Big whoop, right? For me it is, when I seem to move at a slower pace than the rest of the world. For a long time, I heard Instagram is where it’s at, whatever “it” means (still processing)—but I did finally catch up in this social media race. Give me space to tiptoe on my own and I’ll eventually get there (said the tortoise to the hare).
Instagram. You can follow me there, here:
On an early morning walk this week, a great white heron flew in front of me. I felt the flush of wind from its powerful wingspan—it was that close. I might be misidentifying this magnificent creature, but I do know it was not a color-morphed junior—the thing was gigantic and entirely white, no black legs or darkened bill. I suppose I should have been startled by its sudden presence, but I stood in awe as it glided across my path at eye level and then soared skyward. I could have been envious of the bird for its freedom and fearless flight. Instead, I wondered curiously what the view was like up there over the treelined marsh in this Sweetwater valley of Tennessee.
I grew up mostly (or mostly grew up, haha) on Fidalgo Island in Washington State. I used to hike to a couple special spots just to watch the heron(s) in complete harmony with earth, water, and sky. I’d sit for hours as one would move in stately silence, fish with purposeful patience, pass from complete focused stillness to the majesty of commanding aviation in a blink. Strong birds. Confident loners, I somehow took comfort in watching them. Never before have I seen a white one, though, so this unexpected recent encounter was extra special.
There’s an inclination I have to read symbolism in everything, see a spiritual sign beyond the physical, spot an allegory. Probably stems from my Judeo-Christian background, and this nature is quite strong in me. My sister/BFF says that I walk between two worlds. Because it’s true, my mind and heart were heavy and I was seeking God that morning. Though my feet were firmly plodding forward on the path, my cognizance was somewhere else completely. So now I ask what, exactly, is the Lord saying to me? Herons in Hebrew culture represent long-suffering, wisdom, and protection, are forbidden to be hunted or eaten. Early Christians believed herons shed red tears when under stress and their emblem came to represent Jesus’ agony of sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. Yet somehow there seems to be more here, something else I’m not perceiving.
“The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”—Romans 8:26
Or maybe there wasn’t meaning in that encounter at all. Maybe that moment was just meaningful in that the heron was neat to look at and nothing else hinges there. Maybe I read too much into things. Except, as the week continues to churn, images of the white heron paint my mind in pure flashes and I’m inspired and hope-filled and utter thanks to the Lord. Regardless and always, God is sensitive, compassionate, merciful, and good. I trust him. And I certainly appreciate that he created that standout heron.
Now back to my chips-n-salsa which I also appreciate. You see? Two worlds, lol.
A mockingbird has made itself very comfortable outside my bedroom window. A bird that never sleeps, it sings endlessly. Many times I awaken, my internal clock telling me it’s time to arise, the sun is about to crest, while the mockingbird chatters. But it’s only 1 AM. The bird tricks me. If I could be as incessantly joyous as this nightbird sounds…
With a contented smile, I rest my head back on the pillow. The bird’s song is beautiful, and the energetic melody reminds me that somewhere on this blue planet the sun is always rising. Dawn is imminent, and so is the hope renewed in my heart for a fresh and glorious day.
“By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8
My horse-based contemporary romance novel I wrote a few years back, Madeleine's Ranch, is currently being promoted on Riding & Writing.
As a novel often will reflect an author’s personal experience, perception, or interest, I thought I’d also include a few pics here of some these great loves in life…
My publisher is working on combining The Brother’s Keep series into one set. This coming April, all four of my YA romantic fantasy novellas will be available in one volume via Soul Mate Publishing. The cover was just revealed to me, and now I’m revealing it to you. Symbols from each of the novellas are represented in this gorgeous new cover (love!). Sharing today’s news from my happy camp.
Greetings! I'm excited to share the introduction for my latest novel just released. Can't believe I now have nine titles out there! Where does the time go? Oh yeah, that's right...it goes into writing. ;)
This story, MADELEINE'S RANCH, is a contemporary Christian Native American romance, inspired by my five-year stint on a ranch in northern New Mexico (still one of my favorite locations in the world). Hope you enjoy it.
Madeleine Gentry can’t afford to lose the ranch.
Even though childhood dreams betray her, and a history of hurt is wrapped into the place, it’s everything she knows at 47 years of age.
When a handsome Jesus-believing Native American, Dan Longfeather, shows her that the Waymaker has a far better plan, including freedom and healing for her heart, she dares to hope. If only she can learn to trust again and is willing to make the right choice for her future. But when she takes a step in that direction, the last of Madeleine’s world crumbles.
Fighting off a rogue bear that has terrorized the area is tough, but it’s the least of her worries. Madeleine soon discovers she is not safe. There is a danger far worse than a restless bear. Someone is out to get her. People aren't what they seem. And she doesn't know who to believe anymore.
Set in the mountainous Pecos Wilderness of northern New Mexico; discover Madeleine’s wild and desperate love for the Land of Enchantment, and the man who captures her heart there.
Black Sheep, you are different not undesirable; misunderstood not disreputable. Honor is a power of the heart not a reflection of surroundings or surrounding attitudes. Your heart is strong. You do not fail, you climb. Failure is for those who do not move their hooves. Your hardy little even-toed hooves go, go, go! You ascend at your own pace. If you trip, you bleat, but you try again. Resilience. Among the scrutinizing eyes of your compeers I feel your pain, and yet I applaud—for there is no shame in being who you are or what God made you. No embarrassment, only delight. No shame, only honest pride. Some look at you and see deviation from the flock. I see straightforwardness.
Black Sheep, you are beautiful, and as you should be.
Women hold secrets. Even if you think they don’t, they do. Planted deep within the wells of a woman’s soul hush-hush lingers.
While God knows the inner and outer workings of my heart, the only living creature on earth who knows all my secrets is the cat. Therefore, my cat is granted diplomatic immunity and cannot be prosecuted for any action. It’s hardly fair and seems rather unreasonable. I don’t know why it is the way it is, except that I feel safe with him, the cat. I realize that if he went under the duress of interrogation (and he has), my surreptitious vault is safe and will ever be. You see, we have an understanding, the cat and I. So, from all women out there who share this clandestine indulgence, let me hear a “¡Viva el gato!”
Oh. Well then, perchance I might have had an audience with Rainer Maria Rilke who expressed, “I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.” Instead of moving ahead of my time I might be lagging behind in a wish to commiserate with literary predecessors. Ha!
I’m aware I give the cat too much importance yet can’t seem to help myself. It’s both a weakness and a need (stupid cat). Therefore, his diplomatic immunity is a requirement. No questions asked.
It was a dark and stormy night--
Ball? Ball? Ball? Play ball? Wanna play ball? Wanna play? Play ball? Wanna play? Ball? Ball? Ball? Play ball with me? Ball?
It was a dark and stormy night. Lightning flashed--
Walk? Walk? Walk? Go for walk? For walk? Walk me? Walk? Go for walk?—CAR RIDE! Car ride? Car? Ride? Go for ride in car? Ride? In car? Car? Ride?
It was a dark and stormy night. Lightning flashed. Thunder cracked--
Ball? Ball? Ball? Wanna play ball? Play ball with me. Ball? Ball?.....Ball?
(Sigh). Sometimes, the pup just needs to come first.
There’s a very large Black Rat Snake living in my garage. When I first discovered him, I had opened my car door ready to hop out only to find him right there staring up at me with those unblinking eyes. I had almost stepped on him!—and it about scared the light out of me.
But we’ve come to an understanding, the snake and I. You see, he favors my garage, molts, hangs out—literally, and is welcome to come and go as he pleases. I won’t try to kill him or ask him to get lost. In exchange, he keeps the rodents away…and very well, I might add.
Yes, it’s a nice arrangement, my garage his den, for everything works together for good. I’d rather have a rat snake nearby than a rat. I’ve named him Fig, either because his head reminds me of one or that I break into a few bars of “Figaro” whenever I see him. I can’t decide if he likes it or puts up with it. But we have an agreement, you see. My snake and the snake’s crazy human.
Figaro! Figaro! Figaro! ~ ~ ~ Figaro qua, Figaro là, Figaro su, Figaro giù...