Kathryn Spurgeon


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Researching Oklahoma’s Past

While researching my historical book series, I visited the Oklahoma History Center. My first book released in June of 2016, A Promise to Break: Love, faith and politics in the 1930s, and is based on a true story set in Shawnee Oklahoma. A wealthy, socialist banker’s daughter falls in love with a hobo, a poor bum who comes from a Christian family.  Her life is drastically changed.

The impressive History Center is northeast of the capitol and holds a huge museum. The research center staff was very helpful, gathering books, looking up data for me, etc.

My goal was to locate newspaper articles or books that listed my antagonist by name, Malcolm Trimble, confirming his work during the 1930s. Trimble was a bank auditor in the thirties, and auditors were not highly esteemed during that time. Of course not, what with all the banks failing left and right. I found one bank examiner fatally shot in Jackson County and others articles describing life threats against them. Not a good time to be a state bank examiner.

The first book the research assistant brought me had my grandfather’s name listed. That was awesome! He was an employee at Wewoka Bank in 1920. The assistant was amazed I found information so quickly. She said many people search for days for information. I confirmed other bankers’ named in my sources. Newspaper articles also listed Mr. Trimble as involved in a scandal that included State Bank Commissioner Barnett. Exactly as I had heard from family lore.

Those treasures made the trip worth it.

I came home with a large stack of copies of newspaper articles and book pages to read. My second book is ready for an editor and I’m already working on the third.

It’s a fun ride. I love research and discovering what God has done through people. If you are researching Oklahoma past, I suggest you make a trip to the Oklahoma History Center. The Lord willing, I hope to share my second book in the historical series with you soon, A Promise Child.

 


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When bad things happen, look for the cross.

Good and bad things happen in life and here is a recent example. My husband’s goal is to have his own place in the country, so three years ago he purchased thirteen acres of tree-covered land with a dilapidated building. He was like a kid having his own project and it didn’t take long to clear off an area around the pond. He felt great about it.

The next year a wild fire swept through the area, threatening to reach houses nearby. We lost at least a hundred trees in the fire. Bad news.

Local firemen stopped the runaway fire at the pond that had recently been cleared, keeping it away from the housing addition. God’s protective plan? The old broken-down building on the property burned to the ground. Ah, good news.

Then we had an ice storm and the accumulated ice weight caused more trees to fall. A drought followed and we lost more. Bad news? It seemed like bad luck until we realized the trees were cedar, weakened by the ice and drought. Trees fell that needed to fall and he would not have to chop them down. Good.

An abandoned well was found by the former building. Good. It was filled with bricks. Bad. The bricks could be withdrawn. Good. After a pump was installed, the water was fresh and clear. Even better.

Do you see a pattern? Good. Bad. Good. Bad.

My hubby decided to build a barn on the property. Not hire it done but build it himself. I’m not sure about the good or bad of that, but he planned for months, discussed it with experienced builders and researched it on the internet. It would be two stories with a small apartment upstairs. A barndominium, he said.

Things went as normal. Good one day, bad the next. Good. Bad. Up. Down.

The week came for the barn raisin’. The concrete slab was poured long before. Wood delivered. Heavy pre-made trusses brought in. Family and friends to help. The first floor went in great. Strong and steady. Good. A crane came to lift the heavy trusses to the second floor where two men on top nailed them in. Hard, heavy work but still going great.

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Putting up trusses for the second floor of the bardominium

The wind picked up in the mid afternoon. Not good. They were almost finished with the second floor. Four more trusses to go before completion. Good. A strong, Oklahoma gust of wind whipped through. I watched the last truss in place wobble. Then the truss beside it wobbled. Then twenty something trusses tumbled in slow motion like dominoes, one after the other, breaking as they fell. Now that was definitely not good.

I looked up from my vantage point and noted where the men stood. One was missing. Not good. I ran to the side and saw our son-in-law leaning over. As he fell, he had been hit on the head with a heavy truss and his arm caught in the crushing weight. He was nauseous. I rushed him to the emergency room. God what are you doing? This is definitely not good.

I forgot to mention that we prayed through all of this. Prayed for God to protect, guide and lead us. Of course, I was praying as my son-in-law’s arm and head were x-rayed. No concussion. His arm was not broken. That’s good. Thank you, God.

All I can say is that it’s possible his arm caught his fall. A roof caving in can do serious to fatal damage to a man. The crane attached to the last truss held. It hit the bucket and slightly changed the angle of the falling wood. Could he have been more damaged? Yes. Could they have done something different? Maybe. Could God have been there helping? Yes. Could it have been worse? Oh, yes.

Good and bad will happen to everyone in this world and some days are roller coaster rides. Up and down. The question is, “How will we respond?” We can’t let the bad times color our view of the future because we don’t know the future. Only God knows. Look for Him in every situation.

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Cross as crane pulled out the broken, fallen trusses from the barndomium.

Ecclesiastes 7:14 RSV states, “When life is good, enjoy it. But when life is hard, remember that God gives us good times and hard times. And no one knows what will happen in the future.”


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Merry Christmas from the Spurgeons!

Another year has come and gone, leaving many memories to cherish. Our family is all one year older, which means our twelve grand kids have grown taller, more beautiful and handsome, and smarter.  They are now between the ages of four and twenty – hard to believe! We are proud of all of them and our amazing six children and awesome in-laws! At Thanksgiving, we got a picture of the whole family – the first time in many years we were all together.2016-thanksgiving6-18The international students have been a joy! We still meet every Wednesday night. We have had students from China, Korea, Nepal, Saudi, Japan, Cameroon, Taiwan Malaysia, and Sierre Leone. I’m sure I forgot a country or two.  I cook and Bill teaches. I am looking for new easy recipes if you have any. It has been an awesome semester. Here are some pictures of students.

We had a few cookouts on our “ranch” in Guthrie. Bill started building a barn on it and hopes to get it finished in 2017.

I published my first historical novel! Yeah for A Promise to Break  and have great reviews! Book signings were so fun!  I hope to have the second book ready to publish in the spring. I also published a book of poetry, Anna Lee. Also, I am four years without cancer and do not need more tests for another year!

God has blessed Bill and I so much that, as he would say, “We’re better than we deserve!” May the Lord bless you through this coming year! You are loved!