Saving Mother Earth is the underlying message as well as the connecting thread of Cheyenne myths and Christian beliefs.The historical, spiritual novel traces five generations of the Schultz family from Iowa who try to farm 320 acres of dry prairie land in northeastern Colorado given to them through the 1909 Extended Homestead Act. Challenged by brutal summers and harsh winters the naive pioneers plow the barren prairie untouched by rivers, hills, or trees. The unbroken horizon is startling and beautiful as are the star filled skies at night.Tragedy hits early when a prairie fire takes the life of the father leaving the task of building the future homestead to tiny Mama Rose, a talented violinist, from Storm Lake, Iowa with three small children. She nearly takes her own life but is stopped by her son, William, who at seven becomes the leader of the family. Rose sends for Papa Paul, her 80-year old, widowed father, who is a seed expert. He comes willingly. The prairie resembles land that he remembers as a young boy on the Steppes of Russia. He changes planting seeds from spring time to fall planting. Papa Paul develops a strong friendship with an equally ancient half breed Cheyenne/Scottish, Red Hair in Sun or Old Timer, a spiritual leader, knowledgeable about the secrets of the land. Papa They share teachings of their own faith (Christian/Great Spirit) and find them strangely similar. Their Covenant with God is ritualized each March 21st to love the land and practice sustainable agriculture. They teach willing pioneers ways to save the best seed, the seed crop, The Promise Seed. Some do not follow their teachings and ruin the land. Critical events follow as a result: the Dust Bowl, the Grasshopper Invasion, and the Great Depression. Mama Rose becomes a recognized leader in the state, as she is feisty as well as talented. She manages the Homestead and buys more land, as well as a Black Ford, her Tin Lizzy, that she bravely drives to Denver and meets with other Colorado female leaders as well as the Governor. Daughter, Margaret, marries a neighbor man who invents many things such as using wind to create electricity. William marries an immigrant from Denmark, Julie, a remarkable, courageous orphan who becomes a leader with talent from her Danish mother as an artist. Younger brother Hank, handsome, tall has a reputation as a womanizer and a cheater also falls in love with Julie, but she loves only Will. Hank remains forever jealous of Will but marries an equally conniving woman, Penelope. They have no children and together they plot an evil deed, to gain the Homestead. Mama Rose succumbs to a stroke and while she lay dying Hank, pretending to be Will, gets her to sign the will giving him all the Homestead. She cleverly outsmarts him, but the error is not discovered. Will and Julie with their four children are broke and must sell their meager belongings and go to the west coast like the OKIE's. They live in a horrible situation earning $15 a week picking fruit in Idaho. Continuing their faith filled lives facing destitution, they must return home to the prairie. Will works for the WPA for $15 a month while they live in a dark basement. World War II begins and eldest son, Ernie, becomes a hero serving on a special assignment to Russia. The details are chilling but accurate. Will becomes the director of electrification of rural America, later elected sheriff. During his term many dangerous events occur. A mystery, metaphysical death occurs. A mythical ending shows the humanity of humankind. The Promise Seed, the seed crop, is shown in the lives of four adult children who carry talents of music, art, healing, and leadership. The Homestead has survived over one hundred years. Today the land still thrives, as the family keeps their Covenant with the land using scientific, safe methods of organic farming. The wind still blows and the Red Arrow of Cheyenne Revenge still remains on the sod wall of the Homestead shed.
Glittenberg, a cultural anthropologist and psychiatric nurse has received book rewards for her published professional works. She retired from the U. of Arizona, Tucson in 2003 as a Professor Emerita of Nursing, Anthropology, and Psychiatry. She has received many awards in Nursing and Anthropology Reviewers commented on the emotions evoked in the stories of brave people.The scene from the horrific World War II almost leaves the reader retching but veterans claim "That's war! and why we hate war." Jody has studied the face of humanity on most continents. Her focus has been on social justice in slums, prisons and with tortured people. Jody grew up on the eastern prairie in eastern Colorado within a trilingual family. Having done research on almost all continents, she is content to return to the flat, treeless, peaceful prairie. She and her writer husband, Joel Hinrichs, share seven children, ten grandkids, one great grandson a shelter dog and a large extended family and many friends. They are both musicians and writers. They can be reached through their website www/wordswithamission.com