Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sitting in Dunkin Donuts on a Wednesday morning

My car's in the shop, thus I've been thrust into the Dunkin Donuts next door to wait and work.

So far, resisting donuts has been easy. I do love a good donut, but hate the fat-and-I'm-still-hungry feeling that follows. All. Day.

Tomorrow I take off for Tennessee to see my mom, youngest brother and youngest sister and their broods. I had a screw in my left side tires -- front and back -- and am so grateful for the discovery before I took off up I-75. Can you imagine?

Remember the flat tire trip of September 6, 2009?

Hubby is teaching so he can't go along, but Lola will be riding shot gun. Traveling with my dog. When did I get this age?

Thinking a lot lately about God's goodness. Just feeling and sensing His faithfulness. It's amazing to raise my hand in church on Sunday when the preacher asked, "Who's living out their destiny?"


But you know, not every thing has turned out like I'd imagined, growing up, a girl with dreams. I never pictured myself barren, childless. I never imagined I'd only get to see family once a year. Never pictured my dad in a coffin three months before his 69th birthday.

I am at peace with it all. Mostly because I some how knew by the grace of God if I didn't surrender it all to Him, ask for His plan and purpose to be manifest in my life, I'd never be content.

When I moved to central Florida 23 years ago, I did not have an agenda. I prayed, "Lord, whatever You want."

I had dreams, of course. I wanted to be successful. Have a good job, be a career woman. I wanted to marry a Godly man, have a family, and yes, even then, write books.

Having dreams and goals is not a sin. Far from it. Too often we don't have enough goals or plans. But putting our worth in them can lead us astray.

I had to walk through the painful surrender and pray, "Lord, if you want, I'll be single for You." I gave up who and what I thought Rachel Hayes should be and put on the Lord Jesus Christ, in whatever weak and subpar manner I could.

It started with prayer. A bit of fasting. It started because He first loved me.

What about you? Are you struggling to prop up your dreams, you ideals? Who and what you want and it's just not working? Surrender. Start with prayer. Know He first loved you!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Intervention by Terri Blackstock

Terri Blackstock's new book Intervention was inspired by her personal experiences with her daughter's addictions.

Six years ago she became aware that her daughter (then in her early twenties) had a severe prescription pill addiction that was killing her, and she hired an interventionist to convince her daughter to go to treatment.

After a grueling few hours, her daughter agreed to go. As Terri put her on the plane with the interventionist, she was hit with the crushing feeling that her daughter was in the hands of a stranger, and anything could happen. That's when this book was born.

Over the past few years, Terri's family has been in a tornado of relapses and rehabs, with one emergency after another, and grace upon grace. But through all this, God has taught her to pray as never before, and he's shown her how many other families are experiencing the same thing. He's also shown her that many blessings can come from crises such as this.

Terri has tried to fold all of those experiences into this suspense novel of desperation and hope. She's also added a page to her web site: "Hope for Families of Addicts," ( ) which has tips on dealing with a loved one who has addictions.

Though the book is fiction, Terri poured much of herself into Barbara, the mother who's desperate to save her daughter. And Terri's own daughter has given her blessings for Terri to talk about this, in hopes of helping other hurting families and raise awareness about the perils of addiction.

To see/hear Terri share her personal story about Intervention, don't miss her interviews on
American Family Radio's "Today's Issues" on September 24, Moody Radio's "Chris Fabry Live on September 25, and "The 700 Club" on September 29.

"It was her last hope -- and the beginning of a new nightmare.Barbara Covington has one more chance to save her daughter from a devastating addiction, by staging an intervention. But when eighteen-year-old Emily disappears on the way to drug treatment—and her interventionist is found dead at the airport—Barbara enters her darkest nightmare of all.Barbara and her son set out to find Emily before Detective Kent Harlan arrests her for a crime he is sure she committed.

Fearing for Emily’s life, Barbara maintains her daughter’s innocence. But does she really know her anymore? Meanwhile, Kent has questions of his own. His gut tells him that this is a case of an addict killing for drugs, but as he gets to know Barbara, he begins to hope he’s wrong about Emily.
The mysteries intensify as everyone’s panic grows: Did Emily’s obsession with drugs lead her to commit murder—or is she another victim of a cold-blooded killer?In this gripping novel of intrigue and suspense, bestselling author Terri Blackstock delivers the page-turning drama that readers around the world have come to expect from her.

Watch the Intervention video trailer at

Order Intervention at

College Game Day

It's college football season -- a whole four months of "holidays" for me. I love this time of year. Love college football.

We don't have a TV with Dish or cable hookup, so I miss watching games at random, having the TV on all day, so we have to select our time to go out and watch games. Usually, Ohio State, of course.

Not having television has disadvantages, but the advantages outweigh them. It's just too easy to flip on the telly.

Instead we watch DVDs, read, umm, write books. Well, I do. Tony writes vicariously.

I talked last night to our church women about prayer. Prayer is the aqueduct in which the Spirit flows in and through us. But if we have so many distractions we cannot settle down and focus.

And if it's not TV, it's the internet, or sheesh, iPhones and Blackberries.

I can see the Lord of Heaven waving His hand over the earth. "Silence!"

Then immediately following. "OH-IO!"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Real thank you speech

Caught in a swirl of busyness between teaching a continuing ed class at ACFW and leading worship, I didn't think much about the Book of the Year Award. Probably, a bit of that on purpose so I wouldn't focus on winning or losing.

Saturday night, I wasn't prepared to hear my name and book called. I'd not prepared a speech, nor had I really thought much about what I would say or who I would thank should I win.

I blush now at my lack of preparedness. So, here's what I would've done and said HAD I been wise enough to prepare.

First, walk in stage singing Sweet Caroline and get the audience to sing, "bump, bump, bump." All together now. . . Sweet Caroline, bump, bump, bump... good times never seemed so good.

Then, I would have said:

On the Sunday before the book was due on Thursday, I was up at four a.m. trying to come up with a subplot. I'd been told the book "lacked" something and a subplot would be just the ticket.

But it's impossible to come up with a subplot at 4:00 a.m. I went to church a zombie, convinced my career was over. Thomas Nelson would see the light and cut me loose before they embarrassed themselves with any more of my drivel.

I might have called my editor or agent to talk it out, but I was sure they'd confirm my lack of talent and well, why not just put the bad new off as long as possible? I had four days to salvage my writing reputation.

I sat in the chairs during worship, begging God to down load a story to me, or just snatch me up to Heaven and allow me to borrow from the library there in order to fix poor Caroline's story.

I begged people to pray for me. One well meaning friend said, "Maybe this won't be your best book." Ahhhhh, don't say that! My conviction is I should always improve, producer better stories with each book. Why? God lives in me!

Exhausted and restless, I called Susie Warren. "Help." My dear friend, on her own deadline, took my first chapter and rewrote it for me. What a life saver. She gave me hope, pointed me in the right direction, and prayed for me. Thank you so much! I rewrote her rewrite and finally, Caroline came alive to me.

Christine Lynxwiler provided constant support during the writing of Sweet Caroline.

But Tuesday when my editor emailed and said they'd extended my deadline, I knew God had heard me and answered my prayer!

I rewrote the book and with Leslie Peterson's wise insight, Sweet Caroline became a book I could be proud of. Thanks to Ami McConnell who believed in me and trust me all along. She was out on maternity leave those rewrite months, but I felt her heart.

Thanks to Kristin Billerbeck who inspired me to write chick lit. To Colleen Coble who cheered me on in my early writing days. Thank you so very much.

Thank you to Karen Solem who agented Sweet Caroline and encouraged me. And to Chip MacGregor who knows how to play the glockenspiel.

To my husband who puts up with deadline craziness. To Jesus, who gave me the desire of my heart and leads me in paths of righteousness!

And to ACFW for opening so many doors!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sweet Caroline wins!

How's that for a heading. . .

Sweet Caroline won Best Lit in the American Christian Fiction Writer's Book of the Year. Very thrilled to have won! What an honor.

I wasn't prepared to win so I didn't have any cute stories, and I forgot to thank Christine Lynxwiler and Susan May Warren who saved my bacon four days before the book was due. But the Lord was the one who really intervened.

More later on what my speech should've been and thoughts on the ACFW conference. But for now, this is the news.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Women of Faith Book Club and Sweet Caroline

Good news! Sweet Caroline was picked for September's Women of Faith book club! For information and to read an interview with your's truy, click here!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Between You and Me by Jenny B. Jones

Please welcome my good buddy and fellow Thomas Nelson author, Jenny B. Jones. I started this book and it's divine! Jenny writes a poignant, funny, and engaging story!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Just Between You And Me

Thomas Nelson (September 1, 2009)


Jenny B. Jones


I write Christian fiction with a few giggles, quite a bit of sass, and lots of crazy. My novels include the Katie Parker Production series and So Not Happening. I would also like to take credit for Twilight , but somewhere I think I read you’re not supposed to lie.

When I’m not typing my heart out (or checking email), I teach at a super-sized high school in Arkansas.

My students are constantly telling me how my teaching changes their lives and turned them away from drugs, gangs, and C-SPAN.

Okay, that’s not exactly true.

Since my current job leaves me with very little free time, I believe in spending my spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits such as:

-watching E!
-updating my status on Facebook
-catching Will Ferrell on YouTube and
-writing my name in the dust on my furniture

I’d love to hear about you, so drop me a note. Or check me out on Facebook.


The only thing scarier than living on the edge is stepping off it.
Maggie Montgomery lives a life of adventure. Her job as a cinematographer takes her from one exotic locale to the next. When Maggie's not working, she loves to rappel off cliffs or go skydiving. Nothing frightens her.

Nothing, that is, except Ivy, Texas, where a family emergency pulls her back home to a town full of bad memories, painful secrets, and people Maggie left far behind . . . for a reason.

Forced to stay longer than she intended, Maggie finds her family a complete mess, including the niece her sister has abandoned. Ten-year-old Riley is struggling in school and out of control at home. The only person who can really handle the pint-sized troublemaker is Conner, the local vet and Ivy's most eligible bachelor. But Conner and Maggie keep butting heads--he's suspicious of her and, well, she doesn't rely on anyone but herself.

As Maggie humorously fumbles her way from one mishap to another, she realizes she's going to need to ask for help from the one person who scares her the most.

To save one little girl--and herself--can Maggie let go of her fears and just trust God?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Just Between You And Me, go HERE

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Ever feel like your heart is alone? Encapsulated in it's own silence, feed only by the springs of your own soul and spirit?

I've been feeling that way lately. As if my heart is not connected or in-touch with others -- my husband the exception.

I can think of people I know and love -- friends and family -- but there's a yearning going on that requires more than people. It requires Jesus.

The wilderness is where we learn to lean. The wilderness is where we discover our own barrenness. I feel sort of like He's calling me to the wilderness. I'm hungry and thirsty for something I can't define, that people cannot supply.

Song of Solomon 8:5 -- "Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her Beloved?"


Friday, September 04, 2009

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

How do I love Thee

Sunday during the service, I was privileged to be among the congregation and not up stage leading worship.

All I could sense in my heart and mind, "Jesus, I don't love you enough. How can I love you more?" I cut these lines from the stanza of Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

It may just be that we cannot know the width, length, height and depth of His love in this life. Paul writes we "see through a glass dimly." We don't have the fullness of God's love and beauty. Not in this life. But in the next. . . but in the next.

I want to love Him more. But I'm weak. I'm selfish and concerned about my fleshly comforts. I'm easily distracted and interrupted. I wish I could turn my chest inside out and just. . . "HERE! Take it all!"

In my mind's eye, I'm a fierce warrioress. I'm quick, swift, and agile. I'm ready at any moment to run at the Lord's command. Like, yeah, you don't want to mess with me! :) But in reality, I'm a frumpy house frau with visions of spiritual heights. I'm Achilles in Troy. (Not the naked Brad Pitt version, but you know what I mean.) But it takes spiritual discipline and training to get there. My emotions and affections must be changed.

Love is the change agent. Understanding His love for me. And loving Him more, and more. There is no limit to His willingness for us to love Him more. And there is no force more powerful than a loved woman!

I want to be vigilant, even violent in my soul for Him. Warring against my own flesh and sin to be so single focused on Him. I don't want religion or platitudes. I want Jesus. Religion gets in the way. Platitudes make us feel holy when in fact we are not.