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!

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