Never Have I Ever


A recently popular game, “Never Have I Ever,” seems to have caught on as a bigger trend than ever. I’ll admit it’s intriguing to hear statements from players of things that claim they’ve done or never done, although this drinking game seems to simply be a newer version of the old “Truth or Dare” we played as kids. (Yes, I’m old.)

Today, I’m going to turn it on its head.

Never have I ever stopped to make a list of all the amazing things I’ve done or experienced in my life.

The other night I had trouble sleeping and as is my usual remedy, I turned on some worship music and plugged in my earbuds. As I listened to the choir background to a particular song (a 24/7 stream from Revere if you’re interested), I was transported to my youth days of singing in the church choir. I began at age four.

But suddenly, the multitude of choral experiences I had began to play in my memory. Musical productions, concerts I played and sang in, singing my children to sleep while I played guitar in the hallway between their rooms. I remembered singing trips, leading children’s church worship time, and recording with a large church choir that included my parents.

Many memories playing guitar with my brother

And then music wasn’t the only memory.

I was a gymnast, hockey player, teacher, home school parent, business and restaurant owner. I flipped burgers, sold houses, traded commodities, and acquired financial licenses.

I write books. A childhood dream!(This one’s on sale for Valentine’s Day – get our internet romance FREE.)

Family vacations, trips to play in the snow (sometimes hard to find in Southern California), Rose Bowl Parades and football games, beach play and sailing came flying into my mind. Memories of travels across the continent as well as to England, Greece, Switzerland, Poland, Australia, and France brought a smile.

I’ve been on water and snow skis, ice skated, sledded, zip lined, and ridden horses. I owned a horse. And chickens. And dogs, cats, rabbits, mice and snakes. There’s so many great experiences I could list. Jobs I’ve enjoyed. Relationships I love.

I think you have a clear idea of where I’m going with this.

Sometimes, we’re quicker to remember all the tragedy, crises, and trauma of our lives than the good things. Trauma tends to push out positive. But as we heal from horrific situations, we make room for memories that offer happiness and joy. And as we allow those positive experiences to rise to the surface, we may be surprised at how many we have.

I challenge you to begin a list of all the positive experiences and memories you’ve had. I’ll bet as you start, the list will grow just as it did for me. Even as I write this, days later, more enjoyable times come to mind.

But what if your life has suffered so greatly or been so limited that you can’t think of many?

Begin now.

It’s never too late to make new memories. What have you always wanted to do? Where would you like to go? What experience would you like to have? Even with some current social limitations there is still so much to experience.

Share something in the chat. Maybe that will be a first thing that will unlock the door.

And above all, don’t forget to be thankful. God has been so good to lead me into places, open doors of opportunity, and bring people into my life. I don’t want to ever forget to thank him for all the wonderful experiences of life.

The Miracle of Us


Marriage isn’t easy.

I don’t want to burst any bubbles out there, but what begins as a miracle of seemingly chance encounters and that sudden knowing that this person is the one, takes some work to maintain.

At the start, that person, who you swear you’ve always known somehow even though you’ve only just met, sweeps you off your feet. You confess you’ll never love another and  he or she is your one and only love.

If you’re anything like us, you witness miracles, maybe a dozen or more (in our case) that let you know with certainty that this is meant to be. You say yes to the proposal and the dress and begin planning your dream day. For us that happened across two continents. COVID-19 long distance has nothing on us!

The wedding is pure bliss even with its few unplanned mishaps (like our crystal champagne flutes that didn’t show up on time), and you waltz from the dance floor to the honeymoon in ecstasy.

We did. Ahh…

Then begins reality.

The moment when the fairy tale becomes real life.

The best love story comes after the wedding. I have a quote something like that framed with a picture of us a year after the wedding. The best comes when you fight through the worst. The worst of both of you, the worst circumstances, the worst heartache. All of that brings out the best of your love story.

The rest of our story will be told in Beyond the Miracle: When the FairDSC_0002y Tale Meets Reality, but until its release (projected for May 2021), we celebrate the now of this year’s anniversary with a throw-back to where it all began.

In honor of our eleventh anniversary, The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater is FREE on Amazon for your holiday weekend reading.

Get your e-book copy here.

What are some of your wedding or marriage miracles?

May Flowers?


 
DSC_0005DSC_0007
IMG_3778
 
The old rhyme says April showers brings May flowers. Here in Florida we had a few rain showers in April and even though our temperatures remain constant for most of the year, and seasons (other than for snowbirds) aren’t exactly delineated, spring is definitely in the air.
 
Nearly every day while walking near our house, I get to watch a mommy duck with her twelve babies scurrying after her in the water as she keeps a watchful eye out–I’m sure for alligators! This morning I watched another mother bird feeding her baby.
 
No wonder Mother’s Day falls in May.
 
With Mother’s Day, six birthdays and our anniversary, May is the month with the most celebrations in it for our family. So I thought I’d give my readers an extra reason to celebrate.
 
Starting this Wednesday. My new release, A Deadly Silence, will be free in e-book form starting WED May 13th through the weekend. Then, to celebrate our anniversary (May 22), on WED May 20 The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater e-book goes on sale through that weekend.
 
WOW! Two weeks of reading for free. Don’t miss it! Come celebrate with us.
 

Three Book Giveaway


DSC_0003God is a giver and so am I!

I’m excited to be giving away two (2) three book sets to two people who love to read. Included are The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater, Voices of the Past and my new release Rachel’s Son.

For four days, you’ll have the opportunity to enter and rack up points. Let your friends know too- remember sharing is caring (unless you’re afraid of a little competition…)

What a way to add to your library 😉

It’s my prayer that readers find hope, healing and redemption in my books. Nothing is impossible with God. Even when things look hopeless, he is faithful to bring us good.

Let the games begin.

Remember The Miracles of the Past


On Thursday, a fellow author featured my book on her blog. DSC_0020

Thank you to Toni Shiloh! I appreciate how she promotes new authors. I hope you’ll check out her blog and books too. You can read the post here. If you comment, you’ll be entered to win a free copy of the book!

What I love about Toni’s Throw Back Thursday blog is that it reminds me to think about the miracles God has done in the past. My book she promoted, The Miracle of Us: Confessions on an Online Dater, was released nearly three years ago which was a miracle in itself! It took four years of writing, editing, changing it and rewriting before I landed with something I felt people would find enjoyable, entertaining and encouraging.

But that story began nearly nine years ago.

Here’s the thing. Every time we retell the miracles God has done for us, our faith grows. We remember how big God is. We encourage others. And the best part? God says in Revelation (12:11) that our testimony helps defeat or overcome our enemy, the devil.

Amazing what sharing a story can do.

So thank you, Toni. I hope my story will encourage someone. And remember, friends, to share your stories! Tell people about the wins in your lives. Remember those miracles from the hand of a big God and look forward to what is to come.

What story can you share? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

Playing With Fire


IMG_4339

My heart held a weakness for being led astray by entertaining suitors who flirted and made me feel desirable.”   from The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater

Can you relate?

When we seek relationships, we want to be careful about motives – other people’s as well as ours.

Whether online or in person, the dating journey reveals the good and messed up places in our hearts and minds. Find out more of the lessons I learned during my journey. You can also read my entire story in my book, The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater.

First Chapter Fun


Tricia Goyer, well known author of Mom’s Night Out , the novelization of the motion picture, and more than fifty other titles, has inspired me with her new First Chapter Fridays. Tricia has been sharing the first chapter of one of her books and offering a giveaway each Friday. Check out Tricia’s site and her latest release. You may find you love what she has to offer. Not only is she an prolific author, but she encourages teen moms, adoptive parents, and homeschooling families.

In the meantime, enjoy the first chapter of my book, The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater, and enter a drawing for a free copy by commenting below. Thanks for the idea, Tricia!

Happy reading.

Is this really happening?

I surveyed the scene around me as an observer, despite my role as the primary participant. The delicate gown of ivory lace hanging from a cupboard door whispered reality. My bridesmaids sharing a mirror to apply makeup nodded at me in confirmation. A few close friends conversing over croissant sandwiches and grapes solidified the certainty of this remarkable day. My youngest granddaughter attempted first steps on wobbling legs.

At forty-seven, starting over after two failed marriages seemed frivolous and impossible even for an optimist like me. I believed God could do incredible things, but marriage a third time? After my previous heartbreak, marriage seemed like an attempt to grasp a school girl’s dream.

Only now it wasn’t merely a dream. It was becoming a reality.

God was offering me another chance at life with my soul mate. Yet the process of getting here hadn’t been an easy one. It took faith, prayer and patience.

Even with my adventurous and hopeful spirit, I still couldn’t have conceived of the enterprise embarked on years previous to this moment. And I never imagined God would use the internet to introduce me to Brendan, my amazing man from Australia.

Yet here I stood with the sun’s descent casting fragile streams of light through the upstairs window of the church. My attendants circled me, arms outstretched to adorn me with bridal blessings before I joined my life with Brendan for the remaining years we had.

My three daughters squeezed in close. The eldest, Vici, already a wife of two years and Ashley, my youngest, the twenty-one year old “baby” flanked my soon-to-be stepdaughter, eight year old Bella. They brushed elbows with my dearest friends, all participating in the momentous evening. Tears threatened my mascara, and I breathed deeply, both to keep them from spilling over and to calm my eager heart.

All eyes closed, but I peeked again at my homemade spider orchid bouquet. Can you love flowers? Every time I visually caressed the creamy burgundy tinged petals, I thought I love my bouquet!  And I thrilled at my dress and my bridesmaids’ dresses and the wonderful people taking such great care of me. This aged school girl released a contented sigh.

Closing my eyes, I forced my mind to concentrate on the words being spoken. I wanted so badly to remember as much as I could about this beautiful night of redemption and hope, the culmination of miracle upon miracle. My soul soared, my heart spilled over with love, and songs of worship played in my mind. Songs that I knew provided the background to our slideshow which entertained friends and family as they gathered downstairs in the sanctuary, preparing to celebrate with us.

In a few minutes, I would walk down the aisle on the arms of my two grown sons, Josh, the eldest and Chris, my towering younger boy, toward the man of my dreams.

Only You could have pulled this off, God.

Chapter 1

I had been single for only a year and a half when a friend asked if I would ever consider marrying again. A longing stirred in my heart, but I wasn’t so sure. Twenty-one accumulated years of two devastating marriages made me hesitate to answer her. Something in me wanted to hope that marriage held possibility, but my wounded heart felt like it had sustained a bad sunburn still too tender to touch. Marriage was a risk I wasn’t sure I was ready to take. Again.

However, when this new friend shared her romantic, divorced-mom-of-three story, it kindled a small, warming flame of hope. Like many others, from the time I was a young girl, I dreamed of romance and a life shared with my “soul mate.” I watched hundreds of movies depicting boy-meets-girl adventures and wished they could be my life. I confess I wanted a story that would defy everyone who ever told me I was unrealistic, idealistic or a dreamer. Deep down I believed God meant us to have that kind of romance—that He created it in the first place. Wasn’t it His good plan for man not to be alone?

The flame flickered in my heart, and I wondered if maybe that could still happen for me. Some day? But it certainly would take a miracle. Being alone at that point trumped the marital distress I had previously experienced.

A few years passed after that conversation. Within the safe acceptance of my loving church family, my broken heart was learning that relationships consisted of more than me attempting to be good enough to please someone else. I settled into single life with contentment as I pursued a deeper intimacy with Jesus. Over time, watching other happily married couples renewed my hope, and I felt the desire to try relationships again. While I felt satisfied and fairly confident about my life as it was, I did long for the proverbial “soul mate,” partner, friend, lover that I had somehow missed out on in two previous tries.

But how does a forty-something woman with grown children meet men? The single women at my church seemed to outnumber the single men by about four to one.

In the past, my “guy meeting” experiences were limited to youth groups, school, and church. As a teen, life was one social scene. But now? I hadn’t dated since I met my first husband at a college church group.

Not one of the few men at church showed any interest, and I couldn’t bring myself to bar hop looking for a match. A local Christian singles group appeared to be the only avenue available, but it didn’t thrill me either. Some of my acquaintances practically obsessed over each outing as they desperately sought Mr. Right. But that felt a little too intense for me. I cringed at the idea of attending events hunting for a man. Besides, I wanted a relationship to come from God’s timing, not my arrangements. If God did have someone for me, I prayed I could simply bump into him randomly, like at the grocery store or post office.

Or, be set up like one of my best friends, who met her husband from a friend-of-a-friend. I liked the idea, but that wasn’t happening for me either. Most of my friends were married with married friends. You get the picture.

Then one night, I sat in my parents’ living room after sharing a delicious meal during one of my rare visits. Naturally, as it usually did, the conversation turned to my struggling, single-parent-of-teenagers life. My parents felt the time had come for me to have a husband—preferably one who cared deeply for me and could support me in the fashion in which I had been raised as opposed to the one in which I had survived for the previous twenty-five years.

They had an idea of how to launch me back into dating society.

“You need a man. A nice Christian one with a good job. We have this friend…”

It’s not what you think. The friend was not someone they thought I should date. He was an acquaintance who met his match on the well-known, vastly popular internet dating site eHarmony, an establishment that has been harmoniously matching soul mates for more than a decade.

E- what? Internet dating? Never heard of it.

What did my parents, who barely used computers, know about dating online?

I chuckled at their ludicrous suggestion and wondered how I could steer us out of the conversation.

However, they seemed pretty convinced. My dad proceeded to relate some stories of people they knew who had actually met and married as a result of meeting on eHarmony. I confess it intrigued me. I went home that night with the idea rolling around in my mind. A few days later I decided to look up the site “just to see what it was like.”

I still remained skeptical, but waded around in the shallow end looking at a few free matches. Then I ended up filling out a questionnaire that took days, but taught me a great deal about myself. Worthwhile, but after a few months, I let it go. The stress of waiting for matches built up until I wondered if I were obsessed. Nonetheless, the concept lingered.

It resurfaced a couple of years later. The usual ways of meeting guys still weren’t working for me or my never-married-yet friend, “adopted” sister, housemate, and business partner, Carol. I told her about my previous experience, and after talking and praying about it for a few months, we decided to plunge into the deep end of online dating. What once seemed crazy to me now became a viable option.

Social networking wasn’t what I thought to look for, but I’m grateful to my parents for making the suggestion.

Carol and I held a conviction that finding marriage between two people absolutely created for one another held possibility. Granted, internet dating hadn’t been in our list of options, but why not? We figured if God could do anything, did it matter what vehicle he used?

Comment below for the chance to win a free copy of the book.

 

 

I Need Your Help


Faithful followers. I have a favor to ask of you…VBS 011

As we jump into 2017, I’m attempting to amp up my marketing. And believe me, I definitely need help there. Putting yourself out there is, well, not easy.

So here’s the request.

I wonder if those of you who have read any of my books would be willing to leave an honest review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and/or Goodreads if you haven’t already done so (thank you to those who have). Even if you didn’t like it, any review is better than no review. It’s okay. I’m a big girl. I can take it. I promise I won’t cut you off or unfriend you.

I can’t begin to explain the complicated publishing world and how much it benefits us as authors to have your reader reviews. Sometimes it can even mean the possibility of a future publishing contract. I know. You had no idea, did you?

I’ll even make it easy for you.

If you’ve read The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater click on the following links to leave a review. DSC_0002

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Goodreads

 

 

If you’ve read Voices of the Past click on the following links to leave a review.

bookcoverimagevoice

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Goodreads

 

 

 

If you’ve read Simple & Creative Event Decorating – right. You know the drill.cover

Amazon

Goodreads

 

 

 

And if you have yet to enjoy my books and would like to, you can use the same links above (except Goodreads) to purchase. No pressure.

Thank you in advance for your help! My goal is to have at least 30 reviews for each book. I appreciate your input so much!

Happy reading!

What’s An Author to Do?


I confess I don’t have time to write a blog post today.

The truth is I am in the final pages of my first novel and all the good stuff is happening. Since I never know what my characters may do, especially in the heat of crisis, I’m afraid to leave them alone too long. I already took too long over dinner. (My son needed really needed me.)

So now, I beg your leave with apologies. I will come back next week and attempt to offer something helpful, challenging (thinking of last week…) or encouraging. May God bless you.

Until then, I hear my protagonist calling. She’s in a real dilemma and doesn’t know what to do…DSC_0002

 

Oh, and FYI my first book, The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater, is on sale on Amazon in paperback or kindle, or you can order a slightly imperfect copy for a great deal (thanks to a printing error) on my website.

 
What do you do when your characters start doing things you didn’t plan?

Why Do You Write?


Yesterday, I opened an email from a follower of this blog and a reader of my new book, The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater. My tears of joy could not be contained as I read how this person’s life was being challenged and changed by God.  In part, as a result of the book.

DSC_0248
Bella at Riding Lessons

I’ve seen the growth. I feel proud, like a beaming mother watching her child on stage or at a sporting event. (I know this feeling well with seven children and seven grandchildren!) The joy that bursts forth in your heart to see someone live out who they were made to be can’t be described. And the blessing of being a small part of that overwhelms me.

I told my husband, “This is why I write.”

 

It’s not for money. Forget the hype of “New York Times Bestseller! ” Most authors make very little in comparison to the hours they put in.

Nor is it for fame. True, it’s been kind of cool to have a few people recognize me from one of two newspaper articles about the release of my book. But that is nothing but a bit of lovely fun.

To make a point? Well, I suppose that the point I try to make in all my books is that God offers us hope, healing and redemption. His love for us is beyond our comprehension, and he is able and willing to do anything to show us that.

But the bottom line reason is this:

“Thank you again for this book. I’m learning to believe in miracles and the One who works them.”

“I just finished reading your book “The Miracle of Us.”  I loved it! I was in tears at times as I read the miracles that God did in your relationship with Brendan.”

“Laura’s book strengthened my faith in God’s ability to work miracles for broken people.”

“What a lovely story of love, adventure, and God’s faithfulness!”

 

God uses our words, gives them to us in fact, to change lives for people’s good and his glory.

 

I’m so stoked on that. Amazed. Humbled. Grateful.

And I’m convinced he wants to use each of us to do the same. Maybe through books, or poems, or songs, or art or your job as a postal clerk (Tina has blessed me every time I mail something, and she doesn’t even realize she’s doing it), a doctor, a mother, a sales representative…in other words, whatever you do.

So, why do you write?