Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Christmas Spectacular Blog Tour!

Christmas is just around the corner! What fun! How exciting!

I am in the beginning stages of planning a blog tour for Christmas—a chance for all of us to share our thoughts and memories of the holiday season.

The tour will last for four weeks—each week with a theme. All of it leading up to the big party on Christmas Eve Day on my blog. The themes are:

The Holidays are Here!—a survival guide and why the holidays are so exciting.

Holiday How-Tos—anything from tying a bow around a Christmas present to avoiding scary extended family to more serious subjects like keeping Christ in Christmas.

A Treasure of Traditions and Memories—Self-explanatory. What are your favorite Christmas traditions? Or what are some unique ones you’ve heard of? What are your favorite memories?

The Reason for the Season—Thoughts and reflections on what makes this season so special

What I need now is blogs!

Each volunteer will pick a day of the week (hopefully there will be a few each day) to create a post around the theme of the week. I’ll organize the days and keep everyone up to date. The posts can be funny or serious, long or short (but not too long…), whatever your feeling for the week—as long as you are uplifting, encouraging, and celebrating—avoid blatant negativity. Every day on my blog, I will post the blogs that are featured that day, and I invite everyone else to do the same.

If you can commit to one post a week between Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) until Christmas Eve Day, leave a comment on this post!

If you don’t want to participate (or even if you do), and would still like to help, I am looking for festive gifts for the big party on Christmas Eve Day. Books, baskets of goodies, ornaments…use your imagination. You won’t have to send it to me, I’ll send you the winner’s information (which will be in the US). If this sounds like a wonderful opportunity to give back this holiday season, leave a comment below.

I am hoping this will be a fantabulous party that we can all enjoy, as well as entertain our followers. In case you can’t tell—I love Christmas!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Personal Q&A

What's your greatest fear?

Well, on the surface, it would seem that spiders are my greatest fear. Yes, I am very arachnophobic. I can still remember my sister chasing me around with Daddy Longlegs and screaming my head off.

If you look deeper, though, you’ll see my greatest fear is linked to my greatest desire—to make a difference. My fear is that I will not make a difference, that I will be ineffectual.

What was the most dangerous thing you ever did?

Most dangerous? Oh, I am so not a risk-taker like that. Sleeping on a dock with nothing to keep me from rolling into the water is the only thing that comes to mind. Well, that, and getting pregnant in spite of all my health issues.

What's your dream?

Besides becoming a published author and making a difference? My dream is to raise my wonderful children to be considerate, loving adults who trust in God the same way I do now.

How many manuscripts do you have under your belt?

Technically, I’ve written four novels. Two of which will probably never see the light of day if I have my way. One which I wrote, revised, and pitched—but then put on the back burner. My current WIP is completed and in the editing process.

Name the top 10 people you would most like to meet in the world, in order of preference?

Number one would be Alex Lidell. She is one of my favorite writing partners and although we’ve conversed for about three years online, we’ve never met. The rest are in no particular order:

2. Beth Moore—her Bible studies are the main “human” reason I am where I am in my relationship with my Savior.

3. John B. Olson—I loved his novel, Shade, and look forward to reading Powers. He writes in the same genre as I would like to.

4. Dawne Dominique—A lady who has been so supportive and encouraging as I explore this crazy world of writing and publishing.

5. Annie and Jay—Part of the East Coast Trio (including Alex Lidell), these two are great writers, fab reviewers, and well, just all-around good people to know.

6. Ren Black—Another critique partner, her and I both hope to be published by the same publisher one day. We also have a lot in common when it comes to our lifestyles—from writing to homeschooling.

7. The Ladies of The Writer’s Alley—One of my favorite blogs, each woman is so unique and fun, I’d just love a chance to meet them all one day.

8. Sandra Byrd—My mentor in the Christian Writers Guild Apprenticeship program, she has helped me grow so much over the last couple of years. I’d love to meet her one day and give her a great big hug!

9. Sara Horn—Founder of Wives of Faith, a ministry focused on supporting and encouraging military wives. I’ve always had a heart for women, but recently found God leading me to encourage those who are just like me, which is why I’ve been so blessed to be a blogger for Wives of Faith.

10. Oh, and I guess I want to meet Kurt Chambers too. He’s a rockin’ MG writer and a fantabulous friend.

Those are my answers to your questions. Now you know me just a little bit better. I’ll meander in a few times today, so if you think of anything else you want to know…leave a comment!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gimme Your Best Shot!

Last Friday I left an open post. Ask me any question you've always wanted to know, and I'd answer that for tomorrow's Get to Know psot. So far, only one person stopped by to comment and leave a question (or three). Now, that isn't going to make the best kind of interview.

So, for today, I say the same. Leave a comment with your burning questions and we'll see what tomorrow's post will look like!

In the meantime, Happy Monday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Get to Know: ME

Well, I've been immersed in this blogging world for a couple of years now (off and on, different blogs), but I don't think I've ever given my followers the chance to get to know me.

I mean, you all know the basics. I'm a Christian, and a SAHM with three kids--2 girls and a boy. I married an Army soldier and we're about to move to Hawaii. :)

But what else do you want to know?

Post your questions here today and on Tuesday for my normal "Get to Know:" post, I'll answer them. Be creative, silly, funny...or serious.

Oh goodness, what am I getting myself into?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Love Begins at Home

“You are the bows from which your children, as living arrows, are sent forth.” --Kahlil Gibran

We often wonder how we are supposed to raise our children in this era, when there are so many demands on our time and our energy. After all, we’re not superhuman. So how do we instill our children with good things…love, compassion, patience, perseverance?

It begins with a decision.

What are your priorities? Where do your children fall in your life?

Children are a blessing from God, and we are entrusted with their care and their rendering. Below our relationship with God, our family should be the most important thing in our life, whether male or female.

So the first step is to decide to put your family first. This decision naturally leads into the second step.

Make time.

For a typical day, right down everything that you do—anything requirements on your time. As a busy mom myself, I understand that much of this list cannot be shaved any shorter than it already is. However, you can work in time with your children.

- Car ride to and from school/sports/activities

- Nightly dinners

- Have children help with cleaning, talk while you work together

- Family Night

- Take a half an hour to do something with them—help them with their homework, read them a bedtime story, paint a girl’s fingernails or help a boy with a model car.

- The overall idea is to show the children that they are important enough to devote your precious time to.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

This quote sums up the next step. If you want to teach your children the type of people to be, model these traits yourself. Of course, no one is perfect, we’re going to mess up. We will lose our temper instead of exercising patience. We will give in at times when we should hold our ground. We will say things out of hurt or anger, instead of out of love. But if we make the conscious effort to be the person we want our children to be, they will take notice, even if they don’t seem to.

When we get our priorities straight, spend time with our children, and exemplify the traits we want to teach our children, we’ve taken three major steps to raising good and loving children. Of course, they won’t always model good behavior or make the right choices, but that’s part of learning. They still look to us and trust our guidance. If we show them from the beginning that we are there for them, that trust will remain and grow. Before we know it, the loving and compassionate adults we have raised become parents themselves.

Love begins at home.

Monday, September 20, 2010

How Fertile is Your Land?

Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. – Hebrews 6:7-8

I’m not a farmer. I come from a military family. Yet, even I know that the land requires water and nutrients or it will dry up and become useless. It is the same way with believers.

We are the land. When we drink in the rain (God’s word) and nutrients (provided by the Holy Spirit), we become immersed. We begin to produce crops. Everywhere we go, people know who we are by what we do, what we say.

But when we profess our belief in God with only our mouths, without any deeds, we dry up. We become like the soil that fosters thorns and thistles. What does a farmer do with land like that? He burns it.

“A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Luke 8:5-8

In direct correlation with the verses from Hebrews, is the parable of the sower. As we mature as Christians, it becomes our responsibility to help grow new believers. They look to us for examples of what it means to be Christians, children of God. If our land is dry or rocky, what will they have to latch onto?

Satan will swoop down upon them before they have a chance. Two birds with one stone—the Christian and the believer rendered useless.

How do we keep our land fertile and our crops fruitful?

Study God’s word. Pray. Listen for the movement of the Holy Spirit inside of you. Make sure your deeds reflect your beliefs (or show vs. tell for you writers out there). Find a community of believers to help teach and encourage you, for the road is long and the battle against the world is tough, but when you remain in the Lord, He will be your strength.

How fertile is your land?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Let's Share! -- Fear and Excitement

This week has been a whirlwind of activity and changes for me. I've hardly been able to sleep as my mind has just been going, going, going like a mini-Energizer Bunny. Yeah, I'm going with the cliche there, it's a little early in the morning for me to be too creative.

Anyway,the beginning of the week was just busy enough to wear my girls out (who knew that could actually happen--I didn't). It also included discovering a hole in the ceiling that was caused by a water leak, which maintenance can't come fix until next week. Grrrreeeeaaat.

Then the phone call came.


"I got orders today." (It's hubby on the phone)

"What? For where?"


"Are you kidding me?" (Not the shriek of excitement)

That's not exactly how the conversation went, but it's the basics. That's right. We're on orders for Hawaii.

Now, when I first heard this, I freaked out. I was going to have to leave my friends (which I just started making some new offline friends through PWOC and church), my ACFW writing group--not to mention going to visit family wasn't going to be a feasible option more than once or twice while we're over there. Lots and lots of bad thoughts running through my mind.

I put out a plea on Facebook and Twitter for prayer assistance from friends and family. Boy, did they pull out the stops for me! What a blessing! I spent the rest of the evening and well into the night researching the area where we'll be (poor kids, they're so neglected sometimes)and learning about what it takes to move to a place like that. All that did was add to my freak out.

Then I felt a pulling. A soft voice, if you will. I needed to go do my Bible study for the night. This time a mental "Are you kidding me?" came. HellooOOooo...I just found out I'm moving very, very far away and I need to what? But the voice wouldn't leave me alone. So, being the obedient if somewhat begrudged child of God, I sat down and had my quiet time.

As you know, I've been going through Experience God with my PWOC Bible study group. The lesson was Day 1 of Unit 4, and part of it was to read Gen. 22:1-18, which is the story of God telling Abraham to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering, but then at the last minute, God provides a ram and commends Abraham for his faith. So, in the context of the lesson, it was emphasizing Abraham's willingness to walk by faith, even though he obviously didn't want to kill his son, and then how God provided for Abraham.

I just sat there nodding my head. Yep, God, I get it. I hear ya loud and clear. We're going to Hawaii, and You must have great plans for me. I just have to be willing to follow and put my trust in You.

I woke up yesterday morning light as feather. We were going to Hawaii! I was excited for all the wonderful experiences we'll have, the things we'll get to see. Yes, sad about leaving all my friends and plans, but trusting that God was putting us in Hawaii for a reason.

What about you? Have you ever felt equally excited and fearful about something in your life?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


After my plea to you all for prayers last week, I must rejoice. Our prayers are being answered. While my lifestyle changes will not happen overnight (or they haven’t yet), my hope has been restored. I have a renewed sense of faith in the fact that I can do anything through Christ.

It may take time and practice. I may not change old habits overnight, but I will make strides. Little by little, with baby steps, I’ll find God leading me down the path to a healthy life.

I want to thank all of you for your prayers and suggestions. You all are wonderful friends and I feel truly blessed to know each of you. God brings people into our lives for a reason…and He has used each of you to touch my life, and I am humbled at that thought.

So on this beautiful Wednesday, I will not complain about my messy home, or the whole in the ceiling that is leaking, or my mounting inbox, or backed up reviews, or the homeschooling that needs to get done, or anything else in my life today. I am grateful for all of it. They are tests of faith (and patience) and I will choose to be proactive, with the Lord’s guidance, and all my day will fall in line to glorify Him.

Monday, September 13, 2010


“But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”

(Isaiah 40:31)

Wait on the LORD. In other words, be patient.

Patient is something that I am not very good at. I have always been an impatient person. I’m an act now type of person. I think, I do—no waiting.

I’ve been working through the Bible Study, Experiencing God, with my group. One thing that this study is teaching me is that I need to be in God’s will at all times in order to succeed. This is frustrating sometimes, because in order to be in God’s will, I have to be willing to wait.

Abraham waited 25 years (I think, without looking it up) for God to bless him and Sarah with a child. Saul waited for years after God confronted him on the road to Damascus before he began to preach to the Gentiles. Why? Why was there so much waiting?

God had a plan. God wanted these men to be part of that plan. God wanted them to know they were part of the plan. But they weren’t ready—yet. God had to bring them to a position in their lives where they were most equipped to carry out the plan.

Those who wait, tough, are deeply blessed. God renews their strength and helps them to soar. We are prepared to run the marathon, to traverse the mountain. We are more than we could have been without God.

Wait on the LORD.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Let's Share! -- Application

With the ninth anniversary of 9/11 tomorrow, many people have been remembering and talking about the day that changed America, wondering how we swore to never forget and how we had, etc.

9/11 was an awful day, one of the worst in the history of the U.S. Some people still struggle with how God could allow something like that to happen.

I do not want to downplay what happened on that horrible day. And I do think that we should never forget. But what about the good things that come out of such an event? What about the sense of community, of togetherness that was present for several months, even years, after that?

People are right when they say that was the day that changed America.

I know it changed me.

Yes, I can say that it reminded me of the preciousness of life, to live each day as if there was no tomorrow.

But how else?

At the time, I was in a bad place in my life. I was doing things I'm not proud of today--I wasn't proud of it back then either. I had fallen away from the path God had laid before me. I was lost.

I wish I could say that after 9/11, I did an about-face and got my life in order, but the sad truth is that I didn't. I did acknowledge that day that I needed to make some changes. I needed to find my place in God's plan once more.

Pride and humiliation kept me from taking any steps forward. With all the stories that surfaced over the next several months, I started taking baby steps. Baby steps to changing my life.

It was another couple of years later, when my husband was shipped off on his first deployment (because of the ensuing war after 9/11), that I stepped back into a church. I renewed my relationship with God, and found comfort, love, and support with many new friends.

9/11 brought me back to God. It took some time, but I know that's when it all started.

What about you? How did 9/11 change you?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Little Discouraged

On Wednesdays, I like to blog about something that comes under the umbrella of "hope". Today, I am not feeling that hope. In fact, I'm the one in need of hope.

Normally, I don't show the world my more pessimistic side. I would not classify myself as a pessimist, however, there are certain aspects of my life that I tend to view in a more hopeless light. My health is one of those areas.

If you've known me for very long, you know I suffer from several ailments--diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, and severe allergies. Most of the time, all of these (except the allergies) are managed quite well and I don't have many side effects.

Lately, though, my health has been out of control. My blood sugars are insane (even after the doc switched my meds), I've been having several asthma attacks a week, and though I have no proof, the shiny little spider-web thingies I see ever now and then tells me my blood pressure probably isn't doing all that great either.

And I'm discouraged.

I know that part of the problem (maybe most of it) lies in my diet and exercise (read: not following my diet, and the exercise I get is cleaning the house). Doc said I needed to lose the rest of my baby weight and that would help a lot.

This is my dilemma. I WANT to lose weight. I WANT to change my diet and start exercising more. I WANT to be healthy. I even go so far as to plan stuff out so that these things are included. I started planning my meals for the week so that I would buy the right groceries and always know what I was making so I wouldn't be tempted to go out to eat or make something less-than-healthy for me.

But then I always fail. Always.

I've even tried praying that God would imbue me with the continuing motivation to do this.

Then the morning comes and my blood sugar is insanely high (this morning, my fasting was 183 and it's supposed to be under 100) or my allergies are at their peak--and I just don't do it. I'll be too tired to exercise. I'll be too tired to make that salad for lunch. You can see the downward spiral.

I don't know what to do, so I'm coming to you all for help. I need prayer, lots of prayer. I need to turn my life around. I have the know-how, just not the energy/continuing motivation.

Enough about me. I think sometimes I can be too self-focused. What about you? Is there anything you are struggling with that you would like me to pray for?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Giving like Jesus

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

One of my favorite chapters in John is Chapter 14 where Jesus comforts His disciples and then promises them that, even though He is going away, the Father will send the Holy Spirit to teach and guide them.

Do you ever notice how every time you read something, even if you’ve read it a hundred times, something new jumps out at you? I find that especially true when I read the Bible—and the same was true today.

Today it was John 14:27 (copied above). “I don’t not give to you as the world gives.” How does the world give?

I sat back and thought about that. How does Jesus give that differs from the world?

When the world gives, it gives only to those it deems worthy.
Jesus gives because He loves all of us—the saved and the lost.

When the world gives, it holds back, only giving what is necessary.
Jesus gives freely and generously.

When the world gives, it expects something in return.
Jesus gives only desiring a relationship with us.

And if you think about it, throughout His lifetime on earth, Jesus gave, not only to those who believed in Him, but to everyone. From something as simple as providing a meal during a sermon to giving up His life that we may have the opportunity to live, Jesus’ gifts were meant for all.

In our quest to show Christ to the world, we should consciously strive to give as He gave. Give both of our time and our gifts. Give cheerfully. Give without worry, knowing that God will provide for us. If for no other reason, give because He gave His life for us.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Life and Goals

Happy September everyone!

We're in a new month again and you know what that means: GOALS! If you read my post on Wednesday, you know I've seen the dangers of overscheduling, but as my good friend Annie said, that doesn't mean we shouldn't have goals for ourselves. I totally agree! If you've been following me long, you also know I'm all about those goals.

I didn't accomplish as much in August as I would have liked to where my writing is concerned. Yes, I started to blog regularly, which is awesome! I have so much fun interacting with everyone on here. When it came to my novel, though, pfft. The month started with a kick, I revised the first 9 chapters in only a few days. However, then my husband left and my writing time went from bunches to almost nil.

As Connor is getting bigger, he is not sleeping as much. In fact, I think he hardly napped yesterday. He took like 5 mini-naps instead of two longer ones. On the up side, he did actually sleep through the night for the first time last night! Praise the Lord!

Then the last two weeks of the month, everyone in the house was sick. So, even after hubby got home, very little work was accomplished. I think I managed to revise one more chapter.

Needless to say, I didn't meet my goal of finishing my edits by the end of August so I could send them off to an editor friend, but no worries. I just have to realize that two preschoolers, a baby, and no husband means I need to be much more purposeful with what little time I have.

I would still like to finish edits by the end of September. I would like to enter Dividing Spirits into the CWG Operation First Novel Contest, but if it doesn't happen, I won't be too crushed. I do, however, want to get it submitted to a few agents/editors before the end of the year. I think that's plausible.

Now...who wants to see some pictures of my precious little ones?

All three kids!

We've discovered that he loves his highchair...even though he's not being fed yet, he likes to sit in it with us at the table.

If I didn't mention before, Connor had his two month appointment on August 18th. Our suspisions were confirmed. He's a BIG boy. 99th percentile for his weight, 95th percentile for his height. So, while he is nicely proportioned, he's still BIG for his age. No wonder my arms and back hurt. lol... He's healthy and happy though, and that's what really matters. You should see him smile and coo...awwww!

Anyway, enough about me. What's new with you? What are your goals for September? Let's come together to support each other!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Safe Schedules?

Happy September everyone!

Last night, during my Bible study time, I came to a revelation. Or possibly, God sent me a revelation. My Bible study group just started “Experiencing God” by Henry and Richard Blackaby. In the first week, they touch on a few basics for having a relationship with God and knowing God’s will. Day 3 discussed what it means to be God’s servant—and that’s when I got my revelation.

“…you do not have the ability to carry out the Lord’s command except to be where He wants you to be.” (pg 18)

Let that settle for a moment as I continue.

As you know, I am a stay-at-home mom to three kids, all four and under. I’m also a wife to an Army soldier who travels quite a bit. On top of that, I’m a fiction writer who hopes to get published sometime in the near future. Add in church and sports and homeschooling…life gets pretty hectic.

I spend a lot of time planning out my week to help smooth out my days. I make lists…lots of lists. I try to structure my days to ease my stress level. However, more often than not, the schedule falls through the cracks. Something always comes up.

Then my stress level goes through the roof. I feel like I’m not getting anything done. I get overwhelmed—sometimes to the point that I just don’t do anything—which of course is probably the worst thing to do.

But maybe there’s a reason my plans don’t work out.

“…you do not have the ability to carry out the Lord’s command except to be where He wants you to be.” (pg 18)

Maybe I am too busy planning out my life to allow for the flexibility for God to work through me. Maybe I get too focused on my own business that I miss opportunities God places in front of me.

That is definitely an important lesson for me. I need to let God lead my life day-by-day and trust in what He has in store for me.

Do you allow enough flexibility in your life to let God work through you?