Christianity Writing

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Mothers

Chicken Soup BookI’m published! *Smile*

A few months ago, Shelley Ring,  my good friend and critique partner, emailed me suggesting we both submit devotionals to the Chicken Soup people. They were looking for submissions to fill their Devotional Stories for Mothers project and the deadline was a week (or less?!) away!

So we churned out our stories, and both of them got through all the rounds to the finals! How exciting to be published together, in the same book, for the first time.

My wintertime story detailing a particular home front crisis of  “cabin fever emotions” is on page 294 titled, Rebuilding Castle Walls.  Shelley’s story, Hug ‘Em and Pray, shares from a step-mother’s heart the struggle to meet the cry of her step-son in his dark hour. You’ll find it on page 90.

Every story in this newly released book is preceded by a scripture verse and ended with a prayer. This encouraging collection of heart-squeezers would be a fantastic gift for the moms on your list!

Product Description

Throughout time, women have shared their joys and sorrows, thoughts and feelings, experiences and life lessons with one another. The tradition continues in CSS Devotional Stories for Mothers with 101 stories of friendship, faith, and comfort that affirm God’s unconditional love and His wisdom. Women will find encouragement, solace, and strength in these personal stories and prayers that cover motherhood from its joys and everyday trials to tests of faith.

About the Author

Susan M. Heim is a long-time Chicken Soup for the Soul editor and Christian author, specializing in family-oriented books and women’s issues.

Karen C. Talcott is an author and educator with an expertise in women’s issues, faith, and angels.

Foreward by Lisa Whelchel, best known for her long standing role as “Blair” in the television series, The Facts of Life, is a wife and a home schooling mother of three children. She has appeared in several feature films and is an author, vocalist, Grammy nominated songwriter, and an inspirational speaker at churches and conferences nationwide.

Buy the book now at!


October Writing Retreat

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a writer’s workshop at a writersretreattruckwonderful cabin retreat in Stark, KS with three other writers. Our gracious and sweet hostesses were authors Deborah Raney and Deborah Vogts.

Here we are at the entrance to the Murphy’s Landing Hunting Lodge B&B. What a lovely, rustic getaway!

Our arrival on Tuesday morning was a bit impeded by police blockades strung across the highway leading to our cabin, but Portia at the Murphy’s Mercantile and Cafe in Stark invited us in to wait it out over a piece of peanut butter meringue pie and coffee.  You might have gotten a cabinkick out of our *writer imaginations* going wild over what might have been the reason for the blockade! It didn’t help that we’d heard a news bulletin alerting the border communities to be on the watch for three escaped convicts!

Here we are at the cabin! Sadly this pic doesn’t showcase the mirror topped lake directly out from the front porch. Every evening and morning its perfect stillness reflected the sun’s journey atop our sky.

The front porch beckoned and provided a few neat photo ops.

porchretreatThe cabin’s decor was a fantastic blend for both the country cozy and the lodge savvy amongst us! I loved the wood beamed walls and wooden signs scattered around, while my husband would have admired the many taxidermies mounted on railings, mantels and above windows.

Here we are before breakfast on Wednesday. Our weather was grand for this three day getaway–60’s for a high, and 40’s for a low. Pretty chilly in the A.M. !

Our breakfasts were part porchlineuprof the package, so each morning we hit the road to the cafe by 8 o’clock. The omelettes were amazing, especially accompanied by Portia’s biscuits and local honey! Mmm.

Speaking of food…I am planning a recipe post based on our retreat menu. There are some grwriterretreat10eat cooks in the writing community, and I’m not talking about plotting!

We all contributed eats, from veggies, fruits and dips to chicken tortellini soup, lasagna, Mexican pork roast tostadas, sandwich wraps and chicken salad. A favorite of all was Julane’s corn dip! We also had a to-die-for chocolate chip cheesecake and a decadent peaches and cream dessert. And what is a writing workshop without a big bowl of chocolate candy? Groan. I’d hate to see a cumulative weight gain analysis for our little group, because we sure enjoyed stuffing ourselves!


That post will have to wait till Deborah Vogts is past her deadline for book 3 in her Seasons of the Tallgrass series. She’s the queen of hospitality, that gal. In this picture, she is the one behind the bowl of apples, wearing blue.

Behind the open cupboard door was our one and only bathroom, but what a bathroom. Check it out below.

retreatbathroom With six women attending, we scheduled our evening and morning showers. I gladly went last in the evenings to take advantage of soaking in the jacuzzi tub! writersbyouthouse

This out- house was our other option.  Pretty cute, aren’t we?


Here’s a view taken from the loft bedroom which sleeps eight: one double bed, three singles and their trundles.

We spent plenty of fun hours in this living area, brainstorming each others story conflicts, getting feedback on our openings, and learning from the two Debs’ workshops.  Since our group was smallish, size wise, we had some great one-on-one in depth interaction. What a blessing.

writersretreatloftHere’s the sleeping loft I was just describing. Sara got the window bed, and it was a good thing we talked the nights away because that ole full moon kept her blinking! Thus the hot pink post-it notes. Her effort to block the moonlight and get some z’s fell a wee bit short!

We had more than writing to talk about. How exciting that three of us had homeschooling in common as well! Wwritersoutsidecaferiting and homeschooling, now there is another topic altogether!

Here we are on the  last morning, just after breakfast and a book signing for two of our favorite KS authors! The wind about blew us away with the tumbleweeds…

Do check out Deborah Raney’s current series, set in the fictional yet endearing community of Hanover Falls, KS and also Deborah Vogt’s Seasons of the Tallgrass, featuring the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas. I promise you will be captivated!

By the way, creativity aside, DebandDebwe never did find out why the police decided to “delay” our retreat kick-off on Tuesday morning.

Thanks so much to all my new friends who made the time away so special! I’m marking my calendar for next year!