Friday, November 20, 2015

Raindrops & Honey

Today I have the great privilege to share about my friend, Anastasia Corbin. We met through our church, but through our love of writing our friendship has blossomed. Anastasia has a passion for life that is very contagious, she is extremely kind-hearted with a tenderness toward others, she is a caring mom, respectful wife, and giving friend. And most importantly...she loves Jesus with her whole heart. Anastasia has recently started up a blog sharing God's truth and what He has been teaching her. Her words are uplifting and full of wisdom. Please check out her blog Raindrops & Honey and be encouraged. We did a little interview together for you to learn about her and the blog. 
We also have exciting news to share...

Natalie: Please introduce yourself.
Anastasia: My name is Anastasia Corbin.  I love Manchego cheese and Jesus but not necessarily in that order. I'm still dating my amazing husband after 15 years. My Superpower is being a Stay at Home Mom of 4 kids, ages 9, 7, 5, and 3. Chocolate is great but I'll take a good burger over that any day. My favorite colors are purple and teal. My favorite activities include singing on Worship Team, meaningful conversations with my best friends, running and reading. I'm afraid of: the dark, heights and not being accepted. My biggest pet peeve is when things are put on the kitchen island after I just cleaned it.

Natalie: Explain your name- Raindrops & Honey.
Anastasia: One of my favorite places to go to be refreshed is anywhere by the water. So, I wanted to include it somehow in my blog name. The name Raindrops and Honey comes from two different verses. Deuteronomy 32:2 states: "Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants." My desire is for God to use my words to refresh people. Another verse that has challenged me in how I use my words is from Proverbs 16:24 "Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." I also desire my words to be gracious and uplifting for the reader.

Natalie: Tell us how you started blogging?

Anastasia: In the Fall of 2013, I was involved in an Online Bible Study through Proverbs 31 ministries. There was an option of linking your blog once a week to share about what you had been learning. I started blogging at that point but was not very aggressive with it. This past year, God has laid on my heart to write more. It has been an amazing journey. I feel God's pleasure when I write. My goal is to share a new blog post 2-3 times a week.

Natalie: What is your desire for your blog?
Anastasia: The first desire I have for my blog is for God alone to be glorified. I want others to know about God's character and see His deep love for them. I also desire for people to walk away refreshed and encouraged after spending time on my blog. I want them to be challenged in their walk and desire to know God more. 
I'd like to end with some exciting news!! God has been doing a lot of stirring in our hearts lately. Anastasia and I have such a passion to minister to women and moms, and we have felt the Lord leading us to co-write a devotional book together. With lots of prayer, amazing husbands, and the approval of my publisher...we are so pumped to announce that we will be releasing a devotional book sometime in Spring 2016. Squeal!!! A couple weeks ago we spent the evening together at a bookstore discussing our hopes and dreams for the book, figuring out look, size, format, etc., and praying for God's direction!!


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tuesday Truths - The Holy Spirit's Work In Your Life

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.”

-Galatians 5: 16-18

The Father. The Son. The Holy Spirit. As I soak in the Trinity and what that means for believers, I can’t help but wonder if we are missing out a little and how often in our walk we lean heavier to God and Jesus, but discount the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It makes me think of when you take a picture using a tri pod. If you aren’t using each of the three legs equally, what happens to your picture? It’s off center, crooked, not nearly as effective and you might miss the focus of your picture. Each leg is just as crucial as the other and they all have to work together on the same level to have the biggest impact. God tells us in His Word how valuable and important His Holy Spirit is. The Holy Spirit speaks through us (Matthew 10:19-20), He changes our hearts (Matthew 12:34-36), helps us understand the Bible (Luke 12:10), convicts us, shows God’s righteousness, guides and gives insight for the future (John 14:15-31), sets us free from sin and death (Romans 8:2), gives us the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), and helps us pray (Romans 8:26-27). Many times through scripture it even says that Jesus was filled with the Spirit. Jesus promised to pour out His Spirit on us in John 7:37-38, “On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to shout, “Fill me Lord, fill me!” The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives should demonstrate the genuineness of our faith, it proves that we are God’s children, it transforms us, and it secures our eternal life. We must not forget that God is very unyielding about the Holy Spirit in our lives. In Luke 12:10, Jesus says, “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” And also in Ephesians 4:30, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” This happens when we have a deliberate and ongoing rejection of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. It’s when our hearts are so hardened that we shut ourselves off from God and don’t acknowledge the sin in our lives. I read a quote from Francis Chan’s book, Unforgotten God, which says, “If I were Satan and my ultimate goal was to thwart God’s kingdom and purposes, one of my main strategies would be to get churchgoers to ignore the Holy Spirit.” How does that apply to your life? Even though the Holy Spirit lives in us, we will still be tempted and sin, but we should be known by the fruit He produces in us. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23. So over the next few weeks we will be focusing on these fruits and how our lives can be full of them…

Heavenly Father, I welcome your Holy Spirit into my life. Please guide my steps, speak my words, and convict my heart. Fill me Lord, fill me!!! Bring to light any sin that has grieved your Spirit, speak your Truth into me and transform my life. In Your Name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tuesday Truths - A shout out to the wives!!

“Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.”

-Proverbs 31:23

Over the last few months I’ve been meditating and being intentional about ways to lift my husband up. God has been speaking to my heart that my husband can accomplish many things…he can be a leader and great man with a strong character without me…but how much more he can accomplish, lead, and impact, with me at his side cheering him on and lifting him up as his helpmate and biggest cheerleader. So here are a few things, we as wives, can help our husbands become the verse above. #1: Pray for him. For his heart, his dreams, his passions, wisdom, discernment, God’s will for his life, etc. Ephesians 1:16-19 says, “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious in heritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” #2: Lift him up with your words – by speaking them to him and to others. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21. Bring LIFE to your husband. #3: To be faithful and respectful to him. To be the woman he is honored to have at his side. “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:10-12. #4: Be diligent and intentional with loving him. Look for ways to give of yourself selflessly in order to serve him. “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4:17. #5: Instead of highlighting his weaknesses, come alongside him and use a strength of yours to compensate for it. Use the gifts that you have been given to help him become a better man. “May the God of peace, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:21

Heavenly Father, thank you for my husband. Grant me the power in every area of my life to lift my husband up by words and actions. May I draw closer to you, so that I am so full it overflows into my marriage. Help me to see the ways that I can be a better helpmate to my husband and give me the initiative to make it happen. In your name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Tuesday Truths - Worst Sunburn EVER

“Let those who fear the Lord say; ‘His love endures forever.’ In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free.”

                           -Psalm 118:4-5

Each year when the warmer weather comes, I burst in excitement to work in my landscaping…and most years that usually concludes with a bad sunburn, even with sunscreen. Three years ago as I was lathering myself up with sunscreen, instead of washing my hand, I patted my back to wipe it off…and then forgot to apply sunscreen to my back. I’m sure you can imagine where this story is going. Oh yes. I burnt horribly except for one spot on my back. Yep! A big ol’ handprint. And just so you know, I get deathly pale during the winter. If pale was a crayon color, they would name it Natalie. So imagine a bright red back with a shockingly *white* handprint. I tried everything to get rid of it. At one point I even put on sunscreen all around the handprint and then tried to burn it. Nope, little stinker would not change color at all. So from April until October I had a handprint on my back. Seriously. As I look back at that summer I realized I couldn’t get away from my mistake. Every day was a reminder that I messed up. And isn’t that what Satan wants to do to us. Mentally beat ourselves down over and over of our mistakes, our shortcomings, our failures. Not God. He tells us in Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Does anyone else see the same color scheme as my handprint?!? Oy! Satan wants to keep us in bondage – God wants to give us freedom. Satan wants us to feel condemned. God wants us to feel redeemed. Satan wants us to live a life of regrets. God wants us to live a life of promises. There is a song I like to sing, to proclaim over me. Let the words wash over you and let it be a prayer...

Where the spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom
Lift your eyes to Heaven
There is freedom
If you’re tired and thirsty
There is freedom
Give your all to Jesus
There is freedom
Freedom reins in the place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The End Of An Era

So last Friday marked a new season in my life. All three of my children are in school now. A few years ago the thought of it would have had me dancing in the streets, but when the day approached my heart responded differently. The night before my daughter started Kindergarten I laid in bed with her and watched her sleep and scanned each detail of her beautiful face while my silent tears soaked her pillow. The morning of, I held it together with finesse. I packed her Tinker Bell lunchbox with a smile, did her hair and slipped on her backpack with a smile, and then walked her down the hall to her room with a smile. And then the floodgates released. I got in the van, told my husband I needed a moment, and then started the UGLY cry that lasted the entire ride home and into the first half hour I was home, as I used up the leftover restaurant napkins we had stashed in the glove compartment. I was a mess. Don't get me wrong, I'm OKAY with the fact that during the day I am home alone to get things done and have more time to write. That's a given with a hallelujah hand raise towards Heaven. But I needed to grieve the fact that life was changing and my baby was no longer a baby.  For a DECADE all I have done is stayed at home and raised my kids. I have hopefully done my job to prepare and guide them as they step out into the "school world". Problem with this? SHE IS 5 years old! Oy! So I just needed some time to mourn that my season of taking care of babies and toddlers had come to a close. That I was now a parent to all school-aged kids. That the years that slipped by so quickly when they were toddlers, would slip by even quicker now. That slowly they will need me less and less. The hugs and kisses will decrease while the eye rolls will increase. But my husband reminds me that this is a good thing (not the eye-rolls, the independence), because this is what we have been training for. This moment is what the sleepless nights, reading books, playing games, disciplining, working on the alphabet a million times, pouring into them every minute of the day is all about. FREEDOM. Just kidding. It's about training them as they begin their own life journey in becoming who God created them to be. "I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life." Proverbs 4:11-13

And just so you know, I'm doing better. Today I only got teary-eyed a little when she walked away.
 Progress, folks, progress.

I tried to get my oldest to take this picture with them, but instead he shooed me away with a flick of his wrist and a sigh of embarrassment, "Mooooooom!"
 5th GRADE

 And this is what I like to call...A long walk off a short pier!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Straight Off The Page Review

There are many times as an author I have to step out of my comfort zone and do something I wouldn't normally do...or something that is terrifying. My latest embark entailed asking someone that does reviews for a professional website to do a review of my third book, A Rescued Love. Why would that be terrifying, you ask? Because what if she hated it and gave a negative review? Gulp! But if I'm going to keep improving or get my name out there more, I knew it needed to be done. And guess what!?! She loved it! So head over to Straight Off The Page and check out my very first "professional review."

Here are a few key quotes from the review...

"Replogle writes like a seasoned veteran, something that’s a rare find in today’s day and age."

"Another key component to any great book is research, and yet again, Replogle gets it right!"

"The storyline is supreme, knitting together characters from different worlds and walks of life all for the common good of their “community”."

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?