Moving . . .

Almost exactly 7 years ago I started a blog called Five Bazillion and One: One More Blogging Writer Amidst Five Bazillion Others. Little did I know where 7 years would take me! Today I'm moving to my own domain name! From now on, you can find my blog posts and so much more at www.annemateer.com. Come on over and check out the new place! I hope to see you around there often!


Professor Horner's Bible Reading System

You know I’m a reader. Years ago, when I picked up and read my Bible from beginning to end, just like I would any other book, my love of Scripture went from a bud to full bloom. My favorite way to read the Bible is still straight through, from Genesis to Revelation. I love seeing the big picture. But this year, my husband wanted to try Professor Horner’s Bible reading plan. He asked if I wanted to do it with him. 

This system involves ten “lists” of Bible books. You read a chapter from each list per day. (Ideally. The whole point is to get in the Word, not be bound to a “have to.”) It’s a bit hard to explain, but you can read about how and why Professor Horner has been reading this way here. (Hop on over there and read it. I’ll wait.)

Anyway, I didn’t want to report back until I’d tried it for a few months. I’ve been on track since January and I have to say I’ve loved it! While I’ve read the entire Bible through several times, this has me more saturated in Scripture than ever before. But my favorite part is the juxtaposition of chapters on any given day. A chapter from Leviticus might be on the same day as a chapter from, say, Romans—and one might give some small insight into the other. For instance, have you ever noticed how much the Psalms echo Job? I love that! Since each of his ten lists vary in length, you are never reading the exact same chapters up against each other. It is always changing. Therefore, there is generally some new relation to be made from one book of the Bible to another. 

That may not all make sense exactly, but this post isn’t really an attempt to get you to try Professor Horner’s system. My goal, like his, is simply to testify to the fact that time spent in the Word of God is practical and valuable. Whether reading fast or slow, Old Testament or New, Gospels or Prophecies, it all reveals who God is and how I am to live in response to that. And the more I read, the more His word illuminates itself and His character and my own imperfect heart. His truth becomes part of who I am. Through it, I am transformed. 

Oh—and one more little tip? Professor Horner’s system is one of several Bible reading plan options on the Youversion Bible app, so you can even keep up when you are on the go! 

So what is your BIble reading system? Do you have one? 


A Sunday Psalm

I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago.
I will meditate on all Your works
and consider all Your mighty deeds.
Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?
     --Psalm 77:11-13


Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland by Roseanna M. White

On Christmas Day, I spent one of my two Amazon gift cards. One of the books I purchased was Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland by Roseanna M. White. Now I confess, this book got kind of lost in my to be read tower, given that I had so many friends release books in January and February, not to mention the fact that I was struggling through my own manuscript, thus curtailing my reading time. But finally, finally I got to this one!

I knew I wanted to read this book from the moment I heard it was set in the years following the American Revolution. During college, the American Revolution was my era of obsession. I wrote my senior honors thesis on Abigail Adams. My first ever completed novel (I still love the story line but the story itself needed major work!) was set during the American Revolution. It isn’t an extremely popular time period for novels, however. At least not at the moment. So you can see why I jumped on this title!
And Roseanna didn’t disappoint me in the least! Not only did I love all the history woven into the story, but the characters were memorable and the dialogue was fantastic!

 On the one hand, I wish I would have picked it up right after I bought it. On the other, it was worth the wait so I could enjoy the read. Either way, if you are looking for a fun and interesting historical romance, check out Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!


In My Weakness

I’m a word girl. When I have to look at too many numbers, I go a bit cross-eyed. And I tend to make mistakes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to count and recount things because I couldn’t get the same answer twice. Even with a calculator! Of course most of those wranglings have been on my own, with no one the wiser. But on occasion my number sense (or lack of it) shows up in a more public domain and I find myself red-faced and apologizing profusely. 

Like this week, when I realized I’d miscounted on sending out contest entries to be judged. And I realized it on the day of the deadline. Half a dozen entries didn’t get to their judges until hours before I needed them back with scores and comments. Not good.  

Fortunately, all involved offered grace upon grace. So much so that it pricked a bit of guilt for my own grumblings over the inadvertent mistakes of others. It was a good reminder that we all have weaknesses, places in which we need the grace of others more often. That’s not a bad thing. It teaches me humility, though sometimes it feels like humiliation! And this time, I gained a new understanding of God’s power being perfected in my weakness. (2 Cor 12:9) I always thought that meant His strength in me would overcome the weakness. And sometimes it does mean that. But this week I recognized that He also shows Himself strong by the way others—brothers and sisters in Christ—respond to my weaknesses. How else but by the power of the Holy Spirit can a person be gracious in the face of others’ mistakes? 

So I will not berate myself for my weaknesses, though I do all I can to shore them up. For the Lord steps in and makes things right when my efforts fail, sometimes showing His power in me, sometimes in others. Maybe that’s why He gave me a chef and a math teacher as children! 


The North Avenue Irregulars

My kids grew up enjoying so many of the old live-action Disney movies. We have great memories of Davy Crockett, Mary Poppins, Swiss Family Robinson, Gus, The Apple Dumpling Gang and many more. Most of these we watched on videotape (remember those?), but I’ve tried to keep my eyes open for the DVD versions of some of our favorites. 

Recently, one of those popped up at a good price on one of my favorite DVD websites (Deepdiscount.com), so I bought it. Then the other evening, when my son and his girlfriend were trying to decide what movie to watch out our house, I mentioned that one. My son jumped on it. 

If you have never seen The North Avenue Irregulars, do yourself a favor and get a copy. It’s a hoot! An unlikely team of a pastor and six of his lady parishioners help bring down a gambling ring in their town. I’ve never watched without laughing. This time was no different. And yet it was. This time, I noticed something else in this obscure little film that our family loves: it has stellar story structure. 

It starts with good conflict that leads naturally into the main conflict. There are clear goals, clear obstacles, clear turning points in the story. I watched in amazement, having only remembered it as a funny story with great acting. I never imagined I’d sit through such an enjoyable story structure class! Makes me wonder what other blasts from the past I should re-watch.


A Sunday Psalm

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in Him and He will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
            --Psalm 37:5-6


Off My Desk

Since you are all probably sick of me complaining about how book #3 has eaten my lunch in the writing of it, you’ll all be glad to know that I got it off my desk on Wednesday. Yes, I finally hit send. I know it isn’t perfect, but it’s better than it was. It will be good to have another set of eyes to see all the weaknesses in the story. By the time I get it back, I’ll be ready to dive into it again. For now, I'm rejoicing in having it off my desk. I can breathe a sigh of relief!


The Mother Road by Jennifer AlLee

What do I love about Jennifer AlLee’s books? Her characters are so real. First The Pastor’s Wife. Now, The Mother Road. (And coming in the fall, A Wild Goose Chase Christmas.)

The Mother Road is the story of two estranged sisters who take to Route 66 on a road trip to visit their parents. Besides being 13 years apart in age and miles apart in education, career, and faith, the two woman have in common that both of their lives have taken turns they didn’t expect. Dealing with the fact that their mother has Alzheimer’s adds to the complications in their relationship. 

Like our real life relationships and situations, the issues Natalie and LIndsey face do not have easy solutions. But also like our real lives, the Lord provides others who give grace when things fall apart and support as they try to untangle the knots that bind them. 

The Mother Road is a great read I highly recommend. 


Happy (late) birthday, Aaron!

As we celebrated our risen Savior yesterday, our family also celebrated the birth of our first son. Nineteen years ago, God gifted us with our second Maundy Thursday baby, the second time in two years that we spent Easter in a newborn haze. So I love when the calendar rolls around so that one of our two spring babies gets to celebrate life on Easter! (Yes, spring is a busy birthday time at our house!)

Although a day late, I wanted to say happy birthday to my buddy, my little man who now towers above me! We couldn’t be more proud of the man he is becoming. It’s all by the grace of God. We love you, Aaron! 


A Sunday Resurrection Psalm

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because You will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will You let Your Holy One see decay.
You have made known to me the path of life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.
        --Psalm 16:9-11


Considering the Cross (Again)

Many years ago, the reality of Jesus’ physical suffering on the cross hit me with a vengeance. It drove me to my knees and birthed a greater love in my heart for the One who took the punishment that should have been mine. That’s a huge thing for a girl who has an extremely low threshold of pain! Each year as we approach Good Friday, I again go to the foot of the cross in amazement of what Jesus would go through to save me, a sinner. 

But this year a new thought deepened that meditation. A couple of weeks ago we visited  my brother’s church to celebrate my niece’s and nephew’s baptism. Their pastor, Dr. Jeff Warren, spoke of the suffering of Jesus during the crucifixion, how His that horrific physical suffering paled in comparison to the spiritual suffering of being separated from the Father. The reality of that slammed into me like never before. 

Think about the mystery of that—the triune God separated for a moment in time, the Son forsaken by the Father. What kind of ripping apart did that cause? It makes my heart hurt and tears rise just to consider it such a thing with my finite mind. That, Dr. Warren asserted, was Jesus’ struggle in the garden, the reason He sweat drops of blood. Physical suffering would be hard, but Jesus had told His disciples not too much earlier not to fear those who could kill the body only. Yet to choose to hang on a cross and know that the sin laid upon Him would cause the Father to look away—that was the greater cup of suffering to bear. 

Dr. Warren’s thoughts, however, did not end there. It ended with the fact that Jesus endured that momentary separation from the Father so that we would never know that pain, never have to suffer that same way. We might suffer physical pain beyond what we think we can bear, but once we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, the Father will never leave us, never turn His face away. I don’t know about you, but that truth drives me farther than my knees. It drives me to lay my face to the ground in worship of my Savior. 


The Hosea Love Story

This series of videos was produced to lead into each of the 6 part sermon on the book of Hosea at Irving Bible Church. I know the young man who made the videos. I had no idea the Lord had gifted him in visual storytelling. Each clip is 2-3 minutes long, all scenes, no words. So powerful and so appropriate to remember as we look toward our remembrance of the purpose of and love behind Jesus's death and resurrection.

Take a quick 15 minutes and watch the whole series. I hope they touch you as deeply as they did me.


Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke

Long ago, at the ACFW conference in 2008, I met Cathy Gohlke. She found me in a dark moment, full of tears. The Lord used her to encourage and comfort my heart—and also to change my direction back to writing the historical fiction I loved. I devoured her first two (Christy Award-winning!) books, William Henry is a Fine Name (Civil War Series #1) and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires.

And then I waited. And waited. And signed my own contract. And waited some more. Finally, this past February, what I’d been waiting for arrived! A new Cathy Gohlke book in my mailbox!

Promise Me This is a sweeping saga of the best kind. Opening in 1912 with the maiden voyage of Titanic, it closes in mid-1919, the world thoroughly changed by war and influenza. But while it is a gripping story of characters caught up in circumstances beyond their control, Promise Me This also presents a beautiful picture of sacrifice and love, one that is particularly poignant as we begin the Passion week. Annie’s and Michael’s journeys on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean will not be quickly forgotten.

I highly recommend this book by this wonderful writer.


A Sunday Psalm

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in You.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord,
for I hide myself in You.
Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God;
may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
      --Psalm 143:8-10


Wrangling the Beast

This has been a week of full out editing on my 2013 release, with at least another week to go. Not easy, but fun. I like to see how the story and the characters come more clearly into focus. Once it is the best I can make it, I’ll send it to my editor, who will find other weakness that need to be strengthened. And I’m so grateful for that! 

I believe this is the most complex story I’ve tried to write in the past 12 years. Not easy to do in first person, but I though I considered third person with multiple point of view characters for this story, it still seemed to beg to be told from Sadie’s point of view. And so it goes. I humbly covet your prayers this coming week as I finish wrangling this sometimes thrashing beast into submission. 



My daughter turns 21 today. It isn’t that this makes me feel old, knowing I birthed my first child over two decades ago. It really doesn’t. In so many ways, I still feel 21 myself, even though I know I’m much older than that. :) 

So why is it that I’ve been ignoring this milestones birthday for my eldest child? I’m not sure, exactly. But whatever my hidden angst over my daughter’s birthday, I can truly say that I am amazed at all God has done in and through her. I never imagined when I held that little girl in my arms so very long ago—with her wailing to be out of my arms!—that the Lord would use her to effect such lasting change in my own faith and character. And I never imagined how tight a hold she would gain on my heart. 

I love you, baby girl! Enjoy your  21st birthday!


Paid Apps

Let me just start by saying I’m extremely frugal. I rarely pay for anything I can live without. (Of course there are times I say “cost be hanged” and get what I want, but that is very rare!)

Anyway, suffice it to say, this trait extends to the app store for my phone. I usually don’t even look at the paid apps! But at the recommendation of two people I trust implicitly (my husband and my best friend), I actually spent money on two apps—and I’ve never regretted either purchase.

PrayerMate—my husband told me about this app. It is a structured, yet fully customizable way to keep up with your prayer list. You can list requests to pray for everyday or categories to pray for every day, then specify how many of the requests in that category to pray for each day. (Then it scrolls through all of those things repeatedly over how ever many days it takes to cover them all.) The possibilities are endless. Plus, it is right with you all the time. Someone asks you to pray, you can put the request right on your list. You can lock it with a password if there is sensitive information. It is so convenient to log in whenever and wherever you are and remember who you want and need to pray for. It’s awesome! Cost: $2.99

MotivatedMoms—my BFF knows how much I hate to clean house. Almost as much as I hate to cook. But at the first of this year, I knew I had to somehow get a handle on things. She suggested this app. The price made me balk—especially when I realized they make you buy it again each year. But after using it for the past three and a half months, I think it’s a steal! Much cheaper than a housekeeper! :) 

Motivated Moms is a to do list (Yes, another one.), but it is focused on the house. Not only does it have daily tasks listed (yes, you can delete the ones that don’t apply to you and add ones that do), but the beauty of this app lies in the weekly and occasional tasks that get assigned a day— you know, the stuff you never actually remember to do. (Again, you can add, delete, or change a to do date.) With this app, not only have my bathrooms, floors, and kitchen stayed relatively clean on a weekly basis, but I find it now takes less time to do those tasks because I haven’t let things get out of hand. Also, I’ve done things I would never have done--like clean various shelves in the fridge or wipe down the kitchen cabinets or the front and top of the washer and dryer. I confess, I rarely do everything listed on a day, but each task I get done is more than would have happened on my own, so I don’t worry too much about the rest. I know some of those occasional tasks will come back around again and I’ll have another chance. I generally work hard to get most of the daily and weekly tasks done on any given day. And once I’ve marked off most of that day’s tasks, I then mark off the one task called “house” on my TeuxDeux list. (You’ve gotta love cascading lists—the generality on the main list and a more detailed list to mark off elsewhere! And all of my list apps are grouped in the same folder on my phone.) Cost: $9.99 That’s for the year, but well worth it. 

There you go. The two apps that pried open my wallet! What about you? Do you use any paid apps that are worth every hard-earned cent? Let me know about them, too! 


A Sunday Psalm

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him;
tell of all His wonderful acts.
Glory in His holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and His strength;
seek His face always.
        --Psalm 105:2-4


Visiting Another Blog Today

Hey y'all--

I'm blogging today at my friend L.A. Freeland's blog.

Come on over and visit!


North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

For a long time I’ve heard friends talk about the BBC version of Elizabeth Gaskill’s novel  North and South. When I found it at Costco (bundled with Cranford, which I love, and another Gaskell story, Wives and Daughters, I decided it would be worth getting. After all, my husband and I find ourselves at home alone a lot lately and we always love a good BBC period drama!

Oh. My. Goodness. It was like a cross between Jane Austen and Charles Dickens—two of my favorites! A bit on the depressing side, but for me a couple of scenes rivaled the understated romance in the old version of Persuasion (Amanda Root and Ciaran HInds), which melts my heart every time. 

As I did the first time I saw Cranford, I searched out the actual novel of North and South, which I found free for my kindle. The book may or may not live up to the movie. We’ll see. But this is definitely one I will watch over and over again!


Kindle Bargains!

Wings of a Dream and some of my other favorite Bethany House historical novels are $2.99 on Kindle, for a limited time!  See the titles below!


A Sunday Psalm

When I am afraid, I will trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust;
I will not be afraid.
What can mortal man do to me?
         --Psalm 56:3-4


Pioneer Literary Club

I got to visit with the ladies at the Pioneer Literary Club in Kerens, TX, on Thursday afternoon. Such a fun time! Here are a few pictures.


Choosing My Way or God's Way

I’ve been reading through I Samuel again. I love how so much of David’s story is about before he became king—living and learning in light of a future promise. 

Anyway, I was in I Samuel 24, reading again how Saul was chasing after David and went into the very cave where David and his men were hiding in order to relieve himself.  David, of course, cut off a piece of Saul’s garment, though his men urged him to kill the man who sought to end his life. David not only chooses not to harm his enemy, but also persuades his men to not to rise up against Saul. He does however, tell Saul what he has done (or rather, refrained from doing.) 

Then I read this in verse 10: “Behold, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord had given you today into my hand in the cave . . . and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’” 

Do you know what struck me about that verse? The Lord delivered Saul into David’s hand. David recognized that. But David didn’t assume that was an opportunity he was meant to capitalize on. He still had a choice. Was the Lord offering up Saul for David to kill him—or was he offering up Saul to see if David would trust Him and His plan, to see if he would show compassion to his enemy? 

I don’t know about you, but often if a situation falls in my lap—especially one of deliverance from hardship—I, like David, assume the Lord has done it. However, I rarely stop to ask myself if moving forward and springing myself from adversity is the Lord’s will in that moment. I just do it, thinking more of my own comfort than of God’s plan. But maybe I need to take a lesson from David. Maybe I need to stop, to talk to the Lord in spite of an advantageous (to me) situation and make sure it is His way. Like David did. 


Some of My Favorite Apps

If you are like me, you often curse the technology which is supposed to make our lives easier and frequently doesn’t. However, there are times when I find something that actually does what it’s supposed to do and really does benefit my life. So I thought I might share some of those things with you. Mostly these are apps—for phones, web browsers, computers—some paid and some free. But the thing they all have in common is that I have come to depend on them in some way, so I thought you might need them, too! (I won’t try to do this all at once, just every now and then.) 

I thought I’d start with free apps on my phone. I have an iphone, but I know that many of these apps are available for other types of smartphones, too, and some of them I’ll also discuss another time in web apps as well, for a couple of them sync with their web app.  

So—on to free apps. 

I love free, don’t you? Especially when it is something worthwhile! Mostly these involve productivity in some way, not things like social media or games or reading apps or such, though of course I love those apps, too.

Here are some of the apps I can’t live without:

TeuxDeux - keeps a to do list by day (syncs with online). It works so much like I used to keep my paper to do list that the transition was a cinch!

MapQuest - I couldn’t go anywhere without it! The turn-by-turn instructions have saved me from getting lost so many times!

LoseIt! - weight loss/maintenance program that tracks the calories you eat and those you exercise off, with settings to track your weight and to set it for different weekly goals. Using this, my husband has lost almost 40 lbs and I’ve lost over 15 lbs since mid-October! 

AroundMe - determines your location, then lets you see what is nearby—categories like gas stations, restaurants, coffee shops, etc. It has been a lifesaver on many a trip for us. 

Evernote - I’ll talk about this one more in computer and web apps as well, but suffice it to say my whole life is in this program! From anywhere I am I can find receipts, information, travel agendas, whatever I have sent to this virtual filing cabinet—and the powerful search function means I can actually find what I need!

There you go! I’m sure there are more, but those are my most used apps, ones that have truly made my life a bit easier. Maybe one of them will be exactly what you need, too. I'd love to hear some of your favorite, free apps for your phone!


A Sunday Psalm

The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom,
his tongue speaks what is just.
The law of His God is in his heart;
his feet do not slip.
    --Psalm 37:30-31


An Odd Spring Break

Unless we happened to take a family vacation during spring break, that week off of school has always meant kids in and out and around the house. But for the first time, all three of our kids have different spring break weeks! 

Next week, our youngest will go on a mission trip to South Texas with the youth from our church. The week after that, our older son will either travel to Florida to visit a high school friend whose parents moved there after graduation or he’ll be with his university’s basketball team (he’s one of the student assistants) at the NAIA national tournament. And finally, the week after Easter, our daughter will road trip it to Florida with some of her sorority sisters. 

Three different spring break weeks. Three different sets of plans. No one home. Spring break--no matter whose--will feel very, very strange around my house this year. 


I Promised PIctures!

I'm not a great photographer. In fact, most of the time I forget to take pictures! But here are a few of my favorites from our trip. I never imagined I'd enjoy it so much!

Water Lilies at Queen Elizabeth Botanical Gardens in Grand Cayman

Pedro St. James in Grand Cayman

View from Pedro St. James

Good Hope Plantation in Jamaica

View out the front door of Good Hope plantation house

Our ship at the Pier in Ocho Rios, Jamaica


Labadee, Haiti


Two happy, rested people! :)


I'm Back!

And just where have you been? You might be asking. I’ve been on a wonderful, week-long, unplugged cruise with my husband! It was part business for him, speaking at a conference on board the ship, but it was a glorious time of rest and reconnection for us both as well as a time to fellowship with other Christian attorneys and their wives. 
I’m playing a bit of catch up now--made slightly more crazy by the opening of the varsity baseball season--but I promise I’ll post some of my favorite pictures and memories of the trip very soon. While I had a great time away, I sure did my all my friends that hang out with me around here, too! 


A Sunday Psalm

The Lord is righteous in all His ways
and loving toward all He has made.
The Lord is near to all who call on Him,
to all who call on Him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him;
He hears their cry and saves them.
    ---Psalm 145:17-19


At Every Turn catalog copy

At Every Turn by Anne Mateer

Caught up in a whirlwind of religious fervor when two missionaries speak at her church, Alyce Benson impetuously pledges three thousand dollars to mission work in Africa. She's certain her wealthy father will simply hand her the money. But when he refuses, she must either stand up in front of the congregation and admit failure, or raise the money herself.

Alyce harbors a secret passion for speed and automobiles. It's 1916, and the latest advancements in car engines allow some to post speeds upwards of seventy miles per hour! When she discovers her father's company has sponsored a racing car that will compete in several upcoming events--races in which the driver will be paid and could win as much as five thousand dollars in prize money--she conspires with her father's mechanic, Webster, to secretly train and compete.

But as Alyce comes across needs in her own community, money slips through her fingers faster than she can earn it. And when her friends cast aspersions on Webster's past, she believes she might have trusted the wrong man with her secret. Will Alyce come up with the money in time, or will she have to choose between her promise and the man who holds a piece of her heart?

September, 2012


The Frontiersman's Daughter by Laura Frantz

The saying “too many books, too little time” has been descriptive of my life these past few years. Once I started attending writing conferences and meeting authors, I found my shelves filled with novels by writers I’d come to call friends. The problem is that there are other writers out there, too. Ones that could eventually become my friends. 

Such is the tale of how I came to read The Frontiersman’s Daughter by Laura Frantz. My sister had gone on a Laura Frantz binge, as had one of my other reader friends. Both highly recommended her novels to me. I had downloaded The Frontiersman’s Daughter to my kindle when it was free, but of course hadn’t read it yet. I remembered that Laura’s books were set in the 1700s, not as popular of a time period but one I have loved since college. So while bored between basketball games, I pulled it up on my phone and started to read. And I was captivated. 

Set in late 1700s Kentucky, this book takes you back to the real frontier, when the “west” hadn’t even reached the Mississippi River. And at a time when the frontier defeated many women, Lael Click finds herself creating her own world there, as woman alone. Of course there are men around. Three that are quite taken with her. I won’t say more because I don’t want to give anything away, but her journey is more than one of romance. It’s a journey to commitment, a journey to salvation, a journey to true love. 

Just at the time I was reading this book and loving the story, I connected with Laura online. (Check out her website www.laurafrantz.net.) Immediately I’d made a new friend! Turns out, our next books are releasing about the same time, and since her publisher, Revell, is under the same Baker Publishing Group umbrella as Bethany House, our books will share space in the fall catalog. Such fun! 

So I found a new author I enjoy reading and, in the process, I made a new friend. If you haven’t read any of Laura’s books, I highly recommend you do!


Birthday Blessings

I used to get all worked up about birthdays. The first spiral of angst would involve the fact that my years were inching upward. I was so distraught the year I turned 20. I thought my life was over! 29 was another bad one, just the anticipation of the following year of 30. 

As I fretted over my life slipping away, I also worried that I wouldn’t be celebrated on my birthday. That no one would make me feel special. That I wouldn’t feel loved. Validated. Remembered. My expectations skyrocketed, leaving those around me trembling that they wouldn’t do enough or wouldn’t do it right, that I’d fly off the handle, tossing out accusations that had no basis in reality.

Thankfully, the Lord worked on those things and I’ve been in a whole new place for about ten years. No longer do I lament the rising number on my birthday cake. Nor do I have any expectations for celebrations of any kind, for I know the people that love me love me every day, not just one day a year. And I know that the celebration of my birthday is really my own personal celebration of Jesus, who knew me before the foundation of the world, who gave me breath and life, who made me a new creation, and who is even now working in me to will and to do His good pleasure.

But a funny thing has happened in that place of contentment over birthdays. The celebrations--big and small--have become so much sweeter than when I depended on them to fulfill an empty place in me. Now I cry when my friends lavishes on me a gift I didn’t expect. Or another friend spends time choosing something a token that shows how well she knows me. I could go on and on. Unexpected blessings at every turn, raining down and soaking me in the way I’d always desired, but no longer need. Because my God is good like that. 


A Sunday Psalm

Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He answers him from His holy heaven with the
saving power of His right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
    --Psalm 20:6-7


Breathing Deep

I told a friend this week that things are so crazy around here that I feel like I’m running around with my hair on fire! Honestly, for all that we have to do, I’m managing fairly well. Long days. Short nights. Lots to do in between. But at least I’m not yelling at everybody— not yet anyway, by the grace of God! But come this weekend I can breathe deep for the first time in a long while. And I intend to enjoy every minute of it.


The Galleys Are Coming!

My galleys for At Every Turn should be here today! Galleys are the hard copy of my book that I read through and can make any last minute changes. But I can't linger. They arrive today and must be back in the mail on March 5. Of course the fear is always that upon the re-read I'll hate the story. So if you think about it, would you pray that fear will stay far away and instead as I read I'll marvel at God's faithfulness in accomplishing what I could never do on my own?


Heart's Safe Passage by Laurie Alice Eakes

Last year I was captivated by Lady in the Mist, the first book in Laurie Alice Eakes’ series The Midwives. Her words flowed so easily into an entrancing story. I finished the book satisfied and hoping the second book would be about one of the minor characters that intrigued me: Phoebe Lee. 

And guess what? It was! 

Heart’s Safe Passage did not disappoint. You’d not think a story about a midwife could take place mostly on board a ship— ahem, a brig— on the water between the US and England during the War of 1812. And yet Laurie Alice takes us captive there, along with Phoebe Lee and her sister-in-law Belinda. Add in a Scottish captain with a past and a vendetta and we are in for a wild ride! 

What I love about all of Laurie Alice’s books, be they American or British set, is that each one is full of adventure. These are stories where small events have big consequences, stories that keep your heart pounding as you turn each page. And I do love that she brings in English and Scottish heroes even in her “American” books. :)

If you enjoy a good love story with a heavy dose of intrigue and adventure, check out Heart’s Safe Passage and Lady in the Mist. I hope you relish them as much as I have. 


A Sunday Psalm

Sing to God, sing praises to His name,
extol Him who rides on the clouds--His name is the Lord--
and rejoice before Him.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in His holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,
He leads forth the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
    --Psalm 68:4-6


A Pat on the Back Goes a Long Way

I’ll admit it— I used to do a lot of things looking for that pat on the back, someone to notice and validate me. Several years ago, I let that go as I realized the only approval or notice I needed was from the Lord. But not looking for a pat on the back doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel good when it comes. In fact, I think it makes the affirmation and encouragement all the sweeter. 

So I’ll say thank you to my friend Lori, who I met at our local writers group, who encouraged me this week with a pat on the back for my blog: 

I think this is one of those “blog awards” that goes round and round and though I am supposed to pass it along (you know, kind of like those old chain letters!), the blogs I tend to frequent have already received this many times over. So instead I’ll say thank you to Lori for her friendship in person and online. And how fun to recently realize we had a completely random non-writer friend in common! I love how the Lord connects us in those ways. Check out Lori’s blog at: http://www.lafreeland.com/the-blog


Some of My Favorite Romantic Movies

If you’re looking for a fun, romantic movie to watch with your family, your friends, or your valentine, check out a few of my favorites!