Girls Write Out
Monday, January 21, 2013

SafeInHisArms New

It's always exciting when a new book releases, and Safe in His Arms is in bookstores right now. I am going to give away 3 copies, but I'd like to do something a little more fun with this giveaway, so I'm posting the Reader Letter for the book, and the first chapter. I'd like you to share either something you've had to work on about loving yourself or something you particularly like (or dislike) about the character.  Ready, set, GO!

Dear Reader,

I hope you enjoy Safe in His Arms as much as I did writing it! There’s a lot of me in Margaret. Growing up, I always felt awkward and unattractive. I was taller than every boy in my class until I was in the seventh grade. I hated my wavy hair and ironed it when I got to high school in the sixties. I wanted blue eyes not brown. My feet were too big, and so were my hips. Sound familiar? :)

Women are indoctrinated from infancy about beauty. We feel we must be superwoman and have it all: beauty, brains, a good work ethic, great with children, a good cook. The list is long, isn’t it? I think it’s particularly hard for women to accept the unconditional love God offers. We are so used to being held to such a high standard—and failing—that we feel we can never measure up.

What a blessing when we realize that we don’t have to. God loves us, warts and all. We are safe in his arms. Safe to tell him our dreams, our fears, our failings. Safe to relax in his uncondi- tional love.

I love hearing from you! E-mail me anytime at colleen@ colleencoble.com.

Love, Colleen

One

The town of Larson, Texas, was busy on this warm February day. Cowboys in their dusty boots eyed the women attired in their best dresses strolling the boardwalks. Margaret O’Brien strode down the boardwalk in front of the feed store toward the mercantile. Things seemed to change daily with new stores sprouting like winter wheat. It seemed daily more cowmen arrived to Larson, drawn by the lush grazing land and the water in the Red River.

Pa should be around here somewhere. She nodded to the ladies clustered in front of the general store, the familiar discomfort washing over her. Why couldn’t she look like them? No matter how hard Margaret tried, she remained what she was: too tall and more at home with her hands gripping horse reins than a teacup. She ducked into the store and inhaled the aroma of cinnamon, bootstrap, sweat, and pickles. She busied herself with collecting material for their housekeeper, who had a bee in her bonnet about making curtains.

A cluster of women were talking in hushed whispers about the latest Zulu atrocity in Africa. These early months of 1879 had been full of the bloody battles. Hearing such things always made Margaret wince, remembering her brother’s death at the hands of the Sioux. At least a national monument had been established earlier this year in memory of those who fell during the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

The women fell silent when Margaret paused. “Good morn- ing,” she said in as confident a voice as she could muster. “Anyone know what kind of material to buy for curtains? I thought this was pretty.”

When she held up a lilac-flowered material, one of the women tittered, a tiny blonde Margaret had never seen before. Her face burned, and she put the bolt of fabric back.

“How about this one?” a woman said behind her.

Margaret’s heart leaped at the sound of her friend’s voice, and she whirled with a smile. “Lucy, I didn’t know you were in town today. Should you be riding in a wagon in your condition?”

The blond woman laughed again at Margaret’s indelicate mention of Lucy’s pregnancy. Lucy linked arms with Margaret. “I feel fine. You like this fabric? I think Inez will love it.”

Margaret eyed the red-and-white plaid. “It’s a little . . . loud.”

“Cheerful,” Lucy corrected, smiling. Her head high, she led Margaret out of the group. “Silly twits. Now don’t start moaning about how they don’t like you. They don’t know you.” Lucy shook her head. “And they won’t bother to get to know you if you don’t take a little more care when you come to town.”

Margaret smoothed her hands on her rough skirt. They had come after cattle feed, and she had work to do in the barn when she got home, so she hadn’t bothered to change. She’d nearly put on a nicer dress. “It was too much bother since I had to help load feed.”

“It’s worth it, Margaret.” Lucy glanced at the watch pinned to her dress. “Nate is going to be looking for me.” She hugged Margaret. “I’m so glad I saw you. You’re coming to the party, aren’t you?”

“Sure. I’m not going to dance, but I’ll come keep you company.” Smiling, Margaret watched her friend waddle away. Dear Lucy. She had barreled past Margaret’s prickly exterior, and they’d become fast friends. Lucy was easy to trust. She was all heart.

Margaret had her purchases put on account, then stepped out into the sunshine.

Cattlemen had driven herds of cattle through here more than an hour ago, but the dust and odor still lingered in the air. Her father motioned to her from in front of the stagecoach station. Calvin stood close behind him.

She started toward them, but the man beside him arrested her gaze. He was tall, even taller than her father, which meant he had to be at least six foot three or four inches. She guessed he was in his early thirties. The man’s Stetson was pushed back on his head, revealing shiny brown hair, and his bronzed face was chiseled with planes and angles that spoke of confidence and determination. He cast a lazy grin her way.

Immediately, Margaret’s hackles rose. That kind of self- assurance—arrogance, really—always reminded her of her uncle. She’d had to assert herself strenuously with him around the ranch because he thought a woman’s place was in the kitchen, not in the stockyard. This man was the same type, the sort of man who would demand to be catered to and obeyed. No one who looked that strong and proud would listen to a woman.

She forced a smile. This man was probably nothing like her uncle. But her trepidation slowed her steps. Her father motioned her forward, though, and she reluctantly moved to join them.

Her father put his hand on her shoulder. “Here’s my daughter, Margaret.”

The man’s gaze swept from the top of her head down to the dusty boots just peeking out from underneath her serviceable skirt, and Margaret’s lips tightened. People in Larson were used to her attire, but this man’s eyes widened. He’d probably never seen a woman dressed for ranch work. She wore a man’s chambray shirt, and her red hair hung over her shoulder in a long braid. The bits of cow manure on her skirt and boots didn’t add much to the general picture either. He’d really be shocked if he saw her in her britches when she was helping with the cattle.

She lifted her head and stared him down. His dark eyes betrayed none of his thoughts. She didn’t think she’d ever seen eyes that shade. Like a buckeye nut they were, a rich brown color. Heavy brows accented the strong planes of his face.

Margaret thrust out her hand. “Pleased to meet you. And you are . . . ?”

He could have stared over the top of her head without taking notice of her at all. But he didn’t. He gazed straight into her eyes, and her breath caught in her throat as she felt the magnetic pull of the man.

“Daniel Cutler.” His handshake was firm and as self-confi- dent as his appearance.

Margaret pulled away her hand. “You been in town long, Mr. Cutler?” He’d given his name but not his business here in Larson. Pa seemed almost proprietorial toward him, but she clamped her teeth against the questions clamoring to escape.

“He just got in today,” her father put in eagerly. “He’s our new foreman.”

“New foreman?” Margaret’s heart dipped like a bronco about to arch its back to the sky. “We don’t need a new foreman, Pa. I can handle things by myself. I’ve spent the last ten years of my life proving it.”

Their ranch hand Calvin straightened as well. “That ain’t right, O’Brien. You said if I did a good job, you’d promote me. This shavetail”—he gestured toward Cutler—“ain’t what the ranch needs.”

Her father glared at Calvin. “Get that feed loaded and keep your nose out of my business.” Her father skewered her with an even sterner stare. “Now, Margaret, I told you it’s time you let go of some of these notions about running the ranch by your- self. I’m getting too old to be of much help, and I’d sure like for you to set your mind to finding a husband and giving me some grandchildren.”

Her father’s gaze traveled over Margaret’s apparel, and dis- pleasure shone in his eyes. “Though what man would have you when you make no attempt to look like a woman is another con- cern altogether.”

She had begun to find her composure, but at her father’s words, the blood rushed to her face. They didn’t need to air their disagreements in front of this stranger. Pa had never understood how his words burned her spirit like a brand. She never let on how he hurt her, and she didn’t now. She narrowed her eyes at this stranger who was set to disrupt her life.

Daniel Cutler seemed to be taking it all in with interest, and a small smile played around those firm lips of his. He probably agreed wholeheartedly with her father’s assessment. Like all the rest of the men in her acquaintance, he would be looking for some dainty young thing with a simpering smile and golden curls.

She tossed her head and glared at him. His smile faltered, and she felt a stab of satisfaction. “I’m sorry you’ve come all this way for nothing,” she told him. “But we really don’t need a foreman. Not you and not Calvin.”

“The thing’s done,” her father said. “Toss your belongings into our wagon, Daniel. We’ll head back to the ranch as soon as we get this feed loaded.”

She caught her breath at her father’s blatant dismissal. “Pa . . .”

He held up his hand. “Enough, Margaret. Daniel is here. Zip your tongue and help get the wagon loaded.”

She would not cry. Biting her lip, she walked to the back of the wagon.

Daniel threw his satchel into the wagon. He didn’t wait to be asked but went to the pile of feed sacks and began loading them. His muscular arms handled the heavy bags with ease. For a moment Margaret stared at the muscles in his back as they rip- pled beneath his shirt. In spite of her dislike of the man, he was a fine specimen of masculinity. Other women strolling by paused and cast surreptitious glances his way. Glances he seemed not to notice.

She helped load the sacks, but he threw the heavy bags into the back twice as quickly, with not even a labored breath. She bristled at his strength. He was probably trying to show her up in front of her father. She’d teach him she didn’t need his help—not for loading feed and not for running the ranch.

She and Daniel worked side by side for several minutes until all she could smell was burlap. Daniel tossed the last of the feed into the wagon and turned to her with a grin. “What now, Boss?”

Boss. The way he said the word with a hint of mockery made her grimace. Just as she opened her mouth to put him in his place, shots rang out down the street. Five men, their revolvers blasting at anything that moved, rushed out of the bank and mounted their horses. The horses came thundering toward Margaret.

“Get down!” Daniel tackled her to the dusty ground.

The breath puffed out of her as he fell on top of her. She strug- gled to free herself, but his strong body kept her pinned beneath him. She could smell the clean scent of soap underneath the scent of his skin. Never in her life had she felt so helpless and dependent. And protected. The word whispered through her brain with a gentle allure. 

Colleen Coble  
posted at 9:00 PM  
  Comments (55)
 
 
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55 Comments:
At 9:13 PM, Blogger lookniup33 said...

Oh my...that first paragraph could have been me...I was taller than all the boys too and was wishing for blond hair and blue eyes instead of brown hair and green eyes!...I was intrigued right away and can't wait to read the book! :)

 
At 9:13 PM, Blogger lookniup33 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9:20 PM, Blogger lookniup33 said...

I almost forgot.... what I had to learn to like about myself was being tall. I absolutely hated it thru high school . I felt like I was taller than most of the guys and even was a bridesmaid in a wedding and the guy I was paired with came to my shoulder! I finally learned to accept the way God made me and now I like it! It does help that I met and married a man (23 years ago) that I look up to (he's 6'6")in more ways than height.

 
At 9:21 PM, Blogger Laura Jackson said...

I like that Margaret is tall and not the picture of feminine beauty. Too many books have the perfect, beautiful heroine without a flaw. Always reading about physically perfect characters can give us women a complex. :)

laurelprincess12 at gmail dot com

 
At 9:23 PM, Blogger eliza elliott said...

I agree with others, I was always tall as a girl and was still did I enjoy wearing high heels.

 
At 9:24 PM, Blogger Krista Price said...

Hello Colleen! I grew up in a home where weight was always a concern of my mother, although she had four children and to this day still looks great. I have another sister as well and growing up we were "taught" how to be a proper lady. Growing up I discovered, along with my mother, that I took more from my dad's side of the family then I did hers. I have more curves then her and my sister did. I grew to be more developed in my chest area and was quite embarrassed about it when I was 12. As I've grown older I have grown accustomed to hearing my mom and my sister both express to me that they think I need to weigh less than what I do. I am a healthy 124 pounds and of decent girls height. I was underweight when I got married and now I am where I feel and look my best. Growing up in a home where weight is heavily discussed and unhealthy habits are looked upon as being normal and healthy has been difficult to overcome and I still deal with it on a regular basis. With God's help though, I believe that he has spared me from the kind of thinking that has taken my mom and my sister captive. I am comfortable in my own skin and do not feel the need to change myself just because my mother and sister believe that they have problems with their weight. I continue to ask God to heal them and I continue to thank God for saving me, not just my life in general, but also for saving me from the kind of unhealthy thinking that I grew up around.

 
At 9:30 PM, Blogger Vickie B said...

My problem has always been my weight. I did not have any dates during my school years. I also have a lazy eye that is very noticeable. I always felt no body liked me. Even after all these years I still sometimes struggle with a low self esteem. It is not as bad as it once was, because the Lord has helped me through a lot of it. I am 54 years old now and I have wonderful husband. I thank God for giving me the loving husband I have.

 
At 9:32 PM, Blogger Vickie B said...

Oh, one other thing, I am hearing impaired. I believe people always thought I was stuck up, but that wasn't the case, I was just hard of hearing.

 
At 9:34 PM, Blogger Ruth Smith said...

I grew up in a family with three brothers and a sister. I was a tomboy. Loved to play baseball with my brothers. When I was in high school I was painfully shy. Some thought I was stuck up since I was an excellent student. I was very self-conscious of my appearance. Always longed to be thin but that didn't work on my large frame. As I have matured in my faith I have learned to receive acceptance from God.

 
At 9:38 PM, Blogger AshleyArms said...

Being shy is something I struggled with as a teenager. I made a conscious effort in college to overcome it and now I wouldn't say that I'm shy anymore. I work in the service industry where I work for tips and have chosen to be more friendly and outgoing. It is sometimes still an issue if I'm in an uncomfortable situation though.

 
At 9:42 PM, Blogger Susie said...

Loving myself ? Yikes, that's always been an issue with me. I grew up overweight and bullied in school before bullying was the "in" thing. Ha. That said, I've always had self-esteem issues and it takes awhile for me to be comfortable with people. But, once I am, you're stuck with me for life. =) I've come a long way, but I know I have not conquered the beast entirely. Maybe someday.

 
At 9:47 PM, Blogger lydia said...

Margaret said she had never let on as to how her father's words hurt her. That is how I have been for a long time. Sometimes I tell him (in my case, my husband) or stand up to him, but it usually seems to backfire. Also, I don't know if what I'm doing is right.

 
At 9:52 PM, Blogger Karen Sweeney- Ryall said...

This is not about me but my youngest daughter Natalie. She has long curly hair and in junior high the other girls would tell her that she needed to straighten it with an iron.
They would harass her about it being so curly.
I told her that God made her with curly hair and she should embrace that and be glad hers was natural and she didn't have to pay lots of money for a perm.
She listened and her long curly hair has become one of her favorite features and part of her special identity. I am proud of her for learning to love herself as she was created to be.

 
At 9:58 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

Weight has always been the biggest factor of my dislike for myself. On any other issue I am confident and secure in myself, but one comment about my weight can bring me right back down to tears. I never dated in high school and when I lost weight the summer I graduated I suddenly had men interested in me. The insecurities never left and I remember a lady at church telling me one day I will meet someone who will love me for me. Several years later I met that man, and though my weight has fluxuated, I have never felt insecure with him and he has always loved me for me. The insecurities started to fade and once I had kids the insecruities almost completely gave away. I think children are the closest examples on earth we can see of God's unconditional love, because they love us regardless of what we look like, how much money we make and so on. There are still times I struggle with the insecurites, but I remind myself that those whom matter already love me regardless of anything.

 
At 10:02 PM, Blogger CentralEast2 said...

Hi I have always had the problem of not knowing what to say around others and to keep a conversation going and getting over the silences that would soon evolve. I still don't especially have the gift of gab, but I am able to at least find a bit to talk about when I have to, and accept the silences when I need to.

 
At 10:04 PM, Blogger Diane Kenyon said...

I also struggled with being tall. I also wanted my sister's pretty blonde hair and curvaceous figure (I was stick thin). But 25 years of being married to a wonderful man has helped me see myself as more than just an outward appearance. He sees my inner beauty. Funny thing is, now I wouldn't mind being rail thin again! ;)

 
At 10:05 PM, Blogger Gail H. said...

It took lots of years, age and wisdom, to finally accept myself as I am and not worry about what others think. I had very large breasts as I grew up (at one point size double "eye"). I had reduction surgery a few years ago but it wasn't until I experienced breast cancer over a year ago that I finally was glad to have my "boobs" no matter what size they are. One is slightly smaller than the other one now, but I am cancer free, a survivor, and that's all that matters! God is good and He still has things for me to do!!

 
At 10:18 PM, Blogger Jodi Girl said...

My favorite line is the last, " The word whispered through her brain with a gentle allure." This line is very poetic and full of imagery.

 
At 10:20 PM, Blogger Alisa said...

I too have always struggled with being taller than everyone. I'm right around 7 inches taller than my best friend! With no sisters and three brothers, I can relate to the tomboy side of Margaret.

 
At 10:26 PM, Blogger Dorene Carse said...

Hi Colleen, I have to say, I was so engrossed in the first chapter that I am longing for the rest, Wow!!!

Anywho, I am the opposite of all that, I am the shorter version of tall. I stand 5' 1" and everyone of my siblings towered over me as well as my husband and boys do now. I was not popular in school. I did not go out of my way to meet people but I had friends. But my social life was not one to brag about. I had dates, went steady but never really understanding what I was doing....as I was the youngest of 6 kids and no one there to help me through life. My mother was a bar maid, working the evening shift, my father didnt want anything to do with me cause I was not a boy and my step father died when I was just 10 yrs old. SO I ended up taking care of myself as soon as my youngest brother (who was 5 yrs older than me) married and moved out. I tend to get the cold shoulder from people like Margaret did, and was treated some what like her because I kept to myself...and well, even though I was not tall, I also was not skinny and well, my mother didnt have the money to dress me as I would have liked...but I thank GOD that I grew up the way I did...because if I had any other way of living...Lord knows I would not be where I am today...and love the life I have and have the GOOD LORD in my heart. Everyone has flaws and don't know where life will lead them...BUT with faith and the GOOD LORD....we all will have a better life!!! God Bless you Colleen...because of you, I am reading more (I grew up hating books) and I am living more.

 
At 10:27 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

I am loving all your comments! We are soul sisters, friends. We women are so caught up with insecurities. I know God doesn't want us to feel this way. He made us just the way he wanted us. If only we could get that through our heads!

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger pol said...

thanks for the chance to win one of your books, love to read a lot...
I have been shy all my life and I want to be the one that steps out and talks more-smiles and feels confident.
Thanks for sharing how you feel too.

Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

 
At 10:51 PM, Blogger Elizabeth Dent said...

I consider myself different from Margaret . I was the middle child in the family & the shortest one . Still am short . Always wished I was taller, but the good Lord made me like I am ( short ) . Maybe Margaret & Daniel will get together . This sounds like my kind of book . Would love to be a winner . Thanks

 
At 10:51 PM, Blogger R said...

I too am a lot like margaret. Love all your books, can't wait to read this one!

 
At 11:01 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

I, too, have struggled with my weight all my life. Growing up I felt that all the other girls, even my sisters, were skinnier and prettier than I was. I still feel those insecurities sometimes, but I have a wonderful husband who loves to remind me that I am perfect just the way God made me.
I love that Margaret is a strong character. I love that she has these insecurities that we have all faced.
I can not wait to read the rest of this book! I know it is going to be another GREAT story!!!

 
At 11:01 PM, Blogger Jordan Garner said...

First off, I'd like to say how much of an encouragement it is to read through these comments and know, that with God's love, even the biggest insecurities can be overcome! I've always struggled with weight issues and I am finally beginning to overcome that with hard work, dedication, and a patience that God is teaching me. I'm 24 and I've never been on a date. I've always considered myself too over weight, too pale, too freckly, and, in general, much too flawed. I've always been such a tomboy, I ride horses, I hunt, I travel by myself, I'm trying to forge a career in the aviation industry, and I'm learning about my family's business (a timber management company). I've had numerous people tell me how tenacious and adventurous I am to pursue these interests and I've had many people tell me that I'll be too intimidating and independent to be "wanted" by anyone.
I've also struggled with "father" issues since I was 5. My parents are divorced and my mom has remarried. My step father and I have not always gotten along well. He nor my father, realize the impact their words and action have on my heart and self image. With God, I'm overcoming these insecurities, its just slow-going.

 
At 11:06 PM, Blogger Michelle V said...

Hi Colleen! During college, I struggled with bad acne and being overweight. I really struggled that God, or anyone, could really love me. Thankfully, I had several people who did. I now know that God loves me, regardless! :) (BTW - like you, I had to change my diet for health concerns, and the acne is largely gone, as is the weight!)

 
At 11:13 PM, Blogger Kanga said...

I hav definitely struggled with my weight for most of my life ... never feeling as pretty as others because I weighed more. Ugh. I still battle that today, although I am taking steps to a healthier me!

 
At 11:19 PM, Blogger Annie Davis said...

I had always wanted blue eyes growing up. Until I heard about Amy Carmichael and what she did because of her brown eyes. Even though I have hazel. Being a mother of four little ones soon to be 6 and younger, I love reading your books. They are a way for me to relax and enjoy myself page by page. I have read almost all of your writings and am always wanting more.

 
At 11:20 PM, Blogger Cyndi said...

I really like Margaret because it's obvious that at least *some* of her tomboyishness is due to her insecurities and her need for acceptance from her father. How sad that he doesn't see what his words (or lack of the right ones) have done and are doing to his daughter. It will be fun to see how her walls start coming down. :) God made her (and He makes us) the way He wanted her and as she accepts that, she will see God's purposes be fulfilled in her life in a wonderful way.

And I love her name! I, too, have a Margaret... my 21-yr-old darling daughter, Margaret Elaine. Since the name means "pearl", I have a feeling that we will see that the adversities in her life will bring forth great value both for her and to those around her. Looking forward to this book!!

 
At 11:21 PM, Blogger Annie Davis said...

I had always wanted blue eyes growing up. Until I heard about Amy Carmichael and what she did because of her brown eyes. Even though I have hazel. Being a mother of four little ones soon to be 6 and younger, I love reading your books. They are a way for me to relax and enjoy myself page by page. I have read almost all of your writings and am always wanting more.

 
At 11:22 PM, Blogger Annie Davis said...

I had always wanted blue eyes growing up. Until I heard about Amy Carmichael and what she did because of her brown eyes. Even though I have hazel. Being a mother of four little ones soon to be 6 and younger, I love reading your books. They are a way for me to relax and enjoy myself page by page. I have read almost all of your writings and am always wanting more.

 
At 11:36 PM, Blogger Amanda Stephan said...

I could really relate to Margaret. It almost felt as though she was in my head ~ or heart. Whatever suits you best. :)

I was the only one in school that had red hair. She was flawed. She had a temper. She was...
me.

I'm not tall though, so some things don't apply! What did I have to deal with? The realization that God really does know what He's doing. He made me the way I am/was, and I was wrong to wish myself away. At times, it's a struggle to realize and remember that.

Thanks for the great book, Ms. Coble!

amanda38401 at gmail dot com

 
At 11:43 PM, Blogger Wendy Newcomb said...

I can see myself in Margaret! I didn't have a lot of friends in school and didn't meet my best friend until I was 28 years old, she is about 10 years older than I am, and now 33 years later she is still my best friend. She taught me faith and trust. Also I think she taught me patience and the willingness to accept things that happen and look for the good in everything. I thank God for bringing her into my life.

wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

 
At 11:56 PM, Blogger Katie Harris said...

Oh boy, I had forgotten what it was like when I was younger, to feel so self conscience about everything about me. My freckles, I was to pale, to tall to thin, to flat... ;) Having my babies helped with the last two. But the others I had to really grow in my relatiionship with Christ and see that He made me just how he wanted me.
I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the book! Thank you!

 
At 12:06 AM, Blogger Meghan Gorecki said...

I am still a work in progress about loving my looks. Hips too wide, everywhere else too...well padded. ;)
But what I love already about Margaret is her gumption & strength on the inside, even though she's also insecure & hurt by her father's words. It's a neat balance & I can really relate to her.
mmbbg72493{at}gmail{dot}com

 
At 1:23 AM, Blogger G. said...

The comments are a book in themselves. Truth be known we all have a ton of hang ups, some of us just keep the well hidden.

I can say honestly that you have some wonderful readers, caring beautiful people! No wonder I love your books, you attract goodness.

Thanks for sharing and the giveaway.

 
At 5:35 AM, Blogger ndoles said...

I grew up dirt poor, and always had to wear my older sister's hand-me-downs..Even though Mother altered them to better fit me, they never looked like anything but what they were..hand-me-downs.
I was made fun of at school, and never fit in.
In high school, with the help of my friend that was head majorette, I got the courage to try out for majorette. I had to learn to twirl a baton, and do indricate dance steps. It did not come easy. I practiced all summer. When school started, they had the try-outs. I was so scared! But I made it!

 
At 5:45 AM, Blogger karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this wonderful story...the cover art is beautiful, too

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

 
At 7:30 AM, OpenID lmbartelt said...

What a great question! Growing up, I had trouble seeing the girl in the mirror as beautiful. I felt like I was an ugly duckling. And even when other people said different, I didn't see it. God changed that when I let Him into my life. I felt like my eyes were opened and I could really see myself for the first time. I still struggle with the girl in the mirror sometimes, though.

 
At 8:06 AM, Blogger sandy said...

Weight was my issue growing up. My first grade picture, I am a normal looking 6 yr. old. My second grade picture I am fat. This was in the late 50's. My father deserted our family when I was five. So I lived with the stigma of a split family (that was not the norm) and being obese. There is a relation to the two events, but I discovered that many years later. At 18, I followed by doctors advise and worked hard to lose the weight with diet & jogging. I wore a size 22 1/2 my senior year of HS and at age 23 my wedding dress was a size 10.

 
At 9:05 AM, Blogger teacherprincess said...

I LOVE how this book starts! About five years ago I started on a journey of trying to see myself as God saw me. I started as someone who did even like myself and turned into someone who had more confidence and a love for who God created me to be! I had never figured out why God hadn't brought a man into my life but realized that until I learned to love myself I could accept anyone else truly love me. This coming July I will be having a white dress event with the most amazing man that I could have even imagined. God is good! I still struggle at times with my weight and how I look but I realize that God created me and loves even my freckles!

 
At 11:14 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I find it interesting that no matter how we are made, we always fixate on what we perceive to be our flaws. I've done that my whole life. Now, as I've aged, I see that our flaws are what make us beautiful and unique. I've learned to embrace who I am, as God created me, with joy and a sense of humor.

 
At 11:30 AM, Blogger Brittaney said...

I'm excited for your latest book. One thing I like about Margaret is that she is both confident in her knowledge and ability yet vulnerable about how others might perceive her. It makes her very endearing.

 
At 12:01 PM, Blogger Andrea Cox said...

You've got me wanting to read more, Colleen!

The thing I've had to work on loving about myself is my red hair. I always associated it with my estranged grandmother who tried to kidnap me when I was in the second grade (she always dyed her hair red), so I never liked it about myself. I always begged God to change it. Well, He did. My hair is auburn now, and I absolutely love it. Not only did God change my hair, He also showed me that my hair is my own, and I shouldn't compare it to anyone else, especially someone who wanted to steal me away from my family.

God bless you in your writing, Colleen!

Andrea Cox
andrearenee2004@yahoo.com

 
At 1:46 PM, Blogger Candice Sue Patterson said...

Reading through the comments above, so many women hated being tall. I, on the other hand, live on the opposite end of the height spectrum. I'm only 4' 11" and have had to cope, my entire life, never being able to reach anything. Growing up I held onto the hope that one day I would have that long awaited growth spurt. To my sever disappointment, the doctor looked at my growth plates on an x-ray when I was in 8th grade and told me I was done growing. I cried for days for those supermodel legs I would never have. It wasn't until well into adulthood that I realized God had a purpose for making me short, and He made me exactly the way he wanted me to be. I hardly think about it anymore (until I notice that my 10 year old son is about to pass me up, or even the jeans I bought in the petite department are too long). My husband says dynamite comes in small packages (not sure if that's a compliment or not, LOL). Here's for the little people!

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger Ginger Solomon said...

Oh, to love one's self. I've always struggled with being average. Average height, average intelligence, average hair color...well, you get the idea.

I still struggle with how I look, and you're right, Colleen, when you say the world sets such a high standard that we're bound to fail. I think it's even worse now because our daughters have to contend with enhanced pictures versus real people.

I loved the first chapter. I can hardly wait to read it.

 
At 4:38 PM, Blogger Jackie Smith said...

Can't wait to read this, Colleen...I have read ALL your books and loved them all!
Guess I'm telling my age.....nowadays wearing glasses is not an "inferiority" problem. But when I grew up, it was. I guess I was one of first in my town to get contacts (hard ones then) 'cause I felt so inferior wearing glasses!!
jackie.smith[at]dishmail[dot]net

 
At 4:40 PM, Blogger Alexis said...

The first chapter was great! Ive had to work on loving my cheeks. It may sound weird, but small cheeks dont run in our family ha. But I read something recently and it has helped me, that my job in this world is not to make myself beautiful or alluring but to fulfill what God has planned for me. This has helped me a lot and I hope it helps others too. :)

 
At 5:20 PM, Blogger Veronica Sternberg said...

I always wanted red curly hair and green eyes, instead of straight brown hair and brown eyes. I was also overweight for quite a few years, but got back into shape. I try to remind myself that God made us each different and unique and I need to be content. shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

 
At 8:41 PM, Blogger Linda said...

Growing up, I did not want to look anyone in the eyes...because then they would look at me & see how ugly I was...or thought I was. It was only when I became a Christ follower that I realized He created me, died for me & loved me & that was all that mattered. Now, in my 60's I am very comfortable being who I am in Him.

 
At 9:28 AM, Blogger Claire Anderson said...

I know what it is like to attempt to use false bravado, to try to convince yourself that you are OK with decisions that affect you made by others, without asking your opinion first. Margaret's show of spirit reminds me of how I would try to act when faced with a difficult situation.
I find from this first chapter that have a lot in common with Margaret's character, a tomboy who grew up doing all the things that little girls don't, since all the other neighborhood children were boys, now a woman and more than a little self conscious not knowing how to present herself or how to "act" like a girl.
I can't wait to see how Margaret grows into herself in this book :) As always you have written such intriguing characters Colleen and I hope you continue to do so.

 
At 11:20 AM, Blogger Cat B said...

I have epilepsy. And I hope there isn't a character limit on this comment box because I have a lot to say about myself and how I it took me 17 years for me to love myself the way I should. When I was nine years old I had a grand mal seizure. That is where I blacked out for ten minutes convulsing. I got a ride to the hospital where I had a another one during the ride over in the ambulance. And I had another one at the hospital. As a nine year old I didn't know what was going on. I just knew I was different for them on. I had to take medicines every day, go to the hospital for blood tests every month for years, something a nine year old shouldn't have to endure. Then I grew, Literally. I was 6'0 in 7th grade. I was taller than ALL the boys, still am most of the time. (smiling) Over the years I was depressed and didn't know what to do with myself. When I was diagnosed with epilepsy I had hundreds of seizures over my 17 years. During that time God blessed me with a little girl. After I had my little girl she changed me with God's help. I found my position in life as a mom. Two years ago I had a surgery called VNS, Vagus Nerve System which reduced my seizures by 99%. It was a miracle it helped. And I thank God every day it did. I am now helping other people learn to cope with their seizures and talk about how to manage their seizures. I am now 6'1, and LOVE my height. I still have mini seizures but the Dr.'s are working to fix that with the VNS. But most importantly I LOVE myself and God LOVES ME! That is why I love your books so much. Because they hit home for me as being a single mom, and also for having a touch of epilepsy in some of your books. So thank you for writing your amazing books.

 
At 7:52 PM, Blogger Joanne Friesen said...

I agree with the comment that a lot of stories feature the main character as being petite and beautiful. I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and every single person is unique. It seems that no matter how we look, we are not happy with it. I always wanted to have an oval face (instead of square), big brown eyes with dark eyelashes (instead of pale blue and blonde). I am looking forward to reading the book. I am 55 years old and in a new relationship. I am still learning to love myself the way I am. That's the way God made me and He knows best :)

 
At 7:54 PM, Blogger Joanne Friesen said...

I agree with the comment that a lot of stories feature the main character as being petite and beautiful. I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and every single person is unique. It seems that no matter how we look, we are not happy with it. I always wanted to have an oval face (instead of square), big brown eyes with dark eyelashes (instead of pale blue and blonde). I am looking forward to reading the book. I am 55 years old and in a new relationship. I am still learning to love myself the way I am. That's the way God made me and He knows best :)

 

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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

www.KristinBillerbeck.com

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

www.ColleenCoble.com

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

www.DeniseHunterBooks.com

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

www.DiannHunt.com

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

www.HannahAlexander.com

 
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