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Inevitable Joy

I’ll be honest.

As this season drew closer, I struggled.

I wondered how it could be a happy one without her here.

You see, I don’t look forward to spending another Christmas with my daughter half a world away. When I first held her in my arms 20 long months ago, I never ever imagined that all these days later, we’d still be apart.

Yet here we are, waiting. Another Christmas will come and go without her.

Call me Scrooge, but I couldn’t foresee getting into the Christmas spirit. Not this year.

Until yesterday happened.

I stood in church, surrounded by people I love, and I sang these words:

Oh come, let us adore Him.

And it came.

Joy. Hope. Wonder. Awe.

It came without any effort or mustering on my part. I felt it to the very marrow of my bones.

Oh come, let us adore Him.

You see, the Israelites had been waiting too, with nothing but silence to fill that wait. FOUR HUNDRED years worth of silence. Four hundred years since Malachi penned his final word.

The world was broken and lost and filled with darkness. God seemed absent. Where was their promised savior?

And then. . .

Then HOPE was born.

Finally, He came! And not at all as they expected their king to come.

God reached down into this dark world. He wrapped Himself in flesh and vulnerability. He became as low as a baby. To live among us. To walk among us. To be the rescue we couldn’t be for ourselves.

Oh come, let us adore Him.

He left GLORY, knowing full well the price He would pay, the burden He would bear, the pain He would endure.

For you. For me. For us.

This is Christmas.

This is hope.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

I worried I wouldn’t be able to get into the spirit this year. But I worried for nothing.

Yes, I miss my daughter. I feel her absence profoundly, especially now, as we put up the tree and hang the stockings and wrap presents while her bedroom remains dark and empty upstairs. The ache is real.

And yet, hope is real, too. Like electricity before a lightning strike, hope charges the air. So tangible it raises the hair on my arms.

Can you feel it?

I hope you can.

If you’re struggling this season, I hope that you meet Him in a way you never have before. I hope you see with fresh eyes how very worthy He is of our adoration. I hope you experience all the magic, all the wonder those shepherds must have felt the night the angels sang of His birth. I hope you find a Bible and open up to this good news that is our rescue, and experience the inevitable joy that comes with knowing Him. Joy that has nothing to do with the circumstances of the moment, and everything to do with this small baby in a manger. Immanuel. God with us.

Hope has come!

Oh come, let us adore Him.

christmas season

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An October Bride Giveaway

audioThere’s a first time for everything and firsts ought to be celebrated!

An October Bride is available on audio!

I don’t know about you, but in this crazy busy world, audio books are an excellent way to fit the books I want to read into my life. Driving while reading. Walking while reading. Or my personal favorite, cleaning while reading. You really can’t beat it!

To celebrate this fun first, I’m giving away three copies of An October Bride, on audio.

If you’ve already read it on e-book, don’t let that stop you from entering. It would make a great Christmas gift for the busy readers in your life.

Do you listen to books on audio? Why or why not?



There will be three winners. I can sign the CD to whomever the winner would like me to. If you want the audio book for yourself, I can sign it to you. Or if you’d rather give it away, I can sign it to the recipient. If one of the categories already applies to you, please click on it for an easy entry.

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What if the only way you could make your father’s last wish come true . . . was to marry the man of your dreams?

Emma Tate has just moved on from one fiancé, so when she announces a sudden engagement to her lifelong buddy Jake Sawyer, every busybody in Mayfair goes into high alert. Of course, no one but Jake and Emma know the real reason they’re getting married—so Emma’s dying father will have a chance to walk her down the aisle.

But while Jake and Emma move forward with their plan—and frantically plan an October wedding—it becomes clear that their agreement has a few complications . . . the biggest being their true feelings for each other.

With dubious friends, deliriously thrilled parents, and a town that won’t keep its nose out of their business, Emma and Jake will have a lot to contend with if they’re going to pull this off. The real question is: Who wants this wedding more, Emma’s dad . . . or Emma?

To order An October Bride, scroll down to the buy links at the bottom of this page.

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The Most Beautiful Selfies I’ve Ever Taken

As a woman, I’ve fallen into the trap we women (and men too) can so easily fall into.

Wishing my hair was thicker, my skin was tanner, my nose was straighter.

At every turn, we’re bombarded with the world’s definition of beauty.

Whether it’s the airbrushed models or actresses we see on the covers of magazines. The commercials and the ads and the billboards proclaiming quick fixes to acne or cellulite or dark circles or any other possible “flaw” a person should really hurry up and hide. Or Victoria’s Secret absolutely ridiculous “perfect body” campaign.

perfect body


That is a flat-out impossible standard for probably 98% of women in this world. But I guess if Victoria says it, it must be true, right?

Somewhere in the midst of all that noise and all those lies, we lose our compass.

Instead of looking up to see what our Creator has to say about us, we look around and fall into the horrible, dreaded trap of comparison, which inevitably leads to the road marked “not good enough”.

We forget that He formed us in our mother’s womb. We forget that we are a reflection of Him.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. ~Psalm 139:14

We so easily diss HIS creation. HIS masterpiece. You. Me. Us.

I really think we have this idea of beauty all wrong. Messed up. Out of whack.

Which is why I’m so excited about this FACEme tour today, organized by a couple of my author friends.

A day when we take off the makeup and we celebrate beauty. REAL beauty. Which ALL of us have.

In this day and age of selfies, where let’s be honest, we take twenty shots in search for the best angle and the most flattering light, I have a series of selfies that is by far, my favorite. I’m not wearing make up. I don’t have my contacts in. I’m still in my pajamas and I’m sure I hadn’t even brushed my teeth yet. They were taken over a month ago, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where my daughter lives.

2014-10-06 07.39.40 2014-10-06 07.40.43 2014-10-06 07.39.57

I look at these pictures and I see beauty.

In her.

In me.

Because love is beautiful and SHE makes me a more beautiful person. That is real. That is something that can’t be airbrushed or filtered. That is something that will never fade.

That is something, God-willing, I will get to teach her some day.

Today, as you hop around to the various blog posts celebrating beauty, which are all listed at the bottom of this post, I hope God whispers words of love and affection and healing to your heart. I hope He shows you how beautiful you really are.

All of us participating in the #FACEme blog tour are posting selfies without makeup or filters or perfect lighting. The name of the game is celebrating the natural beauty God’s given each of us.


This is me. And God calls me beautiful.

He calls you the same.


A #FACEme Giveaway!

In celebration of this inspiring #FACEme tour, I’m giving away a copy of my most recent novel, A Broken Kind of Beautiful, which is all about this tricky thing we call beauty. There are several ways to enter. Just click on the options below and enter as many ways as you’d like! I hope Ivy’s story ministers to you!

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A Broken Kind of Beautiful
Sometimes everything you ever learned about yourself is wrong.

Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white.

If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the façade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?

To order A Broken Kind of Beautiful, scroll down to the buy links at the bottom of this page.

Bloggers who are joining the #FACEme tour today:

A free short story I wrote a few years ago about a little girl who thinks she’s ugly: His Masterpiece

Tell me one thing that’s beautiful about YOU!

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