May I Hashtag You?

One afternoon in mid-May, I happened to see the following hashtag phrase trending on Twitter:

#DescribeYourselfIn3Words

Of course, I had to click on the hashtag and see how everyone answered it. Among my favorites:

silently judging you – obsessed with pizza – cuter than u – inspired by love

Silly, maybe, but whatever the purpose of the game, it got me thinking. If I had only three words, how would I describe myself? Let me turn that around and ask, how would you describe yourself?

Always a Mother – even after my children are grown and have moved out of the house, made homes of their own, have children of their own, I’m still their mother. I’ll always mother them, as long as I have breath.

Quiet, but smart. Okay, that’s a stretch for me, but it’s true. I’m often quiet. When you’re quiet, you hear things. You read and learn things that others miss because they’re too busy talking. When I was a child, many not-so-nice things were said to me and about me. As I grew older, I figured something out. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says. It does matter what you think about yourself.

Humor sweetens truth. Another stretch, I know. But it’s part of me. My dad was the youngest of four children born into poverty. Things got worse when his father was killed. Life was extremely difficult at times. Grandma was a single mom during the Great Depression. But all of them, including Grandma, had this amazing sense of humor. When they got together, the room was filled with laughter, singing, dancing. They were happy and blessed.

RaftPolaroidHumor got them through the hard times. You may be thinking I should say faith got them through, or hope took them through. In truth, both faith and hope played a bigger part than humor. I look at it like this:

Faith is like water.

Hope is like a raft that floats on the water.

Humor is the air that fills the raft and makes it float.

So those are my three 3-word descriptions of myself. I challenge you to think of yourself in a positive light. Pick out your best traits, reduce them to three words you can easily remember, and say them over yourself. Try building yourself up, rather than tearing yourself down. And please feel free to share them with me. I’d love to see what you come up with.

 

Becky Wade – Authorview

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Becky Wade

Welcome to Authorview, Becky Wade. She is an award-winning writer of historical fiction and contemporary romance. Her latest novel, Book 3 of The Porter Family Novels, released May 5, 2015 –  A Love Like Ours (see below for details). I’m so excited to host one of my mom’s favorite writers! Can you tell I’m excited? I used an exclamation point to illustrate it. I know you will love her candid answers to my questions. Then read her bio, follow the link to her website and check out her books. If you’ve never read a Becky Wade novel, you’re missing out.

So Becky, tell us about yourself–

I am a…Mom, wife, writer, chocoholic. Just typing the word ‘chocoholic’ makes me wonder how many steps are currently separating me from the chocolate in my pantry….

You would like me when I’ve…Just finished a yoga class. I’m quite peaceful for the five minutes afterward.

You wouldn’t like me when I’m…Still trying to wake up in the morning. The process takes about two hours. It involves a lot of rushing around, trying to get the kids to school on time, and very little conversation.

What qualities I like to see in others:    Humor. An open, genuine spirit. Humility. Warmth. Kindness.

Favorite way to spend an evening:  At a show! It’s a rare treat for me, but I love to see musicals performed live.

Who I love to spend an evening with:  My husband.

Am reading:  A romance novel that I’m judging for RWA’s RITA awards.

If I had a hammer…I’d give it to someone interested in using it to repair my patio.

My favorite genre is: Romance.

My work-in-progress: Is a contemporary Christian romance that will become the fourth and final book in my Texas-set Porter Family series.

My favorite food is: Chocolate.

I’m a collector of:    Chocolate. I also collect Department 56 Dickens Village pieces and set them up each December for Christmas.

My favorite happily-ever-after:    My great grandparents had a wonderful, joyful, long marriage full of family and faith. I can remember them laughing together and the closeness and trust of their relationship. My great grandmother passed away first, my great grandfather soon after. It was almost as if, once she went to heaven, he was extraordinarily impatient to join her there.

I inherited their wedding band when I was a teenager. Years later, I had the inside of the ring inscribed with their initials and their wedding date in 1919. It became my own wedding band when I married and I’ve been wearing it ever since.

Betty: What a wonderful story! And readers, do you get the feeling she likes chocolate? I think the message is very clear. Becky, thank you so much for participating in Authorview. 

Now — more about Becky Wade:

Becky’s a California native who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and settled in Dallas.  She published historical romances for the general market before putting her career on hold for several years to care for her three children.  When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction.  She loves penning funny, modern, and inspirational contemporary romance!  She’s the Carol Award and Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award winning author of My Stubborn HeartUndeniably YoursMeant to Be Mine, and A Love Like Ours.

A Love Like Ours

LoveLikeOurs_mck.inddFormer Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake’s childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion’s reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake’s will, Lyndie’s sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he’s built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he’d thought he’d lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

http://www.beckywade.com/my_books.html

What’s Up?

WorkinProgress-MeA work-in-progress. That’s what’s up with me. I’m always trying to improve myself and update my knowledge of various computer technologies. As a writer, I run into glitches all day long and have to solve problems and iron out difficult wrinkles in the system or on my webpage, etc. If I had to wait for someone else to do it…well…it might actually be quicker than me working through a learning process. But now I know how to do it myself!

As of yesterday, my website is now located right here. Moving from Blogger to WordPress was an adventure (extreme understatement). But I love the results! What do you think of it?

That is, if I can remember what I did.

I’m also nearing the end of a work-in-progress–my second book in the Legacy series, Carlotta’s Legacy. This has been a learning process also, and extended beyond my self-imposed deadline more than I care to admit. I’m pleased with how it’s turned out. I hope my editor and publisher agree.

Those of you who’ve read Amelia’s Legacy, will remember Nancy’s perky best friend Rebecca Lewis. Rebecca falls on hard times and has to make some tough decisions. She may have second thoughts, but backing down is not in her makeup. Though she’s knocked down again and again, she keeps getting back up and back in the game.

I have to admit, I’m kind of crushing on Rebecca’s love interest, Riccardo Alverá. He’s an Italian count faced with some tough decisions of his own. To prepare myself for this story, I watched several movies from the era (also set in Italy). In Love and War (a Hallmark movie), Tea With Mussolini, A Month by the Lake, and Enchanted April. There are numerous wonderful novels set in the pre-WW2 era. And fantastic YouTube films about everything from sailing on an ocean liner (in the 1920s & 30s!!) to harvesting olives.

512px-French_Broom2One of my absolute favorite websites, because it was so informative, was Anne’s Italy. And then I happened across a list on YouTube that included movies and photographs from Umbria, which is the setting for Carlotta’s Legacy. Oh the hours I spent watching these beautiful scenes! If I had a bucket list, visiting Umbria would be at the top.

As I write this post, I’m a matter of weeks away from the release of Annabelle’s Ruth. See information below. This story is close to my heart, because it’s fashioned after the Book of Ruth and loosely based on some of my mother’s life experiences. It’s set in a small town where I spent part of my childhood. Here’s a sneak-peek at the setting for Annabelle’s Ruth (Pinterest Board).

I’ll keep you posted on these releases. Follow this blog or like my Facebook author page, to keep up with what’s going on (and help me reach 500 likes this summer). For instance, next week, the Authorview post features Becky Wade and her hot new release, A Love Like Ours. You will want to be here for that.


bluetick-coonhound-2Annabelle’s Ruth is a 1950’s era “Ruth” story, set in the area of Trenton, Tennessee. Constance “Connie” Cross determines to follow her mother-in-law, Annabelle, east to Tennessee after their husbands perish in a fishing boat accident. After Southern California, 1950’s West Tennessee gives Connie culture shock. How will she adapt to her new life amid the cotton farms, rank with prejudice?

Resting on Purpose

 

RetiredCat

Sometimes, it’s okay to rest. Take a sabbath day. Kick back, put your feet up. That’s hard for me to do. I feel guilty if there’s a spot of dust floating in that beam of sunlight. I have to go clean it up. Run the vacuum, wash the dishes, throw in a load of clothes. And the yard. Don’t even get me started.

But even God took a day off. He planned for us to do the same. So why is it I feel guilty? The sun is shining. Take a deep breath, relax. Enjoy life.

I know it’s not Sunday. It doesn’t matter. Some people have to work on the traditional sabbath days. So take whatever day you have available, or even a few hours, if that’s all you can manage. Give yourself permission to rest. Take a nap. Read a book. Watch a movie.

And you know all that stuff you need to do? It’ll be there tomorrow.

So now, let’s try that again. Deep breath. Relax. Enjoy.

 

I Go With the Flow

dog-708376_1280Roll with the punches! Go with the flow (hand wave). Yes, these are dreaded cliches–the bane of a writer’s existence. But these two cliches illustrate a point I hope to make.

It all started with a funeral. Or rather, a celebration of a life. The man who died is connected by marriage to one of my sons, but had been part of our life for years. One of his grandsons gave the eulogy, which was touching and beautiful. One phrase stuck in my mind and touched me deeply.

“He lived his life on purpose.”

family-11883_1280This man did many good things. He worked hard and excelled in his career. He raised an awesome family, all of whom grew up to do well. He had a fifty-two-year happy marriage. He spent time with his wife and family. According to his grandson’s eulogy, he never went anywhere alone, but always desired one or all of them with him. They vacationed as a family. When he ran errands, he took one or more of the grandchildren along. He enjoyed their company.

Beyond family, he served his church. He visited and ministered to prisoners. And many other things. He did these things on purpose. To serve and show his gratitude and love. Not to receive a blessing in return, but to be a blessing, whether he ever received any recognition at all for what he had done.

On purpose and with one purpose in mind: to serve his God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Why did this strike such a chord with me?

I’ve always rolled with punches. Gone with the flow…which reminds me of my Aunt Jenny, who always had a smile, a chuckle, and a “Jenny-ism” to add to the conversation. She’d do a little dance, usually a few cha-cha or swing steps, wave her hand in the air and say, “I go with the flow. My flo’ lin-o-le-um.”

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Aunt Jenny

Her antics never failed to elicit a smile, a chuckle, or an outright belly-laugh. Everyone loved Aunt Jenny, and she loved us. But looking back, I think she lived life on purpose. She served out of love. She’d received forgiveness and wanted to make sure everyone knew how they could receive the same gift. On purpose.

When you serve others, are you only fulfilling a requirement, expecting a return on your sacrifice? Or do you serve on purpose, with purpose, to be a blessing, no matter what comes of it? Maybe no one ever thanks you. Maybe you never receive any recognition. Do you go anyway–keep on serving those who are hurting and in need?

Are you simply surviving life, just getting by, living but not really alive? You may think there’s nothing you can do. But small acts of kindness can add up to a lifetime of good, if done on purpose. My mom writes letters to her friends and family. They’ve told me what a blessing it is to receive a letter from her. She’s always so upbeat and positive. Those letters are like little rays of sunshine. That’s purpose.

You may never travel to a foreign country to help dig hurting souls out of earthquake-torn buildings. Or help restore flooded homes. But do you allow someone with fewer items to pass in front of you at the grocery? Do you hold the door and allow others to enter a building before you? Do you smile and greet visitors when they enter your church? Make them feel at home? On purpose, with one purpose in mind–to be a blessing. To serve God, be His hands and feet in the world.

I think it’s okay to “go with the flow,” as long as you live life on purpose when it really counts. When you can fill a purpose or a need–do it. I hope the words of that eulogy stay with me for a good long time and prick my conscience when I desire to ride the waves instead of serve a purpose.

So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands. This isn’t so others can take it easy while you sweat it out. No, you’re shoulder to shoulder with them all the way, your surplus matching their deficit, their surplus matching your deficit. In the end you come out even. (2 Corinthians 8:10-20 The Message)

Cara Putman – Authorview


Welcome to Authorview, Cara Putman, author, teacher, lawyer…among other things. How does she do it all? I am especially grateful to this oh-so-busy woman for taking the time to answer my questions. I hope you enjoy her interview and follow through by discovering who she is–as a writer, and a Christian. See her links below.     
Cara Putnam

I am a…Crazy woman. I homeschool, write books, teach graduate classes at a Big Ten university, and practice a little law.
 
You would like me when I’m…Reading a good book because it puts me in a good frame of mind.
You wouldn’t like me when I’m…Tired. The world just gets harder then.
What qualities I like to see in others:    A heart that is quick to see the needs of others.
Favorite way to spend an evening:  With my family watching a good movie or playing games.
Who I love to spend an evening with:  My husband or a group of girlfriends.
Am reading (or want to read):  The Secret of Pembrooke Parkby Julie Klassen and Unbroken.
If I had a hammer…I’d build our unfinished basement.
My favorite genre is:  Romantic suspense or legal suspense. I love a good page-turner.
My work-in-progress:  A Legal suspense
My favorite food is:  Italian, Mexican Yummy!
I’m a collector of:    Books. I give dozens away a year, but I always seem to have more!
My favorite happily-ever-after:    The romance Jesus has with each of us.

Cara C. Putman, the award-winning author of 19 books, graduated high school at 16, college at 20, and completed her law degree at 27. FIRST for Women magazine called Shadowed by Grace “captivating” and a “novel with ‘the works.’” Cara is active at her church and a lecturer on business and employment law to graduate students at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Putman also practices law and is a second-generation homeschooling mom. Putman is currently pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration at Krannert. She serves on the executive board of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), an organization she has served in various roles since 2007. She lives with her husband and four children in Indiana. You can connect with her online at:

 

Desperate to save her dying mother, an American woman accepts her newspaper’s assignment to travel to Italy where she takes photographs dangerously close to the front lines during World War II. But Rachel’s real motive in this journey is to find the father she never knew, an artist she hopes can offer the comfort and support both she and her mother need to survive at such a desperate time.

In her quest, Rachel becomes involved with what will become the Monuments Men effort to save great monuments and works of art from the Third Reich. Soon enough she will find more than she ever imagined–in war, in love, and in God.

USA Today Review