Never Give up on Your Dreams

Romance Along the Rails will be released in January 2018
Never Give Up on Your Dreams

In the early 1990’s, when I was in my forties, I began to have the urge to write. I enrolled in the Institute of Children’s Literature. As I completed the lessons my desire to be a writer increased. I joined a small writer’s group and went to an amazing writer’s conference in Oklahoma called the Professionalism in Writing Conference. There I saw and met writers like Brock and Bodie Thoene, Karen Ball and others.

I started writing my novel (Working title; Tables on the Prairie). The second year I went to the conference I took the first few chapters and had a critique session with Karen Ball, who was the acquisitions editor for Multnomah Press. She offered me a contract for the book and the first chapter won first place in the writer’s contest. I was ecstatic and went home determined to write and finish the novel, but life crashed in around me. My mother fell and fractured her pelvis and Daddy was in the early to middle stages of Alzheimer’s. We took them in to live with us. I tried to write, but with the stress of their care and the fear of not making the deadline, I broke the contract!
I continued to write and finished the novel, as well as several short stories, including “Grandpa Forgot My Name”.  Although I tried submitting them to book publishers and magazines, I had no success getting them published. Eventually, I gave up. My book and stories sat in my computer for 12-13 years. I always knew they were there and made sure they were saved. I would go to Christian bookstores and think that I should have a book on those shelves.
The Lord gave me the verse, Habakkuk 2:2-3 “And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision, and make it upon tables, that he my run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it: because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”
About two summers ago, my son, Kelly, said, “Mom, do you know your book in on Amazon?” Sure enough, it was listed back when I’d been given the contract. He said, “Your novel is written, you need to get it out and work on it. There are other ways to publish it.”
The desire to write was rekindled in me. I read the manuscript and decided it was worth the effort, though it needed editing. Thanks to great critique and editing partners, it is now ready to be published. Next month “Romance Along the Rails” will be released.

God came to Earth

. December – God came to Earth so we could go to Heaven. This is the month we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. John 3:16 For God so loved the World, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting Life. It is absolutely mindblowing to me that the Amazing God who created the universe, and Who has all things under His control would lay aside His glory and majesty and come to Earth as a baby. He loved us humans so much He was willing to make the sacrifice. He was the perfect God-Man, completely sinless.

He came with the express purpose of dying on the cross for our sins. He was the only one who could pay that awful price for us! Because of the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, every one of us is born a sinner. We have broken the law of God. We are separated from the Perfect Holy God who cannot look on sin. Yet Jesus loved us so much He was willing to take the punishment we deserved and make a way, through His shed blood, for us to be reconciled to the Father God. He has offered forgiveness to us as a free gift, the perfect Gift!! If you have never received this free gift, all you need to do is call on Jesus’ name, confess your sins and ask Him to be your Savior!! He will accept you and make you His child.

Nana’s Treasures

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This month my special treasure is Sophie Smith. Sophie is 10 years old and in 5th grade. She was born two days after her cousin, Ridge, in Brush Prairie, WA. Made it hard for Nana and Papa to be in two places at once. Sophie now lives in Heber City, UT. She likes school and does well in her classes. She is a deep thinker and very loyal to family and friends. We are proud of our sweet Sophie!

The Books are Here

Isn’t this a beautiful sight? The books are here. Now the job of marketing begins. I had a great visit with Sharon Kizziah Holmes, (PaperBack Press) my publisher, this afternoon. We discussed “Grandpa Forgot My Name” as well as other upcoming projects. She gave me helpful advice about marketing. Thank you, Sharon, for your expertise in publishing. The book is available on Amazon and most other online retailers.

Grandpa Forgot My Name — Now Available

I have so much to be thankful for. My book Grandpa Forgot My Name is available on Amazon, as of November 14th.

You can purchase the book here, in paperback and Kindle versions:

I wrote this story about 15 years ago after my daddy died with Alzheimer disease. I sent it to several children’s magazines for publication, but it was never accepted so I moved on to other things. Last March, I showed it to Sharon Kizziah Holmes and she agreed to publish it for me through Kids Book Press. I am so grateful to her and to Carlos Lemos, who did the amazing illustrations. My prayer is now that God will use it in the life of many children and adults who are facing the difficult circumstance of having a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

I am also excited that my first historical fiction book Romance Along the Rails is getting closer to publication. We are working on the cover, and it is in the final editing stages. My dream of being published is finally coming to fruition.

Many years ago, when I first wrote Tables on the Prairie — now Romance Along the Rails — God gave me these verses in Habakkuk 2:2-3 “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”

An Attitude of Gratitude

November – The Month of Thanksgiving

thankful printableThanksgiving – The word evokes so many mental images: dinners with extended family and way more food than we needed; the annual football game with brothers, cousins and friends; card games (Rook and Pit) with everyone around the table. Great, great memories! Is that really what Thanksgiving is all about?
It should be about an attitude of our heart. We have so much to be thankful for. All we have to do is look around to see our blessings. Family and friends are a big part of that, but there is so much more. First and foremost is the fact that our Father God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to Earth to live as a man and then to die in our place, taking our punishment for sin. An equally amazing blessing is that He arose from the dead and now, if we repent of our sin and accept Him as Savior, He lives in us and is with us every moment of everyday! There’s nothing better!
Turn your heart toward God and thank Him for all He has done.

Nana’s Treasures
This month, my special treasure is Ridge Tate! Ridge is 10 years old and in 5th grade. He was born near Cincinnati, OH on 7-7-07, two days before his cousin Sophie. Ridge loves school and does very well in his grades. He also loves sports. He just finished the 2017 season of Mighty Might Football. He’s quite a force on the defensive line. Ridge is faithful in church and loves Jesus. We are proud and blessed to have him as our grandson.

Autumn – The Season of Many Colors

October, the true beginning of Autumn
Autumn is a season of mixed emotions. It is usually a time of natural beauty as the leaves change colors and squash and pumpkins dominate the decor. There’s pumpkin spice latte’s, apple crisp, and football. This year, though, it has stayed so warm and dry that the leaves are still green for the most part. It certainly hasn’t felt like sweater weather, yet. Although the prognosticators say cooler weather is on the way. Around us here in Southwest Missouri, every small town has a Fall Festival so there is always somewhere to go to celebrate the season.

Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go

This is the season of change; of letting go. Both of the last two Octobers have brought loss into my family’s lives. A year ago, my brother, Marvin went to be with the Lord, and just this week my oldest brother, Darrel, stepped over into Heaven. They both loved and served the Lord faithfully, and I know they are experiencing the Presence of their Savior and rejoicing with loved ones. For me it is bittersweet. It’s hard to lose them, but God gives such amazing peace. They are both totally healed and walking streets of gold with all the saints who have gone on. How could I begrudge them that? Indeed, I am somewhat jealous of them. I am so thankful that I will be there with them someday soon. We all can, as a matter of fact. If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, call on Him today; confess to Him that you have sinned and ask His forgiveness. He will gladly accept you as His child and you, too, can have a home in Heaven. John 1:12

Nana’s Treasures

My treasure for this month is Aidan Tate. Aidan turns 12 this month. He loves his little sister, Blakeney. He also loves football, and is a running back on his Mighty Mites team . Aidan is a hard worker and does very well in school as well as being a leader in his church middle school class. I am very proud of this young man. God is going to use him.
Writing News

The illustrations for the children’s book Grandpa Forgot my Name are almost complete. Hopefully, it will be a reality very soon, thanks to Sharon Kizziah-Holmes and PaperBack Press. Keep your eyes open for the release date on Facebook and Twitter. I am also entering the first five pages of Romance Along the Rails in the ACFW First Impressions contest. Please pray it will do well. We are moving ahead.
Sorry this is late coming out. We just returned from my brother’s funeral in Kansas. Although we were sad at the loss, it was great to see many family members. We have had the joy of having Holly, our youngest daughter, from Heber City, UT. here with us for the week. 

Summer Ends – Autumn Begins

 The end of summer and the beginning of fall. 
September Quote Free Printables | Helen Hunt Jackson | Two original printables to welcome September. Free and ready to download instantly for DIY wall art!
     This year is flying by. We’ve had an amazingly mild summer with cooler than usual weather and more rain. Our garden has almost run its course. We are usually low on inspiration about this time to plant a fall garden. We still have plenty of spaghetti squash. 
     We have been watching the devastation from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida and are praying for the survivors as they work to build back. We want to help as much as we can by donating money and supplies.
Happy Retirement, Bob!
     We have so much to be thankful for. God has supplied our needs as Bob retired this summer – for the third time! He worked for the Natural Resource Conservation Service for 54 years; as District Conservationist with the USDA for 20 years; technician with the Conservation Districts for 26 years and as a federal retiree for 8 years. He has enjoyed his job, for the most part, and has helped many farmers and ranchers conserve their soil, water, and other natural resources. Now he’s able to spend more time working in the yard and garden…as well as…volunteer at the conservation office!
Nana’s Treasures
    My special granddaughter for this month is Rylee Danielle Smith. Rylee shares her birthday with Jesus, December 25th, though she usually celebrates early. Rylee is twelve and in 7th grade this year. She is a good student and has received honors from her school. She has a soft heart and thinks of others. We are very proud of her.
Writing News
    I wish I had more news to share. I have continued to work on my final edit of Romance Along the Rails and I am working on summaries and blurbs that will go on the back cover. There is a lot to do to get a book ready to publish. I am also trying to refine my social media skills. It is not easy for “an old dog to learn new tricks.” I wish it was as easy for me as it is for my kids and grandkids. Hopefully, by next month I’ll have more progress to report.

Back to School Daze

According to the calendar, we are in the middle of summer and yet school is starting again for another year. This week I will be heading back to work in the school kitchen. I pray that as well as feeding the bodies of the school children, I might also be able to share God’s love with them and with my co-workers. I want this verse to be my inspiration.

Writing News
I had the opportunity to review pencil drawings of three of the illustrations for the children’s book, Grandpa Forgot My Name. I am pleased with the early progress. The book should be out around November. I am finishing the editing of my book, Romance Along the Railroad.

                                                      Summer’s Bounty

We have had good success with our garden this summer. We have harvested green beans, onion, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, and peppers. Now we are picking apples. We have had plenty to eat, preserve and give away. I have been trying new recipes such as Zucchini Lasagna and Chicken Bacon Ranch Spaghetti Squash. Here is a picture of Bob with some of our produce.

                                                                                                            Nana’s Treasures
Isaiah Tate is our oldest grandson. A great young man, he is fourteen and looking forward to his first year of high school. He had a job this summer at Chick-Fil-A which kept him busy. Isaiah is a good student and a leader in his church youth group. We are very proud of him and are glad he lives close to us.

Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy

                                    July – summertime – my favorite time of year. 
    We think of picnics and fireworks. July 4th, the birthday of our nation. 241 years ago, on July 4th, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress declaring freedom from England’s rule. There were 56 signers of the Declaration who pledged to each other “our Lives, our fortunes and our sacred Honor.” These Founding Fathers and our brave soldiers and veterans have secured for us our rights and liberties as citizens of this great country, The United States of America!
   About 2117 years ago, God, our Heavenly Father, sent his Son Jesus to Earth. He came as a baby and grew up to be a man, but His purpose in coming was to die in our place, pay the penalty for our sins and give us liberty in Him. This liberty is a free gift to us to make us Citizens of Heaven and Children of God. We must each accept that free gift personally by asking Jesus to forgive our sins and become our Savior. 

                                                              Nana’s Treasures
Gabby (Gabrielle) Smith is our oldest grandchild. Born 22 days after 9/11 on October 3, 2001, she can hardly wait until her next birthday, that big 16th, so she can drive. Gabby will be a 10th grader this year and enjoys sports. She has excelled as goalie on her school soccer team and also plays Rugby. She loves photography and making YouTube videos. Check out her latest one.

      Writing Progress
I have been working on my final edits of my WIP, “Romance Along the Railroad.” I plan to have some writing friends read and edit it. I need to get a cover done and hopefully get it published soon.

Just getting acquainted

Hello, my name is Joyce Valdois Smith. I live in Republic, MO. I’ve been married to my sweetheart, Bob for 47 years. We have 4 married children; Kelly and Joice Smith, who live in Columbia SC; Janna and Mike Wiseley and Annette and Andrew Tate, who both live in Springfield, MO and Holly and Erik Smith, who live in Heber City, UT. (Holly married a Smith so didn’t change her name.)

They have given us 12 grandchildren to brighten our days. Gabby (Gabrielle) 15; Isaiah 14; Rylee 12
; Aidan 11; Ridge 9; Sophie 9 (Their birthdays are two days apart July 7th and July 9th; April 9 (She just had her birthday); Michaela 8; Sonja 7; Carenza 5; Blakeney 4; and Dani (Danielle) 3. These precious grandchildren have given us the esteemed titles of Nana and Papa!

Oh, I can’t forget our Cavalier King Charles, Katie! (Her registered name is Lady Catherine Smith). She is 5 years old and pretty much rules the household.

As you can tell from my title I am avid coffee drinker. My girls got me Starbucks gift cards for Mother’s day, which was greatly appreciated. I am a freelance writer. I write Historical and Contemporary Fiction and have just signed the contract for a children’s book, “Grandpa Forgot My Name.” My Father and Mother-In-Law both died from Alzheimer Disease so I want to help children deal with this devastating situation. I am also a Christ follower. I love the Lord Jesus Christ and want to honor Him in every aspect of my life.

I’ve decided to write a blog called Java drinkin’, Story writin’ Nana. Each month I will feature one of our grandchildren; tell whats going on with my writing and give an inspiritional tidbit. I will blog on the 10th of each month.

Hoping and planning to see you then!