Jesus is right here with me

27752349_10156091914592856_4961833736323205029_nI’ve been stressing out for some time as my sweet hubby and I have had to deal with some serious areas of neglect, one of which is the project of replacing our kitchen floor. Disorder is always frustrating to me, as I so much want to see the beauty in my surroundings, yet so often it seems out of reach.

This morning as I was having breakfast with hot tea at the table, which was pulled out of its normal position, I was blessed to see a perfectly shaped cross in my spoon as it sat on my saucer. I smiled, knowing without a doubt that Jesus sent that reminder to let me know he was there right beside me as we work our way through the chaos and confusion to brighter days ahead with a real sense of accomplishment, beauty, and joy.

I discovered the physical source of the image in my spoon. The ceiling fan happened to be in the right position to make that image. Some might say that was coincidence. If it were, then I know my God is the one in charge of arranging coincidences, as the timing couldn’t have been more perfect and reassuring in every way. I had begun taking serious literal steps to pray over our situation, as I made a pathway around our property for the purpose of walking around it and praying for more of His presence, order, peace, and beauty on our home and property. This morning God reminded me in this simple way (and many more ways) that he is right there beside me to empower and encourage me – and my hubby – as we move forward.

Thank you Jesus for joining me at breakfast this morning. Please stay by my side all day pouring your joy into my spirit.

Assessing Priorities

Walk to Emmaus

God is good. I’ve wanted to attend a Walk to Emmaus for the past 20 years, but it didn’t happen until this past weekend. I was ready for the Emmaus weekend, and God’s timing was evident. The weekend also fit like a hand in a glove with the Bible study I’ve been sharing with a group of ladies on the book of Philippians.

It was a three-day weekend of experiencing God’s love – of bathing in it and basking in the Son shine.

It was a weekend of rounding out my faith – of spending time digesting the many facets of God’s love and my response to it. A weekend to challenge me in the areas where I’ve been falling short of God’s best – where I need to trust him more and let him lead.

It was a weekend of connecting with others who shared common backgrounds – common hurts and needs.

And now it is time for the “Fourth Day”…

I am prayerfully letting go of some responsibilities, especially in areas where I have felt like I have been spinning my wheels but going nowhere.

I am challenging myself to be more attentive to my role as wife and helpmeet, and to be more productive on the home front.

I must eliminate a lot of clutter in my life, beginning in my office and home; and with Christ’s support re-establish priorities in a way that brings order and peace, and that frees me to share my faith according to God’s leading.

An Introduction to Walk to Emmaus, The Upper Room from Upper Room Ministries on Vimeo.

The “Sharing Your Hope Workshop” – so rewarding!


I promised several people that I would write about the “Sharing Your Hope Workshop” I attended at the Highlights Foundation in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, and here it is two weeks later – and I’m still trying to sort through what I want to say.

Part of the problem is that I went with some expectations that were off-track. I carried lots of old manuscripts with me thinking it would be a time to pick one out, dust it off, and get wonderful feedback that would turn it into something ready for the market. That didn’t happen.

But what did happen was so much better. After I got woke up good, that is… I struggled to stay awake the first evening after getting up in the wee hours of the morning on not enough sleep and spending the day in airports wrapped around two flights. It was still a struggle the second day, but I got some half-decent notes and some great handouts to keep me from losing too much.

The leaders, Kristi Holl and Paula Morrow, are awesome writers who had so much to share with us about what it takes to become a real writer. Wishy-washy wannabe feelings aren’t enough! Writers can sit around thinking about what they want to write, but if anything is going to come of it they have to get on with writing it. Facebook and networking have their place, but we have to learn to guard against letting them take over our time to the point that we never get around to writing the things we dream about writing.

The underlying theme of the workshop was to encourage us to write good books that offer spiritual hope. We were given many tips on how to accomplish this without sounding preachy. We were given ideas about developing strong characters that were believable and techniques for developing plots with tension.

Kristi Holl shared many tips about caring for oneself to assure that we preserve sufficient time and energy for our writing. She also discussed the importance of setting priorities and boundaries for ourselves so we don’t allow others to sap our energy. We discussed the difference between selfishness and self-care. Her discussions were supplemented with handouts and book lists.

Much was said about the benefits of aspiring to become published through traditional publishers instead of self-publishing. I have been leaning in that direction already, as I have become worn out by trying to wear too many hats. So I have set a new goal for myself to start submitting my work to traditional publishers, to keep writing new material, and to stop spinning my wheels trying to market my self-published books when 99.9999% of the world has never heard of them or me.

I have already ordered several of the books that were recommended and have begun reading from the ones that have come in the mail so far. My budget is small, but fortunately I was able to order most of them as used books on Amazon keeping my costs down. I have a special place on my desk for these books so they will stay at my fingertips as I work my way through them.

I am eager to become more professional with my writing day by day. The most important component in determining the value of this workshop for me is in my determination and self-discipline to put these concepts into practice and to make measurable progress daily.

A Scholarship (& fundraiser) for a Highlights Foundation Workshop

I have been offered a Highlights Foundation scholarship to the Sharing Our Hope: Writing for Religious and Inspirational Markets 2014 workshop on March 27 – March 30. I am very excited about this possibility, but the rest of the story is that the scholarship only pays half of the cost of the workshop, and it is 700 miles away. I’m going to have to really beat the bushes to raise these funds in the next week to hold my spot in the workshop. Please pray that God will provide the needed funds so I may go and improve my writing skills for reaching children and teens for Christ. If you are willing and able to help me to attend this workshop, there is a PayPal link at the bottom of this post where you may contribute and a progress report that I will continually update to reflect the progress on raising the needed funds.

Why this particular workshop is important to me:

I have sought to share my faith with children and teens for many years through Christ centered activities and with my Bible storybooks. I have two self-published books, The Creation and The First Christmas, and have started another book about Jonah. I believe these books are important for children because they are designed to increase faith in God’s Word at a time when the world wants to discredit it. I intentionally choose to write about the Bible stories that are most under attack for this reason.

At this Highlights Foundation Workshop I will be working with multi-published authors and editors who can give me strong guidance on what I need to do to improve my skills, and to break into recognized markets where I may be able to reach a larger audience than I’ve been able to reach through self-publishing.

You may explore the links under the header on this web page to see some of the avenues I have been using to share my faith with children, teens, and adults. This workshop is precisely on target with my writing goals. It is also set up with a high ratio of teacher to learners so that we learners will have opportunities to develop our skills and get feedback on them.

Download my ebooks for free from Feb 26-March 7, 2014

The Creation - regular price $2.99

The First Christmas - regular price $2.99


Janice Ducker Green writes for children. Her books communicate truth on an age and reading level for her audience. Combined with her creativity is her joy of seeing children learn and absorb truth. Janice doesn’t write to simply write for profit, but she writes so that the lives and minds of children are blessed. Janice’s writing will outlast her and that is a life purpose that I can commend. When you invest in her conference training and books, you are investing in the lives of every child who will ever read her books.

by Robin L. Lewis

SEE Nancy Graham’s Comment below for a glowing reference. :)

February 24, 2014

About the workshop (info taken from the Highlights Foundation web page):

The faculty

Paula MorrowPaula Morrow has been involved with children’s literature all her life, first as a child reader, then as a children’s librarian, and then as a long-time editor of children’s books and magazines at Cricket Magazine Group and Cricket Books.

Read More…

Kristi HollKristi Holl is a children’s choice award-winning author of 42 books for children, 2 nonfiction books for writers (Writer’s First Aid and More Writer’s First Aid), and more than 150 stories and articles for children and adults.

Read More…

Workshop Description

Never has there been a greater need for inspirational stories, articles, and books for children and teens. Religious publishers and general-interest publishers alike are seeking hopeful books with solid values. Some material can “cross over” into both markets. If you want to write books offering hope to young people, join Paula Morrow (Christian editor, writing teacher, and book reviewer) and Kristi Holl (author of forty-two books for general interest and Christian publishers) for a weekend that’s both practical and inspiring.

Click here for more information about this Workshop.

You may use this button to help me reach my goal to attend this workshop:

Progress Report:

Cost of Highlights Foundation Workshop:  $1065
Travel expenses (airlines)                              250
Gasoline (to airport)                                         50
.    anticipated expenses                             $1365

Scholarship                                                     550
KL donation                                                     100
DA donation                                                       50
JR donation                                                        20
TH donation                                                       25
JN donation                                                        20
VS donation                                                       25
NG donation                                                    100
CB donation                                                      60
MM donation                                                     40
BK donation                                                      40
BM donation                                                    100
GO donation                                                        4

.    Shortfall                                                    $231


I am not likely to do much blogging on this site. I intend to use it to direct my readers to the blogs I write and/or maintain. You will find the “good stuff” as you click on the links under the header. It is on those blogs that I expect to do the most writing – and you will also discover that some blogs will be more active than others as my passions fluctuate. (Did I mention my A.D.D. tendencies?)

I hope you will enjoy browsing through my “stuff” and find something you like.