Nancy Shew Bolton–Author Interview

Nancy Bolton

Dear Friends,

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Christian author, Nancy Shew Bolton. Nancy is a wonderful woman who is strong, caring, and giving. Although she deals with physical pain, she has an indomitable spirit and an unwavering faith in God. Several times, we have prayed for each other as we deal with our illnesses. She is such a fabulous person, and I feel very blessed to have her on my blog today.

Danele: Hello, Nancy! I’m so glad that you’re able to be with us!

Nancy: Thank you! I’m excited to be on your blog!

Danele: And I’m excited to have you! I’ve really enjoyed being your prayer partner this last year. Even though you are often in pain, you have such a beautiful way of looking at things. Can you tell us how God helps you deal with your chronic illness?

Nancy: I came down with rheumatoid arthritis in 1996. Over these years, and through many difficult times of flare-ups and great pain, I have learned to let go of my lifelong tendency to worry and doubt, and hold in all my emotional pain. Due to an early childhood trauma, it was very hard for me to trust God or people. I wasn’t suspicious, just somehow sure that help would probably not arrive when I needed it, and I had to learn to tough things out on my own. I thought that was the right way, and God would want me to be strong. It’s been quite a journey, as I learn to unpack all my cares and cast them upon Him. He’s taken me to so many deep, dark places in myself, so that He could shine His light in there and set those parts of me free. It’s an ongoing process, but I have learned so much about what love and trust really mean. I’m still learning, and despite the challenges of my illness, I can truly say I’m thankful for rheumatoid arthritis. It’s drawn me closer to God, and is teaching me things I would never have slowed down to learn and listen to otherwise. God is good!

Danele: God really is wonderful! I love how Romans 8:28 always proves to be true—God really does make everything work for our good. Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

Nancy: I enjoy the NASB version of Isaiah 42:3: “A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.” The first time I read that verse, it spoke volumes to me about God’s character, and of course, I fell hopelessly in love with Him and His Son.

Danele: What a beautiful verse! Sometimes, as human beings, we feel so weak and uncertain—it’s good to know that God treasures our efforts and that He will protect us in our weakness. I love the fact that we have such a nurturing God. The Bible can be such a point of inspiration. I know that some people don’t think it’s important to read God’s Word. Why do you think the Bible is important?

Nancy: Because through reading, I learn so much about God, and Jesus, and human beings, and my own heart. I have a curious mind, and the Word nourishes me and answers my endless questions, as does God’s Spirit. He often teaches me by bringing to mind the situations recounted in Scripture. I love Psalm 119. It celebrates what God’s Word does in the believer’s life. It’s so true!

Danele: Wow! Thank you, Nancy! You really explained that well. The Bible can be such a help to us as we journey with God. Another thing that helps us is experiencing God’s peace. There have been times in my life when I’ve felt God’s peace in such a powerful way. Has that ever happened to you?

Nancy: Yes, it has. The birth of my fourth son taught me a profound lesson. After a very difficult pregnancy and a birth during which my son and I almost died, we both experienced a miraculous deliverance. (Sorry for the unintended pun there!) As I lay in the hospital recuperating and marveling at the fact that my son and I were both mending fast, I realized I was afraid to go home. I’d felt so lousy for so long, and at home I had 3 boisterous boys waiting: an 8 year-old, a three year-old, an 18 month old, and now I had a newborn, too. My husband worked long hours and I was afraid I wasn’t up to the task of caring for everyone. The dread got louder inside as the too-short hospital stay drew to a close. I knew God had wrought a wondrous miracle through this difficult birth, and I felt a bit guilty asking for more, but I was desperate. I prayed that He would give me a thankful heart to help me stop being scared to go home. Almost at once, a sweet, strong peace grew in me, and in the coming days I found myself so overcome with gratitude that I’d cry happy tears as I went about all my constant Mommy chores. I’ve never forgotten that incredible blessing, so freely given. Thank you, Lord!!

Danele: That’s so lovely, Nancy! God really is an awesome God! Now, before I let you go, I’d love for you to tell us a little bit about your writing. Can give us a list of the books you have written?

Nancy: Sure! The Right Ingredients, Hidden Storms, and A Work in Progress. A Haven in the Woods and Answering Sarah are due out later this year.

Danele: I’m glad that you mentioned A Work in Progress—it was released just a few days ago. Can you tell us more about it?

Nancy: A Work in Progress is a novella, and it is part of the Love Is series from Prism Book group. It was released on February 26th. My theme was ‘Love does not Boast.’ Here’s the back cover blurb for this unique little book: There’s something cooking outside the kitchen…. They’ve worked together for two years, but that’s all they have in common. Like oil and water, they just don’t mix. Julie thinks he’s a shallow flirt, Mark thinks she’s a cold fish. Despite their mutual dislike, they’ve carved out a civil work relationship at the restaurant. But after each of their inner worlds suffer a jolt; the careful, polite kitchen routine becomes a stew of conflicting emotions. Things are about to get interesting.

Danele: That sounds like fun! Can you give us the Amazon link?

Nancy: Of course!

Danele: Nancy, it’s been so much fun talking with you today! I enjoyed it!

Nancy: I’m honored to be on your blog, and I hope your readers will check out my books! I enjoy writing stories that inspire as well as entertain! Thanks, Danele!


Friends, Nancy Shew Bolton really is an amazing woman. I admire her tenacity and courage. If you would like to learn more about Nancy or her books, please follow the links below. I hope you have a wonderful day!

The Diamond Mine group blog

Amazon Author Page

On Twitter

Goodreads page


Dancing Sunshine

Lake water 1

Have you ever noticed how lake water changes color? Some days, it’s a sparkling blue—other’s it’s a dark, murky black that looks tortured and unfathomable. A while back, while I was taking a walk around Dragonfly Lake, I saw something amazing. The water had a horrible, black look to it, but then suddenly, the sun came out and things changed.

lake water 2What had appeared dark and ugly, suddenly sparkled. What had seemed uninviting and grim, now danced.

As I walked, I thought, “What a difference a little sunshine can make!

I had my camera with me that day, and I started taking pictures. As I photographed the dancing water, I began thinking about my life. My illness had been awful. And for a time, my whole outlook was gloomy and grim, but when I let Christ back into my heart, things changed. The “Son” transformed my gloomy outlook, and eventually my thoughts became sparkly and shiny. As I focused on the Lord, my perspective became one of joy. In a way, the waters of my life began to dance.

During quarantine, I learned that joy doesn’t depend on a change in circumstances—joy depends on a person’s willingness to draw closer to Christ. Allowing Jesus’s “Son”shine to surround us will change how we perceive our circumstances, and joy always follows.

lake water 3I was in quarantine for seven years. The first of those years were miserable–the last were full of joy. The only thing that changed was my relationship with God and my attitude. I know how to throw myself a big pity party, and I know how to push depressing thoughts aside and smile in spite of pain. And believe me, having a good attitude is much nicer in the long run. Feeling miserable takes so much energy, and it is so disheartening. I can remember feeling like I was in a slippery black pit, and I’ve learned that the only way out of the pit is by praying when you feel so far away from God that you don’t think He can hear, focusing on happy thoughts rather than sad ones, smiling when your heart is breaking, laughing even when there is nothing funny happening, and singing when you would rather sob. Each of those acts are acts of faith that can usher in a miraculous change.

I’m not sure what you’re facing today. Your situation may seem horrible. It may seem messy, gloomy, hurtful, unchangeable, and hopeless—but hold tight. Keep the faith. Invite the “Son” to shine through your gloom, and just wait and see what sparkly changes start to happen. Your circumstances may not change immediately, but your outlook will undergo a dazzling transformation.


lake water 4“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12



Kimberly B. Jackson–Author Interview

Kim Jackson

Dear Friends,

Today, it’s my honor to introduce you to Kimberly B. Jackson. Kimberly is a Christian author, and she’s also an incredibly sweet person. She loves the Lord, and tries to honor Him in both word and deed. Simply put, Kimberly is a person of quality! And if you ever want someone to put you into a festive, Christmas mood (regardless of the calendar’s date)—she’s the one. She writes Christian Christmas romances. Snowflakes, gingerbread cookies, jingle bells, and Christmas carols come to mind whenever I think of Kimberly. She reminds me of the best parts of Christmas!

Danele: Hello, Kimberly! It’s so nice to have you with us today!

Kimberly: Thank you, Danele, for the invite. It is a pleasure to be on your blog.

Danele: The pleasure is all mine! I can’t wait to learn more about you. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about God’s love, and I know that the love of God is a theme in many of your Christmas books. Has there ever been a time when you felt yourself wrapped in the love of God?

Kimberly: I feel wrapped in God’s love when no one is around, and I am in prayer with God.

Danele: Isn’t that the truth? There’s something incredibly special about getting quiet before the Lord and feeling His love surrounding you like a blanket. There’s nothing quite like it!

Kimberly: The beauty of nature makes me feel close to God too, especially as I get older. I appreciate all the beauty God gave to us.

Danele: Oh, Kimberly, me too! Sometimes when I’m walking by the lake behind my house, I see the sunlight sparkling on the water and I just can’t help myself—I start to sing How Great Thou Art. There’s just something about nature that tugs people’s hearts toward God. Psalm 8:1 says, “O Lord our God, the majesty and glory of your name fills all the earth and overflows the heavens”—and it’s so true! Sunsets, stars, flowers—they are silent witnesses testifying to the fact that God is real and that He is good. I really love Psalm 8:1! Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

Kimberly: Oh goodness, I have several. Matthew 19:26—All things are possible with God. Proverbs 3:5—Trust in the Lord with all your heart. And Hebrews 11:1—Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Danele: I LOVE those verses! Do you have any other favorites?

Kimberly: Yes, I do. Some of my other favorites are 2 Timothy 1:7, James 1:5,6 and 1 John 1:9. I love verses that tell me what God will do for us if we trust and believe in Him.

Danele: I love those verses as well! I even have 2 Timothy 1:7 written on a notecard and taped to my wall.

Kimberly: I have a wall in my home with the words believe, pray, family, love, and inspire on it. I’m currently looking for the word trust right now for the wall.

Danele: Those are all wonderful words to ponder. And I agree, there’s something incredibly special about the word trust. Webster defines trust as “assured reliance on the character, strength, or truth of someone or something.” When I was ill, I had to cultivate trust in God. I had to choose to believe that He was going to see me through the hard time I was experiencing. Have you ever had a difficult situation in your life when you had to totally rely on God?

Kimberly: Well, my husband and I tried to have a baby for a couple of years. Eventually, we decided to adopt from an adoption agency. At that time, the most anyone waited was two years, but we broke that record. After four years, my husband’s aunt informed us of a teenager that was expecting. The teenager’s mother wanted her to give the baby up for adoption. I had an uneasy feeling about the circumstances, so I prayed. I felt a great peace coming over me, and I knew that we were not to adopt that baby. The next day, I met my husband for lunch and a lady came up to me and said, “Happy Mother’s Day.” I replied, “I’m not a mother.” She replied, “You will be.” She also wrote God Bless You on our ticket. Three days later, the adoption agency called me—they had a baby boy for us. He was born on the day the waitress told me I was going to be a mother.  The lesson I learned was to trust and surrender to God.

Danele: Wow! That’s so amazing! I really love hearing testimonies about how God works things out. Stories like that really encourage my faith. Kimberly, there are so many people hurting in this world.  What would you say to them?

Kimberly: To the hurting people of the world—hold onto God. Read your Bible and develop a personal relationship with Him. As I tell my Juniors’ Sunday School Class, every answer you will ever need for your life is in the Bible. Jesus is our Savior, our Protector, our Security and Strength. He will never leave or forsake you when others will. Jesus is the one we should turn to.

Danele: That’s so true! Thank you for sharing your heart with us, Kimberly! Now, before I let you go, I’d love for you to tell us a little about your writing.

Kimberly: The Christmas Answer was my first published book. It reached No. 1 on Amazon’s Best Sellers list. I truly believe—no, I know—that God gave me this book. The Christmas Answer is an inspirational novella. A lady wrote a book review saying that it lifted her out of a depression. I felt truly blessed that words that the Lord gave me to put down on paper, blessed someone.

Danele: That’s wonderful, Kimberly! Can you give us a link where we can find The Christmas Answer?

Kimberly: The Christmas Answer is currently on sale for .99 cents on Amazon. 

Danele: Can you give us a list of the books you have written? (And don’t forget to mention A Christmas Gift for Mary Jones! I really enjoyed that book!)

Kimberly: I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’ve written The Christmas Answer, A Christmas Gift for Mary Jones, and The Christmas Journal. The Christmas Answer is also in the collection of Christmas novellas called Christmas Blessings.

Danele: Kimberly, thank you so much for being here today! I really enjoyed talking with you!

Kimberly: Thank you, Danele, for having me on your blog today. You truly inspire me with your words. I hope you, your family, and your blog readers have a wonderful day and a blessed new year.


Friends, Kimberly is a sweet, terrific person. If you would like to learn more about her or her books, please follow the links below. I hope you have a great day!



Facebook: Kimberly B. Jackson, Author —

Twitter: Kimberly B. Jackson @KJacksonAuthor


spark3If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I’m a horrible klutz. An extremely horrible klutz! I’m always getting myself into silly situations. Years ago, when I went on a missions trip to Uruguay, I managed to keep my clumsy tendencies under control—at least until one fateful Sunday morning when I woke up freezing. I scrambled quickly into my dressy clothes and then stood with my back to a heater trying to warm my chilly legs. When I finally warmed up, I turned around and heard my roommate gasp, “Yikes! Is that a hole in your skirt?”

coalSpinning around, I tried to see the back of my velvety skirt. For a moment, I closely resembled a puppy chasing its tail. Eventually, I went to a mirror and took a good look. The heater had melted a hole that was roughly the size of a salad plate into the back of my skirt. I gasped. I had no idea what type of material my skirt was made out of, but I was lucky I hadn’t caught on fire. I was also lucky that I had a friend who hadn’t let me leave the room in such an undignified condition.

fire longI’ve thought quite a bit about that hole over the years, and I still can’t believe that I didn’t feel my skirt melting. And worse—I can’t believe how close I came to flashing my underpants to a whole Uruguayan church. The more I’ve thought about that hole, the more a truth has been revealed. You see, I think sin is a lot like that Uruguayan heater. The minute you get close to it, you put yourself in danger. If you don’t move away, your skirt begins to melt, and you open yourself up to destruction, ridicule, and embarrassment. And if you keep on going, you might just flash your underpants to a whole group of people. (Oh, the horror!!!) You never manage to get away with sin—it always leaves a mark.

inferno1Sin is such a hideous thing. It starts out small and innocent. It seems easy to control. It’s like a tiny spark that slowly grows into an ember that turns into a small flame that gradually increases into an uncontrollable inferno. I didn’t realize I was getting into trouble when I stood by that heater, but I ended up ruining my favorite skirt. I think that’s the way sin works. You usually don’t realize you are in trouble until it’s too late. I’m so grateful to my friend who pointed out the hole in my skirt before I embarrassed myself, and today, if you’re getting just a little too close to sin—let me be that friend for you. “YIKES!!! IS THAT A HOLE IN YOUR SKIRT??  FOR GOODNESS SAKE, GET AWAY FROM THAT HEATER!!!!”


fire far away“If anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning…his blood will be on his own head.” Ezekiel 33:4

(Lol!! Hey, you try to find a Bible verse about melted skirts, space heaters, and sin—it simply isn’t there!!)

Have a wonderful day, my friends!!


Paula Mowery–Author Interview

Paula Mowery 1

Dear Friends,

Today, it’s my ABSOLUTE HONOR to introduce you to Paula Mowery. Paula is such a special person to me. She’s been a beacon of light and a true friend. She has helped me in so many ways. As you know, my Multiple Chemical Sensitivity prevents me from attending church because too many people wear perfume during services. Not being able to go to church has been one of the hardest parts of my illness. When I met Paula through Prism Book Group, we started chatting online. She told me that she was a pastor’s wife, and she invited me to attend her church’s online services. When Paula mentioned online services, I felt like she was throwing me a life preserver. I can’t begin to explain the joy I felt at being able to attend church again. Since that wonderful day, I’ve been faithfully “attending” church with Paula every Sunday. She is such a gem, and she has blessed my life over and over!

Danele: Welcome, Paula! I’m so glad that you are able to be with us today!

Paula: Thanks for hosting me, Danele. I’m so glad God brought us together. I feel like we’re friends, even though we’ve never met face to face. I’m telling you, someday I’m still hoping God will allow us to make that pastoral visit since you feel like such a part of my church family.

Danele: Oh, Paula! I would DEARLY love that! You’ve been such a blessing to me. I can’t wait to introduce you to my readers! Can you please tell us the circumstances surrounding your decision to give your heart to Christ?

Paula: Sure! When I was eleven years old, my church had a revival. I remember one night after the services as my mother drove home, I told her that I felt it was time for me to accept Christ and be baptized. Mine wasn’t a dramatic conversion because I had been brought up in a Christian home. I had always been taken to church, and I knew about Jesus from an early age. But I feel that I didn’t make it really personal until my high school years when I attended some youth rallies and also served as a counselor at a Christian camp. That was when I realized that it was more about building a relationship with God than just knowing about Him. I began to study the Bible and consider what I believed and why I believed it.

Danele: That’s the way it was in my life too—a gradual deepening of faith. I love how God gently leads us deeper and deeper into a wonderful relationship with Him. After you fully came to Christ, can you describe a time when you dramatically felt the presence of God?

Paula: The Blessing Seer was the first book I had published. I have often said that I feel guilty that my name is the only one appearing on the cover as the author. God’s name should appear there as well. I remember going to bed one night, still contemplating a sermon illustration I had heard. Suddenly, I had to jump back up and write as fast as I could what God was “downloading” into my mind. It turned out to be the full outline for The Blessing Seer.

Danele: Wow! That’s so awesome! What a glorious experience! When I read it, I could tell that God had His hand on The Blessing Seer. I really enjoyed both The Blessing Seer and its sequel Be the Blessing! I could feel the presence of God when I read them. Both of those books have such beautiful messages—ones that I’ve tried to apply to my life. Can you tell us what was going through your mind when you wrote The Blessing Seer?

Paula: While I was writing the story, I was analyzing whether I was missing out on blessings God had for me because of disobedience or lack of focus upon Him. I also learned that I would have to stay close to God to receive and weave His truths into my stories. It’s like the runner in Chariots of Fire said, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” When I write, including His message, I feel His delight in me.

Danele: That’s so beautiful, Paula! And so true! Writing in a way that glorifies God feels absolutely wonderful! Would you like to tell us about God’s influence in any of your other books?

Paula: My most recent release is a Christian romantic suspense called For Our Good. There are a couple of messages that God led me to weave into this story. First, even though you face tragedy and loss in this life that doesn’t mean God doesn’t love you and still have a plan for you. God can bring good from even the worst situations. Second, our enemy delights in targeting the very people we might think are devoted Christians. We must always be on guard for him and stay focused on God and His plan for us.

Danele: Those are both wonderful points! Can you give us a list of the books you’ve written?

Paula: I’ve written several novels: The Blessing Seer, Be the Blessing, Forgiven (in Brave New Century anthology), Legacy and Love, For Our Good, Love Again, and The Crux of Honor.

Danele: I haven’t read all of your books yet, but I’ve read quite a few, and I can’t wait to read more! Before I let you go, is there anything that God’s speaking to your heart that you would like to share?

Paula: Currently, I feel a burden for moms and dads of young children. I’m afraid that many Christians have fallen into an apathetic, everything’s all right kind of attitude. Many feel their children will grasp their Christian beliefs without strong intentional effort. I shudder to say that we are losing many of our children to college professors who want nothing more than to steer our offspring away from God. Christians need to be more intentional about passing on a Godly legacy. This means we don’t just say we believe in God. We prove it to those we have influence over. We stay faithful to a Bible-teaching church. We study the Word and are diligent in prayer. We pass on these qualities that make for a strong Christian foundation.

Danele: Being intentional in how we portray our beliefs is so important. It’s so easy to forget that people are looking at us to see if our lives measure up to our declarations of faith. Thank you for the great reminder, Paula! I’m going to do my best to apply it to my life. I really appreciate the way you have opened your heart to us today. I’ve had a great time talking with you!

Paula: Thank you so much for allowing me to share with you and your readers. I pray we all stay attentive to God’s leading in our lives to share in whatever place and capacity He puts us.


Friends, Paula is such a delight! She’s a beautiful Christian woman who has a genuine love for the Lord. If you would like to learn more about her or her writing, please follow the links below.  I hope you all have a wonderful day!

You can follow Paula at Learn more about Paula at her blog at or enjoy her monthly columns on

The Blessing Seer:

For Our Good:



I can’t roller skate. Believe me, I’ve tried. I’m such an uncoordinated mess that my feet always end up going twenty different directions resulting in gravity taking its undignified course. In other words—SPLAT!

When I was in college, I’d look at rollerblading students zipping around campus and sigh. Determined to become one of them, I’d strap on my rollerblades and take off. Splat!

I’d read articles about the fitness benefits of roller skating, and figuring that it was good for my health, I’d dig out the rollerblades and launch out boldly. Splat!

I’d read letters from my friends about the fun they were having rollerblading. Feeling that if they could do it—I could—I’d try again. Splat!

I’d watch movies where cute girls rollerbladed next to pretty beaches, and in a frenzy of determined ambition, I would strap my skates on again. Splat!

rollerblade2Now, some people would realize they didn’t have an aptitude for something and give up. Not me. I’m stubborn enough to keep trying until the truth becomes something I can’t ignore. Eventually, after one horrible fall that nearly shook my entire spine to pieces, I took off my skates for the last time and designated them to the dustiest corner of my closet. They reside there to this day. They are stuck behind my unused tennis racket and pair of high heels that I only wear on special occasions when “looking nice” trumps the risk of a broken neck.

Now, why am I talking about roller skates and my failure to master them? It’s because roller skates have taught me an important lesson. I’m me. And that’s okay.

For years, my life was a long, drawn out battle to feel like I “fit in.” Rollerblades became a symbol of that struggle. I wasn’t trying to skate because I enjoyed it, but rather because I felt like I SHOULD enjoy it. When I stopped trying to be something I wasn’t, I allowed myself to become the person I was meant to be. I will probably never zip down ocean-front sidewalks in my rollerblades, but I can zip around my computer writing my blog articles and stories. And you know what? I’m comfortable with that. In fact, I kinda like it.

God made each of us unique. I think that one of our responsibilities as human beings is to explore our uniqueness—and rather than despising it—embrace it.

Hands with writing“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Psalm 139:13-14


Anita Klumpers–Author Interview (Hounded)


Dear Friends,

I’m so excited to welcome Anita Klumpers back to my blog! Anita is such a delightful person. When I talk with her, I always end up smiling and giggling. She is one of this world’s “joy-bringers.” I feel VERY honored to call her not only a colleague, but also a dear friend!

Danele: Anita, I’m so glad that you are able to be with us today!

Anita: Thanks for having me back! It is starting to feel like home here!

Danele: Good! That makes me happy! I know that my readers are eager to learn more about you. Can you tell us about a time when you felt God’s peace?

Anita: That’s an interesting question. My life has been a constant pattern of worry, anxiety, and some difficulty followed by God reminding me that He is in control. And then I am fine for a time till I discover something else to add to my ‘Worry Box.’

Danele: Oh, Anita! You sound just like me. I constantly battle against worry. What do you think is the solution to our problem?

Anita: Sometimes joy and peace seem fleeting, but ultimately I think God is always telling me that I am possessed of TRUE joy and peace, and that I can’t rely on my fickle emotions as indicators of my true situation.

Danele: Wow!! That’s so true. Emotions are TREMENDOUSLY fickle! Something I keep hearing God whisper during my prayer time is that I’m not to allow the peace I feel in my heart to be stolen by the worry I feel in my brain. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately, and I’ve come to the conclusion that peace is never gained just by wishing for it—it’s always gained through spiritual warfare. I suppose that’s why Paul instructs us in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to take EVERY thought captive and to make it obedient to Christ. He also tells us to seek peace and actively pursue it. When I let my thoughts get out of control—that’s when my life spirals into worry.

Anita: That’s true.

Danele: I just love 2 Corinthians 10:5. Is there a Bible verse that you really love?

Anita: My favorite Bible verse changes all the time. Right now I am working through Romans. After Paul gives the bad news in Romans 3:23 that we all stink (for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God) he gives the best news in the next verse (and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.) I know I am incapable of obeying God, but I know that Christ did it for me and I am hidden in Him. His obedience and His victory are mine. What a relief!

Danele: I love the fact that God did all the hard work for us. We can never make ourselves “good enough” to earn salvation. We just need to accept God’s free gift. I love how God not only gives us salvation, but how He helps us with all of our heartaches too. Has God helped you overcome heartache?

Anita: Can I share a little anecdote here? After my dad died, I thought I was coping. Then I ran across his sweater at the bottom of my laundry hamper in the basement. I sat down on the floor, clutching it and sobbing.

Danele: Oh, Anita! I’m so sorry for your loss! What ended up happening?

Anita: At the top of the stairs my Westie, Polly, heard me crying. Now Polly was a little, elderly, purebred West Highland White Terrier. She had very short legs in proportion to her body, and getting down the steps involved a complicated process of wriggling and angling and calculating on each step. But when she heard me cry, she tumbled down those steps like a snowball rolling downhill so she could console me. God used a little scruffy white dog to comfort me that day. I will never forget her sacrificial love.

Danele: That’s so beautiful. God is so awesome. I love how He comforts us in so many ways. He also gives us joy. Can you share a time when God answered one of your prayers?

Anita: Well, on a recent Saturday, my husband and I prayed specifically for our church. Now understand, we often pray in generalities—maybe to make it easy for God to answer (Because, you know, He needs me to smooth the road for Him.)

Danele: Oh, Anita, you crack me up. I have to confess that I think that way too at times. But I’m interrupting you—tell us what happened.

Anita: Well, this time, in addition to asking for God to be glorified, our pastor be blessed in his preaching, and for us to be blessed in the hearing—we prayed that there would be sweet fellowship and obvious delight in the Word.

Danele: What a beautiful prayer.

Anita: Yes, but then we didn’t think about it anymore, and we headed to church the next day feeling out of sorts and a little sickish and a lot cranky-ish. We didn’t even want to GO to church that day.

Danele: Oh, you just made me laugh. I’ve felt that way myself at times. But I take it that God answered your prayer in spite of your mood?

Anita: He sure did. We sat in tears through a worship service filled with beauty and grace. We experienced the warmth of Christian fellowship during snack time. And we got to be part of a lively, inspiring and stimulating adult Sunday School. We headed home different people. God had answered our prayers in such an obvious way. We were walking on air!

Danele: I love how God blesses us in so many ways. Sometimes, though, life is incredibly hard. What would you like to tell people who are going through a difficult time?

Anita: I hope I would be like Job’s friends—before they opened their mouths. For days, they just sat with him in silence. Then, I hope I would let THEM talk. And finally, I would hope that in God’s timing, and in God’s wisdom, I could point them to the One who suffered, who understands their hurts, who can redeem the hurt and can comfort like no other.

Danele: That’s so beautiful. Sometimes people need someone to sit beside them in silent sympathy and acknowledge their pain. Life hurts. Life is confusing. Sometimes things just don’t make sense. When I was ill, my father told me that “life isn’t fair, but God is still good.” When I was in pain, I would murmur that phrase over and over. Sometimes people don’t need advice shoved down their throat, they just need a comforting touch and the reassurance that God is still in control even when the world seems upside down.

Anita: Yes, that’s true.

Danele: Now, Anita, I know you have some exciting news. I’d love for you to share it with us!

Anita:  I have a new book out! It was published this past Friday. Are you good at timing, or what?

Danele: That is good timing! And what wonderful news! I really enjoyed your first book, Winter Watch. I can’t WAIT to read another book by you. Your writing is so much fun! Can you tell us some more about your new release and give us a link where we can find it?

Anita: Sure! My new book, Hounded, is the first in a series of Prism Book Group novellas called Love Is. The Love Is books are based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Hounded explores how love is patient, because Elise, the heroine, requires great amounts of patience. She’s just buried her second husband, the police seem very interested in the circumstances surrounding his death, and she and her dogs seem suddenly and unusually accident-prone. Or is there a more sinister explanation for the mishaps? Ultimately, though, the book isn’t about Elise’s need for patience, or how patient Russ—a pastor-friend—is with her.  It is about God’s persistent patience in pursuing a rebel He loves. And Elise is definitely running from God.

Danele: Hounded sounds like a wonderful book, Anita! I can’t wait to read it! Thank you so much for being on my blog today. It is always such a pleasure to talk with you!

Anita: You are the best friend a writer can have. Thank you for being such a generous sweetheart!


Friends, I don’t think you could ever hope to meet a nicer person than Anita Klumpers. She is simply terrific. If you’d like to learn more about her or her books, Winter Watch and Hounded, please follow the link below. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Clutter and True Peace

glowing lotus

Life is incredibly messy. Believe me, I know. When I was a kid, I didn’t really mind messes. And even when I was in college, messes were acceptable as long as they were “out of sight.” When I was student teaching, I once spent weeks with my trunk overflowing with clutter—literally—I had to practically sit on my trunk to close it. It didn’t really bother me, though. It was my opinion that life was too busy to worry about something as unimportant as clutter.

cansMy “clutter-isn’t-bad” philosophy held until quarantine. Then things changed. My illness spun everything in my universe completely out of control, and I tried to regain that control by obsessively cleaning. And when I say OBSESSIVELY, I mean OBSESSIVELY. My canned goods were not only organized by vegetable, they were also alphabetized and stacked neatly with their labels facing the front. Everything in my house that could be labeled was labeled—including the label maker. My clothes were arranged by season, color, and type of material. My bookshelves would have made a library look unorganized. My junk drawer was pristine. My freezer was a work of art. And my dishes were washed IMMEDIATELY after use—and when I say immediately, I mean it. I used pot holders to wash pans straight out of the oven. I wouldn’t sit down to eat until the sink was empty and scoured.

Truthfully, I went off the deep end.

I suppose that part of it was boredom. (You try spending seven years in quarantine). But most of it was desperation. My life was out of control, so I tried to exert control how ever I could.

green treeIf anyone had told me that I was washing boiling hot pans and alphabetizing canned goods because I didn’t trust God, I would have laughed. But looking back, that’s exactly what I was doing. You see, in the back of my head, a little tape player was constantly playing: You’ll never get out quarantine. You’ll never have a normal life. You’re gonna die soon. You are going to die in pain. You’re going to die a failure. No one will even miss you when you are gone. You’re a weirdo. You’ll never get out of quarantine. You’ll never…

I HATED that tape recorder, so I tried to block its unrelenting noise by keeping busy. But there are only so many ways that you can keep busy while locked in a house—hence the alphabetized canned goods.

yellow moonFor years, I kept up my obsessive routines. For years, I tried to drown out the voice of my fears through “busy work.” Then something changed. One night, in the middle of the night, I felt the loving presence of God hovering over my bed. The peaceful presence was so strong that it woke me up. As I lay there looking up at the moon shadows dancing on the ceiling, I realized that my fear was gone. And in its place was a feeling of peace. I was basking in that gentle, peaceful glow, when God’s voice came. His voice was soft and low—not audible but powerful. He simply said, “Come, spend time with me.”

It was around 2 a.m., and my room was cold, but I bundled myself in a blanket and went out to the couch. I sat there in silence and let the gentle peace of God surround me. It was unutterably beautiful. I felt as if I had been running a long, hard race and suddenly I could sit and rest.

Marys lakeThe next day, several times throughout the day, I heard God’s voice say again: “Come, spend time with me.” Each time, I would stop what I was doing, go sit on the couch, and let God’s gentle peace surround me.

Soon, “peace breaks” became an essential part of my days. Soon, I couldn’t imagine my life without them. And the more time I spent basking in God’s peace, the more the old tape recording began to fade. And the more the recording began to fade, the less compulsive I became about organizing and cleaning. Slowly, my life came back into balance.

waterfall 11I still battle with worry at times. And I still like things neat and tidy. But I don’t alphabetize the vegetables any more. In quarantine, I learned that I can’t create my own peace. Believe me, I tried–and any small bit of peace that I managed to conjure up was fleeting, tainted, and strained. I learned that true peace can only be obtained by getting quiet, getting still, and getting close to God. You see, true peace doesn’t come from controlling everything and making it “just so.” True peace comes from sitting at the feet of Jesus and letting His peace become your own.


boat sunrise“Peace I leave with you, [Jesus says] my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27


Carlene Havel–Author Interview

Carlene Havel

Dear Friends,

Today it is my great honor to introduce you to Carlene Havel. Carlene is not only a talented author, she’s also an incredibly sweet, considerate person. Carlene was one of the first friends that I made when I joined Prism Book Group. Back when I was just learning the ropes, I went to an online book release party and met her. Her funny comments cracked me up, and I knew that I wanted to get to know her better. My instincts served me well; Carlene is a gem and a terrific friend. Throughout my time in Prism, she has been so supportive. If you’re looking for a genuine person with a real love of Christ, that person is Carlene. I feel very privileged to have her on my blog today.

Danele: Hi, Carlene! I’m so glad to be able to talk with you!

Carlene: Hello, Danele. I’m excited to be here.

Danele: I’m excited to have you! I really loved your book, Baxter Road Miracle. Every time I read one of your stories, I’m amazed at how you manage to make your characters come alive.

Carlene: Thank you!

Danele: Now, Carlene, I know my readers are eager to learn more about you. Can you tell us the circumstances surrounding your decision to give your heart to Christ?

Carlene: When I became an adult, I decided I didn’t need anyone—God included.  I wanted to live on my own terms, without rules or restraints.  Consequently, my life became bondage disguised as freedom. That’s not to say there were no good times, but I had a hunger that nothing seemed to satisfy.

Danele: Isn’t that the truth! I can remember feeling like Christianity was just a bunch of rules that were determined to keep me from having any fun. But when I shoved Christ away, that’s when I learned the truth. Freedom is ultimately found only in God. I know it sounds strange, but it’s only when I’m totally submitted to Him that I find the peace and fulfilment that my soul craves. Nothing satisfies quite like the Lord.

Carlene: That’s true.

Danele: When you were living life on your own terms, what turned you around?

Carlene: The unexpected death of a very close friend caused me to take stock. I spent several months searching for something to cure the emptiness inside me, finally relenting and going to church. There I discovered Jesus, the answer, the solution, my all-in-all.

Danele: That’s so beautiful! Jesus really is our all-in-all. When I committed my life to Christ, it was like I found the missing piece to my soul. God’s love totally satisfied that deep inner longing that I felt. What amazed me was that God’s love wasn’t like human love. It didn’t have limits or conditions. When I was praying, I would feel His love encompassing me, and it felt like I was floating in a huge, huge ocean. It’s hard to explain, but I think that Ephesians 3:17b-19 explains it best, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” I love that verse! Do you have a favorite Bible verse, Carlene?

Carlene: I dearly love the whole book of John’s gospel.

Danele: Oh! Me too!!! When I was in Bible Quiz, my favorite year was the year we studied John. John chapters 3 and 10 are A-mazing!!! The Gospel of John is FANTASTIC.

Carlene: Yes–but wait–I can’t exclude Romans.

Danele: Isn’t that true??? Romans contains the Roman road to salvation. It also has Romans 8:28. And Romans 8:38. And Romans 10:9-10. Oh! You’re right! The book of Romans is wonderful!!! But is there one particular verse that’s your favorite?

Carlene: One verse? Hmm…

Danele: LOL! It’s like trying to pick between a diamond, an emerald, and a ruby, isn’t it? But I’m not letting you off the hook. Give me just one.

Carlene: How about the second part of John 9:25? “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see.”

Danele: That’s a good one! Can you tell me why it’s so special to you?

Carlene: I love that verse because it describes my own situation.

Danele: Mine too, Carlene! I can’t believe that I ever thought I could live without God. It’s like I really was blind. That’s a beautiful verse!

Carlene: If you ask again tomorrow, I might give a different answer. There are so many wonderful truths in the Bible.

Danele: Isn’t that the truth! Now, Carlene, there are so many people hurting in this world.  What would you like to say to them?

Carlene: There is always hope in the Lord.  He warned us we would face troubles.  However, when He is there alongside, we can get through all of life’s difficulties.

Danele: That’s so true. I never would have made it through my illness and quarantine without God. He’s not just a “nice idea.” He’s a LIVING FORCE, and He wants to help us through all of our heartaches and worries. All we have to do is ask. Now, Carlene, I’d love for you to tell us a little about your latest writing project.

Carlene: Sharon Faucheux, my writing partner, and I are knee-deep in an experiment.

Danele: That sounds exciting! What are you doing?

Carlene: We are self-publishing a book of short stories called Dried Flowers.  It’s a potpourri including time travel, fantasy, a mail order bride, and a modernized fairy tale.  A couple of the stories take place in the eighteen hundreds, while others are contemporary. There’s no overt Christian message in Dried Flowers, but it’s all good, clean fun.

Danele: Dried Flowers sounds like a blast!! I can’t wait to get my greedy hands on it! I dearly love a good read. Can you give us a list of the other books you’ve written and a link where we can find them?

Carlene: Sure! A Hero’s Homecoming, Baxter Road Miracle, and Here Today Gone Tomorrow. With my writing partner Sharon Faucheux, I’ve written: Daughter of the King and The Scarlet Cord (books about Michal and Rahab in the Bible).

Danele: Carlene, it’s been so much fun talking with you today! Thank you so much for being here!

Carlene: Thank you for hosting me on your blog—which has taken off like a kite in the wind.  I always appreciate you and your words of encouragement.


Friends, Carlene is such an incredible person! If you would like to learn more about her or her books, please click on the links below. I hope you have a wonderful day!