Month: December 2015

Ringing in the New Year—Questions that Form Story by Francine Rivers

Happy New Year’s Eve, readers! As we look forward to a promising new year and all the blessings that are to come, it is important to reflect on all that God has done for us as 2015 draws to a close. Sometimes, it is easy to follow His path but often times, we question where He may be leading us only to end up somewhere more wonderful than we could have ever desired.

          As believers, we all ask questions of the Lord. Author Francine Rivers uses these questions as the seeds in which to grow all of her stories. Read below as Francine takes us through the questions she asked of God as she prepared to begin a new story.


Almost every story I have written since becoming a Christian has come from a question that regards a struggle in my own faith walk.   The plot centers around the different ways that question can be answered by “the world” – but the quest is to find God’s answer.

Here is a list of my novels with the questions that started each story:

A Voice in the Wind:  How do I share my faith with unsaved family members and friends who have no desire to read the Bible or hear me talk about my faith?

An Echo in the Darkness:  How many times are we called upon to forgive people who hurt us deliberately — and (in many countries) would like to see us dead?

As Sure As the Dawn:   How do you deal with anger – especially when there is “good” cause?  What is “righteous anger” and how does it look?

The Scarlet Thread What does “sovereignty” mean in man’s relationship with God?  If He is in control of everything, what does that say about the bad things that happen to people?


The Atonement Child:  Is there complete forgiveness and restoration for a woman who has aborted her child?  Does abortion have any effect on the woman and the man involved in the crisis pregnancy?  Does it impact people around them?  (This was my most painful and personal book because I needed to face and deal with my own abortion experience.  The character of Hannah is based on my story; Evie is based on my mother’s.)


The Last Sin Eater What is the difference between guilt and conviction?  This book came out of The Atonement Child.  What I learned:  guilt kept me imprisoned for years.  Conviction sent me to my knees before the Lord where I received forgiveness and experienced His love and grace.


Leota’s Garden:   Are abortion and euthanasia connected?  Is euthanasia merciful or an act of murder?  This novel also came out of my work on The Atonement Child.  While studying the abortion issue from all sides, I realized the arguments for abortion are exactly the same as those for euthanasia.  While going through a post-abortion class with other women (one a nurse), I learned that the elderly are already at risk.   One scene in the book continues to shock people.  I wrote it for that purpose.  I want people to understand life is precious.  The movement toward legalizing euthanasia continues to gain momentum (and has less to do with “mercy” than saving money for care).


And the Shofar Blew: What is a church?  How do you build it?  During my travels around the country and speaking at various churches, I saw many struggling through building projects and massive programs to draw more parishioners.  Size of building and number of people in the pews seemed to define success or failure.  Like a government out of control, the “church” (in many cases) has forgotten its foundation and purpose.   Christ is the cornerstone.   Believers meet together to study the Word of God, worship Him and encourage one another – and keep their doors and hearts open to those seeking God.  Unfortunately, too many congregations have left their first love (Jesus Christ) and turned to idolatry (placing a building/drawing a crowd/being “politically correct” above a relationship with the Lord).


Her Mother’s Hope / Her Daughter’s Dream:  What caused the rift between my grandmother and mother?   When my grandmother had a stroke, my mother raced from Oregon to the Central Valley of California to be with her.  Grandma died before she arrived.  My mother was heart-broken and said, “I think she willed herself to die just so we wouldn’t have to talk things out.”  I have wondered since:  What causes people (even Christians) to hold grudges?   What might have brought resolution and restoration to these two women?  Could my grandmother have loved my mother without my mother understanding it?



Happy New Year! 

A Favorite Christmas Memory by Francine Rivers

Morning, Crazy4Fiction friends! With the holidays upon us, we are reflecting on what this time means and some precious moments that make this time so special. Francine Rivers is on the blog today sharing one of her most prized memories from this special time.


A friend asked me what my most memorable Christmas was. That’s easy.  Rick and I were married on December 21, 1969.  I’ve thought since then, what a terrible thing to do to my family – have a wedding so close to Christmas – but it was the only day we could get the church.  Rick was a Marine and the Vietnam War was raging, and we didn’t want to wait.

We had an evening candlelight wedding at the Pleasanton Presbyterian Church and our reception at Haps Restaurant.  We didn’t leave until very late, and we were both tired.  We drove all of ten miles and checked into a hotel on the outskirts of Livermore and shared a bottle of champagne my father had given Rick for the occasion.  The next day, we headed for our honeymoon “lodge”, the Rivers’ family cabin in Pinecrest, a tiny town nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  It had snowed.  A lot!  We had to trek through piles of it and dig our way into the cabin.  Rick built a nice fire in the Franklin stove while I got dinner ready: fried chicken and boiled artichokes.  After dinner, we settled into the lumpy hide-a-bed in front of the Franklin stove because the bedroom felt like a storage freezer. 

We awakened to rats invading the aircraft potty that served as a garbage can in the kitchen.  Rick banged the coal shovel on the floor and we heard the noisy scurry of several LARGE rats.  They came back quickly, and were not again frightened by shovel or shouting.  Perhaps if Rick had had his M14!  We moved into the bedroom and let the rats enjoy their Christmas dinner in peace.  When we returned for the family Christmas Eve gathering, everyone teased the newlyweds about their three day honeymoon in a frigid, rat-infested cabin with snow up around the windows. 

Over the years, we have gone away for a few days to a nice hotel in Monterey, San Francisco, or somewhere along the Mendocino Coast.  We have a nice restaurant dinner out or served in our room.   After 45 years of marriage (46 this year), we still consider that first Christmas together one of our fondest memories – rats and all. 

Francine and Rick

Holiday Cookie Recipe by Francine Rivers

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE hearing new holiday recipe. Today, author Francine Rivers is sharing her favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe with us!


I’ve made — and eaten — all kinds of cookies over the years, but my personal favorites, as many of you may already know, are chocolate chip cookies.  My mom baked them on a regular basis when I was growing up.  Later, when I had children of my own and we all went north to visit my folks in Oregon, Mom made sure the cookie jar was full.  As soon as the car was in park, we’d stampede into the house and head for the kitchen.


Now, I make chocolate cookies once a week for our Tuesday evening Bible study.  So far, no one has complained about having the same snack each week.  I use the same recipe my mom used (from the back of the yellow Nestle’s Chocolate Chip bag), but I’ve added my own personal touch.


2 sticks (1 cup) of salted butter (softened on a window sill – not a microwave)

1 tablespoon of pure vanilla

¾ cup of white granulated sugar

¾ cup brown sugar (pressed down firmly so that it comes out in a ¾ cup lump!)

2 large eggs

Put the above ingredients together and mix with a wooden spoon until creamy.

2 and ¼ cups of Golden Medal flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pour flour on top of the creamy mixture, sprinkle salt and baking soda on top of the flour and then mix everything together. 

Add chocolate chips.  I usually buy those big bags from Costco, cup both hands together and add two “scoops” to the dough.   In other words, don’t be stingy with the chips!

Add Heath Bar toffee chips.  I cup one hand and fill my palm with these chips and sprinkle them over the dough, then stir everything together. 

I bake the cookies on stoneware (Pampered Chef) at 345 degrees until golden brown around the edges.   (If they’re golden brown in the center, you’ve burned them.)  I’ve learned there are lots of people like me who prefer their cookies slightly UNDER cooked.  Maybe it’s a throwback to our childhood when we wanted to eat the dough before Mom pushed the cookie sheets into the oven! 

Once baked, leave the cookies on the stone, allow them to“relax” and cool before you move them onto a cooling rack.  You must be warned.  If you remove them too soon, the cookies will be very gooey and then you will just have to eat them all yourself because they won’t look pretty enough to put on a plate for company. 

Last step:  pour a nice tall glass of cold milk and take a cookie break! 

Keep up with Francine Rivers on her Facebook page.

Happy baking, friends!

Christmas Mail and Friendship: Thoughts on Holiday Correspondence by Francine Rivers

The Christmas season is often synonymous with checking in with friends, both old and new. Below, author Francine Rivers shares her thoughts on one of her favorite holiday traditions.


I have all kinds of reasons why I love the Christmas season, the most important of which is celebrating the birth of my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  But one of the things I anticipate with great delight is the arrival of yearly newsy letters from relatives and friends who only write once a year.  Some don’t have email or computers and write lovely, long-hand letters filled with happenings.  I have several friends who love to explore the world.  Being in their sixties doesn’t stop them from climbing mountains, riding rapids, camping in Argentina or Peru, mountain biking with grandchildren.  I can’t wait to read where they’ve been and what they’ve been up to over the last twelve months.


Not all my friends are in their sixties. My mother said, “If you only make friends your own age, someday you’ll end up with no friends at all.”  This was at a time in her life where opening Christmas cards had become somewhat depressing because they carried news of yet another friend’s spouse having passed through the Pearly Gates. 

Friends come in all ages.  As you get older, age doesn’t matter.  What does is to find friends who talk with you and listen, who share their stories and are interested in yours.  I enjoy my golden oldies (friends I’ve known since grade school) and those I have just met through a class or through a friend.  I met one good friend at a book signing.

Cherish those old friends, but don’t be afraid to add new ones.  Friendship keeps life full and interesting. 


In need of a stocking stuffer this year?

The Shoebox

Francine Rivers The Shoe Box E-book is only $1.99.

Get this Christmas e-novella now.

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