"Sometimes while I'm talking to God, He'll show me something about myself in such a way that I have to laugh at my own humanity and how funny I must look to Him." - Donna

Donna...just found your blog...I absolutely love it! And I love your singing! I'm at work right now and it was just exactly what I needed to hear to help me make it through tonight! Thanks for your ministry here!
- Robert

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Audio Post - "Lines and Longing"



this is an audio post - click to play

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! - 2 Corinthians 9:15 niv

Donna J. Shepherd © 2006 All rights reserved. No portion of this Website and no column may be reproduced in any form by anyone (ie: Crossmap) without WRITTEN permission BY DONNA. For more information, contact Donna by clicking on the link in the right-hand column. Thanks.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Good Press for Topsy Turvy Land

Someone (Thank you, writermom!) sent me an email letting me know that Topsy Turvy Land is mentioned in World Magazine. It's an issue highlighting children's books. I'm very flattered to be included!

Here's a link (the cover is in left sidebar):
http://www.worldmag.com/articles/12466

Since I don't have a subscription, all I've seen is what's on the website, but even that's exciting! I'm on the same page as Dr. Seuss and Charlotte's Web. Boy, am I intimidated!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Chizzy's Topsy Tale by Donna J. Shepherd - a FREE ebook!

For a peek into the world of Chizzy, click above on the cover of the book, and then click "Slideshow." If you need more time to read each page, you can set the number of seconds to more than 4. Hope you enjoy it!

If you'd rather have a file for your computer or to print out, click HERE for a .pdf of Chizzy's Topsy Tale.

This ebook follows the adventures of Chizzy, the monkey on the front of the print book, Topsy Turvy Land. For more information about Topsy, click HERE.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pumpkin Prank

I posted a coloring page by Kevin called "Pumpkin Prank" on my blog for children (and some adults! :)

Click here: Topsy Turvy Land

Hope the kids are still enjoying coloring the pictures!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Twenty-Third Psalm - An audiovisual experience

I'm delighted to share a link to "The Twenty-Third Psalm - an audiovisual experience."

The music is wonderful and the photography breathtaking. I thank Carmen Leal, author of The Twenty Third Psalm Series. The photos were taken by Bonnie Bruno. Click on the button below. You will be blessed.

The Twenty-Third Psalm An audiovisual experiance

Monday, October 02, 2006

Interview with Mary DeMuth, author of Wishing on Dandelions

Today it is my privilege to share an interview with author and fellow Master's Artist, Mary DeMuth, author of Wishing on Dandelions - a follow-up novel to Watching the Tree Limbs.

This book deals with difficult subject matter: childhood sexual abuse and its residual affects. How did this book emerge?

My passion is to write about redemption through the avenue of story. I started the first book, Watching the Tree Limbs, in a flurry. In my mind I saw the streets of Burl and a girl who didn’t know where she came from. Because my personal story involves different instances of sexual abuse, I wanted to write a story that showed the reader how God could intersect an abuse-victim’s life and make a difference.

So, are you Maranatha?

In some ways yes, some no. Like Maranatha, I felt like God had transformed my life in such a radical way (like her name change from Mara—bitter—to Maranatha—Come Lord Jesus). Like Maranatha, I endured sexual abuse, but I was much younger when it happened. Like Maranatha, I wondered if I had been marked, that every sexual predator could “tell” I was a ready victim. I wrestled through relationships in my teens with Maranatha’s twin feelings of revulsion and attraction. But, she is not me in many other ways. She is more independent. She has no parents. She lives in an entirely different culture. She is less ambitious. She has the privilege of many wiser people to mentor her through life.

What made you decide to write a love story?

The book didn’t start out in my mind as a love story, but it evolved into it as I continued writing. Characters have that uncanny way of taking your prose and running in all sorts of directions with it. Charlie just kept being faithful. In a sense, I fell in love with him!

What made you choose East Texas as the setting for both novels?

The South fascinates me. I grew up in the Northwest. When my last child was born, my husband was transferred to East Texas to start a department in a hospital. Because I was a stay-at-home mom and home schooling, I didn’t have much else to do there except to observe small town southern culture. Because I didn’t grow up in that culture, my senses were heightened and I eventually began to really appreciate the differences.

Childhood sexual abuse is not talked about very often, and seldom covered in novels. What made you decide to write about it?

For that very reason. The more victims are quiet, the less healing they will receive. The more we talk about it, bringing heinous acts to the light, the better able we are to know we are not alone. I wrote this book so other abuse victims would feel validated and heard. And to offer hope.

Why do you end your books with hope?


Because hope is essential to Jesus’ Gospel. Even when things are bleak, there is always hope—if not in this life, then in the next. I’m not interested, however, in presenting hope in a superfluous way. I don’t want to tie up every story thread neatly. The truth is, life is tragic and difficult and bewildering, but God intersects that life and brings hope.

Have you always wanted to write?


Yes. Since my second grade teacher told my mother that she thought I was a creative writer, I’ve wanted to write. I kept a diary since the sixth grade. Though I was an English major, I didn’t start writing seriously until my first daughter was born. I wrote for ten years in obscurity before my writing career took a turn for the better.

Who are your literary heroes?

I love Harper Lee. I only wish she’d written more. Leif Enger, who wrote Peace Like a River, greatly inspired me to write visually and artistically. I love Sue Monk Kidd’s Secret Life of Bees, how you could almost taste her characters. I’m fascinated and intimidated by J.R.R. Tolkein—how he managed to create an entire world with several languages is way beyond my literary prowess.

What do you want your reader to take away from Wishing on Dandelions?


That redemption of a broken life takes time. We’re all on a journey of healing. Sometimes it’s slow going, but if we can endure through the dark times, God will bring us to new places of growth. I want the images and characters to stay with a reader for a long time.

Mary, thank you so much.

Readers, here's a link to Mary's site: Relevant Prose
Purchase Information: Bookfinder4U
No portion of this Website and no column may be reproduced BY ANYONE without WRITTEN permission BY DONNA. For more information, contact Donna by clicking on the link in the right-hand column. - Thanks.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Témoignage



Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
1 Corinthians 12:27-28 (New King James Version)

I couldn’t wait to get to Sunday School. My teacher, a lovely, gentle woman, shared the most wonderful stories with us each week. And we got to do a craft, a puzzle, or a coloring page.

So what if I’d been made fun of? When we studied the Beatitudes, and the teacher asked what we thought Jesus meant when He said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” I didn’t know what ‘righteousness’ was, but it sounded to me like we’d never be thirty or hungry anymore. This sounded like a wonderful thing to a nine-year-old girl, the oldest of five children, whose pantries never held an abundance of food or drink. The older children in the group laughed, but my teacher patiently explained that this hunger wasn’t a physical hunger, but a spiritual one.

That experience opened my eyes to the spiritual realm. Something existed beyond me? A great revelation for a child.

The next week, I skipped into class and stopped dead short. “Where’s my teacher?” I almost cried on the spot. I’ll never know why she didn’t come, but I do know that we had a substitute, and a man at that! What was HE doing in here?

He probably wondered the same thing. That morning he taught us the basics. What does it mean to be ‘saved’? He talked about heaven, and what Jesus had sacrificed so that I could spend eternity in such a wonderful place.

That morning at the end of our church service, I ran down the aisle to the altar, kneeling, and committing my life to Jesus Christ. When I stood up and turned around, my dad was right behind me crying – one of the only times I’ve ever seen him cry.

I’ve thought many times about that teacher. In hindsight, I realize the Superintendent had probably drafted him that morning, for he did not have a lesson prepared. He could have thrown together a haphazard lesson, reading from the book or passing out crayons and papers. But he allowed the Holy Spirit to direct him to share the simple, yet profound plan of salvation. Because he obeyed, my spiritual eyes were opened.

In what way will you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you today?

Prayer: God, help me to be sensitive to Your leading that I might be instrumental in leading others to You. Thank You for the people in my lifetime who have allowed You to lead them in a way that impacted my life in a positive and eternal way. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Donna J. Shepherd © 2006 All rights reserved. No portion of this Website and no column may be reproduced BY ANYONE without WRITTEN permission BY DONNA. For more information, contact Donna by clicking on the link in the right-hand column. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Smelly Saints - Audio Version

(*First posted 1-2-05)



The Law appoints priests who have weaknesses. But God's promise, which came later than the Law, appoints his Son. And he is the perfect high priest forever. - Hebrews 7:28 (cev)

Audio Version:
this is an audio post - click to play

Have you ever burnt popcorn in your microwave? Let me tell you, it’s not a good thing....

*This devo is also on Crossmap.com. To read more, click here!

Monday, August 14, 2006

From the Cincinnati-Dayton area?



Come join me! I will be singing and speaking at the Redeemer Church in Hamilton, Ohio.

The Women’s Conference at Redeemer Church features:
  • depth-filled worship
  • thought-provoking speakers
  • small group fellowship
  • exciting live music

Join us in exploring “Kingdom Life.”

Date: Saturday, Sept. 16
Time: 9:00 am — 3:00 pm
Place: The Family Life Center at Redeemer Church
Cost: $25.00
Meals: Continental breakfast and lunch included
Questions: Contact the church office at 513-863-3323, 9:00 am to Noon weekdays.

More information can be found on the church website. Click HERE.

Print out a registration form. Click HERE.

If you are in the area and would like to promote the conference on my behalf (much appreciated!), click HERE to print out a flyer!

I will have on hand copies of Topsy Turvy Land, Daily Grace for Women, the July issue of Reminisce Extra, and Itty Bit of Bliss, and more! Hope to see you there! - Donna

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Carnival of Beauty: Blessed to Blog



This week's Carnival of Beauty is being hosted by Mary DeMuth over at relevantblog. The topic is The Beauty of Blogging.

Blessed to Blog

I’ll never forget the day. Jules (The Master’s Artists founder) and I chatted about blogging. “What in the world is a blog??” I asked. Jules had a vision for a group blog where artists who take pride in the craft could contribute pieces with the purpose of promoting Christian writing. I was honored Jules wanted me to be a part.

A couple days later, I had gone to the bank, and on the way home worked on a devotional in my head about the experience. When I got home, I wrote it, and sent it to the Master’s Artists blog. Then as I sat staring at my laptop in my family room, I felt compelled to start my own blog. But why? What would be the purpose? When in doubt, I pray, and felt the Lord urging me on. Okay. Now what should I call it? Since what I wrote seemed like devotional writing, and I like alliteration (can’t you tell by my titles?), I thought of “Devotionals by Donna” and then dismissed it. How much of an ego did I have that I should put my name on the blog?

But the prompting of the Holy Spirit urged me on, and I started my blog. The Lord has blessed me beyond all my expectations. I have made so many wonderful friends, I have an outlet for what I love to do most – write devotionals, and I’ve even become a professional writer due to the exposure. When I first started posting, I got several emails. “Why are you giving your writing away?” “What are you doing? Don’t you realize you’re publishing your work? Now you can’t make any money on your writing.”

Au contraire! (As Mary would say.)

The Lord used my humble attempts. A friend (hey, Elece!) saw my writing, recommended me for a project she’d heard about. What if I had hoarded what God gave me waiting on that paying market when I felt His urging to post what He gave me?

While all this transpired, I worked on a children’s book published by Hidden Pictures Publishing. By the time Topsy Turvy Land was released, my blogging buddies became my biggest promoters. Heather Ivester of Mom2Mom Connection got me to talking and it went on for two days! Can you imagine my having that much to say? Don’t answer that.

So, blogging has indeed been a blessing. Because I did put my name on the original blog, I’ve had many friends comment that I’m easy to find, so thank God I listened to Him after all. (Hmm….note to self – Shouldn’t you do that ALL the time?) In fact, I kinda went blog crazy. I started one for my children’s writing, recipes, reviews, poetry, prayer for the president, and of course, I’m still a group member of the one that started it all – the Master’s Artists. I count many people whom I’ve never met in person as my dear friends. I keep a long list of blogs I frequent, commenting and encouraging when I can.

Not too long ago, I received an email from Ann.

“Hey Donna! You have no idea how I smiled to find your post in the Beauty of Contentment Carnival!

Did you know that it was your post to CCWL back in 2004 that got me blogging!?? I am VERY grateful to YOU for this creative forum and opportunity to weave together words into an act of worship for Him.

So a heartfelt HUG of appreciation for how you have changed the course of my path!”
Talk about a blessing! I wanted to shout! I love Ann’s blog, and you will, too. Check it out at “Holy Experience.”

Through the many blogs I frequent, I know my friends have allowed God to use them in mighty ways to reach people for Jesus Christ, encourage those in need of a good word, give peace to the hurting, promote writing, and provide humor, too.

I hear so many negative comments about ‘the evils of the internet,’ but God proves every day He can use it for good. You can sit in your jammies at home with a cup of coffee by your side, and minister to hundreds, if not thousands, of people with the gift with which God has blessed you. If you’re like me, you make a lot of friends in the process – an added bonus, and I thank God for each of you.

Donna

* I have a list of Blogging Buddies and Favorite Links in the righthand column, but I haven't updated it recently. If I've overlooked you, send me an email. Thanks!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Perseverance

*For something different, I'm including a few posts on writing. I have a lot of readers who write, too!

Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart. - Proverbs 3:3

I attended an SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) meeting recently. Diana Jenkins spoke, and gave us many wonderful tips on how to get published in children’s magazines. She knows whereof she speaks, having been published over 400 times.

When we ooh-ed and ah-ed over her body of work, she hastened to say she has probably had at least four times that many rejections – more in the beginning. That’s 1,600!

But even in being rejected, Diana was in no way dejected. She looks to the future, and when receiving that dreaded letter declining to use her masterpiece, she anticipates a sale to a more fortunate editor.

I enjoyed listening to someone speak who is so prolific and excited about writing, and also learned a few other tips – to be hardworking and organized, and perseverant.

What’s #1 on your ‘to do’ list? As my example, I look to Jesus. He knew His life’s mission, His purpose. He set goals, and made each day count. As His days dwindled, He never let up.

Sometime I get so caught up in the busyness of life, I lose sight of my goal, my purpose – to serve God and share His love.

In the first chapter of the book of Mark, we read where Jesus had an extremely busy day. He taught at the synagogue, cast an evil spirit out of a man, and then went to Simon and Andrew’s home where He healed Simon’s mother-in-law. That evening the whole town gathered at the door! “Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.”

The next morning, Jesus got up very early in the morning to pray. When His disciples came looking for Him, he said, "Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come." He already had His ‘to do’ list. He knew His purpose.

If anyone would be our example of perseverance, Jesus would. He carried on with His mission, and accomplished the will of God. Oh, that I could be so focused, and clear about my goals, and carry on in His will for my writing!

God has given us the ability to be creative. Let’s follow Jesus’ example, and focus on our mission.

How many words have you written this week? Perhaps you need to get caught up on some research, and have been putting it off. Did you send that query letter yet? I’m preachin’ to myself here, too, you know. We won’t get 400 articles published this week, but we might get one. You might not write an entire novel, but three chapters would be a great start.

Let’s keep writing!

Prayer: Lord, please give me wisdom to use the abilities with which You've gifted me, and grant me the perseverance to accomplish what You would have me do. Thank You for Your love. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, July 14, 2006

"Miss Those Sunday Drives" in Reminisce Magazine



I have an article in the new issue of Reminisce Extra called Miss Those Sunday Drives. If you see it on the newsstand, you'll see my picture on the front cover!

Click here to visit the site: Reminisce Magazine

*Single copies may be purchased at any
Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Blooming Christian



Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
James 1:2-3 niv

Up until a few days ago, I had a lush hibiscus tree on my deck. This morning I glanced out my back door to see this once beautiful plant had deteriorated into a pitiful state. Our back yard has a small patch of woods and it looks as if an animal might have gotten hold of the hibiscus and almost killed it. Yellow and brown leaves droop from every branch. In spite of it all, the plant managed to force out several beautiful peach blossoms.

It made me think of people who, in spite of horrendous events that would kill weaker souls, manage to bloom – becoming more beautiful people in the process. No bitterness exudes from their personalities. They not only take the lemons they’re handed and make lemonade, they find the zest in life – the lessons learned, and share them with others.

A friend of mine has been through unbelievable trials. To relate how much he’s been through would take hours, but he has never wavered in his faith in God. Not that he hasn’t asked God “Why??” many times. He has. And with good reason. I have struggled with these issues myself with regard to his circumstances, but if you talk to him today, he talks only of God’s goodness and faithfulness.

Contrast this with another friend who makes, as my mother used to say, “mountains out of molehills.” Every event in life turns into a major dramatic trauma, and an excuse to complain to God and anyone else who will listen. “Why me??”

The Apostle James wrote (James 1:2-4) that we should consider our many kinds of trials as joyful, tests for our faith, that we might develop perseverance. Only then will be mature and complete Christians.

I know we’ve all had trials that caused us to question God, and I have to say, I’ve done my share of complaining. But I want to be like my faithful friend, and kind of like that plant on my deck – blooming anyway, giving praise to God, and glorifying Him – a mature Christian.

Now I must tend to my hibiscus, poor thing. It looks like it might have gone a few rounds with a squirrel and the squirrel won.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You that in the worst of trials, I can lift my head and praise You, knowing that You never leave nor forsake me. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Donna J. Shepherd 2006 All rights reserved.
No portion of Devotionals by Donna may be reproduced without permission. For more information, contact Donna by clicking on link in righthand column. Thank you.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Omnipresence of God

Click HERE to visit the Comfort Cafe and read "The Omnipresence of God."

Donna J. Shepherd 2006 All rights reserved. No portion of this Website may be reproduced without permission. For more information, contact Donna.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Update and New Columns!

Hello! My husband and I are back and refreshed from our trip to Branson, Missouri. We saw Yakov Smirnoff and laughed a lot, heard great singing, and ate way too much good food.

The highlight of our trip was a visit to the headquarters of the Assemblies of God in Springfield, Missouri. We met with Thomas Trask, the General Superintendent of the A/G. What an honor it was to pray with him, and then have him pray for us. We also stopped by Global University, and I got to see where I'm attending school. And I got my grade back in New Testament Lit - a 90%. So these past few days have been full of activity and wonderful blessings.

I have a new column up on The Dabbling Mum - Good for Something.

"There are few things worse than hearing a parent tell a child, “You’re good for nothing.” Now I have to admit when children laze around the house offering up excuses for not doing homework or a chore, holding back the tongue does present a challenge."

Click HERE to continue reading. Pass the link on to all the Moms and Dads you know!

If you're a Boomer, click HERE to read this month's devotional on NABBW.

Donna J. Shepherd 2006 All rights reserved. No portion of this Website may be reproduced without permission. For more information, contact Donna.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Interview with Mom2Mom Connection

Heather at Mom2Mom Connection interviewed me on two different subjects - writing for grownups and writing for children.


Click here to read about writing for children.

Click here to read about writing devotionals. Thanks!

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

Are you having a difficult time explaining to your family and friends why The Da Vinci Code should be viewed as fiction? As a Christian, what should your response be? CBN has put together an excellent, easy-to-navigate site called The Da Vinci Code - a Biblical Response.

Click HERE to view only a few of the errors represented as fact in Dan Brown's novel, The Da Vinci Code, an opportunity to download a CBN Exclusive Ministry Booklet: Beyond the Code, and many other resources!

Monday, May 15, 2006


I have a new column up on NABBW - National Association of Baby Boomer Women - but it's not strictly for women!

Excerpt: "I don't really want to go back to the days of no electricity or running water, but I do want to slow down long enough to establish godly priorities. Whether young or old, we live in a busy, fast-paced, and stressful world. We need God's help....."

Click HERE to read "Busy As Bees."

And if you have feedback, click 'comments' right below this post. Thanks! - Donna

Donna J. Shepherd 2006 All rights reserved. No portion of this Website may be reproduced without permission. For more information, contact Donna.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Writing by Numbers

*For something different, I'm including a few posts on writing. I have a lot of readers who write, too!

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer. - Psalm 19:14

I attended a writers’ conference this past week. During our evening meal, several of us discussed website design. One woman, who has a site for her children’s writing, mentioned she has no idea how many visitors she draws. Another person sitting with us with us said, “You’re kidding! You don’t have a stat counter?!” As someone with stat counters on every site, I could hardly believe it either.

When we watch that number tick over to another hundred visitors, we may be tempted to analyze the stats to cater to readers’ tastes, writing ‘to the numbers.’ Every writers’ group discusses what’s hot, what’s not. Who will write the next megaseller that touches off a trend with dozens of authors following? I know I’ve gone into the bookstore, trolled the aisles, and tried to figure out the theme for a book for which the market will hunger – the one a publisher will gasp over, “Yes! Exactly what we’ve been looking for!”

Dan Robbins, an Oak Brook free-lance designer, created Craft Master paint-by-number kits. In 1954, he re-created the “Last Supper” – the most popular paint by number kit ever. For every person who picked up one of his kits, and millions did, he or she sacrificed artistic originality for conformity. Maybe that’s what I’m doing when I study the titles, making note of what’s in abundance, what’s selling.

I’ve written for hire, and have no problem doing so. I wrote according to stringent guidelines, capturing the voice of the project. And the publisher, no doubt, had analyzed the numbers before embarking on the project. Back in the seventies, I purchased one of those paint by number kits. I painted a lovely stained glass window through which rays of light shone down on a pair of praying hands. Even though I started painting by number, I embellished, adding my own flair to the painting. In the end, it was my creation, or so I imagined. I take the same pride in my work for hire projects. Even though I start with someone else’s idea, I add my own flair, and in the end, it’s a part of me in the creation.

But on my own, I wonder if I have what it takes to write without the burden of marketing trends and profitability swirling about in my head. In one of the sessions I attended during the conference, our instructor informed us a publisher invests tens of thousands of dollars into every book.

I told one editor I pray over my writing daily. I ask God to direct my steps, and to burden my heart with His message. Even though he didn’t ‘tsk, tsk,’ I did feel, even as I said the words, that I probably appeared quite naïve. And maybe I am. I’m a lot less naïve than I was three years ago. Now I understand that for every book, there’s a budget. I’m just hoping, and praying…and praying, I will be so blessed to write a book that merits the budget, and more importantly, ministers in the manner God ordains.

Now I’m off to check my stats. Some habits are hard to break.

Prayer: Lord, may I always be in tune to Your will, writing as You lead, and being inspired by the Holy Spirit. Please direct my steps, giving me wisdom as I write for You. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Gift for Mother's Day


I'd like to suggest a copy of Daily Grace for Women. I'm blessed to have written thirty devotionals included in this book.

If you live near the Cincinnati-Dayton area, signed copies are here:

Barnes and Noble
9455 Civic Centre Blvd
West Chester, OH 45069
513-755-2258

If you're not in the area, the book is in stock at any Family Christian Bookstore, and available at many other bookstores, too. Here's a link with information: Bookfinder4U

If you do buy the book, and would like a list of my devotionals, send me an email, and I'll send a list of titles in a word document. Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Coming Soon! "Dotty's Topsy Tale"


A brand new tale in the Topsy Turvy Land series will be released soon - Dotty's Topsy Tale, written by myself and illustrated by the multi-talented Kevin Scott Collier. Watch for details, and here's a sneak peek at the cover!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Eveline Maedel! If you'll email me with your snail mail address, I'll get your copy in the mail. I know you'll enjoy it.

Thanks to everyone who participated, and keep watching. I'll post details of a new contest soon! - Donna



I have one copy, courtesy of Glass Road Public Relations, of Tamara Leigh’s new release, Stealing Adda, to give away. I'll collect names now through Tuesday, April 25th. If you are interested, post a comment under this post telling me what your thoughts are on Christian Romance novels. Do you read or write in this genre? How about 'Chicklit'? You might even list a couple of your favorites for those not familiar with the genre.

On April 25th, I'll put all the names in a basket, and draw one person's name! If Christian Romance isn't your cup of tea, keep stopping by. More surprises in store!

Burst Forth!


Jesus said to his disciples: I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.John 15:1 cev

After I adopted my puppy, Angel, from my sister, I spent quite a bit of time in our back yard. When I first stood outside with her, the woods in our back yard looked dead. I had a rose bush by the deck that looked as if it would never bloom again.

But after a couple of weeks, I noticed the base of the rose bush began to turn green. The trees that looked lifeless budded and covered over with tiny leaves. The complexity of God’s creation amazed me.

When Jesus walked the earth, he used practical applications to teach, sometimes using the things of nature as examples. In John 15:4-5 Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

Are you connected to the true vine? We receive life from the Vine. Angel runs through the yard picking up dead branches. Without God, we are like those branches. I want to be alive and blooming in the Lord. I want to grow and develop the fruit of the Spirit.

In Jeremiah 20, Jeremiah said that God’s Word was like a burning fire that was shut up in his bones. It literally burst forth from him like a fire out of control. I don’t want to be a dead, dried up Christian, but a Christian who bursts forth with the message of Christ.

As you look around and see all the beautiful flowers and trees budding with new life, purpose in your heart that the Good News of God’s grace should burst forth from you!

Prayer: Lord, I praise you, and long to be connected to you in a deeper way. Thank you for sustaining me. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Out of Order

A new devotional called Out of Order is featured in Blessed Lady. Click HERE to read!

Good news! Topsy Turvy Land can now be ordered through this website. You can either pay by PayPal or with a credit card. If you'll look in the right hand column, you'll see a button that says "Visa, Master Card, Buy Now." Click on that. It's that easy!

Dont' forget to stop by the "Prayers for the President" blog occasionally.

I've also added a "Make a Donation" button. I noticed some of the blogs have 'tip jars,' and I've had a couple people ask why I don't have one. Since I look at this site as a ministry, I decided to put a button on the site, but I can't justify keeping money for my efforts. Any donations made to my ministry will be automatically given to charity. God bless you!

Donna J. Shepherd © 2005 All rights reserved. No portion of this Website may be reproduced without permission. For more information, contact Donna.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Beauty of Contentment



(This week's Carnival of Beauty is hosted by Bethany. To read the other posts highlighting the topic of contentment, go to
A Picturesque Life)


Being content is a foreign concept in our market driven culture. I know. I struggle myself. A few years ago, I ordered my first item from one of the home shopping networks. When I saw how easily I could spend my money, I soon ordered more. Before long, I had brown packages piled up on my porch and spilling out of my mailbox nearly every day. I bought jewelry, clothing, and items for the house, my husband and children. My husband made the comment, “It’s like Christmas every day around here!”

After each jewelry order, I’d promise myself I wouldn’t order any more. I had enough – more than enough. Then the next sparkly bauble would dance across my television screen, and before I knew it, I’d placed another order.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul shares his attitude concerning material things. He says, in verses 11-13, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

When he wrote to the Philippians, Paul declared he was in chains for Christ. Even the palace guard had been witnessed to because of Paul’s bonds. He had spoken “courageously and fearlessly.” Paul experienced trials like nothing we have ever experienced - beatings, stoning, shipwreck, hunger, misunderstanding, and on top of it all, desertion, yet he had learned to be content.

Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21.)

Ouch! Oh, me! Contentment comes from establishing biblical priorities – and materialism is not even on the list!

I can hear the protests. “But I need to strive for a better job. I can’t rest on my laurels. I must get ahead in my profession.” “Doesn’t God want me to have a bigger house? Better clothes?”

Being ambitious can be a good trait. Paul certainly exhibited an undeterred desire to tell others of Jesus Christ, but he was willing to submit to God's will, and even if God took away every material good, I must learn to be like Paul – content in all circumstances, knowing God’s will is best.

Contentment is not being joyful with what we own, but Who owns us. I’m not my own, I’m His. God is my Father, and He says He will never leave nor forsake me. I rest in that promise, and I am content.

Since that first order from a shopping channel, my cable system has added two more, but I only get a brown package every now and then these days. I’m learning.

Prayer: Lord, I trust you to provide for me all my needs. My life is in Your strong hands. Thank You for Your love. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Blog Tour with Alyice Edrich

Since I have an ebooks available now, The Lonely Lightning Bug (Guardian Angel Publishing), I had questions for eBook author, Alyice Edrich, when she made a stop here on her blog tour.

Alyice Edrich is the author of several work-from-home e-books, including Tid-Bits For Making Money With E-books - where parents earn hundreds of dollars selling information they already possess.

Donna: How long should an e-book be?

Alyice: An e-book should be as long as it needs to be to get the point across. Often, people come up with a great title, a great theme, but then leave the readers hanging because they don’t put in the time necessary to write a thorough book.

If you are writing a book on how to build a tree house, for instance, your book will need to be comprised of things such as: do you need a building permit, how to get a building permit, how to draw up a blue print, how many people will be needed for the project, how to tell if a specific tree is sturdy enough, what types of woods are there and which are best, should you use nails or screws, shingles or cement, etc. Then of course, you’ll need to decide if pictures should be included and if you use pictures will they be sketches or actual photos, in which case you’ll need to build a tree house from scratch. Such a book could run 200 pages.

If you are going to write a book about building a tree house, it does no good to just give a list of rules in 20 pages. People could end up buying too soft of a wood, untreated wood that warps once put together causing a safety issue in the structure, and nails that rust or loosen over time.

By taking the time to go into detail, providing more than surface answers, your readers will tell others about your book and you’ll gain more sales through word of mouth advertising.

Donna: Do non-fiction e-books do better than fiction?

Alyice: Yes! While you can do well with fiction books, many people buy fiction to read at leisure and often prefer bound copies. It’s a little hard to read a computer printed book while soaking in the bathtub, or traveling on a bus, for instance.

Donna: How do you decide the price of an e-book?

Alyice: It depends on what the market will bear. If you have written a book that can be found in traditional bookstores for $10, then you’ll have a very hard time selling your e-book for $50 unless you do some sort of package deal where you include bonus e-books or a bonus training session via email or the phone.

Donna: How long are chapters in an e-book?

Alyice: Again, chapters should be as long as they need to be to get the point across. But I will tell you this: readers feel ripped off if they receive an e-book with twenty chapters and those chapters are only one page long or consist of graphics that take up over half the page and then three pages in each chapter.

Donna: How do you market an e-book?

Alyice: Marketing e-books is just like marketing any other product. You have to develop a business plan. You have to discover your target audience and then you have to pitch your e-book to that target audience.

Market your e-book through word of mouth, speaking engagements, published articles, advertisements, press releases, radio interviews, etc.

You can visit Alyice Edrich at The Dabbling Mum Press to order a copy of her e-book, Tid-Bits For Making Money With E-books today! To make more stops on the blog tour, click HERE.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

New Columns and Poetry, too!

  • Click here to read the February column for BUSY Parents on The Dabbling Mum called Agape Love.
  • I started a new poetry blog. I've already had one poem I've posted published in a church newsletter. What a blessing! Here's the link if you'd like to read. Feel free to post comments there just like you do here: Poetry by Donna
  • I also have a column up on NABBW for February called From This Moment. Click here.
  • My column on Crossmap.com called Smelly Saints is now one of the All Time Most Popular! Thank you for reading it or click here if you haven't yet.

    I'm pleased to announce my inclusion in the book, Itty Bits of Bliss. Compiled by Christine Tricarico, the book contains 38 fully illustrated fun, whimsical poems to inspire children ages 4-ll. $2.00 per book is being donated to Love Our Children USA in honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

    Here a link to purchase information:

    Itty Bits of Bliss

  • Donna J. Shepherd © 2005 All rights reserved.
    No portion of this Website may be reproduced without permission.
    For more information, contact Donna.

Monday, February 06, 2006

That Lovin' Feeling

Aren't you humming the Righteous Brothers song after reading that title? A new devotional is published in Blessed Lady. Since it's February, I wrote on love, or should I say, the sometimes lack of it - even in Christians. Oh, dear!

Click here to read!

Donna J. Shepherd © 2005 All rights reserved. No portion of this Website may be reproduced without permission. For more information, contact Donna.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Author Chat

Twice each season on his website, Kevin Scott Collier, the illustrator of Topsy Turvy Land, features an interview with a writer or author with whom he has worked. For the end of winter 2006, he chatted with me! We discuss our joint creation of Turvy Turvy Land, Chizzy's Topsy Tale, and The Lonely Lightning Bug, and a few other topics. To read, click here!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Beauty of Gentleness



(*Thank you to Iris for hosting this week's Carnival of Beauty. Click HERE to find links to nine blogs focusing on Gentleness.)

Have you ever been around someone you’d describe as gentle? Kindness and consideration ooze from her pores. Things that would cause you to snap or rebuke someone harshly only slightly ruffle her feathers. Gentleness is in her nature.

When I attended the Girls Auxiliary program as a young girl, I had a teacher I could count on to be tenderhearted, never raising her voice. With about fifteen chatty and sometimes catty young girls in her care, she epitomized a gentle lady. Even when we ‘acted up’ and tried her patience, she never lost control.

Being a gentle person does not mean you’re a doormat. It only means having strength under control. The original Greek word Prautes is used of domestic animals whose great strength has been reined in and brought under control.

Since gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), it should be an element of our new nature. God will lovingly help us along our path as Christians and help us develop this fruit, either by His example or through difficult trials. We learn to lean on God’s goodness and depend on His gracious ways to bring us through.

Jesus said, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30)."

We find our perfect example in Jesus Christ. A gentle Christian submits his strength to God. Jesus submitted Himself to God. Think of the time Jesus went into the Temple and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. Or how about when He commanded demons to leave. Jesus was under control.

Peter wrote a woman’s beauty should not be the outer beauty of hairstyles or fine clothing. We should concentrate instead on our “inner beauty with the imperishability of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God's eyes (I Peter 3:4).” In our culture of plastic surgery and designer clothes, it can be difficult to concentrate on the inner beauty, but think of the value in God’s eyes!

I hope to be like Jesus and my teacher – someone who maintains a gentle spirit – no matter what life throws at me. I have my own class every Sunday, but I teach adults. Now I wouldn’t think they’d ever act up. Or would they?

Prayer: Lord, thank you for Your kindness toward humankind, and for providing an example of gentleness for me to follow. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Extreme Makeover


It seems every magazine for women I see has at least one article promising a total makeover. "If you’ll follow these ten steps, you can change your body!”

Or the tips might target the home or finances. The makeovers for the body usually have the reader changing her diet, initiating or changing her exercise plan, and to the extreme, undergoing plastic surgery.

I’m all for taking care of our bodies. The temporal dwelling in which we live is the temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19 (New International Version), “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” As Christians, I believe we should do our best to take care of the temple. Don’t you?

But I don’t want to get so caught up in the temporal that I forget the eternal. One day I’ll trade in this body. God has a makeover in mind that’s totally extreme!

The Contemporary English Version of the Bible puts it this way, “Our dead and decaying bodies will be changed into bodies that won't die or decay. The bodies we now have are weak and can die. But they will be changed into bodies that are eternal. Then the Scriptures will come true, "Death has lost the battle!” (1 Corinthians 15:53-54 cev)

And then my made over body will go to a home that needs no makeover, Heaven. Are you ready to go?

Prayer: Lord, thank You for this body I dwell in. May I be faithful to honor You and serve You with this body until I’m transformed to live in Your presence and in my heavenly home. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Temporal Currents



I'm pleased to announce my inclusion in a new book.

Press Release:

Temporal Currents is an inspirational poetry collection edited and compiled by Christine Tricarico, widely published poet and editor. This collection features 45 poems by Donna J. Shepherd, Hope Galvan, Victor Jasti, and other wonderful poets from around the globe. This collection is intended to reach out, inspire people of all ages, and evoke a sense of peace, wonderment and spirituality in each of us. Temporal Currents is the perfect gift for all ages!

Click here for order information.
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