Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 14 - Hidden Paths

Every weekday (Monday through Friday) for the month of December I will spotlight a story here on my blog. Yes, this is 17 days of Christmas book browsing. And on Christmas Eve I will announce the lucky winner (at least two that I know of right now). The person who leaves the most comments throughout the month will receive their choice of any one of the books spotlighted. That's from me. Other prizes are being offered by the individual authors.

Today, JoAnn is back with another lovely story! Hidden Secrets, her second Young Adult story definitely seems like one that could touch many hearts. I asked what led her to write this story and...well, I'll let her tell you.

I have to chuckle a bit at the irony of the situation. You see, that's the perfect title for my own personal journey that the Lord has been guiding me through.

Although I have other books in circulation, this was the very first story I ever drafted fifteen years ago. I started writing on a whim. Don't ask me why. In fact, have you ever watched Night at the Museum? The first time we saw that movie I cracked up. I am so like that museum director. Some days it seems as if I can't put a complete thought -- let alone sentence -- together to save my life. Couple that with dyslexia and grammar and spelling that would make any English major cringe and... yup, that's me. Yet, here I find myself, walking down the path that once seemed so elusive and hidden to me.

Quite a few years after I wrote this book, I went to a writer's retreat. I prayed and prayed that God would show me what He wanted me to do and give me direction. I knew writing was something I enjoyed but was this what God wanted me to do? I struggled with that, and to be honest, still do on occasion.

I walked away from that weekend with as many questions as I arrived with. I was so discouraged. Didn't God hear me? I wanted to follow His will for my life, yet felt like He was far away and unwilling to give me the direction I so desperately craved.

He had heard my prayers, yet I was too close to the situation to see that He had been, was, and still is guiding me. I stand amazed as I think about this now... God has led me to friends who had a passion for the craft of writing and the gift of encouragement. I've been blessed with a family who supports my writing endeavors, and I've learned a ton of stuff along the way... I could go on, but I'm sure you get the gist.

What I've come to realize is I don't need to have everything figured out. I serve an awesome God who knows what's best for me. Sometimes I may not particularly care for what needs to be done. The road may seem long and hard and the mountains too big to scale. Yet, God loves me too much to let me settle for the easy road where I would forget where true strength is found.

Perhaps like me, you have been struggling with direction in your own life. I would like to challenge you to place your hand (and your life) in God's hands and allow Him to plot your course. You might find yourself in for a crazy ride -- on a path, like Julie, that you would have never imagined.

Blessings ~

Amazing! Thank you JoAnn. Let's share your story...
It's hard for us to let go and let God. But when it's our plan vs. His, it's time to let go!



Julie Hemmingway, a recent college graduate, is preparing to leave for the mission field. When she meets Adam Jacobs, her well-organized plans begin to go awry. Will she fight to hold onto her own agenda, or open her heart to a new – yet, Hidden Path?

Staying in Vermont on the family farm wasn’t what JULIE HEMMINGWAY had envisioned for her life. After all, she had just spent two years at the community college in preparation to join a mission agency to use her nursing skills overseas. However, those plans quickly change when her father suffers a massive heart attack and dies. Out of necessity, she stays at home to help her mom manage the farm.

To help make ends meet, Julie accepts a new job at a construction company where many unexpected things happen, including working with the handsome, ADAM JACOBS. Will Julie learn that she can trust in God and the path He has planned for her life – even when it looks totally different than what she expected?


Julie Hemmingway's thoughts centered on one thing – and one thing only -- the letter which arrived yesterday. Her dreams were coming true at last. She hummed a little Christmas tune and pushed her cart to the return rack. Scooping up her bags, Julie turned to walk out of the grocery store. But the next thing she knew, her face was planted against a wool sweater and a coat's zipper. The paper bag filled with groceries crushed against her midsection with a sickening crunch. Thankfully, with a firm grip, she somehow managed to hold onto the second bag. She stood stunned for a moment. Please tell me I didn't just run into the person behind me.
"Are you okay?" His warm bass voice vibrated through his chest and beat against her cheek.
So much for that wish.
Julie wrapped her arm tighter around the bag resting between them to prevent it from plummeting to the floor and pushed herself back.
The guy gently gripped her forearms to steady her. "I'm sorry. I should have been paying closer attention to where I was going." He pointed with his thumb toward the colored lights twinkling merrily in the window. "I was looking at those decorations. They are amazing."
Julie let her gaze travel up until she met blue eyes. The second bag, which had managed to escape the fiasco, slipped out of her grasp. She looked down in horror at the mess on the floor. "Oh man, looks like I just did some decorating of my own -- but not the pretty nor festive kind." She groaned, "I think that bag had my eggs."
"If that's the case, they're now scrambled." He took the bag, with lettuce spewing over the side, away from her and stepped back to assess the damage. "Or at least, sunny-side up."
Julie grinned at his quick wit as she kicked loose coffee beans off the top of her shoe.
With a crooked smile, he introduced himself. "I'm Adam." Before Julie could tell him her name, he plucked a piece of lettuce draped over her sleeve like a scarf. "I must say, these lovely, um -- accessories -- don't do your beautiful coat justice."


What a great story - and so true of how we serve God! How often do we serve Him by doing something we think He wants without seeking Him in prayer first? Usually it's only to find out it's OUR choice, not what He wants.

Julie finds that through prayer and listening for God's will that she can find the peace and comfort in knowing what God's will really is for her. But she still has doubts that her prayers are heard, that she's really following His will.

And Adam has a lot to more to learn than he lets on. As they help each other in different ways it's amazing how God teaches them both the lessons they need to draw closer to Him - as well as God's plan for the two of them.

It's amazing to see how God works in the lives of these two - just like He works in the background of our lives.

JoAnn Carter lives in Vermont with her wonderful husband of 18 years, four children and Ginger, the best dog in the world. She enjoys being with her family & friends, writing, reading, and cooking. You can check her out at:


  1. Welcome, JoAnne! What a wonderful story! Thanks for stopping by with it!

  2. Donna, it's always great to be here! Thanks for hosting me.

    Are you ready for Christmas?

  3. Welcome JoAnne.. Would love to have the chance to read this novel. Merry Christmas to all..

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Kim. It's always great to meet new folks!

    Donna, I hadn't thought to mention this before, but if anyone would like to try out a YA inspirational romance, I have one, PARADOX for $0.99 until the end of the month! Here's the link for Amazon, but it's also available through B&N and Desert Breeze Publishing...

  5. Very nice, JoAnn! And if they want to see a little about Paradox they can check back in my May posts.
    And Kim, I'll certainly put you in the drawing for a chance to win one of the stories posted this month! Thanks for stopping by.