Tuesday, December 18, 2007

1 Corinthians 13 - The Christmas version

I got this from a devotional I read this morning. It was off of a friend's website. Someone had emailed it to her and she posted it. I thought it was so great, I wanted to share it here. I hope it blesses your day.

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but not show love, I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.

Merry Christmas and lots of love to all of you!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Roller Coasters and Life

Am I the only person who needs a vacation to recover from a vacation? Aw, we had fun, but I'm exhausted! My parents generously took us to Dollywood this week located in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Absolutely beautiful this time of year.

So, we braved the weather (which was nice for the most part if you discounted the frost bite after the sun went down) and did the amusement park deal. Which is the perfect time for homeschoolers to go because we basically had the park to ourselves. No lines, no crowds, no blazing hot heat stroke weather.

My kids (and 60+ year old mother) LOVE the roller coaster rides. Their favorite was Thunderhead, a totally wooden roller coaster. There are only two like it in the world, one in Dollywood and one in Germany.

As I was watching my daughter’s sheer enjoyment of the ride, I thought to myself, “I want her to grow up enjoying life as much as she’s enjoying that ride. I want her to treat life like that roller coaster.”

You see, they sit you in the seat then pull a safety bar down around you. As you go around the track, swerving up, down and all around, you hang on for dear life on some parts, on others, you throw your hands up to the mercy of the ride, screaming with laughter, sometimes a little fear, but with the assurance you’ll arrive at the finish line in one piece. I thought that was awesome.

What if we treated life like a roller coaster ride?

What if we got in the seat (ready for what life throws at us), pulled our safety bar down around us (God), and as we race around the track (life) knowing we’ll have ups and downs, bumps and swerves, sometimes winding upside down and desperate to find ourselves right side up, what if we grab tight to that safety bar (God), the one thing that can keep us safe and right where we need to be when troubles come our way, then when those pass, throw our hands up high and say, “I’m at your mercy, God, do what you will with me.” Then scream with joy and laughter as God takes us on the ride of our lives. And throughout the ride, all the ups and downs, twists and swerves, know with peaceful assurance, we’re going to land at the finish line (heaven) in one piece.

How awesome would that be?

Just my thought for the day…

Saturday, November 17, 2007


If you want to find my books online, just click on the link (the title of the blog where it says, "My Book Link" and it will take you to Barnes and Noble. I finally got permission from my publisher to post the cover of my book (yay!) isn't it great? I plan to have a couple of contests for freebies and giveaways! Be sure to check back soon...

"A beautiful romance and a solid mystery. I highly recommend this book." --Dee Henderson, bestselling author of the O'Malley family series

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Writer's Retreat Weekend

Okay, I know it's been awhile, but I sold a book to Steeple Hill on proposal, so that means some serious writing to live up to their faith in me...and so they'll buy more! But, I just wanted to share this really cool weekend I just got back from. A group of us got together for some brainstorming and boy, did we storm! We stayed in a gorgeous house up in the mountains of Franklin, NC. We were so far up, I got altitude sickness. No, I'm not kidding. I started feeling much better about the time we had to leave, of course. We were 4,000 feet up there! But it was fantabulous and we sincerely thank http://www.staugvacations.com/ and the Hartley family for allowing us to enjoy their home.

Some silly people tried to enjoy it 24/7 by staying up until 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning working!!! Steeple Hill and Zondervan editors, you should be proud! No, I'm not mentioning any names, Camy Tang, Missy Tippens, Jennifer Hudson, Cheryl Wyatt and Pammer James! I was the only one with any sense, obviously. No, I think Pammer had some, too. I remember her going to bed around midnight one night.
For example:

Anyway, all kidding aside, we had a blast and plan to do it again next year! Here's some pics. Enjoy!

The fun part of stopping in the local Christian bookstore in Franklin, NC and watching Camy very humbly sign her newest release, Sushi for One? The bookstore staff were so sweet and...I think, bemused with the whole thing...

This is the six of us trying to get in the picture before the timer on the camera went off!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A God Kind of Pride

A God Kind of Pride

No, I didn’t misspell “good”. I don’t know how many of you have children, but it seems to me mine are always teaching me a lesson – whether I want to learn it or not.

Today, we were in Chick Fil A. The owner of this particular store is on my husband’s Board of Directors of his ministry, so my children know Mr. Matt pretty well. (Believe me, we’re in that restaurant enough that we should be on a first name basis with every single employee!)

Anyway, last night, my husband, Jack, had made up some business cards for me. My daughter, Lauryn, just thought they were the coolest. She was dying to give one to somebody and to tell that person that her mother was the author of the book listed on the card.

She found them in my purse and without my knowledge, went up to Mr. Matt and gave him a card, explaining that, “My mom is an author. She wrote that book and it’s going to be out in February of next year. This is her card. You can keep it so you know what to look for when you go buy her book.”

She is soooooo proud of me and wants to tell anyone and everyone who will listen all about her mom, the author. (Yes, she’s eight, so right now, I’m cool. Ask me in a few years if my status has changed.) But her pride in me and my work fills me with delight. It just makes me feel so good that my child is proud of me.

I started thinking about this and just the wonderful feelings it gave me to know that she was proud of her mom. And then I thought, I bet God feels this way (times about a zillion) when His children brag on Him! Brag on Him to others and also to Him.

When was the last time you told God you were proud of Him? When was the last time you told someone else about the wonderful work God does? After watching my daughter this morning and thanking God for blessing me by allowing this beautiful child to be born to me, I just wanted to brag on God for His AWESOME work! (I believe that's known as worship...ha.)

So, I encourage you, as God’s child, go ahead and make His day…Tell someone how wonderful He is, then tell God. (Yeah, He knows you think so, but I bet He’d delight in hearing you tell him anyway.)

Have a blessed day woshipping the King of Kings!

Until next time…

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Tree

I really don’t understand why I can’t just have a quiet, normal life. I guess, for some reason, God thinks I can handle crazy better than sane. Honestly, at this point, I just try to go with the flow. I admit it, I’m a little weird. I have issues. One of those issues is travelling. I HATE, LOATHE, ABHOR travelling. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I like to BE THERE. I just don’t like what it takes to actually GET THERE. So, I endure. Today, I was driving home from the beach. Just my children and myself. I get 20 minutes from my next turn off and I get stuck. Literally. Up ahead, there’s this horrid wreck that must have just happened only seconds before I entered the highway. Of course, the entire one side of the interstate was shut down. The police came screaming up the side, the fire trucks and ambulances came down the wrong side of the street, and the medical helicopter came from above.

I thought for sure someone had died, but word filtered back that the two gentlemen were still alive, although badly injured. The driver had been going too fast, lost control and slammed into a tree on the side of the road.

God was good, though. He knows my fear of travelling and being stuck in traffic, so if it had to happen, at least I could see what was going on. I know, that’s silly, but it helped. My children were wonderful. We had a working DVD player and my son was engrossed in the movie. My daughter, being the more dramatic one, was really involved in what was going on up ahead. However, as we couldn’t see much, she soon grew bored. Then she got to meet Jesse, the wonder dog. He was in the car diagonal to ours in the other lane. The owner let him out and Jessie started doing tricks. Oh my goodness, my animal lover daughter was in her element. Thank you, God for the little things.

Of course, I was concerned about the men involved in the accident and I did take the time to pray for them. But I couldn’t help thinking that maybe God wanted me to learn something from this.

Sometimes we get going so fast that we don’t pay attention to the things that are passing us by. We speed right on our merry way thinking everything is hunky dory then, “wham”, we hit a tree. And it’s totally unexpected. But why wouldn’t it happen? We don’t stop to ask God directions, we don’t follow his “speed limits”, we think we’re doing just fine on our own and don’t need to listen to authority or obey His law and yet we’re surprised when our world comes to a screeching, crashing halt.

Hm…it made me stop and think. What about you? How fast are you going in life right now?

Personally, I guess I need to slow down and reassess.

Monday, July 02, 2007


I haven’t posted in a while, but couldn’t wait a moment longer to share this with you.

Have you ever had God do something so amazing that all you can do is sit there and go, “Wow!”?

That happened to me today. I’ve been struggling with some issues in my life, things that have developed slowly over time and have recently come to a head. I’d been feeling a little “low”, and just needed a boost from God. So, I left my house and went up to the local Panera to do some writing and just have some time alone with God—which, I must confess, I haven’t done much of lately. Anyway, I wasn’t looking for anything specific, just for God to calm my spirit and show Himself to me. And He did. In a truly amazing way.

I write fiction. Created stories that come from my imagination. Yes, I pray over my written words, I want them to touch readers in a way that can only come from God. I ask Him to give me the words because nothing I write can compare to the ultimate author. Right now, I’m working on a story where a man has been in a coma for a long time. When he wakes up, he remembers nothing about himself. To build his strength back, the doctor suggests working construction at an orphanage. A young woman arrives on the scene and recognizes him due to a birthmark. At the time I was creating the story, the idea for this particular birthmark just kind of popped in my head. I had no clue why, but I went with it.

My mother even asked me the other day where I got the idea. I just shrugged and said, “I don’t know, it just came to me.”

The birthmark looks like a belt around his waist, buckle and all. It only goes about halfway around, and growing up, this particular female character used to tease him about getting a tattoo to finish the belt. She even gave him suspenders for Christmas as a joke several years before.

Unfortunately, this man was betrayed by a member of her family and she agonizes over telling him the truth. About who he is and how he came to be in a place where he was almost killed. She wrestles with God, not wanting to be the one to tell him. God continues to press upon her the need to reveal the truth to him and she resists until she can no longer go against God. She must tell him the truth and accept that he may hate her as a result--and have faith that God will get her through it.

Telling the truth. How hard is that sometimes? Especially when we know it's going to hurt--the other person or ourselves!

Today while reading on Beth Moore’s website, I came across a weekly devotional section with several devotionals listed. I just picked one and began to read the scripture part. It was about David killing Goliath, a story I’ve read and heard numerous times. After reading the scripture, I read on to see what Beth had to say.

God obviously had this in mind for me today. One of the things I needed to hear was, “We’re often intimidated in battle because we are uncertain of our faith. But we must remember we don’t stand in victory because of our faith. We stand in victory because of our God. Faith in faith is pointless, but faith in a living, active God moves mountains.”

How true! My faith in God wasn’t uncertain, but I was feeling a little weary of all the “battles” that I seemed to be in the midst of lately. God reminded me that even if my faith gets shaken, or tossed about, He still remains solid, a rock, and that my faith in Him is what will make the difference in the outcome of the “battle.”

But that’s not all!

This is the verse that ended the devotional.

"Lord God, I desire no other protection than that which You have promised to give me: truth like a belt around my waist, righteousness like armor on my chest, the gospel of peace like sandals on my feet, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, Your very Word. With these, I know that I can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one (Eph. 6:14-17).

Can you just see my stunned reaction? How like God to take that verse and give it to me today! “TRUTH like a belt around my waist”. God connected it to my writing! I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Talk about a God moment. What a loving, sweet, wonderful God to infuse me with hope, peace, and confidence that my writing is really what He has called me to do. I knew, but we all like confirmation, right? I’m still just praising Him and thanking Him.

And yes, I got my boost from God today.

I also know where the idea for the birthmark came from now!


Monday, April 23, 2007

Low Points in Life -- Don't Have to be!

Low Points in Life

Often I get down, even downright depressed, when my husband travels. Oh, I don’t mind what he’s doing, he does great stuff and I admire him for it. It’s just that I hate being left behind. No, I don’t necessarily want to go with him, I just don’t want to be left alone. Ha. Yeah, I want my cake and to eat it too. I’ve noticed a pattern. If he’s gone just for a couple of days, I can usually deal with it pretty well. However, when it’s for an extended period of time, I notice my temper is shorter, my patience limited and my frustration level higher. It’s amazing how my mood directly affects my children. This morning was one of those mornings of everyone yelling at each other and everyone being short-tempered—because that’s how I started out. Before dropping the kids at school, we did all make peace, but I just hate starting the day that way. So, as soon as I could, I pulled out my Bible and the Lord led me to Psalm 42. It’s also a favorite worship song of mine.

1. As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. 2. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? 3. My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 4. These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, among the festive throng. 5. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and 6. my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar. 7. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. 8. By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life. 9. I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” 10. My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 11. Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

This tells me that I’m not alone. The psalmist himself felt separated from God, depressed. And when this happens, we are to run to God to restore that relationship with him. To focus on his goodness and the blessings he’s given to us, not the things that cause our depression. God is good, he is faithful to meet all our needs—and beyond. When I can focus on that, my sadness lifts, hope is there and I thank God for his blessings. At least my husband is coming home. Some wives can’t say that.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Trials of Faith

Two days ago, I got word that we would owe a little over $3,000 to the IRS. $3,231, to be exact. I thought to myself, okay, now I can be depressed.

Then I opened the mail and opened a bill from the hospital and it was for approximately $3,000.

$6,000 worth of bills in the same day. Can you say, “I’m going to be sick?”
Okay, I decided, NOW I can be depressed.

And I fussed and fumed for a while, wondering where in the world we would find $6,000 when we have only a little in checking and only a little more in savings.

After a while, I calmed down and decided that it might be a good idea to pray about it. Duh. I know. So, I did.

Honestly, I didn’t feel a whole lot better, but I knew God heard my prayer and would answer it in whatever way he felt would be best. Hopefully, by allowing us to come up with $6,000. And guess, what? He did. He came through. By using family and common sense. The IRS bill got paid and I set up a payment plan through the hospital.

But the whole situation just made me question, Why? Why is it so hard sometimes? It seems like a struggle all the time. And then I read an entry in James.

“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations, greetings! Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord – he is a double minded mind, unstable in all his ways. . .
v. 12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

I have to say that our financial situation is often a trial, but I just pray that God will allow me to face it with joy, and when I ask His help, I pray that I will continue to believe in His unending goodness. For He has promised to provide and has come through every time.

So, I don’t think I will be depressed. Instead, I will praise His name in every way. “Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be Your glorious name,” the song says. That’s my praise today. Thank you, Jesus, for your care even in the small things—and keep working on my attitude.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

CORAL MOON by Brandilyn Collins

Hey ya'll, I just read an awesome book by Brandilyn. This is the 2nd in the Kanner Lake series and she's outdone herself.

Here's the review, enjoy!

In CORAL MOON, Brandilyn Collins brings us spiritual warfare at its deadliest—and the power of prayer at its strongest. The power of one name, Jesus. A name above all names, the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the light in a dark world. Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (NLT)

Brandilyn launches the reader into a spiritual battle where séances and dabbling in the occult have serious consequences, not only for the two people who turn up dead, but for a whole town. CORAL MOON holds the reader spellbound for full eighty-one chapters. Ace reporter, Leslie Brymes, goes out to her car—and finds a dead body sitting in her front seat. This incident drops the reader full swing into the life of small town Kanner Lake and its battery of intriguingly unique characters. Be prepared to go up and down and all around as you follow in Leslie’s footsteps tracking down a killer. You’ll find yourself praying her though spiritual attacks and sleepless nights. How is evidence from a dead man turning up at the crime scenes? Is a ghost really responsible for the deaths of two Kanner Lake citizens? The Chief of Police is stumped—and scared. Only those prayers from the faithful can defeat the evil forces invading Kanner Lake.

I have to say that I can normally spot the “bad guy” in a suspense/mystery novel. However, Brandilyn managed to keep me guessing right up to the very end. Get this book and read it. You’ll keep thinking about it long after you, regretfully, turn the last page. Oh, and just a reminder…Before reading the first page, strap on your seatbelt and Don’t Forget to B-R-E-A-T-H-E!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Call!

Krista Stroever, editor for Steeple Hill books, called me about two weeks ago to tell me that they wanted to buy my book! Whoo hoo! I feel like I'm sitting on top of the world. This is soooo exciting and what I've been working for for the last eight years. The book's title is LETHAL DECEPTION and will be released February 2008.

Check out Brandilyn Collins' blog today. Bless her sweet heart, she made the announcement for me today on her blog. How cool is that! http://www.forensicsandfaith.blogspot.com/

And if you haven't read any of her books, you need to check them out...but not if you're a member of the Big Honkin' Chicken Club!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Staying home with kids, snow and the flu

It's been a while, so thought I'd post a few thoughts. The weatherman/woman...er person...actually got it right. We had snow on the ground when we woke up this morning. Schools closed and on the one morning we could all sleep late, my kids had us up and out of bed before 8:00am. To admire the snow through the storm door. Ugh. Let me sleep, will ya?

But, no. It was starting to rain a bit and even though Lauryn is still a little sick, recovering from what I think is the flu, I permitted her and Will to get all bundled up and go outside to throw snowballs for all of 5 minutes. Then they came back in, dripping with wet and snow, like they'd been out for hours. Oh well, it was worth it. They had a brief moment of fun before the rain turned to sleet and everything started freezing over. They weren't happy about it, but as the mom, I had to make the decision for them.

Sometimes it's hard being the responsible one. I want them to have fun and enjoy the snow, but I don't want them to suffer the consequences for being out there in the cold and the wet. Especially, because I'll have to suffer the consequences with them and be the one up at night taking temps and becoming the medicine monster.

But most of all, I just want to take care of them. I don't want anything to happen to them. I figure that God sometimes has to do this for his children too. He has more wisdom than I do and can see the consequences of my actions even when I can't. I may want to enjoy the moment, a choice that I've made, and yet, God, being the caring Heavenly Father that He is, reins me in and says, "Nope, bad idea. Let's do this, because if you do what you want to do, it's not going to be pretty." Not to mention the fact that I'll be asking him to hel me "clean up the mess."

So, I may grumble a bit about it, but hopefully, I'll obey and bow to his superior wisdom and know that he's making this decision because it's best for me.

Now, tell me how to convince an 8 year old and a 5 year old I only have their best interests at heart when I make them come in from the cold, leaving their snowballs outsied, and you'll be a millionaire!

God Bless!