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Michelle Close Mills

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The Recording
By Michelle Close Mills
Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Rated "G" by the Author.

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How God helped me overcome grief.

In my early days as a writer, I struggled to find my niche. A longtime fan of historical romance, I was determined to write my own book about castles and bluebloods, certain they’d rock the literary world.

Unfortunately an enthusiastic reader does not an author make, especially when I didn’t do much research beforehand.

Instead, I foolishly ignored constructive suggestions and submitted manuscripts to agents who probably didn’t read past the first paragraph.     

The result was a flurry of rejections. After awhile the sight of mail trucks made me nauseous.

I envied my grandmother’s gift for storytelling, which it seemed I didn’t inherit.

Grandma was a living journal of family lore. Raised on an Indiana farm, she was surrounded by kin who swapped historical tales and humorous yarns while young ears absorbed their words like a sponge. Every fact, memory, and triviality was tucked away for safe keeping.  

When I was little, Grandma began sharing her memories with me. She quickly realized that I too was an enchanted disciple hanging on every syllable, just as she had been.

Her words took me back to when our ancestors claimed a raw, wild frontier with little more than faith and primitive tools.  

“It's important to know who you came from, so you know what you’re made of” Grandma declared.

Like a loom, she wove vibrant tapestries of long ago; with ladies in post-Victorian dresses and enormous feathered hats, mustached men with gold pocket watches, girls in large hair bows, and pinafores, boys in knickers with bullfrogs in their pockets. Barn dances, pet pigs, and homemade toys magically sprang to life.

When my daughter was born, I asked Grandma to record her memories so her words would always be with us. 

However once I received the tape, I put it away. It wasn't needed yet.

Two years later the Lord took Grandma home after a long illness. The grief was overwhelming. At first I resisted playing the tape, afraid of opening an emotional floodgate that might never close.

Months later when life resumed a more normal rhythm, I heard the Lord whisper "listen now."

It was time.

As Grandma’s voice washed over me, sadness turned to tears of joy. She had returned to me; in her stories.

I suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to write about what I loved and knew a great deal about; my colorful, courageous family. The resulting manuscript was miraculously published.

So many blessings were realized from one little tape. The Lord eased my sorrow, pumped new life into a writer’s shattered dream, which in turn gave others an opportunity to delight in the beauty of Grandma’s world.


Michelle Close Mills ©


Jeremiah 29:11

I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.



Thank you Father for bringing me through the depths of mourning, for reviving broken dreams and for blessings I could never repay.  Amen.





       Web Site: Prisms In A Looking Glass

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Reviewed by Katie Gabrielle 8/2/2007
I loved this piece!! I am so happy that they published your grandma's stories!!! I was sitting here crying right along with you Michelle!!!
Your grandma seems like an amazing woman!! I wish I would have asked my aunts to record their memories!! I never knew my grandmother as she passed on when I was 6.

wonderful writing!! Keep it up!!


p.s. thanks for reviewing my story

Reviewed by Regis Auffray 3/23/2007
This is a very fine tribute to your grandma, Michelle. So many wonderful memories are gifts shared here. Thank you. Love and peace to you,

Reviewed by Riley :) 12/10/2006
wow. incredible. loved it. I think it is wonderful about how much you admire your grandma. love the story!

Reviewed by nancy weston 11/21/2006
How wonderful that you are here to continue to let your nannas memories live and flourish Michelle.
It is lovely xx
Reviewed by MaryGrace Patterson 9/18/2006
Wow Michelle, Your writing portrays such vivd images and wonderful pogniant memories of your grandmother. The tape is an excellant idea. Thankyou for sharing....M
Reviewed by RM Green 8/7/2006
I simply love the way you told the story of your Grandma. This story was told with love, grace and priceless integrity. This is a very moving trbute to her legacy - you honor her VERY well my friend. She is proud of you, as I am sure she is your soaring angel. Bravo!
Reviewed by Chrissy McVay 7/27/2006
Thanks for bringing back fond memories of Indiana for me.
Reviewed by C. J. Stevens 7/27/2006
What a wonderful tapestry of the past you weave. And how touchingly and eloquently you tell of your relationship with your grandmother - a relationship that still endures. Actually, this would make a magnificent preface or first chapter of the book I feel sure you will be writing. Blessings, C.J.
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 7/27/2006
Wonderful offering Michelle!!

Love Tinka
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 7/27/2006
Excellent writing here, Michelle; very well done! BRAVA!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :D
Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 7/27/2006
Beautiful write here, I wish I had thought to tape more of Nonna's stories, I too was a Grandma's girl and she was one of the reasons I write, thank you for sharing this piece
God Bless

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