Use It Or Lose It!

Up until a few weeks ago, I thought I was in good physical shape for my age. Then I attempted sit-ups.

Some years ago, I could clasp my hands behind my neck and do 50 sit-ups. Unaware that had changed, I confidently clasped my hands behind my neck and did…nothing. I could not even pull myself up one time. Now every morning, I hook my feet under the stair railings and do as many sit-ups as I can. I still can’t do one with my hands behind my neck…but I’m working toward it. Simply because if you don’t use it, you really will lose it. There are a lot of things I would love to lose (like extra weight), but health and fitness are not among them.

My inspiration for getting back into shape is native Texan and Bandera rancher Edwina. When she was in her 70s, Edwina suffered a massive stroke that left her unable to move or speak. As she listened to her doctor and her family discuss the fact that she would be totally incapacitated for the rest of her life and unable to live alone, she got mad. When she heard her family talking about selling her ranch and putting her in a nursing home—she got Texas mad!

Since Edwina could neither move nor speak, her doctor and her family didn’t know that she could hear them. Edwina focused on her big toe on her right foot until she made it move. She repeated. Over and over, Edwina made one toe move. Then she focused on the other toes, then her foot, then her leg. Imagine her family’s amazement when they walked into her hospital room and found Edwina lifting and lowering her leg!

Edwina returned to her ranch home and spent the rest of her life living there on her own. She never drove again, but she ordered groceries and cooked her own meals and cleaned her own house. Once a week I would walk over and mop under the bed and in other hard to reach places.

So…I do sit-ups. I can do 10 now easily. Any day now I expect to manage one with my hands behind my neck.

Writing is the same way. If I had quit after the first rejection slip, or the second, or number 150—the Texas Miz Mike series would never have been born. Now five Christian mystery-romance-suspense books share the “Bridge” title, and number six will be out before summer.

You don’t have to be a writer to be persistent and hang on to your dream. Whatever talent you have—use it or lose it!

BTN & me

God in a Box

I dreamed that people came to me with problems. They told me what their problem was. I went into a room, scanned the neatly labeled boxes on the shelves, and selected a box that would solve their problems.

Out of curiosity, I opened one of the boxes labeled “impending divorce.” I was impressed that it contained the perfect solution to the problem and could stop divorce. During a lull in customers, I opened up several other boxes. Each one was a perfect solution for the problem it was intended to solve.

After waking up, the dream puzzled me at first. I recognized that it was God solving the problems. That’s why each solution was perfect. Only, we can’t put God in a box. He won’t fit! He created the entire universe and all that is in it. The Bible says that even the “heaven of heavens” cannot contain God.

Then I realized that the boxes in the dream were Bible verses, each one designed to perfectly solve whatever problems life hurls at us. The Bible is a living book. It is designed to solve every problem we have today – more than 2,000 years after it was written. God’s wisdom never fails.

God is too good to be cruel, too wise to make mistakes.

When life gets tough and you feel like wave-mangled seaweed snatched from the soft ocean floor and flung heedlessly against the rocks along the shore, read the Bible. Jesus calmed the wind, stopped storms, and walked on water. He will take care of you.

It’s all in the book!

Speaking of books, here is a link to all six of my Christian mystery-romance-suspense books. See if they solve your reading needs!



Prickles & Stickles

I relate to my tough Texan heroine in Bridge to Nowhere, released by Sunpenny Publishing. Miz Mike always minds her own business, but she can’t resist mystery – so she winds up in one pickle after another when she sets out to molest new adventures. Miz Mike is adamant, intransigent, and intractable – only about important things, of course!

Me? I’m just stubborn. Take the prickles and stickles incident. No, don’t. You don’t want to go there.

When we first got our rough collie Angel Joy, she would only catch and collect balls as long as they were easy to retrieve. If they went too far, went into the water, or into bushes – it was our job. Golfers along the golf course would holler, “Can you get your dog to find my ball?” To which we would reply, “She won’t even find her ball.”

Angel Joy now goes into the water – as long as it’s not too deep – and into tall bushes and grass to find her ball. Not prickles and stickles. She’s smart.

Yesterday the wind blew off Moray Firth at near gale force. Her ball whipped into a hedge of wild Scottish roses intertwined with blackberry vines and gorse – solid prickles and stickles and thorns.

Suddenly Bridge to Nowhere‘s Miz Mike hijacked me. I body slammed those prickles and stickles and thorns and stickers and plowed a path into the impenetrable growth. Angel Joy nipped in, grabbed her ball and backed out again. It took me a bit longer since I was speared with thorns, stickers and vegetation with pickles, stickles and hooks.

Sometimes success demands that we plow into prickles and stickles. Staying in our comfort zone won’t get the job done. This is especially true in writing. It’s not enough to get a book published. After that comes the marketing – even if by pushing yourself forward you feel like you’re plowing into a rose bed and coming out with thorns rather than the fragrance, color and softness of rose petals.

Some readers will love you and everything you write. Others will hate you – not because what you’ve written is bad – but because they disagree with you. When that happens, you feel like you attempted to pluck a rose for your sweetheart and grabbed thorns instead.

If you’re a writer, I won’t encourage you to become like Miz Mike. For one thing, she and I are Texas born. It takes a while to learn how to be a Texan. For another thing – she’s my character! But I will encourage you to be stubborn. Get over your fear of prickles and stickles. They only hurt a little bit. Plow ahead with confidence and don’t let criticisms and discomfort steal your dream.

My newest book, Love’s Beating Heart, is the most stickery and prickery since it deals with issues like abortion, pro-life, adoption, homeschooling and the sanctity of marriage. It is also the most satisfying on the deepest level. Don’t get me wrong! I love stubborn, mystery-solving Miz Mike. She’s fun, funny and fun to write. Bridge to Nowhere is a great Christian mystery-romance-suspense, the first in a series of at least six.

But plowing into the stickles and prickles gave me a lasting gift to leave behind when I go home to be with the LORD. Love’s Beating Heart is more than a book. It’s a life-saving manual.