I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Am I Wasting Quarantine?

This weekend I read an article on the Dayspring website ("Don't Waste Your Quarantine" by Ryan Perkins). It's excellent--read it here--and it's a strong reminder to be more of a Mary than a Martha in this time of isolation, to spend time with the Lord and draw closer to Him.
Bible Open To Psalm 118
Public Domain
I had a lot of ideas about how I would spend this time of isolation with my family. In fact, I wrote a blog post about my intentions. I would pray, write letters, clean out my office, indulge in self care, get creative with meals, do crafts, and so forth. And yes, spend more time with the Lord.

In other words, I'd decided not to waste my quarantine.

It's now been a full month since my kids came home, and almost that long since my state went into "Stay at home" mode. I have prayed, I have written a few letters, I have cooked weird meals using what I have in the cupboard, and I have written a book proposal which was turned in on time. A few times, I've sat in the sun to read and absorb Vitamin D. I've cleaned some things, but--

My home office and closet are still cluttered messes.

I haven't done all that much self-care. Or a single craft project (unless you count trying to make no-sew masks).

And most of all, I have not spent the amount of time with the Lord I've wanted to. Needed to.

The reason for this is as simple as it is complicated: life is messy. Quarantine has created a host of new activities, sources of stress, and distractions that have altered the way we function around here.

Maybe you can relate to one or more of these changes/challenges:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Adjustment/clutter due to four people working at home
  • Kids experiencing stress, grief, and struggle. Graduation and the celebrations surrounding it? Not happening. Job interviews, plans with friends, rites of passage, expectations, relationships? Truncated abruptly. Each of my kids handles these things differently. How do we help our kids right now? This is not a simple, one-paragraph answer. It takes a lot of prayer, time, hope, and support.
  • Increased planning, creativity, and energy when it comes to food shopping for our family as well as for extended family
  • Rationing certain foods
  • Loneliness
  • A cycle of discouragement, since I feel like there's a very big shoe about to drop. I'm not sure what that shoe looks like: is it my family getting sick? Is it someone I know dying? And then I sometimes go through guilt/self-condemnation for my fears: I should be trusting God more.

Can you relate to any of these? How are you coping?

I am not a model for coping like a champ, obviously, but one thing I tell my kids is this life we are living is not normal.

Some people react to grief--which is what we're all feeling, to some degree--by being active, busy, and in constant motion. Others require more rest and are exhausted by the need to heal.

We do not need to have all the answers right now. God is with us, before us, beside us, and around us. 

Another thing we're trying to do? Look for blessings. It's not easy to find these on the news feeds of our phones, but the world is still blossoming and God is still at work in many, many ways.

In closing, here are a few blessings in my life:
  • Our neighbor's newborn baby. We visited with him--keeping proper social distance--on the porch yesterday! Little hiccups, little toes, little fingers, big wide eyes. 
  • Zoom. It's not the same as being together in person but it's better than nothing! I'm proud of my parents for learning how to do it and getting together with a group of friends once a week!
  • Everyone sewing masks for strangers! Every act of kindness and love I hear of! Every word of encouragement I hear on the radio, TV, or in a song!
  • Time with my kids.
  • Birdsong, flowers blooming, blue sky. God's creation is beautiful.
  • The resources we have to engage with the Lord. Books! Internet! Other's words of encouragement!
Thanks for bearing with me, if you read this far. I'm praying for you in this odd, scary time.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Hidden in the Shadow of His Wings

Image may contain: flower and text

I'm sheltering with our kids at home now--as sheltered as we can be, anyway. Today I'm praying for the world, for those close to my heart, and for love to grow and diminish the spread of fear and the virus.

God bless and keep you, dear ones. He loves you and He hears you. Sending you virtual hugs (the only kind allowed in these days of social distancing!).

Monday, March 16, 2020

Ten Things to do While Stuck at Home

Ten Things

I haven't shared a list of Ten Things in a while, but as we face the upcoming days of working from home/isolation/quarantine due to the global spread of COVID-19, I thought I'd challenge myself to come up with ten things I would be doing, other than writing, while I'm at home.

Will you try any of these? What are your plans for non-working time spent at home?

  1. Clean up the home office office. After writing three novellas and a novel in somewhat-rapid succession, I have neglected a lot of housework. The office has become a family dumping ground for bills, crafts, and things we don't know what to do with, not to mention all of my writing-related stuff. And by stuff, I mean STUFF. This room needs help!
  2. Journal about my experiences during these unprecedented times. I've asked my kids to do this, too. Journaling helps us process our feelings as we record our experiences. These records may also be of benefit to future generations. My son is a budding historian, so he knows how valuable these types of documents can be. Someday he'll be telling his students about what life was like during this period of history!
  3. READ. Of course! I have a huge TBR pile. I can't wait to dive in!
  4. Make a craft. I never have as much time as I wish to do little creative projects. Right now I want to make ribbon angel ornaments for Christmas. Please be aware my angels are not very good. This is not an exaggeration. I am not being humble. But they're fun to make.
  5. Play a board game, do a puzzle--something fun and engaging with the people who are homebound with you!
  6. Check in with neighbors, especially elderly/vulnerable ones. Do they need food? Toilet paper? Is there anything I can give them or do for them?
  7. Write letters. I owe my real, snail mail letters to my aunt, my penpal, and a few others. I should probably write notes to others. I love getting real snail mail, and my mailbox gets lonely!
  8. Binge Watch a show I've been wanting to see, but haven't yet had time.
  9. Exercise--by walking around my neighborhood (or house, if weather is inclement, as it's looking to be today. I just took a 20 minute walk through the house while I talked to my mom on the phone.).
  10. Cook using what I find in my cupboards. Our last trip to the market didn't end up with us getting everything on my list. I still have food in the pantry, though, so it's time to get creative. I just found a half cup of quinoa. I cooked it, added parsley, chives, and basil from my yard, as well as tomatoes, oil and vinegar. I wish I had feta cheese to go into it, but oh well. It'll be a nice lunch!
  11. I know this list says Ten Things, but how can I leave off prayer? I am going to curl into a cozy chair, read Scripture, meditate on the Lord, and pray. The list of requests is huge, relating to coronavirus alone. There are so many ramifications, and like most everyone else, I am worried about my kids, my parents, our families, the people I know who are sick but haven't been tested for coronavirus, the economic hardships this is causing, etc etc etc. Thanks be to God that He is in control and He is with us!
What about you? What are you doing at home?

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Valentine's Sale!


Not sure how long the sale will last, but it's currently less than fifty cents per story on Kindle!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

ACFW New Releases, January 2020

A new year, and a new crop of books out this month!

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

A Rancher to Trust by Laurel Blount — After learning his ex-wife isn’t so ex after all, rebel turned rancher Dan Whitlock is determined to prove he’s a changed man…but Bailey Quinn is just as set on finally ending their marriage. When tragedy makes Dan the guardian of little orphaned twins, he and Bailey are drawn back together. But can she forgive the past and open her heart to the family she’s always wanted? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
Star Rising by Janet W. Ferguson — Star Youngblood tries to protect her employer, Mrs. Priscilla Kelly, from the woman’s neglectful son, an aspiring flight instructor who has issues with religion, but finds her own heart is at the greatest risk. (Contemporary Romanc, Independently Published)
A Promise to Keep by Melony Teague — Savannah, a widowed research librarian, goes to her twenty year class reunion and gets reacquainted with Michael, a former troublemaker who is now a professional technical rescuer. Before the night is over, a pact between these two old friends will lead them on an adventure into uncharted emotional territory where Michael must confront his past regrets and find the courage to reveal the truth. But can Savannah fly from her sheltered nest and risk her heart on a real-life hero? (Contemporary Romance from Anaiah Press)

General Contemporary:

A Long Time Comin by Robin W. Pearson — To hear Beatrice Agnew tell it, she entered the world with her mouth tightly shut. Just because she finds out she’s dying doesn’t mean she can’t keep it that way. If any of her children have questions about their daddy and the choices she made after he abandoned them, they’d best take it up with Jesus. There’s no room in Granny B’s house for regrets or hand-holding. Or so she thinks. Her granddaughter, Evelyn Lester, shows up on Beatrice’s doorstep anyway, burdened with her own secret baggage. Determined to help her Granny B mend fences with her far-flung brood, Evelyn turns her grandmother’s heart and home inside out. Evelyn’s meddling uncovers a tucked-away box of old letters, forcing the two women to wrestle with their past and present pain as they confront the truth Beatrice has worked a lifetime to hide. (General Contemporary from Tyndale House)

Historical Romance:

Freedom in the Mountain Wind by Misty M. Beller — A young woman faces overwhelming odds to make her father’s dream come true before he dies of lung cancer, but paddling upriver through fierce rapids and fighting hungry grizzlies to follow the Lewis and Clark trail isn’t what terrifies her the most. Beaver Tail endured more than he can stand from the women in his Blackfoot camp, but the last disaster gave him the final shove he needed to join this band of brothers searching for one of their group who’s gone missing. The last thing he expected was to find a white woman and her sick father stranded at the base of a massive waterfall. His plan is to help them carry their oversize canoe and supplies, then leave them to their strange mission. Yet, the more he learns about the pair, the more he realizes his life is about to be derailed—again. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
Uncharted Promises by Keely Brooke Keith — Sybil Roberts uses the warmth of delicious meals to lift the spirits of road-weary travelers at The Inn at Falls Creek. Her life at the inn would be perfect if she could just get her brothers and mother to move back home. And if she could see Isaac Owens again. He visited the inn once when he interviewed for the farm manager job, and she’s dreamed of his return to Falls Creek ever since. Isaac Owens knows how to run a farm. His family might not have faith in him, but if he succeeds at Falls Creek, he’ll prove them wrong. He arrives at the inn thinking the job is his, but the inn’s senile owner offered the position to another man too. Isaac must spend the winter competing if he wants to win the job… and Sybil’s heart. It will take more than warm meals on cold nights for Sybil and Isaac to find love while working at the isolated inn. (Historical Romance from Edenbrooke Press)
Forever Hidden by Kimberley WoodhouseTracie Peterson — Sybil Roberts uses the warmth of delicious meals to lift the spirits of road-weary travelers at The Inn at Falls Creek. Her life at the inn would be perfect if she could just get her brothers and mother to move back home. And if she could see Isaac Owens again. He visited the inn once when he interviewed for the farm manager job, and she’s dreamed of his return to Falls Creek ever since. Isaac Owens knows how to run a farm. His family might not have faith in him, but if he succeeds at Falls Creek, he’ll prove them wrong. He arrives at the inn thinking the job is his, but the inn’s senile owner offered the position to another man too. Isaac must spend the winter competing if he wants to win the job… and Sybil’s heart. It will take more than warm meals on cold nights for Sybil and Isaac to find love while working at the isolated inn. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])
The Gray Chamber by Grace Hitchcock — On Blackwell Island, New York, a hospital was built to keep its patients from ever leaving. With her late father’s fortune under her uncle’s care until her twenty-fifth birthday in the year 1887, Edyth Foster does not feel pressured to marry or to bow to society’s demands. She freely indulges in eccentric hobbies like fencing and riding her velocipede in her cycling costume about the city for all to see. Finding a loophole in the will, though, her uncle whisks Edyth off to the women’s lunatic asylum just weeks before her birthday. Do any of Edyth’s friends care that she disappeared? At the asylum she meets another inmate, who upon discovering Edyth’s plight, confesses that she is Nellie Bly, an undercover journalist for The World. Will either woman find a way to leave the terrifying island and reclaim her true self? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Secret Mountain Hideout by Terri Reed — Staying hidden has kept her alive… But now she’s been found. A remote Colorado mountain town and a fake identity have been Ashley Willis’s safe haven since fleeing after she witnessed a murder—but now the killer has found her trail. Desperate and terrified, she’s prepared to run again…but Deputy Sheriff Chase Fredrick won’t let her. With the lawman by her side, can she face danger head-on…and live long enough to bring a murderer to justice? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Monday, December 23, 2019

Merry Christmas!

May the Lord bless and keep you this Christmas as you contemplate His coming to dwell among us!
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 2, 2019

ACFW New Releases December 2019

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

Stranded for the Holidays by Lisa Carter — Running away led her right where she belonged. A new mom for Christmas? She’s everything they’ve wished for. Runaway bride AnnaBeth Cummings needs shelter for the holidays when a blizzard leaves her stranded, and rancher Jonas Stone’s happy to help. But his son’s been wishing for a mommy for Christmas, and town matchmakers are convinced Annabeth and Jonas are perfect for each other. As the storm clears, city girl AnnaBeth will have to decide: does her heart now belong in the country? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson — After a knockout first date where Cassie Everson and Jett Bentley claim to not want kids, both come home to find three children dropped in their laps. . . each. While struggling to keep their heads above the parental waters, and without wanting to break up their relationship, they decide to do the mature thing: hide the kids from each other while sorting it all out. What could go wrong? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)
Home for Christmas by Candee Fick — After an embarrassing failure, a prodigal retreats to a secluded cabin in backwoods Missouri where he encounters an intriguing young woman and an old guitar. When the message in the music touches his heart, will he make it home in time for Christmas? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
Getting Out of the Comfort Zone: Ayanna by Barbara James — While interning as a hospital chaplain, a young military officer falls for an EMT who is an antiwar activist. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)


Battle In The Valley by Susanne Blumer — The church bell tower transports Chip, Caroline and Billy back thousands of years to an ancient battlefield. There they meet a young shepherd destined to be king and a giant warrior bent on his destruction. Will the children survive the upcoming fight and make it back to Palmetto Island in one piece? (Middle-grade from Sutton Avenue Press)


Hope Unchained by Carol Ashby — When a former legionary and a gladiator are hired to escort a young woman on her quest to rescue her brother and sister from slavery, more chains are broken by forgiveness and love than any of them thought possible. (Historical from Cerrillo Press)

Historical Romance:

The Major’s Daughter by Regina Jennings — In a western land run, an adventurous socialite stakes a claim on an orphaned outlaw’s chosen land, so he decides to stake a claim on her heart. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])
Sew In Love by Debby Lee, Jacquolyn McMurrayDarlene Panzera, and Kimberley Woodhouse — When four women put needle and thread to fabric, will their sewing lead to love? In Hearts Sewn with Love, during the California gold rush, a beautiful seamstress finds her heart torn between the men who want to marry her and the one fortune hunter who won’t. In Woven Hearts, a shirtwaist factory fire survivor struggles to provide for her family despite the disastrous misguided intentions of the handsome union organizer who tries to help. In A Language of Love, a milliner with thick Irish accent and a renowned baseball player with speech impediment meet at the office of a language teacher. But the issues with their backgrounds that first brought them together will also drive them apart. In Tailored Sweethearts, a parachute seamstress struggles with her faith in desperate circumstances. A fighter pilot teaches her to hope in her darkest hours. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear — During the clash between Union and Confederacy, quiet Tennessean Pearl MacFarlane is compelled to nurse both Rebel and Yankee wounded who seek refuge at her family’s farm. She is determined to remain unmoved by the Yankee cause—until she faces the silent struggle of Union soldier Joshua Wheeler, a recent amputee. The MacFarlane family fits no stereotype Joshua believed in; still he is desperate to regain his footing—as a soldier, as a man, as a Christian—in the aftermath of his debilitating injury. He will use his time behind enemy lines to gather useful intelligence for the Union—if the courageous Rebel woman will stay out of the line of danger. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Silent Night Suspect by Sharee Stover — Suspected of a crime she knows she didn’t commit… All she wants for Christmas is to remember. Blood on her blouse. A gun in her hand. A cartel leader’s dead body in front of her. Widow Asia Stratton can’t remember what happened—just that she’s been framed. The only way to prove her innocence is to work with her ex-sweetheart, Nebraska state trooper Slade Jackson. But can they clear her name before this Christmas turns even deadlier? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Brand of Light by Ronie Kendig — After a catastrophic explosion, Kersei Dragoumis awakens in a derelict shuttle, alone, injured, and ignorant of the forbidden technology that has swept her into a nightmare. The brand she’s borne since childhood burns mysteriously, but the pain is nothing to that when she learns her family is dead and she is accused of their murders. Across the quadrants, Marco Dusan responds to the call of a holy order-not to join them, but to seek a bounty. Gifted-or cursed-with abilities that mark him a Kynigos, a tracker sworn to bring interplanetary fugitives to justice, Marco discovers this particular bounty has nothing to do with justice and everything to do with prophecy. One that involves the hunter as much as the hunted. (Speculative from Enclave Publishing)


Laynie Portland, Renegade Spy by Vikki Kestell — Laynie must fight to earn her place on the task force—even as unfolding events expose a looming danger. Wolfe’s task force has a leak . . . one that threatens them all. (Suspense, Independently Published)