The Bible tells us that the Greatest Commandment is to love God with all of your heart, your soul, and your mind.  While that might sound like an easy thing to do, too often we allow distractions in daily life keep us from really loving God the way He desires.  In her book Loving God with All Your Heart, author Susie Hobson explores not only why we should love God but how we can love Him no matter what the world throws our way.

Hobson’s book is very short and to the point, offering tips on how to show your love of God in all you do.  She doesn’t suggest anything “over the top” or “showy”.  Rather, she talks about simple things like remembering to put God’s will first and spending time reading the Bible.

I really enjoyed reading this book.  Hobson’s conversational style was very refreshing.  I also loved that her daughter painted the picture used on the cover.  Just incorporating her daughter’s art into the book shows how the love God works in Hobson’s life and family.

Welcome Susie Hobson

Susie Hobson has heard over and over from people who want more out o life.  In her new book, Loving God with All Your Heart, she gives some insight into how we can get more in our lives.  I’m honored to have her visiting Lynn’s Corner today, sharing a little about her work.



Author Susie Hobson

I Want More!

By Susie Hobson, Author of Loving God with All Your Heart

           Are you one of those who want more?  I worked as a counselor for sixteen years and I continually heard in many different ways “I Want MORE!”  Another way to put this is, “Is this all there is for me in this world!?”  There is a desire in us all for something that people, places, possessions, fame, and fortune cannot fill.  What is that elusive need, that heart’s desire we all seem to crave?   I am convinced that it is a real relationship with God—a powerful relationship! 

         In my book, Loving God with All Your Heart, I encourage everyone, women, men, young and old, believers and non-believers in Christ to re-think the Greatest Commandment and consider changing their everyday life to one more filled with love.  God is love and when we love Him without limit that leads to the fulfillment of our heart’s desire—a relationship with the living God.  A true two-way relationship—not church talk—a relationship that can transform your whole life!

          One chapter around the end of the book brings us to the subject of happiness.  Here is an excerpt from that chapter:

          “All Christians have an abiding life-long joy in our hearts that cannot be removed by anything in or of this world.  In good times and bad times Christians have the joy of Jesus Christ inside of us by way of the Holy Spirit.  However, as a counselor, I know that when people start talking about having more, a part of the more that they want is to be happy.  Yes, happy—an emotion that is situational, based on circumstances, and not an all-the-time-enduring feeling.  Yet most people do want to live what could be considered a happy life. 

           Just a few years ago I sat in on a group of young adults and the question was asked, ‘Who is happy this morning?;  One young man raised his hand.  Then the question was asked, ‘Who wants to be happy?’ and everyone raised their hands.  I think that today’s standard of what ‘happy’ is has become unrealistic.  Happy is not fireworks, thrill rides, and entertainment.  That’s excitement, not happy!  Happy is . . . “

           Now, if you are interested you will have to check out my book to see how keeping the Greatest Commandment could be a life-changing way of living for you and your family.  In my book I deal with topics such as surrender, sin, the Bible, what pleases God, as well as my personal testimony (this book is not about my journey but I do share my testimony to show that God is real and He is in the people changing business!). 

           Are you one who wants more?  This book is for you.  It takes you deeper into your heart’s desire for a real relationship with God—a powerful and active relationship! 

           Thank you, Lynn’s Corner, for this opportunity to share about my book!  I’ve enjoyed visiting with you. 

 Susie Hobson is the author of the newly released book, Loving God with All Your Heart.  Her book was published by Nordskog Publishing and is available from and through her publishing company (  

Susie Hobson has a B.A. in Special Education and an M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling from The University of Alabama.  She worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor for the Alabama Dept. of Rehabilitation Services for sixteen years managing a deaf/hearing-impaired and blind/vision-impaired caseload.  She retired to spend more time with her family and to write as God has called her.  She and her husband Rich have two daughters and live in Montgomery, Alabama.


Do you walk into your grocery store proclaiming your faith? Do you walk into the public library to proclaim and testify on your faith? When the timing is right, it’s a good thing. But it’s not done every place you go to.

I copied those words from an email I received yesterday. The response I gave to the author of the email was, “yes, I do often walk into the grocery store or the local library and proclaim my faith.  Perhaps not loudly, but with my actions and the message printed on my t-shirt.” What came to mind was a quote most often credited to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel always, when necessary use words.”

The words in the email didn’t bother me so much as knowing the author is a Christian did. In Mark 16:15, Jesus told his disciples to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” He didn’t say to preach only in certain places or only “when the timing is right.” He just said to GO. I don’t think that was meant only for the disciples all those years ago. This was meant for all of the followers of Christ.

We don’t need to be showy about our faith. We can live it out, preaching with our actions everywhere we go. A friend recently wrote on Facebook “I’d rather be a humble little turtle with un-noticed good works than a big headed baboon that’s praised for flashin’ around his big blue butt!” Even if my “good works” are unnoticed here on Earth, they are noticed in Heaven. And who’s to say that the door I hold open for the mom with five children won’t also open a door to Heaven for her?

I am not going to deny my faith. I refuse to let anyone make me feel ashamed of the gospel and of the love that I have for Christ. If that means I offend someone in the grocery store or in the library or in an internet chat room, so be it. Better to offend on Earth than risk offending my God in Heaven.

So I will proclaim my faith. I will act it out in all I do. I am not doing it to be a baboon and get attention for myself. I am doing it because the love of Christ is so great within me that I cannot keep it to myself.

I will share my faith because that is what Jesus wants me to do.

Rambling Memories

I received some unwelcome news yesterday. Sadly, it was not very surprising. Though I had hoped for a different outcome, I received the news I had been dreading since he went missing in June—the body of JP, a close friend from my high school years, was found in a wooded area in northern Michigan.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen JP. The last time was around the time my future mother-in-law had her strokes. He came into the grocery store where I was working. We were surprised to see each other, but he seemed really happy to see me. He hugged me and asked how I was doing. When I said OK, he tilted his head to the side and said, “Yeah, right. So how are you really?” I remember thinking how odd and yet comforting it was that after so many years (it had been a good five years since we were last in a youth group meeting together) JP still could tell how I was feeling.

JP was a unique kind of guy. At least back in high school, he gave the impression of being a tough “bad boy”, you know, the kind of guy a girl dates just to annoy her parents. But he was a lot more than that. He was a friend and a protector of sorts. He was always looking out for the girls in the youth group. He was a part of the mime team. I can see him in my mind so clearly standing in front of the church, praising God as he acted out a Carman song. And yes, JP was my first boyfriend. He was the one I shared my first kiss with. I was behind the church, after we had carried some things out to my mother’s car. I remember the pastor’s young son screaming out, “GROSS! They are kissing.”

My heart is aching today over how he died. As I said, the news of his death was not a surprise. In June, he called his mother and said something along the lines of “I love you, Mom. Good-bye.” That was the last anyone had heard from him. In recent years, he had battled depression. In wasn’t unusual for him to just disappear for weeks at a time. His mother thought this was different, though. She reported him as missing. It wasn’t until this past week that she heard anything more, though. She got a phone call from the police in the town where he had been living, informing her that his body had been found.

I looked for more information about his death in the newspaper from the town he called home. The headline about made me sick: it referred to the “skeletal remains” that had been found. Though they have not released the actual cause of death, they confirmed that he died at his own hand.

I don’t know what was going through his mind. I can only imagine the dark place he must have been in to believe that suicide was the best way out. Even more than that, though, my heart breaks knowing that he spent his last moments of life all alone.

I can’t help thinking how unloved he must have felt.

I wonder if it would have made a difference to know that, even after so many years, he still has a special place in my heart.

It’s been said that God gives us friends for a reason or for a season. I think there is a reason for every season of friendship. JP was in my life for a reason. Did I miss out on that reason while he was alive?

Times like this make it hard not to think of the “what ifs” in our lives. What if I had done this? What if I had said? Would any of it had made a difference to him?

I don’t know the answers. I do know that JP’s death has made me think of others from my past. Friends I’ve lost touched with, people I’ve hurt, people who have hurt me. There is one particular couple who probably don’t even know how deeply I was hurt by their actions over 15 years ago. I don’t even know if they will remember me. It’s just time to put that behind me. Time to stop allowing it to eat at me and just move on.

I don’t want to have one more “what if” to deal with in my life.

JP, thanks. Thanks for the memories. Thanks for being a friend to me. Sorry I wasn’t more of a friend to you.


I jumped at the chance to read and review The Golden Pathway by Donna McDine.  One reason is that I am a history buff.  This is a children’s book, and I just loved the idea that it would entertain a child while teaching him or her about the sad history of slavery in this country.

Probably the biggest reason that I wanted to be a part of the blog tour for this book is the age level it was written for—The Golden Pathway is meant for those ages 8 to 12.  I have a son in that age group.  He likes to read nearly as much as I do.  I thought that reviewing this book would give us something to do together.  After all, he is 9 now, and likes to remind me that it is not “cool” for a boy his age to spend time with Mom.  There’s not much I can do about the fact that he is growing up.  But I can snatch as many small moments to make memories as possible.

This book was written in a very straight-forward style.  It should the conflict between a very strict slave owner and his kind-hearted son in a way that children can easily relate to.  The best thing about this book is that it raised other questions.  After reading it, my son wanted to know more about how slavery started in this country and how it finally was brought to an end.  Any book that can cause a child to crave more knowledge on a subject is a good one.

You can read more about Donna McDine and her work at her website and at her blog.

Welcome Donna McDine


Author Donna McDine


Children’s author Donna McDine is familiar with the “downside” of being a work-from-home writer.  Today, she takes a few moments to share her thoughts on this unique employment environment.  Be sure to check back tomorrow for a review of her latest book The Golden Pathway.  And there just might be something special in store for that as well….





Donna M. McDine


You dream of the days of no commute to a 9-5 job and you finally give your writing aspirations the chance that they deserve.  You have stocked your office or any small writing space that you designate in your home with all the essentials; computer, paper, pens, pencils, books and research resources, etc.  However, the responsibilities of mother seem to intrude every moment of the day. 

Now that you are home, everyone thinks that you are accessible all day long.  The kids feel that since you are home that you aren’t “really working”.  You’re not sure when it happened, but responsibilities that were normally delegated, somehow have become all your responsibility.  A writer’s life can easily become frustrated when the creative juices are without fail interrupted by the most mundane questions or needs.  You know how that goes.  Cleaning the sticky keyboard.  Mom where are my soccer cleats? What is there to eat?  Can you put the movie in for me?  The list is endless.  When did my family become so helpless? 

We all love our families, but how does one carve out that special and much desired writing time without the feeling of neglect on the family?  It is important to reset boundaries as quickly as they disappear.  Let your family know that writing is indeed work, but also a passion that you want to achieve.  Teach your children the importance of uninterrupted writing time and that they will get your undivided attention once your writing session is completed.  Hopefully they will come to understand that what is important to you should be respected.  Just as you respect what is important to them.

            Although there will be times and sometimes it will feel like many, where interruptions are a necessity.  Such as, when the school nurse calls to say that you need to pick up your child that has a fever.  Like any mother, we quickly grab our car keys and head to the school.  If you attempt to balance your writing and the care of your sick little one it will tend to leave you both feeling frustrated and neglected.  At this point, you are much better accepting the fact that your child needs you and that your writing can wait for another time.  Even if that deadline is on the horizon, you will not do your best work, just leave it. 

            Grab any time thrown your way, especially when the little ones are asleep.  When the house and telephone are quiet it tends to be a great time for creativity.  These little pockets of time may not feel like much, but the time over a week to a month will accumulate and you can get quite a bit accomplished.

            Keep a handy pocket notebook with you at all times, you never know when your next inspiration will come to mind.  It could happen anywhere, such as that crowded doctors office you just brought your sick child to.  Like anything in this life, this too shall pass, but we hope not too fast, since they do grow up quickly.

Donna McDine is an award-winning children’s author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions. Donna’s stories and features have been published in many print and online publications and her interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Her second book, The Hockey Agony is under contract and will be published by Guardian Angel Publishing. She writes, moms and is the Publicist Intern for The National Writing for Children Center and Children’s Writers’ Coaching Club from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Musing Our Children.

10 Things

Earlier this week, I heard my pastor talking about something that he does with couples in pre-marriage counseling. He said that one thing he does with each couple is ask them to prepare two lists. One is 10 good things about the soon-to-be spouse; the other is 10 bad things about the soon-to-be spouse. Though I have been married for ten years, I thought this might be a good exercise for me to do. Well, the first half of it anyway. There isn’t much I can do about the “bad” things about my hubby. They are part of what makes me love him. And the things that really annoy me about him…. Well, those go into my God Can.

My God Can? Well, it’s really more of a box. But it sits on my desk and holds notes on things that I can’t do anything about, things I have given over to God because I know that He CAN handle them!

Anyway, 10 good things about my husband. Some of these came very easy to me. They popped into my mind almost immediately. The others…. Let’s just say I had to have some help from God to fill all 10 spaces on this list!

Here, in no particular order, are my Top Ten favorite things about the man I married.

  1. He thinks I am sexy. I don’t get it. I sure don’t see what he sees when he looks at me. But I sure am glad that he sees it!
  2. He is willing to help with housework. Since he grew up in a home where Dad worked and Mom cleaned, that is pretty amazing to me.
  3. He is a good dad. No, he doesn’t stop what he is doing every time the kids ask him to. I don’t do that, either. If we did, we’d never get anything done at all! But there is very little in life that gives me as much joy as watching my “big boy” play with the little ones.
  4. He likes to spend time with family. And I don’t just mean me and our sons. My hubby enjoys spending time with his siblings, with my siblings, and with my parents.
  5. He has an awesome sense of humor. My husband is not always good with power tools or home improvement projects, and he is not much of an outdoors kind of guy. Once, he even managed to light the church Advent wreath on fire. But he can laugh about it, and even accepts the good natured ribbing he gets from family and friends about his, um, short-comings.
  6. He is a good care-taker. I kind of knew that even before we were married. His mother suffered a series of strokes, and he made sure she got the best possible care and that she was able to live in her home for as long as possible. Over the ten years of our marriage, I have been on the receiving end of his care-taking skills more than I have wanted to be. He has made sure that I rested when I needed to rest and that I was able to take the time to heal correctly. According to my most recent surgeon, not every husband is like that.
  7. He works hard to support his family. A couple of years back, he graduated from a local business college with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. The plan was for him to stay in his factory job only short-term after graduation, so that he could find a job that allowed him to make use of his degree. Unfortunately, he graduated at about the same time our local economy went south. I know he doesn’t really like his job much. It’s not something that is very difficult or interesting. Yet he knows the paycheck and the health insurance are something our family would have a hard time surviving without. I greatly appreciate that he is willing to do that.
  8. He supports my dream of being a best-selling novelist. It’s not an easy career path in any way. There are more weeks that go by without the sale of a book than weeks when I sell any. Though I have started writing articles for a few paying markets, I have yet to make money at that. But my hubby is OK with that. We are doing fine financially right now. So maybe that is why it is “easy” for him to be supportive. Whatever it is, he is behind me 100%. He even told me once that he is biding his time, waiting until I have a best-seller or two under my belt so he can stay home and be supported by his “sugar momma”.
  9. He makes me feel safe. I don’t know if it is his height—six foot, four inches—that makes me feel so secure when we are together. Actually, I know that it is more than just his height. I know that he would give everything to protect me and our children.
  10. He loves the Lord. This one might be the most important. When we first began dating, I heard some discouraging remarks from family friends about the different religious backgrounds that my husband and I had. He was raised in a Catholic home. I was raised in a Protestant home. My family was in church every Sunday morning as well as most Sunday and Wednesday nights. And we attended as a family. His church attendance had been more sporadic since the death of his father. One “friend” even commented that it was not Biblical for me to date a man who did not have a personal relationship with God, making it sound as if I was making the biggest mistake of my life. I’m glad I didn’t listen, though. I think the biggest mistake would have been ignoring my heart and not allowing this man into my life.

Oh, there are more things I love about him. I especially love the smile that comes on my face when he walks into the room and the electric “tingle” I get when he smiles at me or holds my hand. But these ten things are the things that I appreciate the most about him. I am so grateful for the gift that God gave me in John McMonigal.


Dear Lord,

In the book of Matthew, Jesus says, “This is the reason a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one” (chapter 19, verse 5, New Living Translation). That first part, the part about leaving father and mother, is the easy part. Being united into one is not always so simple.

One area where I know John and I are not completely united is in the area of finances. We are both very selfish about money, but in different ways. I tend to be selfish in an “I want it NOW” way, while he tends to be selfish in more of a “we need to plan for tomorrow” way. Please help us to work together in this area of our marriage. Help us listen to one another, to really hear each others thoughts and desires on this subject so that we can find an agreement that works for US, as a couple. Help us to put what is best for us above what is best for Lynn or for John. Above all, Lord, help us to keep YOUR desires for our lives in the forefront of our thoughts. It is not going to do us any good to become one if we are not one with You.

Thank You for hearing me and for loving me. Help me throughout this day to show love to John. He is the most precious gift You have given me. Help me to show him that in all I do and say.

I ask this in the precious name of Jesus.


Praying Wife

After ten years of marriage, I can hardly call myself an expert on the subject. I am not even sure if I could be considered an expert on my own marriage! One thing I am pretty sure of, though, is that I am not always a good wife. My husband would disagree. Maybe that is because he is a wonderful husband. He is always telling me that I am perfect the way that I am, no matter what flaws I see in myself. I can tell you, I am far from perfect. The perfect woman for him? Maybe. Still, I can see that there is always room for improvement.

One area where I know I could use improvement is in the area of prayer.

Last week, I posted about how difficult prayer has been for me. Seems like ever since I posted that it has gotten even harder. Not that it’s hard to understand why—satan knows that I am trying to get closer to God, and he is fighting me on all fronts. Let me tell you, it would be so easy to just give up and let him win. It’s amazing how much physical energy it takes to fight a spiritual battle.

But giving up is just what satan wants, and I am not willing to give him the satisfaction!

A while back, I bought a copy of The Power of a Praying Wife. I started reading, and even started working through the workbook that goes along with it. Can’t really say that I finished it. Seems that I have a bad habit of starting on a self-help type of book and then not finishing it. I don’t know why. Fiction books, I seem to just breeze right through. Maybe it is because those books are for fun and the non-fiction books I choose to read normally have something to do with changes I need to make in my life.

And who wants to admit the need to change?

I am trying to look at this a little differently, though. By reading The Power of a Praying Wife, I am not trying to make changes to better myself, exactly. I am trying to give my husband the wife he deserves. In case you are wondering what kind of a wife he deserves, I am talking about the kind of wife described in Proverbs 31. He needs a wife who enhances his life, makes his life better and easier, not a wife who is constantly nagging him or draining him of energy. By learning how to pray for him—and I mean really truly pray for him, not just saying “oh God, bless my husband”—I will be one step closer to being that wife.

A part of me wonders if he will even notice it. Will he see the changes I am making and how I am trying to make our lives better? It may sound sad, but I seriously don’t think he will. At the same time, I know that God will see the attempt that I am making. In the long run, that will be more beneficial anyway.

My Take on Above the Line

I discovered soap operas in the 1990’s.  Perhaps I should clarify that….  I began watching soaps with my parents’ approval in the early 90’s.  My favorite was Another World.  I watched Days of Our Lives, too, but could have lived without it.  It just didn’t hold the same intrigue for me that Another World did.  Perhaps that’s because my mother told me that Bay City, the setting for AW, was in Michigan.  That was always so cool to me, that a show would be set in my home state.

Above the Line, Take One

As I grew older and closer to God, I began to wonder what a Christian soap opera would be like.  For years I wondered about that.  Could there still be good looking men, pretty women, bad choices, and romance if God was in the center of it all?

I found my answer in an unexpected place—the pages of Karen Kingsbury’s Above the Line series.

It started earlier than that, actually.  There is a lot of soapishness (I sure hope that’s a word; if not it should be!) in all of her Baxter Family stories.

Above the Line, Take Two

  That’s what kept the fans coming back, begging for “just one more” story about the Baxters.  Still, it wasn’t until reading her most recent series (which does still feature some of the Baxter family characters) that I began to really feel that soap opera feeling.

The Baxters always seemed so insulated in their own little world.  In the books of Above the Line, new characters are introduced who love God every bit as much as the members of the Baxter clan do.  But they have a different back ground.  Chase Ryan and Keith Ellison are former missionaries to Indonesia.  Both feel God is leading them to make Christian movies.  This puts them in direct contact every day with people who know nothing about Christ’s love.  It also puts them in opposition to the “conventional” world of Hollywood.  Keith’s daughter, Andi, is a student at Indiana University and questioning her parents’ beliefs.  Her roommate is Bailey Flannigan, a character well-known to readers of Karen

Above the Line, Take Three

Kingsbury.  She tries to be a good influence on Andi, while trying to make sense of her feelings for two young men.  Cody Coleman is busy caring for his drug-addicted mother, working toward a college degree, and building a life after an injury during the Iraq war.  The blending of all of these characters leads to situations every bit as entertaining as any seen on daytime television, but more heartwarming because God’s presence is always felt in the middle of everything.

I must say, I much prefer to read a good Karen Kingsbury book over watching the selections on daytime TV these days.  Each relationship proves there is a lot more to romance than just sex.

Above the Line, Take Four

A message many young people in this world desperately need.

Above The LineAnother WorldArtsBailey FlanniganCody ColemanDays of Our LivesIndiana UniversityKeith EllisonSoap operaTake FourTake OneTake ThreeTake TwoTelevision