Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I'm reading The Dollmaker by Harriette Arnow right now. A long time ago, a friend gave me the video of The Dollmaker, a made-for-TV movie starring Jane Fonda. It's an emotionally gripping story that never leaves you. The storyline (plot). The characters. The setting(s). When I saw the paperback awhile back, I bought it but put it on my bookshelf as my TBR (to be read) pile is always waist-high, it seems. I picked it up the other night and am finding it as gripping as the movie. Oh, my, what a story.

The Dollmaker
By Harriette Arnow
"An epic story of unique personal triumph"
Author Joyce Carol Oates calls it "Our most unpretentious American masterpiece...a brutal, beautiful novel."
It's set in the Kentucky hills during World War II, and then later, when the family moves, in war-time Detroit.
More on The Dollmaker later...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I'm living another type of Christian love story right now. My daughter Jennifer and her two children are visiting from their home in San Juan. When my two-year-old little granddaughter Claudia throws her arms around my neck then looks at me with her sparkling eyes, I just melt. When my five-month-old grandson Lorenzo gives me one of his ear-to-ear-grins-with-dimples-on-both-sides, my heart turns a flip-flop. Today at Target, Claudia shouted, "Princessa, Nana, princessa," when we came to the pink princess dress aisle. So naturally I had to buy her one. She's strutted around the house with it on, looking like...well, a princess. No prettier, with her light brown curls and dark-fringed eyes and rosy cheeks and prissy ways.

Ah, love...

Thank You, God, for Your blessings on me.

Monday, May 08, 2006


I read an article quoting an editor who said sometimes authors churn out stories so fast, they become hack writers. In Webster's, there's almost a half a column defining the word "hack." The one that applies here is a noun meaning "working for hire especially with mediocre professional standards." The verb "hack" means "to ride at an ordinary pace."

I desire to produce quality fiction, as I'm sure all authors do. It would be ludicrous to think that an author would begin a work thinking, I want this to be mediocre or sub-standard. No, we all want to produce a magnificent work.

I think Catherine Marshall, author of Christy, put it best. In her journal, she wrote her "soul's sincere desire:"
"I want to become a writer who will make a
real contribution to my generation and to the world."
-- Catherine Marshall

This proclamation came about in a unique way. When Catherine was a young woman, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. The treatment was enforced bed rest twenty-four hours a day. She wrote in her book To Live Again, "This period turned into a time of soul searching to evaluate the meaning of human life in general, and mine in particular." She came across a book that spoke of the value of probing "to find one's precise dream—'the soul's sincere desires,'" and that's when she wrote the above.

Amazingly, Catherine Marshall became one of America's most notable and best-selling Christian writers. The New York Times called her "America's most inspirational author." More than 25 million copies of her books are in print, and her novel Christy is estimated to have been read by 30 million people. A few years ago, the Christian publishing industry created the Christy Awards, named after Catherine Marshall's book, and it honors Christian novels of excellence each year.

My soul's sincere desire is that, first, I will please the Lord in my writing. Second, I will cause readers to think about the Lord. Third, that my work will...maybe I should sum this up by saying,

I want to be a God-guided writer who gives readers The Three E's:

entertainment, encouragement, and enlightenment.

So, how do I go about achieving that? I think it requires one thing: passion. Let me quickly say it's a given that I must be always seeking the Lord and His will. But after that comes passion, and perhaps they're intertwined.

Here are some great quotes about passion:

"Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion."

-- Georg Wilhelm, 19th-century German philosopher

"Without passion man is a mere latent force and possibility,

like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark."

-- Henri-Frederic Amiel, 19th-century Swiss critic

These speak to me! These resonate with me! I can see a nugget of flint and an iron instrument, and I can envision that iron instrument striking the flint and starting a fire, a fire that warms in freezing weather, a fire that cooks food so life may be sustained.

Here's a quote that spurs me on, and it's found in the Bible:

"Wait passionately for God, don't leave the path."

Psalm 37:34, The Message

"Lord," I'm praying right now, "help me to wait passionately on You. I won't leave the path (of writing) You've led me down thus far. I believe You've called me for this purpose, to produce Christian fiction that will make a difference in readers' hearts. I wait passionately--and patiently--for this to come to full fruition in my heart. Amen."

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Saturday Blessing

I bless you, that whatever your hand findeth to do today, you will do it with your might, that your strength will increase with the help of the Lord, that you will accomplish the plans and tasks He has for you today, that when you feel too weary, or too frustrated, or too uninspired, or too discouraged, or too at-the-end-of-your-rope to continue on that you will break through the fetters that bind you through the power of the Holy Spirit, and your joy shall be full! Now go, and do His will, happily, confidently, exuberantly, expectantly.

Friday, May 05, 2006


Last week, I emailed the manuscript of Heart of the Matter to my editor at Heartsong Presents (Barbour Publishing). It's a 50,000-word novel due out in April, 2007. Now, I'm yearning to write another story. It's like I have an itch and can't get it scratched. Ideas are stirring in my heart, and at these times, I always pray and ask the Lord to guide me. Wednesday night at church, we formed prayer circles and prayed for the people in our groups. "What's your need?" they asked me. "Direction," I quickly said. "Guidance. In my writing." So they prayed earnestly for me. I'm glad I have prayer partners, people praying for me. In fact, I'm extremely blessed. I'm a pastor's wife, and my whole congregation prays for me.

One story brewing in my heart is so special, I tear up thinking about it. It's been down in my heart for some months now, waiting to burst forth onto paper. I know that day will come. I believe the Lord put this story in my heart. I don't say that braggadociously, or, simply. I just feel it.

It will come (my story). "In its time," goes an old song. "In its time. He makes all things beautiful, in His time."

"Thank You, Lord, for wisdom and insight as I write this unique story. Amen."

A blessing for you:
I speak blessing over my readers today, that something good will come about for you. If you're going through a tough time, God will bring to fruition Romans 8:28 in your life--He will bring something good out of bad. He will make the bad times work for your benefit. Be on the lookout to see this happen. Now press on this day in His strength. Take courage. Be cheered.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006



Yes, you read that right. I wrote "abstinence," not "absence." One of the basics of every Christian love story should be abstinence (before marriage, of course; WINK). Abstinence means "voluntary forbearance, especially from indulgence of a craving." In this case, I'm talking about abstaining from sexual relations. The apostle Paul taught this in 1 Corinthians 6:18: "Flee from sexual immorality (sexual relations between unmarried people; 'fornication' in KJV)." Why? Verse 18 continues, then 19 and 20: "All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit…? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

According to these verses, sexual immorality desecrates the body more than any other sin. The apostle Paul is actually saying, "Don't have sex before marriage because it defiles the body, and your body is not your own. It belongs to God."

I could write reams about sexual intimacy within the bonds of marriage and the blessings it brings. It was created by God and is approved and blessed by Him. But I'm focusing on sexual intimacy outside the bonds of marriage right now.

I came across an article in USA Today by Elizabeth Sandoval on 8/19/05. From her writings, it seems she'd make a great heroine for a Christian romance novel. "I don't want to have sex," she writes. "Clarification: I do want to have sex, but only with my husband. And I don't have one of those yet."

Sandoval goes on to say she's not an ultraconservative with a houseful of cats; conversely, she's a middle-of-the-road "cute" 32-year-old who likes tattoos and loud music. She calls herself a neo-feminist, "one who respects her body so much that she won't allow it to be used as someone's playground."

Brava, Ms. Sandoval! Here, here. Amen and amen.

Sandoval talks about the club called Sex Is Natural and Fun and If It Makes You Happy, It Can't be That Bad," where people want sex, have sex, and then they're on to their next conquest. Not her, she proclaims. Then there's the club called You Have to Know If You're Sexually Compatible or the Marriage Will be Doomed, which she says is false intimacy. "Maybe one out of two marriages end in divorce precisely because people are too free with sex," she writes.

"Many women are weak minded in that they readily accept society's portrayal of sexual norms," she says. "The sheer prolificness of sex seems to make the decision for them."

My goodness, this woman is right on! She's got the goods. She concludes with, "Women give it up as if it's nothing. When in fact, it is everything."


Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I've been in L.A. for a week, attending the Azusa Centennial Celebration. This is the 100th year commemoration of a revival in 1906 on L.A.'s Azusa Street that 600 million people worldwide believe is the modern-day outpouring of the Holy Spirit, much like the same outpouring in Acts 2:4 in the Bible.

People from all over the world attended this event, 25,000 strong. To be in L.A.'s Sports Arena with this many people praising the Lord in audible ways was...I can't even readily think of a word to describe it, and here, I'm an author! Awesome? Too bland. Magnificent? Stupendous? Spine-tingling? Thrilling? I'm getting there. Amazing. Tear-producing. Heart-tugging. Joyful. Sort of like Heaven's going to be? Oh, yes, that's the best description of all. A preview of Heaven. We're all going to be together in Heaven in one place, giving praise and glory to Jesus.

I'm telling you, it was...well, here I go again, not being able to describe the event and the feelings I had. I've been to many events with this many people or more. I've been to Jaguar football games and basketball games and baseball games (my husband is a sports nut). I've screamed and cheered with the best of them, and I've felt that exhilarating feeling of being together with people who are doing the same thing. It gives you chills. But if you REALLY want some chills, get together with 25,000 Christian believers cheering the name of Jesus, and you can't fathom--or explain--your feelings.

The thing that staggered me in L.A. is how big this "thing" is. 600 million people worldwide! 600 million people now speak in other tongues.

The Azusa revival in 1906 was started by a black man, Rev. Seymour, who was said to be the son of a slave. Isn't that interesting? It was only 41 years after the Civil War ended. Talk about blacks being put down and held back? Try living in that era! Yet, Seymour was the LEADER of this, a phenomenon of history. Blacks worshiped with whites, and whites worshiped with blacks. Just goes to show that when the Spirit of God invades a place, prejudices cease.

Through Seymour's preaching, many, at first, found salvation. Then he taught them they could receive a second work of grace, the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Thousands received this glorious experience, blacks and whites and Asians and Swedes and Germans, and, well, from all over the world. They came with hungry hearts and received this powerful experience.

I figure if people could speak in other tongues in the Bible, why not today? If we have enough faith to believe in the supernatural virgin birth of Jesus, why not enough to speak in other tongues? Is one any harder or any easier to believe in? No, they both require simple child-like faith, the kind Jesus honored. To believe that a virgin conceived, when you and I know good and well it takes a man to impregnate a woman, is a big act of faith. Yet, we, as Christians, DO believe this. Then why not the other, the speaking in tongues, which was taught BY JESUS (see the Book of Acts)? It takes only mustard-seed faith (small) to receive this second experience of grace, the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The Azusa Centennial Celebration. A preview of Heaven. I'm glad I got to go. And participate.