Whose Life Will You Change For The Better? (The Pay It Forward Giveaway)

As an author, a lot of what I write is based off what I know. There may (or may not be, haha) references to real-life places, events, and products. My characters may (or may not be, don’t ask!) inspired by my family, friends, and even acquaintances I’ve met online. The thing is, I want my fictional stories to be relatable and realistic but always with a thread of hope woven into them. That’s what makes books worth reading, right? They give us the ability to escape for a little while, but also cause us to think about issues and problems and resolutions.

Well, one of my next books releasing in November is set in a fictional town of Sweet Grove, Texas. I’ve been to Texas once in my life, about fifteen years ago (eeks!) before I had kids, to visit a dear college friend. We spent the weekend watching the 6-hour version of Pride and Prejudice, drinking tons of boba tea, and we also swam in the ocean at Galveston Beach (the water was as warm as bath water!). I had a grand ‘ol time in Texas (did I mention this was before kids? haha), so when I was given the opportunity to write a story for the First Street Church Kindle World set in Texas, I went for it.

Fast forward a few months to when I had finished my story, Love’s Choice, and there was news that a major hurricane had hit Texas and its surrounding areas. The images I saw on the news of the disaster were heartbreaking. So many people literally standing knee-deep in filthy water in their own homes. They all needed help, but with us being over 1,000 miles away in California, it was hard to know how to offer support.

Enter Convoy of Hope!

I came across this organization online and was immediately impressed with their efforts and ethical standing, and most of all, their heart for the hurting. Just a quick glance at their website shows how they are in the midst of natural disasters, providing  food and supplies to people, not only to those in the U.S. but abroad as well. In a nutshell, this is what they do (as stated on their site):

As a faith-based, nonprofit organization Convoy of Hope has helped more than 80 million people throughout the world by sharing food, water, emergency supplies, agricultural know-how, and opportunities that empower people to live independent lives, free from poverty, disease and hunger.

Convoy of Hope does this through:

Mobilizing tens of thousands of volunteers each year.

Partnering with churches, businesses, individuals and other humanitarian organizations who are intent on doing good work among the impoverished and suffering.

Transparency — we have received the prestigious Four Star Charity Award from Charity Navigator for 14 years.

Their name says it all, don’t you think? 🙂 They provide help and hope to those who need it the most.

My hubby and I were thrilled to partner with Convoy of Hope and help in the little way that we could to hopefully make some people’s lives a little better in Texas.

I highly encourage you to think about whose life you will change for the better. Perhaps it will be through a partnership with a group like Convoy of Hope, or maybe it will be the kind act you do for your neighbor, family member, or friend. Whatever it is, know that God can use anyone to be a blessing! How will you choose to be a blessing today? Let me know in the comments below!

*This post was done in conjunction with my fellow Sweet Grove Books authors for The Pay It Forward Giveaway. To enter this giveaway for a free Kindle and a gift card, please go to this link: https://www.litring.com/the-pay-it-forward-giveaway/

Thanks for visiting my blog and for supporting the First Street Church Kindle World!

Thoughts about Nutella (+ A Cover Reveal)

So, author confession time. When I started out 2017, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to join two boxed sets. Both releasing towards the end of the year. I had no idea, however, of the other things that would pile up on my platter this year, too—platter, because I need something bigger than a plate to fit all my responsibilities! 😉 Long story short, I’m helping with the PTA at the munchkins’ school; I’m blogging regularly at three book-related sites in addition to my own; I babysit my niece once a week, so my mom gets some time off—funny how the tables have turned!; I have a family to feed, clothe, drive around, and listen to; and I have books to write, edit, and market. I realized I was pretty stressed out when I had a dream the other night that I was buying groceries and I couldn’t pay for them, but when I finally got the money to pay for them, the groceries had vanished! It was crazy, folks, like heart-pounding crazy! 😉

I’m not complaining though (okay, maybe I am complaining about having to feed my family every day). 😉 The thing is, I’m a bit tired. Tired because there are a lot of things I want to do, but there’s so little time to do them. (I know I’m not the only one who feels this way!) But when you also add my perfectionistic mindset to the mix, you’ve got a recipe for … nutella!

Yup, you read that right. I have been trying to be nutella. You know that rich, creamy, nutty goodness that goes good with everything and makes everyone happy? Yup, that nutella.

The thing is, no one can be a jar of nutella. Because sooner or later, you’ll find yourself with chest pains and headaches and waking up thinking you left your groceries at the store!

Here’s the truth (and doesn’t it look good?!):

I’m striving to remind myself to breathe and to do my best, but not to demand the best. Because when I demand perfection from myself, I only end up stressed out and frustrated and not a fun person to be around.

The big lesson here for me is grace. We need to give ourselves permission to say no. To mess up. To take a day off for our mental health. To do something for fun, not work. To be nice and kind and gentle to ourselves. To extend grace to ourselves because we’re human, after all.

I’m not saying we need to slack off (that would probably be torture, haha), but it’d be good to take it easy once in a while. Doing so may be hard at first, but everything (including being an anti-perfectionist) requires practice. And remember, practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes better. 🙂

And oh, before I forget, here’s the cover reveal for my story that’s coming out November 7th in Winter’s Kiss, a new Christian romance boxed set.

Tropical Kiss and Tell

Micah Chan has loved Lucy Choi ever since they were kids, but life—and some regretful decisions—stopped him from pursuing her. Now he has a choice to make: Let her marry another man or break up her engagement to make this Christmas the most memorable one of their lives.

You may recognize Micah and Lucy’s names from two of my other books, Tropical Kiss or Miss and Drawn to You. They were kids in those stories, but now they’re all grown up and getting their own happily-ever-after. 🙂

Pre-order your copy of Winter’s Kiss today for only 99 cents!

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0767LWGCL/

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/winters-kiss/id1293778445

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/winters-kiss-elaine-stock/1127196238

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/winter-s-kiss-10

Google Play: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/winter-s-kiss-10