Welcome to 2023!

Every New Year’s Eve as a teenager/young adult found me alone, usually babysitting. And with a journal or fresh notebook and pen in hand.

I would set goals for myself.

And they would quickly be forgotten as the New Year swept in.

Just yesterday, I resurrected the habit of writing down my goals.

I came up with one.

No Kindle purchases.

I would use a free library app and Kindle Unlimited and do all of my reading that way.

Last night I got swept up in a series.

This morning I paid for and downloaded a Kindle book.

Chagrin.

It seems I can’t keep up with the simplest goal.

No self control?

Too high of expectations?

Impractical?

Impossible?

Maybe all of the above?

I love to read.

I don’t own a television.Or use a streaming service. By choice. There are so very few things I like to watch. And my attention span doesn’t hold for a two-hour movie.

So I read.

On my phone. On my Kindle app.

And read.

Oh, and for entertainment?

I read.

God has blessed this world with wonderful authors. Authors of inspirational romance and secular romance. Sometimes the same authors write both.

I like a variety of genres, but my favorite is also the genre I write in.

I write mostly Christian fiction, but I have also written a couple of sweet romances also.

Once upon a time, I had 70 story ideas in my head.

I have written 13 complete novels.

And two novellas.

I still have many stories and characters inside my head.

In 2022, I didn’t write any fiction. Instead, I decided to dedicate 2022 to what God wanted me to write.

That seemed to be focused on children’s church curriculum.

It was an amazing year. So many blessings and good things came of those efforts.

Now that 2023 has begun, I want to return to my fiction-writing roots.

Like my goal of not purchasing Kindle books, I am not sure how much fiction writing I will get done.

But I’d like to think I will stick with it more than 4 hours, which is how long after midnight that I waited before purchasing a Kindle book, thereby breaking my one and only New Year’s Resolution.

As this new day, new week and new year begin, I’m not making any promises

to myself, or to my readers, or even to God.

Instead, I will meditate on God’s promises to me.

The word “Promise” is recorded over 200 times in the Bible. That makes it pretty clear that promises are important to God.

God kept his promises to Abraham, to Isaac and Jacob, to Joseph, Moses and all of the Israelites. They settled in the land of Canaan, the Promised Land.

God promised the Israelites that He would never leave them nor forsake them.

What are some other promises God has made to us?

Let’s look at Jesus’ words in the New Testament:

The promise of God’s presence through the Holy Spirit in our hearts:

“If you love me, obey me; and I will ask the Father and he will give you another Comforter, and he will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit who leads into all truth.” John 14:15-16

The promise of heaven:

“There are many homes up in heaven where my Father lives, and I am going to prepare them for your coming. When everything is ready, then I will come and get you, so that you can always be with me where I am.” John 14:2-3

The promise of peace:

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 

The promise that Jesus will return to earth one day:

“Remember what I told you—I am going away, but I will come back to you again.” John 14:28

How do we receive these promises?

“Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” Acts 16:31

Christmas Novella Spotlight:

My guest today is Katy Eeten, author of Christian romance. She is here today to tell us about two of her Christmas novellas.

Before we talk about your books, Katy, tell us a little bit about yourself:

I live in southeast Wisconsin with my husband and our two sons, ages 14 and 11, where I work full time in the business world crunching numbers and analyzing data. I love to write, read, bake, take walks, play board games, and spend time with my family. My publications include two contemporary Christian romance novels and three Christmas novellas, two of which I’m sharing about today.

What are your Christmas novellas about?

Christmas in Meadow Creek is about a fourth-grade teacher named Sarah who moves to the small Wisconsin town of Meadow Creek, where she meets firefighter Lincoln. They hit it off right away, but when they discover that Sarah’s troublemaking student is none other than Lincoln’s beloved nephew, their newfound relationship is put to the test. Can they navigate through the complexities of family dynamics to find a love that will last?

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Meadow-Anaiah-Romance-Novella/dp/1947327305/

In Wrong Turn Christmas, April’s family is facing insurmountable debt from her dad’s cancer treatments. While seeking legal assistance to help her parents, she ends up at the wrong house. Even after he realizes her mistake, Jake can’t get April off his mind. But with the financial situation she’s facing, he believes he has nothing of real value to offer her. Or does he? One wrong turn might just end up turning a Christmas crisis into a Christmas miracle.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Wrong-Turn-Christmas-Anaiah-Romance-ebook/dp/B09L4J3PDZ/

Reading Christmas novellas is a fun way to get into the spirit of the holiday. It’s fun to write them, too.

Here are some questions that readers want to know the answers to:

As an author, what book do you wish you would have written?

I’m a big fan of the Hunger Games series. I think the story is really engaging and well written. I wish I had the ability to write action-packed scenes like that, and make the adventure come to life in people’s minds!

How did you come up with the names of your hero and/or heroine?

For Christmas in Meadow Creek, Lincoln is the name of my firstborn son. For Wrong Turn Christmas, I just pulled the names out of thin air. I try to change up the first initial of my main characters when I’m writing so I don’t accidentally mix up who’s who. Sometimes they mean something, but often they are just random names I like or that I think sound good together.

What does your family think of your writing?

My family is super supportive. My husband is not much of a reader, and romance is not his genre of choice. Yet I’m humbled to say that he has read every one of my published books! My mom and siblings also read my work and spread the word to their friends. Even my kids understand that writing and editing can take up a lot of time, but I try not to let it consume me. I am blessed to have such a great family!

If you didn’t write books, what would you do for a living?

It’s not practical, but I think it would be so cool to work for a game show. I love watching game shows and think it would be so fun to create the Wheel of Fortune puzzles or Pyramid clues, or to come up with new rules and fun twists on the traditional games.

Thank you for being my guest today. What plans do you have next for you as an author?

I have a completed manuscript that’s written from the viewpoints of six former college friends. It has primarily romantic elements, but entails other plotlines as well, so it doesn’t fit into the traditional “romance” genre. That makes it challenging to find the right publisher, but I’m hopeful I will. It’s a beautiful story that weaves together multiple relationships and showcases the way their faith and friendships impact all that they do.

Where can readers find you online?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KatyEeten/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/KatyEeten

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/KatyEeten/

Website: https://katyeeten.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Katy-Eeten/e/B0796L1CVK

The Testing of my Faith

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

I don’t know if my faith has ever been tested as much as it has been in the last three months. After I lost my husband in 2010 I spent many years in grief, then a lingering depression. Yet in all those times I never doubted that God was with me and had a plan for my life.

As recently as July of this year, I felt that God had brought me out of the dark times in my life and I was now living in the light of His blessings. Things were going amazingly well.

Then in August, my tower of faith began to tumble, one brick at a time. I’ve shared much of the struggles over the past few months in previous blog posts, so I won’t get into the details here.

I think my faith was tested in every way possible.

Well, I thought it had been every way possible.

Now as I face a health challenge and uncertainty about the results, I find that my faith is wavering.

The “What-Ifs” are building up this health problem into the worst case scenarios even as I try to tell myself it’s probably nothing and will easily be resolved. It’s human nature to worry, to want to control the outcome anything we come up against.

Then as our plans start to crumble, we realize how little control we have over some areas of our life.

God is faithful.

He is a good God.

He has a plan for my future.

He is my Provider.

He is my Healer.

I believe these promises for a fact.

Yet I know that everything doesn’t go according to “MY” plan.

I can’t see beyond today to know what “HIS” plan is for me. But I can trust in His unfailing love.

Good Monday Morning 10-10-22

Blessed are they…

Good Monday Morning 10-10-22

The sunshine of the past few days, a break from leading children’s church for a week, and the removal of my husband’s old Chevelle from our yard all worked together to give me a relaxed state of mind. I’ve experienced some stress over the past few weeks related to work issues, car problems and financial challenges. It feels good this morning to say, “I made it through the storm.”

God is so good to me.

He promised to never leave us nor forsake us, and His word is good. We don’t ever have to question whether or not He loves us. Sometimes we rebel against His authority, however. We want the things that we want when we want them, whether they are healthy for us or not. I’m not immune to having some unhealthy habits and making choices that are not the best for me. We all have challenges in life and sins we struggle with, but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t love us.

His love is unconditional. His love is true, faithful and honest. He makes the storms of life go away or helps us walk through them. I cannot comprehend how God can be in all and over all and know all, but I can believe it’s true because the Bible tells us so.

How can I question the God who raised Jesus from the dead?

Jesus’ disciple Thomas questioned Jesus’ resurrection. This passage is from John 20:24-29:

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

We are blessed because we haven’t seen Jesus but believe in His birth, crucifixion and resurrection anyway.

I feel that blessing this morning as I start a new week.

I received notice from my boss of a cancellation for tomorrow. That means less money in my paycheck for next time.

But I guess God knows what I need. I’ve said since I started this job that God controls my schedule. I can’t control whether people get ill or cancel for other reasons, or when I might get sick and need a day (or days when I’ve had Covid) off.

Next week’s children’s lesson is the story about God providing manna for the Israelites when they were wandering through the desert.

The Bible verse to go with the lesson is:

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

As I write the lesson point for this week’s lesson it will also be a reminder to me of how God provides what I need before I can ask.

Have a blessed week.