For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
    So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, what is unseen is eternal.
    ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Friday, December 19, 2014

Inkwell Inspirations: Masterpiece Marriage

Another book review and a chance to win an autographed copy!

Inkwell Inspirations: Masterpiece Marriage: Is the weather outside perhaps a little too frightful? Has winter arrived a bit early, leaving you with dreams of a warm Christmas inst...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book Review of Masterpiece Marriage:

Lane Hill House: Masterpiece Marriage by Gina Welborn ~ a Quilts of...: Being skilled in the Art of Pleasing Others truly did obliterate her individuality. No wonder the average English girl was viewed as decide...

Masterpiece Marriage book review

Book by Book: Masterpiece Marriage by Gina Welborn: About the Book ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ He wants to save his business. She wants to be a professor. But are they asking for more than they can real...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Fiction Writing Tip

Seriously Write: An Ode to the Senior Class of MacArthur High Schoo...: Gina Welborn Like dirt in the wind wanting... waiting... knowing... knowing that one day they will be sucked in the great vacuu...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tea and a Good Book ~ Susanne Dietze: Welcome Debbie Lynne Costello...and a Giveaway!

Here's another giveaway for you!

Tea and a Good Book ~ Susanne Dietze: Welcome Debbie Lynne Costello...and a Giveaway!: Thanks to Debbie Lynne for being here today! Debbie Lynne has enjoyed writing stories since she was about eight years old. She raised h...

Inkwell Inspirations: Celebrating Gina Welborn's "Masterpiece Marriage"....

This week over at my team blog, Inkwell Inspirations, we are celebrating my newest release, Masterpiece Marriage. Lots of tomato recipes to check out! Plus I'll share the first three chapters for you to read.

Inkwell Inspirations: Celebrating Gina Welborn's "Masterpiece Marriage"....: It's December outside but inside, it's May, just like in Gina's book! Susanne here. Come in from the cold and join spring...

How to Love Unlovable and Unlikeable People (Part 3)

Repeatedly in the New Testament, Jesus followers are told to love others. No caveat. No astrick. Just . . .  

Love Others.

Not to judge others. Not to discipline others. Not to change others.

But it's easier--no, safer--NOT to associate with the liberal fem-nazi, the girl with the nose ring and tattoos covering her entire left arm, the pious church lady, the gay co-worker who enjoys sharing his weekend exploits, or the mother-in-law who finds fault in everything you do and has no shame in giving daily reminders.

Haven't you been warned at church to stay away from the world? From the sinful people in the world? From the sinful people in the public school system? Protect your children. Evil company corrupts good character. Follow the commandments, tithe your 10%, don't miss Sunday church services, don't drink wine, don't watch anything on rated R, read your Bible every day, do those things that show you're a good Christian.

Somewhere in following all those religious rules and regulations, we lost what really matters to God. Our hearts.

Erwin McManus wrote:

"Two thousand years ago God started a revolt against the religion. He started. So don't ever put it past God to cause a groundswell movement against churches and Christian institutions that bear His name. If He was willing to turn Judaism upside down, don't think for a moment our institutions are safe from a divine revolt. I'm convinced that even now there are multitudes of followers of Jesus Christ who are sick and tired of the church playing games and playing down the call of God. My travels only confirm that the murmurings of a revolution are everywhere. I am convinced that there is an uprising in the works and that no one less than God is behind it."

A vast number of religious leaders in Jesus's time put all their stock in following the rules, rituals, traditions, commandments, programs, and expectations . . . and they often forgot to put love first. I know people in the church who've made judging others an art form. (I've been guilty as well.) Try wearing an Adidas athletic suit to church on Sunday morning and see how many "how inappropriate of her" looks you get. (Of course the test has greater significance if you're married to one of the pastors.)

The gospel of Matthew records Jesus saying:

"This is what our Scriptures come to teach: in everything, in every circumstance, do to others as you would have them do to you."

  • You want to be listened to. listen to others.
  • You want to be accepted unconditionally, accept others unconditionally.
  • You want to be loved, love others.

And by "others" I don't mean only the people who are easy to like. Stop judging others and holding them up to your standards of righteousness. So what if someone wears shorts to church on Sunday morning. So what if someone enjoys a glass of wine on occasion. So what if someone lets loose a profanity or almost profanity. So what if someone doesn't discipline his children to your level of satisfaction. So what if someone decorates her house differently than you, doesn't read the types of books you do, enjoys watching cheesy daytime talk-shows, thinks the King James Version of the Bible is the only God-ordained one, or even insists the movie AVATAR is new-age, environmentalist propaganda.

In his book THE END OF RELIGION, Bruxy Cavey wrote:

"Jesus called His followers to live by a higher standard, the way of love instead of the way of the law. And to drive home His point, He had to break the rules over and over again." 

What "rules" would you break if you loved others without caveat?

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what.

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Cup of Christmas Cheer

 I love reading novellas and short stories during the holiday season. Maybe it's because I can curl up with a good book in front of the fire (aka, floor heater). One I have to rave about is...

Sometimes we get sooooo focused on our worries and obligations, get soooo busy with meeting deadline and fulfilling obligation and reaching goals, that we don't knows people around us. And I'm not just talking about strangers. We miss noticing the hurt our friends are trying to keep hidden. We miss noticing family members with needs yet with too much pride to ask for help.

Anita's delighful story is a good reminder to  LOVE OTHERS.

God brings people into our lives so we have opportunity to show kindness, share job, give hope, encourage to dream, and embolden to fight for dreams, hope, joy, and kindness.

To see a visual poster of Anita's story, and learn more about it, check out her Pinterest page for Here We Come A-Wassailing. Her Pinterest site also contains 12 Christmas-themed boards.

This year's CoCC authors have also banded together to create a website with a blog, and pages with information about the stories, authors, giveaways, and their Pinterest boards.

Buy a copy today!!!

Vols. 1 & 2 still available. Click covers to buy the set.A Cup of Christmas Cheer is a delightful collection of original fiction written just for Guideposts readers and hand-picked by the editors at Guideposts to make your Christmas merry and bright. Each story offers the perfect opportunity to take a short break from your holiday planning and escape into an uplifting adventure. Everything you love in heartwarming Christmas fiction is in A Cup of Christmas Cheer — faith-based plots, captivating writing, lovable characters and hopeful endings that warm you from head to toe. You’ll love the way these stories whisk you away and how each has a heartwarming Christmas message of redemption, forgiveness, hope, and faith.

Here We Come A-WassailingYou’ll meet a young woman whose Christmas drive home in remote North Dakota starts out as a lonely trek through the snow, but turns into quite an adventure. As she picks up a ragtag assortment of strangers who are stranded, she wonders if God has placed her on a Christmas mission. Will her rather reserved mother welcome her new band of friends home for the holidays, or will she turn them all away? You’ll marvel at how God’s detours often lead to greater blessings. It’s a Christmas miracle in the making you don’t want to miss.

Free Gift
Along with this book set, you'll receive a beautiful holiday magnet with a charming quote from Mother Teresa. Leaving this item on display all year long will serve as a thoughtful reminder of the peace and joy Christmas can bring to our lives every day of the year.

... northwoods christmas in guidepost books a cup of christmas cheer iTwinkling lights, the scents of cinnamon and pine, family gatherings, favorite carols from the heart. In the spirit of these cozy Christmas traditions, Guideposts is pleased to present A Cup of Christmas Cheer, a two-book set brimming with heartwarming fiction stories of faith and family set in Christmases past and present. You are invited to enjoy two uplifting Christmas fiction collections that will flood you with the Christmas spirit and bring a smile to your face. As you delve into each well-crafted story, you’ll be swept away on a wave of glad tidings and good cheer as you are reminded of God’s unconditional love and ever-present care at Christmas and all throughout the year.
Affordably priced so you can easily give the set as heartfelt gifts, the messages of hope and faith in these extraordinary works of fiction deliver the truest gifts of the season. They will inspire all who read them as they bring home the joy of God’s presence at Christmastime.

Free Gift Along with this book set, you'll receive a beautiful holiday magnet with a charming quote from Helen Steiner Rice; "Peace on Earth Will Come to Stay, When We Live Christmas Every Day." Leaving this item on display all year long will serve as a thoughtful reminder of the peace and joy Christmas can bring to our lives every day of the year.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Last week to Pre-Order Masterpiece Marriage

"delightful" --Amazon reviewer

"Loved this one!" --Amazon reviewer
5* -- Amazon rating

4.71 Goodreads rating

4* -- Romantic Times 

KINDLE - $9.99

PRINT - $12.48

Monday, December 8, 2014

How to Love Unlovable and Unlikable People (Part 2)

Love . . . Just Do It!

We can't force someone to love us, so why do we think we can force ourselves to love others?

For me it was my mother-in-law (MIL). She passed away a few years ago. Maybe it's not your MIL whom you struggle to love. Maybe it's your sexist boss, liberal wacko fem-nazi neighbor, pious church lady, uber-controlling pastor, bath-avoiding co-worker, unsaved husband, whiney child(ren), Cousin Eddie, stupid parent(s), snide ex-partner, etc etc etc. 

We all have someone in our lives who drives us insane. Loving people we like is easy. Loving people we don't like--who annoy us, who hurt or abuse us--is near impossible.

You don't have to like ___; you just have to love her/him.

We've all heard that. We've probably even said it. But I think it's a platitude that has no foundation in real life. (Ever known a platitude to change an attitude?) 

As long as you despise (dislike . . . can't stand) ______, you'll never be able to truly love him/her.

In his book BLUE LIKE JAZZ, Donald Miller expressed it this way:

"The problem with Christian community was that we had ethics, we had rules and laws and principles to judge each other against. There was love in the Christian community, but it was a conditional love. Sure, we called it unconditional, but it wasn't . . . . 

If [people] were bad and rich, they were called evil. If they were bad and poor, they were charity. Christianity was always right; we were always looking down on everybody else. The problem with Christian community is that we think of love as a commodity . . . . 

The church used love like money. With love, we withheld affirmation from the people who did not agree with us, but we lavishly financed the ones who did."

When I read that, I realized I was withholding love for my MIL in hopes she'd become who I wanted her to be--in other words, to become worthy of my love. My love for her was conditional. If she made me happy, I loved her. If she didn't, I withheld. 

God's love isn't conditional. 

God has never withheld His love from me to teach me a lesson or to make me become who He wanted me to be. I've always considering my flaws--while annoying in others--to be adorable in myself, but at that moment of truth of realizing how conditional my love was, I knew exactly how Job felt when he said, "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes."

My MIL didn't need to change. I did. Only through repentance did I finally feel free to love and I realized what an amazing woman my MIL was, despite our differences. 

Relationships, as Miller wrote, are pretty simple: 

Nobody will listen to you unless they sense that you like them. 

Key words there are UNLESS THEY SENSE. You can say you like them, but if they don't sense acceptance from you, your words are clanging brass.

Your thoughts?

Monday, December 1, 2014

How to Love Unlovable and Unlikable People (Part 1)

I went to a ladies' fellowship at church recently where the speaker shared about love. Apparently Christians are supposed to "just do it." 

You know, LOVE OTHERS. 

While I agreed with the gist of the talk, too many times I wanted to stand up and say, "Loving others is far harder than just doing it." Seriously.

If that weren't case, then why is hypocrisy the #1 thing Christians are known for instead of love? 

When I was in 8th grade, my Sunday School teacher came back from a conference where she learned about different spiritual gifts. She proceeded to tell us ours based on what she saw in our lives. I looked at her quite unimpressed and said, "Hey , if God wants me to know what my spiritual gift is, He'll tell me not you." She smiled to appease me I'm sure.

Needless to say, I didn't care for the spiritual gift I'd been designated as to having. What the world needs now is love, sweet love, so I decided love (the gift of compassion) was the best one to have. After all, didn't Paul of Tarsas write: 

"What if I speak in the most elegant languages of people or in the exotic languages of the heavenly messengers, but I live without love? Well then, anything I say is like the clanging of brass or crashing cymbal." (The Voice)

In my childish determination to obtain the spiritual gift of compassion (love), I took spiritual gift analysis test after test. Got the same what-I-thought-was boring gift every time. 

Being one not easily dismayed, I decided to rig the test to get the desired results so I could say, "Look at that score, baby! I'm a lover not a fighter." Only problem is I couldn't even rig the gift into prominence. Why? Because . . . 

Loving others, truly loving them, is far harder than rigging a test. 

Do you have someone in your life whom you struggle to love?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Expressions: Writer's World Wednesday - Acknowledgments

Help/bless others as you've been helped/blessed -- that's my motto.

Expressions: Writer's World Wednesday - Acknowledgments: A few weeks ago, I told you about my friend Kim Woodhouse .  Hers is one of two names specifically mentioned in the dedication for Waiting o...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Do You Think You Succeeded on Your Own?

Some of us have deadlines, some don't.

Some excel under them, some live in denial of them, some gain five pounds after eating chocolate to get through them.

A few years back I went through the Beth Moore Bible study, Esther. It's amazing. You can download her video series through itunes or on Well worth the price. 

At the end of Esther's story, she, with full authority, wrote a decree and whatnot. What stood out in my spirit wasn't what Esther did. It was what Beth said next in the video. I tried to write verbatim, but pardon any me additions.

"While we are complete in Christ, we will never fulfill our destiny unless we operate 'together with.' We need people to go, to do things 'along with.' You might be surprised what they bring out in you. The joy is unspeakable."

God used that to remind me of all the ladies over the years who have been my "along withs" in my writing journey. 

  • On Charlotte Dillon's online RWC list, writers like Lynne Connelly, Allison Brennan, Shirley Jump, and Linda Winslow helped me understand deep point of view and how to judge and critique.
  • Over at Romance Divas, Jax Cassidy and Kristen Painter gave me an opportunity to share my crazy links of life to writing. I never saw my self as an article writer, but there I was doing it. 
  • Best part is through R-Divas I met Camy Tang who encouraged me to join ACFW. Camy didn't just introduce me to fellow Christian writers, but she directed me to writing resources that have greatly expanded my knowledge of writing, as well as humbled me in the process.
  • Through ACFW, I met Therese Stenzel who began the ACFW European historical writers chapter (His Writers). 
  • Then there are the ladies of the Seekerville blog. Oh. My. Stars. They're like Krispy Kreme donuts that are actually healthy and good for you.
  • Pamela Griffin, Laurie Alice Eakes, and Jennifer Hudson Taylor who welcomed me into their anthology proposal, which lead to my first sale.
  • My Inkwell Inspiration sisters.
Never underestimate the impact you have in the lives of others.

Who are your "along withs"?

Monday, October 6, 2014

What Jane Austen can teach Girls about Boys

I love having family and friends come to visit

It's the after-they've-left . . . 

No more toilet paper, lots of dirty laundry, empty food closet, little messes all over the house, and an overflowing trash dumpster. Never mind, that's normal house. Then there are all the missed tv episodes.

TV shows, in my family, exist for the purpose of discussion. We talk about what we're watching. The characters, the plot, the motivations for why people did what they did.

Superherotologist Daughter and I watched PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Keira Knightly version). She asked me about a minor detail in the film. I explained how it symbolized Darcy's struggle with his attraction to Elizabeth. From there we got to talking about why girls sometimes feel all silly inside around boys they dislike or boys who irritate them. 

It was a good mother-daughter moment.

“A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” 

“Angry people are not always wise.” 

“We all know him to be a proud, unpleasant sort of man; but this would be nothing if you really liked him.” 

“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”

“Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion.” 

“Her heart did whisper that he had done it for her.” 

What meaningful conversations have you had with your kids, spouse, or friends after watching a tv show or movie or book?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Colonial Quills: Tea Party in Santa Barbara - MaryLu Tyndall, Carri...

Colonial Quills: Tea Party in Santa Barbara - MaryLu Tyndall, Carri...: Welcome to Santa Barbara, California 1855!! Back in 1855, Santa Barbara was a gorgeous city perched between azure waves that were fill...


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How to Find Out Who I Am?

When College Boy was in 5th grade, at end of the school year, he brought home a writing folder filled with several pages of his writing from first to fifth grade. I just have to share some of what he wrote. Spelling or punctuation uncorrected.

June 12, 2002
Dear Reader,
I have learned many things in writing this year. I haved leared three parts of a story: a beginning, a middle, and an ending. I am a good writer. I can do lots of good senses {sentences}. I can do lots of wrting veary fast. We wrote lot of storys like toys summer. Wate {wait} you can just look at my stores instade {instead}.
Your student, Matthew Welborn

May 18, 2004
Dear Reader,
This year I have worked on my writing. Some areas in which I have improved as a writer are: I have gotten better at my cursive. I have learned new and better words. I have been writing longer stories. I know that I will continue to grow as a writer. Some things I would like to improve are: My printing I would like better and neater. I would love to write a longer paragraph. I would like to like writing.
Sincerely, Matthew

Give Colleg Boy props because many writers never honestly evaluate their own writing to see where they need to improve.

April 23, 2003
I am Matthew Welborn.
I wonder what will happen in the future.
I hear my thoughts and things around me.
I see what I see.
I want to have a great life.
I pretend to be everything.
I feel happy sometimes.
I touch things if I'm allowed to.
I worry about a lot of things.
I cry when I'm sad or hurt.
I understand how people feel.
I say a lot of good things.
I dream about the future and the past.
I try to do my best.
I hope I'm a youth minister.
I am full of joy.

At 9, College Boy was optimistic, literal, obedient, and tender-hearted. At 20, he is all those things still. What about you? What would you answer?  You don't have to share, so be honest with yourself.

I am _______________________.
I wonder _____________________.
I hear _______________________.
I see _______________________.
I want __________________________.
I pretend _______________________.
I feel ______________________.
I touch _____________________.
I worry ___________________.
I cry ______________________.
I understand _________________.
I say __________________.
I dream ________________.
I try ____________________.
I hope I am __________________.
I am ________________.

Monday, September 29, 2014

I'm Lost in Washington DC

I don't like driving. Never have. Why drive when could, instead, take a nap, read a book, take a nap, look at the scenery, take a nap, listen to the radio, or take a nap.

Yes, I'm a slumberer.

When we lived in Virginia, hubby would often fly out of Reagan National Airport. Usually he found a friend to help him with the drive to DC. One time he couldn't find a friend. That meant I had to drive--the trip home at least. I wasn't an happy camper. See note about slumberer. Call me crazy, but sleeping and driving don't mix well. 

Hubby's instructions were follow the road out of the airport (the one that says TO WASHINGTON) and stick to the one that runs along the Potomac. Eventually it'd take me to I395 which would take me to I95. Well, I followed as instructed until I realized I was going north, and Richmond is south. Thus I figured if I got off of 395 North, I could loopy around until I was going south.

Contrary to popular knowledge, Washington DC is not loopy. At least the roads aren't.

So after a nice sight-see of the White House, the National Mall, some lovely cherry blossoms, and the Washington Monument, I realized the solution to my crisis. Pray. Pray hard and fast and desperate, and it went something like this:

"God, I'm lost. You are all I've got. Give me a I395 road sign."

Poof. There one was a sign. Soon I was back on I395 going south. But then I kinda sorta took the exit ramp and got offer near the Springfield Mall. Not being someone who panics, I prayed:

"God, I could really use one of those big signs that is full of interstate road directions."

Considering I was practically surrounded by a spaghetti pile of interstate and beltway roads, I knew God knew what I was talking about. Poof. There was a sign.

We don't have to be wander-driving around Washington DC to know that without God WE ARE LOST. And with Him we have all we need to live an abundant life.

"For in Him [Jesus] dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power." 
-Colossins 2:9-10

Monday, September 22, 2014

Inkwell Inspirations: Sadie's Gift Release Party

Inkwell Inspirations: Sadie's Gift Release Party: CONGRATULATIONS NIKI TURNER!! SADIE'S GIFT is available as one of the short and sweet  stories in the Christmas Traditions Seri...

Monday, September 15, 2014

How to Come Up With a New Story Idea

"Tall, blond, and handsome, yet he never leaves home." Suzy-Jo Martin turned from her front window (and from the bare-chested hunk mowing the lawn across the street) and took the lemonade her friend Eliza offered. "He's either a child molester or a rapist."

"Does he have one of those home alarm bracelets on his ankle?"

"I don't get that close to look. He's a child molester."

"Or a rapist," Eliza added. Her smile wasn't the least bit amusing.

Suzy-Jo casually sipped the tart lemonade. "The children and women in this cul-de-sac could be in danger. I don't think you are taking this as serious as need be." She turned back to the window. Pity, his debauched past. No man who looked so angelic should have such base vices. "I need to find out his name so I can google him. Go meet him for me."

Eliza drew back the silk curtain and edged closer to the window. "He looks like a hero on one of those bodice-ripper romances."

Suzy-Jo sighed. Double pity, his debauched past. "Take a couple of cookies with you. For food, men will confess national secrets."

"I'm a woman and I'm pregnant." Eliza stared hard at Suzy-Jo. "If he's a rapist or molester, I'm top billing."

"You'll be fine. I'm watching."

Eliza rolled her eyes. "A rapist/child molester and a peeping Tom. You two make quite a pair."


Clearly Lawnmowing Man isn't a child molester. Or a rapist. This is a romance, after all!!! 

Why do you think he never leaves home? 

What secret is he hiding?

Why do you think it matters so much for Suzy-Jo to know?

How in the world does Suzy-Jo meet our hero?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Struggling with Internal Editor

I once went on a three-year-stint without reading a single fiction novel because I couldn't stop evaluating what I disliked.

Not too long ago, I read two Joy Fielding novels. I could not stop reading Charley's Web long enough to make  dinner on time. The family wasn't happy they had to wait to eat until I finished the book. Not sure why they didn't figure out they could fix their own food, but that's a post for another day.

As soon as I had a chance, I drove to the library and checked out Fielding's book, Heartstopper. I sooo did not want the killer to be who the killer was even though I knew the killer probably was who I thought the killer was.

I'm the type of gal to eat dessert before the main course (don't blame me, blame the hostess who put the dessert next to my water glass).

So when I read a book that makes me forget I'm a writer . . . ooo la la.

Life's too short to live in validation through self-perfectionism and the need to keep up that image in front of others. I think the reason I've struggled in my internal editor in the past is because part of me didn't want to enjoy the book. Part of me wanted to find flaws because in doing so I felt . . . well, smarter than that published author.

I won't deny a badly written book is always going to be a badly written book. But a good majority of published novels just aren't badly written books. If you want to find something wrong with ________, you'll find it because you're looking hard enough to.

Enjoyment is often a choice.