Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

As we pause at the beginning of the holiday season to give thanks, I hope your heart is full of goodness, joy, compassion, and generosity. I hope God blesses you with riches that can't be stored in a bank account and that your prayers will be answered in delightful ways!

If you're surrounded by loved ones today, bless you. If you're lonely and without those dear to you today, bless you! Know you're very important, and people who don't even know you are praying for you. I'm one of them.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Prayer, faith, and hope!

Yesterday I had the honor to sit with and pray for a dear woman who is facing surgery for cancer for the third time in four years. Tough stuff. Learn about it here in Michele's words. 
The quote, "Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading," perfectly sums up my friend. Michele Cushatt is a gracious, Godly woman full of faith. That was never more evident than yesterday when she talked about the overwhelming peace that is embracing and carrying her as she faces 10 hours of surgery and months of recovery.  

I was one of several woman who met to laugh and pray and love on Michele. Isn't it funny that when you extend yourself to minister to another person you're the one who is blessed? I was blessed tremendously to offer my friendship, prayers and support to Michele, and I was also blessed to be among such mighty women of God. Powerful, loving prayers were voiced yesterday.

Please, join the many others who are praying for for Michele and her family as they face this challenge. They're facing a long, hard road.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chase your dreams, and create the life you desire!

Do you have an unfulfilled dream? Go for it!

No one will drop your life's dream into your lap. You've got to work for it.

Since I was a little girl, I wanted be a published author.

I was too afraid to tell anyone my dream, so when the time came to go to college, I took the safe path and studied communications instead of creative writing.

It served me well, I worked in broadcasting, journalism, and marketing most of my adult life. If I hadn't made that decision, my life would not have taken me to where I met my honey, so I don't regret my choices. I'm blessed.

Yet, I still longed to see my name on the spine of a book. My dream would not fade. So one day about a decade ago I decided to take a run at my dream.

By then, I'd been writing a novel (or two!), but I never submitted it to a publisher. Actually, I didn't know how. So I joined a writers group. Then I went to a writers conference. Then I joined a critique group and began to enter contests. I continued to write, continued to learn, and started submitting my work.

One magical day I got that email dreams are made of--the one from an editor requesting to see my full manuscript. The rest is history. I had two books published. My dream was realized.

I've thought of how lucky I am, but honestly, much of it was disguised as hard work. I didn't sit around daydreaming. I did all I could to make my dream come true.

You shouldn't give up on your dreams either. Do you have a dream? Here are 12 steps to take to make your dreams come true:

  1. Set a goal. Really. Write it down, if you must. 
  2. Make a plan. What do you need to learn or what certification/degree do you need to acquire to meet your goal?
  3. Find others on the same path. The writing community helped me to stay in the game until my dream was realized. 
  4. Become persistent in striving for your goal. For me, I wrote 1,000 words a day. 
  5. Continue to learn. Go to school/seminars, read books that will help you learn. 
  6. Go out on a limb. I entered contests to see if I was progressing in my craft. 
  7. Tell others about your dream. Yeah, I know this one's hard. It was a long time before I didn't feel like a phony when I said, "I'm a writer."
  8. Accept that challenges are difficult. Don't beat yourself up when you don't "get it" right away. 
  9. Enjoy the process. One day you'll look back and be proud that you started, continued, and succeeded. 
  10. Be grateful for any assistance given to you. 
  11. Be generous in helping others along the way. 
  12. Be gracious when you reach your goal.

Most importantly, take that first step!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Celebrating Debut Author Danica Favorite

I met Danica about a decade ago at a writers meeting. She's one of the most talented and PERSISTENT writers you'll ever meet. 

She's been nose to the grindstone, writing story after story, submitting proposal after proposal for years. I'm delighted her talents were finally recognized. Not only has she released this novel, another book will be out early next year. 

Here book Rocky Mountain Dreams released this month, and I was thrilled to attend her book launch party. Isn't celebrating with friends the best??

Here's a bit about the story: The last thing Joseph Stone expects to discover upon arriving in Leadville, Colorado, is a newfound little sister. Hoping to find his late father's silver mine and hopefully keep his siblings back home out of an orphanage, Joseph needs an ally. The preacher's lovely daughter agrees to care for the little girl. She's just not as willing to trust the prospector…. 

Annabelle Lassiter has seen what men do in pursuit of riches. Yet for all the hardship he's known, Joseph still shows tenderness and warmth. Annabelle's plan has long been to leave Leadville far behind. But Joseph's quest for silver could cost them a more precious dream—one of family, love and new beginnings….
Danica, signing a book at her book launch party.
To get to know a little about Danica, I asked her some random questions. 

MD: Societal pet peeve…sound off.
DF: Lack of regard for other human beings. Lately, I’ve seen a lot of unkindness and anger in the general public and makes me really sad. I was waiting in line at the gas station to pump gas, and there was another guy waiting behind me. A few minutes later, he ends up going around me and whizzing off, but not before cussing me out and flipping me off. I just wonder what is so awful in this guy’s life that he’s got to act like that to a stranger. I’m still not sure what I did wrong, other than I guess I was in his way. 

As much as I love Facebook, I hate all the mean comments I see on there, whether it’s about another person, or group of people, or even a political party. Politics this year really did me in. I get that it’s a competition, but I was bothered by the levels people went to in dragging someone else down. It just seems like in our world today, we don’t care about other people, and it bugs me. I could go on and on about this, because I think there are so many examples of this, but I think you get the point.

MD: Tell us what kind of books you enjoy reading.
DF: I only read happy books. If they do not end with a happily ever after, I do not want to be bothered. Seriously, don’t waste my time. Life is depressing enough without having to put sad literature into my brain. If I wanted sad or depressing, I’d watch the news. Other than that, I read any range of genres. If it’s happy and uplifting, I’ll read it. My favorite is Regency.

MD:  How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I was first in line to buy her book.  :)
DF: Who said I was sane? Seriously, I think you have to be just a little bit crazy to be a writer. That said, for me, the biggest way I am able to handle my fast paced life is to slow down with art journaling. I’m a big believer in stepping out of the “normal” and doing something creative and fun. As grownups, we don’t play nearly enough, and it’s recapturing that childlike wonder in life that gives me balance.

MD: What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
DF: My book is inspired by my love of Leadville and Leadville history. My husband’s family is from Leadville, and we spend as much time as we can there. When my agent asked me to write a historical, I knew I’d write about Leadville -- the history is so fascinating. I’ve been reading about it for years, and I’m still learning new things all the time. It’s pretty amazing how much influence one small town in Colorado has had!

I hope you'll go out and buy Danica's book. It's available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christian,, and The Tattered Cover, to list a few. Basically, every major bookseller. You can find Danica online at her website.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day Tribute to an Unsung Hero

My father was the kindest, most gentle man I've ever known. He was also the bravest--but I didn't realize how brave he was until a few years before he passed away.

I had known Dad was in the Army, but other that that, little was said of his service. In our home, we didn't discuss the war or Dad's role in it.

It wasn't until I got married that I learned my father was an Army Ranger. That information was passed to me from my father-in-law. Any time my F-I-L meets another vet he asks about his service.

My F-I-L explained that as a Ranger, my dad was a true hero. My father lived with memories of his military service tucked away into a distant compartment in his mind.

Stories were never shared, photos were never shown. He may have been a hero, but he didn't want to be. He didn't want the world to descend into the chaos of the 1940s, but when the time came, Dad enlisted to serve his country.

Dad never offered any information about his service--not until a cold, gray morning in December on 1996. I was staying with my parents, caring for my mother as she was dying. One morning as I sat at the breakfast table sipping coffee, my father trudged in and sat. His eyes held pain, but it wasn't just the imminent passing of his wife.

Dad started having nightmares about his WWII service the week my mother died. He told me he was one of the few survivors of a battle on Anzio Beach in Italy. The day after the battle had subsided and the smoke had cleared, my father walked the beach leading donkeys. He spent I-don't-know-how-many-hours putting the bodies of dead soldiers on the donkeys and bringing them to an area where they could be shipped home to the states.

We sat together and cried at the horror he lived through. "All my friends were killed." He told me.

Yet my father, that truly gently soul, persevered and did his duty. He was a hero, even though he didn't want to be.

When I think of Veteran's Day and all those who served our county, my dad is first in my thoughts. He's one of the finest men I've ever known. I'm grateful for his service to our country and for the gentle, loving way he raised me.

God bless America, and God bless the men and women of the armed services who guard our freedom.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Grace toward others . . .

As we move into November, and then continue toward the holidays, let's take a moment to ponder how we react to those we brush past during these hectic days. 

We're all busy. 

We've all got somewhere to go. 

We've all got something to do. 

Yet in hustle of our lives we need to pause. We need to look into the harried faces of those rushing past, and we should smile and extend grace. 

It may be just the blessing they need. 

Be blessed, friends! Enjoy the pleasures of the season. And give yourself a break too. 

Tuesday, November 04, 2014