Saturday, 28 March 2015

Oopsy Daisy: Free Ebook

new cover on Smashwords
Life at the Juneau's farmhouse was often overwhelming with eleven personalities living, working and playing together. Luckily, Melanie had a wicked sense of humour and just enough grace to remain serene in the eye of the hurricane, the CEO of a chaotic domain. She has written hundreds of short stories, insights and articles which only could happen when you put nine kids together on a farm. Oopsy Daisy is a selection of short stories, an introduction to her upcoming book, One Breath at a Time.
“Melanie Juneau—motherofnine9—knows that a woman’s ground of creativity lies as close as her child’s heart. In her delightful stories and memories of mothering nine children, she shows how a Christian mother bathed in love brings all the power and light embodied in her faith to that most important sphere of hope, the family.”—Isabel Anders, author of Blessings and Prayers for Married Couples
Melanie Jean Juneau captures the Holy Spirit's message in her writing, unlike anyone I've read. Her writings are practical, direct, and faith-filled. Living a contemplative life as a Hermit Monk for me, Ms. Juneau provides a vineyard of spiritual fruit of which to meditate and pray for. All I have to do is reach out and pick. Her heartwarming writings in time will transform you. -Abba Justin Anthony, Hermit Monk
Found on Amazon
and for free on Smashwords
I wish I could find an image 1400 pixels wide to use on Smashwords like I used on Amazon...will keep trying
Amazon's cover
old cover on Smashwords

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Joyful Chaos: Dining With Eleven


Listen as I struggled to gather my crew every night for a family meal.
“Oh good, you’re done barn chores. Perfect timing; dinner is almost ready.”
“Two more minutes, everybody!”
“Joseph I’ll help after we eat, okay?”
“Mary, please run up and open Jean’s door and shut off the music.”
‘Dinner is ready!”
“Grace, I know you love that book sweetheart but, remember, no reading at the dinner table.”
“Where’s Mark?”
“Honey would you lift up Daniel into the high chair?”
“Are we all here? Anyone missing?”
Ah, dinner time in a large family.
Dinner was the highlight of the day with everyone clambering to share their news or simply squeeze in comments into the cacophony of voices. It was a humorous symphony which sounded perfectly in tune to my ears. High pitched baby squeals combined with loud, boisterous little boys.and the quavering of a male teen voice balanced teenage girl’s chatter. Dad’s reassuring bass tones soothed my shrill calls for everyone to listen to the toddler’s newest word. The highlight of this often unruly symphony was the spontaneous laughter punctuating the entire meal.
Life around the dinner table was relaxed and happy because I allowed my children to behave in age appropriate ways. I did not demand adult perfection. The consequences of this decision were messy but well worth the time it took to mop up after meal time. It meant I did not shovel neat, tidy mouthfuls of food into a toddler because we let little people feed themselves as soon as they reached for the spoon. It meant including three-year olds in meal prep, sending five and six-year olds running out to the garden for vegetables and allowing a ten-year old to make the dessert. In other words we valued participation over a neat and tidy kitchen and orderly meal times.
Now I am reaping the rewards of decisions which sent some visitors into sputtering, spirals of incredulity as they eyed my kitchen and the messy faces of my little people after a meal. I feel vindicated when I look at my grown-up kids; they all love to cook and entertain, especially for each other. Just drop by for a quick hello and inevitably they will cajole you to stay for a delicious meal.
It is a simple fact- there is no better way to form deep relationships than conversation over a home-cooked meal. In fact there is no better way to encourage the development of a warm supportive family than with great food and relaxed conversation around the dinner table.
God delights more in joyful chaos than in miserable, tight perfection.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Dangers of Techno Pacifers

My contribution to TENDER TIDINGS Spring 2015  is The Danger of Techno Pacifiers. ALL the articles are excellent in this free parenting resource for gentle, intentional, and attachment-minded parents:
TENDERTIDINGSSpring2015.pdf

In This Issue:

  • Spring cleaning:  heart and home.  How is decluttering a Christian activity?  Abby Sasscer, author of Simplifying Your Domestic Church, answers that question.
  • Nature journaling for the whole family
  • Saint Patrick’s Day Celebration
  • Cleaning up your family’s favorite JUNK FOOD
  • MORE!
LIVE JOYFULLY
The Dangers of Techno Pacifiers by Melanie Jean Juneau
Children, Technology, Nature, and GOD.
For children to mature as God intended, parents must ensure their kids have the opportunity to experience nature.
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For most modern families living in apartments, townhouses, or even the suburbs, it takes a conscious effort to ensure little ones connect with nature and animals and, as a result, connect with God. Nature is suffused with the Presence of the Creator because God sustains and controls nature.
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It seems to me children need to go outside where they can delight in the smallest details because their hearts sense the Spirit of God and His joy when they are in nature. Even adults are growing increasingly discontent with the hectic pace of the 21st century because it is an existence more plugged into technology than to people.
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Many are more comfortable texting each other than speaking face to face or even talking on the phone. This disconnect has devastating repercussions, also affecting our relationship to nature, but most especially our relationship with God. Man is losing the ability to even engage in authentic prayer because prayer is all about communion, the ability to relate.
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Children are especially vulnerable to the toxic influence of technology. It is so easy to switch on the television or hand a tiny child an iPhone when they are distraught and parents are busy. One of the creators of the television show Sesame Street once said that any activity is better than watching television, even an educational show like Sesame Street. In our home, we went a year without any television when we had seven children. After this, we limited their time in front of the television as well as the computer — not too difficult when kids of all ages are clamoring for their thirty minutes of allotted time.
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The Canadian scientist David Suzuki also believes children must be given the opportunity to connect with animals. The inner drive to bond with animals is so strong that, if they haven’t the chance to connect with real animals, children will turn their attention to stuffed or cartoon animals. Suzuki calls these substitutes for real animals a “grotesque” substitution.
While watching my own kids interact with our pets and farm animals, I discovered children do have a deep -seated need to relate to animals. I was as fascinated as my kids with the arrival of tiny balls of fluff called chicks, cute piglets and tiny kittens. The whole family gathered around in the barn when the chicks and piglets first arrived, not wanting to miss anything.
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In the coming weeks, the smaller children clambered for one of the older ones to take them to see the chicks. Sitting among the little birds with the warming lamp, holding or simply watching them was an almost magical time filled with quiet joy.
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Mary was and still is my most fervent animal lover. Before she could even walk, she exhibited an obsession to find, crawl after, grab and squeeze any and all animals. This was a passionate love for animals, I would say. She could barely talk, so to communicate her wish to hold the hamster, her hands would frantically open and close and she would utter soft little grunts as she pleaded, with big chocolate-brown eyes, for someone to open the cage. When Mary realized that she would finally get to hold the hamster, her hand would literally shake with excitement and anticipation.
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Needless to say, either one of the older siblings or I had to supervise Mary, because she would tend to squeeze Hammy till his eyes started to bulge out. Then the cry would arise . . . “Mary’s squeezing Hammy again. Come quickly!” Once she could walk, Mary would haul the disgruntled cat around, but she was happy with her eyes shining with joy. Mary was in heaven, so I couldn’t bear to deny her access to her beloved pets.
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At least the rabbits in the hutch on the covered porch were more placid than Kitty and tougher than the hamster, and she was content to simply stare at the goldfish. Though she did tend to over feed them. I’d scoop out food from the top of the water to use for the next few feedings. Spring provides the perfect time to build memories like these.
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It really takes minimal effort to encourage little ones to connect with nature and animals, and, as a result, with the God who sustains them.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

The Joy and Pain of Self-Publishing

 Echoes of the Divine is  my first e-book and it is free.  You can help me if you download this mini e-book and gave it a rating because if it is successful,  a publisher might consider my upcoming book. How about checking it out and giving me some honest feedback so I can learn. The book has received premium status already and will be listed on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Nobles within days.
Echoes of the Divine
And don't forget, I will be happy to answer any questions. Trust me, no question will sound dumb. . https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/521798

It took me a year to read the more than 100 pages of Smashwords Style Guide. However, the guide explains every step with diagrams and in ordinary terms ...but I am a technological idiot. After days of fumbling, forcing myself to work as if I was technologically intelligent, I finally self-published a short, free e-book on Smashwords.
Supposedly, this process only takes a couple of hours but I inadvertently downloaded Microsoft doc.x instead of a simple doc. file. Then,  I typed the meta tag for my name without capitals which prevented the entire thing from working. That little mistake took hours to uncover.
Smashwords – Echoes of the Divine – a book by Melanie Jean Juneau
Finally, my cover was one I designed on Word and took a couple of days to decide upon which version to use but I could not convert it into a jpg image. It was difficult to find an image with enough pixels on the internet.  In the end, I simply found a huge old master painting by Mary Cassatt, used Pic Monkey photo editing and slapped on a title but it looks okay.  Figuring out how to get a free ISBN  from the Canadian site called Ciss ( kiss) wasted more hours.