Sunday, December 21, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Waaaay back in 1973, a teenaged girl with waist long hair and a guitar at her hip (we'll call her Kathy) attended a weekend long program at her church. Lay people (aka: just regular folk) came to witness in their own age groups. Kathy's mom and dad attended the adult group while she attended with the youth. Part of this Lay Witness Mission was that the regular folk would stay in church members homes. Kathy's parents agreed to let a teen the same age as their daughter stay with them. Her name was Karen Grimm.
During this weekend long program, Kathy learned groovy new songs for her guitar. "Pass it on" became her testimony song. Now, Kathy was never a bad girl. She attended church. She even sang in the choir. She'd learned through her seventeen years that sometimes her habit of fictionalising could be construed as lying, and so she'd been working on that. But honestly, she thought by being sweet (as everyone told her she was in her yearbook) that she was going to heaven.
That weekend she learned how wrong she was.
Through Karen and the other members of the team, Kathy fell in love with a man named Jesus. Every romantic song she heard on the radio that weekend, she applied to this new relationship. Songs like "Close to You" by the Carpenters, she sang with a new heart. And on Saturday night, the youth group gathered in a circle where all said the sinner's prayer, and all committed their lives to the Lord.
This new love, Jesus, did something special for Kathy that night. Not only did He save her soul, he blessed a relationship with her best friend, Jim. Kathy and Jim had attended the same church for about a year. They sang in the choir together, and they would often talk long into the evening after practice. As Kathy gave her heart to Jesus that night, she was holding Jim's hand in the circle. They now had something new to talk about.
Two years later, they were married. Neither forgot their commitment to the Man they both fell in love with that night. They would be forever linked through that one simple act.
Kathy's testimony wasn't of breaking free of drugs, or accepting Christ despite an abusive household. Her testimony is similar to most you. She was a normal kid who lacked the one thing she needed most. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
And if you haven't guessed yet, I'm Kathy. I like to tell my testimony in narrative for those who haven't become Christians yet. It's not an "in your face" testimony told this way. But believe me, it's all real. From that one Saturday night in 1973 until now, thirty-five years later, I've only grown more in love with my Savior. I have had many challenges in my life to date that if I hadn't known the Lord, I don't know how I would have coped. And so, I praise Him for seeking me out at the tender age of seventeen.
And this is what I'm thankful for the most!
My prayer is that if you don't know Jesus Christ in a personal way, that you will find him before the year is out. This month on my Craft Cinema blog, we will be discussing Christmas movies. In my introduction of Coming Attractions, I've included the following scene from A Charlie Brown Christmas as my card to my readers.
Charlie Brown: I guess you were right, Linus. I shouldn't have picked this little tree. Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I really don't know what Christmas is all about.
Charlie Brown: [shouting in desperation] Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about. [moves toward the center of the stage]
Linus Van Pelt: Lights, please. [a spotlight shines on Linus]
Linus Van Pelt: "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'" [Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown]
Linus Van Pelt: That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
May you find the Lord, Jesus Christ this holiday season. And if you already know Him as your personal Savior, I pray that You remember Him, and include Him in all of your festivities.
In His Love,
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
So, today I'm thankful that God lead us to this church when we were shopping around several months ago. Besides the awesome pastor who teaches Biblical principles, and the congregation, from whom I've made some friends, I believe God lead us here for the financial lesson we needed to learn. Neither of us are spring chickens -- lol! So retirement is looming off the horizon. I'd like to see that dark cloud out there turn into a rainbow, a place we needn't fear. As much as I love WalMart, I really don't want to become a greeter in my senior years.
I'll try to blog our financial journey in the future. Perhaps it will encourage others.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I've been spending the morning listening to the Bible on CD (my birthday present from Jim--Yea!) and reading various things that have come through my inbox. Although every one totally unrelated, I can see where God is encouraging me and I feel His gentle nudge to share it with you, too.
My Bible listening was about Abraham and Sarah, the provision for safety as they traveled through a foreign land, the joy of a child they never knew they'd receive, the promise of a legacy that was to span generations and nations. Abraham had much to be thankful for as he breathed his last.
Next, I read my devotion for the day at Christianity.com, titled "Thank You Power" by Rachel Olsen from Proverbs 31 Ministry. It's a reminder to thank God daily, even through adversity. Her spiritual insight into this almost cliche'd thought touched me deeply. It's a lesson I need on more than a daily basis!
Next, I read a newsletter put out by my dear friend, Paula Moldenhauer. Paula lays open her heart in every Soul Scents devotional. Normally put out once a week, she's had to take a hiatus due to family struggles that she mentions in this issue. If you don't receive her newsletter, let me know and I'll forward it to you. I know about everything she talks about (and some that she doesn't say) in this issue of her newsletter, but what touched me was that my prayers for Paula are answered in her own words. Through all she's been through, I've prayed that she never loses that deep, warrior spirit -- the place where she fights the enemy and stands strong in the presence of her King. It's there as she relates her family's struggles this year, and rather than coming off as "woe is me," it has Psalm-like qualities. If I hadn't gone into "Thanksgiving Mode" during my devotion, I certainly would have while reading Paula's newsletter. (Thank you, my friend.)
Then. . .I read Randy Vawter's blog, the son of another good friend, Margie Vawter. He suggests celebrating the Four Days of Thanksgiving. Capitol idea, Randy! The chuckle he provided in the cartoon was a big ribbon and bow on the present that God gave me today.
And so, I begin my Four Days of Thanksgiving by doing as my devotion and Randy suggested. I am thankful for:
- A God Who continually reminds me that I make Him smile. My Heavenly Father has had to do some heavy-duty encouraging this year as my old-nature has crept in with harsh thoughts and selfishness. During the times I've wondered how I could ever be considered a child of the King, He sends the same message, either through a word picture of someone praying or a simple e-greeting card from a friend oblivious to the need I have to hear those words: You make God smile. Ah, thank You, Lord Jesus!
- A husband who has had to put up with "old-nature leakage" and has often had to caulk the fracture with words of wisdom. God's anchor with skin on, Jim has held me, prayed with me, and loved me through good times and bad. My partner in life, and my best friend. I thank God everyday for this man of mine.
- Two grown sons who bring delight in their humor. Even when one or the other is on my "naughty list," they both know how to wrap me around their fingers by tickling my funny bone. And this is a good thing.
- Three grandchildren who also make me smile. Each have their own personalities and clever wit. Be it frantic antics or made-up words. Mischievous glints in their eyes or hugs out of the blue. I love these kids.
And so begins the Four Days of Thanksgiving. I hope to post more, but if I don't, it's not because I'm not thankful. More than likely I'm buried under my blessings and have simply not had time to get back to my computer.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
And, here I am. Author Harry Kraus took this picture with my camera. He was to my right, and we tag teamed to draw people near. He had a basket full of chocolate. . .the good kind. Reeses, KitKats, fun candy! He would tell passersby that if they came to talk to him, they could have some candy. I only got worried when he said that to four teenage girls walking by. Yeah. They kept walking. But most people talked to him, then scooted over to me, or vice-versa. It was great!
Aside from the fun of getting to be a part of this event, I felt it a privilege to be light in a dark world with so many like-minded authors. I pray that we not only introduced Christian fiction to those who didn't know we existed, but that there were some who were introduced to our Jesus that day.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
HUNDREDS OF NOVELISTS COMING TO MINNEAPOLIS
Booksigning by 100+ novelists at Mall of America September 20
(MINNEAPOLIS, MINN.) Hundreds of authors and aspiring authors will attend the annual
American Christian Fiction Writers conference at the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel September
18-21, 2008. They’ll study the craft of writing from a Christian worldview, get the word out
about their books, and meet with editors from nearly every major publishing house in their industry.
They’re also coming to get signed books. On Saturday, September 20, 1:00-3:00pm in the Best
Buy® Rotunda and Bloomingdale’s Court of the Mall of America, over 100 bestselling and
award-winning authors such as Angela Hunt, James Scott Bell, Rene Gutteridge, Deborah Raney,
Tamera Alexander, Judith Miller, Nancy Moser, and Brandt Dodson will sign copies of
their books for conference attendees and the public.
"ACFW is very excited to partner with the Mall of America in hosting a booksigning of such
magnitude,” said ACFW President Robin Miller. “As a reader myself, I'm thrilled at the opportunity
to meet so many authors and have my books autographed. I intend to do much of my
Christmas shopping at the booksigning."
For more information regarding the signing or conference, please contact Cara Putman at (765)
418-3427 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about ACFW, visit www.acfw.com.
This conference just keeps getting better. I always look forward to learning, connecting, and fellowshipping. Okay, also general clowning around because I'm soooo happy to be away from my home responsibilities and have meals cooked for me and beds made magically while I'm out of my room. Oh yeah, baby!
What's new this year is that instead of our book signing being held in the hotel in which we are staying, Barnes & Noble will be hosting it at the Mall of America. OVER 100 CHRISTIAN FICTION WRITERS will be signing books at the Mall of America. Yowza! What an impact that will have on the general shopping population! I pray it will be a deep one.
I will be signing Florida Weddings, but I also have a contest. If you're in the area, please stop by, (whether you're buying my book or not,) and guess the number of seashells in my jar. The winner will be mailed a Barnes & Noble gift card for $25.
If you're able to join us, the authors participating are:
Janet Lee Barton
James Scott Bell
Patricia PacJac Carroll
Jeanie Smith Cash
Susan Page Davis
Lena Nelson Dooley
Sharon Ewell Foster
Tina Ann Forkner
Cathy Marie Hake
Kelly Eileen Hake
Jenny B. Jones
Golden Keyes Parsons
Jeanne Marie Leach
Sherri L. Lewis
Richard L. Mabry
Donita K. Paul
Kim Vogel Sawyer
Shelley Shephard Gray
Sarah Anne Sumpolec
Susan May Warren
If you can't make it, please consider praying. We've never done anything on this scale before in the general public. I pray that seeds are planted, and that at the very least, people will consider Christian fiction as a viable avenue to share God's word.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Dear Lord," the preacher began with arms extended and a rapturous look
on his upturned face, "without you we are but dust..."
He would have continued, but at that moment one very obedient little girl (who was listening carefully) leaned over to her mother and asked quite audibly in her shrill little girl voice, "Mommy, WHAT is butt dust?"
Church was pretty much over at that point...
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Kristy, Lynn Coleman, the first author in the compilation, and I had talked about doing a booksigning when Florida Weddings came out. Even though it would have taken some major money for me to fly out there for a week of book blitzing, I was looking forward to getting to know Kristy better.
Then came her diagnosis.
I never got to talk to her about this exciting project. I never even got to celebrate with her. I never got to sit at a book table with her and soak in the Kristy that I've been reading about on her blog. A dynamic woman passionately in love with her Lord. Her husband, Milton, has been writing posts about this journey. At times, it was too painful for me to check in on it. Other times, I poured over every word, wishing I could see her again, happy, whole, and healthy.
Here is her blog link. http://www.christianlovestories.blogspot.com/. Even if you have no idea who I'm talking about, you will be blessed to read even a portion of the posts Milton wrote.
Good bye, Kristy. We'll talk later.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
A couple of friends have joined my blog tour, so I have an updated list below.
- Wed, June 11 - Paula Moldenhauer has reprinted my article from Seekerville. "Take Your Passion and Make It Happen" is about my writing walk and how I got that first contract for Merely Players. http://www.gracereign.blogspot.com/
- Wed, June 17 - Rachel Hauck has asked me to talk about my book. I'll go into some of my research. Do you know the difference between a bottlenose dolphin and a Pantropical Spotted dolphin? I had never heard of the latter before I wrote this book! www.rachelhauck.com/blog.htm
- Wed, July 2 - Margie Vawter will offer a brief review and an interview on my writing process. http://www.marjorievawter.blogspot.com/
- Wed, July 9 - Tiff Stockton will host an interview. http://www.ambermiller.com/
- Sat, July 19 - Pat Gonzales will host an interview. http://www.pattishene.com/
- Mon, July 21 - Megan DiMaria will host an interview. http://www.megandimaria.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
- When thieves ransack Renee Austin's design firm, all the evidence points to her as the culprit. Her boss, Aaron Chapin, wants to trust her, but secrets from her past are endangering more than one life. Will the Cords of Love give Renee the strength to prove her innocence?
- Child psychologist Jeris Waldron is a children's director at a church, hoping to win some hearts for the Lord. Brady Moore has prayed for a new mommy and believes Jeris is the answer, but his dad, Luke, has his doubts. Will this threesome allow God to show them the Heart of the Matter?
- Having escaped from Hollywood, Bethany Hamilton finally feels safe in Florida--until she comes face-to-face with Brick Connor, the man who abandoned her for the big screen. When Brick meets up with Bethany again, he realizes he still loves her. Does God have a plan, or are these wounded hearts Merely Players in a cruel game of love?
I've asked some friends to promote Florida Weddings for me on their blogs. Here's a schedule over the next couple of months. Some are interviews, some are articles, and some are reviews. I do hope you'll mark your calendars and visit me over there. Please leave comments, too!
- TODAY! Wed, June 11 - Paula Moldenhauer has reprinted my article from Seekerville. "Take Your Passion and Make It Happen" is about my writing walk and how I got that first contract for Merely Players. http://www.gracereign.blogspot.com/
- Wed, June 18 - Rachel Hauck has asked me to talk about my book. I'll go into some of my research. Do you know the difference between a bottle-nosed dolphin and a Pantropical spotted dolphin? I had never heard of the latter before I wrote this book! www.rachelhauck.com/blog.htm
- Sat, June 22 - Angie Breidenbach has asked me to pull out something nifty (my word) from my book. So I will talk about what role symbolism played in the writing of this story. (Preview: Is it just a storm?) http://writingbyfaith.blogspot.com/
- Wed, July 2 - Margie Vawter will offer a brief review and an interview on my writing process.
- Wed, July 9 - Tiff Stockton will also interview me. http://www.ambermiller.com/
Stay tuned, I may have others who would like to finish out July.
I want to add this brief note. Kristy Dykes, the middle author in our collection was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer a few months ago. Her friends and family are asking for a miracle for Kristy this side heaven. Please join us, and read her blog that her husband, Milton, is keeping up for her and updating on her condition daily. It's an inspirational testimony that touches everyone who stops by.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
I haven't blogged often in the past, but I hope to rectify that. My life is easing somewhat, and my muse has returned home. I don't know where she fled to in the past year and a half. Probably Fiji. She came back with an incredible tan a renewed love of sweet potatoes.
But I digress.
I've spent a few days polishing up my main blog. (Kinda sounds like "my main squeeze." He could do with a bit of polishing up, too!)
ADD has kicked in. Sorry about that.
Where was I? Oh, the new blog. Yes, gone is the feather pen in hand graphic behind the words. I loved it, even though it was a man's hand. But, to celebrate my new found muse, and to step into the new century, I thought a kicky graphic would be the thing. What thing? THE thing. THE thing to get me out of my writing funk. THE thing to remind me that I'm still a hot chick and not a 53-year-old grandmother who colors her hair and rubs linement on her knees. THE thing to help me reconnect with my readers and writing friends.
How can a graphic do all that?
I went on a hunt for "free blog header graphics." I didn't have to search far before I found this one.
The image was sharper, but I fuzzied it up so my title would show. It spoke to me right away. It told my whole life, my hopes and dreams, my quirks, my desires, my whole being in this one piece of art. What I saw was a lot of colorful, unique circles in boxes. This represented the people around me. All have thier own styles. All are beautiful. All are neatly contained in their own space. That's a good thing. I'm not saying they shouldn't be in their squares. I, however, am the diamond off to the side. The diamond in a box of my own. I'm the thinker off-center. The one who makes her own rules. I may conform to a certain extent, as in the seventies when I caved in to bell-bottom jeans and waist-length hair. Or more recently when I pierced my ears on a dare. I believe I was forty at the time. But inside, I'm Kathy. My mother often said that I march to a different drummer. I hear my own tunes -- sometimes a jazz ensemble while everyone else is listening to Mozart.
God created me uniquely His. He gave me a singularity all my own. He made me a diamond in the rough, off center with just enough shine so people will know that He did it.
We all have pieces of art that speak to us. You may be the Norman Rockwell -- the solid piece of Americana with a splash of humor. You may be the Thomas Kinkaid -- the beautiful still life with a sparkle of light. You may be the Picasso -- your nose in the place where your ear should be.
I say all of this, not only to introduce my blog's new look, but to remind us that we are all uniquely God's. Made up of different DNA and bits of genetic material to be used by Him for His good purpose. I like to think of myself as peculiar. 1 Peter 2:9 says we are His "peculiar people" according to the King James Bible. Other versions say this:
- His own special people (NKJV)
- you are God's very own (TLB)
- a people belonging to God (NIV)
- a people for God's own possession (NAS)
Wow! All you diamonds set apart -- rejoice! We are God's special people, His very own.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Friday, April 4, 2008
“The Courage to Pursue Your Writing Dreams”
April 25 & 26
11583 Camp Eden Rd. Golden, CO 80403
Deadline: Registration must be postmarked by April 15!
Open only to members of American Christian Fiction Writers. (http://www.acfw.com/)
Do you ever feel held back by fear, a raging sense of inadequacy, or the thought that you aren't good enough to write for God? Maybe letting someone read those words you've scribbled for years makes your heart pound and your palms sweat. Entering the world of publication isn't for the weak of heart. It's a God-sized adventure. Stepping onto the writing road requires courage, and staying on it takes tremendous fortitude, especially when things don't turn out the way you hoped.
As Paula teaches on the courage to pursue your writing dreams, she'll not only share what God has to say about the big picture, but will prayerfully encourage you to look beneath the surface of your heart to what holds you back. This weekend is about embracing your calling to write, unleashing your passions, and discovering how to live above the lies that keep you from pursuing both. Along with the teaching time, there will be time for personal reflection, journaling, and prayer. A prayer team will also be avail-able to support you.
The retreat committee is praying for spiritual break-through in your writing journey. Join us in praying for this retreat and come ready to let God's sweet Spirit call you forward into the courage to pursue your writing dreams.
Paula Moldenhauer is passionate about God's grace and freedom in Christ. In her mid-thirties, she experienced a spiritual break-through that set her free to pursue her life-long dream of writing for publication. Since that time Paula's work has been published in book compilations, print and on-line magazines, and devotionals. She also has her own ministry, Soul Scents, which offers a free weekly devotional delivered to your in-box. (Subscribe at http://www.soulscents.us/) When not writing, Paula homeschools her four children and once in a while she finds a moment to walk barefoot, drink a good root beer, or climb a mountain trail.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
"What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?"
For my birthday this year, my husband surprised me (after I hinted heavily) with a ticket to the Titanic exhibit at the Denver Museum. I don't know why the story fascinates me. Admittedly, I never thought much about it until the blockbuster movie a few years ago. (That's what a good yarn will do for you!) But, now my interest is piqued. Every person on that ship had a story. And over 1500 people thought that the rest of their life story would be longer.
At the beginning of the exhibit, my husband and I were given "boarding passes". This, I thought, was a cute idea. But it became so much more as we went along. Each pass was for a real person who had actually boarded the R.M.S. Titanic on April 10, 1912. It showed their age, where they were from, who accompanied them, and in what class they stayed. Other various bits of information were on the pass as well, including a "Passenger Fact" that gave further insight into who they were.
Jim's pass was for a Mr. Charles Edward Dahl. Traveling in third class, Mr. Dahl was a 45 year-old Norwegian who immigrated to Australia where he found work as a carpenter. On his way back home to Norway, he changed his mind in London and booked passage aboard Titanic.
My pass was for Miss Edith Corse Evans, age 26 from New York, New York. She traveled in first class, cabin #A29, and was accompanied by an aunt by marriage and the aunt's two sisters. Her fact? A few days before boarding, a fortune teller had warned her to beware of water.
Throughout the exhibit we looked at artifacts brought up from the wreckage. Partway through, we were led down a replica of a first class hallway. Gilded doors and fancy sconces on pristine white walls treated our eyes. A lush carpet treated our feet. I found as we moved into the first class dining room that I began taking on Miss Edith Evans's history, and began gloating to my third class companion (aka Jim, my husband,) about the decadent lavishness of first class over the starkness of third. The dining service set "I" used was so much prettier. The menu so much more suited to my worthy palate. Jim remained his quiet, humble self, not even having to take on Charles Dahl's persona.
We were informed early on to check out the names we were given on the wall at the end of the exhibit. It had a list of all who survived, and those who didn't. I told Jim that since he was an immigrant in third class, he probably didn't make it, but I, being a first-class passenger, and a young woman, no doubt survived in one of the lifeboats.
Yet, the fact about the fortune teller remained in the back of my mind.
Now, I don't put much stock in such things, but I began to worry about the state of Edith's salvation. If she went to a fortune teller, she was probably sorely lacking in that area. Even while pretending I was a much deserving first-class passenger, I found myself praying for her—now nearly a hundred years later.
Before I go on, let me say that I was reverent where it was due throughout the exhibit. (Lest you think I became an insensitive sow.) It was extremely well done, and paid tribute to every passenger on the fated ship. This hit home as we moved from the first class fluffery to the third class reality.
Bare walls with service lights and exposed pipes in the ceiling let us know that the fun was over. We were now entering the heart of the R.M.S. Titanic.
More artifacts, now from unnamed sources, were displayed in the same style glass ensconced pedestals that were in the first class part of the exhibit. A lighted silhouette of the lifeboats showed on the floor, to demonstrate the size. I couldn't imagine spending hours in the small lifeboat, wondering if I'd survive the night. I again thought about Edith. Did she make it?
We finally moved to the wall of passengers. With 2200 names divided by class, Jim found Charles. He survived. I was almost afraid to look for Edith. If she'd died, the chances of her being lost forever tore at my heart. I knew nothing about this woman except for what was on my boarding pass, yet we became connected. I put off looking for her name. I wandered the final room of the exhibit, reading newspaper articles in frames on the walls. Learning more about passengers who were highlighted on large posters. Touching the large slab of ice placed there to show how horribly cold the water was that night.
And then, I approached the wall. I found Edith's name. She did not survive.
My heart sobbed.
How could a first class passenger, a woman at that, not survive? I had taken on her identity, and because of that I felt as though I had been lost to eternity. I wanted to pray, but what would be the point? Can God honor a salvation prayer ninety-five years after a death? Maybe He can, knowing that I would come along a century later and plead for her life.
That night, at home, I looked up Edith Corse Evans on the internet. She was obviously a woman of substance and no doubt her death made the society pages. It did. She had given up her seat on the life boat for her aunt who had a husband and children waiting for her in New York. She promised to catch the next lifeboat . . . but there were no more. Knowing that her last act on this earth was one of serving humility made me feel better, and I pray that in her last hour of life that she repented of seeking a fortune teller and turned to the one true God.
In my devotion on January 1, the author quoted theologian Jonathan Edwards, who in 1722, drew up a list of seventy New Year's resolutions dedicating himself to live in harmony with God and others. One point on his list stated it quite well: Never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life. Edith could have taken that seat on the lifeboat, but she chose instead to conquer her fear despite the ominous warning.
What are you doing the rest of your life? Will you spend it as if it were your last hour? Remember this verse from Ephesians: As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. --Ephesians 4:1 NIV. I pray that I live my life worthy of the calling clear up to the time I pass into eternal life.
May 2008 be a time to live a life worthy of Christ!