Welcome to a new year! I hope all of you enjoyed a Merry Christmas.
As we enter into a new year, I’d like to invite all of you into my “living room” where I will share family stories–some my own, others from guest contributors. If you know me at all, you know I love family stories, especially preserving them for others to enjoy. If any of you have a family story to share, please get in touch with me. (email@example.com) You can write it, I can write it, or we can write it together. I’m looking for more family stories for 2024!
To jumpstart your ideas, think about a childhood memory or tradition or a special memory of your grandparents. Think about that special family story you think others would enjoy. A spiritual application is not required, but sure is nice! A family story can be humorous, romantic, have a little drama, have a moral to be learned, or simply just a treasure of a story to remember. Let’s bring on them stories!
I’d like to welcome my author friend, Mary L. Hamilton, for January. Mary’s experiences growing up at a Bible camp provided the inspiration for her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series, aimed at young teens and tweens. She has also written two mystery/suspense novels and is currently working on a contemporary women’s fiction story. When not writing, you’ll probably find her being taken out for a walk by her dog, Cinder. As a personal note, I just finished reading Mary’s mystery novel, Dead Air, a few weeks ago. When my husband saw how I could hardly set the book down, he read it as soon as I finished it. If you enjoy a good mystery, I highly recommend this one.
Scribbling on the Face of Jesus by Mary L. Hamilton
In the 1960s and ‘70s, my family lived at a Christian youth camp where my dad served as the director. The camp drew teens from Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison, as well as smaller towns and cities all around southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
Normally peaceful and relaxing, the camp wasn’t immune to the tensions of the civil rights movement of the late ‘60s. I remember how charged the atmosphere felt, how restless and unsettled, especially after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
During that time, a popular picture of Jesus hung on the wall of Dad’s office. Known as Hook’s Head of Christ, artist Richard Hook’s rendering of Jesus made him look much like a 30-something bearded white surfer dude. At some point, black scribbles appeared on the cheeks above the beard. Most people who saw it probably guessed one of us kids in the family had gotten ahold of it and used it for coloring practice. Years later, my brother told me the real story behind those scribbles.
One week during those troubling times, a young black camper was giving the counselors an awful lot of trouble. When they’d had enough, they brought him to Dad’s office. The youngster was defiant even with Dad, whose patient, gentle manner, and kind humor usually worked wonders on staff and misbehaving campers alike. At one point, the young teen looked up at the picture of Jesus and asked in a rebellious tone why Jesus was white. Dad thought about it and replied, “That’s a good question. I suspect the real Jesus had skin color and hair more like yours than mine.”
Dad opened his desk drawer and pulled out a black Magic Marker. He offered it to the boy. “You can change it if you’d like.” Whether he knew Dad was serious or just wanted to test him, the boy took the marker and made those black scribbles on the face of Jesus. I’m told he left Dad’s office with a changed attitude. And likely, a better understanding of God’s love for him.
Link for Hook’s Head of Christ: http://sacredartpilgrim.com/collection/view/106
Find and connect with Mary here:
Hear No Evil, Book 1 Rustic Knoll Bible Camp Series
Genre: Middle-Grade (age 12 and up) Contemporary
Pitch: When Mom drops Brady off at camp saying she doesn’t want him living with her anymore, he spends the week figuring out what he did wrong and how to avoid going to live with his dad who never had time for him anyway.
Memories are made at summer camp–the lake, the friendships, the activities.
But it’s not all fun and games…
Surrounded by hundreds of campers, Brady (13) has never felt so alone. Even getting picked on by a cabin mate can’t stop him from worrying about the problems at home. But with help from new friends and the lessons he learns at Rustic Knoll, can Brady find the confidence he needs to confront his troubling family relationships?
Book links: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1545237328/