World Book Blog Tour

Thank you, Carol Heilman for the opportunity to go on this blog tour. Carol’s book, Just Go! spotlights an island, Haiti. Carol and a friend took a short-term mission trip to this land, still held captive by voodoo. The need for missionaries to Haiti resounded in this book. I couldn’t help but think … if only I was younger. I am eagerly waiting for October of 2014, the release date of Carol’s new book, working title: Agnes Hopper’s Bridge to Retirement.

What am I working on?
Mainly, I’m trying to understand the way the social media works. I hold my hands to the sides of my head to keep it from flying away because there’s so much I don’t know about this unknown-to-me side of life. To escape, I go to the computer and pour out words on the blank pages. Sometimes my thoughts present themselves on this blog: View From the Hilltop.

Most of the time, I write devotionals with an occasional inspirational article in-between. I have just sent off seven devotionals for a magazine with hopes they will be accepted. I am waiting to hear from several other small publications about submissions. This past January, Clubhouse, Jr. published my story about a great-granddaughter’s gift of her hair to “Locks of Love,” an organization that makes wigs for cancer patients. And Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas promised the appearance of a follow up book to Dare to Live, Devotions for Those Over the Hill, But Not Under It, coming in 2015. Name of the new book: Laugh. I Dare You. This is not a joke book, but rather, a “dare to laugh” in spite of the sadness, pain and sorrow in our lives because we know God is in it with us.

Why do I write what I do?
Many years ago I discovered I loved to write. In 1961 I sent a child’s story—written without margins, single spaced and crammed onto one page — to Child Life magazine. Amazingly, they accepted it. At once, I took off down the writing trail. Before long, God poked me and I realized I wanted to write for Him, to touch others, to bring His love to them. And so, I began writing inspirational articles, devotions, poems and stories for children’s Sunday School papers.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
How often I said, “Write a book? Never!” But, a few years ago I wanted a book of devotions for the “almost” elderly — my age. Chuck Swindoll’s Seasons of Life I already had. Other devotionals were not specifically aimed at those of us who need our problems, big or small, addressed.

Devotional books in book stores or book catalogs carry individual titles for mothers, fathers, career women, golfers, teens, families, children…. Seemingly none for those of us who have watched many years roll by.

I took a proposal to the Write His Answer conference at Estes Park and presented it to Eddie Jones with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Result: publication of Devotions for Those Over the Hill, But Not Under It — a book I never intended to write. A big help for those of us who need glasses, the book is written in large print.

Why do I write what I do?
Just because we are “over the hill,” does not mean we know it all or are free from pain. Our friends are leaving us behind…. We hurt…. We are misunderstood…. We are patronized…. And, our children have now become our parents.

Through it all, I hope to point to someone who understands. Who is always with us. God.

How does my writing process work?
So many times throughout the day, something will just strike me and I must write it down and build on it. The same thing happens when a verse from scripture says, “This is important. Use it.”

Next stop on the World Blog Book Tour?
Let me introduce three authors who will post their blog next Monday, July 21.

Steve Warner is a professional counselor. His book, Milestones: On the Road Home, offers reflections in the form of questions and prayers, written from a background in Scripture and life itself.

Laura Ann Miller happens to be my granddaughter. She is a writer and photographer in Florida. She used her talent to produce four board books for children: I See the Creatures God Made, I See the Colors God Made, I See the Me God Made, and I See the World God Made. She and her husband are hoping to
present the books in digital form soon.

Debbie Hardy is one of those energetic people whose book, Stepping Through Cancer: A Guide for the Journey, is a helpful book for anyone who faces terminal cancer of a loved one. Chapter by chapter, she takes you through the questions you face as you travel with the one who is ill.

Spinning Wheels

Safe on my hilltop, I thought I could just sit and absorb life. But no. I’m having to learn a bunch of new stuff. Why?

Because God has another idea. Much as I’d like to slow down, He has put sign posts on the trail telling me to move on, move ahead. Have to promote Dare to Live, Devotions for Those Over the Hill, But Not Under It. So, with the help of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, GoodReads is holding a giveaway until Sept. 25. A free copy of the book to the winner. Maybe it’ll be you, but only if you sign on.

Just when I think that’s done, I’ll have to do it again when Laugh. I Dare You is published in 2015. Will I last that long? Have to wait and see what God has in mind.

A Time to Cast Away

imagesEBM5WRI7 A woman’s clothes closet is supposed to hold shoes, dresses, skirts, slacks, blouses, sweaters. Right?

So what were six empty, zippered, plastic bags—hardened by the years—doing in my closet? How about this: a 2/3 full box of first class, 8 x 12 mailing envelopes—the post office wouldn’t recognize them—doesn’t everyone use e-mail these days? Wow! Something I’d forgotten. The boot for my right foot—broken three years ago—long since healed. And sitting to one side, the prize: a spool of deep-sea fishing tackle. (Haven’t seen any fish, big or small, swimming around in my green yard lately).

None of these treasures had been jammed into place. Everything sat neatly on shelves, waiting to be used once again…

What prompted this sudden eruption of stuff? Downsizing. It needed to be done so my daughter would not find herself stuck with ridding the world of these unnecessary things. The few years ahead of me should be a time to sit, read, relax and rest. Instead, I find myself fretting, fussing and finding things that no longer have meaning. Why did I collect all this stuff?

Much of the blame goes to the days when things meant money well spent. When pennies were counted and spent from a tight fist. When everything had to be used and reused.

It is time to change my ways. Out these things must go. My friend tells me, “Bring it all to the Salvation Army without thinking, ‘Who could use this?’ Someone will find a bargain, just what they have been looking for when you donate your collection.”

Now I think I’d better put on blinders so I don’t stop, look and buy someone else’s throw away things when I donate my “de-collectables”.

The Climb

DSCN1966

The Climb
This mountain path we climb is not an easy trail.
There are boulders in the way,
places where we slide back down
and places where we have to stop and rest.
But if we stretch our hands and help each other,
we’ll reach the top, and there,
the view will be breath-taking
and our hard climb
will be hidden in the past .

DSCN1981

Memories

untitledSometimes we get so busy we forget to remember….
On her Facebook, my granddaughter, Laura, wrote how she loves to find old children’s books in thrift stores. On my bookshelf are five such books, written in the early 1920’s. One catch, they are written in Dutch. I took them off the shelf to look at them and memories swept over me as I read – in my half-forgotten Dutch – the stories my mother used to read to me as a youngster. She read them over and over, before I started kindergarten. Her voice echoed in my heart and an overwhelming feeling swept over me as I remembered how she loved me.

POWER OUTRAGE

POWER OUTAGELast week, during the early morning hours, the electricity went out twice, an hour at a time. What a nuisance. The computer whistled, the oxygen tank squealed, and the clock blinked off and on several times before everything blacked out. Not until then did my two nervous dogs stop walking back and forth and I go back to sleep.

The next morning the clock on the living room wall, the kitchen stove and the microwave all needed to be re-set and the computer needed to be re-started. (Good thing my watch isn’t electric). What a hassle. Such frustration.

In the evening, I relaxed in my easy chair to watch the 5 o’clock news….

The spot-light fell on refugees fleeing a war they hadn’t started and didn’t want. In the comfort of my home, I watched hundreds of men, women and children drive or walk down a long road from their country into another country. They had left their bombed homes behind, hoping to find a safe place, toting only the belongings they could carry.

I ached for these people—mothers with babies in their arms, fathers holding hands with youngsters, older children trotting alongside. What lay ahead for them? Where would they get food or water? Would their new home be a tent in the midst of thousands of homeless people like themselves? What about toilets? Surely no baths. No jobs for the men….

My electricity had been out two hours total. And I had been frustrated.

I pray for these hurting people. Lord, come to their rescue. May they seek You for You are a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9

What then, is my part in this?

Drought

pb-120517-india-weather-nj_photoblog900It has been a hot, dry summer—both the weather and this blog have suffered. View from the Hilltop has been neglected because time was spent getting thirty devotions ready to be edited for Laugh. I Dare You. Waiting for the finishing touches so the book can go to the publishers is like waiting for the summer drought to end with rain showers. Today’s dark skies make me smile for they are a promise rain could fall any moment. Even so, with just a few more changes to the manuscript, both the book and the blog will be available to share God’s love .

Top of the Hill

Sometimes it takes a while to get to the top of the hill, but like the slow-moving turtle shuffling behind the fast-racing rabbit, I get where I’m going sooner or later. As in the case of this blog….

The reason for the missing entries: Have been working on a second batch of devotionals. Thoughts and prayers—Is this what I should say, God?—kept whirling in my mind, especially after I crept into bed. Occasionally I’d get up, go to the computer and make changes or add new thoughts. (From past experiences I knew if I reached for my pen and the note pad beside my bed and scribbled the idea before it escaped, in the morning I’d never be able to read what I had written). Finally, ready or not, I sent the proposal for Laugh. I Dare You, to Lighthouse Publishing.

At this point I needed the dare to keep laughing… Did I say enough? Too much? Would it reach and touch people who needed encouragement? Would the proposal be accepted?

The “Yes,” came and I could relax. The contract came, requesting a signature. More reading and more prayers. Next on the scene is the promotion of the book, even if it doesn’t reach the public for a year.

Sometimes I wonder why God led me into this so late in life—this is my 90th year. Do you suppose it’s because I am so mature? Laugh. I Dare You

November’s End

Birthdays.

I love birthdays. The cards, calls and computer messages warm me up like a cozy blanket on a cold night. Each one makes me feel loved, whether they are hand-written or ones specially picked out. I hoard them like a miser hoards his gold. But, it’s been almost a month since my last birthday. It is time to say good-bye to my last batch of cards, tear off the fronts and pass them to someone who will use them for crafts and throw the insides away. There are a couple, however, that I will save a little while longer so I can re-read them in moments when the sky is gray.

It’s nice to get these once a year reminders from people who care, but there is someone who doesn’t just remind us on our birthdays. A favorite bit of Scripture says it best and I can re-read it any time I want: … See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Isaiah 49:16a (NIV) Signed: God.