"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it." - Hebrews 13:2



Monday, March 26, 2012

Imagination


~ Origami flowers made by my daughter Hannah ~
Quite an artistic imagination, wouldn't you say?

We as writers touch on many different emotions and life experiences as we write and develop the characters in our stories. Whenever possible, we draw from our own life experiences to make our writing genuine and unique. However, sometimes our stories call upon us to portray emotions with which we have no personal experience.

How does a writer connect with the emotion or experiences that he or she has not undergone in real life?

IMAGINATION
Merriam-Webster defines imagination as:
1
: the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality
2
a : creative ability
b : ability to confront and deal with a problem :Resourcefulness <use your imagination and get us out of here>
c : the thinking or active mind : Interest stories that fired the imagination>
3
a : a creation of the mind; especially : an idealized or poetic creation
b : fanciful or empty assumption

As a writer, one of the most important skills we have is the imagination. When we open our imagination - allow it to flow - anything is possible.
Are you exercising your imagination?
My two cents: This week I am challenged by writing a character that is a widow. I personally have never been widowed, so I must use my imagination to feel my way through the sadness, loneliness, and sorrow that accompanies such a difficult life experience.
Do you struggle when writing emotions that you have not personally experienced? Do you research events which alter our hearts and lives in order to write about them? Or do you solely rely on your vivid imagination?
Between you, me and the gatepost,

Loree






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Monday, March 19, 2012

Many Moons Ago...



The Wabash River from I-65 at 70mph - Photo by Loree Huebner


Sorry this post is a bit late. Eric and I spent an wonderful weekend on a road trip. The weather was just awesome. Compared to the northern part of our state, spring was in full swing downstate—trees and bushes were blooming! The 80 degree weather made it perfect.

While driving home down I-65, I thought about the first time that I had decided to write a novel. Up to that point, I had tossed around the idea, dreamt of being an author, pictured myself with a series of my own books on the bookshelf, but this was the moment that I knew I was ready to sit down and start. I had stories in my head waiting to come out.

It was early December (this is some years ago) and I had just quit a very stressful job. I decided to do some stargazing out on the back deck. I just love the winter sky. The weather wasn’t too cold yet—a coat was comfortable enough. As I sat on a comfy chair, kicking my feet up on the railing, an enormous full moon rose on the eastern horizon. I was hypnotized by it. As I watched it slowly climb its way up in the eastern sky, I was overwhelmed with a feeling—a new beginning.

Just a few weeks before, I had come to a difficult decision (with the blessing of my husband) to quit my full time job. The job was extremely stressful—constantly piling more work upon the work we were already required to do—spreading us too thin. I was always mentally exhausted. I had stopped exercising and had gained weight. It wasn’t a healthy situation.

As I sat there gazing at this beautiful moon, I asked God, “Okay, what do I do now?”
A verse from the Bible came to my mind ~

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven…
~Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ASV)



The Kankakee River from I-65 at 70 mph - Photo by Loree Huebner


Suddenly, I just knew—there was no booming voice, no flash of light, just a gentle tickling of my spirit. I went from weeping to a smile in less than 10 seconds. God was giving my answer. It was a time to write.

I went into the house and announced my decision. Eric thought it was about time. I started writing my first novel the very next day. Many moons later…I have 4 novels written, and have started my fifth. I’ve been back to work, full time, for several years now. I write when I’m not working. There’s time for exercise and fun. I’m much happier now. It all fit together…only with God’s help.

Where were you when you decided to sit down and write your first story, novel, or article, paint your first picture, or knit your first afghan? Whatever craft you do for a living or for fun ~ Do you remember what drew you in? Do you remember that defining moment of clarity? I would love to hear your stories.

Between you, me and the gatepost,

Loree

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Tagged!



Purple Crocus - March 11, 2012 - Photo by Loree Huebner


The weather has warmed up, and signs of spring are everywhere. Two days ago, I spied several crocuses blooming in my yard. Those daffodils that were coming up last month—bloomed this week…yes, this week! The honey bees and hornets are busy looking for open flowers, and the robins are in every yard. I've got to say that I don't remember such a windy March. Forget doing your hair! Anyway, spring is nearly upon us here in Indiana.


Yellow Crocus - March 11, 2012 - Photo by Loree Huebner


Apparently, spring is also the season of tagging. This past weekend I was tagged by Marji Laine. Marji is a beautiful and talent writer. She is also a woman of many talents! You can stop by her blog anytime and always feel welcome. Go on over and visit her at Marji Laine – Faith-Driven Fiction

I'm always feel awkward about things like this, but I will give it a whirl. The rules of being tagged are to answer the questions that Marji has left for us. I’ll give it a go.

1 Book or movie and why?
Book—hands down—there is no why.

2 Real book or e-book?
Real book. I still love the real deal. I spend a great amount of time staring at computer screens. I don’t want my personal reading time to be done on a screen if I can help it. I still love the smell of a book, the pages, the pictures. I love to hold it in my hands.

3 Funniest thing you’ve done in the past 5 years?
I do funny things all the time. Maybe this question should be directed at Hubz. Eric would probably tell you about the time that I was fishing on the shore of Lake Erie, right by the Marblehead Lighthouse in Ohio, and fell in the water. What happened next is written in the Huebner History book. It’s much too long of a story for an answer to a question. Maybe a future blog post? Yeah, maybe…AND there are pictures. It all involves hysterical laughter, crying, pain, more hysterical laughter, and a fish. heh heh…

4 How would your best friend describe you?
My best friend and I have been friends for over thirty years. Nancy would describe me as her “sister” even though we’re not related. At this point, we are sisters. We even send each other “sister” cards for special occasions. It’s an honor that I’ve earned and wear proudly.

5 How do you put yourself into the books you read/write or the movies you watch?
Hubz and I love to watch old movies. There are a lot of great stories out there in between the pages, or on film…it’s easy to get lost in them. As far as putting myself there, I love the Civil War era. This is the time period that I love to write about the most. I can put myself into the bubble…and I’m there.

6 Favorite kind of car and why?
Corvette – Always loved them. Don’t own one…yet.

7 Would your choice party be a catered meal or a BBQ out back?
Definitely a BBQ out back. When Eric and I were in Brussels visiting his brother and family, we were invited to a party at a friend’s home. When we got there, it was a BBQ out in their back yard. We had the greatest time! Our host was from Scotland, and his wife was an American. He cooked for all of us! Good food and good company, and the evening weather was just perfect! We had been to some great restaurants on that vacation, but Eric and I remember that night as one of the best nights from that trip to Europe.
 
8 What’s your favorite season and why?
Fall. I’m not sure exactly why, but maybe it’s because I was born in the fall. I love the changing leaves, the beauty of the land, and the refreshing cool weather after a warm summer…and the smell of the first campfire.

9 What specific lesson have you learned – Spiritual, educational, occupational?
Spiritual – “Do not be afraid” ~ Educational – “Fear not” ~ Occupational – “Do not let your heart be troubled” ~
 
10 Besides writing, what’s your favorite thing to do when you get some extra time?
I love to fish for largemouth bass, crappie, perch, and bluegills. Fishing is so relaxing. Eric and I, and all of our kids love to fish. We all get together at least once a year to go on a fishing outing together. Last year it was at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis. I love being out in nature and on the water. My other favorite thing to do is Civil War reenacting. I also love to garden, bird watch, hike, and star gaze. 

11 What’s one place you can be found at least one time every week?
I’ll give you several once a week places—church, grocery store, the post office, sunset watching, our favorite park with the dogs, and a nearby small book store.

Now I’m supposed to tag 11 awesome bloggers. I wish I could tag everyone. I just picked some awesome bloggers at random, whose blogs I visit, and who I hoped hadn’t been tagged before. If you see your name below, you are tagged. (I provided the links to their blogs, so head on over for a visit). 


Awesome Bloggers: Answer the same 11 questions that I did. No pressure to play along – all in good fun.

In no particular order:

Is the change of seasons in full swing where you live? Tell me what changes you’re seeing around your house this week.


And to my Irish friends - Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Between you, me and the gatepost,


Loree


Loree's Daffs - March 11, 2012 - Photo by Loree Huebner


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.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Civil War Bivouac ~The Angel of the Battlefield

In this month’s Civil War Bivouac, I want to introduce you to a major player in the Civil War, and in American history. This person was not a Major General, Colonel, President, or even marching soldier. She was a woman who heard military stories and the tragic tales of the casualties of war when she was a young girl. She took all of this knowledge, and with a heart filled with compassion and a will of iron, used her assets to start one of the most enduring institutions still in existence today ~ The American Red Cross.


Clara Barton circa 1866
"The Angel of the Battlefield"


CLARA BARTON was one of America's greatest heroines—a genuine patriot and humanitarian. When she saw pressing needs of those in distress, she gave every bit of her courage and strength to take matters in hand, and see them through.

She was born on Christmas day in 1821 in Oxford, Massachusetts, to a farmer, who had been a soldier in his younger days. Her father regaled her with war stories that she would carry deep within her and would inspire her later on in her adult life.


Clara was shy. To overcome her shyness, she started teaching at the young age of 15. At some point, she was requested to teach at a private school. It was during this period that she saw the real need for free education. She helped set up one of the first free public schools in the state of Massachusetts. Eventually, in 1854, she moved to Washington and it became her permanent home. In Washington, she worked in the U.S. Patent Office as a clerk.


In 1861, at the start of the American Civil War, a train loaded with Massachusetts soldiers came to Washington. The regiment had lost all of its supplies when attacked in Baltimore by Confederate sympathizers. The regiment was housed in the unfinished Capitol Building. Clara immediately saw a real need and went to work collecting sheets, handkerchiefs, socks, and anything they could use. She also cooked for the home state regiment.


After the battle of Bull Run in 1861, she heard that there was a terrible shortage of supplies—bandages, blankets, medicine—and set out advertising in local newspapers for donations. The response from the public was overwhelming. She established a supply depot to get the provisions and materials where they were needed quickly. In 1862, she won approval from the government to personally deliver supplies on to the battlefields.


 “In my feeble estimation, General McClellan, with all his laurels, sinks into insignificance beside the true heroine of the age, the angel of the battlefield.”
~Dr. James Dunn, surgeon at Antietam Battlefield.


In September of 1862, Clara Barton arrived at the famous “cornfield” in Sharpsburg, Maryland, not too far from Antietam Creek. How she got there is a story in itself—a true miracle by God. When she arrived, she got a full view of the gruesome side of war during the battle. She watched the fretful army doctors dressing wounds with corn husks or anything else they could find. The army’s medical supply wagon was far behind the quick moving Federal troops, and she gave the grateful surgeons her supply wagon.


Once there, Clara got to work quickly. With artillery shells and bullets flying, she cradled the injured and dying in her arms as she coaxed them to take a sip of water or bandaged their wounds.


As she bent over a wounded man to give him a drink of water, she felt something hit her sleeve. She looked and saw a bullet had pierced the puffy part of the sleeve. Unfortunately, the bullet hit the man she was caring for, and he died shortly thereafter. He died right there in her arms.


"A ball has passed between my body and the right arm which supported him, cutting through his chest from shoulder to shoulder. There was no more to be done for him and I left him to his rest. I have never mended that hole in my sleeve. I wonder if a soldier ever does mend a bullet hole in his coat?"   
~Clara Barton at Antietam


With her dark dress, bonnet, and red bow, she was what we could call a living icon. Her unselfish mercy and compassion for the wounded earned her the title—The Angel of the Battlefield. Her self-appointed duties took her to some of the most horrendous battlefields in the war where she nursed the wounded, wrote letters to home for the men, and listened to their personal stories.


She worked in and out of the field until the end of the war.


In 1865, she started a new project. Clara helped with the effort to identify more than 13,000 unknown dead Union soldiers at the ghastly prisoner-of-war camp in Andersonville, Georgia. Her Civil War duties climaxed when she proposed that a national cemetery be built around the graves of the Union dead there at Andersonville. She helped raise the flag over the grounds at the dedication in 1865.


During a trip to Europe in 1870, she witnessed the conflict between Prussa and France. Once again, she was drawn to the battlefields to help. When she returned to the United States, she was more determined to establish The American Red Cross. The United States government was unenthusiastic about the idea because it could not imagine itself entangled in another brutal Civil War. Finally in 1881, at the age of nearly 60 years old, Clara convinced the government to identify the Red Cross as an aid for natural disasters.



Miss Barton never married. She continued her work in the field well into her seventies. She was the president of the American Red Cross until 1904. She died in 1912 at the age of ninety.


This is just a brief description of her life. In each of these stories, there is the tale of what she endured and fought for—what she won, lost, and battled against—so many depths to the complete story. Clara Barton was a true American heroine.


Who is your favorite real heroine of the past or present?


Between you, me and the gatepost,


Loree Huebner