Followers

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pressing into the New Year...and Eternity!

One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind
and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).

“The upward call of God…” What better time to reflect on that upward call than on the final day of the calendar year? And yet, how easy it is to get sidetracked from that upward call by focusing instead on “those things which are behind”!
I have a tendency to judge myself harshly, to expect more from myself than I am able to deliver. And I have a terrible time forgiving myself for past sins and failures.
How can God use me to bless others when I’m guilty of…?
How dare I call myself a Christian after I…?
How can I even consider going out to minister to others after what I did when…?
Did you find yourself filling in the blanks? We all do it, don’t we? And what more effective way can we employ to render ourselves impotent to the Kingdom of God than to beat ourselves up for the past? If we want to ensure that 2010 is a personal failure, all we have to do is hang on to the failures of 2009 and before. But if we are determined to heed the admonition of the Scriptures to reach “forward to those things which are ahead,” knowing that ultimately they are good things because God has promised they will be so, then we must forget “those things which are behind” and PRESS toward the goal, which is responding to the “upward call of God.”
Allow yourself to reflect and rejoice on the blessings of the past, but leave the sins and heartaches with the One who has already paid the price for them. There is a great prize ahead of us, just waiting for us to press in and receive it. Don’t miss it, beloved! It is God’s good and perfect gift to us in the New Year…and throughout eternity.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A "Throat-Grabber" that'll Blind-Side You!

When I'm not writing my own books, I'm reading a book by someone else--but there's never enough time. My reading stack is a mile high! But I've been taking it a bit slower this past week and actually had a chance to read at my leisure. Problem is, I picked up Blind Sight by James H. Pence--and forget leisure reading! The author had me on the first page--first paragraph, actually--and never let go right up to the last word. I read it in 24 hours! (And yes, I took a break to sleep.)

Seriously, folks, if you want a really good read that'll hold your interest from start to finish, and leave you second-guessing and blindsided at every turn, this is the book for you! It's the first book I've read by this author, but it certainly won't be the last. Keep 'em coming, James!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Poor Planning and Emergencies

Poor Planning and Emergencies
Kathi Macias

Having been raised by “old school” parents who believed that choices had consequences—and therefore let me reap them—I tended to raise my children the same way. To this day my youngest son, who is now in his mid-thirties, nods his head and grins when he starts to whine at me about something and I reply with, “Poor planning on your part…”
He knows the rest by heart because he heard it so many times during his growing-up years.
When he goofed off and didn’t finish his homework, then frantically begged me to help him so he could turn it in on time, I replied with, “Poor planning on your part does NOT constitute an emergency on my part.”
When he frittered away his weekly allowance the same day he received it and then asked for more a few days later, I’d say, “Poor planning on your part does NOT constitute an emergency on my part.”
When he failed to complete his agreed-upon chores and was therefore unable to go out with his friends at the end of the day, he knew better than to ask, for all he would get from me was, “Poor planning on your part does NOT constitute an emergency on my part.”
You get the picture. And yes, by today’s standards, my unbending stance may have seemed overly strict. But did Chris learn from it? Absolutely. Not only does he understand that the paycheck he receives this Thursday has to last until next Thursday, but I’ve even heard him pass the “poor planning vs. emergency” advice on to his own children.
Here’s my problem: If a child can learn and benefit from this simple lesson, why can’t a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” do the same? I’m more than slightly disturbed by the fact that “we the people” are being pressured to respond to a so-called emergency that was created by the poor planning of people who are supposed to represent our wishes. It is obvious from every poll in the country that our wishes do not include forking over more of our hard-earned money to those who have already proven themselves to be inept at best, devious and self-serving at worst, and who now ask us to “trust them” yet again.
I feel betrayed. I feel robbed. I feel cheated. No matter how clean and neat the thugs may appear, they are cleaning our clock—and it’s wrong. Yes, we plan to fire many of them as soon as we are able, but how many more of our God-given liberties will they wrest from us in the meantime?
First and foremost I am praying for our nation, including its leaders and regardless of their party affiliation. But I am praying for “we the people” too, that even as we “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God,” we will also follow in the courageous and uncompromising footsteps of those who went before us and paid such a heavy price to ensure the freedoms we enjoy today.
If you, like me, consider yourself part of “we the people,” I hope you are praying with me for our great land. I hope too that you will stand with me and declare to those whose actions threaten our children’s future, “Poor planning on your part does NOT constitute an emergency on my part.”
It is time for the government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” to listen to the people’s voices, to move slowly and cautiously, and to commit only to those actions that will preserve our future as a nation. Our officials have taken an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution of the United States; it is time we held their feet to the fire and insist they follow through!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Making Christmas Personal

It was Christmas Eve, my favorite night of the year, as we sat shoulder-to-shoulder on a rear pew in the quaint but packed country church. I had been a Christian for slightly less than ten years, but each day since that unforgettable moment in July 1974 when I had received Jesus as my Savior, I had prayed for my dad’s salvation. Dad was the last “holdout” in our family. Prior to 1969, none of us had known Jesus as Lord and Savior, but since that time we had all become Christians—except Dad. My stubborn German father, though raised by a praying mother, had rejected his childhood faith and now insisted he was an atheist.
That night my family was sure all that would change, for Dad had agreed to accompany us to the Christmas Eve service. We had been shocked but thrilled when he accepted our invitation, since we invited him to church quite often and he always refused. For the first time, on that night of all nights when the faithful gather together to commemorate the birth of God’s Son, my dad was with us.
As the service progressed, I found myself peeking out of the corner of my eye every few moments to make sure he was still there, sitting next to my mom, whose face literally shone with joy and excitement. But so far nothing was happening. Dad sat perfectly still, his big hands resting in his lap, his broad shoulders straight, his lined face expressionless. With the service about to end, I found myself fighting discouragement.
And then the lights went down and, as if on cue, the parishioners seated on the center-aisle end of the pews passed small unlit candles to everyone in their row. At the same time two ushers began to make their way down the center aisle, stopping at the end of each pew and lighting the candle of the first parishioner in each row. Those parishioners then turned and lit the candle of the next person in the row, and so on until everyone held a lit candle.
Clutching my own candle as I waited for the usher to reach our row, I glanced over at my parents and realized my ever-practical father must have decided the process was going much too slowly, for he suddenly fished his cigarette lighter out of his pocket and started lighting candles. Within minutes he had lit every candle at his end of the pew and was reaching over to the people in the pew in front of us to start on theirs.
Fighting humiliation, I closed my eyes and felt the sting of unexpected tears as I realized my dad was simply trying to be helpful. I heard a couple of chuckles in nearby rows, but no one said anything until the usher arrived at our pew. With the glow from his candle illuminating his face, the smiling man thanked my father for his assistance. Dad returned his smile and assured him he was glad to be of help, and the gracious usher moved on.
It was nearly fifteen years later before the last “holdout” in our family responded to the loving call of his heavenly Father. At eighty-eight years of age, less than one week before his death in October 1999, my sweet but stubborn German father received Jesus as his Savior—and then promptly went home to be with Him.
I have thought of that Christmas Eve so many times over the last couple of decades. With the exception of occasional weddings, funerals, or baptisms, Dad never came back to church with us after that night, though we asked him nearly every week. There were times we wondered how God would ever penetrate Dad’s seemingly hard heart with the gospel, but we clung to the knowledge that God is faithful and nothing is impossible with Him. And how we rejoiced when God finally broken through Dad’s resistance and we saw the tears of joy in his clouded eyes. Though a series of small strokes had left him bedridden and unable to speak, we were thrilled each time he grinned and lifted his finger to point heavenward at the mention of the name of Jesus. And we were so very grateful. But I have to admit that, despite my gratitude and joy, I also wondered why Dad had waited so long to receive such a truly awesome gift. As it turned out, because he died in October, he never got to experience the wonder of Christmas as a believer—or did he?
As I thought and prayed about that very issue, I realized how I had allowed myself to get locked into dates. I knew, of course, that Jesus may not have been born exactly on December 25, but I hadn’t really considered that Christmas could be celebrated at any time other than on that precise date. And yet, I reasoned, wasn’t Christmas the celebration of the birth of God’s Son into the world? What, then, had happened in October 1999 just days before my dad slipped out of his earthly body and was whisked into the presence of God? Hadn’t Jesus been birthed by God’s Spirit into Dad’s heart? If I believed that—and I certainly did—then that wonderful day of new birth for my dad, though it took place in October, had been his personal Christmas celebration here on earth.
I was thrilled—not just because of what had happened to my father, but because I suddenly realized that the day of our salvation—our new birth—is also the day of our own personal Christmas. After knowing and walking with Jesus for more than a quarter of a century, I had come into a new and fresh appreciation of the most beautiful of all holidays. In fact, I realized how much more meaningful Christmas would be if, when we get together as a family to celebrate the gift of Jesus, we also recount our own Christmas stories, telling of the day Jesus was birthed into our hearts. If we have guests who have never received Jesus, it would be the perfect opportunity for them to do so.
But we wouldn’t have to stop there. Why not have several Christmas celebrations throughout the year? Regardless of the date, each time one of us comes to the anniversary of our new birth, we could have a Christmas party in honor of the event. Guests could bring gifts, and the person celebrating his or her own personal Christmas could designate a charity to receive them. It would provide us with opportunities to invite unsaved friends, neighbors, and loved ones, and to present the gospel to them throughout the year.
I will always cherish the memory of my dear father “helping” the ushers at that Christmas Eve candlelight service so many years ago, and the opportunities that it generated to make Christmas personal all year long and to tell others about the greatest gift ever given—God’s own Son, born into a world of sin that He might also be born in our hearts and wash those sins away forever.

*Printed first in “Victory in Grace” Magazine, December 2005; second in Crosswalk.com, December 2006.
www.kathimacias.com

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Interview Available

I just completed an interview about Mothers of the Bible on the Debbie Chavez show. To hear it simply go to www.debbiechavez.com, click on archives and scroll down to today’s date to hear it. Blessings!

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Brilliant and Heart-Changing Read!


All right, I confess. Athol Dickson is my friend and he gave me a copy of his book in exchange for one of my own. But I promise you that my glowing review of his book has nothing to do with any of that.
Lost Mission by Athol Dickson is one of the most brilliant and compelling reads I've come across in a very long time. This skilled author has the ability to span the centuries and interweave two stories to make them one; the result is a breathtaking and epic saga of human endurance and humble love.
If you're looking for just the right Christmas present (for yourself and/or someone else!), I highly recommend this excellent book. You can learn more about Athol and his books at www.atholdickson.com. Blessings, dear readers!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Invite someone--and give them a free book

Want to help me and bless a friend at the same time? Invite someone to follow this blog, and if they sign up AND send me an email (alandkathi@ca.rr.com) with their contact info AND tell me who sent them, that new blog follower will receive one of my books as a thank you/welcome. So get busy and start inviting!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A blessed and happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Just taking a moment to wish you all a very blessed Thanksgiving. May your love for the Savior increase daily!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Buy-One-Get-One-Free Christmas Books!


Between now and December 15, leave a comment on this blog with CLEAR contact info and/or email me at alandkathi@ca.rr.com and mention the "Easy Writer Blog Book Offer" and you will receive two of these beautiful hard-bound gift/study books--perhaps one to keep and one to give as a gift. With Christmas right around the corner, it's a great opportunity to give a gift to someone else, and one for yourself as well.
Blessings!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Prison Fellowship Featuring My Son, John


I’m excited and honored to announce that Prison Fellowship’s online ezine, Inside Out, is featuring an excerpt from My Son, John this month. You can read it at the following link:

http://www.prisonfellowship.org/inside-out/november-2009/13321-my-son-john

:o)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Guest Blogger for Voice of the Martyrs

I had the privilege of attending the Voice of the Martyrs conference on Saturday and was asked to write about the conference as a guest blogger on their site. Here’s the link:


http://www.persecutionblog.com/

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Salute to the Veterans!

Just taking a minute to thank our veterans (my husband included!) for their service to our country. This is the land of the free because it is also the home of the brave. We appreciate you!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Another free book!

New Hope Publishers is offering a free copy of No Greater Love (the first in my new series, which releases April 2010) to the first 25 people who leave a comment at the following site: http://newhopepublishers.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/what-do-you-know-about-the-persecuted-church/

Win a $250 VISA gift card

WMU® (Women's Missionary Union) needs your help with a possible new resource for Christians. Take this survey and be entered in a drawing to win a $250 Visa gift card. Please click on this link to take the survey and become eligible for the drawing. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=XZptS1isSHpG5VmEnHjw3w_3d_3d
Thank you for taking the survey and sharing it with friends!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Free books--honest!


Too early to start thinking about Christmas shopping? Not if you can get a gift for free! Here's your chance.
The first three people to leave a comment (and please include your email address so I can contact you!), along with the name/relationship of the person you'd like to give a copy of the beautiful hard cover gift/study book Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today--and why you'd like to give it to her--will get a free copy in time for Christmas giving. It's just that simple! If we get more than three sign-ups, I'll sell two copies of the book for the price of one to all who sign up after the first three. I'll keep this offer open until mid-December.
Why am I doing this? Because I believe in the message of this book, and I believe those who read/receive it will be blessed.

Monday, November 2, 2009

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church





November 8 is International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church around the world. With that in mind, I'd like to encourage you to join us in prayer for our brothers and sisters who pay a huge price for choosing to follow Jesus. I'd also like to whet your appetite for my new Extreme Devotion fiction series, four novels that begin releasing in April 2010. Here are the prologues and covers to the first two books. I'll put up the others as soon as I have them. For now, these two are available for pre-order on Amazon.



Book One of the Series: NO GREATER LOVE: Prologue

1989 was not a good year to fall in love—at least not in South Africa, and certainly not with a white man. Chioma had fought it with every ounce of her being, but there it was, literally, in black and white.
Chioma hated whites, and that included Andrew—except that Chioma also loved him. And that made her dilemma even worse.
But at least she had never admitted to him—or anyone else—how she felt, nor did she have any intention of doing so. And yet, the way he looked at her, she could not help but wonder if he knew—and if he felt the same about her.
It was ridiculous, of course, even to think such a thing about a white man, but if it were true, she could only hope he would never be foolish enough to say anything about his feelings—to her or anyone else. Not only would a relationship between them be nearly impossible, but it would be dangerous as well. And Chioma already had enough danger in her life; she certainly did not need to look for more.

Book Two of the Series: MORE THAN CONQUERORS: Prologue
Pastor Hector Manolo Rodriguez sighed with relief, as his dilapidated, once-blue station wagon crawled and chugged through the final inches of the hour-long event known as a border crossing. The international station between San Diego and Tijuana saw the heaviest traffic of any crossing in the world, with about 300,000 people making the trek every day—some to work, some to play, some to shop or visit relatives, and some to conduct illegal activities of various kinds. For Hector, it was strictly a venture of love, one he made regularly and yet was relieved when it was over.
It wasn’t that Hector didn’t appreciate the beauty and modern conveniences of his sister city to the north, but he preferred the slower, quieter pace of his humble home on the outskirts of Tijuana, even now in 2008 when crime increasingly encroached on the peace of their existence. He had lived there his entire thirty-eight years, the middle child in a family of nine offspring, and had later married the beautiful Mariana Lopez, who had grown up right next door to him. That she had even noticed Hector never ceased to amaze him, and that she had agreed to marry him was nothing short of a miracle. Now, still living in the same neighborhood where they grew up, they did their best to feed and clothe the three children God had given them, as well as minister to the fifty or so members of their beloved Casa de Dios congregation. To supplement their income, Hector worked part-time in his younger brother Jorge’s shoe repair shop. Though their financial situation did not allow for luxuries, it did provide a roof over their heads and food in their bellies.
It was a good life, Hector thought, as he coached and prayed the twenty-five year old car through the undisciplined crush of traffic on Avenida Revolucion, the main drag in this burgeoning city of nearly one and a half-million people. As always, Hector was anxious to break away from the city’s hub and escape to a quieter, more navigable thoroughfare. Though the quality of the roads would deteriorate the farther out he went, he would be glad to leave the hustle and bustle of the Tijuana tourism trade behind.
He would also be glad to leave behind the sadness that seemed to cling to him each time he crossed the border. And yet he knew his need to continue making the trip would end far too soon….
Then, of course, there was the situation in Chiapas, which seemed to grow more desperate and dangerous by the day. And his sixty-three year old mother, Virginia Correo Rodriguez, was living right outside San Juan Chamula, right in the middle of it all.




Friday, October 30, 2009

Great new women's devotional book!


Kimberly Sowell, Edna Ellison, Joy Brown, Tricia Scribner, and Marie Alston are frequently invited to host women's retreats and conferences. While each has an individual ministry, their combined purpose is to share a message of wisdom seasoned with humor, boldness with mercy, and truth with joy. These women meet together regularly to relate the new and exciting ways God is working in their lives and to pray. A Passion for Purpose is a product of their praying and sharing times and their desire to inspire women to see God's hand at work in the ordinary events of life. Each author has published individual works; however, they collaborated to publish A Month of Miracles in 2008. And now this, a devotional with contents as delightful as its joyful cover! I encourage you to get a copy of this excellent book via the website of New Hope Publishers, Amazon, or CBD. Then keep it in mind for a Christmas gift for a friend. Blessings!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Guest Post from the Faith Coach






God Speaks
By Kirsten Strawn
http://www.thefaithcoach.com/
Discouraged I sat at my computer. Slumped over my desk I asked God, What’s the point of all my writing? Am I wasting my time? I glanced down noticing a small piece of paper with a scripture on it. I had received the verse at Bible study during Easter when we received a plastic egg filled with goodies. Each egg contained a different scripture with a promise to claim as our own. Picking up the small piece of paper I re-read my promise from Joshua 1:9, “Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged for I am with you wherever you go.” I sat back realizing that I was hearing a message from God. He was talking to me. Was I terrified? I thought about it for a moment. Yes, I was afraid of being judged. I was afraid of failure. Would I ever write a book? Would anyone read it? All I wanted was to make a difference. Surely I had not gone through my past suffering in vain. I straightened up in my chair. God was telling me not to be afraid, to trust Him with my writing, and to be obedient.

I marveled at how personal God is. Over the years I learned to hear from God by doing the following:

Seek Him with all of my heart
Pray for God to guide me to what He wants me to know.
Expect to hear from Him
Ask for specific direction
Know God will speak through His Word, prayer, godly people, and circumstances

This time His message sat among a stack of papers on my desk. With a sigh, I rested in the thought that the Creator of the universe gave me a love note to encourage me. Glancing at my blank screen I contemplated whether to begin my writing or succumb to the diversion of email. I clicked on My Yahoo Mail to see a message in my inbox. I recognized an email from a friend in Canada. I spoke at her women’s retreat when I lived there two years prior. I opened her note to read, “Good Morning my friend! You won't believe the conversation I just had. It was about you! A woman just called me about registration. She said that it was through the speaker that we had two years ago that she grew so much from that weekend. She said you were so transparent with your story, how you were "real" and the impact you had on her life. You showed her that by being "real" the effect she can have on other people’s lives. Praise God! I hope this encourages you today.”

Overwhelmed by the timing of this beautiful message of encouragement I knew God was clearly giving me direction. He wanted me to share my story of hope. God cares for me. He knows my fears, yet He will give me the strength and the courage to press on, to make a difference in people’s lives as I did at the woman's retreat.

A lump formed in my throat as tears moistened my eyes. I began to compose a reply to my sweet friend when I heard a strange flapping sound behind me near the open kitchen door. I looked over my shoulder in disbelief. A sparrow fluttered into my kitchen hovering for several seconds in midair before landing on the shutters. I remained still not wanting to scare the bird. I watched in amazement. Then to my surprise another sparrow entered through the door hovering near the window. Shocked, I wondered what made these two birds come into my house. Following my question, I became acutely aware of God’s presence. Just then a third bird, this time a red-crested finch, fluttered into my kitchen. Could this really be happening? Not one bird, not two, but three birds bringing a message from God that He is with me; symbolizing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He was allowing me to experience Him personally through His creation. I could hardly contain my gratitude as tears welled up again. I praised Him for His love as I stared in awe. I rejoiced in the message these birds delivered. I thought about the song, His Eye is On The Sparrow, and the scripture that says, "So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows," (Matthew 10:31).

Moved by God’s compassion for me I lifted my eyes to heaven thanking my Father for being personal, for loving me so intimately, and for His promises through the scriptures. From the family room at my desk I viewed the birds until it occurred to me that they might fly around the house. How would I get them out safely? I began to pray, “Father, please let these precious birds leave without getting hurt.” Then in the same way they came in, one by one the birds flew out the door unharmed. Sad to see them leave, I was left with the overwhelming presence of God. I felt His peace and comfort lift my spirits and renew my strength. I knew I could do anything with Him by my side, (Phil.4:13). Our Heavenly Father is a personal loving God who speaks to us through His Word, through His people, through prayer, and circumstances. Next time you experience fear or you feel discouraged know that Jesus is with you.

Through Kirsten’s obedience God has used her many stories to encourage her on-line readers at www.TheFaithCoach.com/.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Best of Cooking and Reading...from two dear friends!





Fellow authors and dear frinds Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson have "cooked up" a very popular fiction series about a group of women lovingly referred to as "The Potluck Club." A Taste of Fame is their most recent offering, and thanks to their gracious publisher (Revell) I recently had the opportunity to read this humorous and well written novel. I also received a copy of The Potluck Club Cookbook, which is full of fantastic recipes that I can't wait to try! Of course, if you haven't read their previous Potluck Club books, you need to start there. But wherever you are in this Potluck series--just starting or well into it and an established fan--don't miss this newest novel or its accompanying cookbook. In fact, they'd make terrific gifts for all your family and friends who also love to read and/or cook. So don't miss them!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Have a little "Simple Compassion"!



Want to make a difference where you live/work/play? Really? Then you need to get a copy of Simple Compassion: Devotions to Make a Difference in Your Neighborhood and Your World by Keri Wyatt Kent. This lovely book is more than just a great personal devotional (though it is that!), but it is also a fantastic resource for helping us "put feet to our faith" wherever we go. If you're committed to being part of the solution instead of the problem, of changing the world one heart and life at a time, then this is the book for you! (Zondervan Publishers)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So You Want to be a Work-at-Home Mom...



Okay, if you're a mom, then somewhere along the line you've wished you could stay home with the kiddos and still contribute to the family income, right? Seriously, we've all dreamed about it to one extent or another.

Thankfully, authors Jill Hart and Diana Ennen have taken it beyond dreaming. Not only have they figured out how to be successful work-at-home moms, but they have graciously combined their knowledge and expertise into a practical, easy-to-read manual for other moms with the same desire.

Published by Beacon Hill Press and available wherever books are sold (including Amazon), this book is a great investment for your own library, as well as a perfect gift for other moms on your girlfriend list. So order a copy (or two or three) today, and watch those work-at-home dreams start to become a reality!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Revitalize Your Marriage with The Marriage Code!


Bill and Pam Farrel are "longtime marrieds" who are still very much in love. In an imperfect world, that's no small achievement! But do they have the corner on the market? Of course not! They just have a commitment to God and to one another--and a secret code to unlock the joys of a lifelong love affair.

To learn how to "crack the code," join Bill and Pam via a Focus on the Family recording at http://www.focusonlinecommunities.com/community/events/billandpamfarrel
and then get a copy of the book for yourself and your spouse--and another copy for a couple you care about.
In an imperfect world, it's one of the greatest gifts we can give.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Book that Hits VERY Close to Home!



When Your Aging Parent Needs Care by Candy Arrington and Kim Atchley is by far one of the most balanced resources for this much-needed topic that I've come across yet--and believe me, I've read a lot of them!

As the primary caretaker for my 88-year-old mother who lives with us, I know personally the challenges faced by those who take on the care of an aging parent. It is no easy task, and anyone who thinks otherwise should not even consider doing it without first getting the necessary education to realistically know what to expect. To have the necessary resources compiled so expertly as they are in this book will be a literal godsend to anyone who is already in the midst of this very special season of life--or considering it.

Though it is a privilege to be called to care for one who once cared for us, it should not be done without prayerful consideration--and all the practical help available. This book from Harvest House Publishers is a must-have for such an undertaking!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Beloved Curmudgeon Strikes Again!


Cec Murphey, everyone's favorite author and resident curmudgeon, has once again put pen to paper and come up with an excellent and inspiring read. (How does this man spend so much time on the NY Times Bestseller List, travel all over the country speaking to eager listeners, and still have time to write yet another excellent book?) We may never know the answer, but we do know he has done it.
What do I say to sell such a well-known and much loved author's newest book? Perhaps that it is vintage Cec--encouraging, challenging, and superbly written. Don't miss it! After all, you want to stay on the curmudgeon's good side!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Doing a "Happy Dance" for Rain Dance!

I love this book! Author Joy DeKok captured my heart on the first page and wrapped the characters around it from beginning to end.

For anyone who has ever been involved in any way in the heartache of abortion or infertility--or anyone who is a mom and/or just loves children--this book will set your lips to singing and your toes to tapping. Get a copy to bless yourself, and one for a friend. She'll thank you.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Can't-Miss Read!


For anyone who is an established Mary DeMuth fan, you're no doubt already deep into this great read. If not, I strongly encourage you to get it. However, if you haven't read the first book in the series, Daisy Chain, be sure to get that one too. This series (and this author) just gets better and better!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An Update from Our House to Yours!

I must admit, though it’s been a great summer with lots of fun and exciting things going on, I’m not sorry to see it end. I’m just plain tired of being HOT and can’t wait to start enjoying those cool autumn days that are even now starting to whisper an announcement of their arrival.

As we roll into October, I wanted to update you on what’s going on here at the Macias household. All is well with Mom (doing much better than a few months ago!), and Al is still balancing his time between work and golf (though anticipating retirement so he can devote more time to hitting that little white ball around with his shiny clubs). He has also been busy installing a patio for our new soft tub, so life is busy (but good!) all the way around.

As for writing/speaking, business is booming. I’ve never been busier—thank You, LORD! The biggest news is that I’m launching a weekly one-hour radio program called “Write the Vision,” which will air via The International Christian Network (www.theicn.com) each Thursday from 6—7 p.m. Pacific Time, beginning October 15. Now I have to tell you that the statement I just made is strictly on faith, as I’m still wrestling with the technological issues of getting this new project set up, but I’ve enlisted some pastoral help from church (from those who actually understand this sort of thing), so I hope to have it squared away so I can start recording soon. For any of you who may have questions about the writing/publishing world, this will be a great opportunity for you to email your questions to me at kathimacias@theicn.com so I can respond on a future program. We have some great interviews lined up, so be sure to listen in—and help me spread the word!

I am also in the midst of a heavy speaking season, being home just one weekend between last month and November. After that my traveling schedule should settle down a bit, though I still have that book deadline of December 1 looming. RED INK, the third novel in the Extreme Devotion series, is one-third done, so I really need to get some serious writing done!

Above all, dear friends, please know that I appreciate you all and pray for you regularly. I hope you do the same for me. Until next time, Vaya con Dios!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Weekly Devotional

He (Jehoram) reigned in Jerusalem eight years and, to no one's sorrow, departed (2 Chronicles 21:20).



The sadness of this statement in 2 Chronicles jumped out at me this morning and wouldn’t let go. As I get older, I find myself saying goodbye to more and more family members, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. It’s simply the way of things, though it wasn’t originally intended to be. But sin has a way of changing things, doesn’t it?

It certainly did with Jehoram. This king was the son and grandson of godly men, both of whom ruled from the “city of David .” Sadly, unlike his father and grandfather, Jehoram chose not to be a godly man, and he ruled accordingly, eventually dying a painful death at a relatively young age. Most tragic of all was that no one mourned his passing.

All of us mourn when a loved one leaves this world—yes, even those of us who are strong believers and lose someone who is also a strong believer. We know that person has gone to be with the Lord and is so much happier than he/she ever was on this earth. And yet…our heart hurts. We miss them, though we know we will see them again one day. Those without that knowing mourn even more, for indeed they don’t have the hope of being reunited with the one who has passed from their sight.

But can there be anything sadder than living in such a way that when you die there is no one left behind who regrets seeing you go? King Jehoram had plenty of money. He inherited a rich kingdom and wanted for nothing in the material realm. He could do or have nearly anything he wished for, and yet…

Quite obviously this rich man was a pauper when it came to relationships. Not only did he not serve God or have relationship with Him, but he also had no meaningful or close relationships with other people. What a perspective-setter this is! Are we in close relationship with God and other people? When we pass from this earth into the presence of the Father, will there be at least one person left behind who will miss us and long for the day we will be reunited in heaven?

Then, beloved, unlike Jehoram, we are rich indeed. Whatever we face on this earth in the way of pain or sickness, tragedy or loss, poverty or disaster, our lives can still be considered a success because we have cultivated that which really matters. May the sad life of Jehoram speak to your heart today about the things that truly matter, and may his pitiful epitaph inspire you to cherish your relationships at every step of your earthly journey. For all too soon it will be over, and it will be time to move on. Though we as Christians eagerly anticipate that time, wouldn’t it also be nice to know that we will be missed and that someone will be looking forward to the day when we will be united once again?



***Beginning October 15, please join me as I host a weekly blogtalkradio podcast titled “Write the Vision,” which will air via www.theicn.com every Thursday from 6-7 p.m. Pacific Time.



***Please take a moment to visit my website at www.kathimacias.com


***Also, please visit www.setfreetoday.com, where I serve as Spiritual Director. Come as you are…leave with a new beginning! Drop us a note or prayer request while you’re there.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blogtalkradio date correction!!!

Due to a few technological glitches (have I mentioned that I'm clueless about this sort of thing???), the network hosts have graciously agreed to postpone the launch of my new "Write the Vision" program until October 15. What a relief! I'll be sending out more info soon. Bless you all, and please keep praying! I can't imagine a more unlikely candidate for this venture than yours truly, but God tapped me on the shoulder, so...

Friday, September 18, 2009

"Write the Vision," blogtalkradio podcast, starting October 1!

Beginning Thursday, October 1, I will be hosting a one-hour-per-week blogtalkradio show titled "Write the Vision" via THE International Christian Network (www.theicn.com). The show will air each Thursday evening from 6--7 p.m. Pacific time and will include teaching times, interviews, and questions and answer sessions. The focus is on writing as a ministry, so if you've ever wanted to know anything about the Christian publishing world/industry/ministry, this is a show you don't want to miss! And you'll be able to email questions to me at kathimacias@theicn.com for me to answer on future shows. I hope you'll consider joining in! Blessings!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Announcing Virtual Book Tour

My Son, John Book Tour

More Information

I hope you will join us on this exciting adventure!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Virtual Book Tour and Blogtalkradio Podcast!

Exciting stuff coming next month, folks! First, I will be doing "virtual book tour" for my novel My Son, John. Here's the link to learn more about it:

http://pumpupyourbookpromotion.wordpress.com/2009/09/11/announcing-contemporary-womens-novelist-kathi-macias-on-virtual-book-tour-09/

In addition, beginning Thursday, October 1, I will be hosting a one-hour per week blogtalkradio podcast called "Write the Vision." It will air from 6-7 p.m. Pacific time, and you can hear it at the following site (my page on both "on-air ministries" and "writers" will be up soon):

www.theicn.com

Once the show gets started, you'll be able to email me at the studio with specific writing questions, which I will answer on a future program. Hope to hear from you!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Perfect Love...

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).

Tomorrow is 9/11—an infamous day that the vast majority of us will never forget. Much like those who were alive on Sunday, December 7, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was bombed, we remember where we were that morning in September when we heard the news that our beloved country was under attack. As the hours passed, we soon learned the extent of human loss, and we grieved, as we still do at the memory of that horrific occurrence.
Eight years later, we still grieve, though the pain has diminished with time, as it does in the aftermath of most tragedies. But the lessons of that day remain. Though God has promised to keep us in “perfect peace” if we will focus our hearts and minds on Him and His faithfulness, He has not promised that we will not experience difficult times. We live in a broken world, full of broken promises and broken hearts. We also live in a world that is, to a large extent, driven by fear—whether it be fear of the known, or the unknown.
Despite the fact that we have picked up the pieces and moved on with our lives since that horrifying day in September 2001, we cannot deny that we will never be quite the same as we were before those planes full of innocent people were flown into buildings, bringing death and destruction on a monumental level. And that’s as it should be. We need to learn from such watershed events and never return to the complacency that helped allow them to happen in the first place. But even as we take a permanent stance of vigilance against future attacks, we must take a stance of vigilance against allowing fear of the future to paralyze us from walking in the freedom and joy that is inherent in walking with our Resurrected Savior.
Jesus Christ defeated death. He didn’t go around it or over it, or avoid it in any way. He met it head-on—and came through triumphant on the other side, leaving an empty tomb as testimony of His great victory. That is Perfect Love, folks—a perfect love that overcomes death and promises to one day carry us through that inevitable experience as well.
As we rightfully remember and honor those who died on 9/11, may we also keep our hearts and minds focused on the One who is greater than any tragedy that comes our way. For as Romans 8:31 declares, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
May you all walk in the joy and freedom of the Perfect Love that casts out all fear!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Looking for readers for my current WIP

First, let me clarify that WIP means "work in progress." In this instance, that means the manuscript I just started called Red Ink. It's set in modern-day China, but not the China the media/Communist governement over there wants us to see. This is "behind the scenes" China, where true Christians who refuse to register with the state-approved church are persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and even martyred for their faith. If you have serious first-hand experience in China and can offer feedback on the manuscript as it's written (and are willing to do so on a fairly tight timetable, as it is due to the publisher on December 1), will you please email me at ezyrtr@ca.rr.com? Thanks so much!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Link for the Interview

If you missed the across-the-pond interview, here's the link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Across-the-Pond/2009/09/04/A-BOOK-AND-A-CHAT-with-Kathi-Macias

Blessings!

Across-the-Pond Interview Is Today!


OK, folks, the Across-the-Pond interview announcement following this post was posted yesterday, so the "tomorrow" part is now "today." Tune in via the link if you can and hear our discussion about my novel My Son, John. Blessings to you all, and may your weekend be exceptionally blessed!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

blogtalkradio "Across the Pond" interview tomorrow!

Barry Eva of "Across the Pond" fame will be interviewing me tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. EST on his blogtalkradio program, which can be found at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Across-the-Pond

Hope you can join us!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Look to the East by Maureen Lang




Today I have the privilege of bringing you an interview with one of my personal favorite authors, Maureen Lang. I've read this excellent book and highly recommend it. Maureen, thanks for joining us! Can you tell us a little about your new release?


Look to the East is the first book in my Great War Series. I’m so excited about these books! The First World War isn’t necessarily a “forgotten” war, but I think most people only know about it because of World War Two. There must have been a World War One, right, in order to have a World War Two? But few people know what the first one was all about.

Well, I’m sorry to say even those who fought in the First World War didn’t know very much about why they were fighting. And while my book isn’t a war book with battles and war history, it does touch on how little communication there was during that era and during that war. Look to the East focuses on the how things were for French civilians living behind the battle lines.

In particular, the story follows the romance of Julitte Toussaint and Charles Lassone. Charles tries to volunteer to fight against the Germans just as the First World War breaks out, but he’s too late. The war has already begun, and there is so much havoc he can’t make it to officially join the Belgian army, where he has at least part-time residency. He’s caught behind the battle lines, forced to take shelter in a small French village where he meets Julitte, the adoptive daughter of a sailor. They fall in love despite the danger—if the Germans were to find Charles, it would be death for him and perhaps the same for anyone helping him. And when Charles escapes, he comes back for Julitte, proving to himself and to her that he’s not the coward he thought he was at the beginning of the book.

What made you decide to write during the First World War era?

I’ve always been fascinated by this era. I’m one of the youngest from a large family—which I mention only because people are surprised that my grandmother (not a great-grandmother or some other distant ancestor) used to tell me about living in a time where “motorcars” shared the roads with horse-drawn carriages. Where airplanes were so rare people stared at them when they flew overhead. Where telephones were uncommon, even in the city. My grandmother seemed to me to be a link between history and this modern world we shared.

And war…well, with a grandfather who fought in the First World War and a father who fought in the Second, I grew up hearing about war and I guess it made an impact!

What would you like your readers to take away after reading Look to the East?

Writing for the Christian market is more than an opportunity to write “clean.” And while I don’t often begin any of my stories intending to teach a spiritual lesson, it always amazes me how God teaches me along the way.

In Look to the East, many of the characters misplace their faith. The villagers look to Julitte, the one person they’ve ever known who was part of what they believe to have been a miracle that occurred in their small town. Instead of crediting God with what happened, as Julitte did, they credit her. And Charles has always believed in himself; he’s had an easy, fun-loving life. Competing against other sailors in a regatta amounted to his biggest challenge before, so it was easy to put his faith in himself. Who needs to think about God when life is easy? Even Julitte finds her solid faith tested when things don’t go the right way, even when she thought she did the right thing.

I’m hoping those who read Look to the East will come away realizing their faith is best put in God, and God alone.

How much research was involved in writing Look to the East?

Since research is one of my favorite parts of writing, I probably recall it taking less time than it actually did. I read many books on the subject of the war and what people in the occupied territories experienced, starting with The Englishman’s Daughter by Ben Macintyre (which I read more than once!). Going to Northern France (and Belgium, where Book Two in the series takes place) was incredibly valuable, not only for orienting my characters to the area, but getting into context what went on at the time as it’s commemorated over there. As I write any novel, I usually start out with at least a couple of months of research and then search out more details as I need them—those unexpected little turns plots like to take, which lead to the demand for more knowledge.

One of my favorite parts to research was finding a church to have in mind as I wrote the scenes where my hero, Charles, is hiding. I needed to know if they were similar to churches here, if they had a basement, if they had pews the way churches here do, how ornate they might have been, etc. I’m convinced the authority an author conveys for writing a novel is found in the details.
So as my husband and I drove through Northern France, we often stopped to get a closer look at different churches. It was fun!

What’s next for you?

I’ve just turned in Book Two in this Great War Series. Although I always say whatever book I’m currently immersed in is my favorite, this one really feels like it is! It has a similar time setting with the backdrop being WWI, but this time rather than France, Book Two is set in Brussels, Belgium. I haven’t heard of many books set there, and when I was able to visit Belgium all I kept thinking was why hasn’t this lovely country been in more novels? It has a rich history, flavored every bit European, just like France or England…and yet few people I speak to know much about it.

This second book is titled Whisper on the Wind, and it’s the story of two people who live during the war in occupied Brussels. They become involved in a secret press—that is, printed and distributed without the permission of the ruling German army. Basically both sides, the Germans and the Belgians, believe in the power of the printed word. Which is why my characters enter into the endeavor knowing it could cost them their lives—and it very nearly does!

Oh, and did I mention one of those two characters has been in love with the other nearly all her life? When he realizes she’s grown up to be not only beautiful but courageous, he can’t help but fall in love too—even though he believes their lives are caught up in too much danger to be distracted by each other…

How can readers find you on the web?

My website is www.maureenlang.com, but if readers would like a peek at the journey Look to the East took—from the sale through the European research trip and on through the editing process—they should visit my blog archive starting from August of 2008: http://maureenlang.blogspot.com/ It was great fun to catalogue the process!

Thanks for having me, Kathi!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Want to hear me on blogtalkradio?

Want to hear my latest online interview? Here's the link. Enjoy--and I would love to hear back from you! Blessings, my friends.

http://cwahm.com/wordpress/2009/cwahm-blogs/jills-blog/learning-from-the-proverbs-31-woman-an-interview-with-kathi-macias/

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Our son Michael visited us in Big Bear...



While my husband, Al, and I were vacationing in Big Bear, our son Michael and his beautiful wife, Risa, joined us for a few days. This is "proud mama" with Michael out on the porch. We really had a fantastic time!

On another note, please drop by my website (www.kathimacias.com) and sign my guestbook before the end of the month for a chance to win one of my books. We'll be having the drawing on the 31st. Blessings!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hitting the ground running...!

After an amazingly lovely week in the mountains at Big Bear, my hubby and I are back to reality. And that's a good thing, yes? It's tough to return from a vacation, but we are here to "be about the Father's business." I spent much of the last week sitting on my Father's lap and listening to His heart; now I'm ready to start implementing what I heard. Onward and upward--and abundant blessings to you all!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Quiet as a...Churchmouse???

Ever hear the term "quiet as a church mouse"? Well, let me tell you about a church mouse (www.Churchmouse.com, actually) that is getting ready to roar!

Working tirelessly behind the scenes, the founders of Churchmouse have been at it for months now, bringing their vision for a Christian syndicate to life. And they've done it! This excellent site now provides churches, organizations, individuals--anyone with a need for quality Christian material for newsletters, magazines, etc.--for a nominal price, all at one simple location.

As one of the writers for Churchmouse, I want to encourage you to check out the site. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the quality and variety (and did I mention, nominally priced?) material available. It's a new site, only recently launched, but as the concept takes hold, I believe this "church mouse" is going to be anything but quiet. Won't you help us roar as we work together to "go into all the world" and preach the gospel/make disciples/encourage the Church?

Friday, July 31, 2009

You've got to read this book!


Tell us a little about your book: The Call of Zulina is the first book of a three-book saga. Set in West Africa, it centers around Grace Winslow, whose mother is African royalty and her father a British sea captain. Trapped in a marriage arrangement with a pompous, offensive white slave trader, she flees from her home and ends up in the middle of a slave revolt at Zulina slave fortress. There she comes to understand the horrific nature of her family’s involvement in the slave trade. She is forced to choose a side—slave or slaver.

How did you come up with this story? In West Africa, I toured an old slave fortress and was struck dumb by a set of baby-sized manacles bolted to the wall. Right then this book began to germinate in my mind. Then, while I was researching Once Blind: The Life of John Newton—a slaver turned preacher and abolitionist, and author of the hymn Amazing Grace—I virtually “met” a couple who ran a slave business in Africa in the 1700s. I couldn’t help but wonder, “If they had a daughter, who would she be? English or African? Where would her loyalties lie?” That imagined daughter became Grace. The characters of Lingongo and Joseph Winslow, her parents, are modeled after that real-life couple.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book? Delving into the history. It was astounding and confounding! What did you like the least? The horror of this episode of history. I suppose there is a reason why we gloss over historical hard spots, but of course salving our collective conscience doesn’t make the truth go away.

What message do you hope readers gain from your novel? Two, actually:
First: Having one foot in each of two worlds and not quite belonging in either is a common feeling, especially for Christians who are “in this world but not of this world.” I would like readers to see the power of taking a stand, even though there are consequences for doing so. The consequences of fence-straddling are far greater.
Second: Slavery is a blight on humanity that must be addressed. There is more slavery in the world today by four-fold than there was in the 18th century! Time for 21st century abolitionists to get to work!

What helps you relax despite looming deadlines? We have a great hot tub spa, and I love to relax in it—read or talk to my husband or do nothing at all! I also walk and enjoy the changing of the seasons. And I like to play tennis and bowl and golf via Wii!

Briefly take us through your process of writing a novel—from conception to revision. I am a pretty organized writer. Conception is no problem—my idea file is bulging! I gather info, then I make a fairly detailed chapter outline and attach all my research to the appropriate chapter. (This is a time-consuming step, but the better I do this, the easier and more trouble-free the actual writing.) Then I write a first draft: no corrections, no rethinking—just pouring it out. (I love this step!) Then I write a second draft: bringing order to the first, rewriting, switching info to another chapter, etc. (This is the painful step.) Then I do a final draft: polishing, fixing, double checking info. I move away from the project for a week or two and do something completely different and my husband reads it and makes corrections and suggestions. (He’s great!) I consider my husband’s comments, then I go back and reread the entire manuscript out loud one last time.


Tell us what we have to look forward to in the future. What new projects are you working on? I have two more books coming out in this series. One is written (set in London) and I’m just starting book three (set in the new United States of America). I have also been approached about possibly going back to Sudan and writing the story of the displaced Southern Sudanese going home again. But I’ll have to say, after writing four books this year, I need a bit of a breather!

Do you have any parting words of advice? I love the idea of fiction with a purpose.
Before Barbara Scott at Abingdon, no one was willing to take a chance on slave-based fiction. More than one looked at my manuscript and told me, “I love the story, but I’m afraid it will rekindle old feelings and make people feel guilty.” I’ll have to admit, it did my heart good to see great reviews for the book in Publishers Weekly and The Library Journal with no mention whatsoever of rekindling or guilt! I applaud Abingdon for being willing to reach into fresh, untapped areas. Their entire fiction line is great, and I recommend every book on it

My prayer is that when readers finish The Call of Zulina – then when they finish the complete Grace In Africa series—they will long to see slavery wiped from the earth. And that they will be willing to be an active part of accomplishing that.
Kay Marshall Strom
www.kaystrom.com

First winner of Beyond Me contest!



We have a winner! Yes, the first winner of our "beyond me living" contest is Valley Pickren, nominated by her good friend Cindy Clarke (aka Gigi). Here are just a few of the things Cindy had to say about this amazing lady:

***She is an advocate for the disabled and helps them find the programs to help make their lives more manageable.

***She has put her needs on the back burner whenever a friend calls and needs her help.

***She gives of her time and minimal resources with no strings attached.

***She is a no-nonsense kind of person.... so don't try to lie to her because she can smell a lie a mile away!

***She was personally responsible for helping us gain custody of our granddaughter by going to pick her up from a questionable home life. We are forever grateful for that!

Congratulations, Valley, and thank you Cindy, for bringing this "beyond me" lady to our attention. We are honored to know you both.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blog radio interview tonight!

If you'd like to hear more about "beyond me living"--aka, true discipleship--join me at 6 p.m. (Central time) tonight (7/30/09) on "Not Just Talkin' the Talk" blog radio with Linda Goldfarb at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/linda-goldfarb. You can even call in during the program at 347-324-5810. I/we would love to have you join us!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Pearl Girls book to benefit charities


Margaret McSweeney uses the metaphor of a pearl in order to better describe the situations that ail us all. When an oyster takes in a piece of sand in order to create its coveted masterpiece, it is initially painful to the soft flesh of the creature. But, after the pain appears a clean, white symbol of simplicity, purity, and endurance that any woman would be proud to wear. Margaret believes that each woman is a pearl and, together, we form a necklace of great worth. In this book, readers will discover community and encouragement: women are not alone in either their pain or victories in life.

Respected authors such as Shaunti Feldhahn, Melody Carlson, Virelle Kidder, Robin Jones Gunn, Dannah Gresh, Kathi Macias, and others help remind every woman that they are not alone and that no circumstance is beyond the grace of God.

All royalties go to charity.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Where do you writers get your ideas???

I was attending a large outdoor family gathering recently, and as I sat on the sidelines, trying to regroup and relax a bit, Cousin Myrtle happened by.
“Hey, Kathi,” she said, grinning as she plunked down on the bench beside me. “How’s the writing going?”
As a professional writer who has authored thirty books in nearly as many years, I get this question on a regular basis. When I assure my interrogator that the writing is going very well, thank you, I invariably get the second-most asked question: “Where in the world do you get your ideas?”
Sure enough, Cousin Myrtle followed up with that very question just as her eight-year-old twin grandsons raced by behind her, shooting one another with red punch-filled squirt guns as their mother ran shrieking after them.
I smiled and shrugged. “It’s tough, but somehow they just keep popping up.”
She shook her head. “Well, I don’t know how you do it. I’d run out of ideas after the first book or two.”
The words were scarcely out of her mouth when her younger brother Clyde—one of my least favorite cousins—walked by, looking as cool as…well, as cool as any fifty-something guy can look when he’s trying to convince everyone he’s still in his thirties. (The spiked hair was bad enough, but the baggy pants that started just below his ample paunch were a bit much, and I couldn’t help but wonder if he really thought he was impressing the two twenty-something women joggers who were looking in his direction and laughing!)
“Yeah, it’s a stretch,” I assured Myrtle. “But you learn to be observant and find ideas in everyday occurrences.”
She frowned and glanced around, then shrugged. “You’ve got to be kidding. Books are supposed to be exciting, and real life is…boring.”
I smiled, as I watched my very pregnant niece give her husband “the look,” as he drooled after the disappearing backsides of the two shapely joggers who were still laughing at Cousin Clyde. I could only imagine the conversation that would follow when the expectant couple climbed into their car to head home.
“Oh, I don’t know,” I said. “I’ve never thought of real life as being boring. In fact, I usually find there are so many things going on that I have to pick and choose which ideas I want to write about.”
Myrtle frowned again. “I find that really hard to believe.”
Out of the corner of my eye I spotted Grandpa Amos, the patriarch of the family, entertaining his pre-school groupies by taking out his teeth and pretending they were talking to him.
Refocusing on Myrtle I said, “Hey, I’m just kidding. Nothing exciting goes on in my life either.”
She beamed. At last I had confirmed her suspicion that writers led boring, humdrum lives like everyone else. As she got up to leave, she asked one final question: “So out of all the books you’ve written, which is your favorite?”
“It’s Beyond Me,” I answered.
She chortled. “Just as I thought! One title blends right into the next one until you can’t even remember them anymore.” She was still chuckling and shaking her head as she walked away, mumbling, “I still can’t figure out where she gets all her ideas.”
Did I dare tell her that it was at a previous family reunion that I gathered much of the material for another book, How Can I Run a Tight Ship when I’m Surrounded by Loose Cannons? Nah. The concept might send her right over the edge….

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A great historical (and romantic!) read...


Kathi,
Thank you so much for inviting me to appear on your blog. I thought maybe your visitors might like to know a little bit about my writing journey.

I grew up with a very active imagination and began writing my stories down in 1984. Once I started to write, I plunged into learning how to do it well. After completing my first book, a short contemporary romance, I went back to college and earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. Then I did major edits on the book!

I also attended writers’ conferences and soaked up everything I could learn. At one conference, I met an editor who liked my novel. She bought the book and had plans to buy the sequel, but her company went bankrupt. Being a Christian of integrity, she took the time and trouble to find another publisher for me. What a rollercoaster ride of emotions I went through! But I knew God had a plan. In time, that contract produced a two-book series that gave me the credentials to be contracted by an agent, who found a publisher for my next and much bigger project, a three-book historical series entitled Ahab’s Legacy. After a second three-book series, this one set in the post-Civil War period, my agent, Wendy Lawton, made a perfect match for me: Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historicals. I’ve written two books for Steeple Hill and am working on a proposal for a third one.

Each step along the way, with each new book, I continue to learn more about writing. I have a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a master’s degree in liberal studies. But the most valuable resources in my writing life now are several excellent critique partners and a membership in the American Christian Fiction Writers.

If you’re dreaming of being a writer, here’s what I advise: If God gives you a vision for a story, don’t let anyone tell you not to write it. BUT make sure you study the craft of writing and learn about current trends.

My brand new release from Steeple Hill is Love Thine Enemy, a Revolutionary War love story set in the East Florida Colony. Most people assume Florida was always a Spanish colony until the United States acquired it. But for twenty years, during which time the American Revolution created a brand new country just north of Florida, England owned the area from the Florida Keys all the way to the Mississippi River. Fascinating, right?

So what’s a romance writer to do with that information? Why, I do a bit of research, find a specific setting (St. Johns River), and create interesting characters: an American heroine who would rather be in Boston helping with the Revolution and a British hero whose only concern is making East Florida a prosperous colony for the Crown. Here’s a blurb.

The tropics of colonial Florida are far removed from America’s Revolution. Still, Rachel Folger’s loyalties remain with Boston’s patriots. Handsome plantation owner Frederick Moberly’s faithfulness to the Crown is as certain as his admiration for Rachel—but for the sake of harmony, he’ll keep his sympathies hidden. After all, the war is too far distant to truly touch them...isn’t it? A betrayal of Rachel’s trust divides the pair, leaving Frederick to question the true meaning of faith in God and in country. Inspired by Rachel to see life, liberty, and love through His eyes, Frederick must harness his faith and courage to claim the woman he loves before war tears them apart.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love Thine Enemy, go to my Web site, http://www.louisemgouge.com/. Both here on Kathi’s site and on mine, leave a comment to be entered into my drawings, and you might win a free copy of my book. Love Thine Enemy is also available anywhere that books are sold. Here’s the ISBN: 13: 978-0-373-82815-9.

Thanks again, Kathi!

Weary yet still pursuing...

Then Gideon and the 300 men who were with him came to the Jordan
{and} crossed over, weary yet pursuing (Judges 8:4, NASB, emphasis added).

The story about Gideon and his meager band of men defeating a massive enemy gathering is always inspiring to me. First, I’m reminded that no battle is ever won in my own strength. Second, I’m encouraged by the fact that nothing is impossible with God.
This last week, however, as I reread this familiar passage of scripture, three little words jumped right off the page and into my heart: “weary yet pursuing.” Wow. Though this story emphasizes God’s strength and power and sovereignty, it also points out what is required of us as we partner with Him in battle. Certainly we will grow weary, for the battles continue throughout our lifetime here on earth. But even when weary, we are to continue pursuing!
What does that mean? In the story found in Judges 8, we see the victorious Gideon and his 300 men pursuing the pagan kings who had escaped. Though we as believers aren’t called to pursue pagan kings, we are definitely called to pursue the King of kings—even when we are weary—for it is in His presence that our strength is renewed. If we give in to our weariness and fall by the wayside, we will miss seeing the victory that God has already won. And oh, how the enemy would love for that to happen!
Beloved, it is God Himself who fights for us, but He has called us to keep pursuing His heart, His presence, His mercy—even (and most especially) when we are weary. As the world changes about us and life as we have known it melts into the realities of fulfilled prophecy, it is more important than ever to pursue God with each step, clinging to Him and His Word with every breath, refusing to turn aside from following hard after Him (see Psalm 63:8, KJV).
May our motto today and always be that we are “weary yet pursuing,” for God will see that our pursuing is rewarded by His presence!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Know anyone fighting cancer?



Just about every one of us knows someone who is struggling with the diagnosis of cancer. I personally remember hearing those words spoken to me by a military doctor when I was just nineteen years old with a baby at home and another one on the way. My husband was stationed at Amarillo Air Force base, and we had no family or close friends nearby. What I would have given for a book like Hope for the Journey through Cancer by my precious friend Yvonne Ortega! Obviously I am now a cancer survivor, as that diagnosis came in 1967, but I haven't forgotten the feelings that swirled around me when it was first delivered.

If you or someone you know/love is in that position now, please consider getting a copy of this excellent devotional-type book of encouragement, available at www.yvonneortega.com, any of the major online venues, and/or anywhere books are sold.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Making the Time to Pray

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence (1 Timothy 2:1-2).



Nearly thirty-five years ago, as a relatively new believer, I was getting ready to leave a Sunday morning church service when I noticed a newcomer sitting in the pew in front of me, a few seats down. As we all made our way toward the center aisle to exit the building, my eyes caught his so I smiled and introduced myself. We exchanged brief pleasantries, and then, as I turned to move on, I wished him well and promised to pray for him and his family during the week. I had no sooner climbed into my car, however, than I felt convicted of not having taken the time to pray for him on the spot. The feeling that I needed to offer to do so would not go away, though I argued with myself that he had probably already left. Still, I decided to go back into the building to check.

Sure enough, though the sanctuary was otherwise empty by then, the young man sat alone in a pew, his head in his hands, and I realized my sense of urgency had been God’s call to prayer. I went to him and told him I believed the Lord wanted me to pray with him, and he began to weep.

“I live just down the street a few houses from this church,” he said. “My wife left me a few days ago and took the kids, and I’ve been so depressed. This morning I decided to give life one more chance by coming here to this church. I told myself that if God would send someone to pray with me, I wouldn’t kill myself when I got home. I’m so glad He sent you.”

And I’m so glad I obeyed! How often do we say we will pray for someone and then forget our promise? And how important is it to obey God’s specific call to prayer? Sometimes that call to prayer comes as a nudge from the Holy Spirit, as it did for me that day more than three decades ago, but other times it comes through a command in the Scriptures. First Timothy 2:1-2 is explicit in its call to all believers to pray “first of all” for those in authority, whether political or church leaders. Are we heeding that command? Do we regularly pray for our pastors, our congres sm en, our President, regardless of how we may feel about them personally?

I’ve been a part of the presidential prayer team since its inception in 2001, meaning that I daily prayed for President George W. Bush, those who worked with him, and their families. It also means that I now pray daily for President Barack Obama, those who work with him, and their families. As a believer I have no choice. If I fail to pray for those in authority simply because I don’t happen to agree with them, then I am being disobedient to God. And yet I have heard Christians complain about George Bush and his policies, as well as Barack Obama and his. We seem to be quite accomplished as complainers, but not so faithful as intercessors. In addition to being disobedient, that makes us poor witnesses to those who don’t yet know the One who issued the commandment to pray.

I for one have been guilty many times of promising to pray but not following through. As a result, I find myself becoming critical of others. Whether a young man contemplating suicide or individuals in positions of authority with nearly unfathomable responsibilities on their shoulders, people need us to be obedient and to intercede for them. Let’s commit together to use our words “first of all,” as the scripture instructs, to pray for and bless people, rather than criticize them. If we do, God will be faithful to fulfill His purpose.



***Please take a moment to visit my website at www.kathimacias.com to sign my guestbook or leave a comment on my blog for a chance to win one of my new books. Please check out my new blog as well: http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com.



***Also, please visit www.setfreetoday.com, where I serve as Spiritual Director. Come as you are…leave with a new beginning! Drop us a note or prayer request while you’re there.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I really LOVE this book!


Talking to the Dead by Bonnie Grove

Not since Cry the Beloved Country have I labeled a book hauntingly beautiful, but Talking to the Dead deserves that description. Not only is the story poignant, moving, and even funny (appropriately and surprisingly so) at times, but it is exquisitely written. Bonnie Grove knows her topic—and knows how to write. I’m not easily impressed, but this book captivated me from the very beginning, and it did not let me down, even to the last bittersweet word. If this book doesn’t become a bestseller, there’s something seriously wrong with the reading public. Congratulations, Bonnie!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Resting...to do the Father's business

So the evening and the morning were the first day (Genesis 1:5).

How many times do we wake up in the morning and speak of starting a new day? Many of us did so even today, didn’t we? And yet, scripturally speaking, we aren’t starting a new day when we wake up, but rather continuing the one that started the previous evening. And that’s an important distinction.
God doesn’t do or say things capriciously. He always has a reason for every word, every action, and creation certainly is no exception. God began the cycle of a new day in the evening because He wanted us to understand the need to rest BEFORE beginning our activities. We, on the other hand, have turned it around so that we do our “busy work” first, and then fall into bed, exhausted and in need of rest. Wouldn’t it make more sense to follow God’s pattern of resting first—drawing on His strength—and THEN going out to do whatever it is He has called us to that day?
When Mary and Joseph noticed their twelve-year-old son, Jesus, was missing, they returned to Jerusalem and found Him in the Temple. “Didn’t you understand that I must be about My Father’s business?” was His response to their concern.
The Father’s business. Isn’t that what we are to be about as well? Isn’t that how we are to spend our days? But how can we do so if we haven’t first spent time with Him, as Jesus made a practice of doing regularly—listening for His voice, His Word, His direction, communing with Him, and learning to rest. For it is as we rest in Him that we understand what He has purposed for us to do and are enabled to respond accordingly.
Too many times we run ourselves ragged during the day—working, playing, serving, ministering—all in our own strength. And we wonder why have no feeling of lasting accomplishment when we’re done and why all we want to do is sleep and recover from the day’s activities. Perhaps it’s because we have it all backward. Why not try turning things around by first thinking of your day as beginning at night, when you go to bed to rest. Spend some time communing with God—before you fall asleep, the moment you wake up—and then, rested and refreshed, continue the day in His strength, rather than your own. Chances are you’ll accomplish a lot more of the Father’s business.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Don't settle for being "brought out"!

“Then He brought us out from there, that He might bring us in,
to give us the land of which He swore to our fathers” (Deuteronomy 6:23).

It’s amazing how many of us believers are satisfied to be “brought out” and forget that God also wants to “bring us in.” We are content with the proverbial “fire insurance” that spares us an eternity in hell yet care little about fulfilling our God-ordained purpose during our brief sojourn here on earth.
I remember when I was first saved in 1974 I heard a pastor say, “If God didn’t have a purpose for your life, He would take you straight to heaven the moment you became a believer.” I was 26 then, with a lifetime of opportunities ahead of me, which I could use to serve God—or self. Sadly my choices haven’t always been the right ones; as a result, I wasted much of the time that could have been used to fulfill God’s purposes for my life. I was content with being “brought out,” showing little concern about partnering with God to “bring me in.” Now, in my seventh decade of life, my greatest regret is the time I spent serving self, rather than God.
Most of you are behind me on the homeward journey, with more time ahead of you to make those right choices. I encourage you today to study the book of Deuteronomy and learn from the Israelites’ time in the wilderness, as they vacillated between obeying God and doing their own thing. For, ultimately, that’s the key to being brought in to the fulfillment of God’s purpose for our life—obedience. If God says “turn left” but we go right, we have just taken a detour from the path He has marked out for us. Being obedient to God today assures us that we will end up exactly where He wants us to be tomorrow. And that’s the reason He “brought us out” in the first place.
Don’t miss it, beloved. Following God’s plan to “bring us in” is the only way to find the joy and fulfillment that we all seek….

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Need some joy in your life?





I just received my copy of Live Your Joy, the newest literary offering from my dear friend Bonnie St. John, who has been "blitzing" the country on a promotional tour. I had the privilege of reading this book before it was officially released, and I have to tell you that this is one read you do NOT want to miss! Bonnie is not only an amazing lady (who doesn't know the meaning of the word "can't"), but she has captured the unlimited, contagious joy that so typifies her and recorded it right here in this book so the rest of us can experience it too. Live Your Joy is available at all major online venues and everywhere books are sold. Do yourself a favor and get one--and get an extra for someone else!

IT IS FINISHED!

YAY!!! The completed FIRST ALLEGIANCE manuscript has just flown through cyberspace and landed in our editor's very capable hands. What a relief! I believe I need a nap before diving into the next emergency. Bless you all for praying!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Getting God Back in Perspective

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).

We humans were made in God’s image, not the other way around, though we often forget that great truth. As a result, we have a skewed view of God, of the world, of life, and of ourselves. The only way to make it right is to put God back in proper perspective. That means we can no longer examine Him under the microscope of our finite reasoning, but rather behold Him through the telescope of His Word.

Our pastor has been teaching on God’s sovereignty, including the fact that by virtue of His sovereignty we have only one choice if we are to live in proper perspective as those made in the Sovereign’s image—we must adopt a servant attitude. Because we live in a wonderful country that has allowed us to participate in government, we often lack the understanding of what it means to live under sovereign rule. Those who live under a king or dictator or some other form of sovereign leadership understand much better than we. The difference is that our Sovereign is not human and therefore not limited by human abilities or tainted by human sin. But our call to servanthood is no less a reality; rather, it is more so, as our relationship to the Sovereign of the Universe is eternal, rather than temporal.

True, Jesus said that He no longer calls those of us who follow Him “servants” but “friends.” And what a great privilege that is! But it does not negate the fact that we are still to walk in submission and obedience to the One who has numbered our days and ordered our steps.

America is a Republic, based on democratic rule that allows us a say in how we are governed. Not so in the Kingdom of God . We don’t get to vote on pending laws, protest existing ones, or elect a new ruler. God is in charge, period. He always has been and always will be, regardless of how humans may rant or rave, shake fists at heaven, or deny His existence.

God is beyond our understanding because He is perfect and we are not. He is beyond our comprehension because He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent; we are not. He calls ALL the shots, not just some of them, and He has no need to consult us before He does so or apologize if we don’t like the outcome. And He was under no obligation to send His Son to pay for our sins so that we could have once again have relationship with Him.

But He did. And that is the most stunning aspect of His personality to fathom. A perfect, all-powerful God, who needed nothing from us and owed us nothing, humbled Himself to come into our presence and reveal to us as much as we were able to understand about our Creator, as much as we needed to know to acknowledge Him as Sovereign Lord and willingly and joyfully give our lives over to His service. And because He did so, we are without excuse if we do not respond.

An old Dennis the Menace cartoon so aptly depicts our necessary stance before a sovereign God, as it shows the little guy kneeling at his bedside, cowboy hat askew and plastic gun still holstered around his waist as he folds his hands in supplication and says, “I’m here to turn myself in.”

We with our crooked cowboy hats and plastic guns may think we’re in charge of our lives, but it is only because we have not understood that it is we who are made in the image of God, not He in ours. Throw away that microscope that minimizes the Sovereign of the Universe to One who exists to serve our needs, and start studying God through the telescope of the Scriptures. I promise you that very soon your magnified view of God will give you a servant’s heart that wants nothing more than to fulfill the purpose for which He has created you.

***Please take a moment to visit my website at www.kathimacias.com to sign my guestbook or leave a comment on my blog for a chance to win one of my new books. Please check out my new blog as well: http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com.

***Also, please visit www.setfreetoday.com, where I serve as Spiritual Director. Come as you are…leave with a new beginning! Drop us a note or prayer request while you’re there.