Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Kangaroos and Thanksgiving: Stranded giveaway

Comment for a chance to win a copy of        Stranded


By Stephanie Prichard


“Where are all the kangaroos?” I peered out the car window at the Australian countryside north of Geelong. The land looked no different than what I’d left in the United States—acres and acres of gently rolling farmland. Except … shouldn’t there be kangaroos hopping across the road … echidna as road kill … maybe an emu strolling among the sheep?

“Kangaroos don’t run wild in farmland, Mom. I’ll take you to see some tomorrow.”

Ahead of us, a car in the wrong lane aimed itself straight at us.
I sucked in air through clenched teeth as the car zipped past on the right. How many choking breaths would it take before I remembered Aussies drove in the wrong … er, left lane?


Three weeks later, the kangaroos, echidnas, emus, and I had everything straightened out. I returned home in love with the land of Down Under, its people, and its amazing creatures. Everything except driving on the wrong side of the road.
Had the first settlers in the New World felt a similar awe at the strange land they set their feet on? We join them at Thanksgiving in expressing gratitude for a land of liberty and opportunity, a land in which we are free to worship God and live to please Him.
 
We even figured it out about driving on the right side of the road—but it’s still the wrong side. Wrong because spiritually, ever since Adam and Eve, the world has been driving away from God, not toward Him. Our greatest gratitude as Christians is for a Savior who became The Road, the way back for us to God.

And it only gets better. The Road takes us to a perfect land—Heaven, where there will be no more sin, no more tears, no more death, but God Himself dwelling with His people. Can it be any better than that? God with us, in person!

And, hey, since “creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21), who knows what fauna and flora we will encounter? Think of all the plants and animals that have become extinct. What a wonder that will be to see them! After my trip to Australia, I’m hankering to see a Tasmanian devil!
Thanksgiving—it’s our feast from the day of our salvation to the day of our arrival in eternity with God. How are you doing? Are you chowing down with an attitude of gratitude?

MEET STEPHANIE:

 Stephanie is an army brat who lived in many countries around the world and loved it. She met her husband at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where she majored in English/Literature. She and Don have lived in Indianapolis, IN, for forty years, and in retirement have turned to co-authoring novels now that their three children are busy raising a beautiful crop of grandchildren for them.

Back cover summary of STRANDED
:
All Marine Corps reservist Jake Chalmers wants is to give his dying wife a last, romantic cruise to the Philippines. Unable to save her in a mass murder aboard ship, he washes ashore a jungle island, where he discovers three other survivors. Heartbroken that he failed to save his wife, he is determined not to fail these helpless castaways.
Federal prosecutor Eve Eriksson rescues a young girl and her elderly great-aunt from the same ship. They badly need Jake's survival skills, but why is he so maddeningly careful? She needs to hurry home to nail a significant career trial. And, please, before Jake learns her secret that she's responsible for his wife's death. 

link to book at Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OQGJBUY









Monday, November 24, 2014

What's on Your Christmas List? Weight loss? Respect? A Raise? Relationships? Hope?



INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ALEXIS GORING

Book: Hope in My Heart
10 Amazon reviews, mostly five-star

Your book, Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories, has three different stories where you write about love showing up unexpectedly: weight loss, a coveted Christmas gift, someone who wants a bigger pay check and greater respect, an attorney who needs healing from his parents’ divorce, and a woman’s search for her birth mother. How did your characters grow beyond their problems to hope?

Good question! I believe just like in real life, growing beyond our problems to hope is a gradual process that God takes us through if we’re willing.

Let’s take the example of my character Eric, the divorce attorney who you mentioned above from the final story in my book called Peace and Love. Eric had been dealing with his issues from his own parents’ divorce since it happened at Christmastime when he was younger. He’s a grown adult and has suffered through the holiday season for years because of it. So he decides that it’s time to deal with his issues and he reaches out to his dad whom he has not spoken to in years. I think the key in this case to “growing” is to recognize the fact that Eric decided he had to make a choice. He had to choose to seek reconciliation with his dad. He had to choose to move beyond his issues with his parents’ divorce and seek healing.

And that’s the point—we have to be willing to move past our problems and ask God to show us His hope. The Bible says that God has good plans for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). You’ll have to read my novella to find out how God gave Eric hope in his dire situation.

How do you define hope?

Well first, the dictionary on Google defines hope as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.”

I agree with this definition because all of my characters in my book about hope are longing for a dream of their hearts to come true. Such as in the story Peace and Love: Eric is hoping to resolve his issues with his parents’ divorce, Kristine is expecting to find her birth mom and Elle desires a full-time job with a sufficient salary and benefits.

I think it’s important to remember that there is always hope when God is in the picture.
So to answer your question, I define “hope” as a desire for a dream to come true or the expectation that there is a rainbow after the rain, a silver lining in the stormiest cloud, a deep anticipation that everything is going to be okay and whatever situation you’re facing will be resolved for the better.

Hope is an anchor like having faith in God, it’s something we hold on to when things get tough. It’s a word that we as Christians have believe in because we know that with God in the picture, there is always hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Depression is big problem in today’s society. Victims often don’t think they have hope. What do you recommend for these people?

If you’re dealing with depression, I would first recommend that you pray to God to direct you to a compassionate Christian counselor and effective psychiatrist. You need a psychiatrist to prescribe the right medicine for you that will effectively treat your illness and you need a Christian counselor who can show you compassion, understand your depression and help you through it. I think a Christian counselor could also incorporate Bible-based truth and share Scripture in their counseling sessions with you. It’s important for all of the doctors on your medical team to be effective. I cannot stress the word “effective” enough because as in any profession, there are people who are very effective at what they do and their patients benefit greatly under their treatment.  Then there are also those who cannot help you properly because they are not effective,  Therefore your situation doesn’t get any better, it either stays stagnant or gets worse.

Therefore, I believe that with an effective Christian counselor and psychiatrist along with God leading in your life, you can overcome the dark days your depression brings and hold on to hope of brighter tomorrows. There’s that word again, hope. It’s important to remember that with God, we always have hope.

What is the key to people finding hope?

Knowing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is the key to hope. The Bible says in John 8:12 (ESV), “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”

There are two beautiful songs that illustrate this point- “Lifeline” by Mandisa (former American Idol contestant turned successful gospel artist) and “Light of the World” by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir (on their Christmas album of the same title).

I love both songs because they share the true message of hope. If you have God in your life, you have hope in every situation. If you don’t believe in God and you don’t trust Jesus Christ then when devastating things happen to you in your life, you feel like you don’t have hope and that’s one of the main reasons why a lot of people go off the deep end. But if you trust that God will work all things together for your good as He says in Romans 8:28 then even on your darkest days, you know that you have hope because God is in the picture of your life story and you trust His will for your life.

 Therefore you know God will help you overcome anything and everything you face in a way that’s best for you and others.

The song “Lifeline” describes how God comes to your rescue. He can lift you out of darkness and save you. He is the One who you can call on who will always be there and help you no matter what you’re going through. God is available to you 24/7/365. Only He has the divine power to save you.

The song “Light of the World” is about how Jesus Christ is as the Bible says, the “light of the world” which I believe is a reference to hope because it means when this world seems dark, dreary and depressing you can look to Jesus and He’ll shine His light (a metaphor for hope) and His Light will break through the darkness of your life which results in you having hope. Just like God sends a rainbow after the rain, He sends Jesus to give you hope for a bright future.

Anything you want to add?

Thanks for hosting me on your blog today, Ada!  I appreciate the opportunity.

MEET ALEXIS GORING

Author bio: Alexis A. Goring is a college graduate with a degree in print journalism from Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland. Writing is her passion. She hopes that her stories will touch hearts, bring smiles to faces, and inspire minds to seek God whose love for humanity is unfailing.

Book blurb:
Hope in My Heart is a collection of short, heartwarming stories with characters in need of hope.
In “Love Unexpected,” a car crash brings commitment-wary Sebastian and career woman Chandra together. Neither is looking for romance, but those around them see the potential, and Sebastian and Chandra discover that sometimes love shows up unexpectedly.
Christmastime is the setting for the middle story, “The Best Gift.” Christina desires to lose ten pounds so she can fit into her dress for her sister’s wedding. Jordan wishes her mom would stop trying to marry her off. And Joshua hopes to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend but eventually learns that the best gift this Christmas will be the restoration of his relationship with God.
In “Peace and Love,” three characters living in a metropolitan area are desperately searching. Elle, a starving artist, aspires to become a paid professional. Eric, a divorce attorney, wants to resolve his issues concerning his parents’ divorce. Kristine anticipates finding her birth mom before she marries Derek. All characters pray their searches will conclude this holiday season and fill their hearts with peace and love.






Thursday, November 20, 2014

INTERVIEW WITH FAY LAMB: CRITIQUE, STALKING, BITTERNESS, REVENGE, HUMOR-FROM AN AUTHOR'S LIFE AND WRITING




1.    
Your brand is “Writing with a Romans 8:28 attitude.” How does that come through in your books, etc?
I’m so glad you asked. Long ago, I learned that God is always in the details of our lives. In my writing, I try to show that even when we make our biggest mistakes, God is true to His word. He makes all things good for those who love Him. God even gives us an example of this verse in His own suffering—as both God the Father and God the Son when Jesus took our sins upon Him at the cross. That horrible death, the separation of Father and Son, it happened for my good. I want my readers to realize how much God does love them.

2.    How has your work with the American Christian Fiction Writers Critique Groups helped you as a writer?
My work with the critique group began when I questioned a mentor about networking. I wasn’t sold on the process of approaching someone for what they could do for me. This wise woman turned the tables on me.
She said, “You don’t network for what you can get. You find out what you can give. Get in and serve and don’t expect things to happen—but they will.”
I enjoyed my work, but it was the best thing to happen for my writing career. Critique partners at every state of their writing put their two-cents into my works in progress, and those pennies were worth a million to me. Likewise, as I critiqued others, I reinforced my knowledge of the story elements that I feel are so important to writing fiction.

I miss the large group, and I’m trying to get back into it. I have remained in critique, though, as I have some amazing critique partners in three separate groups.

3.    Your books have interesting themes, subjects and characters, such as Stalking Willow. Have you even known a stalker? How does a person handle the fear of such a person?
I have never been stalked, thank the Lord. My mother was, though, by a man who’d robbed the store in which she worked. He shot her in the face, but my mom was a survivor. She continued to work in that store for years until the man who shot her went to prison, but he was released only eight short years later. The first place he came was to our front door. I was a teenager, and I was at home with my mother. I recall my mother’s bravery that night, but I also remember my fear and that’s what I gave to Willow.

Fear can be paralyzing, but God can work through it if we allow Him to do so. I can’t imagine facing anything so terrifying without the Lord.
Though my mother had a breakdown after the man’s return, her weakness allowed God to be her strength. I’ve never really thought about the chain of events, but I was saved as a young child. I didn’t get baptized until the year of the breakdown, and my mother was saved just before that and baptized on the same day with me.


This goes back to your first question about Romans 8:28, and I’m just now realizing it. That man intended to kill my mother on the night he shot her, but God turned his evil into eternal life for her, and I now have the hope of seeing her again.

4.    You caught a hold of a monster when you decided to write about bitterness. Did you research legitimate reasons why many people are bitter; the consequences.  and how did you use research in your books?

This is going to sound as if I don’t care about research. I truly do. I didn’t have to research bitterness, though. I had it inside of me. I know it from the inside out.
That old adage that says, “write what you know” is one I follow. When I write issues, they are ones that I have battled. I have worked hard to overcome bitterness. I’d like to say that I’ve conquered it. I haven’t. But when the roots start to grow, I pray, and God plucks them up. He reminds me that bitterness puts a wall between me and those I love. It can even cause me to say I hate someone, and God does not call us to hatred, but to love. He does not call us to isolation. If the roots grow deep enough bitterness becomes a hefty hedge that keeps others out. And if they do that, how can I be an effective witness for Him?

5.    Is bitterness something we release or do we need a miraculous touch from God? Can we get away from it by ourselves? How does a person begin the process?
A miraculous touch to eliminate bitterness once and for all would be wonderful, but I think that the description of roots is applicable. When bitterness seeps into our hearts, it burrows in, and the more fertile the soil, the heartier it grows. Bitterness is a weed, and we know that weeds can grow anywhere. Weeds choke out healthy plants (love, patience, forgiveness, longsuffering).
I can’t imagine conquering bitterness without God, and I believe that as in all things, the process of eliminating it begins with prayer, asking God to help you to see the evil in harboring ill-will or grudges against others. Ask His forgiveness, and every time that the bitter thoughts ravage your mind, pray and ask God to take them away from you. Then, gradually, as God works in your life, add the person you hold a grudge against to your prayer list. Pray good things into their life.

6.    Your next book in the Amazing Grace series is titled Better than Revenge. Is revenge almost part of the DNA in some families like a disease? What is the cure to stop it from going through the generations?

The need for revenge is actually rooted in pride. Revenge says you did something to me, and you deserve to pay. Revenge doesn’t take into account that I did something to Christ for which I deserved exactly opposite of what He gave to me, despite my wrongdoing.
In Better Than Revenge, Christ-like forgiveness is explored, and I truly believe that the greatest “revenge” is to see our enemies come to Christ. The emotion that it will evoke (love) is much stronger than the hatred that it would replace.

7.    In another novel you write of home repossessions, an education ended because of lack of finances, but this story, Charisse, also has bitterness and revenge after a murder. How do you satisfy readers with the resolution of these huge problems?

Again, I think it goes back to my Romans 8:28 perspective. Charisse is a young widow who loses her husband to a hit and run driver. She can’t believe that her old high school buddy, now a judge, would enter a directed verdict, which means the judge has decided the state does not have enough evidence to bring the charges, and the matter should never have been brought to trial. Charisse wants retribution, but she discovers that her heart has the ability to forgive. She never would have realized that had she not been allowed to face off with the hero, Judge Gideon Tabor, and with the accused, proving that God had Charisse in His arms all along.

I also like to add humor in my books. In Charisse, Gideon provides a lot of laughs, and he lightens the mood quite a bit. I think that when we can see the humor in situations, it provides a satisfying ending whether it be in life or in story.

8.    You also have a book, The Art of Characterization. How long had you written and how many novels did you write before you could teach about creating great characters?

I’ve been writing since I was five years old. Now, we know I wasn’t writing well all those years.
I truly got serious about the talents God has given me and my need to study the craft when I was in my early twenties. I’m a bit older now by thirty some years, and I didn’t get published until 2010. I had three novels published when I wrote the tutorial on characterization and a fourth one was scheduled for release. I have also been teaching workshops over the last few years, and The Art of Characterization was born from one of those workshops.

9.    What is the biggest obstacle you face when you begin a novel?

The first chapter. Literally. If I can break through that first chapter and have an idea where the story is going, keep the characters corralled and not trying to come on stage at once, and if I can get the characters to open up to me, I’m good, but sometimes that takes me awhile. I occasionally use an index system, but I can’t outline. I bristle at outlines, though, I’d probably get a book written quicker with one.

10. What are you working on now?

I have a few projects in the work. My novel Storms in Serenity, the first book in the Serenity Key series will be released in early 2015. I’m writing the third book in the Amazing Grace series, entitled Everybody’s Broken. I am also working on a multi-author collaboration, a Valentine’s Day novella entitled The Love Boat Bachelor. This story is a sequel to last year’s A Dozen Apologies. Also, the next book in my The Ties that Bind series, Hope, will be released in 2015.

Ada, thank you for allowing me to share with your readers.


Charisse
By Fay Lamb

He wants a family. She wants retribution.

Charisse Wellman’s husband has been gone a year, and she’s about to lose the only home her son, V.J., has ever known. She’s quit law school but the money just isn’t there. Her only option is to work as a law clerk for her ex-friend, Gideon Tabor. The only problem: Gideon is the judge who let her husband’s killer go free, and Gideon doesn’t know the connection.

Gideon Tabor can’t believe that the woman interviewing for the job is the girl he loved in high school. Charisse is hesitant about accepting his job offer, and when she does, Gideon makes every attempt to apologize for his relationship-ending blunder in high school. Charisse accepts his apology, but she keeps him at a distance. When Gideon learns that Charisse’s anger actually stems from his release of the man who ran down her husband, he tries to explain, but Charisse doesn’t want Gideon’s excuses or the love he has to offer. She wants her husband’s killer to pay.

Stalking Willow
By Fay Lamb

Bitterness, a stalker, and a neighbor to die for. What's a girl to do?
Trailed by a stalker in New York City, Willow Thomas, a young ad executive, scurries back to her small North Carolina hometown and the lake house where ten years earlier a scandal revealed her entire life had been a lie, and a seed of bitterness took root in her soul. The cocoon of safety Willow feels upon her arrival home soon unravels when she meets opposition from her family, faces the man she left behind, and the stalker reveals he is close on her heels. 

Can Willow learn to trust God to tear out her roots of resentment, reunite her family, ferret out a deadly stalker, and to rekindle the love she left behind?

 BIO
Fay Lamb is an author, editor, and writing coach.
Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, Books 1 and 2 in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on three romance novellas: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, A Ruby Christmas, and the newest A Dozen Apologies. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.
Future releases from Fay are: Everybody’s Broken and Frozen Notes, Books 3 and 4 of Amazing Grace and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind. Also, look for Book 1 in Fay’s Serenity Key series entitled Storms in Serenity.
Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

THE SPIES OF WORLD WAR II AND A LOVE STORY




Fascinating Stuff.

By Carole Brown

With Music in Their Heart Blurb:


Angry at being rejected for military service, Minister Tyrell Walker accepts the call to serve as a civilian spy within his own country. Across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, a spy working for a foreign country is stealing secret plans for newly developed ammunition to be used in the war. According to his FBI cousin, this spy favors pink stationery giving strong indications that a woman is involved.

He’s instructed to obtain a room in the Rayner Boarding House run by the lovely, spunky red-haired Emma Jaine Rayner. Sparks of jealousy and love fly between them immediately even as they battle suspicions that one or the other is not on the up and up.

While Tyrell searches for the murdering spy who reaches even into the boarding home, Emma Jaine struggles with an annoying renter, a worried father (who could be involved in this spy thing), and two younger sisters who are very different but just as strong willed as she is.

As Tyrell works to keep his double life a secret and locate the traitor, he refuses to believe that Emma Jaine could be involved even when he sees a red-haired woman in the arms of another man. Could the handsome and svelte banker who’s also determined to win Emma Jaine’s hand for marriage, be the dangerous man he’s looking for? Is the trouble-making renter who hassles Emma Jaine serving as a flunky? Worse, is Papa Rayner so worried about his finances and keeping his girls in the style they’re used to, that he’ll stoop to espionage?

Will their love survive the danger and personal issues that arise to hinder the path of true love?


With Music in Their Heart


 HOW OLD PHOTOS TURNED INTO A LOVE STORY

By Carole Brown

Do you have a favorite military picture of a loved one?

Ÿ  Most everyone can relate to WWII because we know or have known someone who served or lived thru this period.Ÿ  It’s a time in life, whether from our grand or great grandparents, that draws us closer through our own memories or those from our past making it more realistically a historical part of us.

Ÿ  We can empathize because we sense the value of those years.

What caught my interest in WWII? The exact reasons I posted in the above paragraph. My mother lived through that war. I heard her tales of the jobs she worked, the hardships, and most of all, I viewed the pictures she showed me. I fell in love!

It was a time of excitement but trouble too. Unrest and greed was spawning through certain oversea countries. Country takeovers were everywhere. All the major countries were either on one side or the other.

On the home front, at first, there was not much difference. Women and men lived as lavishly as they were materially able. Radio shows and  patriotic speeches were all the rave. Singers, new songs and plays spread across the land via the radio, and stages and restaurants. Food, at first, was abundant.

But eventually, reality set in. The United States realized this was no month or two war. It would take steel grit and determination and loyalty and bravery to defeat the enemies and our men gave it.

What was there not to love about this era? It opened my eyes to the manly strength shown and given. To the sacrifices our ancestors made. Was it easy to give up an abundant life style? To have your food rationed? To fear attacks? To plan how to defeat an enemy who invades our personal space, our own homeland?

It touched my heart in so many ways to see the styles, hear the songs-the crooning, sadness, seriousness and lightheartedness that went into the singer’s voices to serve as a measure of relief, if only for a few minutes or an hour.

Research carried me into many avenues of this war. I’ll share a few here
:
Ÿ  Dates were vital.
Ÿ  Language (phrases and words) was important and gave flavor to the story.
Ÿ  Clothing styles. What was popular? What were the men’s suits like? Their trousers made? Did the women favor pleats and polka dots?
Ÿ  Hats--a favorite of mine in research. Elaborate, and a necessary part of the wardrobe!
Ÿ  Shoes
Ÿ  Music. I checked on songs from that era (or close to it). I checked out a Musical university. A dabbled a little in reading of music--notes, etc.
Ÿ  I did a little Biblical research.
Ÿ  I checked on certain jobs and available positions for that time period

Emotionally, I will always be attached to this time period. I have at least two more novels I plan in this series, and it’s with anticipation to know I can revisit it again.  

What’s YOUR favorite era to read about? I’d love to know!

  

Thank you so much, Ada, for allowing me this visit! I so appreciate it.




Carole Brown not only has her award winning (Romance Writers Association International Digital Awards Contest 2nd place in Inspirational, Laurel Award finalist, Selah finalist; Genesis semi-finalist) debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, available for purchase now, but a companion book called West Virginia Scrapbook: From the Life of Caralynne Hayman, filled with tidbits of information about West Virginia, quotes, recipes from West Virginia and from Caralynne’s life, pictures and discussion questions for the novel.

November, 2013, the first book in her mystery series, Hog Insane, released. It’s a fun, lighthearted novel introducing the characters, Denton and Alex Davies. Look for the second book, Bat Crazy, late winter.

Released November 1, 2014, is the first book in a new WWII romantic suspense series: With Music In Their Hearts. Three red-headed sisters. Three spies. Three stories.

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?


Connect with her here:


I also am part of several other blogs:
Barn Door Book Loft: http://www.barndoorbookloft.net/



Monday, November 17, 2014

A MOM WHO HITS THE FLOOR RUNNING CAN FLY

NOTE: Flylady.com offers a system for organizing and managing a home, based on the concept of daily routines and a focus on small, time- and space-limited tasks. Provides resources.

Jenna and Kristen at camp

Jenna and Kaeli with scarecrow
MEET LAURA HILTON

Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and three of their children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor. Laura also  has two adult children.

Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards). Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as a three book Amish series with Whitaker House, The Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow Globe, The Postcard in April 2015, and The Bird House in September 2015. Other credits include Swept Away from Abingdon Press. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer.


A WOMAN WHO DOES IT ALL?

By Laura Hilton

“I’m a pastor’s wife and I still don’t have all the answers…” (borrowed from a pastor’s wife’s facebook page)

I was recently asked to write an article on parenting. How do I balance things I must do with what I want to do and how that affects me, each child, my husband, and the people in the church?

Laura Hilton

The short answer:  Be flexible!  Life has a way of changing in a heartbeat.

I start every day with devotions and prayer and I have a “to do list” that I write every morning of things I want to accomplish. I started it when my mother had a severe stroke and moved into my home. I had Mom duties as well as being a mom, wife, pastor’s wife, etc. And I discovered then that nothing would get done if I didn’t write it down! It was too overwhelming to look at my day and think I can’t do it all. It was enough to make me want to curl up in a ball and cry.  

Lundy Hilton
I signed up for Flylady to help me keep my house clean. As a pastor’s wife, that is mandatory. You never know who will stop by. Flylady says, “You are not behind. Don’t try to catch up.” And she reminds us to shine our sink every night. That seems to expand into the whole counter – which makes the kitchen look nice. And my bed is made every morning. That goes a long way to making the bedroom presentable.

As for the rest, it’s one step at a time. If I don’t have time to write
Michael Hilton
because my son dived too deep and somehow hit his tooth on the bottom of the pool and needs an emergency trip to the dentist, then my son comes first.

As some people say, the order is God, family, and then work. Homeschooling my children is put before any words are written. If someone from church needs to talk, that comes first. I read at night before I go to bed, when I need to relax and I always carry reading material with me, just in case I have to wait.

There are days when only one thing on my to-do list is done. And days when everything is crossed off (those are rare).

When I start getting overwhelmed because everything hits at once – a
Laura and the girls
deadline, book edits, articles to write, a book launch and a radio interview all the same week I have to step back, pray, decompress, and remind myself, baby steps. One thing at a time. Don’t try to do it all at once.

God will bless, if you give it all to Him.
 
Steve and Laura

Proverbs 31:27  “She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

The Snow Globe
By Laura Hilton

Victor Petersheim has left the Amish and works on a river boat on the Mississippi River, spending three months on the river then having three months off.

 During his off-work months he returns home to his Amish community and helps out on his grandparents’ farm.

When he returns home after his most recent absence, he discovers his grossmammi has developed health problems and they’ve hired Esther Beachy to be a “mother’s helper.”

Victor is unsettled by this woman living in their home, but has to accept it. Esther loves listening to Victor’s grandmother’s stories and while puttering around in a store while the grossmammi’s in the hospital, she discovers a snow globe that depicts an area where the Petersheims used to live. She buys it as a gift for the grossmammi to cheer her up during her hospitalization. Victor is touched by Esther’s gift and her care for his grossmammi, and strives to be friendlier. Will Esther’s gentle heart draw him back to the community? Or will he return to the river once again?

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