Category Archives: family

For the History Buff

When I originally proposed At Home with Daffodils, my story in A Bouquet of Brides, I wanted the story set in 1895 in northeastern Oklahoma. When the novella was picked up by Barbour, and I began my research in earnest, I requested permission to move the historical timeline to after Oklahoma’s statehood, which happened on November 16, 1907. I made this change because I found myself getting lost in Oklahoma’s varied history. At the time of the original date part of what is now the state of Oklahoma was Indian Territory, and part of it was Oklahoma territory.

To further confuse things, it was difficult to know just which part of Indian Territory had white people “squatting” on the land. There were many white settlements in Indian Territory, despite legal efforts to keep this from happening. Take this a step further by digging into the history of the Cherokee Nation, which settled in the area I wanted to write about, and it became very difficult to know how to handle history accurately.  Though my blond hair and green eyes might not show it, I have Cherokee and Choctaw ancestry. I wanted to write about those years with the respect due this heritage, but soon realized that kind of research and historical under-girding was too dense for a book of novella length. I was relieved when the editor at Barbour allowed me to move my story to the years right after statehood.

In At Home with Daffodils my heroine is part Cherokee. Many of us who grew up in that part of Oklahoma claim a little of that heritage, whether or not we were legally part of the tribe itself. It’s interesting to note that the nearest real town to my fictional setting is Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Tahlequah is the capitol of the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee Supreme Court Building, located in downtown Tahlequah and constructed in 1844, is the oldest public building in Oklahoma.

Cherokee Courthouse

(Photo from: http://visitcherokeenation.com)

Though modern conveniences like the automobile and electric lighting were seen in the big city in these years (and the RMS Titanic was being fully equipped with electric lights), this type of extravagance hadn’t made its way to the back hills of northeastern Oklahoma. Thus my story has undertones of the  kind of life many of us experienced through Pa and Laura as we watched the classic TV series, Little House on the Prairie.

That’s not to say that all of northeastern Oklahoma wasn’t modern at that time. The Cherokee Female Seminary was one of the first schools of higher learning for women west of the Mississippi River. When the original building burned in 1887, it was replaced by a very modern building located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. In 1909 the state of Oklahoma purchased it from the Cherokee Nation, and the seminary became Northeastern State Normal School. This beautiful building is still in use. I had history and English classes here when I attended Northeastern State University after high school.

1024px-Seminary_Hall

(Photo from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherokee_Female_Seminary)

It’s interesting to note that Indian Territory also boasted the first newspaper. According to http://www.visitCherokeeNation.com The Cherokee Advocate, printed in both Cherokee and English, was started in 1844.  The website further states, “Soon, the Cherokees’ education system of 144 elementary schools and two higher education institutes, the Cherokee Male and Female Seminaries, rivaled the best systems in the U.S. Many white settlements bordering Cherokee Nation took advantage of the superior school system and paid tuition to have their children attend Cherokee schools. Other bilingual materials, which had been made possible by Sequoyah’s syllabary in 1821, led Cherokees to a level of literacy higher than their white counterparts, all prior to Oklahoma statehood in 1907.”

Another example of elegance built in Indian Territory is the Murrell Home, which is the only remaining antebellum home in the state of Oklahoma.

MURRELL HOME

According to http://visitcherokeenation.com where I got this photo, “George Michael Murrell was a Virginian who married Minerva Ross, a member of a wealthy Cherokee family and niece of Chief John Ross. When the Cherokees were forced to leave their homes and move west to Indian Territory, Murrell moved with his wife’s family to the new Nation in 1839.”

I have another reason for affection for this lovely home. It was the site of a very special event in 1989.

PaulaJerryWedMurrel4

PaulaJerryWedMurrel1

I’m including the next two pictures so you can catch a broader view of the home itself, including the richer landscaping it now boast, and also so you can maybe chuckle. My outdoor wedding was interrupted by what we call an old fashioned “Oklahoma gully washer!” The umbrellas were going up about the time I was coming down the sidewalk.

PaulaJerryWedMurrel3

But it all dried up nicely by the time my groom and I headed to Tulsa for the first night of our honeymoon. We were sent on our way by a shower of birdseed.

PaulaJerryWedMurrel2

 

Though the Cherokees brought much culture and modern thinking to northeastern Oklahoma, and even though Dilly would have lived in the Edwardian era of Titanic fame, Dilly was removed from such modern living. In fact indoor plumbing didn’t come to the back hills of the area until the mid-twentieth century.

It was fun to research how my heroine, Dilly, dressed, fixed her hair, and managed daily life.

dress-timeline-191-to-1919

Dilly’s work in the general store and her life in this tiny community made a simple long black skirt, white shirtwaist, and sturdy boots more sensible.

I picture her like this:

9866cd79f28f7e48be9ea51f812d52d6--teenage-girls-young-girls

(photo found on Pinterest)

You can learn more about the history in northeastern Oklahoma by reading At Home with Daffodils.

51OhyGLrtxL

And now, for the winner of A Bouquet of Brides! 

I gotta tell ya, I really enjoyed sharing this month with you. Thank you for engaging with me, leaving comments, following this blog, and signing up for my newsletter. I hope you’ll continue to stick around this February. I’m planning two series. The first is “Lessons from a Heart Attack,” where I’ll share things Jerry and I processed in January as he recovered from his December 31st heart attack.

God’s gracious intervention saved my husband’s life, and an incident like that makes you dig a little deeper. I haven’t talked much about it here, but January’s challenges were stretching–and you learn from that stuff.

The other series is, “Keeping a Spiritual Journal,” a series requested by one of my Soul Scents readers. In honor of this series, the giveaway this month will be a Soul Scents book of your choice.

And the winner of A Bouquet of Brides Collection is . . .

Congratulations!!

Until next time,

paula-another-test-401x192-2 - Copy

Advertisements

How is a Book Conceived?

Ever wonder how an author thinks up stories? It can be anything, really, that becomes what I call the story seed. Yesterday you got some sneak peeks into the inspiration for my novella, At Home with Daffodils. Today’s posts gives the rest of the story.

On that warm summer’s day when my husband, two youngest sons, my dad, and I drove through Camp Gruber, stopping to swim in the creek when I swam as a child, I had no idea a story was about to be seeded into my heart.

It happened after we drove on through the camp, coming out the other side to discover the quaint little building I talked about yesterday. Dad suggested we stop for lunch. (Don’t mind my hair in these pictures. Remember, I’d just enjoyed an unplanned dip in Greenleaf Creek.)

18.jpg

Located on Qualls Road in Parkhill, Oklahoma, Jincy’s Kitchen is housed in what was once the general store for the old Qualls community. (As I mentioned yesterday, the site was used for the filming of the movie, “Where the Red Fern Grows.”) The old building still has the wooden cubed walls that once held merchandise. Now it contains memorabilia—antique dishes and newspaper clippings of folks important to the area.

20150718_130034

20150718_125935

We ordered—and enjoyed—our home-cooked meal.

7

Debbie Rucker, the proprietor and cook, left her stove to share the store’s history. The store was opened many years before by her grandmother, a single mom. The building was passed down to Debbie, and she opens the restaurant on weekends to keep the spirit of the Qualls community alive for the next generation.

 

I commented on the french fries. I hadn’t had homemade fries like that since my grandmother made them for me many years before. My husband said, “Yes. The fries were just like Grandma Eunice’s weren’t they?”

Debbie whipped toward me, “You’re Aunt Eunice’s granddaughter?” She explained that she had been married to my grandma’s nephew. Then the stories began in earnest. She said my grandparents were well-loved in the Qualls community; everyone had a story of a time Grandpa or Grandma helped them out. Then Debbie began to tell her special story. It was about her daddy and my grandpa. How I treasure this story!

You’ll read a similar version in chapter one of At Home with Daffodils. I won’t spoil it for you by sharing it here, but I find great joy in honoring my grandpa by creating a fictionalized account of the event.

I dedicated this novella to my grandpa. Maybe you’ll enjoy reading the dedication:

For Grandpa Curtis

Whose grave lies just outside Camp Gruber

Near the old general store at Qualls

You were the master storyteller

No doubt the hours I spent mesmerized by your stories

Influenced my decision to become a writer

I look forward to sitting on a front porch swing

(if they have them in heaven)

With you and Jesus

No doubt He’ll chuckle as Grandma whispers,

“I wouldn’t tell that one if I was you!”

Until next time,

paula-another-test-401x192-2 - Copy

PS We’re almost to the end of our celebration of the release month for A Bouquet of Brides. As you know if you’ve visited here this month, I’m giving away a copy of the book. The contest ended on January 31st, and I’ll announce the lucky winner on Friday!

A Bit of History and a Snow Day

 

9866cd79f28f7e48be9ea51f812d52d6--teenage-girls-young-girls

photo from Pinterest

Today I share tidbits about the historical context of At Home with Daffodils in a guest post on Pegg Thomas’s author blog. I hope you’ll check it out!

Also, over the weekend Donna Schlachter invited me to her blog to share some stories behind the setting of my story. It’s fun talking about the are where I grew up. I hope you’ll visit Donna’s blog and read all about it.

Tomorrow on this blog we’ll hear from Suzanne Norquist about the takeaway value in her story, A Song for Rose.

Both stories are included in A Bouquet of Brides, which released this month from Barbour Publishing. (The collection is on sale today on Christianbook.com.)

I’m writing you today from a sparkling, snow-covered Colorado. Feeling a little sore. I shoveled the white stuff for about two hours yesterday! The snow kept falling and I returned to clear the driveway three times! (This was after my husband took the first shift. He’s recovering from a heart attack, so I insisted on only one turn for him! Not that he listened when I suggested he didn’t need a turn at all! But I did appreciate his help since I needed to be to my singing job by 7:30 a.m.)

Hubby took this shot of me when I worked in the falling snow after returning from singing.

26850055_1647002102025241_5540152421633560228_o

Snow brings hard work, but I must admit that I love it. As I watched the sun come up this morning over the winter wonderland, my heart lifted. It is indeed beautiful. How’s the weather where you are?

Here’s a giggle for you. My husband treated me to this old song when I returned from my snow venture.

Wishing you beauty wherever you are–in balmy sun or glittering snow.

Blessings,

paula-another-test-401x192-2 - Copy

 

Ok . . . Just a Note About that Last Author

Maybe I’ll share just one thing about the author in A Bouquet of Brides who I chose not to introduce this week: me. You know plenty about me already, right? And my writing journey has been so entwined with several of the authors in this collection, that you got bits of my story as I talked about them. But I want to share one more thing. This:

12241360_10207468710096499_2497978340063792973_n

Why that picture?

Because God sent these angels to hold me together on my writing journey, to walk with me into greater personal freedom, and to cheer me on in my calling.

It’s my prayer group, and we’re beginning our 7th year of meeting regularly. We call ourselves the Council of Kings. We believe that God has a destiny and a kingdom for each of us. (Not just in this group. For you too.)

I love you Deb, Kathy, Margie, and Jill. As I move forward in the writing and speaking the Lord is calling me to do, I’m grateful for the support God has given me by His Spirit and through loved ones.

Which means I need to add one more picture. It’s not easy having a writer for a wife or mom. She can get really distracted and disappear for hours. Her income is sporadic. Her tears come often. But these special people fill my heart with joy even on the hard days.

20171123_153152

Until Next time,

paula-another-test-401x192-2 - Copy

Our Son is Engaged!

If you like Hallmark Christmas movies or sweet holiday romance of any kind, you’ll likely agree with me that this video of my son Sam proposing to the beautiful Ariel is the real-life thing!

Imagine his family and hers gathered to watch the annual Christmas parade in Estes Park. It’s long been Ariel’s favorite family tradition, and the last few years Sam has joined her family for the event. This year everyone was “magically” invited by Ariel herself, which made it convenient to set her up for the surprise since she thought she made the plan!

Hot chocolate and popcorn is purchased. Everyone is cozy and happy. The parade starts, and Ariel remembers her favorite floats from years past. Sam complains of a stomachache (which though he was faking was probably not too far from the truth). He disappears. Once in a while she glances around, searching the crowd at the side of the street for his return.

Little did she know he would be joining her FROM the parade.

We’ve long thought of Ariel as family. We’re thrilled it’s now official!

Here are a few of my favorite still shots from the occasion. Congratulations Sam and Ariel! You are dearly loved!

Thank you for sharing this special moment with us. I still cry happy tears when I watch that video!

Until next time,

paula-another-test-401x192-2 - Copy

PS If you’re looking for holiday romance this season, check out my novella collection, Tinseled Tidings, and A Packaged Deal, the first book in the Towering Pines series. I can’t promise it will be as wonderful as the real life stuff, but I bet you wipe a sentimental tear or two as you read.

 

Get Soul Scents: Bloom for Free!

FREE May 14 – May 17

In honor of moms everywhere!

This third in the Soul Scents series of devotionals leads us from struggle to acknowledging the blessing of Immanuel in our lives. Paula courageously shares the raw and intimate moments of her own struggles in the valley of the shadow of death. Incredibly, hopefully, she leads us day by day into His Light, teaching us how to walk hand in hand with God at our side.   ~Susan Irene Fox

God’s love and his extravagant grace toward us is shared through Scripture, the beauty of nature and the author’s personal stories of pain revealing God’s ever present care and commitment to our “blooming.” I . . . found myself saying, “Yes, Lord, Yes! Do that in me!” . . . . Paula clearly knows her Lord and her honesty and vulnerability are so healing. . . . I highly recommend this devotional to anyone who needs a reminder that God is beyond good.  ~ Amazon Customer

rsz_pmapprov3-01In His presence we bloom in sunshine and storm. His Spirit carries us through the struggle, offering the love, strength, and wisdom we need for the times of trial. In the joyous seasons, His smile deepens our pleasure. Bloom in season and out!

The Soul Scents collection invites readers into an ever-deepening discovery of who God is and how He interacts with us. Combined, its four volumes, Awaken, Rooted, Bloom, and Flourish, offer a year’s worth of devotional reading. Each book has thirteen weeks of down-to-earth insight gleaned from Scripture and the author’s journey into spiritual freedom. The week-day readings include Scriptures and prayers. Rest in the Son’s embrace as you enter the beautiful heart of the Freedom Giver Himself.

I hope you enjoy this free gift!

Blessing to Your Home From Mine,

paula-another-test-401x192-2 - Copy

18237796_10211980428041092_6907722748562976894_o

PS One of my Mother’s Day celebrations this year is the joy of our son Stephen’s recent graduation from Fort Lewis College. God is good and has done amazing things in his life! When he graduated high school, I wrote a piece about how he’d overcome great odds. Stephen’s college graduation was also a high day. That little boy who struggled with speech and learning to read graduated Summa Cum Laude! (If you have a struggling learner, you might want to check out that article, which includes links to resources.) He’s already started his first full-time job. He’s using his adventure education degree to serve at a camp where he will be assistant to the director of adventure activities. (If you’d like to support him in prayer or finances, email me, and I’ll have him send you more information.) Happy Mother’s Day to each of you moms reading today–I hope you enjoy your free gift!

Announcing the Winners!

It’s really fun how the drawing turned out! Empty-Nest Man won the book, The Joy of joy of letting goLetting Go: Releasing Your Teens into Real Life in the Big World! If the series on releasing our children to adulthood blessed you, I believe you’ll be blessed by his new blog. And as crazy as this seems that Empty Nest Man won the book on empty nest, I promise it was not rigged. I wrote out each name on paper and drew two. He was drawn first, and He chose his book!

Winner of the Colors of Hope inspirational coloring book is Lacey!

Her comment asked a question: Your devotional time sounds both joyous and thought-provoking, Paula. Just out of curiosity…not that it really matters, except for preference…do you use colored pencils, or crayons? My daughter has 17155194_10154303091171723_2711020159173082596_nbeen ill, and I bought a new box of over 100 crayon’s for her. Fresh, new crayons with a crayon sharpener included. There’s something special about using a new crayon or recently sharpened pencil.

My answer to Lacey was: I’ve been using markers or colored pencils, but that may be because I have pencils to sharpen but not fresh new crayons! I think that would be a great question for Lisa, though! 

So I contacted the expert, Lisa Samson who said:

Colored pencils would work better for the book. There are smaller spaces that would be hard to access with crayons. Although, there are some pages that would work just fine with crayon because they have been designed for people of all skills!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the drawings. I hope to do more in the future! Stay tuned!