Showing posts from 2012

Merry Christmas!


Moment for Sandy Hook

O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You wove m…

Thanksgiving 16, 17, 18, 19

I'm doing four thanksgivings today, because I got behind on Friday. My reason for for that will be first.

Thanksgiving # 16: School

In 2010, I went back to school after a 28 year hiatus. I knew it would be hard, and it is. For the most part, I'm enjoying all of it, and last spring, I managed to get on the Dean's List - by a tiny fraction of a point. Whew. But it adds an extra layer of pressure trying to stay on it. Last week, I had my first "debate" - there were 13 of us on our team, and when no one volunteered, I became the leader, which meant I had to coordinate the written posts and research of all 13 team members. Last week, I also had to respond, twice, to the other team's debate - which also required research. Last week, I had a Greek word study paper, and a Greek final exam. So I'm thankful today that I lived through all of that to share it with you.

Thanksgiving # 17: Books You would think that, of course, a publisher would be thankf…

Thanksgiving # 15: Food

As I write this post, my wonderful husband is cooking breakfast for us. The smell of bacon cooking is one of my most favorite food smells!

Thanksgiving # 15: Food

I admit it. I'm a foodie. I love eating and I love cooking. I love trying new recipes and new flavors. I've even loved to tolerate rosemary, although my mother will find that hard to believe. (I can identify it in almost any concoction, and I really hate the smell of it, but I've learned to live with the taste.)

A dear friend asked me last night what my favorite food was, and I quickly answered spaghetti and hamburgers. Homemade spaghetti is my comfort food like meatloaf is for others, and in case you haven't heard, I make THE BEST! I think it's the versatility of hamburgers that makes them one of my favorite - I can dress them up or down, can get them almost anywhere, and the flavor is almost always different from one location to another.

We cook regularly in our house - daily, actually. We don't eat …

Thanksgiving # 14: God's Touch

I could write on this particular Thanksgiving every single day. Condensing it to one post, I pray each of you will pause a moment and reflect upon these times in your own life.

Thanksgiving # 14: God's Touch

Heavy machinery has been used for the past two weeks to tear down trees, clear brush, and otherwise make the lot across from ours ugly and bare. The noise and vibrations have been horrendous but not really something I identified as a stressful source until yesterday afternoon. Suddenly, at 3:30 p.m., there was total silence. No machinery, no furnace running, no phones ringing, no horns honking, no kids screaming, no dogs barking, no TVs blaring - not even the hum of the refrigerator. Total silence. I sat at my desk, rather dumbfounded for a second, and realized the silence was a gift from God. Seriously. I opened my Bible, and my eyes fell upon Psalm 146. Here is part of it:

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord while I live;
I will sing praises to…

Thanksgiving 13

Thanksgiving # 13: Music

I developed a love of music at an early age, despite my parents' attempts to make me hate it with twangy old-fashioned country music! I eventually grew to love some country music, along with most other kinds, but I still don't like that twangy stuffy (or rap music either.) Here's a list, with a few links, to some of my favorite songs over the years, if you'd care to give a listen.

PreTeen and TeenYears:

In the Garden - of course, Elvis' version isn't quite the same as Nanny's version on our upright piano, but the song is a favorite whoever sings it. Yes, even in my teens.

Barry Manilow - yes, I am a huge Manilow fan. His songs resonated with my heart like no other. I went to YouTube to pick out a song, typed in Barry Manilow, and the first four songs are all my favorite. :-) Mandy, I Write the Songs, Even Now, Weekend in New England, and then a little further down, Looks Like We Made It. I sing all those songs still today.

Beach Boys a…

Thanksgiving 10, 11, 12

I love to travel, although I haven't done so much in the past few years. Here are a few of my favorite places. I'm thankful for the opportunity to have visited each one, and hope to one day return. 
Thanksgiving # 10: Venice, Italy

Thanksgiving # 11: Paris, France

Thanksgiving # 12: Philadelphia, PA
Yes, I know it seems weird to list Philly in with the other two, but this city captured my heart. I love the history of it, and the ability to just hang out on the streets. And, a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich just isn't the same anywhere else in the world. 

Do you like to travel? What are some of your favorite places?

Thanksgiving # 9

This year has been especially sweet for me, because of the subject of this post.

Thanksgiving # 9: FRIENDS

I won't point out who's who in our group photo above, but yes, friends this year have stuck by me through thick and thin. We've laughed together, cried together, pulled out our hair together, and most importantly, prayed together and for one another.

Facebook has allowed me the opportunity to meet new people who have become near and dear to my heart. It has also allowed me to connect with friends from my childhood, and be part of their lives now. I love that. (It's also fascinating to watch my old life connect with my new life through comments and prayers too - when it first started happening, it sort of stripped my mental gears, but now, it just makes me happy to see friends from different lives connect.)

Facebook has also given me a connection to a group called The Treasured Woman Network. This group of prayer warriors has been a huge support to me this year, and …

Thanksgiving # 8

In 2007, I developed this unquenchable desire to know the Bible. I began daily in-depth Bible studies, and by 2009, I wanted to know even more. In 2010, I entered college after a 28-year hiatus. I'm now a junior, and graduation is only 18 months away - or after this semester, only 4 semesters away! (Yes, I'll be doing summer school.) I'm majoring in Biblical and Theological Studies, and I'm loving my classes, for the most part anyway. Some sessions the workload is pretty heavy, and with all my publishing duties, I can get overwhelmed. But it's definitely worth it!

Thanksgiving # 8: The Bible

Do you realize just how rich Scripture really is? I'm currently taking Biblical Languages - an introductory course for Greek and Hebrew. Each week, we do a comprehensive word study, delving into the meanings of the original Greek words used in the New Testament and original Hebrew words used in the Old Testament.  These word studies cause us to slow down - read the text and…

Thanksgiving # 7

The more things I think of to give thanks for, the more I want to make a list of 30 things each day for the rest of the month, and yet I realize that even that wouldn't encompass all of my gratitude.

A developer is clearing two acres in front of the three acres where we live. This area had been heavily wooded, and now, it's very bare. Distressing and depressing.

So today's post is written with that in mind.

Thanksgiving # 7: I'm thankful for my love of nature and the camera to capture what soon changes. 

Wives of Porn Addicts: Healing Your Wounded Heart

Several years ago, I met writer Vicki Tiede and we soon became BFFs. As best friends do, we shared our stories, and one of Vicki's stories was that pornography had destroyed her first marriage. At the time we met, she knew God was calling her to write that story, but she wasn't quite sure what the story would look like. Would the story be best told in novel format? Would fiction allow her to share the story and perhaps touch readers through that avenue? Or would nonfiction be a better route?

Vicki struggled. This isn't an easy story to tell. But God called her to it, and she was obedient. Vicki knows, more than most, that God can and will use the pain she and her family endured to help others who are struggling with the same thing. She formed a focus group of 25 women who've dealt with pornography in their own marriages, and over a period of two years, she interviewed, researched, and wrote not only her story, but their stories as well. This year, the fruit of her labo…

Days of Thanksgiving 6

Thanksgiving # 6: The Right to Vote

I'm so grateful to have grown up in the United States of America. When I was in grade school - City School - we gathered every day in the auditorium, where we sang songs, prayed, and said the Pledge of Allegiance. I was sad when my kids started school and they no longer did these things.

I remember opening a geography book for the very first time in Mrs. Weaver's 4th grade class and learning how big this country was - I wanted to see every inch of it (and I'm still trying to meet that goal!) That geography book brought New England to life in such a way that I remember the words and pictures still today. I also developed a love of maps in that class!

In middle school, our social studies class, under the direction of Mrs. Davis, divided into two groups where we debated Ford or Carter, and then, for the very first time, we had an "election" and our school obtained REAL voting machines to show us how the process worked.

On the very…

Days of Thanksgiving 3, 4, 5

Continuing my days of Thanksgiving. Since I don't blog on the weekends, Mondays will have three days.

Thanksgiving # 3: Zach and Jessica.

Thanksgiving # 4: Jonathan.

Thanksgiving #5: Tulips.

Thanksgiving 1 & 2

I just realized today is the 2nd day of November, and I had planned to do something this year, starting on the first.

Then I forgot.

Then, today, my head just suddenly feels like it's going to explode from information overload. As I was praying about dealing with everything, a particular song floated into my head, and I began to relax as I listened to the words:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the Light of His Glory and Grace.


So I pondered ways to keep my eyes turned upon Him, and I remembered what I'd planned to do. During the next month or so, I'm going to post things I'm thankful for on my blog. They won't be in any certain order, just random. But as I write, I'm thanking God for each and every one, keeping my eyes focused on Him during this busy season.

Since I forgot yesterday, I'm going to post two today.

Thanksgiving # 1:

Tim. I'm so thankful for my husband. We lov…

Dead Man's Hand - New Release from Eddie Jones

We're thrilled to share a new release for middle graders today in an interview with author Eddie Jones.

Eddie, please tell us about your upcoming release, Dead Man's Hand, with Zondervan.

First, it’s a fun, fast read aimed for middle school boys, but we’re also getting nice reviews on Goodreads from teachers and mothers. But my aim is to give boys a book they can enjoy, one taps into today’s fascination with the occult. This is the first book in the Caden Chronicles series and each story involves one element of the supernatural. Book one explores the concept of ghosts, spirits and what happens to our souls when we die.

Zonderkidz is a Christian publisher, so the paranormal aspect is surprising. 

I added the paranormal aspect because I want parents and youth to struggle with eternal questions. We’ve created such a culture of blood-letting through books and movies involving vampires, zombies and survival contests, that the reality of death doesn’t carry the sting it once did. In h…

Will I See You At Conference?

Writing conferences offer several benefits to writers of all skill levels, at all stages of their career. August 23-25, I am serving on the faculty of the Catch the Wave Christian Writer’s Conference in metro Atlanta. My duties at the conference will include meeting with writers to discuss the possibility of publishing their books, teaching a workshop, and giving the closing speech.
The topic of my workshop, which I’m feverishly writing now, is “The Three P’s of Platform.” In my workshop, I’ll help writers understand the purpose of their own platform (incidentally, that’s not one of the P’s!), and we’ll have a brainstorming session that will help participants nail down, or perhaps even expand, their platform.
Other great workshops being presented at the conference include the following:
– How to Get the Most Out of a Conference – Marketing for Amazon – How to Get Published (continuing class) – Using Articles to Get Fiction and Nonfiction Published – Writing Daily Devotionals – Subte…

High Desert Haven: Author Lynnette Bonner

Today, I'm thrilled to introduce you to a new author friend, Lynnette Bonner.

Tell us about yourself, family, where are you from, how long have you been writing? I am married with four children. My husband is a pastor and we live in Washington. I was born in Malawi, Africa to missionary parents and learned to love reading at an early age. My love of reading eventually morphed into an attempt at writing. At first I only dabbled, but then one day I came across a historical tidbit that simply begged to be turned into a story, and my first full length novel, Rocky Mountain Oasis, (the first book of this series) was born. I’ve been writing ever since, with a few years in there of very sporadic writing when I was homeschooling my boys, but that makes it nearly twenty years now.
How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior? Well, I was born into a Christian family and heard the gospel from the time I was very little. The first time I really remember giving my heart to Jesus was in the back…

Naty Matos Releases Debut Novel

I'm thrilled to welcome one of Hope Tours charter sponsors, Naty Matos, to help celebrate the release of her debut novel.
How did the story for The Road Home come about?
I wrote the first draft of The Road Home in November 2009. I had decided to join NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the first time. I was going through some personal challenges at the time and this novel was the escape that got me through it. I had just renewed my commitment with Christ a few months before and decided to write from the perspective of those who didn’t know the faith and the joy of embracing it. But the story is so much more than someone finding faith. 
Tell us about the book.
Desiree is a woman struggling in life. She didn’t feel hope. She kept looking for love in all the wrong places and dealing with life tragedies the best way she could.
She had very little support in life. When she goes to college she meets Aimee, her roommate. These two women couldn’t be more different, but became the bes…

Discouragement Busters

Today, we welcome back Rita Schulte as our guest blogger.

Have you ever wondered why we get so upset when things don’t go as we painstakingly plan in life? You may be thinking, that’s a stupid question, it’s normal to be upset when things don’t turn out like we want them to; end of story. But is it?  It’s true that disappointment is an inevitable part of life, but if it’s stealing your joy or leading to discouragement, maybe it’s time to take a look at what could be driving it.
Disappointment is the result of a blocked goal, a hurt; or perceived loss of some kind. Loss usually gives rise to feelings of anger, hurt, rejection or sadness. I wanted something to happen that didn’t, or I didn’t want something to happen that did. The most important thing to consider is the message your disappointment is trying to convey.
Each of us has attached a meaning to the situations and events in life that have caused us pain or disappointment. When those add up it’s easy for discouragement to set in…

Observations and Reflections

Right after school ended for the semester, we went into high gear to publish three books during the month of May (and had just published one mid-April). Once all the books were published, life came to a screeching halt – the kind where you stop, look around, and say “okay, that was fun, now what?”
Since the end of May, I’ve spent time observing people in various aspects. I’ve surfed the internet, catching up on news, events, and blogs I’ve not read in a while, I’ve scrolled through Facebook posts from friends and acquaintances in all my groups, I’ve attended meetings online and in person, I’ve visited with friends and family, and I’ve even managed to explore some new places. And daily, I’ve fielded e-mails from writers and readers with questions about submissions, editing, our contests, and the Hope Tour.
In the midst of all of it, I noticed a pattern that overlapped from one group of folks to another. The fact that this pattern is not coming from just one group of people, or one as…

At the End of the Rainbow

The first time my husband and I went on a geocaching hike in the mountains, I thought, "Wouldn't it be fun to work this into a story?" Hmm. It could be a murder mystery, with various clues found in different caches. But, you know, I don't write mysteries, so that wouldn't work. So . . . romance. A romance with geocaches. Sure, why not?
When a friend and I started brainstorming a novella collection for proposal to Barbour Publishing in January, 2011, the idea I'd ignored for several years percolated to the top of my mind. Thankfully, Nicole was intrigued and thought it sounded fun. In a day or two we had the basic premise for the anthology worked out and found two other authors to join our team.
What if--what if a church decided to host a geocaching hunt as a summer-long outreach event? What if the whole thing was set up to remind participants that the treasure most of us seek is temporary, but there is treasure that will last into eternity?
We set up a few …