Welcome, 2015!

How was your 2014? If your year was anything like mine, it was full of twists and turns, high spots and low places, successes and failures. You may not be a writer, but you may identify with some of the things I learned in my chosen profession last year:

1. In 2014, I retired as an opinion writer for a daily newspaper. After studying and commenting on politics, disasters, international horrors, and more for over a dozen years, I concluded the world needed more gospel and less government, more grace and less political sniping. That’s my focus now, through writing, speaking, and teaching.

           How about you? What drives your life?

2. The publishing world, whether newspaper or books, can be a crazy place. Right after I left, my newspaper was forced to declare bankruptcy. Jobs remain in jeopardy. My fiction writing saw some notable successes—another book published in April; two big awards; over 17,000 downloads of an ebook—and some difficult setbacks. I had to work to release those highs and lows to God. Of course, I love affirmation. I thrill at success. But too often I’ve made success an idol. I’m learning to let Christ and Christ alone be my goal. To let Him be my Boss, and pleasing Him my goal.

         How about you? Whom are you trying to please?

3. Sometimes I think all my work is futile, that the hours and hours over twenty-four years that I have spent writing could have been better used serving dinners at the homeless shelter or volunteering at the food bank. But when I have tried to give it up, I find I cannot. I was created to write, gifted, in fact. His words are a fire in my bones that I cannot ignore. I must convey them, work through them, understand them, through stories and blog posts, comments and letters.

        How about you? For what were you created? How are you living that out in 2015?

4. This past year brought some very good news, the birth of another granddaughter in October; and some difficult news regarding the health of several family members. We had joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, elation and consternation. But through all of it, we had God, God before us, God beside us, God with us, as Saint Patrick might say.

         How about you? Are you walking with God? If you need a hand with that, contact me.

Looking forward: We expect to release a new book, “Battered Justice,” in the spring. BJ is the sequel to “Bloody Point,” my first published novel. I’m getting good reports back from my beta-readers! Watch for an announcement, or sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t already!