Friday, November 30, 2012

Fun Fridays-A Holiday Tradition

One of my family's holiday traditions is decorating for Christmas. It started when Chris and I got married. He told me he used to love it when his mom would decorate the house for this wonderful holiday while he was at school. He'd said it was like coming home to a winter wonderland. Since that's what he liked, that's what I started doing. I would decorate the house while he was sleeping. Every year I've done this. And my boys love it!
Yesterday, after the boys went to school and Chris headed off to work, I decided to decorate. I didn't tell them I was doing this. I like them to be surprised. So, I put on some Christian holiday music on pandora, took the boxes upstairs, and started unpacking them. As I set each one down on the couch, I could see in my mind's eye where each one would go.
We now have a place for our stockings. It's not on a mantle above a fireplace, but it works. After I finished decorating, I quickly realized how very little decorations I own for my bigger house. Last year, our 1100 square foot home held all the decorations pretty well. Mm, not so much for our 1800 square foot home! But that's ok. We will make do with what we have this year until some awesome sales happen after Christmas.
Anyway, when my boys came home from school, they loved it. Gage couldn't stop talking about how great the house looks. They immediately put on the santa hats and looked at the Christmas books. It's wonderful having Christmas traditions. We have a few more, but this is one that starts off our holiday season.
How about you? What are some of your traditions?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Throwback Thursdays-A Hard One to Write

Boy, this is a tough post to write. But as I look back to my early years in following Jesus, there's just no way I can NOT write about Melody Hunnicutt.
I can't tell you the first day I met Melody. I can't tell you what brought us to be such great friends. I can tell you the impact she had on my life. I can tell you the funny things we did together. And I can tell you my biggest regret when it comes to Miss Melody. I'm not sure I've shared it with many people, but I feel I need to.
Melody and I had weight training class together. I remember her spotting me while I was lifting weights. She'd push me to go harder, lift more, and work out with all my might. We'd enoucage each other with scripture, challenging one another with what we learned from our personal Bible studies. We'd find the most disgusting thing in the Bible and compare whose were the worst. Then we'd giggle. And believe me, there are some pretty gross stuff in the Word of God! And Mel and I? Well, we found them.
I remember one day I was having a really hard time. She found me after Bible study and sat with me. I talked and we cried together. The next day, she gave me a 3x5 card with a verse on it: 2 Cor.4:16-18. It was amazing how much she understood me. But she wasn't like that with only me. No, she poured herself into others. She worked with jr. high, she spent time with family and friends. Don't get me wrong. Melody was by far not perfect. She had issues just like everyone else. I won't go into them because they aren't my issues to share (and yes, I do remember them). But she loved whole-heartedly.
One Thursday, she called and asked me if I wanted to go with her to the mall. She and another friend were going. I despise shopping. Always have, always will (except Black Friday). That particular day, I told her no thanks. But I'd see her on the weekend. A bunch of us girls were getting together to go hiking.
That Friday night, Melody was in an accident that took her life. My biggest regret was not going with her that day to the mall. To laugh with her and joke with her, to pray with her and just be her friend. Nope. I gave in to my own selfishness and didn't go because it didn't sound like fun. I'm not weighed down by the guilt anymore, though it took quite a while for me to let that go. But I don't want to have those regrets anymore. One thing I learned from her death was to live life like it's my last day on earth. Is it fun to do certain things? No. But is it worth it in the end? You bet.
I miss Melody. I wonder what direction our lives would have taken us had she still lived. But I know she's with Jesus, singing her praises to Him, glorifying Him in a new body, receiving many rewards for the amazing things she did on earth.
Don't have any regrets. Make peace where peace needs to be made. Love fully, laugh often, and live for Him.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wonderful Wednesdays-A Song

On the way home from work one day, I heard this song by Laura Story. I've sang the chorus before without really listening to the words. Until Sunday, that is. I sat in the car and listened. Really listened. Here are the lyrics:


"Blessings"
We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise


Wow. I really had to think about this song, think about what I felt in regards to the lyrics. Please understand that while I write this, I am in no way saying God makes bad things happen. He allows things to happen, yes. But He doesn't make them. So, for me, this song took on a different meaning.
You see, I suffer from anxiety. It's just the plain and simple truth. It's something I really think I've struggled with most of my life. I don't know when it began. I just knew it started at a young age. I don't know why it happens. It just does.
As I listened to these words, I found myself knowing what she's singing about. I've prayed for God's healing in this area of my life. I've prayed for God's mighty hand to ease my suffering. I've cried in anger when I didn't feel God near me during this rough patch of my life. I've felt darkness winning in my battle.
But then, the pain I go through reminds me this is not my home. I still struggle with anxiety and the guilt that's weighed me down like a heavy cloak. I don't believe God made me go through this. I don't believe God's love isn't there, seeing me through. No. I believe God's allowed this to happen to remind me this isn't my home.
I used to fear heaven, leaving this world and my family, who I love with all my heart. But I love God more. As I go through this trying time and learn how to deal with it, I'm reminded, and longing for, a new body when I leave this world.
If this is the worst I have to go through right now, I'm ok with it. Not to say anxiety isn't hard. It is. Not just on me, but on those around me who watch me suffer and don't know what to do to help me. But I don't know what it's like to go through the pain of losing a child, a spouse. I can't even pretend to comprehend any of that. I'm not sharing this song to point the way to anyone, but to say, after much thought, I'm still processing this song. I see what she's saying. It's just taking a while to sink in. Ever feel that way? Anyway, I'm thankful for this song. It's caused me to stop, think, ponder, and search my weary soul. Thoughts?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tickled Tuesdays-Blue Christmas

Wow! Can I just start this blog off with that? Wow! Oh, and I may end the blog with that, as well! So, today, I asked my boys if I should read a Christmas book. I have ten of them on my kindle. They encouraged me to do so. I picked Diane Moody's Blue Christmas. Here's the blurb:

Working late on Christmas Eve, college senior Hannah Brooks is in the midst of a full-blown pity party. When a last-minute customer brimming with holiday spirit invites her to a candlelight service and a late-night family dinner, Hannah reluctantly accepts. She has no idea this kindhearted woman is the mother of Jason McKenzie - leader singer of Out of the Blue, the hottest band in the country - and Hannah's childhood idol. The evening ends with an innocent kiss (sans mistletoe) as Hannah is swept away by Jason's unpretentious manner.

Over the holidays Hannah and Jason's relationship grows, but when turmoil and tragedy strike at the very heart of his famous band, their newfound love is put to the test in the glare of the paparazzi spotlight. Throughout her rollercoaster of experiences with Jason and his friends, Hannah comes face to face with her own beliefs. Who knew she could learn more about prayer and faith by hanging out with a bunch of rock stars than she ever learned in church?


Ok. From the very beginning, I was hooked by this story! I loved, loved Hannah. I thought she was real. I adored her best friend, too. She cracked me up. I loved Jason and Sergio. But the thing I enjoyed most about the book was the middle. I don't want to spoil it, but let's just say, I didn't see that coming! Oh my goodness! I was shocked, literally shocked, at the curve ball Ms. Moody threw into this book. I loved it! So, if you are looking for an amazing Christmas book to read, might I suggest this book? Blue Christmas was phenominal, terrific, and the characters were incredibly real! Once again, I just have to say Wow!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Matters-Beauty

One of the things I like about my job is that I get to drive to work early. The coffee shop opens at 6:00 a.m. Monday-Friday, and 7:00 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Friday through Sunday, I get to drive to work.
The last few days, clouds were scattered across the eastern sky. The sun peeked its head and showered radiant reds and oranges across the cloud covered sky. Oh, the beauty! I was truly in awe at the Beauty of the Lord!
To the west of me, a cross shown on the mountainside. Darkness still covered the west, as the light had yet to reach the hills. The cross stood out in all its glory. I don't know who put that cross there or even why, really. But it's there, lighting the way when all else is covered in darkness.
This morning, as I was driving, I thought about how I was right in the middle of those two majestic things: The beauty of the sunrise and the cross. Then it hit me: The two really go hand in hand, don't they? God's beauty lights the way to the cross. Afterall, isn't it beautiful, in a sense of awe, that God would sacrifice His Son for us?
Doesn't it just make your skin tingle as you look upon the empty cross? Has it ever shone so bright that all else fails in comparison? When all you can see is the beauty of the Cross?
I don't know if you've ever felt like that but it's what I experienced this morning. I experienced the beauty of Christ colliding with an empty cross. And all I wanted to do was surrender to the One who gave it all.
What about you? Have you surrendered all to the One who gave it all? If not, I pray you do. If so, I pray you continue to surrender. Afterall, surrender is choosing to die to yourself....daily. Not a one time thing but a daily action. Will you join me?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fun Fridays-Black Friday

I do not like shopping. I don't like clothes shopping, I don't like grocery shopping. I just do not like shopping. It makes me crazy. So, when I first heard about Black Friday, I thought it was absolutely insane. I'm talking, people are freaks of nature for wanting to get up at the crack of dawn to fight the crowds just for a good deal. Absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, insane.
I was first introduced to Black Friday when I visited friends in Ohio during Thanksgiving the year I graduated from high school. The mall was jammed packed. For some reason, my friend thought it would be awesome to go. I, on the other hand, didn't really enjoy it.
So when I was asked by my sister and Joanne Long if I wanted to go with them one year, I laughed. Uh, no. Not hardly. But for some reason, I was up early that morning, so I thought I would go just to see what the hoopla was all about. I met Steff and Jo in line. It was crazy. I mean crazy! We braved the chilly weather as we waited for Walmart to open. Brrr!!!
Customers ran through-out the store, searching for the best deal. Since that time, I haven't missed a Black Friday Shopping day! Joanne Long and I would meet, Mike would bring us coffee, and we'd wait in line. Moving to Colorado, I still didn't miss a year. Steff, Russell, and I braved the chilly weather and slight snow and got up early. We drove around, found amazing deals, and had a blast. I went to work at noon that day and lasted until 8. Yep. Old Navy was busy that day, and I loved it! Made the time go by fast!
The year we moved to Denver, Steff and I met early and braved the crowds once again. And again, it was a blast! The next year, my boys got the stomach flu. No meeting up with Steff to do shopping. Nope. I had to face the crowds by myself and be back in time for Chris to go to work. The next year, free from the flu, the boys and I stayed the night at the Ferris'. We didn't even sleep. Nope. We went to Target at 10:00. And let me tell you, it was CHILLY! We got some fun deals, though, and then went to Walmart. By the time we got back, we did really well on getting Christmas gifts for others.
This year, Black Friday is here. What will I be doing? Not Black Friday shopping. Nope. I will be working. I am going to miss my Black Friday shopping. But this year, instead of spending money, I will be making money. :) While I will miss shopping, I just don't think I can handle not sleeping more than a few hours.
So, for all my Black Friday buddies, have fun! Enjoy! Think of me serving coffee to people while you are all having fun! Next year, I hope to get back to my Black Friday tradition.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Throwback Thursdays-A Bit of Thankfulness

We all have people in our lives who have knowingly or unknowlingly mentored us in some way. For me, it seems the list is endless. But as I look back to when I first came to know Jesus, I recall a few people who've taught me how to live the life Jesus has called me to. So today, I want to say thank you to the people who made a difference in my life.
Steffanne and Russell Ferris, without the two of you, I wouldn't know Jesus personally. You took the time to pray for me, challenge me in my beliefs, and caused me to look deeper. I am forever grateful the Lord placed you both in my life! Thank you!
Michelle Heydorn, you were an awesome mentor! I remember sitting in a doughnut shop eating muffins and drinking a beverage, talking about Jesus and our lives. You played a huge part in why I wanted to work with the junior high. I saw how much time you invested in my life and wanted to give back. Thank you!
Tony and Minette Allmoslecher, every week we'd have Bible studies at your house, but your mentoring didn't stop there. Minette, you often gave me godly advice and wisdom in a time of my life when I didn't have that motherly influence. You took me straight to the Word of God and guided me. Tony, you were like the Christian dad I'd never have. Playful,  yet pointing me to the Cross. You took time out of your very busy days to talk with me and my sister when we were hurting. Thank you!
Tom and Shelly McGlinchey, you two were an amazing couple! You both showered me with love and guidance! I can't tell you how much your love meant to me. Thank you so very much for taking time out of your days to spend with me!
Chuck and Pam Booher, your encouragment for my walk with Christ will never be forgotten. Pam, I had gotten a huge compliment from one of my junior highers when I was working with them. She told me I reminded her of you! I can't tell you how much that blessed me! Thank you for pouring into my life!
So, today, as my Throwback Thursday, I want to say Thank You. Thank You for giving to the Lord because I am a life that was changed!

Wonderful Wednesdays-The Gift of Friendship

Last night, my family and I had the privelege of hanging out with some wonderful people, Mark and Sarah Wakefield and their three kiddos. We don't get to spend a lot of time with them since life has taken us on different roads, but when we do get together, I truly love it!
Last night was no different! We sat around eating dinner, catching up on life and laughing. One of the most shocking things of all, and I did tell them I was going to blog about this, was what Mark revealed to us about their cats. This may sound odd, or normal, to some, but it struck me as funny and really off the wall!
Their cats are potty training! No, not in the litter box. They've tried that and didn't care at all for the smell. So, they took it a step further. Yep, they looked online and found out how to potty train their kitties! I can hardly believe it myself. As a matter of fact, I laughed and told Mark (not disrespectfully) to "Shut up!"
Here's the video they showed us last night! Cracked me up!
Aside from this crazy video, I had a blast with the Wakefields! Our time goes by way too fast! I love them dearly and am truly blessed to call them friends!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tickled Tuesdays-Sandra D. Bricker

I just finished three really great books by Sandra D. Bricker! They are: Always the Wedding Planner Never the Bride, Always the Baker Never the Bride, and Always the Designer Never the Bride. From the very beginning, Ms. Bricker drew me in! I know, I know. I say that about a lot of books. But I can tell you that if she didn't, it would've taken me far more than one weekend to read all three books! Yes, you read that correctly! I read all three books in one weekend!
One of the things I loved about these books was that each character really did have their own voice. One certainly did not sound like the other! They had their own personalities, and that was wholeheartedly displayed through-out the entire series. I've heard time and again from some people that I need to establish my characters with having their own voice, so I've really tried to work on that. But Ms. Bricker has done a fabulous job doing so. And you love each of these characters!
Humor. That's another thing I adore about fiction. Not everything has to be hum drum. Life isn't that way. Neither should the books we read. And these had humor. I laughed out loud quite a bit.
There were a few other things I really enjoyed, especially from a writer's perspective. I noticed the words she used, the phrases she used, and the descriptive words Ms. Bricker used. They were awesome! I tend to write like I speak, so it's a challenge sometimes to really describe something well. However, I didn't find that to be a problem with this series.
If you couldn't tell, I liked these books. I highly recommend reading them. Check them out on amazon.com, and look for great deals if you have a kindle! Well worth the read! Well worth my time! Thank you, Ms. Bricker, for writing these books! I look forward to reading more of your work!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Matters-A Little Thanksgiving Please

Let me start out by saying I love, love Christmas! I always have! It's one of my favorite holidays. There's just something magical about celebrating the birth of my Savior!
That being said, I really am distraught about this glorious holiday this year. Before Halloween was even over, Christmas decorations went up in stores. I love decorating for Christmas as much as the next person, but before Halloween? Hm. Not really liking this so much.
Then, on the way home from work about two weeks ago, I saw a house completely decorated for Christmas. Yesterday, Chris took me to work. We passed that house and their curtains were pulled back, revealing a Christmas tree! Last night, as we drove to the grocery store, we saw a ranch/house seriously decked out! What? Wait a minute! What happened to Thanksgiving?
I know, I know. Thanksgiving isn't a money maker like Christmas. I get it. But we still have so much to be thankful for, even if we aren't spending money yet.
You see, I love Thanksgiving. While it isn't my favorite holiday, I still enjoy it. I think back to the many Thanksgivings I've had. One thing I remember growing up was that my dad would have a bunch of nuts with a nut cracker sitting on our coffee table. It was fun to gather around and crack those nuts and eat them!
When I was older, we added a new tradition. We'd go around the table and say what we were thankful for. Those were and still are very special memories for me.
Granted, my children may grow up with different memories. Oh, we still go around and say what we're thankful for. But they'll also remember the stomach flu hitting them and having to cancel our turkey dinner with family (the one year I was supposed to host it). We still went around and said what we were grateful for. :)
I love telling family and friends what I'm thankful for, the things God has seen fit to give me or allow me to go through. I love pausing and giving thanks to the One who holds my life in the palm of His hands. I really think Thanksgiving is a precurser to Christmas, don't you? Before the hubub of Black Friday shopping, Christmas decorations coming down from the rafters, and the mayhem of the holiday, I think Thanksgiving causes us to stop and pause and breathe and be thankful to the One who gave us so much, including His very life.
So, this week, I am not going to listen to Christmas music (until after Thursday). I am going to bask in the wonderful holiday I know and love as Thanksgiving! :) Who will join me? :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fun Fridays-Fantastic Friends

So as I was thinking about yesterday's blog, Throwback Thursdays, I recalled I missed two very special friends. Friends who'd been there with me during a lot of good times and bad. Justin Moody and Mike Telfer were amazing friends while growing up!
Justin Moody, I don't even remember how I met him. All I know is that we became great friends, fast. He and I talked often, laughed a lot, and gave each other tons of advice over the years. Justin was my gigantic friends because he towered over me! Loved hanging out with him while growing up.
Mike Telfer was another great friend. We'd often go to the beach with a group of friends. We'd have lots of fun, even though he was pretty quiet. Mike put up with me and my craziness, and for that, I am truly grateful.
These two guys were amazing men, friends, and brothers. They'd hold me while I cried over so many different things, and then they'd pray with me and make me laugh. Justin and Mike, thank you for the time and energy you put into my life! Never will forget you!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Throwback Thursdays-Friends of Old

When I think back to when I first became a believer, I am often reminded of friends who helped shape and mold who I am today. The list is pretty big, and I will do my best to remember everyone. :)
I want to start off with Joanne Long. She's the one who really kicked my rear the day I was getting baptized, reminding me of the commitment I was about to make. Since then, Jo and I have had a few adventures! We've gone hiking together and almost got attacked while inside her car by a crazy dog jumping on her hood. We've worked together at Applebees and had many a times of shared frustration. Of course, there were the smoothies we enjoyed together, too. That was before marriage and kids. I won't mention after marriage and kids because, well, it's throwback Thursday. :)
Then there's Chris Harbit. Ah, my big brother of long ago. Chris taught me how to drive, literally. He'd toss me the keys and say, "Go." I recall a time when I was on a hill and pretty freaked out about stopping in a stick. Chris was calm and patient and kept encouraging me. Chris and I went to one of my proms together, too. He spent time in the restroom with his cousin because his cousin couldn't get his fly up (I think his cousin's shirt was stuck or something). Chris would often come over to the house and just hang. We'd make late night trips to Wendy's to get frostys. Oh, and then there were the funny stories of Chris putting the cat on the ceiling fan and turning it on or when we had to dispose of the dead dog in the bag my youngest sister was playing with!
Patrick Mesker is another brother of mine. I think it was Pat who played the song, "Boot to the Head" for me. I remember often sitting in the back of his BRAT while going to church or to Denny's after church.
Ronda Herriot was another friend who I spent a lot of time with. We'd hang out at summer school together. I don't remember much of what I learned that year, but I remember Ronda. We'd laugh during our breaks. We'd hang out at church and after church with Chris and Pat.
John Gregg. Yep, I spent lots of time with John in my early years of Christianity. One of his trademarks would be taking my hand in his and saying, "I'm going to kiss the hand of the most beautiful person in the world." He'd then bring my hand to his lips and flip my hand over so he could kiss his own! Silly boy!
Danny Stradley was a friend who'd I hang out with, too. He and his brother, Ray, would come over to the house and watch the Rapture movies with a bunch of other people. Danny and I went to see the Muppets Christmas Carol together. :)
Julie Storlie. Now there's a friend who was pretty awesome. She was always encouring in my walk with Christ. We'd give each other Bible verses and talk a lot about Jesus. I stayed the night at her house a lot. Her home was my second home for many years. She was so go with the flow, too. I loved her silly sense of humor. When my boyfriend and I broke up, she stayed the night at my house, and sang me a song out of nowhere, "Rain drops keep falling on my head." I laughed and cried at the same time!
Kimberly Broadwell came into my life a few years down the road. But what a friend! She's still my best friend. We had lots of fun times together, where she would make me laugh so hard, I'd have to pull the car over because I couldn't see while I was driving! We'd go on hikes and sing, "Just around the riverbend!" She'd come over to my house and we would laugh and cry together. So many memories with her!
Aaron Hale and Brian Borgess were always together, too! We'd have lots of fun hanging out!
There are so many more friends who have special places in my heart, so many memories buried within my mind. I wish I could name you all! But know that I am forever grateful for the impact you had on my life! I appreciate you all so much and love you dearly!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wonderful Wednesdays-Comfort Publishing

When I finished my first novel, Hope for Tomorrow, I sent it out to many, and I do mean many, publishing houses. I also sent it out to quite a few agents. I can't even tell you how many no's I received. It seemed every time I checked my email, there was one from a publisher/agent with the "Thanks, but no thanks" message. I was getting discouraged, to say the least.
But then I got a yes! Comfort Publishing saw something in my writing that no one else did. And they took a chance on me. :) I've been blessed to work with this amazing company located in North Carolina. I haven't met these wonderful people face to face, yet, but one day I hope to! They've not only taken a chance on Hope for Tomorrow, but on Hope for the Journey. I've been blessed to work with Kristy Huddle, Jason Huddle, and Reed Karriker. They've been great! Whenever I have any doubts about what I should do or what I need to be doing, Kristy is right there, always pointing the way! She's truly the best! If we lived closer together, I could see our sons hanging out and us having a cup of tea or coffee (mine would be peppermint mocha.....Kristy, what would yours be?)  :) 
Kristy works hard to get my books promoted and set up. As a matter of fact, she even set up having a giveaway on Goodreads.com for Hope for the Journey. Here's the link: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/37421-hope-for-the-journey

I love working with Kristy and Jason and Reed! So, my blog post for this day is Wonderful Wednesday because truly, Comfort Publishing is wonderful! :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tickled Tuesday-June Foster

Today, I am quite tickled to talk about June Foster. I met June through ACFW's critique group. I joined this group shortly after joining ACFW. She played a huge part in critiquing my work, making me dig deeper, forcing me to show more and tell less. She gave me so many ideas and suggestions, that now as I write, I can hear her telling me, "Show either by action, dialogue or internal thought." June was patient and willing to guide me in my writing. I owe a lot to her and the other ladies of my critique group.
But that's not all I want to say about June. I read one of her books not too long ago and loved it!

Here's the blurb from A Hometown Fourth of July:
When Max Tate meets Lynn at the Fourth of July celebration in their hometown of Ft. Freedom, Washington, he's attracted to her. Lynn helps Max locate his birth mother, but when they take a ferry to Cascade Island in search of her, they're too late.

Two weeks before, she died of cancer. Now Max is mad at God and turns his back on the best friend he ever had—Lynn Marshall.

Lynn got lost in the crowd of her large family, her parent's attention never stretching far enough to her lonely position as a middle child. When Max declares his love for her, she gives him her heart, but he hurls it back at her.

Can Max and Lynn move past the disappointments and pain in their lives to celebrate another Fourth of July together?
 
I loved this book! The writing was amazing, true to June style, and the story line was great! I highly recommend this book, and any others that June shares.
June's not just a great author, but she is a wonderful lady, one I am priveleged to know. Though she is no longer in my critique group, she continues to bless me abundantly! Thank you, June, so much, for taking me under your wing and guiding me! May God bless you for your service to Him!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Matters-She Works Hard for Her Money

I haven't worked in 3 years. Okay, let me rephrase that because working doesn't always mean getting paid money. I have worked for a very long time. Being a stay-at-home mom, homeschooling kids, and writing is really quite a big job. So, I haven't worked outside the home in 3 years.
My last job was at Old Navy in Colorado Springs. Located in the mall, we were busy off and on. I enjoyed working there. I think I spent more of my paychecks there than I did on bills! Not a good thing!
Since the boys have been in school beginning in August, mine and Chris' plan was for me to get a part time job, one where I can still have time to write. And so the search began! At first, I had limitations on when I could work. But I applied at restaraunts, retail stores, everywhere. After thinking and praying about it, I changed my criteria. I had open availibitity and would work out whatever times I worked with the boys' school schedule. I called Starbucks and had 2 interviews. They kept telling me they'd call me back and never did. I finally reached the manager and she informed me they had hired someone already but would have the assistant manager call me. Never did. Then I decided to apply at Target and Old Navy, completely open to when I can work. I received an email from Target saying thanks but no thanks and didn't hear from Old Navy. I even called and spoke to a manager. No such luck.
This entire time, I've been praying God will put me where He wants me. Where can I make a difference? What place would allow me to work and still have time to write? Lord, can I have a set schedule so it doesn't freak out my family week by week?
Really, I just want a job to help pay off debt, build up a savings, and bring glory to God's kingdom (not in that order). After looking at Craigslist every day, several times a day, I was getting annoyed but still at peace that God had a plan. And then it happened. I looked one afternoon and lo and behold! A small coffee shop 8 minutes from my house was hiring! I called and yep, they were hiring. I went in and grabbed an application and filled it out while sitting there. Foothills Coffee House is small and quaint. I could probably work there. I do love me some coffee! :)
Two days later, I received a call from the owner asking for an interview the next day. I got all gussied up and headed down there. I waited and waited. She didn't come. Well, the barista, Michelle, texted her to remind her of my interview. The owner was so busy with her other job, she had forgotten. I told Michelle not a problem. Just tell her I can start on Monday and all will be fine. Michelle did, and after a few texts to the owner, I got the job! The easiest interview EVER! :)
I worked every day last week, 3 training 31/2 on my own. I love working at a coffee shop. I loved it after high school. I love it now. I get to talk to people, make yummy drinks, and make money all at the same time. I don't know why God has me there yet, but I am looking every day! I love this place and hope to help it bring in more business. :) I also thank God for the opportunity to work there, help pay off debt, and still have time to write! God is good all the time!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Fun-Christmas Rayne

It's Friday Fun! And what's so fun about Friday? Well, for me, it's the fact that Christmas Rayne is now on Amazon for sale! What is Christmas Rayne, you ask? It's my very first novella! I am so excited about it! I am quite giddy! I love, love this story. It certainly didn't start out as a novella, but  it ended up that way! See, I was writing a short story for a magazine. I began with my two characters, Justin and Rayne. After I wrote the the first page, I realized this story had potential! So did Teresa from Lovely Christian Romance. (I know my last name isn't spelled right. We're working on that.) :)
Anyway, I am so thrilled for this book to come out! If you want to purchase it on your kindle, go to Amazon.com. If you want a hard copy, let me know. I will get you one!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Throwback Thursday-Pursuit of Holiness

When I became a believer twenty plus years ago, I dove into the Word like my life depended on it. I would read, search, and study the scriptures. Every minute I had available, I would open my Bible and pour over it. My mom bought me my first Bible. It was a hard cover King James. :) I loved it!
Then, as time went on, not only did I study theWord, I studied books on Christian living. One, actually two, of which were by Jerry Bridges. The Pursuit of Holiness and The Practice of Godliness. I absolutely loved these books! I read and reread them! Here is a snippet of The Pursuit of Holiness:
 
HOLINESS. THE CHRISTIAN’S JOINT VENTURE WITH GOD. “Be holy, for I am holy,” commands God to His people. But holiness is something that is often missed in the Christian’s daily life. According to Jerry Bridges, that’s because we’re not exactly sure what our part in holiness is. In The Pursuit of Holiness, he helps us see clearly just what we should rely on God to do-and what we should accept responsibility for ourselves. Whether you’re continuing your pursuit of holiness or just beginning, the principles and guidelines in The Pursuit of Holiness will challenge you to obey God’s command of holiness.
 
They were truly life changing books for me. I haven't read them in several, several years, but I remember them being so wonderful. I just may have to revisit my love for these books and reread them! :)
 
 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wonderful Wednesdays-My hubby and Father-in-law

I am going to make this a short blog today, but for my Wonderful Wednesdays, I have to say it's all about my hubby, Chris, and father-in-law. His dad and step-mom are in town, and Dad told Chris he'd do a project with him. And so began the "making the deck safe" project. It's amazing how much work goes into it! The men are working tirelessly! They begin by 8:00 a.m. and don't quit until after 5. Sounds like a normal job, right? But this is total labor, just the two of them, cutting, nailing, screwing, climbing up and down the ladder, making trips to Home Depot. Chris' dad had the idea and the know-how on making it safer. Chris says he's the brawn. :) So, guys, thanks for the hard work you are doing! I can't wait to see it finished today when I get back from work! You two rock! :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tickled Tuesdays-Glamorous Illusions

I read this book, Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergen, a while ago. It turned out to be one of my favorite books! I really enjoyed this story! Here's what it's about:

When Cora Kensington learns she is the illegitimate daughter of a copper king, her life changes forever. Even as she explores Europe with her new family, she discovers that the most valuable journey is within. The first book in the Grand Tour series takes you from the farms of Montana through England and France on an adventure of forgiveness, spiritual awakening, and self-discovery.
 
Without giving anything away, let's just say this book caught my attention right away, kept me wanting to read the story, and captured me with the hook at the end! I am anxiously awaiting the second book in this series. It's driving me crazy that I have to wait until March 2013!
Lisa T. Bergen has become one of my favorite authors. If you are interested in reading Christian Fiction, I highly suggest reading her books. Being an avid reader, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Glamorous Illusions. The only critique, and I do mean the only critique, is that I have to wait so long for the next book to come out! :)
 
 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday Matters- Writing for His Glory

 I've loved to write since I was little. I wrote fictional stories, stories for the school newspaper, and stories for english class. Actually, I can remember one story in particular where I wrote about my bedroom being so messing, I got lost when I took a wrong turn around a pile of laundry! Good times!
Now, I have more of a purpose to write. I want to write to make people laugh with my goofy sense of humor, but that's not the main reason. I want to write to draw people into my characters lives, but that's not the main reason, either. I want to write to bring to light issues I think we all need to deal with or be encouraged in our walks with Christ. But that's not the main reason I write.
I write to bring Jesus glory. I want to draw people to Christ, to have His name be glorified. I am not a writer who desires to make a ton of money. Let's face it. That just doesn't happen in writing unless you are a big name. I'm a writer who writes for Jesus. I haven't perfected my writing. I know very little who have. But we still write. Because He can perfect the message, whether or not I don't write it with no flaws. I'm a flawed person. My writing will show that. Jesus, however, is not flawed. He is perfect. All I do, I desire to bring Him praise, honor, and glory. That's the reason I write.
So, whether it be Hope for Tomorrow, Hope for the Journey, Christmas Rayne, or Hope from the Past, I pray God will be glorified. I pray my books are not just "good stories" but that they draw people to the throne of Jesus. That's why I write. For Him and Him alone. May His name be lifted up in my writing, this very moment, until the day Jesus tells me to write no more or until the day He takes me Home.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Fun

Today's post is for Morgan Fulton. My family and I have had the blessing of watching Morgan since she was 9 months old. I can hardly believe she'll be 3 this month! We've been blessed by her giggles, her joy, her funny stories, and even when she says her parents tell her she can do things (like "My mom said I can lick my crocks). It has truly been fun watching this sweet girl grow up, crawl, walk, run, babble, and talk! I have loved listening to her make believe times. She's given me several ice cream cones that she makes up in front of my entertainment center, using the doors to cover her. :) Morgan has given me quite the lesson on how to handle her special Piggy (piglet).
Morgan has been one of my family. We grocery shop together, meet friends or family members for coffee together, sing silly songs together, bake and celebrate birthdays together. She's accompanied me in picking up the boys from school, going to the boys' old homeschool to volunteer, and has played with us at the Apex center. She's met my mom, my dad, my uncle and aunt, Chris' mom, my sister, nephews, and neice. My boys consider her a sister.
Today, however, is our last day of watching this great little girl. While we will miss her, we know and understand God allows things to happen for a reason. I know she'll be learning a lot at her new school, making new friends, and having the time of her life. I will miss her adorable laughter, her funny ways, her precious hugs, and her not so quiet voice in the morning. Morgan has been a blessing to us the last few years. Justin and Erica, thank you for sharing your daughter with us! We are more than grateful and will continue to pray for her as she grows into the woman God intends her to be! So I've written this on Friday Fun because we've had a ton of fun watching this sweet little girl! :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Throwback Thursdays

I was talking with Chris the other night about this topic. He asked me if I had enough posts about "throwbacks." I think so!
Today's Throwback Thursday topic is one of music. I became a Christian in 1990 (oddly enough, a month after my husband, though we didn't know each other or even know of each other then.) One of the groups I immediately began listening to was Petra. I can still remember the first tape (I know, right? Tape? What's that?) I'd turn on when I came home from school. This Means War. Even as I type this, so many of their songs are popping into my head! It's funny how that can happen, isn't it? I remember my sister driving me up to pick up a friend from Apple Valley and we'd have Petra blaring in the car stereo. Good times, good times!
Another throwback band I used to listen to was DC Talk. I'm not referring to the alternative DC Talk. No sir! I'm talkin' about the Rap DC Talk. Remember the Heavenbound song? How about I Love Rap Music? I still have those songs on my iPOD. Actually, some of their songs are the best ones to work out to! They'll get you pumpin', even if you giggle every so often from the music. Lyrics are still pretty good, though. :)
This is a lesser known band, but I still remember Crystavox. I often think of Joanne Long when I remember their song, Paradise. For some reason, either she or another one of our friends, used to think they sang There are Giants! Still cracks me up to this day.
Anyway, in honor of Throwback Thursday, enjoy the video below: