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Christmas Day Face-Off at the Birdfeeder

It’s day 2 of howling winds and frigid temperatures. In fact, it’s Christmas Day here in Pittsburgh, PA. A day of giving as we share our joy in the greatest gift of all- JESUS.

Outside at the birdfeeder birds are feasting on fallen seed and seeds still the feeder. I left it out overnight (my gift to the birds) and expected it would be empty this morning. It wasn’t. Instead, I saw a myriad of birds joisting for the seeds on the ground and in the feeder. Along with Juncos, house sparrows and black capped chickadees, there were tufted titmice and cardinals. Later a red-bellied woodpecker visited for a meal.

I’m not sure if it was the temperature or the wind, but the birds seemed feisty to me. I know they need to eat more for fuel when it’s cold outside, but what I saw was amazing. Usually, smaller birds give way to larger birds around the birdfeeder. Not today.

As I ate my own breakfast, fuel for my start to the day, I saw a house sparrow face-off with a female cardinal. Later another house sparrow (or maybe the same one) went head-to-head with a male cardinal. Not to be outdone, a few moments later two male cardinals faced-off. This time in the air. I wish I could have captured that moment with my camera. They seemed to be vying for territory and access to food.

It reminded me of how we as people get- fighting for territory, for food, for survival. For the birds right now, they need food to survive the howling winds and frigid temperatures.

I wonder what our excuse is. The Bible says there will be wars and rumors of wars before Christ returns. With the fighting in Ukraine, the threat of war looms around us.

Gazing outside, I renew my prayer for God to surround us with this peace and love. May we know God walks with us through the howling winds of war and want. May we walk secure, knowing we can face the future with God by our side. Merry Christmas everyone.

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Howling winds, frigid temps and my thoughts

Yesterday, as I sat warm and snug in my great room watching television, I could hear the winds howling around the hills in my back yard. I looked over at our electric fireplace adding heat to offset the winds and frigid temperatures outside and snuggled into a blanket around me.

I write historical fiction and my latest book, Helena’s Autumn deals with life of the early settlers in the frontiers of Massachusetts’ colony. At times like these, I wonder just how the settlers dealt with the weather. They must have been so hardy. In Mary’s Captivity, my recent novella, I just finished writing, Mary Foster is taken captive by Mohawk and lives with them for a year in various villages and long houses. She braves harsh winter weather as well. The more I research and the more I write about people in those time periods, the more my admiration for their hardiness grows.

I’m so thankful for our modern conveniences and the blessing we have. What are you thankful for?

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I got a wonderful Christmas gift this year. I signed a new contract with Heart Song Literary Agency! My agent Patricia Riddle-Gaddis is the owner of the agency as well. I also received my formatted manuscript and the news we will discuss publishers in the New Year!

This Season we celebrate the birth of our Saviour, the greatest gift of all. IN addition, I’m thankful for my family and friends.

What are you thankful for?

Featured

Everyone is busy preparing for the holidays, but…

The month of December is busy with preparations, and events around the holiday season. Shopping, decorating, visiting, baking and more. It is filled with emotion.

I have fantastic memories of the holidays as a child. I look forward to the holiday season because of it. But what if you don’t have good memories? Or aren’t able to celebrate with loved ones?

We endured the separation caused by the Covid Pandemic. Many of us have endured sickness and loss as well. But today my focus is not on recent past events, but further back in time.

In my historical novella, Mary’s Captivity my main character Mary Foster has been captured by Mohawks during the American Revolution. She spends her Christmas in captivity remembering past Christmases and praying. When her captor and new husband gives her gifts on that day, she is touched by his kindness but still has trouble forgiving him for the attack and her subsequent capture.

Christmas is not just about giving, but about remembering and showing Christ’s love to others. Even if, as Mary learns, one must forgive first. My prayer for everyone this holiday season is that we remember the greatest gift of all, the birth of Jesus, our Emmanuel, Savior of mankind. With a gift like that surely, we can open our hearts and forgive others, sharing God’s love despite the hectic noise of holiday preparations.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Featured

When You and Your MC Must Develop Patience

In my work in progress, Helena’s Autumn, my main character, Helena Trevellian, must learn patience as the Revolutionary War continues and she waits for her husband to come home. She realizes that she isn’t a very patient person.

This summer I have kept busy editing my manuscript for my editor. I found I’m not a very patient person either. As I was finishing the edits, I asked my agent when she wanted me to send the revised ms back. She said, in a few weeks. It made me laugh. Just like Helena, I need to sit and wait.

While I waited, I revised and submitted a creative nonfiction story- An Unexpected Angel to Agape Review, a Christian Online Journal. It was published mid-August. (https://agapereview.com/2022/08/14/anunexpectedangel-2/) So just like Helena, I am keeping busy while I wait. She deals with her regular housewife roles and the added work of protecting the farm from deserting British Dragoons and fending off Mohawk and Loyalist raiders. It’s also up to her to do the hunting, fishing and gardening to provide for her and her friend. As the months progress, she learns compassion as she tends to her ill friend. She doesn’t like all the work but learns she is stronger than she thinks.

What do you do when you find you have to sit and wait before you can do something? Please share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.

Featured

When to Take a Break

Honeysuckle waiting for the next Fairy Feast

Sometimes you need a break from your other writing. I’ve been buried in the past with my MC Jonathan’s exploits in London in first WIP and occupied with Covid statistics in my other WIP so this has been a welcome change. This morning I asked my friends if I should take a walk in our park and then write or just write. The walk won. Along with this picture my imagination took me into another world as you will read below.

The Fairies of Boyce Park feasted this past week

on honeysuckle oh so sweet.

They danced, they twirled, they sang, unfurled

their wings a light with beauty,

as they held a First of Summer Dance.

You might not always see them

for they like to hide away

they disappear as moonlight fades

until another day.

So take a look around you, you may not realize

the broken petals, discarded cups are all that’s left behind.

Fairy Feast Remnants

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Writing Connections

My twin sister and me

I have a twin sister. We’ve always been competitive, yet in each other’s corner whenever needed. I stuck up for her when she was bullied, she encouraged and helped me when I was wondering what career path to take. Early on we both seemed to realize we could compliment each other in what we did and liked to do. We chose different paths – in school I was the studious one, she was the social butterfly.

In college we went to different universities, had different majors and even chose life partners (our husbands) who are totally different. Yet our bond remains strong. You are probably wondering how this relates to making Writing Connections. I’m getting to that.

My twin always encouraged me when I continued on to get my PhD in English Composition and TESOL. She encouraged me when I was given leadership positions within local Three Rivers TESOL and International TESOL. She encouraged me whenever I had articles and chapters published in journals in my field. Now it is my turn.

I am so proud of my twin- Janyce Brawn, artist, author and very creative woman in her own right. It is my turn to encourage her, by helping her make Writing Connections. My advertising and marketing experience as a freelance writer and newspaper editor are coming to the fore (I hope.). Go Janyce, You go girl! I want to shout. She has just published her first book in the Tales of the Teleporting Topsider Series- David and the Drainosaurs.

My granddaughter is enjoying her Aunt Janyce Brawn’s new book!

You can learn more about her in another writer friend, Lyndi Alexander, I met through my connection with Janyce and my writing critique group- Fellowship of the Quill. Janyce Brawn was a guest blogger on Lyndi Alexander’s blog, here’s the link. https://lyndialexander.wordpress.com/2021/05/21/down-the-drain-with-janyce-brawn-and-her-fantasy-hero-david-gonzales/

Featured

Be like the Sparrow

Why should a person be like a sparrow? Have you ever watched one? This past winter I erected a birdfeeder outside my great room window. As I sit at my table eating breakfast or lunch I watch the myriad of birds that come to the feeder. The fluttering black capped chickadee, the flitting tufted titmouse, the curious but cautious cardinals, the grouchy blue jays, the pairs of yellow finches and mourning dove and the persistent sparrows all visit. The most common visitor is the songbird sparrow, diligently searching the feeder or the ground, day in and day out, for sustenance.

Today it hit me. Well not exactly hit, but, you know what I mean. We should be like sparrows in our search for goodness in others, in our search for deeper faith, and for seeking what we need to sustain us.

Search God’s Word, search your heart, search your mind. Let Him speak to you in the windy days, in the rainy days, in the cold and harrowing experiences in life, and let God be your sustenance, in essence be diligent and persistent. Be like the Sparrow.

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Images

I recently was walking in the park and took a picture of a tree that I was calling a pterodactyl tree because, well because it just reminded me of one with the pointy head. Well, I was so surprised, charmed, amused and enlightened to read what others thought it looked like. Dragons, eagles, flying Griffiths, Jesus’ crown of thorns, Pi, and the letter H were some of the answers. All different from what I had thought.

Image may contain: tree, plant, outdoor and nature

This got me to thinking. If one visual image evokes so many different responses, it’s no wonder people see and think differently on so many issues we face today. How then do we find common ground on issues like wearing asks, re-opening schools? These are the hot issues right now and there are many different responses. What do you think? Please post your ideas below.

Picky Eater at the Birdfeeder

This is one in a series of observations at the bird feeder that I am currently writing. I hope you enjoy it.

I watched a White Breasted Nuthatch pick and choose the seeds it was eating at my birdfeeder this morning. It reminded me of my oldest son and my grandsons. Such picky eaters. Every family has them. My mother was one too.

But why are they picky? Is it the taste? The texture, or what? I’m not sure what the White Breasted Nuthatch was searching for, but it came back repeatedly for food, so I guess it found what it was looking for.

As a Christian I’m to feed on the Word of God. Not literally, but figuratively, so that the word is in my heart and in my mind.

The African American Spiritual, Give Me Jesus was playing on my phone as I watched the birds at my birdfeeder. I thought, I’ll take another helping of God’s Word– in the morning when I rise, when I’m alone and when I come to die– just Give me Jesus.

After all, whether you’re a picky eater like the White Breasted Nuthatch or not, just feed on God’s Word to give you strength, and peace of mind.

Prayer: Dear God, thank-you for the giving your Son, Jesus to die for our sins. Thank-you that you meet us wherever we are, whenever we call, to love use and guide us. Thank-you for walking with us this day. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Waiting in Silence at the Bird Feeder

Waiting in Silence at the Bird Feeder

It’s a beautiful sunny morning. Blue skies beckon as I sit at my table waiting in silence for birds to come to the bird feeder. As I wait, I’m watchful and quiet; a lot like I should be as I wait upon the Lord.

How often do we sit still and wait? I drink my coffee and ponder. The world and its cares are knocking on the door of my mind, just like the beautiful day outside, but I wait in silence… and pray. “What would you have me do today, Father?”

The recent fighting in the Ukraine comes to my mind. Then God’s words run through my mind. “Be still and know that I am God.”

Is that all God? What about the world? I sit, waiting. I feel Him saying, “I am with you in the turmoil, and the raging tempest in the world. If I can count the hairs on your head, know when even the littlest sparrow falls, I know what is happening to you and to all the others in the world. I am with you. I walk with you all- each, and every day. So… Be still and know that I am God.”

The bird feeder is still empty, and the sky is still blue, but I know God is with me and it is enough.

Dear God, I pray those who struggle may feel your presence as you walk beside them this day, no matter where they are, no matter what they are doing. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Joy

Joy
I put my bird feeder out late this morning. As I drank my coffee and waited to see what birds would come I thought- it would be nice to see a cardinal, I haven’t seen them for a while.
Suddenly two cardinals, a male and female appeared! What joy filled my heart to see birds I hadn’t seen for quite a long time.
Then I realized- this must be a shadow of what God feels when a long lost person comes back to him.
Joy for a little bird: a great reminder of how God delights in us.

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