In mid-December, as I was praying about my One Word for 2017, God gave me the word SERVING. I whined. “Really, God? I don’t want that word. This has been an emotionally exhausting year. I need a word that’s easy. Can’t I have RELAX, QUIET, RESTORE, something restful?” Yes, I was reluctant to accept the word God placed on my heart.
2016 was a stressful year…my husband needed to finish and defend a PhD dissertation, I faced contest deadlines for writing a manuscript in four months, and amid winter storms, we were moving from our apartment in Colorado back to our home in New Mexico. Toward the end of the year when we felt all our challenges had been completed, my father suffered a stroke and passed away a week later. I was overwhelmed. But the spiritual theme I’d used in the manuscript I had completed echoed in my mind…
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)
Yes, God gave me the strength to accomplish a great deal during the past year. I wrote THE END on a 73,000 word book and received encouraging feedback from a top New York editor. My husband successfully completed his ten-year education project and is now “Doctor Engineer.” Our move was delayed by icy roads, but we arrived safely home. Most importantly, my father, a man of strong faith, lived independently as he wished up until the stroke. As God’s compassionate plan, my dad didn’t suffer long and joined my mother in heaven. During all this, God blessed me with the treasured blessings of strength and comfort, along with the faith and hope of eternal life, provided by our Lord’s grace.
I’m abundantly blessed with love, faith and forgiveness. Then as I continued to contemplate my One Word, I found myself reflecting on the wise thought in the Bible: of those given much, much is required. God knows me so well….my fears, my weaknesses, my talents. While I was still delaying my One Word declaration for 2017, God placed this Scripture on my heart:
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
So with grateful acknowledgement of all my #TreasuredBlessings, my One Word for 2017 is SERVING. I anticipate with joy what God will do with my servant attitude.
Were you given a #OneWord2017?
May you always walk with God’s treasured blessings!
Usually when I invite you to have TUESDAY TEA with me, we’ll share a pot of tea and a tea time treat. Today our treat is a bit different. I’ll explain. After attending the sunrise service at our church on Easter Sunday, my husband and I went hiking in the desert to refresh in God’s amazing creation of wilderness. The area of our hike, shown below, seems like an interesting contrast to the setting of the book I’m featuring today on TUESDAY TEA, Sandra Leesmith’s LOVE’S PROMISES. Sandra’s novel is filled with scenic mountains, sparkling water, glistening snow, and the scent of Ponderosa pine forests. Beautiful Lake Tahoe is where this love story unfolds as Monica and Greg experience the outdoor adventures the Lake Tahoe area offers. Therefore, I’m serving trail food, water and energy bars, as Sandra discusses the active environment of her inspirational romance, Love’s Promises. Please be sure to enter the giveaway (at the bottom of this post), featuring Lake Tahoe and Sandra’s favorite coffee.
First, enjoy the beautiful cover of this book! When Sandra revealed the cover a few weeks ago, I was thrilled to learn there was a tea house on tiny Fannette Island, or as the locals call it, the Tea House Island. You can see the island on the cover. However, the Tea House is not a place to drop in for afternoon tea, as Sandra will explain below.
About the Book:
For Monica Scott, building her late father’s house at Lake Tahoe isn’t an option—it’s a necessary distraction from confusing memories and an uncertain future. But a handsome planner working for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) is keeping Monica from moving forward with the project. Never mind that he’s young and charming with a great sense of humor. No one is going to stop Monica from making her father’s dream—and her own—a reality. All Greg Linsey wants is for his work to mean something. His job at TRPA gives him the opportunity to fight for the environment he loves and make a difference in his small corner of the world. But with the sophisticated Monica Scott’s arrival, his dedication is tested as never before, especially when Monica turns to his unscrupulous nemesis for assistance. As Greg and Monica’s animosity turns into something far sweeter, can they learn to accept each other’s promises and avoid the growing danger to their lives and hearts?
Now to chat with Sandra about the beautiful Lake Tahoe setting of Love’s Promises!
SHERIDA: What glimmer of an idea started your thoughts for Love’s Promises?
SANDRA: Two glimmers happened for me. My husband and I bought a house at Lake Tahoe, and it needed a lot of work done on it. The work needed permits, and that is when we ran into the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. My husband is a biologist and we both have deep concern and love of nature, so we were very impressed with the Agency’s plan to protect the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe in spite of the extensive use. The research was very rewarding.
The other thing that happened at that time is that I was involved in a class for women offered at church that pointed out God’s plan for women and their role as godly wives. Becoming an adult in the era when women’s lib started, I thought the precepts presented in my Bible class were refreshing, and I wanted to show those in my writing as well.
SHERIDA: Both of your inspirational experiences are developed so well in the book, the concern of preserving natural beauty and the reflections on God’s plan for being a wife.
As I mentioned, I love tea houses, but the Tea House mentioned in your book is not what I was thinking it would be. Please tell us a bit about the Tea House you describe in Love’s Promises.
SANDRA: No, the tea house located on Fannette Island in Emerald Bay is very unconventional, isn’t it? It was built by Lora Josephine Knight, who purchased the property on shore and the island in 1928 and built the house and teahouse according to Scandinavian architecture. She would take her lady friends out to the island for tea. The small structure included a fireplace and a table and chairs. I think she built it to protect them from the wind and cold that can come up while on the lake.
SHERIDA: I do hope to visit this tea house! My husband and I love travel. We have plans to see Lake Tahoe this summer for the first time. What would you suggest to add sparkle to our visit? (We like camping, hiking, and food. Any place for tea or coffee you enjoy?)
SANDRA: My recommendation would be to go to the tourist information centers. They are located in the major towns and also in the state parks and national monuments. You need to make reservations early as they book up fast for camping. Any of the campgrounds are fabulous. Take your bicycles, as you can ride to interesting places from all of the campgrounds. Hiking trails abound in the forest around the lake. There is also access to the Desolation Wilderness Area on the west side of the lake.
Every town has fabulous restaurants for coffee and tea. Just ask the campground hosts where you camp. I particularly love to have coffee on the deck at Sunnyside along the west shore. (Here is their website: http://www.sunnysidetahoe.com) Btw, they received a “best ambiance” award in 2014.
SHERIDA: Thank you for your trip-planning suggestions, Sandra. And thank you for your blog tour events and the giveaway featuring Lake Tahoe. I love Love’s Promises!
SANDRA: Thank you, Sherida. I am looking forward to the blog tour. I am delighted that you love the book.
Follow the Love’s Promises blog tour set up by Amber Stokes by clicking on the pretty button below. Visit with the other bloggers who present fun information about LOVE’S PROMISES!
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT LOVE’S PROMISES:
This is a story about Monica Scott’s determination to build a house, designed by her father, on an environmental sensitive plot of land in the Tahoe Basin area of California in the 1980’s. Her plans are thwarted by Greg Linsey, an agent with the organization charged with protecting the quality of life in the area. Well-motivated characters and the different ways love is expressed, fill this story with thoughtful inspiration. I enjoyed the sense of hiking and exploring the beautiful scenery of Lake Tahoe, so lovingly described by Sandra Leesmith.
A slight breeze rushed through the trees. The cool air refreshed his exerted body. Birds sang. Squirrels scattered in front of him. Pleasure coursed through Greg as the stirrings of spring transferred from nature to him. He looked around and thanked God again for His wonderful creation, and thanked his forefathers for the wisdom to preserve it. For the first time in months, peace settled in his heart.
“That’s called love. It’s the way love works. You put someone else before yourself. In appreciation, that person does the same.”
About author Sandra Leesmith:
Sandra Leesmith loves to travel in her RV and explore all of nature’s beauty, discover America’s history, and fellowship with the wonderful people she meets while on the road. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, swimming, and pickleball. Learn more about Sandra and her books at www.sandraleesmith.com.
Sandra is offering one reader a taste of Lake Tahoe with a sweet prize pack: a signed paperback copy of Love’s Promises, a journal, a Lake Tahoe coffee mug, a pound of Millstone Velvet Chocolate coffee, and a Hulet Glass chocolate drop! This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. You can enter to win via the Rafflecopter form below: a Rafflecopter giveaway //d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js
Thanks to Sandra Leesmith and my readers for stopping by for TUESDAY TEA, even if we just had water and trail bars today, but so fitting for the beautiful hiking to be experience in Sandra Leesmith’s Love’s Promises! Be sure to enter the giveaway. Hope you enjoy Love’s Promises,as I did! May you always be blessed by the gift of our Savior’s love as celebrated at Easter! Blessings to you!
With an invitation from our son and DIL to visit Disneyland with them to celebrate Granddaughter’s 4th birthday, we excitedly traveled to Anaheim, California. The night before our son’s family was to leave on the trip, our DIL hurried to pack up baby items for one-year-old Grandson and princess dresses for Granddaughter. She noticed an off odor in their house, so as a precaution, she put batteries in their carbon monoxide detector. Awaken by the alarm in the early morning hours, they called the gas company. Her actions saved not only their precious family, but also the unconscious neighbors who had left their car running, filling both townhouses with deadly fumes.
Moving on pure adrenaline, they made their 9:00 am flight, arriving in Disneyland with Granddaughter and Grandson. Celebrations of being together and having birthday breakfast with the Disney princesses was even more treasured than we had planned. We know how quickly a moment can change lives.
Additionally, there were two earthquakes and many after-shocks while we were there. The first earthquake, a 5.1 magnitude, made our hotel creak and sway and woke Granddaughter who asked why her bed was shaking. Grandson slept through all the action. During that first earthquake, our son and DIL were in Disneyland. All the attractions were closed as a precaution. DIL took the oddly eerie picture shown below (which fits with my blog’s tea theme):
We even added a flat tire to the happenings! But we were so blessed to spend treasured time with our family enjoying the discoveries of Disneyland.
Then on to Las Vegas where we joined our other son and his fiancée while they looked at wedding venues for next year’s marriage. This was a special time with them. I even found two Inspirational Romance books that I hadn’t been able to find at my home stores: The Guardian’s Promise by Christina Rich and The Agent’s Secret Past by Debby Giusti.
Everyone arrived home safely, but I learned to check the carbon monoxide detectors, travel with an emergency kit, and thank God for each precious day spent with our family! Blessings to you! Please give your loved ones an extra hug!
“Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NKJV
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
We went hiking recently….in a land that looks like wilderness.
The trail starts innocently enough…a dirt path with unnecessary cairns marking the way.
But as we hike further, the trail turns into the stone of old lava flows.
The cairns become vital to showing us the correct direction.
The black layers of lava are pushed into mounds. Deep crevices split the rough surface.
But here among the rocks of the wilderness, bright desert flowers grow.
How perfect an example of God leading us through the wilderness…with a gift of life at the end.
The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; 2 It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, The excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, The excellency of our God. Isaiah 35:1-3 (NKJV)
So enjoy a trail bar and sip some iced tea from your water bottle as we marvel at God’s blessings.
I subscribe to Seekerville (www.seekerville.net), a blog that helps aspiring writers sail from “Unpublished Island” to the mainland of successful publication. Their blog is always timely and of great encouragement. They had a virtual party on New Year’s Eve, featuring the book My One Word, by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen. (www.myoneword.com) They challenge Christians to “Choose just one word that represents what you most hope God will do in you, and focus on it for an entire year.”
Their message called to me. After some consideration, I have chosen LIGHT as my word for 2013. The main reason, or the first one that came to mind as I decided on this word, is that I want to glow in the LIGHT of God’s love for He is the LIGHT of the world. This is a good choice for many reasons which I will discuss in future blogs.
May you walk in the LIGHT of our Lord!
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
My husband offered to write a guest post for my blog. We enjoyed the travel writing workshop and will continue to travel and write together. And at the end of his post, you will see why I admire him. So glad he is my husband!
Sherida and I just returned from our WORDHARVEST workshop, Travel Writing and Blogging for Fun and Profit, presented by Lesley S. King.
Sherida and I enjoy traveling and writing. We have always wanted to explore the options related to “writing up” our travels and to see if we could get them published. We have enjoyed Lesley’s work in New Mexico Magazine and have attended and enjoyed various WORDHARVEST activities in the past so this workshop seemed a natural fit. It was a fun class and very informative.
The class was well organized and covered the material very well. Lesley started us with a bit of writing. Then she described the need for and processes involved with using social media as an aspiring or active author. Being a non-participant in the wild world of social media, I none-the-less found those parts of the class interesting. I now can appreciate how valuable these tools are to an active author looking to sell into the market place. Now I’m trying to figure out how to “monetize” my various hobbies via the Internet.
The venue at the La Tienda in Eldorado was comfortable and convenient. Our class had a total of five students. All seemed to have a fun time and to enjoy the class. Lesley kept things moving along but provided adequate breaks.
I am a mining engineer and my writing tends to be of the technical variety. So I was looking to experience a bit of creative writing in the class. There was a lot of good writing stuff developed by the participants and some really interesting insights provide by my class mates.
I kind of went off on my own tangent, writing-wise, but the class was great and humored my somewhat different sense of direction.
Now, because you are a bit of a captive audience, here are a couple of things I worked on in the class. No, not travel writing, just creative contemplations on nature themes.
lying under a juniper tree
round blue-gray berries snuggled against gray twigs between green needles
brilliant blue sky
cool breeze, drying sweat
rough rocks massage my achy back
tired muscles relaxing
pink, glowing color fills my vision as my mind drifts, unencumbered
crackle of the radio telling me it was time to move to the next survey point
A haiku grew out of a few comments about Ponderosa pines……
red, brown, grey, black bark, rough feel
smells of vanilla
One writing exercise asked us to set up a sense of tension–two of my examples…..
The radio hissed quietly, “Okay, I’ve got the target sighted. Just hold there back in the shadows for a few while I make the shot.”
I moved quietly into the junipers, hidden from the direct sunshine, merging with the shadows. I sat, rough sandstone against my butt, my back slumped against the bark of a juniper. Beads of sweat dried quickly in the light breeze. I shivered, waiting for my partner to make the shot. Then I could move on.
I remember the doctor’s words, “We may not be able to save the leg. I want you to know that before you go into surgery.”
I felt it was in God’s hands. I would trust in the Lord.
I woke in the ICU. They had saved the leg. But nerves were dead, muscles damaged and starting to atrophy . But she had saved the leg. Now into the recovery phase. Adapting. Mitigating impact on family. Going back to work. Trusting in the Lord. Dealing / battling with Workers Comp.
I love his haiku!
The first of Collin’s examples is from the perspective of a survey helper…not a hunter as I first was thinking…and I know he doesn’t hunt.
The second example is from an incident that changed our lives. Six years ago, Collin was trapped in an underground coal mine for 22 hours–alone, with his right ankle broken and his left leg pinned by a heavy steel door. It took a few hours to get him out of the mine and to the emergency room where he was in intensive care for two days and in the hospital for six weeks after several surgeries. Various setbacks during that time tested his strength. He returned to work in a wheel chair a week after being released from the hospital. His disability is not obvious, but he has faced many challenges adapting to the leg orthotic, to the pain and to his physical limitations. He has met these uphill trials and trails with great courage—always trusting in God.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills–where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip–he who watches over you will not slumber;…The Lord will keep you from all harm–he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121