Brown cheese

In September of 1987 I went to England to attend Capernwray Bible School for winter school. I have to say this was one of the best experiences of my life.

One of my 7 roomies was a boisterous young Amazon-ish woman from Norway. She was great. And she got me hooked on Norwegian brown cheese. The few times she went back home while we were in school she always brought a block back for us all to share.

Today I was transported back 19 years. My friend Karen and I helped our friend Shani and her roomie Chaz move this morning, and to thank us, they handed us a block of brown cheese. I came home, made two pieces of toast, spread them with jam and added a thick piece of brown cheese. This is the correct way to eat it. And it's spectacular! Funny how a taste can take you back in time instantly.

This has been kind of a reminiscent week. My high school class is starting to plan our 20th reunion for next summer so I have gotten emails from people I have not seen or talked to in 20 years. Kind of crazy.


Wishing on Dandelions Blog Tour

It's a huge privilege for me to know Mary DeMuth. She is a great friend, church-planting with her husband Patrick and family in the south of France. It has been a joy to get to know her over the past few years. Mary is the perfect friend because not only is she cool and fun, she provides me with great stuff to read! For this little book-worm, that is spectacular!!

I devoured Mary's first novel last spring, and immediately asked her when the next one was coming out :) Not only is it a great read (one I found hard to put down) but it deals with hard issues in life with beauty and grace and redemption.

And here it is! I am anxiously awaiting for the Spanish postal system to bring me my copy of Mary's new book.

Below is an interview with Mary about her new book:

This book deals with difficult subject matter: childhood sexual abuse and its residual affects. How did this book emerge?

My passion is to write about redemption through the avenue of story. I started the first book, Watching the Tree Limbs, in a flurry. In my mind I saw the streets of Burl and a girl who didn’t know where she came from. Because my personal story involves different instances of sexual abuse, I wanted to write a story that showed the reader how God could intersect an abuse-victim’s life and make a difference.

So, are you Maranatha?

In some ways yes, some no. Like Maranatha, I felt like God had transformed my life in such a radical way (like her name change from Mara—bitter—to Maranatha—Come Lord Jesus). Like Maranatha, I endured sexual abuse, but I was much younger when it happened. Like Maranatha, I wondered if I had been marked, that every sexual predator could “tell” I was a ready victim. I wrestled through relationships in my teens with Maranatha’s twin feelings of revulsion and attraction. But, she is not me in many other ways. She is more independent. She has no parents. She lives in an entirely different culture. She is less ambitious. She has the privilege of many wiser people to mentor her through life.

What made you decide to write a love story?

The book didn’t start out in my mind as a love story, but it evolved into it as I continued writing. Characters have that uncanny way of taking your prose and running in all sorts of directions with it. Charlie just kept being faithful. In a sense, I fell in love with him!

What made you choose East Texas as the setting for both novels?

The South fascinates me. I grew up in the Northwest. When my last child was born, my husband was transferred to East Texas to start a department in a hospital. Because I was a stay-at-home mom and home schooling, I didn’t have much else to do there except to observe small town southern culture. Because I didn’t grow up in that culture, my senses were heightened and I eventually began to really appreciate the differences.

Childhood sexual abuse is not talked about very often, and seldom covered in novels. What made you decide to write about it?

For that very reason. The more victims are quiet, the less healing they will receive. The more we talk about it, bringing heinous acts to the light, the better able we are to know we are not alone. I wrote this book so other abuse victims would feel validated and heard. And to offer hope.

Why do you end your books with hope?

Because hope is essential to Jesus’ Gospel. Even when things are bleak, there is always hope—if not in this life, then in the next. I’m not interested, however, in presenting hope in a superfluous way. I don’t want to tie up every story thread neatly. The truth is, life is tragic and difficult and bewildering, but God intersects that life and brings hope.

Have you always wanted to write?

Yes. Since my second grade teacher told my mother that she thought I was a creative writer, I’ve wanted to write. I kept a diary since the sixth grade. Though I was an English major, I didn’t start writing seriously until my first daughter was born. I wrote for ten years in obscurity before my writing career took a turn for the better.

Who are your literary heroes?

I love Harper Lee. I only wish she’d written more. Leif Enger, who wrote Peace Like a River, greatly inspired me to write visually and artistically. I love Sue Monk Kidd’s Secret Life of Bees, how you could almost taste her characters. I’m fascinated and intimidated by J.R.R. Tolkein—how he managed to create an entire world with several languages is way beyond my literary prowess.

What do you want your reader to take away from Wishing on Dandelions?

That redemption of a broken life takes time. We’re all on a journey of healing. Sometimes it’s slow going, but if we can endure through the dark times, God will bring us to new places of growth. I want the images and characters to stay with a reader for a long time.

To find out more about Mary, visit her website or her blog
And while you are at it, say a prayer for her today.


My Worst Mothering

I admit it, school work and homework bring out the worst in me as a mother. It makes me irritable and impatient with my children. It makes me too hard on them. It makes me want to wail and gnash my teeth. Ugh. I get frustrated and impatient and feel like I have passed on bad brain cells to my children.


Now that I got that rant out of the way, we are real Madrid citizens as of today. I got our monthly transportation abonos so as of October 1 we can use public transportation as much as we want. I can't wait for that! It means I can take the bus 2 stops if I want :)

I also stopped in at the Curves gym nearby and will be going on Monday to get my profile done so I can start going there. I am grateful there is one close to the house and that it's an affordable way for me to start being healthier.