Listen to Valerie Loveless interview me about both of my books, Safe House & Finding Hope, on Cedar Fort's Behind the Scenes Podcast!
When I was twelve, I prayed for a bicycle. My father, a spiritual man, told me I shouldn’t bother God with it. That I should solve my own problems. I was pretty sure he was wrong, so I just kept praying and saving my meager earnings. Sure enough, a brand new bike showed up. To my young heart, it was a miracle.
I reasoned God blessed me with a bicycle because I was a good girl, at least that is what my father told me. We were both wrong. Later, while we were tossed about by the winds of life, we learned the truth.
We learned to see the Lord, while life’s challenges raged like storms all around us. We learned ways to Hear him, in the gentle whisperings of the spirit and see Him in the large and small miracles that came in answer to sincere prayers. We felt Him in our hearts and searched for him in the scriptures.
We both gained a firm belief in the Lord’s love for all of us. He meets us where we are, and during his lifetime blessed many people who the world labeled as unworthy, like the woman caught in adultery or the woman at the well.
Bad things happen to good people. We will all experience storms or trials in our lifetime.
The Lord may not remove the storm, but He will not leave us alone in it. He wants us to know Him, to learn to hear Him, so when the wild winds blow we can find Him and the shelter He offers us.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in this life is to see the signs of the Lord in the storm. The tender mercies Psalms 145:9 talks about when it says, “The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.”
Many years ago, I began a daily list of things I am grateful for. It became my greatest anti-anxiety medicine. When I couldn’t sleep, I would quiet my worries by listing all the blessings I experienced that day.
Immediately, my perspective on life was permanently and profoundly altered. I found daily reasons to rejoice. I learned to see Him.
But, you may ask, how can we rejoice in this place, at this time?
In this place ~ Covid-19
We are in quarantine. It is late, but the house is not quiet or tidy. My daughter, her husband, and my eight-year-old grandson moved home six weeks ago. My grandson is roller skating throughout the first floor instead of brushing his teeth for bed, my adult daughter and her husband are upstairs calling him. Two televisions are competing for attention.
My kitchen is cluttered with a project. We are in the middle of a pandemic and because a loved one asked; we are sewing face masks. We have sewn well over a hundred and more are lined up waiting to be finished. I have work to do before I sleep.
And yet, I am filled with joy as I count the tender mercies of the Lord, the answered prayers, and little miracles that surround us. Everything is as it should be (Something I never thought I would say in a pandemic). But first it had to fall completely apart.
At the first of the year, it seemed our lives unraveled around us. And yet, in hindsight, we can see how the trials led us to miracles. Things that at first seemed like bad news have been revealed as blessings. Prayers that had gone unanswered for months, were answered in a week. Everything in our lives changed to prepare us for the storm already raging just out of sight.
We felt confused while our lives were unexpectedly rearranged, but at peace all at the same time. Looking back, the pattern of the Lord answering every prayer is clear. He provided for all of our needs before we ever heard the world “virus.” And he spoke to peace to our hearts.
We are like you. Some of us are working, some are not. We scrambled for toilet paper. We have family members with seriously compromised immune systems, and we are afraid to go out the door without a full hazmat suit.
But on the first Sunday of home church, the historic Sunday when church was cancelled worldwide, we counted our blessings and we knew we had felt the hand of God in our lives.
The kids moving home had changed from a trial to a blessing. We relished the ability to be together, support each other, and combine our food storage. My new job temporarily went away with the virus, giving me time to prepare and enjoy the birth of my son’s baby. And just over the horizon, unknown on that Sunday, was something wonderful, already in the works. The quiet days of a simpler life in quarantine allowed us to appreciate each other on a deeper level.
Friends and family members have expressed experiencing similar blessings, or tender mercies, during some of the darkest days in world history.
That first Sunday, we marveled at the ways Heavenly Father takes care of his children and knows them all by name, even though they number more than the sands of all the seas. We recognized His hand in larger things, while He still showered us with tender mercies. Even when we wondered if he would ever answer our prayers, He already was.
Tomorrow will come
We may not all survive. The storm may continue on. But while the winds blow, we will be on our knees, seeking Him, listening for Him, and trusting the plan He has for us, knowing he is mindful of us. He will answer your prayers. Be patient. We are part of His eternal family. We Hear Him promising to come again.
“And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him…” (1 Kings 19: 11–13)
My gift to you, while we wait for tomorrow to come. The lowest price Amazon will allow.
During these difficult days authors like me wonder what we can do for you. Because I wish I could do more, I’ve priced my latest release, Finding Hope, for 0.99 cents on Kindle (The lowest amount Amazon allows).
Let me know how you are. It matters.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Link to more free books for days like these from Cedar Fort-through Book Funnel: https://mailchi.mp/60e151a229fa/shannon-symonds-author-newsletter-625851
Today the World Health Organization declared the “novel” Coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. This is one novel I hope you never have to read.
When we originally heard about it, we noticed that the shelves were empty of toilet paper and had a wonderful chuckle. Then our family welcomed a new baby. Suddenly, germs seemed a bit more serious. One of us has CKD or Chronic Kidney Disease, and others in our tight-knit family have weaknesses that make us worry.
We realized the problems surrounding the virus were bigger than we thought when my daughter went to a big box store to buy toilet paper. Ironically, after 3 stores she ended up snatching one of the last cases off a pallet in a Walmart and in a game of chicken with another shopper.
We all cope in our own way. My kids cope with humor. I don’t know who created this meme, but it’s priceless. I hope the creator doesn’t mind sharing.
For the first time in my memory, on a recent workday, I went to a big box store to get some things for the new baby. Our small town Costco was packed, on a day it should have been empty. Carts were full of toilet paper, water, and interestingly, televisions.
At first I smiled, then I noticed the people pushing the carts were the same age as my parents, who are ordering their groceries delivered for the first time in their life. And I wondered, would we lose one of these family faces? Even one would be too many. The drinking water is safe and our bathrooms are stocked, but still we seem to all be nervous. It has become a small world, indeed.
And so we have cancelled the world. Meetings are online, school is online, stadiums are empty, and so are my friends restaurants. We are all going to be impacted, either through our health, finances, or loss of loved ones. It is a forced slow down and as you can see, everyone who can has stocked up.
My hope is that you get more time at home around the dinner table, more time with good books, and more time to write and collect your thoughts. I also hope that you look around and realize that time with loved ones is priceless, that person matters, and cherish each other just a little bit more. And most of all, I pray you and your loved one’s stay well.
“I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that he, through his infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end.” Moroni 8:3
Stay tuned for the first few chapters of my next book. We will be sitting by the fire, walking by the ocean alone, and writing a book about a small beach town, Grace’s daughter, her hilarious friend, and the kids and families of Oceanside High.
Have you ever wearied the Lord in prayer and wondered when he would answer your prayer, or if he would answer? Have those answers come in unexpected ways? I know I have. I have wanted more time for family and writing. I think I have my answer and it will mean more time to write.
I love to write stories about characters that have deep needs, face insurmountable odds, are tried during the storms of life, face destruction, and still find their happy ending. I write about unexpected heroes and heroines, who after the storm is over, realize the hand of God was at work the entire time. And the events they thought would annihilate them were actually the best thing that ever happened to them.
Why do I love to write stories about people who face impossible odds? Because that is the ongoing story in my life, and I would bet a few of you have been caught in the rain before. But I believe in miracles and I believe in happy endings, so here we go! New job and more writing.
Today, I found one more survivor. This afternoon, the sun was out, and I worked in the garden. I weeded and pulled out the plants that hadn’t made it through the wild coastal winter months. We have had snow, fierce winds, and record rainfalls. I opened the gate to put my tools away in the backyard and look what I found. While everything else turned brown and withered, this beautiful little plant flowered through the dark winter months on the north side of the house. It blossomed against all odds, just like the heroines of my stories.
A few weeks ago, I was asked to speak on Hope in church, while I was praying and working on making more space for family and writing. It was a great opportunity to explore one of my favorite words-hope.
More on hope later-for now, here is one of my favorite quotes:
Eve Marx of the Seaside Signal not only featured my newest novel, Finding Hope, she investigated trafficking in our small town and researched what it might look like in yours. Do you wonder if your kids are at risk? Do you want to know what to look for?
Do you want to learn to recognize trafficking? Have you ever thought about volunteering from your own home town?
Take Operation Underground Railroad’s Free Online Volunteer Training to learn to recognize signs of trafficking.
Read My Book A Day’s review of, Finding Hope, on her fun Blog!
In honor of my 29th birthday, Cedar Fort and I are giving away copies of my books on Kindle between January 7th and 11th, 2020!
Don’t forget to enter the Goodreads Giveaway!
But, if you entered the Goodreads giveaway and didn’t win, you can check out:
Thank you for being a part of 2019, a great year. May 2020 be a year of reading, fun, and personal growth for you and yours.
You can also win, Finding Hope, and, Safe House, by joining the Storytellers in Zion Polar Bear Plunge Reading Challenge. Join the fun HERE!
Here are the rules:
#findinghopebyshannonsymonds #novel #cleanread #suspense
#romance #mysterythriller #safehousebyshannonsymonds #cedarfortauthor #giveaway #contest
Merry Christmas from us to you!
This year we celebrated early so that some of us can hit the road for Utah and celebrate with the rest of the family.
2019 was a great year for the Symonds family! I thought it would be fun to share a little bit of our lovely chaos with you. Funny, when the noise in the room is made by people I love, it is music to my ears.
I was raised in a large and very close family. We are still very connected through Lassie Hame, our family home on the beach. We text, chat and visit often. Christmas was a time of chaos, good food, and cousins everywhere. I loved it.
Then, later in life, we moved our family to our first home on the Oregon Coast. Although we were just down the road from the beach house, we had quiet Christmases. Traveling to the coast from Utah and even Portland is difficult in winter. Even though we had six children, I missed the constant party atmosphere of my youth.
As we celebrated our early Christmas, I realized I had recreated the big family of my youth. Even though we only had half of our grandchildren and four of our children, it was – in the words of little Maddy, “Glorious Chaos!”
Whether you have a small family, chosen family, a church family, or spend your Christmas in the service of others – I wish you a day of glorious chaos and love!
For those of you who are thinking life at the beach is sand and sun, I thought you might enjoy a little authentic Seaside, Oregon travel conditions! We started out for the airport yesterday! After a three hour drive, a night with my cousins (the best!) we arrived at the airport this morning. Here is a little peek at our drive. Please don’t judge the backseat driver in the passenger seat (me) wearing her lucky Uggs and giving the driver absolutely sound advice.
Shannon’s List of Favorite Holiday Reads, Fun, and Family Stuff!
Here are a few things I am LOVING this Christmas season.
Each morning, I love to ground myself by starting the day with quiet study. I highly recommend the non-denominational group, Multiply Goodness. Their current study, Advent, O Come Let Us Adore Him
- Find Multiply Goodness on Instagram for daily video messages and beautiful artwork
- Check out their, Advent: O Come Let Us Adore Him, Study Guide and ideas for your Advent
- Follow Multiply Goodness on Facebook and join in when they announce their next scripture study group topic
I am a huge fan of, Don’t Miss This, with Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler. They have partnered with LDS Living to provide daily video inspiration and study ideas for families. Do you want to introduce your children to the characters in their nativity scene? Check this out!
#LightTheWorld Check the Hashtag! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has created some beautiful content to help you and your family feel closer to Christ during the Christmas Season. You can find #LightTheWorld here. Here is a beautiful video of the nativity.
I have also been enjoying Emily Belle Freeman’s, Inklings, studyguide for women who want to know more about their role in the Priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Last of all! Have you ever wanted a Life Coach? Meet Lisa Lewis. She has been guiding participants through their 40-day Journey to the New Year. It still isn’t too late to take the journey with us.
Favorite Christmas Movies in 2019
Take a look inside my head! This movie tells the story of how Charles Dickens wrote the Christmas Carol. It is like taking a walk through an author’s mind. I LOVE it! The Man Who Invented Christmas on Amazon.
REVIEW COPIES FREE. For reading all the way to the end of this LONG, LONG, List, if you would like to join my review crew and receive a free copy of Safe House and Finding Hope for an honest and fair review on Goodreads AND Amazon, email me at email@example.com. Put review crew in the subject line. I will reply ASAP with Kindle versions of my books for the first 20 people who ask.
And don’t forget! My birthday is coming! So until then, I am giving away 100 Kindle Copies of Finding Hope on Goodreads. No hook and a great chance of winning since I am a small town beach author who knows almost no one! Enter here.
In honor of the Savior’s Birthday, Christmas, and until my January 7th Birthday, I am giving away 100 kindle copies of Finding Hope on Goodreads. If you don’t use Goodreads, check it out. The Giveaways are a blast. And! As I only know about 100 people in a tiny town on the Oregon Coast, the odds are with you.