Monday, January 21, 2019

Monday Meditations - Kinchen


This is quickly becoming one of my favorite words this year. It was a word I actually had to look up the definition. It means "a child." It is such an appropriate word for me. I have found myself surrounded by children since I was a child. I had barely graduated from high school when Randy and I were asked to be middle school youth leaders. Since then, we have raised and homeschooled our own three children and worked together with children in various ministries within the church through the years. I have had a constant flow of babysitees through the house, teach at a homeschool co-op, and work in the nursery at church. One of my favorite kid-centered ministries is cooking three meals a day for a week over the summer for our church's youth camp. There is no better way to make friends with teenagers than by feeding them.

Doing one of my favorite things for kids with one of my favorite adults.

In all honesty, there have been days of working with kids that were harder than others, but there have been days of pure joy as well.

Although there is some debate about who actually said it first, there's a quote that said, "With great power comes great responsibility." While I have never lorded power over any of the kids in my care, there is a lot of truth that statement. I have power in how I treat them. I have power in what I teach them. I have power in the spiritual seeds I plant.

When I think about it, it's kind of scary. I wonder what kids have taken away from our relationship. Do they see more positives than negatives? Have I made a difference in their lives? Have they see Christ in me?

God has given me a ministry to children, and I must not take it lightly. Mark 10:14 tells us that when Jesus saw the disciples turning away children, He said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." Jesus loved them, so I must love them as well.

One of the many things I have learned from kids over the years is that they just want to be loved and taken care of. They need to feel they can trust. They have faith in us; a childlike faith that is, at least so far, unhindered by the bad things of this world.

Even as adults, we can (need to) have a childlike faith when it comes to Christ. He is there to love us and take care of our needs. We can trust Him with everything, down to our deepest, darkest secrets. He never has any intentions to harm us, but to carry us when we are harmed by the world.
I know I need to work on my childlike faith. How about you?

Monday, January 14, 2019

Monday Meditations - Truth


Have you ever had anyone lie about you? I have. I can be hurtful. I've had co-workers lie about me. I've had people close to me lie about me. I've even been lied about by people I've gone to church with. Shock and surprise were only a couple of emotions I felt. The nicer ones. Admittedly, there was anger as well. And wonder. Why would people lie?

I had to take these issues to God in their turn. I could have ranted and raved and attacked those people, but I figured God was a better option. I knew truth was on my side and that God would work out each situation in His time. And He did.

Anne of Green Gables is my favorite movie of all time. One scene has Anne in a heart-to-heart with her teacher after yet another fiasco. Her teacher tells her, "The truth shall set you free." While this was a new concept to Anne, it wasn't actually new. It's a verse found in the Bible. John 8:32, "Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." The Bible also tells us, "Your Word is truth" (John 17:17). The entire Bible, from cover to cover, is truth. It is that truth that will set us free. A few verses later in John 8 we read, "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." All the chains that bind us to this world will be loosed if only we believe that truth, accept Him as Savior, and live for Him.

People of this world will lie about us from time to time. That's just one of the ways Satan tries to beat us down in discouragement. But we can be assured that when we answer to God, He will know the truth, and that truth will certainly set us free.

In case you can't stand to not watch a clip from Anne of Green Gables...

Better yet, buy the movie so you can enjoy the entire thing...

or the book collection...

Monday, January 7, 2019

Monday Meditations - Laughter


Laughter is good for the soul. Studies also show it's good for the heart physically. "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine" (Proverbs 17:22). What more reason do we need to laugh?

When I think of laughter, I can't help but think of the song "I Love to Laugh" from Mary Poppins. You can't help but laugh and sing along!

The times I laugh the hardest are when I'm with my sisters. I don't exactly know what it is about them, but they bring the laughter out of me. Maybe it's because they know me better than almost anyone else, and I can let me guard down and be myself. I laugh so hard, I usually have to make a quick trip to the bathroom. My sisters aren't usually too far behind with their own bathroom runs. As we get older, our bladders just aren't what they used to be.

We laugh when we stay up past our bedtimes playing silly games with our families. I think one time we laughed the hardest was when we were trying to get a decent picture of the three of us as a Father's Day gift for our dad. It was bad. Only one of us is photogenic. It's not me.

(I would post the picture, however, I have a pact with my fellow non-photogenic sister to not post ugly pictures online.)

My son, AKA The Boy, is one who always makes me laugh. If you follow me on Facebook, you've probably seen posts regarding his quotes. He went through a period of time when he would preface statements with, "Don't put this on Facebook." My usual response was, "Then don't tell me." I often post his comments because with all the negativity in the world, I think we all need to laugh a little more often.

Laughter is a gift God has given us. He wants us to enjoy life and create precious memories. I can't help but wonder if Jesus laughed. He cried (John 11:35), so it only stands to reason He laughed. I wonder if there were ever silly conversations when He and the disciples sat down to share a meal.

You may think you have no reason to laugh. Maybe your circumstances, whether physical or spiritual, seem so dire that laughter is out of the question. But John 6:21 tells us, "Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh." That verse gives hope. Things won't always be as bad as they are now. After all, we as believers have an eternity in heaven with Jesus awaiting us. Once there, I imagine we will weep and laugh at the same time with joy.

Ecclesiastes 3:4 "…a time to weep and a time to laugh…"

Monday, December 31, 2018

2019 Monday Meditations

This next year I want to focus on one word each week. I've asked for your help in coming up with words, and so many of you obliged and came up with better words than I ever would have thought up. I'm going to call these my Monday Meditations. Make sure you follow the blog to get automatic updates or check back each week so you don't miss one. I hope you will get to know God and me a little more through these posts that I pray will be spiritually uplifting and fun at the same time.

Looking forward to spending 2019 with you!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Courting Danger Release

I am honored to have fellow author, Nike Chillemi visiting with me today. Keep reading to find out more about her and her newest book Courting Danger.

Q:  Give us an insight into your main character(s). What does he/she do that is so special?

A:  In COURTING DANGER, both Det. Katerina "Kat Andruko and forensic psychologist Dimitri Garmonin have a Slavic background and so do I. This gave me an opportunity to draw from what I know (culture, food, religious attitudes), what I grew up with. Though parts of my psyche are imbedded in each of them, neither of them are me…not even close. They are defined personalities I created. They both share a few very special attitudes and values. Each wants to protect the innocent, find justice for victims, and keep Pelican Beach, Florida (the fictitious city they live in) safe.

Q:  How much research do you do?

A:  COURTING DANGER is set in northeastern coastal Florida and that's where I live, so I know a great deal about the area, it's residents, weather, and so forth. Nevertheless, as I write, I'm constantly googling to check and double check for accuracy. Over the years, writing detective stories, I've become knowledgeable about police procedure. Still, I also have a gentleman who I send chapters to involving firearms, martial arts, and combat. He corrects and/or adds to those areas.

Q:  How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route? Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?

A:  I get the most response (as far as I can tell) from Facebook. I know many authors swear by Twitter and I enjoy Twitter. So, I've been seeking to find out how to be more effective on Twitter. I read Ruth's recent article, "Marketing With Twitter," and I'll try to implement some of the suggestions there. I think the thing that really struck me in that article was "Tweet for other people." I think that's so important. Although I want them to be riveted to news about me, the truth is they're interested in themselves and their pet things. I have to engage others, catch their attention.


Newly installed Pelican Beach, Florida detective Katerina "Kat" Andruko fears the prime suspect will get off in the murder of a teen with the help of the department's forensics psychologist, a man she's just started to trust.

This case has national security implications that gives former US Army Ranger, Dr. Dimitri Garmonin a chance to work with the FBI. The case could give him the chance to obtain the funds needed to expand his small Behavior Analysis Unit. He's unmoved by the chic FBI agent sent to assist but is intrigued by Kat with whom he shares a Slavic heritage.

Kat and her partner detain two wrong suspects, giving the department negative press. The predator turns his anger on Kat, targeting her. Can Dimitri use his profiler skills to catch this killer before he hurts the woman he's growing to love?


Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chair, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She has been a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories; and an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series (out of print), set in the mid-1940s has finaled, won an award, and garnered critical acclaim. The first novel in the Veronica "Ronnie" Ingels/Dawson Hughes series HARMFUL INTENT won in the Grace Awards 2014 Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historical Suspense category. She has written book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and John 3:16 Marketing Network.

Twitter: @NikeNChillemi

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Looking for a new kind of planner?

This 2019 calendar features a Bible verse for each week in creative fonts that can be colored in. A wide variety of holidays are listed, both traditional and unusual. (Do you know when Appreciate a Dragon Day is? How about Lost Sock Memorial Day?) You’ll have plenty of room to record your activities and appointments in the section for each day and week. After every month, you’ll find word puzzles featuring key words from that month's scriptures and holidays.

Prepare for a year full of coloring and fun that will help you hide God's Word in your heart in 2019 without even trying!

Now take a look at some sample pages! (In the actual calendar, each page is 8 1/2" x 11".) 
Clicking on a picture will open up a PDF of the left-hand page (just the part with the Bible verse, not the calendar week) that you can print and color.

Click here to print the coloring page for this verse.

Click here to print the coloring page for this verse.

Click here to print the coloring page for this verse.

Click here to print the coloring page for this verse.

Click here to print the coloring page for this verse.
Click here to print the coloring page for this verse.

Click here to order a copy of Hide it In Your Heart in 2019 for yourself or a friend now!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Writing Success Takes Time

I read something interesting the other day. Chinese Bamboo takes 5 years to root before you see a sprout come to the surface. When it does, within 6 six weeks, this bamboo shoots up to 19 feet tall! Nature is amazing. That waiting period is a nourishing period. While it may seem like nothing is going on, in fact, everything is going on. The root system is hard at work building a firm foundation.

Writers can apply this to their work as well. I know so many people who want to spend a few weeks, maybe a month, writing a book and then expecting to see amazing financial results overnight.

Yeah, it doesn’t work that way.

Writing is an art. It takes time. You need to build a foundation of followers who enjoy reading what you write. It takes a lot of effort and time. I spend one day a week concentrating on marketing. I hate it. It’s the worst part of my job. I don’t like to promote or talk about myself, but how am I supposed to get new readers if I don’t? That is part of my foundation.

Another part of my foundation is to keep on writing smaller pieces while working on the larger books. Books take a whole lot more time to write than an article. When writing articles, I find new readers who can link back to my website and see what else I have done.

So, for all of you new writers out there, don’t expect fame and fortune to happen immediately, if it happens at all. Make sure you spend some time working on your foundational platform. Take notes of the things you do as well as take notes on how much response you’ve had. For example, post a short story on your blog. See how many people actually read it and, even better, leave comments. You have to find what works for you and helps you get your name out there.

Don’t get discouraged. Keep on working. It will be worth it in the end.