This is letter two of the semi-occasional newsletter. Thanks to all who remembered me during the year and the holidays with special greetings.
As mentioned before, I’ve never used a booking agent to make contacts — you’ve done that for me by recommending me so graciously all across the U.S. and Canada. You’ve opened far more doors to my work than I ever imagined and I always think of you with much love and appreciation. You’ve become dear friends and not just someone I worked with somewhere or other.
Those of you who’ve heard me know I always speak to the individual but in this newsletter I must address everyone at once and that bothers me although I’m sure you’ll understand. When you check in to view my calendar you’ll see that this year I’m doing something a little different. While still accepting calls as many years in advance as folks need, I have for the first time, set aside some time to get back to my writing. So many of you contact me wanting my next book or booklet. But my speaking and traveling has taken so much of my time, that I’ve had to let the writing sit except for a rare article. To keep my word to you to get more writing out there, I’m using some of 2005 to write and just listing a few of my engagements for the year to let visitors to the web page get an idea of my work. Most requested is still “Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me.” Hope to start back soon on that.
About ten years ago I started on “The Barrel is Never Empty,” which tells about the “little” miracles we have in everyday life and often over look hoping for the big ones. At one time I did get a good bit done on my first fiction work. Again, need to get back to it.
Also many of you who ask about Jacklyn Welch Shockley, you’ll be happy to know that I did accompany her to a local United Methodist Church and a local Southern Baptist Church where I helped with her music and she spoke to Ladies’ groups. She is wanted back! Then I drove her to northwestern Mississippi where I again helped with music and she was the speaker for a three-service revival in a Church of the Nazarene!! Some of her former members drove for several hours to be in the services, some even got motel rooms and stayed.
What you may not know is that she is legally blind and prints her ideas and outlines although she can’t read a word of what she’s printed. I then decipher and read it back to her, look up her scriptures to make sure they’re quoted perfectly (they always are — oh, if I only had her mind!), read the research from commentaries to her and make notes… Using the computer I organize all that and read back to her… rewrite… read back… rewrite… read back… edit…. finally get it just the way she wants it…. then I read it slowly into a tape recorder for her to study by the hour. We go early for me to familiarize her with the lay out of the speaking area .. steps, platform, stage, wires, microphone masts, etc. She gets it down so pat that no one knows she has a vision problem. This way they are intent on listening to her and not watching for how she does this or that or waiting for her to trip and fall!
Then when it’s time for her to speak, I introduce her, we do one of the songs she’s written, I read her scripture and go sit down until she calls me to play piano at conclusion. She never misses a beat and the people are fascinated, hanging on to every word.. have no idea she can’t even see them, just their forms. She is shown so much love that I wish she were physically able to do more. But keep in mind — and don’t tell her I told you — but I think she does wonderfully for eighty-five! This summer she wrote another poem, “I’m Only Eighty-Two,” and I asked her why she put eighty-two instead of eighty-five. She laughed and said, “Because nothing rhymes with eighty-five!”
Another thing I am trying to do this year is find someone to help me finish putting her last songs onto sheet music plus get it recorded while her voice is still strong and steady (which personally I think it always will be, but just in case!). So if anyone knows of someone who has the computer program to put simple but beautiful songs — words and notes onto paper, please let me know.
Also she had her Christian fiction romance nearing completion but had to give it up when the last of her reading vision left. But she has it in her head and has turned the writing over to me to finish. People who’ve sampled it keep asking her to hurry and finish and she’s received many requests to write her life story too, so I’m encouraging her to let me get that done as well. It’s a never-want-to-put-it-down one too.
I hope too for another hiking vacation for me this year. Last year the day I was going to order a National Parks Pass I received one in the mail from a Dannon Yogurt contest I had entered!!! Saved $50!
I wanted to go to Glacier National Park this summer to hike but I also entered a contest in one of those in-flight magazines when enroute home from speaking at a Free Methodist Ladies retreat in Buffalo, New York, this past spring. Imagine my surprise when the publisher called me that I’d won Grand Prize — two round-trip tickets, free ground transporation, some meals, free boat rides on “Maid of the Mist” tour, other goodies, as well as hotel accomodations for two in closest hotel to Niagara Falls! How wonderful! As I’ve said so many times I go so many places and get to read the signs but am there to work — so don’t see the attractions. I understand there are a good many trails to hike in that Niagara Falls area too.
Well, I’ll close now to say it’s currently January … Our temperatures are so warm that our 2005 strawberry crop started coming in back in November! .. We had the first snow on Christmas in what they tell me was fifty years! Of course, to many of you — well, you’d not have been able to find such a dusting .. But to us, it was wonderful with everyone who could move outside to play in it. With no real sand or salt to speak of, no snow plows, and with so many of our interstates over water…. the highways iced up and interstates from here to New Orleans and Baton Rouge had to close! Our farmers put coverings over the hundreds of acres of strawberries and saved the crops and now we’re back in the high seventies. Autumn leaves are still falling but if the spring-like weather doesn’t ease up, I’ll be mowing the yard through the leaves by next week!
Best wishes to all.
Read the Semi-Occasional Newsletter #1