Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Writer's Porch -- Celebration

I remember when I just couldn't wait to be published--to see my name in print. When my first book came out I shrieked, cried and celebrated. Now, four books later, the thrill is still there. However, it is a bit different. I read a blog written by Kathi Lipp on Rants & Ramblings. It made me laugh because it is so true as a published writer.

Basically, this is what she said, "Your first book, everyone wants to help you sell the book. Your friends and family are thrilled to know an author. After the first one, they yawn and say, 'That's nice.'"

So here's the deal! Let's party together over my new book, "Embraced by the Father--Finding Grace in the Names of God." During the next week, February 20-27th, purchase a copy of Embraced from my website,, and I will send you in addition a copy of a Joy Mahoney CD and a copy of my Birds in a Mustard Tree Bible study. Let's celebrate together.

How would you celebrate the release of a new book?


Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Different Daddy

The antiseptic smell of the intensive care unit assaulted my nose as I sat next to my father’s bed. Machines whirred and beeped with each labored breath he took. One collapsed lung and the other full of pneumonia predicted the outcome for him.

“So this is how it ends,” I pondered. For years, a love-hate relationship with this man influenced many of my decisions. Some good, some bad. I always sought his approval, but rarely did he grant it.

Until two years ago, when he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. At the age of 79, my earthly father discovered the Father God’s unconditional love. I struggled to believe my father could transform from a mean bitter man to one full of love for others. I traveled five hundred miles just to look into those crinkled hazel eyes to see a new dad peering out at me. Our relationship changed drastically. Finally, my father became the dad I desired.

Now he lay dying. Two years was not long enough! Yet strangely, I felt a deep peace. I knew he was going home to his Father in heaven. I leaned over to kiss his damp forehead and using a name I had not called him forty-five years, I whispered, “I love you, Daddy. I’ll see you soon.

We use many terms to refer to our fathers. Father, poppa, pop, dad and daddy all recall certain images in our minds. Our hearts were designed for a father type of relationship. Perhaps your experience with your father was like mine, not the best. Or maybe you had a wonderful daddy, if so count your blessings. Whatever the relationships between you and your father, remember he is human. No one is perfect. We all have faults.

Many of us remember the old television show of “Father Knows Best.” We smile fondly as we recall the perfect family with the father sowing his wisdom in all sorts of different scenarios. What a family! Dad wore suits, mom wore dresses, and the children behaved with admirable manners.

However, in today’s culture we watch bumbling television families. The Simpsons or the Osbournes appear nightly across the television screens of our homes. With such examples of fathers traipsing before us, how do we perceive our Heavenly Father?

The God of the universe is our Heavenly Father. He loves us as his daughters and longs for us to love and trust him as our “Daddy.” Scripture tells us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17 NIV).” God is the ultimate father who bestows good and perfect gifts to his children. He does not change; he is worthy of our trust.

For me, eventually learning to trust my earthly father allowed me to call him, “Daddy.” In the same way, when we trust our Heavenly Father, he becomes a perfect daddy to us. In our key verse today, “Abba” translates as daddy. God desires to be our Father God, the perfect Father, our Daddy, and our Abba.

Will you trust him today as your “Abba Father?”

My prayer for today: Dear Father God, help me to know in my heart that you love me with a perfect fatherly love. Begin to teach me how to relate to you as my “Abba, Daddy.”

Because you are God's children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into us to call out, "Abba! Father!"

Thank you for all your comments concerning how we feel about our fathers. It is a subject that has lots of emotion. The winner of Embraced by the Father is Tania. Congratulations, Tania!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

WOW! What a Giveaway Time!

Yesterday's Carnival Giveaway was a blast! I loved reading all the posts about our beloved furry friends. (And Kimberly, I do remember Bam-Bam).

The winner for Birds in My Mustard Tree and an i-tunes gift card is Amy! Congratulations, Amy!

Now, how about another giveaway! My newest book is now ready for release. Its title is Embraced by the Father--Finding Grace in the Names of God. Here's what I would like to know. Do you picture God as your Father? Why or why not?

Some of my friends have alway found great comfort in knowing that God is the Heavenly Father. For myself, I struggled with the concept for years and years. I did not have a great relationship with my biological father. I could pray to the Lord, to Jesus, to God, but when the term "Father" came to my mind I stumbled. That eventually changed, and so I wrote Embraced by the Father.

Let me know your thoughts. I will randomly pick one winner for Embraced by the Father. Whoever the lucky winner is will receive this book "hot off the press." I expect my shipment in from the publisher this week.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pet shenanigans are a part of pet ownerships. My husband bought me two puppies in 2009. They are darling. (Identical shih-tzu sisters, Tiki and Tulip) I enjoy them more than I can say. However, we've had a few "issues". I have a third older shih-tzu named Taffy. So, it's Tiki, Tulip, and Taffy. The three T's. Am I nuts or what?

To begin with, shih-tzus tend to be a bit prissy. They don't like hot/cold weather. They are fair weather dogs. So, the recent cold rainy weather has presented a problem. They won't go on the grass to do their business. They decided that the patio would work just fine. Still I celebrate their loyal love for me.

Puppies teethe. I have bought a bazillion rawhide chews and chew toys. However, I will find them gnawing on the furniture, shoes, and anything else that looks tantalizing outside. "What is that shredded stuff on the floors?" Still I celebrate the laughter and joy they bring into my life.

Even though I have been "training" them for months, they still jump on people, lick faces and think that they should be petted and praised by everyone. (Shih-tzus love people and think they are people, too). I celebrate their unconditional acceptance of every person.

On Valentine's Day, I watched Ben Stein on the Sunday Morning Show state, "If you desire true love that is loyal and unconditional--adopt a dog." Yes, that about sums up my opinion, too.

So for those of you who celebrate the love of pets, post your pet's name and tell me why you love your pet. I will randomly pick one winner for my Bible study book, Birds in My Mustard Tree and one $15 i-tunes card.

And don't forget to check out these other Carnival Giveaways from my friends.

Wendy Blight
Shari Braendel
Micca Campbell
Whitney Capps
Melanie Chitwood
Lynn Cowell
Karen Ehman
Suzie Eller
Charlene Kidd
Tracie Miles
Zoe Elmore
Rachel Olsen
Wendy Pope
LuAnn Prater &
LeAnn Rice
Renee Swope
Lysa TerKeurst
Van Walton
Glynnis Whitwer
She Reads
Rad Revolution

It's a carnival giveway. Have fun!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Conversation Hearts

Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say.”  ( Isaiah 28:23 NIV)  


Conversation Hearts Candies top my list of favorite things during the month of February.   I remember all the way through elementary and high school attempting to converse with my friends through passing the tiny sugary messages underneath our desks.  Short, sweet, fun.  But you must pay attention to the words or you might miss the implication of the sender.

For example, a friend of mine woke up one Valentine’s Day to a trail of Conversation Hearts left by her husband.   A couple placed near the coffee pot.  One or two left by the bathroom sink.  A few cute sayings greeted her as she sat in her favorite chair.  

Later that evening her husband asked, “Well, what do you have to say to my message of love I left for you this morning?”

My dear friend realized she had missed something important.  She responded, “I didn’t read them, I just ate them as I found them.”  Oops!

I think God must feel we miss many words sent from His heart.  We rush from one task to the next.  We attempt to squeeze in a few moments of devotional time.  We read our Bible and pray a quick list of our needs.  We check “Quiet Time” off our things to do list and head out for an hour-long conversation with our girlfriend over a mocha latte.

But what if today, we decided to discover little conversations placed strategically by God throughout our day.   Maybe while reading our Bible,  a phrase might  jump out at us.  Or perhaps, as we pray a thought will pop into our minds from the Holy Spirit.  Possibly a meaningful daily devotional could speak God’s heart to us.  Conceivably, we could discover God’s conversation to read something like the following.

My bride  (Songs of Songs 4:8, NIV)

Now listen.. (Isaiah 44:1, NIV)

Be still,     (Psalm 46:10 ,NIV)

Hear me. (Luke 6:27, NIV)

I AM  (Exodus 3:14, NIV)

Everlasting Love. (Jeremiah 31:3, NIV)

My Love  (John 15:9, NIV)

Endures Forever.  (Psalm 117:2, NIV)

Today let’s listen for God’s message of love to us.  Also, let’s remember that his voice might come to us in a whisper.  That’s how the old Prophet Elijah heard the voice of God.

    The Lord said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by."

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. . . (1 Kings 19:11-13 NIV) 

So as you meander throughout the day, keep your eyes and heart open for a sweet and delightful message from the Lord, a love declaration given for your heart only.

My Prayer for Today:

Lord, help me to hear You today.  Remind me to slow down my hectic pace of life so that I don’t miss any love message from You. Keep my heart attuned to Your Holy Spirit as You whisper words of love to me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Keep the Heart-Print Faith,


Friday, February 12, 2010

The Writer's Porch

A writer's life may seem to be boring to some. I can't imagine anyone wanting to watch the Olympic Winter or Summer sport of writing. However, the writer's life does take twists and turns. The craft carries its own mysterious personality. Suddenly the writer can become the craft, and that is not a good thing. Let me explain.

Recently, I tried to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It just didn't hold my attention. BUT everyone I knew kept saying it was a wonderful book. So I decided to listen to it as the audio version. It IS wonderful. In the audio all the characters have separate voices. They are distinct and engaging. Especially the protagonist, Juliet. She's a writer who has found success and fame through her writing--yet there seems to be something missing. She decides to visit the island of Guernsey to meet all the people she has been corresponding with who live there. (It's set in post World War II).

I was listening to it on my own getaway to write for a few days. As I drove I heard these words of Juliet to her editor, Sydney, "All those people I've come to know and even love a little, waiting to see--me. An I without any paper to hide behind. Sidney, in these past two or three years, I have become better at writing than at living--and to think what you do to my writing. On the page, I'm perfectly charming, but that's just a trick I learned. It has nothing to do with me. At least, that's what I was thinking as the mail boat came toward the pier."

I hit pause, rewind and played that portion again. Hmm. . .something resonated in me with those lines. At times, I do feel that I have become better at writing than at living. A writer's life can be solitary. Also, with the changes in the publishing industry there is much marketing which has to be done. This often goes against the writer's nature, so they become someone who they are not.

After thinking about this for a day or two, I read this guest post on Rachelle Gardner's blog. I think it helps to clarify what a writer's life needs to look like, so that we stay true to ourselves and our readers.

What are your thoughts on the writing life? Can we lose ourself behind our writing?

Keeping the Heart-Print Faith,


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lent Decisions

I am such a pathetic Christian at times.  I wrote on my last post about sacrificial worship which brought me to the point of deciding what I wanted to sacrifice for Lent this year.  I know, Lent sounds a bit old fashioned in our modern culture.

But I believe that Lent still holds value, so I have practiced Lent for about the past five years. So today as I was trying to decide what I should give up for Lent, I looked it up on the Internet.  The Internet can answer any question, right?  Here's what I found on the Internet. "Many modern Protestants consider the observation of Lent to be a choice, rather than an obligation. They may decide to give up a favorite food or drink (e.g. chocolate, alcohol) or activity (e.g., going to the movies, playing video games, etc.) for Lent."

 OK, so I thought of what I could give up.  Videos games would be easy because, I don't play video games.  Or is Wii Fit considered a video game?   Anyway, I thought about giving up something I really love and thought I could give up reading fiction for Lent.  That would be huge for me, but then it came right down to being sacrificial. Because I realized that I will be driving back and forth to California five weekends during Lent for women's retreats.  When I travel I listen to audio books. They make the time fly by as I drive.  Audio books keep me awake as I drive. Argh! I thought, "I can't give up the audio books."  Do audio books count as reading fiction? AND I need to review a few books for She Reads! And what about the book club that I belong to--next month's selection is a fiction book." I started to maneuver my way around the sacrificial offering of giving up fiction reading for Lent.

I will honestly tell you, I decided not to give up fiction, because I don't think I can do it.  I would rather give up something hard, that I feel that I can carry through the entire Lenten season.  So, I am pondering.  Wondering what would be sacrifice, but within my ability to keep the Lenten vow. 

I will keep you posted . . .

Still trying to Keep the Heart-Print Faith,


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sacrificial Worship

God has created us to worship Him. He allows us to do this in many ways. Some women find that being in nature brings them closer to Him. Others are brought to the heart of the Father through prayer and meditation. Some worship by giving their time and talents to our hurting world by doing community service.

I read this quote today as I was working on research for my new manuscript. It's written by David Jeremiah, "The greatest mystery of all is that true worship is truly costly. During the past few years I've learned this truth more and more deeply. I no longer want to give God the superficial and the frivolous. I no longer want to hold back from Him the best and the dearest things. I don't want to play at worship any longer, but to worship God. I want to have the very best of my attention, the very deepest of my sacrifice, the most profound of my music and teaching and feeling as I enter into His presence." (My Heart's Desire, page 78)

This is what I want too. I desire to worship sacrificially. In our culture, this is not the norm. But what would it be like if all followers of Christ determined to live out our faith in sacrificial worship? I believe it would change the world.

Today I am considering what sacrificial worship looks like for me. I am searching my heart and seeking God's opinion.

What would sacrificial worship look like for you?

Revelation 4:11 (NIV)
"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."

Keep the Heart-Print Faith,


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Check out She Seeks!

One of the many things I love about being a part of Proverbs 31 Ministries that it reaches in so many areas. One of our newer branches is She Seeks. Take a look at the She Seeks sight. They are issuing a challenge. Will you accept?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Giveaways Galore!

This week I went to Kingman, Arizona for a 2 day writer/friendship retreat with my friend Glynnis Whitwer. (She's the editor for our Proverbs 31 magazine.) We were so excited just to be together and to work. I arrived at the hotel around 3:00 pm and then about 4:30 just didn't feel so good. Long story short, I was sick most of the time I was there. However, still had a great time and did get a little work accomplished.

This morning as we were packing to come home the emails started to flood my inbox on some great giveaways on some friend's blogs. Check these out!

Lysa TerKeurst

Karen Ehman

Giveaways galore!

Keep the Heart-Print Faith--Fun, Fearless & Fulfilled,

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sheep Thoughts

“I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord." Ezekiel 34:15

Our car came to a complete stop on the winding mountain road. The herd of sheep meandered across the highway. They sashayed their way across the road to munch on a few mouthfuls of grass. The shepherd tried to hurry them across the asphalt, but to no avail.

Although several cars were delayed on their way up to Bryce National Park, no one seemed to mind. The people in the cars enjoyed watching the unexpected wooly spectacle—sheep and their shepherd making their way through life. 

As we waited for the road to clear, my imagination took over. Thoughts floated through my mind—sheep thoughts.

Sheep thought: “I belong to no one.”

The Shepherd says, “You are my flock, the sheep of my pasture. You are my people, and I am your God, says the Sovereign Lord.” (Ezekiel 34:31 NLT) 

Sheep thought: “I am lost.”

The Shepherd says, “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.” (Ezekiel 34:11 NIV) 

Sheep thought: “No one cares.”

The Shepherd says, “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Mark 6:34 (NIV) 

Sheep thought: “I am afraid.”

The Shepherd says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 NIV) 

Sheep thought: “This is my shepherd!”

The Shepherd says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” John 10:14 (NIV) 

Final sheep thought:

                                   The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

he restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness

for his name's sake. (Psalm 23:1-3 NIV)

The road clears and we drive on  . . . life goes on . . .

What are your sheep thoughts?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Is That Your Wild Child?

Do you want to scream every time your daughter arrives sporting a new facial piercing?  Or does it hit a nerve when see you see the newest florescent color of your son’s hair? How do you feel about the skull and crossbones tattoo on your son’s muscular arm? Do you flinch when your child, dressed in torn, ripped jeans, saunters into a room full of conservative friends?

“Is that your wild child?” asks the wide-eyed church member. How do you respond?

John wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.” Mark 1:6 (NIV)

Let’s relate our dilemma back to Elizabeth in the Bible. Do you remember her?

Elizabeth bore a child in her old age with her devout husband, Zacharias. (He was a Jewish priest). Surely thoughts of the future captivated Elizabeth during the nine months of pregnancy. Perhaps she mused, “The visions I have for this baby! The Lord God has plans for this one. Of course, the priesthood already claims his future. He’ll follow his daddy’s example. Tradition must be followed.  The baby will be like his daddy—conservative and reliable”  The son of Elizabeth and Zacharias grew up to be John the Baptist. 

Let’s give an imaginary interview to see how she might have responded about her own wild child.     

As a mom, Elizabeth, how did you cope when he began to eat locusts out in the desert? After all, his dad made a good living. Your table never lacked for kosher delights. Did you fret and plead with John?

“Yes, John was certainly a handful at times. His diet was atrocious. I never did understand his taste for locusts. He could have the finest of beef from the offerings! Of course I longed for John to conform to my expectations. I thought I knew best!  He challenged not only my parenting skills, but also my faith.”

Elizabeth, did your neighbors mention his strange garb? Did they ask, “Is that your son?"  Or did they whisper behind your back?            

Did you cringe when John would begin to speak? His outspoken words must have seemed harsh and rude when John cried to the respected men of the community, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?” (Matthew 3:7 NIV)

“From his outward appearance not many would have guessed he was a PK. (That would be “priest’s kid” in Israel.)  Yet, even in my worry and distress over the odd behavior, I knew John’s heart. Although he didn’t look the part of a PK, I knew his relationship with God.”

Did the leaders look at you with raised eyebrows and scowls of scorn? Did you buy him the Jewish version of John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership? Or did you encourage him to enroll in a course similar to “How to Make Friends and Influence People?

With a wistful sigh Elizabeth replies, “At first, I did try to defend him when others criticized his strange behaviors. Of course, I was criticized too. From their viewpoint, I had not raised him in a godly manner. Oh, those times hurt!”

Finally, Elizabeth, what would you say to parents whose child doesn’t fit the “ideal” of a parent’s expectations?

“Do not attempt to explain your child.  Your child’s life is between him and God. Be proud of your child. Whenever I was asked, ‘Is that your child?’ I would answer, ‘Yes, that is my child!’”

Thank you, Elizabeth.  Thank you for this valuable advice for parents of a wild child.

Things to Ponder:

Read Luke 1 and Matthew 1.  Imagine the thoughts and emotions of Elizabeth.  Compare your thoughts about your child.  Write down every positive quality of your child and concentrate on the positives.

A Parent's Prayer:

Dear Lord, despite my child’s appearance and behavior help me to be proud of him/her. Grant me the ability to put aside other people’s opinions and to know that You are watching over my wild child. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Divine Prayers for Despairing Parents by Susanne Scheppmann







Monday, February 1, 2010

Stressful Times--Stressful Parenting

Times are stressful--especially for parents. Within the last 2 months I have had 4 dear, dear friends ask me for prayer for their sons. I am not talking about the everyday teenage drama of being mouthy or obnoxious manners. I write of heart-wrenching issues that range the gamut of out of control behavior, drugs, gender issues, and mental illness.

Families are battling the ecomomy, job struggles, health insurance issues, then throw on the pressure of trying to make the best parenting decisions on behalf of their children--stress. So what's a parent to do? My best recommendation is to find a friend and pray together for your children. Because God still sits on the throne!

Yesterday at my church, our message was on living in this new world we have found ourselves in. Our pastor called it the "new normal." I agree the world is a new place with terrorism fears, economic collaspe and everything else that seems to be falling apart, but God still reigns. He still hears our prayers. He still answers.

Thankfully, we have the Lord to fall back on.

Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble I will call to you. for you will answer me. Psalms 86:6-7

Tune in tomorrow and read my devotion: Is That Your Child?

Keep the Heart-Print Faith--Fun, Fearless and Fulfilled,