Sunday, July 31, 2011

Keeping Hope Alive 2

We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Praise His Holy Name.
July 12, 2011 the Vascular doctor told us that when  CCSVI (Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency) patients return in six months 90% of them still had open veins. In two years 50% still have them open. The others have to have the procedure again. And the patients know when they have blocked again because their symptoms return. 

We left Albany, NY and headed for home. Husband in I flew in Charley, and Daughter and family drove.

We got a progress report each day. We learned things daughter couldn't do for the first time, as she only told us as they improved. And each day she could see better, think better, read better. Awesome. Others do not see any changes for two weeks, but each day things improved for our dear daughter.

Then the unforeseen happened and after four wonderful days of daily improvement the symptoms came back. And we had no idea when she would be able to return to the doctor. We feared she might have to wait the full three months until her next appointment.

My sister's daughter also looked at the videos from the link daughter sent. She watched our daughter's progress and now has an appointment for August 8, 2011. Our neice hoped it would be the same time as daughter returned.

As it turns out, daughter was able to get her appointments at the same time. The cousins can be together and Sister and her husband will accompany them this trip.

A link for info on progress made at the Vascular clinic in Albany, New York.  

To see Keeping Hope Alive 1 post go here

QFY: When life sends you a curve ball, what do you do to keep hope alive?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Seeing Cicadas

The other day, after getting some pictures of yarrow, I sat there, enjoying the view of the flowers and the sound of summer in full swing. That's when I spotted this cicada shell. Looking around, I found there were exoskeletons all around me.

Seeing these cicada exoskeletons made me wonder what else I'm missing in my frantic rush from one thing to another. Life gets busy and I get so caught up in everything that, before I realize it, weeks have passed and I've missed many little gems. Like these cicadas.

It made me pause and really look around--not simply at the easy to see things on the surface, but things lurking just out of sight. Things waiting to be discovered and savored.

So tell me, what's something that's made you pause and savor the moment?

Finding the Extraordinary God in our Ordinary Lives

Friday, July 29, 2011


Early this summer, a mommy and daddy mosquito and their 2.3 million babies went looking for a nice place to raise a family. They spotted The Prude’s garden and it looked just right. But on their initial buzz-through they couldn’t help noticing that The Prude squashed a good 950 of their precious little ones who were frolicking, as children are wont to do, on her arms, legs, lips and ears.  So they filed a restraining order against her, effectively keeping her at least 20 feet away from the garden and the growing family. 

Until this past weekend.  A mighty wind came along and blew them due east (my apologies to Schenectady). The Prude could finally don her gardening gloves, take up hoe and snippers and set out to pull weeds and pick produce. 

These photos show the comparative sizes of the Weed and the produce pile.

(Look closely at the Weed pile and you may see some flowers and bean stems mixed in.  They obviously gave up the fight and went to the winning side.)
Notice Weed pile’s total domination over the produce pile in mass, profusion, and density.

You may be expecting at this point to read of profound Weed Disapproval.  Not at all.  The Prude recognizes superior beings when she picks them, and Weeds are clearly superior in almost every way to the measly garden vegetable.

Garden produce is the green thumbs down for the day.

Let’s do a little compare and contrast:
Weeds are free,
but we pay for those fancy little seed packs with pictures of lushly remarkable vegetables.
Weeds don’t require soil prep or planting,
but we are instructed to sow those little vegetable seeds 1/8” deep and thin them to 12” spacing when they are 6” high.  This leads one to believe only a mathematician can garden.
Weeds need no fertilization,
but vegetables require correct pH levels in the soil, organic or chemical compounds and/or unpleasant piles of compost.
Weeds have a strong ego and sense of self. They flourish in the most adverse conditions,
but garden produce constantly needs its self-esteem staked, its self-confidence watered and its self-image Miracle-Gro’d.

Weeds. With a capital Dubya. Why do we fight them? Come with me, embrace the Weed.  Let the doughty Midwestern farmer, with his manure spreader, cultivator, tractor and combine harvester provide you with produce.  Join The Prude. Let us google ‘weed recipes’ together.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Song

"I shall grow old, but never lose life's zest,
Because the road's last turn will be the best."
Henry Van Dyke

Too many choices! Did I want whitening, breath freshening, gum protection, tartar control? I wondered how much simpler life might be without all the confusing, daily choices I needed to make. Still pondering the big toothpaste dilemma, I was distracted by a female voice belting out a scratchy rendition of what I recognized as a Frank Sinatra tune.

I pushed my cart around the corner. There sat an elderly, white-haired woman on a bench near the prescription pick-up window. Slumped to one side, eyes closed, it appeared someone had unceremoniously deposited her there while they tried on shoes or hurried to the blue light special. I couldn’t quite help staring as she continued to sing. Suddenly, her eyes fluttered open for just a moment and our gaze met. I was saddened by the loneliness and pain I saw there. Closing her eyes, in a voice revealing a piece of her past, she swayed as she continued her song of lost love and longing.

I turned my cart abruptly, fleeing the heartbreaking and embarrassing sight. My usual purchases at K-Mart — ultra hydrating lotion, Tylenol for my backache during the day , Tylenol PM for my backache at night, assorted brands of antacids — reminded me that my turn to be deposited on a bench may be a mere twenty years away.

As I later stood in the check out line, I was reminded of another woman and another song.

I was 16 or 17, waiting for my candy striper sister in a quiet hallway of St. John’s Hospital. Reflections of the late afternoon sun on the shiny floors filled the hallways with light. Standing by a magazine cart, I heard the frail voice of an elderly woman from a nearby room. The familiar words and tune were ones we were preparing for an upcoming high school choir concert. Unable to resist the temptation, I peeked into the room to see a tiny woman, under a white sheet with even whiter hair sticking out in a dozen directions. Oblivious to my presence, she continued her song: “Bless the Lord, O my soul/And all that is within me, Bless His Holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul/And forget not all His benefits.”

I backed away from the door, aware I had eavesdropped on a holy conversation.

Two songs. Two women. For years, each had engaged in daily rehearsals. One score was written with the ink of despair and disappointment the other with strokes of gratitude and hope. My K-Mart encounter was a timely reminder.

Whether I am 30 or 75, today, I am choosing the score of my life’s song.

Will my song be a song of sadness? Or, will it be a song of hope, joy and gratitude for the beauty of life.

I hope it is the latter.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Tale of Water

I yank the freezer door open and scoop a handful of ice from the purchased bag into her cup.

A few chunks fall on my feet, and I kick them out of the way.

I go out to the back kitchen and press the spigot on the white ceramic water crock.

I fill the cup with fresh bottled water.

Some spills.

I shrug.

She grabs the cup and gulps.

She shakes water on her tray.

Refreshed, she throws the cup on the floor.

I get another glass, fill it with ice and water for myself.

I check my email, and one from Compassion International catches my eye.

Subject: About Your Sponsored Child in Kenya.

I open it.

Dear Dennis & Family,

Because you are a sponsor of a child in Kenya, I wanted to make you aware of a very serious drought that is currently affecting nearly 12 million people living in the north-eastern part of Africa.

This drought is being reported as the worst in 60 years, affecting up to 40 percent of children under the age of 5. Because of this drought, crops have failed and food prices have skyrocketed--leaving millions of people at risk.

Compassion has nearly 1150 child development centers throughout this eastern part of Africa. We are monitoring the situation closely and will provide you with an update as more information becomes available.

At this time, we just wanted to share with you the information that we've received from our field offices and also provide you with an opportunity to send a gift of any amount to help meet these incredible needs. As you can imagine, this has created an extraordinary demand for food, water, and other basic necessities. Please click here if you would like to make a donation.

Thank you so much for your time. And please remember to pray for the children and families who are being directly impacted by this situation.

I stop to pray for Nduta and her family.

I sip some more water.

I click here.

I send a general donation.

I log into our sponsor page.

I send some extra money to Nduta.

I send a money gift to her family.

I make a note to send a note.

I look out at our crunchy grass and wilted sunflowers.

We need rain, but I hope it will hold until after the weekend when we visit "up north."

We need to pick up my son's car, finally repaired after a honeymoon accident following his Fourth of July wedding on Lake Michigan.

We want to visit and swim in Torch Lake, Michigan's Caribbean, rated by National Geographic as the third most beautiful lake in the world, the longest inland lake in the state.

I must remember to pick up ice and several bottles of water for the trip.

I throw a load of clothes into the washer.

I wipe up the spilled ice and water.

Then I dump our remaining water down the sink.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dreaming of a Contract?

Recently Barn Door blogger Lynda Schab shared her exciting news about signing her first contract. Guess what? It just might be your turn next because Risen Books is about to make your dreams come true! Polish off your pitch and submit it to Risen for the chance to win the ultimate writer's pay-off.

First Prize: Publishing contract with Risen Books
Second Prize: Amazon Kindle (with special offers)
Third Prize: Free books from Risen authors

Now that your heart rate is rocketing and your palms are all sweaty, here are the details...

Your entry must be in one of the following genres: mystery (but not cozy mysteries), suspense, thriller, sci-fi/fantasy, historical (but no romance) and young adult. The first 40 entries submitted between July 21 through the 31st will qualify. A submission form can be found here.

The general public will vote on the entries, narrowing the field down to 20, then current Risen authors will select the best 5 based on originality, strength of plot, and quality of writing. Final decision will be made by Risen's editorial committee and winners will be announced on September 30th.

It's the chance of a lifetime but you've got to act fast. Send in your entry soon because this opportunity won't last long.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Coming Home to Holland, Michigan

By Joyce Elferdink

Coming home is a ritual for many people when their living conditions change. I did not expect to perform this ritual because I have changed. Memories of my childhood home were not all positive: I remembered a very conservative small town with almost no diversity (except for the summer help brought in to work in the blueberry fields) and not very welcoming to those like me with no Dutch heritage. Only aging parents and sibling appeals drew me back.

Two years have passed since I made that difficult decision; astonishingly, they have been two great years! I have found the truth in the 2009 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index which placed Holland second on their list of healthiest, happiest cities in America. An ABC World News article from February 17, 2010, said, “Residents here know that solutions to problems are not found in the maze of ideas that come out of Washington, but from the rewards that come from caring about their neighbors. The Dutch, who founded this city 163 years ago, have a word for this -- gezellig -- which translate to 'close-knit community.”

Not only is it a close-knit community, embracing aliens like me, but it exudes natural beauty along the length of its lake shore and tributaries and six miles of tulips blossoming during the annual Tulip Time festival.

Other downtown activities include the summertime Downtown Street Performers Series and the winter Ice Sculpting Competition.

Even with all the natural resources and activities, it’s the people that have made coming home priceless, the renewed relationships with high school friends and the new relationships within groups dedicated to becoming good neighbors to long-time residents and newcomers.  

If you have rejected “coming home” because you have changed, consider the possibility that your hometown has changed even more and may now be your ideal home.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Left and the Other Left

If it weren’t for Lake Michigan, I’d never know where I was.

I got mixed up learning left and right when I was a kid, and I’ve never recovered. I blame it on the “me” generation of the sixties and seventies, when people didn’t really care much about stuff that didn’t make you sway to the music, and Vietnam, granny dresses and granny glasses, and I 94 through Milwaukee.

But the left and right thing…sometimes I wonder whether or not I should drive. My youngest son finally caught on when he got his driver’s license and realized certain things. He taught me the L thing with one of my hands. Now, if I have time and remember, I hold them up for a quick check—ah, yes, that’s right…um, correct. I think I’d do real well in Michigan with the “Michigan left”; except that after two turns, I’m usually lost. My oldest son was born with his dad’s radar, so (like, don’t tell him) I relied on his instincts for which direction to go from the time he was about six until he left home. That’s one back-seat driver I totally miss.

When we moved out here to the country, it took me literally seven years to figure out all the crossings of the North Branch of the Milwaukee River that winds through my township. We’re conservative; we don’t just build bridges wherever we feel like it. Bridges are expensive. There are three. But there are a lot more roads, so figuring out how to get there from here is not always as easy as it seems.

For some reason, though, I usually know where Lake Michigan is. I grew up in Racine, on the shores of the Lake, and now live only fifteen miles inland. East is…right that way. Over there, toward the rising sun, doncha know.

Besides, Lake Michigan is pretty hard to miss. Unless you’re facing Chicago. Then it’s left.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Weed Watcher's Report: July

What can I say? After the long gray winter, summer is so colorful. It's a feast for the eyes...if you're looking for it.

Milkweed is something I often played with as a kid. I knew all about the pods, the sticky milky goo that seeps from the stems, but in all these years I never noticed the flowers. They don't look like much from the road, but when I got up close I was blown away by their intricacy.

So often I miss the beauty that's all around me, but I've been making it a point to open my eyes and see it more. What a blessing that's been!

This year's winter wheat has been harvested and soybeans are quickly growing in those fields. Double cropping is popular down here.

My favorite summer flower is the tiger lily. They grow wild around here--oh, I'm sure someone planted them years ago, but they've spread through the years. They've spread enough that the cemetery on the corner of our property is blanketed in tiger lilies. Beautiful!

Here's a weed that grows in the ditches all around my house. Any one know what it is?

Of course, you can't talk about summer flowers--especially in a weed watchers report without mentioning dandelions. A little girl's delight and home owner's pain. There's still something magical about dandelions when get right down to it.

So tell me, what's your favorite summertime flower?

Finding the Extraordinary God in our Ordinary Lives

Thursday, July 21, 2011

We Love Our Animals

As a pastor I hear all kinds of questions. Most of them are about the practical aspects of Christian living like how to read the Bible or pray. Occasionally, I get a really interesting one. Just last week, someone asked, “Will animals talk in heaven? Maybe like the donkey who talked to his owner? What language will they speak if they do?”

This question is both interesting and fun for me. My answer must be pure speculation because the Bible does not talk about animals in heaven. If you don't like my answer, simply say, "We'll see when we get to heaven."

I'd like to think there will be animals in heaven. They are such an integral part of life on this planet that I expect God will have them in the new heaven and new earth. John Wesley, the founder of my branch of the Christian Family Tree, rode his horse for many miles preaching all over England. He expected his horse to be in heaven. Who am I to argue with John Wesley?

I'm not sure the animals will be able to talk in heaven. As far as I can tell, animals have never spoken. It is one of the things that make humans unique. However, you mentioned one story from the Bible where a donkey spoke to its master. God used the animal to capture the attention of a disobedient prophet, in order to spare the man's life. This story keeps me on an even keel as a preacher. Whether I'm tempted to pride or despair, it reminds me that God can use a donkey to do my job.

If the animals can speak in heaven, I'm sure they will speak the same language we will be speaking. No one knows what language that will be. I guess we'll all need to wait and see what heaven is really like.

Do you or any of your loved ones have questions about practical Christian living? I will do my best to give heartfelt honest answers. You can send them to me in the comments section below, on Facebook, on Twitter, on LinkedIn or by email. Thanks for all your questions.


Pastor Mark Haines

Bay City Wesleyan Church

Q & A with Pastor Mark Haines

Q & A with Pastor Mark Haines on Kindle
PastrMarkHaines on Twitter

Jesus says, "My yoke is easy" (Matthew 11:30)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Out of Exile

When I was a girl, I talked to my mom of my becoming a famed author, living in a penthouse above Manhattan, vacationing in my cottage off the shores of Europe, and jetting around the world in my private jet. A girl can dream, right? She always encouraged me to do so.

The days came, though, when those dreams became my enemy. I knew the voices in my head and the people that accompanied them were evil and ought to be banished. They went into exile, protesting, “But we’ve a story to tell you.”

It was a noble and just act on my part. I must never allow unclean thoughts to be entertained. If it was fiction, it was a lie, therefore must be slain. They were, after all, vain imaginations, right?

After a noble fight, I won. Hurray! I was at last free of the images, the horrors of broken lives conjured by imagination. I would live in reality, read only teaching books, feed my soul. Noble. Honorable.

Years faded into the past. A foggy mist hovered over the paths through my thoughts making things unclear. I ached for whatever it was that I missed. I opened my journal to find line after line of empty spaces staring up at me—mocking.

One day, while searching through old documents on my dinosaur computer’s floppy disc, I came across a story written and saved. I read it and felt a tug from somewhere deep within. Ahh, it’s nothing. Later, I sent that story to my pastor. He happened to be checking his emails at the time and read it. His response came quickly. “Girl, you need to do something with that. God’s given you something.”

“But I can’t write two words together to save my life these days.” I complained to him. He would smile and encourage me.

Finally, after time had passed, God heard enough. “When will ya quit complainin’ and begin doin’?”

I stumbled upon Faith Writer’s online and entered my first “challenge”. I labored over trying to scrape enough words together in order to meet the requirements of 150 – 750 words. Fear overwhelmed me. I was met with encouragement. Soon, words began reproduce and before long I had trouble staying below the maximum. However, entering this writer’s box, I had tapped the door open to Imagination’s dungeon.

How was I to keep it at bay and still write? How on earth could I maintain reality if I allowed those people their voice again?

It’s been three years now, and I’ve wrestled with them. They've been allowed their voice, while I hid them like warts on my hands. The battle ended with a conference for our ACFW’s Great Lakes Chapter in Lansing, MI. I sat, listening as Gail Gaymer Martin shared her stories; how people grew attached to the characters, connected with them. “This (writing) is a ministry.” The words filled my soul, inflating imagination with the resolve it needed to trample down the vault door so that it may never be shut again.

It has been an amazing experience to see faces light up when I unashamedly proclaim, “I’m a writer.” I don’t know that I’ll ever be as famous as I told my mom so long ago, except in God’s eyes. When He sees that I quit hiding from my imagination—His creativity—and began allowing it freedom to express His passion for people through story. Because of these confessions and revelations, the misty fog has lifted, allowing me vision into the hope for a writing future. Recently, God has blessed this girl with three up-coming published short stories with Christian Fiction Online Magazine. Additionally, it is no longer a blushing, fist pressed into lips, confession that there are now three communities of people living inside my brain and have been there for some time. Each, like toddlers, insists they are more important than anything else I have to do.

Now to convince them they are all loved the same . . .

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Keeping Hope Alive 1

Continuing the story of our Daughter's MS journery. Our familys journey  . . . for she does not walk the journey alone. A lot of you know who this is, but for a bit of privacy I will not name names.
Our daughter learned about a new treatment for MS. Doctors in Italy learned that 100% of the MS patients they tested had blockage either the jugular viens, or where they connect to the vein going down the chest. The diagnosis is CCSVI 
(Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency)

Vascular Surgeons in the USA have taken up the challenge and are treating MS patients with blocked veins with 99.99% showing improvement in their symptoms.

She sent us a link to watch videos of progress made at the Vascular clinic in Albany, New York.  

She also said it might take as long as six months to get an appointment.
On June 22 our daughter got an appointment on July 11, 2011 for the pre-testing and a second appointment the following day, July 12, for the vineogram.  
With hope and excitement we entered the Doctor's office. Daughter's husband and daughter (an RN) were able to go back with Daughter for the echogram. They could see the blue blood ascending through the carotid arteries and the red blood trying to descend through the jugular viens. But the red was refluxing and mixing with the blue. All the testing done on Monday is a baseline for when patients return for a check in three months, in six months, and every six months after.

On Tuesday, after the procedure the doctor granted our daughters and her family wishes and let husband and I go back to see the computer pictures. This was the first time daughter was able to see them also.

The doctor first showed the left vein. He put dye in the vein to show any blockage. It was very easy to see the vein narrow to a pinpoint or finer. This vein was 90% blocked. We saw the after picture after the balloon treatment and the blood flowed freely and fast. The right side looked worse to me, as what i could see of the flow below the blockage, well I really couldn't see it until the doctor pointed it out. But we could easily see swirling and refluxing on the upper part of the vain before it seemed to close off. This vein, however didn't have as high a percent of blockage. Once again the after picture showed the blood flowing freely.

To be continued . . .

Monday, July 18, 2011

Now and Then - Sweet Reminders

Son #1 and the 3 Wigglies I get for a few days.
Today starts a three day period of pretending for me today. I get three wigglies for an extended weekend. I can let my mind go back to the days my sons were young and pretend I am doing it again. Those were the best years of my life thus far. I was born to be a mother and I loved every tail dragging, exhausting, exhilarating, joyous minute of it.

When I make the wigglies their lunch today, in my mind, I will be back in my old kitchen making sandwiches on white bread. The paper plate will sit on harvest gold and white Formica and the dirty silverware will be dropped into a harvest gold sink. It will be hot and sticky because there is no air conditioning. No TV will be hanging on the wall and the only sounds I will hear are the boys laughing, cups being knocked over and milk splattering onto the floor.

The three wigglies are supposed to wash their hands in the back bathroom when they come in from outside. Today it is in the process of the final stages of remodeling. Tile, new sinks, toilet, shower and granite countertop are all in place and we are waiting for the painter to finish the room. Back when my boys were young, the bathroom was created for them. I used aqua sinks, shower, and toilet (what was I thinking???) and tried to keep it as masculine as possible. Even with the two sinks there was always someone shoving someone around and the mirror always smeared. I should have saved myself time and had the mirror made out of a patterned glass.

Today the wigglies will probably go swimming in the pool just outside our slider. When my boys were young, that’s where we would put the slip and slide because it had a downhill slope. So much work trying to keep the ends of the bright yellow plastic anchored to the ground. We tried putting bricks on the corners, but that was detrimental when a head would connect with one. Also, trying to keep the hose at just the right angle to spray the largest area of the slide was tricky. We would wedge it between two bricks and it would work pretty well until we had to take it out and spray off the plastic because it was full of grass and dirt. A few times we had to move the slide because there was a large rock or sticky weed under it.

I’ll probably take the wigglies to a movie and we might have a night at home that we will find a movie to rent on demand. When my boys were younger, we didn’t have the money to go to movies. We didn’t have the luxury of searching by demand for something to watch. We had five channels. For a special treat we would go rent a movie at the rental store. Walking down the aisles looking for something to watch was part of the fun.

These wigglies will come with hand held games that can eat away hours of their lives. My boys had hand held toys too. They came in the shape of cars, trucks, guns, bats, and balls. The closest they had to an electronic game was a Rubiks cube.

When it’s time for the wigglies to be tucked into bed, we will find places on the floor or couch. There is one bed for them to “discuss” who will sleep in. The boys’ bedrooms upstairs have slid into a dismal storage space. One room is still waiting for the four sons to pick up their goods and take them home. The other room is the “holiday” room full of decorations just waiting for their turn on the calendar.

So, the wigglies will transport me back to my favorite time of my life if only for a few short days. The only thing that will be missing will be my energy I had back then.

Best seats in the house for the 4th of July fireworls.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Midwest Cowgirl says Howdy

Welcome to our friend Tammy Barley, historical fiction writer and groovy free-lance editor, who steps in for Karin for a while.

Greetings from yours truly, a horse-hugger and prairie gal at heart!

I’ve lived in 27 places in 8 states so far, and been to most of the rest of the USA. While living away from the Midwest, I discovered nifty new places, plants, wildlife, topography, architecture, culture, traditions, and foods, but I dearly missed the Midwest—the hominess of it, four seasons, thunderstorms, broad-leafed trees, lakes, lilacs, fireflies, farmhouses, and barns. No other place was the same.

Upon moving home to northern Illinois—a place in the woodsy country—wildlife began to visit. Deer wandered through the yard, a raccoon, opossum, rabbits, squirrels, and even a coyote paid a visit. But it was a red fox who inspired a historical romance novel.

The winter before last, a young red fox wandered into our backyard and made it his home for several days. Thinking back to how my mom had always named our pets after Disney characters (Wendy, Tramp, Tinker Bell), I realized that Mr. Disney never had the honor of having a beagle or a dachshund named after him. So, I dubbed the red fox “Walt.” Walt is one of the characters in book one of my next trilogy—yep, named Walt—and his antics, in part, inspire the romance between the two main characters.

The real red fox eventually wandered on, never knowing he’d inspired a novel, a romance, and a family who loved watching him. It’s wonderful to be home.

~ Love's Rescue ~ #11 on ChristianBook's historical fiction Bestseller List
~Hope's Promise~ Rated 41/2 stars by readers~Faith's Reward~ "Compelling. A page-turner." Romantic Times Book Reviews

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lynda Schab's New and Exciting Season...

At the risk of sounding as though I'm tooting my own horn, I have to share. Another new season is beginning for me. This one is in regards to my writing career. A few weeks ago on a Saturday afternoon, my agent, Terry Burns, called me from the Write to Publish conference in Chicago. I have to admit, as soon as I heard his voice, my heart rate increased and my insides started quivering. I'm used to exchanging emails, but agents don't normally call unless...well, I didn't want to get my hopes up, so I played it casual.

"Hey, Terry, how are you?" I asked, wiping the sweat from my brow and trying to refrain from screaming in his ear.

Terry wasted no time in getting to the point.
Oak Tara Publishers has offered me a contract for my novel, Mind over Madi!

After some squealing and gushing (by me), Terry handed the phone over to recently contracted author Pam Meyers, also Terry's client, who was there with him to share the news.

Seriously, you guys. I was in shock. I've been hoping and praying for this for so long. And when it finally happened, it truly blew me off my feet.

I signed the contract and just last week I emailed everything to my editor so she can start on the lengthy revision/publication process - whatever that all entails.

I just want to take a moment to high-five my agent for working so hard on my behalf, and thank all of my critique partners, friends, and fellow authors who have been so supportive as I've worked toward the "published author" season in my life. Of course, it's not over yet. In fact, the real work is just beginning. I intend to enjoy every moment.

God's timing, as always, is perfect. I owe Him everything.

Here's a little blurb about my novel, Mind over Madi.

All men cheat. At least, that’s what Madi’s mother has always told her. That fact is confirmed when Madi suspects her husband of having an affair with the mother of one of his 4th grade students. When, in a heated moment, Madi asks him to leave and he complies, Madi is forced to deal with her issues. Issues she has tried to avoid. Issues of love and trust that trail back to her childhood. Will counseling, a determination to not turn out like her bitter and unforgiving mother, and an emotional confrontation with the “other woman” help Madi realize there is Someone who always has her on His mind, even when it seems she’s lost her own?

Oh...By the way, I will be using the name Lynda Lee Schab (I just think that middle name makes me sound cooler). I have started an Author Page on Facebook, and if you would like to keep up with my journey to publication, click on over and LIKE me. And feel free to share it with your friends!


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