Thursday, January 31, 2013

Win a Book!


Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, February 3, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book I review below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways here.


Waiting for Spring by Amanda Cabot

Amanda Cabot is the author of Paper Roses, Scattered Petals, Tomorrow’s Garden, and Summer of Promise. She is also a charter member of Romance Writers of America, the cofounder of its New Jersey chapter, a member of the ACFW, and an avid traveler. She lives in Wyoming.


From the book’s back cover:
After the loss of her husband and the birth of her baby, Charlotte has had a long, hard year. But she can find no rest from the ghosts of the past and flees to Cheyenne to put the pieces of her life back together.

Wealthy carrel baron and political hopeful Barrett Landry must make a sensible match if he is to be elected senator of the soon-to-be state of Wyoming. He needs someone with connections. Someone without a past. Yet he can’t shake the feeling that Charlotte holds the key to his heart and his future.

Will Charlotte and Barrett find the courage to look love in the face? Or will their fears blot out any chance for happiness?

From Jo:
Amanda Cabot’s stories never disappoint. Her characters are real and her description of setting is vivid. In Waiting for Spring she gives us Charlotte who leaves her past and seeks safety for her and her small child. Can Charlotte guard her heart as she does for her child?

Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, February 3, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Waiting for Spring by Amanda Cabot. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please, please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address. I’ll announce the winner in Monday’s blog.

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Shepherd

Monday Meditations


The Lord is my shepherd,
  So why should I fear,
Though years overtake me,
  And shadows appear?
I know that He cares for
  My life and my need,
And will give me His peace,
  If His Word I heed.
His arms will uphold me
  When strength seems to fail.
If others should leave me,
  His love will prevail.
His home will be my home.
  His promise He'll keep,
Though I may be one of 
  The least of His sheep.
So Lord, now, I thank You,
  In heaven above,
For each way You bless me
  And show me your love.

--Jean R. Butler



The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a signed copy of Whatever He Wants by Bridgett Henson is karenk. I'll email you to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Win a Book!


When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, January 27, 2012 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways here.


Whatever He Wants by Bridgett Henson



I’m pleased to have Bridgett Henson as our guest today. Bridgett is happily married with three wonderful children. She loves attending church, camps, conferences and the occasional mission trip. Her fiction acknowledges God the Father, demonstrates salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ and utilizes the empowerment of the Holy Ghost in realistic conflicts.

JO: Please tell us a little about yourself.  

BRIDGETT: I live in rural Alabama. I’m married with three children and have a wonderful church family.

JO: What four fun or unique things can you tell us about yourself that we don’t know?

BRIDGETT: I have a mixed denominational heritage. My father was a Mormon. My mother is a southern Baptist. I’m married to a Methodist pastor and I am a member of a Pentecostal Church.

JO: Please describe yourself with three words.

BRIDGETT: Persistent, Procrastinator, Peculiar

JO: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

BRIDGETT: I love to read. I like to travel. I love going to church and listening to fiery preaching.

JO: How did you become involved in writing?

BRIDGETT: I’ve been writing since I learned my ABC’s. I guess it’s inherited since my paternal grandmother was a closet poet and my sister writes on occasion.

JO: Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?

BRIDGETT: I have an office of sorts at home, but I take a notebook with me everywhere. My favorite place to write is at church. The words flow unhindered in the presence of God.

JO: Do you always know the title of your books before you write them?

BRIDGETT: No. However God gave me the title to Whatever He Wants the same time he gave me James’s story.  

The title has a three-fold meaning.
     1.   Whatever God wants.
     2.     Whatever James wants.
     3.     Whatever his son, Isaac wants.

JO: Please tell us about Whatever He Wants.

BRIDGETT: While running from his Pentecostal Heritage, a construction worker must choose between protecting his young son from an abusive mother or a life full of music with the girl of his dreams.

JO: What takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading this book?

BRIDGETT: I’d like readers to know that God has a specific plan for their life. If you seek after his will, he’ll show you the way he wants you to go.

Also, Church can be fun. It doesn’t have to be a boring place where you go to take a nap.

And finally the Holy Ghost is real and He is available for all Christians not just a specific denomination.

JO: Where did you get the idea for your book?

BRIDGETT: In March of 2011, at the Southeastern Youth Conference (SEYC) in Enterprise, Alabama, God gave me James’s story.

JO: Did you have to do any research for this book?

BRIDGETT: Yes, but God always directed me to the right people. My pastor’s wife helped with the piano. My husband help me apartment shop for James. A lady in a waiting room just happened to be a social worker for a local orphanage. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law loved the beach road trip. The dry boring facts came from internet searches.

JO: How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

BRIDGETT: I’ve always made up stories. As soon as I learned to write, one of those stories found its way on paper. “Are We There Yet” was written in the first grade. Whatever He Wants is my first published novel.

JO: What advice would you give to writers who have been writing a few years but still haven’t interested an agent or publisher in their novel?

BRIDGETT: Evaluate yourself.  Master the craft of writing first, and then seek publication. Follow God’s leading. I write a unique genre, Pentecostal Fiction. After years of learning how to write by writing half a dozen novels, I incorporated an Indie Publishing Company specifically to publish this series. The six novels written before this book were learning curves. They will never live anywhere other than my hard drive, because quite frankly they’re not good enough to survive the harsh world of publishing. Keep writing. Don’t edit the same manuscript for twenty years. If you write in the Pentecostal genre, my editor, Tyler Chastain is open to submissions www.empoweredpublicationsinc.com.

JO: What are you working on now?

BRIDGETT: Book two in the series, A Swim in the Clouds, is in the revision stage. Book four is in rough draft.

JO: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

BRIDGETT: Learn all you can. Attend conferences, join writers groups and follow blogs.  Write every day.

JO: Please tell our readers where they can get your book.

BRIDGETT: Whatever He Wants is available in print and eBook. My publisher has a page set up with the links to purchase, including Amazon, Kindle and Nook, to name a few: http://www.empoweredpublicationsinc.com/our-books.html

JO: Please tell our readers where they can find you online.

BRIDGETT: I love hearing from my readers. Friend or follow me at these links.
Thank you, Bridgett, for visiting with my readers. Bridgett has graciously given me a signed copy of Whatever He Wants. One commenter will win this copy in a drawing.


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, January 27, 2012 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Whatever He Wants by Bridgett Henson. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please, please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address. I'll announce the winner on Monday's blog.

Till next time … keep on smiling

Monday, January 21, 2013

How Much Do I Have?


Monday Meditations

Nothing else in the house moved as I stumbled up the hall. I stood half asleep at my kitchen sink. Looking through half-closed blinds, I discovered what had interrupted my predawn sleep. On the deck, several pesky blue jays perched on the patio table, ready to welcome a new day. Aggravated at them for disturbing me, I pecked impatiently on a window pane. With much fluttering, the birds scattered to nearby trees. All but one.

The lone bird pranced around the deck, tilting his head this way and that, beady black eyes searching for his would-be attacker. I raised the miniblinds and pecked fiercely on the glass again. There! He looked my way—he’d found me. He stared at me; I glared at him. Appearing to know my threatening noises couldn’t harm him, he didn’t budge.

Then the concert began, his music as crisp and crystal clear as the day’s spring morning. Each warble imitated his previous one.

Each time he chirped, the little bird quivered from the black collar across his throat to the trembling tip of his brilliant blue tail feathers. Every inch of the bird moved to produce his melody.

This little bird put all his body behind each note—he gave it all he had. I forgot the blue jay’s peskiness, enjoying instead my private recital.

Watching from my quiet kitchen, I thought about the tremendous effort the little bird displayed. He certainly didn’t go about his singing in a halfhearted way.

I wondered if Christians could measure up to the blue jay. Are we as committed in our efforts of praise and worship?

I recalled some of Jesus’ examples. I remember the widow who placed only two coins in the temple treasury as her offering (Mark 12:41-44). Compared to the rich who put in much, the widow’s gift pleased Jesus, for He said she “put in everything—all she had to live on” (v. 44, NIV).

I remembered when Jesus fed the five thousand with only five barley loaves and two fish (John 6:5-14). The bread and fish belonged to a boy in the crowd, apparently all the food he had; but it proved sufficient for Jesus’ purpose.
Then I pondered, “How much have I given? How much do I have?”

It makes no difference how much we have. Jesus demands our all when we accept Him as our Savior and Lord. Jesus answered the questioning Pharisees, saying the first and greatest commandment is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37, NIV).

All we have. We must give all we have to loving and serving God. Whether in our jobs, raising our children, church work, or leisure time, God demands from Christians a l00 percent effort.

Like the little blue jay on my deck with only one song to sing we must give it all we’ve got.


The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of Getting Out of the Bed in the Morning: Reflections of Comfort in Heartache  by Alice J. Wisler is Janet E. I'll email you to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.

Till next time … keep on smiling.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Win a Book!


Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing



When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, January 20, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book shown below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways here.      



I’m happy to have Alice Wisler with us today. Her article appears below.

Alice was born in Osaka, Japan in the sixties. Her parents were Presbyterian career missionaries. As a young child, Alice loved to walk down to the local stationer’s store to buy notebooks, pencils, and scented erasers. In her room, she created stories. The desire to be a published famous author has never left her. She’s the author of Rain Song, How Sweet It Is, Hatteras Girl, and A Wedding Invitation (all published by Bethany House) and Still Life in Shadows (River North/Moody).

Her new devotional is Getting Out of Bed in the Morning: Reflections of Comfort in Heartache (Leafwood Publishers).

Alice has four children—Rachel, Daniel, Benjamin, and Elizabeth. Daniel died on 2/2/97 from cancer treatments at the age of four. Since then, Alice founded Daniel’s House Publications in her son’s memory. This organization reaches out to others who have also lost a child to death.

Alice presents online writing courses—Writing the Heartache—and other workshops across the country. She also has a line of remembrance cards and thank you cards. She is a contributing author at Open to Hope where she writes on grief and loss. Her three blogs are Writing the Heartache, Alice's Patchwork Quilt, and Broken Psalms.


Article by Alice Wisler
A weeping willow tree, one flowery journal, two pens (in case one ran out of ink), and a box of Puffs tissues. Those objects stayed close beside me. In my early confusion over the loss of my son, these items never ignored my grief or told me to “get over it.”

When it grew too dark to see underneath the stringy weeping willow, I carried my pen and journal inside a house that seemed too empty, and wrote some more. At night, I woke to grapple with turmoil, with the noises in my head, the flashbacks of the cancer ward, the cries of my son. I wrote the ugly words “why?” and “how come?” before I could sleep again.

I scribbled through myths and clich├ęs. I unleashed resentment and longing. I addressed prayers to God.

And, surprisingly, I discovered. Some of the confusion slid away, some of the guilt abandoned me. There was nothing I could have done to save my four-year-old’s life. Even my love had not been strong enough to destroy that infection that flared inside his tiny body. I was human and really not as in control as I wanted to believe. I would have to live with that.

I began to understand the new me. She was a tower of strength and compassion; she was tender and vulnerable, realistic, with just the right touch of cynicism. She needed protection from too many plastic smiles; she could not go long without a hug or sharing a story about a blue-eyed boy with an infectious laugh.

My written words healed me. And I jumped at the opportunity to tell others. I’d found comfort and clarity. I smiled at my husband and three young children, and at last, I didn’t want to run my van over the cliff; I wanted to smell the peonies and taste the salt from the ocean on my skin.

The beauty about grief-writing is that no one has to read it. You don’t have to worry about a teacher correcting your spelling or grammar. There’s no grade, no pass or fail. No one cares if your letters are sloppy. It’s written by you and for you. And, yes, it works.

Use these tips to help write your heartache for healing, health and hope.
 Find a secluded place to write where you can think clearly without distraction.
 Write, at first, for your eyes only. It doesn’t have to be shared with anyone.
 Write to chart progress for you to read years down the road.
 Write with the feeling, “I will survive this.”
 Write to identify your emotions and feelings.
 Write to help solve some of the new situations you must now face.
 Think of your journal as a friend who never judges and who can never hurt you.
 Write your spiritual struggles.
 Write to rebuild your self-esteem and your self-confidence.



Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, January 20, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Getting Out of the Bed in the Morning by Alice Wisler. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please, please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address. I’ll announce the winner in Monday’s blog.

Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Lost and Found


Monday Meditations

Lost and Found
“There is joy . . .  over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10).

While shopping recently, I overheard a mother comforting her small child.
“Let’s go to the ‘Lost and Found’ office,” she said. “We’ll ask the man if he’s found your doll.”
          “But, Mother,” her daughter asked, “how could the man find my doll? He doesn’t even knows it’s lost.”
          Jesus taught about losing something and then actively searching to find it: a man who had 100 sheep, but lost one (Matt. 18:10-14); a woman who lost one of her 10 silver coins (Luke 15:8-10). In these biblical accounts, great happiness occurred when diligent searching found the lost sheep and the lost coin.
          Ending the parable of the lost coin, Jesus said, “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10). But repentance occurs only after a sinner realizes his lost condition.
          Sinners must actively seek redemption through Jesus Christ’s sacrificial blood (Eph. 1:7). Through God’s grace, Jesus can pluck them from their sins’ darkness. He will forgive those sins, making a person fit for the kingdom of God (Col. 1:13-14). But a sinner must first seek salvation before he can find it.
          Have you been lost and found? If not, repent and be sorry for your sins. Ask God to forgive you for them. Accept His Son Jesus as Lord in your life. Rejoicing will occur when you are no longer lost but are found.


The winner of last Thursday's blog post for a copy of Unconditional by Tanya Eavenson is PatT. I'll email you to get your mailing address and get the book out to you. Thanks all for commenting. Watch for more book giveaways.

Till next time ... keep on smiling.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Win a Book!


Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, January 13, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for an eBook copy of the book below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways here.     


Unconditional by Tanya Eavenson

Tanya Eavenson and her husband have been in the ministry for fifteen years teaching youth, adults, and counseling. Tanya enjoys spending time with her husband, and their three children. Her favorite pastime is grabbing a cup of coffee and reading a good book. Tanya is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes for Christ to the World Ministries sharing the Gospel around the world. You can find her on Twitter at @Tan_eave and contact her at her website www.tanyaeavenson.com. Want to learn more about writing? Stop by her blog http://guidedgirls.blogspot.com

Tanya Eavenson is our guest today. Welcome, Tanya. Let’s talk a while and get to know you better.

JO:  When did you first discover that you were a writer?

TANYA: I’m not sure when it happened really, but it took longer than most. See, I never intended to be a writer, it just happened when my husband left for a mission trip. Then in 2011 Unconditional semi-finaled in the ACFW Genesis contest. I still didn’t believe I was really a writer but I keep plugging away, learning the craft. It wasn’t even when I signed my first contract. It happened when my husband told me he was proud of me and that I trusted God and never looked back. That’s when I became a writer and an author at the same time.

JO: Describe how you write a book – with your other responsibilities, does it tend to be something you work into your every day, or do you have to “set apart” time to write with open, undesignated blocks of time? 

TANYA: As a writer, I heard time and time again that I needed to write every day to be successful. I used to beat myself up when I couldn’t meet that goal. It took two years fighting with this idea when I finally gave up. So I decided to do something different, I set a word count goal each week, and it’s worked. Some weeks I write 3,000 words and others 7,000 depending on what’s going on during the week. Flexibility is the key for my writing success.

JO: Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

TANYA: I love to read non-fiction that dives into God’s word. Next would be historical fiction.

JO: How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

TANYA: I’m still learning. =)

JO: How do you choose your characters’ names?

TANYA: I choose names that I’ve always liked. I remember being in middle school and picking out the names my children would have one day. And yes, I did actually name my youngest child one of those names, and that name is my heroine in my novel Unconditional.

JO: What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

TANYA: My greatest roadblock, and one I still face today, is being afraid of making mistakes for people to see. Most of the time I overcome it by praying, but it runs deep, so it’s a struggle.

JO: Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

TANYA: I’d have to say that every character has a piece of me within them whether it’s something the character likes, a physical attribute, or even a journey of spiritual growth. There’s a scene in the novel where Elizabeth and Chris head out to the lake. Elizabeth tries to hold onto the dock, but is unable and the boat floats away. When I thought to add that scene, I could only laugh. It was the first time I’d ever tried to use a trolling motor.

JO: Tell us about Unconditional and what inspired you to write the story?


TANYA: What inspired me? Brokenness I guess you could say. Brokenness for families, children, and what happens when couples divorce.

I grew up in a family where divorce is common, like most people today, with the idea once you “fall” out of love, and you can’t get along  anymore, it’s time to get a divorce. It was almost engraved in me witnessing everyone in my family get divorced one time or many times. I, too, almost went down that route with divorce papers in hand. I told myself many things at the time, but the truth. I was focused on our failures, not the hope that with God, all things are possible. The question was, were we willing to save our marriage at all costs? Would we fight for each other, whether we felt like it or not?

It is my hope through this story, that no matter the circumstances the reader is facing, a loss of a child, anger, emotional hurt, infidelity, abandonment, etc., they will know there is hope in Christ. 

Here is the blurb for Unconditional:
He will fight for her at any cost…
Elizabeth Roberts can't remember her past, and the present is too painful. She turns to nightclubs and drinking to forget her infant daughter's death, her husband's affair.

When his wife's coma wiped out the memory of their marriage, Chris Roberts found comfort elsewhere. He can't erase his betrayal, but with God's help he’s determined to fight for Elizabeth at any cost.

She wants to forget. He wants to save his marriage. Can they trust God with their future and find a love that’s unconditional?

Endorsements for Unconditional:
"Unconditional is a powerfully-gripping story of deep heartache laced with fears, yet even through the sorrow, Tanya Eavenson reminds us that nothing can separate us from God's love." ~ Alice J. Wisler, author of "Still Life in Shadows" and other novels

"Not your typical amnesia story, Unconditional tells a tale of loss, betrayal, and forgiveness. Eavenson drags her characters through the fire, then reveals God’s power through their broken lives. The writing is stellar; the emotion, raw and palpable; the cast, impeccably crafted. This author is one to be watched!"~ April W Gardner, award-winning author

"Unconditional explores the struggles that married couples sometimes experience, and the decisions they must make after going through difficult circumstances. A powerful story of hope and healing." ~ Laura V. Hilton, Healing Love (Whitaker House)

"Unconditional is a beautiful story of God's never-ending love. Throughout its pages, Tanya Eavenson evokes a myriad of emotions in her readers, from deep despair to heartfelt praise. The characters gripped my heart, showing me the reality of man's sin but also the depth of God's grace. Unconditional is a well-written, heart-stirring novel written by a talented new author." ~ Jennifer Slattery, Novel Reviews


Tanya, thank you for spending time with us today. Tanya will graciously give the winner of my commenters drawing an eBook copy of UnconditionalI'll announce the winner on Monday's blog.


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, January 13, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for an eBook copy of Unconditional by Tanya Eavenson. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please, please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address. I’ll announce the winner in Monday's blog.

Till next time ... keep on smiling.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Shelter from the Storms


Shelter from the Storm

Mondays Meditation


I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm. Psalm 55:8

Our eleven-year-old English shepherd dog, Lady, tries to hide from thunderstorms. She lacks reasoning intelligence to know that she really can’t hide from an electrical storm. But hearing the first faint rumble of thunder, Lady tucks her bushy tail, creeps almost in a crouch toward her doghouse and fits her beautiful big body inside. That is where she feels great safety from any pending harm. Tucked inside her house, she is certain that the booming thunder can’t reach her. No matter how long the storm lasts, she remains there until quiet again prevails and skies clear. And they have to be completely clear before she ventures out again.
Watching Lady’s behavior, I’m reminded how we can turn toward God at trouble’s first nudge. The doghouse gives Lady shelter from the storm. God can do the same for us. He offers us protection and comfort, shelter from the world’s turbulence. The Bible tells us that just as an earthly father provides for his children, God can give us much more.
Do you have a fear that you must hide from? Is there something so big and noisy in your mind that you have to go someplace safe to get away from it? I don’t like the dark—ever—period. But if I leave even the smallest light bulb burning, I feel I’m sheltered and safe. Even if I remain in the same location as I was in the dark, that tiny light relieves my fear.
God tells us that the devil prowls around looking for those he can destroy. When we sense the devil’s threats to our Christian commitment, we can follow Lady’s example: Move away from impending danger; hurry to our Shelter.

The winner of the book giveaway from last week is karenk. I will email you to get mailing information.

Till next time ... keep on smiling


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Win a Book!

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing


When you leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, January 6, 2013 you'll be entered in the DRAWING for a copy of the book shown below. If you mention in your comment that you’re a follower (see in the left column “Join This Site” and “Follow by Email”), I’ll add your name a second time in the drawing. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. You can read details about my book giveaways here.  



Let's visit with Ann H. Gabhart the author of several bestselling novels, including The Outsider and Angel Sister. The Gifted is the fifth book set in her Shaker village of Harmony Hill. She lives on a farm in Kentucky where she enjoys walking with her grandkids and her dog



Hanging onto Hope Through the Years by Ann H. Gabhart

2013. A new year. A great time to dream big. But how to keep those dreams alive? If you're like me, you write it all down in a journal. My New Year's posts reveal what a rollercoaster ride my writing life has been over the years. Deep lows. Exhilirating highs. Let me share a few with you.
Dec 31, 1978 - In a few minutes it will be 1979. I’ve written on so many New Year’s Eves since I began journal writing as a teen. In ways that’s such a long time ago, but in other ways it seems only a soft twirl of days. A new year is a great time to count successes or mourn over failures. 1978 was an exciting year full of newness. Seeing my published book was a definite high.
Jan 3, 1983I didn’t write on New Year’s Eve. Guess that’s indicative of my mood. I hate to keep reiterating my failures. That’s all 1983 held professionally. Rejections and even worse than that – no rejections. Only silence. So I’ll let 1982 roll off into the past and try not to be mashed by my failures. So what if my drawer is full of rejection slips. That’s part of learning and getting better. Pray God I am getting better and 1983 will hold something good in the wings for me, the writer.
Jan 14, 1985Seems like a new year always brings new hope. I’m almost finished with a new story. I got a nice letter from my agent, saying my “lack of sales” was no reflection on my writing ability.
Jan 2, 1986’85 is gone. Past. I did sell one book, rewrite a second, and struggle through the writing of another. Even if the story isn’t as good as I dreamed, I did learn from it.
Jan 3, 1989 When counting blessings, I shouldn’t forget my spring of hope that sustains me when I’m discouraged. The next book. The next idea. The next editor. I have only to believe, to continue to try.
Jan 3, 1991I love it when I can think positive. I want to have a whole year of positive thinking. “You can do it” stuff.
Jan 17, 1994Guess I didn’t make time to write about my year because it’s been such a sorry one in regard to writing successes. A low point – a valley that I haven’t even begun climbing out of.
Jan 12, 1995 – A funny thing chasing after a story idea. So funny and today so futile I'm writing about it. It’s as if I’ve blanked out my mind and I’m stumbling around searching for a way out of the blankness, hoping I’ll bang into something that will suggest some possibilities. But right now it’s a white-out blizzard of nothing. Or it’s like I’m out in a huge field with nothing but flat ground. I’m lost but not really worried. I know some direction I take will lead me to trees, a house, something interesting – maybe even a hole I can fall into. But which direction? Today I might even think I’m blindfolded and someone has spun me around till I can only stagger a few steps, trying to keep my balance. What I need to do is start walking forward and not just keep circling the blank field finding nothing.
Jan 21, 1998I want to do something fresh, something inspiring, something to make me proud to say I’m a writer again. Maybe I’ll be a writer again. Now I’m just going through the motions and doing a poor job of that. I need a new story. I need a story. Period. Exclamation point. 
Jan 14, 2003I haven’t worked the way I’d like. I’m dragging my feet. Letting things interfere. Falling to sleep at the wheel (or keyboard). Afraid of failing. I’m still working on my story ... pushing toward the end. If I fail, I fail. But I have failed already if I don’t try.
Jan 3, 2005Of course, the year’s highlight workwise is selling my book. I’m so excited about that I shouldn’t have even one depressing thought.
Dec 27, 2005Time spins away from us in great circles. Blessed beyond imagination.
Jan 3, 2008So long ago I started writing in a journal. Yet it continues to feed my soul. Words on paper. Thoughts and ideas. Gripes and complaints. Praises and joys. Worries and troubles. So much to record. I started journal writing when I was 13. I’m not 13 anymore. But I’m still here. Still writing about joy and worries. But pray God, always more joy.

Wishing you always more joy in your work and in your life!


Remember: leave a comment on THIS post by 6 p.m. CT Sunday, January 6, 2013 and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of The Gifted by Ann H. Gabhart. You must be eighteen, have a U.S. mailing address, void where prohibited. Please, please remember to leave your email address so that should you be the winner I can get in touch with you for your mailing address. I’ll announce the winner in Monday’s blog.

Till next time ... keep on smiling.