Wednesday, December 3, 2014

1000 Gifts Devotional

One Thousand Gifts DevotionalI read Ann’s book, One Thousand Gifts, when it first came out and the main premise, being thankful for all things, even the hard gifts, really did change my life. I am very thankful to have learned the truth of this, which came at what I hoped was the end of some really hard years. It prepared me in a way for what was coming, an even harder year, held me tight in His care even when I couldn’t feel it, when all I could do is believe it, and kept me, by the grace of God, from simply turning away, giving up.

I really do not care for Ann’s style of writing. But, I respect her gift of writing, and I am certain for every person like me, there are two or three who love her style. For this reason though I was hesitant to get this devotional when I already have the One Thousand Gifts book. But I am so glad I did. I have been reading one every weekday for several weeks now, and it has been something I look forward to each day. Some touch me deeply, some not so much, but don’t hesitate if you think it might be redundant just because you’ve read 1000 Gifts.

Did you have a chance to read this post on her blog yesterday? I felt like this, not so long ago, so it really touched something inside of me. Not just what God can do, but that He does it, shows us how much He loves us in the midst of those moments of heartache, seasons of pain, leaving hope in its wake. Just a beautiful thing to read.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Red-Letter Day

Today was truly a red-letter day for me. Jack is on vacation this week so I was not particularly happy with myself when I realized some time back I had scheduled my yearly checkup this same week. Even less happy when I realized I also had an eye appointment the same day. So. Big day. And for someone like me, big days are mentally exhausting. Especially when you expect the year has taken a horrible toll on your health and you wonder what you’ll hear. And when, over the months I’ve struggled to maintain or re-establish normal routines, like taking a multi or my eye drops. I would remember my morning ones most of the time, but frequently forget my nighttime ones, and the last thing I wanted was to jeopardize the stability I finally achieved in maintaining my glaucoma.

The day started at eight in the morning, giving me little time to fret. Things like that matter to someone who has social anxieties. I have spent many moments in the last months thanking God for this gift of my husband, realizing anew what a perfect fit he is for me, taking up where I fail, doing so much for me, which translates into huge blessings each day. It was so wonderful for me to have him home, that he was glad to take me to these appointments.

My doctor is thorough, very open to natural and alternative health methods, and very personable. I also love her nurse who I see first, and both are so easy to talk to. The appointment went very well, very quickly—others, because they are very intensive due to how thorough she is, I have walked out of feeling utterly spent. The one concern I had was to her not suspicious at all, and she was pleased with all my lab readings except for one, which concerned her. It was either lab error, a deficiency, or something rare and terrible. She sent me for more labs as I left.

One appointment down, one to go. The eye appointment went extremely well with my lowest ocular pressures yet since finding out I have glaucoma, punctuated in the middle, while I waited for my eyes to dilate, by a really sweet chat with a lady in the waiting room. It was like this day was just charmed. When I told my eye doctor that I had been forgetting to take my nighttime drops, he said that particular one can be taken at any time of the day. So now, I can just take both drops in the morning and be done with it. For someone who has taken morning and nighttime drops for many years, this is just a treat!

There was only one nagging thought as the day aged, the one lab reading that seemed concerning. But, I just had to pause in the wonder of the moment when my doctor emailed me late in the afternoon already with the news that labs indicated it was just a deficiency I can begin to manage. Needless to say, it was a day to be treasured.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Currently Reading–Shattered Dreams

Shattered DreamsI’ve started a new book that my sister sent to me, one I had begun reading last spring, but it just got crowded out by so many other things I had to, or needed to, or wanted to read. Mostly I think, what I read in just the introduction, impacted me so much it was as if I had read the whole book and the crux of what he wrote (below) has sustained me through these difficult months. In a nutshell, it was this: “He uses the pain of shattered dreams to help us discover our desire for God.”

In the midst of everything, this was like a balm to my soul….

“There’s never a moment in all our lives, from the day we trusted Christ till the day we see Him, when God is not longing to bless us. At every moment, in every circumstance, God is doing us good. He never stops. It gives Him too much pleasure. God is not waiting to bless us after our troubles end. He is blessing us right now, in and through those troubles. At this exact moment, He is giving us what He thinks is good.” (Crabb, Larry (2012-06-13). Shattered Dreams: God's Unexpected Path to Joy (p. 1).)

The horribleness we have experienced this past year, for me, has been a bitter cherry on top of a long string of very difficult years. Because the enormity of it dwarfed the reality, which has culminated over time, that the hopes and dreams you have for your kids or yourselves after they are grown, is never going to be what you thought or what it looks like when you look at other couples, other families, it has forced me to find a way to make peace with what is. So, that is why reading this suddenly made such perfect sense, a blessing in itself:

God wants to bless us. That’s the first idea. Because He can’t resist giving us the highest good, He’s determined to give us an encounter with Himself. It’s the greatest blessing He can think of. It’s the highest dream the self-aware human soul envisions. But we’re not self-aware. We’re out of touch with the central longing of our hearts. An encounter with Him is what we want, but we don’t know it . That’s the second idea. Let me develop it a little further. We dream lower dreams and think there are none higher. We dream of good marriages, talented kids, enough health and money to enjoy life, rewarding work , and an opportunity to make a difference in the world. All good things. Of course we want them. But we think they’re the best things.” (Crabb, Larry (2012-06-13). Shattered Dreams: God's Unexpected Path to Joy (p. 3).)

“The greatest blessing is no longer the blessing of a good life. It never was. It is now the blessing of an encounter with God. It always has been. But now, in the new way, the greatest dream is available. But we don’t view things that way. So God goes to work to help us see more clearly. One way He works is to allow our lower dreams to shatter. He lets us hurt and doesn’t make it better. We suffer and He stands by and does nothing to help, at least nothing that we’re aware we want Him to do. In fact, what He’s doing while we suffer is leading us into the depths of our being, into the center of our soul where we feel our strongest passions. It’s there that we discover our desire for God. We begin to feel a desire to know Him that not only survives all our pain, but actually thrives in it until that desire becomes more intense than our desire for all the good things we still want. Through the pain of shattered lower dreams, we wake up to the realization that we want an encounter with God more than we want the blessings of life. And that begins a revolution in our lives.

The suffering caused by shattered dreams must not be thought of as something to relieve if we can or endure if we must. It’s an opportunity to be embraced, a chance to discover our desire for the highest blessing God wants to give us, an encounter with Himself.” (Crabb, Larry (2012-06-13). Shattered Dreams: God's Unexpected Path to Joy (pp. 3-4).)

So, that just really affected me because in the place where I was when I first read this, crushed with the overwhelming-ness of everything that was happening, it brought me real joy and hope. And going forward now, even though things will likely never be the way we thought they would when Jack and I started out, it makes me look at my dreams, everything I was looking forward to, differently. I can let them go now, or embrace them as they are, not as I thought they would be or look like.

I have no idea what the rest of the book will be like, but the introduction alone found me right where I was at and left me determined to hold onto the truth of it and remind myself on the hard days where I want my focus to be. If you are interested, you could read the introduction on Amazon.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The King’s Scrolls Cover Reveal + Giveaway

This is always fun for me and it’s hard to believe it’s that time again, to share with you the cover of my daughter’s newest book, The King’s Scrolls, second in the Ilyon Chronicles series. I love what she has done with these covers and can’t wait for each one to be revealed. Being the mother of an author has its perks, and I sure loved this book. So, I’ll whet your appetite with the beautiful cover, a bit about the book and its author, a peek inside with an excerpt, and a fun giveaway in honor of the event!

The King's Scrolls

About the Book

Following the harrowing events that brought them to Landale Forest, Jace and Kyrin have settled comfortably into their new lives and the mission of protecting those under the emperor’s persecution. The fast approach of winter brings with it the anticipation of a quiet few months ahead. That is until the arrival of four mysterious, dragon-riding cretes who seek aid in a mission of great importance—not only to their own people, but to all followers of Elôm.

Hidden in the vast mining valley north of Valcré, a faithful crete has spent years sharing his knowledge with the destitute miners and their families and is known to possess what may be Arcacia’s last surviving copies of the King’s Scrolls—the Word of Elôm. Joining the cretes, those in Landale must find the crete teacher and bring him to safety, but it is a race against time. Should Daican’s men find him first, execution and the destruction of the Scrolls is certain.

When disaster strikes, all seems lost. Could Elôm have a plan even in the enemy’s triumph?


goodreads

 

About the Author

JayeAuthorPhotoJaye L. Knight is a homeschool graduated indie author with a passion for writing Christian fantasy and clean new adult fiction. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

 


Giveaway

To celebrate her revealing of the cover, Jaye is giving away one of her handcrafted quill pen necklaces (like the one below) and a $5 Amazon gift card! Enter for a chance to win using the form below! U.S. entries only please.

QuillNecklace

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

StarAnd now, here is a peek at the story.

Excerpt

The other younger crete took a swig of his coffee and set his eyes past her. Kyrin peeked over her shoulder at Kaden who, of course, was staring at the dragon. The female creature stared back in mutual interest.

“Go ahead,” the crete said suddenly. “You can touch her. She loves attention, and she’ll only attack if I tell her to.” A sly glint sparkled in his spring-green eyes.

Besides Jace, Kyrin had never seen anyone with such bright and colorful eyes as these cretes.

Kaden looked at him, his brows rising. “You can do that?”

The crete nodded. “Dragons are highly intelligent. You can teach them almost any command. Storm here is young, but she learns fast.”

Kyrin smiled at the delight in her brother’s eyes as he stepped closer to the dragon and ran his hand over her bluish-gray neck scales. A grin split his face.

“She’s so smooth. Kyrin, come and feel it.”

Kyrin stepped to his side and laid her hand on the dragon. The scales were indeed very smooth, reminding her of the polished marble stair-railings in Auréa Palace, but they weren’t cold. Warmth radiated through them. The dragon, still watching them, let out a little rumble, almost like a giant cat’s purr.

“I told you she liked attention,” the crete said, grinning.

Kyrin chuckled and glanced at Jace to see if he wanted to touch the dragon, but he made no move to come closer. This certainly had more to do with the crete than the dragon. He was very fond of any type of animal. She faced the crete again.

“So they can breathe fire?”

“For short bursts, but that’s usually all it takes to deter any threat.”

“That’s incredible,” Kaden breathed.

While he continued admiring Storm, Kyrin observed the dragon’s rider. He appeared to be in his early to mid-twenties—about ten years younger than Captain Darq—though his exact age was impossible to guess. Cretes were said to mature faster than humans, so he could be anywhere from seventeen to twenty-five. He too wore a sleeveless jerkin. Brown tattoos, a little darker than his skin, marked both shoulders. Darq and the other cretes had them as well, but Kyrin hadn’t taken a good look at them until now. This man’s were a complicated pattern of spirals and dots, but the shape of a fox stood out in the center of his right shoulder.

Though she tried to be discreet, he must have caught her studying him and suddenly extended his hand to her. “I’m Talas, by the way. Talas Folkan of the Fox Clan.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

ResistanceThe King's Scrolls

Resistance (Ilyon Chronicles Book 1)
The King’s Scrolls (Ilyon Chronicles Book 2) will be coming in early 2015!

Monday, November 3, 2014

In Need of an Inspiring Adventure?

8310258_orig

Close your eyes, Ela of Parne. Close your eyes and you will see.

Ela Roeh of Parne doesn't understand why her beloved Creator, the Infinite, wants her to become His prophet. She's undignified, bad tempered, and only seventeen--not to mention that no prophet of Parne has ever been a girl. Worst of all, as the elders often warn, if she agrees to become the Infinite's prophet, Ela knows she will die young.

Istgard has turned their back on me. See the evil they do.

Yet after experiencing His presence, she can't imagine living without Him. Determined to follow the Infinite's voice, Ela accepts the sacred vinewood branch and is sent to bring the Infinite's word to a nation torn apart by war. Here she meets Kien, a young Traceland ambassador determined to bring his own justice for his oppressed people. As they form an unlikely partnership, Ela must surrender to her destiny...and determine how to balance the leading of her heart with the leading of the Infinite.

Will you accept the branch and speak my will? Will you be my prophet?

I have another post I’m planning to write, but I just finished the last book in R. J. Larson’s Books of the Infinite series. Molly read them a long time ago and I was just really intrigued by what she told me. Though fantasy, and not a genre I usually choose to read, they have a strong Old Testament feel. I love the Old Testament, so this really appealed to me. In the first book, a young woman, Ela, accepts the Infinite’s request to become his prophet, even though she knows she will die young because the prophets of her country never live long enough to have gray hair. The Infinite makes Himself known to her in so real a way, all throughout the book, on nearly every page, it just stirs your heart to know our Infinite so well. To know the depth of His love, to serve Him as Ela served her Lord. To seek Him to the exclusion of all else, to put Him first, and to have our hearts broken by the things that break His… I want that.

It was such a fascinating story, so well-told with such rich characters. Even the huge horses, the destroyers, are characters. I just loved that part. Best of all, the story continues through all three books. I am expecting you will just completely love Kien Lantec, the young man Ela meets. He is the judge in the second book, and R.J. Larson has created a perfectly larger-than-life character for the young king in the third book. There are marches through countries, imprisonments, plagues, kidnappings, fascinating parallels with O.T. stories, wars, deaths, but also wonderfully light-hearted camaraderie and delightful dialog between characters and their families.

If you’re in the mood for or in need of an adventure to take you away every now and then, one that will stir your soul, read the Books of the Infinite. So glad I finally did!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

OCD Awareness Week


51SP49ETNKLI wonder if, when you read this post, most of you will find yourselves not identifying with the subject matter, or if some of you will know all too well. I didn't realize it was International OCD Awareness Week. Knowing it so intimately, I should have been aware, but I've been too mired in living the day-to-day of OCD.

About a decade ago when my kids were pre- and young teens, we went through a horrendous time when my youngest son, who has Asperger's, went through extreme anxiety. It was just so hard, so horrible. We didn't understand, but also at the time he had started taking Singulair for allergies and the more I read, the more we believed the things he was experiencing, the anxiety, the very dark thoughts, might have been caused or exacerbated by the Singulair. Now, looking back? Who knows? It probably didn't help. It was a particularly grueling time that went on for many many months, I really don't even remember how long. When it finally ended, for the most part, you just don't want to look back. You're just so thankful. Some of you might remember when I abruptly stopped making Christian graphics and pulled way back online. This was the reason. It was vitally important I be completely present, here.

We have lived with vestiges of that time, ever since, but never to that extent. Until last spring. After a horrible winter, it suddenly started again, but this time, so much worse. I just can't even describe. And don't really care to. What we had been going through with Molly, particularly last November, seemed so nightmarish. But this was so much worse, it was hard to believe. At the height of this, my son was diagnosed with OCD, which explained everything, and on one plane it was a relief, to understand. But the relief was very brief. It was very hard and very horrible for weeks afterward, and during and since that time, our life has been turned upside down. It is so far from normal I have found it unrecognizable at times. Sometimes I think the worst part is being encouraged only to find hopes dashed, over and over again. It is just very grueling.

So. There is much more I could say, but it still feels so private. So hard. So painful. So daily. So often, hourly.

But, because I was unaware, and because so many are suffering, I just wanted to post during this week of awareness. My son suffers the less overt manifestations of OCD. Most everything happens in his head, his thoughts. Whereas the public face of OCD, on television and in the media, fixates on hand washing, avoidance of germs, verbal counting, rituals, visible things like that, many suffer in ways that are not visible. Or in ways that are so debilitating, so life altering, they would prefer OCD not be trivialized. How often do you see graphics on Pinterest or hear someone joke about being a "little OCD?" Only those who know OCD, who live it, know how inaccurate that really is. But that is a whole other conversation.

It is just mind-boggling to me, in this day and age, when we can find out anything on the internet, research anything we might need to know, I had never come across this particular and very difficult aspect of OCD. I had no idea that OCD stretches way beyond our usual perception of what it is. For instance, that many suffer harmful thought obsessions, worrying incessantly that they might harm or kill their loved ones. A simple post such as this one written by Steven J. Seay, Ph.D. about Harm Obsessions & Violent Obsessions, as evidenced in the quote below, would sure have explained a lot.

“This is the daily reality for many adults, teens, and children who experience harm obsessions, also known as violent obsessions, a type of OCD symptom that involves unwanted, repetitive violent thoughts, impulses, or images. Harm obsessions are typically shocking, distressing, and disturbing, and they may occur thousands of times every day. They often involve themes of violence, death, murder, self-harm, and suicide.”

Had we understood this long ago, our situation here might have evolved differently. Relief, if even in some small measure, might have occurred sooner. So, I’m writing about this so that you or someone you know will have information they might desperately need. Mostly, I think we know the things we need to know, but it is just a fact we don’t know some things because they do not touch our lives. Until they do. I now know the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist, and names of anti-depressants, which was not something I ever expected to need to know. I also am finding out how scary it can be when your insurance is falling apart and things that are supposed to be covered aren’t being paid and each doctor’s visit is the cost equivalent of a really nice electronic device.

So I hope this bit of what I’ve written can be of help to someone who feels like we do or doesn’t understand what is happening to them or their child or teen or a relative. The book I linked to at the beginning of this post was recommended to me in the beginning by the first doctor we spoke with. Though Sam is not a child, it hardly matters. It was a good place to start in a world where we felt like we were at someone else’s mercy. You visit someone who can help you, for two hours or twenty minutes. You live all the rest of the time on your own. So a book like this helps, to give a sense of being able to have some control over something that makes you feel out of control. I found the content incredible, one of the best books I have ever read. It talks about OCD being a family disorder, how parents feel hopeless and helpless, how siblings suffer. It’s very hard. Very isolating. Seemingly endless. Like nothing, nothing will ever be the same again.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Blog Redo

For some time now I have been wanting to redo my blog. Something a little softer, less splashy, a little more simple. I seem to be in a different phase of life now and kind of wanted my blog to reflect that. Plus, I really needed a creative outlet right now, and I always loved blog design. This might not be quite what I envisioned, but it’s what I ended up with, and I like it.

Thanks so much for your encouraging comments. I appreciate each one. I’d like soon to write a kind of update post, just how the kids are doing, how they’ve come out on health concerns I have blogged about in the past, etc. and what has been happening in the last few months.

MEmugUntil then. Red heart

Oh, by the way. Anyone up for the new beach-themed Mary Engelbreit mugs? I think I know what I’ll be asking for my birthday next month.Smile

Thursday, August 7, 2014

I’m Going To Be Okay

Most every early morning, before I have even started my day, I am called upon to listen, to be a caregiver, to help or encourage or just hear so that person can purge what is inside and not have to bear it alone. That is how my day starts, and it continues on through the day as many times as needed until I go to bed. The weight of this, depending on how strong or weak I am that day, is often extremely heavy.

This morning was a morning that I crumbled. As the tears fell when I was alone and the body convulsed and the feeling of futility took over, I felt, as I have before, I just don't want to live this life anymore. I don't at all mean that I am suicidal, though I have come to understand why people arrive at that point. And my heart aches for them because I do understand, but an eternal optimism beats strongly in my heart whether I am too weary to feel it or not. I just wish this wasn't my life, our life, so not the life we envisioned. But it is. At least for now, unless or until things get better, and we have to live each day in the meantime the best that we can. I have learned to give myself a break, to not be perfect.

Holley-GerthI took a cup of coffee and my Kindle out to the porch this morning, just to get away and try to refresh. Sitting in the warmth of the sun, thank God for the sun, I read the sample of this book and then, sensing it was what I needed, at this time, I touched the Buy for $9.27 button, which killed me because money is pretty tight with everything going on right now and the book was on sale for $1.99 a couple of days ago but I didn’t have the time to really check it out then, and yes, I pause even for a dollar ninety-nine. When I saw yesterday that it was not on sale anymore I had this insane need to contact someone and say, please, isn’t there a grace period for something like this? I really need this book. Whimper, whimper, whimper. And yes, I actually shed tears.

 

 

Because this is the book description:

If your life isn't perfect . . .
If you've ever been disappointed . . .
If you feel stressed or tired . . .

This is for you.

You really are going to be okay. And it truly is possible to live with joy, resilience, and strength no matter what life brings. Yes, there will be hurt and hard times. But God wants to help you find ways to survive, grow stronger, and even thrive--no matter what happens. For every woman who has been disappointed, who has watched a dream disappear, whose life isn't what she imagined it would be, bestselling author Holley Gerth has a heartfelt message of hope.

With her trademark positive encouragement and probing questions for self-reflection, Holley encourages women to spend less of their lives regretting and more of their lives truly living. She shows them how to guard their hearts against despair and look to the future with confidence, remembering that they are part of a greater plan and nothing can stop God's purposes for them.

I think part of the reason I was interested to read what she has to say is because she is a licensed counselor. I feel like I would love to pour my heart out to a counselor, just to hear something back, but it will be enough for me to read what she has to say, truths she has learned and can share to remind me of things I already knew and have lost sight of in my grief or show me things I’ve never seen in quite just that way.

I am confident of this because I am loved by God and I know that’s what He does, uses things like this to speak to me, to wrap his arms around me, and let me know everything will be okay.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Me and Baseball

brewers
 
So, the Brewers won yesterday, which was a happy thing for me. They have been in first place in the National League since the beginning of the season, except for a very brief time mid-season when they were tied for first.
 
70951358I love football. I am a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan. Before this year I probably had never watched a professional baseball game all the way through. More likely, I hadn’t even watched a complete inning. But blessings come in lots of different forms, and when our family was going through the worst of what we are facing, we would sit and watch the Brewer game every evening because my younger son, Sam, is a fan and it was calming for him.
 
Sometimes in life, you stumble upon something that becomes a new love or passion. This is what happened with me and baseball. I think I was never very interested because when I used to play softball when I was younger, I never had a clear idea of where the ball should Bob Ueckerbe thrown to, say if you were playing in the outfield. Like quick decision double plays, etc. But because our family was nearly imprisoned by the situation we found ourselves in earlier this year, baseball became a friendly source of comfort each day, kind of like an anchor. When does the Brewer game start tonight? or The game is almost on. And the more I watched, the more I liked it. I loved learning something new, becoming a student of the game, getting to know the players, finding satisfaction in eyeballing strikes and balls, seeing my first real-time grand slam. I love our team, love that Bob Uecker, Mr. Baseball, the best play-by-play announcer there will ever be, is our very own. I love the organ music at the ball park drumming up the tension, the crack of the bat, the atmosphere, the sausage races, just everything. It truly is America’s game, our national pastime, and my love affair with it couldn’t have come at a better time.
 
mlb-sausage-raceBefore I finish, I’m happy to say my hand is mending nicely now. When two weeks had come and gone, I started wondering if I would ever see improvement, but now I am able to do a little more each day. Though the actual wound is still very tender, it’s that little finger and the joint beneath it that is causing the most trouble, like a very bad sprain. The nerve pain comes and goes, but has lessened greatly, and I’m thankful to be feeling a lot better.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pins and Needles

It’s so much easier—for me—to blog when the thoughts are already there and just tumble out effortlessly. Not to mention less time-consuming when my attention is needed elsewhere so much of the time. When I have to strain to even figure out what to say, I just keep thinking tomorrow, hopefully they will come easier tomorrow. I know a lot of it is my state of mind, and perhaps doing memes would help, but I have to be honest—I’m not there.  It would produce a post, but the stuff of memes and blogging is just.… my life right now (hand aside) is not anywhere near normal. You know how people go through stages of grief? Well, I am in stages of something, coping maybe, learning to accept a new normal, but often enduring the mental strain of being a caregiver. And now, when I am still typing mostly one-handed, it just makes my brain hurt.

When I wrote life’s little interruptions last week, I really expected to turn a corner and be very much better soon, but it actually got harder, more tedious. I was so not expecting the nerve pain. Though I am sure it is a sign of healing, what a pain! It’s worse when finger movement brings it on, with breath-sucking fire-hot sensations and lingering soreness, but then there are the countless little needle-like stabs. The constancy of it these past many days has made me really look forward to when I can just use my hand regularly again. I do see improvement in my little finger though. It still feels dead when it isn’t being stabbed by needles, but some feeling is returning along the back of it. Jacob took my stitches out yesterday, so that is a nice change. As always, I so appreciate your prayers for my family. Red heart

Friday, July 18, 2014

Those Little Life Interruptions

handCrazy how life is. I had finally come to the point where I was trying to see my way to blogging. At least an I’m still living post. But then almost a week ago I cut my hand. I was carrying two tall glasses and must have tripped over the dishwasher door. UGH. Glass shattered on the tile floor, and I fell hard. Besides the shock and the dripping blood, the first thing I noticed was that my little finger was numb. Jack had to pick me up out of a sea of glass and off we went to the ER. The cut was pretty deep, and I was glad when the whole thing was wrapped up. One consolation, as a writer, now I can knowledgeably write about cuts and stitches.

So, it has been a week of managing everything with my left hand. The worst, trying to brush my teeth. Smile with tongue out  One thing you could never call me is ambidextrous. I expect a few more days to bring even more improvement and mobility with lessening soreness, but my little finger is a mess. I suspect it will take quite some time for those nerves to mend. I anticipate essential oils will help quite a lot with that though. As typing is still pretty tedious and causes discomfort, I won’t write any more now, but I will try to blog soon. I have quite a lot to say if I can ever figure out how I want to say it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Wonderful Hope

 

I'm faced with something I thought was over years ago, something sad and awful and too difficult to blog about. Every glimpse of encouragement is swallowed up. I heard this song yesterday, for the first time, and wept. This is my wonderful hope, the only thing that keeps me going. Had to share it.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Resistance Cover Reveal + Giveaway

This is a fun thing for me to blog about today. I’ve mentioned numerous times how excited I am as the publication for Molly’s book draws nearer and nearer. Watching her write this book and edit it over the last couple of years, and being privileged to be her sounding board on occasion, I’ve become very invested in it. I love her characters and am fascinated by the world she has created, but even more, I am immersed in the story she is telling.

I have said it many times before, but if this is your first time visiting, this is the first of a six book series—she is currently writing book four—and it takes great patience to wait until the right time to begin to share the story. Finally, after all this time, it begins! Today is the anticipated unveiling of the cover of the first book, Resistance, and I wanted to be a part of the Cover Reveal participants. (Visit this link if you want to see what other bloggers think of the cover or the upcoming release.) There is also a giveaway, Smile so read on to the end of this post if you are interested to find out more about the world of Ilyon - the setting for Jaye L. Knight's new NA (New Adult) Christian fantasy series, which contains no magic.

Resistance – Back Cover Text

 “Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”

Could God ever love a half-blood all of society looks upon with such fear and disdain? Jace once believed so, but when a tragic loss shatters the only peace he’s ever known, his faith crumbles as the nagging doubts he’s tried to put behind him descend on his grieving heart. With them come the haunting memories of the bloodstained past he longs to forget, but can never escape.

Taken from home at a young age and raised to serve the emperor, Kyrin Altair and her twin brother live every day under a dangerous pretense of loyalty. After her unique observation skills and perfect memory place her into direct service to the emperor, Kyrin finds herself in further jeopardy as it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her belief in Elôm, the one true God.

Following the emperor’s declaration to enforce the worship of false gods under the penalty of death, many lives are endangered. But there are those willing to risk everything to take a stand and offer aid to the persecuted. With their lives traveling paths they never could have imagined, Jace and Kyrin must fight to overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance.

Here is the cover!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00026]

Kindle release date: May 20, 2014

 

mollyauthorphoto

About the Author

JAYE L. KNIGHT is a 25-year-old independent author with a passion for writing Christian fantasy and clean NA (New Adult) fiction. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God's love shines as a light to offer hope.

Jaye is a homeschool graduate and has been penning stories since the age of eight. She was previously published as Molly Evangeline. You can learn about her latest writing projects at www.jayelknight.com.

Book Excerpt

Here is a short book excerpt –
(information about the giveaway will follow)

          Just when he lowered his guard enough to relax, a grating voice sent tension knotting across his shoulders.
        “Look what the excitement dragged into town.”
        Jace ground his teeth together and turned. He should never have stopped watching his back. Wrong move on his part.
        Flanked by two of his smug-faced friends, a red-haired young man smirked at him, his eyes harboring all sorts of ill will. Jace barely bit back a sharp retort, but the other man’s smirk only grew at his silence. He peered around Jace.
        “Rebekah, what are you doing with this . . .” He glanced back to Jace and turned up his wide nose. “. . . half-blood?”
        Jace balled his fists. Warmth seeped down his arms and into his muscles, pulsing with the preparation for a fight, but he fought to still it.
        Rebekah came to his side, her face set in a frown that looked entirely out of place. “Stop it, Morden.”
        He gave her a condescending little grin. “Why don’t you run along? We’ve got business here.” The grin stretched wider. “I’ll gladly come find you later.”
        Rebekah put her hands on her hips, glaring at him, and opened her mouth to speak, but Jace beat her to it.
        “A gentleman would treat a lady with more consideration.”
        Morden snorted. “And what would you know about that?”
        A blaze erupted inside that Jace struggled to contain. He breathed in hard, cursing the impulses he had to battle so often. He couldn’t let it take control of him. Not again.
        “Come on, Jace, we still have to find something for Kalli.” Rebekah’s soft voice quieted his growing agitation, and she tugged lightly on his stiff arm.
        His blood still burned hot in his veins, calling him to action, and was almost too strong to resist. He thought of Rayad who told him time and again to go to Elôm when he struggled like this. He forced himself to turn away from Morden and whispered silently, “Elôm, I need help.”
        But Morden, who must have caught the movement of his lips just before he turned completely, let out an incredulous laugh. “Are you praying?”
        Jace froze. His heart thundered.
        “Who could you be praying to? Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”
        An evil pang of doubt knifed through Jace’s heart, colder and more painful than the steel of any dagger, and robbed the breath from his lungs. His eyes settled on Rebekah’s face, but it was her pitying expression that caused the weak grip on his emotions to fail. Heat flared in his muscles. He spun around and smashed his fist into the side of Morden’s jaw, sending the man reeling. Regret followed, but it was too late. Morden’s friends caught him by the arms and steadied him as he shook his head to clear his vision.
        Jace dragged deep breaths into his tightened lungs and waited for Morden’s next move. Just walk away. The silent plea went out in desperation. If only it would just end here. But satisfaction lit Morden’s eyes, and his lip curled in a malicious sneer.

(Excerpt from Resistance ©2014 Jaye L. Knight. Used by permission.)

Giveaway!

In celebration of the epic cover reveal for Resistance, Jaye L. Knight is giving away two handcrafted bookmarks with sword charms—one each to two different winners! The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, and you can enter via the Rafflecopter form below:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 3, 2014

April Is Finally Here

Maybe soon it will feel like spring. So sorry I have been quiet for so long. We really enjoyed having Jacob home for those ten days or so. But there were other things, some very stressful, all converging at once and in the time since he left, life has seemed to whirl up into the “perfect storm.” Finally, things are calming down, but I have been left exhausted in the wake.

38_beloved_202wSince it was due, I sat this morning and finished the library book I mentioned recently. [They were married, but he was presumed dead. He had been angry with a domineering father and simply left one day and never came back. Suddenly, years later he returns, needing a wife, intending to run for political office. Of course, though, it’s not quite that simple.] It was a good story, as were the two preceding it. At the end of each chapter of this third book, the author would finish with a past scene from years ago leading up to where the two main characters were at present, what brought them both to this point. It was an interesting way of telling the story. I didn’t follow very easily at first until I realized what the author was doing. I finally gave up trying to place the time and date, realizing it was not necessary to know, enough to realize that it was going in chronological order. I think I liked, Betrayal, the second book in the series, best. This author writes real characters who are not annoying, a criteria high on my list. I can’t say she is a favorite author though. The stories are interesting to me, compelling me to keep reading, but I can’t seem to feel either the characters or their emotions. For some reason they did not engage me.

Jacob, Molly, and I did go to see Divergent during spring break. I went very intrigued, very interested…and enjoyed myself from beginning to end. I absolutely loved it. Aside from loving and being very invested in Molly’s story, which she is classifying as clean New Adult, I am not a reader of YA fiction. I think the Hunger Games trilogy was my first real foray into that genre. But, while I am enjoying the Hunger Games movies, Divergent just seemed far and away more interesting to me. Believable and fascinating. I really liked this movie and look forward to reading the books.

Molly is going for another, long stomach-related procedure tomorrow. I just keep praying for answers, for the search to be over. It is so hard to watch her quality of life be so dismal sometimes. Living with frequent nausea must be so horrible. Sad smile Yet, she rallies and is so strong, and works so hard on this current book project, so close to publication in May. I helped her as much as I possibly could last week as she worked tirelessly to get her manuscript finalized and sent off to her editor. A pretty exciting time after writing and then working on this book for the last two years. So thankful there are blessings in the midst of gray days. Thank you, Lord Jesus! Smile

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Fun Little Surprise

The last few days have gone by very quickly. We had been looking forward to Jacob coming home for spring break, which will stretch for about ten days. I expected him mid afternoon on Thursday and was sitting talking with Molly and Sam early in the morning when there was a pounding at the back door. It was Jacob, surprising us. Smile He’d left Duluth before the sun came up, just to get home early. We’ve been joined at the hip, all of us, ever since.

Where-the-Heart-Lives-Series

I had a Kindle book on hold at the library that came up for loan, so I’ll be starting that soon. It’s Beloved by Robin Lee Hatcher, third in the Where the Heart Lives series following the lives of three siblings who were separated as children via the orphan train. I’ve read the first two and I think they were very good, yet didn’t leave a huge impression on me as I had a bit of trouble even remembering what the first one was about. But still a good series with solid characters, enough for me to want to read the third.

Divergent-movie-poster-4Jack is on vacation this week while Jacob is home so we’ll likely finish painting in the kitchen. We also plan to go to Costco for the first time. I’ve heard they have a lot for gluten-free products, which would be helpful. On Friday, Molly, Jacob, and I plan to go to Divergent. Molly has read the book, but I have not, so we will have two different experiences viewing this movie.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What a Lucky Girl

And I say that in a very evangelical “we don’t do luck” sort of way. It is a wonderful blessing and very comforting to have friends. I’m not really very used to that, to be perfectly frank. Though I haven’t actually mentioned this, I have quite a lot of Asperger traits. My social-ness or lack of it extends way beyond being introverted. I have family, and I have online friends. That’s pretty much it. And many times online I pull back, out of necessity, but one thing I have found, especially over the last few months, and which has blessed me…friends who really care.

In reference to my last post, I shouldn’t apologize or feel squeamish I guess, for reacting, being open about how horrible so much of this has seemed—but after the fact, it felt like the sort of things you would say faintly, because you're feeling spent, in a heart-to-heart with someone who knows you intimately. Only, I’d posted them to my blog, out loud, to be read at any time, by anyone—outside of the bounds of a heart-to-heart, and I just felt a little exposed. Because it's one thing to be honest, but quite another to belabor things you've said over and over—but can't stop yourself from saying again because you're simply feeling horribly drained—and then fret afterward you've said too much or in too raw a way. ugh. I should be past that by now. They say life has a way of kicking the stuffing out of you, so we all have our weak moments, I guess.

Anyway, thank you, for bearing with me, for caring, and mostly for praying for us. It is all very appreciated and God’s loving way of letting me feel his arms around me.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sharing An Idea For Breakfast

I have the sense that I way over shared in my last post, so I would like to try to stick to lighter topics and be more brief. Especially as I think it must get old to read about. I feel the pressure to blog when days and days have gone by, and sometimes I post when I shouldn’t (when I am hurting or discouraged), which doesn’t serve me well, nor my visitors.

Sun We are having a lovely weather day today. Temps are breaking into the 40s and it’s still morning. It’ll be the nicest day this week so we will enjoy it. I’m so anxious to see some of this snow begin to melt.

I made us oatmeal smoothies this morning for breakfast. Check this page for info though I don’t know if that’s where we got the original idea or recipe from. They are wonderful and fresh tasting, and I just love them. I use frozen cherries and vanilla extract. I imagine vanilla bean paste would be even better. I just love pomegranates, so I bet that would be a great flavor, too.

captain-phillips-international-posterI spent the evening watching television with Molly last night, to help take her mind off things. Among other things, we watched Once Upon a Time, which is silly, but we love it and find the way they weave the stories, fascinating. Later in the evening, I watched The Good Wife. Always interesting.

Jack and I watched Captain Phillips the other night. Wow was that a good movie. Maybe I will review it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Never Want To Lose Sight of Blessings

I was peeking in at Goodreads last night, thinking about all the books I want to read now that I finished Molly’s new book, Resistance. I think I’ll put one of the widgets on my blog. I had books in the currently-reading shelf that I haven’t looked at in months so I got that a little updated. Maybe if I was young, single, I’d read more, but I am finally realizing after all these years that you have to make time to read. It doesn’t just happen.

I have to confess things have been discouraging lately. The long winter is kicking Sam’s butt. Every time we think the long-range forecast seems promising it crumbles. Asperger’s is never a picnic even at the best of times, and he has rallied through a depressing winter, but the longer it goes, the more tedious waiting for spring-like weather becomes. Jacob is slogging through these last weeks of nursing school four hours away, but sometimes I wonder if sticking it out up there these last couple of years has been the best choice—except for a close-knit group of classmates and us, he no longer has moral support up there. To the contrary, he has believers actively tearing him down instead of seeking to build him up, a church that has been the bane of our existence for over three years, which is a whole horrible story in itself. I think I may actually tell it sometime. But probably the most discouraging of all is the pills Molly got after the stomach scope, to help with the bile in her stomach, seem to have stopped working, and she is nauseated through the night again. To have it be even a little bit what it was like during those long, horrifying weeks last November just brings an icky pit-of-the-stomach feeling. They’ve added an additional pill, which just makes me want to sigh (because we’re very health-conscious and always seeking natural alternatives, but in this it is so hard to know what to do) and Zofran for the nausea which isn’t really working very good. I go to sleep each night praying for each one, praying for a hedge of protection around Jake in what has proven to be such a dark situation, praying for rejuvenating sleep for Sam and answers that never seem to come, and praying for sleep at all for Molly. I wake up thinking about it and hold my breath sometimes waiting to see what kind of night she had, or what kind of day Sam will have. Days that start like that don’t take much to fizzle.

Yet. Still. Every day is new. It might go south within minutes, and I might spend it weeping or fretting or complaining (to my chagrin), but even then my life is blessed. I have a crazy-wonderful husband I love more every single day, who does thoughtful little things for me all the time, and who has been beside me through all this horribleness we’ve encountered these last few years and who holds me up when I don’t think I can stand anymore. It took years and years for us to get to where we are today, but God blessed me with him. And I have three kids I marvel at and love so so much, all so unique, who have suffered more than I can stand to see, in so many different ways, but all five of us—saved and ready to go—are going to spend eternity, together. With Jesus. That I know for certain, and that is what matters more than all the hardness.

And in amongst all that hardness, we manage to buff up a few rough rocks sometimes and come up with some pretty. Smile Here is that mug shelf I mentioned a few posts back that Jack was building. It’s a little more “busy” than I like, so it’ll take me some time to switch things out and see what I want sitting on there. Mostly I’d like it for mugs I use daily. The blue paint needs another coat for us to see if we truly want to continue with the blue in the kitchen. Just not sure. Without that second coat it’s a little light. I may just bring the green into the kitchen, too.

kitchenshelf

Also, I mentioned the other day that Molly is having a Dreaming of Spring jewelry giveaway. You can click the link and go to her blog if you want to see what she has in her Etsy shop, or enter to win below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Have I Said I Wish Spring Would Come?

It is so cold here today, barely above zero, and the wind is just nasty. I built a fire in the living room wood stove, stoked the fire in the basement until it was roaring, and baked bread just for good measure (and because we desperately needed bread) so hopefully it will warm up in here now that it is already midafternoon.

I am posting quick because I had been wanting to come and reply to your comments. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me sooner. But there you are, replies mulled over while I was baking bread. Smile

The days this week are going by fast for me. Molly, as I may have mentioned before, is in the process of writing a six-book fantasy series. When I hear fantasy, I think magic, wizards, fairies, etc. Molly’s fantasy is different, minus the magic, still with themes of good and evil. She uses it to create worlds, peoples, situations not bound by real-world historical research. She wrote this about the series,

“Think ancient Rome in a medieval setting with some modern society issues. The story itself is engulfed in the midst of a corrupt, tyrannical government and persecution. Spiritual, emotional, and physical struggles are central themes in the story. It has some of the most flawed characters I've ever worked with, but I love them dearly. It also has some of the greatest tragedies I've ever written, so it sets the stage for a lot of character growth, faith, courage, and rising above circumstances.”

She is currently writing book four, but within the next few months she will finally release the first book, Resistance. For the last month beta readers have been reading it and giving her feedback. She also wanted me to read it one more time because of changes she had made during some recent edits. So I have been working on that in the last few days. I read the story on my kindle, highlighting typos or things I want to bring to her attention, and then transfer those notes to the chapters in the Word document. It’s a long process but a fun one. I really enjoy editing and wish I was better at it. If you care to follow Molly’s progress with this series beyond the links I shared above, she has an Ilyon Chronicles blog that will keep you up to date.

Oh, what to have for supper tonight? Eye rolling smile I’d better go figure that out. Sometimes I wish we didn’t have to eat!

Two more things. I think Molly is having another jewelry giveaway. I’ll let you know when I know for sure. And, did you happen to see this on Facebook today? One of the CUTEST things I have EVER seen, this super cute little girl riding with her daddy and listening to Elvis. My son, Jacob, posted it and it made my day. Smile

Thursday, February 20, 2014

No Blog Title Is Coming To Me

I really hoped to blog before now, but Jacob came home for a long weekend and didn’t leave til Tuesday and with one thing and another it is Thursday already. There was a big snowstorm forecast for today, but I think it will yield very much less than predicted, which is good. I love to see a pretty snowfall, but we already have so much snow. When the kids were little they would have loved these huge piles from plowing.

My days just seem to be dissolving lately, and there is not much to blog about. Besides which, I thought I would write this blog post this morning when I felt much spiffier, and now my brain is wanting to be done for the day. I am going to make a quick chicken chili for supper and then Jack and I will watch American Idol, which I’m just very disappointed in this year for various reasons. Even Harry Connick, Jr. can’t make up for the things I dislike, and if anything could, he would. I was shocked at the girls’ night this week, coming away with not one favorite, absolutely no one I am interested in. The boys were much better. I guess tonight I am just curious who people voted for, who will stay in the competition.

mendedI’ve been wanting to share my to-read book list, so I will do that soon, but in the meantime will mention one book I’m almost finished with. Angie Smith’s Mended. I really enjoy her style of writing and have a handful more books of hers I have not read yet. If you haven’t heard of her, she is the wife of Todd Smith of the group Selah and writes for various (in)courage blogs as well as her own blog, Bring the Rain. Mended is just a really good book that I can identify with a lot.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

New Paint Colors

It is snowing today and right now quite a lot. We have so much snow this winter, and it has been so awfully cold. I think I remember one day it was balmy and like 21 degrees. But for that, it has been like a frozen tundra with way below zero temps night after night. Just no let up. I can’t ever remember it being like this before. Spring will feel so good. I long for us to be out on the four-wheeler again and go for rides by the river. It has seemed like forever, and I need it.

While it is still winter though, because Jack is such an outdoor person, I’ve been hoping to get at some indoor projects before he’s outside all the time again. The house just needs a pick-me-up and feels so drab. We finally finished the bathroom a while back, with ivory-painted wainscoting and trim and a blue wall paint that I still love like crazy these long months later. Enough that I’ve decided to paint my kitchen the same color. I was going for beach glass blue and it is that but brighter, more vivid, yet is almost completely like the old-fashioned blue you see on the walls of Lord and Lady Grantham’s bedroom walls on Downton Abbey. Smile

I loved the simple trim in the bathroom so much I wanted to do the same thing in the dining room, which you can see in this picture. Jack worked on this the week he was home and has since painted the walls. I was going for a color from a Mary Engelbreit calendar and it is a bit lighter than I was expecting, but we like it. We still need to make trim for the ceiling, which will finish it off better, and there are other elements Jack is still working on, under the cabinets between the dining room and the kitchen, that will result in a shelf for mugs and add some old-fashioned character to the room. Hopefully, I can share that soon. It just feels good to have a fresh change.

diningroom

Speaking of change, I have a desire to play with my blog, which I have not had or done in a very, very long time. Having peeked back at some posts from long ago, I realize now how valuable they are to me. I would at least like to update all the sidebar business, which I have not touched for so long. Will hope to make time for that soon.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Another Day, Another Meal

I have been wanting to blog, to share and keep in touch with blogging friends, but so often I struggle to find the words or the inclination. Truthfully, I started this post with that sentence because I don’t know how else to start and if I don’t start, another day goes by, and then another. And because there are people who care about me, who have been there through these latest trials, and prayed for us, I want and need to keep in touch. And I appreciate it so much because for a good handful of years now, our family has navigated an ongoing string of sometimes painful, oftentimes scary, intensely discouraging life-happenings, with more downs than ups, which is sometimes very difficult. Life has just been abnormal for so long, I feel like I’m losing sight of who I used to be, wondering if I will ever really be her again, or if this is just who I am now. I’d rather believe this is just a season of life and that things will settle back in time. Maybe.

When I started this blog years ago, I had all kinds of ideas of sharing homemaking tips and recipes, but I have found I’m not really a very good homemaker, mostly because I’d rather sit and write books! I was always one of those moms who let the kids go wild, clean it up later, and why do today what you can get done tomorrow? Not always, of course. I do have my moments. We’re a creative household, so that works for us, but it does make more work and fosters disorganization. So, I am always playing catch-up. And, I might as well get it out of the way while I’m feeling introspective – my blog name makes me feel like an imposter. Winking smile

I guess it is all in how you define homemaker. If it’s managing a household perfectly, then I’m not very good at it. If it is being the glue that holds us all together, nurturing and encouraging everyone in my care no matter the time of day, and working to  make our home comfortable and enjoyable, then I’m pretty good at it.

I do have to say though, in this last year plus of living gluten free, I have had to become better at the practical matters of homemaking, out of necessity. My mountainous struggle lately, on top of cooking gluten free, is cooking for my daughter who cannot eat eggs or nightshade vegetables. Finding recipes that do not contain eggs, tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers is a royal pain and can get so frustrating day after day. Mayonnaise contains eggs. Taco seasoning contains peppers, and on and on. Most foods you normally eat these days contain those ingredients. Casseroles and soups without tomatoes and potatoes are all very limited now, if she is to eat along with the rest of us. Meal time feels like a vicious circle that comes around too quickly. Yet, there are good things to come out of all of this. We eat very few processed foods now. Most canned goods in our cabinet are nearly single-item ingredients. I just have to get better at planning and finding recipes that will work.

I had thought I would end up blogging about what I have been up to lately, which will sound like precious little, but I’d rather not write a huge long blog post and then not blog again for months, so I will save that for another day, very soon. Promise. Smile