Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The perfect friend--from Lenora Worth :)

God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1: 9
We've been discussing friendship here all month. I think we all long for that perfect friend--you know the one who isn't skinner than we are but about the same; the one who isn't more beautiful than we are, but about the same, the friend who always agrees with us and always comes running right away when we call. Do you know that friend? (I'm grinning here) We all know she doesn't exist. But we also know that we have friends who come close to the above descriptions. And we probably all have friends who ARE skinnier and prettier and smarter and just about perfect in our eyes. But if we look closely, we might find we have a lot in common with this "perfect" friend. For example, maybe she smiles when she really wants to cry. Maybe she volunteers when she really needs to rest. Maybe she wears lovely clothes, but she buys them to fill a void in her life. Or maybe she has "perfect" children or so it seems but inside her home, turmoil is rampant. Maybe she's trying so hard to be perfect, her life is slowly falling apart. The whole point of this is to remind ourselves that we need to look beneath the surface to find a true and perfect friend and that usually is a friend with flaws and concerns and worries, just like the rest of us. While we don't wish problems on anyone, it is a bit comforting to know that friends are human just like we are. And it's also very comforting to know that we can turn to the one perfect friend--Christ. He listens, he comes when we call out, he is always nearby to help us carry our burdens and to brighten our day. Christ is there when we celebrate blessings and he is there when we cry in the night. When we think we have no one to turn to, Christ is there. His footprints are always right there beside ours. I appreciate and love my dear friends here on Earth and I celebrate and suffer with them as part of my love. But it's comforting to know that Christ is constant and dependable and trustworthy, even when I'm feeling alone and blue. And even when I think everyone else is perfect and I'm not! Call a friend today and tell her you're thinking about her. And thank Christ that you have that kind of love within your heart.
Lenora Worth :)

Monday, March 30, 2009

You Be the One

Hi Debra Clopton here--finally! Running a bit late getting this posted today. I've recently started visiting a new church...a Cowboy Church actually--they are really growing around here in Texas and I think they are wonderful. But, anyway, I love my old church, I have the most wonderful friends there who have been with me through so much and I love them all dearly. But my life is evolving and sometimes we have to move where God leads us. That being said, I'm making new friends where I'm visiting and I people reaching out to me in friendship and I'm doing the same. I feel blessed and invigorated by the prospects. But that being said, I realize just as I did when I joined my other church ten years ago (it was also in a building process and I felt I could be a part of that) which is how I'm feeling about this new spot--anyway, I realize that to feel at home and really build friendships I have to do my part. I have to join in and participate, and become a friend myself.

So I guess where I'm going with this post is to this...I once had someone comment to me that she wished she had good friends like I did at my church and in my life. I told her that the secret to it was to get involved and to reach out herself. I hope if others out there are looking for friends like she was that you'll be the instigator of finding it. Believe me there are many people in churchs who are looking for a friend, they just aren't making the first contact to take aquaintice the next level--YOU be the one. Step out there and let God use you to be that friend that someone needs- I can promise you it will enrich your life. It has mine :)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

FEATURED TODAY: A LOVE INSPIRED CLASSIC BY TERRI REED


Fall in love again with these uplifting stories from Terri Reed.

Love Comes Home

Twelve years ago, Dr. Rachel Maguire followed her faith into medicine, choosing her career over love. But time never diminished her feelings for Josh Taylor, and now God is giving Rachel another chance—if she can overcome the pain of the past.

A Sheltering Love

With her faith as strong as her shoulders, Claire Wilcox opens a shelter for runaways. But it's her mysterious handyman who causes her sleepless nights. As their attraction grows, Nick Andrews must decide if he can trust in God's power to heal.

Friday, March 27, 2009

BFFs and other good buddies









Hello there! Welcome to my front porch, as my website always says.




My husband and I are very blessed to have friends who are a couple. We've all been married to our spouses for so long that we finish each other's sentences and then everybody laughs. You know how that is.




Recently, this dear couple retired and moved close to us in Arkansas and it has enriched my life beyond imagination. There is just something special about being able to reminisce and chuckle over events that occurred years and years ago. This is a picture of the 4 of us - and "Charlie" my infamous Labrador retriever.






There are others who have played a big part in my life, too, and I want to show you some of them. There's a lovely group of cancer survivors who went to Little Rock for the Race for the Cure last year, then posed for this picture. I'm the one on the right.







And, of course, I consider many other authors as friends. Although I don't get to see them as often as I'd like, we do keep in touch by email. What would we shut-in writers do without the Internet? Go crazy? Most people think we are already a bit strange. I agree. It takes a special kind of person to live a fictional life for her characters, then be able to return to reality and relate to REAL folks. But authors understand each other. We know how hard we work and how life can interfere with art to the point where we just want to run screaming from the computer and never come back. But we always return. Because we are compelled to write. And because in many cases, like mine, we feel that our telling of uplifting, helpful stories is our personal ministry. We all know what happened to Jonah when he tried to run from the job God had given him! So we hunker down and do our best and pray that something we write will please God and heal someone else's heart. For me, having friends who listen and understand without condemnation is the biggest blessing of all. It is my sincere hope that I, too, am that kind of friend.




Left to right, Mae Nunn, Irene Brand, Debbie Clopton, Marta Perry,Valerie Hansen, Margaret Daley, Terri Reed, then the other picture, Lenora Worth and Marta Perry WITH APOLOGIES TO THOSE SPECIAL BUDDIES WHOSE PICTURES I DON'T HAPPEN TO HAVE HANDY. We don't get together nearly as often as we'd like. That's the thing about friendships, though. They can last even when the parties are separated by many miles.


Blessings,

Valerie Hansen

Thursday, March 26, 2009

To Have a Friend, Be a Friend



Missy Tippens here. This photo is of a group of my writer friends/F.A.I.T.H. bloggers. We had a "reunion" at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference last fall. They're like my sisters and all much more adept at being fun and dramatic than I am (don't I look silly, like I'm not quite doing the "ta da" thing quite right?). :)


Since it's our theme for this month, I'm still thinking about friendship. A sweet lady at our previous church used to say, “In order to have a friend, you have to be a friend.” Waunette is with God now, but I still remember what she said.

Sometimes in friendship relationships, we get our feelings hurt, or we feel neglected, or we think we have no true friends. But when is the last time we were good friends to someone else?

I’ve been thinking about things we can do to be a good friend. Here are some of what I came up with:

--Listen. Sure, it’s great to be listened to. But do we listen as often as we speak?
--Be there when things get tough. Don’t be afraid we won’t have the right words to say or afraid we can’t handle the bad stuff. Just be a shoulder. Be an ear. Be a support. Just be there, period.
--Be generous—with our time, energy, and emotional support. Sometimes this might mean giving up time for something else (hey, maybe it can be housework!). :)
--Initiate. Sometimes it’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves if we initiate all contact. But I think it’s important to go ahead and step out there. Sometimes our friend may need that little extra push (the friend may have stuff going on or may just be timid or may think we’re just trying to be nice!). And eventually, that friend may start initiating.

What can you add? I’m sure there’s a lot more we can do. What are some things you’ve tried in keeping a relationship going?

I may not be able to get online today, but I’ll do so as soon as I can and check out your great ideas!

Missy

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

True Friendship-Two Friends



Thinking about friendship led me to two women who have been my friends for many years. The first is Lisa whom I met in "Mommy and Me" group at the local park district center when our eldest children were around 2 years old. The other friend is Carol. I met her at my first teaching job. We were each other's maid of honor. Here are Lisa and Carol's answers to my 2 questions:

1-What do you look for in a friend?

Lisa: Over the years, I've enjoyed having a diverse group of friends. Many friendships were just formed because of an emotional connection - as in we just "clicked." At other times, the friendship formed over time as we shared a common experience. Nevertheless, what I want in a friend is to find them interesting and be able to relate to them. From that, I hope that mutual caring and consideration grows.

Carol: At this point in my life, I think friendships often start with mutual interests and expand with shared experiences. I think that both people must want to strengthen the friendship with trust and revelation.

2-Why do you think some friendships last and some don't?


Lisa: Friendships last when people really care about each other. When I was in my twenties, I moved around a lot and a lot of my friendships dissolved. I did keep up with one friend with whom I have been close since age 12.


Carol: I think this is very complex. Some people keep in touch with each other because of the past or family connections. I have a friend or two with whom I feel that special connection or bond and we do not live close to each other. This unique bond can reestablish itself, instantly, even after not seeing that special friend for years.

Lyn: I value friendship and loyalty very highly and have been surprised in the past that some people gain and shed friends without any qualms. I'm happy that I have Lisa and Carol as true friends. So what are your answers to these two questions?

What do you look for in a friend? What makes a friendship last? .

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Friendships that turn

We've had a good month talking about frienship and so I'm going to bring up the not-so-good part of things -- they way friendships sometimes turn sour. I have had that happen with one or two friendships in my life (more so in my younger years, but I don't know if that's usual). I remember one woman who was my friend
for years -- until I sold my first book. Then she just couldn't continue to be my friend. She had worked for years (much longer and harder than I had) on getting published and when I got a contract before her, she didn't want to talk to me, see me, or anything. I decided to back off thinking maybe she just needed more space. But she never was able to be around me after that. I had thought my success would encourage her, but it seemed to be the opposite. How about you? Have you ever come to an roadblock in a friendship that you just couldn't get past?

Heroine Interview from A Dropped Stitches Wedding

Interview with the heroine from A Dropped Stitches Wedding by Janet Tronstad:

1. Lizabett McDonald, tell me the most interesting thing about you. I’m in love. Well, I guess that’s not big news since I’ve been in love with the same guy since kindergarten and he’s always thought of me as his best friend’s little sister, but lately, well, things are changing.

2. What do you do for fun? One of my absolute favorite things to do is to get together with my friends and knit. I know it doesn’t sound exciting, but we have the most interesting conversations. You see, we’ve been meeting together and planning our lives ever since we all had cancer as teenagers. We’re all better now so you don’t have to worry, but we do find ourselves in some funny situations.


3. What do you put off doing because you dread it? What I had put off was taking the plunge into faith like the other sisters had done. But now that I did that all I need to do is find the right time to tell everyone about it. I keep thinking it’s such a big announcement it needs a dramatic moment.

4. What are you afraid of most in life? That life will just pass me by. Ever since I had cancer, people coddle me (especially, my big brother). No one wants me to suffer anything so I’m too cautious. Maybe it’s time to just break loose.


5. What do you want out of life? To have a family of my own. Now that my brother is marrying Marilee, I keep thinking how nice it would be if I had someone special like that, too.

6. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I want to be carefree and bold even if, well, I’m not really.


7. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? I don’t have a pet, but I enjoy the wild parrots that fly around Pasadena. Some nights they come and nest in the trees next to my mother’s house. I can hear them when I sit out on the porch at night.

8. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? Truthfully, I’d rather get a glimpse of the future instead. I’d like to see where my sisterhood friends all are in twenty years.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

FEATURED TODAY: A DROPPED STITCHES WEDDING BY JANET TRONSTAD


My almost sister-in-law thought I, Lizabett McDonald, would be the first of the Sisterhood of the Dropped Stitches to marry? True, I've confided to my friends that I've had a crush on Rick Keifer since childhood. But will he ever see me as more than his best friend's kid sister? The Sisterhood wants to give me a beauty makeover to catch his eye. I've been preoccupied with a spiritual makeover, and with starting my own wedding-planning business—no time for romance. Yet with Rick as best man, maybe as I give Marilee her dream wedding, my own dreams will also come true!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friendship's Many Blessings, by Carol Steward


Friends are precious, always there when you need them, and sometimes when you don't realize you do need them. They're there to hold you accountable, to laugh with you, to cry with you, and pray with you.

Writing is a very solitary job. For those whose full-time career is writing, the internet and online friendships have changed their lives. Suddenly, the world is much "smaller" than it was when I was a child.
My friends aren't right here in Colorado, they're in Canada, Holland, Australia, West Virgina, Pennsylvania, and almost every state in the USA.

Each of these friends bring a unique perspective to my life, and bless me in different ways. Without friends, writing would be a lonely and difficult career. When one of us struggles, all of us feel the pain and band together to lift one another up, just as God planned, in Ecclesiastes 4:10, If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up"

and in verse 12 –

"Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. "

Friends are all around me, at my day job, sharing my home, in my family, and as close as an email. In these times of higher demands to our time, resources and emotions, we all can use a friend to keep us grounded and keep us focused on His plan for us. Reach out and touch a friend today. Bless them, and bless yourself. For as you give, you shall receive.

I'll be traveling to see my friend and mother-in-law today, where I likely won't have internet, but I hope you will take time today to reach out and bless your friends.

Blessings to each of you, and Happy First Day of Spring! Carol Steward

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Kind of Friendship Poem by Cheryl Wyatt




My sister sent this to me by e-mail. I thought I'd share it with you all. Not sure who the original author is, but this friendship poem cracked me up because it is SO me.

Enjoy!


None of that Sissy Stuff

Are you tired of those sissy 'friendship' poems?
Well, here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship.
You will see no cutesy little smiley faces on this-
Just the stone cold truth of our great friendship.

1. When you are sad --I will jump on the person who made you sad like a spider monkey jacked up on Mountain Dew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2. When you are blue -- I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.
3. When you smile -- I will know you are plotting something that I must be involved in.
4. When you're scared -- we will high tail it out of here.
5. When you are worried -- I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining, ya big baby!!!!
6. When you are confused -- I will use little words.
7. When you are sick --Stay away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.
8. When you fall -- I'll pick you up and dust you off--
After I laugh my butt off!!
9. This is my oath...I pledge it to the end. 'Why?' you may ask -- because you are my FRIEND!

Friendship is like peeing your pants,
everyone can see it,
but only you can feel the true warmth.

Send this to 10 of your closest friends,
Then get depressed because you can only think
of 4.

Cheryl here...isn't that cute? LOL! I also wanted to mention my upcoming April 1 release (but it should be in stores any day now and can be ordered anywhere online that books are sold) titled Ready-Made Family.

In the book, the heroine is new to town and is in need of friendship among other things. The kindness of people, reaching out to her without agenda helped to restore her faith in church and in Christians as well as let her know that God wasn't holding her past against her. She prays for a good friend and God sends more than she asked for.

Have you ever prayed for a friend and had that answered? I'd love to hear your story.

Talk away!

Cheryl Wyatt

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Friend Is...

To me, a friend is many things.

A friend is someone who tells you when you have ink on your face or whip cream on your nose. A friend is someone who helps you justify how red polka dot shoes could be practical and worth the cash. A friend is someone who calls just to say hi or calls because they felt God telling them to. A friend is someone who can finish your sentences, knows what drink you order at Starbucks, and understands that the concept of sharing cheesecake means ordering two different flavors and splitting both. A friend is someone who knows your secrets and see the inner places of your heart and loves you anyway.

But above all, a friend is there. Just...there.

I am blessed to have 3 best friends. One local, the other two living many states away. Yet because we share so much in common and love each other so dearly, the miles don't matter. Distance doesn't have an effect on the concept of "there" - a fact which my two far-away besties have proved a thousand times over.

In no particular order, let me introduce to you Best Friend #1 - Lori Chally. My true sisterchick! (Robin Jones Gunn fans will know the meaning of this term!) A fellow writer and lover of shoes, purses and all things vintage. My Lori is so unique, and her writing is amazing. I can't wait for her to be published - its going to be HUGE. =)

Lori and I share a lot of things, and last year, we even shared pregnancy. Yep, we were both pregnant at the same time, I was about 3 months ahead of her. In my 8th month, Lori flew down from Kansas to spend a long weekend with me. Talk about fun times! Here's a pic. (we might not look very pregnant here but its because we had such great dresses. lol)






We antique shopped, had a strawberry pie/Grease marathon night, ate crawfish, and got foot massages. It was such a perfect weekend! And Lori was amazing to make the trip, while preggo and uncomfy herself, to be there for me.


Best Friend #2 is Katie Smiley. Katie is my local bestie and a beautiful redhead. Her husband says the redheaded-temper concept is very true, but I've never seen it. Katie is a fantastic friend, someone who has been there for me for years, and is wonderful at encouragement and commiseration. Guess what? She got pregnant about 5 months into my pregnancy. Talk about great minds! =)

Here's a preggo pic of the two of us - me very far along, her not very at all. (wow, I gotta quit posting pics of me being fat!!! lol)



Katie isn't a writer, but she is an avid reader and a huge fan of....me! What a friend. =)
And last but oh so NOT least is Best Friend #3 - Georgiana Daniels. Another far-away bestie, this gal pal lives in Arizona and is such an amazing woman. Stay at home mom of 3 (including 2 tots!) and a fellow writer. How does she do it? Georgiana is one of my best critique buds and a wonderful listener. I can never get through a day without her uplifting emails.


Georgiana (doesn't she look great in red!) is a fellow ACFW member with me and Lori, and is well on her way to publication. She is also my fellow Type A - we thrive on routine! Georgiana is always good for a laugh, an email hug, or a prayer request. I don't know what I'd do without her! (and surprisingly no, we were not ever pregnant at the same time. haha)


Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls for he has no one to help him up. Ecclesiastes 4:9

And I have three!!! =)


What I especially love is that all of my "besties" were brought to me in a very special way. Lori and I met at an ACFW writers conference, Georgiana and I met through the ACFW chat forums, and Katie and I found each other again through the publication of my first novel with The Wild Rose Press - Midnight Angel. She heard of my book, bought it, read it, saw my email on the "contact author" page, and wrote me to tell me how much she enjoyed it. Only God could have concocted these divine meetings! =)



Take a moment to thank God today for the friendships in your life. (and be careful if one of your besties turns up pregnant! haha)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Firefly Lane




Since we’re talking about Friendship this month I wanted to share a book I recently read by the incomparable Kristin Hannah.
They were known as the Firefly Lane girls--a single, inseparable unit. The best friends promise to be there for each other forever--and for 30 years, that promise holds strong. Then events and choices make that promise impossible.
I don’t normally read women’s fiction, no particular reason other than I gravitate more toward romance and romantic suspense novels. I did enjoyed this book on so many different levels, partly because so much of the cultural references over the book’s thirty year span I could relate to, as well as, relating very closely with Kate, one of the lead characters. At times funny, nostalgic and unforgettable, Firefly Lane hooked me from the first paragraph until the very end.
Warning, though, have a box of tissue close at hand.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Real Story of My Best Friend

"Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver but the other's gold." I remember this poem from Brownies. Ah, Friendship. One of God's richest blessings. Let's have some fun with it. Please answer the following questions. Then, match your answers to the numbers in the story.

1. Name a Profession
2. Name a Restaurant
3. Name an unusual animal
4. Name a type of business
5. Your Name
6. Number 1 – 10
7. Favorite Food
8. A Question You Ask Someone The First Day You meet
9. Another Number 1 – 20
10. Name a City
11. Name Something You Do for Fun
12. Name a Holiday Location
13. Your Best Friend’s Name
14. Another Question You Ask Someone The First Day You Meet
15. Name Something Friends Do Together
16. Name a Well-known Party


Once upon a time there were two women who lived in the same town but did not know each other. One was a single [put number 1]; the other was a married, mother of [put number 6], part owner of a [put number 4]. [put number 5], the [put number 1], usually woke up late, rushed to work after eating a [put number 7], taught until five, then mostly for fun [put number 11] and went to church. Late at night, she wrote romances. [put number 13], the business owner, woke up, got the family ready, went into her office and ran a company. Then, in the evenings, she took care of her two children, husband, and various pets including dogs, cats, horses, mules, chickens, and even a [put number 3]. Here and there, she found time to write romances.

One Friday night both of them wound up in the the Romance Chat Room on the old AOL Romance Boards. There were probably more than twenty wannabee romances authors in that room all talking and dreaming and making friends. To this day, [number 5] and [number 13] don’t remember who asked “[put number 8]?” But, it doesn’t matter because they both said [put number 10].

Huh?

Since they were in a Romance Chat Room, it only made sense for [number 5] to say, “[Put number 14]?” [number 13] understood the question, and she decided to attend the next meeting both because she was writing a romance, because they’d discovered they both liked to [put number 11] and because it would be neat to meet [number 5].

Fast forward [put number 9] years.

[number 5] and [number 13] are best friends. They’ve roomed together at [put number 12]. [number 5] has babysat [number 13’s] twins. [number 13] was in [number 5]’s wedding. Of course she was the Maid of Honor. [number 5] has forced [number 13] to attend a [put number 16] party when [number 13] was tired, grumpy, and lost and had decided to give it up and go home. That night Cathy was to get the local chapter’s Desert Rose Award for being member of the year award. [number 13] was one of the first to know when [number 5] found out she was pregnant. [number 5] has watched [number 13]’s daughter perform in Little Shop of Horrors. [number 5] has watched [number 13’s son play football. [number 5] and [number 13, along with two others, are in a [put number 15] that meets at [put number 2] every two weeks. They’ve done this for seven years.




And now for the real story!
Once upon a time there were two women who lived in the same town but did not know each other. One was a single schoolteacher; the other was a married, mother of two, part owner of a construction company. Pamela, the schoolteacher, usually woke up late, rushed to work after eating a pop tart, taught until five, then mostly for fun played competitive softball and went to church. Late at night, she wrote romances. Cathy, the business owner, woke up, got the family ready, went into her office and ran a company. Then, in the evenings, she took care of her two children, husband, and various pets including dogs, cats, horses, mules, chickens, and even a pig. Here and there, she found time to write romances.

One Friday night both of them wound up in the the Romance Chat Room on the old AOL Romance Boards. There were probably more than twenty wannabee romances authors in that room all talking and dreaming and making friends. To this day, Pam and Cathy don’t remember who asked “Where do you live?” But, it doesn’t matter because they both said Phoenix.

Huh?

Since they were in a Romance Chat Room, it only made sense for Pam to say, “Have you heard of RWA?” Cathy had, and she decided to attend the next meeting both because she was writing a romance and because it would be neat to meet Pam.

Fast forward fifteen years.

Pam and Cathy are best friends. They’ve roomed together at romance conferences. Pam has babysat Cathy’s twins. Cathy was in Pam’s wedding. Of course she was the Maid of Honor. Pam has forced Cathy to attend a Membership Appreciation Night when Cathy was tired, grumpy, and lost and had decided to give it up and go home. That night Cathy was to get the local chapter’s Desert Rose Award for being member of the year award. If not for Pam, Cathy would have missed the fanfare. Cathy was one of the first to know when Pam found out she was pregnant. Pam has watched Cathy’s daughter perform in Little Shop of Horrors. Pam has watched Cathy’s son play football. Pam and Cathy, along with two others, are in a critique group that meets at IHOP every two weeks. They’ve done this for seven years.

The real number 5, Pamela Tracy, sold to Steeple Hill’s Love Inspired line. Her next release is in August. It’s called Fugitive Family.
The real number 13, Cathy McDavid, sold to Harlequin American. Her next release is in June. It’s called Waiting for Baby.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Heroine Interview from Home to Crossroads Ranch

Interview with the heroine from Home to Crossroads Ranch by Linda Goodnight:

1. Rainy Jernagen, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

Oh, that one’s easy. My kids! I’m a foster mom, though a lot of people think I’m nuts, mostly because I’m single. But I’m not nuts. (Well, maybe a little.) I just love kids, especially the ones having a tough time of it.

I also do puppet shows. You know, the puppet ministry at church. The kids love it. There I go again, talking about kids.

2. What do you do for fun?

Sleep, maybe? Just kidding but I am pretty busy with my four foster kids. Right now, we’re spending a lot of time at Nate Del Rio’s ranch. He’s a sweet guy (really cute, too) from my church. He lets me bring the kids out to his place so they can learn about animals, ride horses, and play with his dog. I don’t think he really wanted them to come, but I sort of twisted his arm. I’m good at that.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?

I really dread facing my neighbor, Kathy. She causes a lot of trouble in the neighborhood. Right now, she has this vendetta against me and my foster children. She wants them out of my house and away from her grandson. What does she think they’ll do, give him the plague? I don’t begin to understand a person like that, but she sure is trouble.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

I recently applied to adopt my four foster children. There’s always the worry that the birth parents will object, especially because I’m single. It would break my heart to lose them now that I love them so much.

5. What do you want out of life?

God called me to minister to children, whether as a teacher, a puppet minister or as a foster mom. I want to do that to the best of my ability. But I’d like a husband too. I have to tell you, I’m getting a real crush on Nate, but he’s kind of different around the kids. One minute he seems to like them. The next he’s cranky and gruff. Do you think there’s any hope with a man like that?

6. What is the most important thing to you?

I grew up in such a great family, so after my relationship with the Lord, family is top priority. You probably guessed that one already, huh?

7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?

I love to read. I’m a teacher, remember!? Lately, I read mostly children’s books but when I get the chance I love to curl up with my killer chocoholic brownies and a fun, romantic comedy. Hey, if you love brownies, don’t miss the recipe at the end of my book. Yum!

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Well, nobody ever said I was beautiful, so that would be nice. But I’m a decent person and I have really great taste in shoes. Nate teases about my ‘city-slicker’ boots but I think he likes them.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

Not officially. The kids all want a pet but I have neither the time nor the room for an animal. And imagine how my troublesome neighbor, Kathy, would complain about a barking dog or a prowling cat! Instead, the kids and I head out to Crossroads Ranch and play with the animals there. I think Nate has something up his sleeve in this area. The girls keep hinting. We’ll have to see what that’s all about.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I would go back to the time and place where my little Katie was abused and keep it from happening. Somehow. She’s come a long way with counseling, love and prayer, but abuse like that leaves a big scar on an innocent child’s heart.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

FEATURED TODAY: HOME TO CROSSROADS RANCH BY LINDA GOODNIGHT


Finally, Rainy Jernagen has the child-filled home she's always wanted! Okay, so she still hasn't found Mr. Right, but the foster kids she's taken in fill her heart almost completely. Then handyman/rancher Nate Del Rio comes knocking, and Rainy starts to wonder if she really can have it all. There's only one problem: Nate doesn't want kids. At all. And nothing Rainy says will change his mind. Of course, she's not going to let that stop her. Not when she has a houseful of adorable allies to raid Nate's ranch and win his heart—whether he likes it or not.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Long-distance Friends

I often envy people who have lived in a place for many years and have good friends—friends they have known for years—whom they see all the time. I've moved a lot, so many of the friends I have known for years all live some place else. I've lived in South Dakota, Montana, Washington State, Tennessee, Ohio, Georgia, Massachusetts, Texas, Illinois and Florida. I have collected friends from all those states, but I rarely get to see them. That's the sad part and thus my envy of those who get to see friends on a regular basis.

I have a large Christmas card list filled the names of friends we rarely see. I catch up with them this one time of the year. However, because I moved so much, I lost track of some of them over the years. Some of them have moved as well. I often wonder what happened to the couple that we used to play cards with every week when we were first married and living in a small town in Ohio over thirty years ago. She gave me a recipe for pizza dough that I still use to this day, and I get raves on my homemade pizza thanks to that recipe.

We met another couple in that same small town and fortunately, even with all our moves, we have managed to stay in contact. I attribute this to the fact that the men both worked in the healthcare field and had mutual business interests that kept them in touch through the years. We have been on numerous vacations together, and we always have a great time. When we get together, we just pick up where we left off.

When we lived in the Atlanta area, we found some good friends at our church who have a daughter the same age as one of our daughters. Although we don't see each other very often, we have attended the weddings of each others' children and have shared a lot of games of Trivial Pursuit. Last spring they were kind enough to let me stay with them at their place up in the north Georgia mountains so I could do research for my book, Homecoming Blessings, that comes out in April this year.

When we lived in Dallas, we had a group of friends that were in our small group Bible study each week. We had a bond because we were all the parents of teenagers. All of those teenagers are adults, and now we parents share photos of weddings and grandchildren.

I have maintained contact with one of my best friends from high school. Whenever I'm in the Spokane area, we get together. What a treat! She helped me with the research for my book, Love Walked In. I have reconnected with a number of friends who happened to learn about my books. Two of these folks helped me with the research on my January book, Mommy's Hometown Hero. I am amazed at how God worked to bring me in contact with people from my past just when they had the information I needed.

Just a few days ago, I received an e-mail from a fellow teacher, who taught across the hall from me when we were living in Georgia. She just happened to see my book on the shelf at the grocery store and recognized my name. It was wonderful to find out about the things she has been doing since we moved away.

I thank God for all the people he has brought into my life and the friendships I have made in each stop I've made in my life. Whenever I start to envy those who have long-time friends living right where they do, I realize I wouldn't have friends spread across the country if it weren't for the fact that I have moved so many times. Also, He has brought me my many long-distance writing friends.

Tell us about some of your long-distance friends.
Merrillee

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Man's...I mean woman's best friend.



Man’s best friend

This is picture of my very best non-human friend. Her name is Sadie. Sometimes I call her Sadie Sue and sometimes, You miserable Mutt. As you can see, she is waiting patiently for me to finish my work and take her out to play. Sadie lives to have me throw her doggy Frisbee. I think I'm her very best human friend...as long as the grandkids aren't here.

My dog is a yellow lab + something else mix that we brought home from the pound nine months ago. Life with Sadie is never dull. If she isn’t knocking over the trash can, eating my pens or shredding paper, she is rolling her tennis ball under my bed and trying to crawl under after it. Since she has to lay on her side to actually wiggle her 70 pounds under the bed, it’s hysterical watching her try. There is no gift quite as meaningful as a slobbery tennis ball plunked in your lap by a dog who is obviously delighted to share with you.

Isn’t that the best thing about friends? They light up our lives.

Friends make us smile even if we’re feeling down. Friends make us laugh. They give us memories to treasure, and encouragement when we need it the most. Friends, human and non-human alike are among God’s greatest gifts to us. Take a minute today and call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Share a laugh and make a new memory. Give a friend a hug.

Me? I’m taking Sadie and the Frisbee outside.
Pat

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My critique group


This month we're talking about friendship and I have to mention my critique group. We've been together for 5 or 6 years (I've lost count of exactly how many). What is so special about them is their support. What started as a critique group to help each other with our writing has grown into a circle of friends who share a love of the Lord and writing. I love brainstorming with them. I love spending time with them. We usually spend once a month meeting at one of our houses, eating, talking about our books and enjoying each other's company. If something happens to one, the others are their for support, an ear to listen and encouragement. That's friendship.

I want to thank Therese, Vickie, Gloria, Caron and Jan for sharing their life with me. What group of friends has blessed your life?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Friendship and shoes

Okay, this is Lenora. You knew I'd have to have some shoes in there, right? I have lots of good friends now. It's such a blessing to have girlfriends. (I'll get to the shoes in a minute.) When I was growing up, it seemed hard for me to make friends at school. I was the country bumpkin who didn't hang with the social set in our small town. I guess I was an outcast, but that's okay. Because I was alone with my thoughts a lot, I think it helped me to become a writer. Anyway, I was the youngest of seven children. So I was what I call a "lonely child." I was also very shy (hard to believe for those who know me now.) I had a few good friends growing up but when I got married and moved away from that small town and the farm, I discovered I'd have to reach out to people if I wanted friends. But I truly found a pack of friends when I got involved in church after being away for a few years. There I met a group of women over twenty years ago who are still my friends now. We've watched our children grow up together, we've been through births and weddings and funerals together and we've laughed and cried together. We've even had fights and disagreed with each other but we're still friends. I had to learn that having a friend doesn't mean you'll have someone just like you and that friends don't have to be perfect. And, neither do I. You know you have a good friend when you try on clothes together and one of you gets stuck in a strange "girdle" type undergarment or a too tight cocktail dress. Only a true friend would help out in that kind of situation, after she stopped laughing, of course. You know you have a true friend when one of you gets food poisoning and the other one is willing to nurse you until you feel better. And you know you have a true friend when you go shoe shopping and try to hide the evidence from your husband and she whispers, "You can put those shopping bags in my trunk for now if you want to." You know you have a true friend when she takes the time to lather you with sunscreen at the beach so you won't burn. And you know you have a true friend when you get stopped for speeding and she leans over and says to the nice officer "Do you know you're about to give a ticket to a famous writer, sir?" and somehow convinces him to give you just a warning. These are just some of the adventures I've had with my friends. And some adventures shall remain a secret until we all die! But that's the beauty of friends. They're like shoes--some are as comfortable as your old sandals, others are all girly and dressy and ready to take on the world, some are warm and fuzzy like your favorite bedroom slippers and some are as solid and sturdy as your favorite walking shoes. Friends, just as shoes, come in all colors and shapes and styles. Isn't it nice to know that no matter what kind of day you're having, you can call an old friend and most likely she'll come running to be there for you. This is the beauty of frienship....."our sandals have become old because of the very long journey"--Joshua 9:13 Even though our sandals might now be old, our friendships have become rich with memories and the patina of a lasting love. And this journey of friendship will continue to evolve and grow through laughter and tears. And a few shoe clearance sales, too.

Lenora :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Friends Prayer

My friend Sharon moved to town a few years ago and since she didn't know anyone she prayed that God would give her a Christian friend. I owned my hair salon at that time and she walked in for a haircut--and that was that, we connected instantly. God gave Sharon me :) I think that is really kind of cool--not being a big head or anything but really it was cool. But coolest of all was that I got the better end of that prayer because Sharon has been like a real soul mate to me and is the person I can go to to talk about anything. Yes she prayed for a friend but I needed her friendship and didn't even know it! She has been such a blessing to me and I pray I've been a blessing to her. A few years later she moved away but even that hasn't changed our friendship, we still get together a few times a year to hang out. When my husband died Sharon dropped everything and came to me. She'd been through the same thing and she understood and was able to be there for me in ways that no other friends could be. I hope I've been as good a friend to her as she has been to me. I thank God every day for her prayer for a friend. God knew what I needed when He put Sharon in my life.

Friendships are blessings that God gives us. Have you ever prayed for a good friend or been the answer to a new friend's prayer?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hero's Interview from A Soldier for Keeps by Jillian Hart

Interview with the hero: (Pierce Granger from A Soldier For Keeps)

1. Pierce Granger, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

I’m an Army Ranger just back from deployment in the Middle East. I’m committed to my country, my family and my friends.

2. What do you do for fun?

I love downhill skiing. That’s how I met Lexie. She’s this great girl I’m crazy about.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?

Laundry. Grocery shopping. Talking about my feelings.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?

I’m not afraid of anything…except the idea of living life without Lexie.

5. What do you want out of life?

To know that I’ve done the right thing to the best of my ability every step of the way.

6. What is the most important thing to you?

Lexie.

7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?

Something with a lot of action.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would want to be better at not avoiding talking about my feelings.

9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

I love dogs. The dog I grew up with still lives with my folks. His name is Roger and he’s a sheep dog.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I would want to serve in World War II.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

FEATURED TODAY: A SOLDIER FOR KEEPS BY JILLIAN HART


Lexie Evans is not looking for a relationship with Pierce Granger. And that’s just fine by the handsome soldier. Neither one has time for romance, but they can both commit to friendship, right? Then, after months as pen pals, Pierce visits Lexie’s family ranch in Wyoming. Face-to-face with her friend, Lexie realizes her feelings toward him have changed. She’s finally ready for love—but is Pierce ready to be hers for keeps?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Old Friends are New Part 2

Missy Tippens again, continuing with part two of my post from yesterday. I'd like to introduce you to my good friend, Lindi Peterson. I did an interview with Lindi about friendship. And as I promised, she dishes a little "dirt" on me. :)

M: What do you consider the most important characteristic of a good friend?

L: Loyalty.

M: What things do you have in common with your best friends?

L: Faith, laughter, interests, compassion, willing to listen when a friend needs it.

M: What are your favorite activities to do with friends?

L: Get together and hang out and talk. I love writers retreats with my writer friends, I love bowling with my friends, I love family reunions where I can see my family. Generally I really like being around people.

M: Okay, I promised you'd tell something funny or embarrassing about me. So I give you permission to share. :)

L: I hope this isn't too embarrassing but I love how we can room together because I sleep through anything and apparently you snore, but I don't hear you---oh, unless you scream in your sleep--now that I do hear!! I would like to add that it's easy being friends with you (Missy!). We have so much in common, we can talk about anything. I feel like you are one of those people in my life whom I can turn to for anything at anytime. I get excited for you--am sad when you are---I really enjoy being such close friends with you.

Missy here again. Okay, so she softened the embarrassing info with kind words. Nice move. :)

It's wonderful to have such a good friend who I can call on for prayer, for advice, for encouragement and support. Thank you, Lindi, for being on our blog today!

Now for our readers... What do you consider the most important characteristic of a good friend?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Old Friends are New Part 1


Hi. Missy Tippens here. I had the craziest thing happen a few years ago. But let me back up even further... Nearly 20 years ago, I had a friend named Belinda (Lindi) Peterson in my Sunday school class. And I really liked being around her on Sundays and at class social functions. But then she moved and I moved, and we lost touch.
Now, jump ahead about 7 years. I had been writing romance for a while. And I had joined Romance Writers of America, then Georgia Romance Writers, my local RWA chapter. One Saturday at a meeting, I looked up and saw someone who looked so familiar. And the name Lindi popped into my head. It was her! We were so shocked to see each other. Neither of us knew that the other one was a writer.
And then began a great friendship. Eventually, we ended up in a weekly critique group together. And we began attending conferences and rooming together. We brainstorm and critique together. We talk on the phone a couple of times a week. And even though we live two hours apart now, we try to get together whenever we can. We know we'll usually see each other once a month because we serve together on the board of our local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. And of course we usually email almost daily!
I'll be a substitute poster tomorrow, so I'm going to share a short interview I did with Lindi about friendship. I hope you'll come back. She tells a secret on me! :)
So, now your turn. What do you do if you have friends who don't live near you? How do you keep in touch? How often do you get together? Has distance been hard on your friendship?
Missy

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sacrificial friendship




I love stories of heroic friendship. You know the ones. A soldier throws himself on a grenade to save his comrades. A dog is wounded while facing down an armed assailant to protect his owner. A ten year old shaves his head because his best friend is going through chemo and lost his hair. Downs syndrome children in a race, rushing back to pick up a fallen comrade, and all of them crossing the finish line together. Stories like that really warm my heart and renew my faith in mankind.

Friendship doesn’t always mean sacrifice. But it means being willing to sacrifice if the need arises.

A Bible friendship like that comes to mind-David and Jonathon. They could easily have been enemies. In fact, life would have been easier for both if they had been. But they chose to honor their relationship no matter the cost. And sometimes the cost was significant. The coolest part of the story, to me, actually came many years after Jonathan’s death when David took Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s crippled son into his palace and cared for him all the days of his life, simply because of his love for a man who should have been his enemy.

Now that was a friendship.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

There is no friend like....






There is no friend like an old friend

Who has shared our morning days,

No greeting like his welcome,
No homage like his praise.

Fame is a scentless sunflower
With gaudy crown of gold,
But friendship is the breathing rose

With sweets in every fold. --Anonymous

I am a thrift shop-rummange sale aficionado. I found a framed picture made to look like an old cross-stitched sampler with this brief poem. I love these lines of verse because to me they gives the essence of friendship.

As Janet said in her post yesterday, there is a line where an acquaintance becomes a friend. And then ever after--that person is endowed with a special importance in our lives. What they think about us matters more than what countless others think of us. Their praise means the most. Their disappointment can cut us deeper. What hurts them, hurts us. What makes them happy, makes up happy.

And I love the last two lines because they portray how empowering, yet how private and powerful the effect of true friendship is.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Swinging along with my friends


Janet Tronstad here.
I don’t know about you, but I loved to swing high as a girl. I grew up on a farm in rural Montana with few neighbors and one of the exciting things about finally being able to go to school was having the swings. The other great discovery was friends.
Now, in my young age, I had a brother and a sister so I knew about siblings. And I had some delightful cousins. But, until school, I was not in regular contact with other non-related young girls to make any friends.
So it was only fitting that I was sitting on a swing next to Nancy Baker when I had one of those moments that I’ll remember all my life – I was quite awestruck to realize I had a friend. Not just someone to play with (although we did that). Or talk to. But someone who had crossed some line and became a friend. I don’t know what I thought a friend was in my young mind, but I do know it was something like ‘this is a person you can count on.’ Nancy and I stayed friends all through school (first grade to our senior year in high school) and she truly was someone I could always count on.

In the years since then, I have been blessed with an abundance of friends but I will always cherish those young years of friendship. I’m wondering if you’d like to share something you remember about your first friends? Do you remember what you thought friends were back in the early years?