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Sunday Inspiration

Forgive me while I try to find some structure to my blog posts. You know, how-to articles, words of wisdom, recipes, etc.

I’ve visited blogs who offer such consistent attractions such as:

Friday Five
Weekend Edition
Excerpt from…

These are just a few blogs that give you something on a specific day. I’d like to do that. But in order for me to consider such a commitment–

  • It has to be simple, so I can share when promised.
  • It has to be sustainable, so I won’t run out of material
  • It has to be interesting, so you’ll keep coming back : )

Okay, since I write Christian romance, let’s start with one encouraging Bible verse a week. AND since I’ve commited to reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young each day during my devotion time, chances are I’ll find an inspirational something to share from this incredible book from time to time.

SOOOOO, today, and each Sunday, I’ll share a verse(s) that’s inspired me.

Romans 8:28

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.

Sometimes it’s so hard to interpret God’s will. We press forward with our lives, praying we understand whether we are working within God’s will. Or at least, I do. More often than not, I wonder if I’m beating my head against a wall of my own making. If God has really called me to the ministry of fiction writing for His Glory, why is success taking so long? Why am I running into these obstacles? Why can’t I write better, faster, stronger?

It’s only when I stop and consider my desires and pray over the desires God has for me, do I realize timing is everything. God is not early, nor is He late. He is alway right on time. As long as I keep doing my part, God who is faithful and just, will work His plan at just the perfect time.

Posted in Bible verse, inspiration | 4 Comments

Wake Up! It’s 2013

Ah, the start of a new year. If you don’t pay attention, Christmas will be here again before you know it and what will you have to show for the past 365 days?

Each year I battle over-extension during the holidays. Day job, writing, decorating, baking, shopping, wrapping…the list goes on and on. This year, I changed things up a bit and went on a writing hiatus. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, I did not write a single word toward any fiction project.

At first it felt great. I celebrated Thanksgiving with joy and made the most of my kids being home for the holiday by taking the entire week of Thanksgiving as vacation. Oh my! Sleeping in, creating menus, baking traditional Thanksgiving fare…it was wonderful. I didn’t miss sitting down and battling with my characters one bit. I even dug into a couple of Christmas books I’d downloaded onto my Kindle. Ahhhh, good times.

By the end of that weekend, I did feel a tiny nudge of guilt. An attack of conscience. I need to work on my historical romance. The characters are calling to me.

I ignored them. I pushed them away. I baked cookies instead.

As the month of December continued and my to-do list of holiday chores whittled down, I’d look at my computer and was tempted to just jot down a couple of notes. Re-read the story. Maybe edit a scene or two. You know what? I don’t think I could’ve despite any determination on my part. My hand was stayed and I felt the gentle nudging of Jesus whispering, “not now. Celebrate Me now. Feel My joy.” The guilt and angst went away and I never did push the button to launch Scrivener.

You know what I did instead? I read books. OMG, I have tons of free books on my Kindle and I started reading through them. Some were good, some were great, some were – well, needed a bit more work before the enthusiastic author should have hit publish. It gave me a great feel for what kind of work was being published without the backing or blessing of the Big 6 of publishing (I’d heard there were 6 big publishing house, it seems there might more, but Big 6 gets my point across.)

What did I learn by reading the competition?

  • I realized as far as plot lines and trends go, anything works.
  • I must write what’s on my heart, not the market.
  • I must write and rewrite, then edit and re-edit and make sure my books are the best they can be before offering them to the public.

I learned much more, but you get my drift. I discovered great authors who’s plot took twists and turns I’d never seen in traditional publishing. I even BOUGHT their other books and now watch for their new releases. I expanded my horizons : )

Okay, back to my hiatus. I made it through Christmas and found I’d enjoyed this holiday season more than many years past. I do feel badly for neglecting many of the loops I usually participate on, but I needed to devote time to creating and living the family atmosphere of holiday preparation.

It was VERY good.

New Year’s Eve rolled around and the spirit of comraderie was alive and well in Seekerville as we hosted a 27 hour New Year’s Eve party. OMG, the good Lord has blessed the Seekers a ba-billion fold. We shared the day and night with all those whom we’ve grown to know and love through the common thread of loving romance and Jesus Christ.

And on January 1, 2013, I tapped the Scrivener button on my laptop and launched the WIP I’m currently sculpting. You know what? I was still there waiting for me. My characters welcomed me back into the fold and I’m back to constructing their story with renewed creativity and vigor.

Truth to tell, I was on the brink of wondering if God intended me to continue writing or did He have other plans for me now that I reached a goal of publishing a book.

His answer came clear as day.

Please join me and watch my word count grow : )

Blessings to all my friends in this new year!!!

Posted in 2013, goals, inspiration, New Year | 4 Comments

Trying to simplify and manage our lives in this hurry up world can be a bit of challenge. Are the smart phones and iPads taking over??
 
Please join me in Seekerville today as we discuss the topic of:
 
Do We Need Bigger and Better?
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Check out Seekers and guests in Seekerville for January 2013

Posted in January, Seekerville happenings | Comments Off on

Happy New Year!!
 
 
 
 
God bless you in 2013
 
And for all the authors out there — may all your dreams come true!
Posted in Happy New Year | Comments Off on

O Holy Night, indeed!

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
 
Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
 
Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim
!
 
Let us never forget the reason for the season.
Merry Christmas!!
 
Posted in Christmas, Jesus, O Holy Night | 1 Comment

Saturday Stories: The Christmas Candle

It’s the Christmas season and time to enjoy another Christmas novella crafted by Mary Connealy. Featured in the 2 for 1 novella collection, Candlelight Christmas, along with Linda Goodnight, The Christmas Candle is a story of grief and healing perfect for this holiday season. In The Christmas Candle, we meet Rose Palmer who buries her life in her work, growing herbs for the perfect scented candle. Though she seems dedicated, there’s an underlying fear of change that makes her dedication equate with isolation. And that isolation is busted wide open when a pair of boys tumble into her life.

No matter how much she protests, Rose’s heart is warmed by the boys and their overprotective father. With the help of the Christmas Candle, the hurting hearts of those in need receive the most beautiful Christmas miracle of all.

As always, Mary Connealy pens a fast paced story filled with characters who don’t realize they can’t always do it all themselves. Unfortunately, asking for help is not even a thought, much less ‘said and done.’ In true Connealy style, The Christmas Candle thaws even the most frozen hearts and lets the warmth of faith and trust flow in. I loved this sweet novella and know you will, too.

Arkansas Ozarks 1883
Gabe Wagner, has left his hectic city life and moved onto Rose Palmer’s mountain. His plans to build a house will tear the heart out of her Ozark Mountain home. Rose learns that what she calls peace and quiet has evolved into isolation and loneliness. As Christmas approaches and she searches for the perfect way to honor the Savior’s birth, she realizes she wants to let Gabe into her life. But to do it, she may have to face a larger world that frightens her while she gives up the safe life she has always known.

Can the search for the perfect Christmas candle and the broken hearts of two little boys bring a solitary woman and a grieving man together?

Posted in Candlight Christmas, Christmas novella, cowboys, Mary Connealy, romance, The Christmas Candle | 3 Comments

Victorian Christmas Traditions – The Christmas Tree

A Christmas Tree

I have been looking at a merry company of children assembled round that pretty German toy, a Christmas Tree. The tree was planted in the middle of a great round table, and towered high above their heads. It was brillantly lighted by a multitude of little tapers; and everywhere sparkled and glittered with bright objects. There were rosy-cheeked dolls, hiding behind the green leaves; and…sugar-plums; there were trinkets for the elder girls, far brighter than any grown-up gold and jewels…there were teetotums, humming tops, needle-cases, pen-wipers…real fruit, made artificially dazzling with gold leaf; imitation apples, pears, and walnuts, crammed with surprises; in short, as a pretty child, before me, delightedly whisped to another pretty child, her bosom friend, “There was everything and more.”

-Charles Dickens, Household Word

 


We have the Victorians to thank for so many of the celebrations and customs we enjoy at Christmas. They revived old traditions, such as caroling, and invented new ones such as sending Christmas cards.

The Victorians made church-going, gift-giving, and charity to the poor essential parts of the holiday. During this time Father Christmas and Santa Claus became symbols of holiday generosity. Through Queen Victoria’s marriage to Prince Albert, German customs grew in popularity, especially the Christmas tree or Christbaum.

A photo of Queen Victoria near a decorated Christmas tree surrounded by her family sparked a tree-trimming inspiration in Victorian homes. The German custom of decorating Christmas trees atop tables gained a new perspective when Victorians selected taller trees from trimming on the floor in their homes. They adorned their evergreen treasures with flickering candles, fancy paper Santas, glistening angels, chocolate wreaths, gilded apples, silver cornucopias decorated with tinsel tassels, and dozens of other beautiful, often hand-made, ornaments.

Most of all, the Victorians made Christmas a family celebration– the Christ Child and children its primary focus. A Victorian Christmas included the exchange of gifts between parents and children; attendance together at Church services; a multi-course family dinner; and visits with friends, relatives, and other families.

 
In my opinion, this is the perfect Christmas celebration. How about you?
 
 
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Saturday Stories: A Light In The Window

 

Julie Lessman has done it again. No matter who publishes her work, you always know when the author cited is “Julie Lessman” you will NOT be disappointed. Her newest release, A Light In The Window is a Christmas love story destined to become a classic.

Julie offers her readers a warm, loving Christmas story–one that serves dual purposes:

  • Capturing the true essence of Christ’s love for us when we completely surrender ourselves to Him;
  • and we finally have the love story that started the entire O’Connor clan phenomenon in the Daughters of Boston series, and continuing in the Winds of Change series.

In the finest of her signature “Gone With The Wind” style, Julie Lessman takes the common theme of two men after one girl and weaves so many twists and turns in the love story, your heart can’t help but hurt and cheer for every one of her characters.

Lessman has that unique knack of infusing God’s love into her characters. God’s deep love. A love that passes all understanding. It brings joy, tears, passion and difficult choices into that sparkling light that makes us remember that God does NOTHING half way.

Squeeze in the time to read A Light In The Window: An Irish Christmas Love Story this Christmas season. You won’t be disappointed.

Product Details

One Woman. Two Men.
One stirs her pulse and the other her faith.
But who will win her heart?

Marceline Murphy is a gentle beauty with a well-founded aversion to rogues. But when two of Boston’s most notorious pursue her, she encounters a tug-of-war of the heart she isn’t expecting. Sam O’Rourke is the childhood hero she’s pined for, the brother of her best friend and a member of the large, boisterous family to which she longs to be a part. So when his best friend Patrick O’Connor joins in pursuit of her affections, the choice seems all too clear. Sam is from a family of faith and Patrick is not, two rogues whose wild ways clash head-on with Marcy’s—both in her faith and in her heart.

While overseeing the Christmas play fundraiser for the St. Mary’s parish soup kitchen—A Light in the Window—Marcy not only wrestles with her attraction to both men, but with her concern for their spiritual welfare. The play is based on the Irish custom of placing a candle in the window on Christmas Eve to welcome the Holy Family, and for Marcy, its message becomes deeply personal. Her grandmother Mima cautions her to guard her heart for the type of man who will respond to the “light in the window,” meaning the message of Christ in her heart. But when disaster strikes during the play, Marcy is destined to discover the truth of the play’s message first-hand when it becomes clear that although two men have professed their undying love, only one has truly responded to “the light in the window.”

Posted in A Light In The Window, Christmas, Christmas romance, Julie Lessman, Saturday Stories | 6 Comments

Victorian Christmas Traditions – Stir Up Sunday


Christmas in Victorian England would not be complete without the making of the Christmas Pudding. This became such an important part of the Christmas celebration, it earned a distinction of its own on the Church calendar.
 

The last Sunday of the Church year, the Sunday before Advent, is often called “Stir Up Sunday.”

Stir Up Sunday is the traditional day everyone takes a turn stirring the Christmas Pudding while making a wish. Before the convenience of picking up dessert at the local store, this treat was made at home a month before Christmas in order to let the flavors all blend.

On Stir Up Sunday, families would return from Church and give the Pudding a lucky stir. The Pudding was stirred from East to West in following the tradition of the journey the Wise Men took to see the baby Jesus. While stirring the pudding, each family member would make a wish.

 

The name Stir Up Sunday comes from the opening words of the Collect for the day during the Church service. Taken from the Book of Common Prayer (1549 and later), the Collect is the prayer that “collects” all the themes of the readings of the day into one prayer. After Communion, the traditional Collect for the Day on Stir Up Sunday in the Church of England:

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

On the way home from church, the children can often be heard reciting the rhyme:

Stir up, we beseech thee, the pudding in the pot;
And when we get home, we’ll eat the lot.
This is the translation of the Collect the children gleaned : )
 
The tradition of the Christmas Pudding includes (but not limited to):

 

·         A Christmas Pudding is traditionally made with 13 ingredients representing Jesus and the 12 Disciples

·         The pudding is always stirred from East to West to honor the Wise Men who journeyed to see the baby Jesus.

·         Every member of the family stirs the pudding and makes a wish.

·         A coin was added to the ingredients and cooked in the pudding. It was thought to bring wealth to the person who found it on their plate on Christmas Day. Other symbols added to the pudding included a ring to foretell a marriage, or a thimble of good luck.

 

Check back this weekend. I’m off to scout out a recipe for a fantastic Christmas Pudding!

Posted in Christmas Pudding, historical romance, romance, Traditions, Victorian England | 2 Comments