Dear to My Heart

coffee, cup, laptop, memeGood morning—it’s Thursday! I hope you’re enjoying a bit of springtime weather if you’re in the northern hemisphere.

Today, I’m contemplating a question: How can you love someone you’ve never seen? Believe in someone you’ve never known?

It happens more often than you might think. Even now, in our modern, gadget-filled, instant news days. In former days, people wrote letters. Lonely hearts out west wrote to ladies back east. Sometimes they fell in love with one another through those letters and they agreed to meet. Sometimes, sight-unseen, they agreed to marry.

Soldiers received letters from girls back home. Girls they’d never seen, or maybe only in pictures. How did they know the pictures were real? How could they trust that the letters were truthful? Yet, some did. Relationships began, marriages happened. Love found a way.

For some of us, it’s mind-boggling. It would involve shutting off a part of our brain in order to accept such a thing. Only a desperate person would try something like that. Well, the world is full of desperate souls. Sometimes, love finds a way.

Consider Patricia MacLachlan’s Sarah, Plain and Tall, that tells the story of a woman who answers an ad for a wife and mother. She left her home in Maine and traveled to the prairie to meet the man she only knew through letters. Words on paper. I know, it’s fiction. But how many times in history did this actually happen? Could a person find love and purpose in such a way?

Farther back, in one of my favorite Bible stories, Abraham sent his servant back to their original home, to find a suitable wife for his son, Isaac. The servant prayed in advance that he would find the right woman, the one God had chosen for Isaac. He prayed that the woman would offer him water, and also, water his camels.

Rebekah appeared. Many of you know this story, so you can easily finish it. She was very young, and of course, beautiful. Her kind heart made her attentive to the servant’s needs. She also offered to water his camels, thus fulfilling the servant’s prayers. He knew this was the one.

She had never seen Isaac, and there were no photographs or portraits in that day. She agreed to leave her family and go to a stranger. Sight unseen.

Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev. He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?”

“He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself.

Then the servant told Isaac all he had done. Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. [Genesis 24:62-67 NIV]

How can someone do that? What if he’d been hideous, dangerous, or worse—boring? It involves trust. How many of those who wrote to strangers and fell in love through letters, agreed to meet, then returned home again, disappointed? I imagine that happened, too. A sweet romance I once read happened just that way, but the lady never made it home. On the way to the train station, she met another stranger and decided to stay for a while. She soon realized he was the reason she’d answered that lonely hearts ad, written all those letters, and made that long journey.

Some are spurred by loneliness and desperation to do what others might think is foolish. They’ll cast aside common sense, or whatever it takes to go and find someone. I know many of you have beautiful stories in your life, of how you met your spouse. Maybe you know of someone in your family who took a chance, did something that may seem foolish, could have been drastic, but found the love of their life.

Disclaimer: In today’s world, meeting someone over the internet is extremely unsafe. Please don’t risk your safety!

If you have one of those beautiful stories, I hope you’ll share it with our readers. Leave it in the comments below.

I’ll leave you with another of my favorite Bible passages, about a sight-unseen love, dear to my heart. I hope you know this one, and if not, I hope you’ll take a chance and trust in someone you’ve never seen.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. [1 Peter 8-9 NIV]

Click to Tweet: Today, I’m contemplating a question: How can you love someone you’ve never seen? Believe in someone you’ve never known?

Sense and Sensibility – a Short Review

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday Morning friends! I hope you’ve had a wonderful week so far. If not—hey, it’s Thursday—almost Friday! Valentine’s Day is over. I hope those of you who celebrate the day had a wonderful one. Any time I can spend with my long-time husband and favorite person is a good day.

And while we’re talking about love, my Grace Award-winning novel, Annabelle’s Ruth, is on sale for 99 cents! Just a couple more days, though. Don’t tell anyone, but this is my favorite book! Here’s a clickable link: Annabelle’s Ruth – 99¢ on Kindle!

Since this is the month of romance, I think it’s about time for another movie review. I got busy and found a good one to share. Okay, it’s not specifically a movie, but a BBC miniseries. However, it’s an Austen—one of my all-time favorite stories—Sense and Sensibility. This is the 2008 version with Hattie Morahan as Elinor, Charity Wakefield as Marianne, Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey, Beauty and the Beast) as Edward Ferrars, David Morrissey as Colonel Brandon, and Dominic Cooper as Willoughby.

First of all let me say, I liked the movie version with Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant. Ms. Thompson is a brilliant, versatile actress, but she seemed so much older than the character in the book—it bothered me. Sense and Sensibility is high on my list of forever stories. One of those I can read and reread. I love the rich story line and character development. In the original book the lead character, Elinor, is nineteen. Her sister Marianne is a couple of years younger.

So, when I found the BBC version listed on Hulu, I clicked it right away. Even though I was not familiar with either of the ladies on the cover, I was quickly captured by the cinematography. I knew the story well enough to expect wild coastal beauty when they arrived at their cottage, and this film delivered. The characters are well developed, warm, and likeable (except for the ones who are cold and unlikeable). That would be the hoity-toity sister-in-law, Mrs. John Dashwood.

There’s more detail regarding Sir John Middleton’s family (Mrs. Henry Dashwood’s cousin who owns the cottage). Some of this was left out of the movie version, but they have more time to deal with it in a miniseries.

Overall, I enjoyed this version enough that I watched it a second time. I couldn’t help comparing it to the movie version. One thing that stood out in the movie was the music. It was grand and glorious throughout. The miniseries didn’t place so much emphasis on the score, but it was still haunting and beautiful at times. I love the sound of the crashing waves.

In Austen’s original book, this story is somewhat dark, as the author explores the deep emotional crises this family endures. Being the  most sensitive, Marianne has difficulty coping. She’s more deeply involved, so suffers greatly and outwardly. Colonel Brandon, by far the most romantic character, is probably the only one who can control the girl, though nearly twice her age. The age gap was not as much of a consideration back then as it is now.  🙂

I recommend this miniseries if you have access to it, especially if you’re an Austen fan. It’s very well written, acted, and ends on a positive note. If you’ve never read the book, you’ll still enjoy the story.

In my opinion, there’s no better way to develop the craft of fiction writing than to read, and to watch really good fiction. It’s inspiring! What makes a story come alive? What do you love most of all about a work of fiction?

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Hello, Thursday Morning, and will return again next week. Not sure what I’ll tackle next. See you soon!

Click to Tweet: Hello Thursday Morning! Time for another movie review – BBC’s 2008 version of Sense and Sensibility. Loved it!

Hello, Thursday Morning!

I’ve been thinking about a schedule change for a while. Work and other obligations keep me away from my computer most of the day on Tuesday, making it difficult to keep up with my regular Tuesday blog post, and all the work that goes along with it.

From today forward, you’ll find me here on Thursday mornings. I’m calling it, Hello, Thursday Mornings.

I’ll still write about a variety of topics, as I have in the past, including the occasional devotional and…coffee. I know that caught your attention. Include coffee, a cute kitty, or puppy, maybe a horse or two, and you’re bound to get attention.

That’s not why I do it, of course. I’m a fan of all those things.

So, without further ado (or something like that), I offer the first installment of Hello, Thursday Mornings.

I was watching a cute romantic movie the other night (I’ll mention the name later), and I had to laugh out loud. I was home alone at the time, so I could do that. The main character, a single, attractive twenty-something, was on a first date. The couple was shown to a table in the restaurant. She chose her seat. Her date hesitated, because it was obvious he preferred the chair she had taken, and a moment later, the reason why became obvious. There was a football game on. Her chair faced the television. His…didn’t.

I laughed, because this often happens when my husband and I go out for dinner. These days, I usually just ask which side of the table he prefers. But we’ve been married a while. I can’t imagine putting up with something like that on a very first date. A first date is when you’re becoming better acquainted. Getting to know each other usually includes eye contact and conversation. A game on the television can disrupt that.

Click to Tweet: Getting to know each other usually includes eye contact and conversation. #FirstDate #Romance

In fact, I think that sort of behavior would be a definite deal-breaker. Clearly, the guy is far more interested in sports than in his date. She tried to get his attention, but when she asked what interests he had outside of sports and coaching (his profession), he hesitated. Eventually, he admitted to a love for karaoke. A very uncomfortable scene followed, while he demonstrated his lack of musical talent.

It wasn’t a great movie, but it was mostly fun to watch, with the exception of the karaoke scene. It was a good idea for a story, and most of the actors were cute enough to make it pleasant. The story featured coffee, the sea, a woman who could eat numerous pastries without gaining an ounce, and romance. If they’d included a dog or cat, it would’ve been perfect.

Coffee Shop is worth a watch, if you like cute romances. It’s not rated, but there’s really nothing to offend, and it’s suitable for family viewing. I gave it four out of five stars on Netflix.

If you’re a fan of romantic comedy, what’s your all-time favorite?

(Mine is While You Were Sleeping)






Happy Release Day to Me!

Today’s the day! I’m so glad you’re here to celebrate with me!

Sutter’s Landing, Kinsman Redeemer series Book 2 is officially released.

Can you feel the excitement in the air? No? Just me?

NEW to my Facebook Author Page — a brand new signup for an occasional newsletter–you’ll find the tab on the lower left-hand side (near the bottom of the list). It says, “Newsletter Signup.” 🙂

Sneaky hint: there’s a link to sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of this post. All the new signups will go into a drawing for a couple of books. Along with a print copy (or Kindle if winner prefers), the winner may choose one of several recent Write Integrity Press releases. That includes authors like Fay Lamb, Dena Netherton, Marji Laine, and Kristin Hogrefe. You can check the WIP website here for details about those books.

I’m also on Goodreads. If you’re on Goodreads too, please consider adding Sutter’s Landing to your “to-read” list. Once you’ve read the book, please take a few minutes to review it on Goodreads and Amazon. Don’t know what to say? Five stars and “I loved it!”– will be great, thanks!

Scenes from a story…

…Leaving some things out, of course. We don’t want any spoilers here. Now for a couple of excerpts from early reviews, and some flagrant boasting about the book. Yikes! The things you have to do in the name of marketing.

…The author’s depiction of life in the segregated south in the 1950s is both realistic and insightful. She paints an accurate picture of how hard the people in this cotton-centric community worked just to live, and she does it with respect, humility, honesty, and without the Hollywood sensationalism or stereotyping. She also shows their faith with gentle, non-threatening assurance. Sutter’s Landing is a sweet, inspirational, and very well written story where the characters come alive on the pages. Their dialogue so realistic you find yourself right there with them…

Elizabeth Noyes

Click here for the Book Review on Gail Johnson’s blog.

Click here for the Interview on the Writing Prompts blog.

Sutter’s Landing by Betty Owens is a great sequel to Annabelle’s Ruth. The story which I so enjoyed is continued with new characters and places that expand a small town that I feel I know so well already. The setting is realistic and the characters make the story alive, one you don’t want to put down. I highly recommend this lovely story…

Jennifer Hallmark

Click Here to Buy the Book

Newsletter Signup

For entry in drawing–see info above–Click Here: Love is the Legacy

[Entry deadline is July 15, 2017]

Comments welcome! I love to hear from my readers.



Welcome to Sutter’s Landing

Ginger – expert mouser

I’m interrupting my normal blogging schedule to introduce you to some very special friends of mine. If you’ve read Annabelle’s Ruth, you already know most of them. This time around, you’ll find a few new names and faces in the bunch.

Joseph David Cross

Connie is loving her new role of motherhood.

Is there romance? Oh, yes, the romance–(spoiler alert if you haven’t read Annabelle’s Ruth)–Alton amps up the romance in Sutter’s Landing. He’s determined not to let his brother Jensen discourage Connie and send her running for the hills or maybe back to paradise.

Why Sutter’s Landing? Alton’s big house (known to all the locals as Sutter’s Landing) welcomes Connie with open arms. Or, maybe it’s the folks who live there. Alton, his mother (Miss Lillian), their cook, housekeeper, and friend (Regina). And it seems everyone loves Connie.

Surprises are headed their way, including a hundred-year flood, and a puzzling dilemma for Annabelle. I love Annabelle. She’s tough, but in this sequel, we see what’s going on beneath the calm surface.

Samson has  a new friend, too. I think you’ll like him.

The Kindle version of the book is available for preorder for the low introductory price of $2.99. That special price won’t be around long, so secure yours today.

What I write. If you love inspiring historical fiction with a heaping spoonful of romance, I think you’ll like Sutter’s Landing. If you’ve never read one of my novels, I hope you’ll take a chance on me.

So come, sit a spell–maybe we’ll enjoy a glass of sweet tea, or ice cold lemonade. You can almost hear Miss Lucy a-sangin’ in the field.

I hope you’ll stay in touch. I’ve got exciting plans for the release. I’ll give away some copies of the book, and maybe a gift or two. You can follow my blog, or like my Facebook page. I’m @batowens on Twitter, and sometimes I even remember to post on Instagram.

Thanks for stopping by!

Still reeling from tragic losses, Connie and Annabelle Cross face life with their signature humor and grace, until fresh hope arrives on their doorstep.

In early spring of 1955, Annabelle Cross and her daughter-in-law, Connie have nearly made it through the first winter on their own. Then the skies open up as West Tennessee and much of the south endures one of the worst floods in history. As many of their neighbors endure losses due to the flooding, Annabelle and Connie sit tight on dry ground.

As spring gives way to summer, Annabelle begins to dread Connie’s upcoming marriage and removal to Sutter’s Landing. Though she’s happy to note the growing affection between Alton Wade and her daughter-in-law, their marriage means Annabelle will be on her own for the first time in her life.

Connie’s doubts increase when Alton’s bigoted brother Jensen uses every opportunity to drive a wedge between them. Is she doing the right thing? Did she move too quickly? Unexpected summer visitors and anticipation of a new neighbor provide diversion and open possibilities for both Annabelle and Connie.

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