Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Choices We Make

with guest Eva Marie Everson.


“The heart loves who it loves and no one else. 
And it makes no excuses for it.”

The One True Love of Alice-Ann, by Eva Marie Everson


The older we get, the more we think about the past.

At least that’s true for me.

I find myself wondering at times if I made the right choices in my life. What if I had turned left instead of right? What if I had gone to this college instead of that one? For that matter, what if I had followed my dream of becoming a writer while a junior in high school (that time when we’re supposed to know—at the tender age of 16—what we want to do with the rest of our lives) rather than opting for a career in nursing? 

What if I had said no instead of yes to the thousands if not millions of questions I’ve been asked over the course of my lifetime?

Am I the only one? Am I the only one who wonders and then chastises herself for wondering? Or is this the way of writers everywhere—never mind if they’re crossing into their sixth decade?

Years ago, my great-aunt told me she had married my uncle immediately before he’d left to serve our country in World War II. 

“He didn’t come home for four years,” she told me. “I couldn’t have known that when I made the decision to marry him, but it sure was hard to be away from each other so long.”

It was this story mixed with my constant ponderings on the choices we make that led to the story line for The One True Love of Alice-Ann

The heart loves who it loves . . .


Alice-Ann has to make a difficult decision—as all the important ones are—and so she turns to God. To His Word, the Bible.


The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses (Psalm 25:17).

There are times in our lives—whether as everyday human beings or as writers—when we have serious decisions to make. When we try to make them alone, we often find ourselves wondering, Did I make the right choice?

But when we take them to God and ask Him to guide us, we find the worries and concerns less pressing. Especially as writers.

I cannot count the times when I thought I wanted one thing for my writing career, yet when I took my request to the Lord, He told me no. Or the dreaded “not yet.” What do we do, then, when making our own choices might possibly thwart the plan of God?

Well, let’s clear that up. No man can thwart the plan of God (Job 42:2) . . . but we sure can make the path rocky. And the writer’s road can be difficult enough.

This agent or that one? This publishing house or that one? Third person or first?

Yes, even the latter question deserves some time with God when you find yourself at a brick wall.

Case in point: A few years back I wrote the novel Five Brides for Tyndale. The editor and I discussed telling the story of five women who wear the same wedding dress (within a few years of each other) in the point of view of the fourth bride and in first person. But when the writing was done, we all agreed that it needed to be rewritten, this time in third person point of view with all five brides having a story. 

Trust me, I did a lot of praying as the rewrites began, but I knew I was doing the right thing. (As I wrote the first draft, I’d not felt so certain.) That book went to #1 on the CBA bestseller list for fiction. But what if I had not chosen to go with the third person idea?

Hmmm . . .

Here’s another choice some of us writers must make: School or no school?

Just recently two high school students asked me (separately) if I thought they should simply start writing after high school or attend a university and study creative writing. I told them to pray about it, of course, but I also let them know that if I could change one thing, it would be that I had gone to college to study my craft. “Enjoy those four years,” I said. “This is the time of your life and now is the best time to hone your craft.”

Does that mean one cannot be a good writer if they choose otherwise? No. 

Case in point: me.

And most of the writers I know. 

But there you have it, you see? Most of the writers I know took another path, yet God led them exactly to where He wanted them to be. When I think of my journey, I cannot help but smile. Yes, it would have been easier had I chosen differently, but still God had a plan. An unthwartable plan.

And, wow . . . I can make a plotline out of that!

So, writers: stop questioning . . . and start trusting . . . and keep writing.


What about you? Can you think of a time or a season in your life when you thought the path led one way, only to discover God had another journey in mind altogether?

Eva Marie Everson is the award-winning, bestselling author of over 30 fiction and nonfiction titles. She is the president of Word Weavers International, the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference, and a popular speaker across the US. Her latest work, The One True Love of Alice-Ann, released in April 2017 from Tyndale House Publishers.






Do leave a comment today, for an opportunity to win a copy of The One True Love of Alice-Ann. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.



Living in rural Georgia in 1941, sixteen-year-old Alice-Ann has her heart set on her brother’s friend Mack; despite their five-year age gap, Alice-Ann knows she can make Mack see her for the woman she’ll become. But when they receive news of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Mack decides to enlist, Alice-Ann realizes she must declare her love before he leaves.

Though promising to write, Mack leaves without confirmation that her love is returned. But Alice-Ann is determined to wear the wedding dress her maiden aunt never had a chance to wear—having lost her fiancĂ© in the Great War. As their correspondence continues over the next three years, Mack and Alice-Ann are drawn closer together. But then Mack’s letters cease altogether, leaving Alice-Ann to fear history repeating itself.

Dreading the war will leave her with a beautiful dress and no happily ever after, Alice-Ann fills her days with work and caring for her best friend’s war-torn brother, Carlton. As time passes and their friendship develops into something more, Alice-Ann wonders if she’ll ever be prepared to say good-bye to her one true love and embrace the future God has in store with a newfound love. Or will a sudden call from overseas change everything?



139 comments :

  1. Oh yea, there are lots of times in my life where I thought my life was going to go one way only to have God direct the opposite way! Looking back at those times, I realize that He lead exactly where He wanted me to go and exactly the time I was to arrive there. And I think no matter what road I would have chosen, He still would have lead me there...just taking a different path is all :-) He knows best and I've learned to trust His direction even when it wasn't my own.
    Before I gave my life to Christ of course I lead my own life and took my own path. I can see where I could have avoided a lot of heartache or pain if I would have been walking with God. That's not to say that living the Christian life is easy or a smooth path, but He knows the potholes that I will encounter and if I trust Him to lead me, I will avoid those. The road gets bumpy and He's right there beside me all the way :-)

    Questions, oh yea I have them :-) Or have asked the same ones as you...if I would have chosen this way or done this instead of that...kind of thing. It just fills your life with regrets (or at least for me). I often wonder about how my life could be different, but honestly, I wouldn't change a thing! God has blessed me so much looking at all I do have in life. I'm right where He wants to me to be and I can take comfort & rest in that :-)

    Great post Eva! For both writers such as yourself, and readers like me. That first line sure caught my attention " “The heart loves who it loves and no one else. And it makes no excuses for it.” I need to print that out and post it somewhere in my office space!

    Please add my name for your book "The One True Love of Alice-Ann", sounds like a lovely read :-) Thanks so much, blessings!

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    1. Thank you for replying! We simply have to trust God with the path He lays for us, don't we?

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    2. That's what I've had to learn, the HARD way...lol! I can bemoan all the things I THINK should have happened (often thinking it would have been better), but in reality could have done more harm than good. Kind of like walking around in the desert for forty years, who wants to do that?? If I just go along with God's plan (sometimes grumbling), I know He'll get me where I need to be. More often than not, it's a MUCH better place :-) I don't have to understand His ways, I just simply have to trust.

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    3. There's also a contentment in knowing He will guide me and an overwhelming peace that comes from that. What a wonderful feeling :-)

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  2. Welcome back to Seekerville, Eva Marie. I just love your vintage style. Your web page has been updated and is tres cool as well.

    Congratulations on your release. The books begs to be read!

    I am pretty sure I spend most of my life second guessing God. And when I find out where the journey leads, I am always surprised to realize that he prepared me all along. Oh, that God!

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    1. Hi Tina,

      I don't think I second guess God as much as myself. As in, am I going the way God wants? Did I interpret correctly? That kind of thing!

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    2. Tina, I'm very similar. I march ahead thinking I know what's best. But then look back with wonder at what He was doing the whole time.

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    3. Aren't these pretty images, Tina? Eva Marie so nice and a great blog.

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    4. I'm with you Tina (and Jackie and Missy and Mary...)! I had a conversation this morning about a time in my life when God tried to get me to release something ... I wouldn't ... I finally did (I got so tired of fighting Him) and then I realized WHY he wanted me to let go ... He had something BIGGER and BETTER in mind. Go God!

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  3. Welcome, Eva Marie. First, I LOVE the cover of your book and the story sounds quite intriguing.
    In 2011, the company I worked for closed their location in Charlotte. It was the first time ever I no longer had a job...I was devastated. But God knew exactly what He was doing by placing me into a job that's better both financially and it's far more rewarding. Thanks for visiting today!

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    1. Jill, isn't it amazing when that happens? I don't know why I'm always so surprised. :)

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    2. Thank you Jill! I love this site, don't you? Missy, I'm with you! Why am I always so surprised??

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  4. Eva Marie, I have loved your work for a while now, especially the Cedar Key series.
    I wish I had made some different choices. I DID major in creative writing and I wish I had majored in something I could make a living with and minored in writing or done it on my own. I wish I had taken college more seriously, and some of my early jobs more seriously. But if you're serving God, He brings you to the place where you need to be.
    NO regrets about who I married, he has been my biggest cheerleader as a writer, so there's that.
    But I believe God causes all things to work together for good (LOVE the Book of Romans). Like your character Patsy and her depression. He used it and He brought her into a wider place.
    Nothing in this life is wasted, or it doesn't need to be. It's like the scrap quilts that our pioneer foremothers made.
    It looks like I'll have some extra time to write this week, my temp job is ending early and there's almost a week before the next one. Oh the joy...
    Please enter me in the drawing.
    Kathy Bailey

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    1. Your wisdom shines through these words, Kathy.

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    2. Nothing in this life is wasted, or it doesn't need to be. It's like the scrap quilts that our pioneer foremothers made.

      Kathy Bailey, I love this image.

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    3. Agree, Kaybee! The image of the scrap quilts is beautiful. And I love Romans, also.

      Is our God ever awesome or what? "I scarce can take it in..."

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    4. "Nothing in this life is wasted, or it doesn't need to be. It's like the scrap quilts that our pioneer foremothers made."
      Love this quote, Kathy!

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    5. That's beautiful, Kaybee, and wise.

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    6. Kaybee ... LOL!! My father BEGGED me to study creative writing ... or radio and television... SOMETHING in the entertainment field ... and what did I do? Went into nursing. Fortunately no one died due to my lack of passion for what I did. :/

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  5. Welcome back to Seekerville! So nice to have you here... and your beautiful storytelling is pure bonus!

    I have lists of things I would change... Sheer mistakes from inexperience.... a host of them!

    But then that would also change me, my experiences, my life, and I love bringing all that into my stories. I always thought God was preparing me for exactly what I'm doing, long before I was doing it. So that awareness has been part of me for decades.

    Now if you asked me if I would change other people, heck yeah!!!!! :)

    I'd bring them around to my way of thinking pretty darn quick. But that's not likely to happen either, LOL!

    Eva, thanks for being here and sharing your wisdom.

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    1. laughing with you Ruthy. I agree our choices do mold the people we become.

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    2. Deb, yes! Those circumstances, those choices and either the smiles or the whining that went alongside, that helped form the decades.... And those decades are rich!

      Not money rich, who needs that??? But rich in spirit and knowledge and experience.

      And a love of coffee!!!!

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    3. Basically as long as I can afford to buy coffee I am happy.

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    4. Right? We are simple folk.. I'm kinda proud of that! :)

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    5. Thank you Ruth! I love being a guest here.

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  6. "Yes, it would have been easier had I chosen differently, but still God had a plan. An unthwartable plan."

    I needed to read this. I have a ship-load of what-if choices I wonder about. I know I still haven't gotten to the work I believe God created me for (each thing I've been doing has been building me towards that - I hope), so it's nice to remember that I can't mess things up too much for God. I'm just trying to not make it more difficult for Him at this time. Not sure how that's working out right now, but still...

    Love the book blurb and the cover. Love the post even more. Like I said, I needed it. THANKS!!!!!!!

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    1. Isn't it amazing how God shows up with just what we need when we need it.

      I'll let you in on a secret. I had the "doldrums" this past weekend. Kept thinking, I'm done with publishing ...

      Then, Sandie Bricker's old roommate (Sandie was my critique partner until her untimely death in December) sent me Sandie's beloved "Writer Chick" necklace.

      Well, it was like hearing Sandie say, "Now WHAT did you say???"

      Yes'm. I am a writer ... I am a writer ... I am a writer ...

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  7. Good morning, Eva and Ruthy!
    Eva Marie, what a beautiful reminder. I think just the knowledge that God has this 'unthwartable' plan for us brings such a sense of peace in the middle of those tough decisions. And knowing that His dreams are always bigger than ours - and somehow He'll work through our messes to bring us to the place He wants us to be, is just...so sweet and beautiful!
    Thank you for the reminder!

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    1. Hello, my friend!

      Oh, those messes, though.... every now and again I wonder if I would get in so many if I'd just buy duct tape and apply it to my lips, Pepper! :)

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    2. Love you Pepper! Hope to see you soon!

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  8. I have found that life is full of Seasons. God called me to be a missionary at the age of 12. I served the Lord as a missionary until 2007 when at the age of 52 I could no longer raise support to return to the mission field. I was then led to become a CNA at the local hospital where I had worked as a sitter in the ER when the Psych patients were admitted. Then I ended up working on the Psych Ward and Detox Unit. While on the Psych Ward I was attacked by a patient and now have a permanent injury which causes vertigo.

    I've always loved to write and wrote Christmas programs through the years and stories I used with the children. People kept telling me I needed to write a book. I had no idea what all was involved. After being rejected, I discovered Seekerville. I am now working to learn the craft,

    This has been a wonderful journey. I can see that I am still a missionary just in different ministries. Now as I write I am able to draw experience I've had and put them into my writing.

    Rejoicing in the Lord even though the Vertigo is strong today.

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    1. Wilani, what a beautiful testimony! I'll be praying you have relief today.

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    2. Wilani, I believe that, too. Whether writing or singing or rocking babies or dressing brides and listening to sad and happy stories, those seasons shape the journey.

      I could do without stink bugs, though.

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    3. Wilani, my fear was always that God would call me to be a missionary in a third world country without indoor plumbing. He had mercy! He called me to be a missionary with my words instead. He is good. All the time...

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  9. I can see that I am still a missionary just in different ministries.

    YES!!!! WOW THIS IS A QUOTE TO REMEMBER, WILANI!

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  10. Lovely, Eva Marie. Love your beautiful cover, the title, the heroine's name and your delightful blog post. Two roads diverged in my choice of study and I chose medical technology instead of a degree in English. My mother said a woman needed a profession. I loved my time in the clinical laboratory and still keep up with what's happening in the field. But, as you mentioned, God placed writing on my heart at an early age. I eventually found that path. No regrets, although my daily prayer is for him to direct my steps...

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    1. One of my index cards for prayer time is, "Show me what's on today's agenda, Lord." My reminder to ME that the agenda is not mine.

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    2. I love that reminder, Tina! We all need to remember that it's not our agenda.

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    3. I cannot add a single word to that ... except: Amen.

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  11. Hi Eva Marie and welcome to Seekerville!

    Goosebumps popped out as I read your blurb. What a great story!

    Like Debby, I listened to my mother and chose a solid career as a pharmacist. It's been a good career, but I never let go of the dream of writing. No regrets and now I continue to learn how to write better stories.

    Thanks for sharing today!

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  12. Thank you for this post. It was inspiring. A deep sigh in a crazy hectic world. Everyone enjoy their week.

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    1. Kelly, lovely to see you. Of course, when I see you I think GO BRONCOS. hehehe

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    2. Nothing saying you cannot do both! :)

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  13. Good morning Eva Marie! God's plans are not always our plans, that's for sure! :) Mine was a long journey to publication--and you never know what's just around the corner. Some things that came my way I would be more than happy to have done without...but then would I be the person He needs me to be NOW?

    Your book sounds beautifully bittersweet--a real heart tugger!

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    1. Thank you Glynna Kaye! I think so ...

      And you are so right ... you never know what's around the corner.

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  14. Eva Marie, welcome back to Seekerville. Your cover is beautiful, so serene, though from the story inside, that big fork in the road, had to keep Alice-Ann tied into knots.

    I also wanted to write at a young age but went to college for a degree in education. I had a talent for teaching and a love for kids, but even if I hadn't, I never considered trying to earn a living with writing. So for me there was no fork in the road, but I do see God's hand throughout my life. I'm grateful for the opportunities and blessings writing has given me.

    Janet

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    1. I definitely see his hand, Janet and a few times his gentle boot kick. Does God wear combat boots? hmmm?

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    2. Haha, Tina! I think I get the boot kick more often. Probably because I'm so heard headed.

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    3. Janet, thank you for the comments on the cover. When Tyndale sent it to me, I nearly fainted. It's just lovely! And thank you for sharing your story with us as well.

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  15. Good morning Eva Marie and Seekerville,
    "The choices we make", is there anyone out there who hasn't spent time second guessing themselves for the choices they've made? Not me for sure! I've made some I regret to this day, but I have a God who has covered all my mistakes and has given me a life better than my choices deserved. He's good like that.

    I hopped over to your website and enjoyed some of your blog posts. The one on 4/17-that happened to be my birthday- really caught my attention. The cottage-loved your picture choice. I want to live in that cottage, visuals like that make us believe if we could just live in a cute place like that all would be well in our world. The conversation between Alice-Ann and Carlton drew me right in and I want to read the rest of that conversation. I'll be adding The One True Love of Alice-Ann to the other half dozen of yours I've read.

    Thanks for sharing today and getting me thinking. Please include me in the drawing.

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    1. Tracey! Do you love that car on her webpage???

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    2. I have been on a wild goose chase looking for a car, no luck. But that CARLTON picture, SWOON!

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    3. oops. It was her Twitter page. Sorry. Brain scramble. I owe you one.
      https://twitter.com/EvaMarieEverson

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    4. Thank you Tracey! So glad you enjoyed the excerpt... The car Tina is talking about is on my Facebook and Twitter pages ... it's a 1959 Silver Cloud Rolls Royce ... :) Belongs to my friend Jean Wilund! Ain't it a peach!

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    5. Oh: https://twitter.com/EvaMarieEverson

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    6. Well thank goodness I'm not going blind..or crazy..on the other hand, I did take a thorough trip around Eva's website and pinterest page and then FB, was that your plan, Tina? haha

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  16. Welcome to Seekerville Eva Marie. Thanks for the inspiring post. Yes, by this time in life I've seen many times when I thought I should go one way and the Lord certainly directed and guided me in another. Hind sight is wonderful because looking back I can see His hand in those decisions. At the time, though, I had my doubts. smile Thanks again and enjoy your day with us.

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    1. Thank you Sandra! Hope you enjoy your day too!

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  17. Hello, Evea Marie. Good to have a fellow Tyndale author in Seekerville! :)

    Generally, I don't second guess major decisions I've made in my past. Sure, maybe as I'm going through the repercussions of what seems to have been a terribly WRONG decision, I wish I'd never gone down that path.

    But, mostly, as time wears on, and God opens other doors, as He smooths my rough path, I look back and see his hand in those situations. Past jobs and partnerships make me what I am today.

    I could regret the 28 years I worked in corporate America. I won't list them all, but the gazillion skills I Iearned make me what I am today and are a huge reason I can work from home now.

    If anything, I regret not being a better steward of my health, even though I'm pretty healthy now, I know I could have done better, DO better even now.

    And then there's the worry that I missed the mark with my children's training as they were growing up... but I think that's just the mark of being a parent.

    Oddly enough, I hate making decisions. I worry, fret, pray, study, make charts, rinse and repeat a decision for weeks, months, sometimes YEARS beforehand, so maybe that's why I'm mostly okay with those decisions once they're put to rest.

    Now, if I bring this down to a bird's eye view and look at the smallest decisions I'm facing right now, my biggest concerns are wrestling scenes in my wip. Would my characters do this? Or that? When does she tell him she loves him? Does he save her in this scene, or does she save him? Where's the villian? Where's the BABY? (Uh oh... nobody's seen the baby since scene 23....)

    Then, I need to decide what's for breakfast... yogurt and berries, a smoothie, or bacon and eggs. Major decisions abound this morning.

    Add in an impending deadline, and I have enough immediate worry that I don't have time to worry about the mistakes of the past! So, just take a cue from me ... stay in a perpetual state of worry about the here and now, leaving no time to worry about the past. lol

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    1. Hey Pam! Didn't you and I share a stage in Plano Texas a couple of years ago? :)

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  18. "Where's the BABY? (Uh oh... nobody's seen the baby since scene 23....)"

    Ha. Ha. Pam. That's why I think every baby story should have a Mrs. Trumble down that hall. The baby's either napping or w/Mrs. Trumble who walks in at the end of every scene carrying a smiling baby.

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    1. Connie, fictitious babies the writing world over agree with you 100%! :)

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    2. LOL. Connie and Pam. That's hilarious.

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    3. Babies are TRICKY! They Have to be somewhere. Seriously I've had baby's napping for like six chapters just because I forget to have someone hold them. Toddlers, little kids, are different, they can talk, move, add to a scene. But those babies have to be somwhere.

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    4. The Case of the Disappearing Baby has happened to my pen, too.

      And dogs.

      Dogs have disappeared. And show up randomly.

      Oh my stars, thank heavens for editors! :)

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    5. I have a baby in this book ... but I didn't forget it! :)

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  19. Good morning Eva Marie.

    I guess I never think I went the wrong way, just that I stumble and make a mess on the pass that I'm supposed to be on. Or maybe I just don't like to admit that I was wrong. (My sister would laughing at that. She knows I never admit to being wrong...)

    I love the inspiration you got from your aunt to write this story.

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    1. She was special ... just went to be with the Lord as she neared 100 ... such a blessing to our family.

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  20. God changing my plans is the story of my life. I want to be a missionary! Wait, what's this? Why do I have story ideas? Okay, I'll be a teacher... Whoa, that is a lot of story ideas.

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    1. HA! Boo. So what was the final decision?

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    2. Boo, that's the beauty of being a writer... we get to be ALL of those things ... teacher, missionary, cowboy/girl, etc. :)

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  21. So nice to have you with us today, Eva Marie! A really thoughtful post, too. You have me pondering a lifetime of choices and my personal plans that seemed thwarted at the time but clearly were always in God's hands.

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    1. Myra ... I'm about to send you an email from The Selah Awards ... hint hint ... congrats! You are a finalist!

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    2. Thrilled!!!! Got your email and I'm SO EXCITED!!!! Thank you!!!!

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    3. Wow, congratulations, Myra!!

      Janet

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  22. Thanks for a great post, Eva Marie. Please enter me in the drawing for your book. I would love to read it!

    My story of when God had a different plan than I thought was when my teaching job was cut. (The superintendent and principal informed me at the beginning of the day, then I had to go back and teach the rest of the day. Not a good way to do it in my opinion.) So I then had to look for a new job for the next year. When a middle school job in another part of the state came along, I didn't think I wanted to apply for that one, as I had been teaching high school. But I decided to apply anyway and I took the job. That was the town in which I met my husband. So clearly God meant for me to go there! God does know best!

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    1. What a HEA story, Sandy Smith! Awwwww!

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    2. Sandy, thanks for sharing how a negative turned into a big God-led positive!!

      Janet

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  23. Thank you for a great post, Eva Marie. Yes, it happens to me all the time. I wonder why God doesn't listen to me when I try to tell Him how things should go and what I should do. I have learned to expect the unexpected and rejoice in the surprise endings. All things truly do work for good.

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    1. LOL, Cindy. You and me both, bossing God around.

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  24. Great post Eva Marie. The Potluck Club was one of my favorite series! Just had to share that. Please toss me in the drawing for The One True Love of Alice-Ann.

    I am a planner to the max and I'm sure that gives God a good laugh because He's taken me so far off my planned road, it's crazy. But He's often taken my plan and made it so much more wonderful that I could have even imagined. I try hard to let Him have His way but sometimes, not before I've done a lot of kicking, screaming, and pouting.

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    1. Oh my. The Potluck Club is on my TBR. Must move that baby up the ranks.

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  25. Eva Marie, thanks for this wonderful post. I began writing, hoping to have a career while staying home with my children. But God's plan was that I would sell that first book years later once the kids were older. I only realized later how God's plan was perfectly what I needed.

    Your story sounds wonderful! And the cover is stunning.

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  26. Thank you for the encouragement, Eva Marie. I've found us writers need a lot of that.

    Your book cover is beautiful!

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  27. Eva Marie, wow your book sounds heart-rending! Great post. I think we all need to be reminded of Whose hands hold our path.

    You asked: “Can you think of a time or a season in your life when you thought the path led one way, only to discover God had another journey in mind altogether?” And I have the perfect example. After college (degree in geology), I decided to go to graduate school. I'd decided I wanted to specialize in the study of volcanoes and even went so far as to visit some schools on the west coast to find the right one. (Graduate school is really all about finding the person you want to be your advisor, so you wouldn't pick a school without considering who you would be working with there.) So… money spent, schools visited, nightmares of my mother accidentally going down one way streets in San Fransisco. Then one day I woke up and just knew I wanted to pursue a subject that had barely been brushed upon during the course of my undergraduate career and that completely changed my destination… to upstate NY.

    I was raised Christian but wasn't practicing when I came to graduate school, though my parents had already picked out the church I would be going to :-). Within days of my arrival on campus, I met my husband. (Still, it would be many years before we actually got married). He was agnostic and, even though I wasn't practicing, I told him what I believed. Ironically, it was a novel that changed our path again. My husband read the Left Behind series. We found the movies in the cheap bin at Walmart, and just the idea of living in a time when it really was a risk to believe in God inspired me (us) to start going back to church.

    I could go on, but I've probably written more than people wanted to know already ;-). Thanks again for the post!

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    1. I found YOUR post inspiring, Lara. Thank you for sharing.

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    2. I'm glad. A lot of years pursuing a career I never really used, but I don't think I would've had the emotional maturity to write a novel without having gone through the graduate school process. More life experience to write about, too.

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    3. Lara, what an interesting journey! What area did you end up studying? (If you don't mind sharing)

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    4. Metamorphic Petrology. (Petrology is just the study of rocks, so I'm basically saying I studied Metamorphic rocks as opposed to Igneous or Sedimentary.)

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    5. Very inspiring! Thank you for sharing!

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  28. So many surprises in life and following God's will... or trying, anyway :)

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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  29. EVA MARIE!!! SO great to have you back on Seekerville, my friend, and wow, Wow, WOW, what a cover, title, and story line on your latest book -- I love it all!!

    When it comes to my life in general (marriage, kids, schooling, prior jobs, etc.)I may be one of the few who never really wondered "what if" all that much because I tend to be a diehard realist who won't let myself focus too much on what isn't in order to focus more on what is.

    But ... that changed when I became a writer. Suddenly I thrived on "what ifs," wondering what God had in store.

    You asked "Can you think of a time or a season in your life when you thought the path led one way, only to discover God had another journey in mind altogether?"

    Without question, I would have to say definitely with my career, but ironically it's God's plan that has brought me the most peace and joy even though it was the opposite of my own plan. Which just goes to show that yes, Father really does know best! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Julie, I remember meeting you in what was, I believe, your first CBA (ICRS) ... so great to meet you then! So great to know you now!

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  30. The classic psychology vision...are you where you want to be NOW?

    If you ARE then you have to accept that all the steps in your life have led you to NOW and to have done things different would have taken you to another place. So accept the journey that led you to NOW.

    If you are NOT happy with where you are NOW then to look back and say, "I should've done this or that..." is a complete waste of time because we can't go back. So you have to figure what to do NOW to make your future what you want.

    All regrets are good for is....seeing if you need to find someone and apologize because you can't do it over.

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  31. Regrets are the natural property of grey hairs. Charles Dickens

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  32. Ha! And I just realized Eva Marie said she was a nurse. What kind of nurse? I did oncology and I had the opportunity to work at City of Faith hospital. Never regretted that experience but so happy to have moved on.

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    1. Tina, I imagine that field has a high burn-out rate. I know you touched so many lives though. My sis is a nurse. She started out in NICU and I remember her anguish (and joy) when caring for God's teeny, tiny littles.

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    2. Tina ... I floated around the floors but my love was geriatrics ... I stayed the longest, though, at Georgia Institute for Prevention of Disease (which has since closed with the death of the founder...) LOVED my work there.

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  33. Good morning, Eva Marie! So thrilled you're here in Seekerville today!

    I think it's only natural to think about past choices and wonder how life would have been had we made a different choice. I know I find myself thinking about the past, too. Many decisions I made were the right ones. Some weren't. I think as we mature, the paths we choose are wiser than they might have been in our youth. Not always, but many times.

    The One True Love of Alice-Ann sounds wonderful! My daddy's a Georgia native so the setting is intriguing, as well. Can't wait to read!

    Thanks for sharing your heart today!

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    1. I do the same, Cynthia. Like a choose your own adventure for your life.

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    2. I've always enjoyed movies about what our lives would be like had we chosen a different path, like "The Family Man," "Sliding Doors," and of course, "It's A Wonderful Life."

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  34. Hello EVA! I'm currently on a path in the wilderness. I'm pressing through to the other side. Thank you for this wonderful post. Congrats on your newest release!

    Please enter me in the drawing. Blessings and (((HUGS))))

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    1. Caryl, the rabbis say that to hear God you must first go out into the desert (Hebrew: midbar ... its root is "dabar" which means "to speak" ...). Having hiked in the Israeli desert and traveled in my own person desert, I have to say I now understand why they say this.

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  35. My mom used to say, "You'll almost never regret the things you DON'T say. It's those spoken words, floating out there, that won't go away, that you regret."

    Another way to put this is to think long and hard before you speak, especially in anger.

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    1. My mother used to say "It's not WHAT you say, it's HOW you say it!"

      My "how" got me in trouble a lot! LOL

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  36. Eva, what a great post. I have things I wish I had been brave enough to begin sooner, like writing. But, I know that God redeems that lost time. I have also found that I had ideas and plans, but God, in His loving, sovereign ways has said "Not yet" and "No" to some of those. In the cases of the "Not Yet" He's brought me into deeper intimacy with Him. In the case of No's, God has either given me something even better, or He has redirected my path to where He knew was the best place for me to be. And NO, I rarely go willingly onto a new path . . . at least not in the beginning. :)

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    1. The sand on the new path can often feel shifty... :)

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  37. Love your post, Eva....so inspiring and interesting! I love your book cover and am anxious to read the book. I've read 2 of your books and loved them. THANKS for your giveaway here today!

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    1. You only have 33 more to go! LOL (Kidding...)

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  38. I've come to realize that the events/people/jobs/experiences I thought were detours along the way were actually leading me straight to where I am now. Nothing is wasted, not even the times I wouldn't live over again for anything :-)

    The One True Love of Alice-Ann sounds like a strong story. Love the rhythm of the title, too.

    Nancy C

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    1. Nancy, the title just came to me one day while I was working on another work's edits. Just came to me! :)

      Then I had to build a story around it...

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  39. This sounds like a very interesting book, from one of my favorite authors! I have it on my wish list. :) When I was a teen I was enamored with my older brothers' friends, but alas, they paid no attention to me.

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  40. Hi Eva Marie:

    Do you favor double first names? Saying Eva Marie Everson, with three syllables in the first two names and also in the last name, is like hearing poetry. Of course, at my age, I can't say 'Eva Marie' without adding 'Saint' in my mind! "On the Waterfront" ... a time you seem to write about. Is there a story here? : )

    Choices are funny in a way. In a lifetime we each make millions of life or death choices. These are tiny -- seemingly insignificant -- choices that we never learn about.

    Just on a few mile ride to work in the morning there will be choices you didn't take that would have led to a fatal accident. If you hadn't stopped for a coffee your schedule would have been changed so that on the way home you'd have had a fatal accident. But you will never know about the outcomes of the millions of choices you didn't make. It is like these choices never really happen...but you did make them!

    I think it is more true that ultimately it was the smallest, unknown, choices that will make the most impact on our lives.

    I think the real importance lies in developing core values and letting these principles guide you through any choices that happen: known and unknown.

    I've been looking over the cover art of your books and it seems you sure don't like showing the heroine's face! I really like "This Fine Life". That cover is striking! I immediately saw Marilyn Monroe, shinny dress, white gloves, real female figure, middle to late 1950s. I was there enjoying those times. This is your book I'll read first!

    Please include my in the drawing.

    BTW: I read the copy on "Five Brides" and I think the concept is so strong that I would have been a great book in First Person, Third Person, Deep POV, or even First Person Present.

    Vince

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    1. Vince, I am often asked if I was named for Eva Marie Saint ... no. Grandmother was Eva and Mother was Marie ...

      I actually DID write Five Brides in first person from Joan's POV ... but then Tyndale thought it would be even better in third person POV from all five protagonists ... so I wrote it again!

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    2. Hi Eva Marie:

      James Patterson in his writing class reports that readers like a lot of POVs. They want to know what all the main characters are thinking. He'll have three POVs in the same chapter because readers like it. Of course, you have to be good enough to do this in a way that the readers always know who the POV character is. I think your publisher was right about third person at least from the POV of maximizing sales.

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  41. Thank you for such an inspiring, thought-provoking post, Eva Marie. Much to think about. And congratulations on your latest book. Sounds so interesting - and such a beautiful cover!

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  42. I discovered at the Senior Center today that they have a box of free books! I picked up one of Mary's books Fired Up and also one of Tracie Petersons. I am so excited.

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  43. I haven't exactly thought about what would have happened if I had chosen differently. Maybe it is because I haven't lived that long to make that many momentous decisions, but I also kind of think of it this way; what I've lived through, the choices I've made, are part of what makes me who I am, and if I chose differently then I would be a very different person from who I am today.

    One thing I know that I definitely need to ask God about is which series to write when. I have so many story ideas that they are practically popping right out of my ears, and I want to write them all so bad. So I definitely need God's guidance to help me know which stories are the best for me to write now and which I should wait to write.

    But that college question... YIKES! A little too close to home, especially with my junior year closing up and all the colleges sending me information about themselves. I'm not even sure I WANT to go to college and go through more years of school when I graduate...

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  44. Forgotten Baby

    A man with a infant at home was asked if his new baby was sleeping through the night. He said: "I guess. We keep it upstairs."

    Now that's really forgotten.

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  45. I can so relate to this post. I've just published my first novel in my sixties. Writing was a passion that need to percolate while I did life.
    I chose marriage over college. I chose years of homeschooling. I often wonder if I should have pursued college and if I should have continued homeschooling as long as I did. I wonder about a lot of life choices. But I see God used all the bumps along my journey to create fodder for the writing he has finally released me to do. I had to hone my craft the hard way without the benefit of college. But I realize my life experiences over the years can add a depth to my story words that a younger writer can't. So I remind myself that God has his unique timing for everything in life. Every seeming wrong turn he can turn to good. So I trust him for that. Please place my name in teh ha to win a copy Eva Marie's new novel.

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  46. Thank you for this post, Eva.

    So many decisions, yes. I had an English prof read me the "riot act" because I wasn't an English major. But that wasn't allowed...there was no future in it, even though I so wanted it. That just goes to show that God doesn't let our dreams go away. Not when he put them there in the first place. Praise God! Thanks, Eva, for this morning's smile.

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  47. Such an interesting and probably not uncommon story during the War. My parents married in 1943, and I have heard many stories of the trials and tribulations, including hurried decisions to be made, during that challenging time period.

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  48. I have often "second guessed" my choices but I really think that my life has been according to God's plan. Thanks for a great post!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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