My Thread of Hope


When I think about the last few months I am drawn to reflect on God‘s unwavering grace.  I have had moments of complete Joy, I have seen the way the crest of a wave  disperses on a shell filled beach, instantly changes the heart of a child from excitement to awe, unbridled wonder.  I have shared tears within my own private four walls, over the loss in a season of my life.  Knowing that regardless of the future that this season will never come again, never the same.  The next, something anew fortified, stronger, weaker… different.

Seasons of life they teach us not only the lows that we can feel, also the strength we  gain through trusting in God.  Reach inside pull out the courage, love and grace that you never knew was there.  This season has brought me through another ten amazing christian novels.  My love for the written word has grown over and over as I read new pages new authors.  I find new places in my heart that needed to grow and the words I read became the seeds.

It’s just a Season people say; you will get through it.  Trust in God with all your Heart and He will lead your path straight.  I believe this sitting here on my couch typing this blog, yet when I think about going to the kitchen to refill my coffee, or to head to the office to grab a book, I feel stranded, alone, forgotten….  It is humbling to go from running in the water with your children, to wishing you had spent the last five years buffing up your upper body strength.  Just so you could lift your inoperative body into a wheelchair, or on to a medical bed.  I cherish the nights with my spouse, walking down the hall and kissing my children goodnight or singing the song they Love to Hate to wake them in the morning.  Yet I have stumbled again, no rhyme or reason.  This time both of my legs have decided to leave on hiatus.  Upstairs is a current memory, one I want to make a reality again, now.  Yet in the midst of this stumbling, I choose to Follow, in the midst of this I choose to surrender again.  ~ Take My Life and Let It Be, All for You and for Your Glory, Take My Life and Let it Be Yours”  – (Chris TomlinThis song plays in my head like the constant rhythm of the waves urging me to never forget even if my footsteps are nothing but faint memories in the present, God in His mighty Love, in His endless calling for us to follow, is the strength within me!  I am a grain of sand in His hands of mercy.  He is not testing me to pull me farther from Him, He does not create the pain the suffering or the endless questions and longing for a reason Why??? Now Please hear me, for if I am anything I am only that because of He who has made me!  My God is standing in the Gap between my lack of strength and my earnest urge to survive, persevere and be a shinning light for someone walking in a world where darkness seems to have taken hold.

Today is a gift.  I cherish the smells, sounds and laughter I am enjoying.  The other night My Husband our youngest daughter and I had a small family movie night.  We watched The Life of Pi Wow, what a movie, book – This story of Life, Loss and the gift of believing in God who will never forget you even if you don’t understand how He could have placed you in the situation you are in. Movies that share this are a blessing in today’s society.  God shows over and over how He never abandons us and when we continue to surrender not long for ourselves to be in complete control.  God provides in His timing always in His unique marvelous ways!   – A small side note: Although the movie was rated PG be sure your child is ready for some graphic animal violence scenes before renting the 3D version. (i.e.) I give the movie **** 1/2 stars only because they had two small errors in filming (yes I catch that small stuff).  Spending time together watching a movie or eating dinner, these moments are a treasure I will hold with both hands and a full overflowing heart.

Today keeps tearing at the fabric I have knitted around my heart.  I have learned over time that trials regardless of the reasons they will help us grow are faith and bring us closer to the creator, we only have to be open to His gift.  I being human, being an emotional variety of the female gender, find that trials can make you stronger or leave you weaker.  So many times in my life I’ve been told “In this Business, In this situation, In light of these circumstances, Now that you have survived, overcome, achieved, been awarded, invited too, in today’s times : YOU NEED TO GROW A THICK SKIN”  I just want to clarify, this blog is my way of sharing a set of unforseen circumstances in my life.  Those circumstances have given me the nudges I have needed to grow and learn a multitude of things I had not known before.  I see God in the wind now, I see God in the flowers outside my window, that I planted there five years ago.  I have enjoyed watching it grow.  Today I am not able to go outside touch it, take photos of the bees burrowing inside the buds, drenching their bodies with a fine perfect layer of pollen to carry back to the hive and dropping some on many needed plants along the way.  I am able to see them through the window, I praise God for that.  I will not “Grow a Thick Skin” not any thicker that it is today.  I believe wholeheartedly that God created me this way as a perfect representation of one unique part of Him.  For we in the Glory of our imperfect selves are made in His image, by His hand.  I believe He sees our/my image as a perfect reflection, not something that needs hardening by the trials we are given, but rather to watch us bloom and carry our own pollen/knowledge to the next trial in our life, only to drop pollen, drop love, friendship, wisdom, and experiences to those around us along the way.  So I use this blog to share books that I love, items I have come across that I have found indispensable and believe that you would find indispensable as well.  I also will share some of my trials and my experiences with you.  In that, perhaps you may experience encouragement, knowledge, wonder and a growth of your own Faith.

This is my place of refuge, a place to share little pieces of life that I am unable to express any other way.  Perhaps this will shed some light – I woke this morning to my hands being so swollen that they matched my legs and feet, swollen bubbles with knobs on the end for digits.  My arms are unable to operate the wheelchair well.  I found the desire to cry almost unbearable.  It is not so much my body giving me a war I am still learning to fight, it is that my children had to see mom struggle to pack their lunch and send them off to school.  Rather than lose myself in the fear of this situation, I chose to go to the window open it wide and watch the birds gather worms, the wind rustle up the underside of the growing magnolia.  I could smell the rosemary on the breeze and when I leaned forward-looking hard I could barely see that our blueberry bushes are starting to bloom.  I watched God this morning!  Instead of surrendering to the tears over fear,  I instead surrendered myself to God’s earthly wonderland, watching it work piece by piece in perfect unison.  I’m blessed to be part of that plan, God’s plan in all it’s wonder.  The trial I am currently struggling with will teach me something I was unaware of before.  I believe I will see God’s face even clearer for the journey.  I will see a rainbow and cry my tears that God loves us, will never leave us; NEVER.  He has given me strength to share my struggles with you.  From the nudges He has sent my way recently, I have found the courage to share with you.  May my journey give you strength in your life whatever you may be walking through with God now.

Blessings, Jenn

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Quest for the Nail Prints – Don Furr – My personal Review

Amen - Amen
Amen – Amen

Quest for the Nail Prints by Don Furr is a journey of three unrelated people to the time of Christ for reasons they do not know.  Elisabeth is a Flight MED Doctor and was heading to Israel to set up a clinic there for trauma patients. She is a believer.  Paul is a pastor who is going on a Honeymoon gift from his mother and sick stepfather, without his wife because she is fearful of the area and time – it has always been his dream and she wants him to live it.  The third traveler is a Professor of Religious studies, who by all accounts is without any religion whatsoever.  The three end up on multiple planes together find a sort of bond or rather a mutual destination. Elisabeth has three free days and decides to go sight-seeing with Paul, the professors flight gets cancelled and he ends up with them – then one two-three round a corner three strange events running and suddenly Paul is seeing Jesus enter the Holy City on Palm City!  The story wraps around and around drawing you in and weaving you into the tapestry – one moment in the garden of the night before the crucifixion it’s said in the bible  a man ran out of his cloths – when really in the dark and struggle the soldiers had torn Elisabeth’s outer garments off her.  They were part of the bible we know now, then always.  Even the black man who carried the cross was important and a soldier he also seemed from the future playing out a part in the last days of Christ.

This book touches the heart and soul of every christian, jew, and non believer alike.  I can see a non believer accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior on their knees as they finish this book, and not because of time travel, rather how important the events that took place 2000 years ago.  How we simply let them fall to the wayside as ashes from a forgotten fire.  I know that the story of Mary and Martha was one of the most important stories in my life.  I found solace in the giving of the alabaster oil on Jesus feet before dinner instead of waiting to use it on His body at the time of His death. I had fallen away forgotten the moment the breath the meaning the feelings around the table the way Jesus had to teach His Disciples the grand gift that He had just been given.  This book takes the moments and breathes life into them and lays them out for the reader to not only read but to feel and taste, to experience.  Where were you when Christ was Crucified?  I was weeping.

This book very well should be the book that changes the lives of this current generation.  It is not a hoax, not a bunch of smoke and mirrors.  Rather it is Life, History-Our History, our freedom from Sin, our Bridge to the Father, the new covenant told in a way that just may make you ask another question about His return.

Please I welcome all your feedback, comments and questions.



Tapestry of God Web for our lives

As I was reading a book last night a quote stated ” Three lone thread in a tapestry without a clue about the magnificent pattern God was weaving.” Quest for the Nail Prints a Novel – Don Furr pg 128

It just blew me away. First I believe that we are not the only lone souls, weaved into a magnificent tapestry by God.  I believe in my soul my heartbeat, in my love of life my love of faith my yearning for knowledge of God.I believe that each person that is set upon this on this earth christian or a life yet to find Christ will be weaved through and throughout His mighty tapestry. Weaved in, in a way that leads only to inevitable glory of His mighty Kingdom.  Perhaps I am still fresh in my faith and am star struck by the Love and Grace. He so freely gave, to me, to all. Especially on the cross. The thief at His side who said ” I will never see the promised land for I have sinned too much – and Jesus of Nazareth, spoke in words only a messiah on a cross dying a horrible death could say said, son for you have seen your ways were wrong and repented, tonight you will be with me in the promised land.”   Wow A small word on a death-bed and all is forgiven –

That Moment when He said you will be with me and the Father in Heaven tonight. – I believe He was not only being true, so honest it was above miraculous. Though people must understand Christ is a sounding board for forgiveness in your hour of need. Though, He is not an answer to the, I will sin all my life and use this  “Forgive Christ” as a scape goat, as a pass, as a way from the fires of Hell, into eternal peace at deaths last moment.  Repenting is a part of the spirit and comes for deep within. the thief had that repentance.  I do not believe many that choose the easy option will or do.

I say that for I have to repent each day and I am yet a mother with three amazing children and a husband who is more kind to may than the Robin is to her hatchlings in early spring.  It takes time effort and real honest, true belief and surrender to learn honest repentance.

The thought that we are part of a tapestry of Gods/Christs tapestry for the magnificent pattern He is creating makes me feel even more resolute in the forward motion of my dreams my surrender, my following my hearts leading. For in my heart I believe the Holy Spirit not only dwells buts speaks.

tomorrow I shall speak to the tapestry I think He is creating in me tonight I leave you with a question… What do you thing He is creating in you?

For we are all the vine and without each other we are …..





A new book – I am starting my Quest

I received a book “Quest for the Nail Prints” by Don Furr. According to is cover;
Three ordinary people are chosen by God for an extraordinary experience, one so incredible that even they have a hard time believing it is real. Through unrelated circumstances, the three travelers find themselves sharing a journey to the Holy Land when suddenly there are thrust back in time nearly two thousand years, coming face-to-face with the rugged radical Nazarene known throughout the land as Jesus of Nazareth.

This is the story of how a personal encounter with the living Christ and his time creates the journey of a lifetime!

I have been personally changed by the way Don writes in an honest real human voice. I cannot put it down! There is a hole through the middle of the book, it has a great explanation one that you should experience yourself. Find your heart with Christ feel the sins being washed clean as the blood is spilled I for one am struck in the deepest part of my soul, this book is a testament to Faith , Hope and Love.
I hope to talk with Don and share more soon until then go get yourself s copy.
Quest for the Nail Prints

Also The Book Network The Book Network has a great group on the Quest as well as the Nails. They have amazing conversation. Don’t miss out!

Blessings to each of you – glad to be back writing again. Please check out this book and let me know what you think! Jenn



PRacticing the Presence of Jesus – Wally Armstrong – Review of a great book

Wally takes on a journey from the guy who committed to Christ but did not have a friendship a relationship.  Wally takes us through this book as people from every walk of life a every set of circumstances.  Everyone meets Jesus in their own way.  Those who believe in God, yet don’t seek his relationship are lost and still searching or have not meet Wally yet. Wally lets every reader know that God is a Friend that is their to answer the phone at 3am to hold your hand as you are on your knees weeping.  He is also a god who shops with you while your picking out milk.  There is one God, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit.  That being known we are all made in His image and not one of us look exactly the same.  That is the tone of the book and a wonderful preview for how we should all seek out the word of the father.  Jesus might come to me over a cup of coffee, yet come to you on a Lear jet flying cross-country for an investment meeting.  It is not the who or the what, it is the meeting you where you are.  When we realize that Christ will meet us where we are then we can take that step and lean into Him for guidance, love all things you. When you realize He is with you in the kitchen, conference room, golf course or even church, you can then start the conversation: Hi Jesus, it’s me, I just wanted to talk about my heart feeling about taking this job.  We will all be met in the place intended for God is not a one size fits all – how could he be with the beauty he created in us.

Book Description: Wally Armstrong takes the concept of Jesus being so real you could sit on a couch with Him and have a meaningful fully vested conversation with him.  Society today does not allow for people to realize God is just a Friend, waiting for you to reach out, start the conversation.  In “Practicing the presence of Jesus” Wally gives each of us a way an approach to creating the same amazing unique experience he has had, and the easy way to forage a relationship so real that you not only feel but you know He is sitting on the couch next to you.

I would and have recommended this book to many who still see God as a person we honor only.  It is amazing to see the eyes of those who have that first taste f friendship.

Link to purchase the book on Amazon

 Disclosure: I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Litfuse Publicity Group as a part of their blog tour in exchange for a review with true fact and statements . @litfuse 


Book Review Preview: Wally Armstrong – Practicing the Presence of Jesus – Expereriencne the Gift of His Friendship

I being asked to do a review on this book: practicing the presence. of Jesus. Experience the gift of His Friendship From the forward by Ken Blanchard on, something inside stirred. I found this not  a personal improvement book nor a Strong hold I will make you a believer novelette. Rather in fine form this is a well pictured piece of the vine placed on paper so those untouched by the branches will feel the power one chapter can give and as I  dive in. I find personal Experiences funny. They question you placement in a spatial relationship to an experience, they ask without words if you are knowledgeable enough to speak to that experience, finally even probe the sentiment does anyone cares about your opinion when it relates to an experience. Harsh but ever so true.


Here is a a small taste~a quote before the contents to give you a taste of the

translucent yet vibrant review to come:

Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ,

for all the benefits Thou hast given me,

for all the pains and insults

which Thou hast borne for me.

O Most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,

may I know Thee more clearly,

love Thee more dearly,

follow Thee more nearly,

day by day.



I hope you are as excited as I am for the upcoming review. This book has given me wise on-site, strong reproach to daily failures and triumphs. I will take great pleasure in reviewing this beautiful book.

Blessings ~Jenn

Time to get back to the basics – I was looking for God


When we returned from New York,  we had so much painful stress having to decide about what the results meant, to us our family.  I had to decide do I move forward or just curl up in the space between knowledge and knowledge and stay there. I like to hide their sometimes. I am getting closer to that spot as I travel down this path, if we can call traveling down this path one of healing.  I am struggling yet surviving each day.  I get up, that is a accomplishment! We my family and I are on the constant effort of searching for my prime, my fullness. Thank you!

I loved being witty. It is something that could be used to express what I am and who I am. Or it used to be. That euphemism has dwindled as, progressions of the neurological question mark  in my life has developed, more aptly grown!  I am seeking further treatment for the progression and the source.  Such as applying to a neurological study at John Hopkins.  We are on the new path as I am not a surgical candidate. I do not have Chiari and my Syringomyelia is not of a surgical nature.

The Dr. in New York after releasing the “NOT FIXABLE HERE”,   he used the terms transverse myelitis ( is a neurological disorder caused by aninflammatory process of the grey and white matter of the spinal cord, and can cause axonal demyelination.) he also used the terms:  a variant of (Variant meaning type?) Multiple Sclerosis (multiple sclerosis  (MS), chronic, slowly progressive autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the protective myelin sheaths that surround the nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord (a process called demyelination), resulting in damaged areas that are unable to transmit nerve impulses.The disease also gradually damages the nerves themselves.There are elevated numbers of lymphocytes in the cerebral spinal fluid and of T cells in the blood (see immunity).

The onset of MS is usually at age 20 to 40 years, and its many symptoms affect almost every system of the body. There may be visual difficulties, emotional disturbances, speech disorders,convulsions, paralysis or numbness of various regions of the body, bladder disturbances, and muscular weakness. The course of the disease varies greatly from person to person. In some patients, the symptoms remit and return, sometimes at frequent intervals and sometimes after several years. In others the disease progresses steadily.)

Neither of which make me want to back cookies, do they make you so inclined? I am still non curable and undeclared as of what it is that has all these symptoms and walks like a duck, I being the duck.

So for the time being  I decided the best avenue before becoming so depressed I stopped liking chocolate. It is to find God around me! YEAH!, to that notion, I have found already – He has followed me very closely the last couple days:Look at the photos and the things that just should not be their. If you have an idea…  please share!! Enjoy, I have:) In Hard times she had learned three things:

  1. She was stronger than she ever imagined
  2. Jesus was closer than she ever realized
  3. And she was loved more than she ever knew!

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So I find that when God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit places things for you to fathom, think about and question  – is that really you.  In those moments we are having an intimate conversation with our maker.

So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us,as though by our own power or godliness we hade made this man walk?  Acts: 3:12 NKLV

Tell hin this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from this place and build the temple of the LORD. Zechariah 6:12

The Branch is one of the most amazing ideas in the bible – I am a branch and can reach as many people as I reach for!!

In the search for God and realizing he is with you while you put on your socks,  he is nudging me hard, I stop.

I have not been listening.

I have sinned  – and will again, for I am human and blind to the glory offered.

I am working on the nudges – I have a feeling this is a start.  “To those who know the stupid people in Sponge Bob Square Pants” – Thank you for Nudging to get off the floor! – Thank you!

I found one more scripture that feels like me please enjoy – This is excerpts from Psalm 31 –  I put myself in your hands knowing you will save me, Lord of Truth….. I dance for joy at your constant love.  You saw me suffer, you know my pain.  You let no enemy cage me, but set my feet on open ground.  Pity me Lord, I hurt all over; my eyes are swollen. My heart and body ache. Grief consumes my life, sighs fill my days; guilt saps my strength…… I said to quickly, “God has cut me off!” But you heard my cry when I prayed for help. Love the Lord, all faithful people, the Lord your guardian, who fully repays the proud. Be Strong, Be Brave, all who wait for God.   (Wow – we are Blessed beyond measure)  In the Contemporary English Version The Holy Bible PSALM 31

So I, will continue to try to be strong, brace myself wait for God.  He knows my pain, my desire to not get up. This is like admitting your worst sin – I have no wish to get up, yet I try every day, lest the lord forsake me. Rather I give up on my family.  I have lost days lately – But out of Love comes finding, understanding.  I try!

Many Blessings to be with each of you may you learn the love of passing grace on. It passed us eight times during our trip too & from – God and His wonderful creations are amazing, be amazing!


English: Tracts of the spinal cord.
English: Tracts of the spinal cord. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Book Review! Fruit of My Spirit Reforming Life in God’s Grace~ Deanna Nowadnick





But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control.  Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23  Agape, Egkrateia, Eirene, Chara, Chrestotes, Chrestotes, Makrothumia or Hupmone, Praotes, Pistis – Then living Life in Gods grace

Deanna was reframing her Life in God‘s Grace. One by one she was using Paul letter to guide her to a place of forgiveness and peace.  Letting her readers know right away, Life is a challenge. There is no way around it Life is a challenge, accept that truth and move forward. This more than anything puts Deanna in a separate category than general Spiritual self help type writers. Deanna, doesn’t quote scripture then use life in general to explain why these are hard scriptures, she states life can be a difficult situation.

“Iv’e not only trivialised God’s love and forgiveness, but Ive missed the magnitude of His mercy that’s been shared with me over and over again.”  Wow what a statement, what a raw exposing look into the soul of a woman begging for the type of Love only the Children of our great God experience.  Without halting, tripping or slowing down she runs for the answers…..

Her vulnerable inside child, beaten and bruised by life shares life’s most dark places, fears we never would imagine realized, let alone exposed.  Vulnerable, sharing moments families keep private. Little treasures found as a family brought alive.  Mesmerizing to the reader going through all the stages of the true – THE TRUE – travel of any woman/man/child scared or hurt enough.  Searching for the feeling, real forgiveness from God.

All the while the Holy Spirit is Placing items in her path to accomplish this.  Kurt being one very large step. I have never felt the goodness of God’s everlasting Grace, Deanna experiences by exposing these truth’s.  I Feel His forgiveness through another persons story in a way like no other as I read Fruit of My Spirit.  I believe.

This book is not made for one person, orva book just to pick up because the title seems to fit the situation!

I believe this book should be read by every graduating teenager. Every single mother before childbirth.

I think this book will transcend the waters of religion and share Holy Forgiveness, Pauls’s Message to anyone who needs him, Galatians 5:22-23.

Anyone who has said, Uh, why God Why? Read Fruit of the Spirit -Understand

This book will let you cry, help you see with clearer eyes. Teach you to use your bible to make you stronger. Help you to see those around you that need a friend, a little Agape!

Thank you Deanna for letting me read and re-read your touching book.  I feel I know you and your family – this book has, will change lives.  If you do not buy this book for yourself, buy this for someone you love.  They will love you for it.

Book Review & ~ Lisa Wingate and her latest book Dandelion Summer

I hope all is going well.

When you get back to blogging, and I know you will, I’m walking on cloud 9 because Dandelion Summer won the ACFW Carol award for Women’s Fiction. They made a big announcement to tell everyone that DS is the first book EVER to get a perfect score. All five judges gave it all 10 points. There is a picture on Southern Belle View today of us winners.  Blessings during this difficult, but hopeful time!

Lisa Wingate

Fiction That’s Good for the Soul

Blogging at  Join us on the porch!

Join me on Facebook and Youtube

Dandelion Summer, has been by far my most favorite book!  Thank you for stopping by to read the interview.  I cannot wait to the comments from this interview of Dandelion Summer. It is not one to be missed ~ have fun and be blessed. We might have to have a second question as I am reading it again more things pop out!

Thank you Lisa Wingate for letting me share my love of your books with my readers –

When did you first realize you were a writer?
I’ve loved to write for as long as I can remember.  My older brother was a good writer, and when you’re the youngest in the family, you want to do what the older kids do. When he won a school award for his poem, “The Bee Went Under the Sea,” I was so impressed by his literary brilliance (and the blue ribbon) that I immediately went to my bedroom and created my first book, The Story of a Dog Named Frisky.  The Frisky story was the start of many partially-completed writing projects.
A special first grade teacher, Mrs. Krackhardt, put the idea of being a real writer into my head.  She found me writing a story one day at indoor recess, and she took the time to stop and read it.  When she was finished, she tapped the pages on the desk to straighten them, looked at me over the top and said, “You are a wonderful writer!”  That was a defining moment for me.  In my mind, I was a writer. When your first grade teacher tells you that you can do something, you believe it.
Then when she read the story to the students and they turned and asked me, “What happened next?” (after the boy went into the bear cave) I was hooked! I wrote sequels to the story for days and Mrs. Krackhardt read them to the class.
Growing up, I often wrote in response to things I felt were wrong in the world.  I wanted to create something that would cause people to stop and think, to treat each other and the world around them with greater kindness and grace. Those desires eventually led me to write my first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, which was published in 2001.
Share a little about your publishing journey.
I had been doing technical writing and some magazine articles after graduating with a degree in technical writing. (Not that I liked technical writing all that well, but in my family, you majored in something that would qualify you for a day job!) One day when my boys were little, I opened a drawer and unearthed a notebook of stories and life lessons my grandmother had shared with me shortly after my first son was born.  I had the idea of combining Grandma’s stories with a fictional family. In reality, like many writers, I was writing my own story, relaying how my grandmother’s wisdom had produced an epiphany for me, a lightbulb moment. After writing a few chapters, I asked my husband and my mother to read them, with the questions, ‘Should I continue? Would anyone want to read this?’
    With their resounding encouragement, I composed the manuscript for my first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, found an agent, the agent sold the book, and the book was published in 2001 as a premier title in Penguin Putnam’s New American Library’s women’s fiction line.  In recent years,  I have been writing inspirationals for Bethany House (a CBA publisher) and Penguin Putnam (an ABA publisher).  Eleven years ago, when Tending Roses came out, there was very little crossover between the two markets, and Christian publishing was largely focused on historical fiction.  When Tending Roses came out with Penguin Putnam, bookstore managers sent comment cards saying they had customers looking for stories like this, in which characters grew in faith, and content wasn’t graphic.  It turns out that those bookstore managers were right, because the market for inspirational fiction has grown and diversified in countless ways during the past ten years.  Now it is possible to have the same novel selling in the general market fiction section of bookstores, in Christian stores, and in big box stores like Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club.  I’m thrilled to see faith-based fiction out in front of the masses!
Which of your books is your favorite?
Because of the connection to my grandmother, Tending Roses will always be my sentimental favorite.  That story has traveled the world, been reprinted eighteen times to date, has been used to teach adults to read in various literacy programs, has been used in university courses on aging, and was selected to promote women’s literacy in India.  Recently, I heard from a group of women in Israel who were reading and circulating the book.  It’s amazing and humbling to see something you wrote, sitting at home with your computer, travel at the speed of light and reach people who live different lives in different places.  It makes you realize that we are more similar than we sometimes think.  Amazing also, that in this fast-changing market, the book has stayed in print all these years and is now in e-book also.  Many of my fans tell me this is their very favorite of my books.
My mom, on the other hand, as soon as she read the first draft of Dandelion Summer, declared this my best work. She said DS as a movie just kept playing through her head and could take the place of her favorite, On Golden Pond. Later my sweet mother-in-law said nearly the same thing and fans have written to tell me how much the book resonated with them. It’s kind of like trying to pick your favorite child, but I think Tending Roses will remain ever in my heart as my sentimental favorite!
Will you share a writing tip that you’ve stumbled upon in your years as a writer?
First, finish the book.  It’s almost impossible to sell a partial if you’re unpublished, and even if you are published, you’re asking an editor to take a much bigger risk by buying a novel without being able to read it all.  Polish it, get an agent, especially if you are writing fiction, and send the manuscript out, because as much as we’d like them to, editors won’t come looking in our desk drawers.  While you’re waiting for news, write another book.  If the first one sells, you’ll be set for a two-book deal.  That’s exactly what happened to me.  I sat down and wrote a lighter novel, Texas Cooking while I was going through the process and months of finding an agent and submitting the book to several publishers. When Tending Roses  sold, they snapped up both books into the contract. With new writers, editors worry whether an author can produce a second book within about a year and many can’t.
If the first book doesn’t sell, you have eggs in another basket.  Your agent can shop your second book around and you may be on your way!  Also, don’t take a critique too seriously if you hear it from one editor/agent, unless there’s an imminent contract involved.  Editors and agents, just like the rest of us, are individuals.  What works for one may not work for another.  If you receive the same comment from multiple sources, consider revising your manuscript before you send it elsewhere.  Be tenacious, be as thick-skinned as possible, keep writing while you wait for news.  Never stop creating new material—that’s where the joy is, and if you keep the joy of this business, you keep the magic of it.
Why did you write Dandelion Summer? What was your inspiration for this book?
The story features an unlikely friendship between a grumpy old man and a desperate teenage girl who are drawn together as they try to solve the mysteries of his hidden family past.  Their search takes them on a journey of discovery through historic towns of the old south and into nostalgic recollections of America’s space race during the 1960’s.
For me, this story was a joy to write, as the original Apollo moon shots are some of my oldest memories, when I sat on my dad’s shoulders watching the TV and feeling his crew cut under my chin. The history of Norman’s career in the novel mirrors the real-life adventures of my wonderful reader-friend, Ed Stevens, who helped design America’s first moon lander, Surveyor, while working for Howard Hughes.
One of the best things about creating fictional people and sending them into the world has been that they come back home again, trailing real people behind them.  I met Ed when he read Texas Cooking and sent a very nice note about it. I had to admire a guy who would pick up a book with a vivid pink cover (I once spotted my book from six stories up in a hotel atrium lobby.), read it, and write to the author.
Ed, is such an encourager. He explained that he was a retired engineer and loved to do projects on his computer. He offered to do anything he could to help me spread the news about my books and he has done so much of that, I can’t even count the ways at this point. During all the emails and calls about his projects for me, he would now and then write some memories of his career and travels, and of his daughter and his favorite old dog, Huckleberry. Eventually, I wanted to include much of this in a book, and Dandelion Summer was born. All fiction contains snippets of real life, of course, and I named my character after my grandfather, Norman, and gave him some of Grandpa’s feisty Irish personality.  I’ve been blessed to meet so many incredible new friends and learn about their lives, and everything I write these days seems to be a combination of fact and fiction.

You mentioned that your mom says that Dandelion Summer is your best book yet. So, how does your mom influence or encourage you as an author? Mom always encouraged my writing, but both of my parents insisted I needed to prepare for a job that would feed me. So, I majored in Technical Writing and held a couple of different jobs doing that until I decided to be a stay-at-home mom and write for publication. That was after my epiphany moment, related in Tending Roses when Grandma Rose tells about lacking time for tending her roses when her children were small.  With that one little story/lesson, my grandmother made it OK for me to ignore my tech writing career for a while and just enjoy raising being a mother and raising young children.
These days Mom is my first reader. She gets the drafts when I’ve only read back through them once, so she helps with everything from spelling to spotting plot holes, to characterization — just whatever she suggests, I consider. Maybe I make the changes and maybe not, but I think about it anyway.
After reading Dandelion Summer, she said, “This is your best book yet…even better than Tending Roses! I love Epie. She seems so real and I’m going to wonder what happens next with her. The scenes in the house were soooo funny in her voice. (What a voice, BTW. So teenage, so biracial, so tentative and at-risk, and such potential.) But, it’s J. Norm who stands out in my mind. He reminds me of my dad in personality and I love how you have given him such a grand career, but also the guilt about his “failure” at fatherhood. On Golden Pond just kept popping into my head.”
There was more, but can’t you just see me doing the Snoopy dance with ears flopping when I opened my email that morning? When I trimmed the book some on the second draft, she insisted I reinstate a scene or two that she really missed. I did.
Later my husband’s mom agreed that it is my best book. Some fans have written that also, but others are still holding Tending Roses as their favorite. I love to hear from those who have read both.  Maybe I should put out a poll :o)
Mom and I don’t always agree, of course. When I sent her a draft of the first few chapters of The Language of Sycamores she wrote back a scathing, “WHY are you writing about Karen (the somewhat detached sister from Tending Roses). I don’t even LIKE Karen.” I went on to write Karen’s story because, as I often tell audiences, ‘Sometimes when you don’t like a person it’s because you don’t really know where they’re coming from.’ Karen wasn’t living a very genuine life, fixated on her career and lacking personal, meaningful relationships. A sudden crisis at her workplace threw her into tailspin where she had to step back and look at her life. When the book was finished, Mom was happy with it.What else should we know about Dandelion  SummerIt’s been amazing how popular Dandelion Summer is with book clubs. On my website ( there is a book club pack of background information, pictures, videos, recipes, and decorating hints. There is even a video of my favorite local book club discussing Dandelion Summer with me!I love getting email from clubs who discussed the questions in the back of the book and watched the video of the father/daughter letter. That video has had over 100,000 hits on Youtube and other sites and by live audiences. Amazing! I’ve heard from teachers who show it to teenage boys who think that if they get a girl pregnant, no problem, the girl will take care of it all. I’ve heard from women who’ve shared it with their father, their sons who have recently become fathers, and friends everywhere. There are not many books out there about the father/daughter relationship and DS seems to strike a chord with many. J.Norm’s relationship with his daughter parallels the regrets many dads feel about not spending enough time with their children. And J.Norm’s friendship with Epie, depicts how so many girls and women are looking for love in all the wrong places because of lack of a good, strong father figure in their lives.   Here is the link for the father/daughter letter video:Play “A Father’s Letter to His Daughter” for your book club, from this link: very nice working with you, Jennifer,


Fiction That’s Good for the Soul

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Had to Add:

Lisa just wrote me – because I have to go out of town: I hope all is going well.

Jenn – When you get back to blogging, and I know you will, I’m walking on cloud 9 because

DANDELION SUMMER WON the ACFW Carol award for Women’s Fiction.

They made a big announcement to tell everyone that DS is the first book EVER to get a perfect score. All five judges gave it all 10 points.


Lisa Wingate

Free Book on Kindle

I wanted to share with my Blog readers a great Christian author.  I will be reviewing a book of her’s here in the next couple weeks, Perhaps even giving one away!).  I am very excited, you should as well!

Right now you can get her book “Talk of the Town” free on Amazon.  We all know this is a fast paced changing site so be quick and grab this book while you can!

I cannot wait to tell you all about her – so catch up a little by reading this book while it is still free!

Blessings ~ Jenn