Friday, September 25, 2009

Minnesota Fun

Hi, my name is Steph and today I am writing on Susanne's behalf, as she is busy at the D6 Conference in Dallas this week (with no internet!) I am Susanne's assistant, but more importantly, her "daughter-in-love!" Today I thought I would give you a glimpse of grandma Susanne.

Susanne lives in Las Vegas, but lucky for us she visits often (we live in Minnesota.) Here she is reading a book to her grandchildren, with her 3 dogs at her side. It can't get much better than that for grandma!

Susanne has two boys -- one of them is a Cowboys fan and the other a Raiders fan. As you can see, the guys have passed that down to their kids. Here is my daughter Bri and her cousin Michael. They are only 2 months apart and the cutest things you've ever seen together. Ok, maybe I'm a little biased. I know grandma is, too!

What would a trip to Minnesota be without a trip to "The Great Minnesota Get-Together" -- the State Fair. This might've been the highlight of our time together; we had a blast. Here was Susanne's favorite food at the fair -- cheese curds!

Here is grandma with our other daughter, Emily Susanne.
Thanks for joining me today! Susanne will be back next week on The Writer's Porch!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Fade Revisited

After writing about things that have started to fade way, I thought of several other things that my grandchildren will probably never experience.

VHS to Blu Ray

Maps to GPS Devices

Camera Film to Digital

Airplane food to Fast food

Paper Ticket--E-tickets

Drive-in Movies--Video on Demand

Checks--Debit cards

Handwritten letters--Texting

The list just keeps on growing . . .but as I said yesterday, Jesus is the Alpha & Omega--never changing. Hallelujah!

Keep the Heart-Print faith,


If I asked a twelve-year-old what cursive writing is, she may think it is writing with swear words in it. Now I am the first to admit that the only time I ever use cursive writing is when I sign my signature—a check, loan documents, a birthday card. It is also a good thing that I don’t use cursive writing, because mine is illegible. (I never did get an A for penmanship.) Yet who would have thought that cursive writing would ever become obsolete.

I read an article yesterday stating that cursive writing is now only taught for one year and that is usually 3rd grade. (The links to these articles are below.) When I was a kid the fading of cursive writing would have made me quite glad, but now makes me sad to think that so many things in my own lifetime have drifted away into antiquity. For instance, phones with curly stretchy cords, typewriters, green pet turtles, plastic hair rollers, fried liver with onions, strap-on roller-skates and riding a stingray bicycle without a helmet. And last but not least, the traditional college experience is giving way to online college courses. Imagine completing your Ph.D. in your jammies!

I must admit I have contributed to the decline of certain items—CDs to i-pod, books to Kindle, typewriter to computer and land line to cell phone. I wouldn’t change one thing about all my electronics—I adore them. And I think doing college from home sounds wonderful.

With all that being said, we can rest assured that one thing will never change. The word of Christ does not fade away. So I encourage you to study your Bible today. Read a Psalm, memorize a Proverb, or study a parable of Jesus. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Mark 13:31 (NIV)

Is there something that you miss from times gone by?

Below are the links to the articles that I referenced.

Keep the Heart-Print Faith,

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday--The Writer's Porch

Write Your Passion

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” —William Wordsworth

Write your passion! Your best writing will flow when your heart is in the work. Writer's block will dissipate. Your scribbles will develop into sentences, then to paragraphs, and eventually into something that you will be proud to see in print.

Many times we scramble to follow the market and what we perceive is the “hot topic” of the moment in the hopes of seeing our manuscript in print. We sell out our own passions. Believe me when I say this, my writing STINKS when I chase publication for publication itself.

I believe that the Lord allows each of us to develop certain interests that turn our fingers into writing machines. Thankfully, He doesn’t limit us to only one topic, but usually two or three are what we will write most eloquently.

Let me ask you this: If you could write about any subject, what would you choose? Whatever your answer is, that will probably be the best thing for you to write about.

Now, let me clarify. You do not have to write the same things repeatedly. You can write about your passions from many different angles. For example, how could you write about the faithfulness of God using the following subjects as the primary topic?

· Nature
· Friendships
· Dogs/cats
· Motorcycles
· Football
· American Idol

Consider your passions. Write from your heart, but use your imagination. Next week we are going to start a new series—The Art of the Article.

Keep the Heart-Print Faith,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Babbling about Books--Thursday

The Same Kind of Different As Me
By Ron Hall & Denver Moore
Thomas Nelson Publisher (2006)

Every so often, I find a book that I think to myself, “WOW! My mom needs to read this one.” That is what occurred with The Same Kind of Different as Me. I read this small book while traveling this summer. Once I started it I couldn't put it down. When I finished reading it on my Kindle, I went right out and bought my mother the paperback copy.

It’s a story of pain, hope, and miracles. The miracles being what we can do when we allow God to open our shut-up hearts and love people with His agape love. Here’s the editor's review that I found on Amazon.

“A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery.
An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel.
A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream.
A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.
It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana . . . and an East Texas honky-tonk . . . and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda . . . an upscale New York gallery . . . a downtown dumpster . . . a Texas ranch.
Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.”

Bundle all of that together and you have a first-class read. Although it reads as easily as a novel, the beauty is that this is a true story. One destitute black man, one kind white woman, one rich white man and how their lives changed when they learned to serve and befriend one another. The Same Kind of Different as Me as been on the New York Times bestseller list. The authors have been interviewed on the major network morning shows. I think you get the picture—it’s a life-changing read. Don't wait for the movie version (which will be sure to happen), but read it now.

Until tomorrow,

Monday, September 14, 2009

It Is What It Is?

For the past couple of months I have been pondering a statement the beautiful Jennifer Rothschild said. (She is beautiful inside and out.) She spoke the Saturday evening of our 2009 She Speaks conference. During her message she said that in our culture we have “Christian celebrities." Then she said, “It is what it is.”

Doesn’t that make you pause? Do we have Christian celebrities? Yes, we do, and each one of us could probably name our favorite famous Christian — Beth Moore, Max Lucado, Andy Stanley, etc. I have been wondering, is this true because of radio, TV and Internet? Is this something new to the past few generations?

I think it has been around a very long time. For example, John Wesley in the 1700's and D.L. Moody in the 1800’s. But it goes even further back. Think of the letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians in which he said,
What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ." 1 Corinthians 1:12 (NIV)

It sounds even as Christianity was still in its infancy there were Christian celebrities. I think Jennifer was on spot when she said, “It is what it is.”

What’s your opinion?

Keep the Heart-Print Faith,

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Writer's Porch--Gotta Read!

We’ve finished the series of Shortbread: How to Write Great Devotions. So today I want to chat about the most important thing you can do as a writer—READ. Become a voracious reader—read non-fiction, current fiction, newspapers and magazines. Read the classics, too.

The one thing that you will hear at writers’ conferences is this—great writers are insatiable readers. I remember being on staff several years ago at the Glorieta Christian Writers’ Conference in New Mexico. The keynote speaker spoke on the topic of reading as much as you can to improve your own writing. Afterward, a woman came up to me and said, “I do not read anything, but I happen to be a great writer.” I wanted to say, “Really?” I held my tongue, but I knew that in order to write you must read.

Why is this? There are several reasons. The first reason is good writing rubs off onto an aspiring writer. I encourage you to pay attention to how authors structure their sentences. Find fabulous words that you might never have thought of on your own. Keep a list of these words. Analyze why you particularly like one author over another. Don’t be afraid that you will become a copycat. You won’t! Your own voice will seep onto the page, but figure out what makes one writer better than another one—including yourself.

Another reason to read is to stay current with what is going on in our world. Often writers live a solitary life. They chain themselves to the computer and stay in touch with life via the Internet. News and research will not keep you current on the direction that articles and books are taking. You can read about it, but you won’t absorb it into your own thoughts.

Every Thursday for the past several months I have been blogging about different books. Sometimes it is about writing books—I did this yesterday. Other times I am reviewing a novel I enjoyed. Still other times I spotlight a non-fiction. My original intent was to share my enjoyment of reading, but as I've continued I have hoped that writers would be inspired to pick up one of the books and it would spur them on to great writing.

I do not consider "Babbling about Books - Thursday" necessarily as a book review, but more as a suggestion for a good read. There are several books that I have read that I did not like, so I didn’t babble about them. Of course, everyone’s reading tastes differ, but I am trying to blog about books that have either good writing, a great story line or great information.

Check out the blog post that She Reads had a few days ago. It inspired me to try to read even more than I do.

It’s true—“passion is caught, not taught.” If you want to write, READ!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Babbling about Books--Thursday

The Forest for the Trees
by Betsy Lerner

For those of you who would like to be published one day, I would like to babble about The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers. This book should not be considered a how-to-write book, but a peek into the publishing world.

Ms. Lerner, an editor herself, discusses the hopes and dreams of writers. She frankly discusses the neurotic tendencies of most writers (smile), written, of course, from an editor’s point of view. Here are the chapter titles in the first section of the book.
The Ambivalent Writer
The Natural
The Wicked Child
The Self-Promoter
The Neurotic
Touching Fire

Curious to which you might be?

The second half of The Forest for the Trees is all about the publishing world with topics ranging from rejection to agents, to editors to publication. Again, this is not a how-to-write book, but rather allows a writer to see the publishing industry from an editor’s point of view. It is not a can’t-put-it-down page turner, but it holds a wealth of information for writers. I have read it twice, but believe I need to read it again during 2009.

Until tomorrow on The Writer's Porch,

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunflower Summer

My mother always says, “You know summer is over when the sunflowers line the road.” I have been traveling home from Minnesota the past few days and the sunflowers are everywhere. It’s the strangest thing, we’ve been gone almost five weeks in a motorhome, but as I stepped back through my front door, it feels like I haven’t been gone but a few hours. Time flies.

I can’t believe my long awaited roadtrip is over. It seems impossible that summer is finished already. During this summer of 2009, I lost a dear friend to cancer. I bought two new puppies after my old dog died. I have worked hard and played hard. It was a time for laugher and a time for tears.

I have been very reflective this summer. I have realized the truth of “our life is but a breath.” I want to live my life to the fullest. I don’t want to wake up ten years from now and see the sunflowers on the road and wish I had taken a different path. I even read Dr. Phil’s book, Self-Matters. Certainly, I don’t agree with much of the stuff he wrote, but I do believe that we are put on this earth to fulfill a purpose—not our own purpose, but God’s purpose for us. The dilemma is finding that path.

Recently, I had a big decision to make. I called one of my friends who has been gifted with wisdom. She said, “Susanne, I can’t believe that the Lord would just drop this in your lap. Hasn’t He been whispering quietly to your heart about this already?” Hmmm. . . yes, He has. Case closed, decision made.

What are your thoughts as we close the summer of 2009? What's your purpose? Have you made any decisions?

Keep a Heart-Print Faith,

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Whispers of Faith--Rat Tales

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)

My child chooses to live in squalor. The drug-infested community supports my child’s mind-set of illegal substance abuse. The drug dealers and addicts tell tales of delusion. Rats, human-type and rodent-kind, make outlandish roommates for a child raised in a middle-class home. Together they scrounge for food that is only fit for the rodent species of rats. My eyes cannot believe what they see!

How much lower can my child go before he comes to his senses? How much longer before he turns and comes home? How much longer must I wait?

Oh, but my faith ensures me that my hopes are not in vain. Although I might not be able to see God’s hand in the middle of the foulness of my child’s lifestyle, He is at work, even in a rat’s nest of humanity. I choose to respond as the father of the prodigal child did, “When he finally came to his senses . . . So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:17, 20 NLT).

My faith will not waiver, even when my child stubbornly refuses to admit his addictions that dictate his lifestyle. I will wait in faith for the rat tales to become unbearable. I will be the mother who stands and watches for the return of her wild child.

Father, grant me faith to wait for the return of __________________. Enable me to wait patiently for my wild child, _______________, to come to his senses and to come home. I wait in expectation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

An excerpt from Divine Prayers for Despairing Parents, by Susanne Scheppmann--New Hope Publishers, 2009.

Keep Praying with Heart-Print Faith,

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Writer's Porch--Shortbread--How To Write a Great Devotion Part 6

Shortbread: How to Write Great Devotionals, Part 6—The Extras

Today is the final day for our Shortbread: How to Write Great Devotionals. We have covered the primary sections of a devotional writing and what editors are looking for in a devotion. There is one last section that I want to touch on and that is the little extras that a publisher may want included.

In the Proverbs 31 Ministries "Encouragement for Today" devotions we add several additional sections. We request the author add the following:

Application Steps: This is a short concrete action that the reader would be able to accomplish in a short period of time. For example, read a Scripture, write a prayer, memorize a verse, etc.

Reflections: These are questions that the reader would ask themselves. Do I worry? Why do I allow anger to influence my relationships? Etc.

Additional Resources: Books, blogs, etc. that we feel tie into the day’s devotional.

Power Verses: We have 3-5 additional Scriptures for the reader to read that relate back to the main point of the devo.

These additional sections enhance the devotion and add a touch of variety from other devotionals.

One time I was writing devotionals for Standard Publications and they requested that I give three titles to hymns that would refer back to the point of the devo. YIKES! My church hasn’t had a hymnal in twenty years. However, I eventually found a hymnal and was able to search through it for the required songs. Then the editor needed the composers’ names and copyright information. This was not an optional part of the assignment. If I wanted the five devos to be published and wanted to receive payment, I needed to include this information in my submissions.

In my devotional book, Divine Prayers for Despairing Parents: What to Pray When You Don’t Know What to Say, I selected Scripture, wrote the devotional and then used the same Scripture for the parents to be able to pray by inserting their child’s name in a blank. Tomorrow, I will post one of the devotions for you to be able to see how that looks.

Okey dokey, that’s it for this series on The Writer’s Porch. Send me some suggestions on what you would like to see on upcoming posts of The Writer's Porch.

Keep Writing,

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Babbling about Books--Thursday

Hope in the Midst of Depression
Author: Mary Southerland
Publisher: Harvest House

Whenever I speak at women’s events, I usually talk briefly about the battle of depression. Why? Because so many women face it every morning when they look in the mirror. Depression has been a part of my own life on and off since I was a child. I know how depression feels when it looms overhead like an ominous cloud.

So when a tool comes along to blow away the gloom and doom I want to share it. The book I am babbling about today is Hope in the Midst of Depression written by my friend Mary Southerland. She can write about depression because she has experienced it. Mary writes, “If I managed to get out of bed and get dressed by the time my kids got home from school, the day was a success.” Does anyone relate?

I know many of us, especially if we are Christ followers, hate to admit that that we might fight something as “worldly” as depression. But the truth is almost 80% of the American population battles depression at some point in their lives.

Depression creates physical trauma—headaches, lethargy, etc. It hinders our emotions and hurts relationships. Depression dwindles our time and our energy. But for me the worst damage done is spiritual. My faith flounders when depression creeps into my life. My negativity warps the reality of God’s goodness—my faith struggles when I am depressed.

All that to say, if you are battling depression or know someone who is, Hope in the Midst of Depression is an excellent tool to combat the lies of depression with the hope we have in Jesus. It is available on

Keep the Heart-Print Faith,