Justice, Mercy, or Grace? I Choose…

From Grace Abounds Grace (tiny cover)I am currently working on a novel entitled, From Grace Abounds Grace. Well into its plot, I realized that I had made a terrible mistake in not looking up the definition of the word “grace.”  It is something I should have done long before starting the work. Instead, I have been relying on the typical usage of the word I’ve always heard.

In the plot of this story, Grace (the lead character) is just pronounced as “husband and wife” with her beloved. They move on to their reception, then leave for their honeymoon, never suspecting that within the short time it takes to drive out of the reception venue parking lot, an oncoming car would broadside them, instantly escorting Grace’s groom into the presence of Jesus.

While Grace is physically hurt as well, she lives, and in the hospital meets whom she sees as her groom’s murderer. And, from a loosely defined term, he kind of is. It was his error in judgment as driver that caused the crash.

Rather than continuing on with a further synopsis of the story, it’s important at this juncture that three very important terms are defined.

So… I ask you…

justice-scalesIf YOU were responsible for the death of someone, which of the following would you prefer reigned in your trial?

JUSTICE ?  Getting exactly what you deserved as your penalty.

MERCY?  Not receiving the horrible penalty that was actually due you.

GRACE?  Receiving total forgiveness that you didn’t deserve in any way for what you’d done.

I know what MY answer is, and I suspect yours is the same.

As I continue writing, I need to ever keep before me the difference among the three and make sure that the story ends up where it needs to.

 

 

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…

coldWell… sniff, sniff… I’m not exactly sure… sniff, cough… what to even share… cough, nose blow… with the world today. UGH!

Actually, I think the first thing is to tell this to anyone who happens on this page today:

We are a Christian family. We are all born-again believers and followers of Jesus Christ. We believe in an eternal life after our earthly death.

Having said the above, my next comment should just about say EXACTLY what I’m feeling right now:

“I feel like I died and didn’t go anywhere!!!”

I’ve had a cold for exactly one week today. And, while I’m feeling considerably better (3 boxes of Kleenex, 5+ Benadryl tablets, a quart and one-half of orange juice later), I certainly am not ready to do anything yet, but… COMPLAIN!

So, here goes:

My body aches! My nose is so red and swollen and raw, that I am thinking of applying for Rudolph’s job next Christmas! My eyes are droopy, glassy, and saggy! I feel too lousy to put on any makeup, so my appearance is beyond “wretched!’ I can’t taste my food! Of course, trooper that I am, I continue to eat, and somehow I’ve talked myself into believing that because I’m so pitiful, I deserve to eat anything and everything I want, with no consequences calorie-wise! My bathroom scale doesn’t agree, however… the LIAR! I’ve been house-bound for 7 days now, and even looking out windows is starting to scare me (implied agoraphobia)! My adorable husband, who has been waiting on me hand-and-foot, is totally annoying me with his constant cheerfulness! And, it isn’t fair he hasn’t caught this “disease!” If he had any real sympathy, he’d start in with a sore throat and sneezing. But, no… he’s the picture of health! (If he weren’t so cute, I’d smack him!)

Well, let’s get down to the “real deal” here…

From Grace Abounds Grace (tiny cover)Since I feel so yucky… three guesses how much time I’ve spent writing this last week?

NONE!

Surely by tomorrow or the next day, my pitifully neglected current writing on From Grace Abounds Grace will be resumed. (I pulled out the manuscript about seven days ago, sat there and stared blankly at its last written page, then promptly closed the document, moaned and groaned my way downstairs and crawled into bed, and that’s where I’ve been until today.)

So, all I can say is I hope no one is holding their breath until my novel’s release. Right now I just feel like it’ll get done when I get it done!

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Made It Into My Story…

face-maskOk, come on… like isn’t this cutest little thing you’ve ever seen?! Yeah, well I thought so too. Both of us did, and that’s why we each bought four of them.

When my daughter and I were looking for last minute stocking stuffers and cheapie filler gifts,  we came upon these. Two different brands. (My packets are sooo much cuter than hers!) I guess that last statement gave away that we were buying them for each other. There was going to be no surprise for either of us.

Yes, they’re total nonsense, but come on!!! How could we have possibly resisted them. And, the fact is that at my age (if not hers) we’re always looking for the miracle that will remove all lines, creases, wrinkles, spots, clumps, etc., from our otherwise perfect faces. (Excuse me while I excuse myself to go to the bathroom and dry heave over the toilet!)

The packets were so colorful (as you can see), and were supposed to do things like soothe, clarify, and make our faces supple. “Supple.” Now there’s a cool word, huh?!

I’ve always thought of “supple” as meaning to plump up. And, trust me… there’s NOTHING on my body that needs plumping up!!!

Well, bottom line is that I used one today. It’s already doused in whatever it’s doused in, so that all I had to do was remove it from the packaging and apply it to my face! And, it was glorious! Cooling, relaxing, and it smelled wonderful! When I removed it, I didn’t have to wash or rinse my face. It just dried on its own, leaving my skin… wait for it… “supple!!!”

From Grace Abounds Grace (tiny cover)Well, that’s interesting, Sheila, but what does it have to do with this blog’s purpose, which is to keep my readers “in the loop” on what’s going on in my novel, the one I’m in the midst of writing now… you remember… From Grace Abounds Grace.

Well, here’s the deal.

While I was examining my face after using the face mask sheet, I got to thinking…”Oh, my gosh! I need to use this in the story, where she’s having her all-night bachelorette party. They can lie on the floor, put on the masks, and then talk about…

Nope! Can’t tell anymore! But, it’s now definitely in the story! Yay!

Gotta get back to writing. I’m so jazzed about this!

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After-Christmas Therapy…

adult-coloring-book

My New Adult Coloring Book

Well, it’s over. Christmas was glorious! I just love my family and the way we do things for our celebration of Jesus’ Birthday. It’s a sweet memory that I would like to share just a little bit of with my readers.

Since there are only four of us (my husband, our daughter, her husband and yours truly), we gave each other 30 gifts. That’s a total of 120 gifts to be opened Christmas Eve. But, I will mention before it’s thought that we go TOTALLY overboard… the gifts are not all expensive. For example, my daughter gave my husband a large pack of paper towels, a box of 16 Keurig k-cups, a six-pack of protein bars, etc., in addition to about three really, really, really nice gifts. The same pattern applied to all our gifts to each other. (One of my gifts from my daughter was a small jar of artichoke hearts, which I LOOOOOVE!)

Now, since my daughter and I do almost all the gift-shopping, we know what almost everything is… even our own gifts, most of which we often buy for ourselves from our spouses. So, what we did was make crazy labels, and made it a competitive game for our husbands against each other.

For example: To Carl (our son-in-law), From Tozy Toes Claus. (It was a pair of slippers.) To Dad from Sleepy Time Claus (a pair of pajamas). To Daniel from Gooey Chewy Claus (his favorite candy bar). To Daniel from Lookin’ Buff Claus (a year membership to gym). To Carl from Sneezin’ n’ Sniffin’ Claus (allergy meds). To Carl from Bass and Treble Claus (a keyboard that hooks up to his computer).  Even though my daughter and I didn’t participate in the game, we did the same with our gifts. To DanniLaii from Fat Cat Claus (a picture of a big fat-faced black cat for her bathroom). To Mom from Vast Knowledge Claus (3 feet of cloth green spined books for me to decorate with). To DanniLaii from Fuzzy Wuzzy Claus (a pair of fuzzy knee boots for winter). Well… I think you get the idea.

Even with 30 gifts each, our son-in-law won by a score of only 10 to 9. It was just riotous fun! And, our son-in-law walked off the winner of the wagered twenty dollars. Both of them are incredibly competitive, so if you were to pin them down, they’d probably have to both admit they’d tried to cheat. Carl was just better at it!

From Grace Abounds Grace (tiny cover)Now that the wonderful celebration is over, and the ridiculous amounts of food consumed, I am preparing to use one of my gifts today for the first time. My husband is downstairs watching…. football, of course! So, I am going to sit by the fireplace next to him and color in my adult coloring book. The picture at the top is not from my coloring book, but it is typical of the pages in my book. Coloring is supposed to be very cathartic, so I’m giving it a shot!

On Tuesday, January 2nd, however, I will be yet again viciously attacking the writing of my newest writing endeavor, From Grace Abounds Grace. And, if the coloring book works, I should be calmed down and ready to focus on it.

Blessings and Happy New Year, My Friends!

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No Time for Writing…

From Grace Abounds Grace (tiny cover)Well, I woke up this morning (it’s 2:58 a.m.) to realize it’s been forever since I’ve shared with my readers my current status on writing. I’ve shared I’m in the middle of spinning a new tale in From Grace Abounds Grace. But, I haven’t given much detail on its current status. So, here goes:

I’M AT A COMPLETE STANDSTILL AND HAVE BEEN FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS!

Ok… the good news is that the world didn’t come to an end as I wrote the above declaration. Nor, did the world stop spinning around the sun. Things are continuing in my life as usual. Well, usual in the sense that December is busy, busy, busy.

I have spent almost three days decorating the house, and I’m still not quite finished. I haven’t even begun Christmas baking, which should be quite the project, since my daughter and I have decided to do some pretty extensive “goodie creating” this year, so that we can bless family and friends with sample packets. Shopping isn’t completed, and will probably take another two lunch/shopping days to complete. And, I am embarrassed to admit (but I will!) that I am quite sure that if the Board of Health dropped by and they could see inside our house, it would be immediately condemned, razed, and even the land would be condemned as not being inhabitable for decades to come.

OK, ok! So, I’m being overly dramatic!

Let’s tone it down and set a truth-standard to my current goings on.

True, my house isn’t quite decorated, and it has been three days of work already, but I am loving every minute of it. I have Christmas carols continually playing, and I find myself joyfully singing and even dancing around as I string lights, hang decorative balls on the tree, and remember happenings of bygone Christmases as I handle specific decorating items. Yep, I’m lovin’ decorating!

I have pulled six of our traditional “goodies” recipes and actually made one of them yesterday afternoon… Layer Bars. They turned out beautifully. Today I’ll make another recipe… my family has always called them Poo Poo Caw Caws (for obvious reasons, if you saw them). Slowly, but surely I’ll complete each recipe, and all baking should be accomplished by this coming weekend. I still need to make Finska Kakors, Russian Tea Cakes (Snow Balls), Rosenmunnar, and Spritz cookies. Whew! But as with the decorating… I’m lovin’ every single minute of it! My daughter will join me sometime the first of NEXT week for us to cellophane-bag up, curly-bow up, and label them up for specific people we want to bless with them. What fun!

Christmas-shopping is fun, fun, fun! My daughter is one of those people that almost everything that comes out of her mouth is hilariously funny, so am I dreading the couple of days we will “do” lunch and shop ’til we drop??? Hardly! I can’t wait!

Cleaning the house for Christmas (after the decorating is completed)… Well, if I tried to make anyone think I can hardly wait for the sheer pleasure of dusting, vacuuming, cleaning toilets, scrubbing sinks, my nose would grow so long that our home would no longer contain it, and I’d have to live outside in the wide open spaces that are getting more wintry by the day! So, I won’t even try to convince otherwise. Let’s just say that under any and all circumstances, I’d still have to clean. So, I’ll do it with joy and thanksgiving that the Lord has given us a lovely home in which to live. There are many people in this world that cannot say the same!

Have I been rambling? Maybe, then again… maybe not.

So, I’m not getting any writing done this month on my current writing endeavor. It just is what it is! What I am gaining in pure joy as I commit fully to preparing a Birthday Party for Jesus so far outweighs writing that they cannot be compared. And, perhaps at December’s end, I will be re-charged “literarily speaking,” and have gained new insights that will make my newest novel, From Grace Abounds Grace, so much the better!

So, with total abandon, I continue preparing for this special celebration and proclaim…

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESUS!”

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Learning Grace to Write About Grace

From Grace Abounds Grace (tiny cover)I am forever amazed at the life lessons I learn as I write. They come about in strange and interesting ways and ALWAYS affect my writings.

Recently I began writing a new novel called, From Grace Abounds Grace. Short of just starting in with the story blurb here, I have something even more important to share this time.

Several days ago I went for lunch and Christmas shopping with my daughter. We were having a glorious time laughing, eating, sampling Christmas goodies, and buying gifts for those we love so dearly.

In one of the stores, we had made the store circuit and were preparing to leave. But, I realized I couldn’t find my sunglasses. So maybe you’re thinking I should just admit they were gone and move on with my day. But, my poor pitiful eyes can’t take the sun. They’re very sensitive to light!

When I couldn’t find them, I decided to remove item by item from my purse, hoping they had just gotten buried deep inside.

My wallet was the first item out, and I simply laid it on the product counter behind my purse. When I then reached my hand back into the deep recesses, I found the sunglasses. Thrilled, I simply zipped up the purse and left.

At least an hour later at another store is when I realized my wallet was gone and that I’d left it at the prior store. So, without even paying for the new items at the new store, we dashed back to the prior store.

My wallet was gone!

As I was dreading the next steps of going home and beginning by phone to notify my credit card companies and the DMV, my daughter walked up to one of the cashiers and asked if anyone had found a lost wallet.

I noticed immediately that the cashier was acting strange, making strange remarks, and not looking at my daughter or me in the eyes.

However, the other cashier turned and said, “Oh, you’re the one that lost it?” When we confirmed, she called the manager, who came up and unlocked the safe and gave me my wallet.

I remember the first thing I said was, “Thank you, Jesus.” As we left, I turned around to again thank the manager and two cashiers, the one cashier still wouldn’t look us in the eyes. Very strange!

After going back to the car to return to the second store, where our selections were still in a stranded cart, having never been purchased, I rummaged through my wallet to find the $70.I was carrying to make the final purchases.

Lo and behold… the $70. was gone! (Sooo grateful everything else was inside.)

My first reaction was frustration and wondering how someone could do that. But, the Holy Spirit immediately reminded me that I was a sinner too, and my only difference perhaps was that I had been saved by God’s Grace. So, I asked the Lord to forgive whoever took the money, and bring something miraculous out of the whole thing. And, I asked Him to do something wonderful with the stolen money that would bring Him Glory.

I was actually learning to show grace, because I’d been shown God’s Grace. I think this will help me understand grace better and portray that grace from God better in my current novel.

Rambling??? Perhaps. But, what I know for a fact is that everything I learn from God’s personal Grace shown to me affects my story in From Grace Abounds Grace.

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Departing from My Newest Novel for a While…

christmas-romance-25-daysNo, I haven’t stopped writing anything new. In fact, I’m right in the midst of working on a new romance novel called, From Grace Abounds Grace . But, I’ve kind of taken a turn (a fork? a …?) for a brief period of time.

Christmas is coming up and I plainly admit that once I get going on the holiday preparations, almost everything takes a back seat.

So…

Several years back (about 7 or 8) I decided that I wanted to make very sure my husband wasn’t left behind “in my dust” as I focused on all the things we do at Christmas.

I created a romance plan… yes, I said a romance plan! A laid out plan that allows my husband to feel romanced every single day from December 1st through December 25th, while not impinging on my Christmas preparations.

Truth is… he freaked out! After experiencing one or two days of it, he told me he could hardly wait to wake up each day to see what his “romance surprise” was ( CLUE ONE: looking at the ceiling!).

Once the plan was over, he asked me what I was going to do the next Christmas holiday. Thus, 6 or 7 more plans were born.

But, the truth is… this one has had beta testers galore and every one of them has rated it a 5-star. Even me! And, especially my husband!

It’s a romantic plan that can be done by husbands for wives, or wives for husbands.

And, it’s fool-proof!

Read about it by clicking the book cover above. You won’t be sorry! And, right now it’s FREE on all but one e-reading platform.

And, I’ve created a special page here so that my readers can share with each other about their successes and excitement over this plan!

I just couldn’t help myself. I just have to tell everyone about it!

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Just Released…

joyful-joyful-2It’s just been released and I’m like a kid in a candy store.

Joyful, Joyful has just been released and I’m so excited about it!

Those of you who are planning to purchase NOW, it is only available on Amazon’s Kindle. Well… I guess you can buy it now and download it on your Kindle app and read it right on your computer. Those of you who have any other e-reader platform, I’m so sorry, but the wait will be until January 4th, 2017.

I hope you enjoy this novel and become as emotionally involved in it as much as I did when writing it.

Oh!!!! This is almost as exciting as Christmas!

For those of you who have a Kindle or use the Kindle app, you can purchase it now at Amazon.com. I sure do hope you fall in love with the characters and feel inspired and uplifted by its story !

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Summertime & the Livin’ is Easy…

beachsummer2016I know… it’s been almost two weeks since I’ve written on my blog. But, really… I had an excuse. We’re on vacay! Yep, these are the views I’ve had while at the beach. In fact… I’ll let you in on a little secret: WE’RE STILL AT THE BEACH!

I thought I’d wait until I got home to write about this time of relaxation, sun, fun, and good food, but I was afraid my faithful readers would think I’d dropped off the face of the earth. (Nope, not yet!)

When I woke up this morning, I decided it was the perfect time to show you what I’ve been experiencing.

Both pictures are from the doors on the balcony of the house we’re staying at. When we look straight ahead, we see the glorious beach. After I took the picture, I realized the surf is down, but at times it gets so crazy that the guys (husband and son-in-law) go out and either body surf or ride their rafts. The lower picture is below our balcony, where we’ve spent endless hours swimming (day and night).

My daughter and I are a different story. We haven’t been in the sun the entire time here. Any walks we take are directly down to the pool, where we swim like crazy fanatics, trying to burn off the calorie intake from all the mountainous amounts of food we’ve been eating. (Did I mention that we do all our swimming at NIGHT?!)

Joyful Joyful (cover tiny)I’ve tried to do some writing on my current novel, Joyful, Joyful, but rather than finishing it (like I thought I would), I’ve only written a maximum of maybe 4- to 5,000 words. (There was always food to eat, shopping to do in town, novels to consume, movies to watch on Netflix or Kody, and laughter to engage in until our stomachs ache.)

So, although my newest novel, Joyful, Joyful, is almost done, it’ll have to wait until we get home, which is TOMORROW, to finish it!

By the way, in answer to one of your questions… my newest novel, Joyful, Joyful, is committed to three months exclusivity at Amazon. So, my dear readers, you still have a bit of a wait before it’s released on your ebook platforms, if not Kindle.

Excuse me… the sounds of the ocean waves are calling me!

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Fall Down Stairs and Joyful, Joyful…

Sunday evening we had our daughter and her husband over to celebrate Labor Day a day early. (Her husband had to work Monday.)

We were having a wonderful time, when all of a sudden I took a header down the stairways. I still don’t know exactly how it happened.

fall-down-stairs-3I was walking downstairs with something I was going to show my daughter. I remember seeing that the second and third steps were halfway filled with things like our daughter’s purse, her jacket, and a couple of other things.

So, I don’ know if I slipped while side-stepping them, or if I actually slid on something in the collection of junk she’d deposited there. But, either way, I fell face-first from the third step up. And, I mean I seriously splatted. Fortunately, there was a doorway frame that I could grab (for any good that did me!), but I hit so hard!!!!!

I could hear my husband asking things like, “Can you move your legs?” “Where does it hurt most?” “Can you sit up?” And, of course, I couldn’t answer, because I was in so much pain. I must have laid there minute after minute, listening to his questions and our kids saying stuff like, “Oh, poor momma!” “Oh, our poor little momma!” And, my sweet son-in-law saying, “Mom, you know I would have dove under you to take the brunt of the fall if I could have reacted fast enough!” (And, he would!)

Joyful Joyful (cover tiny)Bottom line. It is today Wednesday, and it’s the first day I’ve been able to get out of bed.

The goose egg on one shin has finally receded, but the foot looks wretched. It is all purple, and so puffy that you can’t see any ligaments or anything underneath. (I look pathetic!)

Now, after all the mess just described, I have to say there is blessing in the midst of it all. I couldn’t get out of bed for two days. Since I couldn’t do anything active, I laid in bed and wrote like a crazy lady on my current novel, Joyful, Joyful. (Praise the Lord for laptops!)

So, what did I learn out of this?

Make sure that you have plenty of candy, popcorn, and the remote controls always stationed on your side of the bed at all times. (It’s kind of that whole Girl Scouts’ motto thingie: Be prepared!)

P.S. No one asked, but… yes… yes, I was EXTREMELY graceful!!! (Is my nose growing???)

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