WHEN DOORS SLAM SHUT

On Saturday, July 18, I went to my book signing in the Mount Ayr Public Library from 11:00 – 2:00 pm. It took place during Ayr Days as planned and advertised. However, though five people entered the library area, only two came for my book signing. I appreciated those who visited with me and purchased my two newest books. I also appreciated the three who came to return books and check out other ones.

People who read excite me. Too many literate people choose not to read these days. Research lists many reasons for this, and I may share that information in a later post. For now, I just praise the Lord for my love of reading and writing. I thank Him for the privilege and guidance for writing and publishing three books these last three years. What an accomplishment I never thought would happen!

However, I wonder whether I should continue to write and self-publish anymore books. I question if this ministry should end. I know this lack of turnout for book signings happens, but this makes me consider if the Lord wants me to serve Him through a different venue. I sincerely want to use my gifts and talents to further His kingdom, but at this point, I need to evaluate what to do. If He closes this door, I know He’ll open another. A good steward uses time, talents, and money wisely, and with all the time and money it takes to self-publish, I do not see a return.

I can list reasons for the disappointing turnout on July 18th, but it doesn’t matter. I do know that all the marketing avenues I learn, I apply, and I pray constantly for the Lord to bring people to the events for His sake. The competition is fierce today, and many choices exist for buyers for all types of genres. The lack of sales for my three books over the last three years prompts me to re-evaluate my writing career.

Though I enjoy creating the stories and inserting information about lighthouse keeping within the story content, if those I intend to read these books don’t buy them and read them, my purpose for writing seems unsuccessful. Authors write to convey a message and interact with their readers. If readers do not buy the books and read them, no interaction takes place, and the content lies dormant in print or digital format.

One thing I do know. The Lord seeks those who wish to serve Him and make themselves available for His use. Join me in praying for what His purpose remains for me, and for His direction and guidance, please. Whatever He desires of me will be what He deems best for me.

What about you? Do you feel hindered in fulfilling a ministry for the Lord? Are you considering giving up, and seeking a new endeavor? Please share your struggles and thoughts with me. I appreciate you stopping by and reading my post.

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Writing Career On Hold

There are times in our lives when the unexpected happens. During those times, careers go on hold for a while. Last September was one such time for me, and I couldn’t finish editing my second and third novels that I hoped would be released by Christmas. During that time, I felt a peace I never had before. Whatever happened would happen, no matter what.

Have you ever felt that way? When you knew you had no control over your life, and yet, you knew you’d be okay no matter what? Last fall was an avalanche of illnesses and other life-changing events that changed me inwardly more than anyone could know, but me. Physically, I faced danger with three hospitalizations. In the midst of my bouts with serious illness, my mother needed me in her last days on this earth, and a family pet of 15 years died.

Where was my Lord in the middle of this? Right next to me all the time. I sensed Him, He held me when I was too weak to even speak His name, and He touched me and made me well in every way He knew I needed it. He guided my new surgeon and barrage of physicians, and He gave me peace.

The grieving would wait till I could process and embrace it. Even my memory, affected by extremely low oxygen, would return in time. Till then, my writing and editing would wait. I couldn’t remember spellings of words, and my inability to compose sentences frustrated me tremendously. Names faded and blurred, and sleep consumed my days as weakness from the poison and severe infection controlled my daily routines.

Shortly after Christmas, my grieving process began. My mother’s death was now a reality. I missed our routine conversations over the phone, and I wanted to share the progress of my health with her, to prevent her from worrying about my operation and illness. Many times I picked up the phone to call her, but then realized I could not.  I grieved my Chocolate Labrador’s passing, too. I missed her cuddling me when she sensed my sadness and weakness.  Yet, through it all, an inner peace and strength drove me on. It promised me stronger days lay ahead, and a future reunion in heaven waited for me with my mom. Jesus held me close as I reached out to Him through my confusion and pain. He never let me down, nor did He ever leave me.

Below is an article that gives you, my readers, a glimpse of the physical challenge I went through from early September, 2014 through January, 2015. If you share an experience like this, I hope you will bless me with a comment and thoughts you experienced. Thank you for visiting my website and reading my post. May the Lord grant you peace and strength through His love. Click on the newsletter and then on the attachment that appears to read the article. Thank you.

RCH Newsletter June 2015

I apologize, but this attachment does not seem to work. Hopefully, my post speaks to someone going through a tough time with out the article. Thanks for stopping by my website!

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Beacons of Light and Hope

Beacon of hope and safety

Beacon of hope and safety

How do people react to you? Are you a place of safe-harbor, an anchor of hope and security in your relationship to others? Do you draw people toward you when they recognize you in a crowd? Do they see you as someone reliable and stable in their lives?

Bass Harbor lighthouse by night with moon reflection in ocean. Acadia National Park, Maine, USA.

Bass Harbor lighthouse by night with moon reflection in ocean. Acadia National Park, Maine, USA.

When lighthouses appeared along the coastlines, they guarded areas where destruction and death occurred in the past and could happen again in the near future. These guardians, or beacons of light, offered protection and security to mariners who traveled dangerous waters. Many days and nights clouded their way

Thick fog envelops the land and sea, but the light shines forth offering safety

Thick fog envelops the land and sea, but the light shines forth offering safety

with thick fog, storms, huge waves, and total darkness.

A beacon of hope in a strom

A beacon of light offering hope in a storm

Yet, hope flashed before men’s eyes when they recognized a lighthouse with its distinct pattern of flashing lights. This ally stood watch over dangerous waters filled with buried shoals and sharp boulders that surprised many  sailors. These guardians stood fast in their positions offering hope and safe-harbor to those who trusted in their knowledge of danger ahead.

A faithful guardian warning of submerged shoals and boulders near the shoreline.

A faithful guardian warning of submerged shoals and boulders near the shoreline.

When electricity fails in my house, I reach for a candle, or flashlight to light my path and reset my mind for familiar surroundings. the light draws me, and 2933-single-candle-flamei shun the darkness as much as possible. The candle I light offers me familiarity, but more important, hope and security. It helps me avoid dangers from stumbling and possibly falling that could result in pain, suffering, and even death. Its brightness warms me physically, and inwardly my heart relaxes. Security is important no matter where I find myself in this world. I notice that others in the room gravitate toward the light, too. Emotions that moments before flared out-of-control now became calm and peaceful.

Just as lighthouses offered peace and security to all those who saw them, we as people who know The Light of the World, cjesuslightofworldan offer hope and stability in a world of turmoil. Do you impact people who way in a crisis, or situation of fear? Do they seek your compassion and wisdom when their lives are upside down? Or, is it you who seeks this assurance that everything is alright?

Calm and peaceful waters

Calm and peaceful waters

Become a beacon of hope and anchor for others the Lord sends across your path. There are many mariners seeking hope and peace in this world of darkness. Let your light shine bright that souls seeking refuge and security recognize your pattern of flashing light, familiar and reliable, and one in whom they can trust to lead them to the true Light of the World.

Jesus Light of the World

Jesus Light of the World

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A beacon of safety in the dark of night

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CATCHING UP WITH FRIENDS

My friend, Bonnie, with whom my husband and I recently "caught up."

My friend, Bonnie, with whom my husband and I recently “caught up.”

Scripture tells us not to forsake the friends the Lord places in our lives. Proverbs 18:24 says “A man who has too many friends can come to ruin; but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother .” We all have many acquaintances, but close friends are those with whom we can share our deepest feelings.

In Proverbs 27: 9, 10, & 17,  the Bible says, “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart; so does the sweetness of hearty counsel from a  man’s friend.”  “Do not forsake your own friend, or your father’s friend. ” “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens his friend.”

These verses remind me of how close friends support and encourage one another, and actually can improve each other. We need to take time in this busy world to reconnect with our personal friends. Sometimes those friends are from our past; other times they are people who are now in our lives. Either way, this command is for our own sakes. So many blessings occur when we get together with these precious people.

Recently I “caught up” with one of my friends with whom I ran around with in my junior and senior years of high school. Several weeks ago, my post, “When I Was Young” featured this sweet woman in photo booth pictures.  To reunite with this friend, my husband and I took a road trip to Jefferson City, Missouri, and spent two days with Bonnie and her husband, Jay, also a friend from that time period.

Jay, Bonnie's husband, took this photo of us sharing lunch and catching up on events in our lives.

Jay, Bonnie’s husband, took this photo of us sharing lunch and catching up on events in our lives.

I felt a bit of anxiety as we drove 4 1/2 hours to see them. Would they still find things in common with me? Are they looking as forward to this as I am, or will it be an interruption in their lives and routines? Will we have difficulty communicating, or will it be like old times where we talked easily and freely together? Would the passing of time make a difference after all these years? Will it seem like time never passed, and we picked up where we left off forty years ago? When we finally arrived, all of that anxiety left. Their generous hospitality and warm welcome thrilled my heart.

For dinner, Jay and Bonnie took us to a Chinese restaurant, but the buffet offered American food, too. Similar to a Golden Corral, food types filled the sections. After dinner, we traveled back to their home where we talked till late into the night. Finally, we all decided to give our tired bodies rest, and went to bed.

Sharing breakfast at Bonnie and Jay's home.

Sharing breakfast at Bonnie and Jay’s home.

In the morning, more reminiscing took place. We shared more memories of the past as well as new experiences that took place in each of our lives since seeing each other late. One of my most precious blessings took place before breakfast. Owen, Bonnie, and I did devotions together. We took turns reading scriptures and devotional booklets that Owen and I brought. praying together meant so much to me. After breakfast, Jay showed us his gardening work and shed where he does woodworking. Jay has so many talents! He served in Viet Nam as a combat engineer, and in Desert Storm as a flight medic. He shared some of his experiences with us from both tours. In his civilian life, Jay worked as an IT expert. He retired a few years ago, and enjoys gardening, woodworking, and technology.

Later on, I helped Bonnie prepare for lunch. Bonnie taught school for over thirty years. She’s retired now also, but continues to help at school on Fridays. She loves working with kids! We have that passion in common. The meals Bonnie made during our visit tasted wonderful. I remember when she made lunch in our younger years. She fried Spam and fixed vanilla pudding with fruit cocktail in it. That was good then, but these meals forty years later raised the bar a bunch!

After lunch, Owen and I packed up, grudgingly said good-bye, and started our journey back home. We talked about what a terrific time we shared with these dear ones from our past. Before we left, we invited them to come stay with us sometime, and they agreed they would do that. Hopefully, we meet again soon. True friendship never loses the bond we develop, and we need to do all we can to continue to build that bond deeper as much as possible. I am so glad we went to see these friends from our past!

How long has it been since you reunited with a special friend from your past? Is there some way you could renew your relationship with that person? Let me know your thoughts about setting up a time to visit someone who made a positive impact on your life. Then actually make some plans and follow through with them. You’ll be blessed like us!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. I really appreciate your time and support!

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MOUNT AYR BOOK SIGNING SCHEDULED

Mount Ary Days parade on town square

Mount Ary Days parade on town square

Here it is the end of June already. Time seems to fly by faster all the time. The Fourth of July celebration is next week, and then it’s time for my next book signing of the year! During Mount Ayr Days, my small town’s celebration of its origin, I will celebrate my two newest books in my Lighthouse series Books.

Model Railroad Club float

Model Railroad Club float

At this special event, cars and tractors will line parking areas on the town square. A Bounce House near the Court House brings the children hours of fun as does the face paintings for which children stand in line to get. A Bar-B-Que cook-off is always something the community looks forward to experiencing every year!

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One of the many cars on display during Mount Ayr Days

Food and drink stands span the square so families can eat meals while they celebrate the activities and events. Usually, a pedal-push event heads the fun, and  several running events highlight the festivities. Quilts made by locals show case the City Hall areas, and other crafts for sale appear throughout the square’s park and around town.  

Second and third books in Mary’s Lighthouse Series books

 

I will setup for my book signing in the public library. Usually, experts examine people’s antiques downstairs each year. I hope friends, teachers, and community members come in the library to help me celebrate my mystery novels, Mystery at London Ledge Lighthouse A Haunting Encounter, and Terror at Twin Lights Lighthouse  Missing! I also hope students who asked about my next books stop in, visit with me, and buy some good summer reading books – mine!  

Mary's first book in her Lighthouse Series Books, Finding Heath Young Lighthouse Keeper

Mary’s first book in her Lighthouse Series Books, Finding Heath Young Lighthouse Keeper

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Burlington Book Signing – Home Again

Friend, classmate, and new graduate, Linda Giffin, joined me at the Burlington book signing event.

Friend, classmate, and new graduate, Linda Giffin, joined me at the Burlington book signing event.

What a beautiful day for a book signing! Many times during Burlington Steamboat Days, heavy rains and storms interrupt the open-air programs down on the waterfront. This time, it was mostly rain-free!

Bookstore owner, Christopher Steven  Murphy pictured with me.

Bookstore owner, Christopher Steven Murphy pictured with me.

My best friend, Martha Kibling, who happens to be my sister, entertained us all with her incredible sense of humor!

My best friend, Martha Kibling, who happens to be my sister, entertained us all with her incredible sense of humor!

The parade passed in front of the Burlington By the Book store where my signing took place. The parade was all of an hour long, and it thrilled me to see so many organizations and groups participate this year. Before, during, and after the parade, people stopped in the store to greet me and buy my books. The support and kind words these dear ones touched my heart.

Classmate and sweet friend, Sharyn Miller, joined me and encouraged me with her words of support fro my books and website blogs.

Classmate and sweet friend, Sharyn Miller, joined me and encouraged me with her words of support for my books and website blogs.

As always, some friends and family I hoped to see did not make it down. Yet, some I did not expect to see came down and spent time catching up on memories and family news. All-in-all, the book sales went well, and the time spent with the visitors encouraged me.

A young middle school reader from Notre Dame, Aiden, who bought his first book in my series!

A young middle school reader from Notre Dame, Aiden, who bought his first book in my series!

After the book signing event ended, some of my visitors went with me to Napoli Pizza where we continued to enjoy each other’s company. Christopher Steven Murphy, the bookstore owner, asked for me to leave signed copies with him, so for those that missed this event, and still want my books, there are some down in his store.

Two of my terrific, faithful friends, Kevin and Debbie, drove down from Cedar Rapids, Iowa to bless my day with their support and fellowship!

Two of my terrific, faithful friends, Kevin and Debbie, drove down from Cedar Rapids, Iowa to bless my day with their support and fellowship!

One person asked if I plan to write more books. I have no idea if and when there will be a fourth book in my lighthouse series books. This is the Lord’s ministry, and I’m seeking His guidance for the future. Enjoy the pictures of some “Burlingtonians” who blessed me with their presence and warm fellowship this past Saturday. You might recognize some of them!

A former teaching friend from West Burlington Independent Schools where I taught for six years!

A former teaching friend from West Burlington Independent Schools where I taught for six years!  Sheila’s husband, Jim Sleister, was the school superintendent.

A wonderful friend, Audrey Timmerman, who rode back and forth to games with Owen and me when our sons played sports together for BHS.

A wonderful friend, Audrey Timmerman, who rode back and forth to games with Owen and me when our sons played sports together for BHS.

A childhood friend and classmate, Sharron (Sourwine) and her brother's girlfriend and Misty, an aspiring teacher, also came to this event.

A childhood friend and classmate, Sharron Sourwine Hall (next to me), her brother’s girlfriend (middle), and Misty Swan, an aspiring teacher, also came to this event.

My brother, Mike Dwight, and wife Christine, celebrated with me Saturday, too!

My brother, Mike Dwight (the runner), and wife Christine, celebrated with me Saturday, too!

Kathy Stout Murphy, classmate and good friend, who works at the Burlington Public Library, joined me also.

Kathy Stout Murphy, classmate and good friend, who works at the Burlington Public Library, joined me also.

Monica West Hudson joined me at the store and for pizza afterwards. Great friend and classmate!

Monica West Hudson joined me at the store and for pizza afterwards. Great friend and classmate!

Thanks to everyone who came, prayed for me, and who helped prepare for this event last Saturday! Thanks to my sister for buying pizza for us afterwards.

 

 

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Tend the Garden

This is another post I enjoyed, and wanted you to enjoy it also. Thank you for visiting and reading my website posts. Please leave a comment for me after reading this. Thank you for your time and support!

Tend the Garden.

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