and hurt them. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A quick update on The Key to Her Heart and a quick movie review.

How is your summer going?  Hope all is well.  Todd's in China for two weeks with his work.  July is birthday month around here, and this year it is homeschool planning month because I let Peter have about six weeks off of school-- which I almost never do because he needs to catch up and I absolutely hate teaching reviews!  He has been bugging me every year.  "Please Mom my friends have off from school, why can't I?"  This year he got his wish.  And you know what?  Today he asked to start up school again.  HAHHH!  Yeah, that's a little bit of glee.  But oh boy!  I don't want to think of what all we'll need to review!  It's given me this time to focus on The Key to Her Heart.  Which was my theme for this post--  A quick update.  So let me tell you what Meg, Hope, and I have been doing as far as getting ready for publication.

 The only problem maybe by the time I get done it might not be quick-- who knows?  Things are going amazingly well.  Megan has been talking to everyone I swear about The Key to Her Heart and setting up reviews, book signings, and she's been in contact with different publishing companies.  Then she checks on their credentials and any complaints.  She's the most incredible publicist/editor. I told her she needs to do this as her day job!  She laughed and said she could only handle one project at a time.  I'm glad she's my daughter and helping me.
Hope is my go to copy person.  She has been so wonderful to have advise from where it comes to how to get the red line copies ready.
For my part the red lines are out and in the hands of my beta readers, or on their way in the case of my two out of town beta readers.  I need to start my read through.  Confession--  I haven't.  I am a little scared of what it will look like in black and white.  I know I'll see every inaccuracy and then what?  Silly.  I should just bite the bullet and get it over with.  Sigh.  Deep breath.  Alright-- that's the plan for Thursday.  I'll read my own work and do my own red lining.

Alright in other news:  I watched a movie tonight that was quite good.  It was called Upside  Down, and it was about a forbidden romance of two people on opposite planets.  Whoever thought of the premise for the movie did good work.  It was believable and sucked your attention right in, which is exactly why I picked it out.  I like to escape sometimes from a crazy day, and this movies allowed that escape.
In Upside Down there are two planets right next to each other sharing the same atmosphere with opposite gravity.  Now if that isn't enough; the upper planet has made rules that there is to be no contact between the planets except by the employees of  TransWorld, and that is only related to work and only on one floor. Interesting premise???  The filming must have been interesting, but they did a great job and as I said earlier very believeable.  I don't know what my science fiction teche husband would say, but personally I thought they did a really neat job with the science aspects too-- which was alot of the movie.
There is another place the two planets connect almost, and there the two characters meet when they are children.  They are playmates, but no one knows, and as teenagers fall in love until Eden, the female character, apparently is killed.  Ten years go by and the male character, Adam, finds out she is alive.  The rest is about how they connect and the ending almost lets you down, but then gives you a sweet surprise.  I think they set it up well enough for a sequel too.  On a star scale of 1-5, five being the best, I'd give it a 4-- maybe even a 4 1/4.  It was good enough to mention to my wonderful readers, so that's worth something.

In other other news:  Friday or Saturday I'll post the next scene from Maxine's Story.  I need to do a little editing and figuring how to connect all the scenes to make a cohesive novella.  If it falls in line pretty good I might try to publish it as an ebook in the next few months.  I really need to give it more of my time, but have been working hard on The Key to Her Heart so Maxine's Story hasn't been given the time it really needs. After I finish redlining it will have my attention.  Then maybe I can have it ready by the end of September or the beginning of October.  We shall see.  What do you think?  Twitter me, or Facebook or leave a comment here if you have an opinion. I would love to hear your view.  In the mean time-- keep reading.  It makes my day to know people are actually reading these posts.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

We are talking-- it's going to take a miracle-- I think God can do it!

Hey all!

How is your summer going?  Mine has been so busy!  Yesterday we finished printing the redline copies of The Key to Her Heart, and some of my beta readers got their copies, finally!  It's a funny feeling to hold in your hands a print copy of something you have been working on the computer forever.  It is like it is real.  And you realize in that moment that you made it happened.  That moment you become geddy and a little crazy.  You feel like jumping up and down, and finally you give a little squeal out of pure delight.  It is happening!  Wow! How could it be?  Then you think again and say it once more to yourself, "I did this.".  It feels indescribably awesome.  The other thing that goes through your mind is that this was the easy part.                                                     Now comes the really hard stuff.
Getting this book out there by November fifth is going to be no sort of a miracle and actually having people buy it and read it, that will definitely be a  miracle.  But hey, I'm up for interventions from God--  That's kinda been my life.
This book is no less in need as I was.  Maybe that's the coolest part.  I can't do this on my own.  In the middle of editing it my life fell apart, and my body rebelled, and once more it was God who put me back together again.
I don't know how much I have shared about my life, but from before birth my life has depended on God taking over and overcoming what 'should' have happened to me.  I've fought illness since being in utero. By all rights I should have been miscarried.
After birth, my parents had me at the doctors at least once a week, and that is not an exaggeration.  I carried a bacteria that antibiotics just didn't get rid of and I was sick.
As a little child I was abused-- not by my parents.  Later as a young adult faced other forms of abuse (not smoking, alcohol or drugs even though that is in my genetics), but then at twenty-three I decided no more, and I became a survivor.
At twenty-five I married the most wonderful man on the face of the planet, and at twenty-nine found out I was in liver failure.  Deciding to go completely natural was a complete gamble, but I was up for it, so I dived in.  Three years later, and about ten thousand dollars later, the good news was my liver, while it would never be completely better, was more than functional.
Five years after that I had a colonoscopy and found I had over a thousand tumors.  It's something called FAP.  It's genetic, and my kids had a 50% chance of having it.  Again God come through (if you couldn't see he has already several times in this story) none of my children inherited it from me.
For six months I did everything out there, I could find, naturally, but when my doctor checked me again I just had more.  At that point the choices were grim.  If one has 100 tumors they are said to have 100% chance of cancer.  I had THOUSANDS and had no cancer.
But remember the liver--  The chances of me surviving a 6 to 8 hour surgery where about 50/50.  When you have four children and life those aren't the best odds, and then you are talking about me--  Miss super non-interventionist and don't like needles (and they don't like me either) and don't do medical model anything and like my all natural organic lifestyle.  Heck at this point I hadn't taken an antibiotic in more than eighteen years!  I wouldn't even take an aspirin or pain reliever.
But the problem was if I didn't have the surgery my chances of surviving five years were nil  --as in there was a 90% chance I would be dead before forty.  This time it took some real praying.  I had prayed and watched God heal me many times.  I lived on God interventions.
God and I have always had this interesting relationship since when I was a kid and facing things-- you don't want to know about.  He kinda took over my upbrining--  I can't explain it.  It's kinda neat - kinda weird, and most people would think I was making it up, but I'm not.  It was God that saved me out of the abuse and began directing my life even when I fought him--  which I always did.  I guess it's just the way he made me or something... I don't know.  He can judge.  If he tells me to change I will otherwise I've got other things to focus on.
Anyway, back to the story, by this time I'd been praying for nine months, and my body wasn't better.  In fact because of the poisons my colon was throwing off I couldn't eat, and other organs were starting to have trouble-- including my liver.  I prayed like no other, but God was only saying one thing.  Have the surgery and trust Him to take care of me.
Believe me!  I needed ALOT of convincing.  I knew a few people that had had their colon removed.  I knew I would lose the ability to digest my raw veggies that I loved so much.  I'd have to be on an absolutely fiber free diet for months.  You have to understand, I am not on the Standard American Diet.
I am a vegetarian.
I LOVE -- repeat LOOOOVVVE raw vegetables-- that, nuts, seeds, and popcorn are my favorite foods. My other favorite food is strawberries.  I do some kefir and greek yogurt, and cheese.  That's my diet.  Let me explain.  I knew that I would have to give up all these foods and possibly never be able to have them again.  Surgery to me was not an option.  Nine months is how long it took to convince me, and even then I was shaking in my shoes.
I drove my doctors crazy along the way.  My doctor here in town was brought to tears as I explained my reservations.  He's the one that showed me the statistics.  He explained at any moment one of the tumors could become cancerous, and then it would spread quickly and my life would be over.  My doctor at the hospital was so frustrated because I refused to do an epidural when I finally did agree to surgery.
 I'd given birth to three children, and there was no way with them I was going to do medicine.  Why the hell would I let them stick a needle in my back for this?  I stuck to my guns, but in June we went on a trip to my home state-- California.  While we were there, God got real clear with me.  He told me in no uncertain terms I either did the surgery or I died.  No one else could really get that in my head.  "Alright God,"  I bargained a little,  "But you have to have me survive, first, and second I don't want to do it until August.  Give me the summer to enjoy the fruit trees and my veggies. And it has to be done my way-- No cancer because you know me, and you know I won't do chemo or radiation.  You have to give me help for the kids.  God the real big thing--  There's no way their going to put that needle in my back!"  Now mind you I was so sick I could barely eat a fresh peach without total pain.  I still did.  I still had all the strawberries I could get my hands on, and then I'd spent the next hours running into the bathroom twenty to thirty times and my stomach going in twisted circles.
Actually I was never without pain.  Even knocked out at the colonoscopy back in November I about jumped off the table when the doctor hit one of the tumors and from that point on I watched the screen in horror seeing there was not a place there wasn't a tumor.  I knew in that moment what I was going to have to do.

So fast forward to August 14, 2007.  I arrived at the hospital before eight in the morning.  They had to poke me seven times, and finally decided to half way knock me out to get the I.V. in.  The doctor came in cursing because I had refused the epidural, and though I was suppose to be out-- I wasn't quite.  I got to hear her! "She really doesn't know what's she doing."  She groaned in her brash way with a few swear words thrown in for good measure.  If I had been more awake I probably would have snickered.
By the way I knew exactly what I was doing, and if I was going to do this, this was how it would be done. Oh I forgot to mention I am allergic to just about every pain medication out there-- all except morphine! And the times I'd been knocked out they really had trouble waking me up, and I'd never been put under for as long as six hours, let alone the nine the surgery ended up taking.  So this was a huge chance on my part, and for the doctors everyone knew there was a real chance they would have an allergic reaction on their hands. That was probably the biggest risk of all, and the scariest thing for me.  I'd had reactions all my life.  There were reasons I did not take medications and stuck with my natural lifestyle.  Simply put it was much safer!

Believe it or not, ten hours later I woke up without pain with a morphine drip that I could control by button on my I.V.  I was not in pain.  Let me say that again. I woke up without pain.  That fact alone shocked everyone including me.  Six o'clock that night after fifty stitches in my belly, and more than that in my putatis, and stitches inside me I was not in pain.
Three days later I could move and sleep and walk without any medication.  Four days after that I came home.
Six weeks later the pain of them taking the stitches out of my butt almost made me pass out!  But I made it through.  For three months I was fiber free.  I ran strawberries through my Vita Mix and then ran them through cheesecloth so I could drink them.  I made veggie juice with my juicer, and then slowly between three and six months began adding foods back in.
Six years later I've been back to my normal Cat diet for years-- nuts, seeds, popcorn, all the veggies I can eat, cheese quesadillas on corn tortillas because I am gluten intolerant, and strawberries!  And I am so stoked because since that summer my peach trees haven't had peaches until this summer!  Oh, I can't wait!  Think of it, a peach without pain!  Oh! I am so looking forward to that.

My point for this story-- is God directed me and brought me through that just like now.  Do you really think it was my idea to do this?  I am a complete techno fob!  Crowds are not my thing either.  I am a quiet little (well not so little either) opinionated homeschooling mom who just happened to write stories that 'someday' I would publish-- maybe.  Then once more God kicked my butt.  He really has a habit of doing that--  It's for my good, I know, but it's not so fun--  Except this time, well it is alot less painful-- so far.  The rest of this journey?  I have no clue.  He told me to do this.  So He's the one that has to direct me.  I am just here, obeying.  Sometimes I even smile about it.  And the biggest surprise is you.  Actually reading my posts.  Who would have thought?  That always gives me a smile :)  <--  That's something new I learned recently.  Have an awesome day!  Keep reading!  I'll keep you up on the journey.
And God for his part will intervene like he has always in my life--  except this time it might even be fun!
Cat out.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Maxine's Story-- The second scene

Alright, well here's the second scene from Maxine's Story.   I hope you enjoy reading it.  Please feel free to comment, and tell me what you think.  This is the scene when they first arrive in Sheldonburg.

     The winter here was cold and did not seem close to ending as Maxine Avrams explored the monstrous house.  It took an extra week to get here because of the huge snow drifts.  They had finally arrived yesterday afternoon.  But today was her first time really looking around.
Fires burned in the marble fireplaces on each side of the entrance room.  It was much quieter here than during the train and coach rides, and it was much bigger than the small apartment they had after Father died.
Her sister, Emily, often told her of the big country house they had lived in when she was small.  She did not remember much, and it scared her that her memories of Father were fading too.  No longer did she remember the sound of his laughter; only that he often laughed.  What color were his eyes?  Were they bright blue as hers were?  If only she had one of the photographs of her father, but she was required to leave all the things she treasured behind.  Mama was afraid of offending her new husband.  “Are we truly to call him Papa?”  She whispered to her sister.  “Emm, please tell me it is not so.”
“Shhh.  We will be respectable once more, Maxine.  Remember that we are to count our blessings.  We have a large house again as we did with Father, we have decent clothing once more, and Mama will not be so lonesome.”   Maxine breathed deeply, and stood straight and proper.  Emily, was older than her and always seemed to know just what was expected from them for propriety’s sake.  A towering man came down the steps with their mother then.  “It is nice to meet my two new daughters.”  He greeted, but she didn’t like how he instantly considered himself their father.  Was she expected to forget her own father as if he never existed?  Swallowing she dared not let her thoughts be known.  It was not her place to speak against an elder.  “From now on you will be known as Emily Westing, and you shall be known as Maxine Westing.”  The man was looking at her as if she should be grateful, but something about him made her knees wobble.  “You will never have to think of the past again.  Only the future is to be thought about.  We are all Westings, and I am your Papa.” Maxine nodded her approval as she knew her Mama expected of her, but her stomach jumped with fear.  She did not like this man that was wiping the memory of her father away as if he had never existed.  Still for Mama and Emily she would be strong.
“Papa.”  She repeated and curtsied as best as her trembling legs would allow her.  “You are Papa.”  She gave a side glance to her sister.  She was doing the same.  At least she did not make a mistake this time.
     That night she crawled in bed with her sister, and hid under the covers as her sister held her.  “It’s alright Maxine.  Things will be just fine now.”  Emily’s voice soothed her until she could fall asleep.  If Emily was with her, then it was maybe okay.
     The next morning, Emily helped her dress, and they quietly walked down the staircase to the dining room.  Breakfast was already being served as they both sat down at the massive table.  Maxine looked down to the table’s feet.  They looked like a beast’s feet.  Was there some kind of creature that lived here?  Everything was so large and massive as if made for a giant.  Looking back up to her sister, Maxine sat down on one of the chairs just as Emily did.  She let no one see her fear.  It would be alright, Emily promised.  Emily never lied.  If something went wrong Emily would protect her.  So, she followed what Emily did, and took security in her sister’s motions.

     The first two weeks passed without anything overly frightening, and Maxine settled into the routine of following her sister’s example.  A tutor was hired for Emily, and even during school hours Maxine sat quietly and listened.  She learned some of the mathematics her sister did, and she learned some of the words, but most of the time she was given paper and she could draw.  There were times she would sit drawing for hours trying to make her picture as lifelike as possible.  On those days she had no clue what the tutor was teaching her sister.  The only thing she could think of was being able to draw well enough to be able to draw her first father and her grandmother whom she missed more each day.  If she could just draw part of true father’s face maybe the rest would come to her. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Big gnarly scene-- CONQUERED!

Well I finished it!
Meg, Hope, and I have been editing the book for almost three weeks, and about a week ago we realized we had one BIG problem.  It was a scene I would have liked to just chop out!  It was hated by all of us!
The problem was in this story it was needed-- in fact central to the story line.  So I couldn't delete it, but we all knew it had to be altered.
On Friday Meg and I started looking at the scenes before it and seeing what we could do.  It was going well.  If we worked hard through the weekend ahh- we'd be done.  No sweat.  Let's just do it!  Then we worked all day Saturday.  We were no closer.
We worked until about five in the morning Sunday, then slept for a few hours and got back up and went back at it.  Sunday evening we took a break and I had some time with my kids-- in particular Peter was begging for a 'Mommy son date'.  So  Meg says "Mom I'll take it home and maybe I can make some changes.".  I am grateful for the reprieve, and hoping she really would get through it.  That would be great!  That is what she did, but she couldn't make any head way.  "Mom, we've got to do something-- I couldn't even deal with it!"  Meg tells me the next morning.
We literally have been stuck on this scene now for three days!  We were suppose to be printing the redline copies of the book on Monday, and now the reality is that if we really are lucky it'll be Wednesday at least!  So I have about two hours before Peter has his appointment.  I'll tackle it, Meg's watching the womb warped twins.  I reworked the beginning, and that helped, but it was still as bad and gnarly as it has been.  I started to dive into the meat of it, but just didn't want to do it.  The scene was literally making me sick.  So finally, on the way back from Peter's appointment I called Todd and asked him to give me my laptop when I got there (He had been watching Tory and Alex while I took Peter.).  Peter went inside and Todd brought out my laptop.  I picked up Meg and she and I went to Panara's, got drinks, and proceeded to tear apart the scene.  Meg says, "Mom you're not going to like this."  as she hands me back my computer.  She deleted all but a little bit.  I took a big sigh of relief.  Soon after Hope showed up and  we began recreating the scene.  It's faster paced, it's more understandable, and honestly it is more chilling by far than the first one.  This scene had to be!  It's the scene that makes the villain-- the villain!  I finished writing it this morning at about seven thirty.  It is still my most hated scene, and it was still hard to write, but at least now it's a well developed and good bad scene. I was so excited to tell everyone about it!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Land of the Watched and Home of the Silent

Snowden made a very interesting comment and I wanted to cheer for what he said.  I have it below here, so you can read it for yourself, then I'll continue my post.

The reality is Snowden is right.  The question is are we going to be?  I don't know how I can demand 'the constitutional government I was promised'.  I know I am angry and upset about the way things are going, especially in the last year.  I am tired of being ignored--  Pissed at being trampled just because I believe in The Creator.  I'm downright shaking in my shoes at what I see.  Disgusted at the moral choices that our Godless government seems to be making over and over and over.  After saying that I'll probably be on some kind of freaking watch list!  So be it!
Are we turning into everything in years past we fought against?  The enemy doesn't seem to be the politics in other countries as much as the politics in our own backyard.  I know there are problems around the world, and I know we have staged ourselves for a hostile takeover when we least expect it.  --Oh wait...  Isn't that what's happening now?  So how can we stand up and demand what our forefathers promised us?  Can we be the beacon of light we used to be once more?  I don't know.  Honestly I'd given up until just recently.  But relooking at my writing and getting on the social media sites kinda woke me up.  I am tired of being silent, and though I am only one person I can speak, and maybe there are others like me who have decided being quiet doesn't work.  You know who you are, and maybe like me you are tired of people you don't even know putting you down for the ideals you carry deep in your soul--  You know the stuff so tightly woven with who you are that it is the essence of your very breath.  For me it is dignity for all creation, and belief that we don't have the right to take away life, and that each person has the intrinsic right to freedom-- freedom of speech, freedom to have truth, freedom to believe, freedom to criticize if they so choose, freedom to raise their children the way they feel God is leading, freedom to be an individual not a possession of the state, freedom to work hard and keep most of their earnings for their own need not for the powers that be to tax them to death and then take away their ability to choose how they want to meet what those in authority think should be their needs, and most of all freedom to be themselves not a drone spewing out what lifeless tidbits that they have been brainwashed to believe.
I like freedom and I'm sick of watching our freedoms disappear while we still claim to be the country with the most liberty.  It's a lie!  Somehow our liberty has run and hid, and we must search it out and wave it over our country and once more be the beacon of light--  Maybe my part is right here writing, but I don't think that's all. So I plan to figure out how we demand our constitutional government, and hopefully you will too.  For me this is where I start-- This and prayer asking God how he wants to proceed.  But I already know he doesn't want me to be quiet anymore, and I tend to have a habit of doing things His way--  So be prepared.

Details Details Details--- All the latest news on this publishing adventure :)

Well--- I am blogging while Megan is reading and doing our final edit before going to the copy center tomorrow (or actually, since it is so late, today) to make copies for my beta readers.  The Key to Her Heart is becoming more and more of a reality!  Wow!  I'm not sure what else to say.  The beginning of June I was still fighting the idea of publishing, and now I'm scared, excited, happy, nervous.  Man I could write some really cool scenes if I wasn't just editing--  Although the editing mode has definitely been an adventure! It is a different world than I thought it would be when I thought of doing this.  Until the middle of June I wasn't the one that could tell you about Twitter or even much about Facebook.  I barely knew how to email.  Building a website-- don't ask me anything about it?!  And podcasts-- a month ago I only had the vaguest idea of what they were.  Now in three weeks time here I am.  Megan's done all the techno stuff, but I've learned ALOT. Heck on the 4th I spend much of the day recording my first podcast-- then we went to pick strawberries (if you want to hear about that I posted-- look for the title that has strawberries in it.)

Blogging has been the biggest surprise.  Maybe it's because I am a writer even in the deep recesses of my soul, or maybe it's because I know so many are reading my blurbs.  Whatever it is, I really enjoy it.  No one expected that least of all me!  One thing I know is I enjoy just writing down my thoughts, and it is really cool that anyone would take their time to read them.  On a funnier note--  I am the worst at spelling!  Thank goodness for that red squiggly line under words I mess up otherwise you would be cringing at my haphazard spelling.

Now for the details.  The scheduled date for The Key to Her Heart to be published is November 1st.  Whether it will be an ebook only or whether it will be paperback also is still being determined.  I've talked to a couple publishers, but I think I'm still leaning toward completely indie publishing, so we are constantly researching how to go about this.  My daughter Rebecca is an awesome artist so the cover picture she is working on.  Megan and Hope are my chief editors, but still debating about hiring an editor to give it a go through too.  A friend-- Sarah is a graphic artist so she's doing the over all cover design.  I have several beta readers--  Most of which exclaimed when I told them I was planning on publishing, "Well Finally!  I've been waiting for this for how many years!?". They should get a copy of The Key to Her Heart this next week to red line (another words shred it so I can put it back together and make it even better :P ).  The next two weeks are critical, and crazy.  Thank goodness Hope works at a copy center!  She tells me all the specials and on top of that I get a discount!

Finally Megan is also my publicist, and she's quite amazing!  Anyone that needs a publicist talk to Megan.  We've come up with a business plan and a timeline in three weeks.  She's also awesome with web design.  If you have seen my website--  and have liked it, then you have to thank Megan.

Anyone reading this that has experience with publishing-- especially indie publishing, and is willing to give advice please contact me, either by leaving a comment, or by my website or using facebook.  I am still a newbie and trying to figure all this out!

Friday, July 5, 2013

50 item list (Megan's silly challenge).

If I were to make a list-- Which Megan challenged me to do.  It would have to be a list of  what/who I am grateful for (she challenged me to make a list of 50 things!)

1. God (always number one, because everything else on my list comes from his giving hands).
2. being able to write.
3.My husband.
4. My children.
5. All my parents.
6. The wonderful people who take their time to read my blog.
7. fresh picked produce.
8. beautiful days.
9. The Byzantine Church.
10. Little kids and babies.
11. pregnant mamas.
12. my computer.
13. my home.
14. adoption.
15. knowledge & understanding.
16. the ability to homeschool.
17. the friendship I have with my daughters.
18.  the laughter that my grandchildren have brought to our lives.
19. being alive and not being aborted.
20. the relationship I have with my mom.
21. the love and prayers I have from my mother-in-law and father-in-law.
22. my orchard.
23. my gardens.
24. Georgie (my kitty).
25. my son's eye sight (you don't know how much of a blessing it is to see until you have to jump through hoops to fix your sight!).
26. my van.
27. the ocean.
28. my siblings.
29. a voice.
30. this blog (it gives me a place to write silly things like this list and more serious things like the call to action a few days ago.).
31. being raised in California (I was close to the beach and mountains).
32. raising my kids in the mid-west.
33. water.
34. swimming pools in the summer.
35. heaters in the winter.
36. gentle breezes.
37. challenges that stretch me (even this silly one!).
38. the sound that trees make when the snow is falling on their dried leaves.
39. the gentle rumble of a rock bottom stream when water is flowing over it.
40. the sparkle in a child's eyes when he or she finally gets what you've been trying to teach them.
41. Tory's joyful hugs.
42. The noise and commotion when all four of my toddler grandchildren are here playing with every toy in the living room and we are all here laughing at their silly antics!
43. Christian music.
44. the thought of one day meeting Jesus in heaven.
45. the thought of one day meeting my brother in heaven.
46.  My first thirteen years with my Grandma Dorthy.
47.  All the angels and saints.
48. scripture.
49. All the people that have helped my son with his sight, helped him understand his world, helped his body work better, helped him eat food that don't harm his body, helped us deal better with the issues my son has.  They have helped a little boy with CP feel and do his best!
50.  Mother Mary-- she seems to be my constant prayer partner and I am so grateful for her Son!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Maxine's Story-- The story of Anna's grandmother

When I was a child the most important person to me was my grandma.  The world revolved around her, and I was more attached to her than anyone else in my life.  Anna is the same way as she is growing up.  But in a different way she is separated from her grandmother.  I lost my grandmother by death.  Anna lost her by being forced away from her home.  So here is a grandmother, granddaughters story.

This first scene that I am posting is between Maxine and her grandmother, Esther.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Maxine is Anna's grandmother and mentor but this is way before the beginning of  The Key to Her Heart. It is even before Maxine's family moves to Iowa.  Like me and Anna, Maxine is also faced with losing her grandmother.

April 2, 1910

     Esther carefully sat her five year old granddaughter on Emily’s lap.  The little blue eyed girl looked up with a slight smile.  “Maxine, my child, I believe you are quite amused by all this aren't you?”  At that the little child covered her mouth with tiny gloved hands and chuckled quietly.  Esther leaned back down to her granddaughter, looking deeply into her eyes.  They sparkled back at her reminding her of herself.  Quietly, she kissed her forehead, then decided to change her granddaughters’ pose again.  Looking up to her patient Emily, she smiled.  
“You will always take care of your sister, Sweet Emmy?”  Emily nodded as tears threatened to fall from her eyes.  
“Always Grandmother.  I’ll do all in my power.”  Esther breathed deeply and nodded.  
“Then we will finish this painting, and at least I will have that to remember the two of you by.”  Emily blinked away her tears and tried her best to give the most pleasant expression she had for her grandmother.  
“I know things have been hard on you two and your mother since your father died.  I understand why she is leaving.”
“Please Grandmother, do not talk about it.  Otherwise I may not be able to keep my smile.”  Esther nodded.  
“Alright. Maxine stand straight and tall.”  The five year old child did as she was told. 
“Emmy, place your hands over one another on your lap.  Maxine place your hand on your sister’s shoulder.”  Maxine did just as she was told as did Emily, and Esther was about to tell both of them to look at her when she saw Maxine looking to her twelve year old sister.  She knew that was just the way she needed to paint them.  It was so reminiscent of how the two of them were.  Though there was close to eight years difference between them, she had never seen two siblings closer. 
“Hold still, don't move at all.”  She whispered as if she would ruin the moment.  Both of them listened carefully, but one single tear fell from Emily’s lowered gaze.  As much as Esther wanted to make this a happy picture, she knew she had to paint it as it was.  Emily and Maxine’s sad departure.  Of course that was what she would name it.  For an hour her granddaughters stayed in the pose she had placed them in as she raced as fast as she could to finish her sketch.  Their mother would return soon and she wanted to have some other time besides having them standing so still and scarcely breathing while she raced to capture their sweetness. These two granddaughters were all she had left of what her life had been.  Her husband had died ten years ago, followed by her son and grandsons eight years later.  She and her daughter-in-law had been doing all they could to survive since that time.  Last month her daughter-in-law had received a marriage proposal from a wealthy gentleman.  The thoughts were slowing down her progress, and so just as quickly as they had come on, she put them away.  If this was the last day she was to have with her granddaughters, then she must hurry.  
“Alright my girls…”  She finally had the last touches on the drawing.  Emily let out a long breath and relaxed her shoulders. 
“Grandmother, I want to see your drawing.”  Maxine immediately hopped over to her.  The little girl gasped and covered her mouth as she looked at the drawing.  
“It’s lovely!”  Esther reached down to Maxine hugging her and then kissing her forehead once more.  
“I am going to be an artist just like you.  I promise Grandmother.”
“I do imagine you are, my little Maxine.  I do imagine you are.”

     For the rest of the afternoon she played with her granddaughters, and gave them little things that would not be detected.  To Emily a gold chain with a locket she could hide under her dress.  To Maxine a set of ivory combs to pull back her long dark curls. They were so much like her own locks before they turned silver several years ago.  
“Do not tell anyone about the things I have given you.  Your new father wants you to forget about me.  So we can keep this secret.  You can remember me because you have these small treasures, and I will paint the two of you and keep that with me.”  Maxine smiled up to her grandmother.
“I will never forget you, Grandmother.”

Esther could only smile for response.  If she had spoken right then, she was quite sure she would have cried and not stopped.  How could she allow her granddaughters to leave?  She had vowed at their birth to raise them in the community and traditions she had been raised in, but how could she ask them to remain penniless when there was someone whom was willing to love them as his own and give them a future she could not give to them?  So when her daughter-in-law returned with teary eyes they hugged before she took her only future, two girls, with her.  Esther instead painted her picture, making it perfect.  She hung it in her apartment where they had all once lived, and day by day she worked on her art and sold it to make a living for herself.  Each evening she sat by the painting of her two granddaughters and tears fell like the single tear from Emily.  But she let them go so they could have better.  It was the right thing she knew.  Fifteen years passed that way.  She did not try to make it better.  She did not try to move on.  In her life she had had the best, and she had lost all.  Now all she had was her painting and a belief in a God quite different from the one of her ancestors…  She could pray for the best for her granddaughters.  She would pray for their life to be better than her own.  She would pray for the families they didn’t have yet. And maybe, just maybe, her many prayers would indeed be heard.

This is the beginning of Maxine's story.  I began posting this before I published The Key to Her Heart, but then lost track of it.  While I am working on Patrick's Rose I will try to post scenes from Maxine's story so you can understand the beginning-- even before Anna came into the world.  In the meantime, if you would like to read The Key to Her Heart, here is the link:



Strawberry Heaven!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alright I think we started a brand new summertime habit!  In fact I think we may have just altered our thoughts on life in general.  Megan, Hope, the Womb Warped Twins, and I went to a farm with the thoughts of picking strawberries.  We brought our water and juice, and all our joy bubbling up inside of us for our new Independence Day activity.  It was a beautiful evening sunshiney day with a nice breeze.  So we got two boxes, and headed out to the fields.  We weren't planning to pick a lot, just enough for us to snack on on the way home and to share later tonight after the guys got back home from the baseball game they were going to.  But then we picked one and tried it to taste the difference between the ones we buy all the time at the store and fully ripened organic ones picked literally a minute before.  Guess What?  There are not words in the English language that fully describes how wonderful these strawberries are!  And it was so much fun picking a box full of berries, and laughing at two 2 year olds picking and feeding on these sweet little pieces of God's grace!  I mean that literally, it was like completely fulfilling nourishment!  You could just feel your stomach and soul screaming 'YES! That is exactly what I want!'  Oh it was so wonderful!  On the way home we contemplated on selling everything and buying a farm and start our own close to nature business.  I tell you I'd do it in a heartbeat. Now... if I could find a few more families of the same mind to go into it with me! :D

I Need to Shove a Sock in My Mouth Some Days!

Listening to Bryan Duncan's Lunatic Friend to start this out.  Somedays this is me!  Today I lost my normal cool.  I even made myself cry!  My daughter, Megan, sat us down and began reminding us of who we were and who we were not.  My daughter, Hope, ended up going into an asthma attack because of all the emotion.  So she got her inhaler and found out it was empty.  That turned into a call to the doctor to find out the doctor was on vacation.  Soooo, that turned into a plea with the triage nurse, who quickly called the pharmacist, and a trip to the local pharmacy.
Mind you Hope was still having trouble breathing.  She drank two cups of coffee because that opens her lungs, but it was only helping slightly!  She is allergic to almost everything and so there is only one inhaler she can use.  We get to the pharmacy and they have it ready, but the insurance as of July 1st has decided they won't cover it!!!!!!!!  I was ready to scream.  We have a $4300 deductible and mind you, we have met that deductible already this year!  And there is plenty we do to keep everyone well that insurance does not cover.  Anyway, this is a hundred dollar inhaler!  The pharmacist gets on the phone with the insurance, and has to call a different number four different times!  He gets no better answer, and by this time I'm steaming and almost close to tears again!
I have kids at home.  I have like a million other things I absolutely need to do!  So I call Todd, my husband, and ask him to leave early and go home.  He resists, so I tell him what's going on.  Now my husband is the person in our family that keeps us above water financially.  I call him the money person.  So when I tell him our dilemma and how Hope's doing he gets on the phone with the insurance.  Meanwhile I call the triage nurse back, and she spends a good half hour on the phone with the insurance.  The pharmacist is still trying to make headway too.  So we have Todd, the pharmacist, and the nurse all working on this at the same time as Hope and I wait.
Hope's breathing is slowly getting better.  Ginger is something that opens the lungs also; so she bought some ginger chews and they helped a little more.
 In the end we waited for two hours plus, but the insurance did cover half the cost when it was suppose to cover all of it.   By the time we got done, she didn't need the darn thing anyhow!  And all this just because I got upset!  Man there are some days I stick my foot way down my own darned throat!!!!  It comes down to this, I need to learn to shut up!
Thought of the day from this, if we could start the day with a calm beginning, maybe we'd keep ourself to run the day without rabbit trails!  Maybe steady, calm, and keeping our mouths under control would reap better results.  Of course if my insurance had their act together--  I wonder...  Oh never mind!  Maybe scripture says it better than I ever could--  As far as it is possible with you keep at peace with everyone.  I would have done good to listen to that today.  Perhaps I will listen to my own advise tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Maxine's Story.

Thank you to all who have been reading my blog!  Yesterday was the all time biggest day so far!  Wow!  You guys make me feel so special.  As of yesterday this blog has had over one hundred readers from all over the world!  I am so excited!  Please keep reading.  I think in the next few days I might start sharing some of the story behind my book The Key to Her Heart.
The Key to Her Heart is the first book in a multi-generational story.  But there are stories that are set before the beginning of the The Key to Her Heart.  My main character is Anna, and she has a story all her own, but her grandmother's story is entwined with hers.  So I thought I would share some of Maxine's story.  Maxine as a child faced abuses by her step-father that left a vacuum and a curse in her life that she must learn to heal from.  As she grows into adulthood she is faced with a life very different than what she thought it would be.    Will she learn to love even when it seems the world is so full of pain?  Or will she give up on all that looks like it could be hers?
Maxine has been a fun character to write.  She is set in the early 1900s and into the 1940s and tragedies of the World War Two.  She is resilient and thoughtful, but she is not so sure how to handle the secrets from her past.
I thought I might publish Maxine's story as a novelette, but before that I want to share the story with all my readers here.  So in the next few days I will post the first part of Maxine's story and you are welcome to tell me what you think!  Looking forward to sharing!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Who's with me?

Usually I try not to talk about politics, not out of politeness, but because it is an area I am way way too opinionated on.  Lately, though, I've thought maybe it is an area I need to blog about.  Right now I feel oppressed.  As if I am not truly an American citizen anymore.  My voice seems not to be heard by the powers that be.  You see I believe the constitution needs to be followed.  It is the document that all American should agree upon, otherwise why are they living in this country?  I believe all people deserve dignity.  --Not just those that can speak and demand they get noticed.  I believe in freedom.  --Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to bear arms, freedom to raise my family the way I see fit, freedom to keep most of my paycheck not give most of it to the government.  I believe in God, and when I was a child and young adult I believed this country was a God fearing nation.  I am not nor have I been under such an illusion in the last several years.  There was once a time that this country was 'for the people by the people'.  It is not any longer.  States are not free anymore.  The president doesn't have to answer to congress anymore.  The congress is letting the judicial branch make laws instead of upholding the laws.  The laws that are elected by the people are not upheld anymore.   It is very clear my ideals are no longer alive in the government of this country.  The question I am left with is why do I still live here?  The answer is I am not sure, except I am a patriot.  As a child studying US history I fell in love with the country that was portrayed there, and even as it is slowly (and at time not so slowly) dismantled I keep waiting for someone to stand up and say "NO MORE!!!!", but they don't seem to be doing that.  I read about how the Nazis took over Germany and it really scares me because it sounds eerily like what is happening now in America.  I read about the take over of communism in Russia, and again it sounds frighteningly similar to what I see in America.  
No one is talking about it.  Maybe like me others are thinking it, but no one's saying anything about it.  I send this out as an invitation to talk about it!  Respond to this blog, or go out and talk to your senators.  Get involved.  Those of us that want to see America be what it could have been must do something.   Otherwise there are to many that do not care!  Even worse there are those who do care, but their concerns lie in the thought we have to much freedom. Do we want those that want to steal from us to be our speakers?  Do we want them to be the ones who are running our government?  I know I want other lovers of freedom to be our officials.  I know I want to live in a country that is truly free.  But that is only going to happen if we band together and decide to take action, and then actually do something!  Who's with me?