Monday, September 28, 2009

Update from Life in the States

It's been a busy couple weeks since my arrival back in the States, filled with emotional ups and downs, but through it all, I've been amazed (though I shouldn't be!) of how faithful God is.

One of my main reasons for returning this year was for my oldest to meet his birth mom for the first time. (Thus the reason for our road trip.) God worked through that situation this past weekend and it ended up being a very positive step in his life that I'm so thankful for. Many of you who knew about the situation have lifted up prayers on our behalf and I'm so grateful for your support through this.

Many of you have also been praying for my husband's uncle and our precious co-worker. Allen and Janelle are like parents to us and grandparents to our kids, so this has been an emotional time for all of us. Below is the latest update from the family regarding Allen's health. We continue to pray for God's complete healing in his life! Because of this situation, we have decided to extend out stay and Scott (who was already planning to come for meetings in November) was able to change his tickets and return next week with the other two children so we can spend some time with the family and take care of some things together.

From Janelle: "Allen started the chemotherapy and radiation a week and a half ago. He has had only 8 treatments and he is remarkably better! It is amazing to see the difference and it absolutely thrills my heart to see my wonderful husband return. We are so very very thankful!! We continue to ask you to pray that his brain won't swell and that the treatments will continue to kill every cancer cell in his brain. We have heard of several people who have survived this cancer and we are praying that God will grant that blessing to Allen. God is able to do this! We praise God for his goodness, and we ask you to continue to stand with us in prayer, thanking God for his goodness and asking him for complete healing!"

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Eph 3:20-21



Saturday, September 26, 2009

I'm a. . .grandma?

Okay, maybe not a grandma, but David and Emily are like our children, and definitely a part of the family. I can't wait to hold their new blessing named . . .Scott.

To add to the baby fun, our sweet kitty, Patches, had four kittens in one of my pots! She's a great mom and Mariah is loving the experience.

Monday, September 21, 2009

ACFW Writer's Conference

I arrived back at my in-laws after a wonderful writer's conference in Denver. It was such a blessing to connect with so many friends. I roomed with Patty Slack, who's been a special friend since college and Lynne Gentry, an longtime close friend who I co-wrote a Medical Thriller with. We laughed, stayed up way to late, and encouraged each other. It was also such a blessing to connect with other long-time crit partners, friends, and editors, Beth, Debbie, Susan, Janice, Darlene, Ronie, Mary, Rachel, Sue, Jeane. . .and so many more wonderful novelists and editors.

One of the highlights was spending a day learning from a leader in the publishing industry, Donald Maass. If you're a writer, I highly recommend his book, The Breakout Novel, as well as any of his in-person classes. He really knows how to help you push your novel to the next level.

I borrowed a camera, so my photos didn't turn out the best (and I wish I'd taken more!), but I'll post the ones below that turned out fairly well. :-)

I'm on my way to my mother's tomorrow and am looking forward to seeing her. Thanks so much to all of you who are praying for this upcoming trip as we have some important things to accomplish, as well as Allen and Janelle as he continues to go through treatment.



Posin' with Patty

Deborah Vogts & Beth Goddard, longtime friends and crit partners

Ronie Kendig, another international suspense writer!

Sue Brower, my wonderful editor from Zondervan.

Mary Hawkins from Tasmania who once visited us in South Africa. It was a joy to see her after all these years.

Lynne Gentry, fellow writer, co-author, and friend

Lena Dooley, one of my first writing mentors who taught me so much

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Conference time

Sunset in Swaziland

I’m leaving this afternoon for Denver to be a part of the American Christian Writer’s Conference in Denver, Colorado. The trip has made me do some reflecting of my writer’s journey that started almost thirteen years ago. I started out knowing only that I wanted to fulfill a childhood dream of writing a book, never imagining where it would take me.

It’s been full of ups and downs, hard work, steep learning curves, rejection letters—many, many rejection letters-- and after six years my first contract. But what an amazing journey. It has taught me disciple and patience. It has brought to me amazing friends who have critiqued with me, cried with me, and rejoiced with me.

I think one of the most surprising things about this journey has been the spiritual side. My characters’ spiritual journeys is often my own and as they grapple with issues, it’s often really me longing to understand more about God and how He works in our lives.

Psalm 139 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for m were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

How amazing that whatever our journey, with its ups and downs, hard work, rejections and rejoicing, that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us, who knows us intimately, and has called us to be His own.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Early Morning Risings

Oh, the joys of jet lag. I made the mistake last night to stay up late, thinking I'd be tired enough then to sleep all night. Didn't work. So after laying in bed and trying to go back to sleep, I'm up trying to see if I can get some things done.

We had a wonderful few days in Swaziland mainly resting which we all needed. Spent one day in the game park, though we saw very little wild life. The one highlight was watching ten rhino take a mud bath very up close. That was pretty incredible.

Then on Friday, Gabe and I left for the States and are now with my in-laws. It was great to worship here in Scott's hometown and visit with friends we hadn't seen for a long time. I'll spend the next two days taking care of a number of things, including getting ready for American Christian Fiction Writer's Conference in Denver. This is an important chance for me to connect with editors, learn from the experts, and spend time with some of my close writer friends who will be there. I'll post more about that later!

I would appreciate prayers for our family as we are apart. Scott is in Zimbabwe for a couple days, working on some things with our orphan program while my youngest are with a close friend in South Africa. As a mommy, it's not easy for me to be so far away from them! For now, though, I'm looking forward to my time with Gabe, as we have a number of important things to accomplish while we are here.

I'd also like to ask for your continued prayers for Allen and his family. From a medical standpoint, the news they received this week was about the worst it could be. The situation is extremely serious, the tumors very aggressive. We are all looking to God for our strength as they face this physical battle, knowing He is in control.

I was reminded yesterday of an incredible scripture from II Corinthians 4:16-18. "Therefore, do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Be encouraged today!


Thursday, September 03, 2009



Before I jump into the post I had planned for today, I want to share some special news. As Scott continues to teach in our house churches about commitment and discipleship, our children participate in many of these studies, especially on Sundays.

This week, Jayden came to us and told us that he wanted to commit himself to following Jesus by being baptized. So this afternoon, we went down to the bay and celebrated with the angels in heaven!

Never step away from this path you’ve chosen, Jayden. He who holds you in the palm of His hand is faithful.

We were also privileged to take part in the baptisms yesterday afternoon of seven from the village Scott’s been teaching at as well as one young man from the English camp. Praise God for the way His is moving!


As some of you know, I’m getting to return to the States with my eldest son for about three weeks. We leave in the morning to first spend some family time in Swaziland (no, not Switzerland) before heading to the airport in South Africa. We have a lot of things planned during our time back, including some visits with family and for me, attending the American Christian Writers’ Conference. I’ll be posting when I have access to the Internet, though I’m not sure how often that will be.

Please pray for our safe travels (we’re doing quite a bit of traveling/driving) while we are gone.

More soon from the other side of the world!


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Scuba and book sightings!


After having to wait for his instructor to get better, Gabe finally was able to continue with his scuba classes. He's loving every minute of it and his teacher said he's doing great. Tomorrow he'll spend some more time in the pool and then, weather permitting, they will do an ocean dive. I guess my little boy is growing up.

One of my friends sent me these photos after spotting a couple of my books at a Walmart in Texas. Thanks, Lynette! With no bookstore for several hundred miles, this was extra special for me to see!