The long, hazy days between summer solstice and the Fourth of July – aren’t they just the best.
The raspberry crop is exceptional this year, thanks to abundant rainfall. With an old ice cream bucket slipped over my elbow, I’ve been picking piles of them. The overflow has been packed in containers and preserved in the freezer.
Always, the date is carefully penned on the lid.
Some day deep into winter, I’ll pull it out of the freezer and think about June 25. A day when I was preparing for the future.
I’ll remember a soft summer night when the fireflies twinkled and I walked barefoot through the grass to pick raspberries. And smile because of a small piece of June saved for January.
It is the story of three young Italian ladies who all work for Madame Fortier’s gown shop in downtown Boston. The year is 1918…near the end of both World War I and the Great Italian Emigration, as well as the year that ushered in the Spanish influenza that infected 500 million people world-wide. For those who love history, this story has a rich backdrop to the lives of these three ladies.
Julietta is a headstrong girl who pursues a man with a mysterious past. Annamaria, always so compliant and eager to serve her parents and siblings, falls for a man from the wrong family. Luciana, must keep her true identity a secret in order to save her life. Each of these girls long for a happily, ever after…but will they find it?
What was interesting about the novel was its point of view. Currently, authors are encouraged to write a story from a first person or a third person limited point of view. In the former perspective, the reader follows only one character throughout the entire novel. In the latter, the reader may follow several characters, but only experience the story from one character’s perspective per scene. In both points of view, the author can’t interject, provide unknown information or address the reader.
However, at the prompting of her editors at Bethany House, Mitchell was encouraged to use an ominous point of view. This really made the book feel like a classic nineteenth century novel. I found that I enjoyed it very much. It added to the charm and the uniqueness of the novel. I’m not sure just any author could pull it off so well and I applaud Mitchell for taking a risk.
If you haven’t already picked up this book, I highly recommend it. I look forward to reading more from Siri Mitchell in the future.
What have you been reading this summer?
They say, when you’re writing a book, write what you know. The only problem with that is what I know isn’t always very exciting. If I were to write a book completely on what I know, you probably wouldn’t be very interested in reading more than a few chapters. I’m guessing it would be somewhat disjointed as I jumped from one area of expertise to the next. Possible, you would be a better expert in many of the areas and the flaws would shout out to you.
The first 80,000 word story I wrote was pretty much from my mind. It took place in Seacrest, Florida, a place we love to vacation. Even though I didn’t research it, experience had taught me something of the area.
The second story takes place at a pumpkin patch. For that one I visited a local one that has thousands of visitors each fall. I asked questions, found out how they plant and grow the pumpkins, and took lots of pictures. When I drive by the real pumpkin patch, I have a strong sense of ownership because that farm became my pumpkin patch. My hero worked in Washington D.C., so an aunt who had lived there helped me with the Metro Transportation System, what his job was, how he’d act, and a basic layout of the area.
Now I’m working on a historical and the research time has increased. I’ve spent hours in the town where part of the story takes place. Driving the streets looking for the perfect home, reading old newspapers on microfiche, and visiting the museums. The treasures I’ve found in the newspapers are stories no one would think of on their own!
But the best part of research happened a few weeks ago. My heroine is an aviatrix (female pilot) from the 1920’s. I found a local business man who flew and started asking questions. He offered to take me up in his biplane from the ’30’s. There was no way I was going to refuse that! Words cannot describe what it was like to fly in an old plane like this. It took me less that two minutes to know exactly why my heroine chose to fly.
It was an experience I’ll never forget. I’m so excited that my heroine chose to be a pilot and can expertly fly this type of plane. I may never get to fly my own, but I’ll live through her as I finish writing this story. Hopefully someday, you’ll get to live through her too!
Research really does make a story more exciting and real. Fortunately, when it involves something like flying in a biplane, it’s pretty painless!
I spent the first part of my life, judging time by according to the “what happens next” plan. You know how it goes. ‘ I have to get up at 6 AM because breakfast happens next and it has to be ready 6:30 because the school bus comes at 7:00. Then what happens next is work and its at 8:00 and its forty-five minutes away… and after work what happens next is . . .”
No more. At least not all the time.
A couple of weeks ago my grand girls went with me to see my mom who lives two and a half hours from me. The trip out seemed long and boring because of a side trip I needed to make for work so on the way home I made a decision to put time on a different scale and we meandered.
No trip can start until the reinforcements arrive so we made a quick stop at the Quick Stop.
Then we visited Oreo (the cat) at the Book Grinder in Eldorado–and bought a book or two
We took a side trip to visit the Historic Beaumont Hotel
We wanted to see the wind turbines up close, but it was too rainy
All we saw were cows
We meandered cross country to Parsons where we enjoyed lunch at Chatter’s
And visited Gentiva Hospice where I work. The girls discovered that my supervisor, Terry, was a friend of their mom’s. That was fun. We forgot to take our picture while we were there so–we went to Brahm’s and that made it all better.
We had a great day meandering and arrived back home in only five hours and forty five minutes. And nobody thought the trip was long and boring!
Funny about this thing called “TIME” isn’t it.
And the storm came
And the wind blew
And the bough broke
And it left a hole and lots of debris in its wake
But–it wasn’t the strongest limb
And when it tore away, it revealed a decayed center
Who knew that branch, that seemed so firmly attached
That limb that provided shade for my kitchen
And a leafy canopy for the resident squirrels
Would one day cause so much damage
Would crash and take a lot of supporting structure with it
Who would have believed the hole it would leave
And the fallout that would continue with every little bump
God knew that hiding from the eyes of man
And revealed only through the storm
Was a rotten, decaying center
It is not coincidence
We are going through the gospel of John at our little church in the hills
And in chapter fifteen, Jesus says HE is the TRUE VINE
And his Father, God, is the husbandman–the One who
Prunes and purges all those branches who do not bear fruit.
Nor is it coincidence
That decay manifests itself from the inside out
And is so easily hidden
Until the wind blows
The mail arrived in St. Joseph from Sacramento on Saturday. The annual re-ride of the Pony Express route left California on June11. Riders carried the mochilla filed with 65 pounds of mail around the clock, retracing the route the riders took in 1860.
The last riders galloped over the Missouri River on U.S. Highway 36 with a police escort on Saturday. Those of us waiting at the Patee House Museum cheered as they rode up the hill. It really was something to imagine that mail bag traveling on horseback all the way across the country. For that first trip 154 years ago, I can understand why the people were amazed.
Just about everyone had a camera on Saturday. Fans young and old crowded around the riders, asking about their trip and petting the horses.
Last year, I got to see the send off from St. Joseph headed West. This year, I got to see the opening of the mail pouch. Actual letters were carried on the route, wrapped in duct tape to keep dry. I met one woman who saw the sendoff in Sacramento, then discovered she would be visiting a friend in Kansas when the re-ride would reach St. Joseph, so she came to see the ceremony.
The annual re-ride has lasted a lot longer than the original Pony Express. I don’t think we’ll ever get tired seeing the mail come through.
This week’s theme was Famous Father’s as a nod to Father’s Day that kicked off this week. Before I get too far into this blog post, I’d like to wish my dad a Happy Birthday who celebrates on this very day. It’s sunny here in Southwestern Ontario. My grandmother swore that it never rained on my dad’s birthday and today is consistent with her declaration. Enjoy the day, Dad!
This year, I agreed to do another read through the Bible with a friend. It’s been good to refresh on details of stories in the Old Testament or review the lesser read portions of the New Testament. There is one story about King David and his son Absalom that really stood out for me in the book of Second Samuel.
Absalom worked to conspire against his father. For four years, he would turn people away at the city gate who wanted to see King David for a matter of justice. He told them that there was no representative for the king to hear the people out…if only he were appointed judge in the land! By doing this he won the hearts of the people. (Not to mention, he is described as exceptionally handsome and without blemish.)
Before long, Absalom stole the kingdom from his father and won the allegiance of the many. David, on the other hand, had to run to save his life from being taken by his own son.
Can you imagine how David must of felt, having his own son betray him? Or, that his son would wish him dead?
I wouldn’t have blamed David if had become enraged and desired retaliation. But David responded differently. He longed for his son and left the palace weeping. Later, when David’s troop were forced to fight against Absalom’s army, he begged them to be gentle with Absalom for his sake. In the end, Absalom was defeated and killed in battle.
When the news of Absalom’s death reached David, he mourned for his son. In fact, his grief was so heavy that his army, who had returned victorious, fell into mourning. The men returned to David as though the were ashamed, instead of with the joy of champions. David wept so intensely that one of the commanders had to basically tell him to snap out of it. His grief demoralized the men. David was strongly advised to acknowledge those who defended him – if not, David risked the men turning against him.
What an intense love David had for his son. His son behaved in such a traitorous way – deceiving and betraying-and bent on murdering his own father. Yet, David showed nothing but compassion toward Absalom.
David was called a ‘man after God’s own heart.’ If he could have great love for such a son, how much more love does God have for us?
(You can read about Absalom in 2 Samuel 13-19:8)
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
That urge to purge.
Clean it out,
Throw it away.
Give it up
So we began,
We dug out the junk
Swept up the dirt.
Boxed up the excess.
If only it would last
Spring will come and the urge will hit
And once again
It’s a silly little tale but it is true that de-cluttering is what we have been up to for the last week and we are far from done. Today as I worked, it occurred to me that sometimes, we need to do exactly the same thing with our emotional and spiritual lives. Just like with our physical surroundings we often collect stuff we really don’t need. A bag of resentments, a drawer full of unnecessary activities. Excuses littered everywhere. I think I am going to have to follow this physical purging with some new habits.