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Friday, November 9, 2012

A List of the Participating Authors for Write Now Relief


How do I donate to Samaritans Purse? You can head to the Samaritan’s Purse webpage on Hurricane Sandy http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/articles/hurricane_sandy/
and click on the GIVE link imbedded on the page. Whether you are the highest bidder or not, do consider donating to this effort.
AND NOW THE PARTICIPATING AUTHORS! Choose the author who suits you best, head to their hosting blog and find the post on WRITE NOW RELIEF. Place your bid in the comments section of that blog, starting Friday, Nov 8. Check back often!

Christian Miralee Ferrell (me, so comment on this post) Christian Historical romance, women’s contemporary fiction, Christian romantic suspense  www.miraleeferrell.com (if you go to this link, just click on the 'blog' tab')
Susan Meissner  Women’s fiction, historical, contemporary 
Ginny Yttrup  Women’s Fiction, Contemporary  http://ginnyyttrup.com/words-for-life
Hannah Alexander  Contemporary romantic suspense, Christian romance, both contemporary and historical  http://girlswriteout.blogspot.com
Rachel Hauck  All genres  http://rachelhayeshauck.blogspot.com
Jill Williamson  Middle grade, and YA or adult for spec fiction (fantasy, science fiction, etc.http://www.jillwilliamson.com/jill-williamsons-blog/
Gayle Roper  Romantic suspense, suspense, mystery and romance. Hosted by Nancy Mehl  www.nancymehl.blogspot.com
Donita K. Paul  YA, Fantasy, romance  http://dragonbloggin.blogspot.com
Ruth Axtell  Historical Romance  http://ruthaxtell.blogspot.com
Kathy Fuller  Amish, contemporary, historical, screenplays  www.amishhearts.com
Missy Tippens  Contemporary category romance, anyone targeting Love Inspired.  http://lifewithmissy.blogspot.com/
Happy bidding, everyone!

Bid NOW on a Critique to Help Sandy Victims!

Want to get an awesome critique for your own writing, no matter what level you're at--or maybe you've been wanting to help the victims of the storm on the east coast but haven't known how to do it? A number of multi-published Christian authors are donating their critique expertise to help you accomplish both.

You can see the details here:  http://www.facebook.com/events/388020704611404/   Along with the list of authors taking part and their blog addresses.

I'm taking part, so I'll give you a brief history to give you a better feel for what you'd be getting if you bid on a critique from me. 

I'm multi-published with several magazine articles, contributions in four different books, as well as six full-length trade novels in the Christian industry in print, and three more under contract releasing over the next 18 months. I'm published in both women's contemporary fiction as well as historical romance, with two of those having a strong suspense thread, and I'm comfortable doing a thorough critique on any of those. If you're interested in bidding but have something you're working on in another genre, post a comment and ask, and I'll let you know if I feel I'm a good choice for your work. I've been a member of critique groups for several years now and do an in-depth critique. I'll be looking at your story arc, the depth of your characters, overused words or phrases, believability, your spiritual thread (if you have one), and much more.

The proceeds will go to Samaritans Purse. You can check them out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rd7KyY2p6ms&feature=youtu.be

You can leave a comment here on my blog to enter a bid for a 50 page critique of your work from me. 

You can also bid and give the critique as a gift to a writer friend if you win.

Thank you, and happy bidding!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Win a 50 Page Critique From an Author and Help Sandy Victims!!

Write Now Relief

How you can help the victims of Sandy and also get a little first aid for your novel!

WHAT: Bid on a 50-page critique of your novel by a published novelist! Highest bidder will send their amount to Samaritans Purse for their relief efforts for the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

WHEN: Begins Friday, November 9, ends Friday midnight EST November 16.

HOW: Head to the blog of the author you’d like to have critique your 50 pages. Find their Write Now Relief blog post and place your bid in the comments section of that post. Monitor it closely so that you can re-bid! Check back on this Facebook page for updates on all the bids. If you are the high bidder at the end of the week, make your donation and email a copy of your receipt to the author with your 50 pages. It’s that easy.

How much is a 50-page critique worth?
Most authors and editors can easily charge $35 an hour and a fifty-page critique is well over three hours of labor. But this labor of love is for victims who have lost everything. Their need is huge. One blogger who hosted a similar campaign last week had a top donation bid of $1,000 for a 50-page critique!

What will the critique entail?
The author you choose will read your fifty pages with an eye to giving you insights and feedback on all aspects of your story excerpt, including plot, character, story arc, mechanics, pacing, and reader appeal.

What is Samaritan’s Purse?
Samaritan's Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan's Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God's love through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Here is a video from Samaritans Purse on their efforts to help Sandy’s victims.

How do I donate to Samaritans Purse?
You can head to the Samaritan’s Purse webpage on Hurricane Sandy http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/articles/hurricane_sandy/
and click on the GIVE link imbedded on the page. Whether you are the highest bidder or not, do consider donating to this effort.

How do I start?
Check Susan Meissner’s blog on Thursday, Nov 8 for the full list of participating authors and their blog addresses. Pick an author, head to their blog on Friday, November 9, and make your opening bid.


Thursday, September 27, 2012


Experience Italy right along with the characters in Susan Meissner’s latest book, The Girl in the Glass! For the next two weeks only, Susan is doing a giveaway to sweep you away to Florence.
Girl in the Glass
Grand Prize:
A framed and matted print to make you dream of Florence AND a signed copy of The Girl in the Glass by Susan Meissner.
FlorencePrint
Second Place Prize:
An Italian-themed gift basket AND a signed copy of The Girl in the Glass by Susan Meissner.

ItalianBasket 

Leave a comment HERE for Susan to enter to win a copy of her new book, and go to http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/experienceitaly/  to enter to win the other great prizes. 

I'll be posting an interview with Susan tomorrow, and you can leave a comment there, (to enter for the book) as well. Lots of chances to win!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Coming SOON! Susan Meissner's Contest!

To celebrate the release of The Girl in The Glass, Susan Meissner and WaterBrook Press are hosting a fantastic giveaway so that two lucky winners can experience Italy right along with the characters in the book!
A Sound Among Trees
Get swept away to Florence and enter!

 The grand prize winner will receive: A signed copy of The Girl in the Glass and a beautiful, framed print of Florence skyline

The second place winner will receive: A signed copy of The Girl in the Glass and an Italian-themed basket from Dean & Deluca.

Enter at www.waterbrookmultnomah.com anytime between Monday, Sept 24 through midnight Mountain Time on Monday, Oct. 1. Winners will be chosen by random drawing.

Be sure you check back here in a few days, as I'll be interviewing Susan and she'll be giving away a copy of this awesome book to one of my readers!

About the book:


A house shrouded in time.
A line of women with a heritage of loss.
Since she was a child, Meg has dreamed of taking a promised trip to Florence and finally step into the place captured in a picture at her Italian grandmother’s house. But after her grandmother passes away and it falls to her less-than-reliable father to take her instead, the long-anticipated journey seems permanently on hold.
When her dad finally tells Meg to book the trip, she hopes the experience will heal the fissures left on her life by her parents’ divorce. But when Meg arrives in Florence, her father is nowhere to be found, leaving aspiring memoir-writer Sophia Borelli to introduce Meg to the rich beauty of the ancient city. Sofia claims to be one of the last surviving members of the Medici family and that a long-ago Medici princess, Nora Orsini, communicates with her from within the great masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance.
When Sophia, Meg, and Nora’s stories intersect, their lives will be indelibly changed as they each answer the question: What if renaissance isn’t just a word? What if that’s what happens when you dare to believe that what is isn’t what has to be?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

FREE Kindle Download Aug 21 & 22



FREE August 21 (Tuesday) and Aug 22 (Wed) till midnight. 

The Other Daughter, Miralee Ferrell's debut novel, released in 2007 with high reviews. The Kindle version is free for two days then goes to $2.99. The sequel, Finding Jeena, will be half price on Thursday, Aug 23., for about 10 days. 
Here's the Amazon direct link to the FREE download:  www.amzn.to/Nzu9yy

Here's a bit about the book--
The girl standing at the door took a deep breath, pulling her suitcase a little closer to her trembling legs. “My mama’s dead. He’s my daddy.”
Susanne Carson knows that she can trust the love of her life—her husband, David—until she discovers a strange, unkempt young girl on their doorstep, claiming to be David’s daughter.
Not that their marriage has ever been perfect—David’s decision to embrace the Christian faith has strained their relationship. Susanne may not agree with his beliefs, but at least she trusts him. Has David been hiding this not-so-little secret from his past? He wants Susanne to believe in God, but believing hasn’t done much to keep David out of another woman’s arms. What else could her husband be hiding?
As David confronts the truth of his past, Susanne must face her own moment of truth as her marriage is taken to the breaking point and the life of one young girl is left in her hands..

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Enter Now! Davis Bunn's New Novel




Here's how you enter to win Davis Bunn's new novel, Hidden in Dreams. Leave a comment answering one of these questions:



  • If you had a recurring dream, who would you ask to help you interpret it?
  • Have you ever had a dream or vision about future events that later came true?
  • Describe the scariest dream you’ve ever had.
For an extra entry, sign up for Davis's newsletter (listed on my blog post from yesterday), for a third entry 'like' him on Facebook. 
For a fourth entry, subscribe to my blog.

Be sure you leave an email address so I can contact you if you win.

When you leave a comment please tell me how many of these you did (I'll trust you to be honest). I can only count what you tell me.

You must be in the U.S. to enter and have a physical address (not just P.O. Box) 

I LOVED THIS BOOK! The words that came to mind as I was reading?  Compelling and riveting, for starters. You're instantly catapulted into the mystery that surrounds dream specialist  Dr. Elena Burroughs, and which quickly spreads to over a dozen other 'dreamers' across the world. To be quite frank, this isn't the kind of book I'd typically purchase, but the characters were so well drawn, the story and mystery so compelling that it literally drove me to finish. I HAD to find out what was causing the exact dreams that were happening, simultaneously, to people with no connection to one another. And once you begin to get an inkling of why it's happening you're driven to discover how it will end. 

Here's an interview with Davis that I think you'll enjoy...

 Q: How much research did you have to conduct to write this intriguing story?
 A: In a way, I suppose you could say I’ve been researching this story all my adult life. I did my studies in international economics and finance. Observing the difficulties our nation and economy has faced over the past three years, as well as what we personally have endured, has been tough. It really was great to have this chance to give voice to what we increasingly hear, that the people at fault need to be brought to justice, and the risk of another economic collapse needs to be halted.

Q: Why is it important for you to write about such timely themes?

A: Economic uncertainty defines the world we live in. I feel it is important to show how the timeless and eternal messages are applicable to every aspect of our world and our lives. And how the gift of peace and wisdom can be used in every circumstance we face.

Q: When you wrote Book of Dreams, did you have plans for this sequel, Hidden in Dreams?
A: Two months after Book of Dreams was released, I had the call every author dreams about and yearns for—a vice president of NBC/Universal suggested we discuss the possibility of turning it into a television series. I was put in touch with one of their producers and over the next six months began working up the basic structure of what this program might look like. One of the ideas I found most appealing became the basis for Hidden in Dreams. There is as yet no firm decision about the television project. But it has been a blast to even be considered.

Q: In writing a sequel it’s always a challenge to include enough back story to satisfy those who haven’t read the first book while still making sure the book stands alone. How do you approach this dilemma?
A: You’re right, it can indeed be troublesome, but this time it all fell together very easily. The structure just flowed. That sometimes happens, where the story seems to create itself. I wish it was true all the time. I can’t even say why it was such a smooth process with Hidden in Dreams. But there was a sense of impatience about the back story, as though I needed to fit in just a few paragraphs, but I couldn’t allow myself or the reader to be drawn too far from this new story’s flow.

Q: You’re writing about two women in this novel. Is it ever a challenge to write from the female point of view?
A: Learning to write from a woman’s point of view is very difficult for a male writer, as it usually is for a woman author writing a man’s story. Before I was published, I became friends with a husband and wife team who were both opera stars. The woman often sang a male role in a Mozart opera that was originally designed for a young boy, but which nowadays is usually sung by a woman with a slightly lower range, called a coloratura.
I discussed my difficulty with her, of trying to make my women sound real. She told me that my trouble stemmed from working on a woman character from the outside. It wasn’t about making women ’sound’ anything. It was all about making the character live from the inside-out.
 As I worked on the point of view issue, trying to put my friend’s challenge into practice, I also began going into any meeting with a woman carrying a secret tape recorder, and taping everything that was said. I then went back and wrote out every word. It was perhaps the most boring month of my entire writing career.
But gradually I found that I could ‘hear’ the speech patterns of these women, and reshape them into structures that fitted around what was happening in my stories. And through this exercise, the emotional content that lay behind the dialogue, the person who was expressing herself, became more real, more solid.
And then I met my wife, Isabella. And the process of instruction at the intimate level of a God-centered marriage began to unfold.

Q: In Hidden, Elena and her colleagues are attacked in Miami. After the attack, why did Elena not take more precautions? 
A: Elena had a choice to make, and so did I. Either she could play the delicate flower – fearing everything and going nowhere – or she could go on the hunt. I liked the balance between her internal fears and uncertainties, and her quest as a professional psychologist. She is, in effect, trained to look for clues – to go on the quest of drawing out the hidden. I felt the actions she took, despite the dangers, to be her natural response.

Q: Is there another Elena Burroughs book planned?
A: I have another idea. The question is, what do the readers want, and how positive is the reaction to this story?

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Book Drawing--Davis Bunn's Newest!!


Want To Win a Copy of This New Novel by Davis Bunn? Watch for Instructions in tomorrow's post. This book is AWESOME!




ISBN (Trade Paperback): 978-1-4165-5672-5
$14.99; 256 pp
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-4516-6381-5
Release: July 3, 2012 from Howard Books, a Division of Simon  Schuster


Just when the world’s foremost expert on dream analysis, Dr. Elena Burroughs, thinks she is getting her life back under control after losing her position at Oxford University and the man she hoped to fall in love with, she is approached by Rachel Lamprey, the product manager of an innovative new ADHD treatment about to hit the market.
Rachel asks for Elena’s help with a clinical trial participant who has had a disturbing dream foretelling a cataclysmic global financial collapse. But even more alarming is the fact that fifteen people scattered across the globe—including Elena herself—begin to experience the same repetitive, devastating dreams of economic ruin just as one bank crisis follows another, suggesting that these aren’t merely dreams.

As Elena searches for answers in her professional networks, she is forced to form an unlikely alliance with her most vehement critic and is drawn back into the spotlight as the public face of the so-called dreamers. As Elena and her collaborators attempt to discover the dreams’ source, the clock ticks down to devastation. Suddenly, it’s no longer just about the dreams. It’s about survival.

Read Chapter 1 of Hidden in Dreams for free
Direct link to Chapter 1:

Reading Group Guide for Hidden in Dreams
Video Book Trailer for Hidden in Dreams
Link to YouTube book trailer:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Writing a Historical Novel? Research is the Key!


When I wrote my first historical romance, Love Find You in Last Chance, CA, I had a short panic attack. Not long, just a few seconds, as I'm not prone to panic, LOL! But I'd never written a historical before and wasn't sure I'd be able to find the information I needed to bring the story to life.


High school and one year of college taught me something about research, but that was years ago and so much has changed. The advent of the internet has opened a whole new world for fiction writers.

Here's what I ended up doing and have continued to do on each historical since.

*  Did a Google search on the town, the time period, and key words contained in the book

*  Joined an online historical writers' group where I could toss out questions and get help if I need it

*  Read other books set in the same time period by authors I trusted who created a realistic depiction

*  Checked out books from our local library. Some suggestions would be old memoirs, copies of journals   from your time period, nonfiction books written about the area where your book is set, and any books
containing information key to your story. i.e., ranching or mining in the Sierra Nevada Mts. of California, etc.


*  Visited the location and while there, talk to as many of the old timers as you can find. Visit the museums and historical society if available, and any local landmarks.

Next Week I'll be doing a blog and book drawing for Davis Bunn's book, Hidden in Dreams, a fantastic novel!! Be sure to check in and enter to win. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4th is About Heroes

My daughter Marnee and I have a hero and he's younger than me. In fact, I gave birth to him 33 years ago. Our son Steven served in Iraq an Kuwait during the 'Shock and Awe' campaign when the troops were all moving in and the fighting was at its worst.

                                Marnee took this picture to send to her brother while he was in Iraq.

Heroes come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. And July 4th isn't just to remember the day we won our independence from Britain. It's a day to reflect on our freedom and what it's taken to win it. Let's don't ever forget our heroes.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Forty Years Ago.....



I married the man of my dreams--I was 18 (three weeks shy of 19),  and Allen was 19 (almost 20--mere babies).

We honeymooned at Wallowa Lake, Oregon, and spent our first year renting the parsonage from our church (our pastor built a house). We took care of the lawns for the church and house, as well as the flower beds, and only paid $50 a month in rent.



A couple of years later I was expecting my first child....a beautiful daughter we named Marnee. Later we added a son. This is a pic of Allen and I taken around our second anniversary.


The years sped by, we owned and operated a couple of businesses, took our daughter to riding lessons and I enjoyed hitting the trails on our horses with her. Our son got involved in stunt bikes, then dirt bikes, then airplanes. It wasn't long before they were grown and we'd hit our 25th anniversary. 


God has been faithful all these years and we're still in love. Sure, we've had tough times when we didn't FEEL any love, but we still pressed forward together. I'm so glad we did!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Author Shares Mother’s Legacy through New Series of Cookbooks


Sandra & I at ACFW Conference 2010

I met Sandie Bricker a few years ago at a conference and we hit it off immediately. She's a sweet, witty, intelligent woman who's SUCH an amazing writer, and person. I'm proud to help announce her new cookbook she put together in honor of her mother. 

When award-winning author Sandra D. Bricker was a child, her mother was widely-known for the meals and sweet treats she put on the table.

“I always used to tell her, ‘Mom, you’ve made me what I am today!’ Which, of course,” quips the author of best-selling romantic comedy for the Christian market, “is a diabetic with a weight problem.”

Bricker gave up an established life as a publicist and aspiring screenwriter in Los Angeles to move across the country to Tampa, Florida, in order to provide care when her mom could no longer care for herself. It was her mother, in fact, who suggested to the writer that, since she felt that she’d left her screenwriting dreams behind in Hollywood, perhaps she could try her hand at writing novels.

“My very first romantic comedy was published a few months before she passed away,” says the author, “and I’m so happy that she actually had the chance to hold it in her hands and read it before I lost her. She was so proud, and it really made me feel like I’d accomplished something to see that look in her eyes.”

When Jessie Kovacevich Bricker passed away, she and her daughter were in the process of compiling the family recipes in hopes of fulfilling her dream of publishing a cookbook. Unfortunately, the project didn’t come to fruition. Until now.

“After she died, I found a cool little spiral cookbook that she’d made for me,” Bricker explains. “All of her favorite recipes written in her shaky little hand were inside, and a note that said it was the only legacy she had to leave me.”

In honor of her mother, the author has begun working on a series of cookbooks called Legacy Recipes. The first volume, Legacy Sweets: Cookies, Cakes & More from the recipe files of my mother, is available now for Kindles at Amazon.com, priced at $2.99.

“These cookbooks are the epitome of a Labor of Love,” the author beams. “But the response that they’ve gotten from my readers has been so gratifying. My mom would be over the moon about it!”

For further information about the author or her books, including Legacy Sweets, contact PressAndMore@aol.com, or email the author directly at SandraDBricker@aol.com.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

When Life Gets Tough

The old saying is, when life gets tough, the tough get going. But it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes when life deals you a hard blow, you crawl in a hole and pull the hole in after you. Or at least, that's what you might want to do, if you didn't have to keep living life daily. 


So, what DO you do? Call a friend and cry on her shoulder? Yeah, that works, but you can burn out friends pretty fast that way.


Eat chocolate or go shopping. Yum. Now that sounds enticing. But the problem with that one is the next day you'll pay if you over indulge. Sick stomach, empty wallet, and more pounds packed on.


Turn on the tunes and tune out? Yeah, that'll work for a while for all you music lovers. But at some point you have to come out and 'face the music'. 


Break something, fling angry words, or hit somebody? Unfortunately, this is the reaction of too many, and others end up getting hurt along the way to your 'healing'. 


How about--Call a friend and ask for prayer? Much better--most people are willing to listen and pray if they know you're sincere.


Or maybe--check in with God and place it in his hands. Yeah. I've been doing that this week as I've struggled with a 'hard thing' that hurt. But God knows, and my heart is pure and right before him. He knows my motives and my pain, and He's able to take it all and use it for His glory. 


I'm so glad....Yes. I think I'll pick the last one, although I'm certainly not against talking to a friend and asking them to pray. Did that and it helped. God is indeed good, all the time. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Soldier Comes Home

Our little town of White Salmon was in the news last week end, and for a very good reason. A hero came home after 68 years. I don't know any of the extended family personally, but the story touched me at a deep level. You see, I'm a mother of a US Marine who served in Iraq and Kuwait, and I can relate to the fear of losing a loved one.

I have God to thank that I can't relate to the tragedy that befell this family. They lost their son 68 yrs ago during WWII and only just recovered his body.

I don't know all the details, but a search team found the soldiers remains, along with his dog tag, wallet and dozens of expended shells of ammo in a fox hole where he died defending his country. I don't know why he wasn't found and brought home at the time, but his mother never gave up hope. She's gone on now, and it was left up to his cousins and other family to welcome him home and give him a hero burial right here in our small town cemetery.

What a blessing for the family to finally have closure after decades of wondering. And what a tremendous sacrifice he, they, and thousands of other have made for our country. Let us never forget, no matter how long it takes.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Blossoms & Weeds--What's in Your Garden?


Today I've been mowing for an hour or so, then pulling weeds in my garden, planting tomato and green pepper plants, watering newly sprouted beans, peas, turnips, and more. Lots to do this time of year, but my least favorite is pulling weeds.

Why is it that no matter how much I hoe, till, and pull, the weed crop manages to outgrow the food crop? I'm even hitting them with Roundup, hoping to rid myself of them once and for all, but inevitably I miss a few.

It's a little like life. There are things I'd love to get rid of forever. My over indulgence in eating sugar, my poor exercise habits, attitudes that I'm not proud of at times--but like weeds, they seem to keep coming back.

I have two choices--keep pulling and poisoning and tilling the ground of my life, keeping them at bay, or ignore them hoping they'll not take root this time around. Doing that will lead to discovering they're full blown and taking over before I know it. Yes, it takes work to keep the weeds out of your garden or out of you life, but the crop you'll get when you do is worth it!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Do You Remember When?

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older
woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days."

The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today.
Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."

She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to
the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and
sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and
over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we
reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags,
was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks.
This was to ensure that public property, (the books
provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our
scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown
paper bags.

But too bad we didn't do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every
store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't
climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two
blocks.

But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the
throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling
machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry
our clothes back in our early days.
Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters,
not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every
room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief
(remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In
the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have
electric machines to do everything for us.
When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail,
we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it,
not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then,
we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn.
We used a push mower that ran on human power.
We exercised by working so we didn't need to
go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup
or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled
writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the
razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just
because the blade got dull.

But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their
bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour
taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire
bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a
computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites
23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn't it sad that the current generation laments how wasteful we old
folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Check Your Motives at the Door


Whew. Really? I have to figure out WHY I do the things I do? I was praying this morning and felt the Lord asked me to dig deeper. Why do I make some of the choices I make, and most of all, why do I react in certain ways?

Ouch. Do I have to, Lord? Can’t I just pray and ask you to cover my actions and bless my choices? No? Seriously, no? Sigh. OK.

So here’s the first motive that He asked me to look at. The need to be in control.
Are you wincing yet? I am. Typing it gave me the heebie-jeebies. Especially since my husband has gently pointed this out in the past—he thinks I NEED to be in control. No I don’t. Really. He just thinks I do.

Well. Maybe not.

OK, I’ll admit it. I like my world to be well ordered, running smoothly, and YES—at times I think my way is the best way. Who doesn’t! But if I’m not careful that attitude can hurt those that I love. Gentleness and meekness go a long way.

Uh-oh…know what thought popped into my head just now? Being real and honest here. If I’m gentle and meek at the right time, in the right way, I’ll bet it would help convince ‘them’ that my way is the best.

Yikes! Did I really think that? Yeah. I did.
So…next time let’s talk about hidden agendas and manipulation. Not sure I want to go there, but I hope you’ll chime in and help me, so I won’t feel all alone. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Honest Reflections Scare Me Sometimes


A friend sent me a journal entry to read today, as she wanted honest feedback. I read it and choked back tears at the raw honesty poured out on the page. God has been prompting her to dig deep. To go beyond the surface in her relationship with Him and interaction with people, and she took it seriously.

I’m not sure I can be that vulnerable, but I'm willing to try. Looking at ourselves is tough in the best of times, but digging deep, discovering WHY we do certain things, checking our motives—well, let’s just say it’s oftentimes easier to sidestep those areas.

In the next few posts I’m going to share a few thoughts on what makes me tick, and I invite you to do the same. They won’t be long or even very sophisticated, but I promise to keep it real. If anything I write resonates with you, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Maybe I’m the only one who struggles with being real, but I’m guessing that’s not the case.  

The book I’m writing  has made me dig deeper. I’m dealing with the issue of a difficult mother/daughter relationship. The daughter is grown, the mother is aging, and Mama comes to live with her daughter. Sometimes the closest family connections can bring out the best—or the worst in us. At the very least they can cause us to look more deeply into who we are and why we act the way that we do.

So I invite you to come along on the ride if you dare. More in a few days…..

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Announcing My New Website!! Wahoo!!!

Can you tell I'm pumped? Yeah, just a little. You see, my new website just went live and I'm in love! Aren't the colors and graphics cool?

I have the most awesome web master/designer--Tiffany Amber Stockton of Eagle Designs. You got a little sneak peek if you happened to notice the brand new art work at the top of my blog, as everything now matches. I have horses in all of my books so far except one (not sure HOW I missed that one!), and the tag line of Restoration Through Adversity exactly sums up what I want my writing to reflect--strong men and women who come up against struggles in life, but with God's help make it through to restoration. 

So if you have a minute, pop on over to my website. All you need to do is click on the button/link that says "Home" at the top of this page. Easy, huh? And maybe you'll drop me a line on my guest book and let me know what you think--you'll even be entered in a drawing for a free book if you do. How's that for an inducement!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hiccups Anyone?

I did my good deed for the day and cured a man's hiccups.

Seriously.

He called me and apologized ahead of time (before he told me why he called) because he'd had the hiccups for two days straight and knew it might be difficult to talk. Poor man was tired out and worried. His wife was threatening to take him to the doctor.

I told him I have a remedy if he was willing to try it. After two days non-stop he was willing to try just about anything, even if it was crazy.

This has never failed to cure my hiccups and it works for my kids and husband....and thankfully, it worked for my friend on the phone as well.

Curious yet? Try it the next time you're afflicted and you'll see that it works. Wish I could patent this!

Get a full glass of water. Take a deep breath and hold it. Immediately start drinking. FAST and steady. Small gulps/sips, and keep drinking until you absolutely MUST come up for a breath of air.

That's it. Simple and easy. He did it while I waited on the phone. Sixty seconds later he was dancing a jig. "Miralee cured my hiccups"....he shouted to his wife hovering in the background. "It's a miracle!".

I laughed, tickled it had worked for him....there's a man who knows how to take directions and follow them. A miracle? Not quite, but an awfully nice solution when you're in distress!








Tuesday, February 14, 2012

8 Great Marriage Tips for Valentine's Day


Why Can't He Be More Like Me
by Poppy Smith

Harvest House Publishers
ISBN-10: 0736943331
ISBN-13: 978-0736943338
Paperback: 224 pages
Release Date: April 1, 2012
Retail Price: $12.99


8 Tips For Building a Marriage That Thrives

 The mega-millions spent by Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries, and Katy Perry and Russell Brand, on their lavish and exotic weddings failed to guarantee a long and blissful union.  But they are not alone. Recent statistics show a decline in couples getting married and staying married for more than a few months or years. 

Can marriages survive in today’s culture? Long-wedded author, Poppy Smith, says “Yes.” Here are Smith’s tips for building a marriage that not only works, but thrives:
  1. Readjust your expectations. You didn’t marry your clone. Naturally, your partner will view some things differently. Be willing to flex and accept their right to be themselves.
  2. Appreciate your different strengths. Analyze your personalities, your backgrounds, and what’s important to each of you. Identify each other’s strengths and affirm what these add to your relationship.
  3. Learn to communicate so you’re heard. Women tend to explain and expand.  Men tend to edit. To be heard, communicate according to your spouse’s desired style, not yours.
  4. Understand each other’s feelings about money. Does money signal fun? Symbolize success? Guarantee security? Or ensure power? Knowing what it means to both of you helps in settling money battles.
  5. Practice a conflict resolution style that works for both. Clarify what the conflict is about. Listen to each other’s reasoning and feelings without interrupting. Then decide what best builds your relationship.
  6. Recognize the emotional needs of your mate. Both men and women want to be valued, admired, respected, and listened to. Discover what makes your spouse feel loved and special, then find ways to meet that need.
  7. Prioritize romance and sexual intimacy. Sex matters. It gives physical and emotional pleasure, strengthens love, and deepens commitment. Make time to play or be silly or sensuous in bed. It pays rich dividends.
  8. Share your Dreams. What is it each of you longs to achieve? Are there some dreams you want to accomplish together? Be encouragers to each other and discuss steps you can take now toward your goals.
About the Book:

Why Can't He Be More Like Me?
9 Secrets to Understanding Your Husband

“What do you and your husband have in common?”
“We got married on the same day.”

Do you find yourself nodding in agreement with the answer to that question? You want your marriage to be happy and honoring to God, but you wonder how when your husband baffles and sometimes irritates you. You may even wonder if you made a terrible mistake.

Poppy Smith offers you hope in this upbeat, empathetic, and biblically grounded book. Why Can’t He Be More Like Me? will help you better understand areas of conflict in your marriage as you consider your different backgrounds, expectations, needs, and reactions on a variety of topics from communication styles to finances and sex.

Each chapter provides practical tools to help you learn to accept and enjoy your mate. The result will be a stronger, happier marriage as you grow to understand and even find delight in your differences.


Endorsements:
“Poppy Smith cares about relationships! Her astute insights, garnered from time spent living in numerous locations around the globe, brings a wealth of advice packaged with her upbeat warmth and wisdom.”
Pam Farrel, speaker and author of over 30 books, including best-selling Men Are Like Waffles—Women Are Like Spaghetti
 
“This book will help you love your husband even when you don’t understand him.”
Leslie Vernick, counselor, coach, speaker, and author of How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong and The Emotionally Destructive Relationship

Poppy Smith
About Poppy Smith:
With her fun personality and passion for communicating life-changing truths, Poppy Smith inspires believers to thrive spiritually and personally. Poppy’s practical how-to messages (in print or in person) uses colorful examples from her own struggles to be more like Jesus. She encourages others to grow in every kind of situation—whether joyful or painful! Poppy is British, married to an American, and has lived in many countries. She brings an international flair seasoned with humorous honesty as she illustrates Bible truths. A former Bible Study Fellowship lecturer, Poppy’s teaching challenges women to look at their choices, attitudes and self-talk. As a result, God’s speaks, changing hearts, changing minds, and changing lives. Watch for Poppy's upcoming book release, Why Can't He Be More Like Me: 9 Secrets to Understanding Your Husband.

 Article available for reprint. Contact kathy@kathycarltonwillis.com for more information. Please use bio with the article in any guest blogger or guest columnist spots.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mornings With Jesus--New Devotional


 

Leave a comment and tell me if you read devotionals and why you'd like to win this one. If you want a second entry, let me know if you're a subscriber to my blog, or BECOME one, to get a second entry. Thank you!!!


"Be still and know that I am God" is one of the most beautiful verses from the Bible, but it's not easy to practice in this busy world. Mornings with Jesus will help you do just that "be still" in Jesus' beautiful and powerful presence.

For those who are seeking a deeper experience in their relationship with Christ, Mornings with Jesus (365 Days of Devotionals) offers a fresh perspective of who Jesus is (the Healer, the Son of God, the Comforter, the Good Shepherd) and what that means for day-to-day life.

With a warm and friendly voice, 365 short devotional writings on the character and teachings of Jesus encourage readers to greet each day by drawing near to Him and inviting His presence into their day.

Spend time with Jesus at the beginning of each day and experience His nearness and peace in a new way throughout the year. Read an excerpt.


I've been reading this book out loud with my husband and we're both really enjoying it. We've so loved the down-to-earth devotionals that touch pertinent parts of our lives. These speak to both men and women, and teens would find many of them valuable, as well. 

One thing I've enjoyed is the variety of authors as they share their own thoughts on scriptures and day-to-day happenings. Judy Baer, Gwen Ford Faulkenberry, Tricia Goyer, Sharon Hinck, Keni Wyatt Kent, Erin Keeley Marshall, Camy Tang each bring their own flavor and voice to the book and make it a blessing to read. 

I believe this book will minister to anyone in your family, young or old, and I encourage you to pick up a copy and keep by your bedside or on your breakfast table. It's an excellent way to start or end your day.
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