Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Learn the Word - verse #24

Keeping with our thankfulness this week, I"m deviating a bit from our focus on the names of God to bring a verse centered on giving thanks.  Here it is, and have a blessed Thanksgiving tomorrow full of turkey, laughter, and wonderful memories and I'll see you next week!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Giving Thanks

I've been a little overwhelmed by the busyness of life lately, so I'm slowing it down this week. I'm spending the week in the Word and also with my family. And I'm taking time to not only be thankful for things, but to enjoy those things I'm thankful for. I don't want this season to fly by in a blur. I hope you'll join me...:) So today I'm doing a throw-back to my Wednesday posts from last year and listing a few of those things I'm thankful for. Here goes...

I am thankful for:
~Christ, his forgiveness and his grace. (I was going to leave this one off because it seemed to go without saying, but I believe he always deserves the firsts of my everything, especially of my thanks.)
~my family...each and every crazy member
~the roof over my head.
~dear friendships God has blessed me with
~food on my table
~clothes to wear...and wash
~a body that moves and a mind that thinks clearly...most of the time:)
~the country I live in
~that I can worship without persecution
~easy access to modern medicine
~clean water that I can run any time of the day

And my list could go on, but I'm hoping you'll join in. I'd love to hear what you're thankful for! It'll be a great start to a great week:)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Bookshelf Friday - What I'm reading this weekend...

While I'm didn't participate in NaNo this month (National Novel Writing Month), I have been working on finishing my current project, and can I tell you, the characters are not cooperating! One thing that can get me unstuck is to read. As a writer, reading is one of the best tools you can use. It gets your brain flowing, keeps things fresh, and can often remind you why you write.

So this weekend while I'm also going to up my word count, I'll also be reading a new book a few friends put out. It's a compilation of four novellas called A Brave New Century and you can find it here on Amazon. Here's the cover and a very short blurb:

Four young women each brave challenges at the dawn of the 20th century. Will they overcome their hardships and find love?

Three Rings for Alice 
Love and respect in 1899 Milwaukee is as close as a phone call.

When Henry and Jessie meet, it seems to be love at first sight until a shocking revelation tears them apart.

The Pocket Watch 
Looking for the past, an orphan and a young doctor find love and hope for the future.

Flames of Hope 
Love ignites in the midst of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Though I haven't finished the book yet, one thing I do know is each story is faith-based and a clean, sweet romance. I know these ladies hearts and why they write, so if you're looking for a book this weekend, check out these four stories all in one! 

Happy Weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Learn the Word - Verse #23

We're on our second week with this verse, so here it is again:

I can't say I really have too much to add to that verse this week. Simply that it's been a huge rope for me to grab onto at times. What a promise it is. We don't burn in the fire, we don't drown in the deep waters--God brings us through them to a place of His abundance.


And we aren't the same when we reach that place. We've been shined by the very things that would seem to harm us. Because God uses ALL things for good.

Know that--remember that--today. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Inward vs. Outward

So I recently had to get ready for pictures. On a normal day, I'm in yoga pants with a pony tail and no make-up, but what lady wants a picture in that condition?

I took my time. Did my hair. Painstakingly applied my make-up. Choose a cute outfit. Then another. Brushed my hair again. Used some hair spray and then some more. Even put on perfume--not that anyone can smell it through the photo, but hey, it sounded good.

All the while my youngest stood watch wondering why mom was getting "pretty". I certainly didn't look that way every day.

As I put on my mascara, and my little girl perched beside me, God took the time to speak to my heart. It was fun for her to see mom get all dolled up--we girls love to do that--but was I showing her the same dedication to my inside? Was my heart always dressed-up for her, or was it only on certain days that she saw me making my inside beautiful?

Because while there's nothing wrong with working on my outward appearance, none of it will matter if my inside doesn't outshine it.

Anyone else out there know what I'm saying? Which means we need to daily apply his patience to our short-tempered areas. His grace and mercy to our unforgiveness. His unfailing love to our expectations. His soothing words onto our tongues. Do we spend the time needed with him to change our inward appearance? Because a picture may last several years, but how we treat others will last for an eternity.

Simple thoughts today? Yes. But sometimes taking it back to the basic is exactly what we need. Hoping as you get ready this morning you put Christ on above all else~it'll make the biggest impression on those around you:)

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2
(Now that's a perfume that is always noticed.)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Bookshelf Friday - Paint Chips by Susie Finkbeiner

I had the pleasure of sitting with Susie at a recent writer's conference we both attended. It was one of those amazing moments where you realize how small God's world is. We both sat at a table in Dallas, complete strangers, only to discover with our first get-to-know-you question that we lived maybe 20 minutes apart. When I found out she'd published a book recently, I knew I had to read it. So I tucked it away until my recent vacation when I pulled it out to dive into. Here's the beautiful cover and blurb, and we'll chat about it on the other side!

What lies beneath the layers of hurt?

Though haunted by her troubled past, Dot has found a safe haven. She has a fierce protector and a colorful collection of friends...but sometimes she wonders if her life will ever be normal again. Though college and romance await her, embracing them requires a new kind of strength one she isn't sure she has.

Emerging from years of confusion, Cora struggles to latch hold of the sanity she needs to return to the real world. She yearns to find a place of peace...but first she must deal with the ghosts of her past.

Can this mother and daughter overcome abuse, betrayal, abandonment, and the horrors of sexual trafficking, and make it back into each others arms?

Facing the past is never easy. But as they chip away the layers, they might just find something beautiful beneath the mess.

After closing the last page of Paint Chips, I didn't quite know what I'd write. Deeply moving, it's a hard read with such a great reward. God's love shines through this book, his redemption of broken lives...his hope. At times I was near tears, at others I was awed by the forgiveness and renewal for the characters in this book. It is a story that showcases God's healing power at its best. There is truly no hurt that cannot be healed and no past that cannot be forgiven. There is no life God cannot make new. Paint Chips shines with these truths.

If you haven't had a chance to read this book yet, I encourage you to add it to your TBR pile (to-be-read) and find the time to read it...with a kleenex or two beside you perhaps:)

And here's a little about Susie herself. (note: I am insanely jealous of her huge blue eyes. BEAUTIFUL!)

Susie is a wife, mother of three, and avid reader. She enjoys time with her family, coffee dates with her good friends, and quiet moments to read and write. A novelist and short story writer from West Michigan, her first novel "Paint Chips" released in 2013. Her second novel "My Mother's Chamomile" releases February 1, 2014. She worked with WhiteFire Publishing on both novels. Currently, she is working on her third novel.

If you'd like to know more about Susie or her next release, My Mother's Chamomile, you can visit her at her site: And, if you live in the West Michigan area, Susie will be at Baker Book House on November 19th  from 7-10 for a book signing and give-aways. 

Have a great weekend, friends!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Learn the Word - Verse #23

I'm back! And just in time for our next verse:) Here's where we're currently at for this second half of the year:

El Shaddai - The All Sufficient One (Isaiah 46:4)
Jehovah Nissi - The Lord My Banner (Proverbs 21:31)
Jehovah Shalom - The Lord is Peace (Psalm 34:14)
El Roi - The God Who Sees Me (2 Chronicles 16:9)
Jehovah Jireh - Our God Provides (Philippians 4:19)
Immanuel - God With Us (Matthew 28:20)
Our Portion - (Lamentations 3:24)
Jehovah Rapha - The Lord our Healer (Psalm 30:2)
Our Comforter - (2 Corinthians 1:3-4a)
Our Advocate - (1 John 2:1-2)
Our Cornerstone - (Isaiah 28:16)

For the next two weeks we're concentrating on Our Refiner and using Psalm 66:10-12. Here it is:

There is so much I love about this verse. For now, you know the routine, pin it up, start learning it, and we'll talk about it next week! 

Happy Wednesday, friends. It's great to be back, even if I left the warmth down South:)