Sometimes Angels Wear Aprons

By Betty Thomason Owens ACFWPhoto

I was a young mother with three sons, ages five, three, and eleven months. We lived in a small community near Ft. Knox, Kentucky. This was our experiment in country living. The lots were large, around two acres, so the houses were not close. My nearest neighbors worked all day, so were never home during the week.

One spring afternoon, I left my two oldest boys playing on the swings, while I went to the house to get something. I took the baby with me. At eleven months, he wasn’t quite walking, but he could get around very well, and tended to get into trouble quicker than you could blink an eye. Inside the house, I clicked the lock on the storm door, set the baby down near his toys, then trotted to the bathroom to get what I needed. I was only there a couple of minutes when I heard the baby crying. I headed back to the kitchen (mere steps away) and realized the crying was outside.

How had he been able to unlock that door? It wasn’t easy–I could barely unlock it. I knew before I looked, he’d fallen off the porch. Our back porch was high, nearly three-and-a-half feet. And the rails weren’t close enough to deter a wiggly eleven-month-old. He’d tumbled through and landed face first.

I found him standing up, screaming, with bright, red blood streaming from his nose. I grabbed him and held him against me as panic set in. I was alone, out in the sticks–no car–and an injured toddler. No nearby emergency rooms, and we didn’t even have a doctor out there, since we’d so recently moved.

These were pre-everybody-has-a-cellphone days. So I picked up the land-line and dialed the pastor of the tiny Baptist Church nearby. We hadn’t been attending long, but they had welcomed us. I spoke through my tears as I explained what had happened. A few minutes later, he knocked on the door. “I’ve called Ella,” he said. Ella was one of the deacon’s wives and my other boys’ Sunday School teacher. She’d dropped everything and headed over to take me to her doctor, just a few minutes down the road.

The pastor put the other two boys in his car, headed back to his house until we returned.

When the middle-aged woman pulled in the drive, I ran out the door, purse in hand, holding baby in my arms. He was still crying, but softer.toy

Ella took one look at me, covered in blood, and floored it. We got to the doctor’s office in a matter of minutes. Since it was an emergency, they took us right in. The doctor cleaned my son’s injuries and examined the inside of his nose. Because of the large amount of blood, the doctor believed there was probably some internal injury. “Emergency Room,” is all I heard.

We arrived home just as my husband was returning from work.

Ella helped us get everything we needed for the trip into town to the emergency room. “I’ll pick up the other boys,” she told us, “and take them home with me for the night. We’ll have a great time.” They loved her, so I knew I needn’t worry.

This woman had stopped in the middle of whatever she was doing to see that our needs were met. She fed and cared for our sons while we were at the emergency room. Our little boy had surgery to repair a couple of tears inside his nasal cavity. If we hadn’t taken him in, he could have hemorrhaged in his sleep. After several hours, we were able to take him home.

It was a great relief that we didn’t have to worry about anything when we arrived home. Our baby slept for hours and the other two were safe at Ella’s. She arrived late the next morning with our sons and a basket of food so I wouldn’t have to worry about cooking that day.

I nearly broke down and cried when I thought about what she had done for us. What a beautiful servant of God.

Betty Thomason Owens writes romantic comedy, historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She has contributed hundreds of articles and interviews to various blogs around the Internet and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group. She’s also a mentor, assisting other writers. She is a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers, and a contributing editor for the online magazine, Imaginate.

Annabelle’s Ruth, a 1950’s historical novel based on the Book of Ruth, is the first book in the Kinsman Redeemer Series (Write Integrity Press). Her 20’s era romance, Amelia’s Legacy, Book 1, Legacy Series, released October, 2014 (Write Integrity Press). She also writes contemporary stories as a co-author of A Dozen Apologies and its sequels, The Love Boat Bachelor and Unlikely Merger. She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.

Betty still lives in Kentucky, though in a more urban setting, with her husband Bob, close to her grown-up sons, their wives, and seven precious grandchildren.

annabelles ruthAnnabelle’s Ruth (buy at Amazon)

“If you think you can come back here and throw yourself on my mercy, you are quite wrong.” –Jensen Wade, Annabelle’s Ruth.

After their husbands perish in a fishing boat accident, Connie Cross determines to follow her mother-in-law, Annabelle, from Southern California to Tennessee. Her misgivings begin as they cross the bridge over the muddy Mississippi River. In their new town, where living conditions are far below their previous expectations, they must set up a household and hunt for work to survive. Thanks to the kindness of Annabelle’s handsome, young cousin, life begins to settle down. But Connie has a secret that could change everything once again.

Inspired by the Book of Ruth, Annabelle’s Ruth is a 1950’s era “Ruth” story, set in western Tennessee. How will Connie adapt to her new life amid the cotton farms, racial tension, and culture shock?

Annabelle’s Ruth by Betty Thomason Owens

betty owensToday I’d like to say welcome to my friend, fellow author, and blogger, Betty Thomason Owens.

Pull up a chair and sit a spell. Now for the first question:

What inspired you to write Annabelle’s Ruth? Where did this idea come from?

Betty: I’ve always loved the Book of Ruth. I’ve read it many times, seen several of the movies. A couple of years ago, I’d just read through the book again and I wondered, what if I wrote a story similar to Ruth’s, but set in more modern times? Say, the 1950’s, and what if…

That’s really how it began. Then I had the idea to blend in elements of my mother’s early life, a story I’d heard throughout my childhood, but more often now, as she ages. Mom was 17 when she met my dad, a sailor temporarily stationed in the Puget Sound. He was 19—they were both just kids! They eloped, and Mom ended up with his family in West Tennessee, far away from her home in Seattle. Far away in many ways. A step back in time, a different culture. You can read more of the story here in a blogpost I wrote.

That was the beginning. The characters I developed were loosely based on people I’d met near the location of the book, both friends and family. And it’s mostly written in southern—one of my favorite languages.

My favorite language also.  Please tell us…

What was the inspiration for Connie’s character?

Betty: Well, first of all, Ruth. She’s actually a combination of the Ruth character in the Bible, and a couple of real people in my life. I named my character Connie, short for “Constance,” because of her determination to stick with Annabelle. My first inspiration came from my mother, who made a similar long bus trek in the early fifties to marry my dad. Like Connie, she suffered culture shock, since life was quite different among my dad’s family.

The other inspiration came from a cousin, who happened to inherit a dark complexion from her father’s side of the family. She had thick, curly, black hair and dark brown eyes. She tanned especially well after a hot West Tennessee summer. So the kids at school teased her and called her an unkind name. She went home in tears. I’d heard that story many times. Why did I choose to bring this element into the story? Because prejudice is a fact of life for so many.

 It is and we’ve seen too much of that in the news lately. 

That brings up a question. Why the element of prejudice? Isn’t it cliché, when writing about the American South?

Betty: It can be cliché. But it’s not just stereotypical of the South. Unfortunately, it’s typical of the world. I chose to include prejudice and exclusion, so I could show love and inclusion.

Great answer. The next question comes from my Bassett Hound, Max. 🙂

I love the character of the dog in the book. Is he based on a pet you owned at one time?

Betty: Hi Max! I love dogs, especially a loyal pet like Samson. He dropped on the scene as I began writing Alton’s character. I guess Alton needed a good dog. I’ve always loved hounds. They are so reminiscent of my visits to my grandmother’s house. Lying in bed at night, I’d hear the coon hounds baying. I’m fond of beagles, but the “Blue Tick” coon hound’s coloring always drew my eye.

So what’s next for you, what are you working on now?

Betty: Right now, I’m marketing this one and also another collaborative novel, Unlikely Merger, for Write Integrity Press. I’m finishing up the second book in the Legacy Series for Write Integrity Press, Carlotta’s Legacy. Then I plan to write the second book in the Kinsman Redeemer series. I can’t wait to see what comes next for Annabelle, her neighbors, and family. I intend to visit the real-life Trenton this summer and do some additional research. You can check my Pinterest page for Annabelle’s Ruth to see pictures from the actual town. I’ll be updating that after my visit.

I can’t wait for the next book. Thanks so much for dropping by!

Anabelle’s Ruthannabelles ruth

“If you think you can come back here and throw yourself on my mercy, you are quite wrong.

After their husbands perish in a fishing boat accident, Connie Cross determines to follow her mother-in-law, Annabelle, from Southern California to Tennessee. Her misgivings begin as they cross the bridge over the muddy Mississippi River. In their new town, where living conditions are far below their previous expectations, they must set up a household and hunt for work to survive. Thanks to the kindness of Annabelle’s handsome, young cousin, life begins to settle down. But Connie has a secret that could uproot them once again.
 
Inspired by the Book of Ruth, Annabelle’s Ruth is a 1950’s era “Ruth” story, set in western Tennessee.  How will Connie adapt to her new life amid the cotton farms, racial tension, and culture shock? 

Betty Thomason Owens writes romantic comedy, historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She has contributed hundreds of articles and interviews to various blogs around the Internet and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group. She’s also a mentor, assisting other writers. She is a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers, and a contributing editor for the online magazine, Imaginate.

Annabelle’s Ruth is the first novel in the Kinsman Redeemer Series for Write Integrity Press. Her 20’s era romance, Amelia’s Legacy, Book 1, Legacy Series, released October, 2014 (also Write Integrity Press). She writes contemporary stories as a co-author of A Dozen Apologies and its sequels, The Love Boat Bachelor and Unlikely Merger, (2015). She has two fantasy-adventure novels,The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.
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