Tuesday, December 27, 2016

This Day in History

 On this day in . . .

   1825 - The 1st public railroad using a steam locomotive was completed in England.
   1850 - Hawaiian Fire Department was established.
   1871 - World's 1st cat show took place in Crystal Palace, London.
   1939 - There was an earthquake in Turkey killing around 50,000 people.
   1949 - Queen Juliana of the Netherlands granted sovereignty to Indonesia.
   1965 - My mom was born.

  The last one, is the reason for this post today. Today is my mom's birthday.

     Do you see the woman standing in the middle of the picture next to her handsome cowboy? That's my mom. She's the reason I'm here in more ways than one. Obviously, she gave me life, but that aside, she's the reason I am who I am today. She's the one who led me to Christ. She's the one who taught me how to read. She spent hours teaching me how to write and how to learn. She's the one who encouraged me to write. 
       She loved me enough to correct me through my childhood, and as I grew into a teenager, she loved me enough to make me see myself as I was. For a few years there, I was struggling with some very serious issues, and  it was Mom who made me realize that I needed to make changes. As I grow and mature in my spiritual life, Mom is the one who takes the time to encourage and correct me.
    I can't thank her enough for all the sacrifices she has made and is making to invest in my life. I can't thank her enough for the godly example she's been to me. I can't pay her back for all the years of teaching and training. But even if I can't pay her back, I will always love her and be grateful for what she's done for me. I hope to someday be a woman like her.

Happy Birthday, Mom!!!!

(If you want to wish Mom a happy birthday, go to my family blog at www.greenpasturesfarm.blogspot.com and leave a comment!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Eight Reasons why I celebrate Christmas.

   Why do we celebrate Christmas? When you're a child, it's simple. Christmas is about Jesus' birth! However, when we grow older, and we meet other Christians who don't celebrate Christmas, we have to ask ourselves, 'Why do I celebrate Christmas?'

     1 Peter 3:15 says "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready ALWAYS to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." 

     All through life, people are going to question us. Why do you believe what you believe? Why do you do the things you do? Why are you different? And we need to have an answer ready ALL the time. So here are eight of the reasons why I celebrate Christmas.

      1. Christmas is when I celebrate Christ's birth. Without his birth, there would be no cross, no empty tomb, and no redemption for us sinners. No, the Bible doesn't mention Christmas, but it does tell us the events surrounding Christ's birth. Everything in the Bible is there for a reason, and since God shares with us the story of Jesus' birth, we need to know it. Why would we celebrate are own birthdays and yet not celebrate Christ's? HIS birthday is the most important birthday in history. It ought to be remembered.
     I know that December 25th is probably not the day Christ was born. But since the Bible doesn't tell us a day that He was born, we don't need to know the exact day. What we do need to to, is remember it. All through the Scriptures, God commands us to remember things. In Numbers 15 He told the people to sew fringes onto their clothes to remember His commandments, in Joshua He told them to build a pile of rocks to remember what God had done for them. ALL through Scripture, we are commanded to remember. When Israel had something big that they needed to remember, (like their time in bondage and God's deliverance,) they would often have a feast/holiday to help them remember it. I celebrate Christmas to remember Christ's birth.

       2. I celebrate Christmas to show the world that I believe in Jesus. Have you ever noticed that the 'world' hates Christmas? Oh, they may like parts of it, but they hate the REAL reason I celebrate Christmas. They hate the baby in the manger. The stores that are banning Christmas/Christmas carols/Merry Christmas, and other Christmas things don't have a problem with winter holidays. They have a problem with the baby in the manger, they have a problem with a CHRISTmas. After all, if that baby in the manger REALLY was God's Son, then that means there is a God, and if there is a God, then they're accountable to Him.
      When we as Christians celebrate Christ at Christmas time and put out our manger scenes, it reminds the world of something they're trying to forget. And as 1 Timothy 4:12 says, we're supposed to be examples to the world of what believers are supposed to be like.

"Let your light so shine before men . . ."

        3. Christmas is an AMAZING time to share the Gospel! I know many people celebrate Christmas and don't have a clue who Jesus is. They see the lights, the holly, the presents, Santa Clause, and the amazing shopping deals, and they see nothing of Christ. Yet despite that, what other time of the year can you find so many Christian things in secular stores? Even secular stores sell manger scenes. You can't tell me that no one ever asks questions because of that.
      Unsaved people do see the manger scenes and they're often more willing to go to church at Christmas time.
      At Christmas time, people send Christmas cards to everyone they know, including unsaved family and friends. How hard is it to include a gospel tract? At Christmas, people are more open to gifts, and you can give co-workers and neighbors plates of cookies with a gospel tract.
    Sometimes, some of my friends and I wrap up DVD's that share the gospel, and hand them out door to door. Most people love being given a gift! What better time than Christmas to give them the gospel?
Mark 16:15 commands us to "...Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." 
  The Shepherds celebrated Christmas in the right way. They took the time to kneel before the baby in the manger, and then they went and preached it abroad.
    So, Christmas is a time when people are more open to the gospel, and since we're commanded to preach the gospel, we should use the opportunities that we have to share Christ.

The Baby in the manger is WORTH sharing!

     4. Christmas is a time to show our families how much they mean to us. When the wise men came to honor Jesus, they brought him gifts. Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves how blessed we are to have family, and if we're not making any sacrifices for them, we're going to have a hard time fully appreciating them. Christmas offers so many opportunities to give of our time, our energy and our money to help our families, and as Acts 20:35 says "...It is more blessed to give than to receive."
    Throughout the year, we can make time and opportunities to bless and give to our families, but at Christmas time, there seems to be even more opportunities to bless them and show them how much we appreciate them. And as we study Jesus coming to earth and the events that surrounded that, we see so many gifts being given. It's only natural that Jesus' humble and giving spirit should make us want to share with other's what God has blessed us with.

A time for giving!

      5. Christmas provides opportunities to learn from older family members and their pasts. The Scriptures are very clear that we should learn from our elders and our past.
        Deuteronomy 32:7 says, "Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee." 
      Proverbs 12:15 says "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise." 
      At Christmas time, there is often many hours spent with family. Older family members often love to share from their past. Christmas is an amazing time to get the counsel of elder family members who are normally too busy to share.

      6. Christmas is a time to reach out to others. Whether it's extended family members, or total strangers, we often come in contact with hurting people over Christmas. When Jesus showed his love by coming to earth to die for us, he gave us an example of how we ought to love one another. You probably all have someone in your life that you try to avoid. Christmas can make it easier to overcome our fears and approach them with Christ's love. Many people struggle at Christmas to overcome past hurts. Over Christmas we often spend time with relatives that we may not see as often. We may have the opportunity to share Christ's love even with saved people. Everyone knows that the world is full of hurt. Life is hard, and Christmas is a time to declare to the hurting that even when life is hard, God is good! Mark 7:37 says "...He hath done all things well:..." Even Christians struggle with the hurts from the past, but we can overcome hurts and help others overcome their's through Christ's love!

    7. Christmas is a time of JOY! Of course the Bible talks a lot about joy and rejoicing, we're supposed to rejoice all the time! But sometimes we forget that we're supposed to rejoice ALWAYS. Then, a simple thing, like a baby in a manger, reminds us of how much reason we have to rejoice. I mean think about it. The God who created us, became one of us. The God who reigns over ALL left his throne, not only to be born on earth, but to be born in a lowly stable. Look around your home . . . you have so much more than Jesus allowed Himself to have when He came. We have a 'Blessed Hope!' 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners!" We have something to REJOICE about! Christmas is a good reminder for us to 'Rejoice Evermore!'

     8.  Christmas keeps us from getting selfish. Now I know some people will say the opposite. When your focus is on the presents, you will probably get selfish, but when your focus is on what God did for us, it will keep you humble. Remember Ebeneezer Scrooge? Scrooge wouldn't donate to a charity because he 'couldn't afford to make people merry.' I think we as Christians can't afford NOT to help other people. Throughout the year, we have our job, our family, our church, our life, and it's easy to focus on those things. But at Christmas, often our eyes are opened to the needs of others. When we're serving others with Christ like love, it takes the focus off of us and puts it on the poor and hurting. After all, didn't Jesus come to heal the broken hearted? Didn't He spend time with the poor and sick? We should follow Christ's example not only on Christmas, but every day of the year. Yet out of all the year, Christmas is the time where we become the most aware of the needs of those around us.

Proverbs 19:17 "He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again."

1 Peter 5:6 "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:"

      These are but a few of the reasons I celebrate Christ's birth, and I do think Ebeneezer Scrooge's nephew, Fred, sums it up nicely. 

     "...I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round . . . as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"

   Psalm 118:24 " This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."

1 Timothy 1:15 "...Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners;" 


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

FINALLY about my Bible Bee trip!

   As most of you know, the Bible Bee has been a HUGE part of my life. I competed on the local level for seven years,and at the national level twice. Through my years of Bible Bee, God has taught me so much in so many areas; trusting HIM, humility, what it looks like to glorify God in every area, to name a few.
      Although I only competed at nationals twice, I attended several other years with my sister who was competing, and one thing that struck me every year, was people's attitudes. You would think that at a competition that big, with that much money at stake, that people would be more uptight, unfriendly, concerned about themselves and focused on the money. But they're not. Every time I've had the opportunity to attend, I've been so blessed and encouraged by the contestants love for God and desire to glorify Him no matter what.
      I love how they acknowledge that EVERYONE, even those who didn't make it to Nationals, are winners. If you were to go around and ask the contestants if they're nervous about their scores, you'd hear something like . . . "Well, I am excited to find out if I went on, but I did my best and I'll glorify God no matter what happens. Every hour of studying was worth it even if I never make a dollar off of it. Knowing God is worth more than that."
     I've seen competitions where the contestants are trying to beat the other contestants, and sometimes, that can get too tense and focused on first place. At the Bible Bee, you don't hear people talking about how they're going to get first place. . . instead, you hear them praying for their friends . . . encouraging others . . . and giving God the glory.
        Winning 1st place in the senior division is HUGE! $100,000.00!!!! Yet in my years of Bible Bee, when the 1st place winner is announced, they're not proud about all they learned . . . instead, they display humility and glorify God. If any of you watched the live stream this year, you'll especially know what I'm talking about.
      Sorry, I didn't mean to go on this long, but when I think of the Bible Bee, I think of Believers encouraging each other in the Word, and building each other up. It's beautiful.

     Anyways, last year, I aged out and was no longer able to compete. I was pretty sad about not being able to go back this year, but as I thought about Nationals, I realized that the very things I learned there wouldn't allow me to feel bad for myself for not getting to go. I was THRILLED for all my Bible Bee friends that I knew would be there and I was REALLY excited that one of my cousins had qualified.
      It wasn't very long after I started thanking God for the Bible Bee and that I wasn't going to be there, that I got a phone call. . . "Hey, Cilla, we have an extra seat in our van. Do you want to come with us to Nationals?"
     I was pretty much bouncing off the walls when I called my cousin back and told her I could go. I couldn't believe God's goodness in letting me go one last year!!!!
    The M. family was GREAT to travel with and I LOVED the trip. . . although if you think of it you could send them a sympathy card . . . they were stuck with me in the vehicle for around 48 hours!!!

Anyways, on the way down, we stopped at some other cousins' house and I had an absolute blast spending time with them!!!!

 And while driving on long trips, rest stops are always fun! I can't even hardly remember the last time I was on a swing and I loved getting to be with my cousins, or 'little sisters'!!

 I didn't actually have a camera with me, so these pictures are being used with permission. Thanks Marie!

Like always, the competition was GREAT! Watching the contestants recite is so . . . hard to explain. It's like the Scriptures come alive on their tongues and I was really blessed and encouraged by all the Scripture I got to hear.

Recognize any of these people?

They had some GREAT speakers there and I don't have pictures of all of them, but it was really neat hearing about the Ark Encounter from Ken Ham, the Museum of the Bible from Steve Greene (the owner of Hobby Lobby) Ray Comfort and E.Z. from LivingWaters,  Ted Cruz's dad, Max Lucado, Michael Farris from HSLDA and several others.

If you don't recognize them, these are the Benham brothers. David and Jason Beham, if you're not familiar with them they are (can't you tell?) identical twins and REAL characters. You may know them from their time in minor leagues baseball, or from their t.v. show that got cancelled because of their Christian stands, or maybe you've read one of their books. They were AWESOME at the Bible Bee and it was neat seeing their passion for following Christ.

And it wouldn't be Bible Bee without someone pulling out the Dutch Blitz cards! I love that game!!!

So that's about it. Did I say I had a BLAST?!?!?!?!?!!
 Thank you SOOOOOO much, M. family, for letting me come along! I am so proud of Esther for qualifying and I'm excited to see how God uses the Bible Bee in the future.

Oh, yeah, and in case you're wondering why the M. family needs a sympathy card from you . . . does the picture explain it? When I try to stay hydrated . . . LOOK OUT!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Ten Things About Me You Might Not Know . . .

      So as a writer, I find myself being asked the oddest questions sometimes. I enjoy having to think through deep questions, but I got to thinking that maybe, some of you who don't know me as well, might like to learn a bit more about me. It might explain why I write what I write. So here it goes . . .

Ten Things About Me You Might Not Know

1.      I love watching old black and white westerns. (Lone Ranger/Roy Rogers/The Deputy T.V. Show/ ect.)
2.      I have a ‘tom boy’ side and enjoy hunting, trapping, fishing, hockey, and farm work.
3.      I also have a ‘girly’ side and enjoy wearing makeup and jewelry on special occasions.
4.      I love shocking people.
5.      I ALWAYS wear skirts. (To some this is a paradox with number 2. but for me, with a little practice and right methods, I’ve even skied in skirts. It’s not as hard as everyone makes it out to be.)
6.      I have flat feet due to a small accident I had when I was 10 years old. Which is why I normally always wear shoes.
7.      I took voice lessons for a year. (I don’t consider myself to be a ‘good’ singer, but I definitely enjoy making a joyful noise to the Lord!) I also play piano.
8.      My favorite music to listen too is men’s quartets. (Although Majesty Music probably has some of my favorite music cds.)
9.      I enjoy listening to theological and political discussions and coming to very firm convictions. (Although I don’t like to argue so you may not know where I stand on a lot of Biblical or political issues since I don’t like ‘making waves’.)

10.  I’m a late night – late morning person. I would rather go to bed at midnight and sleep in than go to bed at nine o’clock and be up early any day. (I claim that my ‘writing brain’ works better after eleven P.M. J)

  If you ever have any questions about me, don't hesitate to ask. You might not like the answer, but I'm happy to share with you. :)

On another note, things are going well with my publisher! We're done with the 'editing' stage and are moving on to the creative department.  :) I'm still not sure when it will be released, but I'm excited with the progress.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A joke . . .

   So I've been sick this last week. Fevers, headaches, strep throat . . . you get the picture. I'm feeling much better today, but one of the days I was sick and felt like they should stick me in a sarcophagus, I was telling my family about a joke I want them to pull at my funeral. It got me thinking about different jokes I had heard and I thought I would share this one with you.

      A passenger in a taxi leaned over to ask the driver a question and tapped him on the shoulder.
The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus, drove up over the curb, and stopped just inches from a large plate glass window.
For a few moments everything was silent in the cab, and then the still shaking driver said, 'I'm sorry, but you scared the daylights out of me.'
The frightened passenger apologized to the driver and said he didn't realize a mere tap on the shoulder could frighten him so much.
The driver replied, "No, no, I'm sorry, it's entirely my fault. Today Is my first day driving a cab... I've been driving a hearse for the last 25 years."

Friday, November 25, 2016

I'm Thankful for Christian Authors!

  From Nov 25 (that’s today!) through Nov 28th, more than 70 independent Christian books are on sale. You can find out more about it HERE!

If scanning seventy books seems like too much, but you are interested, check out this quiz that will direct you to books that might be right for you!

 A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as "Sold Out." This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks. Also, some of the authors this year chose to not sell their paperbacks directly through the site. Those books are also marked "Sold Out" but if you click them open, you'll find a link to the site where they are on sale and a discount code for you to use at check out.

Thanks to http://leahegood.com Leah E. Good and http://knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills@omorecollege.edu for more information about her design services.

    It didn't work out for me this year to put my books in the sale, but since I'm also an independent Christian author, I'm excited about this sale! I'm sure they'll be some great books that you'll want to check out.

    On another note, I'm so very grateful for my AMAZING family who not only supports my dreams, but also love me enough to straighten me out when I'm struggling.

I know this is NOT my whole family, but I saw this picture and just wanted to say how thankful I am for sisters as well! They're the GREATEST! :):):):):):)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Craft Show!

  A LOT has gone on since the last time I posted! In the near future, I hope to do a post with pictures from my trip to the National Bible Bee in Texas, and other things that I've been doing, but for now, I wanted to give you some information.

         November 25th and 26th in the Roseau High School, I'm going to be working at the 'Country Corn Maze Christmas Booth' during the craft and vendor show. If you're interested in buying any of the 'Adventures of Amy' series, or the Mystery at the Corn Maze book, I'll be there selling them. Mystery at the Corn Maze will be $7.50 and the individual Amy books will be $8.50. If you're interested in buying the entire 'Adventures of Amy' set, there will be a special. All four books for $28.00.  If you know someone who's read the first three 'Adventures of Amy' books and hasn't gotten the fourth one yet, it would make a great Christmas gift!

Above is a picture from our craft show table last year. This year we've got a little more space and we're looking forward to seeing you there!
If you want to look at a few of the other things Mom's been working on for it, you can check my family's blog at www.greenpasturesfarm.blogspot.com


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Cookie Dough Brownies :)

   For those of you who know me well, you know that if I have to make brownies, I'll probably make cookie dough brownies. It's been a family favorite for a long time!

     After a long day writing, every writer needs chocolate! So here's my favorite recipe. :)

For the brownie layer, mix the following in a bowl.

                                                  1 cup melted butter or oil
                                                  2 cups sugar
                                                  4 eggs
                                                  1 and 1/3 cups flour
                                                  1/2 cup cocoa
                                                  1 tsp. salt
                                                  1 tsp. baking powder
                                                  1 tsp. vanilla

      Mix well, and put in a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

                                Allow the brownies to cool, then mix the following together.

                                                 1/2 cup softened butter
                                                 1/4 cup brown sugar
                                                 1/4 cup sugar
                                      Add - 
                                                 2 Tbsp. milk
                                                 1 tsp. vanilla
                                                 1 cup flour

                                Cream together, and spread on top of brownies.

         Then, melt a bag of chocolate chips with 1 Tbsp. shorting and spread on top. You can sprinkle nuts, crushed candy canes, or whatever you want for variety. 

Note - The actual brownie layer isn't what you would describe as gooey, but in order to spread the cookie dough layer on top, it needs to be slightly stiffer. If you're looking to make the brownies slightly gooier and still be able to spread the cookie dough layer on top, you can add a bit more oil/melted butter in the brownie layer, and be careful that they don't get over baked. 


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A 'not so practical' joke. . .

      Earlier this year, a certain cousin of mine showed me an AWESOME trick to play on people. :):) (I'll have a picture of it at the bottom, but if you don't like pain . . . scroll with caution:)

      That night, Mom was gone, so I texted her a picture of it. . . the problem was, she actually believed me. Looking back, it's probably NOT a good idea to try to convince your mom that you accidentally stuck a needle through your finger, when you really didn't. That was NOT a very mature thing to do. . . yet if we never tease anyone and we never tell jokes and laugh, and we're perfectly mature all the time, is that really showing maturity?

       My theory is this . . . Maturity is knowing when you're allowed to be immature. :) So trying to convince an adult that you're hurt . . . well, it's not a very mature thing to do. (Remember the little boy who cried wolf?)

       All that being said, I have to share with you the 'illusion' that I was shown. Just don't go and use it on the wrong person . . .

    It's actually two pieces of pencil led, (like you might get out of a mechanical pencil) pressed on either side of my finger until they were stuck. A drop of food coloring, and the lighting that made it look swollen and . . . presto . . . you have a semi-convincing needle-through-the-finger look.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

When did I start writing?

      This is one of those questions that I get asked quite often so I decided to do a post about it for your benefit!
      I actually don't remember starting to write. I've loved writing for as long as I can remember and, from different papers I have around, I guess I started writing as soon as Mom taught me how!

Yes, believe it or not, that's me doing handwriting! As you can see from the 'short story' below that I wrote, (which by the way isn't true) I needed help in handwriting! (I still do actually.)

When I was little, I enjoyed writing, but I was TERRIFIED that someone would read what I had written, so I went to desperate measures!

Have you ever been told you couldn't do something and it made you want to do it even more? Well, let's just say that my threat note didn't stop any of my siblings from trying to 'kidnap' my notebook. So I went through more desperate measures. . . See the tape on the spine? Well, I ruined the original spine from standing on it while doing dishes . . . and since I wear shoes all the time for arch support after my arches fell when I was nine . . . to put it mildly, it was hard on the spine. I also sat on it at meal time, and all kinds of other ridiculous things! Then, one day, I found out that if you don't react to siblings teasing, they won't tease you as much, and so when I stopped caring if people read my notebooks, people stopped wanting to read my notebooks. Of course I still protect them some but . . . Anyway, I started in notebooks with pencils.

I don't know why this picture is turned like this but . . . it gets the point across.

I started wearing out notebooks and pencils and I had a dozen half finished stories and even more half filled notebooks. I remember sitting in one of my cousins' vans with my little purple notebook when I was really little and telling my cousin that I was going to write a book. That notebook had a story about a missionary to Africa in it. As I wrote more and more, I began liking it more and more.

Then one day, I was bragging about how I was going to get a book published, and one of my brothers told me that it would never happen. Now that may seem like a mean thing to say to a twelve year old girl who's trying to write a book but, in my case, that was the comment that lit a fire under me. If for no other reason than to prove him wrong, I had to write a book.

Then, Mom bought me the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum for school when I was thirteen. I wasn't excited about doing a high-school writing curriculum, but once I started, I fell in love with it!

I started what is now known as the 'Adventures of Amy' in these two notebooks. I mostly used a silver glitter pencil that one of my cousins gave me. When I finished it, I typed it out onto our old computer in the attic. . .  The one as big as a wheelbarrow . . . the one that took three minutes to move the mouse across the page. . . the one that would occasionally not save my work. . . the one that I learned to type on. Then I switched the document over to one of my brothers' old laptops and re-wrote the entire thing. I eventually got my own laptop and tried moving the document from the old laptop to the new one. Only problem was, the old file wasn't compatible with my new program so, it showed up as gibberish. My oldest brother happened to hear about my problem and although I have no idea what he did, he somehow got it to show up in English. I still had a bunch of re-writing to do to change the format to the way I wanted it but it was there on this laptop.

So I put my old red notebooks away, and the truck sized computer and the thick-as-a-bread-loaf laptop and sat down with my new computer to keep writing.

I was seventeen before I finished that first book and written the two after it. I began editing and thinking about publishing. It was somewhere in there that I learned about writing for God. My motives had been really wrong and after an 'argument' with God, I finally yielded my writing to Him. I had to come to the place where I could say that even if I never wrote or published a book it would be okay with me.

After that point, things just seemed to fall in place. I learned that prayer was a huge part of successful writing and I began to go on spiritual journeys with my characters. 

At this point, I'm nineteen, and I have five books self-published, I'm working with a publisher on my next book, and I have many short stories saved away in files all over my computer.
I thank God for the incredible writing journey He's led me on and, although I don't know when He'll call me to stop writing, I know that I want to be in His will wherever that may be. So my challenge to you is, what areas of your life are you doing for yourself and not for God? Are there things in your life that you're holding onto? Give them to God. He may take it away from you, or He may turn it into something WAY more amazing than you could ever imagine, but He will do the RIGHT thing and you'll never regret having given Him your dreams.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Ever wondered what God's will is for your life?

   The following is part of an article I wrote after hearing a sermon on thankfulness. I hope you enjoy it and are challenged by it. It's hard to live up too, so if you ever see me 'grumbling' remind me to be thankful! :) :)

I think most of us have asked this question at some time or another.

       “What is God’s will for my life?”

We all want to know God’s will for our lives, but how can we know? After all, God’s will is different for different people, right? We can’t all be pastors or writers or doctors or any other one thing. God wants us to be different.

So how can we know what God’s will is for our specific lives? Truth be told, that’s between each individual and God.

      However, in the Bible, God does tell us some things that are His will for all of us. They're not all easy,

           “In EVERY THING give thanks: for THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD in Christ Jesus concerning YOU.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:18

     For years I read this verse and thought nothing of it. After all, I could quote it when I was two-years-old, it obviously couldn’t be that important, right?

         I was wrong.

When we put this “simple” verse into practice, we not only change our own lives, but the lives of those around us.

Giving Thanks for EVERYTHING, is hard. If you don’t think so, try to be thankful for the mosquito buzzing in your ear. Try to be thankful for your car breaking down. And try to be thankful when your mom ends up in the hospital on life support.

So why would God command us to give thanks in everything when He knew it would be so hard? Well, when we give thanks for everything, we realize how much we really have. How often to we remember to thank God for that last heartbeat He allowed us to have? Or that last breath we just took?

And by giving thanks for the things that we don’t like, it changes irritations into chances to praise God. And when we praise God in EVERYTHING, it not only cheers us up, but those around us see God’s peace in us.

When we as Christians get upset and irritated, the world sees that and thinks we’re no different than them. But why would anyone with a God like ours get irritated? God knows what is best for us, and sometimes, we need the storms of life to water down our deserts of dry mirth.
So why aren’t we thankful to God for sending trials, when it’s those trials that make us more like Jesus?

No one makes you have a bad attitude. That’s a choice that we make. So why do we choose to have a bad attitude when God commands us to give thanks? When we truly give God thanks, He helps us have a better attitude.

So what about you? What situations are there in your life that you’re not thankful for? Maybe you just lost a friend. Maybe you’re persecuted because of your faith. Maybe, you’ve had to live with the most undesirable circumstances imaginable.
              Whatever the case, God still commands us to give thanks.
It’s hard. It’s tough. It’s difficult. But the peace that God gives when we follow His commands, makes doing hard things worth it.

     So roll up your sleeves and get to work. Be thankful for that annoying kid at school. Be thankful for the pain you’ve suffered. Be thankful for EVERYTHING.

After all, that is God’s will for your life.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

An Inspirational Read!

       Now I know a lot of you are just trying to finish school, stay out of trouble, and do the next thing. If that's the case, then you probably won't find this book as fascinating as I did. However, if you ever decide to try to sell something, get an audience, or just a bigger following on your blog . . . this book is a must-read.
           Platform - Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt, is a book that my publisher recommended to me when I first signed my contract with Ambassador International. I wasn't really excited about it but, as soon as I started reading it, I changed my mind. I absolutely LOVED it! Not only was it full of excellent advice on marketing any product, it had a LOT of good advice for bloggers! Since I know some of you have blogs, I thought I would recommend it to you so that you can be blessed by it as well! 
          One of my favorite things about the book (besides the fact that it was full of good advice:) was the fact that it was written in an enjoyable style. I tend to be more of a fiction reader than non-fiction and, if a non-fiction book is boring, I put it down. This book, however, kept my attention with its' personal style and humor. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get an audience!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Interview with Amy Penner

      Here's a little interview I put together with nine questions to help you get to know Amy Penner from the 'Adventures of Amy' series a bit better. I've also included a few pictures of 'Amy' that didn't make it to the book covers. (Thanks KNJ!)

1. What is your life motto?

  “Well, it’s obviously changed off and on, but since I became a Christian, it’s probably been ‘Trust God.’ I mean I’ve had other mottos as well, but ‘Trust God’ is the one that I always went back to. It just seems to fit with every situation.”

2. What is your greatest regret?

“Umm . . . well . . . probably that I didn’t get to grow up with my real family.”

3. Who are your heroes?

           “That’s easy, Dad and Mom, and my brother-in-law Jim. Dad and Mom have always been there for me when I needed them, and Jim’s just . . . well, you know Jim. He’s a hero to the core.”

4. If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

             “I would stay home. I’ve been around the country and I’ve never been anywhere that I liked as much as home.”

5. What would you like to change about your life?

          “My life? Umm . . . well . . . nothing that I can think of. Well, I would like to change the fact that Uncle Keith hasn’t gotten saved.”

6. What is your most valuable possession?

                “The Bible that Dad gave me when I thought I was leaving the Penner farm for good.”

7. What is your most embarrassing moment?

          “I would definitely have to say that it was the time I met Timothy. I didn’t know he was my brother, and I accused him of being a thief. We were at an airport and I actually called security on him, and later that same day, I called Grace his wife. Yeah, it wasn’t my day. You probably haven’t heard about that though because I had Priscilla edit it out of my book. It was just too embarrassing.”

8. Do you have a strong memory that’s stuck with you since you were a small child?

          “With Uncle Keith and Aunt Fay? It would probably be the time they took me to the Grand Canyon for my ninth birthday. I remember a lot about that trip because we all seemed so happy on that trip. I remember us laughing together and having such a good time. In those days, I always gave a wish when I blew out the candles on my cake and I wished that we would always be that happy. I know now that wishing doesn’t do any good. I honestly thought that wishing would make it all stay that way. It was right after that trip that I got bone cancer, and then Mom died shortly after that and then Dad started stealing money and. . . Well, it doesn’t really matter now; I’ve learned that God has a reason for everything.”

9. What words or phrases do you tend to use all the time?

         “Well. . . I guess it’s probably the word ‘well,’ I tend to use it more than I should and . . . Well, you know what I mean.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

End of a season

     The last few months, I've been CRAZY busy with our family's corn maze. (You may have noticed that a few of my posts have been overdue) :(:(  Well, as of Monday, the maze has been closed for the season. We've had some snow this week and fall is coming to an end. I find myself looking over the last few months, and asking myself how I've changed. Am I making progress in my walk with the Lord? Am I closer to my life goals than I was last fall? What decisions have I made in the last few months that have changed me to be more like Christ?

      It's always important to take time to examine ourselves and make sure we're living in line with the Word of God. Sometimes we get so caught up with comparing ourselves to other people, that we forget to compare ourselves to what God wants us to be.

    As you go about the end of the fall season, working on school, and preparing for Christmas, take time to examine yourself in light of the Word of God. Are you where you should be? What changes can you make to help you increase in faith? Are you totally surrendered to God? A month from now, what are you going to have done for God? Are you going to be a more steadfast Christian next month than you are now?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Blond vs. Blonde. . . and this isn't a joke:)

       Have you ever been writing a description of someone and been unsure of whether to use 'blond', or 'blonde' when describing their hair color? Well, hopefully this will help you keep them straight!

       In older English, and even today in French, and European English, 'blond' always refers to a male, and 'blonde' always refers to a female. Similarly, a brunet, is a man, and a brunette, is a woman. However things have changed in our American/Canadian English writings. You may have noticed that in books now days, 'blond' is often the only word used while the word 'blonde' is rarely seen. Since our culture is trying to get away from the fact that there is only male and female, they've begun to drop the distinct difference between the two words.
      So, to be politically 'correct' you would use 'blond' at all times unless it's a noun referring to a woman, then you use 'blonde'. To be grammatically correct, you use 'blond' for a man/boy and 'blonde' for a woman/girl.

         And since this is a 'blonde/blond' post, I figured we better end it with some 'blonde' jokes.:)

         A blonde was pulled over for speeding, and the officer asked to see her license. She replied with a huff. . . "When are you guys going to get your act together? Yesterday one of you guys took my license away, and now you want me to show it to you!"

       If a blonde and a brunette both fell of a building, who would hit the ground first? The brunette. The blonde would have to stop for directions.

        How do you make a blonde laugh on Saturday? Tell her a joke on Wednesday.

      A brunette goes to her doctor and says that her body hurts wherever she touches it. "Impossible," he says. "Show me." She presses her finger on her elbow and screams in agony, then pushes her knee and screams, then her ankle, and so on; everywhere she touches makes her scream with pain. The doctor asks her if she's really a brunette. She says, "No, I dyed my hair. I'm naturally blonde." "Thought so," he says. "Your finger's broken."

Thursday, September 29, 2016

GREAT Preaching!

      I'm sorry for being a little behind with this post, but I've been gone the last few days and didn't get home till around one o'clock this morning. I was at a church conference in Fargo, ND and was REALLY blessed by all the great preaching.
        There was a lot of areas that God 'stepped on my toes' so to speak, and I was really encouraged and challenged. I can't cover everything in this post, so I may end up doing another post about one of the messages later, but for now, I'll just talk about two of the messages I heard.

         One, was about prayer, and it really got to me. You've probably heard it said, 'we can't change people, we can only pray for them.' That's true, but how often do we live that? How often do we quit trying to figure out how to 'fix' someone and actually get on our knees and lift them up to God? I know my prayer life isn't perfect, but I want it to improve. I can't help but wonder how many people wouldn't be making the decisions they're making if someone was fervently praying for them.

During one of the sessions they split the guys and girls up and Mrs. Larry Brown spoke to us ladies. She covered a lot of things, but the biggest thing that got to me what she said about our attitudes. I've always known that my attitude affects the people around me, but I needed the reminder of how much of a difference I can make. It's easy when we have a headache or something to give ourselves the 'right' to be crabby, when really, we should always let the JOY of the Lord be our strength.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Adventure of a Lifetime!!!!

 As of last week, I have a publisher!!!!!

     Depending on what you know about the publishing industry, you probably are either really excited for me, or you're not sure what the big deal is. I mean haven't I already been published? The answer is yes, I've been self-published, but no, I've never been traditionally published.

     This is a huge adventure in my writing life, and a miracle from God. Thank you to everyone who's been praying for me as I was going through the writing and submitting the manuscript process. I want to ask that you continue to pray for me while I work with my publisher. Specifically, I would like you to pray for two things. 1. That I'll grow through this experience and become more like Jesus through it all. 2. That I'll be a blessing to my publisher and the whole team there at the publishing house.

      As some of you know, I submitted my manuscript, Never Leave Me, to a few publishing houses back when I first completed that book. In return, I got some nice rejection letters to start my collection. Since then, I've pretty much been content with self-publishing. However, when I started writing Mission of a Lifetime, I felt like God wanted me to do something more with this one. I decided to submit it to some publishers, but I honestly didn't expect to get anything besides rejection letters. God moves in mysterious ways and He is the one who worked in this situation and allowed my manuscript to be accepted by Ambassador International Publishing House!

   Thank you again to all who prayed for me! Please continue to pray for me as God leads me on an adventure of a lifetime.

Here I am signing my contract!!!!

Until next time, this is Priscilla J. Krahn reminding you to stay thankful in EVERYTHING and for EVERYTHING!!!!!

Monday, September 12, 2016

You Know You're a Writer When...

  So here's a random list of 'you know you're a writer when' quotes that I've collected over the years... Some of them aren't true for everyone, but I hope they give you a good laugh. :)

     You Know You're a Writer When...

           1. You turn to your sister in a store with a gasp and say... "That man who just walked past... he looks exactly like my villian!"
           2. When you have at least twelve notebooks full of nothing but ideas and plot bunnies...

           3. When you know what a plot bunny is.:)

           4. When you drive your family crazy with a word count on every page.

           5. When you make up personalities and histories for people you see at the grocery store.

           6. When you flinch after hearing someone use an unnecessary adverb, but then relax because you realize it is just dialogue and therefore acceptable.

           7. When your Christmas/Birthday list consists of notebooks, pens, bookshelves, pencils, and sticky notes.

           8. When people ask you why you're acting weird and you just smile and say, "I'm acting out a scene in my next story."

           9. When you wake up in the middle of the night and have to get up to write down your latest story idea before you forget it.

          10. When you have dreams in which you're the hero.

          11. When you research weird, off-the-wall stuff. (Like how far can you go with a collapsed lung.)

          12. When you talk about your characters as if they were real people.

          13. When your mom tells you to write a paper on the French Revolution and you hand in an eleven page story from a fashion-obsessed-French-girl's point of view who manages to explain  the politics with her ever-changing wardrobe.

          14. When you get excited about someone editing your book and returning it covered in red ink.

          15. When you walk by someone's porch and think... 'That would be a good place for a fight...'

          16. When you spend more time pouring over baby name books, than most parents ever do.

          17. You're to busy writing to stop for supper.

          18. When you want to break a window with a specific flashlight, just to see if it would work in your next book.

          19. When you threaten to put annoying people in your next book as the villain.

          20. When you read the above sentences and nod your head saying "Yep...yep...yep."