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This was a very different Christmas for me. Recovering from it is one of the reasons I did not send out a January Newsletter. My apologies.

About ten days before Thanksgiving I came down with the worst sinus infection I have ever had. (And I have had more than my share.) Miserable complications set in. By Thanksgiving I was feeling much better.

But a week later I became ill again with a respiratory something-or-other. I recovered in about a week.

But a week after that...you guessed it. Sick again.

This went on through Christmas. I spent one (only one, PTL!) night in my local hospital. But I spent the next three weeks isolated at home. Sick. Miserable physically. But what a rewarding Christmas it turned out to be.

My KY family celebrated quietly without me. My NC family drove up and spent three days with me. It brings me great joy to spend time with them.

But most of that three weeks I spent with the Lord. Reading Scripture. Listening to Christian music. Watching The Chosen. Praying for answers to concerns that had bothered me for more than a year. And God tenderly talked to me. He gave me guidance I wanted, but had been too absorbed with "being in control" to hear.

I started 2022 spiritually refreshed. That's a good place to be. January and February have continued to feed my soul and give me encouragement and guidance from God.

I am truly grateful. PTL!

Jean's Writing Life

One of the matters I've been frustrated and distressed over concerns my writing. I've worked on several picture book manuscripts during 2020 and 2021. Had them critiqued. Revised them repeatedly. Sent them to carefully selected editors and agents. But I have received no responses at all. There could be several reasons for that. And I have agonized over every one of them repeatedly.

After my forced retreat during December and January I came to grips with several things about my writing and myself:
My writing is very good - but not as good as it could be.
Every few years the face of children's publishing changes. Sometimes dramatically. 2021 and 2022 have seen dramatic changes.
I've been writing for publication - for success. That is not what God wants for me.
I remembered the original reasons I started writing for children - to glorify God and to point children to Christ. I have fallen into a habit of writing "to encourage children and the adults in their lives." That isn't a bad thing. But it is not what God called me to do.
Regarding writing and publication I've been second guessing God. I've been trying to trust Him with those things. But I've also been trying to help him out by making decisions about things I think I can control. The truth is - for me and you - we can't control anything.
Each year God gives me a word that encapsulates what He wants me to learn or improve in that year. I couldn't understand why my word for 2022 is the same as my word for 2021. DUH! I didn't learn it at all in 2021. So, God is giving me another go at it. TRUST.

God is showing me things I learned long ago, but have forgotten.

He is asking some new things of me, too, in 2022. I'll tell you a little about some of them in my March Newsletter. So, stay tuned, friends.

A Little Something for Writers

Some websites to help with your research whether for fiction or nonfiction:

Science topics https://www.science.gov/

E-Books download free https://www.pdfdrive.com/

Library of Congress Digital Collections

https://www.loc.gov/collections/?fa=original-format:map%7C%20%20%20subject_topic:geography+%26+places

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