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Friday, November 8, 2013

A Crystal Vase or a Window Pane


A Crystal Vase or a Window Pane

 

The beauty of cut crystal throwing prisms of color from bright sunlight has always mesmerized me. In fact, I stood in awe at the beauty of a crystal collection that was beautifully displayed in my local museum. The collection had taken years for the owner to collect and had been donated for the pleasure of visitors after her death.

This morning I was listening to the Gaither Vocal Band singing the song “I Then Shall Live”. The words were displayed on the screen so the viewers/listeners could sing along. I did try to sing with them, but tears and sobs were the most prominent sound coming from my throat.

The line that shot straight to my heart was: “Your Kingdom come around and through and in me. Your power and glory, let them shine through me.” The other words in the song are equally meaningful, but this morning those particular words were a message to my heart.

I thought of the beautiful cut crystal. Although it was a joy to behold as a vase or container, it wouldn’t make a very good window. As I heard the words about letting the Lord shine through me, I thought of how I clean the windows of my patio door so that I can get a clear view of the countryside. Cut crystal would distort and obscure the view. Only a smooth pane of glass will do for that use.

Contemplating this thought, I thought of how we Christians are to be a window to the world to show them Jesus. I wondered if I had so decorated myself so that the lost can’t see Jesus through me. God, forgive me. What they need is a clear representation of the Lord to reflect the glory and power of our God.

The thing about window glass is that we don’t really notice it unless it is dirty. We are glad it is there in the wall to open up the view to us, but it is not what we see. We look through it. I don’t want to be a decoration in a museum. I want to be a window, clean and clear, that isn’t even noticed except to be an opening to see the Lord.

Elaine Littau

Saturday, September 14, 2013

We Take Care of Things that are Important to Us

This summer has been the summer of taking care of things. My husband and I have been working diligently on resurfacing decks, tables, chairs, and the bed of our flatbed trailer. We have repainted a lot of trim on our house too. The idea is to extend the life of everything so that replacements won't have to be made.

At the big box lumber store, the guy mixing the surface coating for our decks etc. told us that the product we were buying was guaranteed for the remaining life of the wood it is put on. Hmmmm. That is interesting. If the wood is rotten, there isn't much guarantee, but if we caught it in time, the guarantee is really good.

The bottom line is that we take care of the things that are costly to replace, sentimental, or otherwise important to us. Relationships are some of those things. Our three boys graduated high school in 1996,1997, and 2000. After they started college, they were never around here much. They are all married and have a family of their own to take care of.

Like I said before, this summer has been a summer of taking care of things. We arranged to spend a week in the beautiful mountains of Colorado with all of our sons and their families. We camped...tent camped...roughed it...(I am definitely looking into getting a camper for next time.)

We rebuilt relationships around the campfire and sightseeing. Some rough edges were knocked off of us and we remembered life together was not always idyllic. We did remember that close relationship with one another is worth it. Worth working through everything even if it is hard.

Our boys are worth it. Every prayer prayed asking God to remind them of His glory and every tear for the things that sometimes come up is worth it. I love those people. They are my people. I will take care of those relationships.

I have been on the Potter's wheel this summer. The Lord has shown me things in myself that need reshaping. I have been pounded and reformed into a closer relationship than ever with Jesus. I have realized that I have let some things go that should have been worked on. The closeness with God is definitely worth taking care of.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Lessons from the Fire


When I was thirty years old, I took china painting lessons. This little creamer is one of many items I produced while in class. Although I had painted many oils, watercolors, and acrylic landscapes; the technique for laying down china painting medium is totally different.

First, the paint is crushed glass with pigment and it has to by mixed with linseed oil. As you place your brush on the slick surface of the porcelain, if you put too much pressure on the brush, nothing happens. In order to lay color down, it takes a very light touch. To highlight or lighten areas, pressure is applied.

On the first lesson I learned to erase mistakes, wipe off with a finger or a little cloth. This was very different than the other mediums I had used. At the end of the class the teacher took our pieces to fire them. She told us that some of the image might disappear and some of the colors might change. It was difficult for me to release my labor into her hands and for it to be put in the fires.

The following week, the plate had been fired. Much of my labor was gone. Much of it barely showed up on the white porcelain. Other colors were brilliant. One thing was for certain. The piece was not finished.

The teacher demonstrated how to layer color into the background to make the foreground stand out and give definition to the petals. Still, at the end of class, I found it hard to release since I knew it would come out of the 3000+ degree fire changed. I remembered that it would be useless to think the painting I had done in class would stand the test of time without the fire. All the work would vanish the first time it was washed. So, I let it go into the fire several more times after laying on more depth of color.

The work of the fire was to melt the crushed glass into the porcelain and fuse the pigmented glass into the fabric of the porcelain. It had to be hot, very hot, to do this. The very last firing was to make the gold edging permanent. 

When I first saw the gold paint, I was very upset. It was ugly army green. I didn't want to put that on my now beautiful plate. That stuff didn't look like gold to me. Of course, I didn't want to disappoint my teacher, so I let it got into the fire once again. The kiln isn't fired up as hot for the gold application. If it is fired at the same temperature used before on the plate, it either  burns or disappears.
(This it the first plate.)

I almost cried when I saw that first plate. I couldn't believe I had made something so pretty. The gold was awesome. Even though it was a painstaking process, the end result was worth it.

Now for the lesson I learned with this. God uses crushed  glass (things of importance to us) to paint on us. Our life is the porcelain piece. Some of the beautiful things painted seem to vanish after each fiery trial, but he brings the loveliness to the forefront with a few more dark brushstrokes before we go through the fire again. In the end, we come forth with gold and are a vessel that can be used because the work that He has done in us is not temporary, but melted into our very spirit.

Do not despise the firing in God's kiln. It is to bring out beauty that could never be shared otherwise.

Elaine Littau, author

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Elaine Littau, Author: A Table for the Grandkids

Elaine Littau, Author: A Table for the Grandkids:   Today's picture of the day is because I miss my grandkids. (The oldest boys are teenagers, so I guess this isn't fair to them...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Elaine Littau, Author: Working Around the House

Elaine Littau, Author: Working Around the House:   This is my picture of the day. The hubs is scraping the old paint off the garage eve. He got home earlier than usual and finished thi...

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My Crown


My Crown

 

 

 



 

 

When I was a little girl the television show called “Queen for a Day” was big. Mama and I watched it every day. The contestants, if memory serves, told about their needs. The lady with the most pathetic story won the prize.

They gave her kitchen appliances and things like that. I couldn’t care less about those as a three or four year old. The object I focused on was THE CROWN! I didn’t even care that much about the robe they put on her. The crown was the big deal for me.

Mama and I also watched the Miss America pageant. (Daddy was usually at work and wouldn’t have wanted to watch anyway.) That crown was a prize I coveted, but I didn’t want to have to wear a swimsuit to get it. Besides, I knew that even though any of my sisters would have been pretty enough to win it, I wouldn’t measure up to their beauty.

I found myself longing for that crown. At that time I told Mama I wanted a “prown”. I really started out young with this desire. I must have talked about it non-stop. I wondered if I ever would obtain a crown of my own.

One day, an opportunity presented itself. A wonderful woman known to me as Sister Little came to our church and held a children’s crusade. At the front of the church, on the back of the platform, were two ornate chairs. Each chair bore a crown.

She informed us that one crown was for a boy and one was for a boy. The way to earn the crown was to memorize the Bible verses she gave to us. THIS WAS MY CHANCE!

Mama helped me all during the days of the crusade to learn a verse. I knew I had won the crown. On the last day each of us stood before Sister Little and said our verse. Most of the children my age crashed and burned.

Finally, it was my turn. I proudly said, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” She smiled and told me I did a great job. The next kid said, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning…”

Wait! I thought.  There is more? How did I not know this? The last child recited more than anyone. She won the crown! I was crestfallen. The second place child was given a princess crown.

When I got home I cried real tears. Jim, my brother who was in high school and was the only sibling still living at home, must have felt sorry for me. He went to the corner drug store and purchased the crown pictured above for me.

My eyes almost popped out of my head when I saw the beautiful prize. I couldn’t believe that this teenager, who considered me a pest, loved me enough to give me the desire of my heart. I never looked at him the same again.

I wore it almost every waking moment. When I was in fourth grade the teacher assigned me the part of Queen Isabella in the school play. I was ready with my crown. Mama sewed a red taffeta gown for me to wear to complete the look. I had finally become a real queen.

I learned that those who love the Lord will receive a crown when they get to heaven. Now, I KNEW that would be the ultimate crown. Through my growing up years I kept that prize in mind. Of course I wanted to be with Jesus and I thought the crown He would give to me would be so sweet to have.

It might have been silly, but this thought was in the back of my mind even when I was eighteen and going to Bible College. Our choir travelled and sang in many towns. We had several quartets and trios that also performed. One quartet sang a song that struck me between my eyes. They sang, “We’ll cast our crowns at His nailed scared feet. Our joy complete in His presence sweet. Eternity’s greatest privilege will be casting our crowns at His feet.”

Somehow I had never read the Scripture this referenced. The crown had been my goal in life. It may seem silly, but I am being honest. At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to give my crown to the Lord.

As I held tightly to this future crown, I thought of my Friend, my Savior, The One Who loves me. How could I hold on to something like that when all glory and honor and praise belong to Him?

If giving this prize to Him brings Him any representation of my gratitude to Him, I gladly lay it at His feet. I think of the words of a hymn we sang when I was young: “Oh I want to see Him, look upon His face. There to sing forever of His saving grace…” Even a perfect crown, created by Him, is not as precious as Jesus.

 

 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Digging Into the Past

Last year I stepped out of my comfort zone and began to write a "modern day" book. Six Miles from Nashville is set in the 1970s. When I told my sons I was writing something modern, they told me that 1970s was not MODERN. I beg to differ.

 Those were my Jr. High and High School years. The process of writing this book was more difficult than I could imagine. Stepping back into those years brought back a lot of memories I hadn't thought about in a long time. Most of the memories were great...and then...there were some I would rather forget. Lest you think the book is a autobiography of my life, I want to assure you it is NOT.

 The mood of the people of the time is from my perspective. I was and still am, a small town girl in the heartland of the USA. I wrote the book from that frame of mind. I love the area where I live and the people who are determined enough to live here. In those days, everyone didn't have internet or more than four television channels. We believed everything that was on the news and in the newspapers.

Styles and language didn't travel to our little town until it was old news in California and New York. I remember a time when two teens came to speak to our youth group. They were from California. My best friend and I tried to take notes on the really neat slang they were saying. We thought their expressions were the best thing since sliced bread. Today things are so different. People learn styles and all of that in real time. I think having the Wards and Sears catalogs did help a lot of us be sort of current.

  In my town, not everyone was a member of the YMCA and could play sports. (Now days, those who can't afford it are provided for.) My parents had enough money for me to be in the Y, but that wasn't a priority for them. I was not very coordinated, so it wasn't a priority for me either. I do know that not everyone who was on a team was allowed to play. Most of the high school football players were on the bench waiting of an opportunity to play if the stars needed a break. That was before the days where everyone received a trophy for just showing up. The trophy holders really did earn the trophy.

  Since I am ranting, I have difficulty understanding how the High School graduates these days have a grade point average well over 100%. Our top grads made from 90%to 99.99%. There were no honors classes or bonus points to be earned. About half or less of the graduates went to college. The rest managed to build a life without it. They entered the trades of carpentry, oil field work, plumbers, electricians, farming and a host of other blue collar work. Some of these people were honor grads.

  I was able to go to Bible College because the denomination I was a part of had a small Bible College in Kansas that accepted free will offerings as tuition. My dad was retired and we didn't have a lot of extra money for my education, so this was a good fit. I am very blessed that I went there because that is the place I met the love of my life. We were engaged while we attended there.

 Things were different back then. Christian morality was taken seriously. Christians didn't live together without marriage. We tried to dress modestly in the age of mini skirts and tight jeans. We weren't perfect, but we knew right from wrong. We took responsibility for our actions. Our parents taught us that if we made wrong decisions, they were our decisions and nobody's fault but our own. Sometimes I wish for those days, but I am so glad for my life now. I will dig into the past to write books, but I don't want to dwell thee.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

One Author's Journey Between Books

It is difficult to admit sometimes that when life gets busy, Bible study time is put on the shelf. It seems that for three weeks it has been a struggle to get back to consistency in this daily practice. I could use the excuse that I have been on vacation for two of those weeks and brought three grandchildren home with me, but two of them are teens and the youngest is soon to be eight. They are hardly what you would consider high maintenance.

One day this week I pulled out my Bible and my copy of Streams in the Desert and began another attempt to get back into the groove of daily devotions. Looking at the last page I read in the devotional reading book made me realize just how long it had been since I had carved out time for it. Mind you, there have been countless prayers going up during my lack of devotional time, but it just wasn't the same as listening to the words of the Lord. It was more like a one-sided conversation. (I really hate to do all the talking because I already know all my stuff and find that I am not that interesting.) I knew I NEEDED  to hear the voice of God.

My Bible reading was in I John. It was like a refreshing rain breaking a drought. My soul drank the Word and felt refreshed yet, I knew I was still parched deep down. It reminded me of going out to our pasture next to our dried up garden and seeing the inch wide cracks that have developed during the past few summers. I was watering the horse that day and decided to fill in that one crack with water. I stood there with the water hose going full blast for several minutes and the water never did get the gash in the ground full. I have to admit that it sort of scared me to think that our ground was that dry.

I know my soul is similar to that wounded patch of earth. I need a refilling of the Holy Spirit. I also know that God does not hold back when we ask. I opened the devotional book after reading the first and second chapter of I John. On the reading marked for June 9. The Scripture reading was Psalm 37:3 - "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture." In the words for this date, the writer expressed the thought of  "borrowing trouble". My daddy always told us not to "borrow trouble", so this was not a new thought.

The line, "I'll bear the sorrow that comes tomorrow, but I'll borrow none today." penetrated through the dryness of my spirit. I was reminded that I am not responsible for how things turn out for my children or grandchildren or any of the people I love. I had let worry of these things sap strength out of me. I know the words were penned back in the 1920s, but they were relevant to me on Monday of this week. It was as if the Holy Spirit was pouring water and oil into my thirsty, cracked heart. I was refreshed. Thank you, God for your mercy and tender-loving care!
Elaine Littau, author

Saturday, June 8, 2013

One Life Can Make a Difference

Last month a thirty four year old woman passed from this life to the next. She held an insignificant job, wasn't married, and had no children. Everyone in town knew her and she spoke to everyone she saw when she was out and about.

There were dozens of email messages about her to her grandma and grandpa, mother and dad, and sister. I read a lot of them. Most of them spoke of her friendliness and her devotion to worship of Jesus. The messages reflected her life accurately. I contemplated the reach she had.

The major thing I thought of was that she was uninhibited. She had Downs Syndrome. Because of this, she didn't grow up with the 'insecure' filter. When she saw people, she believe in her heart that they surely wanted to have a conversation with her. She remembered names and greeted each person by name. I found that even if I was busy, I could enjoy a quick exchange. She was conscious of time and schedules people keep. Her parents and grandparents did a really good job in this instruction.

She was a sweet worshipper and was able to express herself with abandon. Her arms were lifted and her face upturned. The smile of her face as she communed with God was that of an angel. As I thought of this, my heart broke a little. I am reminded of how 'people conscience' I am. I have observed friends who are able to open  up like a flower as songs and prayers are offered in our church services. I have been in their place many times, but allowed wounds to hold me back.

I have been in my new church for three years and still don't know every one's name. It is not a mega church. In fact, it is a small church. My resistance to opening up to people is self-protection. It is also based on an illness I struggled with for fifteen years. The Lord healed me. Praise to the Lord. Now, I have no excuse. The thoughts that go through my mind are things like, "They already have their friends. They don't need me. They are so much younger than me. They are in a different stage of life. They are busy. I am busy..." These are things my little friend never allowed to hold her back.

I am sure there were people who were rude to her, but she didn't let it change her love for them. It didn't change her actions and her expression of love. I learned a lot from her and am going to attempt to break out of the prison of my mind that says that it is better to be quiet and let things go. The prison of this kind is made of stronger stuff than iron bars, but with God's help, it can be done.
Elaine Littau, author

Saturday, June 1, 2013

One Author's Journey #10

This is the tenth post I have written about my writing journey. At this time I am writing and assembling thoughts and facts for book ten. The title is Christmas in Nashville. It is Book II in The Nashville Series. I began this book by going through magazines and clipping out pictures of people. I chose children, men, women, and teens to glue into the thick blue journal I use for the contemporary fiction books I have begun to write. I sort the photos into "families" and "couples". Then, I write characteristics about them and a sketch of their story line.

The next thing I did for this series is to research facts about the Vietnam War. I read a book and several articles on it. This helped me write a timeline for events in the books for this series. To say the least, I have learned so much from this process. It made it easier to plot the book.

This book has been churning in my mind off and on for months, but it has been he most difficult for e to put words to. I have chalked it up to fatigue. Because of this, I have stepped back for a little bit to allow the story to develop more organically. I have facts in place, but it needs heart.

Another book is partially written and was actually going to fit as an independent book between Walk Slowly Through the Dark and Christmas in Nashville, but readers were anxious to get the next installment of the Nashville Series, so I opted to allow myself plenty of time to write Christmas in Nashville this summer.

Sometimes I feel like one of those performers in a circus act whose job it is to keep a bunch of plates spinning. I have had this feeling even as a mother of young children. Now, the 'children' are the books I have been blessed to write. It actually is a delicate balance of writing, re-writing, marketing, and relationship with other authors as well as readers. The last plate that gets ignored until it is ready to topple is the 'recharge plate'. This summer, I am plugging in to The Power Source more than ever. God is the reason for everything in my life. I know this summer will be an important step in the next step of my journey as an author.
Elaine Littau, author












Today's Wild Card author is:





and the book:



100 Ways to Simplify Your Life

Publisher: FaithWords; Lrg edition (November 12, 2008)



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




JOYCE MEYER is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has written more than seventy inspirational books, including The Confident Woman, Look Great, Feel Great, and the entire Battlefield of the Mindfamily of books. She has also released thousands of audio teachings as well as a complete video library. Joyce's Enjoying Everyday Life® radio and television programs are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences. Joyce and her husband, Dave, are the parents of four grown children and make their home in St. Louis, Missouri.



Visit the author's website.



Product Details:



List Price: $16.99

Paperback: 240 pages

Publisher: FaithWords; Lrg edition (November 12, 2008)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0446509396

ISBN-13: 978-0446509398



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:





Introduction



Everyone has them: those days where nothing seems to get done, except maybe what you’ve added to your already lengthy to-do list. Are you tired most of the time? Are you spent? Do you find yourself wish- ing for a better day—a simpler day? Too many things compete for your limited resources of attention, energy, and time. You may be suffocat- ing and not even know it. If you feel like this, you’re not alone.



Most people today live complicated lives that leave them frustrated and confused, weary and worn out. But I have good news: your life does not have to be that way. You can choose a life of simplicity, fruitfulness, fulfillment, peace, and joy. I want to warn you, however, unless you are determined not to, you will do what everyone else does. You will get sucked up in the system and spend your life wishing things were different, never realizing you are, in fact, the only one who can change things. Unless we are resolute and remain undaunted in our quest for simplicity, we are destined for complication and frustration.



I recall a time when I was complaining to God about my schedule being absolutely insane. How could anyone be expected to do all I had in front of me? Then the realization hit me that I was the one who made my schedule and nobody could change it but me. You can spend your lives wishing things were different, but wishing won’t change anything. Smart decision making and decisive action is what changes things. If you picked up this book looking for change, are you willing to make a decision and follow it up with action?



I wasted many years hoping life would change and things would calm down until I finally realized life itself doesn’t change; in fact, it has the potential to get worse. I understood my only real option was to change my approach to life. I had to say no to another day of rushing around and feeling frustrated. I didn’t want the doctor giving me another pre- scription to mask another symptom of the real problem—stress.



In my search for simplicity, I have come to believe life can never be simple unless I learn to approach all things simply. It is my attitude toward each event in life that determines how easy or complex each situation will be. Perhaps life is complicated because people are compli- cated. Is it possible that life is not complicated, but rather, individuals complicate life in the way they approach it?



I discovered it wasn’t really life or circumstances or other people as much as it was me that needed to change. My problem wasn’t the problem—I was the problem! When you spend your life in frustration trying to change the world and everyone in it, you fail to realize it could be you just need to change your approach to life. It can be very easy for someone to live an entire lifetime and never entertain the notion that the way they do things is the real problem.



Have you ever attempted to have friends over for what you initially intended to be a simple afternoon of food, fellowship, and fun, but somehow, it turned into a complicated nightmare? I remember those days vividly. I’d be at church on Sunday and, without much forethought, invite three couples over for the following Sunday to a barbecue. My initial thought was hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, baked beans, potato chips, and iced tea. My motive was fellowship and fun, but by the time the guests arrived, I didn’t even want them there. Fun was not going to happen, at least not for me. Why? I turned my simple get- together into a nightmare of preparation, expensive food, and fourteen people instead of the original six. My complicated approach to life and my complicated thought process convinced me hot dogs and hamburg- ers weren’t nice enough so I bought steaks we could not afford. My potato chips turned into a huge bowl of homemade potato salad. The simple baked beans became four side dishes I labored over.



Insecure and wanting to impress everyone, I had to spend the week cleaning and getting everything in the house to the point where I thought it would be impressive. Of course, the lawn chairs were old, so I bought new ones. I got angry at Dave because I thought he wasn’t help- ing me enough, and by the time our friends arrived, I resented them, wished they hadn’t come, and had a miserable day of pretending to be the happy hostess when in reality I was frustrated and miserable.



I could not figure out why I wasn’t able to enjoy much of anything in life until God revealed to me I was killing my joy with complication. For years, I prayed God would change the people and circumstances around me when, in reality, He wanted to change me and my approach to life. He wanted me to simplify so, ultimately, He could be glorified.



Let me share with you 100 ways to approach living that can simplify your life and, in turn, release and increase your joy. I believe they will dramatically improve the quality of your everyday experience if you incorporate them into the way you do things. Jesus said He came so we might have and enjoy our life in abundance (see John 10:10). His prin- ciples are simple. Faith is simple! Trusting God is simple! A childlike approach to Him is simple! The plan of salvation is simple!



Jesus offers us a “new way of living,” and I believe it is a simple, yet powerful way that enables us to enjoy everyday life. Are you ready to simplify your life? Are you ready to say good-bye to the complexities you’ve allowed to take over? Let’s get started.





Do One Thing at a Time



The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is, on the contrary, born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything elseówe are the busiest people in the world.



ÓERIC HOFFER






Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection].



—Hebrews 12:2




When we do things without truly focusing our minds on them, we immediately decrease our strength to do the work before us and do it well. By putting our hands to one thing and our mind to another, we divide the muscle behind our abilities and we make the task much more difficult. It’s like removing an egg yolk from the egg white—both can be used separately but the result isn’t as effective (or tasty) as it would be if we leave the egg whole. However, by directing all of our faculties to the one thing we are doing on a particular day, at that hour, at that moment, we find it much easier to do. The ability to concentrate and stay focused can only come from discipline.



The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6 to be anxious for nothing. Anxious people are always trying to live ahead of where they currently are. They spend today trying to figure out tomorrow and the result is the loss of simplicity. God expects us to trust Him with tomorrow just as He instructed the Israelites to do when they crossed the barren wil- derness, pressing toward the Promised Land.



Practice living one day at a time; give yourself—your thoughts, your conversation, your energies, every part of you—to the day at hand.





100 Ways to Simplify Your Life



1. Develop an ability to give yourself to what you are doing. You will sense an awareness enabling you to enjoy the current activity, instead of going through each day in a blur of activity and confusing thoughts which leave you drained and exhausted.



Do you fear you will not accomplish as much if you try to live this way? It’s true you may not do as much, but you will also enjoy what you do a whole lot more. One key to simplicity is realizing that quality is far superior to quantity.



The Blog Tour for "Nan's Journey" Begins July 23



It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!





Today's Wild Card author is:


and his/her book:


Nan's Journey

Tate Publishing & Enterprises (January 2, 2008)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Littau is a life-long resident of Perryton, TX. She met husband, Terry at the Apostolic Faith Bible College in Baxter Springs, Kansas in 1974. They married March 1, 1975 and reside on a small acreage near Perryton where they enjoy spending time with their family and friends. They raised three sons and now have three daughters-in-law and four grandchildren added to their family. They also enjoy visiting with their extended family located in Perryton, Clear Lake, Laverne, and Amarillo.

Author Elaine Littau is a busy woman who by profession is the church secretary for Harvest Time First Assembly of God Church in Perryton. Among other things she has led women’s groups and taught preschool, and was a mentor for the M.O.P.S. (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in her community. She has been active in Toastmasters and enjoys painting, crafts, and playing piano and organ. She was recently appointed to the Campus Education Improvement Committee for Wright Elementary in Perryton. She belongs to Christian Storytellers and Faith Writers writing groups.

“Nan’s Journey” was written over the course of several years. “A salvation message is at the core of the book.” Littau says. “If it weren’t for the Lord, I wouldn’t have been able to do this. I truly enjoy meeting new people.”

Littau is currently working on two other books that are continuations of “Nan’s Journey.” Book signings and speaking engagements are currently set up for venues in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Oregon.


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: Tate Publishing & Enterprises (January 2, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602478325
ISBN-13: 978-1602478329

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Chapter One

It was late. The moon had risen and the night symphony was in full force. Crickets chirped at their rivals, the frogs, and dominated the night chorus. Only one sound in the forest was foreign—a whimper from under the ferns. At the base of the largest pine in the woods was a small form crying, moaning, and whimpering. Black hair, matted and dirty, hung in long ropes down the front of the tiny girl. She had been in this spot for hours. At least that is what it felt like to her. Stretching, she cried out in pain. The blood-covered welts burst open to bleed again. Her back was wet with blood, and her dress was torn and useless.

Why had she dared to speak to the woman that she was obliged to call mother in that way? She knew that talking was not allowed from children before chores were finished. The accusations being made by “Ma” were totally false and she could not let Elmer take the blame for something she herself had forgotten to do. She shut her eyes tight against the memory, but it intruded anyway.


She had just gotten up to take the water off the stove to make up dishwater for the supper dishes. Ma had stepped outside the room to turn down her bed and prepare for sleep. When she reappeared in the kitchen, she realized that the wood supply next to the stove was low. Elmer was standing next to the table gathering the plates for washing. “Elmer, where is the wood you were supposed to bring up to the house?” Before he could answer, a hand had slapped him across his face. Getting back onto his feet and standing as tall as a five year old can stand, he looked her in the eye and said, “Ma, I was sick today, ‘member?”

“So, Elmer, you’re going to play up that headache trick again. Nan, didn’t your good for nothing Mama teach you people how to work, or are you just lazy?”

“Our Mama was good! Don’t you say mean things about her!” Nan yelled as her heart raced at the assault against her real Mama’s character.

“What about it, Elmer, are you like your weakling Mama or what?” Elmer’s eyes became very large and filled with tears. He could barely remember his real Mama, but when he did, he remembered soft kisses and sweet singing and a beautiful face. “I’m sorry; I’ll get the wood now.”

“No, Elmer, don’t. I promised you I’d do it today when your head was hurting, but I forgot. I’ll get it after I do these dishes.”

“Listen here, Nan, I’m the boss around here and Elmer will do what I say, when I say, and you will respect me.”

Nan’s eyes widened.

“Don’t look at me like that, little girl.”

Nan held her breath.

“Well, I guess you will be making a trip to the wood shed…with me!” Ma had grabbed her by the arm and jerked her along behind the shed. The strap was hanging there, waiting. Whippings were becoming more and more frequent. After Ma’s husband left, they had taken on a more cruel form. The last whipping was more like a beating. It took days for the marks to scab over and heal. Little Elmer had come in that night and brought some horse medicine from the barn and applied it to the oozing marks.

The next afternoon when the schoolteacher came over, Ma had already formulated a story. “Mrs. Dewey, we missed Nan and Elmer today at school. Are they sick?” Ma lied the first time in her life and said, “Well Miss Sergeant, since Mr. Dewey is going to be gone for another four weeks, I need more help around here to get things done. I’m holding the kids out until he gets back.” Week after week went by, and Mr. Dewey still hadn’t come home. Everyday Ma grew more and more angry. It became more and more impossible to please her. When she began hitting Elmer, it was too much. Nan had to do something— right or wrong; things couldn’t stay the way they were.

The coolness of the earth had settled into Nan’s bones. She stood silently for a minute and carefully crept up to the farmhouse. As she opened the door, she saw that Elmer was in the pallet at the foot of the stove next to her bedroll. Ma was asleep in her room. The door held open with a rock. Slowly she began peeling off the dress and the dried blood stuck to it. She reached for the old shirt she normally wore over her wounds and under her dress. She had washed it today. It had bloodstains on it, but it would keep her from ruining another dress. She retrieved the old work dress that she wore when chores were messier than usual; it was the only one left. She put it on swiftly and shook Elmer awake with her hand over his mouth. “Baby, we must leave. Do you understand? Stay quiet and I will get some stuff to take with us.”


She found large old handkerchief and began looking for food supplies. There was one sourdough biscuit and about a cup of cold brown beans. She located her tin cup and another rag. She would probably need that. Three matches were in the cup on the stove. She would just take two. Suddenly she heard a sound from Ma’s room. A scampering sound… just a rat. Ma turned over. Her breathing became deep and regular. For once Nan wished that Ma snored. She tied the handkerchief in a knot over the meager food supplies, grabbed their bedrolls, and slowly opened the door.

“Come on, Elmer. Can you carry this food? I’ll get your bedding. That’s a good boy. We must hurry!”



The cold air bit at their faces, but they walked bravely on.

“Elmer, we must go tonight so we can get as far away as we can before Ma wakes up and sees that we are gone.”

For the next half hour the pair walked in silence through the familiar woods past the graves on the hill. In one, a mother dearly loved, in another, an infant who had died the same day as his mother, and the third, a father that only Nan had memory of. Elmer was only two years old when Pa died in the logging accident. Nan snapped out of her reverie and urged Elmer on. Molasses, Pa’s good old workhorse, stood in the pasture. He skidded the logs Pa cut with his axe. His legs hadn’t healed quite right, but Mama hadn’t let Mr. Dewey kill him because he was all she had left of the husband of her youth. Molasses was a faithful friend to Nan and Elmer. He stood there and waited for them to mount him.

“Molasses, take us to…” Nan realized then that they had nowhere to go. Mrs. Dewey had said that they were ungrateful little imps who didn’t realize she and Mr. Dewey were taking care of them out of kindness, and they could easily be put into an orphanage. Nan didn’t know anything about orphanages except what Mrs. Dewey…uh, Ma had told her. “Molasses, just take us out of here.”

Cruise Blunder

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Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Westminster CO
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Mardel Bookstore in Littleton, CO

Mardel Bookstore in Littleton, CO
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Elk's Resolve Proof is Here