Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hyper Alert

Yesterday I bought a Keurig coffeemaker.
It was an impulse buy. But I did take time to think about it. I looked at it. I picked it up. I touched the box. I walked away. I bought my groceries, called a friend (Thanks Steph) because that's always one of the steps, and I went home.

Thirty minutes later I drove back and bought it. And I bought two boxes of Newman's Own coffee.
But when I got home I realized it came with a box of 18 of those little cups: coffee, tea and hot cocoa.

Do you realize what those 18 different blends of coffee did to me, an addict? I have to try them all, as quickly as possible. I have to test them, see which ones I like the best. I'm drinking coffee like a mad woman, checking off our favorites on the little book that came with the keurig. I'm on Amazon, wondering if Diedrich coffee is good. I'm searching for hot cocoa for the kids.
My heart is racing. My hands are shaking.
I NEED HELP! I need coffee detox.
I need an enabler to drink coffee with me.
I need more coffee.......

Monday, November 16, 2009


A few of you know that I'm a pastor's wife. Yes, that is a little strange to think about. My husband is now the pastor of the little church that I attended as a kid, the church where I found faith and really came to know God. Oh, and where I first had Nancy's oatmeal scotchie cookies. Nancy is still there! Everyone should have memories of VBS, a little country church, strawberry kool-aid and oatmeal scotchies.

Quite a few of the people in our church know me by my maiden name, and remember me. Boy do they remember. But their memories are probably not of the little barefoot girl sitting on the front pew singing Amazing Grace. No, they remember the other me; the wild teenager that they worried about and probably prayed for. A lot.
Thank GOD for those prayers.

And now I'm the pastor's wife teaching the children. I remember the pastor's wife who taught us. Sister Eileen. She invited us to her home where we would eat cookies and play chutes and ladders.
Great Memories.

The kids in my class are probably having nightmares of a giant, red headed Turkey that clucked instead of gobbled when it taught the lesson yesterday. It was really kind of funny. When I walked into the room clucking at them, talking in a pretty scary Turkey voice, they looked like they were about to call 911.

But the turkey had an important lesson to teach. (I always learn something from the kids, and the lessons we have together) The lesson was about Thanksgiving and being thankful. The key point: We say "Thank You" when someone gives us something.

I asked the kids what they were thankful for. One was thankful for turkey (not the one teaching them). Another was thankful for noon, when the lesson ended. And one was thankful for life, and for Jesus.

Who are we thankful to?

And what has He given us that we're thankful for?

I can tell you that I'm thankful to the people who prayed for me when I was a teenager trying to find my way back to God. I'm thankful for those kids who show up at church every week. I'm thankful for Trevor, who slipped in yesterday and sat on the back pew; his first Sunday in church.
The list could go on. But the important thing the turkey taught me is to be thankful to the right One. The one who gave me this life, and all that I have.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Love Inspired Guidelines, and more

There are a few questions I am often asked about writing. One is: how did you get published?

The answer to that question is: Hard work.
But there was more involved than writing, or learning to write. From the beginning I knew that I had to find the right publisher. I had to find a publisher that matched my writing style and what I wanted to write.

I went on a search for that publisher. I looked at Wal-Mart and at bookstores. I wrote down titles, names of authors, names of publishers and the types of books. And then I got a computer (that was back in 90s; a decade in time, and a century ago in technology). I could get online and do the research I'd been doing at the stores and by reading.

While searching I found a brand of Christian romances that captured my heart and attention.

And then I found this amazing place called "eharlequin." I found message boards where I could ask questions, and guidelines so that I knew what the editors of Love Inspired were looking for.
I began to think about the market, and about myself as a consumer.

Love Inspired was the perfect fit for me. The right genre, the right price point, and they can be bought at the stores where busy moms and wives shop. You see, at the time I had young children. I bought books that were easy to find, easy to afford. I knew that other busy moms probably felt the same way. I also wanted books that were on the shelves, picked up by everyone.

I started on my journey, the journey to become an author for Love Inspired. It took a few years, but in 2006, it happened. That first contract. It was an amazing day, and an amazing year. And the start of a great adventure.

Yes, as you've heard, Love Inspired has guidelines. I've always seen those guidelines as a challenge to my writing, not as something that limits my creativity. They are just words. By adhering to the words my books reach a wider audience. Some won't miss the words, might not even have noticed the lack of those words. Others will feel more comfortable because the words are not there. And honestly, what book is made better by the word 'bra?' What book is really made weaker by the lack of that word?

Writing to the guidelines hasn't hurt me as an author. There are words that I can't use. But those words don't affect the depth of the stories that I write, or the stories the other Love Inspired authors write. I believe our readers are testimony to that fact. Our characters portray people who have made mistakes, overcome the greatest of odds, found a way to healing, and to God. Our characterse are people like us. People we identify with.

Our readers are housewives, husbands, teenagers, moms, single ladies, doctors, lawyers, secretaries... It is a long list. Some of our readers go to church, some don't, some are seeking.

You get the point.

I am so proud of Love Inspired and the books that I have been allowed to write for them. I'm doubly proud of my readers, all of them. I love the letters that I get, pointing out small things that the reader felt touched by, or characters they identify with.

As I sit here and think about that word and this post, I realize it is the perfect time of year to think about the things in our lives that we're thankful for.
God is at the top of the list. In the last few years He has shown me that no matter how much I believe I'm in control of my life, and that my plan for myself is perfect: He is the one in control and His plan is far better than anything I could have come up with on my own.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Cold weather has arrived and with it...mice. Cute, but not really welcome in my house. But that's okay, I have a cat. Right?
Said Cat, as I've previously disclosed, is lazy.

This story is not for the faint of heart, or those with a heart.
Today a little mouse sneaked into my house. And guess who saw him: the chihuahua. The cat was there, just five feet from the mouse. He was sleeping and couldn't be bothered. The dogs ran after the mouse, got him cornered. The mouse hunkered and probably prayed.

As I chased the dogs out of the house with the mouse, the cat followed. He sat near the door, flipping his tail, and he actually yawned.