Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Newsletter




Dear Friends and Family, December 18, 2013



Christmas is here! Can you believe it? Where did the time go? This year, we just didn't have time to take family pictures, so instead, we thought we'd do a newsletter instead.

This year has been quite the year for the Copeland Clan. Chris continues to be super busy at work. His job duties increased, and he got a Service Blueprinting Certificate to help with a University-wide project on the student experience and retention. Joi started a new job in March for ESA, Executive Scheduling Associates. She is able to work from home, which has been a blessing when the kids are sick or have a snow day. Joi works about 25-30 hours per week, and loves her job! The boys are doing well in school. Garrison has done a fantastic job at his Accelerated Reading points. He had the most points out of all the sixth graders in his school, and continues to pray he will beat the second place girl from last trimester. So far, she is beating him by 30 points, but he is focused and reading a lot more than usual! Garrison also got braces this year. Our oldest is growing up. Gage is growing by leaps and bounds in his school work, despite his learning disability. He is border-line advanced in Math, if only he would pay attention to detail. His IEP teacher is amazing and continues to work one-on-one with him. He volunteered to be in the Christmas program at our church and was very proud to be the only Copeland child in the program. Gavin continues to shine in school, as well. He received the citizenship award for his class. His teachers often sing his praises. Both Gage and Gavin are also performing in a school play called “Dig It” which runs this week. They are excited! For some reason, Gage and Gavin often visit the school clinic for the oddest reasons. I received one phone call stating that one of them felt dizzy because he “swallowed a gnat” during recess. These boys of ours keep us laughing and on our toes!

We're enjoying watching our boys grow in Jesus, too. Gage and Gavin are leading worship for their church class. They do this once a month and are having a blast! Not only are they serving at church, but their relationship with God continues to deepen.

The biggest news of all, perhaps, happened this summer. Every year for our anniversary, Chris and I discuss goals for ourselves, goals for our family, and goals for each other. Last year, in 2012, my goal for Chris was to “find out what he wants to be when he grows up.” And so, Chris began to pray. He really felt the call to missions, but since I am a homebody, he pushed it aside, thinking no way would I move overseas.

One day in June, our church showed a video of Africa Hope, a refugee ministry that helps African’s become acquainted with living in America. As we left church that day, I asked Chris if we had missed our calling. Perhaps we should have been missionaries. His response? “Let's go!” I think my mouth hit the floor as we walked out the door. I certainly hadn't expected that! I took the week to pray that if he was serious, God would prepare me.

The following Sunday, Chris and I had a talk about his response. He told me what he'd been hearing from God during his prayers, and so began our journey!

We spoke with our Mission's Director at church who led us to two mission's organizations, one of which was located in Littleton, CO. We prayed and decided to go through WorldVenture in Littleton. Since that time, our life has gone from zero to sixty in 2.1 seconds! We went to a Mozambique retreat where we met so many people who were missionaries across the globe. Chris and I both prayed about where God wanted us to go. He thought Asia and Europe while I thought Africa and Europe. Since Europe was our common denominator, we opted to pursue that direction. We've been praying and moving toward church planting in Ireland.

Currently, we are taking a class called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, a very tough, but informative and time consuming course for missionaries. We are a part of a leadership training program at our church, which was required by our church to become missionaries. Because of this group, we have made some dear friends. We're also leading a small group, and are so thankful for them! These people have a special place in our hearts, and we are truly blessed! With both Chris and I working and doing the extra things to prepare for the mission field, life is pretty hectic. But we take Friday nights for Family Night and we love it!

Currently, we have finished our application to WorldVenture, and will be going through the interview process April 1 or 2, 2014. We are also planning a Vision Trip to Ireland in May.

We've had some amazing miracles happen to confirm God’s call to the Field. Money for passports has been provided, though we never asked for it. It seems that our plane tickets for our Vision Trip are going to be far cheaper than we ever expected, due to a dear friend who works for Frontier who is giving us her discount! God continues to provide and guide us in this process. He amazes us every step of the way!

We could certainly use prayer along the way and during this journey God is leading us on! If you want to be a part of our prayer team, let us know! We’d love to add you to our email list and keep you posted on what is going on with the Copeland Clan.

Well, this is what's happening with our family of five! 2014 proves to be an exciting year for all of us! Merry Christmas, Dear Friends! Enjoy one another and have a very safe and Happy New Year!



In His Grip,

Chris, Joi, Garrison, Gage, and Gavin





Saturday, November 16, 2013

Two Gages, Two Stories

This is Gage Copeland. He is the one on the far left. He is my middle son. Our three boys each have
G names, so Chris had told me I could pick out our second son's name. How did I come up with that?I met Sandy Ireland through my sister, Steffanne, and Christ's Church of the Valley, and her son is named Gage. I heard her call him "Gagers" and I loved it! So, if we were to have another boy, I asked if she wouldn't mind if we named Gage after her Gage.
That was 10 years ago. My Gagers is a creative boy, friendly, sweet, loves people, animals, and Jesus. Periodically, my Gagers will get headaches and really bad migraines. When he was little, I took him to the doctor and had him checked out. He was ok, and the doctor gave us some ideas how to prevent them.

This is Gage Ireland and his parents. He is my Gager's name-sake. He is 11 years old. He has one

sister, Shelby, and one brother, Seth. Two siblings, just like my Gagers. Gage Ireland is the youngest of three, though. He is a sweet boy, caring, loving, and so polite!

He, too, had severe migraines. His mama, like me, took him to the doctor. But unlike my Gagers, he was not ok. He had a brain tumor, a cancerous one at that. He was admitted into the hospital and had surgery to remove it. Praise the Lord the test came back where there are no more cancerous cells in his body!

But his journey is not over. He needs to under-go treatment, and it isn't going to be cheap. As you can imagine, the road is going to be long and arduous. It's going to take strength, faith, prayer, and so much more to get him and his family through this time.

And so, I ask for those things from you on behalf of this family. My heart breaks for them. I ask for more than just your prayers. Would you please consider buying a copy or two or three or four of my book, Letters of Love? I'm donating ALL the proceeds from this sale from now until 12/31 to the Ireland Family.
http://www.amazon.com/Letters-Love-Joi-Copeland-ebook/dp/B00BHL5NQC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384639394&sr=8-1&keywords=joi+copeland

Two Gages, Two Stories, One Father who holds them in the palm of His hand.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Love

My love turns 41 years old today. A day I cherish and treasure. Without this day, there would be no
"us" and that just breaks my heart.
Chris is my very best friend, the one my soul clicks and connects with. We finish each other's sentences or say the same thing at the same time. It's scary and funny all at once.
I've seen my guy change over the years of our dating and marriage, and for the better. I thought he was pretty amazing at the beginning, and now, he blows my mind. He loves the Lord passionately and deeply and is a fantastic example for my boys to look up to as a man after God's heart. He dotes on me, makes me feel special and loved. One thing I adore about Chris is that he loves to snuggle. And he doesn't mind when I put my feet on his lap, or suggest to him he play with my hair.
Chris is a fantastic daddy. He loves our boys and desires the best for them, even if it hurts them in the process. I love his playful attitude, his compassionate ways, his manliness in teaching our kiddos how to be men in a world that defines men as something other than what God does. My fella loves music and showers the boys with different types of music on a weekly basis. He opens their eyes to art and the beauty around them.
I love my husband so very much. I'm thankful God has allowed us to be a part of His story together. So, today, my dear man, Happy Birthday! I love you!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Only A Mountain

I love the mountains. I think I always have. They are big, beautiful, and majestic. They reveal God's
mighty power, and more often than not, I am in awe of His glorious creation. I learn a lot when I am in the mountains.
This week, I've stood at the bottom of a mountain, figuratively.My neck hurts from staring up at it so long. It looks too big to climb, to difficult to move. The climb up this mountain is a tough one. I seem to be on my hands and knees a lot as I struggle moving up this giant hill. Ugh.But isn't that where God wants me? On my knees? Seeking His help? It seems like every time I get to where I am in a good place, I slip and fall, and find myself on my backside yet again. It's frustrating and annoying. I just want to be able to stand on the top of the mountain and breathe in the fresh air. And one day, I will get there. I know I will. Because I'm not doing it alone. God's with me. He's carrying me, holding tight to my hand, encouraging me not to give up.
But once I am on top of the mountain, what then? I have to climb down. Easy, right? Not for this girl. (Can you hear me snicker?) You see, I have bad knees, so the climb down is almost worse than the climb up. My legs become shaky, my thighs burn, and I just want to quit. But I can't. In order for me to overcome this mountain, I not only have to climb up it, but I've got to go down it so I can reach the other side.
What is this mountain I keep referring to? Well, in my family, we have some major decisions to make right now. The climb is going to be tough, difficult, and down right frustrating. Once we reach the mountain top, we'll be able to inhale and exhale, knowing we overcame a tough time. And then, we'll have to tread carefully down the mountain. We'll experience slips and falls, a few landslides, I am sure. But oh, to be on the other side of this ginormous hill.
So, if you think about it, will you pray for me and my family? We're going to need as many of you as are willing to come before the throne of our Father. In time, we'll be able to be more specific. For now, we just really need God to show up in miraculous ways, to make known the path He has designed for us, to be a part of His great story.
And when you see a mountain? Don't be afraid to climb it or to stumble along the way. Because soon enough, you'll be on the other side, wondering how in the world you got there. And then you'll remember: God got you through. Praise His Mighty Name!

Monday, August 26, 2013

A House Lived In

When Chris and I first got married, we lived in a great townhome. 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, and
paid only $850. It was great! And it was almost always clean. Really, with two of us, how messy could it get?
Then we bought a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom condo, and again, with just the two of us, it stayed pretty clean. Once kids came along, our condo/house we bought became messier, but the boys would pick up after themselves, and since they were little, I'd help them. We had our days of messiness, don't get me wrong, but overall, it was a pretty clean house.
I'm not sure how it happened, but once we moved to Colorado, and our children got older, the house became messier. Chris and I have taught them to pick up after themselves, and if they don't do it right, we make them do it again. But I'm not going to come in after them and clean it the way I do. It won't teach them a whole lot. Yes, there are times when I will clean a boy's room because we have guests who are going to stay in that room, or I will super clean the house on my own if they are in school and I have the time (working and writing takes up a lot of time and leaves me with little).
The other day, we had family come in for Chris' aunt's memorial service. My wonderful mother-in-law offered to have the luncheon at her house. And for that, I am thankful. I've been working a lot of hours, we had a slight flooding in my work area, and I needed to have Gage's room clean for our guest. I just didn't have the time to super clean like I wanted. But that was okay. People weren't going to come over to my home, except for my guest, but she raised 3 boys and knew how it was.
We ended up having Chris' family come over after the memorial service in Colorado Springs. I wasn't too concerned because, well, my house is lived in. We have three boys who make messes, who spill things on our carpet at times. Chris will dye my hair in our living room, and for the first time in 14 years, I dropped it on our carpet. Oops.
I don't have a lot of breakable things to display in my home. I'm not looking to have a gorgeous filled house, but a house lived in.
When we bought our house a year ago, we prayed God would put us in the neighborhood where we can be used. We prayed that we wouldn't have a gorgeous home, but one where our friends, family, neighbors and kids would feel comfortable. Where laughter can ensue and tears can be shed. We prayed for a place that was large enough to host a small group bible study (beginning this September we will be), a place where we can have neighborhood Christmas parties and s'more parties. We prayed for a place that would suit our needs, but more importantly, where people can come, sit, and relax.
My house isn't always going to be clean, even if we have get togethers. I may have stuff piled on my desk or on the futon. I may have our end tables a little crowded with stuff. And sometimes, it gets on my nerves. I like a clean house. But here's the one thing I will remember, my house is lived in.
Giggles come from the boys and their friends as they play hide and seek in the house or jump on our trampoline. I love having our house be the place to hang out, even if that means it will be messy because let's face it, having 3 boys of my own and then each have a friend over, my home will not be a clean, or a quiet home.
Is my house a home? You bet. Is it clean? Not every day. Am I okay with that? Yep, because mine is a home that is well lived in.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Are You on a Balance Beam?



I'm on a balance beam.

As a matter of fact, just like Mr. Chan describes, I was laying on the beam, legs wrapped tightly around it, arms holding the top of me. As one woman said she was doing, I did: I put pillows on each side of the bar, had a safety net under it and a ladder above it, just to make sure I had a way of escape, and if I fell, well, I wouldn't get that hurt.

That was me.

I liked security. I liked being safe. I'm the person who prays God takes her home in her sleep, so I won't suffer or feel any pain. And then? Yes, and then I'd stand like the gymnasts do at the end of their routine in front of my Judge and expect, "Well done."

Well done? For what? For living my life so carefully that I don't experience the full riches and joy God has for me? Well done? For playing it safe? Um, I don't think so.

God never promised our life of following Him would be safe. He never said He'd give us job security, a nice and easy marriage with 2.5 healthy children. No. He never promised we'd never experience the pain of death or the heartaches of loss and loneliness. Last I checked, God never gave the command we'd be rich in monetary fashion.

God did promise
 
 
He'd never leave us or forsake us. He promised He'd go before us, so we shouldn't be afraid. He promised He'd hold us in His righteous right hand. He promised nothing could separate us from His love.
 
Did you catch that?
 
Nothing can separate us from His love.
 
 
So, why aren't we like that baby bird, perched on the edge of a branch, getting ready to fly? Why don't we step out in faith and do what He's asked of us to do: to live faithful to Him, unsafe, joyful lives?
 
Fear. That's what has us in its ugly grips, isn't it? Fear of failure. Fear of falling short. Fear of not being secure and safe. Fear.
 
But if we don't let go of the beam, if we don't let go of our fear and trust God, we'll never make the landing.
 
We have to make the landing.
 
I'm letting go. I'm going to stand on that balance beam with nothing there to lesson the blow of falling except Jesus Himself. Will you pry your body off of the balance beam and join me? Because trust me: It's the Greatest Feeling in the World to Make the Landing and hear Him say, "Well Done."


Sunday, August 4, 2013

They're Baaaaack!!!!!

My children were gone for an entire week at camp. It was pretty awesome for them and for me and Chris. One of the greatest things about them being gone?

 A clean house!

I would wake up every morning to a clean living room, dining room, and kitchen. The bathroom didn't have left over clothes from showers or baths. Toothbrushes and toothpaste were put away where they belong. Baggies were zipped up nice and tight. Cupboards were shut like they were supposed to be. Don't get me wrong: Chris and I do our very best to get them to pick up after themselves. We tell them on a daily basis to take care of their stuff.

And yet, we find ourselves in a continual battle.

Until last week. A clean house. Loved it. All week long. Did you get that? ALL WEEK LONG!!! Loved it. While I missed my boys, I thoroughly enjoyed my house's cleanliness.

And then.....the boys came home.

I walked out this morning to scattered clothing, dirty dishes piled in the sink, toys and books all about the living room. My clean house no longer existed. And the battle began.

Which got me thinking.....

I do that a lot with the Lord. I "clean my house" for about a week or so. "Lord," I say, "I'm going to be more patient." And for a while, I am. But then....something happens, and I'm back in my old habits again. "Jesus, I'm going to spend more time in prayer, in Your Word." A week goes by and I don't miss a day. But then.....I sleep in, my kids get up before I have a chance to dig in, or the internet is too important to put off before I spend time with God.

So begins a vicious cycle. And the battle begins.

What do I need to do to change this cycle and fight the battle?
Take one day at a time. Don't worry about tomorrow. It has enough troubles of its own. That's not it, though.
 I need to discipline myself. And not give in to laziness.

When my feet touch the floor, what are my priorities?

Jesus.

That's my priority. Sit and bask in His presence, listen to His still small voice. My bad habits will come and go. But Jesus is the One who can take control of them. As long as I give them to Him. Yes, I will mess up. Just like my kids. I will fall into old ways and lose my patience or sleep in a little too long and not have time to spend with Him.

But His grace abounds.

When I go to bed, I will do an inventory of what needs to be "cleaned" and begin the next day anew.
I will often remind my kids to change their bad habits and pick up after themselves.

Jesus does the same with me.

 I don't love my kids any less because of their sloppiness. And neither does God. He loves me too much to let me stay that way, though.
So, what about you?

What are some bad habits you've gotten into that you're changing, with God's help?
For me, it's my eating (because gluttony is a sin), spending more time at Jesus' feet. I pray my bad habits will soon disappear!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Giddy!

My boys will be at camp next week. That alone should make me giddy. While I am excited for them
and for Chris and I, that's not what's making me giddy. Nope. It's the gift Chris and I will have for them when they get home.
Last summer, we bought the boys new bikes. Their old ones were just about done ready to be put out to pasture. Poor guys only got to ride them for about two months before the tires flattened. We wanted to get the good tubes that wouldn't puncture in a matter of minutes, so we held off fixing them...and continued to hold off....

Until this week.

Gage and I had gone to Walmart to pick up some things, and he asked me when they were going to get their bikes fixed.  I really wanted to tell him that Chris and I had plans to fix them while they were at camp, but I held my tongue. Instead, I said, "Now's not the time. Be patient." His little face deflated like a popped balloon.

 Which got me thinking....

How many times have we asked God for something and have Him tell us, "Now's not the time. Be patient." But oh, how we want what we've asked for. Believe me. I'm in that spot right now. I want some answers to some intense questions, but God says, "Wait." And like Gage, my face drops and falls like that deflated balloon.

But I can't see what God does, like Gage doesn't see what I see.

I see Saturday, when the boys get home, and Chris and I suggest they go for a bike ride. I see the perfect timing for the boys to get their, "perfect gift" that they've been waiting and waiting for.

Gage sees the thing he wants and that he doesn't get to have it now.

I've done that, haven't you? We ask God for something, He tells us wait, and we get bummed that we don't have it right now. But God's plans are better than ours. He sees the bigger picture, I only see a snapshot.

James 1:17 "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."

God has perfect gifts in store for me. Not when I want it, but when He's ready to give it. And I can just picture God, giddy with what's to come. Like how I feel about the boys' bikes. I'm giddy and can hardly wait to give them their bikes all fixed.  If I were to give them their bikes today or yesterday, they wouldn't have had time to enjoy them before going off to camp.

If God gave us what we longed for now, would we really enjoy and appreciate it? We might think so, but God knows our hearts better than we do.

So what about you? What are you waiting for that is just going to make God giddy when He gives it to you?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Clean Slate....Or Is It?

Recently, I held up a white board to the Lord, and said, "God, here's a clean slate for You to write
Your story through me." Whatever He wanted me to do, live, serve, be, I was all for. Excited, too, because I'd never done that before. Normally, I say to God, "I don't want to do this or that or live here or there." And what happens? God makes me do those things I said I didn't want to do. And I'm ok with that because His ways are far better than mine. Though, I normally wind up kicking and screaming along the way.
 But then it happened. I finally gave it all to the Lord and decided to trust him no matter what.
Back to the clean slate. I held it up and gave it to Him. Over the last week or so, I've noticed something: I've taken it back and began to write my own things on it. "God, I'll live in this area as long as there are no tornados, floods, earthquakes." (Not that I'm moving, just as an example). But see, I didn't write it in the middle. No, that would be too obvious and take up too much room. I wrote it along the side of the board. Doesn't take up too much space and still allows God to write His story.
I held it up once more, proud as can be. But again, as time went on, I realized I had a few more provisions for the Lord. "God, I'll do this as long as it is safe and not dangerous in any way, shape, or form." I continued to write along the side of the board, so God could still write His story.
Back and forth this went until I had written so much that the Lord had no room to write what He wanted for my life. I was so proud of myself at first. Thinking I was finally letting God have all of my life and I'd go along for the ride. When I saw all the writing and scribbles, I realized I'd asked God to guide me, to lead me, to help me follow His direction for my life. But like the back seat driver I am, I told Him where to go,what to do, and how to do it.
He doesn't work that way, does He? Well, maybe in your life He does, my not mine! So, I took that whiteboard or slate, and I erased all the things I'd written, my time table for things to happen, my desires, my wants, my fears. Instead, I offered up to Him a clean slate, one that is fresh and new so that Jesus can write His story on my life. I can't wait to see what He writes down. I'm nervous, excited, and looking forward to the great adventure He has planned for me!
What about you? Have you written your story or are you allowing God to do it? What's been your biggest challenge?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Are You on an Adventure?

My in-laws are in town. My father-in-law had never seen The Hobbit (which I love), so one night, we put it on. I absolutely love this movie. I couuld watch it again and again and not get bored. Unfortunately, since I was up early that morning, I fell asleep. But not before a part in the movie that really got me thinking.
Bilbo wakes up to find the his guests gone. On a quick side note, how that many men can be that quiet in the morning is beyond me. But that's beside the point. His house is left empty, not a single one is there. He wanders around a minute or so and then decides he wants to go with them.
The next scene you see him running through the Shire with a paper in his hand. Other hobbits give him a weird look and one finally asks, "Where are you going?" To which Bilbo replies, "I'm going on an adventure."
An adventure. I often think I want to go on an adventure. Try something new. See something different. Be different when I return. Then it hit me: I am on an adventure. This life, this world we live in, is truly that. An adventure. Adventures don't always go as planned.
There are troubles along the way. One of Bilbo's first problems is when he has to face the trolls. Three dim-witted villians who try to eat him and his company. What does Bilbo do? He stalls for enough time for the sun to rise. Gadalf getting there was beyond what he expected, but a huge blessing. And that's what we do. We stall and wait for the Son to rise.  On this adventure of life, don't we often wait for Jesus to show up? We think all is lost, but that's not the case. Jesus comes to our rescue in His timing, His way. Adventure is relying on something or Someone when everything else is out of control.
Adventures rarely go smoothly. I may have a plan for my adventure, a road I want to travel. But then, that road becomes closed due to mishaps along the way, or in Bilbo's case, Orcs. In my life, I've had to change course, go a different way because something or someone stopped me from reaching my destination. And that's ok. Changing course in this adventure we call life is a must.
And, like Bilbo, we face giants. He faced rock giants that battled each other. We face giants that we must battle in our life. Those giants can shake us to the core and make us doubt the path we're on. Bilbo ended up hanging  on the side of a cliff, thinking his life was over. Giants will do that to us, won't they? Leave us with no hope of surviving our adventure. But then, we have friends and family come along, lift us up, and surround us with love and compassion and joy that we made it out alive.
Remember when Bilbo's talking to all the dwarves about why he didn't quit when he had the chance? He said it was because he had a home to go to, and he wanted to help them get back to their rightful home. That's what we should be doing. We have a home and ought to help others find their way there, too.
One more analogy to The Hobbit. Remember how it ended? It left us wanting more. The movie wasn't over because the other two hadn't been finished yet. Our life, our adventure, isn't over. We must continue to walk the road set before us until the day we go Home to be with Jesus. Then our adventure is done. Our story isn't finished.
Whether we are missionaries, co-workers, friends, family, no matter what our jobs are or who we have gathered around us, enjoy this adventure. We will have bumps and bruises along the way. We may face our Goblin King with a dragon on the horizon. But, surround yourself with people who will speak the truth in love and shower you with encouragement. Because this life is just one big adventure. Enjoy it, Embrace it, the good and the bad. And long for the day when it's over and we can say we endured until the end.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Simple Trade

My family and I had a yard sale today. I told the boys that if they went through their room and got rid of stuff, they could keep the money. Amazing how much they got rid of. Sadly, the day didn't produce much on the financial end, but it did on the spiritual end, for me anyway.
Chris' mom was going to get rid of the bed in their extra room. I told her we'd take it off her hands if she so desired. This morning, she and her husband decided to bring by the bed. Mom saw that I was getting rid of a chair that I'd gotten at a previous yard sale a year ago and asked if we could trade the chair for the bed.
Um, considering the fact that I was selling the chair for a dollar or two, and she had a bed, box spring, head board, and bed frame she'd been willing to give me, I heartily said yes!
Which got me to pondering. For her, it was a simple trade. For me, I definitely got the better end of the bargain. Again, that got me thinking.
I got the better end of the bargain when it comes to Christ. I really did. See, for him, it was a simple trade, my life for His. But boy, oh boy, did He get the short end of the stick. I am full of faults, failures, sins, disappointments. I'm not perfect. But He traded His life for mine. Simply amazing.
Chris' mom may not think I got the better bargain. The chair works great in her house. The colors match her theme and now she has a place to sit when she has a house full of people.
And Jesus looks at it that way, too. I see my imperfections. He sees my beauty. I see my failures. He sees my successes. I see my disappointments. He sees my learning experiences. Jesus looks at me and sees white, though my sins are like scarlet. He washes me white as snow.
I'm completely amazed at the goodness of my Savior. I stand in awe as He looks at me and literally sings over me. A simple trade for Jesus. But not so for me. I still got the better end of the bargain, and for that, I am forever grateful!
What about you? What is something someone traded with you that you feel you received the better deal?

Friday, July 5, 2013

What's A Girl To Do?

I'm overweight. It's sad but true. About thirty pounds, actually, As long as I can remember, I've
struggled with my weight. Ups and downs have been a constant in my life. It's tough. I have three sisters who are "tall drinks of water" as I've heard it said. And one sister who is shorter than I am but beautiful. And then there's me.
I don't say that to get attention. This is just the way I've always viewed myself. Not beautiful. Nothing to draw people's attention to me. Then add the weight issue. Ugh. It's tough. I've compared myself to my sisters for years on end and many other women I know. I always come up short.
Five years ago, Chris and I decided to do Weight Watchers (with a push from my sister). We did awesome. Lost 40 pounds each. I'd never felt so good, but that was short lived. I let my desire for food and what I wanted to eat get the best of me. And I gradually saw the weight return.
Now, as I write this, I'm the heaviest I've been since moving to Colorado. I don't like my body and am constantly complaining about it. But to do something? Well, that would require too much work. Even though I know gluttony is a sin and eating too much isn't good for me physically, mentally, or spiritually, I didn't change anything.
That's about to change. I'm at the point where eating healthy and enjoying it is a must. Not just for me, but for my family, too. I know at least one of my boys is going to struggle with his weight for the rest of his life, so I need to teach him now how to make healthy choices, to exercise.
Today, I've started reading, "Made to Crave", counted my points I had for breakfast, and walked two miles. I have a pedometer to count  my steps, and I realize I don't move nearly as much as I thought I did. I'm excited to get back on track, to fit into my jeans before Fall hits. I need to do this. I desire to do this.
So, for those of you who want to, keep me accountable, ok? The Bible tells me, "A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul." My desire isn't just to lose weight but to make a life style change by eating smaller portions, healthier choices, and exercising. And then, I'll accomplish my desire. Thanks for listening to my ramblings today. And let the journey begin!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Four Seasons

Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Seasons of the worls. Seasons of our lives.
What season are you in?

Spring. When the dead comes back to life. Plants bloom, leaves return to the trees. Birds' songs fill the air. Hope. Rebirth. A wonderful time to be in, isn't it?
My life has gone through a spring. New life. Rebirth. Mourning turns into dancing. Sorrow to joy. Renewed relationships. Hope for the future. An amazing season. But not without its storms, right? I mean, one minute, I'm walking along, the sun is shining, birds are chirping. Then the clouds roll in, the thunder booms, lightning strikes, and gale force winds threaten to blow me over. I endure, dig deep, and head for the cover of my Father's shelter.
The storm passes and all is well once again.

Summer.  It's an amazing season, this time I call Summer. It's a time of being outside, enjoying God's creation. The lakes, the beach, the mountains. Breath-taking. I can see God's glory all around me, and I love it. The sun shines high in the sky, causing warmth to flood through my body. Sometimes, too much warmth. I find myself overheated by the glaring ball in the sky. Parched. Needing shade and water. What do I do? I go to the living Water during my times of drought. He quenches my thirst and saturates my soul.

Fall. I love living in Colorado where I can see the leaves change colors. Oranges, reds, and browns cover the ground. The air drops in temperatures from the nineties to the sixties. A chill forms in the air, reminding me Winter is just around the corner. But before that season comes, I must first endure and enjoy the fall. In this season of my life, the fall prepares me for the winter. It's a time when I know something difficult is coming my way. When I can feel the chill in my bones, but am not quite ready for it yet. I know it's coming, though. So what do I do? I go to the One who goes before me. The One who directs my steps and holds me by His righteous right Hand. I don't have to go through the coming winter alone. Nope. I've got God going before and after me.

Winter. Honestly, my favorite season. I love wearing layers and staying warm. Snow is wonderful. I find myself in awe that each snowflake is different. No two are alike. Give me a cup of coffee, ok, a mocha, and let me stay inside where it is warm and cozy. If only it were that easy. I have to leave the comfort of my home. I need to take the boys to school or run errands when it snows. I must face those slippery roads, the icy streets, the blizzards that will come my way. But I don't have to do it alone. I go to the One who promises to lead me, to be with me wherever I go, no matter what I go through. I turn to the King who faced all the things I have, death, life, stress, sadness, and overcame. And I know I will overcome, too.

Seasons. We all go through them. We all face them. The question is, how do you do it? And on the lighter side, what's your favorite season?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

When Tragedy Strikes

I listen to the radio when I work. Normally Klove or Way FM. Today, it was Klove, and hearing them talk about the tornado that ravaged Oklahoma tore my heart to pieces. My dad even called me today and we talked a bit about it. He gave me more details, which I'm sure many of you have heard. The tornado was 1.3 miles wide and stayed on the ground for 40 minutes. 40 very terrifying minutes.
I've been trying to wrap my head around the distruction, the loss of life, the leveled homes and buildings. I admit, I even asked, "Why, God?" This seems so pointless. Just like the shootings, the tsunamis, the earthquakes, and hurricanes.
Lives were destroyed in 40 minutes. Buildings that were meant to last were knocked down. Schools that were meant to keep children safe were the very things, once fallen apart, that hurt them. Oh, the saddness of it all. So, as many have asked this last week, where was God? Where is He now? Why didn't He stop it from happening.
To the last question, I answer this, "I have no idea." Nope. Not a clue. I don't know the mind of God. But I do know His heart. Where was God when the tornado appeared and shattered so many lives? He was right with those very people, no matter what their circumstances. Jesus was hurting with the ones who lost loved ones, and is still weeping with them. Jesus knows suffering. He knows what it's like to lose someone He loved dearly. He knew what it was like to face tragedy and not change the course of history. Jesus knew exactly what it meant to sacrifice oneself for those whom He promised He would protect (like the teachers covering the kids' bodies with their own).
I still don't understand why this happened or why bad things continually happen. I just don't. But I trust the One who holds my heart in His ever capable hands. So when tragedy strikes, I will bow my knees to the Father, on behalf of those hurt, of those whose lives have been drastically changed. Will you join me?

Friday, April 19, 2013

What If.....

I homeschooled my boys since they were in Kindergarten. I received slack from some, praise from others, and sympathy from most. This last year, the kids were put into public school, one of the hardest schools in our district.
Today and Monday, the schools gave all the kids those two days off for testing. Last week, Gage and Gavin had a Blast Off to Outer Space party for finishing their math packets that literally had 1000 questions. Chris and I were able to go to Gavin's party, and then I went to Gage's.
As I sat there, I began to realize just how much work teachers go through. I have friends who are teachers, and I often saw how much they went through, how time consuming teaching is. It certainly isn't an 8-5 job. Not in the least.
Which got me to thinking: We don't give our teachers enough credit. School funding is the first to go when there is a budget crisis. Teachers don't get raises, lose their jobs, and even before all of that, they have to deal with children who don't want to learn and with parents who think it's only the teachers' job to educate their children.
We have every day heroes and role models in our neighborhoods and cities, and they don't own million dollar houses. I'm talking about teachers, policemen, firemen. People who literally put their life on the line for the rest of humanity. How do teachers do that? By going to school every day to shower our kids with knowledge. They are the first to respond when a tragedy occurs in our schools, the ones to protect our precious babies. Following them are our law enforcement.
What do these amazing people receive salary wise? Not much. Barely enough to live on. So, what would happen if our professional athletes took, oh, I don't know, let's say half of their generous salary and donated it to teachers. Think about it. How much does the average athlete get paid? I can't even begin to imagine. But there are at least 20 players per football team, 10 per baseball, 10 per soccer and basketball. I think I'm even low balling it. But what if those players, each and every one of them, stopped living lavishly and started giving away their salary to teachers across our nation?
Yes, I am also talking about teachers in private schools, charter schools, and public schools. My goodness, that would be astounding! Truly and wonderfully astounding!
You see, I'm thankful for each teacher my boys have had. The teachers at the elementary school and the teachers at their charter school. While I cannot pay them what they deserve, I will give kudos to them and do my best to show my appreciation.
If you haven't already, please thank your child's teacher!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sharon Srock

Sharon Srock visits us today with a special message about Spring.


Same Song, New Verse



Spring, what a lovely time of renewal. Brown, stubby grass turns green and needs to be mowed overnight. Skeletal trees and bushes lose their winter leanness as sun and rain put flesh back on their bones. Even the weeds on the back forty slip into their Easter wardrobe, bursting with multicolored blooms and dancing with butterflies. It’s a season of change, but it is also a season of sameness. All of that new life isn’t a different life, it’s simply a renewing of what God made them to be. If you dig up a rose bush and plant it in an apple orchard, Its still a rose bush. The location may be different, it’s path may be interrupted, but it adapts to its new, it doesn’t send up a desperate what were You thinking plea to the Almighty, it simply blooms where its planted.

So it is with our lives. God made each of us to be something distinctive and individual. The Bible says that He knew us before we were formed. Before we breathed a breath, He had a perfect plan for us. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to know where God wants us to end up even though the getting there is a little foggy. I’m really bad about giving God a step by step plan about how I want to get to where He wants me to go. Sometimes God pats me on the head and nudges me back on track, sometimes He plucks me up from my comfort zone and smacks me down in the middle of an unexplored path. Doesn’t mean his plan for me has changed. Just means He has a better way of getting me from point A to point B.

If that replanted rose bush decides to cross its branches and never bloom again, It’s still going to be a rose bush, just less beautiful for its stubbornness. Have you discovered God’s plan for your life? Do you feel like God is trying to write a new verse in the song of your life this year? It really is less about the path and more about the destination. Its spring. Bloom. Sing.


Despite a bustling day care center and a new foster child, Terri Hayes hungers for a family of her own. Then a plumbing mishap leaves her homeless and questioning God’s plan. Steve Evans’s gracious offer of his basement apartment as a temporary solution is an answered prayer.
Steve is a successful writer and a good father, but Terri is horrified when Steve’s book research leads him to a harsh confrontation with the parents of her foster child.  She needs to distance herself from Steve, but her efforts fall short as his two scheming daughters plot to make Terri their new stepmother.

Will harsh words and sneaky plans drive Kelsey’s family further apart and put a wedge between Terri and Steve? Or does God have another plan in store?


Sharon has a free pdf download put together by her publisher to introduce you to her characters. Here's the link:
http://bitly.com/SmQmUs


About Sharon:
Sharon Srock lives with her husband, Larry, and two dogs in Rural Oklahoma. She is a mother, grandmother, and Sunday School teacher. Sharon has one and three-quarters jobs and writes in her spare time. Her favorite hobby is traveling with her grandchildren. She is a member of the ACFW and currently serves as treasurer for her local chapter. Sharon’s debut novel, The Women of Valley View: Callie released in October 2012. The second in the series, The Women of Valley View: Terri releases in April 2013.

Connect with her here:

Bloghttp://www.womenofvalleyview.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SharonSrock#!/SharonSrock
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/SharonSrock
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6448789.Sharon_Srock

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Deliver Us, by June Foster

Grab a good cup o' joe and sit back and relax with June Foster, author of Deliver Us.


Tell us a little about yourself.
I am the mother of two and grandmother of 10, soon to be a great. My husband and I traveled in our RV full time until last November when we bought a house. I taught school for 34 years and began writing in my 60's. I love the Lord and couldn't go one day without Him.


Tell us three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
Well, I'm 5'10" and have a daughter who's 5'2". My great grandfather was a Catholic priest. I generally tell people to think about that one for a minute. I lived in Europe for three years.


 Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?
I loved reading as a child. The Bobsey Twins and Nancy Drew books were my favorites. In high school, I loved historicals.


As a child or teenager, did you ever dream of being an author?
Never. That is another strange thing about me. I wrote academically in college and with my job, but never fiction. It was only until the Lord put a story on my heart that I began writing. I knew nothing about the craft and started reading every "how to" book I could get my hands on. I'm continually learning.


What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Quirky, huh? I've done lots of crazy stuff, but one I don't think I've mentioned before is many years ago when my brother came to a dinner at my house, he pretty much passed out from, shall I say, too much wining and dining. I painted his nails on both hands red. I need to mention, that was in my BC days. Before Christ.


What is your favorite genre to read?
Though I write contemporary romance, I believe end-time fiction such as the Left Behind Series, is my favorite.


Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better.
I get up in the morning and read my Bible, accompanied by a hot cup of coffee. Then my husband and I do a devotional and pray together. Since I'm retired from teaching, my schedule isn't as rigid as it once was. I try to go upstairs to my office for a couple of hours. Since my husband is on Eating For Life, I do a lot of cooking. Then, God willing, I try to do one of my exercise tapes - stretching or aerobic walking. Then it's back to the computer and more writing. Some days doing the wash or going to the little country grocery store near our house keeps me busy. 
When did you first begin writing, and why do you write still?

I first began writing in January, 2010. I continue to write because the Lord won't let me stop. Seriously, I have so many stories in my head and such a strong desire to get them written down, I can't stop.


How many books do you have published and where can they be found?
I have four published. Give Us This Day, As We Forgive, Deliver Us, and A Hometown Fourth of July. They can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Desert Breeze Publishing, and where ever e-books are sold. Ryan's Father will be published with White Fire in January 2014.

Tell us about your latest book.
The Way Home whose name is soon to be changed, is the story of a Christian woman who falls in love with a handsome accountant she believes would make the ideal Christian husband. In reality, she discovers he belongs to a non-Christian cult, but it's too late, she loves him and doesn't want to give him up.


Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
In 2011, I submitted a proposal to Desert Breeze Publishing for my Bellewood Series. I never thought it would result in a contract. One Sunday morning in September, I opened my e-mail and received the news that Gail Delaney wanted to contract all three books in the series. When I screamed, my husband came running from the bedroom thinking a bug had attacked me or something. Deliver Us is the third and final book in that series.


What inspired you to write this particular book?
Probably the same thing as the other two. I have a passion for characters who deal with difficult issues but overcome by God's power in their lives. Deliver Us has a strong pro-life theme which I stand behind.


 How long did you write before you sold your first book?
I began writing in January, 2010 and sold my first book September 2011. I kid around saying that God must have put me on the fast track to publication because He knew I don't have as many days on earth as my younger colleagues.


 What are you working on right now?
I'm rewriting a book called The Way Home but will probably be changing that title pretty soon. It's about a Christian woman who meets a handsome accountant she believes will make the perfect Christian husband. But she soon learns how wrong she is.


Where do you get ideas for your books?
I believe the Lord gives them to me. Since I write romance, I like to think of a man and a woman who would least likely fall in love. Shall I confess right now? I wrote one book about a young woman who falls in love with a Christian homosexual man. Yes, it's true. Ryan's Father will be out in 2014. I'd like to remind you my stories are all told from a strong Christian worldview, so you'll have to wait to see what happens. The story reflects my stand on this delicate topic.


How do you choose names for your characters?
Mostly I choose names I like, except for the antagonist. I've actually gotten last names out of the phone book. If I hear someone's name in real life that I like, I write it down and assign it to a character later on. I also like to select names by their meaning. My current heroine is named Joella meaning Jehovah is God.


In three words describe your style of writing.
Simplistic. Heartfelt. Melancholy.


How do you get to know your characters?
I get a picture of a famous person I think looks like my character. Then I fill out a character chart describing every detail about this character. I interview him/her asking pertinent questions relating to the novel's plot and see what answers they give me. I examine their goals, motivation, and conflicts. If I know anyone who's like my character, I try to figure out how that person would react and what they'd say in various situations.

Are you a plotter, a pantster, or somewhere in between, and can you elaborate on your answer? I am mostly a plotter. I have to begin knowing my characters and the basic events of the plot. But often, new ideas will pop into my head after I'm finished with the first draft and I don't hesitate to add them to the story. Also, my wonderful critique partners give me ideas which help me change the story for the better.


What are you favorite themes to write about?
I like to write about issues we as humans struggle with. Though we're Christians, we're not immune from the world. But Christians have an advantage. We don't have to solve our problems alone. God offers his wisdom and power so we can find victory. So I've written about addictions, jail terms, abortion, forgiveness, shop-o-holism, and many others.


 What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
My "office" has changed drastically since we moved out of our RV. Before I had a desk and two filing cabinets where the couch used to be in the RV. It actually worked fine. I wrote five books in that location. Now I have a whole big room upstairs in our house. I have more room to spread out now and more reliable internet, which is a blessing. Each day, I try to get up by 6:30 and get to writing no later than 9:00. I take breaks for various reasons, but most days I don't finish up until 9:00 or 9:30 at night.


Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?
I'm very blessed to be retired from my job. I was an elementary teacher. But I do still have family responsibilities - like all the cooking, doing the wash, church events, etc. So I try to prioritize my life. The Lord is first and my husband, kids, and grandkids second. Then the rest of the time goes to my passion, writing Christian inspirational novels.


Does your faith affect your writing? How?
In every way. My characters either start out with faith in God or find it somewhere along the way. I want to communicate to readers why I believe it is vital to have a relationship with the Lord.


Why do you keep writing?
I think it's because the Lord has put the motivation in my heart. He's given me the desire to write my stories. My prayer is that the Lord will use them to minister to others who are experiencing the same issues as my characters and will be encouraged.


Do you put yourself into your main character, or do you find yourself borrowing from family or friends as your characters develop?
So far, yes. I see a little of myself in my heroines. And yes, I've borrowed character traits of others - family and friends, but I don't pattern the character entirely after others. I just use part of what I observe in them.

Is there any scene in your book that came from a real-life happening?
No, not entirely. I may use some real-life occurrences but change them so no one will recognize the situation or the people involved.


If you could interview any character in one of your books what might that character say? Why?
If I interviewed Ryan Reed, he'd say praise the Lord for His glorious freedom from the things that held me captive.


What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
I'd probably be sightseeing with my husband in our RV.


 Have you won any awards with your writing?
My book Give Us This Day finaled in EPICon 2013 awards in the spiritual/metaphysical category.


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Prayer and seek God's will first. Then learn everything you can about the craft of writing. Grow tough skin and don't worry about the rejections. Just keep on writing.


What is the coolest, wackiest, most risk-taking thing you’ve ever done?
This happened not because I'm so good at taking risks, but I had to. My husband used to have a small 4-seater plane. We were flying along, and he had to crawl over into the back seat. He told me to take the controls and fly the plane. I'd had a few flying lessons but wasn't good enough to "fly the plane" like he said. I took the wheel though the plane met with turbulence, and we were heading toward a mountain range.


What is the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you?
Back after the hurricane Katrina hit the southern states, my husband and I were hired by Pilot Catastrophe, a branch of Allstate Insurance to process claims. I got fired after two weeks.


Is there anything else you’d like to tell us? Maybe a writing tip for aspiring authors?
Read, read, read. The books on craft as well as books in your genre. Make good friends with your critique partners.


 Where can fans find you or your books on the internet?
https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=100000594753461

https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/authorjunefoster

http://junefoster.blogspot.com

http://infinitecharacters.com

https://twitter.com/#!/vjifoster

 
 
 
 
Join us in celebrating the launch and release of June Foster's book, Deliver Us, Book Three in the Bellewood Series. Releasing April 1st from http://desertbreezepublishing.com/.
About the book:
The young fraternity man who coaxed Jillian Coleman upstairs that night is only a blur in her memory. Now she lives with the unrelenting guilt that she aborted her baby. God might forgive her, but she can't forgive herself. As Bellewood's premier gynecologist, she hopes to open the Jeremiah House to offer teen girls an abortion alternative. Though the handsome and successful Dr. Jett Camp wants to marry Jillian, he believes her plan is a waste of her skills.
Riley Mathis spent ten years in jail for dealing drugs. Now as a Christian, he's trying to put his life back together. Working as a janitor at night, he attends college by day. When he meets Dr. Coleman, he recognizes her from the sapphire necklace she wore the night he stole something precious from her. When she confesses the choice she made to abort her baby, Riley can't tell her he's the father of her child.
About the author:
June Foster is a retired school teacher, who until recently traveled full time with her husband, living in their RV. Now settled in Alabama, they are enjoying their new home, and being close to family.
Deliver Us is available from your favorite seller of e-books April 1st.
 


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Doctor's

"The doctor's appointment came. Josephine sat in the waiting area, wringing her hands." (Hope for Tomorrow)

Doctor's appointments have a tendency to bring one of two emotions: fear or joy. Isn't that right? When things don't go right with our bodies, we need to go to the doctor's. When we get pregnant, we go to the doctor's, many times over.
I can remember sitting at the doctor's with Chris, waiting to hear our first boy's heartbeat. There was just something so exciting about those appointments. Chris went to every one with me, too, for each kiddo.
Then, I remember sitting at the doctor's office when I was having anxiety and thought perhaps something deeper was wrong. Fear coursed through my being.
Or what about sitting with your kids in the waiting room, anxiously waiting for the nurse's call of your son's name?
Doctor's appointments. Fear. Joy. Nervousness. Excitement.
The Bible tells us not to worry about tomorrow for tomorrow has enough worries of its own. It also reminds us not to be anxious for anything, but in everything, to pray, giving thanks. And to cast all our cares upon Him for He cares for us.
Now it's your turn:  When was the last time you were at the doctor's office and how did you respond?

Thursday, February 28, 2013

What Do You Want?

It's an age old question, isn't it? What do you want? Sometimes, my boys will come into my room at night, and my husband and I will ask, "What do you want, son?"
So, here's my question to you: What do you want?
What do you want out of life? Do you want to be famous? Popular? Make a million dollars? Do you want to go on a mission's trip or two? Do you want to raise God-fearing children? What do you want?
How about peace on earth? Live debt-free? Live guilt free?
What do you want? Do you want to live for Jesus, to bring Him glory in all you do? Do you want retire at an early age? Do you want to live in a nice house with a white picket fence with 2.5 children?
I can answer a few of these questions. Actually, I think one answer will cover them all. Ready? Here is goes. I want to only live for Jesus and shine so bright that others are drawn to Him.
What do I want out of life? To live for Jesus.
Do I want to be famous? Only for Jesus.
Do I want to be popular? Only for Jesus.
Do I want to make a million dollars? Only for Jesus.
Do I want peace on earth? Only for Jesus.
Live debt-free? Only for Jesus.
Live guilt free? Only for Jesus.
Do I want to bring Him glory? By living for Jesus, I will.
Do I want to retire at an early age? I want to draw others to Jesus, no matter what my job is.
Do i want to live in a nice house with a white picket fence with 2.5 children? Only if Jesus will draw others to Him in that neighborhood.
Do I want to raise God-fearing children? Well, if I live for Jesus, I hope that will be the case.

Do you see a pattern? I sure do! I want to live for Jesus, no matter what I do.
And that's why I write. I write to draw others to Christ, to hopefully deepen their walks with Him. Truthfully? I don't write for non-Christians. I don't. That's  not my calling. If a non-believer picks up my books and likes them and follows Jesus because of it, awesome! But they aren't my target. My target is believers. I want people to ask themselves the hard questions and come up with answers that will challenge them, strengthen them, and push them forward in following the Lord.

So, what do I want? To follow Jesus and draw others to Him.
What do you want?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sheriff Bride Rob's Story

I guess it's my turn today! Here's a little more about Sheriff Bride Rob's Story:

How did you know you wanted to become a writer?
Since I was little, I've loved writing. I wrote short stories mostly, but had the wonderful opportunity to begin my writing career in 2008.

Please tell us a little about this book.
Rob's story is pretty much about Rob. She's now the only sheriff, since all of her sisters are married. Her brothers-in-law, and town banker, informs her she needs a deputy. She reluctantly agrees, only to find out the person they hired isn't who she thought it would be.

Are you anything like the main character?
Nothing at all like Rob! She's the youngest, I'm the middle. She's a great shooter, and I don't know how to shoot a gun. We don't even look alike.

Are you currently working on writing something else? If so, can you tell us about it?
Indeed I am! I'm working on getting my newest novel, Letters of Love, published, followed by the third book in my Hope series, Hope from the Past. I'm in the process of writing Sunshine in Spring. Since writing Christmas Rayne, I've had a few people ask me to follow up with Camden's story. I guess he was quite likeable!

What was the most difficult thing about writing this novella?
I'm not a western writer. It was a struggle for me to get into that part, but I really enjoyed it!

What is your favorite season of the year?
Winter. When Jack Frost nips at my nose, I'm in heaven! Snow calms my soul.

If you could go anywhere, where would it be and why?

Probably to England. I'll be writing a novel in the next few months about a woman who travels to England and finds the love of her life.

What is something quirky your readers would like to know about you that they don't already?
I can flare my nostrils even after going to the dentist and being numb, plus I had two thumbs on one hand.

Who is your biggest support and why?
My husband, Chris. He made sure I took the steps to making this dream of writing come true. Also, my sister, Steffanne and her hubby, Russell. They told me it was time to write.

Where can fans find you on the web?
Here on this blog. Also on facebook and twitter. Not to mention Goodreads and Novelcrossing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sheriff Bride Dan's Story

Unfortunately, Cheryl Williford was unable to do an interview for me. She has a lot of things on her plate right now, so if you wouldn't mind, say a prayer for her. But, I thought I'd give you a rundown of Sheriff Bride Dan's Story.

Sheriff Bride Dan’s Story Being one of four sister sheriffs in the small town of Waterhole, Texas is very satisfying until Pastor Joshua Plain, the local traveling preacher, comes to town, Bible in hand, and God on his mind. Not even looking for a husband, Dan is surprised to find herself drawn to the sandy-haired, blue eyed man of God. As Joshua works his way into her heart, Dan finds herself thinking about marriage. Can a relationship form between them, or will their diferent views on a woman working as a sheriff and owner of a cafe stand in the way of love? Does God have other plans as they begin the dance of courtship.

Don't forget! If you leave a comment on any of the blogs from Monday through Thursday, you'll be entered to win an ebook of Sam's Story.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sheriff Bride Jo's Story

Today, I have Brooke Cox. She wrote the second novella of Sheriff Bride Jo's Story.

How did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I started “making up stories” before I learned how to write. So, writing has always been something I’ve done. I think what got me started “making up stories” was Snoopy’s adventures on his Sopwith Camel. My mom read to me out of my Peanuts books every night before I went to bed.


Please tell us a little about this book.
  Jo and her three sisters share the position of Sheriff in the small town of Waterhole.
Their father raised them as he would boys and not as young ladies, so they learned early in their
lives to be tough. He was supposed to be the new sheriff of Waterhole, but he died before he
could accept the new job. So Jo and her sisters became “the sheriff.”
While being a sheriff in Waterhole, Jo falls in love with Tom, who owns the local trading posts. Tom loves her as well, but he is still hurting over his ex-fiancĂ©’ refusing to come
to live at Waterhole with him. He thinks no decent woman should have to live there, so he decides that he will always be alone.
As Jo and Tom find their way to each other, they have to deal with Tom’s wayward brother
Henry and his Indian servant Morning Glory, rowdy cowboys, a fund-raising fair, hurt animals, stinky half-blind train robbing brothers, and their own stubbornness.

Are you anything like the main character?
Oh yeah. I’m a lot like Jo. I am an old tomboy myself. I grew up around boys, so I too learned to be tough at an early age. I also learned how to be a little on the “fearless’ side.

Are you currently working on writing something else? If so, can you tell us about it?
I’ve got a few ideas on my plate, but right now I’m working on my first murder mystery and I love it. My main character is like me in that she is unique and different from the rest of
her family. And she uses that uniqueness to solve a family mystery that leads to a couple of deaths in the family.

What was the most difficult thing about writing this novella?
Honestly, nothing. I thoroughly enjoyed writing Jo’s Story! I thought I would have
a difficult time since I never read any western stories. But once I started writing and doing            some research, my outlook changed and I really “got into” the story. I even had some fun
writing about the stinky and half-blind train robbers.

What is your favorite season of the year?
Fall. I love everything about the fall: the colors, the smell, and the feel in the air. In fact,my wedding anniversary is in October.

If you could go anywhere, where would it be and why?
On Earth? If that’s the case, then I would go the Smithsonian in Washington DC. It
has so many wondrous things from dinosaurs, space and air, history, old TV shows, archeology,
and so much more. I got could get lost in that place and not care if I ever came out.


What is something quirky your readers would like to know about you that they don't already?
I am big geek at heart. My favorite show is the Big Bang Theory. Also, I love science fiction, especially Star Trek. I was fortunate to be able go to a Space Shuttle launch a few years ago. That was the coolest thing ever!


Who is your biggest support and why?
  That would be a tie between my husband Tim and my daughter Sara. They both have
always been there for me. May I do an honorable mention? I also have some wonderful friends
who have been there for me as well: my parents, Lynda, Paula, Susan, Pamela, Kathy, and Tessa.
So I have been very blessed.

Where can fans find you on the web?
I have a blog: grooviebrooksie.blogspot.com. Please feel free to stop by and visit sometime. I also write a monthly article for The Christian On-Line Magazine.com. I usually write with a science and God theme. Remember, I’m a geek.


Thank you for taking the time to share with us!
It was my honor sharing with you all and I had fun!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sheriff Bride Sam's Story

I had the honor of working with some neat women to bring about the Sheriff Bride series. Today, I'm interviewing the Teresa Lily, who wrote the first novella in this series. To anyone who leaves a comment over the next week in regards to this series, you'll win an e-book.


How did you know you wanted to become a writer?
One day in first grade I wrote a poem. I ran home and read it to my mother. She said, “Great job maybe someday you will be a writer.” It was my dream ever since.


Please tell us a little about this book.
This story starts out about 4 girls who go to Waterhole Texas to fill the position of town sheriff that their father was offered. But he died before he could go. The owner of the bank in town is sure that girls should not be a sheriff, but once they all show themselves to be capable of handling even the worse man in town…he changes his mind…and his heart as he gets to know the oldest girl “Sam”


Are you anything like the main character?
Brown hair and brown eyes, and I assume had I lived back then I would have been a gun toting sheriff too.


Are you currently working on writing something else? If so, can you tell us about it?
I am writing a new book called Orphan Train Bride. About a woman who goes west on an orphan train and fills the position for a local farmer as a mail order bride. The story is in it’s final re-write


What was the most difficult thing about writing this novella?
Avoiding too much back information. Also, wanting to write the other three sisters stories but having no time to do it.


What is your favorite season of the year?
Spring of course, when love is in the air.


If you could go anywhere, where would it be and why?
Paris, but I don’t like to fly.


What is something quirky your readers would like to know about you that they don't already?
I do all my writing between 9 p.m and midnight every night because I am too busy the rest oft he day running my children’s resale shop.


Who is your biggest support and why?
My daughter Shelby. She reads all my stories first and edits them for the first run. She totally thinks I am wonderful and that my writing is great.

Where can fans find you on the web?
www.teresalilly.com www.lovelychristianromance.com Amazon Barnes and Nobles and Smashwords.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Green Series by Judy Christie

I love books. Not only do I enjoy writing them, I've always enjoyed reading them. I can sit with a good book, read it in about a day and a half, and then think about it for weeks. That's one of the reasons I absolutely adore having a kindle. I get free books so many times, plus I buy inexpensive books. Well, I was thrilled to get all of the Green series by Judy Christie.
Let me say off the bat, I typically don't like books in the first person. I think that's because I like to know what other characters are thinking. So, when I'd get a book at the library and it would be first person, more often than not, I wouldn't read it. Then, I started getting kindle books that are not what I'd normally read. Now, I don't mind first person.
As a matter of fact, I'd say the Green series is one of the best I've read in first person. I've read all five of these books, and highly recommend them. Lois is a great character! I enjoyed seeing life through her eyes, feeling her struggles and joys, and walking with her as her relationship deepened with Jesus. In regards to the romance between her and Chris, I would've liked to see that develop more, but that's my only critique.
I enjoyed the characters in these books. My heart broke when someone special died, more than one person, actually. The grief was real and quite sad in both cases. Katy, Molly, Eva, Dub, and many more people in the town were real. Loved Tammy.
I don't want to give too much away. Okay, to be honest, I don't want to give away anything in hopes that you'll read these books. But I will say this: I thoroughly enjoyed how Ms. Christie wrapped up certain parts of the story, yet left so much open. I'm believing she's writing a sixth book in this series, otherwise, I'm going to be a little, um, well, bummed.
So, if you haven't read any of the Green books, might I suggest you do so? You won't regret it. They've got mystery, humor, romance, and good ole' downhome fun. You won't want to miss them!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Darling

It's appropriate that I would post Letters of Love cover on facebook today. Because you see, that's how it started with my husband and I. All through a letter, or a card, rather. It started with an early birthday card and hasn't ended. This journey we've been on has had its ups and downs, twists and turns, bumps and smooth places. I wouldn't trade a single moment because it led us to where we are now.
So, I'm going to steal my love's idea and tell you what I love about him.
Chris is godly. He isn't afraid to speak up about his beliefs. He takes a stand against wrong and evil. He shows our boys what it means to be a man and follow Jesus. Extremely attractive!
He is an excellent husband. He encourages me in my dreams, tells me when I'm wrong, and is incredibly patient. He's lifted me up in some very dark times in my life. He is my biggest supporter when it comes to my writing.
My man is a fabulous father. The boys learn so much from this man. He laughs with them, plays and wrestles with them, watches the shows they want and introduces them to new ones (sometimes much to my changrin). He does projects with my kiddos. And he spends time with them, doing what they want to do.
Chris is sexy. Especially when he makes the face in the photo. It's true. No sarcasm there at all. He is the most attractive man I have ever seen! And in the entire world.
He is talented. Chris can play any musical instrument and sing. I love that about him!
And my love is artistic. Give him a picture and he can draw it just by looking at it.
When the Bible talks about putting other's needs before our own, Chris does it. He serves me and my boys and after a hard day at work, will come home and work some more just because he feels I shouldn't have to.
I love this guy.
Chris, even though we don't celebrate the traditional way, Happy Valentine's Day. Thank you for showing me unconditional love year round!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wonderful Wednesdays-A Blog Hop

I've had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a blog hop. Today, I am going to promote my newest book coming out in March, Letters of Love.
 
 
 
Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:


What is the working title of your book?
Letters of Love.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
My grandmother, a few years ago, gave me the letters my grandfather wrote to her while he was stationed in China during WWII.

What genre does your book fall under?
Historical fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
That's a tough question. Sandra Bullock for Sophia's character. Ryan Reynolds as Tucker. Ben Affleck as Tozier. Julia Roberts as Lucia. Dick Van Dyke for Papa's character. Betty White for Nana's character.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When tragedy strikes in Sophia Philips life, will she find hope and healing through old letters from her grandfather to her grandmother?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-published. This will be a first for me, so we will see how it goes.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About six months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The Wedding dress and Love finds you in Glacier Bay. Not that I am saying my novel is as great as these two, but it would be the same idea/genre.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
My grandparents. When my Nana told me about the letters and gave them to me as my inheritance, I knew immediately I was going to write a fictional story based off of them. It amazed me that after seventy years, she still had them!

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
This isn't only a story about letters, but about tragedy, pain, loss, healing, hope, and love. Come journey with me as we walk in Sophia and Lucia's shoes. Weep with them, find joy with them, and find healing.
 
 
 
Thank you for joining me today! I encourage you to go to these lovely ladies' blogs on February 20!