Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Max’ism: Be Obedient
1 Samuel 15:21-23

Obedience is not an easy thing to learn. Max struggles with it. My kids struggle with it. I struggle with it. But I finally grasped its importance watching Max submit to my will even though it broke his heart.

Max loves to ride in the car. In fact, next to eating ice cream, riding is his favorite thing to do, and he’s learned to catch the signals of when we are about to leave. As soon as I pick up my keys, Max is at the door, tail sticking straight out and nose pressed against the jamb so he can scoot out the moment I turn the knob.

“Not this time, Max,” I said. “You’re staying home.”

He didn’t budge.

“Max, you’re staying,” I repeated, this time more firmly.

He looked up with sad, puppy eyes. I shook my head. Do dogs have shoulders? If they do, his slumped. His head lowered and he slunk to the window. Front paws propped against the sill, he watched as we pulled from the driveway.

Now that was a pathetic sight, I tell you. And yet my heart thrilled at his obedience. And suddenly, I understood why God said to obey is better than sacrifice. Sometimes, He may ask us to do or endure something we totally do not understand. It may even break our hearts. The separation we feel during the struggle between doing our will and doing God’s tears at our faith. But God is patient. And He waits…to see if we will obey.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Case:

A woman suddenly disappears from her home, leaving all of her clothes behind—even the ones she was wearing!

The Mystery:

What became of the woman?

The Clues:

1. The woman was from the west.
2. There is a puddle of water where the woman was last seen.

The Answer:

Think you know the answer? Fill in the comment box to submit your guess. Winner receives a free book!

Friday, March 27, 2009




Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Max’ism: Do Not Be Afraid
Jeremiah 31:9-11

Max is a wiener dog. Though his spirit is big, he’s had to come to terms with the fact that he is a fifty-pound dog trapped in a ten-pound dog’s body. That was made very evident on one of our daily walks.

We live on a country road far from traffic. We do, however, have Barney. Barney is a German Shepherd of considerable size. Even I think so. And when Barney barks, people listen! Normally, Barney is a very friendly dog, but on this occasion, he took our walking past his turf as a personal insult. Terrified, Max scrambled over to me and began jumping on my leg, begging me to pick him up.

“You’re fine,” I repeated over and over, but Max would not be mollified. Not until I held him in my arms, snug against my body, did he finally stop shaking. What Max didn’t realize is that I had no intention of letting that big ole German Shepherd harm him. I was ready to protect him, and watched Barney carefully to make sure he didn’t come near. And then I realized how much like Max the children of God are.

We walk alongside God, content with the way things are, enjoying the view, until something big and scary happens, and then all our faith flies out the window. “God help me! Where are you? Why didn’t you protect me,” we cry. When all along, God stood ready, one eye upon the storm, and one eye upon His child. I can almost hear Him…

“Didn’t you know? I was beside you all along! I had no intention of letting anything harm you, beloved, only that which will strengthen you, and build you up.”

That is, after all, the nature of our God.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Case:

A car driven by a drunken man collides with a limo on a busy street. Miraculously, the limo driver and his passenger are not critically injured, and the driver of the car walks away unhurt. Nevertheless, the drunken man is later arrested for negligent homicide.

The Mystery:

On what grounds was the drunken driver arrested?

The Clues:

1. The limo was speeding to save a life.
2. Something was smashed, besides the drunken driver.

The Answer:

Think you know the answer? Fill in the comment box to submit your guess. Winner receives a free book!

Friday, March 20, 2009

You Know You've Had Too Much Coffee When...

Juan Valdez named his donkey after you.
You grind your coffee beans in your mouth.
The only time you're standing still is during an earthquake.
You can take a picture of yourself from ten feet away without using the timer.
You lick your coffeepot clean.
You spend every vacation visiting "Maxwell House."
You're the employee of the month at the local coffeehouse and you don't even work there.
Your eyes stay open when you sneeze.
You're so jittery that people use your hands to blend their margaritas.
You can jump-start your car without cables.
All your kids are named "Joe."
Your only source of nutrition comes from "Sweet & Low."
You go to AA meetings just for the free coffee.
You've built a miniature city out of little plastic stirrers.
People get dizzy just watching you.
When you find a penny, you say, "Find a penny, pick it up. Sixty-three more, I'll have a cup."
The Taster's Choice couple wants to adopt you.
Starbucks owns the mortgage on your house.
You're so wired, you pick up FM radio.
Your life's goal is to "amount to a hill of beans."
Instant coffee takes too long.
When someone says. "How are you?", you say, "Good to the last drop."
You want to be cremated just so you can spend the rest of eternity in a coffee can.
You go to sleep just so you can wake up and smell the coffee.
You're offended when people use the word "brew" to mean beer.
You name your cats "Cream" and "Sugar."
You get drunk just so you can sober up.
Your lips are permanently stuck in the sipping position.
You can outlast the Energizer bunny.
You don't even wait for the water to boil anymore.
You think being called a "drip" is a compliment.
You don't tan, you roast.
You can't even remember your second cup.
You introduce your spouse as your "Coffeemate."
You think CPR stands for "Coffee Provides Resuscitation."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Max’ism: Handle With Care
Ephesians 4:1-3

Puppy teeth. You might as well take a razor to your skin, they’re so sharp. Max’s are no exception.

Of all the toys in Max’s box, the one he likes best is a purple fuzzy monkey with a squeaky inside. He’ll play with it for hours, usually during our favorite T.V. show. Normally, that doesn’t bother me, but the season was winding down, and we were about halfway into the final episode. Annoyed, I grabbed the monkey and tossed it across the room. Max brought it back and resumed squeaking. I threw it again. He brought back again. Finally, I took it and hid it under my leg. Being the wonder dog he is, Max wasn’t fooled, and promptly started digging and snapping at the couch trying to get it. Unfortunately, my hand was still there, and his sharp puppy teeth caught my finger instead. Ouch!

With blood dripping down my arm, I rushed to the sink, scolding him all the way. Closer examination revealed a pretty deep scratch that would probably take quite a few days to heal. Without intending to, Max had really hurt me. I turned from the sink and found him cowering at my feet, his tail tucked between his legs. I picked him up, my voice soothing, and tried to assure him that I was no longer angry.

And then it occurred to me. How many times have I inadvertently injured someone, either with a careless word or thoughtless act? How many wounds have I inflicted, wounds that took days or even weeks to heal? I shudder to think that because of me, there may be some that carry hurts that may never heal.

Help me, oh Lord, to handle others with the same care You show unto me. Teach me to guard my tongue, and give me the strength to speak only that which is edifying to others.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Case:

Millionaire Whitney Astorbilt is found dead, bleeding from the neck, in his Park Avenue penthouse. His killer is arrested, based on evidence involving a star.

The Mystery:

Who killed him, how, and why? How was the killer caught?

The Clues:

1. Blood is thicker than water.
2. Every Thursday, after dinner, he signed his checks.

The Answer:

Think you know the answer? Fill in the comment box to submit your guess. Winner receives a free book!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Signs Your Cat May Be Trying To Kill You

1. Seems mighty chummy with the dog all of a sudden.

2. He actually *does* have your tongue.

3. You find a stash of "Feline of Fortune" magazines behind the couch.

4. Cyanide pawprints all over the house.

5. You wake up to find a bird's head in your bed.

6. As the wind blows over the grassy knoll in downtown Dallas, you get a faint whiff of catnip.

7. Droppings in litter box spell out "REDRUM."

8. Catch him with a new mohawk looking in the mirror saying, "Mew looking at me? Mew looking at me?"

9. Takes attentive notes every time "Itchy and Scratchy" are on.

10. You find blueprints for a Rube Goldgerg device that starts with a mouse chased into a hole and ends with flaming oil dumped on your bed.

11. Has taken a sudden interest in the wood chipper.

12. Instead of dead birds, leaves cartons of Marlboros on your doorstep.

13. Ball of yarn playfully tied into a hangman's noose.

14. You find a piece of paper labelled "MY WIL" which says "LEEV AWL 2 KAT."

15. Now sharpens claws on your car's brake lines.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

We encourage you to attend the Christian Book Expo, March 20-22, at the Dallas Convention Center. This first-ever book fair for Christian books will feature more than 200 authors, 150 workshops and seminars led by authors, nightly inspirational events with authors and music artists, and an interactive exhibit floor featuring a KidZone, Bible History Experience and tens of thousands of Christian books and Bibles. Go to ChristianBookExpo.com for complete information and registration – and receive $5 off by entering discount code church5off at online registration. Unique to this event – that you won’t want to miss – will be multi-author Panel Discussions featuring leading authors on significant topics:

What is the Gospel?
Panelists include Richard Stearns (A Hole in the Gospel), Mark D. Roberts (Can We Trust the Gospels?), Tullian Tchividjian (Do I Know God?), Justin Taylor (The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World); Moderator Darrell Bock (Jesus According to Scripture)

A Guided Tour of Heaven and Hell
Panelists include Don Piper (90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death & Life), Sam Storms (The Hope of Glory), Randy Alcorn (Heaven); J I Packer (Knowing God ); Moderator Mark Galli, Christianity Today

Living Christianly in a Post-Christian Culture
Panelists include Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz), Ruth Haley Barton (Sacred Rhythms), Randy Frazee (Making Room for Life), Mary E. DeMuth (Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture); Moderator Andy Crouch (Culture Making)

The Emerging Church
Panelists include Scot McKnight (The Blue Parakeet), Tony Jones (The New Christians), Kevin DeYoung (Why We’re Not Emergent), Alex and Brett Harris (Do Hard Things); Moderator Mark Galli, Christianity Today

Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
Panelists include prominent anti-theist Christopher Hitchens (God is Not Great) debating four Christian apologist authors: Lee Strobel (The Case for the Real Jesus, The Case for a Creator), William Lane Craig (Reasonable Faith), Douglas Wilson (Is Christianity Good for the World?), Jim Denison (Wrestling with God); Moderator Stan Guthrie, Christianity Today

Monday, March 09, 2009

On a brighter note...

My last post felt a bit melancholy--even to me. So it is with great enthusiasm that I present the cover of my newest (okay...it's my only) Christmas anthology, Christmas Homecoming. The book is already available for preorder, so if Christmas romances are your thing, be sure to check out my novella I'll be Home for Christmas, part of a 4-in-1 collection from Barbour Publishing.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I received the preliminary sketch of the cover art for Died in the Wool today. It was a bittersweet moment, since this book will more than likely only be published as a 3-in-1 collection with the other two cozy mysteries I co-authored with Janelle Mowery. Likely, this cover will be available in thumbnail version only, as a photo on the cover of a collection (for sample of what I'm talking about, check out Cozy in Kansas, and Alibis in Arkansas).

Still, I had so much fun writing these books, I couldn't help but feel a little thrill to see the cover begin to take shape. And who knows? Perhaps someday, this cozy little mystery will stand alone...all by onsie on its own two feet...

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