Tag Archives: humor

Parting Words From The WORD…The New Me

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

About ten years ago, my granddaughter, Ellie, and I were passing the time on a family road trip by playing one of our favorite travel games, I Spy. It was Ellie’s turn and she had me searching high and low for something purple, our favorite color.

It wasn’t the beach towel, the flower on her shirt, or her purple nail polish. I had a good view of the entire van from my back seat location, but it wasn’t helping. What else could it possibly be?

“You’ll never guess this one,” the seven-year-old announced. That was all I needed to hear. As I was being transported down the highway at 70 miles per hour, my competitive streak went into overdrive.

But there was nothing purple left in the car. “Are you sure you mean purple?” I asked, eyeing Christina’s sweater. “Could it be pink?”

“No, MaMa, it’s purple. I promise.” She crossed her arms. “You might as well give up. You’ll never guess it.”

“You know me better than that.” I crossed my own arms. “I never give up!”

Five minutes later, I gave up. “Okay, what is it?”

She pointed. I leaned over and scanned the floorboard. “There’s nothing purple down there.”

“Not there,” she said, pointing again. “There.”

I followed her pointing finger straight to my leg. My spider-veined leg.

Purple is no longer my favorite color.

This story is true, and one I love telling as I travel around the country. But even though I laugh every time I tell it, I must admit, there’s a little part of me that misses my former self. Maybe I need a new me.

I occasionally catch a makeover show claiming to create A New Me. The recipient of the makeover gift is usually thrilled with her New You results. She sports a new haircut and a new wardrobe and new lips. But regardless of how good this “new” person looks, underneath the surgery and the make up and the packaging, she’s still the same person, with the same baggage, the same struggles, and the same sin.

I’m thankful that when God created A New Vonda, He made me new inside and out. No make-up, no surgery, no fake body parts. He made me fresh and new, clean and white, forgiven and free. Truly a make-over gift.

And that’s why I write and speak. I know what it’s like to be spiritually wrinkled, walking around on spider-veined legs. I know how it feels to be covered in guilt…and I know how it feels to be free.

I can’t keep the Good News of this free gift to myself.

I have to speak.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15b (NIV)

Grace and peace,


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Top Ten Things About Being a Writer, A Contest, And Kudos & MoGo7000 Totals!

I love my job fdp pakorn

Image courtesy of pakorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A while back, my friend, Jolene Philo, posted her Top Ten Things to Love About Being a Writer and I immediately knew I wanted to share it with you!

And since this is Kudos and MoGo7000 reporting day, I think it’ll be a great time to have a fun little contest. After reading Jolene’s list below, please post a comment of your own top things (any number) about being a writer. Then I’ll have an independent judge choose the most interesting or unusual or just plain funny answer, and the winner will receive a set of Cyn Rogalski’s Writer’s Blocks!

Then read on to celebrate with our successful friends this month. 🙂

Let’s get started!

Top Ten Things About Being a Writer, by Jolene Philo


10. Writing often feels like Show and Tell felt in elementary school…when you knew your show and tell item would be the talk of the playground at recess.

9.   Having our books on library shelves is as exciting as meeting Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, or Derek Jeter is for basketball, tennis, or baseball fans.Jolene Philo headshot

8.   Writing in the afternoon produces a sweet feeling akin to when elementary teachers read aloud to their students after lunch.

7.   Writing in the evening is akin to snuggling with our kids when reading them a bedtime story.

6.   Writers who work from home never stress about drive time weather.

5.   Writing is one Bilbo Baggins adventure after another: “Go back?” he (Bilbo) thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!”

4.  We writers absolutely must travel to unusual and interesting places to conduct research.

3.  We have to remind ourselves that we are working when “work” involves hours and days of reading.

2.  People buy our words. How cool is that?

Photo courtesy of Cyn Rogalski

Photo courtesy of Cyn Rogalski

1.  Writers meet the most fascinating people in unexpected places.

So, what do you think? What are your favorite things about being a writer? Post your answers below and you could be the winner of Cyn Rogalski’s Writer’s Blocks! Be sure to come back next week to see if you’re the winner. 🙂

Bio: Jolene Philo is the author of the Different Dream Parenting series. Her new book, The Jolene Philo cover Different Dream ParentingCaregiver’s Notebook: An Organizational Tool and Support to Help You Care for Others will be released in November of 2014 by Discovery House Publishers. Over 100 of her articles have appeared in publications including Focus on the FamilyParentLife, and Home Cooking. She speaks at conferences and events throughout the United States. Her blog, www.DifferentDream.com, provides resources and encouragement for parents of kids with special needs. She also blogs about life on her dusty gravel road  at www.jolenephilo.com. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitter,  and Pinterest. She is slightly addicted Netflix. With their two children married and on their own, Jolene and her husband are kicking up their empty nester heels in Boone, Iowa.


Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Kudos to YOU, Cathy Baker!


I think this is the first time this has ever happened, but we had only one report of Kudos this month. Yes, it has been a long, cold winter!

So this month, let’s all join together to celebrate with Cathy Baker as she shares TWO exciting reports this month:

Cathy Baker (SC): My blog has been revamped. It’s now “Fragrant Ink.” (same blog address) It has a NEW name, format, and focus. Also, I’ve been asked to lead a workshop on Writing to Heal for mothers who’ve lost children of any age. For more information on the retreat, please contact Cathy at tea4thee@charter.net.

Congratulations, Cathy! Congratulations on two jobs well Done!



Who MoGo’d in February?mogo7000 logo


These CWD writers have earned a February entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100 in cash!

#5: Eddie Snipes – 7,300 words#6: Jeanne Doyon – 7,378 words

Congrats, Eddie and Jeanne! Keep up the good work and you’ll earn even more entries into the drawing.

Writers, want to know how you can qualify for the $100 challenge? Check out the MoGo7000 Challenge here. It’s free and open to everyone all year long!


Okay, I think that does it for another week at The Christian Writer’s Den. Thank you, friends, for visiting with me week after week. As we celebrate our 6th year of meeting together, I’m reminded again I am blessed to have you joining me in this journey called the writing life.

Writing is hard enough without doing it alone. It’s my goal to encourage and challenge and lift you up for the journey. Please let me know any time you have a new book coming out and I’ll be happy to highlight your success!

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,


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Interview & Book Give Away with Motivational Humorist Jane Jenkins Herlong

My goodness, are y’all in for a treat today! Please welcome my funny friend, author, singer, and speaker, Jane Jenkins Herlong, as she shares the scoop on her new book, Bury Me with My Pearls: Humor with a Spiritual Twist. And let me tell you, I have this book, and it is hilarious!

Be sure and read Jane’s full bio below, but let me just preface her interview by letting you know her tagline is Finding the Fun in DysFUNction! How’s that for a set-up? Okay, ready for some fun? Read on!

And friends, don’t forget to leave a comment for Jane and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! Be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

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Pet Peeves and Grace

Photo courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhoto/IdeaGo

Hello, friends! Greetings from Alaska. Today’s guest blog post comes from Carol Barnier. You may recall another post she shared with us a while back: She Never Had a Rejection? It generated a lot of comments and I think you’ll find this one equally thought-provoking.

Pet Peeves and Grace

By Carol Barnier

If you’ve been in a writer’s support group for any length of time, you’ve certainly seen it before. It’s an evergreen discussion that makes a pass every year or so. When a professional association has covered all the topics they can think of—Saying No to a Mentor Request, Keeping Social Media from Eating Your Time, How to Have a Book Signing that Doesn’t Look as Though it Occurred Post-Rapture, there eventually comes a lull in which no one can think of a fresh and original topic to pose to the group.

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Writing for Women

Photo courtesy of HealingDream/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve had the joy of writing in a variety of genres and am looking forward to adding a couple of more in the next few years. In addition to my goal of writing a women’s fiction loosely based on my experience of caring for my sister during her terminal illness, I’m planning to try my hand at writing a screenplay based on the yet-to-be-written book.

And although the ideas excite me, they scare me, too. After all, I’ve already written a book for women…and I know what it takes. If you’ve ever considered writing fiction or non-fiction for the fairer sex (note I did NOT say weaker sex), you might want to consider what it will require.

1.  Transparency. If there’s anything universally true about writing for women, it’s that it requires transparency. Whether we’re writing fiction or non, we must be honest about our fears, doubts, and failures.

Were you mad at God? Admit it. Ready to walk out the door of your marriage? Let us know. Frustrated with a child’s choices in life? Join the crowd. That means you’re like the rest of us. It’s what you did with that anger and struggle and frustration that allows us to learn from you.

I’ve read books, and I assume you have too, where the writer is such an expert Christian that she can’t admit she struggled, and perhaps still does at times. I just can’t respect or relate to those kinds of books. Let’s face it, as Christians, we’re never going to get everything right here on earth. To present ourselves as one who has arrived is to present a lie.

2.  Writing about real life. Dirty diapers. Bills. Scrubbing toilets. That’s real life for most of us. And that’s what will draw me in to your story. Yes, if you’re writing fiction, you have the freedom to help us escape through the lives of the characters, but we still must be able to find real life feelings and emotions within those characters. I don’t know what it’s like to have a husband who cheats on me, but I expect such a character to respond in a realistic way. Even if we don’t see it on the surface, we must be able to identify with what’s going on inside her.

In non-fiction, the topic must be something that is real to your target audience woman. Write it real to the subject and she’ll be able to identify with you and your situation…and you’ll be able to help her.

3.  The ability to laugh at yourself. Laughter is a uniting technique that breaks down walls and draws the reader in, especially when we’re plopping ourselves out there for our readers. Writing Seeing Through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe was gut-wrenchingly difficult because of the transparency, but fun because I was able to laugh at myself. I was able to take many of my foibles of life and use them to present spiritual truths. Women could see the scene, find themselves in the character, and apply God’s Truth to their own situations.

4.   A we’re-in-this-together voice. You should refrain from using the words “you should.” 🙂 You should, you need to, and you must should be used sparingly and in a way that doesn’t point the proverbial finger. Yes, there are times when you may need to say something using those words, but that shouldn’t be the voice of the book.

Instead, using phrases like we can, we must, and if we…then… takes away the pointing finger and replaces it with a warm hug. It’s a sitting-around-the-kitchen-table-and-sipping-coffee kind of statement. And that kind of statement will draw your reader into your story and allow her to benefit from your experience.

Writing for women isn’t easy, but it’s a worthy calling, and one that I’m honored to have received. I know many of you have, too. As my tagline says, I’m thankful God can take my messes and use them for His glory…if we let Him.

After all, God doesn’t waste any scars.

Half-price sale for Mother’s Day! Want your own autographed copy of Seeing Through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe for half price? What about giving them as Mother’s Day gifts? Just contact me and I’ll send you a charge through PayPal for only $6.50 plus shipping ($2.50) per book. PLEASE DO NOT ORDER HALF-PRICE OFFER THROUGH VONDA’S STORE–IT WILL CHARGE YOU FULL PRICE!

Here’s a recent review of Seeing Through the Lies:

5.0 out of 5 stars You will enjoy this humorous, fun and thought provoking book, May 24, 2011
This review is from: Seeing Through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe (Paperback)

You will enjoy this humorous, fun and thought provoking book. There are many principles to apply to your everyday life. The amusing and personal stories will encourage you to continue learning and growing in your spiritual quest. The chapter’s end with a list of Bible readings that apply to the information you have just studied. There are also questions to answer to make sure you have understood the principle the author is teaching.

One of the chapters entitled “I’m So Proud of My Humility” explains how pride will get you no where! Using scripture and personal stories the author encourages you to leave the worlds lie behind that says you deserve more then anyone else.

The chapter entitled “Fear and the Faith Factor” was a personal favorite. Following the principle of scripture you will learn how to make decisions not on fear but on prayer.

“When does Happily Ever After Begin?” is a hilarious chapter and includes wonderful insight on how to maintain a happy marriage. The author is very clear that happily ever after does not exist and is just another lie the world has lead us to believe.

This book is filled with excellent principles and easy to follow steps to shake off the lies of the world and center your thoughts on the Lord’s truth. I loved this book so much I gave away copies as presents for Mothers Day!

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Healing Dream)

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Another Lesson in How NOT to Impress an Editor

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and zole4

Some of you may remember this story when it happened several years ago. But since we have so many new readers and since it’s conference season, I thought it’d be a good time to encourage you by letting you see the funny and the good, even in the midst of the horror.

And I hope you’ll get a good laugh along the way. 🙂

Coke, Sweet Tea, and Grace

I took one last look in the mirror, then touched up my lipstick, primped my hair, and brushed my teeth…again. Everything had to be perfect! After all, I was having dinner with an editor from a major CBA house and a well-known author, also with a major publisher. I whispered a prayer for direction and discernment regarding my novel idea. I should have prayed for bigger hands.

At the restaurant, we were quickly seated at our tiny table, Major CBA House Editor on my right and Successful Well-Known Author with Another Major House on my left. Within seconds, the cute, perky waitress took our drink orders. I really wanted a good ol’ Southern sweet tea, but since we were in PA, I knew better than to ask. (Just for the record, unsweetened tea and packets of sugar do not sweet tea make!) So I ordered Coke. Better to be safe than sorry.

The waitress returned with our salads and drinks and placed the giant glass of Coke on my right, between Major CBA House Editor and me. The drink needed to be on my left. So I reached across my salad to grab it with my left hand. Have you ever heard people talk about how horrendous catastrophes play out in slow motion as they’re happening before their very eyes? Well, I can tell you for a fact, it’s true.

I watched in horror as my dreams of publishing with Major CBA House pirouetted to a funeral dirge across the table and fell, along with the oversized glass of Coke, right smack onto the blouse, into the lap, and then into the tapestry purse of Major CBA House Editor. Now we’re not talking about a glass turning over and dripping its contents onto someone’s pants. Nope. We’re talking about a supersized glass the size of a watermelon, filled with syrupy sweet, near-black Coke falling headlong onto said editor’s entire body. I wanted to crawl under the table. I actually tried, but the floor was full of feet…and waiters with mops…and waitresses with napkins…and a soaking wet purse carrying the expensive electronic devices of Major CBA House Editor.

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Ambro

For this I brushed my teeth…twice.

I looked up from the floor, my small hands sticky with the evidence of my fall from grace, and forced an embarrassed laugh. “Well, there goes any chance of ever submitting a manuscript to you.” I hated the whine in my voice.

Gentle Editor rose from her cola bath, gazed down at me on the floor in all my soda splendor, and smiled. “Oh, you can submit it…as long as this scene is in it.” She stepped over me and my mess and sloshed to the restroom.

Kind Successful Well-Known Author with Another Major House, still safely stationed to my left, leaned over the edge of the table and peered into my soppy space. “Uh…that went well.”

It did. It really did! After all, Major CBA House Editor not only said she would look at my manuscript, she wanted to be IN IT! The moment of my publishing death had evolved into new life for my novel idea!

Just for the record, I would never recommend this technique for approaching editors. Others may not be as nice as this kind, gracious lady. Oh, and let’s be clear here, she didn’t say she’d BUY it, she just said she’d LOOK at it. Believe me, there’s a huge difference.

But what she didn’t know was that at that moment she answered an important question in my story arc. Even though the novel will be loosely based on my experience of caring for my terminally-ill sister, I had been struggling with whether or not to make the protagonist a writer and speaker. After all, I didn’t want it to be too close to the truth and possibly stifle the creative process. But this scene is just too good to waste! Now I know the main character will have to be a writer and speaker. Cool!

So, what scenes from your life–or the lives of those around you–can you include in your books? If you’ve ever heard me teach on writing fiction you know that I use a lot of real life in my books. That doesn’t mean the story is about me.

The storyline itself may not have anything to do with our life experiences, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pull hilarious, heart-wrenching, thought-provoking, frightening scenes from real life and plop them into the fabric of our books. We simply let those scenes happen to our characters. And the good thing is, not only do we have instant access to the conflict, but we also have the emotional reaction that went with it. After all, we experienced first hand the joy, the heartache, the fear, the humor, the embarrassment. We know how it felt.

This happened several years ago, and as you’ve most likely figured out, I still haven’t written that book, but I will. And I can promise you, at some point in the story, the protagonist will have dinner with a major editor, and…well…you know what’ll happen next.

(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and zole4 and FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Ambro)

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Confessions of a Perfectionist Guest Blogger by Lynn Blackburn

Have you ever volunteered for something and then realized later that you were in way over your head? That there was a good chance you were going to make a fool out of yourself?

Yeah, me neither.

Except, well, there was this one time. A writer I admire had some openings for guest bloggers. And I said, “Me, pick me!”


She did.

It might have been okay if I could have written my post immediately. But my assigned slot was over a year away. A lot can happen in a year.

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