Breaking Out of Hibernation With an Update and a Giveaway

I’m back.

I’ve been wriggling under my snowbank for a few weeks, curling into a tighter ball of fur instead of taking action. Now I’m rising, shaking off the crusts of ice from my eyelashes. It’s been such a long time that I’ve been sleeping in this snowbank, not blogging, that I can’t quite think what to share now. But it seems that I should summarize the past few months and give a few updates.

Before I proceed, thank you for the many kind messages I received. On a particularly low 24-hour period not long ago, I received five messages or phone calls, all from random people, all in different states I believe. That itself was enough to show me that God had not left me in my snowbank to rot, but was in fact, sustaining me. I apologize for not replying to all of your kind words and thoughts.

So now, the summary. First, the Boys.

Over Christmas vacation, Marnell and I took two trips, and the boys stayed with their mom. Mom missed them terribly, and wanted them to stay. At the same time, after they left, my mind cleared. I wasn’t sure that I could handle taking them back, at least not without an extensive break.

They never did come back permanently, although they showered at our house a few times a week for a short time. Before the end of January, their mother found a nice apartment, and they are now with her in a safe place.

Although I had an initial euphoria of relief, a blanket of depression resettled in the weeks that followed. My failure to maintain sanity while keeping the boys bothered me more than anything. Why do I fail at everything? I asked myself. Anxieties and fears of the future troubled me as well.

Second, my writing.

As usual, my writing project provided therapy even thought I didn’t find the energy to blog. I have nearly finished the draft of my next book. It will probably be titled Thomas E. Kirkman: Artist, Spy, Amishman.  This book resembles Captain Garrison, since it is about a real person and fictional details have been added. Tom Kirkman, however, entered the world in 1934 and found his way to working in the White House before joining the Amish. It is a fascinating project!

Third, my new blogging series.

Since late winter can be a drag for everyone, I’m planning to kick start my blogging by sharing a series of things that can help battle depression, both from my own experience and from things other people have shared. I’ll debrief from the last few months and highlight the best things I learned.

I’ll share one “intervention against depression” today.

I am trying to do at least one “Act of Kindness” every day of February for someone else. To make this easier, I ordered a large box of chocolates from Russell Stover. I’ve also enjoyed visiting people and having some great conversations. Now that my chocolates are running out, I will have to get a little more creative.

My most creative idea is approaching Monday night. I can’t tell you much about it because that could spoil it for the people who are coming. I’m hosting a “Favorite Foods of the Presidents Dinner.” (Monday is President’s Day, if you aren’t aware.) Since I’ve been doing a lot of White House and Eisenhower research for the Kirkman book, it wasn’t hard to pull some ideas together. I’m planning to seat people as they do at the White House, where everyone gets mixed up rather than sitting beside the person they came with. Isn’t that interesting? I’ve also sent handwritten invitations, as Tom Kirkman likely did in his time as calligrapher in the White House. We’re going to have formal photos, and even a game of memory. Will the food be elegant? I’ll share the menu next week, but let’s just say, presidents historically haven’t been too elaborate in their choices of favorite foods, according to the list I referenced.

An Update on Captain Garrison and A giveaway.

Have you all gotten a copy of Captain Garrison yet? The feedback I received pleases me immensely, despite at least one specific mistake in the book. Boys as young as 9 or 10 have read it! I thought it would most likely appeal to teens, so these young men must be exceptional readers.

I was quite angry at Amazon for not allowing me to load Captain Garrison there, but in the last week it finally went through. Although I make almost no money on it because of the excessive fees, it’s a good platform to buy a book if you want an autographed copy, since I ship them directly to you. Also, it is a lovely place for me to collect reviews. If you have read Captain Garrison, please do me a huge favor by writing an honest review here on Amazon. You can also order a signed copy that way.

And the giveaway? Leave a comment sharing something kind that someone did for you (any time, any place). I’ll pick the name of one person to receive a signed copy of Captain Garrison, my last bar of Russell Stover chocolate, and a little treat from the Presidents meal.

From my snowbank to yours!

74 thoughts on “Breaking Out of Hibernation With an Update and a Giveaway”

  1. My mom gave me some frozen cookie dough balls to pull out during busy week. As a homeschooling mom of 4 ages 1-8 this was special to me. Glad to see you back. I enjoy your blog posts!!

  2. Unknown to me, a friend borrowed my dress pattern and presented me with a finished dress on my birthday one year. That was amazing!

    1. The lock on my car’s gas cap was frozen and the gas station did not have any left to sell. The kind young man at the counter had some in his car, got it, and used it to open my gas cap so I could fill my tank. I was so overwhelmed I was in tears!

  3. So good to hear from you again! Very good thoughts as always. I was thinking of you today, and how much I miss your blog. Your next book sounds very interesting!!

  4. My husband came home from work and gave me a lovely pot of blooming daffodils! He’d been in Lowe’s for things for his job and saw them and thought I’d like them. It made my day!

  5. My friend dropped off a coffee on a day that was not going well- she had no idea how much it meant that day.

  6. During a particularly tough week, God had a dear friend (who didn’t know what was going on) leave me a note reminding me of their love and God’s love for me.
    Good to “see” ya again, friend. [Hugs]

  7. I had told one of the ladies at the jail at a Thursday evening Bible study to stop by church and we would get her a Bible. She stopped Fri evening when they were cleaning school and one of the women cleaning had a new looking garage sale Bible to give her. She had only been in jail for a short time. The downside of it is that I thought maybe she would be ready for some one on one Bible study but, in spite of leaving a note in her mailbox, I haven’t heard from her.

  8. A friend from PA had a lady bring me a bag of
    Coffee and some cookies to brighten and encourage me !!
    Such a pleasant surprise and week brighter!!

  9. Two of our single lady friends from church came to babysit our girls one evening in the terrible aftermath of my sis-and-bro-in-law’s deaths. After the ladies left, I noticed that they had done some tidying about the house, and in particular, had cleaned our kitchen wastebasket. I remember feeling so cared for when I saw that spotless white lid!

  10. My sisters in law gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers after my miscarriage. It meant so much to me!

  11. My son-in-law is mowing our lawn; my neighbor brought me flowers yesterday and bagged fresh nuts for me; my sister is bringing salad for supper; a friend gave me a puzzle and a book—for no reason. God is Real and lives through His people.

  12. Thanks for blogging again, Katrina! May God give you the strength to continue to heal! The act of kindness idea sounds like a good one😊 an act of kindness I’ve experienced recently was my sis in law making a chocolate trifle for our family.

  13. I received a handwritten letter in my mailbox, which nowadays is a rarity. Inside the envelope were many kind words that meant so much to me. A blessing doesn’t have to cost much at all. ☺️

  14. This happened quite a few years ago, but I remember it as a special way some fellow-employees showed kindness to me when my grandfather died. Since I live close to my workplace, I was offering a hot lunch that interested employees could buy one day a week. (I think it was every week; I don’t remember the frequency for sure now.) A sign-up sheet was posted so I could know how many to fix for–it wasn’t usually a large number. One of the lunch days came the day after my grandfather’s death. I assumed I could go ahead with it. But when I went to get the sheet that evening, all the names were crossed off. I hadn’t needed to do anything to cancel it. But neither did I have to fix it. Whoever initiated getting that lunch cancelled thought of an excellent way to express sympathy in practical terms.

    1. So excited to see your writing again!! Anxious to read your book!! We need your writing inspirations so be encouraged to go on 🙂

  15. One day the UPS man brought a mystery was full of CAM books! Our family has a number of bookwoms, and it was like Christmas! My husband had ordered them and surprised us. Included in the book bundle was Captain Garrison..I am enjoying the very interesting, riveting story!! So well written…if I win the signed book I will gift mine to another reader😁

  16. When I was pregnant and too sick to get off the couch, a young lady delivered a meal to our family within days of getting back from her wedding trip! She was brand new to the community, so it touched me even more that she would bless someone she barely knew! When I miscarried the baby, the same lady mailed me a card with a sweet, encouraging note. It’s hard to describe how special these acts of kindness were on both occasions.

    1. The morning I left on my first overseas trip, my generally inexpressive dad woke at 5 am for a quick hug and goodbye before work. When I went downstairs for breakfast, I found a little bowl of raspberries he’d picked for me. That was the end of a silly teenage angst about whether or not he really loved me—a memory that I treasure especially now that he’s gone.

  17. Just wanted you to know I wrote a review on Amazon about Captain Garrison. Glad you are back to blogging again.

  18. Recently, when I was going through a tough time, a friend insisted that I get out of the house and go for a walk with her in the park. It was just what I needed!

  19. A old friend from Bible School days (I don’t know that I’ve seen her more than a time or two in the last 20 years since then. 20 years?!?? I’m not actually that old!), she kindly babysat for us tonight, so we could enjoy a banquet date in her area.

  20. Someone (I don’t know who!) sent me a beautiful, personalized pillow cover in the mail this week.

  21. I’m glad you’re back to blogging. Your new book sounds very interesting! My husband brought me a miniature rose plant and played with the children after supper so I could sew 😊

  22. Sickness has dogged our family for much of the new year. My daughter’s sweet teacher sent a fruit basket home from school with her. It blessed my heart so much, as well as being an answer to prayer. We were all out of fresh fruit, and I couldn’t get to town to get more.

  23. I was delighted to see a new blog post from you again. A lady from our church has been giving my family gift bags full of goodies… In a season of life, when we are staying away from people & church to avoid sickness.

  24. My husband baby sat our 3 little children. Then I could go do some shopping all by myself. That was a special treat.

  25. Last fall I arrived home from a trip that included attending a funeral and the next day a wedding. It was an emotionally draining experience. When i arrived home, there was a beautiful bouquet of roses on my door step. That act meant so much.

  26. I realized there are so many kind givers in my life! Which one to share? I think it is such a blessing when my teenagers and young adult children give me texts or notes. Also last week I got a note by snail mail from on of our school teachers wishing me a good day!

  27. Does this count? I think I got my first ever Valentines card from my dad. It made me smile. ~Faith Yoder

  28. I have received encouraging cards from friends just when I needed them the most. Also, have had meals delivered to my door after a hospital stay. That has definitely brightened my day.

  29. My husband gave me sevreal massage certificates as a gift-I’ve been hearing good reviews about your book, but have not read it yet😊

  30. The Women’s prayer group, had a Welcome back party for me upon my return from overseas! It was wonderful!

  31. My parents have a little flock of chickens, and they keep us supplied with eggs. We really appreciate it!
    Also, if I win, I have a friend I’d love to share the book with!

  32. The morning I left for my first overseas trip, my generally inexpressive dad woke me at daybreak for a quick hug and goodbye before he went to work. When I went downstairs for breakfast, I found a little bowl of wild raspberries he’d picked for me. That moment marked the end of a silly streak of teenage angst over whether or not he really loved me. I treasure the memory especially since he’s gone now.
    I’d love to read the book and then pass it on to my nephew.

  33. Wonderful. Your meal sounds rather like you… Unique(the best kind), interesting, memorable, meaningful 💙.
    When my husband left for a week if meetings, one of the ladies in church secretly asked for volunteers from the sisters at church to bless me every day. And every day someone called or stopped by with a card etc… I felt unworthy but what a day brightener they were!!!

  34. A dear friend gifted me with a bookmark and a hand written word she had written that said describes me. It was a very meaningful gesture.

  35. Once when I was checking out at Walmart
    with a very large buggy full of groceries and several small children I realized I had misplaced my debit card. The lady had already rang everything up, bagged it & I was ready to go… but couldn’t pay. I told her I was going to have to leave my stuff when a lady behind me stepped up & said she had me covered. I felt so small & humbled as she paid for over 100.00 worth of groceries. I tried to have her give me her address but she wouldn’t hear anything of it & insisted it really wasn’t that much. I have never forgotten her willingness to help a stranger.

  36. Where to start? But I’ve been struggling with some issues and my Pastor’s wife stopped in with time for me and a frozen casserole, this past week!

  37. My husband and a friend were very, very supportive as I went through labor and gave birth to our firstborn!

  38. A few days ago at school, where I help with some special Ed classes, a school board member popped his head in my door to specifically thank me for what I was doing. It felt good to be noticed and thanked even be though I love doing what I do.

  39. I asked my husband to stop at Walmart on his way home from work, to grab a bag of marshmallows for me to finish making a recipe, and he came home with a pot of tulips for me! ❤️

  40. My bishop’s wife offered to come help me one morning not knowing we had sick children. As a mother of four that are 4 years and under, I was ever so grateful for extra help!!

  41. A friend anonymously shipped me a book (although I figured out who It was from when I read it) because she knows how much I love reading, and she just wanted to do something nice.

  42. Having youth over this evening, and didn’t get a treat made yesterday due to an er run for a broken bone. A youth mom said, hey, my girls will bake some bars!

  43. A youth mom said hey, my girls will make treat for your party this evening after finding out we spent Saturday Eve at the er for a broken arm.

  44. Hi Katrina, When my Dad passed away my family descended upon us – there were probably at least 16 or 18 at our house for several days before the funeral. It was a special time of sharing memories, planning the funeral and supporting one another in our grief. Not all were staying overnight, but certainly we were having meals together. On the second day as we were gathered, my neighbor, Jane appeared at our door, bearing a large, hot, roasted turkey (she was a turkey producer). It was so unexpected and beyond generous. We were overcome with emotion and so grateful for her thoughtfulness.

  45. I sympathize about the depression, Katrina! I’ve had tastes of it but that’s enough! I admire anyone who makes intentional efforts to combat it. May you find continued light and grace.
    I have to say… the most lovely thing I’ve received lately is a little back rub from my three year old daughter! To sit there and realize that after three years of unending service , they can start giving back in precious small ways… well, it’s abundantly joyful!

  46. Thanks for writing again, i enjoy reading your blog while I put babies to sleep.
    Someone took my oldest two boys to the library so I could catch up on a few things. They loved it and it helped me out a lot that day

  47. A friend gave me a big batch of Marinara Sauce she had canned. I’m a homeschooling mom of 5 children ages 1 -9 . It felt like a huge gift especially since this same lady has had a lot on her plate with issues in her own family!

  48. Carolyn Sue Yoder

    I was checking out at the grocery store, but my card would not go through. The kind person behind me stepped up and said, “Here, I’ll pay”. I was very grateful, especially as I later found out that the reason the card did not go through, was because of a lack in the account

  49. One evening as I entered my bedroom, I found a slip of paper giving directions for a treasure hunt in the room. After a long search, I found a chocolate bar from my youngest sister who had prepared it all ‘just because I love you’.

  50. Two dear friends put freezer meals, and baked goods in our freezer as a welcome home from being at Bible School for 6 weeks! And I would really like to have a copy of Captain Garrison for our 12 year old bookworm!

  51. Many people have done kind things for me through the years, but in the season of life I’m in right now, my sister in law, who is a Mom of 5 has been helping make dinners for us and I so appreciate it. Glad to have you back!

  52. A lady at church sent a couple of pieces of pie home with me yesterday to add to my work lunches this week. Recently, two co-workers offered to help me with a big project at home. … Glad to ‘see’ you back, Katrina! I always enjoy reading your writing and look forward to your series!

  53. All these ways of blessing people have inspired me! My husband brought me flowers one day when I was feeling especially depressed, grieving the loss of our baby halfway thru my pregnancy. I look forward to hearing of more ways to combat depression, thanks for the reminder that acts of kindness to others is 1 way to bring some joy into our own lives.

  54. Last week when my family was sick my brother in law gave us a box of”sinus soother” tea. A small thing but meant so much knowing someone cared.

  55. Good to hear from you again! The latest kind touch from someone that really warmed up my snowbank was a year subscription to my favorite magazine. In turn I felt inspired to look for ways to brighten someone else’s life.

  56. Our neighbor gave us some little gifts when she brought Mommy back home after Daddy’s back surgery. That was a surprise! Glad to hear from your snowbank once again!

  57. Our neighbor gave us some little gifts when she brought Mommy back home after Daddy’s back surgery. That was a surprise! Glad to hear from your snowbank once again!

  58. Twice recently when out to eat with our family someone covered the bill. And in the last 2 months we’ve had a new baby and then dealt with weeks of sickness. So grateful for the many who showered us with meals!

  59. I had a new friend who sewed a dress for me..totally with out me knowing anything. She brought it along with a special card .That meant alot!

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