Posts By: Christy Hoss

What’s Your Word?

Every year, I hear it is popular to choose a word to live by for the entire year. I’ve only done this once and because I liked the word so much, I kept it as my word for years. The word was ‘inspire’ and I still like it.

But after a year of major changes with our move to Tennessee bringing me to my knees and causing many tears, I have chosen a new one. It has to do with a personal battle I struggle with.

Like many people, I often scroll through Facebook and see others’ successes. I begin to feel insignificant, like nothing I do matters because I am not a New York Times best-selling author, don’t have gold seal awards on my book covers or have impressive reviews on Amazon.

I confess. I long to be validated and have all those accolades for an impressive writer’s resume.

But are those the reasons for me to write?

In my daily Bible reading, I came across this passage:

Many people say, ‘who will show us better times?’ Let your face smile on us, Lord. You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and wine. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.” (Psalm 4:6-8, NLT)

I have to remind myself I write because God has called me to do it. No matter what happens with my writing, I have chosen my word based on my confession and I pray I will always adhere to it.

My word: Humbleness.

Do you have a word for 2023?

If so, what is it? Please share your word in the Comments, and tell me why you chose it.

Tears of Joy for Lola the Rescue Dog

In last week’s blog post I introduced Lola, an approximately 1-year-old border collie/Australian shepherd mix dog I found.

Lola had a sad story, but for now she was happy to be in a warm home, out of the rain and off the street, away from the cars racing dangerously past her.

Unfortunately, my 15 year-old rescue dogs (pictured below) were extremely stressed by her attempts to play and herd them – an instinct found in the kind of dog Lola is.

Aiden, my diabetic alert service dog, just ignored her as a nuisance. Here he is, doing his best to  pretend she doesn’t exist:

When it comes to animals, I love them all, especially dogs. My dream home would be to have hundreds of acres where I could adopt and care for as many dogs as possible and, of course, adopt them to the right homes. There is such a place:

Though my home is big, we don’t have a large yard and it was unfair to keep Lola inside. She learned some skills but needed a better fit for her fur-ever home. We had Lola spayed and vaccinated to make her more adoptable. I asked for prayers and put my request in to God.

While talking about Lola at the chiropractor, a woman with a dog rescue connection overheard me and gave me a contact name. The rescue that took her in vets its prospective adopters rigidly. It all happened within 24 hours – than can only be God answering our prayers! The rescue told us she would be on their website with a different name (Amora) but would most likely be adopted this weekend.

As I hugged Lola and said goodbye, the tears would not stop. She had captured my heart. I’m glad I had her for the time I did. I needed her as much as she needed me.

My New Year’s resolution is fulfilled. Lola will be fit with the perfect home for the rest of her life.

Click here to visit the Sevier County Humane Society, where  Lola (aka, Amora) is currently awaiting adoption.

Finding a Home for a New Furry Friend

Happy 2023!

If you are like the majority of people who make resolutions every New Year, you have already broken at least one of them. This year I have a resolution I want to keep: to find a home for a furry friend.

I was driving home in the rain on a very busy-yet-rural Tennessee road. She was running on the side, ready to dart in front of me. It looked like a rescue video.

Her tail was tucked between her legs, and she was soaking wet and scared. I tossed bits of jerky until she was close enough to slip on a leash. A nearby neighbor filled me in on the dog’s history.

Her name is Lola, and her owner didn’t want her because she belonged to his girlfriend who had just passed away. Lola is approximately a year old, loves to play and is housetrained. I have been able to teach her some of the obedience skills Aiden knows.

My 15-year-old rescue dogs want nothing to do with her. Aiden tolerates her. She is an adorable, Australian shepherd mix, but not a good fit for my fur-family.

If I were in California, there would be dozens of rescue agencies to take her and people wanting to adopt her. But animals are treated differently here – left outside, not fixed and often, running around the neighborhood, making more furry creatures. Rescue agencies are overflowing.

Back to my resolution.

Lola has an appointment to get spayed and vaccinated and after that, hopefully she will find her forever home. But I will have much to say about who gets her.


Find out what happened with Lola in my next post.

The Author Reads – Book Review of ‘The Dog Snatcher,’ by Phyllis Wheeler

The Dog Snatcher

The Dog SnatcherAs a middle-grade book writer (for those of you who don’t know what that means, it’s the age group of third through eighth grade but is not limited to that age group), I tend to read books in my genre. I love books about dogs, and I love my age group.

That’s why I’m excited to review Phyllis Wheeler’s new book, The Dog Snatcher – book one in the Guardians of Time series (released November 1, 2022).

Doesn’t everyone dream of what it would be like to go back in time?

Children love this kind of story as it makes their imaginations run wild. As a former teacher who often served recess duty, I would hear the children using their creativity during playtime. Time travel was definitely part of it.

In The Dog Snatcher, a magic key found at the end of a driveway leads eleven-year-old Jake and his twin sister to a clock shop that helps them travel in time to help find their stolen dog. Many adventures and mishaps ensue for a page-turning read.

It’s a great read for new chapter-book readers, as the chapters are short and illustrated with delightful pictures to enhance the reader’s imagination. I highly recommend this book and look forward to its sequels.

Buy The Dog Snatcher on Amazon

About the Author

Phyllis Wheeler, a homeschooling veteran, loves time-travel stories with a bit of fantasy thrown in. She writes books for kids that feature strong families and a moral compass.

Phyllis is the author of The Long Shadow, a time-travel tale that won a Purple Dragonfly Award and a Moonbeam Award. She and her husband live in St. Louis, where she tends her milkweed garden and hopes for butterflies.

Visit Phyllis at phylliswheeler.com.

The Author Reads – Book Review of ‘Legacy of an Immigrant: Four Generations of Flying,’ by Maria Vezzetti Matson

Maria Vezzetti Matson

I have the privilege of reviewing a soon-to-be-published book. I hope it gets you curious enough to follow the author for more good reads and tracking its publishing date.

My Thoughts

Grieving the loss of a loved one is hard, especially when you are young and don’t know how to deal with your feelings. Maria Vezzetti Matson addresses this subject with grace in her upcoming novel, Legacy of an Immigrant: Four Generations of Flying.

Memories are often the best gift to help heal the burden of grief and Matson uses story to assist in the grieving process.

Maria Vezzetti Matson

Matson is a gifted historical fiction writer, using her family experiences and locations to make this story come to life. Middle grade readers, teachers and adults will enjoy getting to know the characters as they jump to life from the pages. Matson is an author to keep your eyes on for more exciting adventures in children’s fiction.

While I had planned to review this book before its publication, I did not plan for its author to be the grand prize winner in my email blast giveaway. There were 150 entries, and my non-biased person pulled Maria’s ticket out of the box. Maria had so much fun opening the box that she made a YouTube video.

About Maria V. Matson

Matson is an educator, a Yooper (a native inhabitant of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan), and the author of Alone to America and Journey into the Land of Hues: A Physics Fiction Tale of Colors and Discovery.

Contact her at mariavezzettimatsonauthor.com, mariavmatson@gmail.com or visit her YouTube channel, The ZiaMia, or her Facebook Page, The Lucchesi Story.

The Author Reads – Book Review of ‘Over 50, Even More Defined,’ by Shel Harrington

Over 50, Even More Defined,’ by Shel Harrington

Over 50, Even More Defined,’ by Shel HarringtonFeeling old and need a good laugh?

Check out Over 50, Even More Defined, by Shel Harrington.

This book is filled with ROTFLOL belly laughs and giggle-snort moments, written by a humorist for a “chronologically” mature audience.

A giggle-snort might describe what Shel Harrington calls a “quinbloit,” or a word that is not yet in the dictionary.

Not to give spoilers, but two of my favorite quinbloits are:

  • BOOKMOCKER | book-mok-er (noun) A book labeled “historical fiction” that begins in the year you graduated from high school.
  • GUESTGUST | gest-guhst (verb) To get more cleaning done in the ten minutes before guests arrive than you usually do in a month. (My husband loves having guests since it forces me to clean house.)

Over 50, Even More Defined, is the second book in Harrington’s series of snort-worthy, eye-rolling laughs, defining words for those of us who have over-fifty moments that we can’t quite put the right word to, but those of our age would understand.

“After reading this book you’ll be equipped to communicate with your over-fifty buddies in shorthand. It’ll be like having your own secret code! As you read through these pages, you just may recognize yourself and others who are journeying through this special season of life with you. I hope having the words to accurately describe the adventure makes it more fun!”

-Shel Harrington

Contact Shel on her website or her Fat-Bottom-Fifties Get Fierce Facebook page.

Need I say more?

This book will make a great gift for the hard-to-buy-presents-for person in the 50 or older crowd and I am certain they will LOVE it.

Harrington’s books are available on Amazon.

Summer Reunions

Christy and Aiden in front of Thief River Falls sign

Christy and Aiden in front of Thief River Falls sign

As school resumes preschool through college, I am anticipating getting into substitute teaching.

I’m also looking back on our road trip to Thief River Falls, Minnesota, for an all- school reunion. I have never been back for any of my class reunions and next year marks 40 years since I graduated. UGH!

This gathering afforded a great opportunity to drag my husband to my hometown to meet some old pals. I had plenty of friends in high school, but most of them graduated before me and I only hung out with two girlfriends in my grade.

Classmates in stadium

I hoped to connect with others from my year and maybe begin as adults. I sat expectantly at my grade level table. I walked around and searched nametags, hoping to find more from my year. I found a neighbor I grew up with.

Christy with neighbor

But as pictures were taken by decade and then singled out into years, our class had a dismal showing of only 11, compared to older classes with enough members to pack a grandstand. The older groups seemed to have stayed in touch, as they were hugging, laughing and having a great time.

The few from ’83 invited my BFF and me to the VFW to hang out and have dinner, but when we arrived, they were nowhere to be found, so we sat with our older friends.

When I got up, who should be sitting behind us in the darkened and noisy room but our classmates. My bubble of hope burst with disappointment. They were just inches away. Some things never change.

Christy and BFF

My BFF reminded me our class never had connections like the ones I was witnessing from the older graduates. Yes, we are adults, but sometimes as the parade of time marches on, there are still others sitting on the sidewalks, watching it pass them by.

The Author Reads – Book Review of ‘Forgive the Trespassers,’ by Vickie Phelps

Christy holding "Forgive the Trespassers"

Christy holding "Forgive the Trespassers"About the Book

Betrayed by his fiancée and best friend, he left forever. When Jake Reynolds left Archer Springs, Texas, in June 1957, he planned to return at the end of the summer, but that was before he found out his best friend and his fiancée had eloped together. Devastated and betrayed, he never returned to his hometown.

Fast forward twenty-five years. Jake receives a letter from a local land developer stating the property willed to him by his aunt and uncle will be destroyed and used for other purposes unless he returns and sells the land and house. A long-ago promise to his aunt and uncle that he would always keep the property in the family comes back to haunt him.

Now he needs to return and keep his promise, but that means coming face to face with the two people who betrayed him twenty-five years ago.

Buy it on Amazon

About the Author

Vickie Phelps is a native Texan and has been writing since 1988. She loves to mentor other writers and in 2009 founded the East Texas Christian Writer’s Group which meets monthly for the purpose of encouraging and instructing writers in their pursuit of publication.

When she’s not writing, Vickie loves nothing more than reading a good book or discussing them with other readers. She spent eighteen years working for an independent bookstore, first as a bookseller, then as manager and buyer for the store. She retired from the store in 2012 and writes fulltime from her home in the piney woods of East Texas.

My Thoughts

Forgive The Trespassers

If you like romance filled with suspense, then this book is for you. As I got involved with the characters’ lives, the historical setting of morals and values made me long for simpler times when your word was your word and sweethearts fell in love and were committed to each other no matter what.

It’s a little bit historical romance mixed with modern troubles. It becomes a page-turner as trouble compounds from the size of a lit match to a raging inferno.

Prepare to anticipate the unthinkable as good and evil battle due to miscommunication and assumptions from years gone by.

I give this book five stars.

The Author Reads – Book Review of ‘Lakeside Retreat: Life-Giving Inspiration From a Restful Shore,’ by Marci Seither

As I visit my BFF from high school who lives in Wisconsin, I realize she lives just a few minutes from the lake mentioned in this book, Nebagamon.

I am so excited – no; I’m jumping-up-and-down thrilled – because for the first time ever reviewing a book, I can actually go to the place it talks about. Lake Nebagamon is a real place, not a fictional location made up by the author of the book I’m enjoying. This is non-fiction at its best.

When things like this happen, they are called a “God-wink” because I don’t believe in coincidences.

I recommend adding Lakeside Retreat: Life-Giving Inspiration From a Restful Shore, to your devotional collection for the following reasons:

  1. It’s a refreshing read. Every page I turned brought me thoughtful delight and encouragement, not only with scripture, but also design. This book is eye-pleasing in every way, as each page flows into the next story.
  2. It’s a devotional you won’t want to wait for the next day to read and you will not want to put it down. Marci Seither has crafted a masterpiece from her heart. It’s the perfect devotional to supplement anyone’s personal quiet time.
  3. It’s full of resources. Lakeside Retreat will add relaxing and thoughtful personal lake-time stories, scriptures, and prayers as well as surprise additions like games, crafts, recipes and even emergency supply bag suggestions to sustain you for 72 hours.

What other devotional can you name that comes packed with so much information and fun?

Marci, I LOVE this book and can’t wait to share it with my lake-loving friends.

Find Marci’s book on Amazon.

Contact Marci: MarciSeither.com

Living with Diabetes and Moving

We’ve been in Tennessee about five months now. With all our combined health issues, I knew that the transition from one type of healthcare to the next would not be easy. We stored up our prescriptions and supplies just in case things took longer.

It takes many different supplies to keep my medical equipment running properly. If I run out of one (and I did) it messes up the whole system and blood sugars get out of control quickly.

In California, our healthcare came from one system, with most offices and services located in the same building or not far away. With our new insurance, my healthcare is spread out around our city. I have more freedom to choose which doctors I see, but not how my diabetes is cared for.

I’ve been longing for a new diabetes treatment system, but my insurance keeps denying the request. I refuse to give up. I’ve been with the same system for 27 years and its time for a change. I’m ready to go tubeless!

“Mom, your blood sugar is getting high.” Aiden is concerned because my blood sugars have gone crazy while trying to work out new insurance issues, I don’t have access to my doctor as readily as I had before.

Every diabetic knows that they are the one who best knows how to regulate their diabetes. We cannot be put in a box, even by insurance. I feel like David up against Goliath, but I will continue to fight for the kind of treatment I know will benefit me best and keep me healthy for years to come.

In the words from one of my favorite sci-fi movie spoofs, “Never give up! Never surrender!”