Milkweed Time–The Harvest Fairy Lives

Seed 1

Dear Friends,

As this year comes to a close, I have a confession to make—promise you won’t tell? I never really grew up. I just pretend that I have. Most of the time, I manage to act like an adult, but there is a certain time of year that sends me straight back to my childhood. It’s milkweed time—my Harvest Fairy time.

Milkweed 9Milkweeds grow on the ditch banks all over Colorado’s Front Range. When I was little, my love of this special weed was born. You see, milkweeds are a BLAST to play with. You can turn the plant’s empty pods into boats and sail them down ditches, but best of all is the fact that the pods explode into balls of fluff and send their seeds floating through the air. The puffy parachutes feel as soft as kitten fur, and I love watching them fly up toward the clouds. To me, milkweed time is pure magic.

I’m not sure when I came up with the idea of being the “Harvest Fairy,” but it’s a bit of nonsensical fun that I’ve enjoyed for the past thirty-some years. Every fall, I pick a sparkling autumn day to go for a walk. As I stroll, I collect the puffed-out milkweed pods and scatter their fluff on the wind. It’s so much fun to fill the air with a slurry of white seeds and watch them floating high and far. Now days, I just stroll and scatter, but when I was younger, my ritual was much more elaborate. On Harvest Fairy Day, I’d make myself a crown of dried leaves and grasses and go along the ditch banks earnestly scattering the milkweed seed. Of course, the practice of making crowns took a hard hit one year when I ended up with beetles in my hair—you see, being the Harvest Fairy has a few risks…

Milkweed 8(Now, let me pause for a moment and insert a disclaimer. I’m a farmer’s daughter, and I KNOW the confession that I’ve scattered weed seed is a horrible confession to make. With the utmost embarrassment, I’ll admit that I’ve probably single-handedly seeded my entire county with milkweed over the years. I know I should probably give up my milkweed fun—any sensible person would—but the problem is that deep down, I’m not really sensible and I don’t think I ever could be. You’d think I’d grow out of my silly ways, but I haven’t yet. Whenever I vow to act more sensibly, I spot a puffy milkweed plant just waiting for the Harvest Fairy’s touch. I’ve finally decided that I’m a lost cause. The Harvest Fairy is too deeply ingrained in me to be yanked out. I’m afraid it’s here to stay.)

seed 5Ever since I became ill, I try to make sure not to miss milkweed time. It’s the one day a year when my problems shrink away and I revel in pure nonsense. This year, I had a blast on my fairy walk. There was just the right amount of breeze to really send the seeds sailing. As I watched them floating away, a thought entered my head. If I had to, could I ever get the seeds back into the pod? I watched them floating above treetops and falling down into ditches. There was no way that I could regather the seeds, and I knew it. Even as I pondered this reality, the realization came that words are like seeds floating on the breeze. Once they’re released, they can’t be reclaimed.

seed 4As I continued to think, I picked another pod and sent more seeds sailing. As I watched the fluff zooming away, I realized that some words are beautiful and helpful. Some are mean and cruel. Each has the potential to make something grow. Happiness. Encouragement. Joy. Self-confidence. Anger. Worthlessness. Depression. Despair.

I scattered more milkweed fluff into the air, and as I did, I realized that I’m the Harvest Fairy every day of my life. Everything I speak or do influences those around me. I either brighten their day or make it more difficult. It’s my choice how I am going to affect other people.

seed 6This time, as I finished my Harvest Fairy day, I felt as if it meant more than just a spot of harmless fun. This time, there seemed to be an object lesson—and even a warning—embedded in my milkweed revelry. What kind of seed am I spreading? What is going to grow? Ever since this year’s milkweed time, I’ve been praying that each seed I send floating will be full of kindness and that it will cause joy to spring up wherever it lands. As I enter a new year, that’s my resolution. That’s what I want the most.

Happy New Year, my friends! May 2016 bring each of us a deeper revelation of Christ and His love!

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24

 

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I’m Being Interviewed on The Diamond Mine!

Time Tsunami

Dear Friends,

I just wanted to let you know that a wonderful Christian author, Nancy Bolton, has just interviewed me on The Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction. During the interview, my new book, Time Tsunami, is discussed. Nancy and I talk about my characters, my writing process, and many other things! I had so much fun speaking with her! At the end of the interview, readers are given a sneak peek of an excerpt from my book!! If you would like to read the interview, please follow the link below. I hope you have a wonderful day!

http://diamondsinfiction.blogspot.com/2015/12/interview-with-debut-author-danele.html

 

Renee Blare–Author Interview

Renee B

Dear Friends,

Do you know someone who’s so much fun that they just keep you laughing? I sure do! Her name’s Renee Blare, and she’s the terrific woman in this photograph. Whenever I need a pick-me-up, I instant message Renee and have a chat. As we talk, I inevitably start giggling. Renee hasn’t always had an easy life, but she’s never let it stop her. Trials break some people, but they made Renee kind, sensitive, and full of fun. It’s an honor to welcome this special lady to my blog.

Danele: Hi, Renee! It’s great to have you with us!

Renee: Hello, Danele! It’s great to be here. Hold on a sec’…my dog’s trying to steal my tea. Crazy dog. Wait…for everyone’s information that was my husband’s nutty waterdog, Cooper. Okay, where was I? Oh, yeah, hi! Did I mention it’s great to be here?

Danele: Oh, Renee! You crack me up! You’ve already got me giggling, and we’ve only just begun to talk. I’m so glad we’ve met—you’re a gem! Anyway, let’s get things rolling. Can you tell us the circumstances surrounding your decision to give your heart to Christ?

Renee: Sure! Did you know I love water? I love it so much that I’ve been baptized THREE times! I grew up in church. I don’t actually remember my first day in a pew. I attended Sunday school and sang in the children’s choir. VBS (Vacation Bible School) was my thing to do in the summer as well as Bible camp until youth group took over. I walked the aisle the first time as a young child because my friends did it. The second time, it was as a teen because it was expected of my “new church home.” I could talk the “talk” with the best of them. I convinced all around me that I was one of them. The only person who didn’t buy the act? Me. Miserable and alone in the crowd, I battled anorexia, and when I couldn’t fit into this world, I struggled with depression…and suicide.”

Danele: Oh, Renee! I’m so sorry! What changed things?

Renee: At eighteen years old, I sat in my Christian single’s group (once again, going through the “spiritual” motions) and listened while people prayed. One person prayed for peace, another for guidance, and when the “talk” reached the next person, my life changed. My friend didn’t speak to God in the easy-flowing, divine words I was used to. He talked to the Lord as a close companion…lifting his guttural, needy plea in tearful but confident tones as if knowing he was being heard. In that moment, I realized he was talking to Someone and He was real. I also realized that I didn’t know Him. I asked Jesus into my heart that very night and walked the aisle once again to be baptized. Yes, for the THIRD time. Nothing like a good dunkin’ to wash the “dirt” away.

Danele: Wow, Renee! That’s wonderful! God is so amazing! When we grasp the reality of who He is, everything changes. I remember one of my first glimpses into God’s power. I was in a church service, and I saw a girl getting out of a wheelchair. As she walked across the front of my church, I couldn’t believe it. She wasn’t a stranger, and the incident wasn’t staged. I knew I was seeing a miracle. I had heard of God’s power, but seeing it in action changed everything. Like you, once my perception of God shifted, so did everything else. Renee, thank you so much for being so open with us! I know your testimony is touching lives today! It has touched mine!

Renee: I’m glad.

Danele: After you gave your heart to Christ, was there a time when God helped you through a difficult situation?

Renee: Oh, Danele, explain “difficult time.” LOL! I don’t want to play the martyr, but my life hasn’t been easy…or should I say my husband’s life? Well, let’s just say we’ve had plenty of trials. I’ll try to narrow it down to one. Give me a minute…is that Jeopardy music I hear? Ahh, that’s a good one (light bulb flips on in Renee’s head.)

Danele: Oh, Renee! Stop making me laugh!

Renee: Speaking of hearing Jeopardy music, about ten years or so ago, my husband was told he needed another surgery.

Danele: Another?

Renee: At that time, it would’ve been his “twenty-something” time under the knife. It was either have the surgery or lose his hearing. He’d already lost over 60%. The catch? This new procedure only had a 50% chance of success.

Danele: That’s awful. What did you do?

Renee: Pray and pray and pray…and learn sign language. Well, our own version of it, anyway. We were under some serious time constraints. James, my husband, and I feared the worst. I worried, and he sank into the mire of depression. As I searched for answers and help, I asked the wrong person for advice and quickly learned what NOT to do. (Who tells a wife to lie to her husband? Definitely not a Christian.) As James’s hearing and mood continued to decline, we struggled, both together and apart. Worrying began to take a toll on my health. I was having migraines two and three times a week. During my quiet time one day, God ordered me to stop it in a clear, concise voice. Matthew 6:34 became my life verse from that moment on: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Danele: I love that verse! So what ended up happening?

Renee: James had the surgery. Prosthetic middle ear bones replaced deteriorated ones. He woke from anesthesia with better hearing than before, and although he still needed hearing aids (which he never wears), the procedure was a success. What do I do now when faced with trials and tribulation? I don’t lie to my husband. I confront the truth of the situation, and I confront my emotions. I share that truth with James no matter what I think the consequences may be. And above all, I trust God to be with me (and us) through it all. I deal with each day’s troubles as they come, leaving tomorrow’s alone.

Danele: I’m so glad that everything worked out okay! You mentioned that God has helped you through many trails. Has God helped you deal with the loss of a loved one?

Renee: That’s a tough question. It’s actually something I haven’t talked about much, but I guess now’s a good time. In 2002, my father-in-law died from brain cancer. In a way, I would have to say it was a blessing since the disease claimed his life in a matter of months rather than years. The hardest part? We discovered his illness the day the world stopped turning, September 11th. That’s the day he was diagnosed.

Danele: That’s awful! I’m so sorry!

Renee: In the six months we had left with him, I learned to value life, no matter how hard or uncomfortable I may think it is. I watched a thriving, vital man lose the ability to speak and control his emotions. He communicated with a notepad or with mere grunts. Through it all, God showed me that it’s amazing what you can do when you need to. God also showed me that He is faithful. Even through the pain and the loss, God never left me. No matter how many times my father-in-law cried, or I cried, I knew I wasn’t alone. So, what did I learn? Never take time for granted. Spend it with those you love.

Danele: Renee, you just brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing with us. You mentioned that you felt the presence of God. Is there a specific place where you feel His presence the most?

Renee: I’m a prayer warrior. I don’t say that to brag or claim to be something great. I’m not. Have you ever seen that “meme” circulating around Facebook of the “Prayer Room” and it shows the before and after pictures of a kitten and a lion? For me, it’s the exact opposite. I enter into prayer armed and prepared to wage war. In the middle of the battle, however, something phenomenal always happens. I fall flat on my face. God bathes me in His peace, picks me up, and gives me strength to continue. By the end of this special time with the Lord, I’m usually trembling with exhaustion. But no matter what happens–I know I’ve been in the presence of God.

Danele: That’s so beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing! Now, I’d love to hear about your writing. I know that you were a semi-finalist for the 2014 ACFW Genesis award in unpublished Christian Fiction. I also know that you’ve written two books for Prism Book Group: Beast of Stratton and To Soar on Eagle’s Wings: Book One of the Snowy Range Chronicles. Can you tell us more about your new book series?

Renee: Sure! In July, I released To Soar on Eagle’s Wings, the first book of my romantic suspense series, The Snowy Range Chronicles. This series is set in the Snowy Range of Wyoming–a rugged southern mountain range along the border of Wyoming and Colorado. Timber Springs is home to the Fitzgerald family. With their father, the local pastor, the Fitzgerald’s struggle to come to terms with the unexpected death of their mother while life continues…on the Snowy Range. To Soar on Eagle’s Wings is the first of seven planned suspense novels with the second, Through the Raging Waters, scheduled to be released in 2016.

Danele: That sounds great! Can you give us the back cover blurb and a purchasing link for To Soar on Eagle’s Wings?

Renee: Spring’s in the air. While the sun shines in Timber Springs, snow falls on the Snowy Range, and trouble’s brewing in the meadows. The area’s new game warden, Steve Mitchell launches his first wildlife investigation of the season, but the trouble follows him—straight to town. Rachel Fitzgerald’s on Spring Break. Or at least she’s trying. Between paperwork, and harassing phone calls, she may as well have stayed in her classroom. So much for relaxation. A ‘chance’ meeting with her brother’s old roommate offers her weary soul a shred of hope, but she discovers love, like life, isn’t easy. He talks with the wisdom of the Lord but rejects the future. She wants to soar with the eagles but walks alone. And trusting God proves to be more of a challenge than ever before… http://www.amazon.com/Soar-Eagles-Wings-Renee-Blare/dp/1514775387

Danele: Wow, that sounds good! Renee, thank you so much for being with us today. I appreciate the way you’ve shared your heart. I know you touched lives today. It’s been a pleasure talking with you!

Renee: The pleasure’s been all mine, Danele. You’re an angel…hey, where’d your wings go? Don’t let this lady fool you, folks. She really is an angel.

Danele: Oh, Renee! You make me smile! Have a great day, and don’t let Cooper steal all of your tea.

 

Friends, Renee Blare is such a terrific person! She has a heart that beats for the Lord, and she is such an inspiration. If you would like to learn more about her or her books, please follow the links below. I hope you all have a wonderful day! And may this New Year bring you much joy!

Renee’s website: http://www.reneeblare.com/

Renee’s blog: http://reneeblare.blogspot.com/

Group blogs to which she belongs: http://diamondsinfiction.blogspot.com/

http://puttingonthenew.com/

Renee’s additonal links: Facebook  Google+  LinkedIn  Instagram  Twitter  Pinterest  YouTube Tumblr: The Journey  Amazon Author Page

I Don’t Care If It’s Christmas Eve-I’m NOT Eating Boogers!

merry christmas

Dear Friends,

My family has several Christmas traditions. Some of them are wonderful—like my father reading the Christmas story while we sit by the tree—and some are perfectly dreadful. For instance, on Christmas Day, we cut up hard-boiled eggs and put them into our gravy. (((Gack!))) (((Gack!!))) (((Gack!))) I can’t wrap my head around that one—I mean, don’t you want gravy to be smooth rather than lumpy? Why cram it full of gross egg chunks? Even though half my family agrees with me—and one year we even held a family vote—eggy gravy has continued to stick around. But even worse than eggy gravy is what happens on Christmas Eve. I shudder every time I think about it. My family eats boogers. (((DOUBLE GACK!!!!))) Well, not actual boogers, but they might as well be. We eat oysters.

oysterLet me pause for a moment while I silently gag. I can’t imagine why anyone would voluntarily eat an oyster. I mean, really–what kind of nut came up with the hideous idea that oysters are actually food? I can just picture the first oyster dinner— “Look, a big slimy booger. Let’s try it out. I bet it will be delicious!”

I’d rather eat anything other than an oyster—even eggy gravy. When I look at them, I feel slightly sick, and their smell is revolting. I know it is silly, and it’s embarrassing to admit, but they REALLY creep me out. I’ll admit that since most people like oysters, I’m the weird, odd man out. But I can’t seem to force the wiggly masses down. And why should I have to?? What do oysters have to do with Christmas? I’ve never been able to figure out the connection. But oyster soup and Christmas Eve are inseparable in my family. World-Without-End-Amen.

Now, what is the point of my diatribe against oysters?? I do have a point, I promise. Philippians 2:3-5: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only on your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

christmas sceneYou see, when I was a teenager, I pitched a fit about the oysters. Now, my mother is the best woman in the world, and she didn’t force me to eat oysters, she even made a pot of chili soup every year so family members who hated them had another option. But you see, I didn’t like the look of them. I didn’t want them around. I didn’t see why we had to have them in the house, and since the world revolved around me, I thought we should forget the oysters completely. I’ll never forget looking at my mom after delivering my speech and seeing her smile wobble. I’d been so wrapped up in MY feelings, that I never considered HERS. It never crossed my mind that she liked the oysters. That for HER it was a treat. Christmas Eve was the only time our family ate oysters—which meant it was her only chance to have one. In my selfish whiney-ness, I was putting the kibosh on something she enjoyed. Immediately, I felt like a bloated, ugly, two-headed, spotted toad. I took my words back and apologized. I still wasn’t looking forward to coming eye-to-eye with an oyster, but I wasn’t willing to squash my mother’s enjoyment. Determined to be a good sport, I screwed on a smile. And that Christmas Eve, rather than complaining about the food, I watched my mother relishing it. And I felt happy–actually happy–about oysters.

ornament 2Oysters have taught me a lot about life and family. They’ve taught me that it isn’t important to always get my own way. They’ve taught me that putting up with some things is worthwhile to make the people you love happy. And in an odd way, they’ve taught me about Christ. You see, Philippians 2:5 says that our attitude shouldn’t be selfish—it should be the same as that of Jesus. Philippians 2:6-8 goes on to say that Jesus gave up equality with God and made Himself nothing. It says that Jesus thought about others to such an extent that He let Himself die on the cross. In light of what Jesus did, surely I can be selfless enough to choke down an oyster (or at least pretend to).

nativityToday, as we get ready to celebrate the birth of Christ, I think it’s important for us (me in particular as I get ready to face an oyster!!!!) to really think about what this holiday signifies. I think it goes beyond gift-giving and love. I think that at its root, Christmas is all about selflessness. Jesus could have stayed enthroned in heaven and left us in our mess, but instead, He took on the indignity of human flesh and sacrificed Himself to pay for our sins. I think that the miracle of Christmas isn’t just the virgin birth, or the star, or the angels—it’s the fact that a powerful Celestial King chose to see us as more important than His owns rights and comfort.

Love comes in many forms. In stables. In swaddling clothes. Even in oysters.

spruceFriends, I hope your Christmas season is full of joy and contentment. And I hope that next year brings each of us a deeper revelation of God’s love.  I also hope that if you are choking down oysters tonight—that you actually enjoy them. Merry Christmas!!!!ornament

DiAne Gates–Author Interview

DiAne Gates

Dear Friends,

I’d like to introduce you to a sweet friend of mine, DiAne Gates. DiAne is such an incredible person!! She has been such an encouragement to me, and she always has a kind word to say. Not only is DiAne a terrific author, but she’s also a magnificent photographer. I always look for her pictures online—they brighten my day. I’m so happy to have DiAne on my blog today, she’s someone special.

Danele: Hello, DiAne! It’s great to be able to talk with you!

DiAne: Danele, I’m honored to be here. Love your posts, and the best perk of those lonely hours banging the keyboard is the blessing of all my new writer friends.

Danele: That’s one of the things I really enjoy about Prism Book Group–the authors support each other. You’re right—it’s such a blessing! Now, DiAne, I can’t wait to hear more about you, so let’s jump right into things. Have you ever faced a difficult situation that made you totally rely on God?

DiAne: Yes, I have. One Friday afternoon in 2000, I answered the phone and heard my daughter sob, “Moomm.” She and her husband were leaving the gynecologist’s office from her prenatal sonogram and the news was devastating. The doctor recommended they abort the baby. All his organs were on the outside of his body, and they said he wouldn’t survive the pregnancy. The doctor gave them the weekend to make a decision. On the phone, my daughter said, “We don’t believe in abortion. Mom, what are we going to do?” I answered, “Pray. Listen to what God says. I can’t tell you, but you and Clint must be on the same page.” Then I asked, “Do you want me to come?” After I hung up, I called our Sunday School prayer leader and our class began to pray. Then I crumbled in pieces and cried and prayed. I boarded the plane on Sunday afternoon for what I thought would be the saddest trip of my lifetime. When Michelle and my three-year-old granddaughter met the plane, one look in her eyes told me there would be no abortion. Monday, Clint and Michelle left for the doctor’s appointment, and Ashton and I waited. And waited. ’Til they burst through the door, faces wreathed in smiles. God had healed our Noah since Friday—in the womb. The amazed doctor said it was a miracle. Noah was perfect. And when he made his appearance into this world, he was indeed a perfect baby.

Danele: That is so amazing!

DiAne: Yes, but that’s not the end of the story. Seven months later, a blood vessel in our Michelle’s brain stem ruptured and she died. No warning. And that phone call and subsequent flight to Indiana was the most awful trip of our lives.

Danele: Oh, DiAne! I’m so sorry!

DiAne: Our son-in-law was military, and he was being transferred to Kansas and scheduled for school, so Dick and I brought the children home to Dallas after the funeral. They lived with us until his schooling was complete. And for the next seven months Papa and Mimi became mama and daddy. No time for grieving—children don’t wait. In September, the kiddos and I went to Ft. Leavenworth to live with my son-in-law to get their fractured household up and running. Again, no time for grieving until I returned home a year later. God carried me through that first year, but alone, at home, my world caved in. And my faith was locked in a vise grip and squeezed.

Danele: I’m so sorry!

DiAne: I’d love to tell you that I gave my jumbled emotions to God and trusted Him…but I didn’t. However, He never walked away from my anger, my outbursts, or my depression. Like that poem about the one set of footprints, He carried me—and He still does. Because grief never goes away. It just morphs into a new normal. A new normal where pain and joy learned to mutually cohabit in my heart. Around the three year mark, the new normal of thankfulness began to penetrate the void. Thankfulness that has cemented my soul to my Savior and my God. Thankfulness that seven months prior to her death Michelle had the courage to say, “No, we will be happy with whatever God gives us to love.” And her God-given courage allowed us to have a small part of her through her children. What has God taught me through this heartache? He will never leave me—no matter what kinda ugly I work up. His grace really is sufficient—even when I think I can’t bear another gut-wrenching moment. And every one of His promises are true. I believe God uses the  roto-rooter of grief to increase our heart’s capacity for joy, if we, like you say, Danele—surrender and embrace whatever chaos He allows—knowing He will turn it for our good and His glory. In one of my darkest moments, I walked out on the patio one morning, slumped in a chair and sobbed and shouted, “If You really are here, I need to feel Your presence, right now!” The morning was still, but a breeze swirled around me and wrapped me, like one of those micro-waved blankets from the Emergency Room. And He comforted me.

Danele: That’s so beautiful.

DiAne: After that, He called me to become a GriefShare facilitator and after some heel digging, I obeyed. And He taught me that Christians grieve too. Goodness, Jesus grieved even though He knew He was going to raise Lazarus a few minutes later. I also learned grieving is not only okay, it’s necessary. We live in a small town in East Texas and our first GriefShare group brought together fourteen ladies from our town who had lost children. It was a desperately heavy and hard thirteen weeks where God performed miracles in each of our lives. And thirteen years later, He is still allowing me to walk alongside hurting people. Allowing me to be His physical arms to hold them. And He has taught me I have no answers for these folks, but He does. I’ve walked out of meetings astonished at words that popped out of my mouth. Words that weren’t mine…He put them in my mouth…just like He said He would.

Danele: I’m so glad that you allowed God to turn your pain into a beautiful ministry. Is there anything else you would like to say about your difficult experience?

DiAne: Do I miss Michelle? Oh my, yes. Would I love to have her back? Absolutely not. That would be the height of selfishness. She’s healed and with Jesus! One thing I asked my Lord after I obeyed, “Please keep the scar in my heart soft and tender so I can always feel other people’s pain.” And He’s answered that prayer too. When you’re with someone who has lost a loved one and stressing over what to say…say nothing. Just wrap your arms around them and cry with ’em. Did you know scientists tell us tears of grief are different? Their chemical make-up is unlike any other tears. Perhaps that’s why the Psalmist tells us, God saves our tears in His bottle. So if you’ve lost one you love, let the tears flow. God’s saving ’em. Amazing!

Danele: DiAne, thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. I know that you’ve helped some grieving people today. Have you ever experienced a miracle that you would like to talk about?

DiAne: I sure have. One afternoon several years after Michelle went to be with the Lord, we were returning from visiting the children and had Noah with us. It was raining and the highways were slick. I sat in the back with the three-year-old, pointing out a rainbow in the distance and telling him about his namesake. Suddenly, Dick interrupted and demanded, “Sit back! Relax! And hold Noah in his car seat.” Fear gripped my heart. A string of red taillights stopped in front of us. I twisted to look behind where an eighteen wheeler was closing the space between us. No way that truck could stop. I breathed a prayer and waited for the inevitable. Suddenly, we were encased in the middle of the rainbow. Golden light sparkled over the car and the most calming quiet surrounded us. No squealing brakes. No crash. Nothing but a grand silence. Then it was gone. Everyone in front and behind had stopped. Neither Dick nor I could say a word. Traffic moved again and we must have driven a mile or so before I found my voice. “Dick, what did you see and hear back there?” He replied in a soft, hesitant tone, “You…You tell me what you saw first.” When I began to describe, he filled in the details. We had seen and heard exactly the same things. We will never forget the sound of that silence nor forget the warmth and sparkle of the golden glow. God saved us. How I don’t know. But I often repeat to Noah the account of that afternoon and continue to repeat God’s Word: “For I know the plans I have for you, ‘Declares the Lord’, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). Then I remind Noah, “That’s twice God saved you, Bubba. He sure has a plan for your life. So you’d better check with Him about that plan.”

Danele: Wow, what an experience! Thanks for sharing it! Now, I’d love for you to tell us a little about your novel, Roped.

DiAne: Roped was released by Prism Book Group on August 21st of this year. This story has been forming in my head for a number of years. I love Texas and I love rodeo. I took a series of writing courses from The Children’s Institute of Literature and one assignment was to write about a child I didn’t know. The lady I worked with had a young daughter and both gals were bona fide cowgirls. I began going to rodeos with ’em and the story wrote itself in my head. After getting it on paper, I sent it to one publisher who promptly rejected it so I threw it in a drawer…for years. Five years ago, I joined North Texas Christian Writers and paired with six other serious writers and the painful rewrites began. ’Til God brought me to Prism Book Group.

Danele: I was so impressed with your book. It had definite Christian themes, and I really enjoyed it. In fact, I had a total blast reading it! Can you share the back cover blurb for Roped and a link where we can find it?

DiAne: Sure! Thirteen-year-old Crissy Crosby chases a dream to live up to her parents’ rodeo legacy. But the rodeo championship is two months away and problems beyond her ability to solve stack and teeter like a game of Tumbling-Towers. Meanwhile rival Jodie Lea and her father, Ed Fairgate, contrive to swipe the silver buckles from Crissy’s grasp any way they can…Prejudice, anger, and dark secrets simmer in a pot of family feuds destined to boil over in a tragic nightmare at the rodeo. Will Crissy develop courage and faith to overcome the consequences of her temper? Will her dreams of buckles and titles become reality? Or will the character-building adversities of her life quash her dreams forever? http://www.prismbookgroup.com/Roped.html

Danele: I’d love to hear what you are working on now.

DiAne: My work in progress is Twisted, the sequel to Roped. In this book, we’ll find out why Jodie Lea Fairgate is the perpetual burr in Crissy Crosby’s hide. ’Til Uncle Bo shows up and things serious-up. Makin’ what happened the night of the rodeo in Roped look like a kindergarten spat. I’m about three-quarters of the way toward the finish line with this one.

Danele: DiAne, thank you so much for being with us today. I really appreciate the way you shared your heart with us.

DiAne: I’ve enjoyed chatting with you, Danele. It’s a shame we live so far apart. But one day, we’ll have eternity to get to know one another and praise our God together—forever!

 

Friends, DiAne Gates is such a beautiful person. If you would like to learn more about her or her books, or if you would like to contact her personally, please follow the links below. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DiAne-Gates-375473495831603/?fref=ts

Blog: http://dianegates.wordpress.com/  (Moving the Ancient Boundaries)

E-mail: dianegates@sbcglobal.net

Time Tsunami–Available for Pre-order!!

Time TsunamiDear Friends,

My heart is overflowing with joy and excitement! Yesterday, my publisher let me know that the eBook version of Time Tsunami has become available for pre-order through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

On January 15th, the paperback copy will also be available. Thank you so much for sharing in this joy with me!

 

Here’s the Amazon pre-order link for Time Tsunami’s Kindle eBook:

http://www.amazon.com/Time-Tsunami-Danele-J-Rotharmel-ebook/dp/B019JBEI1C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450531289&sr=8-1&keywords=danele+Rotharmel

Here’s the Barnes & Noble link for Time Tsunami’s Nook eBook:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/time-tsunami-danele-j-rotharmel/1123153640?ean=2940152530919

 

red light burst 1Time Tsunami (Book 1 of The Time Counselor Chronicles)

To stop a cruel serial killer, she must travel twenty-four years into the past…

Gil Montgomery, a cadet in the Temporal Counseling Program, can’t wait to pass her field exam and become a professional time surfer. The TEMCO program targets death-row offenders for time-based counseling while they’re children.  For her exam, Gil will travel twenty-four years into the past to counsel ten-year-old Danny Winston before he murders his abusive babysitter, Rick Olsen.  Preventing the stabbing should stop the chain of events leading to Danny’s eventual execution. Gil’s assignment seems simple until her adviser, Dr. William Ableman, learns that Rick is a serial killer targeting Danny’s mother.  If Gil stays and protects the Winstons, she might not survive.  William wants the woman he loves to be pulled from the field, but if Gil fails to complete her assignment, it will unleash a Time Tsunami and destroy the timeline. As TEMCO undergoes an emergency lockdown, and Gil’s fellow cadets try to figure out what’s happening, Gil and William learn the importance of faith and the price of true love. Everyone’s fate is resting in Gil’s hands, but does she have the strength she needs to defeat a ruthless serial killer intent on annihilating everyone in his path. Will she return from the deadly mission…


yellow burstTime Tsunami 
is a fast-moving thriller with time travel twists that keep the reader guessing until the very last page.

Time Tsunami is CLEAN Christian fiction, and it doesn’t contain any swear words or dirty scenes. My main characters are all Christians, and the plan of salvation is clearly presented in the book. My characters deal with real-life issues and confront them in a Biblical manner. “Walking through the Why,” is also discussed–how to reconcile your faith when bad things happen.

 

Danele RotharmelI wrote Time Tsunami while I was ill and undergoing seven years of quarantine. (See my blog’s “welcome” page for more information.) I used writing as a way to distract myself from the loneliness and pain. My characters became very real to me, and they were my “window to the outside world.” I really enjoyed writing my book. On the days when the pain would hit the hardest, I would lie in bed looking up at the ceiling figuring out plot twists and funny scenes. I tried to infuse my book with suspense, romance, humor, spirituality, and action. I hope that you really enjoy it.

 

 

Lost But Not Lost

2I’ve been asked what it feels like to have partial amnesia, and my answer is always the same—it’s VERY FRUSTRATING!! There’s something really hideous about having your memories stolen from you. As awful as my amnesia was, when I became ill, it wasn’t the only mental battle I faced. The carbon monoxide poisoning and multiple chemical sensitivity really did a number on my brain. I had trouble concentrating, and my mind suddenly seemed wired incorrectly. When I would empty the dishwasher, I would be convinced that I was doing everything right, but later, I would find dishes in the oven and in the trashcan. It was like my mind was playing tricks on me. It was scary and very upsetting.

I was also having hallucinations. Light switches would creep up the walls and the waves in the ocean painting above my couch would move. I even saw a feathered frog jumping across my dresser and flying under my bed. I “knew” the hallucinations weren’t real, but they LOOKED real. I had to get on my hands and knees and peek under the bed to make sure it wasn’t infested with frogs.

3I think the scariest thing was the confusion. One winter day, I realized I was standing out in the middle of my front yard without a coat. I had no idea how I’d gotten there, and I had no idea how long I’d been standing there. It was the strangest feeling in the world. That feeling grew even worse when I was driving home one day and I became lost just a few miles from my house. Even though I knew that road like the back of my hand, suddenly nothing was familiar. Getting lost was more than scary—it was terrifying. When I finally found my way home, I faced the awful truth. I had to quit my job.

4There’s something soul-sucking about losing your independence. Turning over your car keys and giving up your paycheck. It hurts. It hurts really badly. It makes you feel very, very small and very, very insignificant. Each day, I felt like more bits of myself were being stolen. When I thought things couldn’t get any worse, I began to lose even more things. I couldn’t go to church. I couldn’t coach. I couldn’t go to the store. I couldn’t even write. Whenever I tried to pen a story, my words felt clunky. My sentences sat on the page like squatty lumps of clay. They didn’t flow—they didn’t make music. In a fit of rage, I yelled up at the ceiling, “You’ve taken everything, God! The only thing I have left is my cat!” That week, my cat was hit by a car. I felt striped down to nothing. Then the final blow fell. I couldn’t remember my past.

It was my brother who made me realize I had partial amnesia. One day he was talking about a trip I had taken. I couldn’t remember the trip at all. John has always been a bit of a practical joker, so I thought he was teasing. When he wouldn’t admit to the joke, I became angry. I would like to say that I handled the situation well, but I didn’t. I yelled at him. John didn’t say much, he simply showed me a picture, and the picture said it all. I had been on that trip—I just couldn’t remember it.

5Once Pandora’s Box was opened, there was no closing it. I began searching my memory and finding more and more black holes. There were whole years that had simply vanished. Questions began rolling around in my brain and haunting my dreams. Who was I??? If I couldn’t remember “Danele’s life” was I even Danele??? And If I wasn’t Danele, did I even matter? I had survived the carbon monoxide poisoning, but in many ways, I felt like “Danele” had died. And the person I had become wasn’t someone I liked very much. I wanted to “imitate” the person I had been before, but how could I? I couldn’t remember much about her. I felt so insignificant. I felt so lost. Somewhere around this time, I entered into quarantine and that didn’t help matters much.

14My amnesia sent me spiraling down into a gray funk, and when I hit the bottom, I was afraid I would shatter. But rather than breaking into a million pieces, I discovered I was stronger than I thought. Rather than buckling, I became very, very mad. I have a temper I try to keep under control, but in this case, my rotten temper came in handy. I figured that if I couldn’t remember who I was, I WAS JOLLY WELL GONNA FIND OUT!!!

17I marched into the garage and pulled all of my keepsake boxes from the rafters. I’ve always been a packrat, and I believe that my packrat tendencies were a blessing straight from God’s hand. He knew what was going to happen in my life, and He was preparing me for it. Since kindergarten, I’ve kept all my birthday cards, letters, report cards, photographs, school reports, and movie tickets. In a fit of black rage tinged with despair, I began sorting the snowdrift into chronological order and putting the papers into scrapbooks. By the time I was done, I had over 40 scrapbooks sitting in a prim row on a bookshelf. By the time I was done, I “knew” who I was even if I couldn’t “remember” who I was.

19I’ve been told that I’m pigheaded and stubborn as a mule. I think God made me that way on purpose. If I hadn’t been stubborn, I would have turned up my toes and given up. Instead, I began combatting my memory problems with every bit of gumption I possessed. I’m a former Bible Quizzer, and I used to memorize Scripture easily. But my illness had turned my brain into a spongey sort of sieve. Determined to get my mind back in shape, I spent a whole summer struggling to learn two verses of Proverbs. Since I couldn’t remember my college education, I began reviewing my old class notes and reading encyclopedias. And then I began studying college-level algebra. Math has always been difficult for me, and studying it again was like facing a giant. But I was determined to get my mind back. Each day I would struggle to learn pages of formulas. I would work until I had them down cold, but when I woke up in the morning, I couldn’t remember a single one. BUT I DIDN’T GIVE UP. Day after day, I keep memorizing those BLASTED formulas. Day after day, I kept struggling to learn those two verses. I was STUBBORN in my resolve. And eventually—slowly—it started to work.

18After years of struggle, I felt my brain beginning to unlock. Then, suddenly, I was able to memorize massive amounts of scripture. I began committing whole books of the Bible to memory. And as I focused on learning God’s Word, I began noticing other changes. I was starting to dream in color again, and I could see “shapes” in the clouds floating past my window.  Suddenly, I knew that my ability to write had been restored. Feeling almost breathless, I looked through my old short stories. There was one about a time-traveling student that I particularly liked. I had written it for a college creative writing class, and in the margin was a note from my professor saying that he thought I had a “sellable” idea.

Time TsunamiI still remember the anxious anticipation I felt when I sat down at my computer and began crafting my short story into a novel. The words that had been stolen from me, and pent up for so long, began flowing in an uncontrollable stream. I began spending 8-18 hours in front of the computer writing Time Tsunami. And when I finished it, I wrote its sequel, Time Trap. The words continued to flow, and soon I had four more books in The Time Counselor Chronicles finished.

As I continued to write, bits of my life came back into focus. I remembered my old trips. I remembered the fun times I had shared with loved ones. Birthdays. Weddings. Anniversaries. I remembered glorious church services and fun Bible Quiz trips. Slowly, I began to remember who I was. Like a fog rolling back from the shore, the amnesia left.

12I still have a few black holes in my memory, but they don’t really bother me much. In a strange way, I feel like I’ve been given a unique gift. I completely lost who I was for a while, and I had learn all about this “Danele” person in order to rediscover myself. I also learned an incredible lesson–no matter how incredibly “lost” I felt, I wasn’t really lost at all. God KNEW me—even when I didn’t know myself. And He loved me.

I’m not who I was before my illness, and I’m not who I was immediately after it. I’ve morphed into someone new. Someone with quirky tendencies and lots of flaws—but someone I like. I don’t know much, and I’ve had to relearn lots of what I once knew, but I do know this—we can never be lost to God. And no matter how hard the battle—or how horrible the odds—God can restore anything—even lost memories.

 

7“This is too glorious, too wonderful to believe! I can never be lost to your Spirit! I can never get away from my God! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there. If I ride the morning winds to the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, your strength will support me.” Psalm 139: 6-10