--- Isaiah 40:31
Instead of the photographs that I’ve used in the past for Wordless Wednesday, today, I’m participating in a blog hop about “the next big thing” that my writer and photographer friend Mary Freeman Denman asked me to participate in. I think this might be fun for you to read because you’ll learn about the book I’m writing.
Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:
What is the working title of your book?
“God’s Provision in Tough Times.” My co-author is La-Tan Murphy. In addition to the stories that La-Tan and I have written, fifteen writers contributed their own personal stories of unemployment to our book. They are: Alycia W. Morales, Beth K. Fortune, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Cecil Stokes (producer of the film October Baby), Dan Walsh, Deborah Raney, Dee Dee Parker, Eddie Jones, Eva Marie Everson, Felicia Bowen Bridges, James L. Rubart, Ramona Richards, Roger E. Bruner, Tamara Fickas, and Torry Martin.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
After my husband’s period of unemployment ended, a number of people who were familiar with our story encouraged me to write a book about our experiences. In 2012, Publisher Eddie Jones of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas asked me to prayerfully consider writing an anthology about unemployment and financial despair. Eddie suggested that I ask other writers who had also experienced unemployment to contribute their personal story to the anthology. While Eddie and I were talking, another writer who was standing close by told me that the Lord spoke to her just then and told her that the title and topic of my book was to be “God’s Provision.” After my conversation with Eddie, I prayed about writing the anthology for several months until, one day, I heard the Lord tell me to start writing it. I asked God to provide a co-author for me and He told me to ask writer La-Tan Murphy. An hour before I called La-Tan to ask her to prayerfully consider being my co-author, she prayed and told God that she would love to write an anthology for Him. When La-Tan shared her prayer with me, we both knew for certain that our anthology was God-ordained.
What genre does your book fall under?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
In the midst of unemployment and financial despair, God knows what we are going through and provides for our needs.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
God’s Provision in Tough Times is being published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
How long did it take you to write and assemble the book?
La-Tan and I began work on the book in August, 2012. We’re now in the process of completing God’s Provision in Tough Times.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’m unaware of any books about this topic.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Numerous friends who knew about my husband’s unemployment and the ways God provided for our family during this devastating time in our lives encouraged me to write about our experiences. Once Publisher Eddie Jones heard my story, he encouraged me to write it. And finally, because I’ve learned not to do anything without first consulting God, He ultimately told me to write this book.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Every person goes through all kinds of tough times during their life – there’s no escaping adversity. While the stories in this book pertain to unemployment and financial despair, every story also details how God provided for each writer’s unique personal needs during their difficult time. Reading about the presence of God in each person’s life and that He not only knew exactly what each writer was going through, but He also provided for their specific needs is something that will encourage anyone who is experiencing any type of problem.
I hope you enjoyed this interview, and that you’ll tell others about it and God’s Provision in Tough Times.
Now I invite you to visit these author’s blogs today. They’ll be posting their answers to the questions above today.
While I watch the wind blow the last of the colored leaves to the ground, my thoughts follow the dirt lane to the old farmhouse where my maternal grandparents raised their children during the Great Depression. It’s a house I visited many times while listening to my mother’s childhood stories. I toured it once recently when the present owner invited me inside.
Although my mother and father moved hundreds of miles away after their marriage, my mother’s thoughts frequently traveled to her childhood home. She loved nothing better than to scoop up my siblings and me and take us with her as she recalled her childhood on a farm near Muncy, Pennsylvania – stories I treasured and passed on to my own little ones.
Mother spoke of a life filled with an abundance of indoor and outdoor chores and of nearby relatives who frequently stopped by on Sunday afternoons for visits. On stifling summer days, the adults visited in the shade of the large front porch while the children took turns cranking the handle of an ice cream freezer on the grass under a shade tree.
When the harsh winter wind rattled the shuttered windows and forced snow to swirl across the bare fields, it was the kitchen that was the center of Mother’s family’s life, mostly because it was the only room in the house that was heated. Family and guests gathered there, the single-paned windows steamed from the conversations.
The old farmhouse, which originally belonged to Mother’s grandparents, had no electricity, indoor plumbing or central heat. Bathtubs, toilets and even a kitchen sink were non-existent. Things weren’t any better outside. There was no tractor or modern farm equipment. Keeping the farm going depended on horses and one’s own strength and determination. Parents and children worked hard from early morning to evening, but my mother’s stories were never ones of complaining.
The day before Thanksgiving, Grandma Alice killed and dressed turkeys for customers from town who gave their orders in advance. Once the poultry orders were filled, Alice killed the turkey she would cook for her own family. Grandpa Ed finished the outdoor chores, then got out his hunting clothes and sharpened his knife and cleaned his gun. The days immediately after Thanksgiving were hunting days and Ed needed to hunt game to help supplement his family’s food supply.
The Great Depression was in full force and money was scarce for my mother’s family. Mother often said that while she and her siblings were growing up, they never realized how primitively they lived on the farm. A person can’t miss what they don’t know, she explained.
Something inside my heart was soothed when Mother spoke of the contentment that was felt at the end of each day as the family gathered at the dinner table and her father thanked the Lord for His generous provisions. Grandpa Ed and Grandma Alice made it clear to their children that, but for the Lord’s benevolence, their harvests would be small and their needs large.
My grandparents have long since gone to be with the Lord, and their farm has changed hands several times since they sold it. But my mother’s stories taught me that when a family realizes that they’re dependant upon the Lord to provide for all of their needs – as well as their blessings – every day is Thanksgiving Day.
May your Thanksgiving Day be joyous, may you be surrounded by your loved ones, and may you give thanks and praise to the One who provides for your every need.
“When you have all you want to eat, then praise the Lord your God for giving you a good land.” Deuteronomy 8:10.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2011, 2012Read More
Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away.
Is your camera ready? Batteries charged? Space on the card?
Great!! Now let’s go through the basics of how to take better photos for your family get togethers.
You may not think this is a biggy. But it is. We’ve all had someone with a camera, getting in our face, snapping away while we chew food. Not cool! As a professional, I want my subjects to feel at ease. If they think I’ll post an unattractive shot, they won’t relax for me.
So, how do you do this? Promise them you’ll delete bad shots. Take a couple of good shots, then let them view them. They’ll relax when they can trust you.
2) Simplify your background!
Crop out unnecessary parts of the picture.
It does involve some effort. But it’s worth it!
a) Find the timer button on your camera.
b) Get your tripod out, or use a stack of books on a chair.
c) Pick a location that can fit all your subjects. Outside in the yard, on a porch, in the family room. Decide beforehand.
d) Give clear directions to the group to meet at a certain time and have your camera ready. Hit the timer button and run to get in the shot!
These are the kind of pictures that show the whole room or whole table. Maybe a driveway full of cars.
Does grandma make homemade cranberry sauce? Take a picture.
Does she bake a certain cake? Take a picture.
Try the picture from a higher perspective. Or on a table.
Is someone dancing on the Wii? Take a shot from in front of them and from behind. See which works better.
The list could go on. These suggestions should get you thinking.
But what about you? Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving memory? Can you share it with us?
Or what about an idea that might be neat for a picture? Share your thoughts and let’s make this Thanksgiving a year to remember!
My yard, wearing its leaf-woven quilt, had been raked and mulched. A crisp cold wind blew its way down my mountain hollow, singing its prelude to winter. Frost diamonds glistened atop pumpkins destined for decorations on my farmhouse porch. All the vegetables from our garden had been preserved in glass jars and lined spring house shelves, joining sister jars of plump summer blackberries.
The season of thankfulness had arrived. Time to bow the knee and fling praises toward heaven for harvest gifts and blessings bestowed. The calendar confirmed the natural signs. I had decorated the altar table at church with a cornucopia of fall’s offering, wheat sheaves and a painting of an older man saying grace over his bountiful table. I was going through the motions, but my heart was heavy and not even the slightest thanks could penetrate the sorrow barrier binding my spirit.
Earlier that week, I retrieved my tablecloth from the dining room credenza and underneath the heirloom covering were place cards inscribed with family members’ names. I remembered the excitement of finding the beautiful cards in an antique shop and rejoicing over how they would complement my grandmother’s tablecloth. I lovingly picked them up and pressed them to my heart.
The name of my son’s fiancé was on top, the beautiful young woman who died of a brain aneurism shortly after accepting Brad’s proposal of marriage; Gretchen was twenty-eight. Next in the stack was the name of my own precious daughter who passed away after a courageous battle with breast cancer; Brooke was thirty-four. My mother’s name was on the next card, the mother who died six months after my daughter’s death. Tears fell, leaving smudges on the beloved names. How could I have a spirit of thankfulness after such tragedies? I crumbled in a heap of overwhelming sadness.
Through my sobs slowly came a realization: I was so fortunate having had these amazing women in my life, two of them only for a short season. How could I not celebrate with thankfulness their grace and beauty?
It was Gretchen who started the tradition of giving me a flower arrangement for our Thanksgiving table every year. Brooke carried on Gretchen’s custom until her own death. I had not been able to face flowers since Gretchen and Brooke’s passing, and had started serving Thanksgiving dinner on TV trays to avoid the memories made around the holiday table. I decided to renew the floral tradition to honor those memories and in thankfulness for Brooke and Gretchen’s lives.
This year, I will again set our holiday table, and embrace Morgan, the lovely young woman God has graciously brought into Brad’s life. As for the name cards, I will give them a place of honor on the sideboard.
We will once again hold hands, offer thanks for our blessings, for those around the table, and those who have left our sight but not our hearts.
Sweet readers, my prayer for your family as they gather together to ask the Lord’s blessings is for love to permeate the room, and that the heaping bowls of food remind you of God’s provision, that grace abounds, and that the memories of loved ones gone on to glory hover close.
Come, ye thankful people, come
Raise the song of harvest home!
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come;
Raise the song of harvest home!
With a thankful heart,
Dee Dee Parker
Thank you, my precious friend Dee Dee, for sharing your beautiful memories and thankful heart with SOAR WITH EAGLES. I’m praying that our Heavenly Father creates an abundance of joyful new memories for you and your family this Thanksgiving.
Author Dee Dee Parker writes of her beloved Appalachia, captivating readers with her tender southern voice. She has written Josie Jo’s Got To Know, a delightful children’s book that can be purchased at www.Amazon.com or www.josiejo.com. Dee Dee is currently finishing an adult Christmas novella, Peppermint Snow.
Please visit my friend Dee Dee’s website: http://comegohomewithme.blogspot.com
TO GOD BE THE GLORYRead More
We’re quickly approaching the holiday season. This is a wonderful time of year. And a wonderful time for families to get together. Especially for Thanksgiving.
So, have you put much thought into capturing those special moments with pictures? I’d love to encourage you to make sure your camera has batteries, some space for photos and is nearby when your family descends on you.
I’d also love to give you some pointers on how to make the most of your holiday shots.
This week I’ll address why it’s so important to try and record those special moments. Next week I’ll talk about how to take better shots.
Let’s get started and talk about the “family photo.” If there’s anyway you can take the opportunity to get everyone together for a shot, do it! Even if your family gets together regularly, or complains that they don’t want to bother. Encourage them to anyway.
Why? Almost every year for the past 25 years that my hubby and I have been married, we’ve been with extended family during Thanksgiving. Let me tell you, those yearly family shots show the new additions to the family and the kids growing up. Over time, they’ve become more valuable. Life happens faster than we think and photos can help us remember the good times. And, as much as I hate to bring it up, they serve as memories after a loved one is gone.
Has my family done this willingly every year? Absolutely not. Someone else put me in charge of the huge family photo. My family used to balk over this desire to document our gatherings. In the earlier years of getting together, they’d say that we’d taken a shot last year, or a few months ago so we didn’t need another one.
It’s not easy getting 20 some people to agree to do this and then actually getting all 20 people (including babies) to smile simultaneously. Not to mention the logistics…. Then it grew to well over 30 people.
Let’s just say I persevered. And now? They are so grateful and thankful to have the memories preserved. And they pose so willingly! (Well, there’s always one in the bunch who blinks…)
This year, Thanksgiving will be a little bittersweet. Our family picture will probably be the last one for someone we love dearly. I’m thankful I can document the love with my camera.
But what other shots can you take that would be meaningful?
Try and get an individual shot of everyone. Or at least in groups of two or three. Kids grow up quickly. A few months can make a big difference. Document. Document. Document.
The shots do not have to be posed.
Do a bunch of cousins get together, sit at the counter and draw? Take a shot.
Do a some of the girls do their nails together? Take a shot.
What else is memorable? Honestly, it can be anything.
On one side of the family, we have fully set table.
Miss Manners would be proud. So, I take a photo of the place settings.
Who cooks? Take their picture.
Who cleans? Take theirs!
Does everyone watch the parades? Take a photo!
Your family is special and unique. Think ahead this year and think about what memories are made of.
Then, have your camera ready and don’t be afraid to shoot!
Next week, I’ll give you some practical tips to improving your shots. Feel free to share your favorite Thanksgiving memories!
Until next time,