Merry Christmas

We want to wish a blessed and beautiful Christmas Day to all our friends and family.

This is a day of celebration of the Birth of our Savior! God spoke to Mary and told her she would have a child whose Father was God, Himself. Joseph was his earthly father. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the angels sang to shepherds on a hillside to announce his birth.

If Jesus hadn’t come to Earth as a virgin-born baby, He couldn’t have lived a sinless life and died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Now we have peace and the assurance of a home in Heaven because He didn’t stay dead. He rose from dead, gaining victory over death and the grave!!

His light still shines in the darkness today! Every person has the opportunity to accept that light. Jesus died to pay for our sins. Sins are anything that displeases God. He loves you and wants you to accept the free gift of Salvation He offers.

I Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

The God of New Beginnings

Updated website and Blog

Have you heard the saying, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” That is a true statement. I actually started this blog in January, but due to changes in the blog settings, etc. that I didn’t understand, it never got finished. So here it sat. It seems I have a tendency to let that happen when I hit a roadblock I don’t know how to get around. But I’ve decided to give it a go again, so here it is.

Home for the Heart

Now we’re into November 2019. My goal at the beginning of January was to finish the first draft of my second novel, Home for the Heart, hopefully by the end of January.  I ended up completing it on March 15th at the Women’s Get-away Writers Conference. The next six months were consumed with editing it, sending it to my Beta-readers, and final extensive edit by an editor friend in NM. The book is now ready to publish and will be released on Nov. 12.

Home for the Heart is the second novel in The Harvey Girls Legacy series. By 1901, new elaborate Harvey Houses were being built along the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe Railroad, and Fred Harvey’s legacy is carried on by his sons.

Twenty-year-old Liz Gilbertson, who was four-year-old Elizabeth and orphaned, in Romance Along the Rails, yearns to find her real father’s family. After being jilted by her fiance, she decides to become a Harvey Girl to give her life direction.

When Michael Brannon, the youngest son of a prominent Boston banker, moves to Kansas to work as an accountant for Liz’s adopted father at the ATSF office, Liz’s life takes a decided positive positive shift. Liz and Michael are drawn to each other, but can Liz rival the women of his social status?

Both Liz and Michael mature spiritually and in their relationship. Can they trust God to guide them through unforeseen circumstances?

Stay tuned for information about Couriers of Love, the third book in the series. Bob and I had the privilege of traveling to Las Vegas and Santa Fe, NM, to visit the Castenada and the La Fonda hotels and to gain information for this next book.

Family News

It has been a wonderful privilege to have all of our daughters and their families close to us. We have enjoyed the recent holidays with them all together. I am so thankful God brought Holly and her family to Missouri last year. Now, God has worked unmistakably in Andrew and Annette’s lives. He has led them to South Carolina where Andrew is the head pastor of a church. They are now close to our son, Kelly, and his family near Columbia. Though we are sad to see their family leave, we know, without a doubt, that God’s hand is guiding them, and we rejoice in that knowledge. God’s speed Andrew and Annette!! We were privileged to travel with Holly to see them in August and to attend Landry Schneider’s graduation from basic training in the Missouri Army National Guard.

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!