Monday, December 1, 2014

Homecoming

My winter 2014 newsletter is here! Inside you will find the next between-the-books short story. If you haven't subscribed to the newsletter yet, do so now to read the full story. 

Model trains circled through miniature holiday villages. Christmas trees surrounded by colorful gifts stood sentinel. Tinsel and lights hung from every possible corner. Annibel stared at the window displays.
A voice whispered to her heart. Go home.
She shook her head. Her eyes misted over and she turned away from the scenes, shoulders curved in defeat. Going home would be worse than celebrating Christmas homeless. 
To read the rest of the short story, subscribe to my newsletter HERE

Monday, November 24, 2014

7 Tips for the Holidays When Wounds are Fresh in Your Marriage



The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves 
those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Discovering problems in your marriage at any time is hard. Near the holidays is more so. 

I haven't shared much about what I'm talking about today. Honestly, it's kind of hard to just spill it out there. And, too, my husband and I are still in the process of restoration. We know where we're headed, but healing takes time. 

I want to encourage other women who find themselves in a similar situation. Especially with the holidays upon us. 

When I discovered my husband's secrets, it was only 2 months till Thanksgiving and family was coming to visit. We were going to counseling, but things were still tender and iffy at times. I would cry at the drop of a hat. I carried more tension than usual attempting to keep things “normal” for the kids. I wanted to do the right thing one day and was angry the next. 

If you find yourself in a similar situation, the greatest encouragement I can give you is to hold on to hope in GOD. Not in your marriage. Our strength, our worth, our future is in GOD, not in how well this life goes. 

I looked back at how I handled that time to find some practical helps I could pass along. Some things I did right and other things I wish I had thought of. Here are some of both.

Rest. It’s easy to go overboard with busyness to avoid thinking about the mess around you. To give you the feeling you are in control. But your mind, heart and spirit will function better if you are not tired. You will respond better. You will make better decisions about the present as well as the future.

Find space. Take time to be alone. This will give you privacy to process things however you need to. Write in your journal. Worship. Pray. Cry. Scream and yell it out with God.  He can handle all the hurt and pain you feel right now. Let HIM carry your burden! If you have to be around family (and consider bowing out of some of those events) space is especially crucial.

Grieve. Even if you want to let God heal your relationship. Even if you have already chosen to forgive. Even if your spouse is doing the right things. You have lost something. Allow your heart and mind to process those losses through the grief.  Don’t rush this – even during the holidays. This is a good reason to make space for yourself.

Say NO. Give yourself permission to do what is best for your family. Do not fall into other’s expectations. Either from those who have no clue what is happening and expect everything to be normal or from those who do know and think they know how to “fix” this situation.  Only do those things that refresh you and comfort you.

Surround yourself with people who understand. You can’t just lock this up inside. Even if you only talk to a counselor, you need to talk. The secrets will turn into shame and bury you if you do not. Be selective and wise when you choose. Not everyone will know your journey or have the compassion to walk with you even if they do not.

Watch your talk. You may feel like tearing down your spouse. Don’t. It may be really hard to find the good, at least don’t say anything bad. If you have kids, remember they are watching and have a tendency to think tension between mommy and daddy is there fault.  

Make things good for your kids. It’s okay to tone it down from your normal holiday routine. It’s probably healthy to do so. But keep some important traditions. Even if it’s just you and the kids. Make memories with them. And don’t pretend that everything is okay. They know better. Don’t dwell on the problem. Acknowledge it, allow the kids room to process it and make the best memories you are able within your circumstance.

NOTE: If there is abuse. If there is danger to you or your kids. Get to a safe place.


Above all, I pray you find HIS peace and comfort during this difficult time in your life.


If you want me to pray for you – leave a message via the “contact me” box on the right. 

And if you know of someone who is going through a 
difficult time in their marriage, please pass this along using the share buttons below. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Response of Gratitude


But by the grace of God I am what I am…1 Corinthians 15:10



Telling the world what we are thankful for is great. It’s a first step in recognizing who is in charge of our life. It’s giving our Creator glory for what He does for us.

But I don’t think it should stop there. Gratitude calls for a response in us.

We are thankful for what He has provided for us.
     Do we share?
We are thankful for our family. 
     Do we show them in tangible ways?
We are thankful for our military. 
     Do we help the wife of a deployed soldier in a practical way?
We are thankful for our pastors. 
     Do we bless them with hand written notes or acts of service?

My challenge to you. To me. This Thanksgiving and Christmas, choose a tangible way of showing our gratitude. More than dropping a few coins into the bucket. More than words shouted out on social media. 
Do for someone else 
what you are thankful someone 
has done for you. (Click to Tweet)

Answer this: I am thankful for (you fill in the blank), so I will do (fill in the blank).

Friday, October 31, 2014

Something exciting!

I don't usually post on Friday, but I couldn't wait to tell you. Karen, from Where Hope Starts has started her own website! She's planning to share all sorts of fun things. Just click here to visit: Life at Applewood Hill.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Spotlight: Keely Brooke Keith, Author of The Land Uncharted

This week, I welcome Keely to my website. When she emailed me about a spotlight on my blog, I checked out her website and other places she hangs out on social media. She sounds like a really interesting person and thought you would like to meet her! Maybe part of it has to do with the fact that she is another writing homschooling mom! That's right - she is an author and has a brand new book coming out. Keep reading and find out all about it. Now, without any more fuss, here she is.....

Keely Brooke Keith.

Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Keely was a tree-climbing, baseball-loving ‘80s kid. She grew up in a family who frequently relocated. By graduation, Keely lived in 8 states and attended 14 schools. Keely’s many adventures include: being an exchange student, recording with a former Beatles producer, being chased through the New Mexico desert by a rattlesnake, jumping out of an airplane at 14,500 feet, and sleeping under the open sky in the Australian outback.

Keely is a bass guitarist and plays on worship teams and for solo artists. She is married to singer/songwriter John Martin Keith, and they frequently perform and tour together. When she isn’t writing stories or playing bass, Keely enjoys dancing, having coffee with friends, and sifting through vintage books at antique stores.

Keely resides on a hilltop south of Nashville with her husband and their daughter, Rachel. 

P.S. After the book introduction, keep reading for an interview with Keely. 

Keely loves to connect with readers! Find her online:
Twitter   
Amazon 

 The Land Uncharted

Lydia Colburn is a young physician dedicated to serving her village in the Land. Day and night, she rushes by horseback to treat the ill and injured, establishing a heroic reputation as the village’s new doctor.
Naval Aviator Connor Bradshaw is flying over the South Atlantic Ocean on a mission to secure any remaining sources of fresh water in a 2025 world torn apart by war. A malfunction activates his aircraft’s ejection system, parachuting his unconscious body to the shore of a hidden land.
Lydia risks her safety to help the injured outsider despite the shock of his mysterious arrival and the disastrous implications his presence could have for her peaceful society, which has gone undetected for seven generations.
Connor searches for a way to return to his squadron, but his fascination with life in the Land makes him protective of Lydia and her peaceful homeland. And while Lydia’s attraction to Connor stirs desires she never anticipated, it also pushes an unwanted admirer to stage a dangerous attempt to win her affection.
As Connor tries to keep the Land off the radar, he learns the biggest threat to Lydia lurks in her village. But when Lydia’s greatest passion and darkest fear collide, will she look to the past or the future to find the strength to survive?

Interview  
Have you always been a writer? I started writing stories and poems when I was a kid, so I’d say I’ve always been a writer, but I’m new at being an author. My day job is in music--I’m a bass guitarist. I’ve been very blessed to get to live out both of my passions: music and writing. I’ve had other jobs along the way, of course. That’s just life in the arts--the work fluctuates between feast and famine.

What does your family think of your writing? My husband and my parents are my biggest supporters. They have cheered for me and encouraged me every step of the way. I have a wonderful family.

When you're not writing, what do you enjoy doing? I ride the line between introvert and extrovert. I love being alone and writing, but as soon as I’m done I want to interact with people. I love game nights, antiquing, and just hanging out with friends.

How do you manage your time? Not only do I work on writing about 40-50 hours a week, I’m also a working musician, a homeschool mom, and I help my husband with his business, so I have pens and notebooks and sticky notes in every room of the house. When I get to sit at the computer, I compile all those notes and start writing. It took a few months of trying every day to be able to shift my focus from my other duties to my writing, but I’ve finally got the hang of it.

Where do you get constructive critiques and feedback?  I start involving other people in my writing during the second draft. That’s when I do the deep research and interview professionals in whatever field my characters and stories require. After several drafts, I start sending the story to beta readers. I’ll send it to a few at a time, get their comments, revise if I need to, then send to a few more. I have several critique partners who are also authors and their feedback is invaluable. When I believe the manuscript is the very best it can possibly be, I send it to a professional editor.

What was your favorite chapter or part to write and why? I enjoyed the world building and creating the Land and the village of Good Springs and their customs. It was like having a mental vacation getting to dream it all up.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book? Hurting characters. But by time I started the second book in this series, I was over that. Not that I enjoy it now--just that I see the good that comes from it.

Do you plan on writing a sequel to this story?  The sequel, Uncharted Redemption, is complete and in production as we speak. It will be released Spring 2015, and the final book in the series, Uncharted Inheritance, is written and almost ready for my betas.

Thank you for joining us Keely! I look forward to reading your book. Okay, readers -what caught your attention about Keely and/or her book? 
Now, go stop by one of her online hangout spots and tell her hi!

Monday, October 27, 2014

News and Updates


God is good. He has blessed me with the opportunity to write Where Hope Starts and bless others through that and other writings. 

But I can't stop there. My 2nd book, Where Healing Starts, is at my publisher undergoing edits. And I must get busy writing my 3rd book, Where Joy Starts

For the next several weeks, I'm going to focus on planning out and getting started writing book 3 and then of course, the Christmas season will be here. In the interest of keeping my sanity and not leaving my family behind, I will be posting a bit less through the end of the year. 

But watch out 2015. There are some fun things I have planned and look forward to sharing with you. 

In the meantime, I do have something new to tell you about. I'll tell you Friday on Facebook. Be watching!

If you haven't liked my Facebook Page yet, you might want to do that so you don't miss the news!



Monday, October 20, 2014

Hearing the Voice of the Lord

I paused after reading Psalm 29 and wondered 
at all the references to the voice of the Lord.



Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones, 
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. 
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; 
worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. 
The voice of the LORD is over the waters; 
the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. 
The voice of the LORD is powerful; 
the voice of the LORD is majestic
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; 
the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. 
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. 
The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning. 
The voice of the LORD shakes the desert; the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh. 
The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. 
And in his temple all cry, "Glory!"  
The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; 
the LORD is enthroned as King forever. 
The LORD gives strength to his people; 
the LORD blesses his people with peace.

The voice of the Lord can be in the whisper.(1 Kings 19:12) His desires made known by the look of His eye.(Psalm 32:8) But take a minute and meditate on what the psalmist says here about the voice of the Lord.

The voice of the Lord….
Is over the water
It thunders
Is powerful
Is majestic
Breaks
Strikes
Shakes
Twists

The voice of the Lord makes things happen. Can you imagine what He can do in your life?

Have you asked to hear from God, to receive a word from Him?

Are you ready?


photo credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net // Gualberto107