Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Mary's Dream

Merry Christmas! Let's not forget the reason for the season.

I just received this message from one of my married children. I don't know who the author is but I think you'll all agree it deserves sharing.

Mary's Dream
author unknown

"I had a dream, Joseph. I don't understand it, not really, but I think it was about a birthday celebration for our Son. I think that was what it was all about.

The people had been preparing for it for about six weeks. They had decorated the house and bought new clothes. They had gone shopping many times and bought elaborate gifts. It was peculiar, though, because the presents weren't for our Son.

They wrapped them in beautiful paper and tied them with lovely bows and stacked them under a tree. Yes, a tree, Joseph, right in their house. They decorated the tree, too. The branches were full of glowing bulbs and sparkling ornaments. There was a figure on the top of the tree: it looked like an angel might look.

Oh, it was beautiful. Everyone was laughing and happy. They were all excited about the gifts. They gave the gifts to each other, Joseph, not to our Son. I don't think they even knew Him. They never mentioned His name.

Doesn't it seem odd for people to go to all that trouble to celebrate someone's birthday if they don't know Him? I had the strangest feeling that if our Son had gone to this celebration He would have been intruding.

Everything was so beautiful, Joseph, and everyone so happy, but it made me want to cry. How sad for Jesus, not to be wanted at His own birthday party. I'm glad it was only a dream. How terrible it would have been had it been real."

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Oak Leaves

The ACFW annual conference in Texas was not my first writing workshop. My first writing conference was a one day Antioch workshop in Yellow Springs, Ohio. This conference gave me the courage to begin writing my first novel. I've been taking writing classes and attending workshops every year since.

When Rosanna, my writing friend asked me to attend the 2007 ACFW conference, I was willing, but didn't expect it to make a difference in my life. But after we joined ACFW and before attending the conference this group was already making a difference.

For one thing I was inspired to begin writing a blog.

As we boarded the shuttle to take us from the airport to the hotel we were greeted by a pleasant lady with a very warm smile. She was also on her way to the ACFW conference. We learned she was a published author and her name was Maureen Lang. Several times during the conference we took a few moments to chat and I purchased her newest book: the Oak Leaves.

I purchased the book because I had met the author and found her to be gracious and genuine. After I read the book I decided this will be the book I'd use to write my first book review on the blog.

With her book The Oak Leaves, Maureen writes a compelling tale that most women can relate to. We're nurturers. We want children. Healthy children who will one day give us healthy grandchildren. I know a family who had a daughter who was deaf. Everyone but the parents knew it for years before they had her tested and got her hearing aids. One of my son's didn't talk until he was three. He was my fourth child so I didn't think anything about it until his grandfather started worrying about it.

So I understand when Maureen's character Talie denys that her precious son, Ben is anything but just a little slow. I understand how she wants to protect Ben, her husband and herself from reality as long as she can.

And when she reads her ancestor's diary and learns about the Kennesy legacy, she can deny the truth no longer, I understand why she wants to protect her sister from the Kennesey "curse."

The story leads us though the present day with Talie and takes us back to 1849 as she reads Cosima's journal, making this a parallel story. Cosima wisely writes ". . .love is stronger than fear." This, I believe is the message Maureen would like us to take with us as we finish reading this inspiring book.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING