Thursday, May 30, 2013

Books & Writing -- We Have A Winner!

Thanks Sherrie Ashcraft and Christina Berry Tarabochia for being my guests on Books & Writing . . . and for giving away a copy of your new book, On the Threshold.

And the winner is . . .

Judy Gann!

Congratulations! You'll be hearing from Sherrie or Christina soon.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Books & Writing -- Blowing On Dandelions by Miralee Ferrell

Do Dandelion Wishes Actually Come True?

Katherine Galloway knows the moment of calm she is feeling won't last, blown away like the dandelion seeds she'd scattered as a girl. It's 1880, three years after her husband's death, and she's struggling to run an Oregon boardinghouse and raise two girls alone. Things don't get easier when her critical domineering mother moves in. Katherine must make the situation work, but standing up for herself and her family while honoring her mother isn't easy. And with a daughter soon to turn fourteen, the pressure on Katherine becomes close to overwhelming. Then she crosses paths with Micah Jacobs, a widower who could reignite her heart, but she fears a relationship with him might send things over the edge. She must find the strength, wisdom, hope, and faith to remake her life, because everything is about to change.

Miralee has been kind enough to offer
a free book.

All you have to do is leave a comment along with 
your email address and you'll be included in the drawing.
I'll post the winner one week from today.

My thoughts:


is the first word that comes 
to mind.

I started the book, expecting a fun, light historical romance. And it was that, but oh so much more. Not only does Miralee create a sweet romance, she also sensitively and realistically examines broken relationships. 

The story begins in Baker City, Oregon in the year 1880.

After a tragedy leaves Micah Jacobs and his son Zachary homeless, Katherine Galloway takes them into her boarding house. Both Micah and Katherine are wary of any emotional entanglements, and Micah Jacobs can't get out from under Katherine's care fast enough. 

Micah and Katherine warily appraise one another while living in the midst of turmoil percolating among the tenants living in the boarding house. Katherine and her mother spar though they long for love and forgiveness.

The secondary characters in this story add to its charm. They are complex and colorful. I especially enjoyed the skirmishes between one of the boarding house tenants and Katharine's mother. 

Miralee Farrell deftly reveals the tenderness that lives beneath the surface of even the most cantankerous characters while gently reminding readers that we all can fall prey to the mistake of making inaccurate assumptions about others--assumptions that can be destructive. I especially enjoyed her use of humor to shine light on the painful and perilous rifts that exist in most every relationship. 

If you're looking for a light read that touches the heart, pick up Blowing On Dandelions. You won't be sorry.

Miralee and her husband Allen have been married almost 40 years. They live on 11 acres in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge in southern Washington State, where they love to garden, play with their dogs, take walks, and go sailing. Miralee also rides her horse on the wooded trails near their home with her grown daughter who lives nearby. She’s an avid reader and has a large collection of first edition Zane Grey books, which inspired her desire to write fiction set in the Old West. When she started writing fiction Miralee believed that she’d always stay with women’s contemporary, but has since branched out to historical romance. Her first two books were women’s contemporary with Kregel Publications, The Other Daughter, and Finding Jeena.

Miralee serves as president of the Portland, Oregon, chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and belongs
to a number of writer’s groups. She speaks at women’s groups, libraries, and churches about her writing journey, and has taught at both writers and library conferences.

You can find Miralee at:

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Journey -- Mom's Garden

Summer is approaching so I thought it would be fun to talk about flower gardens. I've never been great at growing flowers. But my  mother was. 

We had flowers everywhere--rhododendrons, roses, snap-dragons, daffodils, tulips, carnations, dahlias and lots more. Mom loved flowers and still does.

My brothers did most of the work in the vegetable gardens while my sisters and I helped keep the flower beds tidy and clean. I hated the work, especially weeding. In those early years I didn't appreciate the beauty of the flowers.

Mom had an especially gorgeous dahlia garden. I don't remember working in it. I think it was so special that my mother was the only one who watched over it. The dahlias grew along the front of our property, near the highway. Many a traveler stopped to admire the garden and sometimes they'd chat with Mom. Often, before they went on their way, she'd cut them a bouquet. I'm certain she found special joy in sharing her glorious flowers with others.

It took becoming an adult for me to fully appreciate the gift of flowers. They are clearly designed by the Master Crafter. 

Even though I now see their true beauty I'm not very adept at growing them. Each year, when I plant I wish them well and apologize for being the one who will watch over and raise them. With me for a gardener their chances of reaching their highest potential as flowers, isn't great. 

I especially love roses, but so do the deer. When blooms first appear the night raiders arrive and can decimate an entire rose garden in one night. Because of the deer I now grow a few roses in pots on my deck, safely locked behind a gate. 

Yellow roses are my favorite. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that my father loved them too. He's gone now, and yellow roses remind me of him.

This is a photo of one from last season, covered in dew. I thought it was especially exquisite.

When I was young and working in my mother and father's flower gardens I complained a lot. It wasn't all bad, though. I remember sunshine and long chats while we toiled away. And I especially loved the fragrance of the roses and carnations. Sometimes we'd pluck succulent flowers and drink their sweet nectar.

Today, I have a few flowerbeds, but they're made up mostly of non-flowering plants. I have my garden on my deck in the summer where it's close at hand and I can tend it without help form my husband. I love sitting on my deck with flowers all around.

I especially love the wild flowers that grow in the fields surrounding my home. They don't depend on me to care for them, only the Creator.

My parents love of beauty meant everyone had to work. I'm grateful. Work is good for kids and adults. I learned to stick to a job until it was completed. To keep on working even if I was tired. And to appreciate the fruit of my labors. 

And I'm so grateful for the memories.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Books & Writing -- Welcome the Dynamic Duo, Sherrie Ashcraft & Christina Berry Tarabochia

Welcome! Welcome! 

I'm thrilled to have Sherrie Ashcraft and Christina Berry Tarabochia here today! I've known this mother and daughter team for many years, and they are two terrific people. What a privilege to introduce them to you!

I've never done an interview with two people at one time, but I'll bet you have done a lot of duo interviews. This ought to be fun.

One thing I know about you two is that you know how to have fun. Just to give us a peek at the real Sherrie and Christina can you tell us about the most memorable moment you've faced together?

C: What HAVEN'T we faced together? 
S: We were missionaries to Nigeria, West Africa in Christina's younger years, which meant facing 
culture shock, many poisonous spiders 
and snakes, homeschooling,
and a witch doctor 
cursing us off a mountain
in the midst of Christina's 
seventh birthday party. This 
photo was taken just before
he showed up.

C: Since then, we've gone through Mom's depression, 2 1/2  months of my pregnancy bed rest with Mom as live-in help, my divorce, and my brother being convicted to years in prison for something he didn't do. 
S: Oh, and did we forget to mention that we shared a multi-generational house for five years?

Wow! You have experienced a lot together. Some of what you've been through would have shipwrecked another's faith, but you ladies are still rocking for Jesus. Amen to that!

I first met you both at an OCW Summer Writing Conference . . . years ago. We sat down at a table together to talk about a book you were working on. You impressed me and so did your writing. All those years ago, you were working together on a book. Is that the new book that's just released?

C: Yes, Bonnie, this is the book we first showed you over a decade ago around that table. But at the same time, it's NOT the same book! The backbone of On the Threshold remains, but the story line has been fleshed out and written in a completely different way during those ensuing years. 
S: We kept going to conferences and learning how to be better writers, then coming home and applying what we learned. By the way, your encouragement about our enthusiasm during that meeting pushed us to keep that energy up at every meeting thereafter.  J

How good to know that I could be an encouragement. I had so much fun talking with you.

Can you tell us about the book and how you came to write it?

S: Once we decided to write a book together, we knew immediately that we wanted to show various sides of a mother-daughter relationship, as well as tackle a subject not many Christian books cover in a realistic fashion--depression. 

Don't worry, as it's an uplifting book and has humor scattered throughout, but we wanted to spotlight a tough subject. Over the years, we created three strong characters: a mother, an adult daughter, and an oh-so-likeable cop. We each wrote each point of view and kept our theme verse in mind. 2 Peter 1:19b ". . . as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts." Yes, we took our characters into a dark place, but we also get to show the glory of God shining in their hearts. Eventually, that is. 

This definitely sounds like something I'd like to read.

Suzanne--a mother with a long-held secret. Tony--a police officer with 
something to prove. Beth--a daughter with a storybook future. 
When all they love is lost, what's worth living for?

Suzanne Corbin and her daughter, Beth Harris, live a seemingly easy life. Suzanne has distanced herself from her past, replacing pain with fulfillment as a wife and mother, while Beth savors her husband's love and anticipates the birth of their child. But all that is about to change.

Like a sandcastle buffeted by ocean waves, Suzanne's facade crumbles when her perfect life is swept away. Tragedy strikes and police officer Tony Barnett intersects with the lives of both women as he tries to discover the truth. Left adrift and drowning in guilt long ignored, Suzanne spirals downward into paralyzing depression. Beth, dealing with her own grief, must face the challenge of forgiveness. Can these two women learn to trust each other again? Will they find the power of God's grace in their lives?

Sounds wonderful! As soon as I finish here I'm going to download one onto my Kindle!

Read to the bottom of this post to find out how you can 
win a copy of On the Threshold!

How did you become a writing duo?

S: Since we share one brain but were separated at birth, it's been pretty easy to write together! Both of us had always talked about writing a book, but fourteen years ago I said if we were ever going to write, maybe we should work on a book together. It would hold us accountable. We lived on different sides of the state of Oregon at the time, so we did a lot of it via e-mail, and once a month I would make the 250-mile drive to Christina's house and we'd work on it in person. 

I'm so glad you're such a good team . . . er, I mean that you share a brain. Yep. That's what I mean.

You two have a fabulous mother/daughter relationship, but even in the best of circumstances mothers and daughters don't always agree. When you're working on a project together how do you handle differences in style and focus?

C: We agreed from the get-go that both of us needed to be proud of every single word of every single line in the book. In fact, we didn't even need a reason not to like it. If it didn't feel right, it was out of there! One advantage about co-writing was that one of us would do a chapter and give it to the other for editing. We split the word count evenly and gave each other doable deadlines. This process blended our styles, which are very similar anyway. By the end, we honestly couldn't remember who wrote some of the chapters.

What a good workable plan and so organized. I'm in awe. And I love the commitment to excellence.

I've had the privilege of attending a retreat with both of you as speakers. You guys are terrific. Our time with you was full of fun and inspiration. Do you speak often and what kind of topics do you like to share? Are you available to speak and how can you be contacted?

S: As the Women's Ministry Director at my church, I have the joy of teaching two weekly Bible studies, as well as speaking at women's events and retreats.
C: As the mother of five, I don't have as much freedom at this stage of my life, but both of us love to speak together as much as possible.
S: The two of us recently led a retreat called Doing the Impossible, based on the book of Nehemiah. We also did one on Taming Your Emotions for your church, Bonnie. We've shared on Following Your Dreams as a day event. Plus, I've led retreats having to do with the Christian view of sex (just call me Dr. Ruth of the Bible!) and on how to blend the practical and spiritual parts of a woman's life.
C: My favorite talk I have is the one I gave this February for the first time: Who's Your Daddy--Finding Your Way to a Father's Love.  it felt as if every single experience I've had in my life prepared me for that topic.

Drop an email to either or and we can talk details if you're interested in having us speak.

I'd love to hear a little about your individual lives. I know you are both busy women. What have you been up to? Are you working on a new project?

S: I'm the grandma of eight, and even a great grandma of one, and they all live within an hour of me. In the  middle of June our granddaughter and her toddler will be moving in upstairs while she
goes to Pacific University, so we'll be multi-generational once again! My parents live nearby, so there's always a lot of family time, which makes me feel rich beyond imagination. Being able to be involved in the lives of the women in my church as the Women's Ministry Director simply adds to my sense of fulfillment.
C: Two years ago, I remarried. My husband and I blended a family of five kids and one cat. Needless to say, we don't have many uninteresting days. I met sweet Dave on eharmony--he was matched to me within five minutes, and it was deep admiration at first "site" as we already knew a LOT about each other from our emails and questionnaires. Occasionally I still get to talk to book clubs (by phone or in person) after they read my award-winning debut novel, The Familiar Stranger, but most of my time is spent freelance editing, which I love.
S: New project? Well, we have plans for a sequel or two to On the Threshold if it does well. This story begs for more to be told. And Christina always has scenes for half a dozen books running around in her head!

Where can you be reached online?

You can sign up for our infrequent, Humorous Newsletter, where we take the infrequent part seriously, but the humor not so much! Head over to to do that. Not only will that keep you informed about our latest writing ventures and the release date of our print version of On the Threshold, but it will also be a way for you to enter a fun contest we've got going on.

Basically, anyone who posts about, buys, reads, or reviews the book will be entered proportionally to win a Kindle loaded with both books, On the Threshold and The Familiar Stranger AND 1,000 customer-designed business cards from Tekieme Studios. All the details are here

Sherrie and Christina are offering a free copy
of their new book On the Threshold to the winner of 
this week's drawing!

All you have to do is leave a comment along 
with your email address and I'll draw for
the winner one week from today!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Quiet Moments With God -- You First

Yesterday while driving to church I felt giddy. I was so happy to be going. What a privilege to be free to worship with other believers! I thought about how beautiful worship would be and how the pastor's sermon would instruct and uplift. It was going to be a good day!

I was't disappointed. The service was a beautiful beginning to a new week. One of the things the pastor said that stayed with me was that part of loving one another is living a life of you first rather than me first. It seemed simple enough . . . that is until we actually have to do it.

First thing this morning I asked my husband about his day and the one thing I really wanted done wasn't on his list. I made it clear that I didn't agree with his priorities. No yelling or stomping, but he had no doubt that I was disappointed. 

I wanted my way.

Our morning time did not end well and he went on his way. I was left feeling disappointed in him, but more so in myself. And when I went to God's Word I could see how defiant I'd been, not just to my husband but to God. I was definitely NOT practicing the you first life style that I'd been extolling the day before. Instead, I was demanding my way. 

Ephesians 5:1 says this, "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

I was definitely not living out a love like Christ's, even though it is my desire to do so.

While sitting in church listening to a sermon it all seems so simple. But the follow through is where I have trouble. I'm disappointed in me. My life is still so much about what I want. After all these years of studying God's Word, doing my best to follow the Lord and living out my faith I still fall so short. Even so, I don't think God wants me to sit here and condemn myself, that's not His way. However, He does want me to grow and change.

I asked God's forgiveness and then my husband's. Both graciously accepted my apology. A merciful God and a merciful husband. Thank you, Lord. 

I have so much to learn about living out my faith. It's the living it that makes a difference in our world. If we refuse to live what God teaches, then all the talk means nothing. We can talk all day without really saying anything. It's what people see in us that makes a difference.

We all have weaknesses. Ask God to show you yours and give that frailty to Him. I think He sometimes uses our weaknesses more profoundly than our strengths.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Journey -- Dieting Again?

I'm excited! I'm starting a new blog!
I'm calling it The Journey.

It's about life -- the mundane, the exceptional, the lows, the highs, the I can't believe that just happened kind of stuff that our lives are made of.

I want to talk about serious stuff and fun stuff. And I hope you'll join in and share your experiences and your insights. 

SO HERE GOES . . . today I want to talk about something most of us are very familiar with. 


I can't even count how many diets I've been on. Through out the years, I've tried all sorts. And after making the effort and losing and gaining, I've decided it comes down to life style, which includes good food choices. But it's not easy, especially not at age sixty-one. 

In my younger years I'd be pretty successful in the beginning, dropping weight quickly. Then pounds lost would slow down. . . and finally stop. I can't even remember the last time I reached a goal weight. Now days, the first week I might drop 1 or 2 pounds, if I work really hard and stay on course. I'm a sedentary gal, mostly because of my physical challenges so I don't burn as many calories as I ought to, and losing weight is a huge challenge.

I could be sad about it, but I'm choosing not to be. There is always room for new beginnings and so that's how I'm looking at this. All I know is I've got to change my ways. I'm kind of running out of time, or I might actually be out of time. But all that is up to God, not me. I just have to live the best I can.

This week I tried to sneak up on the scale, as if surprising it would help. I'm here to tell you, sneaking doesn't work. I gained a pound. Crum! I wanted to scream. I'd only been careless a few times. I was tempted to throw in the towel and cook pancakes for breakfast and eat them drizzled with syrup. However, before I kamakaze'd myself I got hold of my senses. 

I'm NOT giving up!  

I'm using the Weight Watcher plan. It's sensible, easy to follow and allows me have everyday foods. And I can do it online, using my phone to track what I eat. I love that. It makes watching what goes in my mouth a lot easier. 

At this stage of life I'm not going to make a "life style" change that's hugely drastic, but I'm not allowing myself to indulge in sugar-free foods. They're not good for me. I don't use many pre-packaged foods either, except cereal. I love cereal. And pop, except for special occasions, is off the list. I'm rediscovering the wow in fruit. 

God really knew what He was doing when He 
created that sweet succulent food. Thank you, God!

I'm still working on loving veggies. There are some that are tasty, but I need work on my vegetable-cooking skills.

My biggest trouble spot is sweets. I've always loved goodies. And when I'm up late at night (which is often) and I get hungry something sweet sounds good. I have a battle with this and could really use prayer.

Are you on a diet (as if we're ever actually off)? Tell me about it. How's it going? Do you have any tips you want to share?

I'll keep you posted on my progress. I'm counting on better weigh-ins in my future.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Books & Writing -- Welcome Kathleen Fuller

Welcome Kathleen Fuller!

Kathleen Fuller is the author of over twenty-five books, including the best-selling Hearts of Middlefield series. She lives in Geneva, Ohio with her husband and three children. 

Kathleen is excited to introduce her new book in the Middlefield Family series, Letters to Katie.

Everything changed between them the first
time he called her Katie.

Katherine Yoder has loved Johnny Mullet since the two were children, but he's never returned her affections.

Now Johnny is trying to forge a new life for himself by purchasing a farm and building a business of his own. But times are tough, and he soon learns that he can't take anything for granted--especially Katherine.

Before Johnny has the opportunity to tell Katherine his true feelings, she's struck by a serious illness. While Katherine struggles to recall recent memories of Johnny, a surprise visitor comes back into her life, claiming that his letters speak of a history and a future for the two of them.

With the two men vying for her attention and her memory still elusive, Katherine has never felt so torn. But will the solutions to both Johnny's and Katherine's problems lie in places neither one has ever considered?

This sounds awfully good. And WHAT A BEAUTIFUL COVER!

From Kathleen Fuller: 

Letters to Katie is the third book in the Middlefield Family series. I especially like this book because of the characters, Katherine and Johnny. They first appeared in my YA book, A Summer Secret, with Katherine having a crush on Johnny when they were teens. Johnny didn't know what to do about Katie's crush on him then, but now that he's an adult, things have changed.

Both he and Katie learn several lessons on their journey to discover God's plan for them. This book is also personal because it deals with stepping back and reevaluating what's important--putting God first.

Many times we get caught up in the busyness of life, even when we believe we are serving God and following His plan. We can't mistake our own wants for what God needs from us. Sometimes what we want and what God wants are the same, other times they seem at odds with each other. This can put us at odds with God, but if we remember the verse from Jeremiah: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" we can rest in His words of love and hope.

This is one of my favorite verses, Kathleen. 

You can find Kathleen on the web at

And if you'd like to read the first three chapters of Letters to Katie, just stop in at

You can purchase the book at

Friday, May 10, 2013

Thoughts For Today -- The Journey

I'm in the middle of transition and trying to find my way along a new path. I don't like some of the changes in my life and my natural response is to fight against them. But I'm not so sure that's what I'm supposed to do. Perhaps God has another plan, one that does not come from my own desires but His.

I can be stubborn and self-centered. I'm sure if you talked with  my mother she'd have plenty of stories to tell. And my husband would have even more. But stubbornness when bent under the will of God is strength. If that is the case, then I'd best relent and bow to God's will--Get over it and get on with life.

It sounds simple, but for someone like me it's difficult. Sometimes when I look back at who I used to be and what my life once looked like my heart breaks. Life was made of up of adventures, fun with friends, a household filled with the laughter and activities of children. And a body that hadn't let me down . . . yet.

So recently I've been praying and seeking and I've been crying. Yes, crying. But you know, crying isn't a bad thing, God gave us tears for a reason. We just don't want to get sucked down into self-pity, which serves no one. I know God holds my life in His great big, strong hand. His will is the right way, always, and if I seek Him He will show me the path I am to walk.

Right now I feel like the character "Much Afraid" in the book Hinds Feet In High Places. She traversed cliff  sides, mountain tops and deep valleys and she was afraid. Unlike her, I know the end of the story, which gives me courage and hope. Her journey was long and arduous, but in the end she found a glorious new life. 

Stepping forward I am a bit fearful, but I'm holding up God's shield of faith to fight off the fiery darts being flung at me from the enemy. And remembering the He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. Together, God and I will stand. And I'm excited for what is to come. When the enemy attacks I can be certain the Lord is up to something spectacular.

Satan is alive and well in this world. We see that truth every day in the lives of our neighbors, in the news, on our streets and in our families. We need to pray and uplift one another. And remember that God wins. He has already won. Satan just doesn't get that . . . yet.

I ask that you pray for me and I will pray for you. If you have something you need prayer for and feel comfortable sharing here please do--prayer is a powerful weapon against evil. If you would like to send me a private  prayer request just hit the contact button and send me a message. I promise to pray for you.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Books & Writing -- This Week's Winner!

Many thanks to Leslie Gould for joining me on May 1st, here on Books & Writing. 

There is a winner in the drawing for her new book, Adoring Addie!

The Winner Is . . .


Leslie will contact you soon. Congratulations!

Monday, May 06, 2013

Quiet Moments With God -- When Storms Come

Yesterday, was bright and beautiful with the temperature hovering right about 80°. It couldn't be more perfect.

After church, my daughter and I had lunch together at a local restaurant and then went shopping. We had a good time. All looked clear, including the weather.

After I got home, I noticed the sky had some ominous looking clouds. But I didn't think much about it. Oregon spring weather often includes thunderstorms--no big deal.

About an hour later thunder and lightening started, along with some rain and winds. It was just the kind of storm I love. And then without warning it turned brutal, very unlike Oregon spring storms. Winds blasted us. Rain came in a deluge, Lightening and thunder pounded our house simultaneously.

My  husband and I ran from window to window, closing them to keep the rain outside. One bathroom floor was soaked. The wind tore off our chimney top and a gutter, rearranged our patio furniture and even moved my husband's large BBQ about fifteen feet to the center of our patio. Trees were downed all over the area and a power pole came down on our road. 

Lights out.

This was no normal storm, not for Douglas County Oregon. We know of no injuries, but there was property damage throughout our little town. The storm came swiftly and without warning. 

The kind of storm that hit us yesterday was fun and exciting. We were prepared, tucked snugly inside our home, unafraid. But I couldn't help but think how I would have felt if I'd been unprotected, outdoors camping in a tent or if my husband had been out on his bike. I wouldn't have been excited at all . . . but very likely terrified.

We don't always know when storms are going to hit, particularly the type of storms that are about life. Sometimes they can get personal, slamming us to the ground. We feel vulnerable and unprepared. So, how do we prepare for that kind of tempest. And then stand again when it passes.

Our home was built sturdily and can stand up to harsh weather. But when I consider my spiritual home and its readiness I'm aware of weaknesses.If I want to grow stronger there are some questions I can ask myself. How is my relationship with The Father? Do I know Him well? Do I trust Him? How can I walk more closely with Him? Is all well with my Lord?

There will be more spring storms here in Oregon. And I will experience more spiritual storms. In the mean time, I need to prepare--be ready. Where to begin. Ah ha! He's given me a handbook. It's called the Bible. In it are all the instructions I need for life and for building a strong spiritual home. 

Make sure to open the pages of the book your Heavenly Father wrote just for you and meet with Him there. 

Do you have a favorite scripture verse? I'd love to hear it.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, May 03, 2013

Thoughts For Today -- The Gift

My heart is full. The events from this past week still overwhelm my thoughts. I'm wondering how I will get any work done.

Monday my husband and I headed for Bend to join our son, Paul, and his wife, Brandi, for the birth of their first child. It was supposed to be a simple procedure with a blessed outcome. Hah! I have to laugh. I  still have so much to learn about God's ways.

It was not simple. But it was blessed.

That Monday morning, the induction was postponed from 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM. It was hard to wait, but Greg and I had a really nice day with Paul and Brandi. Finally, the hospital called. It was time. While Brandi got settled in, we chatted for a bit, then knowing it would be many hours until our grandson made an appearance, my husband and I returned to our hotel to wait.

By the  next morning little had changed and worry set in. I'm well known for my abilities to imagine worst case scenarios. A good quality when it comes to creating stories, but not so great in real life. It'something God and I are still working on.

While my son and daughter-in-law labored together, supporting and loving one another, I felt agitated and concerned and my poor husband got the brunt of my worry. Mostly he rose above it. Thank you, Greg.

The day wore on, long and difficult, followed by an even more arduous evening. Hour upon hour followed but little Cy refused to join the world and there seemed to be real cause for concern. In the wee  hours of the second morning Brandi started running a high temperature and it was decided a C-section was needed.

We were all disappointed that the culmination of thirty hours of labor and the birth were marred by surgery. But all that changed when Cy's first cries were heard. He was here! And none of the rest mattered. God's love, wrapped up in the beauty of a newborn, had arrived in its own time and own fashion.

I learned more about myself and the brittleness that sometimes invades me when I'm under pressure. I don't like what I see. Me and God have work to do, still, always. I also learned more about loving one another -- though my husband and I need to work on loving better, he was gallant and helpful and I was thankful that I could lean upon him. And we witnessed the beautiful love that exists between our son and his wife. I will  not forget it. They are an example to us.

And of course there is Cy--our new and precious grandson. He doesn't understand how lucky he is to be part of a family that knows how to love, but one day he will and it will make him stronger and better.

Though this experience had its rough places it was beautiful and is forever imprinted in my heart and mind. I will recall it and be reminded what love looks like and how precious life is and I will be uplifted.

Welcome, Cy.

Grace and peace to you from God,