Posts in Uncategorized
Interview with Chris Ann of LoveFeast Shop

Dani: Could you take a minute and introduce yourself? Chris Ann: Sure! I live in a southern suburb of Minneapolis, MN with my husband, Todd. We have 4 kids. Our oldest kids are in college and we have a high schooler and middle schooler at home. Besides being an entrepreneur, I love to travel, garden, decorate, and paddleboard. I am also recently a new puppy mom.


Dani: How did LoveFeast get started? Chris Ann: I started LoveFeast, in 2008, with my best friend, Kristin. We first launched a lifestyle blog, LoveFeast Table( with the dream of having it grow into a platform that would help us reach an audience we could inspire to live a beautiful life. That blog helped us launch our first online shop with our favorite, velvet pumpkins.  About a year ago, I opened the first LoveFeast storefront in Prior Lake, Minnesota.


Dani: What’s your inspiration for LoveFeast? What keeps you going on the hard days?

Chris Ann: My inspiration for LoveFeast is found in discovering unique, artistic and beautiful things to curate in both the online shop and my local LoveFeast boutique. I love the connection I have to the LoveFeast shopper and how much they appreciate quality and something special to give or for their home. Finding enough time to do all the things I want to do with my business is the biggest challenge.


Dani: For years you were solely an online boutique, now you also have a brick and mortar store. What’s that like? Do you enjoy seeing customers on a daily basis? Decorating the shop? Having a concrete place to welcome folks?

Chris Ann: I love having a brick and mortar store. It is one more space to fulfill the vision I have for LoveFeast. It's wonderful to get customer's feedback face to face. And, to help people choose a special gift for special events. I love helping people mark their occasions with something thoughtful, even if it is a special gift for themselves. It's nice to be a part of making someone's day.


Dani: LoveFeast focuses a lot on hospitality and inspirational items of beauty. How do you decide which items to carry, and do you design any of the pieces yourself?

Chris Ann: I choose items first of all that I like, or would want to give or have myself. I love a handmade item, in soft neutral tones, that is high quality and therefore can be enjoyed for years. Sometimes it's nice to have something whimsical thrown in the mix for some fun. I don't design any of the pieces myself, but it is something I think I might like to try someday.


Dani: What’s your favorite part of owning your own business?

Chris Ann: It's a part of who I am; to create, dream, and start. Owning my own business has given me the opportunity to see my creative idea, hard work, and determination create a tangible space where other people can experience finding beautiful items. Having your own business doesn't mean you work less, but it does mean you can work on your own time.  Like anything that has value, there has been sacrifice and hard work.  I look back in a bit of awe at how, one step after the other, the vision of LoveFeast has continued to grow.

Great questions! It's fun to reflect on where I started and how far the LoveFeast journey has taken me!


We would love to give your readers 15% off their purchase at LoveFeast Shop using code: 17DP15



LoveFeast is a boutique of filled with unique, high-quality, hand-crafted and artistic items to inspire the giver and charm the receiver. Shop our hand-picked selection of home decor, tabletop, and gifts, such as our beautiful velvet pumpkins, bedding & pillows, artist-created jewelry. These beautifully curated finds will make thoughtful gifts and inspiring additions to your beautiful life!

LoveFeast Instagram:
Interview with Sarah Detweiler from Church Street Designs

Dani: Hi Sarah!! I'm so excited to have you share with us today! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Sarah: My name is Sarah Detweiler and I live with my husband and 3 kiddos in PA. I am a coffee lover, a DIY enthusiast and a painter of anything that doesn't move. My decorating style is a mixture of Industrial and Farmhouse, and my favorite color is Navy, as it pairs well with any other color. Jewelry as well as power tools are always on my Christmas wish list.

I am a transplant to PA, having grown up on a small farm in a beautiful, Southern TN valley. After falling head over heals for a PA boy, I married him and moved up north in 2005.

Dani: What’s the story and inspiration behind Church Street Designs? How did you get started?

Sarah: Church Street Designs really began as a hobby. After our second child was born and I had quit my full time job in the banking world becoming a stay at home mom, I realized I needed a hobby and something to work towards. I had always loved creating beautiful things and my house was full of DIY projects and re-purposed items, so I decided to start blogging about how I created them. My projects led me to create a few hand painted signs for my home, and I learned that I loved being able to dream up a design in my head and then actually create it into a decor piece.

After selling a few to friends and family I decided to open an Etsy shop to see if I could expand my audience. Over the years, my little hobby grew to include a shop of our own, www.churchstreetdesigns. com and God has blessed our business, expanding it from just hand painted signs into chalkboards, jewelry, digital art and more. It is now my full time job and our team at CSD is growing. 

Dani: Do you handcraft all the signs yourself?

Sarah: All of our signs, trays, and jewelry are all handcrafted by a member of the Church Street Designs Team. We believe there is still a place in this fast passed, cheaply made, world for quality items. All our signs are meticulously handcrafted, from the lumber we use to the attention to detail in our painting process, we want to create a product that will outlast us.

Dani: Do you view your business strictly as a business or also as a ministry?

Sarah: The motto of Church Street Designs is, "Life Inspired". We not only want to inspire people by the beautiful items we make, but also encourage them to be an inspiration to someone. Investment in people's lives is the only thing that will outlive us. Our prayer is that God will use Church Street Designs as a conduit to bring blessing, encouragement, and inspiration to those it reaches.

Dani: What’s your favorite part of sharing your beautiful artwork with the world and running your own business?

Sarah: There are so many things that I enjoy about running my own business, but my favorite part of the process is the designing aspect. I love coming up with new products and design layouts, and figuring out how to get what's in my head onto paper and then into an actual item. I also enjoy helping customers create one-of-a-kind pieces that fit their homes and office. My husband, Jamie, is also a huge part of the Church Street Designs Team.

As a "spreadsheet and numbers" kind of guy, he balances out my creative side, fixes all the tech problems, takes care of all the paperwork, business legalities and a little thing called, paying all the taxes on time. Several nights a week the clock may strike midnight and you'll still find us brainstorming new marketing strategies, fine-tuning our website design, or putting the finishing touches on a new project. The work is never done, but we love that God has given us a dream we can work on together. 

We are currently offering a FREE printable sign on our website as a thank you for connecting with us. We also have some great, new products that are coming soon, so stay in touch!

Use code: CSDinstagram10 to receive 10% off any item in our shop!



Monday Cuppa: Expedition Finale

Happy Monday, friends!



On 4/25  we'll be traveling to the quaint and delicious Baltimore neighborhood of Little Italy via Rissi's Finding Wonderland blog.  Why do I love Rissi and her fantastic blog? What's not to love? Rissi is so encouraging, supportive and just plain fun. And, her blog is fantastic. If you haven't had the chance to visit Wonderland yet, you definitely must and since Rissi is hosting the final stop along Expedition: Still Life, now you have the perfect chance. Thanks, Rissi, for taking part in Expedition: Still Life. It's a true honor to be on Finding Wonderland.

Thank you SO much to everyone who has joined me for Expedition: Still Life! It's been a blast. Be sure to grab your last stamp at Rissi's on Tuesday and be entered to win a fun gift card, along with getting one last entry for the grand prize in. The winner will randomly be drawn and announced on next week's Monday Cuppa. Best of luck!


Surprise Saturday!

Hi friends,


Here's the BIG news!!!! 

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Are you so excited? I'm can't wait. If you can't either, you can check out the Expedition landing page here, and be sure to stop by Monday Cuppa right here in two days to get started. Can't wait to share this time and journey with you!


Monday Cuppa--STILL LIFE Photo Contest

Happy Monday, friends!


I hope you're week is off to a great start and you've gotten a great cup of energy! In case you hadn't heard, I wanted to be sure and let you know about a super fun contest my publisher and I are running. A STILL LIFE photo contest. You can get all the details here:

I'm so excited to see your creative side and the fun photos you come up with. We're off to a great start!

I'm also super excited about the prizes you can win! 

The grand prize includes a digital camera with full accessory kit so you can snap images like Avery, only of a lot more fun stuff than crime scenes ;) Also included are goodies from a variety of places mentioned in the book, a fabulous print of the Chesapeake Bay by a local artist, and delicious Baltimore-made treats.


Get your cameras ready and join the fun! 


Have a blessed Monday,

Monday Cuppa--Happy Thanksgiving Recipe

Monday-Cuppa-Header Happy Monday, friends!

I hope today finds you well. We're dealing with a new cold front and I'm making sure my coffee stays extra warm with my desk warmer (fabulous invention, by the way). But look at this fun recipe that keeps your homemade latte warm as long as you'd like. It'd make a great Thanksgiving drink to have on hand.


It's so hard to believe  Thanksgiving is only days away. Are you ready for it? Thankfully I'm not hosting this year so I have to do is bring a side dish. I think I'll bring one of my favorite recipes below. Hope you enjoy it too!


I'll be taking off Thanksgiving through Sunday to enjoy the holiday with my family. We have a tradition of putting up our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, and we spend the weekend hiking and relaxing. I pray your Thanksgiving is full of love, family, and grateful hearts. And, I'll look forward to seeing you next Monday. Until then, how do you spend your Thanksgiving weekend? Any Black Friday shoppers out there?


How to Create Your Setting From Scratch

How to Create Your Setting From Scratch

How to Create Your Setting From Scratch

A few years ago when I set out to write about royal romances, I knew I would have to develop my own kingdoms, much like Meg Cabot's Genovia, and develop my own royal families and customs.

If you think making up people is hard, try creating a country! To create a history the reader must be convinced that they learned in school!  I know the spec writers are used to this but it was an exercise in diligence for this romance author.

Choosing A Name

First, I had to come up with a name. Seemingly simple on the surface but as I mulled over different titles, and googled them, I discovered it wasn't so easy. Some names I liked were in the Urban dictionary with derogatory meanings. Others were technical terms. Or actual gaming worlds. (Great minds think alike. Bwhaha!) Go figure the gaming world would have the best kingdom names.

I decided to choose a name that sounded like the kind of kingdom I wanted. Could I use it to describe the people, the geography, the royal family?

I chose the name Brighton for my first kingdom. I used a headline for the brothers-prince:

The Future Looks Bright For The Princes Of Brighton.

Ah, clever right? Yea... ;p

However I didn't thoroughly research Brighton. I knew it was a city in England but didn't really take it into account. And I should have. The name does work and it felt right to me, but a few of my English friends made comments that it was a coastal British city.

My second country was the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg. I wanted a duchy because it added a different texture and flavor to the stories. I also wanted a more Germanic sounding name.

In my research of European duchies, I discovered many were once mighty nations like Normandy, Tuscany, and Saxony, but over the centuries were absorbed into larger nations like France, Italy and Germany.

What if my duchy faced a similar peril? The story thread for my second novel was born.


Once I came up with names, I had to figure out the culture. For the sake of simplicity, I gave them both a British culture. The language was English and the money in pounds.

Research revealed various traditions and customs and laws among European royals, so I was able to develop my own royal protocol that felt authentic.

After World War I, many of the European royal houses collapsed including Russia, France, Italy, and Germany - so I used that to cause problems for Hessenberg.

I decided both were rich in art and film, ancient feeling nations with a long history. A long history does impact the culture. The people come from something. They've endured trials and dark times, as well as light and success.

Even if you’re NOT making up a country but perhaps a city, or even using a real location, gather history and research as a backdrop for characterization and plot.


Next I had to decide where to put my little kingdoms. Since I initially wanted a German influence in Hessenberg, I decided to put both nations in the North Sea.

There's not much there but oil rigs and shipping lanes, but what a great opportunity to create natural resources for my country.


I decided both nations had a wealth of natural resources like minerals and gems. Oil and gas. Shipping also played a part in their economy, as well as tourism. Ask yourself what the Gross National Product might be. ;p


Since my kingdoms are island nations, I gave them rich coast lines and gorgeous beaches and lots of tourism to go along with it.

I also made them mountainous so the characters could have a bird's eye view of the ocean. I just loved the idea of the heroine standing on top of a mountain and looking down over an enclosed bay.

To anchor the characters, I created a capital city in each country and of course, a royal palace. Or two. I did a lot of research on European architecture, trying to blend British, German and Russia styles. I came up with business, street names, all the things one would do if making up a city in a familiar American setting.

Be specific. Great streets, local hangouts, shopping, apartments, offices.

You’ll start wide but zero in, smaller and smaller, until you see the pattern on the wallpaper.


The history path was a bit humorous. Because I didn't know all of the history myself, the characters spoke to each other as if it was a brand new to them too:

"Hey, listen to this new information. You know my country Brighton, in the North Sea, by England?"

Ha! Pretty sloppy. So, while rewriting, I changed the dialog to sound as if my American heroine studied Brighton Kingdom history in school. Now, when the prince referenced an historical point, she'd respond, "The Entail of 1914? I remember from history. What about it?"

I also had to weave my royal family in with the rest of the royal families of Europe. King George IV, Czar Nicholas II and Kaiser Wilhelm II were first cousins. Grandsons of Queen Victoria. I made my House of Stratton on of her descendants as well.

I made Brighton a serf kingdom for England until the 1550s when the first king, King Stephen, freed the people from Henry VIII. With that in view, I had to decided what kind of people lived on the island then and what kind of descendants they created. That's when the story started to feel more real to me.

And when the story feels real to me, it will feel real to the reader.

The same will happen with you. Make sure you know your world. It won't happen on the first draft but as you write, things will begin to pop. Holes will be revealed.

There you have it. A few tips for creating your own world.

Go write something brilliant.


faceprofileNew York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Rachel Hauck lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, she worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in uncomfortable chair to write full time 12 years ago. Rachel is a huge Buckeyes football fan. Her latest release, The Wedding Shop, earned a Booklist Starred review. “Spellbinding.”  You can visit Rachel in the places below:

Rachel's Website




Thanks so much for joining us on Writerly Wednesday! Rachel has graciously offered to give away an autographed copy of The Wedding Shop. Just leave a comment or question, and you'll be entered. Last week's winner of Becky Wade's To Have and To Hold is Edwina! Congrats, Edwina. Email me your mailing address to and we'll get your book in the mail. Have a great week, everyone.


Tricks to Enhance a Deep POV - Part 1

Tricks to Enhance a Deep POV Friends, I'm super happy to be hosting the fabulous Karen Witemeyer on Writerly Wednesday. If you aren't familiar with Karen, you need to check her out here. She writes hilarious, endearing, historical romance that will keep you flipping pages late into the night. Today she's sharing with us about Deep POV:

Deep POV: Part 1

How to increase the intimacy between your characters and your readers

In my opinion, mastering Deep POV (Point Of View) is one of the best ways to catch an editor's eye and a reader's loyalty. Many of my readers have told me that one of the reasons they enjoy my books is because my characters feel so real. This is directly tied to deep POV.

What is Deep POV?

Deep POV is being so far into the head and emotions of your character that you write in her voice instead of your own.

This goes beyond adding the occasional direct, italicized thought to the point where the narrative itself takes on the personality of the POV character. It puts the reader in the character's head instead of relying solely on action and dialog to determine the character's motives and opinions.

Deep POV is the ultimate way to show in show vs. tell.

Readers don't just listen to the story; they experience it directly with the characters. They feel the characters' emotions firsthand and are privy to their thoughts. This draws the reader in and bonds her to the characters so that she becomes personally invested in the story's outcome.

How do you capture the voice of your POV characters?

Keep POV pure – one per scene.

Head-hopping kills deep POV. The whole point of writing in deep POV is for your readers to experience the story vicariously through your POV character. If you jump into another character's head you break that bond. Yes, there are best-selling authors who head-hop, but I would argue that they aren't writing with deep POV.

Eliminate head words.

He thought. She wondered. He noticed. She knew. Watch out for variations on these head words and kill as many as you can. They distance your reader from your character by telling instead of showing.

She gazed at the door and wondered if John would show up like he'd promised or leave her stranded again.


Her gaze swung to the door. Where was he? John had promised not to leave her stranded this time. Why couldn't the boy act responsibly for once in his life?

Use the same style in your narrative as you use in your POV character's dialog.

If your hero tends to talk in clipped sentences, sprinkle a few sentence fragments into the narrative. Use language in your descriptions that he would use. Throw in one of his pet phrases once in a while. Each POV character's voice must be distinct. Scenes written in the heroine's POV should feel different than those written in the hero's POV.

Add humor, sarcasm, prejudices, attitudes, misconceptions, etc.

Use the character's personality to flavor the narrative. This is a great way to add humor or demonstrate misconceptions. Perhaps your heroine would think something catty about the woman who fired her even though she'd never utter the words aloud. Have fun with this. Show us her thoughts. Make her human and relatable.

Deepen POV by deepening the portrayal of emotion.

Do your best not to name your character's emotions.

I won't lie to you. This is the hardest part of writing deep POV. An author has to dig deep to evoke emotions instead of simply naming them. It requires more words, more effort, and more editing. But the payoff is huge.

If your heroine is afraid, we want the reader's heart to race. If the hero's been brutally wounded, we want the reader to wince. If the heroine believes she's lost the man of her dreams, we want a tear to slide down the reader's cheek. Showing emotions through direct thought, visceral responses, and active behavior creates a much greater impact on your reader than simply naming the emotion.


Stephanie eyed her rival, jealousy burning within her as the woman's manicured hand stroked Jason's sleeve.


Stephanie eyed her rival, her throat constricting as she fought to keep her hostess smile from contorting into a snarl. That tramp! How dare she show up tonight on Jason's arm? And with her talons sunk into his sleeve like some medieval war bird. Where was a cat when you needed one?

You can feel the jealousy in the re-write can't you? And isn't your reaction stronger? Don't you relate more fully to Stephanie's emotions in the second version?

Notice the visceral response: …her throat constricting

The action: …she fought to keep her hostess smile from contorting into a snarl

The direct thought: That tramp! How dare she show up tonight on Jason's arm?

The personality: And with her talons sunk into his sleeve like some medieval war bird. Where was a cat when you needed one?

Your Turn

Leave a comment by rewriting this narrative without naming any emotions:

Liz accepted her newborn daughter from the nurse, awe filling her heart at the sight of the tiny being she had brought into the world. Never had she been this happy.

Thanks so much to Karen for the amazing post. Be sure to leave a comment to be entered to win an autographed copy of her latest novel, No Other Will Do.

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Trouble commenting?

Hi friends, I know a good number have had difficulty submitting your comment for my current contest based off of Monday's Cuppa 5/2 and I so apologize for the inconvenience.

My website was being transferred to a different server. My web designer has been alerted to the problem and it should be fixed ASAP. If it's not, please let me know via email and I'll manually enter you :)

Also, if you commented Tuesday or Wednesday your post may not have made it through the transfer, so if it's not too much trouble, feel free to re-enter if you no longer see your comment on there.

Thanks so much for your emails and your patience.


Monday Cuppa 3/21

Happy Monday and happy spring! 6a7d883029e2659ec1daa8c2560f67bc

Does it feel like spring where you are? It's 37 degrees here right now. Not feeling so springy. Hopefully you have a warm cup of survival juice in your hands. I know I've got mine.

It's a contest day here on Monday Cuppa. The winner of last week's giveaway of delicious coffee and an autographed copy of COLD SHOT is Gail Hollingsworth! Congrats, Gail. Just shoot me an email with your mailing address to and I will get your prizes in the mail.

Now for today's contest! My friend Lynette Eason and I are celebrating the release of our novels--Cold Shot and Always Watching, and you get the chance to win an autographed copy of each along with a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card.

Screenshot 2016-01-27 19.21.24

How do you enter? There are several ways: leave a comment below, sign up for both of our newsletters (both are easy to reach on our home pages. Here's mine and here's Lynette's), like our Facebook Pages (mine and Lynette's) and share about the contest with friends. We'll randomly draw a winner and announce them here next week during Monday Cuppa. Best of luck and have a blessed Monday!

Monday Cuppa Moment 9/14

Happy Monday, friends! f8049581d1e3668f348152a939cef9c8

Hope you've enjoyed your coffee today. I'm watching Little Man, so I've had a few cups. Need energy to keep up with the future XGames star :)

This weekend, my family and I had the great honor to receive a private tour of Camden Yards where the Orioles play. We got to go beneath the stadium and see where the players eat before a game, where the dirt for the field is kept, the news room, got to meet Miguel Gonzales and get a signed ball, and the highlight of the day was my husband getting to meet his childhood hero--Brooks Robinson. Brooks was such a gracious man. It was such a blessing!

IMG_7298 IMG_7295 IMG_7289 IMG_7285 IMG_7281


I wanted to share some pics with you so you can see where Griffin, Finley and the gang attend baseball games in my upcoming Chesapeake Valor series.

What about you? Who is your team (any sport)? If you could meet one childhood hero, who would it be?


Monday Cuppa 8/24

Happy Monday, friends! Think this is an adorable and a great way to show your coffee love:


I spent most of the weekend working on my galley for COLD SHOT.



A galley is a printed out copy of the book after it has gone through line and copy edits. It's my second to last time to read through the entire manuscript and make any changes. The last read through is only for spelling and grammar. So this is basically the last time I can craft any changes to the book you will hold in your hands in just a few short months. Exciting and scary! Praying you'll enjoy getting to know Griffin and Finley as much as I've enjoyed telling their story. I'm also very excited to say I will have a handful of advanced copies to give away in the coming months and I'll be doing that here during Monday Cuppa Moments so be sure to stick around :)

Since COLD SHOT takes place in the Chesapeake Bay region I thought you might enjoy a sneak peak of the area by AIRBOAT. It’s a boat actually powered by an aircraft engine. Come along and experience the ride on this tour of the Chesapeake Bay:

What did you think? Up for an airboat ride? I sure am. Did the Chesapeake watershed look like how you pictured it or different then what you had in mind? Have any of you visited the area?

Speaking of the Bay, the winner of last week's Ocean City Saltwater Taffy is Abby Breuklander. Abby, just email me your mailing address to and I'll get your yummy treat off to you.

Next week I'll be giving away my Fair Trade coffee of the month and this month's is a special one. In the meantime, I hope you all have a blessed week.


And the winner is....

Hi Friends, I loved reading all your favorite coffee brands and flavors. So many new ones to try. I'm super excited! Thanks so much for dropping by, sharing and entering. This month's winner is....


Nadine Bowen! Congrats, Nadine!!! Just email me your mailing address to and I'll get your Tanzania Tanzanie in the mail. Hope you'll enjoy!

Hope the rest of you will check back next month. I've already found a super fun flavor for the giveaway.

Have a blessed day,

COLD SHOT Cover Reveal

I'm so excited to share COLD SHOT's cover with you today. COLD SHOT is the first novel in my upcoming Chesapeake Valor series.  


COLD SHOT will be available for pre order soon. I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey -- Chesapeake Valor Book 1

So..what do you think of COLD SHOT's cover? Isn't Griffin dreamy?

Monday Cuppa Moment 6/8

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you've all had a good couple weeks. I had a lovely Memorial Day with my family. Hope you did too. Unfortunately last week my computer died. Completely died. It has an appointment with the Apple Geniuses this week and I'm really hoping they can work their magic. Fortunately it is under warranty and I've learned a few really good lessons along the way. For example, it's never a good thing to have everything on one computer including all your log-ins automatically loaded so when your computer dies you have no idea how to log into anything.


Needless to say last week I consumed copious amounts of coffee--if only they actually made mugs this size. I'm joking, slightly, but am happy to report that I now have my log-ins in order, my long lost laptop is up and running, and I'm thrilled to be back with you all.

This week I'm busy working on revisions for COLD SHOT. In case you missed the announcement on my author FB Page, the name of the first novel in my upcoming Chesapeake Valor series is COLD SHOT.


I've been really enjoying spending time with and getting to know a brand new group of characters. I hope you will too. Tomorrow you'll actually get a sneak peak at Griffin McCray, the hero of COLD SHOT, when I reveal the cover. Yes, that's right. I'll be revealing COLD SHOT's cover TOMORROW. Hope you'll drop back by and take a peak.



And the winner is....

So glad you all enjoyed the pictures from the Romantic Times convention. It was so great connecting with readers and friends. Hopefully they'll be one in your area soon. IMG_5406

The winner of the tote bag full of books is Nicole Douthit!

Nicole, email your mailing address to and I'll get your prize in the mail. 

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and took time to comment. Hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!



A special thanks to everyone who has served our country. So grateful for you and your sacrifice. Because of your service we get to live in the land of the free.


Monday Cuppa Moment 4/20

Happy Monday from Minnesota! ee2534716e02b0535800c3017d8f854eI'm here visiting my wonderful publisher--Bethany House, and I was sure to start my day off with a hot cup of coffee. I'll be sure to post some pics from my visit on next week's Cuppa Moment, but in the meantime here are some fun facts about Minnesota:

  • The Mall of America in Bloomington is the size of 78 football fields --- 9.5 million square feet
  • Minneapolis is home to the oldest continuously running theater (Old Log Theater) and the largest dinner theater (Chanhassan Dinner Theater) in the country.
  • Minnesota Inventions: Masking and Scotch tape, Wheaties cereal, Bisquick, HMOs, the bundt pan, Aveda beauty products, and Green Giant vegetables
  • Minnesota has 90,000 miles of shoreline, more than California, Florida and Hawaii combined.
  • Madison is the "Lutefisk capital of the United States." What is lutefisk you may ask? With my Norwegian heritage, I know all about it. Google it. It's definitely an acquired taste that I haven't managed to acquire.


Which fact surprised you the most? Would love if you'd share 3 fun facts about your state.


Monday Cuppa Moment 3/9

Happy Monday, friends! 67068f0fa4bfe1f876417b577a466f14

I'm SUPER pumped about today's Monday Cuppa Moment because the Iditarod began this weekend with the ceremonial start and an awesome lady named Sarah was cool enough snap this photo. How fun is that? Thank, Sarah!


The re-start kicks off less in about 5 hours. Want to be part of the action? Here are some ways to keep up with the Last Great Race on Earth: offers exclusive race covering, including wonderful blog posts tracking the adventure. My personal fav: SEBASTIAN_SCHNUELLE-featured

I'm rooting for Dallas Seavey with Aliy Zirkle a very close second. How about you? Ever wanted to visit Alaska? See the Idiatrod? Mush a sled? Cuddle a sled dog


How about read Sabotaged? Or Submerged--the book that kicked off the Alaskan Courage series? Here's a great deal from LifeWay starting today. Available in stores and online:



Monday Morning Cuppa But on a Tuesday

For those of you who have seen the Lego Movie, you'll appreciate that line. For those who haven't, I highly recommend it. It's adorable and it's got the catchiest song--one that will lodge permanently in your brain, causing you to sing out every time someone utters the word 'awesome.' Fair warning :) As you can see, I clearly did not have my needed allotment of coffee yesterday.


Hope you'll forgive the day's lag. I blame it on lack of adequate coffee and the fact that it was Monday.

I always find it so interesting how God will share something with me in multiple ways. I think it's because I can be a distracted or possibly a slow learner (just being honest, folks). Or it could be because He's really trying to drive home a point. Lately that lesson has been on Strength in Weakness. If you're so inclined, there's a great sermon series on Truth for Life entitled just that--Strength in Weakness. But this podcast series I've been listening to isn't the first time God has brought this concept to my attention. A few months ago while searching for a new Bible study, I came across one entitled Gideon: Your weakness. God's strength. by Priscilla Shirer and I was intrigued. In today's society we are so condition and barraged with the need to be self-sufficient, to be strong and to be capable. In the Bible, particularly in the story of Gideon (Judges Chapters 6-8), we are presented with a different story, a different calling.



To which, God replied: "...I will be with you..." God promised that even though Gideon was the weakest man from the weakest clan, God would be with him and He would provide the victory.

Are you feeling weak today? Rejoice. God uses the weak to shame the strong. He is the One who gives us the grace we need. He is with us and He provides the victory.

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Monday Cuppa Moment 1/26

Good morning, friends! Here's a happy coffee reminder to kick off your Monday:  


It's downright chilly and snowy here. How about where you are? Any of you lucky ducks in Florida or Hawaii?

If you're hoping to stay warm this morning be sure to check out my Fun Page for some yummy drinks to ward off winter's chill.

I don't know if you're a music fan like me or not, but music is a HUGE part of my life. In fact, I create a story soundtrack for each of my novels. It's simply amazing how encouraging and inspiring a song can be. Recently my family and I were blessed to see Josh Wilson and Citizen Way in concert. If you ever get a chance to see either of them, I highly recommend it!

IMG_2849 IMG_2850 IMG_2856I love all their music, but one of Citizen Way's songs really inspired me that night and it was all because of the story behind it.

In this video Josh Calhoun explains that incredible story. I hope you'll take a minute to watch the video and then listen to the song.

I'd love to hear what songs you find particularly inspiring!

Here's praying you have a blessed Monday,