Thursday, July 23, 2015

Blessings in Disguise



Blessings in Disguise
by Sandi Rog

At one point in my life, writing was all I wanted, and I clung to it like a desperate child clings to its mother’s skirt. It was my “escape” from a lonely life of living in another country while my husband worked overtime a majority of the year. Despite having three children, writing was all I had of value. It gave me confidence and self-worth. It defined me. Really, it was the only thing I was any good at, that was really “mine.” Plus, writing was the only thing I had to offer to God, my children, and the world. Or so I thought.

After thirteen years of living in Holland, my husband and I moved back to America barely holding on to the broken pieces of our marriage, juggling three young children who had never studied in English, and climbing out of the refuse we had made of our lives. But one thing was constant, God . . . and my writing. Truth be told, writing had become my idol. I lived, breathed and ate it.

To make a long convoluted story short, after moving back to the States I was diagnosed with MS. This means that anything can go at any moment: vision, the ability to walk, the ability to speak properly, you name it. My biggest fear was waking up blind. By this time, I was facedown in the mud. What good was I? I desperately longed for my heavenly Father’s arms, and further lost myself in writing.

Interestingly, my books were all about “overcoming” through Christ. Overcoming abuse, trials, you name it. They were about forgiveness and remaining faithful to God despite getting beaten to the ground. A good portion of “me” was poured out onto all the pages of my stories.

Just when I thought I’d had enough, after an MS attack of vertigo, they found a mass in my head (I wondered what the “bruise” was that never went away), and I was diagnosed with Stage Four Non-Hodgkins T-cell Lymphoma: Cancer. Truth be told. I was relieved! I was so exhausted from this life and so ready to go home. After all, my mother-in-law could do a much better job at raising my kids than me. Plus, my husband wouldn’t have any difficulty finding a replacement for me. Only thing I begged from him was that he’d choose a Christian. Of course, he “said” he wanted no one but me, yada, yada. Naturally, I didn’t believe him. I just wanted out. And cancer was my ticket out of this miserable, wretched existence.

But during cancer, God showed me my value as a parent and a wife. Who knew I was any good at the things that counted? It was as though God said, “You believe your mother-in-law (MIL) would do a better job at raising your kids than you? Well, have a seat and watch what happens.” I was so sick, my MIL came to America to take care of my family for a year, while I watched from the sidelines, unable to do anything. It was then that I realized I was the best person for my children. Not that she did a terrible job, by any means. It’s just that I had an understanding of them, a connection and bond that she, nor my husband, had. God revealed my value as a mom!

It was also during this time, God revealed that my husband loves me and needs me. You see, my husband and I are very opposite in personality. He isn’t often “spontaneous.” He’s a planner, he maps everything out, and doing anything without “thinking” doesn’t happen often. E-hem. Yes, I often do things without “thinking.” But as I was saying . . . One day during cancer, I was sitting on a chair in the bathroom as my husband shaved my head. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw this strange-looking fat woman with no hair staring back at me. How grotesque! How can anyone love this? But when my husband was done, on impulse, he bent over and kissed my bald head. I always thought he was good to me and took such good care of me during that time because he felt guilty, but in that one moment I knew that he truly loved me. I mean, who would do that? Who would spontaneously bend over and kiss their fat wife on her bald head if he didn’t love her? It was in that moment, God revealed that my husband’s love was true. God saved our marriage!

So, when I got better (which is another story that you can read about here: http://beatcancerwithb17.blogspot.com/p/my-win-against-cancer.html), it was difficult to get back into writing. I couldn’t focus. I used to write in chaos, ignoring everything and everyone around me, but now I simply can’t. I don’t want to miss out on any precious moments, no matter how petty. I was also afraid writing would become an idol again. Through much prayer, God has held my hand every step of the way, and while I now know how to put God and my family first, he’s allowed me to write again. I’m taking baby steps, but I’m back on board, and this time, I wrote a light, inspirational romance that won’t make you cry.

God is good. Through the bad times and the good. He also revealed HIS LOVE for me during all of this, and I praise Him! It was through cancer that God brought me from a miserable wretch who believed she was worthless, to a confident daughter of the King.

GIVEAWAY:

Julie here, and originally, I wasn’t planning on posting Sandi’s first chapter of her new book here, but honestly, it was so enticing, I just had to! You’ll find it after Sandi’s bio below, so leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Out of the Ashes.

ABOUT SANDI:
Sandi Rog is an international and award-winning author of The Master’s Wall, Yahshua’s Bridge, and Walks Alone. Also a mother of four, she lived in Holland for thirteen years and now lives in Colorado with her husband, children, a cat, and too many spiders. Sandi can be found at her website and her many blogs: www.sandirog.comhttp://sandirog.blogspot.comhttp://thelordslady2.blogspot.com, and http://beatcancerwithb17.blogspot.com

JACKET BLURB FOR OUT OF THE ASHES:

A stranger. A kiss. A shotgun wedding.

NATHANIEL WARD, wealthy entrepreneur, needs a wife. But he’s not interested in the preening, high-society women who are offered to him on a silver platter. He wants one woman, and one woman alone: the girl who gave him all the money in her reticule years ago when the Great Chicago Fire left him destitute. He sets out to find this woman and discovers she’s unattached. There’s only one problem, a shotgun wedding may be able to bind them, but will he ever be able to win her heart?

AMELIA E. TAYLOR blows a kiss to a street rat. Little did she know, years later that kiss would follow her to Green Pines, Colorado. When a handsome stranger arrives in her hometown, she guards her heart from the stirrings this man ignites. Despite society’s disapproval of spinsterhood, she is determined not to marry, having witnessed first-hand the lack of love and horrors that accompany marriage. But will a shotgun wedding reveal blessings that arise out of the ashes?

FIRST CHAPTER OF OUT OF THE ASHES:

Chapter One

Green Pines, Colorado, 1882

     Gun smoke burned Amelia’s eyes and her ears still rang. She blinked the tears from her lashes.
     “Do you, Nathaniel Ward,” the preacher scowled, “take Amelia Taylor to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
     Amelia’s father cocked his rifle and aimed it at the reluctant groom.
     “I do,” Nathaniel said, his voice firm and unwavering. Despite her father’s threats, Nathaniel’s very presence exuded power, his raised chin, broad shoulders and wide chest unflinching against the barrel of the rifle.
     Amelia didn’t dare look up at him. What must he be thinking? How many women had hoped to get him this far, and now, here she stood where most women dreamed of standing—shotgun wedding, or not. If only she could melt into the parlor’s wooden floor like the candle burning in the nearby lamp. Or disappear like the smoke. Disappear into nothingness, with no remnant left of her existence.
     “Do you, Amelia Taylor, take Nathaniel Ward to be your lawfully wedded husband?” The preacher’s words rushed over Amelia like a gush of foul air.
She stood paralyzed, unable to speak. She’d vowed never to marry. How would she bear this cross? She’d seen enough loveless marriages in her life to know it wasn’t worth the heartache, despite the shame of spinsterhood. And now, to be forced on a man? What miseries awaited her? Abuse? Neglect? Slavery? Any man in his right mind would despise her for the rest of his days. It would be impossible—unthinkable—to procure his affection … his love.
     The minister, still in his nightclothes, cleared his throat. His wife, holding up the lantern, glowered from behind him.
     Amelia swallowed, darting a glance at her terrifying father. With a snarl, he narrowed his eyes at Nathaniel and pressed closer with his rifle. Would he put another hole in the preacher’s wall? Or Nathaniel’s chest?
     “Amelia, girl.” Her father’s voice sent a shudder down her spine as it echoed through the quiet house. “You know, I always keep my word.” He’d threatened to kill Nathaniel if she refused to be his wife.
     “I do,” she said, her voice small and trembling, quite the opposite of the man next to her. The horror, the shame. How did her life come to this?
     “I now pronounce you man and wife.” The minister slammed his Bible shut and pointed it at her father. “Now get out!”
     Shadows clouded Amelia’s vision, and her legs wobbled like those of a newborn calf. Her knees buckled, but rather than landing on the hard floor, she found herself caught in Nathaniel’s strong arms.
     Now her husband.


98 comments :

  1. So great to have you writing again Sandi! I have enjoyed all your books. =)

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  2. I read your "Master's Wall" and look forward to reading more of your work. And I love this new cover on te "Ashes" book.

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  3. I loved the excerpt of your book. Now I need to find out what happens after they say "I do" sounds like a great story. I have read any of your books. It would be an honor to read one. Thanks fir the chance
    Harley (Deana)
    Jhdwayne@peoplepc.com

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  4. What a beautiful post!

    "I mean, who would do that? Who would spontaneously bend over and kiss their fat wife on her bald head if he didn’t love her?"

    That brought tears to my eyes.

    P.S. Gorgeous cover!!

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  5. Sandi, You amaze me. I don't know how you can think to put in such detail that makes one think, you are right in the middle of the picture. That takes talent, and I am soooo proud of you!

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  6. A lovely post & chapter read thank you.

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  7. I enjoyed your post and so glad Tina included Chapter 1 of your book. It sounds intriguing. I'd like to know why her father was forcing them to get married.... Thank you for a chance to win a copy.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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  8. Thank You for your transparency, it's hard to show yourself off, esp online, but others need to see it, to know they're not alone. So happy for you to have been shown the gift of family God blessed you with before it was too late. :)

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  9. Sandi, what a touching and beautiful story. God bless you in all you do, and huge thanks for being so open and honest with us. A gripping tale of how we face ourselves and our adversities.

    Praising God for your health!!!

    I brought coffee, and raising a mug in a toast to you!

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  10. Sandi!!! Welcome to Colorado and congratulations on your win against the battles in your life. God 3 Devil 0.

    Your book cover is just gorgeous btw.

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  11. Oooooh! This looks like a book for me! Congrats, Sandi!

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  12. Sandi, you are a true testimony of Gods mighty power. I too have been there and am finally climbing out of the pit only by Gods grace. I appreciate you baring you soul and showing me it's ok to be human. I love that we have an amazing talent in the Christian community. Thank you for all you do! Love you and your family ❤️��

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  13. Touching and inspiring. Amazing how God can turn the very worst into the very best. A raw and gritty testimony that honours Him. Thanks for sharing. And congrats on your latest release. Looks awesome -- and wowzer, what an opening scene!!!!!!!!!

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  14. Thanks be to God that you were able to hold on and not lose faith until your eyes were opened to the love of your husband and children. Thank you for a wonderful testimony of God's love and patience for us, his lowly creatures. :-)

    Wishing you good health and blessings on your writing.

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  15. I love what Mary Hicks said about having our eyes opened.

    True words.

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  16. Great post! We have to remember that God is more concerned with the JOURNEY than the destination. Thanks for sharing the fantastic excerpt!

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  17. Hi Sandi,
    I was so blessed as I read your life story, it brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing God we serve, One who can reach down into our darkest pit and lift us up into His Glorious Light. I'm thanking Him for His Great Love this morning, for you, for me, for us all.

    I'm happy God brought you full circle back to the gift of writing He placed in you. There's nothing on earth more satisfying than fulfilling your God-given purpose and that first chapter Julie posted proves your gift. I'm putting it on my TBR list.

    Thanks so much for sharing today, I'm feeling a sense of renewal myself!

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  18. Sandi - welcome to Seekerville. What an inspirational post. I never thought of writing as an idol. That is something I need to guard against. I followed your cancer journey a little. What strength and healing you were graced with! You are so gifted in your writing. Thank you for using your gifts to encourage us.

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  19. Your book sounds really interesting Sandi and I appreciate your testimony. Thanks for sharing both with us.

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  20. My words can't match what I'm feeling after reading today's post.. Thank you for sharing.
    I'd enjoy reading your books especially after getting to know more about you, the author..

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  21. Glad you are writing again. God bless you

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  22. GOOD MORNING, SANDI -- SOOOO GREAT TO HAVE YOU BACK ON SEEKERVILLE!!

    Ducking in this morning to say "hey" before I head out to Purina Farms with my grand kids, so I'll be back later today to jump into the conversation.

    Till then, you go, girl!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  23. Oh my goodness, Sandi. What a testimony. Thank you so very much for sharing it with us.

    And thank you for sharing Chap 1 of Out of the Ashes, too. I'm looking forward to reading it.

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  24. What a story you have of perseverance! The first chapter of your book makes me want to take off early and READ!! I'd love to win the book!

    Stephanie

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  25. Sandi, welcome to Seekerville and thank you for being so transparent. I've never thought of myself as making writing my "god", but sometimes I wonder if others look at me and think that of me. Juggling all the aspects of writing (from the germ of an idea to writing the story, to publication, marketing, signings, business) all at the same time makes it look like that's all I think about all the time.

    While I love what I do, and am so glad to be self-employed these days, I sometimes feel like that's all I do 24/7 because the work is never done. At least my hubby seems to understand since he's also self-employed and the work on a cattle ranch is never done.

    But still, even having said that, I wonder sometimes if I'm still making excuses. Am I making writing my "god" and excusing it by saying it's because I have to get the work done? Something to ponder, for sure.

    Love the first chapter of Out of the Ashes. Can't wait to read it! :)

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  26. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story, Sandi! It's amazing how the trials in our lives have a way of opening our eyes to the blessings we already have and give us new perspective on the future.

    Your husband sounds like a keeper! A lot like mine in the "plan everything out ahead" department! I'm not exactly spontaneous, but rigid schedules, especially when we're vacationing, just really annoy me. ;-D

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  27. Good morning, Sandi! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. The road isn't always an easy one, that's for certain. But God promises he'll be with us and your testimony clearly shows that.

    Your opening chapter is a GRABBER for sure!

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  28. Sandi -- What an inspiring story! I knew parts of it from things you had shared in the past, but I hadn't seen the whole picture until today. I know your preference is for historical fiction, but have you considered turning parts of your story into a contemporary women's fiction?

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  29. Thank you for sharing your inspiring journey, Sandi. I wish I would have waited until I got home to read this. My co-workers are asking me why I'm crying. Challenges with our health have a way of putting everything into proper perspective. Blessings to you and your family.

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  30. Thank you for having me on Seekerville, Julie! It’s such an honor to be here! I’m going through all the comments and replying here. Look carefully for your name, as I’ve replied to every one!

    Nancy, it’s so GOOD to see you here! Thank you for your encouragement!

    Katheryn, thank you! I’m so excited that you’ve already read one of my books! Did you know there’s a sequel to The Master’s Wall? It’s called Yahshua’s Bridge, and I think it’s even better!

    Deana, if you go to Amazon, you can read a bit further. In fact, I believe you can get as far as chapter two. :-)

    Virginia, that one action was an eye-opener for me. I believe God used it to help me. Yes, my cover designer did an amazing job on my cover!

    Uncle Jerry, I love you!

    Thank you, Mary Preston!

    Cindy, you’re asking just the right questions to make my book a page-turner! Thank you!

    Mellissa, yes, God is GOOD. I’m so grateful for His discipline!

    Ruth, thank you! Coffee sounds good. I think I’ll have some!

    Tina, God made it happen. Not me. :-)

    Amy, I hope you enjoy the book!

    Jackie, it’s so great to see you here! Thank you for your encouraging words.

    Kav, thank you! I’m excited you like the opening. You can read more on Amazon. :-)

    Mary, thank you! It does me good to know God actually cares for lowly me. I really didn’t think I was worth it before all this.

    Ruth, yes, so true!

    Caryl, Amen!

    Tracey, I’m so GLAD God could be glorified in this post. He deserves it! He’s a awesome Savior and Father.

    Cindy, it’s all God. Most definitely. He deserves all the glory.

    Loraine, it’s my pleasure! Thank you for commenting!

    Deanna, I can relate to not finding the right words. It’s so hard sometimes, even for us writers. But either way, the words you did find were very encouraging. Thank you!

    KQ, thank you!

    Julie, THANK YOU for having me on Seekerville again! It’s such an honor to be here!

    Anita, you can read more of the chapter on Amazon, if you wish. Thank you for your encouraging words!

    Stephanie, I hope you’re able to read my book!

    Pam, thank you for your transparency. It’s a hard act to juggle, making sure we don’t turn what we love into our idol. Only you can answer that for yourself. One suggestion I’d make is to pray about it. God will help you to see if it’s a problem or not. Plus, just make sure you’re making time for Him.

    Myra, yes, I can relate! LOL Thank you for sharing and commenting.

    Glynna, thank you! Yes, God is always with us. He really taught me that throughout all of this. If you’d like to read more of the chapter, you can on Amazon. :-)

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  31. Hi Sandi and welcome to Seekerville. What a beautiful testimony and encouragement for all of us facing life's challenges. I agree with Tina. God 3 Devil 0. So wonderful to hear testimonies of this truth.

    Loved your first chapter also. I don't usually read those in a post, but once I started, couldn't stop. Great writing.

    So appreciate the acknowledging the danger of writing as a God. I had to battle that one myself. Interesting how the evil one works. But Jesus is the victor and I so appreciated hearing that in your testimony.

    Have fun today and thanks again for joining us.

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  32. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story, Sandi. I love seeing the masterpieces the Lord can create from broken pieces. We're all stained glass wonders, aren't we, shattered but put back together by a forgiving God who loves us more than we can fathom?

    I'm so glad you're writing again. You new story sounds great.

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  33. Amanda, thank you for stopping by! That’s a good question. I have thought about writing my story as is, rather than turning it into fiction. Several have asked that I do that, but at the moment, it’s still a little too raw.

    Jill, I’m so sorry to hear you’re having health struggles. One thing that helped get me through was remembering that this world is temporary, it’s not my home, and someday when we’re all in heaven, we won’t have to deal with any of this. Also remember, God is GOOD no matter what’s happening, so keep praising Him. Somehow doing that makes things easier to handle (it’s what Job did). God is truly amazing. And He loves you! When I was in the hospital and was too sick to do anything but breathe, it felt like God was FAR away, but I knew that’s what Satan wanted me to believe/feel. So, I started praising Him, and God “felt” closer. Just remember, whether it “feels” like it or not, God IS THERE. Here’s a verse one of my friends wrote on a blanket for me while I was sick: Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

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  34. Sandra, thank you for your words! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one with this struggle. It’s crazy how Satan can turn something meant for good into something evil. I was writing for God, but . . . yeah, my obsession turned it into something it shouldn’t have been.

    Keli, it sounds like you’re also a writer. Beautifully said! Thank you!

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  35. Thank you for your lovely reply, Sandi. I copied and pasted it to save.

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  36. What an inspiring post, Sandi. Thanks for sharing with us. I wish you all the best with your writing and your health. Please enter me in the drawing. The book looks so good.

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  37. Jill, I’m so glad you were encouraged. Just keep your focus on Him and what’s true. Don’t listen to Satan’s lies.

    Sandy, thank you for your encouraging words. I hope you enjoy the book!

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  38. Sandi,

    I echo Pam's comment: thank you for your transparency in this post. I'm both impressed and saddened by your history, but mostly I'm awed by what God showed you through all of that--and now what He's showing us through your visit to Seekerville and your writing.

    I must confess that I haven't read one of your books before, but I'm glad you stopped in at Seekerville today, and I'd love to win this new "Out of the Ashes" release!

    Julie, hope the day with your grandkids is full of joy and fun! :)

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  39. Sarah, thank you for your encouraging words. Yes, God taught me a lot during all of this. He’s so wonderful and GOOD. I hope you get a chance to read OUT OF THE ASHES!

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  40. wow. I echo everyone's thanks for the transparency of your post. It's good to know that God can use us even in our brokenness. I was not aware of your other books, so I will have to go check them out. I really enjoyed your first chapter "teaser". Nothing like jumping right into the action, eh?

    Please put my name in the draw for "Out of the Ashes". Love the book blurb.

    Thanks Seekerville for introducing me to a new (to me) author. I love how you do that.

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  41. Sandy, when I first joined ACFW, everybody was asking for prayers for you. And I joined your prayer warriors.

    You are much loved, and it's so nice to get to know you better.

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  42. Deb, I hope you get a chance to read my books and that they encourage you!

    Jackie, I’m so touched! It always moves me to meet one of my prayer warriors. Thank you! Really, there’s no way I can thank you enough. All I know is God heard your prayers, and His answer was/is YES! :-) My family and I are eternally grateful. Bless you!

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  43. Oh, Sandie, I was so moved by your inspiring story! There's a method the Japanese use to repair a valuable broken vase. A master craftsman uses gold to put the pieces back together, making it more beautiful and valuable than it was before. That's what God has done with your life.

    I so want to read your book. You had me hooked with your excerpt!!

    May the Lord continue to bless you all the days of your life.

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  44. Sandi, I just went online and bought your book. No need to put me into the drawing. It just moved up to the top of my TBR list!

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  45. Barbara, I’d never heard about that before. What an amazing thought that God pieced my life back together with gold! Thank you so much for sharing this! It makes me want to use that in a story. Speaking of story, thank you for buying mine! I hope you enjoy it!

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  46. Sandi, you made me laugh and cry with the kiss on the head. God bless you as you continue writing. I loved the excerpt.

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  47. Thank you so much, Gail! I hope you get a chance to read one of my books. Bless you!

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  48. Your 'confessions' are just so touching, Sandi. Although I knew about the cancer (and the subsequent healing - PTL) I did not know that you had struggled in these other areas. Thank the Lord that He is still using you to write your amazing stories! You are truly an inspiration

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  49. Sandi, thank you for sharing your powerful testimony! Wow! What a reminder to listen for God's loving voice as He gives us unexpected blessings! Beautiful!

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  50. Thank you for that beautifully encouraging and inspiring post, Sandi!! It brought tears, as I can relate to your health issues, as well as the blessings God brings us as a result of our trials. I became aware of you through a friend's referral to your blog re: your cancer battle, and corresponded with you perhaps a year or more ago.

    PTL, for your healing - I'm praying there are no current health issues for you. I haven't read any of your books, after reading this post/testimony - I am inspired to read each of them. I appreciate the fact that authors, personally, are such a huge part of their fiction writing and how that speaks to the reader. Thank you for your candidness. I've heard the dreaded "C" word twice, personally - God has been with me, and blessed me through each experience. As I pray for direction re: a coming surgery, I know He will continue to do so - even if I hear that hated word once again.

    Continued prayers for you, please enter my name in the drawing for a copy of your beautiful "Out of the Ashes"!!




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  51. Tracy, thank you for your encouraging words and your prayers!

    Sherida, thank you! God is GOOD no matter what. :-)

    Bonton, I’m so sorry for all the health issues you’ve been facing. Please remember, you are NOT alone! God is with you ever step of the way. He has every hair on your head numbered and He’s captured every one of your tears in His bottle. That’s how much He cares! Please remember that. It can be scary, but remember also that this life is temporary. We have a much better eternity awaiting us!

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  52. Okay ... I've been to breakfast with two toddlers, then Purina Farms, then lunch, and I have a tiny respite to check in with Seekerville before we go swimming. WHEW! Who knew being a grandmother could be as hectic as being a mom???

    KATHERYN -- I totally agree -- I LOVE Sandi's new cover and can't wait to read the story!!

    Oooo, DEANA, me too! Sandi hooked me with that scene right out of the box, so I'm chompin' for more!

    VIRGINIA ... it brought tears to my eyes too. What a guy!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  53. CINDY, oh me too! I think that's the real hook in that first scene is just WHY there's a shotgun pointed at ol' Nate! ;)

    TINA SAID: "God 3 Devil 0."

    LOL ... YES!! Sooooo impressed, Sandi, with how you've blazed through this tough time of your life with God's help!

    CARYL SAID: "We have to remember that God is more concerned with the JOURNEY than the destination."

    OH, AMEN TO THAT, girl!! Sometimes I wish God was a wee bit more concerned with the journey, but the result is always worth it in the end.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  54. TRACEY SAID: "That first chapter Julie posted proves your gift. I'm putting it on my TBR list."

    I'm with you, Tracey -- the cover caught my eye, but the first chapter caught my heart!

    CINDY SAID: " I never thought of writing as an idol. That is something I need to guard against."

    Me either, Cindy, till God nailed me to the wall, which I'm glad He did because writing is not a kind idol ...

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  55. ANITA MAE!!! Hey, girl, long time, no see! How've you been -- miss you!!

    AMANDA CABOT SAID: "I know your preference is for historical fiction, but have you considered turning parts of your story into a contemporary women's fiction?"

    I agree, Amanda -- Sandi's story would make an EXCELLENT women's fiction novel. Or, Sandi, if you don't want to invest that kind of time in it right now -- what about a novella?

    JILL SAID: "I wish I would have waited until I got home to read this. My co-workers are asking me why I'm crying."

    LOL, Jill, me too, only I had the luxury of crying in the privacy of my home when I ready Sandi's blog the first time. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  56. Sandi, I can understand your desire to put off writing your own story for a while due to it still being a little too "raw." But I do feel that you will someday, and it will bless many people, my friend.

    SANDI, YOU SAID: "When I was in the hospital and was too sick to do anything but breathe, it felt like God was FAR away, but I knew that’s what Satan wanted me to believe/feel. So, I started praising Him, and God “felt” closer. Just remember, whether it “feels” like it or not, God IS THERE."

    OH, YES, YES, YES!! If more people understood the power of praise, there would be a whole lot more victory in their lives!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  57. JACKIE SAID: "Sandy, when I first joined ACFW, everybody was asking for prayers for you. And I joined your prayer warriors. You are much loved, and it's so nice to get to know you better."

    Agreed, Jackie, and I remember that too. I didn't know Sandi personally at the time (and we have never met in person even yet), but everyone was storming heaven on Sandi's behalf, so when she emailed me to endorse one of her books -- Walks Alone, which is FABULOUS, by the way -- I was thrilled to do so and even more so after I read the book and saw her talent.

    BARBARA SAID: "There's a method the Japanese use to repair a valuable broken vase. A master craftsman uses gold to put the pieces back together, making it more beautiful and valuable than it was before. That's what God has done with your life."

    Okay, Barbara, that just made me tear it -- I have never heard it before, but that is an absolutely beautiful story, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  58. BONNIE!!! Soooo glad you got by to read Sandi's blog today because I knew it would resonate with you my friend, after all you've been through. I expect the same level of victory for you as well, you sweet thing!

    Whoops ... rest time is over, so back on the Ju-Ju fast track! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  59. Hi Again. Are you enjoying the day with us? Lots of wonderful comments.

    BARBARA I love the story you told of the Japanese piecing together broken pieces with gold. YEs, yes, SANDI you must use that in a story. It is a wonderful analogy.

    How are the grandkids JULIE? Don't you wish you had half their energy? LOL

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  60. What a wonderful post on how faithful God is. Please enter me to win a copy of this book.

    I have been thinking about those who are in NYC at the conference. Can't wait to see pictures and hear all about it.

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  61. Sandi, I thank the Lord for His faithfulness to you. You are a treasure. ๐Ÿ˜˜❤️๐ŸŒป

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  62. Wow! What a wonderful blog, thank you Sandi for sharing words of hope and inspiration. I wish you all the best with your continuing writing journey. God bless you!

    Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly! You blessed me.

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  63. Wilani, thank you for stopping by! Mum, thank you! It was all God, not me. :-)

    Julie, I think I'll actually write my story, rather than make it fiction. I think it would be more powerful for folks if they know it's real. I'm just not quite ready to write it; although, I can tell, I'm getting closer to being able to.

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  64. JULIE, SANDRA, SANDI, I once saw a vase repaired with this method at a Christian women's retreat. It was so beautiful, but I couldn't remember what the method was called, so I just Googled it. What else? Here's a brief description from Wikipedia, but you can go online and view some of the gorgeous pottery repaired this way:

    "Kintsugi (้‡‘็ถ™ใŽ?) (Japanese: golden joinery) or Kintsukuroi (้‡‘็น•ใ„?) (Japanese: golden repair) is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise."

    Isn't that so like what God does with us!!

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  65. Melony, thank you for your words of encouragement. It does me good to know what I went through can be a blessing to someone else. xxx

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  66. Barbara, THANK YOU for sharing this! You know, I've already got a children's story written about a broken vase being repaired with "glue." Well guess what? I'm gonna change it to GOLD! Thank you for the link. Now I know how to "do" it. LOL

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  67. Sandi, so amazing to see you "back in the biz". I enjoyed your heartfelt story and wish you bundles of happy hours writing. Cheers

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  68. Thank you, Marilyn! It's so wonderful to be here! It's an honor, really. :-)

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  69. Your story is an inspiration, Sandi. Thank you for sharing. Wow, I just love that book cover and the shot-gun wedding scene makes me want to get this book asap.

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  70. Elaine, thank you! If you are able to get my book, I hope you enjoy it! :-)

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  71. Sandi, your story truly is inspiring. It puts my life right into perspective. :) Thanks so much for sharing here today. I'm so glad you're writing again! I love your cover!

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  72. Thank you, Jeanne! Yes, I had a wonderful cover designer! She's the best and gave me exactly what I wanted. :-)

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  73. WOW - what an amazing story Sandi! Sorry to say I have not reas any of your books but I am definitely putting this one on my TBR list now - I would love to win a copy!!

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  74. Hey Sandi!!! Loved the first chapter and the story line. How fun! Your story really hit home with me, Sandi. Seems I've been in the same boat as you. Writing was my escape. But like you, God has gotten my attention through cancer. Thanks so much for all the help you've given Joe and me. He's so faithful! He doesn't put anything in his mouth that isn't raw veggies or fruit or juice. Still doing the b17, too, along with the other supplements you suggested. You're a blessing! Wishing you huge success on your new book!!

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  75. I'm so excited for your new book! I love your writing, Sandi! Thanks for writing such an honest and transparent post. Very encouraging๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–

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  76. Sandi, thank you for sharing your story. I am so glad God has helped you through it all!

    I had to know more after reading the first chapter of Out of the Ashes! I am eager to learn the backstory and how they ended up with a shotgun wedding. Don't enter me, I've already ordered it.

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  77. Sharon, when/if you read it, I hope you enjoy it! :-)

    Debbie, it's SO GOOD to see you here! Thank you for stopping by and for the positive wishes! I'm still praying for you and your Joe. xxx

    April, what a wonderful surprise to see you! Thank you for your compliments! They mean A LOT coming from an amazing writer like yourself!

    Donna, I'm so excited you ordered my book! Thank you!! I'm excited for you to learn the backstory! It was fun to write! :-)

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  78. Sandi,

    Thank you for sharing your story...I'm chiming in a little late to add my gratitude for your transparent narrative that wrenches the heart and inspires the mind!

    Rejoicing that you are writing again!!

    Wishing you joy and that "God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to!!" (Duet. 15:10)

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  79. Kathryn, I'm glad you joined in. Thank you for your encouraging words and the beautiful verse!

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  80. What a fabulous excerpt! Please include me in the drawing for the book!

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  81. Thank you for sharing. Sandi, you are great writer, editor and a brave lady

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  82. Thanks so much for your honesty, Sandi. Great first chapter, too!

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  84. Wow, Sandi. Your story could be mine! When you said, "...writing was all I had of value. It gave me confidence and self-worth. It defined me. Really, it was the only thing I was any good at, that was really 'mine,'" that really hit home. That's how I feel. What a good reminder to focus on the "other" blessings God has put in our lives and those who need us, and not with our face glued to a computer monitor all day. I have 4 young kids and I don't want to miss out on their lives because I'm craving the "me time" that writing offers. Thanks for your post!

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  85. Sandi, thank you for sharing your heart in such an honest way to remind each of us God indeed has a purpose for our lives. Julie, thanks for including the first chapter of Out of the Ashes. Loved it.

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  86. Sandi, I'm glad you can use the "gold method" in one of your stories! I read several chapters of Out of the Ashes last night. I'm totally hooked on the story!

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  87. Wow, powerful post. You made me cry. Your husband bending down to kiss your bald head was better than any romance moment I've read in a book :)

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  88. Thanks for sharing your story. It so encouraged me! The excerpt from your story was wonderful, and you don't need to enter me in the contest to win a copy because I just went out and bought it! Best wishes, Dana.

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  89. What an amazing story - thank you so much for sharing your heart! And the opening of the story sounds too interesting!

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  90. Thanks for sharing from your heart Sandi. You are a testament of God's love and mercy. As I read your post it reminded me of Ps 100 my favorite. The Lord is good, His loving kindness is everlasting and His faithfulness is to all generations.

    May God bless you and use your writing for His glory. You are a blessing to many, Thanks!

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  91. WOW! I loved your story. Thank you for opening up your life and sharing it.

    Your first chapter was wonderful! Please put my name in to win.

    Becky

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  92. You are such an inspiration, Sandi. I loved your chapter.

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  93. Please forgive my delayed response. I’m in the middle of traveling, and we only just arrived at our destination: Little Rock, Arkansas. :-)

    Heidi, thank you! I hope you enjoy the book when/if you read it! LOL

    Charlotte, it’s so great to see you here! Thank you for swinging by and for your encouraging words!

    Hope, thank you so much!

    Jessica, thank you for YOUR honesty. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. The years are short, and they’ll be gone before we know it. We need to cherish every moment.

    Sandy, I love your name! :-) Thank you for your encouraging words.

    Barbara, I’m so GLAD you’re enjoying the story! YAY! And YES, thank you for the gold idea for my vase story!

    Pamela, yes! God restored our marriage, and it’s the best kind of romance there is. :-)

    Dana, thank you for buying my book! I hope you enjoy it!

    Sparks, thank you!

    Mark, thank you for your encouraging words. I’ll have to read Psalm 100 tonight. :-)

    Becky, thank you!

    Mary, it’s so GOOD to see you here. Thank you for your encouragement.

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  94. What a touching story, Sandi. God bless you for sharing. And I love the cover of Out Of The Ashes.

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  95. Thank you, Leola! Yes, I have an amazing cover designer! :-)

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  96. Sandi, I'm late stopping by but wanted to tell you what a beautiful post this was! Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

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  97. Thank you, Missy! I'm so glad you stopped by. Better late than never. :-)

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