Beginning in the 1990’s, my mom took on the task of writing a memoir about her life and faith. She finished it and gave me a copy in 2000. I read through it, then tucked it away for future reference. When she died on July 26, 2016, I made a commitment to give life and visibility to her story, because it is all about faith, trust in God, strength and joy in difficult times, and the blessings she found across her 105 years on this planet.
I actually started dusting off this task last December. I told her as a novelist I knew how to show a story through dialogue and action, so that it would come alive and vibrate in the pulse beat of its readers. “I would like to do that with your memoir,” I said. She liked the idea and told me to “go ahead.” She liked the title, “Dairyman’s Daughter.”
Earlier this year I started the task, shared its development with my writers’ critique group, and with Mom. When I had a question about something, I would call her up to check out the details. She liked the way I created dialogue in those opening chapters.
Then I got sidetracked. At book events people kept asking me if I was working on a fourth novel. “Well, yes…I have worked a good bit, but I’m still formulating my ideas.” I decided I needed to shift gears and get back into the fourth novel, so I filed “Dairyman’s Daughter” away and did several chapters of “Fear No Evil.” Mom would ask me if I was working on “her book.”
In April Sharon and I went to New York with our publisher, then in May she began to experience some serious health issues. We had just celebrated Mom’s 105th birthday when Sharon had to go into the hospital for what became a summer-long experience. Mom died in July and I realized I had a primary task to take on. I prayed about that.
Mom always said, “Keep writing!” I knew God was in those words. “Yes, Lord, I will, but I don’t have financing to take it through publication.” God always answers. “Just share it on your blog as you draft each chapter. Leave the rest to me.” That is my task.
“Dairyman’s Daughter” is a dynamic woman’s testimony about finding, growing in, and being sustained by faith in a God who creates, loves his creation, calls us to completeness, and is always there when we reach the end of our rope. In one of her journal entries, Mom listed each of the challenges she had faced, and ended with these words, “I felt God’s presence and guidance each day.”
I invite you to follow my unfolding blogs so maybe you’ll find God’s presence and guidance in the ways you need it most. I invite you to visit my archives for the chapters so far:
Cherry Tree Musings; A Cozy Timelessness; Grandma and the Big House; School Days, School Days; Life was Good; “Seventh Heaven!”; The War Years; Never a Dull Day; New Challenges; Realignments; Opportunities and Blessings; Going the Extra Mile; and Something like Pioneers.
That’s half the story. My task at hand is to tell the rest of it. Blessings!
Hugh Townsend Harris