Showing posts with label #Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #Christmas. Show all posts

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Depression at Christmas

Christmas lights twinkle. Logs burn in the fireplace. Songs cheer weary shoppers with visions of family opening their gifts. Pastors preach about the peace of God, and most of us are excited by the season, but not all.

Those who come from dysfunctional families, and the ones, who this year, lost loved ones to death, divorce, or distance vision the world without cheer. Depression runs rampant the more joy is expressed. 

To those ones today, I offer this poem, and my prayers. 

       Trampled Violets


     Trampled underneath

     By uncaring feet

     Bruised and crushed

     The petals scattered

     Violets in first blush

     Of bloom.


     Disillusioned, hurt

     By cruel words

     Stomped and torn

     The child succumbs

     To hatred of his known

     Small world.


     Mocked and spit upon

     By His own

     Stabbed and slapped

     His hands were pierced

     His words were spoken


                  Divine Dining: by Janet K. Brown


Many of my friends suffer depression during this time of year. Most of us have been there at some point of our lives.

Jesus is with the broken-hearted. He understands depression, betrayal, and disappointment, and He will never, never leave you.

God bless those right now who are less than joyful.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Children's Christmas Book by Stephanie Burkhart

My warmest welcome today to children's author, Stephanie Burkhart. 4RV Publishing released her beautiful book called Joseph's Cradle just in time for Christmas. Scroll to the bottom of this post for my personal review.

Joseph and his wife, Mary, expect a baby. With all that is happening, including the government requiring a census, Joseph feels a little overwhelmed and a bit left out of the preparations for the baby. Is there something he can do?


 Reviews: “Artist Mathew Hughes' soft, time-friendly paintings take us back to Biblical times. This is a sweet Christmas book that could start a discussion about what a young child might like to give the Christ Child for Christmas.” – Patricia Karwatowicz


The Christmas story about the birth of Jesus is one of the most popular and well known stories around the world. We can only imagine how anxious Joseph and Mary were when they arrived in Bethlehem. Throughout the story, Mary carries herself with dignity and grace. Joseph is steadfast and loyal. Becoming a parent isn’t easy and both Mary and Joseph have to find their own way.


#1: What inspired you to write the story?


STEPHANIE: I wanted to write the Christmas story from the view of being expectant parents.  I wanted to show how Joseph grew into fatherhood. I think these are all aspects of life we all can identify with.


#2: How long did it take?


STEPHANIE: The story took about a day to write.  After editing, I’d say it took about a week.


#3: Did you pick the illustrator?


STEPHANIE: No, I did not.  4RV Publishing selected the illustrator.  I think Matthew Hughes did a fantastic job with the illustrations.  They have a very soft hearted feel and compliment the story well.


#4: What makes this book special?


STEPHANIE: It’s a look at the Christmas story from a different perspective.


#5: How long have you been writing children's books?


STEPHANIE: About 5 years now. My first children's book, "The Giving Meadow" was published with 4RV Publishing in 2010. It has a great message about sharing and caring for young children as well as telling about Caterpillar's transformation into a butterfly. It's perfect for Easter as it helps young children understand Jesus' story.



Stephanie Burkhart was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire, but now calls California her home. She currently works for LAPD as a 911 Dispatcher. Stephanie has been writing since she was five, when she crafted homemade comic books on the kitchen table. Her previous books with 4RV Publishing include: The Giving Meadow, and First Flag of New Hampshire.  Stephanie enjoys coffee, adores chocolate and is currently the Den Leader for her son's Cub Scout Den.


JOSEPH’S CRADLE:  is available in print from 4RV Publishing.





Find Stephanie at:












A Different Perspective

By: Stephanie Burkhart


Have you only believed there was one way to do a task and when you learned there was another way, you were surprised? That’s happened to me a couple of times. Every time I’m always amazed. “Why didn’t I think of that?”


The Christmas story with Mary ad Joseph is one of the oldest, memorable stories in the world. In the Bible, Luke and Matthew share their accounts. We know Mary and Joseph traveled a good distance while Mary was about to have her baby. What an inconvenience that must have been! We discover how Mary embodies dignity and grace and we learn the depth of Joseph’s faith when he listens to the angel who visits him. Once they say ‘yes’ to God, what happens next?


I wanted to show another perspective of the story, one more personal and one we can all relate too. Mary and Joseph are going to be parents. The thought can be overwhelming. What must it have been like for them preparing for a baby? “Joseph’s Cradle” shows how Mary and Joseph approach parenthood. I hope you enjoy the story!

 My review:

I love the fresh perspective of Joseph's Cradle. In a day when a father's role is too often downplayed, a story from Joseph's point of view is perfect. Burkhart offers a tender tale about gifts for the Christ child, and Hughes gives delightful illustrations. I highly recommend this book for the children on your Christmas list.
Thank you for stopping by, Stephanie. Here's a question that Stephanie would like to ask you.
What gift would you give Jesus for Christmas?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

An Interview with Award-winning Author, Lena Nelson Dooley

I'm excited to have as my guest today multi-published author and gracious mentor to many, Lena Nelson Dooley. In 2006, my first year of studying writing and submitting my work, Lena blessed me by doing a critique of my first chapter while we both attended an American Christian Fiction Writer's (ACFW) conference. I purchased one of her books and have been her fan ever since. I highly recommend her blog ( ) for inspiration, knowledge, and fun. She's known for her fantastic author interviews.

Today, I get to interview her.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I'm a wife, a mom, a grandma, and a great grandma. My family is very important to me, and now they all live closeby. I've been married to the love of my life for over half a century. We'll celebrate our 51st anniversary in November. And I write Christian novels.

Tell us about your writing journey.

When I started writing novels in 1984, there were no writing groups around that I knew about. God has led me all the way. He put people in my path when I needed to know about something. It took 8 years to get my first book published, then 10 years before the second, but now there are over 30 different books out there with my name on them. 

Did you ever feel like giving up?  And how did you press through this?

Yes. During those first 8 years, and even during the next 10, I questioned if I was doing what I was supposed to do. God had used several events in May 1984 to tell me to become a professional writer. (You can read the testimony on my web site: on the About Me tab.) When I would get discouraged, I traveled in my memory to that time. It sustained me.

What gave you the idea for this book? What is the book about? book we're featuring is A Texas Christmas. It's a novella collection with novellas by myself and 5 other award-winning authors. My story is Charlsey's Accountant. Here are the titles with blurbs from the back of the book:

Six Romances from the Historic Lone  Star  State

Herald the Season of Love

Here Cooks the Bride by Cathy Marie Hake - Lacey Mather's delicious cooking is warming many hearts and stomachs--especially those of a closed-mouth blacksmith. But she has no plans to stay in Texas

A Christmas Chronicle by Pamela Griffin - Travis McCoy is a nomadic photographer with no time to put down roots, find a wife, and raise a family. But then he meets the unconventional Vivian Sager.

To Hear Angels Sing by Ramona Cecil - Bridget O'Keefe leaves Chicago to teach Indian orphans and quickly experiences the hostility the Comanche face from locals like Seth Krueger who blame then for the death of his parents.

The Face of Mary by Darlene Franklin - Mary "Polly" Jessup holds onto a promise of marriage made five years ago, but when Joey Carpenter returns from law school with a new outlook and a new girlfriend, her future hopes are dashed.

Charlsey’s Accountant by Lena Nelson Dooley - Charlsey Ames can rope, ride, and work the ranch with the men and never thought she's be attracted to accountant Harold Miller, III, a citified tenderfoot.

Plain Trouble by Kathleen Y’Barbo - An expert tracker, the plain Bessie Mae Ames is content unmarried, until Texas Ranger Josef Mueller tides into town, trailing a wanted man. 

How do you feel this book will encourage people in their walk with Christ, or did you have something in mind like this when you wrote it?

Every book I write I like to show people how the characters can deal with their problems with the help of the Lord. I hope the book will encourage them to seek Him in their own problems. 

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Galveston Island on the Texas coast 

If you could be a song, what would it be?

Zach Neese, a worship pastor at Gateway Church in Texas where I'm a member, wrote a song "The More I Seek You." I've told Zach that he writes the songs my heart feels. This one especially. Here's a link to a YouTube video of Kari Jobe singing the song: 

Where can your readers find you?

I'm on a lot of places online:

Where can your books be purchased?

Many of them can be found in Christian bookstores, some in Walmart occasionally. But all of the books I've written are on Amazon.

Award-winning author Lena Nelson Dooley has had more than 800,000 copies of her books sold. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the local chapter, ACFW - DFW. She’s a member of Christian Authors’ Network and Gateway Church in Southlake , Texas .

She has been on both the CBA Bestseller list and several Amazon Bestseller lists. Her 2010 release Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, from Summerside Press, won the 2011 Will Rogers Medallion Award for excellence in publishing Western Fiction. Her next series, McKenna’s Daughters: Maggie’s Journey appeared on a reviewers Top Ten Books of 2011 list. It also won the 2012 Selah award for Historical Novel. The second, Mary’s Blessing, was a Selah Award finalist for Romance novel. Catherine’s Pursuit released in 2013. It was the winner of the NTRWA Carolyn Reader’s Choice contest, took second place in the CAN Golden Scroll Novel of the Year award, and won the Will Rogers Medallion bronze medallion. Her blog, A Christian Writer’s World, received the Readers Choice Blog of the Year Award from the Book Club Network.

In addition to her writing, Lena is a frequent speaker at women’s groups, writers groups, and at both regional and national conferences. She has spoken in six states and internationally. She is also one of the co-hosts of the Along Came a Writer blog radio show.

Lena has an active web presence on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Linkedin and with her internationally connected blog where she interviews other authors and promotes their books.

Thank you, Lena, for stopping by for a visit on Writing with God's Hope blog.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Author Interview with Davalyn Spencer

A hearty Texas welcome today to Davalyn Spencer. I'm so excited about the opportunity to get better acquainted. Davalyn is releasing her debut novella, so obviously, I had questions for her.
  1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve written since I was in the sixth grade. Not that anyone read what I wrote, thank the Lord! Six years later, I fell in love with a cowboy and we rode off into the sunrise together. Sometimes that morning glare has me squinting, but that’s okay.

2.     Did you ever feel like giving up on your writing?  And how did you press through this?

I once heard a cowboy preacher say about his faith in God, “My ‘knower’ knows.” That pretty much sums up writing for me. My ‘knower’ knows that I’m supposed to write—even if no one else ever reads it. It’s something I have to do, and I love doing it.

3.     What gave you the idea for this book?

The Snowbound Bride started out as a contemporary Christmas story I was writing just for myself—sort of a therapy approach. You know—self-medicating with words. When my agent asked if I had anything that would fit a Barbour historical Christmas collection, I rewrote that story.

4.     How do you feel this book will encourage readers, or did you have
something in mind like this when you wrote it?

Things don’t work out as my heroine plans. (Now there’s a surprise.) But seriously, do plans ever work out the way we want? In The Snowbound Bride, circumstances land Era Taube in a situation that turns out to be much better than anything she could have come up with. God even uses her blunder and turns it into something good. I’m hoping the story will remind readers that the Lord does the same thing for us.

5.     How did you find your publisher?

My agent, Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency, connects me with my publishers.

6.     What are the pluses & minuses about doing a novella? Would you do it again?

Novellas leave no room for subplots and secondary-character development. However, they clip right along and I enjoy writing them. They are great for spinning off another book, and that’s what happened with The Snowbound Bride. A follow-up is releasing in June, The Columbine Bride, based on a secondary character in Snowbound.

7.       If you were a song, what would it be?

I’d want to be “Shout to the Lord.”

8.  Anything else you’d like to tell us.

Thanks for having me today. I count it an honor to talk about my favorite activity – writing stories that stir people’s hearts with faith and fresh hope.

Davalynn Spencer writes cowboy romance, a skill she’s honed since marrying a professional rodeo bullfighter and raising another. Her most recent title is “The Snowbound Bride,” one of twelve historical novellas in Barbour’s collection, The 12 Brides of Christmas. She is represented by Linda S. Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency and makes her home on Colorado’s Front Range with her handsome cowboy and their Queensland heeler, Blue. Connect with Davalynn on her website, Facebook page, Goodreads, and Twitter.

Tell us about The Snowbound Bride.

On the run from a heartless uncle, Arabella Taube hides in Nate Horne’s farm wagon just as a harsh winter storm sweeps into Colorado. Despite Ara’s mysterious background, Nate’s mother thinks she is the answer to a prayer and the hope for his future.

I love the story line. Sounds like a good book to settle in with on a wintry day.

Thank you so much for visiting the Writing with God's hope blog. I enjoyed the interview and look forward to reading the book. Anyone have any other comments or questions for Davalyn?


Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Christmas Book Picks

Here's a few of my recommendations for Christmas presents this year:

For the middle grade kids on your list:

For teenagers 14-18

Do you have a girl who just graduated from high school? Choose a new adult.

Need a good adult fiction? Here's 4 different type books that I've read lately & liked.

For Pre-order only- but may be in time for Christmas

                                                                Need a gift book?

Need a book for a child

Devotion Book

I could list a whole bunch more, ones by DiAnn Mills, Margaret Daley, Linda Broday, Killing Lincoln,  a great history book by Bill O'Reilly

Books make great gifts. Check out some of these I have listed, or search out your own.

What's your recommendation?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Another Ghost Legend from Fort Sill, Oklahoma

It's Weird Wednesday.

This is my third and last story that I found in The Ghost of Fort Sill by Robert R. Hiatt published in 1989. Especially if you live in the area, I recommend the book. Since it contains maybe twenty-five more ghost legends around the old fort, you just might find the book fascinating, as I did.


Hiatt titled one chapter “The Old Post Quadrangle Appearances.” Ghostly figures walking in the dark across the Old Post Quadrangle are fairly common through the years.


Occurrences date back to the 1920s. A veteran of the old Army from that period told Hiatt that the tale of the “old Indian” that walked at night was common knowledge, and was seen by several.


In the 1970s, a lone walker faced off with another walker. As they neared, he got a good look at the ghostly-appearing man dressed like someone from the 1890s. The spirit stared straight ahead, continued on his path, and disappeared.


These two reported ghosts appear to be two different spirits, both seen late at night in the same area.


So, for those stationed or visiting Fort Sill, be careful if you walk the Old Post Quadrangle late at night alone. You might just meet a ghost.

Weird Wednesday is looking for more ghost legends. If you have one, please e-mail me at
Remember my ghost story, Victoria and the Ghost is based on real ghost sightings at Clara Cemetery in the ghost town of Clara, Texas. It makes a great Christmas present especially for a girl aged 13-17.
Click on that page for further information.
Until then, beware ...

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Author Interview with Harry Wegley

Christmas is coming. Books make wonderful presents. Just a friendly reminder. I try to help followers of this "Writing with God's Hope" blog to choose books wisely. On Dec. 10, I'll post my list of recommendations.

I've been blessed to have many super authors as guests the last few weeks. Today, I wish to introduce you to thriller/suspense author, Harry Wegley. I've read books by him and found them fascinating and thought-provoking. I asked him several questions so that you, and I, might get better acquainted with him as a person. So, here we go ...

 1. Harry, tell us a little about your writing journey.

As a research scientist, I suppose you could say I wrote professionally for several years. But my writing fiction began in the USAF when my wife and I were too broke to do much of anything. I got her hooked on Zane Grey books and, while she read, I wrote some short stories. They were awful – 3 paragraphs of telling and 2 lines of dialogue. Fast forward 40 years – I wrote my first novel in 2010, Hide and Seek, and writing that story was more than fun. It was fulfilling and exhilarating. But reality slapped my face when I had it critiqued and had to rewrite it. I attended some conferences, took classes, had it critiqued again, and rewrote it a second time. 18 months after the first draft, Hide and Seek won a contract. I now have a series of 4 contracted books and am finishing my 8th novel.


2. Congratulations. That's an inspiring story. Did you ever feel like giving up?  And how did you press through this?

I’ve never felt like giving up on writing, but I nearly gave up on publishing Hide and Seek. I went on to a second novel, On the Pineapple Express. The draft weighed in at 105K words. I submitted it and got a bite, but the acquisitions editor wanted it reduced to more like 65K words. I almost gave up on this story too, because of the effort to retell a shorter story, but that’s when I got the contract for Hide and Seek. For me, giving up on writing was never the issue, but giving up on a story has been an issue several times.

3. How did you come upon the title for your latest release?

My wife and I were joking about my heroine being a triple threat, beauty, brains, and brawn, the 3 B’s. Then I mentioned the 3 attack vectors used by terrorists in my story, cyber warfare, biological warfare, and forest fires.  My wife latched onto Triple Threat and it stuck.


4. How do you feel this book will help readers?

In a society that has become pluralistic over the past 60 years, we have probably all discovered that it’s much harder to defend our Christian worldview against attacks out in the marketplace of ideas than it is to sit back in our fortresses—our churches and friends— and take long-range pot shots at someone else’s beliefs. It’s intimidating to think about preparing to give a reason for our faith to anyone who asks, but that’s exactly what our Lord asks us to do. I tried to show some good ways of doing this, in the spirit of 1 Peter 3:15, through my heroine, Katie Brandt. Over the course of the story, she refutes nearly every major objection to the Christian faith. Though she has an IQ of 180+, we can all use the simple facts and approaches she uses to defend her faith, approaches that look for the underlying questions and needs residing in the hearts of our audience.


5. Any other writing-related careers that we will find on your resume?

In your first question, I mentioned that I worked as a research scientist. I researched a variety of problems in atmospheric physics, everything from diffusion of effluents from nuclear power plants to wind energy. If you google H L Wegley, you’ll see several references to me in the scientific literature related to siting wind turbines.


6. If your life resembled a song, what would that song be?

I think it would be a funny, lighthearted, country song that, I believe, BJ Thomas sang, Help Me Make It to My Rocking Chair. It expresses what we all need in our spouses, and it does so in a humorous but, in my case, fairly accurate manner. After 48 years of marriage, I found someone to help me make it to my rocking chair and, at this point in our lives, that chair is sitting right in front of us. Please don’t try to find any great spiritual message in this answer. You probably won’t. But if you’re interested in this musical masterpiece, here’s a link to the lyrics and the song:


 7. Anything more you'd like to add? 

Thank you for hosting me, Janet. If anyone has weather-related questions, especially for your writing, please feel free to contact me for weather stats, realistic scenarios, storm info, etc.. You can message Harry Wegley on Facebook. I have been known to do custom forecasts for people, upon request, but only if they promise not to sue. J


 8. How can readers find you?

Here are a few of my web links:

Author Web site:


H. L. Wegley has been a USAF Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer, performed weather research, and published in the scientific literature. After earning an advanced Computer-Science degree, he developed computing systems for 20+ years, then retired to write. He has a contracted 4-book, Christian, thriller/suspense series with Pelican Book Group. The 4th book released in November 2014. He’s currently finishing his 8th novel.


Brilliant, beautiful, 21-year-old Katie Brandt, PhD candidate and woman of faith, detects a deadly conspiracy. Suspecting it's only the tip of an iceberg, she dives in, pulling fellow grad student, Joshua West, with her into a high-risk investigation of a cyber-terrorist plot. Damaged by the foster-care system, Katie takes huge risks to win acceptance and love. But when she risks Josh’s life, an agnostic, who isn’t prepared to die, she fears her mistake might have eternal consequences for Josh, a mistake that could break Katie's heart, a heart rapidly falling for Josh.

Will Katie and Josh survive the investigation? If they do, can they ever span the chasm of divergent worldviews that separates them? How can they awaken a dozing nation to a three-pronged danger that threatens its very existence?

Triple Threat, an adventure that spans the Pacific Northwest from the shores of the Olympic Peninsula to the mountains of Whistler, BC, a conspiracy you might read in tomorrow's paper, but pray you never will.


Triple Threat purchase links:


Barnes & Noble:

Pelican Book Group:

Sounds like a winner, Harry. Can't wait to take another ride with Katie. She's quite a heroine, the kind we'd all like to be. 

 I enjoyed getting acquainted with you. Who knew we had our very own weather expert. We may be calling on you.  Anyone have a comment or question now? Click on post a comment below.