28Sep

August’s Brilliant Blog Award Winner

Posted by in Blog Awards, Blogs, Brilliant Blog Award, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Oops. I goofed. I completely missed the Brilliant Blog Award for August, didn’t I? Chalk it up to being overwhelmed with student teaching. For that I apologize. My oversight in no way reflects how much I love August’s winner: Walking Healed by Shelley Willburn! I love Shelley Wilburn’s blog for so many reasons. Yes, I know, she’s a colleague and a dear friend, but seriously, this woman’s enthusiasm and willingness to be passionately transparent always draws me in. Watching her grow as a writer over the years has been so inspiring. I love her fearless yearning to obey Jesus and follow Him! Be sure to check out this lady of the mis-matched socks. You’re going to be inspired by her life and healing! And don’t forget to vote for your favorite blog by visiting it, and clicking on its brilliant blog button! Please tweet: Congratulations, Shelley Willburn! Your blog is...

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17Sep

Sugar-Free, Low-Carb Cheesecake? Yes, please!

Posted by in Karla Akins, recipes, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I love cheesecake and I love desserts. And probably the best part of being on a low-carb eating plan is this delicious treat! You can make it as fancy as you want, but what I’m sharing with you is a very fast and quick cheesecake recipe for when you’re having an emergency craving that won’t go away. You can add other sweeteners such as agave, honey, xilitol or stevia. But for my family, it’s more cost-effective to use Splenda. I know it’s not the healthiest choice, but for a once-in-a-great-while treat, I don’t mind using it. I hope you enjoy my throw-together recipe!   Karla’s Low-Carb Emergency Cheesecake For the crust: 1-1/2 c almond flour or meal 3 tablespoons butter 3 tablespoons of Splenda (or other non-liquid sweetener)     For the Filling: 3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese 3 eggs 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1 Cup of Splenda (or other sweetener)   Mix the crust in a pie pan. Press it down on the bottom and sides with a fork or your hands. Mix the filling. Pour into the pie crust. Bake at 350 F for 35 minutes or until golden brown and cracked on top. If you don’t want a crust, just pour into a greased pie pan for a simple custard-type desert. Serve with fruit topping if you wish! Enjoy! For fancier low-carb cheesecake recipes click here: Food.com Please tweet: Low-carb cheesecake? Yes,...

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16Sep

Interview with Debut Author and Cancer Survivor, Barbara Britton!

Posted by in Author Interviews, Barbara M. Britton, books, history, Karla Akins, Strong Girls, Uncategorized, writing | 2 comments

When I met Barbara M. Britton online, I had no idea I’d met such an amazing Strong Girl. But as my recent interview with her on YouTube progressed, and she revealed her journey with and triumph over cancer, I was in complete and total awe of her courage and tenacity. She’s also a pastor’s wife and a Pelican Book Group author. How is that for kindred-spirit-sisterhood?   As my regular readers know, I, too, am a pastor’s wife and my first book, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots was published by Pelican! I know  you’re going to be inspired by Barbara’s story. Scroll down to the video, grab a cuppa and kick back and enjoy! Tweet this: Strong Girl Barbara M. Britton writes inspiring strong girl fiction!...

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12Sep

Spunk & Sass — Part 1 of FEAR NOT!

Posted by in Karla Akins, Spunk & Sass, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Are you afraid of getting out of your comfort zone? Fear not! If we stay in our comfort zone, we don’t grow. The only way I’ve been able to grow as a writer, wife, mom and teacher, is to be uncomfortable and receive input that might not feel so good. And yet, just as the Word promises, when we humble ourselves, God lifts us up. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” James 4:10, KJV. Being a student teacher, as I am now for 16 weeks, is humbling indeed. But I know I need to go through this period of time in order to reach my goal of being a full-time public school teacher. In due time, God will put me in the position He wants me to be in. Being a writer is humbling as well. In order to grow, we must be able to accept criticism. It can be painful, but without pain, I will not gain as a writer. I will not become the excellent writer I dream of being. I hope this  episode will encourage you to dream big and pursue the goals God has placed in your heart. It’s not all about you. It’s about someone who needs you to be there living the dream. I don’t doubt that for a minute. What dreams do you have that you’re afraid of? Share them with me! Please tweet: Fear not! God is for you not against you! Find out...

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01Sep

To make your dreams come true, it’s up to you…

Posted by in Karla Akins, Student Teaching, Teaching, Uncategorized, writing | 2 comments

“If it’s to be it’s up to me.” I know that as a Christian this quote isn’t exactly right. But there’s a lot of truth in it. Other than the fact that indeed, we must line up our dreams and plans and goals with God’s purpose for our lives, no one is going to make sure we hit the mark but ourselves. Six years ago I decided to pursue two life-long dreams. To continue my college education and write books. Since then, neither of those dreams dissipated. And now I find myself in the middle of one of the hardest parts of the journey physically for me: student teaching and editing a book I’ve sold to ready it for publication. During my journey to today, no one ever asked me if I had my homework done or if I had written anything each day. No one pushed me out of bed in the mornings after staying up until two or three in the morning. No one made my tea or asked me if I was making my deadlines. I had to learn to say no in order to say yes to my dreams. Saying no is hard for me. As a pastor’s wife, I’ve been conditioned to worry about what other people think. I’ve still not mastered the concept of forging ahead without a thought to others’ opinions, but I’m getting better. I mean, sometimes it’s good to hear other opinions about things. I’m still figuring out when to listen and when to tune out. The point is this. More than likely no one has a passion for your dream like you. No one wants it as bad as you do. And you’ve got to muster up all the courage you can to climb that mountain and reach the top. It’s called ambition. And its cohort is grit. You can do this dream thing. But be prepared to encourage yourself a lot. Be prepared to forge ahead when others wish you’d just slow down and take a breather. When your friends look at you funny because you need to stay in and write or study instead of going to the game or out for a night on the town, you can have the backbone to know that you’re in a different season than they are. You’re in the season of mountain climbing, and you need to suck up all the oxygen you can. You can do this. Dreaming is a solitary thing. And sometimes, making dreams come true is solitary, too. But as Christians, we’re never alone. Isn’t that wonderful? Imagine having to do it alone. We don’t have to. We have the Great Teacher with us and in us. We have the mind of Christ. We have someone Who never leaves us nor forsakes us. Give Him your dreams and He’ll help you carry them. He’ll even carry you when you’re too tired to take another step. Ask me how I know. Tweet this: Dreaming + Grit = Mountaintop...

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30Aug

Autism: Not Different Enough

Posted by in Author Interviews, Authors, autism, autism, books, Gloria Doty, Karla Akins, Life, Special Education, Uncategorized | 0 comments

When I read Gloria Doty’s book about her daughter with autism, I felt a great kinship with her. As you know, my twin adult sons also have a diagnosis of autism. As we venture into adulthood with them, I found this book an absolute comfort. It helped me realize that I’m not the only one experiencing all these new adventures in many of the same ways. If you know someone with a child with autism, I hope you’ll share this interview with them. It’s such an important one, and helps parents understand the importance of getting guardianship for their adult child with autism. This is a beautiful book, and I enjoyed reading it. It reads fast, and it feels like you’re sitting with Gloria and having a chat. I loved it so much I had to do an interview. What follows is the delightful time I had with Gloria discussing this gem of a book. Tweet this: Autism grows up: a cautionary tale of hope and...

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29Aug

Karla Teaches

Posted by in back to school, College, Confessions, Disabilities, Karla Akins, Life, Student Teaching, Teaching, Uncategorized, writing | 0 comments

As you may or may not know, I’m nearing the end of my journey toward my degree in Special Education! If I make it through student teaching I’ll graduate in December. Yay! If you’d like to follow my adventures, you can do so here at KarlaTeaches.com  If you have ever been a student teacher and have tips for me, I welcome them! I could also use your prayers for stamina. I sold my book on autism right before student teaching started and edits are due very soon. All I need is a clone, right? Anyone know where there’s a good deal on one? Tweet this: Superpower: teaching; passion: writing, sleeping:...

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25Aug

Love and Cowboys: An Interview with Author Gloria Doty

Posted by in Author Interviews, Authors, autism, Beginning writers, book reviews, books, Gloria Doty, Karla Akins, Romance, Romance, Uncategorized, writing | 0 comments

If you’re into cowboys and romance, you’re going to love Gloria Doty and her new romance novels! What’s not to like about a title and cover like this? Bring a cowboy home? Don’t mind if I do… I fell in love with the book as soon as I saw it. And I pretty much fell in love with Gloria that way, too. She is a jewel. A people person and mother of a live-in adult daughter with autism, Gloria is a fascinating human being. She has a magnetic personality and we clicked immediately. Besides being an all-around great gal, her grit and work ethic are traits I highly admire. Her newest book is a winner, too: Below is an interview I did with Gloria. What a lovely woman and what a great author! You’re going to love her and her books! Tweet this: Bring a Cowboy Home! Why...

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23Aug

What’s on your writing desk, Amy Clipston?

Posted by in Amy Clipston, Karla Akins, Spunk & Sass, Uncategorized, writing | 0 comments

Last week I had the privilege of interviewing Amy about how she writes Amish Fiction. You can view that interview here.  This week, Amy’s sharing her writing space with us. Take it away, Amy! Amy: While most writers have a dedicated office space, you can find me tapping the keys of my MacBook while lounging on a love seat in my family room. I have a favorite corner where I sit and write with earbuds blasting music into my ears and drowning out my noisy family. When I published my first book, I needed complete quiet to write. I would barricade myself in my bedroom and warn my family to be quiet if they were brave enough to venture upstairs. Now, however, I’m most prolific if I work in the family room with only earbuds blocking out the chaos in my house. Usually at least two of my three cats come to visit me or nap on a nearby sofa. I refer to the members of my feline herd as my editors, and you can find numerous photos of them on Instagram site. My mom also keeps me company while I work. She sits on the sofa across from me and reads novels while I work. I appreciate her company and sometimes bounce book ideas around with her if I develop a case of writer’s block. I normally have a cup of tea on the end table beside me, and I sip it while I work. If you don’t see a cup of tea, you’ll probably find a cold can of Diet Coke in its place.     Since I work a full-time job along with writing books, I have to squeeze in my writing time as much as possible. I don’t have a set schedule of when I write, but if I’m on deadline, I write late into the evenings on weekdays and then continuously throughout the weekend. I write Amish inspirational novels and novellas for HarperCollins Christian Publishing. The Courtship Basket, which is the second book in my Amish Heirloom series, will hit bookstores June 28. In The Courtship Basket, Rachel Fisher is devastated when the young man she’s loved for years leaves her to date her best friend. Her heart is broken, and she has all but given up on love. Rachel is determined to keep her mind off the pain, and she starts teaching at an Amish school for children with learning disabilities. Since his father became ill, Mike Lantz has been overwhelmed with the responsibility of providing for his family and caring for his six-year-old brother, John. When John joins Rachel’s class and she learns his mother is deceased and his father sick, she desperately wants to help the family, even with something as simple as a meal. With her parents’ old picnic basket, Rachel begins sending food to the Lantz family. As the weeks go by, John’s grades start to improve, and the attraction grows between Rachel and Mike. They can’t deny that their friendship is growing toward something more, but both of them are hesitant to risk a more serious relationship. The last thing Rachel wants is another heartbreak, and Mike is worried about providing for his loved ones. Will the two be able to reconcile their past hurts with new hope...

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18Aug

Interview with author Amy Clipston

Posted by in Amy Clipston, Amy Clipston, Author Interviews, Authors, books, Uncategorized | 0 comments

You are going to love this interview with best-selling author of Amish fiction, Amy Clipston! I fell in love with Amy’s work after reading her non-fiction biography, The Gift of Love about her husband’s journey with kidney disease. I loved that book, and you can read about it and view an interview about it here. She has several new Amish books out. I don’t know how she does it, but she keeps churning them out! Amy’s Amish series include the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series and the Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel Series. Her books have achieved the Christian Fiction bestseller lists, including the CBA (Christian Book Association) bestseller list and the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) bestseller list. Get your cuppa ready and settle in for a fascinating interview with Amy! (Leave a comment below and you will be entered in a drawing for a book from Amy! She’s giving away three of them! Yay!) Tweet this: How does she work full-time and churn out...

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