This quality underlies all of our best efforts. Embracing hope means turning our backs on the doubt that so easily arises and doing what we can, right now.

The white hair in the background on this photo shows that I didn’t realize my reflection would show up. But maybe that’s not a bad thing, as our hope reflects how we face whatever comes our way.

Albert Einstein, a Greatest Generation member, said: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

Hope means finding OPPORTUNITIES in the midst of life’s quandaries and challenges. May this be our determination in April 2020, even as it was for our parents and grandparents seventy-five years ago. Here’s a photo of HOPE snapped back then.

See the black arrow on the right? It points to Dorothy Woebbeking, R.N., a surgical nurse during one of WWII’s gruesome battles. Doing what you can with what you’ve got…this gave Dorothy great satisfaction. For more about her incredible HOPEFUL attitude: https://www.amazon.com/Until-Then-Women-Heartland-Book-ebook/dp/B07SZ4BD5D

November musings…

A harsh wind brings a chill to northern Iowa, squirrels prepare for winter, and November reminds us of our hard-won privilege and responsibility to vote. 

 “The whole aim of politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” 

Today’s journalists might beg to differ, but H. L. Mencken, early twentieth-century social critic and journalist, would most likely stand his ground. In this voting month, how appropriate to consider his words—and that’s all I’ll offer on this topic! 

         November also honors our veterans, and on Thursday the seventh, I’ll be speaking for the Rotary Club in New Hampton, Iowa. That night, I’ll be at a veterans’ dinner in Alta Vista, and on Friday the eighth, at the Kling Memorial Library in Grundy Center (2 p.m.) 

I’m looking forward to sharing a devoted veteran’s story—it’s always a pleasure to introduce audiences to Dorothy Woebbeking, whose story fills the pages of Until Then

         Saturday from 1-4, I’ll co-facilitate a workshop integrating art and writing—pure fun! If you’re near the Marion Public Library, please consider joining us at this free event.

Always, people have worried about the future or the injustices around us. But we can also view these challenges as channels for growth. It’s good to consider Ralph Waldo Emerson’s declaration:

“Only to the degree that people are unsettled is there any hope for them.”

Well, it appears our lives abound in hope! 

Change is in the Air

Isn’t it always? We may sense this more as leaves turn orange and gold or snow melts away in the spring, but truly, every day brings change. By and large, we’d rather not, even when it’s a good change, but change we WILL.

Last week our granddaughter reminded me that the gorgeous gold of a harvest moon has to do with the amount of dust in the air, and that if you view the moon again in the middle of the night, it will have moved higher and be silver again.

One sure sign of autumn comes to us via the busy spider, spinning, spinning before winter comes.

Credit goes to Lance for these shots in a local field of corn. They remind me that we’re always spinning, too. My dear knitter friend carries her latest project with her–when she drove me to a doctor’s appointment earlier this summer, her knitting kept her company while she waited.

When we’re busy, seeing what’s at hand to do and putting our hands and hearts to it, even thistles have their beauty:

This week, I had the privilege of meeting Jerri and Regina, descendants of my heroine Dorothy Woebbeking/Worst’s sister Elfrieda. They shared some delicate Christmas cookies from Dorothy’s father’s recipe, and showed our book talk group the actual cutter he brought from Germany to make them.

It’s likely that he and his wife included cookies like these in their CARE packages to Dorothy and her three brothers deployed all over the world during World War II. Easy to imagine their delight at homemade treats like these, and to imagine the angst of these parents as the long years dragged on.

All this brings me to a point: I love sharing Dorothy’s story with whomever will listen. And here’s an update about the places I’ll be giving book talks (Oh, the places you’ll go…) during the next few weeks.

On Tuesday the 24th, I’ll be at the Alta Vista Public Library – 10:30 a.m. Then the Waverly Public Library will host me (and Dorothy…I really feel she’s right alongside) at 2:00 p.m. the same afternoon.

On October 3rd, I’ll be with a new friend for a “book party”, and at Davenport’s East Branch library at 3 p.m. on October 3rd. After another private engagement on the fourth, I’ll visit the Solon Public Library at 3:00 p.m..

On the 5th, I’ll co-facilitate an all-day memoir writing workshop at the Cornell/Mt. Vernon public library, and on the 11th, spend time with another book club. On October 12 at 10:00 a.m. you’ll find me in Janesville at the public library, still bursting with my heroine’s exploits–like these vines overtaking a building even though the growing season is past. (Ha! What do we know?)

Stop in when you can–I SO enjoy meeting you all in person!

The Sunflower

Behold the stately sunflower! We planted this, along with some “normal” yellow ones, for our granddaughter who is partial to this glorious blossom.

This summer, she painted some of these to decorate our yellow and white bathroom.

Such a bright spot, these sunflowers! (The photo is sideways, and I can’t get it to change.) But you get the idea.

Another bright spot this week will be my book signing at TJ’s Christian Bookstore in Cedar Falls, Iowa. This will take place on Friday the 13th during TJ’s grand opening, and I hope you can stop by.

The heroine of Until Then spent her childhood just a short distance away from the bookstore. I’m also so pleased to have the Grout Museum in Waterloo carrying Until Then on their gift shop shelves.

Autumn has arrived. . . and of course that means winter is on its way. Gotta hold these BRIGHT SPOTS close!

Full Cover Wrap – Final Edition!

Monday evening, June 10 . . . I promised to share more information about UNTIL THEN as soon as possible, so here is the full cover for your perusal. Now you can read the back cover description and get a feel for the two stories interwoven in this book.

I’m so delighted with the careful work of Mike Parker, my publisher at WordCrafts.

And…the paperback should be available on Amazon.com in approximately 48 hours. As soon as it is, I will send out the purchase links. Thank you so much, dear readers, for waiting with me!

As soon as has come: here’s the address: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1948679582/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=kittleson+until+then&qid=1560273024&s=gateway&sr=8-1 

Sitting on my nest…awaiting that first “craaaack…”

How can we begin to imagine life for those men who stormed the beaches at

Normandy? Or the work/collapse/work/work/work/collapse routine of a surgical nurse

assigned to an Evacuation hospital somewhere in North Africa, at Anzio, or the Battle of the Bulge?

It helps to read the real-life stories of a real-life Americans who survived the war, and

that is what I did in researching the service of Dorothy Woebbeking of Waterloo, Iowa.

She and her three brothers contributed an immense amount to the cause of freedom.

Read more at https://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/2019/06/guest-post-by-gail-kittleson.html

I’m visiting this blog today in anticipation of the release of Until Then. And you can be sure I’ll be chortling the news when this release goes live on Amazon!