As I type this we’re still staying at home, and there is growing conversation about businesses opening up. I’m preparing this post a little early as I have a non-IR release happening this month. I’m excited, because one of my critique partners and dear friend, Kathleen Friesen, agreed to share today. She is one of the authors of this month’s newest boxed set, Love is in the Air. I’m sure you’ll enjoy getting to know her. As a bonus, leave a comment and I’ll choose TWO winners to receive Love is in the Air.
LAND OF LIVING SKIES
Have you ever lain on the ground or an outdoor lounger and gazed at clouds skittering across the expanse of sky? Did you see figures in those white puffballs?
As a child, I loved relaxing on a patch of lush, green grass and imagining all kinds of shapes in the clouds—dogs, birds, maybe a face or even a dragon. The sky came alive to my mind’s eye. While I rarely sprawl on the lawn anymore (at least not on purpose!), I still love to watch the sky and “see” a variety of forms and figures.
My home is in Saskatchewan, Canada, and if you’ve ever seen the license plate on a vehicle from here, you may notice a phrase on it: Land of Living Skies. This province contains a variety of landscapes, but the part we live in is mostly flat—no mountains or even forests in this area to block the view of the overhead display. Spring and summer overhead views range from clear blue skies or puffy cumulus to rain clouds, thunderheads and—the ones that strike fear in my heart—ominous dark clouds that begin to swirl. If clouds appear a greenish tone, we immediately head for shelter. Yes, clouds can determine our actions.
So, after a lifetime of watching clouds, when offered the chance to join an impressive group of authors for a boxed set called Love is in the Air, I assumed it would be a piece of cake. Surely I could come up with a story about clouds or flying. No problem.
Sitting with my laptop open to Word, I stared at the empty page. Day after day. Writer’s block settled in for a long, miserable visit. I had no ideas for a plot, characters, setting—anything at all. I wondered if I’d mistaken pride for direction and thought I might need to back out of the commitment. Notes from other members of the group, Tanya Eavenson, Candee Fick, Laura Hilton, and Kathy Rauser shared their writing progress, but I had nothing. Summer drifted into fall, and my manuscript-to-be remained blank.
“Lord,” I prayed, “I can’t do this without You. I’ve been trying and failing. If You want me to be part of this group, You’ll need to give me the beginning, at least. Something to get me started.” That prayer repeated for a few weeks without results.
One beautiful late summer day, my husband and I drove two of our grandchildren back to their home after spending the day together. Kamikaze bugs (another part of the Living Skies of Saskatchewan) decorated the windshield. Relaxing in the passenger seat, I gazed past dead bugs to the beautiful, partly cloudy sky.
Then something incredible appeared out of the blue, and I gasped. Directly in front of our car, clouds created clear letters: J I M. What in the world? The gravel road had no shoulders to pull onto, and we were late, so my husband continued to drive. I couldn’t snap a photo. Our grandkids tried from the back seat, but the bug splatters blurred their photos. A minute later, wind dispersed the letters. If I didn’t have three witnesses to the amazing sight, I would have thought I’d dreamt it.
Wonder filled me. What did J I M mean? After praying for every Jim I knew, I asked God, “What was that about?” He whispered into my heart, “You asked. I answered. Fly with it!” No wonder I’m convinced of God’s power and compassion—and sense of humor.
That is my “Story Behind the Story,” and I hope you’ll read and enjoy all five novellas in Love is in the Air.
Kathleen Friesen has always loved to lose herself in a good story, especially tales of love and faith that overcome. These days, she’ll often get lost in her current work in progress, whatever it may be. Kathleen’s stories invite the reader to risk faith, dare to love, and enjoy the results.
When she’s not at the keyboard, you can find Kathleen camping, visiting with friends old and new, or helping her husband renovate their house. When the renovations are finally done, there may be a party.
Don’t you want to head outside and gaze at the clouds?
Don’t forget to leave a comment! I’ll draw two names to receive Love is in the Air. —Julie