Keep Going

This past week has been what I call a huge headache. My blog was disabled because the blah blah blah read a false positive and blah blah blah which means it thought my blog–my precious baby–was a SPAM blog. Gah! Then after the wonderful Bonnie Calhoun talked me off the ledge and had the IT guys at Blogger fix it, my email was hacked. I wasn’t in Madrid (wish I had been, but not stranded).

The security at yahoo asked me for my answer to the question. I don’t even remember using that question. So after 3 tries of answering, it locked my account up for 12 hours. Hopefully, today, I have it all fixed–but in the meantime, my website designer was supposed to send me links to the pages and whatnot. So…I set up a gmail account just to get by on Saturday. Is that sad? Do we rely on technology too much? Meh, I don’t really care and this post isn’t to ponder that. 

My point is. I had a crazy week.

But God is so great and so faithful and I just love Him to pieces. After all the drama went down on Saturday morning, I opened up my Word For You Today devotional and fell in love with the words. So much I’m sharing them with you today. This is the moment I wish I had a scanner. Nope. I’m typing it all in. For you. Be grateful. *wink wink*

“…In each of us there is a lesser self and a greater self struggling for supremacy. Your lesser self says, “Not enough people believe in me. I’ll never make it.” Your greater self says, “My faith in God and in myself is enough; I can make it.” Your lesser self says, “It’s taking too long to realize my dream.” Your greater self say, “Dreams are realized one day at a time.” Your lesser self says, “Enough is enough! I’ve taken too many hits. “Your greater self says, “I’ve come too far to give up now.” Your lesser self says, “I don’t have the strength to hold on to my dream. “Your greater self says, “Hold on a little longer; the darkest hour is just before the dawn.” ….Where does that kind of strength and tenacity come from? God! The assignment God gives you will never be greater than the grace He provides. So draw on His strength, keep pressing ahead, pursue your goals and you will prevail.” 

Whether your past week was above the clouds or shoddy (Not to be confused with Shawty–the melody in your head) God is faithful. And this, my dear friends, is a brand new day of a brand new week. Hacked, not hacked. Disabled, not disabled. Rejected, not rejected. Grace abounds! So keep going. And I will too, if I’m not stranded in Madrid and needing some fast cash. I’ve already sold my gold. 

In one more week….my new online home will be ready. I expect you all to shout, “Move that curtain!” And the unveiling will happen. Seriously. Shout. 

What do you like to do when the going gets tough and you need to de-stress? 

Here’s What’s Going on in My Neck of the Woods

Every now and again, I like to share what’s going on with me and find out what’s going on with you? (I always wanna know what’s going on with you!)

Told ya I just got around to taking
down the decorations!

On the home front, I took the Christmas stuff down…finally. Like this past week. Don’t judge! I’ve been lazy busy. My son just started Karate! He loves it, but bless his heart, he has no coordination!
He fell kicking one of the bags and growled when I laughed. I tried hard not to, but people who fall are funny!

This was at her Christmas recital. 

My daughter resumed piano lessons this past week. I don’t mind because she’s actually really good, and she shuts the door to her bedroom to play. 

I got the two books I’d really been wanting for Christmas. Roget’s Thesaurus and The Chicago Manual of Style 16th edition. 

I also bought a craft book the other day when hubby and I were out. We went to see Sherlock Holmes, which we enjoyed, and then out for a late lunch to our favorite joint, The Flying Fish. Oh the name of the book you say? Now Write! Mysteries edited by Sherry Ellis & Laurie Lamson. It’s several chapters written by various authors. I like it.

I’ve stumbled across some new songs that I’ve added to my playlist. Poison & Wine by the Civil Wars, Holding on and Letting Go by Ross Copperman, and Anywhere but Here by Safety Suit. Great songs for some scenes I’m revising. (I’ve linked them to youtube if you have time and wanna check them out.) Which reminds me, I have a youtube channel with no videos. LOL I keep saying I’m going to vlog but…I have zipola to vlog about. Any suggestions? 

Also…my new website is going to launch (cross your fingers) on Monday, January 3oth and I’ll be introducing my new tagline which I’m very excited about! I’ll share more about that in an upcoming post!

And last, I’ve discovered DeeAnne Gist. Since I’m new to reading historical romances, she’s a new find for me. LOVE with a capital L-O-V-E! I read A Bride Most Begrudging and Maid to Match. In two days. Last week. I’ll review them later. I am now reading, Love on the Line by her.

So that’s all I know around here. Oh, I cooked a deer. Not a whole deer, but like a roast. It was pretty good, once I forced my mind away from thoughts that it had disease or was a crazy deer and I was going to get both by eating it…anywho…

Your turn. What’s going on in your neck of the woods? Any new craft books for you writers? Novels? Is your Christmas stuff still up? Ever ate deer? Crazy deer?

My Top 4 New Year Plans As a Writer

I missed you! Hope you a wonderful Christmas and NYE! 

Today is a repost from last year (but I had maybe 10 followers so you probably haven’t read it), anywho, since I haven’t accomplished any of them,  I’m giving it a go again! On Wednesday, I’ll be posting a more serious plan–as in ONE WORD for the year and tying it into a devotional so don’t miss it! Today? Enjoy!

Well, a year has come and is about to be gone. Profound, I know. I’ve been hearing lots of New Year’s resolutions. The same ones I hear every year. Lose weight. Eat healthier. Spend more time with family. Those seem to be the top three.
I don’t make resolutions. I make plans. Maybe they are resolutions. I just call them personal plans for the new year.

This year, I’m going to work on a few that involve the debilitation of being a writer. You writers may get to shout a few amens in agreement, and those of you who are not…this may explain my eccentric and sometimes morbid behavior.

Here are a few areas I need to work on.


I have a hard time NOT daydreaming up new plots and storylines, like when I’m at church. Pastor is preaching and delivering the word and I watch the sweet elderly lady who passes out handfuls of candy–throwing it really–and all I see are members of the congregation, dropping like flies because the candy has been poisoned. The old woman is shocked when she finds out, declaring she didn’t do it as they drag her poor soul off in cuffs. I look around and find a single mom sitting two rows back and use her to refuse to believe old lady “nameless” has poisoned the church. What motive does she have? She enlists, I look around and find a young widowed man, ah him, yes!… and together they investigate. (and fall in love duh!) At this point I’m jerked back into reality as our Pastor says, “Answer me when I ask you a question.” I don’t know if I should holler yes, no, or amen. Have I just missed a word for me? What was that reference again? My husband scowls at me…knowing. My best friend leans over and asks, “Who did it? The Royal Ranger teacher or the Youth Pastor?”

This may be the hardest goal for me. I can find a story in anything! Just two days ago, my friend shared with me about her nephew and some of his nefarious behavior. Immediately I explained to her why he was a narcissist sociopath, on his way to becoming a homicidal maniac, and then instead of offering to pray for him…I asked if she could get me about thirty minutes alone with him to pick his demented juvenile mind and test my theory. Yep. I really did. I was seeing backstory all over the place!

I’m constantly eavesdropping in restaurants, movie lines, grocery stores, doctors’ offices, anywhere I can find crowds of people. I zone out of the conversation at hand–the one I’m supposed to be involved in, and find out that some stranger’s sister stole her boyfriend and she found out from the Hispanic gardener by slip of the tongue. She’s now dating the Hispanic gardener.

 My husband and I took a trip to Rhode Island last year, he was marrying his cousin! I love saying that!  (He’s an ordained minister.) It was beautiful and it happened to be the setting in a book I was about to write. We sat on the bench at a pier overlooking the water, and he talked and talked. Then he said, “Isn’t this place just beautiful, Jess?”
“Yes, I can see why Scarlet loves it. No wonder Noah can’t leave.” Sigh.

My husband cleared his throat, “Jess,I’ve gotten used to you living in a fictional world, but please tell me you’re at least holding my hand!”
“Hmmm…oh, of course. Definitely.”


“Mom, I have pretend people in my head too, but I don’t sit in front of the computer all day and play with them!” My son Myles expressed that after he’d asked for a glass of milk about two hundred times. At least that’s what he said…I never heard him. I’m a master of tuning out what’s going on at home. I stick my skull candy in and I’m off. When I look up, my house looks like a tornado hit it. I’m going to pay attention more and find better balance between writing and spending time with my family.

4. GET OUT MORE (other than to research) 
Before long, my friends are going to stop asking me to do anything!
“You want to come to my jewelry party?”
“You wanna get lunch?”
“Hey, let’s go shopping!”
Right now, they may be plotting an intervention. Every free opportunity I don’t HAVE to be somewhere, I’m at home. In my chair. On my laptop. Writing. Yeah, I need to rekindle my social life.

So there you have it, ladies and gents! My top 4 things to change that pertain to writing. What’s on your list?

Here’s What’s Going on in My Neck of the Woods

Well, we’re inching up on Christmas. It went fast after Thanksgiving, didn’t it? 

I’m done shopping. I’ve wrapped pretty much everyone…well, their gifts, not them. I don’t have that much wrapping paper and what’s the point of wrapping people you know? Or people you don’t, though I’m not sure you could convince them to let you, or even hold them down long enough. 

I’ve made cookies, cinnamon spiced pecans which are crack delightful and addictive because they’re crack delightful and yummy. 

I spent the weekend in IL with my family. We opened an insane amount of gifts, ate to the point I need to make a trip to the altar to confess I am a glutton, but dang if I’m not too lazy to trudge up there. I think laziness might be wrong too. I’ll have to look into that.

I’m kind of diggin the Enya Christmas station on Pandora. What? Don’t laugh. 

Last Tuesday, I sent off my second ms (a first in an FBI series) to my agent so I’m taking the next few weeks off to spend time holiday-ing it with friends and family. I’ll pick back up after Christmas with polishing another ms (a first in a saga ) while praying she likes my second ms as much as she did the first. 

And if my crazy jacked trapezes muscles don’t get their act together and quit giving me fits, I’m stuck doing physical therapy at the first of the year. Sometimes anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxers don’t work. Sigh. Any other writers have this problem? 
And I think that may be all that’s going on around here, which is not much I guess. In fact, you may have stopped reading at Enya  Christmas. I can understand. Only I can’t, because it’s pretty cool. 

I’m taking a blogging break until January 2nd, (this is where everyone begs encourages me not to and I consider it) but I’ll still be posting a devotional at Living By Grace this Wednesday, so “like” the devotional community at the right side panel (scroll down some) and don’t miss out each day as a godly woman shares the Word! Great stuff!

What’s going on in 
your neck of the woods?
Have a Merry Christmas!

Thailand: A Birthday I’ll Never Forget

Tim and me at a McDonald’s in Bangkok

So yesterday was my birthday! I love birthdays, even if I’m getting older.
I’ve had a great birthday week. We took the kiddos to Red Robin one night, I got a new laptop, woohoo! And my daughter cheered, because I cleaned hers off and gave it back. 
My son “took” me to Office Depot to buy me a new office chair and my daughter gave me a Dunkin Donuts and an iTunes gift card!
Tomorrow, Tim’s taking me out to one of my favorite places in Downtown Memphis for dinner. So I’m excited!

I’ve had many memorable birthdays, but  I’d have to say my best birthday was in 2008, when my husband and I went on a missions trip to Chiang Rai. 

We flew into Bangkok, a place that has smells I cannot describe, even as a writer. The heat was like a wet blanket, roasted over a fire then draped over you and we were there in their winter season! If you have bouts of frizzy hair, forgeddaboutit. 

A Buddhist temple, one of many we saw
and visited. 

We spent a day seeing the sights of Bangkok. Amazing, frightening, sobering. Overwhelming. 
We spent most of our time at a Children’s home, helping with some building projects and spending time with the children there. You can’t adopt the children,but we wished we could have.

After a day in Bangkok, we flew six hours into hill country, to Chiang Rai. A vast difference from the loud, crowded streets of Bangkok. 

It was full of rice fields, flowers I’d never imagined, roaming anorexic cattle and the Chiang Rai children’s home. A place where children are kept safe when their parents have to go to prison, or an alternative for children who might otherwise be sold into sexual slavery.

One of the hill tribes. There are so many
and one night they dressed in their costumes, that
represent their tribe and sang to us. It was

We fell in love with these children the moment we stepped off the rickety bus. I especially loved the babies and preschool age children. They couldn’t speak a lick of English (some of the older ones could) but a smile goes a long way in any language.

I’ve never seen children as grateful as these. They slept on beds that had ply wood for mattresses, their toys were strings, and their home, compared to what we see over here, made ghettos look good, but they’re safe. And loved. And fed. And taught about Jesus Christ.

Me holding Chom Po!

Our church has been partnering with them and have built some new accommodations. Tim and I fell in love with a little girl who was fairly new at the time; her name was Chom Po. If we could have packed her up and brought her home, we would have. She liked Tim better. Figures. At church he’s called the Baby Whisperer. 

We spent heated days working, painting concrete fences, dining halls, laying groundwork for a tiling project and loving on the children, showing the they are not only loved by Jesus and the children’s home, but clear across the world. 

Tim actually gets a smile out of her.
Baby Whisperer. I don’t know
what this powder is, but they all get it
smeared all over for bed time. She’s
in her P.J’s. 
Tim and I about to go for a ride. No seat belts.
Just a rickety old board with a paper thin cushion
and a rope. See how I’m grabbing at Tim’s
leg? I’m smiling, but I’m scared!

One day, we took a trip into Burma (Myanmar) and did some shopping. It was sad how many young children under the age of 8 tried to sell us pornography and Viagra.  Broke my  heart. Later that afternoon we rode elephants in a small Burmese village. I’m scared of animals, so to get to the platform I had Tim feed them bananas and then I ran. They kept wanting to “trunk” us. Eew, huh?

I mean these are wild elephants! I was glad Tim and I made a will out before our trip. No really. We did.

The elephant we rode. I guess it worked up
a thirst after lugging us around 30 minutes. 

Later, when we got back to the orphanage, Tim bought me a hand made quilt by the girls for my birthday. It’s on my bed! A reminder to pray for them every morning and every night.

My birthday gift on a bed in Thailand
Tim and me with the Governor, yeah
I’m saying that all British. We’re wearing
matching shirts because our pastor made us. It
was not by choice. lol

On my actual birthday, we were invited (which NEVER happens) to meet with the Governor of Chiang Rai and then to her personal home for dinner. It was A-mazing. Tons of food that terrified me, a home that blew me away and a woman who didn’t know Jesus, but her son is studying in America and lives with a pastor! Yes, that’s right. The governor is a woman. 

After lunch, we flew back to  Bangkok and we walked a billion miles through funky smells and crowded streets to eat at The Hard Rock Cafe. Real burgers! I hope.
The servers sang me happy birthday in Thai, gave me a rockin Hard rock shirt, took my picture and framed it and gave me a Bangkok, Hard Rock glass. It was awesome.  Later that night, I got a stomach bug and spent the whole night feeling like I might die. The next day I stayed in bed while they did more touring.  But it was still the most amazing wonderful experience I’ve ever had so far and the best birthday, yet! 

My rockin Tshirt, my picture on my
bed, with the quilt. My glass…I don’t
know where it was! I have it somewhere.

Tim leaves in a couple of weeks to go back to Thailand. I won’t be going this time, but I’ll be praying for him. This chance for him to go back is worth me not getting to go to the ACFW conference. 

This is my new laptop and my
new office chair! It’s brown, but
looks black! I love it!

What’s your best birthday memory?

The Map Says…


For a gal that’s directionally challenged, I steer clear of maps. I’ve never been good at reading them. So I don’t.

In fact, I  have other people drive me around just so I won’t get lost. It’s true. Sometimes I feel like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, when they ask which way and he gets confused, flailing his arms in all directions. That’s me.

I’m glad that God’s roadmap isn’t confusing like, well, every other map. I read the Bible and I know exactly what direction He wants me to go in to become more Christlike. Every page I read tells me where I am and how much further I need to go in one direction or the other.

 The key is actually stopping to read it and find out where you are. I’ve been the spiritual wanderer, mostly because I was too stubborn to stop and look. I’m still that way at zoos and amusement parks. I never look at a sign. I just wander aimlessly,  in complete circles…and more circles…seeing the same old things. Never experiencing anything new. Eventually, I’m confused, frustrated, and too tired to stick it out. I lose out on making memories, experiencing wonders and rides.

If you feel that way, spiritually, stop and read the “sign.” It won’t take long before you see the “You Are Here” and are pointed in the right direction. And along the way, you’ll see new and amazing things.

And maybe, I’ll take my own advice and actually read a sign when I’m at the zoo or amusement park. It’ll at the very least make my husband and kids happier!

Have a great weekend! See you Monday!

Shelf Me


I’m sitting in my chair, listening to Pandora. Missy Higgins station to be precise. I’m pondering my life. Goals God has for me personally, in my family, my ministry, my writing. I take the first 21 days of January to do that–filling up journal pages with whispers of what I need to do. Where I need to go. What I need to drop off in the refiner’s furnace.

Tonight, I’m wondering if I was a book where would I be placed? What shelf? Most of my friends would say Chick Lit, if they knew what that was. On a bad day, maybe horror. Some days I can’t find up from down, so maybe a mystery.

I wonder where God would place me? I hope to be an epic tale full of Divine romance, suspense, mystery, with some Chick Lit humor, but I have no idea where that mixed genre fits on a shelf.

Truth is, I’m an unfinished work. I’m constantly being tweaked and revised before He sprinkles out my pages to others for reading, to hopefully inspire their hearts and encourage them. To sharpen them like iron.

One day, I’ll be finished. Complete. Just the way He intended for me to be. Will millions have the opportunity to read the pages of my life and be ministered to, inspired, touched? I don’t know. But some will. At least some.

I’m looking forward to the day when that last page is turned and my Author steps down sapphire stairs to greet me on crystal waters. I can hear the angelic choir softly harmonizing with the saints but I keep my eyes on the burning flames that are gazing right into my very soul–his beautiful handiwork. He’ll be careful not to dog ear me. He’ll turn the pages as if it’s a beautiful, miraculous dance. Each turn, like a soft kiss.

The last line of the last chapter will read, “Well, done my good and faithful servant. My bride. My dove. My fair one. And she entered into His joy. Glorious eternity. ”    

If you were a book where would you be shelved? What would you like the pages of your life to read like?

The Usual Suspect


My favorite Christmas toy: Age 2

I walked back into the scene to collect prints. I ran them through my heart’s database. I found the Usual Suspect.

I’ve been asked, “Have you always wanted to be a writer?”

My answer? Yes, but I didn’t know it. In 2004 I woke up in the night after dreaming about a story. No, I wasn’t in a meadow and no he didn’t sparkle!

I wrote my first novel. Sent it off-got a rejection. Gave up. I was too busy anyway( yeah right, rejection stung!)But the pull to write never left.

In 2008, the burning desire sparked and I set out writing my second novel. One that came from a heart to minister. To glorify God and to write what He gave me. Unlike the story in 2004.

A Bible study I was doing asked the question, “What’s your passion? Reflect back and see how God sparked it. You’ll know what you are meant to do.” I sat there that early morning, before the sun was allowed to shine–sipping my coffee and I let the Lord take me to the early scenes of my life. 

He took me as far back as age 2. My favorite toy. A typewriter. I remember playing with that thing for years! 

noo nee noo nee noo

In my kindergarten days, I remember stopping whatever I was doing to watch my favorite segment of Sesame Street. Yep, this was the one! That crazy typewriter putting together words!

I loved books. I loved listening to stories. One of my greatest memories comes from my great-grandmother telling me about Nancy and the Grandfather clock. I wish I would have written it down. I’ve forgotten some of the details.


In middle school, my mom brought home a typewriter. I don’t know if it belonged to someone in my family or why she brought it home, but I staked my claim on it(not that anyone else set their eyes on it). I spent hours pretending I was a famous journalist. I’d weave stories around why I was sitting at that typewriter!

In junior high, I would sit at the lunch tables, telling stories to my friends– about them and the boys they liked…how they ended up together, the conflict along the way. It was there on those white faux wooden benches I spun my first tales of romance. Junior high romance. What did I discover? I loved to tell a love story with love and mystery!

Commodore 64…Have I just dated myself!?

During the summer before I started highschool, when other girls were doing girly things, I found a floppy disk with a teach yourself how to type with two hands game. My brother thought I was an idiot, but he generally thought that anyway. In a day, I learned how to type with two hands and without looking. It came easily! It’s also, in my opinion,  the reason Ms. Nussbaum hated me Sophomore year. I already knew how to type, so I gave her a hard time. Who me? (this is me doing my villian laugh)

All the young years of my life, I thought I might want to be an actress. I made up stories and acted them out in my room. They always had mystery and romance involved. Now, I realize it wasn’t the acting that sparked my interest, it was the story behind it.

I sat in that chair, while God took me down memory lane–showing me His plan, woven into the day to day activities of my life and I cried. I cried at the fact He actually planned something for me. He planned something good. Something I love to do. Something I sure don’t deserve. (oh but for grace!) I wept because He’d been there and I didn’t even realize it.

“Commit your works to the Lord
and your thoughts
will be established.”
Proverbs 16:3

As my tiny hands mashed the keys of that plastic typewriter, I believe He was grinning and nodding–knowing someday, in His time, He was going to replace that tiny toy for a laptop. He was going to fulfill all His purpose. He would accomplish what He began when I was knit in my mother’s womb.

I cried… because His fingerprints could be lifted off every area of my life.

“Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works Which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them,they are more than can be numbered.” Psalm 40:5

Have you taken time to look back and lift the prints of God from the scenes in your life? What have you found? How did you know what it was you were meant to do?