Monday, May 7, 2018

The Courtship of Marjorie Graves - Fiction

Dear Reader, I am excited to share with you the first part of The Courtship of Marjorie Graves, a piece of historical fiction I've written, loosely based upon a family member's recollections. It's not biographical, her memories just inspired me. I wrote it for a class recently and it's just been sitting here on the laptop, all lonely. Ha!

I hope you enjoy. The second and final installment will be posted soon. Be sure to check back!

*****

The Courtship of Marjorie Graves


Margie's fingers shook as she spotted the envelope partially buried under the inky advertisements in the waste basket. Her friend, her best friend, had almost bested her after all.

“Lottie?” Marjorie's clear voice rang out into the quiet hallway. She didn't really expect an answer, but one couldn't be too careful. The silence inside the house that greeted her was a relief. The noise of children playing and mothers calling to each other over clotheslines barely made it to her ears. She long ago learned to tune out the unimportant sounds that rumbled past her on a regular basis. She stooped to pick up the envelope from the wire rimmed basket, seeing her name, Margie Graves, written neatly across the front of the envelope. She shoved it into her pocket, saving it until she was behind her locked bedroom door, far from the possibility of her roommate's eyes.

Necessity dictated that the two friends become housemates. Margie was glad for the company at first. Her childhood home, while peaceful for the most part, had become stifling to a young woman who wanted to explore the world around her. The war curtailed those dreams, but it didn't stop her from striking out on her own in a small way, with Charlotte's help, of course. None of her other girlfriends were financially able to move out of their parent's homes. They all stayed until marrying. Margie was grateful to Lottie for her enthusiastic agreement to share a small bungalow.

Until recently, that is. Perhaps their decision, four months into their friendship, had been a hasty one. The two of them didn't share common values nor a similar outlook on life. While shopping trips and volunteer efforts were full of fun, their camaraderie ended when Harlan showed a preference toward Marjorie.

“He danced with me first,” Charlotte reminded her often.

Margie glanced at herself in the oval mirror hanging above the little table that served as a catch-all for mail and phone messages. She saw her face, pale, with lines just beginning to stretch from the corners of her eyes to her temples. At 23, she was too young for crows feet. And yet, there they were.

War will do that to a person, she supposed.

*****

Check back soon for the second installment!

Joyfully,

Friday, May 4, 2018

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up



Let me tell you a story of an unsuspecting substitute at a new school . . .

I stood at the head of the classroom, waiting for the absent teacher's “trusted” student to fill out the seating chart. I began the lesson, asking the outlined questions. I referred to the seating chart to call the students by name. To my surprise, each hesitated. When I glanced at the chart to call on a third student, I noticed the name Mickey Mantle. I'm no sports buff, but I was certain the famous baseball player was, in fact, not sitting in my classroom.

None of the names were correct. I had been lead astray. I wanted to correct the seating chart so asked the students to stand and give me their names. Prior, I only thought I knew who these students were.

This illustrates the view many have of God: They only think they know who He is.

“God is love” is what everyone hears. Indeed, He is, but that's not all he is. God is also just: He requires payment for our sin. He is grace: He gave us a way to spend eternity with Him (by our acceptance of His Son who paid the price for our sin).

When we leave out these aspects of His character, we are selling Him short to a dying world – a world that needs more than “God is love.” It's our responsibility to not gloss over the fact that our sin is what sends us to hell. If we never tell others about their need for a Savior, we are giving them a false sense of who Jesus is.

Love is so emphasized because we have a deep seated need for love. Until we accept Jesus' free gift of salvation, our need will not be fully met. God is the only one who can do that.

It would be like a person introducing themselves by saying, “I love movies. Wanna have an exclusive relationship?” If you agree and later you find out they have nine children, seven dogs and four jobs, you'll feel mislead. Children, dogs and jobs are good things, but it's necessary to know that beforehand to have a long lasting relationship. Every aspect of God is good, but it would be unfair to not tell people that their sin needs to be deal with so they can get right with God.


Telling others about their sin may not be easy as asking the real Jesus to stand up, but we do have the Bible for help. And truly, that's all we need.

The bottom line is this: ultimately each person is responsible for their understanding of God, but we have responsibility to not mislead by only talking about His love and not why we need a Savior.

Dear reader, we do all need a Savior. If you don't understand, please allow me to help you gain a better understanding of what this means. Email me via notesofjubilee@gmail.com. I would love to tell you more.

Joyfully,

Monday, April 30, 2018

More Thoughts After Wordsowers Christian Writers Conference


Dear Reader, I can't stop thinking about the wonderful experience I had at Wordsowers Christian Writers Conference in Omaha Nebraska. It was my second time attending the yearly event. Last year, the experience was fun, but overwhelming as a fist time attender to any conference. It probably wouldn't be so overwhelming for an extrovert. I'm just sayin'. For me, because I knew what to expect, it was less overwhelming as far as new information or feeling like I had to soak up every moment to get my money's worth. This year, I did want to soak it all up, but it was in a less frenetic kind of way. I even showed up a good hour after Saturday's opening. That is huge for me, a rule follower. Last year, I wouldn't have dreamed of showing up later. You live, learn and grow, right?

WCWC is a great conference to start off your experience. It's a smaller conference than others, but I like to think of it as more intimate. Authors, editors, and other writers were so generous with their time and sharing their expertise. I don't know how other conferences are run, but at Wordsowers Christian Writer's Conference, no one is stingy and there is never a feel of competition or one up-man-ship.

There is also a worship time that helps remind us for Whom we write ultimately. Phil and Pam Morgan lead worship and have a tremendous testimony of God's healing power. They also held workshops.

My favorite author, Tosca Lee, was there for a second time. Huzzah! She's an award winning, New York Times best selling author. She's written Iscariot, the Legend of Sheba, Demon: a Memoir, Havah: the Story of Eve (my absolute favorite book of all time), The Progeny and others. She's very down to earth, makes herself accessible and is thoughtful in her presentations. I just love her! Yes, I am fangirling a bit right now!

Wordsowers is all about providing time and opportunities to network too. There were 23 experts to interact with and to gain contacts through. Workshops are wide and varied. My only wish is that some of the workshops were offered more than once because it was hard to choose which to attend! It's a good dilemma to have, if you have to have one.

If you are an author, writer or just thinking about writing, this conference is one of the areas least expensive conferences. And you should go. Tell 'em notes of jubilee sent you!  ;)

Joyfully,

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Decisions, Decisions - Thoughts After Wordsowers Conference 2018



The Wordsowers Christian Writers Conference ended this evening. What a wonderful weekend for fellowship with other writers. It was fun and overwhelming for this introvert. I came home and immediately crashed. I would be zonked out and in bed if I didn't have kids that need me -- ha!

I received great feedback for my children's book, David's Little Donkey from a talented writer of children's books. I have some decisions to make in order to move forward. For example, the book is twice as long as a picture book should be, but not long enough for a chapter book. So, either, I cut half of my word count or I double the word count and drop the dream of having written a picture book.

Eeks. Arg. Sigh.

I CAN edit my work. In fact, I have a draft of the story where I cut it to about 1,000 words. And the story just feels "okay."  Nothing special. Kinda ordinary. I wish I had brought that draft to the conference and gotten feedback on that version as well. I felt like I had to cut out my style of writing in order to do it, so it was sad for me. I don't really want to write ordinary. If I keep my style of writing, I will have to double my word count and not have big beautiful pictures.

So decisions, decisions . . .

At least, I have been given reassurance that my writing is strong and I have a good balance of dialogue, description and action. Yay!

Onward.

Joyfully,


Friday, April 20, 2018

The Church Potluck Predicament - Fiction

You know, some days a writer has the urge to write whatever comes to mind and then she does. Even if she's not sure where it's going. Today was one of those days. I was thinking about potlucks and some of the crazy things that sometimes show up and touted as edible. When I was growing up, a lime green jello with carrot slivers always made it's way to the dessert table. Dessert? A dish with visible chunks of vegetables surely cannot be considered a dessert, right? Anyway, after a bit of thought, this is what came from my potluck musings. It's just a little snippet. Enjoy.

 ***

The orange jello cottage cheese "casserole" wiggled involuntarily in the leaf embossed Corelle bowl in front of me. Taunting. I could feel Mrs. Purdy's eyes upon me. Expectant. Eager.

I sighed. I scooped. I plopped the slop onto my paper plate.

She clapped her hand upon my shoulder once. Twice. Then released a sigh herself.

The gnats that hovered over the food table suddenly found keen interest in my plate. I moved on down the buffet line. No way was I going to eat this, this, disgusting mass of gelatinous goo. I just needed a moment where I could safely discard it without her knowledge. I closed my eyes in a quick, silent plea for God to be on my side and grant my wish.

Potlucks are a funny thing. Especially church potlucks. It's either feast or famine, rarely is it anything in between. Feast or famine is in the eye of the beholder, it's true. This particular Sunday was a bit of a famine, though Mrs Purdy never failed to show up with her famous concoction. Or maybe it's considered a salad. I've never been sure.

Inspiration hit when two neighborhood dogs showed up, sniffing the ground for food that had dropped from unsuspecting diners' plates. I gave a low whistle and the heads of the mutt and the schnauzer jerked upward. Both tilted their heads in expectation. I walked around the backside of the nearest oak tree with my two new friends trailing not far behind me.

"Here ya go, sweeties. See . . . mmmm . . ."

They dipped their heads toward the task of gulping down the goo and I turned to go.

"Oh, what a shame, Miss Caroline! Did you lose your dessert? C'mon with me and we'll get you some more." Miss Purdy hooked her arm through mine and lead me back to the buffet table.

I looked back over my shoulder to see the two dogs lapping up the orange jello with a fervency usually reserved for the starving. I wondered about the feasibility of "dropping" a second helping onto their proverbial laps.

"I'm gonna stand here and make sure you get some tasty cottage cheese casserole into that tiny belly of yours. C'mon now." Mrs. Purdy's carefully manicured fingers wrapped around a ladle and she dug jello out of the bowl, sliding the mess onto a fresh plate. Then she handed me a plastic spoon.

The dogs came and sat at our feet. Their tongues hung out over their teeth.

With a half smile at Mrs. Purdy, I scooped a spoonful and shoved it into my mouth.

"That's it, dearie. A bit of my jello and the whole world is made right."

I plastered a smile on my face and tried not to swallow.

Miss Purdy's smile expanded across her face as if she'd won the lottery. She patted my shoulder once again and stepped toward the next unsuspecting guest in line.

The dogs tilted their heads first one way and then another. The schnauzer lifted his rump from off the ground and stepped from side to side. He began to whimper. The mutt inched closer at pushed at my shin.

I tipped my plate. The dogs pounced.

If she asked I would tell Mrs. Purdy that the dessert was well received and enjoyed.

I just wouldn't bother to tell her it was by my new canine friends.

***

Joyfully,