Friday, August 1, 2014

Homeless

There is more than one way to be homeless. 

It's not always the typical image that comes to your mind when you think about the person sitting on the street corner, his or her home a cardboard box next to the Dumpster down the street, hopefully out of the biting wind.

There are different kinds of homelessness.

There is the kind that leaves you standing empty and alone in the middle of a crowd.

There is the kind that fully surrounds you even though a roof is over your head, food on a plate in front of you and people that care about you.

I've come face to face with a different sense of homelessness this week and I've had to rely more strongly on my God to pull me through.

I have a great place to live. Don't get me wrong. I have people who care greatly about whether or not I arrive home after work or my late night Bible Study (I've turned into such the partier since moving out here. Read: not). I have people who have generously opened up their home and their lives and invited me in.

So why am I writing a post about being homeless?

Because I am. But in a completely different sense of the word. 

Living in the in-between is hard. Harder than I expected. Harder than I planned. It's difficult to surrender and allow yourself to submit to a different season of life. And this season is definitely very different. I'm not fully independent...and yet I am. I'm not truly living on my own...and yet I am. 

Surrender takes on a whole new meaning when you are living in the in-between. It's a different kind of consideration for those around you. It's different to know what you have around you, truly isn't yours...and yet it is.

The other day I talked to my sister who has moved into my cute little bunkhouse. My
My bunkhouse. :-)
home on my parent's property. This was my space. My room. Was. Was. Was. And it's hard to give that up. To hand that over. Because having it there, I always knew in the back of my mind, if I had to, I could always go home.


And I still can. My parents would welcome me back with open arms. But I'm moving on. And that's hard. And while I have a very safe, warm and loving place to live now, it's not mine. Not yet. I can't paint the walls. I can't change the setting. I can hang things on the walls, but it's just a room, in a house.


And I realized in the midst of this, that life is always going to be some level of in-between. Some level of homelessness. There is always going to be something that is going to be difficult and I'm not going to like. The question is: what am I going to do with that? 

Am I going to let God guide me, walking more closely in tandem with Him? Or am I going to continue to mourn what I don't have? The changes that I have to make to become more fully the woman that He is making me to be? 

It's my choice. I just have to decide to actually make it. And live it out. 

Are you in a state of homelessness? 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Giveaway! Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund!

Welcome to Writing for Christ Jody Hedlund, it is great to have you here! So you’re a writer? What made you decide to start creating characters and story world?

Like many writers, I’ve been writing since my childhood days. I always loved telling stories. When I was in junior high, I entered my first writing contest for a Biblical fiction story. And when I won, I realized God had indeed gifted me. I think that was when I became more serious about wanting to be a writer when I grew up.

However, as I began my college years, I quickly realized that creative writing wasn’t a career track that would help pay the bills. For a time, God moved me into social work. I went on to get my masters and was thankful for the experiences and opportunities I had during those years of helping underprivileged people.

While I was working all those years, I was still writing and submitting manuscripts. I took a seven year break after my twins were born. Then when my youngest was a baby, I finally started writing again. The first book I wrote after my hiatus was The Preacher's Bride.


What is the one title that has significantly impacted your life?


Anne of Green Gables was one of my favorites as a child because it played a role in developing my creativity as a writer. (Followed closely by A Little Princess and Little Women because they also featured strong, creative girls.)

If you could get a do-over when it came to learning this whole thing called writing, what would you go back and tell yourself?

I wish I hadn't worried so much about my future. This is a really tough one. Because I think it's natural for us to be excited and nervous when we send a manuscript out there whether to an agent or publisher.
But in hindsight, I realize all my fretting didn't make the process move faster or make things turn out better. It didn't change WHAT happened. But it did make me more tense. I'm still learning to work hard at the things I can control (like continually striving to improve my writing), and to let go of the things I can't (like how quickly I achieve success).

5 preference questions:

Homemade or take-out? Homemade (especially when someone else is making it!)

Email or snailmail? Email (I can type much faster than I can write by hand and time is always of the essence!)

Online shopping or Black Friday deals? Online shopping (I leave Black Friday shopping to my hubby who can't pass up a good deal)

Books or movies? Definitely books (I also prefer to read the book before watching the movie)

Note-taker or memorization? Note-taker (I'm always taking notes in books that I read for research; my margins are full)
               
Yes, I’m asking you to play favorites…which of your books is your favorite, published or unpublished? And if this is your debut novel, has your favorite been published yet?

When I'm writing the first draft of a book, I fall madly in love with each book and the characters so that each book ends up holding a special place in my heart. I think they're all SO wonderful–until I beginning editing and then I loathe them. Once I finish editing them for the last time, I never read them again.

Nevertheless, if I had to pick one, right now I'd probably pick Captured by Love. I really like Pierre my fun-loving, laid-back hero. I had a lot of fun writing his character. I also enjoyed writing in the era of the War of 1812 which is a time period not often used for historical fiction.


Places for readers to learn more about you?

I love hearing from readers! Make sure you stop by one of these places and say hello!
I hang out on Facebook here: Author Jody Hedlund
I also love to chat on Twitter: @JodyHedlund
My home base is at my website: jodyhedlund.com
Or you're welcome to email me at: jodyhedlund@jodyhedlund.com


Thank you for being with us today! 

Readers, enter to win Jody's book here!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on August 8th
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

Friday, July 25, 2014

DREAMING OF: My Future Family

I used to have this fantasy. My dad would always look at me with a jaundice eye, and maybe he is right, but still, it was my fantasy. I had this mental picture of myself, handsome hubby and seven (yes, count ‘em, seven—always have been a fan of the Waltons) small tow-headed children trailing behind us. Five of which would be boys.

Photo Credit
Some of my closest friends, who know me well, and even those of you visiting for the first time and don’t know me from Eve, are groaning and saying, “Girl, really? What ARE you thinking?”

Well, it sounds ideal!

Yes, I’m laughing. And now the thought of five boys, two girls and the thought of that busy household has me shaking in my boots. But then again, if God were to fulfill a dream like that, He will need to give me a good dose of the patience I can’t claim as a virtue. ;-)

I’ve always wanted to be a mom. The desire has only been fed more when my coworker had a baby, I joined pinterest and started attending church where cute families with even more adorable kiddos filled the pews. *Not exactly in that order.

But, well, since there is no diamond ring encircling my fourth finger on my left hand, the potential for having a cute child of my own isn’t in the cards—yet. Someday, I hope it will be. And someday I hope the dream of kids will expand to the possibility of international adoption. God’s timing. God’s way. He knows the desires of my heart.

Does God put such a deep-seated desire in our hearts for no reason? Why do we have these soul-aching cravings for something we don’t have and doesn’t seem there is much potential for fulfilling these dreams out there?

Because God has got bigger plans for you. God’s got bigger plans for me. That’s the thing about living life. 
We can dream. We can plan. We can act. And most of all, we walk in God’s footsteps.

Recently I suffered a disappointment. One that hurt at a dream I have been cherishing for years. But it wasn’t God’s right place. It wasn’t the right time.

Those are easy words to right, sure, but not often the easiest to live out.

Yes, I want a family. More than words can say. But I’m not there yet. Okay, so where does that leave me?

That leaves me with time that God has entrusted to me.

What am I doing with that time? Am I investing in things that will grow me towards these dreams or am I just traipsing through life waiting for something to happen? Don’t waste your time. Invest it.

God is asking me—you—to be faithful. What has my One Word for 2014 taught me so far? We’re over half way through the year and I’m learning it’s not always about getting what we want or having a dream fulfilled (though that has happened too). It’s about looking down the road, seeing that dream and then aiming toward it.

Walking in faith and trust and investing now in what those dreams are going to mean for my future.


How are you investing your time in your future dreams? 

Photo credit
A series of posts centered around my "one word" for 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Giveaway! Abandoned Memories by MaryLu Tyndall!

Welcome to Writing for Christ MaryLu Tyndall it is great to have you here! So you’re a writer? What made you decide to start creating characters and story world?

I actually don’t think I ever decided! As far back as I can remember, I’ve always lived in a secret story world in my mind. Believe me, it was a far better place, more adventurous, romantic, and fun than the real world I grew up in. Some of those many stories I wrote down, others are still rattling around in my head. I’m just grateful that someone decided that a few of them would be worth putting in print!

What is the one title that has significantly impacted your life?

A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers.  I rarely keep a book after I’ve read it, but this one sits proudly on my shelf. The heroine’s faith and perseverance under such dire circumstances prompted me to take a deeper look at my own faith walk.  Read it, you’ll love it!

If you could get a do-over when it came to learning this whole thing called writing, what would you go back and tell yourself?


Don’t worry about the small stuff: the endless rules, publisher requirements, reader expectations, reviews, contracts, sales, marketing, and a host of other things that can completely stifle creativity.  Just write what you love, what makes your skin tingle, what you’re passionate about. And most of all, keep your eyes on Jesus, not on the world.

5 preference questions:
Homemade or take-out? Homemade
Email or snailmail?  Email
Online shopping or Black Friday deals? Online shopping!!
Books or movies? Both!
Note-taker or memorization? Notes rule. :- )
               

Yes, I’m asking you to play favorites…which of your books is your favorite, published or unpublished? And if this is your debut novel, has your favorite been published yet?

The Ransom, released just last March. I felt like I finally came into my own with this novel. As I was writing it, I felt like a kid remembering how fun it was to play in the sand again. I had lost that feeling after writing so many books.  Besides, it’s just a fun story with great characters. I truly love it.

Places for readers to learn more about you?


Thank you for being with us today!

Thanks so much for having me!!

Readers, enter to win MaryLu's book here!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.


For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on August 1st
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

Friday, July 18, 2014

I Don't Want To Be Your Friend

I don't want to be your friend.

Keep reading. I do plan to explain myself. 

I have realized something recently. I want to be friends--best friends--with my future spouse. There is not one question in my mind that this is something I want above many, many other things. 

But so often I hear this one simple phrase: "let's just be friends". And I have to admit, it makes my skin tingle, my pulse throb and my vision go blurry. 

Keep reading. Don't get upset with me yet, I plan to continue explaining myself. 


Guys and girls can't truly be just friends. I do believe in special and certain circumstances that yes, guys and girls can be friends. I'm friends with several different guys, but we aren't friends like I am with several special and dear girlfriends. I don't IM them funny thoughts or serious questions. I don't text them throughout the day or specifically seek out time to chat with just them. 

There is a difference. There needs to be a difference. That guy? He's someone else's husband. He's not my husband. As a Christian sister, it's my job to protect myself and him in how we interact. How we communicate. Because he's not mine. 

And that's okay. 

So I don't want to be "just" friends. 

In a culture where we struggle to embrace commitment is it no wonder when a guy and girl are paired up, that our first defense to protect our hearts is to say, "let's just be friends"?

What if it doesn't work out? What if something happens and this person doesn't turn out to be "the one"?

Well, then God is protecting both you and him. 

But honesty is not our first level of communication in our society. Instead we stumble and stutter. I don't lay this blame at any one particular door. But I do blame it on the path we have stumbled off. Our culture is so saturated in "hooking up". Dating. That we have forgotten the way it should be and we are slowly trying to muddle our way back to that place...many times unsuccessfully. 

What if we were honest with ourselves? With each other? What if instead of thinking--or saying--"let's just be friends", we sat down, met the other in the eye, and said "I think there is something here. What would you think about getting to know each other better?" 

What if we said that; took this "relationship" seriously, and started walking in Godly wisdom and discernment, the path of direction and open communication?

So often, guys and girls don't know what the other is thinking. "Does he like me?" "Does she think I'm worth her time?" It's the mantra of our dating-minded society and miscommunication is the #1 reason for nearly all breakups.  

What would happen if we communicated openly and honestly? If we allowed our hearts to be a little bit more exposed? And got to know the opposite sex through the lens of "could I marry this person?" If we were cautious. Bathed every interaction and connection in prayer. And were intentional about we got to know the other person.

These are just thoughts. By no means absolutes. But things I think about frequently. Have happened to me. And now I'm considering the future. The people around me. And our society in general. 

Talking points: do you agree or disagree that guys and girls can be "just" friends? 

Do you have a problem with today's model of young people meeting and "hooking" up?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

For the Foodie In Us All ~ A Table by the Window by Hillary Manton Lodge ~ Review

A delight to a foodie’s heart and soul. A sweet sigh for the romantic reader. A depth of writing for the admirer of good women’s fiction. This book has a taste of it all to make it a worthwhile read.

I am a foodie. Yes, I am. However, in being a foodie, I’m more of a snob about where my milk and chicken comes from. Juliette, however, is a foodie on a whole other level and even for the mac&cheese reader, I do believe they will be salivating by the time they’ve finished book. And maybe tempted to try a recipe or two.

Juliette is one of those characters I would love to sit down with over tea and cookies and get to know her. She had depths I don’t feel were fully reached in this book—which is actually a good thing in this case since there is a #2 coming soon. The romance is simple and sweet, yet complex. Something hard to pull off without leaving the reader unsatisfied. I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to like the ending. I loved it. It was perfect, while leaving me hungry for more. Like a good meal should.

I thought it was well balanced between characterization and action, though at times it did feel as though the plot plodded a bit. But those moments were few and the book overall a quick read.

An easy four stars with an eagerness for the second release, hopefully in the near future. I’ll be looking forward to returning to Juliette’s kitchen.


This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publisher for my copy to review. 

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
More about the novel...

Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love 
 
The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life
negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?
 
After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story. 
 
Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way?



Monday, July 14, 2014

Giveaway! The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

Welcome to Writing for Christ Kristy Cambron, it is great to have you here!

Hi Casey – Wow, am I glad to be here! These first interviews as an official author have been a long time coming. :-)

So you’re a writer? What made you decide to start creating characters and story world?

This question doesn’t have a straightforward answer. I’ve always loved story, that’s true. In fact, when I was a kid, I wanted to be a Disney animator. I used to go to the library and sit on the floor in the art section, surrounded by art history books. I think this dream really started then, but I had no idea what to do with it. Fast-forward to college and the moment I stepped into my first Art History classroom and I was hooked on tying stories to what I loved.

What is the one title that has significantly impacted your life?

Without question – the Bible. But if I had to pick a book outside of The Word, it would have to be Night by Elie Wiesel. It’s a short but very heavy read, a non-fiction piece of true art written from the point of view of the author’s teenage self, and how he survived the horrors of Auschwitz. I admit that the first time I read it, I sobbed my way through to the back cover. Now, I read it at least once a year – not because it’s easy, but because it makes me consider the human condition. Who am I as a mother, a woman, a follower of Christ… and who would I be had I not met Him? It always makes me think how God grieves what we do to each other.

If you could get a do-over when it came to learning this whole thing called writing, what would you go back and tell yourself?


I actually wouldn’t change anything about my journey. I had some amazing highs (contest wins, contract offers) and some really tough lows (contest crash-and-burns, publishing rejections) along the way. And even though the rejections and those truly humbling moments managed to sting in the moment, I’m glad I experienced every one of them. They helped me to stay close to Christ along the journey, to remember why I write and to continually pray for the readers I hoped to have some day. They also kept me in a place of learning the craft of writing, which I am extremely grateful for. I would however, love to go back to 2011 and tell that younger version of me one thing: “You are not going to believe what God’s about to do in your life!” I never would have guessed that I’d be published by my dream publisher, and get the chance to have readers reach out and tell me they were blessed by the words I wrote. It’s the greatest kind of satisfaction an author can imagine, I’d wager!

5 preference questions:
Homemade or take-out? I think I love a good old-fashioned potluck where everyone brings their grandma’s best recipe, baked to perfection and just waiting for my plate and tummy to come along and enjoy it! (P.S. Please bring Italian and dessert. You do that, and were are friends for life.)

Email or snailmail? Snailmail. I have a pen pal – we write letters back and forth a few times per month. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to open the mailbox and find something other than a bill or advertisement for a change.  

Online shopping or Black Friday deals? I’m not a great strategy shopper like many of those who venture out on Black Friday, so I always look for deals online. I know what brands I like and what will fit. I do most things on the go – including shopping. It works!

Books or movies? Both! Books first. Classic, 1930s-40s movies second. J

Note-taker or memorization? At last year’s ACFW Conference, I attended an amazing session presented by author James L. Rubart and Allen Arnold, former publisher for Thomas Nelson. It was so impactful that I took 17 pages of notes! I found them the other day and went right back to the awesome take-aways from that workshop because I’d taken notes like a mad woman. The truths I found there are still lifting me up.

Yes, I’m asking you to play favorites…which of your books is your favorite, published or unpublished? And if this is your debut novel, has your favorite been published yet?

Before we received a contract, I’d written nine novel-length manuscripts. I suppose I’m biased though, because The Butterfly and the Violin will always be special to me. It’s not just because it’s my debut novel (thought that’s a big part of it). I think it’s more because my entire family was wrapped up in this first book. An hour after our publishing contract came through, I received a call that my Dad may have leukemia. The larger part of the book was edited at our local cancer center while he was undergoing chemo. The remainder was edited in the weeks after he passed away. So when I say it’s special – that’s an understatement. It’s the book I’d always hoped to write and it’s the first and only one my Dad got to be a part of. It’s why I dedicated the book to him and why I will always praise God for giving us the journey together just in time.


Places for readers to learn more about you?

Any aspiring authors out there? If so, I’d love to hear from you. I’m another author who was walked the path to publication and am happy to encourage you along the way.
You can connect with Kristy at:
Twitter: @kcambronauthor – Facebook: Kristy L. Cambron – GoodReads: Kristy Cambron


Readers, enter to win Kristy's book here!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on July 25th
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

FTC Rules

According to new FTC rules I must let you, the reader know, that all views shared on this blog are strictly my own. Books to review are either provided for me by the author, publisher or ones I have purchased and I am under no obligation whatsoever to present anything, but my true opinion on any product. I receive no monetary compensation for anything written on this blog. Any giveaways on this blog are provided by the author/ publisher and I am not responsible for any views they express in their work or on this site. Giveaways are void were prohibited and chances of winnng are based on the number of applicants. A random winner is draw when a book is given away.

 
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