tasty gluten free coconut muffins

GF Coconut

Looking for a delicious treat? These tasty gluten free coconut muffins are sure to fit the bill!

Preheat oven to 345 degrees

In a bowl, mix together the following:

2 c. flour

3/4 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs (or equivalent with Ener-G Egg Replacer)

1 1/4 c. milk (dairy-free milk, such as Rice Dream can be used)

1/2 c. butter

1/3 bag of Baker’s angel flake sweetened coconut shreds (14 oz. bag)

Optional: 1 cup of gluten free chocolate chips (we like Enjoy Life mini morsels) or 1/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa. **Note, if adding Hershey’s cocoa, add 1/4 c. to 1/2 c. additional milk.**

Pour batter into muffin tins. Baking time: 20 minutes

Yield: 24

GF Coconut Muffins 4GF Coconut Muffins 1GF Coconut Muffins 3GF Coconut Muffins 2

 

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10 awesome websites for writers

websites for writers

Writers spend a large amount of time creating characters, scenes, and researching historical events, contemporary happenings, and developing realistic settings. And after the work is done, there is the search for an agent, and after publication, the marketing of the book.

Below is a go-to list of some websites I have personally found to be invaluable in my writing journey.

1-2. Ever wondered what to name your characters? So much goes into the names – they have to “fit” the character in the author’s mind, have to be realistic and easy to pronounce. (Have you ever read a novel where you can’t pronounce the name?!) A couple of my favorite go-to sites for names are Baby Names (Social Security Administration), which includes rankings of popularity since 1880 (perfect for those of us who love to write historical and contemporary fiction) and Nameberry, which includes a handy-dandy search tool by beginning letter or by origin.

3. One of the hardest things to do in fiction writing is to give your characters effective and realistic flaws – ones that they can overcome. 123 Ideas for Character Flaws has a hodgepodge of flaws that you can give to your main and secondary characters.

Victor Hugo

4-5. Each week, helpful blog posts about the craft of writing can be found at The Steve Laube Agency. Rotating agents, including my awesome agent, Tamela Hancock Murray, deliver timely and informational insights into the writing world. Some recent posts include Book Proposal Basics – All About You and Using Someone Else’s Words (What is Fair Use?).

Another agent blog site is Books and Such Literary Management. Marketers and Publicists: What is the Difference and So Many Ideas, So Little Time are two recent posts.

6. K.M. Weiland hosts an amazing amount of information on her website, Helping Writers Become Authors. Be prepared to spend serious time on this site because it offers advice on everything from How to Write Character Arcs to How to Structure Scenes; from Most Common Writing Mistakes to How to Outline your Novel.

7. An interesting site I came across recently is Grammar Girl. There is a host of fascinating posts, not only about grammar and its correct usage, but also Fascinating Words for Colors (and the Battle of Magenta) and a short post on the difference between sneaked and snuck.

Stephen King

8. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference is so much more than just information about preparing for a writer’s conference. Guest posts from a variety of authors, including one of my favorite suspense authors, DiAnn Mills, offer an array of constructive advice. Some recent posts sure to help the budding, as well as seasoned writer include How to Ask Your Characters the Hard Questions and Homonyms for Writers: Did you Sea/See There/Their Mistake? The latter even includes a chart of homonyms and a link for more extensive review.

9. A surefire way to become engrossed in the days of yesteryear is to take a visit to the Library of Congress Chronicling America Historic American Newspapers. Your research will take you to fascinating articles about all sorts of topics from newspapers dating back to 1789.

10. Maybe you need something to help get those creative juices flowing. Writing Prompts offers a diverse selection of story-starters to get you on your path to completing that word count goal.

Now it’s time to put the pen to the paper, or in our case of modern times, put the fingers to the keyboard and type the story your readers can’t wait to read!

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Movie Monday: Hailey Dean 3-Film Collection

Movie Monday Hailey Dean (2)

Romantic suspense is one of my favorite genres (only behind historical and contemporary romance), so when I discovered clean suspense movies, I was thrilled.

Hailey Dean (played by Kellie Martin) is a former prosecutor. Now she’s a therapist who finds herself solving mysteries.

She joins close friends, Danny, who is the brother of her murdered fiance; Fincher, an investigator for the D.A.’s office; her boyfriend, Jonas, who is a medical examiner; and her therapist partner, Sabrina. Fincher brings comic relief to the series with his obsession with Mexican food trucks (and eating in general). Jonas, a more serious fellow, never really realizes what he’s in for when he accompanies Hailey on one of her “investigations,” disguised as a date. Danny turns to her for assistance in everything from missing persons cases to murders that aren’t as easy to solve as they may seem. Sabrina is a more dramatic character.

hailey dean

One of the pros of the Hailey Dean mysteries is the whole setup of the cast of characters that the viewer gets to see, as they attempt to figure how whodunit. It’s not always a clear-cut case, and the writers of the show do an excellent job of choosing someone as the perp who isn’t always the obvious choice.

The Hailey Dean mysteries (there are six available on DVD/streaming at the writing of this review) are clean and avoid stepping over the boundaries when it comes to violence. However, they are not for children, but rather 13 and up.

A fun added bonus? Nancy Grace, the author of the Hailey Dean series, of which the movies are based on, makes an appearance as a reporter in several of the episodes.

I give the Hailey Dean Mysteries a rating of a solid 4 out of 5.

 

 

 

the importance of perseverance

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Life is not easy. It’s full of challenges, and when we face those challenges, we have a choice. Do we stick with it and persevere? Or do we give up?

My mom texted me yesterday with the results from her recent MRI. On top of severe osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, scleroderma, a herniated disc in her back, and celiac disease, they also discovered she has a radial capitellum capsular edema and a posterolateral  capsular synovial cyst.

She was recently confined to a wheelchair.

In other words, the pain and debilitating illness she now faces are nearly unbearable.

Some days it feels like too much.

It is a lot for her to persevere in these times of chronic pain, uncertainty, and a rapidly deteriorating health.

Hard for her husband, children, and grandchildren to watch as well.

But she perseveres. And no, neither she nor I will tell you that it’s easy or that she doesn’t struggle at times.

Chronic illness.

A difficult boss.

A challenging relative.

The effort to lose weight for health reasons.

The challenge to bring up your grades.

Working two jobs to afford basic necessities for your family.

Being a caregiver.

Trying to move on after a death or divorce.

perseverance clip

These can all bring about difficult life situations where it’s easy to give up and give in.

The Apostle Paul went through many trials and hardships and perservered for the Gospel. Missionaries today persist in bringing the Truth to people who may never otherwise hear the Good News of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Even in families, friendships, and neighborhoods, faithful believers hope to plant seeds. Pastors preach to both believers and unbelievers each Sunday.

Or even the perseverence in raising our child(ren) for Christ in an increasingly sinful and hostile world. Yet, when we continue to instill in our children the importance of a relationship with God, we will someday reap the rewards.

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How do we persevere and why is it important that we do?

By keeping our eyes on Jesus. The second we take our eyes off of Him, as Peter did in Matthew 14:30-31, we sink.

Realizing that He knows the “big picture.” How it starts, the middle, and the ending. Remember that we see the tiny hand-held TV screen of life, while God sees an enormous big-screen TV. Or to look at it a different way, we see one word in an entire book, while He sees the entire book – every word, sentence, paragraph, and chapter.

Remembering that even in times of hardship, He loves us and will never leave us.

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Knowing that He is a great listener…and never sleeps. His “line” is open 24/7/365.

Being assured that He’s got this and was not caught off guard.

Spending time in constant prayer, giving thanks for all He has done, seeking His will for your life, and laying down prayer requests are tantamount to a close relationship with Him.

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Reading God’s Word and learning about the faithful ones of the Bible who persevered. To know we are not alone in our difficulties gives us hope and courage.

Keep going forward…even if you feel like you’re constantly going backwards. 

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Making sure you have a good support system. This can be a loving spouse and children, caring friends, and a faithful church body.

Being encouraged by listening to uplifting Christian music.

Facing each day one step at a time. Set small and realistic goals.

Life is not easy. Everyone has a struggle, or multiple struggles, that they face on a daily or ongoing basis. But with faith in God and perseverence, we can face our hardships head-on and emerge victorious.

 

 

 

 

Movie Monday: Flying High for the Glory of God: The Orville Rogers Story

Flying High for the Glory of God movie monday

When I stumbled across Flying High for the Glory of God: The Orville Rogers Story, it piqued my curiosity.

Orville Rogers was born in 1917. However, at 101, Orville isn’t ready to take it easy just yet. He runs marathons (and holds many world records) and keeps himself in excellent shape. His mind is sharp.

And he has led an adventurous life.

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Orville is a patriot, having fought for our country in both WWII, where he was a bomber pilot instructor, and in the Korean War. He’s also flown for numerous ministry missions to a variety of remote places.

He was the husband of Esther Beth for over sixty-four years. He’s a father, grand-father, and a great-grandfather.

But the thing that stuck out most to me in watching this documentary? Orville’s love for God and his courage in sharing that love. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite parts of the movie is when he’s in a taxi and he’s sharing about Jesus with the cab driver. (But he’s never overbearing). Orville is devout in his faith – something we don’t always see as often in today’s men.

Throughout the short movie, Orville shares about his passions: his faith, his family, flying, and running. It is never slow or boring, but rather uplifting and inspirational.

I found myself wishing the movie was longer – I wanted to know even more about Orville’s life and his testimony. His book, The Running Man: Flying High for the Glory of God is next on my list!

Flying High for the Glory of God: The Orville Rogers Story is available to stream or to purchase as a DVD. It is appropriate for the entire family.

Rating: 5 stars.

 

 

the importance of authenticity

importance of authenticity

What do you think of when the word “authentic” comes to mind? An antique? A piece of jewelry? An artifact? While these things deal with authenticity in their own ways, there is another, more important type of authenticity. It is the vulnerability of allowing others to see our true selves and that we have flaws. It’s the sometimes-scary act of “being real.”

In today’s world, authenticity isn’t always a common thing. How can you be authentic? Here are some ways…

Put others first. Think of others better than yourself (Philippians 2:3).

Act the same no matter who you are interacting with. Are you the same person with the one you think can advance your career as you are with the person who can offer you nothing?

Don’t compete with others. We all have God-given gifts, talents, and strengths. Don’t begrudge someone for a gift/talent/strength you wish you possessed, but don’t.

Show no favoritism (James 2). Treat the person who lives in the run-down trailer on the bad side of town the same as you treat the person who lives in the mansion on the golf course.

Be genuine. If you say something, mean it.

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Avoid trying to impress others because of their social status, wealth, or appearance.

Be a person of integrity, both while alone and in the presence of others.

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Avoid being condescending or a know-it-all.

Show compassion and empathy when someone is struggling with a problem. If you yourself have dealt with the same issue, gently share what helped you. (Second Corinthians 1:4).

 

Dave Willis