Monday, December 31, 2012

Why Make Resolutions



Thank you, Reader, for participating in my website!
This year I plan to continue the Fabulous Friday Features
(see the list on the right for upcoming guests) 
and discuss interesting behind the scenes look of where others have walked.
Each of us has a special journey.
I hope to see you often!


Happy New Year!



I love writing  a list of resolutions. I rarely finish my list, but I try. 

Both God and I know my heart, and He knows His plans for me.  I suppose He has chuckled at a few of my outrageous resolutions and smiled at the ones that honor Him. Still, I forge onward writing new resolutions for each year. How about you? 






What is the benefit to writing down one or more resolution/s?

Resolutions show our willingness to: 

*Change-what can I start or stop doing?

*Improve-what can I take to a deeper lever?

*Reflect- what have I done well/seen others do?

*Repeat- what can I do again?

*Think/pray of others- what needs do others have that I can meet through prayer?

*Bless others- how can I give to follow through and meet the needs of others (this is a broad range, including reading a book to your child to helping a homeless person) 



I'm willing to give it a whirl and hope for success. 
My 2013 resolutions are:


*Read through the Bible in One year. (this is one of the few I have done in the past)

*Complete my third novel. (this will probably get done, too)

*Loose weight. (eh, well, depends on the day. Maybe by December)

*Finish unpacking my new house (another good possibility)

*Go to Israel to celebrate anniversary (well, this might fall in the outrageous category)

*Have all blog posts done one week in advance, at least (ooo life can make this one difficult)

*Show my husband I love him every day . . . every day.

*Be a testimony for Christ


So, the sun is about to rise on a new year. You didn't set the alarm and chose to sleep in. For an early bird like me, that means I got up at 6 instead of 5. Coffee is brewing. What will we do today?


May God abundantly bless you this year. I look forward to seeing you often.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fabulous Friday Feature-Robin Caroll





Today I welcome an authoress who will be the new ACFW Executive Director. 
A warm and caring authoressmy friend, Robin . 




I met Robin through ACFW. She has accepted the position of ACFW's Executive Director starting 2013. Robin has volunteered many hours with ACFW with the express goal of helping others. Robin is an author of southern stories of mystery and suspense. Like everyone else, she has been busy during the Christmas holiday, but took a break to spend time with us.  




Robin, When and how did God let you know He needed you in a writing ministry/career?

I've always loved to tell stories to entertain people, I just didn't realize so many years ago that He would call me to writing stories of hope and faith. Early in 2005, I felt the strong desire to write fiction with the purpose to entertain, but also to honor Him in every story.


What sparks of happiness has God given you?

Every time I get a contract offer, I give praise to Him. Every day, I get to do something I love that honors Him...how can you beat that?

I understand you will take on a major role at ACFW effective January 1, 2013. Please tell us what you will be doing and how the job helps members.

ACFW is the one organization I can say has helped me beyond any doubt in my writing career. Because of that, I started volunteering in order to give back to the writing community. Each year, I took on new duties and adventures, which have blessed me so much. Beginning in 2013, with the restructuring of ACFW, I'll be the Executive Director. This position will oversee all aspects of ACFW. I'll be taking vision directive and oversight from the Executive Board and implementing those with staff and volunteers. We're so excited about being able to add a strong layer of cohesiveness across all areas of ACFW, which will benefit all the members, published and unpublished.



What is the one favorite book you ever read?

The Stand, by Stephen King.


Other than your new ACFW duties, what goals do you have for next year?

I have four projects lined up for 2013...in addition to the three books I already have scheduled to release.

How has your family supported your ministry?

I can't imagine doing any of this without my family's full support. My husband is also ACFW staff, so he understands the deadlines and responsibilities. He is an enormous help in our daily schedule and the kids are beyond understanding when I'm on deadline. They're okay with quick dinners; grilled cheese and soup, or salad & sandwiches. LOL They all help in researching or plotting or developing of characters, so with every release, we celebrate the entire family's contribution!

If you are unable to see the video below, go to this link: Robin Caroll Interview


Robin was born and raised in Louisiana, Robin is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin's mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage--two aspects Robin weaves into each of her 15 published novels. Her books have finales/placed in such contests as the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, RT Reviewer's Choice Award, Bookseller's Best, and Book of the Year.

Robin's web site: http://www.robincaroll.com


Thank you Robin for joining us this weekend!

Reader, How has your family supported you in your career?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Break

Christmas festivities are over. Hopefully everyone enjoyed their gifts.

The days between now and when we return to our regularly scheduled lives can bog down. The kids have played with their new toys and set them aside. Already? Yes already.

Relatives have either left or are sitting around the kitchen table with you wondering what to do. Special Christmas programs at the kids school or local theater are over, Christmas cards sent, and the dishwasher is full.

What to do, what to do? 

The standard choices pop into  our minds, go to a movie, watch a DVD at home, eat leftovers, return gifts, play on the Internet...the usual. 

It seems no matter what we choose to do or not do, we miss an inner satisfaction at the end of these in between days. Unless we fulfill a purpose.  And that purpose can be anything like, make a _____ for _____, build a snowman, go for a hike and see nature, organize the closet, plan this, set up that, take the family skating or sledding, read a book, rest, etc.

Jesus' actual birthday has come and gone. The celebration included shepherds, wise men, a heavenly host, and many others. The days between his birth and his return are much like the days between Christmas and when we return to our regularly scheduled activity. They both are a time for us to glorify God.

How we spend the time in between Jesus' birthday and His return is up to us. He gives us options, tell us His preference, provides what we need to do His will, and is pleased when we try our best.  He hardwired us to enjoy His presence and to do His will.

This doesn't mean you need to slave away at some overwhelming task during your break. 

Rather, what ever you do in word or deed, do all to the glory of God.

Then, at the end of the day you will feel content.

Hugs to you and yours for a very happy and content filled Christmas break.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Advent-Simeon

The winner of Julie Lessman's book is...scroll to the bottom

Simeon went to the Temple as he had many times before. The day didn't seem different. The sunrise nothing special, he had his breakfast, dressed, and walked the usual way. He greeted the other priests and strained to focus his aged eyes at other sounds in the Temple area.

The people entered the Temple some with their sin sacrifices others with young babies to carry out the ritual of the law.  

Mary and Joseph entered the gate with their baby. They walked near Simeon. His eyes widened. His heart pounded with excitement. This child... he gasped, this child was the one he had prayed and longed to see. 

Simeon held out his arms, waiting for Mary to hand him her baby. The little one cood. He smiled and blew raspberry bubbles at the priest.

Simeon drew the little one closer to his body and hugged him. He could not contain himself. A tear dripped down his cheek and he looked toward the sky 

God, you can now release your servant;
photo courtesy of visualbiblealive.com
    release me in peace as you promised.
With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;
    it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:
A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,
    and of glory for your people Israel.

Mary and Joseph didn't say a word. He looked at their faces and saw their surprise. He said to them: 

This child marks both the failure and
    the recovery of many in Israel,
A figure misunderstood and contradicted—
    the pain of a sword-thrust through you—
But the rejection will force honesty,

    as God reveals who they really are.

He handed baby Jesus back to Mary. She looked back without saying a word. But her eyes showed she thought about Simeon's words.  

Simeon placed his wrinkled hand on the baby's head and smiled. He had never felt so blessed before.

###
Every baby is a miracle, a gift from God. A treasure.

Baby Jesus was God's Son, the One sent to save us from our sins and provide the only way for us and our children to go to heaven to be with HIm.

If you are interested in learning more about how you, too, can go to heaven, email me: mimary_vee@yahoo.com

May your have a joyful time celebrating Jesus' birthday. God's blessings on you.

Help me color in our word picture of Simeon from above. What else do you think happened that moment?


Merry Christmas Everyone

The winner of Julie Lessman's book is Amanda Chavez. Congratulations, Amanda!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fabulous Friday Feature-Julie Lessman


Today I welcome a well-known authoress, one with a bubbly, energetic personality 
and has become a sweet friend: Julie Lessman. 



Enter to win an autographed copy of one of Julie's books! see below

I met Julie through ACFW. She taught the first class I attended at ACFW. Her husband graciously showed, enduring Julie's stories. She taught how to write Christian Romance. We laughed and learned so much that night. 

I asked her to share her writing journey with us. Here is what she wrote:







My Journey As a Christian Romance Writer …

My journey as a romance author actually came LONG before my journey with God. It happened the moment I read Gone With the Wind at the age of twelve. The instant that Scarlett seared Rhett with a look on the winding staircase of Twelve Oaks, I was hooked, and my “romance-writing career” began with a 150-page, single-spaced ms. entitled When Tomorrow Comes, which, by the way, is now a Janette Oke title! I used to read my story to my little sister, Katie, and she loved it. But then adolescence hit, and I soon abandoned paper romance for the real thing as a teenager.

Fast forward almost forty years later—I was sitting in a beauty parlor reading a Newsweek magazine July 16, 2001 cover article about Christian entertainment. It said Christian books, movies and music were on the threshold of exploding. My heart jumped, and something in my spirit said, “It’s time to finish your book.” Now, I have to be honest with you—up until that moment, I had never seriously considered writing a book. But the pull was so strong, that I started writing A Passion Most Pure one month later, finally selling it to Revell 4-1/2 years and 45 rejections later.



Now, my journey to God? Not so pretty. I was a twenty-three-year-old hardnosed agnostic from a devout but dysfunctional Catholic family of thirteen kids. Suffice it to say that I was pretty angry at God. According to the world’s standards, I had everything going for me—a hunky boyfriend with a Corvette and a boat, a great job, my own apartment, and acing an advanced writing course at Washington University, a prestigious college in St. Louis. But I wasn’t happy. I felt like Peggy Lee singing, “Is that all there is?” Then one day, this annoying gal at work approached me. She had a lesser job than me, was divorced with a kid and no boyfriend in sight. I hated her because she came in humming every day, happy as a lark while I was utterly miserable.

One day when she and I were alone, I looked up from my typewriter and said, “Just what in the heck (except my language was a bit stronger back then) makes you so happy all the time?” She said, “I’ve been praying you would ask.” Oh, no, a Jesus freak, I thought to myself, but I found myself going to lunch with her, badgering her with questions and accusations. I don’t remember now if it was a week or a month, but either way, I met Jesus Christ through the remarkable patience of a God-sent angel by the name of Joy—pretty appropriate name, eh?

Since then, my life has been a journey of “joy,” because EVERYTHING with God at the center is joy—especially romance! He is the one who takes us on this amazing journey, which I have found in the long run, is really just a U-turn to lead us back to Him in a deeper, more passionate way than ever before. Through God’s grace, I’ve encountered so many “significant” things during my publication journey that I wrote an entire Clint-Eastwood-ish blog on this for Seekerville—including all the reverberation of guitar strings, jangle of spurs and haunting wah-wah voice—in “The Good, the Bad and the Really Ugly: Memories of a Published Writer.” It gives writers all the ups and downs I encountered on the road to publication and beyond, all neatly listed in a format of the “good” things I did to get published and after, all the “bad” things I did, and all the “really ugly” things to avoid.



For me, in my life and my writing, God’s close and intimate presence is as natural as breathing, just like the lyrics from the Michael W. Smith song, Breathe –“This is the air I breathe, Your holy presence living in me.” Jesus Christ transformed me, a hard, cynical agnostic (like Charity, the rival sister in A Passion Most Pure) into a person of joy and hope and love (like Faith, the heroine). This is a story I never tire of telling, and hope to do so in all the books I am privileged to write. You might say that The Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series are my love letters to a God whose love took me from the dark into His glorious light, and I hope and pray they bring Him—the One Who is the true passion in my life—the glory He so richly deserves.


Julie Lessman


“Passion with a Purpose"
Daughters of Boston Series
A Passion Most Pure--ACFW Debut Book of the Year, Holt Medallion Merit  
A Passion Redeemed--Inspirational Reader’s Choice Finalist
A Passion Denied--Borders Best: Your Favorite Fiction
Winds of Change Series
A Hope Undaunted--Booklist's Top 10 Inspirational Fiction 2010  
Family Fiction magazine 2011 and 2012 Readers Choice Awards
#1 Romance Author of the Year, #1 Historical Fiction Author of the Year, 
#3 Series of the Year,  #3 Author of the Year, # 4 Novel of the Year






To enter the contest for an autographed copy of one of Julie's books, leave a comment and become a follower of this site if you aren't already. Please also include your email address (username (at) yahoo (dot) com) so I can contact you if you are the winner. The winner will be selected by a third party, random.org, and will be announced next week. U.S. residents only. 

Also, by clicking on the "contest" picture above, you can see how to enter Julie's book promotion contest. Lots of great prizes!

Thank you Julie for joining us this weekend!

Reader, How has God made your life a journey of joy? 


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Advent-The Wisemen

The winner of Fay Lamb's book, Because of Me is: (scroll down)

picture courtesy of visualbiblealive.com
Over time, Biblical scholars have learned a few things about the wise men.

First, we don't know how many actually visited baby Jesus.

Second, they did not come at Christmas time, most likely 1-2 years later.

The wise men most likely had quite a group of servants and perhaps others traveling with them. The long journey required many supplies and animals. This was no small parade. 

The grandeur impressed Herod enough to convince him to allow an audience with them. Herod's response to their question indicated he believed they came to worship a king.

myrrh, picture courtesy of
visualbiblealive.com
The wise men's gifts had great significance. They did not randomly choose gold, frankincense, and myrrh because it seemed like an appropriate gift for a king. God directed their choice. 

Some scholars say the gifts provided needed funds for the escape to Egypt. some say the myrrh was a foreshadowing of the perfume poured on Jesus' body after his death.

After spending time worshipping Jesus and leaving their gifts, the Bible says the wise men had a dream with a message indicating they should return to Herod. 

Is it not interesting that all the wise men had the same dream? We are not told only one wise man shared his dream with the others.

I would have loved to talk with them after they returned home. I would ask:

Was it easy to pick out the star during the entire trip?
Did you have any problems on the journey?
What did Herod say to you? 
What did the baby look like?
What did you say to the baby?
What did it feel like to look at the king?
What did Mary and Joseph say to you?
What happened to the star after you left? Could you still see it?

What other questions could we ask?
What else have you learned about the wise men?

The winner of Fay Lamb's book drawing last Friday on this website was Janice Garey. Congratulations, Janice.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Advent-The Shepherds Response

One night a group of shepherds witness an amazing night event. 

You have probably heard the story. Let's talk about the night the heavenly hosts visited the shepherds and try to piece together our thoughts, impressions, and what ifs.

The sheep had fallen asleep. We are told there were shepherds, but not how many. They are sitting around a campfire, talking, maybe singing. There aren't any unwanted animals about or the shepherds would be busy ridding the camp of the threat. 

Other than possible snoring all is quiet. 

The sky is clear with thousand of speckled starlights twinkling. There is no indicator they saw a special bright star. (The wise men wouldn't arrive for more than a year or two).

Imagine sitting outside on your deck. The houselights are off allowing you to see the dark sky and a maze of stars. Someone flicked on the security light. It's bright. You are surprised, protect your eyes, but are curious who turned on the light. 

The light from the host surprised the shepherds. Jesus has been called the light of the world. Although Scriptures told of a coming Messiah, the world was surprised.

Next a voice, an angel spoke to the shepherds. As with Zachariah, Mary, and Joseph, the angel first words were: "Do not be afraid." 

We are not told if this group of shepherds were godly men who visited the temple regularly. But this I know, they listened. God knew this particular group of men would listen to the angel's message. I think this angle had a particularly calming and reassuring affect because the shepherds handled what came next...

After telling the Good news about the sign, (this shall be a sign unto you, you will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger), a multitude of the heavenly host appeared and sang Glory to God in the Highest and on earth Peace good will toward men. Talk about the ultimate choir and full surround sound.

Do you think others heard and saw the multitude? Do you think others followed or searched for answers to the unexpected appearance?

The shepherds turned to each other and immediately agreed to go to see the baby. 

Do we respond immediately to God's commands? Without question?

After seeing the babe, the shepherds made widely known the words from the angel. They became the first evangelists. The first missionaries. We don't know how long they left their work to tell others, only that they did.

The Scriptures close this passage by saying all who heard the shepherds marveled at their message, but Mary pondered their words.

Help me finish painting the picture of the shepherds and their amazing night.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fabulous Feature Friday-Fay Thompson Lamb




Today I welcome an authoress who has given so much 
to helping others learn, my friend, Fay Lamb. 


Enter to win an autographed copy of Because of Me by Fay Lamb see below.

I met Fay through ACFW. Fay has volunteered as the coordinator for the critique loop with ACFW. This was no small task. She has consistently helped others in their writing journey, and I am one of the beneficiaries.  I asked her to share her writing journey with us. Here is what she wrote:




God Works in Mysterious Ways



God does work in mysterious ways, but one secret He has never kept from me is His plan for me to write for Him. Well, let me rephrase that…I’ve never doubted I would write. Even when I wanted to throw it all away, I understood that words were in my blood and characters were my best friends. And then one day following the loss of maybe the dearest person in my life—my grandmother, God whispered in my ear and said, “You will write for Me.”

I hadn’t been living a life that would make Grandma proud, and I surely wasn’t glorying God with the choices I’d made and even those I would make afterward. My life was filled with sorrow, pain, and grief, but God had a purpose for me, no matter how much I railed against it. And I knew it.


God didn’t use a big fish to swallow me whole and spew me out. Nothing that simple. Instead, He allowed me to rush headlong toward a high cliff and to plunge over it. But God often provides a way out of the dilemmas in which we find ourselves. I’m convinced the limb sticking out from the slide of the rock face was there only so that I’d have to hold on and gaze upward to see the hem of Christ’s garment. I hung there for a while, wondering how I could both cling to the limb and take hold of the safety Christ afforded.

Faith, though, required my release of what I considered my safe hold in order to grasp the hem of my dear Savior’s garment. He pulled me up, placed me on solid ground, and began to walk away from the cliff with me securely tucked in His loving arms. I didn’t look back, and I surrendered my words to Him.

However, deciding to write for the Lord doesn’t mean the journey became an easy one. I struggled, wondering if I’d ever see publication, and why God would call me to write for Him.

Maybe the most difficult question I asked in my writing career is the tired old question, “What do I write about?” Most often, I received the same tiresome answer, “Write about what you know?” For so long, I was stuck on the thought that I’d never really done anything, never been anywhere, and what could I truly write about that would be interesting to anyone.

Then the truth hit me. Writers who declare, “Write about what you know” weren’t being flippant. The advice runs deep into the core of why Christian fiction authors write. You have to look beyond the surface of those words. I did, and God led me to the perfect scripture that put it all into perspective for me.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

What things work together for good? All things? Do you mean, Lord, that my self-inflicted wounds, my losses, my grief, my happiness, my triumphs and my failures…All those things that I know about, those are what you want me to share?

Yes, those things are what God, from the time I was young enough to string words together, utilized to teach me to write for Him, to glorify Him with the talents He set in my heart. To write what I know as a Christian writer is to offer balm for a hurting world—both those who know Christ and those who do not know Him. In the process, too, God covers my wounds with his healing power.

I don’t recommend you try to sail away from God in stormy seas or fling yourself off a cliff to avoid His will for your life. Writers, more than most, cannot escape their calling. Words ring in our ears. Characters play in our minds. Accept the fact that God has placed them there. And write about all the things that God has allowed you to experience…the good and the bad and know that God has always purposed in your life for all things to work for good—for you and for others that your life—your words—may touch.



Not your typical Christian fiction.

Michael’s fiancĂ©e, Issie Putnam, was brutally attacked and Michael was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Now he’s home to set things right.

Two people stand in his way: Issie’s son, Cole, and a madman.

Can Michael learn to love the child Issie holds so close to her heart and protect him from the man who took everything from Michael so long ago?



Available through all fine book retailers, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Mountainview Publishing (http://www.trebleheartbooks.com/MVLamb), a division of Treble Heart Books. Autographed copies may also be purchased through Fay’s website at www.faylamb.com.


Website: www.faylamb.com
  

To enter the contest for an autographed copy of Because of Me by Fay Lamb, leave a comment and become a follower if you aren't already (see the upper right corner of this blog to join). Please also include your email address (username (at) yahoo (dot) com) so I can contact you if you are the winner. The winner will be selected by a third party, random.org, and will be announced next week. U.S. residents only. 

Thank you Fay for joining us this weekend!

Reader, What event/s have deepened your faith in your journey?