Saturday, January 29, 2011

Enter to Win!

Friends, do you enjoy an enduring love story? My book has been compared to The Notebook or Water for Elephants. And now my publisher, Thomas Nelson, is sponsoring a great giveaway of my latest book, The Inheritance of Beauty, which releases officially Feb. 8. Here's how to enter:

Go to, add the book to your to-read list, and then click the "enter to win" button.

20 copies will be given away! Giveaway contest dates are Jan 29-Feb 28, 2011. Act now and tell your friends!

Here's the direct link:
Best of luck!

PS. Please write a review of the book wherever you can online once you read it!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Moses Stuttered

Listen, I'm not a preacher, I'm just a woman trying to live the best life she can. So, this morning when I picked up my old copy of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, I was struck by this passage:

"God wants to use you to make a difference in his world. He wants to work through you. What matters is not the duration of your life, but the donation of it. Not how long you lived, but how you lived. If you're not involved in any service or ministry, what excuse have you been using? Abraham was old, Jacob was insecure, Leah was unattractive, Joseph was abused, Moses stuttered, Gideon was poor, Samson was codependent, Rahab was immoral, David had an affair and all kinds of family problems, Elijah was suicidal, Jeremiah was depressed, Jonah was reluctant, Naomi was a widow, John the Baptist was eccentric to say the least, Peter was impulsive and hot-tempered, Martha worried a lot, the Samaritan woman had several failed marriages, Zacchaeus was unpopular, Thomas had doubts, Paul had poor health, and Timothy was timid. That is quite a variety of misfits, but God used each of them in his service. He will use you, too, if you stop making excuses."

Wow. I saw myself in several of those people. Which misfit are you? What excuse are you using?

I do want to make a difference in this world. I teach my kids, "If you walk into a room, always leave it better than the way you found it." I want to leave this world better than I found it. It wasn't always this way for me though. I used to be content with getting by and minding my own business. Then something began stirring.

Several years ago I answered this call on the Oprah Show: "Looking for courageous people who want to make a difference." I wound up participating in an amazing venture to help a family in my community and was brought back on the show to tell the story. But that was only the beginning. Soon after, I was asked to serve on a board of a local charity, and my first novel, The Spirit of Sweetgrass, was released. I've just released my fifth novel, The Inheritance of Beauty. I'm blessed to meet so many people these days, to teach 165 kids in a school, to speak to organizations, to reach thousands of people through my writing. Before, I was very happy to hide away from the world behind my computer--but my heart changed when I simply asked God to use me. I desire every day now to be used even more by Him.

I have a dear friend recently diagnosed with a degenerative disease. As he finds the disease becoming more debilitating, the one thing he asked me to pray for is that a "highway of opportunity would open up for him for God to use his gifts to make a difference in this world." I am humbled by this giant's faith.

Have you ever asked God to use you? If not, what excuse are you using? I promise, you'll open a floodgate and embark on the greatest adventure Life has to offer.

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Inner Child Wants to Thank a Marvelous Teacher

Do you have an amazing teacher who left an indelible mark on you in immeasurable ways? I am blessed to have a few in my lifetime. One such teacher was my EXCELS (gifted and talented) teacher in elementary school. I looked forward to spending my Wednesdays in her trailer at Hilton Head Elementary. It was a magical place, that trailer.

USCB Lunch with Author Series Mar 4, 2009. Another
amazing former teacher of mine (Calculus) Jane Upshaw,
me, and Sunny Littlejohn on right.

Sunny Littlejohn exposed me to what the world has to offer--food and mythology, other cultures, wordplay--and piqued my appetite for them. We've gotten back in touch and she recently found in some of her belongings a poem, of all things, that I wrote in her class in 1983 when I was 11 years old (for those of you counting). I must have been in fourth grade. It is by no means gifted nor talented, but I can see she must have realized and fostered my love for the sweet ironies in life...and afterlife. Not to mention the ocean :) All things I explore in my novels today.

Enjoy the writings of my inner child below:

Creatures of the Sea (by Nicole Seitz, age 11)
It gleams in the moonlight
Wet and filled with life.
The sand dollar buys no food;
The urchin is found not on the streets.
But the creatures with fins and scales
Can be found in schools.

Starfish are not found in the sky at night
Nor does the sunfish, in the day, shine so bright.
Horseshoe crabs don't get trampled,
Pounded on the horses' feet.
Angelfish never die and go to God's home place.

Rainbow fish aren't found in skies.
You do not play guitar fish.
Goldfish are not expensive.
Silverfish are not worthwhile.
But people love this place so much
They become oceanographers.

I know, leaves you breathless, right? So much for satisfying endings. I assure you I've gotten better at those! But apparently, growing up on a little resort island left its mark on me as well.

From myself and any other student who had you as a teacher, Sunny, thank you a million times over. You ignited something in me then that has grown into full flame years later. And I'm only one person. Imagine the collective impact on the people you've touched along the way. God bless you always. God bless marvelous teachers.