Forward Friday: Serving Family

A couple of Sundays ago, one of our pastors, Kevin Hauman, made a statement when talking about families that struck a chord in me. He said, “We have to serve our families.” Sounds simple and common sense, but I have to admit, I never really equated what I do at home as serving. Not really. I cook, clean, keep laundry (except my man’s because he likes to do his own and I don’t argue ;)) up and groceries bought etc…It’s just, you know, what I do as mom. Not that my husband doesn’t do any of these things, he does them often and my kids help out. But for the most part, I do these things. I do them without much thought. It is a labor of love but I haven’t thought of it as that.

Late that Sunday night after the sermon, my husband had a terrible toothache and his stirring with pain woke me. A quiet whisper entered my mind, “He needs an ice pack.” So I thought, “Great! I’ll tell him to go get one!” And Kevin’s words came back to me. “Serve your family.” The Lord spoke to my heart. “You go get him one.”

Was I tired? Yes. Would I have to go all the way downstairs? Yes. Would I probably be wide awake the rest of the night? Probably. But He was right. And so I did. I went downstairs and came back up and brought him an ice pack which helped! Did I lay awake awhile? Yes. But it felt good to serve him out of love. To do that simple task.

Like Mother Teresa said. It’s not how much we do, but how much love is behind it.

What are some simple things you do for your family that you don’t have to, but want to in order to show them how much you love them and want to serve them?

Forward Challenge: Do one thing for each of your immediate family members today that is small, but served with a lot of love. Note how it makes them feel and how it made you feel!

Forward Prayer: Lord, it’s easy to serve our family when it’s things we enjoy doing, but sometimes cooking one more meal, dropping off forgotten books when we are already running late for meetings, or cleaning gooey gum off shoes doesn’t feel loving. Help us to do it anyway and to love like You would. Fill us with overwhelming love and let it shine through our actions.

Forward Scripture: 


Kiss or Miss? Featuring Melanie Snitker!

Thanks for playing. The contest is now closed and the winner has been notified. For those of you who guessed if Melanie’s excerpt below was a “kiss or miss” it was a MISS! I’m going to call it a miss!
 Parker really wants to kiss her and brushes a whisper of a kiss on her cheek, but he walks away when he wants to give her a true kiss. Instead, he lets her have the space she wanted – or at least she thinks she wants!

Welcome to the “Kiss or Miss” Scavenger Hunt.
I am so glad you’ve stopped by today to play along. Today is stop #6, but you can journey through all eight stops, following the order in the schedule. Each stop will include two or three clue words in red. Collect them all and enter to win our grand prize at the final stop on February 17th on Crystal’s site.

Along each stop, you’ll get to meet an awesome author friend, read a super fun excerpt from one of their favorite kiss-or-miss scenes, and enter some sweet giveaways.

Here Are the Deets:
Scavenger Hunt Schedule: February 13th through the 17th.

Once you have all the words, arrange them in order to complete the mystery quote and enter it at the final stop of the event on Crystal’s site, 2/17.

Grand Prize: A paperback from each participating author, as shown in the image below.

Ready to Dive in? Follow the blog hop order below:

Stop 1 – 2/13/17: Crystal’s blog, featuring Pepper Basham
Stop 2 – 2/13/17: Pepper’s blog, featuring Stacy Claflin
Stop 3 – 2/14/17: Stacy’s blog, featuring Juliette Duncan
Stop 4 – 2/14/17: Juliette’s blog, featuring Sarah Monzon
Stop 5 – 2/15/17: Sarah’s blog, featuring Jessica Patch
Stop 6 – 2/15/17: Jessica’s blog, featuring Melanie Snitker
Stop 7 – 2/16/17: Melanie’s blog, featuring Melissa Tagg
Stop 8 – 2/16/17: Melissa’s blog, featuring Crystal Walton
Stop 9 – 2/17/17: Crystal’s blog, final entry

Stop #6 Featuring Melanie Snitker Thanks so much, Melanie, for being here today. I’m stoked for everyone to read your Kiss or Miss scene!

you so much, Jessica, for hosting me on your blog today! I’m looking forward to
sharing more about my new release, Finding Joy.
Sometimes, what looks like a dead end, is
really a new beginning.
A horrific
accident changed everything for Parker Wilson. The beautiful new employee his
mom hires is the last thing he needs and he’ll do whatever it takes to make the
girl quit. All he wants is to regain the peace and quiet he prefers.
Chelsea Blake
had been under the influence of her parents for ages,
but nothing short of desperation would force her to work on a local cattle
ranch. She may not be cut out for ranch life, but her determination to succeed
is stronger than her handsome employer’s efforts at forcing her to leave.
Unprepared to
discover all they have in common, if they set aside their initial dislike, they
might find joy beyond measure.
 Finding Joy is available for $0.99 through February 19th.
Click here to snag your
For your chance to win a digital copy of Finding Peace, the first
book in this series, read the excerpt below. Then vote below to enter your choice of “kiss” or “miss” in the Rafflecopter form.
A winner
will be chosen randomly on February 18th, 2017.
Excerpt from Finding Joy:
nodded slowly. “That makes sense. It hurts when people don’t see us for who we
really are.”
was no doubting the sadness in her eyes. “Are things still not going well with
your parents?”
gave a half shrug. “I don’t know why it always surprises me. You’d think I’d be
used to it by now. You were right, though. My parents never knew me.” She took
a long drink. “I’ve always been their daughter and Laurie’s sister. Never
Chelsea. I’m not even sure I know who I really am.” 
I do.” Parker reached across the table and cradled her hand in his. Not even
the hot drink had warmed her skin after being outside. He covered it with his
other hand. “You, Chelsea Blake, are a beautiful, intelligent woman. You never
give up, no matter how many obstacles get in your way. You were willing to fly
in the face of what your parents expected of you in order to find your own
direction in this world.” She was blushing furiously now, but he wasn’t done.
“And you were able to single-handedly drag a grumpy man out of his misery with
a broken bottle of tea and your stubbornness.”
laughed then and covered her face with her hands. Her eyes brimmed with tears
as she shook her head. “You’re something else.”
A good something, or a bad something?” He hiked one eyebrow at her.
She peeked at him from beneath her lashes.
else came into the coffee shop, bringing with him a blast of cool air. As much
as Parker didn’t want his time with Chelsea to end, he kept in mind the area of
town she lived in. It was nearly dark, and he’d rather she got home sooner than
sighed and reached for her coat, apparently realizing the same thing.
escorted her to her car and held the door open. Chelsea started the engine and
cranked the heat up all the way. Instead of retreating, he waited, one hand on
the roof of the car and the other on top of the door.
turned toward him, lifting her chin. “Thanks for the hot chocolate.”
welcome.” He leaned down, his face inches from hers. “Chelsea?”
So, what do you
think? Do they kiss? Or is it a miss?
Vote below to enter for
your chance to win a digital copy of Finding Peace.
About the Author:
Melanie D. Snitker has enjoyed writing for as long as she can
remember. She started out creating episodes of cartoon shows that she wanted to
see as a child and her love of writing grew from there. She and her husband
live in Texas with their two children who keep their lives full of adventure,
and two dogs who add a dash of mischief to the family dynamics.
In her spare time, Melanie enjoys photography, reading, crochet, baking,
archery, target shooting, learning about essential oils, and hanging out with
family and friends.
Follow Melanie:

Ready for Stop #7?
Did you collect your clue words in red above? Jot them down and hop over to Melanie’s blog for the next set of clues, goodies, and more.

Great read, Melanie! Okay, everyone don’t forget to go to all the blogs to find the words and enter for a chance to win! Yay! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lakeside Redemption

Do you believe this? I do. What a beautiful quote from my friend Lisa Jordan’s newest release, Lakeside Redemption. 
“Can a woman
forget her nursing child,

And not have compassion on the
son of her womb?

Surely they may forget,Yet I will not forget you.

 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of
My hands;…” Isaiah 49:15-16 NKJV
God’s love for us is intense. So intense that He’s carved our names into His palms. He can’t uncarve them. He doesn’t forget us, even when we feel like He has.
what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God
didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition
and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything
else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with
God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger?
The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of
God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be
able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not
trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying
threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of
this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that
nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or
low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get
between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced
us.” Romans 8:36-39 MSG
Nothing can keep us from God’s love. What I love so much about fiction is while the characters and even the setting might be pretend, the message is truth. It’s hope. It’s grace. And it can help us see God in a way we didn’t before! So I encourage you to pick up Lisa’s book either online or any in bookstore (they’ll only be in paperback on shelves this month then you’ll have to order it as an ebook or a paperback online). 
Here’s a peek! 
Buy the book! 
Zoe James is starting over. She’s worked hard to get past
the foolish mistakes that landed her in trouble four years ago. Now the young
mom is back in Shelby Lake and ready to reconnect with her son. When she bumps
into old friend Caleb Sullivan and his two adorable girls, she sees the
possibility of a happy future. Caleb has always secretly loved Zoe, but her
turbulent past brings up tough memories of his own. As they spend time together
training his girls’ new puppy, Zoe and Caleb will learn that if they can
forgive themselves, they might have a chance at a new life— and new
Visit @lisajordan on twitter,
facebook, and her website

If you were sitting in one of those chairs on the cover of the book, who would you be sitting next to and what would you be chatting about? 

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!

Show Me the Love


So, is everyone blogging about love today? It is Valentine’s Day. I thought I should blog about love and romance since I am a romance writer. I thought I might share some pointers of writing about romance, showing how to create a scene that is full of romantic tension, or even writing about why we love romance. God created us for romance. Divine romance! But I’m not not going to blog about any of that.

Today I’m simply going to use this cyber platform to tell you how much my husband loves me. This morning I woke up to yummy chocolates and a thoughtful card. Was it on my pillow? No. It was on my laptop! Somewhere he knew I’d see it.  I’d forgotten today was V-Day. I was surprised and of course, freaked out as I have bought him nothing!

My husband, of almost 16 years, still dates me. I love that.  Now, my husband isn’t a writer. He’s a muscian, so he understands my passion for writing because he has a passion to tell a story through a song, (Although not through words. He doesn’t write lyrics, much.) He’s usually rather quiet about my writing. He doesn’t brainstorm with me, and I generally don’t use him to bounce ideas off of. While he’s romantic to be sure, he doesn’t enjoy reading romance (he did read one of my novels and he did like it, but I’ve written 12 so, you do the math). In fact, he doesn’t enjoy reading at all. “Jess, why read when I know the movie will be out in six months to a year.” That’s his philosophy. I cringe every time he says it, but we’re all different, right?

He listens to me when I share my goals or my frustrations. It’s called Book Club time to him, but he doesn’t often understand because he’s not walking in my shoes. I’ve mistaken it at times for him not supporting me, but that deduction is very wrong. He supports me in spite of his lack of understanding.

I think it really hit me this weekend. He may not be able to speak writing lingo with me. He can’t wrap his brain around how I come up with ideas, scenes, plot, etc…but he can show me just how much he’s in my corner by doing other things. Huge things!

I just got back from a very expensive conference. Not only was it a chunk of money(and very worth it), but the hotel, the airfare, the extra hundreds of dollars I needed for various things before the trip, the money to take on the trip, and the job of running the family and working still had to be taken care of.  That was something he could do. And he forked money out like it was falling from trees. I don’t know how he put it back, saved, and squeezed. But he did and without so much as one grumbling word because he believes in me. He believes in my writing. And it was a way he could be a part of this. 

When I came home, my house was spotless. I knew it would be. Floors had been vaccumed and the lines still shown where he’d ran them vertically. Cause I like that! The kids had been bathed, Myles had a hair cut, the laundry including towels had been done, the pantry and fridge were stocked because he knew I’d have work to do this week since the conference went well. The bathroom rugs were washed and the shower and tub scrubbed. The sheets were freshly washed and my pajamas had been laid out. Oh yeah, and he brought me food to the airport when he picked me up because he knew I’d be starving! And I was.

My husband loves me. He loves what I do, and he’s proud of me. And I love him and am so very proud of him. This could be my Valentine to him, but since he doesn’t read….

What wonderful thing has your special someone done to show his/her love for you?

Love in Winter

The young girl bundled up and went out into the cold bitter wind, like she did everyday.  It was a long walk to the shoe factory where she toiled hard each day in order to make a few dollars a week to help her mama raise four other little girls.  She wasn’t much older than thirteen.
Each morning she would walk by a hat shop.  In the window were many beautiful hats displayed in every color and design.  She loved hats.  Every Friday afternoon as she would pass by that shop she would sigh and dream of owning just one of them.  She would wonder what it would feel like resting on her head of dark hair.  A crown maybe? She would put her hands deep into her old tattered wool coat pockets and feel the little bit of money she had labored all week for, close her eyes and wish just once she could use that money to buy something she desired.
Instead she would come home to four little sisters.  She would do laundry, feed the horses, get supper ready, bathe the girls and get them to bed, and then tidy the house before mama would come home from working her job all day long.  She wondered where her daddy might be, he had been gone so long… and then she would dream of the hats.
Her mama dreamed as well.  She dreamed life wouldn’t be difficult and unfair, that she wouldn’t have to raise five little girls alone, that her husband would have never left and that he would have loved her. She dreamed that her oldest daughter wouldn’t have had to grow up so quickly and work in a shoe factory she hated and that those few dollars she carefully placed into her palm each week could be spent on hats—but they were only dreams. If only…
Late one afternoon the little girl came home and on the table was a box.  A round box.  Her heart began to skip a beat.  She had seen the boxes before…in the hat shop by the shoe factory. 
Her mama came into the room and smiled.  “Open the box, Dorothy.” 
The little girl opened up the box and inside was the most beautiful hat.  She hurried and put it on and danced around the room.  Suddenly she stopped and looked at her mama with wide green eyes.  “How,” she asked in a concerned whisper.
Her mama’s smile was tired as she replied, “It doesn’t matter how, let me worry ‘bout that… it’s a gift”.
This little girl was my late grandmother, Dorothy, and I’m writing a memory of hers to share with you this holiday season.  Giving the sweetest gifts comes with sacrifice.  I don’t know how my great grandmother saved the money to buy that hat or what the cost, but I know it was a great sacrifice.  I know as she watched my grandmother dance about in the beautiful hat, she was receiving as great a gift– making it all worth the while.
Jesus gave the greatest, sweetest gift…salvation…which came at a great sacrifice–Himself. When we accept His beautiful gift, He sees us dance with freedom. Like my grandmother’s hat. A helmet of salvation.
I believe, just like my great grandmother, He smiles and says, “Don’t worry about the cost, let Me…it’s a gift.”
May this Holiday season remind you of the greatest gift given to us and the sacrifice that was involved. May you dance with grateful hearts full of joy around the room and may you have a very blessed Christmas season!
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15