Sunday, November 11, 2018

2018 Holiday Blog Tour Stop #15 - Teresa Morgan's Memories and Mishaps Plus Giveaway

Welcome to Mountain Brook Ink's 2018 Holiday Blog Tour! We're so excited you've decided to join us on this journey of family, friends, traditions, and memories over the next month. You as our readers have done so much to pour into our lives, and this season we want to give back to you with insights into our lives AND some giveaways. The more days you follow, share, comment, and engage with us, the more entries you'll have toward a Kindle Fire Grand Prize or one of three Amazon Gift Cards! The Kindle Fire can be shipped only to the US.

I'm also having a drawing for a set of the mug rugs that I made late last month. Check them out here. So comment on the blog and I'll add your name to the hat. If you read one of the deleted scenes and  give a single detail about the scene that hasn't already been mentioned by those posting before you, you'll receive two entries. If you read both scenes and you'll get three. The links to the deleted scenes are close to the top of the left hand column of the blog. I'll draw it on the last day of the blog tour. 

Holiday traditions in my family are pretty much the usual. Turkey at Thanksgiving,  My mom was always up early to put the turkey into the oven before breakfast so we could have a mid-day meal. That was my mom's outpouring of love to her family. My brother and I would watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade. She was always well prepared and everything ran like clockwork. Well, almost always.

Once when I was a young adult and out on my own she discovered with great consternation that  her oven was stone cold.  Dead. So, we packed everything up  and drove into town through six inches of snow to my apartment to finish cooking everything. By the time we got back, some of it wasn't quite as hot as we'd have liked, but good nonetheless. I even got to watch the last of the football game with my dad.

 Christmas was her favorite holiday. Though she didn't have a lot of money to spend, she shopped sales months ahead. If we had one tradition, it was fabric. She made my dad's dress shirts, even. Almost every stitch I wore came from her sewing machine. And before she bought her first sewing machine, she sewed my clothes by hand. She sewed miracles from remnants of fabric, sometimes without patterns. When I was a little girl, my Barbie dolls were the best dressed of any in the neighborhood. I still have my Chatty Cathy doll and a small trunk of her clothes. I noted this morning that the little swing coat  and bonnet in the top center of the photograph is lined. And when I got married, she made my wedding dress. Then, she sewed for my children. She even made this Raggedy Ann Doll.
One Christmas  after I was out on my own, I decided to turn the tables on her. I bought fabric and made a robe for her. But the surprise was almost spoiled when she decided to make a stop to see me before heading somewhere. Thankfully, at the last minute she called to let me know she was coming. I'd spent the day sewing, and there were threads and pieces of robe everywhere in my small apartment. Quickly, I whisked everything out of sight and vacuumed the carpet and swept up the thread ends and little snips of fabric from the kitchen floor just in time.  Finally, I lugged the old flatbed Singer I'd gotten from my husband's grandmother into the other room and closed the door. On Christmas morning, she was indeed surprised. When I explained what I'd been doing, we shared a laugh.
My mom also made candy--chocolate covered cherries, divinity, fudge and peanut brittle. One year my mom and one of my uncle's friends had given a three year-old girl one of the chocolate treats, but she kept spitting it out. With her little face scrunched up, she pressed her lips closed and shook her head. I remember hearing, "But Martha that's good. You love chocolate." Little Martha didn't love this treat, and no one could figure out why. Turns out one of the batches was mistakenly made with bitter, unsweetened chocolate. No wonder Martha wasn't too thrilled with that supposedly delectable treat. 

I've been asked if I write from experience. The answer is somewhat. It's difficult to write about, let alone from the viewpoint of a character I can't relate to. So, there is usually some shared attitudes, questions or even heartache in every major character I write.  In every book, I've tackled family conflict and the pain that causes, but I have to admit that there's more than a little of Grace in me.

History professor Grace Ryan returns to her hometown expecting to help her grandmother turn her journals and memories of WWII into memoirs. She arrives to find her grandmother being loaded into an ambulance. When she begs Grace to find the truth about a decades-old crime, whispers the word treason, then slips away forever, Grace is left to separate fact from fiction. Then, an unwelcome inheritance strikes at her already fragile family bond. Though God’s voice seems silent, He sends someone to stand in the gap for her.

Erik Petersson, unjustly accused of infidelity, suffered through an unwanted divorce and the loss of his children’s love to his former wife’s bitterness. A physicist on sabbatical, he agrees to help Grace dig through her late grandfather’s scientific papers. As he struggles to win back his children’s love, he and Grace are catapulted into a quagmire of truth and lies that could tear her family apart.

No Greater Gift at

Don't forget to leave a comment on the blog, below, for a chance to win a set of the mug rugs.  Also, there's the drawing for the Kindle fire. Lots of great prizes!

Here's the full list of the stops on the tour:

Stop #1: October 28 – Kimberly Rose Johnson
Stop #2: October 29 – Christina Coryell
Stop #3: October 30 – Mary Davis
Stop #4: October 31 – Angela Ruth Strong
Stop #5: November 1 – Susan Page Davis
Stop #6: November 2 – Amy K. Rognlie
Stop #7: November 3 – Gayla K. Hiss
Stop #8: November 4 – Christa MacDonald
Stop #9: November 5 – Linda Hanna & Deborah Dulworth
Stop #10: November 6 – Richard Spillman
Stop #11: November 7 – Annette M. Irby
Stop #12: November 8 – Miralee Ferrell
Stop #13: November 9 – Jeanette-Marie Mirich
Stop #14: November 10 – Anna Zogg
Stop #15: November 11 – Teresa H. Morgan
Stop #16: November 12 – Kelsey Norman
Stop #17: November 13 – Barbara J. Scott
Stop #18: November 14 – Patricia Lee
Stop #19: November 15 – Linda Thompson
Stop #20: November 16 – Janalyn Voigt
Stop #21: November 17 – Cynthia Herron
Stop #22: November 18 – Trish Perry
Stop #23: November 19 – Heather L.L. Fitzgerald
Stop #24: November 20 – Sara Davison
Stop #25: November 21 – Taylor Bennett

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Monday, November 05, 2018

How's Your Vision?

Success is not absolute. Failure is not fatal. The courage to continue is what matters.
                                                                                                      --Winston Churchill

How's your vision? Since I had the lens in my left eye replaced, I'm seeing things that I didn't know were out there.  I'm noticing shades of colors and shadows I've never seen before. Objects are sharper than I can remember seeing them, before.

Almost ready for quilting.
How do the points look?

Vision matters. Not just our physical vision, but our mental vision. In financial planning or job training classes, one of the most frequent questions you'll hear is, "Where do you see yourself in five years? In ten?" Then, ask yourself, "How do I get there? What's the process?" Before I could become an author, I had to know what the writing life looked like. I became a writer. And occasionally I even said it out loud. "I'm a writer." The next question was usually, "Are you published?" I had to get over that. Published author? Not yet. Writer? Absolutely. 

What made the difference? Vision. I saw an ad advertising a newly formed writers group in a tiny  town in South Carolina. I met other writers, and shortly after, I attended a writer's conference and I did what I do best. I asked questions. And I learned. Eventually, my first book was contracted and published. And then my second. And my third.

But none of that would have happened if I hadn't had the vision to see myself first as a writer, then as an author. I'd wanted to be a writer from the time I was twelve. But until I was in my thirties, I had no idea what that would look like. How did a person structure and write a book? I didn't even know where to go to learn how to do it.  But, I went to that writer's meeting and learned what the writing life looks like. Educators encourage their students to set small, achievable and  measurable goals.  I learned what I needed to do, and I followed the steps. I wrote and rewrote. And I submitted to publishers. I did what I could to make it happen and didn't take the rejections personally. And continued to write. Badly, but I wrote.  You can't fix a blank page, after all.

That's the real irony, here. I'm not good with words. Growing up, I never had  just the perfect, witty come back. I was always grateful if I didn't make a bad situation worse or embarrass myself.  That's why I wanted to write. On paper, I could go back and  reorganize my thoughts and audition words and phrases to convey what's on my heart.

My other dream was to play the piano. I never pursued it because I could never get beyond the cost and the size of the instrument. The result is that I have little understanding of music--just what I got in junior high school chorus and church choir. I had no vision.

So, where would you like to be in five years? In ten? Is there a dream God has put in your heart that you've not pursued? Are you discouraged because your life hasn't turned out the way you'd hoped? Are you seeing only your current situation rather than possibilities? Or, does the goal seem to be impossible?

If you have few dreams left, ask God for a vision for what He has for you. Your tomorrow doesn't have to look like your today.

 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17–19 (NKJV)