Friday, December 14, 2012

Benny, "Benny and the Bank Robber: Doctor Dad"

Dad has a Christmas ending and involves a conflict between Benny Carlisle and his "girlfriend" Violet Mitchell. I think Benny would see himself as a shepherd, overwhelmed by the splendor of the angels but really just a simple fellow trying to show people the Lord Jesus in the stable. How he convinces his wealthy grandfather and starstruck girlfriend Violet Mitchell that a simple Christmas is the best I more like a task for Solomon than a shepherd but he does his best to teach the lesson that Christmas is about overcoming hardship, family troubles, and hearing the voice of the angels saying "Peace on Earth."

Thank you Mary C. Findley! Click here to learn more about Benny and the Bank Robber 2: Doctor Dad

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bailey Tucker, "Maid for Murder"

Bailey Tucker is curious and has to find out the source behind everything! If she spotted the North Star shining brighter than anything else, she’d be the first one to want to check out what was going on. Someone in town may have blamed her for being responsible for it being there, that maybe she had incited an alien invasion in her attempts to send an SOS to outer space, hoping to contact God.

Not being the type to go-it-alone, she’d drag in two accomplices. Together they would take a peace offering—just in case it was aliens from outer space.

Being stopped by the Chief of Police—King Herod, Bailey would appear helpful, but know he wasn’t someone she could trust, and would avoid him after being released, keeping any information she may have stumbled upon in her quest to herself.

Upon arrival in Bethlehem, she would insist on going undercover and would craftily find outerwear to disguise them. She would choose a position of authority so that any would-be aliens would think they were talking to Earth’s leaders, thus pretending to be wise men bringing gifts.

Having mistakenly uncovered an affair at the Inn, started a riot in which the town officials were involved, she and her two cohorts would have gone to the stable to hide out. There discovering a Baby in a manger. She and the other two wise men would then leave their gifts for the ‘needy’ family and head home after discovering the bright star was not a beacon from outer space, signaling an alien invasion.

Susette Williams is a Best Selling Author. She loves writing various genres, both for children and adults. She usually can't resist the urge to let her ornery sense of humor shine through in one of her characters and has always believed that laughter helps you deal with the obstacles life puts in your way.
Susette and her husband have six wonderful children, all with intriguing and different personalities, like the characters she creates in her novels.

Books by Susette Williams:

Accidental Meeting
Falling in Love (Seasons of the Heart)
Winter Chill (Seasons of the Heart)
The Quakers of New Garden (New Garden’s Conversion)

Books for Children:
The ‘In’ Crowd (Life With Stef)
On My Own (Life With Stef)

Author Website:

Inzared, "Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders"

If she were to be a character in the manger scene, my protagonist, INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders, would be Joseph.  Joseph displayed many unusual qualities, as does Inzared. 

Joseph was kind, considerate and loving to Mary, the mother of Jesus.  He was understanding.  How many men would continue to love and care for a woman who was pregnant, still a virgin, and claimed the child came from God?  He must have loved his wife very much to make the sacrifices he did.  He worked hard to care for Mary and her unborn child.  He made sure she was warm and sheltered on the way to Bethlehem.  After a long day’s journey he built a fire and make her a hot drink.  She sipped it while he rubbed her back and swollen feet.  When the couple reached the city and time for the birth had come Joseph was persistent.  He knocked on doors to ask for a room and was turned away countless times, all the while worried about his wife’s condition and that of the child that was soon to come.  When the owner of an inn told him all he had was the manger, Joseph gratefully accepted the offer and led his wife to the warmth of the barn full of animals.

Joseph must have had issues, but he stayed silent and accepted his fate.  He loved his wife and eagerly awaited the birth of their first child, even though he knew he had not sired Jesus.  He was a carpenter and planned to teach the child his trade.  He must have had high hopes and dreams for the boy, even as he fought confusion and envy.  Family was important to him.

Inzared displays many of these same traits.  She is adaptable to new situations and learns to live in a totally different culture from the one in which she was raised.  She is non-biased and stands up for the Gypsies when they are bad-mouthed.  She learns a trade from an old Gypsy fortune-teller (even though her own parents would not have approved, because of their strict Christian values).

Inzared is kind and gentle.  She turns the other cheek when people wrong her.   She feels guilty for leaving home but keeps a sunny disposition as she learns to ride the elephant.  While she carries her first child she knows he will be half Gajji and half Gypsy.  She must worry about it but never lets on, instead keeping a soft voice and doing her best to be happy.  The overlying thread of Inzared’s life is that she is strong, just as Joseph was.  She cares deeply for her family, both the one she grew up in and her new Gypsy familia.  She is kind and generous and giving.

These traits are special and indicative of the Christmas season, when we think of the manger scene and what it depicts.  Inzared could do a lot worse!

Links for L.Leander and INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders

Amazon UK Link:

Video Trailer:


L.Leander’s Reviews and Interviews:

Twitter:  @lleander11

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Raymond Richardson, "Ray's Rules"

The main character of my serial, "Ray's Rules," is Raymond Richardson. I believe he would represent one of the wise men, probably one who offers frankincense or myrrh. This is because Ray isn't flashy or loud, and doesn't need as much attention as, say, the little drummer boy. It is his preference to observe from a distance, while taking in his environment. Ray developed a quiet, strong demeanor by surviving in the unforgiving streets of Houston. He is wise beyond his years, but not endowed with any gold. I could see him wheeling and dealing for some frankincense or myrrh throughout his journeys, but nothing as valuable as gold. As Ray mingled among those offering gifts to the king in the manger, he would be keenly aware of his surroundings. No person would escape his carefully veiled scrutiny. His ability to read people would keep him in position to act, should any character of ill repute decide to sabotage the glorious moment. After deciding that the coast was clear, Ray would politely excuse himself, and wait outside with the camels. Ray would take it upon himself to be prepared with an escape plan and route, should the gathering fall apart for some reason. Not one to be without resources, Ray would make sure to keep some myrrh for himself, in case he needed to buy off a sultan or other magistrate in order to ensure a clean getaway.

Stephen L. Wilson lives in Eugene, Oregon with his wife of 20 years, and 2 of his 3 children. He enjoys writing about a variety of topics, and is interested in promoting indie writing as a viable option to traditional publishing.

The Ray's Rules series can be found on Smashwords. Click here to be taken to the purchase page.

Monday, December 10, 2012

I Don't Know What's Wrong With My Kids

When I was a kid the anticipation for Christmas grew with every day. Mom would put decorations up all over the house and we’d go get a tree from the property and drag it through the snow to the house. For weeks before Christmas I would look forward to payday. It meant that Dad would take Mom, a housewife with no driving license, to town to pay bills and get groceries. If I was lucky the school bus would drop me off before they’d get home. I’d take my outside stuff off, check the kitchen window to make sure they weren’t there, then dash into their bedroom and check the back right corner of their huge closet. Behind the old hanging coats and dresses still in plastic bags were The Presents. My Mom may have had a limited education, but she was still smart enough to wrap the gifts as soon as possible.

What was that noise? Was that the car in the driveway? Check the kitchen window. Nope. Back to the closet. It seemed odd that they would put Christmas presents in the same part of the closet where Dad hid his dirty magazines and videos. Is that the dog barking? As I check the window this time my Mom is halfway down the walk to the front door. My next tradition was helping with the bags hoping to get a glimpse of something.

On Christmas Eve night I never could sleep. I always laid in bed listening to the radio. They played Christmas songs mixed with stories of the first Christmas tree, different traditions, or inspirational stories, and occasional North Pole updates from NORAD. You’d think a guy in a flying sleigh with reindeer pulling it could get around radar. I willed myself to go to sleep. Then I would hear noises downstairs. The crinkling of paper. Were those boxes touching the floor? Is that my Dad still snoring on the couch? Was it a good idea to leave Santa a beer and plate of cookies?

And then I would wait. Around two or three in the morning I crept downstairs under the excuse that I needed to pee. I didn’t dare turn the light on in case Dad was on the couch. My hands searched. Which step up was stalking? Is this mine? What is this sticking out of the top? In my mind I tried to imagine what was in my Mom made stalking with the smurf on each side. Then I’d go to the washroom. My Mom would sleepily tell me to go back to bed, and I did. I woke up just a few hours later though to the joy of all the wrapped gifts under the tree.

I don’t know what’s wrong with my kids. My daughter, age twelve, guarantees me that there is nowhere in the house I could possibly hide presents so she’s not searching. My kids go to bed early on Christmas Eve and sleep in Christmas morning. Where is the anticipation? Where is the joy of watching Charlie Brown’s friends decorate the twig of a tree and seeing Clark Griswold go nuts with his lights or seeing the Grinch’s heart explode with the Christmas spirit? Why doesn’t my son get the same excited feeling I get from watching Alastair Sims as Ebenezer Scrooge?

This year the money is tight, but we have to get some Christmas back in this modern world. We are away from the family this year so it is just the four of us.

Lorne Oliver is the author of  Red Island: A Novel (Sgt. Reid Series).

Do You Know Your Rights? by S. L. Wallace

Today is a very special day. Yes, it's the first day of the Holiday Blog Hop, and for that, I'm very excited. However, it is also Human Rights Day, and that is even more important.

 Did you know today was Human Rights Day? Did you know that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a cornerstone of most international treaties and many laws worldwide? Do you know your rights? If not, you're not alone.

The focus for 2012, is on articles 19, 20 and 21.

Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20: Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21: Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Unfortunately, not all countries agree with all 30 human rights, but that doesn't negate the fact that they belong to you. But how would you know to fight for your rights, if you don't even know what they are? Youth for Human Rights is an amazing website! They've taken the time to create and share 30 short public service announcements about our rights. If you prefer reading to visual media, here is a plain language version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Today is important, and these rights are important because they're yours; they're mine. They belong to all of us.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ashton Raines, "Cowboy"

My name is Ashton Raines. You may know me as the reigning King of Country music.  

Now to be honest with you, a lot of people around me would tell you that I should be like Baby Jesus or something--you know, the center of attention, the center of the universe.  But I don't feel much like Baby Jesus.  Truth is, I don't even feel like I belong in that manger scene at all.  In fact, I kind of feel like the shepherd that stayed back on the hill while the others went to see what all the commotion was about.

You see, as the story goes, angels visited the shepherds and told them the good news about the baby king that was born to save us all.  And those shepherds went to see the baby.  But I know not all of them went.  Why? Well, because that whole thing might just be too good to be true.  Besides the darkness out here is much safer.  In the darkness, no one can see the pain I'm in.  No one even questions it.

I mean, sure it's dark and it's cold and I'm alone, but at least I'm not falling for something that might not even be real, you know?  Still, it would be nice to have that hope, to believe that this night could change everything, that any night could change everything, that I don't have to stay out here and wish the tears would leave me alone, that even I could be welcomed and loved.

Strangely enough, about the time I was getting ready to give up completely, one final angel appeared. She didn't look like the others--kind of ragged, tired and worn, but I could see the love in her eyes as she promised me Jesus is real and I will not be disappointed. On second thought, maybe I will go just to see... you know, in case what that angel says really is true...

Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a #1 Best Selling Contemporary Christian Romance author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection.

Staci has a special surprise for you today and tomorrow only... FREE ON KINDLE TWO DAYS ONLY!

December 4 & 5:

Cowboy "One of the most gripping contemporary romances I've read in the past three years." --Michelle Sutton, Amazon Top 1,000 Reviewer

Timothy Ashton Raines is at the top of his game and the end of his rope until one night, he walks away from everything... Available today as a free download from Amazon! Just click here: Cowboy (The Harmony Series)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

World AIDS Day…Writing a Character That is HIV Positive

Welcome to Indie Author, Robin Nadle, speaking on writing a character who is HIV positive.

Nobody wants to read about a character who is HIV positive, pick something else.

People aren't going to care about a character they can't relate to. You're setting yourself up for failure.

Why on earth would you write about something so depressing?

These were just a few of the questions I faced when I began to shop my series to readers. When describing the story, many were intrigued until they heard about the main character. Beautiful, talented, intelligent, famous, and HIV positive. My heroine was not typical. She was a survivor and she was worthy of love and attention. I needed people to give her a chance.

Having your main character deal with a disease such as HIV was a gamble and I knew it. I have had many people tell me that a story dealing with a rape and a woman who is HIV positive will never sell. I was encouraged to change those aspects and it was the most frustrating part of the development of the series. Having HIV is who Brittany is, and unfortunately for the many people who also deal with this disease, they wish it wasn’t there, too. However, wishing it away doesn’t make it go away and I decided that Brittany would be the character who showed everyone that she was still someone worthwhile. She was still someone who deserved a chance and more importantly, she deserved love. 
Yes, she is HIV positive, but she is also so much more.

I am almost certainly asked more about Brittany than any character I have created. She is also probably the most frustrating character I have written. She is deeply flawed, but profoundly giving and at times, those two traits are in direct conflict. She doesn’t handle everything the right way. She doesn’t trust in her ability to be loved, and she doesn’t think she’s worth the effort. That’s not to say she is weak, but sometimes it takes the love of someone else to help us become who we are supposed to be. For Brittany, that’s Tommy, a man who in his own way, was just as closed off.

The idea for Brittany came years ago, before there was any thought of a series or of ever finishing a novel. She was a character I needed to write and a story I had to tell. It was a challenge to develop a character that had been through something so completely tragic and horrific in its intensity and its cruelty. I needed to be sure that as much as her attack changed her, Brittany wasn’t defined by that moment, as many of us have survived moments that shape who we are, and are not all we are.

Making a character HIV positive was a gamble from the beginning, and I knew it would be a hard sell. Creating a character that was HIV positive as well as a doctor was even tougher. It was important for me to show how HIV is not a death sentence and people deserve to live their lives safely in any way they choose.

I love when people look at Brittany as a strong woman and an inspiration. She is that, but she is ultimately real in her thoughts, actions, worries, triumphs and failures. As famous as she was is as undeserving as she feels. So much in our lives can make us or break us, and although it is a daily choice, I hope Brittany can serve as an example to all, that with love and hope, anything is possible.

As much as I adore Brittany, her journey would not have the impact I wanted if not for Tommy. He was simply the perfect match for her. He was just as stubborn as she was and the love they developed through their story continues to be one of my most favorite things to write. They both have a vulnerability that comes with being left behind and although both are wildly successful and confident in their professions, underneath the surface, they are floundering.

Brittany is such a complex character. I try to go for complete accuracy in her health concerns and although it seems like she is constantly in the hospital, someone in her condition would face many struggles and obstacles and although it’s hard, I want to show her continued fight. Her fears are real and her concern over the stigma of her disease is valid. She is a hero and she is my honor to write.

There is much more to her attack that continues to be explored throughout the later part of the books. It was important to me to show her therapy and the support she has from Tommy. He isn’t perfect in how he reacts, but his intentions are completely honorable and he desperately wants her to feel loved. He is ultimately her protector and the one thing she never had, was that very thing. He is her hero, her strength, her lover and her equal.

I view these characters as a responsibility. Living with HIV comes with so many issues; public criticism shouldn’t be one of them. I also wanted to show that not everyone who lives with a disease is required to be a spokesperson. We all bring baggage into our relationships, both personal and professional, but as long as we realize that at the heart of all of us, we are human beings who deserve to be respected and valued.

Whatever your views about HIV and AIDS, it is our responsibility as human beings to treat each other with respect and understand that no matter what, we are in this life together. I know that one day a cure for HIV is possible, but until that day, education is the key to survival and tolerance.

Thank you for reading and for more information, please check out my blog:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Women of Vallie View: Callie

My friend, Sharon Srock, just released her book: Callie . Before you leave, please take the time to leave a comment and you'll be entered to win a prize pack (pictured below). There is also the opportunity to download a PDF sample. Just click HERE!

And now, it's time to learn about Callie and Sharon!

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Believe it or not, I went to bed one night, a normal person, and woke up the next morning determined to write a book. I know, now, where that came from. It was more than a little weird at the time.

What is your favorite food?
I have two rules when I cook. If it’s sweet add chocolate. If it isn’t sweet add cheese.
Why do you write the kind of books you do?
It has to be a God thing. I wake up with these stories in my head, things I would never see or think of on my own. He gets all the credit.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love a good courtroom drama. Fantasy when it’s well done. By well done, I mean it has to completely draw me into a different world. Mysteries, and Romantic suspense are devoured at my house like chocolate covered cherries.
In what ways has being published changed your life?
Besides making me busier that I used to be? The jury is still out on that one. Ask me again in a year or so.
What is your current work in progress?
I’m working with my editor to get Terri’s story complete. Pam’s story is close to being at the word count I want. Then I’ll start the serious editing process for her. Samantha is knocking…
If you could invite a fictional character to dinner who would it be and why?
Oh, can I pick two? Merlin and Spock. Merlin because I’m captivated by the whole knights in armor, Arthur, slaying the dragon thing. Spock because…well…because the idea of extraterrestrial life interests me. If we ever find life out there, I’d hope they would be wise and beneficial sort like Vulcans. Not the I’ve come to destroy your world we see portrayed 99% of the time.

Of all the current technological marvels, which is your favorite and why?
My GPS. I don’t navigate. Now I don’t have to.

What is your favorite season of the year? What’s special about it for you??
I only have three seasons to my year. Summer, Spring, and SWEATER. I have a serious sweater addiction, so Sweater is my favorite.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
That sometimes we spend too much time beating ourselves up for something God has already forgiven and forgotten. That we do a disservice to ourselves and others when we indulge in those feelings.

Do you have a favorite scene in this book and what would it be?
I think where Pam, Karla, and Terri come to Callie’s house with groceries and stuff for the girls. That is exactly like it would happen, has happened, in my life. Our church family is so generous. I have been on the giving and the receiving end of help.

What three things about you would surprise readers?
My favorite pet of all time was an iguana.
I hate reality TV
I love to mow the grass

Which character in your book are you most like? What have you learned about yourself in writing this story?
For this book. Callie, of course. I didn’t really need to learn the life lesson that Callie had to learn, but writing the story taught me so much about persistence, trust , and patience.

If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose?
Australia. It’s on my bucket list. I’ll make it someday, God willing.

What was your favorite book as a child and now as an adult? Is there a connection between the two?
That is an impossible question to answer. You’ve heard about being born with a silver spoon in your mouth? Well, my mom must have had a terrible time giving birth to me with a book clutched in each hand. I can’t remember a time when reading wasn’t a priority. Picking a favorite out of 50 years worth of books…impossible.

As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?
You are looking at it. Learning the craft, editing, and revising were easy compared to putting myself in the path of perfect strangers and begging for their attention. I’m a pretty solitary person. If I had my way, I’d write the book and pay a look alike to go out and face the public.

Three dire circumstances. Three desperate prayers. One miracle to save them all.

Callie Stillman is drawn to the evasive girl who’s befriended her granddaughter, but the last time Callie tried to help a child, her efforts backfired. Memories of the tiny coffin still haunt her.

Samantha and Iris Evans should be worried about homework, not whether they can pool enough cash to survive another week of caring for an infant while evading the authorities.

Steve Evans wants a second chance at fatherhood, but his children are missing.  And no one seems to want to help the former addict who deserted his family.

For Steve to regain the relationship he abandoned, for his girls to receive the care they deserve, Callie must surrender her fear and rely on God to work the miracle they all need.

A copy of Callie's story
A certificate for Terri's story when it releases in April
A 6 piece Cherry blossom bath set
A cosmetic bag
A Bath Wrap
A Cozy pink eye mask
A Pair of aloe infused booties
A Hair Turban
A Tennis Bracelet
A 25.00 Amazon gift card

A winner will be drawn Monday November 19th. The items add up to well over 100.00 in value.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Things That Bring Us Together

Few events are seared into our memory, and bring the country together—not as Democrat and Republican, not as Black and White, but as Americans; as human beings. And it’s amazing how your age determines how you remember things.

In my parents’ generation, the event that shocked the nation was President Kennedy’s assassination. Few other events—from the end of the Vietnam war, to Mt. Saint Helens’ eruption—held the same sway. My mother—three years old at the time—remembers the day Kennedy was shot. She remembers my grandmother crying and wondering why “Mickey Mouse Club” was not on that afternoon.

Fortunately as a nation, events like this come once, maybe twice, in a generation. I remember three national events quite vividly.

In kindergarten, both of the classes were rushed to the library to see a space shuttle lift off. This was no ordinary space shuttle mission, though. There was a teacher on board—the first civilian to go into space. She had been picked from all the applicants (including one from my now-home state of Idaho). This was history and our teachers wanted us to watch it. We sat on the orange carpet of the elementary school library and gazed up at the seemingly-huge TV screen. I can’t remember what we did before liftoff—goofed off, probably. But I do remember that all of us kindergarteners cheered when the fireworks were set off in honor of the astronauts going into space. We didn’t realize that the shuttle wasn’t supposed to explode, nor did we understand when our teachers started crying, and rushed us back to our classrooms, and continued the day in a somber mood. I didn’t understand why my father wouldn’t let me fly my plastic Challenger Space Shuttle kite anymore—it’s still tucked away in its box somewhere.

The second event I remember vividly was the start of the Persian Gulf War. It was January, I was in sixth grade, and had stayed after school to practice for a school musical. My mother picked me up after practice, and she had tears in her eyes. Mom was raised Quaker, and had registered as a Conscientious Objector, as had one of my uncles. My other uncle saw the Navy as a way to get an education and see the world, and was serving on an air craft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln. When I asked her what the problem was, and why she was crying, she told me that a war had been started, and she was afraid for her brother. For the next two months, we watched missiles hit--or try and hit--Israel, watched men in their brown fatigues, and prayed that my uncle’s ship would not be sent over. He was, but only after the war was over and sanctions had been in place for months.

I also remember where I was as I watched the Twin Towers fall—as does everyone else. I was in college, engaged, and living with my grandparents. My mother called and woke me up at 6:30 a.m.—entirely too early for a college student—and told me to turn on the TV. I did seconds after the second plane hit, alerted my grandparents, and called my fiancĂ©. We all watched as the Towers burned, as people had to choose between jumping out windows and burning alive. We watched as the first Tower fell. I knew in my gut the other was going as well. My aunts all called the family home to check in. Everyone walked around in a daze that Tuesday, and the national anger began a few days later. I learned the next day that some good friends of mine had been sightseeing in the Twin Towers just mere hours before the planes hit.

Few things shape our conscience as national tragedies. As we observe the anniversaries and build memorials for ourselves and our children, we also need to tell our children how important events such as these were. The Challenger explosion and the Persian Gulf War may not be in your top three, but you have others that have shaped who you are. Our children will have their own. Today's middle schoolers on down do not remember the Twin Towers falling—all they see are pictures in history books and the file footage on the news on anniversaries. But they will have the same reactions as we have to their own tragedies.
Now, I have to answer my son's questions every 11th of September on what the pictures mean. I still have my copy of The Oregonian from the 12th, and one day we will read it together. It’s our job as parents and as teachers to help our children understand the ramifications of events such as these and to let our children know it’s okay to be angry—we all were after the attacks in New York and Washington—or sad, as we were in 1986. These events show us who we are as Americans, and who we are as humans.

Origninally published on

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Week That Was

About a month and a half ago, we had a string of what some would call "bad luck." Everything started out fine. Sunday was fun. We spent it at church and at home. We were looking forward to the fair and a week full of overtime. But then, Monday dawned.


I woke Monday morning and went outside to let the chickens out of their coop to find this:

A very large tree branch on a very old elm tree had decided to commit suicide and fell down... kind of. It was still supported by the half of a branch below it and, well, the ground. (For scale, my son in the photo is 46" tall.) The chickens were very confused and immediately ran out, climbed into the leafy mess, and began scratching at it to try and clean it up.

Tuesday I went out to check on the girls before wrangling three boys into leaving for a doctor's appointment when I stopped breathing. Feathers were everywhere and there was a black (and very smug looking) dachshund in the back yard. It took me over an hour to find all of the girls. By the time I found everyone I was hyperventilating. Needless to say, I didn't get to the doctor that day.

I got the call no wife ever wants to get from husband's best friend and carpool partner... the one that starts: "Don't worry. Everyone's okay, but...."

Except our only vehicle was not okay. Both my husband and his best friend missed out on half a day of work, and we didn't have a car for the next two weeks.

After the first three days of the week, I was seriously contemplating not going to the fair on Thursday. (We went, and I got sunburned, but not too badly.) Friday and Saturday were actually enjoyable.

But--despite my ramblings and rantings on Facebook that week--I could (and can) see God's hand of protection in each one of these instances. In fact, it was the only thing that helped me even leave the house on Thursday and Friday. Each one of these instances could have been so much worse.

Monday: Look back at the picture. See the silvery line up in the top right hand corner? That's the power line coming to the house from the alley. It's our house's umbilical cord. The branch that came down was only inches from that power line in life. In its death, it completely missed the line altogether. Five weeks later,

Tuesday: Other than losing some feathers, none of my chickens were hurt. They could have easily all been killed because neither I nor the dog heard their cries of terror. According to the record in the feathers, Aki the Cockerel--who was supposed to be a girl but ended up not being one--fought off the dog while the girls ran for cover. In my panicked, frantic searching, I found him sitting on top of them in a back corner of the coop quietly whispering comforts to the terrified girls. (I love my Aki.)

Wednesday: Obviously, the big thing is that everyone was okay and both cars were repairable. Not only that, but the repairs were only about 75% of the estimate sent to the insurance company. We called to ask about the remaining money and they said it would be okay for us to keep it, which helped us cover 80% of our deductible.

So, that week will always be known as "The Week That Was." It's one to remember, not only because of what happened, but what could have easily happened instead.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. (Psalm 5:11 NIV)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Finding Hope Book Launch – Free Books and More!

Have you been through difficult times in your life? If so, you are not alone. Jesus says in John 16:33, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." Notice that He doesn't say that we might have trouble or that if we have enough faith we will escape it. He clearly states that on this side of heaven we will walk through difficult times in our lives.

And yet we have reason to hope.

This book is Shelley’s own personal journey to finding hope after a tragedy hit her family. However, she did not want this book to be her story alone. Instead, she wants it to be a resource for you to find hope in the midst of your own difficulties. That is why she has added the sections that you will see through the book called, "From My Life to Yours," where she includes journaling prompts and reflection questions for you to apply what you are learning to your life. Her prayer is that God leads you to find His hope no matter what you are currently walking through.

"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." Romans 15:13

Get your copy here:Finding Hope in the Midst of Tragedy

What Reviewers are Saying:

"A must read for anyone who has had storms in their life. I laughed, cried and got so excited. This book gave me the answers to many of my prayers and showed me the right way to forgive." - TALoveRocks

"This is a book of hope, trust, faith, forgiveness, and so much more! Highly Recommended!" - Sandra McLeod Humphrey

"Wow! My eyes are full of tears and my heart is full of God's promises to the author and to each of us. Great book!" - Kristie

Shelley’s main passion is to share God’s truth and the freedom in Christ she has found with others. She does this through her books, websites and speaking engagements. You can find more about Shelley at or invite her to speak at your event here:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Staci Stallings "Learning To...."

Learning to...

I'm going to ask you a very simple question that is going to get you into a lot of turmoil.

If you never have to do something, how do you learn to do it?

Let's say that I am going to operate on you.  Let's say further that you need a heart transplant.  Now, the good news is that I've read a lot about doing heart transplants.  I know the Anatomy book backwards and forward.  I've looked at all the diagrams and all of the graphs and charts.  So I'm pretty sure I can do this.

How confident are you in my ability to perform this task correctly on you?

(I see those nerves springing to the surface.)

But I don't see why you would be nervous.  After all, I have read all about the history of the heart transplant, and I've even read up on the most recent advancements.

Why are you nervous?

I'll tell you why... because I've never actually done a heart transplant, right?

In fact, truth be known, I'm really squeamish at the sight of blood and would probably pass out the second the incision was being made!  And in all honesty, I would not in good conscience even think I could do such a thing.  It takes years of practice to be able to even consider doing such a thing.
But the truth is we do this type of thing all the time in the spiritual realm.  In fact, we get indignant when a practice-session comes our way.

After all, we've read in the Bible that we're supposed to forgive.  7 X 70 times.  But what happens when our neighbor borrows our wrench and forgets to return it?  Or when such-and-such said something about us, and we heard it?

See, much like that heart surgeon who doesn't just read about heart transplants and thinks he or she just knows how to do them, we have to be presented with opportunities to test if we can forgive.  We need that knowledge to move from our heads to our hearts and through our hearts into our experience and our world.  Until we do that, we are as helpful as a surgeon who has read all the books.

And how do surgeon's practice?  Most of the time, they assist under a more skilled doctor for many years.  That's why they do internships and residencies before becoming doctors because they need to have the book knowledge move through them into their actual experiences!

So when Jack shows up, and he broke your mower blade... again.  Or Suzy made that comment, or Jill is mad, or Stan said...

Remember, this is how you learn to forgive and to love.

God's not mean for letting these people be in your life.  He's helping you to learn to be the person who doesn't just read the words but lives them.

Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a Contemporary Christian author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. You can check out one of Staci's Best-Selling Christian Romances...

White Knight
~ The Courage Series~
Book 2
"Expect the unexpected..."

"Through a series of entertaining twists and turns and a lot of suspense, two very unlikely people find in each other a reason to laugh and love and live." 
--Amazon Reviewer, Myrna Brorman
The hardest part is losing the person someone else loves... 
Buy your copy today for:
B&N Nook:

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2012