Jeannette & Bruce Kenline Serving God and Country

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This story is the result of interviews with a couple I met while working at a retirement home. They were the first couple I had met who had both served in the military. I admire them both.  I didn’t have photos of them in uniform but the helmet is pretty awesome!

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Jeannette and Bruce Kenline spent their lives in service, first as American soldiers, then ministering in churches.

A native of South Bend, Jeannette was a student at Indiana University for two years, majoring in business, when she enlisted as a Navy WAVES in 1944. (WAVES stands for “Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service”)

According to the Naval Historical Center, 27,000 women were recruited as WAVES within the first year of the war. By the end of the war, 80,000 WAVES were serving the US.

“You had to be 20 years old to enlist as a WAVE,” said Jeannette. Why did she want to join the Navy? “I had flown in a friend’s plane a couple of times and thought it was great,” she said. At that time the Army Air Corps, later known as the Air Force, was still in its infancy.

Unfortunately, Jeannette’s dreams of going up in a Navy plane didn’t materialize. She was stationed first at a base in Norman, Oklahoma, then at a naval station in Jacksonville, Florida, where she was assigned the duties of an Aviation Machinist Mate. As soon as she could, Jeannette transferred to an office job. “I discovered I didn’t like taking apart carburetors,” she said.

Bruce graduated from East Rockcreek High School in Markle in 1939. Following graduation, he enrolled at Indiana University as a pre-med major. When he enlisted in the Navy in 1942, his pharmaceutical training from college qualified him to serve as a medic.

Bruce participated in fighting at some of the fiercest battles of the war, including the Omaha Beach invasion at Normandy.

Between June 1940 and May 1945, Normandy was part of the German occupied zone of France. During the War, the Allies coordinated a massive build-up of troops and supplies to support a large-scale invasion of Normandy. This included amphibious landings by troops on Landing Ship Tanks (LST). “The front end extended into the water, and then dropped open, allowing soldiers easy access to the beach,” said Bruce, who rode on an LST.

His job as a medic was to mend wounded soldiers. It was a gruesome task with Germans dug into fortified locations above the beaches and shooting steadily at the Allied forces. “Bruce saw a man running without legs as they portrayed in the movie Saving Private Ryan,” said Jeannette.

Bruce survived Normandy only to be shot by a sniper at a later assignment in Okinawa. As a result of his injury, Bruce was sent home. During one of his stops to the island of Guam, he and other wounded Allied soldiers heard about the US dropping of the atom bomb on Japan in August 1945.

It was a momentous occasion for the battle-weary soldiers. “We knew the US had been working on an atom bomb,” said Bruce. “We hoped the war would end soon.”

Back in the US and honorably discharged from military service, Bruce returned to Indiana University where he met Jeannette who had been discharged in 1946. They married in 1947.

After graduating from IU with a business degree, Jeannette obtained her teaching license from the University of St Francis in Ft Wayne, later earning a Masters degree in Education from the same institution. Jeannette taught business and social studies classes at Norwell High School.

Bruce didn’t finish his pre-med degree, but began working with his father in the Ft Wayne area in a home decorating business. Following a trip to Africa 1965 with Dr. LeRoy Kinzer of the Markle Medical Center and Reverend Ernie Shoemaker, Bruce changed his vocation to that of a minister. He enrolled as a student at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, and obtained his license to preach in 1970.

Bruce began preaching at the Tocsin United Methodist Church and later Greentown, IN.

Over the course of their lives the Kenlines traveled to China and Russia and raised three sons. In summing up her life in service to God and country Jeannette said, “It is full of amazing grace!”

Note: Jeannette and Bruce Kenline died in 2011 in May and November, respectively.

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make My Faithfulness Like a Double Shot of Espresso!

coffee cup

And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping and said to Peter, “So you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?” (Matthew 26:40)

If there had been coffee shops during Jesus Christ’s time, I’m convinced He would have taken one look at Peter’s, James’ and John’s sleepy faces at Gethsemane and said, “Hey, I need your support in the next several hours and you look like you could use some help holding your heads up. I’ll get you each a super-large caramel latte with two extra shots to go at the Bohemian Bean in Jerusalem! Let’s go!”

Unfortunately, the disciples had no legal artificial stimulant to keep them awake. As a result, they fell asleep three times, even after Jesus implored them to stay awake. Thus, they lost valuable time with their best friend during the most difficult night of His life.

My tendency is to ask, “How could they disappoint Jesus?” Then I ask myself, ‘How many times have I disappointed Jesus?’

No matter how many times I’ve disappointed Jesus, He’s given me second chances. We have a lot of lost time to make up for! Do you feel God has given you second chances? What can you do to show your love for Him?

Prayer: God, You are patient with me beyond measure. You know I’m weak and tired and don’t deserve Your patience or grace, but You extend them anyway. Give me wisdom to know when a circumstance needs my full attention for Your sake. Amen

Follow The Writers View for Practical Advice

newspaper stacknewspaper

If you are a Christian who is a writer or feels God has called you to be a writer but you don’t know what to do first, I recommend you join TWV1 — The Christian Writers View Group on Yahoo.
I’ve followed it for many years and have found it to be informational, biblical and best of all, written by many professional writers from across the nation! You have to apply but as far as I know, nearly everyone is accepted. Subjects are posted weekly and anyone can reply w/ pertinent information to the topic. This is not a place to sell books blatantly, although if it pertains to the subject, such as marketing, then its OK.

You must adhere to the rules, such as keeping your answers brief and on topic. The column is monitored which makes it reliable for quality posts.
There is no cost to join.
I’ve pasted my recent response to a question posted this week about newspaper writing. Since I’ve written for newspapers– Ossian Sun Riser (column), Ft Wayne News-Sentinel Features, Bluffton News-Banner– for more than a decade, I felt I could give some insight.

Do you write for newspapers? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Please leave me a comment. I love newspapers as you’ll see in my responses below.

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Hello, everyone. Let’s talk about writing columns for newspapers for the
next days.

For those of you who are writing columns for newspapers, how did you get
your columnist job? What is the biggest challenge you face in writing your
column? And how has writing the column benefited both your writing and your
overall brand as a writer?

If you are interesting in writing newspaper columns, what questions do you
have that we could answer to help get you on your way?

David Thomas, Journalism Panelist
http://www.DavidThomasBooks.com

My response to the group:

1. How did you get your columnist job?

I had written dozens of Feature stories for the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel
newspaper when a columnist for a smaller newspaper, Ossian (IN) Sun Riser,
died. I contacted the editor, asking if he could use my help and attaching
several sample stories. He took me on and I’ve written weekly stories about
people, events, places in a rural community close to me for four years. The
pay is nominal, but I get paid on time and the work is easy-people are
friendly, they like my stories, and I enjoy giving honest, generous people
their 15 minutes of fame.

2. What is the biggest challenge you face in writing your column?

My biggest challenge is not finding ideas-I think everyone has a good story
inside! I work in a school library and find it difficult to establish
time/energy to write at home. Rarely does this keep me from submitting a
story by deadline. My editor is great to work with and I’m eager to make his
job easier.

3. How has writing the column benefited both your writing and your overall
brand as a writer?

Since people in my community know me/my name, I have been asked to speak and
take my 11 children’s books for author talks. The regular pay has helped me
feel productive and disciplined. Last year I wrote two weekly stories for
two papers.

I love writing for newspapers because you see the story in print so quickly!
And I know my stories are items that people put in scrapbooks.

Devo: Will You Choose to Sink or Swim in Trusting God?

My husband and son frolicking in a pool.

My husband and son frolicking in a pool.


A devotional thought for summer.
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‘And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.’ Philippians 2:8 New American Standard Bible

When my kids were small, I took them to swim lessons. Trained instructors demonstrated how to perform each stroke. But there was something my kids didn’t know about their instructors. They were also certified life guards. Before my kids got in the water, their instructors were prepared to save them from drowning, if needed. A simple demonstration of how to swim wouldn’t be much help to someone who was drowning.

We’re all swimmers in the Sea of Life. In the beginning we dip our toes in the water. Then we get braver and venture out further. We may even try to swim to the other side of the pool.

Suddenly we reach the middle and feel scared. Temptation, worry, and doubt drag us down. We yell for help.

Jesus, our Lifeguard, quickly swims to our side. He secures us next to his body and delivers us safely to the edge of the pool.

It wasn’t enough that Jesus gave us an example of how to live. He became our Savior by dying on the cross. He showed us that we could trust Him with our lives.

God, thank you for allowing your Son to die on the cross so that we might have life. His obedience and love for us are overwhelming. Help us to be worthy of His love. Amen.

Share the Story (Or Two) inside of You!

Books with some of my early stories.

Books with some of my early stories.


I believe every person has a story inside of them. They may not know about the story. In many cases I’ve helped people tell their stories by interviewing them and then with their permission writing their stories, usually in magazines and newspapers.
Nowadays I’m most known for the 11 non-fiction children’s books I’ve written. But I’ve had essays in other books, including stories in anthologies.
One of my favorite stories to have written ‘as told to’ is one from Peggy Littell about the accidental death of her husband, Matt.
More books with stories I've written from my life.

More books with stories I’ve written from my life.


The incident of Matt’s accidental vehicle death took place in Philippines. I saw the news about it in a newsltr about the Littells’ mission work hanging on the bulletin board of my church.
Intrigued by the notes of Peggy’s forgiving attitude toward the person responsible for Matt’s death, I wrote to Peggy. I believed Peggy’s story could bless other people and relayed that to her.
She agreed to allow me to interview her and then write the story. We entitled it ‘Not in Vain’. It was published in the book, The Gift of Letting Go.

That story has been published in several publications, including books and magazines. This practice is legal in the publishing world. The first time the story was accepted I sold it for First Rights. The second and subsequent times I sold it for One Time Rights. Those editors who saw those words would know the story had been published previously.

My latest Chicken Soup book-- For Bride's Soul.

My latest Chicken Soup book– For Bride’s Soul.


I’ve also published my stories in four Chicken Soup books (http://www.chickensoup.com/). The website for submissions is one of the best I’ve seen for submitting stories. Very user-friendly:
Chicken Soup for The Coffee Lover’s Soul (‘A Lesson in Forgiveness’);
Chicken Soup for Christmas 2 (‘A Lesson in Forgiveness’—same story as above);
Chicken Soup for the Bride’s Soul (‘The Stranger’s Offer’);
Chicken Soup … Teens Talk about Getting into College (‘Endings and Beginnings’).

I don’t see many anthologies now as several years ago when I began writing. If you’re interested in getting a personal essay published, read many Chicken Soup stories. They are all well-written and have a definite beginning, middle, end. Those are components of a good story.
Search Christian Writer’s Market Guide and other market guides for current story markets.
What story do you think you have inside of you that would be of interest to an editor and readers?

Want to Grow as a Writer? Join a Writing Group!

Bluffton Christian Writing Club members meet monthly.

Bluffton Christian Writing Club members meet monthly.


People often ask me what is something they can do to promote their writing career. I always advise them to meet regularly with other writers.
The reasons are myriad. I help lead 2 Christian writing clubs and belong to several others that I attend as time permits. Due to time constraints, for me the most conducive way to meet with writers is usually as a group. There are other advantages to meeting as a group as well.

River Terrace Estates, a retirement community located outside of Bluffton, has allowed the Bluffton Christian Writing Club to meet in its library each month for five years. We have given them thank you notes and homemade treats in appreciation.
Our group numbers 3-10. We cancel in January & February due to weather and we continue to meet in the summer. Rhonda Maller is the other co-founder of this group.

My good friend Rhonda Maller is co-founder of Bluffton Christian Writing Club.

My good friend Rhonda Maller is co-founder of Bluffton Christian Writing Club.

We meet the second Monday night of each month at 6:30 pm.

The Ft Wayne (IN) Christian Writing Club meets at Waynedale Public Library in Ft Wayne Indiana. We have to check in with the Circulation staff to keep our name on the book for the room for 3 months out. Since our group numbers as many as 15 people, the meeting room, which has plenty of space/chairs, is always helpful.

We don’t have time restraints at the nursing home, but because the library closes at 8:00 pm, we meet at 6-7:30 pm on the fourth Tuesday night of each month.

An advantage to meeting at the library is having access to Wifi during the meeting to look up info like writing conference details. Of course, the books in the library are also handily available. Our larger group has sometimes necessitated us breaking into small groups to take turns reading our selections and sharing critiques.
At both groups we open each meeting with prayer and encourage kind comments throughout. We also limit the time for each person to speak to allow every member who brought something to read to have time.
Our focus for each group is to share writing that honors God. No pornography, swearing, or other inappropriate content is allowed.
Both groups are the result of a group I joined as a brand new writer in the 1990s in Ft Wayne—Ft Wayne Christian Writing Club. We met on the northwest side of Ft Wayne and was led by Linda Wade.
I had never written anything and was terrified to go to the meeting alone but made myself because I wanted to write so badly. Everyone was so helpful and friendly and encouraging. The group broke up several years ago and I miss it.
Just to give back to the Ft Wayne community I decided to form a similar group in Bluffton and Ft Wayne. It’s a joy to lead both groups.

We don’t take dues and most of us don’t see each other outside of the meetings, but I think we’re becoming good friends.
If you’re a writer, you probably belong to at least one writing club. If not, I encourage you to look for one in your area. You’ll be surprised at the help you’ll receive.
What writing group do you belong to and what has been the biggest advantage to you from belonging?

Friendship to Go!

Tulips offer hope for renewal as does our Christian faith in God for a better future!

Tulips offer hope for renewal as does our Christian faith in God for a better future!

And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping and said to Peter, “So you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?” (Matthew 26:40)

If there had been coffee shops during Jesus’ time, I’m convinced He would have taken one look at the sleepy faces of Peter, James, and John at Gethsemane and said, “Hey, you guys, I’m going to need your support in the next several hours. You look like you could use help holding your heads up. Let’s go to the Bohemian Bean in Jerusalem and order super-large caramel lattes with caffeine to go!”

Unfortunately, the disciples had no legal artificial stimulant to keep them awake. As a result, they fell asleep three times, even after Jesus implored them to stay awake. Thus, they lost valuable time with their best friend during the most difficult night of His life.

My tendency is to point at those men and ask, “How could you disappoint Jesus so?” Then I see three fingers pointing back at me and ask myself, ‘How many times have I disappointed Jesus?’

Now, wherever I am, morning or night, I talk to God, You see, He’s my best friend and I’ve failed him in the past, but He’s given me a second chance. Now we have a lot of lost time to make up for!

Prayer: God, You are patient with us beyond measure. You know we are weak and tired and don’t deserve Your patience or grace, but You extend them anyway. Give us wisdom to know when a circumstance needs our full attention for Your sake.