Camping in the Barn

barn outside

A campfire outside provided us with perfect hamburgers and baked sweet potatoes. Numerous stars shone before the full moon rose and glowed on the woods around us. Nearby, Bill’s barn sat halfway completed.

At the last minute, we had decided to camp in the upstairs of the barn. We had electricity, running water, and a toilet. What more could we want? I brought a few blankets, pillows and two blow up beds. But a barn without insulation or heat is about the same as sleeping outside. Cold as a deep winter freeze.

It got down to in the forties. Maybe not cold compared to Alaska, but cold for Oklahoma. I wore long johns, two shirts and socks. Bill, thankfully, brought me a sleeping bag. He didn’t need one because he LOVES cold weather. He took two blankets, and I folded the third blanket to spread over my sleeping bag.

Still chilly, I unzipped the sleeping bag and slipped on my light jacket and nestled down again.

Now I can’t sleep until my body temperature is somewhere above 100 degrees, so once he began snoring, I wiggled out of the sleeping bag one more time, pulled on his extra pants and heavy Cabella hoodie, and wiggled back into the sleeping bag.

Still cold, I pulled the hoodie over my head and lay quiet listening to the outside sounds. Now only my feet and nose were like ice.

The small space heater faced my derriere. I moved it to my feet. Then to my face. Any warmth it might have blown out instantly vanished through the thin walls. I wanted to shove my husband and invite him into my sleeping bag, but he had dislodged his blankets and spread out like a comfortable Polar bear.

IMG_2327

Of course, the next thing that happens in the middle of a camping night is the necessity of a bathroom trip.

The toilet was outside –down the stairs. Back into the barn.

I tried to be quiet as I wormed out of my cocoon again, turned on my cell phone light, put on my shoes, and snuck out the door. Bill didn’t hear a thing. I shone the light around the wooded area, heard nothing, and ventured down the wooden stairs around the corner. It was so cold I could see my breath.

I opened the downstairs barn door, saw moving shadows, screamed, and jumped back.

We had seen raccoons and deer and snakes around the place. I calmed myself down. The light played on the four wheelers, looking spooky, but I saw no movement, not even a field mouse, only my shaking light. I stumbled through a scattering of wood, tools, and other men’s toys, until I got to the toilet. There’s something weird about stripping down four layers of clothing in the middle of a barn when it’s freezing weather.

Safely back upstairs, I decided to wear my shoes to bed to help keep my feet warm. I climbed into the sleeping bag with them on. The zipper of the bag got stuck halfway open and it took fifteen minutes to loosen it. Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep, as I tossed and turned to stay warm. I finally fell asleep toward morning.

The sun wasn’t up yet when I heard Bill stretch and exclaim, “That was a great night, wasn’t it?” A chipper camper is not the first thing I wanted to hear. He heated water for hot chocolate, and watched the sun come up.

When I slowly crawled out of my sleeping bag, he turned to look at me and laughed. “Well, good morning, Michelin man. How did you sleep?” With my layers of clothing, topped off with his huge pants and oversized hoodie, I suppose I did look like a stuffed elephant.

I wanted to slug him, but what could I do when he brought me a cup of hot tea? After all, I had swiped his hoodie and refused to give it back.

Didn’t the Lord teach that all people will know that we are followers if we love each other? John 13:35

Ah. Yes. We love one another even if we have differences.

 

News about Book 3 in the Promise Series!

Many people have asked when my third historical book in the Promise series will be released. I’ve researched and written throughout the year, and the book is almost, almost completed. I plan to publish it in early 2019, and the tentative title is  A Promise of Hope. I’m excited to share it with you!

2014 11 thanks (21).JPG
Found a picture showing Margaret Pope’s beautiful blue eyes.

Sibyl and Fremont Pope, who lived in Shawnee, Oklahoma, from 1939 to 1941, struggled through the Great Depression, family disappointments and losses, and questions about God. The attack on Pearl Harbor coincides with a catastrophe of their own.

The incidents in the books are taken from family autobiographies, interviews, newspaper articles, and other published texts. Many fellow writer and people from Shanwee, Oklahoma, have given important input. However, the details are primarily memories from my mother, Margaret Pope, the baby born in the first book, A Promise to Break.

This year, my mother developed bladder cancer. She has gone through a lot of treatments, been seriously ill at times and, at 85 years old, is weak. For a strong woman who had a secretarial job at her church until she was 84, it has been difficult. Chemotherapy did not work and she ended up in the hospital for four days afterward, so she is taking immunotherapy. The last cat scan showed that the treatment is working, so we are hopeful that by next year she’ll have gained her strength and health back, enjoying life as much as she always has. Our hope is in the Lord’s mercy.

The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him. In those who hope in his mercy. Psalm 147:11

Our family appreciates all your prayers and concerns.

In the meantime, I have been working on a series of historical short stories. The five stories are about my Grandma Akin and her sisters during the 1930s in Hollis, Oklahoma. Each sister dealt with different issues. I look forward to sharing their lives with you soon.

If you haven’t read the first two historical books in the series, A Promise to Break, and A Promise Child, you can find them here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art Cousins Camp

Painting God’s Creatures

We had nine of our grandchildren for three days for Cousins Camp! The other three grandkids couldn’t make it this year. The kids played, partied, and spent time together. We went to Paint Your Art Out with some second cousins, which was their favorite part of the camp. We also had food art, devotionals about God’s animals, Minute to Win It, indoor and outdoor games, and of course swimming. We visited an art gallery and had a game finding old pictures at an antique store. We always watch old movies or cartoons.  This year’s highlight was Dick Tracey and Scooby Doo.

This was our 9th cousins camp. Click to see our  first cousins camp!

We learned that God created animals and made each one special just like he makes each person special. Humans are different because we’re made in God’s image, meaning we have a spirit that can relate to Him. However, we’re told to take good care of all of God’s creation.

We have some great artists in the bunch! Love them all!

IMG_1273

2018 cousins (285)

Discovering your Ancestor’s Secrets

I’d love for you to join me as I speak on “Discovering your Ancestor’s Secrets.” I’ll be sharing how I researched information on my grandparents during the 1930’s. Here’s the announcement.

Please join us to hear speaker/author Kathryn Spurgeon, on Monday/4-16 at the EGS meeting. Kathryn will speak on how she researched her historical books series, by interviews, visiting History Centers in Shawnee and Oklahoma City and reviewing public documents. She enjoyed the research more than the writing ! She will explain the processes that helped her provide data for her books. Her series is based on the true stories of her grandparents. Come experience a piece of Oklahoma history ! You will have an opportunity to purchase some of her books.

The meeting starts at 6:30pm at the Edmond Church of Latter-Day Saints at 1315 E. 33rd in Edmond. Visitors and members are encouraged to come early at 5:30pm to learn more about genealogy and get help with your family tree! Meetings are the third Monday of each month. Guests are welcome! See you on 4-16th !

 

 

Moms are precious people

Many people have asked when the third book in my Promise series books will be published. Your interest warms my heart and tickles my toes.

The books, A Promise to Break and A Promise Child are about Sibyl Pope, a banker’s daughter, and her marriage to a penniless hobo in the 1930’s. They survived many trials. Based on a true story, these books include their first child, Margaret, who is my mother. While I did most of the research for the books, my mother has supplied many of the anecdotes, analysis, and detailed information. The story is hers, as much as mine.

While work on the third book is about a fourth completed, a few months ago, my mother was diagnosed with bladder cancer. She is seriously ill. She’s my inspiration and it hurts to see her suffer. In the past few weeks, she has had outpatient surgery, infections, and been to the emergency room three times, twice being admitted to the hospital. She took her first chemo treatment and had a extremely bad reaction, so the treatment will have to be adapted. Wow. She’s been through a lot!

While in the hospital, she told me that I need to get busy on that third book!

Please pray for my mother and our work together. She wants to see this book finished. Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

By the way, I took a break from the Promise series to write five 1930s short stories about five sisters in Hollis, Oklahoma. The Thomas Sister stories will be released soon and I’ll let you know the date!

 

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: