Category Archives: Christian living

5 Ways to UnPlug

Amish fiction, Christian living Comments: 14

So I tried an experiment last week. I unplugged. Completely. I didn’t check my email, or log into Facebook. I didn’t tweet, and I didn’t post pictures to Instagram. Wow!!! This was a big step for me. (I did pre-post some things to Facebook and Twitter, so you know…no one would forget me.)

Have you ever done this? It was eye-opening for me. I had reached the point where I was “checking things” constantly. Even late at night, or first thing in the morning. I learned some awesome things:

  • The world doesn’t end when I don’t read the news
  • My head got quieter, like, there was peace and quiet in there
  • I had to talk to people when I was in line at the store
  • At first I kept reaching for my phone, and then I’d realize that I didn’t need to touch it if it didn’t ring!
  • I spent more time with friends, family, and my pets, and I was more “present” while I was with them.

Now I’m not saying that any of these things are bad, but for me the habit was out of control. So how can you unplug? It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing deal. You could just reduce if you feel it’s overwhelming you. But where do you start?

  1. Make the decision to only check your e-mail once a day. If anyone needs me urgently, they’ll call.
  2. Go on to Facebook once a day and scan quickly. You don’t have to read/like/comment on every post. Just tag in and out.
  3. If you TWEET or INSTAGRAM, you don’t have to do that every day either. Every meal doesn’t have to be shared. You don’t have to take a selfie at every event. It’s actually kind of nice to keep some things private.
  4. It’ll only feel strange for the first few days.
  5. Spend the time you would be on-line doing something else–pet your dog, work on the craft project you abandoned, finish a book in your TBR pile. Do the things you like to do.

So how about you? Have you ever tried to unplug? Why or why not? And what was the result? There’s a comment button next to the title of this blog. If you’re receiving it in email, just click on the link and then look next to the title. I’d love to hear from you!

Amish Harvest pre-order promo_FINALAnnouncements for this week:

  • Brian’s Choice is on sale for 99 cents. This is a lovely 76 page novella that introduces my Plain & Simple Miracles series.
  • Anna’s Healing, the first full length book in the series and a Christy Award finalist, is on sale for $2.99.
  • An Amish Harvest will release in 6 days, and my publisher is offering a TREAT BOX to the first 100 readers who pre-order.
  • Deep Shadows is now available in print and ebook. **Amazon ** B&N ** CBD. And the price has stayed below $9 for most vendors, so get your copy today!

Also, my Rafflecopter giveaway is live, and I think you’re going to love this month’s Prize Package. Details on my main webpage, so stop by and check us out!



Can I Get an Amen?

Christian fiction, Christian living, inspiration, Living in Grace Comments: 11

bf9e48c1faeaa2ca0825714b371fc8b4World events have a way of darkening our outlook on life. Such tragedy and pain and hopelessness. But it occurs to me that as Christians we represent the opposite of those things. We stand for victory and healing and hope. So I thought this week I’d take a moment to share some of the verses that help me during dark times.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. ~Luke 6:38

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. ~Colossians 3:15

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. ~Psalm 56:3

Want more verses about dealing with fear and anxiety? There’s a good list here. Especially during dark times, we need to encourage and lift up one another. So how about it? What verse would you like to share? Leave a comment with your fav verse or an encouraging comment and you’ll be entered to win one of my Pebble Creek stories. Our winner last week was Rory, and I’ve already sent her an email.

Announcements for this week: 

  • Hidden hit #1 in its categories last week. It’s still on sale for 99 cents in ebook format at Amazon and B&N.
  • If you’re in the Dallas, TX area, I’ll be speaking at the Irving libraries Mysterious Ways Author Panel on Sunday afternoon. Details here.
  • Deep Shadows is now available in print and ebook. **Amazon ** B&N ** CBD. And the price has stayed below $9 for most vendors, so get your copy today!
  • The giveaway at Inkslinger’s Blog will last through 7-23. Leave a comment on the blog to be entered. Plus you can read about 24 hours in the life of a romance author. Who wouldn’t want to read that? It’s RIVETING. 🙂
  • My JULY Rafflectoper giveaway is live. I’m so excited about giving away the wall hanging, which would look perfect in a child or grandchild’s room. Click here and scan down the page to enter.



The Kitchen Pantry

Christian fiction, Christian living, Healthy living, the Remnant Comments: 23

pantrySo…how is your kitchen pantry looking? How full are your shelves? Do you have a bunch of food in there? Or is it kind of bare?

This is something I thought about as I was writing my new novel, Deep Shadows (book 1 in The Remnant series). The basic storyline is that the power goes out for a long time. A really long time–like 40 years. It goes out everywhere. You’ll have to read the book so see why.

But of course that started me thinking. How prepared am I for any type of emergency? I checked out my pantry. Didn’t look too good. I mean ONE BOX of mac and cheese? It’s only 33 cents. Why do I have only one box? So I challenged myself to purchase a few extra supplies. How do you like what I bought? Deep Shadows smWe know and believe that God will care for us REGARDLESS of the circumstances around us. But part of his caring for us is providing us with resources, like an extra 33 cents to buy one more box of mac and cheese.

So tell me. How does YOUR pantry look?

PS-I’m still giving away one prize per week, so tell your friends to stop by and leave a comment. This week, I’ll give away one book from my booklist.  You choose the title and whether you’d like an ebook or print book. Last week’s winner was Betty M.

Announcements for this week: 

  • Harvest House is giving away 10 copies of Deep Shadows on Goodreads.
  • You can read about last month’s Girlfriends Getaway on today’s RT Blog.
  • Deep Shadows is still available for pre-order. This is a story about how communities come together when life drastically changes, and how our faith sustains us through those times. All vendors offer a pre-order price guarantee, so if the price goes down before the item is released, you receive the lower price. **Amazon ** B&N ** CBD.
  • My June rafflecopter is going strong, and it’s easy to enter daily. Check here for details. This month’s giveaway includes a copy of Hidden, a set of quilted coasters, a Texas note card, and  a $10 Starbucks card.

Thanks for stopping by!



Watch Your Words

52 Weeks of Grace, Christian living Leave a reply
Psalm 19:14

Psalm 19:14

Welcome back to 52 Weeks of Grace.

This month we’re discussing sharing God’s grace with others. One of the primary ways we do that is with our words. Our words are often the first thing people hear and the last thing they remember about us. Words are important!

My father must have told me at least one million times, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Those wise words have come in handy more than once.

I had a pastor once who was teaching a children’s sermon–she had a tube of toothpaste, and she squirted some out on a piece of cardboard. Then she encouraged the children to put the toothpaste back into the tube. Of course that was impossible. She said, “Our words are like that. Once they’re out, you can’t put them back in.”

And then there’s this quote.

You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say. ~Martin Luther

Wow! Yes! That’s what I’m talking about. What we say, and what we don’t say are both very important! And many times our words either allow us to share grace with someone, or they block us from being able to share.

So this week, as we approach Easter Sunday, I encourage you to think of your words as a vehicle for Grace.




DOING with Grace

52 Weeks of Grace, Christian living Comments: 1

Blackboard writings "Actions speak louder than words"

Doing with Grace? Sounds odd, I know. If your parents were like mine, you grew up hearing, “It’s not what you say, it’s what you DO.” Yup. In the years since then, I’ve learned the value of those words. People will say a lot of things, but they don’t always follow through. Their actions don’t always mirror their words.

This month we’re talking about extending God’s grace to others, and one of the ways we can do that is in our actions. We find a lovely example of this in John 12:3

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Mary did more than tell Jesus she loved him. She showed Jesus that she loved him. So how about it? Can our actions toward others convey the grace and love of God?



Offering Grace

52 Weeks of Grace, Christian living Comments: 8

We’ve been exploring GRACE–what it means, how it affects our lives, and how we can offer grace to ourselves. For the month of March, I thought we’d talk about how to offer grace to others. As we can see in this verse from Acts, when we’re full of God’s grace, we can do great things!

Max Lucado agrees. I absolutely love this quote by him:

The apostle Paul never seemed to exhaust the topic of grace – what makes us think we can? He just kept coming at it and coming at it from another angle. That’s the thing about grace. It’s like springtime. You can’t put it in a single sentence definition, and you can’t exhaust it. ~Max Lucado

Isn’t that awesome? So if we cannot exhaust grace, we cannot use it up or run out of it, then we have plenty to offer to others. We, as followers of Christ, can offer grace to other people in our lives. Now it’s your turn. What are some ways that we can do this? I know you have some good ideas, so please share it in the comment section below.





Make GRACE a Habit

52 Weeks of Grace, Christian living Comments: 8

I hope you have had a wonderful February. This month we have focused on extending GRACE to ourself. Wow! It’s a powerful concept. We’ve discussed finding our strength in God’s grace, allowing ourselves to rest, and forgiving ourselves for past mistakes.

Today I thought we’d talk about taking care of ourself in general. I meet a lot of women who are exhausted, grumpy, depressed, and even physically ill. Sometimes these things just happen, and as we all know – sometimes these things happen all at once! But many times, I speak with women who are simply not taking care of theirself. They take care of everyone else, and some even develop a martyr mentality. (If I don’t do it, then the world will cease to spin because no one else will.)

healthy habits words in vintage letterpress wood type printing blocks against painted wood

If this is you, I’m not laughing AT you, I’m laughing WITH you, because I’ve been there. Motherhood does it to us, as does being a good wife, having a job in or out of the home, volunteering at our church, and a dozen other things. But remember even Christ took a break when he needed one–

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. ~Luke 5:16

I want to challenge you to make GRACE a daily habit in your life. That could mean a bubble bath, a twenty minute walk alone, allowing the clothes to remain in the basket until tomorrow, or a dozen other things. What about it? Are you willing to make extending GRACE to yourself a daily habit? I’d love for you to comment with some SPECIFIC WAYS we can do this daily.




Forgiving Yourself

52 Weeks of Grace, Christian living Comments: 6

FeaturePics-Forgiveness-Word-100039-2904664Welcome back to my blog where we’re exploring 52 Weeks of Grace. In January we defined what grace means, and last week we talked about allowing ourselves to rest–what a wonderful way to offer ourselves grace! I loved your comments. I’m just like you. I know when I need to rest, but I often don’t “allow” myself.

Today I wanted to talked about forgiveness. God offers us His forgiveness–it’s essentially a part of receiving divine grace. But do we offer ourselves forgiveness?

I don’t know about you, but I’m much more likely to forgive someone else than myself. Maybe it’s natural to be harder on ourself. It could be that you don’t keep as clean a house as you think you should, or you were short tempered with someone you love, or maybe you were rude to a stranger. It could be something much bigger in your past that you’ve never allowed yourself to move past. But we’re not perfect. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but sometimes we think we should be.

It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody. ~Maya Angelou

So how about it? Do you think you can forgive yourself this week? I think we should, because I am convinced that it is part of God’s grace.