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8-29This quote — I just love it and it spoke to my heart so loudly and clearly this morning.

I’ve noticed, just the past week, how darkness is settling in earlier and earlier each evening.

A few evenings ago, I was working late on finishing the first-round edits on a new book. Darkness had settled, but I was so intently focused on my work, I didn’t notice. It wasn’t until Captain Cavedweller came to check on me and flicked on the office light, that I realized how much I’d been straining to read with just the computer for light.

Turn on the lights…

As a little girl, I was terrified of the dark. I don’t think I ever completely outgrew it. There’s something about pitch blackness that send my “fight or flight” response into overdrive. Even if I know I’m safe and all is well, I prefer not to find myself anywhere I’m surrounded by engulfing, inky blackness. Yet, sometimes, when I am in those situations, those are the times I find myself drawing closer to the Light. When I do that, the darkness doesn’t seem to looming or frightening.

Turn on the lights…

There’s another kind of darkness, too. One from within. It’s where those negative voices live. The dwell in the darkest, blackest corners of our minds and hearts. The negative thrive on darkness and fear, bitterness and anger. They’d like nothing better to spread their poison everywhere, but the more we turn toward grace, the more we shine a light on them.

Turn on the lights…

Grace is such a humbling, beautiful, amazing, glorious thing. One that fills our lives and hearts and minds with hope and peace. So today, my friends, I hope whatever you do or wherever you go, just Turn on the lights…

 

Untangling Christmas

If you attended the Sweet Christmas Kisses 3 Pre-Order Party this week, you probably saw the preview of my cover and read a little excerpt from my contribution to the collection.

I had so much fun writing Untangling Christmas. The characters are fun and crazy and real.

Here’s the official blurb:

Tricked into helping with Silverton’s Festival of Trees, electrician Mike Clarke battles faulty outlets, tangled lights, and a woman determined to share the spirit of the season.

SS Meme

I decided since Untangling Christmas would make book three in the series that started with The Coffee Girl, that I better get in gear and give it a name.

Silverton Sweethearts seemed a fitting title!

If you need a refresher, The Coffee Girl is about Brenna and Brock — the coffee girl and the construction man. The second book in the series (part of Sweet Christmas Kisses 2) is The Christmas Crusade. This tells the story of Brenna’s best friend, Kat, and Levi, a big-hearted guy who runs the Center for Hope community center.

Untangling Christmas is about a Taylor Taggart, a woman Brenna knew in grade school who returns to Silverton to care for her uncle. Mike (Levi’s brother), moves to Silverton after the woman he planned to marry shatters his heart. These two are an unlikely couple, but they sure know how to make the sparks fly!

Untangling teaser 2

Excerpt #1:

A red-haired woman hustled toward them, wearing a cheerful smile and an eye-popping outfit. For all appearances, she dressed in an assemblage of clothing appropriate for a belated Halloween party. The bright purple sweater, short blue plaid skirt, and yellow cable-knit tights with gray ankle boots weren’t an ensemble a normal adult would choose to wear on an average day.

Mike stiffened as she approached. He didn’t like redheads, bubbly personalities, or women with the fashion sense of an attention-seeking adolescent.

“That’s Miss Taggart,” Brock said quietly, tipping his head toward the woman.

“And you couldn’t have warned me sooner?” Mike growled in an angry whisper. “Tell Brenna she’ll have to find someone else to do the work.”

“Mike,” Brock placed a hand on his shoulder and squeezed it. “Don’t be that way. Not ten minutes ago, you said it’s a good thing they asked you to come before they started plugging in dozens of strings of lights because the wiring might explode. Think of all the people this fundraiser will help. Focus on that, not the pretty woman in charge of it. You can’t hate every woman with red hair just because of…”

Mike didn’t let him finish before he snapped, “I don’t think she’s pretty. She looks like a flame-headed freak dressed for a frat house costume party.” Although he spoke in a low tone he assumed no one but Brock would hear, his voice carried in the cavernous building.

The woman stopped a few feet away and boldly stared at Mike. “Flame-headed freak?” Her left eyebrow crept upward as her gaze traveled from his scuffed work boots to the shaggy dark hair on his head. “Surely even a cavedweller like you can come up with something more creative than that.”

***

Pre-Order your copy today!

Kindlehttp://amzn.to/2aMrYfN

iBookshttp://apple.co/2aFTjN3
Kobohttp://bit.ly/2aGREsk
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2baWaSj

Background With Snowflakes

You all are warmly invited to join me and my Sweet Romance Reads friends as we celebrate the Pre-Order kick off of Sweet Christmas Kisses 3!

The party is today on Facebook and runs from Noon – 10 p.m. Eastern Time. I’ll be hosting at 1:30 (12:30 CT, 11:30 a.m. MT, 10:30 a.m. PT). I hope to see you there!

https://www.facebook.com/events/597330543759981/

8-22
I don’t know about all of you, but I sure needed this reminder today.

The past week… boy, howdy — it’s been a bit more hectic and crazy than usual.

And to top it off, I stepped into the closet in the garage where I store stuff like extra paper towels and reached down to grab a roll, only to get a handful of slimy, icky little frog! Ewww!

Sorry, I digress.

Honestly, though, the past week I felt like my head was only screwed on half-straight and it showed in the number of stupid mistakes I made and ridiculous things that happened because of those stupid mistakes.

To a person who is something of a control freak when it comes to her work and wants everything to be perfect – stupid mistakes are so incredibly annoying and challenging to get through.

I hate making mistakes.

And when I spend a week making one after another – it drives me batty.

And then that nasty little inner voice that only spews out negativity kicks into high gear, pointing out every misstep and foible.

It’s really, really hard to give myself grace after those kind of things happen, but I’m learning to.

We all need to give ourselves grace when we think we least deserve it.  After all, that’s part of what grace is all about.

If you’re struggling today, criticizing yourself today, feeling down or like life is a spinning a little out of control – give yourself grace.

Red Caps

red cap

As many of you know, we recently added a storage barn to our property and have been sorting through tubs and boxes of things we’ve “inherited” from both sides of our families.

The other day, I found this box.

At one point, it held 24 Red Cap candy bars, that were sold for 5 cents each.

I’d never heard of Red Cap candy, so I did some searching online.

red cap2

Unfortunately, about all the information I can find is that the  candy was produced by the Euclid Candy Co. of San Francisco, Ca.

So, of course, I’m now dying of curiosity to know more about them.

Do any of you recall Red Cap candy bars?

8-8a

I posted this quote on Facebook the other day and was amazed by how many people shared it.

Maybe I’m not the only one tired of society as a whole stressing outward beauty over all else.

Recently, I’ve spent some time around someone who is obsessed with how she looks and the beauty of others. If you don’t meet her “standard” of beauty, then you just aren’t worth her time.

Her attitude (and that of those like her) makes me both infuriated and sad.

I don’t care who you are, what kind of gene pool you come from… outward beauty can only carry you so far.

beauty 3

Why don’t we encourage young women to be smart and witty, clever and creative, interesting and intriguing, resourceful and captivating, graceful and kind instead of focusing on having just another pretty face?

beauty 7

I love this quote – be soul food. We need more people like that.

beauty 1

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if more people saw beauty in this light?

beauty 4

Yes! That’s what I’m saying about beauty…

beauty 5

Beauty from within never fades, never ages, never loses its sparkle.

beauty 6

Inner beauty is timeless and classic and never goes out of style.

beauty 2

Beauty without grace  – you see it time and again. True beauty, the kind that comes from the heart, walks hand-in-hand with grace.

I’m as guilty as the next person of seeing an outwardly beautiful person and admiring that beauty. My hope is that I spend as much (if not more time) admiring, encouraging, celebrating the special, wonderful, amazing beauty that comes from within.

beautiful 8As you go through your day today, I hope you’ll remember to be your own kind of beautiful.

Three Years Ago

*GIVEAWAY CLOSED*

Thank you all for the great quotes you shared and your wonderfully kind words!

The three randomly drawn winners are:

Opal McCoy

Tammy Anderson Bracken

Aunt Bee

***

Three years ago…

I left behind my “day job” and began this awesome, exciting, sometimes terrifying, but always incredible journey of living my dreams and writing full time.

Gosh, three years has flown by so fast.

I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned in those three years.

believe magic

I’ve learned to really believe in myself.

leap of faith

I’ve learned to let go of safety nets and take those leaps of faith.

Make no little plans

I’ve learned that little plans equal little results. Big plans contain magic!

Little by Little

I’ve learned that as long as I keep moving forward in the right direction, eventually I’ll get where I’m headed. Sometimes the steps are small and weak, other times they may be big jumps or running steps – but each one moves me closer to my destination. The secret is to keep moving.

Abstract summer backgrounds with beauty butterfly

I’ve learned that dreams are lovely things, especially when you unleash them by pursuing what your passionate about – that thing that drives you out of bed in the morning with a spring in your step and a twinkle in your eye.

Sunflowers and summer butterflies

I’ve learned that you can become anything you dream if you stick with it and never give up.

To celebrate my third anniversary of doing what I love every single day, I’m giving away three $5 Amazon gift cards to three lucky, randomly drawn winners.

To enter, just share your favorite inspirational or motivational quote in the comments below.

Winners will be notified Monday, August. 15, 2016.

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