Ps 91 (NKJV)

3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the perilous pestilence.4 He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day,6 nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A2Z-take 2 "L"


When was the last time you laughed until your belly hurt or tears came to your eyes?

I don't laugh like that as much as I should, but one time I did comes to my mind often. It was at the 2011 ACFW Conference in St. Louis. 

I was sitting at the table with a few new friends (I really only knew one person in the flesh before walking in the front door) eating dinner during the Genesis and Carol Awards Banquet. We were talking about beef. Somehow the conversation turned to unappetizing parts of a bull (though some people do eat them, yuck) and I mentioned seeing on a "reality" tv show about a lady who took a certain part of the bull and made a purse. She was trying to sell it in a pawn shop. We got to laughing (though writing it out, it doesn't sound as amusing as it was at the time) and I couldn't stop. My table companions kept making funny comments and I laughed so hard I cried. 

It was a completely clean, yet kind of gross topic. To this day, all I have to do is ask a certain someone if she needs a new purse and I'm sure we both smile (at least I do).

I'm sure most, if not all, of you have heard the verse in Proverbs 17:22 about a cheerful heart being like good medicine. I have read that laughter strengthens the immune system among other benefits.

So, I'll ask again...when was the last time you laughed until your belly hurt or tears came to your eyes?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Miscellaneous ramblings about writing

I haven't been posting much lately. My mind is tied up with editing a manuscript.

Someone might have said writing is easy, and I would say they might be right. However, the work that comes after writing and before actual publication is agonizing. Editing and polishing, and editing and polishing again, changing words, sentences and sometimes whole scenes or chapters--it all takes a tremendous amount of work, time, friends willing to help, and a thick skin because those friends have to tell you what's wrong with what you've written.

I liken the process to an aspiring chef who has created a gourmet meal. His friends--also chefs, some aspiring, other accomplished--come to have a taste testing. They look at the plates and begin telling the chef what is wrong with the food arrangement. After taking a nibble of each course, they give suggestions on what flavors would make it work better, and which don't work at all.

The chef spent the last week planning, and executing the meal and in less than an hour, his colleagues had criticized his work in an effort to prod him to greatness. In the end, he knows it will make him a better chef, but during the process of their judgment, he is devastated.

That's what it's like. Heartrending, yet encouraging.

I want to be a better writer and to have that happen I NEED people to tell me what's not working. I don't need fancy or false words because that's not what's going to make me better.

I have stories to tell for Jesus--stories of triumph of good over evil, love conquering hate, forgiveness and hope.

Why do I write?

  • Because I must. Even if my stories never go further than my hard-drive, they must be written.
  • For the Glory of God. If I could write and never have anyone know it was me, I would. I do not want accolades; I want to worship my king through my writing, always honoring Him above all.
  • Because it's fun. I get to make up people, settings, events, and anything else I want. 
Do you write? What and why?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A thought on perception

A couple of weeks ago the following video was shown in my church. I meant to post it that week, but as usual something had to fall by the wayside and this blog was it.

I am posting the video today. It really does speak for itself, but I wanted to share something, too. So watch the video and then I'll give you my take.

This is a commercial/advertisement for Dove. I don't necessarily endorse their products and/or their philosophy, but I like this reality check.

But this is not just about outward beauty, we do the same things with our spiritual walk. Instead of using photoshop to hide our flaws, we put on a mask of spirituality/perfectionism.

"All is well," we tell others. When, in reality, we are falling apart on the inside. We need the prayer and support of those around us, but are too prideful or ashamed (or a combination of both) to let down our guard, risk rejection, and ask for help. Or, horror of horrors, we truly believe the lies we tell.

This is a completely rhetorical question, but if you feel led to comment feel free. What lies have you been telling yourself?

My lie: I can eat the same way I have been eating my whole life and lose weight. Sounds completely stupid when I write it, but it's what I've been trying to tell myself for over five years now and it doesn't seem to be working. :-)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A2Z-take 2 "K"

This weeks letter - K - was a toss-up between my kitchen and my kids. Since I have written numerous times about my children (which I prefer to call them versus kids, which are baby GOATS  LOL), I decided to show you my kitchen.

Just this last week, my new gas cook-top was installed. I'm loving cooking with gas. Prior to this I have only ever had electric burners. I knew a long time ago, when I started watching cooking shows, that gas was best, so I prayed and talked to my husband. Finally, many years later, I have what I wanted and I love how quickly it heats. No longer do I have to wait around for the burner to get hot, nor do I have to move the pan away after I turn it off to keep the food from burning on the hot burner. Thankfully, as of this date, I have not burned anything, not me or my food.  :)

But this post is not about my gas burners, it's about my kitchen.  So there it is, in all it dirty splendor. haha. It's not really dirty, just active. I managed to catch it empty, just after my children had fixed their breakfasts. It really is as big as it looks. I am truly blessed with a large kitchen, though sometimes, when we're all in there getting food, it doesn't seem big enough.

A little husband made the center island. It wasn't there when we moved in. The previous owner, who happened to be the builder, left the island out of the kitchen. I wanted/needed the extra counter space so my husband took woodworking classes, bought the tools, and produced this great piece of furniture for me.

Well I think that's enough about my kitchen. As you can tell, I love it, though I do hate cooking. At least when I do have to cook, I can enjoy the room I'm in.

What's your favorite room in your house?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Review: "Deep in the Heart" by Staci Stallings

Maggie has a few dollars in her pocket, but she has God on her side. Keith was born into a family with millions, but he's empty on the inside. Staci Stallings has done an excellent job showing us it's not what's on the outside, but what's 'deep in the heart' that matters.

I enjoyed reading Maggie and Keith's story. The angst of their circumstances, both internal and external, kept me reading from beginning to end. I do love to read about handsome cowboys and the girls who love them. :-)

Just out of college and completely alone in the world, Maggie Montgomery has one shot left to save her life from an abyss of poverty and hopelessness. Clinging to the last shred of fuel and hope, she arrives at the mansion of Texas billionaire Conrad Ayers. Although Maggie is clearly not what Mr. Ayers and his wife have in mind for a nanny, they agree to hire her temporarily until they can find someone more appropriate to fill the position. However, Maggie’s whole world is about to be up-ended by two way-over-scheduled children and one incredibly handsome hired hand. As she struggles to fit into a world she was never made to fit in, Maggie wonders if she can ever learn to become a perfect version of herself so she can keep the job, or is she doomed to always be searching for a life she can never quite grasp?

If this is a book you would be interested in, please click here to support this author and this blog.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A2z meme "J"

The Power of JUST

This one little word has a lot of power. Did you know that?

According to the word JUST has thirteen definitions. I won't list them all here because for my purpose today, I am only going to focus on definition number twelve. JUST - only, merely.

As a stay-at-home mom, I have heard many times, "Oh, you're JUST a housewife," or "JUST a stay-at-home mom."

No, I'm not JUST either of those things; I'm both of them and many more. First and foremost I am a person with feelings. Secondly, I am a child of God. I am a wife and a mother, but I am also a teacher and a writer (whether or not I ever get published is irrelevant, I am still a writer).

When necessary, I become a taxi driver, a nurse, a vet, a groundskeeper/gardener, a chef/baker, and so much more.

I am not JUST anything and neither are you.

What things do you do that keep you from being a JUST type of person?


Monday, March 12, 2012

Review: "The Irish Healer" by Nancy Herriman

There are some things that certain people are called to do, and no matter how far that person runs the calling follows.

"The Irish Healer" took me to 1830's England. I enjoyed seeing what it must have been like to step off a ship and onto English soil for the first time, alone. Ms. Herriman's writing pulled me into the story, and I was thoroughly entertained from beginning to end with Rachel Dunne's plight, both from her internal need to heal, and from her desire to make it on her own.

This beautiful love story touched my heart and I highly recommend it to any who enjoy reading historical romance.


In 1832, Rachel Dunne is an Irish healer accused of the death of a child under her care. Acquitted but shunned, she flees to England searching for a new life. She vows to never sit at another bedside again...or trust in a God who abandoned her when she needed Him most.
London physician James Edmunds is wearied by his failures, especially his inability to save his wife, who died from childbed fever. He has decided to abandon his practice and lose himself in the running of his family’s small country estate. Until a red-haired Irish servant girl with a deep and mysterious strength makes him think about living again.
When cholera sweeps through London, and the life of James’ young daughter hangs in the balance, Rachel and James must face their darkest fears. And learn that faith—and love—just might heal both their hearts.

 This book releases April 3rd. If you would like to preorder, click here.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Review: "The Scent of Cherry Blossoms" by Cindy Woodsmall

Forbidden love. Insurmountable obstacles. God's provision.

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms, a novella by Cindy Woodsmall, is a beautiful story about a long-standing friendship blossoming into deep abiding love, and the willingness to surrender that love for the good of the other.

I enjoyed this book immensely and highly recommend it to any reader who loves romance and/or Amish fiction.


Annie Martin loves the Plain ways of her Old Order Mennonite people, like those revered by her beloved grandfather. Retreating from a contentious relationship with her mother, Annie goes to live with her Daadi Moses in Apple Ridge.

But as spring moves into Pennsylvania and Annie spends time amongst the cherry trees with the handsome Aden Zook, she wishes she could forget how deeply the lines between the Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite are drawn.

Can Annie and Aden find a place for their love to bloom in the midst of the brewing storm? To read more, go here>>


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A2Z-take 2 "I"


Okay so I'm having a hard day. You know I love you guys, right?  LOL

When you make a cake, you gather your necessary ingredients: flour, eggs, sugar, water or milk, and maybe a flavoring like vanilla (or you open a box and add eggs and oil). You mix it together, put it in a preheated oven and when it comes out, you expect a tasty treat.

You can't add something like cayenne pepper to your cake and expect it to come out tasting like angel food cake. You know that doesn't work.

How is it then, that we (please notice I changed pronouns here to include myself) think that adding certain things to our lives - bad TV shows, books, friends, words, whatever - will not affect us in the long run? Why do we think we can add the cayenne pepper to the cake and still come out with angel food cake?

I am talking to myself as much as you. Last summer I was reading A LOT of books. I can easily read a novel or two smaller Love Inspired/Harlequin sized books in one day. Since I read so much, I rely on my library during those times. I had read through most of the "popular" Christian authors, searched for some less popular ones and didn't find many books. I was getting desperate, so I moved into the more secular branch of romance. 

Not long after, I started getting panic attacks. My chest would tighten and I found it hard to breathe. I prayed and asked God why this was happening. He told me it was because of the books I was choosing to read, which He had already warned me against, by the way. When I quit reading them, the panic attacks disappeared.

I am not saying that this is going to happen to you if you read non-Christian books. I'm explaining to you what happened to me when I added cayenne pepper to my cake mix. 

A verse comes to mind: Phil. 4:8, "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."

What ingredients are you adding to the mix of your life? Are they honorable, pure, right, lovely, and admirable? Or are they cayenne pepper?


Monday, March 5, 2012

Review: "To Love and to Cherish" by Kelly Irvin

Kelly Irvin transports us to Amish country to take a peek into the lives of one family whose world is rocked by tragedy. We see Emma as she struggles to do what's right, and discovers that she has feelings for two men. We see her discover just who she is and who she is meant to be. I enjoyed To Love and to Cherish.

What I learned: sometimes what seems obvious and natural is not always the best way; and love is expressed in many different forms.

It’s been four years since Carl left. Four years since he left the safety of the small Amish community for the Englisch world. And in four years, Emma’s heart has only begun to heal. Now, with the unexpected death of her parents, Emma is plunged back into a world of despair and confusion. It’s a confusion only compounded by Carl’s return. She’s supposed to be in love with him…so why can’t she keep her mind off Thomas, the strong, quiet widower who always seems to be underfoot? Could the man she knew only as a friend be the one to help her to heal? In a world that seems to be changing no matter how tightly she clings to the past, one woman must see beyond her pain, find strength in God, and open her heart to trust once again.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Review: "Broken Trust" by Sharon Dunn

This is my first time reading Sharon Dunn's work. It was good. Given the opportunity, I would read a story written by her again.

Broken Trust resonated with just the right about of romance and suspense to keep me wondering if the guy and the girl would make it out alive and be able to overcome the obstacles to their feelings, both external and internal.

Once broken, trust is hard to reestablish, but with God all things are possible. Can Christine and Wyatt trust Him long enough to believe in each other again? Read and find out.


"I need you to trust me."

Impossible! Sheriff Christine Norris still remembers the heartache from the last time she gave Special Agent Wyatt Green her trust. And she certainly doesn't believe him now, when he claims some of her residents are involved in a dangerous militia. But Christine can't ignore the fact that someone who may be tied to the militia has kidnapped an innocent boy. And when she's almost killed in a fiery explosion, Christine realizes Wyatt may be the only person she can trust to protect her. Even if she's still not sure she can trust him again with her heart….

If you are interested in purchasing this book (and I think you should be), please click here and help support this blog.  Thanks.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Review: "A Ranger's Trail" by Darlene Franklin

I must say I have become a fan of Darlene Franklin's books. She incorporates real life happenings, which takes a lot of research, with a great imagination. This story is a great example of that.

Buck and Leta have baggage. Lots of baggage. Buck is half German; Leta hates the Germans, blaming them for her husband's death. They want the same thing, but their way of getting there is far different. With the typical ups and downs of frontier life, we see their love take root and grow, but only in their hearts, and against their wills.

Can they get of the doubts and fear to find their faith, both in God and in each other?

I can't say enough good things about  Ms. Franklin's writing. It pulls you in and won't let go until the story is told. You want to sit back and bask in the beauty of her words, as pictures are created in your mind.


This is the fourth book in a six-book series about four generations of the Morgan family living, fighting, and thriving amidst a turbulent Texas history spanning from 1845 to 1896. Although a series, each book can be read on its own.

In 1875 Buck Morgan rode into Mason County with the Texas Rangers to quell the violence stirred up by the actions a vigilantly mob. The Hoo Doo (or bad luck) War erupted as suspected cattle rustlers were  killed by an angry German mob and former ranger, Scott Cooley, gathers a gang to seek vengeance on the murders.

Suspected of cattle rustling, Leta Derrick's husband was murdered by the mob a year earlier. Now she is siding with the rogue ranger, Scott Cooley and refuses to help Buck Morgan stem the tide of violence.  Leta prays daily that God will wreak vengeance on her enemies. Buck prays that the God of all provision will supply for the needs of the widow, her son Ricky, and her 15-year old brother, Andy. Buck lays a trap at his uncle's ranch for the suspected outlaws but the plan backfires when Andy shows up. Shots are fired and one man is down. Andy has joined the outlaw gang and is now guilty of murdering Buck's cousin.

Will their actions fuel the fire of vengeance? Or will Buck and Leta strike an accord that leads to more than just peace?

If you are interested in purchasing this book, please click here and help support this blog.