a fresh start

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Anyone else feel like July 4th is the real start to summer? I know most people are so excited when Memorial Day hits and then school’s out and “it’s summer!” but maybe I’m just slow to transition from the school year schedule. It always feels like I don’t quite settle into it until July. (Plus, it’s my birthday month, so yay!)

Another thing about July … for me, it always feels like a new beginning. Maybe it’s because my planner is an academic one and starts in July. Maybe it’s because we’re halfway through the year and it feels like a fresh start for the second half. I don’t know. But I like the feeling anyway.

What are your goals for the second half of 2017?

Mine …

• Get to the gym or outside running at least 3x/week
• Healthy meals at home (we have eaten out so much lately and I feel blah.)
• Catch up on my Read the Bible in a year reading plan.

Happy summer!

3 books for 99 cents!

BoxedSetSALE
Yes, you read that right!
The Kindle boxed set of my Cornerstone series is only 99¢ NOW thru July 6th.

Pass this great deal on to your friends before the set goes back up to regular price next week!

I’ll be back soon with updates on what I’m writing this summer.
Have a wonderful holiday weekend and lots of happy reading!

don’t worry!

all3woodfloor
Something I’ve been dealing with the past week or two has been letting go of things I cannot control, which has always been a challenge for me. When I wrote Goodbye, Magnolia, I put a lot of myself into the character of Maggie, one of those characteristics being that she just can’t seem to let go and trust that God has a plan, that He sees the big picture when we can’t. It’s something I’m constantly re-learning in my life, something I fail at often. Because even though I know that God’s in control and truly believe it in my heart, I’m still human and I make mistakes and I’m not too proud to admit that. Every time I go through times like this, my mind returns to the verse that says “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Nope! But I still do it.

My husband’s car broke down last week. I worry about it getting fixed so I don’t have to drive him back and forth to work.

Dad’s got a heart catheterization coming up to make sure his heart is all good and can handle liver transplant surgery. I worry about that, for sure.

My daughter is currently without a gym as we chose to leave the gymnastics team she competed with last season. I worry about finding a new gym for her for this year.

I’ve got a sale coming up on my 3-book set at the end of the week. I worry about promoting it well, whether it will be a successful sale, and if I will make the money back that I paid to advertise it.

These are only a few of the things weighing on my mind these past weeks, and everything kind of came to a head this weekend, leaving me feeling quite overwhelmed.

But when I step back and look at each of these things individually, I know they will all work out. One thing at a time. Jake will get his car fixed. Dad’s heart doctor will tell us if he finds anything troubling and it will get fixed. We will find a gym for Chloe. And even if only one person buys the book set during the sale, then that person was probably the only one that was meant to read it and that’s OK. ;)
So, I’m learning and growing (hopefully), and I’m praying that next time I feel the worry coming on, I’ll say, “Nope! Don’t need to worry about that. God’s brought you through a lot worse than this.”

I’m sure I’m not the only worrier out there, so here is the passage I mentioned in case you need to be reminded of this today, too:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life.”
Matthew 6:25-27

Have a blessed week!

the Cornerstone series

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May has always been my month for releasing my books. In May 2014, my first novel, The Truth About Drew, came out. The following year it was Goodbye, Magnolia, and then last May I released Until Then. So when this May rolled around, it left me feeling a little sad that I didn’t have a new release for you. I am writing my next novel right now, but it might not come out until next May. I’d love to get it to you before that, but I’d be OK with another May release. And it takes place in the summer, so it’s going to be a nice beach read.

For quite a while now, I’ve been wanting to put all of the books in my Cornerstone series into a boxed set eBook. I loved the idea of having them all in one eBook so readers could gobble them all up at one time. ;)

One major change I made when putting this eBook together was to move the epilogue of Goodbye, Magnolia to the very end of the series. At the end of that book, we jump forward in time nearly a year and you see where Maggie and Simon end up. The second book, Hello, Forever, which is the sequel novella, then jumps back to the same night Goodbye, Magnolia ends and continues on for a couple months into the early days of Maggie & Simon’s relationship. The final book, Until Then, tells Michelle’s story, but also goes back even further for a glimpse at their college days and continues on through the days following Hello, Forever. So the epilogue from Magnolia really belongs at the very end of all of the books and that’s exactly where I put it. It felt right to have it end that way. It made sense to me, because my brain likes things to be chronological in order.

And since I hadn’t originally planned to write a series, making this big 3-book boxed set allowed me to put everything in its proper order. Yes, I am a little bit picky when it comes to my books.

Is this the end of the series?

I don’t think so.

I still have plans to write Emma’s story at some point. And there are some other side characters whose stories I would like to tell eventually. But for now, these three books tell a complete story and I’m fine with that. Other books that may come in the future will probably stand on their own, so you won’t have to have read the other books to read them. But I’m sure Maggie, Michelle, and Simon will make an appearance in those, because I love my characters and already miss writing about them.

The CORNERSTONE SERIES can be purchased HERE or read for FREE on KINDLE UNLIMITED.

spring break 2017 | part three


On our final full day in Florida, we visited Solomon’s Castle. Artist Howard Solomon, who passed away in August of 2016, built himself a castle and the art within using found and recycled materials – wood, aluminum, steel. You name it and he probably used it to create one of his masterpieces.


We enjoyed a delicious meal at the Boat in the Moat restaurant before taking a tour of the castle. There was live music while we dined under the big oak trees with spanish moss hanging from the branches. It was hot out, but it felt nice in the shaded yard next to the big ship and across the moat.

Then it was on to the castle for our tour.

The guide had us all laughing at Howard’s corny jokes during the tour. One of the first things we saw was his “Florida Keys” (upper left) and I knew that this was going to be some interesting art. That was an understatement. There were so many quirky, original displays. But one of my very favorite things was his art made from carved wood.

Especially his 3-d recreations of some of Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post paintings like this one above (bottom right photo) and this cool soap box racer creation below.

As much as I enjoyed the interesting and creative art, I think my favorite part of the tour was seeing where Howard actually lived. His home within the castle was quaint and lovely. Seeing his shoes/slippers under the piano bench was so sweet and sad (top middle). And the beautiful stained glass throughout the entire building was another favorite thing of mine.

This one especially since I am musical (piano) and a writer. :)

It was a really cool place to visit. Definitely worth a stop if you’re ever near Ona, Florida.

We ended our evening with a little shuffleboard. Jake, Mom, Dad and Chloe had played on another night, each winning a game, so they had to do a tie-breaker. Zach sat on the sidelines for a while with his poor hurt knee wrapped up and was the scorekeeper. But then he and I got in on the action and played a couple games. We lost both, but the last game was 109 to 110. So close. ;)


On our final morning of vacation, we went to coffee and donuts with Mom and Dad at the main clubhouse, had water aerobics in the morning with Mom, then floated around in the pool for a while before we headed out for a nice late lunch. Had to soak up as much sunshine as possible. After lunch, we packed up the car in 95 degree heat and headed for home.

Despite Zach’s knee injury, it was a wonderful Spring Break trip. So thankful we were able to go and enjoy this place and the people there that Jake’s parents have come to love so much. Looking forward to many more visits in the future.

facebook tutorial | see all my posts

I did one of these posts a while ago, but Facebook is always changing, so I put together a couple new updated graphics that will help both desktop users and smartphone users make sure they are seeing all of my FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE posts and get notifications if they want to when I post.

3 EASY STEPS FOR DESKTOP USERS

5 EASY STEPS FOR SMARTPHONE USERS
(used an iPhone for this example)

CLICK OR TAP HERE to go to my Facebook author page and get started!

sweet moments on Mackinac


The Mackinac Island wedding at the end of Goodbye, Magnolia is pretty much one of my favorite things about the entire book. Besides the fact that some very sweet, swoony moments happen there, I truly love the place and I just could not have imagined setting that important wedding anywhere else.

Get your copy of Goodbye, Magnolia FREE today for Kindle and journey with Maggie, Simon, and their wedding photography team to Mackinac Island.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UR69PI0/

spring break 2017 | part two


After a wonderful weekend, we started the week with water aerobics at the pool with Mom O. It was fun and I’m sure it’s part of why my muscles felt so much better by the end of our vacation. Low impact exercise in the water is so good for the body. After aerobics, I floated around in the pool while Jake and Mom went in the hot tub. The kids had been at the pool for a bit swimming and hanging out in the hot tub, but had gone back to the camper. Then Chloe came back suddenly and told Jake that Zach had fallen and hurt his knee. Jake went to check on him and discovered that he had reached for something up on a shelf in the camper, but his shoes (slides) were wet and his foot slipped sideways as he reached causing his knee to pop and he fell. I guess when he stood, it popped back into place. Ouch! So his knee was all swollen and we got him some ice for it, an Ace bandage to wrap it up, and some ibuprofen for any pain. Poor kid. Our plan for the day was to go to Myakka River State Park so he had to stay back and rest his leg. Felt so bad for him, but he didn’t complain.

Our visit to Myakka was nice. Hot, but nice. And we did see gators. Eeeeek!


Felt like we were in Jurassic Park all day … without the dinosaurs, of course. ;) We did the Canopy Walk, which loops through the park a short distance to these towers. You climb the shorter first one, cross this bridge, then climb the second one with lots of stairs that take you above the trees.

Totally worth the climb!



There is a longer hike that you can take through the park, but we didn’t do that one. It was a hot day. We did drive back and see the lake that is there, though. Very pretty area.

I was going to finish the Spring Break posts with this one, but then I started looking through all the pictures from the next day and I knew that one needed a post of its own, so that will be coming soon. :)

(Update on Zach’s knee: after we got back from vacation, our doctor was able to get him in last minute to check the knee. It had a lot of fluid built up in it from the injury, so he drained it right there in the office, right in front of me. I couldn’t look. Too gross. But he could finally bend his knee again. It’s been almost a month since vacation and he rode his bike the other day with no problems, so I’d say he’s healing up nicely.)

spring break 2017| part one


We weren’t planning to travel during Spring Break this year. Not at all. But Jake’s parents have become snowbirds this year and in March, they decided to stay a little longer in Florida than originally planned, which coincided with the kids Spring Break. So we decided rather spontaneously that we would go down for a visit. Best decision ever. All the details fell into place for us to stay as if it was meant to be. :)

So we hopped in our car on Thursday evening (an hour later than I hoped due to a random hail storm that prevented us from loading the bike rack onto the car!) and made the 20 hour drive south (took us about 23 due to stops and traffic and such). We arrived Friday evening and this is the beautiful night sky we were blessed with after the long journey south. Totally worth it for that and for the big hugs from Mom and Dad after not seeing them for a few months.

After a good night’s sleep, we took it easy on Saturday, visited Joshua Citrus for yummy ice cream (mine was pineapple/orange twist! Yum!), did a little shopping, picked up some groceries for the week, and enjoyed the Chinese buffet for dinner.

On Sunday, we ventured out to the Red Barn flea market in Bradenton. The guys ventured off one way while us girls went another. I don’t think we even saw half of the things offered there. It is huge. The kids picked up some souvenirs. I grabbed some fresh strawberries to nibble on. Mom treated us to some mini donuts made right there in the booth and iced coffee (lemonade for Chloe).

Then it was off to the Gulf of Mexico. We drove through Bradenton, which takes forever with all the traffic heading toward the beaches, and made our way to Anna Maria Island to find a place to play for the afternoon. We came across Coquina Beach and settled there. It was a really nice location and a beautiful day for some swimming.


OK. I really do like Jake even though this looks like I’m pushing him away. That’s just because he was soaking wet and I was dry. :D And Chloe had to do a little gymnastics on the beach, of course.

We ended our day in Sarasota for dinner and took some family pictures by this pretty tree that was behind the restaurant.



Need to go through the second half of my pictures and then I’ll share our further adventures from the week!

Happy Easter, everyone!

cornerstone series special


So excited to share that all three books in my Cornerstone series are on sale this week!
You can get the entire series on Kindle for only $2.98,
which is less than the regular price of Book 1. ;)
Get The Entire Series HERE
AJAXed with AWP