Families and Children

by Betty Owens

May is the month we normally celebrate mothers. So we thought it would be a great time for us to discuss families and children at the Writing Prompts blog. I grew up in a large family. Well, my immediate family held only five members–I was the girl in the middle of two brothers–but we had seven first cousins and . . . well, Dad’s family might need a little explanation.

My paternal grandmother, Ada, married at age fourteen. Her husband Fred was only seventeen. Because of their youth, Fred and Ada lived with his family for a while. And because of her youth, his brothers and sisters became like brothers and sisters to her. A few years after their marriage, Grandma’s little brother Sam married Fred’s younger sister Lona.

Fred and Ada’s children and Sam and Lona’s children would be double first cousins. There were nine cousins between the two families, and they grew up like one big family. And of course, they all looked alike. You couldn’t always tell who were the brothers and sisters, and who were the cousins.

So, along comes the next generation. I had seven first cousins, and five more double-first-cousins once removed. There were more, but the first ones were the closest to all of us in age. We all grew up together, and shared a lot of family dinners. Because of this, I count myself very blessed.

Among all those original siblings were many fine examples of how to live, how to love, how to serve God. And what is most important in life—family. I had four mamas. Dad’s two sisters, Aunt Jen and Aunt Fran, Aunt Edna, who was married to Dad’s brother, and my mom. All of the cousins spent time in each other’s homes. We all knew we were loved.

As we aged, the love seemed to grow, and though we could no longer spend quite as much time in each other’s households, reunions and family dinners were just like old times. Lots of hugs and kisses and laughter. Happy memories abounded. I think we’re pretty special. I just wish I lived close enough, so my children could benefit more from the extended families.

Facebook brings us all back together again. Though miles separate us, we can share the ups and the downs, the births and deaths. The joy and sorrow. The love and accolades, prayer requests, and encouraging words. I’ve watched my cousins’ children and grandchildren grow. Now there are a few great-grands thrown in the mix. Hard to believe so much time has passed.

The happiest of all moments—when we realize our shared faith. You see, we all had a granny who prayed like nobody’s business. She called us all by name, and believed in faith for our eventual salvation. She died at the age of 96, and by the way—she was the head of the household that welcomed my fourteen-year-old grandma.

What about you? Are you part of a closely-knit, loving family? Or do you keep close to home with your own spouse and children, unconnected with extended family members?

Are you a single parent, or married with no children? In Psalm 68:6, the Bible says, “God sets the solitary in families…” I believe it’s possible to have a family, whether they’re blood-related or not. Aunt Fran—one of my Dad’s sisters—had no children of her own. But she had many who grew up loving her like a mama, because she loved so well, and treated us as she would her own.

In my writing, my byline, “Love is the Legacy,” is a direct result of having grown up in a big, loving family. If not for that sure foundation of love and acceptance, I would not be here today.

I hope you’ll stop back by during the month and join the conversation about families and children.

Click to tweet: Facebook brings us all back together again.

Writing Prompt: Our family reunion began well, but near the end of the day…

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April’s a Wrap

Now that we’re finished organizing and spring-cleaning our homes, and our manuscripts…

Time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful spring weather.

Another month has come and gone. I hope you enjoyed our posts about cleaning. If I said my house is now clean and well-organized, I’d be writing fiction, or possibly fantasy. But I did just finish spiffing up a manuscript. I have another book releasing in June. There’s a lot of background work involved in any book release.

I hope you’ll join us next month as we discuss Families and Children, which makes me think of mothering and Mother’s Day. Can’t wait.

Speaking of not being able to wait–some of you may be on tenterhooks–waiting to hear who won our 3-word story prompt contest. We’ll be making a decision about that in the very near future, so watch for an announcement. Oh, and I’ll give you one more chance to enter–

3-Word Prompt:  A door opened…

Remember, finish my 3 words with 3 more words of your own, to complete a 6-word story. Have fun!

 

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A Clean Schedule

by Betty Owens

A clean house. It’s what we all want, right? How many of you have trouble achieving it? (My hand is in the air). You work full or part-time, you have children, you’re a writer on a deadline–you barely manage to keep up with the day-to-day. Your biggest fear: unexpected company. How do you cope?

I love a clean, uncluttered house. I can’t relax if there’s dust on the furniture, fingerprints on the wall, toddler nose prints on the window. But sometimes those things have to wait their turn. So I’ve found a way to get through. I have a schedule.

Laundry happens on Mondays and Thursdays. Even though there are only two of us here, it is simply amazing how many clothes we go through. Mostly the guy who takes two showers a day, of course!

I change the sheets on the same day every week, and vacuum the whole house on Fridays. We have a walk-in shower that takes about an hour to clean, so that gets done on the same day I change the sheets. Having a schedule helps me accomplish these chores. It’s not set in stone. Sometimes I miss a day and have to catch up. Every once in a while, I miss a week altogether. But sooner or later, it gets done, because I’m really not comfortable otherwise.

When I tackle window-washing, I wash a couple of windows at a time (inside and out). Most of our windows are floor-to-ceiling, so it takes a little longer. I schedule the job over three or four days. I do the same thing with the kitchen cabinets. Time is not the only reason I break these jobs into sections. Stamina definitely plays a part. While I used to be able to stay at it for an entire day, now I run out of energy! And right in the middle of a job like that–inspiration seems to hit! I have the idea I need to finish a scene or a story. I have to stop, right?

Absolutely. Right now, my bookshelves are calling me. I honestly can’t remember the last time I unloaded them and cleaned. But it has to be done, so one of these mornings, it’s going to happen. I’d better put them on the schedule.

Click to tweet: A clean house. It’s what we all want, right?

How do you get these big jobs done, if hiring help is not a possibility? Are you a stay-at-it-till-it’s-done person? Or an “it’ll be there when I get to it type?”

Three-word prompt: Through clean windows …

Remember–finish the three-word prompt with three words of your own to complete a six-word short story. It should express a complete thought. Submit in the comment section below.

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March of Modern Authors

by Betty Thomason Owens

You step through the front door of a bookstore or library, and then what? Where do you head first? What name draws you? Are you a browser, looking for something interesting, or do you make a beeline for a certain shelf?

book-112117_1280While raising my family, I made bimonthly trips to the local library. I was a classic reader. I started with the “A” shelf and read my way through. It took me a while to get past the first column with all the Alcott, Austen, Brontes, Dickens. . . well, you get the picture. I read a number of Miss Read books and du Maurier mysteries.

But to pick one author out of the many, especially when you have numerous friends who are excellent authors–not sure I wanna go there.  I might just take the easy way out and name a few neighbors. Kentucky is proud home to many wonderful writers. If I start naming them though, I’d get myself into trouble for sure. It’s like choosing a favorite child–in front of the others. Can’t be done.

Throughout the month of March, our crew (and a guest or two) will talk about the writers who have left a lasting impression on their lives. Gifted storytellers. Books that resonate with their readers.

  • What’s your favorite?
  • Can you name a few?
  • Do you read fiction, or nonfiction?

bird-2047081_1280I shall never forget the magic of those first few lines of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

“When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable looking child ever seen.”

fog-258244_1280By the time Mary found the secret garden, the little flower-lover in me was totally hooked. I was in third grade, and I think it may have been my first “chapter book”.

It held first place in my heart till I picked up Jane Eyre. That book, with it’s foggy, craggy moors and rough-edged characters still draws me. I reread it every once in a while.

So, while the March winds blow, and Old Man Winter gives way to Spring, join us for a look at our favorite authors.

Right now, I’m going to toss another log on the fire and curl up with a good book. One from a well known Kentucky writer. She’s writing cozy mysteries these days. Wonder if you can guess who that might be? 🙂

(Click to tweet) You step through the front door of a bookstore or library and then what?

Writing Prompt: This photo immediately reminded me of the movie, Ever After. Who would live in such a place? Can you begin or end a story here?castle-1975928_1280

 

Doggy Love at First Sight

By Betty Boyd

 chihuahua-2077436__480.jpg

She was so fragile and small among the other litter of eight Chihuahua’s, an air of uniqueness that attracted my friend to this standout puppy. She was ailing, and needed of a lot of help and love, so Janet came to her rescue.  She named this adorable pup Ginger.

Ginger had to go through three operations. At least one of them made her very weak, and she almost didn’t make it. Janet’s love for this new puppy helped Ginger survive.

This breed of dog is generally sicklier than most.  It is a balancing act to make sure that their immune system is protected.  Janet’s faith and her love prevailed.  Ginger grew stronger and stronger with each passing day.  However, she had a major setback when an infection occurred.  Ginger faced several rounds with a vet who really did not want to help, but my friend triumphed, and Ginger once again became healthy.

Ginger has lived with my friend for over a year. During this time, she has drawn closer to this amazing dog.  Janet has grown children with lives of their own, and no husband. So, a void has been filled and Ginger provided the love that was needed.

How true it is that our pets are part of our families.  Ginger has become part of my friend’s family. Janet has never given up on Ginger and has been rewarded with a love that will never die.

Writing Prompt:  Imagine how your pet enhances your family…

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