Archive for the ‘Latest News’ Category
Posted on October 10, 2013 - by Shari Barr
Harvest is my favorite time of year. The growing season is over and the crops have changed from green to a golden brown. As my husband drives the combine, I sit beside him watching him bring in the corn and soybeans. Another harvest is well under way.
Just as we prayed for rain and sunshine at all the right times this last spring and summer, we pray for good weather now to complete the harvest. An early snow or late season storm is every farmer’s worst nightmare. With every truckload of soybeans hauled to market and every bin filled with corn, we breathe a sigh of relief.
But the farmer doesn’t quit until every field is harvested. His job is only complete after all his crops are safe.
God feels the same way about His children. He wants to keep them safe and sound. He never gives up on them until they’re safe in His arms. Like a farmer brings in the crops, God expects us to bring others to Christ. Passing up on an opportunity to share God’s love might be too late sometimes. We don’t always have a second chance. Like a storm wreaks havoc on a farmer’s field, God’s heart is broken if His children never come to know Him. As Christians, it is our job to bring non-believers into God’s kingdom.
There is no time to wait.
Posted on September 26, 2013 - by Shari Barr
Social media has its good and bad points, but one site that seems created out of sheer goodness is CaringBridge-a protected personal online journal for people wishing to keep family and friends informed about a health issue, either for themselves or a loved one.
Fortunately I’ve never had to create an account, but I think if a major illness or accident struck my family, I’d want an easy way to keep people informed. I know several people who have CaringBridge accounts, and I’d rather read their journal online and leave a comment, instead of calling them every week or so to see how they’re doing, especially if it’s an extended illness. CaringBridge doesn’t take the place of personal contact but makes it easier to keep up-to-date when you know the patient (or account holder) is probably exhausted and may not always want to take calls.
A couple of years ago I read a blog about a little boy who is very sick. His family started a CaringBridge account and asked people to read the journal and pray for their son. I signed up to get email alerts when a new entry is posted to the journal which reminds me to pray. This little guy is still sick, and I continue to ask God to heal him even though I have never met this family and probably never will.
Do you take part in social media? If so, do you have sites you would recommend to others?
Posted on August 11, 2013 - by Brenda Anderson
I am jumping-up-and-down excited to pass on this news:
Stacy Monson has just signed a contract with
for a novel to be released the summer of 2014!!!
Woo Hoo Stacy!!!
Please join me in congratulating her.
Posted on August 2, 2013 - by Dawn Ford
I have spent my summer watching videos on You Tube for tutorials on how to put a steampunk/mad hatter outfit together and making cheap steampunk accessories and scouring second hand stores for just the right piece to add to my costume for the special dinner we will have this evening at the Realm Maker’s conference in St. Louis. I am quite happy with what I’ve come up with, and I hope it won’t look as contrived as it probably is. Here’s a what I did:
I started with a dress Lorna and I found and I bought on sale at Dillards two years ago. The neckline was a bit low for my taste, though, so when I found something I liked better, I wore it to the ACFW conference instead. I loved the rich chocolate color and the feel of the skirt so with a little help from a good friend of mine who is able to wield a sewing machine (shout out to Cathy B.!!), we got that pesky top removed from the skirt. Cathy hemmed the skirt up and voila! We have an amazing start to an outfit.
The blouse I found at a costume shop in one of the malls in Omaha in the RenFair section. I was amazed to find the blouse compliments the chocolate skirt, which is great because I wanted it to be brown, not white or black like most steampunk chemises are. Add a leather and crochet jacket from the Goodwill, along with a large feather and netting flower which I glued cogs and watch parts on. I’m loving it so far.
My oldest son Austin bought the cutest pair of boots for me at Christmas. They are brown and although they actually zip up, look like they are lace-up. Then, for my birthday this year hubs bought me a “watch” which is actually the inner workings of a pocketwatch set in leather to look like a watch and a spring banded ring which sports a propeller, owl head and matching bead (can you say AWESOME!). This will go nicely with the magnifier necklace of my mother’s which I added a small skeleton key to round it off.
The hat is really the topper of the outfit, though. A few years back our local IN writer’s group got together for the Abraham Lincoln display in Omaha. While there I bought a top hat which mimicked President Lincoln’s. I dusted it off, added a beaded scarf, beaded bobby pins, and a decorative watch pin I found at a second hand store. Lorna’s father was called upon for a special favor and he found a pair of old welding goggles in his basement for me to borrow. They are wire rimmed (!!), have green glass lens (!!!), and the sides flip in (!!!!!!!!!!!!). As Lorna would say: Oh. My. Cow! They are more than amazing. I will add a 10/6 sizer card to complete the steampunked Mad Hatter theme.
Whew! That was a lot of work, but so much fun to put together. I promise to post the end result on Facebook.
Posted on July 18, 2013 - by Shari Barr
Nothing influences my writing more than one special group of people—the readers.
Every time I read a book that is similar to my writing style, I’m reminded that if people like this author’s work maybe they’d like mine too. If the book is a bestseller, that gives me an even bigger incentive to write my own novel and cash in on some royalties.
The first time I attended an ACFW conference, I was amazed at the number of attendees present. More than 600 people attended that year’s event, either as aspiring authors, seasoned professionals, or somewhere in between. If that many people wanted to write Christian fiction, I knew the number of readers interested in reading those novels must be humongous.
The variety of genres alone is an indicator of the types of books people will buy and read. No matter what your writing taste is, more than likely you’ll find a genre that fits your style. Translation—if the industry recognizes the genre, you’ll find readers galore. Otherwise the genre would cease to exist.
With the condition of our world today, Christian books are in high demand, though society may say otherwise. Even when overall sales of Christian books are lagging, you and I both know many Christians who are eager to read books written by like-minded authors. If my writing helps just one person in their walk with Christ, that reader has just influenced me to write more.
Some people say that with the popularity of e-books, the traditional paper and ink book will become a thing of the past. I sure hope that doesn’t happen, but even if it does, we’ll always have people itching for a good story. And, that’s a good thing, because without readers, I doubt that we’d have many writers.
Posted on July 5, 2013 - by Dawn Ford
My life has resembled a wrangler’s lately. How you ask? Two years ago John and I bought his Grandpa Leo’s farm after Leo passed away. Although not big, only three acres, it is more than a handful for us. From spring to fall we manage two households as we try to tame the land and bring the old farm back to life.
Years before Grandpa passed on, the wild, wild west was creep, creep, creeping in. Trees were left to grow in the pasture, in the fence lines, and the barns filled with a lifetime of stuff. Fences fell, windows broke, and mangy varmints took residence. John and I have been fighting what has felt like a losing battle against some pretty nasty critters that have moved in and refuse to leave. Ground hogs, gophers and skunks are our main enemy this year as we try to get rid of them for our family barbecue this Saturday.
A week and a half ago I went out to check on the remnants of a fire hubby had made the day before. So far we’d cleared around ninety-five percent of the pasture which had been taken over by mulberry trees of all sizes. Side note: Just so you know mulberry season is well into full swing and there’s nothing like a mess a mulberry can make, taking in account the animal droppings as well as the fallen fruit all over the ground. Anywho, as I drove out to the farm, about a mile down the rock road I see not one, not two, but six fuzzy black and white babies on an outing. The little stinkers were so cute with their bopping and frolicking. However, I did not see these little furry babies God created with amazing defensive abilities as precious or even adorable. I saw trouble with a capital T.
You see, several years ago, before Grandma and Grandpa passed on, their house also became home to a family of skunks. How do I know this for certain, you ask? It was evident at a family funeral where Grandma and Grandpa sat behind John, the boys, and I. Eyes watering, sinuses running, I kept my Kleenex up to my nose the whole time. This was not because of the somber nature of the function, though you see. It was because of the Eud de Skunk which rolled off of the grandparent’s clothes in waves. One of the little creatures had done what he does best right before they left for the funeral. There was nothing they could do, they couldn’t not go to the funeral. The smell didn’t come out of the house for weeks. In fact when I was cleaning out the house years later, I could still catch a whiff every now and again. I don’t know how the grandparents stood living there, to tell you the truth. I couldn’t have done it.
Forward that to last year. There was no water, the point on the old well had run dry. It was a dry year. We needed water. Enter in the well company who dug a trench from the barn, across the driveway, down the sidewalk and under the house. That upset the skunk family who were still squatting beneath the house. We did manage to catch one, but killing skunks doesn’t necessarily end your problem. In fact, it only enhanced the nasal torture. It took a couple of weeks until nature finally washed away the stink.
Stay with me. Week and a half ago. Cute, fuzzy, black and white babies. Bopping down the road. Trouble.
A few days after the fuzzy baby spotting, John lucked out. One mamma down and the babies became orphans. Our pet beagle Snickers, or Nose as I call him on the farm, rooted out a baby skunk yesterday by my memory garden, no less. Now we’re down to half the skunk population. Today Snickers found a
ground hog mole. That makes three moles down. Now if we could only get the gopher who seems to be inching toward the vegetable garden. One more day until the party. We’re keeping our fingers crossed we will not have to do some last minute pest wrangling. Especially if they are of the black and white variety.
As for the trees, we’ve knocked most of the pasture down. You cannot believe the debris one tree can make, let alone two acres of trees over years of neglect. This has been one big task. But the pasture is almost so clear Grandpa wouldn’t even recognize it. We’ll be holding a big bonfire there with the remaining limbs we haven’t burned yet, before we do our own set of fireworks Saturday.
Oh and don’t get me started on the ants that have kidnapped one fully grown tomato plant and an onion plant. They simply disappeared down the hole they grew up out of. Can you believe that? Only the spittle debris left behind that all points to some pretty sneaky ants. Yep. It’s all in a day’s work for us wranglers.
***Shannon is generously giving away two copies of Rodeo Regrets so don’t forget to leave a comment so you can be entered.
Posted on June 24, 2013 - by Shari Barr
These men and boys had such important jobs, keeping the animals in food and water as well as fighting off predators. Finding shelter from the elements had to be an agonizing job at times. Every sheep and lamb must be accounted for, and if not, they had to go searching, yet keep an eye on the others at the same time. If the sheep hurt, so did the shepherds. Not only did these men look out for each other, they also kept an eye out for false shepherds. How did they distinguish between a good shepherd and the bad? How did they deal with the so-called false shepherd?
I’ve often wondered what the shepherds thought when an angel of the Lord appeared that special night so long ago and told them a Savior had been born. Sure, they were scared, yet they listened to the angel and took his advice, heading to Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus. What an awesome sight to be among the first to see the newborn King. I can only imagine the thrill they must have felt gazing at the tiny baby in a manger, knowing He had been sent from the Lord above to save all mankind from sin.
As loyal, devoted farm workers, shepherds were willing to put their lives on the line to protect their flocks. The patience and dedication these men had towards their sheep were truly remarkable. I could learn so much simply by watching and imitating the good shepherd. They really did know what it was all about.
Posted on May 24, 2013 - by Shari Barr
If you’re craving a luscious, juicy steak or hamburger this Memorial weekend, you’re right in style. May is beef month (as is every month/day at our house since we’re beef producers) so fire up that grill and make sure it’s ready to go this summer.
While researching this topic, I learned that hamburger got its name from three main sources. The first was from the tribes of Tartary in Russia during the Middle Ages who developed a taste for raw steak now known as steak Tartar. The second group who influenced the naming of the hamburger was trading partners of the Tartars who lived in Hamburg, Germany who loved raw beef fried with onions called Hamburg steak. The third influencing factor involves German immigrants who brought this steak to America in the 1700′s and 1800′s.
I found lots more interesting tidbits from www.iabeef.org, so in honor of beef month, I thought I’d test your knowledge of the beef industry.
1. The hamburger and ice cream cone debuted at the World’s Fair in St. Louis. In which year did this take place?
2. What was the first hamburger chain restaurant?
b. White Castle
c. Bob’s Burgers
3. How many nutrients does one 3 ounce serving of beef provide?
4. How much protein does one 3 ounce serving of beef provide?
5. How many basketballs can a single cowhide make?
6. How many baseballs can one cowhide produce?
7. What skin is used to make NFL footballs?
b. Beef hide
c. Alligator hide
1:b, 2:b, 3:c, 4:c, 5:a, 6:c, 7:b (Yep, it’s not pigskin.)
How well did you do? I know I learned a few things about the beef industry. Now that I’ve been thinking about it so much I’m definitely hungry for a grilled, juicy cheeseburger for lunch.
Got any takers?
Posted on May 18, 2013 - by Rose Ross Zediker
We have winners!
Veronica Sternberg-Wedding on the Rocks
Ginger-Wedding on the Rocks
Maxie Anderson-Rose of Sharon
Bookworm99-Rose of Sharon
Many thanks to everyone for helping me celebrate my book release!
And don’t forget the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! You start off at LisaBergren.com and visit the sites of 31 authors. At each stop, collect a clue (listed in red), and then click the link for the next stop. There are THREE great prizes including an IpadMini 32G loaded with a book by each of the 31 authors!!!
Also, there are BONUS giveaways at many of the sites like gift cards and more books.
Posted on May 4, 2013 - by Lorna Seilstad
In the last two weeks we’ve been celebrating sisters in honor of my new release When Love Calls. It was wonderful to celebrate with so many of you!
The winner of a copy of When Love Calls for herself and one for her sister (or sister stand in) is
Congratulations, Julie B. Please send your snail mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org and that of your “sister.”
Be sure to join us in the next two weeks as we celebrate Rose Ross Zediker’s new release.