Lame But Accepted

One of my favorite
relationships in the Old Testament belong to David and Jonathan. Jonathan was
the son of King Saul. Next in line for the throne.

David was anointed king.
Not because Jonathan
would have been a pitiful choice. He wasn’t like his father, Saul–arrogant,
prideful, selfish.
“Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his
armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be
that the LORD will work for us. For nothing restrains the LORD from saving by
many or by few.” 1Samuel 14:6
Jonathan knew the Lord,
knew His power and knew He was in charge. He respected God’s choice.
Jonathan loved David.
“Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he
loved him as his own soul.” 1Samuel 18:3 I don’t know what it is about
this verse, about these men who loved each other as brothers but when I read
this, I cry. Every time. Every. Single. Time. It moves me. So much so, I wrote
a novel using this parallel.
Maybe because I know
how it ends.
the Philistines followed hard after Saul and his sons. And the Philistines
killed Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua, Saul’s sons.” 1Samuel

And a servant came…
David said to him, “How did the matter go? Please tell me.” And he answered,
“The people have fled from the battle, many of the people are fallen and dead,
and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also.” 2Samuel 1:4
cloaked David. Maybe…maybe it was a rumor. Not Jonathan. Not his beloved friend.
… “How
do you know that Saul and Jonathan his son are dead?” 2Samuel

The servant told him what happened.

they mourned and wept and fasted…” 2Samuel 1:12
wrote a song and lamented about Saul and Jonathan, with fierce sorrow. In
public. Jonathan, a friend who loved him enough to save him to be king. When he
could have killed him.
never forgot Jonathan and his friendship or their covenant with each other.
David said, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may
show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 
2Sameul 9:1
Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan who is lame
in his feet.” 2Samuel 9:3

“Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son… He was
five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel; and his
nurse took him up and fled. And it happened, as she made haste to flee, that he
fell and became lame
. His name was Mephibosheth.” 2Samuel 4:4

when Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, had come to
David, he fell on his face and prostrated himself. Then David said,
“Mephibosheth?” And he answered, “Here is your servant!” 2Samuel 9:6
Servant? Did he think David was going to put him into bondage–a slave/servant?
a boy, who beyond his own control, was
hurt. Ruined. His father ripped from him.
His legacy…destroyed. Unable to walk. Unable to be king.
No one.
But David….a man after God’s own heart…

Not a slave. Not forced into servitude. 



Taken care of.

“So Mephibosheth dwelt
in Jerusalem, for he ate continually at the king’s table. And he was lame in
both his feet. ” 2Samuel 9:13

king’s table. A place he had no business being. Not with lame feet. Not someone
who should be the king’s enemy.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward
us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for
us.” Romans 5:8
God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the
world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17
heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
Mephibosheth, maybe you’ve been hurt, broken. Things spiraled out of control
and you found yourself forgotten, alone, your future gone.
God has not forgotten you.
He wants
to bring you to His table.

Time is
valuable, but one of my very favorite bands of all time, Leeland, says it so much better
than I ever could. Please take a minute and listen.

Have you felt lame? 
Unaccepted? Lost?
 How has God made a place for you? 

I’m hosting at Living by Grace today! Come by! 

Fairly Legal


One of my favorite shows on TV is Fairly Legal starring Sarah Shahi as Kate Reed. This show is about a woman whose father dies, leaving his law firm to her and his ex-much much younger wife, Lauren Reed. Kate has a law degree, but what she wants is to help people through mediation. 

Each week as a new case comes her way, she’s discovering the truth about people and sometimes it’s ugly. Her ex-husband to be, whom she still loves but they can’t seem to get along and make things work, is the assistant D.A. She’s constantly asking him for help and he’s usually reluctant since it , most times, gest him in trouble. But he still loves her.

I love the tension between Kate and Justin. You know they’re disfunctional but you root for them because they love each other and it’s comedic at times.


Kate and ex Justin

And then of course you have her conflict with the ex-stepmother who’s practically her age and an equal partner in the firm. Jealousy, bitterness and all those things surround Kate’s feelings for Lauren and even though you know Lauren really loved Kate’s dad, you aren’t ever sure what she’s really thinking. But when Kate gets in some jams, Lauren is there for her and the slow evolution of a friendship…very…very slow is nice to see.



And you can’t have a great story without a fun side-kick, aka secondary character. And that’s where Leo comes in. Her assistant, friend, and all around fun loving nut! They have a great relationship and you know there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for her. You also know, there’s no romantic chemistry there. Why? Because the actions and dialogue convey it. Good writing! 


What’s a story without a truth-teller? Someone who pushes you and makes you think. That’s where judge Nicastro comes in. He’s funny, stern, and he cares about Kate, even if it seems like he’s punishing her at every turn with insisting cases upon her. He’s wise and full of good truth that makes her think about who she is, why she acts in certain ways, and in his fatherly, judge-like way, encourages her to be better. 

Enter season two. 

Kate and Justin seem like they might forget the divorce and give it another try, as Kate has had some soul-searching and events happen in her life provide an epiphany! 

But Justin reveals devastating news and Kate can’t move forward.

Enter Ben Grogan, actor Ryan Johnson.

Another amp up in tension. Ben Grogan is an arrogant, all about money, shady lawyer who through interesting and funny events ends up as another partner at Kate’s firm. The sparks between them are electrifying! He’s sarcastic and obnoxious and she’s beside herself that he works there.

However, inside Ben Grogan lies a boy from the wrong side of the tracks trying to prove he’s worth something and he hides that behind a huge wall of arrogance and a mask of I-could-care-less. 

I love watching that wall break down little by little through the sweet things he does on occasion. However, they generally back fire and the wall pops back up, but that makes for great tension. Excellent conflict and I find myself not rooting so much for Justin–exhubby anymore. One because of what he reavealed to Kate. And two, I love a wounded hero!

I also enjoy watching Justin’s jealousy as he sees what Kate doesn’t. Her growing attraction for hunky Ben!



I’ve learned a lot about great writing from this show! 


Do you watch Fairly Legal? I recommend it! Netflix it and start from the beginning. What show do you love and why? 

Happy Weekend, friends! 

In the Here and Now

If you’re pursuing a dream then you know how consuming it is. Not just your actions to get there, but your thoughts, dreams during the day and at night. For me, as an inspirational writer, I want to use the fiction I write for, not only entertainment, but as a ministry to women. (and men–I’ve had men read my books and enjoy them. One was my own DH and that speaks volumes as he does not read. Ever. At all. Nada. Zip.) But mostly my audience is women.

The hunger to be traditionally published isn’t for vanity, fame, fortune or even validation on my life. It’s pretty simple. I want to spread a message of hope. No different than preachers, pastors, evangelists. It’s simply in a different way–a way God has graciously gifted me in. Why did He do it? I have no idea. But I am thankful.

It’s a long journey to a dream fulfilled.

For me it’s been endless hours of writing, sacrificing sleep, events and even physical comfort at times, learning new things, learning social media, spending time on social media more than I might want to. It’s been expensive with conferences, books, laptops, smartphone and the list goes on of items I have to purchase to do all the things I need to in order to move forward in fulfilling my dream. My God-given dream.

I’ve spent more hours in prayer, which is an upside. Some of my most intense and beautiful moments with God have come through praying about stories, characters, the message of hope, the mission of hope, the fruit of spreading hope. 

I’ve enjoyed surprise confirmations from God through people, places, the Word, and even billboards and attendance sheets, reminding me I’m moving forward. It isn’t in vain. Keep going.

I’ve written 13 manuscripts.  I did it in about 4 years. So you know the BIC (butt in chair) time I’ve spent. I’ve learned about myself as God used my own characters to teach me. Some of it hurt, some of it was simply amusing.

And here’s what I’ve been learning of late, because I’ve yet to see that dream of traditional publishing become a reality. I know dreams take time. I can relate and take comfort from Joseph, a young boy with a gigantic dream, that maybe seemed vain at the time–people bowing. I learned a lot as he grew from an immature teen into the wonderful man who was ready to handle having thousands bow at his feet.

My prayer has been, “God when you’re ready. Prepare me to house YOUR fame.” I think it’s  a daily prayer for me. 

I’ve learned that instead of obsessing over when and strengthening myself for the future (which is good and I should but not in an all-consuming way) I need to work on strengthening the Here and Now!

I let my future overpower my present. And I’ve suffered. 

When that realization struck me, after repenting and re-committing, God opened all sorts of opportunities up for me. Or maybe they were there all along and He simply gave me new sight to see them. Probably the latter. God is always up to something, doing something new. Question is: Are we on the same page? 

I’m preparing to teach a new and growing believers’ class and I’m writing the material for it! Two things I love. Teaching. Writing.

I’ve had the opportunity to help as an assistant nursery director while our real one is on maternity leave. (I’ll be glad when she’s back! ;))

I’ve been blessed to take a meal to a new mom and the list goes on. 

And I’m happy. I feel satisfied. Fulfilled–even though I’m still waiting while my agent works hard on my behalf. While God works hard on my behalf. They believe in me. In the message of hope. And I’m grateful. 

I’m not so antsy.

I’m not so worried.

God knows best. 

Maybe you’re pursuing a God-given dream. And yet you feel dissatisfied. Worried. Consumed.

Maybe you need to ask God what you can do in the Here and Now. Things that matter equally. Things that need done now. While God is working on the future.

they may set their hope in
God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments;” Psalm

**photo credits:

What do you do when you’re not consumed with your dream? Are you doing things in the Here and Now? 

I’m hosting at Living by Grace! Come join in the conversation.

Dear Journal….

Thanks, everyone for all the happy wishes for my anniversary this past weekend! We stayed off our electronic devices, which was nice. 

The winner for Reckless Heart by Amy Clipston is……..drum roll……..

Wendy Newcomb!! 
I’ll be sure to get Amy your email address so she can send you a copy of the book! Congratulations! 
One of my favorite things about school ending is my kids home every day all day the end of the year “stuff”. I love reading through essays and junk neat things my kids wrote. 
When they’re little, they get to journal.  I love to watch the change in handwriting over the course of the year and giggle at their misspellings as well as see their heart. 
Kids take journaling serious. They don’t think to lie or wonder what their teachers might think of their honesty. And that I truly do love. So I thought today I’d share with you some of the things my son, Myles, wrote in his journal. He’s 7. And of course, I think he’s brilliant, but I’m his mom.  I can say, if you read my facebook post, many times they’re of things he says. His unusual ability to be quick-witted and sarcastic without being obnoxious floors me and makes me laugh all the time, but in all honesty, TP and I have always talked to our kids like grown ups, played jokes and retorted with with or sarcasm so they’ve learned it early. 
Be prepared: I’m going to spell it exactly as he did, but you’ll figure it out easily! 
what i do on a rainy day is play my d.s. and i wach tv. and play with my toys.and play jokes on my sister.and i wood paint a chicken.and woch the rain por down. and madey take a nap. and go to bed when it’s bed time.

(a chicken? Really?)

What my family dose whith me is eat dinner. and go to the zoo whith me. and go to the birthday partys whith me. and woch movies whith me. and they pray whith me.

(I teared up at the end of that.)

bucaroo maens hello in texis. because what els would it mean. texis has all cinse of words we don’t know. So buckaroo must mean hello.


i don’t eat turky but my family does. i just eat corn thats what i eat. but i sill have fun. i like being whith my family when we eat. i like to eat whith my family. either don’t eat turky still eat.

(he’s a super picky eater! or as he says, “I’m persnickety about my food, Mom.)

I like Christmas because it’s jecuss birthday on Christmas and being whith family. and my dad makes chocklate chip cookies. and what i get in my stocking and what presents i get. i wander if i get pajamas agin.

(He did!)

I had a great spring break! I went to the zoo and saw the Robotical Dinosaur exhibet. The dinosaurs were awesome! My favorite part was when the dinosaurs spit on me and my mom and she screamed and jumped.

(I did. It shot water. And his writing improved so much!)

What did you love most about school as a child? Have you got a good laugh over reading your kids’ journals and stories from school? 

What’s Happening in Your Neck of the Woods?

My kids have one week of school left! I’m excited because I don’t have to get up quite as early, but to be honest, I’m not looking forward to 8 extra hours of bickering. I’ll probably rent a camper and park it in the backyard. Not sure if I’ll put them or myself in it.

I’m working on revising the 2nd novel I wrote.  I was ecstatic about this book when I wrote it and thought I knew it all without ever reading a craft book (this is where you seasoned writers shout, “Amen!” 

Can I just say…for the love! It’s taking me longer to revise than my other mss because it’s pitiful. PIT-EEE-FULL!

But salvageable.

 The plot is solid. I’m pretty good at plot, I’ve yet to be asked to revise one (I have been asked to revise numerous other things.) 

For example, every key scene for my MCs were in a bed. LOL Nothing going on that shouldn’t, it’s just they ended up in the same room for one reason or another. As I was reading, I was like WTC? And the writing? First I had to go back and nail down whose POV it was going to be in per scene/chapter, because I’m a recovering headhopper (Thanks, Nora. I blame you.) Then I had to print it again and cut scenes. Some were a joke, some were great but not necessary and it was over 100K…almost 120K! I knocked out at least 5,000K just by removing “just”. I might be exaggerating. Probably not.

Then I had to amp up the tension between the two. My main character was too perfect and I wanted him that way when I wrote him, you know before reading a craft book or studying a novel. That meant completely re-writing the first several chapters since their motivations changed. Well his did. Hers is still the same.

Then I had to cut backstory. That knocked most of my word count down. I’m at 95K now (I’ll keep it no more than 100K) I’m still hunting for the right place to enter what I think is important, but haven’t found it, so I just highlight places it might work for when I print it, yet again. I’m almost done with getting it up to par for the kind of first draft I write now…now that I have read craft books, written more, studied more novels and read writing blogs.

I’m not frustrated. It’s been irritating at times, but it’s also been a good laugh and fun to see how far I’ve come and where my strengths and WEAKNESSES lie. And I’ve enjoyed getting to know the characters again, better.

In fact, Julie Jarnagin @JulieJarnagin and I played a #badwriting game one day and tweeted some ridiculous lines we wrote. It was fun and it was a great stress reliever. If you’re interested, tweet some of yours and use the hashtag! 

Practice does make progress!

Oh! This Sunday is my 17th anniversary! I know…I look so much younger. I was a wee babe when I married. I kind of was. 19. So this year I’ve been with my husband longer than I’ve been single. We’ve been together 18 years. We’re probably just doing dinner and a movie, but that’s us. We’re simple. 

Looks like we’re getting a membership to the Country Club again this year. Here’s all the reasons I don’t belong. I wrote this last summer. Top 5 Reasons I Do Not Belong at the Country Club.

What’s going on in your neck of the woods? Summer plans? Anniversaries coming up? Any funny WIP stories?

Passing Through

gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we
really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we
cannot.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
year, my one word to focus on is: Strength. You can read about it HERE. I’m a
1/4 of the way into the year and I took a few moment to examine what this word
has meant so far and how I’ve been progressing.
My life
verse for this year is: Psalm 84:5-7.
is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they
pass through the valley of Baca (means weeping), they make it a spring…”
(parenthesis mine)
been feeling this. Journeying through the Valley of Weeping. I’ve shed many a
tear so far in 2012. I’ve had disappointments, things didn’t happen the way I
thought they would, I missed what God was saying and watched a boat sail. I’ve
struggled with physical pain and confusion over it.
been hurt. I’ve had to let hurt go.
faced fear. Fear of doing big things, taking big chances, dreaming big, fear of
But in
each of those things, I’ve learned so much more, I’ve grown closer to God and
people. I’ve discovered things about myself that I never knew.
enjoying this journey even during the valley times. I’m looking at things with a better attitude and kingdom perspective.
working on being a God-pleaser and not a self-pleaser.
getting stronger. Can’t say I’ve arrived or I’m as strong in the areas of my
life I should be, but I’m making progress.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me,
and know my anxieties;
 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead
me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
How about you? Do you ever stop and examine where you are? Where
you want to be? Are you focusing on one word this year? Did you make a
resolution or vow? How are you fairing? What are you learning?
I’m hosting at Living By Grace today! Stop by and let’s talk about moving forward! 

Welcome Amy Clipston!

I’m baaaack!! Did you miss me? I missed all of you! Seriously, I did. Okay, before I introduce our lovely guest, Amy Clipston, I want to let you all know the winner for the Wildflowers from Winter drawing is TERRY STRICKLAND!!!! Yay, Terry! Katie Ganshert will be getting you a copy soon! Enjoy!

I met the loveliest author on twitter! If you tweet, come find me and let’s follow and hang out! @jessicarpatch or just Join the Conversation at the side bar! Amy is precious and we hit it right off! You definitely need to hang out with her too! @AmyClipston and her facebook page where she’s always giving something away! Woo hoo!

 Amy  is the best-selling author of the Kauffman Amish
Bakery series with Zondervan. She has been writing for as long as she can
remember. Her fiction writing “career” began in elementary school
when she and a close friend wrote and shared silly stories. She is a graduate
of Virginia Wesleyan College and a member of the Authors Guild, American
Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. Amy lives in North
Carolina with her husband, two sons, mother, and four spoiled rotten cats.

 You had me until the cats! Just kidding…sorta.
😉 What one thing other than writing are you passionate about?

readers may not know that I’m passionate about organ donation because my
husband recently underwent a second kidney transplant. On June 14, 2011, I
donated a kidney to a stranger and, in exchange, my recipient’s husband gave a
kidney to my husband. This program is called paired kidney donation. Everyone
involved in the transplant is doing really well. I’m thankful my husband has a
new life without dialysis and that I was able to help another family through
the program.

That’s amazing, Amy! So glad everyone is doing well! You have a new book,
called Reckless Heart, coming out
this month, tell us one favorite line and why?
AC: I don’t want to give away too
much of the story, so I’d like to share a scene where Lydia and her mother
visit Lydia’s baby sister Ruthie in the hospital. Ruthie is very ill due to
leukemia. I like this scene because it shows the tenderness between the
sisters, and you’ll see how Lydia is struggling to be mature and strong.
Trying in vain to stop her tears,
Lydia lowered herself into a chair beside the bed and took Ruthie’s hand in
hers. Ruthie stirred but didn’t wake up.
Mamm sat in a chair on the other side
of the bed. “The doctor said that she is very tired from the illness and the
excitement of the ambulance ride.”
Lydia felt as if her world was
coming apart as she studied her baby sister, who looked so tiny and weak. She
stroked Ruthie’s little hand.
“I think she wants to hear your
voice,”  Mamm said. “She needs to know that you’re
here with her.”
“Ruthie,” she began. “It’s Lydia.
Mamm said that you wanted to see me.
I hope you’re feeling better. You gave us a real scare, but the doctor said
you’re going to be just fine. There are a lot of people in the waiting room
here at the hospital, and they all came for you. All of our aunts, uncles,
cousins, and most of our freinden
from church are already here. Joshua told me that more people are on their way.
You have to get better so you can visit with them when you feel up to it. You
know that they’ll want to come by the haus
and see you when you come home.”
Ruthie turned her head toward
Lydia and opened her eyes.
“Hi, there,” Lydia said as a tear
trickled down her cheek. “You need to get better, ya?”
Nodding her head, Ruthie squeezed
Lydia’s hand.
Lydia sucked in a breath and
smiled at her sister. They sat in silence for several minutes. The only sounds
were the buzz and hiss of the machine and the occasional deep, barky cough from
Ruthie’s little mouth.
Lydia began to babble about
everything that she wanted to do with Ruthie when she was better, such as
teaching her how to sew and how to write her name. She then told Ruthie about
the storybook she’d read to Irma in the waiting area. She prattled on and on
until she was out of words.
Finally, Mamm leaned over. “Ruthie, I think you need to get more sleep. Why
don’t you close your eyes, mei liewe?”
Ruthie closed her eyes. Soon, her
breathing changed, and she let go of Lydia’s hands.
“Let’s allow her to sleep in
peace,” Mamm whispered. “I think it
helped her to see you and hear your voice. Maybe that will give her some
strength to tell her body to get better.” She gestured toward the door. “Let’s
head back out to the waiting area.”
A beautiful scene! What inspired you to write this book?
AC: My friends at Zonderkids asked
me to write an Amish young adult novel and gave the choice of writing a
Kauffman book or creating new characters. I pitched the idea of writing about
Lydia Bontrager, a Kauffman granddaughter, and my editor liked it. I’m excited
I could use a Kauffman character in a new story that isn’t connected to the
That’s awesome! I’ve never been to Lancaster county. Name one place you’d like
to go that you’ve never been and why?
AC: It’s my dream to go to Hawaii!  My hubby is a Navy brat, and he was born in
Hawaii while his father was stationed there. I’d love to go see where he was
born and also sit on the sand and gaze at that crystal blue water. Someday
you’ll find me there sitting under an umbrella with a book in my hand and a
grin on my face.
JP: Find you? I might go with you! You
could always write an Amish book set there and go for “research”! When you’re
curling up with a good book at night, do you choose the same genre you write or
something else?
AC: I try not to read other Amish
writers. When I do, I worry my books aren’t as good or that I might
accidentally emulate their style when I work on my next novel. I enjoy
contemporary romance and young adult. I read both Christian and secular
authors. I have a pile books I want to read when I find the time.
That might be every writers fear! But man, I love the books in my genre (even
when I worry mine stink. What would your characters say about you if they had
the chance?
AC: I hope my characters would say
I’m a good person who strives to be the best writer, mother, and Christian
woman she can be. Sometimes I fall short, but I try to do my best.

And really, that’s all we can do! Give us a
peek at Reckless Heart!

Here’s a teaser for you:

Lydia Bontrager’s youngest sister is frighteningly ill, and as a
good Amish daughter, it falls to Lydia to care for her siblings and keep the
household running, in addition to working as a teacher’s assistant and helping
part time at her grandmother’s bakery. Succumbing to stress, Lydia gives in to
one wild night and returns home drunk.

The secret of that mistake leaves Lydia feeling even more restless and
confused, especially when Joshua, the only boy she’s ever loved, becomes
increasingly distant. When a non-Amish boy moves in nearby, Lydia finds someone
who understands her, but the community is convinced Lydia is becoming too
reckless. With the pressures at home and her sister’s worsening condition, a
splintering relationship with Joshua, and her own growing questions over what
is right, Lydia could lose everything that she’s ever held close.

Thanks for hanging out with me today, Amy! It was awesome!

Amy is giving a copy of Reckless Heart away today! Leave her a comment and your email address! If you’re reading from facebook, you can comment here or there! Tweet and get a double shot of winning!

Amy says: I would
love to ask readers what they would like to see in my next novel. What would
they like me to write about?

Faith Readers Review: She Walks in Beauty

It all began at McAllister’s Deli to support our Haiti Missions Team! A fundraiser. Who doesn’t love to eat to help support missions? 

Afterwards we headed back to our Cornerstone Church cafe for assorted teas, scones, and chocolate cake bites! You can’t discuss a young woman’s debut into society without tea and scones. Uh, no…you can’t.

This book was an eye-opener to the times of a young lady trying to find a husband, learning all the rules of etiquette and socializing and fitting in.

Here are some of the comments made:

“Can you imagine having to sleep in a corset? I’d cut that thing off in a heartbeat!”

“I despised the aunt! How vain!”

“I don’t know that society today is less vain than the Victorian women, but I think we go about it in a different way. Both ways are equally sad.”

“I loved learning about the Victorian era and how the young women debuted.”

“I got tired of all the debut season. I skipped pages. I thought it went too slow.”

“I loved the romance and how it ended. I thought it was perfect.”

“I thought the ending was contrived.”

“The theme of God loving us the way we are needed to be said.”

“I’d have never made it in that day. Not if a 30 inch waist was considered overweight!”

Overall most everyone really enjoyed the book. The average rating from 1-5 was a 3.5!

After we discussed the book, we took a look at an online exhibition of  119 incredible works by two masters of the haute couture, Charles Frederick Worth 1825-1895 and Mainbocher 1891-1976. It was so much fun! We laughed, ooohed, aaahed, made fun of…made fun of some more…and laughed again. It was a fabulous book club! 
Here’s the link to the online exhibition! It’s worth a look just to see what they wore. Some dresses the women had to be sewn into! I know!

For a young society
woman seeking a favorable marriage in the late 1890s, so much depends on her
social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the
affections of the city’s most eligible bachelor. Debuting means plenty of
work–there are corsets to be fitted, dances to master, manners to perfect. Her
training soon pays off, however, as celebrity’s spotlight turns Clara into a
society-page darling. 
Yet Clara wonders if
this is the life she really wants, especially when she learns her best friend
has also set her sights on Franklin De Vries. When a man appears who seems to
love her simply for who she is, and gossip backlash turns ugly, Clara realizes
it’s not just her heart at stake–the future of her family depends on how she
plays the game. 

 I’m taking a blogging break this rest of this week and I’ll be back on Monday, May 14th with special guest, author Amy Clipston! I’ll be around facebook and twitter, not completely out of pocket! 

Today answer the question:

If you had $1000 to spend frivolously, what would you buy and why? 

Wildflowers from Winter: Emily Shuff’s Beauty from Pain

Emily with daughter #2, Paisley Kate!

Today, many people
are spreading hope across facebook and the blogosphere thanks to KatieGanshert. Her debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter is about to release! It’s an
amazing story of a woman whose painful past springs with hope and beauty. Katie
asked that today, we share a story of hope, where beauty grew from pain. I’m
excited to share with you, not my story–I share my stuff all the time–but the
story of a beautiful woman (inside and out). She’s not only our Creative Arts
pastor’s wife, but she’s also a dear friend to me.
She’s like sunshine
mixed with cool breezes, ice cream cones and rainbows. Everything we love and
would miss if they went away. Today, Emily Shuff, is sharing her Wildflowers
from Winter story and my prayer and hers is that it will extend to you and give
you the same hope!
Welcome Emily!
Getting married so
young at 17 and 19,  I wasn’t in a hurry
for kids but we also thought whatever happens is fine. We never really did
anything to prevent pregnancy and never really thought much when nothing
At 17 life happens
when you want it to anyway, right?! It wasn’t until years later that we
decided, “Ok we are ready for this blessed event to occur”…so now it will
happen because we want it and we are ready… Right?! We started “trying” to
get pregnant.
Months would come
and go and once again it was the same thing.
No baby.
Daughter #1 Lexie Rae
 It was difficult to say the least…a lot like
a roller coaster, high hopes at the beginning of the month followed by drastic
let downs when again that second pink line never showed up. I knew God was able
but just didn’t understand why he wouldn’t let it happen.
I thought through
every scenario possible…. was I just not cut out to be a good mom or had my
past just been to much that I wasn’t able to be trusted with such a precious
gift? We decided to talk to the doctor and start getting tested. Knowing seems
to make everything better! In Spring of 2005 we were sitting across the desk
from a very kind doctor and in the most compassionate way he told us, “There’s
always IVF. You guys look like you love each other though and I’m sure you will
be ok.”
Crushed doesn’t even
begin to describe the feelings we had at the moment
. We had no thread of hope
except to trust the Lord. IVF wasn’t even an option…still young and starting
out in life we were far from being able to afford any expensive medical procedures.
We took a couple steps back and said, “OK God it’s in your hands. We will
wait on You and whatever You choose to do. We had one couple that Doug and I
were close with that knew what we were facing and that was it.
It wasn’t exactly
good dinner conversation, you know? But, I reached the place that I didn’t care
who knew I just needed to know God knew… And He did. In APRIL of 2005 at a
Sunday evening church service during the altar time I had a VERY specific word spoken
to me by a guest evangelist about rebuking emptiness and bareness and releasing
healing.  He knew the pain and He sent hope.
I held so tightly to
that word. I listened to it over and over. I clung to Isaiah 55:8-11, that God
sent that word for a specific purpose. As I began to dig into the Word deeper I
quickly realized that there were a lot of women who also went through the same
situation. Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth…. quite an extensive
list. In my pain I thought God was doing this to punish me for my past but what
had these women done, why them too?
Pastor  Doug and Emily with baby number #3, son #1, Nathan
 I realized God wasn’t punishing, but He was
evoking faith in them, in me.
He wanted me to trust
Him to get closer to Him and He decided to use one of the most special and
precious areas to a woman He could use…her womb, my womb. So, I hoped this
word meant that we got two pink lines the very next month but we didn’t or the
month after that either. In fact…three years had passed…
The roller coaster
continued each month but we clung to the hope that He still knew. In June of
2008, I got the surprise of a lifetime…. two pink lines.
We came to find out
that I was due in January of 2009…which meant that I had gotten pregnant in,
can you believe, APRIL of 2008! I nearly passed out when I realized this.
Almost 3 years exactly to the day after God spoke to my pain I conceived a
miracle, eight years into our marriage.
Proud papa, Pastor Doug with Nathan!
If the story ended
there it would be great….but it doesn’t! We decided that we would continue to
not prevent pregnancy because we loved the idea that we could have more kids if
the Lord was willing to give them to us and in, yep you guessed it, APRIL of
2010, we found out we were expecting our second child. But wait…there’s more!
 Just this APRIL on the 20th I gave birth to
our third child. God has blessed our family with more than we could ever ask or
imagine. We have 3 beautiful children. Our oldest daughter, a bright eyed
little lady, Alexia Rae. Our middle child, full of pure sweetness, Paisley
Kate, and our newest addition, Nathan Riley. With each child and the details
surrounding their arrivals God displayed His greatness, His great love and His
He was never trying to punish me or thought I was incapable of
parenting or loving a child He was teaching me to trust Him and He used one of
the most precious ways for me to learn that trust.  
Lots of  precious hope fulfilled! 
Have you ever watched the impossible happen in your life? Are you still waiting on the impossible! Dote on Em’s babies, cause they’re adorable! 🙂

In honor of Katie’s debut novel releasing soon, she’s giving away a copy of her book to a lucky winner! All you have to do is leave your email address in the comment section if you want to be entered! I will draw the winner through a random generator and announce it on Monday!

*If you are reading this through facebook and can’t comment in the blog comments, let me know in the comments of facebook if you’d like to be entered and I’ll message you if you win!

A young architect at
a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built a life far removed from her
trailer park teen years. Until an interruption from her estranged mother
reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is
called back to rural Iowa. Determined to pay her respects while avoiding any
emotional entanglements, she vows not to stay long. But the unexpected
inheritance of farmland and a startling turn of events in Chicago forces
Bethany to come up with a new plan.
Handsome farmhand
Evan Price has taken care of the Quinn farm for years. So when Bethany is left
the land, he must fight her decisions to realize his dreams. But even as he
disagrees with Bethany’s vision, Evan feels drawn to her and the pain she keeps
so carefully locked away. 
For Bethany, making
peace with her past and the God of her childhood doesn’t seem like the path to
freedom. Is letting go the only way to new life, love and a peace she’s not
even sure exists? 
You can pre-order Wildflowers from Winter here. It debuts May 8th!