Today is the first birthday of my youngest book-baby, The Orphan Beach. It was a tricky delivery, coinciding with the onset of a certain pandemic. If I’m honest, it was rather neglected amidst the unknowns of 2020 with cancellations replacing celebrations. I know you missed out on all manner of occasions, too. We all did. But a year on, perhaps it’s not too late to celebrate. Let’s unwrap how to celebrate always—and I’ll start with a giveaway…



“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 

“Celebrate always…”

Rejoicing and celebrating—always? It’s easier said than done, isn’t it? Perhaps it even sounds a little exhausting for us right now. Some seasons are more challenging than others, we can all attest to that. And celebrations this past year have been paired down, modified, postponed, or even canceled.

I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl and always up for cake and celebrations but I’m not going to lie, this verse has been a struggle of late. For us all, there have been disappointments, grief, and a general fog of frustration hovering over our days in varying degrees. Rejoicing and gratitude on any level take monumental effort at best.

But it helps when I remember that it says in these verses to give thanks “in” everything and not “for” everything. (Because frankly, there are some things I’m just not grateful for.) And then sandwiched between the “rejoice always” and “give thanks” parts, we have a little something that makes gratitude and thanksgiving and joy possible:

PRAYER. Pray all the time; pray constantly; pray without ceasing; make your life a prayer… depending on your translation.

For when we lift our eyes from self to Sovereign, our plans and hopes and celebrations are put into perspective as we trust that God is in complete and utter control.


“Gratitude is not only a response to God in good times – it’s ultimately the very will of God in hard times. Gratitude isn’t only a celebration when good things happen. It’s a declaration that God is good no matter what happens.” Ann Voskamp


This photo was snapped a year ago when all my paperback copies of The Orphan Beach arrived and I had grandiose plans to sell tons of them at various events I had planned…



… and I currently have nearly all those same books still stacked in my study keeping me company as I write the next one! Ha! But I’m to “celebrate always” and so I pray, shift focus from self, and discover there is much to celebrate and be thankful for.

Truly, I’m:

  • Thankful for readers and book lovers and encouragers who have continued to cheer on authors.
  • Thankful for technology, that e-books are a thing, and that so many readers can download our books at the press of a button.
  • Thankful libraries are holding strong and providing a place for book lovers to pick up all the reading matter their hearts desire and feel some sense of normalcy and routine.
  • Thankful that publishing houses and editors and agents have pressed on, giving hope to writers and new books to readers.
  • Thankful for bookstores, the happy place for readers and writers alike.
  • Thankful for you, friend. For connections made and friendships forged online—now more than ever.



And so, I’m giving away THREE paperback copies of The Orphan Beach to celebrate its one-year birthday. Signed, personalized, and with some extra bookish swag thrown in for good measure!

Simply leave a comment below—name something or someone YOU are thankful for today (celebrating always), and I’ll draw three names on Feb 28th.

Celebrating, praying, and giving thanks…


P.S. For the price of a fancy latte, you can also snag an e-book copy of The Orphan beach! 🙂  All the details are HERE! 

***UPDATE: Congratulations to the 3 winners: Trudy, Patricia B, and Jan—you have all been emailed! ***


Linking up with some fabulous encouragers! Check them out: