October 31, 2012

Bless the Lord Reason #7: He Made Life Fun

Whether you celebrate Halloween or not, you've gotta admit it...dressing up is fun stuff.

Okay, maybe not everyone loves to pretend to be someone else, but I do! Here are some recent examples:

Me as Kaye in The Taffetas, a 50s musical in the style of the Andrews Sisters
Mike and I at a hobo/redneck party. He's my baby daddy. And yes, I'm slightly embarrassed to post this.
Fierce as Rizzo in Grease. Should I go brunette? ;)
Us at a Wild West Poker Night for church. Don't worry, no one was harmed by my guns.
So today, I'm blessing the Lord for His sense of humor and the fact that He allows us to have fun in this life. Good, old-fashioned fun. The kind that makes your heart leap for joy and your belly ache from laughter.

Yeah, this life has troubles.

But there's also lots of fun to be had.

So have a fun October 31, whatever you do!

Your Turn: Do you like to dress up? What is your idea of "fun"?

October 29, 2012

But to God...You Are the World

The other day, I was driving around listening to the country station and I heard this song by Brad Paisley. I love the lyrics:

To the world, you may be just another girl
But to me, baby, you are the world

My romantic heart started pitter-pattering (yeah, it's a verb) as I thought of how my husband thinks I'm special. Isn't it what we all want? To stand out in someone's mind? To be the first thing they think of in the morning? To be cherished, loved for who we are, despite our flaws?

I'm so incredibly blessed to be loved by a man like that.

But then, as my pitter-pattering heart (yeah, it's an adjective too) slowed down, another thought struck.

God thinks I'm special too.

But why would He? Doesn't He know how much I've screwed up? Doesn't He see the sin in my life? Doesn't He know that, really, I'm nothing special at all?

No.

Yeah, we've screwed up and we sin. But like a loving parent or even a spouse, He sees beyond those things.

And to Him, we ARE special.

YOU are special.

I just love the verse in Psalms: "How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me." (Psalm 139:17-18)

He's still with us.

He's still with you.

So let's replace some of the lyrics to that song.

To the world, you may be just another _______(fill in profession, gender, whatever, here)
But to Me, ______ (name), you are the world.

So for me, it might be:

To the world, you may be just another writer
But to Me, Lindsay, you are the world.

Pitter-patter. Pitter-patter.

Your Turn: Does that strike you like it does me? Fill in the blanks for yourself! What is God saying to you?

October 26, 2012

Fun Friday: My First Anthology Publication!

I'm published in this book! Isn't the cover cute?
I'm pretty excited to announce the release of Falling in Love With You, a non-fiction anthology filled with real love stories and released by OakTara, a small Christian publisher.

I tell the story of how my friendship with my husband, Mike, led to a romance unlike anything I expected.

Here's a view of the Table of Contents. So cool!

God's given me lots of "firsts" on this journey, and this is definitely one of them. I'm excited to see what He does next.

Your Turn: What "first" are you celebrating or did you celebrate most recently? It can be in regards to anything, not just writing.

*If you are interested in buying the anthology, it's on sale at OakTara, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, although Amazon is currently showing it as "out of stock."

*Today I'm guest posting over at Gabrielle Meyer's blog about my first-ever trip to Minnesota...and the misconceptions I took with me.

October 24, 2012

Bless the Lord Reason #6: He Gives Me the Means to Learn

Okay, I'll admit it. I was one of "those" kids.

You know. The ones who liked to learn. Who--dare I say it?--liked SCHOOL!

Some of you are shuddering, gasping, sticking out your tongue in disgust.

Others are nodding, poking their hands shyly (or proudly) in the air, whispering (or shouting), "Me too."

Well, even if you weren't a fan of school itself, learning is something that many enjoy. Why? Because it takes us outside of ourselves. It makes us better. It gives us wings to pursue dreams, to chase what never could be before. And it gives us the ability to change ourselves.

Because knowledge truly is power.

No, not power in the physical or even the dictator-type sense. Well, at least, that's not how I mean it.

I mean the kind of power that transforms.

I am so grateful to the Lord for providing so many ways for me to learn. First, I live in America, where education is freely available (I use the term "freely" loosely, LOL). I was so blessed to have a first-rate education and to be able to go to college.

But as I've pointed out, that is not the only kind of learning.

I've also been blessed to find a church where the truth is preached. I have a pastor who delves into Scripture and teachers who speak truth to me.

Because even when I'm not teachable--and I'm talking about will, not ability--God's planting truths in my path and my heart.

Even when I struggle to learn something, He still gives me the MEANS to learn it.

The biggest thing I've learned?

There is so much more knowledge to gain. So much more to know about God, about people, about life.

I'm blessing the Lord because He puts the lessons in front of me and doesn't just leave me to stumble over them, confused and lost.

No, because He loves me, He gives me the ability to learn.

And if I ask, He also gives me the humility I need for such wisdom.

Your Turn: What are you learning lately?

October 22, 2012

A Great Weekend and a Winner

Gabe, me, and Mel. My arms are like soooo long in this pic. Hehe.
This weekend, I traveled to Minnesota for the My Book Therapy Storycrafters Retreat.

It. Was. Amazing.

For those who don't know, My Book Therapy is a writing craft group led by multipublished author Susan May Warren, who I cannot speak more highly of. Seriously. This lady just helped me so much. She's an amazing example of God's love and light, and a really good author too.

Me and Susie. Best. Writing Coach. Ever.
I got to see my writing buddies Gabrielle Meyer and Melissa Tagg (Mel is my critique partner). Gabe drove an hour out of her way to come and get me at the airport. She rocks!

I just got to spend time with them both at the writers conference I attended last month, but I admit...knowing this retreat was coming allowed me to not go into COMPLETE withdrawal after the awesomeness that was ACFW.

Sweetest friend and double-time roomie, Gabe!
My awesome CP and me. Her hair kept blowing in my face. LOL.
I specifically got some really fabulous advice on scene writing and Susie worked with me a little to brainstorm the next book in the series I'm planning. We even wrote a scene the last night and read it aloud yesterday morning. Susie gave us feedback right then and there.

All in all, a great weekend.

And now, I might REALLY go into withdrawal.

So to cheer myself up, I'm going to announce the winner of the Susan Meissner giveaway...

Sarah Forgrave!

Congrats, Sarah! I'll send you an email asking for your address.

Your Turn: What did you do this weekend?

October 19, 2012

Fun Friday: Candle Scents

My pumpkin spice candle. It's on its last leg. Means I get to buy a new one this season!
One of my favorite parts of fall is digging in my cabinets.

Why, you ask?

So I can find my pumpkin spice candle.

There’s just something about the smell that signifies AUTUMN to me.

And it reminds me that the holidays aren’t far away.

Your Turn: What’s your favorite candle scent?

*Today I'm headed off to the My Book Therapy Storycrafters Retreat in Minnesota (yay, I'll get to see a few friends!), so I may not be able to reply right away, but know I'm wishing all of you a happy Friday! 

October 17, 2012

Traveling to Italy with Susan Meissner (and a Giveaway)

Last May, I attended a workshop for my local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. Author Susan Meissner was the speaker. I had read a few of her books and absolutely loved them, so I was excited to learn from her.

Not only did I learn about plotting a book in 30 episodes, but I also learned that Susan is a very gracious, lovely person.

I chatted with her after the workshop and she was so kind and encouraging. I received a critique from her on my first manuscript at the recent writers conference I attended. And yes, I asked to get a picture with her at the gala (what can I say...I was a bit starstruck).

All in all, I love her!

Susan Meissner is the multi-published author of The Girl in the Glass as well as The Shape of Mercy, named one of the 100 Best Books in 2008 by Publishers Weekly and the ECPA’s Fiction Book of the Year. She is also a speaker and writing workshop leader with a background in community journalism, and the leader of a local writer's group, a pastor’s wife and the mother of four young adults. When she's not writing, Susan directs the Small Groups and Connection Ministries program at The Church at Rancho Bernardo in San Diego.

Susan has a new book out--The Girl in the Glass--and I thought it would be fun to ask her a little about it and give away a copy so someone else can enjoy her fantastic work. So, without further ado...

In a nutshell, what's your story about?Meg Pomeroy is a disenchanted travel book editor unsure of her father's love, still smarting from a broken engagement, and whose normally cautious mother is suddenly dating a much younger man. Her perspective on everything that matters is skewed. She escapes to Florence, Italy, on a long-promised trip, believing her father will meet her there. True to form, he’s a no-show, but the trip allows her to connect with Lorenzo DiSantis, a writer she’s met only via Skype and e-mail, and Sofia Borelli, a tour guide and aspiring writer who claims she’s one of the last Medici, and that a sixteenth-century Medici granddaughter, Nora Orsini, speaks to her through Florence’s amazing statues and paintings. When Sophia, Meg, and Nora’s stories intersect, their lives are indelibly changed as they each answer the question: What if renaissance isn’t just a word? What if that’s what happens when you dare to believe that what is isn’t what it has to be?

Since my husband and I are considering a trip to Italy in the spring/summer, I'm hooked! In its review of The Girl in The Glass, Publishers Weekly said that this book is like taking a trip to Florence. What kind of research is involved in creating that kind of experience? Why do you think readers love to take those kinds of journeys in a novel? The best kind of research is that which lets me usher the reader right into the time and place I want to take them, without them feeling anything — no motion sickness, if you will. So I need to know everything, not just facts and figures but even the subtle nuances of a time period. It means a lot of reading and note-taking. I usually end up collecting more data than I can possibly use, but I don’t always know what I’ll need until I am into the story, and the characters start talking and reacting and deciding. I think readers like the thrill of being somewhere they couldn’t visit any other way than through the pages of a book. Novels let us experience the lives of other people without having to make any of their mistakes. And we can also share their joys. And their victories. And the lessons they learned in the crucible of life.

The Girl in the Glass refers to a painting that the heroine of your novel, Meg, loves. Describe the painting and what it stands for. Because this story is set in Florence, against the backdrop of the most stunning art that can be seen today, I wanted there to be a current day painting that connected my main character, Meg, with this amazing city. The painting Meg loves features a little Florentine girl mimicking a statue whose marbled hand is extended toward her. The painting hung in her maternal grandmother’s house, a place where Meg felt loved and safe. Meg hasn’t seen the painting since she was a little girl. When her grandmother died, everything in the house was sold or parceled out to other family members. Meg knows the statue in the much-loved painting is real, that it is somewhere in Florence, and that it is likewise beckoning her to come. Since she doesn’t know where the painting is, she is set on finding the statue instead. In a way, the lost painting represents Meg’s perceived loss of her family when her parents divorced and everything stable in Meg’s life turned upside down. The idea that quirky Sofia hears the paintings and statues speaking to her is at first a little unnerving to Meg, but she’s soon wishing she could hear them.

Thanks so much for being my guest today, Susan! Where can readers connect with you?You can find me at www.susanmeissner.com and on Facebook at my Author page, Susan Meissner, and on Twitter at @SusanMeissner. I blog at susanmeissner.blogspot.com. I also send out a newsletter via email four times a year. You can sign up for it on my website. I love connecting with readers! You are the reason I write.

Your Turn: Have you ever traveled to Italy, or would you want to? Where would you like to go and what would you want to see?


Giveaway Details: One random commenter will win an autographed copy of The Girl in the Glass. I'll draw a winner (U.S. residents only) and announce the winner on Monday!

**Today I'm guest blogging at my friend Jennifer Major's site about my greatest adventure: loving a lawyer. Come say hi!

October 15, 2012

Bless the Lord Reason #5: He Gives Me Examples to Live By

Do you ever just feel...overwhelmed by all the things you're supposed to be?

Kind.

Generous.

Selfless.

Disciplined.

Loyal.

And the list goes on and on...and on.

But you know the cool thing about God?

First, He understands that we aren't perfect. And He forgives us when we are mean, ungenerous, selfish, undisciplined, and disloyal.

And the next cool thing...He doesn't expect us to go it alone. Blind.

No, instead, He gives us examples to live by.

Jesus used parables to illustrate His points, to show what we should do in certain situations. To show the power of God to transform lives. To transform us.

And in our everyday lives, He gives us people who speak truth just by the very way they live.

I'm so incredibly blessed to have so many amazing people in my life who are examples of Jesus to me. Yeah, they aren't perfect either, but they've allowed the Lord to work in and through them--and that inspires me to no end.

I had a fabulous mother and have an awesome mother-in-law and stepmom, all who have loved their children with everything in them. They give and serve tirelessly. It's the kind of mom I hope to be someday.

I thank the Lord I know what a good mother looks like, because of them.

I have a mentor, an older woman in the faith who comes alongside me and encourages me specifically in my marriage. She reminds me over and over that my marriage should be a higher priority than my work and my writing--than anything but my relationship with God. And she not only encourages me, but she lives it out in her own marriage.

I thank the Lord I know what a good wife looks like, because of her.

I have a friend who is just so generous. Despite having little kids that keep her on her toes and constantly busy, she has brought me meals when I'm overwhelmed. She's prayed for me and called me out when I needed it and encouraged me in really tough times. She's always there if I need her.

I thank the Lord I know what a good friend looks like, because of her (and many others I'm blessed to know).

My life wouldn't be the same without these amazing examples in my life. I'm a visual learner, so when I see someone living out the Lord's love, day in and day out, constant, true--I'M blessed, because I know how I should be.

Your Turn: What kind of examples are you grateful for--do you bless the Lord for--in your own life?

October 12, 2012

Exploding Heads and Frankenstein: Guest Post by Jessica R. Patch

I am so incredibly excited to have one of my best writing buddies, Jessica R. Patch, guest post for me today! Not only is Jess hilarious (as you’ll soon see), but she was one of the first bloggers to make me feel truly welcome in this writing community. When Jess and I got to meet last month at ACFW…well, she gave me the biggest hug ever. And things got silly.

Tomorrow just happens to be Jess’s birthday, so we’re gonna do a little virtual celebration. Sit back, grab a slice of cake, and hang on for some hilarious entertainment, a la the birthday girl.

***

Well, it’s October. I’m observant, aren’t I? October is one of my favorite months. Maybe my most favorite. I love Fall. I love the colors, hayrides, soups, ciders, and the smell of cinnamon in the air. And I’m a fan of Halloween. It’s not my favorite holiday. Christmas is. But I love a little mischief and costumes. Maybe it’s the writer in me and the fact I write suspense mostly.

I’m a mischievous kind of girl. Always have been. So I thought I’d share one of my favorite stories that hasn’t landed me in suspension, on house confinement, or jail.

Everyone, I hope, has a kid best friend. Well mine lived down the road and we spent summers plotting and planning ways to make a quick buck for our club—members of two. With this club money, our big goal was to rent a room at the Ramada for a night of pizza and swimming. Not the tightest goal, but for ten year olds what do you expect?

We’ve done many things. We’ve drug my brother around town as a clown with makeup, forcing him to perform for neighbors. I think we might have raised a dollar on that one, but not so sure it was worth my mom and grandma’s falling out over “loaning” me all the left over Mary Kay makeup that wouldn’t come off his face. Nothing like a red-stained face and black smudgy eyes for church. Just sayin.

One day, my friend and I decided what would be better—in October! than opening a Haunted House for the community? People would come in droves. Droves, I say! So we biked down the street and stood on the sidewalk, leaning on and old Apple tree while contemplating how we would get into the abandoned house and turn it into a Haunted thrill for paying customers.

We stared at it awhile and then inched into the yard, hidden by waist high grass. “We need to bust that glass out.”

“That might be loud and draw attention.”

Now, let me just stop right there and answer your question: If you were scared of breaking into a house that didn’t belong to you, how in the world did you think it would be okay once you did, to earn money by opening it up to the public?

I have no answer.

I was a dumb kid.

My brother happened to ride by and see us. Of course he stopped. “What are you guys doing?”

“Go home.”

“No! What are you doing?”

We told him our idea and before we had the chance to conspire once more, he nailed the back door glass with a rock and shattered the glass, sending a shattering ring for miles. We ducked in the grass, our hearts beating like scared mice in front of a starved, pregnant cat. I hate cats, btw.

When no one came around, we entered the house with our markers, crayons, tape and some old hay from a field. Yeah, I know. But whatever. We did it.

The area we stepped into was a walled-in back porch. And on the wall nearest the back door, we spotted gold.

A wall mirror!

“Hey, I bet it’d be cool if when customers came in, they looked in this mirror and instead of seeing themselves, they saw a witch!”

My friend agreed. And we started working on creating the most terrifying witch ever. Black hat, green nose and all. We didn’t quite have time to figure out how to get our own reflections off the mirror…again, dumb kids. Nope, about that time my knuckle head brother, about 7 or 8, said, “I did it!”

We turned around, and on the wall he’d plastered a dwarf size drawing of Frankenstein. In purple marker. Purple. As if that would be believable. Had he learned nothing from our witch?

Now you’re an adult and you’ve had to have seen 1st and 2nd grade drawings, right? Yeah. That was on the foam green plaster walls. I mean I can see why he would choose Frankenstein. It was two fold: 1. It’s October and hello? it’s a Haunted House. and 2. The walls were green. But still? It wasn’t a looming Frankenstein, or even a great drawing. It was sad. Really, really sad.

It was at this point, my friend’s face turned the color of one of the tomatoes in my dad’s yard size garden, which I also hated. For a moment, I seriously thought her head was going to explode and for a second longer I thought, “Dude, a bloody haunted house. That’s rad.”

And then we heard it.

The sounded of a witch’s scream.

High pitched. Piercing our ears.

I backed against the wall. My brother dropped the purple Crayola and inched next to me. Shallow pants and shaking breaths filled the back porch.

Maybe it was nothing.

Our imagination.

We heard it again, calling our names, echoing off the walls.

“Where are you?” The word “you” shook as the witch held it out.

“Don’t tell!” My brother clutched my arm. As if I’d hand myself over to a witch. My brother? Well, that’s a different story. I was always willing to offer him up on the altar of self-preservation.

“What do we do?” my friend asked.

“Maybe she’ll go away.”

But she didn’t. She just kept hollering, as if she knew we had broken into that old house and was victimizing it with our freakishly bad artistic skills.

When it finally died down, we snatched our bikes and booked it home. My friend rounding the corner and leaving dust in her trail. No time to ride her half way.

Inside, we washed our hands. Did she know?

“Where were you when I called?” My mom asked.

*We never went back to that house and I don’t know if my mom knew what we’d been up to or not. Driving around town hollering for us wasn’t unusual. Embarrassing, yes. Unusual, no. Maybe I’ll ask her. But then, I’m still kind of scared of her witchy ways. J

Happy Fall, Ya’ll!
What is your favorite Fall treat? I love caramel apples!


Jessica R. Patch writes inspirational contemporary romance with plenty of mystery and suspense. A passion to draw women into intimacy with God keeps her motivated, along with heaping cups of caffeine in the form of coffee. When she’s not hunched over her laptop or teaching the new & growing believer's class at her church, you can find her sneaking off to movies with her husband, embarrassing her daughter in unique ways, beating her son at board games and contemplating how to get rid of her irksome dog (she hasn’t attempted any of them…yet). She is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Agency.

Connect with Jess:

Blog: http://www.jessicarpatch.com
Twitter: @JessicaRPatch
Facebook: Jessica R. Patch, Writer

October 10, 2012

Taking the Pressure Off

Ever feel like you’re going at breakneck speed?

Like you can’t stop, won’t stop, but gotta stop or something’s gotta give?

That’s how I felt a week ago.

After attending the most amazing writers conference ever, I was on a high. I had goals. Plans. And I had to kick it in high gear to make it happen.

I laid out my plan: to write 12,000 words a week (that translates to about twelve hours of writing for me) so that I could finish my next book’s first draft by Thanksgiving.

I laid out exactly when I would write. I got very specific. That’s what you’re supposed to do when you create goals, right?

And then, lights, camera, action.

Except, the action wasn’t so hot as I’d imagined.

One reason after another—all legitimate—impeded my forward motion.

Things like working forty hours a week and being tired. Like getting a new puppy and being tired. Like teaching an online course and being tired. Like living life: trying to fit in exercise (training for 5K), cook healthy meals so we didn’t eat out every day, spend time with my husband so our marriage didn’t suffer.

And suddenly…I found myself PANICKING.

Because I’m a go-getter. A rule follower. A deadline queen. If I say I’m gonna do something, well, I’m gonna do it.

And it’s not okay to back down from something you said you’re going to do, right?

Wouldn’t that be lazy of me?

In the words of my husband, NO.

Where does he come into play? Well, last week he took me out for ice cream (which, as we all know, heals nearly any wound…or at least puts you temporarily in heaven) and we had a good chat. I really think God used him to speak truth to me and help me realize some things.

He asked me how much it would help to cut my goal down by a third: to 8,000 a week.

I thought about it. It would help relieve a lot of the pressure. I could write in smaller chunks here and there and still reach my goal.

Then he asked how much it would put me behind my original goal to do that.

I calculated. Only three weeks.

Isn’t that amazing? I was freaking out trying to get this done, when easing up a bit would make a big difference and not put me behind really that much at all.

Now understand…I don’t have an established deadline with a publisher. If I did, this would be different. What I’m talking about is self-imposed deadlines.

And I think there’s a fine line between pushing ourselves to achieve what we need to and self-imposed MADNESS.

For me, my husband helped to show me that line. He reminded me that I have a lot on my plate. I really hadn’t factored in how having a new puppy would change my schedule in the mornings and evenings. It does. No getting around it.

And he reminded me that the holidays are coming. Fall is my favorite time of year. Do I really want to put myself in a frenzy—an unnecessary frenzy—when instead I could be enjoying the season?

No.

No, I don’t.

Your Turn: Do you ever struggle to know where that line is between pushing yourself toward your goals at a reasonable, respectable pace and pushing too hard? Any tips for telling the difference?

October 8, 2012

Bless the Lord Reason #4: He Gives Me Joy


On this blog, I try to post about the ways I’ve seen God work in my life.

Sometimes, the posts are difficult ones to write. I try to be honest. To give a real glimpse of what it’s like to live in this world and still have faith.

Even when times are hard.

Even when things don’t go my way.

Even when I can’t hear a word from God though I strain and strain my ear.

But sometimes, these posts are easy as pie to write.

This is one of those posts.

Because despite all of the ways God reveals His truth to my heart—whether it be through revelations that are hard for me to hear, because they mean I’m at fault, or through the realization that this world can be a really crappy place to live sometimes—He also gives me something that makes me want to leap in the air.

Joy.

Joy.

Joy.

Joy. Down in my heart.

Where? (Everyone got that song in their head now?)  

The Lord has given me sooooo many reasons to have that genuine, wanna-bust-out-dancing, I-can’t-believe-this-is-my-life kind of joy.

He gave me an amazing husband.

A wonderful set of parents who raised me to know the Lord and gave me an awesome example.

The means to an education.

A job that takes care of my needs.

Two puppies who make me laugh, even when they’re naughty. (Well, sometimes I yell first…)

Friends who I can belly laugh with. And spill my heart to.

Scripture that draws me to my knees in worship.

Music that moves me.

A life that, even when it’s hard, is worth living.

Because I have joy. Deep abiding joy that only hope in the Lord can bring.

Why, oh Lord, have you favored me with this life?

I don’t know. I don’t. But I’m so grateful for the joy You bring me. Bless Your name for that.

Your Turn: How has the Lord given you joy?

*Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

October 5, 2012

Fun Friday: New Blog Design!



A few weeks ago, literary agent Amanda Luedeke of MacGregor Literary reviewed my blog as part of a series of free social media critiques she was offering to those with websites (isn’t she awesome?!).

She had some awesome advice that I implemented earlier this week (like making my bio more personal and being sure that I always reply to commenters).

And she also suggested I get a more professional masthead. I’ve been wanting to do this since several of my friends have awesome sites.

But I didn’t stop there. I decided to get a whole site makeover, courtesy of Melanie Moore of Elegant Custom Blogs (who I can’t brag enough about…so professional and nice, with a great turnaround time).

Since my blog posts tend to be personal in nature (how I deal with faith, what I think is fun, what’s going on in my life, what I’m learning about marriage, etc.), I wanted a site that really reflected my personality.

And I. Love. Pink. Clearly. Haha.

I wanted a header that reflected who I was and what I stood for and wrote about. Since I write about faith and my site isn't so much about my writing or really an author site, per se, I put my life verse and alluded to one of the underlying themes of my blog—trusting that God's got everything under control. Or trying to trust, anyway.

I also wanted a modern, fun, but somewhat elegant feel to the site. I like to think I’m all sorts of things—I love order and simplicity, but I’m outgoing, a performer, contemplative—and I think Melanie captured that really, really well.

I’m excited to have a blog home that feels…well, like home.

I hope it makes you excited to hang out here too. I really have been so blessed by each of you, my faithful readers and friends. Even those of you who don’t leave comments regularly or at all—please know I appreciate your support and feel your love daily.

Your Turn: Do you have a blog home you’re proud of? How does it reflect your personality (feel free to leave your URL so we can check it out!)? Ever hope to upgrade? If so, I highly recommend Melanie’s services!

If you don’t have a site, what’s one of your favorite sites to visit and why?

October 3, 2012

Bless the Lord Reason #3: He Provides What I Need

My very first draft of my very first manuscript. It was a proud moment. Clearly, since I printed it out and signed it.
When I look back over my life, I see the Lord’s provisions in very specific ways.

Strength to do a homework assignment when I’d pulled a full day at work and was dead on my feet.

A friend who spoke the truth in love.

A verse that encouraged me like nothing else (see my post from Monday on how God gave me my life verse).

And recently, at the writers conference I attended, He provided me with direction.

Even though the direction wasn’t what I’d hoped for, He still provided.

See, before I went, I was waffling between revising my first manuscript (for the bazillionith—or sixth—time) and moving on to my next manuscript.

It can be really difficult for a writer to really know where she’s “at” and whether her idea is really viable in the market. I was just too close to it.

So I prayed that the Lord would use the conference to guide me.

On the one hand, I really, really hoped my first manuscript was ready. I’d worked hard on it for the last year. I’d received favorable feedback on my writing, but was told by one publishing professional that the story wasn’t unique enough.

So even though I hoped for one thing, I really just wanted to know what to do.

As I attended the conference, I watched for those signs. And in my pitch appointments with two editors, I got my answer.

Move on to the next book.

I have to admit: I felt relieved to know. A bit disappointed that my first book probably won’t be a best seller—probably won’t ever be published—but so glad that the Lord answered my prayer.

He gave me exactly what I needed in the moment: truth and direction.

Isn’t that just like the Lord, to give us what we need? It may not always be what we want or what we hoped for most…but it’s always, always what we need.

He loves us enough to give us what’s best for us.

And I bless His name for that.

Your Turn: How has the Lord provided you with what you need, even if you didn’t necessarily want it?

October 1, 2012

Repost: How I Got My Life Verse

Some people haven't been able to access my post from earlier today, so I decided to repost it!

For the last several years, I’ve heard people talk about their “life verse.”

I’d scratch my head and go, “Huh? What’s that mean?”

Well, according to shareyourstorynow.org, “A life-verse is a verse or passage in the Bible that is significant to you.  It may define your life, give you inspiration or direction, be something that you hang onto as you face difficult circumstances, or it could even be the passage of scripture that brought you to a belief in Jesus Christ.”

I always wondered how someone knew a verse was supposed to be the one they lived by forever.

Well, now I know.

Because two weeks ago at the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference, God gave me mine in the clearest way I could have imagined.

It was Friday. I had two editor pitch sessions coming up. (For you non-writers, this means I sit down for 15 minutes and tell them about my book. They can ask questions or say they aren’t interested. You really have no idea how it will go.)

I’d never pitched before, so needless to say—I was nervous! (I mean, I love food and I barely touched breakfast AND lunch. Such a bummer.)

I had a few friends who offered to wait and pray with me, but I needed a few moments to myself. At this particular conference, they set up a prayer room. So I headed in there.

I just felt…overwhelmed.

Not because I was THAT afraid or anything. Maybe because I was there…finally. Maybe it was a huge mixture of fear, and joy, and worry, all rolled up into this ball of emotions that threatened to spill over.

Anyway, so I sat down and started praying, but felt like I needed the comfort of God’s words. I pulled out my iPhone, and scrolled to my Bible app.

I didn’t know what verse I’d even pull up for comfort.

But I didn’t need to know.

Because the verse of the day popped up, and when I read it—kid you not—I burst into tears.

Here’s the verse (same translation as on the app):

“There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” (Philippians 1:6, The Message)

Seriously, God?

I cried, prayed, ran out to show my friends…and tears came to their eyes too, because they know me. And they know that above all, the hardest thing I struggle with is WORRY.

I worry I won’t succeed at this whole writing thing. That I’ll never amount to anything.

But as God likes to continually remind me (as He did just last month; see this guest blog post I wrote on Jessica Patch’s site)—He’s got this.

I mean, He plopped that verse in my lap. I believe in that little prayer room in the bottom level of the Hyatt Regency in Dallas…God met me.

And He showed me the verse that will always be most significant to me, because of who I am and what I struggle with.

He’s started this work in me—whether it be my writing life, my personal life, my spiritual life—and He’s gonna finish it.

He’s. Got. This.

And I’m so, so glad.

Your Turn: Do you have a life verse? If not, what’s one of your favorites?

How I Got My Life Verse


The winner of Jody Hedlund's new book, Unending Devotion, is ....

Ganise!

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---

For the last several years, I’ve heard people talk about their “life verse.”

I’d scratch my head and go, “Huh? What’s that mean?”

Well, according to shareyourstorynow.org, “A life-verse is a verse or passage in the Bible that is significant to you.  It may define your life, give you inspiration or direction, be something that you hang onto as you face difficult circumstances, or it could even be the passage of scripture that brought you to a belief in Jesus Christ.”

I always wondered how someone knew a verse was supposed to be the one they lived by forever.

Well, now I know.

Because two weeks ago at the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference, God gave me mine in the clearest way I could have imagined.

It was Friday. I had two editor pitch sessions coming up. (For you non-writers, this means I sit down for 15 minutes and tell them about my book. They can ask questions or say they aren’t interested. You really have no idea how it will go.)

I’d never pitched before, so needless to say—I was nervous! (I mean, I love food and I barely touched breakfast AND lunch. Such a bummer.)

I had a few friends who offered to wait and pray with me, but I needed a few moments to myself. At this particular conference, they set up a prayer room. So I headed in there.

I just felt…overwhelmed.

Not because I was THAT afraid or anything. Maybe because I was there…finally. Maybe it was a huge mixture of fear, and joy, and worry, all rolled up into this ball of emotions that threatened to spill over.

Anyway, so I sat down and started praying, but felt like I needed the comfort of God’s words. I pulled out my iPhone, and scrolled to my Bible app.

I didn’t know what verse I’d even pull up for comfort.

But I didn’t need to know.

Because the verse of the day popped up, and when I read it—kid you not—I burst into tears.

Here’s the verse (same translation as on the app):

“There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” (Philippians 1:6, The Message)

Seriously, God?

I cried, prayed, ran out to show my friends…and tears came to their eyes too, because they know me. And they know that above all, the hardest thing I struggle with is WORRY.

I worry I won’t succeed at this whole writing thing. That I’ll never amount to anything.

But as God likes to continually remind me (as He did just last month; see this guest blog post I wrote on Jessica Patch’s site)—He’s got this.

I mean, He plopped that verse in my lap. I believe in that little prayer room in the bottom level of the Hyatt Regency in Dallas…God met me.

And He showed me the verse that will always be most significant to me, because of who I am and what I struggle with.

He’s started this work in me—whether it be my writing life, my personal life, my spiritual life—and He’s gonna finish it.

He’s. Got. This.

And I’m so, so glad.

Your Turn: Do you have a life verse? If not, what’s one of your favorites?

*Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net