Autoimmune Disease – It’s Forever!

Do you or a loved one suffer from an autoimmune disease? Do you even know what autoimmune disease is?

Just to be clear, an autoimmune disorder is not a cold or the flu. It’s not “all in your head,” and It never goes away. You never get better. Drugs, diet, and exercise may help, but there is no cure.

Autoimmune disease is a disorder that occurs when our body’s immune response acts against healthy tissues by mistake. This response can take many forms, and today there are more than 80 identified autoimmune disorders that adversely affect more than 23 million Americans.

I don’t test my friends, so I’m not asking you to “like” or even “share” this, but I do feel it is important to help spread awareness for those who suffer daily (and quietly) with a chronic illness.

Some identified autoimmune disorders include: Sarcoidosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Graves Disease, Cushing’s, Addison’s, Hepatitis, Hashimoto’s, Type 1 Diabetes, Celiac, Crohns, IBD, MS, PBC,CIDP, Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis, Vasculitis, Ulcerative colitis, Fibromyalgia, MCTD, and many others not named here.

The next time you ask a friend or co-worker how they are, and they answer, “I’m fine,” take a closer look. Are there pain lines etched around their eyes? Chances are, they’re one of those 23 million Americans suffering in silence.

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A Hint of Our Origins

Life was sweet. Until it wasn’t.

I used this melodramatic statement on the jacket of my recently released book, Imperfect Lies.  For several of the characters in the story, life went from everything they wanted to nothing they wanted or could have imagined. All in the blink of an eye.

I’ve thought about this statement a lot since penning it—Life was sweet. Until it wasn’t—and came to the realization that this has been the theme down through the ages. Just as we get our life right where we want it—boom! Life happens. Plans go awry and once again we’re reminded  we aren’t in control. Even so, we pick up the pieces, put them back together best we can, and try again to put everything in order … until it happens again.

Why does this happen over and over?

Let’s travel back through the ages, to the very beginning of time. According to the first words in the Bible (Genesis 1:1 NKJV), In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Read on and you learn that God created light to illumine the darkness, and it was good. He created day and night, the seas and land. He covered the dry land with vegetation and created animals. He added creatures to the sea, and fowl to fly through the air. He made the sun and moon and stars. 

And then God created man in His own image. And indeed, it was very good (Genesis 1:31).

Until it wasn’t.

Satan set the course for all mankind the day he came into the garden. He added wrong to right, evil to goodness, and ugliness to the beauty God had created. And yes, God loved his creation, mankind, enough that he allowed them to make choices. They chose wrong, and devastating as the consequences were, He allowed man (us) to err, to suffer, and hopefully learn from the consequences.

My old grandmother used to say, “Some lessons are harder learned than others.” I believe the lesson from the Garden of Eden is the ultimate lesson: to obey God’s commands. It’s one we continue to struggle with today.

God still gives us hints of the life he meant for us, though; reminders of how sweet life with Him can be. Think about the peace and serenity of a quiet lake. The soft colors of sunrise and a majestic fiery sunset. A baby’s coo. A snow-covered mountain. A child’s laughter. The clean, fresh scent of the earth after a cleansing rain. The kiss of a loved one. Skin warmed by bright sunshine. White sand. A blue-green ocean. Insects chirping at nightfall. Birds singing with joy. The smile of an aged grandmother. Clouds. Rainbows. And the vast magnificence of the heavens.

Yes, the heavens. All we have to do is look up with open eyes to see the splendor of creation. The stars, sun and moon, the comets and eclipses—all signs to draw our eyes, minds, and hearts to Jesus.

Time and again through scripture, whenever the people looked up, the Lord God Almighty answered, because life is sweet … when we keep our eyes on the Lord.

 

 

On Suspense with Marji Laine Clubhine and Elizabeth Noyes

Along Came a Writer – Down Publisning Laine

I had a blast with Marji Laine Clubhine on her blog/talk/radio show, Down Publishing Laine, August 1st. Not only did we talk about my latest book, Imperfect Lies, we spent a great deal of time talking about writing in general and the genre of suspense in particular.

If you’re an aspiring writer or an already established writer, I think you’ll find this interview to be interesting, enlightening, and thought-provoking. You can listen to it here:

Publishing Laine: On Suspense with Guest Elizabeth Noyes

GRACE AWARDS – Reading Recommendations

Wow! Summer reading has never been this exciting. What fabulous novels and super talented authors.

Check out these Grace Awards Summer Book Bash recommendations: six fabulous novels from super talented authors!

Grace Awards Annual Summer Book Bash Recommendations

 

THE POISON WE DRINK
by Carol McClain
(Desert Breeze Publishing)

Summer is too short to labor over ponderous tomes.  This novel will sweep you up in its drama and keep those pages zipping. You’ll not want to leave the beach until the last page has been read.

The Poison We Drink – Available on Amazon

 

 

HARMFUL INTENT
by Nike N.
Chillemi
(Crime
Fictionista Press)

Kick off your summer reading by diving into this fast paced detective story, the first of the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes trilogy.

Harmful Intent – Available on Amazon

 

 

 

6 DATES TO DISASTER
by Cynthia T. Toney
(Write Integrity Press)

A summer read for teen girls ages 13 to 15! This story addresses honesty in school and with parents as well as drinking and driving. It shows how decisions can damage relationships and risk a teen’s reputation and future.

6 Dates to Disaster – Available on Amazon

 

 

IMPERFECT BONDS, Book 3 of The Imperfect Series
by Elizabeth Noyes
(Write Integrity Press)

Imperfect Bonds, a 2016 Grace Awards Winner, Book 3 of the Imperfect Series, is the ideal summer escape for book lovers. Whether lounging on the beach or relaxing at home, this edgy, sometimes funny, sometimes sad romantic suspense will sweep you away on an action-packed, page-turning journey.

Imperfect Bonds – Available on Amazon

 

 

REVENGE
by Paula Rose
(Anaiah Press)

Are you looking for a summer escape where danger lurks below the surface? Treat yourself to a suspense-filled vacation, staycation, or beach read where career, a missing person, and romance combine inside a mystery that is this exciting novel.

Revenge – Available on Amazon

 

 

STRONGER THAN MOUNTAINS
by Lynn Dean
(Wordsworth Publishing)

Summer is a great time to travel. Reading can take you on a journey without ever leaving your favorite hammock or recliner. You can even travel through time! This novel (the sequel to MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD in the Sangre de Cristo series) will whisk you away to the Wild West during the days of bustles and bad guys.

Stronger Than Mountains – Available on Amazon

IMPERFECT BONDS – A 2016 Grace Awards Winner!

Grace Awards 2016 Winners ~ in Faith Based Fiction

Category: Action-Adventure/Western/Historic Epic Fiction: exploits, quest, expansive 

Grace Awards – All 2016 Category Winners

 

IMPERFECT BONDS by Elizabeth Noyes
(Write Integrity Press)

Judges’ Review:

This novel  struck us as having well-formed, even complicated characters. They could be moody, funny, full of snap and wit, and sometimes just confused, like most people. The set up was immediate, and the sense of danger quickly drew us into the story. There were plenty of twists that kept us entertained and easily turning the pages. Likewise, good rising and falling action kept the plot moving forward, and the romance was smoldering without actually going anywhere beyond a kiss. The book was written from a clean and Christian world view without becoming preachy, and we liked that the main characters were on both spiritual and personal journeys. The theme of fighting human trafficking and the hunt for the bad guys made for an engaging, modern day western read.

Available on Amazon.com

The Ups and Downs of a Writer’s Life

When one emoji just doesn’t cut it!

I wanted to write a Facebook post to share my news, but FB limits you to just one of their “feeling” emojis, I needed a whole mess of smiley/frowny faces to convey  my emotions today, so I made my own:

Why all these contradictory feelings? Because Book 4 of The Imperfect Series – IMPERFECT LIES –  has been sent to the publisher! Because I’m relieved, thrilled, excited, worried, and depressed. Because instead of basking in the present, I’m worrying about what’s next.

Now, begins what I call the Cycle of Endless Emotional Extremes.

Relief is the first emotion an author feels after writing, “The End.”  It floods in and overwhelms. There’s nothing like having a weight lifted from your shoulders … unless it’s the feeling of accomplishment. Satisfaction is a rich pleasure. None of it lasts, though. It’s only a respite. There’s always the dreaded, what’s next? So human.

Mental fatigue is a very real thing. It’s debilitating and draining, every bit as much as physical fatigue. Sometimes authors are their own worst enemies with how we push ourselves. Remember that old saying, “I’m so tired I can’t think straight?” It’s true.

Euphoria waits for your brain to recover, and it’s a glorious feeling.  You ride the wave, let it take you all the way to the crest – happiness, joy, feeling so blessed and grateful. And then you crash.

Worry arrives. Guilt. “Did I miss a typo? Leave something out? Is it good enough? Did I do my best?” And the worst, “What if my readers don’t like it?”

Yikes! Self esteem takes a nose dive. Guilt. Inadequacy. Second guessing. Of them all, I hate  self doubt the most. Only authors and those closest to them understand the impact of this cycle.

The vast majority of books written are not autobiographies, but I’m here to testify that every writer invests a huge chunk of their inner self in the pages they pen. We put ourselves out there; expose our beliefs, hopes, thoughts, fears, likes, dislikes, and vulnerabilities. We bare our souls to perfect strangers. Normal people don’t do that when they walk in the world.

My point is, be gentle with us.  Be kind. Even if you “don’t like my book.” <smiling here>

Imperfect Lies made me delve deeper inside myself than I wanted. It made me think about things that are uncomfortable, about what I *hoped* I would do in a difficult situation vs. what I probably would do. How can anyone know with any degree of certainty what they would or wouldn’t do in a terrible, unforeseen, heretofore unknown situation?

Imperfect Lies made me think about a current school of thought that promotes role-play in response to an active shooter scenario – a practiced “what to do” response in the event an armed terrorist decided to shoot up the theater you’re in. The idea being that if your mind and body already know what to do before the incident, your decision-making process won’t get in the way when an instant response may mean the difference between life, injury, or even death. In other words, decisions take time –  time you may not have.

I can’t help but wonder, if we dwelled more on ALL of life’s ‘what would I do‘ scenarios and made our decisions beforehand, would we make better choices when confronted with those difficult and unexpected situations?

The title of this series is Imperfect for a reason. I wanted to provide an entertaining read with characters who reflect the way real people act and think and talk, who face real situations that challenge preconceived ideas of right and wrong; who look at the truth of who they are. And, of course, I want you to enjoy this journey that has brought me so many laughs and smiles and tears and heartache!

 

Happy reading!

 

 

Imperfect Bonds – Finalist!

I am thrilled, proud, and so very honored to announce that Book 3 of The Imperfect Series – IMPERFECT BONDS – has been named a finalist in the Action-Adventure / Western / Epic Fiction category!

The Grace Awards 2016 is an annual reader-driven literary awards presentation of Christian fiction. This year’s nominations include works from major publishers, small publishers, and independent authors. Winners in each category will be announced on May 31, 2017.

And…the Grace Awards 2016 Finalists are… (click here)

 

 

A blast from the antebellum past!

Mobile’s Azalea Trail is more than just a dress …

… although it was the stunning, otherworldly dress in this article ( Meet The Maids ) that caught my eye … and sent me tumbling into a pool of memories. You see, this was me. A long, long time ago. In the world of 1969. When I was named to the court of Mobile’s Azalea Trail Maids. I’m humbled to this day by the honor bestowed upon me.

The whole concept of the Azalea Trail started way back in 1929 when a local horticulturist devised a plan to revitalize the city through a beatification project. Since the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta was (and still is) one of the largest intact wetland ecosystems in America, Mr. Lackland thought to take azalea bushes, which thrived in Mobile’s climate, and plant them along well-traveled roads throughout the city. The Jaycees (now the Mobile Junior Chamber of Commerce} liked his idea and the rest, as they say, is history. At one time, the city painted a pink stripe along the original 15-mile route, but this feature was later outlawed because of state laws. Today, the famous route (sans the pink ribbon marker) has expanded to 35-miles as it rambles through the city. In the spring when the flowers bloom in abundance, the sight is truly spectacular!

In the early days, debutantes would dress up in their finest, and act as ambassadors for the city. Between the flowers and the ladies, tourism soared and the Azalea Trail Court was introduced in 1935. Today, it is a continuing tradition that not only promotes the City of Mobile, but offers scholarships, a chance for travel, national exposure, and opportunities for fifty high school seniors to develop poise and confidence as they speak to large crowds on behalf of their community.

The colors of the dresses today are much more vivid than the delicate pastels my friends and I wore way back when, but the gowns are every bit as dramatic and still stunningly beautiful. My mother was a professional seamstress who was in great demand for her Mardi Gras costume designs, so I got to watch the magic happen in my own home. I saw my gorgeous pastel blue antebellum dress come to life day by day.

Mama made everything for me — the overdress, the hooped petticoat that gave the dress its bell-shape, a wide-brimmed garden hat, the prissy parasol, lacy gauntlets (fingerless gloves), satiny cummerbund, frilly pantaloons, a sweeping bow/sash, and even a faux fur-lined cape for those bitter winter days. She even dyed a corset (longline bra), several pairs of tights, and a pair of Mary Jane shoes to match the color of my dress!

I can still recall the excitement of donning that gown. It was like becoming a different person’ and going back hundreds of years in time. And the weight! After a few hours, the heaviness became a burden. Imagine, fully dressed, each girl wore 40-50 pounds of material—sixty yards of organza, fifteen yards of taffeta, ten yards of broadcloth, ten yards of fur, and who knows how much lace, ribbons, netting, and bows.
Back in my day, the Azalea Trail Maids performed at the Junior Miss Pageant, and appeared in the halftime show of the Senior Bowl Game. We made tons of PR appearances at Bellingrath Gardens, and rode in multiple parades along the pink-striped streets. We learned the art of a genteel curtsy, how to wave and smile with genuine feeling, but most of all we learned about the civility of a bygone time, one filled with poise and grace and generosity of spirit. And all this against a backdrop of azaleas, rhododendrons, gardenias, magnolias, tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, violets, and Spanish moss.

This is such an amazing, whimsical memory, one that still brings a smile.

Suggested Links:

Vintage photos show the rich history of Mobile’s Azalea Trail

Bellingrath Gardens

Mobile’s Azalea Trail Maids

25 Things To Know About Mobile

 

Seasons

A great deal of prose has been written about the four seasons, but I recently experienced my own epiphany. It came to me while touring the north Georgia mountains by bus, a day trip I took with the Senior Adults of our church on the last day of October. The sole purpose—to revel in the changing colors of the glorious fall foliage. (Oh, and buy apples.)

I’ll admit my expectations weren’t high given the long drought this year and the unseasonably warm temperatures. It’s not Vermont or Maine, after all. Despite my reservations, I set out with every intention of enjoying our time together.

The day dawned with a crispness that encouraged a light jacket, and a brightness that made me squint behind dark sunglasses. A few puffy, white clouds paraded across a sky of Robin’s Egg blue. And then we reached the foothills.

Stunning! Magnificent! Spectacular! Words are not sufficient to describe the beauty set before us, and this only a tiny sample of God’s artistic genius. We traveled along winding roads and hairpin turns, up inclines that made the bus’s engine growl, and slow descents into pastoral valleys where each turn brought new marvels. The colors boggled my imagination. Hunter Green, Fiery Orange, Blazing Red, and all those delicate, in-between shades that beg for exotic names like crimson, ocher, cerise, chartreuse, terra cotta, burnt sienna, primrose, vermillion. And when the sun set them ablaze like a hint of God’s Shekinah glory.

“Ooh” and “Ahh” became the watchwords of the day. At one point, I feared for the safety of my fellow passengers as everyone clambered from side-to-side, eager to snap yet another remarkable picture, all while the bus driver wound his way through the twisty curves.
Somewhere in the middle of all this grandeur, a profound thought took root in my mind. Autumn is the season when life wanes and death draws near … and here we sat celebrating the life and death of a dying thing.

Mankind is also a dying thing, but instead of joy we experience sadness and loss when a loved one leaves this world ahead of us. Grief, you see, is for the living.

Christians mourn the same as everyone, but with one difference: We rejoice over a fellow believer’s homegoing. We celebrate their life because of the promise and hope of our faith. For Christian’s, winter is not the end but a new beginning, a new spring, a new life. Eternity realized.

The Christmas holiday falls at the end of the year, in the dead of winter, but we remember it for God’s gift to us. He sent His only Son as a baby, a boy child who would save a dark world. Jesus is the reason for our hope. He is the promise of Christmas.