Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Resolute Resolutions

Hey guys!

Sorry in advance for this post being a little long. I had a lot of points! HA!

You'll get that in a few minutes.

I found this thing on Facebook about the "myths about authors." It cracked me up, because I can relate to these points. This is my life, guys. Here's my spin on it:

1. Every author is rich.


Unless you are a stupendous, self-published author, most of that money goes to taxes, agents, and the publishing house.

2.  Authors have a ton of free time.


Authors go to a special boot camp where the only thing you can eat for days on end is coffee. Yes, you eat the coffee. Then you learn how to deal with sleep deprivation because the wee hours of the morning are the only time that you can spare from your day to write.

3. Authors have control over their film rights.

Dude. I'm not even going to dignify that with a response.

4. Authors know how well their book is selling.

I'm not published yet, but I'm not sure this is something I would want to keep track of... I can just see myself checking every day and then freaking out to my husband that it sold two books more last week then it did this week.

I'm not sure I can put my husband through that. But we will see. :)

5. Authors have unlimited copies of their books to give away.

Yeah, and they also have the keys to Narnia.

So I've been thinking about resolutions a lot. I mean, it's only natural. It's a new year with new things to do. Or finish from the previous year. Or start from the previous year. Yikes. Anyways, I've never made a lot of New Year resolutions before...

And I started thinking...

Why do we do this?

Wikipedia says that "a New Year's resolution is a tradition in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people beginning from New Year's Day."

The Babylonians and Romans made promises to their false "gods" that they would pay their debts and return the junk they had barrowed. In the Medieval era, at the end of the Christmas season, the knights took a vow to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.

New Year resolutions often consist of the following:

1. Improve physical well-being
2. Improve mental well-being
3. Improve finances
4. Improve career
5. Improve education
6. Try new things
7. Take a special trip
8. Volunteer work
9.  Get along better with people
10. Make new friends
11. Spend quality time with family
12. Improve your relationship with God
13. Be more involved in sports or physical activities

Bet you guys weren't expecting a history lesson today.

So I decided, for possibly the first time EVER, to make some New Year resolutions!

1. I resolve to not slow down to unreasonable speeds when someone is tail-gating me with their headlights on high beam.
2. I resolve to learn the name of a sports team. Like for real.
3. I resolve to learn fencing. Eventually. (I live in the sticks, guys! No one teaches fencing around here.)
4. I resolve to push out of my comfort zone in my writing career.
5. I resolve to pitch a NEW book at the ACFW conference this September.
6. I resolve to try some new foods.
7. I resolve that those new foods will never be squid. Not again.
8. I take back number 6, making number 7 irrelevant.
9. I resolve to volunteer to do the laundry at least once. (We don't own a washer and dryer.)
10. I resolve to get more socks. Did that one already.
10. I resolve to clean out my closet.
11. I resolve to buy a new book every week. :)
12. I resolve to maybe learn how to cook something new. (Not raw chicken, mother!)
13. I resolve to clean out my e-mail inbox, and bring the unread number of e-mails down from 1,400+ to something more manageable.
14. I resolve to find an awesome new youth group game for a group of lovable kids and teens who are easily board.
15. I resolve to get in shape this year.
16. I resolve to truly, absolutely, and completely go further in my relationship with God then ever before.

Which leads me into the God stuff that we are going to talk about today.  :)

So do you remember falling in love, but you were unsure if they other person loved you back? You were all nervous, fidgety, and self-doubting. Pulling at your shirt sleeves, looking away really fast, and then looking back as you try to glimpse into their soul to see what they haven't shared with you. All you knew was one thing...

You wanted to be chosen.

Well, have you ever stopped to consider that God wants to be chosen?

Our lives are a big, epic love story with God. It goes either one of two ways. We reject the Lover of our soul. Or we pick God.

Why do you think God gave us free will? He's never wanted to force Himself on us. He has always wanted us to choose Him.

In Matthew 19:16-22, we see the story about the rich, young ruler. This guy swaggered up to Jesus. (Maybe not swaggered, but it's a fun word.) He wanted to know how to save his own soul. So he asked Jesus what he had to do to have eternal life.

I just picture Jesus talking with this young man with a raised eyebrow like "What have they been teaching kids here?" and sadness in His eyes. He knew this guy wasn't going to choose God.

When Jesus told him to keep the commandments, he wanted to know which ones. When Jesus told him to keep all of them, he said he'd done all of that. What was he missing? When Jesus told him to sell all that he had, give it to the poor, and then follow Him, the young man couldn't do it. Despite the fact that Jesus said he would have treasure in Heaven, the man's love for his earthly treasures out-weighed everything else.

This rich, young ruler wasn't motivated by his love for God. He was motivated by his love for himself. And at the end of this encounter, you see him choose himself. This epic love story of our lives is a serious of choices like the one the rick, young ruler made. Big and little. Every day we make choices to put aside us, our desires and our motives, and choose God first.

What choices have we made today where we put God first? This new year is just starting out, guys. Make a resolution that you will choose God more. Choose the one, true God. Choose the Lover of your soul. Choose your Redeemer. Don't put that off until next year. Make it your goal this year to fall even more in love with God.

I hope you guys all had an awesome first month of 2015. I will see you in February.


Man, I sure numbered a lot of things in this blog post.

17. I resolve to not...number so much...next...

Nope. Can't make that promise.

See you guys on February 1st! :)

V. Joy Palmer

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Readjusting to Normal

Hello everyone! I hope you guys had an awesome New Year's Day!

Mine was pretty low key. We relaxed, had one last Nerf gun war, and said goodbye to most of our family.

That was sad. Now everyone is home, and I miss them all dearly.

So, I read a book for review for one of my new writer friends, and posted it on Amazon.

Of the Persecuted by Angie Brashear was a fantastic read, you guys! Here's the gist of what I wrote on Amazon:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a fantastic read. Beware - spoilers ahead!

The book starts with a noose around her neck. She's about to die when a handsome stranger catches her eye. Immediately she is drawn to the young man, experiencing a spiritual connection. In a blast of action, the stranger frees Laila, her brother, and a child. Laila's brother is tragically killed moments later. His dying command is that Laila follow the stranger because he will take care of her.

Laila follows the stranger to his refuge for fellow faithfuls. Lars Landre has many questions surrounding him, but one thing is clear. He is the Chosen, the one destined by the Maker to deliver faithfuls and fight the evil Rendow Clan. Lars, Laila, and the child - Finney - journey to the city protected by the Maker.

I like the author's style of writing, and I usually found Laila's inner thought process to be amusing. Lars and Laila have very obvious chemistry. Laila goes back and forth, thinking that she isn't good enough for Lars. Typical girl emotions, and while you wanted to tell her to stop being blind, it was very believable.

Laila battles with the inner desire for revenge throughout the book. When she finally face-to-face with her enemies, Laila has a change of heart. I really liked how the author handled this. Laila really let compassion and love from the Maker flow through her, and even attempted to witness to her enemies.

After devastating battle and loss, the book ends on a happy note. I loved when Laila and Lars got engaged. The scene was truly magical. This is the first book in a series. For anyone who feels like the book progressed on the slower side, please remember that this is the first book in a series. As such, it contains a lot of set up for future stories.

Bottom line: this is a great read! I would not hesitate to tell friends and family to pick up a copy. So now I'm telling you. Godly truths just gush from this book! And I love the cover! When I met Angie at the ACFW conference, she showed me her business card, and I just gushed over the cover. I love how she described the book, too. "A fantasy romance." Love that! If there's romance in a story, I am so there!

Let's talk machines. So have you guys seen these contraptions? I worked at a fast food restaurant for four years before I switched to my current day job at a dental office. There was a "remodel" while I worked there, and this was what head quarters deemed an acceptable new soda dispenser.

So far I've spotted them in Five Guy's chains and the Burger King franchise where I worked. However, I spotted this guy at a Wendy's when I was in the city.

Need a crash course? You wouldn't believe how many people couldn't operate this machine! And I don't mean the simple confused expression, before figuring it out two seconds later. The simple part was operating it. The hard part was managing the syrups, updates, and the insane amount of ice that thing needed to operate!

In case you've yet to run across this, here's how you use it. Put your drink on the tray, push back against the lever if you want ice. Basically, there are a bunch of drink brands on the screen like Coca-cola, Sprite, and Ginger-ale. You tap the drink you want. Then there are a bunch of flavor options, like Vanilla Coke or Cherry Coke. Tap the flavor you want, and then - this is the hard part - push the big PUSH button under the screen.

All my BK homies will find this amusing...or maybe annoying. This one's for you guys. ;)

So when this strange, space age machine overtakes your favorite food franchise, you'll know what to do. Unless of course, you already have experiences with this pain in the rear. If you live say, not in the middle of no where, then you might have tinkered around this this soda machine already.

Oh well.

So I've been thinking about last words a lot lately. I always think of my grandmother when I think about last words. On top of that, tomorrow is the anniversary of the death of another dear family member.

When I was sixteen, my grandmother went to be with Jesus. That was a really hard time for our family. She was the matriarchal glue that held the different fractions of our family together. When she passed away, some of my family even fell away from God...

The thing that haunts me the most is that I can't remember what I said to her. Did I say I love you? Thank you for everything you've done for me? See you later? The dog won't stop licking my pants? I don't have a clear memory...I just can't remember...

I don't say all of that to bum you out. I have a point.

Whilst thinking all of these deep and melancholy thoughts, Peter immediately sprang into my mind. I just couldn't stop thinking of Peter. He had assured Jesus, that he wouldn't deny Him. Those demon-free pigs would fly over the moon before he denied Him!

And yet...

He did deny Jesus. His last words to Jesus before His death were denial.

Don't you think that haunted him? It would have haunted every moment of every day if it was me! Peter did more then just deny his friend. He denied his Savior. So this is just my personal opinion based on what I see in the Bible, but I think a part of Peter was a little desperate for those horrid words not to be the last words between him and Jesus. I mean, the guy ran everywhere to try to be the first one to Jesus when Jesus was raised from the dead! I don't know about you, but I only run when I have to run, like when I'm being chased by a bear. Maybe if I have something really important to say.

Peter had something really important to say!

When Peter saw Jesus standing on the shore, he didn't think. He reacted. He jumped into that water just to get there quicker. This was the third time Jesus had revealed Himself to the disciples. When that soul-cleansing moment came, oh how it renewed him! All that other junk was washed away for good.

We can't always take back out last words. We don't always find closure. We can control what we say in the here and now. We can use words of love and affirmation. Most importantly, we can bless God.

What would your last words to God be? Yikes! That's a sobering thought. Have we even spoken to Him today? Did we bless Him, thank Him, or even tell Him we love Him lately? Do you remember the last words you said to the Lover of your soul?

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Make them good ones.

Well, that got real o'clock.

I pray you guys have good days ahead, blessed and full of joy. But even if they are not, I pray that you still bless others and live in the joy of the Lord.

See you guys on January 20th! And just to make you smile.

My brother got me this for Christmas!

Owl miss you! See you next time! Haha!

V. Joy Palmer

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Dashing in the New Year!

Happy New Year, my friends!!!


Pure. Craziness.

Like so much.

I hope all your Christmas' were awesome! Filled with family, fun, and food. A little Christmas alliteration for you. ;)

As I mentioned to you guys last time, we had a ton of family coming for Christmas. My brother, sister, sister-in-law, and brother-in-law and his family all came for Christmas. So the past ten days have been spent bouncing back and forth between Sam's family and my family. We literally went to each house twice on Christmas day.

Here's a little recap just to give you a glimpse of my great holiday dash.

Five days before Christmas:
A little Christmas lunch with my dad, brother, and sister in the city.

Christmas Eve:
Dan, Jessica, and their sons arrived. We hung out with them for awhile. My nephews have grown so much!

*Side note* I love being an aunt! Really. It's so much fun. Only an aunt can get away with giving Nerf guns and foam swords to two boys under ten years old. My other nephews live in Virginia, and I don't see them very often. I'm so blessed to be "Aunt Joy" to these two lovable boys!

Christmas Day:
Opened presents with Sam's family. Opened presents with my family. Had Christmas dinner with Sam's family. Put stuff away at home. Sam went to work - he had to work an overnight on Christmas. Then I went back to my mom's house.

Day after Christmas:
Visited with my family. Nerf gun war with my nephews! Girls movie night with Bekah, my sister-in-law, and Jessica, my brother-in-law's wife! We enjoyed ice cream, my fabulous coffee cream cheese brownies, and Leap Year. After the movie we just sat around and talked until very late.

Day after the day after Christmas:
Homemade french toast breakfast made by Jessica. Then my mother and I went to the city to drop my sister off with her boyfriend. Then dinner with Sam's family. While the rest of the family was watching one of the stupidest movies known to man, Jessica and I went over to my house. We talked until really late again. I love girl talk!

*Side not again* I am a typical girl when it comes to talking. I love girl talk. It comes easy when you are young. You talk about your crushes, clothes, and the newest "torture" your parents are inflicting on you. What about when you get older, or when you are married? The girl talk may change, but it never goes away! I had so many deep and wonderful, sisterly conversations with Christine, Bekah, and Jessica! I've missed Christine and Bekah so much. They are such good sisters. And it's been so much fun getting to know Jessica even better. I only have a few married friends, and where our husbands are brothers, it was nice to get some insight from her. :)

December 28th:
We went to church, and then an afternoon showing of the newest Hobit movie.

SPOILERS!!! I am a hobit loving person. Star Wars. Star Gate. Star Trek. Lord of the Rings. So I don't take what I'm about to say next lightly.

I only kind of liked this movie.

I mean, of course I like it. It's a Hobit movie. However, there was no down time in the movie. It was literally all fighting, arguing, and no humor whatsoever. The love story they developed was pointless, but if you've ever read the book, you know why. Urg!

Other then that, I liked it.

So then Sam and I went out to dinner with Dan and Jessica, and Sam's other brother Matt, and his fiancee Wendy. Bekah was supposed to come, too, but she took to her bed sick. We had a lot of fun though.

New Year's Eve:
Sam and I hung at at his parent's house with everybody else. Sam made delicious french onion soup. (That's right, ladies. My husband can cook!) My mother-in-law gave me the recipe for her delicious cheese ball, so I made that. We watched movies and talked. :)

Despite all the running around, we have had so much fun with our families!

Here are some of my favorite Christmas/New Year's moments!

Lot's of coffee!
Last minute shopping and coffee with my sister!

My silly husband :)

Opening presents

Picking on my husband ;)
My husband and nephew passed out during a movie.

My brother, sister, and I

My newest nutcracker! Seriously, I am obsessed with these guys! 

Sam and I <3

Watching The Princess Bride on Christmas day

A beautiful new piece for my town!

So. I do have a Biblical, kind of New Years thought to share with you guys. In my own personal Bible reading, I found this verse.

"Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed." Psalm 34:5, ESV Bible

This is an awesome verse! When I read this verse, it made me think of a Moses story, found in Exodus 34:29-33. Moses comes down from the mountain with the two tablets (containing the ten commandments for the second time), and he was all business as usual.

Except for one thing.

His face glowed with the glory of God!

Sweet, right? At first the people were scared, and even after Moses calmed them down, he still had to wear a veil over his face!

So here is my proposed New Year plan.

Let's be like Moses.

Moses so fit that verse from Psalms. He looked to God, and no one else. Because of that, his face was covered in the glory of God. He got to spend one on one, face to face time with God! Can you think of anything cooler then that? Exactly. There is nothing cooler then that. His face displayed no shame because that kind of stuff doesn't live around God. Only glory remains.

I say again, let's be like Moses. Let's have such an intimate relationship with God, that we have glowing glory faces. Make that your goal for the New Year, and I promise you, it will be a year you never forget.

So my friends, have a blessed New Year with your family and friends! Thanks for making me a part of your year. I will see you again on January 10th! :)

V. Joy Palmer