Posted in author, book reviews, memoir

My First Guest Post

Monica Lee

Here on Connie’s World, it is my pleasure to welcome Monica Lee, the author of Church Sweet Home and three other books. Today, she writes about home, a topic we both address in our respective memoirs.

When one thinks of a journey or an adventure, exotic destinations come to mind. Who bothers to embark on a long trip only to end up at home?

But in this odd world filled with government orders, infection rates and death counts, home is the blessed end of many treks out in the world. Whatever we’re doing—seeing a doctor, going to work, even simply buying fresh produce at the supermarket—we all just want to get home. Home is the ultimate destination, a sanctuary from all the world’s evils.

Even the word home evokes warm, fuzzy feelings. No wonder home, sweet home is a saying. We’re always looking for home, making a home, just being ourselves at home, reminiscing about home or trying to go back home. Home represented love, comfort and security long before lethal viruses floated through bandana face masks sending us to the hospital to die horrible, lonely deaths.

So while a travelogue is a great distraction in this strange time (I recently enjoyed Bill Bryson’s jaunt through Australia in In a Sunburned Country), a story where home plays a starring role may be the best salve to soothe the soul.

My latest memoir, Church Sweet Home: A Renovation to Warm the Soul, opens with my husband and I marveling at the snow falling outside our camper. Yes, we were camping in northern Illinois in late October. We weren’t foolhardy outdoorsmen; we lived in our RV at the time, trying to figure out how to carve out a living space in a century-old church.

We called the 355-square-foot fifth-wheel camper home because we’d sold our four-bedroom house earlier in the year to travel through the West Coast. It was an epic trip, but our home was like a turtle shell, one we carried on our back. During the renovation of the church into a residence, we lived in the camper, a tiny rental house, back to the camper and finally the church. The building inspector required a functioning bathroom and kitchen and a real bedroom before issuing a residential permit for the church, but of course, almost everyone agrees a home is so much more than plumbing, kitchen appliances and a bed.

In my story, home is a literal space.

In Connie Rife’s story, home is less a specific place than an emotional one. In The Promise: A Memoir, Connie is looking for the security and love only loved ones can provide. She begins her journey with her sometimes irritating yet nonetheless related little sister, progresses to a house in which she becomes more a mother to her benefactor’s children than the real mother, and then to an apartment she shares with her sometimes recovering alcoholic father. All of these places have functioning bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms, but none of them are really home because the people she shares the spaces with are wrapped up in their own responsibilities and problems.

So a true home requires certain physical luxuries and also emotional security. In order to be a true sanctuary, a home must be an oasis, a shelter in the storm.

Your turn! How would you define home? What is essential? Anything missed? Share below!

Have you read books in which home is the ultimate destination? Will you be reading Church Sweet Home? Do you have questions for Monica Lee?

My latest book is available on Amazon & AmazonKindle:
Church Sweet Home: A Renovation to Warm the SoulSubscribe to my author blog at http://mindfulmonica.wordpress.com/ for the latest

Posted in author, Mother’s Day, story questions

Honoring My Mother

Virginia Basiden/Miller

A reader of my story The Promise asked me what kind of work I did that gave me the ability to forgive my parents. It was a lifetime process that began when I got down on my knees and asked for the grace of forgiveness. I thought that my faith was strong enough that God would take all the pain of my past away. Little did I know at the time that when we pray for something, God isn’t going to fix it for us. He gives us lots of opportunities to practice and learn from it.

In honor of Mother’s Day, I must share with you that it was through the bond of motherhood that my relationship with Mom began to heal. She became a significant part of my life during that time when I had our four children. She loved being with them as much as they loved having her around, and I appreciated her help, too.

Today I choose to remember all the good things about my Mom. One of my fondest memories I have was sitting beside Mom as a child watching her zip together an outfit on the sewing machine. She would ask me to thread the needle for her when it needed it, and she taught me how to sew, too. She also taught me how to bake bread, crochet, as well as many other crafts. I remember how she held my hand as we walked to school for my first day of kindergarten. How her face lite up the moment I walked into the hospital after her knee surgery.  The serving of apple crisp she brought into the hospital after each baby was born. The way she laid her head on my shoulder as she sat beside me knowing this was the last time she’d receive communion before passing away.

As mothers, we each do the best we can with what we know how to do. We all have grandiose ideas of the kind of mother we want to be, and then God gives us lots of opportunities to practice how to be that way. We learn from mistakes, but only after we forgive ourselves for making them. I am grateful for the blessings that motherhood has given me. For my mother, my children, my husband, and all we learned together along the way.

Posted in author, book reviews, reading, story questions

What’s Next

This was my fortune cookie 🥠 message before my book was finished.

I haven’t wanted to promote my book too much while we were all living through the uncertainty of the coronavirus. It seems that the uncertainty is going to go on for quite a while yet. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to bring some kind of normalness back into my life.

I’m sitting down again first thing in the morning getting back to my commitment of writing at least two hours a day. I’ve had so many requests to write the next sequel of my story. Im playing around with titles such as Living The Promise and the last sequel being called, Beyond The Promise. We will see what comes of it and as always I will pray for guidance.

It would be very helpful if I knew what you the reader are looking for. What are your questions?

Are you curious to know how we’ve stayed in love all these years?

Are you curious to know how my past affected my future?

Are you curious how I taught myself to write?

Are curious why I left the church?

Everyone has a question that comes from someplace deep inside. Maybe my story trigured something in you and you want to know how someone else works there way through it. Let me because it will help me to gain a focus on which way to take this next part.

Posted in Uncategorized

Shall We Not Assume Our Post?

“The fact that I am here certainly shows me that the soul had need of an organ here. Shall I not assume the post?” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

For those of you who read my story “The Promise,” you could hear in my voice how flawed I thought I was. As a matter of fact so much so that I thought I’d falling from the heavens before God finished making me. That had to be why I was so unloveable.

Even with all the love Tom gave me, it wasn’t until I could see my own worth that I could fully accept Tom’s love. I had to see that God didn’t make a mistake with me. He made me instead very unique, like no other. So, what I compared myself to was a waste of time. Getting to know who I am has become my focus and is a lifetime job that grows as I become the soul I was created to be, my true-self. It is within this knowing that I’m able to assume my very own “post” in life, as Ralph Waldo Emerson refers to.

Is there anything more wonderful than knowing that you, as a human being, are called forth to serve a purpose all your own? And that in the post you assume as soul and body, you find your unique purpose in life.