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Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy 13th Anniversary!

Happy 13th anniversary to my hubby David and my best friend Jen and her husband David!!!

Yep, we were married one hour apart on December 31, 1994.

And in honor of this big day, here are thirteen reasons why I still do...

To David: Thirteen reasons why I’d say “I Do” all over again

1) Besides the fact that you are as good-looking as you were on our wedding day, you still believe I’m beautiful and you say so, even when I step off the scale scowling.

2) You do the work God gave you to do, and you’re awesome at it. You not only provide well for our family, but you also encourage me to pursue my dreams~ even when that lands a huge load of extra work on your shoulders.

3) You believe in me.

4) You tell silly stories that make our girls laugh. They’re right when they say they have a great daddy. You love them and it shows.

5) You pray for us each and every night.

6) You have never really given up. You keep trying. God sees that and I’m beginning to as well.

7) You're serious about being the man God made you to be. I see you growing more each day and it's awesome.

8) Only you know all the inside jokes. Ping pong games, body chocolate, what happens with Christmas tree lights, why there are four hand squeezes to a good hand-holding time, and why we love—to infinity and beyond!

9) We can talk about books and movies and learn more about the stories and each other in the process.

10) You give me chocolate. ;-)

11) I can beat you in marbles.

12) You team up with God to push, pray, and cheer me on this writing journey.

14) You put up with all my many quirks and still think I’m the only best one for you. ;-)

Happy Anniversary Honey! I love you to infinity and beyond~ no matter what.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What's in a Word?

December is a contemplative month. Especially when the holiday hustle leaves us feeling like crumpled wrapping paper.

But instead of giving in to the post-holiday blahs, I spend the last week of the year thinking over the past twelve months and then looking ahead to the next.

One of the best ways I’ve found to do that in a hopeful light is to consider the power of a word and everything wrapped up in it.

For a few years now I’ve joined with a good friend and fellow blogger, Mary Griffith, seeking the Lord for a word that summarizes what He has in store for the coming year. It’s become an exercise of prayer and faith.

One that’s been very good for my heart.

Looking back...

In 2006 I looked forward to the word God whispered to my spirit~ ENJOY.

But I learned early in 2006, ENJOY didn't mean live it up and party. For twelve long months it meant learning to ENJOY God when there was little in life that would traditionally lead to experiencing joy.

Here's the link to read the vision God put before me and the rush of “have tos” and lies that nearly destroyed my joy : A Word for the heart

The word for 2007 was REST. And let me tell you, God had a lot to teach me about how wrong my ideas on rest really were.

It's been another challenging year, and yet God was there in the midst of every circumstance. A phrase from my post on a Word for the Year jumped out at me...

"A year wiser, I’m looking forward to the lessons of 2007 knowing there will be hard fought battles, tear filled circumstances, and quiet times of refreshing."

And so it was.

The battles were bloodier than I’d imagined, the tears more like heaving sobs, and the times of refreshing even more life-giving than I dreamed.

But instead of recounting the bad, I’d like to say some thank-yous for the amazing good that God brought out of the challenges and for the people who God used to show my heart how to rest.

Thank you to an amazing group of prayer warriors who held me up and spurred me on, even when I wanted nothing more than to lay down and let my dreams die. Your friendship, emails, cards, and phone calls were and are the best kind of heart chocolate!

Thank you to Sally and Heather and Laurie and Amy who came from afar to cheer my heart and celebrate April 17th. You made the launch party a much loved memory and high point of the year.

To my mom, sister, and in-laws: your presence at author events and prayers this year have strengthened and encouraged me so much!

To Elizabeth Medlin: thanks for late nights, lots of coffee, and a friendship that I treasure.

A huge thanks goes to my journey buddy, Sharon Hinck. My friend, you have cried with, laughed with, encouraged, and inspired me. Your writing is a gift from God and your friendship even more so. You walked a similar path and reminded me often to look to the Lord not the storm. I can’t wait to watch your face in heaven when you see all the amazing good you have done on this earth just by being you.

To my best friend, Jen Keithley, who never believed I would really quit: thanks for loving me well and letting me blow off steam on far too many occasions. And then reminding me to get back to work because God has called me and He will do even more than we can ask or imagine.

So much thanks goes to an awesome group of folks who have welcomed my family into their loving arms. To the Anchor family: you have given us a place to belong, grow, love and be loved. Thanks for being a glimpse of heaven for our weary souls.

More thanks than I can ever say goes to my three princesses. Not only do they love me to infinity and beyond, but their being proud of me salves my wounded heart when life and sales figures batter.

To my beloved hubby: we survived! :-) And God is up to some big things. Thank you for your forgiveness, for never giving up completely, for believing in me when I didn’t, and for making a way for me to see God. Also for enjoying Christmas tree lights~ those were a highlight of my holiday season.

More than anything, thank you Daddy for still being on Your throne. Because You are in control and are so very good, I can rest. You have given and taken away, but never left me to face the fallout alone. Blessed be Your Name. Always.

Looking ahead...

Now for this year’s word(s): EXPECTANT HOPE.

Beyond the other words God has given me, this phrase both terrifies and excites me. I’ve spent a lot of years being afraid to HOPE. Afraid to live in a state of EXPECTANCY because all too often life has dashed my hopes on harsh reality.

But along with these two powerful words came a reminder: My HOPE is in God. My EXPECTANCY is toward Him.

People don’t tend to handle expectations well. We sometimes feel pressure, fear, and helplessness from work and relational demands. But God longs for us to live in the wonder of EXPECTANCY like Simeon (Luke 2:25-32).

An EXPECTANCY that both looks and reaches up to receive what has been promised.

EXPECTANCY that believes God with a childlike faith. That reaches for Him and receives not only the sunshine and gifts, but also the storms and losses as coming from His hand. For our good. For His glory.

I pray you’ll join me in looking back to see what God has done in 2007. And then look ahead to what 2008 holds.

Even more, I pray you’ll step into the future holding the Lord’s hand and know that no matter what’s ahead your heavenly Daddy is holding you.

Dream big. Pray hard. Love well.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Christmas onion

Never thought I'd be blogging about an onion at Christmastime, but here goes...

First I need to explain that God's been doing a lot of pushing on issues in my heart recently and I've been trying to avoid them.

But God is God and when He wants to be heard He has a universe of ways to get our attention.

Recently He's used my pastor, his wife, my Sunday school class, our home group, my children, snatches of conversations I've heard in passing, things I notice on TV (When I'm watching TV, it's a major clue that I'm running from something.) and just about everything short of writing His message in the sky.

A very cool thing about God is that even though we sometimes run, we can stop and turn back to look Him in the face and see His purpose in working so hard to get through to us is for our good.

I saw that so clearly about a month ago when I got still and listened to His heart about forgiveness. The freedom He offered and I received was one of the best Christmas presents ever.

But there was more.

God had an onion to give me.

I would have preferred a chocolate covered cherry to go on top of the sweet treat of peace that came after I obeyed the Lord through forgiveness.

But the onion makes more sense really. Here's why.

This past month I've been looking back over a very hard year. This is something I routinely do every December, but this year I had begun to see more and more of God's hand in every circumstance. More of His love covering each painful situation.

Then I started to look back over the last thirteen years of my life and got very frustrated. Because when it comes to real change and growth, it seems I've been in a hamster's wheel, trying to get ahead but never getting very far.

I keep having to learn the same lessons over and over and over again.

Here entered the Lord's visual of an onion's many layers.

My pastor said it best when he prayed for me by asking the Lord to keep peeling back the layers and working His healing within.

As I thought about that image, it began to spread past my mind and into my heart. Because sometimes it looks like we're dealing with the same issue, but we're not. It's God taking us deeper in that issue to continue His healing work.

It's a process of God peeling back layers and taking healing into deeper and deeper places.

There's so much freedom in that! Our lives are not two steps forward and three steps back. Or a hamster's wheel going nowhere. Or that we just didn't "get it" and are being taken back to school yet again.

It's God continuing His work, delving deeper and deeper into our lives and hearts to offer His amazing healing.

Like peeling the layers of an onion.

So if I was doing a rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas between me and the Lord, I'd have two very special gifts already opened.

A huge box that's just the size to "box me in" with circumstance so that I'd see my need for God.

And a Christmas onion. A sweet one. One that gives a picture of hope.

We're not stuck in a no-win cycle where we keep going backward more than ahead. God is always at work, peeling back layers, drawing us deeper into Him as He works in deeper and deeper places within us.

Merry Christmas!

And many God gifts for your heart this special time of the year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Memories

As my age grows steadily greater and Christmas draws closer, I start to think back over the images of Christmas past. Usually I stop the mental time travel with snapshot memories of ice skating on Christmas Eve or my children's faces on Christmas Day.

When I think about my kids, I can sing along with the Christmas music I love and concur that this is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

But sometimes my mind goes back to memories from my own childhood. I don't have a lot of happy ones, but one Christmas memory stands out from the rest. As an adult I now understand that my mom and Gram did their best to give what they could out of their own hurting hearts.

Even so, the Christmas of my tenth year will forever remain a sweet one.

When my family came back to the States from Germany, we'd stay with my Gram in Kentucky. My Gram did Christmas up big. Lots of decorations. Lots of lights. Maybe that's where my love of candles started...

On the Big Day, before my brother and sister and I could come into the living room where the tree and our gifts were, my Gram had all the lights off but the tree. She made a huge to-do about us coming in together.

When allowed to enter, we charged into the sparkling room full-speed and then stopped right in front of the tree, eyes wide eyes and smiles huge.

My younger siblings squealed over their beautiful, shiny, new bikes.

But my big gift was sitting in a chair with dark brown fuzzy arms outstretched in a welcoming hug. It was a life-size teddy bear with the kindest eyes and soft fur.

That special bear was a constant friend throughout my tumultuous teen years. She even waited patiently for me to move into my first home. Years of storage didn't dim her kind eyes or muss up her soft fur.

And now she continues to give the same welcoming hugs with her forever kind eyes.

Only now she resides in my oldest daughter's room.

Every once in awhile I stop in and gaze at her fondly. She still smiles and still welcomes even the grown up me with her wide open arms.

And for a second it’s Christmas and I'm ten again, smiling big.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Authors' Christmas Memories

Ever wondered what your favorite authors reminisce about as the holidays draw near?

Here's an awesome way to find out... Check out C.J. Darlington's story My Favorite Christmas Memory on Title Trakk.

Make sure you read the entire article! There's one in there about stuffed horses and my kiddos open mouth wonder. ;-)

Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Shadow of Treason

I have another great book to share with you all today!

Tricia Goyer's A Shadow of Treason , book 2 in the Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War series.

I had the privilege of endorsing the first book in this awesome series, A Valley of Betrayal:

"A Valley of Betrayal is a haunting depiction of the autocracies of war and the triumph of faith. Through the power of story Tricia brings history alive so that we never forget the battles that have been fought and the brave men and women who have gone before us."

Tricia is an amazing author and each of these books packs an incredible story, vivid characters, and wisdom from ages past.

A Shadow of Treason

Sophie discovers that nothing is as she first imagined. When Walt, the reporter who helped her over the border, shows up again after Guernica is bombed, Sophie is given an impossible mission. She must leave behind the man she's fallen in love with and return to the person who betrayed her. Another layer of the war in Spain is revealed as Sophie is drawn into the international espionage schemes that could turn the tide of the war and help protect the soldiers from the International Brigade ... she must find a way to get a critical piece of information to Walt in time.

Q and A with Tricia!

Q: A Shadow of Treason follows A Valley of Betrayal. This is the first time you've written books as a series instead of stand alone. Which way do you like better?

A: I love writing in series. It was great to continue with the same characters. In my stand-alone books I fell in love with these people and then I had to say good-bye after one book. It was wonderful to be able to continue on.

Q: In A Shadow of Treason Sophie must return to the person who betrayed her in an effort to help the Spanish people. It makes the book hard to put down because the reader has to know how Sophie's heart will deal with it. Why did you decide to make this an element of the book?

A: There are very few of us who go through life without giving away a part of our hearts to someone who didn't deserve it. Even though Sophie had the best intentions, she gave away her heart and she was hurt-not only that she must revisit those emotions.

I wanted to include this element-to delve into the topic that emotions are sometimes as big of a trap as any physical cage. Emotions are real and they guide us -- even when we don't want to admit it. Poor Sophie, not only does she have to deal with a war around her -- she also has to deal with a war within herself. It's something I've battled, and mostly likely others have too.

Q: There is an interesting element that arises in this book and that is Spanish gold. I know you can't tell us what happens in this book, but can you give us a brief history of this gold?

A: Sure. When I was researching I came upon something interesting. The Spaniards, as we know, had taken much Aztec and Inca gold during the time of the conquistadors. Well, at the start of The Spanish Civil War much of this gold was still held in Madrid. In fact Spain had the fourth largest gold reserves in the world at that time. The Republican government was afraid Franco would take the city and the gold. They had to get it out of Madrid and this included transporting priceless artifacts. The element of gold does make its way into my story. It was great to include this little-known (and true!) element into my story.

Q: Another historical fact I learned about was the Nazi involvement during this time. Not only were the Germans active in Spain, but they had spy networks busy around the world. How did you find out about this?

A: I love reading tons of research books. Usually I find one little element that I dig out and turn into a plot line. This is what happened with my plot-line for the Nazi pilot, Ritter. I dug up this bit of research of Nazi involvement in Spain -- and the United States -- because a lot of people aren't aware of the Nazi involvement prior to WWII. The truth is they were busy at work getting the land, information, and resources they needed far before they threatened the nations around them. The Germans knew what they wanted and how to get it. And most of the time they succeeded!

Q: A Shadow of Treason is Book Two. When will Book Three be out? Can you give us a hint of how the story continues?

A: Book Three is A Whisper of Freedom. It will be out February 2008. The characters that we love are all still in the midst of danger at the end of Book Two. Book Three continues their stories as we follow their journeys in -- and (for a few) out -- of Spain. It's an exciting conclusion to the series!

Q: Wow, so we have a least one more fiction book to look forward to in the near future. Are you working on any non-fiction?

A: Yes, I have two non-fiction books that will be out the early part of 2008. Generation NeXt Marriage is a marriage book for today's couples. It talks about our marriage role models, our struggles, and what we're doing right as a generation. It also gives advice for holding it together.

I've also been privileged to work on the teen edition of Max Lucado's book 3:16. It was a great project to work on. What an honor!

Tricia's Bio:

Tricia Goyer has published over 300 articles for national publications such as Today's Christian Woman, Guideposts for Kids, and Focus on the Family, and is the co-author of Meal Time Moments (Focus on the Family). She has led numerous Bible Studies, and her study notes appear in the Women of Faith Study Bible (Zondervan).

She has written seven novels for Moody Publishing:
From Dust and Ashes (2003)
Night Song (2004)
Dawn of a Thousand Nights (2005);
Arms of Deliverance (2006)
A Valley of Betrayal (2007)
A Shadow of Treason (Fall 2007)
A Whisper of Freedom (February 2008)

Night Song was awarded American Christian Fiction Writer's 2005 Book of the Year for Best Long Historical. Dawn of a Thousand Nights won the same award in 2006.

Tricia has also written Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom (Zondervan, 2004), 10 Minutes to Showtime (Thomas Nelson, 2004), and Generation NeXt Parenting (Multnomah, 2006). Life Interrupted was a 2005 Gold Medallion finalist in the Youth Category.

Also, coming out in the next year are: My Life, Unscripted (Thomas Nelson, 2007), Generation NeXt Marriage (Multnomah, Spring 2008), and 3:16-the teen version of the a book by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson, Spring 2008).

Tricia and her husband John live with their three children in Kalispell, Montana. Tricia's grandmother also lives with them, and Tricia volunteers mentoring teen moms and leading children's church. Although Tricia doesn't live on a farm, she can hit one with a rock by standing on her back porch and giving it a good throw.

Also, be sure to check out this great giveaway...

I'm having a weekly drawing during the blog tour! Anyone who signs up for my newsletter, will be eligible to win both A Valley of Betrayal and A Shadow of Treason! easy is that? Go here, sign up for my newsletter and wait by your mailbox! Easy...(well actually I'll notify you via email -- so don't really wait at your mailbox!)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What Lies Within

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

What Lies Within
Multnomah Fiction (November 20, 2007)
Karen Ball

Nothing’s going to stop Kyla…

until the ground crumbles beneath her feet.

Kyla Justice has arrived. Her company, Justice Construction, is one of the most critically acclaimed, commercially successful companies in the Pacific Northwest. And yet, something is missing. Not until she’s called on to build a center for inner-city kids does she realize what it is: her sense of purpose. Now nothing can stop her, not the low budget, not supply problems, not gang opposition, not her boyfriend’s suggestion that she sell her business and marry him–and most especially not that disagreeable Rafael Murphy.

Rafe Murphy understands battle. Wounded in action, this Force Recon Marine carries the scars–and the nightmares–to prove it. Though he can’t fight overseas any longer, he’s found his place as a warrior in the civilian world. So he soldiers on, trusting that one of these days, God will reveal to him why Rafe survived the ambush in Iraq. That day has arrived.

Kyla and Rafe both discover that determination alone won’t carry them through danger and challenges. When gang violence threatens their very foundations, there’s only one way to survive: rely on each other, be real–and surrender to God.

In other words, risk everything…


Karen Ball is a bestselling novelist and also the editor behind several of today's bestselling Christian novels. Her love for words was passed down through her father and grandfather - both pastors who shared God's truth through sermons and storytelling.

Blending humor, poignancy, and honesty, Karen's writing style is a powerful force for revealing God's truth. She lives in Oregon with her husband, Don, and their "kids," Bodhan, a mischief-making Siberian husky, and Dakota, an Aussie-terrier mix who should have been named "Destructo."

Amy here: I LOVED the entire Family Honor Series, starting with one of my favorite books~ Shattered Justice. Powerful writing, full and intriguing characters, and stories that makes readers think are just a few ways to describe all three books in this series.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas Traditions

Christmas is a favorite family holiday, right above birthdays. We decorate big, plan lots of fun things, and more than any other holiday we spend lots of time just being together.

My oldest asked us last night what was our favorite Christmas tradition. We all had more than one.

Here are some that made everyone's list...

Baking Christmas cookies. Funny thing was that not only do my kids remember the family time and fun, but they also talk about why we do this massive baking project every year. We bake most of the 15- 20 dozen cookies for neighbors, teachers, co-workers, and friends.

The Advent calendar and wreath. Long ago, when my oldest was little the Advent calendar was her absolute favorite tradition. She'd rush downstairs to the living room just so she could put the Baby Jesus in the manger bed Christmas morning. We still do this first thing. But now three sets of little hands lovingly put the Baby Jesus up on the calendar.

Singing or performing a skit on Christmas Eve. Ever since my middle daughter was about two, we've done something related to the Christmas story for family that gathers at our house the day before Christmas.

My girls have written and enacted the entire story from Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem to the birth of Jesus. That year all the adults were in tears as our oldest "delivered" the baby with sound effects and an explanation of what happened.

The girls have also recited my favorite Christmas book~ This is the Star~ and other poems, performed Silent Night in sign language, and We Three (Queens) of Orient Are.

This is one of my favorite traditions because my daughters get so excited about ways to tell the story of Jesus and make their family laugh in the process.

Another tradition is new family and individual ornaments for each year. This is a tradition passed down from my family and one that's very special to me. Each year we choose a family ornament and then each of our girls pick out something that signifies an important event for the past year. We have Elmo with a drum for the year our youngest loved the furry red Sesame Street character. And we have ballet dresses, ballet shoes, horses, and crayon box ornaments.

My favorite ornaments are the ones that signify the years my girls each asked Jesus into their hearts. There's a princess ornament this year to show my youngest is now a child of the King.

Just thinking about our family traditions leaves me a little misty eyed. And in awe of how much I have to be thankful for.

At the top of that thankful list aren't the Christmas decorations, cookies, or traditions. But all of those are reminders to me and to my family of the real reason for the season...

The baby who was born to die and rise again.


The Light of the world more powerful and beautiful than any holiday decoration.

The Bread of life more nourishing and sweet than any holiday treat~ even chocolate.

What about you all? What are your favorite traditions and how to they point you back to the heart of Christmas?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A little Christmas fun

Our tree is up, the house is decorated, our Christmas cards are sent, and the presents are (almost) all under the tree. There are Christmas tart warmers burning and holiday cookies ready to send to neighbors, Sunday school teachers and co-workers.

And while all those activities were fun, I most enjoy having it all DONE. ;-)

Now I can just sit by tree light and read or sing with my kids. Maybe I'm weird (no comments about that please) but just looking at Christmas decorations makes me smile.

I remember where every candle and decoration was purchased, the story behind every Christmas ornament we've given the kids, every Christmas show my children put on for family on Christmas Eve, and how my kiddos look on Christmas morning. And how my hubby's smile looks by tree light.

I think I could even recite most of our beloved Christmas books.

Maybe that's why I can't remember how to spell. LOL

Anyway, another fun thing we do during the holidays is make snowflakes.

Yes, it's a frivolous devourer of time, but it's fun and my kids enjoy it as much as I do. ;-)

If you'd like to join us in this tradition, here's the info...

Need a Snow Day?

What are some of the fun things you do during the holidays?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

An early Christmas present

Last night, I received one of the best Christmas gifts ever. It's one that will keep on giving long past the holiday season.

And no, it's not a year's supply of Godiva. Although that would be incredible. :-)

Before I reveal this incredible present, I need to paint a little picture to offer some perspective.

Imagine with me a frustrated writer an hour before a major deadline who’s still short ten thousand words. And this deadline will make or break his or her career.

Imagine too that this author spent the months preceding this deadline deliberately avoiding the computer, research, reading, and thinking about the book that was due.

Then imagine that this author's gracious and kind editor extended the deadline. Not only that, this editor gave the author a number of amazing suggestions to help this author past the writer's block and plot problems.

But what if this author ~ instead of receiving this gift and working diligently to meet the extended deadline ~ turns off the computer and decides to ignore the editor's help? Not only that but the author again waits until the day before the deadline to even think about doing the necessary work.

Would this author deserve another deadline? The editor's gracious help?

Now imagine the above author is me. Only the issue isn't a deadline but a command from God that looks as insurmountable as writing ten thousand words in one hour. And that after being extended over-the-top grace many times.

Enter the above mentioned early Christmas present.

What is it?

A huge box.

Exciting huh?

How about if I mention this box is just my size? In fact, it perfectly fits around me and squeezes until the only thing I can do is fall on my knees and look up.

This box is in reality a set of circumstances that only God could orchestrate with the sole intention of "encouraging" me to stop running from His command to forgive.

And once I opened this gift, I realized it's one of the best presents I've ever received.

Because yesterday, those box-like circumstances forced me to see that my running in fear from the one thing God was asking of me~ for my good~ was not only foolish, but was also hurting me and everyone around me.

Thankfully, God is even more gracious than the above example of an awesome editor's deadline extension. No matter how I tried to avoid the one issue that was eating away at my soul, God never gave up on leading me back to the truth.

He never gave up on me either. Even when I was sure I deserved nothing more than his disapproval and scorn.

What's even more amazing is the freedom and peace that comes along with obedience. Especially the obedience that tastes of salty tears and humble pie.

I don't know where you all are this holiday season or what gift (or box) you need to "encourage" you to visit the place you need most~ the arms of Jesus. But I'm praying you receive it.

Open it with care, knowing the One who loves you best and knows you completely sent it for one very important reason ~ to lead you deeper into Him.

And then, once you've unwrapped this gift, share it.

We're all in need this holiday season.

And you never know how much the lesson you've learned from opening your holiday box will influence the lives around you.

It might just fill the stable anew with kneeling shepherds and awed wise men giving their gifts to the Lord.

So come and see, and join me there. It's the only best place to be for Christmas and all year round.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thankful hearts

My kiddos sing this song about how there's "so much, so much, so much, to be thankful for!"

I'm thankful for a ton of things this year, some easy to give thanks for and some much harder to lift my head and say, "Thanks, Daddy."

But for both, I'm gonna join in my kid's song and share some of the things I'm thankful for this year. I hope as you read my list, you'll think about what God has done in and around you this year too.

I'm heart thankful for...

The everyday reality that my Daddy has never and will never give up on me.

A husband I love, hate, and would never be the person I am without. Iron sharpening iron is never a fun or painless process. But I would not know the Lord like I do if not for the man God put in my life as my soul mate, partner, and best friend. Even when I sin in my anger and say things I shouldn't, I know my husband loves me and forgives me. He knows I do the same for him. Life is richer and far bigger because I have a husband who always points me back to the Lord.

Three precious daughters who love well, laugh a lot, and hold a mirror up so that I see not only my sin and am led to repent, but they also show me God at work in all five of the Wallace clan.

Living a dream. Holding my first novel in my hands and knowing God alone brought me to this place for my good and His glory. It hasn't often felt "good" but I've always had a sense that God was at work in the good, bad, and sometimes ugly parts. It's beautiful to look back over this year and see God's fingerprints in everything.

Heart chocolate. Friends and words that remind me just how big and rich God is and what life abundant looks like.

My best friend, Jen. She tells me when I'm sinning and when I "done good." She knows so much about me and loves me anyway. And she never lets me forget just how much she knows. ;-)

My loving journey buddy, Sharon. She and I have shared holy laughter and painful tears. And just getting to talk reminds me what an awesome heavenly Daddy we have~ even when the road is marked with suffering.

My incredible church family. We've finally found a place where it's safe to be messy and forgiven and in need of prayer.

My prayer group. They've prayed me through what felt as close to hell as I'd like to touch and into the loving arms of our God who died so that we might know life abundantly.

An amazing group of friends all across the US and into Canada and Australia. I'm so honored to call so many amazing women my friends.

I'm also very thankful for every person who makes up this blog community~ you all are a joy to connect with in cyberspace.

I'm thankful for every reader of Ransomed Dreams and for those who've written to say God used it in their lives. What a humbling thing to know God is on the move in hearts and I get to be a tiny part of that amazing work.

A few more reasons to give thanks...

We live in a free country because men and women are willing to give their lives to protect us.

We serve a God who will strengthen our backs instead of taking away the painful parts of life Because He knows the good He's doing in our hearts and in the lives of others we may never know this side of heaven.

No matter where you are this Thanksgiving week, I pray you'll think of at least one thing for which you can truly lift your eyes to heaven and say thank you from your heart.

Sometimes that's a painful sacrifice to praise in the midst of pain. You're not alone.

You have nail-scared hands holding up your weary ones. I pray you'll rest in them.

And give thanks.

Let's encourage one another today and share... what are you thankful for?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Writer's Joy

If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a car trip with two incredible authors is worth millions of stories!

And oh the stories I could tell! But I won't. Because there are reciprocal stories I'd rather not see on the internet. ;-)

I will suggest talking to Creston Mapes about his feelings regarding Burger King and their mayo issues. And you'll get a good story if you ask Cindy Woodsmall about the turkey's thoughts on Thanksgiving....

But instead of telling stories that will get me in trouble, I'll show you some highlights....

First off, every good trip starts with establishing who's in charge. In our case, we're all kings and queens...

A good road trip continues with Starbucks...

And more Starbucks. We don't have pictures of these stops because all authors were too busy getting Venti cups of Joe to go. ;-)

Another thing a good road trip needs is a wonderful destination. We had that in spades because we got to stay with another amazing author, my friend, Beth White.

Besides the tears from laughing so much, the times when all three of us were on cell phones, and the awesome time we had just hanging out, we were privileged to be a part of a multi-author booksigning and teaching time at Crossroads Books and Gifts in Mobile, Alabama.

Everyone there was so wonderful! If you're ever in Mobile, stop by and say hi to these great folks!

Do notice the chocolate I brought just for our new friend, Joan, WPAS 89.1 radio host of Morning Light with Joan Hill.

After a fantastic time meeting some wonderful folks, the three of us headed home, passing up a Starbucks right across the street from the bookstore. A choice two of us were desperately regretting as we searched on Cindy's GPS for the nearest Starbucks.

We waited miles and miles to reach a city with the hope of coffee ahead.

Nearing a major road change from I-65 to I-85, we desperately searched for the green and white sign.

We kept our eyes focused on the goal.

We prayed. Hoped. And looked some more.

Then...praise God we found one! And again all three authors loaded up with Ventis and got on the road with cell phones in hand.

Our road trip continued with more brainstorming, talking, and laughing till we cried.

One of the most important things I learned this trip was what a gift author-friends are. Just like my mom-friends and the awesome friends at church and my homeschool group, they "get" me. And life is so much sweeter shared with people who understand and love you for who you are.

As we enter into Thanksgiving week, I pray we'll all look up and around and see so many things~ both the big and the small~ that have made our lives richer because God has blessed us over and above all we can imagine.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

lessons from sick land

In the Wallace home, we've all been slammed with allergies turned super nasty. My youngest even ended up in the ER with croup. Praise God, she's okay and we're all in the recovery process now.

It's funny listening to little one's perception of how long sickness lasts. "I'll NEVER be well again!" and "I'm gonna cough till my lungs are gone." have all been heard this week. Add to that my own three-year-oldish demands at 2AM~ "God! I NEED sleep!"

Thankfully, He's good and He understands. Even when sickness dissolves us into little kid perspectives.

Last night was a tough one because I REALLY needed sleep. Today I have an interview that I've been looking forward to for weeks and a road trip to Alabama this weekend with two other authors to teach.

And I'm almost voiceless and so tired I nearly fell asleep at lunch.

But you know what?

God is still good. And He will provide all we need for everything He calls us to do.

The first time I vividly saw this lesson lived out was at my first writer's conference in 2002. Due to things beyond my control, I got a total of maybe one hour of sleep the night before I had three big meetings with editors and agents.

I was well beyond exhaustion and looked it.

Dragging myself through breakfast and morning classes, I finally arrived at the door to my first very important appointment.

I'll never forget the energy that surged and how God showed up. Each of my meetings went well and I ended the day more alive and in awe than I'd been in a long time.

God provided just what I needed, exactly when I needed it.

I'd still prefer a good night sleep most days. ;-) But I try to remember that I've seen God do so much more than I could imagine in the midst of my weaknesses.

I have a feeling I'll get to see God in action in the midst of my weakness once again this weekend. And I'd SOOOO appreciate your prayers for this Saturday! Here's the scoop...

November 17, 2007 - The Art of Fiction Writing with Cindy Woodsmall, Creston Mapes, and Amy Wallace at Crossroads Books & Gifts in Mobile, AL

We'll also be doing a booksigning after the teaching time. So any of you all in or near Mobile, come on out and join us! I'm bringing chocolate. ;-)

In the meantime, it’d be a huge encouragement to me to hear how you’ve seen God in action through your weaknesses. Please share your story in the comments!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Little Things Count

I used to tell my high school seniors at church to never underestimate the power of a smile or a kind word. In a world where most people are too busy to look anyone in the eye, let alone smile, the “little” gesture of a quick grin or a kind hello might seem inconsequential. But it’s not. It matters.

It used to be that around the holidays people would smile more and exchange friendly greetings. I don't know about you all, but I've seen that change in the last few years. More people are in a hurry, on cell phones, or texting people as they do their rushed shopping.

I was thinking about all this the other day and remembered a story from back in my younger days. (I'm a little sad that I can actually use that phrase ;-) ) This story illustrates just how much little things count.

Way back when, I existed on the fringes of the “in” crowd in high school. I never quite fit completely anywhere. So when we settled back in the States my sophomore year, I took what I’d learned from being an Army brat and put it to work.

How to Make Friends 101 was a hard lesson, learned quickly, when my friendship pool changed often in overseas military schools.

Finding myself back in Kentucky for tenth grade, I decided that instead of trying to find a spot in that elusive “in” crowd, I'd talk to and smile at people from all the Breakfast Club groups. I never thought it made much of a difference to anyone because no matter how much I smiled, I still remained on the fringe of all the groups.

Then I graduated and had to start all over in college. But I came back to my high school for a visit my freshman year and ran into a guy I’d only said hi to a few times when we were both sliding into classes right before the bell. I remembered him being a loner in school and always wondered why he looked so sad most of the time.

It shocked me that he remembered me. Called me by name even. I guess my surprise registered on my face because he shrugged and said quietly, “Sure I remember you. You always smiled and took the time to say hi.”

I’ll never forget that flicker of acceptance in his eyes that day. Or his smile.

A grin and a greeting. Simple gestures. Little things. But it’s amazing how in God’s economy those little gifts yield a huge return.

They make us more like Jesus to a hurting world. And they serve that hurting world as a reminder of a powerful truth. Each and every one of us matters.

So how about you all? Have you been the recipient of a smile and a greeting that made a difference on a hard day? Please share that in the comments!

Also, do any of you all have plans for ways to make little gestures of kindness count this holiday season? If you're anywhere in the Georgia area, I can guarantee your smile to this sometimes hurried mom with three little ones will make a huge difference!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My favorite book

I've hinted about this book for a while now, so I thought it only fair to fess up and share not just my #1 favorite book, but #2 as well.

First I'll give you some clues....

Book #1 tag line is: "In a fierce struggle for survival, don't mess with a mom." Amen!

Book #2 tag line is: "Chosen to save a people, called to serve an enemy."

Next I will tell you that I'm a pretty mainstream reader. I have a few favorite authors in the genres I like best. Those would be humor, some chick lit, some suspense, and a whole lotta non-fiction.

But my top two favorite books of all time are none of the above.

What captured me about these two stories is that no other author has taken me to another world and given me an exciting story, a little humor, characters I want to have as friends, and made me cry and worship the Lord at the same time.

All this in one book? Absolutely.

There are word pictures and things that happened to these characters that will stay in my mind and heart for a lifetime. Things that God uses over and over to remind me of truth.

That's powerful writing.

Know who I'm talking about yet?

Time for a hint~ these books are both by author Sharon Hinck

Here's what I had to say in the two Amazon reviews I wrote:

The Restorer is a Calgon escape which renews your spirit, refreshes your soul, and reminds you of truth all wrapped up in an engaging and well-written novel.

I loved the well-developed characters, intense action, and enthralling story world Sharon Hinck created. But even more than that I loved how Sharon wrote a story that reveals God's awesome character in so many exciting ways. In every page I could see His fingerprints, and in every plot twist God opened my eyes to truth I could apply to my life. Mind poison and things not being what they seem are not solely for alternate worlds; we fight battles similar to Susan's every day.

Sharon Hinck has successfully written a novel that will inspire the hero in all of us and remind us of the redemptive hand of God in the most difficult situations.

So there you have it~ The Restorer is my #1 book of all time.

Now for #2...

This is a story for anyone who's ever felt the sting of rejection and the hunger for something more.

Kieran's journey and the twists and turns of this story are beautifully portrayed, action-packed, and full of real-life emotion. From incredible sword fights to the passion and pain of fulfilling a calling, this story captivated me from page one and kept me up late at night.

Whether you're a fantasy fan, a mom-lit reader, or someone who simply enjoys an excellent novel, The Restorer's Son is sure to establish Sharon Hinck as a beloved favorite author.

Now you know my top two books of all time. And because I love these books so much and want my friends to enjoy them too... I have a copy of The Restorer's Son just for you!

Leave me a note in the guestbook and I'll pick a name the end of next week.

Happy reading you all!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Starting something new explained

Here's the short list of big things God has been doing:

God lead us to a church home and an awesome home group

My baby's getting baptized

I'm back to writing again and LOVING it

We have a full calendar~ not of "stuff" to get through, but of things we're LOOKING FORWARD to doing with people we care about

I have an idea for my next series that I'm EXCITED about

My family is developing friendships like we've prayed to have for a long time

I can wear T-shirts again (Just imagine an elephant sitting on your shoulder roasting marshmallows any time you lift your arm and then you'll understand why this is a huge praise!)

I've seen God do miracles

We're undergoing some iron sharpening iron stuff in the Wallace home again

All of the items on this list, some great and some challenging, are all things I'm praising God for~ especially after the very difficult last four months of life.

But you know what? Without these last painful months, these awesome things might not have seemed quite as amazing.

Funny how pain makes you even more thankful when the trial is over. Even more open to seeing the everyday miracles that God showers on us.

I didn't look for everyday miracles when life hurt so much. But looking back, I see so many of them. Days when I made the deadlines despite the intense pain. Moments when my kids and hubby stepped in and did something special to encourage me.

Times when I know it was God's presence alone that gave me my next breath.

So I guess I will add this to the above list....

I'm thankful for trials and the rainbows God reveals when the showers begin to fade.

And I'm thankful to have some perspective on this past year. It's been a tough one. But God never left. He never gave up. And He allowed the trials to stay only long enough to reveal His hand in it all.

God is good all the time. In trials and pain. In moments of calm. In the sunshine and the tears.

Thanks, Daddy. You knew what You were doing all along.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Starting something new

Today I'm finally back to writing after seven months of promotion and editing work. I'm SO excited. And a little nervous.

I'd appreciate your prayers.

After this weekend, I hope to get back to blogging too. God has been on the move in my life and my family's, so I have lots to share.

Plus, I have my absolute favorite book of all time to give away soon....

Abundant grace you all! See you soon!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Awesome way to welcome the holidays

By: Rene Gutteridge

Readers have come to love the eccentric characters from Skary, Indiana, in Rene Gutteridge’s popular Boo! series. Now, in Boo, Humbug! they’re back – and they’re stirring up a large amount of holiday havoc.

It’s Christmastime in Skary, and the town is planning an original production of A Christmas Carol with a horror spin. As showtime approaches, things go very awry for director Lois Stepaphanopolis. She panics when she discovers that her marketing director loathes Christmas and that the audience has been promised not Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but the real Christmas story. Can the actors pull off the improv of all improvs and convince their community to embrace the true meaning of the Christmas season?

Boo, Humbug! offers readers a delightful glimpse into small town, community life with heartwarming humor and winsome characters. And in the end, the true meaning of Christmas shines out bright and clear, in a decidedly un-Skary way.

Author Bio

Rene Gutteridge is the author of 10 novels, including the Boo series, the Storm series, The Occupational Hazards series and My Life as a Doormat, a Women of Faith selection for 2006. She has been published over 30 times as a playwright, and holds a degree in screenwriting, graduating magna cum laude from Oklahoma State University. Rene is married to Sean, a musician, and they have two young children. They make their home in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Amy here: Rene is one of my favorite authors and I was SO excited to hear that another Boo book was in the works. Having read this fun book, I'm thrilled to share Rene's awesome town of Skary, Indiana and her amazing writing with you all!

This book was a real holiday treat with a twist! I laughed and nodded in agreement with the cast of quirky characters as they sorted through new parenting struggles and community life.

Leave me a note and I'll pick TWO blessed winners of this great new book!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Get the scoop!

Here's a very cool scoop to get in on...

Today's blog tour introduces a friend of mine~ the amazing Tricia Goyer~ and one of her unique and incredible books~ My Life, Unscripted.

Below you'll find...

an interview with Tricia

a contest you won't want to miss

links to read more

and a chance to win a copy of this awesome book!

my life, unscripted

Drawing on Biblical principles, My Life, Unscripted guides girls through the tumultuous teen years by teaching them to have a plan of attack before temptation or hardship come.

Tricia's Script:

Looking back at my drama-filled teen years I now wonder ... What was I thinking?

The truth? I wasn't. I lived from day to day on every wave of emotion. Some days excitement and passion partnered up, pattering wildly within my heart.

Other days, depression and anxiety were my silent friends. I lived each day as it came, with no plan for my future, for my relationships, or for my heart.

I lived my life completely unscripted ... and, well, it didn't go well for me. Teen pregnancy and a broken heart were only two consequences. Yet my prayer is that when teen girls are asked Who's Writing Your Life? their answer will be ME ... with the guidance of God, My Director.

First Chapter of My Life, Unscripted

An interview with Tricia Goyer!

Q: Tell me about My Life, Unscripted

Sure! With real-life scripts, screenwriting terms, and timely topics, My Life, Unscripted helps teen girls explore their own inner struggles and outward relationships. It's my hope they'll learn the importance of "scripting" their own responses BEFORE challenging life-situations arise.

By contrasting real-life with TV/movies, it's my hope that teen girls will understand they don't have to get caught up in the drama. They don't have to face situations as they arise, but rather they can think about, pray about, and consider how to face these situations before they hit the big screen of their lives.

Q: Is it true that much of YOUR story shows up in these pages?

Gulp. Yes, I'm afraid so. In fact, I shared parts of my story that I SWORE I'd never tell a soul.

My teenage script (portrayed in the book as Trish Valley) wasn't one I'd suggest my daughter, nor my readers to copy.

Q: Tell me about these scripts.

The introductory script of Trish Valley shows a scene where Trish urges her mom to follow Trish's boyfriend into the McDonald's parking lot so she can "spill her news." The other girl in the car and her boyfriend's response to Trish's pregnancy are unfortunately not fiction. I wrote out the scenes as they would appear in an actual script. I even use all the correct terms and layout.

Q: In addition to teen pregnancy, what are some of the other "scripts"?

Do I have to tell? Well, I guess it's in print now! Let me see: fists fights with a rival, sneaking out of my parents' house, getting caught by my boyfriend kissing his best friend--does that give you an idea? Do I have to go on?

Q: No, you can stop there. But WHY? Why did you decide to share these stories?

First, because I want girls to understand the heartache of unwise decisions. I want to them to be able to relate to me, rather than feeling preached at. Also, I wanted to share my stories because many young women have faced the same type of situations, or they know friends who have. And finally because they are great object lessons for the importance of following biblical truth. That is something I did learn!

Q: What does your teenage daughter think about this book?

Leslie thinks it's great I'm able to connect with other teens. She's heard these stories for a while! She was 11-years-old when we first started volunteering together at a support group for teenage mothers together. As I taught the young moms things like nutrition and potty training, Leslie assisted adults in babysitting the toddlers. And while we loved giving and serving, it was the ride home that soon became the most meaningful part. As Leslie sat in the passenger's seat, I could see her mind considering my life as a teen mom, and she started asking questions.

Although it was hard to talk about my past mistakes, I knew this was an ideal opportunity to share real-life truths with my daughter. Each person walking this earth has regrets. Our talks showed me that instead of hiding my past troubles (and hoping my kids didn't find out) sharing my mistakes could actually give my daughter a better understanding to why values and wise decision-making skills are important.

Q: So now you're "having a heart-to-heart" with other teens through this book?

I sure hope that's how they see it! Those first talks with my daughter brought us closer, but I knew not every girl has had someone to offer advice such as: "build a supporting cast of people you can trust" or "consider the character qualities you'd like for a leading man."

Q: Okay, so your book is for teens, but what about the moms out there who feel they have past mistakes they don't want to share?

Well, they could each write a book about their teen years! Ha- just kidding!

But for those moms out there, maybe your teen years were not as drama-filled as mine. Or, if they were, maybe you are fearful of sharing them with your teen. The truth is, teens learn best not with information and knowledge, but rather by hearing life examples and understanding how decisions can affect all parts of our lives. So, time to get brave, Mom. Open your heart and share what worked and what didn't. It just might help your daughter write a better script for herself.

Oh, yes, and consider buying your daughter My Life, Unscripted! Hopefully every teen girl can get some take-away to scripting a bright future!

Tricia's Bio

Tricia Goyer has published over 300 articles for national publications such as Today's Christian Woman, Guideposts for Kids, and Focus on the Family, and is the co-author of Meal Time Moments (Focus on the Family). She has led numerous Bible Studies, and her study notes appear in the Women of Faith Study Bible (Zondervan).

She has written seven novels for Moody Publishing: From Dust and Ashes (2003); Night Song (2004), Dawn of a Thousand Nights (2005); Arms of Deliverance (2006); A Valley of Betrayal (2007); A Shadow of Treason (Fall 2007); and A Whisper of Freedom (Spring 2008). Night Song was awarded American Christian Fiction Writer's 2005 Book of the Year for Best Long Historical. Dawn of a Thousand Nights won the same award in 2006.

Tricia has also written Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom (Zondervan, 2004), 10 Minutes to Showtime (Thomas Nelson, 2004), and Generation NeXt Parenting (Multnomah, 2006). Life Interrupted was a 2005 Gold Medallion finalist in the Youth Category. Also, coming out in the next year are: My Life, Unscripted (Thomas Nelson, 2007), Generation NeXt Marriage (Multnomah, Spring 2008), and 3:16-the teen version of the a book by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson, Spring 2008).

Tricia and her husband John live with their three children in Kalispell, Montana. Tricia's grandmother also lives with them, and Tricia volunteers mentoring teen moms and leading children's church. Although Tricia doesn't live on a farm, she can hit one with a rock by standing on her back porch and giving it a good throw.

Tricia has two books that will be out soon ...A Shadow of Treason (Moody Publishing), Fall 2007 and Generation NeXt Marriage (Multnomah), January 2008

Here's the contest scoop:

The Facts of Life was teen girl drama at its finest. Yet today's teens know life is NOT like the movies. Real life means real drama ... something teens face on a daily basis. Yet, do teens have to let their lives be molded by every wave of emotion?

My Life, Unscripted empowers teen girls to write their own script and direct their own life by using God's Script as a guide.

Tricia would LOVE to have you write a sample script from your teen years and post it on your blog along with information about this book! It could be where you make a good choice ... or a not so good one. Then share briefly how God's Word helps you as you script YOUR life!

The person with most creative blog post during the tour will win a $100 gift certificate to Amazon or a gift basket which includes starbucks coffee, amazon gift card, an itunes gift card and more.

There will also be 5 runner up small gift baskets.

Amy here: This is an AWESOME book for those of us heading into the teen years or those of us who teach teens. Leave me a note in the guestbook and I'll draw a winner for this great book at the end of the week.

Plus, let us know if you write a sample script! I'd love to check it out!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Baby

All day yesterday, we celebrated the wonderful occasion of my baby's birthday. We spent the day at Zoo Atlanta, laughing, taking pictures, and relishing a wonderful time with family.

Being a nostalgic kinda gal, I wanted to enjoy looking at my Sweet Sunshine's baby book, but it was difficult. Why? Well, four years ago yesterday my baby and I almost didn't make it home. Lots of complications in the delivery left my blood pressure bottoming out and then later kept me from holding my little one for waaaayyy too long.

But we made it. And I have a precious daughter who completes our family and truly lights up a room whenever she enters.

So instead of recounting the hard stuff, I'd like to share some funny things our littlest princess has said over the years...

In answer to the question, "Who are you?" my then two-year-old kiddo proudly answered, "I a pwincess!"

This same two year old loved Christmas lights and on one sight-seeing outing exclaimed, "Ho Ho Ho lites! Yea lites! Meh-wee Kiss-mas!"

At three, her favorite musician was Steve Green. She could often be found dancing around the playroom singing, "Me a cheerful giver ha ha ha ha ha!" and "I good meah-cine me." (Two scripture songs about being a cheerful giver and laughter being good medicine.)

Other three-year-old songs: "tee, oo, vee, double x, y, an z. Now you ABC's next time is you sing wiss me." and "Victee in Jezuss, my saves-your for-evr. He sot me an got me wiss His wedeemin bud!" (That's Victory in Jesus)

She's often heard saying, "I be sank-you-full!" (thankful) and if she's accused of doing something wrong, we hear: "No I amen't!"

And one of the best sayings, "Mommy, I lob you!"

But my favorite by far has been: "Jesus, come into my heart. Put your good heart into mine. Please forgive me for my sin an cleanse my heart."

Happy Birthday, my Sweet Sunshine! You light up my world and remind me that no matter what, God is good all the time. You also help me treasure these awesome moments of childhood. Thanks for not growing up too fast and for always being my baby.

Thanks for taking a happy walk down memory lane with me. I love birthdays. Remembering the good times, praising God for the years, and looking forward to what's in store. Even more, I adore and cherish the precious blessings the Lord has delivered into my home.

What about you? Any cute kid stories from your childhood or those of little ones you love? Let's extend yesterday's fun and have you all join in!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Tour for Never Look Back


Book summary:

The day Ivy Griffith walks out of jail after serving her sentence for withholding evidence in the Joe Hadley murder case, she is ready to put her years of pain and drug abuse behind her. A new job at her parents’ Christian camp in Colorado promises stability in this new season, but she is unprepared for her brother’s indifference toward her and her son, Montana. When camp worker Rue Kessler takes an interest in Montana, Ivy hopes the attention will make up for the rejection her son is feeling—and she doesn’t mind the attention Rue directs her way either.

Then a rash of crimes turns deadly, and Ivy suspects that Rue isn’t all he appears to be. But how can she condemn another when she knows the pain of accusation? The mysteries increase as Ivy struggles to move beyond the secrets of her past. Along the way, she discovers that the hardest person to forgive might be herself.

This fast-paced suspense novel continues the Phantom Hollow series with a rich exploration of the risks and possibilities of starting over.

Meet Kathy:

Award-winning author Kathy Herman has been on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) and at Better Books Christian Center in Texas. She has conducted educational seminars at CBA conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served as a judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards, and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market. She is the author of twelve novels, including the bestsellers Tested by Fire and All Things Hidden. Kathy and her husband, Paul, live in Tyler, Texas.

Amy here:
This was my first Kathy Herman novel and while I don't usually like jumping into a series out of order, I didn't feel lost with Never Look Back. Kathy told me just enough so that I could follow along with the characters and understand what happened before.

One of the things I most enjoyed about Never Look Back was the loving relationships between characters~ Ivy and her son, Montana and his grandparents, and the folks at the camp. From the start of the story I cared about Ivy and could relate to her desire to start over while at the same time having baggage to deal with which made not looking back difficult.

From the tense opening scene to the satisfying ending, Never Look Back is a story to devour, enjoy and listen to see what the Lord is saying to your heart.
In case you don't already have Never Look Back and book one~ Ever Present Danger~ you've come to the right place! ;-) I have both Phantom Hollow series books just for you!
Leave me a note in the guestbook and I'll draw a winner the end of the week.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I'm baaacckkk! ;-)

Well, sort of! I told a friend earlier that I'm doing great after surgery as long as I don't think about the elephant sitting on my shoulder roasting marshmallows in my bones.


But praise God, the surgery went well, they worked on the correct arm, and edits were turned in!!! There's a party going on for all that.

And I read an email note from a dear friend to find out she awarded this to me...

Amy at the Peek-A-Boo ICU. What can I say? This girlfriend is real about her faith...and I never fail to walk away without being forced to be real about mine.

Talk about a heart chocolate compliment!!! Thanks so much, Heather! You made my week!

Here's the definition of the award:

It is called Mathetes Award. Mathetes is the Greek word for disciple. The role of the disciple is to make more disciples (as written in the Great Commission).We are challenged to find five more people who share the message in their own ways. Winners of this award must pick five other "disciples" to pass it on to. The originator of the award is Dan King of management by God.

I hope you'll forgive me if I don't do all the links and such, because I'm starting to wear out. But this is such a beautiful award, I wanted to pass it on as well...

My five would be some extra special folks I know in real life and in the blogsphere who are true disciple makers with their heart chocolate lives...

My hubby~ he's growing and learning and even when we don't get along, I have to admit he loves God and longs to be the man God made him to be. He makes disciples at home, at work, and even at the grocery!

Sharon Hinck~ never have I met a writer who so clearly and cleverly shares the gospel and our God with such passion through her novels, her blog, her wonderful emails, and her life. I'm so glad you're my friend!

Heather Nations~ what a gift from God you are! You challenge me, encourage me, and make me want to be a better person. I know I'm not alone in being shown how to be more like Christ through you.

Jen Keithley~ God knew I needed both loving rebukes and laughter in abundance, so He chocolate covered my life through you. It helps that you send me mint chocolate chip brownies in the mail too. ;-)

I'm gonna do a three in one here and say my daughters~ you make disciples where ever you go because you show the world His love and joy. It's an honor to be your mommy and to watch God work in amazing ways through you.

Okay, well, I'm about spent, but it's good to pop back in and say hello! Thanks so much for your continued prayers!!!

Abundant grace!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In case you miss me...

I'm heading to the hospital in the morning for my long awaited shoulder surgery. Please pray!

I had to wait until edits were turned in and PRAISE GOD they are. ;-)

Since I'll be slinging around for a while and unable to type, I figured I'd leave you all with a great joke from my oldest daughter~ she was on 104.7 THE FISH!

And here's a way to hear from me while I'm recovering~ a very fun interview I did with a radio station in Canada~ UCB Canada

Never fear, I won't be gone too long. ;-) I have some cool blog tours coming up and more awesome books to give away. Plus, my baby's birthday and a picture to share.

And since God is God, I'm sure He'll have some things to teach me through this whole surgery thing. ;-) So stay tuned....

Abundant grace!!!

is introducing


Creston Mapes is a talented storyteller whose first two novels, Dark Star and Full Tilt, made him a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year awards and the Inspirational Readers Choice awards. Creston has written for major corporations, colleges, and ministries, including Coca-Cola, TNT Sports, Oracle, Focus on the Family, and In Touch Ministries.

Committed to his craft and his family, Creston makes his home in Georgia with his wife, Patty, and their four children. He's been married for twenty-one years to the girl he first loved way back in fourth grade. They have three lovely girls and a boy in a very close-knit family, spending a lot of time together - watching old classic movies, going on outings, and taking in various school and community events and activities. Creston loves to go for morning walks with his dog, read, paint watercolors, meet friends for coffee and Bible study, watch hockey, take his wife on dates, and spend time in God's Word.


Not everything that happens in Vegas has to stay in Vegas!

They said, “He’s a nobody.”

They were dead wrong.

When reporter Hudson Ambrose hears an early morning call on his police scanner about an injured person at a bus stop on Las Vegas Boulevard, he rushes to the scene to get the scoop.

His world is blown off its axis when he discovers a murdered homeless man with a bankbook in his pocket showing a balance of almost one million dollars. Should he wait for the police, knowing the case will get lost in reams of red tape, or swipe the bankbook and take the investigation–and perhaps a chunk of the money–into his own hands?

With sirens bearing down on the scene, Hudson makes an impulse decision that whisks him on a frantic search for answers, not only about the mysterious dead man, but about the lost soul lurking within himself.

Uncovering bizarre links between a plane crash, a Las Vegas pit boss, a dirty cop, and a widowed Atlanta business mogul, Hudson is forced to find out: who was Chester Holte, what was he doing on the streets, and why are his homeless friends convinced he was an angel in disguise?

“Nobody was absolutely riveting from the opening scene to the final page. With compelling characters, a plot that surprised me at every turn, and a subtle, yet profound message that moved me to tears, this book goes straight to the top of my highly recommended list.”- Deborah Raney, author of Remember to Forget and Within This Circle

“A taut, entertaining novel of mystery, intrigue, and spiritual truth. Creston Mapes delivers a winner in Nobody.”- James Scott Bell, bestselling author of No Legal Grounds and Try Dying

“Nobody had me fascinated from the first paragraph and kept the surprises coming to the very end. Somehow, as the pages flew by, it also managed to convey a beautiful picture of faith the size of a mustard seed. From now on I’ll read anything by Creston Mapes the instant it hits the shelves.”- Athol Dickson, Christy Award—winning author of River Rising and The Cure
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