Summer Fun: I Scream, You Scream . . .

I was just telling someone the other day that August is almost here. Call me “King of the Obvious.”

For many of you, August is a summer month. For those of us in the field of education, August means back-to-school.

Cue the “waaaah-waaaah” sound effect.

So far I have had a lot of summer fun, and there’s still more to come for a couple of weeks or so. I decided to create a “Summer Fun Top Ten List,” mostly because I couldn’t think of any other way to organize my thoughts (Keepin’ it real!):

1.            No matter what, no matter where, go for the ice cream.

2.            Never pass up a chance to do something fun with loved ones, whether it be enjoying a picnic, playing a game of putt-putt golf, or sharing ice cream.

3.            Always pack extra clothes for summer trips. Ice cream drips and gets messy sometimes.

4.            The summer heat is very hot. This seems to be a bigger issue now that I am older. Cooling off with ice cream helps.

5.            Reading, in the comfort of air conditioning, is a nice summer thing.

6.            Watching a new season of The Great British Baking Show, in the comfort of air conditioning, is also a nice summer thing.

7.            Eating ice cream, while watching a new season of The Great British Baking Show, in the comfort of air conditioning, is a most awesome summer thing.

8.            Long walks in the evening, when the heat isn’t so hot, are wonderful. Even better if they’re on a beach somewhere.

9.            If your job or life situation allows, sleeping in during summer days is refreshing. If only my internal alarm wasn’t so early!

And the final summer fun thing is . . .

Just add fruit to create a nutritious summer meal!

10.          Ice cream is a cool meal alternative when the summer heat makes it too hot to cook. Unless you’re a contestant on The Great British Baking Show, in which you would be burning up anyway in that tent.

NOTE: If you’re not a fan of ice cream (????) or cannot have it, substitute your favorite treat in the items above. Popsicles, slushies, sno cones, smoothies, etc.


[Click to Tweet] The “Summer Fun Top Ten List,” from @carltonwhughes via @InspiredPrompt – Warning: this post WILL make you hungry for ice cream, and may also make you giggle.  #summer #fun #icecream

WRITING PROMPT: Imagine you have a free summer day with no responsibilities.  What would you do? Where would you go? What would you eat?

3 Questions Wednesday with Laura V. Hilton

Good morning! It is my pleasure to welcome author Laura V. Hilton to the Inspired Prompt. Laura has released a new Amish novel, Firestorm.

Good morning, Laura.

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Laura: Quiet, bookish, imaginative.

I could use those three words also. Must be a writer thing 🙂

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Laura: Montana. I’d love to research the Amish community there.

Sounds like an inspiring working vacation.

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song? 

Laura: Oh heavens.  I don’t know.  Maybe “Who am I?” by Casting Crowns.

Wonderful choice. Casting Crowns is one of my favorite singing groups. We’re so glad you dropped by, Laura.

Click to tweet: A new Amish novel, Firestorm, by Laura V. Hilton and you have a chance to win. #giveaway #fiction

Readers, Laura is graciously offering a giveaway of a copy of Firestorm, reader’s choice of format. Please leave a comment below to be entered.


Bridget Behr and her family migrate from the bustling Amish community where she grew up in Ohio to the mostly unpopulated Upper Peninsula of Michigan after a stalker breaks into their home. While her father and brother try to find work in the area, the family is forced to reside in a borrowed RV until the house and barn are rebuilt. While Bridget is hoping for a fresh start, she’s afraid to trust anyone—even Gabriel, the overly-friendly Amish man who lives nearby. Bridget thinks he’s a flirt who serial dates and doesn’t even remember the girls’ names.

Due to not enough construction work in his Florida community to keep him out of trouble, Gabriel Lapp has been sent to Michigan to work. His father is desperate for his son to settle down. When the family walks into Gabe’s home in the middle of a thunderstorm and he discovers their circumstances, he offers to help with construction. For Gabe, the beautiful girl he teasingly calls “the recluse” once he discovers she doesn’t attend youth events, confuses him like none other.

As Gabriel and Bridget grow closer, they realize there is more to a person than meets the eye. Just as Bridget is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding love, tragedy strikes. Now Bridget and her family must decide if they should move to another Amish community or dare to fight for the future they’d hoped for in Mackinac County.

Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with over twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write.

Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.

When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.


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Summer Lessons Learned the Hard Way

by Linda Yezak

Back when my hometown of Bryan, Texas, was a thriving metropolis of thirty thousand or so, back when I was in my early teens, my family would drive all the way to Collins, Georgia, population fiftyish, including pets and cattle, to visit with my dad’s side of the family.

These were the years when I had become aware of the things around me, conscious of life beyond the desire to sleep, eat, and play. So I was aware, for instance, that Bryan had several grocery stores to choose from, and Collins citizens—well, they had to go to a nearby town, smaller than Bryan and not near as pretty, but it was where folks bought their groceries. It was the same town they ran to when they wanted something to do, like sit at the malt shop and watch the only traffic light for miles blink. Hot town Saturday night.

These, among other long-lost reasons, gave me the impression that my cousin—who didn’t even live in town—must’ve been “backward.”

I can look back now and wonder just where on God’s green earth I got the gall to spew some of the silliness that came forth from my freshly-painted lips. I say “freshly painted,” because this was right around the time I began my road to sophistication, and the liberal application of too-dark lipstick and vivid blue eye shadow were mandatory for the journey.

And, by the way, Cousin dear, you’re a year older than me. Aren’t you wearing makeup yet?

She responded that Georgia summers—even as early as when we had visited—were just too hot to bother with makeup unless it was for special occasions.

“Well, in Texas, we have air conditioners. You know what those are, don’t you?”

She glared.

Later, she helped my aunt make tea. Steep tea bags in boiling hot water. Stir in the sugar till it dissolves. Pour over ice in beveled, quilt-pattern glasses. Very similar to the jelly glasses we had back home.

I rattled the ice in mine and with an air of magnanimity, chose not to mention that our glasses like these came with strawberry preserves. I tried the tea. It tasted different, which could be for only one reason: “We don’t use sugar. We use saccharin. You know what that is, don’t you?”

This time, my aunt glared with her.

After supper, my cousin grabbed the broom and swept out the kitchen and dining room. I took pity on her then. Bless her heart. All that hard labor. “We have a vacuum cleaner to do that. You know what that is, don’t you?”

Surprisingly, there must’ve been enough times tossed in with all this foolishness when I wasn’t being a complete jerk. My cousin invited me to join her on a walk.

We strolled the red clay roads in the steamy late afternoon, planted fields to our right, cattle and the hog pens to our left, and chatted about what teenage girls chat about. We probably even thrust out our budding chests and bragged on bra sizes, and who got whose first. (It burned me how much longer she’d been wearing hers!)

Before long, I saw a tree with a limb full of fruit hanging over a fence and just within reach. I jogged up to the tree to get a closer look at the fruit. “Well, would you look at that! Can you eat these?”

Unripe persimmon on tree in the season & fresh green leaves.

“Sure,” she said. “They’re best green.”

I took a bite—and puckered my painted lips so tight I could see them without a downward glance.

“It’s a persimmon tree, ” she said. “You know what that is, don’t you?”

Click to Tweet: Summer Lessons Learned the Hard Way via @InspiredPrompt – a short stop on a blog tour for @LindaYezak & Ride to the Altar, Circle Bar Ranch, Book 3 #summerfun #giveaway #NewRelease

Linda W. Yezak holds a BA in English, a graduate certificate in Paralegal Studies, and a bucket list as long as her arm. Among the things on the list is owning a stable full of horses, and since that’s not likely to happen any time soon, she tries to include horses in each of her novels. Until the day she can retire with her husband to their land in Central Texas and ride to her heart’s content, she’ll continue with her writing and freelance editing careers.

Ride to the Altar – Book 3, Circle Bar Ranch Series

Cattle are dying on the ranch–and not of natural causes. The financial loss to the Circle Bar has first-year owner Patricia Talbert questioning her every move. But to add to her stress, her father demands she return to New York and make amends with her mother. The depth of her resentment runs deeper than she knew, and the confrontation only widens the mother-daughter gap.

While she’s away, Talon Carlson discovers the reason behind the attack on the ranch, and it sends him on an emotional tailspin. How can he remain true to Patricia when his first love still plagues his mind from the grave?

As the gap grows wide and the attacks increase, both Patricia and Talon are stretched to the limit.

How many hurdles must they jump in their Ride to the Altar?

Readers! Linda is offering a giveaway package during her blog tour. When the two-week tour is over, all those who commented throughout the tour will be eligible for the drawing for the prize. This prize package includes a signed print version of the series, a 16-ounce Christian cowboy mug, a horseshoe picture frame, a Ph. 4:13 stretch bracelet, a cute set of magnetic page markers, and a Texas Rubiks cube.

So, leave us a comment, ask Linda a question, or share your own persimmon tale, and you’ll gain an entry to the contest.

Next up on Ride to the Altar’s blog tour:

Cindy Huff’s:

Family: The Living Story

IMG_4672 Seashells

Growing up on the Gulf Coast

By Bonita Y. McCoy

Family can make you crazy. Especially, if everyone is gathered together for a reunion or a vacation. They can make you laugh, or they can drive you to the brink of an emotional breakdown while hollering, “Hang on tight. We’re only halfway there!”

Of course, family also centers you. Anchors you to what is important in this old world like faith, doing the right thing, manners, and traditions. They connect us to the future while tying us to the past.

That’s why family is at the heart of every story, and stories are at the heart of every family.

You know the ones I mean. Those tried and true tales that are rehashed at every family reunion; the ones that live a life of their very own. They draw us close to those who have gone before us and remind us of the blood that runs through our veins. They bind us, heart and soul to who we are.

Like the time the cat ate the toothpaste, and mama thought it had rabies because it was foaming at the mouth.

Or the time my parents advertised a car for sale and a man came to test drive it, before taking it for a spin, he asked for gas money. We never saw that car or money again.

Then, there was Uncle Smokey’s snake charming; Aunt Ruby’s weekly walk to the grocery store packing a pistol. Oh, and Uncle Charlie who snapped his false teeth out with his tongue to scare us kids.  We always jumped and squealed with delight, never failing to scream, “Do it again.”

Families are like that. They have stories. They create stories.

Some of the best were told on warm summer evenings while the mullet fried, and the corn and shrimp boiled. Everyone sat in their lawn chairs as Aunt Mary corralled her poodles. Aunt Myrtle and Uncle Donald were the honored guests. They had come down from Memphis for a visit.

The older cousins had gathered earlier in the day to throw their nets into the muddy Gulf of Mexico, and everyone could smell the results of their efforts.

As the day faded into twilight, the stories would emerge, one at a time like the stars in the night sky. This one remembered; that one added to; another corrected because it hadn’t been told right.

The stories of family, connecting us.

IMG_5820 Gulf at twilight

Twilight falling on the shores

Now I have some of my own. They include the time my middle son broke his arm at Vacation Bible School by bouncing off the bouncy slide; the day my oldest son went off to the Marines, and I watched the van drive away.  And the time my youngest son made his first bucket during a basketball game. Proud didn’t begin to cover it.

The truth is in our stories, we hide bits and pieces of the deep places, the joys and sorrows; the fears and blessings. We mix them in when we say, “I sure miss him,” or “I love it when we…”.

We use them to sum up who we are, to teach others, to grow.

[Click to Tweet] Yes, family is at the heart of every story, and the best ones keep us hanging on in the passenger seat even as our loved one chauffeurs us to the brink because even in all its craziness, there is nothing like family.

So, this summer enjoy the time you have with your family, whether it’s a few folks or the whole clan and remember to share the stories that connect you. You might even have a few new ones to add like the time… Well, I’ll let you tell it.

Writing Prompt: Uncle Mike always told the best stories. His favorite was the one about the raccoon and Mama. 


Bio head shot for Inspiration Blog - 2017

Bonita Y. McCoy hails from the Great State of Alabama where she lives on a five-acre farm with two horses, two dogs, two cats, and one husband who she’s had for over twenty-nine years. She is a mother of three mostly grown sons and two beautiful daughters-in-law, one who joined the family from Japan. She loves God, and she loves to write. Her blogs and stories are an expression of both these passions.

You can connect with Bonita online:

Or check out her blog:






3 Questions Wednesday with Michael Ehret

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday!

This week’s guest, Michael Ehret, is an author and a freelance editor at In addition, he’s worked as editor-in-chief of the ACFW Journal magazine for the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), was editor-in-chief of the Christian Writers Guild, and pays the bills as a marketing communications writer.

Welcome to the Inspired Prompt blog, Michael. First question—Can you describe yourself in three words?

Michael:  Transformed: Romans 12:2: Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete. (The Voice)

Hospitable: It pleases me to have people around and to cook for them, provide for them, and share life together. I will mostly be in the room and not actively social, but I do like having family and friends nearby.

Funny: Where does an alligator keep its money? (In the river bank.) OK, that’s not really funny, but it is my wife’s favorite joke and that makes me laugh.

Nice answers. I’ll have to share the joke with my granddaughter. 🙂 Now, second question

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Michael: A warm, secluded beach, with a grove of palm trees I could sit under with my laptop. But there can’t be too many distractions, like other people, or nightclubs, or movies, or other entertainment options nearby because I am easily distractible.

Me, my wife, and my dog, on the beach, would be perfect. I could write in the shade and my wife could read. Then, when I felt the need for a break, I could go for a swim or a stroll. That’d be heaven.

Sounds perfect! How about this beach in the Dominican Republic?  That brings us to question number three—

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

Michael: This is tough, because music so infuses my life (and my characters’ lives) that picking one song is always tough. I don’t know about a theme song, but my stories often have an emotional landscape that would fit the old Righteous Brothers hit, “Unchained Melody”:

Oh, my love
My darling
I’ve hungered for your touch
A long, lonely time

And time goes by so slowly
And time can do so much
Are you still mine?

I need your love
I need your love
God speed your love to me

But, I also strongly resonate with the musical and emotional underpinnings of “Revelation Song” by Kim Walker-Smith and Jesus Culture:

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You

Two great songs. Music is major for me also…

Click to Tweet: 3 Questions Wednesday’s guest is Michael Ehret, author, editor, and all-around great guy. Learn more about him and his book about a tiny house and leave a comment for a chance to win an e-book via @InspiredPrompt. #tinyhouse #ACFW

Readers, Michael Ehret released a new novella a couple of months ago and it sounds like an inviting story in a fun collection…

Tiny houses are all the rage these days, but what can you do with something so small? Here are seven stories about people chasing their dreams, making fresh starts, finding love, stumbling upon forgiveness, and embarking upon new adventures in tiny houses. Travel with them around the country in this big novella collection.

Please leave a comment for your chance to win an e-book version of Coming Home.

Coming Home ~ A Tiny House Collection

Tiny houses are all the rage these days, but what can you do with something so small? Here are seven stories about people chasing their dreams, making fresh starts, finding love, stumbling upon forgiveness, and embarking upon new adventures in tiny houses. Travel with them around the country in this big novella collection.

Love is Sweeter in Sugar Hill: She has a tiny house. He lives in a mansion. She vows to charge a doctor with malpractice. His job depends on that doctor’s finances. Will love find a way?

Kayla’s Challenge: She was one “I do” short of marrying the man her pushy parents chose for her. Now, half a country away, she needs a tiny house to finally be free.

If These Walls Could Talk: Both claim to have inherited the same Queen Anne until an unexpected blessing changes everything.

First Love: Betrayed by her husband and desperate for healing, she can only move forward by going back home.

Dash of Pepper: His responsibilities tie him to the small town he loves, but her career plans will lead her to the big city. Will he cut his roots for her or will she clip her wings for him?

Big Love: Homelessness expanded her world and constricted his. Now she needs his help, but he only remembers the pain. Can they find big love in a tiny house?

The Light Holding Her: Friends since childhood. She’s being stalked. He’s in danger. Is their faith big enough to carry them through the trials into a deeper relationship?

Michael Ehret has accepted God’s invitation to write with Him and is also a freelance editor at In addition, he’s worked as editor-in-chief of the ACFW Journal magazine for the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), was editor-in-chief of the Christian Writers Guild, and pays the bills as a marketing communications writer.

He’s been married for 37 years to Deb and they have three children, one dog (a miniature Schnauzer named Baxter), and a granddog (Wrigley).

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