Tag Archives: God

Ups and downs, but Spring is here

This morning my daughter who lives in Alberta boarded the plane for back … meaning … I MISS HER ALREADY!  :(  It was a lovely visit, but, as always, too short.

flying(This photo is actually from my flight to Holland. Exquisite cloudbanks!)

As you may recall, my third daughter arrived home secretively to surprise her oldest sister on her special birthday April 19. She was home to enjoy that celebration, family Easter dinner with all of us – her first holiday meal with us in six years! – and her brother-in-law’s birthday. She and I went bargain clothing shopping for a few hours one day and her younger sister joined us, which was fun. On Wednesday I took all my girls and my grandson out to a Thai Japanese restaurant, which is when I ate sushi for the first time — and liked it! Then on Friday all my girls got an identical tattoo which they call their sisters tattoo. It’s a dainty infinity ring with four tiny doves flying up from it. Quite nice, and meaningful. My girls enjoyed their time together, and it was even harder for our ‘away’ daughter to leave this time.

There were such good things, positive things, that happened during these past nine days, things for which I am thankful. We all have concerns in our lives so I continue to pray, because often times that is the only thing a mother can do.

The newest excitement for me is that a girl friend asked me to go with her to a Steven Curtis Chapman concert in another province in May! (Steven Curtis Chapman is a Christian singer – do you know him?) It will be a day’s journey by bus, followed by the concert, an overnight stay in a hotel and then the bus trip home the next day. The drawback is Meyya and it’s during one of my weeks at Dad’s, so now I’m getting things in order so I can go on this much appreciated adventure. The Lord knows how I need this; I’m hoping everything works out.

We are now enjoying the beautiful Spring weather, although we did experience another cold dip that brought some fresh snow. I’m not sure but this one may be the smelt snow. Know about that? There’s the robin snow, the smelt snow (little fish that come up the river), and the poor man’s fertilizer snow – or some call it the farmer’s snow. Whatever it is, it doesn’t stay long. Our mornings are much warmer than they have been when I take Meyya out early, and I get to enjoy the birds singing with such glorious abandon. Love it!

What do you love about Spring? What positives has Spring brought to you?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

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When Reality smacks you upside the head

Reality bites. hard. Ever notice?

Saturday was one of those reality check days.

Last week was full of beautiful weather days, so when it worked out for us to take a drive to visit someone we love we took that opportunity. It was time for us to visit. She has been failing quickly; each time they brought her to visit us this year there has been a marked difference. Now that she was recently moved into a nursing home (a very good one) it was our turn to go to her.

The three of us got off to a late morning start, directions in hand. By the time we arrived in the area, almost an hour later, we thought she would soon be having her lunch and we didn’t want to interrupt. It was about 11:40 so we found a little seafood restaurant and took our time there.

The instructions we had been given were easy to follow and it wasn’t long before we got pointed in the right direction again. Soon we found the creatively designed, tastefully decorated building – our destination – set back from the busyness of traffic and away from city life. Besides the alternating attractive colour scheme, we noticed high iron gates around well-kept garden sitting areas. It was immediately noticeable that no residents could wander off and get lost or harmed.

After we made our way through security – a must-have feature for this type of nursing home – we found our way to the second level and down winding halls with paintings on the walls and nautical-named units. Upon entering her section we were told she was in the dining area. That’s when reality met us head-on.

Up until that time we knew she had become frail, more and more confused and forgetful, and recently very restless which made it too difficult to keep her safe at home. (If you know much about Alzheimer’s disease then you understand what I’m saying. I’m leaving out a lot.) We were not prepared to see her being fed her lunch. We were not prepared to see this loved one, when taken back to her room where we waited to visit with her, seemingly hardly aware of our presence.

What we expected was to be able to converse with her on some level. We expected to have a conversation that would be disjointed, even nonsensical, perhaps, but at least some kind of communication once she sorted out – even temporarily – who we are. I was prepared for her to not remember me even though she has known me all my life; I could have handled that. That is not what we found. What we found was the cold hard reality of advancing Alzheimer’s. Our sweet, funny, fun-loving, precious loved one is getting away from us. Through the medication that helps to keep her calm and safely and respectably manageable she seems to be fighting to hold on to who she really is, but it is a battle no one yet has been able to win. That is the horror of it. That is reality. Cold. hard. reality.

It was emotional for the three of us. One of us visiting her that day is on the same path, although not as far along. We don’t know if it registered with him that what he witnessed – a journey taken by his father decades before, then his younger brother, and now his youngest sister – is also the strong possibility of where his journey will take him. We don’t know. We won’t ask.

Our drive home was more subdued, conversation minimal, each of us travelling with our own thoughts.

A few hours earlier I was noticing how lovely our Autumn colours are as the leaves are changing from their greens to reds, yellows, and orange hues. I was admiring and thankful for God’s handiwork in the beauty around us. On the drive back home I noticed everything in sharper little snapshots.

Autumn colours

gorgeous displays of colourfully painted leaves, click!

the dull grey of dead tree limbs set against the blue sparkle of a pond, click!

streaks and layers of a rippled blanket of clouds laid across the sky in various shades of grey and white, click!

muddy tidal waters filling a river, click!

stands of tall dead grasses, click!

the small bright green car driving in an oncoming lane, click!

Each place I looked seemed to have its own glory, as if my mind was grasping everything in new awareness, capturing little moments of wonder after a time of sadness. Funny how the mind does that. It’s as if God was reminding me … 

This is reality, too. Enjoy it.

Post Script: I learned while writing this post that she did have a memory of his being there to visit her, and that is good.

Comments? Anything to share?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Book Review: Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress – by Lysa TerKeurst

Unglued Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst
Book: UNGLUED Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress
Author: Lysa TerKeurst
Publisher: Zondervan
Date: December 18, 2012
Genre: Christian devotional
Pages: 208; paperback
Price: $12.99
My rating: An excellent, inspirational book of encouragement and comfort for women
 

I received this book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.

Lysa TerKeurst is a bestselling author of fifteen books and a national speaker. She is also the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries (www.proverbs31.org), helping women learn to live lives centered on God in the midst of whatever life brings.

This devotional was written for the purpose of being a companion book to her bestselling book Unglued, which I have not read. As someone who knows what it is to become unglued, I thoroughly enjoyed each daily devotional. Lysa TerKeurst writes from a woman’s heart to a woman’s heart in such an understanding way. In doing so, she draws attention to God while He uses her words to minister to the reader.

Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress. If we are honest about it we all can testify to making imperfect progress. Lysa TerKeurst speaks from that place in easy conversational writing. She has put together a wonderful 60-day devotional that I wished could have been longer. It takes less than five minutes to read one day’s devotional, which begins with a scripture reading, followed by a Thought for the Day, and then a short reading usually consisting of a very suitable anecdote from her experience. Some are funny, some are painful to read because they are so familiar, all are encouraging and insightful. Each devotion ends in a very brief prayer that is an easy lead-in for the reader to continue on her own.

I like finding good devotionals. This is one of the best I have found. The author does not preach or talk above the reader, or talk down to the reader. She is honest, sincere, and transparent in her writing and addressed common issues in a way that made THIS reader stop and think.

If you are wanting to find a devotional that is real to your own life, easy to read, and suitable for those days when you have maybe five minutes to spare … try this one. Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress by Lysa TerKeurst is likely to stir your heart and encourage you in your walk with God and in your relationships with the people in your life.

You can find Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

 

Interview with Sue Harrison, and book giveaway

I’m pleased to introduce to you Sue Harrison, author of Mother Earth Father Sky which I reviewed HERE. Please read the review if you haven’t already.

Sue HarrisonSue Harrison was born and brought up in Michigan, USA, and graduated summa cum laude from Lake Superior State University. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. Sue is a Distinguished Service Award Honoree of the Michigan Delta Kappa Gamma Educator’s Sorority.  She is a member of the Society of Midland Authors, The Authors Guild, the American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association. Her novels have been published in more than twenty countries and in thirteen languages.
 

Sue, I’m honoured to welcome you to my blog! You have been a faithful follower and commenter for some time here, but now we have a better chance to get to know Sue Harrison, the author of bestselling novels, in a more personal way. Please begin by telling us a little about yourself.

Just a rough sketch here, Lynn. I’ve been a Christian since I was five years old when a neighbor girl, about 8 years old, led me to the Lord. How’s that for “child evangelism?” When I was 9, I fell for the boy I’d grow up to marry. We were married when we were 19. We worked our way through college and our children were born when we were in our early 20s. Most of our married life, we have lived in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We have two daughters and a son. Our firstborn, a daughter, died in infancy. Our son is married and we have two granddaughters. Our daughter has just returned from 10 years of missionary service in Europe. I love books, reading them and writing them, and I love the outdoors. I’m a certified scuba diver, enjoy gardening, needlework and weaving, and travel. I play 7 musical instruments, although none of them impressively. I was raised in a very musical family. My mother was a professional musician from age 13, and her brother one of the conductors of the ABC symphony and also a composer best known for his Alaskan Symphony. I have four siblings.

Wow! At 9 you found your life partner? Astonishing! You live a very full life; when did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Who or what inspired
you?

I decided I would be a novelist after falling in love with words at age 10. That was when my paternal grandmother introduced me to the work of Laura
Ingalls Wilder.

Another surprising fact! As a writer, do you do much reading? Who were/are your favourite authors or books?

I’m very eclectic reader, am usually reading four or five books at the same time, and read about 100 books a year. I have too many favorites to give them all space here, but at the top of my list is, of course, Laura Ingalls Wilder and also Dorothy Dunnett, particularly her Lymond Chronicles.

Have you ever felt like giving up? When did you finally believe in
yourself so you can say “I am a writer”?

There were times when I wondered if God wanted me to stop writing. That has
been a battle for me particularly in the last ten years, which have been very intensive parent care years for me. I don’t have to explain that to you, Lynn. You know exactly how that impacts your life and your career. For the first four and half years I was the primary caregiver for my mom-in-law who had Alzheimer’s. During that time, my writing was often limited to less than an hour a week. You just can’t write novels during an hour a week. It doesn’t happen. After she passed away, I was still caring for my father-in-law but able to reserve two to three hours a day a few days a week to write. Now I’m also caring for my parents, but that is less intensive. They are by nature more independent and also understand how important my writing is to me, so we’ve been able to bring in other caregivers and preserve much of my writing time.

As to the second part of that question. I first felt like a real writer when my first short story was published in a small college magazine. It happened again for me with the publication of each of my novels. In between and since then, I seem to have to prove to myself all over again – every day – that I’m a real writer.

Strange how even the most accomplished doubt themselves at times.
Do you have a motto or Bible verse or quote that you try to live by and that helps to keep you going?

I have a Bible verse taped to my computer screen. It is from Zephaniah 3:17.”The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy, he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”

I also have two other quotes taped on my screen: Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Never
lose an opportunity for seeing anything that is beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting, a wayward sacrament.”

The last is a business-like quote that my husband gave me by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. “As an artist in today’s society, you are responsible for your own successes and failures. Do your best to capitalize on the former and survive the latter. You won’t always make the right choices, but now, at least, you have choices. And that’s a very, very good thing.”

Excellent quotes, and that Bible verse is one of my favourites!
What do you remember about your first book being published, how did that happen?

I probably remember every second of it, so I won’t bore you with a blow-by-blow description. I’d been trying to find an agent for my first novel MOTHER EARTH FATHER SKY. In those days there was no internet so I was
limited to finding agent names and addresses in books. I had one little book that I’d purchased. It listed agents in alphabetical order. I started at the A’s and went on through. Almost 5 years (and a complete rewrite) later, I was in the W’s and getting desperate. In November I sent a query to Rhoda Weyr of the Rhoda Weyr Literary Agency. A couple weeks later, she asked for a complete manuscript. In January she called and asked me to be her client. She also asked for some minor changes. I completed those in 3 days and sent the ms back to her. At the end of March she called and said some editors would like to talk to me. The first “editor” was the president of Random House. The second was a VP of Doubleday. My husband was sitting across the kitchen table from me when I took the call from Doubleday and he realized by my side of the conversation that she (Loretta Barrett) was trying to sell ME on choosing Doubleday. I looked at him and he had tears running down his cheeks. His crazy wife was actually going to sell that dang novel she’d been working on for 10 years. MEFS went to auction with 5 bidders. After 3 days, we still had 3 bidders and we chose to go with Doubleday.

How sweet to have such a supportive husband.  What are the novels you have had published thus far, and of those, which did you most enjoy writing?

Mother Earth Father Sky, My Sister the Moon, Brother Wind, Song of the River, Cry of the Wind, Call Down the Stars and Sisu. I can’t choose any one of them as my favorite to write. I loved writing them all.

What process do you go through when writing and perfecting a book or article?

With novels and articles, I basically go through the same process. I spend a
certain period of time getting it all in my head. I don’t write an extensive outline, just jot down ideas. I let my characters ride around in my head for
about a year before I begin writing the book, and then I sit down and write,
usually about 5 to 10 typewritten pages a day. At the halfway point, I stop, go back and read what I’ve written. Then I continue on and finish my first draft. With my novels, I rewrite at least 6 full drafts. My research comes before, during and after.

What method do you use to keep track of your writing ideas?

I have an idea folder.

What inspired you to write your trilogies? and stand-alone novels?

A number of factors influenced my decision to write the two Alaska
trilogies: my experience growing up in a woodsy, almost wilderness
environment; my father’s and my husband’s love of the outdoors; my
fascination with Native American cultures; my interest in Native languages;
the research of Dr. William Laughlin. My one stand-alone published novel is
for middle readers. My children’s lives influenced that book and my
experiences as a mom and wife. The novels I’m writing now – romantic
suspense for the inspirational market – are an expression of my faith and of
my love of reading mystery and suspense novels.

How long did it take you to write each book or set? What research
did you have to do? And how did you come up with the titles?

I began the research for all my Alaska books in 1978. I finished writing the
last book in 1999, and I estimate that I spent 9 of those years researching
to write the novels. The rest was writing time. My research included learning about the cultures, lifestyles, art, and languages of Alaskan Native peoples. I also studied influencing cultures, including many of the Native cultures of what is now Canada, the Native peoples in the northern and western parts of what are now the lower 48 states of the USA, and the traditions and some of the legends of Native peoples in eastern Siberia and SE Asia. I also studied geography, geology, the archeological digs in Alaska, and Native survival skills and artwork.

The title Mother Earth Father Sky is from a very well-known Tewa poem. The
other two Ivory Carver Trilogy titles – My Sister The Moon and Brother Wind,
just seemed to fit in with the family theme of that first title. My second trilogy was titled by one of my editors, Ellen Edwards. My titles for that trilogy were cumbersome, and she was afraid buyers might shy away from purchasing the novels. Her titles are Song of the River, Call of the Wind, and Call Down The Stars.

Did you write a little of yourself into any of the characters? Do
you have any favourites?

My favourite characters are both from my first trilogy, both lead charactersand both women: Chagak and Kiin. I think writers can’t help but put a bit of themselves into every character. My main characters are much more courageous and much stronger than I am. They are what I wish I were. My villains are what I hope I’m not!

Did you find any part of the stories difficult to pull together? Was any individual book more difficult to write? If so, how did you
stick with it?

I had the most trouble writing the third book of the first trilogy, Brother Wind. I was working with a new publisher with that book, and they preferred that I first write an extensive outline, which I’d not done with my first two novels. I wrote a 60-page outline, and by the time I’d completed the first half of the novel, I realized that I might as well throw that outline away. My characters had hijacked the story and sent it on a new course. I was a bit discouraged and set the novel aside for about a week. During that time I wrote the first half of SISU, a middle reader’s book, set in Michigan in current time. That seemed to break the gridlock for me, and I was able to finish Brother Wind. Later, my husband suggested that I finish SISU. I did, and, although my publisher William Morrow made an offer for the novel, we decided to go with a small Michigan publisher, Thunder Bay Press, to prolong the life of the book. Now more than ten years later, it’s still in print.

Tell us about the honours/recognition your books received.

The Alaska trilogies were very well received. Several of them have been chosen in top ten “reader’s choice” situations. Mother Earth Father Sky was selected as one of 1991′s Best Books for Young Adults as a crossover from the adult market by the American Library Association. It was also a national and international bestseller and received a boxed review in the New York Times Book Review. The Ivory Carver Trilogy was re-released in an omnibus edition in Sweden. Mother Earth Father Sky was performed as a radio drama in Japan and Norway. Brother Wind was selected as a Book of the Month by my German publisher. Mother Earth Father Sky and My Sister the Moon were both main selections of the Literary Guild. My Sister the Moon was a Baker & Taylor national bestseller and a bestseller to libraries. Sisu has been selected as Accelerated Readers Book in the US.

That is so amazing! How do you find time to write when you are busy with life?

Sometimes I can’t. That’s a great and distressing time for me when that occurs, but I believe it happens with all writers. When I had a fulltime job, I woke up at 5 in the morning, Monday through Friday, without exception other than Christmas and Thanksgiving. Then I wrote for an hour and a half until my family got up. Now I often put in 14- or 15-hour days in order to find time to write despite the care and housekeeping I do for our parents.

That’s commitment! What other interests do you have for a change from writing?

I’ve mentioned some of these above. I love to read, knit, sew, weave,garden, and I walk for exercise. I play 7 musical instruments: piano, flute, baglama, viola, double-bowed psaltery, mandolin, and mountain dulcimer. I have a hammered dulcimer, but make no claims yet to be able to play it. I participate weekly with a jam group. Lots of fun, and I’m also a vocal performer. I love to travel, and my husband and I try to get away for a week at least once a year. Prior to our parent care responsibilities we traveled extensively in Europe, the Caribbean and, of course, Alaska.

How do you consistently write? Do you have writing goals – daily?
Weekly? Monthly? Long range?

My writing goals are more along the line of trying to write at least 3 and preferably 5 days a week for 2 or 3 hours in the morning. I also spend quite
a few evenings writing blog posts. I try to finish at least one of my romantic suspense novels each year.

Do you have another project in the works? Any hints you can share with our readers about that?

I have two novels – BILLIONS and PRODIGY – with my agent, Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary Agency right now. I’m hoping she can find publishers for them in the inspirational market. BILLIONS is about a billionaire and a waitress who are both hostages in a con game for millions. PRODIGY features a young woman who is a luthier known for her exquisite handmade violins. Here’s PRODIGY’s “hook” – A kidnapped child. A violin. A closet.

The novel I’m working on at the moment is in the first-draft-half-finished stage. The working title is WARP. It’s about a young widow who has two young children. She weaves tapestry copies of masterpieces, but against her will has been drawn into criminal activity by her dead husband’s family. It’s all about survival, and I’m having a ball writing it.

Intriguing! I’ll have to watch for your new titles. Finally, do you have any advice for hopefuls?

Three simple things: 1. Read, read, read. 2. Write, write, write. 3. Learn
to believe in yourself by reaching out to the One who made you.

Oh, what excellent advice; thank you, Sue! And thank you for this  wonderful interview.

Check out Sue Harrison’s website: www.sueharrison.com and click on “Appearances 2013″ to find out where she is speaking. Perhaps she will soon be somewhere near you, or you can book her for a speaking engagement or writers’ workshop.

Now for our first giveaway of 2013. Are you interested in winning a copy of one of Sue’s books? Please leave a comment about this interview and also mention which of her books you would like to win if your name is drawn. At 6 PM EST on Tuesday, January 22, one name will be pulled from the basket and I will contact the winner for a mailing address so Sue can send the chosen book! How great is that!  :)

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

A Thanksgiving gift for you

Canadian Thanksgiving was in October, but today is Thanksgiving Day for all my friends and readers in the United States. 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

I am doing something a little different this morning by including a little gift for you who are celebrating this occasion. Just click on the link at the bottom of this post. It takes you to a safe site – EGreetings.com – and right to the card I selected for you. There is no special message there as would normally be if I were to email it to all of you. Instead here is my message, which is for everyone whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not:

Take a few minutes today to think about all there is in your life for which to be thankful. Hold onto that feeling of thankfulness and carry it with you. A grateful heart makes a huge difference in how one walks through each day.

For those who are thankful to our Creator GOD:

O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures for ever! – Psalm 107:1

O come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise! For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. – Psalm 95:1,2

click here for your card    It is on a safe site.

I appreciate and am thankful for all of you who visit me from wherever you are in the world. Have a wonderful, special, creative, beautiful day full of happy thoughts. :)

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

My word is GRATEFUL: Remembrance and Thanksgiving

Lately, I have been finding it hard to write. If you have been following my progress during NaNoWriMo you will have noticed there is not much moving forward the past few days. I am so far behind now there is little hope for me to end the challenge with a high word count. I’m even wondering if I will finish this novel no matter how many words it takes to get there.

For some people, when things are going wrong in their lives, or they are just having a down time, they write. It helps them through it. But for me … I can’t seem to think that way. The creativity gets put on hold by whatever is troubling me. I seem to fall victim to my emotions, and that’s not a good thing.

Remembrance Day is a special day for this family. Our dad is a WWII veteran and we are very proud of him, especially as he was one of the young Canadian soldiers who bravely liberated the Netherlands. For years, with Dad we have attended the ceremonies and the Veterans’ dinner following the special service. This year things got a bit confused and it was difficult for awhile – my week “on duty” so it was more upsetting for me. It got straightened out but left me with a troubled heart. That affected everything since I just can’t seem to separate myself from it all even when I get away for my week at home. I think if I were good at writing through things, I would have had a lot more done on my novel by now!

Last Thursday was my birthday. I won’t say which birthday, I’ll just leave that for you to guess if you want to.  I’d been talking to God, telling Him (as if He didn’t already know, but I had to admit it) that I need help. I need help to get through this. The day before my birthday two friends called me, two friends totally apart from one another and whom I hadn’t talked with in awhile. Neither knew my of increased stress, both conversations were ministering to my need.

The next morning, November 16, a really interesting thing happened when I woke before my feet even hit the floor.

First, by way of explanation — There is someone who has a website or blog who chooses a word for herself at the beginning of each year, and challenges others to do the same. That word – individual to each person – is to be their word by which to live all that year. (I’m sorry I don’t recall who that person is, but if you know please remind me in a comment.) I had tried to come up with a word for myself, but nothing came to me. What is fascinating to me is that as I was waking on the morning of my birthday  .. there it was! My word. GRATEFUL.

My word is GRATEFUL!

Now, let me tell you, that word makes a difference. The trick is to remind myself of it in the midst of disappointment, worry creeping in, feelings of inadequacy, frustration, sadness, depression raising its ugly head, anger over things beyond my control … GRATEFUL chases it all away!  

Notice my word is not gratefulness, but I feel gratefulness when I am grateful. :)

Here is the definition for gratefulness: 

  • warm friendly feelings of gratitude [synonyms: thankfulness, appreciativeness]

The definition for grateful:

  • 1: feeling or showing gratitude; “a grateful heart”; “grateful for the tree’s shade”; “a thankful smile” [synonym:thankful] [antonym: ungrateful]
  • 2: affording comfort or pleasure; “the grateful warmth of the fire”

When negative feelings or thoughts come upon me, I remind myself that I am grateful or I have much to be grateful for and those negatives are washed away. It’s an attitude of gratitude that has to become habit for it to be most effective. (I did remember to thank God from my grateful heart for the help He sent me.)

Our Canadian Thanksgiving was October 8, USA’s Thanksgiving is coming up on November 22, so it seems quite fitting to have this word now. Try it out and see what it does for you.

My questions to you are:

  1. Do life’s struggles set your writing free? or does writing free you during times of stress?
  2. If you write when life hits you hard, how do you do it?
  3. Do you have a word to live by for this year?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Book Review: Beyond Molasses Creek – by Nicole Seitz

Book: Beyond Molasses Creek
Author: Nicole Seitz
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date: January 31, 2012
Genre: general fiction
Pages: 312; paperback
Price: $15.99
My Rating: an intriguing story that draws the reader in
 

I received this book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.

The dedication in this book reads: To those who long to be free.

This story is told from the individual voices of its three most prominent characters, Ally, Vesey, and Sunila.  It begins when Ally and Vesey are children – when white children are not to be friends with black children – so theirs is a secret friendship until they are found out and Vesey pays the penalty in a volatile climate of racism. Later, Ally travelled the world over when her heart’s desire could not be attained, and now at sixty years of age she comes home to South Carolina because her father died.

The tragedies and disappointments that affected Ally’s life led to her searching for peace from “the gods”, even though she was brought up to know the true God of peace. Vesey, who lives across the river – Molasses Creek – suffered poverty and racism, but he knows Jesus Christ as his source of peace. Then there is Sunila, twenty years younger but also searching for freedom and peace in her life of hard labour in India and the racism of caste in that country. Because of an unfortunate event connected with Ally (which in real life probably would not occur – but this is fiction), her life is not what it should have been.

The author has written an intriguing tale. It took me awhile to get into the story because of how it is broken up – into short chapters that jump from one person to another – but once I caught on to this it was easier to keep track. The story gradually picks up momentum, and layer upon layer the questions that are raised are answered.

One thing that bothered me was the hinting about the Lord but the outright repetitiveness about the idols and gods of man-made religions, with not much of a decision made when it was obvious the Lord answered Ally’s heart’s cries. She thanked God but it did not seem to be much more than saying, oh, He IS real. Perhaps the reader is supposed to understand that through all of Ally’s searching God was waiting for her all along.

Another thing that bothered me – and I’m being careful to not write spoilers into this review – is that Ally told a whopper of a lie near the end of the story, which I felt was very dishonouring to her friend who was an honest man. It just seemed shockingly wrong and could only lead to more pain. It simply made no sense to not tell the truth.

If you are looking for a Christian book, Beyond Molasses Creek is not near the top of my list. But if you are looking for a different kind of fiction, this could satisfy that hunger. I will say that I was moved to tears in a few places, so it definitely was not a total letdown. The reader can get pulled into the story, and I found that once past the halfway point I wanted to skip ahead to find out some things because of what was unfolding a little too slowly for my liking. (I resisted and stayed the course, though.)

Nicole Seitz has written an emotionally charged novel that I actually enjoyed, despite the points I mentioned above. I wouldn’t mind reading more of her books.

You can find Beyond Molasses Creek listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)