A Tour of America

Hurray! It seems it is time to dust off a book manuscript started a couple years ago and get back to work refining the story. An editor of a large publishing house has asked to place it in front of their board for publication. It is called "The Heart of Hometown America."

Although all of my books are dear to my heart, this book is special. It is a bit scary for me, as it will not have any colored illustrations, just a few photos and sketches. It is a full, non-fiction novel. What is it about?

Ordinary people serving God in extraordinary ways.

People finding strength in the gifts and talents they've received from God to help their own community.

Each chapter has a story of how, what and why a unique service was created, along with heartwarming stories from the lives that have been touched.

In Hilo, Hawaii, the first Christian church in the islands continues to serve their people and keep their heritage alive.
A small church in Nome, Alaska has a "Bible in a Bucket" ministry which serves twelve remote Yupik eskimo villages by snow machine and dog sled.
Only a few years old, the Cowboy Church in Amarillo, Texas, already has touched thousands of lives in a "cowboy" way through holding rodeo workshops taught by world champion bull riders and rodeo contestants.

The first church for African Americans was started in the early 1700's with a rich history and continues to serve their people around the Boston area today. A Jewish synogogue preaches that Jesus is the true son of God in New York City. Near the crime-ridden slums of the Crimini-Green neighborhood in Chicago, a church purchased land for a community center and is slowly changing the neighborhood. The Amish, although appearing separate from their neighbors, actually have a vital role in helping their entire community. California, a state where the minorities are now the majority, has a church that serves its community through their lifestyle of farming. The list goes on throughout every region in America.
It looks like a busy year, as I start my tour of churches, interviews and speaking engagements in only a few short weeks. I start my first visit to an Amish community during harvest season and will branch out from there, ending at the finish line in Nome during the Iditorod next March and then Hilo to warm back up. I love our country, love our people and find it interesting how different, yet alike, the ingredients are that have formed the melting pot called the United States.
Meanwhile, I continue my women's inspirational gift book line. They fill my days with joy as I write and paint about life's celebrations.Have you had a blessing today? I'd love to hear about it. E-mail me or leave a comment when you can.
Have a beautiful day!

A Beautiful Summer Day

Hydrangeas have covered the north side of my house. This bouquet in our sunroom is the first of many to come.
Getting ready for next week's book conference and painting for various illustrating jobs has been keeping me busy. I still find plenty of time to spend outside, though. When the ocean breeze beckons me to put down the paintbrush and go outside, I tend the bulging garden, cut bouquets from overgrown flower bushes and watch birds play in the sprinklers.

The other morning, these two tiny birds played at the top of the fountain.

Our produce seems to be almost a month ahead of its usual schedule. Have you ever had raspberry-gooseberry pie? It is DELICIOUS! Just make your usual berry pie recipe, using 1/2 raspberries and 1/2 gooseberries.
An aunt of a good farmer friend from Iowa made this pie for me years ago, and now that I have gooseberries I finally made it.

The gooseberries look like jewels in the sunlight.
I picked the first large, ripe tomato the other day. A couple of the plants are over my head, and I'm 5'8"! The green beans are winning the race and I made bread and butter pickles the other morning. I think we'll have our first fat ears of corn in 1-2 weeks.
Well...back to the drawing board.

I'm a blogger?!?

"Do you have a blog?" asked my publisher.

"Sure. Well...hmmm...I do now!"

I didn't have time to blog. Sure, I've glanced at others now and then. I've cried over a few and laughed at others. But, who cares what I'm doing?

Well, turns out there may be a few that want to know how my characters are progressing, what the latest colors on my palette are and how Callie the dog is doing (very well, thank you.)

So, here it is. My first blog entry. Be patient and kind.

I'm thinkin' I'll start out slow. Maybe just a weekly blog of what's happening. For now, I am heading out to walk with Callie, pick blueberries and boysenberries for the freezer and probably a yummy cobbler with homemade ice cream tonight. Yes, that's what I'll do.
Of course, most of my day will be painting for my new book, A Happy Birthday, What's Age Got to Do With It?