Thursday, February 23, 2017

Confessions of a Newbie Author

One week!

Just one week until The Planter's Daughter officially releases and goes out into the world! I received my proof copies (to read through one. last. time before going to print!) and I can't tell you how thrilling it was to actually hold my book in my hands!! I won't go so far as to liken it to holding one of my babies for the first time---nothing can ever come close to that amazing event!---but it was one of those moments in life I hope I never forget.

But I have to be honest with you. I'm a little scared about this whole letting-the-public-read-my-book thing. Okay, okay. I'm terrified! I know millions of authors have done it in the past, and I know millions more will do it in the future. My book isn't anything special when it comes to the vast number of books that have been published. It's just that this particular author has never let too many people read her stuff, so it's kinda scary realizing that people who don't know me and my heart are going to be reading--and judging--this book. Yes, blogging about walking in The Way opens a door for criticism, but somehow the release of my book is different. I poured my heart into this book, so I'm feeling a little vulnerable. My hope and prayer is it will be well received, but ultimately I have to simply leave it in God's capable hands. He is the one who set me on this path many years ago, and He is the one who has a plan and a purpose for me and my writing.

So I thought I'd give you a peek into my brain (I know ... that's a scary thought, eh?!) and let you in on how you can help a newbie author:

  • Buy the book. Yeah, that seems kinda obvious, but the reality is a new author doesn't have a built-in audience in their pocket like multi-published authors. There is a saying in publishing that goes something like, "If a first book doesn't sell well, there won't be a second book." Fortunately, I have already signed the contract for the second book in The Women of Rose Hill series and turned in the manuscript to my editor, so I know there will be a second book, scheduled for release in November 2017. And fortunately I've signed a contract with Barbour Publishing for a novella that will come out in early 2018. God has truly been good to me this year! BUT book sales figures matter to a publisher, current and future. My publisher, LPC Books, is actually a ministry, so they don't have a big budget like many other larger publishers. They take a huge risk each time they publish a book, especially for us newbies. So please, buy the book! I would greatly appreciate it!
  • Tell your friends and family about the book. Statistics reveal that word of mouth is the number one way word gets to readers about a book. If you follow me on social media, share my posts about the book, promotions, giveaways, etc. Anything to help get the word out is deeply appreciated! If you are in a book club, suggest my book. I'd love to participate through live chat or come to the club if it's within driving distance. 
  • Post a review on Amazon and Goodreads.  Reviews are vital to a book's life. Even short reviews like, "I enjoyed this book" help! The more reviews a book has, the more visibility it gets. I realize not everyone is going to love my book, but I think most people can find something redeeming in the story to comment on. 
  • Lastly, pray for me and my book. My deepest desire for The Planter's Daughter is that ultimately it will glorify God! There are themes and scenes throughout the book that reveal how each of us is in need of a Savior. It isn't a "preachy" or "religious" book, but my hope is the trials and tribulations the characters go through will shine a light on the power of God and how it can heal and release each of us from bondage, whatever that bondage may be.  
So there you have it. Confessions of a newbie author. I truly am excited to share Adella & Seth's story with the world! I hope you fall in love with them in the same way I did while writing the novel. Click here or on the link on the side panel to order a print or electronic copy. To read more about The Planter's Daughter and why I wrote the book, click HERE.

Thanks for stopping by the blog! Have a blessed day!


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

29 Days Until THE PLANTER'S DAUGHTER Releases!

Yes, folks, we are closing in on the release of my debut novel,The Planter's Daughter! Just 29 more days and TPD will wing its way out into the world. I know this sounds silly, but it's a bit like raising a child and watching them grow up and fly the nest. My hope is TPD will have a wonderful, blessed life away from the sheltered confines of my computer. I'll blog more about the release in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

BUT ... if you aren't good at waiting, I have good news! You can PRE-ORDER my book on Amazon here! Either in book form or the Kindle version. They will be shipped and/or delivered to your computer on March 3, 2017.

One other tidbit of good news to share: I've recently signed a contract with Barbour Publishing for a novella to be included in the MAIL-ORDER BRIDES COLLECTION, release in January 2018! I am super excited!

I'll leave you with a verse that truly speaks to me as I begin my career as a published novelist. It's from Ephesians 2:10:

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Isn't it wonderful to know God planned in advance the work He wanted you and me to get done while we are on this earth? He has a plan AND a timetable. I find that very comforting!


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Goodbye 2016! Let Go of the Past!

Happy New Year, folks!

In just a couple days we will say goodbye to the old year and ring in the new. It's a time to reflect on the events of the past twelve months, good and bad, and look ahead to the possibilities of the days in front of us. Our family was mightily blessed in 2016. Not everything went as we planned or hoped, but God's goodness can be found woven throughout all 525,600 minutes of it. One of the biggest blessings I experienced was signing TWO book contracts! My novel, THE PLANTER'S DAUGHTER, will release in March 2017, so lots of exciting events are coming up. Stay tuned!

But like most of you, there are things I wish I'd done differently in 2016. Mistakes I made. Choices I wish I could go back and change. But what's done is done. We can't go back. Forward is the only option. And that is the beauty of a new year. We don't have to make those same mistakes in 2017! We don't have to make the same choices. A new year can mean new possibilities. New paths to take. A new you!

How do you go about this? Jesus gave us some pretty clear instructions in Luke 14:25-27:

"One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, "Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters---yes, even one's self!---can't be my disciple. Anyone who won't shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can't  be my disciple." (The Message Bible)

Did you notice those two all-important words stuck right in the middle of this passage?


In order to move forward, we have to LET GO of the past! Jesus seems to take this to the extreme, in our human opinion, when he tells us we must let go of all that is dear to our hearts in order to be his disciple. We even have to let go of the person who we think we are! It sounds harsh, but if we truly exam the relationships and other things that take priority in our lives, we might be surprised to find they really are a hindrance. To our personal growth. To our peace of mind. And yes, even to our relationship with Jesus Christ, which is of utmost importance. Have you ever said, "My husband (or wife or child or whatever) is my everything"? Well, what if they were taken from you? Does that mean you are left with nothing? Holding on tight doesn't necessarily mean you get to keep them anyway. It just means you've attempted to take control of something you really have no control over.

When we refuse to let go (which is not always a physical letting go), that's when we can be certain something or someone is keeping us from the abundantly blessed life Jesus has for us. This isn't to say you have to disown your loved ones, but when they take the place of God in your life, you have a real problem that needs to be addressed pronto! (Trust me, I know this from experience!)

As I look forward to 2017, I don't want past mistakes and past sins to drag along behind me, weighing me down like a ball and chain. I want to cut them off. Make a clean getaway. LET GO! Some questions we might ask ourselves as we head into the new year are:

  • Have I neglected my relationship with Jesus? Why? 
  • Am I holding a grudge against someone? 
  • Have I wronged someone and not asked for forgiveness?
  • Could I have made better choices in friendships?
  • What can I do differently in this new year that would draw me closer to God?
I'm ready to greet 2017 with excitement for all God has planned for me! I don't have any grand expectations. I simply trust He knows best, and that's good enough for me!


This YEAR'S Shout-Out countries are:

USA, Russia, China, France, Ukraine, Germany, South Africa, Poland, Netherlands, Ireland, United Kingdom Sweden, Canada, Latvia, Nigeria, Philippines, Indonesia, Kenya, Spain, Romania, Portugal, Czech Republic, Mexico, Georgia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Slovenia, Malaysia, India, Luxembourg, Portugal,  Cote d'Ivoire, Pakistan, Singapore (and probably some I've neglected to list here).

THANK YOU to all the visitors from around the world who pop in and visit my blog! I appreciate each and every one of you! I hope you will make LIFE ALONG THE WAY a regular stop in 2017!


Friday, December 16, 2016

An Angel's Story

What was it like to be an angel on that first Christmas? 

Excitement tingled in the air. I and all the angels of heaven, as well as those serving on earth, had been summoned to present ourselves before the LORD. Something big was happening, but no one knew what. I hurried to take my place among the multitude, anticipation making it hard to stand still. When we'd all assembled--ten thousand times ten thousand and more!---Gabriel stepped forward and stood near God's throne. The Lamb sat on a throne on God's right. He looked peaceful, serene.

God rose from his seat and everyone grew quiet.

"Today the prophecy I gave my servant Isaiah will be fulfilled." His voice thundered through the heavens.

A hushed murmur rose from the crowd of angels. We knew God spoke of the covenant he'd made with a human named Isaiah, one of God's chosen race, the Hebrews. Isaiah was obedient and faithful, and God had placed upon him the responsibility to be His voice throughout the ages to the disobedient Jews. Through Isaiah, God promised to send a Messiah, One who would save the entire world from sin. God's patience with mankind continued to amaze me. They deserved the same fate as the people in Noah's day, but God promised never to destroy them again. Instead, He set in place a plan of salvation that even I didn't fully understand.

Seeing Gabriel standing beside God, I wondered if perhaps he was being sent to save the human race. Gabriel would be a good choice. He was strong and mighty, and God had sent him to earth on other occasions.

But just when I expected God to call Gabriel forward, the Lamb stood.

A collective gasp went through the crowd. Surely not the Lamb!

"I am sending the Lamb to be a sacrifice for all mankind," God said. "Whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life with us."

"No!" angels shouted all around me. "Not our Prince!"

God raised his hand for silence. "It must be so. There is no other way."

I looked and saw Michael and his army draw their swords. Relief swept through me. The Lamb would be protected. No harm would come to him.

But God instructed them to put their weapons away. "The Lamb will go alone. He will become human. He will be born of a virgin, and he will grow in wisdom and stature. After a time, however, the men of earth will reject him and kill him."

A terrible hurt rose inside me. I'd heard humans talk about something called sorrow, and I knew this must be what they meant. The pain grew deeper than anything I'd ever known as I watched my beloved Prince--heaven's treasure--depart God's presence. I didn't understand how God could allow this to happen, but I trusted Him to know what was best. He had never failed us before, and I knew He would not fail us now.

I felt a strange wetness on my face and was surprised to find tears dripping from my eyes. I looked and saw others around me wiping wetness from their faces too.

I hadn't known before.

Angels can cry.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Click here to read An Angel's Story Part 2.

Click here to read An Angel's Story Part 3, the Conclusion.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Fasting ... Is it Still Relevant to Christians in 2016?

I love food! I don't like to cook, but I do love to eat! Growing up I was a pretty picky eater, but these days you can put just about anything in front of me and I will happily gobble it up! Mmmm!

So when God started calling me to a day of fasting each week, I wasn't exactly hopping for joy. Shamefully, I had only fasted a few times in my life, despite having grown up in the church. (Here's a link to my testimony.) Fasting isn't fun. It is sacrifice. And like most of you, I'm not too anxious to sacrifice what I hold dear. Some folks fast from something during Lent, but God was calling me to something more regular. Like ... one day every week. Every week?? Wow. Could I do that? I hadn't been too great at fasting in the past, so I didn't have much confidence in myself.

But God wouldn't let it go. After a few weeks of knowing in my spirit what He wanted me to do, I gave in. That doesn't sound real spiritual, eh? Giving in. But that's kinda how I felt.

"Okay, Lord," I said, already missing my favorite meals. "You're gonna have to help me do this."

I decided what day of the week I would fast and what meals. I won't spill the details here, because fasting is not supposed to be a public display for all the world to see. It's between you and God. It is a very personal act of worship and obedience.

From the get-go, God led me to Isaiah 58, a chapter with the heading "True Fasting." I encourage you to read it, because God has some very specific things to say about what fasting is and what fasting is not. I read this chapter each week on my fasting day to remind me that what I'm doing is not about me. It's not even about food. It's about being obedient to what the Father asked me to do.

Some Christians don't believe fasting is relevant to us today. "Isn't that an Old Testament practice?" they ask. Why should Christians in 2016 fast? Well, the answer I give to that question is the same answer I give to a few other questions:

Why should Christians in 2016 pray? Because Jesus did. (Matthew 6:9-14)

Why should Christians in 2016 be baptized? Because Jesus was. (Matthew 3:13-17)

Why should Christians in 2016 read the Bible?  Because Jesus loved the scriptures. (Luke 4:17-21)

Why should Christians in 2016 go to church? Because Jesus did, regularly. (Luke 4:16)

Why should Christians in 2016 fast? Because Jesus did. (Matthew 4:1-2)

If we are going to wear his name -- Christ -- then we must be Christlike. In all things. No where in my Bible do I find an expiration date on fasting or praying or attending church. On the contrary, I find plenty of instructions to do these things continually. In Matthew 6:5 Jesus said, "When you pray ..." He didn't say "if" you pray. In verse 16 he said, "When you fast ..." Again, he didn't say "if" you fast. The Apostle Paul also encourages us--New Testament Christians--to pray, to fast, to attend church regularly, to read the scriptures, and to be baptized.

So, let's answer the question I posted in the title of this blog. Is fasting still relevant to Christians in 2016? Answer: a resounding YES, it is!!

In my prayer journal, I wrote down the date I started fasting: September 28, 2015. I am happy to say I have kept up with fasting once a week for an entire year now. I don't say that to get pats on my back, or to toot my horn, or to claim to be holier than thou. I simply state it with a grateful heart for what God is teaching me through my day of fasting. I truly, truly look forward to that day now. Instead of eating a meal, I spend time in prayer. When my tummy starts to growl in the afternoon, I stop and thank God for the provision he has always given me. Several HUGE prayer requests have been answered in the past year, too. If you have never fasted, or if it's been a while since you fasted, I highly encourage you to incorporate fasting into your regular worship time with God.

I'll leave you with these beautiful promises from God found in Isaiah 58:8-9. Promises to those who are sincere in their fasting:

"Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear;

then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say, "Here am I."

Prayer Shout-Out countries are:
USA, France, China, Spain, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Philippines, Ukraine, Poland, Netherlands, Russia

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Freedom: Yours for the Taking

We talk about freedom a lot in this country. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. Freedom of this and that. Freedom is a very good thing. In my new novel, THE PLANTER'S DAUGHTER, which releases on March 3, 2017, the theme of freedom is woven throughout the story. Each of the main characters desires freedom from something. I'll share more about that as the release date draws closer.

Today, I'm thankful to live in America, despite all her problems. I'm thankful for the brave men and women who crossed the ocean hundreds of years ago seeking freedom from the tyranny of King James. I'm thankful for the men who fought and sacrificed for freedom in the many wars to come, including my own Daddy who was a WWII vet. I'm thankful for the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, even though it would be decades and decades before everyone in America was free.

But today, my unending gratitude is for the One who truly gave me freedom.


Not the President of the United States. Not the Congress and Senate who make laws. Not even the men and women serving in the military can assure my freedom.

Only Jesus.

"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32-33

 "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!" John 8:36

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." Galatians 5:1

"To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood..." Revelation l:5

The freedom Jesus gives can't be taken away by a ruler. It can't be taken away even if you are behind bars. It can't be taken away by any human effort. The freedom Jesus gives is a gift. It was paid for with his blood.

The freedom Jesus offers is yours for the taking! It's FREE! What do you need freedom from? Guilt? A sinful life? Bad choices? Anger? Jealousy? Temptations? Apathy? If you haven't experienced the freedom Jesus offers, and if you aren't sure how to get it, please contact me. I would love to share the Good News and Freedom found only in Jesus Christ with you!

Today, like King David said: "I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. (Psalm 119:45)

This week's Prayer Shout Out countries are: 
USA, Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, China, France, Germany, Nigeria, Philippines, Netherlands

Friday, May 20, 2016

Fiction Friday: Until the Day Breaks by Paula Scott

I love reading a great book, don't you? I also love recommending a great book! Today is your lucky day, because I'm going to tell you about a book you must read! If you enjoy history and romance, this book is for you.

Until the Day Breaks by Paula Scott is a powerful tale of love, passion, war and faith. Set against the backdrop of California's tumultuous history, a young woman finds her loyalties tested beyond limit and her desires torn beyond measure in 1846 California. Paula's mesmerizing style of writing will carry you away, allowing you to experience the setting and characters in such a way you won't want to put the book down. The historical details are intricately woven into the tale, and my imagination easily produced a picture of a California I was not familiar with. Paula is a 5th generation Californian, so she definitely knows her stuff.

While I don't want to give you too much of the story, here's a little appetizer to tide you over until you get your own copy of this amazing book:

Rachel, a devout Protestant, is summoned to California where her father lives. He has embraced the life of a Californian, marrying a young Spanish woman, and securing his place in the gent de razon, the ruling class of California. Although she is engaged to marry a minister back in Massachusetts, Rachel learns her father has betrothed her to Roman, a proud Catholic Spanish soldier willing to die for his homeland. Neither she nor Roman want the marriage, yet neither can they deny the passion that stirs their hearts for one another.

With the threat of war looming over them, danger lurks in the most unlikely places. Who can be trusted? Roman and Rachel ultimately face the choice we all come to in life: will they trust God for their future or take matters into their own hands?

Until the Day Breaks is available now! Just click the link.


Friday, April 15, 2016

The Gardener, the Vine, and Why Pruning is Necessary

When most people think of vineyards and wineries, images of the lush hills of France or Napa Valley come to mind. Famous wine regions like Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne are known even by folks like me who aren't exactly wine connoisseurs. Dry, hot, dusty Texas probably isn't on the wine-radar of most people who enjoy a glass of the fruit of the vine from time to time, but here in the Texas hill country, vineyards are everywhere! Seriously. Around  the quaint town of Fredericksburg, you can't throw a stone without hitting a vineyard. We drive past at least a dozen when we go to Georgetown on weekends.

Personally, I love the beauty of a vineyard far more than I love the product produced from its grapes. A well-tended, well cared for vineyard is a work of art. Row after row of perfectly formed vines loaded with fat, juicy grapes. Gorgeous!

Yet grapevines don't naturally grow in nice, neat uniform rows. Left untended, a vineyard quickly becomes a mess. Overgrown vines trail everywhere and weeds fast outgrow the plants, eventually choking out the fruit all together.  

Jesus used the illustration of a vineyard to teach us a vital lesson. In John 15:1-3 he says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so it will be even more fruitful." 

Grapevines begin with one main stem. From that, branches sprout and grow into vines. As any master gardener knows, branches must be pruned and shaped if they are to stay healthy. Pruning may seem like it hurts the plant, but in reality it is helping the plant grow stronger and produce better fruit. Unhealthy, non-producing branches must be cut off in order for the main plant to thrive. 

So why would Jesus compare himself and us to a grapevine? Because the visual lesson really hits home when you see yourself as a branch growing on the main -- true -- vine. Are you a branch that is healthy and producing good fruit? Or are you in danger of the Gardener's clippers because your fruit is rotten, bug (sin) -infested, or maybe you aren't producing fruit at all? 

What exactly is good fruit? Look at Galatians 5:22-23:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

Proverbs 12:14 says, "From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward."

Good qualities like love and patience don't always come natural to us though. They have to be cultivated by the Gardener. And more often than not that takes pruning. Ouch! But, oh, it is so, so worth it! Sometimes we have to learn lessons the hard way in order to truly take them to heart and apply them to our lives. I speak from experience. I've been pruned until I wanted to cry "Uncle!" But on the other side of it, looking back at who I was before the pruning, I'm ever so thankful God cared enough and loved me enough to help me grow, not as a wild, unruly plant going my own way, but as a beloved branch who tries daily to produce good fruit. 

But what happens to the branches that aren't producing good fruit and are ultimately cut off from the vine?

"Such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned." (John 15:6)

Friends, Jesus wants us to be part of him. "I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (v. 5) But Jesus is also very clear about what happens when we choose not to be part of him. When we choose to go our own way, following our own beliefs, making our own choices based on worldly knowledge rather than Godly knowledge, we will be cut off from him. Yet as long as you have breath in your body, you have the opportunity to choose Jesus! To choose what is right and good based on biblical teachings. To be part of THE Vine, producing good fruit! 

Boy, it doesn't get any better than that! Let's be fat, juicy grapes together, okay?

I'm suddenly thirsty for a big ol' glass of grape juice! 

This week's Prayer Shout Out countries are:
USA, China, Poland, Canada, Indonesia, Germany, Kenya, Spain, Romania, France

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Our Guilt....His Grace

I have many emotions and thoughts every year as Easter approaches. I've gone from a child who anticipated colored eggs and jelly beans in a pretty Easter basket to an adult who fully and shamefully recognizes a very disturbing truth: MY sin put Jesus on the cross. I am as guilty as the person in the crowd who shouted, "Crucify him!" I am as guilty as the man who hammered the nails into Jesus' hands and feet and jabbed a spear into his side. As the man who formed a crown of thorns and crushed it onto Jesus' head. My guilt is no less than Judas' or Pilot's or the High Priest's. Every person who has ever lived is responsible for the cross.

But Jesus knew he would die that day. He knew when he left the perfection of heaven to come to earth as a tiny baby that he was destined to experience a horrific death on a cross thirty-three years later. And he did it willingly. He took our punishment upon himself. He stood in that dark place between us and God so that we would be made clean and righteous, acceptable and worthy enough to be in the presence of a Holy God for all eternity.

The love and grace he poured out on us that day is unimaginable. Un-explainable. Un-graspable. It is beyond anything we will ever experience in our lifetimes. You will NEVER be more loved than you were on THAT day. You will NEVER be offered more grace and forgiveness than you were offered on THAT day. When Jesus prayed in John 17:20-23 for all future believers, he prayed for me! And for you, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ.

That grace and love is still available today! All you have to do is admit you are a sinner in need of a Savior. But Jesus didn't die so we can continue living in our sin. We can't believe in Jesus yet keep on living in the same sinful way. To choose sin and yet claim to belong to Christ is saying his death was meaningless. True repentance is to turn from sin. Walk away. Leave it behind. Just as Jesus told the woman living in adultery to "Go now and leave your life of sin" (John 8:11), we must do the same. Go, my friend, and sin no more. That's what I'm trying to do. Some days I fail miserably, but Jesus' grace is always there, ready to pick me up, wash the filth from me, and carry me forward.

My prayer is you and yours experience the grace and hope and freedom that came through Jesus' amazing sacrifice on the cross all those years ago. It isn't just for Easter. It's for life!


Have a blessed Easter!
The cross in the woods across from our house.

"The Old Rugged Cross"

Friday, February 26, 2016

Redirection: When God Changes Your Plans

Merriam Webster defines redirection as "to change the path or direction (of something)." Sound familiar? Let me see a show of hands of anyone who has experienced redirection in their life. Mine is waving, high and proud. I imagine yours is too.

Life is full of redirection. Sometimes they are good. Sometimes not so much. I look back on my life and see many times when things didn't work out the way I thought they would or should. Some were by my own making, others I had no control over. But almost always, on the other side of it, I see why the redirection had to happen. It wasn't always obvious right away. Sometimes it takes years to understand, and in some instances we may never know why life went in a completely different direction than we intended.

As a follower of God, I sincerely believe he has plans and purposes for our lives. I don't think he has every minute of every day planned out for us. We are not puppets in his hands. But Psalm 139:16 tells us that "all the days ordained for me were written in your book." God knows the day we'll be born and the day we'll die. He also knows everything in between and it matters to him. What we do with our lives matters.

So when redirection comes, especially the kind we have no control over, we have to trust that our Heavenly Father is up to something. I've experienced this and I know how scary it can feel. When my husband lost his job in 2008 after being with a company for over 23 years, we didn't know what the future held for us. We would have never imagined that four years later we'd accept a dream job that allowed us to live, work, and play on a 400-acre ranch in the hill country.

Our son is experiencing redirection right now. He joined the Army with big plans only to have a shoulder injury bring everything to a halt. We don't understand why God allowed this to happen, but we are trusting him to redirect Austin's path and give him a hope and future wherever that path leads.

This week I was reading in the Book of Acts. Paul and Timothy are going from town to town, region to region, preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. I'm sure they had plans and dreams and ideas of where to go and who to see. But in Acts 16:6-8 we see redirection:

"Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas." 

Redirection at its finest. What awaited Paul and Timothy in Bithynia? We don't know, but Jesus knew and redirected them. Has that ever happened to you? Don't go there, go here instead. Don't marry that person, marry this one. Don't take that job, take this one. Even diseases like cancer force redirection. Like Paul, we have a choice when we are redirected. We can choose to embrace it and trust God with our future, or we can fight against it, mourn what we feel we are losing, and even derail everything by ignoring it all together.

I am learning to trust redirection. It isn't always easy. It isn't always fun. I can be a bit stubborn sometimes, but God is a patient Father, thankfully. And I can say with complete confidence that no redirection ever hurt me. Yes, they tested me. Yes, they stretched me. But I have always, always come out on the other side better for it and even thankful for the new direction.

If you are experiencing redirection, hang in there! God has great plans for you!

This week's Shout Out countries are:
USA, China, Spain, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine

Saturday, February 20, 2016

RIP Supreme Court Justice Scalia

"Justice Scalia is being laid to rest today. This Scalia quote has made the rounds quite a bit this week, but it's one of the more profound and pertinent things said by a man who said 100 volumes worth of profound and pertinent things. I think it's worth reflecting on again:

"God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools...and He has not been disappointed. Devout Christians are destined to be regarded as fools in modern society. We are fools for Christ's sake. We must pray for courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world. If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world."

In this way, Justice Scalia was certainly a bigger fool than most. May he rest in peace." (~Matt Walsh)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Ted Cruz: Things the media won't tell you

If you know me, you know I am not politically minded. I don't trust most politicians, even those I like. I am a simple person. All I want in a President is someone I can trust! Trust to do what is right and good and noble and honest. To love this great country and make it better, not worse. To make decisions based on sound information and moral values. I want the person who wins the election to understand that without God, we are nothing.

We voters have an important decision to make in the coming months. The past eight years have been some of the worst for our country because people voted for a man who gave great speeches. Problem is, there was no substance behind the pretty words. It will take decades to undo some of the disastrous polices he's put in place.

We need someone we can respect. We need someone our military can respect. We need someone who understands the Constitution and the foundations our country were built on. I am not a Ted Cruz fan. Honestly, I don't know all that much about him. I've said I'd like to have Marco Rubio in office, and that is still true. But this video about Ted Cruz may have changed the direction my thoughts were going. I watched the entire thing and I will say....THIS is the kind of man I want in the White House. I doubt I'd agree with everything he's done in his professional career, but of all the candidates seeking to be our next president, I believe Mr. Cruz would make an excellent, and dare I say, trustworthy president. I encourage you to watch the entire video, whether you are a fan of Ted's or not. (BTW, I think the whole "Ben Carson" flap from the Iowa caucus was blown up by the press, as usual. Seems to me some over-zealous campaign folks got their info wrong, but in today's world of lightning-fast social media, mistakes like that are huge. I like Ben, but I'm not holding Ted's integrity hostage because of that mistake.)

One thing I do know for certain. We all need to be in prayer about this election. Serious prayer.

This week's Prayer Shout Out countries are:
USA, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Germany, Kenya, Poland, Ukraine, Mexico, Spain, South Africa, Romania

Thursday, February 4, 2016

In the Beginning...

February is known as the Month of Love. I've been loved my whole life. My parents loved me. Family and friends love me. Twenty-nine years ago this April I married the love of my life, the bestest hubby in the world! When I gave birth to two amazing little boys, my understanding of human and God-love grew exponentially!

But let me tell you about a different kind of love affair...

I love my Bible. I mean, I love my Bible. I love my Bible!

Get it?

God's written word has become like breath to me. I can't live without it. I can't function without the life-giving nourishment it gives my soul. If I try to begin my day without getting into the Word, I get the feeling something important is missing. And more often than not, I'll have a really icky day. Not because of the things that happen necessarily, but  because of my own attitude and thought process toward whatever comes my way. It's just so much better to start out the day with a word from the Lord, ya know?

I didn't always feel this way. Growing up in a Christian home, we had plenty of Bibles around. I often saw my Mom reading her Bible, and when my Grandma moved in with us my Senior year, I found comfort in passing her open door to see her sitting in her Lazy-Boy recliner reading the Word. But very seldom did I pick up my own Bible to read. Very seldom did I turn to God's word for answers to life's problems. I was a married woman with children before I fully understood the powerful resource I had within my grasp. Now I cherish God's word! Like many of you, I have an abundance of Bibles to choose from:

  • A white-covered King James version given to me by "Mother and Daddy" on June 30, 1971
  • A Children's edition of the Living Bible given to me by our church Christmas 1973
  • The Living Bible given to me by "Mom and Dad" Christmas 1980. I would graduate from high school and head off to college a few months later. I'm sure my parents hoped the Word of God would go with me!
  • For Christmas 2001, my sweet husband bought me the New International Version Bible. Funny, he accidentally bought a Large Print, but I'm so glad! My eyes ain't what they used to be, so the larger print is awesome! This is the Bible I read every morning. I have so many, many scriptures highlighted or underlined, with notes written off to the side, some with meaningful dates. If our house ever caught fire (Lord, never!), that Bible would be the first thing I'd grab! It is literally my life. 
  • In 2003, hubby gave me The Message Bible, which is a way-cool version. Makes things so, so clear sometimes. 
Every Bible, no matter the version, is God's word to us. It's a story of His great love for mankind. So many, many lessons are within those pages. So many, many lives touched by God's amazing grace. I honestly don't think I will ever tire of reading my Bible. Seriously. I learn something new every single time I open it!

But I came to an interesting conclusion while reading in the Book of John. Despite the fact that the Bible contains 66 books with 1,189 chapters and somewhere around 31,000 verses....

...there are only TWO verses that really, truly matter when it comes to our faith. Twenty-seven words, to be exact:

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1

Those two verses sum up everything we need to know about God. In fact, you can whittle those sentences down even further:

"In the beginning GOD!"

"In the beginning was the WORD!"

God is the Creator of everything. He has always been and will always be. And John 1:1 makes it abundantly clear that Jesus--the Word--is God. John 1:14 says, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." Those two truths -- God is the Creator and Jesus is God -- are the very foundation of our faith. They are what we build everything else upon. Without those two principals firmly rooted in your heart, the rest of the Bible probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense. 

If you aren't a regular Bible reader, I encourage you to become one. God speaks through His word. Let Him speak to you today!

This week's Shout-Out countries are:
USA, UK, Russia, Germany, Ukraine, Georgia, Canada, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Africa, Slovenia

Friday, January 1, 2016

No Resolutions....Just Gonna Live Life


My hope and prayer for you is that 2016 will be one of the best years of your life! True, some years hold more problems than we can bear: heartache, pain, sorrow, illness, financial woes, relationship woes. But one thing I've learned as I've aged is that each of those situations can be overcome when you have Jesus Christ in your life. Allowing Jesus to be Lord doesn't mean you'll never experience bad or sad things. It simply means you don't have to bear them alone. He is willing and able to carry you, heal you, restore you, provide for you, etc. How do I know? Because I've experienced it! Life can be messy and downright mean sometimes. To the point there is no way to make it on your own strength. So before the year gets underway, if you are struggling with life issues or maybe you've never invited Jesus to be Lord of your life, today would be a GREAT day to let Him have control of your future!


Wow! Hard to believe yet another year has come and gone. 2015 was a good year for us. Lots of changes, but good ones. Our oldest son graduated from college in December -- Whoop! -- and is now busy sending out resumes. Our youngest son joined the Army in November -- Whoop!! -- and is in the throes of Basic Training. We are beyond proud of both of them and pray God's perfect will for their futures!

What will the new year look like? Much like the previous year, I imagine, but with different changes sprinkled in here and there. I've never been keen on making new year's resolutions, mainly because I don't stick with them very long. A month or so at most. Weight loss. Eating healthier. Spending more time in the Word. All the usual suspects.

So instead of starting the new year with a list of "to do's," I thought I'd instead start with a list of "right now's." More like a list of blessings and Hoorah's than a list of "get 'er dones or else feel like a failure." Below is my Top Ten List. Feel free to share your own in the comments.

  1. I have a Savior who loves me unconditionally.
  2. My Bible is my favorite book!
  3. I'm married to my very best friend. We will celebrate 29 years of marriage this year!
  4. My two sons are becoming amazing young men with amazing futures. Trusting God to make His plans and purposes fulfilled in their lives. 
  5. All four of us are healthy. 
  6. I'm down 15 lbs from where I was last year at this time. 
  7. We are making healthier food choices most of the time. 
  8. We have a really good job that allows us to work together on a beautiful ranch in the hill country. 
  9. Despite a mound of bills, we always have everything we need and many things we want. 
  10. I am loved by family and friends. 

I hope you'll make your own list. Focusing on the positives definitely helps when the negatives come up, as they tend to do.

I'll leave you with a favorite passage from Psalm 139:23-24. It seems appropriate for the beginning of a new year. Kinda makes you want to start out with a clean slate.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

This week's Prayer Shout Out countries area:
USA, Germany, China, Taiwan, France, Kenya, Poland, Russia, Malaysia, India, Romania, Portugal, Luxembourg

Thursday, December 24, 2015

An Angel's Story: Part 3, The Conclusion

What was it like to be an angel on that first Christmas? Our story's conclusion...


I was going to see the Lamb! I practically shouted with joy! 

Gabriel and I made our way back to earth. We passed over the same land, water and grassy field where we'd been moments before. Only the sheep stood there now. Soon a small village came into view. The streets were crowded with people, even at this late hour. I guessed they had all come to worship the Lamb.

Gabriel took me to the edge of town. I looked about for the palace. All I saw were simple houses and a place where animals were kept. 

"Why are we here?" I asked, confused. "I thought we were going to see the Lamb."

"We are," Gabriel replied. We stopped at the entrance where animals lived. The sound of lowing cattle met us.

I turned to Gabriel, thinking he must be mistaken. "Here?"

He nodded again. "See His star?"

I looked to where he pointed. A brilliant light shone down from the black night directly onto this place. I didn't understand. Why would the King of kings be in a smelly, dirty stable? Why would he leave the riches of heaven and come here?

Gabriel motioned me inside. I took hesitant steps into the dimly lit space. I was surprised to find the shepherds from the field there. They knelt in front of a small wooden structure. I noticed a young woman sitting on a blanket on a bed of straw. She looked tired but happy. Her eyes shone bright as she spoke softly with the shepherds. A man stood nearby. I got the distinct feeling he was alert to every noise and every movement, as though watching, guarding.

I followed Gabriel as we moved closer to the humans. They couldn't see us, for which I was glad. I was confused about what was happening and didn't want them to know it. We stepped into a circle of lantern light, and I gasped at what I saw before me. 

A tiny, brand new baby lay in a manger, wrapped in cloths. His eyes were closed, and he slept peacefully. 

I looked at Gabriel. "The Lamb?" I whispered in shock.

"Yes. Our Prince." He looked at the baby. "The Savior of the world."

I gazed at the small, helpless lump of humanity. I didn't recognize him at all. Gone was the Prince of heaven, to be replaced with a creature who could do nothing for himself, let alone the entire world. I glanced at the lowly shepherds, ragged and dirty, worshipping him. At his mother and earthly father who clearly did not live in a palace but were forced to take refuge with animals.

It didn't make any sense. None at all.

"How can this be?" I asked. "Where is his throne? Where is his palace? Why should God leave the riches of heaven to come to earth in this manner?"

Gabriel shrugged. "In what manner should he have come? As a Warrior God, forcing the people of earth to worship him?"

I frowned. "No." God doesn't want anyone--angel or human--forced to worship him. "Tell me then. Why is the Lamb here, like this?"

"For them," Gabriel said simply, indicating the shepherds. "And for others like them. Had the Lamb come to earth with an army of angels and set up his kingdom in a palace, many humans would have come and bowed before him. But they would not have come with a pure heart seeking a Savior. And that is why the Lamb came: to seek and to save the lost. To do that he must dwell among them and know life as they do. He must face the same temptations, the same trials and, ultimately, the same death. But when he is raised to life again, then they will know that he is their King. Then those whose hearts are open and receptive will bow down in true worship."

I understood then.

God had asked the Lamb to sacrifice himself for all mankind. He left the perfection of heaven, knowing he would be born in a barn to a humble couple with lowly shepherds as the only worshippers. He knew he wouldn't live in a palace or be honored as Lord. He knew the people of earth would eventually reject him and kill him. 

Yet he came anyway! He came because of his great love for mankind. He came because he wanted the people he loves to be free from the bondage of sin. He wanted them to live a life of joy and peace with God. And He wanted them to spend eternity in heaven with Himself and the Father.

I looked at the baby again. He was awake now, silently studying the faces around him. Then he looked at me, and I fell to my knees.

"My Lord and my God," I whispered.

His tiny lips lifted in a smile. I smiled back. 

While Mary, Joseph and the shepherds laughed and cooed over the smiling baby, I stood, ready to return to heaven.

I knew God had things firmly under control here on earth.

Jesus left the glory of heaven to dwell on earth for one reason: You! His love for you is beyond anything you could ever imagine. It is full and complete. It is everything your heart and soul desires. If you don't know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, my prayer is you will take time this Christmas to truly seek him.

Merry Christmas to You and Yours!


Click here to return to An Angel's Story Part 2.

Click here to return to An Angel's Story Part 1.