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Autumn Joy and Renewal

Autumn Joy and Renewal
I will say that Autumn is my favorite season. While so many grieve the goodbyes to summer, I find myself coming alive with renewed joy.

Why?

I've wondered this many times before. Certainly, the fact that I am a snow bird has something to do with it. The cool weather, the autumn foliage, the goofy play time when you don't turn into a sweatbox, etc.

But this year is different. It's my second fall without my mom. I kidnapped my daddy and took him with me and my two kiddos to the apple orchard the other day, and I don't know how many times my internal self reflected on Mom and how much she would have loved to join us. I could hear echoes of her laughter in the breeze and in my memories. 

I found joy there. Most people know my books tend to circle around the concept of death and hauntings and murder and ghouls--it's not for everyone, I get that. I also love to provide human explanations for those hauntings too, just in case anyone is concerned I've gone too far ;) . But there is joy in death. There really, really is.

Autumn Joy and RenewalWhen Momma found out she had a short while left here with us, she was centered on building anticipation for where she was moving to. The joy and the hope of her faith was so real, and eternity became far less abstract and far closer.

With faith in Jesus, there is so much hope. Death stings in the sense of sorrow and the missing, but it has definitely lost its sting because it is only for a period of time. This is why I write about death. Because my hope--my passion--is that readers will discover the grace of Christ and with that, death will become a passage across the finish life of this chapter and into the next. Death will not be a morbid, frightening, or horrifically traumatic loss, but a peaceful passage and a comforting move into a whole new chapter of life!

Death is not the end of life. It is not a loss of something, it is a transition of someone. This is what the grace of Jesus does. This is the hope we can embrace today!

So leap with me in autumn joy and renewal! Blow kisses toward your loved ones in Heaven--I do firmly believe the Lord passes them along on our behalf. And sing for the wonder that is forever and the reunion that is coming!

___________________________

 
Autumn Joy and Renewal
Jaime Jo Wright is the author of nine novels, including Christy Award winner The House on Foster Hill and Christy Award Finalist Echoes Among the StonesShe's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas.

Jaime lives in Wisconsin with her cat named Foo, beta fish named Calico Jack, and her other three felines: Jupiter, Maddie, & Moses. 
She's been married over 20 years to her husband, Cap'n Hook who pirated away with her heart and has held it hostage with some ferocity. Homeschooling keeps her pretending to be smart, and her fierce daughter CoCo is a whiz in the kitchen, while her son, fondly called Peter Pan, is pretty much an all around mama's boy (she'll keep it that way as long as she can). 

Along with her writing, Jaime also manages MadLit Mentoring & Assist which offers mentorships workshops and quarterly group mentoring to aspiring and established authors, as well provides assistant services to established authors who don't share Jaime's love of all things social media and marketing. You can find out more about Jaime at jaimewrightbooks.com or madlitmentoring.com 

Mending Grief in a Relationship When Closure is Impossible

 by Cindy Woodsmall


Many of us, perhaps most, have had a painful relationship with someone we loved with our whole heart. I have. It’s a heartrending torture and the start of a long, hard journey.

Part of mending grief in a relationship that is void of closure takes coming to a place of accepting our human selves and the things that wound us. There are lists of hurts that can plague us: rejection, lies against us, active addiction, betrayal, misinterpretation of our intent, misunderstandings, estrangement. Bottom line: hurtful behaviors can cause more grief than we know how to cope with.    

Mending Grief in a Relationship When Closure is Impossible

Some of our pain from these situations makes perfect sense, while some of it defies logic, but we must listen to our grief and respond to ourselves with tenderness and respect. Whether we’re in a relationship with deep wounds but no closure or a relationship that is broken with no contact, we can actively seek healing and peace in our minds and hearts. Here are some ways to do that:

1. Accept the relationship for what it is. It’ll never be the romanticized version we longed for. Whether the person is a spouse, parent, sibling, child, other relative, or friend, we must stop thinking in terms of idyllic relationships and come to a place of accepting that it is what it is, and no amount of emotional desperation or daydreaming otherwise is going to change it.

2. Take care of you. If someone is asking you to meet their needs but doing so means you’re not listening to or taking care of yourself, kindly but firmly refuse. Don’t agree to things to make the other person feel better while ignoring what you need. If they are broken over their own actions, you’ll be tempted to try to fix it. Be as kind as possible at all times but give yourself space to sort and process. You’re getting to know a new them and a new you, neither of which you ever wanted to see or become. Don’t rush yourself.

3. Set realistic, honest expectations. Once we move beyond idyllic thinking, we need to aim for obtainable goals. We can have a relationship with a difficult person, with someone who’s disappointed us, and with a person who has broken our hearts. But we have to adjust our expectations, both of ourselves and them. No matter how much we love someone, they can’t give what they don’t have. Ponder the old saying: Can’t squeeze blood from a turnip (or stone). Another thought to keep in mind is a paraphrase of a Maya Angelou saying—beware of a shirtless man assuring you he can give you a shirt.  

4. Be forgiving. My definition of forgiveness is choosing to let go and choosing to not verbally beat up a person for a wrong done. We know our own faults on this planet are plenteous. Letting go of anger and grudges can be freeing. If we look through the eyes of faith, it helps us to let go of the constant reminder of damage done.   

5. Know what forgiveness isn’t. It isn’t trusting a person who has hurt you anew. Trust is built. With self-care and wisdom at work, we can be in a relationship with damaged trust. We know what’s going on, and we’re taking care of ourselves. We’re learning to trust ourselves and the journey.    

6. Have and hold boundaries. This is similar to “take care of you,” but a specific way of doing so. Sometimes I find holding boundaries difficult. I just want to make everything okay for everyone. But letting someone cross or move my boundaries, the ones where I’m looking after and taking care of me, does neither of us any good in the long run. 


In Yesterday’s Gone, our main character is a young Amish woman named Eliza, and she has experienced overwhelming grief, though for a very different reason than any I’ve listed above. She longs to return to an earlier time and change one decision she made. Because she’s from a lineage of women who crossed the ocean in the 1700s, praying while sewing on a quilt . . . and because their faith was woven into the quilt Eliza now holds, she is granted her prayer.

Will changing one decision heal her heartbreak and free her husband from their shared pain, or will Eliza find that her marriage’s worth to her Amish community was immeasurable?



ABOUT CINDY

Mending Grief in a Relationship When Closure is Impossible
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA bestselling author of twenty-five works of fiction and one nonfiction book. Coverage of Cindy's writing has been featured on ABC's Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal. She lives in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains with her husband, just a short distance from two of her three sons and her six grandchildren.






ABOUT ERIN


Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of four. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. More recently she and Cindy have coauthored five books, one of which was a winner of the prestigious Christy Award.



ABOUT YESTERDAY'S GONE

Mending Grief in a Relationship When Closure is Impossible

Eliza holds a secret that can rewrite the past.

Eliza Bontrager and Jesse Ebersol have fallen in love and are determined to marry, despite the belief of their Amish community and respective families that there’s a hidden curse—one that only shows up when an Ebersol and Bontrager marry.

Before the ceremony on the day of the wedding, Eliza’s great-aunt Rose gives her a family heirloom quilt and tells her that she may use it to change one event in the past. Eliza appreciates the woman’s heart, but she dismisses the strange conversation while keeping the beautiful quilt.

Several years later, mourning the loss of their third child, Eliza discovers her inability to deliver a healthy baby is genetic. Remembering her great-aunt’s strange words, she decides that if she can go back in time and reject Jesse’s proposal, she can save him the heartache of a childless marriage. Her sacrifice will allow him to marry someone else and raise a family. But once she puts her plan into action, she discovers the true impact of her decision—on Jesse and so many others within their community.

For fans of Amish fiction and the beloved classic It’s a Wonderful Life comes a gripping story about faith, family, and starting over from New York Times bestselling author Cindy Woodsmall.
  • Full-length Amish fiction
  • Stand-alone novel
  • Book length: approximately 104,000 words
  • Includes discussion questions for book clubs


GIVEAWAY


Today's the official release day of Yesterday's Gone. Let's celebrate with Cindy and Erin.  Please leave a comment for Cindy and Erin for a chance to win a copy of Yesterday's Gone.


*Giveaway courtesy of Tyndale House Publishers and is subject to giveaway terms and conditions of Seekerville and Tyndale House Publishers. US Mailing addresses only.





Hidden Treasures

 Do you ever find hidden treasures? I love it when that happens. 

The other day, my dad and I were sifting through some of the treasures my Momma left behind. We uncovered old family photos we didn't know she had, Bible verses on post-it notes, and then I uncovered the award-winning first stories by Jaime Jo Wright. 😂😂

Hidden Treasures

Apparently, back when I was six, I decided it was time to start developing my writing skills. I'm sure this will be something worth publishing. I'll be submitting it to my editor later this week. 

Okay, fine. Not really. But I did find it curious that Mom saved these. What makes a mother save things that seem insignificant? There was no way possible, when I was in 1st grade, that Mom knew I'd grow up to not only want to write stories, try to write stories, but actually publish stories. Still, something about these two pieces of paper must have tickled her funny bone or touched her heart in a way that made her tuck them away.

Years later--forty, to be exact--these stories were rediscovered after she moved to Heaven. What it tells me, is not really that I'd grow up to be an author who won an award that sits on a shelf now. What it tells me is that my being an author meant nothing to my mom. What meant something, was me. My attempts at poor writing. My mind and my heart. She cherished me. Treasured me. Enough to spirit away these small remnants as something precious.

It's a gift she left behind just for me. When I frame them--and I will--it's not because I want to read my 6 year old attempts at story. It is because it's a treasure of love, a testament to her mother's heart, and a true message of a mother who is a cheerleader. Even now. Cheering me on with the rest of the great cloud of witnesses.

What treasures have you found after a loved one has moved on?

Hidden Treasures


My Momma 💓💓💓
Hidden Treasures

_____________________________________________________

Hidden Treasures

Jaime Jo Wright
 is the author of nine novels, including Christy Award winner The House on Foster Hill and Christy Award Finalist Echoes Among the Stones
She's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of two novellas.

Jaime lives in Wisconsin with her cat named Foo, beta fish named Calico Jack, and her other three felines: Jupiter, Maddie, & Moses. 
She's been married over 20 years to her husband, Cap'n Hook who pirated away with her heart and has held it hostage with some ferocity. Homeschooling keeps her pretending to be smart, and her fierce daughter CoCo is a whiz in the kitchen, while her son, fondly called Peter Pan, is pretty much an all around mama's boy (she'll keep it that way as long as she can). 

Along with her writing, Jaime also manages MadLit Mentoring & Assist which offers mentorships workshops and quarterly group mentoring to aspiring and established authors, as well provides assistant services to established authors who don't share Jaime's love of all things social media and marketing. You can find out more about Jaime at jaimewrightbooks.com or madlitmentoring.com 

Autumn Joy and RenewalHidden Treasures

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