Friday, May 30, 2014

I Know School's Almost Out When...

I know school's almost out when...



1. I debate if the kids really need a lunch before slapping peanut butter on bread and tossing random pantry items into the bag. These meals aren't good, folks.

2. My pale skin scares me in the mirror. Haven't had time to soak the Vitamin D in, but summer clothes are on my body. It's like staring at a car accident. Can't look away, but you're cringing the whole time.

3. I ask, "Do you have homework?" and walk out of the room before they reply.

4. Bedtime for my youngest pushes back so far, he's staying up as late as I am.

5. I actually considered not setting the alarm last night. As if it's an option? Where is my head at??

6. I'm mentally planning all our day trips to the beach, an afternoon at the zoo, a tour of the art museum, but forgetting all the "I'm bored" declarations coming soon.

7. The stack of books and magazines I bring home from the library is twice the normal size.

8. Every meal involves the crock pot, a sandwich item, or comes from a freezer bag. Baseball. Summer. No time to cook.

What says School's Almost Out to you?

Have a fantastic weekend!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Writer's Life: Becky Wade

Welcome to another edition of Writer's Life! Every Wednesday features a romance writer of inspirational or sweet romance novels. I'm excited to share some of my favorite authors and hope you'll find new books for your to-be-read pile!

Stalker Alert!!

Today we have the object of my author infatuation--the one I overly hugged two years ago, the one I gush about her books again and again--yes, I'm Becky Wade's super fan!! Can I tell you how much I love, love, love Becky's books? She writes contemporary romance novels for the Christian market, and I'm blown away--BLOWN AWAY--every time I pick up a new story of hers!

Meant to be Mine is her best yet. And, here's the thing, I thought her other two books were mocha frosting on a chocolate cupcake. She's outdone herself! You can read  my review later in this post.

Let's get to it!

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

Dreaming up ideas!  If I had to put my finger on what I love most about writing -- it truly is the imagining.  It's so much fun to build my very own characters, places, and romances.  I fall asleep every night thinking about my story people.

2. What is the biggest hurdle you're facing right now as a writer?

Procrastination.  I can easily waste two full hours messing around with household chores, browsing social media, or dredging chocolate out of my pantry when I should be working.

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

Movies, TV shows, books, and writer's meetings all help me fill my well.  As do occasional vacations from writing.  But my very best well-filler happens every Sunday morning. 

Several years ago, my husband convinced me to attend the contemporary service at our church.  At the start, I didn't much like the rocking praise music.  But over time, I've become a huge fan of it. Huge! I listen to worship music in my car and at home now.

God meets me every single Sunday in that contemporary service.  He renews my inspiration to write for Him.  And He also fills me with fresh ideas.  Sometimes, I have to jot down notes, just to keep up with all the writing-related thoughts that occur to me during the songs and the sermon.

4. What are you working on next?

Undeniably Yours and Meant to Be Mine are the first two books of my contemporary, Texas-set series about the Porter family.  I'm currently working on the third book in that series.  It stars Jake Porter, the dark and brooding brother.  Let me tell you, Jake's heroine has her work cut out for her! 

***

Becky, I can't wait to read Jake's story! He's got such a tough shell around his heart--I'm looking forward to getting to know the special lady who can dissolve it! 
I love dreaming up ideas too! I had to leave my idea notebook next to the bed because so many things hit me before dozing off. :) 

Procrastination is an ugly beast. I'm guilty. Always guilty! Your words on church made me smile. I love how energized you are, and I totally get it. Our pastor played piano for two hymns this week, and it was so incredibly beautiful, it filled me up!

Thank you SO much for being my guest today!!

***



Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school--irresistible. When their paths cross again after college-- still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.

The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia's ready to be Ty's wife, but Ty's not ready to be her husband. He’s a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he’s long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he’s known since childhood.

Five and a half years pass. Celia's buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty's achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn't forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.

How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia’s trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?

***



Becky Wade ~ 

Becky makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her CBA debut, My Stubborn Heart, was a finalist in both the RITA and INSPY awards.  Undeniably Yours kicked off her Texas-set Porter Family series.  Her newest contemporary romance, Meant to Be Mine, has just hit shelves!

***

My Review!! 5 Stars!!!

One thing I love about Becky Wade's books? They're all heart. She takes characters who mess up spectacularly and somehow makes me fall in love with them immediately! How does she do it? I have no idea. I'm convinced she's a genius. Meant to be Mine is laugh-out-loud hysterical and bring-you-to-tears emotional. I related to Celia's struggles and over-protectiveness to her daughter. And I flat out loved Ty, but then, I'm a fan of alpha cowboys! The secondary characters (especially Danny and Donetta) had me hollering in laughter, and the spiritual thread in particular resonated with me. I can't recommend this book enough! Go buy it!

**I received an advanced reader copy of this book with no obligation to review it. All opinions are my own.**

***

Spill it--do you enjoy reading stories with cowboys? Why or why not?

Have a terrific day!!


Friday, May 23, 2014

Have a Wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!

I love holiday weekends! I'm so grateful for all our veterans. Yes, I'll be soaking up the sun, barbecuing, and relaxing with my coffee, but I'll also take time to remember all those amazing people who have died serving our country. 



Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!!

What are your plans for the weekend?

I'm taking Monday off, but I'll be back on Wednesday with another "Writer's Life," so be sure to stop by!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Writer's Life: Dani Pettrey

Welcome to another edition of Writer's Life! Every Wednesday features a writer of inspirational or sweet romance novels. I'm excited to share some of my favorite authors and hope you'll find new books for your to-be-read pile!

Today we have inspirational romantic suspense author, Dani Pettrey! I first met Dani last year at the ACFW annual conference. She's kind, warm, smart, and stunningly beautiful--I'm thrilled to have spent time getting to know her. Guess what? Her latest book in the Alaskan Courage series, Silenced, released this month! 

Let's get to it!

1. What about writing makes your heart sing? 

I believe God knit the love of story in my heart from a very young age. I'm fascinated by the power of story--how it can transport you to another time and place. Stories (via novels or movies) have impacted me profoundly. They've helped me see things from a different perspective, introduced me to new cultures, inspired hope, and have even made me a better person. That's what makes my heart sing about writing, the humble hope that my stories may touch my readers' lives in a similar way.  

2. What is the biggest hurdle you're facing right now as a writer?

Time management. Life is a juggling act and the writing life is no different. As a writer you have to balance your creative writing time with the business side of writing—deadlines, accounting, marketing, etc. I haven't quite figured out the balance yet, but I'm hoping one day I'll hit my groove :) 

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

Read books that inspire me, watch good movies, go for a hike, or even simply sit on the beach and daydream. Taking a rest from writing and letting my mind wander is what works best for me. 

4. What are you working on now?

I just turned in the final book in my Alaskan Courage series. It was a bittersweet experience. I've spent the past five years with the McKenna family so saying goodbye was difficult, but, at the same time, I'm looking forward to beginning a new series. It'll be a four book series that will be set in the Chesapeake Bay area. I'm very excited to share my little corner of the world with my readers. 

***
Dani, I agree with you on how stories inspire us. My life has been touched by countless stories. I'm so grateful for all the writers who shared their books with the world. Time management is a toughie. If you figure out the secret, please share it with us! And how exciting about your new series. I'd love to visit the Chesapeake Bay area, so reading your books will be a primer for me. Thanks so much for being my guest today! 

***



Silenced ~


Jake Knew Something Was Wrong. 
But He Never Guessed How Wrong. 


A relaxing day of rock climbing takes a disturbing turn when Kayden McKenna's route brings her face-to-face with a dead climber. Is it a terrible accident or something darker? When the case is handed to overburdened sheriff Landon Grainger, he turns to Jake Westin for help. With Jake's past now revealed, he's ready to use his talent for investigation again--but he could never prepare for where the mystery will take him.

Kayden's climbing expertise soon leads her and Jake to the realization that the death was no accident. And worse, it seems the killer is onto them. When strange things begin happening in Yancey, Jake is terrified that once again his world may put someone he loves in danger. But the truth is far worse than he could ever imagine. 

***

About Dani ~


Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the acclaimed author of the romantic suspense series Alaskan Courage, which includes her bestselling novels, Submerged, Shattered, Stranded, and her latest release, Silenced. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves--the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of her characters' faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their daughters, son-in-law, and super adorable grandson.

***

Have you ever been to Alaska? Do you want to go? I would love to see this beautiful state!!

Have a terrific day!

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Teavana Incident

My daughter and I had a rare free Saturday so we decided to drive up to Ann Arbor (home of University of Michigan--Go Blue!!) for some shopping. I scored a sundress from the clearance rack in the first store, and we continued our quest, stopping for free samples at Teavana.




I've never walked into a Teavana store before, but when workers start handing out tiny cups with tea, I'm in! We tried four or five teas, oohed-and-ahhed over the adorable teapots and cups--okay, I was the one oohing over them--and shuffled to the back to buy some loose tea.

We'd tried these little tea balls that blossom into flowers when you brew them. Flowers unfurling with hot water? Oh yeah! They were adorable!

I asked about the prices. The little peach flowering balls were $18.98 for the minimum purchase of two ounces. I'm "frugal" (aka, cheap!), so there was no way I was spending twenty bucks for roughly eight tea balls. We really enjoyed some spicy Oprah tea. The clerk held a canister that said $6.98. I could do that. We ordered the minimum and searched for disposable tea bags.

Five minutes later we were checking out. The price seemed higher than I expected, but I had a stroller bumping into my leg, so I signed for it and accepted my receipt.

$14.98 for the tea? What??

I asked about the price and didn't understand the explanation. We took our teensy-tiny bag of tea and left. My daughter and I immediately went into sleuth mode, trying to figure out how seven dollars worth of tea became fifteen. She's urging me to return it, I'm telling her no, but I WILL complain about it for a good five years. Maybe more!

We laughed and complained about that stupid tea the rest of the day. When store after store yielded only high-waisted short-shorts and tribal shirts, we both got discouraged. I declared it our Teavana Attitude.

I'm still shaking my head at spending a small fortune on tea, but it gave us some good laughs.

Have you ever paid a much higher price for something than you planned? Did you get over it?

Have a fabulous day!


Friday, May 16, 2014

What's New with Jill May 2014 Vlog

Welcome to another webisode of What's New with Jill! Not sure why my eyes and shirt are purple in this beauty, but, hey, it's kind of fun!




What's new with you?

Have a terrific day!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Writer's Life: Beth K. Vogt

Welcome to another edition of Writer's Life! Every Wednesday features a writer of inspirational or sweet romance novels. I'm excited to share some of my favorite authors and hope you'll find new books for your to-be-read pile!

Today we have the oh-so-encouraging and talented Beth K. Vogt!! You know how some people just give you the warm fuzzies? Well, Beth is one of those people. She goes out of her way to make everyone around her feel special, and she's SO gifted as a writer. Her latest inspirational contemporary romance, Somebody Like You, sucked me in and wouldn't let me go. Yes, I cried! My review is posted below. 

Let's get to it! 

1.  What about writing makes your heart sing?

There are times when writing makes my heart grumble – usually when I’m lost in rewrites. But the days when the words I’ve written turn into scenes that match the vision I have for a novel – that’s when writing creates music inside of me. Or when readers tell me they connect emotionally with characters and can’t stop thinking about them … or when a spiritual truth experienced by one of my imaginary characters also touches the heart of a real life reader … those are times when writing “sings” for me.

2.  What is the biggest hurdle you're facing right now as a writer?

I’m launching my newest book, Somebody Like You, starting the fast draft of a new novel, and waiting for edits of a novella. Balancing all those #1 priorities is a challenge. Some days I manage better than others.

3.  What do you do to fill your creative well?

Two disparate things help me be more creative: silence and music. I’ve dealt with insomnia for several years now and, as much as I don’t like the loss of sleep, I treasure the quietness of the house when I’m the only one awake. I spend time in the Word, pray, journal – all three refresh my soul. I also enjoy creating musical playlists on Spotify. Some are geared to the novels I’m writing and some are just personal favorites. Listening to music often helps me tap into the mood of the scene that I’m writing.

4.  What are you working on now?

I’m brainstorming my next novel. I’m part of the My Book Therapy leadership team and I love to use The Book Buddy, a worktext developed by best-selling author Susan May Warren, to plot out my novel: themes, Story Question, characters, subplots, spiritual thread – things like that. Once I have these elements developed, I’ll dive into my fast draft and discover what this novel is about.

***

Sounds like you're super busy, Beth! I'm with you on getting lost in rewrites--it's difficult to change the story, keep the threads together, and strengthen the book. Insomnia--yuck. I'm impressed you found a way to make it positive. I usually sit there while the same thoughts race around my head. Your way is better! Congratulations on your upcoming novella, and happy first-draft-writing!

***



SOMEBODY LIKE YOU ~

Can a young widow find love again with her husband’s reflection?

Haley’s three-year marriage to Sam, an army medic, ends tragically when he’s killed in Afghanistan. Her attempts to create a new life for herself are ambushed when she arrives home one evening—and finds her husband waiting for her. Did the military make an unimaginable mistake when they told her Sam was killed? 

Too late to make things right with his estranged twin brother, Stephen discovers Sam never told Haley about him. As Haley and Stephen navigate their fragile relation­ship, they are inexorably drawn to each other. How can they honor the memory of a man whose death brought them together—and whose ghost could drive them apart? 

Somebody Like You is a beautifully rendered, affecting novel, reminding us that while we can’t change the past, we have the choice to change the future and start anew.

***



About Beth ~

Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A nonfiction writer and editor who said she’d never write fiction, Beth is now a novelist with Howard Books. She enjoys writing inspirational contemporary romance because she believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us. Connect with Beth on her website or check out her blog on quotes, In Others’ Words.

*** 

My review: 5 Stars!!

I’ve been anticipating this book for months. What can I say? I’m a sucker for any identical twin drama. This one lived up to its premise and then some!! There’s so much to love about this book—the tension of not knowing how Haley and Stephen can get past the death of Stephen’s twin brother, who was Haley’s husband, to forge a future, then there was the serious but warm tone, the heartbreak of giving birth as a widow, the sweet, sweet acts of kindness Stephen showered on Haley. I could go on and on. I loved this book. Did I cry? Of course I did! Do yourself a favor and buy Somebody Like You! It’s wonderfull!


**I received an advanced reader copy of this book with no obligation to review it. All opinions are my own.**

***
Thank you, Beth, for being my guest today!!

Do you love stories featuring identical twins? And how many of you read the Sweet Valley High series? (Guilty!!)

Have a terrific day!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day Guilt

Should be so simple, right? Honor the moms in our life one Sunday each May. Easy!

Well...

My life hiking in front of me. I'm always a few steps behind!

This holiday is a toughy. On one hand I'm blessed with an incredible mother. My mom and I have weathered a lot this year, having to make hard decisions about my dad and navigate the life upheaval that comes with it. The sacrifices she's made, the love she's filled with, and her strong faith impress me every day. And I'm blessed with a wonderful mother-in-law who has always gone out of her way to make me feel loved. The moms in my life deserve to be honored! 

But we live a few hours away from both sets of parents. We also have sports and church commitments most weekends, making it difficult to visit. Therefore, we sent our moms cards this year and called them. Do I feel guilty not taking them out for a big breakfast, showing up on their porches with pretty hanging baskets of flowers, and giving them hugs yesterday? 

Yes!!

Then there's the other guilt-inducer surrounding this holiday. My peers. Yes, I've been beyond blessed with two children. One even got her driver's license last Friday. My kids are growing up but they'll always be my babies. However, I'm all too aware of friends who struggled with infertility or lost precious babies to miscarriages. Worse, there are parents in our area who recently lost teens. I can't imagine the pain they're suffering. 

While we're on the subject, Mother's Day can be brutal for anyone who has lost a mother or is estranged from a mom or child. I wouldn't blame someone for spending the day in bed. 

I'm saluting all the women in my life. Single, married, moms or not--you all make my life better and I appreciate you!! 

Do you suffer from Mother's Day guilt?

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, May 9, 2014

What Are You Waiting For?

Five romance novels, seven extra pounds, a stack of magazines, dirty kitchen cabinets, a messy office, winter shoes, a manuscript to polish, my daughter's drive time to qualify for her license--last week I stared down many things I planned to "get to" at some point last month. Yeah, my life has been crazy lately (what's new?) with extra responsibilities and not enough time or energy for the regular routine, let alone the additional tasks. But did that mean I should completely give up? Pretend the to-do's on my list didn't exist?

Of course not!



I'd read a book on organizing my life earlier in the year, and some of the advice roared back. Life wasn't going to accommodate me with big chunks of time. I was going to have to chip away at the issues.

The first thing I did was ask myself what was bothering most on the list? Easy! Two things jumped out at me.

1. My weight
2. My manuscript

Next up?

3. Drive time for my daughter
4. Romance novels (I'd agreed to read each of them)
5. Everything else

I work on my manuscript every weekday, but I mapped out a clear end date with target goals for the remaining steps I needed to take to finish it. As for my weight, I want to be toned, so I committed to twenty minutes of exercise six days a week.

Then I smooshed the other things into the days I don't have to drive my son to baseball or my daughter to track. A few of them I haven't gotten to yet (winter shoes and dirty kitchen cabinets might wait a long time), but I feel so much better now that I'm making progress, I'm okay with having a few danglers!

Sometimes I get behind because life overwhelms me, but when I make a plan and tackle things a little here a little there, they get done. We don't have to wait for a huge block of free time. Let's face it, that big old hunk of time might not happen for months! The slowly-but-surely method works great. Try it!

What are you waiting for?

Have a terrific weekend!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Writer's Life: Melissa Tagg

Welcome to another edition of Writer's Life! Every Wednesday features a romance writer of inspirational or sweet romance novels. I'm excited to share some of my favorite authors and hope you'll find new books for your to-be-read pile!

Today we have the fabulous Melissa Tagg!! Melissa writes contemporary romance for the inspirational market. Her latest, Here to Stay, released this week! I spent ten minutes debating with myself about the cover, and in the end, I decided it's my favorite romance cover of 2014. Isn't it pretty? I'm a sucker for small towns, brick sidewalks, and cute couples. :) My review is posted at the end of the interview.


Let's get to it!!

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

Writing The End. LOL! No but seriously, probably what most makes my heart sing are those moments when I'm deep in a scene and the characters suddenly start doing things I didn't expect, saying things I didn't plan on...when the words almost don't feel like my own. Especially if it's a serious scene...those are just amazing moments as a writer. And it's often those moments when a nugget of truth comes to light and I have the realization that God has me writing this story at this time for a reason...and that he's changing me or working in my heart. 

2. What is the biggest hurdle you're facing right now as a writer?

Hands-down my biggest hurdle is time and focus. I work full-time at a nonprofit organization, and I do try to, you know, have a social life. Haha! So doing the writing thing on top of that is a lot. I often feel like I'm working two full-time jobs. But I keep telling myself, this is the season I'm in right now. Embrace it! 

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

Spend time with family for sure. Nothing relaxes and reenergizes me as much as spending a Sunday afternoon with family. Too, I love classic movies...especially classic movies with witty and fast-paced dialogue. (I'm sorry, so many of today's movies are sooo lacking in brilliant dialogue! If that makes me sound like a snob, well, so be it.) So sometimes if I'm feeling less-than-creative, I'll go watch one of my favorite movies to get inspired.

4. What are you working on next?

Well, when this interview goes up, I will be just days away from the deadline for my third book! It's called From the Start and it comes out in spring 2015. It's the start of a new series that takes place in Iowa and features the Walker family. The first book in the series is about Kate Walker, a romantic movie scriptwriter who doesn't believe in love, and a brooding-but-adorable ex-NFL-er named Colton Greene. This summer I'll be writing a novella to preclude and introduce the new series, and soon after, I'll start on the second book in the series. So...lots of writing in my world this year!

***
 Melissa, I think we can all relate on struggling to balance our time. You really are working two full-time jobs. Writing involves so much more than just putting words down! I'm with you on classic movies. In my twenties, I had a thing for Cary Grant movies. Just love the dialogue, sets, and proper clothing! Congratulations on finishing book three (I have complete faith you'll make that deadline without any problem)! And thanks for being my guest today!

***


Blake Hunziker has played nomad for five years and landed in his fair share of trouble too. But now he’s finally returning to his hometown–the Lake Michigan tourist town of Whisper Shore. Counting on a not-so-warm welcome, he’s surprised at not only a positive reception but also a job offer. Determined to settle down and prove himself responsible, he agrees to the catch that comes with the job offer–coordinating the annual Christmas festival–even though he has no idea how he’ll pull it off.
Autumn Kingsley, inn owner and experienced organizer of the Christmas festival, has always dreamed of traveling the world. Now she has a job opportunity in Paris and a surprise potential investor coming to town who just might take on her family’s inn and finally leave her free to go. The only problem is that she has just two weeks to whip the inn into shape.
Their families have a long history of not getting along, but when Blake comes to Autumn for help with the festival, she actually agrees…in exchange for his help with the repairs to her inn. They may have struck a simple deal, but complications are quick to pile on when the guy who’s had enough of running away and the woman who can’t wait to leave join forces.

***




Melissa Tagg, author of Made to Last and Here to Stay, is a former reporter and total Iowa girl. In addition to her homeless ministry day job, she is also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. She’s passionate about humor, grace, and happy endings. Melissa blogs regularly and loves connecting with readers at www.melissatagg.com.


 ***
My Review ~ 5 Stars!!
Charming, whimsical, and oh-so-warm, I loved Here to Stay! Ms. Tagg excels at writing lovable characters. Since I spend time every summer on Lake Michigan, I especially enjoyed the autumn setting on the lake. Look for fun cameos by Miranda Woodruff from the first book in the series, Made to Last. With a strong romance, touching spiritual journeys, and comedic situations, Here to Stay is a must read! 

***
What do you look for in a cover? Does a gorgeous one make you more likely to read a book?

Have a fantastic day!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Writers at the Crossroad: Success, Indecision, and Failure

Novelists are self-employed, and this freedom brings constant decisions. Sometimes it feels we're always at a crossroad.

Do I turn right and work on this idea even though it's not my current genre?

Do I stay straight and keep doing what I'm doing?

Do I make a left and enter this contest/query this agent/try this critique partner?

Do I cut through that field and try a different publishing path, knowing there isn't a clear destination at the end?

Or we can get stuck at the four-way-stop, so unsure of our next step we don't move forward. Maybe we let life get in the way of opening our manuscript. Or doubt prevents us from taking the chance in front of us. 



When we're riding on a high (we finished writing our best book yet, landed an agent, placed in a contest, gotten another request, signed a three-book deal), it's not difficult to continue forward, excited in our dream, sure of our end goal.

I've zoomed along the writing highway, made brief stops at the four-way-stop, and continued forward. The one place a writer doesn't ever want to be? On the side of the road with a flat tire and no service station for twenty miles.

I've gotten that flat tire. Almost three years ago, my mom called and told me my dad was diagnosed with dementia. We also learned he had Parkinson's disease. On top of that I got rejections from every editor looking at my novels--all in one week. I was only days away from typing The End on another manuscript, so I forced myself to finish, but afterward I took a month off. 

That month was my flat tire. I felt lost, alone, depressed. I prayed a lot about my career and my parents. Did God really want me to write? Or had I let my pride and vanity dictate my future? The Bible passage about man making plans but God determining the steps kept slapping me in the face. I wrestled with doubt. Maybe writing wasn't my calling. Because if it was, wouldn't I be finding some success at it?

Well, here it is, years later, and I'm still stopping at crossroads on a regular basis. Still questioning my next step. Still wrestling with doubt as to what my life is all about. 

Boy, I wish my faith could be as strong as steel. I wish I believed in myself and my journey with ninety-nine percent confidence instead of seventeen percent, or, some days, less than one percent. I wish I didn't doubt myself and God's plan for my life. 

My prayers always lead me to continue writing. My weaknesses, my doubts keep me humble. They remind me I'll never be perfect. And the Bible assures me I'm not alone in following a winding path. Many of God's servants faced huge obstacles on their journeys. 

Next time you're at a crossroad, remind yourself success does NOT equal God's love. God loves us whether we're riding high, paused in indecision, or crushed at the side of the road. And keep praying! Even when you're a miserable mess. Especially when you're a miserable mess! God will make your paths straight.

Have you questioned your life journey when success eluded you?

Have a fantastic day!!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Tips for Migraine Sufferers

Migraine. Might as well be a four-letter-word. This disruptive disease affects millions of people around the world. I've suffered from them off and on since I turned eighteen. Over the years, I've heard a lot of advice. Some good. Some not-so-good. All well-intentioned.

"Beware of anyone who promises you a "migraine cure." Migraine isn't curable — not yet. I can't promise you that you'll never have another migraine. But migraine is a treatable disease." 
~ Dr. Carolyn Bernstein author of The Migraine Brain.

Migraines can have many symptoms. I might say, "I have a migraine," and it means one side of my head throbs, my eyes are tired, light bothers me, I'm nauseous, and my shoulders ache. For someone else, a migraine might be a tight knot in their back, an aura, and dizziness. You don't have to have a headache to have a migraine! Unfortunately, I always do.



I've learned the warning signs my body might be preparing for one:

- extreme fatigue
- black mood--I literally feel as if life will never be good again
- tired eyes, my eyebrows ache
- noise seems louder
- light seems abnormally bright

When I become aware of any of the above, I drink more water, and I take ibuprofen (my doctor recommended this for me--see a doctor about the best treatment for you). I also try to get more rest, but if it's not possible, I continue to load up on liquids.

Many times, I have no warning. Why? Because I get migraines while I'm sleeping and wake up with them. Those are the worst. If you catch a migraine early, you have a good chance of stopping it either with prescription medication or over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen or Excederin Migraine. When you wake up with one, you're pretty much stuck with it.

Migraines can last for a few hours or several days. The longest one I've had was three days. By day three, I wanted to dunk my head in a vat of ice and be done with it.

If you're in the middle of a nasty episode, find a dark place to lie down. Put an ice pack on the aching area. Take medication (prescription or over-the-counter painkiller).

During a migraine, I can't read but I can usually watch television. There's always a marathon running of a show you've never seen. I watched the first two seasons of Dallas earlier this year. A few years back, I got hooked on The T.O. Show, which followed Terrell Owens and his entourage when he was still a big time NFL player. Did I watch a marathon of The Real Housewives of New York several years ago? Yep.

I know these tips are simple and don't solve the problem, but I hope you know you're not alone.

If you've suffered a migraine, what worked for you? 

Have a terrific Friday!!