Saturday, June 24, 2017

Haven't I Learned Enough? | Writing



Another article is up on Wordquill (I mean, another article by me... there are regularly other authors posting on there--so I do recommend you just follow Wordquill for yourself).

------

When I was teen writer, I was on top of things. I had quite strong opinions on what was right, what was wrong, what was accurate, and what was completely laughable. I knew how to write.

Then I grew up.

One of the most important steps of this “growing up” was realizing that nope, I don’t know all there is about writing. The next step in “growing up” was to do something about lack of knowledge. The result of that? 







Friday, June 23, 2017

FLF 6.23.17 | Promise Me This

I stood at my bookshelves for a while, deciding which book to pull for this First Line Friday. I landed on Cathy Gohlke's Promise Me This which is a Titanic and WWI story. This one I got through Tyndale Rewards program (basically, you earn points then spend them on books--if you sign up with my link, they'll give you a bonus 25 points!). You may read my full review of the book here. For now, I'll just share the first line.



"The great ship returned late from her sea trials beyond 
the shores of Carrickfergus, needing only her sea papers, 
a last-minute load of supplies, and the Belfast mail 
before racing to Southampton."
(Promise Me This by Cath Gohlke)



~*~*~
Also, be sure to hop along to all of these other blogs and see what First Lines they have to share!
Please note that I may not fully endorse all of the books that these bloggers read or the content in these blogs.

Rachel - Bookworm Mama
Lauraine - Lauraine's Notes
Andi - Radiant Light
Robin - Robin's Nest
Kathleen - Kathleen Denly
Trisha – Joy of Reading
Jeanette – CJane Read


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Love of God | Music Video

It has been too long since I've posted a new video -- I started out the year well with one a week... and then my focus shifted to working on the 10-song album, Reflections of the Cross. I'm just now able to put my focus back on other stuff, and then a busy summer hits. ;) So we'll see how I do with a new one a week.

But for this week, I have an old hymn favorite of mine. This is actually the first piano solo I've arranged of "The Love of God."




You can get this piece of music as part of the 5-for-$5 digital sale!
(in other words, you can get sheet music for this and four other songs for only $5)


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Deleted Scene: The Secret Slipper

There was one deleted scene in "The Secret Slipper" that I kind of liked. A lot. But it was in the first draft (read: when Raoul knew all along that Ellia was alive and had given up the search until a fresh lead came in; yep, there was a very good reason the story changed). I tried finding a place for it in the new edition, but it just wouldn't fit. You will notice some of the thoughts made it into the final draft, but the scene in its entirety didn't. I really liked the exchange of the unnamed woman and Raoul. Who knows? I may use it in another story. But it didn't make it to Slipper. 

For the readers who've read "The Secret Slipper," please note character changes from first draft:
Nele is Nes
Gale is Galien 
Reynold is Jolin

Yeah. Characters changed a lot. ;) I was still trying to figure out who was who in my mind.

So...read along for my rough-draft deleted scene. Enjoy! :)

~*~*~

It was like repeating a nightmare. He hadn't come out to town to search, but he couldn't keep his eyes off the ground…or, to be more specific, observing the step pattern of every girl and young lady that passed by him.
What is the likelihood of childhood deformities healing themselves? The thought plagued him, just like it had years ago. His mind brought up all of the information that he had put away as soon as Belle had entered his life. But instead of urging him forward in his search, it haunted his every step. Solid, steady steps that his daughter may never have.
Gale walked up to Raoul. "M'lord, Reynold said you sent for me?"
Raoul scowled at him. "As if I would talk in public."
"I beg your pardon, m'lord. Shall I call the carriage?"
"Aye."
Raoul waited until they were settled in the plush cushions, with the curtains pulled shut before he leaned forward to begin the discussion. "We are going to Nele's."
Gale tilted his head. "Are you certain, m'lord?"
"Aye."
"Will you reopen cases with all former servants?"
Raoul leaned back and let out a sigh. "I think not."
"Why Nele?"
"He left before I could question him. I feel he could be hiding something."
"As if he would speak now." Gale crossed his legs and rested his hands on them. "May I ask why you requested me?"
"You know him. Reynold does not."
"And you believe this shall help?"
"Aye. While I discuss, I would like for you to analyze him. You have a discerning eye. Is he telling the truth or not?"
Gale reached out his hand and pulled back the curtain, staring at the moving scenery. "And if he refuses to give any information?"
"Then we shall take the following step needed."
The carriage fell silent and miles crept past. When it slowed to a stop, Raoul didn't wait for the footman to dismount before he jumped to the ground. A row of ramshackle cottages cluttered the countryside.
"You are certain he's here?"
"Silence, Gale. I asked you to accompany me, not question my methods."
"Yes, m'lord."
Raoul straightened and walked to the first house, displaying the authority he possessed. He stopped himself before pounding on the door. It would likely fall down under the force of his knocks. He tapped the doorframe.
"I didna' ask for no company," a harsh feminine voice called out.
"I have just one question," Raoul said, putting a tight clip to his voice.
 "The walls aren't too thin to be asking out there. What is it?"
"Can you tell me which cottage belongs to Nele?"
A pause.
"That was my one question," Raoul prompted.
"Five houses yonder. If he's home."
"And if he's not home?"
"Your one question is spent up."
Raoul spun away from the door, barely hearing Gale give the lady a thank you for him. At the cottage a few steps away, Raoul gave the same gentle tap. No answer.
"Nele. Are you in there?"
"Nay. I'm out here like a good working man ought to be."
Raoul turned to the voice.
"If it isn't the good ol' Lord Kiralyn."
"Aye."
"My services are no longer due to you."
"I would agree to a certain extent."
Nele's eyebrows lowered, their bushiness almost hiding his eyes. "What d'ye want?
"I have a few questions, Nele."
Nele lifted the bucket he had apparently set down before. "I haven't a few answers, Kiralyn." He stared boldly at Raoul.
"Well then answer what you can." Raoul didn't move his glare from Nele. "You left the palace suddenly--"
"That is an accusation, not a question."
Raoul ground his teeth and clenched his fists. "You interrupted."
Nele opened his mouth in a toothless grin. "Continue, m'lord."
"Just one day after you left, Ellia disappeared. Did you know this?"
Nele shut his mouth, his eyes darkening with a scowl. "If you came to accuse me of taking your precious wee one, nay, I didn't. Nor did I see anything."
"But what do you know?"
 Nele pushed past Raoul and opened his door. "I know that you are a desperate man because of the time you think you have lost."
Raoul reached out and blocked the entryway with his arm. Nele was a good head shorter than him, yet he stood tall. Never intimidated, that man.
"I will say nothing more. Your time here is wasted, Kiralyn."
"You understand I have power if I discover you to be lying."

"Aye." Nele reached out and removed Raoul's hand from the door frame. He brought his bucket inside and turned to shut the door. "If you discover it."

Monday, June 19, 2017

Scripture Graphics #44


The progression here: desire, seek, teach. If we end our night with our heart set on God and desiring Him, then He will be the first thing we seek in the morning. In other words, preparation for morning Bible time starts the evening before. If we squander our evening to where we are exhausted and rushed in the morning, how does that prepare us to seek God?


"But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word...And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith." Acts 6:4, 7
God's Word increased, followers of God multiplied. But that came after the dedication of prayer and the ministry of God's Word. Also, it came after men were faithful to do their part--some of the men weren't ministering in the Word, per se, but were serving tables. What if they hadn't been faithful? God uses every part of the body in many different ways.



"Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." Joshua 1:7-8
It takes courage and strength to obey God's Word in the midst of the world. Yielding to the pulls and beliefs of the world proves our lack of courage and trust in God.

"And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:" Joshua 7:20
If Achan had just waited, he could have rightfully received his garment, silver, and gold. Impatience and greed may provide us short-term enjoyment, but waiting for God to bless in His time is always far better than "what we missed out on" before. Is there something we just can't wait to have? Be patient...not an Achan.

What Old Testament character have you learned from?

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Story Cure | Book Review

31521907Three stars. 

There were good elements to this book. I copied down over a dozen "quotes to remember." But when I think of the book as a whole, it kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. First of all, I can't say that this book was Christian at all. It definitely wasn't conservative. There were both mentions about gods and them being created "to explain thunder, floods, births, deaths, the inexplicable movements of the sun" as well as a reference to "Christian myths." Add to that, there was a bit of "mild cussing" and one explicit scene that I really could have lived without reading (plus a few other adult-topic scenes). I would not hand this book to a young and aspiring writer--it was probably written more for "adult aspiring writers" though the presentation of the book made me think "younger reader."

Having read a few other books on writing, this book didn't really shed any light for me (I'm not lowering my rating because of that; the lowered rating is because of "content" that I personally don't like). The main thing that stands out to me as "learned something new" was when he broke down the story structure and gave a few pages about the various types of story structure.

Moore did a great job with presenting the information in a very understandable fashion and if you like parallels such as "the story structure and plot are your skeleton" then this is a book you'd enjoy. The references to doctor offices and body parts was both amusing and slightly corny, but it worked. I mean, it's the "Story Cure" by the "Book Doctor."

Being a fiction writer and not a memoir writer, there were a few parts that weren't applicable to me. I would say that it was a nice balance of help for both genre-writers out there.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books and was permitted to give my honest review*

About the Book
People want to write the book they know is inside of them, but they run into stumbling blocks that trouble everyone from beginners to seasoned writers. Drawing on his years of teaching at both the university level and at writing workshops across the country, Professor Dinty W. Moore dons his book-doctor hat to present an authoritative guide to curing the issues that truly plague writers at all levels. His hard-hitting handbook provides inspiring solutions for diagnoses such as character anemia, flat plot, and silent voice, and is peppered with flashes of Moore's signature wit and unique take on the writing life.

Purchase the Book




Friday, June 16, 2017

Threads of Suspicion | Review and First Line Friday


This was my first Dee Henderson book to read. Given that I enjoy a taste of suspense, I thought I might like it and I was right. There was the perfect balance of “regular life” with the suspense of Evie being a detective on a cold case. The entire plot of Jenna had me intrigued. I was kept guessing as to what the answer to her disappearance was. I felt like I journeyed along the quest with Evie and David.


I really appreciated the spiritual content. David had a simplistic earnestness about him, and his testimony was realistic and Biblical. Evie’s prayers were sometimes a little too familiar (like calling God “Dad” and chatting with Him something like, “I don’t have time to talk right now, but I’ll catch up later, okay?”). Yes, God is not just a “great judge sitting up in heaven,” but we are to reverence Him. That seemed to be a little lacking. There was one character that was debating the question of salvation. I’m unclear as to whether or not she actually accepted Christ. It appeared that she just took a step that direction (which I don’t have a problem with; it just wasn't 100% clear to me).

The romance was very little in this book. Evie and David were co-workers, yet were not love interests. I was afraid a love triangle might happen (which I don’t like), but it didn’t. Evie and Rob were a great pair and David and Maggie a great pair. I actually appreciated Evie’s struggle with her relationship with Rob (as in, she didn’t have relationship problems; she just had to decide why she was hesitant to say a hearty “yes!” to him). It was very realistic—not all of the “romance is nothing but rosy” viewpoint. There were some kisses mentioned as well as hugs, but they were all casual. I don’t recall any of the feelings explored. So, in short, I liked the romance aspect in this book (shockers!).

Now…the writer in me…this was a dialogue-driven book. If I were to give a guesstimate, it appeared that about 80% of the book was dialogue. Given that they were talking through a case, it was interesting. The downfall was that I didn’t really feel that I was “in” the characters. I didn’t really know them. I realize that this is my critique as a writer, so it would be injustice to knock a star for that. I did enjoy the read. I just had to shut off my writer’s brain for the narrative.

Overall, this leaves me waiting to get my hands on another Dee Henderson novel.

*I received this book from Bethany house and happily provided my review*

You may order the book here.

NOW FOR THE FIRST LINE...



"As Governor Bliss came to the podium, Lieutenant Evie Blackwell 
dug her hands into her coat pockets, grateful the January cold would 
keep this press announcement on schedule and limited to twenty minutes." 
(Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson)

Have you read any Dee Henderson books?
What is your favorite of hers?
Or are you not a reader of suspense?

~*~*~
Also, be sure to hop along to all of these other blogs and see what First Lines they have to share!
Please note that I may not fully endorse all of the books that these bloggers read or the content in these blogs.

Rachel - Bookworm Mama
Lauraine - Lauraine's Notes
Andi - Radiant Light
Robin - Robin's Nest
Kathleen - Kathleen Denly
Trisha – Joy of Reading
Jeanette – CJane Read

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Recitals and Music Video

I know it's late for a post today, but after two evenings of recital, I wasn't ready to schedule things quite yet last night. So here you have it... a late Wednesday music post.

First off... recitals!
This year, I divided my music studio into two recitals. Violin...


And piano...


Not all of my students were able to come to recitals (this late it ran into summer programs). Both recitals went amazingly well and everyone did so great! I don't remember a moment when someone completely froze, unable to go forward in their piece. It just might have been my best recitals yet.

Now... I've already done a WAJN video of "Joshua Fit de Battle" but it's much more fun to see things played in person. Three of my sisters played "Joshua" for recital so now you can see live-action trio.



Have you ever been a part of a musical ensemble? Trio, duet, other?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Behind the Cover and More | The Secret Slipper

Book covers. I remember the days when I would get a CBD catalog in and flip through the pages slowly...admiring covers (and critiquing the ones I thought needed help, let's be honest). I really didn't see cover designing in my future, but as God has graciously helped me in figuring things out, that's one of the things I do.

Now, for the cover of "The Secret Slipper."


If you didn't notice, I took the same formatting as "Befriending the Beast" (I mean, it's a series).


For "Befriending the Beast," I used royalty free images (meaning you have license to use them, but they're more or less stock images). When it came to Slipper, I had just gotten the idea when my friend with SunKissed Photography posted a "throw-back picture" she had done. And I was like, "YES! That's it! That's the one!" Elizabeth and her model graciously allowed me the use of her photograph. The cover would not be the same without it.

Then the back cover also has a mention:



Do you see that carefully-crafted deformed slipper? :D :D: D I have an amazing friend. Really, I do. Not only does she read through my drafts and give wonderful input, but also... a week before I wanted the cover done, I mentioned, "I really wanted slippers for the cover, but I can't find what I have in mind." Three days later, the slippers were mailed to me. Emily's got talent, y'all. In fact, she's got an Etsy shop for her sewing--if you ever need something custom-made, she's wonderful.

That concludes the cover. 


Since I'm acknowledging behind-the-scenes people, I figured I'd continue with the acknowledgements. These you can find the back of "The Secret Slipper," but I'd like to acknowledge them publicly and HERE you get to have links so you can check these amazing people out yourself (I may forget a link or two or don't know them all; so sorry)!

~*~*~*~
Author's Note
It is all the fault of my author-friend, A.M. Heath. Not long after “Befriending the Beast” released, she messaged me, “Have you ever thought of doing a Cinderella story, where the prince is the father?” I stayed up until midnight with my mind churning the what-ifs. I think I got the title before I really solidified an idea. “The Secret Slipper” has had many firsts for me: writing from two perspectives, writing as a married character, and having an active antagonist to mention a few. I have not enjoyed every moment of writing, re-writing, editing, and learning, but looking back, it is something I wouldn’t want to trade, for I have learned so much!

Now for thanks…these are getting harder and harder to write, as there seems to be so many who offer their assistance.

Anita – like I said, this was your fault. ;) Thank you so much for being my writing mentor and selflessly offering your brain and expertise to help me! My writing has grown from your friendship.

Faith – you’ve been my accountability writing partner for the process of this story. You’ve helped me to stay on my toes, and I’m grateful!

Kenzi – how many times have you read my manuscript? Just as many times as I have, I do believe. I don’t think you know just how much I appreciate your prayers, encouragement, and suggestions with my many projects.

Elizabeth (SunKissed Photography) – the picture of Lia! I am so honored to use your photography for my book cover, and grateful for you allowing me to use it (and thanks to Rachel W., the subject).

Mom – the years of red pen seem to have finally paid off! Thank you for your unending encouragement in my writing.

My Family – thanks for bearing with me as I talked about my characters and ideas and everything. Your support means so much!

My FaceBook Street Team – thanks for letting me flood your newsfeed on my writing days with questions, thoughts, and prayer requests! Y’all are an amazing support!

To those who read my pathetic and very needy first-draft: Katie, Janell, Rachel, Anita, Kenzi, and Aimee. Thanks for your suggestions and input. You always make me think twice as I edit, and I need that! Special thanks to Katie and Rachel, who also read this manuscript multiple times. Y’all are amazing!

My beta-readers: Faith, Olivia, Jesseca, Kellyn, Hannah, AnneMarie, Liberty Baehr, Liberty Bluebelle, Alicia, Marlene, Darcy, Hanna, Esther, Joanna, Naomi, Emily...your help was wonderful! I know that this Slipper shines because of your input!

Again, my heart is overflowing with gratitude to my Lord Jesus Christ. Not only does He supply ideas for new stories, He is also faithful to give me wisdom for every place I have questions. To Him belongs all glory and honor, for without Him, I am nothing.

And to you, my reader, thank you. Unless you are also an author, you likely do not know how encouraging it is for me to have you reading my book and leaving your reviews! Thank you.













Monday, June 12, 2017

Scripture Graphics #43


"That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them." Deuteronomy 30:20
If someone were to look at us, what would they say is our "life?" Some sport, hobby, work, fandom, or source of entertainment? Or could they clearly see that GOD is our life -- our love, Lord, passion, obsession, focus?



In many churches, pastors try to "preach boldness" into their congregation. In some groups, people push their members to be bold. But how often are we exhorted to pray sincerely for boldness? It is possible to force ourselves to be bold for Christ, but that does not always mean that we have the boldness OF Christ. Like anything else, what we do in our flesh may last a little while, but will soon fade away.


"For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Do we let the "daily afflictions" wear us down, or do we daily approach the throne of God to find grace to help in time of need? Is our focus only on the difficulty of today's temporal trouble, or are our eyes fixed on the hope of Jesus Christ and His eternal promises?
I needed the reminder of these verses today!



What has God been teaching you this week?

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The M Family | Photoshoot

Believe it or not, I still DO do this thing called photography. Actually, let me pause a moment and just reflect. Year before last, when we were building our house, I was unable to teach music much (I had maybe six students) and that was barely enough to cover bills. Without my advertising or anything, the Lord landed multiple photography jobs in my lap--enough to provide for my needs the whole year. Wow! Then, as soon as I was able to start teaching more regularly (25-30 students), photography jobs dwindled. I can't help but wonder if that was just God's way of providing for me... and now that I'm too busy to really add the ball of photography into my juggling act, I don't have near as many requests for photo shoots.

Now. This photo shoot. Their mom is my good friend, and so when baby #3 was coming along, I told her I'd do a photoshoot for the baby. She chose 3-month pictures (which, I think we may have slid into around the 4-month mark with schedule conflicts and all...) and really, baby D couldn't be at a cuter stage. Of course, I'm kind of in love with this little guy anyway. I mean...


Yeah. You agree with me. He is ADORABLE. Completely. And totally sweet and cute and charming and all that. ;) Okay, okay... enough about my newest little favorite boy (I suppose until a nephew comes to claim his place ;) ). 

If you've been following my blog for two years, it was a little more than two years ago I did a family photoshoot with them. They're growing up!!

I mean... Miss K isn't a little girl anymore! She's growing up to be a beautiful young lady.


And little Miss A. She's just as adorable, but two years ago, she still had a hint of toddler-face. Nope. She's totally growing up!!


And the three of them together... <3


These girls love their baby brother!!


I had a blast with them. Can't you tell? 
Here are some other pictures from the shoot. :)






And a whole passel more of the lil' man. ;)


This next one... baby with his stuffed animal and daddy's and late-grandpa's stuffed toys. <3 
So sweet!!


"Got him!" ;)





Friday, June 9, 2017

First Line Fridays | 6.9.17

A few years ago, I won a Civil War fiction book in a giveaway. I started reading it on a sick-day...and finished reading it the same day.

That book...


My review of it is here. And you may get it on Amazon here. ;)
Annnnd... the day after reading Where Can I Flee? I started and finished book two.


And that review is here. And Amazon link here. ;)

NOW for my #FLF book:


I cannot, cannot wait until I can get my hands on Out of the Ashes (you can pre-order it here). Since I'm friends with the author now (that happened after I had finished her first two books--when I barely knew who this author was...), I was able to swipe the first line!! :D :D Connections are great. ;) Here it is!! 


The sound of his pounding feet on hard ground and 
rustling grass filled Frank's ears. Even though he was
 breathing heavily, he still charged ahead. Just a little further.
(Out of the Ashes by A.M. Heath)

To find out more of this upcoming release, watch the book trailer!




If you're on Goodreads, you can add the book to your shelf and follow author A.M. Heath. She also has a fun bookish blog that you can start following. I know she'd appreciate it! :)
*and no, she didn't pay me to say any of this* ;) 

~*~*~
Also, be sure to hop along to all of these other blogs and see what First Lines they have to share!
Please note that I may not fully endorse all of the books that these bloggers read or the content in these blogs.

Rachel - Bookworm Mama
Lauraine - Lauraine's Notes
Andi - Radiant Light
Robin - Robin's Nest
Kathleen - Kathleen Denly
Trisha – Joy of Reading
Jeanette – CJane Read


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Of Jellies and Timely Texts (or A Day in the Life of Me)

I had my Saturday planned. I got up before everyone else and did my morning devotions, got dressed for the day, and was in the kitchen, deep-cleaning it (by the way, deep-cleaning the kitchen takes a few hours). Satisfied that I had done my “family time” project, my brain was going to my list—which was a simpler list than weekdays: practice piano (with hopes to maybe be ready to record the last song for “Reflections of the Cross”), record a simple piano piece, read more of my Sherman book (for research), and schedule three blog posts. However, I was a good child. Before going upstairs (where I forget to come down for a few hours, and the family tends to forget I’m home), I hopped over to Mom and asked, “Is there anything I need to do before disappearing?” She looked up from the dozen Par la Grace signs that surrounded her and casually said, “You wouldn’t feel like making some jelly, would you? I bought sugar for it but I won’t be able to get to that today.” (and likely not the week following, seeing as she was busy helping Jessica prep for a huge market the following Saturday)

via
Flee all “good child” images. My insides turned into a boiling, self-centered brat with, “But-I-want-to-do-my-things!” Of course, I wouldn’t show that to my mom (not like she couldn’t see my resistance anyway). But it was still there. I think I gave her a “maybe, I’ll see what I can shift around with my schedule” type answer. But on the inside, I was very, extremely, completely unwilling to do jellies—because I knew that “doing jellies” meant all afternoon was now in the kitchen (which, I don’t mind—unless my mind is already darting to the non-kitchen projects I want to do).

I knew better than to try to start jelly-making with that attitude, so I went upstairs, with that “maybe” settled in my mind. A “sure, Mom, I’d be happy to” was not on my brain. As soon as I sat down at my desk, a text came in. I opened it casually and read, “Is it possible that we make an idol of our time?” WHAM! My friend continued, sharing with me her struggle of the day…she had absolutely no clue how perfect that text was timed for me (until, of course, I responded, “Ouch. You would send that question just a few minutes after Mom asked me to make jelly…”). It hurt, but it was exactly what I needed to jar my focus away from myself and into serving others.

Now, to say that I immediately repented, skipped downstairs, and made jellies with a smile and song would be a little far from the truth. It still took me a few minutes to pray, adjust my attitude, and pray for grace to be willing to serve before I emerged downstairs again.

Sure enough, about five hours of my afternoon was spent with making strawberry jam, pear butter, apple jelly, and plum jelly. With rows of sealed jars now on the counter, I was free to go upstairs and spend the last two hours of my day doing my to-do list. Here is where I feel completely undeserving of God’s goodness. Not only did everything go smoothly, but that last song for “Reflections” was recorded and I had time to finish the fiction book I had been working on for almost two weeks. As my friend put it (the one who sent me the jarring text earlier): “Wow! And you were even able to check two big things off your list today!”

Days like that do not always happen. I do not always have a friend who sends me a timely text…I do not always feel instantly rewarded by a productive project time crammed into two hours. But Saturday, I did.

Why do I share this? Because it hit home for me. I need the reminder. Life isn’t all about me and my projects. It’s about serving God and glorifying Him. Sometimes serving Him means publishing a book or arranging a hymn…but sometimes, serving Him means to lay aside those things so that I can be a blessing to my family in small areas that the world will never see.

What lesson has God been teaching you lately?

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily,
as to the Lord, and not unto men;
Knowing that of the Lord ye shall
receive the reward of the inheritance:
for ye serve the Lord Christ.
(Colossians 3:23-24)



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Cinderella Side of The Secret Slipper | Vlog

New Vlog! *For readers of "The Secret Slipper" only*
Sorry, not trying to be exclusive. It's just that I dislike spoiler THAT much! And there are a few hints of the story in discussion how "The Secret Slipper" compares to Cinderella.



As of now, this is my final Secret Slipper Vlog post. Unless you have other ideas? Feel free to suggest other video/discussion ideas!

Do you prefer text posts or vlog posts??

Monday, June 5, 2017

Giveaway Winner!

The blog tour for "The Secret Slipper" is complete...

Meaning...

We have some winners!!!

The winner of the paperback Tales of Faith series is...
Liberty BlueBelle!!!!

The winner of the eBook Tales of Faith series is...
Clare F!!!!

I have emailed you the details!

If you didn't win the giveaway and are interested in a signed paperback of the book (or books), fill out the form here.



I just want to give another shout-out to the amazing bloggers who took their time to be a part of the tour! Seriously, if you've not visited their blogs yet...I'd appreciate a hop-over. It was fun to see their different take on "The Secret Slipper."


Whew! I think that's all of them. I was blown away with the amazing support and enthusiasm of this blogging team! Hats off to you!!

If you're a blogger and would like to be informed of my future blog tours, you may sign up here.
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