Working Title

Hey y’all! I have finished the sequel to The Conservative Congregant and now have a working title. The title, as of this moment is “And Time Stood Still.” It encompasses the book pretty well, I think .

If you have read The Conservative Congregant, then you know it is about a woman who leaves her comfort zone to make a meal for the “unhoused” congregation of The City of Hope. The City of Hope is a church for the unhoused or homeless folks of the city. It is set in Dallas as the book is based on my actual church, The Gathering. The Gathering was a dream of Archdeacon Jim Webb  of the Episcopal Diocese here in Dallas. Thankfully, he was able to see it come to fruition before he passed away .

Back to the book. Because Eloise Dowager stepped out of her comfort zone to feed the homeless, many blessings come her way. I don’t know if you have noticed it, but that is truly what happens in real life. TCC  follows her as life takes her through the many changes that take place in her life, up to and including the day she makes the dinner. The blessing she receives is much more than one could ask for and she is truly blessed.

The sequel follows up on her blessing and all that entails. I cannot go through it with you for obvious reasons. But, suffice it to say that something big comes out of this book. I am very excited about it and hope to publish it to be released in June 2016.

My plans are to publish one or two more novellas and then publish the novel that will tie the story fully together. I hope you will follow me in this exciting journey and pick up the books as they come out in print or on Kindle.

Have a great week  and keep reading!

 

A Novel is Born

I am happy and excited to say that in between the Jack Learns Series of Books, I have completed my first novel!  The Jack Learns Series of Books is one book out and has two more yet to be published. I am pushing to get them out before school as one of the books is entitled “Jack Learns about Bullies” and the other is “Jack Learns about Learning.” The latter is a book in which Jack learns that everyone learns in different ways- that we don’t all learn by reading instructions or hearing instructions, but that different people have different ways of learning. I feel it’s important to teach that early as it is sometimes a misunderstood concept. Misunderstood concepts lead to bullying and so it is best taught in the early years.  “Jack Learns to Grill”, the first in the series is just a playful ditty to introduce Jack as the curious dingo who loves learning new things-grilling being one of those things.

But, my novel, “The Conservative Congregant,” talks of the blessings received when we go out of our comfort zone and do something for others that we would not normally do. It is a story about a fifty-something woman who does just that and the blessings she receives are numerous, life changing and bittersweet. I have fallen in love with it and hope you will too. For now, it’s off to the editor to get ready for the final draft and publishing. I hope you will walk this journey with me and read “The Conservative Congregant” in search of your own blessing.

My Husband, I Think I’ll Keep Him

I want to take this opportunity to brag on my husband a little bit… or maybe a lot. For the most part, he is the kindest, most gentle man I know. You  might think that most women would say that about their husbands, but mine has a proven track record.

As most of you know, I have had my struggles with bipolar disorder. I’m not ashamed of it. It’s part of me, but it definately does not define me. However, there was a time when I was really a pretty sick little chick. I heard voices, I was mean, I was afraid, I was another person. My husband did his best to help others understand I was not myself, that something had happened down the way and I was not the girl he married. Even when I divorced him, he stood by me. I moved to Granger, Texas to live my life separate from him. I had a boyfriend (who no one but me liked), but I went home each and every  weekend I could. Stephen let me stay at the house, took me places, fed me, helped me. I ended up divorcing him anyway. It wasn’t I was a mean and ugly person, I was sick and lost.

When I moved back to Dallas, my husband let me move into our house. I gave him checks for rent, which he didn’t always cash, and I was grateful for being there. He had worked in the mental health industry when he lived in England long years ago. He knew how to help me, how to comfort me when I was afraid.

Many people told him he should just let me go, he should divorce me, move on and find someone else, but he was adamant that the person I was , was not the person he married. He prayed, and prayed some more, he hung in there with me and he loved me despite myself. Then, on Valentines Day, 2000, he asked our children for their permission to remarry me. We remarried on April 22, 2000. I was still not 100% whole, but I was getting there. And he stayed with me during times when my own mother didn’t know who I was. Not too many husbands would stand by their wives when they are not mentally there. My husband did and I’m so grateful he did.

So, this blog post is for him as is all my love. If you have a relative who has a mental illness, hang in there with them, pray for them and love them. They will appreciate you more than you will know.

Thank you , Stephen for hanging with me. It’s been quite the ride and I know it will continue to be for lots of years to come! I love you!11060902_10205518916603978_4508978859742893733_o

Learning Church Without Walls- Come and See Weekend

Our flight into Philly landed about 3 in the afternoon -Friday. After obtaining a rental car, we were off to the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia. We started out about 3.30 p.m and reached our destination through many neighborhoods, roads -twists and turns via Lyn’s telephone GPS. Why the GPS didn’t lead us through the main thoroughfares, no one knows. It led us off the highway and into the abyss that are the streets of Philly. Tourists with no idea where we were going. A true adventure , if I ever saw one. Frustration mounted as the GPS led us from one turn to another. Something was said, someone cried. Everyone tired.

Eventually, we got to the Best Western where Lyn and Tom checked in and then by 6 o’clock to the Seminary for the conference on serving an unhoused and housed communities. Some people may call the population we serve homeless. They may be without houses, but they always have a home within the church and with God.

The first night of the “come and see” was a time of getting to know the others, finding out where in the United States they were from and what their ministry entailed and dinner. Oh my. Dinner. Real Philly Cheesesteaks, Real Philly pizza, Real Philly pretzels. I was in heaven and had not even died yet! A glass of wine to top it off and I was set to go. It was a wonderful evening, but I was exhausted. Knowing how difficult it is for me to be civil while exhausted, I went to my room and got ready for bed- hung out -being mostly quiet- well, except for calling my husband and daughter.

It was a very quiet night for me – no howling coyotes, no howling, barking dogs , braying donkeys-the music  of my soul-nothing but quiet. I had to get out of bed , turn on the music and begin walking in place and then around the room for a few  minutes. I read my facebook and email and finally fell asleep.

Saturday morning, we had interesting  and challenging sessions with topics such as focusing on criminal justice, social enterprise, trauma and the subject of racism, homophobia and sexism in our congregations. A key to being able to serve your congregation in a way that benefits them best is to know them. Know who they are, what they have been through and then you can sort out how best to help them.

It’s Sunday now and today, we will go to the parkway in Philadelphia at 3 and worship with the people of the Welcome Church. I know it will be a great experience and I can’t wait. I have found a passion in this ministry such as I have never had before for or in church. I guess I have just found my niche.

In the next post, I will be writing about the service and the plane ride home! Have a mahvelous day!10359221_10203767165234526_5540952237518008767_n (1)1779976_10203767164954519_1900002060732461418_n

seeing Philly from the car.
seeing Philly from the car.

New Look, New Tagline

When I began this blog, I was really uncertain that I would stick with it. I am great at starting things- not so great sticking with it or finishing it. So, I didn’t make it fancy – I didn’t really make it mine. I believe I have customized it now so that it is more me.

See, we live on three acres in Texas and we have a little red barn, we have 3 pastures- one severely overgrazed. We have animals -lots of animals- six, count ’em, six donkeys, 2 horses, 3 cats, 9 dogs, 7 puppies I’m trying to sell, several wild bunnies, a roadrunner family and assorted other wild animals. Some people wonder why we want to live with all these animals. Well, we love them all. We are out in the country, so why not help take care of God’s creatures?

Anyway, I  digress. In the beginning, when I began the blog, the tagline was ” The beauty is in the imperfection, and baby, I’m imperfect.” But, today, I changed it to “Beauty lies in imperfection.” I left it at that. It sounds more classy – or something.

So, per Blogging 101, I now have an updated blog that  represents more of what I am and what I love.

this old barn may not be much for some people, but we sure love it. oh, and that is my husband, Stephen.
this old barn may not be much for some people, but we sure love it. oh, and that is my husband, Stephen.

It’s Funny- Not Funny HaHa, Funny Odd

I have three children- 2 sons and 1 daughter.One of my sons, my youngest, Micah,  has Cystic Fibrosis. If you have never heard of Cystic Fibrosis, I would not be surprised. I’ll give you a quick  summary. Here goes:

We all have mucous in our bodies. “Normal” bodies have mucous that is thin and slippery and is throughout our bodies. A child with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) has mucous in his/her body that is very thick and sticky. When the mucous is thick and sticky, it clogs organs such as the lungs, the pancreas, the liver. A child sweats profusely, cannot digest food properly, does not usually gain weight well , gets  lung infections, pneumonia and the like often . The mucous, because it sticks to the lungs during infection causes the lungs to scar and the child or young adult to lose lung function. Some people with CF get lung transplants because of this. Some are too sick to transplant and some don’t want transplants. There is no cure as yet, although the medication breakthroughs have been tremendous of late. For many children and young adults (and occasionally old guys)- well, they die young. 

So, when Micah was diagnosed with CF at about 9 weeks of age, I had a lot to learn quickly. My schedule was busy  (remember, I had two older kids). So, Micah would wake very early in the morning ready to eat, but he had to have a breathing treatment first. Next, chest physiotherapy (CPT) (clapping his back, sides and chest 3-5 minutes a side) and then I had to make sure he got his applesauce (which hid digestive enzymes that were bitter tasting) before I gave him his bottle. His formula had been changed many times, but we finally became a test family for Good Start Formula before it went on the market in 1989 or so. While I was taking care of him, I was also getting breakfast for David and Mandi . Mandi was about 12 or so , so she could get her ownself ready for school. David watched “Zoobilee Zoo.”  Okay. After breakfast was naptime for him and an hour or so later, I’d start all over again. Most of the time, he had breathing treatments three times a day, but if he was sick, it could be as often as every two or three hours. 

Well, fast forward a few years. Micah is almost 26 years old! By all accounts, he should have died before he was one year old. God has had His hand on this boy all his life. He has lived 25 years longer than anyone thought he would (except us). The other day, while doing a breathing treatment, he coughed up some blood – not a good sign, we all thought. He wisely called the doctor and went in for a CT scan of his chest. 

Today, I received a call from him saying the doctor called and said he had a subtle pneumonia going on- so subtle that it was not seen on xray. I am so grateful God chose to bless Micah with that blood. No, I’m not some kind of crack pot. But, I know my son. Had blood not been a factor, Micah, as diligent as he is with his health, might have missed that he was not well and just carried on until the pneumonia got worse. As a result, he has only home IV’s to do instead of a 14 day hospital stay. 

Isn’t it funny how God chooses to get our attention? Thanks God!