Cinderella, life-change, Eileen Key, Christian fiction, testimony
Old newspapers, 100 years ago, 125 years ago
Repurposing, second chances
Story contest, Valentine's Day, Love Stories
Tomorrow's Sun, Romance
Tomorrow's Sun. old bridges, Burlington, WI
Are you the kind of person who loves the "extra scenes" feature on DVDs? I am. So I've dug a never-used scene out of the Today's Shadows archives to share with you. I'd love some feedback on this excerpt from I Don't Want to Be Your Everything--a fictional non-fiction book that never did appear in Today's Shadows.
To set the scene: It's late at night and Heather is curled up on the couch in the lakeside home she's house-sitting. This is what she reads in a book given her by a new friend (Ryan's sister) who shares Heather's history of painful break-ups:
This is the chapter
where some of you are going to slam the cover and throw the book against the
wall. Some of you may scream that I have tricked you, that if you’d known I Don’t Want to be Your Everything was
that kind of book you never would have picked it up in the first place. I’m
asking you to hold off on that for just a few pages. I’ve earned a few more
minutes of your time, haven’t I? By now you’ve seen that my story is yours and
yours is mine and you know we’re in this together. So please just hang in there
for ten more pages and then, if you think I’m off the wall, you can throw the
book at it.
What have we learned
so far on this journey together? I know I’ve figured out that I’ve never yet
been in a balanced relationship. I know that I’m always looking for more than
Mr. Almost Wonderful can give and that he’s always doing the same. I’ve
realized that my fantasy of finding that one person who banishes dark clouds
and tears and makes me smile 24/7 is just that—a fantasy.
Some of you are in a
different camp. You’re the ones who’ve met the guy who wants to be your
everything and that scares you to death. Why? Maybe because you’re afraid of
losing your identity. Maybe because you simply don’t believe you deserve to be
loved like that.
The desire for a prince,
the longing for a super hero, is built into every little girl. I am convinced
it is part of our DNA. There will com a day
when some brainiac microbiologist will squint into her electron microscope and
scream “There it is! The ‘Save Me!’ gene!”
So why can’t we just
accept it? Why do we look at our desire for a white knight as weakness?
I think it’s because,
for most of us, every time we think we’ve found our super hero—the guy who can
x-ray vision our every wish and leap the walls we’ve built around us in a
single bound—his mask slips and we see yet one more fallible, self-centered
human. In the best of scenarios, we walk away with a heart filled with familiar
disappointment but still intact. But most of us have experienced the worst
case—flying high with this super man, feeling free and weightless, believing at
any moment he’ll reach out and snatch a star from the velvet sky and place it
on the third finger of our left hand—when suddenly his power vanishes, his grip
loosens, and we plummet to the ground. . .broken, wounded, disillusioned.
Determined never again to fall for the illusion.
Until the next hero
After God made the
stars, the moon, the plants, trees, birds, fish, and animals, he said “It is
good.” After he made man he said, “Not so good.” Okay, sorry, that’s editorial
license at its worse. What he really said was, “It is not good for man to be
alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” So what did he do then? He
knocked Adam out, yanked out a rib, and formed woman.
But why? Adam had God.
He walked and talked with Almighty God the Creator and Sustainer of the
Universe. Wasn’t that enough?
Keep in mind that it
wasn’t Adam who said he needed something more. It was God who said, “It is not
good. He needs a helper.”
So if God ordained
that man needed woman, that means he also ordained woman to be with man. Right?
So this desire we have for a man is God-given, but it’s the thing that keeps
getting us hurt and leaving us feeling empty over and over.
Could it be that the
key lies in what God didn’t say? He didn’t say “Adam is incomplete and
worthless without a woman,” or “Adam will shrivel up and die without a woman.”
God had provided food and drink to nourish Adam’s body, sunshine to warm him,
and walks and talks with Himself to feed his soul. God had supplied all his
needs. I hope I’m not theologically out of line to say that God was now
creating a want in Adam and supplying
Woman was a gift to
man. Adam had all he needed in God and his provision. Then, before Adam ever
sinned the first sin, God allowed him to desire something more and supplied the
only thing that would satisfy that desire.
Yes, it's a strong desire . . . and none of us wants to live without love, but here's the crucial point--you can live, quite happily I might add, without a man if that's your reality in this season of your life. But that open, gaping need in your life is for God, not Mr. Kinda Wonderful. He alone loves you unconditionally. He is the true lover of your soul. And, eternally speaking, you can't live without Him.
Heather set the book on the couch,
shut off the lamp, and got up and walked to the window. Moonlight painted a
swath of light across the black hull of a slow-moving barge. The lake was calm
tonight, a myriad of tiny waves roughening the surface like stucco.
the temptation to wonder how this new way of looking at wants and needs could
have changed her relationship with Zach. Instead, she went back further. Back
to a trembling four-year-old girl struggling against unfamiliar arms in an
unfamiliar room that smelled of Pine-sol and dirty diapers. How different would
her life have been if she’d been able to grasp how much she was loved by her Heavenly
Father . . . when the earthly one turned his back and walked out of the room
for the final time?
I'd love to hear your thoughts...is I Don't Want to Be Your Everything a book that needs to be written?
From the Trempealeau County (WI) Times
March 29, 1888
No spring weather yet.
General election next Tuesday. Elect good officers.
Snow three feet deep on the level. How is that for the 29th day of March?
Dr. H.N. Rogers has secured the services of a first-class Scandinavian pharmacist, who will arrive and take charge of his drugstore about the first of next month.
How are we to get rid of the great amount of snow this spring, without being knocked off pins by a flood, is what troubles our citizens.
Business is almost at a standstill, owing to the snow blockade.
April 5, 1888
Fine spring weather. A thunderstorm yesterday. Snow disappearing rapidly and orderly.
March 27, 1913
Vote against license. Whitehall has no need for saloons.
Charles Densmore has purchased a team of draft horses from Herbert Duxbury. Charlie doesn't seem to be in a hurry about returning to California.
April 3, 1913
We are requested to state that "electric ironing" day will be resumed next week.
Anyone know what "electric ironing" day was?
Since I write contemporary tales with historical threads, I thought it would be fun to hear some of your "Then and Now" love stories. And I'll sweeten the deal with a delish prize for the winner: All three books in my Lost Sanctuary Seriesand a heart-shaped box of chocolates.
I write romance stories, but yours can be any kind of love story. Tell me why you love your husband, wife, son, daughter, mom, dad, friend. Sorry, no pets this time.
Here are the rules:
1. Finish these statements:
I loved him/her then because ________________.
I love him/her now because __________________.
2. Each entry must be at least 100 words.
3. Enter as many times as you want, but each essay must be about a different person.
4. Entries will be judged on heart, not writing skill. Make the judges laugh, cry, swoon, or just smile broadly and you've got a shot!
5. Since I'll be using two impartial judges, close friends, relatives, even my own kids are welcome and encouraged to participate.
6. By entering, you are giving permission to share your love story with the world. (And maybe spark a new book idea!)
7. Non-winning entries will be put in a heart-shaped bowl and I'll draw a winner to receive a copy of Today's Shadows and a massive bar of dark chocolate.
8. E-mail entry to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with "Contest" in the subject line. Deadline: Wednesday, February 20.
9. U.S. and Canada entrants only, please.
10. Forward this link to all of your friends who love someone.
Brand New Table
Waaaay back in 1976--in the days when we searched couch cushions for milk money--my sweet hubby surprised me with a handcrafted coffee table for Christmas. He'd been sneaking over to his parents' basement to work on it without my knowledge.
I loved this table. As time went on it became more and more precious. Each of our four boys left his mark on it. Literally.
But the day came when we moved and upgraded from pine to oak. After a lot of justifying to the man who wanted to chuck it, my memory-and-scratch-laden coffee table was relegated to the garage rafters...and then the basement of the next house. In my mind, it still had a future. Someday we would build that cozy log cabin in the woods we'd always dreamed of and it would fit the decor perfectly.
Fast forward to 2012. Our "cabin" is an aging Class C RV. With kids living in three states and grandkids who will be off to college who-knows-where about the time Bill retires, we want to be mobile. I've finally faced the sobering truth--there isn't going to be a cabin in the woods.
If you've followed this blog, you know my struggles with letting go of the "stuff." But not long ago I took a deep breath, snapped the elastic on my big girl panties, and said goodbye to the coffee table. I gave Bill permission to haul it to the campfire--something he'd hinted at doing for years.
And so he did.
But the next day I looked out the back window. The table had somehow left the fire pit and was now sitting between two Adirondack chairs.
"I figured we could use it as a bench," my softer-than-he-appears hubby said sheepishly.
As so we can.
The grandkids sit on it. It makes a great place to assemble s'mores. The memories continue to build with another generation of kids leaving their marks. And as I watch them, I can't help but make an analogy: Thank you, God, for all the times you've hauled me out of the ash heap and given me new purpose. . .and a second chance.
In the on-going saga of cleaning the Melby basement and letting go of sentimental stuff, I stumbled on another tough one: Children's books. So I prioritized them on a 1 to 10 scale of memory-making intensity. It helped me part with a huge stack.
But these are all tens:
They are the books I distinctly remember reading to my boys. Some of them have their names inscribed in my mom's handwriting. In one, Jeff's name (in his printing) is crossed out and Mark's scrawled below it. In Baby Animals, the eyes of every animal are scribbled over in crayon. Definitely worth keeping and reading to my grandkids.
And then I unearthed a book I remember my mom reading to me. (Yes, they had books back then.) It's called Food and Clothes-- Published in 1938, reprinted in 1940, by Thomas Nelson (the original company began in 1798!)
The book is divided into two sections: Food. And Clothes. (I know. . .duh. What else would you expect considering the title?) The Food half contains "Then and Now" stories like "Milk (or Bread or Meat), A Story of Long Ago." The "then" sto
ries feature a cave man family. The "Now" stories are about a "modern" family. As a kid I loved imagining what it would have been like to be Kim or Kee (never could figure out which was the cave girl and which the boy). Looking at it now, I love that the "Then" back then is the "Long Ago" now. (Raise your hand if that made no sense at all!)
Anyway, it got me thinking that maybe my writing career actually began while I was snuggling on the "davenport" with my mom when I was three or four. Because now I'm writing contemporary stories with historical parallels -- grown-up "Then and Now" stories. My current books go back to 1852, the Roaring Twenties, and 1912. The proposal I'm working on has parallels in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Something to remember as I snuggle up with grandkids and a pile of books.
What were your favorite books as a child? Do you see any way they influences the course of your life? I'd love to hear your stories.
I've known for years that I have ADD. Now I'm finding I also have APAD:
Aluminum Pan Attachment Disorder.
My sweet little mom died last June. She was 93. She lived a wonderful life and left us with so many heartwarming memories, life lessons. . .and aluminum pans.
I don't believe in aluminum pans. Did you know they've been linked to Alzheimer's?Okay, so the Alzheimer's Association says it's a myth, but can we really believe them? I'm a bit of a health nut--occasionally crossing the line into health nut case--which is why I switched to glass cookware several years ago.
So my mom dies and I inherit her pans. Pans I will never use, but which hold precious memories of from-scratch baked beans, clam chowder, barbecue, lime jello with pineapple and cottage cheese, and the best chuck roasts and gravy in the whole world. Oh, and Christmas plum pudding. How can I let go of the pans I learned to cook with? And the scenes attached to them that attach me to my past?
Sure, I could bless someone else with them, but what kind of a person would donate a potentially-dementia-causing pan to charity?
To really see the ridiculousness of my problem you need to take a close look at this picture. See the little green stickers? Those were put there by my mom when we had a garage sale to get rid of things she didn't want to cart along to the retirement center. They didn't sell (maybe because I hid them under the card table). But she let go of it all, so why can't I??
I'm beginning to see why I've found my writing niche in contemporary stories with a historical thread. Seeing reflections of the past in the events of today is not just a passion -- it's an illness.
Help! Anybody have a cure for APAD? How do you let go??
ll soon be sharing pictures and stories from "The Research Road" as I visit Mineral Point, Wisconsin, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and hopefully some stops on old Route 66. For a sneak peek, join me atThe Barn Door.
Thank you, Lisa Lickel, for the invite.
the first book in my Last Sanctuary Series, is set in Rochester, WI. The story idea came to me while having lunch with hubby at the historic Chances Restaurant, so it seemed the logical place to host a launch party to introduce the book. If you live anywhere in the area, please come and join me on Saturday for food, door prizes, and a chance to chat at Chances!
Saturday, January 14, 2012
205 W. Main Street
1:00 to 3:00
Tomorrow's Sun, my first full-length book, will be released on January 1. Check out the book trailer.
Tomorrow's Sun is now available for pre-sale on Amazon and will also be released on Kindle and Nook.
I love stories of life-changing moments--real-life and fictional. So I've invited friends--both writers and "normal" people--to talk about times in their lives when God intervened--times when their dreams were shattered, their goals thwarted--times when all looked bleak or desperate and the only option left was surrender to God's holy plan. We'll hear how He changed people or circumstances in unexpected ways.
We'll also be hearing from some fiction characters. They'll tell us how they coped (or didn't!) when they hit that inevitable "Change of Plans," "Point of No Return," and "Major Setback" in their stories.
I'm hoping you'll decided to become a Follower so you don't miss a single post. And do leave comments. My guest bloggers will want to hear how their stories touched your heart. And please let me know if you'd like to share your own spiritual Cinderella story.
My first guest author will beEileen Key
, sweet friend and one of the authors I had the joy of working with on A Door County Christmas and Cedar Creek Seasons (releasing in May). Watch for Eileen's story on Tuesday, November 15.