An Introvert is an Introvert

I remember when I took the plunge into blogging six years ago. It was a dip of an introvert’s toe into the waters normally stirred by extroverts. Eventually I got more comfortable, though my readership remained minimal. Often I felt like I was just talking to myself! But for a definite introvert, that wasn’t really out of the ordinary.

At the advent of social media, I wondered if this would be the platform to pull me out of myself, to allow me to interact with others from behind my computer screen. Surely that couldn’t be as daunting as trying to make conversation in real life or in real time. I pictured myself blossoming into an online extrovert, especially when my book actually hit the shelves and I became a published author. 

But you know what I’ve discovered? An introvert is an introvert--even online. 

How do I know this? For one thing, when I attended a writing conference this fall, I observed that those who are extroverted online are the same ones that are extroverts in person. They simply know how to interact with others, no matter the format. Another way I know this is from my own social media experience. I can’t tell you how many times each day I type a sentence or two into one of those little boxes (facebook, twitter, even blog comments) and delete them. Yep. The same uncertainty, the same second guessing that happens to me in a live conversation happens online. Sigh. 

Just like in my “real” life, I have a few good friends online. I enjoy connecting with them, and with new people, too. But I’m not one that draws the attention of the masses. Online or in person, I tend to hover around the edges of the crowd, looking for a friendly face. In the end I’m simply learning (again) to be content with the way God created me--unique, and not to be compared to anyone else.

What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Are you different online vs. in person? 


Repentance vs. Perfection

Sometimes I don’t pay enough attention to the negative statements in the Bible. 

Case in point: Psalm 7:11-13

Psalm 7 is a Psalm of David, appealing to the Lord to save him from his enemies. A familiar theme, yes. But then I read these three verses:

God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day.
If a man does not repent (emphasis mine), He will sharpen His sword;
He has bent His bow and made it ready.
He has also prepared for Himself deadly weapons. (Psalm 7:11-13)

God, as a righteous judge, will bring his judgement on whom? Those who transgress? Yes, but there is a condition. Not just those who sin, but those who do not repent. 

As I mulled this over, it struck me that it is this attribute— repentance— that sets David apart from others. He sinned, yes. Sometimes even as a clear choice, as in when he numbered the people. Yet he always repented. Not just an “I’m sorry, God. Now please make it all better,” but a true repentance, a godly sorrow along with an acceptance of the consequences to follow. And a moving forward with a firm belief in God’s forgiveness. 

I, on the other hand, so often put the emphasis on perfection, not repentance in my own life. In fact, if I am honest, I put the emphasis on perfection instead of repentance in the lives of those closest to me, as well. But I think the negative statement in Psalm 7:12 indicates that my indignation, like God’s, should be saved for those who do not repent instead of those who fall short of perfection but whose lives are marked by the true humility of repentance. Because a life characterized by repentance is a life focused on conforming to the character of God. And isn’t that the work He is perfecting in each of us anyway? 


A Sunday Psalm

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to You,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
    --Psalm 61:1-3


Novel Morsels -- .99 on Kindle!

Starting today and through this weekend (I believe), the cookbook Novel Morsels is available as a .99 kindle download! This version does not have all the color photos of authors and book covers, BUT there is a code at the beginning and end of the kindle version that also allows you to download the full color PDF version for free. Can you get a better deal than that?

Head on over here and download your copy today! Even if you never make a recipe from the Novel Morsels pages, it makes for great reading about authors and their books!


I've Got Plenty to be Thankful For

If you've been around here long, you know I love the movie Holiday Inn. So for this week of Thanksgiving, I thought I'd put up the clip of Bing singing "I've Got Plenty to be Thankful For." Alas, embedding is disabled for this one, so you'll have to click here to get to it. Better yet, put on the movie and get in the holiday mood.

This week I'm thankful that my college kiddos are home and that our family feast is at my sister's house! :)

I am blessed beyond measure. I hope you know that you are, too.

Glory to God in the highest.

Have a great Thanksgiving!


A Sunday Psalm

Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them.
The unfolding of Your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
    --Psalm 119:129-130


Report from the Writing Cave

Just thought I'd give you a quick update from the writing cave. I'm 30,000 words into the new story, set in central Pennsylvania and revolving around a Home for Orphan and Friendless Children in 1910. Yippee!

That's the good news.

The bad news is that I'm 8,500 words behind where I wanted to be by now. And so it goes. I'm hoping to make up at least some of those words, but if I can even hit just 50,000 by month's end I'll be way ahead of where I started.

Ok, now back to writing. :)


The Final Seventeen

I haven’t been a terribly sentimental mother. I don’t get teary-eyed when my kids move from one stage to the next. But then again, I haven’t enjoyed any stage so far as much as I’ve enjoyed the high school years— although so far the college ones are looking to be a very close second. 

But today my baby boy turns 17, and it hurts my heart just a little bit. Why 17? I think because it goes along with that junior year, which I’ve always told my kids is the best year of high school. (Out of the doldrums of being the “younger” ones, but not yet completely into the pressure of choosing a college or of being conscious of every “last” of the senior year.) 

17 seems to have put behind it much of the drama of the early teens. It has been driving for 2 years— one with an adult, one on its own. 17 is just shy of the I-don’t-need-you-because-I-know-everything stage of 18-21. (Of course you can enjoy those years when you don’t see them on a daily basis!) All in all, 17 has been a bit idyllic with my kids, or maybe I have just seen it that way. 

So as this last year of 17 begins, I feel a little sad. This time next year we’ll say good-bye to 17-year-olds forever. We’ll be the parents of three adults. A good, new place to look forward to, but with a twinge of nostalgia for the days that were 17. 


The Joy of Conversing with Readers

Each “author” event that I’ve been part of so far has offered a unique experience. Such continued to be the case on Saturday, when I meet with some lovely ladies of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. Part of their Women’s Ministry involves fostering book clubs among their members. This event fell under the Book Club heading. 

I didn’t know exactly what to expect. In accordance with instructions, I prepared a couple of short talks— about my book and about my life and writing journey. Honestly, I felt a bit awkward through those. But at the first break, when I got to chat with several of the ladies one on one at the book table, I felt a bit more at ease. Then as I stood before them again, I read an excerpt from Wings of a Dream then asked for questions. And things changed. 

Turns out several of the ladies had already bought the book on their Kindle or Nook and had begun reading. They asked questions and made comments about where they were in the story. This spurred further dialogue about the writing process. Which, in turn,  sparked more questions about the book. 

Suddenly I felt completely alive. It wasn’t me talking at them. I was talking with them. It was conversation. And conversations that revolve around books and writing and faith are my absolute favorite.

I left there energized in a new way, knowing I hadn’t just made it through a public appearance, but I had made some new friends. 


A Sunday Psalm

I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify Your name forever.
For great is Your love toward me;
You have delivered me from the depths of the grave.
    --Psalm 86:12-13


The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy

When I went to the ACFW Conference this past September, I took one the best and most helpful writing classes ever. It was taught by an editor and an author that frankly I’d never heard of. But when she finished the class, I went to the conference bookstore and bought her new book without even reading the back cover copy. 

And let me tell you— this book did not disappoint me as a reader or as a writer. 

The Baker’s Wife by Erin Healy is contemporary fiction, with elements of suspense and of the supernatural. It is a story of redemption on several levels, of sharing one another’s pain, of trusting God to guard your reputation and to reveal truth. 

As a reader, there were so many levels of this story that I connected with, not the least of which was that it caused me to think more deeply about how the Holy Spirit speaks in our lives and what it means to enter into the pain of another person. I loved the pastor-turned-baker who didn’t defend himself against the lies responsible for his dismissal from the congregation. He was such a Christ-figure in this book. I loved his wife Audrey, who by a gift of the Holy Spirit felt the pain of those she was called to minister to. Literally felt their pain. I loved how human she was— frail in some moments, strong in others, but with a great desire to act as the Lord wanted her to act, in spite of herself. Then there was the son, who wondered after he’d fallen into sin if the Lord had any use for him anymore, and the woman who’d tried to do right but in the end had been punished and wondered if restoration was only a pipe dream. Not to mention the antagonist, a character determined to put God in a box and who inspired in me the same pity as I feel for Javert in Les Miserables.

As a writer who had listened to Erin teach about knowing when and how and why to push certain styles of writing beyond the norm for a story, I was fascinated with the use of a more omniscient point of view. It worked. And while I haven’t asked Erin personally why she made this choice for the story, I appreciated it as a reader because of the intense emotions within the story. I’m not sure as a reader I could have handled it in a deep POV. And to understand the supernatural element (Audrey’s “gift” feeling the pain of others), a little bit of distance from her deep POV was necessary, in my opinion.

All this to say, I highly recommend this book. Besides being a good story (there are twists and turns I never saw coming!), this book will challenge you to think more deeply about your own faith and your interaction with a hurting world. At least that’s what it did for me. 


The Subjectivity of Art

Over the years I’ve been in this writing life, I’ve thought often about the subjectivity of art, specifically of the written word. But never more so than when my first book hit the shelves. 

Here’s the thing: As readers, we realize that some books we connect with, others we don’t. Some books that move others to tears, we toss aside. Others that critics ignore, we cherish as meaningful and worthwhile. So why, as writers, do we expect any different variant of responses from the readers of our work? 

I am so very grateful for the many positive reviews for Wings of a Dream. But every now and then a comment will rankle. It will poke at my heart, causing an outburst of explanation or indignation to my inanimate computer screen. But as I mutter my displeasure, I suddenly recall a book I couldn’t finish--one that one garnered awards and has many admirers. Or a book that was well written but simply didn’t interest me. I didn’t connect with the story, though many others did. 

I appreciate the Lord’s constant reminder of this truth: that He created each of us with a unique combination of personality, likes and dislikes, and experiences that all simmer together and result in a point of view no other person has exactly. So the art that spills out of my uniqueness may not speak to yours. And that’s okay. Because my work will speak to someone. And someone else’s work will speak to you. And if we all admired exactly the same thing, wouldn’t the beauty that is art be dimmed somehow?

In the past two months, I’ve decided I’d rather endure the occasional misunderstanding or dislike than surrender the diversity of our creativity. After all, we serve a multi-faceted  God, each of us responding in greater or lesser degrees to different aspects of His character. If it doesn’t bother Him that we don’t walk in lock-step in our relationship with Him, why should it bother us that we don’t all walk in uniformity with each other? 

I do hope you enjoy Wings of a Dream and all my other books. But if you don’t, please know it is okay. I can give you grace to appreciate the art that moves you, even if it isn’t mine. 


And God Continues to Amaze . . .

The official, signed contract came back in the mail on Friday. I'll be writing two more books for Bethany House! I continue to be humbled and amazed at what God has done and is doing, how He is orchestrating this unique journey and using a girl who had become perfectly fine with sitting in the background. I cry every time I think about it.

So we're up to four books, just in case you're counting. Here's how it looks on the calendar:
  • Wings of a Dream (available now)
  • At Every Turn (September 2012)
  • 3rd book (Fall of 2013)
  • 4th book (Fall of 2014)
Thank you to all who pray and read and open your heart to this crazy lady with the wild imagination! I love y'all!


Don't forget to let me know before Friday if you'd like a coupon code to receive a free copy of Novel Morsels! (Click the title to see the post with the details!)


A Sunday Psalm

All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
for those who keep the demands of His covenant.
For the sake of Your name, O Lord,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
Who, then, is the man that fears the Lord?
He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.
    --Psalm 25:10-12


Novel Morsels

Ever wonder what your favorite novelists (or their characters) are cooking up for dinner?  Thanks to my friend and fellow novelist, Nicole O’Dell, you can find out!

Introducing Novel Morsels, an e-cookbook!

 (Do you see the spine for Wings of a Dream in that lineup?)

Currently, Novel Morsels in only available on Nicole O’dell’s website as a pdf ebook for $2.99, but will soon be available as kindle and nook downloads. In fact, it will be a free kindle download the weekend after Thanksgiving!  

But what if you don’t want to wait that long? 

Because I love my readers and I’m so thankful for you, I’ll give you a head start. For the next week, I am offering a coupon code to download the book from the store on Nicole’s website for FREE. Yes, FREE. 

Are you interested? Just comment on this post (leave your email addy unless you know I have it!) or comment beneath this post on my facebook page sometime before Friday, November 11th, and I’ll send you the code. It’s that easy!

After you have the code, click here or on the Novel Morsels button on my sidebar to purchase the book. Enter the coupon code at checkout and you’ll not only have a cookbook full of new recipes to try, but you might also discover some new books and authors along the way. 

Reading and eating. Is there any better combination? 



I ran into the magazine Life:Beautiful because I heard that there was a mini review of Wings of a Dream in the current holiday issue. I have it tell you, it's a wonderful magazine! The pictures are beautiful and the articles are engaging. I got my copy at Walmart, but Barnes and Noble carries it as well. Check it out!