“UnPerfect” Holiday Blessings!

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by C.J. Peterson

We rush around day and night, making sure to get all of the details completed for our ‘perfect Holidays’. Why do we do this? To create memories. The question I have for you is…”What makes a memory ‘memorable’?”

Is it those ‘perfect’ moments, or is it the moments that make you smile and laugh? Those moments where the turkey was supposed to be ‘perfect’, but you forgot to turn the oven on, and ended up with holiday meatloaf. Those moments where those ‘perfectly’ decorated cookies you were going to be handing out to neighbors – ends up being more icing on the kids, than on the cookies. Those moments where you took time to decorate the tree ‘perfect,’ but the kitty decided to climb to the top, grab the garland, and drag it down the hallway. You cringe as you see all of your work strewn about the house, and then start over. Those moments where you wrap the present ‘perfectly’, only to look at the ones already wrapped, and you see that the dog got into ‘Uncle Billy’s’ summer sausage log…or the cat decided that they wanted to play with all of the bows and ribbons, and you have to re-wrap them.

Another example of this happened a few years ago to our family. My nephew got called for deployment starting in the beginning of November. That meant that he would not be home for Christmas. The family started stressing! A Christmas without him wouldn’t be the same. So, I suggested that we have Christmas before he goes. The mad scramble ensued as everyone made mad dashes to get everything ready a few months earlier than planned. No Black Friday savings. Finding a turkey for a decent price before Thanksgiving was a feat. However, in my family’s true fashion. we pulled it off. Yes, it was strange seeing my brother and sister-in-love’s house decorated for Christmas in October, but it was beautiful!

Another year, there was a huge blizzard. I promise you that will never be forgotten! Literally two inches of ice, covered in two feet of snow in a matter of hours! My husband and brother took my sister-in-love’s mom home after the Christmas celebrations, and got stuck a half mile from the house. They had to walk back home and leave the car. They looked like walking snowmen by the time they got home, but they were bonded for life!

This year will be a much different year, as the family will be split. There are a lot of health issues going on within the family and extended family. This created a scheduling nightmare. With my Dad’s passing in July, there will be an empty seat at the table. My niece’s mother-in-love is battling major health issues, so they will come later in order to spend Christmas with her. Meanwhile, my sister-in-love’s mother is facing her own serious health issues. My mother has had her own health issues, and she cannot travel, which means we all need to go to her. My nephew’s military schedule dictates him to come in early, so we’re heading to my Mom and sister’s house early. Then, we will return for the second half when my niece’s family goes. Super Hubby and I will be spending Christmas itself at home for the first time in years.

We have a table cloth, that each year everyone who attends Christmas signs their name and the year. After Christmas, I go through and stitch each name, following their signature lines. This keeps a permanent record. While we won’t have Dad, we’ll have his name on the table cloth.

We normally do a group photo of the family, but this year, we’ll have to have ‘sections’ of family photos…with Dad missing from all of them.

No matter what the situation, we will make it happen! This Christmas calls for flexibility, but we’ll do it! As long as the family can get together, we’ll make it work.

What I am trying to say is that the more ‘unperfect’ the moment, the more memorable it will be. Some of those memories will be filled with laughter and delight, some will be precious ones that can never be replaced by those who have moved on. Either way, those moments will never be far from our heart! So, don’t stress. Roll with it.

With all that being said, I want to wish you ‘Unperfect Happy Holidays!’ Make them great!
God bless, C.J. 🙂
Christmas Memories

About the Author:

CJ PetersonI was raised in a Christian military home, but it was far from tranquil. Like many young people, I left home as soon as possible, and went my own way, thinking I knew better. To me anything was better than where I was. Unfortunately, some of the choices I made led me away from the Lord, and sometimes that path was a dangerous one.
God is faithful, even when His children are lost and wandering. When I needed Him most, the Lord was there for me. He led me out of that danger and into a new life…a life where I am loved and appreciated. He taught me what ‘real love’ is, and what it’s supposed to look like through my family and wonderful husband.
Who knew that “Prince Charming” actually existed? I hoped and prayed he was out there, and I found him! He is a 24 year Navy veteran and the love of my life! With his encouragement, I rediscovered the creativity I thought I had lost a long time ago, and have begun to publish the books I have written through the years. The words in these books helped me through my struggles, and my prayer is they will help others.
The way in which I write my Christian Books, is unique to say the least. I am a realistic Christian. People are people, they stumble, they fall, they trip, but God continues to dust us off, and set us back on the path again, if we just learn to trust in Him.
The challenges faced in my past give me a perspective on the realities of living the Christian life that some people may never see. There are times we wander away from God…there are times when we draw closer to Him. In our arrogance we think we can make it on our own. However, the One who made this world, and who made you, has the answers, and thankfully, He forgives our impudence and petulance and loves us through it all. God is a God of love, mercy, grace, and guidance. He loves us and only wants the best for us.
Those who have read my books, describe them as encouraging, frustrating, and a wonderful read all at the same time. The same character that could have you crying one minute, will have you cheering the next! One of my editors, stated that ‘she was so into the story, that she forgot to edit, and had to go back to do the editing’.
I pray you will enjoy my books as well!

While the stories are fiction, the journey is real.

Visit CJ’s websitehttp://cjpetersonwrites.com/

Follow her on FB http://www.facebook.com/writingbycjpeterson

Follow her on Twitterhttp://www.twitter.com/authoress_cj

Follow her on Pinterest http://pinterest.com/authoresscj/

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CrossReads Book Spotlight: Callie’s Land

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

Callie’s Land

(Oklahoma Land Lottery Book 2)

by Deanne Durrett

Callie's Land

In this Christian suspense, Wil’s claim becomes Callie’s land as soon as she crosses East Otter Creek and sets foot on the opposite bank. In the days to come, she must find the courage to homestead in the lawless Territory she never planned to visit, follow a dream she never shared, and face the man who shot Wil. With the Twaller Gang no longer a threat, rumors of vast amounts of outlaw booty attract a variety of unsavory treasure seekers. Some are awaiting Clay Douglas’s return, while others have plans to create their own gangs. Evan so, there seems to be safety between East and West Otter Creeks, but unseen threats lurk in the shadows of the tree-lined banks. Unusual gifts left for Callie and Angelia stir concern and suspicion. A few days later, Callie’s fears become reality when her best friend is kidnapped, and then the kidnapper comes after Callie. Will she be able to defend herself with the skills her grandfather taught her, or will her headstrong determination put her and Wil’s unborn child at further risk?

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CrossReads Short Takes: Seeing The Life & The Trouble In Willow Falls

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CrossReads Short Takes

Seeing The Life

by Sophie Dawson

Seeing The Life

Dassa and Micah begin their life together in Bethlehem with joy and tragedy. Joy of new friends, the birth of their son, and his tragic death at the hands of the king’s soldiers. The hand of God moves them to Jerusalem where Micah is a scribe to the metal merchant Joseph the Arimethean. In the heart of Israel, they live the events occurring during the occupation by the Roman Empire. Tensions are high and then there are the stirrings of a young rabbi from Nazareth.

Micah, Joseph, and their families follow the ministries of John the Baptist and Yeshua, a poor carpenter from Nazareth. Is he the Messiah who will lead Israel against the Roman army? Is he a fraud, a cohort of Satan? Or is he something else? The crowds cheer him, then want to stone him. They hail his arrival then, cry for his execution.
Through it all, Dassa, Micah and their family observe and wonder about who exactly is this Yeshua, whom they’ve known since the night of his birth. How will this man impact them, Israel, and the rest of the world?

Surround yourself with the culture and family life of first century Jerusalem Seeing The Life of the one man who changed the world.

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The Trouble In Willow Falls

(Willow Falls Series Book 2)

by Pat Nichols

The Trouble In Willow Falls

Months after submitting her first novel to publishers, Emily Hayes receives one response—a rejection. When famous artist Naomi Jasper offers her much-needed cash to finish writing, then cast and direct a play about Willow Falls’ colorful history, Emily faces a difficult decision—postpone rewriting her novel or accept the offer. Aware the project has a high probability of failure she attempts to recruit the one person who has the experience she needs.

Rachel Streetman is one audition away from jump-starting her lackluster acting career. When an unexpected incident sends her fleeing to Willow Falls and reeling back into Charlie Bricker’s arms, she reluctantly accepts Emily’s offer. An invitation to audition for a play in Atlanta’s premiere theater forces her to choose between loyalty and her life-long dream.

If anyone understands broken hearts, it’s Willow Inn’s beloved innkeeper. Sadie Liles learned to live with the fact that love is the last thing she’ll ever find. Then he walks through Willow Inn’s front door.

When a scathing blogger review and a negative Atlanta television newscast threaten Willow Falls’ premiere as a North Georgia tourist destination, the town council invests the remainder of its annual budget to hire a PR firm to restore the town’s image. At a town-hall meeting, angry residents brainstorm ideas to address the problem. When a second Atlanta television station announces plans to film a segment for its Around Georgia series, residents dig deep to invest their time and limited resources to boost Willow Falls’ appeal.

As the town prepares for Redding Arms’ grand opening, five newcomers and one British tourist test the town’s quirky, lovable, argumentative residents. Dealing with the strife, bickering, and personal backstabbing challenges Willow Falls in ways the small town never imagined. Could it be that the trouble in Willow Falls is the very thing that reminds its residents that honesty, love, and loyalty to one another is what binds them together?

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Did You Hear That Voice? 12/10/2019

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by James Collins

“Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come?”  

Isaiah 42:23

have been trying to learn to use my cell phone. However, there are many buttons and apps – I have no idea what most of them do.  

The other day, I saw a friend talking into her cell phone. However, she wasn’t on a call. “What are you doing?” I asked. She said, “I’m using the voice command app. I talk, and the voice command types my text message.”  

She showed me how the app worked and for the past few days, I have tried to use it. Yet, it doesn’t work right. It doesn’t understand my country accent.  

Someone texted me and told me about a lady from church who was in the hospital. I replied with my voice command, “I hope she gets better. I pray she does.” Only it said, “I pray she dies.” That was not good… 

Once I got the voice command activated, I couldn’t figure out how to turn it off. I got frustrated and said, “Baloney!” When I said, “Baloney,” the phone said, “Bologna is a city in Italy. It is also a cooked, smoked sausage.” I screamed, “I didn’t say Bologna. I said, Baloney!”  

Later that day, I was at the dentist office with the phone in my pocket. As I was sitting in the waiting room, a voice said, “Say a command.” The lady at the reception desk looked up at me. I heard the voice again, “Say a command.” I realized the voice was coming out of my pants 

“Say a command.” 

I took the phone out of my pocket, tried to turn it off, but it kept saying, “Say a command.”  

“Say a command.” 

“I command you to shut up!” I exclaimed. 

I was called back to the exam room. I was sitting in the dental chair while the hygienist was cleaning my teeth. I couldn’t say anything because there was a suction hose, tooth scraper, polisher, waterpik, and seven or eight other dental tools hanging out of my mouth. I couldn’t have said anything if I tried.  

Suddenly, I heard a voice say, “Did you say call Brian Poodle?” It said it again. “Did you say call Brian Poodle?”  

I know Brian Williams, Brian Foster, and Brian Lane. However, I don’t know Brian Poodle. I know some wiener dogs, and a schnauzer, but I don’t know a poodle.  

Frustrated, I finally reached in my pocket and turned off that stinking thing. I was tired of hearing the voice. So, I turned it off. 

Often, we do the same thing.  

Young people get tired of listening to their parents. So, they turn them off.  

In church, people get tired of listening to the preacher. So, they turn him off.  

You get tired of listening to the Word of God. So, you turn it off. 

The point is: God might just be trying to say a command to you. Will you give an ear to Him? Will you just listen? Don’t cover your ears and close your heart.     

About the Author:

James-Collins

James-Collins

James Collins is the author of “The Nativity: How The Story Of Christmas Can Change Your Life,” available now on Amazon. He can be reached through the website thepointis.net.

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Is Your Tree “whonkijawed”?

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by Rebekah Beene

As I got up one morning I took a couple of pictures with only the lights of the tree shining. Our tree is so beautiful. It’s a little whonkijawed though. Isn’t that how it is with real trees? There’s always something a little imperfect about them. But move them around, hide the flaws with some ornaments and they are just right.

Oh beloved, even our wonderful life can be a little whonkijawed can’t it? We want perfection. We want Norman Rockwell. All set just so without a thing out of place. But real life is not so. How can we live the great life when it’s not perfect? How do we live if things feel so out of whack at times?

God wants you to know this morning that the blessed life is His gift to you. It’s not perfect but it’s full of surprises and you can have the inner joy, peace and faith no matter what things look like. Many people have traded in what they thought was a too imperfect life only to find out it was really oh so good.

It’s time to extend your season. Christmas may have its flaws, you may have your flaws, but when Jesus overtakes your season and your world you will find yourself feeling blessed with even the whonkijawed places. It’s time to give thanks for a real life. It’s time to embrace your own imperfections and let Jesus work them all out for you. He won’t leave you there. He won’t discard you. He won’t condemn you. But He is even now in the process of changing you from glory to glory! Your calling is to reflect His glory anyway!

God loves you and He’s for you. He sent Jesus to make you brand new and breathe new life into your mortal body. Run to Him and praise Him this morning for everything, and walk in His Word that changes everything from the inside out.

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption [that is, our deliverance and salvation] through His blood, [which paid the penalty for our sin and resulted in] the forgiveness and complete pardon of our sin, in accordance with the riches of His grace.

Romans 8:29 For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.

1 John 3:2 Beloved, we are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when Christ appears, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is.

About the Author:

Rebekah Beene

In a Christian Women’s meeting in 1983, Rebekah was given a prophetic message that she would write books. Several years ago she began writing stories about special holiday memories and travels, sharing God’s love and care through each story. God has gifted Rebekah with the ability to look at the natural and see the supernatural. Both Rebekah and her husband Danny have a heart to share the Gospel and the riches of life in Christ to everyone they meet. They have served in the local church and in ministry to motorcyclists. Danny is an ordained minister and they both have been Bible study teachers for many years. Rebekah also speaks at women’s retreats and conferences. Her tag line says it all “God loves you and He’s for you”.

My website is http://rebekahbeene.wordpress.com

My first book in print is Oh Beloved! Live in the Light of His Word.
Link to buying the book via paypal is on the website.
As well a link to purchasing the ebook on Amazon is there too.
I’m also on twitter @rebekahbeene, tumblr http://rebekah-beene.tumblr.com/
and of course facebook as Rebekah Beene (Warren) I included my maiden name for old friends.
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Gems From Pastor Jim 12/6/2019

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by Jim Hughes

crossIs. 9:6-7 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

For unto us a child is born…..The birth of Jesus was not a spur of the moment event. In Ephesians 1:3-10 Paul makes it clear that before the foundation of the world was laid, God had a plan in place to redeem us. He purposely made us with the ability to accept or reject Him knowing that most would reject Him. He knew that there would be no way once sin entered into Unto us a child is born, a son is given. Jesus IS the Son of God. We hear God speak in Matt. 3:16-17 and 17:5 and declare that Jesus is His son in whom He is well pleased. Jesus left no room for doubt that He was the Son of God. John declares it to be so in John 1:1 and 14. Jesus is also the Son of Man. It is one of the titles Jesus often used of himself. He was human in every since of the word. We often find Him being hungry, tired, frustrated, praying, worshiping, dependant on God. We find Him wrestling with His certain death, in great physical pain and dying on a cross. Malachi describes His as being the Sun of Righteousness, with healing in His wings (Mal. 4:2).

Unto us a child is born, a son is given, a promise is kept. Starting in the Garden of Eden, God promised the world a Savior. Over and over again God declared the coming of the Savior. God was well aware of the world’s need for a Savior and in the fullness of time (Gal. 4:4) came, God sent His Son. Even though it seemed like God was not available, that He had abandoned His people, Jesus came. People had not given up hope, even though they had not heard from God for 400 years. They were living out life knowing that God was trustworthy and the Messiah would come some day.

We today celebrate the birth of the promised Messiah, Jesus our Savior, and we too are living out life in anticipation of His coming. Only this time, when Jesus comes He will be coming to take us, the church, out of the world to be with Him in heaven. God is trustworthy and He will keep His promise; Jesus is coming soon. Are you ready? Far more important than celebrating His birth is the celebrating of His soon return. Let us live each day in readiness.

man’s heart that He would be able to have fellowship with him, so He put in a plan whereby we could be restored to fellowship with Him. God gave us His Son because He loves us and wants to spend eternity with us (John 3:16). A child was born to be our Savior and Lord.

Jesus was no ordinary child. He is the embodiment of God in human flesh. He lived a sinless life, even though He was faced with all the temptations we are faced with. He lived and died to become our Savior and Lord (Phil. 2:5-8). Jesus came to address the desperate need of our hearts. He came to be with us in this journey of life, to be our Immanuel.

Before and After the Honeymoon

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

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CrossReads Book Spotlight: Cleared For Planting

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

Cleared For Planting

(Appalachian Roots Book 1)

by Janice Cole Hopkins

Cleared For Planting

With the unexpected lurking just around the corner, living in the Appalachian mountains in 1804 takes a strong person.

Emma has high hopes when her family moves to the North Carolina mountains. Her father appears to have finally quit drinking, and he plans to settle their family once and for all near the Linville River. Here Emma meets Edgar Moretz, an intelligent, passionate, and godly young man.

Things are looking up for Emma, but when she is captured by a Cherokee raiding party, her problems have just begun.

Years later, Clifton has finally finished his medical training and plans to spend some time at his family’s mountain farm until he can decide his next step. He also hopes God will send him a special woman to become his wife and make his life happy. But, he finds that the road to happiness is not always smooth.

Cleared for Planting is book one in the Appalachian Roots series, and is a very heartwarming story of one family and staying true to their Christian values no matter the costs. 

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CrossReads Short Takes: Are We the Terminal Generation? & In Loving Katie Marie

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CrossReads Short Takes

Are We the Terminal Generation?

A simplified discussion of end time prophecy

by Christine Tate

Are We the Terminal Generation?

The generation who will be alive at the time of Christ’s return is called the Terminal Generation. This special generation will experience unique times unlike any other generation has witnessed before or ever will see again. But is that our generation? Enjoy twenty-five intriguing weeks of exploring how end time prophecy affects us in our world today as you decide for yourself if we are the Terminal Generation. Each week, this topical approach to prophetic events opens with a prayer and ice-breaker followed by a short Greek or Hebrew word study relating to the topic of the week. A lesson then explains the topic in simplified terms while commenting on what scripture has to say about the topic. Following the lesson are discussion questions focusing on relevant, modern-day applications that encourage group discussion on how the topic relates to our world as we know it. After discussing the weekly concept, optional suggestions are provided for additional ways to connect the topic to your week and then the study ends with a closing prayer. Broken down into individual unit topics such as Mystery Babylon, the Mark of the Beast, Israel, the Third Temple, the Day of the Lord and the Millennial Reign among others, this study simplifies the complex and often confusing world of prophetic events. Piece by piece, like a puzzle coming together, your group will develop a greater understanding of end time prophetic events and what it means to us, now. So, what do you think? Are we the Terminal Generation? It’s time to make the relevant connections between scripture our world and find out what scripture has to say about the matter.

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In Loving Katie Marie

(Snowflakes)

by Della M Strickland

In Loving Katie Marie

Can a spark of love,
A spark of courage,
A spark of faith,
Change a family destined for destruction?

All Lilly Noel ever dreamed and yearned for was a passionate, fiery love with a story to tell, such as her parents and her sister, LaBelle Boudreaux had.

All Pastor William T. Gallagher ever wanted was a family and a simple, leisurely, small town life, such as his parents had in Lafayette, North Carolina. And he thought, once upon a time, he had it. Then his wife Clara Lynne deserted him and their daughter, Katie Marie. Will found himself on the run from the law and DSS, having to leave everything behind to save what was left of him, Katie Marie, and his love for her, as his heart is held captive in the charred chains of a fiery, bitter past.

When Will and Katie Marie wash up at Lilly’s family seaside motel, The Pearlesque Fountain, her heart began to fall for both of them. But the more she flirted with Will, the more he withdrew. Until…taking the bull by the horns to “snag” her man she received the most stunning and passionate kiss of her life.

But a love as Lilly had longed for has a price. Lilly began to learn what that price could be as Will unveils his past.
Will understood why he “existed,” and worked to take care of Katie Marie. But Lilly… He couldn’t stop falling for her, but had to push her away, making it clear they had no future. He didn’t count on Lilly’s fighting side.

Then a strange woman appeared with secrets, a child, and a devious plan. Compelled by her faith to help this woman, Lilly knew she could lose Will.

Can love find a way through devastation, betrayal, to recovery and forgiveness as time weaves Lilly, Will, Katie Marie, and the strange woman together with his bitter past? Will Lilly be able to pay the price love is calling her into when the strange woman’s secrets are revealed?

Even fate can’t stop the fires of passion sparked by a heart of uncommon faith, love, and courage, a fire that propels Will, Lilly, and Katie Marie’s love story in an unforeseen direction. What will their end be? Come, dive in, and find out in, In Loving Katie Marie!

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Author Interview with Carmen Peone 12/3/2019

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by Carmen Peone

Today, we welcome Carmen Peone for an Author Interview. Thank you Carmen for being here today and for agreeing to do this interview.

  1. Question: What do you think prepared you or qualifies you to write in your chosen genre? 

Answer: When I moved onto the Colville Reservation with my husband who is a tribal member, I began to learn the culture and language. I was involved in the school system, a K-12 school of about 300 students, from volunteering, to school board, to sub teaching, to coordinating the afterschool program, and becoming one of the archery coaches. While on the school board, Marguerite Ensminger a fellow board member and Salish teacher invited me to learn the Arrow Lakes language. With all of what I’d learned and experience I wrote a middle school book. One book turned into 15, including curriculum for my YA books.

    2. Question: Tell us a little about your “real” (Non-writing) life — family, job, church life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help, from people or circumstances? 

Answer: I’ve been married for 35 years in December. We have 4 boys between us and 9 grandchildren, I write full-time now, have taught Sunday school in the past and now attend the Garden Valley Community Church north of where I live. We live in 1 of the 4 towns or districts on the Colville Indian  

Reservation, and on the eastern side of the reservation that edges Lake Roosevelt on the Columbia River. We are in the middle of nowhere and to travel to Spokane, we ride a small free ferry. There are mountain, lakes and streams, making where I live the inspiration and setting to all of my books. I have a couple horses I’ve competed on and they are also a huge inspiration and cover models for two of my books. If anything, my community enhances my writing. They are my characters.

    3. Question: Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction? 

Answer: I am horse crazy. Riding relaxes me and frees my mind to create. My life has always been my family, husband, children and grandchildren. I often watch my some of my grandkids when needed. I have a Dingo named Daisy, who’s my daily companion. She’s now 15 so doesn’t really ride with me much anymore, but she’s still right by my side wherever I go. I love nature photography and four of my book covers include my photography, which is fun. I sell photo I’ve taken that include characters and setting. I’ve always been an outdoor girl, love camping and skiing.  

    4. Question: Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers? 

Answer: I do use Beta readers and proofers, as well as hire a designer for book covers and a couple of editors. I want my books to be as professional as I can get them.

    5. Question: Since you have several books out, tell us what you think works for promotion. What are your thoughts on ebooks versus print books and different ways to let people know about you and your books? 

Answer: Marketing is part of the writer’s gig. I speak, give workshops, vend at craft fairs, promote on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Being visible on Goodreads is a must. The last couple of years my book launches have suffered because I had the trifecta Presidential term for Women Writing the West. What I want to look into more is promoting through Book Bub and other paid or free sites that promote books. I realize Ebooks are important but also know print books are still the top sellers. I do both and this year will work on putting all my books in audio.

    6. Question: Tell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it. 

Answer: Heart of Passion, book 3 in my True to Heart Trilogy, came out in October. This is a historical YA set in the mid-1800s and includes the richness of culture and language belonging to the Arrow Lakes band of the Colville Tribe. Spupaleena, my main character, is a young woman coming into her own, racing horses and dreaming of someday selling her bloodlines to the Hudson’s Bay Company Fort Colvile. The fur traders needed exceptional horses to carry pelts to various locations and she has them. Her passion does not lie in traditional woman’s work of berry picking and tanning hides, but in raising horses to supply a major corporation. She knows a huge shift in the future is coming and will do what it takes to be prepared.  

    7. Question: What is the “message” of your writing? (For example, is your purpose to encourage old-fashioned values, encourage romance, or do you have different purposes in different books?) 

Answer: The themes of my books are the same: cling to hope and dream big. Something we all need to do. God gives us gifts and talents and the courage to reach and use them. All we need to do is step out in faith.  

    8. Question: Tell us one place you visited or person you met, that made a big impression on you, and why. 

Answer: Marguerite Ensminger, Tima Mugs, was under 5 feet tall, a wisp of a tough old gal. When she asked me to come to her home and learn the language, I declined. I declined several times until I thought I’d go a few times and stop. My life was busy with teenage boys, work, and other activities. I ended up staying for 3 years. She taught me endurance, survival, and to love the language and culture of the People. My grandmother’s had passed away within three months of each other while working with Tima (grandmother) and she adopted me into her heart as one of my grandmothers. The only reason we ended the sessions is because after several strokes, she passed away, or I’d still be with her today.

    9. Question: Share something that’s amazing, touching, or that makes you angry. 

Answer: In a world at spiritual warfare, I love kindness. Those special acts of love that make a person feel worthy and special and valued. This is craft fair season and a time when I see or meet a lot of folks and is a way I can give a compliment or hug, encourage someone who is having a hard time. There is nothing like helping to turn sadness to hope by one simple act of kindness. 

    10. Question: What is your current WIP? 

Answer: My current works in progress are include a 3rd book to the Gardner Sibling Trilogy, Lillian’s Legacy and my first adult novel, an Inspirational Romantic Suspense. Lillian’s Legacy is a historical novel, a spin off my True to Heart Trilogy of a teen who is finding herself through the friendship of a healer and my IRS is about a woman trying to save her family’s guest ranch after the untimely death of her parents and not fall for a handsome photographer guest who will do anything to help her.   

    11. Question: How many books do you have out? 

Answer: I have ten books available including my curriculum.

    12. Question: What are your future projects? 

Answer: Once I finish Lillian’s Legacy, I am making the switch to Inspirational Adult Romance and want to write rodeo and relay horse racing series. I also write daily haikus and want to turn some of those with my photos into a few journals.

    13. Question: Are their characters/stories/scenes/etc based on anything in real life? 

Answer: My book Girl Warrior include the World Famous Suicide Horse Race that takes place every August during the Omak Stampede. The novel also includes NASP archery competitions we take our archers to. I have also included the Hudson’s Bay Fort Colvile history and Indian Relay Horse Racing into my True to Heart Trilogy, fishing weirs that have been brought back to the reservation on the Okanogan River.

    14. Question: What is your favorite book/character? 

Answer: For the past 5 years, I’ve co-created and hosted a Cowgirls for Hope retreat, and have been in charge of writing and sharing daily devotions. The book I use for this is Twelve Extraordinary Women––How God Shaped Women of the Bible and What He Wants to Do with You––by John MacArther. This has become one of my favorite books. MacArther pulls the life of women from a few short verses and lays out their dedication and love for God in several pages. God has used this book to reveal what he wants for me and the ladies that come to the retreat in ways I’d never imagines. It has been such a blessing.

    15. Question: What is your writing style? 

Answer: My writing is a mix of descriptive and narrative styles, heavy with dialog, which is action and moves the story along. I love a fun metaphor that marries something we are familiar with to something new and exciting. Imprinting description of the territory I live in is pure pleasure. I love creating characters who turn a spark of a dream into reality or may be uncertain in the beginning of an adventure and become victorious in the end, sure of themselves and knowing who they are and what they want in life.

About the Author:

Carmen PeoneCarmen Peone has lived in Northeast Washington and on the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation since 1988. She had worked with a Tribal Elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes Language and various cultural traditions. She owns and trains her horses and competes in local Extreme Challenge and Mountain Trail competitions. With a degree in psychology, the thought of writing never entered her mind, until she married her husband and they moved to the reservation after college. With the love of history and western woman lifestyle, she brings stories of hope, family, relationships, and faith to her novels.

These books were a labor of love, especially the second edition of the True to Heart Trilogy. Thank you to my cover model, Shayna Palmanteer of the Colville Confederated Tribes, for your willingness to be a part of this adventure. Visit my website for information on the workbooks that go along with my young adult books at https://carmenpeone.com/books/.
http://carmenpeone.com

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CrossReads Weekly Devotional: Every Reason to Quit 12/2/2019

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by Precarious Yates

Have you ever been faced with an avalanche of reasons to quit what you feel called to? Have you ever sat back and questioned your calling and your sanity in the same breath?  

I bet there have been a few others who felt that way. What about Abram (later Abraham) when he faced the first drought in the new promised land? What about Joseph, son of Jacob, when he saw his brothers who had sold him disappear over the horizon, back to life as normal, as he was led into slavery? What about Joseph, the one betrothed to Mary, when he saw his fiance with a growing belly? 

There are times to quit when that avalanch or reasons comes. Is your main motivation greed? Do you long to sit back and relax, like the man in the parable from Luke 12:16-21? He worked to amass posessions and longed to relax, only to find he died as soon as he got all the ‘things’ he wanted. When you see those are your main motivations, then yes, it may be a good idea to take stock. Why am I doing this? What is my goal? 

I found that I couldn’t pin my drive into either of these camps. Yes, I have to wrestle with greed, and I have to wrestle with the yearning to relax and take life easy, and with other desires contrary to God’s plan for the human heart. But my calling, no matter how many reasons I had to quit, still had a drive that was far beyond me. 

There was a temptation to find a sinful reason to quit. I bet in this day and age, someone would try to convince Abraham that he was just being prideful and arrogant about his stubborn insistence that God gave him this land. Thankfully, he didn’t have someone try to convince him. Or if someone did, he didn’t listen. 

What if you take stock of your motivations and you still feel called when no one else sees sense in it anymore? 

I’m here in so many areas of my life. I feel called by God in quiet whispers in my heart, while the reasons to quit roar like thunder. Drought. Famine. No payment for work completed. No paying work at all. Everything I did seemed to be in vain. 

I use the past tense, but it’s still happening. 

Yet my drive to continue pulls me along as if it’s outside of me, compelling me forward. 

The drive to give when the last donation check bounced. 

The drive to write when I haven’t sold a book in three weeks. Not one. Out of 21 books and two pen names. 

The drive to love when all my efforts to love are thrown back in my face. 

I’ve been studying the Minor Prophets lately. Perhaps it’s because I can relate to some of them. Particularly Habakkuk. That dude takes real questions to God. “How long?…Why do you tolerate the trecherous?” (1:1, 1:13) 

He wrestled with his calling in the midst of serious famine and came out with this portion of a song,

“17Though the fig tree does not bud 

    and there are no grapes on the vines, 

though the olive crop fails 

    and the fields produce no food, 

though there are no sheep in the pen 

    and no cattle in the stalls, 

18  yet I will rejoice in the Lord, 

    I will be joyful in God my Savior.” 

Hab. 3:17-18 

Can you delight in the Lord in the midst of failure? It’s a hard thing to do. Especially when you want to quit. 

If you’re in that place too, that place of wrestling with failure, can I encourage you? 

Yes, take stock. Yes, look at all the motivations. Are you still driven toward your calling when you’ve confessed your shortcomings? 

I was driving the other day, and I asked God, “Do you want me to quit? If you want me to, I will right now.” 

I was on an unfamiliar road and the sign on the side of the road, right at that very moment, read, “Don’t give up!” 

Nothing else, just those three words. 

I nodded, smiled, and looked up as I said, “I won’t, then.” 

And those are my words to you. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up! And when you fail, continue to praise! That’s where the true success is anyway!

God bless you! 

Precarious Yates

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

Links:

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