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Mary Ellen Shea Clifford

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Elise Remembers The Wedding Song

When Elise and Everett were married a song from the trio 

Peter, Paul and Mary
The Wedding Song 

was included in their wedding ceremony. It was inspired by a verse in Genesis 2:24. 
The words from the song she remembered were,

A man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home. 

They shall travel on to where the two shall be as one. 

Mrs. Emerson realizes at the Thanksgiving meal that she is filled to the brim 
with love from her husband and children.

Getting Excited

I am starting to get excited about the new book, A Light Shines Forth, almost being done. I can actually see the end of the editing. We stopped by the lighthouse in Tawas, Michigan today to snap a few pictures.  The book takes place in Saginaw and Tawas, Michigan and Okinawa, Japan.

Today is D-Day.  A day when so many lives were sacrificed for our freedom.  I am proud to include in the book a rich sense of military pride with Noah joining the Air Force.  I watched my grandson graduate and be assigned to Okinawa.  I have taken great liberties writing about his basic training and how our family felt during the graduation and his assignment.  Much of it is from my heart, but truly inspired by our experiences with Robin.

Trying out new book covers

This is the part I HATE.  Making the bookcover for a new book.  I don't have any trouble finding a great picture, but the font and the layout - gggggrrrrr.....

I am leaning toward #1 maybe with my name in white too. The title pops out at me.

So - If you like any of these let me know - comments - suggestions - thanks, ME







On to the Second Editor

YEAH - A Light Shines Forth returned from Mary Lynn and now is in the hands of Kay.  I love my editors.  I cannot say it enough.  Here is one addition from Mary Lynn that I added into the story.  My Mom's Aunt Lena worked at Seitner's in downtown Saginaw.  She was an Icon.  No one knew how old she was, but no one cared.  She was the best salesperson in downtown Saginaw at any store.  She really did work into her 90's.

This picture is of Aunt Lena in the 1940's.  She was always the best dressed and most stylish.

Here is the addition that Mary Lynn wrote when she edited the book.

Here is how the paragraph was changed by me.

When they arrived at Seitner's they ran into Isabella's Aunt Lena selling coats.  They had climbed the stairs to the second floor to see the formal clothes. Aunt Lena was at the top of the stairs with a customer.  She waved at the girls, but they knew from past experience not to interrupt Aunt Lena when she was with a customer.  Isabella's grandmother had told her many times, "My sister, Lena, can sell a coat better than any other salesperson."  Isabella knew that her Aunt Lena had worked at Seitner's forever.  None of the sales clerks at the store knew that her Aunt Lena was ninety years old!  The store owner wasn't even sure how old his best sales person was, because she had been hired by his father.  They all guessed that she was in her seventies. All he knew for sure was that she could outsell every other sales clerk on the floor.

A Light Shines Forth

Last year in August I was inspired by the photo below taken by Mike Sonnenberg of the Tawas Lighthouse.

I immediately contacted him to purchase the picture for my next book. I had no idea what that book would be about.

This has been a tough year. It didn't help when two of my characters hijacked the story!

I thought that Ellie and Isabella were the main characters, but Emma and Noah stole the story.

A Light Shines Forth, is finally ready to go to my first editor, Mary Lynn.  She will edit it and then I will make her corrections. She makes my sentences shorter and changes my punctuation. Then it goes to Kay my, second editor. She looks at the storyline, watches that the correct character is named and sometimes changes my corrections I made! Then I make more corrections.  My sister, Jane is my third and last editor. She has a critical eye for the whole story. And again sometimes corrections I made go back to what was originally written. Each of them do some of what the other editor does, but my stories are so much better because of all of them.  They are tough taskmasters.

Hopefully Kay's husband will find some places to add in some of his great puns.

So there is hope that this book will be on Amazon before the end of the year.

Military Time

Sometimes in my books the time used is Military Time.  Instead of two twelve hour sets of numbers the numbers go from 0000 - 2400.  Because the military has to work on a 24 hour schedule it makes sense to use 24 hours instead of 12 twice.  No one gets confused as to day or night hours.

So in the book, A Light Shines Forth, when Stephanie leaves a note for Noah to meet her for root beer in the middle of the afternoon can you guess what time she writes on the note?

Fun Times become Story Times

How to Make a Memory Last Forever!

In 2003 we spent Father's Day at the Chippewa Nature Center in Midland, Michigan.  We were with our grandchildren, Robbie and Sheala.  We had such a good time that day.  The kids had fun pumping water, going to the schoolhouse, the wigwam and just walking through the woods next to the "Mighty Pine" as Papa calls it.  We even took the picture below that we recently took again just before Robbie left for the Air Force. 

The times I have spent with people I love are sometimes magic moments.  These two days, a dozen years apart, were definitely magic moments.  These memories will forever be remembered because they have become a part of the book "A Light Shines Forth" due out sometime this year.

Baked Beans

From the book "A Light Shines Forth" 
These beans are taken on the picnic at the stream under the old oak tree. 

Inspired by the recipe found on the back of the jars of beans and the memory of my own Grandma Shea's baked beans.

1 48-ounce jar Randall Great Northern Beans drained
1/2 pound of bacon
1 large onion, choppped
4 tablespoons butter
2 large apples, shredded
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup catsup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon Mrs. Dash
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Chicken broth

Make the bacon, take out of the pan and discard the drippings.  Add the butter into the pan and cook the onion. Add everything except the beans to the pan and cook until the sugar is melted and everything is coated with it. Add in the beans and the cut up the bacon and add that.  Put it in a 9 x 13 pan and drizzle chicken broth over the top.  Don't make it too wet with puddles of liquid - just wet enough to keep the beans moist.

Bake in 350 degree oven for about an hour.  If heating up the leftover beans add a little more broth to them before heating up.  However, I don't know why anyone would ever heat up leftover beans.  Instead spread some on bread that has a generous topping of peanut butter!  The most delicious cold baked bean and peanut butter sandwhich ever!  My Dad even added mustard - not me - just the beans and peanut butter.   MMMMMmmm.

Using Webber House in a Classroom - Guest Blogger Theresa Bills

Theresa Bills teaches the 9-12 age girl's group at Hillside Bible Church in Ortonville, Michigan.  I asked her to write about her experience using my book in her class.  Here is her response:

What young girl hasn't had secrets to share or secrets to keep?  What does God say about secrets?    The girls in the book, Webber House, provided a great platform in which to discuss ways that we should handle secrets in our own lives.  With the enthusiasm of a bunch of girls and a great book to read, this combination had all the makings of great teaching!

Oatmeal Cookies

Sometimes you just want an old fashioned oatmeal cookie. No nuts, no raisins, just lots of oatmeal chewy goodness. In A Light Shines Forth, Nana sends cookies to Noah in Okinawa.

Oatmeal Cookies

½ cup butter, softened 
Almost 1 cup sugar 
½ cup brown sugar 
2 eggs 
2 tsp vanilla 
1 TBS water 
1 tsp salt 
1 tsp baking soda 
1 TBS cinnamon 
3 cup flour 
5½ cups oats

Mix everything together and scoop onto lined cookie sheet. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Just until light brown. This makes 40 cookies. 

Study Inspiration

In "A Light Shines Forth," the book Mary Ellen Shea Clifford is currently writing, Isabella was having a hard time concentrating on what Sr. Carmelita was saying.  The tenth grader was attending a meeting with four other students.

Isabella's stomach was rolling.  Her head was pounding.  Her eyes kept darting towards the door.  All she could think about was getting back to study hour.  Sr. Carmelita was suggesting the five students meet every school day to work on study habits.  Isabella is positive that she doesn't want anything to do with this.  But then Sister says something that changes everything.  She tells the students she chose them because they are class leaders, smart, hard workers and all five of them have said they want to go to college.  Sr. Carmelita ends with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, a spiritual leader of India from many years ago.  "You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result."

Isabella thought about how she had lost weight over the summer.  How if she had done nothing, she would be right where she was last school year.  Overweight and unhappy.  It seemed that Sr. Carmelita was offering her a solution to her school problems.

Whether you are just stopping by to read about my books. Or to find a link to Bishop Ken's homilies. Or if you are a close friend or family member, you have all enriched my life so much.

When you leave this site to go to Amazon to purchase my EBooks it makes me hope you will love my characters as much as I do.

It has been heart warming to see so many people leave this site to read Bishop Ken's words. It makes me smile. May each of you find what you need most in his words.

To my visitors and my family and friends God bless you during this holiday season.