Thursday, January 27, 2022

Guest Author, Heidi Gray McGill

This is a fantastic story. Heidi, thank you for joining us today.



Thank you for inviting me to be with you today! I’m super excited to share about my newest release, Dial E for Endearment, especially since February is Low Vision Awareness Month.

Everly, the main character in Dial E for Endearment and I have something in common, but it may not be what you’d expect.

I’m an author of Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance, and the retired Director and Founder of an ESL program. I regularly walk 12 plus miles a week in my neighborhood, care for my grandsons as often as possible, scrapbook, read voraciously, cook but do not bake, and am legally blind. That last phrase was difficult for me to say out loud not that long ago.  

Vision loss does not discriminate.

It is generally estimated that Retinitis Pigmentosa affects roughly 1 in 4,000 people. My diagnosis in 2001 of this rare eye disease was devastating. There is no cure, and there is no surgery. But that does not mean there is no hope. Those who do not know me well often don’t realize I have low vision. As humans, we are amazingly adaptable, and I do a pretty good job covering up my disability. My friends have learned to watch out for me and alert me to potential pitfalls, some better than others, which is always good for a laugh.

Being blind is certainly not something I would have chosen, but it does not define me.

When I wrote this story, I purposed in my heart to shed light on blindness in a lighthearted, relatable fashion.

I use a white cane when I am out and about on my own, but I’m usually with another person who helps guide me. One of the most significant challenges in writing this book was ensuring Everly acted and responded in a way that would resonate with other white cane users. Everly’s personality is upbeat, yet she carries the burden of a poor relationship with her mother. Being authentic and realistically portraying life is essential to me, so I had to do some soul searching and people watching to understand human nature better. 

I also share my faith in Jesus Christ through my writing, fleshed out through the story’s characters. Although my book is not evangelistic, it does show how Jesus Christ can be an integral part of life and how leaning on Him can bring tremendous peace and fulfillment.

I’d love for you to join me on this fun adventure and see for yourself that God does not discriminate. You’ll laugh your way through mishaps—most of which may have happened to me at some point. But most of all, you’ll learn that we ALL have value, and that includes YOU.



Everly knows fulfillment, but not love—not even from her mother. She wants a man who can open her eyes to everything she cannot see and make her feel more than a girl with a white cane.


Everly Johnson is every man’s dream of the perfect date, even though none of her audience has met her. As host for the Choose Joy segment of JOY Radio in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, she receives countless gifts of flowers and candy on behalf of her admires, which she promptly donates to her mother’s assisted living facility. Everly wants words--heartfelt, meaningful endearments meant for her ears only. She wants a man who will open her eyes to everything she cannot see to make her feel more than just the voice behind the mic.

Cameron Boyd struggles to make eye contact with anyone, let alone say something coherent unless it is the one-way conversation he has each Friday with Everly Johnson. Date night for Cam involves sitting alone on his back porch overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains while he dreams of things to say if he were ever to call in to her show.

A chance meeting changes everything.

Will Cam be able to step out of his comfort zone and into the world he has only been able to envision in his mind? Will Everly trust this stranger with her life as well as her heart?

Tune into JOY Radio to find out!



Heidi is an optimist who chooses to find the silver lining in life’s clouds of doubt. This plays out in her writing. Her ability to seamlessly weave scripture into the lives of her characters will uplift and encourage you, while her masterful storytelling will keep you turning page after page and wishing for more. 

Heidi lives with her husband of thirty years near Charlotte, NC. When she isn’t writing, you will find her outside playing with her two grandsons, walking, scrapbooking, reading, cooking, traveling, or finding an excuse to have an outing with a girlfriend… as long as they’re driving.

If you’d like to connect with Heidi, here are a few ways:







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Friday, January 21, 2022

Kathy's Kitchen, Betty's M&Ms Monster Cookies

I don’t remember where I found this, but I do thank Betty. They are delicious!


Betty's Kitchen

They are big in size and big in flavor!


M&Ms Monster Cookies


1 stick butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, firmly packed

3 eggs

2 cups creamy peanut butter

½ teaspoon light or white corn syrup

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

4 ½ cups uncooked old fashioned oats

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup M&Ms candy-coated chocolate pieces

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

cooking oil spray


In a very large bowl, beat 1 stick softened butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar until light and fluffy, using medium speed of an electric mixer.  Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add 2 cups peanut butter, ½ teaspoon light corn syrup, and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, and beat until well blended.  In a separate large bowl, stir together 4 ½ cups old fashioned oats, 2 teaspoons baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt.  Add oat mixture to butter and sugar mixture, beating well on medium speed.  Stir in 1 cup M&Ms candy-coated chocolate pieces and 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips.  Pack dough into ¼-cup measure.  Place dough 4 inches apart on a cookie sheet or baking pan that has been sprayed with cooking oil spray.  Press each cookie into a 3 ½-inch circle, using the back of a spoon or your fingers.  Bake at 350 degrees (F) for about 12 minutes, or until cookies are beginning to brown around the edges, but are still slightly soft in the center.  Cool for about 5 minutes in the pan.  Use a spatula to gently move them to a cooling rack to cool for about 30 minutes.  You may serve these cookies warm, but they will crumble a little.  Children (as well as adults) love these cookies; I think they are great to have at Easter, because they are so colorful.  Enjoy!  --Betty


In Kathy’s kitchen, I made bar cookies with this. I poured the dough in a 9 by 13 inch pan and baked it at 350 for about 30 minutes. Next time, I may leave it in the oven a few more minutes. Cooking is an experimental art. 

Friday, January 14, 2022

Grace and Truth, Jesus' Steadiness, John 12:12-36

Jesus’ final entry into Jerusalem is sad to me. So much joy and belief, and yet we know what would soon follow.


Verses 12-13,17-18:

 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,


“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him.


Jesus knew his crucifixion was near, and he was troubled, yet he continued his ministry and preached God’s salvation to the end.


Verses 26-28:

“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

Verse 36 “Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.


Thank you, Jesus, for sticking with what you’d always planned to do. 

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Guest Author, Jennifer Slattery


Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your discoveries with us. Leave a comment. Jennifer is offering the gift of a print copy of Her Small-Town Refuge to one reader.


When people ask about my writing journey, I suspect most want to hear about my steps to publication. Like, when I first realized I wanted to write or how I met my first publisher. But while those steps, at the time, felt monumental, looking back, I realize God did His greatest work within me.


Book covers will fade, pages may one day fall out, but the soul lovingly crafted by our Savior’s hands will last forever.


When I first realized my call to write was indeed a call, I went from awed and insecure to prideful and expectant. Initially, acutely aware of my newbie status, I joined every Christian writers’ organization I could find. I took classes, went to conferences, worked with critique partners, finished novels, submitted queries, deleted rejections, went to more conferences and worked with more critique partners …


After a few years of this, I was sure I was ready for that coveted book contract. I was quite frustrated with God for withholding this, in fact. I began to look around at all my friends and colleagues, some who’d been writing for a lot less time than I had, who were receiving three-book deals.


Insidious lies began to steal my peace and joy. Lies like: God’s holding out on you. God’s blessing her and not you. You’re wasting your time.


Then, in the middle of a stressful (aka frightening) season I reacted. After receiving a harsh email I should’ve ignored, I typed and sent an angry response.


I immediately felt the Holy Spirit’s conviction and apologized, but it was too late. The individual forwarded my email to at least seven others, an act I learned about when one of those recipients contacted me to “school me” on proper Christian behavior. I was mortified by the exposure but even more so by the ugliness the interchange revealed within me.


Later that night, as I was lying in bed, I received another email, this one offering an exciting ministry opportunity. One I probably would’ve jumped on, had the invitation come a few days prior. But in that moment, all I could think was, “I’m not ready.”


I knew God had a lot of work to do within me before I could faithfully carry a platform for Him. And so, I closed my eyes and prayed, “Lord, do whatever necessary. Purge me of my pride, selfishness, and defensive tendencies, and fill me with Your love.”


The years that followed were tough. I lost a dear friend to brain cancer, and developed, in a deeper way than I had before, a focus on eternal things.


I became sick, for a while so sick I had no interest in writing and never thought I would again. Through that experience, God taught me to find strength in Him.


A year later, partially due to the stress my illness placed on our family, my daughter battled a scary depression and acquired her first of three bouts of shingles. Oh, how I wrestled with mama guilt! But I also learned to trust in grace, in the God who promised to turn all things, my failings and the wounds they caused my daughter included, to good. For my good, yes, but for hers as well.


That was also the year I discovered what it meant to pray without ceasing.

I don’t believe God caused any of my hardships. I’m certain, however, that He used every moment to grow and mold me, because that’s how faithful He is.


My pain wasn’t wasted, nor was the gift He planted within me.


Years and oh-so-many tears later, I received “the call;” My first publishing contract. And I knew I wasn’t any more ready to carry a platform for Christ than I had been when I first gave Him my yes. Only now, I was aware of weakness and how desperately I needed Jesus, every moment, every typed word, every email, and every contract signed.  


I’ll probably never feel “ready” for any of the opportunities God has allowed or will yet provide. But that just means I’ll turn to Him, listen for His guidance, and lean hard on His strength, all the more. And when I blow it? Because I know I will. I’ll find a quiet place to sit with Him, repent, yield to His transforming work within me, then I’ll celebrate His grace and begin again.


Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who has addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and other writers across the nation. As the founder of Wholly Love Ministries she and her team help their local, national, and global community experience increased spiritual and emotional freedom through an ever-deepening relationship with Christ. She cohosts, with Grace Fox, the Your Daily Bible Verse podcast and also cohosts, with her Wholly Loved Ministry team, the Faith Over Fear podcast. She also maintains devotional blogs found and is a regular contributor to Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Contact her through her website to book her for your next women’s event. 


Her Small-Town Refuge


To secure the future she’s been wishing for,

she must earn her boss’s trust.

Escaping to the Texas Hill Country with her daughter for a vet tech internship is Stephanie Thornton’s chance at a safer life. But when medicine goes missing from Caden Stoughton’s struggling vet clinic, all evidence points to Stephanie. With the new life she’s been searching for hanging in the balance, Stephanie must convince Caden to trust her with his business…and his heart.


Buy it here: