Anne's Bio

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Easter Devo: Meet Me in the Garden of My Grief...

Anne here. It's Easter week. Maundy Thursday. The Last Supper. There are seasons in life where grief takes up residence. In a myriad of ways it grips the soul--the mind, the emotions, the will to have it any other way than the way things have gone.

And that's how Mary felt the morning she went early, to the garden. The closest she could get to Jesus's body. No longer his living breathing soul, she just wanted a reminder of what was good, just, right, and hopeful that he had spoken and been. Crushed, she was. What if?  What if everything he said, didn't make a difference? 

And that is the central grief. What if all the truth and good was for naught? How could it possibly be? How did this tragedy actually happen? Was it real? If she could just touch him, be near him one last time, might it bolster her pain, ease the emptiness?

She crept through the garden, careless of whether the Romans guards were present. What could they do to her? No more than was already done. She was already dying inside.

The break of dawn shown through the green shrubs. Birds had begun to sing. Their song a strange dissonance to the bleakness inside her. As if they went merry on their way, when all should stop. All should weep together instead of singing. Her Lord was dead. Didn't the birds know that?!

Shaking in anger, weeping for the aching loss and permanent separation she was ready to touch when she reached his body, Mary crept around the stones that guarded his tomb. Ridiculous. She'd not even thought how she would get past the entrance. The rock she knew would stand in her way hadn't crossed her mind. But of course she could never touch him or hear his voice as she had in life. What had made her think it would appease her pain?

And as if that realization hadn't hurt enough, she rounded the last rock next to his tomb to find the entrance agape. His tomb empty. His body vanished. She couldn't even say good bye?! Deep waves of grief bubbled through her tears. Had any of it been true?

"Mary, why are you crying?"

The voice. The words. How scandalous?! Didn't the gardener know that was the worst thing to say to a grieving woman?! What? Was she supposed to just get over it? Didn't he know life was shattered? Ended. Hope crushed.

She turned to face the gardener, ready to unleash her anguish and tell him how it was.

"Mary..." The look. His eyes. Her Lord....

Every broken hope. Every painful breath. Every fainting thought. Rose up in her. "Lord...!"


Oh Mary, show us the way to find my Lord in the garden of life's griefs.
Lord, speak to us scandalously. Shake us out of our certainty that death wins. That evil wins.
Remind us from your risen glory that You have never surrendered to defeat on a cross, in a tomb, beneath the weight of breathlessness. No! Remind us in the midst of every grief that You have this.

We want to cling to that as Mary wanted to cling to you there in the garden. We want to hang onto it. The knowledge, the moment, the proof that you Live! And yet it's fleeting. For You had to ascend to the Father in order to send the Comforter we need.

Oh Comforter, never leave us! Remind us continually of life.
Of victory. Of our Lord's authority over death.
Refill us with hope.
That your peace might remain with us.

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Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Old posts at: Coffee Cups & Camisoles

Monday, March 26, 2018

Interview & Give Away: Fledge by Brenda Yoder

Tell us what Fledge is all about and what inspired you to write this book? 


Fledge: Launching Kids Without Losing Your Mind is really about the growing pains and changes that happen in the family and for the mom, especially, as children begin to leave. It’s also about how to let go and how to parent young adults, teens, and to prepare them with “strong wing feathers”, which is the meaning of fledge. Fledge also means to put feathers on an arrow, and mirrors the image God uses of releasing from Psalm 127, which is the heart of the book: Like arrows in the hands of warrior are children born of one’s youth. Fledge covers an array of topics—mom grief, midlife, balancing the family climate while also learning how to set boundaries, let your kids struggle, and help parents release autonomous, independent kids while also fostering your own identity, too.

Herald Press approached me about writing a parenting book for them and I knew right away that I wanted to write something about the stage of life I was in--releasing kids but also still raising some. While there were resources for parenting teens and young adults, there were absolutely no resources about parenting both stages at the same time and the changing family and hormones that occur when you’re releasing kids but don’t have an empty nest. I had an array of emotions that seemed to be at the surface a lot and I didn’t know what to do with them.

Did you always want to write, or has your life journey been the driving force behind the urge to put words to paper?

I loved writing in high school but married a local farmer and never real thought about writing after high school. I became a teacher and was also a stay at home mom before going back to teaching. I started writing soon after I turned 40 when I was in graduate school for counseling. I was having a faith and identity crisis and started blogging, wondering if anyone else struggled with faith, life, and family. I found out I was not alone in that struggle, and have been writing ever since.


What has been the most surprising thing you discovered while writing Fledge?

It takes a while to go deep with words. When I write on the surface, it can sound preachy. It takes a certain commitment to go deep into the subject you’re really writing about. Fledge includes a lot of personal stories and examples, many of them that brought tears. Midlife hormones make for some good emotional writing.


What has been the most unexpected blessing of launching your young adult children?

Seeing them in their “sweet spots.” Seeing them grow and find their own passions.


I think I know the answer, but my readers don’t. Are you a country girl or city girl? 
Actually, I’m a city girl in the country! I grew up a “townie” in Shipshewana but married a dairy farmer. I’d love to live in the perfect city, but would miss the country life.



What are the most vulnerable things about parenting young adults who are launching? 
Realizing some of their struggles may be because of mistakes you’ve made, and the emotions and grief. There’s a lot of loss.


If you could caution other parents, what are the traps and trip-ups?

Don’t hold on past what you should. Kids need to grow up, struggle, and do things on their own. You rob them of independence and autonomy they naturally crave when you enable, rescue, and coddle them.

How can Christian parents of young adults be a counter-cultural anchor without being irrelevant to the next generation?
Stay engaged in the culture and constantly learn, but maintain biblical values. Keep your relationships healthy with your kids. Don’t try to be hip to be cool but also don’t be set in your ways.

What verse has given you the most courage and comfort for this stage of life? All of Psalm 127.


Winner announcement: Patrice Doten wins a copy! Thanks for stopping at the blog!
Readers:
What stage of life are you in: just launched, building a launching pad, ready for take off, or "poof-- they're gone"?
What was the best thing your parents did to launch you?
What is the best thing you've learned about navigating the launching?
Any questions for Brenda?



Brenda L Yoder is an author, speaker, licensed mental health counselor, and life coach whose passion is encouraging others when life doesn’t fit the story-book image. Her brand new book, Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Los-ing Your Mind is endorsed by Jim Daly and was Amazon’s #1 New Release in Motherhood the first week of availability. She’s been has been featured in two Chicken Soup for the Soul Books, The Washington Post, For Every Mom, and released Balance, Busyness and Not Doing It All in 2015. Brenda loves teach-ing the Bible and applying scriptural principles to life’s challenges. You can connect with her at her blog--Life Beyond the Picket Fence-– at brendayoder.com, or on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Brenda is a wife of 28 years and a parent of four children, ages teen to adults.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Interview & Give Away: Beneath a Prairie Moon by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Welcome Kim Vogel Sawyer!

Story Intro:
Set in an 1888 Kansas ranching town, Beneath a Prairie Moon tells the story of Abigail Grant, a young woman cast out from elite society due to her father’s illegal business dealings. Penniless and out of options, she finds herself on a train from Newton, Massachusetts, to Spiveyville, Kansas, to tutor 16 unruly ranchers so they can “marry up” with their mail-order brides. Can Abigail soften her heart toward the prospective grooms and even find her own love story in this small town?  

Tell us about your new novel, Beneath a Prairie Moon, and how the idea for it came about: 
Several years ago I wrote a book called A Hopeful Heart which featured women from the east coming to a Kansas herdsman school to learn the skills necessary to become ranchers’ or farmers’ wives. Readers enjoyed the humor of watching these Easterners try to brand cattle, cook for a “whole passel of men,” or take care of chickens. Over the years, I received several requests for another mail-order bride type story, so I was always contemplating it. Then I thought, the last book taught the women how to be good wives; why not write one about the ranchers learning to be good husbands? And Beneath a Prairie Moon came to life in my imagination.

Many of your books take place in the Midwest, including Beneath a Prairie Moon, which is set in 1888 Kansas. What draws you to write about this region of the U.S.? 
I’m a Kansas girl through and through! My dad’s great-grandfather settled on the Kansas plains in 1872 when he immigrated from Russia. My great-grandfather, grandfather, and father all chose to remain in Kansas. And so have I. I’ve lived here all but one year of my life, so Kansas is home. I enjoy showcasing pieces of America’s heartland through fiction.

It takes a long time for Abigail to warm up to Spiveyville and its residents, mostly due to her feelings of superiority. How can we learn to love and appreciate those who are different than ourselves?
Yes, poor Abigail had lost so much, she couldn’t bring herself to let go of the only remaining part of her former life: her stringent behavior model. Of course, this model was of little use, as far as most people were concerned, on the plains. I think the only way we can learn to love and appreciate those who differ from us is to get to know them beneath the surface. When we look past the exterior to the heart underneath, we discover the similarities all humans possess—the desire to love and be loved, to feel valued, to be accepted, to have a place of belonging.

What are you currently reading?
My Lit & Latte book club is currently engrossed in Lis Wiehl’s Snapshot. I’m also reading a lot of research material about the International Cotton Exposition held in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1895 so my current manuscript will be accurate!

Where can readers find more information about Beneath a Prairie Moon? 
Please feel free to visit the WaterBrook website, any online bookselliing site, or pop by my personal website, KimVogelSawyer.com.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Winner announcement: Paula Shrekhise wins a copy! Thanks for visiting the blog!
Readers:
Let's vote--which is more midwest, Kim's Kansas prairie, or my Indiana dirt road? Haha!
Ok, mail order brides--it was a real thing! Let's hear how many of you love mail order bride stories?
Anyone up for a dude ranch on your bucket list?

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Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
Find me on:Facebook
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Find me on: Goodreads
Find me on: Twitter
Find me on: Instagram
Old posts at: Coffee Cups & Camisoles

Monday, March 5, 2018

Book Give-away & Interview: Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky

Welcome to my dirt road, Carrie Turansky!

Carrie, we are dying to know about your novel, here's your chance to gush!

Across the Blue is a historical romance set in Kent, England, in 1909. It’s the Edwardian era, and the dawn of aviation. The hero, James Drake, is a young aspiring aviator who dreams of being the first to fly across the English Channel. He hopes winning that race and prize offered by the Daily Mail will help him gain a respectable reputation and the love of Bella Grayson. Bella longs to become a journalist and write for one of her father’s newspapers. She especially wants to write about aviation and the race to fly across the Channel. But her parents want her to focus on developing a relationship with a wealthy, young aristocratic who will help them step up in society. It’s a story of high-flying adventure, family drama, romance, and inspiration, and I’m excited to share it with reading friends.


This is your fifth book set in Edwardian England. I love that era, what about this era interests you? 

The early 1900s are such an interesting time period! I’m a Downton Abbey fan, and that first sparked my interest in the Edwardian era. You still have the romance and elegance of the Victorian era, but you also have the new inventions and progress of the modern era. It’s a wonderful combination that makes writing stories set during that time period fun and interesting. The clothes, the homes, and the manners all make it a very special time period.


Bella Grayson, the heroine of the novel, lives on a grand country estate with her family. Was this inspired by a real location? If so, which one?  Since I'm a huge Pinterest geek, please share a pin!

I had Broadsworth Hall in Doncaster, England, in mind for the Grayson’s family estate when I was writing Across the Blue. I changed some things about the house, so I called it Broadlands. It’s a lovely home, and I hope to visit some day. I have several photos on my Pinterest board. I hope you’ll take a look: https://www.pinterest.com/carrieturansky/across-the-blue/




A central topic in Across the Blue is the race to make the first flight across the English Channel. How was your interest in early aviation sparked? 

I visited the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in 2016, and I enjoyed the displays about the Wright Brothers and early aviation. I saw a poster for the First International Air Meet in Rheims, France, and I noticed it took place in 1909. That’s the time period I enjoy writing about, so I decided to do some more research. That’s when I found out about the race across the Channel. The more I read about the race, the newspaper owner who sponsored the prize, and early aviation, the more the story came to life for me.

What do you hope your readers will take away from Across the Blue

I hope readers will be inspired by James and Bella’s pursuit of their dreams and enjoy the journey with them. I hope their imaginations will be sparked and they will look for ways to reach for their dreams. Most of all I hope their faith will be deepened.

Readers:
Have you been the the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.?
Would you cast yourself in this story as a journalist, or a pilot?
Who's up for a bucket list trip to England? I'd love to go!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

3/17/18: Caryl is our winner!

Please click on the right side of the blog page to become a blog follower.
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Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
Find me on:Facebook
Find me on: Pinterest
Find me on: Goodreads
Find me on: Twitter
Find me on: Instagram
Old posts at: Coffee Cups & Camisoles

Book Give-Away: The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

Anne here. Many of you know that Jaime and I launched a blog together six years ago with dreams and aspirations to support the writing world...