Contact Me

If you enjoy my blog and would like to contact me, you may reach me at this email:

Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I spent a large part of August getting ready for the American Christian Fiction Writers' Conference in September. What an opportunity to meet new writer friends, attend writing classes and be inspired by the writing journeys of the keynote speakers. I knew I'd have the opportunity to pitch my manuscript to at least one agent. Perhaps he or she would find the story compelling.

The last week prior to the conference God motivated me to read several passages in Scripture about His sovereignty. Two days before the conference I read Ephesians 3:20:

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen."

This verse helped me align my thoughts and goals with God's. In His sovereignty, He was preparing me for an experience I could not have imagined.

You see, I thought I would have important appointments with agents and editors, perhaps one that would speed me further along my writer journey.
But instead, God had "Appointments" of a different, but much more valuable nature for me.
My two roomies decided that our hotel room wouldn't comfortably accommodate another person, so I got switched into another room with a lovely lady who also writes suspense. We spent late nights listening and encouraging each other.
On Friday, I ran into several friends, troubled and anxious about their appointments and I was able to listen and offer encouragement and affirmation about their writing.
Another friend from out of town had nowhere to go for dinner that night so I invited her and a couple of other attenders to join us.
After an evening class, a lady asked me if I would read her sell sheet and give her constructive comments so that she would be prepared for her meeting with an agent the next morning. We spent an intense hour together, ending with sweet prayer.
There were too many other "appointments" to share on this small space.
I may never see many of these sweet ladies again, but I know that, in some wondrous way, God allowed me to have a tiny part in speeding each one along their journey. Who knows? One day, in heaven I may find out that some word of encouragement that I offered made the difference between a writer giving up or pressing on.
My prayer to be aligned with God during the conference was answered. Those appointments weren't about me; they were about all the other writers needing a leg up.
One thing I know, we sure as shootin' aren't staying on this side of heaven for ourselves.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Dad's Bigger than Your Dad

When I was a little girl I thought my dad was the strongest man in the whole world. One year he constructed a stone patio and walkway around the house. I remember him pulling hundred pound sacks of cement mix out of the car and slinging them over his shoulder just as easily as if it'd been one of his five-year-old twins. The rocks he used for the patio were big and heavy. We tried to pick them up, but only Daddy could lift them.
To my little girl mind, strength meant brawn.
When I grew up and came to know about God and began to study the Word, I formed another picture of strength.

In Jesus' day, the Romans were in power. Their strength lay in their ability to conquer and control other nations.
To the Jews, whose former glory boasted King David and Solomon, power was a coming King and the overthrow of heathen foreigners.
To the Greeks, power was intellect, education, and knowledge.

But to Jesus, power is humble submission to God. What a strange paradox:
if you want to be first, you must be last (Matt. 20:25-28).
If you want to become the greatest, you must become like a child (Matt. 18:3,4)
Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient, to death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:8,9) and God exalted Him to the highest place.

But I cannot do this. I naturally want to do what those old Romans and Greeks did: exalt myself. No, just as our pastor said today in his sermon, "You can't! You are a failure! You're not good enough!"

And that's what it's all about. The way of Christ is recognizing that my Daddy is the strongest man in the world. I can't lift that rock or tote that cement bag. But He can. Just like a little child, I recognize that and I rely on Him.
That is true power, for when I am weak, then He is strong.

Eph. 3:30: "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus thoughout all generations for ever and ever. Amen."

(all verses from NIV)

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Glory of Crows

We put up a bird-feeder on our back deck this summer. Within an hour, sparrows, siskins, chickadees, house finches, crossbills and a little fluffy black and gray bird that I can't find in my bird book, flocked the feeder.

Even when I'm inside the house I can identify each visitor to the feeder by its distinctive call. Their little chirps, cheeps, fee-bees and tweedle-eedle-oo-ees sound like excerpts from a symphony score composed for piccolos. So harmonious, so delightful. Like miniatures members of an orchestra, their music lifts my spirit and summons me to worship the Creator. What pleasure I derive from their daily hymns of joy. It's easy to see why God created song birds.

A telephone pole towers on the far west side of our property. Another type of bird likes to perch at the very top. Impressive in size, his bright, beady, intelligent eyes examine us from his post as we sit on the deck, having breakfast. His lustrous black feathers catch the sunlight and he turns to preen an errant plume back into place. Another of his kind glides to a nearby tree and our shiny fellow thrusts his head forward, opening his beak for his solo.
That's it. One note, blatted like a beginning trombonist.
What was God thinking when He made that sound?
The crow must suspect that his call does not belong in the musical score, for he rarely joins the orchestra except when, as if by accident, his voice should happen to mingle, uninvited, with our adorable woodwinds.
Yet he is the black-caped comedian, croaking, cawing, and imitating humans and other birds. He is the street cleaner, awkwardly galloping away from a road kill when a car approaches. He is the vigilante, joining with his dark gang to mob an owl or hawk.
He is no songster.
But he belongs.
I Cor. 12:14 and 17-20:
"Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.
If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But, in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them just as He wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wasn't Me

Until our children arrived, the creature had held back, barely venturing a scaly toe over the Netherton threshold.
Even when our three darlings reached advanced childhood, I did not share my suspicions with my husband. No sense alarming him if the threat did not exist. After all, unlike mouse-droppings, which indicate the presence of multiple nocturnal skitterings and nibblings, this invader preferred to work alone.
He worked by day --the impudent gnome -- snatching kitchen gadgets, trampling my freshly seeded garden, shredding and littering, smearing and scuffing. The infiltrator moved with singular speed, always lurking just around the corner, beyond my watch, the pattern of its footprints strikingly familiar to one I'd known in another earlier era.
In those days, my mother was the hunter, tracking her elusive prey's progress from bedroom to bedroom with a Sherlock Holmes intensity, interrogating each of her family members. She held objects in her hands, tainted by the alien's touch. Lifting each item, in turn, she eagle-eyed us. "Do you know where this came from?"
Giant family shrug.
And after each fruitless quest, she would throw up her hands and utter a curse which all mothers voice in their darkest moments. "One day you'll find our what it's like to be your mother!"
Now, it seemed, the creature had hopped the continent and taken up residence in a new culture, a new venue. My household.
And if I could not catch the crafty beast, I could at least identify it.
I cornered my twelve year old son in the family room where he played video games with his two younger siblings.
"Where did this half-eaten plate of nachos come from?"
He shrugged.
Turning to his younger brother, I demanded, "How did this stack of clean clothes get dumped on the floor?"
The boy's big blues eyes swivelled toward his little sister.
"Wasn't me, Wasn't me," she proclaimed.
There are moments of sudden, quiet and terrible insight. Like a hangman's noose, my mother's curse descended over my head, tightening around my neck.
Wasn't Me would always be one step beyond my grasp, just around the corner, in the next room, two minutes ago.
I opened my mouth and uttered my own mother-curse. "One day you'll find out what it's like to be your mother!"
Wasn't Me lurked and snickered from an invisible corner of the ceiling.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

True Worship

Psalm 95:6 "Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. . . "

True worship goes beyond the ascribing, the recognition of God's greatness; it must strike my heart with fire and cause me to fall on my face before Him in humble acknowledgement of His sovereign power. He is the Master. He is my Master!

Then my will is bent to His. He has the right to direct me according to His divine wisdom and power.
This is where I fall short so often. I recognize God's greatness, yet I am not moved to go the next step: humble submission.

May I know that if He redeemed me, then He bought me. I am no longer my own (actually, I never was) but I have become His slave.
By recognizing that Jesus has the power to save me -- eternally --I also acknowledge His right to rule me. (I Cor. 6:20)

Rule? Rule me?
Yes! Yes, Amen.
Because He is great. and i am not.
Because He loves perfectly. and i cannot
Because He always does good. and i do not.

I offer up my will to You, Lord Jesus, in worship. It is the beginning of my every thought, word and action. Amen.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

No Shadow of Turning

I started writing No Shadow of Turning in 1999. Snippets of the story had been knocking around my skull since I was a teen.

Recently, I listened to a talk given by Brandy Bruce, editor at Focus on the Family. Her subject was "Creativity." After reading a collection of quotes by famous authors on the subject, she got to the more interesting part of her talk: her own journey toward becoming an editor and author. She said that her tendency to see a story in the most mundane activities --a van with no side or back windows drives by -- and conjure dangerous conspiracies and dark characters inside, impelled her to study writing.

Many writers develop a story based on only the merest mental picture. C.S. Lewis wrote The Chronicles of Narnia eventually because of a lingering image in his mind of a fawn carrying an umbrella.

No Shadow of Turning began as an image of a young woman, standing knee-deep in snow, surrounded by dark forest. Her long, blonde hair falls in disarray about her shoulders, as if it hasn't seen a brush in days. Her clothing is ragged. The girl's arms stand out from her body to balance her, as if to aid her should sudden flight be necessary. Her eyes stare into the dense trees, trying to pierce the green barrier.

What is she afraid of? Is she trying to run away from some menace? Why is she all alone in the wilderness?

I had to flesh out the story to satisfy my own burning curiosity. Now my questions have been answered and I can move on.

Yes, move on with more of the woman's story in a sequel.