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"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." Matthew 5:14-15

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." Matthew 13:45-46

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Obedience at All Costs

"“Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD?
To obey is better than sacrifice." 1 Samuel 15:22


 Hear my cry, O God;
   listen to my prayer.
 From the ends of the earth I call to you,
   I call as my heart grows faint;
   lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
   a strong tower against the foe.   Psalm 61:1-3


"But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 24:15


Sometimes the path before us twists and turns through the wilderness. We become thirsty and weary in the dry wasteland spread before us. Discouragement settles upon our shoulders, pushing down with an overwhelming force. We question why the path is rocky and strewn with heartache. We may be tempted to relax our guard. Perhaps we sit, thirsty and searching, but no water is in sight. When all of a sudden, a gentle breeze whips our hair, cooling our skin. We feel the brief reprieve, but just as quickly it disappears, leaving us longing for a respite.


Perhaps we feel like a toy boat, tossed and turned on the waves, with no control over where we are heading. We desire to be in a different place, but can't seem to break free of the tendrils of doubt and despair. We know where we should be heading, but are unable to move, gripped with fear and insecurity. Chains shackle and hold steadfast, at times visible and others unseen.

We need to remind ourselves to look at what is concealed, instead of what may be seen and felt. Jesus calls us to obedience at all costs, whether we feel like it or not. Our obedience is not based on what others are doing, or how they respond to us. He calls us to rest and trust in Him, to follow Him no matter what the cost. I choose this day to serve Him.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What's Ahead?

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13

It seems hard to believe in three short days 2010 will be coming to a close. The end of year usually signals for me a time to reflect and think about how things have gone. I question whether or not I've drawn closer to God. Where am I in my spiritual walk? What things do I want to improve or change as I plan for the coming year?

I wouldn't exactly say that I make resolutions with the beginning of a New Year, but I do seek God's will in discerning what things He desires me to focus on. Over the next few days I'll begin the process of seeking His face for wisdom concerning the direction He wishes me to head.

How about you.... do you make New Year's resolutions and how do you go about keeping them? What ways are you desiring to improve?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

23 Wonderful Years

I praise God for my wonderful husband. He is a blessing in my life. Today we are celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Jesus is the reason we celebrate. I pray you have a blessed Christmas with family and friends.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Two Days Till Christmas

" For to us a child is born,
   to us a son is given,
   and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
 Of the greatness of his government and peace
   there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
   and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
   with justice and righteousness
   from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
   will accomplish this." Isaiah 9:6-7

Each day my son reminds me of how many days it is until Christmas. I guess we started advent calendars when our boys were quite small. I don't even remember how long it's been. It's a tradition in our family, as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.

With our 'to do' lists, it's so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the season. At times I need to stop myself, and remember the reason why we rejoice. I pray each of you experience the depth of God's love in a new and special way this Christmas. He is the reason for our hope. We are nothing without Him.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Simple Act of Kindness

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 
1 Thessalonians 5:11 

My heart was touched this afternoon by a simple act of kindness. I had been feeling a little overwhelmed as of late. So many things on my plate, along with experiencing daily pain with my sore shoulder. has left me a bit worn out and lacking much joy. It probably didn't help that I'm also sleep deprived, after being up with my husband several times through the night when he wasn't feeling well.

While my husband rested, I decided to work on Christmas cards, to see if I could make any progress with them. I was interrupted by a phone call from my dear friend, asking if it would be all right if she stopped by for a few minutes to return something to me. I agreed, but asked her not to ring the doorbell, so my husband wouldn't be disturbed.

My friend and her husband arrived about ten minutes later with a surprise for us - a beautiful wreath to hang on our front door. I was so blessed and moved by this simple gift. I knew it took time and effort for her husband to craft this present, and I am so appreciative. 

I pray my heart will be open to hear when God calls me to encourage someone through a simple act. This season is a wonderful time to touch people's lives and share God's love and light. I'm blessed to be on the receiving end, but also pray I can be a giver too.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Simple Prayer

"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." James 5:16b

I sat in the waiting area this morning while my son underwent an MRI of his shoulder. The news came on at noon, from a station in VA. I watched as snow befell their area. The forecast showed snow through most of MD and VA. The cutoff for precipitation seemed to end right at the MD/PA border. I sighed in frustration.

As I drove my son back home, I prayed a simple prayer of "Lord, could you make the snow come a little further north so we can get some too?" I knew, it was something God could easily perform. I didn't doubt His ability. I had little faith it would be a prayer He would answer though.

Minutes later I was waiting in line at a fast food restaurant to pick up a quick lunch, so I could meet with a dear friend. As I looked out my window, I saw a single snowflake. I looked again, wondering if I had imagined it. By the time I left the parking lot, an extremely light snow was falling. While we ate our lunch and conversed, the snow continued to thicken and fall, covering sidewalks.

Most people think I'm crazy because I love snow so much. I can't describe it, but it brings me such joy to see the earth being blanketed. It's a constant reminder to me of how Christ paid the penalty for our sins, and wipes our hearts clean when we come to him.

I praise God for answering my simple prayer this afternoon and bringing joy to my heart.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Living in the Unexpected

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair." 
2 Corinthians 4:8

It's been an interesting week, and hasn't turned out at all like I anticipated. My youngest son has been having shoulder issues, that have been aggravated since we came home from vacationing in Maine in November. It probably didn't help that he returned to swim practice right when they began intense sessions.

After a doctor appointment, x-rays and physical therapy evaluation, it appears he is out of swimming for at least the remainder of December. It's unclear at this point whether or not he'll be able to swim in January. It depends how his shoulder responds to resting it and working on physical therapy exercises.

I find the news a mixed blessing of sorts. I hate to see him in pain and missing out on a sport he enjoys, but I also am looking forward to having the evenings free to spend family time together. It allows me extra time to work on things as we prepare for celebrating Jesus' birth. We finally were able to finish decorating this afternoon. It's been a long drawn out process this year.

I remind myself Jesus is not surprised by this shoulder injury. He knew about it well before we did. Even though we don't always understand, we know we can trust Him, even when life throws us a curve ball.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Permission Not to Stress

 " Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

I had lunch with a dear friend today. It was such a joy to sit down and reconnect with her after being gone on vacation to Maine. I was able to share with her some of my photos and materials I picked up while we visited Camden. She blessed my heart by being excited about what was important to me.

After I left her, I walked over to the Fashion Archives, which is having a show on the clothes of the nineteenth century. This was of particular interest to me, since this is the time period that I am writing about in my Christian historical fiction book. While I perused the display of old dresses, my mind ruminated on the discussion my friend and I had just had.

I was telling her about how my time has gone, since we returned from Maine. I mentioned not being able to write yet, and stressing over all that needed to be accomplished. She suggested taking a break from writing until January, and instead focus on what needed accomplished for Christmas.

A simple remedy, but one I hadn't come up with before now. As I walked back to her office, I felt as if a huge weight had been removed from my shoulders. She gave me permission to not stress and try and get everything accomplished. She assured me it was all right to take a break. I had been feeling guilty about not being able to get everything done that needed to be.

Sometimes (maybe often) we need a friend who knows us well enough to advise us and tell us ways we can improve. I'm thankful for this dear woman who had the keen insight to know I needed permission to not try and do it all. I praise God for this incredible friend!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Have the Funeral Before You Die

"I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
   Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:50-57

Yesterday morning I sat at the funeral of a dear friend, with my two sons by my side. The past few months I have experienced a number of viewings and funerals. I was reminded of the importance of keeping short accounts, and make sure you aren't harboring anything in your heart. Perhaps this is good to take into account, especially in the midst of the Christmas season.

Maybe it's time to have a funeral. What do I mean? Not literally digging a pit in the ground, but in your mind instead. Then ask God to show you if there are any areas in your life where you are harboring bitterness, unforgiveness, sinful habits, etc. When God shows you, ask Him to throw them in the hole that's been dug, and cover them with His shed blood on the cross. Pray you won't dig up the soil again, but choose to walk in the beauty of His forgiveness and love.

This year in late December, it will be twenty years since my Dad died. I'm thankful I had time to make things right with him before he left this earth. We didn't have any major problems, but some miscommunication and misunderstandings through the years. We cleared those up a year or two before his body was ravaged with cancer. When he died, I was able to release him, knowing that he loved me. We kept short accounts, not holding onto bitterness or hurts.

As you prepare your house and heart for Christmas this year, don't forget to examine your life and heart to see if you are harboring those hurts from the past. Dig a hole and bury them, asking the Holy Spirit to reign in your heart instead.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Heart Preparation

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30

As I turned the calendar to December this morning, my first initial inclination was panic, especially when my son and I wrote 24 days to Christmas and started our countdown to celebrating Christ's birth. My brain ticked off all the things waiting to be accomplished - find photo for Christmas letter, print Christmas letter, write Christmas cards, figure out what gifts we have already, and what we still need, finish decorating the house, search for a Christmas tree, decorate said tree, make cookies, wrap gifts, make gifts..... The list swirled in my head. I also remembered the 30,000 words or so I still need to finish on the novel I'm writing. My goal is to have it completed by Christmas. Ahh!!!

Then I stopped, took a breath, and remembered a conversation I had with my friend from Georgia on Monday. We were discussing preparation for the holiday season. I started listing all the things 'to do', and she commented that she decided she wasn't going to be stressed this Christmas season. After all, we are celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, it's all about Him. So perhaps my cards will be a little late this year, and I won't get to all the things I would like to do. The most important thing to focus on is preparing my heart for celebrating Christ's birth. He is the reason for the season.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Farewell to a Dear Friend

I received news a few moments ago that a dear friend from church died this morning. This dear 90-year-old woman was an inspiration to all who took the time to get to know her. Her battle with cancer ended as she breathed her last moment on this earth, and entered into Jesus' presence the next.

She taught me the importance of being able to laugh at yourself and not to take things so seriously all the time. She found the joy and laughter in life. She had a wonderful love for the Lord, and incredible sense of humor.

She remained at home throughout her last days, keeping her independence. She was the type of woman that I want to grow up emulating. Even though my heart is sorrowful with missing this dear woman, I can't help but rejoice she is no longer suffering. She is walking the streets of heaven and celebrating.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful for the Little Things

Yesterday my family spent Thanksgiving in Hershey with my Mom, brother, and his family. We had to eat in shifts since there were so many of us - eight grandchildren and five adults. While the kids were eating my mom asked each of her grandchildren to say what they are thankful for this year.

I have two nieces and a nephew that were adopted from Ethiopia a few years ago. The things they mentioned they were thankful for were things like: family, shelter, water, heat, electricity and clothes. It was a reminder to be grateful for all those little things we often take for granted. What are you thankful for this year?

Thanksgiving

We are on the eve of celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow. This will be my first time to not prepare the meal for a number of years. We have been vacationing, so my mother offered to have us come to her this time. In about half an hour we’ll be reaching her home in Hershey. We’ve been on the road for over twelve hours, so we are looking forward to soon being able to stop for the night.

With having a week away from home, it has given me some new insight. It’s been a blessing to be away from the normal stresses and strains of life – to relax and have no commitments. I even took a week off from writing, until now. :) I guess I’m finally at the point where I needed to get some things down on paper.

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, I find I have many things to be thankful and grateful for in my life. I praise God for my Savior. I’m thankful for my husband, who is especially dear to me. I’m thankful for my sons.

There are many other things as well – like the pleasure in sitting down and reading a good book, enjoying lunch with a dear friend, or the joy in having time away to gain a better perspective of things.

As we celebrate all that God has done for us, I pray that you too will take time to count your blessings. When was the last time you thanked God for all He has done for you?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Two Week Hiatus

The remainder of November will be very busy for me and my family. I have several things to accomplish by the end of the month, so I've decided to take a two week hiatus, taking a break from blogging, email and Facebook. I'm looking forward to the break from technology! :)

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Prayer Request

I wanted to share a prayer request this time. We have a dear friend from church who is 90 years old and has been suffering with cancer. I heard this evening she was doing poorly. We had been wanting to go see her, but things have been crazy and we put it off. Tonight I knew we needed to go see her, so we did.

It was very hard to see this dear woman so frail and a mere shadow of what she'd been. So if you read this I ask that you pray for her and her daughter who is working a full time job during the day and staying with her Mom in the evenings, taking care of her. I hate to see my friend suffer, but also hate to see her leave too. I know she'll be going to heaven, but death is never easy. Sigh!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tis the Season

I love everything about Christmas - the cards, music, decorations, gifts, the food, the tree, and most important of all, the celebration of our Savior's birth. Our house usually has a mix of Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations in the month of November. A few Christmas things are beginning to make an appearance in our home. Today and this week my son and I will work at festooning our home with evidence of this winter holiday.

Today we have Christmas music playing and already made a batch of sugar cookies. Orange dreamsicle cookies are the next on the list. I even purchased my Christmas cards last week. Most years I hand stamp my own cards, but this year I am running behind schedule with trying to write and work on my novel and various assignments. (I usually would have them all made by now).

I figured I'll be able to work on my Christmas cards on the long car trip to Maine and back home again. I'll return home with something already accomplished for the holiday. If I get a few minutes, I'll also work on writing our family Christmas newsletter which we include in each of our cards.

For me, the Christmas season is a time for joy and celebration. I love sitting in the living room with all the lights off, except the Christmas tree lights. I huddle under a warm blanket, soft music plays in the background, as I sip a warm beverage. I love having quiet days with my family, basking in their presence, playing games, watching a movie (Lord of the Rings), and celebrating Jesus' birth. It's always wonderful if it snows too. 'Tis the season to prepare for Christmas.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Choosing to Walk in My Daddy's Footsteps

I've been thinking about the choices we make each day. Have you ever experienced a big snowfall where it is difficult to plow your way through the drifts? I remember when our boys were little, they would follow behind and walk in our footsteps, so it wasn't so difficult for their small legs. They were able to walk a further distance since they didn't tire out as easily when the path was already plodded for them.

How much better it would be if we followed this same philosophy. Our Heavenly Father has already provided and walked the path He has for us. We need to choose to walk and follow in His footsteps. We can decide to blaze our own trail, beating through the briers, thorns and weeds, perhaps sometimes straying to a path that may look easier to trod, or we can choose to be like Him. Which path are you choosing?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Joy!

I have been keeping a joy journal since late January. I often include it in my sidebar entitled Simple Joys. Even on the outside of my journal it says JOY. I found it at a craft store last Christmas. It is a reminder to look for how God moves or speaks to me throughout the day. Believe me, He's always there, it's whether or not we choose to be listening or filling our days with so many things, we can't hear Him.


Tonight I'm hosting my ladies Bible study group. We call ourselves Perfect Harmony. Whenever we are together, we experience joy. Even if one, or all of us are going through difficult times in our lives, somehow in the sharing and accountability we experience God's peace and presence. I always leave being blessed by our time in fellowship.

Joy has been a topic on my mind as of late. Perhaps because of experiencing freedom in being who God created me to be. I find myself humming and singing a lot throughout the day. For me that can be a diagnostic reading. The more joy I have, the more I hum and sing. Where are you on the 'joy meter' today?

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan

Country girl Mercy Land  chooses to leave her back-woods upbringing to work as an editor's assistant in Bay City, Alabama. Set in the 1930's, Mercy works for Doc Philips, the publisher and Editor of the local newspaper. One evening a mysterious book appears on Doc's desk that shows the lives of everyone in Bay City. All the decisions made through life are revealed in its pages. The two are intertwined, as they try to solve the riddle of why the book came and how they are to use it.

It's a story of living life to the full with no regrets. We are unable to change the past. Our lives and the choices we make each day affect those we meet.

This free book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers

Monday, October 25, 2010

God Knows

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13

I'm thankful how God uses people in my life when I need it the most. I've been thinking today about the many blessings God bestows on us, often when we least expect them.

I've been on an emotional roller coaster the past week or so for various reasons. Through my ups and downs God has blessed me with a dear friend who surprised me with a dozen roses. I enjoyed a long walk with a different friend. I've been blessed through phone calls and women coming alongside me to uplift me in prayer. I have a wonderful husband who supports me. My youngest son blessed me today through an understanding hug and comfort.

I am so thankful God knows our hearts and our needs. I'm thankful for His loving care and concern. He blesses me through many individuals and I am grateful.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Burden Carrier

"Two are better than one,
       because they have a good return for their work:

 If one falls down,
       his friend can help him up.
       But pity the man who falls
       and has no one to help him up!

 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
       But how can one keep warm alone?

 Though one may be overpowered,
       two can defend themselves.
       A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:9-12


I praise God for a dear friend of mine. God brought her into my life when I was in need. It's funny, because we had been acquaintances for years, but never anything more than that. But at a time when I was having a number of struggles, she reached out to me. It forged a new beginning for us.

I know I quoted these verses in my last post, but it still rings true to what's on my heart today. I praise God I have a friend who comes alongside me and carries my burdens. She is a great listener and burden carrier. She can't change things or make my situation better. But I know she cares and is traveling the road with me. She prays for me. Somehow in the sharing and praying together, my burden is lifted. It isn't solved, only God can do that, but it becomes more manageable.

This is how it should be. We also experience this when we give our struggles over to the Lord for Him to carry. I'm so thankful He knows what is best for me. I praise Him for this dear friend who chooses to help carry my burdens. Thanks friend! :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fellowship and Accountability

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:9-12



"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25


I lead a woman's Bible study. I have for quite a number of years now. Many different women have been involved with it through the years. Two have remained constant and faithful throughout each topic I taught. We are a small group, only four of us, but God has brought us together in such a unique way. We have drawn close to each other as we are open and share the struggles we each face.


We share a common bond of loving the Lord, and desiring to learn how to be more like Him. Studying His Word strengthen our ties to one another. I'm thankful for these women because we share so much laughter and joy when we meet, although there is a lot of that too! But more than that, we share fellowship and accountability. 


God has meshed our hearts in a way I've never seen with each of the groups I've led. I don't know if it's because we are all in need of each other, or what. But through this relationship I continue to learn of the importance of having accountability in my life. Someone to ask you those hard questions. Another woman who sees your actions and examples and loves you even when you fail. A person willing to come alongside you and carry the load you bare.


The scriptures written above remind us of this need to rely on other people. It can be a scary thing. At times you can get wounded. I believe we need to seek God's wisdom and be careful. It's hard to know when and who you can trust. But don't be afraid to step out in faith and let someone into your life when you feel God prompting you. Don't miss out on a potential blessing.

Monday, October 18, 2010

When's the Last Time You Checked Your Face?

When was the last time you checked your face? I don't mean, when was the last time you looked in the mirror, but instead, when have you taken note of your countenance? Even though you may have experienced heartbreak and sorrow, does your face show you have no hope? Or do you instead have God's peace?

Philippians 4:7 says, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 goes on to say, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."

So today I'm asking, "When was the last time you did a face check on yourself?"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gratefulness

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

There is so much to glean from these three little verses, but what hits me the most today, is to give thanks in all circumstances. I couldn't help but think about this after meeting with a dear friend for breakfast yesterday morning. As we talked and shared together, I was reminded of how much this world is missing the importance of gratitude and being thankful.

I recently experienced the death of a family member. I know of a dear friend who is dying of cancer. Another friend has a scary doctor report. The list could go on and on of the struggles we face each day. We often are surprised by life, but God never is. He knows what's going to happen before we do.

I was thinking how we need to focus more on being grateful - expressing it to God and to others. I wondered if perhaps you could look at each thing separately - joy, prayer and thankfulness. But the more I consider the possibility, I can't help but wonder and believe these three are intertwined, or need to be in our life. When we continue to pray and express our thankfulness, no matter what we are facing, we also experience joy. Coincidence? Definitely not!

So for today, why don't you experiment with prayer, thanksgiving and joy. Perhaps the more you work these into your life, the more joy you will experience. When was the last time you had joy? When did you pray? When was the last time you experienced gratitude and told someone? What can you do to improve?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Night to Remember - Part Two

Continued from yesterday........

"What do you think it means?" Nathaniel questioned.

"I think we'll find the answer in Bethlehem as the angels proclaimed," David said with awe.

Another shepherd replied, "David is right, 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'

"How can it be?" David's mind protested. But as he approached the young mother and father, he knew in his heart this babe was special. Even though his mind couldn't comprehend, his heart recognized that this was the Son of God.

David looked at the flushed face of the child and the tiny hands. The baby opened his brown eyes and gazed directly at him. A small smile flitted across Jesus' face, before his eyes closed in sleep.

Years later, David remembered the night with clarity. He knew it was the Lord's hand guiding them to the small stable behind the country inn. He and his friends spent the next few years sharing their story with whomever would listen. David knew Jesus would change his life in a dramatic way, but it would be many years before he fully realized what it entailed.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Night to Remember, Part One - Just For Fun

The black velvet sky began to come alive with the twinkling of countless stars. All lie quiet on the soft rolling hills surrounding Bethlehem. The sheep slept with only an occasional bleating interrrupting the stillness of the evening.

David stretched, pulling his cloak closer as a shield to ward off the coldness. He poked at the embers of the fire, causing a sudden warmth to flame upon his cheeks. He glanced at his fellow shepherds, who were still dozing. It was his turn to have night watch duty. He often found it difficult to stay awake, but tonight was different. He glanced over his shoulder, anticipating something.

"It must be my imagination," David murmured to himself. "The sheep are quiet tonight."

The hours passed. As David prepared to awaken Nathaniel for his shift, a bright light filled the night sky. David shielded his eyes, reaching for his staff.

"W-Who goes there?" he called, hating the way his voice cracked.

David continued to stare at the brilliant light. He squinted, wondering if he saw the shape of a man with wings. He blinked his eyes, straining to see.

"I must be dreaming."

"What is it?" Nathaniel asked, joining him.

David was ready to reply, when a voice from the heavens interrupted him.

"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

The skies were filled with a multitude of angels and in one voice they proclaimed, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men whom his favor rests."

As quickly as the angels appeared, the skies were now deserted. David observed that all of his friends were awake and saw the glorious sight.


To be continued............

Friday, October 8, 2010

Gorgeous Day in PA

We have been having such gorgeous weather in PA the past couple days. It's been quite welcome after having three days of dreary, overcast and rainy days. Although I find that I also enjoyed the dreary days too. I like being able to sleep in a little later since it was more dismal. I like curling up with a good book, drinking something hot, having Christmas carols playing and a candle lit. Gotta love that! But I also enjoy the sunshine. Also love the snow, but we won't go there.....YET! :)

It's to be wonderful tomorrow too, for which I am thankful. My dear friend from Georgia and her husband will be visiting. Unfortunately they can only stay for about 16 hours or so, but we are going to make the most of the opportunity since she doesn't often make it to PA. We'll celebrate her 50th birthday together.

I don't have any deep or even light spiritual truths to share today. Just glorying in the beautiful day God has given us. What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Power of Story

I find words to be interesting, perhaps why I enjoy writing them. I also like the sounds of different words. Take the word ruminate. Dictionary.com defines it as: to chew the cud, as a ruminant, or to meditate or muse; ponder. This word accurately describes my thoughts as of late. I've been pondering the power of story. What a coincidence my current writing assignment also deals with this topic. Or is it?

How interesting that Christ often used the gift of story to spread His truths. Somehow a story can break through the lines of defenses and crack the armor that people use to guard their hearts. The words of this old hymn by H. Ernest Nichol reflect these thoughts.

We've a Story to Tell to the Nations

We’ve a story to tell to the nations,
That shall turn their hearts to the right,
A story of truth and mercy,
A story of peace and light,
A story of peace and light.

Refrain
For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
And the dawning to noonday bright;
And Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,
The kingdom of love and light.

We’ve a song to be sung to the nations,
That shall lift their hearts to the Lord,
A song that shall conquer evil
And shatter the spear and sword,
And shatter the spear and sword.

Refrain

We’ve a message to give to the nations,
That the Lord who reigns up above
Has sent us His Son to save us,
And show us that God is love,
And show us that God is love.

Refrain

We’ve a Savior to show to the nations,
Who the path of sorrow has trod,
That all of the world’s great peoples
Might come to the truth of God,
Might come to the truth of God.

Refrain

We are affected by story through the books we read, those we hear and also watch. What type of story are you telling with your life?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Security in Who I Am

I've been thinking about this old hymn by Daniel W. Whittle and James McGranaham entitled "I Know Whom I Have Believed." Perhaps because I've been thinking about some of the events from this past weekend.

I'm thankful I have a God who loves me no matter what. Even though I am unworthy, He still chooses to pursue and seek me. What's so wonderful, is He does this for each of us! I'm thankful for this truth today!

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

Refrain
But I know Whom I have believèd,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

Refrain

I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing us of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.

Refrain

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

Refrain

I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.

Refrain

Monday, October 4, 2010

Comfort for the Soul

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 
2 Corinthians 1:3-5

It's rainy, cool, and dreary outside, but warm and calming inside. I have a pumpkin candle burning and Christmas music playing in the background.

It was an off weekend for our family. My husband and sons went to Virginia to visit my in-laws while I headed to my mom for a viewing and funeral. I think we all returned home a bit battle-bruised and weary and in need of recuperation.

I decided when I woke up this morning that my son and I would have an abbreviated school schedule today. He suggested putting on some Christmas music. We always start playing it early in our household, and decided today was the day to start. The only other things that would make the day perfect would be for my husband to have the day off, and for it to be snowing! :)

I'm thankful today for the comfort God brings through music and time together.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer

I loved the characterization Karen Witemeyer created in her new book Head in the Clouds. This book was set in Texas in the late 1800's, which happens to be my favorite time period.

Adelaide Proctor takes a job as governess on a sheep ranch. Her employer, Gideon Westcott is not your typical cowboy, but instead an aristocrat from England. Throw in a five-year-old girl, Isabella, who doesn't speak and a governess who desires a story-book ending. Along comes mystery and intrigue to make a delightful story. I highly recommend Karen's new book.


A free review copy of this book was sent to me by Bethany House Publishers.

God's Not Surprised

Today has turned out differently than I had planned. By now I was to be in VA with my husband and sons, visiting my in-laws and celebrating some birthdays. But yesterday we received a phone call that a family member had died. Funeral plans weren't known at that point. Less than an hour before we were to leave this morning, I received word that the times were set now, and the services would be much earlier than we anticipated.

It was a difficult decision, but my husband and sons continued on with their plans to travel to VA while I opted to stay home and attend the services tomorrow and Sunday afternoon. I continue to remind myself God is not surprised when we often are. I am thankful the call came before we left for VA, thus allowing me the opportunity to change plans. I praise God who is all-knowing. He is worthy of our trust!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fill My Cup Lord

I keep thinking of the words to this old hymn.

Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up, Lord!
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul;
Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more--
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole!


What made me think of this? Believe it or not, our two guinea pigs prompted those ponderings. Recently these two have developed a new habit. Whenever their food bowl gets low, they tip it over, completely upside down. I guess they do this in hopes that we will notice it, and fill it again with food. Pretty smart, because it usually happens.

This evening when I saw the empty bowl, it made me think of our need to go to our Heavenly Father each day and ask Him to fill our cup. It's easy to become drained, weary and worn from the days activities. We need Him to refresh, renew and refill us. I praise God that He is always there and available, just waiting for me to call out to Him.

'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.' Jeremiah 33:3

Monday, September 27, 2010

Free to Be Me

"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life." Galatians 6:4 (The Message)

I came across this verse a few days ago in a Bible study that I am working through entitled Discovering Joy in Your Creativity by Margaret Feinberg. Sometimes I think it takes a while for a verse we read from the Bible to soak in and take hold of our hearts. I feel that has been what has been happening in me since the conference, and since I read this.

I mentioned that I recently returned from the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference. It wasn't a WOW moment, but instead quiet confirmation that I'm on the journey that God has placed me on. I need to be faithful with keeping on that path and not straying. Believe me, it's easy to get sidetracked. So many things demand my attention throughout the day.

I have made a commitment to continuing on this journey to publication with my fiction writing. God only knows how long it will be before I achieve that first acceptance. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is the path that God has laid out for me to follow.

Today I pulled out my first four chapters and started rewriting, polishing, and hopefully improving what I had already written. I plan to spend the next several days working on this before starting the next chapter. I'm excited that I set a goal of writing 20,000 new words during the month of October. That will keep me moving. Then in November we have decided to spend a week in Maine, so I can actually see and travel the area where my book is set. I'm so excited! By then the weather should be cold and perhaps even snow on the ground in New England. Perfect for me, since I love winter. Also, most of the time frame of my book is during those cold, winter months. I can hardly wait!

Today I take pleasure in being free to be who God created me to be. How cool that He has me doing a job that I love doing - writing and sharing with others what He has done in my life.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Second Chance Brides by Vickie McDonough

Second Chance Brides by Vickie McDonough begins where book one in the Texas Boardinghouse Brides ended. I was pleased to have Rachel, Luke and Jack return in this sequel. I enjoyed reading of the escapades of young Jacqueline Davis and her adjustments to having a new father.

Vickie McDonough shares the stories of Shannon O'Neil and Leah Bennett in this captivating sequel. I love the twist that Vickie used in this continuing story of the mail-order brides. I found this book to be a wonderful read and highly recommend it.

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Vickie at the ACFW conference this past weekend. I found her to be as charming as her books.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Balance and Schedule

"Teach us to number our days aright,
       that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

This is day two since I returned home from the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference this past weekend. It was a wonderful learning and growing experience for me. Although I haven't started back into writing as of yet, I feel like I am at least in process of coming up with a writing plan and schedule that will fit into my lifestyle. I am still recovering from long days and not much sleep. I felt like a sponge that was sopping wet and unable to soak up any more information.

My week will be spent trying to get caught up from being away for five days. I am in the process of touching base with contacts that were made over the weekend. Then I plan to move on towards rereading what I have already written (my four chapters) and start further work on plotting, fleshing out characters, etc. Then next week I will start actively writing again. I'm looking forward to it.

I have been thinking about this Bible verse - the importance of ordering our days. It isn't enough to make our own thoughts and plans. We first must be seeking the Lord and learning His wisdom for how we should best order our time. I feel that I have been in process of doing that for a month or so. Now I finally have come up with a plan that I think will work. Even though it has been a longer process in arriving at a decision than I had planned, I am thankful to finally have a plan.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Gentle Whisper

"The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." 1 King 19:11-12

I arrived home last evening from the ACFW conference close to 10 PM. I admit to being one tired puppy today. My son and I decided to take a break from our homeschool schedule for the day, so I could try and get caught up with some things. Laundry and unpacking and some mail sorting have been accomplished, but not much else.

I find myself reflecting on my experiences. This was my first opportunity to attend this conference. It was a tremendous blessing to me. Two highlights for me, was that I was able to meet my two favorite fiction authors - Mary Connealy and Vickie McDonough. It took me a while to work up nerve to talk to each of them. I was with my extroverted mother, which for some reason tends to make me crawl a little more into my introverted shell.

I gained a lot of knowledge in my three days of attendance. In fact, I feel like my brain is quite heavy with all of the information! :) I enjoyed the opportunity to serve through helping in the bookstore and also the registration table. I plan to start implementing what I learned once I start writing in a day or two. I feel like I first need some rest to help clear out the fuzziness in my head!
I imagine for many that were in attendance they had a "ah ha" moment when everything seemed to click, or they felt a very clear direction of the next step on the journey that God was directing. This didn't exactly happen for me. I did not have the opportunity to speak with either an editor or agent. This time I was a sponge, just soaking in information.

For me, God showed up like He did with Elijah so many years ago - in a gentle whisper. I felt God reminding me of the calling He has placed on my life to write since I was a very young girl. I remember my early teens when I wrote my first novel. When asked at the conference, I said that I haven't really been published. But as I look back through the years, I realized how much writing I have accomplished. I wrote a teen novel while I was a teen. In my early twenties, I wrote my first historical romance. In the in between years, I have written a children's book, three Bible studies and a full length book on Proverbs 31. Now I'm currently working on my eighth book, which happens to be another historical romance.

As for being published? I had two poems published as a teen and actually received payment for them. :) The past two years, I have written a bi-monthly column for a homeschooling magazine, and still hold that position. Have I ever sought publications of my books? I did enter a contest with my first book, and sent my first adult novel off to one publisher, but that's it. I guess it's time to start being more proactive in this journey to publication.

At the awards banquet on Sunday evening, I was struck by something Terri Blackstock said in her acceptance speech. She mentioned that God has her go through situations, so that she can use it to help others, and she does this through her writing. It made me think about the Biblical truths that I desire to convey through the story that I am writing.

Sometimes we have those 'ah ha' moments or mountain top experiences in our life. That happened to me back in March, when God called me back into the pursuit of writing. But other times we may be in the midst of hard, difficult, dry times and then God chooses to speak in a gentle whisper.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Some Fear and Trepidation, But Also Excitement

By this time tomorrow I will be at my hotel in Indianapolis, IN awaiting the start of the American Christian Fiction Writer's Conference. I awoke this morning (shortly after 4 AM) with some fear and trepidation. I started racking my brain, asking myself how I'll respond if/when someone asks about what my book is about. Then I started thinking of all the things that need accomplished today. I ended up being awake for quite a while. I jotted some thoughts for how I would respond to people, and started praying.

I am very excited for this opportunity to have further training and connecting with other writers. I pray that my heart will be ready and open for what God wants to show me and teach me. I also pray that I will be a blessing to those that I meet. I'll be eager to share about my trip when I return next week. Blessings to you all!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

If Only

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
       but we trust in the name of the LORD our God."  Psalm 20:7

 
Last night my friend and I stood in line for over an hour to have Beverly Lewis sign one of our books. We were excited about meeting a well known author face to face. With each step forward we took, our anticipation grew a little more and perhaps our nervousness too. What would we say to this 'biggie' in the Christian publishing world? Better yet, what would she say to us? We had forgotten our cameras, so we were unable to capture the moment on film. Only our rusty minds would record the conversation, and the few minutes in her presence.

Did anything earth shattering happen? No. She simply asked how I was doing last evening. She smiled graciously when I gave her one of her older books to sign. It was one of her first books that I had ever gotten, which I told her. She signed her name and was ready for the next person in line. My friend and I left feeling a bit let down. Perhaps we expected something a bit more dramatic. Maybe having her personalize it, by including our name. But it didn't happen that way.

Not wanting to end our evening on a disappointing note, we decided to go out for ice cream on our way home. My friend told me that when it is my turn to be a published author and have book signings, that we would do things a little differently. 

I can't help but still ponder this event. I think we often take stock in things that are going to happen. When I get a new car, then I'll be happy. When my kids start behaving, I'll be at peace. When ____________ happens, ..... or if only __________ then I'll have joy, peace and happiness. I admit, there are times that I fall into this trap.

Years ago I thought, "If only I could get a book published, I'd be happy."
"If only I could have a child, I'd be happy."
"If only we could return home, I'd be happy."
The list could go on and on. But isn't it funny, that if/when those things come to pass, they don't bring us satisfaction. They only have us longing for something different.


True joy and satisfaction can only be found in our Lord and Savior. All the chariots and horses (or stuff that this world accumulates) won't bring lasting peace or happiness. Only having a deep relationship with God solves the "if only" in our lives. Only Jesus satisfies!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Laughter

"Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them." Paalm 126:2
 
I praise God for the gift of laughter and joy. I have had several opportunities to experience laughter today, through a phone call with a dear friend and an evening out with another dear friend. At times life can seem quite overwhelming. It's easy to get overwhelmed and bogged down by various situations that are out of our control.
 
I had the blessing of having multiple times of laughter and joy today as I shared with my friends. It amazes me how laughter can lighten our hearts, bring us joy and lift us up. I think there are times that we need to choose joy instead of sorrow. To choose gratitude instead of complaining and bitterness.
 
Today I am praising God for laughter and the blessing of friends.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Aromas...Memories....Challenge

"For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?" 2 Corinthians 2:15-16

There is a familiar aroma in our house again - the smell of chlorine. Yesterday was the beginning of swimming for my 16-year-old son. I had to smile when I picked him up from the pool last night and he reeked of chlorine. It made me remember the many times we have had through the years of our boys participating in swim lessons and swim teams. There only are two more years of swimming likely in our future, unless my husband gets back into swimming.

As I moved my son's towel this morning, and again had the familiar scent waft over me, I couldn't help but think of all the fun experiences through my boys' swimming careers. I remember when my oldest son was just learning to swim and was too afraid to jump in the pool from the side. Whenever he tried to jump, he actually hopped backwards, further away from the edge of the pool.

I also thought of this verse written above. There are some scents that immediately bring a memory to mind. As Christians, we are to have the aroma of Christ to those that we meet. That means they can sense it in us. If we come across as angry, unloving, unforgiving, etc. we unfortunately give off the scent of death. Not many are attracted to the Lord when we act this way. This challenges us to live each day worthy of the calling that God has on our life - to show others His love by how we respond. How are you doing? How do you smell? :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Call for Help

I'm working on a pitch for the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference that I will be attending next week. A pitch is a hook written in 25 words or less, with the goal of arousing curiosity in an editor to want to know more about your story.

Here is my pitch:


The light keeper’s daughter secretly longs to follow in her father’s footsteps. However her best friend’s overbearingly, pleasant brother threatens to thwart her aspirations.

I need your help. When you read this does it cause any questions to come to mind, and if so what? Any suggestions or comments?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fall

Breezes blowing,
Temperatures cooling,
Leaves changing.

Bonfires and apple cider,
Pumpkin pie,
Cool evenings.

Frost on pumpkins,
The crunch of leaves underfoot,
Joyful parts of fall.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Do You Know Where You are Going?

This morning we received word of the death of a local teacher that had just retired and relocated to Florida. He was in the process of moving into his new home. He had taught at our local high school as a Latin teacher for over 30 years. He also was a swim official, which is how my husband got to know him.

His death came as a shock to us. It made me realize and remember how fragile life is. We never know how long we have to live on this earth. This makes it extremely important to be assured of where you will spend eternity. It's pretty simple really. If you have accepted Christ in your life, and allow Him to be in control, you know that you will be in heaven one day. Have you made that decision yet?

I honestly don't know for sure whether or not this teacher friend knew the Lord. His death reminds me of the importance of sharing the hope that I have with others. I pray that God uses me to reach out to those that I know, to share His love and hope.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day - Thankful for the Work that God Has Given Me!

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24

This verse happens to be a favorite of my husband. It also was part of the theme of my pastor's sermon yesterday at church. The topic was "Taking Care of Business, Everyday, Every Way!" Pastor Paul Tatum's three points were:
  1. Your work is holy to the Lord.
  2. Your work honors God.
  3. Your work is hard for now.
He encouraged parishioners to follow the call that God has placed on your life. For me, that means writing and encouraging others. Pastor Paul said we should "zero in on what God has made us for and follow it." He also reminded us that "all of life is holy to the Lord."

So on this Labor Day I am rejoicing in the work that God has given me to do. Sometimes my writing is hard work. But most times it is a joy and a labor of love. It's something I need to discipline myself to sit down and work on each day, instead of coming up with excuses. I am thankful that it is what God has called me to do though!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I AM

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

"Give us each day our daily bread." Luke 11:3 



I have been thinking about this verse today. I met a friend for lunch and we discussed it. She shared about a book she is reading that talked about the fact that we serve a God who is "I AM" not I was or I will be (although God has been throughout all time). I like the fact that God will be with me always.

 I also have been thinking about living each day to its fullest, without regrets, following what God has called us to do. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in being worried about the 'what if's' in our future. I pray that I can take things one day at a time.

Jesus said we should ask God for our daily bread. We trust Him with our future, but one day at a time. My prayer is for strength for this day.

Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington


Love Finds You in In Victory Heights, Washington written by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna  Fleiss takes place during the second world war. This book allows readers to catch a glimpse of what life must have been like for those on the home-front, supporting the war effort.

Rosalie Madison works in the local Boeing plant, shooting rivets into B-17 bombers. She is content to help the war front as long as she isn't in the spotlight. Then reporter Kenny Davenport comes along and disrupts those plans, placing her on a roller-coaster of publicity events when she and her friend break the national record of thirty-one hundred rivets in one shift.

I truly enjoyed the threads of faith that were interwoven in this book - letting go of the hurts from the past, hope, forgiveness and trust. This book echoed truths that God has been showing me as well. I found this story captivating and encouraging. I recommend this book and found it to be a great read.

This book was provided for review by Summerside Press.

Book Synopsis:
The war has stolen Rosalie’s fiancĂ©, Vic, from her forever.  But rather than wallow, Rosalie distracts herself by cramming her days full of activity—mainly by shooting rivets into the B-17 bombers that will destroy the enemy.

When a reporter dubs her “Seattle's Own Rosie the Riveter,” even more responsibility piles up. Her strong arms bear all this, but when intense feelings surface for Kenny, the handsome, kind-hearted, and spiritually unwavering reporter, the fear of losing another love propels Rosalie to leave.

It’s only when Rosalie realizes that God has brought her to this place—and this person—for a reason, the sparkling grace of God compels her to let go of her own strength and lean on His, as well as open her heart to love.

About the Authors:

 Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-four books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. For more on Tricia visit www.triciagoyer.com


Ocieanna Fleiss is a published writer and has edited six of Tricia Goyer’s historical novels. She lives with her husband and their four children in the Seattle area. For more about Ocieanna visit her blog.

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Finds-Victory-Heights-Washington/dp/1609360001/ref=sprightly-20



Contest Info:
Tricia is giving away 5 Victory Prize packs during the blog tour. This contest is open to both you and your blog readers so please share it in your blog post too. That info can be found on this blog post (which will be live on August 14th). http://triciagoyer.blogspot.com/2010/08/win-victory-prize-pack.html



Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Hero

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25


My husband is my hero. We have been married for almost 23 years (in December). He continues to be my greatest supporter. I am incredibly blessed by this dear man. Today he felt impressed to take our van to work. Usually he leaves it here for me to use, but he really felt like he was supposed to take it.

We keep a shield in the front window to help the vehicle to not be quite so hot. When he folded it up this morning he found two hornets, that weren’t too happy. In fact one of them stung him in the leg. He was so thankful that it had happened to him, and not to me. He was able to prevent me from getting stung. My dear, sweet husband knight – ready to fight dragons on behalf of his fair maiden, despite the size. :)

He also endeared me, by staying up in the wee hours of night yesterday to work on a page template that I needed to have today. It will be used throughout the next two years. He sacrificed his sleep to help me out. I know he didn’t get to bed until after 1AM because he emailed me the document at 1:05 AM, after working on it on his computer.

As much as my husband loves and supports me, he is but a dim reflection of how much God loves and cares about me. I am incredibly thankful for my husband. He is my best friend and I am more in love with him now then when we first married. He has stood by me in all the ups and downs that we have faced together. I wouldn’t choose anyone else to be by my side. In this roller coaster of life he is my hero.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Catching Up

Today I was at the opthalmologist for a check up to see how the pressure was doing in my eyes after some procedures I had performed in early spring. This was the first time to see if the pressure had come down, like the doctor was hoping. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. I had a field of vision test and am not sure of the results. I will return in early January to check the optic nerve. If the pressure still remains high, we'll try another eye drop to see if that makes the difference. The doctor commented that my eyes are stubborn.

One note of encouragement is that I am slowly noticing a little bit of progress with my feet healing and not being quite so painful. I still have to be very careful and watch that I don't overdo. I pray that I'll be able to stand for at least part of the patriotic cantata that we'll be singing in on September 11th. I don't want to stress my feet too much since less than a week later I'll be hopping an airplane and having to trek through the airport.

I praise God that even in the midst of uncertainties and ups and downs in our lives, the Lord is always faithfully beside us. What a blessing to have the Lord.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hungry for God's Word

"Taste and see that the LORD is good;
       blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." Psalm 34:8


We have had an abundance of activity at out bird feeders as of late. They flutter, hop, chirp, and fly as they eagerly await their turn at the sustenance that has been provided for them. Some patiently sit on the sidelines, while others push and shove their way to the food. All of them desire the same thing - a meal.

As it gets closer to fall and winter each year, there seems to be much more interest in the feeders, then other times throughout the seasons. I suppose it is the instinct that God has built into these creatures, to start bulking up and preparing for the winter ahead. I know that we go through much more bird seed during this time.

While watching my fine-feathered friends, I couldn't help but think, wonder and question whether or not I have the same attitude that these birds have. Do I eagerly desire to be in God's presence and to learn from His Word? Is God's Word something that I seek with my whole heart? Am I content to sit on the sidelines when it comes to studying God's Word or am I actively seeking out what He has for me? Some definite food for thought today! :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vanishing Act by Liz Johnson

Nora James watches in horror as her father is shot in an alley. She narrowly escapes and flees the life she has always known. Nora is devastated to lose her only connection to family and is forced to live in hiding. Fear overwhelms at times, as she continues to wonder if the men who murdered her father will one day show up on her doorstop.

Changing her name to Danielle Keating and assuming a different identity and lifestyle makes it difficult for special agent Nathan Anderson to realize who she is. He becomes attracted to her, but forces himself to focus on the mission at hand - finding and protecting Nora James. Intrigue, suspense and mystery interfere with their budding relationship. Will it survive the test of time?

Vanishing Act is my first Love Inspired Suspense book that I have read from Steeple Hill Books. Although it is not the genre that I usually choose to read, I found this book interesting and fun.

Be sure to check out Liz's website:http://www.lizjohnsonbooks.com

This book was provided for review by Liz Johnson (Steeple Hill Books).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

In an Instant

"Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

"As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him.When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him." Mark 1:16-20


I know that this first scripture refers to when Jesus returns to this earth and calls us. But I can't help but think about how it relates to the second portion of scripture too. I have been ruminating for a couple weeks now about how life can change in an instant. One occurrence in our life can shape, mold and change our future - sometimes for good, but also for bad. At other times, it may just affect us for part of our life.

I have been thinking about my husband's ski accident, and how his life has been changed and different ever since he fell on the ski slopes almost 18 months ago. There still isn't a day that goes by, that he doesn't experience residual affects. At this point it is unclear whether or not he will ever be fully healed and back to 'normal.'

I also remember an event in my growing up years that only took a few minutes to occur, but I still carry the influence of it. I know that it has deep roots that have affected me in many ways, not always for the best.

But then I read in scripture how some ordinary man responded to the call of the Master. They answered when Jesus invited, little realizing how drastically it would change their lives forever, as well as the world as they knew it. In an instant their lives were radically transformed. Are you willing to answer the Master's call and be changed?

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Sound that Always Brings a Smile to My Face

I have been sitting here working on the computer for quite some time now. It's been a beautiful day, so I have had the windows open. As I have been writing, there has been a constant flurry of activity and chirping at the bird feeder that is just outside our kitchen window. Sparrows and other birds are eagerly awaiting their turn at the feeder.

I can't think of any other sound I hear that instantly brings a smile to my lips and joy to my heart, other than hearing the birds. I especially take pleasure in hearing cardinals. They are my favorite bird. What a joy this afternoon to hear the birds.

Three Year Anniversary!!

Just wanted to add a quick note. Yesterday it has been three years since I have started this blog! What a fun journey it has been. I enjoy sharing my thoughts, as well as things that God is teaching me.

First Day

Today my youngest son and I started our first official day of homeschool for the year. I have just begun my fifteenth year in this adventure. In fact, I only have two more years before this journey is complete. It seems hard to believe!

I was amazed that before lunch time, we had completed a full day of school, I had gone for groceries and had all the laundry washed. I felt like I did some major accomplishments this morning!

So what's next on the agenda for the day? I hope to get a little bit of writing accomplished on my novel, before my husband arrives home. I also hope to get back into more regular blog posts. The past three weeks have been a blur. Then my husband, son and I plan to spend a quiet evening enjoying pizza and a movie. I praise God for days to just kick back and relax in the evening!

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Whole New World

I just set up a Facebook account this afternoon/evening. I don't know that I know enough about it - probably just enough to be dangerous! :) I can see why people could spend hours on it. I was on for a while, just trying to figure things out. I opted to set up an account as part of my writing career.

I can't help but wonder if people join Facebook and other such organizations, because they have a desire to connect with someone. It makes me realize that God designed us for relationship and fellowship with each other. At times we use other things or people to substitue what we are really seeking in God. I'm not crticizing. I just realize that we need to be careful. What are your thoughts on this issue?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Coming and Going

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:28-31

Ever have one of those days when you feel like you are coming and going at the same time? That's how things have seemed to be ever since we returned back home after being away for a few days. Today was spent trying to get caught up with laundry and weeding my way through 300+ emails that came in over the weekend. Then I also needed to take my son to the doctor and run errands and get medicine.

Our son has either strep throat or mono. The doctor was convinced that he had strep throat because his tonsils look pretty bad. The test came back negative, but the doctor  feels it may have been to early to test accurately. There also is the possibility for mono.

Tonight I am feeling pretty weary and possibly that I am catching something as well. Unfortunately my son drank out of my water bottle on the way home Sunday evening, which means I may get whatever he has. But I rest in the fact that even when things are crazy and I'm feeling tired, weary and worn out, that God still gives us strength. I praise God that He doesn't get weary in watching over us. He loves and cares about us. I choose to rest in that.

Monday, August 16, 2010

When Plans Change

"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." James 4:10

Today was to be the start of my son's 11th grade homeschool year. But plans changed this morning when my youngest son woke up with a fever, chills, aches, and extremely sore throat. The day progressed with him not improving at all, but seeming to get worse. It's looking very likely that we will need to make a doctor appointment for him in the morning.

I was out for a while this evening with my Bible study ladies for an evening of fun and fellowship. When I returned home my son was already in bed, but hadn't fallen asleep yet because he was burning up with fever and having difficuly swallowing because of the pain. I felt bad because I forgot that earlier in the evening he had wanted me to read some scriptures to him. While I was gone my husband read to him before our son went to bed.

My son has been reading through the book of James in his devotional time. Each day he picks out a verse that is meaningful to him and writes it down and puts it in his pocket as a reminder of what God has taught him. Today he was feeling too lousy to do his devotions on his own, so my husband helped him out. So when I got home, even though he was feeling awful, he asked me to write this verse down on a slip of paper and put it with his Dad's things so he'll see it in the morning before he goes to work.

Our day turned out different then we had planned for it to go, but I am reminded that our plans are not always what God plans are. But through it all, I pray that we will desire to follow his way. In the midst of struggles and sickness may we still choose to look to the Lord.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Miracles

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Yesterday we left on vacation to head down to Maryland for a mini-retreat and time away. We had about two and a half hours of travel time. On the route we were taking, part of the highway snaked through the mountains. It was in one of these mountain areas that we had a truck pull right in front of our vehicle.

It was one of those close calls. If my husband hadn’t braked hard, we would have been in the back end of the truck. There was not sufficient room for the truck driver to get over, but he still pulled into our lane.

I’ve been thinking about the what ifs. What if my husband hadn’t braked as hard as he did? What if there had been a car behind us or beside us? If any of those things were changed at all, we would have been in perhaps a deadly accident.

Our ‘near miss’ made me more aware of the things we often take for granted. I realize that it wasn’t a coincidence that we weren’t in an accident yesterday. I know that God was watching out for us. I also realize that it doesn’t mean that we will always be protected or have things go our way. God often allows bad things into our lives as well as the good things.

But I am extremely thankful for God’s provision yesterday. I know it was a miracle that we weren’t in an accident. I pray that I am sensitive to seeing God work in my life. May I always live a life that exemplifies Him.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I'm Away for a Few Days

I'm going to be away for a few days for a mini vacaction. I am hoping to get some writing time in while we are gone, since I haven't had the opportunity to work on my book writing the past week and a half. I am looking forward to having some time alone with the Lord as I seek His wisdom and insight for direction this fall. I hope to post again early next week.

The Ministry of Prayer

"The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:16b

I was struck by a statement that a dear friend of mine made this evening. I had written to her, asking her to pray for me. I was in need of God's help to finish a writing assignment before we leave for a mini vacation tomorrow afternoon. I knew my time was limited and I needed help with creativity and clear thinking. So I sent a quick email to my friend asking her to pray for me. She responded immediately that she stopped what she was doing and prayed. What usually takes me a while to complete, came together in less than an hour's time.

So back to the email this evening. Here is what my friend said. "I wish people would share requests more often & be willing to share after the "crisis/request" has passed and how God works in it. I think sharing this info is encouraging to the prayer warrier as it is to the person who is prayed for." Her statement made me realize the importance of sharing our requests - to let others know when we are struggling. When we seek help through other's praying, it allows them the opportunity to be used of God. We both get blessed in the process.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Love Being Home

"The fear of the LORD leads to life:
       Then one rests content, untouched by trouble." Proverbs 19:23 


I always have been a person who enjoys being home. I also love time alone. I can always find something to do, or rest in having nothing to do. In other words, I am rarely, if ever bored. I love the life that God has given me. I so appreciate my husband supporting my being home all of these past years to raise our family. We are within two years of completing that time of actively raising our children, before they will likely both be out of the nest.

I find after several days of running, I am always ready to be home. (Actually I'm content to be home most all of the time, with very little running!) We had an enjoyable time away over the weekend visiting my in-laws in Virginia. Yesterday I had planned on being home and unwinding from our trip. Our plans were changed when my son continued to have issues with his finger over the weekend. Last week he had smashed his finger in the door and had been having pain in it ever since. It continued to worsen while we were away, so we knew it needed some attention when we got home.

Yesterday we were able to schedule a doctor appointment in the afternoon. They punctured his fingernail in two spots, to relieve the pressure. We also went for x-rays to make sure that he hadn't fractured or cracked any of the bones in his finger. It made for a long day, but thankfully he is feeling quite a bit better now. 


Today I am relishing in the fact that I'm able to be home. I did have to run a few errands around lunch time, but that is it. The rest of my hours will be at home catching up with things, as well as working on my writing assignment. I am so thankful that God has called me to be home.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Power of Prayer

"The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:16b

I'm thankful for the power of prayer that I witness in my life and those around me. I am especially thankful for friends that come alongside me to uplift, encourage and pray for me when I'm in the midst of difficult situations. It can be a real blessing to have someone that has walked the pathway ahead of you, reach back and encourage you to keep going. They know and understand the pain, frustration and sorrow you may be going through, and are able to tell you that things will get better.

There have been many times in my life when I have felt and witnessed this loving support and care. I pray that I am able to do that for others as well. Today I am thankful for friends and dear sisters in the Lord that love and support me.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ground Hog Diaries

Yesterday we saw our first sighting of a ground hog that was in our driveway. Today we have had at least two times where he has been of our front porch. My sons have seen him under one of our pine trees and I saw him under the bushes up front. My guys were eager to pull out a pellet and BB gun, to try and discourage him from taking up residence here. Although I think it's a lost cause. We aren't positive, but feel he has made a home in the rock garden at the side of our house.

Now there are some critters that I don't mind. I love watching the birds that have been coming to my feeders. Yesterday we had a juvenile cardinal. He reminded me of the one we had a few years ago that we saw grow up from baby to adult. This one was likely a male. It was still at the stage that you couldn't tell for sure, because his feathers were still muted colors with just hints of red. Even the beak was dark and hadn't turned orange yet.

I'm not too fond of squirrels in my yard because they eat up all the bird food that I put in the feeders. I'm not too crazy about cats either, since they kill the birds that I love to watch. Having a ground hog that close to the house makes me a bit nervous. I do like seeing chipmunks.

All right, this is perhaps a dramatic analogy. But I kept thinking of this verse in 1 Peter 5:8 which says the following. "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." I know this ground hog isn't the devil :) and he isn't looking to devour us. But I am reminded of how quickly sin can enter our life and heart and hinder our relationship with the Lord. Just like this ground hog has suddenly appeared on our property and has seemed to taken up residence, so we can be drawn away if we aren't careful.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Time Keeps Passing

I have been a bit more sporadic with my posts as of late. Sorry for that. Life has gotten pretty busy. I guess life has a tendency to do that from time to time! :) Our next two weeks are crazy with two mini-trips to VA and MD, preparing for starting homeschool on August 16th, a writing assignment, book review blogging, and our oldest son is preparing for a move and start of a new job. I don't anticipate much writing time. I look forward to getting things back to a routine and schedule once we return home. Then it's a matter of trying to figure out how to balance everything that I want to do.

I am thankful that God gives me strength enough for whatever I face today. I need to remind myself to not get overwhelmed with what's ahead, but instead take one day at a time. What things are you thankful for?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Broad Shoulders

"Cast your cares on the LORD
       and he will sustain you;
       he will never let the righteous fall." Psalm 55:22

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7 

I had the pleasure of having breakfast with a friend this morning. I have been incredibly blessed by having lots of times to meet with various friends throughout these summer months. My friend in Georgia calls me a social butterfly. I laugh, because that is so uncharacteristic of my shy self. 

As my friend and I spent time together eating and sharing our hearts, I was struck by some things. Often we each have a burden that we bear in our hearts. Sometimes it is too private to share with someone. It may be a hurt or pain that we are trying to work through. Perhaps we don't share because we may feel like nobody else will understand or relate to us. It may be something that you can only share with the Lord. I believe that ultimately we are to always bring our concerns and cares to God. Only He knows how best to address those issues.
But I wonder if sometimes we deprive ourselves by not sharing with others. Often we discover that they have gone through something very similar and can give us words of wisdom or a shoulder to cry on, or the encouragement of knowing they are praying for us. I feel that is what calls us to do as Christians, to be an uplift and help to each other. Sometimes we can get so downtrodden that we need somebody else to come alongside us and help us walk for a while. Is there someone that you know that needs your help today?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Full House

"Taste and see that the LORD is good;
       blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." Psalm 34:8 


There has been a lot of activity at our bird feeders as of late. Birds of various kinds have been finding their way to our two feeders - one by our apple tree and one by a rose of Sharon bush. I have taken great pleasure in watching the birds. Most times the ledges are full, there is activity on the ground beneath the feeders as well as a swirl of commotion in the tree and bushes of birds awaiting their turn to eat. The whole time they are waiting they are chirping and communicating with one another.

This activity reminds me of this Bible verse. How would it be if all Christians were so excited about being together? If the pews/chairs at our churches were full each week with people eager to learn more about their Heavenly Father. We were eager to be fed and to share that knowledge with others. We took joy in meeting together. I think people around us would take notice, don't you?