Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons



Here we are again. Staring down the cusp of Fall, looking into the eyes of Old Man Winter. That's life in Wyoming.


The seasons change fast in this land, sometimes in the blink of an eye. One day, leaves shudder on the trees, the next, they blanket the ground, and the next, they're blowing away in the wind. Or snow buries them deep.

Wyoming can be a glorious but intimidating place to rest your head. While beautiful, it remains remote and untamed. The mountains conquer by simply gasping with a storm, and beasts dare any to tread where they call home.

How is a person to survive in such a place? Is it worth the risk? I can say, after years of living in this wondrous land, yes.

That's not to say I haven't spent many a day staring out at a snowstorm, wondering if it would ever end or enjoyed a clear blue Sunday morning only for it to be destroyed by a sudden surge of ominous clouds from the horizon. Such things as hunting in November can be a challenge...a life-altering one.

How has God used Wyoming to teach me lessons me over the years?

1. Everything He has created on this planet has a purpose. Genesis 1

Wyoming illustrates how everything...most everything you find...works together for God's good purpose. Can man mess this up? Of course, but take a walk on the high plains and discover the true wonder of the stars. Feel the wind blow through your hair on a mountain peak and hear an elk bugle five miles away. Watch a cowboy round up a steer for branding, his body one with his horse. Eat lunch at a small town diner, and join in with raucous laughter as the owner teases her customers just to make their day. Everything in Wyoming has a purpose.

2.  Life is hard but the reward is worth it. 2 Timothy 2:10

This land does not suffer a fool. That is a harsh statement I know, but it's the truth. To live in Wyoming means to endure all things, economical, emotional, physical, ecological, and spiritual battles. It is a land of opportunity for some, missed for others. But with the strength and direction of the Lord, the spring of life wells up in the soul and makes this place a paradise. Life is hard, but it's worth it.

3. An ounce of common sense is worth more than gold. Proverbs 15:21

An unprepared person in Wyoming is asking for trouble. Is it possible to plan for every contingency? No, but common sense is a valuable commodity. Gored tourists and dead hunters aren't figments of the imagination, they're preventable tales told from the annals of Wyoming history and present-day happenings. God can deliver us from Wyoming but in Wyoming, His creation is a simple place, and not very forgiving. Here, common sense is worth more than money and can buy a life.

4. Never take anything for granted. John 3:16

Wyoming's mountains can be majestic, its prairies vast and wide. Eagles soar and buffalo roam while trout jump high to catch a fly. But even then, it's easy to consider home drab...normal. We rise each day and sink our heads to the same pillow each night, and consider it something less than God's good and perfect creation.
The Lord taught me that this precious land, even if man dots its hills and valleys, is never to be shelved with old books or fishing poles. No, I'm to enjoy each sunrise and sunset, rainstorm and blizzard. Why?

Genesis 1:31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good... 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Linda Weaver Clarke's on the Coffee Corner (with E-Book Giveaway)


The Coffee Corner Welcomes



Linda Weaver Clarke


Welcome back to Inspirational Moments. I know it's been a while but I have great news! I'm well on my way to 100%! It's been quite the road to recovery but God is good. All the time. To celebrate, the Coffee Corner brings you Linda Weaver Clarke this week. She's also giving away some e-books! Check out the details after the interview, but for now, let's get to the interview, shall we?

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Renee: Hi there, Linda, welcome to the Corner. I'm excited to have you here. What can you tell us about your Rebel series? What makes it special or unique?

Linda: The Rebel Series is a Period Romance and consists of 3 stories: The Rebels of Cordovia, The
Highwayman of Cordovia, and The Fox of Cordovia. This series is unique for me because it is completely different from what I usually write. It was inspired by the stories of the American patriots who fought to be free from the dictatorship and tyranny of a wicked king. I wanted to create a story about a people who wanted the same thing. Each story has its own plot and can be read separately but it should be read in order so you can see how the people deal with their new found freedom. Liberty is a subject that is very dear to me. Each time I hear the Star Spangled Banner or pledge allegiance, my tears well up for gratitude that I live in a land of freedom.

Renee: This series sounds amazing. I'm a patriot as well. I bet it will touch every patriot's heart who reads it. I wonder, how do you decide upon a subject and find time to do your research?

Linda: After I've decided upon a subject, I have so much fun searching for a certain subject. For example, I learned that the waltz was introduced in the 1700's but many people would not accept it because they felt it was "riotous and indecent." It wasn't until a Russian ambassador endorsed that it was accepted in certain countries. I also learned that lamplighters were chosen carefully because they also acted as night watchmen and they needed to be trustworthy. In The Fox of Cordovia, they make their getaway in a pirate ship, so I had to research what pirate ships were like and what was inside such a ship so I could describe it adequately. I love research.

Renee: I love it! Well, since we're talking about writing, let's keep going, how long have you been writing and why did you start?

Linda: Since 2005, about 12 years. I have 22 books published. I have always enjoyed writing, but it wasn't until I was putting together my grandparents and ancestors' stories that actually got me started. When I was done, I couldn't stop writing and turned to fiction. I have taught writing classes for over ten years, teaching people how to write their family history or autobiographies.

Renee: Wow, it sounds like you found your calling, no matter what kind of writing it was. God is so good, isn't He? Let's turn back to your series, what the favorite part of your books and why?

Linda: In each of my books in this series, the romance between the two main characters has always been one of my favorite scenes. All my books are family friendly, so the romance is always clean with sweet delectable kisses. In The Fox of Cordovia, Jesse is totally enamored with Caroline but he is holding back for one reason. He was once a hero, known as The Fox of Cordovia, during the revolt. That was 2 years ago. Now since he's an ordinary guy, he's afraid she thinks of him as that hero and not who he is right now. So her duty is to let him know that she has fallen for Jesse Conover, not The Fox.

Renee: Your stories sound positively amazing. I can't wait to read all of them! I know everyone else can't either. On a personal note, do you have any hobbies or thinks you like to do when you aren't working?

Linda: I love spending time with my children and husband. I love going on road trips with them or just vacationing somewhere fun with my family.

Renee: In closing, is there a special quote or verse which comes to you in times of need or adversity?

Linda: In Rev 3:20, it says: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." In this scripture, I feel as if the Lord is inviting us to talk to him and tell him about our problems. If we just talk with him and explain our difficulties, then he will comfort us and answer our prayers. In another scripture, the Lord says, "For after much tribulation, come the blessings." He just wants us to be patient in our afflictions and to go to him for wisdom and comfort.

Renee: Thank you, Linda, for being on the Coffee Corner. You are an inspiration for young and new writers. May the Lord bless you in your continued endeavors.

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E-BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!




The Rebels of Cordovia


Linda Weaver Clarke is having a Book Giveaway, which will last until Aug 21st: Every visitor will receive 7 EBOOKS FREE if they preorder the Historical Romance: The Fox of Cordovia. For these promotional giveaways, go to https://lindaweaverclarke.wordpress.com/.

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About the Book, The Rebels of Cordovia:

Centuries after the legendary Robin Hood, a group of men and women find themselves fighting for the same cause: for their rights, for freedom of speech, and equality. Robin’s Rebels realize they must fight against the tyranny of a wicked king and help the people survive this oppression. In the small country of Cordovia, small groups of rebels begin springing up, but its Robin’s Rebels who get the attention of the king.

In this battle for freedom, a tender love story begins to blossom. Daniel, a rogue and a leader of the Freemen, doesn’t realize that the sweet feminine woman he has met and is falling for happens to be the leader of Robin’s Rebels. Realizing the importance of uniting all the rebel groups, Daniel tries to recruit Robin’s Rebels but they refuse. Now he has to find a way to convince them. When he finds out the leader is actually a woman, what will his reaction be?

To read a sample chapter from each book in The Rebel Series, go to http://www.lindaweaverclarke.com/historicalromance.html and click on the title of the book that you want to read.

To purchase a book, visit http://www.lindaweaverclarke.com/purchasebook.html.


Here are two book trailers to discover what this series is all about.

The Rebels of Cordovia:



The Highwayman of Cordovia:




About the Author, Linda Weaver Clarke:

Linda Weaver Clarke lives in Color Country, which is located in southern Utah among all the red mountains. She is the author of 22 books. She has traveled throughout the U.S. for the past ten years, giving lectures on writing techniques. All her books are family friendly.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Follow Me: Being A Christian

Follow Me

What Does It Mean to be a Christian?

photo by Renee Blare


What does Christianity mean in this day and age?

First, let's examine why someone may want to label themselves as a Christian in America.

Appearance: to look good. It's nice to own a cloak of self-righteousness that can be donned on Sunday morning only to be removed afterward and hung again in the closet.

Convenience: The cloak's usually only worn at the convenience of the wearer, or when it's advantageous either for him or those around him.

But do you know or remember how Jesus Christ told the disciples they needed to follow Him? It wasn't for appearances or convenience sake. If they followed Him, it would mean leaving everything they had behind. It meant leaving everything they knew, including themselves.


Luke 9:23  "And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me."

photo by dollarphoto.com

What does it mean to deny yourself? To take up your cross?

Well, for me, it meant looking in the mirror and saying I'm not the perfect girl I pretend to be. That wishing for death every day wasn't my only option and I actually had a God who loved me.

It meant coming to an awful conclusion though. I was a sinner and didn't deserve my dreams. But on the flip side of that coin, God was an amazing God. He was perfect in every single way and He did deserve my dreams. He showed me that no matter how imperfect I may be, He died for me anyway.

And that gave me hope. No matter how much I wanted to make my hopes and dreams come true, I couldn't. But He could.

He also told me I had a job to do on this planet. You see, He came to this crazy place to save people. My job? Tell people about it.
photo by Renee Blare

If you're wondering about the "cross" part, that's it. If you think being a Christian in this world is about appearances and convenience, you're sorely mistaken. It's not a cloak to wear whenever I choose. Jesus Christ died on a cross, and now, He commands us to take up our "cross" and follow Him.

Does that mean that we must die like He did...in agony? I sincerely hope not, although there are Christians around the world that are doing exactly that. Yes, you heard me. If you don't believe me, Google it. The time is coming that being a Christian will mean death...everywhere. Don't buy it? Read Revelation.

All I'm saying is, if you are calling yourself a Christian because it's the cool thing to do or it's convenient, you may want to pick up your Bible and read it. God doesn't do things for "appearance-sake" or "convenience," but because He expects people to live according to His will.

In other words, God doesn't change. He's the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. So, if you aren't living one-hundred percent for Him and yes, that means denying yourself, picking up your cross, and following Him, then you have a problem.

And saying that God is the judge of what you do or don't do? Well, yes, He is. I only have one reply to that. Do you really want to wait until Judgment Day to find out what He's going to say?

Please don't wait until that day! Jesus wants you to come to Him today. He is waiting. He is an awesome Friend, but more than that, He will show you so much more. He will lift your mind, your heart, and soul to a new place. Don't wait for God is good, all the time.

John 8:12  Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world, he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life."


photo by Renee Blare

Monday, July 3, 2017

A Faithful Review of Embracing Hope by Janell Wojtowicz


Faithful Reviews on Inspirational Moments






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About the Book:

Christian college dean Drew McKinley mourns his dead wife and still wears his wedding ring.

He stumbles on a desperate journey to understand God’s motives for her tragic death. Crossing his perilous path is Allison, a graduate student and new employee in the dean’s office. Even as she deals with financial hardships, she recognizes Drew’s unresolved grief from her own loss. Putting up a roadblock is Chris Whitney, the handsome but egotistical student senate president. He carries the secret burden of a dysfunctional family and a below-the-surface temper. The road Drew must navigate is fraught with career upheaval, a reawakening heart, substance and domestic abuse, a violent assault, and the struggle for forgiveness and restoration. Will Drew finish his journey to embrace the hope God offers, the love Allison shares, and the guidance Chris needs, or will he turn his back on all three with catastrophic consequences?


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About the Author:

Janell Butler Wojtowicz, born and raised on an Iowa farm, was one of those kids who loved to write the dreaded “What I did on summer vacation” essay. It’s no surprise that she has spent her entire 30-year career in writing, including journalism, Christian higher education public relations, and local government public information. She is a freelance writer/editor, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Janell and her husband, Frank, live in New Brighton, Minnesota. She has two step-sons and three step-granddaughters.



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The Faithful Review by Renee:

A remarkable story of discovering hope in the midst of pain, grief, and despair. To forgive and let God renew the heart when every fiber of the human mind and body says "absolutely not."

Embracing Hope explores the aspects of loss with clarity in a gentle and enlightening manner. Janell Wojtowicz pens the tale with a firm hand and takes her readers down the road of heartache, not for pain's but for hope's sake.

The path experienced in the wake of loss is paved along multiple valleys. It's littered with potholes and takes the grieving into many a dark, impenetrable cavern. But does the tortuous journey actually end on a hopeful glistening mountaintop...at least someday?


If you don't know anything about grief, take this chance to learn. If you're hurting, discover why you should embrace hope even as you feel there is none.

***** I give Embracing Hope five stars.



Renee's opinions are her own and not for sale or in exchange for any services or fees. She's not required to give a review and all books are provided by the author or purchased personally by Renee.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Getting to Know Judith Rolfs on the Coffee Corner (with Giveaway)

Please welcome Judith Rolfs to the Coffee Corner. She’s a terrific author, and I’d love for you to get to know her like I have. What a wonderful way to do that than right here on the Coffee Corner. Oh, don’t forget to enter for a chance to win her latest and greatest! (Details following the interview.)





Renee: Hi, Judith, welcome to Inspirational Moments and the Coffee Corner. I am so glad you’re here! How about we kick it off with your latest book. Could you tell us a little bit about it?

Judith: The unique setting for the first chapter of Never Tomorrow is Ireland. This is my third novel and the first time any of my characters have been out of the United States! My husband and I went to the golden isle on a missionary trip - the Macedonian Project - for the then called Campus Crusade (now Cru). On the long flight over I pondered writing a mystery so unique that no reader could solve before the final pages – something totally surprising. We did a lot of prayer walking and driving all over the country for three weeks providing lots of thinking time for me to devise this plot. Readers tell me I accomplished my objective.

Renee: Mystery is one of my favorite genres. And Ireland is an amazing place. What a great combo! I love the thought of not figuring out the ending either. I bet the reader loves it too. I bet that was an awesome trip. I would’ve loved it. When did you start writing, Judith?

Judith: I’ve been writing forever - I fell in love with the first pencil I held! In high school, I wrote my first novel, lost long ago thank goodness, I’m sure it was horrible. I also wrote poetry early on. Several poems and a book of poetry were professionally published – two in Billy Graham’s Decision magazine. I have a two-inch thick file of newspaper editorials. Writing is like breathing for me – it comes naturally and is essential for my life - it’s how God designed me.

Renee: Your writing journey sounds like mine…well, at least the beginning stages. My poetry has never been professionally published in Billy Graham’s magazine nor am I newspaper writer, but I’ve been writing forever. It seems as if writing is in most author’s blood from birth, huh? What about the titles for your books though? Where do they come from?

Judith: My husband has a knack for picking titles and has suggested every one which my publishers have always approved. Never Tomorrow refers to the murder victims who had all their tomorrows stolen. Despite the sadness of these deaths, the plot is about relationships among people and is uplifting.

Renee: Well, that’s pretty cool! Most of my titles are hard fought to figure out. I may have to solicit his help next time. Just kidding. What would you say is your biggest challenge as an author?

Judith: My biggest challenge as an author is that life often calls me elsewhere. I need to write late at night or in the wee hours of morning because the days become filled with family activities. Keeping my body in place before the computer is my goal – once there I can become enthralled for hours. It’s the initial oomph that’s tough.

Renee: Oh, wow. Thank you, Judith. I don’t know how many times I’ve searched for the—an inspiration to put my butt in the chair. You’ve just provided one. I don’t have problems writing (when I’m not in pain, that is.). It’s like you said. The problem is starting. When you’re writing, can you tell something about your characters and writing style?

Judith: As a professional marriage and family counselor for over twenty-five years I struggle to make sure none of my characters is too true to life, i.e. similar to an actual client. I find my counseling experience extremely helpful in developing characters and plotting unusual, but realistic situations applying general principles but no telling details.

Renee: What would happen if you couldn’t write anymore?

Judith: If I couldn’t write any more, I’d read non-stop. One regret, no I don’t like that word – I don’t believe in living with regrets or speaking negatives –  but one thing I’ve always wished I had more time for is reading for pure pleasure. I enjoy non-fiction books on philosophy and theology and literary fiction and strong mysteries.

Renee: Tell us more about Judith from a personal perspective.

Judith: My favorite hobby is being creative with my hands – baking pie crusts and hand building pottery which are very similar processes. I’d also like to take a three-month cruise around the world. I’m told I have high energy and I like adventure and variety. I’ve owned and run a pre-school, a bed and breakfast, a real estate investment enterprise and also been in local politics.

Renee: Wow, you are an amazing woman and wonderful author! Thank you for sharing with us on the Coffee Corner!

Judith: You’re very welcome. Don’t forget now, I’m giving away a copy of my book, Never Tomorrow. Details on how to enter below.



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I’m working on my next mystery, The Windemere Affair but I need YOUR help!

I need a female character’s name for this book.

Leave it in the comments with your name and email address to be entered in the giveaway.



One winner will be selected by random drawing on 6/28/2017.


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ABOUT THE BOOK, NEVER TOMORROW:

A compelling mystery with a powerful theme of forgiveness and healing...

Journalist Whitney Barnes investigates the mysterious death of her mother and three women from Cortland City seeking the thread that links them to an enigmatic killer. Why are women being murdered with no apparent motives for their death? Police are mystified at the lack of clues and a growing sense of fear surrounds the community. Who will be the next victim? 

Determined to find the killer, Whitney discovers these women were dealing with wounds from their troubling pasts, but what was their connection? She teams up with Dr. Sarah Stevens, an expert on women's issues, to ferret out information while TV talk show host Rich and real estate broker Jordan vie for Whitney's affection.

Whitney discovers new strength within her, but is it powerful enough to cope with this dark force of evil? Suspense escalates as Whitney becomes the killer's next target.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR, JUDITH ROLFS:

Award-winning author Judith Rolfs’ newly released mystery novel is Never Tomorrow, a gripping murder mystery, plus a psychological thriller that probes the marriage relationship. Judith uses her insights and experiences as a licensed family psychotherapist for three decades to instill powerful emotions in her characters– the grieving, the loves, and the deep joys that one finds in real life.

Judith Rolfs writes about family and relationships in her fiction and non-fiction. Her books have been published in every genre: children's fantasy mystery novels, how-to books for men and women's relationships and parenting, devotionals like Breathless Minute Meditations and adult mystery thrillers: Directive 99, Bullet in the Night and the new Never Tomorrow. 

New York Times best-selling author Pat Gussin describes Never Tomorrow: “Layer upon layer of intrigue—laced with murder–propels this novel to the pinnacle of suspense. An ingenious plot, dynamic and complex characters… Never Tomorrow is a stand-out for readers of mysteries, thrillers, and suspense.” 

Judith says, “As a writer I have the best job in the world. I meet amazing people every day and some are even real.”

Her books are available at amazon & Barnes & Noble.