Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Preview of I Walked with Jesus - book 2

 I am almost there with book two in the I Walked with Jesus series. And because I am, and because the first story has everything to do with Christmas, I thought I would share it with you.

Initially, I had planned on having this book out before Christmas. But you know how things go. As it sits right now, expect the book to be out in February 2023.

Working through the Acts of the Apostles has been a bit harder than my first book. So many of my stories in the first book are well-known; i.e., The Woman at the Well, The Ten Lepers, and so on. Less is known of the apostles and their journeys after the resurrection of Jesus. I have 21 stories, the book is finished, but the stories are a bit shorter than the first book of 17. 

Another thing you need to know. The first story, "The Handmaid" carries over from the first book. It takes place in Luke 1. Story two connects with the first, but the story comes from Acts 2 at the time of Pentecost. 

Now is the time for me to get some beta readers for this book. After reading the first chapter, "The Handmaid" if you are interested in being a beta reader for me, please let me know at kathy@ariverofstones.com. 

I would love to get some readers who enjoy historical fiction, especially those who enjoy learning more from the scriptures. Merry Christmas! 


The Virgin in Prayer, by Giovanni Battisti Salvi, Il Sassoferrato (1609-1685)

The Handmaid

Luke 1

Mary loved her son even before he was born. Like most mothers, she found if she rested, fed her soul as well as her body, and made time for reflection, the energy she received at the hand of God was more than sufficient to carry her pregnancy even at the last.

          Though she was not always treated kindly as a young girl by her friends because of her timidity, as she grew, she discovered the wisdom in this. If she had something to say, she would say it, and others would listen. Her mother and father treated her kindly, and her brother and sisters spoke well of her. Her family didn’t have much in the way of worldly goods, but they had each other, and that’s what mattered.

          Mary had learned about God at a young age, and, like most girls had been shown her place in Jewish society. She respected this place, though she often thought about being equal to the young boys with whom she associated. It wasn’t until Mary grew that she began to see the truth of the matter.

          When the angel came, Mary was at first surprised as anyone would be. But her heart calmed as she spoke with the angel. She wasn’t alone. There were others nearby, yes, but she could not hear them. It was like she’d been brought to heaven while still kneeling on the earth.

          “Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women,” the angel began.

          She was amazed. Not only at the bright clothing the angel wore, but the manner in which he saluted her.

          “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

          “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” she asked.

          “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

          The words of the angel spoke volumes of love to Mary’s heart. How could she doubt what God could do? Her heart burned as the words came: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”

          She’d gone to see Elisabeth after the departure of the angel, and the truth she’d known even before her arrival there became a second witness. Truly God could do all things.

          Her son was born six months later, and they named him Jesus as the angel had spoken.

          He was a beautiful baby. As his chubby hands reached for her face, she would kiss them, and speak to Jesus of God’s love. He grew into a good, kind, son. He was always thinking of her, teaching her the ways of God. And as he continued into manhood and her husband, Joseph, left the earth and returned heavenward, Jesus was a great comfort to her in her loneliness. The first few months after Joseph’s passing, He consoled her, His loving arms surrounding her, His voice soothing her aching soul.

          By the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, she’d made His teachings a part of her heart. She knew the truth of the resurrection. He was here! They’d eaten together at his arrival, and He’d shown her the marks of the nails in His hands and feet. She’d touched His side – the babe she had carried in her womb. He lived!

          At first, she thought He’d returned for good. But then the news had come. His teachings were nearing an end. He had many things to do, to help His father. Not Joseph – He smiled as he’d spoken it – but His father in heaven.

          She dared not ask if He’d seen her Joseph, but Jesus seemed to know her thoughts.

          “I have seen many loved ones. And others are waiting to hear the gospel. Missionaries have been sent to the waiting spirits in prison.”

          “Can it be so?”

          “Surely, Father is well pleased.” He took her hand in his. “And you, how are you, Mother?”

          “I am not eager to have you go,” she said.

          “But the 40 days of teaching, of preparing hearts and souls for the greater work, are almost spent. It is time.”

          “I know… And yet…”

          “You will miss me, as I will miss you. But my spirit will be here, and the gift of the Holy Ghost…”

          “I know.”

          “It is the greatest gift of the Father. The Holy Ghost will teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

          “Still…”

          He embraced her then and, as the tears fell, her heart ached for the separation that would soon come. Only when she met His eyes again did she see tears in His own.

          “You will always be my mother.”

          She sobbed then, huge gushing tears, and He held her tighter.

          “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” words given over an outdoor fire some two weeks past, filled her soul long after Jesus had ascended to heaven. How could she give now that He was gone?

           Her children spent time near her; her grandchildren pulled at her skirt for attention, and she had given it. At home, it wasn’t difficult. When she was away from home, that’s when giving became more difficult. But she would do it.

          For weeks, she dreamed of her son. And as the months passed and the dreams dwindled, a softening returned, and she was able to live again. She hadn’t experienced the transfiguration for herself, but Peter, James, and John had spoken of it often. They had seen Jesus, her very son, as he looked in his glorified state. As she closed her eyes on those lonely nights when her children and grandchildren had returned to their own homes, she could see Him as He was during the 40 days – as she remembered Him.

          And she was carried forward.

 

 

 


Tuesday, December 6, 2022

What's more important than selling books?

If you're like me, you are constantly thinking about different ways to sell your book(s). From book signings, to craft fairs, to library events.

This year, I have done less promotion than I have ever done, but it has given me an opportunity to think about why I write.

I write for me. It's great free therapy and I can travel anywhere I want to without spending a penny.

I write for you. I want you to feel as if your life is better because you have read something I have written. What I am writing right now is focused on improving your life spiritually. I think after writing some fun fiction books I have finally decided on the genres that makes me the most happy.

Christian fiction and nonfiction.

This past Saturday I was part of the Utah Authors Day and spent a couple of hours at the Riverton Library. I was not able to sell any of my books - some libraries have this rule - and so I displayed my books and gave one away for the contest. Instead of 'selling' I focused on answering questions about myself and my books. The children walked around and visited with the authors. They had a cute little card that I could stamp after they'd asked me a particular question out of five.

Photo by Brigitte Tohm

My favorite was: what is your favorite word?

The first child who asked me this question caused me to reflect before answering. I didn't want to give them just any old word. And then it came to me. "My favorite word is Jesus." That word stayed with me during the two hours I was there, and the answer was the same every time a child asked me the question.

It was only later that I realized how right I was about my favorite word. 

Jesus is known as the word. You can read all about it in John 1:1

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

I made quite a few connections and shared my work on Saturday, and there were a couple of people that wanted to buy my books, but because I couldn't sell them directly that day, I was truly able to focus on what mattered to me.

And it wasn't selling.



Saturday, December 3, 2022

Today's the Day! Utah Authors Day

Planning on coming to Utah Authors Day?

Visit a library near you or come and see your favorite author at one of the library locations!

https://www.leagueofutahwriters.com/utahauthorsday

I will be here:


    Riverton Library

    12877 S. 1830 W., Riverton, UT

    2 pm - 4 pm

    *Prepurchase books for authors     to sign for this location

  Authors at this location:

   Janet Sumner Johnson, Jaclyn       Weist, Kathryn Elizabeth Jones,    Juliann Law & Anders Roseberg