... Even the worst heartaches can become heartstrings to God's hope, comfort, encouragement, joy, peace and love...

Welcome! As a fan of the cartoon character Maxine, I enjoy her witty remarks. But when I
read my blogs & other writing to her, she's not very responsive- even when I'm wearing my bunny slippers like hers! She just doesn't get it!
Although she's funnier than I am, I do pray that this site will bring encouragement to your day! I'd love to hear from you! Unlike Maxine, you can leave me a message via the Comments. Shalom, Connie


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Book Review: Through the Storm: A real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World.

from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Lynne Spears, mother of Jamie Lynne, Bryan and Britney Spears, tells what it is really like when your children are reaching for fame and fortune. Because I do not keep up with contemporary music, Briteny Spears was only a name to me. So I felt that I would be an unbiased reader.
I found the story of Lynne's marriage and children to be told very defensively. Her challenge of telling the truth was not convincing. Nor was the faith that she claimed carried her through the tough times. It seemed like an afterthought. I don't wish to be judgemental. Her faith just didn't come through as life-sustaining, thus it was not an encouragement to me.

The more I read, the more biased I felt. I could understand how her co-dependent behaviors added to her problems being married to an alcoholic. But being victims of multiple unscrupulous managers, agents etc.? Once, maybe twice. But as a college graduate and business owner, could she really have been that naive? Blaming it on her small town, Southern upbringing was a poor excuse for allowing injustices to go on over and over again.

While I don't doubt that she loves her children, my impression is that she needs to accept more responsibility for her actions or lack of action. By the time I got to the end of her book, my main thought was that it never would have been published without the name Briteny Spears. (Thomas Nelson: was the dollar or her story the purpose of printing this book? Sorry, that's where my thoughts led me.)truth

While reading it during dinner one evening, I asked a young waitress to tell me her impression of Briteny Spears. She responded that Briteny really messed up her life, but" she's trying to put it back together again." I then asked if she'd like to read the book. "Yes!" was her quick reply, but then she reads all the tabloids, too.

So is this book much better? I'd like to think that it was more truthful. The writing itself was mediocre; but most important, there is no real take away value for the reader.

Britney fans will be disappointed, as it is her mother's story, not hers. Mothers with rising stars may appreciate a view of what's to be gained in a tabloid world. Maybe, you need to read it for yourself & decide. But his a book that I can not recommend.



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Election Thoughts

A writer friend has posted a thought provoking challenge at http://www.rtsponderings.wordpress.com. Scroll down to Oct. 8th's guest writer, Les James' thoughts "If My Bible Were..."

I must admit, I was found guilty. Of what? Of being fearful and anxious about our upcoming election. Because I live in Oregon, my ballot is on my desk waiting for decisions to be made even though I am not happy with our choices. I am concerned about the effect of rising food costs, gas prices, health care, etc.

As one of many on a fixed income, I am constantly having to find ways to survive when my medical costs take more than half of my income. I am seeking inexpensive, creative ways to give gifts to my grandchildren, family and friends. I am a writer with a zero budget... even buying ink for my printer is difficult. Life is not easy.

Then I read Les ' challenge. I am not practicing what I say I believe. My faith is the foundation of my life. Yet my mind is taking me into areas of thinking that are not compatible with that foundation.

Nevertheless, I will not give up the freedom to vote. I will sit down and read the resources I've gathered for my decision-making process. But FIRST I will ask the Lord for His guidance.

My life is evidence of God's interventions and answers to prayer. From giving me a baby to raise for Him to the basics of having enough money to buy food to eat, gas for my car, and medication to keep me from being a burden upon my family or society.

Like the Children of Israel, I moan and groan, and complain. Too quickly I forget how He has provided guidance, protection and manna.

An old song says, "Get On Board Little Children..." I am. I am getting back to my foundation of faith ~ for it has not failed me. I will fill out and mail in my ballot. And then, I'll leave the running of the USA to the winners of the election.

Why? Because it has nothing to do with campaign promises. God is in control of this world that He created. Therefore, my actions must reflect my faith and I must set aside my fears and anxiety by "Letting Go & Letting God."

Thanks Les for the wake up call!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


News that won't reach the local newspaper, but keeps me "happy dancing" & wanting to share my joy with you:

COWG's* Contest Winners--to be read at Fall Literary Harvest October 17th:
First Place: Mike Rettig, Last Run
Second Place: Cameron Prow, See, Hear, and Speak No Evil
Third Place: Suzanne Burns, Casting Call
Selected to be read at Fall Literary Harvest:
Elsie Rochna, Split Decision
RaeAnn Proost, Cupcakes Cooling On The Counter
Alex Weiss, Wild Life; Rumble Ponies; Rootsteps; I Remember; Enough
Constance Gilbert, Dandelions of Life
Jo Ann Senior, Revenge of the Devilish Donut
Bill Baber, The Innocence of Summer; Next Nowhere; Your Blues
Carol Brian, How Canada Geese Behave; High School English Teacher; Standing in Line at the Post Office; Virtual Reality; Why Are You Weeping?

I am in great company as several of these writers are published authors.

* Central Oregon Writers Guild

Monday, September 29, 2008

Troubles Chosen

I recently was honored to have a story chosen for inclusion in volume 2 of Quilting Patches of Life by Lori Wagner.

While it truly makes me happy to have my story published, I was re-blessed as I went back to an awful time of my life, and saw how God blessed me and helped me to grow closer to Him.

Although we don't choose the bad experiences of our lives, they are often turning points along our life's journey. When we return to them, we are then able to see the ripple effects ~ how God has used them for not only ourselves, but for others also.

Would I choose the bad times? No, but in retrospect, I am thankful for each one as they represent the patches on my life's quilt. I know that I just see the underside with its knots and tangles, but God sees the finished topside. He will show it to me someday. Then I will see the silver and gold threads that piece it all together. In the meantime, I am satisfied knowing I'm a work-in-progress.

Selah ~


Friday, September 05, 2008

Bunny Slippers & PJs

It's getting close... this year's Muse Writers' Conference will be held in mid-October for one week.

I'm excited to return ... to learn more about writing, publishing, editing, marketing, & (breath) just being with other writers from around the world for a whole week!

Don't ever let anyone tell you that nothing's free! Because this conference is totally free. And I can attend in my pj's wearing my bunny slippers. (Yes, I do have them!) It's online Monday through Sunday... and it begins at 6 a.m. (my time). You thought I was kidding about the pj's... umhm... I wasn't!

I am also pleased that some of my writer friends will be attending, too. We're in the process of signing up for the sessions we wish to "attend." Some will be live using a chat room. Some will be taking place via ongoing e-mails posted on the conference site... sort of like blogging with comments. Some have assignments to work on.

I love learning! My little gray cells are already getting stirred up in this blender brain of mine. By conference week they'll be on high speed!

Meanwhile, I am pleased to announce that a story of mine, "God's Healing Laughter" has been selected for Patches of Life, Vol. 2. I'll let you know when it's published.

I hope I do as well with the articles I'm currently working on. One is for an ezine (my monthly column: Connie's Coda at www.positivelyfeminine.org) and 3 contest submissions. My local writers' group is publishing a chapbook; I'll have 3 short stories in it.

"My" ezine: 4Him2u is already posted and is loaded with encouraging stories and poems. The snail mail newsletter, I write & edit, will be going out next week.

I may be wearing those bunny slippers, but I'm hopping... duh, I'm mean I'm madly writing. "Til the next time I've a moment to chat, be sure to share an encouraging word & a smile :) with someone today!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Obama: a Book Review

Book Review: The Faith of Barak Obama
by Stephen Mansfield
Thomas Nelson Publishing, 2008

Mansfield offers an understanding of the Religious Right vs. the Religious Left, a comparison of Hillary Clinton and former Presidents' personal religious influences, and the basis for Barack Obama's faith.

He contends that Obama has gone through a journey of self-discovery, which was complicated due to being biracial and the conflicting religious upbringing by his parents and grandmother. A man with intellectual curiosity and doubts, but “dedicated to discovering his (God's) truth.”

Looking for a “vessel” for his beliefs, praying to “take stock of himself,” and “battling a lifestyle of detachment,” Obama finds religious commitment and an affirmation of his African heritage through Reverend Wright's mentoring and church. Thus, Obama states that he is “unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian.”

At the end of the book, Mansfield discusses the healing of our nation saying that Obama can distance himself from our country's history that affects the previous generations. But Obama's words that Christianity is “but one religion tree” and that he cannot impose his religious views on another, cause me to question, as others have, whether this is the “required religious dance” of all politicians or not.

For Barack Obama, or anyone in leadership, the knowledge of other belief systems in order to function within the world's diversity, is commendable and wise. But Obama's search for a vessel for his beliefs vs being a willing vessel for God poses more questions for me. I wonder whether St. Augustine's words are still unfulfilled in the life of Barack Obama: “You (God) have formed us for Yourself, and our heart's are restless till they find their rest in You.”

The Faith of Barack Obama is a worthwhile read in that I am able to articulate my concerns better. However, I didn't find the answers I was seeking. Maybe, you will.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Open Mouth Inserft Foot Moment

I don't suppose you ever wish you had thought before you spoke. Recently, I wished my tongue came with an eraser. What I said was okay, but it was how I said it. Now, I am truly sad about that as I am an encourager- well, most of the time...

It reminded me of this :

Before speaking ask yourself, "Is it..... "
T rue
H elpful
I nspiring
N ecessary
K ind

A good reminder.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Last Moment

Lord, You know a woman's work is never done. So I'll just drop this in the mailbox on our way...

This is my last letter, dear friends and family. I am taking this last second of my life to tell you that Jesus loves you more than your earthly minds can ever imagine. Do not grieve, for I am happy beyond measure and all my pain is gone.
Continue to drop those pebbles of love and compassion in the water called life & let their ripple effect never end until we see one another once again.
Gotta go... my journals are awaiting you.
With love even this writer cannot express,

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Photo Challenge

This is a writing prompt. What caption would you you give it?

I'll add mine tomorrow. Connie

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Toes & the Brain

No, Toes is not a character. It's literally- the relationship between a toe and the brain.

Now, we all know that connection when we stub our toe. Immediately our brain reacts: pain! Which makes us move quickly, as in hopping up and down minus the pogo stick and risking falling.

Then comes the yell, "Who put the (_____) (_____) in my way!" And the mad dash for an ice pack.

Well, I'm glad you couldn't hear me or see me last Tuesday as my vacuum cleaner proved that two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time. That wee, crooked toe has met with disaster before, so I'm sure it broke easier his time.

Yelling at the none-existent person, who left said vacuum cleaner in my path, provided no comfort. Nor did the ice pack for the first few minutes. Yes, I did the pogo stick dance & nearly toppled over. That would have hurt my pride, if no other part of my anatomy.

Back to the topic: the relationship between brain and toes. After the red-flag-waving emotions die down- along with the pain- the ice is in place and the foot elevated, the rush of ideas overtakes you.

Writer's Block? Just stub your toe!

Ideas overflowed from the silly . . . to stupid . . . to maybe that'll work . . . to got it!
  • How am I going to get my shoe on?
  • Non-fiction article: "Like ice, it hurts at first, but then ahh-hhh!"
  • How do you effectively describe the color changes in bruising?
  • Could the pogo stick dance be the new craze?
  • Where I am going to put the vacuum cleaner to avert further damage?
  • Storage Ideas for an Apartment Dweller
  • Toes could be the main character for that funny book, Toes and the Brain, I wasn't going to write.
  • I'm not telling anybody I did this... well, after I tell Flowie, so she'll water my flowers and Charmaine so she'll bring me my mail. Then, I better call Wilma and cancel our . . .
  • A ballad: "The Lament of the Little Toe"
  • Now, what was I doing before all this happened?
  • Maybe, I'll just write this in my blog.
No, I better not, after all...I'm not telling anyone!

Friday, July 11, 2008


Summertime swim lessons: 6 yr. old gr'son & 2 yr. old gr'daughter
Central Oregon

"...and the livin' is easy..."

At least for the moment, Connie

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Missing in Action

Those words fit me- the action of writing has kept me away from this site. But that's a good way to be missing.

The online magazine 4Him2U was conceived & named one year ago on July 17th & I am getting ready to post the 8th issue. 4Him2U has reached 33 countries & we have received some very nice feedback from all over the world.

My monthly column, Connie's Coda, in Positively Feminine will be one year old in August & tho the responses are fewer, I am touched by every e-mail I receive. The publisher tells me that I have many regular readers.

The Encourager is a monthly printed newsletter that goes to 130+ folks with chronic illnesses. Many are home bound & unable to be at a computer or don't have one so it's still a real snail mail on paper way to bring the outside world to them & lift their spirits. I have been it's publisher/writer since October 2007.

In between other things I am preparing an e-book I co-authored: Christ's Light In & Beyond Us. It will be available soon.

Whew! It's been a busy year! An amazing year.

Knowing why I've been missing, I'm hoping we'll reconnect. And I have other NEWS!!! for especially you, my readers.

Free e-books are on the way... so check back frequently & be blessed.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Oh My, Oh My!

I have been neglectful. I could say it's a "senior moment" or my forget'er has been on. Really, the reason is I'm feeling better; have more energy; and have been busy. All of that is very, very good!

Since my last post I have had a birthday, and gotten on the right combination of medications to keep my blood pressure down and my heart pumping more efficiently. Celebrated the birthdays of my grand~children (now 6 and 2), and participated in a women's conference.

I am so thankful for the energy and stamina that took me through the conference. When you have a chronic illness (particularly when it's invisible and people don't "see" it)), it requires good preparation and pacing before, during and after the event. So I have been resting and reading for the last week to restore my energy, and I am ready to...

Well, I'll tell you about that later.

Meanwhile, I am writing and editing. And I started attending a critique group as an incentive to write more. Have a couple of deadlines to meet then I'll return here to tell you about the conference and other good stuff.

Thought for Today: a joy shared is multiplied, a sorrow shared is divided.

Selah ~

Shalom, Connie

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tests, Tests, & More Tests

Guess you can call me a bit testy today; and I am sure that some of you can relate to having many tests without a resulting diagnosis. Today I had a chest scan, but won't probably hear about the results until next week. My patience with many things is in the angelic range, but not in this area of my life. I WANT AN ANSWER!

Well, I didn't get any tests results with that outburst, but I did get 3 answers!

First, let me set the scene. I left the imaging place and headed for comfort food- well, after all, I had to be NPO prior to testing. That's a two-fold reason for comforting yummies, right? Then I headed home to the Senior Residence, where I live.

As I walked in the lobby, it was filled with ladies. That usually happens when the mail hasn't arrived so I said, "No mail?" All of them spoke at once telling me that I had received a package. You better believe, if had not opened it in their presence, there would be a lynching via the gossip-grapevine. After removing several empty plastic shopping bags, I found a Valentine surprise: a candy heart-shaped lollipop, a card, a bookmark, some cute stickers, & some delightful hand cream. Everyone oohed & aahed, but I disappointed them greatly by not telling who sent it. My testy-self walked toward my apartment giggling.

Comfort food & a caring package does that!

Then I received an e-mail card with a loving and prayerful message to encourage me.

Thank you, Lord, for showing You care about every detail of my life via my friends' surprises.. And thank You for my attitude change...

As I was praying the Lord reminded me, once again, of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV): "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."

In God.Com JamesAlexander Langteaux wrote it this way- "For I (God) am the great source of healing, salvation, and deliverance, but without compassionate outlets, what good is my source?"

Lord, I do praise You, but I have a feeling you want me to share this....

So here I am, with an early Valentine's Message from the Lover of your soul:

B e assured that your Heavenly Father
L oves you! And He is waiting to
E ncourage you and to give you hope as He
S howers down His joy upon you. Just
S end up a prayer and ask! He always answers.

Y our life has purpose- no matter your circumstances.
O nly trust Him- He sees the finished canvas of your life!
U- turns are allowed... seek His presence & you'll be blessed.

Have a Heartfelt Valentine's Day!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Reaching the World

I am so very excited and I have to share this with you!
The ezine, 4Him2U, is 3 months old and growing strong. The January issue was posted today; and I checked the counter. We've had visitors from all over the world!

The site counter shows over 2500 visitors from the USA, Afghanistan, Albania, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, England/Wales, Germany, Ireland, the Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mauritius, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Senegal, and South Africa. Isn't this wonderful!

If you haven't stopped by, please do. As the editor, I am blessed as I read each writer's contribution and I know that you'll find something special just for you at www.4him2u.com. (Link available on lower right column)

Shalom, Connie

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Opportunities Anew

Beginning Again

2007 was a great and a awful year for me, but today get to begin again! As I get older, I appreciate the New Year as an opportunity for another chance. (Wish that wisdom came earlier in life.)

So let me begin with 2007. It was a rough year health-wise and financially. I am feeling pretty good now, as the year winds down; so I want to be healthier in 2008! And my finances would improve if some of my writing sells. :)

The good stuff of 2007 includes finding ShoutLife; improving my blogging skills and opening a website; forming Sonrise Writers with my dear friend, Bonnie Winters; facilitating Marlene Bagnull's Bible study for writers 3x with each time greater than the last one; the opportunity to mentor some writing friends; writing a monthly column on emotional abuse for Positively Feminine; becoming the editor for The Encourager, a printed newsletter for the chronically ill; and greatest of all the "birth" of 4Him2U in November.

The special thing this year is that I made and actually fulfilled my New Year's Resolution: to better hear the voice of God! To learn to be in His presence and to be quiet- yep, I had to shut up in order to listen. This has been and continues to be an awesome and precious time with the Lord. I count that as the reason for the good stuff of 2007!

For 2008 I want to improve my walk with Him; I want 4Him2U to reach >10,000 new folks around the world; I want to be published with pay; and I want each of the Sonrise Writers to receive writing contracts. For you, my reader friends, I am asking God to bless you in a special way this coming year- so special that there can be no doubt that God is the source!!!

I want to be a "Spirit-walker" and to be content: being where God wants me, doing what He wants, and being satisfied with His timing. May He grant the same for each of you.

Shalom, Connie