Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Gift For You

This little book is two weeks old today. We decided to celebrate with a special offer. For the next five days - Thursday December 1st through Monday December 5th- the Kindle version will be FREE! If you think you might like to read about Matty and Willa-Mae and the thirty-six year old murder that has suddenly come to life, just click on the link below and download it to your Kindle.

I've prayed many prayers over this cozy mystery, asking the Lord to take the words and use them to bless someone in some small way.  As I wrote, I came to love Miller's Crossing and the people who populate it - even the not-so-lovely ones. I hope you will too.

This is a map of the little town of Miller's Crossing. My granddaughter, Stephanie Savage, drew it for me. She is also the gifted artist who painted the cover picture. The blessing of working with her on this book is more precious to me than I can say.

I am happy to be able to offer it to you.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Story Behind the Story and Some Chapters

I want to thank everyone for the kind, encouraging words that have made their way onto my FB page and into my heart over the past few days. I am overwhelmed by your love and generosity.

This little story began years and years ago, when I bought a book on how to write mysteries. I read the book but didn't do anything with it for a very long time. I just kept reading mysteries - which I love (the cozy kind - not big on blood and gore) - and imagining stories and characters.

Over the course of those years, we went through some very difficult times. You know - those faith-stretching seasons where you suddenly find yourself doubting everything you ever knew and wondering where to go from here.

When I finally came through on the other side, I had some deep truths imbedded in my heart I felt I wanted to share with others - an encouragement in some small way. I did write a few blog posts, but all the while a story was forming - one that would incorporate what I had learned in a cozy mystery. Once I had the idea, the characters presented themselves bringing with them their own stories.

I've had stories floating around in my imagination since I was a little girl. I didn't write them down. We "acted" them out. I can remember racing to get home from school so my friends and I could continue the most recent adventure I had concocted. Or getting my little sister to play out the stories of my imagination with our dolls or perhaps our paper dolls. Thinking back - I was really kind of bossy about the whole thing. And they were so kind.

I began to write the story a couple of years ago. I worked by myself for a long time and before long realized writing is a much more complicated business than I had imagined. I contacted Ann Kroeker and asked her to be my writing coach. Best thing I could have done. Her expertise and encouragement made a huge difference. Before long, I had an actual manuscript.

With Ann's help I began sending the manuscript to a agents and publishers. Insert crickets chirping!

In typical (for me) fashion, I let discouragement overwhelm me and tucked the book away. I thought it would just sit there forever. Never mind the stories of how many rejections now famous authors have gotten. I had had enough. I obviously don't have a lot of gumption.

However, right from the beginning I had bathed this book in prayer. I knelt by my desk chair before I began tapping keys and asked the Lord to help me tell the story. Now I felt as though I was letting Him down. I decided to investigate self-publishing. Since I am not at all skilled in all things computer, I decided to look for expert help. Charity Singleton Craig came to my rescue and brought my book to "life."

So here we are. I'm attaching the first six chapters of the book in case you'd like to see what it's all about. Just click on the title here: Sleeping Dogs. I hope you enjoy it:


Monday, November 21, 2016


For several months I knitted blankets for children. I followed a simple pattern which, before long, I had committed to memory. Stitch after stitch, row after row the colorful blankets emerged - a peaceful rhythm.

Then a sweet little grandson made his appearance, and I began work on a baby sweater. I chose a soft, light yarn - just right for a baby but so difficult to work with. If I didn't handle my work with care, the needles slipped right through, leaving me with an empty knitting needle and stitches to pick up.

Unlike the pattern for small blankets, this one ran on for several pages with much counting of stitches, keeping track of rows, decreasing for armholes and the crafting of buttonholes. Not to mention sewing the pieces together.

When I began, I made the mistake of reading through the pattern first. I felt discouraged before I even cast on the first stitch. It looked complicated and confusing. I felt I had bitten off more than I could chew!

However, I had invested in the yarn and decided I should give it a try. I read the first sentence, cast on the required amount of stitches and knitted the first row. I continued to work the pattern one step at a time and made a startling discovery. If I didn't look ahead but instead just did the next thing the directions told me to do, it no longer seemed complicated or confusing. One small step at a time the little back of a baby sweater began to form. All I needed was enough trust in the one who had written the directions and designed the pattern to simply follow.

I'm over at Laced With Grace today. Please join me there.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Mystery

While it's been very quiet in my little corner of the internet, things have been humming along here at home. I'm getting ready to reveal the "mystery" I've mentioned a time or two in just a few days.

My heart is hammering just a bit, and I find myself grateful to so many for using their gifts to help me with this project.

I'm sorry to be so mysterious, but all will be made clear in a little while.


Picture credit: Mikhail Pavstyurk

Monday, November 7, 2016

Let Christmas Come

They merged the traffic down to one lane around the circle in our little town today. They're dressing the old gazebo in her tradition Christmas garb and putting up the big tree. They've already wound greens around the lampposts up and down the street and tied them up in big red bows.

Instead of grumbling my usual "It-isn't-even-Thanksgiving yet-Why-do-they- always-rush-Christmas," rant, I sighed a happy sigh.

I don't mind this year. I don't mind one little bit. Perhaps it's because it feels like July was just two days ago, and I'd like to try to make my favorite season last a bit longer. Time has gone by so quickly in recent years, but this year it has streaked by with lightning speed. Turning seventy in a few days may have something to do with it. I'm not sure. All I know is, I'm happy to stretch Christmas out for just as long as it's willing to linger.

I want to savor the days leading up to it - to slow my heart and walk through Thanksgiving with hope and anticipation - to step into Advent with joy - to count the days to His coming.

This sweet Amaryllis plant has become a metaphor for my heart and the hope gently growing within. She grows when most plants are dying and others are burrowing down deep into the darkness for the long winter slumber. She stretches upward toward the light holding the promise of new life.

Christy Nockels' Christmas CD, "The Thrill of Hope," arrived in the mail Saturday. I never play Christmas music before Thanksgiving, but I decided to break the "rules" and popped it into the CD player as we drove home from church. Words of hope and joy wrapped in beautiful melodies filled the car. Gently, sweetly the story of Christmas unfolded.

We've been living through difficult days collectively, and I think it fair to say we all have our share of personal struggles and sorrows. So it has always been, but for some reason the world seems just a bit darker than usual. Hope, I think, has become a rare commodity.

So - deck the halls, play the music and plant the Amaryllis bulbs. They speak of hope - Hope come down in the form of a tiny baby. He came to a world far darker than the one we inhabit today, filled with people who were crushed under the weight of oppressive government and religious laws.

He didn't come with loud noises and flashy slogans. He came quietly, touching lives with grace and mercy. One by one, He drew them - twelve young men to hold close to His heart and carry the message, the poor, the sick, the disenfranchised, the brokenhearted, the needy rich, the lesser-thans. Day by day He did the next thing His Father gave Him to do - touching blinded eyes, gathering children in His arms, teaching in the temple, calling out the religious rulers. Little by little light penetrated the darkness bringing with it a new kind of hope.

Let Christmas come - slowly, day by day, moment by moment - filling us with hope at the thought of His coming. He is coming again.


P.S. Working on something I'll share with you very soon now!


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Encouraging Words For the Weekend

Life has a tendency to bring with its many joys and blessings a measure of sorrow and pain. It's our human bent to want to make some sense of it all. But often, the more difficult the circumstances the more elusive the purpose or meaning becomes. I have come to believe it is at just these times God's purposes are all the more miraculous - even when He chooses to hide them from view:

" During difficult times, your natural tendency is to rely heavily on your own understanding. However, your human understanding is not up to this task; it will fail you time and again.

You have every reason to be confident in Me…Because the world is in such a fallen condition, it may seem as if I'm not in control. I could end all suffering instantly…but I am waiting to bring many sons and daughters to Glory.

So take heart as you live in this broken world, believing that My eternal purposes are being worked out through your difficulties. Your troubles are part of My majestic Master Plan, and they are achieving an eternal Glory that far outweighs them all!"
Jesus Today   Sarah Young

"Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."
  II Cor. 4:17

If you're walking through difficult circumstances, I pray these words will bring comfort and peace.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

This Is Love

Three months ago, our daughter gave birth to our eighth grandchild - a sweet little boy. She and her husband live far from our home in Texas - hundreds of miles away across a great ocean.  We couldn't be there for his birth, but thanks to the wonders of modern technology our daughter brought us right into her hospital room to see our grandson for the first time. Since that day we have "visited" with them every Sunday, while we anxiously wait to get to hold him in our arms this Christmas. 

Many years have gone by since we've had a newborn in our family. Every week I marvel at the newness and innocence of this precious little one. My heart longs to keep him just that way - to protect him from the things life brings to all of us. I would love to be able to shelter him from pain and sorrow, to keep his heart safe from hurtful wounds.

But my heart understands, in the long run, it really wouldn't be good for him. A sheltered, protected life is not a full life. In order to keep him from all possible harm, we would also have to keep him from so much that is good. And since it isn't possible to keep babies from growing and the world from intruding he will benefit far more from wise counsel, loving discipline and strong arms to pick him up when he falls...

I am beginning November with a devotional at Laced With Grace. Please come visit.