We just made another move. I'll save you the details, except to say it included my husband and I, and our two daughter's and their families. It was a lot of work. We've done this a number of times and you'd think we'd have the process down pat. And we do, pretty much. But one thing I've noticed each time is that after working ourselves silly to make sure our new place feels like home there is always something that doesn't find a place to live. Right now I have a bench seat that's sitting in front of the back door. I don't know where it belongs yet, but will soon. And this morning I noticed a microwave oven sitting on the wood stove hearth. It either needs to be donated, trashed or stored. No one in the family needs it right now, so there it sits. When I walked by that microwave my first thought was why is that still hanging around? Everything else looks great--in it's proper place, and the house looks homey and tidy . . . all except for that microwave. I remember when we first moved that microwave really bugged me. It needed a home. However, over the past week I've grown accustomed to it and barely notice it sitting there on the hearth. Isn't that a lot like our spiritual lives? We leave "stuff" out or carry it around . . . needlessly. And pretty soon we barely notice it, even though some of the "stuff" really hinders our spiritual walk. I figure most of us can pretty quickly think of something we're carrying around in our spiritual house. And it's likely something we either refuse to deal with or that we've grown accustomed to and barely see. What is some of the baggage we refuse to discard?
Wounds we've been unable to forgive and release-bitterness is the result.
Unfulfilled expectations-are you disappointed or angry?
Unanswered prayers--God always answers, but sometimes He says wait or no.
What about personal guilt-I've got plenty of that, how about you?
Unresolved sin-The Lord waits to hear from us. He's done it all, but we need to ask for forgiveness.
We have various types of baggage, but all of it damages our relationship with The Father. If we truly want to discard the baggage we need to look at it and see it for what it is. Only then can we let it go. Don't try this on your own. We don't have the power in ourselves to succeed at dumping spiritual baggage. But the Lord does and He will give us the wisdom and strength to do it.
Dumping baggage is usually a journey and it doesn't happen over night. God will show us the way--seek Him and be patient. Have confidence in the Lord for He is the one who will carry us on the journey toward whole and healthy hearts.
Lorna is the author of Making Waves, A Great Catch, and The Ride of Her Life. A former high school English and journalism teacher, she has won several online writing contests and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Lorna lives in Iowa with her husband. Find out more at www.lornaseilstad.com.
Lorna sat down with the hero (Lincoln Cole) and heroine (Hannah Gregory) who star in her new book, When Love Calls, and talked to them about their romance.
Lincoln, what's the most romantic thing you ever did for Hannah?
I'm a romantic kind of guy. I like to show Hannah how I feel. I think the most romantic thing I did was take her to the top of the state capitol. She loves heights and the idea of flying, so it was the perfect spot.
What's the most romantic thing you've done, Hannah?
Hmmm. I'm not sure I've done anything in particular.
Where is the most romantic place you two have been?
Hannah-Oddly enough, I think it was an aviary in a park. Lincoln has a way of turning even innocent bird names into flirtations. Oh, and I would have to say the trip to the dome of the state capitol. That's where he first told me he loved me.
Do you two have a favorite romantic restaurant?
Lincoln-I don't think we have a favorite, but I think we'd both agree our favorite food would be prepared by Hannah's sister, Charlotte. Boy, that girl can cook.
How about a favorite song? Do you have one?
Lincoln-No, I don't think so.
Hannah, what's the most romantic gift Lincoln has ever given you?
I never would have admitted this to Lincoln at the time, but including coffee beans in the groceries he had delivered to my sisters and me was a stroke of genius. I hadn't had any in weeks, and that first cup was perfect.
How about you, Lincoln; what's the most romantic gift Hannah's given you?
I'd have to say, sharing her sisters with me. The gift of a family has been a huge blessing.
Hannah, what is Lincoln's favorite romantic vacation destination?
I think Lincoln would love to travel the world. He's a man who loves knowledge and enjoys discovering new things. He likes challenges.
Lincoln, what do you think would be Hannah's favorite romantic vacation destination?
I think she'd love to visit the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina because she's fascinated with flight. I'd love to take her there, but I'm not sure I could handle her actually flying one of those machines.
What simple gesture does Lincoln do that melts you Hannah?
All it takes is a touch from Lincoln to melt me and ignite me at the same time.
Lincoln what is it that Hannah does that melts you every time?
Hannah's smile. She is simply so beautiful.
How soon after meeting Hannah did you know she was the one?
I knew Hannah was the one way before she knew I was meant for her. You might say I grew on her.
Hannah how long did it take for you to know Lincoln was the one for you?
I didn't want Lincoln to be the one. He was the person the bank sent to tell me they were taking our home. It wasn't the best way to start a relationship.
Who would you say is most romantic of the two of you?
I'd say Lincoln is. He is very good at wooing people. He's good at reading them too, and he used both to win me.
Hannah, what is the most caring thing Lincoln has ever done for you?
He loved me and my sisters right from the start. He knew we were a package deal and accepted that.
How about you, Lincoln?
Hannah hid a truth from me because she was afraid it would hurt me. It caused problems for us, but I knew it came from her heart.
Who said, "I love you" first?
Lincoln did, and it was in the most romantic way.
If you two end up married, where will you go on your honeymoon?
Since I have two sisters to raise, our honeymoon couldn't be too long. I think we'd both enjoy a trip to the Grand Canyon.
If you'd like to know Lincoln and Hannah
better, pick up a copy of
When Love Calls.
Hannah Gregory is good at many things, but that list doesn't include following rules. So when she is forced to apply for a job as a telephone switchboard operator to support her two sisters, she knows it won't be easy. "Hello Girls" must conduct themselves according to strict-and often bewildering-rules. No talking to the other girls. No chatting with callers. No blowing your nose without first raising your hand. And absolutely no consorting with gentlemen while in training. Meanwhile, young lawyer Lincoln Cole finds himself in the unfortunate position of having to enforce the bank's eviction of the three Gregory girls from their parents' home. He tries to soften the blow by supporting them in small ways as they settle into another home. But fiery Hannah refuses his overtures and insists on paying back every cent of his charity. When one of Hannah's friends finds himself on the wrong side of a jail cell, Hannah is forced to look to Lincoln for help. Will it be her chance to return to her dreams of studying law? And could she be falling in love? With historic details that bring to life the exciting first decade of the twentieth century, Lorna Seilstad weaves a charming tale of camaraderie and companionship that blossoms into love. Readers will get lost in this sweet romance and will eagerly look forward to championing each sister's dreams.
Her eyes bulged and she looked at the numbers again. "No! That can't be right. There is no way I gained three pounds!" Her eyes fill with tears. "It's not fair! God it's not fair!"
"Fine. Fine. What good does it do to even try?" With her hand braced against her aching back, she hobbles into the kitchen, takes milk and eggs out of the fridge and slams them on the counter along with cinnamon and nutmeg. "It's been months since I've had french toast. I love french toast." She whisks the ingredients together.
"See that God. That's what I'm having for breakfast!" She dips bread into the egg mixture and places two pieces in a skillet, then grabs the butter and syrup out of the cupboard. She's crying hard now, tears streaming down her cheeks. "It's not fair. Not fair," she sobs, realizing the more upset she gets the more her back hurts. "I'll never lose any weight. My back is never going to feel better."
"I stuck to my diet this week . . . all except that small ice cream cone I ate yesterday. It was a small one . . . and the sherbet I had four times this week, but they were small servings . . . "
After setting the toast on a plate, she slathers it with butter. "Do you see this? I'm using butter!" Drizzling syrup over the confection, she adds, "And syrup!"
The meal completed, she stands and stares at it. She doesn't even want it. She's too upset. Instead, she goes to the fridge and takes out a container of yogurt.
This could be a funny scene. But it's not. It's pretty close to what happened in my house this morning.
Perhaps this is even too transparent for me, but I've just got to be real about this. Taking off a facade of perfection is the only way we can truly help one another.
I am so ashamed of my attitude and disrespect toward God. He's the One who loves me more than I can even imagine. The One who has stood with me through good and bad. The One who has not only forgiven all of my wickedness but who offered His own Son so I could spend eternity with Him.
When I stood on the scale this morning it was my own sin that stared up at me, no failure on God's part. It's true my metabolism is on the slow side, but I know that. I am well aware of my parameters for weight loss so when I blow it I'm the one at fault.
The french toast went down the garbage disposal and I went to my Heavenly Father and asked for His forgiveness. He is full of grace, and I am forgiven. Our relationship is restored. The next step was to ask Him for His help. After prayer, I went to a devotional that I love -- Streams in the Desert. These words shouted at me from the page. "A life without prayer is a powerless life."
I pray, all the time. But strangely enough, I haven't been praying about what I eat or what I'm about to eat. I haven't asked directly for guidance about what ought to go in my mouth--a HUGE oversight. I don't comprehend why I haven't done that. I'm a prayer. This matter for prayer is going to become a new habit. I'm going to pray often . . . not just about the big stuff (or so called), but about every bite that goes in my mouth.
I will get back to you on this. In the mean time, Let THEM eat cake. I'm not having any.
Welcome Laura. It's a pleasure to have you as my guest here on Books & Writing. Thanks, Bonnie, for having me.
Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. She is a pastor's wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools three of her children. Her two oldest children are homeschool graduates and are in college. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor. Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. And the Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love and Surrendered Love. The third book will release September 2013. A nonAmish book The Appalachian Ballad Quilt will release September 2014 from Abingdon Press. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online sites.
Laura, you have a lot going on--pastor's wife, cancer survivor, still homeschooling three of your children, and writing and reviewing. I'm impressed. Can you describe yourself in one word? Quiet. What do you like to do when you're not working? When am I not working? I'm a mom of five, I home-school, I'm married to a pastor, and I'm a book reviewer. So when I'm not writing, I'm teaching, ministering, reading, and doing house-wife duties. Your schedule makes me tired just reading about it. I could use some of your energy. Can you share a bit about your writing journey--how you became a writer? Is it something you always wanted to do? Yes, ever since I was old enough to read, I wanted to write. I stayed "in the closet" afraid to tell anyone my big secret for a long time. About the time I decided to get serious about my writing Lynn Coleman started American Christian Romance Writers - I was one of the first few to join! Now it is American Christian Fiction Writers - but ACFW has been invaluable to me as a learning tool, connecting with other authors, providing books for me to learn to craft, and conversation with others who have the same mental thought process. ACFW is a wonderful organization. I recommend it for all fiction writers. You've written a good number of Amish novels. What is it about the Amish that drew your interest and keeps you writing Amish fiction? My maternal grandparents came from the Amish in Lancaster County, PA. I've always been interested in the Amish since it was part of my heritage. I planned the stories in Seymour, Missouri, because my aunt-in-law lives in the community (she is NOT Amish) and it was easy researching since it was only a couple of hours away. She also keeps me up-to-date on Amish news in the area. Also, I met a formerly Amish woman online who joined a Christian Mom's group I was in - and she said she could tell me stories about the Amish news in the area. Also, I met a formerly Amish woman online who joined a Christian Moms group I was in - and she said she could tell me stories about the Amish I would never believe. She was from the southern Missouri Amish community . . . Having relatives who came from the Amish, I had no trouble believing her stories. It sounds like your books might surprise us as we learn more about the Amish. I'm intrigued.
Laura's most recent book!
Janna Kauffman enjoys her job as a personal shopper for the homebound in her Amish community. But when Janna's niece, Meghan, comes to live with her family--part of a plan by Janna's sister to rid her daughter of her rebellious ways--Janna spends less time shopping and more time explaining Meghan's erratic behavior to local police officer Hiram "Troy" Troyer, who was raised Amish but left the faith after a fatal accident that killed his brother and also a brother of Janna's. Frequent interactions draw Janna and Troy together, rekindling an attraction they first experienced in their youth. What will become of their relationship? And will headstrong Meghan ever tame her ways?
TO FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN WIN
A COPY OF SURRENDERED LOVE KEEP READING.
Aside from writing novels, you also review books. How does one become a professional reviewer? And what are some of the highs and lows of the job? I have NO idea how one becomes a professional reviewer! And yet it happens. Many years ago, before my eleven year old was born, I was approached by fellow writer Vickie McDonough about reviewing for a site she reviewed for - Dancing Word - and it grew from there. I review for most major Christian publishers and several publicity groups, as well as private reviews. And I'm on two launch teams so far. Highs of the job - I am very well supplied in books. I learn best from reading what is published and seeing what works for me and what doesn't. Telling me how to do something, doesn't work, and I never watch TV or movies so using them as examples don't work. But reading it and seeing how it is done - has really honed my skills. Plus, I am discovering new to me authors all the time! And I get to "travel" through the written word. Your books have taken me to historical Alaska. Lows of the job - sometimes I get very very tired of seeing books and reading. It is rare now for a book to grab me, draw me in, and keep my attention so I HAVE to keep reading and reading to see where it's going. Most books - even mysteries and suspense - I have figured out before I'm one-third of the way in. I think like a writer - because I am one - so I know the secrets and I can figure it out. My house has more books in it than the town library. Well, not quite. I think I've donated enough to equal it out . . . People KNOW who to go to for the latest and greatest in Christian fiction . . . The crazy book lady. Reviewing sounds like a lot of work. I fear it would ruin my pleasure reading. I'm grateful to you and the reviewers out there who help writers promote our work. Thank you. Surrendered Love released in April, and you have another that is coming out in September called, Awakened Love. What can we expect from you next? Well, I am currently writing a contemporary romance for Abingdon Press for their Quilts of Love series. I don't know what they will title it, but it's tentatively titled The Appalachian Ballad - It's about an older woman who has dementia, her granddaughter, and the grandmother's desire to make a "song quilt". It was a non-writer's story idea, so I named her as "co-writer." Her name will be on the book cover with mine. She agreed to do most of the research, especially quilt related because I know NOTHING about quilts. Except what they are used for. Since I only write romance, and her idea was women's fiction, I added a hero who thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail - and let's just say it's taking some really fun twists and turns. I also met an interesting exAmish person in the story briefly who is intriguing me and I see a story there . . . And, I just signed a three book contract with Whitaker House for another Amish series, this time set in Jamesport, Missouri. The first book is presently titled "The Snow Globe" and it will release in April 2014. The first book isn't very far in the development state, but it involves a man who left the Amish and went to work on the Mississippi River as a "river rat" and a girl who is promised to another Amish man, and working for our formerly Amish river rat's grandparents. He has some hidden, painful secrets and she has a major decision to make. Keep what is safe, tried and true? Or throw it overboard for the unknown? I can't wait to write this series! These sound interesting. I'll be watching for them. Where can readers find you online?
I went to The Word this morning, seeking God's presence, but I was unable to focus. I had something on my mind, a worry about someone I love. And I couldn't shake it. My mind and heart kept returning to her and the what if's. Finally, I told myself, "I just don't have anything to say today," but that wasn't true. All God was asking of me was to justbe.
Even as I threw up my hands, deciding I couldn't write a blog, God was speaking to me, quieting my heart and reminding me that simply because I was having difficulty focusing on Him didn't mean He wasn't focused on me. God is so good! He placed a balm of peace upon my heart. I can rest for He assures me all is well. I can trust Him with those I love.
I close my eyes and breathe in deeply. "Thank you, Lord!"
My heart is filled with gratitude. God loves me and cares for me. Life with all it's troubles would be too difficult to endure without Him, but
I am assured that He walks every step with me and with those I love.
Praising Him today and just being in his presence.