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Collecting leaves…

This time of year has always been a reflective time for me.

With all the leaves falling and changing colors? I stop to think about the year so far.

Some of the leaves falling are bright colored and fascinating. Others fall already dark and dull.

Some of leaves fall right next to the roots of the tree .. and some travel quite a ways.

Sometimes those leaves can be pretty messy.. and not fun to clean up. But I cannot help but be thankful for the trees anyway.

The bright colored leaves are fun to collect. I’ve often thought about making a collection of them. But then I always toss them back into the wind.

In many way, the memories from this year are like those leaves. Some of them shine with bright colors and bring a smile to my face.

Some of them?

Some are darker moments.. and take a lot more time to process .. They are still part of my year but not the memories I want to dwell on.

But today?

Today, as I watched a brightly shining leaf fall on a dried up dull one…?

I wondered… would that leaf look so bright…?

… if it hadn’t just fallen after the darker one?

As I picked up the bright red leaf…

I remembered the moment I put my feet in the grass for the first time… after I had been too sick and too weak to do so for weeks.

That grass.. that ordinary grass… looked like the most amazing of God’s creations to me .. in that moment.

But would it have looked as amazing to me? If I hadn’t struggled to get down the stairs? If I hadn’t needed to carry an oxygen tank to get that far?

No. The grass would have looked ordinary to me.. without the dull colored leaf to compare it to.

This November, I am going to post my thankful posts. But they may look a little different. I’m going to be thankful 2021 style.

I am going to collect those brightest colored leaves before they blow away… and maybe a few dull colored ones while I am at it.


Head in the clouds..

After a long complicated year, I spent the morning taking pictures.

Not carefully aimed photos of kids about to graduate.. not precious photos of new life..

Today was simple.

Anything that caught my eye?

I just focused and shot. The texture of a brick wall.. the shade of the tree… the light through the leaves… the dew on the grass…

Simple moments.. simple tasks…

I was just a girl with a camera.. with her head in the clouds..

What a good thing…



Recently.. I launched my book, Shadows, into the world. To make it a momentous occasion, some friends of mine helped me host a book signing. I made sure I had books available to purchase.. I made sure I had pens to personally sign each book… We made coffee and cookies… And I decided I would give a brief talk.. followed by a question and answer opportunity. To prepare myself, I asked my Facebook friends and family what questions they would ask me. Things that they were curious to know. I used these questions at the launching… and I was asked many more.

After the Book Launching day passed.. I received messages from people who wished they could have come hear me speak. I understand this feeling. Life is so busy that it is impossible to do everything we would like to do. But in this one instance? In this instance, I can share a few of the questions (and answers) I talked about…

Here are a few of the most frequently asked…

#1.  Is Shadows a continuation of your blog site?

Short answer… No!

Long answer… My blog site is made up of short stories from my life. Simply put.. it’s non-fiction.  My thoughts, my memories, my sorrows, my hardships.. from the real life of Jules Nelson.  Shadows is my first published work of fiction. It is about the thoughts, memories, sorrows and hardships of a fictional young lady named Emma Fern Wells. And while many people enjoy reading about the lives of both, they are NOT one and the same.

#2. What made you want to write a book?

Short answer … I am a writer. It is nice to put the works of my brain on paper.

Long answer… As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to write a book.  Ever since I was a little girl, I have made up characters and mapped out their stories. Where ever I was, my mind would slip into my writer’s world. Whether I was folding laundry.. or washing dishes.. or raking leaves.. or vacuuming.. or sweeping… my mind would be a million miles away.. Sometimes hundreds of years away. Wondering how a young lady would do the same task 100 years earlier. OR wondering if a young lady would have been allowed to do that task…  YES.. you can imagine that my mother was annoyed with me on more than one occasion… Everything I did was done to perfection.. but it took FOREVER.  When I was old enough to write things down.. I did.. I often filled notebooks full of stories.  My first stories just rambled.. weaving and wobbling along with no particular direction. By my teen years, I had gotten the hang of sticking to a plot.

#3.  If you have been writing since childhood.. why did it take you so long to complete a novel?

Short answer… Life.

Long answer… Life during high school and college is so busy.. and packed full of activities.. there was NO time to write. I kept my usual journal for awhile… but that too fell by the wayside after a few years. Then I met my wonderful husband.. and had my 2 amazing kids. These 3 people consumed my life for a time. When my son was diagnosed with Autism, all my research went into learning new therapies and new concepts. Even when life was at its busiest, I never stopped making up stories. I would develop characters and tell adventures with them to my daughter. Make up new endings to terrible movies. But until recently? Until my husband’s job brought our family home to Michigan, my life was not simple enough for me to write a book.

#4. What inspired you to write Shadows?

Short answer… Hmm.. there isn’t one.

Long answer… I love History. Not the type of history that you learn in the classroom.. not all the dates and facts.. But history ITSELF. The clothes they wore in a certain time period.. What those particular clothes said about a person… How you could often tell what class a person was in by the clothes they wore… How they cooked… What they ate…

Whenever I learn something new, I try to tie it back to something I already knew. For instance, wagon trains were going on before and after the civil war. These were NOT two separate time periods .. but one and the same.  So to head off to join the war? They traveled for WEEKS by wagon or horseback to meet up with the army.

There are photographs of the soldiers during the civil war. A strange mixture of primitive conditions. Pictures of living in tents and cooking over fires. Pictures of women washing the officer’s clothes. The more I thought about the photos… the more I thought about how SOME of these soldiers could have been on a wagon train. How none of the scenes in these pictures would have been unusual for them. They would have slept in tents.. and cooked over fires.. and washed clothes in any creek they could find. The more I thought about the soldiers.. the more I thought about the wives they left behind..

And then I decided that SOMEONE should write their story.. the story of the wives left behind to do the job of pioneer woman and man both.. left behind to do it all alone, in most cases. And I decided that I could do it.

#5. When did you know you would write Shadows?

Short answer.. As soon as I developed Emma’s character… and had a dream about her.

Long answer… Shadows is actually the prequel to the story I want to write about the civil war wives. The more I developed the character of Emma.. the young mother who will be left behind.. the more I longed to tell her story from the beginning. When I had a dream about the person she would have been? I woke up with the firm decision that I would start with Emma…. that I would write Shadows before I wrote Ashes… I would write where she came from.. who she was… write about how God shaped her character..

#6. Do you plan to write another book soon?

Short answer… Yes.

Long answer… I am already writing the next book. Shadows is the first of 3 books that follow Emma’s life. The next book.. the ONE that I am currently working on… will follow Emma’s first year of marriage (no spoilers here.. so I won’t tell you who she marries). I am hoping to have this second book, Road Home, finished by Spring 2015. The third book will follow Emma as the Civil War breaks out. When her young husband leaves her behind to take care of their growing family and the farm.

#7. Where do you find ideas for your books?

Short answer… Everywhere..

Long answer… Everywhere… Research… ballads… undeveloped characters in other novels… phrases in songs that leave you thinking.. photographs… pretty much anywhere…

#8. What is the most important aspects of writing?

Short answer… Details… and editing.

Long answer… Details!  Lots of details.. If I can explain my story the way I see it in my mind? If I can describe my characters so that you can “see” them as you read? If I can do that? Well, then you won’t want to put my pages down. That is when my story becomes a book.  AND THEN? And then I edit to make sure my words say EXACTLY what I want them to say. Nothing slows down a reader more than typing errors.. or words used in the wrong context.(I know this because I love to read.) So details and editing.

#9. How much (if any) does Shadows reflect your life experiences? 

Short answer… A little…

Long answer… Emma’s faith is similar to mine. Unwavering and simple. I trust the Lord to provide for my needs.. and so does Emma. Emma has brothers.. and so do I. Brothers who are protective, supportive and loving.. Other than that? Other than that, Shadows reflects my life long pursuit of knowledge and everything history.

#10. What was your most life changing experience about writing this book (Shadows)?

Short answer.. Peace.

Long answer… Writing this book was exciting and fun… and fulfilling. But the most life changing experience would be the peace I feel. Writing is what I was meant to do.. and it feels so good to be doing it.

I hope you all have read Shadows.. and I hope you really enjoyed it.

Keep the questions coming.. but for now…

I need to get back to writing…

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

The Liebster award is an informal award that is given to up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers, who then nominate other up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers. I was nominated by Jenn Lost in Chaos.  Thank you Jenn for the nomination! Please go and check out her blog, especially She Inspires Me.

These are the rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their site.
  • Answer the 10 questions provided.
  • Nominate 10 new up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers.
  • Create your own 10 questions to be answered by the bloggers you nominated.

Here are the questions Jenn asked me:

  1. Why did you start blogging?  I love to tell stories and to write.  Recently a friend told me I should share these stories with others.  After a lot of prayer, I went out on a limb… and started blogging.  I started out just on Facebook.. then moved to WordPress. 
  2. What is your favorite time of day?  I LOVE the early morning hours.  Midnight to 3 am are my favorite.  There is no need to feel guilty to be Still .. To just read or write or watch movies.  Cleaning anything would wake up my family.. so it is guilt free time.  When I am not “one” with my insomnia.. I love the early hours of morning before my kids wake up.  A time when the day is fresh and new.. and full of hope.
  3. Who inspires you and why?  My kids inspire me.  In this imperfect world, my kids overcome their “weaknesses” and shine.  What do you see when you look at them?  All you see are their beautiful souls.  That is who I want to be.  Just a beautiful soul.
  4. What is your favorite animal and why?  My favorite animal is (and probably always will be) the elephant.  Why?  I am not sure.  Maybe because they are so graceful.  Maybe because of their understated strength.  Maybe because it is said that an elephant never forgets… or that elephants actually mourn their loved ones when they die.  But honestly?  Honestly I just think they are beautiful.
  5. How do you like to waste time? Reading.. or research.  Or maybe reading research.  I LOVE to read.  I can reread my favorite books, read new books.. or simply read a documentary on the use of vitamins in Autism treatment.  Reading is in my blood.
  6. Name one place you would like to visit and why.  I love to travel with my family.  Our goal is to see every state in the US before my daughter graduates.  But if I had to pick a place outside of the United States… then I would love to visit Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Western Europe.  My family immigrated from those countries over the last 300 years.. and I have a burning desire to see where I come from.  I would tour castles.. and walk through old forests.  Visit old farmhouses.  I just want to breathe the air.. and see what stories the air will tell me.  
  7. If you celebrated Halloween and dressed up as a kid what was your favorite costume and why?  I know I dressed up for Halloween as a kid.. but I don’t remember any of my costumes.  I remember some of my younger brothers’ costumes.. but none of my own.  What I do remember was that amazing feeling of being “safely” scared.  I remember the excitement as you knocked on each door, wondering what treat you would get.  And I remember knowing some of the neighbors so well, that we would all be ushered inside for hot cocoa and candied apples.  So I guess the costumes were really irrelevant.  Only the happiness mattered.
  8. Do you believe in miracles?  Absolutely.  As soon as my firstborn child was born.. all doubts disappeared.  I always knew that God could do all things according with His Plan…  But holding the child that had grown inside me… it erased any doubts.
  9. What is  your favorite book, tv show or movie? Pick one or all three.  (I am going to pause here.. like I am thinking about it.)  Without a doubt.. My favorite book is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  The movie version that BBC produced of Pride and Prejudice is amazing as well.  I have read and re-read this book every year since I was 16.  It is a marvelous look at life and relationships of England so long ago.  The story itself is ultimately a romance.  But before the romance rears its head.. you have thoroughly learned the characters of everyone in the story.  To live so completely inside someone else’s life?  It is fascinating!!  
  10. What have you learned from blogging? I have learned a lot.  Blogging is like visiting a close friend.  Someone who lets you spill everything on your mind without interrupting ..before they reply.  That refreshing feeling you get when you talk yourself out.  I get that satisfied feeling every time I finish typing a post. That is what blogging has done for me.  But what I didn’t expect to learn from blogging?  I didn’t expect people to understand the way I think and feel.  I didn’t expect for people to feel the emotions that go behind my words.  That was an added Blessing.  

Here are your questions:

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. What is your favorite season?
  3. If you could have lunch with one person, past or present.. who would it be and why?
  4. What is your favorite animal and why?
  5. How do you like to waste time?
  6. Name one place you would like to visit and why.
  7. What is your favorite holiday to celebrate and why?
  8. What is the first memory you have?
  9. What is  your favorite book, tv show or movie? Pick one or all three.
  10. What have you learned from blogging?

My Nominees are: