Monday, April 28, 2008

The CUTEST things


Last Friday the kids and I went to the MN Horse Expo at the State Fairgrounds in St. Paul.
We watched the Parade of Breeds. Dozens of different breeds, from the largest Shires to the tiniest Mini-horses.
We also toured the barns and met a delightful couple that breeds and raises Sicilian Miniature Donkeys. It turns out they live only a few miles from us. They have 15 donkeys currently, gorgeous little furry equines who don't even come up to my waist when they are full grown, and they are expecting 4-5 new babies this spring. This couple graciously invited us to come visit the babies.
I want a donkey. I want two donkeys so one would not be lonely. Think Peter will let me have one? These little darlings might have to be featured in a book.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Inching/Racing


Today was a work day on the WIP. I knocked out 5K words today, and now I'm only three scenes from the end. The last scene has me a little worried, wondering if I can pull it off the way I want to. We'll see when I get there.
I'll be working on a new proposal as soon as this WIP is done. I'm in such a dither about how to start an historical cowboy kinda book. I love cowboys and all things western. I think I'll peruse some of my favorite westerns and see how the greats did it.
How about you? Are you making progress on your WIP? Are you thinking about that next project? Do you read the 'greats' in your genre to see how they handle situations?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Friday Five - a wee bit early

I'm not sure if anyone even noticed, but I didn't post a Friday Five last week due to the fact that I was out of town. And now I'm posting them a bit early this week because I'll be out of town again tomorrow.


Today we were given the honor of touring my BIL, Len Vetsch's place of business. He is a plastics engineer with Contour Plastics, Inc. of Baldwin, WI.

So, five things I learned today.

1. The smell of hot plastic being forced through molds at 450+ degrees makes me nauseous.

2. There are HEPA filters that cost more than I paid for my first car.

3. That plastic comes from oil and natural gas.

4. That my BIL is working on a totally cool ray gun looking thingy that will glue your skull back in when you have brain surgery.

5. That based upon the few parts I saw, I NEVER want to have my bladder biopsied.

A big thank you to Len, who gives a wonderful tour. The kids had a great time, and once I got off the factory floor, I did too. :) Len even treated us to lunch at the A&W...though I was a complete Philistine and ordered Diet Pepsi. :)

A chance to win a book!

I'd like to introduce you to a fabulous series by Jane Kirkpatrick: The Change and Cherish Series. Jane has a style that pulls you in, makes you feel as if you are right there with the characters, and you miss them when the book is done. She has a wonderful capacity for using just the right word. Jane is also one of the nicest gals, always willing to help an aspiring author. She's answered a lot of questions of mine in the past. In an aside, this series was enough to convince my crit partner Georgiana that historicals are wonderful!



Book: The Change and Cherish series
Author: Jane Kirkpatrick
Summary: The Change and Cherish series follows the story of feisty Emma Giesy

A Clearing in the Wild
Spirited young Emma Wagner chafes at the constraints of her 1850s religious community, which values conformity over independent thought, especially in women. Skeptical of the colony’s growing emphasis on preparing for “the last days,” Emma clashes with their increasingly autocratic leader—and faces the unexpected consequences of pursuing independence.

A Tendering in the Storm
This lyrical novel, based on an historical figure of the 1800s, follows the spirited and intelligent Emma Giesy, who achieves her goal of separating her family from the repressive religious community in which she grew up. But unexpected and dire consequences leave her family—and her faith—struggling to survive.


A Mending at the Edge
This richly textured novel, the third in the acclaimed Change and Cherish series, follows the historical figure of Emma Wagner Giesy, who chafes under the restrictions of her 1860s religious colony. When her bid to belong in her unique way unravels her most precious relationships, she seeks new ways to stitch meaning into her life.



Author Bio: Jane Kirkpatrick is the best-selling author of two nonfiction books and fourteen historical novels, including the popular Kinship and Courage series. Her award-winning writing has appeared in more than fifty publications, including Sports Afield and Decision. She’s won the coveted Western Heritage Wrangler Award, an honor shared by such writers as Larry McMurtry and Barbara Kingsolver. Jane is a licensed clinical social worker as well as an internationally recognized speaker. She and her husband, Jerry, ranch 160 acres in eastern Oregon.


Leave a comment on this blog post by May 1st, and you will be entered to win a copy of A Mending at the Edge.

This Week From CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Winter Haven
(Bethany House April 1, 2008)
by
Athol Dickson
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Athol Dickson's university-level training in painting, sculpture, and architecture was followed by a long career as an architect then his decision several years ago to devote full time to writing. Athol Dickson’s writing has been favorably compared to the work of Octavia Butler (Publisher’s Weekly), Daphne du Maurier (Cindy Crosby, FaithfulReader.com) and FlanneryO’Connor (The New York Times). His They Shall See God was a Christy Award finalist and his River Rising was a Christy Award winner, selected as one of the Booklist Top Ten Christian Novels of 2006 and a finalist for Christianity Today's Best Novel of 2006. He and his wife, Sue, live in Southern California. Visit AtholDickson.com for more information.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Boys who never age, giants lost in time, mist that never rises, questions never asked...on the most remote of islands off the coast of Maine, history haunts the present and Vera Gamble wrestles with a past that will not yield. Will she find refuge there, or will her ghosts prevail on...Winter Haven Eleven years ago, Vera Gamble's brother left their house never to be seen again. Until the day Vera gets a phone call that his body has been found...washed ashore in the tiny island town of Winter Haven, Maine. His only surviving kin, Vera travels north to claim the body...and finds herself tumbling into a tangled mystery. Her brother hasn't aged a day since last she saw him.Determined to uncover what happened in those lost years, Vera soon discovers there are other secrets lurking in this isolated town. But Winter Haven's murky past now seems bound to come to light as one woman seeks the undeniable and flooding light of truth.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Inching along

Made a little progress on the WIP. I hit the 40K word mark. I'm on the downhill race to the end. I've gotten my characters into such pickles, it's taking a lot of composting to figure out how to get them out of trouble plausibly.

Have you ever written yourself into a corner? In a class I took last fall with Tricia Goyer, she recommended writing to the blackest moment in the book as if THAT was where the book ended, and then try to figure out how to get your charcters out of it. Following her advice, I've written myself into the blackest moment I could think of...and now I'm waiting for inspiration to strike as to how I can get my characters to the Happily Ever After I foresaw for them when I started the book.

And I only have 10K words left to do it in. Eeek!

Monday, April 21, 2008

A fun weekend


This weekend Heather and I went to Duluth for the Minnesota Homeschool Conference. We went with girlfriends Julie and her daughter Rachel. We shopped for schoolbooks, went to seminars where we learned the steps we need to take in order for Heather to enter college early.
We also got to tour some museums in the Duluth area, research for the books I'm writing right now. We toured Fairlawn, a 1890's lumber baron's mansion, the Depot in Duluth which houses the St. Louis County historical society museum.
On the way home, we stopped at the James J. Hill mansion in St. Paul. Though not known much outside of Minnesota, Hill was a contemporary and business partner of Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and Morgans. He died at the age of 77 with an estate of 63 million. Take that total times 20 and you'll have a close estimate of what he would be worth today. He has an AMAZING house, 36,000 square feet on four stories. Well worth the tour to get a peek into Victorian/Edwardian architecture.
One thing that happened this weekend that we didn't expect was on Friday night at the hotel. At eleven o'clock pm, the four of us were snuggled up in our jammies sitting on the beds in the hotel room (the room slept 8 people) laughing and sharing stories. We had the hockey game on, but not very loud. A knock at the door...the policeman the hotel hires as a security guard said the neighbors were complaining we were being too loud. I'm still stunned. I didn't think we were being loud at all. We toned it down. Must have been all that Aquafina that made us so crazy!
It's good to be home. I have some new information for the next book in the series I am writing. And I have a couple ideas for the current WIP. I will be getting back into the swing of things now that I'm caught up on the bookwork and housework.
And have I mentioned lately that I have a totally amazing and wonderful husband? He's the BEST! He didn't chide me for the police incident, just hugged me and laughed. What a cutie.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

This Week From CFBA

I reviewed this book earlier this month. You can read my review here.


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
My Soul To Keep
(Multnomah Books - February 5, 2008)
by
Melanie Wells
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A native of the Texas panhandle and the child of musicians, Melanie Wells attended Southern Methodist University on a music scholarship (she's a fiddle player), and later completed graduate degrees in counseling psychology and Biblical studies at Our Lady of the Lake University and Dallas Theological Seminary. She has taught at the graduate level at both OLLU and DTS, and has been in private practice as a counselor since 1992. She is the founder and director of LifeWorks counseling associates in Dallas, Texas, a collaborative community of creative therapists. When the Day of Evil Comes is her first published work of fiction, and the first of a three-book series. The second work, The Soul Hunter was released in May, 2006. Melanie lives and writes in Dallas.
ABOUT THE BOOK: As nasty as I knew Peter Terry to be, I never expected him to start kidnapping kids. Much less a sweet, funny little boy with nothing to protect him but a few knock-kneed women, two rabbits and a staple gun…It’s psychology professor Dylan Foster’s favorite day of the academic year…graduation day. And her little friend Christine Zocci’s sixth birthday. But the joyful summer afternoon goes south when a little boy is snatched from a neighborhood park, setting off a chain of events that seen to lead nowhere. The police are baffled, but Christine’s eerie connection with the kidnapped child sends Dylan on a chilling investigation of her own. Is the pasty, elusive stranger Peter Terry to blame? Exploding light bulbs, the deadly buzz of a Texas rattlesnake, and the vivid, disturbing dreams of a little girl are just pieces of a long trail of tantalizing clues leading Dylan in her dogged search for the truth.

“Like water rising to a boil, My Soul To Keep’s suspense sneaks up on you…before you know it, you’re in the thick if a frightening drama…Superbly crafted.”---ROBERT LIPARULO, author of Deadfall, Germ, and Comes A Horseman

“Written with passion, a good dose of humor and, dare I say it, soul, this novel reminds us that we all, with grace and good fortune, bumble our way toward salvation.”---K. L. COOK, author of Late Call and The Girl From Charmelle

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Duh!



Have you ever noticed how it is easier sometimes to see God working in someone else's life than in your own? You hear stories of how, at just the right moment, God moved to solve a problem, to give ease to a situation, to bestow a blessing. You rejoice for the person, and you ask yourself, why not me? Wouldn't that be cool if it happened to me that way?
Last night, God bestowed a blessing on me. In August of 2007, a girlfriend and I made plans to attend the Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators (MACHE) annual conference in Duluth, April 2008. We've attended the last 7 conferences together, barring one. It's important to make hotel reservations early, particularly if you want to stay at The Edge, the best hotel in Duluth. The Edge has an indoor waterpark and excellent facilities. I hopped on line in August 2007 and made our reservations for conference weekend.
Yesterday afternoon, I checked the confirmation email that has been sitting in my inbox for several months. YIKES! Instead of two nights at The Edge, I'd only reserved ONE!
When 6000+ homeschoolers descend on Duluth, there aren't any hotel rooms left. Some people cross the harbor and stay in Superior, Wisconsin because they can't get a room in Duluth.
In spite of all this, I felt really calm. I called the hotel and spoke with Leah. When I told her my predicament, she made rather unpromising noises. "We're totally booked for that weekend, but I'll check for you."
Deep breaths. Key's clacking over the phone.
"Well, I just checked for someone a few minutes ago and we were booked, but someone must've cancelled. Your room is available!"
"Thank you, Lord!" I said this over the phone. :) Silence from Leah.
"Um, thank you. I'll take it."
Got new confirmation email, checked over very carefully.
I'm happy I recognized how God was the one who made the reservation correction possible. It's an excellent reminder that He is working in my life all the time, whether I recognize it as I did this time, or not, which is most of the time.
And Kaye and G- I rechecked the reservations for Minneapolis. We're good to go. :)

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Friday Five


This week's Friday five will hopefully answer Carla's question about WADS. :)
Five great things about my crit group girls.
1. They are Dazzlingly Clever. (I vote for t-shirts too.)
2. The smell gooooooood.
3. They ding me on overuse of words. Like Leather, or even LIKE! LOL
4. They, too suffer from WADS.
5. They let me whine and fuss and snark my way through the first fifty pages of my WIP without telling me to stop being a dill weed doofus and suck it up and write.
Love you, gals!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Update on Goals



As you all know, I'm a goal-oriented kind of girl. That's one of the hardest things about this road to publication for me. If there was a guaranteed timeline, where I knew how close I was getting, or how much longer I had to wait, I'd be better at being patient. Just tell me what I need to DO so I can put it on my list, attack it in stages, and get where I want to go. Sigh. Trouble is, there's no road map, no sure-fire way. There is perseverance, there is prayer, and there is persistent, consistent willingness to work and learn. Hard things to check off a list and say, "There, Done!" Instead, these things have to be on the list all the time, and tend to be more of a minute by minute thing. Am I persevering now? Am I praying now? Am I working consistently, willing to learn now? Those who know me well will know how HARD this is for me.
That being said, I need to update my goals.
1. Finish my current WIP. I added another 4K to it today, bringing the word total close to the 75% mark. I'm hoping to finish this first draft by the end of the month.
2. Begin new WIP to pitch at the ACFW conference. This will be a reworking of a novel I started and entered in the Genesis contest but didn't final with. I was targeting a particular publisher with this story, but they have since filled the need for the setting I had chosen, so now I'm free to set it where I would like to. And make it longer.
3. Pull together proposal packets as needed to pitch my work at the conference.
4. Register for conference when registration opens.
5. Forgot to put this higher up...get current WIP critted by Dazzingly Clever Crit Partners and implement their amazingly astute comments into my story.
How about you? Goal oriented? Have some goals you want to own?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Blah!

Who taught my son to share? I've caught his cold. Now my head's in a vise.

But I got my Genesis entries off to the coordinators. And I'm watching Cary Grant. He's a good antidote to just about anything that ails me. :)

This Week From CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Trouble the Water
Thomas Nelson (March 11, 2008)
by
Nicole Seitz

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nicole Seitz is a South Carolina Lowcountry native and the author of The Spirit of Sweetgrass as well as a freelance writer/illustrator who has published in numerous low country magazines. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Journalism, she also has a bachelor's degree in illustration from Savannah College of Art & Design. Nicole shows her paintings in the Charleston, South Carolina area, where she owns a web design firm and lives with her husband and two small children. Nicole is also an avid blogger, you can leave her a comment on her blog. Seitz's writing style recalls that of Southern authors like Kaye Gibbons, Anne Rivers Siddons, and Sue Monk Kidd, and this new novel, which the publisher compares to Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, surely joins the ranks of strong fiction that highlights the complicated relationships between women. Highly recommended, especially for Southern libraries.

ABOUT THE BOOK: In the South Carolina Sea Islands lush setting, Nicole Seitz's second novel Trouble the Water is a poignant novel about two middle-aged sisters' journey to self-discovery. One is seeking to recreate her life yet again and learns to truly live from a group of Gullah nannies she meets on the island. The other thinks she's got it all together until her sister's imminent death from cancer causes her to re-examine her own life and seek the healing and rebirth her troubled sister managed to find on St. Anne's Island. Strong female protagonists are forced to deal with suicide, wife abuse, cancer, and grief in a realistic way that will ring true for anyone who has ever suffered great loss.

"This is another thing I know for a fact: a woman can't be an island, not really. No, it's the touching we do in other people's lives that matters when all is said and done. The silly things we do for ourselves--shiny new cars and jobs and money--they don't mean a hill of beans. Honor taught me that. My soul sisters on this island taught me that. And this is the story of true sisterhood. It's the story of Honor, come and gone, and how one flawed woman worked miracles in this mixed-up world."


"...a special sisterhood of island women whose wisdom and courage linger in the mind long after the book is closed."-NEW YORK TIMES best-selling author SUSAN WIGGS

Monday, April 07, 2008

YIPPEEE!!!!



Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk, KU!

Your NCAA Men's Basketball National Champions! Woohoo!

Bonus Coverage from CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Amber Morn
(Zondervan Publishing Company - April 2008)
by
Brandilyn Collins
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense™. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline “Don’t forget to b r e a t h e …®” Brandilyn writes for Zondervan, the Christian division of HarperCollins Publishers, and is currently at work on her 19th book. Her first, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows. She’s also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons), and often teaches at writers conferences. Brandilyn blogs at Forensics and Faith. Visit her Websiteto read the first chapters of all her books.
ABOUT THE BOOK The whole thing couldn’t have taken more than sixty seconds. Bailey hung on to the counter, dazed. If she let go, she’d collapse—and the twitching fingers of the gunman would pull the trigger. The rest of her group huddled in frozen shock. Dear God, help us! Tell me this is a dream . . .The shooter’s teeth clenched. “Anybody who moves is dead.”
On a beautiful Saturday morning the nationally read “Scenes and Beans” bloggers gather at Java Joint for a special celebration. Chaos erupts when three gunmen burst in and take them all hostage. One person is shot and dumped outside. Police Chief Vince Edwards must negotiate with the desperate trio. The gunmen insist on communicating through the “comments” section of the blog—so all the world can hear their story. What they demand, Vince can’t possibly provide. But if he doesn’t, over a dozen beloved Kanner Lake citizens will die...Amber Morn is the climactic finale to Collins’ widely read Kanner Lake series. All first three titles in the series, Violet Dawn, Coral Moon, and Crimson Eve, were bestsellers. Library Journal placed Crimson Eve on its Best Books of 2007 list, and hailed it the “Best Christian suspense of 2007.”
A few early reviews of Amber Morn:
“… essential reading … a harrowing hostage drama.” – Library Journal

“… heart-pounding … breakneck pace … satisfying and meaningful ending.” – RT Bookreviews

“This cataclysmic ending left me breathless … Kanner Lake is the Best Suspense Series of 2007/2008.” – deenasbooks.blogspot.com

“Collins has saved the best for a last .. a powerful ensemble performance.” -- BookshelfReview.com

“… a staccato tempo … Sometimes you just have to close the book in order to come up for air.” – Dale Lewis

“…a masterpiece of page-turning suspense with a cast of dozens.” – Peg Phifer
MY REVIEW: I eagerly awaited the release of Amber Morn. I have read the first three books in the Kanner Lake series, and each one got better and better. Amber Morn, book four, is better yet. In book three, Crimson Eve, Brandilyn upped the ante on her characters and readers. She deepened the conflict, making it even more about the people and personal loss and consequences. Amber Morn continues that emotional crisis.
In Amber Morn, Brandilyn brings together the entire cast of the Kanner Lake Series, and puts their lives on the line. But the thing that drew me in the most was the individual perspectives of the Java Joint regulars, their evaluation of what was important in life and what wasn't. Juxtaposed with their perspectives are the people on the outside of the hostage situation who have loved ones inside. Brandilyn made me care about these characters, and I couldn't put the book down until I knew what happened to them.
On an aside, Brandilyn Collins is one of the NICEST ladies you'll ever want to meet. You'd never suspect all the twisted plots running around in her head.
If you're looking for a great read, one that will pull you in and keep you riveted, pick up Amber Morn...or better yet, get all the books in this series. You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

My Soul To Keep ~ Melanie Wells



My Soul to Keep by Melanie Wells
Genre: Fiction/Suspense – Released 2/19/08 – ISBN 978-1-59052-428-2

FROM THE BACK COVER: As nasty as I knew Peter Terry to be, I never expected him to start kidnapping kids. Much less a sweet, funny little boy with nothing to protect him but a few knock-kneed women, two rabbits, and a staple gun… It’s psychology professor Dylan Foster’s favorite day of the academic year–graduation day. A day of pomp, circumstance, and celebration. And after all the mortar boards are thrown, Dylan and some of her best friends will gather around a strawberry cake to celebrate Christine Zocci’s sixth birthday. But the joyful summer afternoon goes south when a little boy is snatched from a neighborhood park, setting off a chain of events that seem to lead exactly nowhere. Police are baffled, but Christine’s eerie connection with the kidnapped child sends Dylan on a chilling investigation of her own. Is the pasty, elusive stranger Peter Terry to blame? Exploding light bulbs, the deadly buzz of a Texas rattlesnake, and the vivid, disturbing dreams of a little girl are just pieces in a long trail of tantalizing clues leading Dylan in her dogged search for the truth.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A native of the Texas panhandle and the child of musicians, Melanie Wells attended Southern Methodist University on a music scholarship (she's a fiddle player), and later completed graduate degrees in counseling psychology and Biblical studies at Our Lady of the Lake University and Dallas Theological Seminary. She has taught at the graduate level at both OLLU and DTS, and has been in private practice as a counselor since 1992. She is the founder and director of LifeWorks counseling associates in Dallas, Texas, a collaborative community of creative therapists. When the Day of Evil Comes is her first published work of fiction, and the first of a three-book series. The second work, The Soul Hunter was released in May, 2006. She lives and writes in Dallas.
MY REVIEW: What an amazing character Dylan Foster is. She is beautifully and realistically flawed. When I came across this paragraph, I knew I identified with Dylan:
"I always forget God is multilingual. Half the time, I forget He's there at all. You'd think I'd learn, but spiritually, I have ADHD and am still in the third reading group." (pg. 29 of My Soul to Keep.)
The book is full of these little gems. I particularly loved Dylan's Top Ten Terrible Traits, flaws in her character that she's working on.
A couple of things I found jarring. I found one swear word in the book, and several believers in the book drink alcohol. The alcohol, while unusual in CBA fiction didn't bother me as much as the swear word, but given Multnomah's tagline "Keeping Your Trust...One Book at a Time," I did wonder how this would go over with the average Christian reader.
Dylan Foster had one TSTL moment when she ventures into a seedy part of Dallas alone at night, knocking on doors and visiting liquor stores and strip clubs in an effort to gain information about the kidnapped boy. While I understood her motivation, it annoyed me that she would put the child's life at risk as well as herself by doing something so foolish, especially when she had been specifically warned away from doing such a thing by one of the police officers in charge of the case. I kept thinking that if she got close to the kidnappers, they would kill the child and bury him.
That being said, the writing is fabulous and fresh, the characters are interesting, unpredictable, and endearing, and the plot fast-paced. The conflicts pile on, both physical and spiritual, until the story is strung so tight you find yourself clenching your muscles and squirming with anxiety.
I recommend My Soul To Keep, book three in the Day of Evil series and I intend to go get books one and two ASAP. To get your own copy of My Soul to Keep, click Here.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Friday Five


This week's Friday Five comes courtesy of Kaye Dacus who gave me the idea:
Five Nicknames I have had.
1. Ducky. Anyone who knows my email address will recognize this one. It is a favorite of my parents.
2. Herca. My cousin (more than a dozen years younger than I) couldn't say Erica, thus Herca.
3. Kukada (Kuk-uh-duh) This is what my sister christened me when they brought me home from the hospital. She was 18 mos. old and this is her rendition of Erica.
4. Kuk. My mom's favorite. She uses it about half the time. In fact, I can't remember the last time she called me Erica. It's either Kuk, Duck, or Ducky.
5. Tarbaby. This one is a long story and one for its own blog post.
How about you? Any nicknames you'd like to share? C'mon, I was brave, you can be too!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Let's talk about Cashews


I love cashews. There is a commercial on tv at the moment where a very homely woman is being followed around the big city by a gaggle of gorgeous guys, and all because she has used the scent of a cashew as a perfume. I dislike the commercial, but the mention of cashews got me to thinking of a story I once heard.
When I was a kid, my church had week-long missionary conferences each year. For a week, night and morning, we listened to missionaries from all around the world. I loved Missionary Conference time. I miss it. I think we have lost a wonderful means of sharing the work God is doing and really getting to know the people we send our $$ to on the field. When we had missionary conferences at Salina Bible Church, I really felt that partnership in the ministry and goal of winning the lost for Christ. But I digress...this post is about a story one of the missionaries told that has stayed with me all these years.
If you look at the picture, you will see a cashew fruit. The cashew nut is in the pod hanging at the bottom of the fruit. I had no idea cashews grew in this manner. Did you?
Once upon a time, there was a missionary family who lived in Brazil. The family had two children, a boy and a girl. And in their front yard were two cashew trees, one for the girl and one for the boy. The children loved to eat the cashew fruit, so juicy and sweet. The problem with cashew fruit, however, is that if you get the juice on your clothes it will leave a stain. But not right away. The stain is only visible after the clothes come in contact with water.
The two children had special 'cashew clothes' to wear when they wanted to eat cashew fruit. They would come home from school, change into their 'cashew clothes', and climb into their trees and eat as much fruit as they wanted.
One day the kids ate so much cashew fruit that they were not hungry for supper. The mother asked them if they had worn their cashew clothes in the trees. The children looked at one another, then nodded. "Yes, mom, we wore our cashew clothes."
Later, when the mother did the laundry, she noticed big brown splotches on the children's expensive school uniforms. When she called them in, they confessed they had lied to her about changing their clothes.
I have remembered this story for ages, recalling the moment when the missionary mother shook her head and sadly told us, "I didn't know until I had washed the clothes that they were ruined. But God knew. God knows everything. He sees your sin, even if no one else ever finds out. God sees into your heart and knows everything that goes on there."
A simple story with a powerful lesson.
Do you remember any lessons like this from your childhood?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

This Week From CFBA


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
When Zeffie Got a Clue
WaterBrook Press (March 18, 2008)
by
Peggy Darty
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peggy Darty is the award-winning author of twenty-seven books, including two other cozy mysteries set in Summer Breeze, Florida: When the Sandpiper Calls and When Bobbie Sang the Blues. She has worked in film, researched for CBS, and led writing workshops around the country. Darty and her husband call Alabama home but spend a great deal of time in Colorado, Montana, and on Florida’s Emerald Coast.
ABOUT THE BOOK: It’s an ordinary afternoon in Summer Breeze, Florida, when a young, wide-eyed girl steps into I Saw It First, the trash-to-treasure shop Christy Castleman and her Aunt Bobbie have opened. Clutching a jewelry box, Zeffie Adams tells Christy she needs money to pay her grandmother’s medical bills, prompting Christy to offer this curious visitor more than the jewelry box is worth–or so she thinks. But complicated questions form when Christy rips out the box’s lining and uncovers a clue to a cold case murder mystery from eight years ago. Despite warnings from her family and handsome boyfriend Dan Brockman, Christy decides to do a little detective work of her own. After all, the infamous murder happened close to her grandmother’s farm. How risky could it be to take the jewelry box back to the Strickland plantation and ask around about it? Soon Christy finds there is more to the small box than someone wants her to know. A jewelry theft. A mansion murder. Dangerous family secrets buried in history. Can Christy convince others to let go of the past before it’s too late?