What a privilege to be part of this great Canadian series and to be among the finalists for the Canadian Christian Writing Awards!
I have three entries in Second Cup, but Chrysalis: Life in the Making is the one that qualified as a finalist.
Why don't you purchase one and read them along with all the others? They are available in bookstores everywhere or you can get in touch with me.
Hot Apple Cider
was a raging success
now we have
A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider:
: Words to Stimulate the Mind and Delight the Spirit
edited by N. J. Lindquist and Wendy Elaine Nelles
The first book in this innovative series, Hot Apple Cider, introduced readers to excellent writing by Canadian writers who are Christian. It became a Canadian bestseller, with nearly 45,000 copies now in circulation.
The second volume contains more than 50 honest stories written from the heart. These include moving true-life experience, thought-provoking drama, light-hearted humour, imaginative fiction, and touching poetry.
The settings range from a First Nations community in Canada's Far North and a remote farm on the Prairies, to a multi-cultural kindergarten in Toronto, a lonely highway in Nova Scotia, the isolation ward of a children's hospital, a blinding snowstorm in Québec, and a crammed church auditorium in British Columbia.
The short pieces—each of which contains a complete story—make it easy for readers to pick up the book and read something satisfying and uplifting when taking a break from their busy schedules. While there's lots of variety, all of the pieces are filled with hope and encouragement.
What are people saying about this new volume?
A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider has already garnered many enthusiastic endorsements. Lando Klassen, a bookseller for 38 years and owner of House of James in Abbotsford, B.C., says, “I found the stories inspiring and motivating. I highly recommend this volume.” Toronto business entrepreneur Pauline Christian, named one of Canada's Top 20 Women in 2010 by Women's Post, says, “This comforting and encouraging book should be in every home, library, church, and school.”
“With moments of humour, struggle, romance, courage, heartache, and ultimately hope, A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider is rich with buoyant prose and wondrous poetry…From slices of real life to flights of fancy, this cup runneth over with chapter after chapter of great reading.” Martin Smith, President, GMA Canada ~~~ “This anthology is a beautiful offering by an array of gifted Canadian Christian writers. You will be inspired and comforted by the heartwarming stories, soothing words, and uplifting experiences shared from vried perspectives by these godly women and men. This book offers refreshing encouragement to the very depths of your mind and spirit!” Audrey Meisner, Co-Host, It’s a New Day television program: partner in Marriage Ministry with husband Bob Meisner; author. ~~~ “Who doesn’t always need a second cup? And this is one cup worth reaching for. From a host of talented writers who serve rich words, wrap your hands around a volume that will not only warm you right through, but strengthen you for the road ahead. A perfectly inspiring read.” Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live FullyRight Where You Are and the blog A Holy Experience ~~~ “Like a heart-to-heart conversation with a close friend, A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider draws us into the intimacy of relationship with one another and our Creator. As you traverse this wonderful collection of significant moments in the lives of ordinary people, you’ll be inspired by God’s extraordinary grace. Enjoy. You’ll be warmed and filled.” Karen Bjerland, President and CEO, FaithLife Financial. ~~~
Martin Smith, President, GMA Canada
“This anthology is a beautiful offering by an array of gifted Canadian Christian writers. You will be inspired and comforted by the heartwarming stories, soothing words, and uplifting experiences shared from vried perspectives by these godly women and men. This book offers refreshing encouragement to the very depths of your mind and spirit!”
Audrey Meisner, Co-Host, It’s a New Day television program: partner in Marriage Ministry with husband Bob Meisner; author.
“Who doesn’t always need a second cup? And this is one cup worth reaching for. From a host of talented writers who serve rich words, wrap your hands around a volume that will not only warm you right through, but strengthen you for the road ahead. A perfectly inspiring read.”
Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live FullyRight Where You Are and the blog A Holy Experience
“Like a heart-to-heart conversation with a close friend, A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider draws us into the intimacy of relationship with one another and our Creator. As you traverse this wonderful collection of significant moments in the lives of ordinary people, you’ll be inspired by God’s extraordinary grace. Enjoy. You’ll be warmed and filled.”
Karen Bjerland, President and CEO, FaithLife Financial.
Not Easily Broken ISBN#1-897373-10-4
When Ellie's older sister Regina dies at the birth of her third child, her parents request that Ellie break off her engagement to the man she loves and marry their son-in-law, John, so the children will stay in the family.
Preposterous as it may seem, Ellie's story is based on a real-life situation as told by Rina, Ellie's own daughter.
(See exerpt below)
Both Books available through Word Alive Press, Amazon, ordered from your local book store or by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Not Far from the Tree ISBN #1-8973-73-59-
This sequel continues with the life of Rina, the child born at the end of Not Easily Broken. Rina is a dynamic, spirited child who often stretches her mother's patience. She even pushes societal limits to follow her desires for adventure. The great war and the depression arise to shape her youth and adulthood. The difficulties she faces are not unlike those her mother tackled proving that "the apple does not fall far from the tree."
Tyson's Sad, Bad Day
A little boy named Tyson was feeling very sad,
It was one of the worst days that he had ever had.
And so begins this delightful story that leads a child through the honest feelings of confusion, fear and uncertainty with the death of someone dearly loved. But it doesn’t stop there— it leads the reader on to understanding and acceptance.
Test-read to children 4-8, the response was similar each time— a whispered “That is a good story.”
(Please click on Lets Talk about Death for hints on talking to your children more on the subject.)
Grandmothers' Necklace is a collection of stories written by 62 authors from across Canada, the U.S. and a few from Ireland--stories about grandmothers and relationships. Compiled by Patricia Elford, the profits will all go to the Steven Lewis Foundation to support grandmothers is the subSaharan African countries who have had to raise grandchildren because their parents have died of AIDS. Watch for book launches in various parts of the country. I feel privileged to have a poem as part of the collection.
Watch for book launches in various parts of Canada. Coming up May 1, from 2-4 p.m. at St. Philip's Lutheran Church, 236 Woodhaven Road, Kitchener, Ontario. Hope to see you there!
A Beautiful Gift Beyond Ordinary Living. September 2006
Full Circle Tall Tales Press, November 2006
REJOICE! Daily Devotional Readings Regular contributor
Holy Lace Testimony , May 2010
Ellie clasped her hands in her lap and stole a glance at John. His eyes were on the road ahead and his hands loosely held the reins as the horses trotted down the familiar road toward home. She had always liked fall with its crisp mornings. The colour of the leaves and the purple lined clouds usually invigorated her and made her heart sing. Even the slightly pungent smell of fall delighted her. The beauty of this day though seemed surmounted with the enormity of her situation.. Her heart skipped a beat, and her stomach echoed the uncertainty with a twinge. Unbelievable as it seemed, reality stared her in the face! Instead of becoming Mrs. Gerhard Hirsch on her wedding day, as she had anticipated, she now faced life as Mrs. John Kurtz. Instead of being wildly in love with her husband she was just trying to be accepting of the situation. The quiet ceremony had been solemnized in Pastor Braun’s parlor less than three hours ago. After the wedding supper at her parents, Maria and Marta were staying at Mama and Papa’s house for a few days to let her and John have a little time to get used to their new status. She stole another glance at John. The expression on his handsome features revealed none of the emotions that must be churning inside him, too. Dread momentarily flooded her being. What if this didn’t work? Had her parents been right to push this idea? What had been her motive to succumb to their insistence? Had she broken her engagement to Gerhard and married John in an effort to be heroic and save the day? Was she somehow trying to “fix” things for her sister—the older sister she had loved and admired? What if, even after giving it their best, she and John would feel stuck with one another? What if, when the sharp grief had passed, their minds would clear and find this marriage had been a mistake? Now that she had him as a husband, she had mixed feelings. She felt a sense of guilt and unreality—obligation rather than elation or romance.
I can’t let myself think that way! Ellie scolded herself. She clenched her hands and lifted her chin. I will make it work or die trying!.
John’s hand on her knee interrupted her reverie. “Are you all right, Ellie?” his kindly voice asked. “You seem to be a thousand miles away.”
“Yes,” Ellie replied, “I was just thinking.”
She didn’t want to elaborate. She wasn’t sure just how he would respond to her turmoil. His grief over Regina might still hurt a lot. It still brought a stab of pain to her own heart when she thought of Regina, so it must be even harder for John. And she certainly didn’t want him to know her doubts. Her new husband didn’t probe any further, but he left his hand comfortably on her knee.
“Welcome to Maple Lane Farm, Mrs. Kurtz!” John’s voice interrupted, “I’ll let you off at the house, before I take the horses to the barn. I’ll be in soon.” He gave her knee an extra pat then lifted his hand to assist her step from the buggy to the raised carriage stand beside the sidewalk leading to the front door.
Ellie alit from the buggy and watched as John headed the horses on down the lane toward the barn. Slowly she walked through the darkening evening, toward the door. To the west, there were only a few streaks of orange slicing through the purple sky. The trees stood in ebony silhouette against the last visage of the sun. How often she had walked up this path before! Just as the sun was setting on this day, she faced the sunset of her former life and a dark night before a new life could dawn.
THE SCREEN DOOR SLAMMED SHUT behind Rina as she manoeuvred her new-fangled walker toward the porch bench. The basket in the front was loaded with her bag and the letters she wanted to post when she got to her senior’s group. Putting the brakes on her “Cadillac,” as she called it, she held on to the hand-rests until she lowered her creaking body to the rustic seat.
She still retained her height, if not the weight, she had carried for some years. The long legs that had served her faithfully and endowed her with a willowy look most of her life now made the distance to the bench further. A sigh of relief whuffed through her lips as her posterior made connection with the security of a solid
“Touch down! We have touch down,” she announced through an imaginary PA system to no one in particular. She smirked as she shifted her shoulders to find a comfortable position. She had almost an hour to wait before she could expect her
driver, but the beauty and warmth of the morning lured her to wait out in the open air. Even on what she thought of as the north side of the house—thanks to the angle of the roads in this part of the country it was more north-east than north—the spring’s morning sunlight bathed the covered veranda in liquid light. The latest daffodils and tulips were still brightening up the front flowerbed, but it was the lilacs wafting their scent that caught her attention.
She sniffed in delight. Ah-hh! After a pneumonia-plagued winter, it was delightful to take pleasure in each new harbinger of spring. Each smell, each sight, took shape in her mind. She pictured them as little heralds sounding a horn, proclaiming to the world in a melodious fanfare a message of anticipation and renewal to mortals.
Her eyes lit up with an impish grin. I’m so glad to be part of the race . . . human, that is! She joked to herself. Ah-hh Rina—you are probably funnier in your own mind than anyone else’s. But at least you keep yourself amused!
Last fall she had not expected to see another spring, so the fresh breezes, laden with the vibrant smell of new growth, enchanted her mind and soul with the tantalizing aroma of hope—hope that she would live to see and enjoy another summer and perhaps one more gathering of the Litz tribe. God kept surprising her with goodness.
By the end of summer there is promise of three more great-greats
to add to the list of our offspring. Her eyes smiled as the corner of her mouth curved into a mischievous grin. Just look what David and I started!
Rina leaned back, her face still alight with thoughts of her David. My, how she missed him! In spite of the unconventional start to their relationship and the ups and downs of their years together, their ever-deepening love and the light-hearted banter through much of it left her with a satisfying glow. Their shared sense of humour was a saving grace in many instances through the hard times. Their later years, after retirement, released them from the worries that had plagued much of their life and they were free to enjoy each other again. Ahh-hh! She missed his teasing and her chance for a good come-back.
Fifty Shades of Grace explores what grace looks like in action, amidst a world of violence and unforgiveness--and how it can triumph over great tragedy with mercy and hope.
Fifty people from all walks of life share stories--people like Christopher Kennedy Lawford of the Kennedy family, John Perkins of the John M. Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation and Development, Lovella Schellenberg, bestselling Mennonite Girls Can Cook author, Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners magazine, Gareth Brandt, professor of practical theology at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Elsie Rempel, a faith formation consultant for Mennonite Church Canada, and many more.
I am so pleased to be included in this line-up of authors many of whom contribute to REJOICE! a daily devotional magazine.
Dennis Hollinger, president of Gordon Conwell Seminary, says "Fifty Shades of Grace portrays the greatest need of humans, and their deepest language. These inspiring stories remind us that grace sets us free, comforts in sorrow and empowers in weakness.