Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ten reasons to read A JOURNEY OF LETTERS this summer



1.  You didn't read it last summer, and if you're a woman, you might enjoy our common experiences of growing up and growing old.  We are two authors, not one.  

2.  It will make you laugh and make you cry.

3.  It has a surprise ending!  

4.  The cover is beautiful and you'll be proud to be seen with it on your blanket at the beach or rocking in your chair at your mountain retreat.  (I'd prefer the chair at the beach.  Hard to get up from down there on the blanket.  :-)

5.  You can order it from Amazon in paperback, hardback or as an e-book or directly from tatepublishing.com/bookstore

6.  You don't have to know us (both 71 years old) to identify with the ordinary experiences of our ordinary lives.

7.  Our website is www.ajourneyofletters.tateauthor.com.  You might get to know us and find a recipe or two.

8.  We're hip enough to be on Facebook.  We never figured out how to tweet so anyone would read it on Twitter.  (We're not famous yet.)

9.  If you like to record your days in a diary or journal (do you know the difference?) you'll like this book.

10.  We've blogged for two years.  Why has it not yet gone viral?  (Is that a disease?)  letterscribblers.blogspot.com

  You don't want us to go to our graves thinking we're all alone in the big wide world of writers, do you?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Words

Madeline L'Engle is one of my author heroes.  Here she is, perhaps at her best.


I, who live by words, am
     wordless when
I try my words in prayer.  All
     language turns
To silence.  Prayer will take my words
     and then
Reveal their emptiness.  The stifled voice
     learns
To hold its peace, to listen with the
     heart
To silence that is joy, is adoration.

The self is shattered, all words torn
     apart
In this strange patterned time of
     contemplation
That, in time, breaks time, breaks
     words, breaks me,
And then, in silence, leaves me
     healed and mended.

I have returned to language, for I see
Through words, even when all
     words are ended,
I, who live by words, am
     wordless when
I turn me to the Word to pray.
     Amen.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Redbuds here?

We head to North Carolina next week to enjoy the splendid springtime where exotic plants and trees overwhelm us with their beauty.  Redbuds, dogwood, azaleas, to name a few.  We live, here in Colorado, amid constant threats and the reality of untimely frosts, near drought climate, and snow that laughs at our attempts to make beauty.

But once in a blue moon we get a taste, or perhaps more accurately, a glimpse of verdant pastures green.  I give you two pictures (and this is new photo software so I have no idea how these are going to look).  The first photo is of a flowering tree, ever present, tough and faithful; the other is a fair-weather friend that I have seen only twice (and the second time was just this week) in our almost 50 years of living in this close-to-mountain community.  This last friend is so delicate, even ethereal, that he (she) photographs less than perfectly, or else I didn't camp out long enough to get a good picture.  Here goes, anyway. Julie

Monday, March 30, 2015

Playtime in the Pacific

Dolphins have more fun than almost anybody.  They can play in the water all day with their friends.  They can swim like lightning.  And they look sleek and smooth and beautiful.

We came upon a huge pod of these dancing, diving creatures off Dana Point in southern California early in March.  Our boat circled among them for perhaps 45 minutes.  They treated us like their best buddies.  They loved swimming inches from the sides of the boat.  We could have watched them all day.



 Oh wait!  That's not a dolphin!  What could it be?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Treasure Hunting

I've been thinking about the wonderful times I had as a little girl in Sunday School.  I loved it!  We had Bible verse memorization contests like spelling bees, books with spaces to fill in with verses, and it was such fun filling in the blanks.  Our only translation was the King James Version back then and sometimes I found it hard to understand, but the meaning was there and I got it.  We had a weekly verse to memorize and the teachers sometimes rewarded us with a sticker or pencil or bookmark if we'd done our lessons.  I still remember a chartreuse pen with red printing I once received...it was something I treasured for years.  I still remember the verse:  For me to live is Christ; to die is gain.  I pondered that a lot.  Dying is not a concept a child usually thinks about.  But because I had hidden that verse in my heart, it's still there. 


With the world in the state it is, would it not be prudent to continue teaching our children and grandchildren to memorize verses that they may someday need to recall?  Perhaps our churches will be gone or our Bibles burned.  If we have those words hidden in our hearts, no one can destroy them unless they destroy our body, too.  In the '90's, I made a list of verses from A to Z on notecards.  I review them often, tucking them away for today, perhaps for tomorrow or troubles down the road.   A...All things are possible with God, Mark 10:27, B...Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken, Psalm 16:8, C....

Maybe you, too, would like to seek these treasures.  Happy Hunting!      Judy

Sunday, January 4, 2015

For Death's Sake

Christmas isn’t supposed to be a time for being preoccupied with death.  It is, for a Christian, time to celebrate the beginning of real life, for Christ’s coming means the beginning of the new order, God’s Kingdom set in motion, his kingdom of love and light.

But for me this Christmas time was a journey for death’s sake.  In mid-December I boarded a plane bound for Spokane, the nearest point to the farm where I grew up, and, if the truth were told, the place where home abounds.  Those hills will always fill me with peace and joy, and if I close my eyes, I am there. 

Death had come to my 92-year-old uncle, my favorite uncle.  As a child he babysat me, laughed with me,  and I basked in his presence.  Later, though we met scarcely once a year, there was no distance between us.  Face to face, even a few words made the day whole.  The last time I saw him, it was at another funeral service, and we sat at a table with our arms around each other’s shoulders.  I have the picture to prove it.

We cousins and children met to say good by to Uncle Archie.  We said good by in hugs, tears, eyes glued to the pictures of him in his combine.  We said good by in saying, “Remember when?” and "Please tell me again how you held his hand and he squeezed it and then took his last breath."  We said good by when we shared lunch at the church and playing switching chairs so we could sit by everyone.  We said good by as we wound our way from the church to the cemetery that overlooked the Snake River.  We stood by Uncle Archie in his box and listened to his boys (men over 60 now) saying he never became angry with them.  We heard his nephew declare, “He was my second father.” 

By this time we were less than a dozen cousins, sons, and spouses.  We stood in the weak sunshine and wet grass that chilled our toes, loath to leave.  We stretched the day when we, as a group, decided we must visit our grandpa and grandma, Archie’s parents.  We knew they were somewhere near the trees at the top of the hill, so all of us spread out and walked over the area, hunting from stone to stone.  My brother was the one who found them.  We stood around their graves and said a few words of remembrance, the closing of a circle of the day.


To spend a day with dear men and women of the same DNA and experiences, and most of all, of the same hearts towards the Savior-to-come: so important it was unspeakable.  Hearts were full, love spoke from eye to eye, ties strengthened beyond breaking.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Real Meat of Christmas


If you read last week's blog on our exotic Christmas meat contest, you're probably waiting with bated breath to learn the winner.  Let me first tell you the entries.  There were three appetizers:  wild boar sausage with dijon mustard, rabbit/rattlesnake sausage with Sriracha, and teriyaki marinated bison skewers.   For the main course we enjoyed yak meatballs, seared reindeer with cherry sauce, and a dry ham I had overcooked, but not overlooked for the non-exotic eater types.  In the end, everyone tasted everything and laughter reigned!  The vote was cast and the American Bison won by a landslide.  ("Oh, give me a home where the bison roam" would be more correct words to the song, since buffalo are only Asian and African.)  Perhaps it wasn't as exotic as the others, but the taste far surpassed the offbeat taste of the rarer forms of meat.  Certainly rattlesnake and rabbit are exotic as well as common.  Coming in a distant second was reindeer.  It must be a sin to eat Rudolph on Christmas!

The best moment of the day came, however, when my twelve-year-old grandson with a voice like an angel sang Happy Birthday, Jesus (by Carol Cymbala) as our prayer before dinner.    A Happy and Healthy New Year to you all!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESUS.
I'M SO GLAD IT'S CHRISTMAS.
ALL THE TINSEL AND LIGHTS AND
THE PRESENTS ARE NICE
BUT THE REAL GIFT IS YOU.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESUS.
I'M SO GLAD IT'S CHRISTMAS.
ALL THE CAROLS AND BELLS
MAKE THE HOLIDAYS SWELL
AND IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESUS;  JESUS, I LOVE YOU.