A New Era Dawns

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Though our country is young in comparison to other nations of the world, the pomp and circumstance of a presidential inauguration struts all the grandeur of a republic conceived a millennia ago.

In Daniel 2:21 the Bible gives God the credit. “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding.” Think of that.

The solemn procession of the outgoing and incoming leaders as they travel in limousines to the staging area conjures up a dignity born in the reign of a king. The presence of past presidents, former congressional members, and honored guests gives the entire ceremony the feel of mystique, as if one misspoken word or whispered syllable will upset the balance of power.

But I like it. Something about the process ignites in me a sense of pride in who I am and the privilege that is mine for having been born into a country where freedom is the watchword. I enjoy a lifestyle alongside many others that, even among the poorest households, are the envy of most of the world. I can participate in the voting process, a lone citizen able to choose a leader. If the results are not to my liking, I am free to say so.

What bothers me are those who think they have the right to destroy private property and injure others when the leader they wanted didn’t win. Losing to an opponent is part of the way our nation does things. Though I didn’t support many of the policies of the last administration, I respected his right to rule. Had I protested, I’d have been considered racist.  I knew he’d have to earn the privilege again in four years, and in eight years, he’d have to move on.

In Romans 13:1-2 we are told:”Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which is from God. The authorities that exist have been appointed by God. Consequently, the one who resists authority is opposing what God has set in place, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”

A new man has ascended to the helm, with new ideas, new goals, and different experience. I give him the right to prove himself. I know the scriptures teach that each leader is put in power because God allowed it. Stand back and let him be.

Survivor’s Instinct

snow-2016-010 deletable-001With all the recent wintry weather we’ve experienced, I found the return of the wildlife to our neighborhood encouraging. Hungry birds hovered near the apple tree where forgotten, fallen fruit waited for consumption, often triggering feathered wars.

Squirrels chattered their dismay, having been forced from the yard by the layer of snow, followed by an overcoat of thick ice. Broken tree limbs brought down decades-old nests, further adding to their misery.

One feisty squirrel, though, caught my attention. It bounced along the top of our patio wall, round and fully furred. The animal obviously had not missed too many meals and had found shelter from the storm somewhere.

Watching it busy itself atop our cement barrier, I wondered if this was the culprit who had chewed a hole in one of our plastic garbage cans. My husband had complained of an intruder invading the hidden stash. Whatever had gnawed through had helped itself to a plentiful supply of chicken feed. This plump pest looked big enough to be the guilty party.

The little guy appeared fearless. It would move an inch or two, then stop and survey the yard. Then again. When it came to the place in the wall where a prickly bush had grown all summer, it stopped. The bush had provided a route for the squirrels to follow down to the patio floor. Often I would see the bush shaking as a sneaky rodent crept along the branches, under the cover of the dark, green foliage, emerging at the base in search of seeds and other treats provided by the potted plants.

Unfortunately, the snow and ice had claimed more than half of the bush, leaving nothing but a pipe-sized bare branch where once deep foliage resided. The squirrel peered over the wall and looked down. Then peered again. The confusion on its face made me laugh. No longer could it access the patio unless it wanted to leap four feet to the narrow limb. As it sat there pondering its dilemma, it twisted back to where a segment of the bush still remained. Not as full as before and not nearly as convenient, the remaining branch did connect to the main trunk and end at the ground. The blur of fur disappeared into the green and emerged at the base. He gave the terrain a once over, filled his mouth, then hurried back to the wall’s top.

Mission accomplished.

Launching A Book

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As many of you know, I signed my first three-book contract with Mountain Brook Ink right before Christmas. Two of my critique partners have published before, so I knew some of what was coming. When I whined to one of them that they hadn’t warned me, she said “Oh, yes, I did.” She’s right, she did. I just wasn’t ready to comprehend what she was telling me at the time.

What many people don’t understand is that often new authors, like me, present a completed novel along with their proposal to a prospective editor.The proposal contains a marketing plan, a synopsis, additional books that could be part of the series that may or may not be written, and a thorough description of the characters. Once that is accepted, the real work begins.

The editor reads the manuscript, edits out the repeated words, the questionable punctuation, and sentences that don’t read well. In some cases, entire scenes must be reworked. Then the edits are sent back to the author for correction.

In addition, dedication pages, acknowledgements, and author notes are added. Discussion questions are often included at the back of the book for the benefit of book clubs. Somewhere in this mix a cover is created, along with back book copy. All through this process, the editor and the author are working against a publishing deadline.

In my case, I’m also writing an additional story that will be part of the series, but isn’t yet written. Add to that the input of the publicist who is planning  blog tours, marketing events, and other social appearances to give the book an audience, and the author finds she is one very busy girl.

My first novel will release October 1. I’m looking for thirty people who like to read contemporary fiction who would be willing to be part of a street team to help launch the novel in the public arena. Each person would be given an advance copy of the work, asked to write a paragraph ( or just a sentence) about their impressions, and follow through by posting that comment on various review sites. If you’d like to be part of that advance crew, please contact me by private message on Facebook, or by commenting on this website. Please be sure to leave me your e-mail address, so I can contact you.

Thanks.

 

Anticipating 2017

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The decorations are coming down. The tree has been dragged out the door. The broom continues its swish across the floor as billions of pine needles flee ahead of its bristles.

Tomorrow a new year dawns.

My volunteer is already rounding up our supply of wall calendars to hang at midnight. She knows every room that needs one—my office, the kitchen by the phone, her bedroom, the bathroom—and delights in going from tack to tack leaving a colorful pack of pages in their place.

Much excitement comes with the anticipation of a brand new year. How will God bless us? What will our prayer calendar look like? Who will need divine intercession on their behalf?

Will 2017 feel different when we greet it? Though we’ll still get up and face a regular Sunday morning, still grab breakfast on our way to church, still decide where dinner will be, knowing that we’re doing all this in a year with a different number makes it not seem so mundane or so ordinary.

What will the weather be like? Winter arrived just before Christmas 2016, but if what we experienced then is an indicator of what is to come, I’m bracing myself for long days of hot cocoa, warm slippers, and fuzzy blankets.

But spring always follows. Flowers, baby squirrels, and bird nests will grace our yard. The wrens, robins, juncos, and stellar jays will return—vying with each other for a turn at the fountain.

The year 2017 is upon us. New memories will be made, past histories remembered, and in each event God will be present. In Isaiah 41:13 God says, For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”ballooins

Welcome 2017.