Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Memories

We're having our ninth Geary family get-together in Colorado. We've been meeting every other year since 1992. My sister, Kathy, surprised us with a DVD of pictures from the previous eight Christmases. Lots of laughter at the big hair of the early nineties, outdoor wear, and memories. And a few tears since this is our first Christmas where we're all together without Mom.

Bittersweet. But thankfully we continue to make more memories . . . and adding pictures to the ones we already have. We have great times when we're together.

Please share any Christmas memories you have in the comments.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas week

Another busy week. *smile* I do love Christmas, and I love celebrating our Savior's birth with my family. Every other year my siblings and their families join us in Colorado for Christmas. This year is another Geary family year. My brother, Richard, and his family are already here. And we are enjoying good times and good conversations, waiting for my sister, Kathy, and her family to join us later today. They will all leave next Monday, but we have five jam-packed days planned.

Tomorrow is tubing on the tube hill at Camp Eden, the annual candlelight Christmas Eve service at our church at 5:00, and a soup supper here. Thursday, of course, is Christmas when we open presents and have a big dinner. We'll have thirteen people here (at last count!). We never know, but we always have plenty of food!

Friday, the ladies have a tea party planned. We're not sure what the guys are doing yet, but I'm sure they'll come up with something! Then Saturday we are taking the Ski Train to Winter Park for a big family day of skiing and snowshoeing. We did this two years ago and decided it would become a tradition for whenever we get together.

Sunday is church and dinner out with our stepfather. So it is a busy week. This is also our first Christmas all together without our mom. I've already had a few "bad" moments, and we will have some as a family, but Mom is celebrating her second Christmas in heaven, and we really don't wish her back.

Today, I'm including all the Bible readings for the rest of the year with this post. I do plan to be back before then, though. *smile*

Daily Bible reading: Tuesday, December 23—Nehemiah 12–13; Luke 21:1–19
Wednesday, December 24—Micah 1–3; Luke 21:20–38
Thursday, December 25—Micah 4–5; Luke 22:1–20
Friday, December 26—Micah 6–7; Luke 22:21–46
Saturday, December 27—Zechariah 1–4; Luke 22:47–71
Sunday, December 28—Zechariah 5–8; Luke 23:1–25
Monday, December 29—Zechariah 9–12; Luke 23:26–56

Tuesday, December 30—Zechariah 13–14; Luke 24:1–35
Wednesday, December 31—Malachi; Luke 24:36–53

Friday, December 19, 2008

Where Do I Go? by Neta Jackson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Where Do I Go?

Thomas Nelson (December 9, 2008)


Neta Jackson

As a husband/wife writing team, Dave and Neta Jackson are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together they are the authors or coauthors of over 100 books. In addition to writing several books about Christian community, the Jacksons have coauthored numerous books with expert resource people on a variety of topics from racial reconciliation to medical ethics to ministry to kids in gangs.

Dave and Neta live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years they were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. They are now members of a multiracial congregation in the Chicago area.

They're trying something new! Not just new for them, but something completely new in Christian fiction: “Parallel novels,” two stories taking place in the same time frame, same neighborhood, involving some of the same characters living through their own dramas and crises but interacting with and affecting one another . . . just the way it happens in real life.

It’s something that only a husband and wife writing team could pull off. While Neta has Where Do I Go?, her husband Dave has written Harry Bentley's Second Chance.


A story of seeking-and finding-God's will in unlikely places.

Gabrielle Fairbanks has nearly lost touch with the carefree, spirited young woman she was when she married her husband fifteen years ago. But when the couple moves to Chicago to accommodate Philip's business ambitions, Gabby finds the chance to make herself useful. It's there she meets the women of Manna House Women's Shelter; they need a Program Director—and she has a degree in social work. She's in her element, feeling God's call on her life at last, even though Philip doesn't like the changes he sees in her. But things get rough when Philip gives Gabby an ultimatum: quit her job at the shelter or risk divorce and losing custody of their sons. Gabby must take refuge, as in the song they sing at Sunday night worship: "Where do I go when there's no one else to turn to? . . . I go to the Rock I know that's able, I go to the Rock."

Romantic Times Book Reviews says, “Exquisite characters coupled with God's mercy and love emanate from each page.”

Publisher's Weekly adds, “Jackson's Yada Yada series has sold half a million copies, and this new offshoot series ... promises the same.... The book's dramatic ending ... leav[es] readers eager for the next installment in the series.”

To read the Prologue and first chapter of Where Do I Go?, go HERE

Margie's review: While I am aware of Neta Jackson's YaYa series and characters, I've never read one of her books until I was asked to proofread Where Do I Go? for Thomas Nelson. I fell in love with Gabrielle and her boys . . . Philip, Gabrielle's husband, not so much. And I can certainly identify with Gabrielle's feelings about moving, being in a new area without knowing anyone, needing to establish her own identity in this new place. (With Roger's job taking him out of state, needing to set up an apartment in those places, I battle with these issues. Especially when trying to maintain two homes. Tough.) Gabrielle's journey in this new place, torn in different directions by the new home, her husband and children, and an aging mother, is authentic and at times gut-wrenching. But slowly she makes new friends, finds a job, and starts to establish her own identity, no longer satisfied with her role as only "Philip's wife." The ending was rough for me, since I'm one who likes to have everything neatly tied up at the end but still leave room for sequels. Not that life is that way, and the ending truly depicts life, but probably because it left me frustrated I could not go on to read the sequel immediately. Finding God's will for your life and then realizing that when you do it won't always be perfect is something I'm still growing in my own life. The author does an excellent job of handling this theme biblically. Overall an excellent read that I recommend highly. I look forward to the next book in this series.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Busy Times

Last week's Teamway weekend was great! We had a wonderful time. Since we are all believers, it makes the time together that much more special. We're so grateful to work with such a wonderful group of people.

But now that I'm home, I have less than a week to get my house ready for company. Yikes! My brother and his family arrive on Sunday. . . . My sister and her family arrive on Tuesday. Can't wait for us to all be together again. *smile* We always have a great time.

In this week, I have a lot to do! Including starting to work on revisions for the book I completed last month. This morning I'm working on the first chapter for my face-to-face critique group (JOY Writers) this afternoon. I'll also send it on to my online Crit14 group so I can get their first impressions, too.

Here's the Bible reading for this week:
Tuesday, December 16—Joshua 16–18; Luke 17:20–37
Wednesday, December 17—Joshua 19–21; Luke 18:1–23
Thursday, December 18—Joshua 22–24; Luke 18:24–43
Friday, December 19—Nehemiah 1–3; Luke 19:1–27
Saturday, December 20—Nehemiah 4–6; Luke 19:28–48
Sunday, December 21—Nehemiah 7–9; Luke 20:1–26
Monday, December 22—Nehemiah 10–11; Luke 20:27–47

Have a great week! I'll be checking in periodically with updates on my revisions/rewriting and other work and reviews.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Engaging Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Engaging Father Christmas

FaithWords (October 30, 2008)


Robin Jones Gunn

Robin grew up in Orange County, California, and has lived in all kinds of interesting places, including Reno and Hawai’i.

She and her husband currently live near Portland, Oregon, and have been married for 30 years. They spent their first 22 years of marriage working together in youth ministry and enjoying life with their son and daughter who are now both grown.

As a frequent speaker at local and international events, one of Robin’s favorite topics is how God is the Relentless Lover and we are His first love. She delights in telling stories of how God uses fiction to change lives.

Robin is the recipient of the Christy Award, the Mt. Hermon Pacesetter Award, the Sherwood E. Wirt Award and is a Gold Medallion Finalist. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Media Associates International and the Board of Directors for Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers’ Guild.


Miranda Carson can't wait to return to England for Christmas and to be with her boyfriend, Ian. She has spent a lifetime yearning for a place to call home, and she's sure Carlton Heath will be it, especially when a hinted-at engagement ring slips into the conversation.

But Miranda's high hopes for a jolly Christmas with the small circle of people she has come to love are toppled when Ian's father is hospitalized and the matriarch of the Whitcombe family withholds her blessing from Miranda. Questions run rampant in Miranda's mind about whether she really belongs in this cheery corner of the world. Then, when her true identity threatens all her relationships in unanticipated ways, Miranda is certain all is lost.

And yet . . . maybe Father Christmas has special gifts in store for her after all.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Engaging Father Christmas, go HERE

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hawks and Airplanes

Yesterday I hopped on yet another airplane for our annual trip to Greenville, SC, for my husband's company Christmas weekend with the other construction managers and their wives. It's always a great time, and I look forward to it each year.

As always I prayed for protection for our flights (Roger was flying to Atlanta from Phoenix; I was heading for the same destination from Denver). Roger called me as he boarded his plane to tell me all was well there. And an hour later, after spending some time with Kathy in the food court on Concourse A at DIA (she was on her way to Phoenix for some training), I boarded my flight. It wasn't a full flight, so everyone was boarded early. And the pilot assured us we would be in Atlanta on time, if not early.

We taxied out to the runway, chatting to the flight attendant sitting across from me. I was in an exit row and on Delta planes that's right at the door, nineteen rows back from the cockpit. When it was our turn for takeoff, we sped up down the runway. Just before we lifted off, I felt a huge thump (thought we ran over something!) and an immediate slow down.

Never had that happen before!

The pilot came on the intercom and said he'd chosen to abort takeoff (no kidding!) because a hawk-like bird had decided to take the same flight pattern as our plane . . . unfortunately for the bird! I don't think my heart was the only racing at that point, but everyone was amazingly calm. Of course we were still on the ground. *smile*

Don't even want to think what it would have been like if we'd taken off.

We taxied back to the gate to get checked out. Being seated where I was, I got to hear some information from the pilot, maintenance workers, and gate agent that I normally wouldn't have. Everything checked out. No damage (except to the bird, of course), but they did find one feather. One. They also determined it was a hawk, but whether from the feather or ground crews finding the bird on the runway, I don't know.

We sat at the gate for another hour allowing the brakes to cool off, then we headed back out to the runway to try again. By the time we took off (this time without incident), it was nearly two hours past our time to leave.

God's protection? You bet! All the time. Though not always as evident as it was yesterday, at least not to me. I'm afraid I usually take it for granted.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Quills and Promises by Amber Miller

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Quills And Promises

Barbour Publishing, Inc (May 28, 2008)Link


Amber Miller


Hi, I'm Amber, but my friends call me Tiff, short for Tiffany, my first name. I am in my 30s, married the love of my life in July 2007, and live in beautiful Colorado just east of the Front Range of the Rockies, but I love to travel and visit new places. Ultimately, my dream is to own horses and live in a one-level rancher or log cabin nestled in the foothills of the mountains. For now, I will remain where I am and do what I love—design web sites and write.

Amber's very first book, Promises, Promises, released in February 2008. It's a historical fiction set in Delaware during the Colonial period and the Great Awakening. The other 2 books in the series are this current one, Quills And Promises (July 2008) and Deceptive Promises (December 2008). In 2009, they will be repackaged for a state set entitled Delaware Brides. She has also sold another series set in historical Michigan during the Industrial Revolution. The 3 books in that series will begin releasing in May 2009 and will be repackaged in 2010 as Michigan Brides.


-- Separated from Madison when he leaves to fight the French and Indians, Elanna Hanssen must choose between her heart and her head, especially when Madison's integrity is questioned. --

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." ~Proverbs 3:5-6

Innocence paired with wisdom beyond her years. With these traits, Elanna Hanssen unwittingly captures the attentions of Major Madison Scott. Her honest desire to understand the war fascinates him, and he resolves to get to know this perspicacious young lady better. When his military duty separates them, they begin a correspondence, cautiously baring their hearts to each other. Elanna has never known emotions like this before, but she is drawn to the integrity she sees in her major. When a local news reporter questions the major's credentials and activities, however, will she allow her heart or her head to rule? Can true love grow over such distance and around such obstacles?

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Quills And Promises, go HERE.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bible Reading

Tuesday, December 9—Esther 9–10; Luke 13:23–35
Wednesday, December 10—Haggai; Luke 14:1–24
Thursday, December 11—Joshua 1–3; Luke 14:25–35
Friday, December 12—Joshua 4–6; Luke 15:1–10
Saturday, December 13—Joshua 7–9; Luke 15:11–32
Sunday, December 14—Joshua 10–12; Luke 16
Monday, December 15—Joshua 13–15; Luke 17:1–19

Friday, December 5, 2008

Dark Pursuit by Brandilyn Collins

Boy, I wish I'd gotten my list in for December. *smile* I've looked forward to today's book coming out for several months. Brandilyn is one of my must-read suspense author friends. You can be sure I'll be getting my hands on this book . . . soon!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Dark Pursuit

Zondervan (December 1, 2008)


Brandilyn Collins


Brandilyn Collins is known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. She is currently working on her 20th book. For chances to win free copies of her work, join her Fan Club on Facebook. Here’s what Brandilyn has to say about why she wrote Dark Pursuit:

In John Milton’s Paradise Lost Satan’s followers, kicked out of heaven, boast about storming the gates and reclaiming their territory. Beelzebub scoffs at their boasting as merely “hatching vain empires” and suggests a different revengeful scheme: seduce mankind away from God. So Satan visits the Garden of Eden to teach humans the very thing he and his cohorts have learned to be futile—the dark pursuit of hatching their own vain empires instead of following God. He presented man with this “gift” of death, disguised as life. And man fell for it.

Upon this theme of man’s fall and spiritual blindness, I created the characters and events in Dark Pursuit. The story clips along at a fast pace, with much symbolism running underneath.


Dark Pursuit—A twisting story of murder, betrayal, and eternal choices

Novelist Darell Brooke lived for his title as King of Suspense—until an auto accident left him unable to concentrate. Two years later, reclusive and bitter, he wants one thing: to plot a new novel and regain his reputation.

Kaitlan Sering, his twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, once lived for drugs. After she stole from Darell, he cut her off. Now she’s rebuilding her life. But in Kaitlan’s town two women have been murdered, and she’s about to discover a third. She’s even more shocked to realize the culprit—her boyfriend, Craig, the police chief’s son.

Desperate, Kaitlan flees to her estranged grandfather. For over forty years, Darell Brooke has lived suspense. Surely he’ll devise a plan to trap the cunning Craig.

But can Darell’s muddled mind do it? And—if he tries—with what motivation? For Kaitlan’s plight may be the stunning answer to the elusive plot he seeks . . .

Read the first chapter of Dark Pursuit, HERE.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

When Life Is Less Than Perfect

I’ve been putting off writing this for a while. Partly because I really didn’t want to dwell on it; partly because I needed to dwell on it, meditate. Plus my life continues to be less than perfect, less than what I expect when walking with the Lord. That’s not to say there aren’t wonderful blessings, even surprises, along the way. But somehow I think the health, wealth, and prosperity “gospel” that is preached by many today still is appealing to my flesh, even when I know it’s not biblical.

Nor am I blind to the fact that others feel the same way about their lives. In fact, no one lives a perfect life. Impossible in this imperfect, sin-controlled world. But that’s the point, I think.

While pondering on these thoughts over the last two or three weeks, I ran across this quote in one of my daily e-devotionals:

Facing an impossibility gives us the opportunity to trust God.

That’s the point. When life isn’t perfect, when my expectations aren’t met, when conditions in the work place aren’t what I was led to believe they might be, when people (especially those in customer service anywhere *smile*) don’t respond to me the way I think they should, when I wonder if I’ve missed hearing God’s will, or have misinterpreted it—in short, when life isn’t perfect, that’s my opportunity to trust God in every circumstance and detail of life.

But how do I do that, especially when I thought I was doing that already? Much as I hate to admit it, I find I still want my way over God’s way. If I don’t think things are working as they should be, I jump in to “fix” it, to “help” God out.

As if God needs my help! In fact, it’s just the opposite—I need God’s help.

I’ve been studying the book of James again, preparing to teach it to my Sunday school class, so I’ve been reading almost daily the verse in James 1 that says that if we lack wisdom, we can ask God for it, who gives it out liberally and without reserve to those who truly believe Him.

That goes with a verse I came across in my Daily Light (November 20).

When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. Micah 7:8 ESV

Much of my life the last two plus years has been a walk in darkness. The Lord purposely has not revealed to me much beyond what I need to know for today. As I’ve said earlier, my word for this year is guidance, using the verse in Isaiah 58:11 where God promises to guide me continually. And He’s teaching me to take each step totally dependent on Him.

For one who loves to plan well in advance in detail, I struggle with this. Though it’s coming somewhat easier, I still have times when the initial struggle comes back. And I have it to do all over again. But . . . I do see progress.

November 20th’s reading goes on to these verses:

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:2–3 ESV

"I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them." Isaiah 42:16 ESV

More assurances that God is leading me on the best pathway for my life (Psalm 32:8 NLT). I can trust Him. He cannot go against His nature and do other than the best for His children. It reminds me of Romans 8:28 where Paul says that God works all thing for good for those who love Him. What is good in God’s eyes doesn’t necessarily fit our definition of good, but if the end result leads to conformity to Christ in my life, then it is good.

Since we’ve come back from my dream vacation in England and Scotland, we’ve felt the pinch of finances, the pain of a body trying to crash from fibro and chronic fatigue, and we’ve experienced the time crunch of seemingly too many things to accomplish in too short a time. In my quiet time, I was reading through 1 Chronicles, and David’s charge to Solomon about building the Temple spoke to me.

Here’s David’s advice for those of us struggling to find God’s will in less than perfect circumstances:

“Get to know the God of your ancestors. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and with a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and understands and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. So take this seriously. The LORD has chosen you. . . . Be strong, and do the work.” . . . Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work . . . is finished correctly.” 1 Chronicles 28:9–10, 20 NLT

God is faithful. And He is good. I’m claiming these promises for today.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


“I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause.”

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?”—Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.—Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.—Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord.

“Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.”—The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

Job 5:8; Gen. 18:14; Ps. 37:5; Phil. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:7; Isa. 37:14, 15; Isa. 65:24; Jas. 5:16; Ps. 116:1, 2

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

One Perfect Day by Lauraine Snelling

Today we are focusing on one of my favorite authors, Lauraine Snelling. She's a versatile writer, with both historical and contemporary novels, written for adults and children. Since we were in London when the December review list came out, I failed to get my choices for December in. Sigh. So I have not read this book—don't even have a copy . . . yet. But I look forward to another great read somewhere down the road. Enjoy!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

One Perfect Day

FaithWords (October 22, 2008)


Lauraine Snelling


Today, Lauraine Snelling is a member of the more than Two Million Books in Print club, but when she first began, she was a mother of three teenagers with a simple dream to write “horse books for kids.”

All told, she has over 50 books published. She thinks. She’s not sure. She’d rather write them than count them. Lauraine’s work has been translated into Norwegian, Danish and German as well as produced as books on tape.

Awards have followed her dedication to “telling a good story”: the Silver Angel Award for An Untamed Land and a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart for Song of Laughter.

Helping others reach their writing dream is the reason Lauraine teaches at writer’s conferences across the country. She mentors others through book doctoring and with her humorous and playful Writing Great Fiction tape set. Lauraine also produces material on query letters and other aspects of the writing process.

Her readers clamor for more books more often and Lauraine would like to comply, if only her ever-growing flower gardens didn’t call quite so loudly over the soothing rush of the water fountains in her backyard and if the hummingbirds weren’t quite so entertaining. Lauraine and husband Wayne have two grown sons and a cockatiel named Bidley, who loves to tease their basset hound named Chewy.


Two mothers end up more closely connected that they could dream . . . and yet they are strangers to one another.

The first has two children--twins, a boy and girl, who are seniors in high school. She wants their last Christmas as a family living in the same home to be perfect, but her husband is delayed returning from a business trip abroad. And then there's an accident—a fatal one involving a drunk driver.

Meanwhile, the other mother has a daughter who needs a new heart, and so the loss of one woman becomes the miracle the other has desperately prayed for. While one mother grieves, and pulls away from her family, the other finds that even miracles aren't always easy to receive.

If you would like to read the first chapter of One Perfect Day, go HERE

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bible Reading

Tuesday, December 2—2 Chronicles 28–29; Luke 10:1–24
Wednesday, December 3—2 Chronicles 30–31; Luke 10:25–42
Thursday, December 4—2 Chronicles 32–33; Luke 11:1–28
Friday, December 5—2 Chronicles 34–36; Luke 11:29–54
Saturday, December 6—Esther 1–2; Luke 12:1–31
Sunday, December 7—Esther 3–5; Luke 12:32–59
Monday, December 8—Esther 6–8; Luke 13:1–22