Posted in family/marriage, Growing in the Lord, Humor posts

the power of prayer: surviving Papa’s driving

One of the things you’ve likely noticed about my blog is that it truly is random. I blog on a variety of topics and today, I’m taking a trip back to the “olden days”. Back when life was simpler and less stressful, and things moved at a slower pace. Well, everything but my grandpa, Papa’s, car when he drove us to and from church.

It was during those times that I truly began to believe in the power of prayer.

It was just like any other Sunday. My sister, cousin, and I climbed into the backseat of Papa’s vintage automobile. It was already an antique even in the 80s. Lengthy with four doors, it wasn’t any stretch of the imagination (no pun intended) to be able to fit your entire household into the backseat.

Fortunately, only three young girls needed to sit comfortably on the blue bench seat of the 1960 automobile. There were no seatbelts in Papa’s old car, which made the ride all the more exciting.

In the front seat, Papa rode with his bride, Nanie (my grandma), by his side. All was relatively calm as we drove through town and headed toward the highway. As a former police officer, Papa always intended to obey the speed limit.

It was just that, well, his mind was on other things as he drove, like Nanie, the woman who had captured his heart in the 1940s.

My sister, cousin, and I geared up for the upcoming curvy and excessively winding roads through the canyon. For Papa, there was no reason to take corners slowly. After all, the old white car had a sturdy engine and ample power. And to Papa, it was the epitome of a streamlined and aerodynamic race car.

It was in those moments when the front of the car veered around the corner, leaving us girls still around the bend waiting to catch up, that we watched the scenery pass by us at an alarming rate of speed. We were, in trio tandem, sliding from one side then the other as Papa navigated the corners.

Never mind the nausea that threatened an upheaval of Mom’s pancakes we’d eaten for breakfast only minutes before.

Papa slung his arm around Nanie and whistled, alternating his gaze from Nanie on his right to the scenery on his left, and once in a while on the road ahead. His other arm rested on the window frame and simultaneously steered the wheel.

I was grateful for those whistled tunes, as it did help at least temporarily, to take my mind off the times he accidentally went too close to the shoulder of the road.

Nanie giggled and hummed a few tunes in sync with Papa’s whistling. And Papa gave her adoring glances as if they’d just met. They shared in pleasant conversation, seeming never to run out of things to say.

The ride lasted forever, and I closed my eyes around some of the sharpest turns. While I hadn’t yet committed my life to Jesus, I knew from previous church attendance with Nanie and Papa that God heard our prayers.

And when God delivered us safely to the church, I knew for certain prayer is powerful and that He does, indeed, hear us.


Before you go, check out these other posts:

the great prune escapade

10 ways to encourage others

fantabulous pumpkin muffins recipe

book news/giveaways

how to become an undercover prayer warrior

the importance of a good work ethic

Posted in devotionals, Growing in the Lord, Miscellanous how-to

10 ways to persevere through these challenging times

10 ways to persevere

We live in a crazy world. Inflation is soaring, gas prices, groceries, and property taxes are all increasing. Violence is more prevalent. Things we never had to deal with as children are being thrust upon our own kids. The world is looking darker and darker everyday.

How can we persevere through these challenging times in our nation’s history?

*Decide who and/or what is steering you. Where is your focus? The second we take our eyes off our Savior, we’re prone to succumb to fear, anxiety, worry, and depression over the current situation. If our focus is on the worldly events, suddenly things seem impossible to overcome. Instead, let’s fix our eyes on the author and the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Let Jesus steer your life. He will never leave you, nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5).

Hebrews 13 5

*Soldier On. There is a certain challenging part of our family’s bike ride course that I especially love. Our family has nicknamed it “Hairpin Curve.” It’s a sharp curve, then a downhill sprint, followed by a steep uphill climb. My goal is to make it to the top of this steep hill while still in the saddle. Nine times out of ten, I achieve that goal. Heart pounding, quads burning, I keep my focus on what lies in front of me at the top of that hill (a quick break before I decide to tackle the whole thing again!) If I give up, my wheels will spin on the loose gravel, rendering me helpless to push through to the top without climbing off my bike.

Even when times seem bleak, we must soldier on. We can’t give up. Remember that God goes before us and stays with us the entire time. For those of us in Christ, it ends well, even if the “getting there” can be arduous at times.

*Reach out. This is a difficult time for many. Some people are struggling with keeping their jobs and paying the bills. Still others are facing serious health issues such as cancer. Reach out and check on family, friends, the people you know from church, work, and social media. Let them know you care.

*Improvise. When he was little, my brother devised a way to do his chore of hauling fireplace logs to the house. Rather than carry the logs in his arms to the house, he instead built a “rack” for the back of his on his three-wheeled, low to the ground, pedal-powered Big Wheel motorcycle toy. He even figured out a way to do “spin outs” on our driveway (with impressive skid marks) without losing his load. My brother may not have especially enjoyed the chore of hauling logs, but with his improvisation, suddenly it no longer felt like a chore.

Sometimes improvising means making a new budget and sticking to it. Sometimes it means carpooling with others or making less trips to town to save on gas. Other times it means turning off the TV or stepping away from social media for a time to recharge.

*Have gratitude. We can certainly find a million and five things to complain about in times like these. Instead, let’s focus on being grateful. How about making a Gratitude Journal? Everyday, add a few more things you are thankful for. Here are some ideas for starters:

Can you breathe? Do you have someone who cares about you? Do you have a loving spouse? Great kids? Do you have food? Clean water to drink? Are you healthy? Can your eyes behold the beauty of the blooming trees or the falling snow? Do you have a voice that can encourage others? Make a list of all the things, from “small” to big for which you are grateful. It won’t take long to see that the thankfulness outweighs the complaints.

*Intercede for others. We have been given a wonderful opportunity to be able to intercede for others through prayer. Of course, praying for our loved ones and friends is important. But how about even praying for random people? (Any neighborhood prayer walkers among us?)

*Keep your mind and body active. It’s easy to sit around all day and lament the happenings of the world around us. Instead, let’s keep our mind and body active. Put together a puzzle, play board games, do crossword puzzles, and even coloring has made a comeback in recent years.

In addition, focus on getting at least a half hour of physical exercise every day (please check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program). How about a walk around the block? Load up your kiddo in the baby jogger and head to the park for a walk before stopping at the playground. Or join a class at your local gym or senior center.

*Set goals and plans for each day. Keep a list of your goals for each day and cross them off as you tackle them.

*Find the funny. Reminisce with your family or friends (this can be done in person if you live with or near your family, via Skype, phone calls, instant messaging, or texts) of all the funny times you remember. Watch a humorous movie or short video.

*Spend time with Him. Most importantly, spend time with the Lord. Get to know Him. Read His Word. Rekindle your relationship with Him. Rediscover the One who gave His very life for you.

Philippians 4 4 (2)

Before you go, check out these other posts:

are you an encourager or a discourager?

10 reminders of God’s enduring love

putting minor inconveniences into perspective

14 items to include in a DIY emergency bin

resting in the arms of an unchanging God

13th blogoversary celebration and giveaway

13 verses for the fearful heart

Posted in about my books, about the books, blog tour, book giveaways, Book News, Book Spotlight, Penny's Book News

Happy Cover Reveal Day for Forgotten Memories!

I am so excited to share with you the official cover reveal for Forgotten Memories. Not long ago, Caleb and Annie’s story was just an idea in my mind. As we draw closer to the release date of August 30, it has now become a reality.

About the Book:

Some memories are best forgotten…

The Wyoming Territory is rife with lawlessness and disorder, something Annie Ledbetter and her parents discover when their wagon train is robbed. Seven years later, Annie settles into her lifelong dream as a teacher in the small town of Willow Falls. When she meets handsome rancher Caleb Eliason through a humorous misunderstanding, she is quickly drawn to his kind heart and charming smile.

Former outlaw Caleb Eliason embraces his chance at a fresh start. Gone are the days of robbing stagecoaches and wagon trains. When he falls in love with the new Willow Falls teacher, he doesn’t realize they’ve met before—under much different circumstances. When his past comes to light, will it put the growing love between them at risk?

Can forgiveness and redemption heal two broken hearts or will the past keep them from sharing a future?

There are a couple of blog tours coming up soon that I will be posting about here and in my newsletter.

I do have a few spots left on the Forgotten Memories launch team and would love to have you join if you love Christian historical romance with themes of forgiveness and redemption and plentiful humor. Go here to sign up.

Also, if you haven’t yet entered to win one of my available books and a $25 Amazon gift card in honor of my 13th Blogoversary, be sure enter. Forgotten Memories is one of the books available for the giveaway!

Please join me next week for my encouraging post about things we can do in these crazy times.

Until then, thank you for joining me in celebrating my cover reveal!

Posted in about my books, about the books, book giveaways, Book News, Book Spotlight

13th Blogoversary Celebration and Giveaway

I am super excited to celebrate the 13th Blogoversary of Random Thoughts from a Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author and want to invite you to enter to win a copy of one of my books and an Amazon gift card.

Back in 2009, I started this WordPress blog on the heels of my third book, 77 Ways Your Family Can Make a Difference. My first post was titled “Preparing for a Writer’s Conference”. I followed that post with a humorous one about why I wasn’t a cowgirl due to my adventures on a persnickety horse in the Montana wilds.

It soon became clear my blog wouldn’t have just one topic. Rather, as a person with a million tabs open at any given time, my blog would advance forward in a direction that included a plethora of both fun and serious topics. Encouraging posts, devotionals, movie reviews, guest posts from author friends, writing posts, recipes, humor posts, book news, and how-tos have all been included in the lineup over the years.

When God redirected my path to write fiction, I excitedly embarked on creating faith-filled love stories. Christian romance in both historical and contemporary (and soon suspense!) is my favorite to write and I don’t think I’ll ever return to nonfiction.

However, nonfiction still runs through my veins, and my blog has, and continues to, feature mainly nonfiction posts. I love to encourage others to join me as we grow in the Lord together.

So, in celebration of this monumental milestone, I am hosting a giveaway. The first place winner (U.S. resident only) will receive their choice of any of my available books in paperback or ebook (see graphic below for choices) plus a $25 Amazon gift card. The second place winner, which can be a U.S. or international, will receive a copy of an ebook of their choice from my available books. Entering is super easy and the contest ends August 10, 2022. Go here to enter.

So it is to you, my blog readers, that I extend a heartfelt thank you. Without you stopping by and taking the time to read my posts, there would be no blog. Thank you for sticking with me all these years and for the privilege of your time as you read my posts.

Here’s to another 13 years!

Before you go, check out these other posts:

9 ways to show your kids you love them

leaving a godly legacy

thankful for the small things

join the forgotten memories launch team

the best county fair entry ever

mom-approved movie listing

when your characters become real

Penny’s Peeps

Posted in devotionals, Growing in the Lord, miscellaneous how-to, Miscellanous how-to, what to do when series

what to do when it’s difficult to love others

Difficult coworker? Challenging neighbor? Formidable boss? Exhausting family member? Hurtful “friend”?

Relationships can be tough. God’s Word tells us to love others. To show grace. Extend mercy. But putting it into action can be difficult, if not impossible at times.

What can we do when it’s difficult to love others?

Pray for them. Yes, it may sound cliche, and sometimes we use the term flippantly. But prayer is powerful. God tells us to pray for our enemies, for those who are unkind, and for those we find most arduous to deal with. We’ve all found ourselves in a place where the last thing we want to do is pray for those who have hurt us or those who add a heavy dose of stress to our lives.

But prayer works. We can pray to see the difficult person how God sees them—through His eyes. And, if they don’t yet know Him, we can pray for their Salvation or spiritual progress.

Commit to praying for the unlovable person consistently for thirty days. And then another thirty days, knowing God hears your prayers.

Pray for wisdom in dealing with the person in a Christlike manner. In most cases, there is no way we can do this on our own. But we serve a gracious God who promises us wisdom when we ask for it.

Don’t seek out conflict with this individual. In other words, don’t cause strife.

On that note, sometimes even after attempting to handle an issue with a difficult person in a Biblical manner (Matthew 18:15-17), it is not resolved. In some cases, our best course of action is to keep our distance, to remain respectful when we see the person, but not to seek them out.

Forgive. If someone has wronged us, forgiveness can be the last thing we want to do. In many, if not most cases, forgiveness, especially if the conflict has been especially painful, can only be done with the help of the Holy Spirit. Seek His help to forgive.

Don’t seek revenge, however tempting it may be. God tells us in His Word to not take revenge (Romans 12:19) and not to repay evil with evil.

People aren’t easy to love. We are all sinful and all mistreat others at times. Dealing with relational conflicts can be grueling and stressful. But by leaning on our Lord Jesus Christ and seeking Him, He will provide the guidance we need to deal with the difficult people in our lives.

*Please note that if you are being abused in any way, please seek help immediately.


Other posts you may enjoy:

are you an encourager or a discourager?

6 suggestions for getting through the rough times of life

10 reminders of God’s enduring love

join the Forgotten Memories launch team!

tools to help your child succeed in life

resting in the arms of an unchanging God

subscribe to my newsletter

Posted in author interviews, Saturday Spotlight

Saturday Spotlight: Guest Post + A Home in Cranberry Cove by June Foster

I’m honored to have June Foster as my guest on the blog this week for Saturday Spotlight. We’re featuring her book A Home in Cranberry Cove. What a beautiful cover!

Today June is sharing with us the the scariest and most romantic sentences in her new book.

Be sure to check out this romantic suspense novel at the link below.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Madison Mitchell will never trust a man again. The love of her life broke her heart and married a French chef. Now she throws herself into her work at The Inn at Cranberry Cove. When she accidentally tangles with the manager of a nearby fishing supply store, she suspects the handsome guy is hiding something.

Micah Collins flees Sacramento seeking solace in the seaside village in Washington state. But he discovers an enemy has followed him to Cranberry Cove. He must endure frightful threats at the same time keeping his previous life secret. When Madison finds herself in danger, Micah blames himself.

Madison and Micah are haunted by someone from Micah’s past, but is the culprit the real enemy or should they look elsewhere? Will they find a future together?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

An award-winning author, June Foster is also a retired teacher with a BA in Education from New Mexico State University and an MA in Counseling from The University of Central Texas. She is the mother of two and grandmother of ten. June began writing Christian romance in 2010. She penned her first novel on her Toshiba laptop as she and her husband traveled the US in their RV. Her adventures provided a rich source of information for her novels. June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find the path to live godly lives

June’s website: junefoster.com


Scariest and Most Romantic Sentences

A Home in Cranberry Cove is the fourth book in the Cranberry Cove series. Book 1, The Inn at Cranberry Cove won first place in romantic suspense in the 2021 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Since then, the popularity of each book has soared.

I thought it might be fun if I give you a preview of a couple of the scariest and the most romantic sentences in book 4. Afterall, the genre is romantic suspense.

So you can get the context of the story, here’s a blurb.

Madison Mitchell will never trust a man again. The love of her life broke her heart and married a French chef. Now she throws herself into her work at The Inn at Cranberry Cove. When she accidentally tangles with the manager of a nearby fishing supply store, she suspects the handsome guy is hiding something.

Micah Collins flees Sacramento seeking solace in the seaside village in Washington state. But he discovers an enemy has followed him to Cranberry Cove. He must endure frightful threats at the same time keeping his previous life secret. When Madison finds herself in danger, Micah blames himself.

Madison and Micah are haunted by someone from Micah’s past, but is the culprit the real enemy or should they look elsewhere? Will they find a future together?

Now that you have an idea of what the story is about, here are the two sentences from the story. By the way, you can read the books in any order and still keep track of the story.

Scariest couple of sentences:

“No.” He mumbled. He pointed the gun in the air and fired. Once. Twice. A third time. “Noooo.” He screamed.

He brought the gun down, leveling it at Micah.

Whew. Now let’s have a look at the most romantic:

She glanced up at him and smiled, one that said I want to be with you always.

“I love you.” He held her close, her body so near his he could sense the thumping of her heart.

She tiptoed and kissed his cheek. “I’ve come to realize, you’re the only man I’ve really loved.”

I hope the quaint fishing town of Cranberry Cove with its charming characters and frightful suspense will coax you to stay awhile at A Home in Cranberry Cove.

Now that you have an idea of what the story is about, here are the two sentences from the story. By the way, you can read the books in any order and still keep track of the story.

Scariest couple of sentences:

“No.” He mumbled. He pointed the gun in the air and fired. Once. Twice. A third time. “Noooo.” He screamed.

He brought the gun down, leveling it at Micah.

Whew. Now let’s have a look at the most romantic:

She glanced up at him and smiled, one that said I want to be with you always.

“I love you.” He held her close, her body so near his he could sense the thumping of her heart.

She tiptoed and kissed his cheek. “I’ve come to realize, you’re the only man I’ve really loved.”

I hope the quaint fishing town of Cranberry Cove with its charming characters and frightful suspense will coax you to stay awhile at A Home in Cranberry Cove.


Before you go, check out these other posts:

Saturday Spotlight: DECEIVED by Madisyn Carlin

do you stand out?

Ellis Creek Happenings and Character Quiz

6 suggestions for getting through the rough times in life

Saturday Spotlight: All My Tears by Kathy McKinsey

9 ways to show your kids you love them

Book News/Giveaways

subscribe to my newsletter

Posted in devotionals, Growing in the Lord, motherhood

leaving a godly legacy

Leaving a Godly Legacy.png

According to Webster’s Concise Dictionary, the word “legacy” means anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor.

Several summers ago at my grandpa, Papa’s, funeral, I was asked to write a lifesketch and speech in memory of him. As I began to work on the speech, I was convicted once again of the importance of the legacy we, as parents, leave behind for our children.

papa_and_maddie

Papa had so many people who loved him. In writing my speech, I gave a lot of thought to legacies and what they mean.

What kind of legacy will we leave behind for our children?

I once heard a quote from Austin L. Sorensen that went like this: “A child is not likely to find a father in God unless he finds something of God in his father.”

Austin Sorensen

Wow, that’s a powerful statement and something we, as parents, should take very seriously.

How can a child find something of God in his or her father? For example, are Daddy’s arms always open whenever there is a problem? Is Daddy a refuge in times of trouble? Is he a shield from the bad day at school or the fight with a best friend? Is Daddy loving, caring, and full of grace? Is he forgiving? Does he put the needs of others first? Is Daddy someone his child can trust? Is he an encourager, is he patient and kind?

God is all of these things, and these are just a few of the glimpses of God a child can see in her father. To see such things in her Daddy helps her to see that God is all of those things and more, only to perfection.

family 1.jpg

Parents (and grandparents!) don’t realize how important they are in their children’s lives and this is just another testament to this fact. I can testify as Papa’s granddaughter that I saw him exhibit traits such as being a pillar of strength, protective, loving, and caring. He was a hard worker, provided for his family, and desired justice, yet not revenge.

When I consider Papa’s legacy, I am inspired to consider my own legacy that I am building in my children.

In the song “Legacy” by Nichole Nordeman, she sings about her desire to leave a godly legacy.

As a mom, I want my daughters to remember me as someone who was compassionate, loyal, kind, one who loved Jesus above all else, was a faithful prayer warrior, a woman with a servant’s heart, and a fighter for the underdog.

Huge steps to fill. I pray I will achieve those lofty goals, but most of all, the eternal goal of sharing with them the priceless gift of our Lord’s sacrificial love.

When you reach the end of your life, will you have accepted the grace offered by the Lord Jesus Christ? Will God be saying to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant”?

Matthew 25 23

I am thankful for the blessing of Papa and the many years the Lord gave him to us. And I’m thankful for the glimpses of God that we saw in him.

Whether we are moms or dads, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins, or grandparents, may we all leave behind a legacy that speaks of Christ and His saving grace that lives within us.

Before you go, check out these other posts:

5 things to do this summer

serving unexpectedly

are you an encourager or a discourager?

Ellis Creek happenings and a fun character quiz

10 reminders of God’s enduring love

5 ways to make your child feel loved

Saturday Spotlight: Deceived by Madisyn Carlin

reading suggestions for kids of all ages

subscribe to my newsletter

 

Posted in holidays, Patriotic

Happy Independence Day!

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea! source

As we celebrate Independence Day, I’m so grateful to live in a country with so many freedoms. Those of us, myself included, who have never lived outside of the U.S. cannot fully comprehend just how blessed we are to live in this great nation. May we never take for granted the liberties we wake up to each day—liberties our ancestors fought and sometimes died for. May we never forget their great sacrifice.

Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” The thought of losing the freedoms our remarkable country has enjoyed for so many years is frightening. I want my children to continue to know—and my future grandchildren to know— what it’s like to live in the “land of the free and the home of the brave”.

We are perilously close to losing the way of life that makes America the wonderful country She is. The country in which so many from other parts of the world desire to live.

As we celebrate today, may we give thanks to the Lord who granted us the privilege of living in America. May we continue to fight for America and may we never forget that freedom is only one generation away from extinction.

From our family to yours…have a safe and fun Fourth of July!

Posted in devotionals, family/marriage, for the family, Growing in the Lord, motherhood

tiny miracles

Tiny Miracles.png

In light of the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, I wanted to revisit this post I first published three years ago.

To many of us, myself included, the Supreme Court decision was an answer to prayer. Most who know me know that I’m an avid supporter of life and a huge proponent for adoption.

There are many amazing articles about the topic of abortion, one of which is the article, “Is Abortion Always Wrong” by Donna Reidland. It’s insightful and well-worth the read.

“Walter’s short life was given a lifetime of purpose.” This quote is from a touching story about how one baby has changed the lives of many and can be found in the article about the precious Baby Walter. I would encourage you to read it, but do have some Kleenex at the ready.

And now for the post about Baby India, a tiny miracle of life.

On June 6, 2019, a tiny newborn was rescued…a baby girl who was destined for death when she was placed inside a plastic bag in Georgia.

Instead, upon hearing a noise, investigators found the baby, who had only recently been born. They filmed the dramatic event with a body cam.

As I watched this video, tears streamed down my face. This little baby, named Baby India, should not have survived. We all know the dangers of allowing children to play with plastic bags, let alone placing a helpless infant inside of one. A death sentence for certain once suffocation set in.

But Baby India didn’t die. She didn’t suffocate, didn’t starve to death, wasn’t found by a wild animal in the woods where she was placed. Instead, in God’s goodness and grace, He led rescuers to find her alive and seemingly healthy.

Indeed, even before Baby India was formed in the womb, the Lord knew her. Knew she would be rescued. He never left her side, not even once.

Requests to adopt Baby India have been pouring in by the hundreds. This precious child, whom someone determined shouldn’t live, instead has a future of life ahead of her.

In a world that condones and even promotes the killing of babies through abortion, this miracle baby survived. No, she wasn’t aborted, but rather someone attempted to kill her soon after her birth.

As I re-watched the video, I was reminded of God’s love for His Creation.

Indeed, He has a tender spot for children. We learn that children are a heritage from the Lord… (Psalm 127:3). Consider the words of Psalm 139:13-16:

Psalm 139 13-16

Miracles continue to occur each and every day—with full credit given to our Lord and Savior. Such was the tiny miracle of Baby India and her survival against the odds.