Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Passion, Purpose, and Persistence

 Passion, Purpose, and Persistence

 An Excursion on the Ohio Literary Trail: The Harriet Beecher Stowe House


This year, our chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) made a decision to visit some of the sites listed on the Ohio Literary Trail. Yes. It is a real thing. There are seventy sites identified in Ohio marking contributions to literature including homes of some of America’s most honored and beloved authors. A few writing festivals are on the tour as well.


Ohio has been home to many authors. Remember Erma Bombeck? James Thurber? Toni Morrison? Robert McClosky? Rebecca Waters (Oops, sorry about that. It’s late. I’m dreaming as I write.)


The latest excursion took place in my neck of the woods. Six of us met for lunch then headed to the Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Cincinnati. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Stowe authored numerous books, plays, and articles. She penned poems and lyrics to hymns. I knew all of that. Hey, I read Uncle Tom’s Cabin in school. 


I wasn’t looking to learn more about her publications. I wanted to know more about Harriet Beecher Stowe, the woman and the writer. 


I knew from a preliminary search on the internet that after graduating from the Hartford Female Seminary in Connecticut, the unmarried Harriet Beecher moved to Cincinnati and lived with her father, stepmother, and siblings when her father was named president of the Lane Theological Seminary. As such, she was privy to the famous Lane Debates on slavery. Harriet’s experiences in Cincinnati proved to be powerful in shaping her course in life.


Harriet Beecher Stowe started honing her craft while living in Cincinnati. 


She was part of a writing/literary group called the Semi-Colon Club. Being a part of a writing group is powerful. Writers gather to share ideas, critique each other’s work, brainstorm, edit, problem solve, and applaud each other. The Semi-Colon club members included Salmon P. Chase who would later become the Chief Justice of the United States, James Hall who became the editor of the Western Monthly Magazine, novelist Caroline Lee Hentz, and Daniel Drake who founded the first medical school in Cincinnati. There were of course others, but I find the mix of men and women for that era to be interesting and the caliber of people in the group is amazing. 

Calvin and Eliza Stowe were also members of that group. Eliza and Harriet became great friends. A little over a year after Eliza succumbed to cholera, Calvin and Harriet married.

In the parlor of the house we visited in Cincinnati, Harriet Beecher became Harriet Beecher Stowe.

The Stowe's had seven children together. SEVEN. I don't know about you, but I think continuing to write articles and editorials as well as books, plays, and short stories is a fairly great accomplishment for a woman with even one or two children. And she didn't have a computer. Go figure.

So what did I learn?

Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote because she was passionate about what she believed and had something to say. She learned early on the power of the printed word. And...she never gave up.


Funny, but as it turns out, its what we all need to succeed as authors. 

We posed for a pic with a
Life-Sized cutout of
Harriet Beecher Stowe.
And yes, she was a mere 4'11" tall. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Family Time at the Ocean

My Girls...

Allison made us shirts
to commemorate our trip.

Last week I attempted to craft a blog on a life lesson I learned from the ocean. It wasn’t all that deep…if you’ll pardon the pun…but you are welcome to check it out HERE if you missed it.


Although I’m a writer, I cannot fully express what that time with my daughters meant to me on a personal level. My heart is full.


We returned from our week at the beach on Saturday. Usually, after a family vacation I am in need of another one. I can remember coming home exhausted from the long drive and needing to immediately jump back into a routine. After doing laundry and going to the grocery, that is.


This trip was different. We played games in the condo and rode the waves in the ocean. We walked along the shore to a restaurant for lunch by the ocean. We laughed until we cried. I don’t remember turning on the television even once. 


We fell into a rhythm as comforting as the steady sound of the waves out our door.


These weren’t “my little girls.” These were women I love and respect. These were adults with opinions and ideas with a great sense of fun and humor. These were people I can enjoy as friends and equals. 


I know the girls texted their husbands during the week. They likely talked with their children. They are good wives and mothers. But those moments didn’t consume our time. In part it’s because my girls chose incredible men to wed. They are good husbands and fathers. They value their wives and recognized how important this week was for us.


This wasn’t a week of trying to recreate memories. It was a week to make new ones. 


This was a week to appreciate each other. It was a week to celebrate the individual gifts each woman brought to the table. 


God blessed me with three daughters who grew up to be three of my favorite women in the world. As I said…my heart is full.


Thank you Allison, Danielle, and Kendall for sharing this time with me. Thank you David, Tim, and Scott for making it possible.

Photo Album:




Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Girls' Week 2022

Girls' Week 2022

For years I have longed to have all three of my daughters to myself for a week at the beach. Girls’ Week 2022 emerged from that desire. The girls arranged their schedules and their husbands worked with them to make it happen. I love all of them for indulging me this way.


This week we’ve laughed and played in the ocean. We’ve shared memories and food and played games. We’ve taken long walks by the water. I took pictures but the real treasures are those indescribable moments of shared history and deep affection for family. 


While walking in the sand in front of our condo, I watched a little one put her toes in the water’s edge. Two little boys were out trying to ride the waves in to shore. They were knocked down several times but managed a few successful rides. It was enough to keep them going.


First steps into the ocean are a bit daunting. The water is cold. So different from our  “normal.” The sandy bottom shifts with the rise and fall of waves. With each spray of water you can feel the adrenalin surge through you.


My daughters and I decided it’s a bit like life. Most often we don’t know what is just beneath the surface and all too frequently events in our lives crash over us, throwing us a bit off balance. But we keep getting up and trying again. 


That's resilience. That's determination. That's success.


Success isn’t guaranteed by controlling the waves of life, it is determined by how we adjust to them. We realign and recalibrate our plans. We can try to tackle challenges alone, but  “Life is better done together.” I love my family.

My  Girls...

Left to Right
Youngest to Oldest
Kendall, Danielle, Allison




Tuesday, July 5, 2022

It's Not a Dog's Life

 It’s NOT a Dog’s Life


I looked up the meaning of “It’s a dog’s life.” What I found surprised me. 





Unhappy or miserable?


I always thought our pets had a great life. In my mind, they had it made. We loved them, fed them, cared for them, entertained them (though not as much as they entertained us) and did our best to make them happy.


This week I have spent a lot of time with my “grandogger,” Kiwi. Her life isn’t difficult. Oh, sure, she sleeps in a cage, but she feels secure there. She has great food and lots of love. She has a big yard to explore. And toys. The dog has a ton of toys. That's okay. She enjoys them all.


Kiwi is like a baby who loves to be cuddled. A toddler who needs attention. A child desperately wanting to do grown-up stuff, but is not quite ready. 


Kiwi was a shelter dog. She’s is a great companion to my granddaughters. While they are vacationing, she is now a great companion for me.


Max Lightening the Wonder Dog, Max for short, was the best dog I ever knew. He cared for us. I was convinced he could read our minds. He was obedient and loving and smart. He was part of our family. 


After spending a bit of time with Kiwi, I’m ready to dub her Kiwi the Wonder Dog. She’s still finding her way, but a dog who is loved is a dog who will be a lifetime friend.


Do you have a dog story? Please share!