Friday, December 20, 2013

Empty Chairs

Christmas is such a wonderful time for friends and family.  It’s an amazing time of reflection and inspiration.  Not to make you sad, but it’s also a time when the suicide rates are highest.  Isn’t that sad?  The very holiday that we celebrate the birth of our Savior is a time when so many people give up.

Often the reason is due to empty chairs.

Chairs can be empty for a lot of reasons.  Family and friends are too busy to visit or come by.  In this day and age so much of our social life is done here – online.  It keeps us up to date on each other.  Keeps us connected mentally, but not physically.

Sometimes the weather is too bad, the distance too far, or the finances too limited and empty chairs are the result.  Those who can—come together, but little pieces of their heart dwell elsewhere with their missing loved ones.

Severed relationships can be another cause of empty chairs.  Maybe misunderstanding has taken place in your family or with your friends. Maybe friendships were ended because of hard feelings that couldn’t be resolved. Maybe you offended family members and in turn they put up walls.  A lot of folks tend to bear grudges, but no matter, the loss is there. 
Those empty chairs are truly daunting and painful.

And of course sickness often keeps our loved ones from coming together.  It’s hard to travel with a chemo IV in your arm or the need for dialysis. Sometimes it’s something as seemingly insignificant as an auto-immune disorder or migraines.  Which of course aren’t insignificant at all.

Lastly, we sadly endure empty chairs because of death.  Love ones have gone on to be with the Lord. For one reason or another – sickness, wars, accident, crimes, or even the above mentioned suicides . Those dear ones are beyond our reach-physically, but emotionally – mentally – spiritually their empty chair is devastating and we find ourselves mourning all over again.

Now lest you think I brought these reflections to make you sad or grief-stricken this holiday season – bear with me.  I have only mentioned these empty chairs because I know they exist in each and every house and someone – someone is hurting and feeling that they must surely be the only one in the world to feel such pain.  I want you to know – you aren’t alone.

We each have empty chairs and unspoken sorrows.  But what I found here among my sister authors and readers is the support and love that helps those chairs not seem quite so daunting – or empty – or hopeless.

So I write this blog with the desire that you know you aren’t alone and that you would be mindful of those empty chairs that others are enduring.  Reach out in love to each other and open your hearts and homes to those who may have nothing, but empty chairs.

And remember – there is coming a day when we will no longer have to worry about who will be at the table.  As that old hymn says, “When we all get to heaven – what a day of rejoicing that will be!”  Those who have given Jesus the place of honor in their hearts will be there, and since the Bible says there will be no sorrow or tears in heaven – we know that we will not grieve the empty chairs – because there are no empty chairs in heaven.

This Christmas remember why Jesus came. Give the gift of love—of encouragement by sharing  the Gospel, listening to a lonely soul, giving cookies to the needy.  Whatever you do, do it unto the Lord as the Bible says.  Help fill those place-settings and remember; He came as a babe in a manager to fill the empty chair in our heart. Celebrate His Birth.  Celebrate His love.

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Blog to visit and NEW BOOK!!!

Recently I was invited to share at Carrie Fancett Pagels blogsite.

Be sure and visit at:"

Thanks, Carrie for the chance to share!

ALSO - I'm so excited to let everyone know about my latest book with Kimberley Woodhouse.

ALL THINGS HIDDEN is now available!
I'm so excited to see this book finally available.  Publisher's Weekly gave it a starred review and Romantic Times gave  us 4 1/2 stars and a TOP PICK!
I hope you get a chance to read it!
God Bless You!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Here We Go Again!

My hubby and I are going to hit the road next week.  We get to have a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with extraordinary Southern cook Kimberley Woodhouse and her family. Kim and Jeremy were very gracious to invite us to share the holiday, as well as their son and daughter's graduation.  Kayla and Joshua aren't twins, but they are graduating homeschool high school together.

And speaking of Kim and Kayla - I borrowed Kim from this mother-daughter writing team to co-write and book with Kim.  It comes out in December - just in time for Christmas! But we're hoping to have it in time for our November 30th booksigning.  More about that in a minute.

All Things Hidden is set in Alaska in 1935 and tells a story of the Matanuska Colony set up by FDR to help 200 Depression families to relocate for a new start in Alaska.  It's romance and intrigue, suspense and a dynamic historical setting. I'm so excited because this book is already receiving some really positive reviews.

Now for the booksigning information - if you're in Colorado Springs, I hope you'll join us!

Next we'll be off to see our grandkids and daughter in Kansas.  I'm so excited and we plan to have an early Christmas celebration.  My daughter Julie plans to cook a wonderful Christmas meal and we get to enjoy eating it.  Best of all we get to see our grandkids open presents.

Does this trio look like they're gonna be fun or what?

Poppy and Nana are resting up for seeing them.  We've both had some on-going issues with health, so we want to be at our best.

And we won't have to worry about what's happening at the house back home, because we have folks who'll be back at the house taking care of the animals so we don't have to kennel them.  Wahoo!

Friday, November 1, 2013

All Saints Day

All Saints Day

November 1st is the established day to celebrate All Saints’ Day.  November 2nd is the day to celebrate All Souls’ Day.  Somewhere over the years however, Halloween on the 31st of October got most of the attention.

Hallow, in Old English, means "holy" or "sacred." "Hallows' Eve," or "Halloween" means "the evening of holy persons".  In our society today it has become to most an evening to dress up and get candy, while there are those select groups who have less innocent ideas about an evening that originally had a holy purpose.

Throughout the history of the Christian church many people have given their lives and energy to help others find God.  Some say that we who love God are the saints.  While others believe saints to be a reserved position for those who did something special for God and brethren are those who simply loved Him.  No matter where you stand on saints, I believe we can still remember “all souls” and in keeping with that, I can’t help but think of all the souls who helped to shape the Christian church.

Throughout history there are a great many.  Recently I’ve read a biography on St. Augustine and am now reading his book CITY OF GOD. It’s fascinating to read and see the philosophies of those who lived so soon after Christ was on earth. Augustine was as sinful as they come prior to his coming to God. Even as I look at the bare bones of the church in his time, I see the influence that he.  God uses all sorts to do his will.
Now I don't know how evident this man's work was in our Christianity, but I couldn't pass him up. Then as I read about him I was really convicted. That man's name?

St. Waldo.  He’s of course the one who started "Where’s Waldo".  Well maybe not, but he was a northern Italian man who nursed his leprous teacher for over 20 years. During that time he was instructed by the man—a priest.  Upon his teacher’s death, Waldo withdrew from the world to devote himself to speaking with God and focusing on heaven.  That sounds like a wonderful thing for all of to do. I can't imagine the joy of putting the world aside to just focus on God. After a long time away from society they found Waldo - in the hollow of a tree where he had spent out his life on his knees. He died there as well - on his knees.

Skipping ahead we see men like John Wycliffe (1320-1384) who longed for people to have the Bible translated in the common language.  He personally translated the Gospels and it’s said that he possibly translated the entire New Testament while others translated the Old Testament.  His Bible was completed in 1384. Wycliffe Ministers are still at work today to get the Bible into every language.

Or maybe you’ve heard of William Tyndale (1494–1536) an English scholar who became a leading figure in Protestant reform. He also made a translation of the Bible into English. Tyndale was arrested and jailed in 1535 and convicted of heresy and executed.  His dying wish was that the King of England’s eyes would be opened.  Two years later Henry the 8th authorized The Great Bible for the Church of England.  This was a Bible put together from mostly Tyndale’s work and did much to spread reformation. Henry was notorious for his bad boy ways, but God even used him to greatly restructure the church.

Dwight Moody

was born in Northfield, Massachusetts. He had eight brothers and sisters and their mother raised in the Unitarian church. His father died when Dwight was only 4.
In April 1855 Dwight converted to evangelical Christianity when his Sunday school teacher, Edward Kimball talked to him about how much God loved him. This would be the ember that started his move to preach the Gospel.  When the Civil War rolled around Moody felt he couldn’t conscientiously enlist, but he made 9 visits to the front lines of the Union Soldiers at places like Shiloh, Pittsburg Landing, Murfreesboro and even entered Richmond with the army of General Grant.  After the war Moody started a church in Chicago, the Illinois Street Church and even though it was burnt down along with his home and the homes of most of his congregation in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Dwight maintained his faith and rebuilt the church within 3 months.

On a trip to England in Spring of 1872 Moody became known as an evangelist. He preached almost a hundred times and often preached to crowds of 2,000 to 4,000. In the Botanic Gardens Palace, he preached to 15,000 to 30,000 people. He was thought to perhaps be the greatest evangelist of the 19th century.

Of course we can’t forget Charles Spurgeon.  

 He is known as the "Prince of Preachers". He was a strong figure with the Reformed Baptist and is said to have preached to over 10 million people.

James Hudson Taylor (1832 – 1905), 
 was a British Protestant Christian missionary to China, and founder of the China Inland Mission (CIM) (now OMF International). It’s said that he brought hundreds of thousands of Chinese to the Lord.

There were also more modern men who helped to shape Christianity.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer helped Christians to see the Jewish people in a different light. He opposed Hitler and was executed in April 1945 at a Nazi concentration camp – just 23 days before the German surrender. His work goes on today and his book on discipleship is often referenced.
The list goes on and on – Jim and Elizabeth Elliot.  Jim gave his life in South America while trying to minister and Elizabeth continued that ministry.

 Oswald Chambers, Hannah Whitall Smith, Andrew Murry, Billy Graham, Charles Stanley, James Dobson and too many more to name are some who have gone before us to shape our beliefs.

Remembering these people and the price they paid or still pay for sharing the Gospel of Jesus humbles me and makes me truly grateful.  I hope today you’ll take a little time to explore some of these people and others who sacrificed their lives for God. 

I hope also that you’ll take the time to share some thoughts with us here. Who has impacted your faith?

Happy All Saints’ Day

Friday, October 18, 2013

Missoula Festival of the Book

A week ago this time, I was having a great deal of fun with a one-day writer's conference and a weekend book festival in Missoula, MT.

As a part of Montana's ACFW group MT Pages, my hubby and I were asked to teach at the one day writer retreat.  Jim taught on research since that's his field of knowledge and I spoke on brainstorming before breaking into groups to practice my tips.  We had so much fun.

The next day was the Festival of the Book at the downtown Holiday Inn.  Last year over 7,000 people attended.  I don't know how many folks were there this year, but it was a bunch.  This festival is for Montana authors and or books about Montana and it was the first year inspirational writers were invited thanks to a lot of hard work by Angela Breidenbach, MT Pages hardworking president.

The very first day I was a part of a panel to speak about the Mind and Soul of Christian Fiction. We had one of the biggest audiences of any of the workshops and had so much fun.  Here's a snapshot from the event.

From left to right in back - Miralee Ferrell, Janalyn Voigt, Tracie Peterson, Valerie Friesen Comer and Janet Chester Bly.  In front is our fearless leader and former Mrs. Montana, Angie Breidenbach.

We had two tables of books for sale and met a lot of interesting people.  We sold and signed some books for the festival.

On Saturday we headed over to Missoula's fabulous Christian bookstore - the Garden of Read'n.  We talked with folks and shared our stories and then I spent way too much money shopping.  I usually end up buying more than I manage to sell and sign.  I don't think manager Joshua McNeal much minded.  If you're in Missoula - I urge you to stop by and shop. Oh and try the Jet Tea.
The point of this weekend was all about being the sweet aroma of Christ.  So often we see the negative aspects of Christianity.  The world sees us as judgmental and unforgiving, harsh and legalistic.  At the festival we had a chance to offer kindness and love to complete strangers, as well as connect to a great many Christian folk who were glad to have us there.
Throughout the weekend, I have to say one of the best things was getting to share the time with a bevy of wonderful writers who love Jesus.  Next year we hope to do it again - only bigger and better - and more full of the love of Christ.
God Bless You!

Friday, October 4, 2013


As I told you last time, we were in Yellowstone National Park recently. Yellowstone was beautiful and man are we glad we went then instead of waiting until the president and congress shut it down.

We started out about 10 am and on our way down - this little fella ran right out in front of us.  It was quite the thrill.

We stayed overnight in West Yellowstone and did some outlet shopping for some neat sales. 

Sampled some fine cuisine at THE BRANCH one of our favorite restaurants there.  We sampled Elk, Bison and Pheasant sausage with huckleberry Dijon mustard.  Yum.

We headed into the part early in the morning before it was light and caught the moon and fog.  The fog burned off pretty quick and my hubby took some great photos of the sights and animals.


A nice female elk who posed for us.

The following caused me to break out in song of praise to God.  It was soooo awesome to worship God and praise Him for His creation.

Yellowstone Lake

I did find some nifty research books.  One I got was titled WOMEN IN WONDERLAND.  It's about life and legacies of women in Yellowstone.  I'll bet there's some good story material.  I also got information on the Old Faithful Inn.  It's so unique.  We've stayed there and it's wonderfully rustic, but with just enough modern conveniences that it's okay.  If you get a chance to stay there - I recommend it.  However, you'll have to book your stay way out.  I think they'll booked for like the next 18 months.

As we headed around the park, Jim caught sight of this little otter family coming out of the water.

Of course no trip to YNP would be complete without an up close and personal encounter with the bison.  Unfortunately bison and elk numbers are down due to the number of wolves being up.


All in all, it was a most satisfying trip and we were all very blessed.

And here's a blessing I can pass on to you. will have a special on one of my Kindle books.


9781441260963  Icecutter’s Daughter      Peterson, Tracie               2.99        10/05/2013 ONLY

So if you want a copy of this book for your Kindle - now's a good time to get at a super discount.

God Bless You!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Wahoo! Amazon is offering my book - SHADOWS OF THE CANYON for free on Kindle! Check it out. Also Judith Miller's SOMEWHERE TO BELONG is also free at for kindle!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hurry to Enter Before It's Too Late - ONLY 6 DAYS LEFT


Fabulous prizes are to be had at the:


Tatting is a lost art form. Win a beautifully tatted bracelet in The Miner's Lady giveaway! 


Friday, September 20, 2013


By the time you read this blog - I will be in Yellowstone National Park for one more visit before winter.  We live only 90 miles north of the park and try to get there at least once a year - if not more. I especially like buying up books in the gift shop.  I always get ideas for stories when I go to the park - it's just so wild and untamed in many areas.

I absolutely love Yellowstone and I'm so glad that our forefathers saw the need to preserve some of America's greatest beauties for generations to come.

If you haven't yet visited Yellowstone - I highly recommend it.  I've toured a lot of national parks and my top two favorites are Yellowstone and Denali (in Alaska).  With Yellowstone so close to home, it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Now for some exciting news:
EYES OF THE HEART - my non-fiction book on seeing God in everyday life - will be FREE. Go to:

WINNERS OF MINER'S LADY and Chantilly bookmark

Catherine – at catherine.dacosta09@ gmail com

Britt – at

Marci – at
Congratulations to all - please email me at with your address and full name and I'll get those prizes off to you!

Last but not least - don't forget to enter the FALL IN LOVE contest!!
Go to: for details.  There are a great many books by a variety of authors given in this contest!

God Bless You!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

You should check out this fun contest for MINER'S LADY

Here's a link for a fun contest where you could win books.

Libboo and Bethany House Publishers set this up so I hope you'll visit the site and participate.

God Bless!

Friday, September 6, 2013

New Book and Giveaways!!

I'm happy to announce another new book - ta da!

The Miner's Lady is the 3rd book in the Land of Shining Water - a 3 book set of independent stories located in late 1890's Minnesota.

I had a lot of fun researching for this book and learning about iron mining.  Minnesotans are very proud of their history and seemed pleased to share information.'

I was blessed also to find a book that had actual newspaper accounts for the years of activities in Ely, MN where my story is set.  That made it so much fun because then I could have my characters comment on things that were happening around the town.

Ely wasn't a town for the faint of heart.  Iron Mining brought tough men and tough living.  Murder was often the norm and not the exception. Amidst this you had immigrant families who were doing their best to find the "American Dream" in the Iron Range country. 

Minnesota was blessed to have some of the very best iron ore - called Bessemer.  Bessemer ore was rich and required very little processing which saved money.  It's a fascinating place that I would enjoy writing more about.

I also enjoyed having my characters involved with lacemaking.  The main character Chantilly Rosa - usually called Chantel - was named after the Chantilly lace her mother would make. In real life - I named this character for a sweet young girl I met at church.  I thought having these women make such delicate and beautiful lace, in the middle of this rough, dirty setting made an interesting contrast of lovely and ugly.
 Here's a couple of neat samples of the prized lace.
 It was said that no fashionable lady in the late 1800's would be without either a black or white Chantilly shawl. Isn't this one gorgeous?
Chantilly lace is bobbin lace that was originally made in Chantilly, France.  It was most often made with black silk thread and utilized for mourning, but by the 1900's white and ivory were equally as popular, with the white and ivory being used for weddings.  These days you can get all sorts of colors, but mostly machine made rather than hand made.  And that makes sense given the complexity of bobbin lace making.  Just look at what you have to deal with.

You'll see in the story that Chantel often tats lace and while I took lessons to learn how to tat - I don't think I'm up to learning bobbin lace making.

In and throughout this series I've mentioned how each of the books focused on a particular group of settlers.  In the case of this book, I focused on the Italians and gave a sort of Romeo and Juliette story.  I also touched on the Finnish folk who helped to settle this area.  It would be fun to write a story focused on them!  Maybe later.

I had fun experimenting with Italian recipes and cultural traditions and wove those into the story for flavoring.  The entire writing experience was a great deal of fun and I want to share this book with Five Lucky Winners, as well as a beautiful bookmark of the book's cover laminated with a piece of antique Chantilly lace on the back!  Respond to this blog and let me know your email address and that you want to be entered into the contest. Winner will be announced on my September 20th blog so mark your calendars and check in at and click Journal or watch for the entry at facebook.

Oh and be sure to check out  and enter for some incredible prizes.

God Bless You!
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