Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bah Humbug?

Make sure to read to the end to qualify for a new contest!

Recently I've spent a good deal of time in local stores and malls. I've walked my feet off and spent too much money, but I've enjoyed every minute, well nearly every minute. I've had warm encounters with friends and strangers. And I've accepted and offered Merry Christmas wishes. People seem to be more congenial this time of year.

However, there are those who would rather grouse than partake in the celebration. Today while standing in a line at Walmart the woman behind me told her friend how much she hated Christmas and couldn't wait until it was over. She's missing out, missing the point.

Her complaint wasn't the first I've heard this year. Each time I hear this negative point of view I feel a little sad and wonder why the person finds Christmas so distasteful. Some have good cause--this can be a stressful time and it seems to bring out the melancholy and heartache that often lives just beneath the surface. Loneliness lurks and seeks us out.

And yet I must confess--I LOVE CHRISTMAS! I enjoy it all--the shopping, the crowds, bell ringers, Christmas music, bright lights and tinsel and the man playing Santa and . . . well the list goes on.

Christmas is magical. As a child the enchantment was all about Santa and then as I grew older it became the fun and frolic of family, and finally there was that special Christmas when I knew The Savior. That was the best Christmas of all.

So many years ago, God gave us the ultimate of gift of Himself. I marvel that The Creator of the universe cared enough about humanity that He became a man to save us. What greater gift is there than this? Because of the baby Jesus who grew into the man who walked the road of sorrows we have the hope of eternity with God. What a wondrous gift.

In light of the first Christmas miracle should we humbug the season, which has become so commercialized? For what purpose? What good shall come of shrugging it off or disdaining of it completely? Doesn't God love laughter and joy, little ones with eyes aglow, kindness and hugs? Does He not love our reverence, fragrant candles and voices raised in praise to Him?

YES! He does!

Christmas, indeed, is too commercial. But I say allow the light of Christ to shine anyway. Love your fellow man--while standing in a line at Walmart--attending a community treelighting--while lifting voices with others in worship. Let us remember the baby Jesus born to simple, faithful people.

Christmas is like fertile ground--it's a good place to plant our faith, to share Jesus with those who don't know Him. If we're grumbling what becomes of planting? How much better it is to allow the light of Jesus to shine brightly. Tell someone you love them--that He loves them. Embrace the joy of the season and spread it all around.

Merry Christmas to you.

Do you have a special Christmas tradition? Please share it by leaving a comment. One lucky person will receive an autographed copy of To Love Anew as my Christmas gift to them.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Miralee Ferrell's debut novel--The Other Daughter

I met Miralee at the OCW Summer Conference in Canby, Oregon in August. She's a member of ACFW and so am I so right off we had something in common, aside from the fact that we both love to read and write fiction. She was very excited about her new book and now it's finally in bookstores. I'm anxiously awaiting my copy of The Other Daughter. The story line is captivating and after reading the excerpt I can't wait to dive in. It's a privilege to host her on my blog.

Here is a tidbit from the book:
The girl standing at the door took a deep breath, pulling her suitcase a little closer to her trembling legs. "My mama's dead. He's my daddy."

Susanne Carson knew that she could trust the love of her life--her husband, David--until she discovered a strange, unkempt young girl on their doorstep, claiming to be David's daughter.

Not that their marriage had ever been perfect--David's decision to embrace the Christian faith had strained their relationship. Susanne may not have agreed with his beliefs, but at least she trusted him. Had David been hiding this not-so-little secret from his past? He wanted Susanne to believe in his God, but believing hadn't done much to keep David out of another woman's arms.

As David confronts the truth of his past, Susanne must face her own moment of truth as her marriage is taken to the breaking point and the life of one young girl is left in her hands.


Miralee I can't wait to get my copy of your book. While I'm waiting can you tell me how you came up with the idea for this story?

A friend suggested that my first book be based on something true from my life, if possible. That way I'd have an easier time fleshing it out. I brainstormed a few "what ifs" from our marriage. What if the 18 year old girl who'd written my husband a letter claiming to be his daughter had been a young teen without a mother and we had to raise her? What if her conception had happened while he and I were dating, rather than prior to our meeting, as was the case? What if I were NOT a Christian and he was, and I struggled with Christianity and his faith? That's exactly what it took to ignite the story, and it grew from there and became The Other Daughter. And to answer anyone panting to know--yes--the eightteen-year-old girl WAS my husband's daughter from his "Before Christ" days and yes, we keep in touch and have a solid relationship with her and her family.

It's true that much of what ends up in our books come from personal experiences, but you've really stepped out courageously with this one. Beginning with the "near" truth, how did you develop the characters for the story? Are they at all like you and your husband, daughter, or other people you know?

Excellent question. In this book, the two main characters both have some aspects of my husband's and my personalities or outlook on life. Susanne is much more of my hubby, Allen, than me. He struggled with Christianity for years, even though he was saved prior to our engagement. His main issue was the need to be in control of his life and not bow to an outside authority, even God. He also dealt with some drinking issues, as did Susanne, and some of her arguments at one time or the other, came from his lips.

Josh and Megan, the two children of David and Susanne are very similar in personality and interests as our son Steven and daughter Marnee. Steven loved to dismantle things as a child and Marnee was horse crazy (still is as an adult).

I'm in there somewhere . . . probably more in the frustration David felt in dealing with Susanne's attitudes toward his faith and drinking.

What themes exist in The Other Daughter that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't clear cut when you set out but developed as the story progressed?

The overriding theme is one of releasing control of our lives to our Heavenly Father, and seeing that He cares more about our future than we ever can. Until a person bows their will to His and falls into his arms, there will be no true and lasting peace . . . and it's tough to find real forgiveness, or give it to others.

The character of Grandfather, a part Native American relative of David's, surprised me. He didn't exist in the first rough draft, but came quite some time after. He was brought into the picture to help both David and Susanne examine their motives and reactions to one another and to Brianna on a deeper level. He's a picture of unconditional love that we all wish for in our lives and the type of person we could all use, especially when we're heading the wrong direction.

The Other Daughter is selling well and has received great reviews. What do you have in store for us next?

I'm working on Past Shadows, the sequel to The Other Daughter, and hope to have it ready to mail off to my editor in early November. I've also started something new--a novel set in 1880 Washington State . . . I'm hesitating to say it's a romance, but it looks like it might be heading that direction. I'm playing around with another idea for a stand-alone women's contemporary with an unusual twist. I'm hopiing to start work on it as soon as Past Shadows is completed. There could also be a #3 in this series, and if so, we'll return to Brianna, the thirteen-year-old girl who arrives at the Carson's door . .. at the age of 23.

Wow, sounds like you've got some good ideas percolating. I look forward to reading more of your work. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me.

Miralee's book The Other Daughter is available at your local bookstores or can be ordered at or

You can contact Miralee at



To continue the blog tour and learn more about Miralee and her new book go to the following blog sites.

Jan Parrish--Care Givers Corner --

Tina Helmuth--The Ink's Not Dry --

Teresa Slack--ShoutLife Blog --

Pam Meyers -- Pammy Meyers Writes --

Monday, October 22, 2007


Coming Soon an interview with Miralee Ferrell. Watch for it on November 1st. In the mean time here's a teaser for the book. And if you leave a comment, Miralee promises to draw for a winner and send the lucky person a free book.

The Other Daughter

The girl standing at the door took a deep breath, pulling her suitcase a little closer to her trembling legs. "My mama's dead. He's my daddy."

Susanne Carson knew that she could trust the love of her life--her husband, David--until she discovered a strange, unkempt young girl on their doorstep, claiming to be David's daughter.

Not that their marriage had ever been perfect--David's decision to embrace the Christian faith had strained their relationship. Susanne may not have agreed with his beliefs, but at least she trusted him. Had David been hiding this not-so-little secret from his past? He wanted Susanne to believe in his God, but believing hadn't done much to keep David out of another woman's arms.

David confronts the truth of his past, Susanne must face her own moment of truth as her marriage is taken to the breaking point and the life of one young girl is left in her hands.

Read the entire opening scene at Miralee's web site:

Now available at bookstores or order at or

Monday, October 08, 2007

A Prince Among Dogs

What would we do without our dogs? They are there for us when things are going great and when we are at our worst. And they still love us. Dogs bring an intense loyalty and love to our lives that no other pet--or human can match. When we want to give up they come to us with wagging tails and goofy smiles, asking to go for a walk or play tug-of -war. Nothing can lift our spirits like our dogs.

If you love dogs or know someone who does there's a book you need to get--A Prince Among Dogs and Other Stories of the Dogs We Love. In this heartwarming collection of true stories, you will meet many dogs--some big, some small, some rambunctious, and some serene. Each of them has played an important part in the lives of their humans.

I'm especially excited about this book because the story of my dog Benny is included in this compilation of touching tales. Benny was part of my family for thirteen years and is still missed. I hope you'll pick up a copy of this wonderful book and find out why we loved him so much.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Leah Mast is the winner of the To Love Anew Contest! :-)

Many thanks to everyone who took part in the contest. And if you didn't win this time, don't worry! More contests are on the way.

Until then, Leah, please send me your address through the contact form on my web site and I'll mail off your gift basket. Mmm, chocolate, coffee, and good books, what a great way to start October.



Sunday, September 30, 2007

Summertime Sticky Note: New Contest!

Announcing The Love Anew Contest:

To celebrate the release of To Love Anew, I’m running a huge contest for my readers. To enter, all you need to do is read the story, and then post a comment here on my blog telling me the name of your favorite character, and why you liked him or her.

I’ll put all the names of the people who post into a (very classy) hat, and then draw one winner.

The winner of the contest will receive a huge basket of goodies, including chocolate, gourmet coffee, hot chocolate, a coffee mug, and a full set of my Matanuska series. If that doesn’t cause you to feel Love Anew, I don’t know what will (GRIN!)

All comments must be added as responses to this post by September 30th, so buy your copy of To Love Anew soon, and then submit your comment.

I look forward to hearing about your favorite characters, and to sending one of you a FABULOUS basket of goodies!


P.S. IMPORTANT: We will announce the winner of the basket right here on the blog on October 1st. To claim the prize, the winner must provide a complete mailing address through Bonnie's contact form no later than October 12th!

Monday, August 13, 2007

OCW Writing Conference and Lindon Book Store --Fun, fun, fun!

It's taken me a bit of time to get to this blog. After returning from the Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference and a booksigning in Washington, there were sooo many tasks that said, "I must be done." And now I've done them so I can share a little about the fun I've had.

At the OCW conference I taught a coaching class, called The Writing Experience. I had a great time! I love to teach. And even more, I love to meet other writers and watch as they discover techniques and ideas that help them find their way in this complicated world of writing.

Every year I say, "This is the best class." This year is no exception--my students were the best. I can't wait to see them again and find out what they've been up to. Over the years I've met so many talented and honorable people and lots of them have become my friends. When I attend the summer conference a big part of the fun is connecting with my writing friends. Many of them I see only once a year, at the conference.

I had lots of great reunions, received and gave 100's of hugs, laughed and cried, and told stories. It was fabulous! A perfect week for me. The only downside is there's just not enough time and I'll have to wait another year to do it again. But I thank God for the gift of OCW. That is where I learned to write, where I received encouragement, and direction. And where I sold my first book.

After the conference I drove north to Washington where I was scheduled to do a booksigning at the Lindon Bookstore in Enumclaw. They have a great store, which includes an espresso bar. Their coffee is super.

Enumclaw sits at the feet of the Cascade Mountains with Mt. Rainier rising majestically above the forests and mountain ranges. On a clear day it sits regally, dazzling in the sunlight, and I can never look at it without thinking about the power and love of God. And I like Enumclaw. Everytime I visit, it tempts me to make my home there. It's the kind of place that makes you feel as if you've stepped back to a better time and place.

The get together at Lindon's was much more than a booksiging. Several readers and some people who were simply curious about me and my books gathered. We chatted, I read from my book, we chatted some more and laughed, and questions were asked and answered. It was great fun. And an employee of the store, Ida Hoxie, made the most delectable desserts--a cherry cream pie(I don't know the name, but it was fabulous) and brownies. So, while we visited we also, ate.

I had a fabulous time and made some new friends. I hope to do it again, not just in Enumclaw, but at other bookstores as well.

I have more booksignings, retreats, and workshops on my calendar and can't wait for the upcoming fun. I know there will be surprises and that I'll make new friends.

Being a writer is hard work, but it's also a blessing. I can't imagine another job I'd like better and I get to meet interesting, creative, and fun people. I thank God for my job. And I thank you, readers, for being there for me, encouraging me with your letters and for buying my books.

As long as you continue to read what I write I'll continue writing. Blessings to you all.

Bonnie Leon

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Well Loved.

I walked into my local bookstore today and saw my new book, To Love Anew on the shelf. I'm giddy and thinking how silly I am. After fifteen years of writing you'd think I'd get used to this phenomenon of book birthing. But it never gets old. Each time I complete a novel I feel a rush of joy and an inexplicable sense of accomplishment, as if I've done something spectacular like climbed Mt. Everest or something similarly sensational. Sometimes while in the midst of creating a novel the task does feel like mountain climbing. :-)

To Love Anew is especially dear to my heart. I relate to my two main characters, Hannah Talbot and John Bradshaw. They've each lost things dear to them--life is definitely not fair.

John and Hannah end up on a prison ship bound for New South Wales. Neither of them deserve the harsh punishment, but there is nothing to be done about it. In their world they possess no power, except their faith in a sovereign God.

Have you felt powerless--without hope? My guess is that all humans have at one time or another. I must admit to having had to relearn the lesson that God is big enough to overcome any kind of trouble. The good news is that my weakness doesn't diminish His strength. There is no sorrow, no sin, no heartache that is too difficult for Him. He can carry every burden.

When I consider the truth of who He is and that He loves me just as I am, I rediscover hope and peace. I have nothing to fear. He is enough.

I'm His kid, dirty and scarred, but well loved. He walks every step with me. He never abandons me. When I reach up my hand to Him He takes it and holds on. I remember walking along a beach once with my earthly father. When I was with him I felt confident, and when he took my hand as we walked along that beach I knew I was safe.

Peace comes in knowing our Father. No matter how great the tempest is in our life we can stand up to it if we hang onto The One who has the power to overcome.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

His forever.

Today was one of those perfect days. My family and I joined several other families at what is called a Poker Run. A poker what you might ask? A poker run is a group of dirt bike riders who get together for the pure pleasure of riding trails. People of every age, male and female take part. We ride and swap stories, bake in the sun or rest in the shade. There's no racing, just a lot of fun.

So, what does poker have to do with it? When people arrive, they go the sign up booth and purchase five cards from a deck at $1.00 a piece. The best hands win prizes. At the end of the day, those with good hands find out what they've won.

This year, we did really well. But the day isn't about prizes, it's about spending time with neighbors, friends and family. We all share a love of riding. My husband's been riding dirt bikes since he was a teenager and that was more than forty years ago. He's passed down his passion to our son and daughter, our son-in-law and grandsons and granddaughter. I'd be riding too, but my body complains too loudy these days. Instead I'm part of the cheering section, plus I'm the band-aid lady, and sandwich maker. But my most important job is to keep an eye on the little ones, to make sure they stay safe and that they don't get lost. What could be better than that?

Oh, how the Lord has blessed me. Little did I know 36 years ago, when I said, "I do," that I was in for a wonderful adventure. My husband and I had a rough start, but we've made up for it.

The journey began with just the two of us, then our son, Paul, joined us and two years later, Kristi, and a year a half after that, Sarah. I remember holding my newborns in my arms and experiencing a love like no other. Actually the love began when I felt that first flutter inside--a love that would never let me go. And with each grandchild, there was more of the same love. Interesting how we never seem to run out. There always seems to be enough.

The day my son was born was another perfect days. When I looked at him, I got my first glimpse of what my Heavenly Father feels for me. I knew I'd do anything for him, including give my own life. And I understood I'd never fall out of love with him just as my Heavenly Father's love for me will never fade. I may get discouraged, even angry. I might even shake my fist at Him, but He'll still love me. I'm His forever.

Christ's sacrifice of himself for me, His shed His blood unites us in a bond that can't be broken. What an awesome thing to be loved so deeply that I never have to fear getting lost. He always knows just where I am.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A question from Debbie.

Hi Bonnie!

I hope I can be that informal with you. I just finished book three of the Queensland Chronicles! What a story of perseverence! I really needed that in my life right now.

Will there be a book four or is this the end?

I just discovered your books in our church library. I'm hoping I can find more and expand the collection.

Thanks for the story of God's love and His faithfulness.

In Christ,


First off, thanks for the letter Debbie. I love to hear from readers. And yes, you can be informal. I'm just a people like you--no one special here, except in the eyes of those who love me. :-)

Several readers have written to ask if there will be a book four in The Queensland Chronicles. At this time, there are no additional books planned, but one never knows what the future may bring.

Right now, I'm very excited about my upcoming release, To Love Anew. It's the first in a new Australian Trilogy. We begin the adventure in 1804 London and the story leads us to New South Wales, Australia.

I love the characters in this book, especially Ruby and Lydia. They're the kind of ladies we can count on when we're down. And Hannah and John have a lot to feel down about. But their struggle is more than just physical survival; it's spiritual endurance. How does one hang onto faith in the midst of unspeakable hardship? Is God big enough for my troubles? And can He love me just as I am?

Most of us wrestle with forgiveness, especially when it comes to forgiving ourselves. We know the real person living inside, the one we try to hide from the world. We know how ugly our sin is and wonder how can God love me? He sees the real me. With our human heart we struggle to understand a God who contains infinite love and can forgive all sin. But the great thing is we don't have to fully understand, we just need to believe. With belief comes God's grace and heaven and all its wonders.

I praise Him for his loving kindness, for His mercy, and His righteousness.

May you know His blessings,


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Why the hard stuff?

I recently spoke at a women's retreat at the Oregon coast. I stayed in a condo right on the beach. It was fabulous! An aqua blue sky contrasted the deep blue of the ocean, and foaming waves crashed against rocks tossing their spray into the air. When I stepped onto my deck I could feel a sharp breeze and smell the unique aroma that only comes from the sea. It was gorgeous and inspiring!

And yet, it wasn't enough.

I wanted more--to walk on the beach, to feel the frigid ocean water suck the sand from beneath my feet. I wished I could hunt for seashells and special rocks and sea creatures. Instead I remained in my room, resting, reading and praying. Occasionally I'd step onto my deck. I didn't mope, but I thought about it.

Years ago there was a truck . . . on a corner . . . and it hit my van and changed my life. Now, instead of being the first one on the beach I have to be careful. Too much doing brings on too much pain. Sometimes I throw a pity party but there are special moments when I get a God view of my life and I can praise him for the new me. But this weekend I wanted to be like everyone else.

I was speaking Saturday night and Sunday morning so I had to be careful not to overdo. I couldn't let the ladies down. Giving a speech from a bed isn't very effective.

Interestingly enough the topic for the retreat just happend to be Embracing Life's Disappointments. And it was exactly what I needed to be studying. In recent months life had thrown stones at me and my world seemed filled with disappointment--God had something to say to me.

As I prepared for the retreat He took me to stories of His people and revealed details of their lives that I'd never really seen before. In the midst of their disappointments God was always there. And it was clear the difficulties were God orchestrated. When Joseph was sold into slavery God had a plan. Moses missed out on the Promised Land, but God gave him so much more--Moses got to see God face-to-face. Paul suffered devastating consequences for his faithful service, yet while in prison he sang praises to his Lord.

If I were in control of the world around me, I probably wouldn't have allowed that truck to hit me. But I'm short-sighted. I can't see the big picure--not the way God does. He sees it all. And His Word says that nothing touches me without His permission. So, I've got to trust Him. He knows what He's doing. When that truck hit my van, God knew that "life as usual" wasn't the way for me.

Because of Him I can say, "Thank you for adversity."

Only in weakness can we learn to rely on Him. Only in our trials do we exercise faith. When we need more than we possess, God gives the power and courage to overcome.

Trust Him. He wants to bless your life.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Carol wrote to say,

"Hi there, I'm now almost through the Northern Lights series. I was surprised to read you have Aleut ancestry and figure you use some of the old stories as a basis of what your ancestors lives were like.

You're right, Carol. I've written seven novels that take place in Alaska and each book contains information and insights from my Aleut ancestors. I've logged hours and hours of research. A lot of that time was spent looking into Alaskan culture, history, geography, etc. but many of the scenes in my books are taken directly from family stories.

I especially loved doing personal interviews. A lot of them were with family members(especially my mom) but I also talked to lots of other folks who are presently living in Alaska or have lived there.

Each new project felt like a treasure hunt. I found gold! I discovered some exceptional stories and special people in my family, real Alaskan Sourdoughs. It's been great fun writing about real places in history and real people who were willing to risk everything to fulfill dreams.

When I started writing about Alaska I'd counted on having fun and making new discoveries, but I hadn't planned on unearthing my heritage. I remember feeling wonderment when I got the first glimpse of me--where I came from. How exceptional it was to "feel" native.

I'd always known Aleut blood ran in my veins, but I never felt a connection. I grew up in the state of Washington far from my ancestral roots and I just never really got it. Writing about Alaska and its people turned out to be an unexpected gift. I'm grateful for the experience.

As a young woman, my mother left her family in Alaska and moved to Seattle. Her memories of growing up there are sweet ones and she loves to share them. I have hours and hours of tape recorded stories. My brother, Bruce, lives in Cordova. He's an adventurer and so many of his stories have contributed to mine. I just hope he lives through his next adventure. :-) I pray for him a lot.

Everyone's family histories are important. If you've not looked into yours please do--you may be surprised and pleased. So much of who we are comes from who we were and where we came from.

There's treasure to be found.

Monday, April 09, 2007

A comedy of errors or something more?

Have you ever had one of those days when nothing seems to go right? Or should I say, one of those weeks?

My week began March 29th, the day I traveled from Southern Oregon to Mt. Hermon, California to take part in a Christian Writers' Conference.

The trip down offered no hint that things were about to turn bad. Spring had splashed the landscape with vibrant greens, reds, and yellows. And I was reminded how wonderful it is to be alive.

My friend Ann and I chatted all the way, cruising over the highway without mishap. There was very little traffic even when we approached the Bay Area. It was a good time. It was perfect.

We arrived at Mt. Herman in the late afternoon and were glad to see that the conference center was shaded by giant evergreens. They towered over us and made the rustic-looking resort look beautiful. Ann and I made our way into a warm, timbered lobby where we picked up our room keys and then set off in search of our accomodations. That's when the trouble began.

Finding a parking space was more difficult than I'd imagined. After trying to squeeze my Dodge Ram Pickup into a space made for a Volkswagon Beatle, I realized there'd be no parking near our room. We decided to unload our things and then find a parking spot.

When we stepped into our room, I must admit my first impression was shock and disappointment. It wasn't what I'd expected--too rustic. A princess mind-set bloomed and a bad attitude swept over me and took hold. I should have known I was in for it.

I'm never out of my Heavenly Father's sight; He knows everything. And He was about to deal with one of His kids.

Right off, I lost my room key and after a frantic search managed to locate it only to lose it again within the next few minutes. Another search ensued and finally the key was discovered on the ground hidden among natural bark mulch beneath the lofty cedars.

After several trips up and down the stairs to our second floor room, Ann and I were finally moved in. Now all I needed to do was find a parking spot. I drove about the grounds in search of something close, but ended up several blocks away in what I like to refer to as the "South Forty". By this time, my bad attitude was growing.

I have some physical challenges and walking long distances can be painful. I gimped back to my room and plopped down on the bed, figuring I ought to call my husband and let him know I'd arrived safely. Only problem was I'd left my cell phone in the truck. Oh brother!

More than a little disgruntled I hoofed it back to the truck, grabbed my phone and headed back. My gimp more pronounced and my lungs sucking air, I climbed the stairs to my room and tried to call my husband. There was no signal. Even I had to chuckle at this.

That night I prepared for bed and discovered I'd forgotten my toothbrush. I never forget my toothbrush. :-] As I climbed beneath my blankets I decided that all these frustrating events were beyond coincidence and wondered if God was speaking to me. Too tired to listen I went to sleep.

The following morning started out well. Breakfast was good and my table mates were terrific. However, just as breakfast came to a close a man stepped up to the microphone in front and explained that the power company was making repairs in the parking lot in the "South Forty" and that someone who owned a Dodge Ram Pickup from Oregon needed to move the truck.

This was beyond comprehension. I'd managed to park in the only space that was a problem for the power company. Grumbling, I trudged to the "South Forty" parking lot and moved my rig.

Little did I know that the week I'd never forget was just getting revved up. I'd been taking antibiotics for a sinus infection and that second night side affects kicked in. I'll spare you the gory details, but the toilet and I became well acquainted. It was a long night.

God had my attention, but not fully. There was so much to think about and do. I really didn't have the time.

My attitude did begin to improve. I began to hear and see inspiration all around me -- the beauty of the grounds, the interesting and committed people who had trekked from places all over the globe just to be part of this conference. I witnessed love and dedication from the teachers and felt the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The next day I spent hours in class, which by the way was in the "South Forty". The session began in the morning, broke for lunch, then came together again for more great teaching in the afternoon. I could feel the strain on my back, but I pushed on. During the evening meal I met more terrific people, experienced some great conversations and listened to inspiring stories and a great speaker. I also took part in a get-acquainted party with my agent, her partner and several of their clients. We met out in the "South Forty", but by this time I didn't mind. The company was just too great. And when I hoofed it back to my room I thought everything was going to work out just fine.


That night while getting ready for bed, I bent over the sink to brush my teeth (with the new toothbrush I'd purchased at the campground store) and my bad back told me in no uncertain terms that it hadn't appreciated the long hikes, nor all the hours of sitting. I was in trouble.

I downed a handful of pills and shuffled to my bed, praying for relief. I slept little and in the middle of the night medicated again. I'd been through this before and knew what to do, but I also knew things were bad and I'd be laid up for the entire conference and would be lucky if I could drive home.

I lay in bed on a heating pad, medicated and anxious. I never have learned to appreciate pain. Ann, made sure I had something to eat at breakfast and lunch. My agent visited and offered to fly me home. Her care and concern touched me deeply. She's definitely not the run-of-the-mill kind of agent.

Now, God had my full attention. He is good and He is just. And I'm thankful He's a God of mercy.

People prayed, even those who didn't know me. I woke from a drugged sleep late in the afternoon and thought, Hmm. I don't feel too bad. I got up and walked around my room. I'm not feeling bad at all. Maybe I can take a shower. I showered and then wondered if I might be able to get dressed. I did. I also fixed my hair and put on some makeup and then I walked down the stairs and went to dinner. It was truly a miracle. I've lived with my cranky back for 16 years and I know how it works--when it's bad it stays that way for a good while.

Praising God for His goodness, I completed the conference--a place where the Holy Spirit is at work and inspiration and growth is expected. I saw God at work all around me and got a glimpse of my place in the big picture. I'm just a tiny piece of God's puzzle, but for a few hours I felt that by setting that piece in the right place, I could see His picture and was honored to be included. I'm not worthy.

I plan to go back next year and hope to return physically and spiritually stronger. I don't want to miss out on God's gifts. Even lying flat out on my bed was a gift--I felt loved by God's people. And most of all by a God who certainly doesn't have reason to love me, yet who chooses to do so.

Here's to next year and prayerfully to a better attitude and fewer unwelcome surprises.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I am a friend of God.

While in church on Sunday we were singing a song called "I Am a Friend of God" and I got to thinking about what it really means--to have God as a friend.

Friends are hugely important in life. I have lots of friends, but only a couple of buddies. I'm not sure what I would do without my buddies. Who would I tell my darkest secrets to or share my sorrows with or special joys? I wouldn't have anyone to gripe to. We can share stuff--like favorite books and movies or pictures of our kids or grandbabies. We get together and chat or munch on popcorn and cry over a favorite chic flick (we've probably already seen a dozen times).

I've lived a good many years and have been privileged to witness friendships in action and I've learned a few things. True friends care about each otheron the good days and the bad; they can count on one another to be there when the tough stuff hits. Many years ago, I had a "close encounter" with a log truck. I was pretty much flattened. In the days after my friends paraded through my house with meals for my family, prayers, and encouragement. And in the years since, they haven't forgotten that my body was forever changed. But rather than abandon our friendship, they've stayed and when we get together they make sure I get the chair in the room that works best for my back and they watch out for me, making sure I don't do too much. In so many ways they demonstrate that they love me. And that matters a lot.

God calls me friend. And He's my best buddy. He's the one who taught me and my friends how to love and care about each other. Course he's perfect, so he never fails--He's always there when I need him, He'll listen to anything I want to talk about, He holds my heart in his hand when life's too painful, and He whispers comfort to me when I'm afraid. When he sees me crying over a silly movie or a good book He smiles because He loves that part of me, for He created me.

Sometimes the idea that God is my friend is unfathomable. I can't grasp why the creator of the universe cares about me and wants to spend time with me or that He wants to be my friend. But I don't have to understand, I just have to accept. His Word says he longs to fellowship with me. WOW! Thank you, Lord!

There are times when even the best of friends can't be there for each other, and there are times when they're not wise, when they're not patient. But God always is. He can always be counted on to NEVER fail us. Knowing that offers comfort.

And I have to remember that my friends, even my buddies aren't God. And we aren't God either. We can only do our best to be like Him.

My daughter said something to me the other day that set me back a bit. She said, "Mom, sometimes you are so busy doing the right thing--being strong and obedient and faithful that you forget to let God be part of the process. Ouch!

She's right. I sometimes rely upon myself--trusting in me rather than on my best buddy. He's everything--my savior, my helper, my healer, my shield, my protector, my father -- my everything. And He wants me to sit down and chat with Him, dump my worries and cares into his arms, to allow Him to carry my burdens and to remember all that he's done for me. And then to tell others.

If only I would always remember that. But I don't. Yet I am forgiven because the one who loves me most is God.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Deadline

I made it! I'm exhausted, but I made it.

For the last two months, I feel as if I've been running bases and finally I'm rounding third and heading for home. The coach is motioning me on. I go for it. A ball is fired in from left field. I race toward home, and just as I slide across the plate the ball heats up the pitchers glove. He goes for the tag and . . . I'm . . . safe! Whew!

Breathless? Can you feel the adrenaline?

Have you ever had a day, a week, a month . . . or months that feel like this? There's so much that needs to be done--that must be done--NOW. You move at such a fast pace that your adrenaline never shuts off. Adrenaline can be a good thing, but too much is something else. That's when all I can think of is rest, sleep . . . anything that will quiet my spirit.

Life is filled with dealines--a school assignment is due, a deal at work must be closed, a speech given, a book turned in--it can even be something as simple as getting dinner on the table at a specific time--not so simple when you have a house full of guests.

We humans know about deadlines. Some people thrive on them and some of us would rather face a dentist with a drill. There is one deadline we all share--our exit from this world. It sits out there in our future--waiting. Will it be heaven or hell? Depending upon our answer it can be a terrifying prospect or it can be a promise. Me? I have a Savior--not that I deserve one, but He offered. I placed my trust in Christ many years ago so I'm looking at a heavenly eternity. I find peace in that, but it also charges me with an obligation. I have work to do before I go.

Scripture tells me that life is a race and I'm to run in such a way that I will win. This race cannot be ignored. And so I "beat" my body into submission. This could create an ugly image of torture and, for some, it may be. However, I don't think God intended it to be. Rather, we are to submit outselves to Him--walk closely, remain in his Word, seek His will and say no to the things in this world that distract us from His call, the only invitation that really matters. To fulfill that call I have to stay close my Father and keep my butt in the seat--my computer chair that is. Writing is what He's called me to, at least for now.

To run well we must spend time with our Heavenly Father. Adam and Eve walked in the garden with God and they talked with Him. It is a beautiful picture of oneness. Can you imagine how it must have been? There was nothing separating mankind from their maker. Adam and Eve knew only love and contentment.

Things have changed drastically since then and the race goes on. Although we run to win we are offered peace.

I've another book due in five months, speeches and workshops to create and a family that loves to spend time with me and whom I adore spending time with. And each day I climb into my Abba Father's lap and seek His way, His will. And there I find my peace. He's the one who directs my paths. Only in Him shall I know rest.

The all important deadline awaits. When that day comes I hope to hear, "Well done thy good and faithful servant."

Monday, January 01, 2007

I'm Not Superman

Last night as part of my family's New Year's Celebration, we watched the new Superman Movie. Our grandson, Gabe, was especially excited because Superman is one of his favorite people. Dressed in his Superman PJ's, he sat in his Superman Chair and ate his Superman sucker. It was a Superman night.

When the movie ended, Gabe ran about our front room with his shoulders thrown back and his arms stick-straight at his sides. He wanted to show us how he could fly like Superman and then he made sure we understood that he was the real Superman. He was extremely cute. We all laughed and gave him extra hugs.

His game of pretend reminded me of me. Sometimes I try to live as if I'm Superman. Only I don't look so cute when I do it. In fact, it can get ugly. Just ask my husband. :-)

With a new year beginning it's a good time to set goals, we call them New Year's Resolutions. I've not said anything about mine, but I have a short list. At the top of this list is--Learn it's okay to just be human. The past year I've made an effort to cut back on some of my "obligations" and I have done so, but I still don't feel good about it. I'm one who always pushes, works harder, does more. There's always another need that's not being met. I've come to the conclusion I can't be the one. I'm gradually putting into practice what I believe, only in my mind I'm still not okay with it.

I need to get there--for a number of reasons: My husband, Greg, son Paul and his wife Jessie, daughter Kristi and daughter Sarah and her husband Fernest, and then there's Gabriel, Corey, Ezra, and Olivia, my grandchildren. I need to spend good time with these special people. And if our encounters are to leave lasting memories it must be unhurried time. That's a challenge.

Like many of you I've been racing since mid-November. We had Thanksgiving, a family wedding and of course Christmas, which included shopping, baking, parties, plus my grandson's birthday, special services . . . and did I mention shopping? I think I did the shop 'til you drop thing. Anyway my feet and my back thought so. And when Christmas day was over, I wondered where had Christ gone, the quiet peace of His presence?

To add to all the busyness is a deadline. Writers almost always have deadlines. I have one glaring at me--four weeks from now. I'll finish, I always do, but the stress of "making it" will take a toll.

I push. I've always been one to push through. I'm one of those who tends to cram too much into my life. I like everything, want to be part of everything.

I need to find another way. God's way. He did not intend for me to push from one activity to another. If I keep on I'll miss it -- my life I mean. God gave me life and sometimes I'm supposed to meander--slow down so I can enjoy the scenery, smell the roses, enjoy the gift of living. I shall pass this way only once; it would be a sin to waste the days.

Work is good, friends are good, family is good and so is being part of my community, but its also good to do only those things God meant for me to do. My first calling is Him. I long for time with my Savior. He quiets my soul. My second calling is my family. I adore my precious one's and relish the intermingling of our lives. And then there is my work, which is also my ministry. God called me to write. It is a joy to serve Him in this and writing blesses me.

All the rest must take its proper place. If I allow, other needs can pull at me. So, my resolution is to continue to remind myself that I'm not Superman and it's okay. I can say no and it's all right. "No." There I said it. "NO." I said again! :-) Maybe if I keep practicing it will actually feel okay to say no. I'm counting on it.

So, my word to you is to savor this life, set priorities and remember that there can only be one Superman.