Oh Come All Ye Faithful

The Christmas season is here again. There are few times of year that are fraught with so many mixed emotions. Most of us desire to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We keep that in the back of our minds, but the busyness of putting up decorations, Christmas parties, shopping for family and friends, and church activities keep us occupied. There’s the stress of making our money stretch with the cost of buying gifts and extra food for holiday meals.  Also, the desire for newer larger gadgets that we really don’t need.

Many people face the holiday with sadness and loneliness, remembering past Christmases with loved ones who are no longer here. The empty seat at the table or around the tree are hard to deal with.

In all our hustle and bustle or quiet reflection, we have our priorities totally out of focus. We’ve failed to remember the most important part of this season.

STOP!! RECONSIDER!!

Who is the central figure of Christmas? JESUS CHRIST! Let’s put Him back where He belongs and get our attention off of ourselves. Jesus left the splendors of Heaven, where His position was at God the Father’s right hand, to be born a helpless baby. All that Mary and Joseph had for Him were swaddling clothes and a manger in a stable. Yet He was totally God, the sinless, Creator of the Universe! His sole purpose in coming was to die on the cross and pay the penalty for our sins, the sins of everyone who has ever lived. God loved us so much He was willing to sacrifice His Only-begotten Son for us. We must believe in Him and accept His free gift of salvation.

Oh, Come Let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!!

 Let’s make this Christmas a time of adoration and praise for our wonderful Savior! 

Joy to the World

The Christmas Season is upon us. We have the best news to share. Jesus, God’s Son, came to Earth as a baby. He became man so He could die for us and pay for our sins. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 Let Earth receive her King!!

A Christmas Treasure Hunt is Available

A Christmas Treasure Hunt  Malcolm is disappointed when his mom is called in to work. They were supposed to trim the Christmas Tree. He and his friends find a note. It says they can decorate the tree using Bible clues in a Christmas Treasure Hunt. As they read the Christmas story, they discover the true meaning and treasure of the holiday.

I have the perfect Christmas gift ideas for you and your loved ones. Check out my books.  Either contact me or go to Amazon.com or BarnesandNobel.com

Weekend at Coldwater Christmas Bazaar

We had a wonderful time visiting with old friends, so many people we knew when we lived in Coldwater, KS over twenty years ago. There were many beautiful items for sale. And, I had a successful day selling and signing books.

Praise God Today

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

Praise Him All People Here Below

Praise Him Above All Heavenly Host

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

We have so much to be thankful for!! What a great country we live in. Of course, we are far from perfect. There is division and strife, but this is not the first time in our history that this has happened. We need to stay on our knees in prayer for our nation and its leaders. “I exhort, therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” I Tim. 2:1-2 

Last Friday afternoon, we attended an event at the Americana Theatre in Branson, MO called Freedom’s Journey, about the founding of our Country on Christian principals. Most of our Founding Fathers were professing Christians and sought God’s leadership. We have prospered for over 225 years because of God’s blessings. We need to pray God will continue to bless us. Our granddaughter, Michaela, got to sing in a children’s choir at the end of the program.

Book Signing in Coldwater, KS

This next Saturday, we will be in Coldwater, KS at the annual Christmas Bazaar with my books. We are excited to see our friends from the area. We lived in Coldwater for 21 years while our kids were growing up. We have many fond memories of our time there. 

Interview with Tierney James

I am excited to interview my friend, Tierney James. Tierney decided to become a full-time writer after working in education for over thirty years. Besides serving as a Solar System Ambassador for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, and attending Space Camp for Educators, Tierney served as a Geo-teacher for National Geographic. Her love of travel and cultures took her on adventures throughout Africa, Asia, and Europe. From the Great Wall of China to floating the Okavango Delta of Botswana, Tierney weaves her unique experiences into the adventures she loves to write. Living on a Native American reservation and in a mining town, continues to fuel the characters in the Enigma and Wind Dancer series.

Tierney, I understand your new book, Black Mamba, will be released today, November 13th for $.99 on Amazon. I’m sure everyone will want to get their copy,

Yes, it will be available at:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JN58JYM.

In your last book, Kifaru, you introduced a character who was part villain and part hero. He is back in your latest Enigma book, Black Mamba. Why did you choose to create such a problematic person to be the center of attention?

Life has problems so to avoid them in my work would just be boring. When we don’t have to go through the danger ourselves, living through someone else makes the story exciting. We have all met someone one we wanted to trust but something inside us screamed to be careful.

Where does Black Mamba take place and why did you choose this location?

The story takes place in Botswana, African. Since I’ve been there I felt I could bring some real-life experience to the tale.

What did you learn while writing this book?

More than I wanted to know about the snake black mambas! Those babies are super scary

How much research was involved in writing a story like this?

Since I had been to Botswana I knew what I needed so I didn’t have to sift through mounds of useless information.

Do you always travel to the places you write about or is it all research?

I wish I could, but no. That would be too costly—and dangerous!

Where will the Enigma team go in the next book?

Russia!

What kinds of things inspire you when you write?

A story. A song. A picture. A news article.

How do you fit writing into your day?

I am a full-time writer so it is my primary focus. I start the day out by checking my social media followed by editing, then writing for several hours. Lunch. Laundry. Several more hours of writing. Editing. I usually do promotional work in the evening.

What places to visit are on your bucket list?

Israel. Vatican City. Istanbul. Tibet. Jordon (Petra). Iceland. Greenland. The Isle of Skye. Russia.

It has been fun getting to know more about you and your new book Black Mamba. I hope everyone will go to Amazon and get a copy.


God is Good

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place.  II Cor. 2:14

Writer’s Retreat

I had a wonderful weekend at the Women’s get-away Writers Retreat. It was a refreshing time with friends at a beautiful campground near Racine, MO. Ginny Polentz and I had an interesting trip there, with some unplanned scenic side trips. We enjoyed the beautiful colors of the trees.

My newest book! Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

I didn’t get as much writing done as I planned, but Sharon Kizziah Holmes, with Kids Book Press, and I worked on my children’s book, A Christmas Treasure Hunt.  It was released on Tuesday, November 6th and is available on Amazon.  https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Treasure-Joyce-Valdois-Smith/dp/1945669640

Beautiful scenery at the retreat.
A wonderful group of writer friends.  Ginny wasn’t feeling well.

New House closing

Our daughter’s new home

Our daughter, Holly and her husband, Erik, closed on their new house in Springfield on Tuesday. They are now proud first-time home owners. We are so happy for them!

Fall Beauty and Busyness

These last couple of weeks have been beautiful here in the Ozarks. The trees have been brilliant in their colors. Bob and I went to Branson last weekend and enjoyed God’s handiwork. It’s been several years since we have seen a fall like this. I’m afraid it won’t last long, though. The leaves are already beginning to fall. Winter is on the way.

Beauty in the Ozarks

Ladies Fellowship

Janna and I have been busy this week preparing for the Ladies Fellowship at our church. The theme is Vessels of Honor taken from II Timothy 2:20.  “But in a great house, there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor.” We are decorating in Fall colors. We’ll post pictures on Facebook.

Important Birthday Celebration

Dani

Dani, our youngest granddaughter, will be five years old this Saturday. She is so excited about her mermaid birthday party. She had been planning on it for months informing us of the toys she wants. We will be celebrating Sunday evening.

Writer’s Retreat

Women’s Get-Away Writer’s Retreat

This weekend, Ginny Polenta and I will be at a Writer’s Retreat at a church camp near Racine, MO. I plan to spend the time writing Liz and Michael’s story in “Home for the Heart.” I’ve taken a break from it the last couple of months to get ready for the ACFW conference and then preparing the proposal to send to the agent. I would also like to get a newsletter up and going, if possible. I will be sharing the weekend with a wonderful group of friends who write.

In Everything Give Thanks

I have so much to be thankful for. I could never finish a list of all my blessings. And yet, I find myself complaining because something isn’t going the way I want it to. I Thessalonians 5:18 “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” We should give thanks in everything, the good and the bad.

I have a wonderful, longtime friend who had a heart cath to determine why she was having fatigue. They found her main cardiac artery was 75% blocked and inserted a stent. In an unusual complication, a flap on the inside of the artery blocked it causing a massive heart attack. She was rushed into surgery for a heart bypass. She still needs prayer, but I am so thankful she was where the doctors could react quickly. Even in bad situations, there is always something to be thankful for. Please keep her in your prayers.

Writing News

A week ago I sent the proposal for my Harvey Girl Legacy Series to agent Steve Laube, president of Steve Laube Agency as requested at the ACFW conference. I pray God will use it for His glory. I have had a downtime from writing this week, but I need to get back to my second in the series, “Home for the Heart.”

Stay tuned – My new children’s picture book, A Christmas Treasure Hunt, will be released in the next few weeks. I will post a copy of the cover soon.

I have been rethinking this blog. Everyday is just too much to keep up with. I plan to continue it one day a week on Wednesdays. I will combine a meditation and writing news or family news maybe even some Harvey House recipes and information. Let me know what you’d like to see in the comments.

Monday Meditation

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.  Romans 8:35

What a blessed promise! This is enough to make us shout for joy. This chapter in Romans is written to believers in Jesus. We who have asked Jesus to forgive our sins and have received Him as our Savior have this promise that we will never be separated from God’s love. 

But

That is a huge “but.” Those who have neglected or refused to accept Jesus as their Savior cannot claim this wonderful promise. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” God the Father is Holy, Righteous and Just. He cannot look on sin except through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. Romans 3:23 declares, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  Every person has sinned! But there is wonderful news. Romans 5:8, “But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. All we have to do is receive His free gift of Salvation. Romans 10:9-10. “That is thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  It is God’s will that everyone believes and accepts Jesus as Savior. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Please call out to Him today, if you haven’t done so. Then the wonderful promise in Romans 8:38-39 will include you too!

Tuesday Tidbit

What is going on in your life? Does it feel as if Heaven and Earth had fallen on you and you can’t breathe or get out from under it. Circumstances in life can seem overwhelming. And there is the tendency to ask, “God, where are you in all this?” We all have times like that.

Actually, He’s right there with us all the time. We just can’t see His Hand with our feeble, earthly vision. God loves each one of us individually. He knows exactly what is going on in our lives and He can see the end from the beginning. I’m convinced His favorite word is “Wait.” If we do wait for His perfect timing and allow Him to work out His plan for our lives, it is a beautiful thing to behold. I tell our kids, “God has your back! He won’t drop you now or ever.” 

Several years ago, I was in a Spiritual “slough of despair.” I felt like I was in a rut and couldn’t get out. Not a pleasant place to be. The Lord gave me the verse, Jeremiah 33:3 “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” I began to pray and to ask Him to show me the great and mighty things. Sure enough, good things began to happen. We sold our house that had been on the market for a year and a half. My sister-in-law who was diabetic received a kidney. But more than anything, it caused me to begin looking for the good things God had in store for me. And in His perfect timing, everything worked out for our move to Springfield. Just keep praying and asking Him to give you the great and mighty things He has promised.

Friday Friends and Family

I am so thankful for both my friends and my family. I don’t know what I would do without them. My children have stepped up and are helping me with the mechanics of promoting and marketing my book. Especially, I want to thank Kelly and Erik. I’m sorry I’m such a klutz when it comes to the media and technology.

Mirachelle Canada, Melissa Rice, Me, Kathy Atwell

ACFW Conference

Me and Keynote Speaker Debbie Macomber

I had to amazing opportunity to attend the ACFW Writer’s Conference in Nashville, TN. While there I met many wonderful author’s and friends. I also had the opportunity to meet with agent Steve Laube. He expressed interest in promoting my book, Romance Along the Rails, The Harvey Girl Legacy, Book 1 as the three-part series. That’s huge. He’s a well-known agent and would be able to negotiate with one of the large Christian publishing companies. Please pray with me as I prepare the proposal and get it sent to him. I want God to receive all the glory.

Happy Birthday

This week our sweet granddaughter, Gabby, turned 17. She is an amazing young lady and I know the Lord is going to work mightily in her life. This has been a hard transition for her this summer, moving to Missouri from her home in Utah, but she is involved in her school and will soon perform in a musical. We love you so much Gabby and are so proud of you!