Saturday, April 25, 2015

Writing Update and Links I Love - April 25th Edition

Covert Justice
Covert Justice goes on sale in just six weeks!

Members of Harlequin's Readers Service have already received their copy, and Covert Justice is starting to get some love. 

My dear friend and mentor, Lynette Eason, has given Covert Justice a fabulous endorsement.

And Leslie R. McKee reviewed it for Romantic Times and gave Covert Justice 4 stars. Here's what she had to say...

Isn't that lovely! 

I'm working on my Fiction Newsletter that will go out to my newsletter subscribers next week. Newsletter subscribers get behind-the-scenes info on my writing, including an exclusive deleted scene from Covert Justice. If you haven't signed up yet, the signup form is in the sidebar. Or you can go here...

Yes, I want to signup for your newsletter!

I'm also hard at work on a new book. I'd so appreciate your prayers for this story. Writing a book while preparing for the release of another book is challenging. It's a little bit (a very little bit!) like having your second child. 

When you had your first baby, you could put all your energy into that little bundle of joy. But when the second one comes along, you need to nurture and feed and stay up late with this new creation, while still giving your firstborn lots of time and attention as well. 

It's a challenge to adjust to the new demands, but eventually, you find your rhythm.

With my books, I'm still in the "challenging" stage, but every now and then I get hints and glimmers of a manageable rhythm, so I'm pressing on.

For your are a few finds from the internet that caught my eye!

My friend, Lori Roeleveld, has been writing some powerful posts about love. Start with this one, What Hope When Murderers Reign, and then be sure to read the next severals posts and allow these truths about LOVE to sink deep.

Fiction and Fun (well, fun might not be the right word...) 
I was so sad to hear about Jonathan Crombie's passing. (I may have watched all of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables, the one day...) From Buzzfeed, here are 25 Times Gilbert Blythe from "Anne of Green Gables" Melted Your Heart. 

Loved this perspective from Modern Mrs. Darcy - Balance Isn't a See-Saw. It's a game of Twister.

And another one from Modern Mrs. Darcy - My Favorite Things to Buy at Trader Joe's

Fitness is more than just hitting the gym. Hitting your pillow and getting a full night of sleep is crucial. I enjoyed this post from Michael Hyatt on Sleep and Your Productivity

Grace & peace,

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Unseen Forces

My kids love Magna-Tiles. Have you seen them? Each square and triangle is embedded with magnets, allowing the kids to build all sorts of creations. 

A few weeks ago, my four-year-old came to me, beaming with pride as he showed me the “rocket ship” he’d built. He carried it around the house for a while as I worked on the laundry. I heard his cry of dismay when an unfortunate bump flattened his rocket ship, but he’s a trooper and he immediately set to work rebuilding.

Then things got tricky.

The “wings” on his rocket ship wouldn’t stay in place. No matter how hard he tried, they kept clinging to the sides or flipping in the opposite direction than the one he desired. His frustration grew and he went from a few grunts to loud sighs and then moved into full-on wailing. “I can’t get it to work!” 

I encouraged him to keep at it. He did, but the longer he spent trying to fix it, the more frustrated he became, and the louder he voiced his disapproval with the entire situation. He eventually brought the rocket ship to me and asked for my help. 

As it turned out, he wasn’t doing anything wrong. 

Unseen forces were at work.

My little guy has no understanding of electromagnetic fields or polarity. As far as he was concerned, his rocket ship had turned against him. He was baffled by the challenge of putting it together. It had been so easy before!

It only took a few minutes for me to find the exact combination of tiles that had the right polarity to allow the wings to behave the way he wanted them to. My little guy thought I was a miracle worker and went on his way happy. The next time the rocket ship crashed, he came running to me because he knew I understood what was going on, even though he didn’t. He knew that somehow, I knew how to make it all work.

A few days later, as my own world refused to cooperate with me, I found myself complaining loudly and frequently to anyone who happened to get within earshot. 

Then I felt guilty about whining so I tried to convince myself that these issues were “first world” problems. I have a lot to be thankful for, and these annoyances and inconveniences would surely seem ludicrous to people with real problems.

Then…I took my broken, uncooperative “rocket ship” to God.

Yes, I realize I have this all out of order. 
Yes, I know I do this a lot.
Yes, you would think I would have learned by now that starting with prayer is a much better method. All.The.Time.

Thankfully, my Abba doesn’t get annoyed when I finally stop bellyaching and start talking to Him about it. When I did, He reminded me of the magna-tiles and the “unseen forces” that prevented my little guy from accomplishing what he’d set out to do.

“Unseen forces.” 

I hadn’t accounted for the possibility that the drama in my life could be a spiritual battle. It’s not like I’m dealing with addictions or blatant sin. 

I’m dealing with a hectic schedule and the need to be in four places at the EXACT.SAME.TIME. 

I’m aggravated by the need to make tough decisions and I’m anxious about upcoming changes to my world and annoyed that all of this “stuff” is making it very difficult for me to do things I feel called to do.

But sometimes I forget that these roles of mine…wife, mother, writer, friend, daughter, sister, room mom, Bible study leader, CrossFitter…they actually matter. I may not be able to see how it all fits together, but these areas of responsibility and calling have been entrusted to me by the God who created me and knows me best.

The same God who never intended for me to do it all on my own. The same Abba who can see all the forces around me and who is the only One who knows exactly how to make it all work. 

I don’t have everything figured out, but I do know that I get to choose how the magnets line up. 
I can insist on doing it my way and find myself pulled further away from my Father. Or I can get in line with Him and stick tight to His will. 

Next time you find yourself battling those unseen forces that threaten to derail you, remember the magna-tiles.

Choose to stick close.

It’s the difference between whether or not you’ll fly your rocket ship…or crash and burn.