Sunday, January 31, 2010

Almost like Being in Jerusalem . . .

Very cool site where you can visit sites in Jerusalem. Almost like being there!


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Spiders are Cute?!

I have a hard time thinking of spiders as cute (seen too many horror movies), but this web site might convince you. What do you think? Are spiders cute?


Friday, January 29, 2010

Spring Springs

For those of you up in the frozen lands, I spied a bud of hope the other morning. :-)

We had several freezing nights a couple of weeks ago . . . and our landscapes around here look pretty bad. I don't think there's anything more pitiful looking than a frozen tropical plant, unless it's a baby who's just lost his toy. Anyway--when I spied those sprigs of hope from my kitchen window, I had to run outside and take a picture.

The plant in the first picture froze--and turned into the second picture.

But look--in the third picture--life springs anew!

I'm ready for Spring. :-)


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rachel Hauk's Latest . . . with Sara Evans

Since I'm off hopping on a cruise ship, I'll take this opportunity to tell you about my friend Rachel's latest book:

In the Sweet By and By. :-)

Jade Fitzgerald left the pain of her past in the dust when she headed out for college a decade ago. Now she's thriving in her career and glowing in the light of Max Benson's love.

But then Jade's hippie mother, Beryl Hill, arrives in Whisper Hollow, Tennessee, for Jade's wedding along with Willow, her wild younger sister. Their arrival forces Jade to throw open the dark closets of her past--the insecurity of living with a restless, wandering mother, the silence of her absent father, and the heart-ripping pain of first-love's rejection.

Turns out Beryl has a secret of her own. She needs reconciliation with her oldest daughter before illness takes her life. In the final days leading to the wedding, Jade meets the One who shows her that the past has no hold on her future. With a little grace, they'll meet in the middle, maybe even before that sweet by and by.

Review blurbs:

"...heartwarming collaborative debut." - Publishers Weekly

"This Southern mother-daughter story is refreshingly well written and will easily engross readers of women's fiction." - Library Journal

Bio: Multi-platinum recording artist Sara Evans has garnered such honors as ACM's Female Vocalist of the Year, CMA's Video of the Year, named one of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People," and she was the first country star to compete in ABC's Dancing with the Stars. This is her first novel. Sara has said that the redemptive message always attracts her to a given story. It's the story she's cares about most in the songs she records and sings; it's the story of her life; it's the story she looks for in the faces of those she meets.

"I've been a Believer since I was 21. My faith has been everything to me in my life since then. In my marriage, my motherhood, my career, and just dealing with everyday life, God is my constant companion and friend. I find myself praying constantly prayers of gratitude and guidance. As a mom and a career woman, my life is filled daily with choices and decisions to make that will affect lots of people. So I rely on God to guide me!"

Best selling, award winning author Rachel Hauck is known for well-written stories that paint real-life characters facing real-life challenges. She writes with depth and humor. As an author, worship and prayer leader, it's Rachel's heart to spread the love and fragrance of God to those she meets. In person or on the page. His plans for each individual are vast and good. "I have one goal in life. To seek His face. Everything has come together for me because of seeking Him. Even in my weakness, He is strong. I'd like others to know the same success."

Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband, a teacher and pastor, and their ornery pets.

Amazon link:

Rachel's web site:


Q: How did this collaboration come about?

RH: Really? God. Thomas Nelson approached Sara about a fiction project, then approached me about writing with/for her. My career was in a place of make-it or break-it, and I'd just prayed one of my "surrender prayers" to the Lord and was ready to go anywhere, do anything. Not having children, I am pretty much 100% available to pick up and go whenever and wherever. Knowing the Lord would take my husband and current writing and worship commitments into account, I was ready to go! It was very freeing to say, "God, I have nothing. What do you want to do? I'm 100% available. You're so good, whatever it is You want for me, I'll love it."

I've loved this journey writing with Sara. I struggled in some of my weaknesses from time to time, but this was one of the easiest books I've ever written even though I'd never written women's fiction. Never written flashbacks. Never written a continuing character series.

Q: What was Sara's part of the process?

RH: She cast the vision. We sat down and talked about what she wanted in the book, what kind of story she wanted to tell, and hashed out an overview. I went home and added the details and did the writing. If I was unsure about something, I'd email her and ask for her input. For example, we ended up dealing with a controversial social issue in this book and I wanted to know she was ready to assign her name to it.

Q. What do you want readers to take away from this story?

RH: God is good. There is always hope and redemption. While our past can impact our present, we don't have to carry the burden of pain and sin into the future. God truly does work all things together for our good.

Q. What's next for you and Sara?

RH: The second book, Softly and Tenderly, is written and releases January 2011. We are collaborating on two more books to be released January 2012 and 2013. They will be a continuation of the series. Book two is really exciting. Hit's the ground running.

Q. As an author, how did this book impact you and your work?

RH: I learned a lot about myself. Going back to the original prayer of surrender, I had to see that when God brought something to me to do it might not center around me! Maybe He wanted me to use my gifts and talents for others. At the same time, what amazing grace and peace He gave me.

My writing had to take on a different flavor and tone. I learned to write about two women instead of a romance with a hero and heroine. I had to develop back story that worked on stage instead of through dialog. This project forced me to work on a much deeper emotional level. I was exhausted when it was done. But I loved the process.

Q. Who is your favorite character?

RH: Well, Jade, the protagonist, of course. But her sister Willow really captured me. We had to back her up a bit or she'd steal the show! I also really had an affection for the character Dustin.

Q. What's next for you? Any solo projects.

RH: Yes! I have a late 2010 release from Thomas Nelson, Dining With Joy, about a cooking show host who can't cook.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Off on the Cruise!

We've been waiting for a LONG time, but it's finally time for the Heavenly Daze Cruise! A group of the Heavenly Dazers (and friends) and some readers of this blog are leaving tomorrow, Thursday, for a four-day cruise to Mexico! There will be 20 of us, and we plan to have a blast.

I promise to post some pictures when I get back, but because internet access can be iffy on a boat, I might have to wait until our return to get them up. We'll be disembarking on Monday, February first, so we'll check in then.

Adios para ahora!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I knew I shouldn’t do it. After all, I realize that I have a touch of OCD blended into my personality; once I latch onto an obsession, it’s hard to let go. (It's how I get so many books written!)

But in a burst of autumnal energy I’d painted the dining room . . . and the foyer . . . and my master bathroom. And since I was thinking real estate and wondering if a new house lay in my future, the purchase seemed innocent enough.

And think of all the time it would save! Instead of running to the Depot or to Lowes every time I wanted to examine a color in the light of a window or next to a piece of furniture, I could simply whip out my purchase and avoid a trip.

So I did it. Looked them up online, found several, found one on sale at Benjamin Moore. The sale is what did me in—not only did I buy one, but two.

They arrived the next week, sweetly packaged in a little cardboard box. Two fan decks—paint chips, organized by color family and tone, coordinated and named and numbered.

The second fan deck actually has interior colors on one side and exterior colors on the other. All matched with accent colors and trim colors. Ahhh.

There's such a psychology to color--red makes people want to eat (bad for dieters in dining rooms), yellow makes people want to spend money, blue is calming, green is soothing. Hmm. Maybe I should have a green kitchen and a blue office.

So lately I’ve been walking around the house, fan deck in hand, pondering the difference between Robin’s Nest and Quartz Stone. One is just a shade bluer than the other, a difference nearly indiscernible with the naked eye, but I’ve stared at enough paint chips to see the difference now. I see beautifully painted bedrooms in magazines, then I whip out the fan deck to identify the color in the photo. I see ads that combine fonts and colors in a pleasing display, and then I’m frantically trying to identify each color by name and number: Eucalyptus. Peacock Feathers. Sea Isle.

I have discovered that dog Babe is Straw Hat, and Charley is Almond Bisque. My desk is Great Barrington Green, a color I have been trying to identify for seven years.

So for the next several weeks, at least, I'll be looking at the world through narrowed eyes, trying to figure out if the color of that rose is potpourri or milano red.

Wonder if they make these things in a more portable size?


Monday, January 25, 2010

Make your own Motivational Poster

This is a fun site--you can make a poster with whatever photo and saying you want. I made this one, but I wasn't feeling very inspired. What did you create?


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Movie Recommendation

If you read and enjoyed my Fairlawn books, I have just discovered a movie you might like. It's a Japanese film called DEPARTURES, and I found it utterly charming. And the music--wow! I had to order the soundtrack at

The story? A young cellist finds himself unemployed and returns to his hometown, where he takes a job in an unusual occupation. He's an "NK agent," and we don't really have an American counterpart, unless you count part of the job that funeral directors do. But as I watched this young man work, I kept thinking about Gerald of the Fairlawn books. Those two would have gotten along very well.

This movie isn't for the kids--an adult moment or two, but nothing offensive. But very moving, very respectful, and very tender. Track it down today, or look for it on Netflix. I gave it five stars. :-)


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

Wildlife Photography

If you like animals and photography, do I have a web page for you! These are incredible photographs--some made me shiver, and some provoked an "Awwww . . . "



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Must See TV!

Whew. I just finished my latest collaborative project and sent it off to the editor. Always feels good to know I can clear the desk for a while . . . or at least until the revisions come in. :-)

But I had to take this opportunity to tell you about a new release. Last year I had the honor and privilege to meet Ted and Gayle Haggard, and to work with Gayle on her book, WHY I STAYED. I don't know that any collaborative project has ever affected me--changed my thinking--the way this one did. I learned so much from Gayle, and loved every minute of working on her story.

The book officially releases January 26th, but you may find a few copies floating around out there--I know I've seen some reviews online. But here's the big news: Ted and Gayle will be on Oprah on January 26th, and Oprah loved the book! Mark your calendar, TiVo, or set your VCR.

Gayle will also be featured on THE VIEW on February 1st, and on the Joy Behar Show that same night. So check your local listings, because this is one fascinating story . . . and I'm really curious about how the women of The View will respond to Gayle's candid story about forgiveness and the love of Jesus.

You will love this book, and I highly recommend that you pick up a copy--make that two copies, give one to a friend! I haven't been so convicted in a long time. Gayle has such an important message for the church.

Well, now that my desk is clear, I have a theology paper to write. :-) And then I have to get back to THE GRANDMA GENE. Remember that one? I do . . . barely. :-)


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

America Rising

The people are speaking out . . . in all kinds of ways.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Pick Up Your Cross . . .

A friend sent this to me . . . and it's quite profound. Sorry, but I have no idea who the artist is.

Says a lot, doesn't it?

Lord, forgive me for ever asking you to lighten my load.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cats That Look Like Wilford Brimley

Found this adorable site for you cat lovers (I like 'em, but I'm highly allergic to them).

Cats that Look Like Wilford Brimley, the actor. LOL! I think the first cat needs a pair of glasses, and he'd be all set!



Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Sun Shines . . .

The other day I was sitting at my desk wrapped in my robe, flannel pajamas, wool socks, and big stuffed whale slippers (they were a gift). And I looked out the window and realized that though my plants were frost-bitten and drooping, the sun was shining and it looked like a lovely day.

And then the metaphor hit me--even when we are in the midst of a cold snap, in the middle of a storm, or even in the darkest hours of the night, the sun is still shining. Even in the middle of a midnight blizzard, it doesn't stop, it simply keeps on sending forth the warming rays upon which all life depends. The sun doesn't change or shift position or flip an "off switch." It simply keeps shining.

Just as God's love, his purposes, and his plans are immutable and do not change. They remain constant no matter what storms we are going through. They are still prevailing, even though we can't see any evidence of them. It's our perspective that changes.

But like the sun (actually, God is stronger and more lasting than the sun, which will one day fizzle out), God is constantly reigning as sovereign over his creation.

And that's a thought to carry you through the day . . . and the night, too! :-)


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Google Earth

A couple of days ago, I downloaded the latest version of Google Earth to my computer. I was amazed to see how much it had changed--many, many more camera shots.

(In my real estate quest, I like looking up addresses. You can type in any address you like, and the camera "flies" to the location. Once you find it on a map, if there are little camera icons on the map, you can double click those, and the camera moves, placing you smack on the street in front of the address. You can then scan, look around, etc. It's fascinating!)

Apparently a Google car has driven all over America (and is still driving), but some folks are wise to it. (And some folks aren't.) Here's a link to some of the bizarre photographs of "real life" America that the Google car has caught.

Download Google Earth and check out your house. What's going on in the picture?


Saturday, January 09, 2010

For all you Mystery Buffs . . .

A tip of the hat to Accidental Poet, aka Susan, for the lead on this one!


Friday, January 08, 2010

Ann Coulter

Today I'm simply going to send you here for a quick read. :-)


Thursday, January 07, 2010

To All of My Fellow Floridians . . .

. . . this is why we don't live up north. Nuff said? :-)

Seriously, NO ONE can drive on ice, unless you have chains on your tires. And there's nothing quite like the helpless feeling you get when you're behind the wheel and your vehicle is out of control.

My one and only car wreck occurred on an icy hill in Lynchburg . . . I slid right down it and crashed into a telephone pole, sending my hard head into the windshield (and yes, I was wearing a seat belt!) I think I've been slightly addled ever since. (But thank the Lord I have a very hard head.)


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Name this creature . . .

Do you know what this creature is? I'll give you a moment to guess . . .

Give up? It's a sea pig. LOL!

You can see this oinker plus several others of God's creative imagination here. They all live in the Antarctic region. Brrrr!


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Happy New Year!

Here's your chance to be wished a happy new year and take a trip back to the 80's all in one clip! Enjoy ABBA!

And, BTW, SHERRY--I'm still waiting to send you the Bible you won. Please contact me through my website's contact page and I'll get it right out to you.


Monday, January 04, 2010

Cheryl Wyatt's latest book

Good morning! Ready to get back to the real world? I am. Holidays are too exhausting!

If you didn't read John Grogan's piece in yesterday's PARADE magazine, you have to dig it out and read it. (Or just click here: I found a link).

(You may recall--Grogan is the author of MARLEY AND ME, a wonderful movie and an even better book.) He told the story of how his family moved and he went back to the old house and dug up Marley, then re-buried him in his family's current home . . . which, incidentally, the success of the Marley projects made possible.

Maybe it's because we're trying to move that the story struck me, but I found myself blubbering in my breakfast cereal again. I don't like weeping at breakfast, it makes my cereal taste funny. But it's a great article, and well worth reading.
(For the record, I have Justus and Sadie in urns. Where I go, they go.)

Wanted to tell you today about Cheryl Wyatt's latest book, A SOLDIER'S DEVOTION. If you like inspirational romance, I think you'll like this one!


ISBN-10: 0373875754 Publisher: Steeple Hill (January 1, 2010)

U.S. Air Force pararescue jumper Vince Reardon was headed to a lifesaving mission. Until a too-pretty lawyer crashed her fancy car into his motorcycle—sidelining him for two weeks. Vince can barely accept Valentina Russo's heartfelt apologies. Ever since his brother was wrongly convicted—and killed in prison—Vince has lost respect for lawyers. But wait—is that Val volunteering at his refuge for underprivileged kids? If Vince isn't careful, this lady of the law might just earn his respect and his heart.


Born Valentine’s Day on a naval base, Cheryl Wyatt writes military and rescue romance. Her Steeple Hill debuts earned RT Top Picks plus #1 and #4 on eHarlequin's Top 10 Most-Blogged-About-Books, lists including NYT Bestsellers. She is a Reviewers Choice Award Nominee.


Have a great back-to-work day!


Saturday, January 02, 2010

Congrats to Sherry!

Sherry at 7:56 p.m. is the winner of the much-underlined Bible, so Sherry, if you'll send me your mailing address, I'll drop it in the mail to you. I don't know how many margin notes you'll find, but I hope you find some interesting! :-)

I spent most of New Year's Day cleaning out my garage and doing an inventory of all the books stored there . . . long enough to remind me to remind you that you can buy books directly from my garage, you know. We even toss in a free book with every order! Look on my website under "shop/hard to find".

The Syfy Channel had a Twilight Zone marathon on New Year's Day . . . and I caught the end of one program called "The Old Man in the Cave." It was about a man who had told the town not to eat some boxes of food and drink because the food was contaminated and it would kill them. But then some outsiders came to town and began to urge the people to eat and drink, assuring them that there WAS no old man in the cave. Sure enough, the outsiders led the townspeople up the hill and they charged into the cave, only to find a computer there. So the people destroyed it, and went back to eating and drinking like gluttons.

Next scene: they were all dead, except for the prophet. Who reminded us viewers that faithlessness can kill people as surely as anything else.

Wow. Amazingly profound. I love the metaphor and how it pertains to God's instructions about right living.


Friday, January 01, 2010

New Day! New Year! New Bible!

Happy 2010!

Every year I read the Bible through. :-) I started this practice a couple of years ago, and now it's become an important habit. To keep the Word fresh in my head, every year I open up a new Bible for my reading, so the pages are fresh and ready for notes, scrawling, etc.

If you'd like to join me this year, you can find a daily reading schedule here: click here.

And, just to make it interesting (and to make some space on my shelf), I'd like to send someone one of the Bibles I've used for daily reading in a previous year. You'll have my notes and scribblings in the margins, for what it's worth. :-)

So . . . I'm thinking of a number, and I've written it on my desk calendar. The nth person to leave a little "I'm in!" note will get the Bible (so be sure to check back here to see if you're the one). I'll announce the "winner" on Saturday. (U.S. residents only, please.)

P.S. If you came here from Facebook, be sure to leave your note HERE, and not on my FB page.

Thanks! And happy reading!