HAPPY READING! And as always, this is from my heart to yours.
HAPPY READING! And as always, this is from my heart to yours.
“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their hard work. For if one of them falls, the other can help his partner up. But what will happen to the one who falls with no one to help him up?” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 & 10 — New World Translation)
Well, now that I’ve finally introduced Eevie to the world, I wanted to share with everyone some of the work that went into bringing her to life. I chose the above Scripture as my caption because most of us have heard of the familiar saying, “Two heads are better than one.” So if two are better, can you imagine what four can accomplish?
In this blog, I want to share with you how three particular individuals helped me to reach my goal of bringing Eevie to life. Whether she realizes it or not, it all began with my dear cousin and friend, Jacquelin Thomas, who is also an author. Here’s her picture. Isn’t she lovely? When she became a published author in the late 1990s, I was so inspired by her wonderfully creative way of writing that I decided that I wanted to attempt to write and publish my own novel. And to make a long story short, thanks to all of the support and encouragement she extended to me, my first fiction inspirational novel, A MEASURE OF FAITH, was published by BET BOOKS in April of 2004.
But what Jacquelin did for me did not stop with my writing. She had also introduced me to her friend, J. Hale Turner, who is also an author. And now, Ms. Turner and I are not only close friends but also spiritual sisters. Here she is, dancing. Isn’t she beautiful, too? Well, just like my cousin Jacquelin, this lady has a wealth of remarkable talents, which includes drawing. Some years ago, she had allowed me to see some of her artwork, and I was extremely impressed. So when I decided a while back that I wanted to bring Eevie to life, I asked her if she would sketch her for me. And to make another long story short, she hesitantly agreed but after a while, advised me that it had been so long since she had drawn anything that she did not feel she could do it. I was disappointed, but as her friend, I did not want to put any pressure on her.
So, I eventually learned of a very talented illustrator named Cait Maloney via a blog that my friend Ms. Turner had shared with me. After I visited Ms. Maloney’s Web site and saw more of her incredible work, I started corresponding with her via e-mail. Here she is. Hi, Cait! Isn’t she cute? Anyway, in the meantime, unbeknownst to me, JoAnn (Ms. Turner) had changed her mind and started on Eevie’s sketch. And to make this last long story short, I submitted it to Cait who added the fabulous colors which helped to accentuate her appearance, and the finished product is what you see above and what I revealed recently in another blog during my interview with Eevie.
I am so excited about Eevie and the launch of her Web site, ASK EEVIE! And I wanted everyone to know that even though I created her in my wild and crazy imagination, giving her extra life, charm, and personality was a team effort–and I could not have done it without the help of these three wonderful ladies. Sometimes, we may not want to admit that we need help , and some find it hard to give credit where credit is due. But I am a firm believer that we don’t have to be hoarders when it comes to giving others their proper and deserving honor, praise, and recognition. I greatly appreciate these ladies for being my team players and helping me to make my dream come true! So may we all remember that teamwork makes dreams work!
Before I go, I want to thank two more ladies who have also been a tremendous source of support and encouragement to me–Ms. Sonia Moore, owner of Keighley’s Salon, Day Spa & Boutique, and my hair stylist, Ms. Michelle Patton. Here’s a picture of the entrance of Sonia’s salon. The photo on the right is one of her many extravagant and comfortable sitting areas. Isn’t her salon gorgeous? Michelle has been my stylist for years. Sonia and I just met recently when she and Michelle went into business together. Sonia’s incredibly awesome business is located near the historic district of downtown Douglasville, GA. She always shares with me inspirational thoughts that I can write about on my blog. As a matter of fact, I got the title of this one from her. Thank you, Sonia and Michelle! Love you both! Both of these ladies are great at what they do. Please show them your support.
Well, that’s all for now. HAPPY READING! And as always, this is from my heart to yours.
WELCOME, MISS EEVIE!
Hello, everyone! Today, I have a very special guest who I would like to introduce to you. Her name is Evelyn Faye Randall, but most people call her Miss Eevie. Many of you will probably remember her from my short story, ONE OF A KIND. She is the incredible aunt of Paula. Well, Miss Eevie has just launched her very own Web site called ASK EEVIE, and I thought it would be nice to sit down with her for a few minutes on an interview. And since I love her cheery, melodious, Southern accent and way of talking so much, I decided to script the typed interview in the exact manner that she speaks. So here she is, everyone, the lady we all know as Miss Eevie!
M: Well, first of all, Miss Eevie, I would like to welcome you to my blog site and to the worldwide web.
E: Well, thank yuh very much, Maxine. Um so excited to be here!
M: We are just as excited to have you. So tell us, Miss Eevie, what do you plan to do on her new Web site, ASK EEVIE?
E: Well, it’s a advice column where folks can submit problems they need help wit, and I tries to share thangs wit ’em that hopeferly will help ’em deal wit what they going through. But it’s also a inspirational column. Everbody’s going through sumpthin’. Yuh know, we’s living in critical times hard to deal wit. Now, that ain’t me talking. That’s the Bible–2 Timothy 3:1-5. I tries to base everthing I tell people on what the Bible say.
M: Thank you, Miss Eevie. We appreciate your sharing that Scripture with us. Now, we understand that you’re a spiritual woman, so does that mean your column will be preachy?
E (laughing): Well, that depends on what some folks call preachy. Like I said, I try to base what I say on God’s Word, so from time to time, I will throw in a Scripture or two, but I’ll try to do it in a way that hopeferly leave people feeling like um trying to build ’em up instead of tear ’em down. I just know everbody need encouragement from time to time, and I just wanna add some ‘freshment to folks’ lives. That’s how Jesus was, yuh know–he made folks feel refreshed. And that’s what I wanna do.
M: He did indeed, and thank you for that very timely but friendly reminder. So, Miss Eevie, a lot of people would like to know if you’re originally from North Carolina where you live now.
E: Well, I was act’lly bone and raised in Savannah, Georgia.
M: Ah, so you’re a Georgia peach. No wonder you’re so sweet.
E (laughing again gregariously): Well, thank yuh, honey. That’s mighty sweet o’ you to say that. Yes, I was bone in Savannah in 1931. Me and my brother, Paula’s daddy, worked in the cotton field from sun up ’til sun down. I only got a fifth-grade education. We did’n have the opportunity to go to school like these young chil’ren today. Poppa made us stay home from school and pick cotton. What I learned, I mostly learned from reading and teaching myself.
M: Miss Eevie, thank you for sharing that because, you know, a lot of people feel that just because a person is up in years and seems to be uneducated in a secular, worldly way that he can’t teach anyone anything. Now, you’re a mature lady who, even though you only have a fifth-grade education, seems to have a lot of wisdom and knowledge. I know you said that most of what you learned, you learned from reading and teaching yourself, but is there something else in particular that accounts for the knowledge you’ve obtained over the years?
E (her expression turns serious as she presses a fist to her chest): I owes it all to God and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (Her eyes appear to well up with tears as she continues.) If’n it was’n fer them, I’d have nuttin’–I’d be nuttin’. I cherishes my relationship with God. A lotta what I know–the thangs that matter most in life–I learned from His Word the Bible. It’s got the answers to all our problems, if’n only we’d read it and obey.
M: That’s nice, Miss Eevie. Thank you for sharing that with us. I can tell that your relationship with God is extremely important to you.
E (nodding): Yes, it. is.
M: So, Miss Eevie, how can folks get in touch with you when they need some of your godly, motherly wisdom or just want to chat with you?
E: Well, my Web site address is www.askeevie.wordpress.com. (She adds, giggling): Wow, that was a mouthful. Um surprised I ‘membered it, but I been practicing.
M: Well, you did good. Thank you. I have just one last question before you go. Do you ever plan to write and publish any books?
E (releasing a quaint giggle): No. I thank I’ll leave the writing to you and all the other writers out there. But yuh never know–that could change one day.
M: Well, I sure hope so. I would love to read some books written by you.
E: Well, we’ll see.
M: Alright, Miss Eevie. Well, thank you again for visiting me on my blog and allowing me to be the first to interview you and welcome you to the worldwide web. And congratulations!
E: Thank yuh, Maxine, and thank yuh kindly fer having me. I really enjoyed it.
M: Me, too. Well, this is Maxine Billings signing off and wishing you all a very blessed and awesome day!
When God invited His servant Solomon to ask what he would like Him to give him, the above words were Solomon’s humble request. Yes, of all the things Solomon could have asked for, his one and only heartfelt desire was to have the wisdom and knowledge to lead God’s people in a way that was pleasing to Him. Therefore, God not only granted his request but also blessed him with the things he had not asked for–wealth, riches, and honor such as no kings before him had had and none after him would have. (2 Chronicles 1:11 & 12)
Who of us would, if given the opportunity, make such an unselfish and humble request? Many of our elderly ones did not have the chance (for various reasons) to be educated secularly as many of us younger ones have. Yet, whatever they may lack in the way of worldly education, they more than make up for in the wisdom and knowledge they have acquired throughout their lifetime. So we should never feel that just because we may possess more book sense than them that they can’t teach us anything. And especially when what they share is from God, it will always be beneficial for us because He is the source of true wisdom and knowledge. (2 Timothy 3:16 & 17)
In my book ONE OF A KIND, I introduced my readers to Paula’s Aunt Eevie. She’s a hoot in the sense that she is an extremely funny person, as most of our elderly people are. Most of us probably have an Aunt Eevie in our family–the elderly, female relative who always gives us her extremely candid advice or opinion (whether we ask for it or not.) Sometimes, in an effort to pick us up, they beat us down, but we know they mean well. As a matter of fact, they’re the ones who are always there for us–to pick us up when we fall, to cry with us when we hurt, to laugh with us when things are good, and to tell us what life is all about (they know because their own experiences have made them all the more wiser.) And that’s why we love ’em!
You’ll also get to hear more from Aunt Eevie in my soon-to-be-released sequel to ONE OF A KIND which is titled DESPERATE HEARTS. In fact, I like Aunt Eevie so much that I’ve decided to give her a site of her own on the Internet, an advice column called ASK EEVIE. I am now in the process of working with an extremely talented illustrator, Ms. Cait Maloney, on Eevie’s portrait. I am so excited to be partnering with Ms. Maloney on this project and can hardly wait to reveal Eevie to you–and of course, Eevie is on pins and needles to meet you, too! So in the meantime, please feel free to share your thoughts with me of how you imagine she will look. I may even have a special prize for the person who comes closest!
To all of you who have been and still are loyal supporters of me and my stories and to those of you who have recently given me your support and encouragement, I thank you from the very depths of my heart!
Happy reading! And as always, this is from my heart to yours!
(Owl Photo Courtesy of Office.com Clip Art)