Thursday, October 30, 2008

Finding Peace. . .

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that I've posted little lately due to the fact that there are simply not enough hours in the day while I'm back in the States with my mom. And while there are a number of things I'd like to post, one thing stood out to me tonight that I will post.

We live in turbulent times. People worry about the price of gas, the next president, and the balance in their checking account. We wonder who's influencing our children, and what the world will be like for our grand children. We worry about tomorrow, when we can hardly get through all that has to be done today.

Funny how even two thousand years ago, Jesus addressed this very issue. He told us not to worry about tomorrow and to seek him first.

Paul said the same thing. Do not be anxious about anything.


Yes, anything.

So my encouragement today? It comes straight from Philippians 4

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, in prayer and petitions, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ."

Be blessed today,


Friday, October 24, 2008

The great adventure. . .

The Internet is an amazing thing. I wanted to plan something special for the kids while we were back in the States, so while we were still in Mozambique, we ordered tickets to a Michael W. Smith/Steven Curtis Chapman concert and was able to simply print out the tickets.

How fast and easy is that!

Fast and easy, that was until I tried to actually get to the concert.

We met friends and family for dinner three miles from the concert so I'd be close. The doors opened at six, so I figured I could leave a little after six and have plenty of time to find a parking place and our seats before it started at seven.

Easy right?


As we head toward the concert, I realized quickly there was a serious problem. Traffic was moving slower than a snail. There were times when the light was green and we simply didn't move. I kept glancing at the clock on the dashboard. Six thirty. . .six forty five. . .at seven o'clock we still had another mile to go and no alternative route.

At seven thirty--thirty minutes late--we finally pulled into the parking lot, but wait a minute. . .it was the wrong parking lot.

It was dark now and poorly marked, but I quickly decided that I wasn't getting back out into all that traffic again and there was obviously a large number of people headed for the concert who were also parked in this adjacent lot. So we'd just walk. Simple? Ha. We followed the crowed and ended up having to scale down a wall behind a bar to get to the event.

But it was all well worth it. The concert was fantastic. Steven Curtis Chapman spoke of the loss of his daughter and how he'd had to question the truth behind the songs he sang if he were to ever perform again. It was personal, real, and moving as he sang about God and his faithfulness even in the midst of this deep tragedy.

I cried through half the songs, worshiped with the four thousand plus crowd, and felt a spiritual renewal I need.

They sang "The Great Adventure" which reminded me of the adventure God has called all of us on. For me, the past year hasn't been easy. We've lived in four countries (three continents), worked hard through language school, started home schooling, had to pack, move, write, help my mother transfer into her new place. On a very personal note, I've been tired, fatigued, spiritual empty at times, and fought to keep my creativity alive.

But I've also grown through this time in ways I'd never imagined. I've had to realize what is really important in life. Through it all God's grace and love has been what has sustained me. Even in the times when I haven't been sure I could do it, he's reminded me that it's His strength and not my own that has allowed me to "accomplish" things.

So saddle up your horses we've got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder of God's amazing grace
Let's follow our leader into the glorious unknown
This is a life like no other - this is The Great Adventure

Live the adventure for Him today!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Moving Day. . .

It's been quite an exciting week as mom was able to leave rehab and move into her new apartment. Thank you all so much for all your prayers and emails during this time. There is still a lot of work ahead, but this is definitely a major step in the right direction and mom is enjoying more independence again as she continues to heal.

Another highlight of the week was a long chat with my new editor at Zondervan. It was exiting for me to learn how things work in this publishing house as well as to talk specifically about my manuscript, changes I will be making so the book will reach a broader audience, and marketing ideas. I'll be sharing glimpses into this process during the coming months.

More soon,


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

And the winner is. . .

I know I'm way overdue to post a blog, but between sorting, packing, home schooling, writing deadlines. . .well, enough excuses, a very late congratulations to Erica who won a photo bookmark from Africa. Please contact me here with your mailing address, and I'll get it in the mail for you!

Here are the answers for any inquiring minds. My version is South African so there was one or two that were different, but thanks to those of you who participated did great!

Leopard- Leap
Warthog- Sounder
Giraffe- Tower
Rhino- Crash
Hippo- Raft
Croc- Bask
Butterfly- Flutter
Ant- Army
Elephant- Herd
Lion- Pride
Baboons- Troop
Wild Dogs- Pack

I'll be running another new contest in the next couple weeks for a "Taste of Africa" that will include all kinds of cool things, so stay tuned for details!



Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Fiction vs. Fact

While leaving South Africa, an article in the newspaper caught my eye about a Japanese man who had flown to SA to learn more about an investment opportunity. He was kidnapped with ransom demands of $5 million. Thankfully, the man was tracked down by the country's crime unit and rescued three days later. The seven suspects involved in the situation were to appear in court the next day.

It's always intrigued me how someone could fall for a scam like this one, or one of the dozens of others making its rounds in the world wide web, which is why I decided to write a book using this scam as the back drop.

For those of you who haven't read Final Deposit, it deals with this 419 or Nigerian scam. And for those of you who think no one falls for scams like this. . .think again. It's become a growing problem worldwide, with people losing thousands of dollars every year.

For me, it's a good reminder. If something seems to good to be true. . .it more than likely is.

And for page-turning suspense where your own pocket book--and life--isn't at stake, you can find out more about Final Deposit here.



Saturday, October 04, 2008

A just-for-fun contest!

I've hit the ground running between helping my mom sort out her house, home schooling, and trying to keep up with my writing deadline. Today, I took the kids to my sister's school co-op where they participated in PE, art, history, and home ec. My kids had so much fun.

But before I go try to meet my word count for the day, I thought I'd post a fun contest. The winner will receive a very cool magnetic bookmark from Africa, so leave a comment, and I'll draw a winner from the correct answers.

I found this matching game while at Kruger and thought it was very interesting. Can you match the group of animals with the group name. For example a bunch of cows are called a herd of cattle. And yes, cheating is allowed. :-)

Here it goes. You can match the letter with the number in your comments.

A. Leopard
B. Warthog
C. Giraffe
D. Rhino
E. Hippo
F. Croc
G. Butterfly
H. Ants
I. Elephant
J. Lions
K. Baboons
L. Wild Dogs

1. Pack
2. Troop
3. Tower
4. Bask
5. Leep
6. Pride
7. Sounder
8. Herd
9. Crash

Have fun!


Thursday, October 02, 2008

First Impressions

We arrived in the States after a very long, 30+ hour flight that included three planes, three continents, and lots of airline food. When we sat down on the last one, after arriving in the States, Jayden turned to the man beside him and asked him if he was also going to America. I think he's finally figured out that yes, we're here.

I left my camera's battery charger in Mozambique, so I don't have a photo today, but I do have a few first impressions.

1. The friendliness of all the employees as I went through US customs. It was a nice welcome back.
2. Driving on the right hand side of the road (This can be as scary as an encounter with a lion at a game park)
3. The amount of products available at the stores
4. The number of channels on the television
5. Helping my kids learn how things are done here from "What water can we drink" to "How to fill your plate at a buffet"

I'm sure there will be many more things that will strike me in the coming weeks. For the next few days, I'm simply trying to get over jet lag--yes, it's three in the morning--unpack, and enjoy time with family.