Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Celebrate Thanksgiving Every Day, Excerpt from Arranging a Dream


Happy Thanksgiving--Give thanks.

Thanksgiving is a special time of year for all of us. It's a reminder to be "in the attitude of gratitude." I wish we could remember to be thankful for the little things and the big things every day. 

Your Words, Your Life Story: A Journal for Sharing Memories

For the past couple of years, I have been creating a book to help folks write their spiritual autobiographies. I recognize spirituality as believing in something bigger than me and finding my purpose in life. My spiritual connection is through Jesus, so my book is written for those who follow Jesus. 

If you have followed the Focused on Story blog, you know I call myself a life storytelling evangelist. That is my life purpose now--to encourage and help those who have their story inside them and want to write or video the story of their life experiences. I published a book to help spark memories and suggest ways to begin writing their life stories. After penning that book, You Words, Your Life Story: A Journal for Sharing Memories, ideas for writing a spiritual biography swirled in my brain. What a gift for a family and future generations and also an important life review for the author.

But, the process has become complicated because I cannot nail down where this book fits in the publishing world. Will it be a devotional, a journal, or a workbook? I am thinking the book is actually a devotional journal if there is such a publication. 

I have topics with a Bible verse and writing prompts that will spark memories for the reader to make notes, draw or write the story on the page. 

In fact, yesterday GRATITUDE popped up on my list of topics to work on that day. A timely topic for this week. Here is the verse I chose to accompany the topic. 

GRATITUDE--I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart, I’m writing, laughing and jumping for joy; I’m singing your song, High God. Psalm 9:1 The Message

I am doing just that with a thankful heart this week, and I plan to do it every day of the year!

Have you ever heard of a "devotional journal?" Please leave a comment below. Thank you for visiting.

Below is a short excerpt from my memoir, Arranging a Dream, about our first Thanksgiving in our new home in 1976.

Ted and I with Sara in 1976--Does Anyone remember those "stylish" collars?

Thanksgiving 1976 was a peculiar one for my hubby, GT, our 2-year-old daughter, Sara and me. We had moved from Central Illinois to a town in West Michigan in December 1975 to purchase a floral shop and greenhouse business. We had no family or friends to share our Thanksgiving dinner with. The day was sad until I began remembering all the things we were thankful for in our situation. 

During dark times, it is hard to realize we have big and small things for which we can be grateful. I learned to stop and realize how much I have and then my heart warms with those thoughts. 

* * * *

Here's an excerpt from my memoir about that first Thanksgiving in our small apartment over the shop where we began our dream of operating a floral and greenhouse business.

Chapter 26--Autumn's Lights is located near the end of the book, so I deleted some lines that contained "spoilers."

Hattie is the previous shop owner.

Fairview Floral, our shop and greenhouses in 1976. The apartment was over the shop.

I looked forward to Thanksgiving Day, a non-holiday for florists since, like Easter, folks spent their dollars on a turkey and all the fixings, not flowers. I relaxed during this beautiful time of year taking time to give thanks for my family, our new life in Fremont and for the opportunity to grow our business.

I was thankful for returning customers like Galloping George who picked up a rose, babies’ breath and greens for the lady friend of the week and Frenchy who owned the tavern in Holton. He faithfully ordered funeral flowers for his patrons who passed. The Hesperia funeral home called us for family flowers. Friends from church ordered flowers when it was their turn to provide flowers in the sanctuary. And yes, many of Hattie’s customers stayed with us.

I thanked God for Sara Elizabeth and cherished my role as a mother. She turned two-years-old in November. How different mothering a toddler compared to a baby. She had developed her good-natured personality with her likes and dislikes. She toddled around the shop and greenhouse, charming customers, and she loved accompanying Daddy on deliveries. And I should say, Daddy loved her company.

We were alone to celebrate turkey day because we had to prepare for the long Christmas holiday ahead instead of making a trip to Illinois to be with our families. Having Ted and Sara with me was enough. Ted prepared the festive bird and I did my best to add delicious side dishes like sweet potatoes, canned jellied cranberry sauce, which he loves, corn and pumpkin pie that I had learned to make in high school home-economics class.

We sat at our dining room table graced with a floral centerpiece of fresh fall-colored flowers and lighted by the hanging lamp Ted had gifted me. Expressing out loud what we are thankful for has become a family tradition for us. For me, choosing just one was difficult.

As we held hands and said grace, my body relaxed with contentment remembering the blessings we had received through that year. Squeezing Sara’s and Ted’s hands with that extra touch of love completed my thanksgiving prayer.

* * * *

I am thankful to Jude Pittman at Books We Love Publishing for publishing my memoir. The book has given me the opportunity to encourage readers to go for their dreams. And, I have enjoyed having a platform to "preach" about writing life stories. I have had three successful presentations at libraries. The workshops allowed me to focus on speaking to groups. Many thanks to those libraries!

Helping participants shake a lot of memories loose so they have lots of stories to tell is pure joy for me, then guiding them into actually sitting down and recording their stories either by writing or by video is exciting. Plus some who were on the fence about writing their stories were inspired to decide to write their legacy for their family and future generations. 

Having the story about our first year in business has fulfilled a dream I had too. I wanted my kids and grandkids to know who we are and where they come from. But most of all I want them to realize their dreams can come true. They can wade into the future with their dreams knowing that we did exactly that and found success.

I am also thankful to you for your support and encouragement throughout these years of writing.

Arranging a Dream: A Memoir by J.Q. Rose

Back of the Book:

In 1975, budding entrepreneurs Ted and Janet purchase a floral shop and greenhouses where they plan to grow their dream. Leaving friends and family behind in Illinois and losing the security of two paychecks, they transplant themselves, their one-year-old daughter, and all their belongings to Fremont, Michigan, where they know no one. 

Will the retiring business owners nurture Ted and Janet as they struggle to develop a blooming business, or will they desert the young couple to wither and die in their new environment?

Most of all, can Ted and Janet grow together as they cultivate a loving marriage, juggle parenting with work, and root a thriving business?

Follow this couple’s inspiring story, filled with the joy and triumphs and the obstacles and failures experienced as they travel along the turbulent path of turning dreams into reality.

Click here to order the paperback and/or hardcover book from amazon.

Click here to order from your favorite online bookseller.

To those who celebrate the holiday, 
I wish you a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving in the USA!
* * * *

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About J.Q. Rose:

Whether the story is fiction or non-fiction, J.Q. Rose is “focused on story.”  She offers readers chills, giggles and quirky characters woven within the pages of

Author JQ Rose

her mystery novels. Her published mysteries are Deadly Undertaking, Terror on Sunshine Boulevard and Dangerous Sanctuary released by Books We Love Publishing. Using her experience as a journalist, she provides entertainment and information with articles featured in books, magazines, newspapers, and online magazines. 

J.Q. combined her work in freelancing articles and her storytelling skills to pen her memoir, Arranging a Dream: A Memoir, the story of the ups and downs she and her husband experienced in their first year of establishing a floral business.

 Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. She and her husband spend winters in Florida and summers up north with their two daughters, two sons-in-law,  four grandsons, one granddaughter, two grand dogs, four grand cats, and one great-grand bearded dragon.

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