Feeling the Gratitude! Memorial Weekend at Bigfork Montana

Feeling the Gratitude! Memorial Weekend at Bigfork Montana

May in Montana brought a wide variety of weather, but Memorial weekend was all sunshine!

I’ve been in Kalispell with my son, daughter, and son-in-law, but moved to Bigfork in time for the “Wild Mile” – an annual event where kayakers from far and wide test their skills against a rush of whitewater. The Swan River drops quickly from Swan Lake, through Bigfork, and makes its way into Flathead Lake.

Looking at the serene picture above, one might miss the danger and uncertainty these kayakers braved. I feel a kinship (although I have no desire to try my hand at this particular sport). Life has been a wild ride for most of us, and we’re ready for it to slow down and mellow out.

This trip has allowed me to work on a project that is dear to my heart. I call it, “Share a Cup of Gratitude.” You can read more about it under that heading on my web page. It’s a tool to reconnect us, lighten our conversations that have taken a dark turn, and hopefully bring back some humor as we collectively focus on gratitude.

“Thanks is what multiplies the joy and makes any life large, and I hunger for it.” Ann Voskamp

I hope you’ll imbibe! It’s not ready to release yet, but soon I hope you’ll choose to Share a Cup of Gratitude with those you love!

Life: it will surprise you every time

Life: it will surprise you every time

This is what waited for me when I returned from my trip to Michigan. My brother’s house next door was completely spared from the fast-moving fire, except for his fence. We can live with that. And I am in the transition of letting go.

What is so very crazy, however, is how my life is following Eaven, my character in “Astoria Rumors.” She is alone, homeless, and has no idea where life is taking her.

Scary. Stranger than fiction.

I’ve got to say, this season is stretching my trust level. I better write something amazing in her future. Oh, I did!

You can read her story in “Astoria Rumors” on October 1, 2020. Click to read on Amazon. Click to read on any other device.

Practicing Certainty and Resilience

Practicing Certainty and Resilience

The mug in the photo is the “writing” mug I use while at my computer. I bought it in Astoria, Oregon, where Book One of my current series takes place. It is traveling with me and posing for pics along the way.

It is strange getting used to the idea of taking off without a return date. I’ll miss the flowers I planted that have just burst into bloom but will relish the time I’ll have with two of my children. And learning to be me.

I looked back at the blog I posted on “purpose.” I had unconsciously written my character as an extention of myself. This is what my editor saw:

She often seems to serve the agendas of others rather than following through on her goals. Though she had some stated desires, she often responds to, or is motivated by, others’ decisions and needs, and she seems to achieve success or failure incidentally, instead of as a result of her own actions. Even her emotional responses seem filtered through the judgments and needs of others instead of clear expressions of her feelings and desires. It’s a problem since it keeps your character from truly living and breathing.

Right. Living this way kept me from living and breathing. And does not a strong heroine make – in real life or in fiction. I’ve grown a lot since then. “Certainty” and “resilience” are now my chosen companions.

How about you? What goals or desires have you set for yourself? Are you still working toward them, or have you set them aside? Are you inspired to move toward them again? Would love to read your comments.

Moving on: 2020 Oregon to Lake Michigan road trip

Moving on: 2020 Oregon to Lake Michigan road trip

This year brought huge changes for me, as it did for most of us. My gracious mom passed in March at eighty-eight; I ended a thirty-six-year marriage in April and moved into my fifth wheel; we sold our home in May; I put the few belongings I wanted to keep into a ten-by-ten storage unit in June. Though dealing with the weight of grief, my life feels…untethered. Light.

Through all the heartbreak, God has met me. Friends, who are further along on this road of aloneness, are helping me build hope that good things are yet to come. In this new season, I will pass on that hope while it is fresh and trust it will make a difference.

And so, I begin this journey across the country and invite you to join me on what I sense will be an exciting, productive time for me. And for the characters in my novels. I hope to publish “Astoria: City of Rumors,” Book One of the “Get Eaven” suspense series this year, followed by “Charleston Tides,” Book Two that I hope to finish this summer. You will be the first to know when they are available.

Thank you for enjoying my novels and your good wishes,
Cheryl

Be still and know

Be still and know

Some experiences can only be encountered when we still our minds, lay aside our limiting filters, and lift open hands to receive what is actually there. My mother’s favorite verse is, “Be still and know that I am God.” Whenever her life took a dive into uncontrollable chaos, she would still herself and quote this verse.

While walking my dog yesterday, a bush caught my attention. Most of it lacked signs of life, but some of the blossoms had pushed their way through the dry bark, knowing their destination was toward life and beauty.

My mom’s body is that way right now. It is dying. I think of her amazing life and abundant love and grieve her loss. Then I remember this life is only a blink. I can’t even imagine who she will be when free of this world’s constraints.

From our perspective, there are few signs of life. But inside, she is whole and intact. Perfect. And I believe parts of her lovely self are already pushing through the veil between this world and eternity. She is blossoming in the light and love of her God.

Today, I am being still, Mom. Tears flow, but my heart rejoices in the joy just beyond your fingertips. I love you. We all love you. See you on the other side.

Precisely Designed

Precisely Designed

When working with kids in our Awanas program at church, I was struck that their young hearts were already a target for the same cruel lies we adults carry. One lie that cuts deeply is the buried belief that we don’t matter. While challenging my own lies recently, I found that little devil alive and well and felt impressed to look up the meaning.

Matter: something that occupies space

That brought a measure of comfort. I occupy space, therefore, I matter. No one has the right to bump me out of my space, and it’s my duty to stand up and occupy that space. Handled? Not quite.

I sense that an elusive standard exists to which I must measure up. It’s a continuous question I ask internally. Do I matter here? Am I measuring up? But, measuring up to who? When I look around, there isn’t anyone I’d rather be, or as an author, no one’s books I wish I’d written. So what is this quest?

I’ve come to believe my spirit is searching to be like the One who is perfect; that my Father laid it in my heart to desire oneness and perfection which is only found in Him.

In Him, we live and move and have our being.”

Have our being. Matter. When I’m in that place, I feel complete, at peace. Yet, even though I am one with Christ, I am also different than others, which nudges me to compare. That makes the second meaning of matter just as exciting to me:

Matter: a particular kind of substance.

One night in Awanas, I set a beautiful vase of water and a clay pot filled with old soil in front of the kids and asked which was more valuable. As expected, they chose the beautiful vase. But what would happen, I asked, if I put a living plant into that vase of water? It would drown and die. It needed the clay pot with its drainage hole and soil. Conversely, a bouquet of beautiful flowers would wilt within the hour if stuck into the pot of dirt.

We each hold a particular kind of space that was planned for us before the earth was created. We are each precisely designed for a precise purpose, one that matters.

I’d love to hear your story. If you’ve struggled with this issue, what tools or truths have you found that have helped you overcome the feeling that you don’t matter?