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BLOGWORDS – 17 July 2017 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – LYNN DEAN

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – LYNN DEAN

 

What it Means to be a Patriot

 

I came from a non-military family, so when I married an Air Force Officer, I was in for a bit of culture shock. For starters, I had to learn the “alphabet soup” lingo the military uses to describe just about everything. I can now tell you that FOD isn’t good around aircraft engines, that it’s good to know what your BAQ is before you PCS, and that when the ADM is TDY life is rough for the NMS, too. (Translations: Foreign Object Defects aren’t good around aircraft engines. It’s good to know what your Basic Allowance for Quarters is before you make a Permanent Change of Station move, and when the Active Duty Member is Temporary Duty life is rough for the Non-Military Spouse, too.) rem: LOL Through our experience with those who sacrifice to protect and defend the Constitution, I have gained a unique perspective on what it means to be a patriot.

I was shocked, for example, to learn that only about 0.4% of Americans make up our active duty military. That’s 4 people volunteering to pay the price for every thousand who enjoy freedom. I’m a writer, so my mind jumped to a writing comparison. This article is about 1000 words long, and 0.4% of those words would be “I came from a…” That’s not much to go on, is it?

But is it enough?

The answer might be “Obviously” or “Yes, as long as we’re not at war,” but we ARE at war. Most citizens forget that. It’s one of the luxuries of being part of the other 99.6%.

In saying that we are currently defended by only 0.4% of our citizens, it is also worth noting that 7.3% of all living Americans have served in the military at some point in their lives. Slightly over 1% of women and over 13% of men are trained defenders—”sheepdogs”—and most of them would gladly stand in the gap again if the need arose.

At its highest the military was made up of 9% of Americans during World War II. Still, less than one tenth went “over there” after we were attacked on our own soil, yet this “bravest generation” tipped the odds in favor of our European Allies. A popular song of the era promised, “We won’t come back ’til it’s over over there.” Americans kept that promise, defending the freedom of others until every enemy was vanquished.

As a child, I always pictured almost every able-bodied citizen fighting for freedom during the American Revolution. How else could the sparsely populated colonies ever have stood up to the well-trained and well-funded British Army otherwise? While it’s true that almost every freedom-minded citizen joined the militia during the first frenzied fighting, others opposed the revolution. In the end only about 6.5% of the American population participated in the Revolution of 1776 on a regular basis.

So few did so much!

What am I saying? That it’s perfectly fine for the majority of us to sit at home—fat, dumb, and happy as sheep grazing on a hillside—while a few valiant souls defend our comfortable way of life?

Not at all…but neither am I saying that we shall all perish unless the majority “wake up,” as so many pundits on both sides insist. We’ve never required the majority of our population to join the military. I find it very encouraging to observe what a few passionate souls can accomplish even though vastly outnumbered. Think of it! For every six who fought alongside George Washington for our liberty, 94 stayed home beside their cozy fires. I do wonder a bit how their consciences allowed them to sleep in comfort while other men defended their homes and families, but I know with certainty that the heartfelt efforts of a relative few are more effective than a fair-weather crowd of thousands with only lukewarm conviction. These vigilant defenders deserve our admiration and gratitude.

Does that mean those of us who are not in the military cannot be guardians of liberty? Certainly not! There are many ways to show patriotism.

We are patriots when we remember and understand what others have sacrificed and died to provide for us. They died for liberty—the God-given rights of men to direct their lives without limits set by other men. Liberty is different from license, which is the permission men grant themselves to do as they like without regard for other men and with no thought of God. License is self-centered. No one died so that we could live raucously. When I remember that people died to give me liberty, I think of the closing lines of Saving Private Ryan: “I tried to live my life the best that I could. I hope that was enough. I hope that, at least in your eyes, I’ve earned what all of you have done for me.”

We are patriots when we read and study the Constitution others have fought to protect and defend, because it is the document that defines our liberty under God. The Constitution doesn’t grant us rights. God did that. The Constitution is merely a formal recognition of the rights God gave each of us. If we don’t know what our rights are, we won’t even notice if someone takes them away. If there’s something the majority of citizens should “wake up” to, this is it. rem: emphasis mine. The Constitution with all its signatures and amendments contains less than eight thousand words, making it about the length of a short story or article you’d read in a magazine. Surprised? I was! It fits easily into a pamphlet and can be read in less than an hour. Have you read it? The way I look at it, the Bible contains the gift Jesus died to give me, and the Constitution contains the gift our forefathers died to give me. One is the foundation of  my spiritual freedom, and the other lays the foundation for my political freedom. I figure it would be a good idea to be well acquainted with both!

We don’t all necessarily have to volunteer for the military and serve on foreign fronts to be true patriots, but patriotism is much more than baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and fireworks. Patriotism is caring passionately about our history and our culture and tending to the things that matter—the things that made us great, and the things that make us good. Remember, and live deliberately.

 


 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Growing up in Texas, I dictated my first stories to my mom before I was old enough to write them down myself. She humored me, for which I am grateful, and I’ve been telling stories in one form or another ever since.

Fast forward more years than I’ll admit to. Children grown. House quiet. Finally more time to get serious about writing for publication, and what an exciting time to write!

I write about the things I know. The things I love. God, family, history, and how those things fit together.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Dean/e/B008520VOA/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1499976490&sr=1-2

https://www.facebook.com/Wordsworth-PublishingLynn-Dean-161921870546466/

 

 

#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Lynn Dean, Patriot, U. S. History

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BLOGWORDS – Tuesday 13 June 2017 – TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – NEW RELEASE EVENT – STRONGER THAN MOUNTAINS BY LYNN DEAN

TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – RELEASE DAY EVENT – STRONGER THAN MOUNTAINS BY LYNN DEAN

Millie Morelle married her cowboy, Zeke, expecting only happiness ever after.

She was young and beautiful, he was strong and hard-working. How could their future be anything but wonderful?
Each had dreams to last a lifetime . . . but after fifteen years of heartbreaking disappointments, their goals seem to lie in opposite directions. They may share a home and a passel of kids, but they’re living separate lives, and no one is happy. Why did they ever fall in love in the first place?
Reaching a point of desperation, each makes choices for survival—choices that may destroy the very things they’re trying to save.

Will they be able to salvage, separately, something that can only be built together—a love that is stronger than mountains?

 

Chapter 1

Slim Pickens Ranch,

Moreno Valley, New Mexico

 

Eyes wide, fingers rigid, Millie Pickens clutched the quilt below her chin, listening. The sound that awakened her was now lost on the other side of the boundary between sleep and consciousness. She exhaled soundlessly, her breath forming a cloud in the lean-to.

A faint pink glow tinged the frost on the windowpanes. She lay quiet, listening, drinking in the silence as her heartbeat returned to its normal rhythm. The few precious moments of peace before the late winter sunrise were almost enough to make its bitter cold worth enduring.

Zeke lay still beside her, jaw lax, mouth agape. Millie stretched her toes closer to his sleeping form, soaking in the warmth that radiated from his body. Most days he was up before the sun, but for a few weeks each year before calving season there was a blessed respite. Feathers rustled beneath her ear as she turned her head to study his profile in the pale light.

Despite the stubble he was still a handsome man, though the years had left their mark. His face had lost its boyish eagerness in exchange for a few wrinkles. The creases gave him character, but she missed the lopsided grin he always wore when they were young. One teasing glance—one wink—used to make her knees go wobbly. The twinkle in his eye explained the four young ‘uns asleep in the loft . . . and the four young ‘uns explained her gratitude for this moment of peace.

There should have been two more, but maybe the Lord knew she had all she could handle. The four she had would be up soon enough, clamoring for breakfast. Then their needs along with the duties of home and farm would claim pieces of her all day long until she collapsed onto the straw tick again tonight. She loved them, but mothering was like being nipped to death by tadpoles.

rem:   Hullo Lynn, Congrats on your new book! Love this pic of you! If you could live anywhere in any time period, where would you go?

LYNN:   Right now! I love history, and I love “time traveling” through reading, but I firmly believe that God placed me right here and right now “for such a time as this.” Besides, in any number of centuries or decades, I’d have long since died of many illnesses or accidents that are now completely preventable or treatable!

rem:   Ooh! One of my foundation Scriptures! Where did you find this story idea?

LYNN:   While I was writing More Precious Than Gold, Millie kept trying to take over! She’s was a giddy, talkative little thing who used to drive the sober-minded, quiet heroine of that first story crazy. But Eliza (the heroine of Book 1) and I both began to see that Millie ran deeper than she appeared at first meeting.

rem:   Millie is kinda that way, ain’t she? Who was the easiest character to write and why? The most difficult?

LYNN:   Definitely Zeke! I loved him in More Precious Than Gold. He was happy-go-lucky, head-over-heels in love, and easy-to-get-along-with. Then after 15 years of marriage, several babies, and some serious threats to his career he started acting like he couldn’t remember why he ever got married in the first place. It was hard to write the “ugly” side of loveable Zeke and make that part of him believable. To do that, I had to find out why he was so stressed out…what he was afraid of. The result, though, was a very complex and relatable character.

rem:   It was hard to read too, but I appreciate him more for it; he’s more believable. What do you munch on while you’re writing / researching / editing?

LYNN:   I usually start my writing day over breakfast, which is almost always a cup of cinnamon/raisin granola with yogurt and a cup of coffee. After that, though, I’m pretty much “into it” for the day and often forget to eat anything for lunch.

rem:   So healthy! What do you do to recover once you’ve typed “THE END?”

LYNN:   I celebrate! Make a big announcement on Facebook and then take my family out to dinner. 🙂

rem:  And all of us in FB land are glad you do! Thanks for taking a few minutes to chat with us today, Lynn! (looking forward to yournext book in the Sangre de Cristo series!)

 

Growing up in Texas, I dictated my first stories to my mom before I was old enough to write them down myself. She humored me, for which I am grateful, and I’ve been telling stories in one form or another ever since.

Fast forward more years than I’ll admit to. Children grown. House quiet. Finally more time to get serious about writing for publication, and what an exciting time to write!

I write about the things I know. The things I love. God, family, history, and how those things fit together.

 

The [flood] water was up the shank of Jake’s boots by the time he followed [the horses] out of the barn and into the deep gray light of morning.

An orange glow marked the cabin window. He headed for that.

Across the porch.

Through the front door.

House empty? He poked his head up the ladder. Checked the lean-to. A sick feeling gripped his gut as the dim light of the fire showed him the stacks of furs and smoked meats.

No good to a dead man.

 

Jake felt his heart tear through his chest. He’d lost one son. He was not about to lose another.

 

Specters of all the could go wrong on a trail drive spiraled from the well of her imagination like bats swarming from a dark cave.

 

“Maybe, though often it’s not so much a matter of saying the right thing as it is keeping out of God’s way while He’s whispering to them.”

 

…The mountains speak to me…” He tapped his fist to his chest, over where his heart rested. “…in here, telling me that as grand and impressive as they are, the blessing of God is stronger still.”

 

1 – This book took me a loooong time to write! In some ways, all the “life” that happened between Book 1 and Book 2 in this series became a real-life blooper…but in the end I think it made the story better.

2 – Not a blooper, exactly, but I’m always amazed at the way my characters take on lives of their own during the process of writing. For example, I knew that Zeke and Millie were from the Deep South (East Texas and Louisiana, specifically), but I was surprised to find out that they’d named all their children after Confederate generals. (More about that in the Quotes section.)

3 – On that same note, I had a name in mind for Millie’s “surprise blessing”, but it took a little research to come up with a fifth general whose name would work as a child’s given name. Then, when I was typing up that scene, I was surprised to find out that Millie had actually come up with TWO names for the baby–a first AND a middle name, both Confederate generals.

4 – Millie also “grew up” during the five years it took me to write the story. In her earlier days, she would have torn into Zeke and given him the sharp edge of her tongue, but as the story took shape I was surprised to find she’d mellowed and learned restraint as she began to understand her husband’s “baggage.”

5 – Perhaps the biggest “blooper” was the change of cover. I had a working cover with a model I just loved. She was “Millie” in my mind for all the years I was working on this story. But styles and expectations for Indie covers changed over the years. After much prayer and saving up, I decided to have the covers for all the books in this series updated so they’d look more like a set…and the photos I’d originally loved couldn’t be made to work in the new format. I’ll share it with you here, though, so you can see my beautiful friend, Cassandra, who will always be “Millie” in my mind.

 

  1. Stronger Than Mountains, the sequel to More Precious Than Gold, is the second of three books in the Sangre de Cristo series.
  2. The Sangre de Cristos are a mountain range in northeastern New Mexico.
  3. “Sangre de Cristo” means “blood of Christ”—a very convenient coincidence for an inspirational history series! 🙂
  4. The series is set in and around Elizabethtown, New Mexico–a thriving boom town that sprang up when gold was discovered in the Moreno Valley in 1867.
  5. Author Lynn Dean’s first professional work was a Texas History curriculum, Discover Texas, produced since 1999 for use in private and parochial schools.
  6. Though Stronger Than Mountains takes place entirely in New Mexico, the idea for the series originated with several historical events the author discovered while researching for Discover Texas. These real-life characters and events, which took place shortly after the end of the Civil War, are woven into the experience of a fictional heroine who survived them all and headed West to escape her grief…only to run headlong into the man who caused it!
  7. Like More Precious Than Gold, Stronger Than Mountains incorporates real-life characters and events—namely the Colfax County Land Wars—and a fictional couple who must find a way to survive intact from their struggle.
  8. Life was considerably harder and more risky in 1885! Average life expectancy was 40-47 years.
  9. As many as 1 in 4 women in the 19th century died in childbirth. When you consider that women typically had more children then than now, it puts the risk of motherhood into perspective!
  10. Elizabethtown, New Mexico, is now a ghost town. Little remains besides a few adobe walls, a cemetery, and some artifacts in a museum. My family has skied in nearby Red River for two generations. (Angel Fire and Taos are also close.) I was always fascinated by the ruins of Elizabethtown and the cultural history of this region, and used to imagine what it would have been like to live there in its heyday. These books are, perhaps, my way of bringing the old town back to life.

 

Life has a way of maturing us. Taking the temperament of our youth and turning it into sour grapes—or abiding strength.

 

Millie Morelle was a saucy strong willed girl when she rolled into Zeke Perkins’ life. Pretty thing, too, and she caught his eye.

Zeke was a strapping young cowboy—and fine looking too—who quickly won Millie’s heart. They started their life together full of hope and promises.

 

But life tossed them one hard ball after another and they each fought to survive the best they knew how. Would their differences tear them apart? Or rebuild what they once started and make them stronger?

 

 

Ms. Dean joins fiction and history together to tell a compelling story. Life wasn’t easy in the “wild west,” on the frontier, mountain life harder still. Amenities were scarce if they existed at all and Ms. Dean’s telling of it puts the reader directly in the cold lean-to cabin and the sweltering heat of a summer cattle drive.  I cried, I railed, and I rooted for the characters as life and nature came against them. I held my breath when disaster struck and cheered as they overcame. I truly inspiring story.

 

I purchased this book on Amazon. I offer my review of my own volition, and the opinions expressed in my review are my own honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

 

#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Release Day Event, Stronger than Mountains, Lynn Dean, Sangre de Christo Series, More Precious than Gold, Flowing like Rivers

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NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – LYNN DEAN

slide - 022216 - lynn dean - banner

reposted from 22 February 2016

 

Why Writers Write

…or why this writer writes, anyway. 😉

 

I applied for a job after my last child graduated from high school. Since we homeschooled I hadn’t worked outside the home in quite a while, so putting together a resumé was something of an ordeal. How could I explain the twists and turns of my life?

 

As I wrote I began to see a sure direction in the seemingly random path of my life. In college I studied architecture but married after graduation instead of completing my masters and certification. I could design homes without the certification, and that’s where my heart was. Through many relocations and child-raising years, I drew custom house plans from a home office—a situation that gave my life balance. When our homeschool co-op needed a drafting teacher, I volunteered. They approached me about a high school writing course, and I accepted that position as well. I’d always loved writing and had written a state history course, Discover Texas, for my own children.

 

slide 1

 

That experience was more or less like writing ten separate-but-related research papers, turning out one per month for each chronological era. I’d learned a lot of shortcuts between the first chapter and the last, so I knew I could teach high school students to write a research paper efficiently and make it interesting. While researching Discover Texas I’d also discovered many inspiring human interest stories. After my first child graduated, I tried my hand at historical fiction. The result was More Precious Than Gold, the first novel in an inspirational series. I was hooked…but life was busy. Discover Texas had become a cottage industry in its own right. Children graduated high school, then college…then marriage proposals and wedding plans and more moves. I got to put my architectural talents to work remodeling the house we left and the one we moved into, juggling time to help aging parents with moves of their own. Frustrated, I made time during one quiet month to enjoy combining my love of architecture and writing in a project just for fun—Home Sweet Hole: A Folio of Feasible Fantasy Floor Plans. I told myself I was just “keeping one foot in the water,” but the little book came out about the same time as the Lord of the Rings movies and surprised me by becoming a very good seller. Encouraged, I waded cautiously back into writing—this time returning to non-fiction to produce a series based on my most popular homeschool convention presentations. How to Teach the Way Your Child Learns and How to Make Learning Meaningful, Memorable, and Fun are published, and the final two books in the Homeschool How-To series will release by summer.

 

slide 2

 

In the end I didn’t get the job I applied for, but I commented to a family member that I was glad I wrote the resumé. It helped me see how everything I did fit together—even if it sometimes didn’t seem to while I was doing it.

 

She responded, “Oh. Well, I’m glad. You never really decided what you wanted to do when you grew up.”

 

Gotta admit—that stung. I wanted to snap back a protest. “Oh yes, I did! I wanted to do it all…and I did!”

 

Instead I bit my tongue, but as usual I’m putting down in writing all the things I wanted to say but couldn’t.

 

You’re welcome. 😉

 

Writers write down the things they can’t say out loud. Most of us are introverts. It isn’t easy to speak publicly until we’ve had time to organize our thoughts. Writing gives us that time. Besides, the largest group I’ve ever spoken to at a convention was about 200 people. My books have been read by thousands of people—not enough to be called best sellers, but still a larger audience than I could have reached any other way.

 

Writers have something to say. Because I spend a lot of time quietly observing and “living inside my head,” I have many perspectives to share. Writing is a comfortable way to do that. It’s not “pushy” or confrontational. No one is obligated to buy or read what I write, so it’s almost as if readers are inviting me to share with them personally.

 

Writers write to help others. I like doing that! I wrote Discover Texas because I didn’t want my children to be bored with history, and there was no hands-on history course available at the time. Other homeschool parents liked it and asked if I’d publish it for their children. I’m writing the Homeschool How-To series to explain how and why hands-on learning works. I wrote More Precious Than Gold to show how God take difficult circumstances and turn them into a blessing, and I wrote Home Sweet Hole because…well, sometimes we just need a “happy place” to dream a little, even if it’s imaginary.

 

Often, writers want to help without hurting your feelings. We can say things through our characters that we wouldn’t and couldn’t tell you to your face. Instead we tell you a story like the one Nathan the prophet told King David. For example in the beginning of More Precious Than Gold the heroine, Eliza, is having a pity party—and she has every reason. Both her mother and her fiancé died in a war that she had no part in. She heads west to New Mexico Territory to escape her grief and runs headlong into the man who caused it. At this point she has to decide whether her faith in God is just lip service or if she really trusts Him in both good times and bad.

 

Writers get a rush out of creating. Lest you think that writers are motivated solely by noble causes, I must admit that telling stories is just plain fun! There’s something about creating characters who will come to life in readers’ imaginations that gives me the same satisfaction as creating plans for a home that will envelope a family. Besides, I rather enjoy telling people what to do…but only in the kindest possible way. 😉

 

So that’s my story. All of our lives are a story, really, just as history is a story—the story of God working out His plans and reconciling the world to Himself, one life at a time.

 

Whatever direction your life and work take you, if God called you to it, He can use it even if the path is not always direct.

 

 slide 3

 

Growing up in Texas, I dictated my first stories to my mom before I was old enough to write them down myself. She humored me, for which I am grateful, and I’ve been telling stories in one form or another ever since.

I write about the things I know. The things I love. God, family, history, and how those things fit together.

 

slide 4

 

You can find Lynn at:

http://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Dean/e/B008520VOA/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1454871821&sr=1-2-ent

www.discovertexasonline.com

 

http://www.handsonhomeschoolresources.com

 

 

New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Lynn Dean, Discover Texas, More Precious than Gold, Home Sweet HoleSave

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