17 years ago today, I was in my home holding my one month old baby girl and watching the morning news. I had just sent my kids off to school and my husband to work on the nearby Marine Corps base. In disbelief, I watched as the first plane hit and then the second. Over and over they replayed the scenes happening in New York and then Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. I felt like I was watching a movie that surely couldn’t be happening here in this country. I couldn’t look away. All day long as I cared for my two little ones, I kept one eye on the news. Soon I was notified that they were locking down the base. With the Marines on high alert, life changed quickly for our little family. While I wanted to circle the wagons and draw my family close, my husband was angry and anxious to take action. This is what he had been trained for; this was his job to protect, to act, for God, Country, and Corps. My husband was soon on his way to Europe with classified orders and an indefinite return date. We didn’t see him for months during this deployment. Most of all I remember these events that drew families together and bound our country in unity and thanksgiving to God for the multitude of blessings and countless acts of service and sacrifice. My children don’t really remember this day except for brief memories of watching the news at school and talking about it during the past years. But I will never forget and I will share those memories with my children. The day we were reminded that God is watching over the United States and He will not let us fall.
In 2016, I made a New Year’s Resolution to leave a review for every book I read. It was my way of thanking the author and also to help me slow down and ponder each book. Now over two years later, I would like to report on the astonishing blessings that have resulted from that resolve.
In 2016, I reviewed 125 books. The following picture is a screenshot of a Facebook post by an author I reviewed.
Needless to say, I was flattered by her words. But things morphed from there. Soon, I was asked to judge for a readers choice award. I also started receiving requests from authors to review their stories. Then I began beta reading which led to some opportunities to edit manuscripts. Before I knew it, I had shelves and stacks of free books I received from authors and publishers in exchange for my reviews.
This has been an amazing journey that I have undertaken.
In 2017, I chose the word Courage for my inspiration word for the year. I am pleased to report that in November I sent my first book off to an illustrator. This collaboration is the result of divine intervention and 11 years of friendship. Thank you Debra for walking down this path with me.
The following is the link to my Goodreads year in review. It will link you to all of the books I read this past year and my reviews of each.
My word for 2018 is Publish. I have several new book ideas. And perhaps it’s time for some college classes too. I am excited to explore the blessings that will come with this new year. A special thank you to my family, friends, and the authors who have supported me on my journey. Here’s to an amazing year.
This year I am thankful for simple gifts.
I am thankful for my God, my Savior, and my family.
I am thankful for the blessings of health, love, and friendship.
I am thankful for grace, peace, inspiration, and security.
I am thankful for indoor plumbing, central heat and air, and good books.
Lately, life has gotten a bit stressful and chaotic. Just when I feel overwhelmed, my Heavenly Father directs me to this song, every time:
I hope that during these days of unrest and trials we can find our peace in Him.
Our God loves us so completely, unquestionably, and unconditionally.
… Said the Lord in a dark and troubled hour to those he loved, “Let not your
heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). …
He has a plan for me and a plan for you if you can just have faith enough to Follow Him.
It’s canning day on the farm. Of course, this immediately follows picking Day. And did I say it’s Hot and Humid here in SE Oklahoma? My farm hands and I and some generous neighbors picked a bushel or two of tomatoes, chili peppers, cucumbers, and watermelon. Then we canned. I had every fan blowing during this process.
We did have a few casualties.
But overall, it was a huge success plus I have a newly scrubbed kitchen! The outcome = 27 quarts of salsa, 16 quarts of spaghetti sauce, 3 quarts of pickles (3 casualties), and a jar full of dried peppers.
I believe it is time to put my feet up and eat a bowl of blackberry ice cream and get started on my TBR list, finally.
I have a guest author visiting my blog this week. Please welcome Author Kelly Hagen. Kelly is a wife and mother. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading her Bible, and listening to music. I love how she describes herself on Goodreads:
I am a fan of Kelly’s books. And lucky for us her books are on sale right now! She has also graciously offered to give one of her books to one of my lucky blog followers. (You know who you are and how grateful I am for you.) This is a fun way for me to say thank you.
I interviewed Kelly this past weekend so that we can get to know her better.
Here is the interview:
1. When did you decide to become a writer?
Honestly, it was pretty late in life. Unlike a lot of writers, I never enjoyed reading or writing much at all. But a few years ago I had written a children’s book and decided to send it in to a company. I figured all they could do was tell me no. A couple years after my children’s book, Jake and Jesus, was published I had written my first novella and went Indie.
2. Where do you get your inspiration?
There’s a little bit of me in everyone of my main characters. So, I guess you could say some of my inspiration comes from my life and things I’ve seen and been through. But most of it comes from God and what He puts on my heart to write.
3. Do you have any suggestions for someone who wants to become an author?
Don’t give up! Being an author, writing, is not always a fun-filled exciting thing. It can be hard, you will get discouraged, you may even want to give up…DON’T! Keep going. Keep writing. You never know who your words will touch.
4. What was your favorite book as a child?
I liked the Raggedy Ann and Andy books.
5. Do you have a book that changed your life?
Other than the Bible, I’d say Frank Peretti’s books “This Present Darkness” and “Piercing the Darkness”. Although they are fiction stories, they opened my eyes, in a new way, to the war being fought around us…for us.
6. What is your favorite genre of books?
I like Science-Fiction books and Historical Romance books. I know, two very different genres. haha
7. How many times do you edit a book before it is published?
I’ve had each of my books (minus my children’s book) edited three times.
8. Do you have manuscripts that were rejected?
No. All but one of my books is self-published though.
9. Do you have any hobbies?
I love listening to music.
10. What is something your fans can look forward to in the future?
Of course! The publishing of my current work in progress, which is book two in my Worth Fighting For series. I’m hoping and praying for it to be wrapped up and published sometime next Spring.
Finally, is the anything else you would like to share with us?
Yes! Now through the end of the year, three of my books are on sale for 0.99! You can find them on amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Kelly-Hagen/e/B004J19XL8/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1476665188&sr=8-1
You can find out more about me by visiting my website:
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I also want to thank you, Patti, for interviewing me and hosting a giveaway for my latest book “Worthy”.
So dear followers: to win a copy of Worthy, please answer the following question on my blog and you will be entered into a random drawing.
*What is your favorite book and why? Please include the author. Good luck!
Technically, you can call me a BYU drop-out. I left Brigham Young University in the middle of my junior year and never returned. I did continue my education through the years, earning my Associate of Arts degree and several other college credits. But, I never completed the coveted Bachelor’s Degree.
Yet, I “dropped-in” to marriage and motherhood. I became a successful Marine Corps wife. I have owned my own business. I have dabbled in several very satisfying careers. Another plus, due to the loving contributions of my family, half-a-dozen scholarships, and the bottomless pockets of my dear Heavenly Father, I have no student debt.
When I set out with no absolute destination but trust in my Father in Heaven to guide my steps, life becomes a journey of joy greater than I could ever have imagined.