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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

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

Missouri author jelly jars

I’ve gotten started on a rather unusual collection.

jelly

These are jars of jelly purchased during visits to the homes of Missouri writers. On the left is plum jelly from the Laura Ingalls Wilder gift shop in Mansfield, Mo. That’s a nod to her book On the Banks of Plum Creek.

On the right is a jar of huckleberry preserves from Mark Twain’s home in Hannibal, Mo. This is in honor of Twain’s unforgettable Huckleberry Finn character. The preserves are absolutely delicious.

My mom loved to make jelly from the wild elderberries, plums and grapes that grew on our farm in Nodaway County. As I look at this collection, I dream just a bit to wonder if someday I’ll be a writer with my own line of jelly.

SusieMires

~ Susie

Seeing the story

There’s only one time during the day that I question why I went back to work. 6 AM. The rest of the day, I’m pretty convinced I’ve been given the best job. This week that feeling only grew stronger.

Every morning I get to help in a couple of the elementary classes. One of the teachers knows how much I enjoy writing so this week she gave me the job of teaching the students how to write a fiction story. She gave me one photo-shopped picture of a zebra riding a motorcycle being chased by a lion and a stack of blank story maps.

You can guess the story each of the five groups thought of–it didn’t end with a happily ever after for the zebra! As we talked about knowing our main characters, using the supporting characters like a chef uses spices, and developed a problem that grows until the end of the story, the student’s began to get excited. By the end of today, we had five groups with five completely different stories. AND, I was able to save that zebra from certain destruction!

As I sat and wrote down the ideas popping up around the table, it became obvious that some of the best story ideas came from the students who struggle academically. To see their excitement and watch as they planned and pieced their story together was such a blessing.

I’d ask the groups, “Do you see it? Is the story playing through your head?”

Some of them shook their heads no, but others gave me a dimpled smile and nodded.

They could see the movie! I can’t wait to see what stories we actually write next week.

What fun to be involved with the process.

How generous of their teacher to let me have a chance to share something I love with her students!

Happy Friday!

Sara

Sleep,such a precious thing

I have loved Julane’s story of firehouse days. I think there must be many women out there who relate and take comfort in knowing they are not alone. Following suite, I believe I shall write, for a while at least, about my experiences as a wife left alone. I spent ten years as the wife of what we used to jokingly call a Transportation Relocation Engineer. I was the wife of a truck driver.
My hubby was a photographer. Trained in the Air Force he transferred his skills to “life on the outside” and we began our life with a studio in our living room and then eventually to its own location. Most of our life it was right outside our back door so that he was literally home all day.
I became the assistant and office help, We worked together. Then ate together. Played together and then slept together. When the truck driving career started it was a huge change. Like Julane, at first I didn’t sleep either.
Solitaire on the computer reminds me of those early days. I would go to bed at night and in the quiet hear all the strange noises that I had for years ignored. Traffic on the street outside, wind in the trees,
“What was that? ?
” Is someone here? ”
“Are we ok?”
” Should I get up? ”
“Or hide?”
” or call for help?”
Sleep would elude me and so eventually I would get up, traipse down the hall to the family room and play solitaire on the computer until my mind and eyes relaxed so I could finally sleep.
Sleepless nights continued for a while and finally improved. Still, there are times when being alone in my bed is not fun. When an unusual sound wakens and startles. I still get up occasionally and lull my mind back to sleep with a mindless computer game, however I have learned over the years to allow my Heavenly Father to hold me tight at those times. Snuggled safely in his arms, I let the words of memorized scripture fill my brain and heart until sleep comes again.
Blessings,
Kathy

Like Minded

There is a special kind of bond that defines the firehouse. It’s more than just men working together–they live together 24 hours at a time. From the time they punch in on their shift, until they punch out again 24 hours later they’ve spent that entire time within the confines of a station house, sans fire calls or the other routine jobs that occur: i.e., fire inspection, hydrant testing, engine checking/cleaning, and yes–grocery shopping. They eat together, do dishes together, watch TV together, and sleep…well, NOT together in the sense you might think–but they do share a bedroom.

One of my fondest memories of those early years is the Fireman’s Auxiliary. The wives. In my first years was a fireman’s wife, there were few of us working outside the home, and we looked forward to that one night a month when we could meet together. Yes, it meant some of us had to have a sitter because our husbands were ‘on duty’. But we tried hard not to miss. It was a time of learning for me–and I learned from the best!!

Things the other wives taught me:

1. Firefighters’ wives don’t chase fire trucks

2. Firefighters’ wives don’t ask questions when there are blood splatters on their husband’s clothing (they’ll explain in due time–maybe)

3. It’s not unusual to be afraid to be alone at night–or to resent attending so many events alone (or with ALL the kiddos). HOWEVER–Get used to it, and stop whining!! Be proud of what your husband does, be glad he loves what he does, and support him every way you can.

4. Yes–some of the men were better cooks than we were. (I never could replicate Corny’s tomato preserves)

5. And–this was a big one–I wasn’t the first one to become  pregnant within the first year of hubby joining the fire service.

Of course there was much, much more. But I still value those times, and those women who welcomed me. We laughed and cried together, mourned and celebrated, and even in our diversity we were one–just like the men at the firehouse.

road 2 we like!