Appalachian Thursday – Wild Critters

There are people who have never seen an animal in the wild. Oh, maybe a city squirrel or some pigeons, but I’d argue they’re not really wild. My mountains are a veritable zoo of wildlife. Just yesterday Thistle and I encountered a teenage bear on our evening hike. She was easily persuaded to abandon the trail for the deeper woods where she melted into the rhododendron like she’d been a dream. Thistle knows better than to give chase. But she will chase squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits all day long. As well fed as she is, I suspect it’s just for sport. We’re also knee-deep in turkeys and see the occasional deer. Back in WV you can’t NOT see a deer. They’re frankly too plentiful. We’re also treated to sitings of raccoons, possums, groundhogs, foxes, skunks, coyotes, and the truly rare bobcat. I saw more skunks back in WV where we had one living under the back porch for a while. He would come out after dusk and see if there were any scraps left in the dog dish. We’d stand behind the screen door, watching, and he’d squint at us (I think skunks may not have the best eyesight). Adorable, but we knew better than to go out there. I suppose there are folks who would rather NOT encounter wildlife every time they go outside, but it’s one of the reasons I love these mountains so much. Bears on the […]

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Appalachian Thursday – Lightning Bugs

You know it’s summer in the mountains when the lightning bugs start putting on a show. As kids, we loved to catch them and drop them in a mason jar with holes poked in the lid. Then we’d put that jar on a dresser in our rooms to watch them twinkle until we fell asleep. Now I’d rather just sit outside and watch the show all across our yard and into the trees. And while I now know what’s happening is actually a cutthroat mating dance, it’s still incredibly lovely. And peaceful. And a little bit magic. I realize some of you out there don’t have lightning bugs (or fireflies if you prefer). So I thought I’d offer you a peek at last evening’s light show . . .

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Holy Week–The best story EVER

Just picture it. Jesus comes riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. People act like he’s a rock star–waving palm branches, throwing their cloaks down in the street. The king is here. But wait. This isn’t the king they expected. He doesn’t overthrow Roman rule. He doesn’t claim a throne, wear a crown, or live in a palace. Instead, he makes […]

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Ashes to Ashes – A Lenten Reflection

There were fewer than twenty of us gathered in the little white church on the hill for the Ash Wednesday service last week. The evening was mild and the service was brief with some music, scripture and words from the pastor, and then the ashes. Lent is my favorite season and Easter is my favorite holiday. I like it better even than Christmas. I look forward to getting up early on Easter morning for the sunrise service and when we come to the place where the pastor says, “He is risen!” and we all answer, “He is risen, indeed!” my heart never fails to soar. But before the resurrection, there’s this deep, lovely time of reflection. And it starts with ashes. My pastor dipped his finger in the bowl of oil mixed with ashes from last year’s palm branches. He placed a gentle finger on my forehead, making a cross and saying, “Sarah, from ashes you have come and from ashes you shall return.” And my heart soared with something like Resurrection Sunday joy. Because this is good news indeed. In Genesis 3:19 after the fall, God said to Adam, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Dust. Ashes. I suppose that might sound sad to some folks, but what I hear is that […]

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Three Years an Author

It was in August of 2014 that my first, full-length novel released. We launched Miracle in a Dry Season with a bean supper and square dancing. It was the best day of my life after my wedding day. Talk about a dream come true! So how’s the dream coming along three years later as I prepare for the launch of book #4, The Sound of Rain? Well, it’s still pretty dreamy. Of course, reality does come crashing in. One book sells great. Another not so well. This book wins an award. That one gets several one-star reviews. (And sales DO NOT necessarily jibe with awards!) Some days the writing flows like a mountain stream after the rain. Other days it’s an annoying, drippy faucet. Marketing is alternately a pleasure and sheer torture. Doing events when people turn up is a delight. The ones where I sit at a table alone are agony. So basically, this dream is a lot like . . . life. Good days, bad days, mediocre-nothing-happening days. But the upshot is, even on the bad days, this is still my dream and my passion. Stepping into the world of my characters remains one of my very favorite things to do. And hearing from readers who have been touched in some way by the stories I’m blessed to write . . . well, that’s pure gold. I think, when you love doing something, the hard stuff that comes […]

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