Cynthia's Newsletter

October 2016
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October 2016


There's a nip now  to the early morning air.

As summer green retreats and the hills and hollows ripen with saffron, orange, and red, God's thumbprint is steady and sure, marking this subtle transition we know as fall.

In the Ozarks this quiet respite whispers change. For some, the change is bittersweet. For others, it's what if framed with possibility. I find it's a little of both.

Maybe you feel that way, too.

On one hand, fall signals dormancy and the passage of time---those fleeting moments we can't get back. On the upside, as the earth yields to the inevitable, we know this season is temporary, a mere pause as we consider rebirth ahead. It's God's nudge to rest, reflect, and regroup.

We set goals and continue to work, but we're smart about it. We realize big victories come on the heels of change.

Over our way, we're settling into our semi-empty nest status. The house is a little quieter and the silence sometimes too loud, but my husband and I are busying ourselves with various projects and must-dos. Some days, it takes more of a concentrated effort. We miss our kids' voices and their teasing banter. We miss their presence. Phone calls and texting are just not the same as that day-to-day interaction.

Yet, there's this. The thing that makes the poignancy bearable is knowing our children are in God's hands. They're His--on loan to us for a season. As one season fades, another emerges. A perfect analogy, yes? 

So, we muddle through new territory, rejoice in the blessing of family, and anticipate new beginnings. (And I must add--that three pound bag of chocolates is a delightful balm to the soul.) :-)  

Now--I'd love your input.

As I organize my newsletters, I always pray how I might bless you. Yes, I'm a writer--but my newsletters are not just a way to ratchet up numbers or increase "likes." Of course, I hope you'll share with others and pass along something you've found encouraging (in fact--please do!), but the truth of the matter is my newsletters are a big part of my ministry.

This is where I chat with my newsletter family--with you--about  life stuff. The fun and the mundane. The real and the raw. The heartfelt and homespun

I'm not fancy or pretentious. I generally speak in a conversational tone. I love to laugh. I live to serve--to encourage.

Sometimes, I goof. *blush* But...then again...don't we all? (Besides...perfection's sorely overrated.)

The thing you should know--this is your safe place. There's no judgment here. 

As a dear pastor once said, "I'm just a beggar telling another beggar where I found bread."

I'd like your help.

I'd like YOU to tell me:


  • How can I up my game? 
  • What do you love/not love about my monthly newsletter?
  • Is it too long or just right?
  • Any sections you're tired of? 
  • Anything you'd like to see added or want to see more of?
Please drop me a quick e-mail and let me know your thoughts. I'll chat about suggestions (no worries--I won't use your name) in an upcoming newsletter. I can't wait to hear from you! (Pssst...Just click the blue e-mail button at the top of my newsletter to get in touch.) 

Thank you ever so much!


"For me, every hour is grace. And I feel gratitude in my heart each time I can meet someone and look at his or her smile."
~ Elie Wiesel



A Bird's-Eye View from the Ozarks
Striking a happy work/respite balance. Encouragement for writers.

The Very Best Thing About This Writing Gig
Having a meltdown? Just breathe! What writers remember as we press forward in our journey. (I'm dishing and it'll make you SMILE!)

We All Start Small
Potential isn't reached overnight. How small beginnings lead to big opportunities. 


9 Ways to Face Your Fears via Mary Connealy/Seekerville
(Writers--READ THIS. Great, great insights and encouragement here!)



Don’t you just love being around happy, positive people? I know I do. Unmotivated, negative folks sap our energy. They steal our joy and put a dent in our day.

If we’re constantly exposed to attitudes of discontent, our own attitudes begin to reflect the same.

Because by nature I’m a helper, I want to “fix things.” I want to solve the problem or at least make things better. The reality is  some people and situations can’t be “fixed”  by us. We have to move past the notion that our bags of fairy dust will work on all individuals. God has to direct those folks’ paths and we may or may not be part of that equation.

Many years ago, I was in a writing group with "Jackie." 

It pains me to tell you...

Jackie was, to put it bluntly, a sourpuss. Nothing ever suited her. The refreshments weren’t her taste. The speakers held no appeal. She didn’t like the color of the meeting room. People in our group began to avoid her. She’d developed a reputation. And, obviously,  it wasn’t the kind that spoke softness and light.

I remember thinking on more than one occasion Well, at least she doesn’t sit near me so maybe I’ll never be in her line of fire.

One Saturday, I ran a wee bit late to my writing group. Thankfully, there was one seat left when I arrived. It was a great spot next to the speaker’s podium. Right next to one of the refreshment trays. Joy! ...And smack dab next to Jackie. *sigh*

Jackie greeted me in her usual happy-go-lucky fashion as I slid in the chair beside her. 

“Hope they send in another pot of coffee. We’ll need it to stay awake for this,” she whispered loud enough for me and several others, nearby, to hear.

I cringed. Oh, no. I could see where this was headed.

Our speaker that day was one of our local authors, a beloved teacher, and a friend to all. (She’d not yet returned from the Ladies Room, so blessedly, she didn’t hear Jackie’s cutting remark.)

Throughout the presentation, Jackie made a habit of glancing at her watch, fiddling with an ink pen, and even doodling on her notepad. At one point, she sketched a mighty fine line-up of cartoon characters--on the front page of the speaker’s handout!

I tried to avert my gaze and concentrate on my own sheaf of papers, but I was completely mortified.What if Annie Author happens to glance over the podium and sees Jackie’s handiwork? Oh, my word!

I didn’t want the speaker to judge the whole lot of us by the insensitivity of one.

Though that never happened, at least to my knowledge, my attention was diverted the entire time by Jackie’s antics. To this day, I don’t remember much of what the speaker said. I believe her presentation mirrored her handouts, so maybe I didn’t lose too much.

The irony that day was this: At the close of the meeting, Jackie quickly gathered her papers, and leaned around me to whisper to a fellow member. “You know, you can always tell when people don’t have enough fun in their lives. It resonates in just about everything they do.”

Whew-we! I couldn’t have agreed more.

If we’re to live the kind of fun-filled life that God intends, I believe it’s necessary to:
  • Develop a positive life-philosophy. One where negativity rarely shares the limelight.
  • Be proactive. Think like a winner.
  • Practice patience. Recognize perspectives differ.
  • Realize lightheartedness is a choice. And sometimes, we must dispense with the persimmons. Yes. Yes, I DID just say that.

We can love ranters and complainers. BUT... (I know. But it must be said.) We don't have to be audience to their theatrics . 

Share the love. Share the light. Invite 'em along for the ride or nod and bid 'em "good day." Ask God to bless them.

And then...hit the nearest coffee shop on your way home and slug back a tall one. It's on me.



"No man ever got very high by pulling other people down. The intelligent merchant does not knock his competitors. The sensible worker does not knock those who work with him. Don't knock your friends. Don't knock your enemies. Don't knock yourself." 
~  Alfred Lord Tennyson


Pie crust

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening
Ice water


1/2 to 1 cup all-purpose flour
6-7 apples, thinly cut
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsps butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl cut the shortening and salt into the flour by hand or with a pastry blender until it's the texture of cornmeal. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of ice water over the mixture and mix just until the dough is moistened. Repeat by adding 6 to 8 tablespoons  water (one at a time) until all the dough is moist. 

Divide the dough in half and roll into a ball. Roll 1 ball into a circle to fit a 9 to 10-inch pie plate. To transfer the pastry to the pie plate, wrap it around a rolling pin and ease it into the pie plate. Don't stretch pastry. Trim it even with the edges of the pie plate. Add the apple filling into the pastry lined pie plate. Make sure the apples are laying flat. Cut butter into small pieces and put on top of the filling.

Roll the remaining pastry into 1 12-inch circle. Place on top of the filling. Trim off 1-inch beyond the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the edges as desired. Cut slits to allow steam to escape when baking. Sprinkle a a little sugar and cinnamon over the pie. Cover the edges with foil to prevent over-browning. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. 


In a medium bowl combine the apples with the brown and white sugar. Add flour, cinnamon and continue mixing until they are well coated.

Yield: 4 to 6 serving


"Food is our common ground, a universal experience."
~ James Beard

I snapped this shot (just south of Branson, MO) a few weeks before the leaves started to turn. It doesn't do justice to the Ozark hills and hollows so you'll just to have to visit. ...Coffee pot's on!

"The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it."
~ Richard Bach 



Last weekend, my husband and I gathered for a family visit. Around lunchtime, we opted for Chinese and our group of fifteen met at the mid-size restaurant a stone's throw from my sister-in-law's. 

As we entered the restaurant, kind folks parted and held doors open as my husband's ninety-six-year-old grandmother ambled along with her walker. (Grandma is legally blind and moves slowly as you might expect, but she still enjoys getting out when able.) 

It was lunchtime and the place was packed.

We waited about fifteen minutes while the hostess readied the tables for us and then she ushered our tribe around the corner to a perfect spot in back. We seated Grandma at the end of a table so there would be plenty of room for her walker.

"Grandma, I'll just hang your purse over the side of your chair here. Is that okay?"

Grandma Helen smiled and patted my hand. "Well, that would be just fine."

Since it was a buffet, it was a serve yourself affair. Family members fixed Grandma's plate, and after we'd made our selections and began visiting, our waitress brought waters and additional fountain drinks.

Just a few minutes into our meal, our waitress returned.

She leaned down beside Grandma and handed her a yellow ticket. "Someone asked me to give this to you. Have a wonderful day."

Because Grandma's vision is so limited, she couldn't make out the words."What does it say?"

My mother-in-law (whose vision is also poor) gave it a shot. The sentiment was brief. Touching. God-ordained.

"I saw you come in and felt like I should honor you in some way. I know this gift is small, but I hope it helps."

Someone ministered to our elderly grandmother by paying for her meal. 

An ordinary lunch became an unexpected blessing. A true pay-it-forward moment. Praise! Praise! Praise!

Be the difference, dear one. 

Be the difference.



Thank you for being part of my newsletter family! I will never sell, barter, or give away your e-mail address...not even for mashed taters and gravy. (Or chocolate. Or even coffee.)

Please feel free to forward my newsletter to a friend. In fact, please encourage your friends to subscribe to my monthly newsletter and W/F blog posts. Let's keep the encouragement rolling!

Until next month,

Much Love and Many Blessings,

Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction

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Cynthia writes Heartfelt Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains. She's a member of ACFW, ACFW MozArks, and RWA. Besides writing, Cynthia delights in serving the Lord and spending time with her family and friends. She has a fondness for gingerbread men, miniature teapots, and all things apple!

"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."
Proverbs 16:24 (NIV)
Original Image Credits: Author, Pixabay, Teresa's Photoworks
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