Category Archives: About our Book and Writing

Extra Extra, Read All About It!

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It’s Wednesday January 21st, 2021, and at least in Coshocton, Ohio, our book is big news. Separate articles published is the Coshocton County Tribune and the Coshocton County Beacon came out today.

Apparently, when you live in a small town, you rate slightly higher on the front page than President Biden. We just wanted to share, and thank you for your continued interest in this project:

Memoir Writing

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            First a progress report. Yesterday, Crystal and I were interviewed by the Coshocton Tribune paper. That article will come out next week. We have sold a few books locally and given away a number as well. It has recently gone for sale on Amazon, in both paperback and electronic forms.

            Sales are great, but they are not our only motive. Our plans (once things are more normal) include doing public readings, and speaking engagements. We feel strongly about supporting marriage and memoir writing.

            Since it’s inception, building strong marriages has been a consistent theme of this web page. Today I will to talk a little bit about memoir writing. Why write a memoir?

            My two most dreaded subjects early in my education were Writing and History. One of those I’ve kind of gotten over. The other, while I understand the necessity, still doesn’t float my boat.

            To me, History is just black and white, letters on a page.

            The 1967 Oak Lawn tornado outbreak was a destructive tornado outbreak and severe weather event that occurred on April 21, 1967, across the Upper Midwest, in particular the towns of Belvidere and Oak Lawn, Illinois. It was the most notable tornado outbreak of 1967 and one of the most notable to occur in the Chicago metropolitan area. Wikipedia

            I almost fell asleep reading that. A memoir, however, brings colors, emotions, and personal incite, which can bring history to life. To demonstrate, please enjoy this excerpt from our memoir:

            The second big event of 1967 was a true tragedy. I was riding my bike through a nice subdivision from my Boy Scout meeting around 5:30 p.m. April 21 when I looked up from Henry — my frequently abused, balloon-tired bike — and spotted a tornado in the distance. I felt proud that I recognized the distinctive form, which we had been warned about in school. No, this definitely was not just a triangle-shaped cloud. I looked down at my bike and said, “Look, Henry, a tornado.” As it appeared to veer off, I focused on pedaling the last mile, anticipating dinner.

             Before I could make it home, though, it started to hail. I was glad I had listened to my mom and wore a light jacket. The quarter-inch hail stung the back of my neck. It probably only lasted about fifteen or twenty seconds but was quite annoying. In addition to the stinging, the sound the ice pellets made on the street reminded me of machine gun fire in a war movie. Undaunted, I continued riding. As quickly as it had started, the banging of the hail gave way to the eeriest silence. It was too quiet, not even a trace of a breeze. Except for my bike squeaking, I could have been in an isolation booth.

That’s when it started. Slowly, as if someone were whispering in my ear, the sound of wind began to build, even though the air was still. Inexplicably, the sound grew louder and louder for the next ten to fifteen seconds. Finally, I looked around.

There it was!

            Do you see the difference! Memoirs are worth writing and reading They not only add color to events, they add depth and humanity. They are the permanent record, on a personal level, of stories easily lost in as little as one generation. Memoirs add multi-generational substance to your family tree like the beautiful leaves.

            It will, God willing, be part of our mission to encourage others, and share what we have learned during this journey.

What do you think his story might be? I was a perfectly happy tree when some evil person cut me down, and put this face on my bottom.

Writing and Publishing

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Hi, this is a post that is from 2011 which was never published. I thought, since it shows where we were and talks about the publishing process it might be worth posting.

Writing and Publishing Crystal and I are continuing to work on finding an agent for our book and developing our platform. Crystal does a great job researching agents to find ones who express interest in our type of book (memoir, historical nonfiction). She not only sees what they are looking for, but looks at books which have been published through their agency. I love her passion and attention to detail. So far, with all of that work, our query letter has been rejected three times. Each time she has been disappointed. I am not concerned. I know there is a market and a publisher for this book. These are not our failures, but part of a process. I do, however, feel some pity for those agents who aren’t even taking time to read past our query letter. I get it. There are formulas for successful books. Our book fits none of these. It is somewhat unique in style and format. This would be bothersome to most agents and publishers. Of course I am sure that, the same complaint could be registered by the twenty publishers who rejected William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, the two dozen who rejected Stephen King’s Carrie, or the thirty-eight who rejected Gone with the Wind. While I’m not saying our book is on a level with those classics, I know there is a place for it. I am certain there were a lot of publishers and agents looking for new lines of work after those works went public. I don’t wish that on anybody. However, we didn’t write the book for any publishers/agents. We wrote it first, for our family, as documentation of first hand experiences and accounts from our parents, and us. Second, it is written as a story of life, growing pains, and love’s endurance, during different times and conditions. The universal appeal is inescapable. The trouble isn’t who will pick up this book, but who will put it down. As I said, this is a process, and so far I am enjoying it. I am meeting new and interesting people, discussing writing issues, and even getting involved in internet blogging. One of my friends at church even asked for my feedback on his writing effort. I barely consider myself a writer, and now people are coming to me for advice. Like I said, this is a journey. The destination is only relatively important. I feel that God has been with us in the writing and will continue to lead us in the publication. Crystal’s Corner: The search for an agent is like searching for hidden treasure. You want to find the gold, but there seems to be many obstacles in the way. I have rewritten the query letter about six times now. I always try to identify with the agent I am sending it to so that he/she will relate to us. I don’t think that we are being rejected because of the book. I think that there can be many things going on with the agencies. But it is frustrating when you believe you have found the right match and then they are not interested. I also have been reading and researching memoirs, recent ones, and ones that have been out there for years. I am finding many that I really like. I might be mentioning and describing some of them on this blog. I do look for agents and publishing companies when I read any book, fiction or non-fiction that I like. Many times the authors will be recognizing their agent, editor and publisher in the introduction or somewhere in the book. This is a good way to find names. Also, the Internet is very helpful because most agencies are listed and you can find out what they have been doing recently, which books they have gotten published, and also writers that you can research. My research also gives me encouragement and ideas. One author I read about shared that she sent out query letters to many agencies from April to August. She got several replies – all negative and nothing from other agencies. While she was on vacation she received a positive reply from an agent. Instead of jumping up and down and just going with that agent, she made a very smart move. She re-contacted all the agencies that she had sent the query letter to and informed them that an agent was interested. Surprise, surprise, some of them responded that they were interested also. She chose her agent because he was the most enthusiastic about her book and she liked him and the agency he represented. It was a good match for her project which is now published. The gold is out there. We are going to keep searching for it.

What’s Next

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Have you ever had a really good dream, and when you wake up realize it was no dream? That’s kind of how Crystal and I feel. Seeing our book on Amazon, and available for pre-sales blows my mind! Do kids still say that?

            I know for a fact our parents were proud of our efforts, and would be even more so, if they could see the final product. Their stories, the ones they told us as we grew, are now and forever, recorded.

            Many of our best and worst days, as individuals, and families, can now be used to educate, amuse, and generally enrich the lives of others. I have always told our daughters, what you don’t learn here from your parents and family, the world will teach. Often it won’t love you nearly as much.

            Our hope is this book will not only preserve memories, but provide some incites into what families and marriages were intended to be. The final section of our book is somewhat dedicated to lessons we have learned about marriage and family, as God intended them to be.

            If you take a minute to check out our book on Amazon, you will also find links to Crystal and my, recently added, author’s pages.

            We would also like to get to know our readers. Please take a few minutes to connect with us on E-mail. If you look to the right on our blog main page, you will find a spot to put your name and E-mail address. Posts will be sent directly to your E-mail, and you may, from time to time, get some additional information/articles/etc. It is perfectly safe and free. We look forward to getting to know you a little better.

            If you are in need of reading material to help get you through this tough year, we have a reminder. If you check our blog page archives you will find over 160 of our previous posts, many with photographs.  There are many poignant and fun stories to enjoy as time and desire permit.

            Additionally, we will be increasing the number of new posts leading up to our publication date, adding a few excepts from the book, and bringing our blog front page up to date.

Thank you very much for your continued patronage and best wishes.

Ron and Crystal

This is the back cover of the book. Impressive, isn’t it? I love the subtitle “War Ends, Love Endures”


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The book is real. It occurred to me the other day that, Crystal and I have been actively working on this project for almost twenty years now. Before that, as a matter of fact, we talked about the possibility of a book since before we were married (over forty years).

            Today, after finishing the editing, and seeing the cover, it seems very much like a dream come true. But more then that, we realize that we are entering a new phase. Up until now, everything has been geared to developing the best product possible. We interviewed all of our parents while they were with us. By the way, they were very glad we were doing this. We did all of the research. Without the research into details, this might just be a bunch of family stories, and not the substantial historical record we believe it to be.

We wrote, and rewrote every section numerous times. Then we hired the best editor (Susan Bryant), and rewrote some more. Finally, we found who we believe to be, the perfect publishing company (Light Messages Publishing). They believe in our book as much as we do. They have also agreed be with us for years to come.

Finally, as we look forward a final review and a publication date (currently some time in January 2021), it is time to focus on marketing.

First, we wish to thank all of you who faithfully follow us on this site. We hope you have enjoyed, and been enriched in sharing our lives, thoughts, and beliefs. We know how difficult it can be these days to find good, clean, family-oriented reading material.

That is all for now, except for a preview of our cover. So you can appreciate it as much as we do here are a few details. The wedding pictures, of course are from our three weddings. The medals were earned by my dad in WW2. The letters were sent during the war between Crystal’s parents from the Philippines and Kenosha Wisconsin. Those letters are how they fell in love. On the lower right is dad’s soccer team in Germany, and that’s me as a one year old, on the motor cycle with my grandparents in Germany.

Go With God


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            This is the first installment of news about our soon to be published book. We have overcome numerous obstacles in its creation.  I first felt the push from God, over twenty years ago. At the time I had numerous excuses. Just curious…have you ever had excuses when you felt like God asked you to do something?

            One of my first and best excuses was, ‘but I don’t type.’ Let’s go back a few years. We all had to take typing in seventh grade. I was terrible. My ten fingers just didn’t know what they were doing. To make matters worse, I was using my mom’s old typewriter. It was from her youth in Germany. I believe the bulky black instrument was made from a recycled WW1 Tank. While lugging it back and forth to school was great exercise, pushing its keys down wasn’t much better. It gave me new respect for my mom. At first, I had to use a second finger to help my little finger. It was too hard for just one. Mom could fly on it, with her years of practice.

            Another problem was that, being a German typewriter, some of the letters were in different positions than the American versions. So, when the book told me to repeat the sequence of letters, I had to change them. Unfortunately, my slight case of dyslexia didn’t help. By the time I finished my class I was totally frustrated, and swore I would never type again.

            My plan seemed to be working in High School, as there was no in class typing, and my mom could type any required reports. Somehow, I even managed to make it through college. I didn’t even have to pay to get typists. There was always some nice girl (my friends or friends of friends) who felt sorry for me. Eventually, Crystal (also known as Flying Fingers) took over. Years later, she went on to type hundreds of pages for my MBA classes and RN classes.

            My first job out of college, they bought me a rather expensive micro tape recorder (around $270 – a lot of money back then). I could record my reports and hand them to a secretary for typing. Yes, they had secretaries back then. Years later, I finally had to do some, very slow typing, on my own. Ahh the computer age.

            However, I did very little outside of what was absolutely required. More or less, my plan was working. Then came God. Now I know how Noah must have felt. What’s a cubit (inside joke)? I guess I could have hand written the rough draft, but that seemed like extra work. And of course, after my very rough first draft, Crystal helped a lot. Then she rewrote her sections.

            As I look back, typing was only one of many obstacles. We will save those for the future. At least I now know what our next book will be: Four Finger Typing or maybe Typing Therapy (What’s the Rush, You’ll Get There).

This is a stock photo of a typewriter like my first. Feel sorry for me yet?

The Value of Letters: by Crystal

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The first word my granddaughter, Ayla, said was “up”.  I am sure she had her hands raised up, and her blue eyes wide open in front of her mom when she said it.  The first word my daughter Elizabeth said was Hi! And she pretty much demanded everyone to say HI back.  She would repeat it until they said it.  She was very cute, with soft blonde curls, and big blue eyes; and people liked her almost instantly.

            I don’t know what my first word was.  I don’t think my mom remembered.  She might have written it in a letter. My mom wrote letters often, first with her fountain pen, which made stains on her fingers.  Later she used a ball point pen, probably made by those geniuses at BIC.  I know my mom was very impressed by those new pens, but I missed her writing with her fountain pen.  I missed watching her changing the cartridge.  I seem to remember blue ink and not black.  She wrote letters on her wooden desk, with dark colored wood, possibly cherry or walnut. On the desk was a blotter, made from a stiff fabric, or some type of paper that is like fabric. That made it easier for her to write, and also absorbed the ink that went through the stationery.  Eventually it would get very stained with ink, and ripped up. So, my Dad would buy her a new one.  She had loads of stationery mostly in white and pastel colors.  Some sheets were illustrated with flowers like daisies, tulips or roses along the top or on the edges.  Some had roses on the page that were faded so you could write over them.  I often bought stationery for her birthday and Christmas presents. 

            She started many of her letters with “Hi” after the Dear Who-ever, and then followed with “I hope you are well”.   Some of the letters she wrote were 12 pages long. My mom prayed for people, and was always trying to cheer people up, and/or make them laugh.

            She liked postage stamps with flowers, birds and famous people, that she admired.  It astounded her when the price of stamps kept rising.  I remember her being especially upset when it went up to 13 cents.  My mom would tell us she remembered when the mail was delivered twice a day, in the morning and the afternoon, when she was growing up in Kenosha, Wisconsin. We lived in the Roseland area of Chicago when I was very young. I remember that one of my parents’ friends delivered the mail.  Another one of their friends delivered the milk to our house.  She would talk to them for a few minutes when they came.  The world seemed like a friendlier, more caring place then.

            Letters were how people communicated.  Cards, postcards and letters and bills made up most of the mail.  My parents told us they fell in love through their letters.  They met at a USO in Kenosha, and the very next day my dad was ordered to go overseas to the Philippines. They didn’t see each other for almost two years, but wrote letters often.

            It seems to me like people received letters and cards faster in those days.  Packages took longer.  Telegrams were fast, but usually meant death or illness, so no one wanted to receive one.

            Getting a letter was something to look forward to.  You stopped what you were doing to read about what someone else was doing.  During WWII letters were censored.  My mom’s whole family read my father’s letters.  They got to know him well through his words before they met him after the war.                                                                                                                         I too correspond with family and friends through letters and cards.  I have a friend from grade school who sends me letters and cards.  She hand writes them, sometimes on small pieces of paper.  My cousin writes with pencil on notebook paper, just like we did when we were children.  I write inside cards, but type letters on the computer.  Another friend types letters to me on an old typewriter.  It reminds me of my small beige manual typewriter I took with me to Bradley University. I would type so fast; the keys would jam.  My roommate, Debra, who I also still write to, called me flying fingers.  I miss the sound of the keys sometimes.  It was like playing an instrument, but instead of producing music, I produced writing.  Research papers, short stories and poetry came out of that typewriter, to be read and graded by Professors with red pens.

            I sometimes email people, but it seems less personal and more public.  You don’t touch the paper.  You don’t sign your name or fold the paper to fit it in the envelope.  You don’t seal the envelope, or place a colorful stamp, or address label on it.  Somehow knowing that the person receiving a letter from me will touch the envelope, open it, and pull out and read the letter, makes me feel closer to them.

            We have the letters that my mom and dad wrote to each other during WWII.  You can almost feel the love and excitement they had when they received those letters.  My father longed to come home, to be with family and friends.  My mother wanted to see my father, and look into his eyes, and know that he was O.K. despite the war.  They are both gone now, but their words, because of their letters, are still with us.

Ron: Keep checking our site. Exciting news about our book publication will come soon.

Some wartime letters between Crystal’s mom and dad.

Success! Book Publication

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            It has finally happened! We have a publisher for our book “150 Years of Marriage”. Torch Flame, a hybrid publisher of Light Messages Publishing, has agreed to publish our story. They called it a meaningful work, definitely worthy of publication. We just received a preliminary proof copy…and it looks very nice. We are in the process of a final edit, and will soon submit it for the publisher’s final proof. We currently expect publication sometime this fall or January at the latest.

            I have to give Crystal credit. She has done an amazing job researching the publishing industry. I had no idea how complicated it is and how much it has changed. Light Messages is a Christian publisher, who believes in our book as much as we do. While I never expected “150Years of Marriage” to be a national best seller, or ever make a dime, I always believed we were led by God to write it. It definitely can be a blessing to a lot of people. It is also a great tribute to our parents, and an excellent historical record of our times.

            When completed the book will be distributed in both hard copy and digital form on all of the major distribution networks. So…Yeah!!!

            The next question is, where do we go from here? Of course, we will do whatever book promotion we can. But both Crystal and I agree that, this is not an ending, but a new beginning. My second project, a cook book, written mainly for primary family cooks, is complete in its rough form. We are not certain about its future. However, we believe it can be helpful not only to preserve some of our better family recipes, but as a guide for young married couples striking out on their own.

            We have also given some thought about where all of this will lead. We clearly have some distinct and needed platforms in marriage and family issues, memoir writing, and cooking, to name a few. Once things return a little closer to normal (post Covid), we plan to pursue speaking opportunities to support those issues. Combined[RM1] [RM2] [RM3]  with our ongoing travel plans, this should allow us to, not only educate on selected topics, but share our Christian view of what all of our lives and families should be. I think, God willing, that’s not a bad way to spend our retirement years.

            In addition, Crystal is working a novel, along with a number of other projects, as time and her health permit. We will, of course, continue to add to our web site We hope that you faithful readers will continue to enjoy its content. Thank you for your continued patronage.

Stay safe and enjoy this season.

Crystal’s Corner

            I am very glad and excited that our book 150 Years of Marriage is going to be published and distributed this soon.  I am currently taking an online course called P2P through DIY MFA to help us to build up our platform, and promote our book, and the books to come.  My essay about the Coshocton area in the 1700’s called “Coshocton a Confluence of Rivers, a Confluence of Cultures” will be published this year in the Coshocton Review Magazine, also coming out in the fall.  I won an Honorable Mention in the Mary Harris Essay contest. 

            I am looking for places to publish my short stories, poetry, children’s books, etc. online and in print.  Even though we are all dealing with this awful virus, which is hurting so many people here in the U.S. and all over the world, I am thankful we have some blessings this year.  We hope you are all keeping safe and doing well.  We keep praying for the breakthrough to come soon.  God gave us the patience and the perseverance to keep looking for a publisher for our book; and He can help us survive this difficult time.

April 1st (yes April Fools) 1978. The day which united our families.




Great Memoir News

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We finally believe we have a publisher for our memoir. After about six years of research, query letters, rewrites, rejections, and most importantly persistence, we found someone who is (as they said) “definitely interested” in publishing our memoir. Torch Flame Books is a small hybrid publisher out of Durham, North Carolina. While we don’t have a contract yet, we are in the process of working with a professional editor to revise our work into publishable form. While the process will be time consuming, and costly, we are confident that the final product will be well written, edited and produced.

Marketing and Platform building will be another hurdle. Crystal and I are on a mission. I felt that God directed us in the writing and now in the publication. We believe that these stories of our parents’ lives, our childhoods, and our three love stories will be found compelling for many.

This will be a long process, but we will keep you informed. I understand that upon publication there will be a launch party. I don’t know what that will entail, but I love parties.

One thing you can do to help is to subscribe for our E-mail. On the bottom right side of the home page you will find a place to put your name and email. This is completely privacy protected and safe. It will simply make it easier to keep track of our site and receive newsletters when we publish them. It will help us keep track of subscribers and build a following prior to publication.

Crystal’s Corner

Yeah!   We are getting much closer to publication.  The last few months have been very encouraging and we are definitely on our way to holding a copy of “150 Years of Marriage” in our hands.

We want to thank everyone who has encouraged us and supported us in our mission to get this book published; also, everyone who has shown an interest in the memoir.  We will be telling you about the steps we are going through to get to the finish line.

I have learned a great deal through The National Association of Memoir Writers, and Writer’s Digest and Poets and Writers magazines and websites.  I have also read many memoirs and biographies and autobiographies.  We have an Author Facebook page under our names; Crystal and Ron Meinstein.  So be looking for more posts and activity in the near future.

Whatever your goal is, persistence and research pay off.  Don’t give up.

All of the main characters of our memoir some 40 years ago.

What About the Book

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It’s time for an update on our book. But first, here is a message from our sponsor…marriage. This past week our daughter Elizabeth, and her husband Brad, celebrated their tenth anniversary. We helped them celebrate at an out of the way place near Cambridge, Ohio called the “Bear’s Den”. Our six month old grand baby, Adeline came along for the ride. She spent dinner trying her go-go gadget arms on everything within stretching distance on the table. She obviously thinks she is ready to sample everything. Unfortunately, her mom doesn’t agree.

Dinner was great. Liz and I each ordered the Greek chicken. Our tastes have always been similar. Brad had a specialty burger and Crystal went with the beef and noodles. But this isn’t about dinner; it’s about marriage. Liz, as all of our daughters, calls from time to time, to vent about the complexities of life. There are job problems, money problems, people problems, insurance problems, medical problems, etc. There is the unfairness of living in a world where people do and say stupid things. The list seems to go on and on.

I sometimes stand in awe of the irony in life. Crystal and I have somehow made the metamorphosis from “you people” (as our eldest daughter was fond of saying) to a potential source of direction. Sadly, we have no ultimate solutions, just suggestions. As parents, we too struggled.  Struggle is just part of life. It really doesn’t matter if you are married or single. Life equals struggle. However, if you are lucky, as Liz and Brad obviously are, you can at least share the struggle. You have someone with whom to share your triumphs and to console you when you face failure. Marriage done right adds meaning to life. Happy anniversary Liz and Brad.

As for our book, we have hired a consultant, and will be spending time in beta testing and editing. This book may never make any money. But I know with certainty that it will be a blessing. I am confident that it was God who led us to write it, and He will use it to accomplish His purposes.

Crystal’s Corner:

I agree with Ron that life is full of struggles and challenges, but life is also full of celebrations.  Spending time with Elizabeth and Brad and with Michelle and Alex and with Lisa is a great blessing to us.  Our family is growing and fortunately, we are close and caring and happy.

As for the book, I think this is just another part of the journey.   We have edited the book to the best of our abilities, but we need the professionals to help us.  I believe that this book will become even better as we work on it.  I also believe that we will be published and doing book readings, workshops, and lectures about memoir writing.

Writing a book together was not something that we planned ahead of time.  Now both of us are working on separate books and articles.  We have many discussions about publishing, editing, and all that goes with it.  In some ways it is like raising children.  Ron and I have different points of view on some issues, but we know how to use each other’s talents and abilities to accomplish this project.  Being parents of adult children and grandparents also has its challenges, but also rewards.  To watch these two little girls (Ayla and Addelyn) growing up in two very different households is fascinating.  They are so cute and so much like their mothers.  It brings back a lot of memories which we share and cherish.


Dinner at the Bear’s Den 2017. Happy Tenth Liz and Brad!