Friday, July 28, 2017

These Were NOT My Vows

Our marriage ceremony was simple and traditional. Except for a little glitch which resulted in me forgetting to say, “for richer, for poorer,” we made all the usual promises to each other. (Thankfully that richer, poorer thing has never been an issue.) And I’m incredibly blessed to be able to say that we’ve kept our promises almost thirty-nine years now.
But lately I’ve been rethinking our vows – not out of doubt or want, but because of the growing realization that there has been so much more; beyond love, honor, and faithfulness. So...these are some of the things I’ve thought about – things we’ve done with and for each other, which maybe could have been part of our wedding ceremony.
I have listened to you preaching for over thirty years. You say I could preach some of your sermons myself, but I doubt it. Those words have your heart behind them.
I’ve listened to your talks with your brothers and cousin, and my siblings. I’ve heard you faithfully talk with your mother, and your friends. I see how important these relationships are to you.
I remember you singing and reading to our children; your prayers for them have been part of a rock-solid foundation since before they were born. And I still hear as you sing and read to and bless our grandchildren.
I listen as you rhapsodize about God, about history, about politics. And you listen as I read you books I love, even if they aren’t your favorite, or words I write even when they need polishing.
Somehow, we haven’t run out of things to talk about. I think that when we do, we’ll still be really comfortable in silence, for all of our words have revealed our hearts.
It started with Scrabble, then we played so much we stopped keeping track. Cribbage, Hand and Foot, Bupkiss, Chinese checkers, ping pong, Settlers of Catan, Pandemic, Phase 10…I think we will always make time for games. Even when we hadn’t the money for a movie or dinner, we have been together…a little competitive, sometimes helping, sometimes not, but together nonetheless. Even now, in the electronic age, when you hold up your phone and raise your eyebrow, I will say yes to Scrabble.
We adopted the phrase, “I am for you,” from Star Trek. But you are not just for me. You are a father, a son, a brother, a grandfather, a shepherd, a friend, a leader, a student. Sometimes others have needed you more than I. Sometimes you have needed to be away; for work, for play, for necessity, to have time with God, or time with a video game or time to retreat. I will not complain even while I miss you, and I will go where I need to go, so you can share me too.
This one took a while to figure out. We are two very different people, and while you do enrich me, encourage me, comfort me, care for me – you do not complete me. And I do not complete you. That job is reserved for God. And with that knowledge is great freedom and relief. I don’t have to fulfill your dreams, direct your path, or comfort your soul in grief or disappointment. I don’t have to be your Holy Spirit, or your light in the darkness. I cannot be sufficient for you. I can point to Christ who is all sufficient. I can walk this path with you, and will continue to do so gladly; but I can’t be what makes you whole. You have filled my life with deep joy, lots of laughter, contentment and adventure, but you are not my god. We have failed each other sometimes, we’ve disappointed and hurt each other sometimes, and in those times, comfort and help and strength had to come, not from ourselves, but from the lover of our souls.
I thank God for you. You’ve been the best life companion for me. You’ve provided for me, and taken care of me. You’ve sought to serve me with a humble heart. I’ve joked that your headstone will say, “He lived to serve.” But it’s true. That has been your motto.
There are so many things to be thankful for about you, but these are just a few:
It is possible that we’ll be married for thirty-nine more years…not probable, but possible. And I will no doubt realize that there are more promises we could have made and should have made. But the most important thing for me is that we discover them together.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Valentine's Day Kindle Giveaway - Enter to win!

 For one week, I am helping to sponsor a Valentine's Day Kindle Giveaway through Spirit-filled Ebooks. You will find both of my books on sale for $.99 through this week. If you follow this link you can enter to win!
Follow the second link to see some other great books that are either free or $.99!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Out of Print

It pains me to write this, for it feels like an admission of failure. My book, Waiting for Wren is officially out of print. What does this mean? The publisher hasn't sold enough copies to warrant keeping it in print. For two years my royalty reports have been dismal, and I knew that something wasn't working.

Understand, this is my choice. The folks at Deep River Books didn't make this decision although they agreed with it. It's not cost effective for them either, to keep printing copies and have them sit in the warehouse, unread and unloved.

To what is this poor performance attributed? Not my writing, they assured me. The judges loved it enough to choose Waiting for Wren above three hundred plus novels submitted that year. No one knows, the president of Deep River told me, why one book sells and another does poorly. Wrong timing, slump in the market, lackluster marketing, another book with the same name released the same month. I was advised, two years down the road from the release date, that I should try to establish a fan base, which I've been working on. Too late at this point? I can't say.

I know in my heart that I wrote and rewrote and wrote again to make Waiting for Wren something I wanted to publicly put my name on, and something I hoped would glorify God. I still feel proud and thankful to be an award winning author, and I continue to love this book. If you're one of my fans, friends or readers who bought the book, and especially if you took the time to leave a positive review, I thank you, and love knowing that you read my words! The good news part of "out of print" is that the publishing rights revert back to me so I'm free to do what I want with it. Watch, sometime in the future, for a new and slightly improved Waiting for Wren.

In the meantime, I have a few copies available, which I'd be happy to sign if you're interested in the original. And I'm working on my next book which examines our weaknesses and how we let them affect our lives every day. Ironic? We'll see...

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Excerpt from Light Over Water, now at a reduced price for a limited time! Link is below...

From Chapter Ten - Beyond the Pale of Law

Off to their right on a high rise stood the crumbling fort, settled like a patient bovine on its haunches.  Another partial brick building stood closer to the woods, thought to be either a barracks or a powder house.  Down a gentle slope, closer to the shore, lay a jumble of granite rocks.  These were supposed to be the foundation for additional battlements connected to underground tunnels from which guns could be fired without being seen.  The project was abandoned sometime after the Civil War and the granite stood untouched; seemingly forgotten and definitely too heavy to be taken.
          It was to these rocks that Aubrey led Alison.  He went to the one farthest from the fort and brought her around to see its end.
          “Look,” he said, grinning and pointing.
          Alison peered at the rock and gasped.  Chipped away from its end was the clearly defined head and shoulders of a man.  She could see the rock chips and dust scattered around its base on the grass, attesting to the hours of time spent here.  “Oh my, Aubrey!” she exclaimed.  “It’s…it’s amazing!”  Kneeling down she examined it more closely.  Despite its rough surface, the head was rounded and shapely.  She could make out features; the eyes downcast, the mouth unsmiling but somehow determined, the jaw strong.  “When did you do this?  Where did you learn how to do this?”
          He shrugged.  “I’ve done it since I was a kid.  Just takes a hammer and chisel and some good stone.”
          “But this must have taken months!”
          “Oh, aye.  Granite’s hard,” he nodded.  He was studying her as she ran her hand over the shape of it.  “I tried to make it look like Sam, but his face seems kinda distant in my mind.”  He smiled apologetically.
          Alison rose, stepped back from it and brought her hands to her heart in a stricken gesture.  She turned to Aubrey, searching his face and whispering, “You did this for me?”

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Excerpt from Some Smaller Grace... Link is below

Questions at Her Grandparents' Funeral 

 It didn't take a trained ear to realize the organist was abominable. Yet a veiled glance about the church suggested to Jill that no one was paying particular attention to the music. There was a low undertone of voices, which gradually died down as Pastor Thomas took his place at the pulpit.

 "They should have gotten a better organist," Jill whispered to her mother at her side. 

 Marta lifted one side of her mouth contemptuously. "Their musical taste is about like their taste in food. They probably think she plays like Bach himself!" 

 Jill leaned away from her mother and fiercely willed herself not to cry. Again she chewed the inside of her cheek, which was beginning to feel raw. She told herself over and over that they would care about the music, seeming unable to shake the thought from her mind. She held her bunched up handkerchief to her eyes to catch the tears forming there. Jill hated her mother at this moment. 

 The music died away at a small nod from the pastor. He asked them to stand and sing together from the words printed on their program. As they began the hymn, Jill was carried back to her grandmother's kitchen. She closed her eyes. 

She could see the sunlight filtering through the maples that encircled the farmhouse. As it shimmered across the cupboards in the early morning, her grandmother hummed and sometimes sang, "There is sunshine in my soul today, most glorious and bright." 

 She would beam at Jill as she flipped pancakes on the griddle, or dipped homemade bread into French toast batter. She remembered the question, "Is there sunshine in your soul, Jilly?" and her grandmother's husky laughter as a sleepy seven year old answered, "I like it dark." 

 Now the words caught in her throat like dust. Her soul felt like charred blackness, as though the best in her life had been consumed. At this moment, with the music flowing around her and the memories it brought crowding her mind, she thought nothing mattered. Her grandparents had worked hard all their lives, with what to show for it? The spoils of a farm to be squabbled over by a daughter who despised them. Would her own life yield up such dubious results? Her career seemed a pipe dream, music a waste...…/…/B004V5I4MG

Friday, May 6, 2016

Alphabet Soup

These words of mine,

This alphabet soup of sounds and letters,

Stirring in my mind,

Now meat, now mate, now team or tame?

A word grab of changes or

Flurries, as snow, each its own.

How can these nourish, fortify, or sate

When, so like a virus, they assault my tissues

and grow there,

Teasing me from the soundest dream

With their fevered now!…own…won!