Thoughtful Thursdays

Musings on faith, family, & fiction

Why?
Why? It's one of the most fundamental questions. And any parent knows that on the lips of a small child, it's a sign of curiosity, of a desire to soak in and understand the world. I know when my kids entered the "why" phase, it was by turns delightful and frustrating....
Peace: Keeping or Making?
Jesus talks a lot about peace. He talks about it like something physical, something to be bestowed, something that you can will to rest upon a place. He talks about it like a gift straight from heaven. The biblical word used for peace encompasses more than just...
Reaching Perfection
I like to finish things. It's why I enjoy doing book covers--completed in a matter of hours--even while I'm writing a novel--which takes weeks or months. It's why I like knitting scarves rather than sweaters or blankets. It's why on days when I spend the whole day on...
Halfway through Chemo!
This week marks a milestone in my breast cancer treatment--I just completed the third chemo infusion on Monday, which puts me officially halfway through this part! Woot! After chemo I'll still have surgery and radiation, so the WHOLE journey isn't halfway done, but...

Though a novelist by trade, one of the trademarks of my books is the spiritual depth and exploration I includes as my characters work through what it really means to walk out their faith. Faith, in fact, is one of the things I like to ponder most. In these once-a-week articles, I gets thoughtful at the crossroads of faith, family, and fiction.

The Day That Changed Everything…and Nothing

The Day That Changed Everything…and Nothing

If we lived a hundred years ago, my son would be dead. That's something that has haunted me this last month. I can't tell you how many times, as I write historical fiction, that I wish I lived in a different time, or could at least experience it. But I can't wish that...

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Hope and the Image of God

Hope and the Image of God

I've recently begun listening to a really great (specialized) podcast called "Juicebox," from a dad of a Type 1 Diabetic. Many years ago he started a blog called "Arden's Day," back in the day when there weren't any others, and he is now one of the best-known voices...

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Who Are Our Allies?

Who Are Our Allies?

It's election season here in the US when I'm writing this post. If you've followed me for very long, you'll have noticed that I never voice an opinion on politics per se. I have zero political agenda and, frankly, next to zero interest in politics, LOL. But I do have...

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The Sins of a Nation

The Sins of a Nation

I’m honored to be part of a new blog series about racial reconciliation, hosted by Alexis Goring, focused on how we as Christians can be the change we want to see in our world. In preparation for this, I’ve been reading a few books to help me better understand the...

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Big, God-Inspired Dreams

Big, God-Inspired Dreams

I'm a dreamer. I've always been one. I've dreamed of everything from being a princess with a magical winged unicorn to being a teacher who inspires kids to love learning. I've dreamed of discovering new species of dinosaurs and of striking it rich with a diamond mine...

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38 Things

38 Things

It's my birthday, so I thought it would be fun to do a list today. You know, one of those lists that has the same number of items as the year I'm turning. Of course, I first typed in "37" in that heading, because apparently I don't know how old I am, LOL. Literally...

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Thoughts Without Action

Thoughts Without Action

Ideas are easy. Change is hard. My husband and I were talking about this the other day, as I contemplated why we balance each other out so well. I said—and I’d been giving it some thought—that one of the things I most appreciate about our relationship is that he holds...

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An Angry Dilemma

An Angry Dilemma

What makes you angry? Maybe you’re frustrated with the state of the world right now. Maybe someone you love has been ill-treated. Maybe politics makes you red in the face. Maybe your spouse ignores your feelings or your kids don’t listen or your neighbor keeps doing...

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Unity Begins with Us

Unity Begins with Us

"How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!" ~ Psalm 133:1 (NIV)   I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say they wish for unity among God's people. But as my husband pointed out, what they usually mean is "I wish everyone...

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The Story of Truth

The Story of Truth

One of the reasons I've always loved fiction is that it can take mere facts and make them mean something to us. More, they can take a familiar story and show us a side of it we've never considered. Stories can take the truth and shine the Truth upon it. They can help...

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Thoughtful about . . . Watching, Speaking, Listening

Thoughtful about . . . Watching, Speaking, Listening

—Ezekiel 33 begins with the talk of a watchman: Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and...

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Helping or Serving?

Helping or Serving?

In the church today, we hear a lot about helping others. Volunteering. Making sandwiches, serving at a soup kitchen, that sort of thing. “Help those less fortunate than you” is a phrase I’ve heard for years. And the work—the work is good! Necessary. But something...

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Our Time Is Not Our Own

Our Time Is Not Our Own

  7 And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? 8 But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I...

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Digging Out Roots

Digging Out Roots

Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these...

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Thoughtful About . . . Understanding Riots

Thoughtful About . . . Understanding Riots

I'll admit it--I've never understood riots. Whether they're a result of a sporting event or a grave injustice, the act itself is just something that is foreign to my disposition. I have been largely baffled by the examples in my lifetime, and I honestly didn't know...

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Thoughtful About . . . Encouragers

Thoughtful About . . . Encouragers

At the time of writing this (the weekend before it posts), I'm sitting with my laptop at the kitchen table while my husband's comfy in our leather armchair, reading The Nature of a Lady before I have to turn it in on June 1. I'm...

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Thoughtful About…The Compassion Conundrum

Thoughtful About…The Compassion Conundrum

In last weekend's sermon, my dad preached from Luke 14, and as he went through the Scriptures, something interesting jumped out at me.First is something that has struck me many times before, in many different passages. Jesus, often about some other task, comes across...

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Thoughtful About . . . the Purpose of Praise

Thoughtful About . . . the Purpose of Praise

Last week, my husband asked one of those questions of his that really get me thinking--the sort that sounds straightforward but isn't. He said, "What's the purpose of praise?" Now, I already knew that things like the psalms and even our modern praise and worship songs...

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Thoughtful About . . . Holy, Holy, Holy ~ Even Now

Thoughtful About . . . Holy, Holy, Holy ~ Even Now

It's Holy Week. My favorite week of the year. Most of my friends and family are Christmas diehards, but us? My husband and I have always preferred Resurrection Day and the week leading up to it. The week when the focus isn't on gifts but on sacrifice. This year,...

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Thoughtful About . . . Our Daily Cross

Thoughtful About . . . Our Daily Cross

Holy Week will soon be upon us ~ my favorite week of the year. Better, in my opinion, than Christmas, where it's so easy to focus on the physical traditions instead of the miracle. Because this week is all about the miracle. The miracle that rewrote history, restored...

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Thoughtful About . . . The Invisible

Thoughtful About . . . The Invisible

I'll never forget the first time I watched Monsters, Inc. with the kids. We'd rented it so were watching it at home. Both of them were pretty small. They laughed in all the right places--and the grabbed hold of my arms and scrambled into my lap at the expected ones...

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Thoughtful About . . . Not Fear, but Love

Thoughtful About . . . Not Fear, but Love

Are you ready? I have a load of goodies for you today! My next (Virtual) Tea Party is live for orders. There is a SALE on The Lost Heiress. And...our podcasts are LIVE!!!  With everything that is going on in the world today, I wanted to be able to share as much...

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Thoughtful About . . . Spiritual Fullness

Thoughtful About . . . Spiritual Fullness

We've recently decided to read some of the writings of the early church fathers--things that aren't included in our Bible because they weren't written by an apostle, but which are still very early. We began with I Clement, written somewhere around 90 AD, from the...

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Thoughtful About . . . Fruit

Thoughtful About . . . Fruit

We love fruit in our family. Fresh fruit, canned fruit, dried fruit, jammed fruit, fruit from our own garden, or fruit from the other side of the world. We love citrus fruit, stone fruit, berries... Fruit can be a taste of the familiar or the tang of the exotic. We...

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Thoughtful About . . . Our Faults

Thoughtful About . . . Our Faults

I've been thinking a lot about character lately. The kinds I write, yes...but also our characters. And how, really, the two are pretty much the same, hence the shared name. 😉 Learn More I remember back in the day when I was a 12/13-yr-old, writing the first draft of...

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Thoughtful About . . . Busy Weeks

Thoughtful About . . . Busy Weeks

It's birthday party week in my house--not only my son's 12th, but my mom's 60th, so I'm going to be up to my elbows is cakes and cupcakes and icing and cleaning and . . . you get the idea. =) So I'm taking the easy way for blogging this week and just sharing some fun...

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Thoughtful About . . . The Power of Words

Thoughtful About . . . The Power of Words

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men....

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Thoughtful About . . . Blizzard Faith

Thoughtful About . . . Blizzard Faith

'Tis the season for snow here in America (or at least the more northern parts of it), and so I thought it would be a great time to share a devotional that one of my characters wrote. 😉 These are the words of LuAnn Sherrill from the Secrets of Wayfarers Inn #20,...

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A Year of Promise

A Year of Promise

PROMISE. That was my word for 2019. As I blogged about it way back in the first week of January, I said I'd keep an eye out for how God's promise would play out in my life this year. Confession: I really didn't. In fact, I didn't even remember that it was my word of...

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The Light Has Come

The Light Has Come

Last weekend, my dad's Christmas sermon began not with the familiar passage from Luke, but with John. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and...

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Thoughtful About . . . Written on Our Lives

Thoughtful About . . . Written on Our Lives

A couple weeks ago, my church watched Mom's Night Out--a rather hilarious Christian movie that we all thoroughly enjoyed. In one scene, the heroine's little girl is drawing on the walls with markers--Mommy ends up putting frames around some of them rather than...

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Thoughtful About . . . Broken Vessels

Thoughtful About . . . Broken Vessels

Sometimes we are broken. Cracked. Chipped. Completely undone. Sometimes, no matter how much is poured into us, it feels like it all comes leaking back out. Sometimes life just keeps throwing rocks at us, making those chips and cracks grow. Maybe there's been a...

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Thoughftul About . . . New but Eternal

Thoughftul About . . . New but Eternal

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;     his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning;     great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV) One of the most amazing things about our...

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Thoughtful About . . . Elevators

Thoughtful About . . . Elevators

How do we approach conversation? Is it just a means of exchanging information? Letting our opinions be made known? Are we trying to help others? Broaden our understanding? Do we go at it with no purpose--or with a self-serving one? If you're anything like me, the...

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Thoughtful About . . . Soul-Tidying

Thoughtful About . . . Soul-Tidying

I'm not the world's best housekeeper. This is no secret--I mean, I put it right in my official bio. 😉 Yes, "pretending my house will clean itself" is part of my charming naivete. Ahem. Or at the very least, keeping everything put in its proper place isn't my priority....

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Thoughtful About . . . The Revealer of Secrets

Thoughtful About . . . The Revealer of Secrets

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. 21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. 22 He reveals deep and...

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Thoughtful About . . . Looking to the Rock

Thoughtful About . . . Looking to the Rock

We all know the story of Moses bringing water from the rock. We know it not only because it was another in a long line of miracles, but because it's the one that he did wrong--the one that made God say Moses wouldn't be allowed to enter the promised land. In case it's...

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Thoughtful about . . . Different Rooms, Same House

Thoughtful about . . . Different Rooms, Same House

I'm in the midst of reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis . . . something I can't believe I've never read before. And something I've already been nodding along with so much it's a wonder my head hasn't come loose. 😉 Given that the release of The Number of Love has...

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Thoughtful About . . . Cast Down

Thoughtful About . . . Cast Down

Over the weekend, a summer storm raged. The wind blew, the rain lashed down, lightning pierced the sky. Monday morning, I went for my usual morning jog, and I saw something that made me pause. Two birds' nests, blown out of the trees and deposited on different parts...

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Thoughtful About . . . The Truth of Us

Thoughtful About . . . The Truth of Us

Pride. It's something I've struggled with a lot over the years. Something I'm continually learning to keep in check. Something I've needed to learn to master so that it's not master of me. Something I've therefore given a lot of thought to and explored in my writing...

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Thoughtful About . . . Taking the Long Way

Thoughtful About . . . Taking the Long Way

Do you ever stop to wonder how different our lives might look if, instead of searching for the most expedient way, we looked for the most meaningful? The word shortcut has existed in English since the 1500s...and I'm sure the idea of it has been around long before...

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Thoughtful About . . . Community

Thoughtful About . . . Community

Last week I talked a bit about how God often speaks to me through what I call "themes"--ideas that keep coming at me over and over, from different directions. The one I focused on last week was "Being Complete." But another topic has been popping up all around me too....

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Thoughtful About . . . Being Complete

Thoughtful About . . . Being Complete

God speaks to us in a lot of ways. For me, He often speaks in what I call themes. Ideas that keep popping up over and over, in a variety of places, coming from all sorts of people. When I notice these recurring themes, I know it's time to pay attention--and to dig a...

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Thoughtful About . . . The Truth

Thoughtful About . . . The Truth

I have always believed in the Truth--the kind with a capital T. I reject the idea that it's relative, that there is no Right and Wrong, just "right for me" and "right for you." I believe that this ultimate Truth is part of God. He's the one who determines it, who...

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Thoughtful About . . . Tearing Down

Thoughtful About . . . Tearing Down

I'm never sure how to explain how thoughts coalesce in my brain. Usually, it's topics that keep coming at me from different angles. In this case, those angles are various discussions we've had lately at church, with fellow authors about topics in books, and also about...

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Thoughtful About . . . The Wind

Thoughtful About . . . The Wind

The sunrise down my driveway We live in the mountains. Specifically, the Appalachians in West Virginia. Our home is nestled up against the side of one of these mountains, in a little bit of a valley. It's wooded--the sort of area where it's more remarkable to see open...

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Thoughtful About . . . Happiness and Joy

Thoughtful About . . . Happiness and Joy

This past week, my church's Wednesday night Bible study just began Philippians. Well, we didn't really get much into the book itself; we read the intro from someone's Bible, which said that the book was all about JOY, which is only to be found in Christ, as opposed to...

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Thoughtful About . . . The Magic

Thoughtful About . . . The Magic

Well, I'm back from my writing retreat. My manuscript is complete. A weight has been lifted from my shoulders. And as it eased off, I couldn't help but contemplate about this strange thing that is a creative's mind. The doubts that always plague us. This was the sixth...

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