Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ladies Retreat

Last weekend I had the awesome honor to be the guest speaker at the Missionary Church North Central District Ladies Retreat. I am just so humbled that the Lord would use my testimony and writing journey to open doors to great opportunities like this. Not only was it such a fun and relaxing time, but I also was able to bring my mom along with me for some much needed girl time!!

There are so many great and touching moments during this retreat, but I will only share a few. First, I came into the weekend with a heart to share and bless the women with what God has been working on and teaching me. Instead, I walked away feeling so encouraged and blessed beyond measure. The support of these women knocked my socks off!!!

It was great to be reunited with my sister-in-Christ, Missy (she is in the picture down below, far right). About five years ago my MOTTTs group did a couples retreat and Missy and her husband were our guest speakers. Through a handful of opportunities and people, the Lord brought my name to Missy as a person to consider to speak at the retreat. It was such a great time reconnecting and working together as we planned and prayed over the retreat. Just so you know, she is pretty fabulous!

I also had a wonderful time getting to know most of the women that attended the retreat. Such great, kind-hearted women that love the Lord. I tried to have as many one-on-one conversations as I could and it made for such an enjoyable time.

For dinner one night, we ate at an Amish home. Yum. I should have worn elastic pants. How can you say no to salad, fruit, homemade bread, chicken, roast, noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing and pie?!? Obviously I couldn't. And didn't either when seconds were passed back out...

We ended our weekend on Sunday with our own church service. Church isn't about a building, but the people. We had a sweet time of letting God's spirit work through us as we claimed who we are in Christ and took time praying for each other.
I just want to give a special thank-you to my new friend Renee Wise for taking the pictures that captured our weekend. Not only is she such a great woman with an incredible servant's heart, but also a great photographer. Please check out her Facebook page HERE.
Such a great experience! I told my husband when I got back that I could do that once a month!! I don't know what the Lord has in store for me next, but as long as I'm walking in His will - it's going to be the best road I've ever traveled!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Open doors...

This week I had the amazing opportunity to be on the front page of my local newspaper sharing about my books and my testimony of becoming an author. I am very humbled, honored and excited that God would use me through my passion of writing good, clean Christian romance novels. I pray each day that He would use me and my novels to further His Kingdom!

You can check out the article HERE.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Advice to my 24-year-old self

On February 7th, 2003 my life changed forever, in the most wonderful way, when I stepped into the foreign role of becoming a wife. Oh how I wish my 35-year-old self could go back and give my 24-year-old self some advice. This is what I would say...

 “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”-Ephesians 5: 22-28

Call me sentimental, but since I just celebrated my 12th anniversary with my husband I thought it fitting to spend some time in the word studying about husbands, wives and this blessing (and yet really hard at times) called marriage! As I reflected this last week, a few nuggets of truth came to mind: #1 - Love is a choice – it’s not just a feeling, but a decision to love my husband even when I don’t feel like it. #2 – I’m only responsible for myself. Wait. What? Yep, I can’t control my husband’s attitude, but I can control mine. I can’t control how he responds to a situation or argument, but I can control how I do. #3 – My source of joy can’t be found in Greg. When I expect him, not God, to fill me with joy, I will always set him up for failure and I’ll be disappointed. #4 – Change is inevitable. I am a different person since I got married over a decade ago, and so is my husband. The key is to change together, to move in the same direction (together) instead of apart. Stay in the word, keep open communication (with my husband and God), and don’t be afraid of change but embrace it! BUT, and a big but, I can’t change my husband, only God can. #5- The best thing I can do for my kids is show and tell them how much I love their father. By being a great example to them of a healthy-loving-respectful marriage and to also give them reassurance. So what does God say about marriage? What better place to start than at the beginning with Adam and Eve. Genesis 2:18-23 “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman for she was taken out of man.’” I love God’s creativeness in illustrating the symbol of marriage by becoming one flesh. As husband and wife we were created and equipped for different tasks, but all these lead to the same goal – honoring God. When we become one with our husband it doesn’t mean that we lose our personality or cover up who we are. Instead, it means caring for him as you care for yourself, putting his needs before your own and helping him become the person God desires for him to be.  Genesis 2:24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” I found these words three times throughout the Bible as I was studying – um, I think God was trying to get his point across. I think of this verse and how it amplifies an oneness of marriage. As I kept reading this verse over and over it made me think that it’s not only physical, but emotional as well. I cannot have oneness with my husband if I am sharing things about myself to others, but not to him. I cannot have oneness with my husband if I am constantly seeking counsel from others, but not from him. I cannot have oneness with my husband if I am giving so much to others, but not as much to him. I cannot have oneness with my husband when I desire more for myself than for him. Do any of these statements ring true to you? Ask God to show you an area in your life where you are creating a wall to be formed between you and your husband.

Heavenly Father, thank you for creating this wonderful gift of marriage. The perfect example of how you love the church, you have asked that I love my husband. Work in me today to help identify the areas in which I am lacking. Bring unity between me and my husband and help me to knock down any walls I have begun to build that has caused our oneness to be split. Amen.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Every writer should have a friend like this...

Meet my friend, Shannon.
We are both avid readers and love to talk about the books we read.
And she is my go-to girl when it comes to talking about my books.
She is the friend that sits around with me talking about my characters like they are our real friends - while we discuss their struggles, decisions and what makes them likeable.
She is the friend I bounce ideas around with, discuss how to improve scenes, and what works and doesn't work.
She is the friend that reads my manuscripts from the computer and then texts me throughout reading with remarks.
Here are a few from A Rescued Love:
"I am in tears reading the first chapter."
"No way!!! That is Jules' secret?!?"
"I'm trying so hard to connect the dots and I can't!"
"I just gasped out loud when..."
Thanks Shannon for being my sounding board, for cheering me on and for the hours of chatting about our "best friends" that are only real on paper :)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Rescued Love - Book Cover

Just got the final revision of the book cover.
This might be my favorite part of the process. Book cover is huge - many times it will make or break a reader from buying it (at least that is what research says).
I love the winter setting and the sun streaming through the trees!
And of course the cabin - I would totally stay there!
And I practically did as I lived through my characters and the time they spent here!

Back of book cover for A RESCUED LOVE…

A romance starts…
After months of tug and war with their feelings, Derek Brown and Julia Anderson have finally gotten to a point where being together is what they both want and that future seems to be in their grasps and full of excitement.

She witnesses a murder…
Caught in the middle of a situation that leads to death, Julia is the only eye-witness. When strange occurrences begin to happen in the aftermath, Derek takes her to his family’s cabin to keep her safe until they can figure out what is going on with the case that has taken a sudden change of events.

Their newfound love begins to unravel…
As Julia deals with a secret she has revealed, Derek must face his family and their different views on how he should live his life. Will Derek and Julia learn to work together through their trials or will it tear them apart forever?


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." -John 1:14

I am so thankful for the CHRISTmas season and the amazing birth that gave me salvation and eternal life! If you don't have a relationship with Jesus, I encourage you to trust in Him, He will never let you down. He loves YOU. He came for YOU. He died for YOU. 

 Merry Christmas!