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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Inspired by . . . a month in photos: September

And so goes September.

Summer’s sultry fingers begin to loosen their grip, and we find a welcome coolness breathing down from the north. It coats our mornings with dew and our evenings with relief. But the days still belong to summer, at least for another week or two.

September was, for me, a breath held. A waiting.

In anxious hope of what October will bring.

But first, a look back . . .





My favorite photo:




Favorite quote:

In a world full of people who couldn’t care less,

be someone who couldn’t care more. ~Author Unknown


Sprinklings of His mercy and grace:

1. My sweet nephew, now 6 weeks old is up to 5lbs, and growing strong!

2. The blessing of much needed rain

3. His strength when I am weary

4. Restored health

5. Little blessings that remind us we are Known


And now a look ahead!



I’m so excited to be joining hundreds of other bloggers in the #write31days challenge for the month of October! You can find the link up here: #write31days

If you plan to participate, please comment below and let me know. Even if you don’t plan on writing, there are plenty of great topics and blogs to follow throughout the month of October.

I hope to see you back here tomorrow, as we kick off 31 Days Praying the Names and Attributes of God!





Sharing inspiration here:

Mona’s Picturesque

Playdates with God, Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,

Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth, Weekend Whispers,

Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,

#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,

Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,

Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,

#GiveMeGrace, Still Saturday, Life thru the Lens, Through My Lens

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Inspired by . . . word craft

It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about The Books here on the blog. Over a year, in fact. Many of you may not even know that I’ve written a book, let alone seven of them. Life has a way of rearranging your priorities for you sometimes. Besides writing here on the blog, the book writing has taken a backseat to family and other responsibilities.


“I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast.

And when I run I feel His pleasure.” ~Eric Liddell


I’m not saying God made me a great writer, like He made Eric Liddell a great runner, but when I am writing, either here for the blog, or on one of the many stories God has given me, I feel His pleasure. I know, without a doubt, that it is God’s will for me to write.

Knowing God’s will for your life is one thing, doing it is quite another.

My sweet man and I are working toward the goal of freeing up more of my time for writing. And I have goals when it comes to the individual books as well. But right now those goals are moving targets. That’s why you don’t find me making announcements and projecting release dates here on the blog. If/when I set a date it’s going to be one I can stick to, a promise I can fulfill, both to myself and to my readers.

In the meantime, for those of you who are interested, here is a recap of what is available, and what’s in the works:


Available now:

Starflower_250H                                                   HD_Cover_250H                                             G4M_New_250H

Starflower, contemporary Christian Fiction                  Heart’s Desire, historical Christian Fiction              Gladness for Mourning, historical Christian Fiction


In the works:


No Tomorrow, contemporary Christian Fiction (Pacific Gem Series, Book One)

(I’m considering releasing this as a six-part eBook mini series - what do you think?)

Gladness for Mourning - eBook version

Pearl of Great Price, contemporary Christian Fiction, two-book saga

Unmerited Favor, contemporary Christian Fiction (Friends of Faith Series, Book One)

So there they are. The seven. All complete, save for the editing on the last three.

I won’t go so far as to say the writing is the easy part, but it is my JOY. The rest is the hard part. Finding an editor, promoting the books, and dealing with the publishers. The “tooting of one’s horn” so to speak. The selling/marketing. Pure torture. So for now I’m leaving that up to my fearless agent, Jonathan Graham, and God’s timing.

And I’m praying for more time to focus on the writing, and getting the stories into the hands of the people who need to read them.

Maybe that’s you?




Sharing inspiration here:

Playdates with God, Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,

Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth, Weekend Whispers,

Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,

#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,

Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,

Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,’'

#GiveMeGrace, Still Saturday

Friday, September 25, 2015

Inspired by . . .  #write31days

#write31days is a blogging challenge/event wherein you pick a topic and write about it every day for 31 days during the month of October (you can learn more it & sign up here).

Last year those words scared me just a bit, okay a lot, and I wondered if I’d set myself up for a big fail.

Writing a blog post every day is daunting enough, let alone finding something worthy to write about for 31 days!

But I committed . . .




. . . and God provided. Every morning, like manna from heaven, He gave me the words. I wrote a little bit about my experience here. It was an amazing month.

And so this year, I’m giving Him my words. My praise. My prayers.




Maybe you’d like to join me?

With open hearts and open hands we’ll be giving God the glory. Affirming Who He is, what He does, and what He’s promised to do.

This year, there is no fear. Just a great anticipation for what God has in store for me and you.

See you on the 1st!





Sharing inspiration here:

Playdates with God, Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,

Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth, Weekend Whispers,

Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,

#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,

Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,

Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,’'


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Inspired by . . . personality

I think everyone would agree that dogs and cats have personality. But that camp divides strongly when you start talking about other animals, like fish, for instance. Until you’ve owned an aquarium and experienced different kinds fish you’re unlikely to believe they have much personality at all.

Keep on swimming, keep on swimming, keep on swimming . . . but I digress.

Point being, the longer you spend with any creature, observing them, interacting with them, etc. the more likely you are to start seeing, and even begin understanding their personality.

I mentioned in a post last week that I had seen two new-to-me birds recently. I shared number one with you already. I think you’ll agree that number two is Mr. Personality!




The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Isn’t he adorable?

I thought wrens were quick. This little guy is in constant motion! I had so much fun chasing this little guy with my camera. Trust me, he displays some serious cuteness!




As he moves through the outer foliage, he flicks his tail back and forth scaring up insects which he then chases, captures and eats. Pairs use spider webs and lichen to build their nests. Sounds like a fairy house! Wouldn’t it be neat to find one!




These energetic little birds are wide-spread, but not abundant. I encourage you to check out the range map at allaboutbirds.org to see if they might be seen in your area. Since they often incorporate snippets of other bird’s songs into their own, they’ve been nicknamed the “Little Mockingbird.”  All-in-all a delightful little bird to add to my list!




Now I have a favor to ask. I spotted another new-to-me bird just this morning and can’t make a positive id.  The photos aren’t the best, as I was just trying to get enough to id the bird. I think it may be a Grasshopper Sparrow, maybe a juvenile, but I’m not sure. Can you help? Keep in mind I’m in south Texas and a lot of birds are migrating through this time of year.

(Note: I think we have a positive id, thanks to Eileen! Eileen identified our mystery bird as a female Black-headed Grosbeak. Thank you, Eileen!)


 Grasshopper_Sparrow     Grasshopper_Sparrow2


Grasshopper_Sparrow_back     Grasshopper_Sparrow_beakopen


Even though it might not feel much like it in Texas, there is a sense that the seasons are changing.

Critter behavior is a clear sign of change.

We’d do well to watch and listen.





Sharing inspiration here:

Wild Bird Wednesday      NatureNotes Little by Little

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Inspired by . . . ten minutes of breathless

I had just finished saying goodbye to my sweet man, when I turned back toward the cottage and there he was . . .

. . . dancing from bud to blossom. A bit of sunshine, laced with night. His tail dipped in sky and scarlet.

My camera might as well have been on the moon for all the good it was doing inside the cottage.

I knew this fairy-like creature to be fickle. Any movement in his direction would likely mean loss.

I stood for a moment, mesmerized and thankful, before deciding I had to try!

It was still there when I reached the door and slipped inside. Camera now in hand, I peaked outside, disappointment at the ready.


Planting that butterfly weed was one of the best decisions I’ve made all year!

I spent the next ten minutes standing on my porch, motionless except for my trigger finger, in a state of pure JOY, as he danced with the hummingbirds {he is bigger than a hummingbird!!} and drank from my flowers.



Giant Swallowtail









Have you ever watched a butterfly dance with a hummingbird?


What are you seeing through your lens this week?


Have a wonder-filled day,



Sharing inspiration here:

Life Thru the Lens at Lisa Kerner-Simply Living Photography     NatureNotes
P52 Sweet Shot Tuesday with Kent Weakley Little by Little

Monday, September 21, 2015

Inspired by . . . who should bury the dead


To another He said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."

And Jesus said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead.

But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Luke 9:59-60



A hard teaching, is it not?

The words come to me as I stand crying over a batch of homemade brownies. I’m not crying over the brownies. Dad’s wooden spoon, worn to a silky sheen in spots from years of use, rests in my right hand. I forgot to shell the pecans . . . again. Dad always shelled the pecans for me.




Let us not think of Jesus as being harsh or disrespectful here. Scripture clearly teaches we are to honor our father and mother and be devoted at home. One of Jesus’ last acts before He died was to take care of His mother. {see John 19:25-27}

Jesus is reminding us of our human tendency to put worldly things first.  not if, but when God calls us to something, we should take care that we do not allow the affairs of this world to entangle us and so prevent us from obeying His call.


No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits,

since his aim is to please the One who enlisted him. 2Ti 2:4


There are some who care more for the dead than they do for the living.  Grief and regret can be dangerous bedfellows.

While I don’t think I am guilty of this with respect to my grief and my dad’s memory, I would be foolish not to examine all areas of my life in the revealing light of these scriptures.


All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching,

for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2Ti 3:16-17


For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword,

piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow,

and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Heb 4:12




Yes, there is some piercing here. His breath, breathed out over my soul reveals places that have not been surrendered to Him. Is this not so with all of us?

Jesus says, “Follow Me.” and there are times I still say, “But, Lord.” instead of “Yes, Lord.”

But then He turns to get into the boat {Matt 8:23} and all my excuses turn to dust at the prospect of His departure.

You see, God’s will and word will be accomplished whether or not I obey. Jesus doesn’t need us to accomplish His will. He chooses us, invites us, to be a part of His story. He delights in blessing others through us and blessing us through others.

Because of His gift of free will we can choose to obey Him when He calls . . . or not.


As it is said, "Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion." Heb 3:15




So today, when He calls, which will we choose?

To bury the dead, or get in the boat?





Sharing inspiration here:

PlayDatesGod Holly Barrett


GraceTruth_Friday Barbie Swihart

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Inspired by . . . travelers by air

So far the Fall 2015 migration has been an exciting event around here!  There has been so much going on, it’s a wonder I can keep myself inside and away from the windows!

Okay, well, maybe I can’t . . .

If you follow me on Instagram {please do!} you will know that the ruby-throated hummingbirds have arrived in force . . . literally! They blew in with the rainstorm we had last Thursday and, to my delight, have decided to stay around for a few days! I can’t seem to stop taking pictures of them, an intervention may be in order . . . .

I’ll share just one photo with you today, because as much as I love my hummers they are not the most exciting occurrence in my yard this week.




In fact, I saw two new to me birds this week. One is common to Texas, but not abundant, and now that I know what to look for I’m sure I’ll be seeing his cuteness again, and the other is a migratory traveler.

It’s the traveler whom I’m going to share with you today.

I “just happened” to look up from my work and noticed two yellowish/orange-ish, medium-size birds at the birdbath. Larger than my beloved finches, at first I thought they were the Kingbirds that I shared about previously. Sneaking down the stairs, I grabbed my camera and zoomed in on them through the window. Definitely not Kingbirds.










I really had no idea what they were, so proceeded to take pictures with the thought of identifying them later, when suddenly . . .



“Hello, handsome!”

I nearly dropped the camera! I can’t tell you how long I’ve wished to see a Baltimore Oriole, in real life!




They come through Texas only twice a year during the spring and fall migration. From everything I’ve read, if you can get some jelly or oranges out BEFORE they fly through, you have a CHANCE of one visiting your backyard. In the past I’ve always put my sweets out too late. And this year, I never even put them out at all!




This visit, I think, is a blessing of the drought.

I know one thing for sure . . .




. . . it was a blessing!


What are you seeing through your lens this week?


Have a wonder-filled day,



Sharing inspiration here:

Life Thru the Lens at Lisa Kerner-Simply Living Photography   Wild Bird Wednesday

NatureNotes   Our_World_Tuesday

Little by Little
P52 Sweet Shot Tuesday with Kent Weakley