Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dancing with the Stars and Kellie Osbourne

In Kansas City, there's an awakening happening among the youth which has spread to students at Wheaton and Asbury.

God is healing teens and twenty-somethings of self-hate, depression, breaking off shame and condemnation that took up residents as a result of sexual sin or abuse.


People who've known Jesus for years as Savior but never felt His love are experiencing His tangible embrace.
Let it increase, Lord.

Yesterday I watched the finale of Dancing With the Stars online. As a long ago Donny Osmond fan... well, you know.

But the finalist who impacted me was Kelly Osbourne. I teared up during her flashback/diary scenes, or when she finished a dance and ran over to hug her father, Ozzie.

Even recounting what I felt to my Hubby, I teared up. What was God speaking to me through Kelly? What was His heart toward her? Does it relate to the awakening going on?

Kelly entered Dancing With The Stars as an unsure girl. She wasn't confident she could do it. Convinced she'd be outed on the first round. Making it to the end seemed impossible to her.

But as she grew in confidence, survived one elimination after another, her heart came alive. She began to shine. Her weak confidence took on a spark and bloomed toward strength.

If nothing else, Kelly realized SHE could do way more than she imagined. She discovered a part of herself she didn't believe existed.

The daughter of a rocker with fame and money at her disposal was locked down with insecurity. One would think she'd have every advantage to learn dancing, art, confidence and composure.

But here she was, as weak as each one of us.

As the love of her dance partner, the judges and the viewing audience embraced her, Kelly Osbourne came to KNOW she was much more than she ever imagined.

My tears, I think, reflected God's heart in that Kelly abounded in love and discovered it's power. He loved seeing her discover who she could become.

Philippians 1:9 - 10 Paul prays that we would abound in love so we could grow in knowledge and discernment.

Love is more than emotions and feelings. It's knowledge. Truth. Understanding. Make no mistake, in Kelly's moment of grace God's heart may have been moved, but she needs to know Jesus to enter into the fullness of God.

Should she live a happy, successful life as a result of her DWTS confidence, I'm happy for her. But her joy will end in this life. She must know Jesus for her joy to be complete.

Paul writes if we give all to the poor, give our bodies to be burned but don't have Love, don't have Jesus, it's a big honking, annoying noise. (1 Corinthians 13)

The poor need us. The poor in spirit, the poor in heart. They need our time and money, our aid and compassion, but above all, they need Jesus. How tragic for one to be desolate and poor in this life, then die and enter into eternity without knowing Jesus.

Love others, preach Christ.

Kelly Osbourne, I pray you come to know Jesus, the living Lord, the One who died for you, as your Savior. I pray this moment as a Star ignites your heart to seek true love. I pray your moment in the light brings you to true Light.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Eternity On Our Hearts

The summer I was fifteen, life opened up for me. I was no longer in the geeky, chubby young teen stage, but a lean, older, trying-to-be-confident teen.

I'd completed my first year as a cashier for Publix and finally, I was allowed to leave the Express Lane and work a big register. Woo hoo. You do not know how much this meant to me! I no longer worked 11 - 2pm but 5 - 9pm. I'd arrived.

I'd also caught the attention of two part-time stockman, Pete Ramirez and Kevin Rattigan. They flirted and winked, smiled and complimented. My unsure confidence about my potential beauty or lack there of, soared. Other started to notice me too. (Pretty funny stories ensued, but later.)

I'd kind of been dating my brother's friend (and mine) but when these older "men" turned their attention to me, the other guy didn't have quite the same appeal. Fickle are the emotions of a fifteen year old.

I fell pretty hard for the dark eyed, dark haired Pete with his amazing smile and muscular frame. And he played hard to get for a really long time. He'd lure me close, then push me away. The entire store was involved in our drama. From the manager on down. Pete liked me but never asked me out.

I've blogged about that ordeal on these pages before, so I won't bore you with the recap. But finally, I'd turned sixteen and after lo so many months, he asked me out. We had four months together before my family moved from south to north Florida.

But I thought I was in love, thought he was the one. Then he wasn't the one and I met someone else. And another someone else. I went to college and met lots of guys. Though I didn't think any of them were "the one" I was looking, waiting, wondering.

When I met Hubby, all the waiting and wondering stopped. Recurring dreams about running out of my wedding, ended.

Looking back, I'm so glad I didn't commit my life to my sixteen-year-old female emotions. I know it's worked for many, many couples, but life still had a journey for me.

At sixteen, that journey was hard to see, hard to imagine. Sometimes we commit to a person or a job, or a way of life because we just can't see beyond the moment.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us God has written eternity on our hearts. In other words, it is within our very core to believe, know and trust that there is a life after this one. Eternity. In our hardest moment, on our toughest days, we can look up and believe God that an infinitely much better life is coming.

Based on the understanding I would one day be married to the man God had for me, I calculated my choices and my actions. I modified my behavior for the life I wanted to live not just in the moment, but five and ten years down the road.

I wanted a career, so I studied and went to college. I wanted to earn a good living, so I worked hard on my jobs.

We must apply the same to the Next Life. Don't live just for today, but for the era when this age will end and Jesus will come again, ushering in a new era, a new age, one that goes on for Eternity.

So what you're not rich in this life. You have all of eternity to become rich. So what you've given up a few meals for fasting, or a few television programs to be on your face before the Lord in prayer. Those heart motions will be rewarded by Jesus.

Hollywood will not take any of us into eternity. McDonalds, and y'all know I love McDonalds, will not fix my ills, or fix my place in the next life.

But a postured heart toward the Lord will. Look, I'm not saying go all religious and not live this life. Please. LIVE IT! I am. This life is my internship for the next. And frankly, I want a good showing.

I am not saved or justified by my works, no, no, hear me, it's all on Jesus and the work of the Cross. But what I do with my time, words, money and emotions IS on me. Those are the things I can "take with me."

I write because Jesus put it in my heart. I'm writing out of both love and obedience. I want to be a writer in the Kingdom, you know?

So, consider your thoughts and emotions? Are you too wrapped up in the "now" to consider the future? Are you in love with your "fifteen-year-old boyfriend" and truncating all your possibilities and potential?

Hear: fifteen year old boyfriend is a metaphor!

Pray to understand the beauty and value of eternity being written on your heart. Then walk in it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Great Christmas Bowl by Susan May Warren

Okay, let me tell you my version of how this book came about. A few Novembers ago were in Nashville to attend our friend Anne Horch's (nee Goldsmith) wedding.

Friday night, Susie tuned into her son's football game via the Internet. His team was in the championships. Saturday afternoon, as we got ready for the wedding, I watched the Ohio State-Michigan game.

Both my brother and husband texted me the score during the wedding. (Sorry, Anne, but it was a lovely, moving wedding! I loved being there!)

So, Suz and I were of a football mind. On the way to the wedding, we started brainstorming about a football mom. We yakked back and forth the rest of the night, turning to each other during the reception, "What if?" And argued on the way to my car to go back to our hotel who would write the book first.

"Whoever goes home and writes the book gets it," Susie said.

Well, I was doomed. I knew I was doomed. I only hoped she wouldn't really write it. She did. In two weeks. Amazing. But from the beginning, this was her story. She is the football Mom. I'm only the football fanatic.

This is a great book straight from Susie's heart with a fragrance of her real life. Please, buy this book for your friends, for the office gift party, the staff exchange. I think it will become a Christmas classic.

Here's a word from Susie about the book: season is over. I'm so we all know, I love Football...

So much so that I wrote a football story! Okay, it's not just about football. It's about Christmas. And small town life. And church Christmas Teas. And family....and traditions. And the crazy things we do for each other. Basically my favorite things about the season.

GCB Cover

I love Christmas stories - and every year I read aloud to my kids (this year my college kid might be too old), the Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever. And recently Dave Barry's, The Shephard, the Angel and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog. (sooo funny). I wanted to write my own Christmas Classic.

So, I did. Well, at least I HOPE it is a Christmas classic. Check it out HERE!

Are you in ministry? Want a cool bulletin insert--flyer for the GCB?

And don't forget the cool CONTEST we're running this fall! It's a recipe exchange!! Send us your favorite Christmas recipe and a cool story - we'll publish it on the blog, and sign you up to get a preview copy of my new book (a world war 2 epic!) And/or a cool Harry and David Gift basket!

Warren’s tender holiday novella invokes both laughter and some sweet tears. The vivid portrayal of family connections and football fervor will bring the Christmas spirit to everyone. (Romantic Times)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Exciting things coming up!

Just got off the phone with the great marketing and promotions team at Thomas Nelson and they have some fun and exciting things lining up for the release of The Sweet By and By.

If any of you have a review blog or book blog, let me know, we might be able to give you an influencer copy of the book.

Also, keep an eye out for deets on my Fan Page Birthday Party where YOU my guest will have a chance to win prizes. Why not? All y'all bless me throughout the year.

Steadily working on my own book before diving back into book three with Sara. My protagonists, Joy and Spear, are taking shape and I'm hewing out their story.

Did you see The Proposal? Remember when Drew was at hacking away at the old canoe in the front yard after a argument with his dad? Yeah, that's me and this book.

I think the pressure is really internal. I'm nervous I won't write a good enough book. And need to just surrender it to Jesus.

Here's one of my favorite lines. And it so works. "Jesus, You have a book to write. What do You need me to do?"

Stay tuned for more exciting details here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thirty-five years ago in November

Thirty-five years ago this month, we moved from Lexington, KY to Homestead, FL. I was a few weeks from turning fourteen, a recent victim of the Blow Cut hair style, and a little overweight from an affinity for saltines and sweet tea.

November in Florida is beautiful as the heat and humidity wane and the holiday season rolls in. But thirty-five years ago it was odd, hot, and far away from my "world." I felt like I'd moved to the end of the earth.

I had culture shock going from a suburban Lexington Junior High to one all classes and races of kids. I had to learn their lingo and culture. I stood at the bus stop sweating in my pants and short sleeve top while my bus stop mates wore fur lined coats. It was the first time I'd ever been asked, "Where you stay at?"

My classes ran from noon to five p.m. The hallways were covered sidewalks or opened into courtyards.

Riding my bike this afternoon a scent on the breeze reminded me of those early days in Homestead. For a second I remembered how odd and weird it felt to be in a scene with so much green and sunshine when my setting should be cold, grey and pregnant with snow.

It was a long time ago. My parents were more than a decade younger than I am now. They loaded up five kids and moved to pursue their dreams.

Within a year of that move, I had a couple of best friends. I'd shed those extra pounds, exchanged octagon wire rims for contact lens and eventually got a job at Publix. I got a little bit prettier. Had a crush on a guy named Joe, then a guy named Pete. And had infinitely better hair. ;)

Looking out my front windows, soft breeze in the leaves, golden light on the lawn, I'm glad. I'm content. Life is good.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The lovely, gracious and talented Robin Lee Hatcher

FIT TO BE TIED by Robin Lee Hatcher

"A master of lively historical romances, Hatcher demonstrates an expert ability to craft spunky, unlikely heroines who go against the tide of the times in which they live, making for fun, exciting stories. She also pays close attention to historical detail. This second series entry (after A Vote of Confidence) is highly recommended for readers of inspirational and historical romances and women's fiction." -- Library Journal

Who says a woman can’t do a man’s job?

Cleo Arlington dresses like a cowboy, is fearless and fun-loving, and can ride, rope, and wrangle a horse as well as any man. In 1916, however, those talents aren’t what most young women aspire to. But Cleo isn’t most women. Twenty-nine years old and single, Cleo loves life on her father’s Idaho ranch. Still, she hopes someday to marry and have children.

Enter Sherwood Statham, an English aristocrat whose father has sentenced him to a year of work in America to “straighten him out.” Sherwood, who expected a desk job at a posh spa, isn’t happy to be stuck on an Idaho ranch. And he has no idea how to handle Cleo, who’s been challenged with transforming this uptight playboy into a down-home cowboy.

Just about everything either of them says or does leaves the other, well, fit to be tied. And though Cleo believes God’s plan for her includes a husband, it couldn’t possibly be Sherwood Statham. Could it

About Robin

If you don't want to embed, here is the direct link:
Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. She makes her home in Idaho where she enjoys spending time with her family and her high-maintenance Papillon, Poppet.

A Note from Robin

The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series sprang from the question: Who says a woman can't do a man's job? And I can't fully express just how much fun I've had looking for the answer through the eyes of my heroines in this series. Although I have no favorites among the novels I've written (each were special to me at the time I wrote them), I do have some favorite characters. Cleo Arlington is one of them. I love her for her strong faith, for her quirky turns of phrase, for her confidence with horses and her lack of confidence with men, even for her impatience with Sherwood, the English aristocrat that she's supposed to turn into a cowboy. I've been so delighted that readers have taken her into their hearts the way they have. I hope you'll feel the same way about her.


View the book trailer here

Buy it from Amazon or Christianbook

Read an excerpt of FIT TO BE TIED

RH: I have the book at the top of my To Be Read pile. The opening chapter was engaging and fun. Another winner from Robin.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Just the two of us

In my house, it's just my Hubby and me. It's quite. Peaceful. Calm.

A few years ago, we had a couple of dogs that stirred up the atmosphere, but the older one died three years ago. Then his son died last August.
Now we just have lovely little Lola, a mini Schnauzer and Red, a very old and loud cat.

My writer friends, my sister, my sister-in-law have family blogs, detailing things their children do that will have you rolling on the floor, laughing.
Then there's the Pioneer Woman's blog. Puts us ALL to shame.

I don't have any life-at-home anecdotes. Seriously, do you want me to detail how Lola jumps in my lap every time we drive to a place she's never been (McDonalds is really old news to her now. And Publix.) and smashes my Diet Coke, spilling it into my console. I didn't think so.

I could tell you about a dream where a man I only knew by face entered the dream, began to pray in a way that sparked the song of the Lord in me and an entire room came to attention. I met him last week when I saw him in a book store in Kansas City. I recognized him from the back.

I could share how I can't even make an apple crumb dish from a PRE-MIXED package because I added too much butter. Hey, it melted when I tried to soften it in the oven. I had to add it or throw it away. Perfectly good butter. No can do.

Let's see. The carpets were cleaned today. True excitement there.

Got my hair done. Let's see. Ate warmed up Dominoes pizza for dinner. Am writing a book. Now you're talking. . . now you're talking.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Umph, climbing back up on the blogging band wagon

I fell off again. Thunk! Did you hear it?

I was trying to be good, diligent, writing my next novel without distraction. I couldn't bring myself to give up words. And emotion.

Not that blogging is not worth my time, effort and good words, more like whenever I make a bit of head way on my story, I pop over to a blog or email and drain the emotional energy it takes to write.

I was in Kansas City last week. My great idea to write and prayer didn't turn out as I'd imagined.

In my mind's eye, I'd go to the prayer room in the morning, then write in the afternoons. But I was struggling with the story and decided to give the book my best and first-morning creativity.

Being in the prayer room required a different kind of emotion and energy. Between the worship and the prayers being offered corporately, I was pulled into the room to do what it was designed to do -- engage in intercession.

I felt guilty for not writing, then I felt guilty for not praying. So, I went to the coffee shop. Noisy. Naturally. All the held-in conversations from the prayer room were let loose in the coffee shop. I did get some writing done in there, but I also ran into folks I knew, (Hey Don and Alberto!) wanted to say a quick hello.

I holed up in Cassie's apartment one afternoon. Then locked down in Stuart and Esther's basement (a nice room down there) for a few nights. But, they are good friends and it'd been awhile since I'd seen them and conversation was impossible to avoid.

I was also story-STUCK. Very stuck. Not sure how to unscramble and put the plot back together. Susie May and I plotted Wednesday afternoon. Read more about it here.

Most of the time, I felt out of my element. I pushed, wrote, hated half of every word, and decided my experiment didn't work out as well as I'd hoped. No one's fault. Just a lesson learned.

I did love spending time with my friend Julia, my girl Cassie and dear ones, Stuart and Esther. Also caught up with the Foix's and Nayomi and her daughter. Got to say hello to one of my favorite worship leaders, Justin Rizzo, and sat in some amazing intercession sets.

On Friday just before retiring to Stu and Es's place for the night, and preparing to leave Saturday morning, Es and I went into the bookstore. Wanted to get a t-shirt for Tony. As I was heading to the check out, I saw a man I recognized but did not know.

A few months ago I had a dream about intercession at Church on the Rock. This man walked up the prayer mike, began praying with a clear, distinct sound. I began to sing the same kind of sound.

I didn't know who he was nor could I describe him in any way to those who might. But there he was in the bookstore! I asked his name then shared the dream. While I'm not sure all the Lord is doing with the dream, I was so blessed to meet the man who helped deliver such a clear sound of the Lord.

Saturday I flew home without incident. Spent time on the plane meditating on my story. Susie May suggested my life is too good of a place to relate to my heroine. She's right. I need to dig deep and understand where she's coming from and what's going on in her life, in her heart.

So, we are into fall. The nights grow darker earlier. It's cozy and peaceful. While I'm not sure of what my time in KC produced, or how God will use it, I'm confident He works all things together for good.