Monday, August 31, 2009

New Love Inspired at last from Marta Perry

Wow, I'm so glad that September is finally here, and I can announce a new Love Inspired release at last! I haven't had a book out since last July, and that's a long time for me. I've been writing, I keep assuring the people who ask very cautiously what I've been doing all this time! But my schedule took a couple of unexpected twists and turns along the way, and the editors wanted to bring out the books in the series fairly close together, and that's how it goes sometimes.

Now, at last--TA DA! Here is TWICE IN A LIFETIME! I'm so happy to see it, and the cover turned out exactly the way I hoped it would. TWICE IN A LIFETIME begins a new series for me. Yes, I've run out of Flanagans, so I had to find a new family to write about, and I'm very happy with the Bodines of South Carolina. They are a large (very large) extended family living in Charleston, South Carolina and on the nearby islands: Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms. Many members of the family are Coast Guard officers, and I've loved getting to know so much more about the heroes of that valuable branch of the military. And the reason it's such a large family is that I want to write lots and lots of books about them!
I'm also enjoying writing this series because every winter my husband and I load up the car and trek down to South Carolina to get away from the cold and snow here in Pennsylvania. Our second home is on Hilton Head Island, but we do spend a lot of time in the Charleston area because our daughter lives on Isle of Palms. She teaches at The Citadel, and her two daughters are really island girls, who actually attend the school that's mentioned in the book.
Very often I create fictional towns in which to set my stories, so that I won't offend anyone who knows an actual place and may have a different view of it. But the Bodines are different--they live in a real place, and many of the things they do and places they go are things I've experienced. So, if you're familiar with the area, I apologize in advance for any mistakes you feel I've made. And if you're visiting Charleston--go have a bowl of she-crab soup or a shrimpburger and think of me!
Marta Perry

My weekend

I spent Saturday morning at the football field watching my oldest granddaughter cheerleading (on the end). She is in 3rd grade. I remember when I grew up we didn't have cheerleaders until junior high school. Now they start in kindergarten. Like so many things, our kids are doing things so much younger than my generation.

After the football game, three of my four granddaughters came over to my house for a few hours. We played Wii--the sports version. I did the skills test and made a 74. The lower the score the better. Obviously I'm not very good. I did all right with bowling and tennis but in the baseball section, I didn't hit one ball. That doesn't surprise me. I wasn't really good at softball. I would rather duck when a ball was thrown toward me than hit it or catch it. I was hit by a ball when I was young. Hence the ducking.

Aren't grandchildren great?!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lyn Cote Comes Clean About The Preacher's Daughter

I have something to confess. Nothing too serious but a little no-no.

This month my two-book series: Finally Home-Finally Found is being re-released on September 8th. I am really happy that Steeple Hill is re-issuing our earlier Love Inspired Romances since many readers want new copies of books they missed. Our readership has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade and many want to read all our backlist books.

Now for my confession. I am often "orphaned." This means that my editors (lovely women all) insisted on getting married, having twins or moving with their husbands to new cities. This is what "orphans" me. How inconsiderate of them. What were these editors thinking?

Anyway, I had finished these two books which were really only the first two books in a series about 3 sisters who are trying to locate their mother's birth parents. They are doing this because their mom who has leukemia has just gone into remission. But they want to find her birth family in case she needs a bone marrow transplant. None of them were a match and they can't stand the thought that their mom would need a transplant and have no match.

So my editor left--orphaned again. While they were hiring a replacement, I was assigned an interim editor. I told her that I wanted to write the third book and she said, "No, it's been too long since the first two books came out." I was not happy because I knew that my readers would ask--so what about the third sister? Doesn't she get a handsome hero and a happily ever after?

So when my newly hired editor called and asked if I had a new story in mind, I said, "yes!" I gave her a brief rundown of the story and she liked it. I did not come clean and tell her that this was the third in the series. And I even changed the name of my heroine and her family members.

Later I did come clean with her and she said that I should have told her. She didn't think that the time between books would have been a problem. So if you read Finally Home-Finally Found and want to read about the third sister, look for The Preacher's Daughter. Fortunately, it was picked up by the Large Print publisher, Thorndike-Gale. So it's probably in the Large Print area of your local library or you can still buy it on Amazon.

The third sister Doree is named Lucie in The Preacher's Daughter and her mom's name changed from Ethel to Dorothy. The names changed but Lucie is still definitely Doree. GRIN

Now if you want a chance to win an autographed copy of Finally Home-Finally Found, drop by my personal blog, "Strong Women, Brave Stories" and post a comment. During the month of a new release, I have a weekly drawing for a free copy. Just leave a comment and you'll be entered.

So there you are--my true confession!
PS-BTW, don't you think the cover model on TPD looks like our own Lenora Worth?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Delayed Gratification?

Hi there. I’m Renee Ryan and I’m blogging today. When I started pondering what to write about I found myself sitting in church during a sermon on the prodigal son. This wasn’t the first time I’d heard a sermon on this popular passage from Luke 15. Like most sermons I’ve heard about the prodigal son, this one focused on the return of the prodigal. What a wonderful lesson of repentance and forgiveness.

But I’ve always been fascinated with the “good” brother in the prodigal son story. On the surface, he seems to get the raw-end of the deal. He’s been obedient and loyal throughout his entire life, while his no-good brother has squandered his inheritance on wild living yet still gets the big welcome home party. When the older son grumbles, the father says to him in Luke 15: 32, “…we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

The message of this particular parable is that God accepts all lost people, no matter how far they’ve wandered away from Him and/or their faith. I think that’s an important message, a lovely reminder that it’s never too late to repent and that God’s grace is always sufficient. We don’t have to earn salvation. We just have to accept it.


As wonderful as this message is, there’s a portion of the prodigal son story many miss, the portion that included the father’s initial words to the “good” son. In Luke 15: 31, the father says to the grumbling older brother, “My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” Did you catch that? Everything I have is yours. You see, the good son still has his father’s favor. He’s going to get what he deserves, eventually. Yes, the father rejoices when the prodigal returns, but he doesn’t give the boy another inheritance. That naughty boy does not get back all that he squandered. On the contrary, everything that belongs to the father will go to the obedient son. The mistake the “good” brother makes is demanding a reward he’s already been given.

Heavy stuff, huh?

I modeled the heroine in my latest release, HANNAH’S BEAU, after the “good” brother. I wanted to explore the bitterness that comes from thinking we deserve rewards simply for being good. Although Hannah is a strong, self-sufficient woman, she ultimately has to learn that obedience is always about doing what is right but it isn’t always about being right.

Life isn’t always fair. And we don’t always get our rewards up front. You see, Hannah’s twin sister, Rachel, learned early in life to use Hannah’s goodness to the detriment of them both. It is only when both sisters accept responsibility for their own actions, and release their bitterness toward the other, that either woman can move on to a healthy future full of love. And in Hannah’s case, that translates to a lifetime with her Beau. For me, I need to remember the beauty of delayed gratification. That’s a hard one in this drive-through age.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Book giveaways!

Update (9/27/09): Congratulations to Jessiecue who won these 8 books!

Camy here, with a few Love Inspired book giveaways!

One winner will get all eight books!

Be My Neat-Heart
Judy Baer

(This book got banged up a bit when it was first mailed to me)

Men come and go, but clutter is forever.

I've been told the reason I'm still single at twenty-nine is because there'll never be a man tidy enough for me. I'm a professional organizer, so everything in my world is in perfect order. Well....everything except my love life.

But I think I've met my match in Jared Hamilton, who recently hired me to cure his sister's "clutter issues." He's an even bigger neatnik than I am, but he also needs to control everyone around him. I'm starting to realize that sometimes love can be messy business!

Buried Secrets
Margaret Daley

Hidden treasure? Fresh from her grandfather's funeral, Maggie Somers was shocked to find his home--all she had left of him--ransacked. What wasn't so shocking was that a Collier stood among the wreckage. Maggie had grown up hearing all about the Collier clan--liars and thieves who couldn't be trusted. Yet Zach Collier asked Maggie to have faith in him, to put their feud and their families' to rest. His grandfather had also recently passed away. Zach was sure the man--like Maggie's grandfather--had been murdered for something hidden among his possessions. Something Zach and Maggie had to uncover before they became targets.

Buried Sins
Marta Perry

Had her brand-new husband been involved in something shady? Before Caroline Hampton could confront him, he was killed in a car crash...or so it was claimed. Unsettling incidents escalating in dange warned her he could be very much alive. And so Caroline fled for the safety of her sisters' Amish country inn. But someone who suspected her handsome police chief Zachary Burkhalter was waiting for Caroline. Waiting for her to slip up. And watching her every move. Daring her to trust him with all of the truth.

Deadly Homecoming
Barbara Phinney

Who killed the bride and groom?

Everyone thinks it was "that troublemaker," Peta Donald. Gossips say she came home to stop the wedding. That jealousy led her to murder.

No one on Northwind Island believes that Peta has changed since her youth. And nothing has changed in town. Peta is still shunned by everyone. Everyone except Lawson Mills, whose appearance on the island is as mysterious as the double murders. Peta is sure he has an ulterior motive for helping clear her name. Full of questions about another set of murders, Lawson is secretive about himself. Until they discover what's behind Peta's deadly homecoming…

Hide In Plain Sight
Marta Perry


She couldn't turn her back on her family in their time of need. So when her sister was injured, financial expert Andrea Hampton traded the big city for Amish country to help turn her grandmother's house into an inn.

But life with the Plain People took a treacherous turn when a string of accidents and pranks threatened her family. Someone didn't want the secrets the old house harbored to come to light. Trusting anyone-- even the handsome carpenter who seemed so genuine--was a battle for Andrea, but her life depended on her ability to find the truth.

MIA: Missing in Atlanta
Debby Giusti


Granted, he hadn't known her long, but returning war hero Jude Walker expected to eventually marry the woman he'd met during his last leave. Not find her missing. Or learn that her last known address was a homeless shelter in a dangerous part of the city. The shelter's temporary director, Sarah Montgomery, didn't know Jude's friend. But she knew the streets, knew the dangers--from drugs and prostitution to the most cold-blooded of criminals--right outside her door. Knew that the handsome, brave captain was in for heartache. And that falling in love with him was her riskiest move yet.

Missing Persons
Shirlee McCoy

Leave while you still can

The warning had been spray-painted on Lauren Owens's walls. And whoever had vandalized her house meant business. But Lauren couldn't--wouldn't--leave the Magnolia College campus. Not when she'd finally found her way back to Seth Chartrand, the single father who'd broken her heart years ago. And not when the cold-case murder everyone was talking about remained scarily unsolved--including the young woman's identity. Because Lauren had a sinking feeling she knew exactly who the victim was....

Nowhere to Run
Valerie Hansen

"Run and don't stop!"

Those were her former boyfriend's last words. Before the thugs he associated with murdered him in cold blood. Now they're after Marie Parnell. She flees with her five-year-old daughter—until car trouble strands her in Serenity, Arkansas. The handsome mechanic who promises to get her back on the road is suspicious—and purposely slow. With nowhere to turn and nowhere left to run, Marie tells Seth Whitfield everything. About her past, about finding faith, about how safe she feels with him. He vows to protect her and her child. But Seth isn't exactly who he says he is….

Blog book giveaway:

To enter to win today’s books, leave a comment on this blog post, giving your name and saying you want to enter. International readers are welcome to enter!

Please leave an email address or website where I can contact you (please use this format--you [at] something like that to prevent spammers from trolling for your email address).

Here's how you can get extra entries!

Get TEN EXTRA ENTRIES into the giveaway if you join one of the Steeple Hill Reader services by clicking on one of the three links below:

Get 2 FREE Books— just for giving Steeple Hill Love Inspired a try! Click here now!

Get 2 Free Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense Books from Steeple Hill today.

Get 2 FREE Books and 2 FREE Gifts for giving Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical a try

Email me at camy {at} camytang {dot} com if you join a Reader service, and please email me your confirmation email message with your private information removed.

If you already belong to a Steeple Hill Reader service club, email me with your confirmation email message with your private information removed. Alternately, you can scan your latest shipment invoice with your private information removed and email me the file. Or if you want to mail me a photocopy of your latest shipment invoice with your private information removed, mail it to: Camy Tang, P.O. Box 23143, San Jose, CA 95153-3143.

If you join (or belong to) all three Steeple Hill Reader services, you get THIRTY EXTRA ENTRIES! (Don't worry, I'll be keeping a tally on my computer.)

It is the winner’s responsibility to check to see if you won and to email me if you haven’t yet heard from me. I always email the winner and give them a week to reply, but if I don’t receive an answer, I will pull another person to win the books. I am not responsible for a lost opportunity if you leave an email address you don’t check frequently.

The winner can expect their free books in 4-6 weeks.

You have a month to enter--I'll pick a name out of a hat on Thursday, September 24th. (BTW, you can post a comment and NOT enter, too.)

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Her novels Single Sashimi and Deadly Intent are out now. She runs the Story Sensei critique service, is a staff worker for her church youth group, and leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every week and ponders frivolous things. Sign up for her newsletter YahooGroup for monthly giveaways!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

When news happens next door.

Hi all, Pat Davids here.

Last week I had the privilege of seeing our city’s SWAT team in action. On our street! It isn’t as thrilling as you might think.

The signs were all there that something was going wrong in the house down the block. I didn’t know them except to wave. They kept such a pretty yard and I stopped to tell the young man that once. I’m glad I did, but I wish I had done more.

At the start of the summer their once nice yard became overgrown, the trash started piling up. We speculated on the reason, of course. The economy is bad here, too. Did they lose their jobs or was the house being repossessed? My husband is the one who notices what cars are parked on the street and who they belong to. I can’t tell a Ford from a Fiat. He told me the young man’s car was there only once or twice a week now.

Someone mowed the front yard one day and I thought, good, thing are better, but they weren’t. The young couple was in the process of an ugly divorce. One evening it all became too much. They started fight that resulted in a domestic disturbance call, which became a hostage situation and then a police standoff. While the young man barricaded himself in his once lovely little home and threatened to kill himself, the SWAT team surrounded the place, made the neighbors get inside and stopped all the traffic.

We didn’t know what was going on at the time, just that police is heavy gear with big guns had taken control of our neighborhood. We only learned the sad facts later. Thankfully the young man gave himself up and no one was hurt. I pray he’s getting the help he needs.

I know dramas like this plays out all over the world, but it was so sad to see it happen directly across the street from the neighborhood church. With help so close, God's two children never reached out for it. How sad is that?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Tip of a Drumstick® :-)

By Missy Tippens

Though school has started back, it’s definitely still summer in Georgia! As I’m typing this at 11 pm, it’s 75 degrees outside. And I just had inspiration for my post.

A Drumstick® ice cream cone. Or as they call it, The Original Sundae Cone. ®

Very inspirational, don’t you think?? :)

When I went to the Nestle Drumstick website to see if I could find a photo of one to use, I found the history of the treat. First off, a Syrian waffle-maker named Ernest Hamwi showed the first ice cream cone at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Then in 1928, I.C. Parker had the idea of coating an ice cream cone with chocolate and peanuts. When he did so, his wife said it looked like a fried chicken leg—or drumstick! :) Thus, its name. He and his brother started the Frozen Drumstick Sales Co soon after. Then years later, they added the chocolate lining inside the cone. They also added the part that so inspired me tonight—the little plug of chocolate in the tip of the cone.

Oh, I love that last bite! Weren’t they ingenious? You’re chomping along, a little sad once the ice cream is gone. But then that last little reward…a last burst of melting chocolate with a bit of cone crunch.

There’s nothing like a summer evening and a Drumstick. What about you? What’s your favorite summer snack? Or a food that always makes you think of summer?

Missy's June Love Inspired, His Forever Love, is still available! Visit

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's That Time of Year Again

Hello from Sandra Robbins.

Fall is here, and children all across the country are getting ready to go back to school. In northwest Tennessee where I live, this is the second week of classes for the public schools, and I imagine students are already looking forward to Labor Day.

A few weeks ago you could hardly make your way through the aisles at our local Wal-Mart as parents bought everything on the various school supply lists that were posted in the store. I suppose people who live in a city might think it strange that each grade within each school would have their supply lists prominently displayed in stores around town. To us that’s just part of small town living, and we love it.

The stores aren’t as crowded now, but it’s going to be a short reprieve. It’s time for the second wave to come in, because the University of Tennessee at Martin is located in my hometown. Living in a college town is a unique experience. Overnight our population explodes, and the cars on the city streets increase by about one hundred per cent. I’ve always believed that each college student must bring two vehicles each when they return to school.

Don’t get me wrong. I love college students. In fact I have three grandchildren who attend college, and I’m so thankful they are pursuing their education. My grandson is a senior at the Webb Institute of Naval Architecture and Engineering in Glen Cove, New York, his sister is a freshman at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and another granddaughter is a junior at UTM. Their interests are different, but they each have a dream of what they want to accomplish.

So for all you parents and grandparents who will soon wave goodbye to your college students leaving home, give them a hug and send them on their way with a prayer that they will be safe and happy in their new surroundings. We’ve given them the skills to face life, now it’s up to them.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Storms in Life

My hometown recently said goodbye to tropical storm Claudette. A few trees down, some rowdy wind. She wasn't too bad. But, for those of us on the coast--who really prefer not to think about it--she was a reminder of what tropical season storms can do.

The first hurricane I "survived" was Opal. I lived an hour and a half away from the coast and I stayed awake all night, listening to the wind make noises that wind is not supposed to make. We had no electricity, of course, and in the dark and the silence, every noise is magnified. Thankfully, we were all on the floor in the hall when the tree came through the roof in the baby's room.

The next time we saw a hurricane headed our way, we knew to evacuate. We've since moved from the Pensacola area, but six years ago when devastating hurricane Ivan hit northwest Florida, we lived at the epicenter of the damage. Dennis was like Ivan's little brother, the next year. My family became experts at evacuating. We had it down to a science. We knew which boards went on which windows. We knew which of our precious belongings we wanted in the car with us. And we would run away from the storm, loaded down with the things we couldn't bear to lose (along with two children, two dogs, a snake, and a goldfish).

There are some storms in life that you can't run away from, that your only option is to weather. And for those storms, the precious promise of God is that He will be with you through whatever life throws at you. You don't have to weather the storm alone in the dark.

God is by your side, He's holding on to you, even when you feel wind-tossed. And He'll never let you go.

Stephanie Newton lives in Northwest Florida and gains lots of inspiration from the sugar-white sand, the emerald green water, and the many, many interesting things you see when you live at the beach. Her newest Love Inspired Suspense, Moving Target, an August release, is on shelves now!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Romance is in the Air

I wonder if you're like me? I sign on to the computer and even though I close my eyes, I still scan the news briefs. Back in July, this headline caught me: 106-year-old Single Gal Still Dating. Hmmm, as a romance writer, I couldn't resist.

Here's what I read, courtesy of

"Statia Kealy of Ireland has never married, smoked, drank or even put on makeup. So maybe that's why she's finally ready to cut loose and hit the dating scene at the tender age of 106. Statia, who could easily pass for 88 or 89, says she's looking for love. If you know any centenarians who live near Ireland, maybe you should pass along her number. She's got a sense of humor, telling one reporter, "Those that get married do well, but those that don't do better." Fiery!"

You know, maybe I can use Statia as an argument next time I want to write an older heroine. Right now, my heroines all seem to be in their twenties. LOL. When I was in my twenties, you could write what I knew about real romance on my pinkie fingernail and still have room left over.

I was in my forties before I matured enough to recognize a prince from a frog? How about you?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Last week, after much editing, polishing and re-shaping, I sent my latest book off to my editor. Every time that happens, I feel a sense of loss. Part of the loss is saying goodbye to characters I've spent so much time with, but the other part is the loss of the dream. When I started the book it was with a spark of excitement. A flash of inspiration. THIS book was going to be so much better than the other books because THIS time I had a sure-fire idea, characters that were so real in my mind that I heard and saw them, a setting that was unbeatable. Plus I had learned so much from the last book I had done.

But the other part of the sense of loss is reality. As I start working with the real characters, the sure-fire idea, the perfect setting, things kind of take off on me. The story grows and expands, yes, but much like a rising lump of bread dough. Whenever I tried to gather it up, control the story, I feel like I've lost something in the process. The story seems to sag in the middle, change shape and has become something I hadn't envisioned at all. Before I was published, I heard authors say their books had taken on a life of their own, but I didn't believe it. Until the same thing happened to me. It's like that perfect picture in your mind changes as you try to put in on paper. The story seems to find another shape, different from the initial idea. That can be fun and exciting, but it can also be frustrating. Depends on how much of a control freak one is.

Anyhow, my book is done and when I'm done this piece, I can go back to the new project I've just started. It's such a good idea! And I LOVE my characters. And though the last book didn't quite turn out the way I hoped, I know this one will. I just know it. After all, I've learned so much from the last book I wrote.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Of Plans and Uncertainties

But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

When Robert Burns wrote these words in 1785, he drew inspiration from a plow upturning a field mouse’s nest. While he obviously translated the travails of his mousie to a more universal idea, I doubt even Bobby Burns would have dreamed that his words would become one of the most quoted phrases in the world: “The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.”

Oft quoted, probably because so many of us can relate to that “wee, sleeket, cowran, tim'rous beastie,” especially when the world plays havoc with our lives.

I’ve had an interesting summer, can you tell?

In the four years I had a day job, I made quite the little mouse nest. Good salary, benefits, appropriate schedule. Everyone was relatively healthy, and my bills were paid on time. I freelanced some—and sold my first three Love Inspired Suspense novels. Life was lovely, and I counted many blessings and praised God.

Then came the plow.

Everything in the nest went topsy-turvy. Life still seems pretty catty-wonkered and dark, timorous and cowering. The list of trials is long and, frankly, rather boring unless you’re trying to survive them. No matter what I plan, nothing works the way it’s supposed to from day to day. I can depend on nothing happening the same way twice, not even my alarm clock. I’ve stopped volunteering and making promises because something always trips me up, and I’m pretty tired of disappointing folks.

So what am I doing about it? I mean, other than chewing Tums by the bottle.

I’m counting blessings and praising God. Always a good start. Following His guidance, even if I think it's going to bring more dark before the dawn. Hanging on to sanity with my fingernails, trying to come to grips with the idea that there may never again be a “normal” because life changes daily.

And clinging to the one and only thing that never does change. For He will, in fact, bring the dawn and guide me home.

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever—do not abandon the works of your hands.
Ps. 138:7-8 NIV

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Songs and Lyrics

What is your favorite song on the radio right now?
What’s your favorite hymn?
Think about the lyrics of those songs. Sing them through. What do the lyrics mean?

I love song “Open the Eyes of My Heart” written by Michael W. Smith.
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You
I want to see You

"Un-Break My Heart" by Toni Braxton is another song I love. (When sung by
Il Divo in Italian is is to die for.)
Un-break my heart; Say you'll me again
Undo this hurt you caused
When you walked out the door
And walked out of my life
Un-cry these tears; I cried so many nights
Un-break my heart; My heart

If you think about these songs, what do the lyrics mean?
How would you describe the meaning of “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord?"
Does your heart have eyes? Or does it mean you are asking God to give you understanding?

And what about Un-break My Heart? How can you unbreak something? Isn’t she asking for her heart to be healed? When I sign that song, I sign the broken parts of my heart coming together, becoming whole. Wouldn’t that convey the meaning?

When I hear a song and want to sign it, I have to understand the meaning and then find the right way to convey that meaning in sign language to my audience.

What about your favorite book? What the writer is saying in the story? A truth can be demonstrated in a fiction easier than in a piece of non-fiction writing.
Look for the theme in the next book you read and see what truths are there.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Unexpected Lesson on Believing God's Love

Cheryl the Wyatt here.

Can you believe it's August already?
Seriously, can you?
How do we KNOW FOR SURE that it's August? I mean, can we know?
Most people would answer: because the date on correspondence or on calendars on our walls or in our pocketbooks or purses or on our phones or computers or other electronic devices tell us so.

The Bible is like that. You can read it and take it for what it's worth, which is everything. It's utter and complete truth. But when it comes to God's love, I think it's easier for us to believe it on a mental or psychological (mind) level rather than a heart level. Believing at the level of the heart means a deep resolve of doubtless knowing.

I had an epiphany this week. I have a friend who I love very much. This friend is like a sister to me and she has a heart of gold. But sometimes her woundedness won't let her believe in my love. We have an unseen enemy who prowls around and who will take every opportunity to whisper in our ears about each other. This friend, while miles ahead of me in some ways spiritually, struggles with believing in the enemy's lies. He will say things to her like, "Cheryl hasn't called you in a week, so she must be mad at you."

And even though I tell the friend that I've just been covered up time-wise, she still has a hard time believing that my friendship is unwavering and that I care deeply about her and that she can't do something bad enough to make me stop loving her. I've had this friend for years but it seems lately that she's had more difficulty than normal fending off the enemy's lies regarding our friendship. I have convinced and condoled and reassured and shown practically my care for her to the best of my ability.

This week I experienced a rare moment of frustration over the fact that no matter what I say or do to prove it, she just won't choose to believe me over the enemy who is a liar and an accuser of the brethren (or in this case, sisterhood). I was going to say sistern, but that made me think of cistern. LOL!

Anyway, when I was at my wits end, I felt God say to me that I've done everything in my power to prove and to show her to the point that I'm bone weary. And it's now up to her to believe. And belief is a choice.

For one instant, I felt a tiny sliver of the pain that God must feel when He shows and tells us He loves us through a gazillion different ways continually, yet we doubt.

I do it. I imagine some of you do it.

I pray for you/us that we can take God at His word. When you don't feel His heart and His love, don't lean on your emotion. Believe what He says about Himself over what you feel, because your heart (feelings) will deceive you.

God will not. Not ever.

It's really August.

The Bible is still true.

I hope you will share one way that God has demonstrated His love for you this week. What you say may encourage others who may be in a season of struggling to believe God's love.

Especially when hard life stuff comes along to bite you in the caboose...GGG

Have a wonderful week.



Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Family Pictures

A week ago I was standing in my mother's garage wading through a mountain of family memories. And I do mean a mountain! I'm Victoria Bylin. I write westerns for Love Inspired Historicals, but last week I was merely Darlene Bylin's daughter and in charge of sorting through the Bylin family archives.

I found all sorts of treasures . . . One was a picture of my grandmother in front of a flower shop in Chicago where she worked. Family legend has it Al Capone asked her for a date.

My mom kept a scrapbook of her high school romance with my dad. Would you believe she saved a wrapper (clean!) from a Bob's Big Boy hamburger? Inside was a note that read, "February 12th, 1948, the day Jack asked me to go steady."

My brother and I also found pictures of us taken when we were 6 and 3 (I'm older and he won't let me forget it!). My mom had dozens of framed copies, all returned to the family archives when elderly relatives who'd originally received them passed on.

There's more . . . my dad's North Hollywood High letterman sweat, his "cracker jack" Navy uniform. My mom's endless supply of fake ivy, her shoes and matching purses. Baby rings. Baby bibs. Construction paper flowers. Report cards. A crystal basket. A handmade salt shaker. And greeting cards! My mom saved every single one she ever received . . . She was 75 when she made a triumphant march to Heaven, which adds up to a zillion Hallmark greetings.

Going through family stuff was quite a journey. We laughed and we cried. We relived wonderful times and recalled times we thought we'd forgotten. My sons -- the next generation -- were with my brother and me as we worked. Our memories were old, but theirs were brand new. The past, present and future met in a wonderful moment of sharing. What a gift!

Monday, August 3, 2009


Hello all! Dana Corbit here.

Here is my question for the day: Is truth stranger than fiction? Okay, it’s not a terribly original question, but I’m at least going to try to give an answer.

Well, sure…if we’re talking about realistic fiction, anyway.

Who would ever think to write a novel where the heroine gave birth to octuplets? Or even consider a story about a pregnant man? Even my own great-great grandfather wouldn’t make the cut. He’s the one who Grandma tells me was shot as a horse thief after he took his neighbor’s horse out of the barn as part of a Halloween prank. Too odd to be a fictional character.

But whether truth is stranger than fiction or not, I can tell you that writing fiction can be a lot more fun, particularly when we put ordinary characters in extraordinary circumstances. I already knew this because I come from a newspaper background where the facts are the facts, ma’am, but I am even more convinced of it after writing my most recent trilogy, Wedding Bell Blessings. (The first book in the mini-series, An Unexpected Match, is an August Love Inspired release.)

The trilogy started with a true story: My best friend, Melissa, and I really did joke about arranging marriages between her three sons and my three daughters. We were pregnant together three times, and we did produce matched sets, so it only seemed right. Though our kids are years from marrying age - Melissa and I are still babies ourselves - we get the feeling our idea is doomed. Whoever said the kids should get to pick their own partners? Free will doesn’t have to extend to our kids’ wedding plans, does it?

On the other hand, in fiction the possibilities were endless. I had a wonderful time creating matchmaking matriarchs Amy Warren and Trina Scott and their brood of kids. Sure, their stories are fantastical, but it could happen, couldn’t it? And because God does have a sense of humor, the stories don’t turn out as even the mothers envision.

As for the true story part, my friend and I have given up on our own matchmaking plans. Really. Not that we haven’t mentioned the idea a time or two or three.
Is truth stranger than fiction? Check back with me in a decade or so, and I’ll let you know…