Friday, December 9, 2016

Love in Couple Dollars -- Grandparenting On

Yesterday I made a mad dash to town and whipped into the local dollar store for a quick pick up of some Christmas wrap and ribbons. While I was there, I received a grandparent blessing. It wasn't by anything directed at me. No, I was completely unnoticed, waiting in the checkout line as a conversation proceeded ahead of me. The gentleman paying for his purchases wasn't buying much, only a couple of items, at only a dollar a piece, but I could tell that a lot of love went into those few dollars.

He was a grandpa. He wore a smile. He talked about his grandson who was eight. I could tell how much he loved that child, because he knew what made his grandson happy. He told the checkout girl all about his grandson and all things he was fascinated by. This grandpa was looking forward to giving his small gift to that child and seeing his eyes light up with excitement. As the man took his purchases and pushed his cart to the cart return row, I stepped to my place at the checkout. But the man met someone else near the door a few feet away and the conversation was begun anew. He shared again some talk of his grandson who meant the world to him. I was blessed to hear the joy and love in his voice.

I am of that generation now that wants to brag on and show pictures of my grandchildren. If it were twenty years ago, I'd flip out my wallet and open an accordion of photographs. How convenient to have a cell phone! But it's one thing to have the pictures, and another thing to have their hearts. The man in the store, with his simple purchases and eager anticipation to bestow them, clearly hoped to have his grandson's heart. The grandson surely had his. The man knew what that child loved. They must talk often.

Yesterday I posted a Facebook picture of two of my grandbabies helping me in the kitchen. I was making pea soup. They were making -- you know -- havoc. One of them would shake his little two-year-old finger at his cousin with the admonition to "no throw stuff" and the other would respond -- you've got it -- by throwing stuff. One wanted to eat snitches of diced up ham. The other wanted to smash it on the counter top. One baby had to handle all the appliances and tools. The other was busy pulling jars out of my spice drawer.

And my living room... On most days it is strewn with toys from one end to the other. Blankets are askew on the couch. I have occasionally found the stray, dried up food item in bizarre places. But I don't mind. I am privileged to get to see my grandchildren often, and I don't take that lightly. I know many grandparents would love to be able to spend more time with the little people and young adults they think about and pray for daily. I understand that I am blessed.

So what am I to do with such a blessing? Here's what I think: I am to learn their hearts. I long to know them well. To be able to understand what they care about. To share Jesus with them. To pray for them. To hold them close at every opportunity. I am to find tangible ways to reach out and support them, whether near or far, be it by a phone call, a snap chat, a story, a snuggle, or with a gift. I am to keep the conversation open between us as they grow, as much as possible.

It isn't effortless. It is proactive.

I was blessed by the man's love for his grandchild in the dollar store yesterday. I was inspired to always let my own grandchildren know that they are loved. It's a huge responsibility really, to be there for them as long as God allows. To walk alongside their parents and be their encouragers, their kisser of owies, their prayer warriors, their passer-on of legends, their heart-protectors. I am blessed to understand that all these jobs didn't stop when my husband and I raised their parents, but continues on into the next generation.

So I have to go now. I need to interrupt a school day with a couple text messages to some young ladies I love.

Grandparenting On~

Monday, October 24, 2016

Ask God Anything

I was just thinking about the utter simplicity of prayer. Yet it is anything but simple. It is our weak, finite voices, often only spoken in the quiet of our hearts, reaching out to transcend a space we cannot even imagine, to whisper in the ear of Almighty God, and while His heaven is somewhere we cannot see, he simultaneously dwells in our hearts, so close in fact, he hears the heartbeat of our prayers before they are even uttered.

And yet, it is simple.

It is a cry: Please, God. It is a lament: Oh, God! It is a sorrow: Why, God? It is a joy: Praise God!

We can ask God anything or talk to Him about anything. We are not limited to our needs. We are not compelled to praise. We are not bound by rules at all. God longs for our friendship, our companionship. We were created for this. When we go to Him with all our burdens, all our cares, all our joys, all our longings, we can know that he waits to converse with us. He will reply. We have but to listen.

So we can ask God anything. We can talk to Him about ANYthing. We can cry and plead and laugh. In short, we can trust Him with our hearts.

Prayer. So simple. Yet so profound.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

October Clash of the Titles. Vote Now!

Autumn leaves are falling from the
trees, and we've raked in some great books for this month's Clash of the

Vote for your Fave!

Scroll through these releases and cast your vote for your fave.
It's a tough choice, but it's up to you to determine our Clash

Love's Faithful Promise  by
Susan Anne Mason

Widower Dr. Matthew Clayborne is devoted to two things: his work with
wounded soldiers and his four-year-old daughter, Phoebe. When Deirdre
O’Leary, a feisty New Yorker, arrives requesting he use his skills to
help her stricken mother, he has no idea how his life is about to


Feta and Freeways by Susan M.

Nikolos Action is the lead singer of the band and doesn't
realize love is right in front of him until their manager, Tia, is
almost killed trying to save his life. After years of ignoring her is it
too late to earn her trust...and her love?

Dangerous Alternative by Kelli

Hollywood grip, Levi Boulter unknowingly puts himself in
the crosshairs of a murder plot. Now, he'll do anything to keep the
woman he loves safe, even if it means losing her forever.

Inconceived by Sharyn Kopf

Realizing you’re a spinster is one thing; understanding what that means
and how to handle it is another. And, it would seem, Jolene, Uli and
Catie still have a ways to go before they truly comprehend what God is
trying to show them not only in their desire to marry but in their
longing to have children of their own.


Child of Dust by Shoba Sadler

After the sudden death of her parents, Vietnamese
socialite Cao Kim Lye steps out of a world of crystal and chandelier to
enter the dust and chaos of working-class Hanoi when she goes to live
with her Amerasian chauffeur and his adoptive family at a shop cum
living quarters.


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have trouble viewing the entire survey, 
CLICK HERE to load a dedicated page to the survey.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wisconsin Highways & Byways - Bursting with Fall Splendor

Fall has kept me busy! Time to blow the dust off my page and tell you about it! It's been a glorious fall here in northern Wisconsin. Just last week our colors peaked. There's nothing quite like hill covered in Wisconsin oak forest or the golden splashes of a tamarack swamp against an azure sky. Here are a few Wisconsin highway and byway pictures I took out the car window coming back from our road trip downstate last weekend, where I attended the annual Wisconsin Writers' Association fall conference in Neenah. I'm no photographer, but the scenery was irresistible.

The clouds started moving in as we got closer to the north land.

I've been writing as much as possible, but with the quickly passing days of autumn, I've mostly been soaking in the outdoors, and enjoying my grandchildren and the mosquito free sunshine.

Here are a few more pictures that I took this week on a misty drive home from some grandbaby play time at my son's house. Now, only a couple days later, the leaves are dropping like crazy. Is it possible to ever get tired of soaking in the beauty of fall? I don't think so! I like to set some of my stories in the fall. Who can resist the romance of such a lovely season?

I have one more little stockpile of gorgeous fall pictures to post. Maybe I'll do it next week when I'm already starting to miss those stunningly beautiful colors.

Click here if you haven't visited the Naomi Musch Amazon author page in a while.
Now's the time to build up your reading list!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Clash of the Titles Announces the 2016 Olympia Award Champion!

Many deserving competitors entered the fray. One became the victor!

Congratulations Jennifer Uhlarik, 
2016 Olympia Award Champion.

We took a few moments to get to know Jennifer a little better, and now here's your chance to do the same:

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has won five writing competitions and finaled in two other competitions. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenaged son, and four fur children.

How did you come up with the idea for this book and what made you want to write this particular story?

While working with a few other authors on some novella collection ideas, I came up with the idea of three adult siblings who reunite after being separated by adoption in their youth. This story and the two that follow it are the result of that idea—three strong siblings devoted to law and justice, each in their own way.

What does winning the Olympia Award mean to you?

It is such an honor! I love the Olympia since the first round is judged by readers. That is probably the truest group of judges one can have. And I know the competition is always stiff in contests, so just to final is quite humbling. To win is indescribable (and I’m an author, so that says a lot. I’m speechless. LOL)

How can people find you online/contact you?

I can be found in the following places:





Saturday, September 3, 2016

This Month's Clash Champ: Congrats to One Thursday Morning and T.K. Chapin!

Congratulations to T.K. Chapin

and his novel

One Thursday Morning

for taking home this month's Clash crown!


About the book:

Running not only for her own life, but that of her unborn baby, Serenah moves across the country to a little town outside of Spokane Washington called Newport. It's here she'll begin to build a new life and go by a different name in the hopes of staying hidden from her abusive husband John. Can Serenah find happiness in her new life? Or will the past eventually catch up to her?

From the best-selling Inspirational Christian Romance Author T.K. Chapin comes a story of love, faith and passion that will keep your fingers turning the page to see what happens next. 

One Thursday Morning is book one in the Diamond Lake Series by T.K. Chapin.

What Voters had to Say:
Thank you T.K. Chapin for providing real life in your books.
I really like books by T.K.Chapin, Because he writes with a theme of religion and hope. I especially like One Thursday Morning.
Excellent story. I have also read Friday Morning. Good story line Makes me feel like I am at the Lake with them. 
T.K. Chapin, I was enticed by the beautiful cover and description of the novel,  One Thursday Morning.  Can't wait to read it.  
I love your stories. Very enjoyable, heartwarming and inspiring. Keep them coming, 
I enjoy finding new authors and found T.K. Chapin's writing adding to my authors' list.
I think "One Thursday Morning" by T. K. Chaplin will be one popular book.  I love the plot and can't wait to read it.

I love to read and discover new authors. T.K. Chapin is quickly becoming a favorite! He tackles tough topics, and tells the story in such a way as to keep you interested. Ups and downs, twists and turns, T.K. knows how to keep the plot line tight and the story believable and uplifting.

Sounds like a good book. I hope you have a great career!

Keep writing.  It helps me escape my everyday life.

TK - love your writing and your interest in your reader's lives.

 I love TK CHAPIN books!

Have a blessed week, everyone!

From your friends at Clash of the Titles!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hope after Trauma -- How Writing Helped Heal Author Justine Johnston Hemmestad

by Justine Johnston Hemmestad

In 1990 my car was broadsided by a speeding city bus as I turned out of a parking lot - I was in a coma and had sustained a severe brain injury. I was paralyzed when I woke up from my coma, though I worked hard to walk again within a few months, and to relearn how to perform the basic functions of life.

I began to write when I was carrying my first child Megan, less than two years after my accident, as tool or a way to cope with feeling so alone in my disability and misunderstood. Writing, throughout the darkest part of my recovery—when everyone looked down on me and I had no one to talk to or relate with me—helped me to get my thoughts in focus, to learn new things, and to remember what was important to me. I felt bullied, my thoughts and perception were skewed, and I felt emotionally alone, isolated by my personal lacking (my speech was slurred; my reactions were slow, etc.).

But writing was my Savior. When I was so afraid and so filled with guilt for being disabled, writing offered me a safe and comforting place to go, where I could cry and feel loved. Writing was my confidante and gave me hope when the world was crushing me. Writing even helped me find out who I was, since everything about "me" seemed to have melted away with my TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). Writing helped me find my words to speak again. Writing was my purpose, and writing was my healing.

My novella, Truth be Told, is essentially the story of my recovery wrapped up in fictional characters in a different time and place. Everything is symbolic in my novella because symbolism itself taught me how to travel deep inside my thoughts and search until I found the answers. Symbolism aided my memory by the weight of its meaning.

The old man in my novella is symbolic of God, prayer, love of my children, and the inner truth I found when I dug deep, the challenges that stretched my mind and that I knew I had to face when I wanted to give up on life completely.

The Lady is the aspect of my recovery in which I felt lost, even to myself—I didn’t know who I was—but in prayer and meditation I learned to focus my mind, calm my thoughts (which were drowning in the guilt I felt for being disabled) and listen to God’s answer…what defines me?

The knight is the aspect of my recovery that was assaulted by PTSD. Not only was I recovering, but I was recovering amidst a torrent of fear, pain, and false persecution. He represents the survivor’s guilt I had for living as brain-injured, and the part of myself that felt I deserved the lies that people told about me simply because it was easy to lie about me. I illuminated my purpose— the purpose that any recovering person needs to be able to climb out of the darkness—symbolically as Jesus. When people lied about me, writing defended me and made the truth immortal. My purpose, as writing, was the well within me; writing saved me and gave me direction in life (even when I no longer had any sense of direction due to my TBI). There were people who tried to point me in the wrong direction, but my prayer, and written prayer, was always brimming with truth.

My purpose in writing raised me out of the darkness and set me on a new path. As my characters in Truth be Told founded one of the first Universities in Europe, my purpose led me to enter into college, to study tirelessly, and to set goals and reach them. For a person with a TBI, these things stretched my mind to the breaking point. And yet my savior, writing, was always there, so much that my purpose and my goals became intertwined. Every class I’ve had brought me new challenges; every professor’s pushing has helped me more than they were ever aware.

My husband and I now have seven children and I'm still writing, for both have truly been essential to my recovery. I've also earned a BLS through The University of Iowa and am now working toward a Master's Degree in Literature through Northern Arizona University. I’m grateful to have written a book that I felt so strongly, all along, could be of help to survivors, for them to recognize themselves in the characters and to know that they're not alone. I would have recognized myself in this story and it would have given me hope. My mission now is to give other survivors hope.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Summer's Sizzlin' with Competition

Summer's Sizzlin'

Vote for your Fave!

Scroll through these THREE new reads and vote below
for which you'd pick up first to read while sippin' iced tea.
It'll be a tough choice! But somebody's gotta do it. May as well be

Almost Like Being in Love by Beth K. Vogt

She’s won an all-expenses-paid, luxurious wedding — all she needs now is
the groom! Winning a destination wedding would be a dream come true …
if Caron Hollister and her boyfriend, Alex were already engaged — and if
her ex-boyfriend, Kade, wasn’t back in her life, causing her to wonder
“what if?” when she thought she was ready to say “I do” to someone

Rescue Me by Sandy Nadeau

Risking her life to save him is easy. Risking her heart to give him a
second chance is impossible.

River Rest by Susan Page Davis

Unable to depend on her father to heal the crumbling family, Judith is
afraid to trust the mysterious neighbor, Ben, who lives with his own
grief. When Ben is injured, she is the only one who can help him.


If you have trouble viewing the entire survey, click here to load a dedicated page to the survey.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Featuring the 2016 Clash of The Titles Laurel Award Winner



This year, At First Sight took home Clash of the Titles's sixth annual Laurel Award. Over the course of six weeks, the novel's first chapters were read and judged by avid readers of Christian fiction who determined At First Sight to be the worthiest to receive the 2016 Laurel Award.

Clash of the Titles extends a heartfelt congratulations to author Delia Latham for her exemplary writing. We wish God's richest blessings on her future work.

About At First Sight :

Reagan Massey has gone through a great deal of trouble to make her cousin irresistible to the visiting single minister but things get a little sticky when Reagan falls in love with Cord Phillips herself… 

Cord doesn’t believe in marital bliss after seeing the mockery his parents made of their vows. He’s promised himself he’ll live as the Apostle Paul lived, dedicating himself solely to God. When his heart turns traitor, Cord has to completely rethink his position on love. 

Things around Riverbend House of Worship take on some humorous, heart-touching, soul-stirring twists and turns, with Reagan and Cord so busy getting in God’s way that they can’t see the path He has laid out for them to travel…together.

At First Sight is part of the Pure Amore bundle of 12 novels that celebrate purity. Use the code Laurel2016 to receive the bundle at 50% OFF. (expires 31 July 2016)



Delia in her own words:

A born-and-bred California gal, I grew up in a little community called
Weedpatch. Nope, that's not a typo. It's a few miles southeast of
Bakersfield, and in the...well, I won't say how many years since I left
there...Weedpatch has even found its way onto a map or two.

Writing has been my passion since third grade, when I won an essay
writing contest and took home the coveted prize: a beautiful bed doll
with an overstuffed pink, quilted satin skirt. Remember them? Huge,
padded skirts, some (like mine) with flat cardboard bottoms to
accommodate display. The doll's feet were hidden away somewhere in all
that finery, never again to see the light of day.  These fancy ladies
were most often used as centerpieces for beds, and that's where mine
went - smack in the middle of my unimposing bed in my unmatched,
Salvation Army-furnished bedroom. It was the most elegant item I had
ever owned, and I was one proud little lassie.  (Ahem ... surely
someone  else remembers those dollies?)​

Winning that contest made a profound impact on my young psyche - enough
so that I never stopped writing. From those first little songs and poems
and (very bad) short stories, I graduated to Staff Writer for a large
daily newspaper; freelanced for an upper-scale regional magazine; and
finally began writing fiction...which was my goal all along.

Connect with Delia online:

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Vintage Enamel Table Re-Do

Last summer I took some time away from writing -- ah, well, that happens more often than I care to admit, but anyway -- I took some time to unleash other kinds of creative energy. As a result, I refinished an old, enamel table. You may have seen these kinds of tables before in your grandma's basement or on Pinterest. They were popular in the 1950s.

I bought my table at a rummage sale 30 years ago. It wasn't for sale, but I asked the seller if she had a table, and she showed me an old, white and red enamel table tucked in her basement. After showing it to me, she hemmed and hawed, but finally let it go for $20. Money well spent!

My little Evan Marie (30+ years ago), licking the beaters beside the table.

At the time there was rust on the top, and one of the slide-out leaves didn't work well. But I was merely looking for something to use as workspace in my kitchen, so I dragged it home and did something I wish I'd NEVER done. I covered the top with contact paper. Not once, but a few years later, I did it again. So there were two layers of contact paper on the table top. Ugh!

Years passed, and as we moved about we dragged that table with us (which had been used for myriad purposes) until it ended up here on the farm. Eventually it wound up in the basement, where it got covered in stuff for about ten years or so. Unfortunately, it also got rustier, as my basement is occasionally damp.

I thought about fixing it up on a few different occasions, but it wasn't until I needed a base to put a computer hutch on top of -- a place I could use as something of a "secretary" for my cards and writing supplies -- that the table really popped into the forefront of my mind. So I yanked it upstairs, and here's how the project went.

Now, mind you, I'm a far cry from being a perfectionist when it comes to projects like these, so the outcome probably could be improved upon, but I'm very happy with the results.

Rusty & Musty!

Go ahead, laugh at my tools! The knife beat a scraper, and I WISH I'd had a heat gun stripper, but I had to make do with a hair dryer. Hey, it worked.

Last of the blue contact paper, and on to the red checked.

I didn't want to lose the "Seal of Quality" with the maker's identification, When it came time to paint, I took some of that poster mounting putty that you buy in little strips and molded it over the label. Worked perfectly! Peeled the putty off easily afterward. I did the same thing on the drawer knob, because I was having trouble removing it.

Silver metallic spray paint for the legs! They make everything nowadays.

Stripped down, sanded, wiped clean.

It's coming along! I can't tell you how hard it was to paint those red stripes. I tried taping lines for spray, but that smudged all over the place because the lines sit inside hollows or wide grooves. I finally free-handed with a narrow brush. Took two tries, and it's imperfect, but I am totally satisfied.

Jeff, my hardware guy *heart* putting it all back together.


TA! DA! There she is! Isn't she pretty?
The table is comfortable in my upstairs "she room". This room used to be my daughter's. She got it in her mind a few years ago to remodel. I helped her strip and refinish the old painted floor (no hair dryer on that project!) and then she painted the walls in red (on the bottom) white on the top, and one upper wall black. It looks like an old fashioned school house. I love it, and my table looks perfect in there.

Now I have a pretty cloth on the table top for protection, and the upper half of my computer hutch sits on top, working as a secretary for all my stationary supplies.

And I'm on to a new project! I believe I'll soon be fixing up my vintage camper.