Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Time Off

After four days at the ACFW conference, my brain is mush. I haven't been able to fully wrap my mind around the entire experience and process all that I learned.

So I'll be taking the week off from blogging in order to get myself refocused and reorganized.

But I do want to give a huge thank you to the ladies that made my first conference such an easy and fun milestone. Keli Gwyn and Erica Vetsch, I don't know what I would have done without either one of you! Praying big time blessings on you both!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I'm Off

Blogger doesn't like me today. It completely deleted the post I had slotted for today.

Oh well. Here's a recap:

- Going to conference TOMORROW. So excited!

- Won't be posting this week.

- Hoping to have wonderfully fun insights, photos, and stories to share when I get back!

Enjoy your week and I'll see some of you in St. Louis! :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

When is Your Birthday?

Quick and easy today...

I'm nearing the end of the season of birthday's in my family and it got me thinking about YOU!

When is your birthday? And how do you like to celebrate? Are birthday's a big deal for you or just another day?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

God, Community and Jessica R. Patch

Today I'm honored to allow the beautiful and talented Jessica R. Patch to have her way with my blog and introduce us all to her new Facebook group, Living by Grace. A kinder soul simply doesn't exist! If you haven't already checked out her page, by all means, do it!

Here's Jess...

Living by Grace...Together

What does living by grace mean to you? For me, it means walking each day knowing I am weak, but He is strong. I get tired, He never does. I stumble, He holds me up. I make mistakes, He’s perfect.

So many things pour into me every day. Responsibilities of being a wife, mother, employee, a writer, a woman (if you’re a woman you know what I’m saying). I wear many hats. I love each one. I love each responsibility, but they can all wear me out.

I need my thirsty soul, quenched. I need to be saturated with His love, with the washing of the water of His Word. I can’t be good at any of the things above, if I don’t first fill myself up with Him.

Can anyone relate?

And because I’m a woman, I like to share. Women love to share, don’t they? My husband is amazed at some of the things I’m willing to divulge to my girlfriends. I love it when a bunch of us get together and talk about life and most importantly the foundation of life.

Jesus Christ.

It renews me, encourages me, revs me up, and gives me hope. We bond through friendship and faith. We care for each other, pray for each other, laugh together. It’s a wonderful experience, especially when coffee and chocolate are involved!

“…A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

Doesn’t this sense of belonging, renewal, and friendship sound wonderful? Wish you could have it on a daily basis?

You can.

I’m honored to be partnering with some incredible women of faith who want to live by grace, together. We want a sense of community and camaraderie with other women. On September 12th, we’ll be launching a devotional facebook community. Living By Grace. We want to invite you to come by and let your souls be quenched, your minds and hearts challenged. Each day an amazing woman will bring the word through a devotional and feel free to mingle, chat, ask questions, and just have a good time.

We’re building bonds of sisterhood through faith and facebook! Come and join us.

Contributing Writers: Jennifer Slattery, Joanne Sher, Patty Wysong, Lynda Schultz, Maria Morgan, and yours truly.

If you haven't already, you can connect with Jessica through her blog or through the Living by Grace community. I highly recommend it!

Have you already joined Jessica's new group? Or are you on your way to do so right now? :)

***The winner of The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund is Kendra! Congratulations and enjoy the great read!***

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Me Project by Kathi Lipp

"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now on and make a brand new ending." Carl Bard

I have been looking for a book like this for many years! If you're like me you go through phases of extreme motivation to accomplish something you dream about to slumps of depressed despair that you simply don't have the time, resources or energy to follow through with your goals.

The Me Project is the answer to that problem. Kathi Lipp is a gifted encourager that knows how important it is for women to find, pursue and enjoy the unique callings that God has placed on our lives.

Using the 21 "projects" that Kathi has outlined, it's easier than ever to make forward progress in discovering and accomplishing the big-picture life we've always dreamed about.

Each chapter is broken down into easy to accomplish sections - The project, Prayer for the day, how to Get Creative, a Project Report, and Results.

Kathi's writing style is fun and easy to read. I promise you'll laugh out loud on more than one occasion. More importantly, you'll be inspired and motivated to find out what God specially created in you to use for His glory!

I think the biggest take away for me as a stay at home mom was this: It's not selfish of me to want my own time and dreams. I'm not hurting my family by pursing a desire that God placed in my being and more astounding than that is that God wants us to feel pleasure and enjoyment when we follow through with His designs for our lives. How can you beat that?

So be encouraged! Fitting life all in is possible. One step at a time...thanks to Kathi!

And, as a special BONUS, Kathi is sharing her article, Three Super Simple Kick Starts to get you ready to begin!

Book Summary

Has that rush to make (and break) New Year’s resolutions already waned? According to Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, taking small steps every day will not only help you stay committed to your goal, but will also help you ultimately achieve that goal when obstacles come up. Author Kathi Lipp wants you and your friends to live out those dreams—and have some fun along the way.

As women, we forget the goals and dreams of our younger years. The busyness of everyday life gets in the way. To-do lists replace goals. The Me Project provides women with fun and creative ways to bring back the sense of purpose and vitality that comes with living out the plans and dreams God has planted in our hearts. Kathi Lipp’s warm tone and laugh-out-loud humor motivates women to take daily steps toward intentional goals. The end result? We get back our lives and enjoy living in the confidence of a purposeful life in spite of our chaotic schedules.

This handy guide coaches women to do one simple thing toward achieving our goals each day for three weeks. A woman experiencing the exhilaration of a rediscovered life offers more as a wife, mother, friend, volunteer, career woman.

Finding the balance between living day-to-day with purpose while pursuing the passions God has placed in our hearts is a delicate pursuit. In this refreshing, insightful book, Kathi lays out a doable plan that makes sense and helps make our God-given dreams a reality. Never stop dreaming, because women who dare to dream do make the world a better place.
—Jean Blackmer
author of MomSense: A Common Sense Guide to Confident Mothering
Publishing Manager, MOPS International

Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker, currently speaking each year to thousands of women throughout the United States. She is the author of The Husband Project and The Marriage Project, serves as food writer for Nickelodeon, and has had articles published in several magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal. Kathi and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four teenagers and young adults. For more information visit her website:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jody Hedlund and The Doctor's Lady

Today is a very special Tuesday!


I have the extreme honor of reviewing (bragging about) Jody's latest release The Doctor's Lady. If you haven't heard of Jody Hedlund or of her fabulous books (The Preacher's Bride and The Doctor's Lady) than you must be living under a rock.

Seriously, her books are wonderful! I highly recommend that you get yourself to Amazon quickly and order a copy...or ten! Or you can leave a comment today and you might win a free, signed copy of The Doctor's Lady!

We have a lot going on this morning - my review, an interview with Jody, her contest information and a book giveaway. Yes, I know, it's just like Christmas around here!

Let's get to it!

My Review:

There are a few specific things I look for while I’m reading a book. How well these things grab me determine how much I enjoy the overall story. Some of my criteria includes: cover art, interesting and historic setting, likable characters/understanding of their motivations, unique plot, and romantic tension…just the right amount (so I'm not wanting to throw the book out the window). :)

When I first heard about Jody’s newest book, The Doctor’s Lady, I knew immediately that I was going to LOVE it! For two reasons…the cover is breathtakingly beautiful and the setting is the early days of the Oregon Trail, a time period I’m obsessed with.

When I finally got my hands on the actual book, I devoured it. True to her reputation Jody didn’t disappoint. She is gifted at weaving stories that naturally unfold, adding in the right amount of suspense and tension and romance along the way. She far exceeded any criteria I had so I was no longer "judging" the book but simply enjoying the story.

It only took me three days to read this book because I just couldn't put it down! It's one of those books that you wish would go on and on and on...A definite must read!

My Interview:

Jody is so talented at transporting us back in time through her stories that I thought it would be fun if we took her along with us. So I asked Jody a few questions about her wagon traveling abilities. ;) And there's a hint at the end about her next book, releasing in 2012!

Here's what she said:

Lacie: If you could serve as a missionary, what part of the world would you like to reach?

Jody: My husband and I have some friends who are living in England and doing youth work there. We get to hear the stories of what they’re doing to try to make a difference in the lives of the young people. It sounds really exciting (and hard too!). But I think that would be one of the places I’d love to go.

Lacie: If you were journeying via wagon across the country, what would be the hardest possession for you to leave behind?

Jody: My coffee pot. Oh and my microwave. Yes, I’m a modern girl to the fullest extent! I love all of the conveniences of the twenty-first century and I couldn’t live without them! (I only live without when I’m in my story worlds!) As far as personal possessions, I’d have a difficult time leaving behind my all of my many books by all of the many authors I love!

Lacie: Which part of the journey would cause you the most discomfort or fear? (example: river crossings, bugs/insects, heat, lack of food, long days, etc.)

Jody: Since I get hot very easily, I’d probably dislike the constant heat. I can’t imagine always wearing the heavy layered clothing that was customary AND living and working without air conditioning. We have such light clothing nowadays and AC at the flip of a switch. It’s hard to imagine getting along without!

Lacie: What part of writing The Doctor’s Lady was the most enjoyable for you? (research, plotting, writing, etc.)

Jody: I actually enjoyed the entire process of writing the first draft. I always fall in love with my books during the researching and planning phase. That love just continues to grow when I sit down to write the book. The writing and the creative process is something that feeds me, refreshes me, and brings me to life.

Lacie: Why do you choose to write historical romance stories? What draws your heart to a certain time period or character?

Jody: I love reading historicals, so naturally that’s what I’m drawn to write. I’m fascinated with all of the things that happen in other times and places that seem so foreign to us now. I really appreciate when historical facts are woven into books seamlessly so that I’m learning but don’t really realize I am. And I hope that I can do that in my books too.
I’m particularly drawn to strong women of the past. I like being able to bring their stories to life because there is so much we can learn from them, and their courage is so inspiring.

Lacie: Can you give us any hints about where/what your next book might be about? :)

Jody: I’ll have another historical romance releasing next year in 2012. I’m really excited about this story because it’s set in my home state of Michigan. It takes place during the 1880’s at a time in history when the lumber era was at its height. Although the story isn’t inspired by a true person the way my first two books have been, I do include several real people, particularly a real villain by the name of James Carr who was notorious in central Michigan for his violence and for introducing white slavery into the state.

Thanks Jody for being such a good sport! I love learning new things about my favorite authors!

Before we get to the book giveaway, I have to tell you about Jody's fabulous contest. I entered it myself and am hoping I win so...actually, maybe you shouldn't enter it. My odds of winning are better if you don't. :)

But I know you'll want to put your name in the pot because she put together the most beautiful trunk full of goodies. Check it out here:
Enter the Be A Trailblazer Contest!

Tell your friends about Jody's BE A TRAILBLAZER contest!

Share on Twitter!

Share on Facebook!

By now you're all dying to get your hands on a copy of The Doctor's Lady. Rightly so. Here's how you can win an autographed copy - it's simple - Leave me a comment before midnight on Friday September 9th and I'll randomly choose a winner! (Winner must have a U.S. mailing address.)

Have you already read The Doctor's Lady? What is your favorite thing about Jody's stories and writing style? If you haven't read Jody's books yet, what criteria do you have that help you decide if you love a book or not?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

TV Re-do

Back in May I blogged about shutting off my cable and how I wasn't sure if I'd survive the ordeal.

I had lofty ideas about how I could better use my time if the TV distraction wasn't available.

I made it three months. Not too bad. But yesterday as I sat in my kitchen while the Comcast cable guy re-hooked up our cable box (Thank you, Jesus!) I couldn't help thinking about how much I was looking forward to some nice, quiet evenings alone with my TV and maybe a scoop (or two) of cookie dough.

My mind began to wander as I thought about all the shows I would get to catch up on.

I'm not a dark and edgy person so you won't catch me watching anything vampire or murder mystery. But man, I love a good reality show...and food! Cupcake Wars, Iron Chef America, Survivor, Bachelor, Shark Tank are some of my favorites.

As I channel surfed with my sparkly new remote my attention was drawn to a show called Hoarders. Have you seen this show? Wow! And I'm not sure how I mean that "wow" exactly. The show is gross and complicated and heart-wrenching and frustrating to watch. I was yelling at my TV almost the entire time, "It's trash! Just throw it away already!"

Take a person, add some type of emotional issue, toss in several tons of stuff and sprinkle with a generous helping of rodents, bugs and mold and you have the makings of a very disturbing hour.

I shudder when I watch. But I still watch. I can't help it!

Are you a hoarder to some extent? Do you know a hoarder? Are you drawn to these types of shows? Why do you think some people struggle with collecting "things"?