In The Palm of His Hand

A favorite song of mine has been running through my mind all morning.  It’s called On Eagles Wings, and it reminds us that no matter what we are going through, God is there for us.  Life can be hard.  We never know what curve ball will be thrown our way.  Three Footprints-in-the-Sandnights ago, a friend of mine from high school lost her long struggle with cancer.  She was 45, unmarried, and without children.  She had so much life still to live!  This morning, our world was rocked with the news that another family friend has passed on.  Even more tragic, this young man was just twenty-one years old; his life was only just beginning.  My friend died knowing that she was being held, as the song and Psalm say, “in the palm of His hand.”  The young man did not, and I wonder if that would have made all the difference.

At every moment of our lives, we are being held in the palm of God’s hand.  Whether we are feeling peace or loss, profound joy or the deepest grief, God is there.  Even in the times when we do not feel His presence, He is there.  As the Footprints poem says, it is at the times when we need Him the most, that God carries us.  I know that I have relied on this belief many times in my life, and my wish for you is that you know that you are always “in the palm of His hand.”

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

https://amyschislerauthor.com/amyschislerauthor.com/Books.html You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com

What’s Your Dream?

IMG_1449“Welcome to Hollywood!  Everyone’s got a dream.  What’s your dream?” Those are both the opening and the closing lines in the movie Pretty Woman, a story in which every young woman’s childhood dream is realized when Vivian is swept off her feet by Mr. Right, a very rich and very handsome Mr. Right (okay, I would argue that she actually swept him off of his feet, but you get the point).  Though many would argue, understandably so, that the road Vivian took to find her dream – running away from home, living on the streets, becoming a prostitute, and being hired by Edward for the week – is not the best way to achieve one’e dream, it’s those words that open and close the movie that come back to me over and over again.  I hear them echoing in my mind at least once a week, but I can’t really explain to you why.  After all these years, I’ve decided to chalk it up to my inner voice constantly reminding me that as a little girl I had a dream that until recently was nothing more than a wispy cloud elusively hovering just out of reach as I stretched my hand out the window on a mountain road.

When I was in third grade, Mrs. Bizup said to me “You are a writer.”  At the age of eight, I could hardly know exactly what she was trying to tell me, but I was thrilled when several of my poems were published in a local magazine (yes, Mrs. Bizup was behind that).  From that point forward, I would imagine myself in many different positions and occupations in life.  In middle school, I thought about being a teacher.  In high school, I wanted to be a lawyer.  I went to college determined to be a political speech writer but shifted gears when it came time to apply for graduate school and became a librarian.  If you really think about it, all of those professions had one thing in common – each of them uses a large amount of reading and writing.  The key word there is, of course, WRITING!

Oh if I had only listened to Mrs. Bizup in third grade or to Mrs. Wilson in twelfth grade who told me that I would make a great lawyer, but my real gift was writing.  How many times have I finished a book and thought, I could write a better plot?  Or watched a movie and thought, I could write a better script?  My whole life I have watched people and imagined them as characters in a book or read an article and wondered how it could be translated into a story.  In the back of my mind, I always knew what I wanted to do, but I never had the courage to try or the self-confidence to think that I could succeed.  Finally, at the urging of my mother and my husband, I quit my job and began writing.

It brings me great pleasure to be able to say that my first novel, A Place to Call Home, has just been released in its second edition.  I’ve already had a children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad, sell more copies than I ever dreamed.  And my second novel, Picture Me, is complete and ready for the publishing process to begin.  I feel like, at the age of 45, my life is just beginning, and it’s all because I was encouraged to take a leap and follow my dream.

So I ask you now, what’s your dream?  Everybody’s got a dream…

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

https://amyschislerauthor.com/amyschislerauthor.com/Books.html You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com

150 Reasons To Go

DSC01354I hate driving in Baltimore.  Please don’t take offense. It’s not the city itself.  It’s the multitude of one-way streets.  Even when relying on my GPS, I always seem to get twisted around no matter where I’m going.  Give me DC any day with its wagon wheel street design, every spoke emanating out from the beautiful white dome of the Capitol with states going in one direction and letters in the other.  Now that’s a city in which I can find my way around.  Even if I get lost, I know I’m never truly lost and can easily find the way out.  I have a very hard time finding one good reason to drive in Baltimore.  However, tomorrow, I will find 150 reasons.

Tomorrow I will attend the State of Maryland Camp Director’s Training.  Though I’ve been a camp director for nine years now, I have never made it downtown for the training.  This year, however, there are several crucial changes in the healthcare laws, so I must make the trek into the city to learn how to properly construct the necessary forms.  So for the benefit of the one-hundred girls and the fifty staff members that attend Summer Roundup, I will boldly take on the streets of Charm City.

If you have never attended an overnight summer camp or have never volunteered for one, you couldn’t possibly understand the lengths to which I would go for the group of people I consider my second family.  My own daughters and I have been attending Roundup for twelve years now.  My girls have all three progressed from first year campers as Brownies or Daisies to know-it-all Cadettes to Teen Camp Aides, and for the second year in a row, one Adult Staff.  I have watched them go from knowing nothing about camping or rowing or shooting an arrow to teaching younger girls how to pitch a tent, paddle a kayak, or hit a bullseye.  I have seen girls cry their eyes out for four nights straight, and then a few years later, console and tuck into bed a new camper pining for home.  I have staff members who were once Roundup campers themselves and are now attending with their own daughters.

There is something so special about an all-volunteer camp that it’s hard to put it into words. I’m sure that high-priced, fancy summer camps with fully paid staff and college kids making enough money to buy a car are a lot of fun.  But nothing can compare to the heart and soul that is put into a camp by people who are there for no other reason than they love the camp.  There is a feeling that each person, camper and adult alike, takes home from camp that never leaves them.  It is that feeling that leaves all of us counting down until the next year when we will see each other again.

I highly encourage everyone to send your child to an all-volunteer camp.  Don’t do it because they are by far the least expensive camps.  Don’t do it because it’s a way to keep the kids busy for one week of the summer or to get them out of your hair.  Don’t even do it because their friends are going to camp.  Do it because it will be a week they will never forget, a week without phones or television or video games, a week of learning about nature and survival, and a week of learning about themselves.  But before you send them, I ask you to think about this, what are you doing for that week?  It’s just one week.  You’ll survive.  You might even learn something about yourself.  So go ahead, fill out that form for your child, and while you’re at it, fill out one for yourself.  It will be an experience you will never forget and will never regret.

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

https://amyschislerauthor.com/amyschislerauthor.com/Books.html You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com

Favorite Novels – What’s on Your List?

DSC04542As I sit here this morning looking out over our backyard, a heavy mist shrouds the landscape.  The snow and grass seem to be in a struggle over which parts of the yard belong to whom.  Across our property lies a patchwork of white, brown, and green bordered by trees that actually seem to be looking down upon the earth wondering when it will be time to awaken from their long, cold slumber. And as if the East Coast hasn’t already had more than its share of winter, more snow is heading our way.  The good news for those of us in the Mid-Atlantic is that at least we’ve been able to thaw a little in between each storm.  Not so for Boston, Buffalo, and many other cities and towns north of here!

I’ve already accepted the fact that there will be four people in the kitchen tomorrow baking Katie’s sweet sixteen cake rather than just one, and I might just have many more hands available to decorate for her party on Friday. However, I so long for an entire week of writing without interruption!  I understand that many people are just itching to get into their gardens and out in their boats.  I would just love to have a five-day stretch where I can sit in quiet and complete a chapter or so per day in my next novel.  Alas, that doesn’t seem to be in the forecast for me this week, but perhaps a good read is in your future.  So I’ve decided to share with you my list of my all time favorite books.  Like all good librarians, I will categorize the list.  I hope there is something here that you will enjoy reading.  I believe that you will find a few hidden gems amongst some of the more well-known titles.  So pick a book, sit by the fire, and remember that spring is just 15 days away!

Amy’s All Time Favorite Books:

Historical Fiction

The Lady of Arlington by Harnett T. Kane – a novel based on the life of Mary Custis Lee, the wife of Robert E. Lee

The entire Little House series – have you read them as an adult?  You should!

Romance

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Green – a book I have loved since I was in middle school.

Fantasy

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling – really, did you truly expect me to not have a Harry Potter book on the list?

Memoir

The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma – A father and daughter vow to read together for 1,000 nights, and magic happens.

General Literature

So many to list!

Beaches by Iris R. Dart – A tear-jerking story about lifelong best friends and the ups and downs of their relationship

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – a timeless tale (truly – you have no idea when in time this takes place) of secrets and lies that come out when a young writer is summoned to write the memoirs of a dying woman.

Playing for Pizza by John Grisham – perhaps an odd choice, but I love a good book about football, and this one is a lot of fun!

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks – The “choice” will leave you buried in a pile of tissues!

Classics

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier – A nameless heroine falls in love with Max deWinter, a man haunted by his past.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Jane falls in with Mr. Rochester, also a man haunted by his past.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – love and romance in the Victorian Age

Mystery/Suspense

This is the hardest list to narrow down for me.  I am a sucker for a good suspense story!

The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

The Lifeguard by James Patterson

Where are the Children by Mary Higgins Clark

Please add your favorites to the list!

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

https://amyschislerauthor.com/amyschislerauthor.com/Books.html You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com