Monthly Archives: October 2017

Imperfect Pieces

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm: 147:3 NIV

Walking on the beach, searching for perfect seashells is an activity that always returns me to my childhood. My body may be older, but my spirit is childlike, searching for treasure.

This year, the October waves were unusually high until the last day of our vacation. When the tide receded, shattered seashells littered the bleached sand. Repeatedly, I bent to dig out a prize only to discover it splintered. An onyx seashell half-buried in the crystals appeared to be perfect until I cleaned it in water and discovered a hole at the apex. I’d been walking and praying, asking God to speak to me, and He did, through the debris on the beach.

How many shells had I passed over because of their imperfections? How many people have I ignored because of their poverty, the coarseness of their language, or just plain old meanness? There are others who seem to have it all, the perfect life. But I know no one reaches maturity without being crushed. Some just hide it better than others, just the like the shell I discovered half-buried in the sand. At first glance, it appeared to be whole, but it too had been damaged.

Someday, when I get to heaven, I’ll be perfect, but only because of Jesus and His precious blood that wiped away my sins. Until then, I hope to gather other broken pieces for His kingdom. It takes each of us to make up the body of Christ. The church is not for the perfect, it is for the fractured. Each broken life forms into the one body Christ. His body was broken and pierced for you and for me.

I saved the imperfect shell to remind me of my brokenness, and the healing power of Jesus. How about you? Are you too broken and splintered?  Let me introduce to Jesus. He’s the perfect treasure.

 

 

 

Magnolia Storms–Friends, Novels, and Ocean Springs, Mississippi

By Janet Ferguson

Stories come together in unusual ways. My latest novel, Magnolia Storms, is no exception. The idea formed when one friend described being a ship pilot, and I knew I wanted a ship pilot for my next story hero. Then riding home from a writing conference, I brainstormed with other friends-authors and came up with having a meteorologist who’d been through Hurricane Katrina and never wanted to return to the Mississippi coast as a heroine. Of course she has to! And so I had the bones of my story.

Ocean Springs is a quaint town near the Mississippi Sound with an adorable downtown area lined with gift shops and restaurants.

Sprawling live oaks majestically spread out their massive roots and branches along the sidewalks.

Somehow some of the adorable homes weathered the inundation of the tidal surge and mass destruction of Hurricane Katrina, but not all.

-See more about that here: https://www.wunderground.com/education/Katrinas_surge_part14.asp


I’d been to Ocean Springs over the years, more recently with my husband, and navigated the streets on Google Earth, but I needed some finishing touches on my scene descriptions. Enter my sweet beach-friends. They sort of randomly asked me at just the right time to go for a girls’ trip to Ocean Springs and stay in Front Beach Cabins, one of the very places I’d been checking out online. The cottages are near enough to walk downtown and only a couple of blocks from Front Beach. We took bikes that were provided by the cabin owners down to the shore.

The beaches are small in Mississippi because the Sound is protected, to some extent, by barrier islands. From Front Beach, you can see the barrier islands.

 

I  finished the last tweaks on the Magnolia Storms manuscripts after critique partners (who are now beloved friends, too) looked it over. My next adventure was finding the perfect cover. Another friend, Nancy on my street team suggested, that she had a friend with the perfect hair for my heroine. I thought that was great, but how would I get her on a cover?

Long story, short. Her friend, Emily, drove to Ocean Springs with her sister-in-law, Ann Marie, and made pictures. They were perfect, and the cover all fell into place!

 

So friendships not only molded this story together, but also put the proverbial cherry on top!

Magnolia Storms
A Coastal Hearts Novel
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you….

Maggie Marovich couldn’t save her father or her home from Hurricane Katrina, but she’s dedicated her life to meteorology so she can warn others when the monster storms approach. Except…she works three hours inland and rarely risks returning to her childhood hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Both her single-parent sister and the ship pilot Maggie once loved refused to leave the Coast, despite Maggie’s requests. Now a hurricane’s headed toward Mississippi, and Maggie’s sister is seriously injured, leaving Maggie little choice but to head south—into the storm.

The water and tides flow through Josh Bergeron’s veins, and he can’t imagine giving up piloting—even for the love of his life, the infuriating Magnolia Marovich. He tried to move on without her, marrying and having a child. But after his wife abandons him and his little boy, his career choice is threatened by the weight of his parental responsibilities. Moving next door to Maggie’s sister and sharing their child care seems like the perfect set-up. Until Maggie blows back into town.

Being forced to lean on Josh for help washes up the wreckage in Maggie’s faith. Where was God during the destruction of Katrina? Why do some prayers seem to go unanswered? Between the hurricane looming in the Gulf and another gale raging in her heart, can Maggie overcome her past and find the trust to truly live?

Author Janet Ferguson has a series of books published just in time for the Mississippi Book Festival.

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Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served as a children’s minister and a church youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. She writes humorous inspirational fiction for people with real lives and real problems. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space. 

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