Joyce Livingston (Author) & Friends

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Not today!

Sorry...*crunchtime* today with book revisions....look for more tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

OH, THE MESS AFTER A HOLIDAY!

IF A MAN'S HOME IS HIS CASTLE, SHOULDN'T HE HELP CLEAN IT?

This may be a good idea, but how do you enforce it?

On Saturday, 48 people came to my house to spend the day and share wonderful food (some I fixed, but mosty what they brought!). Yep, it was part of my family. My kids and their kids, and we even had another 10 who couldn't make it. WE ARE A BIG FAMILY and I LOVE IT! It was windy outside, but since I live on a lake, that wind didn't bother the kids. They spent most of the day in the water, coming out only long enough to eat, go to the bathroom, and track in sand from the beach. But within an hour after the last ones left yesterday, the place was cleaned up, the final dishes happily washing in the dishwasher, the beds all laden once again with clean sheets, and you couldn't even tell anyone had been there.

What really makes it nice is that everyone, even the little kids, pitch in and clean up before they leave. I'd like to take all the credit for raising them like that, but most of that credit goes to my precious husband. As many know, he passed away with a brain tumor 19 months ago, but his wonderful, sweet, godly, fatherly ways, and the training he gave our children, linger on, and will linger on, for many years to come. Our home was our castle. He built every stick of it himself, and he was right there to help clean up when needed. I no longer live in that home since I've moved to be nearer my children, but I still own it and one of my sons and his family are using it. (It's a cabin on another lake 100 miles from here).

So, my questions is...if you have a man in your life...does HE help clean up your castle?

Joyce Livingston, author
My latest book, THE WIDOWS' CLUB, is in bookstores now.

Monday, May 29, 2006

MEMORIAL DAY MUSINGS


I have so enjoyed all the wonderful tributes to those who are serving, or have served, in the service of our amazing country, to protect us and make a better, safer world. The sacrifice of so many of them - well, it overwhelms me. The NEWS today, since it is Memorial Day, is filled with stories of such brave men and women.

Then my mind goes to those who are left at home. The wives who long to have their husbands back home where they belong. The children who need their father. The moms and dads who hold their breath each time the news of some crisis or catastrophe in Irag and other countries comes on the TV. And my heart goes out to them, and the other members of their families and friends. We as Americans, whether we agree with those who are in charge or not, need to support our troops. THEY DESERVE IT!

Like perhaps you, I have a loved on serving in Irag. One of my grandsons, who is a husband and father to 3 darling little girls, is there now. Another grandson, just returned a few months ago and is finally at home for good. He also left his wife and 3 adorable daughters to go over there for us. And my son, who flies the King Air for the Kentucky National Guard, just returned 3 weeks ago from his second one-year tour in Germany.

We need to constantly hold these service men and women up in prayer, and let them know how much we appreciate them.

GOD BLESS THE USA!

Joyce Livingston, author
My latest book, THE WIDOWS' CLUB, a women's fiction novel is in stores now!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

POWER SURGES


REAL WOMEN DON'T HAVE HOT FLASHES, THEY HAVE POWER SURGES!

We could all use a power surge now and then...right?

Growing old doesn't have to be the *pits*, although sometimes it seems like it is mandatory. But - how many of us grow old before our time because of our attitude?

As many know, for the past 11 years I have worked as a parttime tour escort, which means I have taken MANY trips, mostly on buses, but also many flying (who would want to take a bus to Europe, Australia, and New Zealand?). As the escort, many times when our driver is busy, I pitch in and assist our passengers as they get off the bus. And you know what? A lot of those people (both men and women) are YEARS younger than me but they are old mentally. Their attitude is old. They *think* they are old. Sometimes, I think they actually want to be old! Others, in their late 80's and even 90's, literally jump off the bus, needing no help at all. And it isn't just because of health reasons either.

Attitude! Finding joy in life. Looking forward to jumping out of bed in the morning. Facing life with gusto. Wow, how much better than to drag through life with no purpose.

How are you facing life? With a smile? A frown? A grumpy attitude? Again, food for thought.

Joyce Livingston, author
My latest book, THE WIDOWS' CLUB, at bookstores everywhere.

Friday, May 26, 2006

ON DIETING!

It's that time of year when most of us are either dieting, or cutting down on consumption, or counting calories, fat grams, or carbs.

The question I ask myself - - - - WHY DIDN'T I START THIS IN JANUARY?

And have you noticed? The things we SHOULD be eating - like fresh vegetables and fruit - are getting to be the highest priced!
Ain't there no justice? Between fruit and vegetable prices - and gas prices -what's a girl to do?

Oh, what I would give right now for a DAIRY QUEEN cherry-chocolate blizzard! Yum, yum!

Instead, I reach for my daily half of a banana - - - - ho hum!

Joyce Livingston, author
My newest book, THE WIDOWS' CLUB, a womens fiction novel is out now.
www.joycelivingston.com

Thursday, May 25, 2006

ANSWERING EMAILS THAT UPSET YOU!

If you are on a group email loop (and who isn't), more than likely, one or several people on that loop constantly post things you totally disagree with, or feel they do NOT have the knowledge or experience to post their unqualified ramblings (like they know what they're talking about when, most times, they haven't a clue).

So - - -

What do you do about it?

1. Suck up your anger and politely ignore the email

2. Walk around the block to calm down

3. Write a very nice, "Sorry, but I disagree, and here are the reasons why," personal email directly back to them and not to the group

4. Pray for that person

5. Or do you LETOUT YOUR RAGE BY RESPONDING TO THEIR EMAIL IN UPPERCASE?

More food for thought.

Joyce Livingston (who rarely shouts at anyone. Does that make me a wimp?)
My latest book, THE WIDOWS' CLUB, a women's fiction novel in stores now
www.joycelivingston.com

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

OUCH!

Someone said, "My bra is now a more of a cross-your-waist bra." Ouch!

I look at those adorable, bra-less young girls in their bikinis or sheer knit shirts and think, Enjoy it while you can. Your DAY is coming!

And then I remember our trip to Australia's outback, and the Aboriginese women who entertained us with their dancing (nothing from waist up but a toothless, expressionless face), and I shudder to think they would go out in public like that. For some reason, naive tourists that we were, we hadn't expected to be *treated* to such a view! Let me tell you - we all gasped when they appeared out of the tall grass and trees and began their *performance*. What an experience. I've never seen so many ---- Um, how can I say this ---- *things* that have gone south and swung to and fro like a clock's pendulum at the sound of the beat of the drum as I witnessed that day.

My final wonder was this - - something quite profound - - When Eve got older, did her ******* go south like the women of our day? Or did God give her a special dispensation because she was the premeir woman?

Something to ponder today!

Have a great one!

Joyce Livingston, author
My latest book, THE WIDOWS' CLUB is in bookstores now!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Grrrrr! Grumble, grumble, grumble!


I love the character Maxine! She's the symbol of the extreme! I have a brightly colored *fabric* stuffed Maxine, wearing a house coat and fuzzy slippers sitting on the ledge above my kitchen range, with one of her hands resting on the toothpick container. I get a smile on my face everytime I look at her

BUT - - - -

I'm hoping most of us aren't really like Maxine - - with a mouth that easily either gets us into trouble or carelessly causes hard feelings. Our words are like arrows and can pierce even the toughest - - and - - even though those wounds may heal - - they leave scars.

Have you or I intentionally wounded someone lately with our words? Ummm....food for thought.

Joyce Livingston, author
My newest book, THE WIDOWS' CLUB, in bookstores and on the internet now!

Monday, May 22, 2006

HOW DO WE KNOW IF WHAT WE ARE DOING IS RIGHT?

The gentleman you see pictured here is Dale Lewis. He and his wife, Judy, co-teach the Motivator's Sunday school class of which I am an active part. We average around 150 in attendance each Sunday, many times even more, due to the talent and willingnes of these two marvelous people.

I always enjoy Dale's and Judy's lessons, but I especially enjoyed the one Dale taught yesterday, AM I A BALANCED CHRISTIAN - WHAT'S RIGHT & WRONG? (for me as a Christian). I know many of you (like me) struggle with this question. We don't want to be a stumbling block to anyone. I can't give you the entire lesson, which was basically from 1st Corinthians 8-10 and Galations 5 & 6, but I wanted to share the questions (and a few answers) Dale had printed in our SS bulletin. I hope they will help provide the answers we all seek. Our biggest concern should not be with what people think but what God thinks.

The things listed below are thought-starters.
Let me give you an example. You occasionally like to have a beer, yet you know others around you, perhaps newborn Christians, are looking to you as an example - would you have that beer in front of them? This is merely an example. What is right for one person, may not be right for another. This is something only you and I (through prayer and reading God's Word) can decide.

Questions to grow by:
1. What should I give up or stop doing?
(Whatever you cannot do with a clear conscience)
2. How do I maintain a balance?
(There will always be someone who will object)
a. Is the critic growing in the Lord or on the sidelines finding fault?
b. How many people are being affected by what I do?
3. How do I handle the legalistic person?
a. Ignore them
b. Get them aside and tell them where you stand with the scripture
c. Go right on doing what I know is right in God's eyes
4. If no one is looking, can I do whatever I please?
(Not out of simple pleasure to please self, but as you have a clear conscience, offending no one
5. If I am in public and I want to enjoy it, should I?
(If attention is called to you, no. It is better never to risk it.)

Would love to hear your comments - - -
Joyce Livingston, author
My newest book, THE WIDOWS' CLUB, a women's fiction novel is out now.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Spring and flowers!

Don't you just love spring? As I came out of church this morning it began to rain big drops on those of us rushing out into the parking lot. You know the kind I mean - - big drops, but spaced far apart. And the fragrance? Oh my! I couldn't even begin to describe that fresh - it's raining - scent that filled the air. And as I drank it in, I thought to myself...."Ummm, that means I don't have to water today! My heavenly father has already done it for me."

Isn't it amazing how we take the rains, the sunshine, the clouds, the moon....all of it for granted? Each appears right at the time it should, and we rarely take a moment to think this is all in God's plan. And we are His children! The maker and creator of all those things. I'm sure glad He is in control, aren't you? And that He loves us - despite ourselves

Enjoy this beautiful Lord's Day!

Joyce Livingston, Author
Womens fiction novel, THE WIDOWS' CLUB, out now.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

DO YOU KNOW WHAT TODAY IS? ARMED FORCES DAY!

Surprise! For those who aren't aware of it, or have forgotten, today is ARMED FORCES DAY! On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department -- the Department of Defense.

Isn't it amazing how many of our sons and daughers are serving in other countries - basically, to protect US from the turmoil that is going on over there? I have a grandson serving in our Army in Iraq--much too close to where the action is. He is a young man with a beautiful wife and three precious little girls. I can't even begin to imagine what it is like for him to be over there - where you never know what is going to happen the next minute - see your buddies maimed or killed - and know you could be next. My oldest son just returned from a National Guard tour in Germany (praise the Lord he was away from the fighting), and another grandson returned home several months ago from his tour in Iraq as a Guardsman. He, too, had to leave his family and go.

On this day, even if you don't have a loved one serving overseas, we, as a grateful nation, need to remember those who serve by praying God will protect them. As Americans - we are truly blessed - but as a nation, we are turning our backs on God. Most of us can't go and serve, but we can pray these men's sacrifice won't be in vain, and that our Lord will protect them.

I'm proud to be an American, aren't you? Leave your comment.

Joyce Livingston, author
THE WIDOWS' CLUB, a women's fiction novel, is out now.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Heeeerrrreeeesssss Rebecca!

Many of you know, have met, or have seen Rebecca Germany, my Senior Editor at Barbour. This is Becky in her office at Barbour Publishing. It was my privilege, along with 11 other authors to visit Barbour a couple of years ago, and was I impressed! I realized a lot happened to my manuscript after I finished with it, but I had no idea how MUCH happened. The writing of a book is only a portion of what goes into the finished product. I don't envy Becky's job. She's a wonder! Yet, she smiles through it all. I highly respect her.

Hopefully, if you are published (or about to be), you have a good relationship with your editor. I've heard horror stories but we won't go there. Your editor is out to produce the best book possible. Sometimes, that requires many changes (revisions) in your manuscript and you'll labor over it long and hard (hopefully not grumblng), but when you get that finished book in your hands and read the improvements that have been made....that's when you have that *Ah ha!* moment. At least that's the way it happens for me. That's when I realize WHY I was asked to do those revisions/edits when maybe before....I didn't have a clue. I liked it the way it was! (Pride?)

Anyway, I thought you would like to see a picture of Rebecca in her office, since many who write for Heartsong and Barbour may have not had a chance to *see* her in her everyday habitat!

Do you have a great association with your editor?
If not. Why not? Food for thought.
Comment...we'd like to hear your experience.

Joyce Livingston, author
Latest book, THE WIDOWS' CLUB, in stores now.
www.joycelivingston.com

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I enjoy being a girl!

I heard a great line yesterday. I've decided to make it my mantra. This is it:

The power of a woman lies in her femininity!

Don't you just love it? Isn't that great? Now I understand you may not agree with me - - but, hey, it's worked for me all these years. I love being a woman! I like looking like a woman. Smelling like a woman. The whole works! And I'm certainly not opposed to the benefits it brings me.

Come on now. Tell me the truth. Haven't you ever used your femaleness to its best advantage? I don't mean outright flirting (unless it is with your husband). I'm talking about the way you smile at a man who offers to change your flat tire for you. Or the way you dress. Or even the way you walk. Otherwise, why would we women punish ourselves by wearing those pointed-toed shoes? You never saw a man in those things (as if their feet would fit). Of course, now that I think of it, I did see men in spike-heeled sandals in the lobby of a fashionable San Francisco hotel. It's amazing what we can get our husbands to do with a few sweet words and the batt of our eyes.

For me, the truth is, I LIKE GIRLY things (as you can see in the pic which was taken while on a cruise to Hawaii). My husband bought me this gorgeous white mumu and then insisted I had to have a flower lei and a flower for my hair. Oh, how I loved that guy! He was Tarzan and I was Jane, though I never tried that swinging through the trees thing with him. I love to surround myself with flowers, candles, potpouri, all those wonderful romantic things. Maybe that's why I love a hint of Victorian in my home decor.

Okay, you've heard my piece. Now let me hear yours? Do you enjoy being a girl? Or if you are a guy, do you want your gal to be feminine? Leave a comment, please!

Joyce Livingston, author
Newest book, THE WIDOWS' CLUB, a women's fiction novel, in bookstores now

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

MEET MY KIDS!

Here is my most prized *possession* - - my six kids. I love them dearly and wouldn't have survived the illness and loss of my precious husband Don if they hadn't *circled their wagons around me* and upheld me during that awful time, and still continue to hold me up. What a great bunch of kids. Very little trouble to *raise* and always had such a sweet spirit. The oldest four were all kindergarten age or under at the same time. I was 19 when the oldest (daughter Dawn in lower left hand corner) was born and 37 when the baby (middle lower) was born. Each has been so special in my life.

Now get this...the boys are named Matthew (upper left) Mark (upper right) Luke (lower middle) and Don (upper middle). Yep...Matthew, Mark, Luke and (haha!) DON! Instead of John. He was the first born son and named for his father. Girls - Dawn on the left and Dari on the right. These are the six children who have given me 25 (Yes, I said 25) grandchildren! (with 3 more on the way). Dari, the youngest, is the mother of 12 and has home-schooled them all.

Though many long for riches, fame, success and other things.....God has blessed me with riches far above those.....by giving me this blessed family. I am a happy, content woman because of them, and because of God's willingness to intrust them into mine and Don's care. And the best part of all? Even if I had those riches, I couldn't take them to heaven with me. But I'll see my kids in heaven, along with their sweet spouses and my grandchildren, because of God's faithfulness. I even have a granddaughter named Heaven! Honest!

Please leave a comment and tell me about your family!

Joyce Livingston, author
THE WIDOWS' CLUB, a women's fiction novel, is in stores everywhere.
www.joycelivingston.com

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

It's Tuesday already?


When I got out of bed this morning , gazed out my window (my condo is the one right behind the boat dock by the light, just left of the taller tree and that's one of my DILs in the pic), and thought over the things I'd planned to get done today, I thought - - - IMPOSSIBLE! But - the problem is - I love everything I have on my to-do list, which, of course, is always topped (after reading my Bible) with getting as much writing done on INVASION OF THE WIDOWS' CLUB (the second book in the WIDOW'S CLUB series) as soon as possible, since I always set my own personal deadline at least one month ahead of the one my publisher sets! And, I need to replant the flowers that the two horrific hail storms we had recently shredded and nearly killed out. And do this blog. And check out the ACFW blog site (wouldn't want to miss anything!). And I should go to the store and replenish my low-cal, low-fat foods or this present 8 pounds I've lost in the past 6 weeks will find their way back to whichever part of my body they came from. And---well, you don't want to know the other projects I should take care of.

Do you ever have a day when you get out of bed and ask yourself, "Well, let's see. I have this whole day ahead of me with nothing that needs to be done. What shall I do?" I don't think I've ever had one...not even when I was five years old. My personality type has to have a project going, has to succeed at something. Which actually helps now that I am a published author and have to discipline myself to plunk my bottom in that chair and write, even if there are other things I'd like to do at that moment....like BLOG!

If you could do whatever you wish today----with no feelings of quilt for taking time from the things that NEED to be done----what would you do? I've love to know.

Have a GREAT day!

Joyce Livingston, author
My newest book, THE WIDOWS' CLUB, a women's ficiton, is out now!
www.joycelivingston.com

Sunday, May 14, 2006

MOTHER'S DAY - what a wonderful day!



I had a wonderful Mother's Day, or should I say week? It seems each day this week has brought a phone call, email, visit, cards, flowers, plants, and on and on. Last night I was treated to dinner-out at a fancy restaurant with one of my sons and his wife. It was very special. Today has been just as wonderful as I took part in my Sunday school class by explaining What It Means To Me To Be a Mother, then attended a fabulous morning service at my church, and am currently spending time with most of my other children and grandchildren, then I am going to attend a Mother's Day Program later this afternoon at one of my daughter's church, where 8 of my grandchildren will be performing. What a joy!

But as I realize how truly blessed I am as a mother, I have to stop and think about those who are not mothers. Many not by choice, and my heart goes out to them. Some prefer to remain childless, but many long for motherhood, but it is not to be. I wish I could tell you why God chooses to leave them childless, but I don't have any magical answers. We have to remember He has promised never to fail us or leave us. We can't see the end, but we know He is in control. All I can say is - - - I am so sorry, and encourage all who are childless and who wanted children - - share that love with others. A niece or nephew, neighbor's child, a child in your church, any place else where there are children. You have so much to share. Share that love and it will come back to you one hundred fold.

I'd love to hear from about your Mother's Day. Won't you please leave a comment?

Joyce Livingston, Author of Women's Fiction

THE WIDOWS' CLUB, a Christian Novel out this month

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Day Before Mother's Day



Last Mother's Day, the book you see here, a Christian romance novel, was released by Barbour Publishing. Apparently it touched a lot of hearts because I got a number of letters and email from readers. I thought showing the cover of my book here would be appropriate since this weekend is Mother's Day. Though it came out a year ago, it can still be ordered Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chritianbook.com and probably even Ebay.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1

MOTHER’S DAY by Joyce Livingston (me!)

Chuck O’Connor stormed through the door of the house on Victor Lane, slamming it behind him and tossing his set of keys onto the highly polished hall table with a loud thud.

Mindy, who was sorting through the day’s mail, spun around to face her husband, ready to scold him for his careless act. But the look on his face told her something was radically wrong. Although she had seen his angry side many times during their troublesome fourteen-year marriage, she’d never seen his hands tremble or his face so flushed. She hurriedly placed the mail on the coffee table and rushed toward him. “What’s wrong?”

Chuck yanked off his coat, tossed it on a chair instead of hanging it in the closet as was his usual behavior, and pushed past her with a grunt.
She planted her balled fists on her hips. “Chuck! Are you going to tell me or sulk all by yourself?”

He snatched up the mail and began sorting through it, dropping several envelopes on the floor in the process.

Her patience wearing thin, Mindy crossed the room and yanked on his sleeve, her own anger rising. “All right, don’t tell me then,” she told him in a stern voice, holding up her palms between them with a frown of frustration.

Tossing the mail back on the table, Chuck plopped his lanky body onto the sofa, fixing his elbows on his knees and cradling his head in his hands. “Jake suspended me.”

Thinking surely she had misunderstood his barely audible words, Mindy sat down beside him, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Jake suspended you? I find that hard to believe. You do everything by the book. You’re always the top one in sales. Why would he suspend you?”

Chuck sat stone still and didn’t respond, his head still resting in his hands, but his rapid breathing told her his anger had not subsided.

“Chuck?” she said softly, gently rotating her fingers across his tense shoulders. “Don’t shut me out. I’m your wife. You know you can tell me anything. Why did your boss suspend you?”

Swallowing hard, he slowly lifted his face to meet hers. “You may not want to be my wife when I tell you.”

She gave him a puzzled look. Whatever could he mean? They’d had some pretty rocky years, come close to divorce more times than she cared to remember, but they’d str
uggled through each problem and stayed together. What could be worse than anything they’d faced in the past?

“I’ve—“ He paused, still covering his face and pressing his fingertips against his lowered eyelids. “I’ve been accused of molesting someone.”
Mindy stared at him. “What? You? Molesting someone? That doesn’t make any sense.” She scooted closer, her hand still resting on his back, her fingers splayed. “Who accused you?”

Slowly, Chuck pulled his hands away and with misty eyes, turned to face her. “Jake called me into his office and told me. It—it was one of the women employees. Michelle Stevens.”

Mindy tried hard to put a face to the name. Had she met this woman at the company Christmas party? “Is that the little bimbo in the accounting department? The one with the bleach blond pony tail and the false fingernails?”

He shook his head. “No, Michelle is nothing like that. She’s—plain. Kinda ordinary. Has short brown hair and wears glasses.”

“Why would she do such a thing? I don’t even remember you mentioning her name.”
Chuck leaned back and locked his hands behind his head, staring off in space. “I—I never did.”

“Chuck? Why?” Mindy’s heart sank. “Was there something going on between you two?”
His brows quickly furrowing, he glared at her. “Of course not! How can you even ask me that?”

She shrugged then let out a sigh. “Something must have happened between the two of you to get Jake that riled up. Why else would she make such a statement?”

Though Chuck only lifted his shoulders in response, there was something about the look on his face that gave her cause for alarm. In all the years they’d been married they’d had problems—many problems, but infidelity had never been one of them. Surely not now—not when their life had finally settled down into a compatible routine.

“Chuck! I asked you a question. I think I deserve an explanation. What did Jake say?”

“It’s not true, Mindy. I swear it! It’s not true.”

She grabbed tightly onto his wrist. “Are you going to tell me what Jake said, or am I going to have to call and ask him myself? I will, you know.”
His long fingers clamped her hand. They felt warm. Almost feverish.

“Okay. Let me start at the beginning.” He pulled his hand away, rose, and began pacing slowly about the room. “Jake called me into his office and we talked for over half an hour about business, his family, my family, where we planned to go on vacation this year, all sorts of things that really didn’t matter. I could tell he had something on his mind, but I had no idea what. Finally, he leaned across his desk and pointed his finger in my face and asked, pointblank, if I was having an affair with Michelle.”

She blanched at his words. “What did you say? Are you?”

He rammed his fist into the palm of his other hand, glaring at her. “No!” I answered an unequivocal ‘No’! Of course, I wasn’t having an affair with Michelle! I told him that.”

“Apparently, he didn’t believe you. He suspended you!” she shot back, half wishing she’d kept her silence until he finished his story.

His eyes flashed. “Hey, where’s the trust a wife’s supposed to have for her husband? You haven’t even heard me out and you’re already finding me guilty,” he countered, his voice rising.

“I never said—“

“But you implied it. That’s just as bad.” He lowered himself into a chair opposite her and, gripping the arm rests, bent toward her, his face contorted with anger.

“Now, do you want to hear the whole story or not?”

Her heart pounding, and feeling annoyed by his patronizing behavior, she nodded. “Yes, I’m sorry. Go on.”

“It appears that Dixie, one of the secretaries in the sales department, was in a stall in the ladies restroom when Michelle came in and called someone on her cell phone, not realizing Dixie was there. She told whoever she was talking to that she had a new boyfriend and mentioned his name was Chuck, but cautioned them to keep it quiet because the man was married. Then, when she discovered Dixie was there, she begged her not to tell anyone about the conversation she’d overhead.”
Mindy couldn’t help letting out a gasp but kept her silence when Chuck frowned.
“I guess Dixie told everyone.”

“Did Dixie or anyone else tell Jake what she’d heard?” Mindy asked cautiously.

“No. Not then. Not until after he talked to Michelle.”

Mindy frowned. If Dixie hadn’t told Jake, why would Jake talk to Michelle about it?

“I guess I’m not making myself clear.” Chuck gave her a weak smile. “This thing has me so upset I’m not thinking straight.” He gave his head a frustrated shake, then continued. “Michelle went to Jake early this morning and told him I’d molested her. That’s what this is all about.”

“Why would she say such a thing?”

“I don’t know.”

“She had to have said something convincing enough for him to suspend you.”

“The sad thing is, he put me on suspension but let her keep her job! Some justice, huh?” The two sat silently staring at one another. There was so much Mindy wanted to know but she refrained from asking, sure her questions would only throw Chuck into a tirade. If he was innocent, he had every right to some righteous indignation. If he was guilty, any words she hurled at him would only fan the flames.
Finally, Chuck turned to face her again, taking her hands in his. “I didn’t do it, Mindy. I know, at times, I have a hot temper and I let it get the best of me, but I’d never hurt a woman in any way. You know that. Over the years we’ve been together, you’ve angered me to the boiling point a number of times, but I’ve never struck you or laid a hand on you.”

“Are—are you saying she accused you of hitting her? That kind of molesting?”

Chuck gave a sad shake of his head. “No, the other kind.”

“Chuck! This is like a bad dream! Why would she accuse you of something like that, if it weren’t true?”

He glowered at her, his face flushed and his fists clenched. “So you believe it, too, eh?”

“I—I didn’t say that.”

“You didn’t? It sounded that way to me!”

Mindy bit her tongue, trapping the words that nearly slipped from her mouth, a retort that would have angered him even more.

“I never—let me repeat—I never molested that woman—in any way!”

“I—I can’t imagine that you would. Tell me the rest. What happened after Jake asked you about her?” Mindy prodded gently.

“According to her story, I had come on to her, invited her to drive up to Providence and have dinner with me a few times, and things got pretty heavy between us. She even claimed I’d told her you and I were getting a divorce.”

“A divorce? We haven’t talked about a divorce for three or four years!”

He patted her hand. “I know. She went on to say that she had decided to break things off between us. She also said that, one night after we’d been to dinner in Providence and went back to her apartment, she told me she was calling it quits and I got really mad. She claims—“ He paused and pursed his lips. “She claims I slapped her around, then made advances on her and when she refused, I—I raped her.”
Mindy’s hands flew to cover her face. “Oh, no, no, no, no, no! I can’t believe this is happening!” The room began to swirl about, making her dizzy. Though Mindy had never fainted in her life, she was sure this was going to be the first time.
Chuck grabbed onto her arms so tightly she squealed in pain. “I didn’t, Mindy. I swear it! None of this ever happened.”

Mindy felt sick to her stomach. “You never drove that woman to Providence like she said?”

He shook his head vehemently. “Not one time!”

“Then, why, Chuck? Why?”

“That’s the same thing Jake asked me.”
Fighting back a stream of tears and feeling light-headed, Mindy sucked in a cleansing breath of air. “I find it difficult to believe she would make up a story like this, and then just waltz into Jake’s office and tell him!”

Chuck braced an elbow on one knee, cupping his chin in his hand. “Jake said he had a hard time believing it, too, and, although he wasn’t completely convinced she was telling the truth, he said he had no choice but to put me on suspension until her accusations could be proven or disproven. It’s a serious charge. I’m well aware of that. To make things worse, Dixie verified the restroom cell phone conversation.”

Mindy dropped to her knees in front of Chuck, lifting her face to his and gripping his hands. “Look me in the eye, Chuck, and tell me none of this is true.”
Her husband of fourteen years trembled. Finally, his eyes filling with tears and his voice breaking, he answered. “Some—some of it is sort of true.”

Musings on Mothering--in honor of Mother's Day

Last night, quite late, I was watching TBN. A panel of five mothers, probably all in their 30-40s, were discussing what it was to be a mother. I was impressed with everything they said, especially one point. They all agreed, even though their children got out of hand at times, and even though the mothers often times threw their hands up in the air out of frustration and a feeling of inadequacy as mother, when God picked them to mother these children, He picked them because He knew they were the perfect woman for the job. NO ONE could do it better! What a revelation!

Did you ever feel you didn't have what it takes to raise one of your children? Maybe the rebel of the family? I think we all feel that way at times....even if our kids are little angels! Ha! Is there really a child who is a little angel - - ALL the time?

As the mother of six, I've learned that my children are exactly alike - - yet completely different. Does that make sense? Probably not, but it is true. And if you have ever read or heard Dr. Kevin Lehman - - you know there are certain traits each child has because of their birth order - - their position in the family. Each of my children has a soft caring side. Each is mild-mannered. Each extremely responsible. They are all slow to anger (even when they were kids). Like to please. Great parents to their own children. Yet - - some are stronger and more able to cope that the others. Some are happy and upbeat all the time, taking things in stride without missing a beat, while others are more melancoly, more easily discouraged, not as quick to bounce back. That's what I mean by different.

The great thing is - - if you are a mother - - and you love the Lord - - you have been called to raise that child. Never fear - - God is near.

As we look forward to Mother's Day this Sunday, let us take a look at ourselves. Are we living up to the role we have been called to? Are we a godly example to our children? When we are old will they call us 'blessed'? And more importantly, when we stand by our Maker, will He say, "Well, done, thou good and faithful servant?

I don't know about you but I loved (with the amazing help of my husband, their father) raising my children. I loved every age, including the terrible twos and the tumultuous teens. Today, those kids are my best friends. What more could a mother ask?

Happy Mother's Day,

Joyce Livingston

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Well, I did it!

I've been bitten by the blogging bug! Thanks for coming by. In the future I'll try to add some things of interest to both those who write -- and -- those who -- read!

As a published author, I've learned a lot on the way to publication and I'd like to share that info with you -- so that -- if you are an aspiring author -- you maybe be spared from experiencing a number of things I've learned the hard way.

In addition to being an author of Christian Romance and Women's Fiction, I feel I have been called of God to be an encourager of women. I'll be posting some bloggs that I hope will be an encouragement to you (if you're a woman) and educational to you (if you're a man)!

In addition to my own musings, I hope to have my author and agent friends offer their tidbits on publishing.

So, give me a few days to get my *blogging* feet on the ground and I'll be off and running!

Your *new* Blogg friend... and true romantic at heart...

Joyce Livingston
Author of THE WIDOWS' CLUB
released this month to bookstores everywhere