Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Character Interview . . . or Interrogation?

  Plot, is good. It grows me, (the character,) into the person that God wants me to be, as HE is the author of my life. But sometimes, things happen, that I don't understand. Things that don't make sense. Things that hurt. I was looking back at some of the things in my life, some of them I still don't understand, and others, I know exactly what God was doing, and it got me thinking. If my book characters were real life people, and I put them through the things I put them through, they might hate me for the pain at the time, but looking back they would probably understand why I did what I did, and how it helped them. Instead of trying to imagine how my characters would feel, I set up an interview with a few of them, and traveled to Rifton to meet with the handful of characters I could gather. Below, is my take on that meeting...

        I climbed the Penner's porch and ran a hand over the railing. How many times had I watched one of the Penner's grip that railing in fear, in sorrow, or in joy?

     "She's here!" Sylvia called.

     I took a deep breath and approached the door to the large white farmhouse.

    Inside, Mr. Penner stood with arms crossed. "I'm not sure whether I should welcome you to my home, or banish you from my property forever." He paused, and a slow grin played at the corners of his mouth. "But, since I wouldn't exist if you hadn't imagined me, and I wouldn't have met the strangers in my living room if it weren't for you, I think a welcome is in store."

    I swallowed hard and met his twinkling gaze. How could he look so happy when I'd put him through so much? I opened my mouth to apologize, but no words would come.

    He held up a hand. "Priscilla, it's alright. I'm a pastor, remember?" He grinned again. "Of all people, I can see the good in what you've done. If you need to have a talk with me after this interrogation, er . . . this interview, I'll be in my office. Amanda and I would be happy to talk to you and help you through any complications you may be having with forgiving yourself for putting us through so much."

     I hesitated, and then stepped forward and hugged him. "Thank you, Mr. Penner. You're very understanding."

   He returned the hug, and then stepped back with a grin. "Mr. Penner? My name is John, you know. And you of all people are allowed to use it."

   I gave a shaky smile. This 'meeting-my-characters-face-to-face' thing wasn't as easy as I thought. "If it's all the same to you, I'll just keep calling you Mr. Penner. Or . . . I suppose by now, it's Pastor Penner again."

   Pastor Penner nodded. "The last few years have flown. Now, would you like to meet the handful of your characters that agreed to this interview?"

   I adjusted my watch strap and nodded. "I'm as ready as I'll ever be."

    He led me down the short hall of the house I'd once designed, and into the living room. He halted inside, and gestured around the room. "Shall I make introductions?" Without waiting for a response, he pointed at me. "Everyone! This is Priscilla. Or should I say, Priscilla J. Krahn? You all know why she's here."

    I swallowed hard. I knew every face. I'd been through so much with them, and yet, somehow, they were still strangers. A few of them gave me hard stares, as if they regretted agreeing to this meeting.

  Pastor Penner pointed to the young man seated on the couch to his left. "I'm sure you know my son, Paul."

   Paul pushed to his feet and met me with a good firm handshake. He didn't look overly pleased to see me, but at the same time, he didn't look mad at me.

   Once more, I was speechless as I stared at him. He'd grown from the unsure teen I'd first imagined, to a confident, albeit silent, young man.

   He gave a quick nod, and started from the room.

   "Where are you going?" I asked. "I thought you'd stay for the interview."

   Paul snorted. "No way are you getting me to sit down and answer questions. At least not your questions. I just wanted to meet you. But, if you'll excuse me, there's chores to be done. Those fences aren't going to fix themselves."

   I gave him a nod, and he exited the room.

   "I'm not staying either," a deep voice said. I turned, and gaped at the young man before me.

  "Samuel? When did you grow up?"

    Samuel offered a shrug and a cheesy grin. "It's not like my life has stopped since you quit writing about me, or rather, since you quit writing about my sister. But, like Paul, I've got work to do. Amy's got all the answers you're going to get from this family today." Samuel couldn't hide his grin as he left.

     Amy. I didn't need to be introduced, as she approached. She didn't say anything, just hugged me, and I hugged her back.

   When she released me from her hug, she turned to the others in the room. All familiar faces, though some had never seen this farm.

 “Thank you for sending out the invitations to this meeting! I’m so glad it’s here at our house, and it’s been exciting getting to meet other people who we share common ground with.”

 I winced. Me. I was their common ground.

“You’re late. And I would hardly call them invitations. More like demands for an interrogation.”

  I smirked. “It’s good to see you too, Alano. There’s no mistaking your cheerfulness.”

   Alano stood near the cold fireplace with arms crossed and feet spread wide. He shifted under my gaze, but the set to his jaw remained.

“Why are you here anyways? I thought I sent Willie Rodriguez the invitation?”

Alano grunted. “We drew straws. I got the short one. I thought a trip to your United States of America would be exciting. But it’s not. You people all think you have to wear shoes in public! Willie’s the one having all the fun chasing snakes or running from renegade Carabayos. I’d trade places with him any day.”

  I raised my eyebrows. It seems I’ve never mastered the art of raising just one eyebrow, like some of my characters. “Renegade Carabayos? I didn’t know that was a problem? What are you, the chief, doing here if you’ve got so much trouble down there?”

“Trouble?” Alano smacked his right fist into the palm of his left hand. “It’s no trouble. At least, nothing a little persuasive talk couldn’t fix.”

I knew him well enough to know that his ‘persuasive talk’ probably involved bruises and a good bloody nose, maybe even some broken bones, none of which would be on him, of course.

  I glanced about the rest of the room. Who else had made the meeting?

Another young man sat on the far couch, as far away as possible, from an older lady.

  “Jared?” I frowned. “I thought I invited Ty or Uncle Wyatt?”

Jared looked uncomfortable as he cracked his neck. I winced.

“Uncle Wyatt is on a honeymoon, or some such nonsense, and Ty is visiting his cousin Wayne in Montana.”

   “Wayne in Montana?”  The elderly woman leaned forward. “Isn’t that where Titus lives?”

 I smiled. Leave it to Auntie Donna to know. “That’s right.

  Alano snorted. “It’s where Titus lived after . . .”

“Alano!” I glared at him. “My blog readers don’t even know who Titus is! I stepped to the center of the room and turned in a slow circle. “Here’s the rules, guys. NO spoiler alerts! My blog readers don’t know everything. You can’t use this meeting as a means to blow my surprises!”

   Jared flushed. “I’m sorry. I mentioned the honeymoon . . .”

I sighed. “It’s alright, everyone would figure that out eventually anyways.”

“Oh, so it’s alright if he gives spoiler alerts, but not me?” Alano rubbed his fist and I tensed. He wouldn’t hit me . . . would he?

“Alano.” I paused. “I don’t mean to pull rank on you or anything, but I’m the author here. You can’t get out of hand.”

Alano laughed a nerve-grating snicker. “You made me this way! If I take my reins and say something out of line, what would you do? I’m exactly who you wanted me to be.” He crossed his arms again and leaned against the wall as casually as if he talked back to me every day . . . which isn’t far from the truth!

   “I see.” I forced myself to smile the best ‘I’m-in-charge-here’ smile I could muster. Hopefully getting across the point that I’m the author and they’re just my characters! “Well, Mr. Alano. You seem to be so sure of yourself, but I’ll have you know that you’re lucky to be the man you are. Did you know that you weren’t always Alano?”

 He snorted again. “Right. I was the president of Columbia.”

I forced another smile. His sarcasm could get way out of hand. Well, I would put him in his place! “No, you were Diego, but you lied to the Rodriguez’s and they thought your name was Seth.”

 Alano straightened, and his brow furrowed. “I may had led the Rodriguez family on, but I would never lie about my name! I’m proud of it.” He cocked his head slightly and studied me. Probably to see if I was bluffing. Deciding I wasn’t he shook his head. “I’m sure glad you changed your mind. I wouldn’t like to be someone else. Besides, isn’t Seth that half-African preacher boy in Jamestown? The one that saves James Wakefield’s life?”

   I snatched a pillow off the couch and threw it at him. “No spoilers!”

 Alano caught the pillow and shrugged with a grin. “I’m not spoiling anything. I mean come on. Seth lived in the 17th century. Just because he’s alive to you, and occupies documents on your whale of a laptop, doesn’t mean he’s alive to the world. He’s been dead for . . . at least three hundred years.”

I spear him with another ‘look’ and turn my back to him. “I’m glad you’re all here.” I met Pastor Penner’s smirk a moment before he closed the door behind him. Then, I turned my attention to the group surrounding me. Amy, Jared, Auntie Donna, and Alano.

“Pastor Penner is very gracious to allow us all in his home for this meeting.” I glanced towards his rocking chair and smirked. Perhaps I’d be less intimidating if I sat down.

   I curled my legs under me as I slowly rocked and glanced around the room, making eye contact with each person.

“Alano, you can sit down.”

He crossed his arms again and resumed his position of leaning against the wall. “I’d rather stand. Facing my enemies standing is easier than sitting. Besides, these couches aren’t half as nice as a good stump bench.”

“Suit yourself.”

“So, what are the questions?” Auntie Donna asked. “I’d be happy to answer any questions, especially if they’re about Jessa and Clay.”

“My first question is actually for Amy.”

Amy straightened, and rubbed her hands over her skirt. “I’ll do my best. Shoot.”

I stared for a moment, before I pulled my phone from my pocket and pulled up my notes. Amy was so much more confident than the thirteen-year-old girl I’d first imagined. “Alright, your question is . . .” I swallowed hard. “This might bring up bad memories but of all the things in your life, I’ve heard the most horrifying comments about the whole rib scene. We know that, at the time, you were trying hard to be thankful, and trust God, but you had no idea what was going to happen. You thought you were going to die, didn’t you?”

   Amy nodded, and her forehead creased as she frowned. “I still wake up once in a while and just lay in bed breathing. Thinking how amazing it is that I’m still alive. It really wasn’t as bad as your readers think it was.”

“Not as bad as they think it was?” I shook my head. “What are you talking about? You were strapped to a table in a dingy apartment building with a few thugs, having your rib cut out! Then, you were toted around with a broken rib and a missing rib. It was awful!”

Amy smiled. “When you say it like that, yes, it was awful! But it wasn’t any harder then saying good-bye to my family for the last time.”

I nodded, but something in my chest ached. Like my heart was bruised. I’d made her go through those good-byes multiple times. But I hadn’t been able to tell her at the time that it wouldn’t be good-bye forever.

“Was that the question? If I thought I would die?” she asked. “Because I told all your readers in Never Again, that I thought I was dying. I didn’t lie.”

I swallowed hard. “No, that actually wasn’t the question. The question is, looking back, how do you feel about the whole rib scene? I know at the time, you were just trying to trust God, and me, but you struggled. You struggled saying good-bye. How did all of that affect who you are today?”

Amy toyed with her locket. “Well, it was hard, but I wouldn’t change any of it.”

 I furrowed my brow. “You wouldn’t change any of your past?”

Amy smiled. “No. Not a thing. Except maybe my attitude through it all! Some days I was . . . well, not who I should have been.”

“Do you ever get mad at me for putting you through those things?” I ached for her answer, but part of me hesitated. What if she resented me?

Amy flashed a smile. “No. Why would I be mad at you?” She paused, and traced a pattern on the couch with her finger. “Okay, so maybe I was mad at you at the time, but now that I know why I went through what I went through, I’m glad for the way things happened.”

   She took a deep breath and made eye contact with me. “If I hadn’t had my rib removed, I wouldn’t have found out I had bone cancer till it was too late, and I would never have gone to the Ned Home. If I hadn’t gone to the Ned Home, I wouldn’t have found Sylvia.”

   “You’re the spokesman for your family at the moment,” I said. “So, about Sylvia, do you ever regret what happened to her? Does it ever feel . . . senseless? Like she was stolen from you for a few years for no reason? Like Paul had his stutter for no reason?”

Amy shook her head. “No regrets. Because of what Sylvia went through, and in turn, what that put Paul through, they’re both better people than they were. And if Paul hadn’t gone through that, he might never have ended up . . .” she paused. “Is it a spoiler alert if I tell people what Paul did that he needed those lessons he learned?”

 I frowned for a moment. “Better keep that under your hat for now.”

Alano snorted. “She’s not wearing a hat.”

“It’s an English expression. It means keep it a secret.” I explain. The language he’d grown up with didn’t have a lot of the idioms that we have.

“But you might never write about how Paul . . .”

“Alano!” I held his gaze. “Even if I never write about what Paul ended up doing, I don’t want you spoiling anything I do decide to write.”

He held up his hands in surrender. “Okay, you’re the boss. But I think the readers should know that I enjoyed Paul’s visit.”

“Alano!” I put everything I had into spearing him with the ‘I’m-your-author-don’t-betray-me’ look.

 He fell silent, and I turned back to Amy. Thank you, for sharing that with me, and with everyone I share these notes with.”

Amy shrugged. “I’m happy to help.”

“You are one of my characters that I feel good about. You’ve learned the lessons I’ve tried to teach. Unlike some other people I know.” I glanced at Alano, and he just cast me another cheesy grin.

I scrolled down on my phone. “The next question is for Auntie Donna.”

“Oh, finally!” Auntie Donna leaned forward. “I love answering questions, although, asking them gives me a satisfaction too. Especially when the answers can get a murderer caught!” Her eyes gleamed with a hint of adventure.

I nodded. “I know you love adventure, but this question is about Jessa. How do you think she feels about me having killed off her Mom, and having a step-mom? In my original plan, she still had her mom, and Michelle wasn’t in the picture.”

Donna harrumphed. “You better never let her find out that you could have saved her mom! She might turn on you. But in all fairness, she’s handled it well. She would have more trouble with it, but if it weren’t for her mom’s death, she never would have strayed from the family business, or met Clay! She still hurts, but she understands that in the long run, it’ll work for the best,”

I turned to Jared. “I feel probably worse about talking to you than anyone.”

“Then don’t.” Alano cut in. “No one is making you ask us these sentimental questions.”

I ignored Alano, and held Jared’s gaze. He looked like he was about to bolt. “Jared, have you seen any good come from your dad’s imprisonment? Or is the pain still too much? Do you struggle with being so close to Ty after what your dad did to him?”

Jared scrubbed a hand across his face and stared at the ceiling. He sagged back against the couch. “I’ll never be okay with my dad being in jail. It’s just . . . not right. But I see good in it too. If Dad hadn’t killed Bill Carson, then I wouldn’t have ended up living with Uncle Wyatt, and if Uncle Wyatt hadn’t taken me in, then the boys’ home wouldn’t have ever happened and . . . well, a lot of guys would be in worse shape then they are today. If Dad wasn’t in jail, I’d have probably gotten myself killed by now, or been locked away for life because of some gang murder. And of course, I might not have ever met my little brother. Squirt would have probably ended up in a gang too. Maybe even an enemy gang. I could have killed him.”

I nodded. The pain in his eyes would always haunt me, but his attitude was convicting. He could see the good in the midst of the pain.

I turned my focus to Alano, and watched him squirm.

“If I’d have known you were going to ask me sentimental questions, I’d have never come!” Alano glanced towards the door. “I thought you’d want to know about my fighting secrets. Or maybe about the snake hunts.”

I shook my head. “If you’d have made Willie come like he was supposed to, you wouldn’t have to answer his question for him. How does Willie see Jerry’s death now that many of the Carabayo tribe have found Christ?”

Alano snorted. That was a habit of his I’d have to work on, but later, when no one would see the fight. “If you think I’m going to share Willie’s emotional heart, you’ve got another thing coming.”

I leaned back with a slight smile. There was one way I could make Alano answer me. “Alano. If you answer the question about Willie, and the one I’m going to ask about you, then you can tell everyone about you and . . .”

Alano’s smirk remained. “You think I wasn’t going to tell everyone anyways? Even without your permission?” He paused, then nodded. “But okay, I’ll tell you about Willie. He still has a hard time with Jerry, but what did you expect? Things like that don’t go away overnight.” His brow creased, and I knew he had to be thinking about Yara’s mother.

The serious crease in his brow didn’t disappear as he stared into the cold fireplace. “Willie thanks God for the salvation of the Carabayos, and he knows it probably wouldn’t have happened without Jerry’s death, but he still hurts from it. He always will.”

I nodded. How could I expect anything less? And it did good to see the concern on Alano’s face for Willie. It assured me that I’d done the right thing with . . . but that’s his news. “Alano, I know this is painful, but what about Yara’s mother? What do you feel about her?”

Alano’s fists tightened till his brown knuckles appeared nearly white. He crossed his arms, no doubt to hide the tremble. “I don’t have to answer that.”

I pursed my lips. I hated to do this but . . . “You actually do have to answer me.”

“You can’t make me.” If a voice could be hard as stone, his was hard as diamond.

I bit my lip. “I hate to threaten, but yes, I can make you. If you don’t answer my questions, I can arrange an unfortunate ending to your relationship. Carmen isn’t immune to every disease.”

Alano gave me a dagger glare. “Fine,” he said through gritted teeth. “I feel guilty.” Everything about his face showed repulsion at having to share his feelings in front of people. He glanced at Jared, then closed his eyes. “Everyone knows what I said in Mission of a Lifetime. I didn’t love her and I could have done the simplest things to make her life better. If I’d have cared more, I could have probably even saved her life. Then Yara wouldn’t have ever been taken from me, and she wouldn’t have a lip, or a damaged hand. Or scars on her back, or the painful memories.”

I winced at the pain in his voice. He paused for a moment, and then sighed. “I suppose it’s worked for the best though. I would have never left the Carabayos if she hadn’t died, and then I’d have never gotten saved. And I’d be a lousy chief. I’d probably be killing people right now. I might have even killed Willie.”

 He sighed again and opened his eyes. He paused again, and a slight smile crossed his face. And then there’s Carmen. Spoiler alert or not, I don’t care if the world knows that I love her.” A smile flickered at the corners of his mouth. “And while I feel guilty at times for the past, and the pain, and the killing, I don’t have any guilt about Carmen. She’s . . . an amazing woman. I only regret that I never got to know Yara’s mother enough to know how amazing she was.”

I glanced around the room. The mood had turned sober. Everyone stared at something different and they all avoided my gaze, as if they worried I would ask them a question that would tear into their past.

I cleared my throat. “Okay, guys, you guys are great! I love you all, and I’m thrilled at how open you’ve all been, but now for some fun questions.”

Everyone’s shoulders sagged in relief.

“Alano, you seem thrilled to talk about fighting and hunting. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever hunted?”

Alano grinned. “My sister’s pet anaconda. It got lose during one of Father’s meetings with the village officials. I was pretty young, and had to hunt it with my first knife. We ate it for supper that night. Wasn’t half as exciting as hunting monkeys, but much more challenging because I had to avoid the people as well as find the snake.”

Auntie Donna cleared her throat. “I don’t mean to interrupt, but I have a question for Alano. Where is your relationship with Carmen?”
Alano glanced at me, as if daring me to stop him. “She’s my wife.” He kept a straight face, but his eyes twinkled.

“You should have brought her!” Amy exclaimed.

Alano let the grin loose, changing his usually serious face to one of pure joy. “I would have, but she’s from the states! I couldn’t let her see how awkward I am in her world. Besides, she doesn’t enjoy travel like I do, and she felt needed at the clinic.”

I turned to Jared. “Jared, you seem to be the head guy at the home after Uncle Wyatt. In the first few years, did you have to fight much with the new boys to establish that role?”

Jared shook his head. “No. Not much. It only took one fight, and it was settled.” He winced. “I probably shouldn’t have been so hard on him but . . . well, there wasn’t any trouble after that.”

I couldn’t resist the smirk. I could read between the lines enough to know that he wasn’t explaining just how much he’d beaten up Trevor to establish who was top man.

“Auntie Donna, you seem to have a love for mysteries. Apart from the death of Austin Royce, have you ever had an intense mystery to solve?”

“I declare, I certainly have! The most exciting one, was when I was a kid, and my house was broken into. I had the thief behind bars in a week.”

I smiled at her enthusiasm. It was something I’d have to ask more about later. “And Amy, what has been the hardest adjustment to the farm? The work? Early hours? The smells? The dead animals?”

Amy laughed. “It’s all been an adjustment! But I think the biggest adjustment, has been the freedom. There’s so much space here. So much land. It’s not like the small town house I shared with Uncle Keith and Aunt Fay. It’s breathtaking to be able to go outside and yell at the top of my lungs, or run for an hour without bothering any neighbors. And then, of course, there’s how friendly everyone is! In Des Moines, I never spoke to anyone besides a few friends from school. Here, everyone I see seems to think they know me! I can’t even go to town without at least four people asking me about the family.”

I glanced at my watch. Of all the bother. “I’m going to have to go soon, but thank you all for coming! It’s fun to meet you all in person, and I’m glad you’re getting to meet each other.”

“I got a question for you,” Alano said.

The gleam in his scared me. I wasn’t sure I’d like his question.

“When are you going to write that next book about us down in Columbia? I miss the adventure you always bring. And what about the rest of them?” He glanced around the room. “Are you going to leave Donna, Jared and Amy to musty old books on the shelves or are you going to write more about them too?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. There’s a lot going on right now.”

He snorted. “A lot going on? Really? That awkward kid you’ve been writing about. Titus is his name I believe? There’s no way his life in a church is half as exciting as mine! And what about those three girls you’ve been writing about? Sisters I believe. No one cares about people from the past. The French and Indian wars, tar and feathering, all that nonsense can stay in the history books. You don’t have to write it!”

I glared at him. “How do you know about what I’ve been working on?”

Alano shrugged. “If anything good came from that Gonzalez situation was that it showed Uncle Simon how much he like computer hacking. He’s taught me a thing or two. Your computer isn’t that challenging to hack into.”

I glared at him. “Alright, that’s it.” I stood up and glanced around the room once again. “I hope to call another meeting sometime soon, but until then, good-bye.”

I gave one last look, and then headed from the room.

If you’ve enjoyed this ‘interrogation’ with a few of my characters, you can help me out! Sometime, I’d like to do another meeting with some of them. Do you have any questions you’d like to ask ANY of my characters? If you have ANY questions for ANY character from ANY of my books, let me know! Leave a comment with your questions, or use the contact form on the side, and I’ll be sure to use them in my next interview.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Proverbs 29:25

  I love this verse, it always reminds me that we're NOT supposed to chase man's approval, but to trust God instead.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Pictures - The New Year - And Some Old Thoughts

Hello! I hope you're all recovering from all the holiday excitement! Here's a bunch of pictures from the last few weeks, and a few notes.

Of course, we got to go out and do some more ice hockey. Having grown up on skates, I've always loved our long winters with plenty of ice!

We visited some of my grandparents on Christmas day, and Grandpa pulled out his collection of woodworking things. He's been doing woodwork all my memory, and I always enjoy seeing his latest creations. This church is really cool, because from one side, it's a church, but if you turn it the other direction, it's a cross, as pictured below.

And we had our Christmas with all the nieces, nephews, and married siblings. One of my adorable nephews wanted to try on my hat so I caught a quick selfie with him.

And it's not a family Christmas without a good game of Balderdash! It's definitely one of our family favorites.

And I got in a walk through the snowy woods... Okay, so I didn't actually go out on my own free will . . . I was chaperoning my sister and her special friend. :) 

And the AWESOME Krahn family get together! I think there was over 60 of us that made it this year. It's always a lot of fun to catch up with cousins that I haven't seen in a while.

And our yearly Christmas Eve photos by the Christmas Tree.

I was in the choir again this year at the Christmas program. I know you can't see it in this picture, but at the front of the church is the manger, and on the wall, right behind it, is a large wooden cross. Every year, it makes me think about why Jesus came. I mean how amazing is it, that God, the Creator of the universe was born in a stable so that He could die on a cross for us? It's always sobering to me to think about it, and yet so exciting too! We serve an AWESOME God!!!

And with the New Year, people ask me about my resolutions. Well, I don't really have many to speak of, just goals, plans, dreams, hopes, etc.  However, this time of year, I find myself reflecting on my last year. I suppose it's my writer instinct that makes me want to assign a 'theme' to every chapter of my life . . . :)

A few years ago, I had a year where God taught me a lot about being thankful. Then I had a year where God taught me a lot about just giving everything to Him. The year of 2018 taught me a lot, but I feel like the main theme, was that it's not my life, and it's not about me.
You've all heard people say this, or maybe said it yourself . . . "It's my life!" Or maybe while discussing things with your parents or other authorities . . . "It's not their life to live." But the truth is, it's NOT our life to live. It's God's life. We are HIS workman. And our lives are for HIS glory, not our own.
Over the last year, multiple things have happened, where I had my own plans, and they didn't go as I wanted. Things happened that I didn't choose. And there were days when I got upset. Days when I wanted to live MY life. But then, God reminded me that it's not about me, it's about HIM. It's not my life I'm living, it's His. And when I stopped looking at my life as my own, things changed. The Bible says that we are not our own, and it's true. If you belong to Christ, then I encourage you, in this new year, to stop looking at life as if it belonged to you. Stop making decisions based off of how YOU want to live your life, and instead, make decisions knowing that you're making a decision that will affect HIS body. Your goals, your paths, your dreams, should be replaced with His goals, His paths, and His dreams for your life. Often, they will be the same. When we delight ourselves in the Lord, He gives us desires, and our will becomes one with His. Other times, following His path may seem impossible, like you're throwing away everything you wanted from life, and that's okay. We're to die to self daily, and if we have to die to self in order for Christ to shine through, then let's die to self. And let Christ shine through in 2019!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A Few Quick Pics...

 I haven't gotten my Christmas photos on the computer yet, so hopefully that post will be here next week.

We're blessed with an awesome group of family and friends to go skating with!

I'm not the greatest at playing, but I sure enjoy it!!!!

And this sale is only good through January 1st!!

And the Kindle edition is available now!!! 

And, I'm hearing the chatter of children in the other room, (all the nieces and nephews are coming over for our Christmas today,) so I need to go be sociable... Hopefully next week I'll have time to share more about our Christmas, and more pictures. One quick note I wanted to make after having lunch at my grandparents house yesterday. . .  Take advantage of your grandparents!! If you have living grandparents, visit them, love them, learn from them, and help them however you can!!!! You don't know how much longer you'll have them . . .

Well, I'm off for another family Christmas! I hope you all are having a Merry Christmas!!! (Because Christmas isn't just a day, it's a season, and an attitude of the heart.) And don't forget why He came!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

It's just STUFF!!!!!

  I LOVE Christmas . . . Like TOTALLY love it!!!!!! Yes, it's busy, and yes, I feel like a headless chicken running around this time of year but hey, I love every minute of it!!! There's so many AWESOME reminders this time of year about Jesus coming to die for us...

     Last week, at our church's Christmas program practice, I was really reminded of the hope we have in Jesus. AMAZING hope!!! It's so easy to get down, to get focused on ourselves, on the problems around us, on the many things that don't go as we want, but when we stop, and remember the hope we have in Christ, it REALLY puts things into perspective.

     Speaking of perspective . . . I was looking under the tree at all the presents that are accumulating, and talking with my dad about the many blessings in our lives, and how the biggest blessings, are not the things, but the people. The grandkids, the siblings, the parents, the love, family, and joy that God has blessed us with. I looked around my beautiful living room. A fire crackled in the stove, the Christmas lights twinkled, Christmas music was playing in the other room, and the stockings were getting full. I love my home, but as I looked around at the furniture . . . the couch that I write on most the time . . . the piano that I learned to play on . . . the toy box that the nieces and nephews love . . . the bookshelf . . . the coffee table that Dad made . . . and all the fun decorations. Yes, I love my home, but I realized in that moment, it's all just stuff.

      Presents? They're AWESOME, but they're just stuff, someday, they'll rust, mold, decay, and be gone. It's all going to be gone someday. If you walk through a junk yard, and see a rusted, and badly mangled car, it looks like junk, but at one time, that car was new. Someone probably saved for it, took care of it, sat inside of it admiring it, babied it in his garage, and may have even been afraid of letting people touch it. Now? It's just another piece of junk.

     Remember this Christmas season, that the fun things you're getting and giving, are just stuff. If a sibling breaks your new makeup mirror on the first day you get it, or you lose a diamond earring, it's okay, keep your focus on what matters. Eternity.

      The stuff here, is temporal. We can't take it with us when we go, and even in our lifetime, it will probably lose it's value, get old, rust, get bent up, torn, or lose it's shine. This stuff is nice! Enjoy the blessings God gives you. If you have stuff to enjoy, then ENJOY it!!! But don't let it rob you from seeing the important blessings. The family, the friends, the love, joy, and peace. The Baby in the manger. Don't let the things around you keep you from seeing the people hurting around you, the people who need your encouragement. And if you're the one that is hurting, and you feel hopeless, and in need of encouragement, seek the Baby in the manger. We have hope through HIM!!! He feels our pain, but He also knows how to give joy. He can take ashes and turn them into beauty.

       Don't lose hope. The darker the night, the more brilliant the sunrise. The more violent the storm, the more beautiful the rainbow. The harder the fight, the more refreshing the victory in Jesus. Trust Him, rest in Him, give ALL of your worries to Him, and be thankful for the many blessings.

Among the blessings of Christmas, is family. Take time to be there for your family. If you need to put your phone down and stop texting, do it. If you need to pick up a book and read to the kids, or hold a baby, do it! We don't know how much time we have, so cherish the moments.

I'm SO thankful for another niece!

Something else that we've done off and on for a few years, is to wrap up a DVD that shares the gospel, with an invitation to the church's Christmas Eve program, and go around town giving them out.

This year, we wrapped them at the church, and had a lot of people pitching in to help!

Praise God for church family! And for opportunities like this! For the opportunity of sharing HIS story! So, whether you love Christmas or hate it, don't forget to share the Baby in the manger, and don't forget that the stuff around you  . . . well, it's just stuff. It's not worth getting wrapped up in, or bent out of shape over it. Christmas is about HIM, not about the stuff.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Amelia Bedelia, Nieces, Nephews, and Piano...

So, I have a bunch of random pictures from the last week. . . 

Growing up, Amelia Bedelia books were my favorite thing! Getting to read them to the nieces and nephews is AWESOME!!!

I even took the chance to read one of them backwords and upsides down . . .

With Christmas coming up, I've enjoyed doing some Christmas baking, and, like last year, I've been trying some new things. Like divinity.

It was my first time making it, but it turned out well.

And selfies with the nephews and a niece...

So maybe we have too much fun sometimes . . . :) 

As of yesterday, I have eight nephews and nine nieces, and enjoy being able to spend time with them.

Hosanna did another chalk talk at the senior living center in Roseau, and I went along to play piano. I always find my face funny when I'm playing piano, I either look mad, focused, or miserable...  I'm not sure why, because I enjoyed it! But somehow, when I'm playing I don't smile . . . I guess I'll have to work on that. :) 

And I just finished reading through this book, Caleb's Inheritance by Pam Jeffery, for the second time. I highly recommend it, and not just because I love the author. The book itself is worth the time!

This is Priscilla Krahn, reminding you to stay THANKFUL this Christmas season. Keep your focus on HIM, and not on you, and let God use you to bless others.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Baking, Book Fair, Book signing, and Christmas Sale!

Some days, I feel like I live in a fish bowl. Today, it's no longer a fish bowl, it's a snow globe!!! It's that WONDERFUL time of the year, when (as Ebeneezer Scrooge's nephew Fred would say,) "...when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"
     Lately, I've been telling people that Christmas isn't a day. It's a season. This is the Christmas season, and it's not about one day, it's about the season of remembering how much Christ sacrificed by coming to earth.
     Last year, on Christmas day, I had a REALLY hard day. I woke up with all my plans in place. Drink coffee, wait for Dad to get in from the barn, and open the one present we'd saved for the day. (We tend to open them early . . . :)) But my plans didn't happen the way I thought they should. The barn froze up, and chores took a lot longer than planned. Then, Dad had to butcher a cow with a broken leg. All in all, it was quite late when he came in. I was hoping we could spend some time together as a family, but after opening our gifts, Dad had to go and help a neighbor, and everyone kind of went to do their own thing. I remember sitting on the couch thinking about all the people I knew who were having a carefree day, and I felt sorry for myself for having such a quiet, interrupted Christmas. The problem? It had nothing to do with Dad being busy, that's a normal part of life. It had nothing to do with the presents, or the day. It had EVERYTHING to do with my attitude. I started the day thinking about myself, and what I wanted. When things didn't go how I thought they should, I had a hard time. 
    I don't know if any of you have ever had a special day that you looked forward too, and when it didn't go as you planned, you felt let down, but that's how I felt. This year, things are going to be different, and I challenge you to make them different too. Don't get caught up on your plans. Instead, take everything with a 1 Thess. 5:18 attitude of thanks, and the attitude of putting others first. One of my favorite Evangelists is constantly reminding people that "It's NOT about YOU!" and he is right. If we get caught up on what we want, what we expect, and how we feel, we WILL be disappointed because it's NOT about US!!!! Spend every day of the Christmas season thinking about others, and how you can glorify God. Because it IS about HIM!

    Anyways, (I didn't actually mean to share all that. . .) I did a bit of Christmas baking today, and a few of the nieces decided to help!

Rewind a few days, and you find the book signing for The Fudged Up Murder, which went REALLY WELL!!!! I'm SOOOO Grateful for the AMAZING family and friends I have who stopped by and encouraged me, as well as the wonderful coffee that Caribou supplied! :)

And, THIS Saturday, I have another event coming up. The Warroad Library is doing a Christmas open house with live music, crafts, hot chocolate, cookies, and an author book fair. I am one of the authors that will be attending and I will have all of my books for sale. I'd love to see you there!

CHRISTMAS SALE!!!!!! Until the new year, ALL of my kindle books are available on Amazon for 99 cents! And ALL of the Ty Carson, and Adventure of Amy printed books are available for $7.99!!!! If you're looking for a Christmas gift for that reader, take advantage of this sale.

This is Priscilla J. Krahn, reminding you that it's not about you, and if you're having a bad day, you're probably thinking about the wrong person. Because it's ALL about HIM!!! That's why we can have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Thanksgiving in Ohio

 As many of you know, my sister Hosanna spent Thanksgiving in Ohio with her 'special friend' and I went along as driver, chaperone, semi-map reader, and sidekick.
    Overall, I had a great time, but didn't get pictures of most of my time there. We played a lot of games, ate a LOT of pie, and had a great time being thankful for everything God has blessed us with.

I've made a few pies in my time, but these pies put me to shame! I'll have to work on that. The peanut butter pie was my favorite followed by the pecan.

They took us to this air force museum. It is the worlds largest and oldest air force museum and one day was NOT enough time! We didn't get through the whole thing, and I'm not sure if a week would have been enough! If you're ever in Dayton, OH, make sure to stop in!

I took a LOT of pictures, but many of them were blurry and I wasn't sure which ones would interest you the most, so I just grabbed a few random ones.

It started with a hanger going from the beginning of flight, through WWI. In this picture, you can see a model of one of the Wright brothers first planes, a glass display with one of the bikes from the Wright brothers' bike repair shop, and in the background you can see one of the blimps from the early days.

I enjoyed the paint jobs on some of the planes.

There were several presidential planes that we got to go through. It was neat going through Kennedy's plane, as well as a few other presidents' planes like Eisenhower and FDR.

We did a LOT of walking, went through multiple hangers, and didn't have time to finish going through all of them. It was AWESOME!!!!

It's blurry, I know, but this is the FIRST picture I've ever had with Santa Claus. Okay, so I would NOT go out of my way to get a picture like this, but the reason I got it, was because I was following Hosanna, who was following her 'special friend' through Lowe's Department store, and we come upon poor Mr. Santa Claus, sitting all alone on Black Friday morning, smiling and waving at all of these men who were walking by and ignoring him. I commented about how lonely he looked, and Hosanna was like . . . "You should get a picture with him for the blog!" At first I was like . . . "NO WAY!" But after thinking about it, I was like . . .  "You know, if my friend ---- were here, I'd do it." So, I decided to go have a little chat with him. NO, I did NOT tell him what I wanted for Christmas, and I CERTAINLY DID NOT sit on his lap!!! But I did get the picture, and had a nice chat. :) :) 

The road home was pretty crazy, northern IL had just had a snow storm and we had some really bad roads, but aside from the one time we fishtailed and ended up facing the WRONG direction on the interstate, and the time we had to wait for around a half hour because of a wreck, we made it home with little drama. THANK YOU to everyone who prayed for our safety on the long drive. I believe it was crucial in the safety we had.

Here's a sneak peak at what my table will look like at the book signing this Saturday. That plate in the bottom left hand corner will have fudge samples on it. :)  

And just a quick reminder, if you happen to be in Warroad on Saturday, please stop by! I'd love to see you and the first 25 people to stop in get a $1 off any drink of their choice.

With Thanksgiving, I'm reminded of all the things I've been blessed with in life, and all the many things I often forget to be thankful for. Things like my ability to walk, my ability to taste, smell, hear, speak, and feel. Every breath is a gift!!! I'm ESPECIALLY thankful for the family God's given me, and the friends I've been blessed with.