Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy New Year!

Time for 2014. What happened to 2013? The older I grow, the faster time seems to pass. 2013 was an eventful year with a new great-granddaughter and our second oldest granddaughter moving to Houston and living with us for eight months until she could find a full-time job and get settled. What a delightful time that was. I hope you had many happy events in the past year, too.

As the new year approaches, many people are thinking about resolutions. I quit making resolutions years ago and now set goals. I’m in First Place 4 Health at our church and we were challenged to give God a year to work in our lives. We made commitments as to what we would do and then listed the things we prayed God would do for us in that year. I'm doing that for 2014 and those commitments are my goals for the year.

I challenge you to give God 2014 and see what He will do for you. Here's what you do: Use an index card 3x5 or 4x6; on one side head your list: "What I will do this year;" then on the other side list "What I ask God to do this year.  The front side is for personal goals set for yourself, but no more than 5 or maybe 6. The other side is for those things you would ask God to do for you. You don't have to tell me you're doing it, but I would like to hear about any results at the end of the year.

I also find a word I believe God has for me for the year. Last year it was “seek” and the verse Matthew 33:6 became my verse. I filled out my card with my commitments on one side and what I expected from God on the other side. This is my sixth year to do this, and God has not failed me. I haven’t been as faithful to all my commitments, but He is always faithful.

The word I have for this year is “Joy.” I choose to find joy in everything I do and in everything that happens no matter whether it is good or bad. Whatever it is, God is in control and will take care of me. My verse for this year is Romans 15:13 NIV. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

One of my commitments is to have a more active blog this year. On Sunday/Monday I will have a devotional thought along with any personal news or comments. On Tuesday thru Friday, I plan to feature two authors who have new releases or are promoting other releases. There will be give aways of books and other items throughout the year, so I hope you will subscribe and drop by often and leave your comments. 

Some posts will be interviews with the author, others will be interviews with characters, and still others will be about the book itself and how it came to be or interesting facts about the book. On Saturdays, I will have brief writing tips for writers and suggestions for great books for readers. I hope to have something for everyone.

What will you choose for this year? Will you accept the challenge? Will you make resolutions you can’t or won’t keep or will you set goals to accomplish in 2014? Will you choose joy and seek Him above all others? Are you willing to commit the year 2014 to Him and see what glorious blessings He has in store for you as a faithful child?

Whatever you decide to do, may you do it with love, grace and faith in our Lord and Savior who gave us the greatest gift ever known to man. Leave a comment and tell me your plans.

Love Stays True is a story of commitment. A young man is committed to God and believes in his future. A young woman is committed to a man, but unsure of how she feels about God. The second book, Love Finds Faith, will be released in early February. 

Your comment will enter you in the drawing for this new book. If you don’t have the first one, let me know and I’ll send both. Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win. Actual books for the US only. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas In the Air

It's Christmas!!!!

My favorite time of year as we celebrate the wonderful and miraculous birth of our Savior. Every year for the past 40 plus, I've been a part of the Christmas Pageant at Houston's First Baptist Church. Gerald Ray started it all, and his legacy continues today under the leadership of John Bolin. What a privilege to work with both of these talented men. This year the theme of the First Section was classic Christmas movies. I couldn't believe the reality of the scenes from It's a Wonderful Life, Grinch, Charlie Brown's Christmas, Polar Express, Frosty and of course White Christmas. The story of Jesus' birth, life and death never changes, and those are depicted so beautifully in music and drama.

Here's a picture of our youngest son Mike and his three children with  me in front of our Jack-in-the-Box from the show. Drew Walters hid under that big head. I lost my camera so I didn't get any pictures, but lots of people said they'd share with me.

Christmas is a time for families and reflection on God's blessings through the year as we approach the end of one and the beginning of another. Our family is spread out, so we'll have two Christmases in order to be with them all.

Christmas is also a time of giving and sharing with others. One of my favorite things to share is with a shoe box or two full of toys and gifts for some child in the Franklin Graham Operation Christmas Child. We also share with toys for our church mission's Christmas Store where parents can come come in and "buy" toys for their children. It's a time of sharing food and I love giving food gifts. If you scroll down to last Christmas, you'll find some great recipes for sharing this Christmas.

Traditions abound this time of year, and one tradition we had was to put up the tree on our middle son's birthday, December 10, but now, with them grown and in their own homes, our tree goes up the weekend after Thanksgiving so we can enjoy it longer. At the very top are the ornaments from our first Christmas together 54 years ago. Here are my 3 favorite ornaments today.

The gold one goes back a long time and the pewter one to the left of the green one came last year.  

What Christmas traditions do you have? I'd love to hear about them. Do you have any favorite ornaments? Tell me about them and your name will be entered in a drawing for my Christmas book, Christmas at Holly Hill.

Clayton Barlow wants to prove that he’s changed after five years in prison. Even as he is accepted by more and more people in town, he still doesn’t fell worthy of Merry Warner’s love and doesn’t want to hurt her reputation as a fine, upstanding school teacher. His willingness to risk going to jail again in the attempt to free a young girl from bondage finally convinces the town as well as Merry that Clay is a man of courage and deserves their respect. As the trust grows, so does his love for Merry, and the love she once had for him returns as they pledge their lives to one another and to one lonely child. 

Be sure to leave your email address for contact. Sorry, but it's limited to U.S. only.