What To Do When the Unexpected Happens


Have you ever made plans only to have them unexpectedly and forever altered? Me too. I didn’t think I was alone. One of my favorite Christmas movies is Christmas Vacation. And one of my favorite scenes is when Clark Griswold has been expecting a big, fat bonus and then when it finally comes…it’s a jelly of the month club. He falls apart and loses some sanity for a few moments. 

That’s happened to me before. I’ve been making plans. Good ones. Nothing over the top. Working toward them. You probably have too. I mean after all, putting in a pool for the fam isn’t exactly a bad idea for summer fun, and that’s what Clark was planning.



“The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.” Proverbs 16:1

I can think of several occasions I’ve felt like I’ve been given jelly when what I was expecting was a nice big fat bonus–to bless me with putting that “pool” in. I love what Clark’s cousin, Eddie, says. “That’s the gift that keeps on giving…”



Even unexpected good gifts, promises, dreams can feel like jelly because they still come with some cost.

It reminds me of Mary. A young girl, and by young I mean she could have been 13 or 14 when she was betrothed. Nowadays we put men in prison for asking the hand of a girl that young. But then, it was customary.



Imagine the great, and unexpected news she was given. I imagine she was filling up her hope chest and preparing for Joseph to come, like a thief in the night–since that’s how the bridegroom came. I wonder if she was thinking about children, teaching them how to bake bread, sew, whatever it was they taught them…preparing her heart for life. All good plans.

And the angel Gabriel came and interrupted her preparations, her plans. Oh, it was wonderful news, but I think it may have felt a little like having jelly at times. It came with a price, like anything God conceives in us. A beautiful promise, gift, dream…it grows….

And with that we have to grow, stretch, and feel things move inside us. Pain comes as we move closer to that fulfillment. 

No doubt Mary was the talk of the town/s. 

“Did you hear Mary was pregnant?”

“Mmm…hmmmm, you know who the baby daddy is?”

“She says, God, but…I saw her with that guy down by the watering well.”




Her own husband was going to divorce her quietly. No one probably believed, except her cousin Elizabeth…because she had her own miracle growing inside her! Thank God when we have a wonderful gift growing inside us, that He planted, He always makes sure to supply us with at least one person to encourage us, to believe in us.

Mary believed. She had child-like faith, probably because she was a child, really.


“Blessed is she who believed for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45
Even when it came time to give birth to that dream, to labor through and deliver it, it came with pain, sweat, tears, and a price. They couldn’t even get a room! There in Bethlehem, the House of Bread, in the stable, Mary’s unexpected gift,–one she didn’t deserve–but was given to her by simple, beautiful grace, was born. And they laid the Bread of Heaven in a sheep trough, another glorious picture, and the heavenly army that had followed Him–the Angel of the Lord– the Commander of the LORD’s Army–sang Him His first lullaby. 
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” Luke 2:14
I don’t know what your dream is, what God has conceived inside of you, but without faith it is impossible to please God. I know if He’s planted it, He will grow it. It won’t be easy. You’ll stretch, you’ll endure those around you who won’t believe with you and maybe some of those people will be loved ones, friends, co-workers. You’ll adjust, even your walk will change as you carry a growing dream or promise inside you.

The stretching will be painful, the labor–strenuous. At times, you might not even be able to catch your breath. Pant if you need to. It won’t come without sweat, fatigue, and some grunting. It takes time. The time may seem to tick by slowly. But it will be born. God will see it to fulfillment.

“And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You….” Psalm 9:10
What stage are you in? Conception, growing, labor? Have you birthed your promise or dream? Have you given up?
*This is a portion of what I’m speaking on this weekend at a Women’s Christmas Banquet, so if you go to Central Christian Church, you’re going to hear this again!


Lisa Jordan, Lakeside Reunion, and a Happily Ever After

Sweet like cotton candy, warm and delightful like maple syrup, funny like little girls giggling over boys. Those are things that come to my mind when I think of Lisa Jordan.
Lisa’s blog is one of the first one’s I found when I came into the blogosphere and Happily Ever After is a great title and fits her perfectly. 

Heart, home and faith have always been important to Lisa Jordan, so writing stories that feature both comes naturally to her. She has been writing contemporary Christian romance for more than a decade. Her debut novel, Lakeside Reunion, released in November by Love Inspired. Her second novel, Lakeside Family, will be released in August 2012 by Love Inspired. Happily married for twenty-two years, Lisa and her husband have two young adult sons. When she isn’t writing or caring for children in her in-home childcare business, Lisa enjoys family time, romantic comedies, good books, crafting with friends and feeding her NCIS addiction. Visit her at www.lisajordanbooks.com to learn more about her writing.

JP: Because Lisa was so intriguing to me, and fun and helpful and we have a few things in common, like NCIS and working in the childcare industry, I had to buy this book. When did you get the writer’s bug? May I say, I’m so very glad you did!
LJ: After reading Danielle Steel’s The Promise when I was 16—I wanted to give readers the same heart-sighing happily ever after.
JP: Mission Accomplished, my friend. Mission Accomplished. Tell us one favorite line from Lakeside Reunion and tell us why?
“He shoved his hands in his front pockets and rocked back on his heels. “I should probably apologize, but that would be a lie. I’ve wanted to do that since I pulled you over in that ugly blue car with the broken taillight.”
LJ: I don’t want to spoil why Stephen says that, but to me, this snippet shows Stephen as an alpha male who knows what he wants. He respects Lindsey and does his best to honor her wishes, but sometimes he just wanted to sweep her off her feet and leave her breathless. And he’s not going to apologize for doing it.
JP:I know why! I know why! And I happened to have loved this snippet of dialogue. There were so many others I loved as well. So tell me, do you listen to music while you write? I always ask this because I must have music when writing and I think everyone else should too, ha!
LJ: Yes, I listen to music while writing. I subscribe to Pandora so I listen to different stations while writing certain scenes. The mood of the music helps pull me deeper into the scene.
JP: I knew I loved you for so many reasons! Yes! I’ma Pandora fan. Ya’ll need the Levi Kreis station. Awe-Some! Tell everyone why you write romance?
LJ: I’m a happily ever after girl who believes in true love.
JP: That pretty much nails it! And I’m a fan of happy ever afters and true love too. But with love comes pain. Was there a scene you found difficult to write in Lakeside reunion? Why?
LJ: Several scenes were challenging to write because they forced me to tap into the inner core of my emotions. When my characters cried, I cried. I had to force myself to go to that place and feel the same sense of heartbreak. Pain hurts for a reason, which is why so many of us keep it buried. But it can be freeing too.
JP: So true, Lisa. I know you became your characters because it showed in your wonderful writing. I’ll tell you a little secret…I cried when they cried too. I laughed a lot as well. Okay, the violins have stopped, so moving on. Christmas is coming! What do you think your main characters will be doing  for Christmas? What about you? Do you have a holiday tradition?
LJ: By Christmas, Stephen and Lindsey will be newlyweds and celebrating with their families.
I’m all about family, so my Christmas will be spent surrounded by those I love. We have several little quirky traditions such as I always buy them socks and underwear and wrap them up. On Christmas Eve, our boys are allowed to open one gift. When our youngest son was very little (4 or 5), he opened his one gift on Christmas Eve to find underwear, and he exclaimed, “Unnerwear? No fair!” So every year, when they open socks and “unnerwear,” we all say, “Unnerwear? No fair.” Silly, yes, but it always makes us smile.
JP: LOL! I love that. “unnerwear, not fair” Christmas at your house sounds like lots of good fun and many laughs! A picture perfect holiday. Speaking of pictures, do you hunt down any of your characters from the internet? Care to share what your hero and heroine look like with us? Or would you rather leave it to the readers’ imaginations?
LJ: I always use pictures of actors, actresses, or models so I have a visual of my characters as I write. When I use an actor or model, I’m going by their physical aspects only—not their personality type or what I read online about them…yes, I’m shallow and read People.com.
JP: I think some of the best story ideas come from People.com What? It’s research and Lisa will vouch for it, won’t you LJ? See! Neener neener neener! Okay, who is Lindsey and Stephen. Show us! Must know!
Lindsey Porter
For Lindsey, I pictured her as Charleze Theron. For Stephen, I used Australian model Ian Lawless as his visual character.
Stephen Chase 
 JP: Um, yes, indeed! I can see that. Completely. You wrote them well. Okay,I’m so playing out a particular scene from your book in my head with these guys. I may have to go back and read it again, even though I did see them a lot like this.  

 What would your characters say about you if they had the chance?
LJ: My characters would say I have grasshopper syndrome—my thoughts bounce all over the place. I can be thinking about a scene, but something in that scene could trigger something I need to put on my grocery list. While I’m thinking about my grocery list, I’ll go downstairs to the freezer in the basement to check the status of something, but when I get there I may be distracted by laundry or see something in my craft nook. If you’ve read Laura Numeroff’s books—If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, If You Give a Moose a Muffin, etc—then welcome to my brain.
 When I do need to be focused, I do stay on task.
JP:  That’s hilarious. I usually just wander into a room and instead of getting distracted, I can’t remember why I’m in there. But in all seriousness (I was serious about doing that btw),what would you like readers to take away most from your debut novel?
LJ: God loves us unconditionally and offers second, third, fourth chances if we draw near to Him with a heart begging forgiveness and accept His free gift of grace.
JP: Amen! And they will. A beautiful story of grace and forgiveness! What can readers expect from you in the future? Are you continuing the series? Please say “yes”!
LJ: Lakeside Family, my second novel, which features Josie, Lindsey’s step-sister, will be released in August 2012. I’m writing my third book in the series, which I’ve titled Lakeside Promises. I love Shelby Lake and have a whole series planned for the different characters. 
JP: Woohoo! I can’t wait, and readers, please buy this book. If you love happy endings and lots of swooning romance, you’ll adore this book. Here’s a peek:

Lakeside Reunion: Bed-and-breakfast owner Lindsey Porter prays she won’t run into Stephen Chase when she returns to Shelby Lake. Five years ago, the cop jilted her to marry another woman, and Lindsey fled town. But no sooner does she hit city limits than Stephen pulls her over for a broken taillight. Despite the past, he’s still able to stir up Lindsey’s old feelings for him. Now a widower and single dad, Stephen recognizes a second chance when he sees one. And he’ll do anything to make Lindsey trust in God and take a risk for love—again. Read an excerpt of Lakeside Reunion
JP: Told you it was one to grab! Lisa is doing a something really cool with the launch of her book. Tell them about your creative idea, Lisa!

LJ:  I’m holding a scavenger hunt to promote my Lakeside Reunion release. Plus, blog commenters on my blog hop will be put in a drawing for fun prizes—breakfast basket, Love Inspired Authors basket, autographed copies of Lakeside Reunion. Visit my LakesideReunion Contest page for more information.
                  The token for this blog is a kiss.
JP: Thanks for coming by today, Lisa. Before you go would you like to ask everyone a question? They are the besto at commenting and making you feel welcome, aren’t you, everyone? See!
 In Lakeside Reunion, Lindsey needs to let go of a fear to have her second chance at love. What have you done or what do you need to do to release a fear in order to follow your heart (not necessarily romantically…could be a heart’s desire)?
You can connect with Lisa and find out more about her scavenger hunt and Lakeside reunion through:

A Most Important Question!

Black Friday.

Yes or No? 

I don’t do it. I hate Black Friday, but my husband loves it and he gets up at 2 AM to sit at Wal-Mart or wherever to get the deal! Then he gets breakfast and coffee and brings it home (or back to my mom’s b/c usually we’re there for TDAY) and that is the ONLY think I like about Black Friday! 

Top 5 Things I’m Thankful For


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! This year, I’m having it at my house with my husband’s family. Normally, I do most of the cooking (at my mom’s), but I’ve never done the Turkey. It could possibly end up like the one in Christmas Vacation and many of Tim’s family may already be practicing their “Monica” line from Friends. “Mmmm…it’s gooood.” If they take their plate in my bedroom to make a phone call…I’ll know it sucks. 



But I’m excited and I’m looking forward to, you know, amazing people with my super culinary skills. Okay, not true, but I am excited to eat. That is true. 

I love turkey smothered in mashed potatoes and savory gravy. I love yeast rolls and cornbread dressing. I love pumpkin pie! 

But that’s not what Thanksgiving is all about. I mean I guess it kinda is since they did have a big feast. 


So here’s my top 5 things I’m thankful for at Thanksgiving.

5. I’m thankful I didn’t have to grow corn or kill my own turkey or wear white paper or feather hats. Because with feather hats comes war paint and I’m out this year. And with the white hats come no make-up and um…well that ain’t  happenin! (make-up and war paint are totally different)

4. I’m thankful the dude at Kroger’s let me know if I didn’t have a Kroger card my turkey would have been $30 bucks, so I saved over $12 since he saved me. So I’m totally thankful for young punks who yawn at 7:30 in the morning but are on top of saving money for old broads like me.

3.I’m thankful I got to brag about my savings to my husband as most times, I’m trying to talk him into believing all the money I spend is for good reasons…you know like pretty stuff for my house or books. Or 10 assorted creamers and yes, I will drink all of them. Yes, I do need them all. I like making choices–or at least having choices, I don’t necessarily like making them.



2. I’m thankful no one expects me to dress up on Thanksgiving and I can wear my “eating” pants and no shoes.

And the #1 thing I’m thankful for on Thanksgiving is….



Naps! Because 1, I love naps especially on Turkey day and everyone knows it’s inevitable because of Tryptophan and 2,  it gets me out of conversations I care nothing about. Like who’s scoring a touchdown or who’s not backing the line…thus line backers, right? Right?


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Gobble Gobble! 
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dessert? And if it’s really yummy and you have a minute, share the recipe!

I know this wasn’t a devotional like I normally do on Wednesdays. If you would like to read a Thanksgiving devotional I wrote, click HERE! or click on the link to the sidebar under popular posts, What’s In Your Basket?. 

Must Meet Monday: Melissa Tagg

I’m drawn to the witty, clever, and funny exterior with a warm, gooey and deeply spiritual inside.  And that’s Melissa Tagg in a nutshell. Okay, not a nutshell, but in real life. (refer to Wayne’s World.)

I have no idea how I stumbled upon “Tagg’s” blog. I call her that. I don’t know if she likes it or not. But it doesn’t really matter, now does it? No one ever asked me if I liked being called “Little Oz” “Ozzy” or “Short Oz.” I digress. My point is, Tagg’s personality and fun writing style caught me up and she’s one of the very first people I hunt down on MWF. Yep, I enjoy her blog that much! Go see for yourself. 

Native Iowan and former reporter Melissa Tagg, is a big fan of love and laughs…which is why she writes humor-laced contemporary romance. (Well, that and the amazing paycheck she’s sure will come any day now.) In addition to her homeless ministry day job, she is also the marketing/live events coordinator for My Book Therapy. She won the 2010 Frasier Award and finaled in the 2010 ACFW Genesis Contest. 

JP: See? How funny is she? Congrats on your awards, Tagg. When did you get the writer’s bug?
MT: Oh goodness, I think around the time I got teeth. (Uh, because I’ve always liked to “chew” on a good story…? Okay, should’ve let that one go.) Seriously, though, I’ve loved stories as long as I can remember. Sometime in my childhood it must’ve dawned on me that stories don’t just happen – someone writes them. And I decided I must be one of those someones. J
JP:  Badump, bump, ching! Tell us one favorite line in one of your WIP’s and tell us why?
MT: Okay, I promise I’m not being lazy here, but I’m going to give you the first line of my book! I’ve had about 12 different first lines and thanks to inspiration from Susan May Warren’s  teaching AND a blog post by awesome friend/upcoming debut author Beth Vogt, I finally have an opener I love.
             Here it is:
                 On any other day of the year, she could almost forgive herself for the lie.
JP: Ooooh! Good one. I’d tell  you if I hated it. What day of the year is that? I ask. And almost means she never has forgiven herself. Well, done, friend. Well done. I could camp on this for a bit longer but I won’t so let’s move along. Do you listen to music while you write? I totally feel a Coldplay plug-in coming on.
MT: Oh, I love Coldplay so much Cupid should probably recruit me. Their new album, Mylo Xyloto, is fab-u-lous!!
But actually, I rarely listen to music when I write because it’s too easy for me to start singing instead of staying immersed in the scene. If I do, it’s usually instrumental – and something fitting to the mood of my scene. Oddly (or really not so oddly if you know me) my best music for writing is a strings orchestra recording of Rogers & Hammerstein’s greatest hits. OR (and feel free to laugh), I have a string quartet album of Coldplay songs.
JP: Thanks for permission. I’m giggling. I’ll admit, yah know since you said I could feel free! So, what genre do you like to read? Do you write that genre?
MT: I adore romantic comedy with lots of hilarity, but also character depth (think Jenny B. Jones) – which is definitely what I aspire to write. But I read lots of genres: I enjoy both women’s fiction and contemporary romance – though I will confess to being slightly picky with romance. I also love a good thriller or suspense and even the random fantasy here and there. (I’m a massively huge fan of Ted Dekker’s earlier books, especially the Circle series.)  And, thanks to both Susan May Warren and Deeanne Gist’s fabulous historicals, I’m now a historical fiction fan, too. Someday I’d love to try writing historical for the fun of it.
JP: Well, I can’t wait to read your books. If you could pick one villain from a book to be for a day, who would you choose?
            MT: First of all, kudos on seriously fun questions.
            JP: Thanks! I do like to try and keep things fun. Is everyone having  fun? If not, please lie and say “yes.” 
MT: I’d have to say Captain Hook from Peter Pan. Because he gets to hang out in Neverland and has fabulous hair. Although, the hook would make typing and playing piano a challenge…
JP: He does have great hair! Great answer. Fall is here, what one thing do you love most about this season? What one thing do you like least about this season?
MT: I love so many things about fall – by far my favorite season – but probably my faves are all things pumpkin: Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice creamer, pumpkin bars, pumpkin scented candles.
            Least favorite is definitely its length. Autumn is way too short.
JP: I agree. I am making gooey-pumpkin butter cake for Turkey Day. Bet you wish you were gonna be here, huh? I’ll send you a picture. Speaking of pictures, do you hunt down any of your characters from the internet? Care to share what your hero and heroine look like with us from your current WIP?
           MT: Sometimes I do that, yes! For my current book, here’s who we’ve got:

Put Levis and a tool belt on her, and Lauren Graham IS Miranda Woodruff, my heroine.
JP: I like her! But you know, I’ve never watched Gilmore Girls or Parenthood. Chics in toolbelts. Awesome. I see some comedic scenes for sure!
MT: Honestly, I didn’t mean for this to happen, but I’ve been picturing my main male character, Matthew Knox, as Jason Ritter. (Both Graham and Ritter are in the TV show Parenthood.)
JP: Are they paired together on the show? They look cute together! 

And if you give Owen Wilson a black moptop instead of blonde, he’s totally Blake “Blaze” Hunziker, my other main dude. (Apparently I’ve filled this book with dark haired folks.)

JP: I tend to gravitate toward dark haired males myself. Okay, I’m so fanning myself right now. 🙂  What would your characters say about you if they had the chance?

MT: Oh dear, they’d totally ruin the cool and confident vibe I’m sure I give off around real people. (Real people, please stop laughing.) No, my characters would probably gab about my writing mood swings. If they behave and a scene goes well, I go all giddy. When they don’t cooperate, I sink into the depths of despair. They’d also probably express concern over my need to speak dialogue out loud as I’m typing and act out scenes…
JP: OMG! I do that too! Or if I’m picturing a scene while I’m driving sometimes it comes out my mouth before I realize it. I always hope people think I’m singing or on a bluetooth! Your characters are great now give us a peek into the story!
           MT: Sure thing! Here’s a blurb for my second WIP, From the Ground Up.
Since the first season of her popular homebuilding show, celebrity Miranda Woodruff has entertained viewers with stories of the husband who taught her all she knows. Too bad said “husband” abandoned her before the season aired…and before the wedding. Now facing teetering ratings and with media curiosity at an all-time high, Miranda’s producer insists she come up with a husband – real deal or not. Mock mate in tow, she sets out to save her show. But then nosy reporter Matthew Knox lands on her doorstep, lugging his own set of personal baggage and desperate for a breakout story. The only thing worse? The reappearance of her former fiancé.
Juggling secrets and supposed spouses, Miranda’s heart is in for a major renovation as God shows her where her true identity lies.
JP: Okay, I’d buy this book today, yah hear me? It sounds awesome! Thanks so much for coming by and hanging out with us today, Tagg. It’s been a blast and I’ve been smiling and giggling the whole time. Is there anything you’d like to ask the peeps that hang around my “waterfall” cooler? They’d be happy to answer, as they are the most awesomest people around!
I loved your question about what villain I’d be for a day if I could. So can I copy you and ask that one to everyone else? And thanks so much for having me. How fun!!

Okay, everyone, if you could be a villain for one day, who would you be? Get creative, get dark, get on it! Tell us! 

And even more importantly connect with Melissa on facebook, her blog, and twitter

Lynda Lee Schab Is In The House with Debut Novel Mind Over Madi!

Think sunshine, giggling, chocolate, friendship, and holding hands. 

All things that make you want to be there. Where is there?

Mind Over Madi!

I have the honor today to interview Lynda Schab after reading her debut novel, Mind Over Madi

The book was incredible. I read it in a sitting and a half. Only because I knew I had to get up early and I couldn’t drag it all day since naps weren’t going to be in order.

I connected with Lynda through her fun blog, On the Write Track. You should join the site.  Thanks for letting me read your debut novel, Lynda, and thanks for coming by to chat with us today about the book and you! 

JP: So…tell everyone what Mind over Madi is about? 

LS: Madi McCall is a 38-year-old mom of three whose insecurities are destroying her marriage. When she suspects her husband Rich is cheating with the mother of one of his fourth grade students, she kicks him out of the house and he moves in with his bachelor brother. Madi is then forced to take a deeper look at herself and her insecurities. She does this with the help of a counselor, her best friend Sylvie, and a few cartons of Edy’s Dibs. At a 20-year get-together with former high school classmates, Madi runs into “the other woman” and things come to a head. It’s a lighthearted story about taking a true look at ourselves and accepting God’s grace when we think and do dumb things.

JP: I loved the first person present tense. I was right there with Madi through her antics, every Dib she shoveled in her mouth, and through her discoveries. I can also relate to some of Madi’s insecurities, as I think most women can. Which character is most like you, and why?

LS: There is a lot of me in Madi. Insecurity is something I’ve always struggled with. As a child, I was very shy. As a teenager, I was insecure about everything, which resulted in a lot of rebelling and contributed to hundreds of my mom’s migraines, I’m sure. As an adult, early in my marriage I experienced some of the insecurities Madi deals with, regarding her husband and his faithfulness. That isn’t something I deal with anymore today, but I still have similar insecurities about what others think of me, as well as doubts about God’s love for me. Other ways I’m like Madi is that we share bad eating habits, a love for coffee, a tendency to waste hours of time playing computer games, and an insane fear of spiders.
JP:I raise my tacquito and nod in agreement to bad eating habits. Let me wipe the grease off my fingers so I can ask the next question. Okay, I love the tiara on Madi’s head (on the cover, people, look alive). I know why it’s there, but you tell it best! 
LS: Madi’s therapist challenges her to think of herself as a princess – the daughter of the King. Madi has never thought of herself this way, and throughout the story, there are references to various Disney princesses as Madi tries to figure out which one she most relates to. I had fun with the theme, even giving “the other woman” the fairy tale-ish name of Fawn Witchburn.
JP: I loved that by the way, and my very favorite line in the whole book has to do with the crown. I will never forget it. Brought tears to my eyes. It was lighthearted, but the subject matter was poignant. Great job! What’s next for you? 

LS: I am currently working on book #2 in the Madi series, titled, Madily in Love. Now that Madi and Rich are working things out, she attends a class at church to try to put the romance back into her marriage. But with her mother-in-law living with them, Madi’s new job, and issues with her kids, things don’t exactly go as planned. It’s a fun book that will look at finding peace –and romance – in the middle of chaos. 

JP: Amen to that, sista! 
LS: There will also be a book #3. I have the title and the premise, but I’ll save the details for later, when I have the plot worked out.
JP: Can’t wait! You’re going to be busy! Do you have a “day” job?

LS: I do freelance work, but I also work in a warehouse as part of a pricing group for Meijer. It doesn’t sound all that glamorous (and it’s not!) but I actually enjoy the physical work. It’s a nice change from the mental strain that freelancing and creativity can cause. If I got a couple of additional regular writing gigs, though, I wouldn’t mind staying home full time to do what I love to do most.
JP: I bet not! With work and a family, what’s your writing process? 

LS: Honestly, I don’t have a typical process. As this is my debut novel, I’m on a learning curve. While writing MIND OVER MADI, I basically wrote when I felt like it, with no set schedule. Now that I have contracts for the next two books in the series, which my editor wants to publish 6-9 months apart, I’m doing everything I can to learn how to organize my time effectively. But I do tend to work better on a deadline, so hopefully that will work out for me. We’ll see!
Lynda, I know you’re floating in the clouds and that is such a cliched statement. But everything I can think of is a cliche to so, I’ll say this: Congratulations! 

Connect with Lynda at her website,
her blog, facebook, and twitter!

Have any questions for Lynda?
What Disney Princess or Prince if you’re a guy, are you?

Generosity: It’s Not Always About the Money

“There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered.”

By nature, I’ll be honest and say, I’m not a generous person. I’m not necessarily greedy. I just don’t think about being generous. I’m a wretched soul, aren’t I? My husband is generous. I know our flesh is greedy, but I think some people are better at giving than others. In fact, Jesus says if wicked people can give good gifts to their children, imagine what God, a loving Father, can give. So that proves that some people–even though they don’t know God can be generous.

I was sitting at the table the other evening, just me and my 7 year old son, Myles. We were eating spaghetti, his favorite and I tested him. I love doing this. I’m always interested in what he’s thinking and how his mind works. I have to catch him off guard or he’ll clam up or pop off with something humorous and sarcastic. His handle on sarcasm amazes me. Really. It does.

“Myles, if you had a million dollars what would you do with it?”

I was expecting a string of DS and Wii games along with a dinosaur or two in the mix. He didn’t miss a beat. He glanced up, orange-stained spaghetti mustache, a noodle stuck to his chin and he said, “I’d give half to God and keep half.”

Can I just say, I was shocked. And touched. If I had a million dollars, I swear, I’d have given it to him right then. His eyes held innocence. But I had to wonder. “Where did you come up with that answer?” Had it been something he heard from Kids’ Church? I’ve seen his generosity before, but you never know.

“I just had it in my brain. Sounded like the right thing to do.” And then he was back to swallowing spaghetti whole. Why don’t kids chew their spaghetti? 

“It sounded like the right thing to do.”

My prayer, especially this past year, has been to be a generous person. Generous with what I have materially, financially, and spiritually. It’s one reason why I do a Wednesday devotional or teaching. If I have something to give, I should give it. 

We should be generous not because we know we’ll get something back, but because God loves generosity.
The first reward for generosity is a rich soul. I know when God asks me to give something whether it’s my time, my money, my words, or a possession, He’s going to bless my heart first. A lesson will be taught and I can count on Him to do to me what I did to my own son…

Test me

God always goes a step above and rewards with some kind of physical blessing. Maybe a week after I’ve done something generous someone mails me a card out of the blue of encouragement, or a Starbucks gift card is in my box anonymously at work. It’s happened. 
Or a check we weren’t expecting is in our mailbox. The amount we needed and then some. Or maybe another glimpse in my dream becomes a reality. 
I want to be a generous person. I want my children to have that legacy and be generous. 

Generosity isn’t always easy. Especially when it comes to sowing time into someone’s life or a ministry. In fact, sometimes it’s easier to write a check for a cause or mission and hoard your precious minutes. I’m not saying don’t manage your time wisely. God honors that for sure. But on occasion, He’s been known to interrupt my time for something more important. What I choose to do with that opportunity is mine alone.

Do you find it hard to be generous? Do you struggle with being generous with your time? 

Some Good Reads


For the past two weeks I’ve been downing books like shots, trying to read everything I can think of in the inspy romantic suspense/mystery market. I may have missed a few so if you know of anyone else, please leave me a comment!

I’ve enjoyed all of them. Each author has a unique writing style. Some books  a little darker than others, which I personally prefer as a reader. I went into reading them with a writer’s eye, but some of the books swept me up, I stopped looking for pacing, scene set ups, etc…I simply became immersed in the stories. Which is good! 

Below are the books I’ve read and I’m starting with my favorite(the rest are in random order), even though I enjoyed all of them. All great authors. Something about this particular story grabbed me and held on. Probably because of the darkness of the story line and the abundance of romantic tension.  Here is the 2nd book in Lynette Eason’s Women of Justice series.




Twelve years ago, forensic anthropologist Jamie Cash survived a brutal kidnapping, torture, and rape. After years of therapy, she has made a life for herself–though one that is haunted by memories of her terrifying past. She finally lets herself get close to a man, FBI agent Dakota Richards, when signs start appearing that point to one frightening fact–her attacker is back and ready to finish the job he started all those year ago. Can she escape his grasp a second time? And will she ever be able to let down her guard enough to find true love? 
 The next book I thought was good, very dark story line, but no romance–which is probably why I liked Lynette’s book better is The BoneMan’s Daughters by Ted Dekker. What I love about Dekker is his subtle symbolism. I caught onto quickly, as most Christians would, and I thought the ending was perfect, but I read some reviews–mostly by non-Christians and they didn’t like the way it ended. BUT I think it’s because they didn’t catch the symbolism. How could they? 
I wasn’t terrified like when reading a Gerritsen novel (Rizzoli & Isles) but it was creepy at times and I like creepy. Mostly I loved the symbolism. And of course, Dekker’s reason for writing the book. I encourage readers to read the “letter to readers” at the end of the book. It made me cry. 
They call him BoneMan, a serial killer who’s abducted six young women. He’s the perfect father looking for the perfect daughter, and when his victims fail to meet his lofty expectations, he kills them by breaking their bones and leaving them to die. 
Intelligence officer Ryan Evans, on the other hand, has lost all hope of ever being the perfect father. His daughter and wife have written him out of their lives.
Everything changes when BoneMan takes Ryan’s estranged daughter, Bethany, as his seventh victim. Ryan goes after BoneMan on his own.
But the FBI sees it differently. New evidence points to the suspicion that Ryan is BoneMan. Now the hunter is the hunted, and in the end, only one father will stand. 
The next book was a new author for me: Irene Hannon. Many of you may have read her Heroes of Quantico series, but I had never heard of her. Sad on my part, I’m sure. Irene has really researched her stuff and is very detailed. Her romance is fun and I enjoy the banter between friends on the HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) For sake of space only, (I’ve read 2 book in the series so far) I’ll put my favorite one to date. 
After he accidentally shoots a teenager at a tense standoff, FBI Hostage Rescue Team member Mark Sanders is sent to St. Louis to work as a field agent and get his bearings while the bad press starts to settle. Just weeks away from returning to Quantico to resume his work on the HRT, Mark has a chance encounter with an old flame, Emily Lawson. But their reunion is cut short by a sniper. Now Mark must find the shooter before he tries to strike again. But what is his motive–and who was his intended target? Can Mark put the pieces together, keep Emily safe, and rekindle a long-dead relationship at the same time? A fast-paced tale of romance, suspense, and intrigue, An Eye for an Eye is the exciting second installment in the Heroes of Quantico series.
And of course it wouldn’t be right not to read Dee Henderson. I’ve read her O’Malley series and enjoyed all of them, but I haven’t read all of her Uncommon Heroes series. Dee Henderson has a nice blend of romance and suspense. Her stories aren’t creepy or dark, but I love the way she constructs deep characters. I haven’t met one of them I don’t like (unless I’m not supposed to like them). Here’s the book I read in the past couple weeks: 
Dee Henderson wraps up her Christy Award-winning Uncommon Heroes series with a riveting story from the home front. When someone snatches his cousin’s wife and son, FBI agent Luke Falcon hunts the kidnapper. He has never worked a case involving family, and it’s tempting to let his hardened exterior weaken, given the circumstances. But he has to be strong if he’s going to bring them home. When the ransom delivery doesn’t go down as planned and the bodies start piling up, so does Luke’s frustration. He fears that innocent people may not survive this crisis, and neither will his relationship with Caroline Lane . But her rock-solid faith proves to be a far better shelter in the storm than all his law enforcement training and experience.
I’ve read DiAnn Mills, and am reading Breach of Trust at the moment. I’ve already read, Attracted to Fire and did a review here. I’ve read a couple of Robin Carroll’s books. I did a review on Deliver Us from Evil here. I have the other in her evil series in my TBR pile. I like both of these authors as well.
So tell me…who am I missing? Have I tapped the inspy romantic suspense and mystery market? Is there someone out there writing about FBI/evil killers with a heap of romance that I simply haven’t found yet? And of course, have you read any books by these authors? 



The Big Bang Theory: How it makes me a better writer

I have to admit, when The Big Bang Theory sitcom came to CBS, I didn’t watch it because I don’t believe in the BBT and I figured it would be a show slamming  God all the time. I believe God created the world and man and all that jazz. 

But my husband loves TV like I love books and so one night when we’d run out of a things to watch, we decided to Netflix it. And it may now possibly be one of my favorite sitcoms (turns out it doesn’t slam God) right beside Rules of Engagement and Modern Family. Go ahead and judge. I’m sure someone would be happy to remove the large beam from your eye after you’ve finished reading this post with the other one.

Here’s why The Big Bang Theory works.
1. The writers do their homework. 
Penny in the middle, the average bear of the show

BBT is about a group of nerds/geniuses who work together and hang out. Because their brilliant, they talk sometimes, ok often, so far above the average person’s head it’s ridiculous.


Smart writers add average people who expect them to dumb it down. Which they do. And then I can understand and the comedy is so brilliant that it works. It flows seamlessly without me realizing that they are actually letting the audience in on what the terms mean. 

2. The characters are all geniuses, but they have distinct personalities and quirks.

Smart writers have given each character a unique personality to go with their brilliant minds. And they never forget and have them act out of character.

Jim Parsons “Sheldon Cooper”
totally deserved this award!

My favorite character, probably, is Sheldon. He’s extremely OCD, so when he knocks on a door, he has to do it three times. Yet has an episode went by that he didn’t do this. I have to remember when I give my character a particular quirk, I need to make sure it’s consistent throughout the story.

He has house rules and they are always coming up. He needs to sit in a particular place on the couch. He has a particular daily routine and nightly meal and he hates to veer off it. Some of his quirks are so silly, but because he exhibits them all the time, it’s believable. 

Raj can’t speak to women unless he has alcohol in his system. 

Howard is a Jewish man who hasn’t forced his mother to cut the apron strings and he always wears a dickey under his shirt. So Eddie-like from Christmas Vacation. And you can always count on his comments to have more than one meaning. 😉

And Leonard has more social skills than the others, but he’s not without issues–one being he’s lactose intolerant. You’ll never catch him eating/drinking dairy.

3. Romantic tension is the right amount.
Leonard is crazy about Penny and Penny ends up liking Leonard. They get together. They get broken up. They move on, but you know they still have it for each other. They didn’t get together too soon, but I’m not like, “Okay already, it’s time to get them back together.” Like Rick Castle and Kate Beckett. I’m so ready for them to get together! 🙂

I’ve learned a few things as a writer from watching Big Bang, but mostly it’s a hilarious show that makes me laugh. And I’m all about some ha-ha’s.

Readers: What TV show has you in stitches and why?

Writers: What TV show do you love that has helped you with some writing techniques?

Are You Afraid of Intimacy?

Intimacy can be scary. Into Me See. How many people do you let look into you and really see who you are?

I’m guessing  not many. 

God is a touchy/feely kind of God. He’s hands on. Intimate. Maybe that frightens you because you’ve been intimate with someone and been hurt. I get that. But God never mishandles our hearts. He’s gentle. Easy. Soft.

Let’s go back to Genesis–meaning beginning–to creation. I’m a God-made-the-earth-and-us kind of gal, maybe you are too. Maybe not. I believe Jesus spoke everything into existence with only a word. 

“In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made by Him, and nothing was made without Him.” John 1:1-3 NCV

“Him” is Jesus. The Word. 

But He created Man with 
His hands and His breath.

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7 NJKV
God prepared for fellowship/intimacy with us.
God planned, prepared and proceeded to create everything Man would need to dwell on the Earth.  He still plans, prepares, and proceeds with everything we need before He puts us in specific places. Not just spiritual places, but in our day to day living. If we seek His will out, we’ll find that career, job, ministry, church and the list goes on. 
To be intimate you have to spend quality time with one you’re getting to know. I know what my husband is thinking most of the time. I know what he will and will not want to do. Why? Because I’ve spent hours getting to know what he likes and doesn’t. 
Think of your child, if you have one. On a playground with dozens, I can pick my child’s cry or voice out of all of them, and my children know their Mama’s voice. Why? Because I know them. I’ve talked to them, listened to them. We’re bonded. 
God communed with Adam and Eve. He walked with them in the Garden, brought Adam the animals to name just to marvel at what he’d call them. There was relationship. And there were a few rules.
Eve and Adam sinned. And then they hid.
After their eyes were opened they realized they were naked and immediately they hid themselves and made garments of fig leaves.
Intimacy before God means a naked heart. Vulnerable. Open. Showing every flaw.
God asked where they were. Not that He didn’t know already, but He was giving them a chance to fess up. And God’s relational. He wanted a conversation. He wanted the opportunity to show them some mercy. He could’ve wiped them off the face of the earth. But He didn’t.
He’s patient. Kind. He’s never “had it” with us. Oh, He disciplines us, but it’s because He loves us. God gave consequences to the serpent, to Adam, and to Eve. One of those consequences was, they had to leave paradise. Go out and toil, work, the whole childbirth thing which I am still a little bitter about. 
He put His hands on them before He sent them out.
The first animal to ever be killed, was by God Himself–“The LORD God made clothes from animal skins for the man and his wife and dressed them.” Genesis 3:21 
He knew fig leaves wouldn’t be durable or proper for the life they were about to lead.
We can’t provide for ourselves. About the best we can do alone, is dress in fig leaves. 
God shows love and intimacy even in consequences.
He still wants intimacy with you and me today. He wants to breathe into us and provide for us. Commune. 
He wants to wrap His arms around us, listen to us, collect our tears, wipe the eyes of our broken hearts, laugh with us, cheer us on as we make strides forward. 
He wants to be on our minds when we wake, the last thought before we drift off to a peaceful rest at night. He wants to fill us with joy.
He simply wants His hands on us. 

I’m hosting at Living By Grace today. I’d love for you to come by and chat about intimacy. 

Why do you think people have a hard time with intimacy? With God and other people?