Thursday, April 17, 2014

My mother and “Things unseen and eternal”

My sweet little mother died a few days ago and my family and I are grieving her loss. (See pictures of her at A pause.)

Professionally, Mom was extraordinarily accomplished, but everyone knew the most important things were her family, God, and her church.

I am deeply thankful to her for teaching us how to know, serve, and love God and others.

Mom showed us how to live well, how to grow old with dignity and grace and, in the end, how to die well—to die in peace.

King David, too, lived well and died well, in peace. In the Bible he is commended for carrying out his duties with integrity of heart and with skillful hands, and then, when David had accomplished God’s purpose in his own generation, he died (Psalm 78:70-72, Acts 13:36). 

When David breathed his last breath, what a sense of peace he must have held, knowing he had accomplished God’s unique purposes for him. What a sense of satisfaction (the right kind)!

I am confident my little mother, too, lived with integrity of heart and with skillful hands—that she accomplished God’s purposes for her generation, and died in peace. Hers was a life well-lived.

Dying. Death. What are they?

Here’s what Henry Van Dyke wrote:

A Parable of Immortality

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side
spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch
until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sun and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says,
‘There she goes!’
Gone where? Gone from my sight—that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the places of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not her.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
‘There she goes!’
there are other eyes watching her coming
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout,
‘Here she comes!’ 

(Henry Van Dyke)

I know Mom heard, loud and clear, “Welcome! Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21).

I can only begin to imagine what she’s experiencing now.

She is seeing God face to face.

Eternal life is no longer something she only partially grasps.

Mysteries suddenly make sense.

Heavenly, unseen things are perfectly clear.

All the pieces have fallen into place.

Everything that puzzled her now makes sense.

She’s now involved in a “…contemplation of things unseen and eternal” (A Diary of Private Prayer, John Baillie).

How about you?

What are your thoughts about dying?

What do you think heaven will be like?

At the end of your time on earth,
what will it be like to stand before God
face to face, one on one?

What stories can you write for your kids, grandkids, and great-grands?

Dying and death and God and heaven seem elusive and mystifying and scary, especially for young people, so writing about them can benefit both you and your readers. Your stories can quiet fears. They can help others live with courage as they face the unknown.

Your stories can make readers think. Examine. Refine their stances. Take a fresh look. Maybe change the way they live, especially when their time on earth draws to an end.

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die…”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-2).

In writing your memoir, teach your readers how to live,
but do more than that: Teach them about that “time to die.”

God can use your stories to bless your readers. Really!
Stories are among God’s most powerful tools.
They can fortify timid hearts,
help people make important decisions
and find their way,
and inspire readers to find God’s purposes for their lives.

Your stories can change lives forever.

Related posts:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

“Blessed are they who...”

Many old-age issues make us uncomfortable and too often we avoid dealing with them—to everyone's loss

But I urge you to write your stories! Your memoir can change the way readers view old age and old people and you.

Your stories can also impact the way people care for your loved ones in their old age—and how others treat you when you’re old and feeble. (See links to related posts, below.) 

They can help them grasp that they, too, will someday become aged and wobbly and face the unknown of growing old and frail.

Sometimes the most effective way to deliver such messages is through someone else’s words, like we did last week with “The Wooden Bowl.”

This week we’ll look at “Crabby Old Man,” a piece many people claim to have written. (There’s also a version called “Crabby Old Woman.”)

Crabby Old Man
(author unknown)

What do you see nurses? What do you see?
What are you thinking when you're looking at me?
A crabby old man, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice, "I do wish you'd try!"
Who seems not to notice the things that you do
And forever is losing a sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking? Is that what you see?

Then open your eyes, nurse you're not looking at me.
I'll tell you who I am, as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of ten, with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters who love one another.
A young boy of sixteen with wings on his feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at twenty, my heart gives a leap
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five, now I have young of my own
Who need me to guide and a secure happy home.
A man of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my woman's beside me to see I don't mourn.
At fifty, once more babies play 'round my knee.
Again, we know children, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me. My wife is now dead.
I look at the future and shudder with dread,
For my young are all rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years and the love that I've known.
I'm now an old man, and nature is cruel.
‘Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles . Grace and vigor depart.
There is now a stone where I once had a heart,
But inside this old carcass, a young guy still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living life over again.
I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people! Open and see
Not a crabby old man. Look closer: see ME!

Below is an elderly person’s poem of gratitude, a benediction, for those who treat old folks with grace and dignity:

Beatitudes for Friends of the Aged
(Esther Mary Walker)

Blessed are they who understand
My faltering step and palsied hand.

Blessed are they who know that my ears today
Must strain to catch the things they say.

Blessed are they who seem to know
That my eyes are dim and my wits are slow.

Blessed are they who looked away
When coffee spilled at the table today....
(Click here to read the rest of Beatitudes for Friends of the Aged.)

Write your stories! It’s okay to add other people’s poems and essays to your own collection of stories. They are important. Your stories can be anchors for your kids, grandkids, and great-grands as they help loved ones through old age—and as they face aging themselves someday.

You have this opportunity 
to educate younger generations about old-timers. 
Life for all generations can be better 
if you share your wisdom and insights.

Related posts:
Growing old: the silly side 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Your memoir: Writing about the really tough stuff

Lately we’ve been writing vignettes about old age. Such stories can offer some of your most important messages to your kids, grandkids, and future generations.

  • Humor connects your readers with you,
  • when you make them laugh, or at least chuckle, they enjoy you,
  • they might even think you’re an OK person despite your antiquarianishness,
  • can lead your readers to accept you—or maybe even like you—and that’s important because:
  • establishing rapport lets you address the tough stuff with them later.

In other words, it can “give you greater access to their hearts.” (Chuck Swindoll)

(Don’t miss Like a sneak attack. Starting with humor is one of the most effective, powerful techniques a memoirist can use.) 

Today, let’s think about that tough stuff, the sensitive issues, the difficult but important topics.

For example:

How do you want people to care for your loved ones in their old age?

How do you want people to treat you when you’re old and feeble?

Stories could impact the way you and your loved ones are treated in old age.

Take this story, for example:

The Wooden Bowl

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old grandson. The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated.

“We must do something about Grandfather,” said the son. “I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating and food on the floor.” So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.

When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, “What are you making?”

Just as sweetly, the boy responded, “Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and mama to eat your food in when I grow up.” The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what had to be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family.

And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

That is one version of an ancient folktale told in many cultures since around 1535.

Did it pierce your heart? It did mine.

Being elderly is often humiliating: feeble feet, unsteady hands, wispy voice, mixed-up memory, bungled hearing, blurred sight.  Being elderly is to be weak and vulnerable and insecure 24/7. 

Elder abuse, or at least insensitivity, has occurred for centuries. The stories you tell your kids and grandkids and great-grands can bring a halt to such neglect and hurt.  They can help keep elders' dignity intact.

As you compile your memoir, remember: You don't need to write of only your first-hand experiences. I've included "The Wooden Bowl" in stories for my grandchildren. You can, too.

Such stories are important. They can touch minds and hearts, restore humanity, inspire gentleness.

Stories can right wrongs. 

Stores can help all of us face the unknown of growing old and frail.

The stories you include in your memoir could change the way your readers view old age and old people and you. Maybe they'll realize that they, too, will someday become aged and wobbly.

Your stories could make someone's life, maybe even yours, better than it might have been.

Related posts:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Growing old, humor, and the elephant in the room

Your vignettes about growing old can be among your most powerful stories. I encourage you to include several in your memoir—your own stories or those of others. (If you missed Part 1 about growing old, click on this link: Growing old: the silly side.)

Now, your readers might assume an elderly person is a feeble, tired, out-of-date fuddy duddy, but don’t let them get away with that!

You have this opportunity to educate younger generations about old-timers. Life for all generations can be better if you share your wisdom and insights.

One of the best ways of doing that, or maybe the best way, is to start with humor, something light-hearted, funny, amusing …

Something like this tall tale:

Two old women were sitting on a park bench outside a town hall where a flower show was in progress.

One lady leaned over and said to the other, “Life is so boring. We never have fun anymore. For five dollars, I’d take off my clothes and streak through that flower show.”

“You’re on!” laughed the woman, holding up a five dollar bill.

The first little old lady wiggled out of her clothes and, naked, streaked through the front door of the flower show.

From outside, her friend heard a commotion inside the hall, and then applause.

In a few moments the naked woman burst through the door surrounded by a cheering crowd.

“What happened?” asked her curious friend.

“I won First Prize for Best Dried Arrangement.”
(author unknown)

When you start with humorous stories, you do more than entertain:

  • Humor gets your readers’ attention: it pulls them in and keeps them reading.
  • It connects your readers with you.
  • It can gain readers’ admiration and acceptance.
  • Humor endears you to your readers.
  • Funniness makes you seem real. You are no longer a vague author lurking in shadows. Instead, your reader has spent a happy time with you and feels like he knows you and, as a result, he likes you. He wants to know you better.
  • Laughter is a universal language, a common connector, a shared experience.
  • Humor lets you and your readers tackle the elephant in the room.

What is that elephant in the room? It’s the issues no one’s talking about (at least not to your face; they might, however, talk about them behind your back).

Here’s the elephant in the room:

When you grow old, your body is no longer young and firm, your hair grays, your face wrinkles, your neck skin droops and wobbles, your hand shakes, your mind forget things, and your balance isn’t as good as it used to be. You are considered undependable, if not downright dangerous, and they take away your car. Some day you’re going to die. You’ll be dead. Until then, your physical and mental health will continue to deteriorate. You’ll start to smell bad. You could end up dependent upon others to feed you, bathe you, dress you, brush your teeth, and carry out all your personal needs. It’s not pretty. In fact, some people consider it disgusting.

That’s the elephant in the room.

Humor, however, lets you acknowledge the obvious. It brings sensitive issues out of the darkness and into the light. It offers your readers a look at realities through fresh eyes.

And then something lovely can happen: Looking at aging in a humorous way can soothe tension and soften uneasiness younger people might feel. Humor can make old people appear less alien, not as weird and creepy as the younger generation thought. The experience helps them realize they don’t need to distance themselves from old-timers.

Looking at aging in a light-hearted way can also reinforce this truth: Aging is natural. It can help younger generations accept aging as a normal part of life that even they will experience. Chuck Swindoll says it this way: “… The story gives them permission to laugh at the struggles that every [person] inevitably faces.…” (Touching Others With Your Words)

Since aging is a normal part of life, oldsters might as well enjoy it! Make the most of it!

When you share stories about the funny side of old age, your message is something like this: I know I’m old, but it’s not a failure on my part—it’s a natural part of the cycle of life. It happens to everyone, so I choose to see the glass half full, not half empty. I’m making the best of my situation. I’m enjoying life as much as I can.

This next little story sheds light on another reality: Elderly people have Senior Moments. But hey, that, too, is a natural part of life! We might as well acknowledge it with light-heartedness. 

An elderly lady did her shopping and, upon returning to her car, found four men in the act of stealing it.

She dropped her shopping bags, drew her handgun, and screamed, "I have a gun, and I know how to use it! Get out of the car!"

The men jumped out and ran for their lives.

The lady, shaken, loaded her shopping bags into the car and sat down in the driver's seat, but she was so flustered she couldn’t get her key into the ignition.  She tried and tried, and then, slowly, it dawned on her. She jumped out of the car and grabbed her bags.

A few minutes later, she found her car parked a few spaces down the aisle. She loaded her bags, drove to the police station, and turned herself in. The sergeant couldn't stop laughing.

He pointed to the other end of the counter where four pale men were reporting a carjacking by a mad, elderly woman described as white, less than five feet tall, glasses, curly white hair, and carrying a large handgun.

No charges were filed. (author unknown)

Like Chuck Swindoll says, "Humor makes difficult truths easier to accept." 

Your task: Challenge your readers’ preconceived notions of being old.  Shake ‘em up a bit.

Looking at old age in a light-hearted way, oldsters and the youngsters together, lets everyone breathe easier. It defuses, it disarms, it helps remove mysteries. It eases awkwardness younger generations probably feel, and can make way for compassion and respect.

I encourage you to write a few vignettes about aging. By starting with one or more humorous stories, you establish a connection with your readers, and, of great importance: you make it possible to be heard later. (More on that next week.)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Growing old: the silly side

Old people’s stories, I suspect, proffer more oomph than young people’s stories.  
They share richer wisdom.

Send more potent messages.

Tug stronger on hearts.

They offer valuable lessons for all of us—stories that would bless our kids and grandkids and great-grandkids—if we’d just write them.

What stories can you write about becoming elderly?

Keep in mind that growing old is a touchy subject.

Kenny Rogers nailed it when he said, 

Growing older is not upsetting; 
being perceived as old is.”

If you’re my age, you know the surprise—the dismay, hurt, sadness—of being perceived as “old.” I guess there are two reasons for that. (1) Young people assume being an old-timer is a negative thing, and (2) you don’t consider yourself an old-timer anyway.

Harsh words, these: old as Methuselah, old as the hills, older than dirt, old fogy, past one’s prime, aged, antiquated, hoary, tottering, feeble of mind and foot….

But we are so much more than those words! Oh, yes, we are.

So, shake up your readers a little. Challenge their preconceived notions of being old

Plan on writing several vignettes and remember to do this for your readers: “Make ‘em cry, make ‘em laugh, make ‘em wait” (Wilkie Collins). But start with something funny.

Humor endears you to your reader.

Funniness makes you seem real. You are no longer a vague author lurking in shadows. Instead, your reader has spent a happy time with you and, as a result, she likes you. He wants to know you better.

Laughter is a universal language, a common connector, a shared experience.

Somehow, laughing together earns you a right to be heard later, when you and your readers need to consider the serious stuff.

Humor can lighten the mood when writing about heavy topics—and old age has its heartaches. Humor can provide much-needed perspective and balance.

So, start with something funny, or at least amusing, about growing old. Make ‘em laugh.

Perhaps your grandkids think of you as an important businessman or a dignified pastor or a very proper little old lady. But do they know about your funny side? Practical jokes you pulled? Outrageous hilarity?

Here are a few smile-worthy quotes I’ve collected over the years. Perhaps they’ll give you ideas for your “old fogy” vignettes.

“I believe you should live every day as if it’s your last. That is why I don’t have any clean laundry—because, come on, who wants to wash clothes on the last day of her life?!”  (Cathy Ladman)

“‘Old’ is when your friends compliment you on your new alligator shoes and you’re barefoot.” (Phyllis Diller)

“I got my doctor's permission to take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But, by the time I got my leotard on, the class was over.” (author unknown)

“Two elderly ladies had been friends for many decades. Over the years they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures. Lately, their activities had been limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards. One day they were playing cards when one looked at the other and said, ‘Now don't get mad at me....I know we've been friends for a long time.....but I just can't think of your name! I've thought and thought, but I can't remember it. Please tell me what your name is.’ Her friend glared at her.  For at least three minutes she just stared and glared at her.  Finally she said, ‘How soon do you need to know?’” (author unknown)

“You know you’re getting old when someone tells you your pantyhose are wrinkled and you aren’t wearing any.”  (author unknown)

“I had to give up jogging for my health. My thighs kept rubbing together and setting my pantyhose on fire.”  (Roseanne Barr)

“Mid-life women no longer have upper arms; we have wingspans. We are no longer women in sleeveless shirts; we are flying squirrels….” (author unknown)

“Women over 50 don't have babies because they would put them down and forget where they left them.” (author unknown)

Surprise your readers. Give them a chuckle. Maybe you need to shake them up and change how they view elderly people those enjoying their golden years.

Write your stories on old age and, in at least one vignette, make ‘em laugh.

If you’re still a young ’un, what have you learned by watching friends, colleagues, or loved ones get on in years? Have they surprised you? How have they role-modeled for you that old people can still be young at heart, even comical?

Your stories are important. They can be anchors for your kids, grandkids, and great-grands as they help loved ones through old age—and as they face aging themselves someday.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Celebrating Jessica's memoir, Part Two

Today we continue celebrating with Jessica Errico on the release of her memoir, 
(Click this link for Part One of our Q & A with Jessica.)

How long have you been writing? What kinds of training did you receive?

Writing has always been in my DNA.  Since elementary school, I have dabbled in writing stories, mostly drawing from personal experience. In sixth grade, when I desperately wanted my ears pierced and was waiting on my parents’ permission, I wrote an essay about a caterpillar that wanted the same.

Later, in college, I concentrated on art and psychology. It wasn’t until I was a mother of two young children that I got serious about studying the craft of writing. It seemed the perfect creative outlet for me while the kids were napping, and my “creative juices” didn’t involve making a mess!

Have you attended writers’ conferences? Do you belong to a critique group? If so, what do you find most helpful about them?

Back in the mid-eighties, my husband encouraged me to invest in my writing. I was invited to join a Christian critique group on Bainbridge Island, Washington, that provided accountability for me. What a privilege to share my writing with other sisters in Christ! Due to my association with Elaine Colvin and Kay Stewart, I learned of opportunities to submit my writing and had a couple of devotionals published.

During those years, I attended writers’ conferences in Warm Beach, Washington, and even traveled to California to attend one at Biola University. Those were enjoyable, intense events, where I assimilated lots of information and attended workshops to learn about writing as a craft.

Tell us about your published devotionals.

I was fortunate to have wonderful contacts in the local writing community. For example, I learned that Mary Beckwith was compiling an anthology of devotionals geared to women contracted by Regal Books. I submitted devotionals that were published in the first and second anthologies: Still Moments and Songs from the Heart. My humble writings were printed alongside others by Shirley Dobson, Edith Schaeffer, and Gloria Gaither. I was thrilled! Payment was in the form of free books and a sense of accomplishment. These may be out of print, but they are on my bookshelf!

Jessica, you’ll be glad to know I found both devotionals for sale through Amazon. For our friends here at SM 101, I’ve included titles and links for both:

Do you have a writing routine?

Now that my book is finished, I don’t have a fixed routine. Yet, while writing my memoir, it took precedence along with my commitment to Bible Study Fellowship. I forced myself to invest several hours a day typing at the computer.

What were the hardest parts of getting your memoir to publication? Did you ever want to give up? If so, what kept you going?

The sheer discipline of writing it was the most difficult part for me. Yes, there were times I wanted to give up, months when I didn’t write a word. But I knew God had called me to write my story, and I always came back to it. Plugging away at one chapter at a time helped me not to be discouraged by the enormity of the project. And I think it’s essential to have a couple of encouragers who will pray for you along the way.

I also struggled with how to format my story—whether to break it into sections for readability—and what kind of theme would pull it together for the reader. These were big unknowns and I really wrestled with them. I committed to listening for God to show me how to do it. He used unsolicited comments, the books of others, and even a movie to give me little nudges.

Then I had to decide whether to pursue the traditional publishing route, or to self-publish. After much hand wringing, I opted to assume the financial risk of self-publishing in order to get my message out more quickly.

If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently about writing and/or publishing your memoir?

Not to beat myself up for being inconsistent with a writing schedule.

What hope can you offer memoirists struggling to finish their stories?

Don’t give up! If you need some encouragement to stick with it, share a section with a trusted friend, or another committed memoirist. Sometimes it just takes a quick pat on the back, or nod of approval, to keep going. Remember, our stories can bring glory to God and hope to others.

Tell our SM 101 group about specific activities you’re doing to market/publicize your book. What advice can you give to those who have not yet published?

The fun has just begun! I need to remind myself, as well as your readers, that we can meet the challenges of marketing with an upbeat attitude, perseverance, and grace. I’m currently sending off samples to chain bookstores in hopes they’ll carry it in their inventories, and I’m looking forward to scheduling author book signings as well. It was a surprise to hear of so many folks purchasing my book in an E-book format!

Would you like to write another book?

I’m thinking about writing another memoir about how, in answer to my neediness, God gave me the sweet unconditional love of my husband.

The softcover is available through me ( for $15 (which includes shipping), and you can use Paypal; or on Amazon. Kindle and Nook versions are also available.

Thanks, Jessica, for your interview, and again, congratulations on publishing your memoir. Flannery O’Connor said, “When the book leaves your hands, it belongs to God,” and I know you’re eager to see all He will do to hearten and heal others through your story. Bless you for the hard work you put into it.

Bionic and bilingual, author Jessica Errico is passionate about people, art and writing. Her travels throughout the United States, Europe, and parts of Mexico, have given her a rich appreciation for natural beauty, cultural traditions, and spiritual heritage. Educated at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA., she has worn many hats: art gallery manager, full-time mom, newspaper columnist, worship leader, and director of a pregnancy care center, to name a few. Her favorite titles are: wife, mother and grandmother! 

When not preparing for her Bible Study class, Jessica loves to read, write, scrapbook and spend time with friends.  An avid Qwirkle player, she enjoys sweet fellowship with those who also cherish the Lord!

Be sure to check out Jessica’s blog, Mother Daughter Tango.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Congrats to Jessica Errico on publishing The Mother Gap

Congratulations to Jessica Errico on publishing her memoir, The Mother Gap, her story of trying to connect with her alcoholic mother.

“All of my life, I yearned for a loving relationship with my mother,” Jessica told me recently.

“When there is a lack of maternal affirmation and approval, a daughter can grow up emotionally needy. Add the inevitable fall-out of alcoholism in a family, and the ensuing emotional scares can seem overwhelming.”

Here’s what Jessica shared with me in a recent Q & A:

At what point did you realize you needed to tell your story?

Decades passed before I knew I had to write my story. The first urges to write were driven by pain and anger. Thankfully, I didn’t embark on this memoir until I had experienced healing in our relationship. The hard work started after Mom passed into heaven; that’s when I felt I had something significant to say.

Who is your reading audience?

The Mother Gap will appeal to daughters and mothers, ages 18 to 89, who experience pain and discord in their relationships; and to the family and friends who love them.

What can readers expect to find in your memoir? What’s the most important message you want to leave with them?

In The Mother Gap, readers will experience my journey as I attempt to forge a bridge to my mother. They will discover how the love of God was able to heal one daughter’s battered heart, and be encouraged to trust Christ for reconciliation in their own relationships.

I’m calling my book a “ministry memoir” because I’ve included “Bridging the GAP” questions (at the end of each chapter), to be used for personal reflection or group study. Truly, Jesus is able to heal hearts that open up to Him. By choosing to forgive, as He has forgiven us, we can finally lay hold of peace and contentment.

What did you learn about yourself from reflecting on the past, something you hadn’t realized before?
I realized anew just how much I need a Savior! It was sobering to remember just how much resentment and bitterness I carried for decades. I needed forgiveness just as much as I needed to forgive.

What did you discover about others and about God that you wouldn’t have recognized if you hadn’t taken time to look back and to write your memoir?

In the process of writing, I had the opportunity to truly reflect on the tangible ways God loves us! In reviewing my mother’s life, and my relationship with her, I was able to clearly see God’s Hand of provision and protection. I realized how many times He wove good things into our lives, and I am able to worship Him with increased thankfulness!

How has writing your memoir changed you? What different person are you today after having written your memoir?

Finishing my memoir brought an inner release I cannot adequately describe. Perhaps it was the task of honestly assessing the past, coupled with my goal to encourage others, that led me to let go of what I couldn’t fix, and better depend on my Redeemer.

How can we buy The Mother Gap?

The softcover is available through me ( for $15 (which includes shipping, and you can use Paypal), or on Amazon. Kindle and Nook versions are also available.

Next week: More about Jessica’s training, her writing practices, the publication process, marketing, and encouragement to others writing memoirs.

Bionic and bilingual, author Jessica Errico is passionate about people, art, and writing. Her travels throughout the United States, Europe, and Mexico have given her a rich appreciation for natural beauty, cultural traditions, and spiritual heritage. Educated at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, she has worn many hats: art gallery manager, full-time mom, newspaper columnist, worship leader, and director of a pregnancy care center, to name a few. Her favorite titles are: wife, mother and grandmother!

When not preparing for her Bible Study class, Jessica loves to read, write, scrapbook, and spend time with friends. An avid Qwirkle player, she enjoys sweet fellowship with those who also cherish the Lord!

Be sure to check out Jessica’s blog, Mother Daughter Tango.