Wally takes on a journey from the guy who committed to Christ but did not have a friendship a relationship. Wally takes us through this book as people from every walk of life a every set of circumstances. Everyone meets Jesus in their own way. Those who believe in God, yet don’t seek his relationship are lost and still searching or have not meet Wally yet. Wally lets every reader know that God is a Friend that is their to answer the phone at 3am to hold your hand as you are on your knees weeping. He is also a god who shops with you while your picking out milk. There is one God, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit. That being known we are all made in His image and not one of us look exactly the same. That is the tone of the book and a wonderful preview for how we should all seek out the word of the father. Jesus might come to me over a cup of coffee, yet come to you on a Lear jet flying cross-country for an investment meeting. It is not the who or the what, it is the meeting you where you are. When we realize that Christ will meet us where we are then we can take that step and lean into Him for guidance, love all things you. When you realize He is with you in the kitchen, conference room, golf course or even church, you can then start the conversation: Hi Jesus, it’s me, I just wanted to talk about my heart feeling about taking this job. We will all be met in the place intended for God is not a one size fits all – how could he be with the beauty he created in us.
Book Description:Wally Armstrong takes the concept of Jesus being so real you could sit on a couch with Him and have a meaningful fully vested conversation with him. Society today does not allow for people to realize God is just a Friend, waiting for you to reach out, start the conversation. In “Practicing the presence of Jesus” Wally gives each of us a way an approach to creating the same amazing unique experience he has had, and the easy way to forage a relationship so real that you not only feel but you know He is sitting on the couch next to you.
I would and have recommended this book to many who still see God as a person we honor only. It is amazing to see the eyes of those who have that first taste f friendship.
I being asked to do a review on this book: practicing the presence. of Jesus. Experience the gift of His Friendship From the forward by Ken Blanchard on, something inside stirred. I found this not a personal improvement book nor a Strong hold I will make you a believer novelette. Rather in fine form this is a well pictured piece of the vine placed on paper so those untouched by the branches will feel the power one chapter can give and as I dive in. I find personal Experiences funny. They question you placement in a spatial relationship to an experience, they ask without words if you are knowledgeable enough to speak to that experience, finally even probe the sentiment does anyone cares about your opinion when it relates to an experience. Harsh but ever so true.
Here is a a small taste~a quote before the contents to give you a taste of the
I hope you are as excited as I am for the upcoming review. This book has given me wise on-site, strong reproach to daily failures and triumphs. I will take great pleasure in reviewing this beautiful book.
Today I believe the image of the police line do not cross is very raw. It feels honest and true. I cannot pinpoint the time or place, where survival turned into a primal need for me. I feel I need to find a place where you don’t have to survive, to exist. The need to carry out emotion for anyone is gone.
I am so very sincere when I say, before the incident all I wanted was to enjoy this life,laugh, cry. I even was to emotional sometimes, but in a weird type of reverse affirmation, I would do anything – you don’t want to know the things and likes I went to make people happy. “When you can so readily overlook your own wickedness, why are you more clear-sighted than the eagle or serpent of Epidaurus, in spying out the failings of your friends?” I gave somebody my car. I paid rent for people. Deep down the desire to have someone (God )fill my void manifested by me trying to make sure everyone around me had everything they needed. Even in work, stay up late, try to do the best of the best. I know this is not what God ever desired. I fell into a circle of affirmation do for you affirmation do for you. I don’t want affirmation, I just want the small group of people who really know me to Love me for being Jenn Quirky as I am. Wanting everyone around me happy is not an obtainable goal nor rational. It is just the fragments of space left over from the cycle of giving I lived in for so long.
I am now seeking God to offer the happiness that is the vail of happiness I think will disappear. So will exploring my cycle of happiness with God accomplish a calm within me. Or change my character to one that finds happiness by serving Him in all things and rejoicing in the happiness that manifest and seeps deep into the part of my soul the Holy Spirit Dwells? I know the answer for the moment I met the Holy spirit my heart changed and so did I. Forever I want a disciple to be, as my calling. I sometimes say I was a liking to Paul throwing stones at God only to fall at his feet weeping for days.So I asked myself?
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:3. I have the plank of illness, but no-one can pull it out of my eyes. I am working on reading scripture to myself until the plank becomes a sliver and that sliver I remove with grace. Sometimes I feel I have a lost family I reach out yet they are in a world of calm and understanding. they see not the pain that one can experience or the exhaustion that has no meaning at all. I find their love pure and true, they have just been lost in the desert many years. God please give me the understanding and perseverance to have the strength to pray for their eyes to see even at my own sufferage.- this hurts the most – “mom did you get my 3 calls and 4 emails? all about different important things. even today a sister can drink the nectar of those who know of your love but are not dwelling in the pool of utopia. Pain they say is just in your head wondering a path that has many diverse roads, each will take you to a place, the road signs are all but lost. If I find the road to the flame, perhaps this scripture will will help put out the flames
When I kept it all inside,
my bones turned to powder,
my words became daylong groans.
4 The pressure never let up;
all the juices of my life dried up.
5 Then I let it all out;
I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.”
Suddenly the pressure was gone—
my guilt dissolved,
my sin disappeared.
6 These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray;
when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts
we’ll be on high ground, untouched.
Then I turn to the pain that are so strong the burning and electricity in my hurt so bad in my hips or legs what then will I do. I must turn to the lord – I Listened as I was reading the Bible tells us of light and of dark, but never anything but the truth. I believed my pain would find an end through Psalm 77:1-2 not what you would think but it rested my soul.
1 I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.
God He is the only one who can hear me – He will hold me tight all will come to fruition.
God – The reason I am able to overcome obstacles and yet, the closer I come to him the serpent in all his glory – He has glory for he is able to turn those bound for Christ to him (So Sad). Today was a day I needed God to carry me on his shoulders, rather I needed Him to carry me in His arms. I kept tripping falling over and over, the same obstacle the same plank in my eye. For as much as I thought I will survive this I am stronger than any pain. Pain is not real just a system of nerve responses to stimuli that attack from the world around us. I wanted a shower, I wanted to take my husband on a mini date – go get a little snack from the store then watch NCIS together. This was my surprise. I put the wheelchair in the corner folded up and forgotten – I need you know more, my children had their dinner and a movie to watch. I said give me a few minutes and I’ll come sit with you. Two minutes into the shower my daughter wants to know if she can help me because Dad called he’s on his way home and the sweet girl she was she let dad know I was upstairs on my own – the #1 no-no for Jenn. No more passing out. No more hurting myself. I claimed a pacifist yet there are moments I want to shave my head and punch my face in.
So that’s my story Go let the serpent play with me today as Job, to see if I would hold strong to Him and overcome this adversity. So what do I do I take it out on everyone and everything I can see for at least and hour. I became that vision of a person I had put in a box and promised never to let out.
The only way to overcome the feeling of loneliness, separated from your family, separated from your God. IS GOD
The only way to find a door out of the screaming in your head and the will of perfection is GOD, Your Heavenly Father – The Holy Almighty!, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Yahweh! and knower of all things great and small! I want to run God let’s satan give us that notion. If we are old enough to have children we know no matter where you go your problems follow. Hard Lesson but oh so true! –
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 (NIV)
It is time to reach for the word renewed inch by inch – fall down get up not by the Father, I must surrender completely, repetitively . Get back in the machine, persevere until they find the reason for your neurological pain. God’s timing is not mine!!!! God I don’t understand but forgive, Love you for your timing it always brings Glory! He will in His time make me the Beauty he wants me! For His Glory this is me, Broken, but steadfast!! Therefore let my mind be cleansed as with ethanol to a wound keep it from fearing the just the intimacy forgotten – Satan has been Rebuked from my soul~Amen
God please use me to share your word with as many people as possible so that I may carry out what you set out for me to do in this condition. For all the people lifting me up, Thank you is not enough. You are the true disciples of our Father
Yahweh! Please send me words of encouragement, come, come I will serve you tea, I will wash your feet, for I am no better than our Father. I Know I need two or more gathered together so our God will be with us and in us as we pray.
I do not like the ability of family far away or just 30 miles to have control over all of your emotions. Maybe that should not be true, but I live out of a Target bag and a half drank Diet coke right now. I cannot sleep because I am not a home, yet the one person who made it a home besides the eldest makes me feel more messed up as to home every time I talk, yet lets me know how far I have to go for it to really manifest itself in a positive way.
REALITY – Please Help
When I go to New York Monday,10/1 7 days I pray the DR. and NP say I am a surgical candidate. if soI’m going bald for locks of Love. I may not afford the trip and all the hospital and extranious items but , I can give twelve inches of my hair. If you want to help you can donate. I am sad right now as you can see to many emotions and not enough God. So I am going to excuse myself and go find him. All Grammar is due to typing with one hand is hard. my fingers have no feeling — Thoracic Outlet – it hurts to sit because of the SI Joint dysfunction. My L1-S1 discs are bulged torn and have annular tears, they hurt. I have a piece if liquid in my spine that should not be their. the Syringnomyelia runs from C1-S1 and messes with all my nerves. I cannot feel my right leg. Actually i cannot feel anything from my 2nd rib to my middle thigh on both sides but I lay low. Funny not feeling your belly button. I’m messed up – I have a pain pump in my abdomen that drip medicine in my spine I still have to take meds. Everything hurts, I cannot sleep. I am always Tired I fall all the time. I get right sided headache’s that come on with a couch, or for no reason that hurt like I knife through my brain. I cannot raise my arms above my shoulders and if your touch my right armI might hurt you it hurts so much. I am sorry – I don’t like pity – One day at a time and today all I want to do is sleep. But I have something each day until I leave so. Oh well the thought was good.
I want an electric blanket, and fun scrapbook stuff to tell my SM/CM /SD story DR. B I believe in you. I also believe in my friends – I will raise what I need and I will make it without fear. Amen
FRUIT OF MY SPIRIT IS ONE OF THE BOOKS YOU READ AND THEN CRY FOR AWHILE, LOOK AT YOUR BIBLE FOR AWHILE, THEN REALIZE YOU HAVE BEEN CHANGED FOR THE BETTER. THIS BOOK IS A PERSONAL JOURNEY OF DEANNA’S, A RARE UNCENSORED RAW LOOK AT ALL THE THINGS THAT TAKE YOU DOWN THE THE PLACE WHERE YOU FEEL YOU CANNOT BE FORGIVEN. IT TAKES YOU ALL THE WAY TO THE PLACE GOD’S POWER LIFTS YOU UP, BEYOND FORGIVENESS BEYOND BONDAGE.
DEANNA OPENS WITH A SCRIPTURE FROM THE APOSTLE PAUL, HIS LETTER TO THE PEOPLE OF GALATIA:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 Agape, Egkrateia, Eirene, Chara, Chrestotes, Chrestotes, Makrothumia or Hupmone, Praotes, Pistis – Then living Life in Gods grace
Deanna was reframing her Life in God‘s Grace. One by one she was using Paul letter to guide her to a place of forgiveness and peace. Letting her readers know right away, Life is a challenge. There is no way around it Life is a challenge, accept that truth and move forward. This more than anything puts Deanna in a separate category than general Spiritual self help type writers. Deanna, doesn’t quote scripture then use life in general to explain why these are hard scriptures, she states life can be a difficult situation.
“Iv’e not only trivialised God’s love and forgiveness, but Ive missed the magnitude of His mercy that’s been shared with me over and over again.” Wow what a statement, what a raw exposing look into the soul of a woman begging for the type of Love only the Children of our great God experience. Without halting, tripping or slowing down she runs for the answers…..
Her vulnerable inside child, beaten and bruised by life shares life’s most dark places, fears we never would imagine realized, let alone exposed. Vulnerable, sharing moments families keep private. Little treasures found as a family brought alive. Mesmerizing to the reader going through all the stages of the true – THE TRUE – travel of any woman/man/child scared or hurt enough. Searching for the feeling, real forgiveness from God.
All the while the Holy Spirit is Placing items in her path to accomplish this. Kurt being one very large step. I have never felt the goodness of God’s everlasting Grace, Deanna experiences by exposing these truth’s. I Feel His forgiveness through another persons story in a way like no other as I read Fruit of My Spirit. I believe.
This book is not made for one person, orva book just to pick up because the title seems to fit the situation!
I believe this book should be read by every graduating teenager. Every single mother before childbirth.
I think this book will transcend the waters of religion and share Holy Forgiveness, Pauls’s Message to anyone who needs him, Galatians 5:22-23.
Anyone who has said, Uh, why God Why? Read Fruit of the Spirit -Understand
This book will let you cry, help you see with clearer eyes. Teach you to use your bible to make you stronger. Help you to see those around you that need a friend, a little Agape!
Thank you Deanna for letting me read and re-read your touching book. I feel I know you and your family – this book has, will change lives. If you do not buy this book for yourself, buy this for someone you love. They will love you for it.
I am excited, apprehensive, scared, nervous, happy, elated, strong, weak, confused. They are doing a consultation for which BJ and I have to fly to New York.When we are there we are expecting to visit with a nurse practitioner followed by a Neurosurgeon. Te Neurosurgeon will either accept me as a surgical candidate or not. The options are conservative treatment i.e. what were doing, or spinal decompression.
If I am scheduled for a spinal decompression, that will probably take place right away while I am there. That is a process where they enter at the base of your skull and take a piece of your Occipital bone, not enough that your cerebellum would fall. If that is the plan and I pray that it is, for we have tried so much else.
So that is what is happening in the next two weeks! A Consultation. A long awaited Consultation. That in itself is amazing. We have a million thing to do before we go, kids, dog, bills, flights, pack, breathe, you know the normal things.
I hope you are all well!!! I truly do. you have been amazing!
I found a quote today while I was reading my bible, it really infected me, down to my soul.
“A Shimmering Quality” “Just thinking about Eden sometimes gives me an ache in my chest. I find myself wondering about the pure and shimmering quality of life there that somehow slipped through our finger. Just picture it. It was nothing to begin with. Nothing. And then God opened his mouth and spoke, and when he did, everything started taking shape. He used his words to make a world! He called forth forces of symmetry and beauty and great power. He laid boundaries of order and balance and proportion. With the precision of a master clockmaker he set in motion the weights and wheels of a perfect creation. And then, seeing the beauty of his own handiwork, he proclaimed with pride, “Good. Good.” And “Very good.” Light, darkness, sky, land, water, winds and tides; plants, trees, sun, moon, stars and planets. And animals flying, soaring, swimming, loping, crawling, galloping. All things in their vast array he created. Then finally he created human beings, both male and female his shinning glory, whom he put in charge of it all. “Claire Cloninger”
Its amazing that God in all his infinite wisdom, chose us; Male and Female to be in charge of all of creation. – “All of Creation” not just a section but rather the whole. DO you know anyone in your life who takes the responsibility in so much that it is as given with a pure heart to make sure this world we live in is “taken care of” in a manner that would be pleasing to God?
He also in that decision gave that responsibility to “Us” “Male and Female.” The role of working in a symbiotic relationship with the opposite sex. Not just the opposite sex, rather the person God created for you, as he created Eve for Adam!
I Have my mate that I believe God intended for me, I don’t know that we have ever spoken to the question: what are we doing with our responsibility to keep this creation by our Heavenly father, one that is pleasing to Him. Have we listened to God? Have we Daughters and Sons of Christ, listened to to the first instructions he gave us? I think we have left that as a frightening question that we believe does not pertain to us.
This creation starting with Eden is the place we should all long to accomplish, together with our spouse, our “male and female”, feed our souls with love, take in the word and place it in the parts of our union only we can reach. He made each of us for each other he made the process of making and keeping Eden for each of us. We read it. We believe it, so why don’t we act. Perhaps we feel it is not for those of us. To recreate Eden in our lives, whatever that may look like to each of us.
To some of us Eden May be making it through school and helping others everyday by being a doctor who cares. Taking time to make sure that God is invited into the surgery, lab, MRI, CT, Chest Scan or radiation infusion area before starting a procedure.
To some Eden may be the words God whispers in their ear loud enough that they are able to write a novel that with the proper visibility will change lives. So many authors go through the thorns and branches of the fallen world. Only to find the place where Eden is hidden. Though when they find it, the breath and miracles that form through their words are undeniable.
Today I was given the chance to find my eden – It is partially the photo of the Married couple, for my spouse makes my life a series of blessings upon blessings. Never a moment goes by that I doubt his undying love for me. He holds me hand as I scream for something to make the fire in my leg stop, knowing it is just my neurological system and it is just a waiting game. He covers my face with a wet wash cloth when I am so cold that I know I am going to freeze to death. Have you seen anyone so loving that he helps me make my all fruit and veggie shakes so I can lose weight and help keep my muscles moving. He calls me to make sure I am up for the kids, then sneaks home my favorite chocolate and peanut butter ice cream from Basken-Robbins?
Then I thought of my Eden as the call I am waiting for, or the Church that gave me hope that they were going to come help me reboot my spiritual journey. Or the idea of taking this five year journey and scrap-booking it in a white book with black pages. Then I remembered I took the wheelchair for an adventure three days ago, I tried to climb the driveway to send a letter. I called out first, checking to see if there was anyone there to help me along the way. No so off i went. I made it to a part of the grass in front of the red truck. Five cars passed, including a black minivan all watching, the girl in the wheelchair climbing a straight up driveway with no power, a mount Everest with a tee shirt on. I had blistered my hands and although stuck, I was not giving in. Then came the neighbor girl, she just pulled in and immediately ran over. “How can i help you”. “Please place this in the mail.” Let’s get you safe first.” “No, please just put this in the mail, I can hold on.” I did and together we made it back to the house, where I decided, that was not an adventure I would take again – guess I am not running to the store on my own anytime soon.
That was it I found my Eden, it was not given to a woman, to write a novel that changes the world, a political leader that in His own way tries to accomplish the unattainable. It is not the research in ten different countries backed by Millions of pre-tax dollars striving to fix the energy crisis we have found our self in because we did not read. The Bible told us how to live, to survive, to find Eden here on earth again and in doing so learn more about ourselves. We are too Free Willed for creating what we were born to create! We had to separate everything into “theirs and ours”. We question the reality of our circumstances and then spend a lifetime creating a world that in itself will be the death of us.
I found my Eden, in my spouse, my love for life, my belief that God will find a way to create a man and a woman who will together give us the change and chance at living once again, all we have to do is take it. I will. Will You?
When you get back to blogging, and I know you will, I’m walking on cloud 9 because Dandelion Summer won the ACFW Carol award for Women’s Fiction. They made a big announcement to tell everyone that DS is the first book EVER to get a perfect score. All five judges gave it all 10 points. There is a picture on Southern Belle View today of us winners. Blessings during this difficult, but hopeful time!
Dandelion Summer, has been by far my most favorite book! Thank you for stopping by to read the interview. I cannot wait to the comments from this interview of Dandelion Summer. It is not one to be missed ~ have fun and be blessed. We might have to have a second question as I am reading it again more things pop out!
Thank you Lisa Wingate for letting me share my love of your books with my readers –
When did you first realize you were a writer?
I’ve loved to write for as long as I can remember. My older brother was a good writer, and when you’re the youngest in the family, you want to do what the older kids do. When he won a school award for his poem, “The Bee Went Under the Sea,” I was so impressed by his literary brilliance (and the blue ribbon) that I immediately went to my bedroom and created my first book, The Story of a Dog Named Frisky. The Frisky story was the start of many partially-completed writing projects.
A special first grade teacher, Mrs. Krackhardt, put the idea of being a real writer into my head. She found me writing a story one day at indoor recess, and she took the time to stop and read it. When she was finished, she tapped the pages on the desk to straighten them, looked at me over the top and said, “You are a wonderful writer!” That was a defining moment for me. In my mind, I was a writer. When your first grade teacher tells you that you can do something, you believe it.
Then when she read the story to the students and they turned and asked me, “What happened next?” (after the boy went into the bear cave) I was hooked! I wrote sequels to the story for days and Mrs. Krackhardt read them to the class.
Growing up, I often wrote in response to things I felt were wrong in the world. I wanted to create something that would cause people to stop and think, to treat each other and the world around them with greater kindness and grace. Those desires eventually led me to write my first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, which was published in 2001.
Share a little about your publishing journey.
I had been doing technical writing and some magazine articles after graduating with a degree in technical writing. (Not that I liked technical writing all that well, but in my family, you majored in something that would qualify you for a day job!) One day when my boys were little, I opened a drawer and unearthed a notebook of stories and life lessons my grandmother had shared with me shortly after my first son was born. I had the idea of combining Grandma’s stories with a fictional family. In reality, like many writers, I was writing my own story, relaying how my grandmother’s wisdom had produced an epiphany for me, a lightbulb moment. After writing a few chapters, I asked my husband and my mother to read them, with the questions, ‘Should I continue? Would anyone want to read this?’
With their resounding encouragement, I composed the manuscript for my first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, found an agent, the agent sold the book, and the book was published in 2001 as a premier title in Penguin Putnam’s New American Library’s women’s fiction line. In recent years, I have been writing inspirationals for Bethany House (a CBA publisher) and Penguin Putnam (an ABA publisher). Eleven years ago, when Tending Roses came out, there was very little crossover between the two markets, and Christian publishing was largely focused on historical fiction. When Tending Roses came out with Penguin Putnam, bookstore managers sent comment cards saying they had customers looking for stories like this, in which characters grew in faith, and content wasn’t graphic. It turns out that those bookstore managers were right, because the market for inspirational fiction has grown and diversified in countless ways during the past ten years. Now it is possible to have the same novel selling in the general market fiction section of bookstores, in Christian stores, and in big box stores like Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. I’m thrilled to see faith-based fiction out in front of the masses!
Which of your books is your favorite?
Because of the connection to my grandmother, Tending Roses will always be my sentimental favorite. That story has traveled the world, been reprinted eighteen times to date, has been used to teach adults to read in various literacy programs, has been used in university courses on aging, and was selected to promote women’s literacy in India. Recently, I heard from a group of women in Israel who were reading and circulating the book. It’s amazing and humbling to see something you wrote, sitting at home with your computer, travel at the speed of light and reach people who live different lives in different places. It makes you realize that we are more similar than we sometimes think. Amazing also, that in this fast-changing market, the book has stayed in print all these years and is now in e-book also. Many of my fans tell me this is their very favorite of my books.
My mom, on the other hand, as soon as she read the first draft of Dandelion Summer, declared this my best work. She said DS as a movie just kept playing through her head and could take the place of her favorite, On Golden Pond. Later my sweet mother-in-law said nearly the same thing and fans have written to tell me how much the book resonated with them. It’s kind of like trying to pick your favorite child, but I think Tending Roses will remain ever in my heart as my sentimental favorite!
Will you share a writing tip that you’ve stumbled upon in your years as a writer?
First, finish the book. It’s almost impossible to sell a partial if you’re unpublished, and even if you are published, you’re asking an editor to take a much bigger risk by buying a novel without being able to read it all. Polish it, get an agent, especially if you are writing fiction, and send the manuscript out, because as much as we’d like them to, editors won’t come looking in our desk drawers. While you’re waiting for news, write another book. If the first one sells, you’ll be set for a two-book deal. That’s exactly what happened to me. I sat down and wrote a lighter novel, Texas Cooking while I was going through the process and months of finding an agent and submitting the book to several publishers. When Tending Roses sold, they snapped up both books into the contract. With new writers, editors worry whether an author can produce a second book within about a year and many can’t.
If the first book doesn’t sell, you have eggs in another basket. Your agent can shop your second book around and you may be on your way! Also, don’t take a critique too seriously if you hear it from one editor/agent, unless there’s an imminent contract involved. Editors and agents, just like the rest of us, are individuals. What works for one may not work for another. If you receive the same comment from multiple sources, consider revising your manuscript before you send it elsewhere. Be tenacious, be as thick-skinned as possible, keep writing while you wait for news. Never stop creating new material—that’s where the joy is, and if you keep the joy of this business, you keep the magic of it.
Why did you write Dandelion Summer? What was your inspiration for this book?
The story features an unlikely friendship between a grumpy old man and a desperate teenage girl who are drawn together as they try to solve the mysteries of his hidden family past. Their search takes them on a journey of discovery through historic towns of the old south and into nostalgic recollections of America’s space race during the 1960’s.
For me, this story was a joy to write, as the original Apollo moon shots are some of my oldest memories, when I sat on my dad’s shoulders watching the TV and feeling his crew cut under my chin. The history of Norman’s career in the novel mirrors the real-life adventures of my wonderful reader-friend, Ed Stevens, who helped design America’s first moon lander, Surveyor, while working for Howard Hughes.
One of the best things about creating fictional people and sending them into the world has been that they come back home again, trailing real people behind them. I met Ed when he read Texas Cooking and sent a very nice note about it. I had to admire a guy who would pick up a book with a vivid pink cover (I once spotted my book from six stories up in a hotel atrium lobby.), read it, and write to the author.
Ed, is such an encourager. He explained that he was a retired engineer and loved to do projects on his computer. He offered to do anything he could to help me spread the news about my books and he has done so much of that, I can’t even count the ways at this point. During all the emails and calls about his projects for me, he would now and then write some memories of his career and travels, and of his daughter and his favorite old dog, Huckleberry. Eventually, I wanted to include much of this in a book, and Dandelion Summer was born. All fiction contains snippets of real life, of course, and I named my character after my grandfather, Norman, and gave him some of Grandpa’s feisty Irish personality. I’ve been blessed to meet so many incredible new friends and learn about their lives, and everything I write these days seems to be a combination of fact and fiction.
You mentioned that your mom says that Dandelion Summer is your best book yet. So, how does your mom influence or encourage you as an author? Mom always encouraged my writing, but both of my parents insisted I needed to prepare for a job that would feed me. So, I majored in Technical Writing and held a couple of different jobs doing that until I decided to be a stay-at-home mom and write for publication. That was after my epiphany moment, related in Tending Roses when Grandma Rose tells about lacking time for tending her roses when her children were small. With that one little story/lesson, my grandmother made it OK for me to ignore my tech writing career for a while and just enjoy raising being a mother and raising young children.
These days Mom is my first reader. She gets the drafts when I’ve only read back through them once, so she helps with everything from spelling to spotting plot holes, to characterization — just whatever she suggests, I consider. Maybe I make the changes and maybe not, but I think about it anyway.
After reading Dandelion Summer, she said, “This is your best book yet…even better than Tending Roses! I love Epie. She seems so real and I’m going to wonder what happens next with her. The scenes in the house were soooo funny in her voice. (What a voice, BTW. So teenage, so biracial, so tentative and at-risk, and such potential.) But, it’s J. Norm who stands out in my mind. He reminds me of my dad in personality and I love how you have given him such a grand career, but also the guilt about his “failure” at fatherhood. On Golden Pond just kept popping into my head.”
There was more, but can’t you just see me doing the Snoopy dance with ears flopping when I opened my email that morning? When I trimmed the book some on the second draft, she insisted I reinstate a scene or two that she really missed. I did.
Later my husband’s mom agreed that it is my best book. Some fans have written that also, but others are still holding Tending Roses as their favorite. I love to hear from those who have read both. Maybe I should put out a poll :o)
Mom and I don’t always agree, of course. When I sent her a draft of the first few chapters of The Language of Sycamores she wrote back a scathing, “WHY are you writing about Karen (the somewhat detached sister from Tending Roses). I don’t even LIKE Karen.” I went on to write Karen’s story because, as I often tell audiences, ‘Sometimes when you don’t like a person it’s because you don’t really know where they’re coming from.’ Karen wasn’t living a very genuine life, fixated on her career and lacking personal, meaningful relationships. A sudden crisis at her workplace threw her into tailspin where she had to step back and look at her life. When the book was finished, Mom was happy with it.What else should we know about Dandelion Summer? It’s been amazing how popular Dandelion Summer is with book clubs. On my website (www.lisawingate.com) there is a book club pack of background information, pictures, videos, recipes, and decorating hints. There is even a video of my favorite local book club discussing Dandelion Summer with me!I love getting email from clubs who discussed the questions in the back of the book and watched the video of the father/daughter letter. That video has had over 100,000 hits on Youtube and other sites and by live audiences. Amazing! I’ve heard from teachers who show it to teenage boys who think that if they get a girl pregnant, no problem, the girl will take care of it all. I’ve heard from women who’ve shared it with their father, their sons who have recently become fathers, and friends everywhere. There are not many books out there about the father/daughter relationship and DS seems to strike a chord with many. J.Norm’s relationship with his daughter parallels the regrets many dads feel about not spending enough time with their children. And J.Norm’s friendship with Epie, depicts how so many girls and women are looking for love in all the wrong places because of lack of a good, strong father figure in their lives. Here is the link for the father/daughter letter video:Play “A Father’s Letter to His Daughter” for your book club, from this link: http://www.youtube.com/lisawingate#p/a/u/2/0p1p-0TQrmsAnd very nice working with you, Jennifer,
Rainbows are a very special gift God has given everyone. To me they tell me “You ‘re safe, I am with you!” I trust in that every-time I see the wonderous display in the sky. A friend and I, would call each other wherever we were to say “Hey, I see a Rainbow, Do you see it too?” A little bit of God Joy shared with so many. Even if the other person could not see the rainbow the Joy was still felt in the reason for the call. She is to far away to share the same rainbows now, I still think of calling sometimes I do! Our brain teaches us to do or remember moments or actions long after they have gone or stopped, still reminding us of the feeling or moment years past.
Recently, I Have had a hiccup with my walk with God, I needed a reboot a reason to keep trudging forward in this valley as a loving disciple. I wouldn’t want it an other way. I’m walking with God, or being carried by God, there was no room for Why. It is not for me to question, rather just jump in.Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. for I a gentle a humble in heat, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light” Matthew 11:29-30. For following God, being a disciple as I have been and searched for again was not a suit to wear but father a lifestyle that can change a person’s heart.
Today He was heavy on my heart, calling. I was not listening, instead paying more attention to the things happening to my body I could not explain. Then it happened~ I was typing a review, there on my left hand is a rainbow as dark as night and as deep as the dead sea. The most beautiful image if redemption and of promise’s that I had ever seen! All this sitting on my hand from a dangling piece of glass in the other room. “Wow – Okay God you are shouting now” I really felt WOW all this time I have been struggling, He has been carrying me. Waiting for me to realize even if I fall He will be their not only to lift me up, to guide me through unknown territory.
Then, I was reminded God is not only merciful but gracious. He didn’t want to just tell me it’s going to be okay. He wanted my family to know mommy was going to be okay too. We had just sat for dinner when a rainbow started ascending in our back yard! The picture does not do it justice, but wow was it was loud in the house! The little one was shouting, “Mommy, Mommy look at the rainbow, and the older girl was n her chair pointing and looking in amazement talking about God! We watched it grow quietly for quite a while, taking a few photos in-between the precious moment with my little ones. Suddenly my little man said “Mommy God Loves Us!” Yes, why Yes he does!!
God likes everyone to know He is their for them regardless of circumstance and current tribulations. Nothing is to Big or Wide for Him to work through. We are just crystalline star-dust in the hands of our Creator, what a wake up call! Needless to say I woke from my questioning slumber to a state passion, Love I was alive in Him again! The Rainbow turned to two rainbows then just as fast it left, not before the calling was heard loud and clear to all in the home.
After my husband got home we talked and shared. As He turned on the television again, Their it was as bright as day another rainbow on the television! It was part of a show or commercial without rhyme or reason their it was. God had taken my house today, made it a place to feel Joy, share Love and experience the falling if returning to a place of surrender, of awakening’s for us all. I found I was not the only one stuck, Thank you God for today, I will never forget it I stopped the television and shared the instances of God in my life today, it was good to talk about Him with my spouse to say “He is in my life” with a small burst of color three times – I thank the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit for letting me know we need not go alone, rather we shall follow wherever God leads.
Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the Lord.
Today, I am a disciple, a child of God. Me, my family will walk through this valley holding Hope for He is with us carrying us when we cannot stand.
Love is a mighty thing, I feel humbled to have experienced the call of Jesus in my time of need without seeking an answer.
I wanted to share with my Blog readers a great Christian author. I will be reviewing a book of her’s here in the next couple weeks, Perhaps even giving one away!). I am very excited, you should as well!
Right now you can get her book “Talk of the Town” free on Amazon. We all know this is a fast paced changing site so be quick and grab this book while you can!
I cannot wait to tell you all about her – so catch up a little by reading this book while it is still free!
One day tells its tale to another and one night imparts knowledge to another, although they have no words or language, and their voices are not heard, their sound has gone out into all the lands, and their message to the ends of the world. -- Psalm 19:2-4