Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cleaning House

Monday we got 50% of our carpet cleaned. The non-bedroom variety. I just couldn't stomach the thought of moving everything around to get all the rooms cleaned. But all the living areas were cleaned out, vacuumed thoroughly, and then dry-cleaned.

Isn't there something wonderful about freshly cleaned carpets? Ours look as good as when they were installed last fall. Fresh, spot-free, and new.

What I really love though is the opportunity to be intentional about where everything goes. Just because

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Where's Your Creative Passion?

One of my eldest son's paintings
One of my writing buds mentioned the other day that when she got the freedom to write, her other artistic endeavors slid to the background. That she found fulfillment in writing. I like that.

I used to cross-stitch.
I used to scrapbook. Now I tend to make photobooks online.
I used to do all kinds of craftie endeavors. Now I pour that time into writing.

That's where my passion lies. Last night I started working on sample chapters for a proposal my agent is getting ready to send out. I've worked on this proposal off and on for a year, each time adding layers in an effort to build a story that will be engaging and rich. My agent thinks I'm getting there. Yeah!

But I keep coming back to this story because it has the elements I love. History unique to World War II. Characters with a story that engages me each time I return to it. And the reality that I feel so alive when I'm laboring over each word.

As people created in the image of God, one of His attributes is creativity. Just look at the world around us. The complexity and variety -- unnecessary unless He wanted to delight us and enjoy the process of creating. How do you reflect His creativity? Is it through amazing meals? I need recipes! Or through crafting? How do you do it?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Reasons to be Thankful This Year

Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1

I'm a writer (and attorney), so I'm into words and their nuances. So as I started thinking about Thanksgiving last week (yes, a little late to the party!), I went to Here's what it gives as a definition for grateful:

1) Warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful.
2) expressing or actuated by gratitude; a grateful letter
3) pleasing to the mind or senses; agreeable or welcome; refreshing: A grateful breeze

Warmly or deeply appreciative. I hope we can all look back on this year and think of several things that make us deeply appreciative.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ready for Christmas? Check out these Books

I know...Thanksgiving is in a few days, but Christmas is one month away. That's where these books come in. Each is a beautiful hard bound book with slip jacket that would make a wonderful gift for a reader in your life. In addition, if you're struggling to get into the holiday spirit, these books will jump-start that for you. So grab a mug of hot chocolate, cider or tea, your favorite blanket and one of these books. I enjoyed each of them for very different reasons...

In Remembering Christmas, Dan Walsh is back with a Christmas novella that shows he can write emotion as well as Nicholas Sparks. Dan is one of my favorite authors right now because his stories have a nostalgic feel mixed with a light touch of romance and a smattering of real life. In Remembering Christmas, the reader steps back to the winter of 1980. Some of the author's illusions to the way life was back then had me smiling and dreaming -- especially the reference to gas that hovered around $1.00. A son, Rick Denton, returns home with extreme reluctance to help his mom when his stepfather has a medical emergency. He takes over their shop -- ironically, a Christian bookstore -- when he has no idea of the products.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Christmas in Sugar Creek tour

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Christmas In Sugarcreek
Avon Inspire (October 25, 2011)
Shelley Shepard Gray

Unfortunately, I just received this book in today's mail, so I can't say anything more than it is BEAUTIFUL and could make a wonderful Christmas gift. Looking forward to reading it though.


Judith Graber has always been the obedient daughter. When her older brother Josh struggled with his love life, she offered wise counsel. When her younger brother Caleb flirted with the idea of leaving their order, she firmly told him he was wrong. Over the years, she’s watched her younger siblings, helped around the house, and worked in her family’s store during her spare time. Judith feels overworked, overlooked, and underappreciated this holiday season.

But everything changes when her father hires Ben Knox.

Ben Knox is the “bad boy” of Sugarcreek. Though he’s never considered jumping the fence, he’s certainly never tried to be anything close to dutiful. Two years ago he left Sugarcreek under a cloud of shame. Rumors circulated that his rumspringa had been filled with more than the usual harmless explorations.

Now he’s back and working side by side with Judith.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Songs Inspired by The Story

When I first purchased this set of CDs a few weeks ago, I had six hours of uninterrupted time in the car. Some of these songs literally had me in tears as my heart sang the words with the Biblical people. If you're looking for music that will take you deeper and challenge you, this is a great one. While it's not praise and worship, it is filled with rich truth.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Stories I had to Share: by Tricia Goyer

I am delighted today to have my dear writing friend Tricia Goyer join us. We share a passion for World War II. Today she's here to tell us about a new book and her passion. Here's Tricia.

I never thought twice about World War II. A stay-at-home mom, I enjoyed writing about parenting. With three kids under ten, I had plenty to write about.

Then came the trip to Europe with two friends. They were both novelists, researching for works-in-progress. And myself … I was still coming to terms with my grandfather's death from cancer. When we knew there was no use in Grandpa fighting any longer, I brought him home and cared for him for four months. After juggling hospice visits, housecleaning, and kids’ homework, a relaxing time with friends was just what I needed.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Restorer

First off, you need to know that I am NOT a fantasy reader. I couldn’t read JRR Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings or Hobbit until after I saw The Fellowship of the Ring. I simply couldn’t picture the worlds he created. Finally, my love for my husband and my sincere enjoyment of the movie pushed me to pick up those books. I enjoyed them, but I doubt I will read them again until my kids are old enough to enjoy them.

However, The Restorer is a book I know I will return to again. Susan is a mom with a life that seems perfect, but it’s missing something. She longs to do and be more for God, yet doesn’t know how. Her husband creates an escape for her in the attic, a place to hide from the activity of her kids and try to reconnect with God. The first time she uses it, she is sucked through a portal and into a new world.

Let me stop right there. I really expected at that point to throw the book aside. I knew it was fantasy, but I had no idea how that would play out. All I knew before picking it up was that a soccer mom takes on a Deborah-esque role. However, I could not put this book down, even as I was sucked with Susan into a world I’d never heard of or seen.

Susan experiences all the bewildering emotions of landing in a new place, unsure of what just happened and how she will get home. The first two people she meets in this world scare her to death; she just watched one kill a man, the other seems dangerous in unspoken ways. Yet she is forced to depend on them as she faces the uncertainties and unknowns of this new life.

She follows Tristan to his community where he takes her under his wing and begins to teach her the skills of a guardian. In some ways the community seems something out of the Middle Ages, but it’s not. The author paints the scene with vivid details that had me smelling the air, seeing the sky, tasting the strange food. She also painted the characters with strokes that left me feeling like I knew them. It was easy to pretend I was Susan traveling through the story. Feeling the abuse her body took. The overwhelming mental challenges. The spiritual exertion.

The story is rich with villains, too. These villains are unlike any I’ve seen before. And their weapon of choice? Poisoning unsuspecting minds with lies that will debilitate. The imagery of spiritual warfare was rich yet shadowed. The book never became preachy, yet I could easily connect with the idea that the truth is all that will protect us from the lies of our Enemy.

I LOVED this book, and cannot wait to read book two when it releases this fall. And this from someone who runs the other direction as soon as someone mentions fantasy.

Come back tomorrow for a wonderful interview with Sharon Hinck.

Monday, November 07, 2011

ACFW: Always evolving

Yesterday and today I've been in meetings planning a big new adventure for ACFW. If you're dream includes writing a book, then you really need to check out ACFW. My writing journey would look very different without the things I have learned from ACFW members. This year I came back on the board as publicity officer. That's always an adventure, because many of the new endeavors fall under publicity. So this year we started offering webinars. We've had three this fall that went great. Now I'm sketching out plans for what the program will look like on a sustained basis. Then there's this new project, daunting and very exciting! You'll just have to stay tuned for more information, but know exciting things are coming!

Friday, November 04, 2011

What's Your Dream?

What's your dream?

Some days it's hard to get beyond the day to day to even imagine a dream. Other days our dreams are so overwhelming, they paralyze us. You want me to do what, God? Anyone?

We let the days zip by us, feeling empty and purposeless, but don't take the time to stop and ask why. Wonder if God more for us. And if He does, what could that be?

I firmly believe God has each of us here for this time for a reason. But many of us miss it because we aren't looking, we believe He can't really mean to use us, or we just aren't willing.

Do you have a dream? Are you taking steps to bring it to fruition knowing that you need to partner with God on it?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Baker's Wife

Let the flour fly!

I haven't received my copy of this book yet, so I can't tell you what I think other than I'm eager to read it. However, I did want to let you know about this giveaway because I think it's one just about every woman would enjoy. Even if you don't like to cook you probably like to bake -- well, at least I do :-)

Beginning October 24th, Erin's celebrating the release of her latest page turner, The Baker's Wife, with an outstanding KitchenAid baking prize package giveaway that includes a brand new KitchenAid Mixer, cook books, and all you need to whip up some fabulous bread or sweets! Then on November 10th she'll be wrapping up the release of The Baker's Wife with an Author Book Chat Party on Facebook! Don't miss a minute of the fun!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • Empire Red 4.5 QT Ultra Power KitchenAid Stand Mixer
  • Black & White Kitschy Apron
  • Black Silicone Oven Mitt
  • Black OXO Rolling Pin
  • Wilton 9X5 loaf pan
  • At My Grandmother's Knee Cookbook by Faye Porter
  • Second Helpings with Johnnie Gabriel Cookbook
  • The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 9th. Winner will be announced at The Baker's Wife Author Book Chat Facebok Party. Erin will be wrapping up the The Baker's Wife celebration with a book club chat and giving away a bunch of "sweet treats"! So grab your copy of The Baker's Wife (it's okay if you don't have one yet- you might win one!) and join Erin on the evening of November 10th for a book chat, some "baking" trivia and lots of "sweet" giveaways (books, and Amazon, iTunes & Starbucks gift certificates)!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends. Hope to see you on the 10th!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Me? A Princess?

One of the other things I'll teach on this week is coming to a place of understanding our identity in Christ.

Have you ever really thought about what it means to be God's Princess? To really grasp that everything in the fairytales, plus a whole lot of authority is ours by extension of what Christ did for us? It's a humbling and powerful thought.

Just think about Psalm 16:6 for a minute: The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Okay, now read it again and let it soak in. Some of us are in a place where we can say, yes, that is me. Others of us are at moments where we can't even see the foot in front of us let alone find the face of God to see a delightful inheritance. But it's ours. Relish that thought and promise today.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Love on the Line: DeeAnne Gist

With Love on the Line, DeeAnne Gist is back with a collection of delightful characters.  Who else can make a train robber seem like the kind of guy every girl would fall in love with? And the sparks between Georgie and Luke fly from the first moment he shows up at her telephone office. She's butting up against what the times say a woman can do, and he seems more than happy to hold her there. It's another great romance from DeeAnne!

Deeanne is thrilled to introduce Georgie and Luke to the world in her latest novel, Love on the Line. To celebrate Deeanne's publisher, Bethany House, is hosting the Love on the Line iPad2 giveaway an Author Chat on Facebook! Enter today and follow the link below to RSVP for Deeanne's rip-roarin' Facebook Party!

One fortunate winner will receive: 
  • A Brand New iPad2 
  • A Signed Copy of Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist 
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 7th. Winner will be announced at Deeanne's Author Chat Facebook Party. Deeanne will be wrapping of the Love on the Line celebration by chatting with friends new and old! So grab your copy of Love on the Line (it's okay if you don't have one yet- you might could win one!) and join Deeanne on the evening of November 8th for a rip roaring book chat, a little trivia, a sneak peak at her next book, and lots of giveaways (books, and Amazon, iTunes & Starbucks gift certificates)!
Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends. Hope to see you on the 8th!


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