the-OneThing: Life as a writer —a break to practice the-OneThing with my extended family, and planning —a most helpful tool during times of change

Seeking acute awareness of Christ’s immediate presence — the-OneThing.

At the end of this writing life update, look for a link to join my reader support group. I need folks like you who enjoy reading Christian Suspense and Thrillers to join the team. 


I took a few weeks off in July so my husband and I could enjoy some of our family who lives halfway across the country. Our seven grandchildren, ages three to thirteen, their mother, and a friend, came for a visit the first two weeks in July. My daughter and her children have been through a rough patch over the last few years. They are hurting. Dealing with their pain in various ways. My husband and I can’t fix their pain, even though we wish we could. We can’t change their situation. But we can love them. We prayed God’s Spirit would minister love into their hearts while they were here, and multiply it after they left.


We needed a plan to set ourselves up in the best possible position to make their time here memorable.


“The duty of planning tomorrow’s work is today’s duty; though its material is borrowed from the future, the duty, like all duties, is in the Present.”—CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters


I started my plan with a reality check:

  • I’m older than when I used to cook and manage my little army of 6.
  • My home isn’t set up for children the way it was when I still had children in the home.
  • These seven darlings with broken hearts would be out of their normal routine, which could invite a little chaos. Or maybe a lot.


Next, I set my expectations and hopes in order.

At the recommendation of a friend, I asked the Lord for one tiny moment of connection with each person. As faithful as he is good, he gave me more than a tiny moment with each person. As he did, I recorded the moments in my journal as thanksgiving entries. These brief moments were windows into their hearts. Whatever I learned about their hearts now translated into specific prayers for each person. This step of planning was my BIGGEST win.


Then, I thought through the practicality of serving eleven people three meals a day for a week.

I planned meal options, more than we needed, before they arrived, printing the recipes and labeling each with the day of the week and the mealtime I could serve it. The printed recipes with corresponding grocery lists made it super easy to switch things around as our daily activities shifted. A well thought out plan makes space for change. And it did!


After that, I considered how to keep myself physically strong.

  • My digestion has been messed up since I had COVID in February. I’ve been working on an eating plan to heal my gut. It’s working. So, I planned to keep healthy ingredients on hand for an “eating clean” diet.
  • Planned to walk many steps.
  • Planned to go to bed each night between nine and ten.


Last, I thought about potential hiccups or trouble spots that might arise.

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations if you live near one.”—J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit


I loved having my family here. Getting to know their hearts in new ways filled me with joy and gave me helpful insights to fuel my prayer life.

They left a week ago. Life is almost back to normal. Next week I’ll get busy on my revisions for Dangerous Exposure.


What’s next?

For my family, we’re praying for God to multiply any good he flowed through us into our grandchildren’s hearts.

For my writing career, I need to build a team of readers who enjoy reading Christian Suspense and Thrillers.

What does that mean for you?

  • Add your email address to a special list of readers.
  • Until the book goes on sale, I need your prayers.
  • When I have a readable copy of the story, I’ll send you an advanced reader (ARC) copy of my book before it goes on sale to the public.
  • Then, on launch day you can leave an honest review of the book.

An advanced reader team makes all the difference in the world to a writer’s success. I’d love to have you on the team. If you enjoy reading in the Christian Suspense and Thrillers genre, then please click here to let me know you want to join the team.


See you next time, as the story unfolds,



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The-OneThing: a writing update, exploring a character’s governing idea and her need for divine intervention

Seeking acute awareness of Christ’s immediate presence — the-OneThing.


I’m happy to announce my editor approved my detailed summary (a little under 20,000 words) last Friday. So, I thought it might be the perfect time to give you a sneak peek into the protagonist’s heart.

Emily Rayburn has an old idea buried deep in her soul that’s holding her back and she doesn’t even know it, but the evil one does. She will need spiritual transformation led by the Holy Spirit to survive the devil’s scheme against her.


According to Dallas Willard, author of Renovation of the Heart

“Two of the most powerful facets in the realm of thought are ideas and images. Ideas are ways of thinking about and interpreting things. They are so essential to how we approach life that we often do not understand when and how ideas are at work. Our idea system grows up with us from childhood out of the teachings, expectations and behaviors of family and community. People are often so far in the grip of ideas that they can’t be bothered to think. They don’t know what moves them, but ideas govern them and have their consequences anyway.” — Dallas Willard


Pretend you’re sitting on your front porch after a stressful day at work. A soft breeze touches your face. You close your eyes and breathe in the cool air, holding your breath just long enough to enjoy the muscles in your chest and rib cage stretch out. Gently you exhale slowly, with control, release all the pressures of the day.

A loud crack from across the street jolts you upright. A stranger is standing on your neighbor’s front porch. His face red. He turns away from the front door. Pauses at the edge of the porch to tuck his tousled shirt into his pants before leaving the porch. He clomps down the stairs, one heavy footstep at a time. Determined, as he aims for his car parked in the driveway. You hear the beep-beep sound as he reaches the car door. He looks right. Then left before he opens the door and gets inside.

What happened fifteen seconds before you heard your neighbor’s front door close abruptly?


There are over 2,000 subscribers to this newsletter. I imagine that if we all answered this question in writing, the variations on what went on in the neighbor’s house before the stranger shut the door could add up into the hundreds or even a thousand different speculations. That’s because we all bring unique ideas, developed through years of life experience, to every situation we encounter. Conjecturing is a natural, almost autonomic function. Imaginations, which naturally flow from the governing ideas developed over the years, many of which we may not even know are at work in us.


Back to the vignette above. A conversation with our neighbor and the stranger would help us find out what really went on in that house before we opened our eyes. The facts, if we believe them, will most likely modify our original idea, which will change our conclusions.

But, what if we took action as if our speculation was the whole truth?


That’s exactly where the main character of my newest book will find herself.

She has spent a lifetime honing her intuition. Her insight has sharpened to the point of premonitions that come in dreams or sometimes daydreams that alert her in the nick of time to protect an innocent person or expose the evil lurking around in someone’s life that she cares about. In the last few years, her conjectures have proven to be accurate over and over and over again.

So much so, that Emily has begun to trust herself instead of Christ for outcomes

And that’s her problem.

A governing idea, “it’s my responsibility to make things right” and the consequential line of thinking, self-blame, when things go wrong, “it’s my fault,” needs to be set right. Redeemed. Restored.

Emily Rayburn needs an idea shift, but she doesn’t know that just yet.

Her struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.


She must learn…

… to see the noble gifting that lies within her the way Jesus does at any cost.

… to see through the obvious outward circumstances into the war being waged for her heart and the hearts of those she wants to protect or rescue.

To do that, Emily needs divine intervention. An idea shift. A point of surrender, releasing her from the guilt and shame she’s carried so long and unleashing the powerful gifting God knit inside of her through Christ alone — the-OneThing.

Until next time,



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