February 24, 2017

To listen to the song Able, by NEEDTOBREATHE.

Years ago Time Magazine had a cover with a woman, dressed in a business suit, juggling several things while carrying a baby in her arms and holding a briefcase. The title article of that issue was about how women of our generation could do it all. The ultimate woman. It was meant to empower those of us who aspired to raise a family but didn’t want to lose our identities in the seemingly meaningless drivel (and drool) of caring for children. I remember the jolt of energy that ran through me as I viewed that image. I could do it! I could have it all!

Oh, how times have changed me.

Now, I just want to know, what is “all” anyway? A great career (in which I’d have to excel), a big house (I’d have to maintain), a wonderful husband (I’d never see) and perfect children (whom I’d raise in my spare time—ha!)? And the other question: Would “all” really make me happy? I mean, isn’t that the whole reason we want “all” in the first place?

Now, when I think...

June 12, 2016

I just read two great blogs that speak to a modern dilemma of parenting, and give my response. If you'd like to read the original blogs that inspired this musing, here they are ...



Dear blogger lathering her child in toxic death cream … and Dear “modern alternative mama” responding to toxic death cream mama:

Both of you have hit a chord! Mothers get this. We want our children to be happy and safe. Unfortunately we have too many choices in how to do each of these things, and those trying to sell us an idea, philosophy, and let’s face it, a product, will tell us their way is the ONLY way.

So who is correct? What really matters? Who do we believe?

On the one hand we want to keep our babies safe. On the other, all this confusion in how to be safe makes us, and them, anxious. So therefore, we get to live longer (now that we are sa...

May 25, 2016

 Smoke and Mirrors on Amazon


  • Signed paperback of Miranda Warning by Heather Day Gilbert

  • Signed paperback of Disconnect by Rachel Trautmiller (unless reader prefers an ebook)

  • $25 Starbucks gift card donated by Alexa Verde

  • Ebook copy of Color of Danger by Alexa Verde

  • Signed paperback of Kept by Sally Bradley

  • The Song of Suspense Series by Hallee Bridgeman

  • Signed paperback of One Among Men by Connie Almony



Kindle Fire Grand Prize

  • Kindle Fire donated by Kelli Hughett

  • Ebook copy of One Among Men by Connie Almony

  • Ebook copy of Color of Danger by Alexa Verde

  • First three ebooks of the Kennedy Stern Christian suspense series by Alana Terry

  • Ebook copies of Disconnect and Aftermath by Rachel Trautmiller

Comment on EACH of the Smoke and Mirrors author blogs before 5pm Monday May 30th and you will be entered to win. The winner will be announced at a Facebook virtual cruise event (more on that below) on Monday May 30th, as well as con...

March 23, 2016

My son has autism. What does that mean? It means he has a cluster of developmental delays that make him less functional in society without someone’s help.

It started out as a language delay. We didn’t panic at first because this type of delay ran on both sides of our family. Those members who’d suffered it were currently either financially well off or verbally advanced, so we waited for my son to do the same. His physical delays were less apparent. They ebbed and flowed with each test. Sometimes on target, sometimes behind. His social-skills remained above age level.

We’d hoped the language would fill in one day as it had for others we’d known. But it didn’t. So, I looked into therapies and treatments and supplements to make him well. And I prayed. No, this is not one of those stories where I came to God as a last resort. We were together on this one from the beginning. He kept me calm through the storms, though some of the storms were of my own making.

But what does one pray for as...

February 12, 2016

Being an avid reader myself, I love sharing great books with others and introducing them to new authors. I've done this a lot on my group blog, InfiniteCharacters.com. However, I'd like to share more with you here today.


I have often mentioned “e-meeting” guests on IC, but this author I’ve not only met IN-PERSON, we’ve roomed together at conferences—twice! Why is that a big deal? Cause I snore!!!

Needless to say, my current author guest is a wonderful person with a forgiving, tolerant and generous heart, and is here to tell us about her debut novel which I can’t wait to read, Always with You.


Please welcome, Elaine Stock.



Let’s get right to the heart of the questions …


Elaine, were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?


I was an early and avid reader as a child. I remember sitting in the back seat of the family car while my father drove through the streets of NYC and I read billboards aloud—this before reading storybooks! As a young child I had the typical children’s books,...

January 21, 2016

As an author, I sometimes write about college life for Christians. That time and place can be a rough one for many believers. However, the years before college have their own special challenges. In fact, I often tell my high-school-age daughter that if anyone ever wanted to torture me, they should just put me back in my middle and high school years! That’s just the truth. As a counselor, I’ve met a lot of young people who negotiated these years pretty well. Yes, it was still hard for them, but when encouraged to live by their faith, they discovered the ultimate wisdom of their Creator.

Today, I want to introduce you to the character in Tammy L. Gray’s latest novel, Sell Out. He is like many of us, struggling through high school with a few added challenges along the way. But God is watching, and through a few choice friends, guiding. Once introduced, I’m sure you’ll want to get to know him better and read his story. Lucky for you, you can.


To get started, tell us a little about yourself.


February 25, 2015

One of the interesting things I’ve found since the release of One Among Men, is the almost universal regard of the 6’8” muscle-bound African-American dude-from-the-hood character nick-named Preacher. Many reviews state how they loved Chris and Samantha, the main characters … but they really loved Preacher. My sister, after having read the manuscript some years ago, actually stopped a man on the street, who looked like Preacher, to tell him about the character. She loved him that much.

Which is really funny, because I created him in response to issues I’d had with her.

Let me tell you about the evolution of this character.

Back when I was a resident director in an all-male dorm, I went through the long and arduous process of sifting through applicants for the next year’s resident assistant staff. At Resident Life, this entailed applications, several interviews, assessments during activities, observations of the applicants in the dorms, and meetings with my boss and my colleagues. Though ea...

October 13, 2014

This is my very favorite scene in Disney's Beauty and the Beast. It's where the Beast essentially gives Beauty his library ...

Why is it my favorite scene? Because it is an example of giving someone the perfect gift.

Am I saying the perfect gift is a library full of books? Well, for some of us that may actually be the case, but that is not what I'm getting at here.

What makes this the perfect gift? I mean, after all, the guy is really really rich. Can't he cough up a shiny little bobble or two?

No. Because that is not what will make Belle's heart sing--and Beast knows that. In fact, it's the KNOWING, that is the best gift of all. He presented her with a gift that demonstrated he KNEW who she was and what she loved. And the fact that he gave her the perfect gift FOR HER, demonstrates that he's been listening to her, knows who she is and is willing to fulfill her greatest wish. Not show off with something the rest of the world thinks he should get her. There is a special intimacy in this uni...

September 28, 2014

In honor of the season premiere of Once Upon A Time, and its upcoming Frozen storyline, I thought I’d take this moment to write about my new favorite Disney hero (Kristoff) and what makes him the ultimate man.

First, every good man needs a rich, self-deprecating sense of humor. This shows he’s not too full of himself, and can spin anything to make it lots more fun. Not only is Kristoff aware of his deficits, but he can sing about them in reindeer.

Second, he can’t be afraid to speak truth when truth is needed. Kristoff not only challenges Anna to re-think her one-day engagement, he is the only one willing to prepare Olaf for the potential dangers of Summer.

And yet, he does not speak truth for truth's sake, choosing not to use it if it’s only purpose is to insult. When Anna asks him if her hair looks bad, though he is concerned for what the white streak means, he has the sense to--as Olaf states--hesitate.

Third, in contrast to Hans, Kristoff comes to love Anna for who she is and not the p...

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