A Child is Born

“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

And this [will be] the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’”
(Luke 2: 7 – 11 NKJV)

Merry Christmas!

Big Things Come in Small Packages

Do you ever struggle with desiring something bigger, thinking it must be better?

As a little girl, I learned one Christmas that special things don’t always come in big packages. Like the Christ child, they can arrive in what may at first look small and plain.

Relatives gathered to celebrate Christmas at my aunt and uncle’s large Wisconsin farmhouse. Later in the day, while the adults sat back and enjoyed their coffee, thirteen children were called together to play “Bingo." We were shown a display of prizes wrapped in boxes of various sizes. Sensitive to feelings, my aunt made sure there were enough for each child to win one.

Younger than most of my cousins, and quiet by nature, I was still just as excited as the rest about the prospect of being able to choose from the pile of colorful packages.

But as we played, one child after another won the game before I managed to get my circular pieces in the required straight line. Packages were eliminated from the pile, and as the supply dwindled, my heart began to sink as the larger boxes disappeared.

It seemed to take forever, but I finally shouted, “Bingo!”

It was my turn to pick from the remaining few packages. I tried to guess what could be hidden inside each one. I made my decision and reached for a large gift, wrapped in bright red paper. There had to be something wonderful inside.

“Big things come in small packages,” my aunt whispered in my ear. She pointed to a gift, barely noticeable, wrapped in plain white tissue paper.

I trusted her and picked the smaller gift. I carefully unfolded the delicate tissue and discovered the silver ring hidden inside. The setting held a round, cut piece of glass that reflected all the colors of the rainbow. The ring had to be inexpensive, but to me it was the most beautiful thing I’d every seen. In my eyes and heart, I held a treasure in the palm of my hand.

In our pursuit for what we think may be better, it’s so easy to overlook anything that might appear insignificant. But, what are we missing? What are the blessings, or everyday gifts, that we take for granted?

I don’t ever want to lose appreciation for a cool breeze blowing through the window on a hot afternoon, a comfortable bed after a tiring day, or a beautiful sunrise reminding me of God’s presence.

Wonderful, exciting, beautiful . . . and even life-changing things can be found in small packages. After all . . . didn’t the greatest gift bestowed upon us come in the gift of a small baby by the name of Jesus? And He gave the biggest gift of all. He gave us the gift of eternal life.

This Christmas, may you find great blessings in the small things.


Remember the Lonely and Grieving at Christmas

Christmas should be filled with merriment and cheer. Fun moments shared with family and friends. But for many people, holidays are filled with reminders of what they’ve lost, or perhaps never even experienced during the season.

Several times in my own life, the Christmas season was emotionally difficult. But I was blessed with amazing friends who surrounded me with their love and support. What a difference that made in my world!

The first scenario was the Christmas following my divorce, when I needed to share the kids and wasn’t able to have them with me the entire time. As a single person, it can be easy to feel alone during the holidays. My immediate family lives thousands of miles away. During those years of redefining my life, my friends did whatever they could to remind me that I was a part of their family. I was invited to parties and other events, included in holiday dinners, and I never sat alone during church services.

After I remarried, the Christmas following the death of my 19 year-old stepdaughter in a car accident held moments of grief. Her absence was profoundly felt by the entire family, but for my husband, the pain resided without relief in his heart. My mother sent a note with home town news and mentioned something that touched our hearts. On Christmas Eve, the sidewalk leading up to the front doors of the church was bordered with lit candles in memory of loved ones. My parents had placed one there for Angie. Such a small thing, but I cannot tell you how much that meant to us.

This past week the Seattle area grieved the death of four police officers, assassinated in a coffee shop by a man who walked in, pointed a gun, and shot. Spouses and nine children are left behind. Thousands of police officers from across the United States and Canada attended the memorial service. It’s been a terrible blow for the area, but also a wake-up call as to what officers and their families live with every day. These families will be without their loved one this Christmas. And it will leave a huge hole in their heart. They need our support. They need our prayers.

You may realize that someone will be alone this holiday season. You may know an individual or family who’s lost a special person in their lives. You might be aware that somebody is struggling financially due to illness or a job loss.

These are a few things you can do to not only brighten their lives, but possibly provide a lifeline:

* Send them a Christmas card or call, just to let them know you’re thinking about them and haven’t forgotten what they’re going through.

* Having a party? Invite them. Even if they don’t attend, most will appreciate the gesture.

* Include them in a family dinner.

* Invite them to attend church – especially on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. If the person already attends, sit together.

* If you’re financially able to provide a few gifts for a family who is struggling, there are many avenues to donate food, clothing, and toys.

* Even if you don't personally know the individual or family, you can always remember them in prayer.

This Christmas, let’s not only give gifts that are wrapped in paper and bows. Let’s give of ourselves.

Have a great week!

A Simpler Life

I think God may be trying to get my attention. On Tuesday, after not thinking about it for years, the melody and words to a song popped into my head. “Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free . . .”

Less than 24 hours later, I attended an advent service at my church. The theme for the season? “Simplicity.” And one of the songs we sang that evening? You got it. “Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free . . .”

“Okay, Lord. I get it. But how???”

It’s not that I don’t want a simpler life. It’s just that—well, you know—I have things to do, places to go, people to meet!

My daughter, Ana, sent me photos of Giethoorn, a village with no roads in the Dutch province of Overijssel. All transportation is done via boats, with the exception of a cycling path.

The photos depict a beautiful and serene place, where very likely, people live a simpler life. There are no crazy drivers in cars cutting people off on the highway. No stoplights every block to add to the frustration.

Why is it that Americans have become so obsessed with working harder, faster, and longer? Why are we so driven to succeed and prove ourselves worthy? And worthy of what? And why is it that other countries have learned the art of taking life at a slower pace?

When I get a little harried, I’m going to look at these photos, take in the peaceful beauty, and ask for God’s direction in living with more simplicity.

How about you? Do you yearn for a simpler life?


A Village with No Roads

Blog Tour with Author Tiffany Amber Stockton

I met Tiffany Amber Stockton five years ago while attending my first writer’s conference. Tiff makes her presence known by the humor, warmth, and energy she shares with those around her. It’s exciting to see her hard work pay off, and I’m pleased to participate in this blog tour. Read on to learn more about her books and life …


Tiffany Amber Stockton is an author, online marketing consultant, and web site designer who lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart, and their baby daughter in Colorado. They also have a vivacious Border Collie mix named Roxie. Amber has sold eight books to Barbour Publishing with more on the horizon. Other writing credits include five short stories for Romancing the Christian Heart, and contributions to Grit for the Oyster and 101 Ways to Romance Your Marriage. Her goal in writing is to convey the message that God is always present, even during the most difficult circumstances. Read more about her at her web site: http://www.amberstockton.com/.


Why do you write the kind of books you do?

Well, that all depends. If you’re asking why I write historical fiction, it’s because I’ve always been fascinated by history and the people who have gone before us. But history class bored me to tears. So, I love telling those stories through the eyes of people who lived it. Bringing it alive to my readers and perhaps helping them gain a better appreciation or understanding is a welcome challenge.

Now, if you ask why I write romance, that’s because I enjoy the process of taking God’s love for us and turning into a ‘happily ever after’ story. If you believe in God and His promises, you know that no matter how bad things get, there is hope, and things will get better. Romance, for me, allows me to demonstrate that hope. I depict characters enduring what might appear to be impossible situations. By going through them and rising above them, especially in regard to relationships, the characters glimpse that hope and experience the happy ending.

How has being published changed your life?

It has given me a new leash on life, so to speak. Now that I’ve sold and am starting to establish readers, I’m receiving feedback on how my books have touched their lives. It’s an amazing testimony to read how the words I’ve written have spoken to someone who has read them. God has given me this gift, and I’m thrilled beyond words to have the opportunity to use this gift to His glory.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

For my first series, I wanted to depict the historical significance of the little state of Delaware. Since a real home from the 1700’s was near where I used to live and still standing, I chose that for the principal setting. The rest of the area flowed from the initial story lines.

For my current series, my editor sent me 6 states and asked me to send proposals on as many as I would like. One of them was historical Michigan, and I decided to select an area that isn’t often portrayed in novels. Detroit during the Industrial Revolution was a major center of industry, production and high society. It made the perfect setting.

For other novels, the choice of setting usually comes from a place I’ve visited or inspiration from the setting of another book I’ve read. If once I get into the book, the setting doesn’t work, I change it to one that does.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?

Some of the names that come to mind are Abraham Lincoln or George Washington or John Adams. But, I’m going to go back even farther and say I’d love to spend an evening with Mary, the mother of Jesus. During this Christmas season, her acceptance of God’s plan for her life and her willingness to do what was asked of her, despite her fears and uncertainties are quite an inspiration. None of know exactly where our lives are headed, but if we make up our minds to say “yes” no matter what, I think we’ll discover amazing things.


Patterns and Progress

—A farmer's daughter would rather turn back the hands of time than accept the fact that advancement in technology could be in God's plan.—

Shannon Delaney was right. Every time she might consider changing her stance on what other people called progress, something bad would happen and she would be proven right again. Take the day Jacob Berringer almost ran her over in that new Model-T, for instance. And he had the nerve to suggest she'd been daydreaming? Or the Titanic. A marvel of modern invention. Look where that got them. Or how about the new tractor her brother insisted they try out. What did he get from that? A broken arm. Why can't things just stay the way they are—the way they should be? Jacob's got his work cut out for him, proving to the stubborn but beautiful Shannon that just because he works for the Henry Ford Company, he isn't evil incarnate. But something about her tells him she's worth the effort, and when Jacob puts his mind to something, he doesn't turn back. But will either of them look to God for direction?

Read the first chapter here: http://www.amberstockton.com/excerpts/pnpexcerpt.html

Patterns and Progress

Barbour Publishing/Heartsong Presents Book 3
of Michigan historical series (HP# )
At Christianbook.com:
Release date: December 2009
ISBN-10: 1602606870
ISBN-13: 9781602606876

** Sign up for Amber Stockton’s Newsletter and be entered for free books! - http://visitor.constantcontact.com/d.jsp?m=1102660568968&p=oi


Blog Tour Schedule

ausjenny - http://ausjenny.blogspot.com/
Erica Vetsch - http://onthewritepath.blogspot.com/

Martha Rogers - http://www.marthasbooks.blogspot.com/

Pat Gonzales - http://www.pattishene.comm/
Abi Buening (book highlight) - http://myheartbelongs2books.blogspot.com/

Abi Buening - http://myheartbelongs2books.blogspot.com/
Stormi Johnson - http://writesthoughts.blogspot.com/

Cara Putman - http://carasmusings.blogspot.com/
American Patriot Blog - http://www.blogger.com/

Edit Café (guest blogger) - http://editcafe.blogspot.com/
Cindy Woodsmall (all week) - http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/booklover/category/book-lover/
Rose McCauley - http://rosemccauley.blogspot.com/
Lauralee Bliss - http://blissfulwritingthoughts.blogspot.com/

Jennifer Allee - http://jenniferallee.blogspot.com/
Allie Newberry - http://blog.allienewberry.com/

Cathy Bryant - http://wordvessel.blogspot.com/
Eileen Astels - http://eileenastels.blogspot.com/
Favorite PASTimes interview - http://favoritepastimes.blogspot.com/
Seriously Write - http://seriouslywrite.blogspot.com/

Patty Wysong - http://pattywysong.blogspot.com/

Patty Wysong - http://pattywysong.blogspot.com/

Margaret Chind - http://cherryblossommj.blogspot.com/

Lisa Lickel - (http://livingourfaithoutloud.blogspot.com/)

What's So Bad About Feeling Good?

Tis the season. So the other day I warned my husband that I’d set the DVR to tape a fair number of Christmas movies scheduled to air on the Hallmark channel, assuring him none would interfere with anything previously lined up.

With a teasing grin, he reminded me that I’d be watching them by myself. Hallmark movies are too sappy for him. I understand, and I’m okay with it. At least he doesn’t roll his eyes and groan.

I watch and enjoy a wide variety of movie genres; comedy, science fiction, romance, adventure, mysteries, suspense, fantasy, martial arts, and foreign. Okay, foreign may not be a genre, but I still added it in. If the movie is well done, it’s possible to actually forget you’re reading their lines. I tell the truth.

“Hallmark movies” have almost become another genre. The term has been used for any movie that tugs on the emotional heart strings.

Sure . . . these movies can be cheesy and predictable. There’s always a happy ending. Boy wins the girl’s heart, or vice versa. The farm – or town is saved. Torn relationships are mended. Love prevails.

The bottom line . . .

They make you feel good.

I’m a romantic, and watching a Hallmark movie gives me a little hope that people can be better. That the world can be better.

And sometimes I wonder if they give a small glimpse of how God would like our world to be. A world where relationships are put ahead of careers, kindness prevails, and close families are the norm.

Think what you will . . . but after a hectic, stressful week at the office . . . I’m going to cuddle up in front of a fire with a bowl of popcorn, a box of tissues, and turn on the Hallmark channel.

After all, what’s so bad about feeling good?


Go Ahead. Smile!

We’ve heard about the benefits of laughter, and hopefully we’ve all experienced how good it feels to laugh so hard tears come. Laughter can be the best medicine for many things that ail.

But are you aware that just smiling also provides many rewards?

Here’s a mind blowing fact . . .

Smiling gives the same stimulation as eating 2,000 chocolate bars!

I know. . . Hard to believe. But, it’s been proven. The results were found by researchers at the British Dental Health Foundation. They measured brain and heart activity in volunteers as they were shown pictures of smiling people and given money and chocolate.

Interested in other facts?

Smiling . . .

* Helps us relax, which also helps the immune system function better.

* Reduces blood pressure.

* Increases the production of endorphins, which are natural pain killers, and serotonin, which elevates our mood. Smiling is a natural drug.

* Reduces muscle tension and mental stress, keeping our brain alert.

* Has been proven to reduce stress.

* Gives the message that you are a receptive person. It can improve relationships with loved ones, friends, co-workers and neighbors.

* Lifts our face and makes us look younger.

* People appear more confident, are more likely to be promoted, and more likely to be approached.

* Helps us stay positive.

* Is contagious.

* Can ease away the tension of an embarrassing moment.

* Is easier than frowning. It takes more muscles and effort to frown, where a smile relieves stress, a frown or perplexed expression can induce more stress.

* Promotes longevity. Optimists are 71 percent less likely to die from certain causes, than that of pessimists.

* Exercises muscles in the face that help to prevent drooping, saggy skin in old age.

Smiling is a global language. Anthropologists, biologists and psychologists now agree that the smile is recognizable worldwide. Even cultures that have long regarded smiling inappropriate in many social situations, have changed their view and accepted what comes natural.

Think about the complexity of our mind and body. Isn’t it amazing that God provided us with something so simple – like a smile - that can accomplish so much?

But then . . . the God I serve is pretty amazing and awesome Himself.

Have a smiling great week.


If Only I Could Hibernate

The clock radio next to my bed clicked to 4:50 am and I woke to a country western ballad. I turned over, pulled the covers up close to my chin, and checked the time. Despite the black sky, it was morning, and time to get up for work.

Buried deeper under the covers, I listened to the rain beating on the window panes. The bed was warm, cozy . . . and it felt sooooooooo good to just lay there. Hibernating from the cold—the wet—and the world.

If only I could just stay home today. I wouldn’t have to deal with the long commute, crazy drivers, horrible traffic, or crazy drivers. There wouldn’t be any expectations or deadlines to meet at work that day. Did I mention crazy drivers?

A sigh escaped my lips. The day could be spent in front of the fireplace, dressed in sweats, writing away on my laptop. With a fresh pot of coffee at my side, and no interruptions, I was sure I could get several chapters written for my novel.

Yep . . . if only I hibernate and stay in my own little world.

But, I didn’t. I threw off the covers, forced my body out of the bed, and drove into work. (After I dressed appropriately, of course.)

It’s important to take time off from responsibilities and refresh our minds and bodies. And there are times when I think it would be nice to escape more often to solitude. I am an introvert, after all.

Some days we need to crawl into a cocoon of our own making.

Where it’s safe.



But I don’t believe that’s where God wants us to stay.

I believe we’re called to step out from our shelter into the “real” world, where the storms of life batter people emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually.

There we can trust Him to provide us with what we need in order to help build shelters for those who need sanctuary. A place to rest their bodies, hearts, and minds. And I don't necessarily mean a physical structure. Some people just need a hug or a listening ear from someone who sincerely cares.

Step out . . . and have a great week.


To Be Noticed

I believe most people want and need to be noticed.

Take for example the couple who recently made national headlines by reporting their six-year-old son was possibly on board a helium balloon that floated away. When the balloon landed, the little boy was actually found safe at the family’s home.

The couple face charges that include conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, making a false report to the authorities, and attempting to influence a public servant.

The lawyer for the family has stated that the father was obsessed with trying to land a TV show and become famous.

People want and need to feel important in one way or another.

To be appreciated.

To be noticed.

A little boy tugs on his mother’s shirt while she’s visiting with a friend, demanding her attention.

A girl, knowing the answer to a question, raises her hand in class, hoping the teacher will choose her.

A homeless person on the street yearns for someone to call him by name.

A hardworking young woman wishes her boss would acknowledge the effort she puts into her work.

A wife desires her husband to compliment the new way she’s cut her hair.

I believe even the very shy want to be recognized as having a place and purpose in the world. But sometimes I think we can get so caught up in getting noticed, we forget that we should be about noticing other people.

What would our day look like if at every opportunity we genuinely complimented a person?

Sincerely inquired as to how someone is doing - and then actually took the time to listen?

Or acknowledged a coworker for a job well done?

I challenge you to focus on making those around you feel important. By taking the time to notice other people, you may discover just how important you are . . .


Stoke the Fire

Last night we lit a log in the fireplace and enjoyed a cozy fire, completing our official transition from summer to fall.

After a day of pouring rain (or falling snow if you’re in other parts of the country) and cool temperatures, there’s nothing better than a crackling, warm fire to make you feel comfortable and safe.

But it doesn’t last forever. The needs tending, or eventually what’s burning will be used up. The embers will die. The air, formerly warm and inviting, will grow at first chilly, and then cold.

It’s the same in relationships, especially those between a man and woman. When love is young, a couple will do everything they can to fan the flames of passion. They spend time together talking, touching, and sharing their dreams. You can tell they’re in love by how they look when they’re near each other.

If passion in a marriage is left untended, it will become a flickering, small flame. The two people may still care for each other and enjoy the other's company, but something will be missing. Later, if the embers are allowed to die and become cold, the couple may merely exist as roommates, passing each other on their way to or from as they go about their lives.

The same is true of our spiritual lives.

When we get our first taste of what it’s like to be in relationship with our Lord—not just know about Him from Sunday School lessons—but really know Him, we hunger for more. Passion for our faith, for living what we believe, and serving God takes priority over everything else.

But if we don’t stoke our inner spiritual fire for God, the flames will slowly die down. We’ll become passive about not only sharing what we believe – but also what we believe in. We may attend church on a regular or semi-regular basis, but our minds will drift to where we’ll go for lunch, the football game that’s being played while we sit in worship, or the list of things that need to be tended to Monday morning.

We won’t give God much time, let alone thought during the week. We may shoot up a quick prayer for help if needed. We may glance at the devotional on the nightstand. But we won’t stop to spend time with Him.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way . . .

We have a choice.

People who are in relationship with Christ are recognized as people who have something different about them. You know who they are because they emanate a warmth and glow to people around them. Their inner spiritual fires are stoked.

That’s what I want.

I want to keep the fire stoked in all my relationships—but especially in the one I have with Lord.

Do you?


A Beloved Blessing

"The Lord bless you and keep you: the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace." (Num. 6: 24-26 NKJV)

Growing up, I heard this blessing spoken by the pastor at the end of every church service. Even as a child, there was something about the words that felt special.

Opting for contemporary worship and music, I no longer attend traditional services. Hearing this blessing is probably the one thing I miss . . .

Why? How could so few words make me feel so wrapped up in God’s love?

The Lord bless you . . .

All good things come from God. But this means more than physical blessings and the ability to pay our bills. It includes being in a strong enough relationship with Him that we're not feeling spiritual hunger or thirst.

. . . and keep you:

The idea of "keep you" is divine protection - spiritual protection. He keeps us safe. And He promises us eternal life.

the Lord make his face shine upon you

Imagine it. Doesn’t that bring the image of warmth and caring? Awareness of God's presence brings comfort to the faithful.

and be gracious to you;

Our God is merciful and compassionate. He desires to forgive us when we mess up.

the Lord lift up His countenance upon you

This means . . . may the Lord look upon you with approval. We want Him to be pleased with how we’re using our talents, opportunities and lives.

. . . and give you peace.

In this crazy, hectic, stressful world, who doesn’t want and need assurance and peace? Jesus can give the kind of peace that passes all understanding.

So dear friends, let me send these words to you . . .

The Lord bless you and keep you: the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.




Doesn’t it seem like we’re always preparing for something?

The other day my husband packed up and stored all the deck furniture in preparation for Seattle’s rainy fall weather. He even mentioned the need to get stocked up on boxes of logs for the fireplace, anticipating our desire for evening fires because of cooler weather setting in.

Soon we’ll be preparing for the holidays. Luscious dinners will be planned and prepared for family and friends. Homes will be decorated and gifts will be in place by Christmas morning.

Yes, it does seem like we’re always preparing for something.

We prepare for the flu season, the new school year, and the arrival of a newborn.

We prepare for vacations, for our children’s college tuition, and hopefully for retirement.

We’re always busy preparing for today, tomorrow, or the future.

Even though most of our preparations are necessary – and often times the rewards are great - don’t you sometimes just want to “be?” And not have to think about what or when you have to get something done?

Take heart.

We’re not the only ones preparing.

"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2 NIV)

At the same time that we’re making all our many preparations, Jesus is also making preparations for us!

He’s not sitting idle, while we hop from one thing to the next like energizer bunnies.

Christ is preparing a place for us. Just for you. Just for me.

That’s not only comforting – that’s exciting!


While I'm Waiting

Waiting . . .

Aren't we always waiting for something?

We wait for cool and refreshing autumn breezes to give us relief from hot, sweltering summer days.

During cold and dreary winters, we can't wait for bright and warm spring afternoons.

We wait nine months for a babe to emerge from a mother’s womb.

We can’t wait to grow old enough to be in school.

Then we can’t wait to grow old enough to be out of school.

We wait some more . . .

I recently returned from the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference where I had the privilege to once again sing on the worship team.

One of the favorite songs for the week was “While I’m Waiting,” by John Waller. The song speaks of waiting for God to answer our prayers - and continuing to serve and worship God – trusting that He’ll answer.

Listen to the song . . .

You can imagine the power of such a song for hundreds of writers who have been working hard toward getting their first—or next—contract. Some writers get their first book published, but many more spend years growing in their craft. They write and rewrite, and then start over. Some, but not all, eventually find their dream of publication coming true.

But doesn’t everyone have a dream—or a wish—they hope and pray God will fulfill?

Don’t you?

Perhaps it’s the job that will better fit your talents or passion.

Maybe you’re asking God to help you find your soul mate.

You could be praying for God to bring a child into your family.

Or give you wisdom in loving your rebellious teenager.

God knows our hearts. He hears our cries. And He will answer.

But it will be in His time. Not ours.

Let’s trust that God knows best and continue to serve and worship Him while we wait.


In the Most Unlikely Places

I recently visited my daughter in Brooklyn and took this photo while on a walk. The building stands in an area along the water, just across from New York City.

We both stood and looked at this unusual situation. How could vegetation grow in such a small space, feet above the ground, in less than a handful of dirt?

God’s creation is miraculous in how it can even thrive in an imperfect environment.

We’re part of that creation, too. And we’re called to spread the good news about God’s love to people who may not want to hear it—who can’t hear it—or who are afraid to hear it.

Try talking to someone about a God they believe doesn’t exist, has let them down, or couldn’t possibly love them. It isn’t easy. The situation is less than perfect.

Are there times when you want to give up because your words don’t seem to make a difference?

* Possibly a co-worker who you’ve tried to befriend makes fun of Christians.

* Maybe your teenager tunes you out and refuses to go to church.

* Or perhaps your spouse is making it difficult to maintain a home with values.

I’m a firm believer that before sharing my faith, it's important that I first show that I care about the person. Showing is more important than telling. I believe developing relationships opens doors to discussions and offers opportunities to build credibility.

I also believe that regardless of how adamant a person is that this whole God thing is not for him/her, that somewhere in their heart of hearts is a little patch of soil. It may not be much, but it’s enough for a small seed to be planted. And with patience, love, and tender care that seed can grow in what may seem to be even the most unlikely places.

Don’t give up.

Be patient.

And keep spreading those tiny seeds . . .

One day a garden may grow.


Feeling Life's Heat? Hydrate

It’s been an unusually hot summer for Seattle. Way too many days hitting temperatures in the high 80s and mid 90s in my opinion. C’mon! The Pacific Northwest is supposed to maintain moderate temps, after all.

My husband and I are fortunate. We put in central air a few years ago, which has provided reprieve from the heat. But we have needed to spend countless hours watering in order save the yard and many flowers I plant from withering and dying.

When petunias are wilted from lack of moisture, geraniums are often still standing tall. They can take a lot of heat.

But even geraniums, after being exposed day after day to high temperatures, need water to survive.

Our spiritual lives can be like that.

Maybe we’ve grown up in a Christian home, or have been a believer for awhile. It can sometimes be easy to convince ourselves that our relationship with God is strong enough.

We may attend church once a week—or not that frequent—and feel that we're good to go until we’re inclined to return. We may never read our Bible, convinced we’ve heard it all.

But does occasionally attending church on Sunday always help you deal with:

* the project your boss throws on your desk on Monday?

* the unexpected bill that arrives in the mail on Tuesday?

* the argument you have with your spouse on Wednesday?

* the notice at 9:00 p.m. on Thursday that your twelve-year-old needs school supplies for the next day?

* the car breaking down on the highway on Friday?

* the unrealistic expectations of an aging parent on Saturday?

Like geraniums needing water to thrive—even the very strong and faithful Christian needs hydration. Spiritual hydration.

But how do we do that?

I admire people who get up early in the morning to read their Bibles and spend time in prayer. I’m not one of them. I’m not a morning person. I already get up at 5:00 a.m. to get ready for work. Rising even earlier is NOT going to happen.

So I find other ways to daily connect with God. I pray in the car on my way to work. Writing articles, blog posts, and devotions requires me to study the Bible and look at daily scenarios in the context of my spiritual life. I’m blessed to have a spouse and grown children who openly talk about their faith—as well as friends who challenge me to grow in my relationship with God.

All those things help keep me hydrated spiritually and better equipped to deal with the “heat” that gets thrown my way.

How about you?

Here are a few ideas:

* Throw a small devotional in your purse or backpack.

* Listen to messages or Christian music on CDs in the car.

* Read blogs – like this one - that hopefully challenge you to think about your spiritual life.

* Read Christian fiction. You’ll find spiritual truths woven into great stories.

* Join a mid-week Bible study.

* Find a friend who is willing to talk about their own daily faith struggles and blessings.

* If you love movies, there are excellent productions with Christian based themes without being preachy. Check out any of writer/actor/producer Tyler Perry’s work. His movies deal with real issues and contain both comedic and dramatic elements.

Have a great week – and stay hydrated!


"Scared" by Tom Davis

As a writer, striving to grow in my craft, it’s rare that I’m able to read a novel without analyzing what works. Or what doesn’t work.

But once I started reading Scared by Tom Davis, I became totally lost in the story and lives of the characters.

Almost just as elusive, is finding a book that challenges me to look at people, situations, and my own life differently.

Scared is such a book.

Based on real situations and real people, the author weaves a powerful story about poverty, the AIDS crisis, and the need for assistance in Africa. It’s gripping – emotional – touching – sweet – beautiful - and heart wrenching.

I highly recommend reading this novel. Just don’t read it in a crowd of people—or without a box of tissues handy.

Book Blurb

Stuart Daniels has hit bottom. Once a celebrated and award-winning photojournalist, he is now reeling from debt, a broken marriage, and a crippling depression. The source of Stuart’s grief is his most famous photo: a snapshot of brutality in the dangerous Congo. A haunting image that indicts him as a passive witness to gross injustice.

Stuart is given one last chance to redeem his career: a make-or-break assignment covering the AIDS crisis in a small African country. It is here that Stuart meets Adanna, a young orphan fighting for survival in a community ravaged by tragedy and disease. But in the f ace of overwhelming odds, Adanna finds hope in a special dream, where she is visited by an illuminated man and given a precious gift.

Now, in a dark place that’s a world away from home, Stuart will once again confront the harsh reality of a suffering people in a forgotten land. And as a chance encounter becomes divine providence, two very different people will find their lives forever changed.

To find out more about Tom and Scared, please visit http://www.scaredthebook.com/

Tom Davis is the accomplished author of Red Letters and Fields of the Fatherless. He holds a business and pastoral ministry degree from Dallas Baptist University and a master’s degree in theology from the Criswell College. He is the president and CEO of Children’s HopeChest (http://www.hopechest.org/), a Christian-based child-advocacy organization helping orphans in Eastern Europe and Africa. Tom and his wife, Emily, have seven children, including two adopted from Russia.

Restoring Hope

My grandmother would have loved my friend, Rick Daviscourt.

A woman of faith, my grandmother’s Bible was a treasured possession. People with prestigious job titles didn’t impress her. She most admired and respected those who gave up a life of personal achievement to serve the poor and spread God’s word as missionaries.

I met Rick by coincidence about six years ago. We happened to be in the same place at the same time. He noticed I was reading a Christian novel and struck up a conversation. We’ve kept in touch since.

But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (Luke 18:16 NIV)

Rick is the president of Restoring Hope International, an organization he created after working with a similar ministry in Peru. RHI reaches out and cares for abandoned and abused children living on city streets in Peru. If you had the chance to sit and talk with him, you’d find him to be very passionate about his calling.

In order to carry out this work, Rick learned to speak fluent Spanish. He and his wife downsized their living accommodations here in Washington. He spends part of his time in Peru at the sites with the children, and part of his time back here with his family, speaking, and raising funds to keep the ministry going.

Connected with a prayer group via email, I’m able to get updates on immediate needs. When a child is in danger, I’m made aware. These children are no longer strangers in another country. It's become personal.

The Torre Fuerte Project

Torre Fuerte means Strong Tower. This site is located in Arequipa, on the western slopes of the Andes at an altitude of 7,200 feet. The facility, under construction, will house up to 50 girls.

Another project opened its doors in 2004 and gives round-the-clock care to 48 girls ranging from 3-20 years of age.

Food, shelter, education, self-esteem, and love is given to these children and young adults.

Although this location maintains three businesses on site to help with costs of caring for the girls, it’s impossible to cover all needs with those profits alone.

Pachacutec Project

Parchacutec is located 1 1/2 hours north of Lima, Peru. Government authorities trucked destitute families out of the city with the promise of free land and housing. The community is still without running water and modern sewers. The extreme poverty and lack of medical help has caused diseases to run rampant. Due to lack of work, fathers abandon their families or force the children to leave the home. Alone, mothers can’t care for their children and leave them with relatives, who may also abandon the children.

Children, from a very early age, wander the streets trying to survive.

The goals here are to:

* Help at risk children and adults by providing them a spiritual haven in the midst of the turbulence of poverty.

* Provide children and adults with medical aid, food and other basic necessities.

* Construct a school that will provide a quality education to the children of that area.

Delia’s Story

Delia – in the picture here with Rick - was born in 1997, the offspring of a man and his sister-in-law. Her mother left, leaving her in the care of her father and his wife. The result was that Delia was unloved and unwanted.

As she grew older, she was required to do chores, but was frequently beaten for not doing them correctly or finishing fast enough. There are no birthday presents or celebrations for her, like there were for the other children.

When she was 10, the flu season hit, and she became very ill. Delia was still expected to complete her chores. While her parents were at work, she ran away to the Catholic church, where she found help and was placed in the Torre Fuerte home.

Today she knows that there are people who love her. God loves her. And she has hope.

Not everyone is called to leave their homes and jobs to travel to foreign countries and spread the word. Sometimes we’re called to remain here and do what we can in our own communities. Sometimes we carry the responsibility of contributing financially where we can to help those who are in the trenches, getting their hands dirty.

But maybe we need to ask ourselves - are we doing all that we can?

If you’d like more information on this ministry, please visit Restoring Hope International

Have a great week!

Slime in Your Heart?

When I moved to Seattle from Minneapolis fifteen years ago, I exchanged the Minnesota state bird—the mosquito—for spiders and slugs.

Slugs vary in color, but around here, they’re usually shades of brown to black. They come in a variety of sizes, from tiny to HUGE. Really. I’ve seen a few that resembled small snakes. And that’s not much of an exaggeration. Our native banana slugs can grow to 10 inches long and weigh a quarter-pound. And they can eat several times their body weight each day.

It’s amazing the ugly creatures, who move sooooo slowly, can cover a lot of territory. You’ll find them lounging on your deck, climbing up stairs to your front door, or resting in the shade of a freshly watered plant.

I take an odd sadistic sense of pleasure in pouring salt over their bodies and watching them dehydrate into pools of mush.

Slugs love to eat flowers—especially my petunias—and they leave their slime on the chewed leaves as their calling card. Even those planted in pots and placed higher above ground. It’s frustrating to see the blooms and leaves chewed to nothing over night after months of giving them tender, loving care.

But we’ve had a bit of a reprieve this summer. The higher than normal temperatures have driven slugs farther underground. They don't like the sun's light or warmth. They prefer a cool, dark, and damp environment.

It’s pretty much like the slimy stuff in our own lives.

You know. Those things that creep up—ever so slowly—but somehow still manage to eat away at what’s good and beautiful in our lives, leaving a bit of slime on our hearts and souls.

Do you struggle with envy?

Perhaps your friend has a better job, makes more money, and seems to have it so much easier.

Maybe you’re the last person in your group of friends still trying to have a family.

And what is it with some woman who have a metabolism that allows them to eat whatever they want without gaining a pound—or exercising. Soooo not fair!

Maybe pride is your downfall.

Or anger.

It could be anything.

Sometimes we won’t let go of those destructive creatures. We enjoy holding on. We choose to stay in the dark. And then we mope or get depressed because we can’t understand why our happiness is not genuine or full.

Sometimes we DO want to change. Unfortunately, throwing salt all over our bodies won’t kill our imperfections.

But there is a way to be free of them.

Stay close to the Light and bask in the warmth of the Son.

Jesus will forgive. And He’ll give us the strength needed to fight whatever is ugly in our lives.

Lord, cover me with Your salt!

Have a great week. And next time you feel one of the "uglies" coming on - just visualize yucky slug slime. It may help!


Who Needs Unconditional Love?

Okay—so a year ago I would never in my wildest imagination—and as a writer, mine can get pretty wild—have dreamed I'd choose to listen to country music.

Not only choose, but enjoy.

It wasn’t my fault that I got hooked.

The fault lies in the clock radio that wouldn’t pick up my former favorite station without accompanying the music with obnoxious static.

Not wanting to wake up to static, I dialed in a radio station that didn’t include play heavy metal music or crude DJs. I ended up with country.

But what I discovered was music that had lost the twang and dog kicking lyrics of former years. The now generation of country sang upbeat songs—songs with great melodies—and words that told honest, heartfelt stories.

The other morning, while driving to work, I listened to the delightful banter between the husband and wife DJ team on the country station I listen to.

They played a beautiful new ballad that spoke of unconditional love. In the song, the father waits for a daughter who left home years ago. He leaves a message on the phone, just in case she calls. His friends tell him too much time has gone by and he should just give up and erase the message, but he refuses.

Eventually the daughter does call—afraid of how her father will respond. But all she hears are his words that no matter where she’s been—or what she’s done—he’ll always love her, and to please come home.

As I listened, tears welled up in my eyes.

Yes, it sounds sappy. But I can assure you, it wasn’t.

A female called the radio station, sobbing. She, too, had been driving to work when the song came across the air. The young woman was so emotionally affected by the music and lyrics, she had to pull to the side of the road.

I don’t know the woman’s story. But something got a hold at the core of her heart.

Unconditional love.

Who wants it?

Who needs it?

I believe we all do.

God gives it. No matter where we’ve been, or what we’ve done, He’ll never stop loving us. He’ll never turn us away. His arms will always be open.

Just as He gives us unconditional love—we have the opportunity to give it to others.

Is there someone in your life who needs it today?


His Jewel

I enjoy reading license plate frames. They can tell so much about a person. Sometimes I find myself trying to piece something together about the owner of the vehicle. My imagination goes in all directions.

For instance, a few days ago I pulled up at a stoplight behind a woman driving a car with a plate that said

Love is being his “JEWEL”

I wondered . . .

Was Jewel a nickname for Julie?

Had she bought the license plate herself?

Or had her husband purchased it as a birthday, anniversary, or Christmas gift?

Jewels are thought to be precious.

Did he call her “his jewel” as way to honor and cherish his wife?

And if love is being “his jewel," did the couple have a caring and passionate relationship?

I don’t know.

But I do know that everyone desires to be loved and cherished at some point in their lives.

God loves us.
He cherishes us.
We’re special and important enough that He gave us the gift of eternal life with Him.

You are precious – and you’re loved by the One who not only loves, but is love.

You are “His Jewel.”

Embrace that truth and hold it in your heart.


Winner of Book-Give-Away

And the winner is . . . Cherie J

Cherie J will receive an autographed copy of her choice from The Daughters of Boston series by Julie Lessman.

Thanks to everyone who not only popped in during Julie’s visit to my blog, but also left comments and contributed to the discussion.

Thanks also to Julie for once again providing honest feedback to our questions – and for writing books we love to read!


A Dialogue with Julie Lessman – Author of “A Passion Denied.”

I’m happy to welcome my friend, Julie Lessman, for a return blog visit so we can talk about her latest release, A Passion Denied. Julie will be popping in all week long to respond to your comments and questions.

This is the third book in her Daughters of Boston series. In A Passion Most Pure and A Passion Redeemed we follow the stories of the two older O’Connor sisters, Faith and Charity. In this book, Elizabeth (Lizzie) O’Connor loves someone who won’t allow himself to love her in return.

Recognized as an author who pushes the boundaries for Christian Romance compared to what readers have been accustomed to in the past, the Romantic Times book review states, “This isn’t your mother’s inspirational fiction!”

Julie has a heart passionate for God, and she writes stories of faith out of that passion. Desiring to reach people who might not ordinarily read Christian romance, her characters come with real struggles and baggage. Married and single people experience the joy - and if abused - the destruction intimacy can bring into relationships.

In A Passion Denied, the author gives the reader a real message of hope for healing and forgiveness to anyone who has ever been wounded, or been the one to inflict pain. That pretty much covers us all.

Read on to learn more, and then enjoy the dialogue with Julie concerning the book’s storyline.

You also have a CHANCE TO WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY of any of the three Daughters of Boston books. (See below.)

Back Cover Blurb

A Love So True, a Memory So False …
and a Passion Denied

Elizabeth O’Connor has been the little sister John Brady always longed for, sharing his love of literature and his thirst for God. But in the throes of the reckless “Roaring Twenties, “Lizzie” suddenly wants more from the man who has mentored her since she was thirteen. When this shy, little bookworm blossoms into a beautiful young woman bent on loving him, she discovers John’s past won’t let him go there. Unfortunately, Lizzie won’t let him go anywhere else—until his dark and shocking secrets push her away.

Can true love survive the betrayal and deceit of a painful past … or will it be shattered like the fairy-tale dreams of a young girl in love?

Brimming with romance, longing and betrayal, Book 3 in the Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Denied, will quicken your pulse and gladden your heart with a riveting story of redemption and forgiveness.

Dialogue with Julie

1. Julie, you’ve gained recognition as an author who pushes the boundaries in Christian romance novels when it comes to the joys and heartaches of physical intimacy between married couples – and the struggles of those not married. You create real characters. Why is it so important for you to be that honest in your work?

Remember Jim Caray’s character in the movie Liar, Liar—the guy who couldn’t stop from telling the truth whether he wanted to or not? Yep, that’s me. Even if I wanted to keep quiet and not say anything, my mouth would trip me up because I am above all things good and bad—honest to a fault. Once I bought groceries for a school function and was tallying the receipt for reimbursement when I noticed the grocery store hadn’t charged me for a jar of nuts. I immediately got on the phone with the store manager and asked if it would be okay if I brought the money in on my next trip to the store. He paused and said, “Mrs. Lessman, I have only one thing to say—nuts to you!” He told me that I should keep the nuts as a thank you for my honesty.

A very nice story, but I’m afraid that when it comes to my honesty in portraying real Christians with real temptations in my brand of “edgy Inspirational fiction,” a lot of people still think I’m pretty “nuts.” But that’s okay because I am absolutely driven to be as real and as passionate in the writing of my books as I am in my relationship with God. It is critical to me that I write the type of fiction that draws women like I used to be—women who, yeah, maybe they believe in God, but they are not living for him—not in their lives or in their sexuality.

I look at the young women today, mired in an amoral society, and my heart cries out to make a difference in their lives. To show them what God showed me—that unless He is in the center of our relationships, true happiness will be very hard to come by. Unfortunately, most of these types of girls and women don’t read Inspirational Romance. BUT … it is my desire—and I hope, God’s—that the edgy romantic tension in my books will somehow draw women like this to the type of Inspirational Romance that I write. And IF they read it, I am convinced the spiritual message will resonate for some of them.

2. In the beginning of A Passion Denied, Lizzie O’Connor is like so many young girls in that she dreams of marrying the perfect man, her Prince Charming. But the man she loves is not as perfect as she thought. Through it, Lizzie learned what it means to not only deeply love, but to love with a maturity that endures through hard times.

I really think this is a common problem among young women today—an overly idealistic view of what marriage or love will be like, or at least it was for me when I was that age. I mean let’s face it—Hollywood’s view (or a romance novel’s view) of happily ever after is quite different from reality, although with God at the center of a relationship, I believe you can come as close to that ideal as humanly possible in this world. Although it takes a lot of work and application of God’s precepts to do it, it can be done, and I am living proof. I am married for over 30 years to a man who makes me feel as if I am living my own personal romance novel. Let me tell you, that doesn’t just happen. It takes Jesus Christ at the center of a marriage and radical commitment to His precepts.

3. You show through story how important it is for couples to be able to forgive each other. That no matter how young or old the relationship, it can still be wounded, but it can also be healed when pride isn’t allowed to get in the way.

Grin. Yeah, well I have an over 30-year-old relationship with my sweet husband that has taught me A LOT about pride getting in the way, trust me! Let’s face it, we are all emotional and fallible beings no matter our age or marital status, and the need for forgiveness and healing will NEVER go away until we cross the Great Divide to spend eternity with Jesus. And as an older women with lots of “pride” experience under her belt, I especially wanted to relate the struggles of older married couples in a romance novel because I feel that is so seldom done in this genre. Which is why when people ask me what genre I write, I tell them “Inspirational Family Saga Romance” rather than just romance. Romance and life happens to all of us, regardless of age. I want to write romantic stories that offer a kaleidoscope of emotion through the eyes of characters of all ages and experiences, not just the young, single hero and heroine. I mean, really, why should the young people get all the fun??? Life is ageless, after all, and I think romance should be too!

4. Another truth is brought into the story. A man may desire to be physically close with the woman he loves and marries, but just like a woman, he can also struggle with that kind of intimacy if deeply wounded in his past.

Oh, absolutely! When I met my husband, he was toting around a boatload of baggage from past relationships where his trust in women had been greatly damaged. Keep in mind that it was the 1970s when the morality was as bad as it is now. So when he met me and I explained very calmly that I was a Christian who intended to do things God’s way (just like Faith calmly explains to Mitch in A Passion Most Pure), it wasn’t what he was used to. But because of Christ transforming me from a Charity to a Faith with the amazing power of His merciful salvation, I won my husband’s respect, trust and heart in a courtship that was completely moral until we said “I do.”

5. What are you currently working on? What can we look forward to reading, and when?

My next 3-book series will finish off the saga of the O’Connors in grand style, but I must emphasize that this will be a BRAND-NEW series, NOT a part of The Daughters of Boston Series. And oh my, you won’t believe the trouble brewing in O’Connorland!

As you know, there are six O'Connor children in all, four daughters and two sons, and each one will have their own story. As a matter of fact, I JUST finished Book 1 of the next series on St. Pat's Day—pretty timely, eh, for a series about an Irish family? It is Katie's story, the fourth daughter, which was fun because she is a pistol who comes of age in the Roaring Twenties, right before The Great Depression.

Books 2 and 3 will be about the O'Connor brothers, Sean and then Steven, all during the exciting era of speakeasies, dance marathons, gangsters, G-men and era criminals like Bonnie & Clyde and John Dillenger. Sean's love interest will be ... guess who? Emma—Charity's scarred friend from Dublin! And Steven will be a tall, brooding G-man-type modeled after real-life Elliot Ness. Some of your readers are probably too young to remember this, but I am modeling him after Robert Stack from the Untouchables, who played Eliot Ness in the TV show years ago. I am very excited because all three plots are very involved, include detailed sub-stories for ALL the character couples (can you say "complicated"???) and each plot has surprises that I hope and pray will blow readers away!

Thank you SO much, Dawn, for allowing me this time to connect with you and your readers. Anyone who would like to contact me can do so through my website at http://www.julielessman.com/, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter, in which I feature book giveaways. And, of course, your readers will enjoy visiting both of us at The Seekers (http://seekerville.blogspot.com/), our group blog that talks about “The road to publication. Writing, contests, publication and everything in between.”


Please leave a comment for a chance to WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY of any of the three Daughters of Boston books. You can name the one you'd like to receive if your name is drawn. Then please leave your email address in this format: dawnkinzer (at)comcast (dot )net to avoid spammers or anything else from glomming on to your email address!

Thanks for visiting!

Coming Up! Diaglogue with Julie Lessman and Book Give-A-Way

I’m happy to welcome my friend, Julie Lessman, for a return blog visit from July 19-25 so we can talk about her latest release, A Passion Denied.

Julie Lessman is a new author who has garnered much writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. You can learn more about Julie through her website at http://www.julielessman.com/.

Recognized as an author who pushes the boundaries for Christian Romance compared to what readers have been accustomed to in the past, the Romantic Times book review of A Passion Denied states, “This isn’t your mother’s inspirational fiction!”

Julie will be popping in all week long to respond to your comments and questions.

You’ll also have a chance to win a free autographed copy of A Passion Denied just by joining the dialogue and leaving a comment.

Join us!



Do you ever experience cravings?

My twenty-five year old daughter craves exercise. It relieves stress, contributes to her self-confidence, and keeps her in great shape. That’s not a bad craving to have.

I, unfortunately, crave things that aren’t so good for me. My latest is potato chips. For years I had no problem staying away from them. But lately—it’s just like the commercial boasts. I can’t eat just one!

My husband and I strive to eat healthy. But, on the occasion chips are brought into the house – like when friends are coming over for a barbeque – I can’t seem to stay away from the crunchy, salty, temptations. I tell myself that I’m just going to have a few. But before I know it, I’m back at the bag, practically shoveling them into my mouth.

Normally I crave sugar—especially dark chocolate. But lately, salt has managed to get a grip on me. I want to devour anything salty. Not only chips, but pizza and French fries. AND . . . I can consume a HUGE bowl of my husband’s homemade popcorn.

Most cravings aren’t good for us.

Addicts battle destructive habits every day. They crave food, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, porn, sex, and gambling. Some people may even crave dangerous thrills.

But there is one craving—whether you claim to be a Christian or not—that I believe is innate and good. And that’s a craving to know God. To know that there is something or someone greater than us.

God desires for us to crave Him. Relationship with Him. Time with Him.

Because He craves relationship with us.

Just like not being able to stop at eating one potato chip, God desires for us to feel like we never can get enough of Him.

The God of the universe—and beyond—craves relationship with us!

He loves us that much!

Pretty humbling, isn’t it?

Think about it . . . and then maybe . . . just maybe . . . you’ll take the time to feed that craving.

Blessings for a great week!


Finger Painting or a Masterpiece

There are days when it’s easy to question if God really has a hand in what’s happening—or not happening in our lives.

Why must we work so hard to make ends meet, only to see bills piling up? We tithe. Doesn’t God care that we continue to give, even though we fall farther and farther behind in debt? Where is He in all of this?

We dream of successful careers, but our labor seems in vain as one door after the other slams in our face.

A child is finally placed in a mother’s arms—a gift from heaven—only to be snatched away, too soon.

We pray unceasingly for a soul mate. Someone to love. Someone to share our lives with. While everyone around us seems to have “someone,” we remain alone.

It’s difficult to wait.

But God sees the big picture, while in reality, we can’t even see 10 seconds into the future. Even though it may drive us crazy to wait, His timing is perfect.
He’s always moving in our lives and on our behalf.

Sometimes we’re not ready for what He has planned for us.
Sometimes what lies ahead is not ready for us.

We may need to learn—grow—or even change our course several times before we discover answers. Most likely, whatever it is, will be better than what we could have come up with ourselves.

Humans are impatient creatures. Left on our own, we’d create a life for ourselves that would resemble a child’s finger painting. Cute. Simple. Messy.

But if we allow God to paint the canvas of our lives, the creation can become a masterpiece. Vibrant. Defined. Full of purpose. Detailed. Constructively complex. Beautiful.

It’s not easy waiting.

But I’d rather lead a life created from the Master, than my own, fumbling hands.

How about you?


New Blog for Christian Writers - Seriously Write

The written word is powerful. It can comfort, challenge, and inspire. It can make us laugh and bring us to tears.

But, how can we effectively communicate our message and touch lives?

My good friend, Annette M. Irby, and I have teamed up to create a new blog for Christian writers, Seriously Write.

Our mission is to help writers succeed in spreading the message God has given them through their writing. On this blog, you’ll find information on craft, encouragement, and resources.

Here’s what you can expect:

Manuscript Mondays * – On Mondays, we’ll focus on the craft of writing.

Net’s Notations – On Tuesdays, Annette will offer her thoughts on writing.

Writer’s Journey * – On Wednesdays, we’ll provide resources, information on writers’ organizations, conferences, and advice, as well as featuring writing books.

Dawn’s Devotional – On Thursdays, I’ll share inspirational thoughts for the writer.

Fortifying Fridays * – On Fridays, visit for challenging and encouraging words to launch your weekend, including success stories.

* Guest writers

Please visit Seriously Write and join in the fun!

If you're a writer and would like to offer pieces to coincide with the topics listed for Monday/Wednesday/Friday above, please leave a message in the comments or email me at dawnkinzer [at] comcast [dot] net. We're actively seeking submissions as we schedule through the summer.

Happy writing!


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