Friday, October 11, 2019

The Imperfectionist's Guide to Sorting Your Stuff by Lisa Lawmaster Hess

I'm excited to have Lisa visit again! We've been author friends for a long time, and it's a real privilege to enjoy reading this interview from her. Join in on the fun!

Thanks so much for joining me on Sunnybank Secrets, Lisa.

About Lisa:
Lisa Lawmaster Hess is a Jersey girl who moved to Pennsylvania for college, then stayed.

The author of three nonfiction books

  • Acting Assertively, Diverse Divorce and Know Thyself 
and two novels

  • Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance
Lisa has also written for online and print publications. Lisa blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles and Organizing By STYLE and is a frequent contributor to, Teachers of Vision and Today’s Catholic Teacher. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is an adjunct professor of psychology at York College of Pennsylvania. Her latest book is Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist’s Guide to Sorting Your Stuff. 

NOW, on to the interview:

Is there a story behind your books?/What started you on your writing journey?

Know Thyself is my fifth book, but I’ve been working on novels, so it’s been over a decade between non-fiction books! This one (which took every bit of that decade to get from idea to completion) arose out of my own desire to get sustainably organized in a way that worked for me. An unexpected move that I didn’t initially want to make was the catalyst for working on my own organizational skills, and the ensuing research and journey led me to the conclusion that organization is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading? (Book recommendations very welcome!)

I enjoy a good novel but, lately, I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction. Last summer, I downloaded Audible and I’ve found that I love listening to audiobooks even though my commute is short. My recent favorites include Becoming by Michelle Obama, Still Foolin’ ’Em by Billy Crystal and Jodi Piccoult’s Small Great Things. I’m currently reading Biased by Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt and listening to Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before. I’m also reading an advance copy of Clarice G. James’s The Girl He Knew. Think I can finish them all before the semester starts at the end of August??

Which character in your newest release most interested you while you wrote? Why?

Since Know Thyself is non-fiction, I’m going to take the liberty of changing the question a bit, and share the styles that best describe me. In Know Thyself, I share three personal styles (I need to see it, I love to be busy and I love stuff) and three organizational styles (cram and jam, drop and run and I know I put it somewhere) that influence our organizational success. I most identify with the I need to see it personal style and the drop and run organizational style, so I plan my organizational systems around those styles.

Why do you write in the genre you do?

I write both fiction and non-fiction. For fiction, the draw for me is the characters. I’m a total pantser, but I have to sketch out my characters and their backstories before I sit down to write. Once I know who the people are, I introduce them to each other and take it from there.

With non-fiction, I like that I can write about topics I find interesting and relevant. Know Thyself is my first non-fiction book with a spiritual aspect to it, written primarily for adults. Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce were both written for the educational market and while the concepts transferred to adults, they were written for adults to use with children.

How much research do you do for each book?

Because I write contemporary fiction and my non-fiction is within my wheelhouse as a psychology instructor, I don’t usually do a lot of research. If I come up against a topic that’s important to the story that I want to know more about, that’s when I dig in. My goal is not to become an expert but, rather, to write accurately and knowledgeably about the topic.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special)

Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This verse hangs in a place of prominence in my office – in fact, I purchased a ceramic cross with this verse on it so I could see it daily. Seven years ago, I took advantage of an early retirement incentive and retired from my career as a school counselor. My daughter had just finished middle school and college loomed in four years. I knew the early retirement was the right choice – most days, anyway – but leaving behind a job with a great salary and benefits was a scary proposition. I read this verse a lot that first year until my next steps became clear and, to this day, it sustains me when things are hard.

About the book:
Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist’s Guide to Sorting Your Stuff, is meant for anyone who has ever struggled to get organized. So often, people who’ve struggled with this life skill have also lost faith in themselves, which is more demoralizing than any amount of clutter. Know Thyself takes a light-hearted approach to a serious topic, with the aim of building confidence alongside organizational skills by building on what we do naturally. This strengths-based approach helps readers to organize in a sustainable way, rather than merely clearing the clutter and hoping for the best.

Link to book on Amazon:

Lisa on social media: 

Facebook: Lisa Lawmaster Hess, Writer
Twitter: @orgbystyle
Instagram: lisalawmasterhess
Pinterest: Lisa Lawmaster Hess
Organizing by STYLE blog:

Thanks for visiting, Lisa, and readers, check out her book on Amazon!

Both rebels in their own way, Josie and Jerry Patterson must figure out how to keep the other's love...and keep the German enemy at bay.

She has two loves—her skating and Jerry, her husband. But when he returns home looking like a skeleton trying to return to life, she's scared. What happened in Germany to change a man so much? Has another woman captured his heart?

Jerry has vowed to let Josie live her own glamorous life...especially after what happened in Germany. But when his wife's life is threatened, Jerry realizes he can't stand by and do nothing. Jerry has to risk all for the very soul and life of himself—Josie.

These two damaged, rebellious people learn the hard way that leaning on God instead of their own selves and abilities is the only true way to love and happiness.

Buy the Book:

About Carole:

Besides being an active participant in many writing groups, Carole is an award-winning author and enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense, tough topics, romance, and whimsy into her books and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons? 


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Ozzie and Harriet and the Big Band Era

CBS launched the radio program, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in October 1944, having unsuccessfully tried to fill the void left in their program lineup by the loss of Red Skelton to the military in March. Over 400 episodes were produced during its ten-year reign as one of the most popular shows on the air.

However, long before the couple appeared on radio and then television, Ozzie was a band leader. He formed The Ozzie Nelson Band in the late 1920s and had limited success. Some believe his big break came in when he helped himself to discarded issues of the New York Daily Mirror and had band members and their families “stuff the ballot box” with votes for themselves as the newspaper’s favorite band. True or not, in 1930 the band was thrust in the public eye and they became well-known throughout the nation. 

They began to record prolifically with Ozzie as the primary vocalist. By 1935, the band had a number one hit “And Then Some,” and he married the band’s other star vocalist Harried Hilliard. By 1940, the couple had two children, so Ozzie was looking for a way to spend more time with his young family.

Ozzie and Harriet regularly appeared on Red Skelton’s radio program, The Raleigh Cigarette Program. (In those days, shows were often named for the sponsors rather than the stars.) Ozzie came up with the idea to feature his family on the radio and began to write scripts, so when word trickled through the industry that CBS was looking to add a program, Ozzie raised his hand.

Sons David and Ricky were played by actors on the radio program (ages 8 and 4 respectively), but played themselves once the Adventures moved to television in 1949. The radio version continued for another two years. America sat in fascination and listened as Ozzie and Harriet raised their boys on the airwaves. By all accounts, Ozzie was very hands on with producing and directing most of the episode, many of which he also wrote.

Did you know Ozzie and Harriet were part of the Big Band era? 

Here is a clip from one of their performances:

Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone's throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in history places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII. To find out more about Linda and her books, including her most recent release Love's Allegiance, visit her website. Receive a free short story when you sign up for her newsletter.

Monday, September 30, 2019

A Time to Pray

There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven:
a time to give birth and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to uproot;
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to tear down and a time to build;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;
a time to search and a time to count as lost;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to be silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (HCSB)

My heart has been heavy lately with how things are progressing in the United States, as well as in the world as a whole. The more that sinful ways are glorified and justified, the more discord breaks out. We find that our Christian faith and belief system is being challenged on many levels.

For today, why don't you take time put of your day to get on your knees and pray for our Nation, our world, and for God's light to be shone to those around us. Ask Him how you can be that light.

What action step can you do today to show God's love to a dying world?

Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA) and has been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. She's a contributor and co-founder of Stitches Thru Time blog. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at