The last page from this stage

bookReading the final page of a good book brings a mix of emotions.

There is a sense of accomplishment, but also of sadness that it is the end of story. Most of all, there is the sense of conclusion. Of taking a deep breath, sighing, and saying, “That was worth it.”

That is what we are feeling here at Pages From Stages. For two and a half years, we have enjoyed sharing from our stages the faith, laughter, tears and triumphs. Now, as one of our group remarked, “our stages have caught up with us” and we won’t be posting any new updates. All the posts will still be available through the archives, listed to the right.

We each continue to pursue our writing ventures. We would be delighted to keep up with you through other means.

Julane Hiebert will be releasing her book with Oak Tara soon. You can find Julane on Facebook here  and on her new blog Prairie Potpourri here.

Kathy Gronau also has a published book and you can find her  blog here. 

Thank you for reading with us. God bless you!
~Pages From Stages

Thank you

It took me over a year and a half of writing before I told anyone what I was doing. As I wrote the story that had been playing in my head for months, I did a little research to see what it would take to become published. IMPOSSIBLE. That’s what I realized. The writing world was too big, too far out there, way out of my comfort zone, and required social media. IMPOSSIBLE.  I knew no one else who wrote.

Then one day, after months of a growing conviction, I finally gave it all to God. My desire to write and mostly my fear. I remember telling Him that I would follow but He’d have to move my feet, one step at a time. It was a huge moment in my life.

And then an amazing thing happened. I found out Julane was writing. She’d been in my life since her son and I were good friends in jr. high! There was no one else I’d rather go on the writing journey with.

I took another huge step and joined an online critique group. The first story I critiqued was Cherie’s and as we emailed back and forth, we found an amazing friendship.

Through Julane, I started going to a writer’s group in a small town in the corner of Kansas. Her cousin lived there so we stayed with Kathy. That was the beginning of many over night trips, lots of laughs, good food, and time to share stories. Another dear friend.

After the first year I was ready to go to the national writing convention and Susie rode with us. I would never have guessed that such a sweet friendship would grow from that trip.

Social media was the last huge hang-up of mine but with these ladies it’s been pretty painless. I’ve enjoyed this blog more than I ever thought possible.

Somewhere along the way, I lost my shyness about telling others I write. I think the reason is because so many of you have read this blog and have been amazing. You’ve commented on blogs, offered kind words of encouragement, and shown so much interest in my writing journey.

I’ve known this whole time that I’m following the path God has for me. How do I know? Because I’ve gotten to walk beside each of you and that has made this journey beyond what I ever imagined.

I am so blessed. You are a blessing and I thank you. Thank you for taking the time read our blog, the comments you’ve made, and the encouragement you’ve shown. Without you, it would be a lonely journey.

After over two years of blogging, we are all ready for some time off. Life is busy and at times our stories don’t get the attention they need. I’ll miss this blog, but I’m also excited to see what’s next.

THANK YOU for coming along with us these past two years!

Sara

The Next Stage

I think about being young, and how change happened with my never completely understanding its full implication. In youth there is a tentativeness about everything, Even the hard things are undergirded by a belief that life will go on forever and all can be fixed.  Being sick, loosing health, wealth or life is something that happens to other people and they are old and have long since quit thinking, feeling or mattering.  Invincible youth, how deceived you are.

I am older now, Wiser and smarter and more sensitive to those things happening around me. Many of those things that were never going to happen to me have happened, are happening, and matter more. It is with that preface that I write this final blog with the realization that a precious stage is ending.

I am older now, so I understand that I am living the experience of loss and change that I once thought not possible.

I am wiser now and as I turn the page I realize that we will never be back. I recognize the sadness, hate the regrets of not participating more fully, mourn the loss of comradely with my dear fellow bloggers.

There is however, a spark of youth left in my thinking, a bit of a butterfly in the stomach anxiety, and some healthy anticipation as we venture in to the new individual blogs.  I blog at http://www.eaticecreamforsupper.com.  I hope you will just check it out and let me know what you think.

Blessings, always,  Kathy

Saying goodbye is hard!

I don’t like saying goodbye. I’ve always dreaded farewell parties. And while our children and grandchildren live close enough to visit often, I still get a lump in my throat when they drive away. When we lived at Windsong Ranch I would give them all hugs and kisses at the back drive as they loaded into their vans, then hurry to the big kitchen window that faced the road so I could wave to them one more time as they drove past. I still stand on the porch and wait for them to make the curve out of our drive and head to their individual homes…they roll down the windows and we all holler, “goodbye’ I love you.”

We five ladies are as diverse as can be. Thus the ‘stages’ part of the name. At first our commonality was our individual writing journeys–the ‘pages’, if you will. Yet, our diversity became the binding of those stories into a picture book of life. Singles, widows, mothers of special-needs, homeschool mom who now teaches in a Christian school, and grandmothers, freelance writer, cancer survivor, farm wife, advocate for families with special needs, and retiree. We soon realized that though we might approach any given subject from completely opposing views–our hearts were one. That won’t change. We won’t let it change. But once again, our differing stages have created different pages, and as writers that’s exactly something we strive to create…pages that keep turning to reveal an ever deepening story.

We are grateful for every comment made and every page view received. Some of you have become regular encouragers and are very dear to our hearts. We looked forward to your comments, and worried about you if we didn’t see your names. Thank you for being so faithful. It was a gift!

While we will no longer post on this blog, past postings can still be read in the archives. And we hope that you will continue to follow us on our individual web sites. We are still each on a journey, and would love to have you travel with us.

For now, I’m waving and calling

“Goodbye!  I love you!”

 

road 2 we like!

Saying Goodbye

last chapter

 

As Susie mentioned yesterday, there is a ‘bend in the rail’ for this blog. This week is the final chapter of Pages From Stages.

Just a little over four years ago, I met my dear friend Sara through an online critique group hosted by American Christian Fiction Writers. Through Sara, I connected and became friends with these other lovely ladies…Susie, Julane and Kathy.  In 2012 we came together to start a blog where each would share about faith, laughter, tears and triumphs from our own ‘stage’ of life.

I’ve enjoyed learning about my fellow bloggers through their writing over the last 2 ½ years and the dialogue we’d have about each post. While our blog is ending, our friendships will continue. Each one has so many wonderful gifts and are a treasure to me.

I’d like to thank our readers who have joined us. Special thanks to Jeannie and Ian who regularly commented and encouraged us! I also appreciate the friends and family who also let me know when they read a blog post or bought a book that one of us reviewed. Writing and trying to get published is not for the faint of heart, so every bit of support goes a long way in keeping us from giving up.

Also, I must thank my wonderful husband, Grant, for listening to me read my blog posts week after week. He is the one who gave me the courage to stop dreaming about becoming a writer and to actually take the steps to get there. Over the years, he has happily taken care of the kids when I attend conferences or need some time with the fictional characters I’ve created.

The journey of life has many seasons…some filled with joy and others with sorrow. No one has ever promised us an easy life, but we are promised that we are never alone. I thank God for being with me through the many stages in life and for His unending love. It is because of this love I can run the race with perseverance looking to Him, “the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2).

Though this journey ends, I look forward to where another will begin.

Farewell,

Cherie GagnonCherie

Malicious Mischief – Katy Railroad Mystery Book Review

Malicious Mischief is truly a delightful book. Set in Missouri on the Katy Railroad, it felt like taking a trip back in time. I could feel the rumble of the tracks, hear the train whistle and smell the smoke.

Author Lora Young is a member of the Kansas City West chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers. I have shared many delightful hours with Lora as we carpool to writers meetings. Since she let me read an early manuscript over a year ago, I have loved this story and am so glad she has published it. Isn’t the cover gorgeous?

The heroine of Malicious Mischief is Delia Eastman, who is caught between pursuing her own dreams and defending her father.

Rivalry between the steamships and the railroads turn their sleepy Missouri River town into powder keg. Increasingly violent vandalism on the railroad brings Delia face-to-face with Endy Webster, a handsome trainmaster whose investigation into the crimes leads him to the door of a prominent steamship owner—Delia’s father.
As Delia tries to clear her father’s name, she keeps tangling with Endy. Though he is intelligent and charming, she suspects Endy knows more than he’s telling. Delia reluctantly agrees to partner with him to solve the mystery.

The railroad rivalry provided a fascinating mystery. The romance, however, was what stole my heart. Their banter and the quirky twists of the cozy mystery made this very, very fun. I truly enjoyed this historical novel filled with interesting characters, detailed mystery and superb writing.

It’s available in paperback and Kindle. Click here to purchase Malicious Mischief on Amazon.

One of greatest joys of being a writer is making friends, like Lora and the other writers here at the Pages From Stages blog, as well as our dedicated readers. The other great thing is getting to read their works. Even though our blog here will be taking a bend in rail, I am excited to see what new writing will lie ahead.

Happy reading and God bless you,
~ Susan Mires

Senior year

Senior year. It’s full of new experiences for all of us. I’ve listened as other mothers (mostly of girls) have spoken of how sad they are that this is THE year. Honestly, I’ve felt  bad because it hasn’t bothered me at all.

Until last night.

Senior picture night.

My view from the back row

My view from the back row

I stood and watched as the wonderful photographer took pictures of my son. A man. There was no little boy left as she snapped pictures and showed him the results. He humored me as I fixed an awkward collar but for the most part, I just stood and watched.

And remembered.

The first picture in the hospital. The first month photo at the studio. His one year birthday announcement picture. The first days of school. Birthdays. Eighteen years of memories.

I know parenting is never done, but we’re moving into a new stage. It’s very exciting. It’s a little sad.

Last night I stood in the back and watched. He could have done this on his own.

And then I saw a glimpse of my little boy–he caught my eye and mouthed the sweet words, “Do I look okay?”

He still needed me. For a few more moments I’m needed.

photo 1 (2) Sara

Sweet Potato and Pear Soup

This past weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada. The weather where I live was sunny and warm, making a gorgeous backdrop to the golds, oranges and reds in the trees. Today is a little more typical for fall…overcast and windy.

Over the last several weeks, my husband and I have been working on new landscape in front of our home. It’s mostly done but we will add the finishing touches in the spring.

The two new additions we are most excited about are the new Pin Oak tree and the Burning Bushes. Buying them at this time of the year allowed us to see how pretty they will turn every autumn. Too bad I didn’t think of taking pictures when the sun was out this weekend when the red really popped…but this should give you an idea.

image

With this change of season, I thought I’d share one of my favourite fall soup recipes. I made this up one night with what I could find in the house and we enjoyed it. Hope you will, too.

 

Sweet Potato & Pear Soup

  • 1 leek chopped
  • 1 Tbsp of fresh ginger chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 3 Bosc pears, peeled and cubed
  • 3 ½ Cups vegetable stock
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon
  • ¼ Cup of cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté chopped leek and ginger in melted butter until soft. Add sweet potato and sauté for 3 minutes. Add vegetable stock. Bring to boil for 10 minutes. Add Pears. Continue to boil for 10 more minutes. Stir in cinnamon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and puree soup (either in blender or with wand). Add cream and serve!

Enjoy!

Cherie Gagnon- Cherie

Sweet and Sour Green Beans

This is my sister-in-law Cindy’s recipe. It’s a Thanksgiving staple for my family. Familiar green beans get a fresh, tasty makeover that is perfect for a fall day.
beans 2

Sweet and Sour Green Beans and Carrots

Perfect for fall – apples, bacon and onion.

1 quart fresh or canned green beans
1 can sliced carrots (or fresh)
3 to 4 slices bacon
1/2 onion, sliced and diced
1 to 2 apples, cored and diced
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

If beans or carrots are fresh, cook until tender. Fry bacon, then cook onion in the bacon drippings. In stock pot, combine beans, carrots, crumbled baon and cooked onion. Add raw apple, salt, pepper, sugar and vinegar. Heat until the apples are tender and mixture is cooked through. May want to add more or less sugar and vingar depending on taste.

I  hope you enjoy Cindy’s recipe!

~ Susan

It’s a Piece of Cake

We’re almost at the nine-week mark of this school year. Nine weeks into my second year of teaching FACS. I thought this year would be so much easier, and in a way it is, but I still get just as nervous whenever we start a new project. What if I can’t explain it right? What will I do if the girls just can do it? What if they don’t even like this project? Yes, those are the questions that keep me awake at night.

We started the year with sewing pillowcase dresses for orphans. This year the dresses will be going to Africa in the spring. Most of the class started with little or no sewing experience, but they learned quickly and soon had the required three dresses made. For the most part they enjoyed sewing, but the next project is making a bag and it isn’t easy. So, I thought we’d take a little break and learn to decorate cakes. Why was I losing sleep over this one? These girls were AMAZING. My favorite part is when they hold them up for a picture and I don’t even have to say smile. The pride in their face is so fun to see. It’s those moments when I know why I love my job!

Here are a few of the pictures:

photo (19)photo (18)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo (20)photo (17)photo (16)

photo (21)photo (15)

Amazing! Right? This is just a few. Look at that basket weave. I couldn’t believe she was tackling that!

Have a great weekend,

Sara

 

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