If you’re an avid reader, you may have received an email about this year’s Christy Awards, scheduled for November 17. The award finalists will be announced October 11. This is always an exciting time for readers and authors and I look forward to see who is nominated each year. So much hard work goes into each book, and I love cheering on these dedicated professionals.
This year Jan Karon (think Mitford Series) will be honored for her literary contributions. She is certainly deserving of it!
But what excites me is that my friend, Amanda Cox, will be one of the featured speakers. Amanda burst on the Christian Fiction scene with her debut novel, The Edge of Belonging, followed by The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery. (If you haven’t read them you must!) I just can’t express enough how thrilled I am for her, even though she’s probably nervous at the thought. LOL.
The Christian Fiction genre has grown a lot of the past several years, to the point that it’s now considered a valid genre by the book industry. (We readers always knew it was.) I love it because I can lose myself in a clean story that will point the reader to God. The road to get there is often rocky and messy, just like life. Never think that CF is pure fluff because you’ll be wrong. It’s sometimes calming and easy. Other times it’s deep and thoughtful. Sometimes it’s edge of the seat freak out. But it’s not fluff, my friend. Check out Amanda’s books and you’ll see what I mean!
I’m off to lose myself in a story. I hope you make that journey soon.
2021 winds down today; permit me to look backwards for just a minute.
Many are looking ahead to 2022 as the year that we are prayerfully free from the covid pandemic. I’m right there with them! But in doing so, don’t forget 2021. It wasn’t all bad! Yes, things were different. Yes, many were sick. And yes, sadly we lost many loved ones for a variety of reasons. But through it all God was faithfully walking with us as He always does. Did you sense Him?
Personally this was a year of spiritual growth for me because I had to lean even more on Him. I had to trust Him more than ever. I had to dig into the Word for hope and peace. And there He was. Did you find Him?
There was wonderful time spent with family and friends, even in the midst of the pandemic. We ate together. We laughed together. We enjoyed each other. My five grandsons grew so much and are rapidly changing into young men. I love them dearly. As they make me laugh, I have no doubt they make God laugh. Did you hear Him?
As we tell 2021 goodbye, and we greet 2022, embrace life. Live it to your fullest. Enjoy your time here because it’s short. And pray to reach those who need Him. That’s our biggest commission. To love people and tell them about Jesus.
Once upon a time mamas used to bronze a pair of their children’s baby shoes. It was a way to remember those babies once they were grown and had babies of their own. Yes, once upon a time my babies were that little. It seems so long ago. Yet wasn’t it only yesterday those little feet were running through the house in search of me? In search of Daddy? We were their comfort and security. Once upon a time.
With the Christmas season soon to be upon us, I was thinking about Luke 2:19 which tells us, “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” She was pondering the things that the angels had spoken to the shepherds. Wonderful things. Frightening things. Things of great joy!
But I wonder if Mary pondered other things? Did she ponder the day Jesus would begin to walk? I’m pretty sure she didn’t bronze His sandals, but maybe one day after He was grown, she came upon a pair he had worn as a toddler and she remembered. Once upon a time.
When she looked upon her son as He hung on the cross, she saw the face of her Savior. But she also saw the face of her son. Did she remember the times he would search the house for her, his security? Did she think about the times she stroked those cheeks, now stained with blood? Once upon a time.
Yes, the picture below shows shoes on a Fall background. Definitely not a Christmas picture. But as I enter the Autumn of my life I’m remembering those two little ones who are now parents. And I wonder, when Winter is here, will I remember, once upon a time?
I love Fall. I love Fall. I love Fall. Or is it Autumn? Whatever you choose to call it, nothing beats this time of year in Michigan.
I can ooze on and on about the crisp air and the beautiful colors. It’s delicious! But what I sense most is that in the Fall God is bringing about change. Something is dying so something beautiful can be born. Can you sense that, friends?
John 12: 24 says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” This is a beautiful picture of Jesus dying for us as the single grain of wheat, and being spread over the fields so there is a harvest. In this case a harvest of souls. In this grain is the germ of life. In Jesus, is our life.
I would take that even a step further, or look at it from another angle. Has your personal grain of wheat been allowed to fall to the ground and be planted? Are you, in whatever your time of life, dying so something beautiful can grow? Just as a grain of wheat cannot remain on the stalk neither can we remain in what’s become comfortable. Without dying we can’t be born anew. Without being spread over the field we can’t see a harvest. Without giving we can’t receive.
Just something I was pondering today. Take it for what it’s worth to you and go live a beautiful life this Fall. And make sure Michigan is on your bucket list of places to visit. It’s a beautiful piece of God’s creation and we’d love to see you!
Yes, it’s been awhile since we last visited. So many of us haven’t been in the mood but it’s time to take life back.
What’s been happening in your neck of the woods? (Is that phrase even used anymore?) Fill me in by commenting. There’s been a major life change in my home with Hubby retiring in January. We’re adjusting!
How’s the weather where you are? We just had a major snow event that brought us 15 inches in two days. And it’s really cold. Like single digits and in the teens kind of cold. But that’s a Michigan winter. The snow is beautiful and my picture doesn’t do it justice. I love my state!
Let’s not wait so long to chat again, okay? I’m off to warm up with a cup of coffee and enjoy looking at the fluffiness outside.
It’s been five months since I introduced the world to Oliver. It’s been a fun journey! Reviews continue coming in and I’m so thrilled that children are falling in love with him.
Here’s some backstory about my adventure:
This book was a 30 year journey for me. It was that long ago that I was taking Children’s Lit classes and the concept was written for an assignment. Life happened and I didn’t do anything with it, or with any of my other stories. In 2018 I felt a stirring to dust things off and start writing again. One of my pastors even had a word from God for me. Pastor Daniel had no idea what I was doing, but he felt impressed to tell me that “God wasn’t done with me yet (I had just turned 60 and was struggling with it.) That a dream I had for many years was going to be fulfilled. Not just that one but others.” Wow! And now look at this! I’m telling all of you, God is incredibly good. All the time.
I was actually trying to write about Oliver’s sister, Edith. But Oliver wouldn’t stop talking to me and insisting this was to be his story. As you can see I finally gave in. I hope you’ll get to know Oliver, and come to love the little rascal like I do. I’m sure you’ll see more of Oliver in the future!
What am I up to now? I have another Oliver story in the works, but right now I’m working on a story begging to be told about Jebediah Ezekial Jones. I think the children in your life will love it!
If you haven’t gotten a copy of Oliver’s Moving Day, it is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I hope you’ll give him to a child in your life who enjoys adventure.
Normally my blog is about something in my beautiful home state of Michigan. Today, the last day of December 2019, I decided to show you some of my favorite books from this year. I read over 180 books, and it was very difficult to pare that down to a couple dozen. These books were among my favorites, but there were so many more that I thoroughly enjoyed. (You can find all of them here.)
So sit back and enjoy these pictures. All of the books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, but more importantly at your favorite bookstore. And please make sure you are using your independent bookstore if there is one in your community. If you’re in or near West Michigan I encourage you to check out Baker Book House in Grand Rapids. My absolutely favorite!!
To me, Michigan is entering into the best time of the year. The air is becoming crisp. Leaves are starting to change color. Skies will develop into a beautiful, clear blue that we don’t see at any other time. Well, they are when it’s not cloudy. Lake Michigan affects us a lot, causing often cloudy skies. But still I love West Michigan.
Genesis 8:22 tells us, “While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that the earth would need planting cycles which include cold and heat, day and night. Yet it’s really easy to complain about heat or cold. I personally do not enjoy heat and it’s difficult not to complain. (Okay, seriously, I often fail.) Can you relate? Or maybe the cold causes you to complain? That doesn’t change a thing; heat and cold will still happen but sometimes we feel better voicing our complaints and having others agree with us. It’s nice to know we’re not alone!
But back to Michigan. I’m looking forward to having the windows open at home. Evening walks at dusk, leaves crunching under foot. Geese flying overhead, going to their wintering place. Their sound is almost mournful, but I love listening and knowing that change is coming. As my daughter said, “They sound like someone playing a pitiful trumpet.” And when there are huge flocks that is so true.
Fall (Autumn) is a time of anticipation. Have you ever been to Michigan in the Fall? If not come see us. Our Mitten is preparing to show off!
I haven’t blogged since January?? Yikes! Life has been crazy busy. Lots of books to beta read for some of my favorite authors. Lots of books to read and review; some for new authors. It’s been great fun! Plus my own book, Oliver’s Moving Day, has just finished with illustrations. It will be coming soon.
But we’ve missed seasons since I was here last! Winter finally did arrive in all it’s glory. And once it arrived it was hesitant to leave. Our farmers weren’t able to get crops in on time thanks to the cold and then lots of rain in the spring. Of course once summer decided to show up, also late this year, we’ve had very little rain. Oh, what Lake Michigan does to our weather!
But Lake Michigan is gorgeous. If you haven’t visited yet you must. Did you know that Michigan is the only great lake located entirely within the United States. It is the second-largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third-largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron. It has lake trout, yellow perch, largemouth, smallmouth bass, and salmon (to name a few) so is a favorite destination for fishermen. And don’t let “lake” make you think it’s nothing special. Really a fresh water ocean, people come from around the world to see it.
Come on over and see us sometime. You’ll love this Pure Michigan lake!