Wednesday, April 29, 2009

with Linore Rose Burkard

I'm happy to have Linore Rose Burkard with us today! She's giving away a copy of her new release, The House in Grosvenor Square, but in order for us to qualify for the giveaway we need to have 10 people comment, so tell a friend and leave a comment! :) Linore writes inspirational regency romances that sound absolutely fantastic.

Linore, what do you think we could learn today from how society operated in the Regency period?
England in the 1800s is a world away from the 21st century. Times have changed, but people haven't. Men and women of the time were concerned with their appearances, their finances, their futures, finding the right spouse, and so on, just as we are, today. How they went about pursuing these ends is where all the difference lies, however, and this is precisely where the interest and adventure opens up for writers; We get to bring to life the means and methods of everyday life and timeless concerns from the regency. It is fun and enlightening as a glimpse into the past, but readers can also identify with the basic human need to be genuinely loved for oneself, no matter the setting or time period, and to be certain of one's convictions concerning life, eternity, and faith. Having said that, it is good to remind modern readers that valuing one's purity can be mainstream, as it was then; or that the struggle to find a true love and a sense that one's life has value, has always been a human issue.

What do you hope readers will take away from your books?
I hope my readers will feel as though they've been transported to the Regency for a good, satisfying visit; While they're visiting, they'll be reminded that God is involved in their life, and that happy endings are possible for everyone.

Do you have more Regency novels planned?
Right now I'm working on my third book in the series, The Country House Courtship. I have a few more regencies in mind also, which I hope to have published after TCHC.

Can you give us a sneak peek into The Country House Courtship?
Country House is the third book in the Regency Series, and gives one of the minor characters from the first books her own "day in the spotlight," her own romance. It begins about five years later (about 1818) and sees Mr. O'Brien (a curate, now) to a happy marriage of his own.

Novelists sometimes dig themselves into a hole over implausible plots, flat characters, or a host of other problems. What's the most difficult part of writing for you (or was when you first started on your novel journey)?
I think for me the biggest challenge was to believe that I could write a novel in small increments. As a mom of five, four of whom are still home year-round (one is in college), having frequent interruptions is a fact of life. Writing takes a concentration so deep so that when I first started doing scenes, I would find myself getting woozy after standing up. I was shocked at the level of exertion it took to use my brain that hard, I guess! It happens less now--I guess I've grown accustomed to it. And I've learned to appreciate those small blocks of time. Ten minutes in a waiting room can yield a part of a scene I couldn't get done at home. Every little bit counts. I don't despise small beginnings. There are times when I'm in a deep level of involvement with a story or a character, and then getting interrupted can break the mood; but I'm getting better all the time at picking up where I left off, no matter how deeply I've got to dive to get back into the character or situation. For people like me with busy households, this is a must-have ability. I believe it can be the difference between making that deadline or not.

How did (or do) you overcome it?
If I do get stuck at some point in the plot, I let it simmer in my mind. I also exercise--for some reason, when I am physically active, my brain gets going in a way that doesn't always happen when I'm sitting with my laptop before me. Swimming and doing the treadmill (walking) almost always result in wonderful new ideas I just can 't wait to get on paper. Sometimes, I've even had to stop walking and run to the pc just to get the idea down so I don't forget. By the way, I always pray for the right idea, too. There is no better writer than God.

The second "nifty" way to solve a plot (or other) problem in a book is to let it sit awhile without reading it. When you come back to it after a long enough interval (as long as you can give it) solutions just present themselves. I find the same thing happens to me with crossword puzzles--if I'm stuck, I put it down and when I come back to it--even an hour later--the word is there. So the key is, give yourself permission to take a break.

On a personal note, what is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Once when I was driving with my husband and some friends on a sight-seeing trip out to Eastern Long Island, my husband had to stop the car, and check the oil level. He climbed back into the driver's seat complaining that he'd got some oil on his bare arm. In a moment of misplaced maternal instincts, I cried out, "Don't lick your arm!"  To peals of laughter from our friends in the back seat, my husband thanked me profusely for reminding him not to lick his arm, since of course he was in a terrible habit of doing so. They still tease me about that!

When I was doing some homework for this interview, I saw that someone asked Linore if she could multitask, and I stole her answer because it cracks me up...
Is there a woman on the planet who can't? I'm married and I have five children (homeschooled for years) and I write books, and I'm active in church, and I love my gal pals and shopping and baking and decorating and swimming and watching lovely period flicks or fun spoofs like An Ideal Husband. I think I qualify.

How do you keep your sanity in your busy household and all the demands?

I don't know; must be prayer and God! And I guess I like a busy household.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
Lately I've been impressed with how true that Scripture is, that "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." His calling on my life is from Him, and consequently does not depend on my strength, or on how "spiritual" I feel (or don't feel) on any given day. God is faithful. He is steadfast. He won't change His mind about me, or about anyone.

If He has called me to write, for instance, He will supply me with everything I need to fulfill that calling. I sometimes sit down to write and worry that I'm not prepared enough; perhaps I haven't finished that new book for research, or I haven't thought out a character fully, yet. But when I give my day's goal to the Lord, I know He will help me get the information I need, whether it means I'm brainstorming while I write, or, as sometimes happens, I have to stop and research a topic or thing during the writing.

Also, I am endlessly amazed at the power of prayer, and how the Lord will come through for every seeking soul, no matter the need! It delights me when I pray with one of my kids for something they are concerned about, and then God answers their prayer in an amazing way. It reminds me that He truly cares for them apart from me, and more than I can.

I also revel in God's love as revealed through the many wonderful sisters and brothers I have in Christ. No one is perfect, and least of all those of us who know how much we need Him--but His mercies are new every morning, and there are blessings within the body of believers that you can't find anywhere else on earth. I never forget how blessed I am to have been adopted into His family.

How can readers keep up with you and your new releases?
I can stay in touch with readers if they sign up for my newsletter. In addition to enjoying each monthly issue about the Regency they'll also get updates about my books and writing and speaking schedule. Anyone can sign up on my website, and I always include a free monthly download in my newsletter!

I'd love to meet any of you (my readers or other writers) at one of the speaking engagements I have coming up: Please check my website calendar for the places on the East Coast I'll be. And for writers, in August, I'm doing a couple of great worskshops at the Faith Writers' annual conference in Michigan. Come and learn about online marketing and say hello!

To purchase The House in Grosvenor Square
Buy an autographed copy from the author

From CBD (ChristianBook.com)

From Amazon

From Barnes and Noble
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ALSO...
Linore will be a speaker at the Faithwriters Conference, August 7 and 8 in Detroit, Michigan and I'm very excited to meet her and to sit in on her sessions. Here's the class descriptions:

Book Marketing 101 – How to Market for Online Success
First-time published authors soon realize that books don't sell themselves. Fortunately, you can harness the power of the Internet to let the world know about your message. Join Linore for an author's guide to online marketing success that anyone can implement.

Creating Characters Who are Strong in Their Faith
Fiction readers love following characters who are believable in all aspects of life, especially their faith. But as a writer, how do you include spiritual content without coming across as preachy or offensive? Linore will show you
how to walk this delicate line in an effective way that captures your audience while ministering to their soul.

Faithwriters played a major role in turning my life around. They are an online group of Christian writers that encourage and stretch you in your writing skills. They have Weekly Writing Challenge that many of the participants in Fiction Friday join in on, or used to join in on. When people ask me about a good place to start writing and to learn about the craft of writing, Faithwriters is the first place I recommend.

Thanks so much for joining us! Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered into the book drawing, and to tell a friend!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April Kettle Club



For some strange reason I thought the month of April would be less hectic than March was—boy was I wrong! My Bible reading this last month has been exactly what I needed and so much more. Only God could do that!

Do you think that God sends you the answers before you even know the question? I'm beginning to think that there are times when He does.

This month I read about Saul being anointed by Samuel and how God equipped him for the job he had been called to do. Of course, shortly after that I ran into something that I didn't see any way I could do--something I thought God might be calling me to do. It was really bothering me. REALLY bothering me because I was convinced what He was asking of me was waaaaay beyond me. After several days, I finally laid it all at God's feet and left it there...and finally was able to sleep. As I drifted off to sleep, I remembered Saul and how God equipped him and changed him into the person he needed to be. Then I thought of several other things—things that God equipped me to do even when I was praying for someone to come along and relieve me of the duties. Things that He gave me a love for doing—even as I prayed for a way out. When I woke up I reread Chosen, and I felt like it had been written just to me, but when I wrote it I had simply been reassuring myself and others. I never dreamed God would use it to speak so directly to me.

I still don't know for sure what I'm supposed to do—but that's not a problem. I know for certain that if God is truly calling me to do it, then He will most assuredly enable and equip me to do it. THAT's what was driven home to me this month in my Bible reading. God is so tremendously good!

I hope this made sense--I'm exhausted and not thinking clearly...If it doesn't, it's covered in the two posts I wrote earlier this month: Chosen and Running in Circles

Be sure to join us at Exemplify for more links to what others have posted for the Kettle Club, and please join us!!

Tomorrow is an author interview with Linore Rose Burkard. Be sure to leave a comment on the interview to be entered into the book drawing!
...good night, all....

Meet Linore Rose Burkard

This week in our Author spotlight is Linore Rose Burkard. Tomorrow is an interview with her, but I wanted to take today and introduce you to her and her new release. To be entered into the drawing for a free copy of The House in Grosvenor Square leave a comment on today's or tomorrow's post with your email addy so I can contact you if you're the winner. For us to qualify for the free book drawing, we need to have at least 10 people comment, so tell a friend, too!

I just learned from Joanne that Linore is a speaker at the Faithwriters conference this year, and I'm so excited! Faithwriters is a very special place to me--they encouraged me and taught me when I needed it most. I am soooo looking forward to this year's conference--and with Linore being a speaker means I'm looking forward to it even more AND I get to meet her! YaY! :)

Okay, on to Linore Rose Burkard herself...

Linore Rose Burkard creates Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul. Her characters take you back in time to experience life and love during the era of Regency England (circa 1800 - 1830). Fans of classic romances, such as Pride & Prejudice, Emma, and Sense & Sensibility, will enjoy meeting Ariana Forsythe, a feisty heroine who finds her heart and beliefs tested by high-society London.

Ms. Burkard's novels include Before the Seasons Ends and The House in Grosvenor Square (new release! April, 2009). Her stories blend Christian faith and romance with well-researched details from the Regency period. Her books and monthly newsletter captivate readers with little-known facts, exciting stories, and historical insights. Experience a romantic age, where timeless lessons still apply to modern life. And, enjoy romance that reminds us happy endings are possible for everyone.

Publisher's Weekly affirms, "Ms. Burkard's command of period detail is impressive, evident in material details, but also in dialogue. Her novels even help non-Regencyphiles learn the difference between ladies' pelisses and spencers...On the whole, it's a tasty confection."

Ms. Burkard began writing when she couldn't find a Regency romance with an inspirational twist. "There were Christian books that approached the genre," she says, "But, they fell short of being a genuine Regency. I knew that many women like me want stories that are historically authentic and offer glimpses of God's involvement in our lives. So, I finally gave up looking and decided to write one myself."

Ms. Burkard was raised in New York, where she graduated magna cum laude from the City University of New York with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature. She lives with her husband and five children in a town full of antique stores and gift shops in southwestern Ohio. Her hobbies include working on four new Regency novels, family movie nights, swimming, and gardening.

The House in Grosvenor Square England, 1813: As Ariana Forsythe plans her wedding, she must adjust to the realization that she will soon become the wife of an extremely wealthy man. She wonders if it's wrong to rejoice that her future husband is rich. But, she promises herself to use her new position to do what she can to aid the numerous street waifs she sees all too often in London. During a tour of her future home-the house in Grosvenor Square-Ariana impulsively makes plans to redecorate (just a little) according to her tastes . But when Philip arrives home later, he is informed that an expensive silver candlestick and a miniature portrait of George III have gone missing. Moreover, each time Ariana visits the house, another item disappears.

When Ariana suffers an abduction attempt by two villains, and other mysterious goings-on are unexplained, Mr. Mornay must unravel the mystery of who is after her, and why. He knows he has to prevent any harm from befalling his future bride, even if it means he must keep her under lock and key in his own house!

Romance, suspense, and a deft touch of humor are part of the wonderful story of Philip Mornay and Ariana Forsythe's march to the altar. Fans of Linore's first book, Before the Season Ends, will love this delightful addition to the Regency Inspirational Series, as will all readers of historical romance.

Excerpt PDF from "The House in Grosvenor Square"

Don't forget to leave a comment on today's or tomorrow's post to be entered in the book drawing, and tell a friend! You have until Saturday evening to leave a comment and the winner will be announced on Sunday. Tomorrow is an interview with Linore--see you then!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Running in Circles

...it's something we all do. Especially me.
Mouse running in circles Pictures, Images and Photos

This last week I ran in circles. Circles that I didn't have time for. Circles that made me dizzy and my knees knock. I spent the week thinking and praying. In that order. Big mistake.

This morning when I sat down for my Bible reading I turned to the next reference on my list (I'm reading through chronologically) while asking God to direct me. My mind was full of seeking God's will, and here's what I read:
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and let your heart take courage;
yes, wait for the Lord. ~Psalm 27:14


Did I mention that the circles I was running in terrifies me? When I read Psalm 27:14 I was struck all over again by it (this is a favorite verse of mine).
Wait.
Take courage.
Wait.

I'm not a patient person. I tend to leap before I look and then scream all the way down. I do NOT want to do that this time. So, once again, I followed my trail of verses on this topic. (Isn't God good!! He knew I needed to be directed to that verse and that wait/take courage topic today.)

I still don't know if I should leap, but that's not the issue any longer and I have peace. All the Psalms I read this morning were from the time when David was fleeing Saul. David knew he was God's chosen and anointed king, but he didn't rush and snatch the throne. He waited for God's timing and God taught him great things during those years. That's what I want. God's timing for doing God's work—whatever that work is.

As I continued to follow my trail I was directed to Psalm 25:3, but I ended up on verses 4-5. “Make me know Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day.”

I'm claiming those verses especially as I wait and seek (and take courage). But not just those. As I continued on with my reading schedule I was directed to Psalm 31. I tell ya, God is so good!

For You are my rock and my fortress; for Your name's sake You will lead me and guide me. ~Psalm 31:3

God WILL lead me. I have His word on that. I don't need to worry about it. I don't need to run in circles. For His name's sake He will lead me.
Thank You, Father God!



A Winner!





Our winner of Cheryl Wyatt's new release, A Ready-made Family, is Robin of The Endless Pursuit!


Stay tuned for Linore Rose Burkard this coming Tuesday and Wednesday!


Friday, April 24, 2009

Taught By a Nosegay


Welcome to Fiction Friday! Today's hostess is Vonnie at My Back Door Ministry. Be sure to join us there for links to more fun fiction.

This has been a busy week for me, and when I sat down to pick a story for today, I needed something to pick me up. As I scrolled through my file, I was very surprised to see I hadn't posted this story yet. Not only is it one of my all-time favorites, but it was also my first Editor's Choice at Faithwriters, which makes it pretty special to me.

Taught By a Nosegay

For ten years I’ve been the chief craft-lady at my church and I’ve made the centerpieces and favors for the Ladies’ Spring Banquet, but not this year. Oh no, they went and asked some new lady that no one knew very well to do them. Secretly I hoped the banquet would come close to a flop so they’d see they needed me. But there was no such luck. Inside the Fellowship Hall, all was calm and peaceful. Most of the seats were taken, too.

“You who! Vickie, you can sit with us!”

I stifled a groan and painted on what I hoped was a pleasant smile. “Mrs. Milligan, how nice to see you tonight!” Mrs. Milligan was truly a dear soul, but she loved to talk. As I thought about it, I realized that was just what I needed: a chatty table so I could just sit and stew.

“Aren’t the centerpieces lovely? I was so disappointed when I heard they’d asked that new lady, Paula Whats-her-name, to do them this year. They say she’s had a hard time settling in, but that she’s doing much better now. You’ve always done such beautiful arrangements, dear, and it’s become a highlight of the banquet for me! I still have some of the favors that you made!” Mrs. Milligan may like to talk, but she did make me feel better. “But look at these favors, Vickie-Dear! What do you make of these?”

They were darling silk nosegays, tied with a bow so you could put them in a vase at home, but there was something glaringly wrong with them--right in the middle was the ugliest little flower. I was astounded! Was Paula out of her mind? Did she think that flower was pretty? How could she think to camouflage that with even a hundred other pretty ones?

Mrs. Milligan was interrupted by our pastor’s wife who was opening the banquet. “Good evening, ladies! Isn’t it wonderful to be here tonight? Now, I don’t want to keep dinner waiting, but I heard the buzz and thought I’d take care of one little thing before we go any farther, since I’m sure you’ll enjoy the dinner more once it’s taken care of.”

She held up a larger version of the favors and pointed to a similarly ugly flower tucked in with all the pretty ones. “This is what’s had y’all buzzing since you came in, isn’t it?” There was a loud murmuring as ladies agreed. “Well, do you know what this is?”

I could imagine hearing every lady screaming, “Yeah! It’s an ugly flower!” But no one said a word since Paula Whats-her-name was in the room, too.

The pastor’s wife said, “This is an ugly flower!” The ladies let go of the breaths they’d been holding. “Well, it is, isn’t it?”

This time there was no holding back, “Yes!”

“Can all these other pretty flowers hide this one? No, they can’t! When I look at this nosegay all I can see is this ONE UGLY FLOWER, and I know that’s all y’all see, too.” The ladies all laughed and agreed with her.

“We’re all like this nosegay, did you know that?” The room quieted down. “We can have all the pretty flowers in our lives, but if there’s bitterness or wrath or anger or clamor or slander or any malice in our life it can never be camouflaged, no matter how many pretty flowers we use. If we don’t get rid of the uglies that’s all that will be seen--the ugliness. So, y’all do everyone a favor now. Get ahold of that ugly flower in your nosegay and pluck it out. Just ease it right out and toss it away.” She pulled the ugly flower out of the large nosegay and tossed it over her shoulder. Throughout the room ladies pulled out their ugly flowers and laughingly tossed them over their shoulders, too.

“There! That’s so much better! A life without bitterness, or slander, or WHATever is a beautiful life! Now, let’s pray and ask God to do the same in our hearts and to bless this dinner!”

“Oh, Father,” I silently prayed, “forgive me for becoming bitter and angry over not making the centerpieces and favors! Please remove that bitterness and anger and make me beautiful.”


**Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Ephesians 4:31 (NASB)

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Be sure to join us at My Back Door Ministry for links to more Fiction Friday!

Also, on Tuesday will be an interview with Linore Rose Burkard and there will be a drawing for her newest release The House in Grosvenor Square. We need to have 10 comments to hold the book drawing, so be sure to stop by and tell a friend!

I will be drawing for Cheryl Wyatt's book, Ready-Made Family Saturday evening, and posting the winner on Sunday, so you still have time to leave a comment on the interview with Cheryl Wyatt and be entered in that book drawing.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

with Cheryl Wyatt

I'm so happy to welcome Cheryl Wyatt to Patterings! She agreed to be my interview guinea pig, and I couldn't be happier! Cheryl, in addition to living in my neck of the woods, writes fast paced contemporary romances and has three books currently out with Steeple Hill's Love Inspired line.

Cheryl, tell us about your Wings of Refuge series.
The series is actually connected by a pararescue team. Each man on the team will hopefully have his own story plus the commander's story, which was a pleasant surprise because I didn't start out planning to write it and my editors asked for it. That's Aaron Petrowski's story (Soldier Daddy) an October 2009 Love Inspired. The series is also connected by locale, meaning each story is set in the small fictional southern Illinois town of Refuge, which I planted an unmapped military base around.
 
Each book in the series stands alone though, meaning readers can jump in at any time without being confused. Each book is its own complete story. None of that frustrating "to be continued" stuff. LOL!

Where did you get the idea for Wings of Refuge? 
From hearing about the loss of real PJ Jason Cunningham. I grew up in New Mexico and there's a base there that's part of the PJ pipeline training. His story inspired the series because I didn't see a lot of authors writing about PJs. Many military romance writers write about Navy SEALS, but I've only read one other story that mentioned a PJ and that was one of Dee Henderson's Uncommon Valor stories from her phenomenal military series.

Which book (published or upcoming) has been the most fun for you to write and which character is your favorite?  And why. 
I think Celia from A Soldier's Family because she's so feisty. And Vince who I'm writing now for his story which releases in January 2010 (A Soldier's Devotion) because he's been such a pickle. I really enjoyed writing the twins from Petrowski's story (Soldier Daddy) which releases in October of this year.

In your first book, A Soldier's Promise, Amber does a tandem jump. Did you jump before writing that scene? (And if you did, did you scream all the way down, too?) 
I didn't jump only because I discovered I was pregnant exactly at that time. I had called and ordered tandem jump tickets for my husband and I then cancelled because I was feeling nauseated. I thought I was just nervous about jumping. But alas...I was expecting! So it's a really good thing I didn't jump. LOL!

Celia is outrageously funny.  I was thrilled to see her appear in Ready-Made Family! If Celia (from A Soldier's Family) could write your bio blurb what would it be? 
HA-HA! LOVE this question. Celia would first wave her arms in wild-windmillish-mutant judo chops and rattle off something like this: (and you have to understand that Celia is a fireball and never takes a breath between sentences. Anyway, she's say about me:
"She's in SERIOUS need of one of my famous makeovers. You should see what she shows up for work in. SNOOPY jammies! I mean, come on! Sometimes she doesn't even put makeup on until 3.5 seconds before her hotsy totsy hubby gets home. Talk about a jalapeno! Her dog even freaks out and starts trembling violently when she puts on a pair of jeans because he knows she's actually leaving the house for longer than a day. And don't tell her I told you this but if you REALLY wanna mess with that white girl's head, walk behind her and try to talk to her while she's typing a sentence. Because her answer will show up in the book. She once had my big, bad special operations airman drinking out of a SIPPY CUP rather than a canteen because one of her kiddos ran behind her asking for a drink while she was typing a paragraph. Thankfully her stellar editor caught the error before the book went to print. OY! That girl...." clicks tongue, waves arms, dances off doing the cha-cha. 
 
Where do you find your inspiration for writing? 
Everywhere. In things I see. People I hear. I constantly eavesdrop on conversations. LOL! My friends and family know that they have the right to remain silent. Anything they say can and will be used against them in the craft of fiction. LOL!

You're a registered nurse by training—what was the turning point from nursing to writing?  (how you started writing, how long have you been writing—any kind of writing) any turning points in your writing career?) 
I went on bedrest with a pregnancy due to preterm labor and started writing for two reasons: One, do prevent death by boredom and 2) to distract me from fear of losing the baby. Being an OB nurse whose specialty was high-risk labor and delivery enabled me to envision ALL sorts of horrible scenarios. So I distracted my overactive imagination by starting to jot down the stories that had been running around my head for years. Soon my mom sneaked me a laptop and I click-click-clicked away under a blanket until my husband finally figured it out and asked me what I was writing. Once I told him I was attempting to learn fiction, he told the entire church and all of our friends and family that I would soon be on the NYT bestseller list. Gotta love his optimistic enthusiasm! When I hadn't sold five years later, he started to wonder what was WRONG with all those editors. LOL!

The writing journey isn't a short one.  How long was it before you received The Call and your first contract?  
I wrote and studied fiction for 7 years before selling. My 7th completed manuscript sold but I'd finished 15 by then. The first 4 were practice runs. LOL! About 3 years in the middle of the 7 though I did not submit except to contests for unpublished authors.  

You were in a car accident the night before your first book signing, has that changed your life?  Did that slow you down? 
It slowed me down for a few months literally because I was on crutches. LOL! I had several resulting surgeries but I'm back up to speed now as far as physically. Spiritually it made me thankful that I wasn't killed or harmed worse and that my children all ended up okay. The police said if I'd been one second sooner or the impaired driver (who ran the stop sign speeding) been one second later, the wreck most likely would have been catastrophic for all passengers in my vehicle. THAT changed me definitely and made me release even more commitments so I could spend more time with my children. Because no one is promised tomorrow and I now fully understand the concept of "came out of nowhere" in a wreck that was completely sudden and totally unavoidable.

I love how you weave faith into your books. How much does your relationship with God play when you go to write a story? How much do you draw from Cheryl, and how much do you draw from Him?  
Thank you! I try to mostly draw from Him and hardly from me. He's FAR more interesting. LOL! But my friends and family tell me they see aspects of me in every book I write. So I guess some me-isms just naturally bleed through. LOL!

I've heard that you've pulled a few pranks on your friends.  What was the funnest one? 
I would have to say a prank we pulled on a doctor once where we dressed up another male doctor in a maternity gown and ran to get the first doctor, telling him a patient just walked in with the baby crowning (meaning birth was imminent). He comes rushing in and jerks back the gown and thankfully the other doctor had boxer shorts on. LOL! Hilarious. So the pranked doctor "delivered" the eight-pound-four ounce "pillow." Normally hospitals are very serious and that kind of stuff doesn't happen. But we had a RARE slow couple of hours and the pranked doctor was getting ready to move out of state and was a known prankster himself. That was probably one of the funniest pranks I've been involved in because the pranked doctor said he'd never fall for a practical joke. And he did. Big time.

The most recent prank was when we got word that we were going to be TPd. So hubby and I filled up a bunch of water balloons and got the paint guns and got on top of the roof. When the kids showed up after dark and started toilet papering our trees, we let them get one tree really good to let down their guard, then we launched a major counter offensive that sent them all shrieking (even the guys) down the street. Really funny. And SO worth having to clean up the toilet paper and smashed water balloons the next day. Our yard was completely splotched with paint too. Very comical. We also stuck about 300 Republican signs in the small yard of a staunch Democrat in our neighborhood who will remain nameless because he's also a family member. LOL!  

Oh my goodness! Knowing how Southern Illinois is in their politics, that was almost taking your life in your hands--as my hubby found out a few years ago! LoL

Your next book, A Soldier's Reunion, is due out in June.  Can you tell us about it?
 
It's PJ Nolan's Story. It's a high-school reunion romance and more! :-) Here's a backcover blurb:
A MAN FROM HER PAST
Despite a decade apart, this isn’t the reunion Mandy Manchester expected! She thought she’d put high school sweetheart Nolan Briggs behind her. Now he’s back…and the pararescue jumper literally sweeps her off her feet. He’s ready and willing to rekindle what they once shared. Mandy, though, isn’t prepared to put her heart at risk. He left her before-she won’t trust him again. Can Nolan teach this grounded girl to take a leap of faith?
Wings of Refuge-These soldiers of the skies are fearless, faithful and falling…in love!

I can't wait to get my hands on that one, too, Cheryl! Can you tell us about ACFW and the role they've played in your writing career? 
ACFW has been the most beneficial thing I think to my career. The conference networking and the friends I've made who've supported me are so valuable. The things I've learned from seasoned authors, editors and agents on the ACFW loop has greatly benefited me and my writing and my knowledge about the industry.

How can readers keep up with you and your new releases? 
By signing up for my quarterly newsletter. To do that, visit my Web site and input your e-mail address in the newsletter space provided. If it doesn't work, e-mail me at Cheryl[@]cherylwyatt.com (remove brackets) and let me know that you need manually added. My newsletter is the best way to keep up with my releases. Also some people subscribe to my blog as well because I try to stay pretty active on it.

Cheryl has offered to give away a copy of A Ready-made Family, so leave a comment and an email addy (so I can contact you if you're the winner). She's also hoping to stop by and say hi, so if you have any questions, ask away!

Thank you so much, Cheryl, for being with us today!


Next week's interview is with Linore Rose Burkard. Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Testify!

Monday Manna

Today is Monday Manna and Joanne has chosen a wonderful verse for us to blog about! For more thoughts and links be sure to join us at An Open Book. We'd love to have you join us in posting your thoughts, too!

For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. ~Acts 22:15


God has given us work to do! We are to be a witness for Him. It's something that every single person can do—tell others what Jesus has done for us personally. It does not take any special training or special anything. Simply telling others what Jesus is doing in our lives—in my life.

In Matthew 11:4 says something similar. “Jesus answered and said to them, 'Go and report to John what you hear and see...'”

How about when the Gerasene demoniac asks to accompany Jesus? What does Jesus say to him? “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” (Mark 5:19)

This is something that we can do even as we balance babies on our hips, or run a taxi service, or care for aging parents. Whatever time of life we're in, we can testify. God has done so much for us! Let's follow the Samaritan woman's example and run and tell those we know. As a result of her testimony, many people in the city came to Jesus and believed in Him. And all she did was tell them what Jesus had done for her. Nothing fancy. Simply testifying.

We can do that! Let's take every opportunity that's presented to us and let's diligently watch for every opportunity so that those around us may know God, for there is none like Him.

Be sure to join us at An Open Book for more Monday Manna.
Don't forget that tomorrow is an interview with Cheryl Wyatt and she's giving away a copy of her new release, Ready-made Family.

Friday, April 17, 2009

More of Even Evie

Welcome to Fiction Friday! A few of you have mentioned joining us someday, and we're all looking forward to it! Post some of your fiction and then join us by linking on Mr. Linky down below. The only rules are to keep it clean and to have fun. We'd love for you to join us!

This coming Tuesday, author Cheryl Wyatt will be here for an interview, and she's graciously offered to drop in give away a copy of her new release Ready-Made Family. I love her series of books and I'm excited and honored to have her! Come back and say hi to her, and if you have any questions--feel free to ask.

Today I'm back to Evie and some more of her back-story. Evie and Cyrus the Magnificent are part of the historical that's running around in my head. Hopefully, more than just back-story will be on paper soon. Until then, here's Evie...

Even Evie ~part 2
Evie laid staring at the dark ceiling above her, listening to Emmie's steady, deep breathing. It had taken her twin a long time to fall asleep, making it even harder for Evie to lie still. She wondered if it were past midnight. Would Ralph be waiting for her? Surely he wouldn't think she had chickened out. Would he?

She slipped one foot out from under the covers and shifted over. Easing the blankets toward to center of the bed, Evie rolled to sit on the side of the bed. She held her breath and looked over her shoulder, listening for any change in Emmie's breathing. Still slow and steady. Evie turned and looked at her clothes, carefully laid out and waiting for her. Cat-footing across the chilly floor, she silently folded and gently placed them, and her shoes, in the cloth bag that hung over the back of the chair.

Evie crossed to the window and stood still, listening and looking back at her sister. Unexpectedly, her throated tightened. She had never been away from Emmie. This was the first secret she had kept from her, and it was harder than she thought. Taking a deep breath she turned back to the window and grasped the bottom sash. Smoothly and steadily she lifted, just as she had practiced that afternoon and found to be the quietest way to raise the window.

Half-way up, the window squealed. Evie's head whipped around and she peered through the darkness. Emmie twitched and rolled over. Tucking the blanket under her chin she settled her face into the pillow and sighed. Evie's heart sounded like a rooster flapping his wings, loud and fast. She was surprised Emmie couldn't hear its wild flapping, but Emmie's breathing settled into a sure rhythm.

Evie surveyed the window with dismay. It was only half-way up. Being only half-way would make it considerably harder to climb through and onto the tree branch. What if you fall? She looked back at Emmie. She had always been the cautious one. The one who kept Evie out of trouble—when she could.

Resolutely, Evie set her bag on the floor beneath the window and lifted her leg over the window sill. Her bare foot groped for the branch as she bent double and sat on the sill, half in and half out. She paused there a moment gathering her courage before sliding out and standing on the branch like she had when she was younger. Reaching back in for her bag, she looked at Emmie one last time. Don't think about that now. Ralph is waiting for you. She ignored the little voice that whispered 'You hope.'

Climbing down the tree in the dark was harder than she remembered it being. Of course, the other time she had done it, there had been a full moon and Gideon had been down below waiting for her. After spending the night coon hunting, Pa had caught them. That had been the end to her climbing out the window and down the tree. Until tonight. Her shiver was from more than the cold night air.

On the last branch Evie dropped her bag to the ground before jumping down. She bent down and used her hands to search through the deeper shadows for her bag.

“Is this what you're looking for?”

The quiet voice seemed to boom like spring thunder. Evie staggered back, landing on her backside, changing her screech to a groan. She clutched her throat and sat looking up at the shadowed face that towered over her.

...to be continued.
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I'm looking forward to Tuesday! Have a fabulous Friday!
If you missed Sara Mills' story and books, be sure to scroll down. You don't want to miss it...for Sara Mills.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chosen

The first two kings of Israel were chosen by God and anointed by Samuel. Neither man was looking for honor, let alone looking to be a king. Both men were going about their father's business. Saul was searching for his father's donkeys and David was tending his father's sheep. Sounds rather everydayish to me.

When Samuel anointed Saul king in I Samuel 10, he also gave him very specific signs as confirmation from God—right down to how many loaves of bread and young goats men would be carrying and the specific instruments the prophets would have along. God made it abundantly clear to Saul that it was He who had chosen him as king. He gave Saul solid evidence of His hand.

But Saul, as he was, wasn't ready to be king. God took care of that detail, too.
The the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you mightily, and you shall prophesy with them and be changed into another man.
~I Samuel 10:6

That phrase jumped off the page to me—and be changed into another man. God equipped Saul to assume a king's responsibilities just God enabled those chosen to judge Israel before Saul's reign.

God doesn't choose those who are qualified
...He qualifies those He chooses.


How many of us have stood before God with our knees knocking and said, 'I can't do that!'? If God calls you to do something He will enable you to do it! Rest in that.

Even after God confirmed His anointing, Saul slips back into his everyday life. When Samuel calls the people together to choose a king, and Saul is chosen, the man is hiding in with the luggage. We do the same thing! God chooses us for a task, and we say 'I can't!' and then run and hide, forgetting, or refusing to believe, that God will enable us to do what He has called us to.

When it was time for Saul to step up, it says “God's Spirit fell on Saul” and he was able to rally the people and lead them as a king. God enabled him to do what he had been called to do. God does the same for us.

He will enable you to do what He called you to do!
Rest in that knowledge
and get to work.



He who began a good work in you
will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

~Philippians 1:6

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

for Sara Mills




Today is Tuesday, which means I'm posting at Exemplify Online's Blog.
Sometimes failure and fishing go together...



But today, here at Patterings, is for Sara Mills.
Sara Mills lost her husband a week ago today. He was only 40 and he had a massive heart attack. I cannot imagine it. To be honest, losing my husband is one of my worst nightmares. I've been praying often for Sara and her three young children--and running this interview that Cara Putman did with Sara is something small that I can do. Sara is an author with two books that sound absolutely fabulous and I'm looking forward to reading them. There are links below to buy one or both books to help support her.

Here's Cara's interview with Sara...
Miss Fortune and Miss Match are delightful books set in New York City in 1947. Tell us how you got the idea for Allie and these books...

I got the idea for Miss Fortune in the middle of the night, when all good ideas come to me.

One sleepless night I was watching The Maltese Falcon and I started to wonder how different the story would be if Sam Spade had been a woman. She'd never have fallen for Miss Wunderly's charms and lies. She'd have been smart and tough and she would have solved the case in half the time it took Sam because she wouldn't spend all of her time smoking cigarettes and calling her secretary Precious.

The thought of a hard-boiled female detective got my mind whirling.

I paused the movie and sat in my darkened living room thinking about how much fun a female Sam Spade could be. Intrigued but not yet ready to dash to my computer, I changed disks and put on Casablanca (my all time favorite movie ever). The sweeping love story, a tale full of hard choices and sacrifice was what finally made the whole idea click in my mind. If I could just combine the P.I. detective story of the Maltese Falcon with the love story from Casablanca, and make Sam Spade more of a Samantha, I could have the best of all worlds.

These books are so good, I wish I'd written them. How did you set the stage to capture that gritty PI feel without being dark?

I find that a lot of PI stories are gritty and dark, focusing on the worst of the humanity, and while I wanted the Allie Fortune mysteries to be exciting and tension-filled I didn’t want them to be stark and hopeless.

One of the things I tried to do to counteract the darkness was to give Allie a multi-layered life. She has cases, relationships, friends and family, all of which I hope combine to make the stories textured, rich and full of life.

Allie is a character I'd love to have coffee with. What did she teach you while you wrote these books?

Allie was a great character to write. One of the things I learned from her was that human relationships (man/woman, mother/daughter, friends) are complicated and full of unspoken rules and expectations. Allie is a rule-breaker at heart and it complicates her life on a regular basis. One of the storylines I loved most is Allie’s relationship with her mother and how it grows and changes and how it’s shaped her.

Another dimension of Allie’s character that really taught me a lot was her willingness to do whatever was needed to help those she loves. There is no price on that kind of friendship and it’s a characteristic I’d like to see more of in myself. Okay I admit it, I’ve got a bit of a friend-crush on Allie. LOL.

One last question: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would that be and who would you take with you?

If I could go anywhere right now I’d head to Monterey, California (I’m writing a book set there right now) and I’d plant myself on the beach with a notebook, writing my story as the waves crashed. Sounds like my idea of heaven on earth. There’s something about the wind-shaped Cypress trees and the crash of the surf in Monterey that calls to me. I don’t know why, it just is.


Miss Fortune
Allie Fortune Mystery Series #1


By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers


In 1947 Allie Fortune is the only female private investigator in New York City, but she's kept awake at night by a mystery of her own: her fianci disappeared in the war and no one knows if he's still alive. Until Allie finds out, she will have no peace. When there's a knock on her office door at four in the morning, Allie suspects trouble as usual, and Mary Gordon is no exception. Mary claims someone is following her, that her apartment has been ransacked, and that she's been shot at, but she has no idea why any of this is happening. Allie takes the case, and in the process discovers an international mystery that puts her own life in danger.

Meanwhile, the FBI is working the case as well, and she is partnered up with an attractive, single agent who would be perfect for her under other circumstances-if only she knew whether her fianci was still alive.





Miss Match, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #2

By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers


FBI agent Jack O'Connor receives a letter from Maggie, a woman he used to love, saying she's in trouble in Berlin. The FBI refuses to get involved, so Jack asks Allie Fortune to help him investigate. Allie and Jack pose as a missionary couple who want to bring orphans back to the United States.

A child finds important documents that everyone in the city - Soviets and allies alike - want for themselves. Maggie refuses to tell Jack what the documents are, saying if things go wrong, they are better off not knowing. Through the course of the search, Allie's past is brought back to her, half a world away from home.



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Thanks for joining me for Cara's interview with Sara Mills!
Next Tuesday I'm interviewing author Cheryl Wyatt and she'll be stopping by to visit with us. You don't want to miss getting to know Cheryl! There will also be a book drawing of her latest release which is a wonderful book.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Faithfully Following

Last night was our first 'performance' of this year's Easter presentation—and as I fully expected, it was wonderful. All the details that took so many hours to arrange flowed seamlessly, allowing the message to shine through with beauty and power.

This year, as I've been studying, I've been impressed with Mary—not just one Mary, but the trio of Marys that we read about in the Gospels: Mary--the mother of Jesus, Mary--Martha's sister, and Mary Magdalene. I cannot imagine the anguish those women experienced so many years ago! To see the Man they loved so much suffer as Jesus did...and yet they never left Him. They were there when He was on the cross, they followed when Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus carried His body to the tomb so they would know where He was buried, and they were the first ones to know that He had risen.

Last night I found myself wondering how it was for them on that Sabbath before He rose from the grave. Even though Nicodemus had helped wrap His body with burial spices and linen, the women hadn't been able to prepare Jesus' body for burial. Everything they would've done, and wanted to do, for Jesus in His death, they'd had to put on hold for the Passover Sabbath.

What was going through their hearts and minds on that day as they waited? Grief! Discouragement? Disillusionment? The Bible doesn't say, but I wonder.

The Gospels record for us that the women were at the tomb before first light on that first Easter Sunday and that they had spices for Jesus' body. They didn't know how they would move the stone away from the entrance of the tomb, but they went.

Their faithfulness in the midst of tremendous grief is such a testimony to me! It's been convicting. Am I faithful when I don't understand why things have happened as they have?
Am I faithful when I'm so discouraged I can hardly lift my head?
Am I faithful when I can't stop the tears from flowing?

Those women were not only faithful, they were active in their faith. They were still serving Jesus through their confusion, through their discouragement and through their deep grief.

Oh, Lord Jesus, please help me to follow in these women's footsteps and be faithful in all circumstances.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Safety Harness



Today is Friday! Joanne is hosting Fiction Friday at An Open Book, be sure to join us there for links to more fun fiction!

Not only is today Fiction Friday, but today is Good Friday. If I don't make it back up here, have a wonderful, blessed Easter.

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Saftety Harness
“You want me to do what?!” Suze could hardly believe what she’d heard.

“Do that ride with me.” Sean, her husband, was grinning from ear to ear.

“That’s a roller coaster! Were you hoping I wouldn’t notice?”

Sean laughed. “You loved Space Mountain and that’s a roller coaster, too.”

“Yeah, but there’s no loop-de-loops on Space Mountain and this one not only has a loop, but look at that drop! I can’t do that!” Suze gripped the handrail in front of her as she watched a car of screaming people fly past on their sides.

“Sure you can! You can do more than you think. You’ve tried so many other things these last few years and ended up liking them, you need to try this one, too.” Sean said.

She looked back at the roller coaster and thought, indecision churning in her stomach, fear yapping around her ankles like a tiny attack dog. She didn’t budge as she watched another car top out of the initial climb and begin its descent. Her stomach churned as she thought about that drop and what Sean had said.

She took a deep breath and said, “Ok. Let’s do it.”

Twenty minutes later she climbed into a car and pulled the safety harness down over her shoulders. ‘What am I doing here, Lord?’ she silently cried, panic creeping close.

As she clutched the hand-grips she felt God’s reply. “You’re in My safety harness, Suze, the palm of My hand. Hold onto Me and you’ll be just fine. A roller coaster is like life: it’ll scare the bejeebers out of you one minute and give you thrills the next, then send you through loops and rolls and leave you wondering if you’re upside down or right side up. As long as you focus on Me, and hold onto Me, you’ll stay on My track. Yes, you’ll loose your stomach and be scared at times, but I’ll be right there with you, holding you tight.”

The car lurched forward and Suze drew a deep breath. “I can do this! God is with me, He’s holding me close. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

As they ground their way up to the summit the panic clawed at her. She knew what was coming next: the big plummet to the bottom and she had to choose between the panicking voice inside her that was screaming, ‘get me outta here!’ and the soothing voice saying, ‘you can do this, it’s all right.’

Just as they topped out and hung there for a split second she made her choice. “I can do this!” Then the bottom dropped out from beneath her and she went flying down, screaming as she went. The fear was there, but so was the confidence that she was safe within her safety harness. God’s safety harness.

They whizzed around sharp corners, were tossed on their sides and before she knew it the loop was coming at her. ‘Ok, here it comes…” she thought as they hurtled toward it. Up. Around. Down.

“Wahooooo!” Suze screamed as they were thrown into the next turn and rolled onto their sides.

After a few more heart-stopping moments they rolled back into the loading area. “You did it, Suze!” Sean hauled her out of the car and steadied her as she stood there on rubbery legs. “I knew you could do it!” He laughed as he hugged her close. “Did you like you it?”

Suze looked back at the roller coaster. “A roller coaster is a lot like life. With God as my safety harness I’ll be ok. Scared, shaken, tossed around, out of my comfort zone, but safe within the palm of His hand.”
***
“You want me to what?!” Suze could hardly believe what she’d heard.

Mike, the youth pastor was serious. “Teach the sophomore girl’s Sunday School class.”

“I’ve never taught Sunday School before and I don’t know anything about high school girls.”

Sean snickered. “Remember the roller coaster.”

Suze looked at him, flabbergasted. “What does a roller coaster have to do with teaching sophomore girls?”

“You can do more than you think, you just have to get out of your comfort zone and try. Besides, you were looking for a place to serve here in the church.”

She took a deep breath and muttered, “Safety harness,” then looked at Mike and said, “Ok, I’ll teach them.”


I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
~Philippians 4:13


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This is a piece I wrote for Faithwriters shortly after going on my very first roller coaster, well, other than Space Mountain. (LoL)

Don't forget to join us at Joanne's for links to more fun fiction!
Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Double Day



Have you ever done any baking and found yourself looking at something like this? Today At the Well I'm posting about baking with one of my girls in Flying Flour.









AND
I'm also at Exemplify today posting about an what someone did Out of Love.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Preparing


Originally uploaded by freefotouk
This week is such a special week for those of us who are Christians. Many of our churches put on Easter Cantatas or some kind of Easter presentation, and my church is one of them. I've spent hours sitting through choir rehearsals as they get prepare.

As I've been studying this weekend, quickly tracing the steps Jesus took on His journey to Golgotha, I've been convicted. As a church body, we have spent hours preparing and rehearsing for our Easter celebration. As a family, we have spent hours building and setting up the staging needed for that presentation at church and preparing costumes to be worn during the presentation.

But how much time have I personally taken to prepare my heart for this season of remembering what Jesus did for me by dying on the cross for my sins? Am I content with just pulling on my costume and acting out my tiny role as an extra, or am living a real life as one who has been touched by the Savior's hand?

Oh Father God, please let me not be content with just mindlessly pulling on my Christian costume but let me truly live this life You have called me to. The life Your Son died to give me. Help me to remember the sacrifice Jesus made this week and celebrate by giving You my all. Not my leftover crumbs, but my all. I love You, Lord Jesus and it's in Your Holy Name I pray, amen.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Even Evie


Welcome to Fiction Friday! It's always fun having Fiction Friday here at home, and I'm really, REALLY looking forward to it this week. I've missed being involved this last month and I'm looking forward to reconnecting. Everyone is invited to join us and participate in Fiction Friday--the more the merrier! If you're new to Fiction Friday and would like to join us posting fiction, simply post a short story on your blog and leave your link below in Mr. Linky. Be sure to check out the other's stories--there's always a great variety.

This week's story is a back-story piece to the historical novel that's been running around inside my head. It picks up where we left Cyrus and Lucy in Cyrus the Magnificent.

Even Evie
Evie, her deep brown eyes glowing, pulled the door open for Cyrus and Lucy when they climbed the porch steps. “Gideon and I were about to come out there. Everything all right? What happened? Did he leave? You didn't tell that snake he could court Emmie did you?”

“Just how many questions do you think we can answer at a time?” Cyrus closed the door and looked at his oldest daughter as he shrugged out of his jacket. She was so much like her mother.

Evie flashed him a cheeky smile. “Why, all of them of course. One at a time until they're all done. Same as picking apples and berries and corn and beans and...”

Cyrus held his hands in surrender and Lucy rose on tiptoe to kiss his cheek. “She learned from the best, you know.”

“Thank goodness!” He walked near the window and looked outside although he didn't expect any further trouble that afternoon. Come evening things could liven up, but that was still hours away. He ambled to his rocker and waved Gideon and Evie away from the windows. He didn't want them distracted.

Lucy settled in her rocker and drew one of the little ones onto her lap, snuggling her close. Her eyes circled the room checking each of her eight children. Gideon, her oldest, sat in a straight backed chair leaning back on two legs, positioned so he could easily see out the back window. Near him Evie arranged her skirt, tucking her feet below the edge of the seat and a little to the side, like she'd seen the new school mistress doing at a social. Evie might be a fireball, but she had set out to be a lady. She lacked the natural grace Emmie, her twin sister possessed. Identical twins who were opposites. Before looking back to Cyrus, Lucy smiled.

“Well now. Your Ma and I have come to a decision.”

Gideon let the front legs of the chair he was sitting in hit the floor with a thud, his brown hair sliding over his broad forehead. He propped his elbows on his knees, gaze fixed on Cyrus. “Are we going?”

Emmie's eyes flew to her twin, her arms tightening around 6 year-old Linnette. Evie tensed while the others leaned forward in anticipation.

“Yup. We're going.” Cyrus clapped his hands together and rubbed them.

Lissie twisted her head around and looked at Lucy. “Where we going, Ma? To visit Uncle Lenard again?”

Lucy squeezed her youngest, dropping a kiss on her corn silk hair. “Oregon. We're going to Oregon.”

Evie sprang from the chair, her hands fisted. “We can't!”

“What do you mean we can't? Pa just said we're going. Ain't no can't to it.” Micah squared off with his oldest sister, chin high in the air even though he was eye to eye with her.

Cyrus leaned forward. He had anticipated Evie's displeasure, but not to this degree. “What makes you say we can't go, Evie?” He waved Micah back to where he had been leaning against the corner.

Emmie dropped her eyes to the knot in the floor board and rested her cheek on Linnette's head.

Evie drew a choppy breath. “Ralph and I are getting married.”

Cyrus' eyes narrowed like he was in the bright noon-day sun. “Says who?”

Evie's gaze slid to the fireplace where a log crackled and shifted.

“You aren't marrying someone that's too lazy to even come and ask for permission to court you, let alone marry you.” He kept his voice reigned in, but it was hard as the oak planks beneath his feet.

Evie's gaze flew back to her father's. “He's not lazy!”

Gideon snorted. “Lazy compared to what? Ol' Mack who's out lived every other dog in the county?”

Micah and Ben jabbed each other with their elbows and the littlest twins laughed. Mattie hid her smile behind her hand, taking great care so Evie wouldn't see her.

Evie glared at Gideon, her gaze raking the younger boys. “He's not lazy.”

Ten year old Ben spread his hands on his chest and gave Evie a puppy-dog look. “Evie,” he mimicked, “would you straighten out the storeroom for me? I need to mind the store front and--”

“That's enough, Ben.” Cyrus gave the boys a fast hard look before cornering Evie. “Like I said, you aren't marrying someone too lazy to ask permission to court you.”

“It's not that he's too lazy, he just believes girls can make their own choices.” Evie spoke fast, her gaze darting to her father before skittering to her twin sister.

“And you agree with him?”

“Pa, I'm 17 and--”

“And we leave for Oregon in a month.”

Evie dropped back into her chair and crossed her arms defiantly. Cyrus glanced at Lucy. Her eyes confirmed what he was thinking. Together they turned and looked at Emmie. She chewed her bottom lip, her fingers nervously picking at Linnette's dress. Cyrus's shoulders sank. They would have to watch Evie closer than they had ever had to in the past.

********

To be continued as soon as it's written...hopefully next Friday. ; )

Evie was the first Maddox to reach out and capture my attention, and she did it with a bang. I'm looking forward to getting to know her over the next few months.
********


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Interruptions or 'But God's?

Plans have a way of changing. Have you ever noticed that?

I've been looking forward to this week for awhile. I had great plans of getting caught up on life—yanno, the important things: writing, blogging, visiting my blog friends, writing, getting caught up in the class I took (now that it's done, LoL). But God had other plans.

Why is it that when I see that phrase 'But God' in the Bible I love it, but when I experience it played out in my everyday life it's not quite so thrilling?

What's a 'But God' happening? This week it's been tackling a cleaning job with my girls instead of my plans of school and writing day. And spending an afternoon and evening with my family setting up the staging they built for our church Easter program. Family time working together. Time spent creating memories and having fun while working together. Days of barely touching my computer, let alone doing any writing. Days when 'But God' was allowed to play out in my life.

My attitude is key. If I throw even a silent, internal temper tantrum over these change in plans (interruptions), I lose out on part of the blessing of seeing a 'But God' at work in my life because my bad attitude will squelch the blessing and infect those around me with my ick. Those blessings are priceless, and I would've missed them this week if I had let my bad attitude pop up over the change to my plans.

It's in the everyday events where we have to chose to accept and thrill in the 'But God' happenings.

How has 'But God' played out for you? Do you see His hand in the little things?

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