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!

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

A Place in My Heart

Rubyville, Book #4, A Place In My Heart, is probably my favorite of the four books. I say probably because I do love this series, and it is very difficult to have a favorite, the same with children.

Believe it or not, I learned a lot while writing this series. The research for the different eras that are traveled through was really fun and interesting for me. But I also learned a lot about myself, and the way not to handle a situation. Below is a meme I created for the release of the book.

Rubyville Book #4 - Prom

Get your FREE ebook copy today! https://www.amazon.com/Rubyville-Place-My-Heart-Book/dp/1537096826/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=deborah+ann+dykeman&qid=1574790687&s=books&sr=1-5

We Thank Thee

Good Sunday morning to you! This week our thoughts turn to Thanksgiving here in America. We will gather together, family and friends, to remember and celebrate this day. This song is just a reminder of some of the things we should be thankful for in our lives. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pXzge4uhVs

Dysfunction

What was once thought of as dysfunctional, seems to be coming more of the normal these days. This does sadden me. I believe God designed a very good system, and when we take different paths, situations become difficult and murky to travel through.

But we all take different paths from time to time, and none of us travel the straight and narrow. God knew this, and yet He still loves us. He allows us that different path, sometimes for years or a lifetime. When we fall, not once, but over and over, He is there. We only need to call on Him.

My key verse that I sign all my books with is, Psalm 118:24. 

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (KJV)

This is the verse that I call to mind each day that it’s difficult to get out of bed. It’s the verse that reminds me that I’m still here, and I have an opportunity once again, for at least that day to forge ahead and make better decisions for my life. One more day to rely on Him. There are days when I forget that verse…shove it to the back of my closet full of troubles. Days that I have to reclaim it several times. But the verse, and God are always there. 

The tag-line I use for my writing is, This Life is Real…and so are the Answers. I write books about dysfunctional families. People that are struggling in their Christian walk. People that don’t always get it together and have a happy ending. Because that is not what life is about…and it certainly isn’t the Christian life. I should know…I’ve lived one for over 45 years now…and it hasn’t always been pretty. But the bottom line is, I know God is there, He has a plan for me and my life, and my hope is in heaven. And those truths are where all the answers lie. 

This past week, the third book in the Rubyville series has been FREE as an ebook. Today is the last day of this promotion. This book has jumped around a bit on the lists, but it has stayed fairly constant around this all week: #21 in Dysfunctional Relationships.

https://www.amazon.com/Rubyville-Place-Heal-Book-3-ebook/dp/B01ITR2RDI/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=deborah+ann+dykeman&qid=1574442773&s=books&sr=1-4

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Book #3 – Rubyville

At first I thought it strange based on me not listing it under keywords such as dysfunctional. I thought I had stuck with the christian fiction genre…and I talked about all that the other day in my post about algorithms. But the book is about marital abuse, and the struggles that mothers and daughters can have in their relationships. So it is categorized pretty well on Amazon. Being #21 isn’t too bad either. But more importantly, I want people to read it, and get answers for their own marriages, and relationships in families. And to remember that bitterness eats at your soul, and destroys the person that God designed you to be.

And that’s a tough lesson. It’s a lesson I’m still learning about, and an area I stay in constant pray over. It’s rather like pruning away all the dead branches after a long, frigid winter, and finding new growth.

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I’m looking forward to that time of flourishing once again. Have a great week end!

The Blizzard

Songwriters are pretty special people. They have the ability to pull you into a story in a very short period of time. That story may leave you smiling and laughing, or pretty sad and wanting to cry. We all have a list of our favorites.

One of mine is a song written by Harlan Howard called The Blizzard. From what I could research, Jim Reeves recorded it first on October 4, 1960, releasing in February 1961. It had many other talented people record it after that. Just goes to show what a great story it is! I won’t share the words on here since the Jim Reeves lyrics are property and copyright of their owners. But you may listen to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2fyFumisiU

If you would like to hear some other recordings, this is a site I found: https://secondhandsongs.com/work/54004/all

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As we all feel with a favorite song, we never get tired of hearing it. Songs can take us back to a time and place, even bringing to mind certain smells and emotions we experienced when hearing the song for the first time. Christmas songs are probably the most familiar for transporting us to other days, and recreating memories in our minds.

At Christmas time during my childhood, Christmas music was played from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Hearing it at any other time shakes me out of that happy place of Christmas memories and is comparative to a cold-water dousing. So of course, I’ve never been a fan of Christmas in July! When I was 17-18 years old, we lived in Tucson, Arizona. The scenery did not bring a New England Christmas to my mind. I think our entire family felt the same. So, my mother played the music, decorated as she always did and baked. She also sprayed all the windows with fake snow, and ran the air-conditioner. We arrived home from school those weeks of the Christmas season, lugging school books and our winter coats. The area we lived in near the base of the Catalina Mountains was known for being frigid, with maybe a dusting of snow in the early morning, but hot by afternoon. catalina-mountains-tucson-2928436_1920

It was a bit of a shock to walk into the house after a long day of trudging around the school campus. But my mind instantly went back to Christmases spent in Colorado, Vermont, and upstate New York.

Another ingredient I think is a trademark of a great story, is the ability to give you an emotion at the end…no matter how many times you hear it, read it or watch it. Each time I listen to The Blizzard, I am shocked at the end. As if that time, he would have made it to Mary Ann, or encouraged Dan to get up and walk home.

So now, if you’ve never heard The Blizzard, you know the ending. But have a listen anyway. It’s a great song! Happy Tuesday everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hill Country

For a few years, we lived in Texas. Our two girls were small, under five years old at the time. We started out in San Antonio, and then moved north to Round Rock. By the time our son was born in San Marcos, we were living just outside of Lockhart, Texas. And this was our view across the road from our house, in the springtime.

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My husband didn’t take this picture, but it is so similar to ones he did take, right down to the barbed wire fence. Around April, the fields would be covered in rolling waves of bluebonnets…and they were gorgeous!

There were so many things that I really enjoyed about Texas. Our time in San Antonio taught us to love Tex-Mex. One of our favorite places to eat was Taco Cabana. At the time they had a fantastic deal on fajitas, and we enjoyed them…a lot. Our little girls weren’t big eaters then. So those fajitas went a long way for our little family.

We spent time on the River Walk. It was beautiful to see during the Christmas season! Lights sparkling around every little turn. The music, the people, and general joy of the season was invigorating and addictive. Check out this little preview of this special place:  https://www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com/

Of course you can’t go to San Antonio and not visit The Alamo, which it is commonly called.  It was originally known as the Misión San Antonio de Valero.  I was shocked to see it located in the middle of everything. The pictures you normally see make it seem as though it’s in the country. San Antonio has several missions that are worth your time to check out. There is just something about walking around a place that has been such a scene, and vital part of history. For me, walking into The Alamo for the first time was pretty emotional. The walls seem to breathe all that had happened within them. There was a general hush as I know many of the visitors were experiencing the same feeling.

When we lived in Round Rock, we traveled every day to Austin on I-35. Our apartment was very close to that interstate. My husband worked in Austin and we attended church there several times a week. The interstate was busy, and the drivers a bit on the wild side, but nothing like what I have heard of today. In the early ’90’s, there was still a bit of country between Austin and Round Rock, with little places like Pflugerville along the way. I was curious about the census for Pflugerville during the time we lived in the area. It was 4,444 in 1990. The 2018 Census estimate is 64,431. Wow! That’s a lot of growth!

For us, even in the early ’90’s the Austin/Round Rock area was a little expensive and busy. So we moved to the Lockhart area, living a bit on the outskirts. I have fond memories of our time there as well. Our son was born there, our two oldest daughters began their school years there, and we learned about fire ants in the yard. Not a great place to leave your children unattended! Lockhart has a gorgeous courthouse.  I don’t know why, but I was never inside the courthouse, and I wish I had taken the time to see it. http://www.caldwellcountyhistoricalcommission.org/ We were very surprised that many, many movies have been filmed in that area.  We first realized this when we were watching, Where the Heart Is.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbzcodGsaRs. We recognized some of the buildings and the landscape. Lockhart is also known for barbecue. This website has some fantastic information on the area, and says it much better than I. https://austinot.com/lockhart-texas-day-trip.

This post has been a little different for me. I don’t usually do a travel brochure-type of post. But it has been fun to check out the sites I’ve shared with you all here. It’s brought back some great memories, and made me want a road trip to Texas sometime in the near future!

Another take-away I have of Texas in the early ’90’s was the pride of the Texans for their state, and the hospitality of the people there. After living in upstate New York and the Hudson Valley area of that state, Texas was a culture shock. I wasn’t use to strangers coming up to me in the grocery store and wanting to know what I was fixing for dinner that night. This seriously happened a couple times. I had never just chatted in the grocery store aisles about recipes. And when you think about it…what better place to do it? Not to mention that Texas drawl just kind of glides over you like maple syrup on a hot day!

And all of the above because I was thinking about Texas bluebonnets! Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

 

Home Renovations

Two years ago…and yes, it’s been that long, I shared pictures of my kitchen renovation project. Our house has been a long process, taking place over the fourteen years we have lived here. Whenever I could, I worked on the kitchen, and bought cabinets. I begged for help from any family that was willing. Husband, sons-in-law and usually son have been a tremendous help. I thank them all for putting up with me.

Sadly, we’ve had our house for sale since June of this year. I’m no longer able to keep up with the yard, or the projects in the house. Too many years of rock-wall building, digging holes for trees and ponds have left me stooped and hurting. Health issues for my husband and me are taking front-row seats, and any free time I have I want to enjoy.

I have loved living in this house, working on it, and making it our own. We began our journey here in October of 2005 with all five children still at home. Now we have our youngest, 15 years old and wanting her own life, just as all teenagers do. With the exception of our son and youngest, three daughters are no longer close by. And they have our grandchildren. This house was the longest I’ve lived anywhere in my entire life…and it saddens me to think of moving, but it’s time. I don’t understand God’s timing in all of this, but I want to be ready.

So, I’ll include a couple before pictures of the kitchen:

Where you see the left wall cabinet, that was once the bathroom door. This is how it looked when we moved in:

Our family was ready for the ball in Cottonwood that evening. It was our first one and so much fun! This is the kitchen now:

To the right in the first picture, where the sink is, is where the wicker rocking chair was. I love this kitchen, and the colors! It has great flow for making a meal, great counter space, and even a little place to eat. We installed the floor this past summer and I love it as well. Flooring has come a long ways!

I’ve put a lot of myself into this home. It’s difficult to think of others living in it. My greatest wish is that they care for it as I have over the years. There is more to be done. The dining room project and second bathroom all came to a standstill.

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But that leaves the opportunity for someone else to put their stamp on this little place that has existed for over one hundred years. And that’s the way it should be.