Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Buxton Peak by Julie L. Spencer - The (Almost) Perfect Honeymoon

After two nights in Detroit, the next stop was supposed to be the Northwoods Lodge near Petoskey on their way to the Upper Peninsula. What should have taken under four hours turned out to be a two-day trip with an overnight stay in Houghton Lake just because they couldn’t help stopping by the place where they met. They didn’t bother going over to see Aunt Pat & Uncle Denny, but did decide to book a room at the Beachfront Hotel even though the lodge where they had reservations was only an hour away.
“We should just stay here for a few weeks,” Ian whispered in the dark.
“I thought the idea was to keep moving so that no one would recognize us,” Megan answered him. She snuggled up closer to her new husband and understood exactly why he wanted to stay, and it wasn’t the beautiful view from the balcony. They’d be traveling through the U.P. never staying in one location for more than a day or two and always checking in under Megan’s name, then moving on to the next destination. There were no sightseeing or tourist stops, just one resort after another. They weren’t all that interested in leaving the warmth and comfort of their hotel rooms anyway.
“Maybe next summer we could come back,” Ian suggested, propping himself up on one arm to look down into her eyes.
“Sounds like a plan…for next summer,” she chuckled, then pulled him back down for another long kiss.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

“I have never been, nor do I ever plan to go, river rafting in the middle of the winter,” Megan laughed, reading the promotional materials on the desk at the Northwoods Lodge.
“Snow shoeing it is then,” Ian looked over her shoulder.
“I don’t think so,” she looked up at him. “My parents didn’t go out of their way to find us the nicest honeymoon suite around so that we could freeze our toes off.”
“Just think of it,” he whispered, wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her towards him. “The Jacuzzi tub will come in handy to warm up those frozen toes.”
“Let’s just skip the snow sports and go straight for the Jacuzzi,” she looked up at him.
“That sounds much warmer…”

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

“I want to see Mackinaw Island!” Ian exclaimed as they crossed the bridge into the U.P. “I’ve always wanted to go there.”
“Not this time of year,” Megan tried to keep her eyes on the road and knuckles from becoming white as she braved the wind. A few knots stronger and they would have closed the bridge from traffic so as not to risk small cars being thrown into the frigid waters of Lake Huron. “They stop the ferries for the winter, and only a few people actually live on the island year round.”
“Can we make this trip again next summer, Love?” he turned to her with hope and expectation.
“If you come back to America,” she laughed over at him. “Do you know your tour dates for summer yet?”
“I have no idea,” he settled back down into the passenger seat. “That’s Jeremy’s job. My job is to stay in your arms as long as possible until they drag me back to Europe.”
“Well they’re going to have to drag you from my arms to get you back to Europe,” Megan threatened, grinning over at him. Taking her eyes off the road was a mistake because she swerved just slightly. “But not while I’m driving…”

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

“Happy new year,” Megan whispered. The Cedarville Lodge was the perfect place for them to stay for the holiday because it wasn’t a party destination. Just a quiet, comfortable king-sized bed and each other.
“Best New Year’s Eve of my entire life,” Ian snuggled into his bride’s arms and fell asleep before the ball dropped in Time’s Square and the thousands of people waved to the cameras. Megan took the remote control from his hand and switched off the television with a contented smile.
“Best…ever…” her voice trailed off as she drifted away.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

“Paradise sure lives up to its name,” Megan called to Ian. “Take a look at the view off this balcony. The lake is incredible!” He stood there with his arms around her for about a minute, then pulled her back inside.
“It’s freezing out there!” Ian pulled the sliding glass doors to close out the wind coming off the bay.
“Sorry the Magnuson didn’t have a king-sized bed available,” Megan apologized, tucking herself into his arms to warm up.
“Or a Jacuzzi tub,” he noted with a grin.
“What is it with you and Jacuzzi tubs?” she laughed at him. “I could care less whether or not we have a fancy tub.”
“Well, I could care less whether we have a king-sized bed,” he teased her. “I’m not planning on sleeping more than an inch or two away from you anyway!”
“Two whole inches?” she questioned.
“You’re right,” he apologized. “That is way too far away.”
“Way too far…” Megan whispered.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

“Copper Harbor is one of the most unusual towns I’ve ever seen,” Ian looked around as they were passing through on the way to the Mariner Resort.
“What do you mean?” Megan questioned.
“I don’t know,” he admitted. “I just like it here.”
“Well, that’s good because we’re staying two nights.”
“Cool,” he affirmed.
“And,” she grinned. “The room has a Jacuzzi tub…”
“Now you’re speaking my language,” Ian leaned over and kissed her cheek. “Your mum sure planned us a nice honeymoon.”
“Not bad for pulling things together at the last minute like that,” Megan agreed.
“Not bad at all, my beautiful wife. This has been the best honeymoon I’ve ever had,” he teased.
“I’m pretty sure it’s the only honeymoon you’ve ever had!” she laughed at him.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

“What happened to my hair?” Ian laughed after having removed his baseball cap and running his hand through the mop that had grown out in the past three weeks since his tour had ended. “Our stylist normally trims it up every couple of days. I look awful.”
“You look amazing to me,” Megan complimented him, then wrapped her arms around him, pulling him away from the large window in the truck stop where he’d been looking at his reflection.
“You’re biased,” he whispered down to her, then pulled her into his arms for a rare public show of affection. Normally he rushed into the gas station or rest area, hat down, quickly used the restroom and rushed back out to the sleek, black sedan with the tinted windows, got into the passenger seat and hoped no one had noticed him. So far, no one had.
But this time, someone did. A young girl had been stocking a shelf nearby and heard the entire conversation. The British accent would have caught the attention of anyone in the U.P. but the strange topic of discussion caused her to look over at the couple kissing near the restroom doors. When they pulled away from each other, the young girl gasped just slightly, staring into the face of the boy who was on the poster in her bedroom. Panic trapped Ian in place for just a moment before he shoved his hat on his head and grabbed the keys out of Megan’s hand. “I’ll go start the car. You pay for the gas.”
Megan and the girl stared each other down, both with their eyes narrowed at one another, daring the other to move first. Megan looked away and casually walked over to the counter with the Diet Coke she had in her hand and placed it where the girl could scan it along with the gasoline that had just filled up the black car at pump three. Megan wished she had $45 worth of cash in her purse, but instead pulled out her debit card and looked up at the cashier. The young girl smiled just slightly and reached for the card. Megan swiped it quickly on the pin pad and punched in her four-digit pin number. She panicked again when she realized that the receipt that printed would say her full name on it. Sure enough, the clerk grabbed the receipt and looked down at it, confirming what she already knew.
“Thank you for coming in today…Megan,” the girl stated in her most professional sounding voice. Megan grabbed the receipt from the girl and quickly turned to walk away. As she did, she heard the cashier mumble. “Luckiest girl in the world.”
Megan didn’t turn around as she pushed the door open and listened as the hanging bells chimed to announce a customer coming or going. She almost ran out to the car and climbed in.
“Crap!” Megan exclaimed to her new husband as they pulled out of the parking lot.
“We need to get out of northern Michigan immediately,” Ian said, pulling his cell phone out of his pocket and dialing his agent’s number. “Jeremy, I need you to find me the nearest airport and charter us a jet, now!”
The young girl pulled her cell phone out of her pocket as well, but used it to pull up the internet where she found the website of none other than Stacy Smith. She scrolled to the bottom to find contact information for the blogger and typed in a quick message.
I have information you’d be interested in, she typed. Please call me, typed her phone number and hit send.

Excited to read more? What's your opinion? -Julie L. Spencer

Want to read part of Ian's proposal? Click here: Buxton Peak by Julie L. Spencer - Wanna Marry Me?

Want to read a draft of the back cover to Buxton Peak? Click here: Buxton Peak by Julie L. Spencer - Back Cover

Read excerpts from my other novels here!
All of my novels fall into the New Adult Contemporary Christian genre. What is that? Click here!

Want to purchase my first novel, The Cove?The Cove?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Buxton Peak by Julie L. Spencer - Back Cover

What do a youth pastor, a recovering addict, an atheist and a Mormon boy have in common?

They are the guys of Buxton Peak. They may not see the world through the same eyes, yet they see past their differences to become a family.

But, Ian Taylor has been living a lie and hiding this family from his girlfriend. She knew he was keeping a secret, but she had no idea it was this big.

Ian only wanted to protect Megan from the life he knew she didn’t want. But love creates its own plan, and once the world knows the truth, there’s no stopping it.

Is Megan willing to give up her dreams in order to follow his? Or will Ian throw away everything he’s achieved to stay in her life?

Buxton Peak will take you on a journey through three continents, two churches, five weddings, and one funeral. Along the way the reader will laugh, cry, be inspired, have their faith challenged...and fall in love.

Can't wait to find out what happens? What's your opinion? -Julie L. Spencer

Click here to read an excerpt from Buxton Peak by Julie L. Spencer called 'Wanna Marry Me?'

Want to know what happens on their (Almost) Perfect Honeymoon? Click Here!

All of my novels fall into the New Adult Contemporary Christian genre. What is that? Click here!

Want to read my first novel The Cove? Click here!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Excerpt from Buxton Peak by Julie L. Spencer - Wanna Marry Me?

           In the flurry of activity, Ian took the opportunity to steal another little kiss, but didn’t let himself get carried away again. While everyone else excitedly rushed around getting ready to leave, he held Megan in his arms standing there in her dorm room and drank in the look in her eyes. He took her left hand in his and placed a kiss on her ring finger as if to imply that there should be something else resting there. He raised his eyebrows at her with clear intention.
“What are you trying to say, Ian?” Megan whispered.
“Wanna marry me?” he whispered back.
“Maybe,” she told him for the second time that day. She grinned at him conspiratorially, and laughed lightly. “You haven’t exactly gotten down on one knee yet."
“I’m not going to right now,” he whispered back to her. “I want to do it right. At the right time and in the right place and with the right diamond in my hand. So I can officially place it on your finger.” He kissed her hand again and looked longingly into her eyes.
“You were everything I ever wanted before I knew who you really were,” Megan stated. “What if things aren’t the same?”
“They never will be, Love.” He looked into her eyes with a look that bordered on apologetic. “But my feelings for you have never been anything less than sincere. You are everything I want also, and I love it that you want me just because I'm me.”

What do you think? Should Megan accept Ian for who he is...even if he's deceived her for the past seven months? What's your opinion? -Julie L. Spencer

Click here to read the back cover for Buxton Peak by Julie L. Spencer

Want to know what happens on their (Almost) Perfect Honeymoon? Click Here!

Read excerpts from my other novels here!
All of my novels fall into the New Adult Contemporary Christian genre. What is that? Click here!

Want to purchase my first novel, The Cove?The Cove?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Think We Should Take Syrian Refugees?

You know not of what you speak, my friend! The media shows you heart-breaking photos and videos of women and children starving to death in the wilderness, towns destroyed and in ruins, people living in refugee camps amidst garbage and filth. What they don’t tell you about is the high percentage of refugees who are not actually refugees but are radical terrorists who have infiltrated the multitude in hopes that they too will get a free one-way ticket to America.

If we really wanted to help these people, we should send them food and water and relief supplies and help them rebuild their homes in their own lands, lands on which they’ve lived for generations and raised their families.

Think of it this way: if there are 10,000 people displaced, how much is it going to cost to take them all to America? Even if it only costs $100 per person (which you know it costs a lot more than that per person to fly, or travel by boat even), that’s one million dollars! How much food and relief supplies could we provide for a million dollars?? A LOT! That’s enough money to sustain the multitude for a long time as we help them rebuild their lives.

Here’s another way to think of this: how would you like it if your home was destroyed by a tornado, but instead of offering to help you rebuild, another country told you that they were going to fly you half way across the world to a culture you don’t understand and never wanted to be a part of. All you want to do is go home. All you want is your life back. All you want is the nightmare to end so that you can go back to living your life.

Still not convinced? How about we think about the people we’re inviting to our kitchen tables. Even the most peaceful among them believe that little girls as young as nine years old are of marrying age!

Added 14 November 2015 after I realized that I’d never finished writing my blog post:

These are not just a group of refugees; they are a group harboring terrorists. Wake up America. Wake up Europe! Wake up world. World War Four just started! What’s your opinion? -Julie

Color Blind by Julie L. Spencer

Why would you want to associate yourself with an organization that you disagree with so fundamentally?

Rather than try to change the organization, disassociate yourself with them!

If you truly believe that you should be allowed to express yourself in whatever manner you feel is right, than you should also embrace the rights of others to feel the same.

You will never convince a color blind person that red is green or that green is red because they see the world through a different set of eyes!

Rather than try to change an entire organization full of people who see the world differently than you do, just walk away from them and be thankful that you live in a country that offers you the right to do so!

I’m glad to have been born into a place where I have the freedom to choose! What’s your opinion? –Julie L. Spencer

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Don't Touch the Water!

Not to frighten people, just to be realistic about my recent experiences with water quality testing in streams & rivers in our area, but I personally would not swim (or touch) any fresh water in any stream or lake in the entire state of Michigan right now.

If you do choose to expose yourself to the disgusting sewage that's in extremely high concentrations in our water, please shower afterwards.

This Labor Day weekend, many, many people will choose to participate in water activities and I really don't recommend that. Just my semi-expert opinion. What's your opinion? -Julie L. Spencer

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Unchanging Standards of the Gospel by Julie L. Spencer

Let me assure you that I am not quoting Dieter F. Uchtdorf when I tell you this story about an airplane manufacturer! For those of you who don’t know, President Uchtdorf used to be an airline pilot and is now one of the prophets of our Church. Whenever he speaks in church he tells stories about airplanes. The story I’m going to share was taken from an article written by Elder Allan F. Packer of the Quorum of the Seventy called ‘Heavenly Father’s Fixed Standards.

Elder Packer writes “My first job out of college was working for a major airplane manufacturer. While there I learned to make airplanes that were safe, the company had specifications for every part. The parts had to be certified as meeting all standards, including shape, size, materials, and tolerances.

“If a part met the standards, it would be placed in inventory for building an airplane. If it didn’t meet the standards, the part would be rejected and returned to the supplier. Suppliers of parts were careful to understand and meet all of the requirements, including the tolerances.

“Would you willingly ride in an airplane made with substandard parts? Of course not! You would want the parts to exceed the standard. Some people, however, appear to be willing to embrace substandard behavior in their lives. But only by knowing, understanding, and living the doctrine of Christ can you adopt the behavior needed to qualify for exaltation.

“Tolerance is a word that is heard frequently in society today, usually in the context of tolerating or accepting other people’s cultures or behavior. Sometimes it is used by people wanting acceptance to do something without consideration of its impact on society or others. My purpose is not to talk about that definition but to focus on the engineering definition of the word and its application for us.

Tolerance is used to define acceptable variations from a defined standard. In a manufactured part, the tolerance might be specified to be five inches long, plus or minus a thousandth of an inch. Another part might be defined to be made of a certain material that is 99.9% pure, like gold bars. The Lord has set tolerances to help us qualify for exaltation.”

I have a confession to make. I love reading Twilight novels. I know that probably shocks some of you (can you hear the sarcasm dripping from my so-called confession?). There are four rather thick novels in the series, plus a small novella that goes along with the third book, an unfinished fifth manuscript that you can read online on theauthor’s website, and an official illustrated guide that goes along with the series. Other than the study guide (which I’ve read once and shared a series of book reviews for it), I have read the novels about twenty times (I know, I know, it’s embarrassing!).

But, in an effort to redeem myself, let me tell you about another study guide that I use nearly every day: the Old Testament Student Manual covering Genesis-2 Samuel. If you attended Brigham Young University you could actually take this as a class called Religion 301. I have also read The Book of Mormon Study Manual, the Doctrineand Covenants Study Manual, and the Church History Study Manual. I’m working my way through the Old Testament and then I’ll start in on the New Testament.

I know from experience that these things take time. I’m not just reading this manual, I’m using it as a study tool to learn what the prophets have taught about the details of the scriptures, the cross references, the history and languages and cultures that surrounded the writing of these scriptures. I know that this manual will take me several years to get through, even if I study with it every single day.

So, one morning at breakfast I closed the manual and with an exasperated sigh said to the kids “ugh, this is going to take me five years to get through!” C.j. (my sixteen-year-old who was a few years younger at the time) looked right at me and, without hesitation, asked me “how come it takes you five years to read the scriptures but a day & a half to read a Twilight novel?” I didn’t have a really good answer for that! What I do know is that this study manual teaches me things that I didn’t even know that I needed to know. Last week when I was reading about a particularly confusing passage in Leviticus, I came across the following clarification that really struck me as applicable to a lot of things in today’s society. It reads:

Many things in God’s laws are puzzling at first but become clear and understandable upon further investigation. Some laws however seem to have no key at present for its correct interpretation. But these laws were not the product of man’s attitudes, but were direct revelation for the Lord! Speculation on why the Lord revealed different requirements is pointless until further revelation is received on the matter.

Many things in the ancient laws have changed over time such as the requirement for men to never cut their sideburns or how many steps away from your home you were allowed to walk on the Sabbath, but God’s standards have not changed. The evidence of this is all throughout the scriptures: Moses came down out of the mountain to find the people sinning and asked God to forgive them.

In Exodus 32:33 we read “And the Lord said unto Moses Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book…nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them…and the Lord plagued the people.”

That’s nothing compared to the days of Noah when the people were so sinful that God flooded the whole earth. In other parts of the scriptures, God sent prophets to warn the people to repent: Jonah was sent to warn the people in Nineveh lest they be destroyed, and Lehi cried repentance to the people of Jerusalem before he left and took his family away into the wilderness to avoid being killed. We have prophets on the earth today, and I wonder: are we listening to their warnings?

Sometimes it feels that the world is upside down right now! But in 2 Nephi 15:20 we read “wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

I’ve been asked by someone very close to me: “Why do you care? This (meaning other people’s unrighteous living) doesn’t affect you and any way!”

Oh, but it does! The spread of evil affects everyone, because it lower’s society’s standards to a point that they are lower than God’s standards. If Satan can get society to agree that evil is good and good is evil than he can encourage more and more people to follow him.

Satan is miserable and he wants everyone else to be just as miserable as he is, so he uses our weaknesses against us. He finds the chinks in our armor and shoots his arrows right into our hearts. He uses our bodies against us because he knows that our bodies will naturally be drawn to experiences that make us feel good. Food, drinks, drugs & medications that stimulate our minds & bodies, or that calm our minds and bodies, things on television that are entertaining – laughing in particular makes us feel good because it releases endorphins, so if Satan can make society perceive evil things as funny, he can get us smiling and laughing as we’re hearing or seeing inappropriate things.

I don’t want to spend a lot of time on physical relationships because this isn’t the correct audience, but Satan knows what feels good to our bodies and he uses that to his advantage! God made our bodies this way, and physical relationships are meant to bring great joy and satisfaction into our lives. But Satan knows that our bodies will respond to any external stimulation whether that’s something on television, in a magazine, something we hear or see or witness…or something that happens with another person!

Satan has twisted these things to make us believe that if it feels good, it must be good, but that’s just not true. That is why it’s so important for us to turn to God’s words when choosing how to live our lives and not just relying on what feels good to our bodies. God has laid out a road map for us to live by and given it to us in a way that we can understand it…if we choose to learn it.

I’m not just talking about reading the scriptures. Not all of us in this world even know how to read. But the church has set up programs to teach us right from wrong even from a very young age.  

The songs we teach the Primary children drill the Gospel standards into the children’s minds so that they can draw on them when they’re older. The ‘For the Strength of Youth pamphlet’ lays out a very clear description of right and wrong. Our Sunday school classes are also part of that road map.

We don’t just attend church or Sunday school once in our lives and then we know everything God wants us to know. We go and learn his teachings over and over again so that we can know right from wrong.

But even if we’ve never been taught right from wrong, we inherently know right from wrong and we feel it in our hearts when something we’re doing is wrong. If we are truly listening to the Spirit of God, we will realize deep in our hearts if something we’re doing is okay in God’s eyes – in His standards!

In the Primary song: ‘I Will Follow God’s Plan for Me’ We are affirming that we will take these principles of the Gospel and we will go out into the world and live according to that plan because we know that it will bring happiness. Songs like this paired with lessons we learn in Sunday school have powerful impact on our lives!

Let me read you some of the words from that song: “I will follow God’s plan for me, holding fast to His word and His love. I will work, and I will pray; I will always walk in His way. Then I will be happy on earth, and in my home above.”

Some of the lessons that the little kids learn in Sunday school are taught include the following: ‘Jesus Christ Wants Us to Love Everyone,’ ‘I Can Be Pure and Righteous,’ and ‘Jesus Christ Performed Miracles.

Some of the lessons that the teenagers learn include: ‘Becoming More Christ-like,’ ‘Marriage and Family,’ and ‘The Plan of Salvation.

Some of the lessons the adults are taught include: ‘Keep the Ordinances as I Delivered Them,’ ‘I Can Do All Things through Christ,’ and ‘Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God’.

These lessons are part of God's plan and part of his road map. As the song reminds us: they will bring happiness on earth and in heaven.

Going back to the article from Elder Packer, we read: “God has established what we must do and the standards we must meet. Something quite remarkable is that He gives us the moral agency to decide whether to accept and meet those standards. However, there are consequences to our decisions. He gave us agency, but He does not give us the authority to change the standards or the consequences of our decisions.

“Because there are standards and because we have agency to choose, there is a Final Judgment, at which time each of us will be reviewed to see if we meet the standards – in other words, to see if we have lived within the standards and tolerances God has defined. His judgment will be final.

“The doctrine of repentance allows us to correct or fix defects, but it is better to focus on meeting God’s standards than to plan on invoking the principle of repentance before the judgment.”

Elder Packer gave us his definition of tolerances. I want to share a definition for the word Standard.

My favorite dictionary is the Oxford Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus. I know you probably think I’m weird to have a favorite dictionary, but this one is special because years ago I began marking a little dot next to any word I looked up for any reason. Sometimes it’s to confirm the spelling of a word, sometimes it’s to clarify something about a word, and sometimes it’s to find a replacement for a word that I use too often in my writing and need a synonym for it (hence the need for the thesaurus!).

There are several definitions for each word, usually because some words can be used as a noun or a verb or an adjective or an adverb, and they all have different meanings. So, one of the definitions for Standard is that it is a flag or an ensign. Kind of fitting since the article I’ve been quoting is out of a magazine called the Ensign, but that’s not really the definition I’m seeking. So, there are the other three definitions I want to focus on:

Standard – (flag or ensign) 1. a measure serving as a basis or example or principle by which others are judged. 2. the degree of excellence required for a particular purpose. 3. Having recognized and permanent value, authoritative.

Let’s shift gears for a minute and talk about the difference between what I call ‘man-made rules’ and compare them to God’s standards. As far back as we can read in the scriptures, many things have changed and man-made rules have come & gone, but the standards remain the same.

Although I don’t work for the federal government, I work inside a government building. I work for the Gratiot Conservation District. Almost every county in the United States has a conservation district, sometimes referred to as a ‘soil and water conservation district’ and most of these are housed within a USDA Service Center. Inside each service center there are usually four entities: Farm Service Agency, Farm Credit Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Services (or NRCS), and that county’s conservation district. The conservation district office is usually within the NRCS office and we work very closely together.

Because we are located inside the NRCS office, we have to follow all of NRCS Standards & Specifications. It gets annoying, but when a farmer who has never done any erosion controls on his property suddenly wants to start, there are scientific ways that the erosion controls need to be installed in order for them to work (much like building an airplane but a lot less important).

Flip that around to the nit-picky stuff in the federal government. Sometimes I joke that I have to ask permission from NRCS in order to blow my nose, but it’s not far from the truth with things like the storage room in our office. The storage room is used by permission from NRCS, and my conservation district is or is not allowed to use it depending on who’s in charge on their side of the office, and whether or not that person happens to be mad at me that day!

They’ve had a lot of turnover in their side of the office and when a new person comes in and starts trying to boss us around, it doesn’t go over very well. We are usually a great team in our office but I get really defensive if someone comes in and starts trying to boss my employees around and equally as annoyed if someone tries to boss me around.

Right now I have boxes and boxes of stuff that are stacked all around my desk area (office supplies, books and other items that are inventory that’s for sale, outdated files that legally have to be kept for seven years, supplies for our tree sale that only happens twice a year – that kind of thing). When someone new takes over on the NRCS side of the office, that person usually tells me that I can just move all that stuff into the storage room! Then someone else will take over and try to boss me around like I’m their receptionist instead of the administrator (which I really don’t like) and suddenly there’s a need to get ‘my’ stuff out of ‘their’ storage room and so it all gets moved back out and stacked around my desk!

Well we just got another new person again and she told me that I could use the storage room and I told her “no, thank you.” I don’t have time to keep moving all of my boxes. So for now I just work in a little cave surrounded by stacks of boxes. Luckily it’s still a corner office with a view out of two windows, one of which overlooks a beautiful grassy field where deer come to bounce around and play!

But one thing I did in that federal building could have potentially gotten me in a lot of trouble! Apparently I committed a felony during the government shut-down a few years ago when I went into my office to grab some files that I needed. Was I warned ahead of time that I wasn’t allowed to do that? Yes! In writing multiple times as well as verbally! But the silly people gave me a key – what we they thinking!?! My conservation district doesn’t close just because the federal government does and I had to run my business while the government officials in Washington D.C. got their act together. This is where consequences could have really messed me up! I probably could have been fined or received jail time! Thankfully I was forgiven and given a pass…this time.

We too can be forgiven by God for the big things we do wrong as well as the little things.

I do feel sometimes like some of the man-made rules in the church are a bit nit-picky (like the storage room in my office), but those rules are there for a reason. It’s usually because procedures help us all to do things in a uniform manner so that everyone in the Church knows what’s expected of them. I can’t tell you how many times in the 18 ½ years since I was baptized that I’ve been told that I’m not supposed to do ‘this’ or ‘that’ because this or that manual tells us how the Church wants it to be done. I sometimes roll my eyes, shake my head and try to do it ‘the right way’ and kind of grumble to myself about what a silly rule it is!

Sometimes these rules change with the times. I’m sure that the rules that helped guide the pioneers safely out to the Salt Lake Valley are quite different than the rules about which websites are allowed to be access using the church’s Wifi.

But the standards of the Gospel don’t change. It was wrong to murder someone back in the 1800’s just like it’s wrong to murder someone today. Maybe that’s an extreme example, but it’s an example of some of God’s laws that don’t change with the times and don’t change according to pressures from special interest groups or what’s considered politically correct. What’s wrong according to God’s laws is still what’s wrong according to God’s laws.

Brother Glenn Beck mentioned on his radio talk show this week that he had an epiphany while he was off on sick leave this past month. Glenn Beck joined the Church in 1999 after he was already quite famous as a radio talk show host and author. He now owns his own internet news station and has a daily radio and television show. I listen to him frequently, but not every day. He’s kind of extreme and a little crazy, but so am I so who am I to judge. Anyway, back to his epiphany.

He said that he’s decided there is no way we can fix this country politically. He told his listeners that we could change every leader in Washington D.C. and we will still be in trouble as a country until we change ourselves.

Coming back from a four-week doctor prescribed ‘vacation’ he said he has a more clear understanding of what will work and what won’t work. He says “our problems stem from us!” and the reason he believes that is that while he was gone he got all his news from Facebook. He didn’t check any network news, no Drudge Report, no newspapers or magazines, not even the news network or website that he owns. He says he got all his news from ‘you’ (meaning his listeners, friends and family on Facebook) and he decided that this is where everyone else gets their news as well.

So he decided to evaluate what is trending on Facebook and ponder what people are reading about. The stories he got were telling about the American culture: Planned Parenthood and Cecil the Lion. There was also the shooting in Tennessee, but those were the only stories that he saw come to the forefront. He said that he realized that the problem is within us, but so is the solution!

He said that the world is suffering from a real illness that stems from peoples lack of faith in the individual and faith in God. He said that there is no political solution, no financial solution, nor military solution. He quoted Gandhi and told his listeners what Gandhi said about Christians: that there is so much dynamite in the New Testament of the Bible that it could shake the foundations of the western world, if not the whole world, that there’s enough dynamite in the New Testament to revolutionize everything, but Christians just won’t see it or just won’t do it.

Brother Beck said that maybe the solution is so simple, so easy, that we either fail to recognize it or fail to see that it actually has power because we’ve become disillusioned.

But it’s the only thing that you can actually change, and that’s you! You can’t control others, you can’t control situations. You sometimes can’t even control yourself. But, he said, living a set of principles does change the world, and changing you as an individual changes the world. He then shared a bit of history.

He talked about how ancient cities all had walls to defend themselves, and that if a city didn’t have a wall, it would be overtaken by the enemy and torn apart. He talked about how the walls are much easier to defend than to rebuild, but that it is possible. So he told a little tale about a leader of a city going to one guy, we’ll call him Ted for now. This leader goes to Ted and says: could you just rebuild this little section of the wall behind your house? Then he goes to Phil next door and says: can you rebuild this little section of the wall behind your house? And he continues all the way around the city until he has talked to every person who lives next to the edge of the city and pretty soon the whole wall has been rebuilt because each person just focused on his little section of the wall.

I (Julie) sometimes feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. I wish I could wave a magic wand and fix all the problems of the world. I wish I could provide food for the hungry and water to the people in the desert who are thirsty, and jobs for the people who can’t find them, and treatments for every illness. But, I can’t and nor should I. I can only focus on my little section of the wall – my little corner of the world!

I used to question how my job is important to the world and then I saw the news story about the city of Toledo last summer when they had so much algal bloom in their water that they couldn’t even draw drinking water out of it for. Drinking water is the most important thing in the world. We, as humans, can survive without a lot of things, but not without water. I promise that if the internet stops working, you will live through it. If they stop making Twinkies, you will live through it. If you don’t have drinking water, it won’t be long before you will not be able to sustain life. So, that makes what I do for a living one of the most important jobs around.

How does preventing soil erosion in central Michigan prevent algal blooms in Toledo, you ask? Fair question. Everything we do on the land affects the water, and we are headwaters of three watersheds. Gratiot County is not just the geographic center of Michigan, but it’s also a high point at which all water flows away from a central point. Kind of like the tip of a mountain, except it’s a very small mountain that is barely detectable without a GPS unit. What we do in central Michigan affects a lot of people and saving sediment and nutrients (like agricultural runoff and failing septic systems) from entering the water helps to provide fresh water for people downstream.

Our water flows into the Saginaw Bay, into Lake Huron, and eventually down to Lake Erie where it could theoretically affect the City of Toledo! I don’t think that we actually caused their problems, but hopefully you can see my point. I can’t solve the problems of the world, but I can help in my little corner of the world. I can rebuild my section of the fence!

One of my philosophies in life, and one of my goals, is to live my life in a way in which I am learning and growing everyday. I know that I’m not perfect, but I also know that I don’t have to use my imperfections to dismiss or excuse my behavior.

In John 8:7 in the New Testament we are taught the story of the woman who was taken in adultery and brought before Jesus for judgment. We often use that story as a means of teaching that none of us is perfect because we focus on the sentence: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

But, Jesus didn’t say to her ‘It’s okay that you’re sinning. I understand that you just wanted to live your life freely and go out and experience the exciting things in life and be free to explore and experiment.”

No, He said: “Go, and sin no more.”

Elder Packer summed it up like this: “We must not be deceived or give heed to those who would attempt to convince us that God’s standards have changed. They (people) have no authority to change the standards. Only the designer, Heavenly Father can change the specifications.

“All of us easily recognize how ridiculous it would be for a supplier of airplane parts to listen to some uninformed individual who promotes making changes to the specifications or tolerances of a part. None of us would want to fly in an airplane manufactured with such a part.

“Likewise, no one can accuse an airplane manufacturer of being unthoughtful or intolerant when it rejects such parts. The manufacturer would not allow itself to be intimidated or bullied into accepting parts that could not be certified. To do so would jeopardize its business and the lives of the passengers who might fly in its airplanes.

“The same is true with God’s laws and commandments. His standards are fixed, and no on can change them. Individuals who think they can will be greatly surprised in the Final Judgment.”

I want to live my life in a way that is pleasing to the Lord, and I know that I sin way more than I want to. I am weak. I need the atonement and forgiveness that Jesus promised me. Every day I want to get just a little bit better at staying true to God’s standards. I want to do as He taught: to go…and sin no more.

I say these things in the name of my Savior and your Savior, even Jesus Christ. Amen.

What's your opinion about the unchanging standards of the gospel? -Julie L. Spencer

Click here to read the entire article from the August, 2015 Ensign. Scroll down and click on 'Download the August Issue.'

Click here to listen to podcasts of Glenn Beck's radio program. The podcast I was quoting from was broadcast on 8/4/15.

For more information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, go to Mormon.org.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Pheasant Run 5K Run/Walk July 11th 2015

The Gratiot Conservation District is hosting a 5K Run/Walk to raise awareness about the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative (MPRI) and to support local conservation efforts in the central Michigan area.

The Pheasant Run 5K Run/Walk will be held at the Jailhouse Trail in McNabb Park in Ithaca, Michigan on Saturday July 11th starting at 9:00 a.m.

Race Website: https://runsignup.com/Race/MI/Ithaca/PheasantRun5kTrailRunWalk

Early Registration: Adults - $25, Students 18 and under - $15. Deadline is July 4th
Late Registration: Adults - $30 , Studens 18 and under - $20.
Late Registration at site only after July 4th (Do not mail forms after July 4th)

Event will be chip timed by CHT Timing Services

For more information, contact:
Julie Spencer
Gratiot Conservation District Administrator
301 E. Commerce Dr.
Ithaca, MI 48847
Email: julie.spencer@macd.org

Sunday, May 24, 2015

How to Toilet Train a Cat Using CitiKitty

Please excuse our mess...we are toilet training our cats!

Stop laughing!!!

I have pictures to prove it works!

To put it bluntly, I hate cats. Okay, I hate cat litter! I hate the way it smells. I hate the way it gets all over the floor. I hate having to scoop it! I would like my cats a lot better if they didn't have to use cat litter!

So I heard about CitiKitty and thought I'd give it a try. Any cat over the age of three months can be trained (as long as they don't have any health issues). Our cats are just about a year old, so they're old enough to know better and still young enough to learn well.

CitiKitty is a system that requires a little bit of patience, but if you've ever trained a child how to use the toilet, this will seem EASY in comparison!

The first step is to move the cat litter into the bathroom, and that was easy for us because it's always been in the bathroom! I also read that you should move the cat litter up to the level of the toilet so that the cats get in the habit of jumping up to use the litter.

We got the CitiKitty delivered May 14, 2015 and basically just let the cats play with the box, then we moved the litter up on the dog cage, which was perfectly level with the toilet!

Next we got some flushable litter and gradually began transitioning to the new litter.

We put the CitiKitty tray in the toilet and filled it with litter, but we waited to take the regular litter box out of the bathroom for a few days. We just let them play and explore.

On the day that we removed the litter box, we put the CitiKitty tray on the floor right in the spot that the litter box has sat for months. That way they associate that location with using the litter. Except now their litter box was much smaller!

They were a little apprehensive about it, but within about 24 hours, they were using it without a problem. They were making a big mess, but I kept reminding myself that this would all be worth it!

On Sunday, May 24th I moved the CitiKitty tray up onto the toilet and crossed my fingers. Gus was the first one to use the potty and it almost didn't happen! I was standing at the sink getting my makeup on & getting ready for church when I saw Gus poking around in the corner where her litter box normally is. Suddenly she squatted down like she was going to pee. I scooped her up and plopped her onto the CitiKitty tray on the toilet and sure enough, she went! Whew! That was a close call. That was when I decided the cats should stay in the bathroom for the day until they were both successfully using the potty.

Finally later in the evening, Stormy used the potty with no problem and I was able to snap a photo of it!

So, this stage is considered Step Two (CitiKitty Training Seat on the toilet, litter box completely gone from the house) and we have to stay at this stage for one week, or in our case two weeks because we have two cats!

The next few stages involve removing the inserts from the Training Seat gradually until eventually they are using the toilet with no training seat at all. With two cats, this should take about twelve weeks. This is going to be fun!

Have you tried the CitiKitty Cat Toilet Training System? What's your opinion?
-Julie L. Spencer

After I'm all done training them, I'd like to eventually get the automatic flushing system!

Here's the flushable litter we used:

Cats respond to praise and treats!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Secret to Having the Perfect Mother's Day

The secret to having the perfect Mother’s Day is to not expect to have the ‘perfect’ Mother’s Day!

It’s not about you anyway. It’s about your mother. No matter what else she has done, she CHOSE to bring you into this world and that makes her special.

If your mother is still living on this earth, please call her. I know she’d love to hear from you.

If she is no longer living on this earth, take a moment and thank God for whatever time you had together.

If you’ve never met your mother, try to ponder who she was, what she was like, what circumstances in her life caused her to be separated from you.

If you saw your mother yesterday, call her anyway!

If you haven’t talked to her in years, and have some fences to mend, by all means, make an attempt to mend them! Life is too short not to offer forgiveness and reconciliation!

If YOU are a mother, don’t expect anything from anyone else to MAKE this a perfect Mother’s Day. There’s no such thing!

It’s not about the gifts (or lack thereof), it’s not about the breakfast in bed (or the people who forgot to even wish you a Happy Mother’s Day), it’s not about spending time together, or a nice meal, or being pampered.

It’s about celebrating the gift of LIFE and God’s plan to bring His children into this world through mothers! Happy Mother’s Day! –Julie L. Spencer

Friday, April 17, 2015

How to Lose Weight Using Regular Food

Click here to learn more about how the Take Shape for Life program works.

Click here to learn more about the 5&1 Plan.

Click here to learn more about Lean & Green meals.

On the 5&1 Plan, you’ll eat one Lean & Green meal and five fueling breaks. I highly recommend using the Medifast Portion Controlled Meal Replacements (PCMRs), but you don’t have to use them to succeed on the program. I used the PCMRs and I lost 40 pounds in six months and have kept it off! If you’d rather use regular food from the grocery store, below is a list of choices. I can act as your free Health Coach either way. If you’d like to know more about becoming a Health Coach, check out my website. You don’t have to be thin or perfectly healthy (I’m not!) to become a Health Coach, just willing to learn and help others. But for now, take a look at this list of fueling break choices.

Fueling Breaks

Your fueling breaks should provide about 100 calories each and give you a steady, balanced stream of energy throughout your waking hours. You will need to eat five of these per day about two-three hours apart. You will also need to eat one Lean & Green meal per day. Let me know if you’d like to talk more about this and I’ll coach you through the program!

Sample Fueling Breaks:

One PCMR (Click here to learn more about Portion Controlled Meal Replacements)
Cheese & tomato – One portion size of two AA batteries of natural cheese such as cheddar or Monterey Jack with one sliced tomato
Endive and tuna salad. One endive leaf with one tablespoon tuna salad prepared with hummus in place of mayonnaise.
Three ounces of mixed nuts (a small handful)
Ten almonds and a celery stick
29 pistachios
Twelve cashews
Twenty peanuts
Two tbsp sesame seeds
Four Brazil nuts (great for getting your selenium!)
½ sliced apple with three walnuts
½ apple with two tsp natural peanut butter – make sure it’s all-natural peanut butter (nothing other than peanuts and salt)
½ cup fresh strawberries and two tbsp light whipped topping
One cup fresh cherries
One medium apple
½ cup blueberries or strawberries with a dollop of yogurt
One orange
One pear
½ peach with two tbsp yogurt
Two cups raspberries
30 raisins
Fresh veggie mix – one cup broccoli, red pepper, cauliflower with one tbsp low-fat ranch dressing (Kraft makes a low-fat ranch without high-fructose corn syrup! Check the labels if you buy any other brand!)
Six pieces basil, sliced tomato, and hummus
Herbal lentils and one tomato
Celery sticks with one tbsp natural peanut butter
One cup fresh spinach salad with olives
¼ cup egg salad with lettuce or endive
Half small avocado
Cauliflower (size of a paperback)
One cup tomato and cucumber soup
¼ cup guacamole – combine avocado, tomato, lime juice, and hot pepper to taste
Basil, one tomato, and hummus
Grilled portobello mushroom sprinkled with cheese
Five cherry tomatoes with one portion cheddar cheese (size of two AA batteries)
½ cup endive and cottage cheese spread – in a food processor or blender, mix cottage chees, red pepper, fresh parsley, chives, and chopped jalapeno. Spread on endive.
Eggplant pizza slice – sprinkle a slice of eggplant with oregano and roast. Melt cheese on top
One cup vegetarian chili
½ cup edamame (soybeans)
½ red bell pepper dipped in three tbsp hummus
½ cup cucumber slices
One large dill pickle
One Carrabolla (starfruit)
Two cups baby carrots
Three celery sticks with 1 tsp natural peanut butter
¼ cup hummus and avocado dip with three celery stalks
One cup mashed lentils and tomatoes
Vegetables and dip – choose either ½ cup cucumber slices, six celery sticks, six slices red pepper, or ½ cup raw broccoli florets and dip into two ounces fat-free, sugar-free ranch dressing
One cup bean and chickpea salad – toss diced celery, green pepper, cooked red beans, cooked chickpeas, and fresh parsley together with low-calorie balsamic vinaigrette
1/3 cup cottage cheese and ½ medium tomato
One Yoplait Light Smoothie
½ cup low-fat cottage cheese with five strawberries
One serving of string chees
Three ounces frozen nonfat yogurt
One square 70% or higher dark chocolate with five almonds
One whole deviled egg – cut a hard-boiled egg in half, mix the yolk with hummus, and fill the egg
One cup of soup (cream of tomato, cream of chicken, chicken noodle, or vegetable
One slice Wasa crispbread with one ounce smoked salmon
One slice whole grain bread (such as Fiber for Life) with two ounces fat-free turkey breast
½ cup couscous with celery sticks
Four slices Melba toast
One slice Wasa crispbread and ½ sliced tomato

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Book Review of Embraced by the Light by Betty J. Eadie

Embraced by the Light by Betty J. Eadie should be read by everyone in the world! Whether you believe in God or don’t believe in God, this book will inspire you to question what you think you know. It is the true story of Betty’s (near) death experience. She has a remarkable story before, during, and after her experience and I couldn’t put the book down. Within just a few days I had to read the second book in the series, The Awakening Heart: My Continuing Journey to Love. It tells the stories of what has happened since she first published Embraced by the Light. In her third book, The Ripple Effect, Betty answers some of her readers’ frequently asked questions. It is recommended that these three books be read in order, but once you read them you’ll want to go back and start at the beginning! Very inspiring books! Have you read Embraced by the Light? What’s your opinion? –Julie L. Spencer

Check out Betty J. Eadie's other two books:

I recently lost 42 pounds on the Take Shape for Life program! Want to check out my weight loss transition? Click here! -Julie L. Spencer

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Overlook by Julie L. Spencer

Stephanie has the perfect marriage…for a few weeks. When tragedy leaves her all alone on a cold mountain road in the middle of Tennessee, she feels all hope for happiness is lost.

Finding her way home to her roots in northern Michigan, she longs for solace. Instead, she finds herself overlooking the Au Sable River at the edge of the Huron National Forest and she’s intrigued by the possibility of escape. A handsome park ranger named Matt provides the escape she needs and saves her in more ways than one.

When confusion and temptation replace her sadness, Stephanie feels that the only way to turn things around is to help Matt find the Gospel, and hope that he can choose a better path in life.

But can she?

Can Stephanie overlook her past to find her best chance for love?

What's your opinion? -Julie L. Spencer

Here's an old photo of my inspiration for the location of The Overlook:

My first novel, The Cove is now available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle version.

Read Excerpts from The Cove on my blog:

First Kiss

Chapter One

The Funeral

I recently lost 42 pounds on the Take Shape for Life program! Want to check out my weight loss transition? Click here! -Julie L. Spencer

Read excerpts from my other novels here!
All of my novels fall into the New Adult Contemporary Christian genre. What is that? Click here!

Want to purchase my first novel, The Cove?The Cove?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Incense Is Symbolic of Prayer

I’ve always loved the smell of incense, and I knew it was mentioned in the Bible, but I didn’t realize its significance until I was studying in Exodus, Chapter 30, verses 7-8.

Most everything in the Bible involves symbolism – using a simple object or concept to represent something much more spiritual or profound. In this case, incense is a symbol of prayer!

Here is some background information from my study manual, and then I’ll pull it all together:

In Revelation 5:8 the people worshiping the Lamb (Jesus) had “golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the Saints.”

In Revelation 8:3-4 an angel was given incense that he should “offer it with the prayers of all the Saints…and the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the Saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.”

Psalm 141:2 “Let my prayer be set before thee as incense.”

So, going back to Exodus Chapter 30:7-8, “Aaron shall burn…incense every morning” and evening, “a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.”

Putting it all together: Incense represents that we should pray always, but at the very least every morning and evening that our prayers may be lifted to God’s ears like smoke from incense rises to heaven!

It is my prayer that we should every one of us remember to lift our voices and call upon God for all that we need and to thank Him for all that we have! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

What are your thoughts about prayers, incense or symbolism? What’s your opinion? –Julie L. Spencer

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Cove by Julie L. Spencer

My first novel, The Cove is now available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle version. But what is it?

The Cove is a New Adult Contemporary Christian romance about an Olympic swimmer named Gail - a selfish, spoiled brat who destroys the lives of the three men who love her!

Okay, I’m being overly dramatic. But seriously, she’s not a very nice person.

From page one it’s very obvious that she’s going to end up falling in love with Todd. I’m not giving away the plot with that tidbit of information.

But she starts off the story by getting engaged to a man who she doesn’t really love (Stephan) at a time when she’s supposed to be waiting for her boyfriend (Patrick) to return from the Philippines where he’s been serving as a missionary.

Todd is Patrick’s best friend and is furious with Gail when she gets engaged to Stephan, understandably. They get into an argument and then they fall in love. End of story.

Okay, just kidding! That’s the beginning of the most confusing four months of Gail’s life. Now she’s waiting for Patrick, engaged to Stephan (by mistake) and in love with Todd. Except she doesn’t realize that she’s in love with Todd, until it’s too late.

One bad choice leads to another and then another and soon she’s in way over her head - pun intended! Several bonfires, one world championship swim meet, and a few trips to the cemetery, and this story takes on a life of its own.

Grab your box of Kleenex before you get to chapter nineteen, and don’t let the kids read chapter eleven! Have you read The Cove yet? What’s your opinion? –Julie L. Spencer

Read Excerpts from The Cove on my blog:

First Kiss

Chapter One

The Funeral

Read excerpts from my other novels here!
All of my novels fall into the New Adult Contemporary Christian genre. What is that? Click here!

Want to purchase my first novel, The Cove?The Cove?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book Review of The Cove by the Author Julie L. Spencer

I’ve written many book reviews over the years for others. Now I have finally published my first novel, The Cove and I decided to write a book review of it! I’m highly analytical in my reviews and want to approach this one in a similar manner. I like to analyze the characters, plot structure, a little bit of plot summary, how I felt when reading the novel, and what I liked & disliked. I also like to give an indication about whether the book was predictable and whether I’d read it again. Before I begin, I want to address the biggest criticism I’ve received about The Cove. I’ve been told that it doesn’t explain well enough the jargon that I use with regards to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is some truth to that in that there are a few uses of jargon in the first few pages that are more ‘foreshadowing’ and if the reader continues reading, a good deal of the confusion would be cleared up. I’ve also been told that the beginning of the book is a bit slow, but that if you could get past the first couple of chapters, you won’t be able to put it down. I don’t see that personally. But, I’m a bit biased! Now, on to the actual book review:

The Cove is a unique novel. I’ve never found a book quite like it. Not to insinuate that it is better or worse than any other novel, I’ve just never found one like it. It is too romantic to be a Christian novel but way too Christian (and clean!) to be a romance novel. It’s a bit scandalous in that the two main characters enter into an inappropriate relationship prior to marriage. But that is one of the main themes of the story; that waiting for intimacy until marriage is a very difficult thing to do. Another main theme is that the power of repentance is real and important! Another unique characteristic of The Cove is that the main female is not a heroine! She is a selfish, spoiled brat who destroys the lives of the three men who love her! Most people will not relate to her and will not like her very much. That’s okay. The reader falls in love with Todd, who is the real protagonist in the story, and the reader feels sorry for the other two gentlemen who (for some reason) love Gail. The plot of The Cove has a couple of interesting twists and at least one surprise that either shocks the reader or leaves them a feeling of ‘I knew it!’ There is a happy little ending that ties things up nicely, a lot of romance, and even a few (chapters worth of) tears! I’ve read The Cove many times, and would read it again in a heartbeat. I highly recommend it! Have you read The Cove? What’s your opinion? –Julie L. Spencer

Read excerpts from my other novels here!
All of my novels fall into the New Adult Contemporary Christian genre. What is that? Click here!

Want to purchase my first novel, The Cove?The Cove?

Check out a couple of excerpts from The Cove as well as the disclaimer I wrote just after finishing the novel:

First Kiss...excerpt from The Cove

Excerpt from The Cove: Chapter One

The Funeral...excerpt from The Cove

Disclaimer for The Cove

Read other book reviews I've written!

Read excerpts from my second novel, The Farmer's Daughter, which I plan to publish later this year!

Excerpt from The Farmer's Daughter...I told you that I tip well!

A Lovely Morning...excerpt from The Farmer's Daughter

I recently lost 42 pounds on the Take Shape for Life program! Want to check out my weight loss transition? Click here! -Julie L. Spencer