Monthly Archives: August 2012

A Balancing Act

Ever feel like you are doing this in your life?

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Lately, I’ve been feeling like this Orangutan.

I’ve been on walking the tight rope of life and it’s turning out to be a balancing act.

This past weekend I had to take a step back and reassess my life. I knew if I didn’t, I was slowly going to crash and burn.

I started thinking about how I wound up here. Why had I taken on so much? What motivated me?

I realized it all came down to fear. I was afraid to say ‘no’ and letting people down. I am the type who loves to help, encourage and support others.

This time I went too far in the people pleasing department.

I reevaluated what I was doing and why I was doing it. Granted, what I am doing is good and harmless.

However, is it what God wants and is He in it?

Am I really asking Him what He wants me to do? Or am I going about my business doing what I think is right in my own eyes? (Proverbs 21:2)

The truth is I haven’t been asking Him. I got swept up in the fervor of helping others.

Before I knew it, I found myself in a cyclone, being thrown every which way. 

All because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone.

So, guess what happened?

I started feeling worn down, worn out, exhausted and thus, unhappy. I realized I started to lose the proper spirit or attitude in my giving.

I was doing everything out of a sense of obligation, therefore, begrudgingly.

However, God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)

The fault is mine and mine alone. Noone forced me or made me do anything. I made the choice.

However, when I had my meltdown this weekend, I realized something had to change. I couldn’t keep going the way I was.

I also started to feel convicted about what I was doing and reached some conclusions:

  1. God doesn’t want us building kingdoms for ourselves on earth.
  2. God doesn’t want us pleasing others more than Him.
  3. God doesn’t want us to manipulate or scheme to get ahead or succeed.
  4. God wants us to trust Him with the results.

Something was getting lost along the way with social media, (i.e., promoting and marketing strategies).

I know the Lord has been trying to get my attention because lately, the whole social media/marketing/promotion thing hasn’t been feeling right to me.

Life is short to be trying to build our little kingdoms here on earth.

My husband made a valid point when he reminded me of what the Lord did to the Tower of Babel.

Christians are not suppose to take their lead from the world. We are suppose to take our lead from God.

Does this seem narrow to you?  Do you find it legalistic?

I am far from being a legalist, but I will say this, if whatever you’re pursuing doesn’t line up with the Word of God, then you are building on sand.

It’s like those sand castles we build on the beach, they eventually get washed away by the waves. They simply don’t last.

Such is our dreams and pursuits, if they are not Christ centered, then they won’t last.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather art be inspired, blessed and prospered by God, than by man’s scheming, marketing and promotion any day.

Personally, I’d rather just trust God with the success of anything I pursue, whether it be art, writing, singing, cooking, etc… You can’t go wrong.

Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Do you agree? I would be interested in reading your thoughts on this.

Book Review: When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts by Cindi McMenamin

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736948589
ISBN-13: 978-0736948586
Price: $12.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN | CBD








Only God can take the bitter things and turn them into blessings in your own life and the lives of others. But healing cannot take place until you uproot the faulty thinking that often accompanies life’s wounds and replace it with the truth about how God views you.

As Cindi McMenamin shares powerful examples of the ways God has changed broken lives, she offers encouraging counsel that will…

·       take you from feeling insignificant to realizing how much the Lord loves you

·       take you from feeling undesirable to seeing your true beauty

·       take you from feeling you’re not good enough to recognizing how special you are

You’ll find this book filled with grace, redemption, and transformation. It will lead you toward a renewed focus on God, a resurgence of inner joy, and better relationships with others.


Cindi McMenamin shares her heart on each page of this book. Her desire is for women to be set free from the bondage of their pasts and to know their identity in Christ.

Each chapter begins with a woman’s tragic story and their redemption.

At the end of each chapter, there is a section entitled, “Let the Healing Continue” where there are practical exercises help to incorporate healing. There are also scriptures to reflect upon and a prayer for healing.

When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts is broken down in three sections:

             Part I: Uncovering the Wounds

            Part II: Unraveling the Lies

            Part III: Unveiling a New Heart

As much as I found this book encouraging, I did have a difficult time reading some of the women’s stories.

However, I appreciated the fact that there is hope and redemption as well. Who doesn’t like a happy ending?

One thing I am realizing in my own journey toward healing and wholeness is that it isn’t always pleasant or fun, but grueling. Healing doesn’t always feel good and at times, it can be messy.

However, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurt is very helpful as it gives you ten steps toward healing and wholeness.

Cindi McMenamin teaches throughout this book, that there is healing, hope and redemption through the pain and hurt. Sometimes we may not understand why certain things happen, however, this book clearly shows how God wastes nothing.

God desires to heal us. He desires our freedom from the lies we believe. Ultimately, He wants us to know how much He loves us.

In order to heal, we must face some ugly and painful things. But, we don’t have to stay there.

When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurt gives you the tools to overcome your past hurts and be set free.

I highly recommend When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurt for women. This book could used alone or as a guide in a woman’s group.

In conclusion, I want to personally thank Aaron Dillon of Harvest House Publishers for a complimentary copy of this book.

Cindi McMenamin, an award-winning writer and national speaker, is the author of When Women Walk Alone (more than 100,000 copies sold) and Women on the Edge.  As a pastor’s wife, director of women’s ministries, and Bible teacher, her passion is to bring women into deeper intimacy with God.  Cindi lives in Southern California with her husband, Hugh, and daughter, Dana.


Book Review: The Breakthrough by Jerry Jenkins

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (August 17, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414335849
ISBN-13: 978-1414335841
Price: $14.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN | CBD








After years of turmoil, Boone Drake seems to be back on track. He is the youngest bureau chief in Chicago Police Department history, he heads up the city’s Major Case Squad, he has a new family, and his relationship with God has never been better. Still, Boone can’t fight the feeling that something is about to go terribly wrong . . . again.

When disaster strikes, it seems Boone is destined to repeat the past, as tragedy threatens those closest to him. And when his own family’s safety is at stake, Boone is forced to make a difficult choice–stay with his wife, Haeley, who desperately needs him, or pursue a human trafficking ring from the narrow streets, alleys and hovels of the famed hutong district in Beijing, China, to the ancient city of Tianjin. The stakes have never been higher for Boone as the all-too-personal case grows increasingly dangerous . . . and time is running out.


I believe the last book I read by Jerry Jenkins was Left Behind, which I enjoyed immensely.  This was a different kind of story, but had the same element of having you at the edge of your seat.
Jerry Jenkins is a great writer and develops stories which are suspenseful and entertaining. He hooks you into the story from page one.

The development of characters were believable. He writes so well, I was able to see and feel everything.

Personally, I had difficulty with the main theme of the story, the harsh reality of human trafficking. I had to put the book down a few times because it was causing me anxiety.

The Breakthrough also touches on faith in a real way.

The main character Boone Drake is a Christian. Everything seems to be going well in his life. Until he gets a text out of the blue from his pastor which says, “Yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” Job 5:7

Suddenly, everything starts to turn upside down in his life in a major way; from his wife Haeley to her abducted son. Boone is faced with some very difficult situations and decisions to make.

Thankfully, this book has a happy ending.

If you love suspense, I highly recommend this book. The Breakthrough does not disappoint.

In conclusion, I want to thank Tyndale Publishers for an advanced complimentary copy of this book.

Jerry B. Jenkins is the author of more than 175 books. His books can be found regularly on the New York Times Best Sellers List. He and his wife, Dianna, live in Colorado Springs.

Guest Post: I Choose to Encourage

I have the pleasure of guest posting for an amazing person and writer Jim Woods.  I wrote about one of my favorite topics, Encouragement.  Please read more about it here.

I would highly recommend following Jim Woods on his blog and Twitter.

The Hope of “Yes”

I am participating in Blogging  Through the Book: The Gospel of Yes by Pastor Mike Glenn.  This series was birthed by Dana Pittman, who is an amazing  writer and speaker.  I am honored to be partnering with her and her amazing team of writers.  Every Wednesday we will be blogging our thoughts and insights from this book.

As the Living Christ infuses every crevice and hidden place of believers’ lives with his life,
everything dark and broken is pushed out.” ~ Mike Glenn

Courtesy of Creative Commons

I enjoyed reading Chapter 6, “The ‘Yes’ of the Resurrection.”  What especially stood out for me was the story of pediatric surgeon Ben Carson.

Pastor Mike Glenn explains Ben Carson had a serious anger problem.  One incident was so extreme it forced him to really look at himself.

“He retreated to the bathroom in his home and read his Bible and prayed that God would remove this terrible temper. He wrote, “Lord, despite what all the experts tell me, You can change me. You can free me forever from this destructive personality trait.” After spending almost all day in the bathroom, praying, reading Scriptures, crying, and begging God to help him, Carson finally found the peace he was searching for.”

I don’t know about you, but this encouraged me. We all have struggles as Christians, we haven’t arrived.  I’m sure there are times you think to yourself if you will ever overcome a particular issue. Whether is it cursing, losing your temper, unforgiveness, pride, etc…

We do have hope.

Our hope comes from our risen Lord Jesus Christ.  He died and resurrected for all the messes in our lives. He died just for you.

If you were the only person in the world, He would have still died on the Cross for you. I know this may be hard for you to believe or wrap your mind around.

We can’t fathom the enormity of God’s love for us.

I mean think about it a minute, can you fathom or even understand God’s love?  I know I can’t.  But, the Scriptures point to His love.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son…” (italic mine, John 3:16).

We hear it time and time again, He gave His only Son.  He died for us in our less than perfect state, more like messy state.

God loves us despite our sins and even despite ourselves.

We can’t change ourselves, we can try and make a valiant effort, but we will fail. The only person who has the power to change us from the inside out is Jesus Christ.

I meditated on this truth. The fact is all of our striving is for naught. All we need to do is come as we are, messed up and broken… “Here am I, Lord.”

He is longing and waiting for us to reach the end of ourselves.

He is waiting for us to surrender. Surrendering will look differently for each of us.  But, it is in the going to Him that we will know what He is specifically asking from each of us.

We do this by getting in the Word of God, having our minds renewed and by much prayer.

He is our Hope and our Divine Yes.

We have a hope and it is found in Jesus Christ alone.  When we say ‘yes’ to His Word and His ways things begin to change in our lives.

He is more than able to heal all those messy places in our hearts and lives. We just have to be willing to let Him do it.

Have you said ‘yes’ to Jesus?  Do you believe He can heal and change you?

Blogging Through the Book is a group of bloggers who literally blog while reading the book. It’s different than merely reading a book and posting a review. We have a chance to read and share our thoughts in community. To learn more visit


My First Writer’s Conference

I have been meaning to write this post for awhile now. You know how it is though, minutes become hours, hours become days and days become weeks.

I attended my first writer’s conference on August 4th; The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference.

I was excited to attend this conference headed by Marlene Bagnull and to meet my new friend, Bonnie Calhoun. She autographed a copy for me of her best selling book, Cooking the Books.

Bonnie Calhoun also heads the Northeast Chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers of which I am a member.

Here is a picture of Bonnie (right) and another author and member, Donna (left).

Bonnie was kind enough to help me with my two author appointments.  I selected best selling authors Mike Dellosso and Robert Liparulo.  I was really looking forward to meeting and asking them both questions.

As a new writer, I’m always curious to find out how best selling authors succeed in their craft, etc… So here was my opportunity.

First up is Mike Dellosso. He authored best seller’s such as Frantic, Scream, Darlington Woods, The Hunted and more.

I really liked Mike Dellosso’s vibe. He was laid back and a great listener. He asked me what I wanted to talk about. I basically told him it was my first time interviewing an author. I told him a little bit about myself. Then I started asking him some questions.

In the conversation, he mentioned he has a full time job as a physical therapist. I was curious to find out how he managed to work full time, have a family and write best selling books.

He said he gets up every morning, seven days a week to write at 4:00am. I thought my jaw was going to hit the floor. I remember asking him if he was serious. He said yes.

Can you imagine getting up every day, seven days a week to write?!  He totally earned my respect right there.

I only had fifteen minutes to speak with him, so I just went right for the gusto. I asked him what would be the one thing he would tell a new writer.

He leaned back in his chair a little, deep in thought and responds, “to write what you are passionate about.”

He also said to get up at 4:00am every day, seven days a week and write.  Just kidding.

Seriously, I can understand why his books are best seller’s, this man is no joke. I realized by speaking with him that if I want to succeed as a writer, I will have to put in the time, dedication and work.

Next up is Robert Liparulo.

Robert Liparulo is a master storyteller.  He authored best sellers such as:

  • Comes a Horseman (2005)
  • Germ (2006)
  • Deadfall (2007)
  • Deadlock (2009)
  • The 13th Tribe (2012)

He sent me my very own copy of The 13th Tribe.  He even autographed it for me.

Now, unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet this cool dude in person. He and I kept missing each other for some strange reason. However, I was able to correspond with him by email and ask him some questions.

He gave me permission to share this with you folks.

“I knew I was going to be a writer when I was in third grade. In fifth grade, I wrote an article that my teacher sent to a magazine, without telling them how old I was. A few months later, I got a check and a few copies of the magazine with my article in it. I was definitely hooked.

Then, when I was 12, I read I am Legend by Richard Matheson. For about half the book, the main character, Robert Neville, tries to get a sick dog inside his home. When he finally does, he spends the night nursing. Stroking the dog, he recalls the way things used to be. The last line of the chapter was: “In the morning the dog was dead.” Not only was the dog cool, its death was symbolic of the death of life as it had once been. I started crying, and I thought, “If words—only WORDS!—can make a pretty tough 12-year-old boy cry, I want to do that.” For years I went around telling people what I wanted to do when I grew up was make 12-year-old boys cry. (I’ve received a few emails from both boys and girls who said Frenzy, the sixth Dreamhouse Kings book made them cry—I had to laugh that I’d finally fulfilled that goal.)

Through my teen years, I wrote for Ranger Rick, Highlights for Children, and moved into adult magazines like Rolling Stone. Then, for many years, I wrote articles and columns for a slew of magazines and newspapers. I started interviewing celebrities, including authors. A few of them became friends, and when they found out my dream was to write novels, they nagging me about pursuing it. I finally started writing Comes a Horseman, mostly to stop their nagging. When it sold and I secured a few contracts to write others, I was able to quit my day job of writing articles and focus on novels.

Over the years, I’d written a few screenplays that sold (including the script to Ted Dekker’s Blessed Child, which sold to Gener8xion Films), none of which made it to the big screen. I have two contracts now to write screenplays, one based on my own book and one original, which I’m writing with Andrew Davis, the director of The Fugitive, The Guardian, and Holes. I consider myself a storyteller more than a novelist.

As a journalist and magazine writer, I was frustrated that I was spending my time in nonfiction. But when I started writing novels, I realized that the lessons I learned writing nonfiction were invaluable to my writing novels: how to interview and research, how to write concisely, how to hook a reader, how to meet deadlines, etc. I realized that any writing will hone your craft and could be applied to any other kind of writing. I no longer regret those years in the wilderness, writing nonfiction.

What I would tell a new writer is this: Write from your heart. Tell the story you want to tell in the way you want to tell it. The very best thing you are bringing to the table is your voice, your style, how you tell a story. Plots are a dime a dozen; what will bring readers back to you is your voice. If you love writing, it’ll come through. I always say, writing that doesn’t keep the writer up at night, won’t keep the reader up at night either. Passion will come through and be transferred to the reader. Lack of passion leads to passionless storytelling. Above all things, follow your heart.”

Wow! After reading that, how can you not get his books?  Seriously, if you haven’t read any of his books, you are missing out. He’s an extremely gifted writer.

Mind you, I tend not to read a lot of thrillers (basically because I’m the biggest chicken on earth. Just ask my husband, he’ll tell you). I have a very active and vivid imagination, so I basically live my books. I’m not exaggerating.  The same thing happens to me when I watch movies. My husband has to keep telling me it’s just a movie.

I just went one day to this conference and it rocked my world. But it came with a price.

All hell broke loose right before this conference. It was as if something was trying to prevent me from going. I didn’t understand it so much while it was happening, but I did afterwards.

My husband suddenly gets sick and goes to the emergency room. He takes medicine and decides he still wants to drive me there anyway (great husband huh?).

The next thing happens while I’m attending the conference. My husband texts  me to say the electricity went out in the hotel.  So, he decides to take a drive, however, there are no street lights working either. There was complete chaos everywhere for hours. Mind you, this is happening while I’m attending the conference.

All I can say is that it was a battle, but we both pressed through.  As a result, the Lord spoke in so many ways by using people.

One of the classes entitled, “Reaching the Hearts of  Your Readers”, really got to me. This class was taught by Ken Gire. I totally loved this class and his teaching style; it was deep, real and reflective. He was also kind and gave me one of his books, Shaped by the Cross which he autographed for me as well.

In conclusion, the conference ended with Tim Shoemaker giving the final address. I really enjoyed listening to his testimony.  He is a fun, lively and inspiring speaker.

There is so much more I gleaned from one day at this conference, but this post went longer than anticipated.

I really enjoyed my first writer’s conference and I hope to go again next year, Lord willing.

Book Review: Let’s Write A Short Story! by Joe Bunting

Purchase at Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Let’s Write a Short Story! is an eBook about the process of writing and publishing short stories. The book will guide you through the process of researching publications, writing your story, editing, and submitting your work to literary magazines.It’s also a primer in how to make a career in fiction writing. If you’ve ever wanted to be a writer, this book will help get you started.

      • Why all the great writers started with short stories, and why you should, too.
      • How to build a fiction platform with short stories rather than just another blog.
      • How short stories are structured differently than novels.
      • What theme to write about to give you a greater shot at being published.
      • How to break through your writer’s block when you get stuck.
      • How to submit your short stories to literary magazines (and which ones you should submit to).

Let’s Write a Short Story! won’t just give you the information you need. It will challenge you to take the next step in becoming a writer and help you get your writing published.


I have had the pleasure of following Joe Bunting’s work on his amazing website called Write Practice. I have really grown to appreciate him and his talent.  He is also kind, generous, helpful and very intelligent.

If you are serious about learning how to become a better writer, I highly recommend Write Practice.

Have you ever wanted to write a short story, but thought you couldn’t do it?  I admit, I didn’t think I could write a short story until I read Let’s Write a Short Story!

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have come across this gem of a book, because I learned so much. This is the kind of book you’ll want to keep referring to throughout your writing career.

Joe Bunting is a brilliant and prolific writer who takes difficult concepts and makes them easy to understand. He is generous and offers a variety of pointers too.

In Let’s Write a Short Story!, Joe Bunting goes step by step explaining how to build a well-written short story from scratch.  Not only that, he gives you resources and tips on how to submit your stories to literary journals, etc.

I have read many books on writing and found some of them to be boring.  But not this book, I didn’t want to put it down. I found it  informative as well as inspiring.

Let’s Write A Short Story! is valuable resource to any writer, whether novice or seasoned.  This book contains everything you ever wanted to know about writing short stories and more.

I highly recommend this book. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

My name is Joe and I write novels, articles, and, of course, short stories. I want to help you write stories, too. I wrote Let’s Write a Short Story! to create a community of writers who want to help each other write short stories and get better at the craft of writing.

Guest Post: On The Tablet of My Heart

Today I have the pleasure of guest posting on my friend and awesome writer Sundi Jo. If you don’t know who she is, I encourage you to follow her blog, she is an inspiration.

I’m new to this whole guest posting scene, but I made a commitment to God that I would write, despite the fears, doubts and insecurity.  You can read more about it here.

Guest Post: Our Father

I have the honor of guest posting for a wonderful woman of God named Tammy Helfrich.  She has been an incredible encouragement to me on my journey in writing/blogging. I have been following Tammy’s blog and writing for months.  I absolutely love everything she has to say.  Please follow Tammy’s beautiful blog and on Twitter.

Today I wrote about the my struggle in seeing God as father.  Please read more about it here.

Guest Post: Epiphany of Ritual

I have the absolute honor of guest posting at my friend Jennifer Luitwieler’s blog today.

If you will indulge me, I would like to tell you a little bit about Jennifer.  She is fun, funny, talented, real, sweet woman of God.  She wrote a great book that you all should check out called Run With Me: An Accidental Runner and the Power of Poo.

You’ll be in for a treat if you follow her blog and/or Twitter.

Today I wrote about the subject of ritual.  Here is my epiphany.


Will You Say “Yes”?

I am participating in Blogging  Through the Book: The Gospel of Yes by Pastor Mike Glenn.  This series was birthed by Dana Pittman, who is an amazing  writer and speaker.  I am honored to be partnering with her and her amazing team of writers.  Every Wednesday we will be blogging our thoughts and insights from this book.

“All of us are broken.  And accepting God’s mercy in Christ does not magically repair the shattered pieces of life.” ~ Mike Glenn

This quote is taken from the chapter entitled, “The ‘Yes’ of the Cross.”

To be honest, I had difficulty reading this chapter. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great and meaty chapter. However, truth has a way of barging into places you’d rather keep shut.

Truth has a way of breaking us. 

In John 14:6, Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life. When the truth pierces the darkness, lies are exposed.

Your soul is left naked. 

I guess that’s how Adam and Eve felt after they ate the forbidden fruit. Eve fell for the lie and  brought Adam down with her. Next thing you know, they are running for cover.

There are things we’d rather keep hidden.  

If you’ve walked on this earth long enough, there will be situations you’ll want to forget and wish never happened.

We all wish we had the ability to go back in time and do things differently. However, this is impossible.

Shame and guilt hound us and we continue to run.

Jesus doesn’t want us to run or hide in shame anymore. He wants to expose every broken place in our lives.

He wants to heal us.

But, He isn’t going to force it on us. He is a gentlemen.

Once we receive Him into our hearts and lives, we are His. We are no longer our own. We were bought with a price.

He doesn’t want us remaining as we are. He doesn’t want us trapped in bondage. He doesn’t want us believing the lies.

He doesn’t want us living shattered lives.

Jesus is the redeemer of our souls. He wants to reach down into those dark crevices of our hearts and heal us. Those ugly places we want to hide and pretend don’t exist.

“But from start, healing work occurs on the inside. In time, seeds planted in secret by God’s Spirit will blossom into the harvest of a radically changed life.  Right now, however, at least on the surface, nothing will seem to have changed.  Even with Christ in us and with us, the hard circumstances of life are still there, staring us in the eyes.  That’s because Jesus isn’t changing the situation but the person.” (Chapter 5, Pages 68-69)

God wants to do spiritual surgery.  He wants to set us free.  He longs to make us whole.

Will you say “yes” to the Cross?

Blogging Through the Book is a group of bloggers who literally blog while reading the book. It’s different than merely reading a book and posting a review. We have a chance to read and share our thoughts in community. To learn more visit