Monthly Archives: September 2019


Today I’m thinking about God-winks. Otherwise known as coincidences or irony . I heard them called “God-winks” and like that idea better than random chance.

I began writing Becoming American about 3 or 4 years ago. It started off as a short story assignment that led into a long story. It even had a different name at that time: We All Bleed Red. Anyway, I poured a lot of energy into it and then when I sent it out to publishers, it needed some story-line edits and I felt lost in the drafts. I was burnt out, but didn’t see it. The best advice I had gotten was at a writer’s conference when my current publisher, who was a guest speaker, advised to separate a while. Take a break. Come back with a fresh perspective.

It was tough. I’m the kind of person who only starts a project that I know I can finish and finish well. Maybe even with a slight perfectionist drive. But, I also get distracted by other projects and tend to go “all-in” all at once.

Well, I listened. I took a break.

One day on the way home from Woodbury, I asked God whether I should let this go. I was questioning myself. Questioning Him. At that time, I really struggled with doing anything that wasn’t productive. Gardening? Only if it produced vegetables. Running? Only if I listened to self-development and pushed it until it hurt (didn’t take long for that part!). Well, I kid you not, I pulled onto 94 and a car cut me off to the point where it caught my attention.

I was shocked. Not by the idiot driver, believe me, there’s a ton of them on 94. It was the license plate: ALLU.

Allu is the name of my main character, which is obviously not a common name (with a couple of random numbers). I was ecstatic. I might have even waved to this random person who I normally would’ve honked at (keeping it polite here people).

This doesn’t always happen. I wish it did. Believe me, there are plenty of times when I question what I’m doing and nothing happens. I can’t find the signs anywhere. But then there are times of extreme doubt when little God-winks show up.

Just the other day, I again was questioning myself on whether I’m doing the right things with Becoming American (aka We All Bleed Red). I have majorly edited it several times. I had gotten some good advice to change some major elements in the book. Yes, three weeks before publication. I wasn’t sure what to do. I began to unload groceries from the back of our truck and a very shiny quarter caught my eye. It was right there on the back seat, under my bag of groceries. It was tails. But the tail was a Pearl Harbor Memorial.

My book centers around Pearl Harbor and World War II. I made the decision to make the edits and it turned out, I found a simple way of addressing all (six!) of the concerns (on a side note, I’m thankful to this reviewer who lived through the internment experience and offered a few suggestions). I’ve worked too hard on this project to not have it as accurate as possible and I want this book to honor the battalions mentioned and be sensitive to the people who were involved in this time period of uncertainty.

It could be mere coincidence, but I’d much rather believe these are signs we’re on the right path. Little assurances.

When was the last time God winked at you? Did you notice?

WWII Veteran, 97, receives Frances highest honor

“A debt that France owes America’s greatest generation for their service in World War II is a debt that the French people will never be able to repay in full,” Lacroix said. “The French people will never, ever forget the sacrifice of Mr. Higashi, of all the men and women who served in Europe for their country, but also for my country.”

Higashi, one of three South Dakotans to be recognized with the Legion of Honor last week, was born in Belle Fourche where his family operated a small vegetable farm. The family later moved to Spearfish where Higashi graduated from high school in 1941, the Rapid City Journal reported.

Months later, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the United States into World War II that put the freedom of Japanese-American families in jeopardy.

Japanese American families, particularly those on the West Coast, were forced to uproot their lives, ordered to give up their homes and businesses, and forced into relocation centers or internment camps.

To keep reading this great article, click on the following link:


Over the weekend, I got the opportunity to visit the Military Intelligence Language School exhibit at Fort Snelling.

A lot of our success against the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II, is due to the work of this group. Their history is fascinating and is just coming to light after being classified during the war and couldn’t be spoken of.

When Pearl Harbor was bombed, Executive Order 9066 was signed by Roosevelt, encamping thousands of Japanese-American families, many of whom were born in the US and never been to Japan. Imagine, tomorrow you wake up to find you are being encamped at an unknown location because you are Norwegian. Or German. Or Irish. Forced to sell your belongings at a next-to-nothing price. But you’ve never been to Norway or Germany or Ireland. You were born here. You’re American, aren’t you?

This is what Executive Order 9066 did on the West Coast. This posed a problem for the Military Intelligence Learning School (MILS), composed primarily of Japanese-American men and women, who were stationed in San Francisco at the Presidio. This group was trained in military heigo and was responsible for interpreting enemy documents and war plans, interrogating enemy soldiers and even assisting soldiers in the field, (including paratroopers), in communication efforts with the enemy.

The problem/irony in being located at the Presidio in San Fran? Anytime the linguist specialists were ordered to report to General DeWitt (who was heavily responsible for the Executive Order in the first place), they were arrested while crossing the grounds to the General’s office! Seriously?!


So, the language school was relocated to Savage, Minnesota and later on, Fort Snelling.

It’s a fascinating story. These men and women even helped with the aftermath of World War II, including assisting in Japanese War Crime trials. Their efforts were critical in winning the war.

And their story is just coming to surface.