Archives For

Psalm 37(Click to Tweet)

Delight yourself in the Lord & He will shape the desires of your heart. ~Psalm 37:4~

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. ~Matthew 6:21~

Trust in the Lord with all your heart & lean not on your own understanding. ~Proverbs 3:5~

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. ~Proverbs 4:23~

My son, give Me your heart & let your eyes keep my ways. ~Proverbs 23:26~

May the words of my mouth & the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock & my Redeemer. ~Psalm 19:14~

May we trust Him with our hearts now & always. Thanks for  by stopping by today! Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I created this graphics with a free image from Unsplash plus the effects at PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. Pass it on!
***Find me on Facebook at this link & follow!
***Let’s be Twitter pals!
If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here.
***Let’s connect on Instagram!
I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link.
Continue Reading…

The Thorn Bearer

Renee Ann Smith —  May 19, 2015 — 7 Comments

“From the decks of the ill-fated Lusitania to the smoke-filled trenches of France, Ashleigh Dougall must choose between the forgiveness of her past, life in the present, and a Savior who can rescue her from them all.” ~Amazon blurb for The Thorn Bearer by Pepper Basham~

Pepper Basham

A few years back I met Pepper Basham at the American Christian Fiction Writers‘ Conference. At the time she was an unpublished writer—but not anymore! How fun to see Pepper attain her dream by earning publishing contracts for several manuscripts!

Recently, I was privileged to review Pepper’s historical fiction novel, The Thorn Bearer.

The Thorn Bearer is set during 1915 and focuses on Ashleigh Dougall, a young woman crossing the Atlantic on the Lusitania with two men—one she doesn’t love but can’t get rid of and the other she does love but can’t have.

Pepper’s novel reminds me of the dramatic, Gothic romances I read in high school. The story has a beautiful, innocent heroine who is hiding a painful secret, a conniving sister, a set of abusive, neglectful parents, and a hero who is handsome and good but takes half the chapters to realize he’s in love with the heroine! Thus Ashleigh must forge ahead in life without 20th century society’s normal protections—parents or husband—by relying on her own pluck and ingenuity.

In spite of these odds, we readers know Ashleigh will win the day because she has a pure heart and a grandmother who teaches her what’s right.

The Thorn Bearer has all the good stuff that makes it fun to while away a day or so in another world—with the added benefit of Spiritual Truth! Exactly what those grand adventures I read as a teen were missing.

I really enjoyed Pepper’s debut novel! The graphics in this post show some of my favorite quotes from story. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, or share them on Facebook!

Pepper Basham Thorn BearerPepper Basham Thorn Bearer****Don’t miss the chance to grab your copy of Pepper’s engrossing novel at this link. Right now it’s a $3 Kindle deal!

Pepper BashamAs a little girl, Pepper D. Basham fell in love with storytelling while listening to her granny share oral history. A native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and lover of chocolate, Pepper enjoys sprinkling her native Appalachian culture into her fiction wherever she can. She currently resides in Asheville, NC, where she works with kids who have special needs, searches for unique hats, and plots new ways to annoy her wonderful friends at her group writing blog, The Writer’s Alley.

You can connect with her

At her website

On her Facebook page

On Twitter

Thanks for  by stopping by today! Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I created these graphics with free images from Unsplash plus the effects at PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. Pass it on!
***Find me on Facebook at this link & follow!
***Let’s be Twitter pals!
If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here.
***Let’s connect on Instagram!
I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link.
Continue Reading…

Clothed in JOY

Renee Ann Smith —  May 13, 2015 — 16 Comments

Proverbs 31 woman who fears the Lord

“She is clothed in strength & dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” ~Proverbs 31:25~

(Click to Tweet)

God is faithful Proverbs 31

“When my skin sags & my bones get brittle, God is rock-firm & faithful.” ~Psalm 73:26~

(Click to Tweet)

I love the bottom pic of my sweet mom during her last days, looking through her jewelry and remembering. The people and events that eluded her struggling mind here brighten her Heavenly days as she waits for the family reunion to be complete.

God was faithful to her. He is faithful to me.

No matter what has gone before or what may come, He clothes me with joy and gifts me with laughter.

May He do the same for you. Thanks for  by stopping by today! Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I created the first graphic with a free image from Unsplash, and the second with an iPhone pic of my mom, plus the effects at PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. Pass it on!
***Find me on Facebook at this link & follow!
***Let’s be Twitter pals!
If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here.
***Let’s connect on Instagram!
I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link.
Continue Reading…

Why We Write

Renee Ann Smith —  May 7, 2015 — 9 Comments

My Book Therapy Online Storycrafting

(Click to Tweet)

Typically I design my blog posts to inspire folks as they live their everyday lives and to encourage them to read Christian fiction. 

But the real reason I blog is that I want to interact with people—either my former students or friends far away or the new friends I’ve never met in person.

I blog to connect. 

Isn’t that the same for you, my fellow bloggers?

Each week you search your life for some spiritual lesson and struggle to put it into words that will resonate with others. You type up your thoughts, press publish, and pray that the seed you sow will find fertile ground in another’s heart. 

I, too, write to connect with others’ hearts. And one of the best things I’ve done to become a better “connector” was joining Susan May Warren’s My Book Therapy, which is now at learnhowtowriteanovel.com. (This is an affiliate post about her program because I believe in it that much!)

Yes, the focus of MBT is fiction. However, Susie’s principles for writing scenes and putting a story together have helped me teach better, read better, write better, and blog better.

What’s unique about this writing program is how Susan May Warren
focuses on the emotional journeys that characters take
and how the lies they believe,
about themselves and about God,
shape how He shows up in their stories.

Isn’t that what our own faith journeys are all about?

Maybe that’s why the program has even helped me better understand how God works in my own heart & life.

You used to have to travel to a retreat to hear Susie teach—and go more than once if you really wanted to apply her teaching well. But now Susie has moved her program online.

Why don’t you check it out? Registration is open now until May 13. If you purchase the online Storycrafter’s course, you receive, training videos, various materials, and access to writing coach.

Access to a coach is HUGE! That’s why I’ve paid to to to writing retreats and seminars—so I could get my questions answered by a real, live person! Books are great. But a coach is better!

So although this course requires a financial investment, I think the quality of the teaching & the access to a coach make it more than worth it!

You can check out & register for the online Storycrafter’s Program at this link.

Let me leave you with one of my favorite Susan May Warren quotes from her beautiful novella Evergreen.

Online Storycrafting Susan May Warren

May you continue to flourish in abundant life for Christ!

Thanks for  by stopping by today! Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I created the first graphic with a free image from Unsplash, and the second with an iPhone pic of my church, plus the effects at PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. Pass it on!
***Find me on Facebook at this link & follow!
***Let’s be Twitter pals!
If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here.
***Let’s connect on Instagram!
I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link.
Continue Reading…

C S Lewis Laughter

“The sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal.” ~C. S. Lewis~

(Click to Tweet)

Some of my best memories are dinner times during my childhood, when my whole family was happy, healthy & laughing together.
That will not happen again on this side of eternity.
I cherish those days.

Hold your kids close.
Call your parents.
Drop an email to your siblings.
And thank God for those He gives us to love.

Thanks for  by stopping by today! Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I created this graphic with an old family photo (Thanksgiving 1960s) and the effects at PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. Pass it on!
***Find me on Facebook at this link & follow!
***Let’s be Twitter pals!
If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here.
***Let’s connect on Instagram!
I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link.
Continue Reading…

I love words—reading them and writing them. So it’s no wonder I enjoy being part of a writing group that helps me be better at both.

This writing group really gets to the heart of what all of our blog posts and essays and stories are supposed to communicate. 

Of course, I’m talking about Susan May Warren’s My Book Therapy, which is now at learnhowtowriteanovel.com.

(You may have noticed my affiliate link in the sidebar. More about that in a future post!)

What’s different about this program is how the authors who teach,
Susan May Warren, Rachel Hauck, and Beth Vogt,
focus on the emotional journeys their characters take
and how the lies they believe,
about themselves and about God,
shape how He shows up in their stories.

Isn’t that what our own faith journeys are all about?

Maybe that’s why the novels they write unfailingly touch so many readers’ hearts.

For example, Rachel Hauck’s How to Catch a Prince, which I recently read, is a gem!

What I especially enjoyed about the novel is how it pulled me into what the characters are thinking & feeling. And you know how we readers are—once the main characters have taken root in our hearts, we must see the story through to the end!

How to Catch a Prince is more than a story about an American heiress and royal prince. It’s a story about us—God and His children—and how He loves us well through every disappointment, trial, and heartache.

Check out these opening lines & tell me you’d be able to close the cover on this story!

“With each passing day, she remembered she had a secret. She’d lived in the fog of death until six months ago, when she crawled out, reaching for the first glimpse of life and light she’d encountered in five years.

It came in the form of a simple telephone call. A refreshing-breeze offer. But clearing the fog meant the memories surfaced. Ones she’d long since regarded as lost. Now they rattled around the empty corridors of her heart.

And recently, in the faintest ting or ping, like when elevator doors opened just outside her office, Corina remembered how she loved the glorious, rolling chimes of cathedral bells pealing through a crisp Cathedral City dawn.

And she ached. Deep in her soul. With a longing she couldn’t reach nor remove.”

Intriguing, right? Now you’re wondering what broke Corina’s heart and how God will bring peace and healing.

Here’s a hint of how the story turns out. This also happens to be my favorite quote from the book!

Rachel Hauck My Book Therapy

(Click to Tweet)

And that’s a happy ending right there, isn’t it?

No matter what else Corina’s future holds.

You can check out Rachel’s royal wedding series & other books at this link.

For more inspiration, you can follow Rachel on Facebook, on Twitter, and at her website.

Thanks for  by stopping by today! Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I created this graphic with the effects and overlays at PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. Pass it on!
***Find me on Facebook at this link & follow!
***Let’s be Twitter pals!
If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here.
***Let’s connect on Instagram!
I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link.
Continue Reading…

Because I’m Happy

Renee Ann Smith —  April 22, 2015 — 10 Comments

Happiness Joyce Meyer Bonhoeffer

“It is impossible to be both selfish & happy.” ~Joyce Meyer~

(Click to Tweet)

“Happiness is not only a hope, but in some strange way, also a memory.” ~G. K. Chesterton

      “When large numbers of people share their joy in common, the happiness of each is greater because each adds fuel to the others’ flame.”
~Augustine~

“The sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal.”
~C. S. Lewis~

“Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends.
Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top.
Put yourself aside & help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”
~Philippians 2:3&4, The Message~

You’ve added to my happiness by stopping by today! Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I created this graphic with an image from Unsplash and the effects and overlays at PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. Pass it on!
***Find me on Facebook at this link & follow!
***Let’s be Twitter pals!
If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here.
***Let’s connect on Instagram!
I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link.
Continue Reading…

On Happiness

Renee Ann Smith —  April 20, 2015 — 12 Comments

Happiness C S Lewis Bonhoeffer

“It was when I was Happiest that I Longed most.
The Sweetest thing
in all my life has been the Longing to find
the Place where all the Beauty came from.

~C S Lewis~

(Click to Tweet)

When I consider the state of the world, the peril for Christians, the suffering of friends and family who are ill, I find myself doubting God’s call to anything that touches on the dreams of my heart. How can I lay before God any requests concerning personal happiness when chaos & despair characterize so much of the world around me?

Yet personal dreams persist. Should I silence them once and for all? I look for wisdom among the Christian men and women who dealt with similar issues in years gone by.

One such is Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), a brave young pastor who stood against the Nazis in Hitler’s Germany. When his friends criticized him for falling in love and becoming engaged while a prisoner, he wrote the following comments in his letters concerning reaching out for happiness in the midst of trouble . . . 

“When I consider the state of the world, the total obscurity enshrouding our personal destiny, and my present imprisonment, our union—if it wasn’t frivolity, which it certainly wasn’t—can only be a token of God’s grace and goodness, which summon us to believe in Him. We would have to be blind not to see that.

When Jeremiah said, in his people’s hour of direst need, that ‘houses and fields [and vineyards] shall again be bought in this land,’ it was a token of confidence in the future. That requires faith, and may God grant it to us daily. I don’t mean the faith that flees the world, but the faith that endures in the world and loves and remains true to that world in spite of all the hardships it brings us . . . 

It was then always very clear to me that a person could take this step as a Christian truly only from within a very strong faith and on the basis of grace.

For here in the midst of the final destruction of all things, one desires to build;

In the midst of a life lived from hour to hour and from day to day, one desires a future;

In the midst of being driven out from the earth, one desires a bit of space;

In the midst of widespread misery, one desires some happiness . . . 

And the overwhelming thing is that God says yes to this strange longing, that here God consents to our will, whereas it is usually meant to be just the opposite.

We need not despise happiness simply because there is so much unhappiness.

We should not arrogantly push away the kind hand of God because God’s hand is otherwise so hard. I think it is more important to remind one another of this in these days than of many other things.”

So all good gifts come from God & should be treasured. We dare not turn them away.

This practical wisdom from one of God’s humble servants changed my perspective. I hope it encourages you today! Blessings, friends!

**I gathered my quotes from a wonderful biography: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. You can check this book out & grab a copy for yourself at this link!

bonhoeffer erix metaxas

***Photo Backstory: I created this graphic with an image from Unsplash and the effects and overlays at PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. Pass it on!
***Find me on Facebook at this link & follow!
***Let’s be Twitter pals!
If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here.
***Let’s connect on Instagram!
I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link.
Continue Reading…