Friday, May 29, 2009

Deep in the Heart of Texas

We're Texas bound and by the time this blog comes out - we'll be up to our necks in research material - at least that's the plan.

The next series I plan to write (it will release God willing in fall 2010) will be set in Texas. I lived there 2 years as a child and still say some of my words with a drawal. My memories of Texas at that time are generally good despite the fact that we were dirt poor. We ate a lot of black-eyed peas and hushpuppies (my mom called them Shut-up Dogs) and ham and beans as this was the least expensive food to be had. We learned to love grits and to pick pecans and to pray extra hard during tornado season because Texas isn't big on basements due to the soil.

There were other things that come to mind. I remember we had an awesome church, and for fun we often went and parked at the end of the Dallas Love Field runway and watched the planes take off over our heads. Had we any idea of the danger of course, we never would have.

The biggest thing I remember about Texas is how much God grew my faith. There were really awful times when we didn't know where our next meal would come from or whether there would be money to pay the various bills, but we would pray and God always provided. To the 8 year old child I was - it was amazing and exciting to see God work in that way, so I will always remember Texas fondly for those lessons.

Anyway, I'll be exploring East Texas this time around and trying to endure the heat and humidity and would appreciate your prayers.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Women of Faith

I had the most amazing time last weekend in Billings, Montana at the Women of Faith seminar. My mom and I went for the all day Friday and Saturday event and man were we blessed.

The theme this year is A Grand New Day! On Friday we heard Dr. Henry Cloud, co-author of the Boundaries book and many others. Stephen Arterburn was supposed to be the speaker, but he couldn't make it as his wife had just given them a new daughter. Even so, Dr. Cloud was incredible. He had some powerful things to say about how we need to stop being so hard on ourselves when we mess up. He said we always tend to use the 3 P's when we do something wrong or make a bad decision.

1. We make it - Personal = "I'm a loser, I should have known I couldn't do this. Why did I even try?

2. We make it - Pervasive = "I can't do anything right. It's not just this one thing, I'm always messing up everything."

3. We make it - Permanent = "I'll never do anything right - I'm always going to be a lost cause - I'm hopeless."

I thought how true. So often we punish ourselves in ways that God would never even consider. We condemn ourselves and write ourselves off, even when others are understanding and say "It's not your fault" or "It happened that way to me, too."

There were others there that weekend including Sandy Patti. She brought me to tears with her singing and testimony. Having grown up with music as a strong focus in our family, I find its power to be so compelling especially in spiritual areas.

I could go on and on, but instead I just want to encourage you to check out the website for Women of Faith (
and see if you can't get yourself to one of their events. The messages are awesome and amazing healing takes place without you even realizing it.

PS: Today is my mom's 70th birthday! Feel free to wish her a good day at

Friday, May 15, 2009

Minneapolis Madness

Oh let me tell you - when you get more than one writer together in the same room - you never know what is going to happen. We had more fun than any group had a right to when we gathered in Minneapolis. Just to remind you there was (Back row from left to right) Cathy Hake, Judy Miller, yours truly and Kim Sawyer, (in front row left to right) Stephanie Whitson, Julie Klassen, Nancy Moser and Lauraine Snelling (who was down in her back for most of the trip and I know would appreciate prayers). We all write historical stories for Bethany House so research is near and dear to our hearts.

I know Judy has talked about the costume warehouse. That was an absolute hoot! Stephanie Whitson gave us the most amazing workshop on quilts through history. Sadly we all had to learn that the stories about the underground railroads being mapped out with quilts hanging from porches and elsewhere simply wasn't true. There is no documentation for this anywhere except through some fictionalized stories written well after the fact. And this is taught as true history in school!

Cathy Marie Hake, a nursing veteran with over 30 years of experience gave us an amazing workshop on historic medicine. We learned so much - especially about medicines. Goodness but they were doping themselves left and right in the 1800's. One of my favorite was a bottle of hooch called, SAVE THE BABY. As Cathy put it, what mother worth her salt wouldn't invest in a bottle of that? Well, when you looked closer the ingredients were things like Laudanum, Chloroform and Tincture of Cannabis. Hmmm, wonder what you were saving the baby from?

There were a great many giggles over books to help with martial needs. We were more sober when examining a surgeon's field kit. Getting sutured in those days involved a thick curved needle (think of one the size of a leather punch) with a finger loop on one end. The surgeon would push the needle and thread through, then grab the thread and push the needle back out because it couldn't go through all the way. You can see the needles in the picture below. Made you glad to live in this day and age of smaller needles and painkillers.

Well now I'm home and it's back to work. Oh, but here's something fun for you. It snowed like crazy yesterday and although it melted right off and didn't last - we're supposed to get more snow tonight. I'm thinking spring just might come to us around next August.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fun in Minneapolis

I'm here in Minneapolis at a writer's retreat with some very dear friends - including our very own Judy Miller and Kim Sawyer. This retreat also involves some other wonderful Bethany House authors - Cathy Marie Hake, Lauraine Snelling, Julie Klassen, Stephanie Whitson and Nancy Moser. To say we're having fun would be an understatement. I hope to share more about that part of the trip next week. This week, however, I wanted to share some fun Cathy and I had last weekend when we first arrived in town.

Along with our hubbies, we went to the Minneapolis Museum of Art and enjoyed the Art in Bloom show. This was where various artists created flower arrangements that matched up or accented the colors and settings in some of the museum hotel.

There were some doozies to be sure, and the art museum itself was so wonderful.

I'm sharing a few of my favorite photos with you here.
First is this incredibly interesting painting of a woman? I swear it looks like a man in drag, but bless him/her anyway - the flowers accentuate the lovely colors in the painting.

Portrait of Sarah Allen nee’ Sargent by
John Singleton Copley painted between 1762-1770

Then there was Mrs. T in Cream Silk - I don't remember the artist, but I dearly love this old woman. Isn't she elegant and lovely?

Last but not least there was this amazing piece done completely in flowers.

What fun! We have been having a great time exploring stately homes in St. Paul, art, wonderful restaurants and of course - anytime you're with Cathy Hake - you must antique shop. I'll share more next week!


Friday, May 1, 2009

A new Psalm

The other day when I was reading in the Bible, I ran across a Psalm that I know wasn't there before. I've read through the Psalms many times, but I swear I don't remember ever reading Psalm 116.

What a blessing. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. It starts out great and just gets better.

Psalm 116
1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy

What a blessing - he heard my cry.

But my favorite verse in this chapter is verse 7.
7 Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you.

How precious that verse is to me. I so often forget that resting is a good and precious thing. I know I've talked about that before, but when I read this verse it just drove it home once again. Be at rest - once more...for the Lord has been good to you.

I highly recommend you read this chapter if you haven't lately, and let the Lord bless you as He did me. I love the Lord, because He heard my voice!
His faithfulness is something I'll hold tight to as life throws its snowballs at me, and I hope you will too.
Oh and for those of you keeping track - it snowed again today - making this week's total about 12 inches. However - it's pretty much melted off once again. Ah, Montana!
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