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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Abandoned?

In my devotional, "A Mended Heart - Rosary Meditations on Forgiveness", I address an issue we all face from time to time ... absence of compassion and/or understanding from family or friends. It appears we are doing all the giving and when we are struggling, no one is around.  It's a difficult situation; however, it's imperative we don't let their shortcomings become our own.



Excerpt from "A Mended Heart"

Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” 
(Matthew 26:45-46)


Christ was alone in that garden. He had asked if at least one of his disciples would sit with Him, but His pleas were not heard. We too are at times left alone, estranged and forgotten. Our cries for help go unnoticed. When we are sad, mourning or frightened, all we need is a sympathetic ear, someone to tell us they understand or just give us a warm, loving embrace. To suffer alone and in silence is excruciating and worsens the grief and fear.

Jesus, I know the pain of suffering alone and in silence. I longed for words of understanding and comforting arms around me; for someone to share my tears.  Help me hear the cries of help from my friends. May I show them compassion, understanding and warmth in their time of need. May I shed tears with them and lovingly support them as a true friend should.

My Lord, please be merciful to my offenders, to me if I have offended, and open my heart to forgiveness.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Have a Seat: Marsha Hubler!


Marsha Hubler, author of the best-selling Keystone Stables Series from Zonderkidz, lives in central PA with her husband and two dogs. She has a master’s degree in education, over 40 years experience with children of all ages, and presently works with homeschoolers in her home office. Her latest published works, THE LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY SERIES and THE SNYDER COUNTY QUILTING BEE SERIES 2 SHORT STORIES, Amish/Mennonite fiction romance by Helping Hands Press, was created out of Marsha’s friendship with many Plain Folk who live in Snyder County. On the side, Marsha serves as acquisitions editor for Helping Hands Press. She’s always looking for excellent writing in fiction for tweens and older, horse stories, Christmas and Easter stories, and curriculum on all grade levels for the Helping Hands Supplemental Educational Division.

    What inspired you to become a writer?
I had always loved writing poetry and short stories from a child up. I had three teachers, one in 3rd grade, one in 7th, and a college prof, who encouraged me with my writing.

    Which one of your books do you consider your “pride and joy?”
I suppose of the 17 books I have in print, A HORSE TO LOVE, volume one in THE KEYSTONE STABLES SERIES (published by Zonderkidz), would be my choice. Why? It not only is the first book in an 8-book best-selling series with over 100,000 in print, but the book brings back fond memories of pitching my story to the Zonderkidz editor, Barbara Scott, at the Montrose Christian Writers’ Conference in 2001, which started the whole process of seeing the dream of my girl/horse series come true.

    Do you have any preparation rituals before you begin to write?
I sit before my computer and sweat a lot. (Ha ha)

    If you had to come up with a book title to describe your life,
    what would it be?
By the Grace of God, I Am What I Am (Part of the Bible verse 1 Corinthians 15:10)

    If you had a chance to have dinner with any author who would it be?
God, the Author of the Bible

    We all have family, work and other obligations...how do you maintain balance while in the middle of a writing project?
Writing and editing has become a top priority in my daily schedule. If I have four solid hours of writing on any given day, that’s a good day. If my schedule sabotages my writing on one day, I try to make up for it on another.

    What is the one piece of advice you received about writing that helped you the most?
Being a member of a local or online critique group is ESSENTIAL to improve one’s writing and to become a published author. Those other pairs of eyes will find the flaws in what you think is a “perfect” manuscript. I wouldn’t be where I am today with my writing without our two local critique groups.

Where can we purchase your books and how can we keep up with you?
Most bookstores carry my books, and I’m on Amazon:


I have three active blogs, and I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest:

MY WRITERS’ TIPS & AUTHORS’ BLOG: http://marshahubler.wordpress.com/
MY LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY FAN PAGE ON MY BLOG: http://marshahubler.wordpress.com/the-loves-of-snyder-county/

    Last, but not least.....What and when is your next release?
I’m writing a series of 12 short stories in the collection, THE SNYDER COUNTY QUILTING BEE SERIES 2, which updates readers on the lives of the characters introduced in my LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY Amish/Mennonite fiction series released over a year ago. I just had volume 4 released, NO FURLOUGH FOR MANDIE, which is available as an e- book. (URL listed with the answer to question 8)
Synopsis: Mandie and Tobias Schmidt, missionaries to Jakarta, Indonesia, have waited two years to come home to Snyder County for a six-month furlough. With their nine-month-old baby, Lydia, the couple plans to spend quality time with their families and travel to numerous states, presenting their ministry to Mennonite churches, whose congregations pray for the couple and sometimes offer financial support. But Mandie and Tobias’s furlough is cancelled after only a few weeks because of a crisis back in Indonesia. What happens that forces the couple to consider returning to Indonesia immediately? 

Monday, July 28, 2014

FINAL CHAPTER - FAITH & FANTASY FOOTBALL




TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES

I got up from the sweat-soaked chair and started the clean-up. That's when I saw it. The STAIN. A big blotch of red wine soaked through the oak. It kind of looked like the State of Florida with the bottom of the state at the edge of the desk...the edge of the desk???? I looked down and there on his plush white (I warned him) carpet … A red stain, not looking like the rest of Florida; more like a red starfish with uneven legs (are those things called legs?). I saw my life flash before me. I knew my husband would kill me, or worse yet, make me quit my fantasy league. I quietly unlocked the door, it was dark in the house, thankfully everyone was sleeping. I foraged underneath the kitchen sink to find a magical potion that would miraculously sweep Florida off the map. Brillo pads were out – so were the remnants of bar soap (why do we keep those?). The only workable item was the heavy duty carpet spray. I tip-toed back to the room of destruction and began sopping up the remains on the desk and carpet then surveyed the damage. Again I said a prayer.... for a miracle. The carpet cleaner worked (thank you God...and also my husband for going first class with stain guard). Expelling that little piece of evidence gave me a lift until I looked at the desk. Florida was still there, and maybe that's where I should head before morning. I then had a thought... if Staples or Office Depot was open twenty-four hours I could buy a nice, expensive desk cover as a surprise for my husband. Reality check - someone would hear the car starting and I'd be exposed. Maybe I could move the printer....it would be more work-friendly having it closer to the monitor, right? What if I just put his stack of papers on it and when he discovered the blemish I could blame the kids? Red wine – cherry Kool-Aid....hmm. Then it happened...another verse from Proverbs jumped into my head. “Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil, but those who counsel peace have joy.” (Proverbs 12:20). I looked up and told God I got the message loud and clear.

I mustered up courage and climbed that long dark stairway. I summoned all the tears I could (Proverbs didn't say anything about that), and woke the sleeping giant. He saw my tear stained cheeks, along with the drenched sweatband and jersey. That sweet man grabbed my hand and said, “Honey, what happened, is everything all right?” I just stood there, letting the tears flow and snot drip out of my nose...then I opened my mouth and blubbered out the fateful words....”irunedrdesk." I wanted to get it out as quickly as possible. He stood up, quietly went down that long dark stairway and into the violated space. I was at his side with my head down like a scolded child. I didn't dare look up to see the blood pulsing through the veins on his forehead....a sure sign of dire consequences. His head shook from side to side and then he turned to me. Here it comes....I braced myself and said another prayer for bravery in the face of uncertain retribution. His forehead wasn't bulging out as expected. His eyes weren't beady either. He surely must have been in shock. The silence seemed to last longer than the draft. Then he took my hand again (yep, he's throwing me out) and I heard him say in a calm, sweet voice, “I know you didn't do it on purpose, accidents happen, I'll buy a nice desk cover tomorrow.” At first I was angry because he stole my idea, but that feeling was tempered by the relief of me still being alive, in my home and able to continue my championship season.

We walked out of the office hand-in-hand, turned off the light, went up the staircase to our bedroom. After we said our nightly prayers (mine included a massive amount of gratitude) and crawled into bed, I rolled over, laid my head on his chest, stroked his cheek and said, "Honey, we both know I've been distant lately and neglecting you. I think it's only fair that I make it up to you." I snuggled closer and whispered in his ear..................

"I'll share my winnings, because I finally got a top-notch running back and I'm gonna kick butt!” I then rolled over and fell into a deep sleep ~ with dreams of the Superbowl.





THE END