Where Lilacs Still Bloom Blog Hop & Giveaway!

A blog post on a Thursday! What in the world is going on?

Fun, that’s what!

I am thrilled to have award-winning author, Jane Kirtpatrick, on my blog today. Not just because her newest release has flowers in the title (like mine), but because she’s a phenomenal writer.

Her newest release, Where Lilacs Still Bloom, hit shelves last week and is already receiving rave reviews.

Jane is going to share some thoughts on perseverance, an important theme in her novel. An important theme in life (especially if you’re a writer).

I trust Ms. Kirkpatrick’s words will be a blessing to you today.

But first, I want to call your attention to a few fun announcements:

  • On top of that, there’s a grand prize! $50 Visa gift card plus signed books from Jane and myself. Totally cool, right? To be eligible, you must comment on all five blogs in the Where Lilacs Still Bloom blog hop. That’s it! The grand prize winner will be emailed and announced on Jane’s blog next Tuesday.

Without further ado, let’s turn it over to Jane…


“Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate.  For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.” –James 1:12 (The Message)

I enjoy words, looking up their origin and exploring their many meanings discovering new insights into words and life.  That proved true for the word challenge.  So many of the historical people I write about are beset with challenges on the Oregon Trail, as homesteaders and pioneers, as mothers and fathers making lives for their families. 

Challenges are part of the human condition. When I looked up that word I found these definitions that were familiar: “A call to engage in a fight” or “the quality of requiring full use of one’s abilities, energy or resources” or “a formal objection as to a juror” or “to summon to action.”  Quite far down on Webster’s list were origins of the word challenge as coming from the Latin calumnia meaning trickery. Right below that was the definition “to deceive.”

How could a challenge be a deception? I began to think back to a time of great challenge. One of the biggest was finally agreeing to move with my husband to a remote ranch twenty-five miles from the smallest town, seven miles from a mailbox and eleven miles from a paved road.  He wanted to build a new life on 160 acres of remote, sage and rattlesnake covered land.  After five years of resistance on my part, we stepped out on a cloud of faith believing we wouldn’t fall through. We faced enormous challenges from the weather, the distance, the isolation.  Acquiring building materials, making phone calls from a barn ten miles away, dealing with a treacherous dirt road that wound up a canyon with a 950 foot drop and no guardrails became almost daily encounters.

Yet from those challenges my husband and I developed a closer relationship.  We found ourselves trusting in God’s calling to that land and deepened our loyalty to God. Each of us discovered new skills we didn’t realize we had and found ways to help our family that might not so easily have occurred before our move. We found happiness and contentment and more life.

The deception in the challenge?  If I had stayed where I was I would never have found that joy; our faith might not have been deepened, our lives enriched beyond measure through new professions and helping each other. Sometimes the greatest challenges begin with a deception, our minds telling us “You can’t do that!  You’re too old, too weak, too foolish.”  We are tempted to listen to the nay-saying voices rather than hear the gentle sound of God calling us to greater things, helping us through the hard times knowing there are joys on the other side of the challenge because we persevered.

Scripture tells us “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial.”  Stepping over the deceit does not mean the challenge will be easy, but doing so promises a deeper relationship with God and the reward of “more life.” Those words are not deceitful but full of hope.

God the Creator of the universe, give us wisdom to see beyond the deceit to the challenge that will deepen our love for you.  Help us face the challenges today head-on trusting that we may know you more deeply and discover all you have planned for “more life.”  Amen.

Let’s Talk: What challenges are you facing today? What are you learning about yourself and about God as your persevere through these challenges?

Do you want to get to know more about Jane Kirkpatrick? Check out her blog. Or find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

38 thoughts on “Where Lilacs Still Bloom Blog Hop & Giveaway!

  1. Emma

    Where Lilacs Still Bloom and Wildflowers from Winter both sounds wonderful.Please enter me. Thank you for the opportunity to win.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.

  2. Janet Barnes

    Well, currently my allergies and getting them under control is my biggest challenge. I’ve been in the ER at least 4 times since the beginning of the year. The most recent being yesterday. It’s getting so frustrating.

  3. Interesting I’m reading this today. Today my baby I miscarried at 12 weeks should be one. It’s been a rough day, to say the least, but God is faithful. I know things will turn around.

  4. Connie

    I’m persevering through a job loss at the moment and praying for peace as I wait on God’s future direction.

  5. Gilda Weisskopf

    My biggest challenge comes every day living with MS. And right now I am facing a bigger challenge of problems with my lieft leg that no one can figure out what is causing the problem. But reading books like Jane Kirkpatrick’s and other historical fiction inspire me to keep moving and believing that God is looking after me. My problems seem insignificant compared to the struggles of the pioneers. Thank you, all of the historical Christian writers. You keep me going.

  6. My biggest challenge is loving my disabled vet. His physical condition and medication list bring all sorts of challenges into our marriage and family … but I still know God has a plan for even this. Is it hard? Absolutely! Do I want to give up? Sometimes more than others. Will I let the enemy win in this situation? No! I always go back to two facts: 1. God is in control. 2. God loves me.

  7. Marea Stone

    Facing the challenge of helping my mother through days of alzheimers is taking more patience than I knew I had. Each day I ask, “Why does God allow this to go on?” All I know is that I must do what I can to make her days easier. I think some things we won’t understand until we get to heaven.

    Jane’s new book helps with patience as I see others going through great struggles.

  8. Jane is one of my favorite writers! Thank you for this giveaway. Please enter me.

    Congrats on your debut book, Katie. I can’t wait to read it.

    susanjreinhardt AT gmail DOT com

  9. karenk

    Katie…a wonderful posting…thanks for the chance to read this beautiful story by jane.

  10. Pam K.

    This is a very thought-provoking blog today, Jane. You give me hope as I face my challenges (family, financial, health problems). I get too scared if I look to the future. I have to just take one day at a time and know that God is with me and is providing all I need for that day. I have to trust that He will provide for each day.
    I really enjoy Jane’s books and would absolutely love to win an autographed copy of Where Lilacs Still Bloom. Thanks for this great contest.

  11. Suzy Roehr

    My biggest challenge is balancing working with family time and trying not to get hung up on the idea of how you’d like things to be. Instead, being happy with what life brings. I often think about and am inspired by a character in one of Jane’s book who “chose to be happy”. Reading the devotional Jesus Calling each morning helps set a focus for my day.

  12. Such a beautiful cover!! We had lilacs in our backyard where I grew up. The bushes would get enormous and the fragrance will always remind me of spring. My dad was the gardener, mom was/is the one human allergic to everything on the face of the earth. Okay, no that bad. So all the flowers had to be outside, never inside. My dad would keep that lilac bush in stunnig shape and mom would admire it from inside. 🙂

    What am I learning? His still, small voice speaks louder than thunder.

    1. I just wish my daughter would hear it.

  13. Judy Burgi

    This book sounds so good and I’ve heard a lot of good things about Ms. Kirkpatrick’s books. I can’t wait to put her books on my TBR list!


    1. Judy

      I’m facing the challenge of learning to live without my Mom in my life. She died on January 27, 2012. I thought I was a strong person but her death literally knocked me for a loop. I’m learning that it is o.k. to not be strong but to lean on God and let Him direct my path. God has shown me He listens to my prayers!


  14. Wilma Frana

    I enjoy this type of book and would greatly love to win it.

  15. Joy Gibson

    Love this type book and would love to win it

  16. Very inspiring words. I’ve already had the opportunity to read “Wildflowers from Winter,” and loved it. Would love to get a signed copy though and would love to read “Where Lilacs still bloom.” Thanks for the opportunity.

  17. Joy Gibson

    I hope I win one. I love reading these type books.

  18. Joy Gibson

    I love reading these type books. Hope I win one

  19. Deb

    Thses sound inspiring and hope-full. Pain has been my companion this week and kept me in… How I would love to have some lilacs and wildflowers in my life right now!

  20. Brenda

    What inspiration! This week through the Psalms, God has been challenging me to let him handle the injustices in life…but, God, sometimes it’s just SO hard to let go! Thankfully He is gracious and patient with me when I am a slow and/or forgetful learner!

    Both books sound amazing!

  21. Donna Johnson

    Just the other day I was wishing there was one more day in each week to accomplish everything. Then I read “there are enough hours in each day to accomplish all that God has designed us to do.” The challenge is sticking to those things!

  22. M J Smith

    Katie, I’m sure the “award winning” accolade will be attached to your name before long, when you are an honored guest on other authors’ blogs.
    I like the post and the cover of the lilacs book.
    I’d like to win these books, so please draw my name!

  23. Linda McFarland

    And I also shared the link on facebook

  24. Linda McFarland

    Oh what beautiful books…I do hope to win..love the smell of lilacs and wildflowers and what better idea to sit back relax with one of your good books and a BIG GLASS OF ICE TEA……..

    1. Linda McFarland

      I also shared this on twitter

  25. Beautiful blog post! The book sounds wonderful, count me in on the drawing! I love the title “Where Lilacs Still Bloom”. I have a start from one of my mother’s lilac bushes that I am keeping alive, even though every time my llamas get out,they have eaten it almost to the ground. I have now built a little fence around it. I’m not giving up on it! I want it to bloom again! Looking back on challenges from raising children to caring for my late mother until her passing, I usually felt inadequate for them but always made it through by the grace and miracles of God. There seemed to always be a helping hand just when needed, a renewal of strength through the small means of “flowers” a sunset or kind words from a friend.

  26. So many inspiring words coming from blog visitors today. I smell hope in those lilacs and wildflowers! Thanks for visiting Katie’s blog.

  27. Ah, you’re rocking my world with a Thursday post!! Can’t. Handle. This.

    Just kidding. 🙂

    Um, challenges for me come when the unexpected occurs. I’m not super great with “going with the flow.” I’ve gotten better, but God still has some work to do in me, and I have a feeling He’s going to use this whole writing journey as a tool in that.

  28. Debbie Austin

    The cover of this book draws me in! And I, too, love lilacs! I have two tiny sprigs that my parents gave me from their garden in Montana. So when I look at them, it reminds me of home.

    My challenge is a life change I didn’t expect. It came out of the blue and I’m still struggling to meet it head on, every single day. It hasn’t been easy. I’m clinging to God’s love for me. Jane’s words encouraged me to keep doing just that. Thank you.

  29. marcia morphew

    This book intriques me…..I can’t wait to read it!….perhaps I’ll win a copy?

  30. I find it very interesting how God prepares us for something in our present from what we experienced in our past days. I worked with special needs children for 12 years in public schools. This will be our third year of retirement, moved a long day away to be in the middle of all our children in WI, OK, and TX. The Lord has given me the opportunity to be on call to our sweet family below our hilltop. Three nights a week I get to read for an hour while their three little children sleep and the mom and dad enjoy time together walking, talking, and getting ice cream. I tell them I am so glad to be part of their blessing. For it truly is, to rediscover each other alone together. Tomorrow I will be with their oldest son with special needs from 6:30-3:30. He likes it when I come and play with him. We parallel play on the floor with building blocks he crashes when he is finished with his design, and I love to play with toy cars! God is sooooo good to prepare us in advance for what He has for us! Blessings. Kathleen

  31. Kathy

    I face a lot of “challenges” in my everyday life. My heart is so heavy right now in dealing with my 20 year old son– that is a huge challenge right now. This book sounds like something I need to read.

    1. Oh honey, I have a funny feeling that I know exactly what you are talking about. Is 40:28-31

  32. Patricia A, Turner

    Sounds like a very good book and I would love to win a copy so enter my name please. Thank you.


  33. Jane, the cover of your book is beautiful. I love lilacs. The very idea of lilacs make me think of the comforts of a backyard and the consitency of community. I can’t wait to read your book!

    My challenges right now are balancing my family, my home, my church & commununity committments and my writing. Somedays I wish I could hole myself up in a quiet place and write to my heart’s content, but the dishes pile up and the beds need to be made and my four kiddos look at my with their big green eyes, begging for this or that, and I know I need to put down my writing and take care of their needs. It goes without saying that I love my husband and children and my home more than anything else, but I still have this burning desire to write, so the challenge comes while I try to stretch myself out just a little more to make it happen and to do it with kindness and gentleness.

    As God contiunues to place this desire in my heart, He is teaching me about discipline, trust and patience – all things in my life that need improving.

    1. Katie Ganshert

      I just want to echo your sentiment about the lilacs. My grandma has a beautiful lilac bush by the front door and every time I go over there, I could just sit on the front stoop and smell forever and ever.

      As fare as your challenges….being pulled in so many directions isn’t easy, Gabrielle! I love that you are letting God teach you through the craziness.


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