Monday, November 30, 2015

A PREPARED HEART by Guest Jodie Wolfe

A voice of one crying out:
Prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness;
make a straight highway for our God in the desert.
Every valley will be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill will be leveled;
the uneven ground will become smooth
and the rough places, a plain.
Isaiah 40:3-4 (HCSB)

25 days till Christmas. Are you prepared? I'm not talking about whether or not you've put up the tree, strung lights around the house or decorated. Perhaps you are in the 'busy'ness of the pre-season. Shopping. Addressing Christmas cards. Baking cookies. Making sure each person on your list has that special gift from you.

It's so easy to get caught up in all the planning we miss sight of the reason why we celebrate.


It seems ironic but the times I've best prepared to celebrate Christmas occurred when my boys were quite young. We didn't have a lot of outside activities at the time so that helped some. One of the things we did started the first Sunday in Advent. Each year I would purchase at our local Christian bookstore a new Christmas devotional we could go through together as a family. I made sure to pick one with crafts and activities appropriate for their age group. Each night after supper we spent time working through the book.

While the activities were often simple, the scripture verses helped to prepare my heart (and my kids') for why we celebrate the holiday. Each verse pointed to Christ and why He came to this earth.

The kids are long since gone, but I still feel the need to prepare my heart for the holiday. I want to participate in activities which remind me of Him. I desire to fine-tune my list so I have time to ask Him to show me how I can be more like Him. I pray I won't miss out on opportunities to bless others in the process. As I make special gifts may I be reminded to pray for each recipient.

He is the reason why we celebrate. He is the reason why we prepare for the holiday.

Prepare my heart, O Lord, so I might bless others this Christmas.

Jodie Wolfe loves writing stories about feisty heroines and strong, godly heroes. The power of story to influence lives and change hearts is what motivates her to weave tales that tell of the Savior’s faithfulness. Jodie writes for Home School Enrichment magazine and had a devotion featured on Christian Devotions.


Monday, November 23, 2015

TOTALLY BLINDED SIDED--by guest Brooke Cox

My guest today is author Brooke Cox, and if you leave a comment below, with your email address spelled out, & you share this blog story on social media, your name will be entered in a draw for a paper-back copy of Brooke's book, a YA mystery for all ages, Deadly Doll.


I had never received that kind of phone call and I hope to never get one like that again. It was July 2013 and I was at work. When I answered the phone, the man on the other end told me my husband Tim had just been T-boned in a wreck.

A girl I worked with drove me to the crash site. We arrived there right after the ambulance had left. The state trooper said Tim’s injuries were not life threatening. That could mean anything and I imagined the worst, but when we got to the ER, he was laying on a bed in a neck brace. All he had were a few broken ribs in his upper left shoulder. I thought that was amazing until he told me something even more so.

When he had his wreck, two volunteer rescue workers were in the car behind him. The one who came to his door asked Tim if he knew his bible was lying on his leg. When Tim looked down, it was lying open as if he had been reading it. Now, I had gotten Tim that bible for Christmas. He kept it under his arm rest and would read it before he went into work.

But what got me was the fact that he was hit from the left. Everything else he had in the truck flew right, but the bible went left and landed open on his leg. After a couple of days, we went to the garage to get the rest of Tim’s stuff out of the truck. I made sure to look at the front seat. The arm rest was elevated and tilted to the right. That’s when I realized what had happened. At the moment of impact, the top of the arm rest flew up and the bible was thrown straight up. As it was up in the air, Tim was shoved under it. But why did  it land open instead of bouncing off his leg? It really was as if it was intentionally laid there. I asked him what part of the bible it was open to. He doesn’t remember. The volunteer who helped Tim held it for him as they cut him out of the truck and he put it in the ambulance with Tim.

I believe God did intentionally lay that bible there as a way of showing us that He had His hand on that situation. He is always with us and in control in all circumstances.

Here is Brooke's Book Deadly Doll. 

Adventurous twelve-year old Brooksie discovered a hidden room in her grandparent’s attic. She opened up an old hat box and found her mother’s favorite childhood doll wrapped up inside. Brooksie’s great-grandfather sent it from Alaska and it was believed to have burned in the trash pile years ago. After showing it to her father, he takes it from her. A few days later he was murdered and the doll becomes a faded memory until it reappeared six years later after a freak accident. What was it about the doll that people kept hiding it? Could finding the doll have played a part in her dad’s murder? If the doll had remained hidden would he still be alive? Brooksie and her best friend Darlene delve deep into the doll mystery which has them learning about a past that Brooksie never knew existed. Along the way, Brooksie’s thirst for adventure and acceptance has the girls stumbling on the edge of danger. What shocking family secrets might she find and could they change her life? Will she finally understand why God made her so different from the rest of her family and will it draw her closer to Him? Can Brooksie finally accept who she is?

ABOUT BROOKE COX:  I have been blessed with a wonderful husband Tim and we have been married for 30 years. And we have a daughter, Sara, and a miniature dachshund who thinks he’s human. And I love action and adventure. I want to be on the edge of my seat.

You can find Brooke Cox's book Deadly Doll at 

Brooke can also be found on Facebook as Brooke Cox and on Linked-in.

Monday, November 16, 2015

TIME TO TAKE THE BACKSEAT by Guest Linda Rondeau

“Do you think John’s changed much?” I asked my husband who calmly checked his watch. “I can’t wait to see him.”

We had traveled over 20 hours straight through the night to arrive for our son’s boot camp graduation, meeting up with his fiancée at the hotel and bringing her to the ceremonies with us.

Before parents’ arrivals, the newly trained soldiers were sent out on field maneuvers and were to return for the weekend ceremonies. Our instructions were to wait on the steps. “You sent us girls and boys,” the staff sergeant told us at orientation. “We give you back women and men.”

While waiting, I considered how quickly the children had grown. Step-ladders, there childhood experiences happened in triplicate. And now it seemed there was a mass exodus from the home. While my husband looked forward to an empty nest, I had dreaded the day when my children would no longer need me.

The first ting-a-ling that motherhood would be forever changed sounded when my daughter became engaged. Though she’d be living in another state, I accepted the loss with grace. Daughters tend to stay daughters even after they are married. They more or less add the role of wife.

Within a few months following her wedding came two college graduations. And what had been a soft distant ping now became a clamor as my oldest left for boot camp, a prelude of maturing before his marriage the following September.

 “I want my babies back! I want to put them in a playpen so I always know where they are, and I can cuddle them whenever I want.”

My husband grabbed my hand. “You still got me. You’ll always have a baby.”  

The camouflaged bus rolled around the corner. I peered at the disembarking soldiers. John’s fiancée stood next to me. I’d been so unhappy about my empty arms I hadn’t considered her feelings.  

“There he is!”  I shouted. My mother’s feet readied to fly, but I remained still as if some invisible hand held me in place. Then I heard the silent whisper quoting a familiar verse:

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:24 KJV).”

What are trying to tell me, Lord?  Do I no longer have first rights?

I sensed John’s emotional tug-of-war as his eyes darted from his fiancée to his mother. I could almost hear him ask the question, “Who do I go to first?” 

I clasped Melissa’s hand with mine. “You go to him. You should be the most important woman in his life now.”  She said a quick thank you and embraced my son. I knew in that instant, the time had come to take the backseat.
Linda's son as a stay-at-home dad
I’ve been a mother-in-law for more than twenty years. As I watch my children struggle with their own families, my protective 
Linda's soldier son today.
instincts still flare. God continues to remind me of that verse, to take the backseat and trust Him with my children’s lives.

Award-winning author LINDA WOOD RONDEAU writes blended contemporary fiction that demonstrates, once surrendered to God, our worst past often becomes our best future. Formerly from the Adirondack region, the setting for this any many of her novels, Rondeau now resides in Florida with her husband of nearly four decades. Retired from her long career in human services, she enjoys being able to play golf year around. 

A FATHER’S PRAYER by Linda Rondeau 


her blog, Salt and Light

Monday, November 09, 2015


My guest Candee Fick is doing an E-book giveaway of her book Catch of a Lifetime just released November 2015. To enter the draw, please leave a comment below with your email address spelled out. Winners choice of a Kindle/mobi or pdf version. 

The Blessing of Imperfection by Candee Fick

I'll be the first to admit that I was an overachieving goodie-two-shoes growing up. As a pastor's kid, I felt a sense of responsibility to follow the rules because people were watching. Then in junior high, after moving to a new school and knowing nobody, I discovered a new identity as the smart girl and soon felt personal pressure to excel in the classroom. I only got A's from that point on and perfection became my security blanket. As long as I did everything right, I would be loved and accepted.

Fast forward many years to the time my husband and I were expecting our first child, and I took pride in the doctor's words that everything was going perfectly.

Until the day it wasn't.

Our daughter stopped growing and after a few tense weeks, I delivered a four pound five ounce precious bundle that captured my heart. I still remember the day we finally received her official diagnosis of a random rare genetic syndrome. Phrases like mental retardation and autistic-like behaviors rocked my world. My daughter would never get straight-A's or drive a car or live on her own. She could never be perfect.

And I loved her anyway.

Through the years of therapy and special education that followed I discovered a priceless truth about myself. No matter how hard I tried, I could never be perfect either. Yet God still loved me so much He sent His Son to pay the price for my sin. Today, even after our little Princess graduated from high school, my failures keep on reminding me how much I need a Savior and I've learned to embrace the freedom found in God's amazing grace. I don’t do everything right, but I’m still loved and accepted.

That's the blessing I’ve found in imperfection.


ABOUT THIS AUTHOR: Candee Fick is the wife of a football coach and the mother of three children. When not busy with her
day job or writing, she can be found cheering on the home team, exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, or savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.


He breathes football. She shudders at the very mention of the sport. After a tragedy involving a football player destroyed her family, athletic trainer and graduate student Cassie moves across the country looking for a fresh start, but a change in financial aid lands her in the middle of her worst nightmare. Meanwhile, rookie coach Reed worries his dream career will slip away as injuries plague his players and his star receiver teeters on the brink of ineligibility. As the two work together to salvage the season, sparks fly, and Reed must eventually choose between the game he cherishes and the woman he loves.



Monday, November 02, 2015

RIDING GOD'S WAVE -- by Guest Sherri Wilson Johnson

My guest author today is friend Sherri Wilson Johnson, and she is doing a giveaway of the ebook Song of the Meadowlark. Leave a comment below with your email address spelled out to enter the draw for this Ebook.

Riding God’s Wave by Sherri Wilson Johnson

I love the song Oceans by Hillsong United. It moves me to tears every time we sing it at church. It's my "GO" song. Whenever I'm battling with a decision, it never fails that we sing this song at church that Sunday, and I have clarification that I'm supposed to do what it is I'm unsure about.

The first time this happened, I felt called to go on my first mission trip with my daughter to a village in Jamaica she'd visited seven times. I wanted to go, but I was terrified of the flight, the curvy mountain roads, of everything. While singing this song, I asked God through the lyrics to “lead me where my trust is without borders”, to “let me walk upon the waters”, to “take me deeper than my feet could ever wander”. Right then, I knew I was supposed to go on the mission trip.

My next big struggle was with changing the direction of my writing career. It was stagnant, and I wasn’t making a difference. Several people had given me advice, but I needed to hear from the Lord. I was so burdened when I walked into church that Sunday last summer, and wouldn't you know, the first song we sang was Oceans. Once again, I asked God and he answered, “Yes. Do it.” My obedience changed the course of my writing, opened financial doors for me, and God has blessed me for taking that scary step.

Last year, I had the opportunity to begin freelancing for a national speaker and best-selling author, who was a friend of my one and only client. I wasn’t sure if I should accept the work because of time constraints, but again, God spoke to me through this song. I accepted the work with the intentions of using my earnings to invest in my writing career. A few months later, my husband fell ill and had to leave the workforce. Almost overnight, because of the connections God had made for me, I had five new clients. God lifted the burden of what we were going to do with my husband unable to work.

God has always spoken to me through times at the beach, so I know it's no coincidence that Oceans speaks to me. What’s greater than this song is the God who created the oceans and everything else in this world. This greatness makes me want to serve Him and to do my best to bless others, to be a world-changer and not live a mediocre life. I'm not asking for much, right? God has given me these desires, and He’s beginning to give me the opportunities to make them a reality. You see, the God we serve does things big. Universe big. When we ask Him to bless us, to enlarge our territory, to keep us from evil (the Prayer of Jabez) and to do big things, we can trust that He will. That’s the kind of God He is.

Song of the Meadowlark by Sherri Wilson Johnson 

Shamed by the uncovered truth about her missing husband’s secret life, Cora Buchanan sets out for home to mend her broken relationship with her parents. Her car breaks down in a small Georgia town, where women are going missing and being murdered. Cora seeks temporary refuge at the Southern Hope Ranch and is embraced by all except for Rex, a rugged widower who wants to protect his daughter from another loss. Cora couldn’t have predicted that being stranded would set in motion a series of life-changing events not only for her but for everyone she meets nor could she have known the significance of the song of the meadowlark.



Sherri Wilson Johnson is an Inspirational Romance novelist, speaker, and virtual assistant. She lives in Georgia with her husband and her Chihuahua, Posey, and they are empty-nesters. Sherri loves
spending time with family, vacationing at the beach, curling up with a good book or working on her current work-in-progress. She is the author of To Dance Once MoreTo Laugh Once More, and When Love Must Wait from her Hope of the South series, and Song of the Meadowlark from her Contemporary Suspense series, Intertwined. The second book in this series Secrets Among the Cedars, is due out in late 2015.