Welcome to my little bit of cyber-space. It is my prayer that all who enter here may be richly blessed by the God of all grace. All praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Writing Conferences

I haven't posted for two weeks because last weekend my husband and I drove over 1300 miles roundtrip so I could attend the 2007 Called to Write conference held by the Christian Writers Fellowship in Girard, KS. Deb Vogts, president of CWF, made everyone feel very welcomed, and the ladies of the group provided so much great food that I gained weight in two days! We started off each session with a heart-moving devotion led by Patty Phipps who also later did a hilarious and helpful workshop on being a "creative chef" in our writing.

Deb Raney, a fellow ACFW member, was the main speaker, and she taught several excellent workshops on rewriting, publishing, e-newsletters, getting ideas, and writing as a business. We also heard Mary Walton give us great advice on having "Winning Writer Websites" and LeeAnn Campbell spoke about the advantages of critique groups.

This was a conference I definitely hope to attend again, even if it is half way across the country! Every part was well-planned and executed. I also connected with ACFWers in person that I had only known by email and made several new friends, too. So, I encourage all writers to find and attend some local or not-so-local smaller conferences, in addition to national conferences. I am taking my own advice and leaving on Friday for the Mercer County One Day Writers Conference in Stoneboro, PA. Check back later for a report on what I learn there!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Win a book!!
Reluctant Runaway by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

This book is the second in Jill's "To Catch a Thief" series, and I can't wait for the next one to come out in January of next year. Jill has graciously offered to mail an autographed copy of Reluctant Runaway to one lucky person who posts to this blog, so read the review below, and I'm sure you'll want a chance to win a copy. Please leave your email addy so I can contact you for mailing info. I'll get my dear hubby to draw a name from all entries on May 1st, so don't forget to enter before then. And you can check back in on May 2nd to see who is the winner!

You will love the hero and heroine in this book! Desiree Jacobs is a museum security expert who often finds herself in dangerous situations. Tony Lucano is a good-looking special agent for the FBI. Sparks fly when he tries to persuade Desiree to stay out of harm's way while he also enounters dangerous people and places. Their physical attraction for each other is unmistakable, but can it weather their disagreements and separations?

From the back cover..."Tony's organized crime case collides with Desi's (museum break-in) investigation, throwing them both into the path of something dark and sinister...From the streets of Desi's beloved Boston to the mountain desert of New Mexico, Desi and Tony must rely on God to thwart unseen forces."

Hope you'll enter to win and also go out and buy or order the first book in the series "Reluctant Burglar" where Tony and Desi first meet.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Jewish Seder

I've always wanted to attend a Jewish seder (Passover meal), so when my daughter's church had one the other night, she signed me and my husband up. Seder literally means the "set order" of the Passover service.

A man from Jews for Jesus gave a wonderful presentation which helped us all understand better what the Passover meal involved and what each food represented.

The room was set with about 20 tables, and 6-8 people of all ages sat at each one. The mother of the household has the honor of lighting the candles. There were 3 ladies at our table, but since I was sitting at the end closest to the candles, I stood to light them while Mr. Cohen spoke this traditional prayer. "Blessed are Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who sanctifies us by His commandments and commands us to kindle the festival lights," and then the Messianic prayer: "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who sanctifies us through Y'shua the Messiah, the Light of the world."

We started out by drinking the cup of sanctification--the first of the four cups of grape juice taken during the meal. The prayer over the cup is called Kiddush and says "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe who brings forth fruit from the vine."

Then we tasted some very strong horseradish which represented the ground bitter herb or "maror". The next two cups represented plagues/judgment and redemption/blessing. I'm not sure of the order, but during this part of the meal we also tasted "chaggigah" (roasted egg), "karpas" (greens) and "charoseth" (a very tasty mixture of apples, cinnamon and nuts which represented the mortar the children of Israel had to mix while in captivity in Egypt) and "matzoh" (unleavened bread.) The prayer over the bread was "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth." The last cup we partook of was the cup of praise (also called the cup of acceptance or cup of Elijah.)

We then enjoyed a pot-luck meal of traditional Jewish foods. I made a huge platter of cheese blintzes topped with cherry pie filling and they were soon gone! Some of the foods I enjoyed most were the chicken soup and also the lamb with mint jelly.

We resumed the service by Mr. Cohen asking the 4 questions always asked of the children at the Passover meal. We then did a responsive reading of Psalm 113 and Mr. Cohen taught us a couple of Jewish songs. Then the children hunted for the Afikomen "that which comes later" which was a piece of the matzoh bread hidden earlier. Mr. Cohen spoke of how the bread was taken from the center panel of a 3 layer pouch, and affirmed that this was a foreshadowing of Christ as part of the triune God who was our Passover lamb.

This was a very symbolic evening pointing to the reason for Jesus coming to be the Lamb of God, the sacrifice for our sins. The service reminded me of the cup and bread of communion. I would encourage all who have a chance to participate in a seder to do so to gain more understanding of our Jewish roots and Christ as the fulfillment of the Passover. For more information or to schedule a seder at your church, go to www.jewsforjesus.org

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Kim Sawyer, author of Where Willows Grow
This picture is of me with one of my dearest author friends, Kim Sawyer. I first met Kim in 2002 at the first American Christian Fiction Writers' Conference in Kansas City. We were both shy and felt out of place amidst all the well-known authors. Kim had self-pubbed her first book and sold copies at our booksigning. I bought a book and was hooked on her writing. She has been compared to Janette Oke of prairie romance fame, but I think she is even better! If you would like more info about Kim and her other books, please check out her website at www.KimVogelSawyer.com

Review of Where Willows Grow by Kim Vogel Sawyer
This book is a story of enduring love during the Depression period of our country's history. Anna Mae and Harley Phipps are barely surviving on the farm her parents left her. Harley travels across the state of Kansas, against his wife's wishes, to work on a WPA project of building a castle to make money for food and taxes. Several events occur to keep them from receiving letters from each other, leading to more hurt feelings. They are both involved in harmful accidents which God can use for good if they will let Him. The blurb on the back of the book says "Her heart aches for his return, but is the distance between them measured by more than miles?" I hope you will order this book and find out the answer for yourself. If you are like me, you will be happy at the joyful ending, but sad that your visit with these heartwarming characters is at an end. Order a copy today from the site above or go to your local Christian bookstore.