Don't Let Fear Stop You

Has fear ever stopped you from doing something your heart desires?

I have.

Fear that people won’t understand.

Fear that others will question my ability, thereby adding to my own doubt.
Fear of looking foolish.
Fear of failure.

But…fear is not from God.
He’s told us that He will always be with us and to NOT be afraid.
Fear stops us from being all that we are meant to be... and from accomplishing all that we are meant to do.

We all become disappointed when plans fail, hopes don’t materialize, or goals are not reached. When we become discouraged it can become difficult to remain positive.

But, try a new approach – learn more – keep going despite your feelings. If you wait until you’re not afraid, you may never accomplish what you want to.

Three years ago I set out to prove to myself that I could write a full-length book. I dreamed of being published, but deep down believed it could only be a dream.

One thing led to another. I discovered ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and stepped into the world of writing and publishing. Through ACFW I continue to learn the craft of writing, as well as how the business works.

I attended my first national ACFW conference. Although feeling insecure in my ability, I made appointments ahead of time to meet with editors and agents there. I flew to the conference alone, only knowing my roommate through email exchange. I was nervous, but once there, had a great experience. I’ll be flying to Dallas this fall with several friends to attend my third conference.

Since joining ACFW, I’ve made many new friends, have become more comfortable networking with agents and editors, learned more than what I ever would have on my own, and have more ideas and writing projects on my plate than I can almost handle.

I still don’t have a publishing contract for any of my novels. But, now I believe that it’s actually possible to one day see that happen for me.

Don’t let fear stop you from realizing your dreams.


Car Salesmen Are People, Too

Car salesmen have been stereotyped as being sleazy, underhanded, and untrustworthy. I used to think the same way. But, something changed my perception and in the process taught me a lesson.

At a point in my life when I needed a job, I was offered a position with a high-end car dealership. The car business was the last thing I ever thought of getting involved in, but I needed the paycheck. I planned on staying no longer than a year, but due to a variety of circumstances, one year has turned into eight.

Some of my co-workers have become friends. I discovered the majority of people in the car business (including the service department) are not out to cheat or lie to people. Just the opposite. I’ve seen them bend over backwards to accommodate customers. I’ve watched them work hard to find the right car at the right price for their clients. Salespeople and managers both have shown great integrity and have been nothing more than honest with customers who have walked through the doors.

One of our salesmen is a retired pastor who left the ministry because of burnout. He sees his job as another form of serving people. Part of his time is spent listening to people’s stories and building trust with his clients.

It’s been interesting to watch how many people walk through our doors shell shocked from experiences at other dealerships or carrying the stereotypical beliefs with them. Some are actually quite rude at first. I sit back and observe them slowly letting their guard down. Then later they show up just to say hi or bring a tray of cookies or donuts.

Through it all I’ve been reminded that car salesmen have families, dreams, goals, personal interests, problems, and joys.

I’ve learned that I shouldn’t judge something or someone by what someone else believes or has heard. It’s important to discover the truth and not make preconceived judgments.

I can’t promise that all car salesmen are honest.
But, I can verify that not all are deceitful.

I know this to be true.
Car salesmen…and women…are people, too.


The Prestige

I watched “The Prestige” on DVD a week ago and I’m still thinking about this fascinating movie.

The title derives from the story’s fictional practice of stage illusions having three parts. The Pledge, The Turn, and The Prestige.

Prestige is gained by being among the first and most adept at a skill that everyone else covets.

In the beginning of the 20th century, rival magicians Robert Angie (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) become obsessed with revealing each other’s secrets and becoming more accomplished than the other. The competition continues to escalate, increasing the danger of the tricks.

The twists and turns in the plot kept me glued to the screen.

In their hunger for prestige, Robert and Alfred begin to make poor and dangerous decisions. Revenge becomes the motive for many of their actions and the result is destruction. Because of their inability to let go, their lives and those they loved are seriously and forever affected. These two men are not able to feel at peace with their lives or themselves.

Any one of us can be affected the same way. We can insist on being better than, being right, or harboring resentment for wrongdoings.

Or we can forgive and embrace the peace that “letting go” will give us.

I think I’ll choose peace.

Beauty from Ashes

Have you ever seen what happens after an area has been devastated by fire? A forest can be wiped out and give the appearance that all vegetation has been destroyed. Yet, with time, it will come back to life. Often looking more lush than before.

Mt St Helens erupted in 1980, changing more than 200 square miles of rich forest into a gray, lifeless landscape. But, the land is healing and there has been an amazing return of vegetation and wildlife.

As I drove to work this morning, I put a CD in the player that I hadn’t listened to for some time. The lyrics in a song touched my heart once again.

“I'll trade these ashes in for beauty… and wear forgiveness like a crown.”

Years ago, I sat in my pastor’s office, my life crumbling around me. I’ll never forget what he told me that day. He assured me that from ashes could come beauty. It wouldn’t happen overnight, nor would it come without work. But, it was possible...with forgiveness and the desire to move forward in my life.

He was right. And it did take time. But, I’ve experienced that reality many times since. Hard times, crisis, or devastation can come in many forms. Sometimes when you least expect it. But, if you hang in there… If you’re willing to persevere and grow…Good things – better things – can come from what feels like total devastation.

My life has never been happier or more full.

If you’re going through a rough time – don’t give up.
God is there, available and willing to help. Just ask.

Beauty can come from ashes.

DiAnn Mills - Author Blog Tour

DiAnn Mills believes readers should “expect an adventure” and she doesn’t let them down.

I first became aware of DiAnn’s work when I read and enjoyed her contemporary Christian suspense, “Footsteps.” The novel tells the story of a woman dealing with the abduction of her two children by an abusive husband.

I just finished reading DiAnn’s latest historical, “Lightning and Lace,” and loved it. This is the third and final book in her Texas Legacy Series.

The story moves at a pace that keeps you turning pages in anticipation at what will happen next. The characters are so real that I quickly grew to know and care about them. Well, except for one character. I didn’t like him at all, but that was designed and accomplished with good writing.

DiAnn expresses below her feelings on writing the characters for her Texas Legacy Series.

You can learn more about DiAnn and her work by checking out her website at

Look for an adventure!

When Characters
become Friends

By DiAnn Mills

A mixture of emotions swept over me last week when my third and final book in the Texas Legacy Series stepped into the marketplace. I’ve grown to love these characters – everything about them. I love their stubborn moments, their victories, their defeats, the way they love, and even the way they hate. They fight for what they believe in, and God is always right. For the past two years, I’ve wakened to the sound of their voices ringing in my head and to their problems. I watched the women slip into their dresses and bonnets, and the men tug on their boots. Actually, the women sometimes wiggled into a pair of boots and pants too. I rode the gentle mares and the wild broncos and held my breath. I lifted my Winchester, tensed my body for the kickback and sent bullets flying into targets, some of which were human. I celebrated with them, and I cried with them. I cheered when they triumphed and wanted to shake them when they made poor decisions.

In short, my characters have become my friends, and it’s hard to let them go. Unfortunately, I experience this grieving period every time I finish a book or series. I feel abandoned and lost, since too often I’m thinking about them just after I say my prayers and before I drift off to sleep. Dare I say that I worry about my characters? Hope they are not quarreling with their spouses or their children? That life hasn’t given them another dose of bitter herbs?
This bizarre and sometimes eccentric habit of mine is not much different from the habits of many of my other writer friends. How else can a writer create a character unless he/she first understands their motivation? And while these characters are on a journey called life, I realize the many reasons why I enjoy them.

I also realize their problems and issues. The storms of life that beat against our doors today have been happening since time began.

I consider Leather and Lace. Casey O’Hare didn’t start out life wanting to be an outlaw. Quite the contrary, she had hopes and dreams like every little girl until life slapped her in the face, and she chose to survive in the only way she knew. Many women today have made poor choices when faced with the dredges of life. We all have. I wrote that book for those women.
Jenny in Lanterns and Lace desperately wanted someone to love her. Is that such a bad thing, since we were created with a deep desire to be loved? The problem is, where do we go for love? Jenny thought unconditional love was a myth until the great Lover showed her differently.

Bonnie abhorred the disease that ravaged her beloved husband and left her a widow in Lightning and Lace. But she is determined, and alcohol is not the answer. Substance abuse is not native to today’s world. Wherever there is pain and suffering, people will look for a way to manage their sorrow.

Oh my, I do hope my darlings will be fine. They will be back next fall in a Christmas Legacy book, and then that is truly the end.

So today, I’m creating new friends. Already I know they won’t behave in every instance, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m on my way to a new adventure. And, by the way, this is a contemporary.

I Can See Clearly Now

As I drove home after a long work day, the rain pelted the windshield of my car. With each swish of the windshield wiper, the drops of water resting on the glass were wiped away.

Without the help of those wipers, I would have been blind to the path the road was taking and could have easily missed a turn or moved into the part of the road I had no desire to be in.

A few drops of rain on the windshield didn’t hinder my ability to see where I was going. But if those drops were left and more allowed to accumulate, they would eventually contribute to the view of the road being distorted.

Isn’t that kind of how life is?

A few distractions may not cause us to stray from the path God has chosen for us. But, if we continue to allow more things to become between us and our relationship with Him, we can easily start to make poor choices. We may take a wrong turn because we’re no longer seeing clearly.

I needed to keep the view clear that evening in order to find my way home.

I need to do the same in my life if I want to follow the road God has set before me. After all… at the end of this “life journey”… I’m going home.

Striving to stay on the right path,

Akiane Kramarik – Child Prodigy and Artist Blessed by God

Have you ever doubted the existence of God?

Have you ever tried to assure other people that He does?

Some people have a difficult time believing in what they can’t touch. They demand proof there is a God who loves us and wants to be a part of our lives.

I think Akiane Kramarik is such proof. I believe God has used this young woman to display His greatness and love in a tangible way.

Akiane is the real thing. Her parents, former atheists, never told her about God. But, at the age of four, Akiane started to receive visions and inspiration from Him. She started drawing at age six and by the time she turned eight, she was painting. She’s never received instruction. The painting of Christ was done while she was only nine years old. Now at the age of twelve, she continues to express her relationship with God through art. She gives all the credit for her talent to Him.

Akiane states on her website: “I have been blessed by God. And if I’m blessed, there is one reason, and one reason only, and that is to help others.”

Her life goal: “To share her love for God and people around the world.”

Akiane has appeared on many television shows, including: Oprah, Good Morning America,World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, and many others. Articles have been printed in numerous publications, including Time Magazine.

You can find out more about Akiane by checking out her website at

Watch interviews with Akiane and see pieces of her art work by accessing the following videos on YouTube.

Spiritual Young Artist

An Interview with Akiane

I stand in awe at her gifts and I thank God for choosing to reveal a part of Himself through this humble girl.

No Regrets - Part 2

In my last post, I wrote about not being burdened down with regrets about our past. But, today I want to talk about living without regrets in the present and future.

We can’t change our past, but we can learn from it. We can make decisions that affect whether we deal with future regrets or not.

I’ve changed considerably over the past eight to ten years.

There was a time when I was so disciplined and so stuck in my routine that I had a difficult time deviating from it. If Thursday was my cleaning day and Friday was laundry day, that’s what I did. No matter what else presented itself, the cleaning was accomplished every Thursday and the laundry was tackled by Friday evening. I know… it was sick. But, that’s how I was raised…and it was a tough thing to break.

I still have a need for routine. I still need to have a clean house and have things in order. And I have to admit, it’s much easier now that the kids are all old enough to be on their own. I’m also fortunate to have a husband who does his own laundry and also likes things to be in their place. I’ve been blessed with a good man!

But, I’ve also learned to put people ahead of household chores. If a friend calls and asks if I’ll meet her for dinner…the household duties are put on hold. If several friends ask me to go away for a girls’ weekend…I’m there. If one of my daughters calls at midnight because they need to talk…I disregard the fact that I’m tired and have to get up in the morning for work.

I don’t ever want to regret a situation where I’ve not put people first. Because of making this change - my life has become so much richer.

It’s also taken me a long time to come to a place in my life where I’m willing to step out and try new things. I was never a risk taker. I’ve always needed to be in control. Needed to make sure I would never make a fool of myself.

I was wrong. And I was missing out…

Life is full of risks. And if we don’t take them, we’ll never know what we’re really made of. I’m not talking about irresponsible financial risks or dangerous physical risks. But, I am talking about those things in our heart of hearts that we desire to experience, but are afraid to.

It’s been a risk for me to start the journey to becoming an established writer. What if my novels are never published? What if people think I’m foolish or not talented enough to pursue such a difficult career? What if I fall on my face?

If I never get a book published, at least I can say I tried. I started out to prove to myself that I could write a full length novel and I’ve written two at this point – and have ideas for more.

I’ve met extraordinary people in this writer’s journey and made wonderful new friends. I’ve been able to learn, grow, and feed a part of my soul that nothing else has been able to satisfy.

I would never have been given those blessings had I not taken the risk and tried.

It’s taught me to step out on that limb and experience all that I can. In the future, I don’t want to say “I wish I had…”

I want to end my life here saying, “I’m so glad I did…”

No Regrets - Part 1

Do you live with regret?

There are times when I struggle with it.

For instance…when I’m trying to lose weight, but am not happy with the results shown on the scale, I have regrets. I shouldn’t have… consumed a small bag of M&Ms on Monday, succumbed to part of a glazed donut at work on Tuesday, eaten pizza on Thursday, or had a second glass of wine at dinner on Saturday.

Of course there are more serious offenses. Why did I allow words to escape my mouth when they had the potential to hurt someone, or lead others to think negatively about a person? I wish I could take back what I said, but I can’t.

There have been situations in my life where I know my actions have hurt or disappointed people. I wish I could replay the event and have a “do-over.” Not to mention various scenarios where I felt that I left either an unfavorable or false impression of who I am.

Our lives can be full of regrets.
I should have…
I shouldn’t have…
Why did I?
Why didn’t I?
I wish I had…
I wish I hadn’t…

It’s good to acknowledge our mistakes and we need to learn from them.

But, we can’t allow ourselves to become burdened with regret over things we can’t change. Regret can steal the joy from our lives. Satan uses our past to his advantage. Once we no longer have the power to change a situation, Satan heaps guilt, regret, and condemnation on us.

But see…here’s the deal.

God will forgive us for “blowing it.” We only need to ask. And when God forgives, the slate is wiped clean. He doesn’t hold mistakes over our head.

If God can forgive us, we should too. We need to forgive ourselves for blunders, move on, and leave regrets behind.


Interested in Joining an Online Bookclub?

Want to read some great books and chat with the authors? Then check out the American Christian Fiction Writers' Book Club. The ACFW Book Club gives fans of Christian fiction the opportunity to communicate with each other, chat with ACFW authors, and discuss books.

Book Club participants are invited to join an e-mail group set up to facilitate announcements and host discussions about the current reading selection. Members will be eligible for monthly free book drawings. To join, send a blank e-mail to or visit and click "join this group."

You will receive a confirmation e-mail after joining. Follow the instructions given in the e-mail to complete your subscription to this e-mail list. Each month, club members have an opportunity to participate in an on-line chat with an ACFW published author. Chats will be announced in advance so Club members have the opportunity to read the featured book. Book Club chats will be held on the ACFW website in the chat room at 7:00 p.m. CST on the first Monday of the month following the month the book is read.

Currently, the club is talking about Rachel Hauck's "Lost in NashVegas." And then it's on to Mary Connealy's "Petticoat Ranch" before tackling sci-fi for some variety.

Check it out.

Saying Goodbye to the Coffee Guy

I’ve stopped at the same coffee stand on my way to work for the past four and half years. The owner of the place doesn’t have to ask what I’d like. As soon as he sees my car approach, he knows to make a grande´ non-fat sugar- free caramel and chocolate latte´.

Every morning I’ve been greeted with a large grin and lively conversation about everything from the weather to how well the Mariners or Seahawks played in the game the night before. My coffee guy has always had an optimistic, upbeat view of life. That short conversation in the morning has been a little ray of sunshine on some of the dreariest Seattle days.

But, I won’t be able to stop at the coffee stand much longer.

About a month ago he was told that with the expansion of the road his stand is located near, he would have to relocate his business. No ifs, ands, or buts. He’s being forced out and needs to move off the property. The original date set for his removal was March 1st. Yesterday he was given a six week extension.

Of course he’d like to stay. Over the years he’s built a loyal clientele. People of all ages stop by to chat and pick up their favorite drinks all day long.

He’s looked everywhere, but hasn’t been able to find a suitable location in the area. Over the past several weeks I’ve watched him go from a happy-go-lucky kind of guy to someone who looks stressed and worn out.

My heart aches for him. He has a family to support. He’s put so much into the business and into making his customers happy…and now it probably feels like it’s all being flushed down the toilet.

I’m angry with the city for doing this to him. And he’s not the only one losing. So are his customers. But, it also made me realize how much I’ve appreciated his grin and morning banter. As small as it may seem, he’s made a large impact on the people in the community. Wherever he finds a place to land, he’ll charm and bring a little cheer into people’s lives there.

I guess we never know how we may affect people – regardless of how trivial a smile or a few kind words may seem.

So…say hello or offer a stranger a smile.
Make a difference in someone else’s day.

 photo copyright.jpg
blogger template by envye