Friday, May 24, 2019

Commencing


Photo by Good Free Photos on Unsplash
It’s that time of year again, and I’m feeling it. Graduation-ness. The ending of eras, the approach of new-to-me eras, and watching my kids embark on new adventures too. It’s all new and yet, before we can move on, we have to finish what we started.

As we sit through all the ceremonies, we will be exhorted to remember, to seize the day, to live life on our own terms, to make the most of every situation, and to shoot for the stars. If I were giving a graduation speech (which I’m not) I might suggest 2 things to the students who are not listening as they fidget on stage, waiting their turn to walk.

1.  Live first, take pictures second. Do things, go places, enjoy life, and then snap a photo along the way in order to remember, not in order to craft a fake story online. It bears repeating: do not live in such a way as to look good online. Rather than orchestrating what you think will look interesting to others, live your life for real, pursuing your passions, loving on the people you love, soaking up the moments and enjoying them, and LASTLY, record what you did if you think about it. 

2.  Expect a twist. Every great story has a least 1 twist. The nature of twists is that they are unexpected, and they often completely change the direction of a life, a career, or a relationship. All the careful planning in the world cannot prevent your twist, and whether it seems good or bad at the time, there is always the possibility that good can come from it, and oftentimes HOW you deal with the twist will determine WHO you ultimately become. So expect the twist. But don’t be afraid of it. You can’t do anything to prevent or hasten it, so live that life (without photos) and be prepared to embrace the twist, whatever it looks like. How you approach it may determine your future, your attitude, and the legacy you leave behind.

So that’s MY graduation advice. I’m attending the last high school graduation for my children today. We attended our first college graduation last week. I’m in the thick of it when it comes to commencing. What are you beginning right now?





Jennifer Fromke is a novelist who writes from NC, where she pines for colder temperatures all year long. Northerners by upbringing, she and her husband of 27 years have raised three Southern-ish children. Jennifer reviews books at Shetalksbooks.com and you can download a free story from her website when you sign up for her newsletter at jenniferfromke.com. She writes contemporary women’s fiction.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Mary Did You Know? A belated Mother’s Day Devotion

I’m a bit late on the timing of the devotion, but I didn’t have Mother’s Day slot on the blog, so I thought I’d just put it in now. After all, we should honor mothers all the time.

A week before Mother’s day, my husband’s best friend mentioned at lunch that he had communion meditation on Mother’s Day, and the two men began tossing around ideas at the meal.

The song Mary Did you Know? was mentioned. Normally considered a Christmas song, I thought it could make a perfect Mother’s Day song for church. It’s about Jesus’ mother and what she was going to experience with her son. But the song is also about what Jesus would go through. Click here for a great YouTube Video of the song

Well, I couldn’t get the song out of my mind. I began to wonder how Mary felt about her son: knowing he was God in the flesh, wondering what he would do, what he might have to suffer. As these questions played through my mind I remembered an innocent statement our daughter uttered as a child.

 We were in the car, coming home from church one evening, and she suddenly announced, “I love Jesus. I want to go see him.”

 “You will, someday,” I assured her.

 “No,” she replied emphatically. “I want to go see him now!’

Those seven words struck panic in my heart. I glanced over at my husband who was driving. His face held the same look of terror that I felt in my heart. The only way our child would see Jesus--at that moment--was to die!

I knew as an innocent child she would certainly go to heaven, but, as her mother, I had no desire to see her leave this earth. On a spiritual level, I was glad my child loved Jesus so much that she wanted to see him face to face. On a human level I was terrified to hear her say she wanted to see him now.

As mothers we pour ourselves into our children. We give them our love. We bear their sorrows. We feel their hurts and fears as keenly as if they were our own. We want the best for them.

I'm certain Mary had those same maternal instincts for her son Jesus. Knowing she had birthed the son of God, she must have felt a great responsibility to raise her son right. I wonder if she prayed every night for guidance from  God, much like we do with our children. What must she have thought when she finally realized the sacrifice that would be required of her?  What pain she must have borne as she watched him go to his death. I suspect that she would have taken his place on the cross if she could have.

But she couldn’t. God needed to sacrifice Jesus so we could be saved. Like Mary, He had to watch as his son died for our sins.
 
That night when my daughter announced she wanted to see Jesus, and I knew death was the only way she could at that moment see Jesus, I felt the fear Mary must have experienced when she knew her son would die. Mary didn't know God's full plan. Thankfully, it would be revealed to her in the coming days.

 “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV

 With a love like that, how can we not love Him back?

 

About the Author:

Multi-award winning author Catherine Castle loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, theatre, quilting and gardening. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her award-winning Soul Mate books The Nun and the Narc (an inspirational romantic suspense) and A Groom for Mama (a sweet romantic comedy with a touch of drama), on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Follow her on Twitter @AuthorCCastle, FB or her blog.

 

 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Author Chat with Sherrinda Ketchersid


Welcome, Sherrinda! We’re tickled to have you on Stitches Thru Time. And congratulations on your new release Lord of Her Heart!

I’m excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

Good! Let's just right in. Historical romance encompasses a huge range from Biblical era to the Vietnam War, but one of my personal favorites is the medieval period. Castles and chivalry, knights and kings, the occasional damsel in distress, it’s all fascinating. What prompted you to write in this era?

I think my love for medieval stories began when my dad drew pictures of knights and fair maidens for me and my sisters to color. He loved the era and even wrote a medieval fantasy novel published by Thomas Nelson. When I decided to fulfill my dream of writing a book, there was no question what era to write. Little did I know at the time, medieval stories were not ‘the rage’ in the Christian market. Thanks to my publisher, Smitten at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, who took a chance on my story, I will now see my dream of being published realized.

How fun is it that your dad had a medieval book out too? Speaking of the occasional damsel in distress, your heroine, Jocelyn, could have been one … and yet she’s not. How did you balance this take-charge lady with the constraints of that era?

Good question. Yes, it wasn’t easy for women in the middle ages, but the more you read into the history of the times, you find women who rose in prominence and did amazing things. What I love about Jocelyn is her love for her father and her memories of home drove her to face her fears, doing everything within her power to get home. The difficulty for me was to make Jocelyn likable in the midst of her fierce determination. She was a wee bit too sassy in the early draft. My hope is that I balanced Jocelyn’s kindness with her sass to where readers like her as much as I do.

No romance would be complete without a swoon-worthy hero and Malcolm certainly fits that mold. Why are readers going to fall in love with him?

I immediately want to ‘heave a sigh’, because Malcolm is every woman’s knight in shining armor. He knows his strength and abilities, but his focus on chivalry and his care of Jocelyn softens his warrior personality. I think what I love most about Malcolm is his sense of humor. While powerful in mind and body, he allows his humor out to play, which delights Jocelyn—and me—to no end.  I’d be remiss not to mention that he is a good kisser.

A good kisser goes a long way in a romance! There’s also a bit of a mystery in this romance as well as a really nasty person. I love a story with a good nasty in it! Let’s not give any spoilers, but tell us if you had fun writing this into the romance.

Boy, did I have fun writing my villain! In fact, I got so carried away with making her horrible, I had to tone her down. It was fun to think of ways my villain could frustrate Jocelyn, and I had trouble limiting the number of bad things my villain orchestrated. I was thinking of the evil Ursula in The Little Mermaid when I should have been thinking more in the line of the step-mother in Cinderella. Yes, the step-mother was mean, but not over the top crazy like Ursula. I had to learn to make the villain nasty, but believable.

Of course, we’re going to recommend that everyone read Lord of Her Heart! But I think this one would also appeal to the YA market. It’s a clean read, so mothers and grandmothers can feel good giving their teenage girls a copy … after they’ve read it, of course. ;)

Is there anything you’d like to share with our STT readers before you go?

If you haven’t read a medieval romance, I’d encourage you to try one! There are a few clean and Christian medieval authors out there, such as Tamara Leigh, Jody Hedlund, and Melanie Dickerson (just to name a few). It’s a fun time to explore and get lost in. Thanks for having me!

Thanks for stopping by and giving us the skinny on your book, Lord of Her Heart. I know our readers are going to want to connect with you, so we'll list your social media contacts here:Image may contain: Sherrinda Ketchersid, smiling, eyeglasses and text