All right. You got me. It's not yet midnight in my part of the world. But I have some time to write a bit, and I wanted to think back over 2012. It's been such a great year for me; I kind of hate to see it go! The world, however, moves on...and I with it.
The first part of the year was the same as most years. We traveled to Branson for Spring Break, which was awesome! My whole family loves Branson. It helps that we have extended family who live there. As we traveled home, however, I began to realize that I needed to do some things to change my life. A trip to Copper Mountain , CO with my brother at the very end of March confirmed that.
We spent the day at a much higher altitude than I was used to. I got winded climbing a flight of stairs. I just felt crummy throughout most of that day. It was time to lose weight. April 1st, I began a six-month journey that resulted in losing close to fifty pounds. I worked out. I watched what I ate. I walked all over our small town. And I started to feel so much better.
I have more work to do on that. I'd like to lose about thirty more pounds. Over the holidays, I stopped worrying so much about eating healthy, so I need to get back on track. My body is ready. This afternoon, I was thinking about what I could have, but I realized I really didn't want anything. I wasn't hungry. It's really that simple. I'll just have to start reminding myself of that.
This year, I "retired" from singing. I've never considered myself much of a singer, although I hear good things from people after I've performed. I'd been singing in a trio of ladies, but it was time to give that up. I felt like our season was over, and I wanted to concentrate on writing. I still sing from time to time, but it's just not as important to me as it once was.
The biggest news of all, though, happened in July. My book, Asylum, was chosen as the WestBow Press/Munce Group Writing Contest grand prize winner. My book went into production at the beginning of August, and by the end of that same month, I held the paperback in my hands. It was quite awesome! Since then, I've been trying to market my book in all kinds of crazy ways. I've had amazing response from both friends and folks I've never met.
That leads into my hopes for 2013. It's my prayer that I will be paired with a literary agent who can guide my career, work with me as a writer, and partner with me in getting my series off the ground. I'd like to see the Circeae Tales land a traditional contract with a reputible house. And not for financial success. I've heard from people who have been touched by my stories - that's what it's all about. Reaching people for God. For His glory.
I wish you all a beautiful and prosperous year ahead. May your dreams come true. May you find what you are searching for. And may the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. Happy New Year!
To put it plainly, this book is wonderful. It’s engaging. What a great way to demonstrate grace in action.
Lucado starts by saying “grace is God’s best idea.” Throughout the book, we see that through the stories Lucado shares. We are challenged to examine ourselves to see if we have ever been changed by grace.
A visual image that stands out is Lucado’s comparison to God as a heart surgeon—“cracking open your chest, removing your heart…and replacing it with his own.”
As Lucado tells us, it is difficult to appreciate what grace does until we understand who we are. One of the best lessons in the book is acceptance – in order to accept grace, we also have to accept the responsibility to grant it.
Grace is one of the hardest things for us to understand about God. Perhaps as a child, we learn a little when we don’t receive the punishment we should. Perhaps as a parent, we learn a little more when we extend such grace to our children. But we may not ever fully comprehend the grace God shows us.
Through Lucado’s words, we are opened to this concept. Lucado has such a way with the craft—it’s like sitting in his living room and talking with him as an old friend. I appreciate Lucado’s writing, and I highly recommend this work.
As we rapidly approach the end of 2012, this day may see a couple of different posts from me. Perhaps I can't collect all my thoughts in one fluid blog. Really, though, I just have a few things to share with you that don't connect. And I'm stealing a moment away from my kids (a much-needed break) to write this.
I want to thank all those folks who have taken a chance on my book, Asylum, this year. I am honored that you would choose to spend your time and money on the stories I've worked on. Thank you for escaping with me to the Circeae system and for opening your hearts to the Logia and the Ghosts.
Asylum has received many positive reviews, for which I am most grateful! To those people who took the extra time to write kind comments and constructive criticism - a heartfelt thank you. I am encouraged and touched by your words. The feedback is invaluable. I've had both friends and complete strangers review the book, and I want you to know how very much I appreciate you all.
And I hope you'll stick with me, as I fully intend to see this series published through its end. I promise - you won't be bored. Asylum is just the beginning. There are many more stories, many more characters, and much more excitement to come.
Blessings to you all!
As part of my marketing plan, I hope to participate in science-fiction conventions. I attended several when I was in high school. Oh, my goodness, what fun they are! I had a blast! I got to meet the likes of Patrick Stewart, George Takei, James Doohan, Jonathan Frakes...and even got to hear DeForest Kelley speak. I have some pretty awesome sci-fi memories.
Tonight, I Googled sci-fi conventions and found quite a list! Even more exciting, I found a local gathering that is happening within the next few weeks. I'd never heard of the sponsoring group, but I am certain they are kindred spirits, as Anne Shirley would say. (Bonus points if you know who Anne Shirley is. If not, Google!) I really hope I get to take part in this gathering! That would be way too cool!
And with the listings I found, I realized how very many people there must be out there who appreciate some form of sci-fi. I know I've touched on this before, but what is it that is so attractive about the genre? To me, it's the possibilities. Endless permutations and combinations (thank you, Marty Math! - Google that, too!) that open up fantastical worlds. I love it!
I'm excited about the opportunities out there. I hope I'll get to meet you one day at one of these conventions. In the meantime, though, I'd love to hear about your sci-fi convention experience. Or what you love about sci-fi! Shoot an email my way, or leave a comment here.
On the eve of this Christmas, I am sitting at home with two sick kids. Okay, they are recovering...thankfully. My husband has taken the other Dingo to a neighboring town to do some last minute Christmas shopping. So I thought I'd share my Christmassy thoughts with you.
After such a troubled year, I wish for an end to the crazy violence we've seen. I wish for everyone to find peace in Jesus. I wish for our government to get their stuff together and make life a little easier for its citizens. (And I don't mean that as a political statement, but just in general!)
Now I know those wishes won't come true. They are too big for any human to handle. Those will fall to my prayer list.
On a personal note, this year, I would like to find a literary agent who is willing (and excited!) to work with me. I'd like to receive a traditional publishing contract for my series and other books I've planned. And I'd like to see Asylum take off. It would be swell if it reached Kindle's Top 100.
And perhaps those wishes won't come true. It's really hard to break into publishing. I am willing to do my part of the work, though, so we'll see what happens.
If none of my wishes are granted, I still count myself blessed. I have a fantastic family, wonderful friends, a warm home, and food on the table. There are lots of folks out there who don't have those things. So while I share my Christmas wishes, I also want to praise God for my blessings. I am so thankful for all I have.
And as long as we're wishing, I wish you and yours a very merry Christmas. Remember what it's all about:
I was a bit older when I got married. We made the decision to have kids right away, but we really weren't expecting to have one that very same year. God, however, is wiser than we are. We married in March, and He gave us a baby in December.
As most first-time moms are apt to do, I collected every pregnancy/parenting book I could get my hands on. Truth be told, I didn't really read them. I skimmed through them and read the parts that caught my attention. Things I was curious about. Things that worried me. The information was somewhat helpful, but not life-changing. I found that one book would say one thing, while another book would say the exact opposite.
Now that I'm a mom of three, I can tell you that I've given all those books away. I think it's wonderful that there are "experts" out there who provide such information, but the only real expert on your kids is you. Each of them is different. No single parenting book is going to give the answers your want or need.
I thought about this last night as my youngest (almost three) was crying in her bed. We went through a time when she slept in our bed every night. It was miserable for all of us. Now, I know there are some parents out there who are all for the co-sleeping thing. That's super...but I'm not one of them. I prefer my bed to belong to me. So when she cries at night, we try to get up and get her back to sleep in her bed.
Well, I sat on the cold floor next to her bed for a little while. She seemed to have drifted off, so I got up and went back to bed. Just a few moments later, we heard whimpering. I was tired. My husband was tired. Like I said - it was cold. I gave in. Our little one ended up sleeping in our bed. As I tried to get back to sleep, I kept chiding myself - the books would tell me I'm wrong in doing this. That by giving in, she'll make it a habit. We'll be back to square one.
Then I thought about love. I want my children to feel loved. Safe. Secure. How best to do that? First - I start by getting rest so that I'm not grumpy in the morning. Staying up to rock a three year old can be lovely, but some nights, you just can't do that. Last night was one of those nights. She was scared of something. When she got into our bed, she went right to sleep. She felt safe, and the fear was gone.
I have to admit to one of those "bad mom" moments. Yes, they happen. My almost-seven-year-old was going to bed last night and complained about a cut on his pinky. He wanted me to turn a light on so he could see if there was a cut. I argued with him for five minutes about turning on the light when he should just go to sleep...before he burst into tears. I felt terribly. I didn't want him to cry. I just wanted him to go to sleep!
In thinking about this, I realized that the world is mean enough. Our homes should be a warm place of love and safety. So this morning, I apologized to my little man. I told him that I was thankful that he trusted me enough to tell me about even the smallest hurt, and that I hoped he'll come to me again when he's hurting. I also explained that moms don't always know everything, and that we get frustrated sometimes. No book would have told me how to handle that situation...
So that little scene might have affected allowing my little one to sleep with us. But in the long run, that doesn't really matter. I know when she's a teenager, she won't be sleeping with us...so it's not a big deal if she does it every so often while she's little. In fact, I'm going to start welcoming the opportunity. Childhood slips by too quickly.
Go love on your kids today. Remember those lost last week, and hold onto yours. They are awesome!!
I am a mom. So the news that has come out of Connecticut today has hit me hard. I can't stop tearing up when I imagine the scene. Distance-wise, I am quite removed. Emotion-wise, I am grieving with the families and friends.
This is supposed to be a magical time of year. A time of celebration. The carols tell us, "Joy to the World!" This morning, as I got ready to go have lunch with my son at his school, I put on a jingle bell necklace and earrings to match. I thought, "How can I pretend to be happy in the midst of such tragedy?" I didn't want my son to know what's happened. He's too young to fully comprehend the evil involved. And he's a natural-born worrier. He doesn't need that on his shoulders.
I made it through lunch. It was hard not to hold onto him the whole time. But upon returning, I saw a Facebook status that helped. "Jesus is holding a lot of kids close right now."
That reminded me of the true meaning behind the song "Joy to the World!" We can place our trust in Jesus and have joy through His promises. I am clinging to that today. I'm finding my joy, despite the heartache. None of this surprises God. He's still on His throne, and He will have His day.
Join me in praying for the families who have experienced such terrible loss. Let us remember not only the ones who are going through it, but those who have experienced similar situation and are perhaps reliving the terror. Let us also remember the first-responders who have to deal with this nightmare.
"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." Psalm 23:4
"‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4
Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur is a captivating read. From the start, one of the overall themes is that God is in control, and that we can trust Him for the outcome.
Through Scriptural stories, we learn that God’s mighty power can override human weakness to accomplish His sovereign purposes—stories such as Gideon and Samson. Jonathan demonstrates a fearless faith. He placed his faith firmly in the promised will and power of God. Through Jonah, we see that God is the sovereign creator and supreme judge. Mark and Onesimus show us that heroes are people who do not run away.
This book reveals that the Lord “does not limit His kingdom work to one kind of person.” It’s the kind of reminder we all need as everyday people who serve a mighty God. Through MacArthur’s insights, our hearts are reassured, rekindled, and impassioned to step up our faith and stand firm for God. MacArthur touches on stories that are familiar, but breaks them down and helps us to see God’s movement in their lives. The best part? He shows us how we can apply this knowledge to everyday life.
I found Twelve Unlikely Heroes to be encouraging, heartening, and educational. I would definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy a historical Christian perspective and church leaders.
I love Christmas. It's my favorite time of year! I love the colored lights and the fake snow. I love Santa and the magic he brings. I love the stories of long ago - the birth of our Savior, the appearance of the heavenly host before the shepherds, the wisemen. People are kinder. We're all focused on giving - and admittedly, a little on receiving. It's truly "the most wonderful time of the year"
My mom works in a retail shop in the mall. The very commercial part of me enjoys the mall during the Christmas season. This year, however, my mind (and heart) are starting to change. Maybe I'm just getting older. Maybe I've watched the Charlie Brown Christmas special a few too many times (can that really be the case?). But I'm seeing things in a whole new light.
The greed I see bothers me. People poring over Black Friday ads, shoving them in their loved ones faces to show what they want. Yuck. It's worldly garbage. To me, the "black" part of Black Friday doesn't mean when stores make a profit. Black is dark. It's a day I don't want to go out. It's a day to hide from the crazy people!
I mentioned my mom above. She worked late into the evening last night and opened early this morning. She could have just spent the night at the store! I hearken back to the days of our grandparents. Stores weren't open late into the evening. They weren't open at all on Sundays. Perhaps we should look back to those days and take note. I imagine we'd all be a lot happier if we just slowed down a bit.
I've lived in small towns for the last six years. I don't have access to a 24-hour store. Somehow, I survive. Now, keep in mind that I grew up in a city. As a child, I wanted to live in New York City. I've lived in Boston, Phoenix, Los Angeles...some pretty big places. The city mentality was deeply ingrained. But now, I spend less money - I have to, being part of a pastor's family! - and find that I do just fine without stuff. It's great!
I do have to give a shout out to internet shopping, though. Today, I received a couple packages full of Christmas gifts. The best part? My two-year-old excitedly shouted, "Mama book! Mama book!" The last few packages we've received have been full of copies of my book. That was the best gift of the year.
Merry CHRISTmas. Remember what it's all about.
"O, come let us adore Him..."
Remember my last blog entry about laughing until you cried? I wasn't quite to that point today, but close. I saw this sign, laughed as I drove by, and turned around to snap the shot. It was just too funny!
Today's been kind of a crazy day, so the laugh was definitely appreciated. I hope it at least makes you smile.
I promised a book review, and it is coming. I'll probably get it done over th
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3