Monday, November 1, 2021

How I Became an Author


Happy National Author's Day to all authors 
who battle with words
 so readers can sit on them, 
mull over and understand, 
be encouraged and filled with hope, and
 their world becomes a sweeter place.

My journey as an author is not typical. 
I never gave a thought to writing a story for the public to read.
I did keep journals though, in obedience to 

Psalm 102:18
"Write this down for the next generation 
so people not yet born will praise God."

Hiding my words in a file cabinet,
 I hoped one day they would be discovered by 
my grandchildren and
 their grandchildren and 
people not yet born will
know of my faith in Christ.

One Sunday my husband Dan preached a sermon on the 
Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14:30).
In that parable, 
the master is angry at the lazy servant who buried his talents.
While Dan preached, God spoke to my heart,

  What good are all your writings doing buried in your file cabinet if no one reads them? 

I knew I was to write a book, but 
how do you write a book?

You write! Spiritual thoughts entered my mind and I wrote. Long before blogs or social media, my writing piled up in my file drawer. With no idea where to go from here, I waited on God's direction.

He lead me to Montrose Bible Conference to check out a retreat center for a marriage seminar Dan and I were planning. There on the table I noticed a brochure advertising the Montrose Christian Writer's Conference (MCWC). A writer's conference? Who knew? I didn't! Dan urged me to attend and the following summer I sat as a student at the Montrose Christian Writer's Conference.

Step by step, God unfolded my writing career. I share with you how God took me through stumbles and great strides.  

1.Start writing! You won't be published if you don't write.

2. Attend a writer's conference and learn the writing/publishing/marketing business. Keep attending conferences where you create a network of editors, agents, publishers, other writers who will encourage you on your journey.

3. Read books on writing. My favorites are On Writing Well by William Zinsser and Elements of Style by E. B. White and William Strunk Jr.

4. Publish a magazine article. I brought one of my devotionals to my first writer's conference and showed it to the editor of Salvation Army's War Cry. "I want this. I'll buy it." Her words rang shock and joy in my heart. 

5. Publish in a compilation. Gloria Clover attended Montrose Christian Writer's Conference as a member of the faculty. She published a sweet book titled Penned From the Heart which was a compilation from various authors. I showed her fifteen of my devotionals and she published all fifteen.

6. Write from your heart. I knew I was to write, but I didn't know what I was to write. A faculty member at MCWC said "Write what you are passionate about." I laughed and realized I was passionate about relaxing in my bath and being a good mother.  

7. Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Moms was published a few years later. (Publication with a traditional publication company can take years to produce. Be prepared to wait.) Within months, Splashes of Serenity was in all the Family Christian book stores. 



8. When your first book sells well, publishers want another book. A sequel, Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives, was published. I love this book, but it never got off the ground. Within weeks of publication, the publisher retired and Drained Wives was never promoted. Be prepared for some heartbreak as an author. Drained Wives remains one of my favorite books. I still hear from wives and husbands whose marriages were changed when they read our marriage story in Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives. 


9. People who read Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives urged me to write more on marriage. I thought I was done with writing (after the disappointment of Drained Wives), but  God wasn't done with me. Words, stories, chapter titles filled my head and would not leave. You writers know the feeling. I had to write We All Married Idiots: Three Things You Will Never Change About Your Marriage and Ten Things You Can. Wow! What a book! I had a publisher who worked hard and believed in me and in Idiots. Ha! He could relate! 


 Within days of publication I heard from an International Worker in South America who read  Idiots on her kindle and asked if she could translate it into Spanish.


Soon, International Workers from Bosnia/Herzegovina asked if they could translate We All Married Idiots into Bosnian. What a delight and a surprise seeing this work help marriages around the world. 

10. Leukemia! God gave me another surprise! He continues to fill me with hope, purpose, ministry, and words as I travel with cancer. Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo: A Hopeful Response to a Hard Reality shares the lessons God taught me on my cancer journey. What joy hearing from other cancer patients the hope and peace they discover within the pages of Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo.


Will I write another book? Only if the Lord leads. When words begin replacing sleep, and I am miserable until I get the words on paper, then I know God has another book in the works.    

Thank you, dear readers, for your prayers, love, and support. Thank you for writing reviews and for sharing my posts on social media. My only goal is to glorify God, to live a Holy life, to be obedient to His will, and to share Christ with the world. You partner with me in that endeavor and I am thankful for you. 

Happy Reader's Day to you from this Happy Author!

  
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Saturday, October 30, 2021

My Covid Journey — Beauty from Ashes



We kissed goodbye one year ago
(knowing this could be our last kiss).
Being admitted to the hospital with severe covid we didn't know our
 mourning would become a joyous blessing.

". . . He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, 
a joyous blessing instead of mourning, 
festive praise instead of despair . . ."
Isaiah 61:3

It's been a year of crowns of beauty,
of joyous blessings,
of festive praise.

Today we celebrate and remember the blessings:

The blessing of seeing Jesus in ways I've never seen Him.

The blessing of the Holy Spirit enveloping my entire being with joy and praise.

The blessing of seeing Jesus in the flesh through the care of hospital personnel.

The blessing of praying with every nurse, doctor, and therapist.

The blessing of realizing the love and prayers of an army of Christian friends.

The blessing of deeper love and intimacy with my devoted husband.

The blessing of peace in the midst of turmoil.

The blessing of surrender when times seemed dire.

The blessing of intense Bible reading and prayer.

The blessing of knowing Jesus is all I have and He is enough.

The blessing of healthy eating and daily exercise.

The blessing of working hard to restore my lungs.

The blessing of once again hugging my grandbabies.

The blessing of climbing a mountain and celebrating life.

The blessing of smelling coffee and home-made bread.

The blessing of seeing the world with new eyes.

The blessing of resetting my priorities.

The blessing of learning from the great teacher called suffering.


Yes. 
We've also experienced a year of 
ashes, 
mourning,  
despair.

I still need oxygen while sleeping.
Damaged lungs are a daily warning to be aware of any respiratory illness.
 Post-covid PTSD and anxiety can raise its ugly head.
There's a bald spot on the back of my head. 
Hair loss. Who knew?
My smell has a mind of its own — sometimes works, sometimes doesn't.
And my biggest heartache: 
Doctors caution me against participating in a large group — no church — yet.

I grieve the losses as
 I focus on the praises, for 

God taught me through covid to enter each day with

festive praise 
and to see the
beauty 
and the
blessings 
of
 Abiding in Christ.

May your day be filled with beauty, blessings, and praise!
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Friday, October 1, 2021

My Silly Birthday Poem — Whoopee! I'm 73!



I never knew that age 72
would hit me hard with covid flu.
Yikes! I ended up in ICU!

But God laughed and said with glee!
I've got more days for Elainey!
He knew all along, I'd celebrate No. 73!

Thanks to all who bent their knee
Spending hours in prayer for me. 
Prayer isn't like barking up a tree.
No. Prayer sets the covid captive free!

Imprisoned in hospital, I wanted to flee.
In isolation someone threw away the key!

But God had some work there for me.
I prayed for each nurse bringing my tea.
There were those with needles I didn't want to see.
And the sweet servant ladies who took me to pee.
All received prayer to God for thee.
We cried and we laughed as three.
God, health workers, and me.

As I approach year 73,
I remember all my husband, family, friends have done for me.
I was blessed to feel their love without any fee.
Just love from them to little old me. 

And so I say Toodle-oo
to the year I celebrated age 72.

Golly gee!
Bring it on age 73!
God chose life and still has plans for me
until that day when He calls me to flee
my earthly body and come Heavenly.
What a grand day that will be
When I'll sit with God and we'll pray for thee.

With thanks to God for this wonderful life here and in eternity!
Happy Birthday to me!

"All the days ordained for me 
were written in your book 
before one of them came to be" 
Psalm 139:16

Thank you, dear friends for your love, encouragement, and support during a year I never expected. A year of suffering and pain and amazing blessings and service and love. I wouldn't miss this adventure for all the health in the world. God has a plan and God's plans for our days are always good. I love you all! You are may splash of serenity today!

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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

My covid Journey: ICU was a Piece of Cake Compared to Now


 
Wow! This covid journey is hard. While the rest of the world resumes normal life, I stay away from humans (except for Dan and an occasional hug from my grandkids). Why? I've been vaccinated three times, survived cancer, survived severe covid, yet here I sit. Me and many others with blood cancer.

September is blood cancer awareness month. So, I am making my readers aware of the complications of blood cancer, especially those with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (cll), and our struggle to avoid covid.

 The struggle is real because:

1. Cll patients are at the highest of high risk to be infected with covid. If covid is in the air (and it is) we'll catch it. I did, last October. Today, I still need an oxygen tube when I sleep. Forty percent of my lungs are filled with scar tissue. The jury is still out about covid damage to other organs. No, covid is not just like the flu!

2. Cll patients are at the highest of high risk to suffer severe covid, hospitalization, ICU, and death. I didn't avoid the first three, but God chose life for me. Now, I wait for wisdom from Him how to live each day in victory and praise to Him. 

3. The vaccine often does not produce antibodies in cll patients. After my first vaccine, I had zero antibodies. My second vaccine reaped 53. No one seems to know what a normal antibody reading is, but I heard as many as 40,000. Fifty-three left me happy, but not thrilled and not safe. We are waiting for the results of my third vaccine and praying it boosts my antibodies.

Thank you for your prayers. Thank you to my God Who leads me along the paths of still waters on bike rides, hikes, and golf outings with my dear husband. Dan makes every day a fun adventure as we explore the big outdoors and refrain from crowds. Oh, but I do miss my church. 

My antibodies aren't running over, but my cup runneth over. I am so thankful for the love I know from my Lord, my husband, my children and grandchildren, and many friends. You have been the best. 


The Lord is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters, 
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23

I pray you have many splashes of serenity in your day,

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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

My covid Journey: Staring at Death and Seeing Jesus

Death by covid is agonizing for family members who can not hold their loved one in a covid ward. As I relate my experiences, I pray these words bring comfort to you and hope that your loved one was so overjoyed by the presence of Christ, they felt no pain. Only joy.

 
Death seemed imminent. 
Everyone knew it. 
Family said their tear-filled good-byes via facebook. 
Nurses smiled, encouraged, but
 I sensed the certain sadness in their eyes. 
Another covid patient would bite the dust, and 
become a pandemic statistic. 

But death, where is your sting?
I felt no sting. 
Only joy!

 One envisions their last days filled with 
 sorrow,
 fear,
  terror, 
the sting, 
But these feelings were foreign to me on that last day.

 Earthly thoughts drifted away.
 The glories of Heaven consumed my mind.
 Excitement built.
 Today will be the most wonderful day of my life. 
Today I meet Jesus! 

There was no white flash or tunnel. 
Only Jesus Himself and Jesus alone. 
How exciting!
I was ecstatic!
 Wow! 
Today is the day.
 Today I meet Jesus. 
The One I love most. 
The Love of my eternal life.

I haven't been this excited since my wedding day.
Only more so!
  
Today is the day I finally see Jesus. 

I thought of my family, and there was peace. 
Sure, they would grieve. 
Miss me.
 But Jesus would not take me unless He would care for them. 
They would laugh again. 
Remember me around campfires and dinner tables.
 Create memories without me. 
 
I'll make family history as the grandma who died in a pandemic.
Pretty cool!
Funny, the things you think about when death's door is the next door. 

But Jesus.
 He shut Heaven's door until another day. 
My healing was decisive. 
Doctors were talking 
ventilators,
 lung transplant.
In my heart I knew doctors were deciding
 whether to keep trying to keep me alive or give up.

In my heart I knew my death date was God's plan, and
not a medical decision.
 
"Take her off the oxygen." 
The nurse startled, repeated the order. 
"Let's see how she does," 
the doctor hoped for one last chance at life.

 I breathed. 
I breathed again.
 I breathed again and again and again.
 I keep on breathing nine months later. 

"O death, where is thy sting? O grave,  where is thy victory?" 
1 Corinthians 15:55

"I will not die, but live, and tell of the works of the Lord." 
Psalm 118:17

"and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die."
John 11:26 

 
Hallelujah!!!



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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

My covid Journey — It's a Long, Long Road


 The past weeks of covid Recovery have been hard. 
Shame on me for not coming to you for prayer.
 I was hiding behind the lilac bush
 (which I can not smell, btw), 
too disappointed, 
too sad, 
too tired 
to share the latest test results. 

Forgive me.
 I will hide no more. 
Your prayers lift me up, 
fill me, 
encourage me, and
keep satan from winning the war for my health 
(spiritual and physical). 

Test Result No. 1:
I have no antibodies to protect me from contracting covid again.

A few weeks ago I was so excited I couldn't sleep.
 Free, at last!
 Two weeks after my second vaccine shot, 
 I was released into my wonderful world of 
family, 
friends, 
church, 
speaking events! 
Woo Hoo!!!

Before I could get out the door, 
the e-mail came.
 Research found that people with cll
 (chronic lymphocytic leukemia, which is cancer of the immune system)
 may not be protected by any of the vaccines. 
What? 
I cried. 
I stayed home.

My doctor scheduled a blood test to determine if I did indeed have antibodies.
 Nope! 
Negative!
 Nada!
 Nil! 
Not a one!!!
 No antibodies found after having severe covid, 
receiving convalescent, 
and the vaccine. 

Crushed. 
My heart couldn't hold the tears spilling over my cheeks. 
My dear doctor assured me this test was not conclusive.
 But there is no sure test at this time for cll patients. 

So, I wait.
Travelling down a long, long road.
Each day I walk, read, pray, 
and breathe.

Thankful that 
the God of Hope does indeed fill me with 
all joy and peace as 
I trust in Him.
(Romans 15:13)

Good news!
Researchers are hopeful a booster shot will be available soon for people with immune deficiencies.
 
Please note: The lack of vaccine efficacy applies only to cll patients and those with immune deficiencies. Please contact your doctor regarding your own vaccine effectiveness. 



Test Result No. 2:
I still need supplemental oxygen.

Forty percent of my lungs are damaged from covid.
 Miraculous, but 
 I have not needed supplemental oxygen during the day for many months.
You are all good prayers!!!
We have a God Who heals and He heals me!

I've walked from London to Paris (according to my step tracker),
I mow an acre of grass every week.
Two hour bike rides are the norm.
Life is great!
I abound with energy and enthusiasm.

But, while sleeping 
my oxygen level falls to 76
(normal O2 is 88 while sleeping, 94 while awake).
 Bummer. 
In the hospital I named my oxygen tube "Husband." 
The oxygen tube was warm and cozy and had to stay next to me
 — just like a husband. 

Well, phooey!
My real husband warms me much better, so
please pray I can breathe at night and
rid our marriage bed and my lungs of this incumbrance.

Always thanking God for your prayers for me.
God sent forth an army to restore life.
Thank you.
Thanking God that He breathed into my nostrils the breath of life!
Hallelujah!
I will forever praise Him!

"God formed man of dust from the ground, and
breathed into his nostrils
the breath of life"
(Genesis 2:7)




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Saturday, May 8, 2021

When a Mother's Nest is Empty — A Page From My Journal, March 29, 2008




My three little birdies the day my nest was empty.

When the last child leaves, there is definitely an adjustment. The house is quiet, activity stands still,  practical jokes cease (although I don't miss finding dog food in the Flutie Flakes), and three fewer voices break out in laughter making mom laugh too, filling my heart with joy. I loved being the mother to these three sweet and funny clowns. Thank You God for the laughter and fun and for entrusting me with such precious gifts.

Empty nest hurts. 
There is grief and loss. 

The pain of empty nest is much more than the fact that I miss my children. It is the knowledge that I  am releasing my little ones, now grown big, into a world that is harsh. Life is cruel. My babies, my children, my teens I protected so well, are so soon thrown into the hard realities of adulthood. Mom's and Dad's protection will no longer be enough.

When we see — helplessly watch — our grown children go through difficulties because they make the same mistakes we made or because they are standing strong and living a righteous life in an  unrighteous world —  a mother's heart tears apart as she feels the fiercest enemy is delivering fatal blows.

It is then and it is now,
 we must give them back to God — 
again and again. 

Because moms are human, we all fail. We neglect to give them enough responsibility. There wasn't enough time to teach all about finances and marriage and raising children, and how to survive in a world whose goal seems to be their destruction. The heaviness of letting go is too much to carry. The Good News is we don't have to carry that burden because . . . 

We have a God whose nest is never empty. 
He doesn't let them go. 
 Jesus never fails.
 He is the only perfect parent.
 
He carries and cares for our children and 
their children, and
their children.
He watches over them,
protects them,
loves them,
 draws them to Himself
always,
forever. 

Come to Jesus — 
Give our children to Jesus. 
He is our only source of sweet rest,
peace, and
joy.

"Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened, and
I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because 
He cares for you."
1 Peter 5:7

"Praise be to the Lord,
to God our Savior,
who daily bears our burdens."
Psalm 68:19

Have a blessed Mother's Day!

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