Monday, December 28, 2009
I wanted to let you know that my book cover has been nominated for a cover contest on Carmen Boley's blog. You can cast your vote for the favorite covers listed. Just got to Carmen's blog and on the right hand side- bar, click on your favorite cover then submit your vote. It's just that easy. Of course, I hope you'll choose mine, The Jewel of His Heart, which also happens to be at the top of the blog. There's only 6 more days left in the contest. Vote only one time please. Here's the link.
Monday, December 21, 2009
I'm hoping to write a blog post before Christmas, so hope you'll come on back.
Happy shopping for your last minute gifts and I hope you save time for baking your favorites Christmas cookies! This is a wonderful time of year, but especially for the children and since I have grandchildren, it's exciting to watch them at Christmas!
I'll be back soon.
Monday, November 30, 2009
I want to thank all of you that left me comments. It was so interesting to read what you're grateful for at this time of year. I like asking this question at Thanksgiving because I think it makes us all pause and see what's important. With Christmas and the celebration of our Lord's birth's just weeks away, it may help set the tone of our Christmas season.
I hope you've all recovered from the huge bounty of the Thanksgiving meal. and are busy making your list and checking it twice! :) I'm decorating the house this week. Something that I love to do at Christmas since it's such a special time. Don't forget to take time for yourself and don't neglect your private devotionals.
Until next time
Monday, November 23, 2009
From time to time, we all have burdens that lay heavy like a heavy rock in our heart which becomes too much to bear and we don’t know which way to turn for help, if we do at all. I wonder if you have a rock in your heart that needs to be removed. Maybe something that you’re trying to take care of on your own? Isn’t that just human nature? We are all good at trying to run our lives on our own terms and we shun offers of help. We try to forge ahead headlong because we think we can handle it, and we don’t really want another person’s opinion. Or we really don’t want to discuss personal difficulites. But close friends can offer good advice, and then we can use it or just toss it aside. The problem with holding onto a rock is that it can be so damaging mentally and physically.
So what should do we do when we have a rock and the load is too heavy to bear? Scripture tells us to be thankful in all things in 1 Thess.5:18. Sometimes I find this very hard to take, not being able to see through the fog to any possible outcome. Especially when I have family that is hurting or very ill and I’m beside myself with concern. But then I’m not God so I can’t possibly see how everything works together to create a good result.
However, I know that we need to look to our Power Source—God in us—when a set of circumstances threatened to take hold of us with an all consuming fire. He says He will give us more strength when the burdens grow greater, and give us more grace when the labors increase. To added affliction, He adds His mercy to multiplied power and peace. I don’t know any of us that couldn’t use some of this grace and power. All we really have to do is talk to Him about it. He’s already at work behind the scenes. He is the rock through all circumstances that I cling to because He promises that He will never leave me or forsake me. Christ is referred to as the Rock in many places in scripture. These are just a few:
The Lord is my rock
An Everlasting rock
My rock and my fortress
My Rock and my Redeemer
The Rock of Israel
He is the Rock
The spiritual Rock
The Rock eternal
My latest book, The Jewel of His Heart, is a lot about forgiveness and being thankful in all things. I didn’t start out to write the book that way, but that's how it evolved, and I wrote as God led me. So in honor of Thanksgiving and how much we have to be grateful for, I’m giving away a copy of my latest book. All you need to do is post me a comment and tell what you are grateful for this Thanksgiving season. Please be brief and to the point. I hope this will get you to really ponder the gifts that God has given you and many that you’ve taken for granted. I know I have.
I’ll start us off by giving what I’m thankful for and there’s too many to list, but here’s one of mine—that God in my life is forever faithful and His love endures forever. After all we are really the jewel of His heart.
Now post me a comment and leave your email by giving me your name, using (dot) at (your email addy). After Thanksgiving, I’ll have someone in my family draw the name and I’ll send you a personally signed copy of The Jewel of His Heart by mail.
Have a grateful Thanksgiving…
Friday, November 20, 2009
This was a fun interview and it will run from Nov. 20th-26th when Carmen will randomly draw a winner. DO not leave you link on my blog to enter, instead go to the link and follow the rules. Good luck!
Next week, I'll be blogging about giving thanks and you'll have another chance to win in case you didn't on Carmen's blog.
Thanks for participating and Happy Trails...
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I had a wonderful time at Sweet Spirit bookstore this Saturday. The weather cooperated, bringing a fabulously beautiful day. Here's a picture of me with Marilyn Hood, owner of the store and Caitlyn one of the store clerks. Notice that Marilyn printed out the cover of my book coming out in June to place on the table as well.
Marilyn has read both of my books and I got ticked when she greeted her customers, eager to tell them how much she enjoyed
Sweet Spirit has been a favorite bookstore of mine for many years. If they don't have what you're looking for, they'll happily order it. But besides all the great books, they have beautiful gifts for every occasions.
It's always great to meet new readers and enjoy being in the company of Sweet Spirit--they truly do have a sweet spirit! Thanks, Marilyn and Frank for hosting me.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Once again I'll be signing at Sweet Spirit bookstore in Marietta, GA this Saturday. Frank Hood is the owner there and is such a gracious host. I always enjoy a trip to his store. His staff is eager to help and I find exactly what I'm looking for. Right now they have some incredible Thanksgiving items on display. I'll have to check those out!
Of course, they have books, cards and Bibles. They are located in Marietta, GA on Johnson Ferry Road.
So if you're in the area, I hope you'll stop by for a copy of my new book. I'd love to meet you and chat.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Can April and Wes see past their differences in order to envision a future together?
Readers will love going on this adventurous, spark-filled ride through turn-of-the-century Montana.
Releasing June, 2010
I'll be posting a picture of A Love of Her Own, book three for you to get a sneak peek of the beautiful cover! Happy Reading...
Monday, October 26, 2009
' HAPPY FALL TO YOU'
From one pumpkin to another
A woman was asked by a coworker, 'What is it like to be a Christian?'
The coworker replied, 'It is like being a pumpkin.' God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. Then He cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff.
He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.'
This was passed on to me by another pumpkin. Now it's your turn to pass it to other pumpkins.
I liked this enough to send it to all the pumpkins in my patch.
A friend sent this to me and I wanted to share it with you. The pumpkin's eyes are supposed to blink but I don't know how to make that work on blogger, but he's still cute anyway. Atlanta had the most beautiful weather on Sunday. For me that's like getting a gift after all of the rain that soaked us the last few months. Alas, the rain is moving back into our area. Let's hope it doesn't rain on the little trick or treaters Friday...but there's always chocolate to look forward to, right! :)
Friday, October 23, 2009
I wanted to take a few minutes to let you know about a new interview up today about my newest book on Lena Dooley's blog. Leave a comment-ON LENA'S BLOG, (not mine)-for a chance to win a free copy of The Jewel of His Heart.
Good Luck! Here's the link.
Please check back on my blog soon when I'll be giving a book away in the near future. Stay tuned. :)
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
I was very flattered that she and her mom, Gwen (Gwendlyn), would drive that far to my book signing. Thank you both. It was nice getting to know you more.
I also met new readers and Marc Amason, the manager, took a photo of a gentleman who also bought bought my books. So I hope he'll send me a copy. It's not everyday that men will purchase romance books, but I have to tell you, my list of male readers has grown. I'm really happy about that.
Wednesday night I'll be siging at The Bookmark, my church bookstore at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta and I'm looking forward to that. My dear friend Dottie runs the bookstore there. My church and choir buddies have really supported my writing dream.
Before I sign off, I have a new post up today at www.bustlesandspurs.com. It's a short article on my recent trip out West. I'll be posting more about some of the lights of my research soon.
So stay tuned and have a wonderful Lord's Day tomorrow.
Friday, October 09, 2009
Romantic Times Magazine-4 Star Review-The second book in the Heart of the West series, this is a witty, tender love story with a few adventures added to the mix. The characters are down to earth, funny, caring and have incredibly strong faith in God.
"Maggie Brendan is adept at weaving a sweet love story, and The Jewel of His Heart showcases her penchanct for capturing the Old West in authentic dialogue, in vivid descriptions, and in the struggle of two hearts destined to become one. Within these pages indeed lies a jewel."
Tamera Alexander, bestselling author of From a Distance, Beyond ThisMoment, and The Inheritance
"With its tender love story and vivid imagery of a time gone by, Maggie Brendan's gentle style of prairie romance is reminiscent of Janette Oke, capturing the heart of both the Old West and the reader with romance that will make you sigh."
"For an action-filled historical romance, look no further than The Jewel of His Heart. Maggie Brendan blends colorful characters, lively dialogue, and intriguing historical details to create a memorable story of love and faith in the Old West."
Amanda Cabot, author of Paper Roses
"Maggie Brendan gives readers an authentic look into the past, painting a tapestry with words that draws us into Montana in the 1890's. This story has enough surprises to keep readers turning the pages, and the characters live on in our hearts long after we've finished reading the book."
Lena Nelso Dooley, award-winning author of Wild Pairie Roses, Wild West Christmas, and Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico
Thursday, October 01, 2009
I wanted to upload the picture but for some reason blogger won't cooperate tonight.
Hope you can attend.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
All you need to do is post a comment to be entered in the drawing.
Atlanta is having awesome weather today after all the flooding again yesterday. Hope you're having a beautiful Sunday afternoon where you are.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Drop by http://bustlesandspurs.com this morning for my latest blog post on MT and my newest release. I have two book signings in October so far and I'll post the time on my blog later.
Atlanta has a bit of sunshine today and I'm grateful after all the recent flooding we've just had. My prayers & heart goes out to those who've lost loved ones and their homes...
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Now for The New Beginning…I’ve just signed another contract with Revell for a new series entitled, The Blue Willow Brides. Of course, I’m never sure if they will keep my series title or book titles. Book one is Deeply Devoted, book two, Three Little Words, and the last one, Timeless Perfection. This time I’ll try not to get too attached to the titles but will still fight for them. It will be about three sisters, the eldest committed to her younger sisters welfare. This idea came to me when searching for the next book idea as I wandered into my living room and dining room. I looked fondly at my Blue Willow in my hutch that I have collected and thought about the first time I ever saw Blue Willow. My sweet brother, Sam and his wife Olevia, gave me a Blue Willow tea set when I was in the third grade. Since then I’ve been fascinated with its beauty and have decorated my home with the beautifully designed plates. My brother died in June right after I finished book 3, but Olevia died years before. How precious the thought when it came to me to base my next book around a woman’s only cherished possession besides her Bible.
I’m excited about this new series, but along with that, I feel a touch of anxiety to create the best that I can to make the readers happy. In the long run, I have to make myself happy because I know that not everyone will like them. To which I say--then don’t pick up an inspirational historical. I do strive to write about the West in the truest and most honest form that I can, enjoying all the research that it takes to find that one little tid-bit to make the story come alive.
I’ll be talking about the series as I get the momentum going. I’ve already made up the new notebook and started what will soon become one of the larger ones you see on my desk. I look forward to filling it with adventures of three beautiful heroines from Holland…
Monday, August 17, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Hi folks! Hope your week is off to a great start! Just dropping in to tell you that I have a new blog posted on Bustles and Spurs today that you might find interesting. It's all about Pendleton. Check it out. http://www.bustlesandspurs.com/.
Monday, August 03, 2009
I have an interview up on the Atlanta Christian Examiner Online by Tracy Ruckman. I enjoy doing interviews because it allows me to connect with my readers and hopefully they can learn a little something about me as well. Check it out - http://www.examiner.com/x-9177-Christian-Writing-Examiner~y2009m8d3-3x3-Interviews-Maggie-Brendan.
Now back to my regularly scheduled day-completing edtis. :)
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I think the title works for the storyline, but I won't say much more than that or it'd give the plot away and heaven forbid I do that! Now I can't wait to see what we come up with for a cover. I'm certain it'll be just as wonderful.
I'm really looking forward to the release of book 2-The Jewel Of His Heart October 1st. I'll be participating in LifeWay's Fiction Event Day October 10th in Kennesaw, GA from 11-1 PM. Marc Amason is the manager there and he and his staff are the best! But then again, so is the LifeWay store at the Mall of GA in Buford.
Hope to see you there. Now back to work. :)
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Lunch ended with a surprise for me with a gift of a memory box from the Willow Tree collection and a Writing Angel Muse. She's hanging from my desk lamp now and is adorable. They didn't know that I have a small collection of Willow Tree angels and a manger scene, so I was thrilled and surprised that they would go to this trouble for me.
The Angel has a quote from James Michener-"I love the swirl & swing of words as they tangle with human emotions." Oh, that's just so perfect for me!
These ladies encouraging words and voracious reading habits make me want to strive to write the best stories that I can and not disappoint them with the integrity of my writing. So thank you ladies, Jennifer, Darlene, Lisa, Anne, Mary and Milli, for the memorable Saturday afternoon and until our paths cross again...Happy Trails.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Currently I'm in the middle of working on edits for book three. A title will be decided in the next few weeks, so check back for updates.
Hope y'all are having a wonderful week. Atlanta has been stormy but I'll not complain since we need the rain. Besides I like a good thunderstorm as long as I'm inside, don't you? Great background noise for reading...
Friday, July 10, 2009
Now back to writing...
Friday, July 03, 2009
I bought a new American Flag today to replace the faded and tattered one that hung on the front porch. I recall a particular 4th of July in 1995 when we buried my sister Gail. Later we went to watch the fireworks on the beach in her honor in Gulfport, MS. So this holiday is a special two-fold one for me. While hanging the flag, I'm so mindful of the sacrifices so many have made in order for us to cherish the freedoms we have in this great land called America. My brother, Orville, lied about his age and fought in the Korean War when he was only 17. Just a baby, I think, especially when I relate that age to my own son when he was 17. I know now why my mother cried every single day until his safe return. Post-traumatic stress shadowed him the rest of his life.
In the first days of the war in Iraq, our son-in-law, then Captain Bobby Lee Christine, (now Major Christine), an Army National Guard JAG officer, left our daughter and three children behind when his guard unit was called up. His unit was attached to the First Marine Expeditionary Force. That's Bobby in the picture while in Iraq. We were petrified but knew that Bobby was honored to serve our country, and he believed in their mission. His own father served in Viet Nam and received several Purple Hearts, returning to the States after three tours of duty, minus an arm and a leg. After Bobby's return, he spoke at the Right From the Heart Gala and Auction for our pastor, Bryant Wright's radio ministry, which raised money to send his sermon CD's to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. As he spoke that night, there wasn't a dry eye in the ballroom while he talked about his time in Iraq, the hardships and his strong faith in God. We are so proud of Bobby and he has more medals and honors than I can list here and knowing him, he'd be uncomfortable that I'm saying anything now. He never talks about his accomplishments. That's the way most soldiers are. He is still a JAG with the Army National Guard, and besides being an attorney, he's a Judge in Augusta, GA and very active in his community and church.
Since that time, I have so much more respect for our troops and the shattered lives that has touched so many, all in order to keep our freedom on this soil. So I honor them this 4th of July.
Harsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta is one of the main hubs for our troops returning to the States, and it's one of the most moving scenes you'll ever see when they arrive. I feel fortunate to have been able to witness this first hand. Atlanta has become famous for how people stop and honor troops and welcome them back home. Perhaps you've seen Atlanta's airport featured on the nightly news welcoming troops. We even do that when it's just one lone soldier. I'm telling you, it will bring tears to your eyes, and make you proud of our men and women who serve in our Armed Forces.
As our country continues to struggle with foreign issues even now, and strive to keep those freedoms we hold dear that we received in 1776, I'm reminded to pray for our nation, our leaders, and our allies...but most of all I pray for our men and women in uniform everywhere.
So why don't you take time to salute a soldier along your trails...
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
want to miss reading this series. We've been online friends a while now, and Julie has graciously endorsed my next book!
Julie has a ton of fans, and met with a large bookclub on Monday night, all calmoring to pick her brain about her book's characters, especially, Charity. The gal we all love to hate!
I was honored that some of my fans drove over an hour just to meet me! One sweet fan, Lori, brought me some fabulous body lotion and splash and of course, I love it! I slathered it all over today after going to the pool! As usual, the staff at LifeWay are so nice to authors and I thank them for allowing me to be participate. Even though I-285 had 3 major lanes totally shut down, and we had an hour and a half drive, it was so worth it!
Just another Happy Trail...
Monday, June 22, 2009
The signing will be from 12-2 pm, so if you're anywhere near the Mall of Georgia, we'd love to have you drop by. At least the heat in Atlanta has dropped a few degrees since last week's unbearable temperatures. I was afraid it would scare Julie off if the weather didn't improve just a little.
Other good news is that Crossings Book Club is featuring my No Place for a Lady for the 7th month in a row! AND...LifeWay has asked me to participate in their October Fiction Day this fall. I hope my Jewel of His Heart will be on the bookshelves by that time. I am thrilled that Julie Lessman and Tamera Alexander have endorsed my second book! I feel greatly honored by those two very talented writers.
Gotta run now and gather up all of Julie's books for her to autograph! I'll try and post pictures later this week. It's been a busy week so far, with my daughter and three grandchildren here for a short visit.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
At the wake, many of his family and friends attended to give tribute to a life well lived. On either end of the room where my brother's casket lay, were TV screens, depicting his life through a video. I couldn't tear my eyes away from it and lingered a long time as the story of his life unfolded. It gave me a keener insight to a side of my brother's life that I hadn't seen before because I lived out of state. His wife, Olevia (no-it's not misspelled), had passed away 9 years before and he'd mourned her passing. Through his church, he became good friends with a sweet widow who lived down the country road from him. Frankie soon became the sunshine in his life while his heart steadily declined. Though a few years older than Sam, she was a constant cheerful presence in his life, though she had her own health issues.
When Frankie arrived at the wake, we snapped this photo before she made it to the casket to view Sam. Through my tears, I had to chuckle. She's a girly girl like me, and was all decked out in mauve pink from top to bottom. She carried a pink handbag and wore pink little heels. She always dolled up for him when she came to visit. She'd had a recent fall that broke her back so I assisted her to view my brother, and she broke down. She said she wished it could have been her instead. My sister, Doris, reminded her that it would have been just as hard on him if it had been her lying there instead. As she clutched onto the side of the casket, I pointed out to her that he wore a mauve-pinkish shirt and gray suit that matched her outfit and she gave me a tender smile. She really loved him and he loved her. I'm grateful that she made the last years of his sick existence bearable.
Which brings me full circle to ask this. What is love? God 's word gives us the definition in a nutshell from I Corinthians 13:4:
Love is patient
Love is kind
It does not envy
It does not boast
It is not proud
Love believes all things
Hopes all things
Endures all things and LOVE NEVER FAILS. Selah, (I added).
My brother Sam had fought the good fight, he'd finished the race and kept the faith. I know there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day!--and not only to me, but also to those that have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6.
Though right now I feel dead in my heart, Christ is alive and working in me.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Check out Atlanta Examiner online for further reading about the event. Here's the link .
I hope if you're in the area,stop by--I'd love to meet you. The store in behind the mall near Target. Their phone #770-831-7707.
Tuesday night I was the guest of a local area book club that had just finished reading No Place for a Lady. The fellowship was great and they picked my brain about the details of writing, and of course, I had fun sharing the writing process.
I'm on deadline for the 3rd book in the Heart of the West series, but I'll be back posting on a more frequent basis in the near future.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
I chose this verse for my mom's headstone in 1998--"Her children arise up, and call her blessed"...Proverbs 31:28a. I miss her so...
So I salute all Mothers everywhere for how you influence, guide, protect, minister, inspire, give, mentor, and teach but most of all for your unconditional love! Happy Mother's Day!
Thursday, April 30, 2009
So I’ve been thinking of one word to describe her and I think I’d have to say VIVACIOUS! There are many other words that I could use, but her energy and spirit for life was a huge blessings on my life. Soooo….
In honor of all mother’s everywhere, I’m giving away one autographed copy of my book, No Place for a Lady, for Mother’s Day. This is the rule--post a comment on my blog between May 1-10th. Give me in one word a description that best describes your mom. If you give more info that the one word, it will be thrown out. Be sure and leave your email address to enter your name in the contest. That’s all there is to it! I’ll draw a name on Mother’s Day and notify the winner. Don’t forget—use just one word!
Open to US residents only.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I don't know when I've been busier, but I wanted to take time to post a link of an interview that I did for Relzreview. It was posted Saturday but Australia is a day ahead and I'm just finding time to take a break writing.
Click here to read the interview: posted
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Since tomorrow is Easter, I wanted to share one of my pastor's devotionals from Right From the Heart. It explains better than I can what is on my heart tonight.
Life's Most Important Question
"Pilate said to them, 'Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?'" - Matthew 27:22 Almost 2,000 years ago, a man named Pilate asked the most important question in life. Standing before him was an itinerant preacher. There was nothing remarkable about His looks. He had attracted a large following but few committed followers. He had no wealth - not even a home of His own. Yet He was the object of an unmitigated hatred from a mob. Pilate asked, "What shall I do with this man?" As the mob cried for His execution, the man, Jesus Christ, stood silently as Pilate cowardly sentenced Him to death on the cross.The question Pilate asked is ultimately one all of us have to ask. What shall I do with this man Jesus? He loves you, even when you could care less about Him. He cared enough to pay the penalty for your sin. What will you do with Jesus? Your eternal destiny hangs in the balance by how you respond.
Many Live Appearances After His Death
"...because I live, you will live also." - John 14:19Christianity is about faith - faith in Jesus Christ who rose from the dead. But have you realized there is also historical documentation of Jesus' resurrection? Six different books offer documentation of Jesus' nine live appearances after His resurrection: 1. He appeared to Mary Magdalene and other women the morning of His resurrection. 2. He appeared to Peter. 3. He appeared to two men on the road to Emmaus. 4. He appeared to the disciples as a whole (except for Thomas, who wasn't there). 5. He appeared to the disciples with Thomas, and Thomas believed. 6. He appeared to seven disciples at the Sea of Galilee and enjoyed a fish fry. 7. He appeared to over 500 people at once. 8. He appeared to James, his brother. 9. He appeared one final time to his disciples before He ascended to heaven. There are at least nine documented live appearances after His death. That is a lot of evidence that He rose from the dead.
I'll leave you with these thoughts to ponder. You can visit Bryant Wright's site at http://www.rfth.org/
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The story takes place in Montana, the Big Sky Country. Here's a tease-
Romance readers have taken to Maggie Brendan's softer romantic style that perfectly captures life on the American frontier, introducing them to rugged, independent souls and their inner spiritual struggles, and the quest for love that makes for a satisfying read every time. Set in 1890s Montana, The Jewel of His Heart finds Juliana drawn to a handsome, gentle sheepherder--but sparks fly when he considers mining, the occupation that lured her father away from his family. Both Josh and Juliana must make a choice--the world's riches and promises, or the eternal value of love.
I hope you'll be looking for it this fall and then "fall" in love with Josh and Juliana. Happy Trails...
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Last Saturday I was at Sweet Spirit Christian bookstore and had a nice time with their customers, staff and Frank Hood, the store owner. I had intended on posting a picture but was busy finishing up galleys for book 2 coming out in October.
I'm still excited about the reviews and the fact that the book was picked up by Crossings for February and again for March!
Next Friday, I'll be speaking at a senior's luncheon at St. Theresa's in Augusta, my daughter and son-in-law's church. It should be fun. They are really nice people there, even to a Baptist like me!. Lol. I'm very honored that I've been asked and I'll post about it afterward.
Friday, March 06, 2009
I've had some good reviews on this book and I'm excited to see that people are really enjoying something that I've written. Nothing pleases me more!
Brief update on those of you that have asked me about book two, The Jewel of His Heart, it should be out in October!
God is so good! Now back to work.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Almost instantly I am reminded of why I love being outdoors. The first leg of my walk took me to our open field that’s preserved for wildlife and wildflowers. Of course, since it’s the end of February, there are no flowers, only constantly cawing of five black shiny crows strutting along the edge of the park bench who distracts me as I take a seat. After adjusting my shoelaces, I watch as they come close, apparently not afraid of me in the least. Two of them fly off to the center of the field in delight of their afternoon snack they’ve found, which left the other three squeaking and flapping their wings in an argumentative tone as though in discussion of their two friends.
Since it is nearly March, my mind is filled with thoughts of sadness, memories and tenderness of my mother and others of my family. March 2nd would have been her 99th birthday had she not died 11 years ago. My father was buried on March 17th, 36 years ago. March 1st was my brother, Orville’s birthday, and we are coming up to the anniversary of his passing on the 27th, six years ago. I lost my closest brother, Gary on March 25th one year after Orville. My sister Gail, God rest her sweet soul, was diagnosed and surgery performed for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in March and given a fatal diagnoses. There’s an old Merle Haggard song, “If We Make it Through December”…that my sisters, Doris and Dianne and I have changed it to “If We Make it Through March.”
So with heavier steps I venture off the sidewalk down the worn walking trail, widened and cleared from the underbrush last summer. I love it here. It’s peaceful and I feel like I’m actually in the woods, despite the distant sounds of a car or occasional dog barking. It’s a pleasant walk and as I make my way half-way around, there’s a huge oak tree that fell over that was allowed to stay because it created a natural archway over the trail. Wishing that I had brought my camera, I take a seat on one of its giant extended limbs and close my eyes to listen and absorb the sounds around me. A sudden strong breeze blows my hair that teases the cheek of my face. It feels good and so does the sunshine penetrating my velour jog suit. A woodpecker pecks on a bare hardwood tree to my left and to my right; I hear the same crows in the open field still squawking. I remember how my mother had a ‘pet’ crow she called Jack that came to the back door of her apartment in Gulfport, MS every morning. Someone left an old metal highchair out back so she placed cornbread or other tidbits on the tray for the crow. I laughed and asked her how she knew it was the same one. She answered, “Because I just know—he comes to talk to me every day!” I couldn’t argue with that, now could I? Oh, how I miss her and her infectious laughter.
Other birds are singing, some of whom I can’t identify, but their sounds are lovely and full of promised spring. I open my eyes and around me are piles of dead leaves now decaying and moldy, resembling death…from dust to dust…
A tear slips down my face and I close my eyes again, thanking the Lord, for all that I’ve been given in my life, the happiness, the grief, the love, all that has made me who I have become in my spirit through His spirit. I pray for my family and friends that He will touch their hearts and lives as only He can with His positive love, to walk closer to Him, reminding us of the mysterious feeling of discontent necessary to pull back the veil just a tad so that we know with certainty that earthly things are fleeting.
A small limb falls to the straw, sounding loud in the stillness and I decide that I need to get back to working on my galleys, but vowing not to let March get me down, despite some personal issues that I face.
THERE WAS one bright shining moment that occurred on March 4th, 1971. My beautiful daughter, Sheri made her way squealing into this world at 5:04 PM. All 8lbs. 4oz. of her. I still think of her as twenty years old, and find it hard to believe all those years have passed. Sheri has brought our family so much joy and has truly blessed our lives by being who she is. She’s intelligent and educated with a Master’s in Elementary Education, very affectionate and loves to laugh like my mama did. She’s crazy for chocolate! I don’t know if I’ve ever known anyone more conscientious…except me, hehe. She has given us three wonderful grandchildren and a husband, Bobby, who is like our own son. Nothing could be better than that. She’s strong in her love of the Lord and gives back with her talent of singing to Him as she cantors for her church. She plays piano if she gets a free moment when she is not carting kids off to basketball, piano, cheering or walking her dog, Frankie. If she has any faults it is her dislike of cooking. She’s a bit of a worrier and perfectionists like me. She’s also a very good editor!
Sheri called me yesterday and related something funny. She said, “I was walking around outside with my coffee pulling weeds and thought, Oh my gosh, I have become my parents.” We both laughed because she used to wonder how we could be outside in the warm weather or the summer, with our coffee cup in hand, pulling a stray weed or two. How indeed?
Sheri, I wish you enough sunny days in your life to keep your outlook bright, no matter how dark your days may seem. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAREST SHERI BERRI!!!
Sunday, February 08, 2009
This past Thursday was a special one in our family. Our son-in-law, Bobby Christine, was sworn in as Chief Magistrate Judge for Columbia County in Augusta, GA. He was appointed by 8 Superior Court Judges. We are so proud of him because we know how hard he works, and we know Bobby's values and love of his country and for the state of Georgia. Bobby has already led an impressive career in his short life. He attended Georgia Military College, and the University of GA. (where he met Sheri, our daughter), and received his law degree from Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, AL. Bobby is a Major for the Army National Guard and serves as a Jag Officer. He served in Iraq attached to the First Marine Expeditionary Force that invaded Iraq. The man has more medals that I can even recall. He taught Political Science for Georgia Military College for 10 years. He serves on the parish council for St. Theresa's where they attend church. He has served as the Assistant District Attorney for Richmond County where he and his team were the first in recent history in the state of GA, to convict a murderer without producing a body from their incredible scientific evidence. Bobby also serves on the Chamber of Commerce, and many other committees and is asked to speak at many events, both political and community.
Bobby is a great Italian Southerner and loves his heritage, and is a great history buff. He adores his family, children and dog, Frankie. Everyone in Augusta is acquainted with Bobby. When he returned from Iraq, he spoke to a Right From the Heart Gala, a fundraiser of our pastor, Bryant Wright for his radio ministry which made everyone there cry and be proud of our great military and country.
Bobby's own father, Alexander Christine, was awarded several Purple Hearts for his service in Viet Nam, where he was severely wounded and came home missing an arm and a leg, as well as other internal injuries. I'm sure that Alex's valor and exceptional love of his country was passed down to Bobby.
Am I bragging so far?? You bet I am. Our son-in-law is one of the smartest, wittiest, (I'm no match for him in verbal skills), men that I know. There is so much to be proud of.
Bobby enjoys fishing with Peter, our 6 yr. old grandson, and sailing around their lake in his boat. He spends time collectively and separately with his two daughters, Maggie and Angelina. He loves having people over, playing Wii and shooting pool, and eating great Italian food, and jambalaya. But I think his favorite thing is to drive around in his vintage '65 Cadillac.
He thinks our daughter came straight from Venus and fits in with his southern Italian ideals, and he is, from what I hear, extremely romantic. He is strong in his faith in God, preserving America and keeping traditions alive.
So, dear Bobby, my hat is off to you--All that you do does not go unrecognized! Love, Brenda
Monday, January 19, 2009
eager to help you find the resource or gift that you are looking for, along with some great fiction and the Pastor's Picks.
Here's the link for The Bookmark, (and by the way, it got it's name from my entry that was in a naming contest).
Hope if you haven't, you'll pick up a copy online or at your local bookstore.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I will be signing my book at The Bookmark, Johnson Ferry Church this Wednesday, January 14th from 5:30 to 7:30. Dottie Poythress is the bookstore manager and here the link to my church. http://www.johnsonferry.org/. If you are in the area, I’d love it if you’d stop by.
Monday, January 05, 2009
Nearly every one I know makes at least one resolution for the New Year. The most common one is to loose weight and become more active. Now that’s a good one. All my life I have done some form of exercise and I believe that’s why I’m in fairly decent shape now. I could be better. But as I so often encourage my best friend, Kelly and my daughter Sheri, and daughter-in-law Amy, to make sure they take time for themselves to exercise, and to be sure to include time out of the house without the kids , I've noticed that there is a certain attitude that most women have, but particularly mothers. And it disturbs me. Too many women feel guilty if they take one hour a day for themselves to read or exercise. Not only that, other people infer that they're being selfish if they do! Many women cater to every whim or need of their children then wait hand and foot on their spouse. And it’s our fault if we allow others to make us feel guilty for choosing to have some free time. Our family and children should not feel threatened when we decide to do this.
Now, I’m a writer and not a psychologist, but I can tell you from experience that if you don’t give yourself freedom away from the kids (no matter what age they are), or some time out of the house, it will affect how you feel physically. Men included! Everyone needs a mental break from all the day to day chores of raising children and running a home, not to mention, many women work outside the home, and still have all that work waiting just on the other side of the door like a nagging toddler. It’s hard to juggle everything and keep some form of sanity. But ladies, and any man out there who reads this blog, it’s a necessary thing to exercise. It called your health! There's nothing selfish about that. It energizes you and releases endorphins which can alter your mood making you feel good about yourself. It keeps us flexible as we age and is good for the heart, slows down the aging process, and a boat load of other things. I know you’ve heard them all.
My daughter has been attending “boot camp” for strenuous workouts for a couple of months and I applaud her. Amy walks miles every week (even more than me), and watches everything she eats. I walk and do light weights, and try to watch the calories. Do whatever you feel comfortable with, running, walking, swimming, etc. BUT JUST DO IT! Like the Nike ad reads.
I know it’s hard to start over again, but the benefits you receive will reward you with a happier outlook and a healthier body. Gradually, you’ll loose weight while watching what you eat and feel better. Pick a time that works for you and get started today, so that when you look back this time next year, you can smile and say, "I took some time for me!" and feel good about!! By the way, if you are struggling with just dragging yourself to the gym, outside or the treadmill, post a comment and I'll add you to my personal prayer list. It would be a priviledge to pray for you!