Friday, June 28, 2013

The Journey - Waiting & Mercy

In my post on Wednesday I asked, what is your hardest wait. I received numerous responses from people who had truly lived through some very painful circumstances. It got me to thinking about one of my most difficult waits. I'd like to share that story with you.

     My four-year-old daughter, Kristi, snuggled close while I read Whinny the Pooh to her. All of a sudden, she covered the page with her hand and looked at me. I brushed a soft, blonde curl off her face. "What is it, Kristi?"
     "Mommy, I had a dream." She looked down at her hands. "It was a long, long time ago. In my dream I was dying. I was so scared."
     My throat tightened and memories of a frantic trip to the hospital three and a half years before filled my thoughts. I knew this was not a dream, but a little girl's memory.

     That day had started out like any other, but by late afternoon, my eight-month-old's early morning crankiness had shifted to a full-fledged tirade. Although she was running a fever I was convinced it was nothing more than teething and lay her down for a nap.
     A short forty-five minutes later, Kristi's moaning and whimpering drew me to her crib. She thrashed at the bedding. I picked her up and knew right away that she was very sick. Heat radiated through her clothing and her breathing was shallow and rapid. I took her temperature - 105 degrees! 
     "Lord, help us," I prayed as I called my husband at work. When he answered, I choked back a sob. "Greg, we've got to get Kristi to the hospital! She's really sick!"
     I'd never felt such fear for one of my children. For some reason, this time was different. 
     "Calm down," I told myself. "It's just a fever. Kristi's had fevers before." But my anxiety wouldn't be quieted.
     Dread hung in the air while I waited for my husband. Holding my daughter close, I paced the room, moving from window to window, hoping to see his car.
     When he pulled into the driveway, I raced outside to meet him. Clutching Kristi to my chest I slid onto the seat beside him. "We've got to hurry!"
     We headed toward town, and I wanted to believe Kristi was all right, but as the green hills flashed by, fear pierced my heart. "Lord, I pleaded, I've always believed you would protect my children. I can't bear to lose my baby. Please help her."
     The emergency room was packed with sick patients. Pressed for time, the doctor made a hurried diagnosis. "She has a sinus infection. We'll get her on an antibiotic, and she should feel better by tomorrow."
     Greg and I returned home, relieved and a little embarrassed by our unreasonable alarm. But as the hours passed Kristi grew worse and my apprehension returned. Could the doctor have been wrong?
     Throughout the night, Kristi moaned and whimpered. When her temperature dropped I whispered a prayer of thanks. I didn't recognize that her cold, clammy skin signaled a decline in her condition. She was in shock and I had no idea.
     When I tried to hold Kristi, she whimpered and pushed against me as if my touch was painful to her. It was a long night of tears and prayers. By morning Kristi was quiet, her eyes open but not responsive. Her cries had become pitiful and monotone.
     As daylight stretched its cool fingers across my living room floor I roused my husband and we set off for the doctor's office.
     The nurse peeked at Kristi and her face blanched. She snatched my daughter from me and hurried to the back offices in search of the doctor.
     Greg and I followed, knowing something was terribly wrong.
     The doctor examined Kristi, then turned to us, his expression somber. He placed a hand on my shoulder. "Kristi has an infection of the central nervous system-spinal meningitis."
     My legs went weak and my heart pounded erratically. I reached for my husband's hand and held on tight while the doctor explained Kristi was in a critical condition and needed to be hospitalized.
     I stepped into the hospital entrance and the odor of disinfectants burned my nose. A nurse met us and took Kristi from me. As she walked away I wondered if I'd ever see my little girl again alive.
     Greg and I filled out paper work, then waited in stiff-backed chairs, feeling invisible amid the impersonal antiseptic world of the hospital.
     After performing a spinal tap on our little girl the doctor's prognosis was correct - spinal meningitis. She was comatose, in shock and septicemic. She'd be treated with powerful antibiotics and other lifesaving procedures.
     The doctor's words echoed through my mind. "If she's still alive after 72 hours, she might make it. Right now . . . she's crashing and burning."
     I stood outside the viewing window of Kristi's room. She was so tiny and helpless. Her hands were tied to the slats on a metal crib, tubes protruded from her body and the muscles in her neck had pulled her head so far back that it laid against her back. I longed to hold her.
     A nurse stood beside me and rested a hand on my arm. "She can't feel anything," she said kindly.
     Sobs choked me. I had to get away. I ran down the corridor, pushed through the doors at the end of the hall and stumbled into a deserted playroom.
     Deep sobs wrenched themselves from me. Pain, unlike any I'd known, pierced my heart.
     "God, this is too much! I can't bear it! Please save my little girl."
     Quietly, my husband came up behind me and pulled me into his arms. I felt his strength. For a long while we held each other, without sharing a word. And then Greg said, "I know she's going to be all right. God loves her. He'll take care of her."
     Leaning on each other, we returned to Kristi's room. After donning gowns and masks, we went to her side, caressed her hands and asked God to touch our baby with his healing power. We also released her to His care.
     And then peace, beyond my ability to understand, replaced my fear. I knew God would do what was best. He was faithful.
     Kristi made it through that first day and night and the next.
     When we arrived at the hospital the third morning, Kristi's nurse greeted us with a big smile. "She's awake!"
     Joy bubbled up inside me and I ran to her room.
     I was finally allowed to hold Kristi, something I feared might never happen. Amid a tangle of tubes, the nurse gently placed my little girl in my arms. The sickly sweet odor of antibiotics assaulted my senses, but all I cared about was that my daughter was nestled against me.
     Convinced Kristi would live, death was taken off the list of possibilities, but there was another list, side effects - blindness, paralysis, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, mental retardation, water on the brain and others.
     In the days that followed, we watched and waited, seeking further signs of recovery - a smile, recognition in her eyes, a response to sound. 
     Doctors discovered Kristi was unable to use her left leg and there was weakness on her left side as well as lack of coordination. They suspected cerebral palsy. A CT Scan was scheduled, then postponed when she improved. Then postponed again and finally it was decided she didn't need one because she was doing so well.
     Fourteen days after being admitted, Kristi left the hospital. We were gong home - together!

     Kristi tugged on my sleeve and smiled brightly. "Jesus came and hugged me," she said, talking about her dream. "He held me in his lap and I wasn't afraid anymore."
     I looked down at my four-year-old bundle of energy and thanked God for her and for a Savior who always has time to hold his children. We didn't see Him there with her . . . and yet He'd been there.

Kristi's illness happened many years ago. Though the meningitis left her with some neurological challenges, she is happy and healthy with a family of her own these days. I'm so thankful for a God of mercy who still creates miracles every day.

Grace and peace to you from God,




Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Books & Writing: Waiting

I've been a writer for a good many years and one thing I know is that I don't know it all. There's always something new that comes along, something I thought I understood but realize I really don't get. 

BUT one thing I do know for sure is that writing is all about waiting. We wait for story ideas to formulate in our minds. We wait for guidance from readers and writers, hoping for word back that the brilliant idea we have is truly story worthy. And once the writing begins there are long gaps of time filled with everything but writing and we wait for time to jump back into our story. 

After the writing is done we wait to hear from critique partners, agents and editors. Is the work worthy of publishing? Once it is ready to send off to a publisher there is the agonizing wait for word from the senior editor and then the committee (most story proposals are accepted or declined by committee). Upon acceptance there is the process of pounding out a contract, followed by the editorial journey, which can take several rounds of changes. While all this is taking place a cover is being created and a writer waits to get the first glimpse of the cover that will introduce their story to readers. And finally we wait for the release date. 

But that's not the end of it. We also wait for reviews and to hear from readers. Is it a smash hit or a dud?

I'm not good at waiting. It can be excruciating. And the most painful wait for me is the wait to hear from publishers. Do they like it or do they hate it? Do they want to publish it? Waiting through this phase is agony.

That's the place I am now. The clock is ticking. I'm waiting. 

I don't know how I'd manage these kinds of waits if not for my faith in God. He supports me, stands with. He knows the beginning and the end of all things. He even knows about my book, the one I'm waiting to hear about. 

He knows. 

He's in control.

And so, I take a deep breath, entrust my work to 
Him . .  and I wait.

What is the hardest waiting place for you? And how do you manage  the wait?

Grace and peace to you from God,


Friday, June 21, 2013

The Journey: A Spiritual Polyp?

While reading from one of my favorite devotionals (Streams in the Desert) this morning, I was told that I just might be a spiritual polyp. Ick! 

But there is more.

There are creatures, adult coral  invertebrates, known as polyps. These polyps work under water constructing coral reefs. All the while, they have no idea that they are helping create something spectacular. 

Sometimes God calls Christians to be spiritual polyps--doing the work they are called to without recognition from others, without knowing what the results of their work will be and without knowing what rewards await them in heaven.

I think the reason this struck a chord in me so strongly this morning is because the coming week offers possibilities of things I've worked hard for and hoped for, but with no promises of worldly success, which describes much of my writing career. And I fear that I may want it too much, when what I need to desire most is God's will. And to be content to be a spiritual polyp if that is His will.

It is okay to hope and dream. To find joy in possibilities, but no matter where God has called us to serve we should serve Him well and with devotion and joy.

The devotional included this:

Just where you stand in the conflict,
There is your place.
Just where you think you are useless,
Hide not your face.
God placed you there for a purpose,
What'er it be;
Think He has chosen you for it;
Work loyally.
Put on your armor! Be faithful
At toil and rest!
What're it be, never doubting
God's way is best.
Out in the fight or on lookout,
Stand firm and true;
This is the work that your Master
Gives you to do.

Resting in God today . . . as His servant.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Books & Reading: This Weeks Winner!

Thank you, Lorna Seilstad for being
my guest on Books & Writing
For giving away a copy of your new book!

The winner is . . .

Robyn Conners


Lorna will be contacting you soon.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Quiet Moments With God -- Baggage

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. 

Grace and peace to you from God,


Friday, June 14, 2013

Books & Writing: We have a winner!

Many thanks to Laura Hilton for being my guest here on Books & Reading . . . and for offering a free copy of her new book, Surrendered Love, to one of you.

The Winner Is . . .

Tanya Warrington
(We need your email address!)


Laura will be in touch soon and a book will be on its way.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Books & Writing -- Author Lorna Seilstad

Welcome Lorna Seilstad!

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

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.

This sounds like a really fun read. 
And the cover is stunning!

For a chance to win a FREE copy of 
When Love Calls
all you have to do is leave a comment 
along with your email address.

I'll choose a winner one week from today.

Lorna can be found on the web at:

Friday, June 07, 2013

The Journey: Let Them Eat Cake


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.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Books & Writing -- Meet Author Laura Hilton

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?


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?


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?





Books & Wriuting -- We Have A Winner!

Thanks to Miralee Ferrell for being my guest on Books & Writing and for donating a copy of her new release Blowing On Dandelions to one lucky winner.

The Winner IS . . .


Miralee will be contacting you soon.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Quiet Moments With God -- It Is Well With My Soul

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 just be

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.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Saturday, June 01, 2013

The Journey -- Summer Fun

Dad was using a light line here and finally had to shoot this
one to get it in.  Whatever it takes, right?

My father was a fisherman, not a once in a while kind of fisherman, but the kind who lives to fish. He had trouble thinking about doing much of anything else.

That is until he met my mother way back in 1945. Their romance was one for books, in fact I may tell their story one day.

Mom & Dad in 1945. Aren't they cute.
When my father asked my mother to marry him she said yes . . . but she needed his assurance that she and family came before fishing. My father agreed. He never went back on his word, though he continued to love fishing and went when he could.

Needless to say, fishing was part of my early childhood. I didn't love it the way Dad did or my brothers did, but when I think back to those days, fishing trips were some of the best times we shared as a family. I'm thankful my dad never gave up a sport he loved. When a person walks away from a passion out of a false sense of duty it can create resentment and barriers between people who love one another.My father was a wise man so instead of relinquishing his love of fishing he made it part of our life together.

Me. I thought this was a REALLY big fish. Hah!

Now, these are BIG fish - trout. Dad and the boys caught them at
Teslin Lake in the Yukon Territory.

One weekend's worth of fishing. I'm the cute one on the left.  "wink"
So, what does fishing have to do with my journey? For me, it's all about family, fun, the beauty of nature and respect for someone else's passion. And the delicious meals that came from our fishing expeditions. 

I still love to fish, though I don't get to go very often these days. However, we have plans for the summer to trek into the mountains with our children and grandchildren and launch our boat into a high mountain lake. We'll float around on quiet waters, lazing in the sun and wait for a bite on the end of our lines. There will be sweet time together, quiet conversations, laughter and with any luck plucky fish hauled on board the boat. And I expect unexpected difficulties and irritations as well. All precious memories to be stored away in our minds and our hearts waiting for just the right moment to be lifted into our consciousness. Treasures to uplift and inspire us or maybe simply to quiet us. Reflections for dark days or when we gather together for recollections.

The fun of creating memories and shaping spirits is part of our journey, even if it's something as simple as fishing. The richness of my family and all our adventures means I'll never run out of recollections. 

Thank you, Mom and Dad. 

What do you like to do for summertime fun? Or anytime fun?

Grace and peace to you from God,