The Gift of Friendship – x6

Ruth, Wendy, Nancy, Stacy, Theresa, Sue and Gail (left to right)

Dawn posted a lovely tribute on Saturday to a special circle of friends (her Inksper buddies). I am blessed to also have a circle of friends that goes back far longer than I care to admit!

When my daughter (child #1) was nine months old, about 25 moms at my church decided to form a group for support, encouragement, babysitting and some “me” time. Child #1 is now 25 and married, and a group of 7 still gathers monthly for dinner, laughter and conversation from the heart. Let me introduce you to my sisters in Christ (in alpha order): Gail, Nancy, Ruth, Sue, Theresa and Wendy.

Gail – a second grade teacher with a gentle disposition and a sweet smile. Over the years I’ve tried to copy her hair, her waistline and her gentleness. Let’s just say it hasn’t worked out – I’m bigger, louder and not nearly as sweet. But I continue trying to emulate her.

Nancy – an OB/GYN nurse with the best, most infectious laugh of the group. Nancy’s heart is big and generous, her hugs comforting, and her joie d’vivre contagious. She will jump into action at the whisper of a problem with food, money, hugs or a laugh. How can someone 5” shorter than me walk so much faster?

Ruth – a pre-school teacher with a gentle voice and quiet nature. If we’re not careful in our conversation, Ruth will never get a word in. But woe to those on the receiving end of what we teasingly call “the wrath of Ruth.” You just might get a frown and the gentlest of scoldings. I wish she had been my pre-school teacher.

Sue – an allergy/asthma RN and a rock in our group. Made of solid faith, she has a loving directness that makes me squirm. She’s quick to share a laugh, someone I go to for prayer and encouragement. And she’s also impossible to keep up with on a “walk” (and we’re the same 5’9”!). I guess I walk slow.

Theresa – the peanut of the group. To this day I don’t know what she does because it has to do with numbers and finances, both of which make me nauseous. She loves deeply, laughs hard and consistently throws out one-liners that make me laugh no matter what my circumstances. She’s an amazing cook and decorates circles around me.

Wendy – a third grade teacher with a driving passion for kids, family, friends and her granddaughter, Claire (the first in our group). She will drop everything to help someone, cries easily and laughs freely. She’s the whirlwind in our cluster of seven and can make me laugh with just a look across the table.

Our group has conquered raising children, our children’s weddings, losing parents, dieting (and not dieting), divorce, health scares and the ongoing maladies of life, and now spending one weekend in January together “up north” for our mid-life version of a slumber party.  Nothing is too scary to face, too big to climb, too sad to deal with or too hard to conquer when surrounded by hearts of faith and love like these.

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!”    1 John 4:11-12 (The Message)

For me, these women are Jesus with skin on (along with hairspray, heels, accessories and Spanx). Their selflessness exemplifies God’s love for me and makes me realize I am truly blessed. Whether you have a gaggle of them or just a few solid ones, you know that girlfriends are a gift from God. I wish you the blessing of at least one (if not 6) BFFs.

Author Interview With Jill Williamson

It is my distinct honor to talk with one of my new favorite Christian Science Fiction writers, Jill Williamson and share her with my inksper friends.

Jill, tell me a little about yourself and how you came to be a writer.

I grew up in Alaska with no electricity. My biggest dream was to get to the lower 38 and experience “real life.” Thankfully I found God in college before I got into too much trouble. I was very talented at making my own clothes and my dream was to be a fashion designer, so I eventually went to New York City for a year to finish that degree. We moved to Los Angeles because my husband wanted to work in the movie industry. It didn’t take long for our hearts to change. Those industries just didn’t fit our personalities. Plus we wanted to start a family and both Hollywood and the fashion industry aren’t the most family-friendly industries.

So my husband went back to school to become a youth pastor. I stayed home with the kids. After reading some of the teen novels the girls in my youth group were reading, I decided to write a teen novel for Christian teens. I got hooked on writing my spy kids story. So hooked that I had to put the dreaded thing down and write something different. So I did. Then I wrote something else. Then something else.

 

In your Darkness Series you created a whole different reality.  Is it harder to create your own world or is it harder to have to keep within the confines of a reality where you could get the details wrong at some point in the story?

It depends on the genre. But usually for me, it’s much harder to write within the confines of reality because of all those necessary details. The science part, especially. If I’m writing science fiction, or dealing with an element of science in a contemporary fantasy story, it’s really hard for me to research all that. I’d much rather draw a map and create my own world and its own rules. *grin*

 

What inspired you for your current novel, “Replication: The Jason Experiment”, to write about clones?

I was riding in a car through upstate New York with my sister. We were going to pick apples. We passed endless amounts of ranches, orchards, and farms. It got me thinking. What if there was a farm where they grew people? Clones. It could be called Jason Farms. And that’s where the idea for the story came from. I wanted to explore how the world might treat cloned humans. Would they have the same rights as the rest of us? And what would their existence say about a creator God?

 

Did you consider cloning to be a hot-button topic and one that may not be accepted by your religious audience?

Not at all. I just thought it was a fun story idea. And many of my critique partners—and my husband too—said it was their favorite of the books I’d written to date. And it was the easiest sale I’d ever had. But as the book neared its release date, I heard from some of my Blood of Kings fans who were a bit worried about this cloning story. The phrases “creeps me out” and “I don’t think I’ll like a story about clones” were mentioned more than once. And then I got a couple almost-offended reviews from magazines, and it suddenly occurred to me that some people might see this as a political story, which I never intended it to be.

 

You write Christian Science Fiction. How do you set out to put a message in your story that touches readers but that doesn’t preach to them in a way to turn them off to the message?

I never set out to put any message in my books. I just write the stories as they come and try to be true to the characters’ journeys. In the Blood of Kings trilogy, Achan needed to have an encounter with the One God, so I showed that the best way I could. And in Replication, Abby was a strong Christian—the kind of kid who actually tries to live out what she believes. So, I felt that the faith issues that arose between Martyr and Abby were naturally the things that would have come up in real life, the way they might in youth group one Wednesday night.

I can understand why non-Christians don’t understand that and that some might think I put those scenes in on purpose to meet some secret agenda, but I didn’t. It’s always been one of my pet peeves when a character gets saved in a book one because it never seems very realistic to me. In my own life, I was around Christians for eight years before I made the decision to follow Christ. But Martyr was different. So, I guess the answer to this question is that I try to be true to who my characters are, the story they are living through, and where they story needs to go to reach an ending.

 

We writer’s seem to get inspired by the strangest details. What was one of the strangest things that you experienced which brought forth an idea for a novel?

I distinctly remember where I got the idea for every story I’ve written, and most of those ideas were inspired by pretty ordinary things. I suppose that seeing the partially burned tree when I was on a walk with my son was a pretty small detail that inspired an entire trilogy. Luke and I had stopped our walk to look at a house that had burned down. And there was a tree in the yard that was partially charred and mostly still alive and leafy green. I remember running home (pushing the stroller ahead of me) and Photoshopping that tree. Once I had the image of a half-dead/half-living tree, I started brainstorming a story to go with it, which became the Blood of Kings trilogy.

 

What do you have next on your drawing board that you can share with us today?

I’m very blessed to be working on a few things. Marcher Lord Press bought my teen spy kids series (the first book I wrote!). The Mission League is a series of four books that follow one young man’s experiences with a spy organization that fights evil. The first book, The New Recruit, is scheduled to release in the fall of 2012. I’m so excited!

And I am writing a new series for Zonderkidz that is scheduled to release in 2013 with the first book tentatively titled Captives. Here is the gist of that story: In a dystopian future, most the population is infected with a plague. The only exceptions are those who live outside the city walls. A mutation in the plague sends city enforcers looking for uninfected nationals in an effort to purge the disease from future generations. When enforcers raid Levi’s village, they take his fiancé into the city and hold her captive in the Highland Harem. Levi launches a one-man war against the city in an attempt to free his loved ones from his village before it’s too late.

 

How do you view the future of the Christian Speculative Genre?

I see a bright future for the genre. There are a lot of houses looking for Christian speculative fiction. So I think that there is a huge market out there and publishers are willing to give it a try. I also see many writers getting caught up in ebooks and self-publishing. And while I’m not opposed to self-publishing on a case-by-case basis, most writers are not born marketers or businessmen. Being a self-published author is really tough, and many who go this route may get discouraged.

And one other thing I’ve noticed: critics can be hard on Christian spec fiction. It’s not politically correct to write books with Christian themes, and some reviewers get downright angry when they encounter them. As a result, I’ve seen a few authors tempted to write their next spec fiction books with allegories that can cross over into the general market. It’s difficult to continually create books you know some people will despise. So in that regard, the Christian speculative fiction may continually be a challenge to the author’s heart. Christian authors need to arm themselves with a Galatians 1:10 mentality. “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Jill’s newest release, Replication, is an amazing speculative story about a secret cloning laboratory and the one clone, Martyr, who simply wants to see the sky before he fulfills his life’s purpose before he expires and the girl helps save him. Jill’s refreshing tale of an innocent mind opening up to the knowledge of God and what  real purpose and sacrifice looks like will touch your hearts. I highly recommend it for teens and adults alike.

Thank you, Jill for a wonderful interview and a great read!

Biblio-Vacation!

 

I spent my childhood summers in the city. Both my parents worked so my sister and I were ‘latch-key’ kids. Long, lazy days of zero parental supervision. Oh, sweet bliss!

And even better – I had a wonderland of excitement waiting for me just ten blocks from my home. I made the trek every other day; my arms plied high with books. Where was I heading?

The public library, of course.

The musty smell of  old books was as welcoming as any tangy sea breeze. And the cool clamminess of the children’s section located in the basement was as refreshing as dabbling your feet in a cool brook. And talk about summer friendships! Hundreds of them awaited me on those packed shelves.

I usually checked out twelve books a visit. Six books for each arm. It took a bit of juggling to get through doorways but once I was on the street I could manage just fine. And if my arms got tired, I’d just drop to the ground wherever I was and start reading until I felt rested again. Of course that meant the trip home took a lot longer but since there was no one waiting on me that didn’t matter.

If I’d only read those books I might have to end this blog post here, because really, what more can be said about spending your whole summer reading? B-o-r-i-n-g, right? Not if you were a kid with a runaway imagination who lived what she read. It’s a miracle I survived my childhood.

When I read Five Children and It by E. Nesbit, I immediately went on my own quest to find a psammead (sand fairy) who grants wishes. Of course, I didn’t achieve quite the same results. First, I needed sand – not an easy commodity to find in the city. I finally settled on the baseball diamond in the Junior High schoolyard. And since there were five children in the book but only one of me I improvised with a few dolls and a teddy bear. Then I needed a picnic. I crammed some Cheese Whiz crackers and my china doll’s tea set into a pillow case and then added a spade because everyone knows that psammeads bury themselves under sand in order to avoid pesky wish-demanding children.

Alas, it wasn’t long before I discovered that the sand in the baseball diamond was packed so hard it might as well have been cement. I could barely scratch the surface let alone dig deep enough to unearth a sand-fairy. Determined not to let this disappointment scar the remainder of my day I got a scathingly brilliant idea.

I would hold my picnic on top of the backstop!

It was a bit of a climb, made more difficult since I had a booty-filled pillowcase clutched in one hand but I made it! And what a thrill it was to look down at everything from my perch above. I set out the dolls and teddy bear, passed around china plates laden with crackers and had the most thrilling tea party of my life. I felt adventurous and daring and equal to any literary heroine …until it came to climbing down when I found myself inexplicably frozen with fear.

Unfortunately, the sheer terror of my situation precluded my enjoyment of the subsequent police rescue. My parents were just getting home from work when the cruiser pulled up. Imagine their horror and shock! I’d been stranded on the backstop for hours in the blazing sun. Dehydrated and sunburned, face streaked with tears, I didn’t resemble the child they’d left that morning.

That wasn’t my last brush with the law either. Later that same summer, I had to be rescued off a cliff by a park ranger. My family spent every Saturday of the summer at Boyd Conservation Area — 991 acres of trails, picnic areas and river swimming. There was even a man-made beach with lots of luxurious sand. But my psammead digging days were over. I had moved into the mystery section of the library and had just discovered Phyllis A. Whiney and was reading The Mystery of the Haunted Pool.

Our park routine was always the same: my parents would lay out a blanket, plunk down the cooler and set up for a day of sunbathing. My sister and I and any friends we brought with us were allowed to simply roam free. And roam we did. I’m sure we covered every square foot of that park by the end of the summer.

Which was how I stumbled upon the Haunted Cave. I knew it was haunted because I could hear the most unearthly moans coming out of it.

Of course I had to explore. Trouble was the ‘cave’ was way up the side of a cliff. So up I climbed and, you guessed it, got stuck. Petrified, I clung to the side of the cliff like a squirrel monkey until some hikers noticed me and alerted the park rangers. Imagine my parents’ reaction when I showed up by their picnic blanket with my ranger escort! Actually better not to!

Then there was the orphan craze I went through. I LOVED books about orphans. Such a romantic, exciting life! Think Anne of Green Gables and Pippi Longstocking. And then I got my hands on a copy of Nobody’s Girl by Hector Malot. It was written in the late 1800’s in France and reads like a soap opera.

When Perrine’s mother dies she discovers that she has an estranged grandfather. I was captivated by the 300+ pages that told Perrine’s harrowing search for someone to belong to. Sniffle. I identified with the heroine so much that I took her persona upon myself. I stopped eating breakfast and lunch so that I would know what hunger felt like. I teased and tangled my hair, ripped my clothes and rolled around in the dirt to give myself the look of a lost waif. Then I walked down the bustling streets of Toronto looking desperately at every kind elderly face wondering it belonged to my very own long, lost grandpappa. I won’t mention the time that I was escorted out of a department store by a security detail – the very one my own father worked at!

By, by now you’re convinced I’m mad as a hatter and ought to be locked up. In fact, you’re probably wondering if I have a juvenile record. All I can say is that I may have grown up but I still live every book I read…and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

How about you — any books from your childhood you just had to become a part of?

 

Thinking Too Much

The-Thinker,-sculpture-by-RodinMy name is Kim and I am an overthinker. Like an alcoholic who can’t stop with just one little sip of his or her favorite drink and ends up plastered to the floor unable to gain enough equilibrium to even stand up, I can’t stop thinking. Ideas pop into and out of my head like the moles in the Whack-A-Mole game with such speed I barely even recognize them sometimes. But as a writer, this should be a great thing, right?

WRONG! Thinking too much can be downright paralyzing. Sure, the ideas come. The projects get started. Scenes play like the latest blockbuster on the big screen. But then I start to write. And the scene in my head just doesn’t look the same on the paper as it did in my mind. So I start trying to fix it. Force the words to conform to the emotions and body language of the characters. Manipulate the pen like it was a camera on a boom that can follow everything from the background to the secondary characters running around on the fringes of the stage to the main characters so close to a kiss my own lips are tingling. When the ink doesn’t comply, then the frustration sets in and I shut down. I simply don’t write.

And as  with many things in life, the habits that form the easiest are the ones you can abandon the quickest. Not writing leads to more not writing which leads to…well, you get the point. Suddenly, all my overthinking has put me in the rut of not writing. Talk about a creativity killer.

So, how do I get myself out of the overthinking quagmire and more forward to completed ready for editing projects?

Well, while it’s far from a traditional twelve-step program, this is what usually works for me:

Step One: Settle into my comfy recliner with lapdesk on lap, paper on lapdesk, thesaurus at the ready and pencil in hand.

Step Two: Place iPod earbuds in ears.

Step Three: Select my favorite playlist – Songs To Write By and press play

Step Four: Get lost in the music. This usually slows down my thought processes enough to give the words a chance to gain               strength. Grow loud enough to shut out everything else but the movement of my hand in unison with the pencil against the paper.

Step Five: Write.  images

Step Six: Write some more.

Step Seven: Write even more.

Step Eight: Turn the paper over and write some more.

Step Nine: Let a little more lead out of the end of my mechanical pencil.

Step Ten: Brush away the eraser dust that’s collected on the lapdesk

Step Eleven: Write some more

Step Twelve: Massage the writer’s cramp out of my fingers while I admire the completed chapter and start thinking about editing.

Repeat the process until writing is again the familiar habit and not the occasional indulgence.

By this point in time, the overthinking gene is off in the corner somewhere whimpering and licking its wounds waiting for the next time a distraction comes along so it can pounce and push me back in the rut of not writing. Hopefully, one of these days, it will be forever banished. But until then, I’ll stick to my personal twelve-step program and stay away from thinking as much as possible!

The Story of Jesus, told by children

Today we’ll be spending time with our children and grandchildren (minus my son, who is at Marine Corps boot camp). One of my Facebook friends posted this video of a group of children sharing the story of Jesus’ birth. It was so precious that I wanted to share it as my video Christmas card to everyone.

And He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.”

This story is told by the children of St Paul’s Church.

And if you want to see something silly, I sent out this “Elf Yourself” video e-card (starring me, Hubby, son & daughter) to our friends and family and also posted it on my Facebook page.

http://elfyourself.jibjab.com/view/XoYUeIGHj8xRwpHq?cmpid=ey_fb_self

Merry Christmas to all!

Dom Perignon Research On A Budweiser Budget

imagesI have to admit, I don’t have to do much research when it comes to the setting of my current work in progress. I’m surrounded by it. Live smack-dab in the middle of it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t research. After all, not every character in the book is from smaller than a peanut Podunk like I am. Layering those characters takes a magical mix of psychology, description and background. And since I have rather expensive tastes when it comes to backgrounds and limited funds, I have to find ingenious ways of immersing myself in the culture, speech patterns, and landscapes of those far-flung foreign places. Here are just a few of the ways I do Dom Perignon  research on a Budweiser budget.

The first stop on this guided tour of Kim’s research techniques is the good old Internet search engine. Google. Bing. Yahoo.thumb_At_Computer_silloetteWikipedia. Ask. Take your pick. There’s a million of ‘em out there crawling cyberspace. My personal favorites are Google, Bing and Wikipedia. Now while you do have to take a good bit of what you find with a rather large grain of salt, it is a fantastic jumping off point. The only downside is the amount of time I accidently spend following the rabbit trails the main search sends me down. Blame it on research ADD.

51FBQV4YM8L._SS500_The second stop on the tour is the bookstore or library.  Fodor’s or some other travel guide about the country your characters are from can be invaluable when it comes to getting the “feel” of the local atmosphere. Books about the culture and language are almost a necessity. Being an Anglophile who’s hero just happens to be from England, last Christmas I asked for book after book on what makes a Brit a Brit. I’ve got British culture and slang books out the ying-yang now. And each one of them is invaluable.

This brings us to stop number three. Television and music while I write.  Where my characters are from actually changes my television viewing habits (to a certain extent) and the music shuffling through my iPod. When the guy’s a Brit, it’s shows like To The Manor Born, New Tricks, Law and Order UK, Masterpiece Theatre and the like that fills the empty hours between my favorite primetime shows. If I’m writing a character from New York City – or one who has spent a good deal of time in the Big Apple, the music on my iPod changes to the sounds of familiar Broadway melodies. Believe it or not, for me, these things help bring out the nuances of the character’s story as it unfolds on the pages. Or at least I hope it does.

Now for the last stop on this guided tour. The voices on the text-to-speech program on my computer. Yep. You guessed it. They have British accents. Physically hearing the words in the character’s accent really does help me make sure their thoughts and voice “sound” like the person they are.

It would be quite easy to go on and on about all the other techniques I employ in my quest for the suspension of disbelief in my readers. However, that would be nearly impossible and take far more space than a blog post allows. Let’s just say, at least in the broad sense of the word, this is the way I roll when I’m on that research train.

What about you? What do you do if you want to immerse yourself in your setting or character’s background and you don’t have the means to actually go there?

Unwavering Focus

Self-Discipline. That’s a good thing, right? I mean, over this past week we’ve been discussing ways to improve our self-discipline, so it must be something to strive for.

But, is there ever such thing as too much?

Hmmm. Let’s ponder that for a second, and while you do, take a moment to click on the link below. Watch the video and answer the question it asks. You may just be astonished by your answer.

[Important: Do NOT read further without watching video first.  Thank you!]

 

Selective Attention Test

 

Interesting video, wouldn’t you say? Raise your hand if you didn’t see the gorilla. Oh good, I’m not completely alone. I didn’t believe it when they said a gorilla had walked through the group of basketball players. I didn’t see one black hair. So, I watched the video again, certain to see that they were trying to mess with me. Nope. I was so completely focused on watching the ball that I had no clue a primate had waltzed his way through.

I guess, when I look at the rest of my life, though, it fits. I’m a very focused person and a linear thinker. Multi-tasking is a naughty word to me. Throw in too many tasks and I get little done. What I do accomplish will not be completed to the best of my ability. So, for me to really do something well, I need to a) focus on that singular task, b) complete it, c) then move on to something new.

On top of that, don’t ask me to procrastinate. I’m definitely someone who has to get their work done before play. Just ask my kids.

But, we all know that work is rarely completely done. There is always something else that need to be done, one more thing to check off the daily chore list.

And don’t pen one more task onto my list at the last moment. Those unexpected curveballs are certain to raise my blood pressure.

Of course, life is full of curveballs.

To be honest, the problem isn’t my intense focus, but rather on where my focus lies. For Whom do I write? And raise my children? Love my husband? Sometimes my gaze is so fixed on completing my daily tasks that I forget to fix my eyes where they belong and, like the gorilla, I lose sight of the cross.

When I do focus on Christ, it’s amazing how life’s curveballs don’t bother me so much. Maybe I’ll even take a moment away from my list and toss around a few basketballs. Then, I should see the gorilla dancing through.

Chasing Rabbits Syndrome

1-1270311191QCPvIf you’ve ever watched rabbits when something is chasing them, you know they never go in a straight line. The run to the left then veer back to the right. They might stop then double back toward the thing they are fleeing only to change directions a split second before they are captured. They zig and zag and hop and stop and dart and…well, you get the point. And by the end of the chase, the pursuer is so confused he’s chasing his own tail. So, is it any wonder that my family has termed everything from daydreaming to switching subjects in the middle of the conversation ‘chasing rabbits’?

And it’s this Chasing Rabbits Syndrome I suffer from that is most detrimental to my self-discipline. You see, while I may be disciplined enough to sit down every night, settle my lapdesk and notebook in my lap then pick up my trusty pencil, those stupidly cute little bunnies start running through my head in the form of distractions and I can’t help but chase after them.

NCIS_LogoThe cure to this syndrome should be quite simple and straightforward: Avoid distractions. But that is so much easier said than done. Especially in my case. You see I have a weakness for certain things. NCIS. Cross-Stitching. The computer. Concocting the perfect plan to murder my choir director and make it look like an accident. Any thing that keeps me from writing ‘The End’ or figuring out how to transition from one chapter to another smoothly. Perhaps that’s why I have yet to finish my current projects.

But how can you be a published writer if you don’t ever finish the book? The answer is…you can’t. So, if I’m really in the game. Really pushing toward the goal of publication, then I have to find a way to stop chasing rabbits. And maybe, just maybe, I’ve finally found the secret cure to my CRS (that’s Chasing Rabbits Syndrome, not the wonderful state agency I work for).

Photo on 2010-08-22 at 12.38What is the cure, you ask? Music. That’s right. What some people would consider one more rabbit to chase is actually the cure that strengthens my self-discipline. When I can’t get the pencil to move across the page. When Leroy Jethro Gibbs is about to interrogate a witness or Ducky is about to reveal the cause of death. When e-mail beckons and the cross-stitch pattern calls, I slip on my headphones, turn on my iPod, close my eyes and let the music push everything but the words away. Then, before I can blink, the pencil is moving and I’m lost in the world of Zidonia with Edith and Augustus or Wilton Springs with Alice and Phil. And nothing short of an atomic bomb can pull me out until the scene or chapter is finished and ‘The End’ is a little closer to reality.

Now, inquiring minds want to know. Do you suffer from CRS? If you do, what are the rabbits you chase? And what do you do to pull out of the chase?

Floaties and Faith

Unsinkable faith? I use floaties.

Peter’s mistake was that he didn’t have his personal floating devices attached. He took his eyes off of Jesus and sank real fast. Isn’t that the way life is? One fraction of a second we’re doing well and bam, it hits you.  Waves of discontent or an undertow of discord can find you at the bottom of the ocean. We all need floaties.

Where did I find my floaties? From the Bible, of course. Inflated and reinforced to ensure there can be no holes by the Word of God. It’s the strongest material known to man, having stood the test of time and faith everywhere.

How do we know? Look at John the Baptist. He was a loud supporter of this biblical device. His ministry led to Jesus’ ministry and the salvation for all. Some say he faltered when he asked Jesus if He was the one. But I believe he was making sure his own floaties were working properly. Having been reassured they were in proper working order, he continued his unsinkable faith to his death.

lifesaverEven Jonah had faith. He tried to run from it, but he knew how sound the floaties were if the Ninevites were to get ahold of them. God knew they needed these floaties, Jonah didn’t want these sinners to have them. He had faith that God could save them, so he went the opposite direction. It took a large fish and a few days in its belly to remind Jonah who was in control of this device. The ability to keep people afloat sold itself.

My own life is a true example of how strong these floaties are. I was drowning, my marriage and family on the line. God sent another believer to bring us a lifesaver. Ever since then I have used my floaties in any situation in life to keep afloat. I have gone under, like Peter , a time or two. But I have always managed to bring myself up with the help of my floaties. I couldn’t survive without them.  

How about you? Do you think these floaties are unfashionable? Do you take them off and try to swim alone? How do you keep your faith afloat?

**I am leaving for eight days on vacation to Virginia Wednesday morning. Please pray for a safe trip for us and that it doesn’t rain on our parade. LOL. I will be unable to reply until after I return on the 15th of July. God bless! Dawn

The 2010 Christy Nominees Announced

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Nominees for the Christy Awards (the Catherine Marshall Christian Fiction Award of Excellence) showcase some of today’s finest releases. All of these deserve to be on your TBR piles.

The 2010 Christy Award nominees are:

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Breach of Trust by DiAnn Mills • Tyndale House Publishers
How Sweet It Is by Alice J. Wisler • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group
Stand-In Groom by Kaye Dacus • Barbour Publishing

CONTEMPORARY SERIES, SEQUELS, AND NOVELLAS
Who Do I Talk To? by Neta Jackson • Thomas Nelson
The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth • Zondervan

CONTEMPORARY STANDALONE
June Bug by Chris Fabry • Tyndale House Publishers
The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson • Thomas Nelson
Veiled Freedom by Jeanette Windle • Tyndale House Publishers

FIRST NOVEL
The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry • Moody Publishers
Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent • Tyndale House Publishers
Scared by Tom Davis • David C. Cook

HISTORICAL
A Flickering Light by Jane Kirkpatrick • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group
The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey • Revell Books: a Division of Baker Publishing Group

HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Beyond This Moment by Tamera Alexander • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group
A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group
The Inheritance by Tamera Alexander • Thomas Nelson
The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group

SUSPENSE
Intervention by Terri Blackstock • Zondervan
Lost Mission by Athol Dickson • Howard Books: a Division of Simon & Schuster
The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

VISIONARY
By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson • Marcher Lord Press
The Enclave by Karen Hancock • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group
Valley of the Shadow by Tom Pawlik • Tyndale House Publishers

YOUNG ADULT
Beautiful by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma • Thomas Nelson
The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason • David C. Cook
North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group