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Monday, October 30, 2006

The Threshing Floor

Life as I knew it changed with my entrance onto the Threshing Floor. This special place exists in cyberspace and is where my mentor group shares, cares, bleeds, and dissects each other's writing. It's where we get threshed and the chaff blown away so that what's left is useful and good. That process is sometimes fun, often times painful. It hurts to have people look at a piece of your work that you're proud of and tell you it needs to change.

But a good writer listens. A great writer learns. An outstanding writer? Well, you'd have to meet my crit partners to see one of those. ;-) I hope to grow up and be that kind of writer someday.

Life changed for me again with my first book contract. In the letter at the front of my first novel, I equate writing a book with carrying and delivering a baby. One thing I didn't put in there was that my first response to learning I was pregnant and when I found out I'd been offered a book contract were identical.

I threw up.

Yep. Feeling overwhelmed, coupled with fear and a whole host of other emotions drop kicked my abs and continued to do so for the entire nine months of each pregnancy and for most of this past year as I've worked on getting my first story ready for the bookstore shelves. All of my babies were worth the pain of the nine months they spent inside me. And just last night as I finished another round of edits, I caught a proud glimpse of my book baby and had to smile. God is so good.

Yesterday I listened to an amazing sermon on worship. What does that have to do with writing? Everything. When I write it's long been my prayer that it would be an act of worship. I've often felt like the runner Eric Liddell when he spoke of feeling God's pleasure when he ran. That's how I feel when I write.

But the pastor asked, “What does worship cost you?” Because true worship is costly. Like the perfume Mary of Bethany poured over Jesus where the disciples clamored against her act of worship, saying “Why this waste?”

Many times this year I’ve said those same words to myself, feeling like I’ve wasted so much to pursue this dream called writing. I’ve felt like I disappointed so many people and had to pass on so many good things because there were not enough hours in the day to do all I or others wanted me to do. So just in case I missed the point that worship is costly and that what Jesus said of Mary, He says of all of His children, the pastor talked a number of times about Jesus’ response to Mary’s worship. Jesus told the disciples to leave Mary alone. “She has done a beautiful thing to me.”

My heart filled at those words that the pastor spoke to the crowd, but that Jesus spoke to my heart. No matter what others have thought of the time I’ve spent writing, Jesus hasn’t despised my offering.

Neither should I.

But I have. There were times this year I wanted to throw it all away and never write again. It hurt. I felt like my writing would never be good enough, never carry the message the Lord put on my heart that I keep trying to get on paper. I’ve feared, still do sometimes, the rejection of bad reviews or people who have unkind things to say about my novel. I’ve cried over times I didn’t get to spend with my husband and children. The physical cost of writing so much has worn me down too. Carpel tunnel and cubital tunnel, as well as nights and nights of too little sleep.

As I was thinking about all this, the pastor shared another scripture. I had to laugh at first because it’s the exact place where the name of my mentor group came from. It’s where King David is talking to the owner of a threshing floor about buying the man’s land to build an altar. The man wanted to give it to the king, but David said this…

"I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." (2 Samuel 24:24)

Me either.

And so I put that verse on my computer to challenge and remind me.

True worship is costly.

But I will not give to the Lord that which cost me nothing. And He will not despise my worship. In fact, He whispers His approval. To the enemy of my soul who’d like nothing more than to have me believe his lies about the worthlessness or waste of my worship, Jesus answers loud and clear: “Leave her alone. She has done a beautiful thing to me.”

I pray you’ll join me in pouring your vile of worship over Jesus. He’ll receive it. And its aroma, like Mary’s perfume, will fill the room and bring glory to His name.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


THE ELECTION by Jerome Teel

They seek ultimate power.

Nothing can stand in their way.

Ed Burke has waited a lifetime to become president of the United States. He's not about to let his nemesis, Mac Foster, stop him now...especially when he's sold his soul for the Oval Office.

Claudia Duval has lived a rough life. And finally, things have turned around for her after meeting the wealthy Hudson Kinney. But is all what it seems?

When a prominent citizen is murdered in Jackson, Tennessee, attorney Jake Reed doesn't want to know the truth. He just wants to get his client off. But as he investigates, he uncovers a sinister scheme. A scheme that would undermine the very democracy of America...and the freedom of the entire world.

The Election, by Jerome Teel, is a fast-paced, highly readable mystery filled with suspense, intrigue, and political conspiracy. Teel skillfully weaves together themes of faith, family, suffering, and providence in a way that not only compels, but enlightens."

David S. Dockery-President, Union University

Sunday, October 22, 2006

"You don't love me!"

That's what my youngest daughter yelled at me the other day when I wouldn't let her go outside because she was sick and needed to rest. Boy, did her words sting. I've never heard that phrase come out of any of my children's mouths and it stunned me silent.

A pretty incredible feat.

I stammered something about that being a lie and that I truly do love her and was only trying to take care of her. Then I wiped her nose and shortly thereafter put her to bed at naptime.

But those words kept ricocheting around my brain.

“You don’t love me!”

How many times have I yelled the same thing at God? Truth be told, far more times than I’d like to admit. My daughter’s words made that reality impossible to ignore. So here I am again, working out my salvation by typing on the computer.

I think the most startling thing I’ve realized is that unlike me, God isn’t stunned silent or pierced to the heart by angry words. He doesn’t get angry back or scold me for not remembering the infinite times He’s lavished His love on me.

He just keeps on loving me.

And I keep on realizing how much growing up I have yet to do.

But that’s a good place to be because I’m finding the more I recognize God’s amazing grace toward me, the more willing I am extend that grace to those around me. As well as the more and more sensitive I’m growing to the fact that praising God is far more appropriate than railing at Him.

Not quite there yet with praise as my first response, but I’m stepping in that direction. I read an email from a dear friend who has just fought with cancer and is thanking God for his mercy in early detection rather than spewing about having a kidney removed.

That humbled me.

Now, I love this friend dearly and she is truly an amazing woman. Even so, I would guess she’s struggled with things. But what we hear from her is praise.

Not two-year-old wailings about, “You don’t love me!”

Or thirty-something wailings about how tough life is and how God must not love me very much.

Praise God for Philippians 1:6: “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”


My littlest princess came back to me later and said, “I love you, Mommy!” I asked her if she knew that I loved her too. Her response? “You love me sooooo much!”

Yep, I sure do. I’m glad she says that far more than she says otherwise. I’m praying to get to that place with God, too. He’s already promised to complete the good work He’s begun.

Guess that’s proof positive You sure DO love us, huh, Daddy?


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Like Dandelion Dust




Jack and Molly Campbell enjoyed an idyllic life in their small hometown outside Atlanta with their adopted 4-year-old, Joey. Then they receive the phone call that shatters their world: a social worker delivers the news that Joey's biological father has been released from prison and is ready to start life over with his son.

When a judge rules that Joey must be returned to his father, the Campbells, in a silent haze of grief and utter disbelief, watch their son pick a dandelion and blow the feathery seeds into the wind. Struggling with the dilemma of following the law, their hearts, and what they know to be morally right, the Campbells find that desperation leads to dangerous thoughts. What if they can devise a plan? Take Joey and simply disappear....LIKE DANDELION DUST.

About the Author:

USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury is America's #1 inspirational novelist. There are nearly 5 million copies of her award-winning books in print, including more than two million copies sold in the past year. Karen has written more than 30 novels, nine of which have hit #1 on national lists, including award-winning Oceans Apart, One Tuesday Morning, Beyond Tuesday Morning, the Redemption Series and Firstborn Series, and several other bestsellers, one of which was the basis for a CBS Movie-of-the-Week and Gideon's Gift, which is currently in production as a major theatrical release for Christmas 2007. Karen lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Don, and their six children, three of whom are adopted from Haiti.

Amy here... if you haven't read a Karen Kingsbury novel, you're missing some great Christian fiction. The characters Karen crafts are alive with depth and conflict and the stories explore the gamut of human emotion. My only caution is that a box of Kleenex is a good thing to have on hand!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Help, I've been tagged

My good friend Heather tagged me with this. Not sure I'm doing this right, but here goes...

1. Favorite memory of your mother?

One of my favorite memories related to my mom would be my ninth or tenth Christmas when my "big" gift was a huge stuffed teddy bear. Coming down to the dark living room with only seventies multi-color tree lights blinking, that big teddy bear sitting in a chair with my name on it and a bow on top was awesome! And knowing that my mom gave it to me just because she knew I loved teddy bears is a great memory.

I still have that bear. Only now it belongs to my oldest who is following in her mommy's footsteps and curling up to read in Ted D. Bear's big lap. (creative bear names weren't my thing as a kid... LOL)

2. Favorite memory of your father?

My step-dad is the only dad I've ever known and I love him dearly. My favorite memory with my dad is when he'd go to church with me and everyone would say how much we looked alike. We'd just smile and say, "Thanks." Knowing my dad chose me and remembering how his eyes would twinkle because someone said I looked like him is a great memory.

3. What one skill would you like to wake up tomorrow and be able to do (though you'd never learned it)?

I'd like to wake up tomorrow with the abilities of an astronaut and a shuttle mission to go on. My family and I watched this incredible DVD titled INDESCRIBABLE by Louie Giglio. Within this amazing DVD are images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Please check out this link for a real treat... “X” structure at the core of the Whirlpool Galaxy. The heavens truly declare the glory of God.

4. Which one of your dreams has come true?

For the last four years it's been my dream to see my first novel published. I'm living that dream right now with an April 07 release date for Ransomed Dreams.

It's an awesome privilege to live a dream, one God created you for. But that's only part of it. Living out a dream is one way to bring glory to God. Just like the stars declare God's glory by just being, so do we. Walking with God and glorifying Him by enjoying Him. That's a dream every one of us can experience.

I'm tagging: Jen and Staci.

Friday, October 13, 2006

A poem of Truth~ can you relate?

Christians - By Maya Angelou

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin'."
I'm whispering "I was lost,
Now I'm found and forgiven."
When I say... "I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
And need Christ to be my guide.
When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
And need His strength to carry on.
When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.
When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I am worth it.
When I say... "I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.
When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
Who received God's good grace, somehow!

Violette Between

Don't miss Violette Between by Alison Strobel!

BETWEEN HERE AND THE PAST, THERE LIES A PLACE...a place of longing for what has been rather than hoping for what could be!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Doing a new thing

I'm doing a new blogging thing at least once a week~ taking part in some awesome blog tours. I hope you'll be blessed and encouraged as you take a dip into the great world of Christian fiction!

BETWEEN HERE AND THE PAST, THERE LIES A PLACE...a place of longing for what has been rather than hoping for what could be!

This week's tour is a fascinating women's fiction novel entitled Violette Between written by Alison Stroble

Violette Between is a poignant story of a true artist. When the love of Violette's life, Saul, suddenly dies, she dies too. Climbing back into life after her loss, she meets Christian, a psychologist who not only understands her struggles but offers safety and his heart. As Violette and Christian begin to feel something they both thought impossible, tragedy strikes again.

Christian holds a vigil at Violette's bedside, where she is in a coma, begging her to come back to him. While in a coma, Violette becomes trapped in a place of past memories–and she finds that she may not want to come back.

What would it be like to choose a place between the past and the present?

Violette Between is a powerful character study of a woman finally relinquishing the past to move on, only to be thrust into the quandary of reliving that life and needing to make a choice. For Christians, this will definitely make you think about heaven and the consequences of eternal life.

"Delving into the underside of complicated relationships, Alison Strobel takes readers to unexpected places, but doesn't hesitate to deliver redemption when needed."---Melody Carlson, author of Finding Alice

About the author: Alison graduated with a degree in elementary education, and in the summer of 2000 she moved from Chicago to southern California where she taught elementary school for three years. It was in Orange County that she met her husband, Daniel Morrow, and the story developed for her first novel, Worlds Collide.
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