Easter Memories

As a child, Easter was always a special time of year for our family. We had family Easter egg hunts, went to church for early sunrise service, and ate dinner with Grandma and Grandpa Gerdom at their home. Our cousins came from Peoria, Illinois, and from across town from us in Burlington, Iowa. The food tasted incredible, and joking with family brought joy and laughs.  

Uncle Warren entertained us by removing his glass eye and grossing us out! Uncle Marvin taught us kindness, patience, and environmental information. I admired these men. With no father influence in my life, I envied my cousins.

One aunt hid in the bathroom when clean-up time rolled around. We all teased her since this was a “holiday happening” when we met at Gramma’s. Aunt Jean used “colorful language” and acted tough and cranky, but we knew inside she loved us deeply. My other aunt was a jokester, too. Aunt Dorothy appeared softer and more feminine than Aunt Jean, but she held her own when the family teasing started!

We cousins enjoyed getting into trouble together. We’d retreat to the basement and play Hide-and-Seek. My sister shoved our cousin, Fred, off the steps when she discovered he was hiding next to her! For some reason Grandpa had tires in his basement. We rolled them at each other in the dark. Because of all the screaming heard from us, eventually the adults kicked us out and took us to a movie. They thought they needed peace… I found out later these adults usually argues about politics or some issue of the time. At other times they just took naps, or played cards.

I enjoyed these days greatly! Karen, my cousin from Peoria was lots of fun, and her brother, Gene, was quiet and reserved. He was a lot older than the rest of us, so we were punks to him… Fred and Janis lived in the same town, but we rarely saw them. I felt almost like an outcast when we reunited, though. They all had blonde hair and blue eyes. So did their parents and my mother. Except for my oldest brother’s light brown eyes, I had the only brown eyes mine were dark) among them, and my hair was dark brown with dark-auburn highlights throughout.

Janis showed us her ability to contort her body in so many ways! We never knew what to expect the next time we’d see her. Fred tried to ignore us, but we made sure he couldn’t! Karen fascinated me with her knowledge and interests of animals and plants. She lived on a farm, and I was a city-girl.

With Easter just around the corner, these memories come flooding back to me today. I miss those days, the fun and trouble, the conversations, my aunts and uncles and Grandparents all gone now. Thank you, Lord, for the childhood I experienced and each one who affected me.

Thank you that holidays like Easter still offer opportunities for families to unite and grow together. Most of all, thank you, Lord, for Jesus and His redeeming gift of grace to all that acknowledge Him for Who He is! 

Crown of Thorns

Crown of Thorns

What does this coming holiday of Easter impact you? Are your memories of family gatherings and activities, relationship-building? Is Christ’s resurrection important to you? Thanks for coming by today. Please let me hear from you.

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Saturday, April 5, 2014, was a milestone for me. I completed the first forms required by WestBow Press for submitting my next two books. This entails composing the text for the back covers, ideas for the front covers, excerpts for Amazon, WestBow, and Barnes and Noble sites, a brief biography, a story synopsis for each book, and uploading each book to WestBow’s site. My head was spinning by the time I finished.

However, with that part of the production and publishing process completed, it’s time for me to create pages for introductions, credits, reader activities, resources, and any special information I want to include in these books. As you can see, there’s much more to publishing a book than writing a story!

Now I wait for reviews and evaluations from WestBow Press about what I sent them. Follow along from this beginning step to full publication, I hope to enlighten and encourage anyone interested in writing and publishing his or her own book.

What about you? Where are you in the process of writing and publishing your book? Are you a traditional, vanity, or self-publishing author? Please leave a reply and share with me where you are on this adventurous road in an author’s world. Thank you for stopping by today.

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Two Parts To Settings

Twin Lights Lighthouse

Twin Lights Lighthouse

Many people mistakenly think settings only involve the place the story takes place, but place is only half of the setting. The time in which a story happens is the other part. Where and when are two important questions readers need to know to make more sense of the story context. Some readers visualize the scenes, and the time period suggests clothing, policies, and even political and religious issues of the period in which one writes.

For example, in the book, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare, the setting is critical. Both the time and place increase tension in the plot. This book takes place in 1637. The pilgrims were prevalent in the early Connecticut colony, and witchcraft was a cultural issue with their religion. Kit, the main character, dresses much differently than most people in this colony where she moves, and her behavior and speech causes suspicion among the colonists. These traits create interest and tension for the reader.

Another example is in the book, The Hatchet. Even though the story takes place in present day, the place is critical to the story. The main character finds himself alone in the forest by a lake in the middle of nowhere. His survival depends on finding food and shelter. Gary Paulsen does a very skilful job in creating tension and excitement for his readers through this setting.

In my books, a lighthouse is the major setting, and the time period is mostly the present. In my second and third books, events from the past influence events in the present time.

Can you think of an example where the setting played an important part in a story you read? What is the book(s) and how did the setting (remember both time and place) impact the story?Please leave your comment below. Thanks for visiting my website and reading my blog. I hope you’ll interact with me about reading and writing.

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Book Signing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa!

Come join me on April 12th in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Barnes and Noble on Collins Road is hosting an Author Day. This event is from 1:00-3:00 pm. I hope you can join me and the others on that Saturday afternoon. Register for a free book!

Come join the fun like these people did last year!

Carrie brought her little son who I taught when I subbed in kindergarten!

Carrie brought her little son who I taught when I subbed in kindergarten!

Art and Sherry Allen and Guelda at Ayr Days book signing.

Art and Sherry Allen and Guelda at Ayr Days book signing.

Table set up for my first book signing.

Table set up for my first book signing.

My good friend Sandi came down to support me during my book signing. We worked together at AEA 14.
My good friend Sandi came down to support me during my book signing. We worked together at AEA 14.

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Have you ever thought about how incredible your body is? Sometimes I am awe-struck by the incredible complexity my body exhibits. The highways of nerves and veins, arteries, and blood flow that actively exists within each one of us is fascinating. The organs function together and perform automatically without anyone flipping on a switch!

Then I think about how every bit of me is held together – inside and out – like stitches hold together fabric. We can’t see any stitches because there aren’t any. Yet, we hold together. How is this possible?

For Me He Died


In Colossians 1: 17, the Bible tells me all things are held together by Christ, the Creator of everything (vs. 16). Jesus is pre-eminent above all, and we exist for Him and by Him (16 & 18). The Lord holds my body, this world, and the entire universes in tact Himself. He can do that because He’s God Creator, but He also created something called laminin. This is literally the “glue” that holds our cells together. Most incredible, laminin’s shape is a cross! Watch the video below.


What are your thoughts about this topic?  Please leave your response. Thank you for visiting my website.

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On Saturday, April 12, I am honored to attend a book signing where I am featured along with other authors for an Author Day Event. This takes place at Barnes and Noble Bookstore from 1:00-3:00 pm at Northland Square SC, 333 Collins Road NE, Building 1 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Please come and support this bookstore and authors as you greet and meet us and possibly buy our books. I appreciate your support,  and your encouragement impacts me in ways you could not imagine! Thanks to Kevin and Deb Brubaker for setting up this event along with the bookstore’s activity manager, Amanda. Come join the fun, especially if you live near Iowa City, Marion, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, or any surrounding towns and cities. Thank you in advance for your support!

Photos from past book signings:

My friend, Sue Larsen, former Special Ed Coordinator at Mt. Ayr Schools, worked with me through AEA 14. She's a terrific lady!

My friend, Sue Larsen, former Special Ed Coordinator at Mt. Ayr Schools, worked with me through AEA 14. She’s a terrific lady!

Paul and Judy Fifer came to buy my book.

Paul and Judy Fifer came to buy my book.

Mary and Brenda McBride, a special Christian friend and supporter.

Mary and Brenda McBride, a special Christian friend and supporter.

Left to right: Geri Elmore, Mary, Don Riley, Jean Riley, and Sheila Hubbard.

Left to right: Geri Elmore, Mary, Don Riley, Jean Riley, and Sheila Hubbard.

Debbie and Kevin signing up for my Book Stub drawing.

Debbie and Kevin signing up for my Book Stub drawing.

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New Life

Signs of Spring

We in the Midwest look forward to Spring. This winter seems especially long, so warmer temperatures and sunny days bring much desired change.

Newness of life is another precious part of springtime. Lots of babies appear from all types of animals, and beautiful flowers emerge from barren landscapes painting colors everywhere. This presents a contrast to the white snow-covered earth. The transformation motivates people to plant vegetable gardens, take walks, ride bikes, plan outdoor cook-outs and activities, and enjoy the sunshine outdoors.

As a middle-school teacher, I told my students they pass through a process of transformation called puberty. They might not like the way they look during this process, but soon they emerge as incredible young adults much like caterpillars transform into gorgeous butterflies. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, the Bible says people who choose Christ as their Savior are new creations, and old things pass away, and new things replace them.

We continue transforming daily from one degree to another as we grow in our grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). How wonderful it is that we do not have to wait till Spring for our involvement in this transformation process. We can draw closer daily when we seek to have the mind of Christ 365 days a year through prayer, reading God’s Word, meeting with other Christians, by attending Bible Studies, Sunday School classes, church, or just fellowshipping while sharing a meal or shopping together.

Spiritual growth is not an automatic process like puberty is for teens. It requires daily surrender of life and time. In order to get acquainted with someone, we must spend time with him/her and learn all we can. It’s a two-way relationship where both parties converse and grow in their knowledge and love for each other.

How are you doing with this process? Are you a Christian? How have you grown in your relationship to Christ since He became your Savior? What are you doing differently to build that relationship this year compared to last year? How much time do you spend with other Christians weekly compared with those who don’t know Him?

I find if I don’t schedule time with the Lord, our meeting doesn’t happen. Do you have a daily time scheduled with Him for prayer and reading the Bible? What needs transformed in your life to adopt the mind of Christ? Are you working on a plan to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ? He offers you and me hope that no one else can.  I hope you consider these questions. Please leave a reply. Thank you for stopping by and reading my post.

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