Old Dreams and New Dreams

Everyone, welcome back Melissa Tagg! And Happy Halloween tomorrow–or Happy Fall if you don’t celebrate it! Take it away, Melissa!
I’ve written about the main
characters in my debut novel, Made to Last, quite a few times around the
blogosphere. Miranda and Matthew—I sorta love them. Okay, I really love them. And Blake, too. I love
him so much I gave him his own book, which comes out next spring.
But I haven’t written as often—or
possibly at all—about one of the book’s side characters: A guy named Jase.
Jase was one of those subplot guys
who sneaks up on you. Writers know what I’m talking about. We may not actually
all that fully plan out the character’s role in the story, but once he waltzes
his way onto the page, we discover he has a history and maybe even a little
story arc all his own.
Thus, Jase.
Jase is the brother of my hero,
Matthew. Turns out he went down to Texas a few years ago, acted as visiting art
professor at a college and came home a semester later with a wife and
stepdaughter. The stepdaughter, Cee, is deaf—a result of meningitis—and is part
of my hero’s motivation. See, a whole backstory that just sort of ambled its
way into existence as I wrote. (AH, I love being a writer!)
Anyway, there comes a point about
two-thirds of the way through the book when Matthew finds out Jase is facing
his own sort of mini-crisis. The photo gallery he opened in Minneapolis is
going under. Financially, it’s not supporting his soon-to-expand family
anymore. So he’s closing up shop and going back to teaching. And as he tells
Matthew about his family’s upcoming changes, Matthew starts thinking…about how
Jase was letting go of one dream, his gallery, in order to support his new
dream, his family. The mental journey had all sorts of implications in
Matthew’s own life.
I never really expected that scene
in the book to affect Matthew—or frankly, me—so much. But it did. Because
suddenly I was thinking back on my own life. On dreams and how they’ve changed
and how they’ve stayed the same. On how sometimes we have to let go of an old
dream in order to make room for a new one.
And here’s the point in this post
when we take a little back step to one of the more un-fun seasons in Melissa’s
I had this dream once I was pretty
certain about. Things were working out. It seemed right. That is, until the
year everything changed. Oh. My. Word. I was not a fun person to be around that
year. That dream was slowly ripped away, and life became an emotional roller
coaster that I pretty much wailed my way through. I put on a good face now and
then, but the people who knew me best saw through pretend happy Melissa.
Honestly, I’m a little amazed they stuck by me through my pouting!
But I will never forget the day I
decided to let go. Finally. Completely. No more white-knuckled grasp on a thing
I knew God was saying “no” to. And here’s the verse that buoyed my hope that
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it
springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and
streams in the wasteland.” –Isaiah 43:19
Doesn’t that verse just set your
mind spinning with awesome could-bes and might-bes? I love it. But it’s even
better when you go back and read it in context. I love how The Message
paraphrase puts it:
This is
what God says,
    the God who builds a
road right through the ocean,
    who carves a path
through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and
    they lie down and then
can’t get up;
    they’re snuffed out like
so many candles:
“Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over
old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something
    It’s bursting out! Don’t
you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the
    rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
    —the coyotes and the
Because I provided water in the desert,
    rivers through the
sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
    the people I made
especially for myself,
    a people custom-made to
praise me.
So. Good. But did you catch that
part about forgetting what’s happened, not going over old history? I don’t know
that we actually forget-forget. But
we do choose where to focus our thoughts. We choose whether to be present
today, focused on whatever new dream has replaced the old one. Or maybe we
don’t know what our new dream is yet, but just thinking about what it might
be…that’s fun. That’s the stuff of hope and excitement and newness.
And the crazily cool thing is, when
we really believe God is at work,
constantly doing something new in our lives, always with a plan and a purpose,
it gets a little easier to let go. A little easier to move on. And a little
easier to trust that it’s going to be worth it.
you ever had to let go of a dream? How did you move forward? Do you have a new
dream now?


Here’s what Made to Last is all about!
Miranda Woodruff has it all. At least, that’s how it
looks when she’s starring in her homebuilding television show, From the
Ground Up
. So when her network begins to talk about making cuts, she’ll do
anything to boost ratings and save her show–even if it means pretending to be
married to a man who’s definitely not the fiance who ran out on her three years

When a handsome reporter starts shadowing Miranda’s every move, all his digging
into her personal life brings him a little too close to the truth–and to her.
Can the girl whose entire identity is wrapped up in her on-screen persona
finally find the nerve to set the record straight? And if she does, will the
life she’s built come crashing down just as she’s found a love to last?

Would You Rather…? With Melissa, Matthew & Miranda

Monday morning, everyone! I’m totally stoked to have author and dear friend,
Melissa Tagg visiting all week long! If you don’t know, Melissa’s debut novel
recently released, Made to Last. I, personally, loved it. So here’s how this week
is going to roll out:
we’re playing Would You Rather with not just Melissa, but her main characters
from Made to Last, Matthew and Miranda!
Melissa will be sharing the Wednesday devotional. Next week, we’ll continue our
series on humility.
Friday, our local book club, Faith Readers, will share our group review of Made
to Last. So join in all week for some serious fun!
Visit Melissa
get started, shall we?
Would You Rather…?
…walk across hot coals or a
bed of nails (pointing up!) Hey it’s a DIY edition-nails lol
Miranda: Bed of nails,
totally. Because I’ve stepped on enough nails in my life to know I won’t
die…and I can run fast.
Matthew: Whichever one would
impress Miranda more.
Melissa: Nails! Wearing
really thick work boots. Because you totally didn’t specify that I had to be barefoot!
…swim in shark infested
waters or cross a swamp of crocodiles (they fell in the water in the novel, so it’s
Miranda: Swamp of crocodiles!
And I would take a gun. I feel like crocodiles might be easier to shoot than
Matthew: Swamp of
crocodiles…with Miranda and her gun.
Melissa: Swamp of crocodiles…with
Matthew and Miranda and her gun.  And that alligator wrestler I met once
in Florida. Wrestling crocodiles can’t be that much different than alligators,
…fall in love and lose it or
never have fallen in love?
Miranda: At the beginning of
my book I would’ve totally said never fallen in love. By the end, yup, fall in
love and lose it. Because I’ve survived it once…
Matthew: Fall in love and
lose it. Because I feel like that’s the more romantic answer and I’m a cool
enough guy to be able to admit that romance is good.
Melissa: What they said. 🙂
You all crack me up and I think you finagled
yourself out of really answering that last question, Tagg.
What say y’all?
Answer one or all the questions below.
Here are my answers:
Nails. I think there’s an art to it that I could
figure out, and to run on hot coals may require demonic possession and I’m not
into that sort of thing. (Don’t you watch the Discovery channel?)
Sharks. While neither excite me, I think one
chomp and I’m done for. Crocs take you down with that whole death roll thing,
jamming you in a log to tenderize you, or at least, that’s what Crocodile
Dundee says.
I say love and lose it. Memories might be
painful but God would heal them and then it’d be okay to look back and remember
the beautiful moments.


See you Wednesday!
Buy Made to Last!
Here’s a peek!
Miranda Woodruff has it all. At least, that’s
how it looks when she’s starring in her homebuilding television show, From
the Ground Up. So when her network begins to talk about making cuts, she’ll
do anything to boost ratings and save her show–even if it means pretending to
be married to a man who’s definitely not the fiance who ran out on her three
years ago.

When a handsome reporter starts shadowing Miranda’s every move, all his digging
into her personal life brings him a little too close to the truth–and to her.
Can the girl whose entire identity is wrapped up in her on-screen persona
finally find the nerve to set the record straight? And if she does, will the
life she’s built come crashing down just as she’s found a love to last?


Where in the World is JR Patch? Hint: I’m not in Antigua!

And we’re off! Last week, we cruised to Antigua (Ant-ee-ga) and had a total blast! But where are we today?

Check out this fine destination and tell me you don’t want to come along.

If we decided to fly this time, this is our
view from the air. Look at the amazing
circles of island water. If it wasn’t for
air-sickness, I’d be giddier. But,
the drammamine I had to take so I
didn’t puke in those bags during take-off
has knocked me out. I’m groggy.

But if we cruised in,
look at our view! Aaah!

An amazing view for breakfast.
Coffee, fresh island fruit and my Bible/study.
Something about the ocean always makes me
feel closer to the Lord. After devotions, maybe
a little writing time or reading!

Why? Why do birds follow me
everywhere I go? This one has a crazy eye.
And what’s up with the hair? Is he working
on dreads? Everyone else in the islands are.

This is a wooden jetty bridge.
Let’s just sit and dangle our feet from
the bridge. We can chat, laugh,
have a yummy drink. You can dare me to jump
in the water. I’m still deciding if I will.
I’m not a fan of sea creatures when we’re mixed

Yeah. That’s where we’re staying.
They also have a honeymoon water villa, but
it’s off by itself. Which makes no sense to me
because I’m pretty sure if you go with your spouse
whether you’ve been married a day or twenty years,
you’re going to be doing the same thing. But since it’s
you and I and friends, then I think all is well. 😉 Except,
if you’ve roomed with me before, you know I get rowdy.
Gabrielle, Linds, Cynthia! We might get into trouble…again! 

Between diving and snorkeling at Banana Reef, visiting museums, enjoying the white sandy beaches with fruity drinks (because you have to have fruity drinks everywhere you go) and visiting Manta Point, we can relax in our water villas, or splash in the cool waters right outside the door.

So….where am I? For each guess, you will be entered into a drawing to win a $10.00 Amazon card at the end of the month.

I’ll post the answer on my facebook page tonight! Have you liked my facebook page? No? Well, it’s as easy as clicking “like” on the right side of the screen. 

If you guess right (you must guess before I post the answer) you get your name entered 4 times!

Tweet and share on facebook for multiple entries into the contest!

Have you ever been diving or snorkeling? Was it a good experience? What was the coolest thing about it? And if you haven’t been, 
would you like to?

photocredit: freedigitalphotos/simonhowden 
photocredit: freedigitalphotos/artur84
photocredit: freedigitalphotos/artur84 
photocredit: freedigitalphotos/artur84
photocredit: freedigitalphotos/artur84
photocredit: freedigitalphotos/artur84
photocredit: freedigitalphotos/artur 84

Keep it Humble Part 5: A Little Something Called the Love Factor

So let me ask you: Have you been
using the life applications each week and trying to keep it humble with each
verse we’ve traveled through? How hard has it been? Has it been a piece of
cake? Yes? Then you aren’t doing it. Ha!
This week, we’re camping on verse
13, but let’s recap.
“9 Let love be without
hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.10 Be kindly
affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to
one another;11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in
spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient
in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;” Romans 12:9-12 NKJV
Check it in the Message version. I love it.
“Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for
dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love
deeply; practice playing second fiddle.  Don’t burn out;
keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully
expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.” Romans 12:9-12
If you want to catch up on the series so far, you can here:
Today, let’s jump into verse
13: “distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.” NKJV and
here it is in the Message: “Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.”
Remember, this passage is about believers and how we treat
other Christians. I loved Monday’s YouTube video by Christy Nockels. They
(unbelievers) will know us (believers) by our love. Our love for who? Them but…
Jesus said in John 13, “Let me give you a new command: Love
one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how
everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you
have for each other.” (verses 34-35 MSG)
If we can’t love one another and be hospitable to our brothers
and sisters in Christ, how does that make us any different than any
non-believer in Christ? And I don’t just mean in our local body—I mean even
those who don’t agree with all your doctrine and say you are of the devil. Or
those who you think are of the devil lol! Can’t we all simply love Jesus and
get along?
But this isn’t about doctrine today. It’s about hospitality.
We have wonderful examples in the Old and New Testament. People
brought strangers into their homes and fed them, sometimes not realizing they
were entertaining angels. Now, I’m not saying drag every stranger in your home,
we have to use discernment and be safe. But I think we need to be open to the
leading of the Holy Spirit, in case he does have us pull over on the side of
the road or do the unusual.
The word hospitality in the Greek is philoxenia and it means love to strangers,
It comes from the root word philoxenos which means hospitable,
generous to guests
So maybe you don’t pull in every
person off the street, but does that mean you can’t pay for a stranger’s coffee
in front of you? Buy the meal for the table next to yours? The Message version
says, “be inventive in
How can
you get inventive?
What does it mean to distribute to the needs of the saints?
Well, who are the saints? Saints mean most holy thing.
Have you ever thought of yourself as a “most holy thing?”
Neither have I.
But if you believe in Christ, you are indeed a saint. A “most
holy thing” to the Lord. “ A most holy man or woman. I have a hard time looking
at myself as God does. He sees me through the pure and holy blood of Christ. I
see me as simply me. Flesh. Rags. A vapor in the wind. A struggler in so many
But I
am a saint. Most holy to God. Set apart. Precious. Worth dying for. Beloved. Beautiful.
And so
are you.
Funny but when we read the word “distribute” we think of
giving. However that Greek word is koinōneō and it doesn’t mean giving in the sense you may think it does. It means
to enter into fellowship, join one’s self to an associate, make one’s self a
sharer or partner
And to be given to it. Given,
meaning to pursue it eagerly. Ever heard of a small group? Church events that
are surrounded around fellowship and food? Spend time with other believers. It’s
important! We need each other.
“Now all who believed were
together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods,
and divided them among all, as anyone had need.”  Acts 2:44-45
Preachers should stop hammering tithing and teach
They didn’t give a tenth. They
gave all they had and used the money to help each other according to their
“So continuing daily with one
accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their
food with gladness and simplicity of heart,  praising
God and having favor with all the people.” Acts 2: 46-47
They ate together, laughed
together. Based on their common thread. A scarlet thread. Jesus 
Christ. Out of
gladness and joy. With praise.
They had favor with all people.
What was the result of this
unity? Of humbling themselves, giving of themselves sacrificially, centered by
the love of Christ?
“And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being
saved.” Acts 2:47
And they will know us by our love
for one another. Like the video sang this past Monday. The whole point of this life called Christianity is to glorify
God, to snatch souls from the fire and to show the world his love.
Hard to do when we’re at each
other’s throats and slinging messages of hate through the venue of freedom of
speech. I’ve seen saints more hateful on facebook than anywhere else. 
And I’ve
seen non-believers scoff and unfriend us. On facebook. And in their hearts.
I’ve known Christians who are the
stingiest, self-absorbed people on the planet.
I’ve been that Christian, too.
Wanna be humble? Love the saints.
Give to the saints. Give to the scoffers. Be eager to do it. 
Love with all you
got. Because at the end of the day, you aren’t taking a thing with you. And you
will stand before the King.
“For the Son of Man will come in
the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according
to his works.” Matthew 16:27
Our only goal is to please God whether we live here
or there, because we must all stand before Christ to be
judged. Each of us will receive what we should get—good or bad—for the things
we did in the earthly body. 2 Corinthians 5:9-10
Life Application: This week make it your mission to do one thing to show hospitality to a saint. And then do one thing to show your love to an unbeliever. 
Prayer: Lord, thank you that we are holy to you. Set apart to bring you glory and honor. Give us the strength and supernatural ability to love, to be hospitable, to give. Open our hands to let it go so that you can fill it with every good thing spiritually. Let us reap our good deeds in the spiritual bank, in our hearts. In our relationship with you. Fill us with all joy. In Jesus’ name. Amen


Let’s get inventive together. How can we show
others our love? Let the creativity and ideas begin!

Be eager to…

…practice hospitality. To help those in need. How are you at being hospitable?

We’ll go deeper with this verse, in the context of humility, on Wednesday. The video below by Christy Nockels gives a hint to the lesson. Take a minute before you jump to the next blog on your list and worship! This is one of my all time favorite songs! 

What does hospitality mean to you? What does it look like?

Where In the World is JR Patch?

Last Thursday, I started a new Friday blog series. Yes, that made total sense. You will understand by reading: I’d Rather Be..

So…yeah, I’m living it up. Wanna come? Check it:

I’m boarding this ship, but I have
some hesitations. One being what if
the power went out from an engine
fire and the toilets stopped working, then
we all had to do our business in red
biohazard bags! And we got stuck
eating wilting vegetables. It happens.
I’ve been researching for my newest novel, a
first in a proposed series set on a cruise ship.
Yeah, I’m bringing the Love Boat back, J Patch style.
Note: This (or the Love Boat) was not the ship it happened on, so…
All Aboard! 
And here is our first port of call!
You really want to be here don’t you?
Let’s drop our bags and do a little
shopping in the public markets.
Yum! Nothing like fresh island fruit.
We must take a trip down Fig Tree Drive, experiencing
the sugar mills, and lovely churches. After all, how can you
not give God glory for this amazing display of beauty!
Oh by the way, the word fig here, means banana! So you won’t
actually spot any. 
This is just one of 365 beaches on this
caribbean island. I guess you’ve come to the
same conclusion as I have. A beach for
every day, baby! White sands. The taste of sea air and…
These delicious bad boys. Who doesn’t love
coconut? Okay, whatever your poison, it’s yours.
What book are you reading? I have my Kindle so I
have hundreds to choose from. But I’m going to
need some romance to go with the steel drums
and bongos. Yes? Let’s have one more drink, shall we?
We can visit Bird Island. For
some reason it makes me think of
Cliffors the Big Red dog. Birdwell
Island. But I don’t think we’ll see any
red dogs. Not here anyway.
What we will see is fine feathered friends,
which I happen to be terrified of! Birds
freak me out! Bring umbrellas, not for rain…
but you know, bird crap! Because if you’re standing
near me, prepare to run and be pooped on. By the birds.
Okay, we are so not getting in this kayak.
It’s going to stay ashore. Why? Because one, I don’t swim well
and I saw that YouTube of the shark knocking over a kayak or at
least working to. Teasing the poor guy who’d cut his finger fishing.
Who fishes in a kayak alone in the middle of the ocean anyway?
But, if we want to get adventerous, we can swim with the Stingrays
and experience some gorgeous coral reef at Stingray City.
They say it’s safe with knowledgable trainers.
Who knows? The ship wasn’t supposed to catch on fire either
But here we are peeing in plastic bags awaiting a park full of birds
anxious to poo on our heads.

But overall, don’t you want to come? Have you figured out where I am? 

Guess in the comments and I’ll share the answer on my facebook page later today! Have you liked my facebook page yet? Why not? Now’s your chance. If you leave your guess in the comments, you will be entered into a drawing to win the grand prize of a $10.00 Amazon card at the end of the month. Each Friday, I’ll post a new spot–so you have multiple chances to win.

Also if you share this on facebook or Tweet about it, you have another chance to win!

If you guess the right place (you must guess before I reveal it on my facebook page) you’ll be entered FOUR times on top of tweets and shares! 

Where in the world am I?
Where is one place you’d love to sail away to?

photo credits: freedigital photos:
artur 84
artur 84
artur 84 

Keeping it Humble Part 4: Don’t Stop Believing

Hey everyone, today we’re breaking down a tough verse, not
that they haven’t all been tough. Let’s recap what we’ve worked through so far:
“Let love be without
hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly
affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to
one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit,
serving the Lord;” Romans 12:9-11 NKJV
If you’re just joining our series on keeping it humble you
can catch up here:
We’re tacking on verse 12 to our passage.
in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;”
Let’s dig into each phrase, breaking it down in the Greek for
a richer meaning, then apply it to ourselves in the context of humility.
Rejoicing means to be exceedingly glad and to thrive or do
In hope…what is the hope that we are to be exceedingly glad
about and thrive in?
The Greek word for hope is elpis and it means joyful
and confident expectation of eternal salvation; the author of hope, or he who
is its foundation
You and I have a reason to thrive and do well, we have a reason
to be exceedingly glad. The author of our hope has defeated death, hell, and
the grave. He has rescued us from eternal damnation. Our hope is forever
salvation and all the freedom that it brings. We have a firm foundation to rejoice
upon, it’s Jesus Christ!
And the reason this phrase comes first, I believe, is because
we need to remember first and foremost that we have something and Someone to
hope in.
Tribulations are coming. 
And it will require patience. It’s
during these times we need to remind ourselves to rejoice, to be glad, because
hope is not lost.
The word patient in
the Greek is hypomenō and it means to preserve: under misfortunes and trials
hold fast to one’s faith in Christ; to endure, bear bravely and calmly: ill
I’m reminded of David. He’d been anointed king in private
but instead of ascending to the throne, he served, humbly, a king who came to
despise him through jealous eyes. Many years David ran from Saul. He hid in caves.
He had no rest. And many of his Psalms were written during this time.
In Psalm
25 David pours out his heart: “Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me,
For I am
desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Bring me out of
my distresses! Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins. Consider
my enemies, for they are many; And they hate me with cruel hatred. Keep my
soul, and deliver me; Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You. Let
integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.” Verses 16-21
I see
tribulation. And I also see while he shares his trouble with the Lord, he
trusts Him and ends here with the fact he will wait for God.
Will you?
The phrase
continuing steadfastly in prayer in the Greek is proskartereō and it means, to
persevere and not to faint;
to show one’s self courageous for; to be steadfastly
attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing
takes courage, doesn’t it? It means you believe you’re being heard by the
Almighty. It shows vulnerability and trust. Sometimes, we don’t see our prayers
answered right away. Sometimes after five, ten, fifteen years, we have yet to
see the pain taken away, the dreams fulfilled fill-in-the-blank.
And we get
tired. We grow faint. We stop praying. Maybe, just maybe, we stop believing.
Cue Don’t Stop Believing by Journey here. Susan Tuttle, my iTunes hit was just for
We have to
travel back to that first phrase. Rejoice in hope. And you and I both know at
times, rejoicing has to be a choice. Especially when we’re experiencing
We can’t
give up praying.
Again, I’m
reminded of David. After he and Bathsheba committed adultery, their child died.
God had already told David this was going to happen. Yet, David fasted and wept
and prayed because he said in 2 Samuel 12:22, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will
be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ “
It isn’t
over until it’s over. 
Yes, David’s son still died. And that’s a hard pill to
swallow, but God had just told David after he repented, that his sins would be
inked out. Forgiven. But with sin comes consequences (I am not saying that
children’s deaths are linked to sin. I’m talking about David’s personal case
here) and I like to see this as a picture of grace and mercy. Because that is
Who God is.
For one
man to live, a son had to die.
For you
and I to have the hope we do, a Son had to die.
prayed to the Lord when he was sick. And God gave him fifteen years more on his
We can’t
give up praying. We must persevere and be brave. Stay calm and trust God to do
the right thing, to allow the right things, even when they feel wrong to you and
Prayer is
humbling. Especially when we’re in situations we can’t control. And I think it’s
fair to say we can’t control tribulations. When we rejoice in hope and meditate
on that hope, it is humbling. We can’t save ourselves. We can’t control every
single thing. We must be dependent on Someone else. And we have to be
vulnerable and trust.
continually keeps us low and brings God high. Rightfully where He belongs.
Rightfully where we belong.
beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a
thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack
concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward
us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:8-9
“If you
are trying hard to do good, no one can really hurt you. But even if you suffer
for doing right, you are blessed.
“Don’t be
afraid of what they fear;
    do not dread those things.” (reference: Isaiah
respect Christ as the holy Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to answer
everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have, but answer in a
gentle way and with respect. Keep a clear conscience so that those who speak
evil of your good life in Christ will be made ashamed.  It is better to suffer for doing good than for
doing wrong if that is what God wants.  Christ himself suffered for sins once. He was
not guilty, but he suffered for those who are guilty to bring you to God. His
body was killed, but he was made alive in the spirit.” 1 Peter 3:13-18 NCV


Life Application: If you have given up praying for something, start again this week. Today! Make a conscious decision
to rejoice and when those around you ask why you can be exceedingly glad when
your life is falling apart at best and at the very least, you have some
annoyances going on, you can answer them and tell them about your hope. About
Who your foundation is built upon. Take time to pour your heart out to the Lord. Be
honest and vulnerable before Him. Trust Him to know best.
Prayer: Lord, we love you, honor you, trust you,
respect you. We rejoice and give thanks for the amazing rescue of our souls.
For taking our place, for becoming our sin and giving us a eternal hope. Thank
you for never leaving us or forsaking us, even when we feel alone and isolated
and destroyed. We know that we are not. We may be struck down, but never
destroyed. Lord, help us to grasp that things really do work together for good
to those who love you. Let us not grow bitter and see that as a platitude with no
power behind it, but as hope for our future. A good one. One that will indeed
prosper us. Lord, forgive us for dropping the ball in prayer regardless of our
reasons. And strengthen us to continue in it because, Lord, we truly never know
when you will show grace and mercy. And it is not over until it’s over. In Your
precious name, Jesus, Amen.
How can I pray for you
and with you? If you want to email me privately, go to my Connect page. Now, what
is one thing you can rejoice about today?

It Takes Courage to…


…to pray at all times. And it takes faith like a child. 

We’re going to unpack this verse in depth on Wednesday as we continue our series in humility based on Romans 12:9-21. Join me and isn’t this the sweetest picture you’ve ever seen? Feel free to pin it on your Pinterest page.

But now, take a few minutes to worship before moving on to your next blog post. The song gives us a hint into the lesson. Keep it classy i.e. humble!

What else does it take courage and childlike faith to do? 

Writers “Go There”—Entering the Vulnerable

 Happy Friday ya’ll. Remember, in our imaginations we’re on a plane headed to Ireland! Check out yesterday’s post if you’re confused. Yeah, I blogged on Thursday.  I’d Rather Be… 

Because today, my friend, Wendy Paine Miller is in the house and she’s talking about writing, birthing babies (I said that in the tone of Prissy from Gone with the Wind!) and her debut novella, The Disappearing Key. Wendy, take it away!

I can’t say when it was that I realized several of my novels
depict scenes that revolve around labor. I know women care about such events
and I write women’s fiction, but the process of including births in my work
wasn’t intentional. It doesn’t work like that. At least not for me anyway.
I think these scenes kept showing up in my work because I
was writing into the pain. As a writer, I was “going there.”
I have three daughters.
And I lost two babies in between my second and third.
What’s weird is I rarely ever bring this up. It’s still
hard. Seven years later, speaking the word miscarriage still swells a sizeable
knot in my throat and the backs of my eyes sting with tears.
So why, you might be thinking, why go there?
I don’t really have a clear cut answer except to say it’s
what writers do. Whether it’s a part of the catharsis or a subconscious gut instinct
that women could sit around a table all night sharing labor stories, these scenes
keep finding a way into my work.
I also think it’s because we’re bonded by birth stories. They
are our badges of courage, our completed marathons, our tour de force, our
personal Mount Everest, our interlaced threads of womanhood stringing us all
together through vulnerability—by honest life-surging events as heartbreaking
or funny or remarkable as they come.
So I write about births, as I did in the first scene of my
debut novella, THE DISAPPEARING KEY.
I feel what my character’s feel, their loss becoming my loss, their joy—my joy.
I may not always agree with their choices or understand their reasoning, but
more than anything else as I writer I aim to experience with them vicariously,
without judgment, unencumbered and fully engaged with them moment by moment.
I step away after writing these scenes with a heightened
sense of empathy, a fueled curiosity, and a deepened sense of gratitude for the
ways women bolster and enliven one another in conversations that involve

Why do
you think women are so bonded by stories of birth? Have you experienced this is
the case in your experiences with women?

lives with her husband, their three girls, and a skunk-dodging Samoyed. She

most alive when she’s laughing, speeding on a boat, reading, writing,
refurbishing furniture or taking risks. She’s authored ten novels and is
currently writing what she hopes will be your future book club pick.

Her work has been published in
numerous anthologies and online sites. Wendy graduated with a BA in English
from Wittenberg University, where she earned an Honor of Distinction for her
accrued knowledge of literature.
She’s represented by Rachelle
Gardner of Books & Such Literary Agency.

Visit http://thoughtsthatmove.blogspot.com/  or connect with Wendy on Facebook or Twitter

I’d Rather Be…


 I know it’s Thursday, but I have guest post  scheduled tomorrow, thus my regularly scheduled blog post today. 

Let’s all pretend it’s Friday, shall we?

So, my birthday is Sunday and it’ll probably be a fairly normal day. One: My dad will be in town, so running off for a romantic getaway with my husband is out. Don’t think I haven’t thought about just leaving him with the kids and going anyway, but I only see him twice a year so…what kind of a crappy person do you think I am? The kind that thinks about leaving. Right–but I’m not, leaving that is. I did indeed think about it.

Instead, I’ll day dream of one place I’d love to go. While there are many this is just one. Let’s go there together, shall we? In our imaginations that is. I can’t be sure I’d want to travel to this place with you. Unless, you were paying as a birthday gift and in that case, “Let’s go! I love you! BFFs 4Ever!”





I want to visit this castle and explore it at
night with only a candle. Uh, hello, I’m
not totally crazy, I have my cell phone
flashlight for back up. But how fun would that
be? Yes. Lots of fun. And if you’re buying,
you’re invited.

I want to stand at this window and 
brush my hair–here’s where I get confused
because I either want to gasp as I see a sea monster, 
which can’t be Nessie because that’s Scotland. (We
could pretend this is Scotland) or I want the whole
Rapunzel scene except I don’t want some big
burly dude climing up my hair. That seems
rather painful and by the time
he made it to the top, I’d have a headache and he’d say,
“Are you serious? That’s so cliche. And you’re a writer. tsk tsk.”
And we’d get in an argument about, well, you know. Also,
this man would have to be my husband or we have another
set of issues and this is a fairytale not women’s fiction. 
Point is. I want to look out of this


I’d like to sleep in this bed, as long as someone hasn’t
you know…died in it and the sheets are clean. I see a whole
Rumplestiltskin thing happenin with that spindle in the corner.
Are those like big riding boots beside it? They’re as tall as the bed!
And they’re facing the bed like an invisible dude is standing over it.
I just changed my mind. X the bed.


And I want to stand on these moors, or is it this moor…? Whichever and I want to see HeathCliff through the fog and I want him to look right at me and say, “If you ever looked at me once with what I know is in you, I would be your slave.” And I would take him up on it because that means someone else toting my luggage through the airport. And who doesn’t love Wuthering Heights? Or maybe I stand at the edge and think about jumping which plants me right into New Moon. HeathCliff or Edward Cullen? Well technically not Cullen because he’s off trying to kill himself in Italy–which is also on my list of places to travel. It’d be Jacob. I’m going with Wuthering Heights. Yeah, I know it’s not set in Ireland. This is my imagination!

So there you have it. What I wish I was doing on my birthday. And I had so much fun with this that I may do a Where in the World is JR Patch? on Fridays. Maybe you’ll have to guess or maybe I’ll tell you. Maybe I’ll actually work in some facts about the locations. Guess, I need to work out the details. But it sounds like fun and if not fun, blog fodder at the very least. 
Where is one place you’d like to visit and why?