What’s cooking in your kitchen that brings a lesson or two?

The tomato vine grew taller and fuller. Tiny yellow blossoms developed. Then, little green globes dangled securely from lean branches. Seeing such a delightful yield in my garden reminded me of the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, and the first time I had prepared this iconic side dish.

The cookbook I received as a wedding gift didn’t have recipes for fried green tomatoes. The novel and the movie came out long after I had married. But somehow, I heard about this intriguing side dish. So, I fried up a delicious batch for my groom who thought his bride had lost her mind. . .until he tasted them.

Then, one evening, I did something even stranger. I served waffles for dinner. . .most likely because I forgot to thaw out beef or poultry.

The idea of eating breakfast at dinnertime felt improper to his rigid upbringing. His tone and shocked expression spoiled my proud moment. Seeing my wounded face, he did what all husbands (eventually) learn and said, “thank you dear.”

Over time my groom adapted to new traditions and foods…including burnt meals.

When responses aren’t what we expect, it’s okay to feel hurt.

We have a Healer of the heart, body, mind, and soul.

When practices flip-flop, it’s okay to feel unsure.

We have the One who reassures us that change can be good.

When relationships are hard, it’s okay to feel disappointed.

We have the One who doesn’t disappoint, who lifts our spirits with sweet assurance.

In my upcoming novel, Molly and Ted are learning about these truths. Their struggles are much deeper and more complex than a new recipe or altered traditions.

They try to find God’s grace while deception thwarts a dream and a dream prevents a proposal. This isn’t easy for Molly or Ted.

Life isn’t easy for anyone.

We’re too busy with self-focus or stuck via outside influences to move forward.

Although you’ll have to wait for the unfolding of Molly and Ted’s struggles, YOU can ask God right now to heal a hurt, to help you accept change.—

He’ll never fail you.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)

What are you Going to do About it?

This week, Welcome to My World wants to know, What question would be good to ask yourself—or if you’re a fiction writer, your characters?

Whether I’m reading a novel or writing one, the characters always face conflict…some sort of problem that needs to be resolved. My characters haven’t defeated an evil monarch or chased a killer. But they have healed from loss and family drama, found love, and stepped out in faith to achieve a dream.

When adversity blocks their lifelong dream, my question to them is always, what are you going to do about it?

In Kiss under the Lemon Tree, my secondary character, Addie, knew the world is filled with possibilities.

Being a television travel host was her childhood dream. She studied vacation magazines and watched TV tourist hosts for tips on speaking and presenting facts in a precise and exciting manner. Then, when life got hard, she stopped dreaming of possibilities. She let circumstances and her deep sense-of-duty control every aspect of her life.

This is also true of real life.

Many people will carry their aspirations with them long after retirement. But there are no last chances once we’re too elderly to fulfill our dreams.

Following God with the dreams that He puts in our hearts isn’t always easy. We’ll make mistakes along the way. We’ll run into roadblocks. Fear or doubt may overwhelm us. But we can trust God to help us through the tough times, to direct our steps every inch of the way.

A man’s heart deviseth [plans] his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.”-Proverbs 16:9 (KJV)

My male protagonist, Sonny, in Kiss under the Lemon Tree took an approach different from Addie: Being a photojournalist was his childhood fantasy. As a young boy of a widow, he spent a lot of time alone at home while his mother worked. To help, he taught himself how to cook and bake. He also toiled at improving his skills with a camera. But it took money to buy film and then have it developed. He didn’t let this stop him. He used his baking skills to raise money to support his dream.

Do you see what happened?

He didn’t give up.

He used what he had to grow his God-given purpose.

This is powerful.

Do Not Wait; the time will never be ‘Just Right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”- George Herbert

Yes, start where you stand, work with what you have, but first ask God to be the CEO of your dreams, to guide you on the right path with the right tools.

Ask God to be the CEO of your dreams, to guide you on the right path with the right tools.

What step will you take today to begin a dream?

If you’ve already begun, what tip can you share that will help others pursue their dreams?


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It’s Good for the Soul

This week’s Welcome to My World blog challenge question is What is your favorite type of scenery?

For those who know me, it’s no secret what outdoor setting I adore.

My fondness for gardens began with my grandmother’s snapdragons that lined the exterior wall of her cinder-block house. Every summer, as a young girl, I’d play puppeteer with the red, pink, orange, and yellow flowers. One gentle squeeze on the side of a blossom and it would open and close like a dragon’s mouth.

Grandma and Grandpa had a large vegetable garden behind the house, past the clothesline. Lush vines, plants, and stalks camouflaged long rows of tilled soil. I’d step over foliage, hunt for oval watermelons and bright red strawberries. Before I reached the house with my treasures, I smelled of fresh-picked berries, and my fingers and lips were stained red.

The Bible tells us in Genesis 1:11 that “God created sprouts, plants yielding seeds, and trees bearing fruit.” Verse 12 says God saw that it was good.

He saw that the scenery was good.

The Garden of Eden must have been exquisite. In my mind, I imagine thousands of textures, hues, various heights, and shapes. The Bible doesn’t tell us, but maybe streams, bubbling creeks, waterfalls, and ponds were part of Eden.

Some years ago, home garden tours were fashionable. I’d buy a ticket and spend the day up-close viewing sceneries graced with overflowing perennials and annuals landscaped in spectacular designs. Low growing white and purple alyssum bordered beds. Large blue Hydrangea clusters reflected their preference for shade. Rose petal droppings sprinkled repurposed hardscape. Moss grew on rocks, stepping stones, and driftwood brought from beaches. Old barn wood and paned windows built into tool sheds and green houses added interest and functionality to many of the home gardens that I toured.

I don’t know about you, but I am always reluctant to leave a garden and return to reality.

Gardens have positive effects on humans. It’s where one can escape on a long leisurely path, smell fragrant blossoms, or sit to meditate. Where hands work the soil, nurture seedlings, prayers unfold, and visions are realized. It’s a place where frowns turn to smiles and hope uplifts hurting hearts.

If I’m happy, I’m cheerier when I enter a garden or see one from a distance.

If I’m sad, my spirit is lifted.

This is why I mention gardens or flowers in each of my books.

God created the Garden of Eden because He saw that it was good for the soul and the body.

Do you find gardens to be a place of healing?

Or do you favor a different scenery?


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A SPECIAL Valentine’s Gift for YOU!

Thank you for making this special celebration a success. To receive future discount notices, please subscribe. You can find the subscribe button on the left sidebar.

Do you adore FOREVER LOVE stories?

Sonny Pace would like to tell you his. How he realized the best thing to hold on to in life was Addie. How unforeseen problems and jumping to conclusions broke his heart.

Does his story sound familiar? It does for many of us.

Kick-off this Valentine’s Day with Sonny as he shares his and Addie’s FOREVER-LOVE story that inspires HOPE.

For a very limited time,

your special discounted gift can be found here:

– Kindle –

READER ALERT: Facebook ‘Book Party’ this Weekend!

Mark your calendar! Set your alarm!

I will be at Inspirational Reads and Authors Facebook group on Sunday, June 28, at 11 am EST (8 am PST – California).

Come see what I have to offer you in the way of fun and two giveaways during my one-hour session.

Please Note: This is a private FB group, so hop on over NOW, ask to join, and then answer a couple of simple questions. I think you’ll like it so much you’ll want to stay long after the party. It’s a fun group.

Can’t wait to see you on Sunday!

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ORDER NOW!

I haven’t loved a male protagonist as much as the one in Kiss Under The Lemon Tree, and I’m thrilled to offer you the Kindle Pre-order at $0.99 USD only.

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