The Light that Still Guides Us: Reaching Out to Those that No Longer Feel the Joy of Christmas

“When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:9-11

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”
Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Three wise men and the star

Well, here it is, Christmas time again, everyone’s favorite time of year…or not…

Unfortunately, with each passing year, more and more people I know have ended up in that second category. For these people and their families, the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays no longer hold the joy they once did. They are unable to feel the joy of the season because of the overwhelming feelings of grief and sadness. In many cases, the loss of their loved one has happened unexpectedly, only weeks or days before the beginning of the holiday season. Then too, others are unable to “get into the spirit” because they know they will be spending the holidays alone. Of course, being a “military brat” myself, my Dad having served fourteen years in the U.S. Army, I know first hand, there are many who have a loved one who happens to be deployed at the time of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. I also know what it’s like to feel the pangs of grief because of a loved one taken way too soon, and the big hole it leaves in your heart, and your family. For these reasons, I couldn’t let this Christmas go by without at least offering my take on it all. I know that all the pretty words in the world won’t bring a loved one back, but still, a comforting word from one who’s been there can help more than you know.

No matter what reason a family you know might find themselves with an empty chair at their Christmas table this year, we cannot forget the reason we are celebrating Christmas in the first place, and it is because of Him, our Savior, Jesus Christ, God’s gift to us, that was given so that we could receive the gift of eternal life. We cannot forget that if we have that light of hope in our hearts that comes through having a relationship with Him, then we can share that light with others who are less fortunate than ourselves, those who are hurting, and those who are so overcome with sadness and grief, especially when it involves one who was lost way too soon, who had their whole lives ahead of them. I know several classmates (different schools) who have tragically lost a child. I also know from experience, what my family, especially my parents, went through when we lost my brother, Charles, at only 9 years old. The Christmas of ’77 is forever etched in my memory, and at times over the years, it has seemed almost as if I have been unable to move past that point. There were 3 of us kids, I was the oldest, 12 at the time. Our younger brother had just started school. Charlie’s passing left a big hole in our family that nothing can ever fill…that is, except the love and comfort of our Savior, the “peace that passes understanding”. But those who are hurting will never know we care, and that He cares, if we don’t share it with them.

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16

For those families, friends, or others we may know who are going through this, it goes without saying that it can be rather painful, to see all of the photos posted on (I’ll just say, “social media”), of the seemingly picture perfect families, and the beautifully set holiday dinner tables. Then too, even for those who still manage to gather together for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, or even a New Year’s party, no matter how nicely and festively, or sparsely, their table might be set, it does nothing for the emptiness and pain of grief they feel because of that empty chair, where someone they loved should have been. Whether it’s a family grieving the loss of a loved one, a family facing Christmas without a deployed parent, husband, or wife, or someone spending Christmas alone for the first time, (I’ve been through my share of “Hard Candy Christmases”, too) it can be all too easy to label them a “Scrooge” or a “Grinch” when they post on social media about how they are unable to get into the Christmas spirit, or something to that extent (Okay, so you just thought it, that’s still just as bad, but hey, we’re all guilty on that one). I’ll even go so far as to say that with all that has been going on lately, and having just lost a cousin on my Dad’s side, I will admit I myself have been feeling more like a “Scrooge” at the beginning of the season. But let’s just back this whole thing up a minute…

This morning, my husband and I were led to Matthew, chapter 18. At the beginning of the chapter, Jesus calls a little child to Him, and tells those listening, that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must all become like little children. So, to illustrate my point, I am going to do just that…

My youngest grandson recently spent some time with us during a period of transition with his daycare, and during that time, he wanted to watch “The Grinch that Stole Christmas”, the movie version with Jim Carrey as the Grinch, again and again. So, after awhile, I found myself really thinking about that story. I still remember the cartoon version of it we used to watch as kids. In the story, of course, we all know how the Grinch went to all that trouble to steal all the Christmas gifts, the turkeys and fixings for the Whos’ Christmas dinners, and even the Christmas trees, down to the last ornament, which he snatches up with glee, yet in the end, Christmas still came, without all the boxes, bags, bows, gifts, Christmas trees or decorations.

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”

Perhaps, if we really stop and think about it for a moment, we can really begin to see how the moral of this story applies to all of us. Christmas will come, whether or not our tables are decorated with all the fancy fixings, or the least that could be afforded. It will come whether or not our homes are all aglow with lights and decorations, and it will come, no matter what is under the tree, or how many or how few gifts there are. And it will come just the same, to those who have empty chairs at their Christmas dinner table.

For those of us who have the Savior, our Lord, Jesus Christ living in our hearts, it is that same light that lit up the night sky those years ago as the bright, shining star that the wise men followed until they came to where the Christ child lay, that is still guiding us. (And by the way, as far as I have been able to see, the Bible does not actually say there were “three” wise men. It doesn’t even mention how many there were, or if they actually rode camels. In fact, although most pictures we’ve seen depict three wise men on camels following the star, and the “stable” in the distance, the Bible actually seems to indicate that it was probably sometime later before they arrived to see Him. Note that in verse 11 of Matthew 2, above, it says, “and when they had come into the house…”, not a stable. Click here to read more on this.)

So what I am saying is…if we truly have His light shining in us, then it goes without saying that we will be looking around us and taking note of those who can no longer feel the joy of Christmas. We will be His hands reaching out to help them in whatever way we can, whether it’s through sending a card, providing some needed food supplies, or a meal. We will be His mouth speaking a comforting word, and His feet walking to do whatever we can to show them we care, for if that light is truly shining within us, then and only then, will they see and feel the true, healing, and comforting joy and peace of Christmas.

That light is still guiding us, for the same Christ that the wise men worshipped that night, is the One Who lives inside of each of us, and “Christmas” is already inside of us. It is that light that they’re looking for, not what’s under the tree or on the table. So, think of this, next time you wish someone a Merry Christmas. And if we can’t show that love of Christ to others in need, whether they are friends, family, or people we don’t even know, then perhaps we’re the ones being a “Grinch” or a “Scrooge”. Besides, if we take even a moment to look at Christmas through the eyes of little “Cindy Lou Who”, perhaps it is then, that it will all make a bit more sense.

If the light of His love, the light of God’s hope that lit that star up those years ago, is truly shining through us, then every day is Christmas! Why wait for that one time of year to actually reach out and show His love to others? With that said, thanks for stopping by, feel free to share this with anyone who could use it! I hope you and your family have a truly wonderful Christmas, and a blessed New Year!

FREE Kindle Download, Mystery at Windy Mountain, 12/13 – 12/17! #freekindlebooks

 

FREE to download 12/13 through 12/17! 5 days only! Mark your calendars now! 

Mystery_at_Windy_Mou_Cover_for_Kindle
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First in the “Windy Mountain Mystery Series”, this is a powerful and emotionally gripping Native American Mystery/Time Travel Adventure with a twist of the paranormal that will take you on a journey you won’t soon forget!

THE WIND SEEMS TO BLOW IN WHISPERS…

STRANGE DREAMS FROM THE PAST… Suddenly Joe “Dreaming Hawk” Thomason has become one with the eagle, flying back in time, into the past…Ten winters have passed since Soaring Eagle’s people were taken to serve as slaves for the white men. Now, he is a strong, proud, Lakota Sioux warrior who will stop at nothing to find his people and return them to their sacred lands.

ALMOST LIKE…

A MYSTERIOUS STORY TELLER… Dreaming Hawk has always tried to provide a memorable experience for the guests at Windy Mountain Campground and resort. Yet, he has no answers for the dreams he’s been having. Nor can he explain the strange sense of closeness he feels to the Native American elder who tells the stories by the fire at night for the guests. The elusive story teller has given little information about himself, leaving Al and Naomi Edgewood to wonder about the future of the campground. Yet, it is this air of mystery about him that continues to draw the guests each year. Enter the Wilkerson family. It is approaching summer, and as teachers, Corey and Karen have decided to give their children an educational yet fun vacation. But who is the mysterious Native American mentor Corey meets who advises him to create a path for learning for their children? Indeed, the paths of our lives have strange ways of crossing. The Native Americans have long believed that the ancestors guide us. At night, as the guests gather around the fire, the wind seems to blow in whispers, almost like voices in the wind.

BUT WHO IS HE?… The mystery only deepens as strange things begin to happen around the Campground. The Wilkerson family is in for a summer vacation they will never forget…

VOICES IN THE WIND…

Know someone who would enjoy this book? Click the buttons below and share, or email it via the link above! Don’t forget to stop back by the Amazon page and leave a review! Thanks, and hope you enjoy the journey!

 

Remembering 9/11: Where Were You? #911Tributes

(Photo Credit: John Skelson, at bottom right of photo)

“Five years from the date of the attack that changed our world, we’ve come back to remember the valor of those we lost—those who innocently went to work that day and the brave souls who went in after them. We have also come to be ever mindful of the courage of those who grieve for them, and the light that still lives in their hearts.”
—New York City mayor ­Rudolph Giuliani at the World Trade Center site in 2006

September 11, 2001. One of the darkest days in American history. According to Wikipedia, 2,996 people were killed immediately, including those on the four planes, the World Trade Center and surrounding area, and the Pentagon. Many more have since died, due to their injuries, or cancer from inhaling the toxic dust. Of course, this number varies, depending on what source you read it from, and when it was written. One thing is for certain: it was a terrible, dark day for all of us, especially those who lost loved ones that day. We must never forget, but continue to reach out to one another, to pray for the families who lost their loved ones, and, to hold the light of hope in our hearts as we remember those  we lost that day. And lest we forget, here is just my little contribution, a little of where I was when “the world stopped turning” on that terrible “September day”…

I was less that 2 months from turning 36. My children were 15, 13, and 9. A lot has happened since then. I have since been reunited with the one I should have never walked away from 30 plus years ago. You could say he was my high school sweetheart, although let’s just say there was a lot we didn’t know then (and thought we knew it all) and leave it at that. We were married December 23, 2014 in Gatlinburg, TN. I am at peace with my life now, and as a writer, with 2 books currently on Amazon and more to come, I had it in my heart to share my own experience of that day. I guess you could say it’s kind of like, if each of us shares a little of our story, maybe it’s kind of like all of us lighting a “candle” in memory of those who were lost that day, as well as those who have died since from their injuries or sickness caused by the toxic dust and fumes from the disaster, etc. Perhaps, even if but a small flicker of hope arises from one of us sharing our story, it becomes the eternal flame of hope that will light someone else’s way. To me, it is like saying, I am only one person, but I am here, and I care, because to me, each precious life that was lost that day was an American citizen, a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, a son, a daughter, and the list goes on…

I was working at Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse in Clayton, NC, at what we around here call the Hwy 40/42 area (where NC Hwy 42 intersects with I-40, which goes into Raleigh, NC). I was just about to turn onto I-40, going to work, when I heard something on the radio about a “plane crash”. Of course, mostly concentrating on my driving, at that point, I had no idea of the seriousness of what I was hearing. At work, around the store, the atmosphere was somber. There was just a strange quietness. As my customers all kept talking about it throughout the day, it was only then that I began to realize just how serious it was. I went home and for the next couple of days, all I could do was sit in front of the TV, my eyes glued to the screen, and my mouth open, in a state of shock. As the days and weeks passed, I remember I was literally scared. I was scared to death, especially in the first few days after the attacks, as I think no doubt, everyone was. Were they going to come here and attack us next? Would there be more attacks?

As the years passed, and my kids grew up, things changed, people moved on, and yet, every year at this time, I cannot help but think of the sadness this day always brings, especially to those who lost family members or friends in this horrible, cowardly attack on the American people. After all, they were not lost to just their families or friends; they were lost to all of us. So wherever you are, if you can tell your story, or light a candle, or just say a prayer for the families and friends of each one of the people who were lost that day, then the light of hope will start to flicker, then burn brightly, into an eternal flame of hope. It is the hope that unites the American people. Because when you mess with any of our people, you are messing with all of us. Jesus told us that in the last days, these tribulations would come…

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a] these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,[b] and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. – Matthew 24:3-14

…But we must remain strong, encourage one another, pray for one another, and share our story, however little or great it might be, and we must begin to link hands all across this once great nation, and form a chain of prayer, and let the light of hope flicker, becoming the eternal flame of that hope that unites us all, and stand strong. It is that hope that will help us “endure to the end”, and perhaps relight the candle of hope, for those who have lost it.

In loving memory of all those who were lost in the September 11, 2001 tragedies, you are gone, but you are not forgotten. We will never forget.

I do not drink, nor endorse it in any way, but I have always thought this was a truly touching tribute to 9/11. May we never forget…

Where were you that September day? What will you do to help light someone else’s candle of hope today?

 

FREE Kindle Download! Aug 18-22!A Romantic Southern Historical Time Travel Story You Just Might Not Believe…#historicalfantasy #timetravel #greatreads

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

Hi everyone!


thickpaperbackfront_604x964I just wanted to post this little update letting you know about a FREE Kindle Promotion I’m having for my book, “A River of Secrets, Summer of the Rose”, the 1st book in the “River of Love’s Rose” Time Travel Trilogy. Now through Monday, August 22nd, you can download the Kindle version FREE! Also, both of my current books are in the Kindle Matchbook Promotion, so if you purchase the print version of either of them, or have in the past, the Kindle version is FREE for you to download. This is a truly enchanting and romantic Southern Historical Time Travel Fantasy that will take you back in time, to a charming little dirt road town “somewhere in the South” as “Anna” puts it, in the summer of 1877, where she’ll tell you a story you just might not believe…about a secret place in the river somewhere in the forest, where folks say if you touch the water there, you will look around and see that you have traveled forward or backward in time! There are others around town who have stories to tell and Anna knows who they are…

So mark your calendars so you won’t forget to download your copy, starting this Thursday, August 18th and running through Monday, August 22nd! Be sure to get yours, and share this post with anyone you know who would enjoy this wonderful little story that will take you on a truly heartwarming and romantic journey you won’t soon forget!

Here is the book trailer for it…

Click here to download it on Amazon.

The story was inspired by the movie, “Tuck Everlasting”, which was adapted from a children’s book by Natalie Babbit. It’s a long running favorite of mine, which my son introduced me to. Want to meet “Anna”? You can! Click here to read my “interview” with her!  But I’ll have to warn you, she’s 87 now and she’s something else! She says what’s on her mind; I’ll put it that way.  A lot has happened since that summer of 1877, when Anna was just 12, and she and her twin brothers set out to find the secret place in the river. A coming of age story in a sense, I feel it will appeal to young and old alike!

And one more time, just for you, here’s the movie trailer for the movie that inspired the series! If you have kids, this is a rather enjoyable movie they will enjoy watching with you. Here you go, enjoy!

It is my sincere hope that this book will take you on an enchanting and inspirational journey you won’t soon forget! Meanwhile, whether you are an author or a reader or both, I also want to tell you about a great club I am a member of, called Author Marketing Club. If you are an avid reader, you can subscribe with your email and receive daily emails of free books that are currently in free promotions to download. If you are an author, they provide some pretty awesome tools and resources to promote your books. Some of the resources are available to (free) members, others are only available to premium subscribers. I am a member, and definitely planning to become a premium member soon! Just thought I’d share! Click here if you’re interested…

Book Marketing & Selling Tips for Authors

For now, like many of you, I am an Indie Author working my way to the top, although like most of us authors, I am working towards finding a literary agent for some of my upcoming works, which I feel really excited about. Hey, we all know it’s hard work trying to make it as an author, especially with all of the competition we have out there. Click here to read my last post which featured links to some very helpful resources for authors, along with tips from learning from the pros, which I am sharing from my own experience. Now, if you’ve been procrastinating, like many of us have done at times (hey, I’ve had times I could be the queen of procrastinators, I explain more in the post linked above) check out that post and some of the tips I’ve shared, and get to writing that best seller. If you’ve ever dreamed of writing a book, you can! See you at the top! Believe it, dream it, and you can do it!

Know anyone who would love this book or find this information helpful? Please share! And if you enjoy the book, don’t forget to stop back by my Amazon page and leave me a nice review! Be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss out on any of my upcoming books! Remember, the free download dates are Thursday, August 18th through Monday, August 22nd! I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by!

 

Books by Flossie Stewart #GreatSummerReads

First in the Enchanted River of the Rose Series! Click here to read about the inspiration behind the series!

River of Secrets, Summer of the Rose

My latest, first in the THE RIVER HAS SECRETS SHE WILL NEVER TELL… Somewhere deep in the forest, where not many have ventured to go, lies a secret. Most of the folks in Anna Brownfield’s little dirt-road town “somewhere in the south” don’t have time for fairy tales about some secret place in the river that can take you to another place and time if you touch the water there. Yet, Anna, who’s now eighty-seven years old, can tell you she knows the ones that have stories to tell. Take a journey back in time if you dare, back to a time when in many ways life was simpler. Go back to a time when you saw the world through the eyes of a child and dared to imagine the impossible.

Read more…                    Read now for free!

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Return to Freedom, Voices in the Wind

New Cover! Kindle (Amazon) and Nook (B&N) versions only $2.99
New Cover! Kindle (Amazon) and Nook (B&N) versions only $2.99

Become the eagle, and take a journey into the past… Back to 1740. Ten winters have passed since his people were taken to serve as slaves for the white men. Now, Soaring Eagle is a strong, proud, Lakota Sioux warrior who will stop at nothing to find his people and return them to their sacred lands.

Then back to the present…Joe “Dreaming Hawk” Thomason has no answers for the dreams he’s been having. Nor can he explain the strange sense of closeness he feels to the Native American elder who tells the stories by the fire at night for the guests at Windy Mountain Campground and Resort. The elusive story teller has given little information about himself, leaving Al and Naomi Edgewood to wonder about the future of the campground. Yet, it is this air of mystery about him that continues to draw the guests each year.

Read more…                          Read now for free!

Do you know anyone who would enjoy these books? Please share!

Happy #Mother’s Day 2015! #lastminutemomsgiftideas

In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to share my flipagram I did for my mother. It’s a free app you can download with your phone, and create a video slide show to music you like from your pictures on your phone.

I really don’t know if I could have gone through all she has gone through and remain as strong as she has. I am everything I am because of the things she has taught me, and because she never gave up on me. If you would like to do one of these for your Mom, the app is free to download. This one’s not perfect, after all, it is my first one, but here you go. Enjoy! And here’s wishing everyone a safe and Happy Mother’s Day! Oh, and at 3:57, I’m in that pic, you just can’t see me yet!

Want to make your own? Hit the button at the bottom of this one.

https://flipagram.com/f/VHG42wM2Q7/embed

http://flipagram.com/f/VHG42wM2Q7

“Return to Freedom, Voices in the Wind”, a #timetravelfantasy #Sneakpreviewexcerpt #promexcerpt

Since this is “prom season”, I have decided to share this little excerpt from my first book, “Return to Freedom, Voices in the Wind”, with you. Although I assume most of the schools have had their proms by now, the memories we create at our high school proms are timeless treasures that we keep in our hearts for the rest of our lives. My first prom was very special to me, as my husband, who was also my high school sweetheart, was the one who took me. In this scene, Corey, who is a high school teacher, is talking with some of the other teachers as they wait for the students to begin arriving. As he and his wife, Karen, are both teachers, (Karen teaches middle school), they soon find themselves on a mission to create a “path for learning” for their children, as advised by the mysterious Native American friend he meets, who has a hand in preparing them for their upcoming vacation, one that will take them on a journey that they will never forget. So, without further ado, here is an excerpt from the prom scene in the book:

Also, the book now has a new cover, although you may still see the old version of it for a while until it has time to update in their system, however, if you order the print version, you will receive the new version. My books are also in the Kindle Matchbook program, which means if you buy the print version, or have in the past, the Kindle version is free. Visit the page for more info. Get your copy and join the Wilkersons as they are about to embark on a journey they will never forget!

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New Cover! Now available on Amazon!
New Cover! Now available on Amazon!

He drove cautiously through the neighborhoods. Already, limos were parked here and there, waiting for their passengers, elegantly dressed young men and women posing out in their yards as cameras snapped away, preserving the memories that would be treasured years down the road.

He showed his teacher’s ID badge to the security officer and drove into the already fast filling parking lot. It was still a little early but many were arriving early to get into the line where pictures were being made, although some had chosen to have theirs made professionally. A handful of teachers and staff had arrived and stood around sipping punch and talking as he walked into the elaborately decorated gym turned dance floor.

“Hi Corey!” a couple of them called out to him. A few parents had come to help serve refreshments and were helping to set up the table. The DJ for the evening was busily setting his equipment up. If he hadn’t known better, he would have never known it was a gymnasium. For this year’s theme, they had set it up to look as though one had walked onto a cruise liner.

“They did an excellent job on this didn’t they?” Kathy Harrelson, one of the eleventh grade English teachers, commented as he walked up and joined them.

“Yes, they certainly did!” he replied. “I would have never known the difference!”

“Makes you want to go and take a cruise doesn’t it?” James Edwards, an Algebra teacher added.

“It sure does!” Corey said, looking around really taking note of it all for the first time.

“Actually, my husband and I are supposed to be going on one this summer! We’re very excited about it!” Kathy said enthusiastically.

“I know you’re looking forward to it!” James said. “Well, it’s about time for our guests to begin arriving! Think I’ll go and sneak one more cup of this punch,” he continued, excusing himself.

“Now, save some for the students!” Kathy called after him, smiling.

“Seems like I heard someone say we were going to start having the prom at a hotel ballroom next year,” she said in a questioning tone.

“Yes, they were talking about it at the board meeting,” Corey answered.

“I didn’t know. I wasn’t able to make the meeting,” she said.

“Well, that would be a nice change,” Tom Knudson said. As students were beginning to arrive, they all made their way to various locations, some near the door to greet those coming in. Then, in the next moment, it happened.

The lights went down, now replaced by special lighting that made one think of being in the ballroom of a cruise ship. In an instant, the whole scene was transformed. The “magic” of the evening had begun. A local lighting business had even donated a couple of less expensive replicas of chandeliers such as those used on cruise liners for them to use for the evening. Suddenly, it was as though they had all been transported to another place. It was truly amazing how they could do this so well, that it was almost convincing.

Now came his favorite part. Being the outgoing, well-liked teacher that he was, he had taken a place near the door. He loved watching their faces light up as they came in, their expressions star-gazed as they looked around, taking it all in. They had even had some help in constructing something similar to the front end of a cruise ship. This was where the king and queen would be introduced later in the evening.

Just then, Rudy Jenkins, the school’s principal, walked over and said something to the DJ, who then handed him the microphone. After a quick welcome announcement along with a reminder to everyone to help make it a safe and fun evening for all, he handed it back to the DJ, who took it and immediately began speaking. He spoke quickly and enthusiastically, starting the song playing when he was halfway through.

“Alright, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this year’s prom, the event you’ve been waiting for all year long! This year’s theme is “Cruising”, so all aboard! Our “ship” is now departing, so hope this will be a wonderful evening for everyone! Now, to start things off, I’ve had a request to play this song in memory of Aiden Jacobson, who was last year’s prom king, so in his memory, and in honor of our theme for this year, here’s a special song to get this ship sailing, so take your lady or your man by the hand, get close, and hope everyone has a lovely evening!”

There were gasps and comments of approval as couples took to the dance floor and began moving slowly with the music. It was the love theme song from a movie about the Titanic. The enchantment of the evening had begun. It always had a way of working its “magic” on him. He stood sipping punch and watching as they let the music take them away. More continued to arrive, and each time, the same amazed expressions as they looked around. “Welcome aboard! Hope you enjoy the evening!” he said as they entered. He always enjoyed seeing all the new styles and designs of dresses and tuxedos. It was like a sea of colors as he watched them, their dresses swishing and swaying as they danced through the evening.

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If you enjoyed this sneak preview excerpt and would like to read more, you can purchase “Return to Freedom, Voices in the Wind” from Amazon. My other book, “River of Secrets, Summer of the Rose”, first in the “Enchanted River of the Rose” series, which is also a time travel fantasy, is also available for purchase. Check back or subscribe to my email via the tab above so you can receive an email as more titles become available in the near future!

On Love and Good Books…

Hi and welcome! If you are visiting my page for the first time, I am a writer and author of 2 books, with more in the works. I come by my writing honestly, as my mother has been one of my greatest teachers, and my dad got me into reading at an early age. You can click on the tabs above to learn more about my books and preview and purchase them, and read sneak previews of some of my upcoming books I am working on.

This one will be short and sweet. I just wanted to share something with you that I thought was really inspiring. It’s just never ceases to amaze me how these things happen. This morning for our devotion, my husband and I were led to a page in our devotion book that talked about love, and the fact that if you cannot love yourself, then you will not be able to love others. I know that for too long, I could not love myself, so I had trouble showing love to others. I have now begun making a point to show more love to others, my husband, my family, and friends.

So, of course, it capped it all off nicely when I had a message in my inbox from my oldest daughter, with the link to this video, which I thought I would share here with you. And now, a few words of wisdom from our dear friend, the late Dr. Maya Angelou, on love…

When you have finished viewing the video, you can click on the “Buy Books” tab above to preview my books and read sneak previews for them. I have redone things a little so that it is easier to preview them and click on the links to purchase them from the same page. Then you can click on the “Reader Reviews” tab, also under the “Buy Books” tab to see reviews I have gotten for these books. Hopefully, there will be more reviews in the near future. Maybe yours will be one of them!

My latest, of which I have not settled on an exact title, is a heartwarming story set in Big Sky, Montana, about a Siberian husky named Sadie, and her journey to becoming a Seizure Alert dog. For now, I am calling it “Sadie’s Love”, although it might just end up being a 2 book series. We shall see! Click here to read a sneak preview of “Sadie’s Love”.

Check back for more on this, or book reading events and other good stuff. For reviews of other good books that have inspired me on my own journey as a writer, check out my “Flo’s Reading Room: Book Reviews” section. This is something new I am doing, and of course, I will be adding new selections to my little “virtual library” from time to time. Oh, and be sure to subscribe to my email via the tab above so you don’t miss anything!

Meanwhile, if you’ve got Love and Good Books, then you’ve got a good thing going!

Something For Your Daughter… From a Mother of 2 Daughters

In my “Book Reviews” section, I have something new I’m doing that I wanted to let you know about. The name of the “Book Reviews” tab has changed to “Flo’s Reading Room: Book Reviews”. My approach here is something a little different that I wanted to try. As time goes by, I will be featuring reviews of books I have read that I thought were very good reads or that have had a positive or inspiring impact on my life. As I add more of these, this will be sort of a “Reading Room” type thing, or my own little “virtual library”, if you will.

You may have already read my review of Mary McDonough’s book, “Lessons From the Mountain, What I Learned From Erin Walton”. (Mary also has a new book coming out, called “One Year”. You can visit her at www.marymcdonough.com to learn more and preorder your copy. My newest addition is one that I ran across a few years ago while browsing through a local bookstore. Written by Robin McGraw, who is Dr. Phil’s wife, it’s called “Inside My Heart” (Choosing to Live with Passion and Purpose). This is a very powerful and encouraging book which is geared especially toward women who want to learn how they can choose the fulfilling, satisfying, and rewarding life they want to live and pursue it. After I flipped it over and read what it is about, I immediately purchased it and gave it to my youngest daughter as a gift, and then told her that when she finished reading it, to give it to her older sister and let her read it. I later went back and bought myself a copy. I decided to review it here on my blog and add it to my “Reading Room” for anyone who has daughters and wants the best for them, as I want for my daughters. You can read my review of it here:

My review of Robin McGraw’s book, “Inside My Heart, Choosing to Live with Passion and Purpose”.

Part of what we do as writers is help other authors, which is really only a small part of why I am doing this. My goal, in addition to promoting my own books, is also sharing books with you that I have found helpful in my own life, either as a writer, a wife, or a mother, or even as a grandmother. So, from time to time, I will be adding to this collection, and eventually have my own little “virtual library”. As for my own books, my first two, “Return to Freedom, Voices in the Wind” and “River of Secrets, Summer of the Rose”, are now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble (online) in print and ebook versions. You can click on my “Books Available Now” tab to learn more. You can also visit the “Books Coming Soon” section to read sneak preview excerpts of other books I am working on, including one my husband and I are very excited about, “Sadie’s Love”,  which is a heart warming story set in Big Sky, Montana, about a Siberian husky, Sadie, and her journey to becoming a Seizure Alert dog. This one is nearly finished and coming soon, although the title may change, as it will likely end up being two books. However, I have decided to hold off on self publishing it, as I did the first two, and send out some query letters and hopefully attract a traditional publisher. I will, of course, keep you posted with new updates on this, so be sure to subscribe to my email by clicking that tab above so you won’t miss out! This way, you will receive an email when it comes out.

In the meantime, while you’re waiting, you can check out my other two books and let me know what you think, or even stop by either the Amazon or Barnes & Noble online pages and leave a nice 1 to 5 star (hopefully 5) customer review! Or, grab a cup of coffee and visit the “Reading Room” and see what’s new in “Flo’s Library”.

These are the books by the authors who have inspired me on my own path to becoming an author, and who have been my greatest teachers. Check back as I will be adding more books to my little “library” from time to time. As for the newest addition, Robin McGraw’s book, I thought it made a great gift for my own daughters. By the way, while we are on the subject of gifts for our daughters, here is some valuable insight written by a father of four daughters: 10 Men Christian Women Should Never Marry.

The greatest gifts we can give our daughters comes from our own experiences, and the life lessons we have learned on our own journeys. Those are the lessons and experiences we will one day pass on to those precious grandchildren when they come along. Those life lessons are the important treasures that our daughters carry forward with them, and eventually become a part of who they will be as young women in a tough and changing world.

The books written by some of the great authors who have gone before me, such as Louis L’Amour, who was one of my Dad’s favorites, just happen to have been a significant part of my journey. May they be a part of yours as well!

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Easter Reflections: Through a Grandmother’s Eyes

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I am taking a moment to venture from the usual fare, of books and writing and so forth, to share my reflections of this past Easter. After all, without our risen Savior as my guide, I most certainly would not be where I am now. I have been many things, but I share this with you, through my eyes as a grandmother.

At first glance, when you look at this picture, you might think of it merely as a nice picture of a buttercup. (Yes, I am a flower and nature lover). But then, look closer. There he is, in the background, a simply adorable little boy who was also enjoying the park with his parents, and a photographer.

The park I am referring to is more of a beautiful garden that was created by the owner in memory of his wife as a tribute to her. It is located in Lillington, NC. At the stop light, instead of turning right onto Main St, turn left and it will be down on the left. I am quite certain weddings have been held there as well as other family celebrations. I recently spoke with the lady who is now caring for it. If I remember correctly, he was her father in law. He has now passed on, but the beauty of this lovely place, that few seem to know about, remains to be enjoyed by anyone who desires to stop by. It is where my husband, Keith, and I had our engagement pictures taken, and has long been sort of my “secret place” to go to. It was also part of the inspiration for another of my books I am working on, “Love’s Timeless Garden”, which will be coming sometime in the near future.

After we got out of church on this beautiful Easter Sunday, my husband, Keith, and I prepared to go to visit my daughter and her husband, and my other daughter and my grandsons. We hid Easter eggs and enjoyed watching my young grandsons hunt for them. It was also one of my grandsons’ birthday, so we brought him his birthday gifts as well. We grilled out and took time to visit with them and talk with the children about school and other things. It was a good visit, and we drove back home feeling tired but blessed.

We were also blessed with a wonderful Easter Service at our church. We enjoyed singing with the choir and celebrating our Risen Savior! In addition to the other songs we sang, I sang one that I have always wanted to sing. With the choir joining in with me at the end, once again, the morning of the first Easter came to life with this song, one of my favorites, that has been performed by Dolly Parton as well as others…

Then, as the Pastor brought the message, we took the children back into the fellowship hall for Children’s Church. Although we didn’t actually count them, I am certain we had around twenty or so. As we both have had experience as substitute teachers, our experience came in handy. We did some fun things with them to help them learn what Easter is all about. All in all, it was something we enjoyed doing, and we emerged more confident because of how much easier it is to work with them considering our experience. Here’s where my grandmother radar kicks in.

As a grandmother, I have had many “teaching moments” with my grandsons. We as grandparents look for those little moments to take advantage of. Whether your grandchildren call you “Mamaw”, as my grandsons call me, or “Memaw”, “Nana”, or “Nanny” as we all called my grandmothers, or “Papa”, “Pawpaw”, or “Grandpa”, our greatest treasures in life are in looking back and treasuring these times with our grandchildren as they grow older, and in knowing that those little “life lessons” we have taught them will go with them throughout their adult lives. It is in knowing that we have taken every opportunity we could find to teach them, and to do it in a fun way that will stick with them, and one day become the treasured memories that they in turn will hand down to their children and grandchildren, that we can truly know we have served that name well, whatever it is they call you. It’s in knowing we have done this to the best of our ability that we can be blessed in seeing the smiles that come to their faces when they get to come and see you. Some of my fondest memories are of going on “dinosaur walks” with my grandsons. The sticks were the “dinosaur” bones. Other favorite times I have enjoyed as “Mamaw” are in reading them stories, especially some of the same ones I read to their mothers when they were little, and in sharing fun memories of their mothers and their uncle as they were growing up. Other times, I have taken a moment to take one of them aside and sit and talk with them about their feelings, when they needed to learn self control. I have enjoyed watching their individual personalities and intellectual abilities develop as they grow older.

We could go on all day sharing these memories, but the one thing we know for sure is, once you are a grandparent, you never see children the same way again. Perhaps that is why I have now begun to have a new attitude towards all children. Just like with my own grandchildren, I find myself wanting all children to have those priceless “grandma” or “grandpa” moments. You may not be a grandma or grandpa yet, and your own children may still be small, or maybe even teenagers, but the memories you are creating today are the “grandpa” or “grandma” moments you will one day share with your own grandchildren. Make them great ones, and make them count.

Perhaps that is why the picture above is priceless to me. Sure my husband knows I am quite the “shutterbug” when it comes to taking pictures. He even stopped for me to take photos of some beautiful pink dogwoods I happened to notice for the first time on that lovely Easter afternoon before we got ready to go and visit my daughters and grandsons. Call it one of those priceless moments. The family that was with the little boy, there at the lovely and timeless garden of love that was created out of a man’s love for his wife, seemed to be totally immersed into the moments with this adorable little boy, who looked almost angelic in his Easter outfit and the hat he wore.

Being the “picture taking nut” that I am, I was just itching to ask if it would be alright with them if I took a picture of him. Yet, in respect of their privacy and not wanting to disturb the peacefulness of their moments, I refrained. Yet there he is, in the background of this timeless photo, unintentionally preserved forever in a picture I was merely taking of a buttercup.

Like I said, being a grandparent changes you…forever.