Tuesday

Advent

I'm a little late in posting this. I wanted to do it Sunday, but better late than never. (cliche)
Advent is a Latin word meaning "the coming." It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve.

The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent.
This first week of advent we focus on expectation. What are we expecting this Christmas season?
I must be honest. Until a couple of years ago I dreaded Christmas. All I could grasp in my mind was the shopping (I"m not a shopper) the business and craziness of it all. I wasn't even thinking of the special aspects of the season. Family, friends, the birth of Jesus.
The year before last I made a promise to myself that I wasn't going to get bogged down in all the details. And it worked....I continued the same promise last year and it was even better. This year I'm looking forward to a precious, special Christmas season.
I guess that's my expectation. Less hustle and bustle---more focusing on what's really important. How about you? What are you expecting?

Saturday

Thanks-Giving

Turkey day has come and gone and with it starts the Christmas season. Shopping has begun, parties have started and plans are being made. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of what is now referred to as the holiday season, a combination of thanks and giving. Thanks for our Saviour Jesus Christ-born in Bethlehem. Giving--well, we all know that presents will be under the tree--traded between friends and family.
But we can give in other ways. We can give of ourselves. Our time. Our worship.
Let's combine the thanks and the giving and thankfully give of what God is asking us to this Christmas season.

Here is one reason to be thankful. Family. This picture is of my husband, his daughters and mother. (and her guy!) Fabulous ladies---all whom I admire and am so blessed to know.

Here is a photo of my mother and her three children. Family is truly a blessing.
I'm going to try and think of ways to thankfully give this year. What about you?

Tuesday

CROWDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Okay. I'll readily admit it. I'm a HUGE David Crowder fan.
I live in the Atlanta area and David Crowder came to town on their tour with Third Day. DC also stopped at a Borders bookstore to hang out with his fans (of which I was on the front row---you know cause I'm a HUGE fan) and talk about Bluegrass, Marty Stewart, Hank Williams Sr. and sign his new book Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven But Nobody Wants to Die. I bought the book and he and Mike Hogan (band member and co author) signed it.
Here I am with DC himself!!!! And Mike Hogan.

My friend asked me what I was going to say to DC. I'm glad she asked, because I had no idea. He certainly doesn't see himself as a celebrity and I don't view him as one. I view him as this. A man who loves God, who uses his gifts God blessed him with to share the message of Jesus Christ with the world. And when I did get my chance to talk to him I told him as much. I thanked him and his band for sharing their gifts. I told him they were an inspiration. He thanked me and told me he appreciated me saying so.
I had a short video I had hoped to put on this blog post, but I'm blogger challenged and I can't make it happen. So here's one more picture of DC.
If he ever comes to your city, check him out. It's well worth it.

Monday

The thrill of victory!!!

Doesn't the title sound exciting? With exclamation points and all! (We'll get back to that.)

Meanwhile, here's a picture of the 48 car of Jimmy Johnson. He's very much in the running to be the NASCAR champion this year. For those of you who aren't NASCAR fans this picture was taken during the race in Atlanta while pit stops were going on. Our seats are right in front of Pit Road. Very exciting place to be on race day. Right in the middle of the action.

And here's me and my hubby. Isn't he cute? ( I just love my man.)
At the end of the race the thrill of victory was there for Tony Stewart and all his fans. Tony even did his trademark climbing of the fence. Yes, excitement was in the air. All because of the victory.
Shouldn't excitement be in our air everyday? After all---don't we have claim on the most exciting victory in history? The victory over sin and death? All accomplished when Jesus took up the cross, walked up the Mount of Calvary and claimed victory for us all. I can't think of a better reason for celebration. Think about it. We can celebrate victory every day. All day.

Sometimes the magnitude of God is really so hard to grasp. But I"m trying bit by bit to understand what I'm meant to understand, do what I think I'm meant to do and live for Him. Trying is the key word here. I think I fail more than I succeed. But I"m going to keep on trying. Never give up.
Persistence is the key. Jimmy Johnson is persistent. Tony Stewart is persistent, still winning races even though he's not even in the Race for the Chase and can't possibly be the Cup Champion this year. He didn't let that stop him from doing the best he can possibly do.
So let us persist and run the race.
Diligently.

Friday

Beeee-u-ti-ful= Beautiful


Isn't Cosmos beautiful? Cosmos is a Scarlet Macaw. He has a fabulous home with Scott(pictured here) and Veronica.

Cosmos also has someone else to keep an eye on him. Zeus (I hope I spelled that right, Scott!) the cat.

God is so incredible! Who else could have created the beauty that Cosmos is. The brilliant colors, the intelligence, all put together by the greatest creator of all. God created us for his pleasure, therefore he created other beautiful creatures for us to enjoy.
"All creatures of our God and King....Lift up your voice and let us sing....Oh praise him, Halleluiah!!!"

Saturday

Abiding in Christ

Last weekend I had the awesome experience of attending a women's retreat with my friend Meg. It was sponsored by her church and most of the women attending are members of Meg's church. I knew some of the women from doing Bible studies with these ladies. I knew they were an awesome group before I went and I was certainly blessed by the ladies who spoke, the ladies I got to know and the whole atmosphere of the weekend. My very brief synopsis of the weekend is this.
Choose-Christ
Breath-Spiritually
Abide-Daily in Christ Jesus
One of the ladies who spoke mentioned a man by the name of Andrew Murray. His name may be familiar to some of you, but it wasn't to me. Now, I'm like a kid in a candy store. I've bought two books by him. The one I'm reading now is titled Abide in Christ. We've heard the term remove the scales off my eyes....well I feel like another layer of scales has fallen. I can't explain it really, but here is an entry from my journal I've started while doing this devotional.

10-14-06
Trusting Him to keep you. The concept is so simple. Trusting our weakness to the Mighty One-casting self on One who is altogether trustworthy and true.
I am captured of Christ Jesus.
Give up yourself to abide in Him. He Himself will work it in you. You can trust Him to keep you trusting and abiding.

Now some of those sentences are straight from the book. But this man makes so much sense. Here's a link to
Andrew Murray's works. Check them out. Just put his name in the search box. He's written a whole lot and I'm looking forward to reading a whole lot.

And congratulations go out to Missy T. She's a finalist in the Golden Network's Golden Opportunity contest. Yeah Missy!!!!!!!!Oh, and how could I almost forget. Missy also got a revision letter from Steeple Hill. I know's she's busy working on those revisions and we are praying this is the ONE.!!!!!!!!
And speaking of Missy, here she is with Liz Curtis Higgs.

I"ll be cheering for you, Missy!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday

ACFW and more

Here we have Deeanne Gist and Cindy Woodsmall signing books at the conference in Dallas, Texas. Cindy with her beautiful smile and Deeann is pretty in pink.








Here's Cindy, Amy, Lindi, and Missy.....Yes, the eeeee's have it! We are all from the Atlanta area and meet in a local ACFW group. We had a great time visiting in Dallas.

For all the good times we have at conferences it's always good to be back home. Reminds me of Dorothy, clicking her heels repeating "There's no place like home. There's no place like home."

Dorothy knew what she was talking about. My husband and I moved into a new house two years ago, and I can honestly say I look forward to spending time there. Seems like the weekends get filled up quicker every year. Not only am I a writer, I have a full time job, wife, mother to Brenna and Alex, stepmother to Melanie and Lisa. I'm a grandma to a beautiful little girl, Ally. I love to bowl and my friend Joanne and I go on tournaments with her mother and sister. We have a blast. My husband is a HUGE NASCAR fan and got me hooked. (Go Jeffy, Dale, and Elliott!!!!) We like to go to races. There are so many things to do and experience. I"m excited to be able to do half the stuff I do and consider myself blessed to be able to do what I can do.

I'll be starting a lay missionary program in November. It's purpose is to guide you where you feel led to serve. And to help you determine it if you don't know. I'm extremely excited to start finding out just where God's wants me to be and what he wants me to be doing.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Wednesday

Twice as Nice

For the second post in a row I have exciting news to share. First my cp and friend Maureen Hardegree has launched her website. Click here to visit. It's a great sight done by Author Designs. For a look at their clientele click here. Pretty impressive list. Maureen is a multi-published short story author who is currently working on a young adult novel. She has written historical and paranormal romances also, which have yet to be published. If you look on my favorite author list, you'll find her there.
Second, I seem to be on a roll of winning books. I won two books from Amy Wallace's website and one from Michelle Rodger's blog. I have received two of the three books I've won. Shirlee McCoy's Even in the Darkness-a Love Inspired Suspense novel, and Jill Elizabeth Nelson's Reluctant Burglar-a Multnomah novel. I'm looking forward to reading both of them.

Currently I'm reading Virginia Kantra's Home Before Midnight. If anyone who is reading this blog has never read a novel by Virginia Kantra do so immediately. It is a matter of life and death. Literally. She writes suspense novels. Close Up is another single title novel by Virginia, which was nominated for a Rita Award. I think over half the books Virginia has written have received that incredible nomination. She's an awesome writer and a sweeheart of a person. Check out
Virginia Kantra.

Lots of names in this post. That's because there are a lot of great writers out there. Check them out and let me know what you think.

And who knows. Maybe the next post will be titled- Third Time's the Charm!

Sunday

I Know the Secret

Ha! I know the secret to posting good news to your blog. Wait long enough and you'll have good news to post. Okay, I don't want to be an advocate for blog neglect, so I guess I'll have to get on the ball and have more good news to post sooner.
My good news is my manuscript Girl in Waiting is a finalist in the Maggie Award of Excellence contest sponsored by the Georgia Romance Writers and it's also a finalist in the Ticket to Write contest sponsored by the Red River Romance Writers. The final judge for the Maggie is Melissa Endlich who previously gave the manuscript first place in the Romance Writers Ink! contest. But then she rejected the manuscript. The final judge for the Ticket to Write contest is Julie Schwarzburg who I've never been in front of before. This is my first final where she is the final round judge. I can't wait to get feedback.
Part of the reason for being so long between posts is I've been travelling a bit. I went to Oglebay Resort in West Virginia for my family reunion. Here is a picture of the whole clan.

Then after having a fabulous time there with my wonderful family (I'm serious, I have been blessed with an extremely loving, warm, caring family) I headed to Destin Florida where I spent time with some friends from work at my bosses beach house. They have a couple of new additions to their family. Here they are: Hank and Harley.
How cute are they!!!!

I also finished up a Beth Moore Bible study at my church. Jesus the One and Only was an awesome study. We had a great class and everyone is looking foward to doing another one next summer.
Jesus is indeed our One and Only. Our One and Only Savior. King of Kings. Lord of Lords. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Thursday


Here I am with Mindy and Missy. We kicked off our RWA National conference with a Faith, Hope and Love mini conference. Yes, the Missy you see here organized an awesome God-inspired day filled with workshops, lunch, awards ceremony and a worship service. Our own Camy Tang led us with her guitar and beautiful voice. This was a great way to start out the conference. It showed me what God empowered women we have as sisters in Christ and in the writing world.
God is ever faithful and good.

Sunday

Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Here it is. RWA National Conference time. This year it is in Atlanta. Since I live right outside of Atlanta I will be attending. There are so many things I'm looking forward to. One of them is our Faith, Hope and Love first ever one-day conference. I think it will be a great day of learning (2 workshops are planned) great food, (a lunch is included) and fellowship. ( A worship service will begin after lunch.)
It will be a great time to meet new people, see people you haven't seen in a long time and fellowship with others who enjoy the same passion of writing. Not only do we share the same passion for writing, we also share the same ultimate goal in our writing. The glory of our one and only Jesus. There is a special kinship in those who gather with the same focus. It's hard to explain, and not everyone would understand. Throughout the week there will be all sorts of workshops, networking, meeting all kinds of people. If we turn our eyes toward Jesus, we won't ever lose our focus. Glory to God.

Peace Be With You

The months of July and August are virtually months in motion for me. Between one conference, one mini-conference, my family reunion, a trip to the beach, my granddaughters first birthday, my friends wedding, my planned week long document search for an IRS agent, (work related, not personal) another friends birthday, a bible study and who knows what else will come up, I feel like a girl on a mission.
Underneath all these plans and commitments there is an underlying peace. It is the peace of Jesus. If I didn't know Him, the ultimate planner and master of the universe, I might try and attempt this schedule on my own. I'm sure the results would be disastrous. But the peace of our Lord is what keeps me in line, keeps me from panicking, keeps me from losing sight of what our true mission is.
We are disciples, called to minister. Anywhere, everywhere. I have a lot of ground to cover, a lot of people to meet. I pray the peace stays with me, and also with you.

Saturday

God-a-be

God-a-be----I can't take the credit for the phrase. I think Missy and I thought of it together. But it's the term of the week. Let's use it in a sentence.
"It's God-a-be in God's time."
This is my focus because the editor who really liked my manuscript, Girl in Waiting, sent me a rejection letter this week with seemingly no reason except for it didn't quite fit the line at this time.
"Didn't quite fit the line at this time."
If we dissect that sentence we could read so much into it. What's the "quite" word really mean? She typed it. Does that mean the manuscript is not "quite" there? As in ready? The phrase "at this time" raises more questions. Do I resend when the time is right? (All of my writing pals, don't cringe. I would never resend without invite). Anyway, that's the business of writing. It's not always clear cut and if we spend too much time reading between the lines, we'll never get any writing done.
So I'm not dwelling on the rejection. I'm working on the it's God-a-be God's time theory. I do my best to do my part, and leave the timing and the things that aren't in my control in His.

Happy Fathers Day

Sunday June, 18th is Father's Day. A day to celebrate with the men in our lives. I was blessed to have a fabulous father, one who taught me the right things in life. The important things. Family. God. And many more that I won't name here because we only have a certain amount of space. There are a couple of phrases that always make me think of my Dad when I hear them.
"Don't fix it if it ain't broke."
"You done good, kid."
I've also been blessed with a wonderful husband who is also a fabulous father. His two daughters, Melanie and Lisa are proof of what great insights he has. They are beautiful young women, with huge hearts.
So, to all the men who are awesome influences----kudos to you!! Keep up the good work!

Front Porch Princess

I just finished a great book by Kathryn Springer. Front Porch Princess is about the life of Elise Penny, a farmers wife in Wisconsin who wants her daughter to make a different decision than she did. Go to college and leave the small town of Prichett. When her daughter Bree, seems to be falling for the local boy, Elise finds herself wrestling with issues she hasn't thought about in a while. Add to the mix a Christian beauty pagent Bree has entered Elise in, Elise's best friend Bernice, who reveals a secret, a new friend Annie who's searching for a mentor, but ends up the mentoree and you have a great story. I laughed, I cried, I cringed, I cheered. Kathryn has done a fantastic job evoking all emotions. The best news? There's a sequel coming about Bernice's story. I can't wait!!!!
  • Kathryn Springer
  • Prioritizing

    Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the commitments you've made, the things you want to do, the things you have to do and the things that come up at the last minute? Have you ever found yourself looking days ahead, a barrage of images of the things you haven't done yet swirling around in your mind to the point of exhaustion? Am I the only one who does this?
    Last week I was at the point of telling my husband and even a couple of friends, "We're not making any more plans for the summer. Not one. Our weekends are filled already and I can't commit to one more event."
    My next thought was "how sad is this?" But it's true.
    I'm truly thankful for my friends and family. I enjoy spending time with people. So what's all this fuss about?
    It's about me. About my ability (or inability in this case) to put the important things first. I can't discount any and all events or invites that may come my way in the next three months. I can't close my mind to opportunities that God may be providing. What I need to do is pray for the ability to prioritize, pray for the ability to use my time wisely. And above all I must keep in mind to do all things for the glory of God.
    I think somehow, He'll work all this out. (As long as I'm doing my part!)

    Thursday

    Oh, deer, not again!

    Yes, I spelled it right. Deer. As in those cute, tan-colored four-legged friends that live all around Ball Ground and the surrounding regions. Well, if any of you readers drive a white Toyota Solara, don't drive in Ball Ground. I think they're deer magnets. For the second time in less than six months I've hit a deer. This time I wasn't on the highway doing 65 miles an hour. I was on Hwy 5, doing about 45 talking to Missy.
    "Oh, no. I hit another darn deer. I'll call you back." (I have hands free talking-I promise I was being safe!) Lenny was behind me because we were on our way home from bowling. He saw it all unfold. He saw the deer in the field, saw it take off toward the road, saw me not do a thing to miss it (I honestly didn't see it). Then our friends who we bowl with saw us and stopped also. We had quite a crowd. When the police woman came she said, "Did all of you hit the deer?" (Okay, actually she said, "Did all y'all hit the deer?")
    Anyway, there's not near as much damage as last time. Everyone is well. Even the deer, I guess. He left. Didn't wait around for the nice police woman.
    But I have evidence. His fur is still stuck to my crumpled hood.
    I never imagined living in Ball Ground, Georgia could be so endeering!!!

    Friday

    Never give up---your asset

    I hope Missy doesn't mind, but I"m going to share a quick story about a conversation she and I had this week. She had previously received a request from agent Beth Jusino for her full manuscript. A little bit of time has passed and Missy wondered if she should send a letter asking if she still wanted to see the full.
    I immediately told Missy--No! Send her the full. Don't give her a chance to change her mind. Now I'm not a huge Apprentice fan, but I do watch occasionally and this week a guy was fired by Trump because he was willing to give up an asset.
    "Never give up an asset!" said Trump. "You're fired!"
    Okay, well Missy's not fired, but I think she's going to send the full. Soon. In this world of waiting, and waiting and waiting, we have to jump on every chance we get.

    Saturday

    Current WIP News

    My original chick-lit/romance novel, Girl in Waiting is on an editor's and agent's desk as I type. While I play the waiting game I'm busy working on the sequel, Loves Me, Loves Me Not. My heroine, Allison Doll is having a hard time trying to figure out if her dreamy ex-baseball player boyfriend really loves her or not. And if that isn't confusing her enough, God's not only not answering her prayers, she feels like she can't discern His will at all! Needless to say, Allison is spiritually, romantically and emotionally drained and confused. But since this is a romance, I"m sure there's a happy ending to be had. I'll let you know as I progress.

    Current Contest News

    The bad contest news is I wasn't a finalist in the prestigous Golden Heart Contest hosted by the Romance Writers of America. ( But my cp and great friend Missy Tippens is!! You go girl!) The good contest news is I haven't received the results from the Barclay contest which I entered, so there still may be a final coming our way. The way the contest scene has been going for me though, I"m not holding my breath.

    Hi! Welcome to Belinda's Writing Journal

    You don't have to be a writer to visit. Everyone is welcome. This is my way of reminding myself what's going on in my life, because we all know how crazy everything gets, and if I have some sort of place to post things, (as long as I can keep it up) maybe I'll be on a new and improved path to organization.