Enjoy these thoughts, memories and reflections.

OUTSIDE: Life in the USA

Rose Glen Literary Festival

Feb 16, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley

Do you like to read? Have you ever wanted to meet the authors of the books you love? Do you want to discover more books of the type you most enjoy? Well, your opportunity is coming up next Saturday, February 24 at the Rose Glen Literary Festival in Sevierville, TN. You can enjoy 


Here's looking at you

Feb 01, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley

Yesterday, I had cataract surgery. Of course, I don't do anything the easy way. In 1995, I had RK done. That's where the doctor literally uses a very small knife to correct one's vision by cutting the outside of your eyeball. It didn't hurt, and I could instantly see. I've been contact-lense free ever since and never had another dream about running in a thick fog. Nowadays, the procedure is done with lasers and doesn't seem to cause the same problems. My doctor warned me there could be complications, but that if they arose, he would deal with it. When I went in for my checkup today, all I could see with my left eye was the big E. That was not the result the doctor had hoped for.

Computer got you down?

Jan 26, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley

I've been using some sort of computer since the 1990s. I started with a Sharp that had a 48k bubble for memory. No one would ever need more than that, right? I actually produced my PhD dissertation on that, using back slash commands. Oh yes, and it had an 8 line screen! Thankfully, I've moved up as the opportunities present themselves and am now working with a Macbook Air. I love it. What I'm not loving today is the Internet. 

A young man spent some time in Khartoum in the late 1990s, and he tried to explain the Internet and how sites worked. He might as well have been speaking Chinese. It makes great sense now, but not back then. He asked me, "What question do you want to ask on the Internet?" I couldn't think of a thing. Now, I can't do without it. But today, it has been trying my patience.

What do you know about Epiphany?

Jan 12, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley

Today, I had lunch with some friends, and we stumbled onto the topic of Epiphany. Epiphany starts on January 6 as Three Kings day. However, the season of Epiphany in the church calendar goes from January 6 until Ash Wednesday, which in 2024 will be on February 14. 

So what is the point of Epiphany? It fits in between Christmas and Lent, and is the time to focus on what made Jesus so special. The visit of the wise men, his baptism by John the Baptizer, changing the water into wine at Cana. Throughout this season, we study those times that bring light about why Jesus is the Son of God.

What's to come in 2024?

Dec 28, 2023 by Leoma G Gilley

It has been wonderful spending time with my family over the Christmas holidays. Ben came in from New York and helped me change the batteries in the smoke detectors and the air filter. I had a list of jobs for him. Ben is my "adapted" son from Kenya. He came to stay with me at age 16, and is now 23. It's nice to have a tall person around to reach all those things that I no longer can.

In a few days, we start a new year, 2024. Sometimes I get very depressed thinking of what the future could hold. At other times, I'm excited by the prospects of what can be done. Maybe it is best if we don't know what's coming ahead of time.


Dec 14, 2023 by Leoma G Gilley

I must be listening to the wrong radio stations as I have yet to hear a Christmas carol or Christmas song! Christian radio stations seem to carry on with the same 10 songs they play all year. I've heard one repeated 3 times in the same day. Secular stations don't seem to have much imagination either and forget talk radio. So, on Tuesday at a women's meeting, I was delighted to be introduced to Howard Thurman's poem, The Work of Christmas begins, set to music. Here is the link on YouTube.

Fixing the Toilet

Dec 01, 2023 by Leoma G Gilley

A group of ladies met at my house, and as time went on, a few needed to use the powder room. One reported to me that the toilet wouldn’t flush. I went to look, and it was filling extremely slowly. If I’d used a teaspoon, I could have filled it faster.  The last person to use it managed to flush it.

I hate working on plumbing of any sort, but especially toilets. I put it off for 10 days, but then realized another friend was coming to stay and would need it to function correctly. I went to Lowe’s and found the needed replacement part. There were numerous choices, but I finally just picked one.

Thankful Thanksgiving

Nov 22, 2023 by Leoma G Gilley

In writing my memoir, I find my life has been full of good things. There have been a lot of hard things, like working in 100+°F in a house with all the coolers running. But the work itself brought satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy. I was giving people something they really wanted -- to read and write their own language and thus preserve their unique language and culture. Their enthusiasm and commitment humbles me.

Now, as I've retired from that work, I get to write. I love to write, to find just the right way to bring my thoughts to life, to paint a picture for my readers. 

When the blinds fall down

When the blinds fall down
Oct 26, 2023 by Leoma G Gilley

I moved into my house 13 years ago, and my first purchase was the window blinds required by the Homeowners Association. They have been fine for these many years, until one morning a month or so ago. As I opened the horizontal Venetian blinds, one side dropped down, then the center dropped. I knew the other remaining side wouldn't stay up for long. Out came the ladder, and I carefully figured out how to take the whole blind down from the window to have a look. As I did that, pieces of plastic fell on the floor. There was nothing large enough to identify what it had been. I collected these in a plastic bag and headed to Lowe's where I had purchased them.

Thanks for coming

Thanks for coming
Sep 14, 2023 by Leoma G Gilley

Last Saturday, I had my first book signing event. One lady walked into the Cedar Springs Christian Store, looked to her right and saw me. She mouthed, "Are you an author?" I said, "Yes." She came over and said she was also a writer. We talked about that and the Authors Guild. Another arrival was a friend from graduate school I hadn't heard from in nearly 20 years. As I signed her book, we caught up on a few things. It was great.

I'm launching out into unknown territory again

Sep 08, 2023 by Leoma G Gilley

This week, I've been on my first podcast, Read My Lips, Cool conversations with creatives. It was a lot of fun and the link will be available soon.

Authors like to write, not market

Authors like to write, not market
Aug 23, 2023 by Leoma G Gilley

As with most authors I've talked with, our passion is writing. However, if no one knows what you've written, it defeats the purpose. So, for the last three years, I've been part of Women in Publishing (WIP). Alexa Bigwarfe is amazing. She has created so many resources for authors to learn how to market, publish, write and sell their books. I have learned SO much. I got started during the COVID pandemic as WIP put on a virtual summit. It was worth every penny. Afterwards, I joined their mentor program and again, picked up so many ideas. It also built my confidence and courage. 

Happy Birthday, Mom

Happy Birthday, Mom
Dec 24, 2021 by Leoma G Gilley

On this 24th day of December 2021, my precious mother, Frances Mable Christabel Tripp Gilley, would be 103. She left us 10 years ago, and it is hard to believe that much time has passed. I still miss her.

Tis the Season

Tis the Season
Nov 10, 2021 by Leoma G Gilley
We are barreling into the holiday season. Much of the "stuff" we want is still sitting in containers on ships in the ocean waiting to get to port. Maybe this is a good time to BUY LOCAL. 

It is also the season for craft fairs, that present us with a great opportunity to BUY LOCAL. Recently I've attended several of these shows, as a vendor. I sell my books, and it is fascinating to watch how people respond to a table filled with physical books. They either look the other way and keep at a safe distance or light up and rush over to look.

Hurricane Ida

Aug 31, 2021 by Leoma G Gilley
As rescue workers and others assess the damage from hurricane Ida, they need our prayers for strength and success. There are so many in need of help. Here is a prayer from Praying for BIG Things.



Aug 27, 2021 by Leoma G Gilley

As we watch the horror, chaos and trauma that is today's Afghanistan, our hearts go out to the many who want to leave but can't. We feel for those who have left, but are still in an in between (liminal) space, having left, but not yet having arrived. My book Praying for BIG Things has a whole section on praying for refugees, miggrants and others in stressful situations. Here is a prayer against discouragement.