Sunday, September 18, 2016

Death & Dying

Sometimes, life seems to be all about death and dying. Greg and I have lost many dear ones in the last few years and there are some that we wait with. 

Yesterday I attended a memorial service for Pete Strohn, a long time friend, a precious man who left this earth too soon, or so it seems to me. When I left the service I checked my phone for messages. There was only one. My ninety-one-year-old mother had fallen again and had been taken to the hospital.

My heart quailed. Was this it? Would this be the end?

I hurried to the hospital. Mom was in the ER waiting for a CT scan. When she fell she'd hit her head. She seemed fine, tired but in good spirits. We'd been here in this room, together, many times before. 

I took up my usual post at her bedside and prayed, watched her sleep, and when she roused we chatted.  I tried not to think about all the previous ER visits, surgeries, and health scares we'd walked through in the past five years. 

Mom's health has steadily declined and her dementia is getting worse. I stopped in for a visit with her a few days ago and she was confused about who I was. That was a first, but I knew it was coming.

Being at my mother's side in the last years of her life is like watching her fall of a cliff in slow motion. And I want it to stop.

Sitting beside her in that too familiar treatment room, I noticed how beautiful Mom looked while she slept - serene and lovely. She was trusting ... the doctors, me, her Lord.

Maybe it's because I'd just come from a memorial service, or maybe it's the loss of so many loved ones, or maybe it's about watching life speed by, days passing that can't be reclaimed ... I don't know for sure, but even though Mom turned out to be fine and went home to rest I continued to feel uncertain, sad, and empty. And I kept crying. I don't want to say any more good-byes. There have been too many.

In the midst of my dark reflections I heard from the Lord. "It's not about death ... it's about life," he said. Memories flooded my mind - so many beautiful days already lived. Pete's life hadn't been exceptional to those who didn't know him well, but the ones who loved him knew better and so does The Father. My mother has had an extraordinary life, full of adventure, love, and heartache, but only the ones close to her know that. 

So, I am left with a question. Am I going to ponder death or life? 

God knows all that has come before and all that lies ahead. Psalm 139: 13 - 16 says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

Life is a gift, given by God and to be lived for Him. We only get one crack at this life. So, it seems we ought to value such an extraordinary gift and make the most of it.

Jeremiah 29:11 says this, "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Verses 12 - 14 go on to say, "Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord." 

What a beautiful promise! All we need to do is seek. 

Yes, in life there is death and dying, but oh so much more. We should not languish long in dark reflections but seek the light and life that is God. When we do  this we will find our way and fulfill the plans God laid out for us in the very beginning. 

Stay tucked in close to The Father, seek Him and all that He is. He is in the spectacular things of this world and the "ordinary" as well. This life is not about death but about hope and a future. 

We don't have to feel badly about our tears. Even Jesus wept. But I encourage you to be wise with the days given, seek knowledge from above, love one another ... and look forward to an eternal life with our Father, when one day you step from this life and into the next. 

Grace and peace to you from God,


Friday, September 09, 2016

Second Chances

Tonight, I was watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy when I was reminded of a miracle, my miracle.

On the television program two men were critically injured in an accident. The ambulance they were driving was hit by another ambulance. Throughout the episode they are stuck, their bodies impaled and trapped in the vehicle. There is no hope for them.

The drama playing out reminded me how we often leave our home in the morning with our minds set on our day, but we don't have any idea what the day truly holds for us. Something lifechanging might happen. 

I had a day like that twenty-five years ago. I set out for work with nothing but happy thoughts on my mind, but on my way up a winding country road I ended up like the men on Grey's Anatomy (well maybe not quite so dramatic). By all accounts my life should have ended that day. And for sure, everything changed ... forever.

I approached a corner and a log truck loaded with huge logs tipped over and barreled at my van. It hit the van and pushed the rig to the edge of an embankment. My daughter screamed, tires screeched, metal grated, and I knew I was living my final seconds on earth.

And then I realized I was wrong. I lived. My daughter and I lived! We made it out of our mangled vehicle and stood in the middle of the road, hugging each other and praising God for His amazing gift of life. 

We'd been given a second chance.

I saw it clearly then, but through the years I've lost sight of how spectacular and unbelievable and how blessed I am to have been part of one of God's miracles. I may be a bit mangled but I am still so blessed. 

But I am left with a question ...

Why do some die while others live? I don't have the answer. That is God's choice. But I do know that each day is a precious gift. And I need to live like it is my last day ... because maybe it is. 

Our days are numbered. Dare we waste a single one?

Grace and peace to you from God,


Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Friday, August 26, 2016


Sisters are the best ... don't you think?
Well, maybe not all the time. My siblings and I had some skirmishes through the years. But the love sticks.

From the top: Leslie, Me, and Myrn. Sunning ourselves alongside a
Yukon Lake while our dad was fishing.

Me & Myrn at Mt. Rainier

When I sat down at my computer tonight I didn't know exactly what I wanted to say. I knew only that my heart was full, and it was aching.

My sister and her husband arrived ten days ago, from Alaska. Today, Greg and I drove them to Eugene so they could catch an early flight home in the morning. Their ten day visit flew by much too quickly. When I gave Myrn a hug good-bye I didn't cry. I was surprised because the last couple of days I couldn't even think about saying another farewell without tears thundering up behind my eyes.

We had so much fun together. This trip was different than others. Myrn and Steve came with the intention to spend time with family, to let their hair down a bit, have some fun, and enjoy their time in Oregon ... no work, well hardly any.

We didn't do anything extra special ... just chatted a lot and laughed a lot, cried a little, had dinners out, drank iced tea and painted our nails, and we hung out in our jammies a couple of mornings while we watched episodes of Drop Dead Diva. And we made it to church with our Mama. It was the best visit ever.

Tonight I walked by our guest room and everything was back the way it had been before she and Steve arrived, everything was in order. It felt so empty. My Sis has gone home. The tears started. I miss her and I will keep on missing her.

Even so, I am grateful - grateful to have a sister, and to have one like Myrn. She's my Sis who loves me. She prays for me and my husband and my kids and even my friends. She's the sister God made, not just for me, but sometimes it feels like it. We don't agree on everything (but most things) and she blesses my life.


 Now we have new memories to fill our minds and hearts. And next time she comes we just might not do anything special again. We don't need anything spectacular - all we need is time together.

What's your favorite thing to do when family comes to visit?

Thank you so much for coming, Myrn. I love you. Can't wait until next time.

Your Big Sister

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Just a quick note today. I'm very excited about my new release!

In the Land of White Nights is now available for Pre-order.

Pre-Order Bonnie Leon's latest book!

"... beautifully written book...Bonnie Leon is a talented author who has brought back to life one of her best series and improved on it. RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars.

The second installment of Bonnie Leon's Northern Lights series--the 20th Anniversary Revised Edition, that is--will be released August 5th. But you have the chance to Pre-order the ebook for the discounted price of $2.99 (regularly $4.99). Don't let the Gold Rush pass you by! Pre-order your copy today.

Anna or rivers of gold--which will captivate his heart?
The lure of the nineteenth-century gold rush calls to Erik, a civil-war veteran. He and Anna, his Aleutian bride, set sail for a new life together in Sitka.
Anna stands strong against the adversities of the new land with its unfamiliar culture and fearsome challenges. She fights the prejudice of others, while growing in her newfound faith in the white man’s God.
When forced to move farther north and begin again, Anna refuses to give up, allowing nothing to stand in the way of her family’s happiness. They discover joy as well as heartache in the Alaskan wilderness. But will Erik’s love of gold put all they’ve worked so hard for in jeopardy?
Again, you can pre-order your copy today for the discounted price of $2.99!

I can't wait to hear from you. I hope you like this story.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Saturday, June 11, 2016

For Writers & Everyone Else

I'm pretty sure writers will understand this post, and I think everyone else will too.

I had a story, the story of my heart, that weighed on me for years. It was always in the back of my mind, asking me to write it. I wanted to, but I was busy, or the time wasn't right or publishers wanted something else from me. For years I let it go. But it had to be heard and finally I stepped away from everything else and went to work on the story of my heart.

It wasn't easy. The characters had to be real and quirky and fun. They were together in most scenes. Research required a cross country trip. The book was contemporary and all I'd written was historical. It was personal and revealed my soul. It was risky. And I had to get it right. 

I did it. And I felt good about that book. 

To Dance With Dolphins is the story I had to tell. It's a good story. But it's not one that at first glance is appealing to the masses. It's about people, young and old who live with mental and physical illness. They are real, they are people who suffer like so many of us do. 

So, why would anyone want to spend time with characters who suffer? Read an entire book about people who fight just to get out of bed in the morning?

If sales say anything about readers, my guess is that most people don't want to spend more time where they already live. Only, they'd be wrong if they think that's all this book is about. The journey my characters take across this amazing country called America is one we should all take. It's a place to discover who we are, why we're here, and to realize there is so much to hope for and that exuberant joy exists even for the afflicted. 

We all experience physical or emotional obstacles. After living with chronic pain for twenty-five years, one thing I know is that everyone has stuff. We all walk through valleys, some of them terrifying and dark, but nevertheless we walk through ... one step at a time. We also climb mountains and stand on summits and gaze at amazing vistas that make us cry because we can't believe something so beautiful even exists. We give and receive love and devotion that reminds us that goodness still flourishes on this planet where we live. And there are troubles we think we will never overcome and then we do. 

We try to ignore the places we don't want to think about. The "what ifs" of life. Where there are no winners. Where our bones and souls are crushed - where God meets us. He reaches down and lifts us up, pulls us into His arms, presses us against His heart and wipes away our tears.

How extraordinary it is when we realize that with the Lord there are no losers. Whether in this life or the next, His children win.

I wrote To Dance With Dolphins because I had to. It is a story for those who have no hope. It is a place where they may find it. And for those who stand alongside the suffering I pray it will give you strength. 

Mostly it is not about suffering. It is about living and discovering love, joy, and hope. It is the story of my heart, the one I had to tell. I want people to read it. I pray people will read it. 

Grace and peace to you from God,


You can purchase the book here:

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Light

 My mother blesses my life. She's ninety-one and a bit worse for wear, but she's still moving forward, and I love how she travels. She's like a light in the darkness. 

These days, Mom can't walk, not even with the help of a walker, but she still manages to get around a bit in her wheel chair. We don't get out much because transporting causes her pain and takes someone who is strong enough to lift her in and out of the car. My aching back won't let me and it's even getting difficult for my aging husband. 

Life is not easy for Mom, but I rarely hear a word of complaint. If you ask me, she has a lot to complain about, but she doesn't see things that way. Through the years, she has found a grateful heart.

Though Mom grieves the loss of two husbands, a daughter, her parents, six of her siblings and many other loved ones, she understands they have simply gone on ahead of her and one day they will meet again. She looks forward to a grand reunion. 

Mom lives a life of dependence, relying on others to help her bathe, use the restroom, get her dressed in the morning and ready for bed at night. She no longer makes her own meals. Those are prepared by her caregivers. The details of her life are worked out by others, mostly those who love her. She never misses an opportunity to let us know how grateful she is.

Sometimes Mom wonders why she's still here on earth. Only God knows for certain, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the tenderness, warmth and affection she offers the people in her life. We need her.

I see Mom as a radiating light that reminds me to embrace life and to be thankful for all the gifts offered to me each day. 

Yesterday she gave me another beautiful reminder. Mom's not been able to attend church because it's difficult to transport her. When she told me she how much she misses going I decided to find a way. It wasn't difficult and I wonder why I hadn't thought of it before. I called the ambulance service we use for taking her to the doctor and was glad to discover they are open on Sundays and would be happy to take Mom to church. 

Yesterday I met her there. The driver was such a nice man and was clearly smitten with my mother. Many people are. She's a charmer. I think it's the light in her eyes and her warm smile. Just as worship began I wheeled her inside and we found a place to sit. 

Mom had difficulty reading the words on the screen, but sang the songs she knew. She listened to the pastor and only dozed a little. I wasn't sure just how much she'd gotten from her time there, but hoped she'd enjoyed the service. While we waited for her ride we chatted with friends. Mom was clearly having a good time. She crooked her finger at me and I bent to hear what she had to say.

"I don't think you understand how wonderful this is!" she told me, her face alight.

She was right. I didn't. And it could have been different. She might have been focused on how many times she hadn't been able to go, or have been grumpy about her pain or lack of sleep ... or ... That's not Mom's way. 

I marvel at what a grateful heart can find to be thankful for, and by how much joy and blessing there is to be had if we seek the beauty in life instead of its imperfections.

So grateful to be my mother's daughter.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Thursday, May 05, 2016

The Writer - Good Enough?

In recent days there have been announcements made commending writers in the Christian world of publishing. Lists of finalists have been posted for several writing contests. Congratulations to all! Undoubtedly you worked hard to hone your craft and polish your stories. Thank you for honoring God through your gift of writing.

While I cheer on my colleagues, I am certain there are some writers who entered   who were not recognized and now feel discouraged. You may even wonder if you're "good enough" to call yourself a writer, good enough to achieve your dreams, good enough to fulfill God's purpose. I feel your unsteadiness, your vulnerability. After all, I'm a writer too.

Whether or not your book made the final cut in one of the recent contests or not doesn't define who you are as a person or as a writer. You worked hard. You took a risk. You followed your dream. All of which are highly commendable qualities. Do not forget that among the books submitted, winners or not, there are many unique and spectacular stories. 

Being recognized as one of the "best" books of the year has so much to do with God and His purposes ... not ours. He chooses whom he will lift up. We can trust His judgment and His perfect timing. 

I'm sixty-four years old and have been reading for most of my life. Very few of the books I digested were award winning, but I loved them anyway. I am grateful to the writers who spent hours creating and crafting stories for people like me. I've been entertained, encouraged, and inspired. 

Thank you! 

If you are called to write, please push through the insecurities, the long hours, and the agony of creating and keep at it. Without your brilliant stories my life would be less bright. I'm grateful for your sacrifice.

As friends, colleagues, and word-crafters pray for one another and continue to follow your passion.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Writer's Life - God's Best

When I first started creating stories it was just a hobby. I never dreamed it would be anything more. But after being side-lined by an auto accident, God gave me a new vision, a new way to serve Him through the gift of writing. Though I didn’t fully understand what I was saying yes to, I was committed to the call. God threw open every door, and it was clear that writing novels was part of His plan for me. I vowed to remain faithful until He led me elsewhere.

I often hear writers speak about weariness of spirit. The job of writing (which is huge) along with discouragement and the general difficulties of living can wring the energy and joy from their lives. Writers work hard. Not only do we create stories, but there can be mountains of research to do before we can even begin. And the editing process can feel endless. Plus there’s marketing, which begins long before we’ve completed a book. It eats up huge chunks of our time.

Often, what is required is more difficult than we’d imagined. I’ve heard writers voice thoughts of walking away. I’ve been there myself a time or two. Each time the Holy Spirit calls me back, reminding me of what God asked me to do and of the vow I made to Him. Ultimately my spirit is refreshed and I continue this unpredictable adventure ... for now ... until I am called elsewhere.

God has a purpose in choosing the paths He places us on. We each have a journey and commission chosen by Him. If we walk away we lose something precious—God’s Best.

 When we set out on this writing quest did we really believe it would be easy? If you’re new to the world of writing get ready to be surprised by its joys and its sorrows. And if you’ve been traveling this road for a while, I pray you’ll hold fast to the dream, remembering God has a bigger picture in mind—it’s not about sales numbers, awards won or achieving fame. It’s about doing what we love and doing it with intention. It can be grueling, but it’s also full of fun, discovery and remarkable people. I know no greater sense of accomplishment than writing “The End” when I’ve completed a novel.

Expect rough patches, dry places where we thirst and valleys so dark we fear passing through them. Tribulations can throw us off track, but there is always a way back. Reach out to God. He will set us back on our feet.

I’m grateful that I get to write. Despite poor wages and long hours, it’s fantastic fun to create characters and leap into their stories. And what a blessing it is to do something with my life that makes a positive difference in the world. I’ve received many letters thanking me and my characters for being an encouragement or helping someone find their way, even some who discover Jesus for the first time.

When we find ourselves worn out or uncertain remember God is our Father.  Seek Him. Talk with Him. Rest in Him. Lay your troubles, your disillusionment, your fatigue and sorrow at His feet. He will reach out with love, mercy and wisdom. His strength will lift us up and once again help us see the path laid out for us and know the joy of serving others.

Sometimes we need rest. Don’t push forward when God says stop. Resting is not deserting our call. It is good to be a wise steward of the gifts given. If we keep going when God says stop, we’re working in our own strength not His, which is no strength at all.

Turn your hearts toward Christ and find joy in service. Remember that as writers we have the privilege of glorifying God through our gift of writing. No matter how difficult it may seem don’t miss God’s best.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Friday, April 08, 2016

The Writer - Have We Arrived?

I've been having fun mentoring this month. I've met new writers and I've been learning ... yes ... learning ... from them.

Open minds provide space for growth. A young writer I met this week provided a special opportunity for me.

While going through her synopsis and first chapter I came across a point of view (POV) I'm not familiar with - First Person Present. Though the writing was good the POV felt awkward to me. I spent a bit of time maneuvering the POV into First Person, then sent it back to the writer with suggestions. Courageously she asked me about the POV change and pointed out that teen books often use this POV.

Hmm. I decided to check it out and did some research. I also asked some of my writing friends what they knew about it. I discovered that First Person Present is often used in teen books. I was also told it is difficult to do well. I doubt I could master it. I went back to the manuscript and looked at it with new eyes, accepting the POV. The beauty and power of the writing emerged.

Learning never ends. We never arrive.

How amazing are our minds and our hearts. They can be fertile soil if we embrace changes and creativity ... cultivate growth. We can continue to improve, but first we need to be brave and put aside our pride. There is so much wonder waiting for us. We need to go after it.

Growing and learning makes life more fun. I can't wait to see what's in store for me today. How about you? Have you learned something new this week?

Grace and peace to you from God,


Monday, April 04, 2016

A Day of Rejoicing

Today is a day of rejoicing!

Matthew 10:29-31

"But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid, you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows." 

Don't you love these verses? God is so good all the time. He sees us, everyone. Even when we are invisible to the world, we are never invisible to The Father.

A friend sent me a note of encouragement today and reminded me of these verses. How precious are the words of the Lord. They uplift me. They remind me of who He is. They make me strong.

We have had a couple of really awful years (so many challenges), but today, is a day to rejoice. 

My grandson was badly injured in an ATV accident two years ago.

Day of Ezra's First Surgery

Two years later, riding bikes with his Mom.

He is struggling with a traumatic brain injury and when he moved to Central Oregon his nightmare intensified. The kids in the new school just didn't get it ... and it appeared they didn't want to. Ezra suffered from indifference and brutality. It was a grueling year.

Today is different. Ezra has come home to Glide where he is known and loved. And the kids and teachers at school let him know how glad they are to have him back, that they love him, care about him, and will support him. Bless you Glide!

God never took His eyes off Ezra and He never will. 

God loves His children. He cares about us and for us. We can count on Him. Even on the darkest day we are never alone. He is the one who gives us courage and hope ... and a new day.

I have no idea what Ezra's future holds, but I am certain God does and He has already laid down the foundations for the rest of his life, just as He has for our lives.

Praise you Lord.

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie Leon

Monday, March 21, 2016


Where the Rubber Meets the Road.

Just a quick note. The developmental edits for In the Land of White Nights dropped into my email box today. This is a 100,000 word book and I have only ten days to complete the changes and get the manuscript back to my editor. 

Time to work.

If I don't get back here before March 31st please know I am not ignoring you. I will return ... and if all goes well it will be soon. But I have to work now. There is a deadline that cannot be breached. And I have to do whatever it takes to complete the work, to do my job. That means my manuscript and the contract between myself and my editor takes priority. 

That's how it is, when you're a writer. 

See you all soon.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Monday, March 14, 2016

A WRITER'S LIFE - The Dreaded Synopsis

A synopsis. What is a synopsis?

I've heard more groans from writers about creating synopsis than any other topic. And today I received a request to help a fellow writer with a synopsis, so I'll do my best.

Bad news first. If you're going to write you can't avoid creating synopsis. They are mandatory. 

Why mandatory?

  • It is a tool, a succinct guide to help authors nail down a story. 
  • Helpful reference tool as we work.
  • Agents and publishers require a synopsis to provide a quick glimpse at the main components of a story.
  • Reveals weaknesses and strengths of a story line.
I like writing a synopsis. The process helps me find the heart of the tale I want to tell. Often when I set out I feel lost, but by the time I complete a synopsis I am anchored. I know why I'm writing the story, where it begins, where it's going and why. I cannot create a book until I've got a synopsis completed. It is like a photograph of my tale and without it I don't possess the nuggets of truth and texture of the story I hope to create.

Sometimes all I need is one page, but my personal synopsis can be as long a ten or fifteen pages (double spaced). It depends on the project and how complicated it is. When a publisher or agent requests a synopsis they will have a required page length - generally 2 - 5 pages. Make sure to follow their guidelines.

So, what is a synopsis? It is a compressed version of your story. Think about what you'd say if you only had a couple of minutes to explain what your book is about. What would you say? That's what you need to do when creating a synopsis, only with a bit of flair. 

Everyone has their own style and expectations about what a synopsis should look like. Here's what I hope to find when I sit down and read a synopsis. 
  • Begin at the beginning with a strong opening. Make sure to include your precipitating event (what launches the story) and the place of no return. On occasion, there are exceptions to this. For the first time in all my years of writing I've included backstory in the opening of my synopsis and got a thumbs up from my agent.  :-)
  • Include your main characters soon, and when first introducing them write their names in capital letters.
  • Don't skip the middle of your tale. Include major plot twists and turns. 
  • Write in third person, active voice.
  • Avoid cliche ideas and cliche catch phrases.
  • DO NOT leave an editor or agent guessing about the end of the story. They need to know so make sure to include the resolution.
  • Every story has a core, make sure it's clearly revealed.
  • Flair. I've read many synopsis that sound like a grocery list of story ideas. This is a turn off for me. I encourage you to create a flowing expose that reveals who your characters are, unveils the story and introduces your special writing style and voice. Make it sing.
  • Sell the story. Write in such a way that the reader will fall in love with this tale and can't wait read more. 
Keep in mind that a synopsis may be your only opportunity to introduce your story to an editor or agent. It's got to be your very best writing. (no pressure here)

Okay, that's some of the basics. I'm sure you have questions, so fire away. I'll do my best to answer them. And I'm sure I've missed some important points so please don't hesitate to share.

Grace and peace to you from God,


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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Hanging On

While spending time with the Lord this morning I went to my devotional Jesus Calling. As I read I broke into tears. Here is what it said.

Save your best striving for seeking my face. I am constantly communicating with you. To find Me and hear My voice, you must seek Me above all else. Anything that you desire more than Me becomes an idol. When you are determined to get your own way, you blot Me out of your consciousness. Instead of single-mindedly pursuing some goal, talk with Me about it. Let the light of My presence shine on this pursuit so that you can see it from My perspective. If the goal fits into My plan for you, I will help you reach it. If it is contrary to My will for you, I will gradually change the desire of your heart. Seek Me first and foremost; then the rest of your life will fall into place, piece by piece. 

I'm sure the tears came because the Holy Spirit was speaking to my heart. I went on to read the suggested scriptures and want to share one of them.

Psalm 37:23 - 24 says this, "The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. 

I'm overwhelmed by this kind of love. The God of the universe delights in every detail of my life. How can that be? I am forever stumbling and falling short. I let people down. I let myself down. And I let the Lord down. And yet scripture is clear - He loves me anyway. And He hangs on to me, saving me from myself.

So often I feel as if I'm striving for goals that I have set forth, not God. And when I recognize this I feel like a failure and a poor disciple. Do you ever feel like that?

We can be encouraged and confident because God will direct us, in spite of our own desires. He will change our heart and we can trust Him ... always, to show us the best way.

So, dear friends. Take heart. Seek God first. He will care for you.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Monday, March 07, 2016


When I received the following letter this is the visual I got.

Donna has a lot going on in her creative mind. Way to go, Donna!

Donna Mork Reed sent me the following letter and I'm posting it with her permission. I love the energy in this letter.

Since you asked ...

Okay, for nanowrimo this year I did write a Christian fiction. I'm just starting the edit part. How do you find someone to look at your work to decide whether it is publishable. I'm a librarian so cost is a factor. Should I edit the heck out of it and do a self publish and hope someone likes it enough to pick it up? Last year I submitted to Guideposts and awaited my rejection letter ... and they wanted to publish my story! (it's now in The Joy's of Christmas 2015!!)

I was shocked. Then I thought maybe I do have some talent. So then I joined a local group late in the year and entered the final contest they hold (a picture prompt story contest) ... and I won 2nd place! So now I'm writing every spare moment. I wrote a picture book (about Frogs in the Library, based on a slightly exaggerated true story) and I've been sending it in to various agents and publishers. And I have an idea for a series of picture books about a Truck Driving Dog (actually the human drives, the dog rides, but the story is from his point of view). I have another idea for another Christian fiction and a sci fi and etc. I also write poetry. I'm not good with the whole cover letter or query letter or whatever you want to call it, so I'd love if you could address that on your blog sometime, how to write a killer query. And whether querying an agent is better than querying a publisher, or how do you find an agent etc. etc. See I'm full of questions and this is just me as I run out the door for church this morning. I'm sure there are/will be more questions. This is all for now. Thanks!

Donna, thank you for contacting me. Congratulations on your successes. You are doing so much right, and I love how you think - you're in nearly unrestrained creative mode. Not all writers have a lot of ideas flying around at one time, but some do. I've been writing many years and I still have way more ideas than I'll ever complete in my lifetime.

There are a lot of good questions here, but I'll only address one today. 

Right up front you ask, 

  • How do you find someone to look at your work?
  This is a good question and there isn't one answer. But I have a few suggestions, one you mentioned. You've got to begin with your very best writing, which means you must do a lot of editing ... go through your manuscript again and again. I once read that James Michener worked through his novels seventeen times before he felt confident that he'd done his best work. If you've read a Michener novel you know that is a mountain of work. We don't want to edit the life out of a story, but we've got to refine the work, tighten the writing, find powerful, unusual images and use uncommon similes and metaphors. I love the book, Word Painting written by Rebecca McClanahan. If you don't have this book, get it.
  Something else you need to do is attend writing conferences. Mingle with people in the business, get to know them. And while you're at a conference schedule appointments with editors and agents. Face to face time is valuable. If you meet with people who are looking for good writing your chances of your amazing work being discovered is much better..
  Do an online search of agents and find those who are looking for the kind of writing you do. Sometimes you might have a better chance of landing an agent if they are just getting off the ground, but remember you want someone who knows what they are doing so choose wisely. Ask those who might know what they do know. When you've found an agency submit your fabulous work while being careful to follow the guidelines to the letter. If you don't submit in the format they request they won't think you are serious.

Okay, that's all I have time for tonight. I will definitely be back, and I'll be watching for your questions and comments. We can help one another along this journey. Let's do it. 

You can contact me privately on my contact page,, or at my email address, which is Make sure to put Writer's Life in the subject line.

Grace and peace to you from God,


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Sunday, March 06, 2016


I've been writing since the early 1990's and one of my favorite things to do as a writer is to mentor other writers. I've been doing it since my first series released way back in 1994. It's so much fun!

I'm going to be at the OCW Summer Conference again this summer where I look forward to mentoring several participating writers. I can't wait for those four incredible days in August, the 15th through the 18th. I hope you'll join us. For information go to

It struck me ... why wait? Why not begin now?

I'm not sure just what this is going to look like, but I invite you writers to contact me here on this page or privately. Bring me your questions, your frustrations, your need for encouragement. I want to help. I'll even take a look at snippets of your work and offer my suggestions. I won't have all the answers, but I will do my best to find them. And I'd love to  hear from some of you with suggestions of your own. We can hep one another.

Being a writer is not easy. The pay is lousy, the hours long with stressful, looming deadlines. But we can't stop.
Creating stories, just like creating any work of art, fulfills a deep need we can't ignore. And although creating a book or a poem or an article is truly hard work it is also beautiful and fun and yes that cliche word ... fulfilling. 

You can post a question here or send it to me privately via the contact button or you can reach me at

I will post some of the questions and answers here on the page. And if you would like your name to be kept confidential I can do that.

This should be fun. And I hope beneficial to us all. So, let's jump in and write, gripe, and smite a few foes.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Friday, January 29, 2016

His Way. His Will. His Plans.

I don't know when my discontent began - perhaps when my mother's health began to fade, when my daughter was diagnosed with a debilitating illness, or perhaps when my grandson sustained a horrendous injury that left him with a lifetime struggle. It could have started when my own health closed doors to me. I only know that I am feeling burdened and weary. And in the midst of battle I've struggled with two questions. "Where do I belong? What should I be doing?"

I miss the days when family and church were my first callings. The closeness with my husband and children and the people in my church were treasures to me. Each day was an adventure. I would drop my children at school and set off for Bible study, prayer fellowship, discipleship meetings. My husband and I taught adult Sunday School classes and led small groups. We were in the middle of what was happening - loving on people and being loved in return.

It's not like that these days. I feel as if I've been sidelined. And I sorrow over the loss. I want to engage more. But how? I confess that as I watch friends jump into activities I  feel like there is a hole in my life.

This morning while reading from a devotional these words leaped from the page. "Whenever we are obstinate and self-willed and set on our own ambitions we are hurting Jesus. Is that what I've been doing? So many years ago, the Lord's call seemed clear when he led me into writing. And I have loved it. But these days the desire for more meaningful connection has become my call.

I ask - How can I feel sidelined when there are so many who need prayer or a friend (even if that friendship is online). My family needs me. I am not physically strong but I can give in so many other ways. When my mother looks at me for the thousandth time and tells me how much she loves me and she doesn't know how she would make it without me, how can I feel sidelined? And when I hear from readers who have found comfort, joy and encouragement from something I've written, how can I feel sidelined?

It's true, my life is different than it once was. The days of my past were joyous and challenging. But that does not mean that the ones I am presently living aren't just as precious. The trouble is that I've not embraced them.

Why not?

Can it be because I had a plan, which is not God's plan?

In the devotional I felt the spirit speak when the writer quoted this scripture (Matthew 11:29). "Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." The writer went on to say, "All I do should be based on perfect oneness with Him, not on self-willed determination to be godly."

Oneness with Him. That is where we all must begin ... with Him.

If I am on my knees before The King, seeking only Him, I will have peace. Belonging to Him is enough. Being one with Him means possessing faith that right where I am is right where I belong.

Truth offers peace and joy. And I  will embrace it.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Joining the Club

While I was considering what to write today I was distracted by an eloquent post ( about joining the club - a club we never planned to or wanted to be part of. A club that brings with it uncertainty, doctors, medical testing, a changed life or even death. The post was about a grandson hit by an illness that made him part of the club.

The article hits close to my heart and is part of what I wanted to say today. So, here goes.

My family, my children and grandchildren have been included in the club.Through the years we've been dragged into the sorrow, fear, pain ... and beauty of the unexpected. I've pinched myself, wishing that what we were going through was only a nightmare and that it would evaporate when I woke up. I even turned my back on it and pretended it it wasn't there, or tried to convince myself that everything would be all right. Generally it doesn't work that way.

Not being all right doesn't mean everything isn't just as it should be. God hasn't checked out or deserted us. We walk paths that often we would not chose, but that does not make the journey an error or an impossible challenge.

There are so many in the club, people who know and understand what it means to lose dreams or discover new ones. It can be a place where nothing is what we planned for or anticipated. Children may not be who we expected them to be. And we are not who we wanted to be.

My daughter Sarah is not living the life she had planned. A growth in her spinal cord changed her course. Every morning she finds strength to climb out of a pit and begin a new day. Her son, my grandson Ezra, lost the life he'd planned. His hopes and dreams were snatched from him nineteen months ago when an ATV tipped over and pinned him to the ground, it's weight crushing his head into the rocks of a trucking lot.

Nothing has been the same since that day.

Sorrow sometimes feels like a mist in the distance and other times it slams into us with the power of a freight train.

Being in the club often means you don't know what tomorrow will bring. What you do know is that you've got to move on and not forget you are loved and that the King of Kings stands with you.

Don't listen to the voices that tell you differently.

In the midst of the struggle we try to be strong, to remain faithful, but there are moments and days when we can't hang on any longer and for a time we lose sight of what is real and true. The weight of uncertainty, pain, and suffering become too much and failure lays heavy on our hearts. And heavier still when our family and friends point fingers at our failures and tell us to buck up rather than cheering our successes or rallying to help us stand when we no longer possess the strength.

There are days when we have no power in our legs, nor courage in our hearts, or resilience in our spirit - no passion left for battle. Those are the times when we need the arms of others - arms to lift us up rather than slam us down. Arms to hold us close and give us strength.

Are we the kind who point an accusing finger or do we embrace those who need the strength of our arms? It's an important question, one we need to answer if we are to fulfill God's purpose in our lives.

There are all sorts of clubs. Perhaps we should create one that's all about loving others. Oh! There is one. It's called the Christian Family.

Be kind.
Love at all times.
Carry one another's burdens.

We can do all things through The One who gives us strength.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Friday, January 08, 2016


It is one of those especially beautiful days here on our small mountain in Southern Oregon. The sun shimmers off distance hills and illuminates the forest with life. It's the kind of day when I want to do nothing but gaze at our incredible view. 

There was an extra drop of special today. A golden eagle sailed across the sky, riding the wind currents above the forested hills. I hurried out to my deck to get a better look. Eagles are something special here - we seem them only occasionally.

While I watched this magnificent bird soar above the forest I was taken back to a small home group years ago when my pastor asked a simple question. "Do you want to be an eagle or a parrot?"

My first reaction - An eagle of course! But as I considered more carefully I wasn't so sure. 

Eagles are courageous. They do things like dive off cliffs or tree tops. They use their skill and strength to survive, and make powerful dives toward earth to capture  a meal. And they let the currents carry them into the clouds. They don't pretend to be anything other than what they are - they hit life straight on, meeting each challenge with boldness.

I'm not so certain an eagles qualities are anything like mine. And I ask, "Do I really want to be an eagle?" If I were a parrot I could remain safely in a cage. My owner would make sure I had enough to eat and drink and might even spend sweet time with me. I wouldn't have to be courageous. All I'd need to do is what was expected of me.

I don't want to offend parrots or those who love them. They are beautiful birds. But if I must choose - eagle or parrot - I don't want to settle for a cage where nothing is expected of me. I want to be an eagle.

There's a problem with that - I'm not always strong or courageous. I don't like heights. And diving into life is scary ... actually it can be terrifying. 

I can't be an eagle, at least not if I must depend upon myself to do it. I am too weak. But God promises me that where I am weak he is strong. He tells me I am never alone. When I leap I can trust him to be there and lift me into the heights. 

As I step into the coming year I think about what it will look like if I am an eagle, and I challenge myself to charge ahead and soar. And what comfort there is inn knowing that I won't be alone.

How about you? Would you rather be an eagle or a parrot?

Grace and peace to you from God,