Saturday, April 28, 2012

New book, great story - The Map Quilt

Author Lisa Lickle snagged me with the first sentence. Her new release, The Map Quilt, caught me up in the lives of Hart and Judy Wingate, a young Wisconsin couple expecting their first baby. A former teacher myself, I knew just how Judy felt lumbering her way through the final days of school with her fifth-grade class.

But Judy refuses to take maternity leave. She wants to hear the speaker scheduled to culminate their studies of Harriet Tubman. She also anticipates the release of her husband’s latest ”green” project for his employer—until someone steals the prototype. And burns down the barn. 

Do these disasters have anything to do with an old quilt upstairs, an unidentified body Hart’s mother finds buried on the property, and the famed Underground Railway of the 1860s?

Lickle’s lively writing and flesh-and-blood characters drew me into the family farmhouse kitchen and right up to the table for a cup of hot coffee and vanilla nut cookies. And her story’s fast pace left room for nothing but a must-know yearning rivaling that of Hart and Judy.

There’s more than one story unraveling between the pages of The Map Quilt, and more than one family’s heritage on the line.

The Map Quilt is the sequel to Lickle’s original cozy mystery from Barbour, The Gold Standard. But Map Quilt stands on its own as well. If you're looking for a good summer read, pick up Lickle’s latest—and a tall glass of lemonade to go along with it.

For more about Lisa Lickel and her great new book, visit

Saturday, April 14, 2012

How sweet is your grapevine?

Just the other day someone replied to an e-mail of mine by saying, “I forwarded your e-mail on to …”

Oops. I intended that correspondence for the recipient’s eyes only.

Too late. Tapping the “send” button is like squeezing the toothpaste. There’s no putting it back in the tube.

I have often told my children, “If you put it online it’s public.” Yet when I send an e-mail, I believe no one else will see it other than the person I wrote—especially not the person I may have written about.

Who am I kidding?

I cannot control what happens to my correspondence once it leaves my cyberspace docking point. So I’d better be sure that I don’t mind the content going viral, as they say.

Do my words belittle someone? Are they derogatory, insulting, offensive? Have I spoken as though in confidence about a private matter?  Would I mind if the general public read what I wrote?

Jesus saw this coming. He warned that our whispered words would resound from the housetops. Was he thinking of e-mail, cell phones, Twitter, and all the instantly humming avenues of social media that encircle our planet today?

“Let your conversation be always full of grace,” Paul told first-century Christians (Col. 4:6 NIV).

When my words hit the proverbial grapevine, I hope they’ll taste like grace.

TO MY E-MAIL READERS: Click on the title of the blog post to go to the actual blog where you can comment in the box at the bottom of the post. I’d love to hear from you!