Book Love, Christian non-fiction, Writing life

Happy book birthday to Work from Home Moms’ Devotions to Go

During one of my many clean-out sessions of the past year, I stopped for a few minutes to flip through a little book I haven’t paid much attention to in a long time: Work from Home Moms’ Devotions to Go. It’s my first devotional book, the one that allowed me the privilege of saying I’m a published book author.

Work from home moms devotions to goIt also turns 15 this year, which is a bit crazy to wrap my mind around. To celebrate, I’d like to share the story of how being a work-from-home mom led to a book.

I began working from home when our son was about five months old. It wasn’t under the most ideal circumstances; I’d learned a few weeks after returning to work from maternity leave that positions currently held by four people would be consolidated into a single role. To make a long story short, I wasn’t the person chosen to continue in that role.

I had handled a few freelance writing or editing projects over the years and my husband and I had talked about how great it would be if I could find enough freelance work to stay at home once we started a family.

As much as I liked the idea, I have to be honest: I would have never had the nerve to leave my job and try full-time freelancing.

God knew that and put me in the position to try. And He blessed me with work all the years I was at home.

A while after my work-from-home journey began, God nudged me in another direction I would have never imagined.

I had looked in bookstores and online for a devotional book written for moms who worked from home. I even called stores and asked them to search their systems for such a book. No one found anything.

The longer I searched, the more frustrated I became. Working from home wasn’t as common as now, but it also wasn’t unheard of. Surely there was a devotional book for women juggling families, work and everything else under the same roof.

My answer came as I mulled it over once again while rocking our son to sleep for his nap.

Write it yourself.

Three simple words that rang as loudly in my mind as if someone had spoken them beside me.

Whoa. Where did that come from?

Again: Write it yourself.

I’d never had such a thing happen. Lord, if that’s you …

The thought latched on and I continued to pray about it while doing other things as our son napped. By the time he woke and we were getting ready for a walk around the neighborhood, my prayer had shifted to, “OK, Lord, I’ll do this if you want but I don’t know what to write.”

Because God is God (and because for some reason this was His plan), He answered my puny challenge. Ideas for devotions related to being a work-from-home mom popped in my mind so quickly during our walk I could hardly keep them straight.

I scribbled down as many as I could remember when we got back home. More than 30 ideas filled the page.

And that was the day that led to Work from Home Moms’ Devotions to Go. It was a long process full of ups and downs, starts and stops, that eventually led to a publishing home with Extreme Diva Media. I had the chance to meet and work with amazing women including our publisher Jean Ann Duckworth and fellow authors Marilyn Nutter, Sherry Cummins, and Shelley Galbreath.

God was so good to turn my personal desire for a devotional book into something that others might enjoy. Even all these years later, I only know of one other devotional book written for moms who work from home – and it’s written by a woman I connected with during this process who endorsed it.

Many parents have learned to simultaneously balance work, home, and family during the past year. If you know someone who might like reading Work from Home Moms’ Devotions to Go, it’s still available in print (through me or some used book sites) and as an eBook.

Thanks for humoring my trip down memory lane. It’s reminded me anew how God can use all of us, even when we have no clue what we’re doing or where we’re going.

What nudges have you felt from God that might have led to unexpected places? Leave a comment and I’ll enter you into a drawing to win an autographed copy for yourself.


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Book Love, Christian non-fiction

Announcing the 2021 Selah Award nonfiction winners

For those of you who enjoy reading Christian nonfiction, books honored with Selah Awards are definitely worth a look. They’re announced as part of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, which is one of the best Christian writers conferences in the industry.

Last week I shared the 2021 Selah Award winners for Christian fiction. As promised, here’s the list of 2021 Selah Award nonfiction winners.

Devotionals

  • Third Place: Finding Hope in Crisis by Grace Fox
  • Second Place: Grief: The Unwanted Journey by Janet K. Johnson
  • First Place: Sunshine for the Soul by Linda Kozar (also named the 2021 Book of the Year for Nonfiction)

Inspiration and Gift

Christian Life

  • Third Place: Overcoming the Narcissist, Sociopath, Psychopath, and Other Domestic Abusers by Charlene D. Quint, J.D.
  • Second Place: Faith Wins: Overcoming a Crisis of Belief by Adam Groza
  • First Place: Extraordinary Hospitality for Ordinary Christians by Victoria Duerstock

Memoir

  • Third Place: Cross Addicted: Breaking Free from Family Trauma and Addiction by Paula Jauch
  • Second Place: Unleash Your God-given Healing by Ginny Dent Brant
  • First Place: Unwanted No More: From Exploited to Embraced by God by B.J. Garrett

Children’s Picture Books

2021 Directors’ Choice Award for Children’s Books

2021 Directors’ Choice Award for General Nonfiction

2021 Directors’ Choice Award for Devotionals

  • 365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories by Julie Lavender

I’ll admit that when I sit down to read, I’m usually looking for a fun escape with fiction rather than a nonfiction title (other than what I read during my devotional time). I need to do better with that and challenge myself to learn some new things. Do you tend to lean toward one more than the other?


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Christian fiction, Christian non-fiction

Celebration Time

Today I’m excited to share some great news from some of my writing friends. I hope you’ll click on the links I’ve included so you can check out their websites and blogs yourself.

First, a huge congratulation to Cathy West, whose debut novel Yesterday’s Tomorrow was released a few weeks ago. Not long after I joined American Christian Fiction Writers several years ago, I was added to a critique group that taught me so much about writing fiction. Cathy was part of that group, and I read quite a bit of Yesterday’s Tomorrow over several months. I never got to the end, though, so can hardly wait to get my own copy and finish the story! Cathy has worked super hard for years and deserves every bit of celebration and joy that come with being a published author. Check out her website and blog to learn more about her writing journey and read about Yesterday’s Tomorrow.

Remember when Dina Sleiman was my guest blogger a couple of months ago? She shared about being still and waiting when God tells us to, and how we never know what God might be working on that we don’t know about. Well, God has definitely been working on some things in Dina’s writing life. She has a contract for her first novel to be published with Whitefire Publishing! Dance of the Dandilions will be available later this year. I’m not sure if this is the right cover, but it’s the latest on Dina’s site and looks great. Congrats, Dina!

My other good news to share comes from Joyce Fincher, a member of my local writers group. Joyce published He’ll Lead You Through Your Sea a few months ago and I’ve just been able to read my copy. It’s a series of recollections from tragedies in her life that God has helped her through, from the loss of an unborn child to a brain tumor and more. It’s an amazing glimpse into parts of her life that people who meet her today would never suspect had brought her down, thanks to her wonderful outlook on life and sure, steady faith. Joyce, you amaze me and I’m so glad God brought us together through EMACW.

It’s so fun to share good news. 🙂 Happy weekend everyone!

Christian fiction, Christian non-fiction

Choices, Choices Everywhere

If there’s one vice our entire family shares, it’s reading. Well, and maybe a love for Sonic shakes or sundaes, but we won’t get into that one here.

We were on vacation last week because the kids were out of school for fall break. What’d we do a few days before leaving? We visited our local Books A Million store to let everyone stock up on beach reading material. I was a good girl and got one book; the kids and my husband all got two books each.

But before you start feeling sorry for me because I didn’t get as many books as everyone else, you might want to look at my “to be read” piles …

Here’s a look at a partial stack of novels I’m ready to disappear into (not counting the Percy Jackson series I’ve finally started reading after my son has bugged me about it for two years and a book that came in the mail afterwards that I’ll write some reviews on).

And this one shows a partial stack of non-fiction titles waiting to enlighten me (not counting some of the titles I’m partway though).

Once you put all these books, the ones I’ve read, piles of papers for work, and various other stuff in my office, you can only imagine how things look. And, yes, I’m leaving that one to your imagination because I’d be too embarrassed to post pictures of it for the world to see.

I actually read three books while we were out of town and sneaked in one more since getting home. Now to decide which one to tackle next … but what a wonderful dilemma to face!

Happy reading. 🙂