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I’m sure you’re all familiar with a painting called “American Gothic,” by Grant Wood.

You’ve seen it before, right?  Well, I was going through some of my mom’s old pictures the other day, and I came upon what I believe to be the inspiration for the painting known around the world.  Take a look.  You think I might be right?

That’s my brother and I looking particularly giddy on a school photo.  The fact that the photo was taken in a FRENCH school might have something to do with our overwhelming mirth! 

But it wasn’t until my photography savvy friend, Mr. Teacher Man, pointed out another parallel that I got truly spooked!  When he and I started working on a cover for my new book last April, we looked through dozens of pictures and eliminated most.  But when a picture he took of a little girl in Awana came up on his computer screen, I KNEW.  I simply KNEW that we had to use her face.  As it turns out, I now also know that it wasn’t so much “liking” the picture that drew me to it as “recognizing” the picture.  Because, you see, about 34 years ago, I was photographed in a similar state of mind and with similar results.  They say you should only write about what you know.  The following picture proves how closely Shelby/Shayla and I were acquainted before I even started to write…


Eery, isn’t it??  And I hadn’t seen this picture until last week (for the first time).  I love (LOVE!) the coincidence…

In other news, I’ve been packing for a week (argh)—trying to cram 150 pounds of junk into two 40-pound suitcases.  It’s hard to believe that the summer is over.  I’m so very grateful for these weeks of reconnecting, relaxing, and reflecting.  How fast they’ve flown!  Below is a small selection of photos I’ve taken of things that have made me sigh and people who have made me laugh.  If you’re one of them, I’m grateful for you!

EDIBLE (Don’t you think?)

THREE AMIGOS (Faithful friends–all jealous of a statue!)

BLISS (Feline therapy!)

FAMILY (My brother and I did eventually learn to smile!)

ANOMALY (Born without a tail and doing just fine!  Hope for all of us “defective” ones…  If he’d been four weeks older, I would have taken him home to join the cast of beloved anomalies who populate my life!)

SECOND COUSINS (My pseudo-nephews!)

Ahhhh….  (My toes love the edges of receding waves!)

What an incredible summer in has been.  And now?  I take off on Monday…

(Photo taken in July at the beach…)

…and I will, by Tuesday, be back in the Land of Schnitzel.  Until then—PROST!



  1. wow…those two pics are eerily similar…that’s creepy. and yet…really cool. and yur right…it just proves again, along with the transparence of your writing, how close you really are to your characters and your writing. i luv it michele…i really do;) can’t wait for the next one 😉 btw….yur terribly cute!

  2. Welcome back to Germany.  I’m in Seattle right now.  It’s 4 p.m. which means it’s 1 a.m. in Germany…so you’re almost “home”…Hey, could you pick me up at the airport on Saturday morning?  Can’t remember if we arrange that or not.  I’ll be in touch.

  3. Thanks for sharing. The picture look alike is freaky, but seriously prophetic!  And boy do we know what you mean about trying to fit 150 pounds into fifty pound suitcases!  We have been giving away stuff left and right to fit stuff, however, I am carrying one of your books left for you to sign just for me…hehe…boy I cannot wait to go for a walk with you cause I need to shed some furlough fat BIGTIME!  I love you and see you soon…we arrive on Thursday.  hugs and love, Renee

  4. you just should’ve used your picture. hehe. Anyways, you look so happy with the kittens!! Don’t know why you’re not getting one in Germany. I want to go to Germany… but no. I’m going to Korea tonight and the States in a little more than a week…

  5. the coincidence is very very….freaky in a way but cool. and speaking of similar looking people, one of your pseudo-cousins (the one on the right) looks like brad pitt from seven years in tibet. anyhow…hope you have a relaxing time before school starts.

    by the way, are you going to teach creative writing again?


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