That for Which I Am Grateful

Courtesy of Nicholas Tarling. freedigitalphotos.net
We all benefit from gratitude. Sometimes we forget to think about what we are thankful for. The world and all of its noises, stresses, cares, and distractions often get in the way. Often, we have to be reminded about the blessings that daily have been loaded upon us. That's when it is good to give thanks.

While I was drafting this list, I was reminded of so many other things I am grateful for that I did not list. They aren't on the list only because they would make the list so long that it wouldn't be feasible for a blog post, but for a book! So here is my small sampling:

  • people who love me and accept me and my flaws
  • for running hot water
  • a God who keeps working with me and has never given up
  • my husband of 42 years, who is still enamored with me, and tells me so
  • the fact that I can still get out of bed in the morning
  • that I can actually walk a half mile in one whack! (there was a time that I thought I wouldn’t be able to again)
  • that our children love us
  • all of the help I have received with my writing, my art, and my music
  • the friendship of others, freely given
I could go on, of course, who couldn't?


More on Grass Wheels

I have been writing and revising the story called Grass Wheels for the past year, struggling with various aspects of the manuscript: wondering if the characters were right, concerned about whether it should be in verse or prose, tormented by the old desire to 'please' a traditional publisher, sometimes forgetting that I have determined to self-publish. I tried to rewrite it as prose and, though it might have worked, I felt that the charm of the story suffered, so it is back to the poetic style in which it emerged from my mind.

Now that the manuscript is finished, the next struggle is in the form of illustration. Illustrating a story is (for me) just as hard as writing the manuscript. Questions abound:
  • What color palette should I use?
  • In what setting should it take place?
  • What composition would be best?
  • What should the characters look like?
  • At what angle should the pictures be?
  • How can I make the art as important as the text?
  • How can I make the art lively and funny at the same time?

As I have sketched for days on end I have been assailed by frustration over my artistic skills, and that I can't 'just do it' like Nike. Just doing it requires skill and practice, both of which are in short supply here, but not impossible to gain eventually by the said action. So, I'll keep you posted and put up some of my art so you can see it, like the picture next door to this post. Never give up!


Children's Picture Books

Justin's Question
My new children's book  is available for sale right now!  

 "Justin's Question" is a children's christian picture book about a boy who is searching for God. He asks the trees and rocks and other creatures if they have seen God. Their rousing answer is "Yes, yes! We have seen Him!" He wants to ask them something more, but they respond with loud praise, verbal and otherwise, preventing him from asking his question. Everyone becomes so loud that Justin has to shout to be heard. He keeps asking his question until he finds himself standing before the mountains, asking them for help.
Don't miss "Justin's Question," an excellent bedtime story of discovery. It is a book full of brilliant and colorful illustrations. Inspiration is taken directly from scriptures of the Holy Bible. "Justin's Question" comprises 36 pages of large print and colorful illustrations. 8.5" x 8.5." Soft-bound.
Get yours gift-wrapped here!


My Daddy the King is Very Busy!

This story is about a little girl who loves her heavenly father because she sees that He makes time for her even when He is very busy.  
Her story tells about how He interacts with His creation and the many things He does every day, yet He thinks about her and looks for opportunities to interact with her as well. This is a great tool for teaching children that God loves them unconditionally and that they can trust Him to be there for them.  
Newly revised, it is decorated with scroll work and large type on pages opposite brilliant color illustrations. 8"x6" in size.  42 pages.
Get yours gift-wrapped: here! 

ALSO: you can get My Daddy the King as a FREE e-book by going here!


The Elephant in the Room - #Flash Fiction

Hi. Here is a little story about a metaphorical elephant in the room. An 'elephant in the room' story can be metaphorical or literal. It could be about the thing in the room that everyone tries to avoid or the thing that commands attention, whether voluntary or involuntary. It could be anything.

Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Everyone moved around the room nervously taking care not to come too close to the coffee table in the center. They pretended not to notice the glass enclosure sitting there, but their movements were stilted and forced. If it weren't for the fact that the soiree was the most important social event of the season, and that the host was a multi-billion-dollar tycoon, capable of financing anyone's and everyone's business dreams or non-profit needs; the attendees would have been out of there in a New York minute. It was one thing to look at that which sat calm and composed in the enclosure but another thing entirely to have to talk about it to each other, and even praise the owner of the horrid creature, but praise her they did, while suppressing as much of the shivers that shimmied up their greedy little spines as possible.

   Shirlee enjoyed watching their discomfort and listening to their pretenses and polite, deceitful compliments. She had waited for almost three hours, searching for that one person who was in every crowd; that one person who was ingenuous, but shy, maybe even retiring. She watched for that one who might be a social moron but was drawn by fascination toward the glass enclosure. Whoever it was tonight, was controlling his or her excitement well. Shirlee's impatience was beginning to get the best of her. It was always a surprise to her, when her beneficiary revealed themselves. Typically, she thought she had guessed their identity before they came forward, with a shy but intense request to interact with each year's diversion. But, no one had come forward. Finally she would wait no longer.

She approached the coffee table and the enclosure that everyone else wouldn't look at, but found their eyes drawn to anyway, and opened the top of the container. The nervous movement of the crowd suddenly stopped, they stood transfixed, wide eyes watching in horror, some making little shrieks, and others groans of disgust. She slowly put her hand inside the tank and withdrew the hairy-legged, black thing that clung upside down to her hand, as counterpoint to the glittering rings on her fingers and the sparkling soft fabric of her cocktail dress.

Then she heard it. A soft intake of air that sounded like awe. She had found her beneficiary.



Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I have a new idea for a book. It's working title is "Grass Wheels." It is about a boy who goes on a road trip with his family, and on that trip he is so bored that his imagination begins to take over. Every time he sees a 'grass wheel' on the side of the road it turns into an animal of some kind. His imagination is sometimes surprising, sometimes humorous. And just wait for the fun surprise ending! 
My inspiration for the story is the actual hay bales here in North Dakota. They are almost all round. While living in California, all of the hay bales I ever saw were rectangular. The 'grass wheels' here are intriguing because of their different shape. You can see them on the side of the road or in a field. They are wonderful in the fields during the golden light that casts their shadows at the end of the day. After living here for over 15 years, I still love to see them.