No, not on the other side of the fence - but on my side of the fence. The grass is actually green - the flowers are blooming - the trees have leaves and my lilacs are showing buds. I'm so happy. Spring has finally come to Montana.
Of course, that doesn't mean it's all that warm, but I love it here and I'll take 60 degrees in May almost June, instead of snow and 30's.
I'm hard at work finishing up a new series that will debut in the fall, and like Kim I've had a gander at my new cover - and LOVE IT! Bethany House does the most incredible covers and I can't thank them enough for all they do for me. Here's a look at the new cover. This series is set in 1880's Texas.
One of my biggest blessings this week, however, has been the way God is working to heal members of my family and me. My husband is diabetic and had great news at the doctor's office. His blood sugar average was way down and he's doing very well. Next, I am healing from shingles and while I'm tired and somewhat itchy - I'm getting better.
Last of all, but certainly not least - my daughter Julie is undergoing surgery today and I believe God is going to give her a complete healing and recovery--but if you think about it - please pray for her.
First a big thanks to Stephanie Whitson for filling in last week. I'm reading her latest and it's awesome! But last week was also awesome. I was busy with a writer's conference in Colorado and what a fun time!
My hubby and I love to go to Estes Park, Colorado for the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference and this year was no exception. The conference is always a wonderful get-away, as well as a chance to minister and grow spiritually.
We also had - now are you ready for this - hang onto your seats - SNOW.
Yes, snow. I did not escape my weekly snow. It snowed a foot and a half while at the conference. However, it was gorgeous. I thought I'd share some photos of the remarkable YMCA of the Rockies and Rocky Mountain National Park. Here's Jim shoveling snow so that our conferees could make it for our writer's clinic.
Estes has always given me a kind of peace and spiritual restoration. The mountains there were a home away from home during the early years of my marriage. This area has also been where we brought our children for vacations when they were young. It's a beautiful piece of God's creation.
Marlene Bagnull runs the conference here every May, and she always points our focus back to Jesus. What a blessing. I always come away remembering that: Yes, I am a writer. Yes, I am a daughter, mother, sister, friend and wife. But above all - I am His.
As the Bible says, He has called me by name - I am His. What a blessing. What a marvelous thing to remember. For all the hats I wear - and they are many - I am first and foremost - His. Today I'm resting in that and enjoying the blessing of all that He has created. I hope you will find rest as well.
On our way home - Jim captured this photo of the sun in the clouds, and I thought it looked very much like someone holding open his arms (his body is right where the sunburst is) as if blessing the earth - Jesus?
One day we'll see Him face to face! Oh, and what a wonder that will be.
Since Mother's Day is just a couple of days from now, I wanted to write a little salute to my mother. My mom has been a mom for over 50 years and during that time we've definitely had some great times. She also taught me some interesting things-- some that I thought would never be useful, but have proven to be life changing.
She taught me to sit quietly in church, even if I didn't want to listen. She used to give me a piece of paper and a pencil in church and tell me to write a story. Afterwards she told me to tell her my story, so I believe she helped to promote my love of storytelling. She also taught me that God was everything and everywhere--that He really cared about me and that He would listen when I prayed.
She forced me to slave away in the garden - learning silly things like weeding, deadheading, watering and planting. This coupled with the way to tie up greenbeans, hoe a straight row for planting and other gardening tidbits seemed useless, but over the years have come back to be beneficial knowledge.
My mother taught me to play the piano - she introduced me to music and gave me a real love of classical music. Later when I had another piano teacher, I often heard the teacher comment that I was one of her only students to enjoy Beethoven and Bach every bit as much as Boogey Woogey and Beatles.
The is my mom and her little sister - Darlene.
Below is my mom and with my sister Karen.
And, my mother gave me a strong love of family and the history of my ancestors. She used to tell me stories of her childhood and of her mother's childhood. She gave me the experience of visiting my great grandmother's farm and of greatly esteeming those who had given their lives for our country's freedom.
So as Mother's Day approaches, I wanted to say thank you to my mom for forcing me to learn such silly things. You have given me an appreciation for life that I might not otherwise have known. I love you dearly.