3 Questions Wednesday with Karen Sargent

Happy Wednesday!  Author Karen Sargent creates characters whose imperfect faith collides with real-life conflicts, taking readers on a journey through grace and redemption to discover enduring hope. Let’s see how she tackles our questions…

First Question:

What inspires you?

Karen:  Momhood inspires me. For nearly 21 years I’ve loved being a mom, and that’s long enough to look back and realize I expected too much from myself—just like moms typically do. I expected perfection and always fell short because I compared myself to moms who loved to cook (my least favorite book is a recipe book!) and to moms whose homes were spotless (I’m good at moving clutter from one room to another and closing the door). I overlooked what I did well. Like my own mom, I’m a good listener and I have honest conversations about the hard stuff.

I try to remember what it was like to be a young adult and that my girls are still learning how to do life. It took time for me to sort the important from the trivial, but once I did, I was inspired to share. So I started The MOM Journey, a blog where moms aren’t perfect and that’s perfectly okay. Being a mom has also inspired the novels I write. Each explores the depth of a mother’s love and how that love can reach beyond possible. I love being a teacher. I love being a writer. But most of all, I love being a mom.

What a great way to look at inspiration. Now…

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Karen: My crayon color would be passionately purple. First, purple is my favorite color…inspired by guess what? Momhood! When my first daughter was born, I loved dressing her in frills and lace, but there was so much pink!

Just to be different, I started to dress her in purple instead, and somewhere along the way purple became my favorite color. It makes my heart happy! Passionately…that’s genetic. I credit my Italian grandparents. Whatever we feel, we feel deeply.

I like that. Color should make the heart happy. 🙂

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Karen: I wanted to write before I could write. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with a crayon, pretending to write words. However, I never dreamed I could be a writer. I chose to be an English teacher instead, so I could be surrounded by books and writing. My desire to write would wiggle every now and then to remind me it was still there, but I was busy raising two daughters and 120 students each year. Little did I realize that being a teacher and a mom were preparing me for Waiting for Butterflies. Teaching students to read great literature and to express themselves in writing taught me to be a better story teller and writer. And being a mom gave me something important to write about.

It’s amazing how life prepares us for writing. Thanks so much for dropping by!

Make sure and leave a comment if you’d like to be entered in the giveaway of a print copy of Waiting for Butterflies.


Waiting For Butterflies

A mother’s love never ends—not even when her life does.

Longing for her family after a tragic accident, Maggie becomes a lingering spirit and returns home where she helplessly witnesses her family’s downward spiral in the aftermath of her death. Her husband is haunted by past mistakes and struggles to redeem himself. Her teenage daughter silently drowns in her own guilt, secretly believing she caused her mother’s death. Only her five-year-old, full of innocence, can sense her presence. Although limited by her family’s grief and lack of faith, Maggie is determined to keep a sacred promise and save her family before her second chance runs out.

A tender portrait of a mother whose love reaches beyond possible, Waiting for Butterflies will embrace your heart and not let go.

Buy the book.


Karen Sargent creates characters whose imperfect faith collides with real-life conflicts, taking readers on a journey through grace and redemption to discover enduring hope. A romantic element is woven within each story. Her writing has been featured in Guidepost’s Angels on Earth magazine and on ForEveryMom.com.

When she is not writing, she teaches high school and college English in the beautiful Arcadia Valley where she resides with her husband and two daughters.

Website: karensargentbooks.com

The MOM Journey Blog: karensargentbooks.com/blog

Facebook: Facebook.com/KarenSargentAuthor

Twitter: Twitter.com/KarenSargent_87

Pinterest: Pinterest.com/KarenSargent87

Memorial Day-A Time for Remembrance

By Steve Connolly – Alabama Metal Art

Marked as the official start of Summer, Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday of May. It is, however, the day we all should remember and honor all Americans who lost their lives while serving in the country’s armed forces.

Growing up in a small New England town, I vividly remember marching in the Memorial Day Parade. We would line up at the cemetery just outside of town. Many of the town’s residents stood around the gravestones waiting for the program to start. Soon, a lone trumpeter would begin playing taps. It always gave me chills to hear. After a brief word and a prayer, the band would come alive with a patriotic march. Our march into town, although several miles, was always fun. It was good to see people waving flags, and clapping as we marched by.

Looking Back a Ways

For our family, Memorial Day held a tradition for us in the way of planting our summer vegetable garden. We kept our fingers crossed that the Northern New England weather would cooperate and we would not have to worry about any rogue frosts. Mom and I would be out in the dirt on our hands and knees carefully measuring the depth and spacing of each seed. Being amateur farmers at best, we needed all the luck we could muster when it came to gardening. Planting took us hours to get it all done, but once it was finished, it was a great feeling of accomplishment. Surprisingly, we had great success with our vegetable gardens.

New Traditions with a Young Family

As I got older and had a family of my own, new traditions were started. Moving to a new town now made me an onlooker of parades instead of a participant. Our family would stand along the parade route waving and clapping as floats and bands went by. The kids loved parades as many of the float riders would throw candy to all standing on the roadside. Being in a small town when the parade was finished, we would walk home up the hill laughing and chasing each other. Our kids always loved these family times. Later that afternoon, the grill would be fired up for a small family feast in the back yard. Hot dogs, chips, cold watermelon and ice-cream were carried out to the picnic table. Often, I would look at that ole picnic table and think, someday I have got to paint this thing. 🙂

Fireworks at the Lake

Throughout the day, the excitement would build in anticipation of the evening fireworks show. Every Memorial Day, the town would present an extraordinary light show for all who gathered around the lake in the center of town. Watching fireworks set off from the middle of the lake was always exciting. Not only did the sky light up with many colors but the lake water did as well. Some years we would watch from a park across the lake. I laugh now when I think of a friend who would give us a bang by bang commentary on the fireworks. In the later years when the kids had grown and moved out of the house, I would sit in our upstairs window and watch the fireworks. I would guess it is an advantage of living in a small town where everything is close together.

A Big Change in Location

Moving to Alabama in 1989 gave me another perspective on how people celebrate Memorial Day.  “Alabama Jubilee” was the phrase that kept crossing my path. Hearing it so often, I had to find out what it meant. Research pointed to the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic held at Point Mallard Park in Decatur, Alabama over the Memorial Day weekend.

In fact, this year’s celebration will be its 40th year. Thinking back to our first visit to the Jubilee, I was taken back by the number of balloons and how beautiful they were. It was dreamlike seeing these large balloons inflate and slowly ascend into the morning sky. If my memory is correct, there must have been over 50 balloons participating in the Jubilee that day.

These days we find ourselves gravitating toward a quieter celebration with family and friends. It is fun to sit out on the back deck watching the young ones running around the yard. Having fun with water balloons, checking out the latest addition to the farm animals, or running circles around the yard in the go-cart. It gives us a chance to sit back and ponder our many blessings. It is a time for us to realize that the freedom to have these blessings is because of the many who have gone before us and sacrificed their lives. May we never forget or take them for granted.

Click to tweet: May we never forget the sacrifices made by our military.

Writing Prompt: Consider adding a Memorial Day celebration to your novel or short story.


Steve Connolly works for Alabama Metal Art and would like to share a little about the company.

Who is Alabama Metal Art? We are a small business located in the Shoals Area of Alabama in the city of Florence. We are a close-knit group of employees, who work together to provide a unique product for our customers.  Each one of our metal art products are individually crafted for you.

Our product line includes but not limited to:

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Lessons from the Heart

By Betty Boyd

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All families have their ups and downs and mine is no different. Each person learns different values, and ideas based upon their environment. I grew up in a home with Italian and Irish-Scottish heritage. My Dad was stern, while my Mom was gentle and kind.

The value of hard work and how to spend money wisely was instilled from an early age . I came from a family of five siblings, and my parents, so money had to go a long way. There was not much languishing, there were always chores to do, homework and of course, attending church every Sunday.

I grew up in the turbulent 1960’s and 1970’s and watched our country change. My ideas stem from this and being frequently punished to keep us all in line. My Dad loved all of us, but it was hard for him to be demonstrative. My Mom was the light in an otherwise very strict upbringing.

At the time, this seemed too harsh for me to comprehend, but over time I have come to appreciate that my parents were doing the best they could.  Both are gone, but my love for them has not diminished, it has grown.

We had our arguments and struggles, but also forgiveness, and the unconditional love that all parents want to give their children. I feel so blessed to have been raised in such a way as to truly appreciate what I have, to dream, and do what I do today.

I am a widow with no children, and have no immediate family in the area.  I do have my Savior, my church family, close friends, and my two brothers to call upon when I need help of any kind.

It all comes down to my world view. Do I want to be bitter and angry for how I was raised? My Mom and Dad were great examples of what parents should be. I am truly grateful for the family I have, and look forward to being the best person I can be for all.

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Family is important …

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3 Questions Wednesday with Susan Holt Simpson

Susan Holt Simpson

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday, Susan Holt Simpson.

Susan Holt Simpson is a freelance writer who lives in Kentucky with her husband and three grown sons. When she’s not writing, she’s probably in the garden with a hoe or a camera in hand.

Susan has followed Christ since the age of ten, sometimes lagging behind and other times running ahead, but always safe in His love.

Question: What inspires you?

Susan:  Old things inspire me. A box of beat-up doorknobs, an antique wedding veil, or a bundle of letters from bygone days can conjure up all sorts of story ideas. Also, everyday natural beauty—sunsets and storm clouds, lightning bugs and birdsong—generates so many opportunities for wonder, which for me, often leads to inspiration.

I love combing through old things and wondering about where they came from, and who owned them. It’s an imagination feast!

Next question is a bit of fun–You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Susan:  My crayon name would be Heavenly Blue. It’s the color of a high Kentucky sky on a summer day or the exact shade of my favorite summer vine, the Heavenly Blue Morning Glory.

Well, the blue spectrum suggests that you are soft, soothing, compassionate and caring. I love blue, especially that Kentucky sky.

Final Question–As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Susan: I wanted to be whatever character I was reading at the time. For a while, I wanted to be a nurse, like Cherry Ames. Then I longed to solve mysteries like Nancy Drew. I even thought maybe, a very big maybe, I could be a jockey and ride a Black Stallion. As a writer, I’m still deeply inspired by what I read and often grow in the same direction as the characters I admire.

I so seldom hear of others who’ve read Cherry Ames. I loved those books and longed to be a candystriper like she was!

Susan: Thanks so much for this chance to visit with your readers!

Thank you, Susan, for visiting 3 Questions Wednesday.

To learn more about Susan, visit her blog, Sweet Annabelle, or connect with her on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram.


Readers, Susan is a contributor to Michelle Medlock Adam’s book, Love and Care for the One and Only You. She is graciously giving this book (print version) to one among our commenters. Here are the details–

 

Love & Care For the One and Only You

What if we valued and cared for ourselves the way one does a masterpiece sculpted by a master artist? Each of us is a unique creation crafted by the ultimate Artist. When we realize that, how can we help but love and care for the body, mind, and heart God has given us?
Weekly encouragements along with practical tips and suggestions will help you love and care for yourself as your Creator intended.

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Joy in Adversity

We are so happy to have my friend, Edie Melson, share her beautiful story about family…

By Edie Melson

I’ve come to realize that the seeds of faith begin their journey to the light, in the dark. As the mother of a former Marine, I’ve been through the painful process of blooming in adversity.

Neither I nor my husband come from a military family, so our son’s decision to enlist straight after high school caught us off guard. We weren’t ashamed or disappointed in him, although we were worried about where this decision could take him. But we could see his sincere desire to follow God’s leading in his life and knew that where ever this road led, God would see him through.

But the week I said goodbye to him as he got ready to leave for his first deployment in Iraq, all those thoughts of faith and how God would take care of him fled. I found myself engulfed in a terror so deep it colored every corner of my world a murky gray.

Throughout the last couple days I had with him, I was overcome with fear and uncertainty. As we sat down to eat, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was the last time I’d share a meal with him. As he posed for a picture with his brothers, in the back of my mind was the fear that this would be the last picture I’d ever have of him. All through that time, the what-ifs continued to crowd out the faith I thought I had.

Then he was gone—half a world away—fighting an enemy whose main focus was on killing him. It was during those deployments that I learned about darkness of the heart. I wanted to protect him, I ached to shield him from what I knew he was experiencing, but I couldn’t. So I did the one thing I could do. It became my course of last resort because I was at the end of my own strength.

I prayed.

And I prayed.

And I prayed some more.

I learned to take my overwhelming fear to the only One who could protect him. And I left my son in God’s hands. The prayers weren’t pretty. Often times they weren’t even words. They truly were the groanings we read about it in Scripture (Romans 8:26-27).

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was like a seed, planted deep in the ground. I was surrounded by darkness, by rough, rocky soil, pressing in on all sides crushing the life from me. But through that incredible pressure, the shell of my own strength fell away, and I slowly began to push toward the light that I knew lay just beyond the darkness.

And my course of last resort became my strength, It became the first place I turned. Instead of praying in desperation, I began to pray in confidence. When the fears threatened to overwhelm me, I learned to lean into God, instead of turning in on myself.

The final harvest of that time of darkness came to fruition May 12, 2015,  just after Mother’s Day. It’s a book of prayers for those with loved ones in the military, While My Soldier Serves. How I longed for just such a book during that dark time. Now God has taken my time of darkness and is shining it as a light for those who are also facing the incredible stress of having a loved one at war.

I can say with confidence, never doubt that God will bring a harvest of joy, no matter how dark the days you’re facing now.

Click to tweet: Prayer: my course of last resort became my strength.

I’d love to know how you get through the dark times and find a way to bloom. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


While My Soldier Serves

Thousands of families send loved ones off to fight on a daily basis. These families spend a lot of time living in a world out of control. This kind of stress can take an incredible toll, but there is hope. When we feel helpless, we can take our fears to the One who loves us more than anything and holds the universe in His hands.

In this book you’ll find the words to usher you into His presence. These prayers are a place to visit again and again as you take your own fears to God. They’re just a starting point, written to help you find your own voice as you call out on behalf of the one you love.

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Find your voice, live your story…is the foundation of Edie Melson’s message, no matter if she’s addressing parents, military families, readers of fiction or other writers. As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her passion to help those who are struggling find the strength they need to triumph is reflected in the characters she creates and the insight she shares. Connect with her on her website, through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Find her books on Amazon.com.