I’m always delighted to chat with Cathy Gohlke & today is release day for her new book Night Bird Calling! Happy Book Birthday, Cathy!!
NIGHT BIRD CALLING
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Fiction
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: January 5, 2021
From award-winning author Cathy Gohlke, whose novels have been called “haunting” (Library Journal on Saving Amelie) and “page-turning” (Francine Rivers on Secrets She Kept), comes a historical fiction story of courage and transformation set in rural Appalachia on the eve of WWII.
When Lilliana Swope’s beloved mother dies, Lilliana gathers her last ounce of courage and flees her abusive husband for the home of her only living relative in the foothills of No Creek, North Carolina. Though Hyacinth Belvidere hasn’t seen Lilliana since she was five, she offers her cherished great-niece a safe harbor. Their joyful reunion inspires plans to revive Aunt Hyacinth’s estate and open a public library where everyone is welcome, no matter the color of their skin.
Slowly Lilliana finds revival and friendship in No Creek—with precocious eleven-year-old Celia Percy, with kindhearted Reverend Jesse Willard, and with Ruby Lynne Wishon, a young woman whose secrets could destroy both them and the town. When the plans for the library also incite the wrath of the Klan, the dangers of Lilliana’s past and present threaten to topple her before she’s learned to stand.
With war brewing for the nation and for her newfound community, Lilliana must overcome a hard truth voiced by her young friend Celia: Wishing comes easy. Change don’t.
10 Ways to Shore Up Our Courage and Family
by Cathy Gohlke, author of Night Bird Calling
COVID-19 taught us that we can survive without the many props we’ve believed essential to our existence and that some of our modern technology can be put to better use.
We’ve learned we really can take time to gather around the family table each night, to make our beds and wash our dishes and get on with our spring-cleaning. We can take the time to read books, play board games with our spouses or children or grandchildren. We actually can take up that knitting project—or quilting or painting or house repairs or garden work or write that book or letter that has been on our heart and mind for who knows how long.
And we can use social media for good, to encourage and share uplifting thoughts with others rather than to broadcast shaming, blaming, and grumbling. It’s a new world and a new day. We’ve learned that staying home, hunkering down with family, is not so bad.
Knowing we are likely to face more seasons of flu and viruses, it’s good to be prepared—beyond the stocking of canned and paper goods. Here are ten steps to shore up our spirits, to prepare for long days at home:
1. Begin each day with silent prayer—Before leaving the comfort of our beds, before the children bounce their way into the bedroom or demand breakfast, offer this day to the Lord. Thank Him for the night’s rest, the comfort of our bed, and that our family was safe through the night. Surrender the coming day to Him and ask that He empty our hearts of self and fill them with His Spirit, that He supply us with patience, love, grace, and fortitude.
2. Pray aloud with children—Before meals, before they leave the house for the day or begin their day at home, thank the Lord for food, for clothes and shoes, for health and family and shelter. Praise Him for the gift of salvation, for the wonders of nature and community, however it is experienced. Ask the Lord to keep and guide and make each one a blessing to those they meet.
3. Keep a normal rising and retiring time; develop a schedule—Routine during unusual times establishes normalcy and creates daily expectations for individuals and for families. When children understand “what’s next,” they feel more secure, and they (and their adults) are better able to focus and less prone to depression.
4. Eat healthy, exercise, and get outside—It’s easy to snack on junk food when we’re anxious. It’s easy to zone out in front of the television or on our many electronic devices, hoping for distraction. But good nutrition, regular exercise—even minimal exercise when we can’t make it to the gym—fresh air, and sunshine fuel body, mind, and spirit, helping us stay strong and optimistic. Think of all those great endorphins hard at work. During the 1918 flu epidemic across the globe, it was noted that patients who spent time in the fresh air and sunshine were more likely to recover. Sunshine is good for the soul and homemade chicken soup cures all kinds of ills.
5. Learn one new thing each day—Online classes abound for everything imaginable—dance, music, physical education, cooking, writing, art, higher education. The list is endless, and the glitzy electronics that stream them are the “radio and television” of days gone by. And that’s great, but consider the wonderful things we can learn from earlier generations that require no technology: cut a rug with swing dance or the foxtrot—just ask your grandparents how. Learn a new piece of music for your favorite instrument, make snow cream, pull taffy, bake a new cookie recipe, or learn to make fresh pasta with your kids. Teach your child a new woodworking project or learn to identify the wildflowers, birds, and trees in your yard. While you’re at it, match the birdsongs you hear with the birds at your feeder. Stargaze at night and learn the names of constellations you see. Start a family memorization and recitation night of Scripture or poetry, or begin a family dramatic society—think of all the versions of Little Women you’ve ever seen. Embrace the words of Robert Louis Stevenson: “The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”
6. Smile, laugh, listen to music—There’s nothing so edifying to the spirit as praise music or good for the lungs and soul as singing. Strike up the family band with everyone playing an instrument, even if that means bringing out the kitchen spoons, the pots and pans, and the kazoo from your bygone school days. Revive the sing-along around the campfire, the piano, or your teen’s guitar. Play online music, CDs, or those old 33s on a stereo—what they used to call stereos. Tell funny stories—family myths and legends with all their embellishments. Crack jokes, offer riddles. Make funny faces, watch comedy. Laughter is good for all that ails.
7. Reach out to someone in need—Many are in need now and as long as you are healthy, there are countless opportunities to assist others. Deliver meals to those who are shut-in, not well, or elderly. Offer to do some yard work or housecleaning. Pick up and deliver groceries and medicines for those who are sick, at risk, or unable to get to stores or pharmacies. Sew face masks and hospital gowns for local hospitals and medical personnel. Hospitals can often give out patterns and direct you where to pick up fabric supplies. Some will need transportation to doctors or hospitals or treatment appointments. Leave flowers or a meal on a doorstep for a neighbor while maintaining social distance. Think creatively—what would you need if ill or alone?
8. Keep in touch with friends and family—Phone calls, including FaceTime, texts, emails, Skype, Zoom, personal visits when allowed, or whatever helps you stay in touch with friends and family, especially those who are isolated or quarantined, are essential to good health for all. Giving one another the gift of time and attention, reaching out in love and caring, means everything. During times of confinement, as during quarantines, when the gift of touch may not be safe, remind others that you are thinking of them, sending them love, assuring them of your prayers, and that you are eager to know if there is something you can do to help. Even if you cannot physically be there, you may be able to solve logistic problems to address needs. Remember to laugh and encourage.
My mother lives in an assisted-living home. During the COVID-19 outbreak, doors have been closed to the public, even family and friends. My sister and brothers and I keep in telephone touch daily, each trying to cheer her. Because my mother is blind, my sister daily reads devotions to her over the phone. Any little bit of family news is a gift to her—even the potty training escapades of her great-granddaughter. Lighten another’s day and you will brighten your own.
9. Hug those closest—Remember the five love languages? There’s nothing like a pandemic to make us count our blessings and that means most of all our dear ones. Kiss your spouse and your children good night. Hug them each day. Offer them your gifts in words of affirmation, sweet surprises that say, “I was thinking of you,” acts of service that you know your loved one will appreciate—something to lighten their load—quality time, or physical touch. Learn what means the most to them—observe or ask, “What is your love language?” We all need to give and receive love in the ways we best perceive it. The surest way to make that happen in your home is to begin the practice.
10. Finally, brothers . . . think on these things—In moments and days of illness or stress, I’ve learned that I must take every thought captive, lest my imagination or the gloom and doom voice of the nightly news overwhelms me. We have an enemy eager to steal, kill, and destroy our joy in the Lord and the very fiber of our beings. To combat that enemy and to shore up courage for ourselves and our families, we do well to heed Paul’s words from Philippians 4:8-9—“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
such wisdom, Cathy! Thank you so much for sharing these vital tips with us for this crazy season we’re all in.
Four-time Christy and two-time Carol and INSPY Award–winning author Cathy Gohlke writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons from history. Her stories reveal how people break the chains that bind them and triumph over adversity through faith. When not traveling to historic sites for research, she and her husband, Dan, divide their time between northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren.
Tyndale House is offering a print copy of Night Bird Calling to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Night Bird Calling by Cathy Gohlke? What are some things you’ve been doing to find joy during this crazy season?