Friday, December 26, 2014


I loved all of your Christmas traditions and Christmas stories. Thank you so much for sharing. I now have some new ideas to share with my own family.

I wish you all could win, but there can only be one winner. And that winner is ....

Kathy T!

I'll be contacting you soon with your prize of an audio copy of The Journey of Eleven Moons.

Grace and peace to you,


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Quiet Moments With God - God With Us

"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means, God with us."

Each Christmas season I watch the movie The Nativity. Each time is like the first. I discover truths I haven't seen before. Tonight, was the same. 

I am in awe of God's providence - overwhelmed by the gift of his son who was given for us. We do not deserve such a gift, but God offers mercy and grace even to the least of us.

I am amazed at the response of a young girl, who said, "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." Mary said yes to God, knowing it could cost her life.

What an honorable man was Joseph who accepted an unbelievable truth about his virgin wife and bravely stepped into the role of husband and protector of Mary and the child called Jesus.

If any of them had refused, what then? I believe God can do all things and would provided a way. But how blessed are those who obey the will of God.

God is good all the time. His will is true and right ... always.

May you know his grace and peace this Christmas season and always.



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Steadfast - Guest Blogger Camille Eide

It's guest blogger Wednesday! And I have a treat for you! Camille Eide is  my guest. And she's giving away a copy of her debut novel, Like There's No Tomorrow. 

More about that later. First let's meet Camille.

Camille Eide writes heart-tugging tales of love, faith, and family. She lives in Oregon with her husband and is a mom, grammy, church office manager, bass guitarist, and a fan of muscle cars, tender romance, and Peanut M&Ms.

Camille’s Website:
Email: for interview questions or other info
Book Trailer:

Thoughts from Camille:

“Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.”
Psalm 55:6-8

I have heard people say, “If I could just get over this health issue,” or “If only I had more money.” If only I had less stress, more help, less pain, more support, etc, etc.

Have you ever been there?

If only . . .

If I could just . . .

Behind these words is a cry for relief. Not only relief from difficult circumstances, but also from fear and hopelessness. What if I become so sick or anxious or overwhelmed or so deeply in debt that I can’t function? What if my circumstances never change? What if it gets worse?

Thanks to our Adamic inheritance, we live in a fallen world, full of sin, disease, dysfunction, injustice, abuse, brokenness—the list is endless. You may be dealing with something that could wreak more damage than a hurricane. Whether from external circumstances or inner struggles, the weight of constant suffering can be unbearable and make us hopeless for a way out, no end in sight. No hope for relief.

My pastor suffers terrible migraines. These are horribly painful to the point of making him physically sick. He can’t think or do anything but lie still in silent darkness. With a family and a loaded plate of pastoral responsibilities, he doesn’t have time to be sick, and yet he somehow presses on, with the diligence of a faithful, caring shepherd. He asks God for healing and asks others to pray, and yet the headaches continue. When a migraine strikes on a Sunday, we’ve seen God answer prayer many times by giving him enough strength and relief to deliver his sermon. What amazes me is that in spite of this suffering, this man is absolutely unwavering in his faith in Christ. His life is an inspiring example of steadfast confidence in and obedience to God. The fact that God has not yet healed him doesn’t stop him from serving the Lord with his whole heart, with truth and grace, every minute of every day.

He continues to ask God for healing. And we should keep asking God to relieve us and others of suffering. I know he can. And many times, he does. But what if immediate relief isn’t part of his plan for us right now? What if God has his reasons for our weathering a storm (or an entire hurricane season) instead of rescuing us from it?

The Apostle Paul talked about his “thorn in the flesh.” I think Paul came to terms with the fact that relief from this trial would not be soon coming. I also think that at some point, he became grateful for the thorn, because it drove him closer Jesus.

How does being close to Jesus help when we face difficult circumstances?

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

So I’ll never fail to bear fruit. Awesome. But what good is a bunch of fruit when I’m suffering?

When we turn our lives over to Christ, his Spirit moves in and begins the work of making us more like him. God’s word and presence feed, sustain, and transform us. This transforming work is evident by spiritual “fruit” such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Not a pretense worn outwardly like a “goody-hoody,” but a God-kind of gentleness and peace that springs from the center of our soul where God, the Maker of the universe, lives and works in and through us. This fruit not only lets others see God in us, it’s presence in our lives reminds and assures us of his power and love. This assurance comes from experiencing God in a way that teaches us we can trust in his goodness, his provision, and his constant faithfulness.

If storms feel endless and unbearable, maybe we need to stretch our roots deeper into God’s stream. When we make him our daily Source, nothing can destroy us. No drought, famine, wildfire, (debt, depression, pain, cancer) can steal our love, joy and peace when we are nourished by The Stream.

Yes, storms may shred our bark, and our fruit might be knocked off and crushed, but we will never wither. We might be battered for a season, but God will be our strength and sustenance. If he is allowing us to go through difficulty, he will provide what we need. And he won’t let us weather a storm alone! He is a “friend who sticks closer than a brother” and will stay beside us all the way to the other side, whatever that may be. He will never leave or forsake us! We will sprout new leaves and blossom again. What tremendous hope we have!

Are you in a season of suffering? Can you share a time when circumstances felt too unbearable? Have you “reached your roots” into the stream of God’s daily provision and strength?

Camille’s new contemporary novel, Like There’s No Tomorrow, ( released Sept 30, 2014 from Ashberry Lane Publishing ( It’s a mildly amusing yet tender love story about two young, single caretakers, two quirky old Scottish sisters bent on reuniting, and too many agendas. It’s a love story with a tug-o-war over a daft old woman, family drama, faith testing, and the gift of each new day.

I love this story. You will too.

And you have a chance to win a free copy. All you need to do is leave a comment. Make sure to include your email address so we can contact you.

Book Links:
Barnes & Noble:

Camille blogs about God’s grace at Along the Banks

We have a piece of business from last week. The winner of Angela Strong's book, The Snowball Fight Professional.

And the winner is ...

Amy Davidson.


Grace and peace to you from God,


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Steadfast - Wednesday's Guest Blogger Angela Strong

Let's begin this week's Guest Blog with last week's winner. Congratulations Patti Iverson!

Saved by the Fireman will be on its way to you soon.

I love Wednesdays because I get to read incredible stories right here on my own blog. They are about love and loss and hope and joy. 

And this week Angela Ruth Strong is my guest. 

Angela Ruth Strong studied journalism at the University of Oregon and published her first book LOVE FINDS YOU IN SUN VALLEY, IDAHO in 2010. 

Her Fun4Hire series for ages 8-12 started with a short story titled THE WATER FIGHT PROFESSIONAL that has been printed over half a million times. You can find out more about her and her Twitter campaign to have a snowball fight with Jimmy Fallon on her website at

Angela has something special to share with us this week.

Hope for the Holidays

Today I prayed for lonely hearts. There are a lot of them out there. I know because I heard from three of them on facebook this morning alone … and because I used to be one of them.

I pray for them because I know how hard it is during the holidays. And because I know there is hope.

The trickiest part is living like you have hope when you don’t feel it. So here are the three tricks that helped me make it through my darkest days.

1.) Seek truth. For my husband it took years of living in confusion over his first wife’s growing distance before he finally prayed, “God, show me the truth.” Moments later he drove into a restaurant parking lot to find his wife in the arms of another man. I had a similar experience in my first marriage, and I also had a residue of lies I believed about myself after being abandoned. Lies about my worth. I’m still sensitive to the issue of being a “burden.” But if I hadn’t found truth, I would never have waited for a man who would treat me right and/or I wouldn’t have been able to accept his love. I once had a friend say to me, “Ang, my ex was a schmuck, and if I can’t keep him, how am I ever going to keep a good man?” The answer is that a good man wouldn’t have cheated on her. She has to believe she is worth a good man to have a healthy relationship. This requires finding value through counseling and prayer and reading the Word and connecting with godly mentors. This requires truth.

2.) Give thanks. One of my darkest moments was when my ex (husband at the time) forced me out of my home without eating the dinner I had made because he couldn’t stand to be around me. I had nowhere to go. And no money to buy myself something to eat because he’d taken my name off the bank account. I called a relative in tears. He said, “Don’t even pray for him, Angie. We’ve all got you both covered in prayer. You just give thanks.” Seemed like a crazy idea at the time, but I went to the Christian bookstore and put on some headphones and listened to worship music. Best advice I’ve ever gotten. It took my eyes off my problems and put them on Jesus. It’s that simple. If you focus on being alone, you’re going to feel lonely. If you focus on thanking Jesus for all he’s done for you, you’ll feel more loved and accepted than you’ve ever felt.

3.) Grant mercy. “Mercy triumphs over judgment every time.” We sang these words at church, and they revolutionized my life. Because I had judged big time. And you know what? My judgments were based on truth. They were biblical. They were right. But the outpouring of mercy I suddenly felt for the people who had hurt me the most made me feel alive again. I could let go of vengeance and fear the expectation I had for God to grant me justice. It didn’t matter anymore. For the first time ever, I could wish my enemies the best. And mean it. I seriously wanted mercy for them. I wanted them to feel as free as I felt right then. Because it was so powerful and beautiful and healing. It didn’t matter that I was alone anymore because I was so overflowing with love that I cared more about being there for others than having someone be there for me.

A year later I met the man of my dreams, though I thought it was too good to be true. I didn’t think I deserved it. He would say, “You are a gift from God,” but I couldn’t say it back. I was afraid God was going to take him away. Then one day on a jog I was thinking about this, and I got this scripture stuck in my head: “Every good and perfect gift is from God.” I went home and looked up all the verses that included the word “good.” The first one in the Bible was, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” The last one was, “Now you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good.”
I bawled. I accepted God’s gift. I celebrated my 3rd wedding anniversary this year. And it’s been good.

To all who are lonely, I pray my story gives you hope. And more importantly, I pray that someday your story will give others hope. Because that’s a pretty good and perfect gift, too.

What a beautiful story, Angela. And wise words from one so young. Thank you for sharing.

Angela has a new book out and she's giving away one copy to a lucky winner. To have a chance to win a copy leave a comment and make sure to include your email address so I can contact you.

I've heard kids are loving this book!

I, Joey Michaels, am the Snowball Fight Professional. Basically this means that customers pay me to shoot snowballs at other people. I'll use the profits to buy Grandma a gift so impressive that she'll give me a puppy for Christmas. Unless, of course,  my cousin Winston has anything to do with it ...
Earning the Puppy wouldn't be so hard if I didn't have the following problems:
1) Winston stealing my employee.
2) Winston getting me in trouble every time I do something wrong.
3) Winstron blaming me for things I don't even do.

If I don't get the puppy ... ugh. Winston will get  him. And Christmas should be all about what I want, right?

The snowball Fight Professional is Book 2 in the Fun4Hire Series.

This sounds like a book my grandsons would enjoy. Hmm. I'm still shopping.  

I'll announce the winner of The Snowball Fight Professional next Wednesday.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Sunday, December 07, 2014



The winner will receive a FREE audio copy of the newly revised The Journey of Eleven Moons. 

It is a spectacular way to experience the dramatic story of Anna and her sister Iya who lose their village in a tsunami and are forced to find a way to survive the Alaskan wilderness on their own. Their only help is an outsider that Anna doesn't trust.

All you have to do to win this book is share one of your favorite Christmas memories. 

I will run the contest through December 25th and will draw one winner on December 26th.

I can hardly wait to hear your stories. I will include some the best ones here on my blog during the Christmas season.


God bless you! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 05, 2014

Life In 100 Words Or Less - Be Happy!

Yesterday was a good day. 

Mom and I hung out at the duck pond. I met with my acupuncturist. And I did some Christmas shopping.

Why was this day better than any other? I had a REALLY good time! I decided to have fun.

Each person I spent time with became a new friend, even the man who pumped my gas.

Connecting with others makes life more fun. Engage new acquaintances. Make eye contact. Chat. Smile.

Next time you go out, make new friends, even if they are momentary friendships. I bet you'll have a good day too.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Steadfast - Guest Blogger Allie Pleiter

Make sure to read to the bottom for a chance to win a FREE Book!

Life if filled with treasure, not just the monetary kind, but that which builds our spirits and nourishes our lives. Allie Pleiter, my guest blogger, has treasure to share. Please read on and become richer.

An avid knitter, BBC Television geek and French macaron enthusiast, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction.  The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework.  

Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the Midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois.  The “dare from a friend” to begin writing has produced two parenting books, twenty-two novels, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing.  

Visit her website at or her knitting blog at

Riches from Allie:

During my son’s four-year bout with multiple illnesses, I learned there are two types of adversity:  One is the full-scale calamity where you must surrender to your circumstances and exist in survival mode.  Those times offer lessons in grace, dependence, humility, and the extraordinary provision of our Lord.The other kind of adversity is a slow and weary trial that goes on for months, where you battle an eroding brand of normal. This trial must be fought by excavating blessings from amid the constant strain.  For that I used my “Fort of Fours.”

  Each morning I fought hard (some days really hard) to list four blessings.  Simple things like a warm cup of coffee, a kind hospital nurse, positive test results, anything that could teach my spirit to find the good even on a bad day.  Then, I allowed myself to list four prayers for only the coming 24 hours—even if that meant one of those prayers was not to freak out about something that could not be solved in 24 hours.  I went back each morning and put a check mark next to each prayer from the previous day that had been answered.  I collected a lot of check marks.

These eight items became my daily spiritual vitamins.  It allowed me to keep going, to carry a lightened workload, and to see my son through to his healing.  He’s fine now, but I still practice this every morning, and probably won’t ever stop.

These survival techniques are just what I need. Thank you, Allie.

Allie is offering a FREE BOOK to one of you. All you need to do to be included in the drawing is leave a comment. Make sure to include you email address so we can contact the winner. 

This sounds like a fun read. And just in time for Christmas.

Charlotte Taylor isn't good at playing it safe. Reeling from the sudden loss of her job and her beloved grandmother, Charlotte knows buying a dilapidated cottage in Gordon Falls isn't exactly practical. Especially since she just hired the one man who may love the property more than she does to help renovate it. Volunteer firefighter and part-time contractor Jesse Sykes can't stay mad at Charlotte for very long. Though she snatched up the home he'd planned on purchasing, Charlotte's dreams are big enough for both of them…if only she'd let him in. Charlotte promised she'd never fall for a first responder, but is it already too late?

I'll announce the winner of Saved by the Fireman next Wednesday.

Grace and peace to you from God,