Lasting Impact

I am sure I have mentioned this before, but one of the ways that God often speaks to me is through music. There is one artist in particular I know I can turn to if I want to hear what God has to say to me. In fact, there are times when I have consciously avoided the music of Keith Green because I know God will talk to me and I am not in the mood to listen! Of course, that only makes Keith’s songs play relentlessly in mind until I turn on one of his songs.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a Keith Green CD any longer. I had one. Well, I had a tribute to Keith Green that a lot of his friends had done. Don’t have that now, not since I ran over it with my desk chair. Luckily, I can find videos of his performances on You Tube. This week, I even found a 7 video series about Keith, his Life Story. After watching that, I have come to a conclusion.

I want to be like Keith Green.

Oh, there are aspects of his life that I am happy to skip. Like the drug use and the professional singing (which you should be thanking God that I don’t want to do!). I don’t like flying much, either, so I would be happy to skip the whole plane crash thing. But those are just events in his life, scenes in the story that made up his life. They are things he overcame, things he enjoyed, things that God used. They are just things; they are not who Keith was.

Keith was a vessel, a passionate vessel filled to overflowing with God’s love. From the moment he met Jesus, Keith was on fire for Him. His enthusiasm was fanatical. At times, he came on so strong that he pushed people away. He didn’t let that deter him. Keith leaned on God and let Him work I him, through him, and on him, until Keith was at a point where he could reach others with God’s love. There is a song by Chris Sligh that reminds me of Keith Green. “Empty me of me, so I can be filled with You.” That is what Keith did. He pushed his own wants and desires aside so that Jesus was able to fully shine through him. If you don’t believe me, all you have to do is listen to one of Keith’s performances. God called him home on July 28, 1982. After 27 years, his music is still touching lives, still affecting hearts. God is still speaking through the words and melody’s that Keith Green performed.

That is what I want for my life.

I want the words that I write to reflect the love Jesus has for me, for you, for the world. There is a reason that I am able to write believable stories. It’s not because I am all that special. It is because Christ wants to be glorified. God speaks to me through music. He speaks to others through written word. If He wants to speak through the words I put on paper, I want to allow Him to do that.

Thirty years after I am called to Heaven, praising God right beside Keith Green, I want the life I lived here to still be inspirational to other Christians. I want my love and passion for God to be remembered.

I want to be like Keith Green.

Auction Goodies

The Ladies of Faith, the Wesleyan Women chapter at my church, is holding their annual Silent Auction tonight. We always have so much fun at these things!! Because of the slow economy, we have had trouble getting in donations this year. So I did something that I don’t normally do—I spent three days baking yummy goodies to auction off. If any of this sounds yummy to you, be sure to stop by Cascades Wesleyan here in Jackson. The auction starts at 6 pm.

Here is a list of the goodies that I made—

  • One dozen truffles
  • One pan of chocolate-peanut butter brownies
  • One pan of chocolate fudge frosted brownies
  • Three containers of chocolate turtle brownie muffins
  • Three mini loaves of lemon poppy seed bread
  • Three mini loaves of blueberry bread
  • Three mini loaves of cinnamon streusel bread
  • Three mini loaves of apple streusel bread
  • Two dozen snickerdoodles (made more than that, but these are the ones that didn’t burn!)
  • Two dozen peanut butter Heath bar cookies
  • Ten jars of raspberry jam
  • One dozen buttermilk biscuits

Hope to see some of you there tonight! And if you are not able to make it, prayers for a fun, safe evening are appreciated!!

Where Rain Comes From

It’s raining this morning. Big surprise. It’s been raining in Jackson on and off (mostly on it seems) all week long. My 5-year-old son spent some time on the love seat, staring out the window. At first, he was annoyed with the rain. “There is nothing fun to do when it rains,” he moaned to his brothers. “Mommy won’t let us run and jump and get loud in the house.” (Yeah, I know, I am such a mean Mommy.) Anyway, he soon turned around and said, “Mommy, I have been thinking. I’m wondering just where rain comes from and I think I know.”

That got my full attention. After all, the same mind that announced last night, “I know what happened with the Civil War!! Two teams got together with guns and tried to shoot guys on the other team. And that wasn’t real easy, because they had to do it without shooting the horses.” So of course I was anxious to hear where he figured out that rain comes from.

And I was not disappointed.

According to my son, the angels have a huge pool in Heaven. They use the water in that pool to fill clouds, which they then throw at each other like water balloons. When the “balloons” pop, it rains. Then the clouds spread out and cover the sky. That is why the sky turns grey when it is rainy.

One thing you can’t deny about my boys—they sure do have imaginations! Wonder where they get them from….

Probably from my husband, since I still have mine!!!

Prayer for Hope

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Father God,

I come to You tonight on behalf of my friend Hope. Lord, You know her situation better than I do. You know why she is so heavy on my heart at this moment, and just what she needs from You. I ask You to draw her close and fill her heart with Your love and peace.

I won’t even pretend to understand what she is going through. Being married is hard enough, and it gets harder after the kids come along. I don’t think my imagination can do justice to the difficulties a military wife has when her husband is deployed. Hope is missing her husband Rob tonight, and I am sure that he is missing her as well. But they both love You. I join with them in trusting that this is a part of Your plan for their lives.

Your word promises us that there will be a lot of problems in our lives. This separation is one more problem, one more trouble that Hope and Rob need to face. The love they have for You and for each other will get them through this rough patch. I pray that You give them both the comfort they need to survive until they see each other again.

Lord, I also ask Your special protection over Rob tonight. You know right where he is and what he is facing. Please hold him in the palm of Your hand and bring him home safely to his wife and children.

Thank You, Father, for caring about them enough to send Your son. Thank You for leading them to each other so they can be the couple You created them to be.

In the precious name of Jesus I pray,


I Really Don’t Care

“I am so sorry if I am too undignified for some of you—but I really don’t care.” Trevor Heyd, August 23, 2009.

I love to write. Big surprise, huh? It started when I was 12 and hasn’t really stopped. Sure, there were times when other things took precedence over writing. In the last two years, though, I have found new excitement in my writing. Never have I had a job where I could not wait to get to work! No matter how well planned out my plots are, the stories always take unexpected twists and turns. No two days are ever the same. This career is an adventure. It’s so amazing how life changes when you enjoy your work. Even on Monday mornings, I wake up excited to get to work.

At least, I did until the last month. This has been a rough one for me. It started when I heard negative comments about one of my books. Now, I do not expect that everyone is going to like my work. No matter how many positive reviews I receive, I understand that different people like different things. I am prepared for people to not like my books. At least I think I am. What has made this so rough is hearing the specific complaints about my book Summertime. I’ve been told that this specific book—a romance about a single mother coming face-to-face with the father of her child after 10 years apart—is too “risqué” for some tastes. At the time the child was conceived, the parents were not Christians. After her birth, though, the mother begins to follow Christ. The book does contain some kissing and make-out scenes. Most of these come before Laura becomes a Christian, and all are necessary for the story. Not once did I feel like I had taken things too far in those scenes.

Then I started to hear complaints. The first one I sort of shrugged off. It came from an elderly single woman who isn’t a fan of kissing at all. I sort of expected that I would hear something negative from her. What I did not expect was to hear from a Christian school that the book was too risqué for them to endorse. Wow. That was a surprise. It made me second-guess not just Summertime but the final three books in that series as well. Had I gone too far with the book? Should I rewrite it into something more acceptable? Did the other three books really need to be written?

I actually found myself wondering if writing was what I really needed to be doing. Maybe I should give it up all together and concentrate on other things.

Sunday morning, Trevor, the son of our pastor, spoke during the morning worship services. Now, Trevor is not what anyone would call a traditional preacher. He is in his early 20s, still in college, and high energy—VERY high energy. He dresses in black jeans and t-shirts (most of which he has designed and painted himself) and his favorite mode of transportation is his skateboard. I’ve only known Trevor for about 5 years, but I imagine that he never learned to crawl or walk—it’s much more likely that he just stood up one day and took off running! This young man is in love with life and ON FIRE for Christ. His love and his passion for God come through in all he does. I knew that hearing him speak would be a treat. I just didn’t expect that he would say something that would impact my career.

Trevor shared about his experiences this summer, traveling to ten different youth camps to do whatever needed to be done. As he shared, he moved about the stage, laughing almost uncontrollably at times. At one point, he fell to the floor. He looked up and said, “I am so sorry if I am too undignified for some of you—but I really don’t care.” He wasn’t being disrespectful; he was just saying that he was going to worship God how he felt led without worrying about what people thought of him.

That really hit home with me. The characters I wrote about in Summertime are not perfect; none of us are perfect. If we were, what need would we have for Christ or the sacrifice He made for us? The story I tell in that book is an important one—God doesn’t care what you have done in the past; ask for forgiveness and He will give it. So long as God is pleased with me, pleased with the words I write and the stories I tell, nothing else should matter. If others are uncomfortable with my work, they need to take that up with God. It is possible that He is allowing the discomfort to point out something that needs to be changed inside.

So I have decided t adopt a Trevor Attitude toward my writing. “I am so sorry if my characters and their life situations are too real for you—but I really don’t care!” If God lays the story on my heart, I am gonna put it on paper.

Lasting Love

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” — Dr. Seuss

I came across this quote recently and I loved it.

On one of the Yahoo! Groups that I am a part of, love has been a topic of conversation recently. There are a couple of people who have recently celebrated anniversaries and a couple who are planning to renew their wedding vows in the near future. We have been talking a lot about love and marriage and what it takes to have a successful marriage.

My husband and I are planning to renew our wedding on our tenth anniversary this coming January. I’ve been congratulated on this achievement, and told how amazing it is in this day and age to have a marriage that lasts that long. One woman even commented that she’s had friends say, “If this doesn’t work, we can always get divorced.” Wow. I cannot imagine going into a marriage like that. That’s why I don’t like the idea of a prenuptial agreement—it’s like you are planning on the divorce before you are even married. If you are looking for a way out before saying “I do”, why waste the time, money, and energy on a wedding?

As we discussed the secret to enjoying a long marriage, one comment was made that has really stayed with me. One woman wrote, “A long marriage doesn’t mean a perfect marriage.” That is oh so very true. Expecting perfection in anything more than your wedding day is as disastrous as planning for divorce. Your husband is apt to fall short of perfection before the honeymoon is over, just as you are likely to fall very short of his. Unless you find a way to redefine “perfect” in your marriage, yours is going to be anything but.

John and I have had our ups and downs. There were times when I thought we had more downs than anything. Twice we came close to losing it all. Our love for each other never faded, though we questioned whether that love was enough to keep it going. No matter how bad things looked, I never forgot what I told him shortly before our wedding: “My goal is to celebrate our 50th anniversary.” Between that and my belief that divorce is not part of God’s plan, I have always been motivated to work things out.

I am not perfect. My husband is not perfect. But God created us to perfectly complement one another.

Busy, Busy, Busy

The kids go back to school in 19 days. As much as I love being home with them all day, I will be glad to see school start. (Please note—I DID NOT say that I will be glad to see summer end!!!) My sons are 8, 5, and 2—and extremely full of energy! Keeping up with them sometimes makes it hard to concentrate on what I need to do.

Me and my favorite blessings--my husband and sons

Me and my favorite blessings--my husband and sons

Not that I expect life to be much easier when they are in school. Currently I have four novels that I am working on. Plus I have this blog to keep up on and my site to write for. The older two will be in school, but I will still have 2-year-old in the midst of potty training to deal with. Oh, and my sister-in-law is living with us for a while. Her first child, a boy, is due on September 22. I’ll be taking care of the baby when she goes back to school and then work (she is 24 and planning to finish her GED after the little guy is born so that she can get a better job to support him). I have a surgery to prepare myself and my 5-year-old for and a vow renewal ceremony to plan. My third novel is about to be published, so I will have that to work on promoting. Throw in NaNoWriMo 2009 and the holiday season, and I don’t see how life is going to be calming down any!

Oh, I am not complaining about it. I love being busy with my writing and seeing my work in print. And nothing beats having a chance to be home with my sons. It’s great that I get to be around for all of the firsts in Seth’s life, to be able to get Dru and Robby on the bus each morning and then greet them when they get home in the afternoon. If I wasn’t writing, I don’t think I would be able to do all of that.

Life is hectic for a writing Mom. No matter how crazy things may seem, I don’t want to forget the blessings that I have. And my family is definitely at the top of my list!


Freecycle is awesome! I don’t know how many of you have a freecycle group in your area. If you have one, I would highly recommend that you join it.

Just what is freecycle? It is a group where people are able to “swap” items that they no longer need. Anything from toys to books to pets to furniture is just given away to families who can use it. During my time as a part of the Jackson, MI group, I have given away a gas stove that I no longer needed and received a full size bed frame and mattress that we needed. Most of the time, the items on the list are used. Every now and again, though, something brand new comes through the list. One of the most amazing—at least to me—things that has been offered on this list came through over the weekend.

A woman posted two backpacks, filled with new school supplies. The backpacks were used by her children last year, but the supplies were all brand new. I sent the woman offering them a note off the list to thank her for posting that. I told her I would not be able to use them (somehow, I don’t think my 8-year-old and 5-year-old sons would like to carry backpacks with Hannah Montana and High School Musical on them), but that I thought it was awesome that she would offer something like that. She wrote back and said, “Five or six years ago I was adopted by a family for Christmas through the Salvation Army program. I had also gotten food from Harmony Baptist church. For the last two years, I have been stable enough to help others at Christmas, donate food and back to school items, etc. My daughters and I also do bell ringing for the Salvation Army. These programs were there to help me and I want to help others now that I can.”

I still can’t figure out which I am more impressed by—the thoughtful gift this Mom is passing on to another Mom or appreciation she is showing.

It’s sad, I know, but there are a lot of people who accept a “hand-out” because they think they are entitled. They don’t stop to think about others who need help. And when they get back on their feet (though there are some that I know of who don’t plan to ever be on their feet—not so long as someone else will pay their way), a lot of people don’t stop to think about those who helped them. The mother I spoke about above may not know exactly who helped her family when they needed the help. I am sure she has thanked them the best that she can.

And one of the best ways anyone can thank someone is by passing on that kindness to another.

Books and Coffee

What better way to experience a good book than to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee along with it?

At least that is my favorite way to do it! There is not much enjoyable that curling up on the corner of the couch with my Aladdin mug filled with a steaming hot flavored coffee and a good book on my lap. I know I am strange about some things. But not this, right? There are others out there who feel the same way. There have to be!

This love of coffee and books has led me to a new venture. Don’t worry—I am NOT going to stop writing! I have too many stories in me, too many voices in my head begging to be heard that I don’t see how I can ever stop writing! But I have found a company with an awesome coffee product. I am happy to be a part of it!

Kat’s Coffees & More is nothing new to me. About four years ago, I was a consultant. Personal issues (plus my lack of motivation for running a direct sales business) caused me to stop. Recently, I came across the website again. I placed an order for some of my old favorites (the Blueberry Cobbler coffee is AMAZING!) and picked out a few new flavors to try (Angel Lace Cookie sounded intriguing). The cost to become a consultant is minimal, so I signed on again. If I make money at it, great! I mean, who in this world is going to say no to extra money?? But that is not my main goal. I’ll be honest—I want to get a good coffee at a decent price!

I am sharing my new business with all of my readers, though. You can check out the products at the Kat’s Coffees & More website and place an order on my personal order page. Be on the lookout for reviews of different products on my website.

Classy Redneck

“Classy” and “redneck” are two words I never thought would go well together. Thanks to Amie Pollard, I now know better.

Do you know who Amie Pollard is? She is the mother of one family on the NBC show Great American Road Trip. Last night, after consistently coming in second to the Coote family in the King of the Road Challenges, the Pollard family won a challenge. As a reward, Amie, her husband, and their two children we able to spend as evening in a suite at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. Though clearly happy that her family had won this prize, Amie said that she didn’t think she could fully enjoy it unless the other two families still in the game could join along. Wow. To me, that was a classy, gracious thing to do. They had earned the right to have a lovely evening alone in tha suite, away from their RV. Yet Amie wanted to include the others. That really endeared her to me.

As for the Coote family…. Oh, I shouldn’t even get started! The attitudes they displayed—the parents cursing at the kids and each other during the Hoover Dam challenge, the son taunting the other contestants, the mom acting like she’d lost the Hope Diamond when the daughter dropped a piece of paper, the daughter rudely stating she would rather stay in the RV than be near the winning team—were completely uncalled for. I can understand being disappointed at losing. All of the other contestants on the show had felt that at one time or another. But to be so rude about it is just unnecessary. Posters on some NBC message boards point out that it was the kids and not the parents who refused to join the Pollard and DiSalvatore families in the suite. The parents sure didn’t do much to discourage the children, though.

Like it or not, everyone on television has the chance to be a role model to someone watching them. While I am sure Amie Pollard and her family have their faults, this classy redneck is one role model I would not be ashamed of.