Project #1: Last week I submitted a proposal for a devotional book for families. The stories and questions can be used with a range of ages. I’m looking forward to the response from Miranda Gardner, who invited me to submit the proposal after I won the devotional contest at the Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference in September.
Project #2: I have finished a book about my mother, Puttin’ on the Grits: Lessons From My Southern Mother. In it, I tell stories of how my mother’s strengths, and especially her weaknesses, helped us all to grow in Christ.
Here is an excerpt from the Prologue:
Mary Onezima Ralph Bradley, my mother, was the quintessential hostess, graciously feeding groups from class reunions to business meetings to elderly illiterate cousins and lonely parolees. She didn’t just feed them, but incorporated their problems as her own. She was the Southern version of The Matchmaker, matching jobs to the jobless, income sources to the penniless, living water to the spiritually dry. Her home was a haven for the downtrodden, some for hours, others for years.
My mother was a woman of passion. She was passionate about everything that counts—her faith, her husband, her children and later their families, her extended family of eight siblings, dozens of aunts, uncles, and cousins, and her friends. She was passionate about education, and constantly demonstrated the term “life-long learner.”
But she was passionate about trivia as well: setting the table, adding ingredients to a recipe in the correct order, addressing an envelope, weeding the garden, answering the phone, moving a chair from one place to another, placing a book on the coffee table. All were fodder for her particular passionate perspective.
For Mary Ralph Bradley was also a flawed human being. During the first 80 years of her life, she had a quick temper and a sharp tongue to go with it. Stories of her temperamental responses have become family legend, but she managed to live through them and grow by them. And her growth jump-started the rest of us to mature as well.
I participated in the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers’ Conference in Black Mountain, NC, last month. I am sending proposals for this book to an agent and an editor. We’ll see what they think!