I’m not sure what to get my husband for Christmas. Every year it’s the , “Really what do you want this year?” conversation. Then he asks me the same question. I think he should tell me what he wants but know what I want. I could give him a list but I need more time to think.
Back to Mr. Quiet, he likes to cut things up and recently found he likes to read on my iPad so…
I’m considering these.
The question is now that it’s on my blog will he comment? Yes or no? What do you say Mr. Quiet want to go cut some things up? Or read a book?
Please don’t forget to vote for We’re Not Blended We’re Pureed over at www.bookfun.org.
Diana: Hi Mackenzie, thanks for stopping by today. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Mackenzie: I don’t remember a conscious decision. I think that’s just the way the Lord made me. I’ve always loved writing and making stories up in my head for as long as I can remember. Every once in a while, I’ll find a page of an ancient second or third grade short story and chuckle as I read it and try to decipher the context.
Diana:What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Mackenzie: Right now, I’m self-employed, so I can just flip-flop my schedule around to what works best.
Diana: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Mackenzie: Like I have any writing quirks…. Probably my most interesting one is the fact that my characters refuse to ever conform to my outline. Sure, I start out with a neat and detailed plan, but by mid-story, sometimes before, my characters are all running every which-a-way in their own directions. Sometimes the “good guys” turn into bad guys. Sometimes scenes from the end move up to the middle. Sometimes the wrong people fall in love, and even other times a deep, dark secret that I didn’t even know about will just pop up from somebody’s past. Surprises… that’s what makes writing so fun!
Diana:What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Mackenzie: I love life! One of my favorite things to do is to run outside, especially on a dew-glistening, bird-singing, apple-blossomed, spring morning… just to run toward a painted sunrise and feel absorbed in the beauty of God’s creation! I love riding my horse down the gravel road or through the cornfields. I love chilly fall days… a cool breeze floating in a slightly open window and feeling the warm apple-scented steam as you slide a crusty, golden, apple pie out of the oven just as a drip of cinnamon syrup bubbles out and sizzles. I like a crisp, breezy walk through a pumpkin patch or a swim in a Wisconsin lake. I like camping in the North Woods or browsing souvenir shops. I’ve enjoyed climbing cliffs in the Blue Ridge and drivin’ by buffalo in Yellowstone.
I love findin’ deals at garage sales and hangin’ out with my family… cookout style or pizza and popcorn movie nights. My favorite time is Christmas… It’s A Wonderful Life in the DVD player, a fire crackling in the corner, the pop of popcorn, and the sweet aroma of hot chocolate as we hang ornaments and wrap lights around our Christmas tree and nativity scene. I love seeing the Lord work in my life and teach me new things. I love Him because He first loved me. He’s shown me His love sooo many times in my life! One of my favorite verses is “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” He’s the giver of life, the one who makes daffodils smile and the thunderclouds clap. I love life, love, loyalty, and laughter.
Diana: What does your family think of your writing?
Mackenzie: They are all very supportive and encouraging! I loved giving them my new book and hearing what they thought of it. I really appreciated their suggestions before I was satisfied with my final copy.
Diana: Do you have any suggestions to help readers interested in writing become better? If so, what are they?
Mackenzie: Always pray about your writing. You couldn’t get a better teacher.
Just keep writing. Progress can be amazing if you just keep practicing until you get the hang of it. Make it fun, and keep it fun. If you get bored with it or lose track of where you’re going, you’ll likely stop.
Start with an outline for structure, but then add some surprises to keep yourself guessing.
Diana: What do you think makes a good story?
Mackenzie: Action, a good plot, likeable and admirable characters, emotion, human interaction, purity of relationships, cleanness in language, mystery… but most of all, it needs to honor God. I loved writing this book, but it would always feel empty and useless to me if there wasn’t a higher purpose in writing it than making money. If you pray about it and are truly writing for Him, I believe He will cause everything else to fall into place.
Diana: For viewers who have not read, but are interested in your book, can you describe it please?
Mackenzie: Fire Storm is about a couple of young families living excessively normal lives in a small-town, farming community in Northern Illinois. Wade is a paramedic. His wife, Mellissa, works in a lawyer’s office, and they are expecting a baby very soon. Their best friends, Jim and Jessica, live on a small horse farm out in the country. Jim is a fireman. Jess is a stay-at-home mom with her recently born little girl. Life is fun and carefree till… Jess starts running into threats at every turn. Are they even threats or just accidents? The thought of a killer being after Jess just seems so ridiculous… though not so much… when she comes eye to eye with murder! Who and Why? What about Wade ‘n Mellissa? Will they remain safe in their young existence as they embark in the beginnings of life’s journey, or will the epidemic of murder spread? How far does it reach? What are the secrets?
Diana: How does God affect your writing?
Mackenzie: He gave me the talent to write. He gave me an imagination and a love for stories. He put me in a strongly Christian home where I received wisdom about spiritual things and knowledge of true love, sacrifice, and care. He saved me and gave me a reason to write. Fire Storm was written for Him and dedicated to Him, and by His grace, I pray that every book I write will always point heavenward and never downward toward worldly lusts.
Diana: Who is your favorite character in your book?
Mackenzie: That’s hard to say. I like all my characters. They are all different and unique. I like variety. The world needs rich and poor, plain and fancy, strong and weak, dream-chasers and content daily laborers, business women and stay-at-home moms, flippant and flighty and rigid work-a-holics. If there was one “right” type of person or one perfect race, the world would be sooo dull. Everyone fiction or real has their very own story.
Diana: What was the hardest part to write in the book?
Mackenzie: The Salvation message. It carries the greatest responsibility.
Thanks Mackenzie for sharing with us your author journey. You can click the link below to get Mackenzie Dare’s book.
It is an affiliate link. I think I’m supposed to tell you that.
After I wrote the title for this post-Wood Bowls from Trees I realized how silly that sounds. I will defend my choice of title!
The bowls I’m talking about are made from ONE piece of a tree. Yes! One piece, not glued together in section but one solid piece.
My friend Scott makes these amazing pieces from trees. He made one for me from a tree that fell during a storm a few years ago. It was a huge mess at my house and I can’t find the photos. One of the trees landed on my son’s car and totaled it.
Scott and his wife Barbara helped remove the trees. Later he gave me this bowl to remember the storm.
I can’t remember what kind of tree this is made from, I think it was an ash tree. I use this bowl often for Clementines, apples and even Christmas bows.
It’s hard to imagine a bowl this pretty came from something like these logs.
Welcome L. Jagi Lamplighter to my blog today. Thanks for hosting while I recover from surgery.
The Making of The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin
Some time ago, a friend of mine finished the Harry Potter books and commented on how there was very little Christianity in them. In fact, it was almost as if the world had no Christianity at all.
In that moment, and idea was born. What, he wondered, would it be like if there was a world like that—no knowledge of God, of Jews, of Christians, of Muslims. No monotheism at all.
What would it be like if children at a school of magic, something like Hogwarts, began to discover the something that was missing from their life.
What if they began to learn about Christ and God and angels, even as they learned about spells and enchantments?
My husband and I fell in love with his idea.We began thinking about what the Bible would look like if you had never heard of it before. How would you interpret things? (Hey look! That Eve lady is a parselmouth!)
The more time we spent contemplating it, the more enchanting the idea became.
And I thought…why can’t stories of wonder lead toward the source of all wonder: our Divine Father, instead of away from Him?
Thus was my new series born. There are only the slightest hints of what is to come in this first volume. But they are there!
L. Jagi Lamplighter is the author of the YA fantasy: The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin. She is also the author of the Prospero’s Daughter series: Prospero Lost, Prospero In Hell, and Prospero Regained. She has published numerous articles on Japanese animation and appears in several short story anthologies, including Best Of Dreams Of Decadence,No Longer Dreams, Coliseum Morpheuon, Bad-Ass FaeriesAnthologies (where she is also an assistant editor) and the Science Fiction Book Club’s Don’t Open This Book.
When not writing, she switches to her secret identity as wife and stay-home mom in Centreville, VA, where she lives with her dashing husband, author John C. Wright, and their four darling children, Orville, Ping-Ping Eve, Roland Wilbur, and Justinian Oberon.
Today I have a guest host, Ava Pennington. She has graciously volunteered to help me this week because I’m having foot surgery.
by Ava Pennington
How intimate is your relationship with God? How intimate do you want it to be?
I’ve always heard that if I wanted to be close to God, I needed to be intentional about spending time with Him in prayer, reading the Bible, obeying His Word, and fellowshipping with His people.
But I’m the master of the to-do list, and even though I checked those items off my list each day, something was still missing. Maybe it’s because these activities can deteriorate into rituals. I can easily go through the motions of religious behavior with a disengaged heart.
Then I began to think about how people move from acquaintances to personal friends. We get to know them by spending time with them and we listen as they reveal intimate details about themselves.
However, when it comes to intimacy with God, we often depend on what other people say about Him. We learn from our parents, from religious traditions, even from our culture. But we can miss who God says He is.
Problem is, I grew up attending Sunday school and I still had trouble understanding what God said about Himself. I misunderstood many of the names and attributes of God which had brought comfort to countless generations.
For example, what does God mean when He calls Himself Jealous? Or what about when God calls Himself a Consuming Fire? Even the more familiar names and attributes can be misunderstood. The Bible says God is love (I John 4:8). But how do we define love? Hearts & flowers? Terms of endearment?
One characteristic of intimacy is trust. It’s difficult to trust a stranger. But the more we learn about who God is and how He works, the easier it is for us to trust Him.
The foundation of that trust is a complete picture of God. All the names and attributes of God combine to reveal His nature and His glory. We misunderstand who God is when we focus on one name or attribute of God to the exclusion of all others.
Let’s face it. We are naturally drawn to certain names and attributes of God over others. Savior? Merciful? Faithful? That’s how I enjoy thinking of God. Jealous? Consuming Fire? Judge? Not so much.
But those who focus only on God’s characteristic of love often end up with an anything-goes god who tolerates sin. Others who focus on God’s holiness to the exclusion of all other characteristics create a fire-and-brimstone god who is unloving, unmerciful, and uncompassionate.
God is love and He is holy. He is merciful and He is just. He is all these things and more. To intimately know Him we must be intentional about learning all that He is – not just one or two characteristics that appeal to who we want Him to be.
That’s why I wrote Daily Reflections on the Names of God. It’s a one-year devotional that explores 122 names and attributes of God three ways: who God is, who we are in light of who He is, and how this changes our relationships with others.
Ask God to show you who He is. Mine treasures from His Word as He reveals His nature and His ways through His names and attributes. The result will be intentional intimacy Him.
Dig into His Word, spend time with Him in prayer, and learn what He has said about Himself.
Wherever you are, whatever you are facing in your complicated life today, God – in ALL of His attributes – is everything and anything you will ever need.
Ava, Thank you for sharing this with my readers and for helping me with a guest post while I recover. I’m thinking this book would make a great Christmas gift.
When I was a teenager I so hoped I wouldn’t be like my mother. Anyone else have that thought? Maybe it was your father you didn’t want to be like?
Now I realize how valuable my mom is, and what she has passed on to me is mostly good.
Not so good? I find that I have a need to be right about everything, and my medical history seems to be a copying hers.
I look at the keyboard while I’m typing, and I see her hands. I’ve heard her words coming out of my mouth and I think, “I am my mother!”
She’s passed on some great things to me. The love of Jesus, strength when life is really hard–unbearable even. I’ve watched her stand strong when many would have fallen. I’m not quite there yet but I can see some of her strength in me.
I learned how to compete and be a good loser by playing hands of canasta and a marble game called agrevation. Mom also passed on the love of words to me. She taught me to read by the age of 4 using Rebus readers. But then she modeled reading. Mom showed me the joy in the adventure and escape from everyday life by opening a book and turning the pages. She also read me books that made me cry, like The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. I discovered it was okay to be sad and to grieve–even the fictional characters.
I discovered this gem of a photo of mom reading. Look at all those books on the shelf! Not only did the love of reading come from my mom but my grandparents.
My advise? Pass on the love of reading to the little ones in your life. Or volunteer to help others learn to read. You’ll be giving them the world.
How many times do you give up when you think the odds are to impossible to succeed?
How do you overcome obstacles blocking your way?
I came across this song by Mandisa. I knew I wasn’t alone. I have Him who goes before me, after me and lives within me. How could I not overcome?
Like everyone, I’ve had to overcome hard things in life. Grief has been able to grasp my ankles and pull me under many times. Some days I wrestle with dark spaces, and I don’t understand why all of my brothers had to go to heaven so soon. I don’t get to experience the annoying, “Hey you’re older than me,” or “What do you think we should get mom for Christmas–since you’re a girl, why don’t you do it?”
God has helped me overcome the sadness through two men at church who have taken the ‘Brother Role’ seriously. They will do something to make me laugh or annoy me,and I remember that I have brothers on earth. We’re related through Christ. I am grateful to Eric. S. and P.V. for providing a bit of family that might have been.
I’ve had a rough few months in the writing game and spent some time talking with author Staci Stallings. I told her I was afraid. She responded with, “You’re like Peter.” After listening to her I asked her to write a post about fear and Peter. Read it once, then read it again. Staci has shared a lot of wisdom through this piece.
In or Out?
If you’re a Christian, you’ve surely heard the story of Peter out there in the boat on the wind and waves. Then out from the waves there comes a figure–walking. At first Peter and his friends think it’s a ghost, and they freak out.
Through the wind, they hear a voice call out: “Don’t be afraid!”
Okay. I’m a scaredy cat. Truly and honestly. In fact, me and fear go way back. So I can tell you if a ghost came toward me, walking on the water, and said, “Don’t be afraid!” I would probably veer toward afraid even more!
But Peter didn’t.
Because Peter knew that voice. It was the voice he had heard many, many times. It was the voice of his best friend, Jesus Christ.
Have you ever heard that voice? Maybe it was a whisper in your heart. Maybe it was someone talking about a dream that’s been on your heart, but you’ve not really listened because it seemed so very unattainable.
Then out there from the waves, the voice calls to you, and you think you recognize it just like Peter did. So Peter tested the voice (ever done that?). “Lord, if it is You, tell me to get out of the boat.”
And Jesus says, “Come.”
Oh, it sounds so simple! Right?
At our church we’ve done this scene in VBS a couple of times, and when Peter starts to get out of the boat, the other disciples FREAK OUT! “Peter! What are you doing?! You’ll drown! Don’t Peter! NO! Don’t go!”
Have you ever been there? Wanting to strike out and follow what God’s put on your heart with your family and your friends trying everything and every way they know how to talk you out of it? In fact, maybe you are even good at talking yourself out of things.
“Well, I don’t have the money.” “Well, what will other people think?” “Well, it probably won’t even work.”
You know Nike’s slogan… Just Do It?
Clearly you are not alone in this indecision because that campaign slogan is one of the most successful in all of advertising.
Peter made the decision. Just do it. Just get out of the boat. Listen to Jesus. Don’t listen to all these people who are not Jesus.
And now we come to the pivotal moment that trips so many of us up… getting out of the boat.
I’m sure the first touch of his tooties on that water made Peter seriously question his own sanity. “Wow! Is that water cold! Maybe this isn’t a good idea. Maybe being in the boat would be better. At least there, I’m safe.”
Have you ever been there? Half in, half out? Have you ever wanted to get out of that boat so badly you could feel your heart dragging you, and yet…
Here is a spiritual nugget of wisdom. The most dangerous moment of all for Peter was being half-in, half-out of that boat. With the wind and waves picking the boat up and dropping it, he very likely nearly capsized the whole thing.
What happens a lot is, we as Christians get to this moment and freeze. Our decision become indecision. Our faith becomes doubt. And we stop, clinging there. Half-in, half-out.
I want to encourage you today not to stay there. Do not let analysis-paralysis set in because it’s a cancer that kills dreams. Your dreams. And God’s dreams for you.
Listen to the voice. Make the decision. Breathe and realize that yes, there are going to be challenges. This will not solve everything. But if it’s on your heart to do, God is the One Who put it there. If you believe through the wind and waves, the fear and the doubt, that this really is Jesus calling you out of that boat, then it’s time to Just Do It!
Take a breath. Make the decision. And get out of the boat.
Don’t stay in that most dangerous moment any longer than you absolutely have to because it truly can and will drown your dreams and you just as surely as staying in the boat will.
The boat will not save you. Clinging to the boat with one foot in, one foot out will not save you. The only way to truly be saved, to be truly free, is to be out dancing on the water with Jesus. He’s calling to you. He’s waiting for you. What are you waiting for?
In or out? Which will it be?
Copyright, Staci Stallings, 2013
Love to be inspired? A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, #1 Best Selling Christian author, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure!
Check out Staci’s
“To Protect & Serve”
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I saw these snickerdoodle muffins on pinterest, but they weren’t gulten-free. I had to try to make them so I could eat them. When though? Time seemed to be filled every day.
Then the undesirable happened. My computer died. Well, that opened up a lot time. But we went to Michigan for a wedding. What is it about water lapping a sandy shore that instantly relaxes tension? I want to bottle that feeling so I can have some every day.
Hover Image to Pin!
Back to A2Z:M is for Muffins!
The original recipe appeared here on Eat Me I’m Delicious if you aren’t eating gluten-free head over there for the real recipe.