- The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek: A Novel
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- The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek by Jane Myers Perrine | FaithWords
Risk and redemption. In order to get what they want, characters have to risk the most important thing in their world.
Only then can they find what they need: love, renewed faith, and, often, redemption. The cat wakes me up before seven every day, earlier than I want. I eat breakfast, then go in my study. After that, I catch up on blogs and email. When I finish, I read. My faith affects everything I do. I have been so blessed to have found faith as a child, so blessed to have married my husband, and incredibly blessed with the talents a generous God showered on me.
With The Overcomers , I felt it was very important to witness to others who are dyslexic. Even before I wrote inspirationals, the characters in my books went to church on Sundays, had high moral standards, and cared about other people. Do you put yourself into your main character, or do you find yourself borrowing from family or friends as your characters develop? There are many scenes in my books that come from real events—although both slightly and greatly changed—like the time the donkey ran away on Palm Sunday. The list is too long to mention. My books are available at on-line bookstores.
To be eligible for the drawing, leave a comment below with your email and I will announce the winner Tuesday, May 29 th. The winner will receive his or her choice of a book or Kindle download. She likes small towns, warm, friendly people and humor. The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek, the first book in the series, was published in April, The Matchmakers of Butternut Creek will be available in November, With her minister husband, George, she landed in the South after living many years in cold areas of the country.
They decided to give up changing seasons for no snow and have never regretted that choice. They now live north of Austin where their lives are controlled by two incredibly spoiled tuxedo cats. Carolyn, both of my parents are KU grads so they are good people! Thanks for the invitation, Connie. I never argue with people about sports. My dad taught at KU for a short period of time a long, long time ago. But I AM the one who sends the book out! Yes, the state of KY had a great year in basketball.
Next year—Cards win it all! Only fair, Jackie! Jackie, Be assured your comments about Univ. U of L had a great run in basketball this year. Thankfully the cats had a better run. Yeah, I know I did myself in for a chance to win your book. Even Murray had an amazing year. All in all Kentucky did great. Oh, and those people coming in burning couches and causing problems, most of them drove here from other places.
I hope you reach a lot of people with your story. It sounds delightful. So glad I stopped by. All—please forgive my icon. JoAnn—Thanks for your comments.here
The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek: A Novel
When football starts again, I will cheer very loudly for the marching bad! Thanks for the interesting interview, and for telling us about your book. It sounds like a heart-warming book, and the match-making sounds fun. Thank you, ladies, for a fun interview! I laughed at the cleaning house part. Many blessings! Mildred—thanks for dropping in. Oh, yes—I adore small towns and the wonderful characters! Connie, Your comment really made me laugh!
I greatly enjoyed your interview, Jane! Welcome to Infinite Characters. Your book series sounds like a winner. Learn More A modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast Learn More Bellewood Book Two Learn More Bellewood Book One Learn More Brides of Cedar Creek Learn More Bellewood Book Three Learn More You are using an insecure version of your web browser.
Please update your browser! Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser. Infinite Characters. Thank you, Jane, for joining us today. Please tell us about yourself.
As a child or teenager, did you ever dream of being an author? What is your favorite genre to read? How many books do you have published and where can they be found? Tell us about your latest book series. Where do you get ideas for your books? Birdie had given her daughter a sensible name. Martha Patricia. Had Martha lived up to such an honest, trustworthy name? Birdie had ended up raising two girls when she was looking to retire, but what else could she do? With that, every trace of Martha disappeared from Butternut Creek except the memories of her miserable mistakes and her terrible grades in the permanent record of the school district.
The double loss about killed her. He waved, then went back to separating the checks and credit card receipts. The child had curly brown hair, matching brown eyes, and the sweetest smile in the world. Band practice starts in fifteen minutes and I need to get my trumpet out of the music room. Then Bree, always in motion, dashed across the room, her long, straight dark hair swirling behind her. Everything about this older grandchild snapped with energy.
She made Birdie tired just watching her. See you tonight. Birdie grinned for a second. They were good girls, turned out well. Well, maybe on her deathbed. Stepping out of her shoes, she headed toward the laundry room and tossed a load into the washer. She hoped the child could find the pile when she needed them. She rotated her left shoulder. They were old enough to do that. Amazing how quickly the girls discovered the location of the dirty clothes hamper and learned to use the washing machine.
For a moment she paused, considered her thoughts, and shook her head. She had become a crabby old lady, exactly like Mercedes had told her, politely and as only a friend of long standing could. The realization had surprised her a little, but this was not the time or place for self-examination. She had plenty to do and no time to find a new attitude. She called them tats and wanted a rose on her back. What did she call it? Birdie smiled. A MacDowell in college.
Desk with a lamp on it, desk chair, dresser, and bed. One of the posters on her wall showed some scientist from England with numbers floating over his head. Stephen Hawking, Mac had told her. The other poster showed Wynton Marsalis playing a trumpet, the instrument Mac played. Birdie felt as if she should straighten the stack of clean towels to conform to the rigid angles of the room.
Forget it. In her own bedroom, Birdie padded barefoot across the scuffed hardwood to put her shoes in the closet and slide into a worn pair of slippers. On the way, Carlos the Cat attacked her ankles before he ran under the bed.
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Lord, she was tired. She leaned against the wall. For a moment, she felt dizzy from exhaustion, but she shoved the feeling aside. What would happen to her granddaughters if she did? How would the church survive this new minister without her guidance? She attempted to pray for strength but it took too much effort and never seemed to help much anyway. She needed to sit down for a minute, rest.
After pausing in the kitchen to pour herself a glass of tea, she went out to the front porch of the small house and settled into one of the Adirondack chairs. Elmer had built them so he and Birdie could sit on the porch and wave to neighbors. Early evening was surprisingly cool for June, although the weather was never really cool in Texas during the summer. Less hot, at maybe eighty-five degrees. The big maple she and Elmer had planted years ago shaded the area.
A nice breeze cooled the porch as peace and quiet overcame her. She took a deep breath and leaned back, closing her eyes to breathe in the warm Texas air laden with the scent of gardenias. The calm lasted five minutes before she got antsy. She hated peace and quiet. Too much to do. She pulled the phone out of her pocket to call Pansy about the food pantry.
When Adam explored the entire house the next morning, the sheer size again overwhelmed him. Downstairs, the tiny basement had a dirt floor. The second floor had five bedrooms, each larger than both the bedrooms together in the Kentucky parsonage, and two bathrooms. The space on the third floor stretched across the entire house with storage closets built into the eaves. He strode up and down staircases and across halls and into bedrooms, his footsteps resonating loudly on the hardwood floors.
Last night, his sleeping bag had felt warm and familiar. Before he could decide which to do—to laugh at or worry about that thought—he checked his watch. He also had a Christmas tie his best friend had given him. Because he was already running late, Adam hurried, descending the steps from the second floor two-by-two. Reaching the first floor, he grabbed a file folder and his Bible and headed out the door toward the church.
When he turned, Adam saw a smiling blonde coming down the steps of the even larger Victorian next door, a plate in one hand and a little girl grasping the other. A Southern name and a family name. Are you a member of the church? That parsonage has been empty for too long. Glad someone can use it. The sun shone and the birds sang and his neighbors had brought him breakfast. There could be no better place to be in the entire world. When he entered his office, an immediate problem confronted him: sixteen boxes of books and only two small bookcases, already filled with dusty tomes that he felt sure no one had perused in years.
Maybe centuries. I just got here, running a little late. I work from nine to eleven four days a week. I answer the phone, type the newsletter, and print the bulletin. She reminded him of a hummingbird. She talked fast—not that hummingbirds talk—but she also flitted from place to place. Following her instructions, Adam jotted down his sermon title and scripture, then hunted through the hymnal.
Finished, he stood and walked the information out to Maggie. She picked up a pen. They go with the theme of the morning. At eleven thirty, half an hour after Maggie left, Adam heard a knock at the office door. Just outside, he saw a large man wearing enormous paint-stained overalls with an orange-and-yellow Hawaiian shirt underneath.
Adam later discovered settling down comfortably was one of his greatest talents. Talking was another. Adam discovered within a week that the retired men of the church felt it was their duty to keep the minister company, especially a single young man like him who obviously had nothing else to do and needed to be amused. Obviously disappointed the minister had gotten a word in, Ralph shook his head.
Seasonal work. Not much business today. Not a wasted morning. Stiff and straight in the chair of the physical therapy waiting room at the hospital, she flipped through a magazine. Old Elgin Crump who lived down on Highway 28 slumped in his wheelchair. Must be at least eighty-five. Next to him sat Susan Pfannenstiel, her walker pulled up next to the chair. Two younger patients waited alone, reading magazines.
Those stunts should be outlawed. What had happened to the cheerleaders of her time, back when they wore uniforms that covered their navels and reached to their knees? Back then, they just jumped up and down and shouted. Now they jiggled their bodies and built towers the girls toppled off. He slumped. His dark hair fell almost to his shoulders, rumpled but clean, like a man who cared about hygiene but had no interest in his appearance.
And yet, with the stubble on his world-weary face, he was handsome in a lost-soul way, in the dangerous and slightly disreputable manner many young women would find intriguing. No one had been inside since Mercedes and Birdie and her granddaughters had cleaned it after the funeral. Probably covered with dust now and smelled musty. Might be the only time anyone from the church could get in touch with him, but she hated to step up.
No one would ever guess Birdie MacDowell hesitated to do anything.
To protect her left shoulder, she pushed herself up with her right hand and briskly walked to his chair. As she settled back in her seat, she noticed everyone staring at her before their gazes fell back on what they were reading. She was supposed to welcome people to town, invite them to church. When she considered the problems and pain that plagued the others in the waiting room, she guessed she was pretty lucky to have only this shoulder acting up. Not good at all for a waitress to have a bad shoulder but better than a bad back or a bad knee.
Inwardly cursing the weakness she hated to display, Birdie again pushed herself up with her right hand and straightened to walk into the therapy area. Curtains covered the treatment area in the back while other clients walked or pushed and tugged on the machines and weights on the main floor. Birdie stepped on a stool to pull herself onto a high table.
Across the room, a pretty redheaded woman watched another patient for a few seconds before turning and approaching Birdie. I remember you from way back when you sang in the Cherub Choir at church. How old was Willow? Thirty-two or thirty-three. The young woman smiled, a lovely expression that made her features glow.
Birdie swelled with a sense of accomplishment. Someone had accepted her invitation, even appeared pleased to get it. Christine will oversee your exercises. Birdie had attempted to talk to her about the Beatles and the first Gulf War, but she had to explain history and culture before to Christine. It was a whole heck of a lot easier to count the exercises out loud than attempt conversation with the child. If she did and lost her job, how would she support her granddaughters? Willow wants me to teach you another exercise to loosen up your shoulder and increase your range of motion.
Then Christine glanced away from Birdie and her eyes grew enormous. Birdie lifted her head to see Sam limp into the therapy room and watched the reaction of the females. The cheerleader, who had been absorbed by her magazine back in the waiting room, followed his unsteady progress with wide eyes. He barely lifted his gaze as he manipulated around the obstacles.
His reaction stunned Birdie. He stopped still, completely motionless, and gaped at Willow. Birdie bet she was the only one who had a handle on the meaning of his expression because the others were too busy watching other parts of the man, but she recognized it. Right there between the therapy table and the exercise ramp, he fell in love.
At least, that was the way Birdie saw it. She was seldom wrong. For barely a second, his expression was unguarded and vulnerable. Back before his leg was blown off, Sam had appreciated women. He liked how they smelled, flowery and sweet. He liked their soft roundness, which made him feel even tougher and stronger in comparison. As a marine, he loved the way their pink and pale blue and mint-green clothing floated and swirled like pastel butterflies around his drab camo or dress blues. He appreciated their soft spirits, their generous gestures, their winks and smiles.
He never had trouble attracting any of them. So why did the sight of this woman hit Sam so hard? She wore tailored black slacks and a crisply starched white shirt, buttoned almost to the top. For whatever reason, his reaction to her hit him hard, like the kickback of a rocket launcher, with a shock that shook his world.
Red hair and, he guessed, green eyes. When she turned to pick up a file, she glanced at him and smiled absently before returning her attention to the patient. Yeah, green eyes and dimples and long lashes and a slender, slightly tilted-up nose. Not a usual female reaction to him. But even her perfunctory smile made him feel like a man for the first time in months. Probably because the greeting came from rounded lips on the more-than-pretty face that topped her great body. The sleekness emphasized her cheekbones and eyes and skin, almost everything about her.
He bet she dressed like that to look strong and in-charge, but a woman who looked like her could never hide behind a starched shirt. For a moment he swayed on the crutches as he checked her out. How old was she? Maybe brackets or creases? No, she had a couple of grooves around her eyes, and frown marks between her eyebrows that emphasized dark circles under her eyes.
As much as he liked them, his interest in women had lessened, too, until now. His looks had been inherited from the general and generations of military men going back centuries. He had more problems than he could handle himself, let alone burden anyone else with. Unfortunately, the longer he allowed his hair to grow, the scruffier his whiskers, and the deeper his frown, the more women fell at his feet.
Most of the females wanted to rescue him, to take care of him, to fall in love. With that and the pain any kind of movement caused, celibacy seemed pretty much his only choice these days. But still Trixie stood in front of him, smiling and winking and flipping her hair while he swayed on the crutches. Willow Thomas sighed. Whenever a good-looking guy arrived in PT, Trixie lost every bit of her nearly invisible veneer of professionalism. More good-looking guys than Willow had thought came here: college kids with broken bones and high school football players with bad knees, all far too young for Willow.
Flirting was like breathing for Trixie. Willow had counseled the young woman, attempted to explain, then finally lectured her on the difference between their clients in PT and possible dates for the weekend. Now she was nearly drooling. Even displaying depression and anger like most of the vets she worked with, the new patient was hot. Willow had to admit that.
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This patient—she glanced down at the schedule—Captain Samuel Daniel Peterson looked so fine, even Willow felt an instant attraction. Hard for any man to make her feel that way. When he glared at it, she drew it back. Today Trixie, our PT aide, is going to check your range of movement and degree of strength to get a baseline.
He glanced up at her, making eye contact for a second. He had beautiful blue eyes, but they were red with broken veins. She knew well what that meant, had seen it often before. Seemed sad that this man should let himself go, drink so much it showed. So she did, but not before she glanced at his reflection in the mirror that covered the entire west wall. That evening, Adam looked out the kitchen window while he rinsed the plate off. He had a dishwasher that would take him days to fill, so he washed his one dish and a fork to use at the next meal. It was still light although the sun headed rapidly to the west.
His evening chore completed, he walked outside to join them. My car made it to Llano and back, which is always a relief. There were still ten unpacked boxes in his study and huge piles of books that overflowed onto the chairs and formed heaps on every surface. The AME church a block away had evening services. The three left through a gate in the fence, overgrown with the beautiful orange flowers that Ouida had identified as trumpet vines.
Once their voices faded, Adam was left alone with the breeze and the succulent scent of a Texas evening floating on the sweet notes of a spiritual. Sunday morning dawned warm and bright, the normal state for summer mornings in Texas. After a final read-through of his sermon, Adam ate breakfast and showered. While he shaved, he studied himself in the mirror. His hair touched his collar, and, he realized, he did look young, really young.
Had he expected a few days in ministry would age him? Well, yes. Unrealistic but he still looked too young to preach, as young as Miss Birdie had proclaimed, eight years younger than his twenty-five years. Would growing a mustache help? Maybe a beard? Not a good impression for his first Sunday here. From the nearly bare closet, he pulled a suit—his only suit, a ministerial black that served as both his marrying and burying suit.
Once dressed, he headed out.
The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek by Jane Myers Perrine | FaithWords
That walk across the parking lot was his last moment of peace for the rest of the day. With a smile and a firm handshake and feeling very ministerial, Adam greeted everyone as they entered the church. Several children waved and headed toward their Sunday school class. At eleven, when he heard the playing of the chimes, Adam entered the church through the door between the study and the chancel area.
About forty-five people gathered in groups of three to five, scattered through a sanctuary built to hold two hundred. Maggie sat next to an aisle.
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- Jane Perrine and the Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek?
Some huddled in the back row with the intention, perhaps, of leaving early. Nearly every one of them had white or graying hair and wore glasses except the two girls sitting with Miss Birdie and a few kids with their grandparents. As he had been told but now realized, this was an old and dying church. As the service began, Adam asked the congregation to stand for the first hymn, stated the page number, and nodded toward the organist.