Yep, I Did That Contest

Sometimes it seems like you can’t get it right. So this post is not for all you perfect people out there! If you read my last post, you know it’s been a wild ride for our family the past year. So it shouldn’t surprise me to find out I messed up a book cover.

Why is it that if you make mistakes, they are more than likely ones that should have never happened, or ones that someone should have pointed out ahead of time, or should have been easily seen? A ‘well duh!’ moment. So you feel really stupid. God is still working on humbling me. I would like to think that I’m going to get it right someday, but it’s not looking good.

I have done several of my book covers. Designing book covers is something that I really enjoy. If I had more training in the area, I would probably work on covers as a side gig. But for now, other than a couple small projects, I just do my own. I designed the covers for the When series, and I’ve designed the covers for my current Love Defined series of four books. The first book in the series, Sweet Hope was released in June of this year. So it was with great surprise when our oldest daughter (also my editor) shared this picture with me.

Whoops!

My father has been a great supporter of my writing. He reads all my books, and even writes reviews! It shocked me, since my books are not what most men would read, but since they are not the typical love story, my father can handle it. So when he ordered my latest release, the above picture showed that it doesn’t have anything on the spine! Oh no! Not a good thing. So, I do apologize for those of you that ordered my newest release, which didn’t have any spine information on it. It will be fixed.

I enjoy writing, but I’m human (as is my editor!). I mess up. I need your help, and my editor and I thought this might be a fun way to catch any other errors. Because it seems like no matter how many times a book is gone over, and no matter how many eyes have been over those words, there are still errors! And it is aggravating!

So, I’m running a little contest. If you read Sweet Hope, I would appreciate you looking for mistakes. You may purchase a paperback or e-book version, or even borrow it from a library or friend. Just read it! If you find a mistake, please e-mail my editor at:

peasinapodeditinganddesign@yahoo.com

Each time you e-mail with an error that you have found, your name will be entered into a drawing that will be held in 2021. If your name is drawn, you will receive a free, signed copy of the next book in the series, Sweet Belief. I am currently working on this book. It is written, and it’s  good…one of my favorites…but it’s currently in rewrites and edits. I will update on here how it is progressing and when the drawing will take place. It will be before June, but I will give an exact date at the beginning of the new year.

In the meantime, while it is cold outside, and we are looking at another lockdown due to Covid-19, read, read, read! Here is a sneak peak of Sweet Belief

Sweet Belief cover for wordpress contest post

The Year 2020

I sit here trying to remember my last post date. I know it’s been far too long.

It’s been long enough that the format for this site has changed again. Why do we have to mess with what works? Is there always a ‘new and improved’ way of doing things? As many of my older readers know, it’s not so much the fear of change, the dread of a learning curve, but just missing the old and familiar. The comfy chair that fits you just right, and you know you’ll feel safe and secure in.

To say it’s been a wild and crazy year world-wide is an understatement. We’ve all had the ‘old and familiar’ way of doing things knocked from beneath us. Our lives have spun out of control, and some are still twirling, hoping to cease that motion on some remembered ground of what life was once like. Here in the United States, we are still in a political mess of who will be the next President. I don’t do politics on here, and generally not on any social media. I definitely have my opinions, but I don’t care to spend precious time battling them out. God is in control, and I have faith-rest that it will work out in His timing. It may not be an easy ride, I may not agree, but it will be taken care of. My job is to keep applying what I know the Bible says about each and every situation. My biggest responsibility is to applying it with love, using patience and consideration for all. My biggest battleground is myself, and each minute of the day at times, reminding myself of that love, patience and consideration.

Long before Covid-19 hit everyone’s radar, my personal life began it’s own spiral. With all the items that were thrown at us, by the time the Virus hit, it wasn’t much to consider for me. I had too many other devastating items taking place. This post isn’t about feeling sorry for the last year and a half, no matter how much I would like to wish it all away. It’s about sharing with my readers. The one’s that follow this blog, the one’s that read my books. And if you’ve read my books, you know I write about the hard parts of life. The parts we’re ashamed of, the parts we want to forget, the parts we don’t want anyone to know about. We all have them, and they have been forgiven, and forgotten in the broad scope of eternity. Out of the rubble, there is hope, and sunshine to be shared.

I left my job as Activity Director at our local nursing home in August of 2019. I loved the job, but my health wasn’t fairing well with the stress of working full-time. My husband was also struggling physically. Acting in ways that were very different for him. Ways that were scary to me since I had worked in nursing homes for so many years, and knew about some of the symptoms. Ways that a 59 year old shouldn’t be acting. After a general diagnosis from our local doctor in September, my husband was referred to a neurologist. After waiting several months, my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at the end of February.

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My world, our world was forever changed. Hopes and plans for our future were swept away with just a few words. I was devastated, hurt, angry, and I wanted to run away. Very far away. My husband has never been much for expressing his emotions, and I know he felt many of the same things. But I’m a fighter, and he buries his head. The more sand he can scoop for protection, the better. All the while I’m shoveling it away in bucket-loads. It has probably kept us together for 36 years now. But I know it has not been the peaceful existence he would have preferred.

In the midst of all this, two of our daughters were struggling in their marriages. One ending in divorce, another in separation. Four precious grandchildren involved. Again, not what we would have planned or wanted for their lives, and I know not what they wanted. But this road of life is treacherous at times, and it takes all of our being to get through the dangerous curves and drops. Both daughters are now living further away than what I ever would have wanted, but they keep close contact, and we have had wonderful visits with both of them just recently. Those times are precious!

Selling the house we had lived in for 15 years was another hurdle. It was the only home our youngest remembered. So, the first of June, we moved in with our oldest daughter and her three children. Her husband had started a job a couple hours away and was staying with friends from their church until they could move. For four months, during lockdown, we had the privilege of having three of our grandchildren right with us. God knew the timing, He knew I needed help physically and mentally. It was a cherished time for me…for the grandchildren, it may have been different! Our daughter and husband are now living a couple hours away, but they are so good about traveling to see us almost weekly.

As I read back over what I’ve written, I shake my head in amazement. I wouldn’t have planned the last 18 months. I would have run if I had known! Recently, my mother has been moved to a memory care unit. My father cared for her for several years while still working full-time. Again, with the Covid-19 restrictions, it has been frustrating. But she is doing well, and I talk with her often now. I am relieved for my father, and have appreciated the time we’ve been able to spend with him.

I have debated on whether I should take down my posts from when our daughters were married, the pictures I shared on here. I’ve had this blog for several years now, so I’ve shared our lives.  I’ve used it as a way for my readers to get to know me better, or at least that was what I was thinking when I started it. But it is therapy for me to write on here. I still cherish those posts, and the pictures. Those men our daughters married will always be part of our family…the fathers of our granddaughters. Nothing will change that. So for now, I will leave them, and I hope our daughters will understand that it is not for disrespect for their lives now, or for our new son-in-law. But it is what has made us what we are as a family. The good and the rough times we’ve shared.

My husband is doing very well on the medication for Parkinson’s Disease. He went from struggling to dress and shave to being able to do those ADL’s on his own. I am thankful. It gives us a bit more time to process this Disease and what our options are. For now we are renting from our oldest daughter and son-in-law, our son and youngest daughter living with us. Their help and support right now is making life easier.

That’s been our life in a nutshell. Again, not to feel sorry, but to let you know that I’m still here. I appreciate your prayers, and support for my books. I will write no matter what happens. I always have a story to tell. But my readers make it real, and very dear.

My newest release was in June. It is the first book in a series of four books about a very special family. Of course! 😉 The books are all written, several years ago as a matter of fact. I’m currently doing rewrites on the second in the series. I had hoped to have it out by the end of the year…but you just read the post! You may find the first book right here: https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Hope-Jonathan-Elisabeth-Defined/dp/1708481419/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=deborah+ann+dykeman&s=books&sr=1-1

I’ve enjoyed sharing our life with you. Thank you for reading! Now go and make this day the best that it can be!

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Freedom to Choose

I’ve never really listened to George Jones. I know his songs, and I read a book written about him and Tammy Wynette many years ago. Back in the days when I read anything I could about people and their lives. They had a love story, not only filled with roses and sunshine, but thorns and stormy days. The same stories we all share. George Jones was an extremely talented songwriter. He was able to tell a story, draw you in, and have you laughing or crying in under five minutes. Wow!

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You are probably going to have a lot of posts from me about songs I listen to. Our son gave me a little white box this past Christmas. It sets in my kitchen where I can talk to it, asking about the weather, and recipes I need. It’s a very handy little device, and I’ve become rather attached to it. When it comes to music, all I need to do is tell it what song I want to hear, or what genre. I smile when I think back to the days when we ran miles of stereo wire through the house so we could have a speaker upstairs and get ‘surround’ sound.

This morning, I had bluegrass-type gospel music playing, when this song came on. Choices was not written by George Jones, but it was written about his life. If you know anything about country music, George Jones had a huge impact on it. He also struggled with addiction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP0oQCh_teg

It continually amazes me the way God uses people. Not only their strengths, but their weak areas as well. The men in the Bible given as examples were not sin-free. They murdered, committed adultery, and didn’t always do as instructed by God. Some even turned their backs. Those actions detoured their lives, and there were consequences to pay. We live in the same world today, and we still have choices to make.

Every one of us can think back over our lives, and see something that we should have handled in a different way, maybe a better way. We all live with regrets and guilt. I think that’s why it’s so very important to instill in our children a sense of right and wrong, and to teach them to listen to that little voice of warning when we are headed down a wrong path. There is no shame in re-routing, or admitting we are wrong. There are second chances…usually. The only shames are arrogance, and being unwilling to learn.

This song is bluntly truthful, speaking of the singer’s regrets for not making better decisions with his life. The addictions were more important than family, friends, and talents. Addictions are not only in the forms of alcohol and drugs. They can be anything that keeps us from being the person God designed us to be…the best that we can attain here on this earth. I know what mine are…how about you? I know the areas in my own life that are weak, that lead me to make unwise choices. I do want to listen to that little voice that warns me that I’m headed down a dangerous path. And I want to be courageous enough to stop, and admit I was wrong…that I need to make a better decision.

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Because at the end of my life, I don’t want to be singing a song of regrets…about all the should-haves. I want to rejoice that I was courageous, even when it was difficult to be. And if I failed, I found my feet once more and tried again. I do have choices in my life. I have the freedom to make them.

Faith Makes it Well With My Soul

I began this day thinking on one of my favorite verses. Psalm 118:24 – This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. I usually remember it each day, to remind myself that I’m here to live another day, and that I have another opportunity to see what God has in store for me. I have another day to make choices, and I always pray that I will make them in His will…not mine.

Good morning, and I pray it is for you. The sun is shining here, and that helps my outlook immensely. Too many gray, damp, and dreary days play havoc with me.

I’ve mentioned on here that our family is struggling. All of us go through good and bad times. To say the past several months has been a challenge for us is an understatement. Our lives have been uprooted, our belief system of God as the center has been stomped on. There have been so many days that it would be easier to run and hide, or play the world’s system of games. God has not only pruned us, but it seems as though He’s allowed for us to be stripped bare of all. Every area of our lives has been hit…financially, physically, and our children are struggling. And we can’t make it better. Humbling may be one way to put it…but it seems to candy-coat.

And then I heard this song this morning when I was making breakfast. Our children told me about MercyMe several years ago. I’ve probably heard this song before…and not really paid attention to the words. But this morning I did. It reminded me that all should be well with my soul, no matter what happens in our daily lives. Faith is there, and God has a purpose.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6fA35Ved-Y

We’ve all messed up our lives. We have in the past, and we probably will again in the future. As I always say, we are human. Situations we may go through may scar us for life. We may live with those decisions forever. Guilt can destroy us if we let it. But Jesus Christ paid for that on the cross. Don’t belittle what He did by taking it back, mulling it over, and damaging today. Release it…sometimes every minute of the day until you are stronger.

Pray without ceasing. Not all of the problems will go away. Some will stay to continue to test you and forge you into a strong person, not weak and swayed each time the wind blows. Some situations will cause scarring on your soul. You will live with that, and the consequences of it…but if you open your eyes on a new day…you are here. And in time, with better decisions through faith in what God has planned, the scarring will ease, the bruises will fade. The older you get in this life, the more you understand that.

As I usually do, I’m speaking to believers here. Those that have accepted Christ as their Savior. Your hope is in Heaven. Not this world and it’s system of chaos, and missed chances. Your job while here is to grow in maturity by learning His word and applying it to your life. You can’t have faith, peace, and contentment in this life without doing that. And yes, at times it’s a minute-by-minute walk.

As for me, I cannot imagine living this life without God, without Hope in heaven. To think that this is all there is, and then we die into nothingness, would be incredibly depressing. I would be seeking anything and everything to try and ease the pain, to try and make sense, and have fun before it was all over.

Thank you, God, for sending your Son to die for us, for bearing all our sins on that cross. He paid the price. Even if my entire world here on earth collapses, I have eternity with you. So today, I will rejoice for the sunshine, for my husband and five children, my grandchildren. Thank you for a Bible-teaching church and friends. Some days I have to look hard for the smile inside, but there’s always something.

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Merry Christmas!

The day has arrived! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little journey over the past month. I know it was a great reminder for me…the Christmas story. Christmas Month Social Media (3)

Especially remember verse twenty in the above. We may continue the Christmas spirit throughout the year…glorifying and praising God. Merry Christmas to you!

One More Week!

Children are thrilled to count down the days before any important occasion. But Christmas is probably one of the most special to them. I know it was for me. With each day that passed, the excitement built until I thought I would fairly burst with wanting Christmas day to arrive. Presents appeared in the mail from relatives, and they were stashed under the tree with strict rules not to touch them until Christmas morning. That didn’t keep us from shaking a few and trying to guess. Baking went into a frenzy that last week, and our house always smelled delicious and festive.

When all the packages had been opened, the food consumed, the dishes done, we put on our new pajamas, robes and slippers. Because that was always a gift from our great Auntie. I would go to bed and think back over the day. I would be excited about a few more days off from school, and the potential for snow to play in. But there was always a little bit of a let-down. Christmas wouldn’t come for another whole year!

Children will always look at the glitz, the glamour, and the fun. And that is not wrong. Children need a time of innocence, a time of fun and happy memories. But they also need God…and that is something to teach on a daily basis. Not just at Christmas time.

Keep the joy of childhood in your Christian walk. On December 26th, the celebrations will be over, and won’t return for a year. But we can keep the memory of Christ’s birth, His life, and death on the cross each day. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father…and that is joyous!

 

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What Child is This

Classical guitar has always been one of my favorite to listen to. This arrangement reminds me of a place called The Carrot Barn in Schoharie, New York. They always had beautiful music such as this playing while you browsed the antiques, clothing, and even sampled a few goodies. It has grown a lot since we were regular visitors back in the 1980’s. You may visit Schoharie Valley Farms right here: http://www.schoharievalleyfarms.com/index.php

I love classical guitar so much, that my husband gave me one for my birthday about 25 years ago. No, I never did learn to play it. After a few times of trying, I gave up and decided to really appreciate those that could play! It is an art form, and I really enjoyed this arrangement for that reason.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPRFk8sLIPw

Proclaim the Truth

When I was a child, I often wondered what it must have been like for the shepherds the night Jesus Christ was born. To be sitting outside, enjoying the evening air, resting after a hard days work. Then an angel appears…and not just the angel, but the glory of the Lord shone around them. I would have been afraid as well!

The verses I’ve included on this little journey through Luke, chapter two, remind us that God works through humble means. The shepherds were given an important job that night, and they rushed to see if the angel had spoken truth. Then they shared the joyous news of Christ’s birth.

We as Believers should be just as excited to proclaim.

 

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