Follow by Email

"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

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