Sunday, January 1, 2012

happy new year!

Another year!

I love the word JOYFUL in the image here. That's certainly my wish for all of us as the days of 2012 unfold.

2011 was a bit of a blur -mostly a blessing - with some challenges thrown in for equal measure. Sometimes I feel like this this... Beth Moore always says it best:

Do you ever feel your life has been a frazzled string of highs and lows? I've lived so much of my life in the extremes. I seem to find myself in the valley or on the mountain as often as in between. Sometimes I feel like I'm doing the splits...!" (Beth Moore: David/Seeking a Heart Like His).

I'm not sure what the coming year holds but it's begun very quietly with a little southern flair. I ushered the New Year in with a double batch of Hopping John and am reading Heiress by Susan May Warren. OH MY! What a book! Never a wasted word. And it's quite true to life which I like very much. No sugarcoated history for me;)

For now I'm expecting galleys for Love's Reckoning along with that new cover. And, as I turn the corner on another year and mark 4 years of blogging, I honestly feel like I don't have anything left to say! Some of you blog beautifully and faithfully and I'm just amazed and touched by your commitment. I think I'm going to have less of an online presence as my plate gets a bit fuller in future.

Several of you have asked when my new website will be up and running. I'd hoped to have it in place by now but my web designer has been overwhelmed so it's been delayed. The new design is beautiful and dovetails beautifully with my upcoming series so it will be worth the wait, or so I hope! Having a new look (with several pages instead of just one) is something I'm looking forward to very much and I hope you like the finished product when it's...well, finished.

Anyway, I've been thinking of some of the things I wish I could do this year, aside from books, that is...

Here's my wish list:

*Learn to play the harp or violin
*Read as many books as my friend, Becky, at her wonderful blog(s).
*Run a 10k instead of walking a few measly miles a day
*Return to England and visit Scotland, the land of my upcoming hero's birth

Notice I said wish;)!

Actually, my heart's wish is to know Him better and better, lay my writing at His feet, and trust Him more. As Susie May says in the dedication of Heiress, "For your glory, Lord." Amen.

What's your heart's wish/resolution(s) for 2012?


  1. Happy New Year Laura! I love the quote from Beth Moore and I totally relate to that. Particularly doing the splits ... lol ...

    I hope and pray that your 2012 is certainly a joyful one, and that you are able to check off a few of your wishlist items ;) Return to England and visit Scotland? *sigh* me too! Would love to do that ... but for me, that will have to be on a wish list for another year :)

    This year I have set myself smaller but specific and targeted goals:
    * Attend a 2 day creative writing course
    * read 3 books on writing craft
    * rewrite my beginning and polish up the first 5 chapters
    * lose 5kg and rebuild my abdominal muscles!
    * memorise a new bible verse every month

    Nothing world changing there, but meaningful enough for me and hopefully easily achievable :)

    Otherwise, things like getting a job and sorting out finances are too big a decision for me, so these I am leaving squarely in the hands of the Lord! At this point, if He wants me to get a job, He will have to land one right in my lap :)

    Looking forward to what you have coming for us this year, with the new website and new book! And I'm cheering you from the sidelines as you work towards running a 10K :D

  2. Hi Laura, I just picked up my first book of yours a few weeks ago, "Courting Morrow Little". I just had to let you know that it is by far the best Christian fiction book I've ever read! I felt like I was living right along with them. And the best thing about it, is it made my hunger for Jesus so much deeper! The self-sacrificing love between Morrow and Red Shirt reminded me of Christ's love for me. CML caused me to cry out to Him more, to desire Him more, and for a deeper passion for Him to well up inside of me. I read CML within a few days, then immediately read it straight through again, and then re-read all of my favorite parts between Morrow and Red shirt. I literally had to force myself to put the book on the shelf lol. I've just finished reading The Frontiersman's Daughter and it was great too! I loved Ian! I live in the Grampian part of Scotland (though I'm originally from Texas) so I just loved Ian! I have the Colonel's Lady waiting for me to devour it! Your work is the best I've ever read and I'm so grateful that I stumbled across a recommendation for CML. Have a blessed New Year and I don't know how i'm going to be able to wait until LR comes out!! ~Eva

  3. Happy New Year to you too! I just blogged about my hopes for the new year :)
    I cant wait to hear more about the new book AND see the cover! yay! I hope you tell us a little more about the hero and the heroine. I love hearing about the creation and birth of your characters! And so glad these books tend to come out around my birthday :) how sweet of you ;)
    happy new year~!~

  4. Happy New Year, Laura! Hope your holidays were merry and bright.

    I don't make resolutions b/c, for me, it is setting myself up for failure.

    My heart's desire is to be completely healthy---in spirit, mind, and body---this year. With that health, I hope and pray all other good things will come.

    I look forward to this year with trepidation as it is the year I turn 40, and I'm really not looking forward to that. I thought I would be fabulous at 40 and instead I am sick and weak and worn out.

    Looking forward to seeing your new cover and I, selfishly, hope you don't cut back on your blogging too much! But you have to do what is best for you.

  5. Helen, Strangely enough, I'm so uncoordinated I've never been able to do the splits. Maybe that's why it feels so painful lately;) Leave it to Beth to give us a little lightheartedness amidst life's stress...

    Your goals are wonderful! And doable! Your dedication to writing is really admirable, especially when you have little ones. I think you're a real writer when you have kids and are worn out and STILL think about writing! That's what I did, too.

    Praying His best for you this day, this week, this year, and always!

  6. Eva! Welcome to my blog! I'm just blown away by your beautiful comments and have already written a novella over at your blog so will try not to repeat myself here. Suffice it to say, beginning the new year with such wonderful praise lifts me up more than I can say. If you only knew! And all the credit for anything I write goes straight to Him! When people ask me how to write a book I honestly tell them I don't know how - but He does:)

    I find it fascinating you're a Texas girl living in Scotland. My dream! If you enjoyed meeting Ian, bless him, stay tuned for Silas Ballantyne;) He's up next. I can't imagine the big change from Texas to the Grampian Highlands but maybe it's so beautiful - and from your blog you are making the very most of it - that it's a blessed change. It makes my move from Kentucky to Washington State a walk in the park!

    I look forward to getting to know you through your blog and having a little taste of Scotland, too. God bless you for your precious comments. I'll copy them and put them in my scrapbook so I can read them again and again. Happy New Year to you and your family! And thanks so very much!

  7. Heather, You've sure been on my mind and I can't wait to see what things are coming round the bend for you, dear friend! I've been bitten by the moving bug myself but bet you'll get there sooner;)

    I'm actually working on a post about characters and writing which I'll dedicate to you as I think it's the kind of thing you like. I'm going to use a couple of incredible photos from the designer of my book cover (not my book but another he's done that's releasing this month) which makes it more fun. I'll try to get that up this month.

    So glad to start the new year off with you! Seeing you here always brightens my day.

  8. Mary,
    I'm so glad you're there and would miss my blogging if I slowed down. I feel the same about you. And I know what you mean about those resolutions. That's why I called mine wishes this year. I tend to NOT fulfill the ones I make but wish I could!

    As far as being 40, I passed that by some time ago and it was hard for me. However, my dear mother, the eternal optimist who doesn't have a melancholy bone in her body (though I'd loan her one of mine if I could and take some of her cheeriness), said her best years were her 50's!!

    I'm so glad you shared your desire to be whole and well in all areas. That is what I'll pray for you specifically and what I'd like for myself, too. I've been so blessed by our cyber-friendship. My hope is that I can move back to the south and we can meet up someday. Till then we'll just keep on here at the blog:)

  9. I will prayerful finish school this year yay. My main goals this year is to read the Bible through and to get healthy. I am not going to say lose weigh, because that one always fails but by choosing to live a healthy lifestyle everything else will fall into place.

    For my family and I 2012 will also mark to milestone birthdays and one that's a semi milestone birthday. I turn 25 that's the semi milestone and the fact that I've worked my way through explains why I am older than the typical college student. My wonderful mom turns 50, making us 25 years apart. My sister turn 16 yeek. That's scary. We're planning a special family vacation in the summer to celebrate.

  10. Laura, your blog is always such an encouragement. I love reading it! I pray the coming year will bring you (at least) one blessing off your wish list. ;) A trip to Scotland sounds pretty wonderful! In the meantime, thank you for your positive outlook and encouragement. I am ALWAYS blessed by your words.

    My resolution is to find His will for my writing and to honor Him in every way. It is so hard not to be my own selfish desires before His will or the needs of my family. It is a daily struggle. I am determined to be the wife, mother and writer that He wants me to be.

    Be blessed, dear lady!

  11. Carissa, It's wonderful hearing all you have to look forward to this year! Many milestones, indeed:) I chuckled at the eek age 16 comment. My oldest son, Wyatt, is 15 so I know what you mean! It means so much when you work your way through college. HUGE congrats for doing that - I know your sense of satisfaction when you hold that diploma in hand will be immeasurable. I'd love to see you graduate:) Especially under that warm Kentucky sun!

    Reading the Bible through in a year is such a praiseworthy goal. I hope you can do that. As for losing weight, I know that struggle so very well and have all my life. And you're right - living healthfully is the main thing and other things fall into place little by little.

    I'm so glad you stopped here tonight. You and dear Stacey are burning the midnight oil in KY and TX! Boy, am I happy about that;)!

  12. Stacey,
    You make JOY and family life seem so effortless! Truly! It IS hard to push that selfishness aside but I honestly thought you probably rarely struggled that way. That really encourages me (and others here, I'm sure). I think God honors even our tiniest hope of doing His will by helping us do just that. You bless me just as much by your Facebook pics and updates. I get a JOY break every time I see what you're up to.

    Oh, yes, Scotland! I can't believe I never got there and I went to school in England! The folly of youth!

    Thanks so much for the thumbs up on blogging. If anything here is a blessing, I'm so thankful. And He gets all the credit! Bless you so much.

  13. Dear Laura,

    That is an awesome wish list!! :)

    So excited to see the cover of your upcoming release, as well as your new website when it's finished! I'm sure it will be lovely!

    I have Heiress in my TBR stack at school - sounds like a great read! Her work really is edgy and authentic. Have you read Sons of Thunder? That one was engrossing! :)

    This year I'll be graduating with my B.S. degree in English, and after that... I don't know. But God has a plan, so my hope is in Him. :) We'll see where He leads me!

    Thank you, Laura, for all that you do during the year to encourage bloggers/readers/writers like me, as well as inspire us with your beautiful writing. God bless you and yours in the coming year and always!


  14. Bless you Laura for thinking it is effortless on my part, not to be selfish. I am just as as guilty as the next person, but I try hard to be positive and don't use facebook to vent. :) If I am having a bad day, then my Mom or sister will usually hear all about it. I am looking forward to putting more time and energy into writing and that it where I will struggle with balance. I must have a clean house and food on the table, too. Although, I think that might be a struggle for most writers. :) Take care!

  15. Happy New Year Dear Laura,

    It has been a mild winter so far for us but I think Winter has finally arrived today. It is 22 degrees right at this moment!

    My Wish List and Resolutions are as follows.

    I wish to visit a certain someone in Washington State ;)

    I resolved to start a 365 photo project. It is on I could send you the link if you wish to look at my photo journal/blog. (resolution)

    I am resolved to memorize the Book of James this year (resolution)

    Me and my family needs to resolve to change unhealthy eating habits. I am going to change a bit at a time. I have already let go of dark colas (I started that the first of December) (resolution)

    I want to go on another mission trip.

    I resolve not to let my co-workers get the best of me. I feel like the half-glass full girl in a half-glass empty world!! May The Lord help me!

    Love to you,


    PS..I sent your Christmas Card late. Did it arrive yet?

  16. Never a wasted word indeed! Wasting a word is something Susie NEVER does! WAsn't that a great book?

    A new website? How exciting! Though I do hope, we can still hope for you to blog at least some.

    Keeping an eye out for that cover, I can't wait!!

    My wish list?
    I realy don't do resolutions, I like the idea of a "wish list", but don't even really have one of those either.

    I try to take each day as it comes and let God control my goals. They tend to come as the year moves on.

    I do want to enter 2 writing contests-one being the Genesis and I want to try and figure out this thing called "editing" I hate to do. It's got to easier than how I'm doing it. ;-)

    And I truly hope to have the chance to see you again this year. What a JOY that would be. :)

    Have a wonderful day, dear Laura. :)

  17. My hearts desire this year is to learn how to WORSHIP each and every day. I spend too much time treating God like a buddy and not enough time in awe and reverence. I think He'd like more of that. More prayers that start with how wonderful God is and fewer that start with what I think I need.

    Of course, my other desire is an agent and a publisher, but I'm feeling a wee bit more peaceful about all that. You know, for now.

  18. Happy New Year!!
    Honestly, I have so many things I'd like to do, and they are all bouncing around in my brain. One of the goals for today is to to sit down and write them out.
    Generally, I want to be more self-disciplined and self-controlled this year. Turn off the TV and write and read more. Finish my book and start submitting it. So much to do in one year. Gotta get a plan!
    May God bless your wish list!

  19. Amber, It's so exciting to think of your impending graduation right along with Carissa here:) Like you, I majored in English and it's such a solid foundation. I look forward to see where the Lord leads you, too! Maybe you could eventually do what Julie Klassen does and be both author and editor! I can see you working at a publishing house for some reason. Guess Harvest House is the closest being in Oregon. Not sure.

    Thanks so much for encouraging me here. I really think blogging is so unique in how it links people who would never have connected otherwise! It's a whole new world out there!

    Praying His best for you as you start your final semester and then graduate. WOO-HOO!!!!!

  20. P.S. Amber, thanks for telling me about SOT - I was actually wondering which of hers to read next:)

  21. Stacey,
    Oh, thanks for your follow-up:) Like you, I try to only post the highs or highlights here and on Facebook and only vent to my mom or hubs! Interestingly, I just read an
    article that says Facebook actually mades its users depressed oftentimes because people tend to post all the good stuff that's happening in their lives, leaving people with the impression that all is rosy except in their own little corner! Still, I would never rant or vent there, like you. I'd rather dwell on the postive anyday:)

  22. Stacie, No Christmas card yet - and no mail today! But soon! Thanks so much for thinking of me!

    Your list is great and doable. Like you, one of my struggles has been to give up pop, only I drink the diet kind, one a day, which doubles your risk of heart attack or stroke! I'd love to know where you'd like to go on your missions trip. Maybe swing by my brother in Spain;) And I second the healthy eating part. I'd love to see your pics!! I was just thinking how I need to make copies of those from my Philly trip as they're all online and need to be in an album...

    Our pastor memorized the book of James and it's so powerful when spoken! I applaud you for wanting to do that!

    Praying your glass half full attitude splashes onto everyone in your working sphere:) It's a wonderful thing!

  23. Casey,
    I so like your attitude about the Lord leading your goals as you move throughout the year. Oftentimes we can't plan ahead but since He knows the future He is best able to steer us when the time comes. Amen to your wise words.

    YES, Susie is amazing! I rarely gush about another author (other than my beloved Liz) as reading is such a subjective thing but I even emailed her this morning about Heiress. She must be a wonderful writing instructor. And it's quite an honor you finaled in her contest as that would be hard to do with her as judge!

    About that editing. It really is a learned thing. I've never liked it much either though some writers think it's the best part of writing. Here's what I do -

    Get away from the MS for a week or two and let it rest. This clears your head and gives you fresh perspective.

    Print out a hard copy of a chapter, chapters, or the entire MS. Read through it like a book with a red or blue pen and make changes, large and small. Then feed those edits back into the e-MS. For TFD, I had a wheelbarrow load of hard copies that I'd printed out, no joke. I edit by hardcopy over and over and over...

    Using Microsoft Word, read the book in different formats (outline, double page, etc.). You'll catch a lot this way, too.

    Utilize a critique partner. This has always been hard for me as most of my writing has been done without one. But they do catch things you won't. It's important to find just the right fit (am sure you know all of this) and pair with someone who writes in your genre and who, hopefully, writes even better than you do.

    Above all, pray, pray, pray. It's His work, His words, after all, and only He has the broad picture of the lives you'll touch and what He wants communicated.

    For whatever it's worth, that's my method. If I think of anything else about editing I'll let you know.

    Thanks so much for being such a faithful friend. Praying we meet up in Texas come September! Wouldn't that be grand:)!?

  24. Laura,

    I'm so glad we've met, and hope to spend part of this new year getting to know you more-and also reading another of your exquisite stories...

    Your blog is like a breath of fresh air and I'm truly uplifted in spirit after spending time here. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your thoughts with us. I always look forward to reading what you have to say, whether it's in post or book form. :) I honestly can't wait for LR and will probably do a happy dance when I see my first glimpse of its cover.

    I understand, that with all you have going on, it would be hard to spend too much time on your blog-so I'll just appreciate each entry a bit more. :)

    I haven't made too many New Year resolutions except for the kinda boring one-exercise more-plus devoting extra time on the important things, namely God, family, and ministry.

    I pray you and your family have an amazing New Year, Laura! Many blessings to you!

  25. Sarah,
    Am heartened to know you're more at peace with the writing/publishing thing, specifically in regards to His timing. I think the heart of most issues is our trust in Him. He'll bring about what is needed when it's needed. I tend to forget that or let my wants get in the way like you said. It's a daily battle with the will!

    Reverence and worship are 2 huge things for me, too. Before publishing, I spent a great deal of time thinking about Psalm 37:4: "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." I thought writing/publishing was the desire/delight of my heart. But I've since learned that He is the only thing that provides lasting delight or satisfaction. As enjoyable as being an author is, it's a fleeting satisfaction at best. He offers so much more.

    Thanks for being here and being transparent:) Praying His best for you and your writing and all else you're involved in!

  26. Kristen, I needed that blessing - bless you right back!! With a little one it's so hard to be organzized sometimes! I have friends with 10 children and don't know how they do it! I was run ragged by my 2!

    I hope you do get that MS sent out this year. The fact you are wanting to finish it says volumes. It was so much fun meeting up with you in St. Lou:) I hope we can connect again at some point soon. We're neighbors, after all! Bless you for your comments - they're always welcome and appreciated.

  27. Laura, I pray those wishes come true for you in 2012! I can't wait to see the new site whenever you unveil it. :)

  28. Christina, Actually, after spending time with you and others here, the blogging blues have flown away:) Bless each one of you for that. There are so many great blogs out there that I sometimes think it's kind of silly to try to keep this going but if you'll keep reading, I'll keep posting. And I look forward to spending more time at yours, too:) Am so happy you emailed me when you did an invited me over!

    I'm going to be happy dancing right along with you when that cover appears! Or so I hope! They're going to focus on my heroine's hair. How's that for a tease? Her hair is very important to the story but I won't give away any spoilers here! I always pray about covers and titles. One never knows what will appear...

    Thank you for having such a beautiful blog. I feel peaceful when I visit - and that's so appreciated! Fresh air is just the right word so it works both ways, I think! Praying for you as we begin day 2 of 2012:)

  29. Happy New Year, Laura! I hope 2012 is a great year for you and for your family!

    I have to say, I was not at all sad to see 2011 go. It wasn't a bad year, until the end.

    I loved Heiress. I can't wait for the next book to come out. Since you're looking at some of Susan May Warren's books, may I recommend her Heirs of Anton series. They set in Russia, going backwards from modern day Russian to the Revolution. The titles are Ekaterina, Nadia, Marina, and Oksana. Very interesting series with quiet a big mystery. :)

    I don't make New Years Resolutions, but I love your idea of a wish list. I know I need to get back to going to church. Except for Christmas services, I've not been since before Thanksgiving. I know it's because of Papaw's worsening condition and death. I did the same thing when Mamaw died. I also have some reading goals for the year, currently it's 80 books for the year. I would like to get back into blogging too, I really let that go this past year.

    I cannot wait to see the cover for Love's Reckoning, I know it's going to be great.

  30. Sarah, Thanks so much for your kind comments! I love wish lists:) And I hope you like the new site when it's official. Bless you! And happy New Year, writing, and blogging to you and yours!

  31. Michelle, Thanks so much for being here and for the great tip about Susan's Russian series. I'd forgotten about that one but remember you (and I) love Russian history. I think I'll dive into that next. It will be fun to get all 4 books after the fact so there's no wait! I miss your blog but understand the hiatus. I was just over there and you last did a stellar book review:) I have that one here but haven't read it yet and I think her next one is out. Love that pink cover!

    I also hope you can get back to church soon - wish I could join you! Sometimes a break is needed -you've had some hard losses. I wish I could join you one Sunday! Then we'd go to Paneras on Richmond Road for lunch. Or Bella Notte... Makes me very homesick for Lexington.

    80 books! I've no doubt you'll do it. It's so fun to hear what you and others are reading and really like. I nabbed Heiress after reading about it on Casey's site. Most of my reading has been endorsements for other authors lately - 7 historicals in the last 3 months. Since I don't do contests this is my way of giving back. So I guess that counts as reading, too, even if the books haven't come out yet!

    Prayers with you and hope your new job/promotion is going well. Thanks again for being here.

  32. Happy New Year, Laura! I started listening listening to Suzanne Woods Fisher's podcasts, Amish Wisdom. It's an online radio talk show she has weekly, but I just discovered it so have been listening to past shows. Stunning stuff -- all about finding a simpler life -- slow down, de-clutter, find peace is her motto.

    Funny enough, I thought of you and your time challenges and here you are talking about reducing your online presence when things get more hectic in the future. I'll be praying that God blesses you with the wisdom to know what you need to do, when to hang back and help you find a healthy balance for you and your family and your writing.

    I'll be excited to see your new website and of course, read your newest masterpiece!!!!!!!

    I have lots of New Year wishes. Like that you say wishes and not goals because mine are more like pipe dreams. I would love to attend ACFW conference in the fall and meet all the wonderful people I know from online. I think a more realistic goal though would be to a couple of really good online writing courses. And maybe dip down into the northern states for booksignings of a fav author or two. :-)

  33. Good to have you "back" here for the new year. You would be greatly missed if you went away from this blog altogether! I appreciate your devotionals and the beautiful pictures with each. I appreciate your recommendations for good reading. I appreciate your honesty when life gets overwhelming. I just, in general, appreciate you, Laura. I'm praying you won't feel this blog an obligation, but rather an opportunity to bless others with what the Lord puts on your heart. Christian women need other Christian women and your blog is a sweet part of that circle. I would encourage you to remove any mental "deadlines" you have put on yourself concerning this blog. Follow the Spirit's leading and we will all be blessed.

    As Anne Shirley would say, "2012, a new year with no mistakes in it." My personal "must do" list for 2012 is so long I have put at the top PRAY! I'm aware I can not accomplish it all without the Lord's grace, mercy and strength. Laura, I will continue praying for you; and thanks, in advance, for what time you are able to give to this blog in 2012.

  34. Kav, So good to have this link to Suzanne and your commentary! I think there's such a need for her radio ministry. I've only recently gotten to know her after meeting her in St. Lou. She's such a delightful person and I need to make time for her show. No doubt my life and schedule would benefit! Thanks so much for sharing that here. I will see if I can access it via the internet.

    The past 2 years I've said to Lorna that I hope you can attend ACFW. Now watch - you'll be in Texas this year and I won't;)! I'd so love to meet you in person. I keep hearing wonderful things about your writing. You're often on my mind.

    I hope you enjoy this next book, LR. I just rec'd word this morning that the galleys are coming this month as expected. My prayers are with you as we move into a new year together! Thanks so much for your wonderful comments.

  35. Mary, Your wise words are so needed and welcome. I've been thinking of you over there shivering in beautiful Idaho and imagine you have some snow!

    "PRAY" is certainly a must for fulfilling our obligations or just about anything we attempt. I do love my blog but am amazed at how much busier life has gotten over time as more books release. I have to look at writing as a ministry and pray about everything or I couldn't do it. It's way beyond me but thankfully, not Him. I told Him I'm "in" as long as He wants me to be:)

    Of course it helps tremendously to have caring, godly readers like you and others here. I'm always fascinated by the new people that appear here and that, like you said, we can experience the sweetness of that circle. Amen.

    Again, your encouragement is so needed. If you only knew! I'm praying for you, too, as we welcome 2012. God bless you for being here.

  36. Happy New Year, Laura! I love your goals for 2012 :-) I would also love to play the violin, and in fact, took one year of it in 4th grade.

    Hmmm...outside of growing closer to the Lord and being the best wife and mother I can be, my goals are to start excercising again, learn a few new recipes, attend this year's ACFW conference (Lord willing), and polish my WIP and get it ready for the rejection letters. LOL! I'm certainly optimistic, aren't I?

  37. Gwen, So many of us share the same goals and I love that you've included being the best wife and mom you can be. That should always be first in our hearts.

    I commend you for playing the violin as a kid! 4th grade seems to be the magic age when it's introduced. I can't believe some start as young as 2 or less (Suzuki) - I always get tickled when I see those itty, bitty violins! My son started at age 7 and I hope he keeps it up.

    It must be wonderful to have ACFW in your backyard this year!! I'd so love to meet you if I can get there. Thoughts and prayers with you as you edit, polish, prepare, etc. Exciting:)

  38. Yes, I am thrilled to death that ACFW will be held in Dallas this year. In fact, I've taken it as confirmation that God wants me to become a member and get involved. (I wanted to go last year, but the timing was wrong.)

    I would love to meet you in person too! How wonderful that would be! Thanks for your thoughts and prayers! Mine are with you as well as you anticipate the release of LR. :-)

  39. If you learn to play the harp, invite me to give you a photoshoot! :-) Free of charge! Oh, I could so see you playing that lovely instrument! In a delightful dress! OH PLEASE LEARN TO PLAY! HEHE!!!

    I saw your comment about your upcoming character's hair being important to the story! I'm intrigued! High school gave me some glory in that sense- with "best hair!" HA! So I am REALLY intrigued about the hair!

    I didn't create any goals for 2012. It's a continuous cycle for me, my goals, and the sense of "newness" isn't something that drives me around the turn of the year. However, those goals that I seem to always have are the following: joy in my heart, love to my kids, strength in my faith. I find myself getting bogged down if I make specific goals at this time of my life. Maybe later down the road I can do it. Like, for me, it was not a goal to write a book. BUT GUESS WHAT! I DID this past year! I want to make each day important. Does this make sense?

    Looking forward to your new site, though this one seems so inviting how it is and wonderful as well! Thank you for the editing tips among the comments here! Have a wonderful evening!

  40. Thank you, thank you Laura for those wonderful tips on editing. I do have a crit partner and we seem to really be hitting it off. I think I try too hard which is part of my problem, but hard copies do seem like wonderful things! I'm going to do a chapter by chapter outline of my last book here in the next couple months and hoping that might help. Have never done that before. I'm just trying to take it one edit at a time and let the Lord continue to teach me. :)

  41. Let me make a tiny change in my previous comment- I would like to scrapbook a little bit more. I am getting behind. I don't scrapbook chronologically but just do what I am inspired with at the time. But last year, a lot of things took priority. And will continue to do so! However, I'd love to set aside a few specific days per year to just scrapbook. I don't buy supplies anymore but have quite an eclectic collection of things to use!

  42. Stacie, I was looking at comments again to make sure I hadn't overlooked anyone and reread that you are still thinking of coming out!! JOY! I think you'd love a trip here! We live right at the gateway to Olympic National Park on Lake Crescent and it's truly a spectacular area, if a bit rainy:) Depending on when you came, the sun might be shining. Anyway, just wanted to mention that and hurry you out here to the Pacific Northwest!

  43. Amy! Congrats on finishing that book:) A huge thing, to be sure. Believe it or not, after book 1, it becomes easier to write one. I think first books teach us so very much and we carry those lessons into subsequent books. But then we're always learning no matter where we are on the journey. Even Francine Rivers said she feels like an apprentice!

    Being musical, I can just imagine what you think of the HARP:) My upcoming heroine, Ellie Ballantyne (book 2), plays the harp. It's my fav instrument after the violin. Only I hope it's easier to play! I'm not sure. Violin is supposed to be the hardest. Not sure...

    I look forward to seeing all that the Lord holds and unfolds for you in the coming year. You and your precious family!! Thanks for your comments here. They make my day!

  44. Hi Sweet P, you snuck in here again with your blogger id:) Oh, I'd so love to scrapbook so can understand that heart's wish/desire/goal! Given the sweet, creative, winsome things you sent me recently, I think you have the perfect scrapbooking heart! I could just look for ever at all the beautiful supplies for that. And I hope you get to do that this year!

  45. Laura,

    I wish many blessings for you in this new year. I love the devotional from Deuteronomy that you shared. I'm excited for your new website and understand your need to cut back here, but will gladly look forward to your posts in the New Year. I love the physical atmosphere you create with the pictures, you definitely have an eye for color.

    I love your spiritual goal. I need more of Him and less of me in my life in 2012.

    As for goals, the first that comes to mind is finishing this story of mine. I'm currently at 72K so keeping on target that puts me at February. Then I get to learn how to edit :)

  46. Dear Laura,
    It seems to me it is a rare thing for an author like you to have a blog and let us fellowship & visit with you. Its like a gift to all of us. I want to thank you for being the sweet person you are...blogging and visiting us at times at our blogs. May the New Year bring you your every heart's desires. Happy New Year to you and your family! love in Jesus, our Lord, Maggie

  47. Happy New Year (belatedly) my friend! I can so relate to that Beth Moore quote, and can I just say amen to your heart's wish? It echoes my own. :) Here's to another year of great books! :)

  48. I have a question if you don't mind answering. What are your recommendations for growing in craft at the stage of life I'm in. I'd really like to use what time I have wisely. Thanks.

  49. I have a question if you don't mind answering. What are your recommendations for growing in craft at the stage of life I'm in. I'd really like to use what time I have wisely. Thanks.

  50. Julia! You're nearly there!! I'm SO excited for you as you near the finish line:) I think your gift/trick is your pacing. You just mother and homeschool and do everything with balance, being faithful to that word count. A perfect example of how just a few paragraphs a day equals a book in time. WOOT!

    You've said it so well - more of Him, less of me. That has always been my problem, the ME part.

    This Deut. verse means a lot to me, too. I created my Ballantyne Legacy proposal around it and submitted it with this Scripture on the title page. It's a rich verse with uber applications:)

    Oh, love your thoughtful question. I had to think about that one for awhile. My advice is 4-fold and really stays true for any stage of the journey...

    First, write your heart out. Nothing teaches you to write like the sheer act of writing.

    Second, find an exceptional craft book you can really relate to. Some like Donald Maas or Jeff Gerke (I can never spell that right! Sorry, Jeff!) or James Scott Bell. Highlight it to death. I must admit, craft books mostly confuse me. Some call people like me "intuitive writers" who don't go by the rules yet somehow get it done. You may be one of those. Or the rules may make you bloom:)

    Third, read, read, read. You absorb so much about craft simply by reading. Try to read writers who are better than you. While reading, think about what works well (or doesn't).

    Fourth, invest in a writer's conference and meet other writers, even a smaller local conference or seminar with high marks.

    You're already doing other things that are imperative for writing today - blogging and social networking (much as I struggle with Twitter and other formats, it's here to stay and has become de rigueur for writers).

    I hope this helps! And please feel free to ask my about writing at any time. I usually have an answer, maybe not the right answer;) But I will answer...

  51. Maggie Ann, So glad you're here! Thanks so much for your gracious words. It is a wonderful thing to fellowship here in a way we could never do otherwise. I'm always amazed at all the connections we make over the web and am thankful.

    I must admit not wanting to leave your blog when I go over. The music, the images, everything speaks peace and contentment. And I so appreciate that.

    Praying this year is overflowing with blessings for you, too, dear friend.

  52. Ah, Ruth. Kindred spirit:) I'm still thinking about your insights into TCL... So happy we can do the splits together, Beth-style, in 2012! More great books, yes! And amen.

  53. LOL, at the trying to read authors who are better than you...that doesn't really narrow down the pool at all :). But my crit group said they noticed a big change between my writing from 1 year ago and today so that made me hopeful :).

    Thanks so much for these suggestions. Whatever the Lord has in store I'm enjoying the process. And I am hoping to go to a conference in PA this summer even if I don't make it to ACFW.