Special Christmas book giveaway!

Addendum: Congratulations to CINDY and DONNA whose names were chosen by a computerized random name picker as the winners of this contest! And thank you to everyone who took the time to visit and leave a precious story!


Hi friends!

We need a little Christmas, don’t we?

IMG_9169I thought I’d spread a little cheer to you, dear readers, by offering a very special book giveaway today.

If you’ve read my second novel, Then Sings My Soul, you know about the special significance of the doll within it. It’s not just any doll–it’s called a Motanka doll.

A website specializing in folk art says this:

“…Of all the variety of toy heritage of Ukraine there is one that stands aside. It is Motanka, a traditional Ukrainian rag doll. It is one of the most ancient of Ukrainian handmade household items that is found in every corner of the country…” 


I’ve always had a passion for Ukraine and its people, and in fact my ancestors came to America from that region around the 1880’s.

images-1In January, 2013, I had the privilege of traveling to Ukraine with a team from Mission to Ukraine (MTU), whose work is transforming the lives of those who are the most overlooked in Ukrainian society. Through crisis pregnancy counseling services and a rehabilitation center that offers a wide array of medical, social, psychological, educational and therapeutic services, MTU is able to meet the community’s most pressing needs – both physical and spiritual.

While I was in Ukraine with MTU, I was given my own Motanka doll which I cherish very much. In fact, I was inspired to give it a special spot within the storyline of Then Sings My Soul.

Here’s a picture of me and the team with our dolls:



I have two more of these precious dolls (pictured below), which are handmade by some of the precious women benefitting from MTU. (A donation was made to MTU for them, and so your interest in this giveaway benefits this incredible organization, too.)

As such, I want to give one of these two dolls and a signed copy of Then Sings My Soul to TWO lucky readers this Christmas season.

For a chance to win, leave a comment below. The contest will be open through Friday morning.

Perhaps tell us about your favorite Christmas tradition, or whatever you’d like most about having a copy of the book and a doll.

Please keep our precious brothers and sisters in Ukraine in your prayers this Christmas season and always. 

And click here for more information on Mission to Ukraine and how you can get involved with this wonderful ministry.

P.S. If you haven’t subscribed to my author newsletter yet, I’d  be much obliged if you would. Not only do newsletter subscribers get special insider news into upcoming book releases, they’re the first to see my new novel covers and have access to giveaways like this one, too.


Thanks so much, friends!


scarlet. a poem.

I’m not sure what to make

of the tractor sounds

tilling rich soil for

planting and harvest replaced

by backhoes and graders

and cement mixers

so close to home


except to say that

the scarlet

peonies on my back

porch are about to




photo copy 2



For as long as Earth lasts,
        planting and harvest, cold and heat,
    Summer and winter, day and night
        will never stop. 

Genesis 8:22 (TMV)



this poem is dedicated to Pastor Peter Levchenko, a great sower of seeds and tender of souls in the heart of Ukraine, with Mission to Ukraine. he passed away this morning, too soon. and to all who mourn in Oklahoma. here is a photo of Pastor Peter, courtesy of World Next Door.



The house that Peter and Yuri built

This is the house Peter and Yuri built,

calloused hands pounding and lifting, binding and sealing.

Peter, the rock, the pastor, and Yuri, his son, once prodigal but now a pastor, himself.


This is baby Yuri (one of ten children) and one of his sisters, Veronica, cheeks plump with life and love

in the house that Peter and Yuri built.


These are more of Yuri’s children, singing “Ring Christmas Bells” in full harmony, a cappella, in a tiny upstairs bedroom.

“Sleep in Heavenly Peace,” we sang in response,

the cacophony of foreign phonetics needing no interpretation,

deep in the house Peter and Yuri built.


Silent Night is Little Peter’s favorite Christmas song, after all.

Little Peter, rescued from an orphanage, not once, but twice, and brought to live in the house that Peter and Yuri built.

Little Peter, the far-away son my family has loved and prayed for, for three years now.

“They are weak, but He is strong,” my soul sang as I stroked Little Peter’s wasting hands, his twiggy arms ever shrinking from the muscular dystrophy.

“With God I have no grief,” his small voice sang to us, a mighty solo, a double forte in the mighty score of God’s rescuing grace.

“I know Jesus loves me,” Little Peter smiled, warm and safe in the house Peter and Yuri built.


We came to give, but our cups overflowed on this day,

in the house that Peter and Yuri built.


Our cups overflowed, indeed.


For the full story of little Peter and his rescue, click here to read it all at World Next Door.

Become a part of rescues like these and more by learning more about Mission to Ukraine and giving your time, talents and treasures to them now!