How to Handle a Trip to the Hospital by Hannah Alexander

We’re still working on medical themes here because nearly everyone will eventually have an issue that will land them in the doctor’s office or in the hospital. Nobody wants to think about it, but anyone who ever ends up there will be very happy for the preparation before an illness or accident hits you.

I would recommend that you keep a checklist of all the medicines and supplements you take daily, weekly, etc. Also keep track of your blood pressure, weight, and other aspects of your health if they would be vital for the doctor or nurse to note. A doctor worth seeing is a doctor who will check that med list and ensure there are no interactions between any of those ingredients or any of the additional meds you might receive, and will be interested to know if your blood pressure has risen or dropped. This will pertain not only to your family doctor or specialist, but the hospitalist or other personnel if you end up in the hospital.

Always keep a notebook with you–possibly in a purse, man-purse (murse) or close to the door in case of emergency so you can grab it as you go out the door. If you suddenly end up in the hospital without warning and don’t have pad and pen, have a friend, enemy, next-door-neighbor or anyone you can grab from the hallway bring you something for making notes. It is estimated that seven out of ten hospital bills have some kind of mistake on them, often to the detriment of the patient. So keep tabs on how many pills you’ve received, make sure you know what those pills are for, and make sure your hospital physician, nurse or tech communicates with you. When you’re back home and looking at the hospital bill, compare it to the notes you’ve taken. If there are discrepancies, call them to the attention of the billing department.

It doesn’t hurt for hospital personnel to know you’re keeping notes. If they’re worth their titles, they will actually be glad you’re sharp enough to keep track, because they’re overworked and it helps to have someone backing them up.

Make sure the hospital where you’re cared for is one that accepts the insurance that covers you. I have friends who were sent to outpatient sections of a hospital and weren’t covered by insurance. Now they’re paying out of pocket for something they thought would be paid otherwise.

Hospital stays typically cost in excess of 4,000.00 a day, depending on what part of the country you reside, so get well quickly. I realize that’s easier said than done, but one way you can save money is by moving when you’re told to walk up and down the hallway. Don’t overdo it, but these days doctors have discovered that lying in bed doesn’t help you heal. Get moving, get the blood carrying poisons out of your body more quickly. Drink more fluids if possible. Make sure the foods you’re being fed are free of any food allergens you might have. Often the doctors and nurses might not communicate with the food services staff, and that can have a direct impact on your health, including interactions with the meds you’re taking

Before you leave the hospital, BE SURE to get copies of every x-ray, test result, doctor comment, release form and medical chart you can get. Everything pertaining to your case is something you have a right to have. This way your family doc can see the paperwork and know how to follow up. Otherwise, your doctor might never see your hospital chart. Don’t assume that just because your doctor and your hospital are in the same insurance loop that they will communicate. We have this problem all the time. It’s even worse if they aren’t in the same system. Never assume your doctor will see the vital information about your health if it’s discovered by any other doctor or hospital. Patients are constantly being dropped through the cracks. Don’t be one of those patients. It’s your responsibility to ensure your doctor knows about every test result you’ve received.

The February issue of Reader’s Digest magazine has an interesting and frightfully honest article about 50 things your hospital won’t tell you–although I’m not sure about that last part. Some of those things are truths anyone who works in a hospital would want you to know. I highly recommend that you read that article, because it reminded me of many things I wish I could tell every patient who comes through our clinic doors. I read several of the paragraphs to Mel, and we both just shook our heads, because these are things we’ve been complaining about for years.

I repeat, take control of your own healthcare. If you’re too sick to keep track of everything being done to you in the hospital, keep a friend or family member with you. If you’re very sick, see if you can keep someone there to care for  you overnight. Some hospital staffs are spread so thin that it takes far too long for a nurse to get to you if you need something.

As I’ve said before, no doctor is God. They’re all humans, even the best of them, and as humans they make mistakes. This could affect your health in so many different ways. Make it your responsibility to ensure you receive the best medical care possible.


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Why Values and Morals are Important: Part 1 by Vicki Hinze


Values and Morals

Why Values and Morals are Important

Part 1


Vicki Hinze


Vicki Hinze, Christians Read, Why Morals and Values are Important, Part 1

You asked why values and morals are important and why we need them.


We live on a planet with a lot of people. Billions of people. If we don’t know what is good and what is not, getting along becomes impossible. History, and all the people who came before us, teaches us that life works better—we spend more time glad than sad—when we all know what is good and what isn’t and how to get along. Otherwise, it’s as if we’re all playing a game and none of us know the rules!


The thing is, life isn’t a game. And the consequences for living without a moral compass that works, is rough. Rules do exist; they always have, and because we want to deny them, doesn’t mean they’re no longer there or important.


Something you probably haven’t given much thought yet, but one day you will, is that life is short. It might not seem short, but it is. Eternity lasts a lot longer, and eternity is how long we live with the consequences of our lives. So living by our moral compass and what we value impacts us forever. Forever is a very long time.


Here are some things to think about:


Vicki Hinze, Christians Read, Why Morals and Values are Important, Part 1Truth. If you tell the truth, even when it’s hard, others know they can believe what you tell them.


If you lie, even once, then they must always wonder whether or not you’re telling the truth this time. It’s best to be truthful.



Vicki Hinze, Christians Read, Why Morals and Values are Important, Part 1Trust. Trust is a sacred bond between you and another person. When someone trusts you and you keep that trust, they know you are worthy of their trust. You know you’re worthy of being trusted.


If you break that bond of trust, it is very hard to repair it. Sometimes we can, and sometimes we can’t. Breaking that bond of trust even once impacts both people for a long time on everything. If it is a breach of trust that really hurt us, it can make us not trust anyone. Doubt always creeps in, and it scares most of us. We don’t want to be hurt or ashamed or embarrassed by someone breaking our trust. It’s best to trust and to be worthy of trust.


Vicki Hinze, Christians Read, Why Morals and Values are Important, Part 1Honesty. Being honest with yourself and others is really important. When you’re honest, it’s not always easy and sometimes it hurts, but it also assures others and you that you mean what you say and say what you mean. You can be relied on to tell the truth and that is a treasure.


When others really need to know the truth, they will know that you will give it to them. And you will know you are honest. Honest people don’t lie, cheat or steal. They are not jealous of others, don’t envy others, and don’t hurt others. They respect others. Keep their word. Control themselves. It’s best to be honest.



Vicki Hinze, Christians Read, Why Morals and Values are Important, Part 1We all have a moral compass. It’s that little voice inside that warns us something we’re about to do or say isn’t right. We know it. We feel and sense it. Sometimes we ignore it, but when we do, we usually regret it. Listen to your moral compass. Be the kind of person you want as a best friend.


Try to be a better person today than you were yesterday. More loving and kind to everyone, to keep your promises and be courageous and brave. If you know something is wrong, don’t do it. Be generous to others, give them the benefit of doubt, respect them while always respecting yourself.


Vicki Hinze, Christians Read, Why Morals and Values are ImportantIt’s not always easy to be good and do the right thing, and we all make bad choices and mistakes. But the very moment we do, we know it inside. That’s our moral compass talking to us. Or if we don’t understand our error, others soon inform us that we made a mistake. The important thing then is to admit it, apologize to those we harmed—that’s taking responsibility for ourselves and our actions—and then move forward, trying hard to not make that same mistake again.


None of us is perfect. But we’re supposed to try to become more perfect than we’ve been until now. We learn from our mistakes, and so we ask for forgiveness and then we forgive ourselves.


That’s really important—asking those we hurt for forgiveness, and forgiving ourselves. And remember, making mistakes is human. We’re learning. That we do learn matters to us and others now, but it also matters to us forever.


That’s a part of why morals and values are important.


Join me next time for Part 2.

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POWER OF HUMOR by Kristen Heitzmann

How many things are better faced with humor? Take a minute and let this video give you a smile.

I love how God built into us a resiliency to find a light heart even in the midst of storms, fear, or discouragement. You can’t miss his sense of humor in plants and animals he created–us most of all. And I think one of God’s greatest gifts is laughter. That’s why it was such a treat for me to write my new novel Told You So.

Years of trials in my life yielded stories that explored anguish and loss that underscores hope and love. So this story came as something of a surprise. I realized how long it had been since I had laughed in the writing of something. Not everyone agrees with some of the artistic choices I made to allow this story the authenticity it needed to maximize its impact without sanitizing. And that’s okay. My call, in this project at least, was to write in the truest fashion an accessible story to bring light to a genre in need of it. As always my prayer is to glorify God while meeting people where they are.

Told You So is a story of resilience and hope, even when life imitates art that imitates life. It’s about finding joy, even when you feel like you may be standing alone–not only in the world–but among your brothers and sisters in Christ. David laughed and danced before the Lord in the midst of criticism and judgment. What a beautiful example to follow.


Told You So, Kristen Heitzmann, Amazon, Christian Fiction

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Prayer For the New Year by Tara Randel

So here we are, just a few weeks into the new year. Is it just me, or is everyone as behind as I am? I’ve had to deal with the telephone company for multiple days now, which is never a joy. I haven’t been to the gym in a week because, it’s Florida and the low 40’s is just way to cold to go out in the morning.

On the positive side, I met two deadlines and continue to work on a project due in March. So I shouldn’t complain.

That’s right. I shouldn’t complain.

In fact, with everything I have going on, I’m looking forward to this weekend. Our church is holding a seminar on strategic prayer. Ever since the movie, War Room, came out, there have been plenty of books and conversations about prayer. Which is fine, because I don’t think we can ever learn enough or focus enough on reaching out to our God.

Lots of people come up with resolutions for the new year. Or even a word of affirmation to kick start the brand new season. I actually like the idea of one word to focus on. Prayer is a mighty, powerful word, and when used correctly, can change the atmosphere around us.

Will you join me and let your word this year be prayer?

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

How many of us have been down on our knees, talking to God? Expecting answers to our intercession? Hoping to see lives changed or friends healed?

The answer should be, every single one of us.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. Eph 3:14-21

I count it as an honor to have prayer warriors in my life, friends I can call at any time and know that they will get busy with the business at hand immediately. In return, they can depend on me to pray when asked. It’s a two way street I’m proud to be a part of.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Eph 6:18

If you feel as though your prayer life has been lacking, now is the time to get serious. Yes, prayer is a priority. Yes, it can hurt and it can make you cry, but it can also bring great joy. Yes, we can begin anew, if needed, to walk in a deeper relationship with Jesus.

Jesus made time to talk to the Father daily. Shouldn’t we follow his example?

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35

So if you have no idea of how to begin this new year in a positive way, I encourage you to start on your knees. You will not be disappointed.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength. Eph 1:18-19

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Happy . . . Now?

In the story I’m writing, I’m working with a character struggling with grief. I’ve long been fascinated with this part of life, maybe because it’s so universal. Writers are always looking for experiences that will touch all of us sooner or later, in one form or another.

I recall when my son was just over a year old and diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome, a condition that would impact all of us. His brain, I was told, was missing the one protein it needed to function like everyone else’s. Shortly after receiving the diagnosis I happened to hear a man being interviewed on a local Christian radio station who was talking about grief. He’d just lost his father, and had written a book about loss.

In one of my less-than-stellar moments, I listened with contempt to this man who, in my opinion, was simply facing a normal life cycle. Children bury their parents; when it’s the other way around—well, that’s grief, and that was exactly how I felt at the time. I thought I’d had a healthy child who would grow up with a bright future. That child, at least the hopes I had for that child, no longer existed. It felt, in a way, like a very real death.

It’s been about twenty years since that period in my life, and we’ve certainly had our ups and downs. If I’m honest I will admit I still have times of grief. It’s one of those types that you adjust to rather than “get over.”

But recently I’ve been reading about happiness. In his book on the subject by Randy Alcorn, (Happiness) we’re reminded that God wants us to be happy—even now, here on earth, before we reach Heaven where every tear will be wiped away. We, of everyone else on this earth, have the most reason to claim happiness. We know God’s love and we know the future He has in store for us. For me, that’s a reminder that one day my son won’t need a caregiver. He’ll be fully healed for eternity, which will last a whole heck of a lot longer than the breadth of life we know here.

There are plenty of verses in the Bible calling us to happiness! One of my favorites: Rejoice in the Lord and be happy, you who are godly! Shout for joy. (Psalm 32:11). How can you read the Psalms of praise without realizing God actually wants us to be happy? Like Psalm 100:

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

So one of the things I’ll be teaching my grieving character: Even when we’re struggling, we might find a moment of happiness. Recognize it! Because those are the kinds of moments that promise more of them in the future.

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THE DOCTOR ISN’T GOD by Hannah Alexander

Since I write novels set in the medical field, I’ve realized for many years that doctors can be confusing. You can pull up medical studies online and read three or four totally opposing articles by as many very educated doctors. I know this because my husband is one, and I’ve seen first-hand how difficult it is to get two physicians to agree on everything about a patient’s care. The poor patients.

You might especially have a problem if you’ve seen your family doc, and then been sent to a specialist, and then returned to your family doctor who hasn’t received a report from the specialist and doesn’t agree with what the specialist has told you. People fall through the cracks far too often these days as the system changes in America. I’m not even taking into consideration the field of naturopathy, which is a viable alternative for many, many patients who haven’t found the answers they need in the traditional medical community. Even there, as I’ve been studying webinars by alternative medicine professionals, they cannot agree.

So what’s a patient to do? Practicality should be a part of the equation, and some docs are so indoctrinated with rules and protocols they don’t learn to use their common horse sense–I said some, not all. On one of our last vacations, Mel and I took a drive to the Colorado mountains from our low elevation home in Missouri. We’d done it several times before with no problem. This time, however, I came down with the influenza Mel had picked up from a patient in ER a week earlier. We were staying at 11,000 feet in the mountains. By the time we decided I needed to go to a clinic, I hadn’t kept anything down for three days. I was so week I passed out when I got there. Combined with elevation sickness, that reaction was not surprising to me.

Because I fainted, however, what followed was an unnecessary nightmare ambulance ride down the mountain into a Denver hospital, where I was poked, prodded, tested by a team of at least five doctors–different kinds of specialists–who couldn’t agree on a single thing about me. One told me I’d be in the clinic at least another week. Another told me I’d be released in two hours. My favorite one made sure I was given some food, since by this time I hadn’t eaten in four days. Another doctor told me to never come back to the mountains.

Half the doctors were sure I had a serious heart condition and that I’d die, the other half were more practical and realized I was a lowlander with the flu. I spent the night and, feeling much better after being given fluids and oxygen, I checked myself out of the hospital and escaped as quickly as possible while Mel was back up in the mountains collecting our luggage. I checked into a local hotel and rested.

The next day we walked around Denver–perhaps six or seven miles of exploration. I didn’t die and I felt good, ate well, felt strong and didn’t get tired. I was with a doctor who kept a close watch on me and had the common sense to know that the flu and elevation were the only culprits in my ill health. We could have taken a cab at any time, but there was no need.

Doctors aren’t God. Yes, if you choose a particular physician to be your family doc, it might be wise to do as he or she suggests. But you should also do some shopping around for one you feel has at least as much common sense as education. One without the other does not make a good doctor.

If you find yourself in a situation where two or more of your doctors disagree with one another, you need to do your own research. And don’t stop at the first article you read online. Internet does NOT take the place of a doctor, but there are some sites online, such as and the, that might help you make more informed decisions. Mel checks webMD from time to time but doesn’t always agree–Big Pharma holds too much sway over the medical profession. They don’t hold that much sway over Mel. I trust him before I trust anyone else.

You’re on a loop for Christians who read. My advice to several patients lately has been to pray for wisdom and seek second opinions, even if they’re opposing. It’ll give you more information from which to decide about your own health. Your body doesn’t belong to any doctor. It’s God’s body, actually. Remember that Solomon asked God for wisdom and knowledge to rule God’s people. Because of that, God opened the storehouse of riches for Solomon. We can do the same. Pray for wisdom and guidance, knowledge and insight. God IS, after all, the Great Physician. Don’t try to make a human doctor into a god.

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A Different Place by Camy/Camille

ViewRecently I was reading a book about making new habits and breaking bad habits. It was well-written and easily understandable, but it also talked a lot about the psychology behind behavior, which was fascinating to me as a psych major in college.

One thing that struck me was a behavioral study that looked at the habits of college students transferring to a new college and a new living space. The study found that the students were able to create new habits much easier when they changed their location. In a new living space, they created new habits and kept them to a statistically significant degree of success over people who remain in the same environment.

I’ve always struggled with discipline in my Bible reading. I’m terribly inconsistent and I want to become more diligent and consistent in my time in the Word. So I decided to try to apply this information to my quiet times.

I obviously couldn’t pack up and move to a new house, but I found a new place to do my quiet times in the morning that I hadn’t used very often—our dining room table. (That photo above is the view from my seat at the table.) We hardly use our dining room table at all and it had been piled with random stuff, but I cleaned it off and decided to try using it as my quiet time space every morning.

So far, I’ve been consistent for two weeks in a row. There’s something about having a different place to go to every day that puts me in a different mindset. Unfortunately, I’m still easily distracted while I’m doing my Bible reading, but at least I’m doing it on a regular basis, which was better than before.

What do you do for your quiet times? You may have already discovered this neat trick to help you in your discipline, but it’s brand-new to me, and it seems to be working!

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The Last Word by Julie Arduini

I remember looking up at the television as Jimmy Fallon re enacted a video he saw. It was David Bowie’s new release, “Lazarus,” and Jimmy was talking about how a couple parts of the video seemed to mimic sketches Jimmy does on The Tonight Show. I smiled, it was funny, and thought about the title of the song. To me, Lazarus is a Biblical theme and I thought it curious Bowie would create music with such a theme.

A few days later I see the headline. David Bowie passed away from cancer that few even knew he had. As people grieved and shared their favorite memory, the online community also started piecing together Bowie’s last work. Was his album, the song/video “Lazarus”, especially, a goodbye to his fans? The last Twitter account his account followed was allegedly “God.” Was his eternity and how he wanted to leave on his mind?

Those who collaborated with him confirmed that the Lazarus video was crafted with finality in mind, specifically, Bowie’s. He apparently knew his time was short and wanted the video to be his message to fans once he was gone. The shock to even his closest was how fast he passed. He’d turned 69 the day “Lazarus” released.


David Bowie/Pixabay

Now social media participants are marveling at another thing Bowie apparently did. He left thinking of his fans, and was able to reach them even after he was gone. Would they do the same, and how? That’s a topic flying through my Twitter feed.


I remember a couple years ago with the Dallas reboot Larry Hagman did the same thing with his character, JR Ewing. Larry Hagman knew his time was short and to the very last day to where he was able to work, he crafted an exit that was an homage to his fans and a brilliant goodbye from the writers. Very few knew how sick he was. When fans saw JR’s death play out in the plot, it was obvious Larry Hagman and his beloved JR had the last word.

Back then I thought about what would I do? Create a video? Write a letter? I know it sounds morbid, but after my father’s passing I thought about my services. It seriously better be a celebration. I fought too hard for people to live in freedom to have a boring, sad service. Thing is, every time I thought of a song I thought people should play, well, it sounded so inappropriate.

  • “Arise My Love”
  • “Because He Lives”
  • “Celebration” (Kool and the Gang)

Those were the ones I remember thinking about that just seemed wrong, but so right for the kind of goodbye I’d like to have.

I’ve also thought about writing my obituary so it’s all ready to go. I’m torn as if that comes off as a help to my husband, who has flat out said if I go first, he wouldn’t have the mindset to create my last work. Or, does it come off as me trying to execute that last detail, that I can’t let go, even in death? Since I’ve yet to come up with an answer, I haven’t written it.

I’m curious, have you thought about having the last word, creating something for your loved ones once you’re gone? Have you already crafted something? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

For Further Reading:

(These are secular sites)

How David Bowie Said Goodbye to His Fans

The Last Twitter Account Bowie Followed was “God”

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Vicki Hinze, Writers Write What they Write, ICE Workbook, Vicki Hinze





If you ask ten writers why they’ve written the books they’ve written, you won’t get ten different answers. You’ll get a question: Which book?


Because each book captures, captivates and convinces a writer to write that specific story for a different reason—and the reason well might be different at the end of the book than it was when the writer started the project. Let me give you a couple specific examples.


My first military novel, Shades of Gray, (secular military romantic suspense) was born in anger. I went to the grocery store—commissary on a military base, actually—and overheard a couple debating between buying a jar of peanut butter and a can of tuna. They couldn’t afford both.


That stunned then infuriated me. I was upset all the way home, and researched and learned that the lowest four pay grades of service members were eligible for food stamps. That set me off like a rocket. I dropped the kind of books I was writing until then and switched to write stories exposing these plights. The first of those novels was Shades of Gray. It was about a military member nearly losing custody of his son to an alcoholic wife who forgot the boy places because the military member was subject to being deployed. It was happening all across the country at the time. So anger fueled that book and with more research of special challenges to our military members, it hung around a long time. I think there were four, and then three more books, and then several groups of three or four books after that. I guess I’m still not finished being ticked that we, who rest under their protection, don’t stand up for them.


My latest book was different. Anger didn’t fuel it. And actually it’s not a book, it’s a workbook.

You see, it started when I got the flu. The night before Christmas Eve last year, I took a fourth of a dose of prescription medicine and went to bed. Eight hours later, I awakened parched, went to the kitchen for a drink of water, and blacked out on the kitchen floor. Hubby found me unconscious in a pool of blood.


During the two months it took me to fully recover, I realized just how little of what goes on around here—meaning, our house—anyone else knows. I’m talking about the ordinary day-to-day things I deal with all the time. I answered a zillion, “Where’s this or that” questions and “Which account do I pay the light bill out of?” Simple things—to me, because I deal with them all the time. Not so simple for anyone else who doesn’t.


I realized I needed a continuity book. I mean, they could ask me…but what if they couldn’t? What if I hadn’t recovered? They’d be half-crazy trying to figure all this stuff out. Oh, they’d do it. But boy would they be anxious and overwhelmed.


So I went hunting for such a continuity-type book. I failed to find one, so I created one. Necessity breeds invention reason for writing this one. Pure and simple.


I knew it had to be thorough but not overwhelming. Easy to complete. Easy to follow. And it all had to have all the information needed together in one place. Otherwise, they’d still be lost. So I created a fill-in-the-blank workbook. Here’s a copy of the cover:


I felt good about this ICE Workbook reducing anxiety in my family. I remembered how challenging it’d been when my parents had passed and wanted to spare others that.


Then I thought, if I didn’t have one of these, and I couldn’t find one, others can’t either. I’ll share it. And so I have made it available for others as a digital download or in print. The digital download is available now HERE. The print copy won’t be out in bookstores until later this month.


Two books, two reasons. See what I mean?


A book isn’t something you crank out in a few weeks. It takes months, sometimes longer. And if you’re going to invest that much of your life into a project, you really need strong motivation. It can be anger or necessity, a desire to share a story that made you feel great, or something you found inspiring. It can be something that helps you cope or entertains you through a rough time. Whatever the reason, the story you choose to write typically includes something in the story—the characters, the events, or the situation—that resonates with you and touches you deeply.


Some writers write stories to make sense of things. To recreate a situation with a bad outcome into a situation with a good or better outcome. The reasons for what we write are all over the place, but I do want to dispel a myth.


Many think writers write because that’s what is hot in the market and will sell well. That’s rarely the reason a writer writes a book. Not to say writers don’t want to sell well, or that they ignore market trends. But unless a writer writes like the wind, by the time the story is written and published, odds are good the trend will have passed.


Many different emotions trigger writing. And what motivates us to write what we write changes often. Something acceptable yesterday might be revealed in a new light that makes it unacceptable today. There are as many writing triggers as there are writers and stories.


And that’s a blessing. Because just as writers write for different reasons, readers read for different reasons, too. And the writers goal is that when the reader needs what they need, a writer has provided it.


Vicki Hinze, ICE Workbook, In Case of Emergency Workbook


© 2016, Vicki Hinze. Hinze is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Bride, Shadow Watchers, Book 1. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s online community: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Subscribe to Vicki’s Newsletter.

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Ready, Set, FREE!

January! Definitely the time of year to curl up with a good book. Awww, you say, any time of the year is a good time for that. I couldn’t agree more! But somehow the long, cold days of this month—the holidays behind us, spring so far away—invite an escape into story land, doesn’t it?

So here’s a free read! I’m running a free promo on my latest title, The Matchmaker’s Match, starting today and running through midnight on Wednesday (January 10th through January 13th, 2016)


Here’s a peek at the story: For 1895, Mara Madison has a far too adventurous past. So when she finally discovers the faith her family always modeled, she sentences herself to perpetual spinsterhood and good works to make up for her old, selfish ways. However when her sister tries playing matchmaker between Mara and her husband’s handsome business partner, Benjamin Esherwood, Mara is determined to stay devoted to God. When she suspects her sister’s governess is already in love with the man, she decides to hone her own matchmaking skills.

If only her heart will cooperate . . .

I had so much fun writing this story, and one of the reasons is that it rattled around in my head for a couple of years before letting it out. Those are always the best, those tales filled with characters who won’t take no for an answer. Mara was inspired by a character I created in 2012, the younger sister of a secondary player from Bees In The Butterfly Garden named Evie. See how this character evolved from one to the other—not exactly a sequel, but the foundation for the story is clearly drawn.

If you didn’t get a chance to read Bees In The Butterfly Garden, it just so happens that my publisher is running a special through the end of this month. Just 99 cents for the ebook!

Smaller_Size_Bees_CoverI hope your winter days are filled with the warmth of a good book!

To download a free Kindle copy of The Matchmaker’s Match, click here. This free promo starts today and ends midnight on Wednesday, January 13th, 2016.

To purchase a Kindle version of Bees In The Butterfly Garden for 99 cents, click here. For other electronic formats such as Kobo, Nook or Apple, click here for the Tyndale sale page and scroll down to the Fiction: Romance section. Look for the prettiest cover :-) then click on the options to buy. All electronic versions of this title are 99 cents through the end of January, 2016.

Happy Reading!

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THE FLOOD by Hannah Alexander

Two days after Christmas our area of the country was hit with such flooding that even those of us who live above the flood plain were hit. Our basement had 1 1/2 inches of water in it. For a very large basement that meant we lost a lot of things, including items from my mother’s house, which I brought home with me after she died four years ago. I’ve been avoiding those things all this time.

So Mel and I spent New Year’s Day filling a large dumpster with a twenty-year accumulation of “stuff” from our lives and also from my parents’. I never do anything for New Year’s Day, but this year I did and it was painful. Sometimes when you start a new year, you have to learn to let go of some “stuff.”

I went through old books my mother read–she loved Zane Grey and alternative medicine books. It reminded me she was the original herbal enthusiast long before anything like that was popular. She didn’t have a regular family physician, but she did have a chiropractor who helped her plow through herbal supplements available in her day when I was a child. She made green smoothies in the sixties, as well as granola that was quite good. She nagged me to take herbal supplements for my health. And now I’m the health nut.

I went through Mom’s kitchen items such as old bowls, which I now use, and old silverware, some of which I kept and some of which I discarded. One particular fork meant a lot to me because my uncle, who fought in WWII as a Marine, gave us that fork stamped with USMC. Ah, the memories.

When I was little my father, who was a carpenter, built a toy box for me that would hold enough toys for a family of five, and I was an only child. No way could I discard that toy box. I might someday be buried in it.

Mel had to discard a few things, himself. He loves to collect model airplanes, but when those are still in their packages after several years, and those packages lie in the water for too long, they get discarded. He also had to give up on the fact that those automatic kitty litter boxes don’t work, no matter what kind you buy.

It’s painful discarding so many things from our past, but as I cried and carried load after load to the dumpster, I realized that sometimes we have to discard some things from our past in order to make room for our future. And we will look forward to a bright, and less cluttered, future.

What do you need to discard?


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When Writers Watch Movies and TV by Julie Arduini

Last week Maureen wrote a great post about It’s a Wonderful Life and questioning what happened to Potter and the $8,000? I remember watching The Sound of Music and of all the things I could have said, I only had one question.

What happened with Rolf?

I couldn’t even talk about the music, the setting, the family, nothing but Rolf. Did he stay with the Nazi cause? Did he live? Did he have regrets?

I wish I could tell you this is a one time thing, but as I meet with readers and hear from loved ones, I guess writers are in a league of their own when it comes to watching movies. We do things most wouldn’t even consider.

My latest?

I read the spoilers to the new Star Wars movie.

Was it because I’m such a die hard fan I had to know?

Nope. Although I enjoy the franchise, I wanted to know if my plot theories were close to what the writers actually created onscreen.

I’m hard to keep quiet during movies because I want to tell you the plot as I think it’s going to be, before it happens, and then after the movie, be prepared as I’ll probably want to take time to discuss what I would have done differently. I can’t help it. I’ve always been this way.

I’m the same with TV shows. As an 80’s teen that watched Full House as part of ABC’s TGIF lineup, I saw the shows again with our firstborn, and then  our daughter, years later, was obsessed with the show. As I watched and watched and watched episodes with them, I started to plot out what I would do to reboot the series.

It’s crazy that the show actually is coming back as a reboot, but alas, none of my ideas seem to be making it to Fuller House. I would have re written DJ married to a soldier deployed overseas, and that would have prompted Kimmy and Stephanie to live with DJ and kids. In Fuller House, it looks like they are keeping things inline with the original as DJ will be widowed.

I know I’ll be watching and guessing the plot from there, and making my own verbal tweaks to it.

I’ve learned not everyone loves to have plot points blurted during a movie or TV show so I’ve had to adjust my timing when vocalizing my thoughts, but I can’t help it.

And I still want to know what happened to Rolf.


Happy New Year! May you experience His peace throughout 2016!

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Merry Christmas from Tara Randel


To all of the wonderful readers of Christians Read, here is wishing you a blessed Christmas. May the wonder of Christ’s birth bring you, and your family, great joy and peace this holiday season.

Also, have a safe and happy New Year. May God’s hand be upon you in 2016. Let’s hope next year is a healthy, prosperous, and joyous year for everyone.

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Potter’s $8,000/A Whimsical Thought from Maureen Lang

It's A Wonderful LifeThe other night I did what many Americans do this time of year: I watched It’s A Wonderful Life. There are many reasons this movie is so popular, between the cast and the acting and a story that will surely tug at your heart. I can never make it without tears through the scene where little George Bailey returns to the druggist’s office with the tainted capsules undelivered only to have Mr. Gower box his ears before learning George wasn’t delinquent, he was saving Mr. Gower from a terrible mistake.

But this year, my daughter pointed out something I’d never really thought of before. Although the ending is surely a happy one for George, one fact remains —(spoiler alert for those few people on earth who haven’t yet seen the movie!)— Mr. Potter gets away with his evil deed.

Which got me thinking. What did Potter do with that money? He surely couldn’t have deposited it into his bank, or any accountant would spot the overage of such a large amount, unexplained, just when the Bailey Building and Loan account came short in the same amount. Furthermore, Potter isn’t just a miser, he’s a successful banker and businessman. Would he have been capable of just sitting on the money, without investing or using it in some way? Surely his heart is too black to have anonymously donated it to some good cause. And he certainly loved money too much to burn the evidence of his wrongdoing!

Potter_And_MinionWhat about the mute minion pushing Potter’s wheelchair, who witnessed Potter’s discovery of the money and subsequent theft? We assume his loyalty is so great he won’t reveal his boss’s wrongdoing. But will he forever keep such a dastardly secret, when the entire town knows about the crime? Someday, on his deathbed or Potter’s, perhaps the truth will come out . . .

So goes the mind of a writer who is fascinated by well drawn characters! Thanks for taking this little whimsical trip down “what if” lane with me.

Merry Christmas! May you let yourself take the time to watch this story that reminds us of how precious is God’s gift of life—especially if we let ourselves be a friend to those God puts around us.

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