Tomorrow Is The Big Day!

Tomorrow, April 25th, is “The Big Day” when we celebrate the Hatchday of Gracie and Bessie! They will both be two years old. It’s also when our first eBook will be available on Barnes and Noble!

Just as a reminder, today is the last day for our readers to get a free copy. This post has the links and directions you will need. The responses have all been overwhelmingly positive from those who have read “Seasons Of Friendship,” and we appreciate your kind words so much!

After discussing this with Gracie and Bessie, we have decided to give any and all royalties from “Seasons Of Friendship” until the end of the year to the women’s group at St. John’s Church which sponsors our annual Flower Festival from April 26th through 28th. This year, the Flower Festival follows their Hatchday. Each chapter in “Seasons Of Friendship” is illustrated with garden plants as a celebration of beauty and friendship. What a perfect combination of events!

Gracie and Bessie will help with baking cupcakes again this year for the Bake Sale part of the Flower Festival! (Maybe Bessie will share her recipes?)

The “A.W.E.-some” women at St. John’s always give and they always give their very best. They love everyone no matter what, and I’ve never known them to turn anyone away who needed help. They always have a smile and a kind word, particularly for those who are the most vulnerable and have no voice. These are just some of the reasons why Gracie and Bessie call them their friends.

Our church is in the heart of the oldest part of our city which has a large homeless population. There are many others who have a home but are still struggling in many ways. At St. John’s, we love. We help. No strings attached.

After you’ve enjoyed a free “Thank You” copy, please consider purchasing “Seasons Of Friendship” through Barnes and Noble between April 25th and December 31st. You will be doing a wonderful kindness that will help people who simply need a loving friend who will accept and welcome them just as they are.

My Life With Gracie taught me, there is never a season when we don't need friendship.

My Life With Gracie…Seasons Of Friendship

“What are you doing?” asked Gracie.

“I’m making some pencil sketches of you and the others.”

“Why would you do that?”

“So I won’t forget any of you.”

“You aren’t forgetful. You always remember to feed us.”

“Well, sometimes people forget even though they don’t want to forget especially when they get old. So I want some words and some pictures to help me remember just in case that ever happens to me.”

“What will you do with all these words and pictures?”

“I will put them in a book and maybe share the book with other people.”

Gracie thought this over carefully. “Do they need to remember us too?”

“No. They just need to know how special you are and how much wisdom you have.”

“I don’t know if I have any wisdom.”

“Well, you do. You have taught me more about life than I can ever write or draw.”

“Are you sure? You’re so much bigger than me. You’ve got to know a lot more than me.”

“There are a lot of big people who need your kind of wisdom. You know heart things, Gracie. That’s what really matters.”

“Are you going to tell about Bessie and how she likes to cook?”

“Maybe in another book.”

“Are you going to tell about Pearl and how she puts on comedy shows for all of us in the backyard?”

“Maybe in another book.”

“Are you going to tell about Amelia and how she wants to be the first chicken to fly to the moon and back?”

“Maybe in another book.”

I could guess what her next question was going to be because she was too hesitant to ask it.

“And as much as I want to tell about how you dance ballet, I will do that in another book too. I want that to be the most special book of all.”

“But you promise you will?”

“I promise, and we can work on it together.”

I could tell there was still something troubling her. “What else do you want to know, Gracie?”

“In the ballet book, can you draw a picture of me dancing with you in the streets of Paris? I don’t think we will ever really get to dance there together.”

“Of course, Gracie. Drawing lets you do things you would never be able to do any other way.”

“So what will this book be about?”

“It will be about how our little family came to be. It will also be about the most important and wisest things you taught me about friendship.”

“I like that,” she said approvingly.

“I thought you would.”

Today’s post is the Introduction to a book I’ve been working on titled “Seasons Of Friendship.” There are still some final tasks to complete before it is finished. Hopefully within the next week, all will be ready so I can share it with you, our readers and friends.

Our plan is to make it available as a free ebook download during the week leading up to April 25th. Why April 25th? That is the “Hatchday” celebration for Bessie and Gracie! It is also a way of saying “Thank You” for reading and liking and commenting.

You are a seriously huge part of helping to make “My Life With Gracie” what it is. In fact, even the title “Seasons Of Friendship” is based on a comment made by a regular reader who wrote, “I wish I had a friend like Gracie.”

My Life With Gracie taught me a writer without readers has no idea what he’s pecking at or scratching for!

My Life With Gracie…Life Questions

Life Questions

I have heard people say, “I hate my life.” Perhaps many of us have felt this way at some time. But what does this mean?

In the evening when I secure my chickens in their coop for the night to keep them safe from predators, we say our evening prayers. We pray to sleep well and warm, to be healthy and whole, and to be free from harm.

On some tough days, I may add, “Help us to love the life we have been given.”

This time last year, I had taken in Emily and Amelia, two refugee chickens. Every day they were accustomed to having time to run and fly free out in the country with a large double lot backyard.

I wondered if they were thinking “My life is miserable now.”

At first, I built a small temporary coop and run for just Emily and Amelia, then I worked on a large one to hold all six chickens. It was rather confining for the two of them, and not large enough for me to get inside and become better acquainted with them.

They were just a few feet away from the coop and run for Gracie, Bessie, Blanche, and Pearl. So they did have a chance to get used to seeing each other and talking with each other. They all began to sound more alike as “country chicken” and “city chicken” dialects blended.

When the large new coop and run were completed, it was finally time to join everyone together into one flock in their new home.

Emily moved in first. She seemed to panic a bit because she was separated from Amelia for the first time ever, but that was only for a few minutes. Her curiosity took over and she began exploring.

Amelia moved in next. When I picked her up she felt much lighter than I had expected. Later I realized she likes to fluff out her feathers for extra warmth and also to look bigger and braver than she really might be.

When I placed her down inside her new home, she didn’t run off to see what Emily was doing. Instead, she looked up at me and hopped straight up into the air. She hopped no more than six inches off of the ground which was all her plump little body would allow without any extra wing-flapping.

This was her way of saying, “Please pick me up and hold me.” In a single moment, she had captured my heart forever.

Having Emily and Amelia join our backyard flock helped me see how “my life” means several different things.

There is “my life which others have made for me.” This is based on the choices others have made. Some have had our best interests at heart, but others have not. This was Emily and Amelia moving from the country to the city.

There is “my life which I have made.” This is based on the choices we have made, the things we have done and left undone. This was Emily and Amelia being friends for each other and eventually Gracie and the others.

Finally there is “my life which I have been given.” This is based on who we are deep inside. It is made of those things which will always be there regardless of the choices others make for us or we make for ourselves. This was Emily and Amelia before they even hatched.

“My life which I have been given” is a wellspring of hope when we tap into it. This is who we are at our core whether we are free or confined, rich or poor, sick or healthy. It is who we are before people and circumstances begin to shape us or before we even begin to shape ourselves. This was what made Amelia need to be picked up and held. This was what made me need to pick her up and hold her too.

Perhaps we are most content when “the life others have made for us” and “the life we have made for ourselves” work in harmony with “the life we have been given.” But that isn’t always possible. Nevertheless, we can help and encourage each other along the way.

My Life With Gracie (and Emily and Amelia) helped me to think more deeply about the life I have been given.

While I am still doing my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, making new illustrations which will work better in print is taking some time! Hopefully you can see a difference in this Illustration and the one from last Saturday. Meanwhile, every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!