Friday, December 28, 2012

Beauty or what? What makes a special woman?

God gave Solomon a special Gift of Wisdom, but the king didn’t seem too smart where women were concerned. God permitted men to have more than one wife in Old Testament days, so Solomon married 700 women and had 300 concubines, many of them foreign gals God forbid Israelites to marry.
Apparently Solomon couldn’t find the one woman—the one jewel—the girl that would be his one and only until death. But Solomon did have supernatural wisdom that told him the qualities of the ideal wife.
I respect Solomon’s wise counsel and he wrote many things I use as goals. But I’ve never reached the perfect woman he describes.
Here’s what Solomon penned in Proverbs 31, followed by what I think he and the Lord are saying to me.
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” [She is beautiful inside because of her godly lifestyle, her love, devotion and faithfulness.]
“Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” [She earns her husband’s loving respect.]
“She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.” [She is a good mother and compassionate.]
“She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.” [She has a business of her own, yet keeps up with the work at home.]
“She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. [She is charitable.]
Solomon said, “When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet (a type of woolen cloth). [She looks out for everyone in her house.]
“She makes coverings for her bed.” [She’s probably romantic.]
Solomon said, “She is clothed in fine linen and purple.” [She has good taste in clothes and desires to look her best.]
“Her husband is respected at the city gate where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.” [She chose a husband with good character.] Solomon also wrote in Proverbs 14:1, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” [Lord help me not to destroy my home with my words.]
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. [This gal is no dummy; she studies and teaches others.]
“She can laugh at the days to come.” [She has a sense of humor.]
“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’” [The whole family adores her and they voice appreciation.]
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” [She knows loving God, her family and others a more important than anything.]

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A shooting at a school had a young mother going into panic attacks—months after the killings many miles away.

When the mother put the child in the bathtub at night, fear would almost paralyze her heart as she worried some crazed monster could take her child’s life, too. Watching her daughter play or skip off to school was torture. The mama wanted to keep the child near her all the time. But even then, worry so clouded her mind there was no joy or fun in their house.

The young lady shared her story with a group of young mothers and me while I served as a Mothers for Preschoolers mentor.

Saint John wrote, “Fear has torment.” Although our little group helped her some, the young mother ended up needing professional counseling.

At this time of year, we sing much about joy, comfort and peace. But now, not only is a nation mourning because of tragedy in an elementary school in Connecticut, I imagine every mother with a child in school from kindergarten through the highest college grades has a higher level of fear than before.

What of the peace the angels sang about in the hills of Judea when the Christ child was born? The angel said, “Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord….And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Peace? When it seems the world is on fire and at war? Peace, when half of marriages in the United States end in divorce. Peace? When it’s not safe anymore to walk in most cities at night? Peace, when there’s mass unemployment, diseases too numerous to mention? America divided and few seeming to love one another or God? Government sending us over the fiscal cliff?

What did it mean when the angels announced peace on earth and Jesus said He would give peace? As a Bible student and by experience I’ve learned the promise didn’t refer to nations but to peace in the hearts of men. That’s how Jesus has built His kingdom—in hearts in every nation, tribe and tongue.

Yet, I need to be honest. I’m a worrier and worry is the opposite of peace. Every new grandchild added to the family is another to worry about. My children teased me one time about my anxieties.

“The more creative you are,” I confessed with a grin, “the more things you can find to worry about.”

I learned something else about worry. God doesn’t make a practice of honoring creative worry. The majority of things I’ve worried about in my life never happened. Jesus told us not to worry about what might happen tomorrow. Experience taught me the truth of that. When I hit a real trial, such as the loss of our oldest daughter to cancer, I had supernatural peace. I went to sleep at night repeating Philippians 4:7: “The peace of God which passeth all understanding shall guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus,” and I slept.

Yet I can’t borrow peace today for trials tomorrow. God’s peace comes only when we need it, and we have to ask for it and accept it.

Christmas is a good time to receive it.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Build Faith in Youth with this new novel:
Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult

I apologize for not posting on my blog for a few weeks. I’ve been ill and I also have been working on the last proof of my new teen novel, Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult.
I’m feeling much better and today I’d like to tell you about Joe the Dreamer.
The fictional character, Joe, and I met when I was teaching an after-school and summers program for upper elementary school and junior high students as an extension of our church’s day care. I had recently retired as a newspaper reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado.
After a few weeks teaching in the program, which I named “The Dunamis Academy,” I decided I needed something beyond the gospel lessons, Bible memorization, the fun and field trips. I wanted to interest the youth in the Bible so much they would read it for themselves when I could no longer teach them. Many of them were unchurched.
So I started the story about Joe, age 14. One night his parents disappear, and the same evening someone breaks into his house while he and his sister hide. Days, weeks, pass. A non-Christian aunt and uncle take them in. Raised by parents dedicated to God, Joe begins to read the Bible to see if he can believe God answers prayer, and then when he sleeps he often slips into the skin of Bible characters and experiences what happened in their lives. But sometimes he wakes up shouting or screaming and his uncle assumes he has a mental illness.
His uncle’s best friend is a psychiatrist.
In the sub-plot, the reader knows what happened to Joe’s parents. A radical group dedicated to erasing Christianity from America snatched them from a hospital parking lot. The radicals want a computer design Joe’s dad created which could be an advance in the prevention of epileptic seizures. They want him to change it so they can use it to cause seizures in influential Christians.
The parents are being held at a nearby castle in the mountains, taken over by the radicals. They plan to make it a center to train terrorists to kill Christians. A whole group of local Christians also were abducted and are being used to build a wall around the castle before they begin bombings.
Joe and an East Side gang team up to find his mom and dad. The Christian gang is dedicated to preventing and solving crime with ordinary, harmless things such as noise, water and a pet skunk instead of blades and bullets. The enemy is fully armed—even with a robot programmed to kill.
Joe and the gang are beginning to suspect his parents are being held at the castle when Joe lands in the juvenile unit of a mental hospital.
Will he be stuck there forever? Will his parents ever be found? Or will God answer prayer and deliver?
The book should be released on Amazon in a week or two. This is a great book for you, your children and grandchildren because, although it’s not preachy, it contains faith-building facts as characters defend their beliefs. Beyond that, as is the goal of every fiction work, it’s a good story filled with suspense and even humor.
Look for Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult under my name on Amazon. It will be available as a paperback and for Kindle and should be on and other websites in the immediate future.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Lillian Duncan brings us news of her Christmas novella, as well as a devotion we can use that ties in with the book.


Are You Too Busy?
Luke 2:10
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

Americans are busy!! And we’re even busier at Christmas time. So much to do and so little time to get it all done. In all our busyness of the season, some of us lose the joy that is ours. After all, who has time for joy?
That’s sad, but what’s even more sad is when we make busyness a lifestyle and live an unjoyful life because of it. I’m not sure unjoyful is a word, but it makes my point. God sent his only begotten son to us. Not so we can be busy but so we can have the peace and joy of HIS kingdom.

In my new novella, THE CHRISTMAS STALKING, Destiny has it all—money, fame, and beauty. And yet she’s not happy. In her busyness to become “a star” she’s not left room in her schedule or her life for God.
In an effort to elude a stalker, she escapes to upstate New York where she spent summers as a child. It’s only when she isolates herself from all the craziness and busyness of her celebrity lifestyle that she’s able to realize that she’s not happy and that something’s missing from her life. Of course, being terrorized and stalked doesn’t help matters.
There comes a moment when she must choose between her busyness and God. Here’s Destiny’s moment (Her given name is Holly).
Robby opened the car door, and Holly stepped out in front of a little white chapel, its front door decorated with pine boughs and pretty, silk red and white poinsettias. She stood staring at the church, not moving.
This was the church she’d been baptized in on a hot summer day long ago. She’d not stepped inside a church for a long time—too long. Guilt wrapped around her heart.
“You OK?‛
She nodded, not sure if her voice would work.
“Are you sure you’re feeling all right?”
Robby held on to her arm as he led her up the steps.Thankfully so, because Holly wasn’t quite sure she wanted to visit her past. She took a deep breath and nodded as they stepped inside. Her step faltered. She could almost hear God saying, Welcome back, My child.
A long time had passed since God spoke to her.
Once they were seated, Robby pulled out his mobile phone and frowned at the text message written there. ‚I’ll be back in a moment,‛ he whispered.
She was alone with her thoughts and her guilt—and with God. She stared at the old wooden cross at the front of the church. Her eyes filled with tears and she knew something was happening deep inside. She had a choice to listen to that still, quiet Voice. Or ignore it.
And each of us has that same moment. In fact, we have that moment every day, but even more so during the Christmas holidays. Shall we focus on the Good News that brings great joy or shall we choose the busyness?

Lillian Duncan writes stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.
To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: She also has a devotional blog at:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012



You’ll be able to see on my new novella “Season’s Greeting from Amelia” how good intentions are not enough to justify our wrong actions. I hope you enjoy this short read which will be on sale for 0.99 for the month of December. This great novella brings mystery, suspense and the best stocking stuffer for your favorite e-reader. You can get your copy for just 0.99 cents on Kindle, Smashwords and Nook only during the month of December.

Book Description

Daisy has the perfect life, beautiful children and a wonderful husband. And Christmas is right around the corner. Tis the season to be jolly… Or is it?

Daisy’s life is flipped upside down by strange letters that are sent to her by her best friend, Amelia. And as her life continues to quickly spiral out of control, she realizes that something BIG is about to happen. Can she put aside her confusion, hurt, and anger in order to solve a mystery that may have a horrific ending????

Can Daisy’s life ever return to normal regardless to whether she does or doesn’t?

Author Bio
Naty Matos was born in the city of New York. She grew up in the beautiful Island of Puerto Rico and now lives in the city of Atlanta.

She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Clinical Psychology with a Minor in Mass Media Communications and a Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling.

Naty writes Christian fiction and non-fiction. She maintains a blog on Christian Living Topics at



Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right
Where did we get the idea that it is right to do unto others as they have done unto us? I may not be a Bible scholar, but I believe the Scriptures say to love others as we love ourselves and also to forgive our enemies. I see people on both sides of this dilemma, including brothers and sisters in the faith, and it baffles me.
The whole idea of “I forgive but do not forget” is nothing but a lie from the enemy to encourage us to hold onto resentment. Can you imagine if God forgave us but didn’t forget our sins? I think it would be a horrible thing to know, that when we face our Lord, he tells us…“You know I forgave what you did, but let me show you what you did.” (Luke 6:37) “Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
The Word of God talks about how once we are forgiven we should not live in condemnation. God, the Master of the Universe, our Creator, and the one against whom we truly sin (aside from transgressing against those around us) forgives and forgets. Ephesians 1:7, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.” Who are we to consider ourselves higher than the Creator, with the right to judge and decide not to forgive others? On the other hand, the Word of God talks about receiving forgiveness as we forgive. So, don’t we want to be forgiven? Matthew 6:12 “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” If we do… we need to start forgiving others.
The other side of this coin is the truly repentant transgressor. I know that for a long time in my life I felt that everything that was going wrong in my life was my punishment for my transgression, therefore I needed to suck it up because I was getting what I deserved. I think we get confused between bearing the consequences of our actions vs. being punished for our actions. When we repent, God forgives us and gives us a blank slate immediately. No condemnation, once again, says the Word of God. Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” So if that’s the case, once forgiven, it’s not God reminding us and dragging us through the mud for our sins; it’s ourselves!
Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.
There’s no point in being a Christian if we’re not going to enjoy the benefits of it. It’s like paying for a gym membership and never going, which I have done that plenty of times. I can tell you first-hand that it is a waste of time and money. In this case, it’s more than a waste of time; it’s a waste of life…of which we only have one. One of the benefits of Christianity is freedom. “Who the son sets free, is free indeed.” (John 8:36) Don’t we want that freedom? Then why do we insist on binding ourselves in the tentacles of unforgiveness, shame, and condemnation?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Staci Stallings' best seller COWBOY: free Dec. 4-5

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Staci Stallings: Three Ways to Talk Yourself Out of Anything

Three Ways to Talk Yourself Out of Anything
By: Staci Stallings
Good things. Specifically doing good things.

Oh, we all say we want to do good things, and sometimes we even do. But then there are those other times. Those times when we know what the right thing to do is, but we just can’t get ourselves to do them.
Well, just for those out there who are looking for a really good excuse to get out of doing something good, here you go. Three ways to talk yourself out of doing anything good:
1) Why is this my problem?
If you’re like me, you see them–the people who need help all around you. Some are small problems. Maybe someone needs help getting picked up for services, or maybe someone else needs a babysitter for the evening. It doesn’t really matter what the problem is. The solution to getting out of helping, is one little question: Why is this my problem?
The truth is. It’s not. It’s their problem. And you have no obligation to help anyone. Someone else will probably help, and even if they don’t, you won’t have to worry about the consequences of not helping. So, when you’re faced with someone needing help, go ahead, ask yourself, “Why is this my problem?” It’s not, so you don’t have to do anything about it.
2) What’s in it for me?
Probably nothing. In fact, the greater the need of the other person, the less chance that there’s something in it for you. We all know that if there’s nothing in it for me, there’s really no use doing it. So, now you have a back-up to Question #1.
3) What’s the very minimum I have to do?
If all else fails and you find that despite your best efforts to avoid helping, this question is for you: What is the minimum I have to do? If they say come for two hours, can I show up 10 minutes late and leave 15 minutes early? After all, it’s the face-time that really counts. If they need a Sunday School teacher, can I tell them I will do it and then show up… oh, say 3 out of 4 times? If they need food, can I bring something store-bought, frozen, or maybe just napkins?
/snark off
Okay. Maybe I’m being a little harsh, but too often, I find myself using these three questions to get out of doing something good. Now I know there are people pleasers among us (you know who you are) who say yes to everything, including things they know they cannot hope to accomplish. However, some of us go to the other extreme.
If any of these sound like you, do a simple heart check. Make sure your actions are lining up with what you profess to believe. After all, I really can’t see Jesus asking any of these questions. Can you?

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2010

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Get the inside info about becoming a writer from our guest Jo Huddleston

Jo's new book,That Summer, a Southern historical, will be released Dec. 8.


Author of forthcoming Southern historical, That Summer

Book Launch December 8, 2012



Offering spiritual tonic and hope

When deciding to write for publication all I had was aspiration and hope. I had not studied the craft of writing but I had loved books and reading all my life. So I sent my first stories to Good Housekeeping and Ladies Home Journal. Those form rejection letters came back immediately. It didn’t take me long to learn that I needed help.

I scoured the magazines in the mall bookstore and found some about writing. I discovered names of books about all aspects of writing and lists of writing conferences to attend and gain knowledge.

I decided my first conference would be the Professionalism in Writing School conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I’d read in my new magazines that I should take samples of my writing and business cards to identify myself when I made an appointment with an editor or agent. I didn’t have business cards and was relieved when I read that I could put my information on a 3x5 card and share that with people.

My husband let me out at the front of the large hotel where the conference was held while he parked the car. I stepped into the area between the outer entrance doors and the doors into the lobby. A young lady came inside pulling a carrier stacked with books and paper materials. At the threshold of the first doors when she pulled her carrier into the space where I stood, everything tilted and scattered around us. I timidly helped her stack things back as best as I could. Didn’t introduce myself, didn’t recognize her.

I’d learned in my teen years when I was in an unfamiliar situation it would serve me well to keep my mouth shut and my eyes and ears open. So from the outset of the conference that’s what I did. The attendees appeared to know what they were doing so I watched and followed their lead. But among these seasoned writers’ conference-goers I was so invisible I didn’t even realize I was invisible.

I got in line to register and received my folder and name tag. I noticed that many folks were getting in another line before entering the auditorium, so I again followed. When my turn at the front of the line came I realized they were putting their names on sheets for 15-minute appointments, each sheet having a name at the top. The instructions indicated these sheets were for time with editors and agents. I signed up on an editor’s sheet and made myself a note of my allotted time and the room number.

As others filed into the auditorium so did I. Alone among groups, I found a seat with nobody on either side. I sat, ramrod straight, eyes and ears open. Someone from the left got my attention by asking if the seat beside me was taken. I shook my head. A woman with a beautiful Texas drawl introduced herself, forcing me to speak my first words at my first writers’ conference as I in turn introduced myself.

I browsed the book room and it was like finding delightful presents on Christmas morning. When the editor’s appointment time came I made my way toward the designated room and waited my turn outside the door.

I went in the room, sat across the table from a perky young lady and pushed my 3x5 card toward her without a word. She picked up my card, looked at it and said, “I’m Karen Ball.” She asked me what I wrote, a question I couldn’t answer. I just wrote whatever came out of my head, but I didn’t say that to her. She was gracious to recognize that I was out of my depth and prodded me along by asking what I had brought for her to look at. I had been writing short prayers for women in circumstances they might find themselves and I’d brought five prayers with me.

I didn’t know that Karen Ball was a fiction editor and she probably could have told me so and to go sign up with a nonfiction editor. No—kind, sweet, and professional Karen Ball read each of my five prayers. She wanted to take my pages back to Tyndale House with her and I agreed. I did not know the significance of her doing so. I did know I hadn’t made any copies of them but they were in my computer, so not to worry.

Before too long Karen phoned me that Tyndale would like me to write more prayers. The result was Tyndale published two prayer books by me: Amen and Good Night, God and Amen and Good Morning, God. Later, another company published my devotional book His Awesome Majesty. As I learned the craft and used a writers’ market guide, I began submitting short stories and articles—and getting them published.

That Professionalism in Writing School conference was good for me and I attended several years. Oh, and by the way, that young lady who spilled her books in the hotel entrance was Bodie Thoene. She and her husband Brock were the keynote speakers for the conference. And that woman with the beautiful Texas drawl who sat beside me in the auditorium was Vickie Phelps and is now a close writer-friend. We’ve coauthored three e-books and our husbands also get along well.

I now have a 3-book publishing contract for my first novels. I’ve finished Book 1, That Summer, which released in December 2012. Book 2 is scheduled to release in April 2013 and book 3 in September 2013.

Perhaps one of the hardest things about writing for publication is having patience. My patience muscles have grown much stronger over the years. This writing journey is never-ending. How could I not write? What writing ability I have comes from God and I must be the best steward of that gift that I can be.


On December 8 the book will be available in paperback and eBook on

My publisher's website:

Christian Book Distributors:




Friday, November 30, 2012

Interview with Anita Higman about her Guideposts Novel, A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS

What inspired you to incorporate Jim Crow laws and segregation into your book?

Even though A Merry Little Christmas is really a love story, I felt it needed some additional conflict, and some of the racial struggles of the 60s seemed to be the right choice for this particular plot. I grew up in the 60s, and I was always interested in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. In some ways I feel I’ve waited my whole life to write this book. It came easily to me in that it’s been percolating in my imagination for a long time, but it was also hard to write because I had to consider more deeply the injustices of that era. Even though it sounds like a cliché, A Merry Little Christmas truly was the book of my heart.

The farm scenes seem pretty realistic. Did you grow up in the country?

I did. While the small towns in the book are totally fictitious I did grow up on a wheat, cattle, pig, and chicken farm in Western Oklahoma, and it was pretty much identical to the one in the novel. If the farm scenes seem realistic it’s because I got to know farm life quite well before I moved off to college at eighteen.

Franny and Charlie come from very different backgrounds, but are both looking for something very different from the way they've grown up. Do you think as humans, we all just have a "grass is always greener on the other side" mentality?

Yes, that is a human frailty that is easy to succumb to, and I’ve been guilty of it as well. But God is good about reminding me that he’s placed me on my own unique life-road, and it may have little to do with anyone else’s journey. Besides, in many cases when we get a closer look at someone else’s “lush green grass” it usually turns out to be turf.

Do you think that sometimes we don't pray for what we want because we are afraid of getting what we pray for?
Perhaps that’s true, which would explain why Franny is equally nervous and excited about the sudden answer to her prayers.

Was there a reason you added the themes of Christmas and music to the story?

My editor asked me to add those elements, and it was a blessing, since Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I love music. Also, female readers in general love novels that are set during the holidays, and I’m hoping the music adds a cozy feel to the overall Christmas theme.

What is your favorite Christmas song?
“The Holly and the Ivy.” The song has a melancholy feel to it, but it’s also beautifully sweet. I love the “Currier and Ives” style pictures my imagination conjures up when I’m listening to it.

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

I love to have my gal friends over for brunch around Christmastime. I have been collecting tea dishes for many years, and so when I do a brunch, I go all out. Women are usually in a service mode most of their lives so when they come to my house I want them to feel wonderfully pampered. And by the time they leave, I hope their hearts are a little merrier and they feel we’ve celebrated Christmas well!

Is Franny's character based on any "real life" person?

Franny is like me in some ways, but she has a lot more courage than I have and more laughter in her heart. So, really, I want to be Franny when I grow up.

Does the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" have a special significance to you?
The song makes me swoon it’s so romantic and lovely. It makes me think of being snowed-in with the man I love. Of course, that scene also needs a mountain cabin with a crackling fire and two mugs of wassail.

You have written everything from romance to suspense/thrillers to nonfiction. What is your favorite genre to write?
I love inspirational romance. There’s just nothing else like it for writing and reading. It naturally makes you want to curl up on an overstuffed couch and read the day away.

More about Anita Higman

Bestselling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has thirty-two books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends. Please visit her online at

You can purchase A Merry Little Christmas in most bookstores or at this Amazon link:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Worse than the Fiscal Clilff?

What could be worse than the fiscal cliff?

When the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy about the perilous times that would occur in the last days before Jesus Christ returns to earth in bodily form, he didn’t talk about the problems of collapsing economies, wars, natural disasters and pestilence.
Although these things are mentioned several other places in the Old and New Testaments as signs about the end (see Matthew 24), Paul pointed out conditions that appear to be much worse.
Here is some of what he said in 2 Timothy 3: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful,unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
“Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
On this Thanksgiving Day one word stands out: Unthankful.”
So, Lord, today I am thankful. First, Heavenly Father, that you loved enough to send your Son to Redeem my soul from sin and give me eternal life. Thank you, Jesus, for pouring your blood out for me.
Thank you, Lord, that you hear and answer prayer. Thanks for healing our son, Gary, when doctors said he only had 40 percent of his kidney function. Thank you for healing our daughter, Gwen, when she had symptoms of multiple sclerosis, but was found to not have anything serious. Thank you for touching Gwen’s husband, Mark, when he had symptoms of a brain aneurysm, but the second test revealed he was OK. Thank you for healing our granddaughter, Melissa, who had croup and her parents were moving in a snowstorm. (By the time they arrived at their destination the croup was gone.) Thank you for six of our younger grandchildren, who are all miracles—four miracles of God’s mercy during their mothers’ pregnancy, and two through the miracle of adoption.
Thank you, God, that our children and grandchildren have the Word of God planted in their hearts and they have accepted you a Savior and are endeavoring to do those things pleasing in your sight.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for giving us peace when a miracle didn’t come for our daughter, Carolyn. Thank you for the gift she was to our family, and that she had a firm relationship with you.
It seems every week, if not every day, I see your hand working in me, my loved ones, and in the church, answering prayer and directing our footsteps.
Thank you for allowing me to share the gospel with others, and hopefully some of them will change their destination for eternity.
Thanks, again, Lord, for loving the world so much that you gave your one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life (John 3:16.).
Another prayer: Help me to understand, as Paul told Timothy, that matters of our heart, our faith, and our actions, are more important than anything on earth. Yet, I know you also are concerned about our financial needs being met, the strength of our nation, the wisdom of our leaders, and the welfare of the people.
So work in our hearts and the church, but also wake up those who have power over people’s physical and financial future. May they seek your face. Fill with godly wisdom. Thank you for your blessings on the United States in the past, and I ask you to please bless America again.

Friday, November 16, 2012


I've interviewed author Joi Copeland about her new book. This is Joi's second story about hope, and she shares about her journey to finding it for herself. She also tells about her Christmas novella-- Ada


Kayla Musso has been married to her husband, Brad, for several years. Having just had a baby, Kayla feels her life couldn't be more perfect. Then one day, Brad drops a bomb shell on her that threatens to destroy everything they have worked so hard for in their marriage. Suddenly she is faced with a choice to forgive or let go of the life she loves so much.

Emily Sorenson had always been the picture of health, but when a trip to the doctor becomes the shock of her life, she is faced with a decision, like Kayla, to either fight the battle before her or give up the life she loves. In addition, her husband Jake has to come to grips with the struggle before them as well. As he does, he begins to question God. How could He let Emily go through such pain? As he wrestles with his questions, he faces his own dilemma. Would he be willing to seek God in his time of despair or will he walk away from everything so dear to him?

Every marriage has it struggles. Into every life, rain must fall. At some point, we all question God and his motives. Although the characters in this much-anticipated follow up to Hope for Tomorrow are fictitious, the turmoils they face are very real for many people all over the world every day, and you may find the solutions are something you can apply to give you Hope for the Journey we call "life

1. Hope is a pretty general subject. How do you look at this subject differently? I look to the Cross to find hope.
2. What was the inspiration for this book? Did it come from your experience, challenges, or your testimony? I was praying about what to write for my next novel about. I realized I hadn't read many fiction books about this subject. I knew that this was a subject that needed to be written in hopes of helping women.
3. Have you been in a spot where you thought there might be no hope? Yes! I struggle with anxiety, the kind that leaves me debilitated! I would pray and pray that Jesus would take it away from me or heal me. He chose to use medicine.
4. How does hope contrast with fear? Fear takes away any hope. Fear takes our eyes off the Author of Hope.
5. You speak about a journey. How does one find the way when he’s lost or confused? By turning his/her eyes on Jesus. He's the only One who can shed light on the road home.
6. How have you helped others find hope? Goodness, I hope so!
This from Ada: Joi didn't know how to answer this, but you can see from her book summary what her books are like and often even when a fictional character finds hope, faith, and strength, a reader picks up on this. I believe uplifting fiction encourages readers.
7. Tell us about your writing journey. I've always loved writing. Ever since I was little, I'd write short stories or fiction stories. When I got married and had kids, writing fell by the wayside. Well, when my family and I moved out to Colorado, my sister, brother-in-law, and husband told me I needed to get back to writing. Hope for Tomorrow, my first novel, was born! Comfort Publishing, my amazing publishing company, believed in me! And so began my journey!
8. I see your cover has puzzle pieces. Do you love jigsaw puzzles and find them easy to put together? Not at all! But life is like a puzzle. We only see a snippet, but God knows how each piece fits together.
9. What seven pieces of your life has God put together that made all the difference? My conversion, meeting my husband, marrying my husband, the birth of my three boys, my writing career, giving me hope in regards to my anxiety, and constantly showering me with His love!
10. Tell us where we can get your book, about your blog and other important info.

Novel Crossing:

Thanks for having me! I enjoyed it!

Joi’s bio:
Joi Copeland says she is married to a wonderful man, Chris, and has three amazing boys, She is living the dream in beautiful Denver, Colorado. Joi loves being a wife and mom and also enjoys spending time with friends over a good cup of coffee or tea. She's been a Christian for over twenty years. She's the author of two books, Hope for Tomorrow and Hope for the Journey, and one novella, Christmas Rayne.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Do you enjoy romantic suspense?

Susan Sleeman's DEAD WRONG is a book for you. Here is the book summary.

Dead Wrong –
When her client and old college friend is murdered, P.I. Kat Justice knows the killer will come for her next. Her survival depends on finding her unknown enemy first…and working with homicide detective Mitch Elliot, her onetime crush.
It’ll take all her professional skills to ignore the sparks between them, but Kat can’t allow the handsome cop to get close. She’s seen too many people she loves die, so she vows just to do her job without getting emotionally involved. Yet keeping her distance may not be the best way to protect her heart—or their lives.
For more info about and to read and except for Dead Wrong visit Susan’s website at about

WHY READ CHRISTIAN FICTION? Susan Sleeman, author of Romantic Suspense, tells how she has been blessed by Christian fiction

I like learning new things. Most of the time, anyway, when I’m not trying to rush about in this busy world. But you know what I like best? I like learning new things when I don’t even realize I’m learning something.

One of the best ways for me to do that is to read Christian fiction with a subtle message woven into it. I’m a firm believer that God can change or heal a broken heart, or draw a person to Him as they are being entertained with a good story.

As a reader of Christian fiction, I can learn how to handle issues in my own life by seeing characters grapple with their faith. I can see them overcome obstacles and come out the other side with victory. I can empathize with their plight and take comfort in knowing that I’m not the only one facing my particular problem.

I have many authors who I routinely read to be encouraged. I write and read suspense books pretty exclusively and one of my favorite suspense authors is Mike Dellosso. He writes wonderful stories filled with faith lessons, but his writing is so creative and engaging that I don’t know I’ve learned something until the end of a book when I sit back and reflect on the story. And to me that is what reading Christian fiction is all about.

I’m very blessed to be an author of Christian fiction, too. I can share through my characters the struggles I’ve faced in life and ways I’ve found to cope with the issues. I hear from readers all the time about how the character’s struggles in my books mimic their life and how the book has blessed them with a new outlook on overcoming their issue. I’ve even had readers tell me they have been so encouraged by the book, that they are actively embracing their faith again after a dry spell. How wonderful that God makes a difference though the words He gives me. I am truly blessed.

So what about you? Has Christian fiction helped you in your struggles and encouraged you in your faith walk? If so, how?

SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of inspirational romantic suspense and mystery novels. Her first romantic suspense title, High-Stakes Inheritance earned a spot on the ECPA bestseller list and her Garden Gate Mystery series, which features Nipped in the Bud, and Read Between the Tines has enjoyed time on Amazon bestseller lists as well. And The Christmas Witness was named a finalist in the 2011 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. In addition to writing, Susan hosts the popular internet website

She currently lives in Florida, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law, and an adorable grandson. To learn more about Susan stop by any of these locations on the web.

To learn more about Susan stop by any of these locations on the web.
Review Site

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Although The U.S. Supreme Court Building has a The Ten Commandments Display over the front entrance, The Ten Commandments could be the most censored document in America.
How long has it been since you read them? If you memorized them as a child, can you still quote them?
When you read the list, do you have any idea why some people don’t like them? (There is no such thing as separation of church and state in our Constitution, but there is freedom of religion in the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”)
The first four of the ten commandments have to do with loving and respecting God; the last six have to do with loving others because if we break one, we hurt people. In my way of thinking, the list also has a lot to do with loving ourselves because if we break them we hurt ourselves as well as others. For instance, all kinds of benefits are available for loving God, among them the gift of eternal life. We profit from not being stupid enough to worship an idol, which is nothing but carved wood, etched stone or some other earthly product that isn’t even living.
We are blessed by a day of rest such as the Sabbath, for our spiritual, mental and physical welfare. The reason we shouldn’t use the Lord’s name frivolously, in addition to the value of showing respect, is because it is a powerful name. The Bible says devils tremble at the sound of it (James 2:19) and it adds authenticity to our prayers.
Honor thy father and thy mother is the only commandment with promise: That we might live long on the earth. Could that tell us how valuable our parents can be to our lives?
Interesting that God placed adultery above murder? Could it be God knows adultery is a root cause of other sins, including murder, lying, theft, coveting, not to mention rebellion against God?
“Thou shalt not kill,” gives great guidance I imagine some of the angry mass murderers of this generation never heard or at least did not respect. But also, could it be that in a nation where one in three pregnancies end in abortion that a large portion of our society doesn’t want to think about that commandment?
Sir Walter Scott wrote, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive.”
We’re told when we break one commandment we are guilty of all” (James 2:10). If we step on the slippery slope by neglecting or refusing to “love the Lord our God with all our soul and with all our mind and our neighbor as ourselves,” as Jesus said (Matthew 22:37) when he quoted one of the commandments, we often end up crashing into them all.
Why not look through these again and wonder why the government has ordered them taken down and eliminated from our schools while requiring students to read material that should be X-rated?
These are great guidelines to live by.


1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5. Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God hath giveth thee.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
10. Thou shalt not covet.
--- Found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Uplifting stories set in the Great Lakes

How a novelist found her niche
Donna Winters adopted Michigan as her home state in 1971 when she moved from a small town outside of Rochester, New York. She began penning novels in 1982 while working full time for an electronics firm in Grand Rapids.
She resigned from her job in 1984 following a contract offer for her first book. Since then, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Zondervan Publishing House, Guideposts, and Bigwater Publishing have published her novels. Her husband, Fred, a former American History teacher, shares her enthusiasm for history. Together, they visit historical sites, restored villages, museums, and lake ports, purchasing books and reference materials for use in Donna’s research.
Donna has written fifteen historical romances for her Great Lakes Romances® series. Recently, she turned her attention to her hometown on the Erie Canal and produced an historical novel, Bluebird of Brockport, A Novel of the Erie Canal, which released as a paperback in June, and has now been offered in Kindle format for 99 cents at

Summary of Bluebird Brockport Canal (back cover blurb)

Dreams of floating on the Erie Canal have flowed through Lucina Willcox’s mind since childhood. Yet once her family has purchased their boat and begins their journey, they meet with one challenge after another. An encounter with a towpath rattlesnake threatens her brother’s life. A thief attempts to break in and steal precious cargo. Heavy rain causes a breach and drains the canal of water. Lucina comforts herself with thoughts of Ezra Lockwood, her handsome childhood friend, and discovers a longing to be with him that she just can’t ignore. Can she have a future with Ezra and still hold onto her canalling dream?
Ezra Lockwood’s one goal in life is to build and captain his own canal boat, but two years into the construction of his freight hauler, funds run short. With his goal temporarily stalled, and Lucina Willcox back in his life, his priorities begin to change. Can he have both his dreams — his own boat, and Lucina as his bride?

Interview with this author

1. I imagine you’ve created enough characters to populate a small city. I know you travel as a big part of your research for each book. Do you find your characters while visiting settings or do you already have a fictional person in mind when you decide the location of the book?
My fictional characters always grew out of the research for the setting. When I wrote my last trilogy about an iron smelting town, I read lots of archival material on who was actually living there. A census told me about their education level, ethnic background, occupation, and size of household. Newspaper articles covered religious beliefs and social practices. Knowing this information, I developed characters that fit these circumstances.
2. Many of your books are Great Lakes Romances. Does this mean your characters are familiar with life near a large body of water? Or do you bring in some who like the great plains or the hills instead?
Sometimes I import characters from elsewhere, such as in Sweethearts of Sleeping Bear Bay, where I brought a Mississippi River navigator heroine (there were four women licensed to navigate the inland rivers in the late 1800’s) north to take a cruise on a Great Lakes steamer.
3. Which one of your characters is your favorite? Why?
That’s a tough question, kind of like asking a parent to reveal who is his/her favorite child, and if the parent is smart, they won’t divulge the answer. But I’ll tell. My favorite character at any given moment is most often the last character I wrote, in this case, Lucina Willcox. She was unique from others I’d written with her own version of spunk, unworldliness, illiteracy, humor, and farming background, and she just exploded onto the pages of the opening chapter with idioms that defined her era and personality.
4. How do you keep up with new trends in fiction writing? How have you seen your writing talent mature over the years?
I’ve been scrambling to move forward with new writing techniques I learned about since joining ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) in Jan. 2010. In my latest story, Bluebird of Brockport, A Novel of the Erie Canal, I put into practice deep point of view for my hero and heroine. My writing talent has matured through the guidance of good editors and my effort to study new techniques. The ACFW courses have helped also, giving me advice on dialog, description, and humor. Over the years, my setting descriptions have become more detailed and concise, character development has deepened, and plot structure has taken more twists and turns that are unpredictable.
5. What challenges you most about writing a novel now?
Fitting the process into an active retirement lifestyle. My husband retired from teaching in 1999. We spent several years immediately thereafter caring for aging mothers, moving from Lower to Upper Michigan, remodeling our home, and becoming a part of our new community. Additionally, in 2010 we bought a used motor home and have done a good bit of traveling during spring and fall. I accomplish most of my writing during late fall, winter, and early spring.
6. How did you start with your latest book, Bluebird of Brockport, A Novel of the Erie Canal?
I scoured Amazon and ebay for Erie Canal literature, both fiction and nonfiction, and bought over two dozen titles. My husband searched internet sites and printed out dozens of articles. I also purchased a copy of a doctoral dissertation about Brockport’s origins, and a history book by a local professor that was for sale at the village office. I spent lots of time reading these resources before deciding my approach to the story. Then, when spring arrived, we set out on a month-long trip to Erie Canal country and visited museums and towns, taking photos and notes.
7. How many of your books have been best sellers?
None. I’m just learning how to market my work on the internet, this blog article being part of that effort. In the old days, when books were sold primarily from bricks-and-mortar stores, I used a regional distributor who placed my titles in the Great Lakes region. My titles sold well from book stores and gift shops in tourist areas throughout Michigan. Those days are gone and online marketing is now my challenge.
8. How do you market? What has been the most effective method?
I’m still working at discovering the best method. If I get it figured out, I’ll let you know!
9. What haven’t you written that you feel compelled to do?
“Compelled” would be too strong a word for any plans I might have. Writing for older women, young adults, and the devotional market are all on the list of possibilities. My current work-in-progress, which I plan to focus on throughout the winter, is a story about an older woman who wants to prevent a local state park from closing. The working title is Saving Mossy Point, and it takes place in a fictional Upper Peninsula (of Michigan) location. I’ve done a considerable amount of character development and outlining and look forward to actually writing the story.
10. Anything else you’d like to tell us?
Thank you, Ada, for giving me a chance to meet your readers and tell them about Bluebird of Brockport, A Novel of the Erie Canal.
Readers can connect with me at the following links: wholesome fiction for readers 12 and up
Facebook Profile: Donna Winters
Facebook Book Page: Great Lakes Romances

Friday, October 26, 2012


Welcome to Garfield OK, and the little community Sharon Srock created and then meet the women of Valley View, a church congregation with ordinary ladies using their faith to do extraordinary things.

Take for instance the story in Sharon's book, Callie, released on Oct. 23, 2012.

Three dire circumstances. Three desperate prayers. One miracle to save them all. Meet these interesting characters.

Here is a sample from the book's beginning.

Callie Stillman dabbed raindrops from her face with a linen napkin as Benton dodged a server with a loaded tray and took his place across from her. She smiled into her husband’s blue eyes and reached across to wipe water from his beard. “We’ll both have pneumonia if we don’t dry off soon.”
Benton took the napkin and finished the job. “I’ve been told the food is very good. A few sniffles should be worth it.”
Callie’s gaze roamed the room. “It’s…” Recognition slammed into her chest, forcing the air from her lungs. The man crossing the room behind her husband nodded and continued to his table. Was that the bailiff? Do you swear to tell the truth… She gulped for breath and fought the familiar darkness that crowded the edges of her vision.
Callie ran a finger around her collar, tugging the neck of the blouse away from skin suddenly dewed with a fine film of sweat. Too hot. She took a sip of water, dismayed at the tremor in her hand as she lifted the glass to her lips. Not here, not tonight. Callie closed her eyes and practiced the breathing techniques she’d learned over the last six months. In through her nose, hold for a few seconds, and out through her mouth. Concentrate only on the current step in the process, the next breath. The tightness in her chest began to fade away. Thank you, Jesus. She raised her water again and held the cold glass to her flushed cheek.

The book's back cover: Callie Stillman is drawn to the evasive girl who’s befriended her granddaughter, but the last time Callie tried to help a child, her efforts backfired. Memories of the tiny coffin still haunt her.
Samantha and Iris Evans should be worried about homework, not whether they can pool enough cash to survive another week of caring for an infant while evading the authorities.
Steve Evans wants a second chance at fatherhood, but his children are missing. And no one seems to want to help the former addict who deserted his family.
For Steve to regain the relationship he abandoned, for his girls to receive the care they deserve, Callie must surrender her fear and rely on God to work the miracle they all need.

Now to introduce you to Sharon:
Sharon Srock lives with her husband, Larry, and two dogs in Rural Oklahoma. She is a mother, grandmother, and Sunday School teacher. Sharon has one and three-quarters jobs and writes in her spare time. Her favorite hobby is traveling with her grandchildren. She is a member of the ACFW and currently serves as treasurer for her local chapter. Sharon’s writing credits include numerous poems and short stories published in science fiction fanzines.

Here's the link to buy the book and to Sharon's interesting blog. Look there for book reviews, author interviews, recipes, life lessons, and whatever is on her heart to share. You also can purchase the book directly from Amazon and other websites.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Henry Drummond took a New Testament from his hip picket at an 1881 party among country friends in England. As Drummond began to speak on the greatest thing in the world, Evangelist Dwight L. Moody decided he’d never heard anything so beautiful.
Moody decided he wouldn’t rest until Drummond’s book, The Greatest Thing in the World, was read before students in all his schools.
“The one great need in our Christian life is love, more love to God and to each other,” Moody wrote as his introduction to Drummond’s little book, now a classic. “Would that we could all move into that Love chapter and live there.”
Today, more than ever, our children, our spouses, our extended family, students we teach, our neighbors, our brothers and sisters in the Lord, need to know they are loved. They also need to learn how to love others, God and themselves. Love not only is the greatest thing in the world, love is a God-designed weapon that intercepts Satan’s missiles and blasts through devastating circumstances so we can tunnel through to a victorious life.
Of all the books I’ve read outside of the Bible, Henry Drummond’s book has had the most impact on me.
Here’s what Drummond says about anger, perhaps the biggest obstacle to demonstrating love.
“No form of vice, not worldliness, not greed of gold, not drunkenness itself does more to unchristianize society than evil temper. For embittering life, for breaking up communities, for destroying the most sacred relationships, for devastating homes, for withering up men and women, for taking the bloom of childhood, in short, for sheer gratuitous misery-producing power, this influence stands alone.”
The book, first published in 1880, is still available on the internet. My copy is a reprint by Revell Publishing and I’ve had it since 1960.
Many lives have been impacted by Drummond’s writing, including mine.
©Ada Brownell 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Based on the scripture: “While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:3–5 NLT).

TAKE THE FOLLOWING QUIZ! Test your knowledge of the eternal and how evidence shows we're more than a body. If you don't know the answers, since the electronic book is free, you can find the answers in the Preface and Chapter One.

Before you begin here's the short summary of the book.

SWALLOWED BY LIFE: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal
FREE Oct.19-21

Do you know evidence shows we’re more than a physical body?” The above book speaks about this mystery and the evidence; the wonder of life with all its electrical systems; the awesome truth about cell death and regeneration; brain death; mysteries surrounding the change from mortal to immortal; where we go when our body dies; resurrection; and a glimpse at what we will do in heaven. Questions and answers make this non-fiction inspirational book a great text for group study. It’s also written for support groups, religion classes, people with chronic or terminal illness, individuals who fear death or are curious about it, the grieving, and those who give them counsel.

Where you can find Swallowed by Life:
Barnes and Noble:
And you can see reviews on GoodReads

Ada Brownell’s blog:
Twitter: @adellerella

Sample questions from the book and study guide, Swallowed by Life

Swallowed By Life
Discussion Questions

Preface and Chapter One

1. You’ve heard people say they’d rather burn out than rust out. What is the process that occurs to the human body that is similar to rust on iron? When this process occurs in people it is called _________.
2. How many people are estimated to suffer from chronic or terminal diseases at one time in the United States?
3. Name three things you know about the human body that shows we are more than flesh and blood.
4. How many days does it take for the skin to rebuild?
5. In how many years does the skeleton become a totally new one?
6. The mystery of eternal life requires ____________________. Why?
7. Do you know the scripture this book is based upon and the reference for where it is found in the Bible?
8. Does death being swallowed by life make sense to you? Why or why not?
9. Does 2 Corinthians 5:3-5 bring joy or confusion? How? Why?
10. How does the message of this scripture compare to John 3:16? Can you think of other scriptures with a similar message?

©Ada Brownell 2011

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Illustration copyright by Rob Bauwman Photo by Shutterstock

Fourteen-year-old Dagmar trembled. Faces in the windows revealed the danger. Her heart thumped as the bus roared, coming to a squealing stop in a cloud of dust at the center of the small Dutch village.
Dagmar’s friends stood beside her, nearly paralyzed, as a young uniformed man stepped off the vehicle and looked over the crowd.
Mothers, many carrying babies, rushed out the doors of nearby homes. Feeble old men limped after them, faces blanched and twisted with fear. Everyone knew why the soldiers were here. They’d heard from others that while all the able-bodied men fought the war, their enemy pillaged villages, stole food—and took prisoner young women to satisfy the soldier’s lusts.
One glance about and a signal brought men out of the bus like bats pouring from a cavern at sunset. Several headed for Dagmar, but one tall fellow shoved the others aside and grabbed her.
Her scream joined the shrill chorus that rose from the village girls as they were dragged toward the vehicle.
The rest of the village stood frozen in place, silent. Yet, Dagmar knew they prayed to Someone mightier than the enemy.
As the soldier wrestled Dagmar to the bus door, a mighty cry emerged from the village women. As one, they slipped off their wooden shoes and attacked. Dagmar whirled out of her captor’s arms, grabbed her shoes and cracked him solidly on the head.
Dizzily holding their heads, gripping their bellies, soldiers ran for the bus. The driver followed and when all were in, drove away. The village was saved.
I met Dagmar years ago as she told her story, tears streaming down her face.
I’ve thought many times since how America’s children are carried away by the enemy of our souls. I’ve gone to battle into the heavenly realms many times for my children and grandchildren, and praise the Lord, God worked in their hearts and they responded. They serve the Lord.
Yet, perilous times have come. Satan roams about like a roaring lion, as the scripture says, and many children are on their way to hell because of attacks on their minds, bodies and souls. Public schools teach, no matter how much they learn about our amazing creation, life and the universe happened all by itself and God is not there.
The prophet Jeremiah wrote about lost children. “Listen to this! Laments coming out of Ramah, wild and bitter weeping. It’s Rachel weeping for her children, Rachel refusing all solace. Her children are gone, gone—long gone into exile.”
Parents weep for children today. As part of curriculum, they must accept homosexuality as a genetic state instead of sin. Hate for certain people, beliefs (especially Christian), and ideas is encouraged. The morning-after pill is given in some high schools. Planned Parenthood claims it’s not abortion because the egg hasn’t attached to the womb, but in vitro shows life in the egg. Abortion is a required service in the new health care law.
Many of our youth end up with emotional and mental problems, alcoholism, drug addition, and are sometimes suicidal,
CDC’s 2010 report on Sexually Transmitted Diseases identified STDs as one of the most critical health challenges facing our nation, with 19 million new infections each year costing the health care system $17 billion, not to mention the misery caused by herpes, the shame, the cancers caused by human papilloma virus, the infertility caused by Chlamydia, liver failure caused by hepatitis, not to mention AIDS.
There are emotional problems as well. Breakthroughs in the burgeoning field of neuroscience explain the impact having sex has on the developing brains of adolescents and young adults, say gynecologists Joe S. McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush in their book, Hooked (Moody Press). They present scientific data that demonstrates sexual activity releases chemicals in the brain, creating emotional bonds between partners. Breaking these bonds can cause depression and make it harder to bond with someone else in the future. They also say chemicals released in the brain during sex can become addictive.
A large number of women suffer from post-abortion stress syndrome as well.
Is there hope? Yes! But we need to pray, take off our spiritual wooden shoes, storm the gates of heaven, defend our children and give them tools to defend themselves, such as a knowledge of God’s Word, reasons for faith and why we believe, and parents who model the teachings of Jesus Christ.
In another passage Jeremiah wrote there is hope. “Stop your incessant weeping, hold back your tears. Collect wages from your grief work.” GOD’s Decree. “They’ll be coming back home! There’s hope for your children.” GOD’s Decree.” (Jeremiah 31:14-16) The Message.

©Copyright Ada Brownell 2012

Sunday, October 7, 2012



In the 1950s, my husband and I lived in a cabin on top of Colorado's Tennessee Pass. Les was agent-telegrapher at the Pando railroad depot, across from Camp Hale, near Leadville.
One afternoon soldiers arrived on the train. A young man carrying his duffle bag gazed around in awe. “Mountains this way. Mountains that way. Mountains over there. Mountains over here. The only way out of this place is up!”
America finds itself trapped in a similar place.
Massive defense problems tower like sheer rock above. The War on Terror grew into three wars, while Iran and North Korea build nuclear weapons and Mexico’s drug war is at our border.
Radical Islamic countries hate us and with opportunity would harm the United States. We watched masses rioting and hoped for democracy, but discovered Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood gained power instead. We’ve heard about the Islamic caliphate, where Muslim nations seek to join politically to control the world.
Debt higher than Mount Elbert blocks our path, too, and apparently we are without climbing gear. A stalemate paralyzes Congress while politicians campaign for re-election, doing little to cut spending, or create jobs and increase revenue. Until a year ago, as one television pundit said, the Republicans were in a jar under the sink because Democrats held the House, the Senate, and the presidency. Before that, Democrats controlled Congress, yet the Senate hasn’t passed a budget in more than 1,259 days.
After the November 2010 election, House Republicans got busy, but their budget bills die on Harry Reid’s desk, while the president promises to veto the little that squeezes through. Democrats pull toward socialism; Repubicans toward smaller government. Neither moves.
At the same time, our society careens near the precipice on the dangerous curves of moral bankruptcy. Similar to the narrow highway over Battle Mountain, a way out of Camp Hale, we’re near the edge and in such a storm it’s difficult to see. Battle Mountain has few guard rails because highway crews need to shove the deep snow over the side.
Guard rails that historically steered our nation morally have been dismantled— The Ten Commandments nudged over the cliff. Children are taught to worship the created rather than the loving Creator. They grow up believing morality doesn’t matter. The Centers for Disease Control reports we kill 234 babies for every 1,000 live births. In 2008, CDC reports 825,564 legal abortions. Now Obama will require all insurance to offer abortion, including the morning-after pill, a way of killing a live fertilized egg by preventing it from attaching to the womb. CDC’s 2010 report on Sexually Transmitted Diseases identified STDs as one of the most critical health challenges facing our nation, with 19 million new infections each year costing the health care system $17 billion.
At the same time, Freedom of religion is being strangled while secularism becomes the national cult. On Dec. 2, 2011, the Family Research Council released this memo obtained from the Navy concerning Walter Reed Hospital in Maryland: “Navy officials have announced that ‘no religious items (including Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit. FRC brought the memo to the attention of Congress and Rep. Steve King. After speaking to Walter Reed, they were assured the Navy was rescinding the policy.
Many of us love money, things and entertainment more than one another. A large number of couples no longer honor their marriage vows and in their search to find joy compromise everything important and thereby drop into the chasm.
We stand in the storm, mountains to conquer, but no longer have strength or tools to scale them. We require alcohol to have a good time or to soothe the conscience and kill the emotional pain. A good portion of our society seeks something stronger, according to the tons of illegal and prescription mind-altering drugs sold.
I believe with the soldier of years ago who said, “The only way out of here is up!”
Most of us are spiritually rooted in our Judeo-Christian heritage and believe in God. The Bible says, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Why not give it a try?

Friday, October 5, 2012


As a Christian writer, I keep amazing company among writers devoted to writing squeaky clean suspenseful and intriguing stories that show people living their faith in Jesus Christ.
One of these wonderful writers nominated me and my blog for the One Lovely Blog Award—Pat Dyer whose blog is “Ramblings of a Crowded Mind”
Pat’s blog is devoted to book reviews, musings and inspiration.
Thanks, Pat, for bringing this recognition to my blog. I am humbled and blessed by your kindness.
According to the rules of this award, I’m supposed to 1) recognize the one who nominated me (see above), 2) tell seven things about myself, and 3) nominate fifteen other bloggers.
Since my writing fingers are being twisted, seven things about me:
1) I’m a redhead, and I guess God put that color on me for the same reason he put a red dot on a black widow spider. After the Lord gave me several hundred talking-tos about that excuse, together we turned some of that blaze into fervor for spreading the gospel.
2) I’m a retired journalist. Reporting came natural to me. I’m the youngest of eight, and I was the family “tattle-tale.”
3) I’ve been writing for Christian publications since age 15. My latest article, published in LIVE, gave a tribute to Brother Brandt, my childhood pastor who taught me doctrine and the basics of the gospel before I was age 11.
4) My husband and I had five children, all who have been or are in some kind of Christian ministry. Our oldest daughter is in heaven, one of the reasons I wrote my latest book, Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal.
5) I’m doing the final edit of my teen novel, Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult. I recently changed the title. The book will be out in a few weeks.
6) I have two other books almost ready to fly out into the world.
7. Being a freckled-faced redhead actually helped me be tenacious in my writing. What redhead with freckles is not rejected, especially as a child? I think that’s what gave me a tough skin (besides the Lord’s help) protecting me from the bruised egos many writers suffer. Everything I write, even yet, won’t be and shouldn’t be published. Egg on my ego is no worse than freckles all over me.

My Fifteen Nominees (I could have nominated many more)
1) Max Lucado A collection basin of thoughts, edits and ramblings.
2) Linda Rondeau, editor, “The view from Our Side,” a devotional and encouragement blog written by senior writers.
3) John Hill, (gospel magic) Thoughts on varied subjects from politics, religion, parenting, magic and life in general.
4) Mark Batterson Faith and prayer challenges.
5) Lauralee Bliss, A journey of blissful romance for the heart and soul.
6) Karen Baney Best selling Christian romance and historical fiction author. Interviews and advice on writing, sales and marketing.
7) Nancy Jill Thames, "Queen of Afternoon Tea" Where authors meet for tea.”
8) Mary Campala Findley (It’s tough but you need it.)
9) Terri Thorpe Laughter-Joy-Hope-Peace-Purpose
10) Chad Young, Quiet Times; Mentoring. Chad is Campus Crusade for Christ’s director for the southeast with a scope of over 2 million college students,
11) Penny Zeller A day in the life of a wife, mom, and author.
12) Staci Stallings, Spirit Light Books (blog about Christian Living); Ebook Romance Stories (about her books); Grace & Faith blog inspiration for the journey; Grace & Faith marketing blog:
13) Sharon Srock, “Ordinary women using faith to do extraordinary things.” Book reviews, author interviews, recipes, life lessons, and news.
14) Kym Mc Nabney Writing from the soul. A bit of Faith, Family, Love, Writing, Reading…and Life.
15) Nike Chilemi Crime Fictionista. Reviews, interviews

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Woman, who are you?

I WAS BORN THE EIGHTH CHILD in a family that emerged from the Kansas Dust Bowl and the Great Depression so poor we barely had clothes and food. Yet, we were rich because one by one my teenage siblings gave their hearts to Christ and finally, Dad, and then Mom renewed her relationship with the Lord. Joy, love and singing filled the house and I was raised in a fabulous Christian family that has made its mark for Jesus on the world.
When school kids called me a freckled-faced redhead,” I’d just give them a smug grin. Jesus loved me and had a plan for my life and no teasing would change that.
Although the world is full of redheads with freckles, the world has never had a person like me—and there has never been a person like you.
Even when you were being formed in the womb, God loved the unique individual you are and had a plan for your future.
Now I ask, Woman, who are you? You can tell a lot about yourself by looking at God’s Word.
• You are made in God’s image, so no matter how society defines beauty, you are lovely. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:9-11).
• Even our family traits were designed by God. David writes, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139: 13). In the Psalmist’s day, DNA was unheard of, but here it tells us God made things the eye can’t even see. When I was nothing but a fertilized egg about the size of a mite God knew I’d be a curly-haired redhead and covered with freckles.
• If we know Jesus, we’re different on the inside, too.
No matter how old we are, we’re sparkling new inside. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (1 Corinthians 5:17).

• Lady, you also are cherished, precious and valuable. Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. (Matthew 1-29-30).
• The woman God blesses always has hope, but there might be times for tears. Jeremiah would identify with people who spend time weeping. He wrote, “I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember— the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there's one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're created new every morning. How great is your faithfulness!” (Lamentations 3: 21-23 The Message).
• Because of Jesus, you can and should have, deep abiding joy. There is no experience on earth that equals to what happens when a person is born again and filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter said, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 1 Peter 1:7-9 Jesus said he who believes in Me as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow springs and rivers of living water.
• Woman, who are YOU? A person who has dreams and missions to fulfill. About five years ago I began praying the Prayer of Jabez: “Oh, that you would bless me, indeed. Enlarge my territory. May your hand be with me. Keep me from evil that I may not cause pain” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10). Suddenly things began opening for me. I sold articles to Christian publications I hadn’t had articles in before. Newspapers published op-ed pieces with definitive Christian testimonies. I made an e-book out of my out-of-print book, Confessions of a Pentecostal. I published the book I’ve had on my heart for years—Swallowed by LIFE: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal. What has happened in enlarging my territory probably is or should be happening in you.
• Woman, there is yet another dimension of who you are. Women are part of the Last Day outpouring of God’s Spirit. “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions and your old men dream dreams. And on my servants and my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit: and they shall prophesy: And I will show wonders in the heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
• Christian women, you also are God’s models and God’s representatives because we are a living organism that is part of a spiritual body in union with Christ. Ephesians 1:22-23 says it makes no difference in the kingdom whether we are male or female. When I worked as a journalist I carried a press card that would admit me to almost anywhere, at any time. I walked boldly into places and talked to people where I would have never gone on my own. I could ask questions that might offend, but I searched for truth. As a Christian I am Christ’s messenger and we’re told the gates of hell cannot hold out our witness.
When we are filled with the Spirit—we will BE His witnesses, modeling the fruits of the Spirit at work in us—love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faithfulness, and self control—while sharing the gospel.
When you look in the mirror tonight to remove your makeup and notice another wrinkle, think. Woman who are you? Look at yourself and be amazed at the best part of us of all. You are eternal. Jesus said whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
The scripture my new book hinges on: “While we live in these earthly bodies we groan and sigh, and it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothes us. Rather we want to put on our new bodies, so these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:4).
Don’t be deceived into thinking the body describes who you are. You are more than a body. You can live with someone else’s heart or kidneys and you doubt you’ll live without your body?
Here’s the sum of it all.
Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed ,in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying, Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:51-54).
And because we know Jesus, we will live forever and ever.
© Ada Brownell 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Faith, Murder and Mayhem in new book, Dark Alleys

Today's guest: Lillian Duncan, author of Dark Alleys, Deception and Pursued

LILLIAN DUNCAN writes stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: She also has a devotional blog at:

Her latest book DARK ALLEYS (Lost and Found Books) was released in September. She will also be releasing a novella just in time for Christmas-THE CHRISTMAS STALKING (Harbourlight Books).


About DARK ALLEYS: Being innocent and proving it are two different things, especially when a powerful politician is involved

Tessa’s life spiraled out of control and she finds herself in a dark alley on a cold wintry night. After she witnesses a murder, she almost becomes his second victim, but manages to escape—just barely.

Homeless and alone, she knows the authorities won’t believe someone like her, leaving her only one option—to run.



DARK ALLEYS is a suspense-filled story about a woman who ends up homeless and alone in a dark alley on a cold winter night. She witnesses a murder while in a drunken stupor and almost becomes his second victim. She awakens in the hospital with no clear memory of how she was injured. She attempts to put her life back together but, of course, the murderer has other plans.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

Being innocent and proving it are two different things, especially when a powerful politician is involved

Tessa’s life spiraled out of control after the death of her only child, and she finds herself in a dark alley on a cold wintry night. After she witnesses a murder, she almost becomes his second victim, but manages to escape—just barely.

Homeless and alone, she knows the authorities won’t believe someone like her, leaving her only one option—to run.


No, I’ve published several others. Last year I published DECEPTION and PURSUED. I love to write books that have an element of mystery or suspense along with some romance.


I always root for the underdog—sometimes I have to do it in secret so my husband won’t know just how uncompetitive I am. Anyway, I wanted to write a story where the main character was the queen of underdogs and I think I did that.


At one time or another most of us end up in dark alleys, but God never deserts us. And that’s what I want readers to take away from this story. No matter what we’ve done, God never stops loving us.


I am not an outliner. I wish I were—it seems easier to me. But my mind doesn’t work that way. I never know what is going to happen in my story on any given writing day. It’s as if my mind is a movie screen and I watch that day’s events and then I write it.

When I start a new story I usually have a clear picture of the main character in mind and what obstacle he/she will face.

For example, in DARK ALLEYS I knew I wanted the main character to be homeless-the very epitome of powerless-and her opponent to be very powerful. When I started the story I didn’t know why she was homeless but as the story evolved, I learned more about Tessa and what brought her to that dark alley.

In another book, PURSUED, I knew I wanted the female lead to be a powerful type A personality and the male lead to be a laid-back, down-home kind of a guy. It was fun to watch the two of them interact with each other.


Not usually. Most of the time I have several characters who it might be and as the story comes to a conclusion, I am surprised right along with my readers.

In the case of DARK ALLEYS, I knew as will the readers who the bad guy is from the start. The mystery and suspense comes in from not knowing if Tessa will discover the murderer before he succeeds in his second attempt on her life.


I can certainly understand their point of view. And for some readers my stories might be a bit too graphic or edgy and that’s ok, I understand that. I would say my readers are those who like traditional suspense and mystery novels but are tired of all the explicit language and sex scenes that aren’t necessary to a good story.

I don’t promote or glorify violence in my stories and show characters experiencing the natural consequences of their bad choices and bad actions.


My stories always have an element of faith in them. How that plays out depends on the individual plots of each specific story. My main characters are always on a spiritual journey, though some may be further along than others.

One more word about Christian Fiction, it has changed dramatically over the past ten years. Other than erotica, readers can find their favorite genre as Christian Fiction as well as mainstream fiction. There are Christian Fiction books out there for every book lover—historical; romance; regency; science fiction; even horror novels.


Wouldn’t that be awesome? Usually, I have a hard time with this question but not this time. Tessa would be played by Demi Moore and Mark Lawrence (the detective) would have to be Richard Gere. And the politician would be Bruce Willis—if he would agree to act with Demi!


I have a Christmas novella that I’m finishing final edits on. It’s being published by Harbourlight Books and will be out in November or Decemeber. It’s called THE CHRISTMAS STALKING. It’s my first novella I’ve written and I loved that format so it won’t be my last.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

The Christmas Stalking: During the Christmas holidays, a country music star hides out from a stalker at a remote cabin in upstate New York. Destiny knows fame always comes with a price, but she’s tired of being a prisoner of the very fame she sacrificed so much for.

Terrorized by an unknown stalker and fearing for her life, she escapes to the summertime home of her youth. She yearns for a simpler life, but her fame follows—and so does her stalker.

The cover for THE CHRISTMAS STALKING is so awesome, you should take a look at


My website is and I have a devotional blog at I’m also on Twitter as @LillianDuncan and on Facebook at