Posts by Janet

A FULL QUIVER

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in Blog, Commentary, Family | 6 comments

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children 
born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” 

Psalm 127:3-5

 The Family

Last fall my oldest son, Jeff, and his wife, Jill, announced that their prayers for another baby had been answered— but not just one baby. Four!

 

Their quadruplets, three boys and a girl, were born mid-February and are all

Jill & Tiny Guy

          Jill & Tiny Guy

growing and thriving. All but the smallest one is home. The tiny guy will be
having some needed surgery but is expected to do well. We all thank God for these newest little ones and for the huge team of doctors, nurses, and staff that assisted in the birth and in their care at the NICU for several weeks. We also appreciate the care the smallest one is getting at Boston Children’s Hospital as he awaits surgery.

Wrapping one’s head around four premature newborns joining a family with two active children four and under is daunting.  Since the family lives over six hundred miles away, my visits to help are limited.  Jill’s mother has been a life-saver, traveling there from the mid-west several times to help. I just returned from my second visit to their home.  Generous people from their church and my son’s workplace have contributed meals non-stop. They have been blessed to find a wonderful helper/sitter who is equally adept at handling babies, a toddler, and a pre-schooler— and she’s a trained nurse. Other friends have also volunteered to assist.

 

Babies in boppy pillows

                 Babies in boppy pillows

Having children one at a time is life changing. Adding four at once is mind-blowing. The walls of their home are lined with bins of clothes of varying sizes, diapers, wet wipes, bottles. Other accoutrements are car seats for infants and some for children, boppy pillows, sleeping slings, strollers, cribs, high chairs— you get the picture. It’s everything times four. There are also two changing tables and rocking chairs.

Prayer ~ When she learned that they were expecting quads, Jill began a prayer support group that she kept updated with information as her pregnancy progressed. I did also. This prayer group has been such an encouragement and faithful in storming heaven for the family and especially these new babies.

Feedings are challenging ~Jill furnished pumped breast-milk to the hospital while the babies were there and still provides a supply for the little guy. She pumps five times a day. Each evening Jeff and I prepared the 18 bottles needed for three babies every day, each child has different amounts.  Jeff, the math whiz, calculates and adds just the right amount of dry formula to create “fortified breast milk” and the totals needed for each baby.  My job was to have the 18 bottles and all the four inserts cleaned and ready to go. We color coded the tops for each specific baby to keep it straight. The person feeding records how much each baby takes in at every feeding—also what they put out, but we won’t go there.  When the youngest comes home the numbers of bottles go up. I helped with changings and feedings as did Jeff when he was available. Jill, bless her heart, fed all three babies at the 3am feeding with the aid of three boppy pillows. She’s one tired mamma.

Jaff & the new Ford Transit

                 Jeff and the family chariot

Transportation ~ The kiddos have 2 double strollers to accommodate their infant car-seats. They also have a quad stroller for when they can sit up. With a four-year old and a two-year old who require car-seats and now four more little ones, it takes more than your average SUV or mini-van to transport everyone. So now they have added a Ford Transit 350 XLT to their driveway. It has room for all six car-seats with space to spare.    

Outside Help ~ Jeff and Jill were not the first couple to welcome quads. Hence, there are strollers and all sorts of devices designed to assist parents of multiples. Jill is part of an internet support group of quad moms that share important information like specific health concerns pertaining to preemies and multiples, as well as how to deal with a multitude of other issues. There is even a quad support group for dads. Friends of theirs have not only helped with meals, but with transporting their preschooler, arranging play-dates, and donating clothing and equipment.   

Siblings ~ The toddler and two-year-old have been so sweet welcoming their little siblings. And remarkably, for young children, they are adjusting very well well having less of their mom and dad’s attention.   

Ben, Nathaniel, Douglas missing Timothy

Sarah & Elizabeth

Watching how Jeff and Jill have and are adjusting to their new life fills me with awe and pride. They are doing a wonderful job in spite of being sleep deprived and overworked.

Jeff and Jill’s faith, patience, grace, love for their family, and sense of humor are an asset every day.   

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

 Psalm 46:10

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MEET CLARICE JAMES ~ AUTHOR OF DOUBLE HEADER

Posted by on Mar 22, 2016 in Blog, Books, Uncategorized | Comments Off on MEET CLARICE JAMES ~ AUTHOR OF DOUBLE HEADER

Please tell us something about yourself, Clarice.

Clarice G. James

             Clarice G. James

The second oldest of six children, I grew up on Cape Cod before it got crowded. My dedication in Double Header is true. “I credit my father for showing me the power of dreams and my mother for teaching me the value of working for them.”  After 23 years of marriage, I was widowed. Eight years later, I was blessed to remarry David James. We live in Southern New Hampshire, where we are connected to a wonderful church family. Together, we have five married children and ten grandchildren—so you know what our vacations are like. 

What sparked your interest in writing?  

Decades ago, I had a great high school English teacher who used drama to make reading and writing fun. Since I wasn’t athletic, writing seemed less dangerous. And with no musical talent, I thought writing would be less annoying to my family.

What can you share about your journey to getting published?

It was just about as frustrating as it is for most writers. Patience has never been one of my heartier character traits, but I learned a lot during the wait—mainly how to improve my writing. My first novel, Party of One, was chosen a semi-finalist, then a finalist in the Christian Writer’s Guild Operation First Novel. When it was time to enter again, I entered my second book, Double Header instead. I won a book contract with that entry. I just finished my third book, Manhattan Grace, and I think it’s better than the first two. I hope I feel that way about the next one.

What words of advice would you give to beginning writers?

Get thee to a critique group! Then listen and don’t talk as they critique your excerpts. If you have to explain why you’ve written something, it needs to be rewritten. I learned so much from the experiences and perceptions of my fellow writers.  Sometimes the best advice I got was from avid readers, not writers.  

While your book, Double Header, is what I would call a character-driven novel, it is also a sports Double Header Coverstory. I was impressed with your knowledge of baseball. Are you a big sports fan or did you need to do extensive research to pull it off so well?  

Growing up, my siblings and I were not into sports at all. But, later, my husband and children were. Living with crazy Boston fans, you learn a lot through osmosis. Of course, I did my research too.

Was there a reason you decided to write Double Header in the first person, which is not as common as third person stories or omniscient?  

Is “I didn’t know any better” an acceptable answer?  To be honest, Party of One, my first novel, started out as a memoir—written in the first person. When I had trouble naming names and telling truths that might hurt people, my husband suggested I switch from non-fiction to fiction. I kept the first person POV without thinking about it and continued using it in Double Header.  My third novel is third person POV. 

Please tell us a little more about the story. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

You may think you’re in control, but you’re not. God is in control. My protagonist, Casey, has mapped out every area of her life. The only thing she couldn’t control was her father’s cancer.  After he dies, she idolizes him even more. When she finds out she has a half brother, a fact unknown to her father, she must let go of the past and find freedom in forgiveness. The still, quiet voice of God shows her how.

God often teaches us something through our writing. What did you learn about life, faith, or yourself in the process of writing Double Header

Casey’s letting go was a big lesson for me. It has freed me to enjoy writing for God’s glory not my own. There’s so much less pressure knowing I am not in control of the outcome!

Do you have another book we can anticipate seeing soon? 

I’ve got a few beta readers reviewing my third novel, Manhattan Grace. Set in New York City, a nanny and aspiring actress is mentored in her faith by a fatherly rabbi while she helps him pursue an unlikely romantic relationship with a famous, Moldovan opera soprano. When these two innocents find themselves embroiled in a jewel heist at the Metropolitan Opera House, they help solve more than one mystery.   

Where can readers find your books?

Since Mountainview Books LLC is a traditional publisher with a distribution source, you can request Double Header at your local bookstore.  If you’re in a hurry, there’s always online ordering at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

What are your social media sights?

Website & Blog          Facebook              Twitter                  LinkedIn

Come by to meet Clarice and help celebrate the release of DOUBLE HEADER if you are near Nashua, NH                Sunday, April 10, 2016 from 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM (EDT) 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/double-header-celebration-tickets-20305435103

 

Clarice G. James loves to read and write smart, fun, relatable contemporary women’s fiction. After many years of writing and editing for business and ministry, she now enjoys the freedom that writing fiction allows her. Clarice has been a follower of Jesus Christ for over 35 years. She and her husband David live in Southern New Hampshire. Together they have five married children and ten grandchildren. Double Header is her first published novel. It was one of three winners in the 2014 Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest.

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A TASTE OF IRELAND

Posted by on Mar 17, 2016 in Blog, Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on A TASTE OF IRELAND

Every year, our family enjoys a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal. Corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and onions as well as Irish soda bread will be on the menu.  

Traditional soda bread is a simple bread made of flour, soda, salt, and buttermilk. The lactic acid in buttermilk reacts with the baking soda to form bubbles of carbon dioxide. This causes the dough to rise, much like yeast does in other bread.

For a more complex soda bread, other ingredients can be added such as butter, egg, raisins, or nuts.

 HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY

Irish Soda Bread

Simple Irish Soda Bread

 

Ingredients:

4 cups (16 oz) of all purpose flour.
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
14 oz of buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 F. degrees.  

Place a square of parchment paper in a cake pan. (It will hang over the sides)

In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients.

Add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough.  Place on floured surface and lightly knead (too much allows the gas to escape)

Shape into a round flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough.

Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped so show it is done.

Cover the bread with a towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.

 

More Complex Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour,
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 ¾ cups cold buttermilk, shaken
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.

With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.

Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature

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LINDA S. GLAZ, AUTHOR OF FEAR IS LOUDER THAN WORDS

Posted by on Jan 11, 2016 in Blog, Books | 10 comments

Linda Glaz, is my agent with Hartline Literary Agency. Besides being an experienced editor, reviewer and agent she is also an author.

Please tell us something about yourself, Linda. I love writing, agenting, teaching, and any or all things to do with books. I read voraciously as a kid, and that same love has carried over into my adult life.

Linda Glaz

Linda Glaz

What sparked your interest in writing? Probably all of the reading. Also, I wrote my first story when I was 13. It was horrible but pushed me over the top in my love of words. Also had a teacher who so loved the written word that she truly instilled that love in most of her students.

 

Do you have a writing schedule and special place where you write? Hahaha. A schedule? I’m on the computer in my home office no less than twelve hours a day. Most of that time is spent working, but I take dozens of mini-breaks throughout the day to get up, move around, play on FB, anything to break the monotony. And my office is, I’m embarrassed to say, a disaster. I clean it on occasion, but there has to be a real good reason. 

 

Do you work to an outline or plot, or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? I’m completely a pantster. I love to let the characters develop their own personalities as I go along, and if that means changing Mr. Milktoast into the murderer, so be it. I have a general idea of what I want the story to be about when I start, but honestly, the characters press me into totally different directions most of the time.

 

What do you find most rewarding and challenging about being a writer? (research, plotting or organizing a story, marketing, or something else) The initial writing, and then the final edit when the story has changed direction so many times it’s mind boggling. The rewarding aspect is in discovering who my characters are and making them work.

coveronlyupdate (2)

Ok, now the story:

You have written a number of contemporary and historical romances. FEAR IS LOUDER THAN WORDS is a romantic suspense that moves quickly and keeps the reader engaged with multiple plotlines.

 

Please tell us about your transition to romantic suspense and about the story.  I actually started by writing romantic suspense. I have five novels complete and waiting to be edited. But, I also love historic romance, so when the opportunity came up to actually pay some bills by writing it, I loved the challenge. In that respect, I love doing the research for them. There is nothing I hate, and I mean hate, more than reading a historic novel that has details wrong. I once had a proofreader change my use of Miss to Ms in a WWII novel, and I about freaked out. I am a NUT for details in a historic novel.

 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I was recently reminded that fear and worry cannot live together in the spirit alongside faith. So if you keep your faith strong, they have to go. My character had to learn that in Fear is Louder Than Words. She tried to allow them to all live with her, and that’s not possible. So trust, faith, and forgiveness were all woven into it.

 

God often teaches us something through our writing. What did you learn about life, faith, or yourself in the process of writing this book? That I was too much like the character. I don’t trust when I should, and I do tend to be trusting at times when I shouldn’t. Also to forgive. So important and so difficult in some instances.

 

Do you have another book we can anticipate seeing soon? I’m actually working on one I wrote almost 20 years ago. Am trying to decide whether to keep it in the 80-90s or bring it into 2016. It’s about a birthday sleepover. When the mother returns for her five-year old in the morning, the entire house is empty. Every parent’s nightmare, you know?

 

Where can readers find your books? My newest can be found at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, or on Amazon. All of my previous books are on Amazon as well. Aren’t they all nowadays?

 

Thank you so much, Linda, for being my guest. I know folks will enjoy FEAR IS LOUDER THAN WORDS and your other books. Thanks for having me. I enjoy connecting with other readers and writers!

Linda can be found at

http://lindaglaz.com/

http://hartlineliteraryagency.blogspot.com/
http://www.oldcootsandyoungwiseguys.com/

 

Book Giveaway

To enter the giveaway for a free e-copy of FEAR IS LOUDER THAN WORDS, please leave a comment along with your email address. The winner will be chosen and notified on January 15th.

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CHRISTMAS IN WILLIAMSBURG ~ IT’S NOT OVER UNTIL EPIPHANY

Posted by on Jan 6, 2016 in Blog, Commentary, Devotions | 6 comments

In Williamsburg, Virginia we start the Christmas season on the day of Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination, always held the Sunday of the first full weekend in December. Early in the day, it’s fun to take a stroll down Duke of Wreath 2Gloucester (DOG) Street and view all the unique and beautiful wreaths and swags on the doorways. They are, for the most part, created from fruit, dried flowers, pine boughs, and plants. These decorations are closely monitored throughout the entire Christmas season and freshened whenever needed.Pineapple and apples over the Door

This year the weather was spectacular, mild and sunny, which drew even more crowds than usual. While there we observed a fun colonial auction. A Colonial Williamsburg interpreter served as the entertaining Auctioneer. AuctioneerMany lovely and interesting colonial items were auctioned off to the hundreds of folks gathered on the lawn not far from the magazine.

This year also was a first for the recently installed ice rink, Liberty’s Ice Pavilion, which many people of all ages were Liberty Rinkenjoying. There were various stations up and down the street where visitors could purchase cider or hot chocolate.

When darkness came, the smell of bonfires and the charming lit cressets along DOG Street filled the air.

Cresset

The evening was culminated with fireworks set from three locations; The Palace Green, The Magazine, and the Capitol.

 

Grand Illumination Fireworks

Our next Christmas event each year is attending one of the five magnificent Christmas concerts at The Williamsburg Community Chapel directed by the incomparable Ted Cornell. The concert began with the entrance of the young member’s who serve as part of the Colonial Williamsburg Fifers and Drummers, boys and girls ages 10 to 18. The evening is filled with both traditional and more modern Christmas music by the large adult and children’s choirs and an orchestra. It is a wonderful celebration of our God coming to earth as a human, Jesus, to redeem us from our sins. His free gift of salvation is available to every person who accepts Christ as their Savior.Chapel Christmas Concert

We were fortunate to have some of our children and grandchildren visit us for Christmas which delighted us.Cousins fishing

 

Christmas Tree
Christmas Town lights

 

 

 

 

 

We tried something new that was lots of fun this year; we visited Busch Gardens “Christmas Town”. What a wonderful time of enjoying all the beautiful lights and decorations throughout the park. There were a number of live shows, all with a Christmas theme. One show, Gloria! shared the birth of Christ. Scrooge was based on the Dickens story. There was an ice show and others with dancing and singing.

Hopping John 2

 

We brought in the New Years watching the ball drop at midnight in Times Square. Our family always has the traditional meal of Hoppin John to bring in the New Year.

See more about Hoppin John at: https://janetgrunst.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=645&action=edit

Now, we celebrate Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas, sometimes called Three King’s Day. Epiphany is the Christian celebration that commemorates the revelation of the birth of Jesus to the wider world as told in the story of three wise men visiting the newborn Jesus with gifts in Bethlehem.  

 

May your 2016 be blessed, and may you begin your new year opening your heart to all that the Lord has for you.

 

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