Thursday, April 24, 2014

God Cares about the Little Things

I pray over big things. Doesn't everyone? It's harder (for my, anyway) to pray over the little things. I know God cares, but should we bother him with such minutia? I'm learning that yes, he wants to be "bothered" with those things.

Alyssa is graduating from 8th grade next month. Wow. Anyway, she needed a graduation dress. Because she goes to a Baptist school, there were very specific guidelines we needed to follow. The dress had to fall below her knees, both sitting and standing. Her back and shoulders couldn't show. The neckline had to be modest.

Yea, good luck to us. The one dress I bought without her was too short. And she's petite, so that's saying something. They were all too short. Or too low cut. Or strapless. Ugh.

So we headed down to Woodfield Mall in the Chicago area. It's a long trip, but surely, they had to have something. The first store we went into, we found the prettiest dress and were so excited. On the hanger, it looked plenty long. Could it be that easy? Right, it couldn't be. It wasn't anywhere near long enough.

Onward and forward. We shopped and shopped until I could see the frustration in her face. We despaired that we would ever find anything. We broke for lunch and sat and relaxed for a while. As I prayed over my meal, I hesitantly asked the Lord to please help us find a dress that day.

We set off. In the next store we went into (yes, the very next one!), we found a very pretty coral lace skirt that - get this - was long enough!!! Boy, did we snatch it up fast! In another store we found a black blouse to go with it and with some coral jewelry and a new pair of shoes, it will be perfect!!

This is it, but we got it in coral.
How could it have been the next store we went into? Just God. He does care about the smallest details of our lives and has them all in his control. I believe that's what He was teaching me that day.

How have you seen God work in the smallest details of your life?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Advanced Buzz for Daisies Are Forever

Just a couple of weeks left until Daisies Are Forever releases! I have to admit to being very nervous about a release until I see the reviews. Are people actually going to like it? Well, at least Romantic Times and Library Journal like Daisies. Here are their reviews. First, Romantic Times:

Liz Tolsma

Tolsma isn't afraid to detail the horrors of war as she depicts how tragedies can be obstacles to one's Christian beliefs. She also illustrates how Gisela and Mitch, though questioning if God has abandoned them, unite in their hope for the future and shared faith.

And Library Journal: 

VERDICT Tolsma’s (Snow on the Tulips) second historical novel is a compelling and fast-paced tale about the atrocities and tremendous losses endured by those marked forever by World War II. The theme of faith despite all odds will resonate with readers. Recommended for fans of ­Rosamunde and Robin Pilcher, Kate Morton, and historical romances.
 And if you want to read another great review, go to The Sheepish Scribe. I love her description of the book. I'm going to hire her to write my back cover copy for the next one!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Life in the Marines

Here are a few pictures Brian sent me of his every day life in the Marines. He graduates from amphibious assault vehicle mechanic's school at the end of the month and moves to his permanent duty station at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. This is where he requested, but then he thought he was going to stay in California. It even looked like he would be deployed by the end of the year. Out of the blue, his orders were changed, and he's headed to the East Coast. At least this way, it's only a day and a half drive for us, so we hope to be able to see him more often. 

I love this one of him. I don't know if he took it or someone else, but it's a great picture. I know he's going to miss that California sun!

Just doing his job. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Gluten Free?

This winter has been brutal on my fibromyalgia. I've been tired, listless and the brain fog has turned me into a senile old lady. I thought our trip to Mexico would help with raising my vitamin D levels, but it didn't do much good. Because of the cancer drug I'm on, I can't take the medication I was taking.

Then I read of a woman with autoimmune problems who went gluten free and of the difference it made in her life. At that point, I had nothing to lose.

Let me tell you, going GF isn't easy. It's a whole new way to look at food. My initial attempt didn't last long. Way too hard. And I didn't feel a difference in my health. Only frustration.

What I determined to do was to eat a healthier diet. And I'm watching my white flour and refined sugar intake, along with the kinds of carbs I consume. Know what? I'm feeling better. I feel off the wagon earlier this week and paid the price for it. A few days back on the diet, and I have more energy and I can think.

I don't know if you can count me as GF. And I'm not saying I won't have some gluten from time to time. Come on - chocolate cake is too good to pass up. But feeling better is a great motivation and knowing how I feel when I don't eat right will help me stick to it.

Are you GF? Any tips for me? How have you changed your diet recently?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Thank You!

I just wanted to pop in and thank all of you for participating in the Catch Us If You CAN scavenger hunt. Wasn't it fun?! I hope you discovered lots of new authors and learned about them. As for myself and the other authors in the hunt, we enjoyed getting to know all of our new readers.

The winners have been chosen and have received emails. Sorry if it wasn't you. Keep your eyes open for other opportunities to win.

A bonus update about my own writing: I've turned in the third book in my Women of Courage series. No title as of yet. We're batting ideas around. My edits should come soon, so I'll be busy with those in a little while. In the meantime, I've started the first book of the next series while waiting for a contract for it. I'm excited about it and my fingers are itching to really get going on it. A week or so ago, I had a conversation with my publicist about marketing, so I'm working on a bunch of ideas. Some you'll see, some will remain behind the scenes.

Whew! Is that enough? Don't forget - Daisies Are Forever releases in just over a month!!!
What did you enjoy most about the hunt? What would you like to see me write about?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Catch Us If You CAN Spring Scavenger Hunt Stop #16: Liz Tolsma's Blog

WELCOME, to the Catch Us if You CAN: Spring Scavenger Hunt! We hope you enjoy meeting Christian Author Network members as you chase down clues for the chance to win our grand prize: $200 in gift cards from CBD, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon, plus 29 free books, one from each participating CAN author! • 2nd & 3rd Prizes: $50 Amazon, B&N, or CBD gift certificate!

 • Catch us on this hunt beginning at Noon on Friday, 03/21/14 and ending at Midnight on Thursday, 03/27/14. No need to hurry as you search for clues—you have almost an entire week! If you need help at any time during the hunt, check in here:

• Enjoy 29 stops, each featuring a different CAN author!

• Gather the clues from each post, beginning at STOP # 1 and ending at Stop #29. Follow the directions and fill out the Rafflecopter form. Be ready to provide the complete clue in sentence form, gathered from all 29 stops, within 2 days of email notification or another winner will be randomly drawn. There is no need to email/submit the clue, unless you are notified by 03/29/14. Sorry, due to international regulations and postage costs, prizes will be awarded to US Residents only. Individual contests within the hunt may vary, so please read rules presented with each giveaway.

Alrighty, with that business taken care of, we can get down to the fun!

I'm pleased to introduce Doreen Hanna at this stop.

The Challenge to Do Something When No One Else is Doing It!

I’ll never forget this particular moment in my life.

I was on the phone with a women’s ministry leader who had called to ask about me coming to speak for a Mother/Daughter event. Their theme was “Celebrate! You’re a Daughter of the King.” She asked if I had any form of reference to speak on this topic. I froze. Then suddenly I remembered what Florence Littauer stated at a speaker’s conference: “If you think you don’t know, just say yes and immediately shoot up a prayer!” I did, and truly it was immediately, that I recalled a moment when I was a young girl...

One particular morning, my grandmother had walked out of her bedroom beautifully dressed. I asked her, “Where are you going?” She boldly proclaimed, “I’m going to church to meet with the King of Kings because I am a Daughter of the King!” I had not remembered that moment for more than 40 years. I was brought back to the present as I heard the women’s ministry director asking, “Doreen, are you still there?” I quickly said, “Oh! Yes, I do have a reference in which I can speak on this topic!”  Then she told me that she’d like me to put the emphasis on calling the older women of the church to mentor the teen girls. 

As I hung up the phone I thought, "I don’t know what a Daughter of the King really looks like in today’s Christian community." It sounded a bit old-fashioned to me. However, this prompted me to begin thinking again. Quickly the word “JAP (Jewish American Princess)” came to mind. I pondered, “How did these women become such regal ladies to carry that title?” I answered my own question – “They must have been trained to become like this.”

I immediately headed to the library and discovered a book for Jewish parents who were preparing their daughters for womanhood. I found that they had established a rite-of-passage called a Bat’mizvah when they turn 13 years of age. The parents chose a woman from their synagogue who would become her mentor for one year, solidifying all that she had been taught in the first 12 years of her life. Excitedly I read on because they had used a key word in my topic!

Further research led me to read up on Princess Diana. To my surprise, she had 5 women that mentored her for life. Lastly, I felt prompted to take a look at the life of Rahab, the prostitute that became a princess in the lineage of Jesus. She had been embraced (mentored!) by the Israelite women after she had saved their nation when she protected the Israelite spies. 

With all that I had discovered, I confidently presented the day of the event. Of course, I included my grandmother’s proclamation as well. I challenged the women in the audience of their high calling as mentors. I encouraged the girls of the benefits they could gain by having a mentor to guide them into their celebrated position in Christ, a Daughter of the King.

When I left the event that day I too was challenged! The question, “What does our Christian community have for our teenage girls?” kept coming to mind.  Of course, I could not answer anything but, “Nothing.” Because I had not seen or heard of anyone else doing it. I knew the Lord was prompting me to take action. Soon, I was researching other cultures rites-of-passage for their teen girls and saw that they were too primitive or elaborate for our average American family. Therefore, I took the lead from the Jewish community and created what is known today as the Becoming a Modern Day Princess, (a Biblically based) rite-of-passage program.

Soon, the self-published curriculum was being facilitated by moms, mentors and leaders in numerous churches, homeschool settings, and Christian schools across the country. By 2008 a true cheerleader and mentor in my own life, Pam Farrel, became my co-author and Focus on the Family/Tydale published “Raising a Modern Day Princess,” in 2010.   

The embracing response of moms, mentors, youth leaders and pastors, across the world today continues to grow as they see the value of equipping their girls to step into womanhood and affirming them through the power of a blessing as they are crowned Daughters of the King- true Modern Day Princesses.
Thank you, Doreen. As the mom of a teen-aged daughter, I can say your work is invaluable. Our girls truly need to be prepared to enter the world, equipped to handle in a Christian way the challenges that await them. Thank you, Readers/Hunters.

Ready to continue?

THE SCAVENGER HUNT CAN-DOs: Before you go, write down this STOP #16 clue: WE ENCOURAGE

WAIT! Check out this giveaway! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now, proceed to stop #17, Doreen Hanna's site! Click HERE to go!