Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Joanne Bischof...almost one year later. And yeah, oddly enough, I'm sick again...

Last October I read Joanne Bischof's debut novel whilst holed up in my 3rd floor room at the lovely Hostel Santa Cruz in Sucre, Bolivia.

I was dealing with a seriously un-fun bout of altitude sickness for which I received house arrest from our director, the beloved Alex Muir.

You can read about that day here:

As a I mentioned in that post, I had to remain in one place and "rest". Yeah, who wants to rest in a beautiful place like Bolivia? Well, considering the Oscar worthy display of suffering my SUV mates were treated to as we descended from 15,000 feet, apparently I did.

So, I picked up Be Still My Soul and before I knew it, I wanted to hold poor Lonnie close and smite Gideon.

I loved her second book, Though My Heart Is Torn, and repeatedly begged, bribed and bartered for an unfinished copy of the final book in the series.

Here's the thing...Joanne cannot be bribed. She's FAR too sweet and nice. I had the honour of meeting her at ACFW and she is so calm and sweet and kind and I think I scared her...

But un-bribable????

I know, right?! COME ON!! Who has integrity and keeps her word to her publisher and doesn't sell her Word files for Dairy Milks? Huh? Joanne Bischof, that's who.

So, FINALLY I got my copy of My Hope Is Found and once I could actually sit down and read it, I gotta admit...

It was a tosser.


A tosser.

As in, "I'm so emotionally involved in this story that when X happened to X, I tossed the book and wailed!"

But you know that feeling, don't you? That "I'm too feeble to jump up and down and scream, so I toss the book instead" feeling.

As is expected, the storyworld is exquisite, the prose may as well have background music, it's that good. The characters are flesh and blood, the pain hurts and the joy is at least a half a box of Kleenex.

I am worn out and thankful for a book as good as My Hope Is Found. The ending is true Bischof. If you've read the first two books in this series, you'll know exactly what I mean.  And yes, I kept turning pages to see if there was more.

Joanne didn't earn a Christy nomination for Be Still My Soul because she's good, she earned it because she's brilliant and can tap the tiny, hidden places of the reader's heart and fill them with music.

Well done, Joanne, I give My Hope Is Found 5 Dairy Milks out of 5.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Poor me....

 Oh my word that was a WHOPPER of a virus!!

My #3 child, who's taller than me, came home with a slight sniffle last week and it PLOWED through the house. My husband was the only one, so far,who hasn't gotten sick. 
Each of the boys was flattened by it for a day or two. 
I pushed through it long enough to get a chop, crop and drop edit done on my MS and then BAM.
I was down.

DOWN, people. 

How 'down'?

As in heating canned soup in a measuring cup and eating whilst standing up because it would be too much to sit down and get up again.

actual menu item > 

Yes, I even ignored my hair. In fact, I'm resting up to wash it after sort of looking like I've been up in the mountains of Bolivia for 5 days.

Only not as good.

(BTW? I miss being on the Radio Team!!)

Yes, I KNOW there are actual sick people in the world. But you didn't think I'd not survive The Cold of 2013 and NOT have some fun with it??

Excuse me while I go crawl into bed after exhausting myself by sitting up for half an hour.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Umm, I *was* going to get all refined...BUT....

Everyone say hello to ... no, NOT to me. 
I'm the royal spazz, I mean, LOOK at that goofy grin!
Say hello to the lovely, kind, encouraging, smart, wise, soft spoken, elegant Mary Keeley. 

Mary Keeley is an agent with Books and Such Literary Agency.

Okay Redheads, ask me why I'm smiling so big.

"Why are you smiling like a whack job?"

Umm, I said "so big", but thanks anyway.

Mary Keeley is my agent.

Yup. MY agent.

As of 9:40 am-ish , Indianapolis time, Mary Keeley became my agent. And I became a Bookie!!!

God is GOOD.  SO very, very good. He waited til Mary and I were in the same location to give her the opportunity to blow me away. And "blow me away" is pretty much exactly it!!

Ohhh, poor Mary, now she knows what face I make when I cry like a pinched 3 year old who didn't get any cake at some other kid's birthday party.


I am exhausted. I got home at 2am, I am nowhere near able to write a long blogpost about what happened. But suffice it to say, I am truly overjoyed, humbled and...
ready to work.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A or B?

I leave tomorrow for Indianapolis and the ACFW conference.

The what?

The American Christian Fiction Writer's annual conference.

I swear, Redheads, it is FAR easier for me to contemplate trekking to Bolivia to join a radio distribution mission team than to face 600-700 people at a conference.

The hardest thing about going to ACFW from the 12th to the 15th ?
Meeting agents?
Meeting editors?
The throngs of complete strangers?


The most difficult thing? The most heart wrenching thing?
I cannot join the radio team leaving for Bolivia on September 16th.

Life is full of hard choices, and sometimes God takes away something we love and replaces it with something we love.

And so here I am.
Going towards something He's blessed, and walking away from something He's blessed.
And I didn't have to make the choice, God made it for me, arranging things to so closely overlap that going to Bolivia would be impossible. He closed those doors with a look of love on HIs face.

Then He blew open the doors for me to go to ACFW, I KNOW this.

There will be more teams in the future.
There will also be more conferences.

But for now, I'm not walking up a hill, bringing the Gospel to the Quechua Indians of Bolivia, I'm walking up a hill to bring the Gospel to Native Americans. I'll do my best, and leave no stone un-turned to write something that takes the reader's breath away. 

And I'm fairly certain God will get me back to Bolivia. But not next week. 

Vaya con Dios, Alex and Company!!

Oh, and I won't be blogging for 2 weeks, see ya on the flip side!!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

And now for a horse of a different EPIC colour!!! The California Mission Ride.

If you've seen my Facebook page, you may have noticed the occasional post from The California Mission Ride.


Here's an explanation for their website... 

California’s 21 missions were founded by Franciscan missionaries and built by Indians of highly diverse tribes during the Spanish colonial era. Dotting the coastline from Sonoma to the Mexican border, these missions form the state’s first and most significant historic backbone. We asked ourselves what would happen if we rode from mission to mission on horseback. Could it even be done today? We decided to find out.  And to make an educational documentary film about the journey.
Today, with all their complex history, the missions remain very much alive. Some are busy state parks. Others are monasteries. All are explored by over 5 million visitors each year.
On any given day, people crossing paths up and down the mission chain include park rangers, men and women of the cloth, students and teachers, and tourists from all parts of the world.  There are also archaeologists, historians, animal tenders, bingo players, horticulturalists, artists, musicians, soldiers, and descendants of Spaniards and Indians who made the missions.
Approaching the missions on horseback, we’ll explore perspectives of life and land in California from angles rarely appreciated since the advent of the automobile.  All along the way, we’ll use this site to chart our progress; to post information about special events and people; to blog about the journey; and to ask you to help us look for answers to questions big and small about California and Californians.
Our ride takes place in two stages, North and South. The North Ride begins in Sonoma on August 18, 2012, and ends in San Miguel on the mission’s fiesta day, September 16, 2012. The South Ride will pick up in San Miguel in mid-August of 2013, and we’ll try to reach San Diego, and then the Mexican border, by mid-September of that year.

Excuse me? 600 miles on horseback through the Missions of California???

The E in Jennifer? 
It's for ENVY.
I said "Rolling on the floor, crying like a sooky baby... ENVY!!" 

As Heather Gilbert says..."OH MAH WORD!!"

Before we go any further, YOU MUST check out their blog here...

I'll stand around and wait, JUST like Daisy Paton!!

Okay, *I* will simply wait...

Okay, now that you've read that...don't you want to grab the nearest half Percheron/half Appoloosa and jump in the truck and drive to California and meet Daisy and Trigger? And Gwyneth. And Jules, and Windy, and Rod, and Melissa, and Leslie, and Jade and everyone else?

Gwyneth and Daisy.

Seriously? Is this not beautiful???

Who wouldn't want to ride for almost a month through the historic Missions of California??

Come ON!!!!

I do!! I totally do! And I could, too! Oh MY WORD, what an awesome adventure that would be!!

And my dear husband AND My Intrepid Travel Partner just went "Oh NOOOOOO you could NOT!!"

 He's just not totally convinced yet.
But she's right. I nearly got myself killed in 1983 when my darling horsey friend Cochise (and the Chiricahua Apache leader's real name was Cheis, BTW) and I had a rather intense afternoon and I ended up badly injured. I lost my all horse confidence that day, and that was also the very sad end to my riding adventures.

Look what Daisy taught Rod!

(Insert melancholy and pathetic whine here...) Unless Rod Rondeaux and Rachael Waller Rondeaux (oooh, her work is LOVELY...)take pity and have me come visit them at The Indian Stunt Ranch where I will look like a COMPLETE IDIOT and Rachael can take stunning photographs of me falling, crying and going to the ER.

Unlike Daisy, who is as tough as nails. Yes, that is a cast. Yes, she kept going.


Pay attention, Jennifer...

So, The California Mission Ride has totally captivated this wannabe.
The beauty of the horses, the stories of the riders and the grand scope of the adventure just about does me in. And the history!? Oh my, toss that all together and WOW!!

Redheads, I highly HIGHLY recommend liking their Facebook page, signing up for their blog and following these truly amazing people on an EPIC adventure!!

Rod Rondeaux's Facebook page for The Indian Stunt Ranch :

Rachael Waller Rondeaux's Facebook page for her photography :

And the California Mission Ride's Facebook page:

Follow along, you'll be glad you did.