Just a Walk in the Park

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post. I’ve been busy!

On Father’s Day, my husband wanted to go for a walk after church services. We opted to drive a few minutes and hike in a nearby park because it’s so much more relaxing than walking in our subdivision.

It was beautiful. I kept stopping to snap pics of wildflowers. They reminded me of my childhood when we wandered the fields around my grandma’s farm.

We’d planned to walk about a mile-and-a-half. However, we made a wrong turn somewhere along the way and ended up on a three-mile trail. That was not so terrible, except for the approach of dark clouds and the ominous rumble of thunder in the distance. 😦

Pulling up GPS on my phone, I determined that we were still half an hour from our parking spot when the wind started whipping around. We increased our speed, which concerned me a little because my husband has health problems. So, I prayed (I may have begged) for God’s help.

Minutes later, as raindrops began to pelt us, we topped a long hill and found a pavilion where we could take cover. A bike rider had also taken cover there. After a few minutes of watching the rain fall in sheets and lightning striking all around, the bike rider struck up a conversation with my husband. He gave us advice on the shortest route to take to get back to our car.

My husband asked lots of questions (as he usually does) and found out where the guy likes to ride. He showed us photos he’d taken in some remote areas around the county. As the rain began to subside, he decided to call it a day. He was parked nearby, so he offered us a ride to our car (by foot, still over a mile from our present location).

My husband happily accepted. We were in the guy’s vehicle by the time I remembered the prayer I’d prayed. I whispered a thank-you to my Heavenly Father. Either He’d had mercy on our foolishness and lack of planning, or, we had met someone we needed to meet and given a stranger the opportunity to do a good deed.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to accept help, especially if the offer comes from someone you don’t really know. Have you ever given a stranger an opportunity to do a good deed?

Christy History

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I am running late today, but it is still morning, and I’m enjoying a second cup of my favorite brew.

I completely missed last week’s post. That holiday threw me off! My last post, I promised more family history. In searching through old photos, I discovered cowboys. You’ll find that post here. The Packnett family intrigued me with their good looks and interesting lineage.

In Family History, I talked about the Youngers and the Christys. Long before my grandmother, Audrie Packnett met and married my grandpa, Henry Earl Christy, Minnie Younger married William Henry Christy. Minnie and Willie Christy both came from pioneer stock. Their families had traveled west and ended up in Arkansas and Missouri.

William Henry Christy II was born Nov. 2, 1886, in Arkansas. He died at the young age of 54, in Amarillo, Texas, and was buried in the family’s hometown of Henryetta Oklahoma.

Minnie Lee Younger was born Oct. 2, 1889, also in Arkansas. She also died in Amarillo, in 1970. She was eighty years old.

The Christy Family, 1918

Willie and Minnie had four sons. Twins, Floyd & Lloyd, Henry Earl, and Elton. I think the twins look like double trouble. Kind of like Dennis the Menace times two. My grandpa, Henry Earl, is in the center of this photo. His younger brother Elton stands in front of him. My grownup Grandpa looked a lot like his daddy.

The first time I saw this photo, I was confused. I wondered what my younger brother was doing in such an old photograph. He looks an awful lot like Willie Christy.

The twins were born in 1909 in Dardanelle, Arkansas. Grandpa was born in 1912, and Elton was born in 1915. Elton was the only one to remain in Henryetta. He died in 1991 at the age of 75. Grandpa also died at 75.

The twins moved to Amarillo, where they spent their lives working for the railroad. They were seldom on the same train at the same time. But in 1968, they were. The train derailed, killing Uncle Lloyd. Uncle Floyd was injured but survived. He died in 1996 at the age of 85.

Great-Grandma Christy was a widow at 51. Eight years later, she married Parker George White, the widower of her sister, Lissie, in California. My Grandpa (Henry), would later move to California. I assume he didn’t like the weather in Seattle, Washington, where he’d been living with my Grandma and his two daughters, my Aunt Earlene and Mom. Grandma had no intention of ever going south again, where there was any possibility of dust storms. She remained in Seattle with her daughters.

I think he resembles Walt Disney in this photo. I wonder how he felt, starting over without his family. Whatever the reasons, his daughters forgave him and had a very good relationship with him.

 

I found this little card among his old photographs. I think he lived here at one time.

He and Audrie eventually divorced, and both remarried. Grandpa would live his last years in various trailer parks.

Grandpa & Viola.

 

 

The Christy brothers are in the first photo. Second photo: Lloyd and Floyd, all duded up for some occasion, then pictured with their wives in the third photo. The fourth photo is of their mother, my Great-Grandma, (right in the photo). I always knew her as Grandma Christy, though she was officially Minnie White.

I didn’t know my Grandpa Christy very well. He and Viola (we never called her anything else) lived in L.A., and we lived in West Tennessee, with the exception of a few years in San Diego. My fondest memories of him included things like visiting a “swap meet” at a drive-in movie theatre (during the daytime) and riding in the back of his VW. He was always smiling, and always had a dog. He loved baseball (Dodgers) and the roller derby, and he loved to cook.

Higher Learning

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! As I’m writing this, a squirrel is staring at me. I seem to be an object of great interest. This means the squirrels have gleaned what they like from the birdfeeder, leaving only what they don’t like. So, they sent this one to place an order for a refill. 🙂

We’re never too old to learn new things. In fact, it’s good for our mental stability to continue to pursue knowledge and build ourselves up. Today, I’d like to share a few things that may help “feed” and fortify you for the days ahead.

Just like you need to strengthen your core physically with exercise, you also need to strengthen your core spiritually. — Anne Graham Lotz

Number one on my list is the upcoming Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. We had to cancel the in-person conference usually held in beautiful Elizabethtown, Kentucky. It is now available—in its full length—as an online conference. Yes, that is the right price! Only $20.20, and if you can’t watch it live, you’ll have access to the conference later.

You’ll find all the information you need right here: Write the Vision 2020

Please note that there is also a Teen Track available (taught by my friend Crystal Caudill):

So You Want to Be An Author? A Workshop for the Next Generation | Fiction​

This 3-hour interactive workshop geared for teenagers will introduce the basics of writing for the publishing world. In the first session, participants will learn about guidelines for genres, common terminology, and the three rules which must never be broken. During the second session, participants will examine the three-act structure and develop a loose three-act outline. Participants will leave with a handful of resources to help them grow and the tools necessary to write a story fit for publishing.


Do you like devotionals? Here are two brand new good ones, written by friends of mine—

Glimpses of God – a summer devotional for women, by Shirley Crowder & Harriet Michael

Creator God made the world in which we live. He placed the moon and stars in the sky, the rivers and oceans on the earth. He also created seasons throughout the year. Each season is defined by specific features and attributes that are common.

As Christ-followers we experience spiritual seasons. Though these seasons do not come in order like seasons in nature, each spiritual season we experience is defined by certain features also.

This devotional is focused on summer—both calendar and spiritual. Our spiritual summer is a time of growth, hard work, and relaxation as we nurture and care for the new things that were planted in our spiritual spring and allow them to ripen or mature.

Adventures in Fatherhood – A Devotional, by Carlton Hughes and Holland Webb

Adventure along with two dads in a devotional journey full of wisdom and warning.

Being a great father is not for the weak of heart! It’s an adventure every step of the way. Whether you’re fixing boo-boos and changing diapers, or coaching soccer and carpooling teenagers, you’ll find spiritual insight and practical advice in this devotional by Carlton Hughes and Holland Webb. The authors blend personal experiences with humor and spiritual application to encourage you, dad, to do your best for God and for your family.

Ellie Claire’s devotionals offer short inspirational readings, paired with inspiring quotes and Scripture verses to encourage your heart.


See you next week for another chapter of my family history!

Which Path Are You?

Hello, Thursday Morning readers. I usually mention the weather here, but honestly, I’m getting pretty tired of it. It’s mid-May and winter paid a visit. So, here we are shivering in our sweatshirts and heavy socks.

Maybe it’s the unpredictable weather that has me longing for a getaway.

Being shut-in for a few weeks can make you long for the great outdoors. We missed our vacation this year and travel is still restricted, so I’m looking at photos of places I’d love to go. I love leisurely walks. Honestly, it doesn’t matter whether it’s on the beach, or in a park. A scene like this one invites me in.

But then, there’s this–I want to go there, too.

Ah, Lake Cumberland—this is where we went last year.

I’ve been here, too. I’d love to go back for another look.

How to choose?

What’s your favorite vacation destination?

All in the Brew

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! Once again, the weather has given us a big surprise. After an absolutely beautiful non-Derby Day, winter has returned to the Ohio Valley. Is anyone else underwhelmed?

There is a bright side, however. The cooler temps mean I can have another cup of coffee. I’ve received a second shipment of my favorite local beans, so it’s gonna be good!

This has been a week of exits for me. I resigned one of my jobs, effective end of June, and a multi-author blog I’d co-created and co-developed, is slated to close at the end of May.

Though goodbyes are coming in on both fronts, I’m at peace. I trust in God’s timing for everything. He knows what lies ahead and He is never taken by surprise. Don’t you love that? I suppose that’s the reason for my peace.

And just in case you’re wondering, I live in the Louisville area, so the first Saturday in May is BIG. Except for this year. The Derby has been postponed. So, we had a non-Derby Day for only the second time in history.

Getting back to my work downgrade, what will I do with all those spare hours? Writers can always use more time. In fact, there’s no such thing as “spare time” for the writer. Each empty moment is an opportunity for either writing or thinking about writing.

A story is always brewing in my mind. Even the not so empty moments can be filled with stories. I often work through story elements as I garden, or while I walk.

Right now, I’m working on a suspense novel. The main characters are vying for my attention throughout the day. I was about a third of the way through this one when I realized the timing was off. So, I had to go back and rework many of the scenes to blend them together.

It was as if I’d written them all separately as free-standing stories. I’m not sure how that happened, except that I’d been extremely busy and was trying to fit writing moments into my day.

My lead male character is Jake Bradley, a struggling reporter. He stumbles on what he believes will be his best story yet, but there are many roadblocks. I like Jake. He’s a country boy at heart, but he has ambition.

Since it was Friday morning, I’d expected more activity at police headquarters, where I had that ten o’clock meeting with Detective Scott. The boss had insisted I turn over any information I’d dug up on those two goons in the black LTD.

“That girl’s life could be in danger,” he’d said.

I ran a comb through my unruly locks before I headed inside. I was no dummy, but I figured if they wanted her, they’d had their shot. I grimaced. Maybe that was a bad choice of words.

In appearance, Jake looks a little like a young Tom Wopat (circa Dukes of Hazzard). He tends to swagger and drives a muscle car. Fun!

I’m looking forward to writing this story, so having more time to write is definitely a good thing. Will it be any good? It’s kind of like brewing the perfect pot of coffee.

Sometimes it’s the beans, and sometimes it’s all in the brew.