Saturday, December 25, 2010

His Father's Eyes

Here is a Christmas story I've written and thought you might enjoy.

Swallowing hard, Samuel never took his eyes off of the faded photograph of his mother. “Mama, why did you have to go away? I miss you.”

The dingy walls of the orphanage, combined with the musky smell, sent a wave of nausea sweeping over him. His eyes clouded from deep blue to somber gray. Quick footsteps interrupted his tormenting thoughts.

“The Christmas Eve service is in the chapel in ten minutes.” Christopher stuck his head in the door and grinned. “All of us orphans get a bag of candy after the service. Come on! Let’s go!”

Samuel chewed on his bottom lip for a moment. “I’ll be coming in a second.”

Christopher slipped through the door and hollered over his shoulder, “Sam, you better get moving or somebody else is going to get your bag of candy.”

Samuel moseyed to the chapel and sat down just in time to hear the minister recite Matthew’s account of the Christmas story.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.” Matthew 1:18-19 KJV

Samuel couldn’t believe what he was hearing. His heart pounded so loud, he was sure everyone could hear it. He resisted the urge to groan and pressed his leg against the pew in front of him so he wouldn’t drop to the floor in sobs. I must speak to the pastor immediately after the service. Mary and Mama have a lot in common. I just never saw it before.

When the service ended, Samuel marched toward the minister. “Pastor Dan, my mama was kind of like Mary. She wasn’t married when she was expecting me. But my dad wasn’t like Joseph, he deserted us and left us to fend for ourselves.”

The pastor patted the young lad’s shoulder. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

“I never met my father. I don’t have a clue who he is or where to look for him.” Samuel’s lip quivered. He exhaled slowly and a frown crossed his brow. “I’ve heard the women whispering when I walk by. They’re always trying to figure out who my father is.”

The pastor’s tone was soft. “People can be cruel.”

“Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I wonder if I resemble him, but I guess I’ll never know.” Samuel’s jaw stiffened.

The young boy’s words spoke straight to the heart of the pastor. “When I look into your eyes, I see your Father – your heavenly Father. You have His eyes.”
amuel lifted a skeptical brow. “Really?”

“Yes, sir! No doubt about it. You’re a child of God.” Pastor Dan cupped the young man’s face in his hands. “You have your Father’s eyes.”

Samuel wondered if his heart might burst within his chest. He shook his head. “Wow!”

“Remember what we read tonight? God made a promise to Mary and He kept it.” Ambling over to the nativity, the pastor plucked the Baby Jesus from the manger and tucked Him in Samuel’s arms. “He promises to adopt us as one of His own children if we believe in His Son.”

“You mean I’m part of a family?” Samuel gave a brilliant smile.

“That’s exactly what I mean.” The pastor tousled the young boy’s hair. “God will be the Father you’ve always wanted and that’s an eternal promise!”

Samuel squeezed Baby Jesus and choked, “I believe.”

“Sam!” Christopher called, walking toward him clutching two brown paper sacks. “Here’s your bag of candy. I grabbed one for you before they ran out.”

“I think I’ll give mine to Titus. He didn’t get to come tonight because he was sick.”

“Are you sure?” Chris shot back.

“Yep.” Samuel’s head bobbed. “I think that’s what my Father would want me to do.”

“Like I said.” Pastor Dan winked at Samuel. “You have your Father’s eyes.”

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hidden Heroes

A few weeks ago there was an ice storm in our neck of the woods. A precious elderly woman (Arlene is in the white sweatshirt in the above picture. My mother Bonnie is beside her.) from our church had a car accident and suffered a compressed fracture in her lower spine. She was placed in a nursing home where she could receive some physical rehabilitation.

Today my mom and I took a road trip to the nursing home to check on Arlene. We were blessed by her grateful attitude. She shared about a new friend Lucille, who was a retired missionary nurse, and wanted us to meet her. We traipsed down the hall and found Lucille.

Words are inadequate for describing this ninety-year-old seasoned saint. We felt like we were sitting in the room of some Bible character. She radiated authenticity and humility.

As we left, we were once again reminded that God has His hidden heroes everywhere - even in nursing homes. Somehow we knew that God had another missionary journey for dear Lucille.... No longer in the jungles of Nigeria, but the halls of a nursing home. And she was finishing strong for Jesus - blooming where she was planted and making a difference for the Kingdom of God.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, Paul!

On June 18, 2008, our only son John Drake gave his daddy a kidney. Yesterday Paul Franklin celebrated his 58th birthday. Our family still rejoices over John's gift of life. Because of his sacrifice, we are able to have some more time with Paul.

I've uploaded a couple pictures. I think you will be able to recognize Paul, but I also want you to meet our son John. He is standing to the left of his daddy and has a little girl beside him.

We haven't stopped giving thanks for the Lord's mercies and faithfulness.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cinderfella and the Furry Godmother

I am excited to announce that my newest children's book Cinderfella and the Furry Godmother has been released by Guardian Angel Publishing. My friend Kim McDougall made an adorable book trailer for promotional purposes. I thought I would post it here and let my friends enjoy seeing it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, Rachel Michelle

Happy birthday to our firstborn - Rachel Michelle Phillips Nolt!
We love you and are so proud of the godly wife and mother you are.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

III John 1:4

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


While attending the 2010 Write2Ignite, I made a new friend - Terri Kelly. (That's her in the above picture.) She was teaching a class about writing Christian devotions for children. After I returned home, I contacted Terri and she invited me to take part in an author's interview. You can find the interview here While you are there, take a look around at Terri's amazing website. She is helping shape small souls for Jesus.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cinderfella and the Furry Godmother

Drum roll please.

TA DA......

My fifth children's book Cinderfella and the Furry Godmother has been released today from Guardian Angel Publishing.

Samantha Bell is the illustrator. I met Samantha at a Write2Ignite Conference in North Carolina. Children will love her whimsical art.

I also learned that my next picture book Stilts the Stork will be released in January. K.C. Snider, the artist who illustrated my Christmas picture book Baby Jesus is Missing is the illustrator.

God is sooooo good,

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Paul and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary on Thanksgiving Day this year. God has been good to us and given us thankful hearts, but since Paul's kidney transplant on June 12, 2008, we are even more grateful. We realize that each day is sacred and choose to seize the precious moments - every single one - that God grants to us.

This year was Easton Paul's first Thanksgiving and Tristan's second. If you think our hands are full, you should see our hearts. =-)

With an attitude of gratitude,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Forward...... March.....

I recently heard about Captain Jeremiah Denton, who returned home on February 11th, 1973, after years of captivity as a P.O.W. in North Vietnam. When the media asked him to comment, he said, "We are honored to have had the opportunity to serve our country under difficult circumstances."

I was deeply moved by his quote and couldn't help but wonder about those of us who are called to serve in the Lord's Army. When Jesus asks us to take up our Cross or make a sacrifice, I wondered if we shared Captain Denton's attitude - "We are honored to have had the opportunity to serve our God under difficult circumstances."

Lord, help us to "endure hardness as a good soldier...."

Forward....... March..... Hup, two, three, four....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Grammy Award

I have so many precious memories of my grandmothers. Both my paternal and maternal grandmothers loved the Lord. They came from two completely different doctrinal backgrounds, but each had a vibrant faith. (This probably explains why I am a Heinz 57 Christian.) There's no doubt about the permanent and eternal "footprints" they have left in my heart. And not a single day goes by that I don't think of them and remember some tidbit of wisdom they gave me.

My maternal grandmother loved music. She enjoyed singing while she worked around the house. I have her to thank for knowing so many timeless hymns. She sang the glory down while scrubbing pots and pans. She never skipped a verse of a hymn. So that means all of us, who were fortunate enough to be in her home, learned all the verses, too. Grandma also had a large stack of gospel records that she played every day. When I was a little girl I never realized the impact her music had on me, but yet to this day when I hear one of "Grandma's" songs, my eyes fill with tears.

Grandma often sang about heaven and how Jesus grew sweeter each day. I remember the Speer Family singing one of Dad Speer's old classic - "Sweeter Each Day."

I have a Savior who loves me I know.
He guiding and guarding wherever I go.
He walks beside me along the bright way.
His love grows sweeter each day.

Sweeter each day.
Sweeter each day.
His love grows sweeter along the bright way.
Sweeter each day.
Sweeter each day.
His love grows sweeter each day.

If you are burdened with sin's awful strife.
Just come to the Savior, He'll give you new life.
Then you can say as you travel the way.
His love grows sweeter each day.

I'm a grandmother now of two of the most precious little boyzz - Tristan and Easton. We are expecting our third grandchild in May. I had the wonderful opportunity of babysitting our grandsons today. As I rushed around, tending to the wee ones, I had a blast from the past. I remembered being at my grandma's house when I was a small child. In my mind's eye, I could see the kitchen table, Grandma's favorite chair and my special drawer. But most of all I remembered my Grandma's soft, silky hands and how she prayed for me.

As I rocked our little men today, I had a greater understanding of my grandmother's love and her prayers for me. I closed my moist eyes and thanked the Lord for giving me such wonderful grandmothers and adorable grandsons. They are priceless! And I pray that I can mirror the love of Jesus to our grandchildren like my grandma did to me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mirror Mirror Off the Wall

Bezalel made the bronze washbasin and its bronze stand from bronze mirrors donated by the women who served at the entrance of the Tabernacle. Exodus 38:8 NLT

These women made a great sacrifice giving their bronze mirrors to Bezalel. For some, it possibly meant never being able to see their reflection again.

There are days I feel Jesus is asking me to give my mirror to Him. There seems to be a “Call” from Heaven, pleading with me to look at myself less and to fasten my eyes upon my Savior more. This simple token of my love is not as easy as it seems. Giving my mirror to Jesus means that I can’t always be looking out for “me.”

There are days I fail. I clutch my mirror like a toddler clinging to his favorite blanket and insist on peering at my reflection and making sure I'm watching out for myself and all that concerns "me." Those are the days I am most miserable.

But there are other days, I take the mirror off my wall and offer it to Jesus. A miraculous transformation takes place. Heaven changes this earthen vessel as I gaze into His face and begin to reflect His image. Looking at Him helps me see from Heaven's point of view. I have learned all the mountains I face are just small hills from Heaven't point of view. My eternal vision becomes so keen I minister to the needs of others.

I can't help but burst forth into song when my eyes are fastened on Jesus. I begin to sing a song my beloved grandmother taught me when her eyes had been anointed with the Spirit's eye salve. –

Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus.
I’ve lost sight of all beside.
So enchained my spirit’s vision,
Looking at the Crucified.

I will begin today by taking my mirror off the wall and giving it to my King. Maybe there is someone that I can love for Jesus today.

“Mirror, mirror off the wall.
Today I give to Christ my all?

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Lord Hath Need of You

And they said, The Lord hath need of him. Luke 19:34

Friday is ladies' prayer meeting for the women of Gospel Lighthouse. For nearly thirty years, our ladies have met on Friday mornings and bombarded Heaven. Today we were praying for one of our precious young mothers, who had come to pray with us. It was apparent that the Lord is moving in her life in a new and fresh way. And that He wanted to use her to bring Jesus to her generation. Oh, the sweetness of the Lord's manifest presence! As we prayed, the words "The Lord hath need of him..." rang in my soul.

I'm sure you remember the familiar story found in the nineteenth chapter of Luke's gospel:

And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,

Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither.

And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.

And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them.

And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?

And they said, The Lord hath need of him.

And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.

And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.

And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;

Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

I've heard ministers thunder from the pulpit that God didn't need anyone or anybody. I think I might have even spoken those words myself. God forbid, but I think I have.

But I see in these Scriptures how Jesus needed a colt to accomplish what His Father wanted Him to do that day. He also needed two of his disciples to go and fetch the colt.

God has a divine plan for each one of us. He wants to use our homes, cars, kitchen tables, teacups, teapots, our very lives, everything we have to help reach others for Him.

The Lord has need of you today. May He use your hands filled with the love of Jesus to help mend a broken heart today.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Important Announcement

Contact: Lynda S. Burch, Publisher
(314) 276 8482

Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. teams with Be There Bedtime Stories’ new technology to bring families together from around the globe.

St. Louis, MO, USA: In a time where families are spread further apart than ever before ‘Be There Bedtime Stories’ is a technology that puts video of a Storyteller onto the page of a children’s book, to be displayed on a computer and read to your children.

“We are very excited with this new adventure,” said GAP President and CEO Lynda Burch. “Our partnership with Be There Bedtime Stories will allow for an unprecedented availability of family sharing reading time with kids and grandkids around the globe. What a wonderful way to “Be There” for your kids whether on assignment out of the country, traveling for work, or just wanting to participate daily in your children’s reading habits; encouraging reading skills that will last a lifetime. It increases literacy awareness and wellness and strengthens family bonds.”

The Sedona International Film Festival, Tuesday night cinema film series displayed the concept, with 5 local leaders, including the Mayor of Sedona. They recorded a bedtime story for presentation that was made to the audience of nearly 500 patrons, right on the big screen of a movie theatre!

For more information on Guardian Angel Publishing or to schedule an interview with the publisher, email Lynda S. Burch at

Friday, September 3, 2010


For all my writing buddies:

Books have an unexpected way of drifting to those hidden places where the soul of man walks alone - for not even his nearest neighbor knows that he is there, but God knows.... and uses His scribe to write words of comfort. These words give the weary traveler strength for his journey.

Keep writing for the KING,

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hidden Saints

Many of you know the special bond I share with my beloved grandmothers. The strange thing about our relationship is that Grandma Meyer and Grandma Holtz have been gone now for a decade and I love them now more than I did when they were alive. So often I see them in my mind's eye setting the table or bursting forth into song, usually they would sing a favorite hymn while washing dishes.

Well, a few years ago the Lord brought a family to our congregation. A precious young couple with four amazing kids. The father is a chiropractor and I go to him regularly to keep my neck from getting "bent out of shape." :-) We have often swapped stories about our grandmothers. His mother's mother, Gladys Hamilton, is still alive and living in the Branson, Missouri, area. She and her husband, who is now in Heaven, were church planters. They started numerous churches across the United States. What caught my attention was the fact they had planted a full gospel church in Charles City, Iowa, in the early '60s - around the same time my great-grandmother and my grandma were involved with a Spirit-filled work of their own in the Charles City area.

As a child, I was often present during my Grandma Meyer's prayer meeting. She always prayed for souls to come to know Jesus and she asked the Lord to bless the church and help it to grow and thrive. I've often wished she could have lived to see all God has done with the Gospel Lighthouse in Floyd. I know it's because of her prayers.

This week Paul and I took a little break and headed for a much-needed vacation in Branson, Missouri. Because of ministry demands, we had been guilty of burning the candle at both ends and needed time to recharge our depleted batteries.

The tourism is out of this world in Branson. There are shows every day with star studded entertainment. Paul and I both agreed. We weren't interested in any shows. We planned to rest, rest and rest some more. I only had one request I wanted to meet Gladys Hamilton.

Yesterday we took a little road trip to find Gladys' Hamilton's nursing home. We took a few wrong turns, but eventually found it. We arrived around supper time and the nurse pointed Gladys out to us. Gladys eyes oozed with the love of Jesus. The minute we started talking... Gladys shared what Jesus meant to her. I looked at Paul and his eyes were wet with tears, too. Before we left, Gladys took our hands and prayed. She asked the Lord to make the Gospel Lighthouse a soul winning church. (So like my grandmother) She prayed for the Lord's blessing, strength and favor to be upon our family and ministry as we returned to the ministry front back home.

I can't really explain what happened in those moments with Gladys except to say she took us straight to the Father's throne and into His Presence. She is one of the Lord's hidden saints - overlooked by the world, but the Father's eyes are always upon her. Somehow I felt of all the stars whose names were on Branson's marquees, Paul and I were blessed to spend a few minutes with the one whose name was on Heaven's marquee. Shhhhh! I think if you'll listen, you'll hear the clapping of the nail-scarred hands.

I know Jesus will one day say to each of His hidden saints, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant..." I hope to be in that number.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Vanishing Act by Liz Johnson

I'm not a detective, but it didn't take me long to figure out why Liz Johnson titled her newest book Vanishing Act. Not only does the main character Nora Jones "vanish," but you will, too, when you read her book. Vanishing Act is so riveting you can't put it down until you have read it from cover to cover. I "VANISHED" from my family's sight for several hours. I couldn't help myself. Once I started reading Johnson's book, I was hooked and had to know the ending.

You'll dampen a few handkerchiefs before finishing the book and heartstrings are will be strummed when readers discover the special bond Nora shares with her father and the twists and turns that take place. (I don't to ruin the story for you by giving too many details.)

Vanishing Act has it all - suspense, romance and a Christian message. I was waving my pompoms and cheering when Nate and Danielle's (aka Nora) faith finally devoured their fears.

Johnson's book could easily be a movie and I would be first in line to buy a ticket.

I was provided a free copy of Vanishing Act by Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense Line in exchange for an honest review.

To learn more about Liz Johnson's books go to


Enjoy Liz Johnson's interview below.

1. Did you always know you wanted to write?

I always wanted to write! I started writing stories when I was 7. I don’t know that I always thought about being a professional writer, but I always knew that writing would be part of my life. It’s something that I love.

2. Do you write full time or have another day job?

When I sold my first novel, my brother asked me if I was going to quick my day job. I had to laugh at him. It takes a lot to support yourself just as a writer, and it’s going to be a while until I get there. But until then, I get to work in marketing at a major Christian publisher. Working in the industry is the next best thing to writing full-time.

3. Where do you write most of the time? Other than your home, where is your favorite place to write?

I usually write at my dining room table. But sometimes I take my laptop to bed with me and slouch against the pillows until I finish the next chapter. When I’m not at home, I’ve found a nice little booth at the local Panera where I can tap out 2,000 words in a few hours. The background noise is just enough to help me focus and tune out everything else.

4. What kinds of materials have you written on when paper wasn’t available?

Probably my favorite was when I was working on the timeline for my first novel. I was at a coffee shop and only had napkins to write on. I still have 3 napkins worth of that timeline.

5. How long does it take to write a book?

It took me about 3 months to write my first book, once I really started writing it. But the last book I wrote after completely a full synopsis, and it took me about 2 and half months—while I moved across the country, started a new job, and survived the Nashville floods. I think I could have done it in 2, if I hadn’t moved. :)

6. What advice would you give a kid who is thinking about writing?

I think the best thing kids can do is practice. And read everything they can get their hands on. Get a library card and spend a lot of time surrounded by books. Writing is often less about the specific classes you’ve taken and more about finding your own voice. Keep at it!

Saturday, July 24, 2010


I just have to share a picture or two of our two grandsons for some of you to see. They bring our family tremendous joy.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Eternal Iron

My maternal grandfather was a blacksmith. When his last child (my Aunt Lois) was growing up, he built a sturdy iron swingset for her. Aunt Lois was ten when I was born so I have always considered her my big sister and her swingset.... my swingset. I spent many hours playing on "our" iron swingset. In the summer, my grandmother would hang her freshly washed laundry on the clothesline while I played on the swingset. Other times Grandma would make a little picnic for us and she would let me take my sandwich to the top of the swingset and eat my lunch. (I had such a neat grandma!)

Grandma and Grandpa are in Heaven now and Aunt Lois lives next door to us. Last summer she decided to resurrect the beloved swingset and set it up in her backyard. We all cheered when it was finally up. Waves of nostalgia swept over me, but yesterday I experienced an emotion much deeper than a sentimental journey.

My husband and I were babysitting our nine-month-old grandson Tristan. I took him to swing on the swingset. I wasn't prepared for the emotion I felt as we plopped down in the swing. In my mind's eye, I saw my grandmother swinging with me on the sturdy swingset and in the circle of life I was now swinging on the same swingset with my grandchild. A lump formed in my throat when I realized I was singing the same songs to my grandson that my grandmother sang to me.

I thought about my grandfather the blacksmith and how when he built something - he built it to last..... And at that moment, I realized my grandmother and grandfather were instrumental in putting iron in my soul - eternal iron. They gave me a sample - a living example of God's love.

I'm no blacksmith, but when I gaze into the eyes of our two little grandsons - Tristan and Easton - I pray that they would see the "SON" in my eyes and the JESUS in me would help form "eternal iron" in their little souls.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I'm back! It's been awhile since I blogged, but what can I say? The last two years have been a blur. Let's see..... In the last twenty-four months we have had all four of our children get married, our son gave his daddy a kidney, and now we have two darling grandbabies.

Through it all, we have seen God's faithfulness. I can't help but think of two years ago, when the specialists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, informed us just how sick my husband Paul really was with End Stage Renal Failure. Then, the process of finding a match - and to discover the MVD (Most Valuable Donor) would be our only son John Drake. In the midst of it all, our two daughters were engaged and planning to married the same summer as the kidney transplant. ;-)

I remember the tug-of-war in my soul. The "What ifs" plagued me. Then, in the midst of my own fiery furnance I read the reply of the three Hebrew children when they were thrown into a fiery furnace.

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Daniel 3:17-18

These verses helped settle something in my heart. Our God whom we served was able to deliver our family from this trial, but even if He didn't, we were still going to love and serve Him.

On June 12, it will be two years since Paul's surgery. Jesus has been with us every step of the way.

John married Natasha Stamman (Yes, I have my very own daughter-in-law.) this past April 23. (That's them in the picture above.) Paul was John's best man. Words are inadequate to describe the emotions I felt. Paul said it best when he spoke at the wedding reception, "John, you are really my "best" man. Than you for the gift of life."

Paul heads back up to Rochester for a kidney biopsy this month. We realize more than ever before that life is precious and you are only as healthy as your next checkup.
But we know, as the old hymn so eloquently puts it:

Many things about tomorrow. I don't seem to understand.
But I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.

But we are thanking the Lord every day for the gift of life. We will celebrate Paul's second anniversary with thanksgiving and we will declare, "EVEN IN THE VALLEY GOD IS GOOD.... EVEN IN THE VALLEY HE IS FAITHFUL AND TRUE. HE CARRIES HIS CHILDREN THROUGH LIKE HE SAID HE WOULD - YES, EVEN IN THE VALLEY GOD IS GOOD!"

I don't regret a mile,

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easton Paul Nolt

Our second grandson Easton Paul Nolt has arrived.
8 pounds 6 ounces
22 inches
March 27th at 1:03 a.m.

Mommy and baby Easton are doing fine.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Singing the Songbird's Praises

About the book:
The year is 1945. The war is over and 21-year-old Betty Lake has been invited to Europe to sing in a USO tour for American soldiers who now occupy Hitlers Germany. The first nights performance is a hit. Betty becomes enthralled with the applause, the former Nazi-held mansion theyre housed in and the attention of Frank Witt, the US Army Signal Corp Photographer. Yet the next night this songbird is ready to fly the coop when Bettys dear friend, Kat, turns up missing. Betty soon realizes Franks photographs could be the key to finding Kat. Betty and Frank team up against post-war Nazi influences and the two lovebirds hearts may find the each other. But will they have a chance for their romance to sing? The truth will be revealed under a German moon.

About the author:
Tricia Goyer is an awardwinning author of twelve novels, more than 300 articles and six nonfiction books. In researching for her WWII novels, Tricia has interviewed over one hundred veterans and service women involved in support efforts. She has also traveled to Germany, the Czech Republic, and Austria for research. She lives with her husband and three children in Kalispell, Montana.

My review:
My husband's father was a POW in WWII. As I read Tricia Goyer's Songbird Under a German Moon, I hoped my dear father-in-law would have someone like the main character of the book (Betty Lake) to lift his spirits during those difficult days.

Ms Goyer is a gifted writer and has a refreshing writing style. You actually get the feeling you are there and know her characters personally. If you know someone, who loves WWII stories, you must get them this book. They will love it!

I highly recommend this book. You will enjoy it immensely!

Thanks to LitFuse Publicity and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book to review.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Liz Curtis Higgs Kept Me Burning My Candle

Here Burns My Candle
by Liz Curtis Higgs

About the Author

It’s been 4 years since Liz Curtis Higgs’s last novel, and she’s made good use of that time studying Scottish history and the Scriptures. And now she offers a retelling of the beloved Old Testament story of Ruth and Naomi set in 18th Century Scotland. Visit the Lowlands in Here Burns My Candle.

About the Book

A mother who cannot face her future.
A daughter who cannot escape her past.

Lady Elisabeth Kerr is a keeper of secrets. A Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage, she honors the auld ways, even as doubts and fears stir deep within her.
Her husband, Lord Donald, has secrets of his own, well hidden from the household, yet whispered among the town gossips.
His mother, the dowager Lady Marjory, hides gold beneath her floor and guilt inside her heart. Though her two abiding passions are maintaining her place in society and coddling her grown sons, Marjory’s many regrets, buried in Greyfriars Churchyard, continue to plague her.
One by one the Kerr family secrets begin to surface, even as bonny Prince Charlie and his rebel army ride into Edinburgh in September 1745, intent on capturing the crown.
A timeless story of love and betrayal, loss and redemption, flickering against the vivid backdrop of eighteenth-century Scotland, Here Burns My Candle illumines the dark side of human nature, even as hope, the brightest of tapers, lights the way home.

My Review

If you need sleep, don't pick up Liz Curtis Higgs newest book Here Burns My Candle. You won't be able to put the book down once you start reading the riveting story of Lady Elisabeth Kerr, a Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage. I was burning my candle into the wee hours of the morning because every page gripped me. The book is ADDICTIVE! I may need a support group because I find myself sipping tea with my pinky finger extended and dreaming about the characters in Here Burns My Candle.

The book is not all fluff. There is substance and sustenance as the plot thickens. Hope rises with the dawn when eternal lessons are learned.

If you want a good read and a 'stay-cation,'(vacation at home) pick up a copy of Higgs' Here Burns My Candle. You'll be glad you did. And who knows, Lady Elisabeth Kerr might just add a little culture to your life.

I highly recommend this well-crafted book. Bravo, Liz Curtis Higgs! Thanks for penning a story with depth and excellence.

Here you can see different options where you can purchase the book online:

This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Book Signing at Greene Iowa Library

I was invited to read my books to some wee ones at the Greene, Iowa, Public Library.
Those little ones charmed my heart. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Friday, March 5, 2010

From Tragedy to Triumph

I am overjoyed my story The Champion was included in Guideposts' newest book From Tragedy to Triumph. I've been blessed reading all the inspirational stories.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ring of Fire

In 2008, while my husband Paul was recuperating from a kidney transplant, I 'stumbled' across the website for the first Write2Ignite Conference. Although I had been making a little money at writing and been fortunate to be published by Abingdon Press, Standard Publishing, Eldridge Publishing, LIVE Publications and employed as a ghostwriter, I had never attended a writing conference. What complicates my story is the Write2Ignite Conference was held in North Carolina and God had planted my feet and family on rich Iowa soil. It would be a major trip, but it just so happened my big brother only lived a few miles from where the conference was held. (My big brother is always coming through for his baby seester!) My attending all depended on my husband's condition. If he was gaining strength and okay with my leaving, I felt I could go, but if he was the least bit apprehensive, I knew my going was out of the question. Paul practically pushed me out the door. I think his words were, "You've been under enough stress. Go enjoy yourself."

When I walked into the 2008 Write2Ignite Conference, as Johnny Cash would say, "I fell into a burning ring of fire!" I thought for sure someone was going to have to call the fire department. (Especially during the closing session when Pam Zollman lit the candles.) The emphasis was about ministry writing. Honing your craft, but not relying on your ability to be published. Allowing God to enlarge your writing influence. Someone spoke of when preparation meets opportunity! That has been etched in my mind's eye.

In that closing session, I felt like the little boy who gave Jesus his lunch. I was giving him my stories and life's experiences. "Lord, I'm ready to have you use me or not be used at all. You choose for me."

I left the 2008 Conference inspired. My moist eyes were on Jesus and my hand was on the plow.

Writing opportunites came from the north, south, east and west. More ghostwriting (or should I say Holy Ghostwriting) assignments showed up in my inbox.

When I learned about the 2010 Write2Ignite Conference, I made plans to attend. It was slightly more complicated because this time the conference was held in South Carolina and my feet were still planted in northern Iowa - almost to Minnesota, but I made it and am I glad I did.

I have never seen so many 'cheerleaders' in one place. (a round of pom poms for all) The presenters poured their knowledge and expertise into the attendees. Each one exemplified a true servant's heart. There was something for the every writing level.

I look forward to the next Write2Ignite Conference. Whew! It's getting hot in here.

Cole.... I Love You to the Moon and Back

Product Description
Aaron Dean Ruotsala, 24-year-old husband, father, business owner, and pilot shares a true story about a heart-wrenching experience he calls the best and worst experience of a lifetime. This story will provoke you to laughter, tears, and cause you to examine yourself and your role as a human on this temporal journey. His prayer is that all who read this amazing story will learn from the experience in which they had no choice, to realize that when life brings you to the darkest, deepest, loneliest point imaginable, you will recognize what really matters in life. So, please laugh, cry, share, examine, and mostly enjoy this book that is certain to make you ask the question: "What if this happened to me?" The reality is that it could. Recommended It's amazing how God used a single event to speak to and transform the lives of thousands of people. Three-year-old Cole Ruotsala's short eight-week battle with cancer and his ultimate death, was one such event. The story of this brave little man and his courage and compassion through the toughest of times, is a touching example of God's love and strength in the face of death. Also, the honesty with which it is written will make you face some important questions in your life. I know that you will be encouraged and challenged by this book. Pastor Bruce Estola Ironwood, MI

My Review:

Cole... I Love You to the Moon and Back is a book that will take your emotions to the moon and back time and again. The picture on the cover of a darling toe-headed, blue-eyed boy is enough to make you fall head over heels in love with Cole, but then you begin to read his family's story and you are literally sent into orbit over what this precious family went through. I would recommend this book for families who have lost a child. COLE GIVES HOPE. It's like the Bible says, "though he's dead yet he speaks...." (Hebrews 11:4)

Cole has gone past the moon and is with the SON..... and I believe with all my heart JESUS has a rocking chair in Heaven for the little ones who are there, and with Mr. Cole there, Heaven is sweeter. Though he cannot come back to us, we will one day go to be with him.

Thanks Ruotsala family for your story.... I see the "SON" in your eyes.

Songbird Under a German Moon

About the book:
The year is 1945. The war is over and 21-year-old Betty Lake has been invited to Europe to sing in a USO tour for American soldiers who now occupy Hitlers Germany. The first nights performance is a hit. Betty becomes enthralled with the applause, the former Nazi-held mansion theyre housed in and the attention of Frank Witt, the US Army Signal Corp Photographer. Yet the next night this songbird is ready to fly the coop when Bettys dear friend, Kat, turns up missing. Betty soon realizes Franks photographs could be the key to finding Kat. Betty and Frank team up against post-war Nazi influences and the two lovebirds hearts may find the each other. But will they have a chance for their romance to sing? The truth will be revealed under a German moon.

About the author:
Tricia Goyer is an awardwinning author of twelve novels, more than 300 articles and six nonfiction books. In researching for her WWII novels, Tricia has interviewed over one hundred veterans and service women involved in support efforts. She has also traveled to Germany, the Czech Republic, and Austria for research. She lives with her husband and three children in Kalispell, Montana.

My review:
My husband's father was a POW in WWII. As I read Tricia Goyer's Songbird Under a German Moon, I hoped my dear father-in-law would have someone like the main character of the book (Betty Lake) to lift his spirits.

Ms Goyer is a gifted writer and has a refreshing writing style. You actually get the feeling you are there and know her characters personally. If you know someone, who loves WWII stories, you must get them this book. They will love it!

I highly recommend this book. You will enjoy it immensely!

Thanks to LitFuse Publicity and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book to review.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Floating Hearts

I don't have a lot of time to write today. I'm under the gun with a ghostwriting assignment, but just wanted to share a little soul food with you.

We've all had this happen to us. We've read the Bible stories and can recite them backwards and forwards, but then one morning we wake up and the Holy Spirit seems to whisper new depth and give fresh manna to an old familiar story. Today this happened to me while reading the story of Elisha and the floating axe-head. This tool was necessary to the man's everyday existence. The axe-head accidentally came off, fell into the deep water and was gone forever until a man of God cried out and the axe-head floated to the top.

Jesus cares about the little everyday axe-head situations in our life. He has provided godly leaders who know how to help us cry out to God and live a victorious Christian life. The presence of the Lord has lifting power. He doesn't want us to go under, but He wants to take us over the top for His honor and glory.

Broken hearts are heavier than iron axe-heads, but when one tiny sliver of Calvary's cross is inserted in that bleeding heart, they rise with Resurrection life and beat again.

Allow Jesus to help your wounded heart beat again.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Listen With Your Eyes

My husband Paul and I are official emptynesters. Not quite sure how the years slipped away so quickly, but they did. This morning as I sat quietly before the Lord I had this memory of our baby girl Libby. She was always our little firecracker of a child and had a large personality even as a toddler. I can remember being busy with my day and she would ask me a question. I would always answer her, but if I didn't look into her eyes and answer, she would take her little hands and grip my face and turn it so we met eye to eye. It was like she was saying, "Mommy, listen with your eyes."

This little sentimental journey was soul food for me. I think every individual wants to feel what they have to say is important. Hearts are crying throughout the land, "Do you see me? Am I worth loving? Does anyone care? Is what I have to say important to you?"

I would give anything to have little Libby on my lap right now and I would listen with my eyes.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Parents, grandparents, teachers, children’s pastors and homeschoolers of all ages are going to love Colleen Reece’s new children’s book Katydidn’t.

I have been involved in Christian education for over 20 years and consider myself to be pretty particular when it comes to Christian children’s literature. I found Katydidn’t to be a breath of fresh air. This book should be read in Sunday school classes, children’s church, Christian schools, homeschooling book clubs, mothers’ laps and in grandmas’ rocking chairs. I can see little ones’ spirits being opened up by this delightful story because they will begin to grasp the importance of seeing how our responses can help or hurt our relationships. Katydidn’t is like a mirror reflecting what every child has felt or said. What I liked best is the creative lesson in conflict resolution Ms. Reece ends with. She took a negative response and transformed it into a positive one. She is an author we can trust to help shape the small souls in our lives.

Throw in K.C. Snider’s colorful illustrations and you’ve got a ‘Blue Ribbon’ book. Her pictures are guaranteed to capture the attention the wiggle worms in your life.

I hope this dynamic duo will team up again because I know it will be another winner for sure!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mom's Bible

I didn't really know what to expect when I signed up to review Mom's Bible, but I am delighted to report I love, love, LOVE this Bible. It is the New Century Version, which makes it easy to understand and tucked in the pages are inspirational devotionals. Our third daughter Beka just became a first-time mom and our oldest daughter Rachel is expecting a baby boy next month. I have already called our local Bible book store and placed my order for another copy of Mom's Bible. Motherhood is challenging enough and I believe God can use His Word and devotional in my daughters' lives to help shape the little ones in their lives. I can't say enough good about this Book. Thank you, Thomas Nelson for such quality literature.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Must Read

About the book:
One moment Carrie Weaver was looking forward to running away with Lancaster Barnstormers pitcher Solomon Reihl-plans that included leaving the Amish community where they grew up. The next moment she was staring into a future as broken as her heart. Now, Carrie is faced with a choice. But will this opportunity be all she hoped? Pr will this decision, this moment in time, change her life forever?

A tender story of love, forgiveness, and looking below the surface, The Choice uncovers the sweet simplicity of the Amish world-and shows that it's never too late to find your way back to God.

About the author:
Suzanne Woods Fisher's interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W. D. Benedict, who was raised in the Dunkard Brethren Church in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Benedict eventually became publisher of Christianity Today magazine. Suzanne's work has appeared in many magazines. She has contributed to several nonfiction books and is the author of Amish Peace and the novel The Choice.

My review:
Hold on to your bonnet! Suzanne Woods Fisher’s new book The Choice is riveting! Of all the Amish fiction I have read, this is by far my favorite. Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down. This talented author introduces the readers to the main character Carrie Weaver. (What a great last name because she’s constantly “weaving” in and out of so many difficult situations.) In the second chapter, after Carrie’s father dies and the love of her life abandons her, Ms. Fisher writes: Carrie didn’t think it was possible that a heart could break twice, in just one week. When I read that sentence it was a slam dunk for me. Carrie completely captured my heart. I found myself hovering over her like a smother mother wanting to help her find her way.

There were so many great lessons interwoven in this book. The reader discovers God is the God of second chances. I loved the little Amish quotes and food for thought. My favorite was ‘If you listen through the wall, you’ll hear others reciting your faults.’

The best news of the day is The Choice is a series. This is good news for me because if it wasn’t I think I would plunge into deep depression and be in desperate need of Prozac. ;-)

I highly recommend this book. You will enjoy it immensely!

The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher is the first in the Lancaster County Series; an Amish love story set in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and published by Revell.

Thanks to LitFuse Publicity and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book to review.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Plain Pursuit Beth Wisemen

I’ll admit it. I have an O.C.D. when it comes to Christian Amish fiction. Beth Wiseman’s Plain Pursuit is now on the top of my “favorites” bookshelf. Once I started the riveting story of career minded Carley Marek taking a forced vacation deep in the heart of Amish country, I couldn’t put it down. Just when Carley is getting adapted to the Plain community, her Amish friend’s son becomes gravely ill. (This is where the book really gets exciting.) A young doctor diagnoses the boy with end-stage renal failure and in need of a kidney transplant. There were moments I had to close the book and brush some tears from my eyes. I think it was because on June 12, 2008, our son gave his daddy a kidney. All the emotions Carley went through, I personally experienced, too. If you need to de-stress, this book is for you. Within the first few pages, you will be transported to life with the Amish and woven throughout the story are eternal spiritual truths. I give Beth Wiseman’s Plain Pursuit a perfect 10!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sins of the Spirit

The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. Luke 15:28a NLT

Lord, today I was hurt and angry. When the one who hurt me extended friendship, I responded coolly. I was justified. After what “she” said, I had a right to treat her that way. After all Your Word does say people will reap what they sow. Who does “she” think “she” is making such condescending statements? And you know, Lord, what Your Word teaches about pride. She just oozes with her uppity ways. I haven’t done anything to deserve her cruel comments. In the long run, distancing myself will teach her a valuable lesson! Her behavior is unacceptable. I refuse to reward such dysfunction. After all, her attitude doesn't bring honor to You. I certainly don’t want to enable her. I’ve settled it once and for all. I am right. No doubt about it. There is no need in discussing it further. I am positively... positively... positively miserable.

Why am I in such unrest, Lord? How is it possible that I can I be right and yet be so wrong?

In the depths of my soul, I discern “I” am part of the problem. “I” am like the prodigal son’s older brother, who wouldn’t go in because of his heart was diseased with anger and hurt. The Holy Spirit gives me a much-needed diagnosis -- sins of the spirit; a spiritual malady, which can render the patient powerless to love. Many times manifestations can be masked and difficult to detect, but only for a short time. Eventually, everyone will notice their lovelessness. If not given a biblical antidote of love and humility, the disease can spread to vital organs of the soul.

Symptoms include:
• Polite coolness when friendship is available
• Consumed with proving your point
• Touchiness, sensitivity
• Needing to persuade others to embrace your point of view
• Loving your opinions more than you love people

“Forgive me, Lord. I’ll righten my wrong. Life is too short for me to nurse this grudge. Help me to not be like the older brother and refuse a relationship. Help me respond in a way that brings glory and honor to You.”

Just had a great review for One Noble Journey at

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Holy Deafness

But Jesus, not heeding the word spoken…. Mark 5:36

My friend hurt my feelings. She spread “her view from the pew” to several other friends. Her comments waltzed their way into my house and infuriated me. I was sure I had been fatally wounded. Falling to my knees I wailed, “Speak to me from Your Word.” I opened my Bible to the gospel of Mark.

“But Jesus, not heeding the word spoken…”

It was soul food. I knew I needed “holy deafness” or I would become part of the problem rather than part of the solution. I sat quietly and began to pray.

Lord, give me holy deafness when hurtful words are said. Help me to continue to be about my Father’s business and not be shipwrecked because of cruel comments that have pierced my soul. Help me to pray as You prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Sometimes, Lord, those You have called me to serve sting, and I find it difficult to wash their feet, but You, Master, washed Judas’ feet and called him, “Friend.” You knew, from the beginning, what was in his heart. Yet You humbled Yourself and ministered to him just hours before he would betray You.
I openly admit, Lord, that my heart sometimes resists and screams, “I can see through them.”

But You, Lord, plead with me, “See them through.”

My stubborn will resists. “I’m not budging an inch.”

But You, Lord, entreat me, “When they ask you to go one mile, go with them, two.”
I can go the second mile, as long as You go with me, Lord. You make the bitter sweet.

Lord, grant me holy deafness so I can obey Your Word. I’m in earnest when I say I want to be like You. I place Your cup to my lips, Lord, and I drink. I realize it’s the only way our world will ever come to know You. If You, Savior, live out Your life through Your children.

Lord, give us holy deafness to the careless conversations with those we come in contact with, but give us keen hearing to Your Holy Spirit.

He who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

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