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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Opened Eyes

It's been a long time since I've heart blogged and I'm feeling it. Sometimes it's because I have nothing worth saying. Most of the time, it's because God is still working in me and I don't have the words to explain.

But today God opened my eyes once again to a truth I've been struggling with for years. Today I have words express a little of what He's doing in me.

I can sum it up in a short statement: I've wasted a lot of life by living disrespectfully. From not calling my dad "Sir" when I knew that's what he wanted to being ugly in my attitude, tone of voice, and words to anyone and everyone who offended me.

It's doubtful most people who know me have seen any of this. I kept almost all of it inside. Buried it deep in my heart.

Until I got married. Then my husband got the full force of years of hurt. Some he created. A lot he didn't.

All of it disobedience to the Lord.

Deep inside, I knew my disrespectful attitude and actions were wrong. But I grew up believing love was supposed to be unconditional and respect had to be earned. I didn't know how to change those knee-jerk reactions.

Thankfully, God does.

It's taken years of sermons, books and talking with wise believers for me to willingly look up and ask God if respect was an issue I really needed schooling in.

I started doing that months ago.

And I do believe God laughed.

Not to be mean. But more along the lines of joy at knowing that I'm listening. And maybe a little humor at the enormous understatement of me thinking I "might" need to learn a bit about respect.

God has been faithful to open my eyes, break my pride and provide plenty of opportunities for me to exercise respect.

Let me just say very little of this path has been fun.

Then again, the benefits have been beyond compare. One of the best has been sensing God's smile as I react differently, especially to my family.

Another has been a far more peaceful and quiet heart. I'm spending less time thinking up sarcastic zingers and more time praying.

It's weird, but today I was working with one of the kids on a task that before has brought tears to both of us. And the words that flew out of my mouth this morning stunned me.

Then I smiled.

So did my little one.

Because the words weren't harsh, they were smiling and encouraging. And I had to laugh and look up again.

I know God smiled. Because the words were His. And my heart filled with awe at what He's doing and will continue to do.

It still amazes me what a difference a word spoken with kindness and respect can do. To the heart of the one speaking and to each of the hearers.

I pray my children are able to see the difference. I know their eyes are wide open to the lessons I'm teaching with every action and word. That used to frighten me. Now, I'm learning to keep my eyes open too. And fixed on the only perfect example.

The One who smiles when we look up. And who is ever willing to show us what we need to best reflect His love— the love He pours over us each and every day.

Monday, February 25, 2008

What's in a line?

I've been tagged by Trish Perry about the book I'm currently reading. Like many folks, I'm reading a couple books right now. But I'll use the one that's making me laugh out loud...

The "tag" says to turn to page 123 of the book, go to the fifth sentence and post the next three! Then tag five more people.

"I think about this. In the last few days, two men have offered me keys to their homes, and more importantly, access to their plasma widescreens. My pandering to their sense of chivalry has, apparently, worked flawlessly."

These lines are from Truffles by the Sea by Julie Carobini. Beach lit fun at its best!

As for tagging, if you'd like to play along...come join the fun and leave a comment. This is a great way to check out some potential reads!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Symphony of Secrets

For fans of great fiction, I have a book to personally recommend with the highest amount of stars possible!

Symphony of Secrets is an amazing novel by my all-time favorite author, Sharon Hinck! This is a story full of beautiful music, a touch of mystery and romance all tied together in an engaging story about a concert flutist mom and her cheerleader daughter. This is a story about dreams come true, and what happens when the truth behind the fantasy is revealed.

Beyond the incredible insider's glimpse at the beauty of music, the heart of this story is God's never ending, always loving pursuit of us~ even when we refuse to listen.

So pour yourself a cup of hot tea, sit back and relax. This story will awaken your senses, touch your heart and leave you clapping for an encore.

Book Description:

Talented flutist Amy Johnson's dreams come true when she wins a spot with the Minneapolis Symphony. But this amateur sleuth has trouble concentrating on the notes as she begins to see devious motives behind her fellow musicians' many mishaps.

Meanwhile, her musically talented daughter wants to give it all up for (gasp) the cheerleading squad! What's a musical mom to do?

Can Amy fine-tune her investigation before the symphony is forced to close and she loses not only her dream job but her promising new relationship with the conductor?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Heart Chocolate anyone?

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

On this most special and chocolaty day, there's a new HEART CHOCOLATE place on the web just for you! Please come check it out and let me know what you think.

Personally, I believe my awesome webmaster hubby did an AMAZING job! :-)

In addition to the new fun and interactive site, we've added the first chapter of Healing Promises for your reading pleasure. It's in a very cool book reader format that I hope you'll enjoy.

One last treat to share... there's still time to sign up for our once-a-year, extra yummy giveaway just for Dark Chocolate Suspense newsletter subscribers. All you need to do is visit HEART CHOCOLATE and click on the POS/ computer screen or the hidden mug for the newsletter sign-up. We'll announce the winner February 29th. Here's what someone will win....

A Healing Promises gift pack including a Healing Promises mug, a Starbucks giftcard, a box of Godiva Chocolates and a signed copy of Healing Promises, book 2 in the Defenders of Hope series.

In addition to savoring some chocolate fun online, I hope you'll spend this day enjoying laughter, love, and lots of great chocolate! :-)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A few big firsts for me!

Since I've mentioned my very first TV interview a few times (not super excited about it or anything LOL), I thought I'd go ahead and share it with you.

Oh, and one more fun new first.... I'm now a monthly columnist for Writer...Interrupted. My first post goes live tomorrow. Talk about a great day to debut! My post is all about what speaks love to a writer and has a special message for those who are juggling parenthood and writing.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My Most Memorable Valentine's Day Memory

Valentine's Day. You either love it or hate it!

As a kick-starter for ideas, here's a Title Trakk article where 14 popular Christian authors share with you their most memorable memories of this special day.


And Happy (early) Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Heart Music

Music touches my heart in a way that few other things can. That's why I listen to it every morning as I get ready. And I often write songs into my books because that's one big way God speaks past my mind and straight into my soul.

This morning three songs opened my eyes and set me to worshiping before I was even fully awake. I love days like that!

Here are some of the lines that grabbed my attention...

Somewhere in the Middle by Casting Crowns

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

Fearless warriors in a picket fence
Reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences, the God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His
Or are we caught in the middle

Lord, I feel You in this place and I know You're by my side
Loving me even on these nights when I'm caught in the middle

What hit the hardest for me was the reality that way too often I'm willing to surrender, but only as long as I don't lose all control. Which is, in reality, not surrender. Then the lines about how God loves us even when we're caught in the middle stole my breath.

God loves us no matter what.

Thank You, Lord, that after twenty-two years, I haven't grown used to that six-word reality. Your mercies are new each morning and Your love is always ours.

Every Man by Casting Crowns

My life is scarred and my dreams unraveled
Now I'm scared to take the leap
If I could find someone to follow who knows my pain and feels the weight
The uncertainty of my tomorrow, the guilt and pain of yesterday

There is hope for every man
A solid place where we can stand
In this dry and weary land
There is hope for every man
There is Love that never dies
There is peace in troubled times
Will we help them understand?
There is hope for every man

I've lived a lot of my life with unraveled dreams, being scared to take the leap again. And I'm not alone. But God is an amazing heart healer and dream redeemer!

This song reminded me today that as long as we have breath, we have hope for tomorrow and today. Hope that never fails because its foundation is Jesus.

I Am by Nichole Nordeman

You saw my mistakes
And watched my heart break
Heard when I swore I'd never love again
And when I was weak, unable to speak
Still I could call You by name
And I said, Heartache Healer, Secret Keeper
Be my best friend
And You said, I Am

This song has long been a favorite. If you have a minute, here's a more detailed look at how deep this song is rooted in my heart: Stones of Remembrance

My favorite name for God is "I AM." Always in the present, always everything I need. That's a truth I can't wrap my mind around, but God has wrapped around me.

There are many ways God speaks to us. The top three ways I hear Him best are: the sound of water, music, and my children’s prayers.

What about you all? In this month many focus on love, what are the ways God speaks His love over you?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

An early Valentine's thought

This morning, God stopped me from my usual bleary-eyed preparations and highlighted a few thoughts in Psalm 95.

I typically read through the Psalms when life hurts and for the last half of 2007, that's where I camped out. The passion and devotion expressed in this book helped me through January too.

But today I was awakened again to the reality that I have so very much to be thankful for and a God who loves me more than I can even comprehend.

So move over Hallmark... God just sent the perfect early Valentine greeting.

Here are the snippets from Psalm 95 I wrote in my journal this morning...

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God... Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the flock under his care.

Realizing how little I've taken time to physically and emotionally kneel before God, I started with confession and continued on into tearful words of thanks and amazement at how awesome God's gifts are in my life.

But even more how awesome and incredible and breathtaking He is.

This God who loves us when we praise Him, and when we forget to open our Bible. When we sing for joy or weep without words. He receives us, no matter what.

Here are some things I sniffled and smiled to God about...

My husband~ we've begun to enjoy the fruits from all the heart work God has been doing in our lives recently, and it's been incredible. Not only that, but my hubby is an AMAZING web genius who's working hard to make the super fun ideas we created as a family for my new website into reality.

My daughters~ homeschool and life aren't always rose-colored, but my kiddos remind me daily that forgiveness is a word away and love is never in short supply here.

My church~ even with all the loss and sorrow we've experienced already this year, our church is the home we've longed for and the community we'd hoped existed. Now we know and love belonging in such a God-present place.

My friends~ both the writers and "normals" (non-writers) who love me are gifts so precious they brought tears to my eyes this morning. Recalling heart chocolate emails and phone calls, visits and cards, I can't but praise the Lord for getting to share this journey with such wonderful people.

Writing~ there was a time I wrote out of sheer obedience and it felt like shedding blood to do this work. But recently God has renewed a passion in me and I'm experiencing once again His smile as I write, dream, and look ahead at "what's next" and what is right now.

Knowing that God is the Author and Word made flesh sent me down another path of praise too. How good God is all the time. And all the time, He is good.

Whether weeping without words or in a season or praise, I hope you'll ponder today how near God is and how much He loves you...

He calls you by name.

He holds you in the palm of His hand.

He addresses you as His beloved child.

He loves you with an everlasting love that nothing on this earth can alter.

He smiles with every thought of you~ thoughts that outnumber the sand on the shore.

He adores you on Valentine's Day and every other day of the year, and (as we like to say in the Wallace home) TO INFINITY AND BEYOND! ;-)

I pray you'll enjoy a little knee-time today as you look up and see God smiling right beside you or weeping with you. He is there. Always.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Time to Weep

January was a difficult month. There were many deaths in my church and homeschool group as well as the anniversary of my Gram's death.

Grief is such a strange thing.

My Gram died in 1999, but there are still days I've gone to the phone and started dialing her number to retell some exciting kid-related event or book news.

My pastor shared the following story in our church newsletter. I pray it encourages you like it has my family as we walk through a time of weeping with those who weep.

The New Doll

A little girl had gone to play with a neighbor who had a new porcelain doll. The girl was late coming home, and her mother was quite disturbed when her daughter finally arrived.

She asked her daughter why she was so late. The little girl replied that her friend had dropped her new doll on the sidewalk.

The mother said, "Oh, so you were helping her pick up the pieces?"

"No, Mom," the little girl replied. "I was helping her cry."
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