Windows of Blessing (and more publishing news)

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” Malachi 3:10

When it rains it pours!

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Not sure who to credit for this pic. Not mine. I found it here….

 

God has been moving in my life lately. I mean, he ALWAYS is moving in my life, but in the last two weeks I’ve really seen his hand and felt his favour.

My first book is now published. Available here. 😃 So exciting!

Lots of love, fuzzy feelings, cyber hugs, digital high-fives, and assorted comments, shares, and most importantly–reading! happening over on my facebook author page. One lovely lady even made a meme with a quote from my book!! See? Blessings.

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Credit to Susan Snodgrass

 

Just when I think God is about to shut that window of blessing … cos I have doubts sometimes. In my humanness I put limits on His grace. Silly me.

We had a win in a personal matter. I won’t share the details, but it had me crying happy tears, feeling relieved, and smiling non-stop.

Ta-da! Another window of blessing opened by God.

And then…

I have to ask this question. It’s very serious, so bear with me. Practice your serious face.

🤓   🤔

Ready?

Question:

What’s better than ONE mail order bride story?

Answer:

NINE mail order bride stories!!

I’m now included in a fantabulous NINE book collection of mail order bride stories. *gasp* 

Mail Order Brides: Sometimes Love is only an Advertisement Away

Mail Order Brides- Sometimes Love is only an Advertisement Away (9 stories of mail order love)

Click here to buy. $3.99 for all nine! 😮

The other lovely authors in this collection are:

Janice Thompson      Jennifer AlLee      Cynthia Hickey      Debbie Mayne

Darlene Franklin      Teresa Ives Lilly      Martha Rogers      Julie Pollitt

Now that’s a huge window of blessing.

Wow. I’m amazed by God. Only he could orchestrate the events that happened in the last few weeks, few months, or indeed, anything life-changing in my life.

How about you? Have you noticed the windows of heaven opening in your life? Or is God silent?

I’ve had seasons of both in my life. All I can offer is this: Pray. Trust. Wait.

God bless. And keep reading. 😉

 

 

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The Journey to Mail Order Surprise

Welcome!

So much to say….

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In early 2011, I sat at my computer and thought I’m going to write a book. Such a lofty idea. All I knew of the story was that there was a lady and she was on a train. Yup. All I knew about this story! So I wrote the first line and then the next and the next and… Well, you get the picture.

At first it was a secret. Just me and the words. The paper and I. Gradually, I introduced “Book Draft” to other people. At first, my sister, who I bugged  for feedback over the phone. Then to a few select friends (writers!). I joined ACFW and through them, Scribes the big critique loop.

I got feedback on my manuscript, still stubbornly called “Book Draft”. I learned a whole bunch of writerly stuff. Point-of-View. Character Arcs. Tension. Motivation. Add in some edits from the talented Helen Wakefield. I visited the US and attended a writers conference in 2012. There I learned a bunch more in workshops, met my critique partners, Lizzie and Susan in person, and met my agent, Chip MacGregor.

Life fast-forwarded along a busy road filled with family, church, and friends.

Contest finals came and went in 2013. “Book Draft” became “A Certain Woman of Worth” and then “Mail Order Surprise”. An Honorary Mention in the Maggie Awards. 2nd place in RWA Touched by Love competition.

Fast forward some more, blithely skipping over more writing, moving, getting married, a new baby, more writing, and much merry-making.

My agent submitted this book to one publishing house after another. All with varying responses, but the bottom line was no.

And then…

We tried (I say we, when it was really Chip. 😜 ) tried Forget Me Not Romances. Finally! A yes. Even better, a “I’d LOVE to contract this series”.

Series.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let me introduce some old friends of mine, Beau and Lydia. You’ll find their story here.

Don’t mind me, I’m just going  to stare at the cover a li’l bit longer. Catch me on facebook. I’d love to chat. 😀

Mail Order Surprise

~*~

Buy it on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, etc.

P.S. Don’t ever give up on your dreams. This book started with one line over five years ago. Who knows where your dream will take you! 💜

Does God love me?

Does God love me?

What about my sin…you know…that one. The sins you don’t tell anyone about. That remain unconfessed… Haunting. Squirming just below the surface. Surely God wouldn’t forgive them. Surely they’re just too, well, BIG.

Psalm 103

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

God doesn’t hate you. He already knows what’s in your heart–and he loves you the same.

He. Loves. You.

I’ll say it again: He loves you.

Can I encourage you to just close your eyes, quiet your thoughts, and firstly say sorry to God for your sin (it separates us from God) and just listen to Him.

God is waiting to hear from you. He’s out looking for you. Calling your name. Preparing your home in heaven in preparation for your arrival. Getting ready to throw a part to celebrate.

You don’t need to jump hoops to earn his love. The thief on the cross had nothing to offer, nothing to recommend him to God. And he was accepted. Empty hands are fine.

God bless. Lucy

Love the Way You Lie … or do I?

I am currently writing a new argument in my book while I listen to the clean version of Eminem and Rihanna’s “Love The Way You Lie”.

I can identify with that song. Perhaps it’s because the cycle of abuse that took part for so long in my life with my husband.

A spiral of love, hate. Loathing. Desire. Highs. Lows. Ecstasy. Despair.

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A treadmill that led to exhaustion and despair.

Why did I so much want to love the way my partner lied?

Why was I so desperate to believe everything that came out of his mouth?

What was the attraction?

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Insecurity.

Finding my worth in other peoples’ opinions of me.

                                                                        Craving acceptance.     

Wanting desperately to be loved.

It took me quite some time before I realised that nobody except for God alone was going to fill any of those needs.

Years before I realised the lies I was believing.

Found security in God’s arms.

Unconditional love.

Unlimited acceptance.

And yet, a part of me whispers “it’s not enough.” A part of me wants the giddy rush of adrenaline from a knock down-drag em out fight. A part of me wants to be back there, mired in the muck. A part of me wants to believe a lie.

No need to shake your head. I’m already doing it on my behalf.

What is the attraction?

At its core: rebellion.

A ‘I don’t need you, God. I can handle my life on my own’ attitude.

Which only amplifies my need of a Saviour. Highlights in fluro yellow how unable I am to help myself.

So, do I love the way you lie? The way the devil lies to me?

No.

Instead, I choose to claim God’s promises to me. Stand firm on His word. Trust Him. Love Him. Love truth.

What about you? Are there any lies in your past that you were shackled to? What realizations did you come to about unhealthy relationships?

I’d love to hear from you, and, if you feel comfortable to pray for anything you’d like to share–either through the About Me tab or in the comments.

Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Children’s Capers and Writing

“Mummy, mummy!”

The soft cloud I’m sleeping on bounces up and down, jolting me out of the Land of Nod. I crack open one eye and peer at the cherub perched on the edge of my bed. “Wha?” I mumble then close my eye and hope she takes the hint to go away.

The bouncing continues. “Is it my turn to get the mail? Rebekah says it’s her turn to get the mail. Why don’t I get a turn?”

Rebekah thinks every day is her turn. I crack open my eye again peer out the window behind my bed. There is daylight, the kind that has just fought a valiant battle with night and is leading its way across the sky. Our postie is punctual and enthusiastic, but I doubt even he is up this early. My mind shrugs off sleep and I blink, trying to remember what day it is. Wednesday I think. Maybe Thursday. No, it is Thursday I need to do my bible study. “Yes, today is your turn. But I don’t think the mail has been yet, Rachel.”

“Okay!” She half falls off my bed and I hear her footsteps pound the wood floor. The screen door slams then I hear the click of the front gate followed by the slam of the mailbox. My children have an over-enthusiasm for collecting the mail. So much so I’ve had to put them on a roster to collect it. Eldest on Monday, 2nd child on Tuesday and so forth. Having 4 children means Friday ends up a day for someone who has missed a turn or I have a turn and spend 10 minutes chatting with the postie and swapping yarns. Ah. This sort of thing will have to make it into a book someday. I’m sure. 🙂

Fast forward a few hours…

Schoolwork around the kitchen table.

I listen to one child read, prod another to

‘Do your math! Please, build the next question!’

Explain why Australia went to war (is there any comfortable or rational explanation for that?).

And.. wait… back! I glance over at child no. 2 as he reads. A word catches my eye. It sounded fine as he read it, but…

“That’s the wrong spelling!” I exclaim. “Give me that book!” He grins, happy to get out of reading and hands the book over. All the other children gather around and I re-read the sentence, poking the offending word with a finger. Then follows a discussion as I scribble the different ways that word can be spelled on paper and what they mean. Of course they then chime in with examples in movies they’ve seen or how so-and-so did this (which is now hopelessly off track topic-wise, but nonetheless interesting). I shoo them back to their work and we carry on with work.

A picture tells a thousand words…

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My two youngest on the left, a cousin on the right and my eldest forehead in the bottom right in our 8 seater Ford stationwagon. That day was fun. Sort of. Now when I look back on it… We spent the whole day cleaning a house and packing up my sister to move. So all the last minute things got shoved in my car (no room in hers. We were running out of room to put plates near the end of the day and both of us pack really well!) Then we realised.. oh, 8 seats and we had 7 children between us and 2 adults. Those of us who can add will realise that someone has to run behind. Only thing is… my house is over 50kms away. No problem. Two children can share a seatbelt. Then we realised that mum had deposited some money in my account. And seeing as we were in a town that has a Woolies….That means food shopping! So $200 in food later we head out to the car. Pack the children in first, seatbelts on, then start packing shopping around them. That was interesting! When we drove off we had: 2 adults in the front seats (I had room at my feet and that’s only cos I needed to use the pedals), 4 in the backseat–that’s including the baby seat, no feet space, at least 2-3 mops and brooms next to them and a mower and catcher. (yes, you read that right.), the boot seat had 3 children and the rest of the $200 bucks worth of shopping. Oh, and tucked somewhere in all of that was a maltese terrier dog. 🙂 Good thing there wasn’t many bumps on the way home, I’m sure I would have felt the car bottom out on every bump otherwise. 🙂

Very happy to not repeat that experience. However some poor unsuspecting character might. Not sure how in a historical setting… but I’m sure I’ll find a way!

After dinner I’m knee deep in editing and critiques. Add in more detail of storefronts of buildings. I squint at the comment again and sigh. I mean, can’t the characters just walk on into the shop without noticing the surroundings… No? Well, that means some research then of 1881 mercantile storefronts. I’ll start by googling… My fingers hesitate above my laptop keys. Or, will I? I smile and lean over to my oldest daughter is sitting cross legged on my bed next to me.

I nudge her with my elbow. “Hey, what do store front’s on old streets look like?”

She pulls a headphone out of her ear and looks at me. “What?”

I refrain from rolling my eyes. This is an expert at old movies. If it’s an old movie and suitable for under 13’s then she’s probably seen it. A picture tells a thousand words… “I said, what do the store front’s on shops in old movies look like?”

“Ah!” Her eyes light up and she launches into descriptions of buildings, people and most importantly–mercantile stores.

My fingers speed across the keyboard, trying to keep up. Eventually she runs out of breath and quiets. I finish typing my sentence and look at her. “Thanks!”

She nods. “No problem. I like movies.”

This time I do roll my eyes. “I know.”

She sticks her headphones back in and goes back to her ipod. I review what I’ve typed up and smile. Perfect. And better yet, I can imagine what they look like thanks to the memory jog of the different movies these are set in. I begin rewording and adjusting what I’ve written, a sappy smile I’m sure plastered on my face.

I love research.

I love writing… and

I love my children. They help me write–and yes, sometimes they don’t help me write. They help with research and they listen when I ramble on about my ‘cool’ idea for a character. They provide oodles of examples of how people react to each other, and the funny stuff they do provide lots of examples for my writing.

How about you? Do you have children? Nieces, nephews? Some random child who walks past at 3pm every day with his blue cap on backwards and a butterfly on a string. Do they provide inspiration for you stories? Quirks for characters? A giggle for levity?

I know mine do. 🙂

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Sumo wrestling next to our lake. They were so hilarious as they attempted to swat each other. Then they’d totter on their matchlike legs. Teeter…then… timberrrrr! Splat. They’d hit the mat. Usually face first. Far too much padding to get hurt. But my goodness they were so funny I could barely keep the camera straight. I had to take pictures, that way I can giggle later at inopportune times in memory. Don’t worry, they loved it. 🙂

How much is too much?

Do you ever feel like sometimes there is just too much on your plate? Hungry little hands grabbing for a piece of you that you can’t spare. Too much to do and not enough time? One demand on top of another, all needing to be done yesterday…

I’ve had days like that. If I’m honest, I’ve had years like that. Worries and cares in my life pulled at me and stretched me thinner and thinner (physiologically, not physically!) until deep dark issues could be seen poking through my coping abilities.

I’d like to say I said a magic prayer and all my worries went away, my cares vanished and my burdens disappeared instantly. But it didn’t.

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Imagine, if you will, that the burden you carry, that I carry, is a giant sack of rocks. Heavy rocks in a rough hessian sack slung over my shoulder. I can’t rest. I can’t set it down. No, onwards I am urged. To greater heights. To lower depths…

And then– I read a truth in God’s word. You know the kind that makes you sit and listen. The kind of truth that resonates. A prick in your spirit that makes you say “Ooh.” That truth I read- sets me free… Free of all the rocks I carry, all the burdens? No. Might just be one rock that I offload. Might be handful of pebbles. But when I pick up that sackful of cares and worries it is a bit lighter. I’ve replaced those cares with something else and my steps are easier.

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Or, each time I said ‘no, I’m sorry, but I can’t take on that important xyz job’ because I know it will be too much for me, and will take valuable time away from my family. Ah! 🙂 Another rock offloaded.

A lesson learned. A truth told. Might just be something as simple as: I can’t please everybody. I don’t have to please everybody. Only God. Can’t you just hear those rocks tumbling down the hill out of that sack?

Forgiveness given. To choose to forgive somebody–regardless of whether or not they admit wrong, or say sorry–and let go of that hurt. Forgive not because they deserved it, but because I don’t deserve forgiveness, and yet God forgives me and asks that I do likewise. Ping, thump. There goes another burden from my heart.

We weren’t designed to carry burdens of worry, care and pain. That’s not in God’s original plan for us. Jesus says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I think his burden is truth, love, forgiveness. That’s the burden he offers us in return for the heavy load we carry.

Think about it…

John 8:32
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Galatians 5:13
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.

Hebrews 8:12
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.

Is your burden heavy today? Heart breaking the things going on in your life? There is a cure. Stop. Yes, right now. Pause for a moment. Rest. Shut your eyes, take a deep breath and enter God’s rest. Trade burdens with Jesus. Hand them over, you don’t need to carry them. They aren’t helping, they are weighing you down. And they aren’t yours. They are lies the devil has convinced you to carry around. Switch your burdens with Jesus.

Truth.

Love.

Forgiveness.

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🙂 Have a great day!