Of Princes and Kings

I watched one of those Hallmark movies about modern-day princes. It was a cute love story, though clichéd, of course. I was reminded of my younger days when there was an unmarried prince in Great Britain. He was often featured in the news and made the covers of many of our magazines. Young ladies everywhere dreamed of marrying the man who would be king one day.

Why do we dream of marrying a prince?

There are the obvious reasons, of course.

  • fame
  • money
  • a beautiful storybook wedding
  • crown jewels
  • a title
  • servants to meet our every need
  • we’d get to dress up a lot
  • we’d get to wear a tiara
  • love

Oh yeah, love. Probably should have put that in first position. Of course we’d fall head-over-heels in love with “his handsomeness.” The romance would be over the top.

We imagine carriages drawn by white horses…

In our fantasy, we’ll wear elegant ballgowns and waltz the night away…and of course, any objections to our ordinariness, our lack of a royal pedigree, will be disallowed. Just like in the movies.

Back to real life. I have to admit, some of those movies are fun to watch. This latest one made me think. Maybe our longing to be wooed by a prince isn’t so far off base. After all, as a Christian believer, I have something similar–no–greater to look forward to. The return of the King.

He is the rider on the white horse, described as “Faithful and True,..”. “His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems…” Revelation 19:11 & 12 ESV

"Hallelujah! 
For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. 
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, 
for the marriage of the Lamb has come, 
and his Bride has made herself ready; 
it was granted her to clothe herself 
with fine linen, bright and pure"--" 
Revelation 19:6-8 ESV

We long for a prince while a King is preparing a place for us. The getting ready part is up to us. It was granted her to clothe herself…

While we can’t make ourselves righteous any more than that “ordinary” girl can make herself royal, we are able to do what it takes to “put on righteousness” and open the door that allows entry to His Kingdom. How?

Believe.

Too simple? Surely, it has to be more complicated than that. However, the beauty of this love story is its simplicity.

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:13 ESV

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”

John 6:37 ESV

And finally,

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12 ESV

The 21-Year-Old Spinster

I had given up. All of my closest friends, even my closest cousin, had married. I was all alone in the world, without a beau in sight. What a loser. I was bound for spinsterhood, and honestly, I was not surprised. But I was disappointed.

It’s okay, you can laugh. I’m shaking my head, too. Looking back, I see my twenty-one-year-old self for what I was. A child wearing adult-sized clothing. I had no idea what life held for me.

Hello, Thursday Morning! I’m waxing nostalgic again but this time, for good reason. Forty-five years ago this week, I met a young man named Bob, who would change all that. Before the year ended, we’d be married and settled into a friend’s garage apartment. We’d be considered “cool” by all our youth group friends, instead of dumb kids with very little change in our pockets.

We met on a blind date. It was a double-date, and I was with the other guy. The other guy was Bob’s best friend, Rick. I’d known Rick in high school, where we sat at the same table in Physical Science. I liked Rick because he laughed at everything.

So, we were Bob and Carol and Rick and Betty for a few hours. I guess I should backtrack just a little to tell you why I was on a blind date in the first place. I had moved to Tennessee with my parents when my insurance-sales manager dad was transferred to the Nashville office. I visited Louisville (our former home) often, since I had a lot of friends there. On this particular Labor Day Weekend, I brought my Tennessee friend, Carol Ann, with me.

We were scheduled to spend the holidays with one of my best friends, but her boyfriend came to town unexpectedly, so she quickly made plans for Bob and Rick to escort me and Carol so we wouldn’t be on our own. The venue was an outdoor concert at Iroquois Park. Bob stopped by my friend’s home during the afternoon to meet his “date,” Carol. [Side note: When he’d been offered a choice between a blonde and a brunette, he’d chosen the blonde. Of course, everyone knew blondes had more fun.]

valentine, valentine's dayHowever, when we met at the front door that afternoon, we both experienced something we would only recognize much later (years down the road) as a “sign.” Yes, Grasshopper, this is the one. Bob describes it as a bell ringing. I felt as though a light came on inside (kind of like an old-fashioned flashbulb popping). Cute, spooky, weird, you can say what you want about it, but we both swear it happened.

When the two friends arrived to pick us up for the date, there seemed to be an ongoing discussion between them that had started on their trip over and finally ended when Rick said, “I think we should leave it as is.”

We enjoyed the concert but throughout the evening, Bob kept leaning forward to talk to me. He seemed totally interested in everything I had to say. I suspected that the previous discussion between the two guys may have had something to do with the fact that Bob seemed more interested in the brunette than the blonde.

We met again on Sunday, since he and Rick attended the same church as my friend. Back at my friend’s home, she asked to speak to me in private. “Bob likes you and wants to know if you feel the same way.”

Well, honestly, I didn’t. I was flattered, but he didn’t seem to be my type. He had long hair, sideburns and a moustache. I couldn’t really see his face. He wore the shortest cutoff jeans I’d ever seen, and sneakers that could almost be called sandals for all the holes in them. And he was younger than me. But he did have a great personality and you know, there’s a lot to be said for that, and the fact that he was interested in me. That was hard to walk away from. Well, that and his broad shoulders.

I didn’t walk away, I drove away but I left him with my address, because he wanted to write to me. That’s the old school pre-texting way to communicate with someone who lived in another state. It was so far back, the phone calls were expensive, because you had to pay extra for long distance.

When that envelope arrived in my mailbox, the little thrill I felt in my heart confirmed what I already suspected: I liked him. I enjoyed his letters and the candid glimpse into his heart.

A month later, I made another trip to Louisville. While there, I interviewed for a job. I got the job, so I moved a couple weeks later.

In November, he proposed. We married on December 21. Yeah, it was quick. We were two dumb kids with very little money. He was still in college. But it stuck. Forty-five years later, I can’t imagine any other life or greater joy.

See you next week. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Closing the Book

The moment comes when I know it’s time. With a lump in my throat and tears threatening, I draw a deep breath and write the words: “The End.”

It’s time to say goodbye.

Hello, Thursday Morning friends (yes, I know it’s Friday). It’s been an emotional and very busy week for me. I’m getting ready for another book launch. With this book, I am saying goodbye to some dear characters who have filled my thoughts for so long: Annabelle Cross and her daughter-in-law, Connie, Alton Wade, Lillian Wade, Tom Franklin, Riley and Thelma Franklin, Miss Lucy, and all the other supporting characters in the Kinsman Redeemer series.

I won’t have to say goodbye to the town of Trenton, Tennessee, the setting for this series. I love to visit Trenton because so many of my family live there. I look forward to seeing them later this summer.

If you knocked on Annabelle’s door, you can be sure she’d welcome you warmly. She’d offer you a glass of sweet tea and a generous helping of freshly baked cookies. Whether you sat on her front porch, or inside her home, you’d feel the grace and warmth of southern hospitality. Her slow, polite drawl would sound like music to your ears.

And, speaking of music, while you’re there, ask her to sing one of her favorite hymns. She has a lovely voice.

In just a few weeks, the final book in the Kinsman Redeemer series will be available. You are invited to visit with the Wades and the Franklins and enjoy a story that comes straight from my heart. Will Annabelle find love? I can’t tell you that, but I can tell you, she’ll find joy.

Annabelle’s Joy

Unofficial blurb:

On Wednesdays, the soda counter at the Trenton Pharmacy brimmed with customers. Ham sandwiches, the daily special, was the main attraction. Tom Franklin, the pharmacy’s owner, was a close second. The town folk kept a close eye on Tom, hoping to be the first to hear the good news. It was no secret he’d been courting the widow Cross for nigh on two years now. Rumor had it she’d been holding him at arm’s length.

The consensus around the counter? Miz Annabelle Cross better wake up and put her dancing shoes on. Mr. Tom is prime real estate. Maybe a little competition is exactly what Annabelle needs. With help from her friends, family, and a new single lady in town, she makes up her mind to let go of the past and trust God for the outcome. Everything seems to be going her way until life delivers another blow.

In a matter of moments, his elation turns to devastation as Tom fears he’s lost Annabelle forever. This small taste of what Annabelle has suffered in the last three years sends him searching for the peace she’s found. Can the seasoned couple make a go of life together? Move beyond the sorrows of the past to win a second chance at love?


valentine, valentine's dayLet’s talk! Do you have a real life second-chance love story? I’d love to hear about it.

Perfectly Imperfect

Hello! Thursday MorningHello, Thursday Morning readers! Coffee’s on. While I’m waiting for it, how many of you read suspense?

I just read a really good one.

I promised a book review a couple weeks ago, then got sidetracked. Yeah, well  it happens. Elizabeth Noyes, one of my fellow Write Integrity Press authors recently released the final book in her action-packed, suspenseful Imperfect series. I’ve loved every one of them, so of course I was anxious to read this one.

Welcome to the “Triple C” — home of the characters in this series — a beautiful horse ranch in Idaho. It’s not your ordinary home, though. It’s kind of like a compound. The Cameron brothers are not only tall, dark, and handsome, but also somewhat lethal. Each of the books features a different Cameron sibling, including the beautiful twin sisters.

Of all the Cameron brothers, Jonas is the one I thought would never settle down. He’s special forces, haunted by his past. A highly trained, skilled warrior with PTSD. He’s dangerous to be around, or so it seems. Can he really leave his past behind?

Shea Townsend has a chip on her shoulder, but a soft spot for Jonas. She sees right through the heavy armor he wears, even when he thinks he’s heavily cloaked. But he’s a wild card. Can she trust him? She’s been thrown before, so she’s taking it slow.

As the story moves forward, sometimes at the speed of sound with plenty of action, we learn Shea’s past and why she’s so distrustful. And maybe why she’s such a perfect fit for this last Cameron. Maybe.

Just about the time I thought I could take a breath, something happened and the story took off again.

Right up until the end, I was holding my breath waiting for the other shoe to drop. My friend, Betty Noyes is a master storyteller. She writes tight, exciting suspense, and she does her research. That much is obvious. I highly recommend this series, and especially this final book. But I have to admit, I’m a little sad that the Camerons rode into the sunset.

I’ll be watching the horizon to see what’s next from this author.

Have a blessed weekend!

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Back to the Land of Ruth

Happy Thursday morning! Coffee needed and keep it coming! We’ve had an extremely wet week in our neck of the woods. I’m hoping for sunshine and maybe a little more summertime.

I’ve spent several weeks in memory mode, contemplating my future writing. Now, it’s time to return to the story of Ruth. Once again, I’m immersing myself in the beautiful Biblical story. Once I’ve studied it, I’ll re-read Annabelle’s Ruth and Sutter’s Landing.

This past week, I’m also researching my setting for the third and final book in the Kinsman Redeemer series. Something caught my interest, and may find it’s way into the story line. If you are of a certain age, and lived in the southeastern region of the United States, you may remember what happened in the late fifties/early sixties.

Jackson, Tennessee, just a short drive south from my rural setting, was often in the news in those days. It’s the home of Lane College, a traditionally all-black college (during that time), associated with the Methodist Episcopal Church. Several brave young men and women took it upon themselves to force the desegregation issue by staging “sit-ins” at area drug store soda fountains (like the one in my stories).

This, and several other “powder-keg” events happened during the timeline of book three. So, of course, I need to find a way to incorporate it in the story.

Back to the present: the church I attend is culturally and racially diverse. Though comparatively small, our congregation has a wonderful balance. Right now, under the leadership of our pastor, we are studying The Third Option by Miles McPherson. It’s a book about honor and respect, and learning to love your neighbor without prejudice.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect. One of the main reasons I’ve been able to handle the racial issues in the first two books in this series with grace, is the balance in my life. I believe it is directly tied to interaction and fellowship with my church family—a vibrant group of men and women united by their love for God and each other.

At one time in the south, it didn’t matter whether a person was Polynesian or Haitian, or African, or even Latin or Native American. They were considered a lesser race. Even a person of mixed race was denied the privilege to marry a Caucasian at one time. So my main character in books one and two had a couple of hurdles ahead of her.

Why even include this in my story? Why did I need the racial element in Annabelle’s Ruth? Consider the original story. If you’re familiar with the book of Ruth, you’ll remember that she was a foreigner, a Moabitess. She left her home, where she was in the majority, and traveled to Naomi’s homeland, where a Moabite was definitely a minority, and subject to prejudice. It is obvious from content that a Moabite looked different.

Ruth earned something dear—God’s blessing—through her loyalty to Naomi, one of God’s chosen.

As I complete this series, I need to finish with a bang and tie up all the loose ends. I believe I’ll find what I need in the pages of the original story. I can’t wait to find out what happens!