We still have an answering  machine in our home.


It’s stuck on the wall between our kitchen and dining room, a 20th Century relic I just can’t part with.

My husband has grumbled about getting rid of our home phone and the machine, but I have a couple long-distance friends I talk with regularly, and I despise talking on my cell phone. So understanding hubby set it up that when we’re home and calls come in on our cell phones, we can answer on the home phone.

When the number blinks, we have new messages. Either an “IRS” rep demanding we call NOW before our bank account explodes or the ortho office reminding me about my older son’s appointment.

{Thank goodness the political season is over.}

But there are five saved messages that will never get deleted from our compact answering machine. In Lord of the Rings dialect, they’re my PRECIOUS.

They’re cheerful, congratulatory female voices letting me know You’re A Semifinalist or You’re A Finalist.

When I met one of the lovely message-leavers at a local writing conference last year, I started the conversation with, “Your voice is on my answering machine.” She got that deer-in-the-headlights look (in Florida, it’s more like squirrel-in-the-headlights) until I explained who I was and why her voice was on my machine. Then we laughed.

Those five saved messages slowly added up, little numbers that equaled Fulfilled Promises of this writing dream that took root decades ago and grew, bit by bit, until it stretched my aching heart.

Until this happened last weekend.


It’s a gift I still can’t fully believe and am so grateful for.

But there were other messages along the winding, wondering years, too. I see them more clearly now. Emails that healed the tender ache, notes that pressed me forward despite longing to give up.

Words prayed over me that wrapped me in the Father’s love.

Messages from writer friends, encouraging words just when I needed them. And messages in God’s Word.

“But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.”

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks.”

“Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”

“Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

“But none of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Are you on a heart journey? Traveling a path you know you’re supposed to, but the end is out of sight? I’m not there yet either friend, and I’m realizing in shades of blinding, sunset beauty…that’s the point.

The goal isn’t the final objective. The goal is the journey–and the messages we leave and receive along the way. They’re grace and friendship and love and selflessness.

Here are a few pictures from the ACFW conference and Gala last weekend.


Cathy Gohlke, my favorite historical author. What a blessing to meet her!



Sweet author Lynne Pleau. She’s also from Newtown!


A writer and a gentleman, Joseph Courtemanche. He taught a class about basic weaponry at ACFW!



Fun, encouraging friends Deanna & Lucy. What a joy to laugh & celebrate with other writers!



Fellow finalist Deborah Clack. A sweet, funny fellow writer I’m so glad I had the chance to meet!



What a blessing that my mom and sister joined me this weekend.


Award ACFW
Just, you know, sleeping with my Genesis award Saturday night. 🙂



That this even has my name on it still makes me catch my breath. SO thankful!


“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.”

Wonderful Writerly News



“You’re not allowed to cry, mom!” Chase stares at my face intently as I listen to the phone message that arrived while we were out that evening.

(He doesn’t like when I cry, even if it’s a happy cry.)

A sweet voice drifts over my dining room table, words this writer yearned to hear …”I’m calling because you’re a finalist in the Genesis Contest! I wish I could hear you screaming…”

She was so right. I was screaming. Scream-cry-smiling, Scrimling, something like that. Add a side of jumping up and down.

However weird that must’ve looked and sounded, I was so thrilled to get this encouraging news.

I can’t share the title, but it’s a cute story that came to me randomly the end of last year–a ‘what if?’ scenario that turned into two characters inhabiting my imagination, urging their story to be told.

While I have a huge soft spot for my middle grade characters and story, I had so much fun writing a romance that (one day, Lord willing) makes readers smile and sigh, too. And I’m so thankful to my two critique partners, who helped shape the story from its messy beginnings.

Along this slow and often frustrating path to publication, each step up is a step forward. And while a contest semi-final or final is not a guarantee of publication, it is a huge encouragement for moving in the write right direction.


Winners are announced at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Nashville in August. I’ll be sure to post pictures and news after the conference! 🙂

Recently I read 2 Chronicles 31, and two verses grabbed my attention. Chapter thirty-one details portions of the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah, how Hezekiah destroyed the idolatry prevalent in the land. He determined to make it right between his nation and his God.

Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the Lord his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered. (verse 20 & 21, bolding emphasis mine)

Everything Hezekiah attempted to do, he was successful in accomplishing. Not because of his own power and wisdom, but because he sought the Lord in all he did, he did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord, and he worked with all his heart.

Matthew Henry notes: “In all that Hezekiah attempted in God’s service, he was earnest and single in his aim and dependence, and was prospered accordingly. Whether we have few or many talents intrusted to us, may we thus seek to improve them, and encourage others to do the same. What is undertaken with a sincere regard to the glory of God, will succeed to our own honour and comfort at last.”


In chapter thirty-two, Hezekiah’s encouraging words to his military men before a big battle also encouraged me.

I pray they encourage you, too.

“Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles” (32:7 & 8).

Whatever you’re facing this week, this summer, this year, know that the Lord your God is with you, to help and to fight your battles.

God Bless You!