Bridge Over Troubled Water

Music is one way my spirit connects with God. My soul is fed through combinations of beautiful melodies, passionate rhythms, and heartfelt words.

I sing with one of the bands at my church and am blessed to help lead our congregation in worship. Occasionally we include secular music that fits in with the topic of the day. People who don’t often attend church can sometimes relate better to familiar music.

Today, the message centered on the story of Moses. As a baby, Moses was placed in a basket and set adrift in the river so he wouldn’t be killed by Pharaoh’s men. God had plans for Moses and protected him. He was rescued from the river and brought up in Pharaoh’s own home. Moses lived, and later as an adult, led the Israelites out of Egypt and slavery.

God repeatedly uses water in our relationship with Him. We’re baptized with water. He flooded the earth with water, but saved faithful Noah and his family. He parted the sea so Moses could lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Jesus walked on water in order to teach the disciples a lesson on faith and trust.

After the morning’s sermon, my band played and sang the popular, “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” by Simon and Garfunkel. The music was probably never meant to be “spiritual.” But, read the words…and the next time you hear or sing the lyrics…imagine God singing them to you. It’s awesome!

Bridge Over Troubled Water
Simon and Garfunkel

When you’re weary, feelin’ small.
When tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all;
I’m on your side
Oh, when times get rough
And friends just can’t be found,
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down,
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down

When you’re down and out,
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so far, I will comfort you.
I’ll take your part.
Oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around,
Like a bridge over trouble d water, I will lay me down,
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.

Sail on silver girl, sail on by.
Your time has come to shine; all your dreams are on their way.
See how they shine.
Oh, if you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind,
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind.
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind.

Let God be your bridge over troubled water…


Cracker Jack and the Prize Inside

The other night my husband and I drove into Seattle to watch the Mariners play baseball. The evening was beautiful and we enjoyed the amazing view of Puget Sound from Safeco Field.

I had in tow my favorite kettle corn, but my husband opted for peanuts and Cracker Jacks. How could he not go with the standard fare of die-hard baseballs fans?

The next day, out of curiosity, I googled Cracker Jack. Would you believe there’s an entire website dedicated to this treat? Yep, there is. You’ll find interesting information at .

For instance, according to the website:

Cracker Jack is the world's largest user of toys. More than 23 billion toys have been given out since 1912. Some old Cracker Jack prizes are valued at more than $7,000. And a complete series of original 1915 baseball cards has been valued as high as $60,000.

There are even official organizations focused on Cracker Jack collectables. They have their own newsletters and hold Cracker Jack conventions.

Cracker Jack has remained popular for many years. It was even included in the famous song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Part of the notoriety of the snack has come from including a prize in every bag or box.

While watching the baseball game, my husband opened his bag of Cracker Jack and handed me the prize buried beneath the sweet snack. I sighed. It wasn’t the type of prize I used to find in my youth. Years ago—yes, many years ago—we used to find “real” toys. Objects we could actually play with, or if we were really fortunate, maybe a cool ring.

The prizes of today - small paper puzzles, riddles, or pencil toppers - are disappointing for those of us who remember better times. If you’re really lucky, you might get an imitation baseball card.

As followers of Christ, the opposite is true.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14.

We’ll never be disappointed in the prize that awaits us. And that’s pretty cool…


Are You a Bloom or a Withered Leaf?

I enjoy the many flowers in my yard. But for them to look beautiful, they need to be given tender, loving care.

The hanging baskets are too high for me to reach, so most of the time I attach a wand to the end of the hose in order to water them. It’s hard work hauling the hose from area to area, between the bushes and over brick borders.

Certain jobs require me to climb a ladder—like removing spent flowers and browned leaves in order to promote new blooms. Or pouring water containing Miracle Grow into the dirt so the roots can absorb nutrients needed to maintain health.

I’m convinced neighbors peer out their window and think, “There goes that crazy lady again.”

I must be an odd, but entertaining sight, teetering as I reach for the elusive dried up leaf just out of reach.

You know…it'a a lot like our spiritual life. No kidding!

Plants need H2O in order to survive.
We need Jesus—the Water of Life. He quenches the thirst in our souls.

Plants should be pruned, and dead stuff, removed.
We need to eliminate things from our lives that hinder growth.

Plants require food in order to thrive.
As spiritual creatures, we need God’s word. We also need to be in fellowship with people who will encourage us to live the life we’re called to live—and be all who God desires us to be.

Just as it takes work to help my flowers grow, it also takes effort to grow spiritually. It takes time to read the Bible and other books. It takes time to attend Bible studies, church, or fellowship groups. And time is a pretty precious commodity.

Pretty weird to be compared to vegetation???
I understand.

But, think about it. Wouldn’t you rather be a gorgeous, blooming vine than a twig with only a few dried up leaves?

Remember…it doesn’t take much for a dry leaf to crumble.


Author - Amber Miller

I’m pleased to introduce Amber Miller (Tiffany Stockton) and her debut novel, Promises, Promises.

I attended my first writers’ conference in Nashville four years ago. Tiff was someone who made her presence known by the humor, warmth, and energy she shared with those around her. She’s the kind of person people are drawn to. It’s been exciting for me to see her hard work pay off and I’m thrilled to participate in this week’s blog tour with her.

Read on as Tiff shares more about her books and what’s behind her stories…

Promises, Promises

Has God forsaken Raelene?

What kind of God would take a girl's family and leave her alone in a wild land where women have no voice? When Gustaf Hanssen promises Raelene's dying father that he will take care of her, he finds himself bound to her happiness, her success, and her well-being in ways he never imagined. To keep his word, must Gustaf really oversee all of Raelene's affairs, find her a husband, and maintain her farm, while she does nothing but scorn him? Can God reach through Raelene's pain and self-centeredness and give her the love that awaits, if only she will accept His will?

Ordering link:

And just released this month!

Quills & Promises

Innocence paired with wisdom beyond her years--

With these traits, Elanna Hanssen unwittingly captures the attentions of Major Madison Scott. Her honest desire to understand the war fascinates him, and he resolves to get to know this perspicacious young lady better. When he is called away to fight the French and the Indians, they begin a correspondence, cautiously baring their hearts to one another. Elanna has never known emotions like these before, but she is drawn to the integrity she sees in her major. When a writer for the first newspaper in the colony questions the major's credentials and activities, however, will she allow her heart or her head to rule? Can true love grow over such distance and around such obstacles?

Ordering link:

From Tiff…

Hi, my name is Tiffany Stockton, but I publish under the pen name of Amber Miller, derived from my middle and maiden names. I was published before I got married in July 2007, and my wonderful husband doesn’t mind that I have this alter ego. I’m thrilled to be here on Dawn’s blog and honored at the opportunity to be a guest blogger.

She’s graciously provided some discussion questions, but I hope you’ll indulge me if I stray a little off subject as the inspiration strikes me. You will? Oh, thank you! That means a lot.

So, let’s see. This is day 1 of my 3-week blog tour promoting my very first novel, which released in February of this year. It was shipped to the Heartsong Presents book club and available on their web site, but this month, it will be added to,, Parable, Barnes & Noble and so many other places. That’s why I waited before doing a tour. The live links aren’t available yet, but stick with me throughout this tour, and you’ll learn what they are soon enough.

Book 2 just released on July 1st, to the book club, but we’re here to talk about book 1. The inspiration behind that came about five years ago, when I drove by a house with a historic marker at the edge of the driveway that said, "circa 1740." Wow! If only those walls could speak. What a story they would tell!

That started me on a research journey about the home that revealed not a lot was known or recorded about the actual family who lived there. The home remained in the same family for nearly 200 years before the house and original land was sold at a state auction. So, being the writer that I am, I took a literary license and … made it up!

The ‘what if’ moment came when I tried to develop the story line for the first book. Without a lot of background, I had to rely on the elements I had learned would make a good story. Some excellent advice given to me included the method of taking your character to a point that seems hopeless…and making it worse. So, I asked, "What if a heroine with no siblings also loses her parents, then finds herself as the sole owner of land in a new world where women have no voice, feeling as if God has forsaken her?"

And thus, Promises, Promises was born!

The main character, Raelene Strattford, suffers an awful tragedy at the opening chapter of the book which turns her world upside down. As a result, she becomes angry with God and declares that she doesn’t need Him; that she can make it all by herself. So, she tries.

And fails.

Despite her hurt pride, she realizes she isn’t going to succeed without at least some help. That assistance comes from her neighbor and the man whose pursuit she’d scorned only a year before. As Gustaf Hanssen and Raelene are thrust into a working relationship, yet another wrench is thrown into her plans. Her father’s will states that she must marry by age eighteen or forfeit the family land. Helpless to know how to even begin a search for a suitable husband, she tosses that responsibility into the capable hands of Gustaf.

Raelene reacts out of her pain, though, and the betrayal she feels guides both her conversation and her actions. She is convinced that God wants nothing to do with her and turns her back on everything her parents taught her. I’ve known a lot of people in real life like that. As a result of one tragedy or another, they change their entire behavior and act more like a wounded animal than a beloved person of God.

And from my experience, most people can’t help it. It’s the only way they know how to react or respond to the situation. It takes a steadfast and committed person to open their eyes to the freedom from the pain and hurt before they learn to trust again.

That’s what I tried to show through Raelene and Gustaf’s journey. And from the reader feedback, I’ve succeeded on some levels. Just knowing that this book has touched even one life means a lot to me.

But I didn’t stop there. Not only does Raelene return to her faith in God, she also finds love with Gustaf. It wasn’t easy, though. Because of her father’s will, she was forced to endure attention from a parade of men. Not many possessed the qualities necessary to run a farm let alone be what Raelene needed. And there were times when Raelene didn’t want to continue with the search. She wanted to be done with it, so she almost settled for less than the best.

How many times do we do that in life? Or how often have you seen someone you know or love do that, only to end up more hurt and worse off than when they began? Far too often, we have a limited view of what we need, and we take it upon ourselves to search for that perfect relationship. Like many of us, Raelene thought she knew the type of man she wanted in her life. But God knew better.

In some ways, I can relate to Raelene. I spent my entire decade in my 20’s waiting and hoping for the "right" man to come into my life. There were times when I was tired of waiting and almost settled for something just for the sake of having a relationship. God reminded me, though, that He had a plan for my life. I’m glad I waited too, because I couldn’t imagine being any happier than I am right now. I met the love of my life at a writer’s conference in 2004. One problem—he lived in Colorado! That didn’t deter us, though, and through emails and instant message, we built a friendship. We only saw each other once a year at the conferences. It didn’t take long for our friendship to develop into something more special. In March of 2007, he flew out to visit for 4 days. One week later, we were engaged, and 5 months later, we were married.

So, don’t settle for second-best when you can have the best, if you only wait for the right moments. My husband and I spent a lot of time in our 20’s wondering when or if it would happen. And today, we can both proudly say that we have no previous relationships. We have only our own as our first experience. It’s truly a blessing to know we have no comparisons and no past haunts. We have other issues, as all marriages do, but that one does not exist.

Many know our story, and I’ve had a lot of people ask when I’m going to write our story in a novel. Right now, I’m on other deadlines, but you might see it soon. Who knows? It might end up being a historical, or it could be a contemporary. Whatever it is, I know it’s going to be fun to writer.

In the meantime, I have my 3 novels releasing this year as part of my first series. This first book has lessons in faith, trust, sticking to your promises, being steadfast and loyal, and above all, being patient for God’s best to come.

The other 2 books have a similar theme, but each set of characters deal with other issues as well. In Quills & Promises, which released on July 1st, the hero is engaged in the French and Indian War. While he’s away, the heroine is presented with accusations against a man she’d come to believe as honest and trustworthy. She’s forced to make a choice, and it’s not an easy one.

Choices rarely are.

Book 3 is set during the Revolutionary War, and the heroine encounters a man who is serving both armies. Lies abound on both sides, but this soldier assures her she can trust him. Spying is dishonest, though, and she isn’t sure she can befriend someone who lies for a living. In the end, she too has to make a choice. One could reveal secrets to the wrong side, and the other could put an end to this soldier’s career.

Throughout the series, promises and trust play a big role. Although these are set during the Colonial era, the truths in them can just as well apply today. And while you’re experiencing the consequences of these characters’ actions, you’re also learning a bit of history regarding the foundation of this great country.

So, I hope you’ll pick up a copy to read. Or better yet, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE copy from a drawing of those who comment. I won’t be doing this on all of the blog stops, but there will be a few. Stick with me throughout the tour, and you just might be a winner.

Thanks for dropping by. Hope to see you at other tour locations these next 3 weeks. That’s all for now.

Author Bio

Amber Miller is an author and freelance web site designer who lives with her husband in beautiful Colorado Springs. They don’t have any children yet, but they do have a vivacious puppy named Roxie, who is half Border Collie and half Flat-Haired Retriever.

Amber has sold four books to the Heartsong Presents line of Barbour Publishing with the promise of two more before the end of the year. Other writing credits include several writing articles for various publications, five short stories with Romancing the Christian Heart, and nine contributions to the book, 101 Ways to Romance Your Marriage. A born-again Christian since the age of seven, her faith in Christ has often sustained her through difficult experiences. She seeks to share that with others through her writing.

Read more about her at her web site:

Blog Tour Schedule

Shirley Connolly (July month-long feature) -

July 7 - Dawn Kinzer at From Dawn til Dusk, Musings of a Night Owl
July 7 - Margaret Daley (bio)
July 8 - Donna Moore at Write by Faith

July 8 - Kim Woodhouse at God's Grace, Love & Forgiveness

July 9 - Margaret Daley (interview)
July 9 - Amy Riley at The Friendly Book Nook

July 10 - Jenny Blake at Come Meet AusJenny
July 11 - Rose McCauley July 11 - Shauna Sturge at The Coffee Stop
; Long and Short Reviews
July 12 - Carolyn Strawder at Quiet Time with Carolyn

July 14 - Martha Rogers at Martha Writes

July 14-19 - CAN! blog spotlight
July 15 - Leslie Sowell at A Little Bit of Sunlight

July 16 - Novel Journey / Novel Reviews /
July 17 - Eileen Astels at A Christian Romance Writer's Journey

July 17 - Cheryl Wyatt at Squirrel's Treehouse
July 18 - Cara Putman at Cara's Musings
July 18 - Tyora Moody at CB Reviews
July 19 - Stacy Johnson at Vader's Mom
July 21 - CFBA blog tour date (various blogs)
July 21 - Camy Tang at Camy's Loft
July 21 - Jennifer AlLee at Musings on This, That & The Other Thing -
July 21 - Trish Perry (interview)
July 22 - CFBA blog tour date (various blogs)
July 22 - Cindy Woodsmall at the Plain Talk Blog
July 23 - CFBA blog tour date (various blogs)
July 23 - Delia Latham at The Melody Within (review/interview)

July 24 - Margaret Chind at Creative Madness

July 25 - Delia Latham at The Melody Within (guest blogger)

July 25 - Christa Allan at Fictionary

July 26 - Paula Moldenhauer at Grace Reign

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