15 May, 2015

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - A Page from the Journal of Robin Bennett

'A Page from the Journal of Robin Bennett'

I am an old-fashioned girl. It's probably because I was pretty much raised by my grandparents. My parents both died within a few months of each other when I was fourteen, so it was Grandpa John, Grandma Estelle, and I until they both died a few years ago. 

They were good people. We're 'plain as dirt' they used to say about themselves. Since they were born in the 1920's, I was raised as they were raised. I was taught the value of faith, integrity, honesty, and hard work. I was taught how to bake a cake from scratch even though a cake mix was easier. I learned to make biscuits, pancakes, and waffles from scratch—no store-bought mixes for this vintage girl. I learned to set the table with a tablecloth, cloth napkins, china, crystal, silver, and flowers whenever we were having guests. Manners were always a big thing with my grandparents. I was the only girl I know of who wrote thank you notes for the gifts and invitations I received. Little things like that set me apart from my peers.

My grandparents were both gardeners. Grandpa used to say, "Food tastes better if you grow it yourself, Robin. Trust me on this." I did trust him, and we spent many happy hours together in the winter planning our vegetable garden, ordering seeds from catalogs, and drawing diagrams of how we would arrange our rows. When the weather improved, we began tilling the soil, cultivating it using the compost we had made from our vegetable scraps. And then when the time was right, we planted our seeds in tidy rows and labeled with wooden stakes adorned with the corresponding seed envelope.

Since there is almost always a drought going on in California, we were frugal with our water and diligent about pulling weeds. "Weeds take up water and nutrients we just can't afford to waste," my grandma would say as we worked on our hands and knees to get rid of the little green garden invaders. To this day I don't mind weeding my garden because Grandma taught me that the task was worthwhile and beneficial.

We all worked hard to keep up with harvesting the various crops we'd planted as they ripened. We enjoyed lettuce, cabbage, carrots, radishes, green beans, peas, corn, and tomatoes. Oh, and the zucchini—there was always a bumper crop of zucchini. In the autumn we harvested our pumpkins and shared them with the children in the neighborhood. 

What we didn't need or couldn't eat was shared with neighbors and the local food bank. My grandparents taught me the value of helping out others who were less fortunate than we were. "Everyone goes through a tough time, Robin. We need to share our blessings with those in need," Grandpa John used to tell me as we loaded up his old pick-up truck to drive our boxes of produce to the food bank for distribution.

They both loved fresh flowers, so we had large areas dedicated to zinnias, marigolds, roses, irises, daffodils, sunflowers, and nasturtiums. We let those beds run a little wild compared to the vegetable garden, but we still tended them with care. From about mid-March until October we had a profusion of color in our back and front gardens. Flowers are so cheerful. I like to use some of my flowers now to decorate our sanctuary for Sunday services, weddings, and memorial services.

My grandparents are both gone now. I miss them each and every day . . . They generously left their home with its expansive gardens to me. As I work the soil alone, I think of the life lessons they taught me out in the garden. Deal with your problems when they pop up, just as you deal with weeds. Get rid of obstacles that stand in your way, just as you get rid of snails and other pests. Nurture your relationships with patience and kindness just as you care for your plants. Deadhead your flowers when they're past their usefulness just as you get rid of bad habits that have appeared in your life. Share your blessings and gifts just as you share your extra crops. Be thankful for what you have been given. 

About the Book:

Bonita Creek’s librarian Robin Bennett is heartbroken after being abandoned by her husband, Thomas. The mysterious and handsome Jeff Clarke arrives unexpectedly and touches Robin’s life with his wit and warmth. Then, without warning, Jeff’s harsh words and abrasive actions scare her off, and Robin’s hope of finding true love withers again. 
Just when it seems Robin and Jeff might have a future, Susan Stinson, whose cruel taunting has plagued Robin since they met as young teens, decides Jeff should be hers, not Robin’s. Susan’s anger and jealousy escalate dangerously. Her vindictiveness threatens the foundation of Jeff and Robin’s young relationship.
Robin’s journey through the peaks and valleys of her life meanders along the twists and turns of new challenges. Is a relationship which began with both parties harboring secrets destined to survive? Can they move past their troubles and the obstacles in their path to find love and happiness together? When their pasts rear their ugly heads, Jeff and Robin must use their faith to remain strong and true. But will it be enough for them to embrace a life of love, trials, and blessings . . . together? 

Book Links:
Goodreads I Amazon I Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Award-winning author, June McCrary Jacobs, was the winner of Cedar Fort Publishing’s 2013 Holiday Tale Contest for her debut novella, ‘A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom’. ‘Robin’s Reward’ is her first full-length novel, and is set in her favorite location in California—the Mendocino coastal region. This book is the first installment of the ‘Bonita Creek Trilogy’.

June’s original sewing, quilting, and stitchery designs have been published in over one hundred books, magazines, and blogs in the past few years. When she’s not writing, reading, or sewing, June enjoys cooking, walking, and visiting art and history museums. She also enjoys touring historic homes and gardens and strolling around the many historic Gold Rush towns in the Sierra Nevada foothills. In the summertime you can find June at a variety of county fairs and the California State Fair admiring the sewing projects, quilts, and handiwork other inspired seamstresses, quilters, craftspeople, and artists have created. 

Connect with the Author:
June enjoys connecting with readers, authors, aspiring writers, bloggers, designers, sewers, quilters, and crafters. Please connect with June at the following platforms:
Website I Facebook I Amazon Author Page I Goodreads Author Page I LinkedIn

1 Digital Copy of Robin's Reward by June McCrary Jacobs

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