Monday, February 25, 2013

Quiet Moments With God -- A Light

This morning, I looked out my window and saw heavy gray clouds blanketing the sky. Ugh, I thought. A dreary beginning. 

It wasn't long before the sun cut through the clouds, and beams of heavenly light reflected off the deep green of the forest and the fields around my home Dreariness had been transformed.

But I noticed something else. The light revealed the depth of darkness in the clouds. Have you ever noticed how gray clouds can become black when contrasted by sunlight?

The intensity of brooding clouds is often not fully revealed until contrasted with brilliance. I'm certain God loves to reveal truth in nature. Just as sunlight shows us the darkness of the clouds so also God's Word reveals the truth of the Spirit as well as the depth of our sin. 

When the sun first made its appearance all I saw was its beauty, but when I fixed my gaze I saw the darkness. That's when I realized God had a lesson for me. I need to look beyond the things that please the eye and the heart. I need to look deeply into the truth--of God's Word, the lies of the world, and I need to look into my own heart. I must search for truth, even when what I discover is not lovely. 

There is no light without the Lord. He is all that is good about me. And yet, He has asked me . . . us to be a light to the world. Walking in the light takes courage. It lays bare our imperfections, but those imperfections reveal Christ who loves us, just as we are. And who teaches us to love one another, just as we are. And in so doing we reveal the miracle of God's love. And we become a light to the world.

Dare to be a light.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Friday, February 22, 2013

Thoughts For Today -- On the Move

Today, moving is on my mind. That's because in the last week one daughter and her family moved out of our house, another daughter and her family moved in and my husband and I moved out. It's been crazy.

My husband and I spent yesterday moving back into our nearly  new home that we built four years ago. We're still in process, but getting there.

All our married lives (that would be 41 of them) we've done a lot of moving. By our tenth year of marriage we'd moved sixteen times. Over the next couple of years we made a few more moves and then we stayed put while we raised up our kids.It felt good to set down roots, finally. However, over the last couple of years, moving has become part of who we are . . . again.

We've moved four times, and the interesting part about it is we've been moving back and forth between two different houses. I know . . . sounds crazy. We own both houses, which are really one home that is separated by a patio/breezeway. There's a good explanation for all this activity, but I'll spare you the details. All the moves had to do with family issues and were always for a good cause. But . . . we're done. At least we're going to do our best to stay put.

We used to be pros at moving. We had the process down pat. We could get a house packed up and ready to go in a couple of days, get on the road, unpack and have the pictures hung, house in order, be acquainted with neighbors and have an idea of which church we'd be attending, all within a couple of weeks.

That was then and this is now. My husband is sixty-three and I'm sixty-one. And moving is hard.

Today, we're exhausted and taking a break. There's still lots to do, though my house is looking pretty good. And I'm very happy to be back here. I love this house and plan to stay. I'm looking forward to spring and all the pots filled with flowers that will adorn my deck.

Sometimes people move out of necessity. Other times it's all about adventure. We used to move so often we actually had a moving theme song. When we'd get the house and kids all loaded up and were headed out of town, we'd sing Willy Nelson's song, "On the Road Again." It was fun to be on another adventure.

How do you feel about moving? Have you done much of it? Are you facing a move now? And do you have any moving hints that might make the whole process a little bit easier for some of us?

Just sitting back and enjoying the view.   : )

Grace and peace to you from God,


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Books & Writing -- A Word From Amanda Cabot

What a pleasure to have Amanda Cabot as my guest on Books & Writing. Welcome, Amanda.

   From the time that she was seven, Amanda Cabot dreamed of becoming a published author, but it was only when she set herself the goal of selling a book by her thirtieth birthday that the dream came true.
   A former director of Information Technology, Amanda has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. She's delighted to now be a full-time writer of Christian historical romances. Her Texas Dreams trilogy received critical acclaim and Waiting for Spring, the second in her Westward Winds series, was just released.

Amanda's most recent book, Waiting for Spring, didn't "just happen". It was sparked by her interest in Cheyenne, Wyoming, her new home. Amanda has some fascinating and surprising facts to share with us about --

What's Special About Waiting for Spring

If there's one question I've learned to expect each time a new book is released it's "what makes this book special?" Special of course, is iin the eye of the beholder or, in this case, the reader. While I can't predict how you would answer that question, I can tell you what  made this particular book special for  me: the opportunity to introduce readers to my new home.

Admittedly, Cheyenne has changed dramatically in the more than 125 years between the time frame of Waiting for Spring and 2013. Most of the buildings from that era are gone, and to make it even more confusing, several of the main streets have different names. But there are still glimmers of that opulent era in the city's history. Opulent, you ask? I don't imagine that's an adjective that most of you associate with anything in Wyoming. Yet in 1883, Cheyenne was the wealthiest city per capital in the world. As if that weren't enough, the city had the only opera house west of the Mississippi, and its InterOcean hotel was the first hotel anywhere to have electric lights in its guest rooms. Were you surprised by that? I thought you might be.

Cheyenne's wealth had several sources. It was the territorial capital as well as a major stop on the railroad, but the major source of wealth during the 1880s was cattle. The combination of free grazing land and high prices for cattle attracted men from all over the world to Wyoming. Some historians refer to them as 'cattle kings,' but I prefer the term 'cattle baron.' It was the cattle barons who built the mansions, some of which even boasted their own ballrooms. It was the cattle barons who frequented the opera house and who made their private club, the Cheyenne Club, the epitome of wealth and elegance in a city that had more than its share of both.

At the same time that the cattle barons were amassing fortunes, the citizens of Wyoming Territory were agitating to become a state. Although there were additional costs associated with statehood, there were distinct advantages, including the ability to control the land, water and minerals within the state lines. Did you know that the governors of territories were appointed by the President, sometimes to repay a political favor? It's true. some of Wyoming's territorial governors had never been here, and, in many cases, they had no knowledge of what made Wyoming unique. Imagine a man who'd lived his entire life on the East Coast where rain was plentiful being able to appreciate the need to regulate use of water in a semi-arid territory where survival might be determined by an inch or two of rain. As a former Easterner who was far more accustomed to flooding than drought, I can tell you that it was an adjustment moving to a place where rainfall in a normal year is less than a quarter of what I was used to.

In the fall of 1886, which is when waiting for Spring begins, Wyoming was poised for change. Not only was statehood approaching, but the cattle barons' fortunes were about to be destroyed by a particularly severe winter. As soon as I read about the events of that fateful fall and winter, I knew that would be the background for my story. I knew Barrett would be a cattle baron who's considering running for state senator. I knew Charlotte would be a widow trying desperately to protect her young son. And  I knew that finding happily-ever-after would not be easy for either of them, especially during a harsh Wyoming winter. 

Does that make the book special? I hope so.

Yes! It is special, Amanda. Your love of history, story and realism merged to create a terrific story. 


After the loss of her husband and the birth of her baby, Charlotte has had a long, hard year. But she can find no rest from the ghosts of the past and flees to Cheyenne to put the pieces of her life back together.

Wealthy cattle baron and political hopeful Barrett Landry must make a sensible match if he is to be elected senator of the soon-to-be state of Wyoming. He needs someone with connections. Someone without a past. Yet he can't shake the feeling that Charlotte holds the key to his heart and his future.

Will Charlotte and Barrett find the courage to look love in the face? Or will their fears blot out any chance for happiness?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Quiet Moments With God -- Walking On Water

During our home group meeting a couple of weeks ago, people in the group shared personal experiences of answered prayers. It was heartening to hear how God had been at work in their lives and to be reminded of His touch in our own.

While  driving home that night, Greg and I talked about our history together and how God's presence and intervention had seen us through. He has been with us at every step.

He was there even when we didn't believe. He was there when our eyes were opened. And He was there when our children entered this world, then rescued their lives when they were in peril. He stood with us through all the joys and sorrows, marriages and divorces, births and deaths.

As we looked back through the years, it was clear that God had walked with us, providing comfort and even a miracle now and again. The question arose--With such a history, why do we still doubt?

Jesus asked that very question of one of his disciples. There is an incredible account of great faith in Matthew 14:25-31, which says:
     During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said and cried out in fear. 
      But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." 
     "Lord, it is you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
     "Come," Jesus said.
     Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
     Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

At first glimpse at this story I see Peter's great faith. He stepped out of the boat!

And then he took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink, became afraid and beseeched Jesus to save him. Jesus reached out to him, but his next words startled me. He asked, "Why did you doubt?"

When I read those words a heavy thump went off in my heart. I can ask myself that same question a thousand times. It isn't enough to remember the presence and the touch of  Jesus in our lives. It isn't enough to celebrate His love, mercy and salvation. Though, those things are good. Walking with Jesus is supposed to be a walk of faith, each moment one of believing . .  . before a miracle is performed or even if it isn't.

How amazing it would be to do more than just step out of the boat, but to actually walk on water . . . every time. I have had my faith-filled moments of water walking, but there have been too many times that I have taken my eyes off Christ and looked at the problems and sank into a churning sea.

Today is my birthday, and I thank the Lord for my life. But the reality is it's not my life--it belongs to Him and I pray for lots more water-walking days.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Books & Writing -- We Have A Winner!

Thanks you K. Dawn Byrd for being part of my Books & Writing blog and for giving away a free copy of your book, Double Identity to our winner.

Kristina is the lucky lady. Congratulations!. K. Dawn Byrd will contact you with the details.

Grace and peace to you,


Monday, February 11, 2013

Quiet Moments With God -- In Training

How good it is to be speaking to you today.

Yesterday, Sunday, I woke with a sore back which isn't unusual. I sat and drank a cup of coffee and warmed up my tight muscles on a heating pad, then proceeded to get ready for church. While choosing what I'd wear, my back did its thing, and the next thing I knew I was shuffling to the closest chair and praying I didn't end up on the floor.

It wasn't the first time this had happened. I hoped it would pass quickly. I didn't want to miss church. However, my desires were not to be. Instead, I've been laid up for two days, though I'm happy to say the spasm is giving up some of its power.

I did all the things I know to do--ice, heat and medications. I also admit to shedding a few tears of frustration, which thankfully God understands. And I prayed a lot.

This afternoon, I'm finally able to sit in my chair and work on my computer. Before working, though, I read today's devotional from Jesus Calling. God is so good! He always knows what I need to hear. I want to share the entry with you.

"My peace is like a shaft of golden Light shining on you continuously. During days of bright sunshine, it may blend in with your surroundings. On darker days, My Peace stands out in sharp contrast to your circumstances. See times of darkness as opportunities for My Light to shine in transcendent splendor. I am training you to practice Peace that overpowers darkness. Collaborate with Me in this training. Do not grow weary and lose heart."

Blessed Lord, thank you!

It is His brightness that stands out against the darkness.  If we can praise Him for the dark days we will find the peace God speaks of. It is in our times of weakness that we realize our strength is in Him and it is the trials that teach us to trust in His perfection.

It is clear I need a lot more training, but I will not give up or give in.

Praying you will see the brilliance of His Light.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Friday, February 08, 2013

Thoughts For Today -- Discovering Hidden Treasure

I've been uncertain about whether or not to post this message. However, I believe there is value in it, so here goes.

Last week my husband and I watched a movie that starred one of our favorite actresses--Ann Hathaway. When we sat down to watch, we  expected a romantic comedy. It was much more.

At first we were shocked and disappointed. It contained a lot of profanity, nudity and gratuitous sex. I almost turned it off, but something kept me watching. I think I was hoping for something valuable because it was a Ann Hathaway movie. And I'd never watched one of her movies that I didn't like.

As it turned out, she didn't let me down. Her performance was excellent and believable. She played the role of a woman stricken with early onset Parkinsons Disease. The gauntlet of physical challenges threatened to destroy her. The challenges and fears playing out on the screen struck very close to home for me. Some scenes could have come from my own life. I was startled by statements coming out of the character's mouth--they were things that I've said, verbatim.

Anne's character, Maggie, longs for independence, hates pity and needs to be loved--but she goes about working through these issues in all the wrong ways. When Maggie comes upon a a young pharmaceutical rep. named Jamie, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, she's met her match..

If she were my daughter I would have told her to run from the self-absorbed young man. Jamie has never told anyone or anything that he loves them--because he hasn't. He's committed only to himself. That is until he actually falls in love.

When the movie came to an end, my husband and I looked at one another, our eyes brimming with tears. In so many ways this was our story--not the issues about not being able to love, but so many of the other challenges this couple faced. There were no easy answers, only a pledge to stand together against the odds.

In 1991 I was involved in an auto accident with a log truck loaded with timber. I've never been the same. Some of my injuries never healed and sometimes I feel like I've been old since age thirty-nine, which is the age I was the day of the accident. Chronic pain changes a person. Some days I am not easy to live with. : \

Up until that time, I'd taken my husband's love for granted. I didn't realize how deep his commitment was until he had to step into a bigger role than "just" husband. Not only did he have to fulfill his traditional place as breadwinner, but he also became housekeeper, cook, full time parent and at times, med-aid. He did it and still does without complaint. And up until then we'd lived an active life together. Our activities were greatly diminished and with the passing years even more so.

I'll be honest--I miss those days. I mourn their loss. And it's because of that loss that sometimes I feel like my husband would be better off with an able-bodied woman for a wife. I feel bad about the many things we can't do together. But my husband has never wavered in his devotion. Even as I am, he loves me and wants to spend his life with me. If I could go back and change the events of June 11, 1991 I would. I'm not courageous enough to embrace the changes in me. But, I am grateful to have experienced true love and to know what it really looks like. Thank you, Lord.

Sometimes I am awed by the fact that my husband loves me just as I am. And I love him so deeply for loving me.His love reminds me of Christ's love for the church. We love Him because He first loved us . . . just as we are.

I'm not telling you to go out and get this movie and watch it. Many of you reading this would be offended by its content. But I wanted to share with you what a wonder it is to discover treasure in unexpected ways and unexpected places.

Love & Other Drugs reminded me how blessed I am to be loved just as I am.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Books & Writing -- Author K. Dawn Byrd

Welcome K. Dawn Byrd. It's a pleasure to have you as a guest on Books & Writimg.

K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational novels in several genres, including, historical, suspense, romance, and young adult. Some of her favorite things are chocolate, cars, and her pets. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and riding down country roads in the passenger seat of her husband's Corvette Stingray.

I love your hobbies, especially the country drives in a Corvette.  Fun!

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

Finding time to write. I work a full-time job and also a lot of weekends, which means that I have to be really devoted to my writing time. I set aside at least an hour every night, six days a week if possible. The fact that I start with a well-developed plot makes things move faster.

That sounds like a grueling schedule. I'm tired just thinking about it.

What accomplishments are you most proud of, writing-related or not?

I'm proud of earning a master degree in professional counseling from Liberty University. I believe this degree helps me understand my characters better and what makes them tick.

A Master's is not easy to accomplish. Congratulations! And I can see how having a degree in counseling would be a help when creating and understand characters.

What kind of planning do you do before writing a novel?

I fill out character sketches in order to get to know my characters better. I ask myself what their goals are, what motivates them, and what's keeping them from reaching their goals. Sometimes, I start by writing a synopsis. This gives me information about the plot as it develops. I usually have a pretty strong plot before I actually begin the story.

I'm a plotter as well--love the questions you ask about your characters.

All writers get asked this question, but I'd like to know -- Why do you write?

I write because I can't stop. It's more than a hobby, it's a passion. It's the most fun I've ever had in my life!

What would you be doing if you weren't writing?

Probably still riding a Harley. I sold my bike in order to have more time to write. On weekends, I'd rather curl up with my laptop and the story in my head.

So, you're a wild child at heart, then.  : )

What are you working on now?

I'm working on a thriller about a serial killer. It's a difficult story because there are several twists and turns, and I have to craft it in such a way that everything falls into place correctly.

K. Dawn, thank you for making time to visit with us today.

K. Dawn has a new book that just released, Double Identitiy.  

Seventeen-year-old Bree has always wanted a sister. She's shocked when she learns that her father is alive and her identical twin sister, Cassie, is coming to live with her. She can't wait for Cassie to arrive. She just knows they'll be best friends.

Bree soon discovers that even though they look alike, they're totally different. Cassie is wild and impulsive. She hates Bree's little town and everything in it, except Bree's boyfriend Luke. When Cassie becomes obsessed with Luke, she'll go to any length to have him for herself.

Luke has a secret, which Cassie learns and uses against him. She's off her medication and will stop at nothing. She says he's in love with her. He says he loves Bree. Will their secrets destroy them and their relationships?

This book is available at,, and Desert Breeze Publishing.

For a free copy of this ebook leave a comment along with your email address. I'll draw for the winner one week from today. K. Dawn will contact you!

Readers, you can get a hold of K. Dawn Byrd at:
Twitter: kdawnbyrd
Pinterist: kdawnbyrd
Facebook: kdawnbyrd






Readers, you can get a hold of K. Dawn Byrd at:
Twitter: kdawnbyrd
Pinterist: kdawnbyrd
Facebook: kdawnbyrd

Monday, February 04, 2013

Quiet Moments With God -- Super Bowl Ads

Yesterday was Sunday, and while many of us were focused on church, Christian service and the Lord, a lot of Americans were thinking about the Super Bowl. I'm okay with that even though I'm not an avid fan. However, I do admire great athletes.

My guess is that second to the game a lot of Americans were interested in watching the advertisements that come with the sports spectacular. Since I didn't have a team I was really rooting for I'll admit my biggest interest in the game was the ads. There were some awful ones like always, but there were also some I thought were good and even heartwarming.

Today when I took a look at the votes for favorite commercials I had to smile. The ones that garnered the greatest attention and praise were those that spoke to good old fashioned American principles--hard work, family, patriotism, love, commitment, and standing against evil and for goodness.

My favorite -- The Ram Truck commercial that talks all about farmers and who they are. I loved it and could watch it again and again. Second favorite had to be the Budweiser commercial called Brotherhood. Who doesn't love a Clydesdale? It was beautiful.

Do you find it interesting that the ones most loved were the ones about character and Godly principles? Sometimes it seems like our society is lost and that people don't care about God, but there is hope. We can find it if we're willing to look for it.

I hope you'll go to and have a look for yourself.


Grace and peace to you from God,


Friday, February 01, 2013

Thoughts For Today -- Choices

Life is made up of choices. And there are consequences, good and bad, that follow the choices we make.

I'm not one who usually has a difficult time making choices, but today I'm absolutely stupefied. I have a great opportunity, but it means choosing between something that's new and great or sticking with the status quo, which is also really great.

I can't decide. The phrase, "I could pull my hair out," seems appropriate just about now.

I'm reminded of my oldest daughter who used to have the worst time purchasing a book. When she was young, she loved books (still does) so much that when we went into a bookstore she had a terrible time making a decision about which one to get. Often times, after having spent a good long time in the bookstore, I would have to apply the count down rule  and tell her she had ten minutes to decide or have to leave with nothing. I'd remind her at five minutes, then three and two . . . and more than once she walked out of the store without a book. It was sad. I hated having to follow through with the rule, but otherwise we might have spent hours waiting for her to make a decision.

I'm feeling like her right now.  There are two awesome choices and I can't figure out which to choose.

I know all about talking it over with God. I'm doing that. And I know about making sure that whatever decision I make lines up with scripture. Both are fine when held up to the light of God's Word. I've discussed the options with someone I trust. They don't have a definitive answer. And I know that I need to make sure that I have peace with my choice. The trouble is that both choices offer rewards and I can see that once I make up my mind I will have peace. I just don't have any  now.  Groan.

I'm beginning to think that neither one is right or wrong. That all will be well no matter what choice I make. But I still can't decide.


I'd be more specific, but the choices affect others so I can't say anything at this point.

Have you ever been in a situation like this? How did you resolve it? And how did it turn out?

I'm going to continue to pray and contemplate the positives and negatives. Pray for me. I really need help with this.

Thank you.

Grace and peace to you from God,