Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Journeys Saga Coming Soon to This Blog

Beginning after New Year's, I will be posting segments from my newest books, "Journeys Beyond the Peaks" here on this blog.  These books are a spin-off of "The Peaks at the Edge of the World" Saga. By the way, the first three revised books of the Peaks Saga are now available, and the other four will be released by the end of 2019.

The new books are being referred to as "The Journeys Saga".  They include offspring of some of the main characters in The Peaks Saga.  There is time-travel, too--but this time it is into the past, through the characters distant ancestors.

"Journeys Beyond the Peaks" has already been registered with the US Copyright Office.  Eventually, it will be available for sale, but for now you can get a preview here.  If you happen to get on and it seems like you're in the middle of the story, just go back into my blog registry and click on one of the archived blogs.  Their labels will include the title "Journeys Saga". 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

O Come, Emmanuel

The Great O Antiphons were Latin Chant from the 12th century.  One for each of the seven days leading up to Christmas Eve.  In the 19th century, John Mason Neale took these chants and put them into carol form.  We know them as the lyrics to "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel."  Not all hymnals print all seven verses, but if you want to see them, I recommend looking in a Lutheran hymnal.  Our newest book, the Lutheran Service Book (LSB) has the Great O's also printed, in English, on page 357. 

The final Great O, for Dec. 23: "O Emmanuel, our King and Lord, the anointed for the nations and their Savior: Come and save us, O Lord, our God."
And the English translation by John M. Neale: "O Come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear: Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel."
Emmanuel means "God with us."  What better way to say that when all is said and done, Jesus loves you.  Wishing you and yours a Blessed Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Christmas Belongs in December

Some people say the Third Century Church shouldn't have put the celebration of Christ's Birth (Christ's Mass--or Christmas) in December when the Pagan festivals of the Winter Solstice took place.  But I disagree.

What better time to celebrate the arrival of the Light of the World, than in the darkest time of the year?  The return of longer days and shorter nights, gradual though it is, reassures us that God has not given up on this messed-up world and left us to eternal darkness.

The Jewish Festival of Lights--Hanukkah--is also observed this time of year. I think this is no coincidence, for it's a celebration of a miracle God gave to his suffering people, to remind them he was still with them.  When Jesus was on earth, he even went to this festival in Jerusalem.  It's recorded in at least one of the Gospels.

I know that Saturnalia, the Roman winter festival, was a drunken, rowdy time--based on the idea, "Eat, drink, and be merry--for tomorrow you may die."  That's true. Even in our modern world, we still see the image of the God Saturn, as the Old Year, the Grim Reaper with his long handled scythe. But Christmas is here to remind us that there is still hope at the other end of the Valley of the Shadow of Death.   

Monday, December 10, 2018

What Manner of Child is This?

Midwinter's Day is fast approaching. I ran across a neat quote by an unknown person today.  It's in a book I've had for at least 20 years called "Amazing Grace:  366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions" by Kenneth W. Osbeck (copyright 1990).

This quote is in a devotion on the Christmas hymn, "What Child Is This?"

"He who is the Bread of Life began his ministry hungering.  He who is the Water of Life ended his ministry thirsty.  Christ hungered as man, yet fed multitudes as God.  He was weary, yet he is our rest.  He prayed, yet he hears our prayers.  He was sold for thirty pieces of silver, yet he redeems sinners.  He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, yet he was the Good Shepherd.  He died, and by dying destroyed death."

That pretty much says it all, I think. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Reflections on Snow

Snow...I've lived in places that get a lot of it.  Like Ashton, Idaho--where about four feet on the level was an average winter.  Michigan, where lake effect could dump a couple of feet in a couple of hours.  And I will admit I never liked driving in it, especially after I slid off Montana Highway 37 one day between Rexford and Eureka.

But now, I find myself wishing for it. No, I'm not a skier, though there has been some cross-country skiing in the past.  Maybe it's because I'm retired...

I have two theories on this.  My current one is I'm reverting to my childhood.  I grew up in southern Arkansas (until I turned 11).  I never say snow until I was past five years old.  It was amazing!  I remember running out to touch and being surprised that it was cold.  Maybe I was expecting that cottony stuff they put in the store windows to look like snow.

It never snowed at Christmas in Arkansas, but my two younger brothers and I always secretly wished for it.  Dad helped this along by playing his old 78-rpm Bing Crosby record every Christmas Eve.  It was "White Christmas" of course!

When we moved to northern Illinois in 1963, I had my first actual white Christmas, and the house we were renting even had some old sleds in the garage.  What fun we had!  I guess this is my current state of mind--looking for ways to find joy in life, as the years fly past me.  Being back in Montana and seeing the snow-covered mountains is wonderful.  And I am thankful for the old memories, too. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Lights and Christmas

Confession time. I guess I am more worldly than I care to admit. I tend to think about what to cook for Thanksgiving more than what I am thankful for. And I have trouble waiting until after Thanksgiving before I get out the Christmas decorations. But then I think it's because Christmas is what helps me get through this dark time of year. Must be the lights.  I've always loved the colored lights.

Yesterday the mountains and the sunshine were beautiful, but today all is shadowed in gray clouds. Only 37 days until the Winter Solstice!

I can't imagine living in the Southern Hemisphere where there is winter with no Christmas...

Thursday, November 8, 2018


The world is like a river flowing:
   permanently changing,
   forever running,
   building its own land.

And in the same way,
   changes creep into me, unfelt
   whirling 'round my feet and head in eddies.

So my soul:
   longs for where I've been,
   craves where I am going.

But it can only be here--in the now.

Why can't I be like the river?
   at its source--trickling from the deep,
         dim in-parts of earth,
   at its mouth--wandering slowly, at ease,
         before losing itself
         in the wholeness of the sea,
And everywhere in between?

                         M.F. Erler, 1971

The answer to my soul's question is that only God can see the entire river of each of our lives, from birth to death.  It's hard to fathom someone who can see beyond the limitations of Time.  Maybe that's why I'm so fascinated with time-travel.  And stories of my ancestors.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Grace Again

"Nothing in my hand I bring.  Simply to thy cross I cling."  That's how the hymn writer put it in the old song, "Rock of Ages". 

Now picture this:  a pastor, robes and all, lying prostrate, face down in front of the altar.  That's what our pastor did last night during his message, to illustrate how we come before a Holy God.  Totally dependent on His mercy.  We have nothing to offer God that is good enough for Him.  Instead He takes our inadequacy and replaces it with His Son, Jesus', merit--bought for us on the cross.

This, according to our pastor's message, is what Jesus meant when he said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."

Monday, November 5, 2018


Yes, I am taking weekends off from blogging, especially now during holiday bazaar season.  Have to manage to sell a few books.

So Grace.  It started with St. Paul, who wrote, "For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not your own doing.  It is by faith, so no one can boast."

I remember when a Lutheran pastor shared that verse with me at age 15 or 16.  It was like a light suddenly came on in my mind.  It was God's doing.  I didn't have to keep trying to be good enough to please him.  It lifted a burden from my soul, because I knew deep in my heart that I could never be good enough to earn my way to God--no matter how hard I tried.  Luther himself found this epiphany (enlightenment) also, reading St Paul's epistles 1500 years later.  And now, here we are--500 years after Luther.

I've seen a neat explanation of grace:  God's

Like another contemporary song says it, "In Christ alone, my hope is found. 
                                                                  He is my strength, my all in all."

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Happy All Saints' Day

The stirring tune by Ralph Vaughn Williams, Sine Nomine, (without name) is going through my head, with these words:

"For all the saints, who from their labors rest, who thee by faith, before the world confessed:
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.  Alleluia, alleluia.

"O may thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold, fight as the saints who nobly fought of old:
And win with them the victor's crown of gold.  Alleluia, alleluia."

On that second verse, I hear the descant part flying above the melody (in my head, though I can't sing it anymore).  This is my prayer and hope for All Saints' Day, as I remember all those in my family--past, present and future--may they continue to be part of God's family by grace.

Tomorrow, more on that word "GRACE"

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Midpoint: Darkness as a Blessing?

Well, it's finally here.  Halloween.  Samhain to the ancient Celts.  It marks the midpoint between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice.  A dark time in the northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere.   No wonder they marked it as a time when the dead were said to walk the earth for a night.  I'm glad the Medieval Church set it aside as the Eve of All Saints' Day, a time to remember those who have gone before us, and to think on their legacy to us.  So that's what I am doing, as I look into my family tree, I am remembering all the things my ancestors have left to me.  And I'm looking for ways to pass this legacy on to my children, the next generation.

Monday, September 24, 2018


The Peaks Saga, Books 1, 2, and 3 are officially available!  If you search by author, M.F. Erler, all three books show up together. If by title, they're mingled with a lot of others in alphabetical order. They are also in paperback on Barnes & Noble.  Or your favorite bookstore can order them.  If they ask where, tell them "First Steps Publishing"  E-books are exclusive to Amazon currently. 
Be sure to order the books with the people on the cover! I've posted Jon from Book 2--he's my favorite hunk (after my hubby, of course). The old ones, with mountains, are not revised. Books 4 thru 7 will be coming out at about two month intervals over the next few months.  These are appropriate for Young Adult readers, and the Young at Heart.  If you have questions, you can contact me directly on Facebook, or at my blog
 or email me at
My new handle is "A not-your-typical-Christian author of sci-fi/fantasy, who melds music, nature, and writing with faith."

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Sept. 22- Book Release Day At Last

Tomorrow is the first day of Fall, and Sept. 22 is the official release day for my newly re-written Peaks Trilogy.  Three separate books that won't break your pocketbook or your arm.  In other words, not 500-plus-page monster books!

You can get them in paperback or hardback on, or any bookstore can order them for you.  Just remember my author name is M.F. Erler.  And the books are "The Peaks at the Edge of the World"  Book 1, "Finding the Light"; Book 2, "Searching for Maia"; and Book 3, "Mountaintops and Valleys".  E-books will be on Amazon, too.

And over the course of 2019, there are four more in the Peaks Saga to come.
Questions?  You can reach me at

Monday, August 20, 2018

You Get a Better Deal if You Pre-Order

At last!  The first three books in the new Peaks Saga are available to pre-order.  My publisher just told me today that the prices are at their lowest right now.  They may 'go up a bit' (that's a quote) when they are released in September.

So now is a good time to get ahead of the game.  If the link below doesn't work, try copying and pasting it into your search engine.  Or type it.  Or contact me.  :)

Thursday, August 2, 2018

New Offspring

Can't believe we've spent almost ten years in this house now.  Ten years ago this month, we were beginning the indoor finishing work.  As all the trees we planted then have grown bigger, I realize that children are like trees.  When they're small, we can care for them, feed and water them, spray for bugs...try to keep them from being vulnerable.  But when they grow bigger, they're out of our reach, and we have to step back and let nature take its course.  Hard for a parent to do, whether it's a child, a pet, or a tree.

Maybe that's why I have turned to the books I'm writing.  They're my children, too.  It's been a long gestation period, but I think they're finally ready to be born.  And believe it or not, I'm having septuplets!  Books 1 through 3 will be released this fall.  Book 1, "The Peaks at the Edge of the World" is already available for preorder.  Check with Amazon, B&N, or your favorite bookstore.  Ask for books by M.F. Erler.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Watch Out for The Trams in Amsterdam!

My biggest adventure in Amsterdam was riding the tram, which is an electric train system.  You need to buy a pass card and put it past a scanner each time you get on and off.  Luckily we got day passes that could be used more than once, because…
When we got back to our B&B’s stop, riding the tram from downtown, Paul got off ahead of me, and then another person.  When I got to the door, it wouldn’t scan my card, and there I was, stuck behind a closed door.  Paul was in as much shock as I was (he told me later) as the train took me away. 
In a panic, I thought perhaps I could get off at the next stop, find the main street and work my way back.  I don’t know the address of our B&B, though.  Then a very nice young woman on the tram told me how to take a pedestrian overpass at the next stop so I could catch the next tram coming back.
Several others in the car were also helpful.  I have good impressions of the Dutch!  When the tram finally stopped, I scanned my pass and headed up the stairs they pointed out.  Just as I came to the stairs going down, the tram was pulling in, so I ran.  I didn’t want to miss this one.
When I got off at the correct stop—finally—Paul was there waiting for me.  The first thing I said was,
“This is the kind of thing we will laugh about later.”
It certainly was an adventure!  And I saved those tram passes as a souvenir.
In a strange sort of way, it made us look out for each other more on the rest of the trip.  And even though it may have seemed to be a bad start, it actually wasn’t.  I learned to appreciate and take everything in stride, more than I used to.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Reflections from Our Baltic Cruise 1

We are back from the cruise of a lifetime, from Amsterdam, around Denmark, and up the Baltic Sea to Estonia and St. Petersburg, Russia. 

Being in Estonia and Russia was an eye-opening lesson.  We are blessed here in the USA, but often take it for granted.  Seeing the "Breshnev Era" apartments in Russia--all gray and bleak, looking like the"projects" in Chicago...and hearing of the Soviet restrictions on housing--only one bedroom and bathroom allowed, small house, small yard (if any), no bright colors... I realized how bleak their lives were back then, before the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

No wonder the Estonians invite tourists to tour their new homes, gardens, and farms!  Things we take for granted are newly-found luxuries to them.

St. Petersburg, with all its beautiful gardens, churches, and palaces, is like a phoenix risen from the ashes of 2 World Wars and the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.  The change from Leningrad back to its original glory as St. Petersburg, (Czar Peter the Great's city) is amazing.  More beautiful than Moscow, I hear.  It's amazing they've spent so much money on the restorations.  But I understand.  The Russians are an ancient people reconnecting with their heritage, which was almost lost.  It reminded me of what we saw in China, as it moved from the early 1980's to 2006, the two times we visited.  (As it recovered from its own Cultural Revolution).

Our guides told how churches and palaces had become storage barns and museums, during the Revolution.  In Estonia, our guide mentioned one church turned into a roller-skating rink.

Now, here we are 100 years after the 1917 Revolution, and churches are restored.  But I wonder if attendance is up at all, or low like it is in neighboring Scandinavia--state religions and crosses on their flags, but maybe not too many practicing Christians.  Our guide in Estonia even said that in her opinion, It does 't matter what you believe as long as you believe in something.

Sad.  Many in our Western World would agree, I'm afraid.  Still, people in the former Soviet Union have more freedom to choose.  I pray for them, like I do for my own people (especially my children) to make 'good choices.'  That's a phrase my daughter uses a lot with her kindergarten students.  It applies to all of us, though.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Looking for the LIghthouse

In a few weeks, we'll be setting out from Amsterdam on a cruise of the eastern North Sea and the Baltic.  Busy thinking about what to pack, and having to deal with overseas security regulations regarding how much shampoo, etc. I'm allowed to carry.

Last time I traveled in Europe was 1973, and that trip ended in Amsterdam, ironically.  It will be interesting to see how much the city has changed.  And travel.  Back then, I carried a backpack and hitchhiked most of the time.  Occasionally, for a break, I'd take a night train, in lieu of paying for a youth hostel.  In that backpack I carried, along with essentials, a full-sized hardcover Living Bible.  I read it almost every day and it was worth the weight.  In fact, I still have that Bible and can look back at the notes I made in it then.

Times have changed.  Now I can fit a Bible and a whole bunch of other books in my Kindle.
But, as the physical size of my Bible has shrunk, so has my faith, it seems.  Forty-five years have passed, and the storms of life have taken their toll.  The sails of my ship are tattered, and the masts are leaning, and some are broken.  Somewhere out beyond the clouds around me, I remember seeing a lighthouse on the distant shore.  I can't see it now, but I hope and pray it's still there.

So I sail on, hoping it is out there, beckoning me to that heavenly shore.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Happy Beltane and May Day

Happy Beltane!  Otherwise known as May Day, Mayfest, Volksfest, Beltyne, etc.  It marks the halfway point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.  For those of us living in northern climes, though, it's more like the first day of spring.  It probably came originally from a pagan fertility rite, since it is near planting time in many places.  Tho in others, it's when the first fruits of the garden are coming on.  In ancient Israel it was Pentecost, the Feast of First Fruits.  When Christianity came along, Pentecost became the day God sent the Holy Spirit to dwell with all believers.  Before this, visits by the Spirit (and often the accompanying miracles) came only at random, according the God's purposes.  But now, this indwelling of the Spirit is available to all believers in God's Son.  What an amazing thought!

So, May 1 to me is much more than May Baskets and May Poles, though they are nice remembrances of the coming of Spring after a long Winter.  It is also a chance to erase the slate of all the old grime and grit left under the melting snow, and make a fresh clean start, with the greening of the hills, the budding of the trees, and yes--my daffodils are finally beginning to bloom.  Love their sunny yellow color!  A color of joy.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Book Releases Coming this Fall


Yes, along with the first book in The Peaks at the Edge of the World Saga, the second book will be all new and improved.  For Young Adults and all who are Young at Heart, and like to ponder, what if life had a rewind?  What if we could go forward or backward in time?  Would we want to?  Is it even a good idea?  If you wonder about "The Roads Not Taken" in your life (kudos to Robert Frost), then these books are for you.  Not your typical science-fiction, or your typical Christian fiction, either.  They're about "Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times."

For more information, you can always reach me at

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Peaks Saga Being Reborn

This is the cover for the re-release of Book 1 in "The Peaks at the Edge of the World Saga"  I've been working diligently with my publisher, First Steps Publishing, revising and re-writing.  It is going to be really exciting to have a real publisher!  More information will be coming soon on release dates and how to pre-order.  You can keep in touch with me here on Blogspot, or on Facebook, MF Erler Author Page.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Firm Foundation

I'm on vacation but I decided to put a bit on my blog.  I have been doing some historical research on my family tree, especially the Feser side of my family, my father's family.  I have met cousins I never knew I had.  I know that sounds trite, but it's very true.  My dad apparently wasn't as close to his father's family as he was to his mother's.  But thanks to the cousin I did know, I've become acquainted with a bunch of others.  And it was something I couldn't have planned if I had tried.  We just "happened" to visit one cousin to commemorate the day her husband died.  And today, we were at the cemetery to visit at another cousin's grave on the anniversary of her death.  We had a nice little family ceremony, and I got to share two Bible verses that meant a lot to all of us. 

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."  And "Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my Words will never pass away." In a world that seems to be changing faster and faster all the time, it is so good to have a foundation that is firm.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Truth? Or Consequences?

In my optimism and naivete of youth, I used to think all the pieces of the puzzle of life would fit together eventually. But now they're all scattered on the floor.

One more thing I have learned as I've studied history. Don't know who said this, but it's very true, "Those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it." 

Amid all the false "news" and opinions disguised as news ( and this is nothing new; it's been with us from the Garden of Eden), I think it's the only thing that is true.

Or as Pilate is famously quoted, "What is Truth?"

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Ancestry Mysteries and Surprises

I just sent for my Ancestry DNA test. Want to find out if the girl my mother's grandfather married in Indian Territory in 1902 was Native American...Mom kept insisting she was, but searches on the family tree have hit dead-ends.
At least all this geneology research is keeping me occupied this winter! On my father's side, I can get back all the way to the Lord Chamberlain of King Henry II of England (the 1100s), and possibly farther to William the Conqueror (1066). Before that it's a bit hazy, but I may even be descended from Kenneth MacAlpin, the first King of Scotland (born in 810 AD)...Fun to speculate, anyway!

And it gives me good material for historical fiction I'm working on writing.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Happy Twelfth Night

Okay, my Twelfth Night post got lost in cyberspace. Typical luck for me. On the Twelfth Day of Christmas (today) my true love sent to me 12 Lodgepole Pines, 11 Ponderosas*, 10 Grizzly Bears*. 9 Wolverines, 8 Wild Wolfpacks, 7 Trumpeter Swans, 6 Geese-a-honking, 5 Yogo Sapphires*, 4 Bitterroot flowers*, 3 Bald Eagles, 2 Sandhill Cranes, and a Western Meadowlark* in a Huckleberry patch.
*are Montana emblems

I think it might be kind of cool to go back in time to Medieval Europe where they actually did celebrate Christmas for 12 days.  What else was there to do in the middle of winter anyway?  Couldn't plant crops or make war on the neighbors.

Of course, their lives were probably harder and shorter back then.  But maybe that's not so bad--fewer years in this Vale of Tears.