Category Archives: Ashlee’s Everyday

Books from the Emerald Isle

Two weeks ago, my mother and sister visited Ireland. Before they left, they asked what type of souvenirs I’d like them to bring back for me. I didn’t have to think about it long before I decided exactly what I wanted. I’m sure you may even be able to guess . . .

I asked for them to bring me books. Used books from a little Irish book store tucked away somewhere. On further thought I asked my mom to stop alongside a beautiful country road in Ireland and pick wild flowers, and to press them into the pages of the book she got for me. Not an expensive gift. Not a difficult gift to get. But I was ecstatic at the mere thought of it.

I’m sure most of you read the rambling and rather passionate thoughts in my last blog post about why I love paperbacks (and hardbacks, of course!) so very much. As my mom and sister handed me my gifts, it hit me once again just why I love physical books as I do.

From a library sale in Carlow, Ireland, to secondhand bookstores in Newry, Cahir and Dublin, my dear little Irish books are full of worn pages, penciled-in notes, unglued binding, age spots, wildflowers, a yellowed bus pass that someone must once have used for a bookmark, and, in short, more history and food for imagination than you could get into an infinite number of eBooks.

Are you ready for some serious book-love pictures?! Meet my new-old books:

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book1

I wonder who W.H. Fowler was? Did he enjoy reading this book? How long did it sit on his shelf?

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book6

Irish wildflowers picked from an obliging field.

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book9

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Where did this bus ticket take the person who bought it? Who was he going to see? Perhaps he (or she, of course!) was reading this book as he rode the bus…

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Whose fingers blackened the edges of these pages with their thumbing? This book must have been well-loved, to have such worn edges.

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All my books have history. Some of that history I’ll never know about – I can only imagine where the many books I own have been, what shelf they have rested on, whose eyes have smiled or cried or even drowsed while reading them.

These books from Ireland are no different, really. They sat on a shelf somewhere, or maybe amid a stack of other books, perhaps in a household, perhaps in a bookstore or library. They passed from hand to hand, home to home, heart to heart, just as many books do.

It’s a connection between myself and someone far away. It’s a cord woven between me and a stranger whom I’ll never meet. What a mysterious, lovely thing. My fingers touch where their fingers have touched. I’ll read the very words that someone far away once read. Perhaps I’ll even be touched by those words in the same manner as the one who read them before me.

What history, real or imagined, do your own hand-me-down books have?

Paper and Ink: 3 Reasons I’m Not an eBook Girl

A few weeks ago I was in line at Nebraska Furniture Mart, preparing to purchase a book.

The man behind me in line laughed and said, “You don’t see people doing that much anymore.”

I said, “What? You mean buying a book at a furniture store? I know –  kinda strange, huh?”

“No,” he said. “I mean buying a book . . . at all. People just don’t do it.”

I just smiled. “Well, I certainly do.”

“So you don’t read eBooks?”

“Not much. I’m rather stubbornly rebelling against the eBook world. I’ll always stick to my paperbacks first and foremost.”

The man just grinned at me and shook his head . . . then kept smiling and shaking his head until I had checked out and walked away. That’s what he did. I’m not exaggerating.

Now, maybe people who live in Nebraska just don’t read as much as people from my State of Missouri, but I doubt it. It could be that this man just has a skewed idea of the bookish world and readers in general . . . I sure hope so!

Whatever the case, it made me ask myself – why do I cling so desperately to my paper-and-ink books? After all, it’s not nearly as convenient to tote around books like Middlemarch or Mansfield Park than it is to simply click it on my tablet and start reading. And let’s not even talk about the difference between having 3,000 books uploaded to your e-reader . . . versus owning 3,000 paper and hardback books that are slowly pushing you out of your own home . . . ahem, not that I have that problem.

Why do I put up with it? What is the superhuman pull of paper and ink and, let’s face it, possibly even spine glue and dust jackets? Because really for me, it is a superhuman pull.

MEMORIES . . .

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Nothing has such an insistent tug as childhood memories. At least, not for me. The stories I experienced, the places I journeyed to through them, the places I sat while reading them, the walks home from the library with arms-to-chin piles of books, the feel of my childish hands on a book’s hard spine . . . those memories will be with me for most of my life, I imagine. And they’re incredibly strong, deeply happy memories. Maybe the coming generation will have those memories with their Kindles, too . . . but somehow I just can’t imagine the dearness of those memories ever being quite the same.

SENSES . . .

Ok, this is a big one for me.

A few days ago I finished a chapter of the book I’m currently reading and my husband looked at me and said, “Why do you look at your book like that every time you stop reading?”

“Umm . . . what do you mean? All I did was shut it and put it down.”

“Nope. Every time you get done reading you close your book and give it a strange look. Every single time. It’s kinda weird.”

“I do?” And then I believe I blushed. This is a man I’ve been married to for 12 years. I can’t remember ever blushing in front of him for, well, anything. But this felt . . . strangely personal. Because the moment he pointed it out, I realized it was true, although I’d never given it a moment’s thought before then.

Apparently I get a little doe-eyed with my books. So what? I bet lots of people do. Right . . .?

That beautiful sound paper makes when I flip pages all at once, or the sound when I let a single page slide through my fingers. The fresh scent of new paper, the sharp smell of ink, even the nose-tickling mustiness of an old, dusty book from my Grandma’s shelf. The very sight of a book or, better yet, a whole shelf of books, their motley, mismatched spines like a beacon to something deep within me. The feel of a book’s squared edges against my palm, its heaviness in my hands as I take it from a shelf.

You know, when I first read The Chronicles of Narnia, the whole box set of them that I owned had a distinct scent to the pages. Who knows what caused it – I imagine something as simple as the combination of ink and paper the publisher used. But whatever it was – to this day when I smell the pages of another book with that same scent, I am instantly transported straight back to my childhood bedroom, with Narnia swirling all around me. I even sometimes feel the ghostly twinge of the crick I got in my neck from burying myself in those books for such long periods of time.

“O, there is lovely to feel a book, a good book, firm in the hand, for its fatness holds rich promise, and you are hot inside to think of good hours to come.” – Richard Llewellyn

SLOWING DOWN . . .

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Those first two reasons are good enough, for me, that a third one wouldn’t even be necessary. But I’ve noticed that, as I get older, I’ve dug my heels in and become quite old-fashionedly stubborn about my books. After some thought, I believe it has to do with my need for control in a world that moves too quickly and demands too much.

A book in my hand represents a slowing down of life, a focusing of my attention to what is in front of me. By picking up a book I feel as if I’m pulling myself out of the tumult of the e-world (or even, sometimes, the world in general) and giving it an emphatic “no.”

STORIES ARE STORIES

Yet in the end, a book’s truest pleasure comes from the words that are written – not the object from which you read them. Stories – good stories – will always be important in their own right, whether told by mouth, written on papyrus, scrawled with crayons on construction paper (those are the ones my son writes for me!), printed with ink on paper, or published on an electronic device.

There is no right or wrong here. Stories are stories and I will always, always love a well-told one.

It’s just that I’ll enjoy it much more if it’s on paper 🙂

 

Tell me, do you have strong feelings about the particular form a book takes?

 

Tidings of New Stories

2 + 2 = 4

For those of you who follow my Facebook page, you’ll have seen that I’ve finished revisions (at last!) on book 1 of my new fantasy series, and have passed it on to my first round of beta readers. This is the first time I’ve used betas, so I’m naturally a bit nervous. It’s one thing to finish a book and hand it to your husband or sister or mom, knowing they will gush with praise. It’s quite another to hand it to someone and say, “Please tear it apart.”

*Gulp*

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I originally planned for this book to be one of two. The first draft of the sequel has been written already, in fact, although it is awaiting much work! However, something has happened along the way. Rather inevitably, I suppose …

The characters … have come alive.

One or two of them are asking for their own stories. A couple others are wishing for more of their stories to be told. It’s all I can do to keep up with the ideas that are being flung at me, and in the process … two additional book outlines have taken shape. So it looks like this book duo has now become, officially, a series. A family of four books … two of which are only ideas thus far, yes, but rather strong and insistent ideas.

*Another gulp*

A bit scary. Quite challenging for someone who has never even considered writing a series. But what a delicious challenge! I think I’m willing to tackle it 🙂

BETA READERS

As I’ve said, the first round of my beta readers have copies of the book already. However, I will be announcing, at a future date, my need for a second round of 2-4 readers. Those who follow my newsletter will be the first to hear about this opportunity, and if the need is filled by them, I may not be announcing it again on my blog.

NEW FAIRY TALE

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Before I launch into revisions for book 2 of the fantasy series, I am working on a novella of a fairy tale retelling that I plan on indie-publishing sometime soon (eek!). As it was written a couple of years ago, I’ve got a lot of work to do on it yet. I began revisions on it today, and I must say they are going swimmingly so far! I basically read through it and marked down all the “homework” I’ll need to do. Several hefty changes, but I’m excited to get started on them.

My wonderful newsletter followers will also be the first to hear about beta reading opportunities for this book, plus fun things like participation in the cover reveal, etc., when the time comes. (Ooh, helping design another cover … I’m definitely looking forward to that part!)

READING

On a rather random note, I just finished the amazing His Dark Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers, and am in a bit of withdrawal. None of the books I pick up seem to be appealing to me, but I’m ready to dive into something. Any great suggestions?!

WANTED: Newsletter Signer-Uppers!

Yep, I finally got a newsletter. See the button for signup, over in my sidebar? Yeah, that’s it!

For those of you wondering: What’s the difference between signing up for a newsletter and following a blog? Well, there are several things that set newsletters apart.

My newsletters won’t be as … ahem, random … as my blog posts. Neither will they be as frequent. You can expect them something like once every other month. They will be focused on specifics, a few of which are:

1.) Book news. Release dates, exclusive content like as-yet-unseen chapters or excerpts, and any other important announcements regarding my books and stories.

2.) Opportunities. Newsletter followers will get first dibs on things like beta reading and reviewing opportunities.

3.) Condensed blog info. If you don’t fancy getting an email every single time I publish a blog post, my newsletter will give you a rundown of the most popular posts I’ve published recently (with links), and you can pick and choose (or not!) which ones you’d like to read. No clutter in your inbox … always a good thing!

4.) Fun Stuff. Even if you don’t follow my blog, my newsletter will keep you up to date on things like giveaways and promos. Also any other fun tidbits from elsewhere on my various social media that you may have missed.

Click here to sign up for my newsletter, or click on the lovely green sidebar button!

Reminiscences …

I was looking through some old family photos today, and got the idea that it would be fun to share a few of them with you. When I first meet a friend, I like to get to know them by asking questions about how they grew up. A person’s past is like a treasure trove of clues for how they came to be who they are … Many times, great fuel for a writer’s imagination! So today I’ll show you a few of the pictures that characterize “how I came to be.” Just promise you won’t giggle too much 🙂

Reading, of course, was one of my biggest pastimes. I pretty much read everywhere …

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…out of dresser drawers…

ash, age 5

…buried in my parents’ closet…

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…giggling between a sister and friend…

I’ve always had a bit of a flare for the dramatic …

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That’s me on the left, dancing in The Nutcracker ballet.

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Thinking deeply about … um … a change of fashion, perhaps?

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Bounding into the water on our first visit to the ocean. My dad was quick with the camera on that one!

… and a little bit of quirkiness, too 🙂

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My darling cats were a huge part of my growing up, of course. Well, they and my horse and goats and dogs and the neighbor’s llamas that shared our pasture …

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My sister and I showcasing our brand new kittens!

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Our sweet Penny. The house I grew up in is in the background.

Prince

My horse, Prince.

And just so we’re PERFECTLY clear … my sister and I were NEVER those girls who dressed up their animals …. ahem … never…….

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Umm … yeah.

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Pumpkin looks sooo happy!!

Right. Moving on …

My life wouldn’t have been the same – nor would I have been – without my little sister, who is still my best friend today.

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Being home-schooled was also something that helped shape my personality … not to mention allowed me to continue to pursue my love for writing and reading.

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My tiny home-school graduate class … I’m the one hiding behind the hat on the far left.

And last, but not least, something many of you may well be unaware of … I am, in fact, an angel 😀

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So many memories, and as I sift through them I see a glimmer here and there of some of the things that, though I didn’t recognize them at the time, led me down the path to becoming who and what I am today. Doesn’t it make you wonder you’re doing today that will affect who you grow into tomorrow …?

 

Light and Peace

Well, I suppose it’s not too late (yet!) to wish you a Merry Christmas! My plan was to write a Christmas post full of depth and meaning … But the truth of it is that I haven’t had a spare moment to sit down and write a post of any kind in a shamefully long time! I have been up to my eyeballs in revisions, which are taking soo much longer than I anticipated *sigh*. But mostly, I am just attempting to find joy in this Christmas season with friends and family.

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Jacob Marley tells Scrooge he will be visited by 3 spirits.

Caroling with my son’s school, leading my poor family on a merciless quest for the “perfect” Christmas tree, taking my son to his first play (A Christmas Carol, of course!), and lots of hot chocolate, story-reading, game-playing and snuggling have been uppermost on our family agenda of late!

So since I have not had the time to conjure some inspiring words about Christmas myself, I’ll borrow some instead! Hope your Christmas is blessed and bright, friends!

 

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“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” (Dr. Seuss)

“Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’.” (Bing Crosby)

“How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, His precepts!” (Benjamin Franklin)

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” (Charles Dickens)

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” (Laura Ingalls Wilder)

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photo by legate01

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ” (Norman Vincent Peale)

“We consider Christmas as the encounter, the great encounter, the historical encounter, the decisive encounter, between God and mankind. He who has faith knows this truly; let him rejoice.” (Pope Paul VI)

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” (Roy L. Smith)

“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.” (Alexander Smith)

“Christmas in Bethlehem. The ancient dream: a cold, clear night made brilliant by a glorious star, the smell of incense, shepherds and wise men falling to their knees in adoration of the sweet baby, the incarnation of perfect love.” (Lucinda Franks)

“Christmas is joy, religious joy, an inner joy of light and peace.” (Pope Francis)

“And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans–and all that lives and moves upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused–and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.” (Sigrid Undset)

“And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead, nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
the Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!'”  (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

 

First Drafts and Dragons

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Well, my friends, I am feeling a strange mixture of utter relief and tension right now. It’s the feeling that comes when a first draft is finished (relief), and edits loom large (tension) ….

Yes, you heard me. Mere minutes ago I typed the last sentence of my book. It is the second of a series I am working on (I finished the first draft of the first book earlier this year). It’s a thrilling feeling, to say the least! Especially as this is a bigger undertaking than I’ve ever tackled before. From a girl who has written only standalones, a series is a daunting task. As of now I have written the first two books, and have many plans and ideas for the third book, although it may be a while before I begin officially working on it.

What, you ask, are these books about? Well, I’m always a bit reluctant to say much about my WIPs while they are still in first-draft form – even to my own family! But I will give you a few clues.

Firstly, there are dragons. And anyone who knows me knows how much I adore dragons. I’ve longed to put them in a book for many years, but dragon1hadn’t found the right story for them until now. And I’m so excited about them, although to be honest, a little nervous about how I’ve pulled it off …!

Secondly, and probably obviously, these books are of the Christian fantasy genre, just as The Word Changers was. There is an element of allegory, an element of mystery, a great deal of adventure and intrigue and danger, and a bit of romance.

Thirdly, these books are told from multiple points of view. There are two protagonists – one is a male and one is a female. The story is told alternately from their viewpoints, something else I’ve wanted to do for a long time but didn’t quite have the courage for. The male viewpoint was a difficult one, and when I’m editing I’m sure I will have to sharpen his voice and think many manly thoughts in order to get it just right …! Perhaps some of the men in my life will be willing to read the book and offer their wisdom! 😉 😉

I am giving myself a week or two off before I begin edits. And by “off,” I mean that I will probably just tackle another writing project while I wait.  A short story, perhaps … or maybe a brand new book. I’ve got ideas for both of those things rattling around in my brain right now, so we’ll see.

So thanks to those who prayed for me and encouraged me as I struggled through the ending of this book (you know who you are!), and to those of you who I pray get to read these labors sometime in the distant future. I truly couldn’t do it without you, or without God, the true Author of all our stories.

Have a blessed weekend!

Book Sightings and Library Love

A couple of weeks ago I went to my local library and saw, for the first time ever, my own book on the library shelf! And not just one copy … two! I was pretty excited, as you can well imagine!

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At my local library!

When I visited my alumni college (later that same day, as it happens), an old friend I was speaking with there informed me that he had seen my book for sale in the college bookstore … on display, on the front counter! I’m only a little ashamed to say that I squealed and immediately drug my husband and son to the bookstore to see it. Wouldn’t you have?!

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In my alumni college bookstore!

Having my book for sale in a book store is exciting, but I’ve got to say that seeing my book on the shelf of a library, with the potential to go through the hands of dozens, possibly hundreds of readers … now that’s really a dream come true. Libraries have always meant so much to me, the scent of papers and ink, the whisper of pages being turned, the hum of silence, the solid walls of books all around. Paradise, really. What a privilege for my book to now have a home in one of my favorite places on the planet!

Many of you have read The Word Changers already, and a lot of you who haven’t have said you’d like to one day. If you haven’t had the chance yet, have you considered submitting a request to your own local library to purchase a copy? I’ve done that many times in the past for books that I’ve considered reading, but was on the fence about forking my own money out to buy. And 9 times out of 10, my library goes on to purchase the requested copy.

Most of the time you only need the requested book’s title, author, and year published (my library usually won’t purchase something that has a publish date of more than a year ago). But if you decide to put in a request for The Word Changers, and your library requires more information, click here 🙂

I can’t tell you the pleasure and honor I’d feel knowing my book was on the shelves of libraries across the United States, or even in other countries! What a thrill!

And just for fun, here are some great library quotes:

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HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!!

 

You Can’t Go Home Again

Thomas Wolfe said it. “You can’t go home again.” And he was right.

This past weekend, I visited my hometown. The one I was born in. The one where I grew up. The place I went to school, wrote my first stories, received my first kiss, made my best friends, had my heart broken by a childhood that flew away all too swiftly.

It is a small town, a boring town, even. But for me it’s a town full of ghosts and memories. And when I visited there, I found myself wanting to walk with those ghosts. I wanted to climb into the memories that were some of my happiest and live in them. Pretend I was a child again and that the world didn’t hold nameless horrors in the future for me or those I love.

But I can’t. No one can.

Because you can’t go home again.

I took my son to the beloved library that was “mine” as a child, just a block away from where I lived. I watched him climb the same stairs that I used to, touch the same books, walk the same creaky floorboards. Yet nothing was as it had been when I was a child myself.

My hometown library

My hometown library

Rooms had changed. The library itself is more than three times larger than it used to be. Walls had been taken down, others had gone up. Squeaky floors and new floors met together beneath fresh, flat carpeting the color of a robin’s egg.

I went to stand in the same spot where I had stood so many years ago, gazing at the bookshelves, dreaming of crawling into the worlds between the pages … the seeds of what eventually grew into The Word Changers. But it was no longer a children’s book room, and the space I stood in was awkwardly between magazine racks and “new release” shelves.

You just can’t go home again. Not really.

I watched as my favorite “story-time lady” talked to my son. She had always been my favorite as a child – you know, the type who does the voices, makes the faces, practically jumps out of her chair with animation. Her face – the one that was so familiar and yet somehow so changed – had been a large part of my growing to love books. I saw the eventual recognition come into her eyes when I began talking to her. She shook her head, not believing so much time had passed. She told me my son would be my age in the blink of an eye, and it would be him taking his own kids to story-time. After I left I realized I should have told her what her stories always meant to me … what they still mean.

Perhaps I’ll do it next time I go home again …

Then we drove by the house I grew up in. It’s practically the only one left standing on the block, and it’s barely standing at all. In place of the roses my mom used to grow were sparsely-leafed bushes and broken cement. The fence my grandpa had put in had lost so many panels you could see straight through into the yard. And that was the worst shock of all. Because there in the backyard was the playhouse my dad had built for my sister and me. It was leaning sideways against the garage, hovered against the bushes like a huge, sad, beaten animal. I saw the tea parties that had been had in that playhouse, the dolls and sleepovers and board games and neighborhood clubhouse meetings, the laughter and even the arguments …. Ghosts and memories.

I want to go home again … I long to go home again. This past Friday, visiting my old haunts, remembering that fleeting, thoughtless joy I had as a child … I ached to go home with every fiber of my body.

That’s when God spoke.

“This world is not your home.”

Simple words, stern and gentle at once.

father's handIt came to me, slowly at first, and then in a rush. And I realized what I had really known all along. That you can’t go home again because “home” isn’t a place. It’s a state of mind, a feeling, an age, a group of people, a combination of events and objects, a transient, bittersweet moment of time that you don’t realize even happened until it’s over and gone and irretrievable. A wisp of cloud, a sweet, faint scent in the wind.

You can’t go home again because you’ve never really been home at all.

Thank goodness the home God has in mind for me isn’t made up of these things. Worldly things. Fleeting things. No, the home He calls me to, the home I should be spending all my longing on, is entirely different. It’s heavenly, and eternal, and all else pales in
comparison to its splendor. I’m blessed to have that hope. And I’m a fool if I let myself stay locked and lost within the past, beautiful as it may have been.

So I have a choice before me, one I have to make every day, in fact. I can take the memories and the happiness and even the sweetness that feels so much like sadness, and I can either mourn over them, or I can let them remind me of where I’m going…. through the narrow gate, to a place where tears and sorrow will be gone forever. A place that my heart yearns for, though I’ve never seen it. A place that’s in front of me, and not behind.

My home, of course.

 

Summer of Ups and Downs

Death …

The past weeks have included a lot of ups and downs around our house. For those of you who remember when we got our puppy, Pilot, a few months back, it pains me to say that we lost him just a couple of weeks ago. He died, we believe, of a disease young dogs sometimes get. Fine one day … horribly sick the next. My 7-year-old, my husband, and myself were (and are) heartbroken, to say the least. It’s a sad thing to lose your dog … and it’s a sadder thing to watch your child’s little heart break because of that loss. God certainly put a special place in people’s hearts for their pets, and Pilot will always be in ours.

Pilot and my little Bug were rarely apart.

Birth …

Several days after Pilot’s death, our cat, Princess Peach, had a kitten. Yes … just a single kitten! And this was, in fact, perfect. If there had been any more, we would have had to find homes for them. This way we get to keep our precious little kitty (named Toad). While the pain of Pilot’s death won’t end anytime soon, this new fluffy addition to our household has helped a small bit.

Our tiny Toad

 

First Drafts…

Having completed the first book of my new two-book project, I have been attempting to concentrate a bit more on finishing up the first draft of  Book 2. I’ve sent very, very rough synopses of both Book 1 and Book 2 to my agent, although I fear she may be a bit bewildered with the fractured and confusing way they were put together! These books are still in early stages, and they are the first books that aren’t stand-alones I have ever written – quite daunting! But the confusing synopses are only temporary … things will be ironed out during edits, as usual. It’s nothing some hard-core revisions and trusty beta readers won’t be able to handle!  My hope (fingers crossed!) is to have revisions completed, and finished drafts of both books in my agent’s hands, by the end of the year. Then I’ll be able to start talking a bit about them here on my blog! Can’t wait.

Introvert Overkill …

The past few weeks have been full of other things as well.

I got to visit for the day with a friend I hadn’t seen in more than four years.

One of my very close childhood friends got engaged!!

I spent a “girls” weekend with my cousins and sister (sans kiddos!), just shopping, watching movies, chatting, swimming and laughing ’til we cried.

And I am gearing up for my son to attend school. We home-schooled this past year, but decided a small local Christian school was the best choice this year. I’m sure my Bug will have no problems adapting … it’s Mom who will be the emotional mess during the first week of school!

So, yeah. A lot going on for this introverted girl 🙂  I’m just plain worn out.

How has your summer been going? What have you been up to? Relaxing in the sun … or something new and exciting?