Looking for the Rays of Sunshine
By Melanie D. Snitker
I’m not going to lie: The last couple of months have been rough in my household. We’ve had a lot of challenges that, in combination with lack of sleep, made the day-to-day things seem a lot harder than they should have been.
When we go through rough patches in life, it’s easy to complain and only see the rain clouds in the sky. But, if we look hard, we can often spot rays of sunshine that manage to push their way through the darkness. Those rays remind us that better weather is coming, and that it’s not going to be like this forever.
I’d like to share some of those rays of light that managed to shine through the darkness of the last couple of months.
I’m thankful for a wonderful husband who was willing to carry water, bucket by bucket, from the large tub our washing machine drained into to the kitchen sink. Because of his sacrifice and kindness, I didn’t have to do laundry at the laundromat for a month while the utility room drain was being fixed.
I’m thankful for the support system our family has in each other, extended family, and friends as we go through a challenging period in our son’s life. He has autism, and it’s been rough lately. But God continually reminds us that we’re not in this alone.
I’m thankful for the blessing of being a stay-at-home mom to our two kids as well as the opportunity to home school them. There’s a lot of satisfaction in watching our daughter gain confidence as a reader and our son grasp new concepts in math. I’m so glad that I can be right there to witness it all.
I’m thankful that I get to do what I’ve always dreamed of doing: Write and publish fiction. I’m completing the editing process for Finding Grace, the sixth and final chapter of the Love’s Compass series. When I published the first book in January of 2015, I had no idea that God would use that book to reach so many readers. Since then, it’s been amazing to watch the characters in this series grow and change.
I’m also thankful that the darkness of the last couple of months appears to be lifting. Praise God for new beginnings!
If you haven’t read the Love’s Compass series, now is a great time to start. The first book, Finding Peace, is on sale for only $0.99!
Available on Amazon:
Police Officer Tuck Chandler is good at his job. He’s also good at holding women at arm’s length. Jilted by his fiancée for his dedication to his job, he’s not about to open himself up to hurt like that again.
Laurie Blake is a struggling photographer. After growing up in a wealthy family, she’s determined to make it on her own, even if it means doing it the hard way.
When Tuck is assigned to a puzzling burglary involving Laurie’s fledgling photography business, he goes into it with his usual perseverance. He wants to help her – if she’ll let him. As the case unfolds and the mystery deepens, another question arises.
Will the past get in the way of their future?
If you love small towns full of colorful characters and lovable animals, you’ll enjoy the Fall Into Romance series of novellas. Finding Forever in Romance is available at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iTunes, and Google.
From the time he was a child, Brent Todd has helped lost pets find healing and homes. Now, he runs Romance’s Finding Forever Animal Rescue. Amid the dogs, cats, donkeys, goats, and exotic animals in his care, he convinces himself he has everything he needs. Then a beautiful woman and her son volunteer to help at the shelter. Brent soon realizes he needs more than the rescue animals to fill the empty spaces in his heart and home.
Dedicated to raising her son, Nicole Crawford views romance as a lovely idea. But between being a single mom and the pain of her past, she refuses to dwell on something so out of reach. To teach her son about helping others, they volunteer at Finding Forever on a temporary basis. But the more time she spends with Brent, the more she realizes it’ll be impossible to walk away from him and the shelter with her heart intact.
Together, maybe Brent and Nicole will discover a forever family of their own.
Buy Link: books2read.com/u/bPJNax
Melanie D. Snitker has enjoyed writing fiction for as long as she can remember. She started out creating episodes of cartoon shows she wanted to see as a child, and her love of writing grew from there. She and her husband live in Texas with their two children, who keep their lives full of adventure, and two dogs, who add a dash of mischief to the family dynamics. In her spare time, Melanie enjoys photography, reading, crocheting, baking, and hanging out with family and friends.
When Kristen Esh loses her mom in a tragic accident months before her 18th birthday, she suddenly finds herself among Amish relatives she never knew she had. The dramatic change from the Jersey Shore to remote upstate New York is difficult enough, but abiding by the Amish rules and lifestyle is a challenge unlike any other. As she discovers secrets that unravel her true identity, she finds an unlikely ally in John Wagler, the step-son of her aunt. He lessens Kristen’s fears and encourages her faith. Interwoven with gradual revelations is the growing love between Kristen and John. One that encourages forgiveness and helps seal Kristen’s fate.
I am also thankful for the little moments in between stresses and
By Rachel J. Good
Last Thanksgiving was a stressful one for me because I was dealing with some family and financial struggles. I’d just heard that my publisher planned to close their fiction line, so the book series I’d recently finished writing had been cancelled. I had no idea how I’d support myself over the coming year.
After I prayed about my concerns last Thanksgiving, I gave thanks for all the good things I had—my health, good friends, supportive family members, awesome readers, a career I loved, and darling grandchildren. Most of all, I was grateful for God’s presence in my life.
One week after I prayed, my agent called (she’s one of my many blessings this year!) to tell me we had an offer for a 3-book Amish series from a major publisher. She wanted to wait until the New Year to see if any other offers came in. Meanwhile, a sweet fellow author (another blessing!) recommended me to one of her publishers, and they contracted me for 2 books in an Amish series they were developing. In January, my agent had more good news. Another publisher had made an offer on the 3-book series. After some negotiations, we went with the second offer. I’m thrilled to have the first book in that Love & Promises Amish series, THE AMISH TEACHER’S GIFT, coming out in April 2018 with Hachette/Grand Central, to be followed by two more books.
Two anthology offers soon followed from Celebrate Lit (SPRINGS OF LOVE and LOVE’S THANKFUL HEART). And we recently agreed to two more anthologies for 2018.
Then a publisher contacted me about writing 2 books in the Second Chance Ranch series for middle graders (under a pen name). TAKING CHANCES and WILD MIDNIGHT will come out in January 2018.
The second book in my Sisters & Friends Amish series, BURIED SECRETS, released in April. And then, out of the blue, another publisher contacted me, wanting to publish the books that had been dropped by my previous publisher. Within several months, I’d gone from having no book contracts to having 12 books under contract.
Yet, the blessings kept rolling in. An African friend who runs a mission in Kenya asked me about writing a picture book about her father. The story of his courage and faith touched my heart, so I’m writing this post from Kenya, where I’m researching for that book as well as helping her with mission work. If anyone had told me last Thanksgiving that I’d be returning from Africa one year later, I’m not sure I would have believed them.
This November I look back on all the blessings I’ve received this past year and marvel at God’s provision. I found that trusting Him, even when the situation looked bleak, led to wonderful surprises and some unexpected changes in direction.
What unexpected blessings have you received in your life?
Love’s Thankful Heart
Because it’s almost Thanksgiving, I thought this anthology would be fun to share. It also includes stories by Laura V. Hilton and Tom Nye. My story in the anthology is a suspense novella, THANKSGIVING STRANGERS.
Blurb for Thanksgiving Strangers
Faithe Beiler believes God wants her to feed the poor at her family’s restaurant, but when she mistakes Crist Petersheim for a homeless man and gives him a free breakfast, he’s offended. Yet he can’t help being intrigued by this pretty waitress with a giving heart.
Crist blames God for the tragedies in his life, so the last thing he wants is to get involved with an Amish girl, who trusts God in all circumstances. He fears for Faithe’s safety, though, when she invites every homeless person in the neighborhood, including drug dealers and criminals, to a free Thanksgiving dinner. Street savvy, Crist risks his life to protect her from danger.
As Crist’s heart softens toward God, Faithe finds herself falling him. Then she discovers he’s deceived her, shattering her hopes and dreams. Can she ever trust him again?
Inspirational author Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She is the author of several Amish series in print or forthcoming – Sisters & Friends series, Love & Promises series, and two books in the Hearts of Amish Country series – as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Books and the contemporary novella, Angels Unaware, part of the Hope Chapel series. Rachel also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers. She loves reading (of course!), traveling, and spending time with her five children and three grandchildren. Visit her at her website, Facebook, author page, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. You also can sign up for her quarterly newsletter here.
Tags: anthology, author, blessings, contract, fiction, Julie Arduini, Kenya, Laura V. Hilton, Rachel J. Good, thankful, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Strangers, Thomas Nye, Unexpected Blessings by Rachel J. Good
A THANKFUL LIFE
By Sue A. Fairchild
Nine days ago my mom turned seventy-five and, for that, I’m thankful. Yes, seventy-five is a huge milestone in a person’s life, but, for my mom, it’s an even bigger accomplishment.
Over thirty years ago, she was diagnosed with emphysema and given only a year to live. Her doctor at the time failed to educate himself on this pulmonary disease and quickly jumped to a conclusion that has proven to be very, very false.
His diagnosis put my mother into a state of depression. She sequestered herself in her bedroom, rarely emerging to be social or interact with her family. As a young child, I didn’t really notice. She was still my mom and, other than being “sick,” she seemed “normal” to me. But when I look back on photos now I can see the haunted look in her eyes and the ever present pink bathrobe. I wonder why it didn’t affect me as a child, but I’m thankful I simply loved her and accepted how things were.
As that year passed, and her health seemed to stagnate, my mother began to wonder, “What if the doctor’s wrong?” My father pushed her to get a second opinion and, finally, she agreed. That second doctor proved to be our family’s saving grace.
“You could live to be eighty,” he told her. “It is all how you look at it. If you fight, take the right medication…you could live to be whatever age you want.”
Now, at the age of seventy-five, it’s plain to see the second doctor (who remained our doctor for many years after that) was right.
Although the first diagnosis affected a portion of my mother’s life she cannot get back, something inside her pushed her to find another answer and we were blessed to find the second doctor.
I’m thankful the first doctor was wrong and I’m thankful the second doctor was right. In fact, he did better than being right. Through the years, he gave my mother hope and determination.
When she felt weak, he would give her advice and encouragement. He got her into an exercise program that, I believe, has prolonged her life even further. Even after he retired, if we ran into him at a store, he would hug my mother and ask how she was doing. His kind nature formed a friendship that transcended the doctor-patient one and helped our entire family to deal with this disease head on.
I could be mad at the first doctor. I could curse him for the year my mother spent in her bed. We could have sued him, or slandered his name. But what good would it have done? Instead, I choose to be thankful for that doctor who bolstered her spirits, who found the right medications for me and who chose to be her friend as well as her doctor.
Years later, that doctor has passed on, but my mother still holds tight to his encouragements and will tell you her story and how this doctor saved her life.
As I look at my seventy-five-year old mother now, I think, “She is amazing.” She’s outlived some in our family who had better health than she has. She fights every single day against the doctor who said, “You have only one year to live.” And even when she feels weak, depressed or attacked by her own body, she still fights on.
And, for that, I am thankful.
(Want to read more about my awesome mom? Check out this blog post!)
Sue A. Fairchild is a freelance editor who specializes in substantial edits and Christian writing. Her editing credits have included a suspense/thriller series, a fantasy series and numerous other genres. In addition, Sue is also a writer who has been published in Christian devotion magazines, two Chicken Soup for the Soul books, as well as self-published two novels currently available on Amazon (“What You Think You Know” and “Summer’s Refrain”) and is currently working on a third.
Sue’s attention to detail and passion for good writing assists her clients in making their work shine. She’d love to talk with you about editing your next big project! Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or email her (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a free consultation and estimate (max. 2 pages).
GRATEFUL FOR THE PAIN
Pain can shatter us, toss us off a cliff, and render us immobile. Or it can hone and refine us. I recently read the words of a man who discovered he had a horrible form of cancer. Although his disease was incurable and soon-to-be terminal, he rejoiced. He knew the end of the story.
How did he get from the pain to the joy?
One of my worst rejections forced me into the new and frightening role of Single Mother. I thought my world destroyed that day, my years of clinging to faith a mockery. I didn’t leap, as that man with cancer had, to show myself strong and full of grace. Instead, it took days and months and years before I could look up and declare a true thank You for the pain, one that I actually meant. The first thanks had been obligatory: one is supposed to praise, no matter what. To say, “Thank You,” before one feels the truth of it.
Have you ever been there? Been at the place where all you can do is question why? Felt unlovely, unwanted, ignored, cast out? Hurt physically or mentally beyond what you thought you could endure? And wondered what celestial game had tossed you out with the garbage?
What did you do about it?
Some of us dump God. Or church. Or men or women or friendships or…. The list goes on. We find anything and everything to blame.
And some, some few, grab the hem of His garment and hold on. Stand at the Red Sea, as it roils in front of us and the Egyptian Army gathers behind, and we say, “Thank You. Praise You. I trust You in the middle of this mess.”
And something happens. Maybe not immediately, but one day something happens. We may have to walk through days where failures abound and the world’s tilt leans away from us, but one day we do wake to find the pain easing, the hurt less, the heart full, and the New Plan unfolding in our life.
I’m living another New Plan now. But if I hadn’t faced the pain of that rejection, if I hadn’t become a leftee from marriage, I might never have known the joy that the Father had in store for me. A new day, a new life, and a best friend of my very own. We’re fifteen years into a life lived together with the God Who turned our mourning into joy.
Part of my New Plan was also publication. My agent actually sold two of my books, and now I have six on the shelves. My pain and my failures not only provided fodder for my made-up worlds, but they allowed me to climb into my stories and hurt with my characters, and I’m that much richer for the journey.
What about you? What are you doing with the hard places in your life?
Normandie Fischer is a sailor who writes and a writer who sails. After studying sculpture in Italy, she returned to the States, graduated suma cum laude, and went to work in the publishing field, moving from proofreader up the ladder to senior editor, honing technical tomes, creative non-fiction, and, later, fiction.
She and her husband spent a number of years on board their 50-foot ketch, Sea Venture, sailing from San Francisco to the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, and on through the Panama Canal. They now live in coastal North Carolina, where she takes care of her aging mother and, whenever possible, enjoys her two grown children and two grandchildren. She is the author of six novels.
Sailing Out of the Darkness
Love conquers all? Maybe for some people.
When Samantha flies to Italy to gain distance from a disastrous affair with her childhood best friend, the last thing on her mind is romance. But Teo Anderson is nothing like her philandering ex-husband or her sailing buddy, Jack, who, despite his live-in girlfriend, caught her off guard with his flashing black eyes.
Teo has his own scars, both physical and emotional, that he represses by writing mysteries—until one strange and compelling vision comes to life in the person of Sam. Seeking answers, he offers friendship to this obviously hurting woman, a friendship that threatens to upend his fragile peace of mind.
Journey with Sam over the cobalt waters of the Mediterranean. Sip and sup with Sam and Teo in Italian cafes. What happens next will keep you turning the pages as consequences escalate, and the fallout threatens them all.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Normandie-Fischer/e/B00BSIF2NI/
Sailing out of Darkness links:
By Terra Lynee
This is a year when so many people have demonstrated extraordinary courage—from Houston to Puerto Rico and from California to Las Vegas. Witnessing extraordinary courage has led me to think about something I am thankful for, and that is everyday courage.
We all have it. To me, an example of everyday courage is an employee who goes to work each day in a job he or she dislikes, because a family needs the income that will be earned. This individual may be looking for another job, but for the present time, strength and patience will be required. Ordinary courage may be exhibited by the single mother who struggles to raise a child on her own. An elderly man might draw on his inner strength while living a lonely life of seclusion. While someone relies on extraordinary courage when battling a serious illness, their family members might require everyday courage to witness the struggle and provide the proper care.
At some point in our lives, we must turn to our personal strength to get through a challenging period. Of course, there are those days when we wonder if we can handle the challenge. As with extraordinary courage, everyday courage is often rooted in our faith. A prayer gets us going. Our courage is also boosted by our friends and loved ones.
Once when I was going through a tough time, a friend confided that she thought me brave. Just her making the statement made me feel braver!
Perhaps if you know someone this November who is being forced to rely on inner strength too often, you can reach out to that individual. Also, on those days when we all struggle to find our everyday courage, you might remind yourself, “I am braver than I feel.”
In my novel “Nathan’s Fate,” I create characters with both extraordinary and everyday courage, because that often mirrors life. To all readers of courageous characters…Have a wonderful fall!
Learn more about Terra Lynee or purchase her novel at https://www.dovechristianpublishers.com/catalog/christian-fiction/Nathan’s-Fate/
IN TWO different eras, two women wait for the men they love to return from war. As Sara longs to welcome her boyfriend, Dillon, home from the Middle East, she inherits a Civil War Bible from her grandmother. This cherished book links her to an ancestor, Lydia, who once prayed for her fiancé—a Union soldier named Nathan. Sara soon learns more about Lydia’s world, a world where faith was grievously wounded. Nathan’s Fate weaves together the experiences of four individuals who will each discover love’s mysterious ability to transcend time. Dillon, Sara, and Lydia become eternally connected to one another and to Nathan’s brave choices, as he serves on a Hill too many are forced to climb.
Terra Lynee has been a career writer of marketing and informational copy for non-profits, corporations, and small businesses. Her background also includes newspaper reporting and public relations positions. Lynee holds a degree in English Communications. She calls both Oklahoma and Texas her home states.
Wife. Mom. Author. Reader. Blogger. Amateur nature photographer. Chocolate eater. Encouraging you to surrender the good, the bad, and---maybe one day---the chocolate.
Find me across social media @JulieArduini, and follow me on my Amazon Author Page.
Where Else You Can Find Me
Surrendering Time Series & Recent Releases
Join the Fun