Two FREE Gifts!!

Do you get mixed feelings of nostalgia and excitement before the new year like I do? I’ve heard many say they’re glad Christmas is over so life can continue as ‘normal,’ but not me. My house aglow with twinkling lights, spiced eggnog and warm apple cider drinks, surprise carolers from the neighborhood church, heartwarming specials on TV, more time with loved ones, our kids and their cousins dutifully performing their own play for the family on Christmas Eve . . . that, I could do all year. The world is different the week of Christmas, reminding us of peace on earth and goodwill toward men. We temporarily forget our obsession with warring and put away our weapons. We climb down our ladder to success to put up lights instead while remembering the light of the world who came to save us all. He is the reason for the season. Those who go through the year without giving him much thought suddenly hear the carol being performed by a group of children in the mall, “O come, let us adore him,” and tears swell up in their eyes as there’s a repenting silence among the crowd of shoppers who have paused to stop and listen.

Christmas lights

Now lights are coming down, shoppers exchange unwanted gifts, holiday decorations and sweets are discounted to 75% off, and the credit card bills are in the mail. Everything is back to our new ‘normal.’ The war of terror resumes.

I know celebrating Christmas year round wouldn’t really solve our problems. But I can’t help but wonder, if God can do so much with such apprehensive prayers lamely presented at Christmas time, how much more could he do if we truly sought him every day?

Christmas has come and gone, but there are actually a thousand reasons everyday to be happy, but if we don’t have peace in our hearts, we’ll never be happy. John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Whatever 2016 brings, don’t submit to circumstances. Submit to the Lord who controls circumstances. Unlike worldly peace where we wish for the absence of conflict, this peace is confident assurance in any circumstance. With Christ’s peace, we have no need to fear the present or future. There’s not enough Christmas traditions to bring lasting peace. Only God can.

Emmanuel. He is with us. God came near. That’s gift number one. And he will be with us allll year round; not just in December. I hope we’ll all remember that in 2016.

Gift number two is my book, 18 THINGS, is FREE today and tomorrow! Please help me spread the post-Christmas cheer 🙂

Sample social media post: 

Love, faith & bucket lists! Looking for an excellent YA book for the ? 18 Things by is FREE:

 

*HaPPy*nEW*yEAr*frIEnds!!!

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Another Year In the Books

It’s that time again already . . . reflecting on the past year. In preparation, I read my blog posts from last December. 2014 was rather crappy, and I looked forward to 2015 being a lot better. And the truth is . . .

IT WAS AMAZING!!!

It's been a magical year!

It’s been a magical year!

But not for the reasons I anticipated. This time last year I was still really focused on writing. The last installment of my YA trilogy, 18 Thoughts, was getting ready for release, and I anticipated an increase in sales and a fulfillment in my professional life I’d never experienced before.

Except even though I had more book sales this past year than in my previous two years combined, that fulfillment never came. Instead I felt empty and unmotivated in the area of writing. So after my media blitz, I took a break. In the past, if I didn’t have my daily writing time, it’d send me into a FULL DOWNWARD SPIRAL, eating cookies in a corner, nearly ODing on sugar, and making horrible Chewbacca howling noises. Probably not a healthy place to be. But I didn’t write again until mid-July, and then I finished a stand alone novel in a month. In August, school was back in session, leaving no time to edit as I taught eighth grade English for the first time. Maybe I’ll find editing time before 2015 ends (I do have 2 weeks off starting December 18th, but there’s also Star Wars, and NOTHING will take that away from me).

Sooo maybe I won’t.

And that’s okay. I’ve been so focused on writing, writing, writing since 2009 . . . from trying to get a book deal to getting a book deal to honoring that book deal and all it entails. This year, I finally felt like I had my life back. I’ve spent way more time with my wonderful family. I even made my 15yo daughter smile sometimes instead of scowl at me. So yes, this year has been a miracle.

How about you? Any surprises in your life this year? (Good, I hope, not like an unexpected incoming FaceTime or discovering your Starbucks app is empty. There’s nothing more terrifying than that.)

IWSGHEADER

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Feel free to join us the first Wednesday of every month! Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!