A New Blogging Home

2 Apr

 

Hello, and thanks for stopping by! If you’ve found me here, it’s probably through some type of search engine connection, because I don’t promote this blog address anymore.

I’ve integrated my blog into my website, LeighDeLozier.com. While I’m glad you found me here, you’ll find even more info (and updated posts) there. I invite you to visit and bookmark that site for the latest on my corner of the writing world.

Thanks so much, and have a blessed day!

~ Leigh

Review: One Year Alone With God

14 Nov

With Christmas only a few weeks away (!), many of us are starting to think about gifts and are making out those wonderful shopping lists. If you know somoene who enjoys devotional books that help them learn in bite-size pieces on busy days, then check out One Year Alone With God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God by Ava Pennington.

book_oneyearalone_edited.jpgPlenty of books and Bible studies look at the different names of God and what they mean. What sets Ava’s book apart is the way she handles it. One Year Alone With God explores 122 names and attributes of God in three different ways over a period of three days. In the first devotional for each name or attribute, the reader “looks up” as Ava says, to see how and why God describes Himself the way He does. On the second day, the reader “looks in” to see how that name or attribute applies to his own life and how it changes his relationship with God. Finally, on the third day, the reader “looks out” to see how that deeper knowledge of God and himself can be shared with others.

I like the way each name is broken into smaller pieces of study; for me, it seems like it’s easy to read a devotional, spend a few minutes thinking about it, and then go on with my day. One Year Alone With God makes me more conscious of how I can put the things I learn into my everyday life, and I like that. I also like that the devotionals are so short they only take a few minutes to read, but you can also read all three for the same name or attribute if you have time.

Ava_Pennington.jpgAva’s publisher sent me a copy of One Year Alone With God to read and review. I’ve used it for personal study time, with my middle/high school girls at church on Wednesday nights, and as a short devotional as part of ladies night dinner at church. I’ve enjoyed learning new things about the names and attributes of God, especially those I didn’t know much about or don’t think about as much.

I would certainly recommend it, but don’t just take my word for it. Right on the front cover of One Year Alone With God is an endorsement from Kay Arthur herself. And it says, “Can you imagine what will happen if you spend a year, day by day, focusing on your God and Father? May Ava’s devotional deive you to His Word.”

With an endorsement like that, you know there’s something good about the book. Visit Ava’s website for more info, or get your copy online or at a local bookstore.

Anita Estes: Giving Hope to Parents of Prodigals

7 Nov

I mentioned a few months ago that I’d joined an online group for Christian writers called the John 3:16 Marketing Network. Our goal is to uplift each other as we write the books God puts on our hearts — whether it’s through sharing ideas, lifting each other up in prayer, or helping spread the word about each other’s books. Today I’m happy to introduce you to a fellow J316 member, Anita Estes, who I actually met at the Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference in August. (It’s always so nice to meet online friends in person!)

Anita’s celebrating a special day tomorrow (Nov. 8) — the official launch of her latest book, Letters to God on a Prodigal Son: Overcoming Addiction Through Prayer. Tomorrow only, if you order a copy of Anita’s book you’ll get lots of free bonuses and will also be entered in a contest to win either a $25 or $50 gift card to some favorite stores. To learn more about the book and the free offers for that day, visit a special page on Anita’s website.

In Letters to God, Anita shares excerpts from her personal journal and prayer book while living through the ordeal of having a prodigal son with addiction problems. She shares bits of their stories, prayers she prayed along each step, lessons her family learned, and suggestions her readers can follow when they’re in the same situations. As I saw in one book review, Letters to God lets you “witness the transformation of a mother who felt helpless to help her son, but turns to God and never lets go. Watch her faith grow and her son find freedom, redemption and deliverance.”  (CBM Book Reviews)

“I want those who are watching a loved one caught in the blinding windstorm of addiction to understand that God did not want this for them and He invites them to dialogue honestly with Him,” Anita says. “I want parents, family, relatives and friends to be equipped with spiritual tools for coming against the powers of darkness involved in addiction. My desire is to help guide them on this dark journey and lead them into the light of God’s presence.”

If you’re interested in learning more, check out Anita’s website and all the free gifts you’ll get by ordering Letters to God on Nov. 8. Then, if you do buy a copy, stop back by and let me know how you liked it. I think you’ll find a powerful, easy to understand, honest look at what families go through when dealing with prodigals and/or family members with addictions. I know it gave me new insights and hope it’s a big encouragement to those who need it most.

Here’ the link again for all the special things tomorrow: http://www.anitaestes.com/landing-page.html.

Beauty Beneath the Surface

17 Oct

Our family went to the Georgia Aquarium while the kids were on fall break a few weeks ago. We hadn’t been in a couple of years, and I always love seeing all the different types of fish and water creatures. Some — like the otters — were too quick for me to get decent pictures. But others cooperated a little better.

I’m far from being a professional, but when you have such amazing subjects to work with, how can you keep from getting at least a few good shots? Here are 10 from that day that I liked, but that barely scratch the surface of how creative God really is. I hope you enjoy! When’s the last time you saw a great example of how creative God is?

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What I’ve learned lately … with Jennifer Hudson Taylor

12 Oct

I was added to an online critique group soon after joining American Christian Fiction Writers a few years ago. Jennifer Hudson Taylor was part of that group, and taught me so much by her comments! She’s now a published novelist with Abingdon Press; her debut novel, Highland Blessings, was released in 2010 and her follow-up, Highland Sanctuary, releases this month. We’ll finally meet in person when she joins the faculty at our local writers’ group conference in November. In the meantime, I’m she’s able to stop by to share with us here today.

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Micro Progress is Still Progress

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

 

How many times have you heard someone say, “I take two steps forward, and one step back.”

This cliché was born out of frustration. Most of the time we feel like we’re being pushed back. It isn’t a step we’re actually taking with purpose. It’s unplanned and it breeds discouragement.

The good news is even if you feel like you’re back where you started, most of the time you’ve learned something in the process or God may be protecting you from being in a place at the wrong time. There is a reason for everything—even when we can’t see it.

Recently, our family has been going through many things. My father-in-law passed away from cancer a month ago and at the same time my mom was battling a different kind of cancer. We knew he wouldn’t make it, but were assured hers was caught in time. Cancer is a kind of illness that takes a while to overcome or succumb. It not only wears out the ones battling it, but the loved ones trying to surround their loved one with strong support.

I was frustrated that I couldn’t take time off from work for every visit to be with my mom and help her make decisions. I had to rely on the info she relayed to me, hoping she had heard correctly and wasn’t forgetting something important in the midst of her distress. Yes, I may be a published author, but I still have a full-time job with a boss who owns my time during those 40 hours each week. My time is not my own, and I struggle with this concept—especially when I feel like I’m needed elsewhere.

During this time I had to let go of some things such as canceling a trip to a writer’s conference where I was scheduled to present three workshops, took a sabbatical from some blogs, stopped scheduling events and book signings for my new book release. These were temporary setbacks, but my family was much more important. The only thing that nagged me was falling behind on my word count each week because I had signed a contract that I would finish a book by a certain time, and I was already stretching myself to meet this contract obligation in my already limited schedule.

I’ve always been taught to meet my obligations no matter what it takes, so a bit of anxiety began to set in when my word count dropped until there were a few days with no word count. But I didn’t give up, and kept plugging away at what I COULD do. Guess what? By the end of September, I’d written 20,000 words—more than I’d planned by 8,000 words.

I can’t explain it, but what I learned is that if we are faithful in the small things, God will multiply our efforts. Pennies saved can become hundreds saved if we keep adding to it. We have to keep sowing seeds, and let God give the increase.

 

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” (1 Corinthians 3:6-8)

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Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award winning author of historical Christian fiction set in Europe and the Carolinas and a speaker on topics of faith, writing and publishing. Her work has appeared in national publications, such as Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, Romantic Times Book Reviews, and The Military Trader. She serves as the in-house Publicist at Hartline Literary Agency and co-owns Upon the Rock Publishing, an e-publishing/publicist company. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with family, long walks, traveling, touring historical sites, hanging out at bookstores with coffee shops, genealogy, and reading.

 

Get Courageous for the Weekend

16 Sep

Hard to believe, but it’s Friday again! So, to start the weekend off on a fun note, here’s a great video featuring one of my all-time favorite groups, Casting Crowns.

The song is “Courageous,” which is the first single from their CD that will release in October (yay, can hardly wait!). It’s also featured in the movie “Courageous,” which opens on Sept. 30. A friend of mine was fortunate enough to see the movie premier at the Fox Theater in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago. She and her husband both said it’s an amazing movie that could really make a difference in people’s lives. I’m looking forward to seeing it! But in the meantime, I hope you enjoy the video.

Review: Swept Away by Nicole O’Dell

9 Sep

In a publishing world where Christian fiction is trying to be more realistic for teens while still maintaining a Christian worldview, author Nicole O’Dell walks the fine line quite well. The books in her Scenarios for Girls series offer something I’ve not seen in other Christian YA novels – the chance for readers to truly see the story from both sides of the spectrum.

The books tackle many of the issues facing teens today – cheating, purity, taking dares, dealing with parents or teachers, and more. Each story has you firmly “along for the ride” with the main character until she reaches the point of needing to make an important, life-changing decision. The main story stops, and readers are asked to decide how they would handle the situation in the exact same circumstances. Then you continue the story, depending on how you answer. Better yet, you can read both endings to see how things might play out in the real world for both options. It’s a great way to help girls think through situations and the potential outcomes before they find themselves in the same predicament. Once a girl finishes reading the book, she has the chance to make a written commitment to implement the lessons she’s learned from the story. A parent or other trusted adult can witness her commitment and help her with accountability.

The stories I read were from Swept Away, which includes two of the Scenarios books – High Stakes and Essence of Lilly. I haven’t read others in the series, but love the whole concept. The stories themselves are interesting and right on target for today’s girls. Letting them become a part of how the story ends will hopefully help girls remember the story and its message, long after the book goes back on the shelf. I applaud O’Dell for writing for these girls in such a real way, and I’ll be passing Swept Away onto some of the girls at church. With Christmas shopping time right around the corner, you might want to look for Swept Away or the other Scenarios for Girls books for a special middle or high school girl in your life.

For more info on Nicole O’Dell and her books and Teen Talk radio program, visit her online.

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