ALPENA — Jackie Freeman has a song in her heart and she wants to share it with you.
The Michigan author will be autographing copies of both of her books Saturday from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Olivet Book & Gift on Chisholm Street and 2nd Avenue in downtown Alpena.
Her most recently published book is a devotional entitled Keep a Song in Your Heart – Musical Notes for Daily Devotions.
“Music has always been part of my journey,” Freeman said on her website, jackiefreemanauthor.com. “My mother often told me I would hum a tune before I spoke a word. My recently published book… reveals my love for music – a love I’d like to share with you. The basis for this devotional was the faded, worn and popular sheet music of gospel songs that my mother played for me, her soloist.”
Freeman co-authored a second book with former Alpena resident Karen Worthy, who now lives in Jackson, which was released in November 2020. This book is called Bend Your Knees, Louise! It’s a fun pickleball primer illustrated with colorful pictures by Kevin Fales.
“This is a picture book for kids about the sport of pickleball,” Freeman said.
In this book, a fun-loving grandmother teaches her grandchildren, Jack and Louise, the sport of pickleball “in a wise and playful way—and the results are even better than she hoped.”
Freeman noted that co-writer Karen (Moggie) Worthy graduated from Alpena High School in 1976.
Freeman will have copies of both books available at Olivet’s on Saturday.
She explained her journey.
“I’m now a widow and an orphan and an empty nest,” said Freeman, who lives in Onsted. “My story is unique to me, and yet many people walk this journey of grief, loss and disappointment.”
Her mother died in 2018.
“As a soloist, holding the notes my mother played for me, I began to realize the power of the written word. So I started writing devotionals based on those songs.”
She has created a Spotify playlist to go with the book.
“Southern gospel music is what I grew up with,” she added.
She hopes others will relate to her story and gain wisdom from the scriptures included in the devotional.
“Maybe the message of my story could inspire someone,” Freeman said.
Her bio on her website reads: “Jackie is a woman who loves words. words that inform. words that inspire. Speaking, singing, reading and writing words. And she loves to make a joyful noise to her beloved Lord and Savior.”
“This book is truly a legacy project,” Freeman said of the devotional.
“Her love of words blossomed as a child when her grandmother, Nettie Thomas, introduced her to literature,” her website continues. “Her home had a wonderful collection of books, from Louisa Mae Alcott to Margaret Mitchell, Zane Gray and Mary Jane Holmes. Jackie’s passion for reading and writing began on her grandmother’s bookshelf. Years later, she joined writing groups to hone her skills.”
“Grandma often spoke about characters in the ‘Little Prudy’ books and ‘Little Women’ as if they were childhood friends,” Freeman noted on her website. “From the comfort of her living room, she would take me down dusty, winding paths while I read Zane Gray westerns. And of course she introduced me to spooky adventures in the Nancy Drew Mysteries, the Bobbsey Twins and the Hardy Boys series.”
Freeman graduated from Siena Heights University, specializing in early childhood education. While serving as an assistant at SHU, she also became an assistant principal at a Montessori school and later served as the Early On Coordinator for Saline Area Schools.
She then became a full-time carer, first for her husband and then for her parents. She and her husband raised their three sons on a 150-acre farm in southeast Michigan.
“Another library that inspired me during my childhood was in the church in my small hometown, where I was fascinated by the written word,” Freeman continued. “I have been eagerly turning the yellowed, rough pages of donated volumes with that distinct scent of ancient wisdom to find out what happens next. One book, Through Gates of Splendor, caught my attention. Written in 1957 by Elisabeth Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor is the account of her life as a missionary, the massacre of her husband and four other missionaries, and her dedication to God and His work. The story amazed me.”
Freeman was inspired to learn more.
“I wanted to know their God,” she explained on her website. “I wondered if I could trust him like she did, and I longed to learn how to live a life that pleases him like she had. Decades later, I am still drawn to her writings. Her life dedicated to Christ still inspires her. One of my most treasured quotes from the book Becoming Elizabeth Elliot, written by Ellen Vaughn, is, “Teach me never to forsake the joy of what was.” I carry these words close my heart as I find joy in the journey.”
Freeman will have another children’s book out by Thanksgiving, she said, inspired by her own mother.
“It’s titled ‘I’m Fine Mom,’ and it will have the Fruit of the Spirit woven through it,” she said.
She has always loved words.
“Words have always been a part of my life,” Freeman added. “Singing them, writing them, reading them… I’ve always kept a journal of experiences… the stories were written throughout my life.”