While creating content for my new website I finally figured
out what I write! 
Author photo 2:13

It’s been difficult to combine my love of writing for tween
girls and my passion for women’s fiction into a brand, but after much prayer
and reflection God brought ReConnecting
Faith and Fiction
to mind. My goal is to write books for 8-12 year old
girls that reconnect them to their faith, and women’s fiction that reconnects
lives.

My April 1st release, The Heart Stone, (Abingdon Press) is about forgiveness and reconnecting
TheHeartStone cover first loves.

As writers for the Christian market, we strive to bring our
readers closer to God, to reconnect them to the One who sent His Son to die for
our sins, but we have to connect to Him first before we can connect others
through our books.

Let’s face it writers are busy people. Besides writing, we
market, speak, blog, do social media, take care of our families, and possibly
have another job. How do we make sure we spend quality time with God too?

If you’ve been a Christian for a long time, like I have,
it’s easy to take Him for granted. A quick prayer here, a Bible verse there.
But like any relationship, we have to nurture it in order for us to grow close.

Here are a few suggestions to stay connected:

  1. Take a brisk prayer walk. Get outside and praise
    God for His beautiful creation.
  2. Keep a gratitude journal. Write down different
    ways you see God answering prayer.
  3. Use your hands to do something good for someone
    else. Bake cookies for the neighbor, knit a scarf for a friend, write a letter
    of encouragement to someone who’s hurting. Praise God for these special people
    in your life.
  4. Listen to worship music and sing at the top of
    your lungs. God loves it when we praise Him!
  5. Grab a cup of your favorite tea or coffee, and
    find a quiet corner to read God’s Word. Pick a Bible verse and meditate on it
    all day long.
  6. Go to church and fellowship with other
    believers
    . If your schedule won’t allow you to attend regularly, watch a sermon
    on your TV or computer.
  7. When you sit down for a meal, remember to thank
    God for His daily provision
    . Eat slowly and savor each bite.
  8. Schedule time each day to be still. Let your
    mind wander. Ask God to bring to mind a person you need to talk to or something
    He wants you to learn.
  9. Soak in the tub or take a long shower. As you
    wash away the dirt from the day, consider how God wipes away our sins when we
    ask for forgiveness.
  10. Before
    you go to sleep at night take deep, relaxing breaths. Think about what happened
    throughout the day and talk to God about the highs and lows.

John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you
remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do
nothing.”

How do you reconnect with God? 

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10666-Cat-and-dog-in-the-snowOften when I see only a glimpse of a scene, or a reflection in glass, it strikes me
as a doorway to another world—a magical place I long to go. The same
sort of feeling a favorite book does for me—like Heidi taking me up the
Swiss Alps, or Ash and Anjuli-Bai from Far Pavilions whisking me off to long-ago India.

From my living room couch I can look into my kitchen and see the glass door to the pantry. This is often what I see when I’m having my devotions, while I have a cup of tea in my hand, the dog at my feet, and the cat at my side.

From this cozy spot I can either look through the window to the backyard trees, or glance at the glass pantry door and see not the real trees and shrubs, but a reflection moving in the breeze.

In case you haven’t realized, there’s a strong streak of imagination to my
inner person. You’d never know it when you look at me, though. On the
outside, no one could be more banal, prosaic, or no-nonsense. In the
Lord’s dealings with me, most decisions boil down to good old common
sense. But this dream-like aspect to my soul colors a great deal of my relationship with
the Lord.

This is not to say my faith is airy-fairy. Christ’s atoning
death on the cross couldn’t be more logical.

God the Father is perfect Justice . . . and

Humanity broke God’s laws . . . therefore

Someone had to pay the penalty.

No human court of law could get more down to earth than this need to set
things right. That truth, and my acceptance of what Christ did for me,
is as real as the silver birch in my backyard.

But the fact that the Son of God set aside His glory to come to dusty old earth to make that
sacrifice, sky rockets that event into the supernatural, the
unexplainable—something only an omnipotent God could come up with.

When I sit on the corner of my couch with my cup of tea and my Bible, my eye
leaves the reality of my backyard and strays more often to the
reflection in the glass. Sunlight dances on the snow, throwing out flashes of color. The scene in the glass
shows me a familiar place, yet not quite. My inner walking with the God
of my Bible draws me to think far and above, to break free from mere
common sense to the…enchanting.

Like the poets say—to chance…to dream. Do we humans stop ourselves from taking great leaps
of faith because we would rather cling to the down-to-earth when our
hearts hunger to soar for the impossible?

Colossians
3:1 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on
things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

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A perpetual calendar of quotes sits on my desk. One quote
that’s become a personal favorite expresses these wise words—“Our lives, to be
fruitful, must be full of Christ; to be able to bring his peace, joy, and love
we must have it ourselves, for we cannot give what we have not got” (Mother
Teresa
). These words encourage me to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ on
a daily basis, but they also challenge me in my role as a writer.

As a writer, my desire is to pen words that make an eternal
difference in my readers’ lives. I long for them to crave the Scriptures, to
discover how God’s Word relates to them, and to develop a delightful and mature
relationship with the Lord. I yearn to bring hope to those experiencing bitter
disappointment. To bring comfort to those who grieve. And to bring direction to
those who have lost their way.

High and lofty goals, I’d say. They’re also completely
futile if I attempt them while operating on an empty spiritual tank.

The only hope of achieving my goals is for me to possess
a growing and vibrant relationship with Christ. Jesus said as much—“Yes, I am
the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will
produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NLT).

Meeting publishers’ deadlines is critical for writers. So is
marketing our books and maintaining an online presence. But nothing matters more than pursuing
relationship with Jesus Christ. Devotion must supersede duty.

Our time spent with Christ in private produces creativity. It
gives us wisdom. It teaches us what He values and how to be salt and light. From that private time flows relationship, and from that relationship flows words that breathe life into readers gasping
for breath in a broken and hurting world.

“Our lives, to be fruitful, must be full of Christ… We
cannot give what we have not got.” Words well spoken and true. Especially for
those who write with the hope of making an eternal difference.

****

Learn more about Grace and her books at www.gracefox.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy summer greetings from Bonnie Leon

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I just finished a manuscript and turned it into my publisher. The usual rush toward a deadline plus unexpected adventures from life wiped me out. I’m still trying to recover. I have a new book, Touching the Clouds, releasing, so now comes the book launch and all that it entails. I’m feeling exhausted just thinking about it. There is so much to do.

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A happy Monday to you from Bonnie Leon.

OCW Conf -- 2009001 Signs of Christmas are everywhere and gift ideas have been tumbling through my mind. What should I get for my husband, children and grandchildren? I’ve also been thinking about the greatest gift of all—Jesus Christ. What must it have been like to be Mary when she looked upon her son, God’s son? The Christ child lay in her arms only because she’d bowed her will to God. When she chose to obey did she know the sacrifices and heartache that lay before her?

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