Saturday, February 13, 2016

My Valentine

My hubby and I were in first grade together, but we didn't really know each other at that time. Of course, boys and girls didn't really mingle quite like they do now. We feared getting cooties from the other.

Now in middle school, we started to notice each other. He'll tell you that he liked a pair of light blue pants I had that sported roller skates on the back pocket with little shoestring ties. This was when guys and girls said they were going together.

Then heartbreak of all heartbreak, my family moved about an hour away and we broke it off. But after a couple of years, we found our way back home, and I found my true love again.

We dated all through high school and college. We married five months after I walked across the Maryville College stage to get my Bachelor.

We've celebrated 26 years of marriage. I'm so glad God brought this man into my life. I'm so glad that we have followed God's path into the adventures my hubby promised on our wedding day. He said he couldn't promise me a fancy house or lots of money, but if we would vow to follow God, he was sure we would have an adventure. God hasn't let us down.

Happy Valentine's Day to my hubby and adventure-sharer! I love you!


Here we are celebrating our 25th anniversary.


Here's another at the 25th celebration. We're standing in front of my wedding dress and veil.


Here we are at one of our favorite places to go together - the beach.

Everyone have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Winners in my Book

Hey, just a quick post to thank everyone for your comments on Danele's book.

We have a winner for her prize package: Jan Hall

I wish everyone could win. But you are all winners in my book! Pun intended. LOL

If you haven't already, please consider subscribing to my blog so we can all stay connected. Simply enter your email address in the box on the side bar.

Thanks again to Danele for her testimony and for visiting my blog.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Time Travel and a Christian Message?

I am so thrilled to host Danele on my blog today. Though we've never met in person, we've developed a friendship that I know was God-given. You'll get a taste of her amazing testimony as well as her new book. She's giving away a neat prize package too.



Thanks for having me on your blog, Paula! I’m thrilled to be here! 2016 has been a very exciting year for me. In January, Time Tsunami, the first book in The Time Counselor Chronicles was published by Prism Book Group. I wrote Time Tsunami and five other books in The Time Counselor Chronicles while I was undergoing seven years of quarantine. I know that sounds strange, so let me explain. Years ago, I had my life all mapped out. I knew exactly what I wanted and how to get there; unfortunately, I was thrown a curveball. I came down with a mysterious illness and my doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Eventually, I couldn’t walk without staggering or talk without stuttering. I had to quit my job and stop driving. As time passed, I learned that the furnace in my house had a low-level carbon monoxide leak.

Let me pause to say that it’s VITALLY important for every house to have a carbon monoxide detector—preferably one with a digital readout that detects low levels of the gas. You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide. And once it attacks, recovery can be long and difficult.

After the furnace was replaced, I thought I would get better, but I actually got worse. The carbon monoxide poisoning had triggered severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and anytime I was exposed to perfumes or other chemicals I would become very ill. My health continued to deteriorate, and eventually, I was quarantined in my home for seven years.

I’d been a Christian my whole life, and I couldn’t understand why God let me be hurt. I didn’t know why He didn’t heal me. As questions mounted on questions, I went into a spiritual crisis. I began questioning everything I knew about God. For months at a time, I would focus on one particular point of faith and decide what I believed in light of my illness. Eventually, I came to the firm conclusion that God is real, God is good, God is intimately concerned with every aspect of my life, Jesus must be kept in the center of my faith, and God is trustworthy in spite of tragedy.

I’ve been asked what it was like to spend seven years in quarantine. It was extremely hard, but it was also illuminating. Romans 8:28 says that God makes ALL things work together for our good. Before I became ill, I had my life all planned out, but God had different plans in mind for me. I planned on being a teacher—God planned on me being an author. I wouldn’t have chosen quarantine, but looking back on all I’ve been through, I can truly say that God was with me during the dark, lonely years. He helped me every step of the way, and He has given me a life that’s more fulfilling than I ever could have imagined.   

Now, where do The Time Counselor Chronicles fit into all this? While I was in quarantine, I had days of extreme illness. I truly believe that God gave me my books to help distract me from pain. I also believe that He allowed me to use them as vehicles to explore my faith. Time travel may seem like a strange topic for a Christian book, but in reality, the time travel aspect is just wrapping and bows. Time Tsunami is a loose allegory that showcases Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. In the book, Gil has to decide if she’s willing to put her life on the line to save a boy from eventually dying on death row. In essence, that’s what Christ did for us. Jesus laid down His life so we could escape the sentence of hell. I hope that everyone who reads Time Tsunami is not only entertained, but that they’re also able to feel the love of a Savior who died for us before we even knew we needed Him.


Time Tsunami (Book 1 of The Time Counselor Chronicles)

To stop a cruel serial killer, she must travel twenty-four years into the past…
Gil Montgomery, a cadet in the Temporal Counseling Program, can’t wait to pass her field exam and become a professional time surfer. The TEMCO program targets death-row offenders for time-based counseling while they’re children.  For her exam, Gil will travel twenty-four years into the past to counsel ten-year-old Danny Winston before he murders his abusive babysitter, Rick Olsen.  Preventing the stabbing should stop the chain of events leading to Danny’s eventual execution. Gil’s assignment seems simple until her adviser, Dr. William Ableman, learns that Rick is a serial killer targeting Danny’s mother.  If Gil stays and protects the Winstons, she might not survive.  William wants the woman he loves to be pulled from the field, but if Gil fails to complete her assignment, it will unleash a Time Tsunami and destroy the timeline. As TEMCO undergoes an emergency lockdown, and Gil’s fellow cadets try to figure out what’s happening, Gil and William learn the importance of faith and the price of true love. Everyone’s fate is resting in Gil’s hands, but does she have the strength she needs to defeat a ruthless serial killer intent on annihilating everyone in his path? Will she return from the deadly mission?

Time Tsunami is a fast-moving thriller with time travel twists that keep the reader guessing until the very last page.
   

Paula, I want to thank you for having me on your blog! I’ve really enjoyed sharing with your readers! And for everyone out there in cyber-land, now it’s your turn to get in on the action. Time Tsunami was incredibly fun to write, and time travel is a blast to think about. If you could travel anywhere in time, where would it be and what would you do? I’d love to hear your comments!

To be eligible to win the prize package below, leave a comment and your email address. 

 My Social Media Links:



Time Tsunami Purchasing Links: 



Give Away Prize:
·        Paperback Copy of Time Tsunami
·        4x6 Pearl Picture Frame
·        Journal “Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible”

·        Lindor Truffles 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Love Is Book Series from Prism Book Group

The first in the Love Is series has released.



Old Maid, Do-Si-Do, and the Bottomless Cup of Love


By the time I was twenty-five my mother had given up on the hope that I would marry. She bought me pots and pans and Pfaltzgraf and flatware because, she reasoned, even single women need to live. And, Lord willing, I wouldn’t live with her and Daddy forever.

Dad wasn’t too concerned. After all, he hadn’t married Mom till he was in his early 40’s. And if God didn’t want me to wed, then I could follow in Cousin Angie’s footsteps and be a missionary in Africa.

The idea of a single life filled me with dread. Please, please, PLEASE God, don’t be equipping me to remain unmarried. I developed crushes. Friends tried setting me up with their relatives. I went out dancing with friends. To bars. After all, I was a nice Christian lady at a bar. Why couldn’t there be nice Christian guys there too? Maybe there were. I never met one.

A few months shy of my 27th birthday I decided I was tired of looking for potential mates. Although not at the point of picking up books on how to enjoy the gift of singleness, I figured it might be time to focus on my relationship with God. So, along with several wonderful single girlfriends I went to a spiritual winter retreat for young adults from a dozen churches across our state. Did I mention I’d determined not to check out every eligible young man also in attendance?

I meant it. So when I took note of a devastatingly handsome man with dark eyes and a dimpled chin sitting across the room, it wasn’t his good looks that got my attention. Arms crossed, looking bored, he was the only one sitting out the square dance mixer. In gracious and generous Christian-girl fashion I thought ‘Jerk,’ and went back to dancing my little size 9’s off and trying to remember my allemande left from my do-si-do right.

Later that night, after devotions, a group of us played cards. A game I didn’t know, called euchre. I’m a dab hand at Old Maid but this one had me flummoxed, and a group of generous friends tag-teamed trying to teach me to play. It was hilarious. Really hilarious.

Later that night a group of us went into town for coffee. The dark-eyed square-dance-boycotter came too. He sat across from me and told me he got a kick out of watching me laugh over euchre. He flirted just enough to make me feel interesting but not so much as to make himself look insincere or lecherous.

We went our separate ways after that weekend and didn’t meet up till early summer. It took him till late summer to ask me out and in the meantime one of my major crushes from the previous few years, a Christian marathon runner and photographer I’d met at work, finally returned my interest and began asking me out. After I lectured God about his timing I realized maybe He knew what He was doing. I had to make a decision between two attractive men (my daydream back in the days before I realized it would be painful) and I chose the right one.

Wouldn’t my story make a fine romance movie? Sort of an ‘At Long Last Love’ type of life? But now, three sons, four grandsons and countless prayers and tears and rejoicings later, I realize that my entire life has been filled with love.

From birth, before my birth, my parents loved me, and continued until their last breath on earth. Aunts and uncles and cousins by the dozens meant extended love and the kind of safety net children long for but don’t always enjoy. Then there is my family in Christ. Brothers and sisters more than the sands on the shore, and wherever there are God’s children there is my family, and we love each other. We don’t always play well together, but the love is there.

My friends—oh, my friends! When I bemoan my limited practical skills and meager dose of common sense I remember my glorious friendships with some of the most godly, delightful, gracious, fault-overlooking women as can be found. I would rather have my friends than an artist’s eye, a singer’s silver tongue, or an athlete’s supple limbs.

On all this abundance of love God set a gem of a husband. He is as attractive, open, and affirming as when I first met him, and he still refuses to dance. Those three sons love me in spite of a plethora of faults and mistakes and my little grandsons still give me smooches in public.

Do I know I have been gifted far and above anything I could think or ask, much less deserve? You bet. But what if God had not seen fit to give me a husband, children, grandbabies? What if my parents had been cold, negligent, absent, and I didn’t have some sort of strange ability to find wonderful friends? Would I be any less blessed? No. Not a bit.

God loves me. God has loved me before I knew what love was. If I had never known human love, God’s love would be beyond the heights and depths and breadths of what I think I need. Jesus prayed for me the night before His death and prays for me today and the Spirit intercedes for me with sighs too deep for words and the Father’s love is vast beyond all measure. What wondrous love is this?!

Family, friends, husband and children have all hemmed me in love, and the love that comes from God is greater than these.


Check out Anita’s contribution to Prism Book Group’s new Love Is series…



Hounded
“Love is patient…” 1 Corinthians: 13:4

Elise Amberson’s husbands always die before she can get the marriage momentum going. At least this last one left her with lots of money. Now she can hang out with her dogs, avoid men, and try to keep off God’s radar.

But her dogs are behaving oddly, a pesky pastor can’t keep his hands off her soul, and God is backing her into a corner.

It’s all more than a rich, beautiful young woman should have to bear. But when someone begins targeting Elise, she’ll have to figure out why before she becomes the late Widow Amberson.


Available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/1nIiqWm.

Monday, February 1, 2016

But What If I Don't Want to be an Example?

Not too long ago, an athlete was caught in some kind of illegal activity. He made the statement that he didn't want to be a role model. To that I said, "Too bad. You are one, no matter if you choose to be or not."

Then I thought about myself. I may not want to be a role model or to set an example as a Christian, but that is part of my job.

Each day I have my daughter, co-workers, neighbors, and just people I stand in line with at the grocery store watching me. My husband/pastor has asked this question before: If the people around you followed your example, would they be led to Christ? Do you lead a life in which you could say: If you follow my example, you'll see Jesus?

Let's face it. I'm either being a good example or a bad one. I'm either leading people to the Lord or deflecting them.

Do I find myself wanting to shun this responsibility and join the athlete in saying I'm not a role model? Yes. However, this isn't an option. So many of the people I come in contact with may only have me to depend on for the gospel. Many won't step into a church service to hear about Jesus. Many won't read the Bible to discover the gospel. But if I am shining the light of Christ and giving them a thirst for Him, they just might discover Him for themselves.

This is often called lifestyle evangelism. And even if I don't want the responsibility of being Jesus to others, I am still an example. I'm drawing them to Jesus or away from Him.

This idea can weigh heavy. My only hope to become a good role model and example is to go hard after Jesus. I have to continue to grow in Him through reading His Word and following its direction. I need to pray that God would help me be a good example.

I can't shirk this responsibility. Those people I have influence over are counting on me to be Christ so they can find Him for themselves.

How do you feel about being a role model for the gospel?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Joshua's Mission

Please welcome my fellow author/friend Vannetta Chapman.



Thank you for allowing me to visit your blog today. I’m very excited about the release of Joshua’s Mission (2-1-16), which is book 2 in my Plain & Simple Miracles series. I’d like to share with you the “story behind the story” – or what inspired me to write this book.

Cornerstones of our faith. My husband is probably my biggest critic—which is a good thing. He keeps me on my toes, professionally speaking. He’s also very supportive in every way. One night we were talking about an upcoming proposal that was due to my publisher, and he challenged me to think of a deeper plot line—something that would touch on the cornerstones of our faith. Wow! That sent me back to the drawing board. I started wondering what makes us, as Christians, different from everyone else? Certainly our faith in Christ. But how do we show that? The answer I came up with was …

1.      We believe in miracles. I did a poll on my Facebook page. We had an outstanding response and the vast majority (close to 98%) said they do believe in miracles—not that they always happen when we pray for one, but that God does still intercede in the lives of believers. That idea gave birth to Anna’s Healing, book 1 in this series.
2.      We participate in missions. As believers, sometimes we send donations, sometimes we pray, and sometimes we actually go and participate in missions. We don’t do this for an award or because our photo might end up in the paper. We do it because God told us “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” He told us that when we do this to the least of those around us, we do this to Him. This commandment to care for others, led me to write Joshua’s Mission, book 2 in this series.
3.      We care for orphans. We’re also commanded to “look after orphans and widows in their distress.” In our society, it’s sometimes easy to overlook those in need and to assume that some governmental agency will take care of them. Sarah’s Orphans, book 3 in this series, addresses the plight of the orphans in our day and age, and how we can make a difference in their lives. This book releases in December of this year.

There are certainly other ways that we live out our faith. Miracles, missions, and orphans are three that stood out to me, and they certainly inspired me to write the three books in the Plain & Simple Miracles series. I hope that you will pick up a copy of Joshua’s Mission and learn about the wonderful work that churches are doing across our nation and abroad to help those in need.


Joshua Kline travels from his farm in Oklahoma to offer aid to an Englisch town on the gulf coast of Texas after a category 4 hurricane has ravaged the area. What will Joshua find when he arrives in Texas? A budding romance? A call from God? A possible healing of his relationship with his brother? Joshua’s Mission is a story of love, forgiveness, and the grace of God that carries us through even the worst situations.


Now it’s your turn. What do you consider to be a cornerstone of our faith? And would you like to see a book written about it? Or would you like to write one yourself? I’d love to hear from you.


Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. Her novel, Falling to Pieces, was a 2012 ACFW Carol Award winner for best mystery. Chapman was a teacher for 15 years and currently writes full time. She lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.

http://www.amazon.com/Joshuas-Mission-Plain-Simple-Miracles-ebook/dp/B018676F02/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8


ATTENTION:
Vannetta is offering a free book to one commenter. Please comment or answer the Now it's your turn question or questions from above. A commenter will be randomly selected to receive a copy of Joshua's Mission.




Monday, January 18, 2016

Legacy-Leaver Loser?

Do you get overwhelmed with the day to day busyness of life? Does it crowd out what you really want to do and accomplish? I'm so right there with you.

The enemy knows what will pull me down and distract me from what God has for me. For me, that's getting caught up in the circumstances of life. I get so busy trying to get everything done that I'll push aside my Bible and quiet time. I reason that I don't have time to include that with all of the chores I must accomplish. This creates an avalanche. Without my time with God, I'm primed to be dragged into the messiness of life. I bristle at every criticism from others. I grumble and mumble.

Sometimes I will push ahead and read my Bible and have my quiet time, but I dash from that moment right back into the rat-race. I haven't really focused on what God might be trying to say to me and basking in His comfort.

A quote from Max Lucado really hit me recently. "Live out your inheritance, not your circumstance."

Wow, do I want to do that. I don't want to just bounce from circumstance to circumstance. I want to live out what God has planned for me. I don't want to become a legacy-leaver loser.

In Psalm 139 God explicitly says that He knew me intimately before I was ever placed in my mother's womb. Not only that, but He had a plan for me at that time. In Jeremiah 29:11 God says that He has a plan for me.

Now here's the clincher that my hubby pointed out in a recent sermon. God's plan for me will only come about if I am willing to follow it. God has given me the choice and free will to choose His plan or to wallow in the circumstances.

Oh, how I want to live out my inheritance and pass on that Godly legacy. It comes down to a decision that I must make daily. Am I going to just go through the motions, letting circumstances steer me? Or am I going to choose to focus on God and His plan for me? It's more than just checking off my quiet time with God and reading a certain amount in my Bible each day. I have to willfully choose to focus on that quiet time and those words from His Word. I have to decide to live out this inheritance.

Will the messiness of life and the circumstances go away if I choose to follow God's plan? Nope. But I will have a different perspective. I might even find that some of those circumstances help me to grow by seeing them as tools in God's hands.

Okay, so here goes: Lord, today I choose to focus on You and listen for Your leading. Teach me to live out my inheritance and not my circumstances. Don't let me be a legacy-leaver loser. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Do you struggle with allowing circumstances to overwhelm you? What do you do to live out your inheritance, not your circumstance?