Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Our guest today is Linda Rondeau. Thanks for your guest post.

I wondered why I had volunteered. I had too many things to do. And I hate the cold. It gets into my bones until nothing can make me feel warm again.
I had offered to be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army’s Christmas drive. I bundled up and trekked to my station at the local grocery store. I donned the blue apron and picked up the emblem of my assignment, a small golden bell.
Then one by one the people came up to the little red bucket dropping in the change or dollars. Sometimes people felt like talking. Other times, they nodded and left. Still others dropped their gift and scurried off to complete the sundry other tasks the season required of them.
“I brought you here to teach you something,” the Spirit said to my heart.

Not to be so quick to volunteer?

 “No. I want you to study these people. Examine the way they give.”
And, I did. To my amazement, I learned the reasons for giving are as varied as the people who donate. Then I began to see similarities in people’s motivation. And, I wondered where my heart would fit among theirs.
The first lady gave from her sorrow. This was her first Christmas without her mother. Her father had passed away only a year before. Eyes brimming with tears, she pushed twenty dollars into the bucket. “My mother was a bell ringer,” she said. “Thank you for doing this.” Then she rushed off, uncomfortable with her emotions. 
The Spirit spoke again: He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering (Isaiah 52:3).
The next person gave from his abundance. His leather jacket and bulging wallet told all. He plopped a den-dollar bill into the bucket, pleased with his generosity. He straightened his shoulders with pride in his offering and left.
The Spirit spoke again: From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded: and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked (Luke 12:48).
An elderly woman approached. Her threadbare coat and raveled scarf told of her station in life. Her cart also bore testament to her poverty. She stopped before the red canister, pulled out a thin and worn wallet from her purse, and dropped in her last two coins. “Maybe this will bring me good fortune,” she said. She gave from her need, as if investing into generosity would bring better days.
The Spirit spoke yet again: And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
Another elderly woman stopped by the kettle. Her head drooped from her heavy burden. She shrugged her shoulders then reached into her purse for an assortment of change. “I feel guilty if I pass by one of these drums and give nothing.” She trotted off, head slightly higher. Her giving well was a fountain of guilt.
The Spirit spoke anew: For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me (Psalm 51:3).
Lastly, a young man eagerly approached the drum, much akin to Tiger’s Happy Bounce, and tossed his coins with a whistle. “I love this!” he said as he sailed out the door. “God’s been good to me. This is one way I can say, ‘Thank you.’” The young man gave from a spirit of gratitude.
The Spirit spoke once more than fell silent: Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (1 Corinthians 9:7).
Then I knew what the Spirit wanted me to learn. Christmas is a time for giving. I analyzed my own motivations. Do I give begrudgingly because it’s expected? Do I donate from a feeling of loss? Do I thrive on the hope one day my giving will be multiplied? Do I fear what will happen if I do not give? I hope that from this day on my giving will be from a grateful heart to a Savior who came as the atonement for my sins. 

A native of Central New York, Linda Rondeau met and married Steve Rondeau, her best friend in life, and managed a career in human services before tackling professional writing. After thirty-four years of marriage, they have relocated to Jacksonville, Florida, leaving rural America to live in a city of one million.

While writing is her greatest passion, the more favorable temperatures of Florida allow her to follow another great passion--golf.
Linda is the wife of one patient man, the mother of three, and the grandmother of nine.
An award winning author, Linda is multipublished. Linda's first title, The Other Side of Darkness, released Fall 2012, won the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel. Her first book in her Sci-Fi, futuristic series, America II, written under L.W. Rondeau released summer of 2012.

Synopsis for Back cover:
Midville newcomer and Iraq War widow, Dorie Fitzgerald, despises the frigid Adirondack wasteland that has now become her home. After twenty failed job interviews, she questions the wisdom of moving to be near her parents. Desperate to belong, she joins the local Community Theater, in production for It’s a Wonderful Life.
Jamey Sullivan has put his professional life on hold in order to run the family business and to help his ailing father. He signs on for Midville’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life, although he hopes to receive a Broadway casting call any day now.
When these two meet, they are instantly attracted to one another. However, ambition, demanding children, and a romantic rival threaten to squash their growing love for one another.
It Really is a Wonderful Life is set in the beautiful Adirondack mountains, a perfect backdrop for romantic conflict.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Galatians 5 in The Message has some verses that stuck out to me:

"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."

Let me share how these verses have played out in my life.

First, as many of you who follow this blog have read, I made that exploration about two summers ago. I knew God had given me the gift of communication through writing and speaking. I wondered if these gifts were the "who" I was to become and the work I had been given. I prayed that God would show me if it was in His will for me to pursue publication. I asked for a definite sign. He affirmed His call for me to write and be published.

Now that I had my answer, I began to sink myself into this calling. How? I bought and studied writing craft books. I took courses online. I sought advice and mentoring from other authors. I submitted articles and manuscripts for publication.

Now, when I did receive that first contract to publish THE BLESSING SEER, I was careful to not be impressed with myself. God had made it all too clear that it was His doing not mine.

Have I compared myself with others? Yes - big yes! I have always been an avid reader of Christian fiction. Now that I often interact with these authors and even review their books, I find myself wondering why I even try. I'll never be as good as so-and-so. But, God didn't make me to be someone else. He made Paula Mowery to be who I was created to be. No comparisons.

As I write, I feel a responsibility to give my best and even to improve. Only I can put my whole self into working out God's purpose in my life. No one else can fulfill what is mine to accomplish.

What about you? Have you made an exploration into who God made you to be and what work He has for you to do? If not, pray for God to show you. Talk with those who know you and might see the gifts God has put into you. Do a spiritual gift inventory.

If you know the gifts God has put into you and have a sense of His call, have you begun to sink yourself into it? Are there ways to hone your skills? Do you need to be more active?

From personal experience, let me encourage you to make the exploration and sink into it. You don't want to miss out on the adventure that God has in store for you.

Did these verses strike a chord with you? Share your experiences or insights in the comments.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Join me on Donna Winter's blog today. I have an interview there, and Donna is graciously giving away a free

 copy of THE BLESSING SEER on ebook.

We're having a great time commenting. Thanks to Donna for the opportunity. Come check it out.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


"Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits -
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's"
Psalm 103:1-5 NIV

That's a really good start on a list of things to be thankful for. Wow - thank You, God, that your benefit plan is unsurpassed.

God has also blessed me by putting some wonderful people in my life. I'm thankful for:

A caring, loving, providing hubby who makes me proud and yet steps on my toes with his inspired sermons.

A sweet daughter who amazes me with her insights from God's Word and her strong convictions.

A loving and funny daddy who is one of those hard-working behind the scenes servants of God.

A loving, never-stops mama who has become one of my biggest reader fans by sharing my book with so many people.

A pump-me-up and make me laugh best friend in Brooke who lets me vent and encourages me.

A pair of praying women in Dohreen and Dorsie who never cease to amaze me in their dedication and support.

Don't forget to thank God for all He has provided and done for you. He's also responsible for all of those godly people in your life that help keep you on track and bless you daily with their presence.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Looking back through my documents, I found an article I wrote a couple of years ago. I felt led to share it with you here because I still believe strongly in the premise.

God’s Filter: The Bible

By Paula Mowery

“My daughter has accepted some beliefs since going to college that I don’t agree with,” one mother said. “I know what you mean. My son seems to ignore his upbringing by being involved in activities I would never approve of,” another mom said.

Being a pastor’s wife, I hear these concerns from mothers often. Being the mom of a teenage daughter, I fear repeating their sentiments in a few short years. I’m frightened by the onslaught of worldly, false teachings our children have to endure, and the fact that they are taught to be tolerant to the point of accepting sin. The line between Godly and worldly has been blurred. But, we cannot expect to wait until they are grown to train them in the ways of God.

God gave His commands, and then He made it clear to Israel to teach the next generation.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9 NIV
This passage implies surrounding the family with God’s Word – immersion. Our families need to be immersed in God’s Word today so we will not be led astray. Paul warns of this in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV):
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”
Paul reiterates to Timothy to continue in what he has learned from Scripture.
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17 NIV
Scripture is God-breathed and equips us for life.

Our children need a solid Christian foundation more now than ever before. Many false teachings exist just waiting to steal their hearts. We, parents, can’t and won’t always be there when our offspring are faced with determining whether an idea aligns with God’s standards. Our only hope is to educate them on how to filter everything through God’s Word. The following suggestions can encourage this pertinent education.

  • Read scripture with your child. Explain what the verses mean and their application for life. For example: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV) This verse can illustrate that we should refrain from using foul language. It may also be helpful when teaching siblings how to talk with one another. God expects us to use our words to benefit others not tear them down.
  • Insure your child attends a Bible-believing – Bible-teaching church. Ask about Sunday school lessons and sermons to assure understanding. You might ask: What was your Sunday school lesson about today? How can you use that everyday? What stood out to you in the sermon?
  • Encourage your child to read the Bible on a regular basis. This may involve helping them choose a version of the Bible they can understand. There are also devotional guides available for various age levels. Ask on a regular basis if Bible reading/quiet times are being kept up-to-date. Inquire about the areas being studied. The best education for a vital quiet time is modeling our own. Value is ascribed when our children witness our personal times of studying God’s Word.
  • Illustrate how to filter all through the Word of God. One way to do this is while watching a television show. Discuss whether the themes, actions, and words align with the truths of the Bible or not. The verse from Ephesians mentioned above may provide a good starting point. Do the characters speak using wholesome words or is profanity present? Do they use the Lord’s name in vain?
  • Encourage your children to always filter everything through the Word of God – all they hear and see. Ask them what they are studying in school. Has their science class discussed evolution? Do their friends engage in discussions or activities that make your child uncomfortable? Explain that knowing God’s Word will cause “warning signals” when someone violates the truth. This is the Spirit in us discerning right from wrong. Our children are never too old for us to discuss whether something aligns with God’s Word.

The firm foundation gained from ingesting God’s Word is a worthwhile pursuit which should continue throughout our lives. The more we contain God’s truths, the more we can ascertain a false idea that needs rejecting. God’s Word is a light to our path – the right path leading us in the ways He would have us to go. Training our children to use God’s Word as their light and filter is necessary to establish them on the right path and keep them there.

Monday, November 12, 2012

"It is more rewarding to be out on a limb doing something significant for God than just standing on the ground taking in air."

This is a quote from my book, THE BLESSING SEER. I spoke on this theme Friday evening at a Festival of Tables at Manley Baptist Church. By the way - hello to my new friends there. I had a great time being with you.

I wanted to share one of my points from that evening on my blog today.

Using a tree as a metaphor here, I asked if the ladies were barking up the right tree. How about you? Are you barking up the right tree?

If all there was to this Christian life was salvation, we wouldn't be here. Think about it. When you accepted Christ you would be beamed up to heaven. But, we Christians are still here. There must be a purpose for that. We are here for a specific reason.

Ephesians 1:11 in The Message says: "It's in Christ we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone."

God has a plan for each of us and has equipped us to be able to work out that plan. We have been uniquely created with our own personality, skills, talents, and gifts. But, so often we use our abilities for everything but God's glory. I equate this with barking up the wrong tree.

There is nothing wrong with using our gifts, but not at the absence of using them in the body of Christ. God has specifically gifted you and created you in such a way as to reach people for Him. Do we miss out on touching these people?

Sometimes we find it more important to climb the tree of success or notoriety. These will not fulfill our calling or touch our intended target.

God is urging us up to a limb where we will experience our purpose which is rooted in Him. Don't miss out on the fruit or the view up there.

I dare you - no, I triple-dog dare you - to go out on a limb with God using those gifts and talents He's invested in you. If you do it, you'll never turn back - you'll be hooked!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Over the past few days and especially on Tuesday, many blogs have focused upon the election and what the next four years mean for our country. People have commented upon changes that will happen that they don't want or changes we need but won't have.

Can I tell you that on Tuesday night there was no emergency meeting called in heaven? God didn't have to gather his scribes together and change the Word of God due to the person who was elected to be our president. Not one single letter has been or ever will be changed in His Word.

What does that mean for God's children?

1. God's plan is still the same no matter who is in the White House.

2. His commands for you and me are still the same.

So, what does that look like?

We, as Christians, stand up with Joshua and say: "Choose you this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Then we follow his commands to love the Lord your God with all of your being and love others as you love yourself.

Remember, there will never be a time God must change any part of His Word. His promises are forever intact. For His children, this means we win!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I'm so happy to have Sharon Shrock on the blog today for an interview and debut her book, CALLIE. 

How much of yourself do you write into your characters?
I don’t, intentionally, write any of me into my characters. That doesn’t mean you won’t find a little piece of me in all of the women. Callie teaches Sunday school and loves her guacamole, Terri is looking for God’s will in her life and arguing the whole way, Pam is learning lessons in forgiveness. Yep, there I am.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Believe it or not, I went to bed one night, a normal person, and woke up the next morning determined to write a book. I know, now, where that came from. It was more than a little weird at the time.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love a good courtroom drama. Fantasy when it’s well done. By well done, I mean it has to completely draw me into a different world. Mysteries, and Romantic suspense are devoured at my house like chocolate covered cherries.
How do you keep your sanity in this crazy fast paced world of ours?
I guess I’m a product of our environment. I like being busy. Even on a vacation I have to consciously tell myself to slow down and enjoy the moment. Sanity…I’m a writer, that option took a hike a few years back.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’m going to assume you don’t mean raising terrific daughters.  Really? This book. Not just for the validation or a sense of “I can really do this”. But because I feel like it represent me, finally finding God’s place for me.
What is your favorite food?
I have two rules when I cook. If it’s sweet add chocolate. If it isn’t sweet add cheese.
Why do you write the kind of books you do?
It has to be a God thing. I wake up with these stories in my head, things I would never see or think of on my own. He gets all the credit.
In what ways has being published changed your life?
Besides making me busier that I used to be? The jury is still out on that one. Ask me again in a year or so.
What is your current work in progress?
I’m working with my editor to get Terri’s story complete. Pam’s story is close to being at the word count I want. Then I’ll start the serious editing process for her. Samantha is knocking…
If you could invite a fictional character to dinner who would it be and why?

Oh, can I pick two? Merlin and Spock. Merlin because I’m captivated by the whole knights in armor, Arthur, slaying the dragon thing. Spock because…well…because the idea of extraterrestrial life interests me. If we ever find life out there, I’d hope they would be wise and beneficial sort like Vulcans. Not the I’ve come to destroy your world we see portrayed 99% of the time.

Of all the current technological marvels, which is your favorite and why?

My GPS. I don’t navigate. Now I don’t have to.

If you could have a do over on one day in your life what would you pick?

Fourth of July, 1996. It was the last day we spent with our little grandson before he was murdered. I wish I’d spent more time with him that day.

Where was the location of the best vacation you ever had?

Now you’ve opened the flood gates. For the last 7 years I’ve taken one of my grandchildren on a special vacation. We’ve been on cruises, been to Hawaii, visited The Grand Canyon and Vegas, Spent a week in Cozumel, Done the whole Disney thing in Orlando…God has placed a special blessing on these trips. They’ve all gone off without a hitch and there is no way to just pick one.

If you could travel back in time when and where would you go?

King Arthur’s court. I wouldn’t want to stay forever, I’d miss my hot rollers, but I think there was a elegance to life then that we don’t have any more.

What is your favorite season of the year? What’s special about it for you??

I only have three seasons to my year. Summer, Spring, and SWEATER. I have a serious sweater addiction, so Sweater is my favorite.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

That sometimes we spend too much time beating ourselves up for something God has already forgiven and forgotten. That we do a disservice to ourselves and others when we indulge in those feelings.

What is something that very few people know about you?

I’m a serious Trekker. I have my own uniform.

What is the hardest part in writing a story?

Editing and Editing and Editing….

What is the funniest, strangest, or most interesting thing you have learned when doing research?

That I don’t like research. Does that count? Seriously I write contemporary fiction so I don’t have to do a lot of research. I’d never goggled anything til about a year ago.

What is your favorite material item that you own (examples: ipod, Gone with the Wind book, grandmother’s rocking chair)

My Kindle. It’s just the most amazing machine.

Do your characters ever give you surprises when you are writing? Can you give us an example if they do and if they don’t do you know why?

My characters constantly surprise me. Their individual determination to be front and center in my brain is relentless. I’m a SOTP writer. I don’t work with an outline, so I can’t give you an example of where I planned to go one way and they insisted on taking their own way, but I continue to be amazed.

Do you have a favorite scene in this book and what would it be?

I think where Pam, Karla, and Terri come to Callie’s house with groceries and stuff for the girls. That is exactly like it would happen, has happened, in my life. Our church family is so generous. I have been on the giving and the receiving end of help.

What three things about you would surprise readers?

My favorite pet of all time was an iguana.
I hate reality TV
I love to mow the grass

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who
would it be and why?

Nora Roberts. I would pick her brain completely dry.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

A lack of time. I don’t think there is a way to overcome it until I retire. I just have to deal with not enough hours in the day.

Which character in your book are you most like? What have you learned about yourself in writing this story?

For this book. Callie, of course. I didn’t really need to learn the life lesson that Callie had to learn, but writing the story taught me so much about persistence, trust , and patience.

If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose?
Australia. It’s on my bucket list. I’ll make it someday, God willing.

What was your favorite book as a child and now as an adult? Is there a connection between the two?

That is an impossible question to answer. You’ve heard about being born with a silver spoon in your mouth? Well, my mom must have had a terrible time giving birth to me with a book clutched in each hand. I can’t remember a time when reading wasn’t a priority. Picking a favorite out of 50 years worth of books…impossible.

As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?

You are looking at it. Learning the craft, editing, and revising were easy compared to putting myself in the path of perfect strangers and begging for their attention. I’m a pretty solitary person. If I had my way, I’d write the book and pay a look alike to go out and face the public.

Three dire circumstances. Three desperate prayers. One miracle to save them all.
Callie Stillman is drawn to the evasive girl who’s befriended her granddaughter, but the last time Callie tried to help a child, her efforts backfired. Memories of the tiny coffin still haunt her.
Samantha and Iris Evans should be worried about homework, not whether they can pool enough cash to survive another week of caring for an infant while evading the authorities.
Steve Evans wants a second chance at fatherhood, but his children are missing.  And no one seems to want to help the former addict who deserted his family.
For Steve to regain the relationship he abandoned, for his girls to receive the care they deserve, Callie must surrender her fear and rely on God to work the miracle they all need.

The book is available through Pelican Book Group, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Sharon Srock lives with her husband, Larry, and two dogs in Rural Oklahoma. She is a mother, grandmother, and Sunday School teacher. Sharon has one and three-quarters jobs and writes in her spare time. Her favorite hobby is traveling with her grandchildren. She is a member of the ACFW and currently serves as treasurer for her local chapter. Sharon’s writing credits include numerous poems and short stories published in science fiction fanzines.

Comment here to be entered into a drawing for a prize basket. The winner will be announced Nov. 19th.