I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Mink Apron

This picture ought to raise a few questions. First of all, that’s my sister-in-law, Mary Smith, in the picture—so what’s that Canadian relative doing in Texas?

Next, why do I have such a fierce look on my face? I’d like to think I’m fairly mild-tempered. Why so stern with Mary?

But most of all, I’m thinking you might be wondering—what is she wearing?

Well, Canadian Mary came to Texas for a visit not long ago, and, as usual, after supper, she hopped up to do the dishes. We knew we would have to go to ridiculous lengths to keep her out of the dishpan, so I grabbed a mink apron and tied it on her.

Yes, I said a mink apron.  And Mary couldn’t possibly risk soiling the apron, so we successfully kept her from doing the dishes that night.

Now to the biggest question of all: who in the world has a mink apron?

Well, that brings us to another unique individual, my daughter-in-law, Pamela Smith. Believe me, she is just as amazing and exceptional as a mink apron would suggest.

Last question. What does this have to do with the Ponderers? We’re writers. If we sent in a book with a character wearing a mink apron, most likely an agent or editor would tell us to take it out. Too unrealistic. Fiction has to be believable!

What about you? Have you ever seen a mink apron before? What would you think if you read about it in a book?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Long Road to Overnight Success...Winner-Jeanne Takenaka!

by Patrica Bradley

If you have a dream, don't give up. Don't ever give up. 

I started writing 34 years ago. Yep. You read correctly--34 years. In that time, I had approximately ?? rejections. I can't really tell you how many rejections I've had because I didn't keep score. And I didn't keep score because I knew one day I'd submit to an editor or an agent and they would say yes. 

I don't know how I knew that, just that I did. It helped along the way that Woman's World bought 3 of my short stories and Country Living bought a couple of articles. 

I know you didn't ask for my advice, but guess what? I'm giving it anyway. :-)

If you have a dream, lay it on God's altar--make sure this dream is in His plan for you. Ask Him, He'll let you know. Once you're sure you are on God's track, do the hard work. In my case that meant learning the craft of writing. For you it might be returning to school for your degree. Whatever it is, you will have to sacrifice something to make the dream come true...time, money, energy...

And keep at it. Don't believe the naysayers who say your dream is pie-in-the-sky. You know better. Believe that if God gave you this dream, He will not snatch it away. Believe in yourself, believe that you can realize this dream. But at the same time, remember everything is in God's timing, and if you wait on Him, He will give you more than you can ask or imagine. I just wanted one book published. He gave me a three-book deal. 

See for yourself. My first book, Shadows of the Past, just released last week; the second book in the Logan Point Series releases in October. I'm working on the 3rd book and today, I received word my publisher wants a fourth book in the series. Can you see me Happy Dancing? 

What dream do you have? And what do you need to do to make it come true? Leave a comment and if we have 10 readers to comment I'll randomly pick one person to receive a copy of Shadows of the Past. Must be 18 and have a US address. 

Twenty years of family secrets are about to be revealed when a criminal profiler follows a lead on her missing father’s whereabouts

Psychology professor and criminal profiler Taylor Martin prides herself on being able to solve any crime, except the one she wants most desperately to solve—the disappearance of her father twenty years ago. When she finally has a lead on his whereabouts, Taylor returns home to Logan Point, Mississippi, to investigate. But as she is stalking the truth about the past, someone is stalking her.

Nick Sinclair pens mystery novels for a living, but the biggest mystery to him is how he can ever get over the death of his wife—a tragedy he believes he could have prevented. With his estranged brother the only family he has left, Nick sets out to find him. But when he crosses paths with Taylor, all he seems to find is trouble.

Places where you can find Shadows of the Past:
Available at CBD: and Amazon:  and B&N:  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

If you can't swim don't go near the water . . .

 By Jennie Atkins
If you can’t swim don’t go into the water. That was my over-protective father's mantra.  It made it hard growing up when I wanted to try something new—especially if that something new meant I could get hurt. 
I thought he was going to have a coronary when he found out I had gone out with some friends and tried to learn to ski. “Tried” being the operative word—by that time I was nearing twenty and after years of being under my father’s watchful eye, any coordination I had as a child had disappeared, and skiing proved to be a disaster!  (I'll share the story how I ran into a pine tree some other time--ouch!)
But I soon learned I could do other things.  I learned to sew, knit, and I understood computers.  Just because I couldn’t play ball, didn’t mean I was worthless. I realized then that God doesn’t make junk. He had a plan for my life that He chose just for me.  I never fit into any social mold, I was never in the “in” crowd, but I knew I was loved by God, my creator.  
Psalm 8:5 says He made me “a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him (me) with glory and honor.”  
How can it be any better than that?  As the Olympics begin, I can watch in envy as the skiers swoosh down the slopes with graceful ease, and the gymnasts vault across the floor with the agility and strength I never possessed.  But I’m a child of the King and he’s created me just the way he wanted me.
And with that—I am satisfied.
Your turn:  We did you want to be one thing, but God had other plans?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Some relatives belong in books, and may produce headaches

Delores E. Topliff  -  February 4, 2014

            How do we find story characters? From imagination? Or observing friends and family? We love relatives, but probably have a few who belong in books. My dad’s mother was hardworking, intelligent, and after surviving Depression-era hardships, appreciated money’s value. My grandfather, her husband, was resourceful, inventive, but quiet-spoken. He only got involved when problems escalated. His widowed mother lived at the other side of their farm in a redeemed chicken coop bordered by bright flowerbeds. A jaunty Welcome sign crowned the bridge crossing the little creek.

Since utilities aren’t free, Grandma charged Great-grandma $.03 actual cost for every tub of washing machine water used. When I turned 12, Great Grandma got sick. The choice was the expensive town hospital. Or the county hospital free for low-income folks with 12 patients in each ward. When I hiked there after school, Great-Grandma had me read favorite Bible chapters, ending with I Cor. 15. She resurrected before my eyes.

Around Mother ’s Day, she was hospitalized again. I had no gift. But two blocks away a gas station’s grand opening offered free baby orchids with fill-ups. I approached the owner, hemming, hawing, and shuffling feet, describing my wonderful great-grandma. “Could I please have one baby orchid for her?”

“Here, kid. Take a dozen.” He handed me a box, one for each worn woman in the ward. Great-grandma beamed.

Years later I was in college five hours away when a letter announced she was in the county hospital in her final illness. Fuming, I soon experienced a raging headache. Storming, I walked outside, The more I fumed, the worse my head pounded. But when I prayed. And added tears. The headache subsided. When I fumed again, the headache returned. After re-committing Great-grandma to God, I felt better. That headache came and went, came and went, staying away when I surrendered her care to God. I couldn’t rush to her side, and she wouldn’t want me to. My role was to pray.

I try to remember that principle, and not let emotions dictate actions--or reactions.

Meanwhile, Dad’s mom worked hard and accomplished lots, but worried much and died young. Can emotions affect us that much? Maybe. But God also can help us understand and gain wisdom. While learning to let Him carry the load.
            What about you? Do any relatives belong in books? Do some family situations produce headaches? Let them teach us wisdom.