Archive for November, 2010

Thankful Heart

Today is a cold, gray day as the heavens weep over my quiet neighborhood.  Most everyone is at work; the elderly widow across the street is at a doctor’s appointment.  My whole world seems hushed and peaceful.

I finished putting the final touches on our Christmas decorating for this year earlier today and the house is glowing.  The fireplace spreads warmth, my Christmas music station spreads its quiet cheer, and the turkey bones left from last week’s turkey are cooking in the kitchen making broth that will flavor our soups and warm our bones this winter while it fills the house with the fragrance of its promise.

My cup of slightly cinnamoned coffee is tickling my nose with its fragrance as I sip cautiously from its hot offering, warming my insides as I watch the chickadees and cardinals sharing their meal on the birdfeeders outside my window.

At the same time I describe my blessed and contented life to you, there is that nudging in the back of my head somewhere that remembers that not everyone is so blessed.  As the ugliness of the world out there pushes its way into my consciousness I can’t help wondering why it must be so.  Why must some be so very blessed while others have nothing?  I will probably never know the answers, and can feel overwhelmed with the greatness of the need.  But God gently reminds my spirit that, while I am only one person, I must do what I can.  If I can make one person’s load lighter, one person’s world brighter, if I can offer hope, then I can make a difference.  And I MUST make a difference every chance I get.

But in the meantime, I can’t stop enjoying the gifts He’s given to me.  While I cleaned the turkey carcass a little while ago, Christmas music was playing on my online music station and it started playing the most beautifully tender version of “Away in a Manger” that I have ever heard.  I quickly washed my hands and started toward my computer to click that I like the song.  As I rounded the corner I suddenly stopped just to thank God for the gift of that moment.  I stood on the threshold of the room looking toward the computer while the Christmas lights twinkled on the tree beside the desk, the fireplace glowed, the lovely song played, and…the screensaver I use that plays a slide show of our grandchildren had paused on a picture of me rocking Audrey; her head on my shoulder, her security blanket (‘keet’) under her cheek, her precious eyes beginning to droop.  Suddenly love was filling my breast with its warm tightness and trickling down my cheeks in moist rivulets as I thanked my God for the wonder of His glorious gifts.

How could I not be thankful?


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Book News

Book number two went to press yesterday!  This is a sequel to ‘The Long Road Home’.  The title of this book is ‘On the Wings of Grace’ and it is the story of Bess, the prostitute that Ethan encountered in ‘The Long Road Home’.  This is a fun story of God’s amazing grace as we all know it and the completeness of His forgiveness.  I’m excited to be able to have this story available soon!  (Maybe by Christmas?)

And in the back of the book is a brief synopsis of book number three in the trilogy.  I don’t know for sure when it will be out, but hopefully before too much longer.

Usually I write a book in the fall, and one in the spring taking time off for the holidays at the end of the year and for gardening all summer, but this fall I have not written another since I’m writing them far faster than they can be published.  Currently, even when this next one is released I’m still three books ahead of the publisher, so I took the fall off.  I’ve enjoyed joining the women of our church for a fellowship time on Thursday mornings and have enjoyed getting to know some women that I have not known before.

I’ve also helped Rick as his own book business has taken a new turn.  We have turned our garage into a book warehouse and there are always books waiting to be sorted and boxed and packed for shipping.

Rick was watching my first book news on the internet the other day and found a delightful review by Bruce Judisch from last spring already.  I had not been aware that he’d seen my book, but was honored by his review.  Here’s the link in case you’re interested:  http://brucejudisch.blogspot.com/2010/05/long-road-home-by-judi-ann-ehresman.html

But in all the busyness of this fall, another story has continued to play itself out in my head, so currently I’m planning to get another one written soon after the first of the new year.  Be watching!!!

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Autumn in the Valley

There’s just nothing quite so breathtaking, in my estimation, as autumn in the valley.  Roanoke is situated in such a valley that it is surrounded completely (totally!) by mountains.

Now, to most peoples’ consternation, mountains for the most part do nothing for me but make me feel confined.  They eliminate sunsets and breezes and rainbows and the sense of the vastness of God’s creation.  However, in the autumn they nearly redeem themselves.

The other day I was on a road trip with my husband and as we wound through the mountains and dipped into a valley I couldn’t help but marvel at the gorgeous banks of color.  There are the yellows and oranges of the sugar maples, the reds of the sassafras and the deep burgundy of the dogwoods, mixed randomly with the dark greens of the various fir trees and other evergreens and lots and lots of brown oaks.  These mountains are not the vast expanses of rock that is found out west, but basically covered with vegetation that is really ‘strutting its stuff’ this time of year.  I have to admit that I can almost like mountains in the autumn!

One particular joy that I have since moving here is my neighbor’s dogwood tree.  Dogwood trees are quite plentiful out here, but my neighbor’s is spectacular.  Someone years ago grafted two trees together in her front yard so that in the spring when it is loaded with blossoms it is half white lace and half frilly hot pink.  It is the most beautiful tree I have ever seen.  And now, filled with its red berries and burgundy leaves, it once again is a wonderful testimony to the glory of God.  As I garden or even just look out a window, I get full benefit of its beauty.  I’ve always wanted a dogwood, but in our own yard I don’t think I’d enjoy it nearly as much as I do with my box seat watching my neighbor’s fantastic tree.

The first year we moved here I planted an Oakleaf Hydrangea in a garden I dug by our front step.  One of the beautiful aspects of this shrub is its brilliantly red leaves in the fall.  The flower clusters in early to mid-summer hang in large clusters like bunches of grapes or wisteria.  The flowers are gorgeous, but I also really love the deep red leaves in the fall.

Looking around at all the autumn color, I can’t help but wonder how anyone could say there’s no God.  Just how do they explain all this glory?  Coincindence?  Hmmmm….that’s a real stretch if you ask me!

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