Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Worrier or Warrior?

Ever have too many things on your plate? I'm sure you have; most of our "To Do" lists seem to never end, they just keep getting longer and longer.

As a member of a fairly large church, which posts a prayer line on its web site, my "Prayer To Do" list is definitely one of those lists that never ends. If you are a prayer warrior, you know what I mean. Quite frankly it is a wonder that we warriors are able to get anything done; the burden to pray for every situation that tugs at our heart is constant. And in today's economy, with so many people in need, we coud remain on our knees 24/7.

Sometimes the weight of it all can bring us to the point where we throw up our hands and say, "Whew! Where do I begin?"

And I have to confess, that at times I have even allowed that overwhelming burden to cause me to spiritually freeze, the weight of it is so heavy. I momentarily forget that the perfect antidote is prayer. We cannot fix the world, but we do know the One who controls it. And we (if we are born again) have direct access to Him anytime and anywhere. Instead of being "worriers", God calls us and enables us to be "warriors".

Whew! Worry burdens are not mine to carry. Never have been and never will be. My part is to simply be faithful to lift that familiar tugging of my heart up to Jesus, and then to resume my peace, knowing the Prince of Peace has it all under control.

Peacefully Yours,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back to Normal

Not too long ago I was tired of "normal". Today, I am embracing that word.

Sometimes we get in a rut in life and we want things shaken up a bit, yet neither my huband nor I wanted this. My hubby had to have open heart surgery a few weeks ago and our world was (temporarily) turned upside down. A very serious heart problem was discovered while undergoing pre-op testing to have a torn rotator cuff and torn bicep operated on. He was immediately admitted to the hospital. Strange how, one day he was complaining about shoulder pain, and the next day we were both very grateful for it!

It was and still is a long painful journey for him (including his shoulder, which can't be operated on for a while), but you can be sure that we both have walked away with some new perspectives on, and appreciation of, life.

This morning, as my husband pulled out of the driveway for his first full day back to work, I couldn't help but think just how good it felt to have things finally becoming "normal" again.

And, every 3rd weekend in September in Thornville, Ohio, it is "normal" to attend the awesome Backwoods Arts & Crafts festival, where you can meander through the woods, checking out the 250+ vendors selling their handmade treasures, while enjoying bluegrass music and eating kettle cooked chips and popcorn. Besides the delicious food and unique gift ideas, there are fun activities, too. Once again it looks like God will bless us with gorgeous autumn weather.

Come enjoy the ambience and be sure to check out booth number 183. That's where I'll be with my 10 titles (4 new ones), and my writer friend, Candace Pope. She c0-authored the book, "Wheelchair for Sale" with Marvin Sallee. It is a delightful true story of miraculous healing and Pastor Marvin hopes to be there on Saturday to sign his books with Candace.

Strap your walking shoes on and come out and enjoy the fun. Don't forget to stop by and say hi. (For more info. on the fest, see my "Appearances" tab to the right.)

Praising the Lord for "normal",

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Our Awesome God!

Have you ever wondered why God led you to a certain place at a certain time? Have you questioned Him, not knowing or seeing what He was up to and maybe doubting that you had even heard from Him in the first place?

I had one of those moments yesterday. A loved one is battling cancer. While my husband and I were in the waiting room with her family they told us that the main surgeon had just told them that he was going to perform radical surgery. This doctor had no bedside manners and he did not even want to review the recent tests reqested by another doctor. He was adamant that a lot of extreme facial surgery was necessary, involving the removal of an eye and some teeth. The family was numb with grief, as you can imagine.

My husband and I left them alone in their grief, so they could come to grips with the news. We all had known that there was a possibility of this happening, yet we hoped, up to the last minute, that it would not be so. After an hour, a nephew of my loved one walked by me and said they still had not begun surgery - she was still in pre-op. Suddenly I KNEW why we were there. My husband and I immediately joined hands and prayed hard that God would divinely intervene - that extensive facial surgery would not be necessary, that the main surgeon would be overuled by the other doctors and that proof would be given to convince that doctor that the cancer was isolated to one small area; that the cancer had not, in fact, spread as they feared.

And guess what? The surgery was completed in half the time estimated and no incision on the face was even necessary!!! They were able to enter under the lip and do all the operating that way, because it had stayed contained to one small area. And... instead of a 5-7 day stay in the hospital, she may get out this afternoon!

Praise the Lord for His mercy and for answered prayer! Our entire church has been praying for her for several weeks. God heard the heartfelt cries of His kids, and yesterday I KNEW why I was to be where I was.

Oh taste and see that He is good! His mercy endures forever!

Praising His name forever,

Friday, May 29, 2009

Prison Ministry Update

My prayer warrior friend Pat, and I, went to the Ohio Reformatory for Women this week and were blessed to be able to donate 14 digital conversion boxes to the incarcerated women there. Several of the recipients are inmates in wheelchairs who live for their television and who have no one on the outside to assist in the cost of a conversion box. Even with the $40 coupons, it is still tough for many of them to come up with the remainder of the cost. What a blessing to be a part of this much needed ministry.

Special thanks go to our church family, First Baptist Church of Heath, for supporting this project. They allowed me to hold 2 book signings after worship services, with all the proceeds going toward the jail and prison ministry. And, following my speech at the mother/daughter banquet a few weeks ago, Ms. Valerie, the hostess, took up a collection for the inmate boxes. What a great church family Pat and I are a part of!

Like most of us I am thrilled that winter is finally behind us. It was a long one this year. But now I am torn between writing, yardwork and housework. Not enough hours in the day, or energy in the body! :-)

Please pray for my current book projects. One of my proposals is being considered for publication and is before the Book Review Committee at Beacon Hill Press. In this age of cutbacks, book publishers, too, are facing huge financial hurdles. Christian writers covet the prayers of the saints to assist in getting the Word out, now more than ever!

Writing for Him,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ministry Request (It's Free!)

I don't usually ask for contributions on my blog, but I feel the need to do so now. No, not financial contributions, but coupon contributions. The warden of a local state prison has given my prison ministry friend, Pat, and I the go ahead to gather the digital conversion converter boxes to donate to inmates who cannot afford a box. Since there is no cable or satellite service available at this prison, many inmates will not be able to afford a conversion box and will not be able to watch television after the conversion in June. (Many lifers and handicapped inmates LIVE for televison.)

We are asking people to please donate the coupons that they are not going to use (the coupons are for $40 off the purchase price of the boxes) , and we will purchase the boxes and take them to the prison. IF you are interested - God bless you! It is real easy to do: Just go to Please email me and I'll tell you where to send the coupon after you receive them.

Thank you and may God richly bless you!

In Him,
Matthew 25: 36 "I was in prison and you came to visit me."

Friday, March 27, 2009

"A Cup of Comfort" Book Series

Every time I do a book signing, I encounter lots of people who have never heard of the Cup of Comfort book series. I usually tell them that they are similar to the Chicken Soup series, as they are full of short, inspirational stories targeted at a particular genre and written by different authors (contributors). The books are published by Adam's Media and they are a good value and make excellent gifts. If you aren't familiar with the Cup of Comfort book series, you might want to go to sometime and check it out.

I have been published in several of their titles, including their two newest books: A Cup of Comfort Women of the Bible Devotional, and A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters. These two new titles are hardback; their previous titles are paperback. If you'd like autographed copies of these titles or any of my books (go to my "Books" tab for selections) drop me an email, or go to the "Signed by the Author" link on my site.

I personally read several different daily devotionals every day, some from these books and some from periodicals - and throughout the day. Most often their brief, inspirational messages are very timely - as if they are handpicked just for me and just for my unique need for that day! Imagine that...

Happy reading!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Heavenly Book

I just finished reading a wonderfully uplifting and inspiring book, "My Glimpse of Eternity", by Betty Malz. I started reading it last night and didn't want to stop, but the light in our bedroom interferes with my husband's sleep (we arise at 4:15 a.m.), so I begrudgingly obliged. It was easy to dash out of bed this morning, knowing I would be able to return to the captivating gem.

After my morning Bible study (today I'm in James, chapter one) and hurriedly scribbling in my journal, I resumed my place in my new found literary treasure. By 6:45 - it was finished. Whew! Talk about moving! It took me to heaven and made me want to stay there.

It was first published in 1977 and recently re-released by Baker Revell publishers, and deservedly so. We need more books that remind us to live with eternity in mind; to make each day count for Jesus; to encourage us to let His neverending love ooze from our pores. We need books that gently prod us to be less self-absorbed and more God focused.

It has nudged me, as an inspirational writer myself, to get back on the saddle and keep the reigns on the horse.

Read any good books lately?

God bless,

Friday, March 20, 2009

Blog Email Updates

I just added a new feature to my blogs - you can sign up for my updates to be sent automatically to your email! Hope you'll try it out.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

For the Love of Homemade Vegetable Soup

Do you remember the dreaded homemade veggie soup when you were a kid? I sure do. As soon as I saw my mother emptying the fridge of all the leftover veggies and tossing them into one big pot, I knew what I and my four siblings were in for. (And this almost always followed a dinner of a large pot roast from the night before.)

In the midst of the whining, I'd pick out and gobble up the beef, green beans and the corn, but then I'd stare cross-eyed at the rest of the mess for an hour, fighting the next bite. My brothers and sister were just as bad as me. And yes, you guessed it, now we love the stuff! Go figger.

Last week something divinely comical happened, in regards to this soup. I gave a speech to a bunch of sweet little ladies and I began it with this cute joke: "A Sunday School Teacher asked little Johnny; "Now, Johnny, tell me the truth, do you say prayers before eating?"
"No ma'am," little Johnny replied, “I don't have to. My mom is a good cook .”

I immediately followed that introduction with a statement that my mom is a good cook, too. I went on to describe how she makes the best homemade vegetable soup ever, but back when I was a kid I didn't like it at all. As a matter of fact, I knew I was called to be a missionary when I was only 8 years old. One day, while pouting over a bowl of that stuff and listening to mt mother's reminder of how: “You should be grateful to have that soup. There are starving children in India who would love to be eating it right now,” I got a bright idea.

I found a shoebox, put my bowl of soup in it, wrote “INDIA” on the outside, taped it shut and stuck it in our mailbox!

Yep - I was destined to become a missionary. (But so far, not overseas.)

When my mom called a few days ago and asked how my speech went, I told her it went well, and then I proceeded to share my veggie soup tale.

She couldn't stop laughing.

Yes, it was funny, but not that funny.

Finally, when she came up for air, she told me why she was laughing so hard. It seems the same day as my speech, and even the same hour of it, she was eating some homemade vegging soup. And, she had my niece and her 2 young children over for lunch. And...not only did my niece gobble up her soup, but her 2 kids gobbled it up, too. They even asked their mom to ask great grandma how to make it so they could have it again soon.

Go figger.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Toto, We're Not in Kansas Anymore"

I just returned to the midwest from Florida yesterday - what a shock. Going there was like a scene from the old version of the Wizard of Oz when the color suddenly comes on and everything is breathtakingly beautiful. Flowers, warm breezes and sand - on my! On the return trip, the pilot announced in balmy Orlando that the temperature in Ohio was all of...12 degrees. Ugh! My hubby and I tried to convince each other that it was good to be home, and it is always great to be back in your own bed with your favorite pillow; but our frigid winters are starting to get to me. To help ease the pain he bought me some fresh-cut flowers. It helped, but there was no way he could purchase the warm air and sand to go with it.

Now for some good news - the Christian publishing industry seems to be standing its own, or at least the publishers that were at the conference said they were planning on publishing the same number of titles this year. With the downturn in the economy I was concerned how it might affect the numbers of new books. But it was mentioned that the medium of the traditional published book seems to be changing, with the onset of the popular Kindle that's out now. However, that doesn't affect writers and how we write.

All-in-all it was a good conference, but then, how could it not be? Warm breezes and bright smiles were thoroughly enjoyed by all. And lest we forget, the common reason that each one of us were there - to learn more about the craft of how to spread the written Word - is always a joyful experience. One of the editors reminded us that Christian book conferences have only been around for a couple decades. God is rising up new writers to get the Word out in these last days. What an awesome time to be alive!

Praying you answer His call,

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Holding Hands with Jesus

I'm knee-deep in conference preparations again. Each time I get ready for one I am amazed anew at how much work is involved (and I'm not even teaching at this one!). Creating the proposals, one-sheets and query letters, and getting them ready for scrutinization is a lot of writing. Still, like other attendees, I want to get the most bang for my buck, so I try to have a variety of materials ready. Of course I gear them toward the publishing houses who I want to represent me, but I also try to prepare for those "chance" meetings with editors who aren't necessarily on my list.

But what I seem to struggle with most is, anxiety. I begin stressing over the connections weeks before the conference: the flight connections, the luggage connections, the rental car connections, the conference location connection, and especially the editor connections.

Thankfully though, God gets my attention way before I leave my house, and reminds me that He is the great Connector. And oftentimes He even uses another writer to remind me. Whew! The burden is instantly lifted and placed on the shoulders of the One who is big enough to handle it. And it stays lifted, as long as I remember to turn to Him.

The bottom line is, I have saturated this conference in prayer. I belive God has led me to attend it, therefore He will see me through it. Period. I will get there when I am supposed to. I will meet those editors whom He wants me to meet. And lest I forget, He also wants me to be available to be used by Him to bless other attendees, especially those writers who have never been to a conference and who have no idea what to expect.

Just another lesson in the "it's not all about me" saga. God sees the big picture and He knows how situations in life are going to turn out, even before they begin. My part is to keep my hand in His hand and trust Him. Every time I remember to keep God and His Kingdom plans first, my needs are not only met, but are usually surpassed -and in more ways than I could ever imagine.

Keeping my hand in the hand of the Author of the greatest book ever,

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