Friday, April 8, 2016

Brunch With Jeannie McPhail, Storyteller/ Author

It was a relaxing, enjoyable morning when author/ storyteller, Jeannie McPhail and I met for brunch.  We chose one of our favorite restaurants that prepares delicious blueberry muffins and those yummy lips smacking pancakes.  We had worked on meeting since back last year and finally it happened.  I would have sat for hours, but both of us had other commitments later that day.

Jeannie shared her exciting news that she recently published a new book.  I was thrilled when she presented me with a copy for enjoyment and possible review in the NC Storytelling Guild newsletter, Journal of Tar Heel Tellers.  We have published earlier reviews of two or her book publications.  Go to Jeannie's website:

I plan to write a review for this new publication, Trinity Tales of Tresia, later this year.  This title is part 1 of a trilogy from Rowe Publishing.

Following is a review I wrote of one of her earlier publication:  

I Will Not Fear: a Chosen Life By J.A. McPhail
Rowe Publishing; Price $12.95,
plus shipping and handling

I Will Not Fear: a Chosen Life is a beautiful story of inspiration and faith.  It gave me a striking glimpse into the life of a loving and caring family, whose love grew even deeper when the daughter was diagnosed with lymphoma.  I held a warm spot in my heart as I read about their love for life and for one another, their Christian faith and how their chosen paths touched countless people around them.  Stacie’s mother, Jeanne McPhail, tells the story.
In June 1976 Stacie Jeanne McPhail came into this world.  The newborn’s first cry brought forth an immediate applause from hospital delivery room staff.  Applause continued to follow her throughout the rest of her life.
As the only child of Jeanne Ann and Dennis McPhail, nurture, love, faith and companionship was never lacking in Stacie’s life.  A doting family, neighbors, friends, church members, the community and people from the music world surrounded her. 
Singing became one of Stacie’s great loves, with Southern gospel music her favorite.  Her father, Dennis, taught music in high school and often sang in choirs and concerts.  A favorite family activity was to travel by tour bus with concert groups her dad was a part of. 
Stacie received a music scholarship to attend college and after graduation she accepted a teaching job and moved from her home in Kansas to North Carolina.  Later her parents moved to the old ‘North State’ to be closer to her.  In 2003 the McPhails (Dennis, Jeanne and Stacie) formed their own Southern Gospel trio, The Macs.  Stacie continued to teach, but spent weekends on the road and on stage.  
During her busy summer of 2011, she noticed a lump on her neck.  The family was packing for a camping trip when the doctor called with the results.  Stacie “handled it with such grace,” according to her mother.  “We spent the next three days camping.”
The family met one of the biggest challenges “ever faced in our lives.  We still believed God had a plan.”  There were many trips to Duke Medical Center for treatments and Stacie’s parents accompanied her.  She wanted them by her side. 
Hospital nurses were amazed as they observed the family spend hours together in conversation, reading aloud from the Bible, listening to CD’s and listening to gospel and other faith fulfilling music.  After eight months PET results reported no lymphoma, but that was short lived.  It soon reappeared.
Near the end of the book Jeanne writes, “We realize that because Stacie was single and we had our own family singing ministry, we had more time with her in 36 years than a lot of parents have in a lifetime.”
Through positive faith Stacie and her parents acquired their strength from God.  He was their staying power.  They “did not fear.” 
After I finished this captivating life story, tossed with laughter, sadness, and lighter moments, I clearly see Jeanne’s story of Stacie’s life as an unrestrained beacon of faith that will touch all who read it.
Reviewed by Sylvia Payne -