Patty Wysong: As Beautiful as Hephzibah

Today, I’m honored to host the amazing, Patty Wysong who is sharing about beauty. Thank you, Patty for being here today!

As women, we have a natural bent for beauty. We love it and long for it. As Christian women we are very aware of the two kinds of beauty–physical beauty and inner beauty. How many times have we seen a beautiful woman and admired her beauty—until she took off her sunglasses or opened her mouth? And other times we’ve met a woman whose inner beauty shined so brightly that it far surpassed her outer beauty. 

Those women made an impression on us and we remembered their inner beauty much longer than their lack of physical beauty.

What makes a woman beautiful even when her hair is snarly and she’s wearing a plaid polyester pantsuit? A heart that’s full of her Savior and Lord. A heart that’s glowing for God. A heart that’s overflowing with praise. 

The Bible tells us what is beautiful:

Praise is becoming to the upright. ~Psalm 33:1b
Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant and praise is becoming.
~Psalm 147:1

Praise! It’s something everyone can do. It’s a matter of making the choice to praise rather than complain. Praising God takes our eyes off ourselves and puts them on the One we are praising. Self-absorbed people are not happy people, they’re miserable. God-absorbed people are able to praise even when life stinks. It gives them a measure of joy even during the unhappy times.

We work hard at beauty–our own beauty and the beauty that surrounds us, whether it’s our home or work place. But do we put as much time and thought and effort into our inner beauty? Sometimes that inner beauty is as simple as choosing to praise God—whether we feel like it or not. That praise shines through us and God rejoices.

And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so your God will rejoice over you. ~Isaiah 62:5b

God rejoices in us, His bride, and He has a special name for us: Hephzibah. It’s found in Isaiah 62:4. But you will be called, “My delight is in her,” and the margin note says Hephzibah. My baby name book agrees with the margin note, too. Proverbs assures us that a good name Proverbs 22:1 is more desirable than great wealth. “My delight is in her.” Sounds to me like a pretty cool name to be called! Hephzibah. It has quite a ring to it.

Let’s be sure to beautify our lives with praise for our great God so we can live up to the name He has given us.


My delight is in her.

Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. ~Psalm 22:3

Since Patty quit running from God’s call on
her life and surrendered her pen to Him, she’s been happy. Life is never dull
as she juggles being a wife, a homeschooling mom of five, a Bible study
facilitator, an online blogging class teacher, a blog designer, a website
manager, and a writer. As long as she’s obeying God’s leading, she figures that
sanity is a novelty and not a necessity. Patty clings to the promise that God
will enable her to do what He asks of her, otherwise you would find her living
with the scaredy cats at the Funny Farm and not just occasionally visiting.

She would love to visit with you online on her blog, Patterings, Facebook, and Twitter.

Name one thing you find 
beautiful in a woman?

I’m hosting at
Living By Grace and
I’d love for you to come by
and chat!

To Celebrate Halloween or Not To

Halloween is an interesting holiday. 

Some refuse to participate in it for religious reasons–the origin involves evil; you can read about it here. Scary costumes do not honor God or holiness. Some refuse to participate because they simply feel it isn’t safe. You teach your kids not to take candy from strangers and then designate a day to turn the tables and spend the evening doing just that.

Others join in but refuse to wear scary costumes. They visit only the  homes of friends and family.

And then some attend alternative events like Fall Festivals and Trunk or Treats in a way to let their children have fun along with all the other kids.

I think it boils down to your convictions. I don’t think one is wrong for doing it while the other is right. Or vice versa. 

For the record, we trick or treat with a group of friends and have since our kids were little. After eating hot dogs and chili by the fire, we head out through the neighborhood and hope for the good stuff–by good stuff I mean candy not PCP on bubble gum wrappers. 

But this year me and my friend Melanie are over our church’s first ever Trunk or Treat, so we’ll be doing that instead. We have face painting, a huge outdoor movie screen that will play, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown along with popcorn. Sixty vehicles have committed to decorating non-scary trunks. Moon bounces will be set and ready to go and if that’s not enough, we’re also offering hayrides. The event is free to the public. I’m pretty excited about it. 

What do you think? Do you Trick or Treat? Why or why not? 

*photo credit: freedigitalphotos

Top 5 Things I Hate About Fall

photocredit: freedigitalphotos

Fall is my favorite season. Seems like it’s a favorite of many. I’m sure I’ve commented on dozens of things I love about Fall. 

But what about the things I don’t? I think they should be voiced. So here they are:

5. Dew

photocredit: freedigitalphotos

I do not like Dew because my annoying rat of a dog won’t go outside. It’s like she wakes up and knows it’s going to be wet, therefore some mornings she won’t even come out from under the bed. I know when I get back from dropping my kids off at school, she’s going to have dropped a load on my floor. I’d say I just don’t like my dog in Fall, but I don’t really like her all year round so…

4. Confusion

photocredit: freedigitalphotos

It’s cold in the morning but by afternoon it’s sunny. How are we supposed to dress? Flip-flops and Hoodies? What if my feet get cold and my torso gets hot? I can’t hang my flip-flops… well anyway…

3. The lazy sun

photo credit: freedigitalphotos

I think it’s unfair that the sun gets a break from shining a full day’s work. I don’t like that it gets dark at 2 in the afternoon. I have to keep going, I think the sun should too. I don’t care if it’s all part of some lunar/planety kind of we-would-fall-off-the-earth kind of thing. “Where there’s lack of vision, the people perish.” Just sayin.

2. Possessed People

photo credit: freedigitalphotos

I do not like flipping on the TV or changing a channel to see the Exorcist kid’s head turning like an owl’s or children crawling along the ceiling and walls only to shriek and cock their head to the side. Children with wide eyes that do that cocking-head-thing freak. me. the. crap. out. Down with the scary children and possessed teenagers who live in a creepy house!

And the number one thing (I almost thought possessed people were the worst, but no…)

1. Trick or Treaters (bet you thought I was gonna say Candy Corn didn’t you? Blech!)

photo credit: freedigitalphotos

Not just any trick or treater. I love the cute little chubby kids with dog noses and puppy ears. I grin at princesses and tiny little knights. I’m talking about those bratty tweens that are technically too old and they know it, so they show up in NO COSTUME AT ALL and expect a treat. 

Okay, so maybe not no costume at all, but they wear Camouflage pants and shirts. Really? That’s not a costume. I live in the south. That’s day-wear, night-wear, date-wear, wedding-wear, school-wear, and even church-wear down here. It doesn’t count. And they know it. They just want the candy.

Yeah, I got their treats this year. 

Have a great weekend, ya’ll! 
What’s your favorite Halloween treat?

Patience’s Perfect Work

 “My brethren, count it all joy when
you fall into various trials, knowing
that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect
work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1: 2-4.

 I read this over the weekend and verse 3 and 4
stood out. “knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But
let patience have it’s perfect work…”
tests have come. Some days it seems like more than I can handle (seems is the
key word). I’ve held on to faith in what I know is true. But have I been
letting patience have its perfect work? Am I truly being changed? I’m still pondering that one.
about you? 
What does this verse mean to you?

*Photo credit: Freedigitalphotos

Joanne Bischof: Does God Make Mistakes?

I’m truly honored to have debut author, Joanne Bischof here! Her book Be Still My Soul recently released and let me tell you, it’s amazing! Today she’s sharing with us about how her story came to life and answered the question: Does God make mistakes?
Do you ever look around you and wonder… “How did I
get here?” As a new author, I have this thought every single day. I’m amazed by
the blessing of it all.
I never planned on writing Appalachian
. I never woke up and thought “today is the day I’m
going to write a book about romance in Appalachia.” It just sort of happened. I
was listening to this

by Alison Krauss and instantly, Lonnie’s character came to me. I saw her
sitting there, this question filling her heart—would she ever be loved? Right
then, Gideon’s character came to me as well. And while at first, the
possibility seemed unlikely between the two of them, I knew that God works
miracles and that this love story had to be told. In this moment, Be Still My Soul was born.
The story took off from there and true to its musical
origins, it begins
with a dance
, deep in the mountains, one autumn
night. As I thought about it, I knew that Lonnie, the shy wallflower of Rocky
Knob would want little to do with singing on stage. But of course, that’s
exactly where she ends up. Right next to cocky bluegrass musician and handsome
ladies’ man, Gideon O’Riley. While they knew one another from afar, this is the
first moment they are thrown together. Gideon who has a reputation as being the
town rebel, ends up walking her home—almost stealing more than a kiss—and ends
up changing her life forever.
My heart breaks for Lonnie, but I see redemption on
the horizon and pray that hope will breath it’s peace into her spirit.
Isn’t life funny that way? We find ourselves in a
situation and we’re questioning if maybe God made a mistake. Maybe He fell
asleep at the wheel for a minute and didn’t hear our pleas. We think, “God you
know my needs and this is NOT what I need right now.” I think God just listens.
Because He knows what He can build out of nothing. What he can build from a
flurry of broken hopes. Broken dreams. But do we? Do we forget that God is so
mighty that nothing is too big for Him? No distance too far. No heart too cold.
There have been moments in my life when I’ve forgotten this truth. But then it
fills my heart with peace and healing begin. Because nothing is impossible for
Let’s chat! Has there been a time in your life when
you felt this way? A moment when you thought “no good can come of this” yet
down the road, God’s blessings unfolded in a surprise way?
 Here’s a sneak peek at Joanne’s historical romance:
chill tickled her skin. Lonnie pressed her hands together and glanced up. He
was even more handsome up close. Having grown up the shy, awkward daughter of
Joel Sawyer, she’d hardly spoken to any boy, let alone the one who had mothers
whispering warnings in their daughter’s ears and fathers loading shotguns.

Pretty Lonnie Sawyer is shy and innocent, used to fading into the background
within her family, and among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills.
Though her family is poor and her father abusive, she clings to a quiet
faith.  But when handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician Gideon
O’Riley steals a kiss, that one action seals her fate.

Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon—a man she barely knows
and does not love. Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities,
Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing  Lonnie on an arduous journey
away from her home in Rocky Knob.

Her distant groom can’t seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the
forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life.  What will it take
for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that
can heal their two fractured hearts?

Married to her first
sweetheart, Joanne Bischof lives in the mountains of Southern
California where she keeps busy making messes with their home-schooled
children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about
faith, writing, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to
life. Be Still My Soul is her first novel.
Connect with Joanne at her website/blog, facebook, and twitter @joannebischof
*I loved all your names! Thanks for entering the contest. It was a toughy. Here’s my Top 4 Names I battled with for the Sailboat contest:
4. I Promise it’s Safe
3.Early Inheritance
2.Sinking Feeling
1. Parayoso (Paradise in Spanish) 

But the winner goes to…

Seas the Bay by Katelynn Evans! Perfect for a guy in Tampa Bay!

*photocredit: freedigitalphotos

Revenge: Tips for a strong story


My husband was out
of town and I couldn’t sleep. So I snagged my iPad and went to Netflix. What
could I watch that would knock me out?
I clicked on
Revenge. Season 1. Now, I didn’t watch this show when it came out because I
wasn’t crazy about the title. And I already have enough shows I’m watching.
But within the first
five minutes, I was hooked.
Located in the
Hamptons, on the beach. Exquisite beach houses. All things I happen to find
As the show opens this quote comes onscreen: “Before you
embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” Confucius
It starts with a
dead body falling on the beach while the narrator talks about two wrongs not
making a right. Another bullet is fired. A party is going on.
The heroine’s voice says, “Real
satisfaction can only be found in one of two places. Absolute forgiveness or
mortal vindication. This story is not about forgiveness.”


I know immediately
what this story is about. I’m lured in with this man being murdered and a big
“You shouldn’t
be here,” the heroine says.
“That makes two
of us,” some random guy I haven’t figured out says. (I now know who he is.)
through Action
The man just got shot! At his own engagement party…or
did he?
I’m immersed the
minute the show starts. The inciting incident happens. A man in his tux is shot
down on the beach and I know it’s about revenge, already, so I’m following
closely to see why does this woman want revenge? What will she do to get it?
Shoot this man? Did she shoot this man? Who shot this man?
As a writer, I’m
hanging on everything that happens. I’m watching how they unfold this story.
And they do it well.
Instead of simply
telling me what happened or beginning with back story, they don’t. They bring
it in in “real time” while showing. They don’t give me the answer to
who shot the man.
Victoria and Conrad Grayson
Not yet. They keep
me hanging on, by going into what happened before. If I want answers, I must
keep watching and because it’s done in real time and more action is present,
I’m willing to watch to see. And even as I watch the real time backstory, they
have yet to give me everything. I still have to try and piece things together
and continue watching. It’s a delicious thrill! And it involves the Grayson family. 
Every time I think I
know something, they prove I don’t. Everyone has a story. Everyone has a
motive. Everyone has a secret. With every jaw dropping moment, I have to press
on. And so at 2:30 in the morning on a work night, I’m on episode 7. Still
watching. I must know!
This story may not
be about forgiveness, which as a Christian I believe in. I believe that God
alone will bring justice to injustice. But what I’m discovering is, it’s more
than revenge. It’s about the setbacks, the consequences of choices, the
no-turning-back moments. It’s the story question that begs an answer: “Is
revenge worth it?” She may not think she has anything to lose, but she
does. With each day, she discovers she absolutely does. So will revenge drive
her forward? Will she stop?
And just when she
thinks she will…something happens to force her to keep going.
Great writing!
I may not agree with
revenge, but I understand this character’s motives. They’re strong. They’re
tied to love and family. I can relate. I may want revenge on someone who hurts
those I love. I believe her. While she’s making the wrong decisions, in my opinion
based on my beliefs, I can sympathize.
I like her sidekick,
who really just wants her to forgive, but he helps her because he’s hoping that
she’ll realize the kind of life she could have, with a certain someone, if
she’ll just let it go.
Even the villainous
characters at times are likable. They’re motives are strong. I see their human
side. I even root for them to get out of the predicaments they’re put
in (sometimes).
I’m about two
episodes away from finishing season 1. I’ve Tivo’d season 2. I think I’ve
missed two, but I can watch them online. And I will.
How about your stories? Do they have all of these elements to keep readers
turning pages?
What keeps you turning pages? Any of these elements?
Do you watch Revenge?
*I will be announcing the winner for the Name That Boat contest! You have until midnight tonight to enter as many names for the sailboat as you’d like! Hop on over to my facebook page to participate! 
*Join me Monday with Joanne Bischof, author of Be Still My Soul! 

Why Your Dream Hasn’t Come True…Yet



Joseph. One of my
favorite people in the Bible. I taught on him last week in class. I can never
make it through without crying.

God gave Joseph a
dream. A big dream. Most times, when God gives us a dream it’ll be bigger than
us so we don’t get the glory.
But Joseph was only
17. He was immature, bratty, spoiled, and a tattle tale. He wasn’t ready for his
And that’s why God
allowed tough circumstances to enter his life. He was sold by his brothers and
taken to Egypt as a slave. He was purchased by the captain of the guard. Yet,
Joseph was successful in everything because the Lord was with him. Even in tough
times, Joseph clung to his faith. He abided in God. When the master’s wife came
at him day after day, he refused until he had to literally run lest he sinned against God.
Doing the right thing landed him
in prison.
Joseph let himself get comfortable. Hey, the Captain’s house wasn’t home, but it wasn’t the pit his
brothers had tossed him in and it could be worse. He had freedom to come and go.
He had his master’s household under his authority. No more iron neck collars or
But God didn’t allow
him to go into captivity to be comfortable as a slave.
He still had a dream to
fulfill. So He took him out of his comfort zone and placed Joseph in another
set of grim circumstances.
In prison, Joseph
was a success. God was with him. And he was given all authority over everyone
there. He’d been faithful with little. Now, he was faithful over a little more.
He matured. Life
wasn’t about him alone anymore. He’d taken an interest in others. That’s how he
could tell something was wrong with the baker and the butler. He was becoming
more of the man God knew he was to be. He was getting closer to his dream.
And then the Pharaoh
had a dream. Joseph interpreted it. And he became ruler over much. Over the
nation of Egypt in fact. He was 30.
When his brothers
came and bowed down to him, fulfilling the dream he had. He was at least 37.
Dreams take time. Your dreams aren’t even all about you. God was working behind the scenes, not only for Joseph–to bless him, but for His people He’d made covenant with. A famine was coming and God was making plans to take care of them. He was working on uniting a dysfunctional family. His brothers hated him. His father favored him over the rest. And He was working on showing a nation, who considered Pharaoh a god amongst the other 1000 gods they worship, His glory. Giving them a chance to see a true living God. 

Yes, dreams take time.

 God needs time to mold us into what we need to be in
order to handle them when they come true.
 Joseph understood this when he said, “For
God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” Genesis
It’s in the
disastrous times, tough times, frightening times, uncertain times, painful
times, lonely times that God can cut off the things in our lives that don’t
belong and produce a fruit (a beneficial, wonderful product) that will last.
It’s in those times if we abide in Christ, we will become more Christ-like.
I’m sure Joseph
questioned his circumstances. But at the end of the day, I think he may have
said exactly what this song says he did. I love this video clip from Joseph,
King of Dreams
. It’s a favorite movie of mine. Take a minute and let the words
seep into your heart.
And remember when you wonder and ask, “Why?”
You God, know better
than I. 

Have you found that God is near in the tough times?  Why or why not?

*The Name that Sailboat contest is still going on! Enter for a chance to win a $10 Starbucks or Amazon card (winner choice). Just head over to my facebook page! 

Come by our facebook page
and chat about abiding in
the tough times!


Name that Boat!

Last Tuesday, I opened up another contest on my Facebook page! Name That Boat!

I’m working on a new story and my hero, who lives in Tampa, loves to sail. And he loves his sail boat. 

So I’m asking for some help in naming that boat! You don’t have to know anything about the character, that’s what makes it even more fun reading the answers and choosing. 

But I will say…he’s a funny guy and he uses sarcasm as a defense mechanism. But generally, it’s good humored. Generally. So that’s all I’m saying.

Now, here’s how to enter: 

  • You can comment as many names as you like on MY FACEBOOK PAGE! after you “LIKE” my facebook page! 😉 Hey, thanks for liking me! I like you too!

  • If I choose a name that’s been entered multiple times, I’m awarding the prize to the person who entered it first.

  • Your name gets a second entry if you share this contest on your facebook page and another entry if you tweet about it!
  • Contest ends: Friday, October 19th. I’ll announce the winner on my blog, Monday, October 21st! *only  in US/Canada
The winner receives a $10 Starbucks 
or Amazon Card (winner’s choice)! 

 Have you ever been sailing? Do you love it? 
Hate it? Get sea legs? 

**photocredit: freedigitalphotos

It’s True, I Broke Into a House

Me and Lindsay at the ACFW.
Pretty much all our photos look like this.

Today, I’m over at the wildly fun Lindsay Harrel’s blog. Have you seen her upgraded site? It’s awesome. And since it’s October, I’m sharing a ghoulish story that is all true about something I did as a child. 

Tomorrow, I’m going out to dinner for my birthday with my husband, and he keeps me out of trouble, so it’ll be a relaxed evening with lots of laughs…and gifts, and maybe a movie. Guess I should see what’s on.

Okay, enough gabbing! Head over to Lindsay’s blog and get a good laugh on me. CLICK HERE.

#1 Key to Succeeding at Great Things



Everyone wants to
succeed and do great things. We’re wired to for it. Remember those commercials
about drugs. “No one said they wanted to grow up to be a junkie.” I
would agree with that.

Last week, I taught
on Daniel. A wonderful model for us to live lives of worship, praise, and
prayer. A boy taken captive from his homeland. Full of uncertainty. Possible
doubt about where God was in the circumstances that he found himself in, and
surely some fear and anxiety. That’s a lot of miles to walk to Babylon with
nothing but your mind to keep you company. I know what my mind does when I’m in
uncertain times or feel imprisoned.
But Daniel held fast
to his faith, even when others directly targeted it. He didn’t compromise, not
when offered the king’s food that was offered to false gods and not when an
unchangeable decree went out that he couldn’t pray or petition any god or man,
but the king, for thirty days. That’s what sealed him in the lion’s den.
Instead he prayed.
He lived a lifestyle of worship. Everything he did was offered to God. And when
we live of worship, we’ll excel. But even that’s not the #1 thing you need to
Daniel was faithful
with little things. He was made ruler over much. (Matthew 25:21) God gave him
abilities and gifts, and he used them for God’s glory. But even that isn’t the
#1 thing you need to know. And don’t think Daniel was perfect.
Daniel wasn’t a
perfect man.
“While I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sins…” Daniel 9:20 But he honored God with
whatever was put before him. His job. His responsibilities. Even his friends
and his people. “…confessing my sins and the sins of my people, and
presenting my supplications before the LORD my God…”
So what is the #1
thing we need to know to be successful and to actually accomplish all of those
wildly big dreams God plants in our heart?
How did Daniel start
out? A scholar? Rich beyond our imagination? Was he famous with a huge
platform, an outstanding twitter tribe, and facebook following? Did he have a
few books under his belt that he self-published first? Did he put an amazing
YouTube out that went viral?
He started out in
captivity. He started out far away from what he’d ever known. He started out
half-naked (vulnerable). He started out walking…one step after another…in the
Daniel worshipped,
praised God (even in the uncertain times when he could have grown bitter and
cold), he prayed every day–3 times a day looking out toward home,  with the window open, he studied the word (in
scroll form but had he not, he wouldn’t have realized a prophecy was about to
be fulfilled), he interceded for others, he asked God for some things (probably
to get them out of captivity). And he never took for granted the favor God gave
him with those who could have made life difficult–the gatekeepers, if you
will, to his life or death.
Daniel, over the
course of his years, learned something that we all need to learn. When the
enemy lies to us, plants seeds of doubt in our mind, taunts us with roars of
fear, brings us face to face with uncertainty, tries to cut our knees out from
under us…all things he did to Daniel…he discovered this:
people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”
Daniel 11:32
That’s it. That’s
Should we study and
learn? Should we be knowledgeable about the things we want to accomplish? Yes.
Am I telling you not to go to college or get your Master’s Degree, or read
craft books, or to practice at what it is you want to do? No.
“Study and be
eager…correctly analyzing and accurately dividing rightly  handling and skillfully teaching) the Word of
Truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 God expects us to learn, grow, mature and be
knowledgeable about many things. We have a partnership. “Carry out”
that lets us know, He’s not going to do it all. “know their God” that
takes effort. We have to actually spend time with Him to know Him!
What I am saying is it really is about Who you know. The #1 thing you need to know is Daniel 11:32.
How does this verse change 
the way you may feel about
success and doing great things?