Frivolous Friday: Real-Life Steel Magnolias

First let me say, CONGRATULATIONS to THEFEARLIST!!! wOOT, bELLs & WhIStleS! You WON a copy of My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren!

Now, on with the show, this is it!

Remember Steel Magnolias? I loved that movie. I think about it and I’m reminded of my girlfriends. Right now as they read this line they’re all thinking the same thing, “Oh dear Lord, please don’t let me be Ouiser!”

I had a slight melt down the other day. Something I read sent me right over the edge.  Naturally, before thinking it through I started visualizing worst case scenarios in my mind.

I had a choice. Who to call? My real Steel Magnolias love and support me no matter how neurotic I get. All of their advice is meant for my good, but they each have a unique way of giving it.

 My sweet Jane would have answered with, “I love you.” In my mood, it would have turned nasty. “You love me? Oh, you love me? Well, that’s going to make me all better. Thanks for the love.” Click.

I could have called my “body guard.” Her response, “You want me to take someone out? You just say the word and it’s on.” She generally resorts to offering to beat someone up who hurts me or offends me (which happens less often than it sounds). And she makes me laugh at her violent antics. After calling off a hit, she buys me shoes and bling. So please, say bad things about me in public because Charlotte Russe has a sweet pair of red sling-backs I want!

I could have called my “Fixer” friend. She would have given me sympathy and then proceeded to tell me all the things I might be able to do to make things easier, or solve the problem. Always great ideas and sensible. 

All of their advice is great. And helpful. But when I’m having a pity party and I know I shouldn’t be, I call my pit bull. My ragin cajun. I owe the fact I’m blogging to her. Her encouragement to do it was relentless…”You’re an idiot if you don’t do it. What’s your friggin problem? Who cares what people say about you? Get a grip.”  Now you get to read my drivel 3 times a week!

I called her and told her what I read. Our conversation went like this:

“So, this morning, I was about to get into the Word, but I read something really quick and this is what it said…” (insert what I read) “and then I couldn’t even study because I was sick. Just sick.”

Silence on the line, then in that Lousianna spice–a little loud, a little sharp, I hear, “First of all, yah never should have put anything above the Lord. Yah had that comin.”

“I know.” Sigh.

“Now, I gotta confess, my advice is good, but I’m guilty of it myself. However, this ain’t about me. It’s about you so…”

I giggle. She laughs with me for a moment. “Now, shut up and listen to me,” her sharp tone silenced my chuckles. She spent the next ten minutes givin me an earful of raw, honest truth. And she was right. I was worrying over something that was ridiculous. I needed to trust God more. And I had no business getting into my emails, social media, or blog before I socialized with God first. Had I, I would have been prepared for what I read and saw it for what it was–nothing to worry about.

So am I over it? Yes. Am I set straight? You betcha.

I laugh as I think about my own Steel Magnolias. I love them so much. Maybe I’ll have a girl’s night and we’ll all watch it and laugh because we used to wear our hair just like them. We’ll fight over who gets to be Darryl Hannah without the glasses and I’ll stand in my living room and do an awesome impression of Sally Field at her crucial moment.

 “Drink the juice, Shelby!” Bet you thought I was talking about the funeral, didn’t you? Sidebar: When my ragin cajun or I talk and one of us is feeling sick that’s what we say. “Drink the juice, Shelby!”

Anyway, here’s a few of my favorite lines from Steel Magnolias taken from IMDb:

Clairee Belcher: Ouiser, I’d recognize this penmanship anywhere. You have the handwritin’ of a serial killer.

Clairee: Ouiser, you sound almost chipper. What happened today – you run over a small child or something?

Truvy: I don’t like her. I don’t trust anyone who does their own hair. I don’t think it’s natural.

Truvy: Oh, Sammy’s so confused he don’t know whether to scratch his watch or wind his butt.
Ouiser Boudreaux: I do not see plays, because I can nap at home for free. And I don’t see movies ’cause they’re trash, and they got nothin’ but naked people in ’em! And I don’t read books, ’cause if they’re any good, they’re gonna make ’em into a miniseries.
Clairee: I’ve just been to the dedication of the new children’s park.
Truvy: Yeah, how did that go?
Clairee: Janice Van Meter got hit with a baseball. It was fabulous.
Truvy: Was she hurt?
Clairee: I doubt it. She got hit in the head.

Alright, so tell me how your girlfriends encourage you. Do they bring you pints of ice cream? Buy you shoes and bling? Take you out and drive you around while tied up? Maybe that’s just me. wink.

Have a great weekend & call a friend and tell her you love her.

In the Word Wednesday: What’s in Your Drawers?

“Oh my…” the wardrobe exclaimed when she opened her drawers to pull out a dress for Belle, in Beauty and the Beast, and moths flew out.

I’m a clutter-free bug. I cringe when I see keys, rolaids, sunglasses, and cell phones scattered across the counters in the kitchen.

I don’t like papers, books, and non-food essentials littering my kitchen table. I also hate cords from electronics dangling for the naked eye to see. I detest it all! 

But, there is one tiny, well not that tiny, but one place, I always let go. My walk-in closet. It’s a nightmare. Really. I have tons of shoes lying about, my hoodies are tossed on shelves, and well, I’d go on but it’s so bad, my cheeks are burning red at the moment writing this. Point is, I don’t mind my closet looking like it’s vomiting every time I open it. Why?

Because no one sees it but me.

Early one morning, I was on my hands and knees, combing my closet for my other orange heel, the cute ones with the wide baby doll strap but it was nowhere to be found. It’s pumpkin orange! A hunter could wear it during deer season.

I heard a whisper to my heart. “This closet is much like you, my love.” I didn’t need further information. I immediately knew what the Lord was gently convicting me about. Isn’t that how it always goes? He need not say what your sin is. You already know and a simple “ahem” brings it brilliantly into  light.  Not that He never tells me my sins directly, sometimes He does. But this particular morning. I knew.

I was keeping things, because I knew no one would see them, but me.

I suppose I thought since no one could see it, God couldn’t  or maybe He’d overlook it. Ha. My disasterous closet became a “prayer closet” which isn’t a term I particularly like, but that’s what it was none the less.

It’s springtime. Time to take down curtains and wash the dust away, pull old clothing out of closets to make room for new seasonal items. It’s time to scrub baseboards and hose blinds. But it’s also time to take a good look inside your spiritual closet…or drawers and get it straight and organized. Toss what doesn’t fit.  Vacuum the dirt and lint that’s blended with lush carpet and replace old stagnant potpourri sachets with fresh fragrances.

It’s time to prepare for a new season.

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1

Question: Is there anything in particular that you would like to read/learn about during In the Word Wednesday?  If so, leave it in the comments. If not…just say hi! I love comments!

Also, I’m drawing for the winner of My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren this evening. It’s not too late to comment HERE and enter for a chance to win! This was a great book!

Must Read Monday: My Foolish Heart (I’m giving away a copy!)

“But perhaps that’s what love was–foolish. After all, God loved most foolishly. He came into the dark world to rescue people who might never love Him back. Maybe, in fact, the foolish heart was the perfect heart.”

Love is always a risk. Fear of rejection, failure, pain. Issy Presley has fears. One of them is leaving her home or backyard–but she wants to. She’s tried. She’s prayed. Fear keeps her locked away.

She works in the backyard, taking over her mother’s garden after she died tragically and she’s the secret host for a night time radio talk show–My Foolish Heart–where she gives advice on romance and dating. Don’t settle for a man who isn’t a perfect 10 on your list! She’s never met her perfect 10. She’s never dated at all.

Enter, Caleb Knight–an ex-college football star, and a wounded ex-soldier. He wants a normal life in the small town of Deep Haven and hopefully the high school football coaching position. He isn’t looking for love, but when he meets his next door neighbor–Issy–things change. He decides to enlist some help from a woman he hears on a late night radio show. Miss Foolish Heart. She has all kinds of advice to share with him to win his next door neighbors heart.

So what did I think?

I think I love me some Susan May Warren! The characters became my friends. Deep Haven became my home. I laughed and sighed at the romance. Pitter-patter sweet romance. The sub-plot with her friend Lucy and the ex-boyfriend coming back to town was just as good as Issy and  Caleb’s.  A great book. I appreciate Tyndale House for giving me a complimentary copy to review!

Spiritual truths
Perfect love casts out all fear.  Enough said.

Here’s a teaser:

Susan May Warren
My Book Therapy

“Unknown to her tiny town of Deep Haven, Isadora Presley spends her nights as Miss Foolish Heart, the star host of a syndicated talk radio show. Millions tune in to hear her advice on dating and falling in love, unaware that she’s never really done either. Issy’s ratings soar when it seems she’s falling in love on-air with a caller. A caller she doesn’t realize lives right next door.
Caleb Knight served a tour of duty in Iraq and paid a steep price. The last thing he wants is pity, so he hides his disability and moves to Deep Haven to land his dream job as the high school football coach. When his beautiful neighbor catches his eye, in a moment of desperation he seeks advice from My Foolish Heart, the show that airs before his favorite sports broadcast.
Before he knows it, Caleb finds himself drawn to the host—and more confused than ever. Is his perfect love the woman on the radio . . . or the one next door?”

To WIN a copy of this book, please click “follow” and hang out with me every MWF, if you don’t already, and ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION:

Who would play YOU if your life was going to be made into a movie?

Frivolous Friday: Okay, so I’m a Stalker. It’s for Research!

Me and “Jane”

 I believe in being thorough when I take on a project. Any project.  From cleaning the toys after nursery duty on Sunday to wearing my character’s skin like a glove. Okay that was too Silence of the Lambs weird. “Put on the lotion!” eeew.

Before I unravel my freakish mind before your eyes, let me preface everything with this: I don’t mock or make light of individuals who have experienced some of the things my fictional characters do or endure. In fact, some of my research came in the form of tragic experiences in my life.
I wrote a blog last Friday asking if some research was going too far? No one said it was.  Please read my prelude to today’s blog HERE!

I’m not a lone researcher and when I need to do something a little off the wall or unorthodox, I enlist my BFF, “Jane.” Refer back to “here” to read about why!

Let’s take a look at a few things I’ve done to get into my characters’ heads. It’s called Deep POV. You can read a great article on Deep POV here, by my friend and one of my crit partners, Michelle Massaro.

We stalked someone for about a month. I chose a man because I didn’t want to scare a woman half to death if I botched it and got caught. (which I didn’t)

 * I have changed this man’s occupation, where we found him, and his name to protect him, although he really doesn’t deserve it.

I chose a local hardware store and we scouted. Bingo!
We looked at each other, eyes glazed over– drunk on our mission and laughed, “Bwhahahahahahahahaha!”

I sent “Jane” inside to gather information while I casually walked near his car. You can find a lot out about someone from what’s in their car. Kids? Organized? What they read. Music they listen to. Please don’t ever look in my mini van!

At about 2:45 p.m. I get a text: Name: Joe. Married. I saw the ring. OMG he saw me looking at him! What do I do?
I text back: Look away???
Jane’s text: LOL I smiled. OMG I hope he doesn’t think it’s a come-on
I text back: Get a grip.
Jane’s text: over and out
I text back: We’re not truckers

…and thought to myself, maybe I should have done this alone.

The next morning I pulled into the lot at 8ish. She climbed in the van. “Did you bring coffee?”


“I thought we were supposed to drink coffee and eat donuts?” She pouted and frowned at me.

“That’s a stake-out. We’re on the other side of the law, remember? Stalkers. Stalkers don’t drink coffee and eat donuts.”

“Well what do they do while they watch?” She folded her arms across her chest, clearly disappointed she wasn’t getting free breakfast.

I gave her a pointed look. “Nothing we’re gonna do. I’m not getting that deep into character.”

She giggled. “Wish I had coffee. Oh! There he is!”

“Stop bouncing! Lay low.”

She scooched down in her seat.

“Oh for the love! Like that’s not obvious. Sit up!” I sighed and put my sunglasses on, looking out of my peripheral vision.  I can tell by his car that he’s organized, clean.  He’s well dressed. and he’s conscious about his looks. He totally primped in his rearview. Jane falls into fits of giggles. “Hush.”

“The windows are up.”

I laughed at myself. “Oh, right.”

Ten seconds later another car pulled up and a cute little brunette stepped out and handed him a coffee. “Who’s she?”

Janes studied her. “I don’t know.”

“Guess we better find out.”

On Thursday, Jane came over like every Thursday and we did some serious researching. We found him on facebook.
Then we discovered the female was his friend on there–not his wife– and her banter seemed a little too friendly, or maybe we were trying to turn it into something it wasn’t. It would take more stalking, well, now private investigating to see.

“No, we’re still not getting donuts and coffee.”


We spent the next week watching the two walk into work together. He sat in his car on the phone, a few minutes later she would pull up–on her phone, and then they would hang up and get out of their cars.

Jane looked at me with wide eyes. “You think they were talking to each other?”

“Nah, coincidence.”

“Really?” she asked surprised.

“No,” I responded flatly, “not really.”

 “What should we do?”

“Well if his wife was paying us $200 an hour, we’d take photos and tell her, but since I’m pretty sure we might be breaking the law, we do nothing.”

She stepped out of the van and got in her truck. “I’ll text you.”

“Do that.”

We had one more mission. We knew where he worked out, his hobbies, his favorite sports  and where he attended college–thanks to facebook and the gym bag in the back seat of his car.  But where did he live?

We needed to follow him. One, to find out if I could without getting caught and two, well there is no two.

After his shift, Jane jumped in my van and we followed him to the gym–where he worked out for an hour. Jane walked across the street to the gas station and bought snacks. They didn’t have donuts.

An hour later, he’d obviously showered, he got his hair cut, ran through the drive-thru, Oh, Joe, there went your excercise routine.  We drove to Wal-Mart. Yes we went in, yes we followed.

Two nights later we decided to go out at night and rummage through his trash. Jane met me at the house and we hopped in the trusty van. We eased down the street–lights off– and I decided, maybe we shouldn’t dig through his trash. I looked over to tell Jane about my reservations and lo and behold all I saw was her eyes.

Just her eyes and mouth. “What the heck are you doing?”

“I don’t want to get caught!”

 “Unless that mask has invisible powers, which I doubt, you can still get caught! We’re not robbing the guy!” I try not to laugh; it’s ridiculous.

“We’re taking his trash,” she counters.

“No, we’re digging through it. I don’t wanna take it.”

“Hey, remember that movie with Ashley Judd and the stalker dug through her trash and knew when it was her time of the month?”

“I doubt we’ll know when his time of month is, but yeah I remember it.” I rolled my eyes and put my head against the seat. “I think we might be going too far. I mean, Tim will kill me if he has to bail me out of jail.” I was pretty sure I could get away with it, but just in case…”Take that mask off. You’re freaking me out.”

She took it off and we headed home. No trash digging. But I found out, I could stalk easily. Sometimes, morbid I know, it was exciting. I also found out people are disappointing. I have no doubt after the few weeks we spent that Joe was involved with the little brunettte who brought him coffee and rubbed his back a little too intimately on the way into work.

Did we violate his privacy? I don’t think so, since, he doesn’t know it. And I didn’t blackmail him or prank call him. I do suggest you check your privacy settings on your social networking pages if you want to keep some things private. Since he didn’t, I can only assume it was for the whole world to see. Are you offended? I’m sorry.

 I’ve retired my stalking days.  Doesn’t mean I haven’t moved on to other things.

I have.

Yes, this is me in “Jane’s” vehicle

“Jane” has abducted me and drove around town. 

“I need you to tie me up, blindfold me, and drive me around.” That’s how I answered the door one Thursday morning.

She set her six-string down. “Okay. Can I pee first?”

I want you to know, it isn’t like the movies at all. You can use your feet to brace yourself, but when a turn is made, you lose it and roll around like a can out of a grocery bag. It wasn’t scary…at first. My point in wanting to do this was to see if I could get out of the binds (which I couldn’t–Jane is married to an ex-boyscout and she knows how to tie a knot) and I wanted to know if I could keep up with the direction and turns. (I couldn’t)

When I realized I had no control at all, I panicked and it reminded me of a incident that almost happened to me when I was 22, when I really was almost abducted. That did freak me out. My head hit something hard several times and the turns made me dizzy and disoriented.

Then at the end, she got a hair brain idea that she was going to “run from cops.” With NO warning, she sped up and started making crazy turns and slammed on her brakes over and over. I hollered for her to stop.

When she finally pulled back in my drive, I was nearly in tears. She opened the hatch, pulled off my blind fold–smiling–“Well, did you get your story?”

“I think you dislocated my shoulder and broke two of my fingers. I said ‘stop!'”

She helped me out. “Oh, I thought you were in character.” 

“No. No I was not.”

Apparently, we need a “safe” word. I know we sound morbid and maybe even insensitive. We’re not. Really. Just look at us!

What’s your favorite Easter Candy? (has zip to do with the blog, I know)

Enjoy your weekend and have a wonderful Resurrection Sunday! He’s alive! For the Passover parallel, you can click here.

In the Word Wednesday: What’s the Point of Passover?

The Old Testament isn’t a dry piece of bread. It’s moist and delicious, full of juicy details that consistently point the way to Jesus.

What does the Passover story mean for us today? I wish I had time to touch on all the details, but I don’t so here is the big picture!  Some of you already know. Keep reading, maybe you can offer extra insight or you’ll learn something new. Maybe it’s going to be a reminder of Love that made His way into our hearts and lives. 

The Lamb

Exodus 12: 3 “On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb…”

Exodus 12:5 “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year.”

God’s people are about to be delivered from Egypt–from bondage–into freedom. This is the last plague God institutes before that freedom comes.

Look at what the prophet Isaiah says, as he prophesied of another Lamb. “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter…” Isaiah 53:7

John 1:29, “…Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!”

1 Peter 1:19, “but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish or spot.”

Revelation 5:12, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power, and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

Removal of Leaven
Exodus 12:8, “Then they shall eat the flesh on that night…with unleavened bread…”
Leaven represents sin and corruption in the Bible.

“…Do you not know that a little leaven spoils the whole lump. Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump…For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1 Corinthians 6-8

Blood on the doorposts and lintels
Exodus 12:7, “And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.”

The blood applied on the door saved all who chose to enter into it. 

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in  Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness…”  Romans 3:23-26

Not only is Jesus’ blood what covers and saves us, He is also the door. He says so Himself in John 10:7-10.

Notice the blood wasn’t applied to the threshold, where people would walk upon. Why? Because the blood of Christ will not be trampled.

“How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” Hebrews 10:29

God executes judgment. We are exempt.

Exodus 12:12, “For I will pass through the land of Egypt…and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt…and against the gods of Eygpt I will execute judgment; I am the LORD.”

Exodus 12:13, “Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses, where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to to destroy you…”

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” Romans 5:9

Whoever eats leaven, dies.
Exodus 12:15, “…For whoever eats leavened bread…that person shall be cut off…”
“Cut off” meaning death. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death.”

Jesus entered Jerusalem at Passover time. He became the spotless sacrifice needed to save us, to give us eternal life. One sacrifice for all. No more sacrifices under the law. A new Covenant established in blood. It was His joy to endure the cross. For me. For you.

I leave you with this link to a video I couldn’t seem to get uploaded, but I think you’ll be blessed for watching it! A great song by an incredible band Leeland.

 “Love is on the move.” He will find you. “Anyone can run into the arms of God.” Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Must Read Monday: Listen by Rene Gutteridge

“We humans can tame animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue.”

Rene Gutteridge tackles the tongue and the effects of words in her novel, Listen. It begins intense, with a teenage girl hanging herself over words that have hurt her.

It covers the life of a decent sized town probably a lot like the one you live in. Gossip runs rampant, and someone starts posting private  conversations on the internet for everyone to see. Fights break out, friends grow apart, and someone goes so far as to murder another.

What’s interesting is the gossip is mostly taking place by those who confess to be Christians. The sad truth is, slander and gossip does race like wildfire in our church. I’ve been on both ends. I bet you if you’re truthful, you could say the same.

What spoke to me the most?

The question is asked, Is what we say when we are in private okay? Kinda of like when the tree falls in the forest. If no one hears it, does it make a sound? 

There are things I’ll say to my husband and my best friend that I wouldn’t share with the ladies at the salon, but what if those words got on to the internet? Then how would I feel?

 It’s true– the power of life and death in the tongue. I don’t mean “name it and claim” prosperity preaching. I mean lifting and encouraging to bring life to someone’s heart and cutting them into worthless bits inside– breeding death.

It’s definitely opened my eyes to what I’m saying and who I’m saying it too.

Do I recommend the book?
Yes! Not only was the message deep and powerful, but her dialogue was witty and entertaining. The storyline was believable and interesting.

Here’s a teaser:
“Someone is listening…

The quaint, close-knit community of Marlo was the ideal place to live…until someone started posting private conversations online for everyone to read, word-for-word. Now it’s neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend, as careless comments and hurtful accusations turn the town upside down. Violence and paranoia escalate, and the police scramble to find the person responsible before more people get hurt, or even killed.
But what responsibility do the residents of Marlo have for the words they say when they think no one is listening?”

What do you think? Does what you say in private effect others? Or is it okay to to  say whatever you like about someone as long as they can’t hear you? I’m interested to hear your thoughts!

Also, I’ll be interviewed tonight at 4 pm Pacific time at Romance Writer’s on the Journey! Stop by and say hi. I’m giving away a $10 Starbucks card, so leave me a comment to enter for a free drink  to sip on while you read your favorite book!

Frivolous Friday: How far is too far when researching?


So does anything look different? I know, right? I’m not savvy on the computer. I built a dummy blog trying to make this what I really envisioned, but I stink at it. Key word–dummy.

I have to give a big shout out to my friend and crit partner, Sheri Salatin, for her amazing skill to take my biz card and turn it into a great site, imo! Check out Sheri’s blog here.

Now, on with the show…this is it!

I’ve always taken dares and been adventurous–thus the many groundings. I blame my sister for the big stuff! Since she doesn’t read my blog because she suffers from adult ADD and can’t sit still long enough–ahem excuse–(I’m totally rolling my eyes right now), I can say what I want about her, and she is to blame. 🙂

I think God made me this way to be a better researcher for my books. Okay, I might be stretching here to justify some of the ridiculous things I do, but it’s working for me so…

I wrote a blog about some of my research adventures–ones I take “Jane” on because she’s easily influenced and I like to surround myself with people I can make do things. I’m kiddng! I’ve had a ton of coffee and I haven’t put my net under my mouth to catch my sarcasm or filter anything yet this morning, so you’ll have to be patient and endure. See, I’m making you do things! Well, trying anyway, some of you are stubborn.


Back to the blog I wrote. I haven’t posted it because I started to think, “What if someone gets offended over a few of them?” Some of things I’ve done to get the feel for a character really happened to someone, and they may not think my research and the humorous disasters they became are funny.

I could be overthinking, but that generally never happens to me! I tend to do and then say, “Ooops.” I’m a WIP. Aren’t we all?

I’ve never done anything I know to be illegal while researching nor have I been convicted by God or a court of law.

What do you think? Care to share some things you’ve done as research for a character in your novel?

Have a great weekend and stay out of trouble!

In the Word Wednesday: Distraction by Detraction


There are lots of distractions to keep us from the course God has set us on. There are enjoyable distractions and there are unpleasant distractions. Both veer us in the wrong direction.

I’m going to guess and say that inspirational writers feel a calling by God to spin tales–a message is threaded into every line of the story, one that will bring others closer to Jesus and glorify Him. Am I right? You’re all nodding. Thanks!

Distractions come in many forms. Today we’re talking about distractions from detraction.  Maybe if you’re an author it’s rotten reviews of your precious baby. You spend time stewing over them and using your gift of words to conjure up just the right concoction to go off on someone who cut your work to bits. Please don’t! 🙂

A year ago, a distraction popped up in my world. An ugly one. I knew my part in it was innocent, but it ate at me. I lost focus for a time on the big picture because of words that were slung at me, about me. “Jane” brought me into focus. She told me, “This is a distraction. It’s keeping you from doing what God wants you to do. Which is write. Read Nehemiah. Get  your focus back and let it go. It isn’t worth it.”

She was right. Let’s look at the man with the plan. Nehemiah. A man of focus, integrity, and determination. That’s a man worth studying.

Nehemiah was born in captivity. He became the cupbearer for the king. A highly repectable position. Many times the way to kill a king was through his cup of wine.

When he found out that the rebuilding wasn’t going well in Jerusalem, he asked the king if he could go and oversee it. The king gave him everything he asked for and sent him on a 1000 mile, probably about 4 months one way, journey to Jerusalem.

While he was there, 3 men decided to thwart his plans to rebuild. Sanballet-afraid of losing power in Samaria, Tobiah the Ammonite, Sanballet’s closest advisor and greedy to keep two of the cities his people had taken over since the running out of the Jews, and Geshem, an Arab leader of a great troop led by  Sanballet–who buttered his bread.

These men gathered a group together to mock and persecute Nehemiah, the people, and their efforts.
Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever man sows, that he will also reap.”


Nehemiah was doing God’s work. They were slandering God, not Nehemiah, whether they realized or not. Be careful what you say about someone’s work or ministry. I’ve had to learn the hard way. I don’t want that for you.

When things were said against Nehemiah, he went to the Lord in prayer.

The enemy responded with creating confusion. Well of course he did! But 1 Corinithians 14:33 says, “God is not the author of confusion but of peace.” James 3:16 says, “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”

Not everyone will love what you’re doing, or what you’re trying to accomplish. A very wise woman told me, “God will surround you with those who will celebrate you and what you’re doing. Toss out the rest.” This includes bad reviews that hurt your feelings,  family/friends who think what you’re doing is a pipe dream, a waste of time, a ridiculous idea. Don’t let it become a distraction.

Nehemiah knew they weren’t done yet, so he put a watch against the enemies. 2 Corinthians 2:11, “…For we are not unaware of his (devil) schemes…” 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”


Pay attention. The enemy will use distractions to throw you off course, to discourage you, to try and get you to give up.  Unfortunately, he’ll use willing vessels to do it (I am not talking possession, people!) like family, church family even. You aren’t fighting them. You’re fighting the unseen enemy. You know what he’s up to…watch for it!

The persecution tired them. Weakened them from what they were supposed to be doing and caused doubt. Nehemiah 4. Nehemiah reminded them, “Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight…”

This was their inheritance. This was their promise. Don’t give up. Whatever the Lord has called you to, fight for it! Even if you have to build with one hand and hold a weapon in the other. Which is what Nehemiah had them do. 4:16-18.

Strap on that sword, keep it nearby to remind you God is working on your behalf. He’s fighting for you.  Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell richly in all wisdom, teaching, admonishing one another.”

Be a Nehemiah. Encourage someone who is struggling from distraction.

The enemy used fear as a distraction.  Nehemiah 6:9.  “For this reason they were hired, that I should be afraid and act that way and sin, so that they might have cause for an evil report…”

Fear didn’t work in Nehemiah, and their plots failed.  Job 5:12, “He frustrates the devices of the crafty so that their hands cannot carry out their plans.”

Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him… for He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Nehemiah 6:15 says the wall was completed in 52 days and the enemies realized it was the work of the Lord. 52 days! With one hand, fighting the enemy, carrying heavy boulders? Oh yes! Because it was the Lord’s work. “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it, unless the Lord guards the city, the watchmen stay awake in vain.” Psalm 127:1

Don’t give up. “…be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing you labor not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

Don’t let distractions keep you from the work!

I leave you with a Psalm written about captivity’s end. A verse we can all say or sing when our work is accomplished. When it’s finished. When it’s ready and out there.

“We were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, ‘the Lord had done great things for them’. The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad.” Psalm 126:2-3.


Do you feel distracted? How do you refocus?

Must Meet Monday: Donna Pyle

I met Donna Pyle at the Writing for the Soul Conference this past February. Donna’s one of those people you feel like you’ve known forever.

Donna’s story is amazing. She gave her testimony on Jennifer Slattery’s blog last week. Click here to read it. Donna and I still keep in touch daily by facebook, twitters, or texts. I’m thrilled she’s here today.  Let me tell you a little about my favorite Texan and her ministry.

Donna is a soul-stirring, engaging speaker, author, Bible teacher and worship leader, who has a passion for studying and teaching God’s Word. Her clear, down-to-earth messages encourage women of all ages to passionately love, serve and live for Jesus Christ.
Donna has authored 17 Bible studies, is currently writing her first book, and also preparing to tape her first DVD-based Bible study series before a live audience. She attends Salem Lutheran Church in Tomball, TX where she serves in the worship ministry. Donna enjoys traveling, reading, singing, and driving her cats crazy with feather toys.
Donna, you know cats terrify me! Tell us a little about the book you’re currently writing?

taken from Donna’s website

 I’m so excited about it!  “Living Water for a Parched    Soul” provides a roadmap on how to journey from spiritual dehydration toward a life fully hydrated by Christ.

I’m excited about it too. To know Donna is to truly see a hydrated life. Since you write non-fiction, how do you plan and where do you write?

Most of my serious writing is done at the desk in my study, but I also write wherever I land – park bench, home dining table, local coffee shop – you name it! Since I frequently travel to speak, I find that plane rides provide the perfect escape from electronic distractions to get some writing done. J

Since I write non-fiction and don’t have characters to develop, I actually name the book’s chapters first and tie key Scripture passages to each. Those few words trigger the progressive journey toward the goal and it just rolls right along!
What’s a typical writing day look like for you?
Each day starts out with quiet time in the Word. That focuses my heart and mind for the day ahead. I block out time each day to write based on that day’s schedule. Unfortunately, there’s normally not a “typical” day, but when it’s all said and done, there’s something new on paper!
Tell us what else you have in the works besides your book?
I’m currently writing the study guide that will accompany my upcoming DVD-based Bible study series on the armor of God is an exciting adventure into Ephesians 6:10-18 as we unpack each piece of armor and the protection they provide to us. If you’re in the Tomball, Texas area on May 6-7, 2011, join us at Salem Lutheran Church for the live taping. I would SO love to see you there, ladies!
I would love to come and be a part of that! I need to see how far away that is from me. I’m all about a road trip. Donna, you’re a busy woman in the kingdom. Share with us why you wrote Living Water for a Parched Soul.
This topic is close to my heart. Since I didn’t grow up in the church or have a relationship with Christ, I know what it feels like to be spiritually parched. I was drowning in the world’s well until someone introduced me to Christ at age 23. Now 20 years later, I am blessed beyond measure to live a life fully hydrated and tethered to Him. Even through heartbreaking, unexpected divorce, God’s wellspring of life fostered true forgiveness and restoration in my life. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. But I believe that the lessons learned along my journey will provide hope and draw readers to the only One who can satiate us: Jesus.
When you aren’t writing, what do you like to do?
I love music and am passionate about worship, so it is such a joy to be very active in my church’s worship ministry. Music has always been a part of my life, so to use those gifts to praise God is just the best thing on the planet!
We all want to convey a message to our readers. What would you like for them to take away from your book?
I’d love for them to walk away knowing without a doubt that no matter what storm hits their life or the desert seasons that descend on us, Jesus is the canteen that never runs dry. He will always provide the hydration we need when we keep our face plastered on Him.
I think that’s amazing and so are you, Donna. Even if you do have cats! 🙂 Tell everyone how they can connect with you and read your inspiring and encouraging blog.
I’d love to meet as many readers as I possibly can!  Visit my website, Artesian Ministries.  Click here to visit my blog. Connect with me on Facebook, as well as Twitter. Stop by and say “hi!”
Donna is represented by Rachelle Gardner. Click here to read Rachelle’s blog!

Donna, thanks so much for popping in and sharing your heart. Can’t wait until your book is published and you can come back and share some more of your journey, as well as give a book away!

Question: What bible study/studies have you done that have been life-changing?

Frivolous Friday: Thrifty is Nifty


A dime a dozen isn’t just a phrase. 

When I was a kid growing up, I hated going to garage sales, it made me feel like I didn’t have enough money to go to a real store. I know, I know. Sigh.

If my mom wanted to piddle in a yard looking for depression glass or other housewares, fine. But I wasn’t going and if I had to, then I stayed in the car. Heaven forbid someone see me and think I was poor.


Ok, so it’s a rice cake, but it’ll do the job! Who
doesn’t love Quaker’s Cheddar rice cakes?

After I got married, I didn’t think about thrift stores or yard sales too much. Mostly because I still had a chip on my shoulder.

Then I met “Jane.” I’ve written stories and kept her anonymous, but she’s said she’s over it and I can call her by her real name. I choose not to. I like “Jane.” She can get her own blog. Get your own blog, Jane. To read some of our hair-raising adventures, click here, or here, or here for just a few of them!


“Jane” always looks
like this. All thrifty
 I prefer PJ’s.

Jane looks like a fashion model all the time. She doesn’t have much of anything that isn’t designer and that includes shoes, purses, and jewelry. Every time I asked her where she found an outfit, she said, “Goodwill!”

Goodwill? Did I hear her say that correctly? You look like that because of thrift stores?

“You wanna come with me?”

“To Goodwill?”

“I said it clearly.”

So I made a day of it with her.


You want me to dig through
clothes at thrift stores!?


I walked out with several pair of jeans all of which would cost over $100 a piece in the store for $20 total! I washed them and man, I’ve had tons of compliments. I have tons of shirts, dresses, even shoes (I clean them up really well and they have to be in fabulous shape) but I draw the line at undergarments and swimsuits. Some things just don’t need to be shared!

I’ve been making lots of days of it with her now. It’s too much fun!

The Goodwill outlet is a chore because you have to dig, but you can get a pound of clothing for $1.49. My daughter stays in Aeropostle, American Eagle, Abercrombie, and Banana Republic thanks to thrift stores!


I look back and think, how silly was I? I’m wearing top brand clothing and paying 1/3 (I don’t do math–that’s why I write and none of my characters are mathmeticians–so it could be even less) of the price. Today I bought the cutest dress with the tags still on it. I probably ate the chip on my shoulder, especially if it was nacho cheese flavored. Either way, it’s gone, I’m glad, and I have extra money in my pocket to spend elsewhere.

If you’ve never thrift shopped but want to, here are 3 things you need to know:

1. For Goodwill outlets, bring latex gloves to dig. (You don’t have to, I like to.)
2. Bring hand sanitizer for when you’re done. (I like GermX green apple)
3. Wear comfortable shoes. We can spend hours at a time in one store–on concrete floors.

What about you? Do you like to shop thrifty and if so, what’s your greatest find? If you don’t…is it cuz you have a rice cake on your shoulder? 🙂

Have a great weekend! See you Monday!