Wednesday, December 22, 2010

HERE'S AN ITTY-BITTY SNEAK - PEEK OF THINGS TO COME:



Life is far from a breeze for Olivia Beckman, owner of Livvie’s Kitchen, a favorite among locals in Wabash, Indiana. The widowed mother of two is struggling to make ends meet—no simple feat, especially when her cook turns in his resignation. Yet she’s determined to pull through on her own, just as she did when God failed to save her beloved Frank.

Newly released from a ten-year prison sentence, Will Taylor is ready for a fresh start. With harmonica in hand—the only possession he values, aside from his Bible—he makes his way to Wabash, where a late-night meal at Livvie’s Kitchen turns into a job opportunity when the outgoing cook learns about his restaurant experience. What he doesn’t know is that the “restaurant” was a prison cafeteria. But Will became a new man behind bars, thanks to a Christian friend, and he credits God’s providence with landing him a job he loves. Soon, he cooks and bakes his way into the stomachs of his customers—and the heart of his employer. Both are hesitant, though, still healing from past hurts. A recipe for love between them will require sharing secrets, braving dangers, and believing God for a bright future.


Hey, dear readers, stay on the lookout for this summer 2011 release. ...Love is in the air...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I MADE A CHRISTMAS VIDEO JUST FOR YOU!!!!

(Click on the arrow to view. Love you all!)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Best Christmas Ever!



Do you sometimes look back at the Christmases of your youth and think, 'That was my best one ever!'? I know I do.

I couldn't have been more that seven- or eight-years-old, toothless, innocent (mostly), and tenderhearted. Times were very hard. Daddy had lost his factory job, and our family was living off his unemployment. It was almost Christmas, and my mom had told we kids that this Christmas would be sparse. I think we were all fine with it, even though a teeny part of me couldn't help but grieve over the thought of no presents.

Every other year, our family took the trek in our old blue Ford with the broken heater from Michigan to Ohio to visit my grandparents, and this was one of those years. The lack of presents would be fine as long as I got a taste of Grandma's fine cooking, the smells of which filled every corner of their two-story house. There would be turkey, stuffing, "lumpy" potatoes and gravy, green beans, scalloped corn, homemade rolls, and plenty of pumpkin, cherry, and apple pie. Of course, the wooden bowl would be brimming with an assortment of nuts - pecans, walnuts, and almonds to name a few, and I'd have fun trying my hand at the nutcracker while Grandpa's Victrola played any number of Christmas carols, and the Christmas lights twinkled on the fresh-cut spruce tree.

Even though I knew there wouldn't be an abundance of presents that year, I still awoke on Christmas morning with anticipation stirring my chest. Downstairs, I heard adults in happy conversation, the rattle of pans on the stove, and the splendid aroma of bacon drifting through the floor register. I yanked the covers off me and padded down the carpeted staircase in my flannel nightgown with the pinkie flowers. Grandpa sat in his navy blue velvet chair and smiled when I emerged. "Here she is, folks! At last we can begin!"

"Begin what?" I asked, wiping the sleep from my eyes and walking over to Grandpa for a gentle hug.

"The presents, silly."

Presents? At that, my older brothers seemed to appear from nowhere, and my parents and grandma came from the kitchen, steaming mugs in their hands and twinkles in their eyes.

Yes, there were presents, nothing major, mind you, but presents, six or seven with MY name on them. I opened things like socks, a board game, a book, a pair of mittens knitted by Grandma, a new sweater, and some pajamas. The BEST present, though, came inside a very large box. What in the world? I couldn't imagine, but my heart pit-pattered with nervous joy as I ripped off the tape and ribbons and tore away the paper. Pulling the lid from the box, I blew out a breath of utter astonishment. It was my doll! Used, yes, and very well loved, but cleaned up spic and span to look like new! My mother had done something very special. That fall, while I was at school, she'd begun using old scraps of fabric to stitch many, many different outfits for my doll, dresses, coats, skirts, shirts, nightgowns, hats, scarves, and even blankets. I recall picking up my doll and squeezing her to me, then staring down at the scores of outfits fashioned by my talented mother. I don't think I'd ever loved so fully until that moment or experienced so completely, what it meant to give from a heart of love and sacrifice.

Mom died this past January at almost 97 years of age. As the anniversary of her passing approaches I am filled with precious memories of Christmases past - but I cannot help but hold especially dear that Christmas of 1956 when she taught me afresh the true spirit - and joy - of the blessed Christ season.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

OH, THE JOYS!



We had our kids and grands over last night for supper and the decorating of the Christmas tree and a bunch of cookies. Oh, what a fun and "gooey" time we had!

Here's Dylan, trying his hand at decorating a cookie. (Notice the tongue action.)




And here's his sister Lexi giving cookie decorating her first-ever try!



And this is Gavin saying, "Kafooey with the cookie decorating. I wonder what these sprinkles taste like!"



Here are a few of the "masterpieces"! Aren't you impressed?



Dylan is hanging the ornament of his choice!



Lexi is hanging an ornament with her name on it!



Gavin has found the perfect place to hang his ornament. (Yes, we had to do some major rearranging later.)



And - walah! - this is the finished product! What do you think?



Praying all of you have a glorious December!

FOR THE LOVE OF BOOKS, MUSIC, AND MOVIES: ABBIE ANN

FOR THE LOVE OF BOOKS, MUSIC, AND MOVIES: ABBIE ANN: "Once again Sharlene MacLaren has swept me away in ABBIE ANN. A large novel at 500 pages, reads smoothly, taking you on an amazing journey ..."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

THANKSGIVING BLESSINGS...



I can't believe another year of blessings has come and gone. As I sit here at my computer thinking of the many things in life that bring me joy - my husband, children, grandchildren, extended family, church, friends, etc. - I am simply overwhelmed with gratefulness to God. Yes, I'm an author, and I should be able to come up with a multitude of ways to express my thankfulness, right(?) but, alas, I am finger-tied!

Lest you think that everything always goes my way, let me assure you I'm human, severely flawed, and living in a body that sometimes doesn't do what I want it to do (things just happen when you hit your 60s). This year I've had my ups and downs, heartache and joy, loss and gain. Along the way, there have been bumpy roads and smooth. Life is like that, you know, ever changing and unpredictable, but thankfully, I serve a God who remains a steady and powerful force.

As we gather around our Thanksgiving tables this year, let us all rejoice in God's rich bounty. In the midst of heartache and strife there is always one reason or another to give thanks. I hope you don't have to search too hard or too long to find it.

With much love and heartfelt hugs...

Monday, November 15, 2010

ANYBODY WANT TO BUY MY PARENTS' HOUSE/COTTAGE?



On a whim, I am posting my parents' house for sale on Twin Lake, MI, 49456. Beach front on this recreational fishing/skiing lake. Room for dock, speed boat, etc. Click on link below for details. (((**NO land contract**.))) Asking price is $119,000, although price is negotiable.

Septic, well, water heater, furnace all in good shape and working order. House needs a special touch. Great for a summer getaway!


INTERESTED IN SEEING MY PARENTS' LITTLE COTTAGE? CLICK HERE! And you will get to view pictures of the house and surrounding property, interior and exterior views.

(((Hugs)))
Shar
HOW'S YOUR GAS GAUGE? HIGH, MEDIUM, LOW, EMPTY?



Ever run yourself so fast and furious you wonder how you ever made it from point A to point B in the same day? It happens all the time because we live in a ragged, busy, sometimes out-of-control society. Jump out of bed, try to eat something on the run, feed the kids, dog, and cat (if you have any), let hubby fend for himself, give hasty kisses goodbye, then jump into the car and drive down that clogged up, bumper-to-bumper highway, and hope to make it to your destination with a couple of minutes to spare. (Are you tired yet?)

Back up to that first second you opened your eyes. Did you happen to whisper, "God, You're in control of this day? I'm weak and I desperately need Your peace."

We are all flawed humans, full of wear and tear, but God is SOVEREIGN. Rather than wear yourself into a frazzle by trying to accomplish all your day's activities alone, let THANKFULNESS, JOY, and TRUST be your guides. As you live in the dazzling presence of Christ Jesus, His strength and power will shine through you.

As you go about your day, you'll soon discover things are less about you and your problems, and more about the Savior. Let Him guide you down the path He has set for you, not the one you have worked so hard to orchestrate.

GOD's ways are always best.

Phil. 4:6,7


I LOVE YOU ALL

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

HERE COMES QUIRKY QUESTION #4

Black and white piggy is just full of QQs. Here's another one, and sooo deep. haha.



Okay, here goes: If you had your own factory, what would it make? Answer away, my friends.

Monday, October 11, 2010

QUIRKY QUESTION #3 COMING YOUR WAY! (COME PLAY!)



Black and white piggy has another QQ for you:

When you were little who was your favorite super hero, and why? (Doesn't have to be some cartoon figure or movie star--unless you want it to be.)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

I LEARNED SOMETHING NEW TODAY!

- People born before 1946 are known as "The Silent Generation".
- The "Baby Boomers" are people born between the years 1946 and 1959.
- Those born between 1960 and 1979 are commonly referred to as "Generation X".
- This present generation is known as "Generation Y" and are those people born between 1980 and 2009.

Why do we call this last group Generation Y?

I never did know, but recently a cartoonist explained it very eloquently.

Scroll down...


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Thursday, October 07, 2010

READY FOR QUIRKY QUESTION #2?



Black and white piggy asks, "What is the best thing about your life right now?"

Didn't I tell you this quirky photo would be at the top of my next few blogs? See? I wasn't lying!!! So, tell us (the piggies and me), what is the best thing about your life right now?

Come on, play. Inquiring minds can't wait to read your response!!!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

HEY! GOT A QUIRKY QUESTION FOR YOU!

Okay, so this is a quirky photo. There must be a quirky question to go with it, right? There is!



For the next few days, I'm going to be posting some silly, goofy, quirky questions that I want YOU to answer. Are you game? Come on, play. You know you want to! (There are no wrong answers!) Warning: You will have to look at this photo every time I ask a question, even though it has nothing whatever to do with the question. That's what makes it quirky, see? By the way, I've been asking some QQ's over on Facebook, so just in case you've been reading those, I'll try to keep these different.

Okay, QUIRKY QUESTION #1: If you could eat one kind of food for the rest of your life, what would it be? (Black and white pig says, "Don't say ham!")

Sunday, September 26, 2010

LIFE LESSONS FROM THE DOG, Part 6

This is Peyton's chair - and then along comes 'the cat'!



Are you attached to a certain church pew, so much so that if newcomers enter the sanctuary ahead of you and happen to sit in YOUR pew, you almost cringe? You want to walk up to them and say, "Uh, pardon me, but that's been my pew since 1969. Do you mind?" Ha! Slight exaggeration, but still, it may ring a bit of truth to some of you.

We grow so accustomed to our little worlds, you know, our space encircled by a pretty yellow ribbon bearing the word COMFORT, and we don't want to leave this 'zone' for fear of having to learn something new. And, oh my! far be it from us to even think of moving over and sharing or, worse, getting up and giving someone else what we believe is rightfully ours.

I think Peyton should share that chair, just get down and allow Mocha to snuggle in and enjoy its warmth. Is there anything in "your world" you can't imagine giving up? Is God perhaps nudging you to share a little more, sacrifice your time, money, or gifts? Are you surrendering EVERYTHING to Him, saying, "Here it is, God, all of it. It's Yours. Take it and allow it to touch as many people as You see fit."? Are you doing that? If you're not, then you're missing out on the blessing of a lifetime.

Your Master wants to honor you for your faithfulness. Sometimes it's scary giving in and giving up, but when you do it wholeheartedly, something in your heart breaks free, and life suddenly becomes more about others and less about you.

You can trust Your Master. What you give away will come back to bless you tenfold.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

LIFE LESSONS FROM THE DOG, Part 5

Today, I caught Peyton sniffing out a dead rabbit in our backyard! (Poor, poor bunny.) Since I didn't want to gross you out, I didn't snap a photo of him in the act. Aren't you glad? So, here he is looking all innocent, but bear in mind looks are deceiving.



Peyton wanted to go out, so I opened the door for him and he headed out to do his "business", but something waylaid him. As I was watching him out the window, I could see that at the back of the yard he had found "something" interesting, and I got that weird, churning feeling in my stomach that it was the sort of "something" I didn't want to investigate. So, I went to the door and called him, but all he did was look up at me and then go right back to whatever it was that had caught his attention. Oh, this could NOT be good. My first thought was that he'd found a little playmate, like a mouse, perhaps? And that would have been a huge UGH! for me, as I HATE dem critters more than liver and onions! Okay, I'll make a confession. I have a mouse PHOBIA! (Don't even tell me they're cute and furry.)

When Peyton continued ignoring me, I stepped outside and called him again, but, still, he didn't want to come, acting now like he hadn't even heard my voice. That stinker, I thought, so I inched a bit closer and put a stern tone in my voice. "Peyton, come!" This time, he turned and ran to me. That's when I saw what had him so doggone enthralled. It was a dead rabbit. Flies had started in on it and who knows what else? (Hubby later said the thing was hard and stiff as a board and not at all mauled, so, no, Peyton, my peace-loving Peyton, did not kill it.) I took Peyton in the house and told him he couldn't go back out till that dead critter was gone!

Sometimes we humans like to sniff out stuff that is truly bad for us. The temptation comes at us so strongly we can't resist it. Maybe we give into it, this utterly intriguing thing, because it seems so harmless, even though we sense a tug at our conscience, which is really God's voice of warning. We shove that "voice" aside to quench our thirst for excitement and satisfy our plaguing curiosity. Did you know that if you're smart enough to recognize and obey God's voice you can avoid a myriad of hurtful situations, things that can lead you down a dangerous path and cause you undue harm and suffering?

Stay on guard, my friends, and heed the voice of the One who ALWAYS has your best interest in mind. We have a loving, faithful Master. Let's, in turn, honor Him with our faithful obedience.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

LIFE LESSONS FROM THE DOG, Part 4

PEYTON CAN BE SUCH A NAUGHTY BOY! (But I love him anyway...)

This is Peyton after I sequestered him to his chair because he had just chewed a hole through one of my BEST cardigan sweaters. Look at those mournful eyes.




I always think I'm watching Peyton like a hawk watches for its prey, but there are those times when I turn my back, become engrossed in one chore or another, or simply think I can trust him for more than five minutes, and I fail to step in before disaster strikes. This is one of those times.

I was sitting at my computer in my little office, both doors closed, Peyton at my feet chewing. Because I was concentrating on a scene in my book, his chewing noise actually lulled me, as in fooled me into thinking he was gnawing on one of his myriad of dog toys scattered about - bones, rubber balls, stuffed toys, squeaky thingies, you name it. All of Petco's toy department is on my office floor!!!! This is a spoiled dog!

BUT, what he was really delighting in was my favorite white sweater, you know, the kind you always reach for first in your closet because it literally goes with everything and is just so darned comfortable! Plus, it's flattering and downright pretty. Not anymore. It is now at the bottom of my wastebasket - sigh - and I'm AGAIN learning a lesson from my naughty dog.

Do you know we are all naughty humans? At least I am. I goof up all the stinkin' time, say I'm going to do one thing and do another, promise myself I'll act one way and do just the opposite, try my best not to disappoint others and myself but then quickly fall flat on my nose.

What's a human to do anyway? I have it! Look to the ultimate Master (Jesus Christ) for guidance, direction, and even EXPECT the occasional disciplinary action for our wrongdoings. Eventually we learn that He knows best, and when He says not to do something He generally means it and has a good reason for it.

God loves us unconditionally, my friends, no matter what we do or say, but He also wants us to grow up in Him, learn from our mistakes, obey His calling, and allow Him to take the lead.

Have you learned to trust and obey this kind and gentle Master?

Saturday, September 04, 2010

YIPPEE-SKIPPY! A FIVE-STAR REVIEW OF TENDER VOW!



A Tender New Addition From a Fabulous Author! - September 4, 2010
By "Buukluvr" Molly (Willow Spring, NC - USA) *SEE ALL MY REVIEWS AT AMAZON!


This is an excellent novel written by an excellent author! I love Sharlene MacLaren's work. This is such a different story from the previous 3 of her books I read...."The Daughters of Jacob Kane". She is super talented and knows how to capture her readers' hearts. She really did a wonderful job with this story, blending heartache and pain, love and family, friendship and forgiveness, humor and faith all into one incredible story, making this a story perfect for anyone!

The way Sharlene created Rachel and Jason's characters was phenomenal. They shared a pain so great that I could feel it in my own heart and cried with them. I loved both of these fabulous characters til the very last page and they are still in my heart! I will never forget these amazing people from this book. The love of God shines through them and their families and spills over onto the reader, as you witness the heartache, forgiveness and letting go of the past. And I absolutely can not leave out my most favorite character from this novel....the little sugar plum fairy, Meaggie! SHE WAS ADORABLE! She really added to the tenderness of this story, and that was what topped it off for me, making this an unforgettable read!

So, with glowing *5-star* praise, I most definitely recommend this book to EVERYONE. There is a message of faith, forgiveness and overcoming heartache that will last in your heart for a very long time. And, if you have never read a Sharlene MacLaren book, don't miss out on this one! It's an excellent place to start. If you're already a Shar fan, then this is a tender addition to your collection! I can't wait for the next amazing book from this fascinating author!


You can pick up your copy at many Christian Bookstores, Barnes & Noble, and at all online venues!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

LIFE LESSONS FROM THE DOG, Part 3

This is Peyton's chair, the place he comes to when he needs comfort and rest.



Peyton is a "fraidy-dog". He's been afraid of most everything since the day I got him. I will never know what's made him so fearful of things, whether his worries are learned or genetic, but I do know I've come to view him as needy and dependent. It's fine with me, but I've had to tell myself not to coddle him over every little thing, just say, "It's all right, no biggie. There's nothing dangerous about that bouncing ball or that airplane or the garbage truck or that stranger walking by." When he hides behind my leg I have to give him a single, gentle pat on the head, reassure him with a word or two, and then ignore him because he must learn to trust things without my constant babying. That's what I'm told by books I've read and from an experienced trainer. Sure, I want to put all 60# of him in my lap and hug all his fears away, but what would he learn from that other than to constantly run to me when his world goes a little topsy-turvy? No, there comes a point where he must learn to trust his environment.

We can take our worries and fears and cares to the Lord, but there comes a time when we must say, "Hey, I've prayed about this, I know God's in control, He's not going to let anything happen to me that isn't supposed to happen. I can trust Him and His Word without crying over every little detail of life. He's been faithful to me in the past - and He will continue to be faithful tomorrow and the next day." That's called maturity, growing up in your faith.

Ever find yourself fretting, giving the matter over to the Lord, then taking it right back? An old hymn says it best: "Bring your burden to the Lord and leave it there." Oh, if we could just grasp hold of that concept.

God is our loving, generous, compassionate Master. Let us learn to give up control of our lives, trust in the Lord's all-sufficient grace, and surrender to His gentle leading.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I GOT IN A CAR ACCIDENT! AARGH!!!

And the worst part of all -- it was MY fault! Oh, that's a hard pill to swallow. It is so much nicer if at the end of a day you can say, "That so and so sideswiped me while I was minding my own business." Not so in my case. No, the lady I hit is probably saying that - but in much stronger language.

I was on my way to a bridal shower when I noted the ribbons and tissue paper blowing all over (I had the top down on my convertible), also my stack of books was falling, so I was messing with that. That's when, in the blink of an eye, I heard a crash, a slash, and a loud rip. Ugh. Yanking my head up I saw a car to my right. Quickly, she pulled off as did I, and then I put my head on my steering wheel and started bawling like a B-A-B-Y! HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO CARELESS AS TO TAKE MY EYES OFF THE ROAD FOR EVEN A SPLIT SECOND?

This has been a huge eye-opener for me. Not to look for my phone, a tube of lipstick, a pen, my sunglasses - or anything - in my purse because all it takes is an instant and life can turn completely upside down. Praise the Lord in my case the only thing that suffered was my car, and while the ambulance did come and take a look at a young girl of about 12 or so sitting in the back seat of the other vehicle, everyone is fine and for the most part unharmed. Thank you, Jesus.

I post this as a gentle warning to all of you to BE CAREFUL and ALERT. There are distracted drivers out there (like me) who take their eyes off the road for mere seconds and wind up crossing medians, hitting cars head-on, slamming into trees, and ramming into buildings. PLEASE BE CAREFUL. I love you all too much to say good bye just yet!

Take a look at my fender and headlight. The damage extends for about half the car, but I'm just showing you the front part. I'm sick about it, but so very thankful for another chance to prove myself on the road. I CAN BE A RESPONSIBLE DRIVER!




Sunday, August 22, 2010

LIFE LESSONS FROM THE DOG...Part 2

This is Peyton's place of refuge, his trusty kennel.



When life gets a little scary; i.e., the grandkids come over (they are loud and rambunctious!), I am running the vacuum, a bunch of company arrives, fireworks light the sky, or unidentified noises fill the air, this is the first place Peyton runs. I try to calm Him with a few words. "It's okay, nothing to worry about," I say even as he races past me to make a beeline for his kennel. I let him go, knowing his little "house" makes him feel safe. After some time, confidence restored, he once again emerges.

Do you have a safe place you run to when life gets out of hand? I do. I run to the Lord's open arms where I know I'll find comfort and peace. I feel secure there, resting in His big, warm and cozy embrace. I love that He loves me so completely, even when I goof up. I never did anything to deserve His love, but, still, He gives it so freely.

Sometimes circumstances come along to cause me pain, unrest, worry, discomfort, or heartache. At first I cry and fuss and fret until I finally remember my safe place. That's when I run into God's arms, and as He enfolds me in a big hug, I hear Him gently say, "It's okay, nothing to worry about."

What a kind and faithful Master.

Friday, August 20, 2010

MR. FED-EX GUY CAME TODAY!



I am so delighted to announce the arrival of Tender Vow, a stand-alone contemporary romance. You can check the synopsis if you scroll down on your left to my book listings then click on Tender Vow.

There's just nothing like the excitement an author feels when the book he/she has labored on for months returns from the printer and arrives in a nice big carton on said author's doorstep. You rip into that box like you had a ten-second window till detonation, rather like a 10-year-old tearing into his Christmas presents. It's just fun, no other word for it.

So, in honor of my fun--you wanna do a giveaway? It's easy to participate. Just leave a comment here, I'll copy your name and throw it in "the hat", and then we'll have a drawing on MY BIRTHDAY, August 26, how's that? So come on, help me celebrate. You know you want to!

Love to ALL of you!
Shar

Thursday, August 19, 2010

LIFE LESSONS FROM THE DOG

Peyton is my sweet 11-month-old collie. I think of him as my "rescue dog" because he came to me at five-months of age with no real name, never having walked on a leash outside of his backyard, hair chewed off his hind legs due to a skin infection, fleas, knowing zero commands, no confidence, and extreme fear issues--as in this boy was afraid of bouncing balls, sounds of all kinds, people, other dogs, his shadow! All he wanted to do was hide in a corner, tail between his legs for days on end. And play? He didn't know the meaning of the word. He still has lots of problems, which we are working through on a daily basis, but he is EMERGING, my friends, and it's a beautiful thing. He's showing us who he is, shaking off his fears about life and darkness and spooky noises and squealing kids. He is becoming a new creature, and he's teaching me important stuff about trust and hope.

Tonight we took a long walk around my neighborhood. He walks like a champion now, head up, tail out, nose high and sniffing. I am a stickler about walks as in I walk him; he does not walk ME. (No dog should walk a person. Why do people allow their giant dogs to pull them on a fast gait down the road? How can that be fun?) When I first got Peyton he thought he was in charge. He pulled, bucked, and fought me with the whole leash thing. It scared him half to death. But slowly I showed him he had nothing to fear - that I was in charge, and I was going to keep him safe. He just had to trust me with this leash business and know that it was for his own good.

Do you see where I'm going with this? Trust is a learned behavior. If something hurts us, we tend to draw back to avoid the same hurt twice. God is our ever present help. We can trust Him. Others will fail us, disappoint us, drag us down bumpy, dangerous roads, but God can bring us back if we let Him take control.

He's a good Master. You can trust Him.


*Be on the lookout for future "lessons" from my pretty boy and, of course, more pictures!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

PART 2 - "Did I REALLY do that?"

The saga continues! I told you I cut off (with the sweat of my brow and a measly hand saw) a thick branch from our huge magnolia tree while standing on our 12' ladder, but that I did it while Cecil was away on business. I find it best to do these things in his absence, you see. Otherwise there is too much of this sort of talk: "I'll do it, honey, just not now. Later, okay? Just be patient." But sometimes later means, um, NEXT YEAR! So, once in awhile when I really want something accomplished I have to take matters into my own hands, which sometimes works out and sometimes doesn't.

In this instance it did work out. Quite well, in fact.

Would you believe I did not break the news about my chopping off the big branch until this afternoon--exactly 48 hours after the fact? That is because I wasn't sure how he'd react. I thought he'd be a trifle irritated that I'd risked my precious life on a ladder. haha. Not. Seriously, I was more sure he'd be put out that now he had this long limb to contend with that lay between our house and that of our nice neighbor.

Surprisingly, he took it all in stride. Granted, he shook his head at me and muttered something like, "Leaving you home by yourself is dangerous." The good news is he went out to the magnolia tree and butchered it some more after I pointed out more sagging branches. And then he chopped them all up. Yea! He's now on the phone lining up someone to come haul away our stuff--which does include last year's Christmas tree, so I'm not entirely to blame for all the debris.

Man, I wish I would have taken a BEFORE picture so you could have seen what amazing work I did, but, alas, all I have is the AFTER pictures. You can see how big our tree is. See? I wasn't lying, was I! (See the afternoon sunlight my hanging plant is now enjoying? Before it always hung in pitch blackness!)

All I can say is, "I AM WOMAN!"






Tuesday, July 27, 2010

DID I REALLY DO THAT?

I am usually lazy about physical activity, scared of heights, and hate to sweat. So, that pretty much rules out washing high window, climbing ladders or trees, lifting heavy objects, or doing jumping jacks. (With me so far?)

Okay, so the other day I was staring from the road at our humongous, old magnolia tree that is only good for one thing - producing pretty blossoms in May that last all of 2 days then fall like a bunch of mushy banana peels that need to be raked or mowed up pronto before they wreck the grass. This time of year the leaves multiply like ants at a picnic, weighing down the branches till they nearly touch the ground. One of said branches had fallen lazily over the porch and succeeded in blocking ALL sunlight from my hanging baskets and pots. So, I very sweetly said to Cecil, "That branch needs to be cut off. My porch plants aren't getting any sun and they're dying. Could you do that?"

He studied it for all of 15 seconds and said, "Yeah, I see what you mean. Hmm, well, we'll see, maybe next weekend." Which really means, "Maybe next year" 0R... "Maybe never." Aaargh! "Besides," he said, "When I do cut it down I'll have to chop it in a ton of pieces so we can have it hauled away. That's a huge branch." More silent groans. I followed him into the house.

Well, Cecil went on a brief business trip Monday and Tuesday (he's home now), and so yesterday, without so much as a second's thought, I jumped up from the sofa, went in search of our heavy 12' metal ladder, set it up under that magnolia tree, and then went to the garage for a suitable saw, having NO IDEA what I was looking for. I thought saws looked like those triangle thingies with the sharp metal blade and the wooden grip like my dad used to have. I couldn't find one of those, but I did find two other metal saws with handles, shorter, but saws anyway. So off I went, armed with these two bladed weapons.

I forgot about my fear of heights, but I did hang on as I started climbing up those steps, one, two, three, four, and five. I think I stopped on the fifth rung, or maybe the sixth. With saw in hand I started in on that 8" thick branch. It was actually the circumference of a small tree! And I sawed--and I sawed--and I sawed. Then I switched saws because I thought the other blade would be sharper. Didn't make any difference. And I sawed some more--and my arm started burning from lack of muscle! But since I'd sawed through half the branch I couldn't stop.

Well, I figured the branch would fall AFTER I cut all the way through it. Ha! About 3/4 of the way through I should have hollered "TIMBER!!!" to my dog, but, hmm, that little word didn't come to mind as the huge thing started cracking, splitting, groaning, and tearing away from the cut line. That's when I closed my eyes and prayed, "Oh, dear God, save us!!!" And the branch fell across the ladder AND ME! When I figured out I was still alive I scampered down. Peyton, my dog, was huddled up in a ball against the house. I have ruined his tender psyche for life!

Now, all I had to do was figure out how to get the 100 lb. branch off the ladder and move it to the side of the house. Would you believe SHEER DETERMINATION, GRIT, and PRIDE were my strong forces? I moved the ladder first, after which the branch thudded to the ground. Then I stood there and stared at the 20'+ long piece of tree for a couple of minutes while catching my breath. I'M SWEATING BULLETS, TOO, WHICH I TOLD YOU I HATE TO DO!

Well, I bent down and started tugging for all I was worth. Tug, breathe, stop, tug, breathe, stop, tug...you get the idea. I went a few inches at a time, but I managed to haul that thing about 60-70 feet to the other side of the house, where it still sits. I had NO STRENGTH left within me to saw the thing up into shorter branches, and I have yet to tell Cecil that it is on the other side of the house. He came home from his business trip tonight and said, "Hi honey!", kissed me, then went to his chair and fell asleep. Now, he's in bed. Well, there's always tomorrow. I'll keep you posted as to his reaction, which I think will be, um, slight irritation.

But, hey, beautiful sunlight now drenches my porch plants. Now, if I can just remember to water them!
MEET GERTIE PRIDMORE!

Gertie Pridmore is the town's librarian in Sandy Shores, Michigan. Yep, Gertie's a fictional character in my Daughters of Jacob Kane series, and you can meet her in the book titled Abbie Ann, BUT...she's also a REAL person who lives in Lakeland, Florida.

I first "met" Gertie online more than a year ago before I started writing Abbie Ann. Her friend and fellow church librarian, Judy Locke first wrote to me to tell me she'd been reading and enjoying my books and putting them in the Scott Lake Baptist Church library. She mentioned that Gertie Pridmore had snatched them up as quick as they came in, though, making Judy wait in line to read them. When I first read Gertie's name in Judy's email I thought to myself, 'What a PERFECT name for one of my book's characters.' I loved its old-fashioned sound. My daughter said, "Mom, that name sounds perfect for a librarian!" Thus, I dubbed Gertie Pridmore my librarian!

The real Gertie and I have been keeping tabs on each other ever since, and she's pretty excited to have her name featured in my book. A couple of weeks ago a lady from her church, Jimme Sherfey, designed a beautiful bulletin board in their church just outside their library, so Gertie thought I'd get a kick out of seeing it. I was honored, as I don't think I've ever had a bulletin board designed in MY honor.

Thought I'd show you a photo of the bulletin board and then also a pic of Gertie standing next to it. (Isn't that a pretty bulletin board, and, Gertie, oh, she's so sweet and special!)



Other ladies who volunteer their time in the church library are Marilyn Sullivan, LeWanna Lewis, and Mary Hobson! I LOVE church libraries and am so honored to think my books grace the shelves of so many, especially the one at Scott Lake Baptist Church in Lakeland, Florida!

Friday, July 16, 2010

THERE WAS AN OLD LADY...



There was an old lady, who every morning stepped onto her front porch, raised her arms to the sky, and shouted, "PRAISE THE LORD!"

One day an atheist moved into the house next door. He became irritated at the little old lady. Every morning he'd step onto his front porch after her and yell, "THERE IS NO LORD!"

Time passed with the two of them carrying on like this day after day. "Praise the Lord!" - "There is no Lord!" - "Praise the Lord!" - "There is no Lord!"

One morning, in the middle of winter, the little old lady stepped onto her front porch and shouted, "PRAISE THE LORD! Please Lord, I have no food and I am starving; provide for me this very day, oh Lord!" 

That evening she stepped out onto her porch and there were two huge bags of groceries waiting for her on the top step.  
"PRAISE THE LORD!" she cried out. "GOD HAS PROVIDED GROCERIES FOR ME!"

The atheist neighbor jumped out of the hedges and shouted, "HA-HA! THERE IS NO LORD. I'M THE ONE WHO BOUGHT AND DELIVERED THOSE GROCERIES!!'

The little old lady threw her arms into the air and shouted, "PRAISE THE LORD!  GOD HAS PROVIDED GROCERIES FOR ME AND MADE THE DEVIL PAY FOR THEM!"


Friday, July 09, 2010

T R U S T...



Today is vague, tomorrow is completely unclear. What an incredible idea to trust in the all-knowing Savior, Jesus.

This thought literally woke me up this morning. No kidding. As I started to come awake, there it was, surfacing in my brain. I don't always have these kinds of thoughts upon first rousing. Usually it's ... aargh, morning already?

But today was different. It comforted me, but also made me wonder if I'm supposed to prepare myself for something. God knows our futures, dear friends, and we can TRUST Him implicitly. Yep, these are difficult, unsettling times economically, socially, morally, and ethically. Once in awhile it even feels like NO ONE is in charge. But God is ultimately in control and it's important to keep that little truth at the forefront of our minds.

Are you discouraged, downhearted, tempted to give up? Then LOOK UP! The Lord tells us in His Word that He will never fail, forsake, leave us, or stop loving us. Now, there's something worth clinging to, don't you think?

Isaiah 41:13 says, "I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, 'Do not be afraid, I will help you.'" Does it get any better than that?

Please let me know if you're going through something that requires extra prayer. I promise to bring you to the Lord.

I love you all!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Does this stack of phonebooks look familiar to anybody?

Remember the days of ONE new phonebook a year?  What happened to them?  I don't know about you, but lately it seems like every time I walk down the driveway to get my mail I find another phonebook in a plastic bag hanging from my mailbox.  We have a phonebook for the northern part of our county, a phonebook for the southern part, a huge book strictly for Yellow Pages, another book just for businesses, another for businesses AND Yellow Pages, another for residents AND Yellow Pages.  I'm sure somewhere in that stack, there's even a phonebook for my pets.

I can remember the days of looking forward to my new phonebook.  The old one had gotten dog-eared, so the replacement of a brand new book was downright nice.  But I never asked for 6 new books, some big and fat, some so compact you need a magnifying glass to read the words and numbers.

In this day when many don't even have land lines anymore, wouldn't you think the phonebooks would decrease in number instead of go the other way?  I don't get it.  Why do I need so many?  Anybody have a clue?

I'm not mad, I'm just mystified.  And getting rid of them is another story.  ALL THAT PAPER GOING STRAIGHT TO OUR LANDFILLS.  Ugh!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

ROBIN SHOPE and SHARLENE MACLAREN Write Novels About the Historic Orphan Train!




Maggie Rose by Sharlene MacLaren
Ruby Red by Robin Jansen Shope




Sharlene and Robin made a lovely discovery. Not only are they both teachers (Shar’s retired), they have also written about a special time in history from separate viewpoints. As a result, they decided to ‘cross pollinate’ their books in this shared interview. Come join the discussion, and for leaving a comment, you will automatically be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a copy of both their books, Maggie Rose and Ruby Red, from either one of their Websites. That’s twice the chance to win; in other words, go ahead and leave a comment at both sites to double your odds. If you aren’t a blogger, then leave a comment for them on Facebook or Shoutlife, and they’ll throw your name into the “proverbial hat”.

Shar and Robin thought it would be fun to give you a glimpse into their lives, past and present. This should give you an idea of what influenced their writing careers.

Here's a snapshot of Shar's early life, which influences her to this day:

I grew up in the small town of Twin Lake, Michigan. When I say small I mean we had one gas station, a post office, a tavern/restaurant, a lumberyard, and two grocery stores whose owners were ALWAYS at odds (enemies perhaps?) because of the competition. Townsfolk were either loyal Oslunds’ grocery shoppers or Powells. (You couldn’t be both. Ha!) My family went to Powells’ because my mom swore they had a better meat selection!

I grew up in a tiny cottage-style house on the lake, as in we had beach frontage. It was a great swimming, fishing, waterskiing lake, so as a kid nearly every day in the summer the first thing I did when I awoke was peek through my bedroom curtains to determine what to put on, regular clothes or my swimsuit. Some days, Daddy would awaken me at 5:30 a.m. when the lake was still as glass and the fog lying lazily on the surface and ask if I wanted to go fishing. I didn’t LOVE fishing, but I soaked up those opportunities to sit in my Dad’s quiet, reassuring presence. We had a rowboat dubbed “Maybe Baby”. She had a slow leak, so we kept a bucket handy at all times. Here's a pic of "Daddy" holding me when I was just a year old:

My parents were devout Christians. When those Wesleyan Methodist Church doors opened, and later Free Methodist, our family of five (I have two older brothers) walked through them, Sunday mornings, evenings, midweek prayer meetings, and annual revivals. Sundays were kept holy, as in, um, no swimming—unless I took a bar of soap with me in which case I was going down to the lake to “take a bath”. (grins) That was acceptable. However, no jumping off the end of the dock or acting rowdy! My folks had some rigid rules when it came to their belief system, I suppose, but they ruled with tremendous grace and mercy. In fact, they loved us kids with amazing tenderness and care. There was always a good deal of joking, teasing, and laughter in our home, lots of it. (I acquired my sense of humor from my dad.)

We had very little in the way of material possessions. After all, I grew up in the 50s and 60s, and the country was still suffering through a long, grueling recovery from the Great Depression. But I don’t recall feeling especially deprived, forget that we had an outhouse till I was at least 10—just loved and free and secure. When I was a little kid, Dad worked in a factory then switched to head custodian at a Muskegon elementary school when I was a young teen. While I was in second grade, my mom took a job in the Twin Lake Post Office. I remember feeling so PROUD that MY mom had a “real job” while my friends’ moms didn’t. No insecurity on my part! She was such a loving, generous, fun person; a very strong influence in my life.

Here is a snapshot of Robin's early life, which influences her to this day.

As you will ‘see’, my upbringing was very different from Shar’s. I grew up in Chicago, the daughter of a former bootlegger who, by the time of my birth, owned a respectable nightclub, The Ivanhoe Restaurant. My Christian mother was twenty years his junior. Dad had disguised himself as a Christian man, covering up his swearing, drinking, and womanizing ways for two months while he wooed my mother by taking her to church. As soon as he placed that ring on her finger, though, and vows were spoken, Dad picked up his former ways. I am the middle child of that union.

Born in the late 1800s, my dad was the age of a grandfather. Still, I felt lucky he belonged to me and I to him. He spoiled me terribly with presents, never disciplined me (probably too tired to do so) and gave into me—indulging my every whim while the role of disciplinarian went to my mother. I loved to hear his stories about running away from home at the age of eleven. He worked his way to Texas where he learned to break horses and pick cotton. Traveling further south, he ran into Poncho Villa (honest) and rode with him for a while. He didn’t like what the bandit did, so Dad returned to Texas and joined the Texas Rangers until WWII broke out and he joined the army.

When the war ended, Dad lived with his brother in Chicago and started a tavern at the same time prohibition hit. Not to be deterred from their new adventure, they turned the tavern into a speakeasy and ran bootleg whiskey. After prohibition was repealed, they expanded their business by buying out the stores around them. Soon the small tavern grew into a castle structure fashioned after the one In Robin Hood. My dad and uncle became good friends with Jack Dempsey, Babe Ruth (I have home movies) and more sport stars. Meanwhile, I loved playing in the catacombs, messed up the musician’s music sheets on stage, and ate whatever I wanted from the kitchen. I went to sleep each night with stories spinning around inside my head.

Here is a photo of my parents enjoying a meal at Dad's restaurant:



The ORPHAN TRAIN ERA:Few people realize that 30,000 homeless children roamed the streets of New York City from the mid-1800s through the 1930s. Death and disease were heaped upon poverty and overcrowding, causing thousands of children to be abandoned and left to fend for themselves. Adding to the malaise, boatloads of European immigrants flooded our shores and soon succumbed to the same adversities, leaving thousands of their children parentless. Accounts have been written of the Orphan Train that carried white-skinned children into the heartland of America to find new families. For some it was a gift; for others it ended with tragedy. Many children were loved and cherished while others suffered at the hands of cruel caretakers and were little more than slaves or servants.

Maggie Rose

The year is 1904, and Maggie Rose, the spunky, friendly, twenty-year-old middle daughter of Michigan resident Jacob Kane, feels compelled to leave her beloved hometown of Sandy Shores to pursue what she feels in her heart are God's plans for her life-in New York City. Maggie Rose adjusts to her new life at Sheltering Arms Refuge, an orphanage that also transports homeless children to towns across the United States to match them with compatible families. Most of the children have painful pasts that make Maggie aghast, but she marvels at their resiliency. As she gets to know each child, her heart blossoms with new depths of love and compassion. When a newspaper reporter comes to stay at the orphanage in order to gather research for an article, Maggie is struck by his handsome face…and concerned by his lack of faith. She can't deny their mutual affections, though. Will she win the struggle to maintain her focus on God and remain attuned to His guidance?

Ruby Red

Ruby Redis a fictionalized tale of a true event. Homeless children roamed the streets of New York City from the late 1800s through the 1930s. Death and disease were heaped upon poverty and overcrowding, causing thousands of children to be abandoned and left to fend for themselves. Dark-skinned 11-year-old Ruby is taken in as a maid. Believing life holds more for her than washing clothes, she makes a risky move by faking insanity. After being expelled from the household, Ruby sneaks onto the Orphan Train. With her best friend, a cockroach named Red, housed in a canning jar, Ruby searches for a place to call home and runs into adventure and heartbreak. Both an enigma and a young teen, she is the perfect reflection of how life once was in America. Ruby embodies goodness and simplicity of truth; a rare gem which bespeaks her name. Softened a bit through suffering, she refuses to be hardened and keeps believing that the world holds a special place for her.

Thanks so much for the pleasure of your company. PLEASE be SURE to leave a comment on either/both of our blogs for a chance to win our books!

Check out Robin's blogspot HERE!

DRAWING DATE:
MONDAY, JUNE 21 !


Saturday, June 05, 2010

WHAT A GOOBER!

I think I'll choose red font for ALERT! My "puppy" is 9-months-old and growing! Cecil calls him the "terrible-twos-toddler"--and he's not far off. To date, he (not Cecil) has wrecked three pairs of my favorite sandals, chewed a little corner of fabric off my new floral chair, peed on the floor (more than once), jumped on top of Cecil when he was in a dead sleep to avoid having to go night-night in his big wire crate, figured out four times how to get out of it (he shakes it or something while we're gone...we don't know. We're thinking about putting a camera on him.), eaten things that should never go through a dog's digestive system, destroyed bunches of the kids' pool toys (like those styrofoam noodles), and--and--let's see, I know there's more, but I'll stop there. I think you get the idea.

Here's a picture of him insisting he can fit in this chair. He will scrunch up and twist and turn until he gets semi-comfortable, sleep for about five minutes, then give into the floor again. As much as he IS a stinker, I do have to say I love him. Yes, he's the complete opposite of our wonderful, laid back, 11-year-old Dakota boy who we had to put down just over four months ago, but this little corker is "growing" on me.

However, if he continues having peeing accidents I don't know what I'll do--start borrowing my grandson's pullups maybe? But wait! He'd eat them! Pray for us.


CAN'T YOU JUST SEE THE MISCHIEF IN THOSE ALMOND-SHAPED EYES?

Friday, June 04, 2010

ANNOUNCING THE WINNER OF MY GIVEAWAY!

Well, okay you darling blogger friends, I have just completed my drawing for a signed copy of my book, Hannah Grace, finalist for the 2010 Inspirational Reader's Choice Award! Are you ready for the reveal? Here goes, ready or not...


KYM MCNABNEY!


***A HUGE THANK YOU TO THE 32 PEOPLE WHO THREW THEIR NAMES INTO MY "PROVERBIAL HAT".

I truly do love ALL of you!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

EXCITING NEWS TO SHARE!!!

Well, hello there all you wonderful peeps. I just have to tell you that TODAY I learned my book, Hannah Grace, is a finalist in the 2010 Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest. This contest is sponsored by the Faith, Hope, and Love Chapter of Romance Writers of America. Needless to say, I am humbled and grateful to the Lord for this amazing honor!

Of course, I DON'T expect to win, as I am up against the incredible, bestselling authors: Deeanne Gist (Bethany House), Rose Burkhard (Harvest House), and Mary Connealy (Barbour Publishing)--BUT I will be thrilled to smithereens to frame either a second or third place certificate!

I'll keep you posted as to contest results when I learn more. I know there is a banquet, but I have no specifics as to where or when.


A-N-Y-W-A-Y...I thought it would be FUN to do a giveaway of Hannah Grace. It's the FIRST book in my "Daughters of Jacob Kane" Series. (If you want to read the synopsis, just check it out by scrolling down this page till you come to the book.)

All you have to do to earn a chance to win an autographed copy is make a comment HERE on THIS blog (not on Facebook). I'll copy names of all entrants, throw them into my 'proverbial hat', and do a drawing one week from tomorrow--JUNE 4!!!

Are you game? Well, then, come on--JOIN THE FUN! I love you all! Oh, oh, almost forgot--here's the cover of Hannah Grace
:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Okay, all you MILLIONS of peeps, here is the video you have ALL been asking me to make. (jk) WARNING: It's STUPID!

I am a total glutton for punishment I guess--that, and I have no compunctions about making an utter fool of myself. If you care to watch and be bored out of your mind, just give a click on the arrow.


"


Thursday, May 20, 2010



DEVASTATING NEWS!!!

I just learned today that my very best friend in all the world has cancer/lymphoma. Doctors discovered a mass behind her pancreas but were staying cautiously optimistic until the results of the biopsy came back, which was this afternoon. I was with her when the doctor came into the room. Of course, her family was there as well. We still don't know if this is stage 1, 2, 3, or 4 cancer, though, as they still have to do a bone marrow test and await the results of a chest x-ray to see if it has spread. Please join me in praying for my precious friend, Debbie Stinehart. No, she is not a member of SL. I've tried to talk her into joining, so maybe she will at some point. Anyway, I thought I would pass onto you a link at which you can get periodic updates if you like. Not totally sure I will be able to figure out how to make the link work on this blog, but I'm going to give it my best shot. If I'm successful, it would be wonderful if you would drop her a note of encouragement in her guest book. Thanks, everybody, and I love you all! Here is the link--I hope: CARING BRIDGE

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Word To Those Who Love to Write!

AMERICAN CHRISTIAN FICTION CONFERENCE
9/17/10 -- 9/20/10

I wonder how many of you are out weeding gardens, enjoying the springtime sunshine, shopping, tackling indoor or outdoor jobs, or just plain reveling in a blissfully relaxing Saturday. I, for one, am working, as I didn't quite reach my Monday thru Friday writing goal. While sitting here doing a little research I ran across an ad for a writing conference somewhere in California, but that itself is not the point. What is the point is that in their attempt to attract conferees, they made this statement:

"
What does the market really want? Reality check time: 50,000 or more in this country are struggling to write first novels. Thousands of manuscripts flood agent and editor offices, but only a few hundred at most will ever be published by a major house. In today's environment, you will face more obstacles than ever. An aspiring author attempting to write the breakout novel must not only create a high concept novel premise that rings with "ca-ching" but must avoid all the common pitfalls in title, hook, early character development, prose craft, and ongoing narrative composition. Sound complicated? Well, it is. Welcome to reality! Writers unable to fulfill the many and picky demands of discriminating agents and editors will be rejected every time, and usually within seconds after reading the first page (or even the first line--no kidding)."

I don't know how accurate the 50K figure is, but if it's true, and only a few hundred actually squeeze through the loopholes and jump the hoops to make it into the publishing industry then no wonder there are so many discouraged writers. (By the way, this conference wasn't a Christian writers' conference—although it would be open to all genres.) Here's the thing, though, let's not limit God and His incredible plans for helping you jump those mountainous hurdles. It's EASY PEASY to give the Enemy a second to whisper in your ear, "You're no good, you have no talent. You don't have what it takes. You can't write near as well as so and so. Who are you fooling by calling yourself a writer?" Etc., etc. Words such as these do NOT come from the Creator, so when you "hear" them, take heed. God doesn't use negative talk!

I say that to say this: yes, writing is hard work, time consuming, challenging, heartrending, and sometimes exhausting, but if your passion for it runs hot, you have a GIFT—and you need to keep plugging, perfecting, and honing. One way to do that is to sign up for the ACFW conference in Indianapolis this September. Beg, borrow, steal (no, don't steal) if you have to, but get there! If you've never been, then you'll be pleasantly surprised and downright amazed by the wide range of classes offered to help you on your journey. This is not just any writer's conference, it's a Christ-centered, God-ordained meeting place where you will rub shoulders with the best of the best as well as beginners. Everyone meets on equal ground, and everyone loves you right where you are. COME! LEARN! PRAY! WORSHIP!



Tuesday, May 11, 2010



"The TEN-YEAR Good-bye"...




This is a picture of my mom holding my first grandson 4 years ago. She was almost 93-years-old in this photo and already into her 6th year of diagnosed Alzheimer's Disease. First of all, let me say that Alzheimer's is an ugly, horrendous, disgusting ailment that robs one of his/her dignity not to mention brain cells. (We spent ten years preparing ourselves for Mom's end. Heartrending.) Every living, breathing brain cell eventually gives in to this debilitating disease, and if something doesn't take its victim before the disease does, it will be the Alzheimer's that finally steals away that last breath--because the brain will finally run out of power to tell the vital organs what to do. Sorry for the disarming start to this blog.
The good news is this: WE SERVE A RISEN SAVIOR, and MY MOM KNEW HIM WELL! She is with Him now, in fact, as of January 28 and in two days (the 12th), she'll spend her 97th birthday with Jesus, my dad, her parents, two sisters, and a host of other loved ones gone before. What a reunion!
As Mother's Day came and went this year, I thought a great deal about my beloved mother and, ironically, on her birthday my sis-in-law and I are going to finish cleaning her house and preparing it for a realtor's walk-through. Surprisingly, I am not troubled by this. I'm dreading it, yes, only because I know the job will be overwhelming, but I'm not sad about walking into her house because I know she's enjoying a brand new home, one beyond our wildest, most vivid imaginations.
We live in temporary bodies, my sweet friends, and every time I look in the mirror to find another spot or wrinkle on my face I'm reminded all the more of that fact. This skin that holds our frail shells together will one day succumb to death (don't mean to be morbid here), and we will ALL go to one of two places.
Let me just say this: nothing on earth holds more value than making sure we've secured our eternal vacation in Heaven.

Have you made your reservations?

Thursday, April 29, 2010



OH, MY WORD! IT'S AVAILABLE FOR 'PRE-ORDER'!

Sometimes it feels like my life is traveling down a fast lane at about 99 mph, as things happen even before I realize or see them coming. For instance, I just now looked on Amazon.com and discovered my September release titled Tender Vow is already up for pre-order, and I never would have known it if I hadn't just "happened" to be checking on some stuff at Amazon! WOWZER-DOWZER! This is cool, but it also reminds me of my December 1 deadline for book one of my next series and how quickly that will descend upon me. Don't worry, I'm not letting life slip me by, not by any means. I'm actually having a BLAST serving the Lord and spreading the gospel through the written word. It's a dream come true for me.

Anyway, should you be interested in PRE-ORDERING Tender Vow and thereby receiving it before it hits store shelves (probably end of August), why, just go ahead and help yourself. You'll find it listed on my profile page, and all you have to do is click on the book, and it'll take you straight to Amazon.

I must say I'm rather geeked! Oh, and FYI, here's the brief synopsis of Tender Vow:


Michigan-born brothers John and Jason Evans take a ski trip to the Colorado Rockies, but only one comes home alive--John was tragically killed on a daring descent down Devil's Ridge, an infamously dangerous slope.

In an attempt to soothe his guilt and grief, Jason sets out to make amends with his widowed sister-in-law, Rachel, by offering to help with her two small children, doing odd jobs around her house, and trying to ease her own heavy burden of grief. A new Christian, he is bent on growing his faith and helping Rachel see her way through the fog of pain and confusion.

Left to raise her three-year-old daughter and newborn son on her own, Rachel Evans is anything but willing to become her brother-in-law's charity case, particularly since they have a history she'd rather forget. She's determined to make it on her own but soon finds that God has other plans for he--and for Jason.

Can she accept the Lord's leading and still honor her late husband's memory?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010



I AM SUCH A DORKSTRESS! (Find out why...)

Cecil and I drove separately down to Wabash, Indiana early Sunday afternoon. (I had research to do for my next series set in Wabash 1926-'30.) About halfway to our destination, a 4-hour drive, this is what my brain kept telling my body: "HEY! It's time for your nap, don't you know that? It's SUNDAY! Close your eyes!" My body kept saying back, "No, no, it's wrong, I'm driving." It turned into somewhat of a battle, the eyes going hazy glazy then suddenly popping open as round as a plate.

I SHOULD have simply swallowed my pride, called Cecil who was a couple car-lengths ahead of me and just admitted that I needed to pull over for a half-hour nap, but I didn't. So, instead I started pinching myself, but apparently not hard enough. Next, I started hitting my legs, shoulders, arms, and the top of my head. I mean, I was giving myself some pretty good bops and punches. It TOTALLY woke me up! No kidding. I HURT MYSELF!!!!

Just then the phone rang. I fished for it in my purse, thinking one of my daughters might be calling. "What are you doing to yourself back there?" It was Cecil.

"Uh, what?"

"Are you tired or something? Do you need to pull over?"

"No, I'm fine. Okay, I was a little tired, but now I'm wide awake."

"I saw you hitting yourself all over the place."

Talk about embarrassed. It made me wonder who else saw me! In a second--once I convinced him I was perfectly fine and would call if I needed a break--we hung up. Just as soon as I hung up, though, I started laughing hysterically. I couldn't help it, I just kept thinking what that must have looked like from a rearview mirror. I had to call him right back and tell him that now I couldn't stop laughing. Cecil not only thinks I am a crazy woman, he KNOWS it!

I remained wide awake the rest of the trip, listened to the radio, talked to the Lord, enjoyed the ride.

Now, here's an interesting tidbit I learned while getting ready for bed that night. You can give yourself a giant bruise if you hit your thigh hard enough.

Friday, April 23, 2010

PLEASE, TELL ME THIS ISN'T GOING TO BE ME SOMEDAY!



Three sisters, ages 92, 94 and 96, live in a house together. One night the 96-year-old draws a bath. She puts her foot in and pauses then yells to the other sisters, "Was I getting in or out of the bathtub?"

The 94-year-old yells back, "I don't know. I'll come up and see." She starts up the stairs then pauses and asks, "Sisters, was I going up the stairs or coming down?"

The 92-year-old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea, quietly listening. She shakes her head, sighs, and taps on the wood tabletop, thinking to herself, "My, I sure hope I never get that forgetful, knock on wood."

She then stands and yells to the other two, '"I'll be right up to help you two, but first I must see who's at the door."


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Two elderly ladies had been friends for many decades. Over the years they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures. Lately, their activities had been limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards or go out for lunch. One day, they were playing cards when one looked at the other and said, "Now, don't get mad at me for this. I mean we've known each other a long time, but here's the thing...I've thought and thought about this, but I just can't remember your name! Please, would you mind telling me your name?"

With crossed arms her friend glared at her for at least three minutes, her eyes turned to slits. After a long pause, she uncrossed her arms and said, "How soon do you need to know?"