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.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

What's the Point?


Walking with Him





Life is hard.

I spend time chasing a dream only to have it slip through my fingers. God says to trust him but it can be so hard sometimes. Why should I when it only brings heartache? His Word tells me the reward for my pain and agony awaits in heaven. But does it? Really? Or is that a dream as well? I'm tired, and I have only one thing to say, this life is hard.

Matthew 5:12
"Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."


28 years ago

My heart was full...joyful. Nothing could bring me down from the mountaintop. Jesus was my Savior and the Holy Spirit had filled every corner of my soul, my life. I wanted, no, needed to shout it from the highest peaks I could find! In fact, I did on several occasions, much to the chagrin of those around me. Many told me that my newfound joy would fade. I kept hearing those dreaded words we all hear anytime we do something people don't like, "it's just a phase." I didn't believe them. What I had experienced that night at Single's Group changed my life forever. I was a Child of God. He wasn't just a story someone made up in a book. He was real!

15 years ago

How many times would my prayers go unanswered? How many times would I say the words only for them to fall on deaf ears? Would I need to watch my husband go under the knife, suffer through one surgery after the other only to have to endure another? Would he have to live a life of torture and me...would I be condemned to one of hopelessness...not being able to do anything about it but cry? I'm told to lie to him and pretend I'm happy by people I trust. To grieve in private for the happier days of old. To love him and be strong, after all, that's the makings of a "good wife." So, what should I do? Be "strong" and lie to the love of my life? Or reveal the truth...my weakness...my debilitating fear to the man who needs my strength the most? Oh, why has God abandoned us in our darkest hour?

7 years ago

It's leap of faith time...again. How many times does that make it for us? Three? I'm sure there's more but anyway. We seem to do this when no one, or should I say, everyone least expects it. Trust me, we don't do it deliberately to shock the world. The Lord tells us to go and we just...well, go. The first time was when our son was 6 months old and we packed up everything we owned (not much, believe me) and set off across Wyoming and Montana looking for work. God provided. The second time was when James quit and moved us to Laramie when I said I wanted to be a pharmacist. Sean, our son, was 10 months old. Again, God provided. This time, we moved to Texas on faith that God would provide the healthcare and surgeries James could not receive in Wyoming. Would that happen? We didn't know. That's why it's called a leap of faith! But we sold our house in Lander and moved to Mt. Pleasant, Texas. Our huge leap of faith.

Present

What do I know now? Through it all, no matter what may come, what my happen...God is good...all the time. He never fails. His Word never fails. When you are lost and searching for answers, He is faithful. You can go to Him.

28 years ago, I sang from the mountaintops no matter what people thought or said. God is good.
15 years ago, I told the truth to my husband and we faced both of our fears together with the Lord. God is good...all the time.
7 years go, I took another leap of faith with my husband at my side and God showed me that He is faithful...a part of my daily walk with Jesus. All the time...God is good.

I may have good times, I may have bad. Endure horrible pain and sadness, but I am not alone.

I've learned a lot since that first week of being a Christian. (Good word, eh?) Life is easy, fun, joyful, trying, and hard. It can be great and it can bad. But it's worth it if you have Jesus Christ, the Savior, walking with you along the way.

So, what about you? Are you getting daily smack downs from the Lord? If not, you should. Don't try to traverse the world's highways by yourself, not with all of their potholes and pitfalls. Not when you don't have to. 


Deuteronomy 32:4
"The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He."

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Return to Me


Return to Me




Psalm 10:17-18 “LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, That the man of the earth may oppress no more.”
     I watch the news each night and find myself in tears at the atrocities I see. The television is littered with stories that used to be a once in a lifetime occasion. Now, they’re a dime a dozen. Or are they? Let’s just say, it’s amazing what the information age did for the media business.
     My soul aches with the stories of unimaginable horror. Death, destruction… I search for the Lord but He’s so hard to find. I catch a glimpse here and there. Hope blossoms then another story dashes it once again.
     I ask myself, “Is it too late for us? Is there any hope?”
Zechariah 1:3-4 “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: Return to Me, says the LORD of hosts,and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached’, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deedsBut they did not hear nor heed Me, says the LORD.”
     Oh, Lord, are You listening? Do You hear me calling?
Isaiah 59:1 “Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.”
     My heart rejoices because I know He’s my Savior and no matter the circumstance, He’ll nurse me through the day. His shoulder bears many tears but in the end, the Lord wipes them all away.
      Do you know my Jesus?
     In Christ,
     Renee

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Faith at Work: Fun with Kaleidoscopes

Having Fun with Kaleidoscopes



It’s Labor Day Weekend. Wanna have some fun? Let’s make a kaleidoscope!


I love kaleidoscopes. They’ve been one of my favorite toys since I was a kid. I'd play with them for hours on end, turning the tube or dial...fascinated by the incredible designs. And then I grew up. The fetish faded but not the memories.

Recently, I was driving through the Black Hills with my family. (Nothing new here. They’re in my backyard.) But this particular day, we stopped in a little shop, and my eyes landed on something I hadn’t seen in years…a Nature Kaleidoscope Kit. I snapped it up. My good intentions didn't get very far because it's been collecting dust on my shelf ever since. Well, now it’s time to shake that baby off and start spinnin’.

Wanna join me? Really? Well then...let’s go!

First things first I guess. We need to gather the supplies. 

This is what my kit has in it. If you can't locate the exact items, find something close. Use your imagination. That's what being crafty's all about.

1 – 8 inch long cardboard tube approximately 1 ¼ inch in diameter
3 – Pieces of long reflective material to serve as the mirrors – they must be ½ inch shorter than the tube and (when formed into a triangle) fit inside the tube.
1 – Round plastic craft cup with translucent cap (must fit into one end of the tube)
1 – Cardboard washer – for eyepiece
2 – Coloring book (big enough to fit over tube)
Colored pencils/crayons
Clear packing tape (if desired), scissors, and glue
Fillers for cup:
            Glass marbles
            Polished gemstones
            Dried flowers
            Be creative!


Okay, we have our supplies, it's time to make a KALEIDOSCOPE! Are you excited? I am!


I have all the stuff out and wow, what a mess! But, hey, it’s time to turn back time. (Oh great, now I’ll have that song in my head the rest of the day.)
All right…here we go! This is easy peasy. We’ll take it one step at a time.





1.      You see that little eyepiece washer? Drop that in your tube first or secure it to one end.
2.      Next, take your measured “mirrors” and fashion them into a triangle with the reflective side inwards. Make sure not to get any fingerprints on them now! If you do, clean them and try again. (Hint: a tiny piece of tape can be used to secure them in place before sliding them into the tube, if needed.) Note: you may need to remove a protective film from the shiny side of plastic mirrors.



3.      Place the craft cup into the opposite end of the tube from the eye piece…using glue, if desired.
How’s it going? Believe it or not, you almost have a kaleidoscope! We’re almost done. Go ahead and look through the eyepiece. See what I mean? Time to finish this baby.



4.      Pick a drawing or scene from your coloring book and color to your heart’s content. Use your scissors and cut the drawing to fit your tube. Tape or glue the paper to your kaleidoscope. Protect and waterproof by covering with clear packing tape, if desired.




5.      Select a few gemstones, marbles, seashells, whatever you wish and add it to your craft cup. Close the cap.

Guess what? We’re finished! We’ve made our very own kaleidoscope. To view your creation, point your tube into a light or the sun and turn it in your hand. WOW!

Here’s mine…

Renee's Kaleidoscope

I’d love to see what you came up with. Send me a picture and I'll share them on my website, www.reneeblare.com! 

Oh, I almost forgot. Do you want to see what my kaleidoscope looks like on the INSIDE?

The INSIDE of Renee's Kaleidoscope
Isn't that cool? I want to see yours as well. Pictures, pictures, pictures, send me pictures!


Do you have a DIY project or craft you’d like to share on Renee’s blog? Contact her at contact@reneeblare.com.



Credit: Nature Kaleidoscope Kit, made by Gemini Kaleidoscopes, Sumner WA
Handcrafted in the U.S.A., for ages 7 & up. Available from Amazon.