Showing posts with label stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stories. Show all posts

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Visit with Eleanor Gustafson

Don't you just love meeting new people? Today, you and I are getting acquainted with Eleanor Gustafson, a Christian author who loves horses. I can't see a thing wrong with that, can you?

Eleanor, tells us about yourself.

Why am I a writer instead of a church organist somewhere? My mother loved music and was herself an organist, and when I finally decided to be an organ major at Wheaton College—instead of taking up veterinary medicine at Cornell—she jumped for joy. (Well, maybe not literally.)


I came out of college being able to play the organ respectably, but marrying one of my horsemanship students who also played the organ (more anon on that) set me on an entirely different course.


Though she would be sad to hear it, you can blame my mother for my current writing track. As she read stories to me every night before bed, I soaked in Story, and that seems to have had even more influence than my chewing the piano while Mom and siblings sang. My teeth marks are probably still there.


Even though Story won out in the end, music continued its influence. My first novel, Appalachian Spring, is titled after a classical piece by Aaron Copeland and contains the melody for the familiar “Simple Gifts.”


Leaping ahead, my husband Jim and I just celebrated our 50 years as tree farmers in Vermont. No, not Christmas trees; just a large forest that we have thinned, pruned, logged, and made maple syrup. A tree farm became the setting for my second novel, Wild Harvest, in which a modern girl meets a boy of 1796 over a stone wall in Vermont. A time travel.


The next three books showcase my passion for God. Well, I guess all of them do. Middle Night is a rough, raw book that few have liked, but it powerfully dramatizes the gospel, using no religious language or known religions. A good story, but I got carried away, balancing off a superbly good God with terrible evil on the other side. True to life, as we are seeing every day, but not fiction to curl up on a couch with.


The Stones: A Novel of the Life of King David puts flesh on the bones of history. Eugene Peterson endorsed that one, as did other Old Testament notables. David has always been my biblical hero, and I had to write his story.


My most recent novel, Dynamo, showcases not only my passion for horses, but also my deep fervor for our sovereign God. He will do what he wants, when he wants to, in order to accomplish His will. Dynamo is a nasty but extraordinarily beautiful five-gaited stallion. His trainer, Jeth, pours his heart into preparing him to show, but at the same time, God is training Jeth to become an extraordinary servant. A page-turner, on most accounts.


God has trained me, as well, using multiple influences—Story, music, horses, Wheaton College, marriage, tree farming, writers’ conferences, relationships…….and the list goes on. My husband, by the way, is now our church organist. I can’t play the instrument anymore, but I can still write.


Story is my game.


Back cover:   Jeth Cavanaugh is searching for a new life along one of Pennsylvania's mountain ridges when he stumbles upon a stable of show jumpers owned by Rob and Katie Chilton. Throw in a volatile gaited stallion named Dynamo, and Jeth will do anything to work there. He earns his living by training and showing Rob's jumpers, but Dynamo is his primary passion.

Everything changes when God enters his life—in the unconventional form of a hard slap by an old girlfriend—and ignites a new, greater passion within him. But along with fervor comes fear at the undeniable evidence of God's hand on his life. Inexplicable events, both good and bad, make him moan plaintively, "Why does God do this to me? I get the feeling I'm being set up for something."

He is, indeed. Jeth's life is anything but predictable, much like the God he serves. The real Dynamo and his ultimate trainer emerge out of an excruciating mix of disaster and brokenness, which are never beyond the reach of redemption.

This story is God in your face: Who is He, really? What does He ask of us

Born and brought up in Branchville NJ (population 1000), Eleanor Gustafson branched out in several directions.

·         Graduated from Wheaton College, IL.

·        Involved in church life as a minister’s wife, teacher, musician, writer, and encourager.

·         Done horses, house construction (including our house, a tepee and log play house), music, Christian camp programming, tree farming (as in logging, firewood, maple syrup), gardening, but, alas, minimal house cleaning!

·         Love to laugh.

·         Love homemade bread, hot out of the oven.

I started publishing fiction and nonfiction in 1978, the most recent novel being Dynamo. I love to write. One major writing goal has been to bring scriptural principles to full-color life for today’s readers through strong characters and dialogue. Let me know if you think I’ve accomplished that.

I will, Eleanor, I will. Since hearing your voice through your words and reading about your books, especially the new one, Dynamo, I'm eager to read your "stories," and I will let you know if you've accomplished your goal. Anyone out there that's already read some of Eleanor's "stories?" Leave a comment and let the rest of us know.
Eleanor, tell us where we can find out more about you and your books.







Thank you for being my guest today. Can't wait for my copy of Dynamo.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


     Once there was a man who didn't believe in Jesus, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays like Christmas and Easter. His wife, however, was a believer and raised their children to have faith in God and Jesus.

     One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived.  She asked him to come, but he refused. "That story is nonsense," he said, "Why would God lower Himself to come to earth as a man?"

     So, she and the children left, and he stayed home.  Awhile later the winds grew stronger, and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat to relax before the fire for the evening. Then, he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. Then, another thump, He looked out but couldn't see more than a few feet. When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on the window.

      In a field near his house, he saw a flock of wild geese  Apparently, they had gotten caught in the snowstorm and were lost, and a couple of them had flown into his window. They were stranded on the farm with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around his field, blindly and aimlessly.

     The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. His barn would be a great place for them to stay. It was safe and warm, and they could spend the night there and wait out the storm. So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they woud notice the open barn and go inside.

     But, the geese just fluttered around and did not seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean to them. The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them, and they moved further away. He went into the house and came back with some bread, broke it up, and made a trail of breadcrumbs leading into the barn. They still didn't catch on. The man was getting frustrated.

     He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only became more scared and scattered in every direction. Nothing he did got them to go into the barn where they would be safe and warm. "Why don't they follow me," he exclaimed. "Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?"

     He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human. "If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud. Then he had an idea. He went into the barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. He then released his goose. It flew through the flock and straight into the barn. One by one, the wild geese followed it to safety.

      The man stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind, "If only I were a goose, then I could save them." He thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. "Why would God lower Himself to come to earth as a man?" Suddenly, it all made sense. That is exactly what God had done.

     We were like the geese--blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us, so He could show us the way to be saved

     The man realized this was the meaning of Christmas. As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet .  He contemplated that thought. This was why Christ had come. Years of doubt and unbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow and prayed his first prayer. "Thank You, God, for coming in human form to save me from the storm. 

                                                                                                         Author unknown

     A sweet friend of mine sent us a Christmas card with this story enclosed. I had not heard the Christmas geese story, but found it touched my heart. I pondered this example of Christ being the reason for the season. Posting it today is my Christmas gift to those who follow my blog.

     Thank you, all, for stopping by. I appreciate you.