Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Flowers for Elaine

One of the best parts of my day is waking up. 

No, it's not the coffee brewing.

At some point in starting my day, someone comes to mind. Frequently, he or she is a person I haven't seen or spoken with in a while. 

I immediately assume the reason the name came to mind is something important needs prayer so I say, "Well, God, let's talk about..." Sometimes He reminds me of details, sometimes He doesn't.

One morning God placed in my heart my friend Elaine. I hadn't seen her in a few years and didn't know the reason God brought her to mind. I thought about her sweet spirit and love for hosting Bible studies in her home. 

Her husband is the kind of guy who can do many things, carpentry, handy man, etc...but sometimes that lovey dove side any wife would like to see in her husband is hidden. The kind that winks, walks up and gives a smoochy kiss, leave a note, calls for no reason..I'm sure her hubby has it...he just...yeah...is a guy.

So that morning I asked God to bless Elaine. Perhaps her hubby could do something special for her.

Later that day I messaged Elaine and told her God brought her to mind. I didn't know why so I had asked God to bless her with something from her husband.

Elaine responded with a smiley face. Apparently her hubby randomly (we know better, right?) came home for lunch. This was NOT the norm. AND he brought her a dozen roses. No reason. He just thought of it and did it.

I was so amazed at what God chose to do. 

God clearly brought Elaine to my mind that morning. Why, I am not sure. But what I do know is that God chose to bless Elaine. He also blessed Elaine's hubby. And He chose to bless me.

When God puts a name on your heart, we may never know why. When we choose to pray for the person, we could be calling the angels from heaven to rescue, comfort, bless, or who knows? 

Is there someone you should be praying for right now? Or maybe you're the one who is suppose to go bless someone.

This post has been brought to you by the one-word: Prayer-Blessings

Friday, March 25, 2016

Fabulous Feature-Courtney Walsh-The Fire Inside of Me

Today we welcome author:
Courtney Walsh

A commenter will win a copy of
Courtney's book:

Change of Heart

Scroll down to see how.

Mary here. I'm so happy to welcome Courtney Walsh today. She is an amazing author, and even when she is forced to stay on the sofa and heal and it's snowing outside, she choses to spend the time with us. Isn't that cool? I thought so, too. I asked Courtney: how has God led you on your writing journey? Here is what she said: 

The Fire Inside of Me

I never wanted to be a writer. Not when I was a kid with an imaginary friend. Not when I was a theatre major learning the fine art of telling stories on the stage. Not when I was the last person in my college dorm before Christmas and spent an entire night writing a one-act play.

And certainly not when my dad told me I needed to do something with “my writing.”

Mary here: it’s a Dad thing…someone must pay them to say things like that.

I didn’t know I had such a thing.

 See, at the age of eighteen, I had it all figured out. I fully intended to graduate college with a degree in theatre (and another in journalism—just to appease my parents) and then move to New York City where I’d pursue my lifelong dreams on the stage.

I loved acting. I loved creating flawed, true-to-life characters. I loved building relationships between those characters, putting them in tense situations and seeing how they would react. I loved witty dialogue, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, but always filled with subtext of what isn’t being said.

Being passionate about these things meant that, of course, I was going to be an actor. What else would a person be with this unique skill set?

I graduated college still planning to pursue this dream, but something happened on the way to the big stage. Several somethings, actually… First, I fell in love. Yes, I was that girl. I didn’t want to move on with a crazy life if it meant I was moving on without this goofball of a guy who’d stolen my heart. Second, we were offered a job in church ministry—and while we didn’t expect to be there long, we stayed for twelve years.

I should add that this was exactly what God had for us at the time. I never looked at this decision as “settling” or “giving up” on my dreams. I simply discovered I had new dreams… until one day and three babies later, I didn’t. I didn’t know what I wanted to do anymore. 

What was I going to be when I grew up?

Mary here- Are we supposed to grow up? I didn’t get the memo.

After six years heading up the music ministry at our church, my husband made a grand leap—he became the children’s pastor. Some might’ve said it was a step down, after all, many people use kids’ ministry as a stepping stone, but if you saw the way God used him, you would disagree. I’ve never in my life seen someone operating so perfectly in their gifts than when I watched my husband teach and lead children. He has this uncanny gift for breaking things down in a way that young minds not only understand, but enjoy. They’re learning without even realizing it because they’re having so much fun.

More than that, he came alive. He’d gotten a little complacent—in many ways, it was like he needed a new fire. So here he was, ignited—and there I was, wishing for just a spark of what he had…

One day, after I became aware of my own complacency I prayed. I pointed out that my husband was so clearly doing what God wanted him to—but what about me?

Lord, what is it that will ignite the fire inside of me? 

And more clearly than I’ve ever heard anything in my life, the Lord said, “Write.” 

By this point I’d worked as a contributing editor for a magazine. I’d written two scrapbooking books and several skits and full-length musicals. But I knew in that whisper, God was talking about something else—the thing I’d always been afraid to tackle—a novel.

I was terrified, not by the writing, but by the re-writing. I was certain I didn’t have the patience, and more importantly, I had nothing to say. But who was I to argue with God? 

So, I got to work. That was in 2008. My first book, A Sweethaven Summer, was released in 2012.

In those four years, I studied, read, wrote and learned. But one of the most amazing things I discovered was that all that schooling—and those acting dreams—were anything but wasted. Creating characters, putting them in tense situations, seeing how they react, helping them with their flaws, truly embodying them—I learned how to do that because of my passion for theatre. 

Sometimes it feels frivolous, this novel-writing business. I mean, I’m not saving the world or anything. But then I remember a quote I heard once during those four years of learning: 

Thou shalt not’ might speak to the head, but it takes ‘Once upon a time’ to speak to the heart. 

And that’s my prayer. That somehow, through my words, I’ll find a line of communication to the hearts of my readers.

And it sure is nice to have found the thing to ignite that fire in my own soul. 

What about you? What are you pursuing the thing you’re most passionate about or are you waiting for that spark? What is it that keeps you from diving in head-first?  I pray that you find the thing that lights the fire in your soul.   

Courtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theater director, and playwright. Change of Heart is her fifth novel and is set in the same town as Paper Hearts. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. She has written two additional books in the Sweethaven series, as well as two craft books and several full-length musicals. Courtney lives in Illinois where she and her husband own a performing and visual arts studio. They have three children.

Courtney loves to connect with readers. 
You can find her at her:
Website | Blog
Facebook |  Instagram


A Colorado senator’s wife, Evelyn Brandt seems to have it all. But her carefully constructed life comes toppling down when the FBI crashes her society brunch with news that her husband has been arrested for embezzlement, and he’s far from repentant. It turns out this was only the start of his indiscretions―for which he has little regret.

As the weeks following the scandal turn into months, Evelyn withdraws, even shirking her duties with the philanthropic Valentine Volunteers. The inquisitive women of the group are determined not to let Evelyn’s divorce destroy her. They have big plans for her to use her long-forgotten artistic talent to reimagine the city’s iconic lamppost hearts. But doing so will force Evelyn to work closely with Trevor Whitney, her ex-husband’s former best friend. Though she and Trevor used to be close―and he’s been letting her hide in his guesthouse―his gruffness conveys his unease with the situation.

Amid the beauty of Trevor’s farm and the comfort of a paintbrush, Evelyn starts to reclaim the dreams she sacrificed to become the perfect politician’s wife. And as creativity inspires them both, Whit begins to see the girl he fell in love with before his friend―and his own mistakes―stole his chance. Possibilities for a new beginning emerge, but long-kept secrets threaten to ruin everything. After so much time, is a change of heart too much to hope for?


Enter the contest to win Courtney's book:
Change of Heart
US readers invited to enter!!

Here is how:

1. Leave a comment (and email address)

2. AND sign up to receive my newsletter -in the right column

    (subscribers to Mary Vee's newsletter will receive a special gift)

    AND/OR sign up to receive posts by email if you aren't already

Thank you, Courtney, for joining us this weekend!

We enjoy chatting with you, Reader, and look forward to reading your comments and questions. Or at least your hi, hello, or hey.

Thanks for stopping by!

Don't forget to comment!