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Thursday, December 3, 2015

5 Ways to Justify Scrooge-ness in a Christmas Elf World

   'Tis the season! Everyone's writing blogposts about how to deal with the delightful crazyness of the holiday season. But does anyone else think, why? Why me? Why do I even have to participate in this draining hub-bub of tinny holiday ditties, over-priced gift-giving, and purely useless light stringing?
      If so, you may be a Christmas Scrooge.

     And this is a very hard month to be a Scrooge. "Bah Humbug" isn't even politically correct anymore. And all your Christmas Elf friends are shouting in your ears about what a wonderful season this is.
    But take courage, here's a guest blogpost from the Christmas Scrooge with 5 easy ways to justify your Scrooge-ness to Christmas Elf friends and still come out looking like a good person.


Scenario 1: Baking

           Eating gingerbread, chocolate chip cookies, and sour cream drops--delicious. Devoting hours to baking them?--Bah Humbug. The very thought exhausts you.
         But then comes your Christmas Elf friend. "What, you haven't filled the house with scents of cinnamon? Where's that gingerbread house you made with your child? Baking sugar cookies and letting your child scatter sprinkles across the kitchen? Are you trying to ruin your kids' childhood? Are those store-bought cookies on your counter?" Guilt. Guilt. Guilt. The Scrooge's lot-in-life. But no longer. Here's the perfect way to justify your Scrooge-ish-ness.

A Scrooge's Go-To Explanation: Did you know that compared to fifty years ago, Americans are hugely more obese. I'm focusing on my child's long-term heart health by refusing to encourage emotional eating by participating in a family ritual of baking vastly unhealthy treats. But we did fry an egg together this morning. :)

Christmas Elf friend = duly impressed.

Scenario 2: Christmas Gifts

Buying, wrapping, giving gifts, hour after exhausting hour? Scrooges hate that. And half the time, the gifts aren't even anything you or anyone else likes.

But then your Christmas Elf friend dials your number. "What are you buying your kids for Christmas? What about great aunt Mildred? I'm sure you've mulled hours over picking something especially thoughtful, right?"

A Scrooge's Go-To Explanation: Did you know that in the 1950s, as many as eight people would grow up in an 800 square foot house. This year, instead of exchanging gifts, we've decided to focus on the minimalist lifestyle and clean out our garage instead. We are so thrilled about how in touch with nature this minimalist lifestyle has made us.

Christmas Elf friend = duly impressed.


Scenario 3: Christmas Decorations

        Yikes! Nothing throws a Scrooge into more terror. Just the sheer work of it! Checking bulbs, finding extension cords, getting out the ladder, hanging lights. And there are so many lights. Christmas tree lights, front light, yard lights, garage lights, hours and hours of prep-work.

      But then Christmas Elf  HOA leader knocks on your door. "Where are your lights? We want the whole neighborhood to shine. You will decorate your mailbox too, right? And Christmas wreaths."

A Scrooge's Go-To Explanation: I'm very concerned about America's high energy consumption that has led to our reliance on foreign oil. Do you how many dangerous terrorist groups the money from foreign oil finances? Our of respect for our brave service members, I have decided to reduce our household energy consumption by not stringing lights this year.

Christmas Elf friend = duly impressed.

Scenario 4: Annoying TV specials like "Rudolph" and "Charlie Brown Christmas"

         They're the same movies. EVERY YEAR. And they weren't even funny the first time. You, being a Scrooge, would rather watch a leaky water-pipe drip onto tile.

    But Christmas Elf friend stops by. "Don't you just love all the beautiful Christmas shows on TV. Come over and watch the five-thousandth re-run of The Grinch with me. Your children need this classic childhood experience."

A Scrooge's Go-To Explanation: I recently read that increases in TV consumption have led to a rise in ADHD in not only children, but also adults. We are endeavoring to decrease our media time, so will be refraining from watching those Christmas specials this year. Let's go take an invigorating hike up a mountain instead. (Hope Christmas Elf friend isn't too athletic, so doesn't take you up on the mountain hike and you will be free to binge-watch interesting Netflix shows.)

Christmas Elf friend = duly impressed.

Scenario 5: Family visits, that Drag on

You like your family, you really do. But in manageable doses please. And Aunt Mildred's told that story about the making of the generation-old ham recipe a dozen times this December anyway.

Christmas Elf family member. "But you have to stay until midnight with us! And be back at 6 am tomorrow for Christmas brunch. We're family."

A Scrooge's Go-To Explanation: I am starting my New Year's resolution early this year and am endeavoring to get more exercise and more rest. So as much as I'd love to stay until midnight, I need to go to bed. And then I'll need to hit the gym tomorrow.

Christmas Elf friend = duly impressed.


Are you a Christmas Scrooge? Need more tips to deal with Elf-y friends? Leave your situation in the comments below, and I'll reply with useful tips on justifying Scrooge-ness on all occasions.

~The Christmas Scrooge










Disclaimer: Any similarities to Anne Garboczi Evans' personal Christmases past or present are merely coincidental. ;P Probably . . .

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Tim Tebow vs. Josh Duggar: Purity Culture

 Two famous men who publicly espoused saving sex until marriage because of Christian beliefs, have both made the news recently--because of sex. But for very different reasons.



Tim Tebow (28), the former Broncos quarterback allegedly got dumped by his girlfriend of two months, Olivia Culpo (23), a Miss Universe model for staying true to his chastity beliefs.

Josh Duggar (27) made news this year for having sexually touched his younger sisters while a teen, then joining the affair dating site Ashley Madison, and  sleeping with prostitutes. All while married to a sweet woman and fathering four children.

Why did saving sex until marriage turn out so very differently?

Now a disclaimer here, I don't know Tim Tebow personally. And for all I know, next week a news story about him sacrificing small kittens on pagan altars could come out, and that's why Olivia really broke up with him. But, given the information we know, these are the main differences I see between Tim Tebow's chastity vs. Josh Duggar's purity culture.


1. Control Others vs. Control Yourself
      The Duggars monologue about what girls should wear, chaperone every date, and encourage quick courtships and engagements to make sure no one has sex. Michelle Duggar wrote a long blogpost about why wives need to give their husbands lot of sex to make sure their man doesn't cheat. Control the world, because we could never expect a man to control his own urges.
     One look at Olivia's instagram shows you she wore next to nothing a lot. If Josh Duggar had dated Olivia and something sexual had happened, Jim Bob and Michelle probably would have blamed the girl for defrauding him.
     Tebow, on the other hand, had beliefs about chastity and stuck by them. What his ex-girlfriend chose to do or wear was no excuse to him. He was trying to control himself, not her. And apparently he succeeded.

2. High Standards for Others vs. Highest Standards for Yourself
         Josh Duggar viewed porn, had affairs, and slept with prostitutes. Do you think if his wife had done any of that, Josh would have stood for that? No way. Josh Duggar wanted a pure wife, but he himself didn't care about being pure.
       Tebow, on the other hand, was willing to date a woman who obviously had lower chastity standards, but he held himself to a higher chastity standard because that's what he wanted for him. He focused on his own standards for himself, not on making anyone else conform.

3. Doesn't Have Self-Control vs. Does Have Self-Control
      Josh Duggar obviously believed pre-marital sex, molesting his sisters, porn, and cheating weren't good ideas. But given the chance to do them, he jumped at it. Tebow believes in chastity and he kept his convictions. Some people on twitter are saying, just look at that very attractive woman's very scantily-clad instagram pictures. Tebow must not even be attracted to women or have any sexual urges.
       Baloney. It's called self-control. And Tebow has it. Josh Duggar doesn't.

       And I think that's the thing I admire most about Tebow in this situation. Self-control. You will need sexual self-control to make any relationship last long-term. For example, you'll need the self-control to not cheat on your spouse.
       Did you know that statistically the time husbands are most likely to cheat on their wife is while she is pregnant? Guess those cheating men didn't have the self-control to survive the unsexiness of morning sickness. Would they have had the self-control to not accept a sexual offer from a Miss Universe model? Probably not.
      So if you decide to practice chastity, or to teach your children to practice chastity, don't make it about controlling others. Make it about self-control. Because Tim Tebow is a much, much better guy than Josh Duggar.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Enter to WIN "What's a Forever Family?"

           The anticipated sequel of What's a Foster Family? is now in print.  You can buy What's a Forever Family? on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Forever-Family
           Check out the first book here: http://www.amazon.com/Whats-Foster-Family

Or enter to WIN an electronic copy by commenting below.


Book Blurb
On Tuesday, Bonnie’s brothers arrived.
“We’re twins,” said Charlie.
“But I’m bigger,” said Harry.
“No, you’re not,” said Charlie. He punched Harry.
Harry whacked Charlie back.
“Don’t hit,” Alex told them.
They both stuck their tongues out at Alex.
In this sequel to What's a Foster Family?, elementary-school-aged Alex York is about to gain not one, not two, but three forever siblings. But becoming a forever family isn't quite as smooth a road as Alex envisioned.

Endorsements:

           The story shows shows how life gets more complicated—but more interesting—when children are added to the family. Kids will love the adventure led by two mischievous foster children, while learning what to do in case of an emergency.
~Lydia R. Shoaf

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Enter to WIN Advance E-Copy of the Plum Pudding Bride

The Plum Pudding Bride is here. In print! You can pre-order a copy on Amazon now: http://www.amazon.com/Pudding-Bride. It will be delivered to your kindle, December 1st.


Want to read it before that? Post a comment below to enter to WIN an advance e-copy.

Here's the blurb and a short excerpt.

Patience Callahan is twenty-five and fast becoming an old maid. But she’s spent most of her life dreaming over romantic European literature and wants a dashing d’Artagnan, not a bookish Bob Cratchit. Alas, the Colorado town of Gilman’s chock-full of Cratchit’s without a d’Artagnan in sight.
Peter Foote, the general store owner, has been in love with Patience for seven years. But every time he’s on the verge of proposing, she cuts him off; he can only imagine on purpose. This time though, dadburn it, he’s going to go through with it.
Ring in hand, he’s moments from touching knee to floor, when Patience pulls out a list of mail-order bride advertisements and declares her intention of marrying a backwoods stranger on Christmas Day.
He’s got two weeks to change her mind.


The first page of Plum Pudding Bride

         There she was, the girl he’d loved for seven years. And she was sorting preserve cases at his store, as she’d done for the last four years. She stood not six paces from him, and yet so far away.
          Peter’s fingers squeezed the ring box in his jacket. This time he was going to go through with it, no matter if she pointedly changed the subject, or hastily found excuses to be elsewhere, or pushed other eligible young women at him. Dadburn it, today he’d have his answer, a “yay” or a “nay” instead of living in this wretched bog of uncertainty.
         The store had already closed. He just needed to grate the key in the locks while Patience tidied the shelves. The falling winter sun made long shadows on the floor between them. Now she had put down the strawberry preserves and taken an inventory list. She moved towards the mercantile section.
          His heavy boots clomped on the hardwood floor, but his heart clomped louder. His fingers tightened around the red velvet box. It was a white gold ring and a miner’s cut diamond. Size six, as he’d discovered four years ago when he’d stolen her glove.
           Patience’s brown hair twisted back around her ears. She always complained it lay too flat, and said her younger sister teased her about having a mottled complexion. But he’d never seen hair shine like hers, and her soft skin set off brown eyes that possessed a luster no girl in Gilman could match. And her smile. Oh, her smile. She could turn Antarctica into the tropics by just curving her lips.
           A head-high shelf of baking perishables hemmed them in on one side while bolts of fabric made up the other side of the narrow aisle.
          “Patience Callahan, will you,” Peter slid the box out of his pocket, and started to lower one knee to the ground.
           Her gaze flicked to the ring box. “Why, Peter,” she stepped into him, blocking all attempts at kneeling. “I’ve been meaning to tell you my news.”
           Her long fingers were slender. Yet, they could move lickety-split when sorting spools or organizing canned goods.
           “I just received this.” Patience tugged a newspaper clipping out of her pocket along with a small daguerreotype. “This is Arnie Dehaven. He’s a Montana rancher. I’ve answered his mail-order bride advertisement and I’m marrying him.”



What do you think, does Peter Foote get the girl? Should he? You can pre-order a copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Pudding-Bride

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

History Like You've Never Read It Before: My Freshman History Professor's New Book

         Nine AM, Monday morning, Freshman year, I sat in a tiered classroom with thirty other students ready for History of the United States I, a required class I didn’t choose. Was I excited? Not really. And the professor was teaching three sections of the class that day, so I doubted he was enthused either.
        But then Dr. Alan Snyder took the podium. And I couldn’t rip my eyes away from his PowerPoint slides. 


            I had hated history for the last eighteen years of my short life. Rosemary Sutcliff’s fictional tales of dark love stories set in Roman Britain were as close as I ever came to willingly subjecting myself to history.
            But Dr. Snyder taught that required level 1 American History class in a way that riveted all one hundred Freshman students in our tiny campus body, including me.
            And I didn’t even gripe all the nights I stayed up to midnight trying to make the dates stick in my brain, which was more suited to logic puzzles than memorization. Because during those three hours a week from 9 am to 10 am, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Dr. Snyder captured my imagination with the story of history.
            When Dr. Snyder described how, in 1619, Jamestown imported the first “tobacco” brides, he so captured our minds, that soon after, with the help of some overly-imaginative male students, three-foot-tall balloon aliens invaded the college campus led by the green, inflatable Chairman Icalock, who boldly entreated Freshman girls to attend the spring dance with him.
            I still remember the video Dr. Snyder showed of Lego men acting out a famous battle scene, can’t remember which battle anymore, but it’s been ten years. And every time I salt my eggs, I guiltily hear Dr. Snyder’s voice recounting how Henry Ford wouldn’t hire a man who salted his food before tasting it.
           During my Freshman year, Dr. Snyder mentioned a book he was working on about Whittaker Chambers. And now that it’s going to print, I'm going to interrupt my normal diet of fiction and mental health books to read about history. 

Endorsements for Dr. Alan Snyder's book

The Witness and the President is a fascinating book. The writing, the research, the scholarship, the insights, and an intellectual depth and historical import befitting its weighty subjects, Alan Snyder has produced a superb work. From the book’s title to its final sentences, this is a must-read for anyone interested in not merely the two principal characters but the presidency, the Cold War, international relations, Soviet history, and even the broader history of the 20th century. . . . Alan Snyder has taken us beyond conventional biography, and beyond “yet another” book on Ronald Reagan. His focus on Reagan and Chambers is completely unique. His book, likes its subjects, is without peer.

--Paul Kengor, Professor of Political Science and Executive Director of the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College and author of God and Ronald Reagan and The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism

Alan Snyder has written a fascinating dual biography of two remarkable American anti-Communists, profoundly dissimilar in temperament yet united in their conviction that Communism was utterly evil. Each man in his own sphere contributed mightily to Soviet Communism's eventual collapse and thus to the survival of the West in their time. But this probing book is more than a simple biography. It compels us to ponder the religious dimension of the long battle that Whittaker Chambers and Ronald Reagan waged, as well as a disturbing question: does the post-Communist West possess the spiritual resources required to flourish in freedom, or has it sown the seeds of its own demise?
--George H. Nash, author of The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 
Alan Snyder illuminates in this fine study that Ronald Reagan's understanding of freedom, and the obligations it imposed on him as a statesman and leader of America, were forged in the Witness of Whittaker Chambers. This book uncovers for us the truth that the path of liberty is a path of sacrifice and love. Every student of American liberty should read this book, breathe in its contents, and think how they might reinvigorate their lives, their families, and their communities with the wisdom of Chambers and Reagan.

--Richard Reinsch, author of Whittaker Chambers: The Spirit of a Counterrevolutionary

In this thoroughly researched and beautifully written groundbreaking study, K. Alan Snyder convincingly shows the profound influence that Whittaker Chambers had on Ronald Reagan’s eventual political transformation – an influence that continued through his presidency. With the publication of The Witness and the President, Snyder’s reputation as a leading authority on the subject is enhanced even further. Despite all we thought we knew about Reagan already, Snyder’s book is a genuinely new story and must-read to understand the optimistic mindset of our 40th president long before he reached the nation’s highest office. It has been said that Reagan was the right leader at the right time, and – thanks to The Witness and the President – now we understand why.

—Luke A. Nichter, Associate Professor of History, Texas A&M University – Central Texas and author of the New York Times bestseller The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972



K. Alan Snyder is professor of history at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. He has also taught at Indiana Wesleyan University, Regent University, and Patrick Henry College. Dr. Snyder is the author of three other books: Mission: Impeachable—The House Managers and the Historic Impeachment of President Clinton, which was a main selection for the Conservative Book Club in 2001; Defining Noah Webster: A Spiritual Biography; and If the Foundations Are Destroyed: Biblical Principles and Civil Government. Two of Dr. Snyder’s upper-level history courses are “The Witness of Whittaker Chambers” and “Ronald Reagan and Modern American Conservatism.” http://ponderingprinciples.com/

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Transport Yourself to Ancient Rome with a 4 Book Contract

The year: 85 A.D. under Emperor Domitian. The place: the far outskirts of the Roman Empire in the barbaric province of Britannia. The story, well you can soon read it yourself, because I just got a book contract!



A four book contract to be exact, which follows one Roman patrician family across the span of three decades. I started the first book, For Life or Until, almost six years ago now. So I can't tell you how excited I am to finally see it in print.

If you like danger, adventure, love stories that don't work out so well--at least at first, a rich historical backdrop, and the clash of stubborn soul against stubborn soul, then this is the series for you.

I am still searching for a handful of beta readers to read a completed manuscript after it has been critiqued and revised and give me their reader's reactions. Interested? Here's the criteria. I would love to have your help.

1. part of my target audience i.e. female
2. decently well-read in the women's fiction/romance genre
3. opinionated, so you can tell me everything you disliked, and I can edit accordingly :)
4. a swift reader
5. not interested in a beta read swap (unfortunately, authors, due to time constraints this year, I can't do a beta read of your book in return.)

Interested in reading this series? Look for the first book to go to print early next year. More information and book blurbs coming soon.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

1 Reason You Should Play Football With Your Kids

First published on the Writing Prompts Thoughts and Ideas blog.

My earliest memories of football involve sweat, panting breaths, and scraped up knees. Growing up, we used to play tag football at our local park.
Every Sunday afternoon, my brothers and I would change out of church clothes, wolf down leftovers, and then I’d pick up the phone. It was one of those Dark Ages, dial ones that plugged into the wall and had a cord. Peering at the address book taped to the refrigerator, I’d type in numbers and ring up all the neighbor kids. My dad would get the pigskin out of the garage, and we’d all head out to our neighborhood park.
I was never any good, but I sure had fun. My dad would lift his arm, fling a pass. I’d run forward, legs churning, trying to beat the older boys who seemed to have some sort of magic dust on their hands when it came to catching footballs.
Sprint, jump, crash, I fell to the ground streaking dirt up the jeans my mom had just washed.
Swooping in, my older brother grabbed the football for his team. “You catch like a girl.”
“You think that’s an insult? Girls are amazing at everything.” I stuck my tongue out at him.
He shucked the football to the neighbor kid who was a runner. That kid was younger than me, but man could he ever run. If he ever passed your scrimmage line, rather than chase after, you just flung yourself on the grass, admitting defeat.
But he hadn’t caught the ball yet. My younger brother lunged forward, both hands extended for a two-hand touch tackle.
The ball veered right, my dad jumped.
Interception!
Some autumns we played on that small field so hard we dug ruts in the grass and the county landscapers would have to come out and shut down the field until they could plant new seed.
And as soon as they’d re-open the field, we’d be back to football again.
Most of the other kids’ parents didn’t come. Their moms might drop them off, their dads might stay a few minutes and say ‘hi’, their parents might take a walk around the neighborhood while we played. But my dad was always there. Hurt knees, sprained wrists, shoulders made sore by being a weekend warrior with ever growing kids, he did it all.
Now that I’m a parent of a three-year-old little boy, I sometimes think of those Sunday afternoons playing football. To me, a hectic mom whose greatest desire in life is for an hour of peace and quiet, it might be just one Sunday afternoon, an inconveniently loud or rowdy game of pigskin. But to them, the kids that grow in our hearts and homes, it’s their childhood. And I don’t want my son to remember me sitting his childhood out on the bench.
Thanks, Dad, for all the memories.
What was an activity you loved to do with your mom or dad (or other mentor) growing up? Share some of your memories.

Read the original post here: https://writingpromptsthoughtsideas.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/one-reason-you-should-play-football-with-your-kids/

Monday, September 28, 2015

Sneak a Peak: Book Blurb Reveal for Plum Pudding Bride

             If you haven't heard, I have a Western novella coming out this Christmas. Read the book blurb and the excerpt below.


Plum Pudding Bride
by Anne Garboczi Evans



Patience Callahan is twenty-five and fast becoming an old maid. But she’s spent most of her life dreaming over romantic European literature and wants a dashing d’Artagnan, not a bookish Bob Cratchit. Alas, the Colorado town of Gilman’s chock-full of Cratchit’s without a d’Artagnan in sight.
Peter Foote, the general store owner, has been in love with Patience for seven years. But every time he’s on the verge of proposing, she cuts him off; he can only imagine on purpose. This time though, dadburn it, he’s going to go through with it.
Ring in hand, he’s moments from touching knee to floor, when Patience pulls out a list of mail-order bride advertisements and declares her intention of marrying a backwoods stranger on Christmas Day.
He’s got two weeks to change her mind.


The first page of Plum Pudding Bride

         There she was, the girl he’d loved for seven years. And she was sorting preserve cases at his store, as she’d done for the last four years. She stood not six paces from him, and yet so far away.
          Peter’s fingers squeezed the ring box in his jacket. This time he was going to go through with it, no matter if she pointedly changed the subject, or hastily found excuses to be elsewhere, or pushed other eligible young women at him. Dadburn it, today he’d have his answer, a “yay” or a “nay” instead of living in this wretched bog of uncertainty.
         The store had already closed. He just needed to grate the key in the locks while Patience tidied the shelves. The falling winter sun made long shadows on the floor between them. Now she had put down the strawberry preserves and taken an inventory list. She moved towards the mercantile section.
          His heavy boots clomped on the hardwood floor, but his heart clomped louder. His fingers tightened around the red velvet box. It was a white gold ring and a miner’s cut diamond. Size six, as he’d discovered four years ago when he’d stolen her glove.
           Patience’s brown hair twisted back around her ears. She always complained it lay too flat, and said her younger sister teased her about having a mottled complexion. But he’d never seen hair shine like hers, and her soft skin set off brown eyes that possessed a luster no girl in Gilman could match. And her smile. Oh, her smile. She could turn Antarctica into the tropics by just curving her lips.
           A head-high shelf of baking perishables hemmed them in on one side while bolts of fabric made up the other side of the narrow aisle.
          “Patience Callahan, will you,” Peter slid the box out of his pocket, and started to lower one knee to the ground.
           Her gaze flicked to the ring box. “Why, Peter,” she stepped into him, blocking all attempts at kneeling. “I’ve been meaning to tell you my news.”
           Her long fingers were slender. Yet, they could move lickety-split when sorting spools or organizing canned goods.
           “I just received this.” Patience tugged a newspaper clipping out of her pocket along with a small daguerreotype. “This is Arnie Dehaven. He’s a Montana rancher. I’ve answered his mail-order bride advertisement and I’m marrying him.”



What do you think? The kind of story you could enjoy? If you want to know when it comes into print (this fall!), like my Facebook page www.facebook.com/annegarboczievans or sign up for my email list on the right-hand side.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Columbine Bride by Davalynn Spencer: Enter to WIN

Davalynn Spencer is another wonderful author who I've had the good fortune to get to know in the last few years. Below is her guest blogpost as well as some information on her new novella, Columbine Bride, that is part of the novella collection, 12 Brides of Summer. You can enter to WIN a free e-copy of the novella collection by commenting below. Deadline 10/7/15
I just read the book blurb so far, and I already know I NEED to buy this book. Read the book blurb for yourself below, and tell me what you think.

Rest for the Weary Soul
by Davlynn Spencer


Feeling overwhelmed is a common malady, regardless of one’s beliefs, occupation, age, or gender. And it’s an idea I explore in my newly released Barbour novella, The Columbine Bride.


Lucy Powell is a weary widow with two small children and a neglected ranch in the Colorado mountains. In her struggle to revive the ranch her husband left behind, she often pleads with God via a familiar scripture to show her “the path of life” (Psalm 18:11).

But Lucy has an aversion to charity that she can’t repay. Neighboring rancher, Buck Reiter, has his own ideas about watching a woman do all the work by herself—and he nearly gets himself shot in the process of lending a hand.

As they work side by side over the summer, Lucy and Buck discover more than they thought they were looking for, which is exactly what happens when we let the Lord show us the path of life.

This story is a continuation of my Christmas novella The Snowbound Bride in which Buck plays a secondary role as the hero’s uncle. Another verse from Psalm 18 offers the first scripture to bookend these two tales:

I have set the Lord always before me;
because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Psalm 16:8

Psalm 16 is my “life Psalm.” Through various journeys, struggles, and challenges, I have found it to be a sustaining promise of the Lord’s provision and guidance. I’m delighted that I could use two important verses from it to reflect that guidance in these two stories.


May I challenge you to read Psalm 16 with an open heart, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed. The Lord is right there ahead of you and beside you, leading you in the path of life if you will let Him.

Buy 12 Brides of Summer:







Twitter: @davalynnspencer





Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Because Two People Fell in Love: Amanda Zuber Shares Her Proposal Story

It's proposal month on my blog. Read our story here. Today I'm thrilled to share this story about how newly-wed blogger Amanda Zuber fell in love. Note: single ladies, she's got some great ideas on how to fall in love at a prayer service. ;)


Falling in Love

           Our story starts out not much different than everyone else's. Boy meets girl. Girl falls in love with boy. Boy is completely clueless . . .
          We first met at college as we were both apart of the music department as drummers, but because of my stubborn nature I ignored him for the first four months after meeting him. After those four months, I had disappeared from school (I'm sure he didn't notice), but it wasn't until I returned that he noticed the change in me. I was forlorn, sad, and no longer teased him, or yelled at him for setting up the drums wrong, again. I just was. Little did he know that the one man in my world, my grandfather, had passed away from lung cancer and I was there to witness it all. When I returned to school, a piece of my heart was missing and I thought there would be a longing there for a long time. Boy was I wrong, the Lord knew exactly what my heart needed and He put it there for me almost instantly.
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          Upon returning to school, I was asked to put up posters for the choir concert, and who else should happen by to offer his help? The "new guy" of course. Too tired and depressed to care, I said sure, and the spark became lit once more. It took all week of me thinking about him, how stupid I was for not noticing him, his beautiful kindness, and really starting to obsess over him before the Lord stepped in once more. The two of us, with a mutual friend attended church each week and this week was the first week we chose to take notice or speak to each other. Luckily for us there, was a church picnic after church and our mutual friend was in on the whole ordeal. Thanks to her, I now have beautiful photos of myself falling in love with him. 262941_10151011106941610_1876068622_n "Somehow" we ended up on the same foosball team and so our time together began.   262857_10151011107006610_1141434128_n             As to his nature, he was completely unaware that this crazy girl next to him was head over heels for him. (Fedora and all.)   After the picnic, we were invited to yet another church, and so the three of us went to this new church, where I was lucky enough to hold "that cute guy's" hand during prayer. The evening followed with a trip to Denny's before we returned to campus. Two agonizing days later, he finally came to realize he had feelings for me as well.
         After a long walk around our town, the conversation came to pass: I turned to him and said "Let's be honest, I really like you, but I'm so done with this whole dating thing. If you really want to date me then you're going to have to marry me."
          He thought about it for a minute, and nodded, "I'm not much into dating either....I guess I'll have to marry you then." and that was it. We started courting (dating with the intent of marriage.)  

  Fast forward 9 months.
          Our routines had become set in stone, he would walk me in between classes. We would have meals together in the cafeteria. And we spent pretty much every waking moment together. We could even see each other through our dorm windows and I'd love waving goodnight to him every night. We continued attending the second church that we went to together and we attended weekly youth group meetings.
          January 22, 2013, four days into the new school term and it was -30f that night. We hustled over to the youth group meeting and during the entire meeting I knew something was up. He was not himself in the least and I could barely hold his attention. He then asked me to go on a walk to the edge of town (um hello, it's negative 30 degrees!!), but I agreed none the less. We walked the same route that we had taken that first night together until we got to the edge of town underneath the vast field of stars that filled the sky. (I wish now that I had taken a camera but alas, the only memories I have of this moment are mine and mine alone.)
           The train station behind us was closed and dark, the streetlights were out (again, welcome to Vermont) and the sky was filled with a massive full moon and as many stars as you can imagine. We were both frozen but we held each other as we gazed up with awe. Then he turned to me, pulling my attention away from the sky, and he got down on one knee, and through tears on both our parts he asked me to marry him. I said "yes" of course and it was a beautiful moment that I will never forget. He took no elaborate planning or technology of the sort to have such a beautiful and wonder filled moment. We then hurried to the general store to warm up and ran into one of our friends who was working that night (again, surprise, Vermont problems.) He gave us some tissues and let us warm ourselves before we headed back to the college.
            The next few days went by in a blur with congratulations, love and kindness from friends, family and strangers. I look back now and wish I had taken more pictures, written more in my journal and just appreciated those moments more. We took engagement photos in February (a day that was a whole -1f before windchill!) and they were beautiful! Here's a few of my favorites! 207346_10151255973741610_1339195062_n   14822_10151255973311610_525357241_n   My beautiful engagement ring that was a family heirloom that he got from my aunt. My beautiful engagement ring that was a family heirloom that he got from my aunt.420335_10151255973076610_1845679479_n We had to keep warm! The photo shoot took over an hour! But we loved our photographer!   Since then we spent over two years planning our wedding, due to my battle with cancer and financial issues (read more here) and finally got married this past May.10489735_979145225463509_944631375194691608_n This is the same pastor who was there the night I fell in love with him (from the second service) that was the pastor at our ceremony. We now adore that church and have together devoted our lives to Christ.   11390345_979144008796964_5006992488949728813_n   11295552_979146562130042_6493443428672876748_n Our entire wedding party.  
       I hope you've enjoyed reading my love story as much as I've enjoyed telling it. If you would like to read more about me or any of my posts, feel free to come on over to my blog A Pinch of Faith, where I talk about living life as a Christian wife and bunny mamma. You can also find me on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Feel free to edit some if necessary, etc. Let me know if you need anything else.

Friday, September 11, 2015

What's a Forever Family?: Going to Print SOON!

Remember Helen Cochrane and my picture book about foster care, What's a Foster Family? Available for purchase here: amazon.com/whats_foster_family.  The sequel is coming out SOON!


In What's a Forever Family?, Alex's a few years older and he's about to get more forever siblings than he bargained for. Follow the ups and downs of Alex's adjustment from only child to being part of a family of six as a mischievous sibling set joins his home forever. Laugh, cry, and smile as you watch the children bond through Helen Cochrane's delightful illustrations.

Geared at ages 3-7, this book is an excellent way to introduce your child to how families grow through adoption. It's also good reading for children who have friends, cousins, or extended family who are adopted.

What's a Forever Family? will release in November in honor of National Adoption Month.

Interested in being a reviewer or hosting a book giveaway on your blog? Shoot me an email at apgarboczi @ gmail.com

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sneak Peek At My Book Cover!

    In case you didn't know, I have a Christmas novella coming out this Christmas season with Pelican Book Group. I just got a copy of the book cover. What do you think?




    I love it! No precise release date yet, but I'm sure I'll be receiving that soon.
     What does the book cover make you think the story is about? Of course, I wrote it, so I know. But for me, the expression on that girl's face really makes me wonder what is going on. Oh and the top cover quote that my editor wrote. Love it!
       Are you planning on reading a copy when it's in print?


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Love the Iran Deal? Hate the Iran Deal?: Can You Still Please Write Your Senator?

      Think the Iran deal's the best piece of diplomacy in the last century? Think the Iran's deal the worst example of American weakness and pandering in the last hundred years? Either way, can you please write to your senators as they vote very soon here and tell them that freeing the four innocent American citizens imprisoned in Iran is a must?

      Saeed Abedini is probably the most famous of the four imprisoned Americans. It's been three years of being repeatedly beaten in a brutal Iranian jail for him. He only went over to Iran to help with some local orphanages. Here's a video Saeed's wife made a few months ago, when Saeed missed yet another of his son's birthdays.




      If you're in Colorado, like me, here's the links to write to your senators.
Email Senator Bennet: https://www.bennet.senate.gov/?p=contact
Email Senator Gardner: http://www.gardner.senate.gov/contact-cory/email-cory

      If you live in a different state, you can go here to find your senators. (Just choose your state from the drop-down menu.) http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

       Not an American? We'd still love your support for our imprisoned innocents. You can sign the change.org petition for one of the Americans, Saeed Abedini, here: https://www.change.org/p/save-american-pastor-abedini-s-life-by-getting-him-released-iran-s-prison

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Proposal Month: J'nell Ciesielski's Story

      Seven years ago this month, two orbits collided, and out of the ensuing dust rose a new solar system merged from the two. Or more straight-forwardly, it's proposal month on my blog because my man popped the question seven years ago. Read our story here.
     My fellow author and critique partner, J'nell Ciesielski shares her engagement story in a guest blogpost below. Check out more of J'nell's work at: http://www.jnellciesielski.com/ I love her World War novels!



J'nell's Engagement Story



Something was up. He was acting too weird and the minute he announced he needed to run to the store to pick up a few things, I knew something was going on. We’d met almost two years ago when we both got stationed at Ramstein Airforce Base in Germany for jobs as imagery analysts. The morning of July 5, 2008 dawned bright and sunny, an unusual day as we both had it off from work. After running to the store, he comes to get me armed with a picnic basket and nerves. It was then I sorta knew, but I didn’t want to ruin all his hard work so I kept silent and didn’t mention how bad he was shaking.

So we drive out to an open field and tramp through the tall grass, him with picnic basket and me with a blanket that is very difficult to balance while watching where I was walking because who knows what’s hidden in that wall of grass? I do. I know. Things like snakes.

We finally make it out with all limbs still attached to a clearing by a stream surrounded by trees. Settling on the blanket, he starts pulling things out of the basket: grapes, cheese, wine, a shiny deep red ring box. I don’t remember all the words he said, mostly how bad he was shaking and then as soon as he placed the beautiful ring on my figure how all of his nerves transferred to me. And how I couldn’t stop staring at my newly engaged finger!

We didn’t waste time setting a date. Three months later to be exact at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion in beautiful Florida, my home state. It was a dream wedding with all the special touches that only Disney can create. And of course the lingering memories that only family can conjure. Like my dad telling the wedding coordinator to get the show on the road, my grandpa telling the musician to play some country on that there fiddle, my new brother-in-law toasting us as ‘happiness and happiness’, and our limo getting hijacked because a guest didn’t want to trek out to his vehicle in the rain making the new bride and groom stand on the curb awaiting his return.

But what would a wedding be without a coup de grace moment or two? Bryan’s boutonniere snapped in two moments before he walked out, and my parents’ cat ate my veil an hour before the ceremony. We did our best to laugh about it, and eight years later it still brings a smile to our faces. 

Sorta. I’m still not happy with that cat, but I am happily married to a wonderful man who still doesn’t bat an eye at my craziness. Bless his heart.
 






Born in Florida, J'nell spent a happy childhood splashing on the sugar white beaches only known to the Sunshine Stare. While in middle school, her dad got a job transfer to Texas where she graduated from Texas A&M with a B.S. in Psychology. Not knowing what else to do with her life, and seeing as how writing wasn’t paying the bills yet, she joined the Air Force. Stationed in Germany, she was privileged to travel to France, Austria, the Netherlands, England, and her favorite, Scotland. She also met her awesome husband over there. Finding him was worth wearing camouflage and combat boots every day. After serving their four years, they now live in Virginia where she's a stay-at-home mom to a busy two-year-old and a very lazy beagle.
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJnellCiesielski