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Merry Christmas!

Hooray Faithful Readers! My Christmas novel is ready! I’m so excited to have it finished and on Amazon. It will release Wednesday, December 7th.  When you read it, be sure to look for pictures of grace, Christ’s unconditional love, and even a little glimpse of heaven. I hope you like it!bk-4-cover

To view it and the others in the series, click the “Shop Now” button on my Facebook “Lynna Clark-Author” page. Or shop Amazon at Blue Meadow Farm series.

As always, thanks for reading!

My Head is Cold!

I think I need a new hat. My head is cold. With the recent change in weather I’ve been made aware of how much hair adds to one’s temperature. So to Downtown Salisbury we went. The Stitchin’ Post was our first stop. The sales clerk there was so pleasant and sympathetic. Without even having to tell her that I wouldn’t want to bear my bald head out there in front of God and everybody, she offered a dressing room where I could try on hats. The kindness of some folks is a little bit amazing. The hats were beautiful but at the time not quite warm enough. However I will never forget her compassion.

So up the street we went to Timeless on the square. I had visited there early in the cancer diagnosis looking for a wig. The co-owner also offered a dressing room last June when this started. She understood firsthand how it feels to be suddenly bald as she has been through cancer and all the horrible side effects of the treatments. But unlike me she is very young. Still she sympathized and brought wig after wig for me to try. I couldn’t make them work for somehow when I gazed at the reflection looking back at me, all I could see was a Muppet with too much hair for the amount of face. Plus the hair was very young. My face… not so much.

It was then I decided to make do with a hat.photo cap

When I popped back into her shop six months later she hardly recognized me. But again she very patiently showed me every hat in the store and tried sweetly to find what I was looking for. I felt like Goldilocks except for the golden locks. Nothing suited me. I needed something to cover my ears. My ears are cold too. Obviously she understood. She has been where I am.

I don’t know the story behind the compassion of the lady in the Stitchin’ Post. I didn’t even get her name. I wish I had. Maybe she’s been through cancer too or maybe she’s cared for someone close who has. Or maybe she’s just one of those rare souls who looks for ways to comfort others. Whatever the case, she reminded me of the verse which tells us to work willingly as though working for the Lord. [Col.3:23]

Both ladies exemplified Christ to me that Saturday. When all this is over I sure hope to come out on the other side a lot more sympathetic. My care for others in times past has been less than commendable. But in the mean time I must go search through our winter gear. Surely there’s a toboggan in there somewhere.

My head is cold!

This Thanksgiving season I’m grateful for things I’ve never thought to be thankful for. It has never occurred to me to be thankful for nose hair until chemo scorched it all away. Slowly it’s starting to grow back. Now the liquid in my head doesn’t pour forth unabated as it has for the past six months. That’s a good thing. The hair on my head is starting to come back as well. I’m so thankful for that. For years I’ve complained about my fuzzy red head. No more. If some glad morning I wake to find the gaps filled in nicely I shall be forever grateful.

I’m thankful for taste buds that have started to rehydrate. Yesterday I had a patty melt and I liked it! Grilled onions and melted cheese on a hamburger with rye bread… yum! What a blessing to taste food again. Anything sweet still tastes funky, but maybe by Thanksgiving my mouth will be ready to appreciate pumpkin pie.

I’m thankful for strength. I’ve hardly left the house in months except for doctor appointments and chemo treatments. Saturday we went to Lowes with a thousand of our closest friends. I figured I’d need to wait in the truck while David fetched the goods. Instead I was able to go in and shop the garden area without fear of keeling over. Strength is a wonderful thing. I felt like a real girl again traipsing around the pansies all willy-nilly.

I’m thankful for a mostly clear mind. I’ve been in a chemo fog for months but suddenly I can tell I’m getting back to myself again. The terrible cloud of depression has finally lifted and I think I might live to tell about it. The regimen of strong medication has been completed and the terrible anxiety is less with each day. We are so fearfully and wonderfully made. So when a boatload of poison is dumped into our system our bodies can have strange responses and generally toss anything we dare to consume. Our minds and hearts forget the things we know to be true. Sleep won’t come, though we stare at the darkness and pray for every person we know and some we don’t. But last night, I slept! What a great blessing!

I’m thankful for compassionate people who continually check on us and sympathize that our world is upside down. David and I have been through some stuff in our forty-two years of marriage. We’re like that Farmers Insurance commercial. We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two. However, we have never been through anything like this. I have no doubt that we will emerge more compassionate. I sure hope so. Compassion is a beautiful thing.

And believe it or not, I’m thankful for the last six months. I can’t honestly say I’m thankful for cancer. Too many dear people have been taken from us because of it. But I am thankful for the things we have learned. It’s one thing to have faith that God will keep you safe in a storm because you read it on Facebook. It’s a whole ‘nother to experience it firsthand.

When the waves are up to your nose and you have to bounce on tippy toes just to catch your breath; when your body is so weak you can’t take another step, but your bowels demand that you hurry; when a dark cloud of depression grips your soul with so much fear that all you can manage is to let the tears pour freely; when your prayers are reduced to silence before the One Who has promised to never leave, now that’s a real storm!

Dear friend, He doesn’t need our words. He sees the anguish of our soul and draws us close to His heart. Then after a while, which may seem like an eternity, He remains faithful and we come out on the other side. “Peace be still,” He commands and the storm is quieted. Then we wake one morning from a restful sleep with a hankering for pumpkin pie.

For that I am abundantly thankful.photo cap

In the midst of all the sickness and chaos going on in our lives, God has performed yet another miracle. The third book in my Blue Meadow Farm series is being released today on Amazon! Hopefully it will get you geared up for Thanksgiving and the joy of being with friends and family.

Last fall when I was writing this series, I had no idea that cancer was in my near future. I planned to release one or two books from the series per year like most authors do. But after the diagnosis I seriously wondered if I would get well enough to finish editing. Suddenly there became an urgency to get the books out of my laptop to a place where others might enjoy them. And God has so graciously helped me to do that.

The name of the third book is A Blue Meadow Thanksgiving. You can find it easily by searching Facebook for my Author page. Click the Buy Now button and it will take you right to it. Then you can look it over and decide if you want to purchase it or not. If you’re like me you don’t go dropping $2.99 all willy-nilly very often. So check it out first. =)bk-3-cover

Again I must apologize that these are not available in hard copy. BUT you can download and read on any electronic device such as your computer or phone. I honestly still haven’t had the mental stamina to figure out how to have them printed. Sorry Becky Lippard.

Thank you all for your wonderful support in this writing adventure of mine. Your kindness and prayers for us have been overwhelming! May the Lord sweetly bless the awesomeness that is you!

The Paper Chain

He made a long paper chain for me to count off the days. Chemo had worn us both down to the very last nerve of our already fragile psyches. Since my cancer treatments started in May and would continue until the end of September, it had been a very long hard summer. But suddenly we had something to look forward to. A friend graciously offered her house at the beach for us to get away for a week-end and leave the Big C behind. If I could just get past that last chemo and take a few weeks to build up my strength, then we could get a glimpse of the ocean. And everyone knows that saltwater is good for what ails you.

Day after day I tore one ring off the paper chain and prayed for better days. We scheduled our trip for the last week-end in October and hoped for decent weather and better strength. Finally the time came and the last of the paper chain was torn away. The forecast was beautiful. Food was planned and packed since I have a hard time eating. We tried to think through everything we’d need for our little trip as I was still so weak.

We arrived at the house on Friday afternoon. The place was gorgeous and overlooked a marshy creek bed with lots of wildlife. We unpacked and took the golf cart toward the beach. The access where we parked was rather steep and involved a lot of steps. Resting often I was glad to spot a bench at the end of the long walk. There before me opened up the view of the ocean. Waves lapped gently on the shore and the water shimmered in the sunlight. After a short rest we took our chairs down onto the beach. But out of nowhere we were swarmed with biting flies. Have you ever been a part of such a lovely experience? It was not pretty. Though we had some serious repellent, probably harmful enough to kill us, it did not deter the flies. They seemed to lap it up like grandma’s Sunday gravy.  Suddenly I had sympathy for the Egyptians back in Moses’ day. We could not stay. Those nasty creatures followed us all the way back to the golf cart and didn’t leave until David picked up some serious speed.

Saturday a new day dawned and we wondered whether to try again. But I was so sick and needed to maintain a close proximity to a toilet. Sorry delicate readers– just keeping it real. David brought Cream of Wheat to the little patio table on the deck facing the marsh. We prayed for a good day and wisdom to know what to do. The sun was warm for October 29th so we lingered and watched the giant cranes and herons as they watched the tide come in with their breakfast.

Then we spotted him: a huge old buck wandered from a cluster of trees and just stood there for our viewing pleasure. One by one other deer joined him, some even splashing in the water that rose to where they were. We sat in the perfect place just far enough away that they didn’t notice us but we could enjoy their movements in the rising tide. It’s a picture I’ll never forget.

Sunday morning came and we decided to give the ocean another try. Again we armed ourselves with repellent and sunscreen and mounted the golf cart. This time we drove a little farther and found an access which was constructed more like a ramp instead of a stairway. Gradually it wound through the wooded area then offered benches overlooking the ocean. Sparkling water spread before us along with fishermen and families enjoying the sunshine and surf. Though I was too weak to walk in the soft sand, the bench worked just fine. We sat there soaking in the beauty of it all for what seemed like hours. It definitely cured what ailed me.beach

Sometimes it feels as if a trial will last forever, much like this story of our lovely week-end. Like biting flies, pain and despair quickly gobble up what little bit of strength we have.  I’m so glad we hung on and tried again to find that happy place. The next time I feel like giving up I plan to pull up those scenes I promised never to forget.

The majestic old buck with head raised sniffing the wind; the graceful doe frolicking at the water’s edge; the beautiful ocean pounding the beach then pulling away for another time; all just because the Lord made such a wonderful world. No, cancer is not so wonderful. But because of it my eyes are opened like never before. I never knew such joy could be gained by being still and watching the world. And never before has anyone made me a paper chain, counting down the days til we could simply be together.

 

 

Eyes On Him

My beloved David is a Bible scholar. Even as I use the words I know that he would protest the title. But I don’t know what else to call a man who spends his time reading and studying God’s Word just for the joy of it. The book of Hebrews has always eluded him so he got a new devotional on the book through You Version Bible app and began studying it on his Kindle. I personally have always liked the book of Hebrews and consider it one of my favorites. I teased him that he couldn’t ‘get it’ because it was probably written by a woman.

He gave me the holy stink eye.

A short while later he accidentally hit a button and the book of Hebrews went from English to the actual Hebrew language.

“No wonder those people in the Middle East are always so angry,” he sighed.

It took a bit but finally his version was restored to English. Unlike him, I am NOT a scholar but I think it’s been about seven thousand years since the Lord first royally confused us by dividing the people with language barriers at the Tower of Babel. We’ve been waving our hands and talking louder ever since. And we still can’t hear each other.

The world is getting smaller though. Through the internet my son-in-law takes Russian and was able to give his first sermon in the mother tongue just a few weeks ago during his trip there. And bless his heart, he’s been working on this for about four years. Our niece and nephew who are missionaries in Africa endure all manner of inconveniencies and hardships. But the language barrier is still probably their hardest thing to overcome.

I noticed something profound in the book of Hebrews that reminds us that no matter where we are and no matter what language we use, we can still see the Lord in His sweetest truest form.

Hebrews 1:3 reminds us that because God created the universe through His Son, it is Jesus that “radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God and He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command.”

Like much in the book of Hebrews, the Lord hands us some very heavy truth in a small amount of space. Again, I’m not a scholar but I think He’s telling us plainly:

If you want to know truth and see what real character is, look no further than the Son and you can see Me. I am the One holding all things together by the power of my Word.

It seems like every day our world not only gets smaller, it gets a little bit crazier. Our own country seems to be falling apart. But those few folks who seem to persevere through it all tend to have the character handed down to them that they need most during tragedy. Their practice has been to look to the God of the universe Who sustains everything by the mighty power of His Word. I think of the beautiful worshipers in Charleston who obviously had more to hold onto than hymnbooks and church pews. They stood strong looking unto Jesus the Author and finisher of their faith. I’m sure their hearts still ache and long for the ones taken from their arms in such a horribly violent act. But by looking to the One they were there to worship, instead of their city being wracked with violence and hatred, it was infused with peace that no one could understand.

With upcoming elections and all kinds of craziness spreading across our nation, can we look to Jesus? It may sound cliché-ish, but it sure worked in Charleston.

God has promised to hold us together when we choose to look to Him.

“…keeping our eyes on Jesus, the Champion Who initiates and perfects our faith.” –Heb.12:2b

Book Review

Typically when an author releases a new book they will ask a famous person to endorse it or write a nice review. The most famous person I know happens to be my daughter Stephanie. She speaks at women’s retreats all over the country; seriously cool places like Las Vegas Nevada, Nashville Tennessee, and Ramsey Illinois. She’s a little bit amazing so maybe it’s not too big a stretch to call her famous. Besides, she has to say nice things. I’m her mother.

Here’s what she thought of book two, Autumn on Blue Meadow Farm:

Enter Stephanie~steph

I am so excited to announce that Blue Meadow Farm Book #2 is now available for purchase on Amazon Kindle! The first Blue Meadow Farm book was a joy to read, so when I got the privilege of being the first to read the second book, I was thrilled! Autumn on Blue Meadow Farm picks up the story of Jack and Lydia without wasting any time, and you immediately remember why you loved that first book so much.

I don’t want to write any spoilers in this review, so I will just say this: everything you loved about Blue Meadow Farm in the summer is multiplied in the fall! You’ll laugh with Lydia as she watches her boys grow into their own unique persons, you’ll cry as she continues to struggle with the memory of the stranger’s attack, you’ll search for truth with her as she sits on the porch swing, and you’ll beg to know her recipe for those cookies she’s always baking for people.

There are a lot of Christian fiction books out there, and the Blue Meadow Farm series is at the top of my favorites list. They are full of all the things I love best: romance, real people, practical life, humor & truth. This book doesn’t leave you hanging, it leaves you wanting more! I can’t wait to read the future books to find out the rest of the story. But for now I think I will re-read the books I have just so I can spend time with my friends within the pages.

Get your copy of Blue Meadow Farm Books 1 & 2 here: Blue Meadow Farm Series