Wednesday, June 14, 2023

A Writing Sister


I've discovered a writer who, in many ways, is like a sister to me. 

She writes historical romance, like me. She has books that take place in Oregon during the nineteenth century, like me. And she writes for the same publisher, WhiteFire Publishing, like me. I decided to interview her and introduce her to you, my readers.

Welcome Cara Grandle, fellow writer. I'm looking forward to learning a bit more about you.

1.  Has writing always been a dream of yours?
Now Cara's a grandmother
of this sweet little fellow.
I started dabbling in writing when my five kids were babies. I used it as the sanity escape from the land of littles. It wasn't until ten years later when I was at a women's retreat that I felt the Lord validate my dreams and encourage me to finish writing a book and go for it. It was another nine years of writing, learning, submitting, and being rejected before I signed a contract with WhiteFire Publishing.

Five children! You're incredible.

2.  When you're creating a story what is most important to you, the characters, the theme or something else?

I am a character driven writer for sure. My mind usually plays me a little snippet of a movie with a cameo of a character. Then I figure out how the character got there, who else was involved, and if they are in the middle, beginning or end of their adventure.

I like that. Very Original.

3.  If you were an animal, what would you be? And what do you think that says about you?

I don't think I've ever been asked that question before I can think of quite a few I'm glad I'm not. (Laughing.) I would probably go with Labrador Loyal, happy, going from play time, to nap time, to meal time day in and day out. Sounds good to me.

Labradors are one of my favorite dogs. My Henry is a white lab. And he's all those things you described.

4.  Do you have a favorite genre of book or a favorite author? Why?

I write sweet romance, so of course I like that. But I'm really into cozy mysteries too. I aspire to one day write one. But they are a mite harder to write than my sweet romances. So many details to keep track of.

Mysteries are indeed a challenge, especially for linear thinkers like me. I'll be watching for your first mystery.

5.  Where would you go on your dream vacation?

I would go to Spain and immerse myself in the language and culture for a good three weeks. I'm almost bilingual and would like that experience to solidify all the years of lessons. If I had to pick inside the USA, I really want to go see the Tetons.

Both of those sound like a dream.

6.  What does your typical day look like?

Typical day? What's that? Does anyone have Typical days these days? Typically, I spend some time helping with my aging parents and in-laws. Other times I'm playing with my new grandson (only a few months old). I raise Labrador Retrievers (Which probably explains the answer to question three), chickens and rabbits, and I love to paint, draw, garden, film YouTube videos around the writing/editing schedule. So pretty much anything that fuels my creative inspiration is on the table. And it also means, I'm a little all over the place--but it's fun.

I knew you were the creative type the first time I met you on a Zoom call with WhiteFire. It's a gift to you and to others.

7.  Your books are considered Christian Fiction. Would you agree with that? Why do you write for the Christian market?

I write for the Christian market because I can't separate my heart that's in love with Jesus from my heart that loves writing and creating complicated and beautiful people. For me, to feel the heights of a great love story, I need to include the heights of our truest redemption story--the source of our best love.

Exactly! I want to give you a high five on that one.

8. Can you tell us a little about your new book? And what are you working on now?

Book three of the Sisters of the Porcelain Doll series. The Rose, is coming out September 5, 2023. It is a "It takes a thief to catch a thief story." It's delightfully fast paced and has a twist or two.

I'm presently reading "The Ribbon" and look forward to "The Rose".

Here's a glimpse of what you can find inside the pages of Cara's latest novel, The Rose.

Under the thumb of her overbearing stepbrother, Rose Briggs must survive crossing the Oregon Trail before she can find the freedom and means to open a mercantile close to her sisters. Little did she know she stepped into the plans of a ring of thieves.

Worn down to skin and bones with nothing to call his own, Amos Pate a reformed outlaw, will do anything to keep his vow to never steal again. Anything except standing by and letting his loved ones die. 

They must stay one step ahead of a band of criminals, or they lose everything they are living for.

This sounds really good. I can't wait to read it!

Thank you, Cara, for taking time to visit with us. 

Cara is having a GIVEAWAY! If you sign up for her newsletter you will be entered in a drawing for book one in the Sisters of the Porcelain Doll series.

Enter a give away by subscribing to Cara’s email - click here.

I had forgotten how much I enjoy interviewing other writers. I think I'm going to do more. Make sure to stop in and check out what's up or click on the follow and never miss a posting.

Grace and peace to you from God,

Bonnie Leon

Sunday, March 19, 2023

For Such A Time As This


So much in life takes us by surprise. I'm grateful most of the surprises are good ones like when my husband and I heard about a new movie that recently released. We were told it was good and that we should see it. And so, we did. I had no idea how deeply it would affect me.

As of this writing I've now seen Jesus Revolution twice. My husband and I both loved it and will certainly see it again. The story is about a phenomenal movement of the Holy Spirit that took place in America in the late 1960's and early 1970's

We have friends who were in the middle of that revival. It changed their lives ... and ours. Greg and I gave our lives to Jesus Christ in 1973. What a grand surprise it was to discover how much God loves us.

It was a beautiful time. We were filled with newfound excitement and dedication to the Lord. The years ahead looked like one grand adventure. 

Since then, we've walked through many valleys and stood upon numerous mountaintops. Our faith has quaked a time or two but has never fallen. God has held us close and has never let us down.

As I watched the movie, it was incredible to see God's power change lives. His might and great love filled seekers with hope and joy. 

We each are offered a beautiful relationship with Jesus Christ if only we will accept His precious gift that is like no other. I feel tears well up as I consider the beauty and greatness of God's love ... his grace and mercy, which never ends. And I feel hope.

But I also feel concern ... because I know many do not feel the love and excitement they once did. God speaks to the church of Ephesus in the book of Revelation chapter two, verses 2 - 5. It says, "I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don't tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. But I have this complaint against you. You don't love me or each other as you did at first. Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don't repent, I will remove your lampstand from its place among the churches."

In the early days, my first love was vibrant. Jesus was on my mind all day, every day. His love flowed from me toward most everyone in my life. I'm pretty sure I was a bit of a pest. I wanted everyone to know Him. These days I am more measured and sometimes I wonder if I could use a bit of a boost from the young me when I first discovered God's love. Just reliving some of those days through the movie has reminded me how beautiful and exciting it can be to waken every morning knowing I belong to the Lord.

If you haven't seen the movie, I hope you will. I think you will love it. And whether you see it or not make sure to check out God. He's waiting for each of us, His Word is trustworthy. Truth is truth.

There are dark days ahead, but that is not all. Christ is there in our future waiting to be invited in. Revival is coming. Don't miss it.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Saturday, February 25, 2023

The Adventure


When driving home from town a few days ago, I stopped and took the above photo. I later posted it on FB, expressing my thankfulness over living in such a beautiful place. I got to thinking about how truly blessed my husband, Greg, and I are.

God has been good to us. But some of our happiness has to do with the two young people who were willing to take a risk. 

In 1979 my husband and I lived in Washington State. Greg had a great job, and I was happily fulfilling my dream of being a stay-at-home-mom. We had a new home on acreage in a very nice area of King County. Moving away would be silly, right?

My husband's brother Gary lived in beautiful Douglas County, Oregon and Greg and I had made several trips to the area to visit. Soon a longing to resettle on the fringe of the wilderness took hold of us, but moving didn't make sense. 

We prayed about making a change and prayed some more. Moving would mean we'd have to give up a lot. One sacrifice would be Greg's terrific job. What would he do for work in small town Oregon? We would also have to say farewell to long-time friends and family and relinquish our sense of security. We'd have to sell our lovely home. And we'd need to place our lives in God's hands and trust that we were making a choice within His will.

We continued to pray and although our loved ones thought the idea was crazy, we knew Oregon is where we belonged. We made a trip south to search for of a piece of property where we could build our forever home. After finding the perfect place, we released what was familiar and set out to discover our new life. 

We sold our home. Greg gave notice at work, then Greg and I packed up a UHaul truck and headed south. We had only two children at that time, but Kristina was just barely six weeks old. As we drew near to our new little community in the foothills of the Cascades the sun had long since set and it was very dark. I remember well how lost I felt as we drove the final miles. There were no city lights, and it was a long way between ranchers' homes. When we finally arrived at the house we had rented sight-unseen we discovered it was in desperate need of a good cleaning and some tender-loving care. While Greg set off in search of something to eat, I sat on the living room floor with my little ones and wondered if the move had been a huge mistake. 

By the time Greg and I got our kids into bed that night and we climbed beneath our blankets we were exhausted. Still, sleep eluded us as we wondered what the future held. The next morning, we were greeted by sunshine and birdsong. Standing on the porch of that old farmhouse I breathed in the presence of God and renewed my strength. I looked at the glorious view and knew we had made the right decision.

Through the many years since, we have experienced joys and sorrows. Life has not always been easy. It has been a mix of wonder and hardship. But as I've watched my children and now my grandchildren frolic through the meadows and forests, I've been thankful for those young people who chose to take a chance.

Life is an adventure. Each of us are faced with decisions and some of those can have profound effects on what we will experience while on this planet. I pray that Greg and I will not forget how to embrace a challenge and I pray that each of you will make the kind of choices that bring you joy.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Wednesday, February 08, 2023

With a Thankful Heart

Where we are now.

I came across a blog draft from August 2020. I never completed it, but I want to share it now. I am two and a half years late, but I always say, "Better late, than never."

Many times, I've mentioned how much I admired my mother's thankful heart. She is gone now, but I think of her every day. When I consider her wealth of gratitude it's easy to see that I do not possess the same degree of gratefulness. I've aspired to have such a heart, but it has remained elusive. In the past month I've been pressed upon to seek true gratitude and have recognized how I have fallen short. 

Greg and I have been in the process of moving. We left our dream home and returned our older place nearby, which is in a state of disrepair. It's been difficult. I have longed for the convenience and comfort of the home I left. There is a lot of work to be done and the cost has required sacrifice. God has blessed Greg with employment, which has provided the money needed for upgrades and repairs. But that work keeps Greg away from home and has left me with a heavier load to carry. I am reminded daily of my physical weakness, and I miss the presence of my husband. He's always been here to make sure everything that needs doing gets done. He is a man of many talents.

There have been long waits for things like new carpeting, floor tile, cabinets, and even new windows. And while I wait, I must admit to being a bit whiny some of the time. I have not been thankful.

God is speaking to me about how easily we fall into sin. I pray for contentment and gratitude, but this is a condition of the heart and not so easily resolved. I don't like what I see, but I am grateful for God's love that not only shows mercy but helps me to see the truth about myself.

1 Timothyy 4:4-5 says, "For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the Word of God and prayer."

And so, the Lord has led me to reflect, and I find myself sitting at my desk this morning, counting my blessings, which are many. How can I not see when I look out the window onto a meadow where deer graze and wild birds announce the beauty of the day, and flowers shout their joy at the sun?

We all have difficulties in life, but there are also many blessings. If we allow ourselves to spiral down and are caught up in the sorrows and frustrations we will miss the beauty.

My home will be complete one day, likely soon. But if it's not, will I be able to find contentment? Yes, if I see the world through a broader spectrum and remember that the big picture is about so much more than today. 

Grace and peace to you from God,


I was soon to be reminded, in a very big way, how much I have to be thankful for. Three weeks after writing the above post the Archie Creek Fire blasted through our community. It destroyed more than a hundred homes, thousands of animals and birds, and turned our forest to char. It has not recovered, but there are signs of its future beauty. 

We lost outbuildings, tools, toys and a litany of other things, but our home withstood the barrage. It is complete now, though there was a long delay finishing and rebuilding.

I am SO THANKFUL for God's goodness and mercy.

What Was





Sunday, January 22, 2023



Have you ever been in a place where you longed to be who you once were? The present day you isn't who you envisioned yourself to be. The world with its woes, darkness, and injustice has dragged you into what feels like a hopeless vortex you can't escape, and you wonder what happened to the child who had once bounded out of bed each morning exited for the day and all its adventures.

I know both - the youthful me and the woe is me, the disappointed me. Some days, I'm disgusted in myself. I think I should be better, happier, more hopeful, more energetic, kinder and more like Christ. 

What happened to me?!

I don't know exactly, but there is a verse that tells me what I can do about it.

Romans 12:2 says it straight out. "Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--His good, pleasing and perfect will." 

There it is. I have no excuse. And when I contemplate on this verse, I notice it begins with "Do Not". That is not a suggestion, but a command.

Yes, the days are dark. But if we search diligently, we will also see brightness.

When I think back to my childhood, I remember laughing more and making time to enjoy the beauty around me. One of my favorite things to do was to lay in the grass beneath a tree and gaze up through the leaves. It was delightful and almost seemed magical. It's time I tried that again. When spring and the leaves return it is at the top of my to-do list.

Society can be scary and cruel, but we don't need to be like them. We can be different. We can be full of mercy and grace. We can be filled with hope and faith, overflowing with God's love. 

However, remember, a cup overflows only when it is filled to overflowing.

That can happen when we belong to God and spend time with Him. The best places to do that is in His Word and in prayer. I like best to pray through scriptures. As I read the Bible, I talk to God about what it says. I ask Him to clarify His Word so I can fully understand. And I thank Him for the wonder and beauty of His promises. I talk with Him about something new or confirming that I see.

If you don't like where you are, you can change. TRULY. God has made a way. He has the answer. We can "be transformed by the renewing of our mind." We can do it! 

Try this: Commit to spending seven minutes a day with God. Choose a portion of scripture and read the first line, then pray about it, then go on to the next. If you do this, you will be changed. God promised and He never lies.

Grace and peace to you from God,