Monthly Archives: January 2015

New Short Story – Abiding Love

I will be the first to admit that my mind spends most of its time hovering around a fictional community in the center of Iowa. But sometimes other stories creep to the top and remind me that they need to be written.

Last year I read through the Bible and when I got to the book of Ruth in the Old Testament, my imagination took off. I gave chase, finally caught up with it, and this short story was the result. It is one of my favorite pieces so far.

In the Old Testament, we read of Naomi and her pain … how she changed her name from Naomi, which means ‘pleasant,’ to Mara, which means ‘bitter.’ The words Ruth spoke to Naomi – Entreat me not to leave you, nor to return from following you … – are familiar words in wedding ceremonies. Ruth is the mother of Obed, whose son Jesse was the father of David, the greatest King of Israel.

I don’t presume to tell of people whose descendant will be the savior of the world, but I love the story of Naomi’s transformation, which comes full circle in Ruth 4:15, just after Obed is born to Ruth. The women say of the boy, “He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth” (NIV). The story goes on to say that “Naomi took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him” (Ruth 4:16).

Abiding Love is available on Kindle or on the free Kindle app which you can get for nearly every device or computer. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

Abiding Love Cover smallClick on the cover to purchase the story from Amazon.

This short story is a contemporary re-imagining of the Biblical story of Ruth. In it, Diane Greenwood Muir, author of the Bellingwood series, explores the deep connection that love creates in friends.

Naomi has experienced everything from exhilarating joy to paralyzing grief and yet, her life is constantly renewed by the steadfast love that comes from her closest friend. Ruth has sacrificed a great deal – her homeland and the life she knew – to stay with Naomi when circumstances should have pulled them apart.

As Ruth begins a new life, with a new husband and family, Naomi finds that she has been given a great gift – an understanding of the way God fulfilled His promise to care for her, no matter what. When He seems so far away, we find Him in those who continue to love us.

Email Signup – New Year, New Fun!

Happy New Year!

Hey, we’re only twelve days in. I can still say those words, right? Of course I can. I could get all cocky and tell you that this is my website and I can write what I want, but that would be silly. I’m not that cocky. But then there’s the great night’s sleep I had, the immense mug of coffee that is racing through my system and … well, I might also be avoiding a small editing project. So … anything could come out of my fingers at this point.

I’ve discovered that I miss you all. I don’t want to complain about what Facebook has done with its algorithms, so I’ll just say that I miss hanging out with you on the Bellingwood FB page. Part of the reason I have so much fun writing my stories is because it gives me an opportunity to connect with people I would never have met otherwise … you.

In order to make sure that we stay connected, I’m going to add another layer … with bonuses. It’s time for me to get on board with email newsletters. I will send a newsletter out once a month with some of my favorite moments from interactions on Facebook, web posts, an update on projects I have swirling around, and other exciting things from the world of Bellingwood.

That means I need something from you … you need to go through the email sign up process.

At the top of the front page of this blog post is a sign up form. Fill it out and wait for the MailChimp monkey to send a confirmation into your email, click on it and you will be added to the list.

Spy Cat Sign UpI promise not to overwhelm your inbox. You have to know that I have fought myself over doing this because I hate getting on a list that explodes on me out of the blue. But, if it becomes too much, the unsubscribe option is easy. You control your inbox.

I also promise not to do anything weird with your email, like sell it or give it away. You mean the world to me. I am grateful for your support and love.

The first email will come out around the 25th of January. I’m working on a special short-short (very short and in case you wondered how short – let’s just say – really, really short. Is it going to be a short story, Diane? Oh, it will be short.) Bellingwood story for everyone who signs up. 

Whaddya know! This is going to be fun! Sign up today. And I’m about to pour another cup of coffee. Whee!

Killer Instinct, Goals, Competition, Never Quit

September 1961

Diane & Frank, September 1961

If there was one thing Dad wished to instill in his kids (after love, family, God, all of that nice gooey stuff), it was how to achieve a sense of accomplishment. He was relentless, often talking about the killer instinct, going for the goal no matter what. None of us really bought into it. He’d spent too much time teaching us about love, forgiveness, family, friends, God and all the other gooey stuff. But, it occurs to me, all of these years later, that those words didn’t fall on deaf ears.

Dad didn’t want us to settle for mediocrity or second-best. If we were going to play an instrument, we practiced … and practiced and practiced. He had high expectations for our school work. If the report card was filled with A’s, he asked about A+’s. He might have sounded as if he were kidding, but he wasn’t.  When my friends were getting monetary rewards for their report cards, I asked why I didn’t. His response was that he wasn’t about to pay me for doing the right thing. Well … darn.

He refused to let us quit … easily. He said more often than not, that he wasn’t raising a bunch of quitters. We weren’t allowed to start something and stop the moment it got difficult. No, we pressed on, worked through the difficulty, kept at it an appropriate amount of time and if at the end of all of that, we decided it wasn’t something we wanted to do, we finished. We never stopped in the middle of a project or activity. We had responsibilities to the others who were part of that activity. Oh, and by the way, just because we might have decided that we weren’t going to do this particular thing ever again, we didn’t have the option of giving it a half-baked response. We were expected to excel … or at least try our hardest … until we were finished.

I spent most of yesterday putting a new computer together, downloading my life from the cloud, arranging everything so that it was just perfect, on and on. Add to that the fact that for the three nights previous, I’d gotten no more than 3-4 hours of sleep each night because I was awake early in order to be alert for a probable (oh, they failed me miserably) FedEx delivery (of that same computer), and you had a completely exhausted girl. I mean … exhausted to the point of pure silliness.

At the end of December, I wrote a post about my challenges / goals for 2015. I created a schedule that seemed doable … not too difficult with all the other things I have going on. The first thing I committed to was writing 1000 words per day in the month of January. This would be the perfect month to do that. I’d still be excited about the commitment, I wanted to kick off the new year right, and that much writing would give me a great push for the year’s writing goals.

Last night I didn’t have it in me. I was done in and nothing creative was floating around in my brain. I’d finished a short story the night before, I’d sent a different short story out to my beta readers the day before. I felt like I’d accomplished enough. It was time to rest and allow my body to recuperate with some sleep.

I went to bed. And I read a little bit. Then I tossed and I turned. And I tossed and turned some more. That 1000 word commitment kept floating around in my mind. I tried to tell myself that it was okay – I could write an extra thousand words the next day. But that wasn’t the point. The point was that I’d set a goal. I’d challenged myself to stay on task and if I gave in one day, I’d feel free to give in another day.

When a mouse sprung a trap and startled both TB and myself out of bed, I knew that I couldn’t go back and try to sleep without at least attempting to write. I dealt with the mouse, put slippers on my feet and a sweater over my nightgown and sat down at the computer. I wrote the next scene. It wasn’t 1000 words – only 903, but that was close enough. I considered feeling guilty about shorting myself – but that was pushing the limit a bit too much – even for me.

My brother and sister do exactly the same thing … in their own ways. It’s sometimes frustrating for us to not be able to give up easily, but in the long run, we always know we are doing the right thing … even if no one else notices.

Dad’s tenacious commitment to excellence, finishing a task, and competing against whatever bar has been set was one that might have seemed difficult to emulate, but on the other side of that was his verbal acknowledgement that he was proud of us. We never had to question that.

If you wonder why I keep going when I could relax and take a break, this is the way I was raised and it makes me happy to know that I don’t quit or give up. Dad doesn’t have to push me – I push myself. I was up a bit later than I’d expected last night, but it was pretty satisfying to put my head back down on the pillow and know that I’d not failed myself.

Year Two Winners!

Winners!Well, THAT was fun. The contest had well over 250 entries from both the website and the FB page.

Since I have to type each name individually into a list (because FB is not so helpful with this stuff), I got to see some great names for future stories! Yep … working on crazy stuff in my head all the time. It’s what I do.

Okay – here we go with fourteen winners of the 2014 / 1400 likes contest.

Sycamore House T-Shirts (2) 
Andrea M. Olson
Deb McIntyre Kampschnieder

Set of Books 1-3 (1)
Marcie Meeker

Book 8 – Through the Storm (6)
Sarah Studinski
Connie Kay Conrad Jobe
Angelia Schubert
Tanya Saucerman Braun
Barbara Walker
Susan Devine Solovera

Book 1 – All Roads Lead Home (2)
Bonnie Stine
Elli Briggs Strukel

Tote Bag (2)
Michelle Knopp
Marbeth Carmack

Sycamore House Mug (1)
Melanie Pollnow McClure

Message me on Facebook or use the contact form on the website with your mailing address and I will get these things out to you. I need sizes for t-shirts (Small – 4X).

Today I want to finish writing a short story about Polly and Henry, I’m thinking through another REALLY short story for something fun this month and putting words down for Book 9. This is going to be a great year and I’m so glad you all are part of it! Happy New Year!