A Loving Church Family

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

Hi, everybody. Here it is Sunday again. Do you ever feel like the weeks are only three days long instead of seven? I know one thing – I try to shoehorn in about ten days of work into those seven days and it’s going to get worse for me before it gets better on the work front. The garden is coming on with bushels of beans and there are blackberries out in the field. I love blackberry jam, but those berries don’t jump in the pot by themselves. Then I still have that deadline for my next Shaker book, tentatively titled The Believer, flashing up in front of my panicked mind every once in a while. Actually I’m not panicked yet, but I can imagine getting there. My goal is to have the first draft finished this month, but I rarely ever meet my writing quota goals. Probably because I don’t set realistic ones. I always think I’m a faster writer than I actually am. But with this book, I need to hit my goals or at least stay very close to them because the twins are on their way. About three weeks away or so my daughter-in-law hopes.

The doctors measured them last Thursday as they can now before they are born with their magical instruments. Their measurements had the babies weighing 4 lbs 11 oz each. That’s a lot of babies to be carrying around for three more weeks or longer. Needless to say my daughter-in-law is tired and feeling heavy and ready to have those twins discover America! We’re all anxious to see our newest family members, but it will be better for them if they wait a few more weeks.

At any rate their birthday still promises to come about the same time as the release date for my new book, The Outsider, August 1. I’m looking forward to that too. It seems to be selling well prior to publication. I can only hope and pray that all the readers who are ready to take a chance on the story will be happy they chose my story to read. The Shakers were an odd group with so many contradictory ways, but yet you have to admire their devotion and their ability to create communities that demonstrated their idea of heaven on earth and to keep them going for years as a celibate people who had to get all their converts from the “world” they so wanted to shut away from them. Romantic Times Book Review Magazine gave the book a great review and chose it as one of the “Top Picks!” for Christian fiction. That was good news. I can’t keep from reading reviews and taking whatever the reviewer said to heart, so it’s good when the reviewer has good things to say. Makes me second guess myself if someone doesn’t like my story or my writing. It shouldn’t, because we can’t expect everyone to have the same point of view or like the same kinds of stories. Still… as a writer, I want everybody to like my stories. I might not really expect that to happen, but I do want it to happen.

I’ve gotten far afield as I often do when I’m journaling. Our preacher calls it chasing rabbits. I start at point A and before I take a breath, I’ve zigzagged to point G or maybe point T or even point Z. But what I planned to write about when I started was my church family. I dedicated The Outsider to my brothers and sisters in Christ at Goshen Church. We’re a little church and I do mean little. A big crowd for us is anything over 50 and we have dipped lots lower than that. This was one of those dipping mornings when we didn’t quite have 25 there. It’s been months since we were that low, but everybody was doing something else today or not feeling well. But we had what we call an “eatin’ meeting,” a potluck meal with yummy homecooking and time for fellowship. We have lots of those meetings and it helps us grow closer as a church family. But as any family does, we also have our conflicts and this or that person will fall away because of hurt feelings or personal problems. That might not be noticed so much in a big church with hundreds, even thousands of attendees, but boy, we notice it at our church and we miss those brothers or sisters who for this reason or that stop coming. And we rejoice when they step back into our fellowship.

My church family has always been loving and supportive of me and my writing and that’s why I dedicated this new book about the Shakers, a different kind of religious family, to the many brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I have shared worship over the many years I have been going to Goshen. A lot of great Christian people who set good examples of faithfulness for me as a young Christian have moved on up to heaven. Others moved out of our church community and others are still there at Goshen. I love a small church like Goshen where everybody is family and we enjoy eating and praying together. I hope you all have a church family just as loving.

Enjoy the week. Maybe I’ll put some quotes on this week about relaxing. Believe me, that’s advice I need. 🙂