Novel Inspires with Tears and Laughter #Thursday Book Feature

Where Sheep May Safely Graze

by Phyllis Staton Campbell

Copyright 2017

 

What Amazon Says

 

If you’re looking for a book with a blind character, standing high on a pedestal, surrounded by a perfect world, this book isn’t for you. If, however, you’re looking for inspiration laced with laughter and tears, read on. Jim Miller, who was blinded in Iraq, finds his faith tested, as he and his wife, Amy, struggle to adjust to his blindness, and a new marriage. When his congregation forces him to step down, because of his blindness, they accept a church in a mountain town. From there, they look up, and find the will of God.

No, you won’t find a pedestal, but you will find humor as Jim practices his first baptism with a doll, and you will find inspiration as Jim and Amy find their place in the world, and a stronger faith in God. For readers who enjoy the Mitford Series by Jan Karon.

 

My Thoughts

 

I met Phyllis Staton Campbell several years ago when she joined Behind Our Eyes, an organization of disabled writers, of which I’m president. She has published several other books, most of which I enjoyed.

Where Sheep May Safely Graze did not disappoint me. As I read this book, I experienced a wide range of emotions from joy when Jim and Amy were reunited for the first time after his accident, to anger at snooty church officials who didn’t think a blind person could be a pastor. I was moved, almost to tears, when Jim, after losing his sight, seemed to sense when Amy’s face was in front of him and kissed it. My late husband, also totally blind, was like that, too.

Phyllis demonstrates Jim and Amy’s faith in God. But unlike other authors of Christian fiction, she doesn’t let that dominate the story but subtly shows us that God is looking out for her main characters. I love the ending, where Jim and Amy are gazing at a field of sheep. Even if you’re not into Christian fiction, this book will warm your heart and delight you. You’ll also learn that blindness should never stand in a person’s way.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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My Favorite Places #Essay #Writing Prompt

I enjoy working in my office at my three-corner desk containing my computer, printer, and closed-circuit television magnifier. Behind me is another desk with a braille calendar and other odds and ends. My entertainment center with my stereo receiver, CD player, cassette deck and shelves storing cassettes and CD’s stands in one corner. The speakers sit on a bookcase across from it. This bookcase also holds books and other materials. Next to it is a hutch containing, among other things, my Amazon Echo Tap, which I now use to play music while I’m working. I rarely use the stereo. As I sit at my desk, I can sort of see out a high north-facing window.

At the end of the day, I like to listen to books or podcasts in my recliner. This belonged to my late husband, who was partially paralyzed by two strokes soon after we were married. Now, I feel close to him when I use it. It’s situated in my living room, which also contains a couch, another armchair, a buffet, my piano, and a couple of end tables. The recliner has buttons that raise and lower the head and feet. As I sit there, I can see my front yard through another north-facing window above the couch.

My third favorite place is the YMCA. For years, I’ve been participating in water exercise classes there on a regular basis. Recently, they opened a new aquatic center, which is much nicer than the facilities we were using before. It features several pools, a hot tub, a rock climbing wall, and new locker rooms with private showers. In the morning when I go there, the sunlight streaming in from the windows in the pool area makes the water sparkle.

If you’ve read my latest book The Red Dress, you may be wondering if my main character, Eve, had any favorite places. As she points out in an interview I did with her last summer soon after the book came out, one of her favorite places when she was a child was her father’s bookstore, where she loved to stretch out in an old bathtub filled with pillows. You can read the interview here. If you haven’t read The Red Dress, and you’re now curious, you’ll find more information and ordering links here.

How about you? What are your favorite places? Thanks to Moondance Pages for inspiring this, and thank you for reading.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Coping with Vision Loss #Thursday Book Feature

When You Can’t Believe Your Eyes: Vision Loss and Personal Recovery

by Hannah Fairbairn

Copyright 2019.

 

When you’ve had sight, then lost it, the adjustment process can be difficult. According to her Amazon author page, Hannah Fairbairn lost her sight when she was 33 years old and working as a chef in London. She uses her own experiences plus insights from participants in focus groups at The Carroll Center for the Blind in Massachusetts to provide a short but comprehensive guide to vision loss later in life. Topics include homemaking, mobility, exercise, recreation, and socialization. The book includes resources and references to articles on the author’s website.

Although I’ve been visually impaired since birth, I’ve worked with senior citizens who have lost their vision later in life. So, I was curious as to what advice she would have. Although much of the book didn’t relate to me, I was fascinated by all the tricks she offered. She even gives tips for men on how to use a urinal in a public restroom. I highly recommend this book to seniors and others dealing with vision loss. For those using talking books, it can be downloaded from NLS or obtained through regional libraries.

If Hanna Fairbairn had written a comprehensive guide to being a visually impaired caregiver several years ago, it might have made things easier for me and my late husband. You can read our story in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, which, along with my latest, The Red Dress, is available absolutely free this week from Smashwords as part of its 11th annual Read an eBook Week sale. Smashwords sells books in a variety of accessible formats that can be read on computers or other devices. Click here to download my books. Thank you for reading.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

TMI Tuesday February 25th, 2020

Hello. Welcome. Do tell because it is TMI Tuesday!

 

  1. What time of the day do you feel the most energetic, and what do you usually do in those moments? I have the most energy in the mornings. However, I’ve discovered that if I eat a light supper earlier in the evening, I sleep better at night. When I get a good night’s sleep, I’m often just as energetic in the afternoons as I am in the mornings. I spend my days dealing with email and working on blog posts and other writing projects. I also attend water exercise classes at the YMCA three days a week and occasionally entertain at nursing homes and other senior facilities.
  2. What’s the coolest thing about your life? That would be the fact that I’m the author of five books with a sixth one in progress. My stories and poems have been published in The Weekly Avocet, Magnets and Ladders, and other publications. To learn more about me and my work, click here.
  3. When are you most yourself? Although I enjoy going out, I’m most myself when I’m at home, either working at my computer or relaxing in my recliner.
  4. Would you rather be an ugly genius or a hot moron? I’m not sure I want to be either. I’m happy as I am.
  5. Would you abandon your phone, Internet, family, and friends for three months for a prize of 1 million dollars? Never! All those things are important to me. Besides, what would I do with a million dollars?

Bonus: If you could wave a magic wand right now and have your life be perfect, what would that new life look like? The perfect life would be one where I could see well enough to drive and maintain my own home without assistance. But there are worse things in life than being visually impaired. So, I’m not going to complain.

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If you’d like to participate in TMI Tuesday, click here and follow the instructions. If you don’t have a blog, you’re welcome to leave your answers to any or all these questions in the comment field below. Any way you do it, I look forward to reading your responses. Thank you for stopping by today.

 

as

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

The Impossible Dream #Monday Musical Memories

The song I’m featuring today is from one of my late husband Bill’s favorite musicals, Man of La Mancha. During our long-distance courtship while he was living in Fowler, Colorado, and I here in Sheridan, Wyoming, he mailed me a cassette on which he’d recorded the soundtrack. I still have that tape but prefer to ask Alexa to play it instead.

Man of La Mancha is based on Miguel  De Cervantes’ 17th century novel, Don Quixote. Apparently, as a knight, Don Quixote attempted to reach an impossible star.

So did Bill. After his first stroke in 2006, he worked as hard as he could to get back on his feet. But after his second stroke a year later and seven more months of therapy, that star rose beyond his reach. He said, “They’ve given up on me. I don’t think I’ll ever walk again.” You can read our story in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

Now, here’s Susan Boyle’s lovely rendition of this song. May that impossible star be within reach for you.

 

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

Concealed Cane #Poetry #Excerpt #Thursday Book Feature

Today, I’m tooting my own horn instead of reviewing someone else’s book. I know. Sometimes, I can be so vain.

I’m pleased to announce that my poem, “Concealed Cane,” which was originally published in my collection, That’s Life: New and Selected Poems, now appears in the December 2019 issue of Wordgathering. This online journal features fiction, poetry, essays, book reviews, and interviews by and about disabled people.

Because of the magazine’s move to its new headquarters at Syracuse University, the release of the December 2019 issue was delayed until last week. You can visit the publication here.

The poetry section offers recordings of poets reading their work as well as the text of the poem. My poem is displayed this way. Please click here to read it or listen to a recording of me reading it. Enjoy! Thank you for stopping by.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

Breath of Heaven #Monday Musical Memories

I first heard this song in December of 2005, two months after my late husband Bill and I were married. It captivated me, and for some reason, I couldn’t get it out of my head, even after Christmas.

Then in January of 2006, Bill suffered the first of two strokes. I could now identify with the feelings the Virgin Mary expresses in this song. Why me? Did I have to bear this burden alone? Our future was uncertain.

I have since realized that like the Virgin Mary, I was chosen. Unlike the Virgin Mary, I had a choice. I could have said no to Bill’s marriage proposal, but I didn’t. I could have walked away after he suffered his first stroke, but I never considered that as an option.

If Bill and I hadn’t been married, no doubt he would have been alone in January of 2006 in Fowler, Colorado, when he had that stroke. He would have spent the rest of his life in a nursing home because his family would have been unable to care for him. His quality and quantity of life would have been affected. You can read our full story in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

The song I’m singing today, “Breath of Heaven,” inspired me to write the following poem, which was published in the fall/winter 2018-2019 issue of Magnets and Ladders. If you click on the title, you’ll hear me recite the poem and sing the song.

 

THE POOR BLESSED VIRGIN

 

She stands, alone, cold, weary

after traveling many days and nights.

Why was she chosen to bear this Holy Child?

Must she do it alone?

Will Heaven help her?

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.